Monday, June 15, 2009

Puppy Love

A while back I posted about an expected new addition to our family. About a month ago Hazel finally joined us, and she has turned our lives completely upside-down. All the carpets have been temporarily rolled up, doggie barriers have been erected in strategic locations throughout the apartment, my nightly Law & Order fix has been replaced with The Dog Whisperer, and I've been getting up before 7 a.m.

In short, things are all topsy-turvy.

She is half golden retriever, half poodle. They call them golden-doodles. I wish I were kidding.

She is a clumsy, shoe-chewing, tail-wagging fuzzball.

But she turns those sweet brown eyes your way, and her puppy exuberance is so infectious, that playing fetch and getting drooled on suddenly seems like a perfectly thrilling way to pass an evening.

We named her Hazel after the lead character in Richard Adams' classic novel Watership Down, which Ash and I both read in the spring and loved.

(We initially thought of naming her "Fiver" for another character in the book, but that was rapidly shot down by a number of critics. I think the words "worst dog name in history" may have been mentioned. Suffice it to say we won't be sharing the names of our future children.)

But Hazel suits her, don't you think?

Welcome to the family, Hazel.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Two Cities by the Sea

In April we spent nine days visiting the Baha'i holy places in Haifa and Akka, two cities on the edge of the Mediterranean that hold a special significance for all Baha'is.

In Akka we walked the paths of history through the ancient city, following in footsteps made over a century ago.

In the rooms, the courtyards, and the gardens we passed through in Haifa and Akka, the air is heavy with the weight of the prayers and thoughts of hundreds of thousands of visitors to these sacred places.

We had time to reflect, to remember our loved ones, to soak in the beauty, to breathe those Mediterranean breezes touched ever so slightly with the scent of roses, and to refresh our minds and hearts.

More photos on Flickr.