The May Family  
The May Family; Garland, Texas


31 October 2004

Birthday bash

Gathering in celebration of the birthdays of Elizabeth and Margaret, the May household was brimming with activity yesterday afternoon. The menu was decidedly Mediterranean in nature being highlighted by pasta with marinara sauce; garlic bread; garden salad; and, in recognition of the season, Vampire Merlot. Dessert consisted of a seasonal nine inch cake from The Village Bakery.

We were sorry that some of our canine kin could not attend. Simon, Pumpkin, Duke and Samantha were able to join Catalina and Oberon at the celebration. Emmy was having to take care of her brother Dexter (who is feeling a bit under the weather at present). It was not known why Crissa and Zelda could not be with us.

19 October 2004

Fifth grade retreat

Collin is gone for the next four days. The diocese has a program whereby all fifth grade classes in the constituent parish schools spend one week during their school year at a development camp of sorts. Apparently they have a standing contract with The Pines near Tyler. Saint Monica went in the spring; Saint Paul does so in the fall.

The camp's web site describes the program as a "4-day experimental education program". Yet from what I have seen and heard, it is very much like a retreat with a few more structured outdoor activities thrown in for good measure. Regardless, it is a great opportunity for the kids to have a few days break from school and still learn something about themselves and one another.

Rebecca really enjoyed her trip five years ago and Collin has been looking forward to going as well. His class left this morning from SPS and will be returning Friday at the end of the school day./p>

16 October 2004

Revisiting White Rock Dog Park

We returned to pay a daytime visit to the White Rock Dog Park. The entourage changed as well in that Collin came along and Rebecca did not. We also brought along a special guest and dispelled a couple of myths.

In the light of day, the park appears much larger than at night. One can also appreciate the shade provided by the trees in the heat of the day; something lacking at the Plano park. Not that this was a particularly uncomfortable visit. The temperatures were mild and there was a nice northerly breeze. Nevertheless, the feature is worthy of note for future visits during the summer.

Other welcome accoutrements of this park are the presence of plenty of pooper-scoopers, chairs, and other dog-friendly amenities. There is even a water faucet and doggie pool to provide additional relief from the heat. In addition to the normal, large and the small dog areas, there is a section of the park that opens to the lake itself. Apparently formed around an old boat ramp, this affords water loving canines and their owners the opportunity to romp in the water. In many ways, this park is much more enjoyable than the Plano analogue. Of course, it is also much more crowded.

Having plenty of time, we decided to take Catalina and Oberon for a walk along the trail that emerges from the back of the park and heads south along the shore. Given the presence of relatively high brush on both sides of the path, we released the canids from their tethers to see how they would fare at liberty. They did admirably. Oberon led the way and, on a couple of occasions, launched out ahead of the rest of us. A stern command to return and he did so with no argument. This even though we could hear and at times see woodland critters. So much for the never let your sighthound of the lead for fear of darting at the first sign of prey. Both Catalina and Oberon were extremely well behaved and responsive to commands. Of course, we would not engage in this practice in an open space near the roadway, but in the woods with well trained canines there is little to fear.

Once we progressed about 150 meters down the trail, we came to a clearing near a bend in the shoreline. As the dogs entered the opening, we heard one splash followed a few seconds later by a second. As we entered the clearing, we saw both Catalina and Oberon in the water. They were jumping about and enjoying themselves. After a few moments we called them out. Catalina readily came. Oberon, however, appeared not to respond. Then we noticed that he was slowly backing deeper into the lake. We had been told that greyhounds could not swim well due to their lean body mass. Hermand suspected that what occurred was that Oberon was sinking in the silty lake bottom. Panicking slightly, he was backing up to find firmer footing. The problem was that there was none to be found and at the point all one could see was a muzzle and pair of eyes above the water line, Herman began shedding valuables to swim out to his rescue. At that instant, we could see little ripples in the water and two pair of paws paddling back toward shore. So much for greyhounds inability to tread water!

All-in-all we learned two valuable lessons this day. First, sight hounds are reliable off-lead given proper training. Also, greyhounds have no problem swimming when they need to do so.

