25 may 09 Introducing

Benji Bhikkhu the Prancing Bich-poo

I'm not sure how it happened, but we've become a pack. I mean, I do know the series of events of the last 10 - 12 weeks (looking at a rescue photo for 2 months, filling out an online application, phone calls, visits, trial adoption). What I don't quite understand is how I went from being a cat person to a dog owner and how Paul went from being a non-pet person to the guy saving table scraps and buying squeaky toys. How did this funny little dog end up a part of our lives?

Meet Bhikku ~

The outer dog ... If you were to ever think we'd get a dog, this is probably not the dog you would have predicted. He's an unknown mix but probably part poodle, part Bichon Frise, and maybe something else. So he's got a stout little body, short legs, and a poodlish head, all covered with curly white and apricot hair. He arrived here on April 30 fresh from the groomer, who shaved his body yet left his topknot and ears long. The rest has been growing out and I've been cutting his ears back to something less flowing. Eventually he'll be covered in soft curls. He's in his 'golden' years, probably around 10, with cataracts and a skin condition. He's a little overweight, but daily walks and fewer treats have already improved his figure. He rarely barks, usually just when excited while playing ball with Paul or if we've been at work.

The inner dog ... Once you meet him, you understand why we're adopting him. The Friends of Pets website described him as 'an amiable boy.' He has a charming personality that is led by a 5" tail that shakes his whole body. He follows us almost everywhere and is always happy to see us, even if we've only been gone a few minutes. He arrived with good manners and he has picked up the house rules very quickly (though that doesn't mean he doesn't get up on the couch if we leave the house for 5 minutes). When the three of us walk, Paul often holds the leash. If I get behind, Bhikkhu looks back to see if I'm coming. If Bhikkhu and I walk without Paul, he runs around the house upon our return until he finds Paul.

The name ... Paul and I have been reading together about Buddhism since our trip to Asia this winter. In one book, every quote of the Buddha begins with 'O Bhikkhu,' and we had started using the phrase affectionately with one another. A Bhikkhu is an ordained Buddhist monk. He is "expected to obey rules of conduct" and the translation from the Sanskrit literally means "beggar, or more broadly, one who lives by alms" (quotes from wiki). Given his wise and kind nature, our hope that he'll obey rules, and the fact that everything he eats comes from us (and he does beg), we've named him Bhikkhu (we pronounce it "bee-coo").

Change ... if you read my last April entry, you may have been wondering about the change in our lives. I even gave you a clue. To continue with the Buddhism, if live is change, which can bring suffering, you might as well have a Bhikkhu at your side to help you down the path.

Apologies to Buddhists out there; we hope this sweet boy's name doesn't offend anyone.

18 may 09 generous spring

Soon the trails will be dry & this bike will be getting out more

I'm often saddened after local elections because inevitably (with a few exceptions), parks and recreation bonds in this city get voted down. Bicycling around town the last two weeks, I wondered who votes down these measures because it looks to me like everyone is using the trails and bike paths in the greenbelts and long the roadways.

Yesterday I pedaled to Quaker Meeting in the afternoon, along my usual route which includes a lovely stretch of the Campbell Creek trail paralleling Tudor Drive. When the weather is nice, I am amazed at the number of people crammed into the small Campbell Park where the creek flows under Lake Otis Drive. Kids were wading in the creek (hey, it's 60 degrees and the ice went out last week!), teenage girls were working on their tans, dogs were catching frisbees, couples were strolling hand-in-hand. I assume most of the people that use this park live in the apartment complexes of the neighborhood. This park and greenbelt are their backyard.

This morning I rode to work on the usual spring route, which includes a lovely stretch of the Chester Creek Trail. Moms in a fitness class were pushing chariots up over the Northern Lights pedestrian bridge while doing squats (!), couples were pushing strollers, college kids were running with their dogs. I went in late this morning so I missed the early morning strolls of the older Asian ladies. Instead I saw the younger women harvesting tender greens in the grassy areas along the trail.

I wish we were voting on these bond issues in the middle of May, when it's been bright and sunny for almost 3 weeks and only the deranged and really mean people haven't been made giddy (and generous!) by the sunshine.

8 may 09 time to bloom

In the past week, I've heard several people exclaim that spring so far has been better than all of last summer. It seems true. A high of 70 last Saturday, sunny skies 9 out of the last 10 days, and the snow is all gone. My crocuses are coming up in May instead of June this year. As always the daffodils on the south side of the house are abundant and peaking.