Sorry for the inconvenience; I’ll be posting to www.lauramchaleholland.com from now on. Hope to hear from you there.
August 30, 2010
November 18, 2009
Two bits of good news:
My story “Invasion” is featured today at Every Day Fiction, www.everydayfiction.com.
I’ve passed the 50,000 word count for Nanowrimo 2009. Whew!
July 15, 2009
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Isolation in narrow, concrete runs. Outside exercise once, maybe twice a day. No contact with your own kind. This sounds more like the infamous Pelican Bay prison than a nice place to board the family dog.
But in decades past, there were scant alternatives for dog lovers who needed a place to board their furry family members.
Not so anymore. Dog boarding and “doggie day care” have progressed leaps and bounds since the dark boarding days of yore. State-of-the-art canine homes away from home exist where facilities and activities are based on dogs’ natural inclinations and desires, not on caretakers’ convenience. And one of the best of these in Sonoma County is Two Rock Dog Ranch.
That’s where my husband, Jim, and I take our Maltese-Shih Tzu cross, Romeo. (Our purebred Maltese, Scouty Boy, isn’t invited; he’s too surly and unpredictable to pass the personality test.) An evaluation of all potential participants in day care is one of the plusses of Two Rock. You don’t have to worry that some vicious, half-wild predatory beast will break away from a handler and attack your pooch.
Other plusses include lots of large, indoor and outdoor spaces where dogs can roam freely from one to another spot all day long. Dogs can form their own packs and romp around together, or if they want down time, they can withdraw to any number of cozy beds and nooks designed for shut-eye or just plain quiet time.
Small and large dogs have separate sections, so there is no problem with larger dogs inadvertently stepping on a pipsqueak and doing some damage.
All sections of the ranch are well supervised by trained personnel. And dogs get periods of structured play organized by staff, that is, if they want to participate. And I expect the majority of them do because the staff’s love and understanding of dogs is evident in all the little things that matter: tone of voice, body language, honest affection and enthusiasm for their charges.
Sound heavenly? Our Romeo thinks it is. If you live in Sonoma County, stop in without your pet, and one of the friendly staff can take you on a tour. 4395 Middle Two Rock Road, Petaluma, CA 94952-9651; 707-763-3997.
April 13, 2009
Just about to watch “In Treatment.” Here’s my favorite image of the day. I’ll be writing a story about it later this week for examiner.com.
December 22, 2008
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Hey, how can it be only four days from Christmas? Each year I tell myself I’ll buy little gifts early, when I see them in my daily travels. But each year, I don’t. In that moment in July or August when I stumble upon, say, the perfect hand-painted scarf for one of my sisters in a out-of-the way book store, or a buttery-soft leather jacket for my husband on sale, half off, or one-of-a-kind letter openers for my co-workers at a street fair, I think, I should get these now, but then I think, oh no, no, it’s way too early to be thinking of Christmas. Besides, I say, I’ll probably stick this stuff in a drawer somewhere and forget that I ever bought it, which does actually happen sometimes. Once, years after their purchase, I found beaded bracelets tucked in a box high on a closet shelf while looking for something else. So, I always wait until December to shop and end up darting through the rain, list in hand, coming home hours later, exhausted. And then there’s all the wrapping to do. Oh, but the tree is lovely, the music is sweet, Jesus’ message is powerful, the memories of seasons past are rich, tonight’s fire is warm, my husband is kind and the anticipation of gathering with loved ones over the next few days fills me with happiness. When Christmas comes, I’ll be ready, maybe even relaxed. And this is as good a place as any to end this post; my computer’s battery is running low, and I’m too cozy to get up, walk to the other room and plug it in.
April 23, 2008
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I’ve just tuned in to “Dancing With The Stars” for the first time, and there’s Ashlee Simpson singing a pretty sexy tune while dancers strut the stage in front of her. My daugher’s a fan of hers, so I am somewhat, too, by association. I’m looking forward to seeing Kristi Yamaguchi dance. Way back in the ’80s she won my heart when she was 16 and skated her heart out at the Olympics. Oh, it looks like it’s an eliminatin night; I might not see Kristi dance. Commercial break. I may switch channels and never go back … might be time to find the latest Pennsylvania primary results. I’m an Obama fan and was disappointed that Clinton appeared to have a 10 point lead with more than 90 percent of precincts reporting. I was hoping the margin would be in single digits. Ah, I find myself getting so wound up and emotional about all of this when there’s not much I can do at the moment. I can’t influence the votes in Pennsylvania … well, I never switched channels; I just tuned out the commercials and blogged away. It’s painfully obvious to me that I’m really out of touch with popular culture because, really, I mostly can’t tell who the stars are and who the professional dancers are, but hey, here comes River Dance, and I’m certainly familiar with them. There’s a guy starting things off by soloing. I like that he’s moving his arms a bit more than is allowed when you’re doing traditional Irish dance strictly by the book. Man, that footwork is amazing. Now there’s a bunch of them all in a row though with their arms just hanging limply at their sides. It’s just so unnatural … just got distracted by our puppy, Romeo, a 7-month-old Mal-Shi (Maltese/Shih-Tzu cross); he fell off the folded sleeping bag he was perched upon. He made a mighty big thud for a 10 pound critter. He’s such a clown; people tend to fall in love with him. His legs are a little too short for his body and his head is a little too big, so he’s a bit cartoonish, but adorable … now two 13 year olds are dancing up a storm, and now here comes a second young couple dancing even better than the first (in my opinion) — such energy and ease; it’s invigorating just to watch them; maybe it’ll even get me out of this La-Z-Boy. Yeah, why not. Off I go.
March 31, 2008
Why is it that so many of us allow ourselves to get sidetracked? I include myself in that group — the ones who suspend our goals if some of life’s cruel winds come a battering. I admire those who come home exhausted from a demanding day at work, or from the hospital where a beloved spouse is undergoing treatment for a life-threatening condition, or from a parent/teacher conference that didn’t go well, and instead of reaching for a bag of chips, a latte or a beer, and instead of sinking into a reclining chair to watch Law and Order reruns, CNN or whatever types of shows they find hypnotizing, they do at least one thing to further their goals, no matter how they feel — even if everything seems hopeless, they soldier on. Hats off to them. Hats off to them. May I take one step today to joinn their ranks!
March 11, 2008
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Acres of mustard, a lilting yellow dusting of flowers atop the deep green vegetation of Sonoma County in late winter. And sun, hinting of a lovely spring to come. This refreshed my husband, Jim, and me as we headed for Petaluma Adobe State Historic Park, one of those places I’ve passed many times but never stopped to investigate. Jim went there on a field trip in fourth grade, the year California children begin to learn about the state’s history. He hadn’t been there since.
The adobe, an immense building with surrounding porch on both first and second floors so wide that just walking along the planks slowed me down, something I much appreciate since I’m usually going, going, going way too fast, pressure, pressure, too much to do. The building was once the center of Mariano Guadalupe Vallejo’s 100 square mile rancho. Peering into the various rooms, most of them devoid of windows was absorbing and sobering. What were the lives of the servants who lived there like–tending cattle, growing crops, cooking, weaving, rendering tallow used for making soap, explosives and candles? The well-kept scenes provide just a hint, keeping a bit of their presence there, like little gusts of wind lifting the cobwebs, whispering.
This park may be on the chopping block due to the state’s budget crisis. That’s what spurred our visit. I wish the Iraq war were on the chopping block instead.