Oh ... Our speial guest? Nana. We invited her along with us to the park. She eagerly accepted and had a great time with not only our family, but also watching the antics of the other canines at the park. We have offered and she has accepted an invitation to join us on future trips as well.

11 October 2004

Fair pilgrimage

We embarked upon our semi-annual visit to the State Fair of Texas today. Elizabeth and Herman took the day off to take Collin to enjoy the sites, sounds and smells of this North Texas mainstay. Unfortunately, Rebecca had to attend school and could not join us.

This is not something that we do with any regularity. Elizabeth and Herman do not experience the same excitement they once did at the prospect of spending the day among the heat and masses. However, it had been a couple of years since either had gone and Collin was eager to play and ride on the Midway.

All were appreciative that the weather cooperated. Rain was forecast for the day and, in fact, was falling in the northern reaches of the county when we left the house. However, overcast skies combined with a slowly progressing cool front kept temperatures in check. The climate could almost not have been better.

We wondered if The Fates were conspiring against our plans. Besides the threat of rain mentioned above, the Jetta began to act up about half way to the fair grounds. Just after passing the IH635/SH75 interchange, the idiot light warning of low oil pressure activated. We pulled over, checked and added some oil. It made no difference. We tried to continue on (this vehicle has had many problems with the pressure sending units malfunctioning), but soon came to realize that the lifters were beginning to rattle. Doing an about face, we stopped at the VW house to have the car checked, caught a ride to the house and resumed our trip in the van. What had started as a 1000 to 1500 trip turned into an 1130 to 1530 trip. :-( In the end though, we did not really miss the extra hour and a half.

05 October 2004

Sweet Lucy

An interesting event took place earlier this evening. Upon arriving home from work, Herman discoverd an unexpected note in his inbox. The human guardian of Catalina's mother, Sweet Lucy, made contact with us. She indicated that she had come across our earlier postings regarding Catalina and wanted to touch base with the custodians of Lucy's offspring.

Accompanying the missive were a trio of images. It is not difficult to see the resemblance between the two in the face. Lucy has almost the identical brindle facial patterning as Catalina. At ten years of age, it is good to know that Lucy is reaching her golden years in a loving household.

02 October 2004

White Rock Lake Dog Park

Several of us (all sans Collin and the felids) visited a new dog park this evening. New to us that is. We usually take the dogs to the Plano Dog Park. It is familiar to us and relatively close. However, it suffers from two flaws. First, it closes at sundown. As winter approaches, that of course means that plans to visit require consideration of an ever decreasing window of late afternoon and evening hours. The other problem arises following a rain of any merit. Being in a flood plain, it is subject to partial inundation at the slightest, sustained sprinkle.

The city of Dallas also has a dog park; two at present, actually. One is located near downtown and too distant to visit regularly. However, the other is really not too much further than the Plano facility. The White Rock Lake Dog Park is located near the northern apex of the lake, between Lawther and Buckner on the south side of Mockingbird. In terms of size, this park seems to be slightly larger than the two acres encompassed by the Plano park. In addition, there are several trees, benches, chairs and other amenities lacking at the Collin County facility.

By the time we arrived, it was just after dusk and thus the ability to fully gauge the merits was limited. Enough was gleaned, however, to convince us that a daylight trip was warranted. Even though it is open until midnight, illumination does not appear to be a priority. There were a few lights toward the back of the park, near the lake, but insufficient to fully illuminate the entire area. Nevertheless, this will definitely provide a viable alternative to our heretofore exclusive canine recreation facility in Plano; especially when wet weather an early sunset make the latter impossible.

01 October 2004

Starlette of the Week

Rebecca was chosen Starlette of the Week for the period 27 September to 01 October. This special honor, announced during last night's performance, is bestowed upon the Starlette who best exemplifies the qualities of dedication, friendship and discipline each week. She was feted with a similar honor during the 2003-2004 academic year as well.

We congratulate Rebecca on achieving this honor.

continue to the September 2004 archive


HIM envelope
last edited: 2004.11.01