Along for the ride:

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Stone Trees, Bent Bikes and Dream Playhouses.

Doesn't everyone have, or want, a stone apple tree? This is the first of  The Artistic One's series "Forest of the Giants".
The same Artistic (scatterbrain) talents ran the forklift over his bicycle. Whilst the resulting shapes are pleasing to the eye, they greatly reduce the efficacy of the bike as a mobility tool. TAO walks with a cane, if he can't completely avoid the struggle of walking. Traversing our 10,000 sqft warehouse from one end to the other, was painful to watch, so the bike search was urgent.
No point in buying a new bike, as it often gets left outside and would be stolen the first week. I had a few phone conversations with quirkily named bike shops. It seemed simple to ask for a used bike, as undesirable as possible, that no normal client would want. That quest was a non-starter. Next call was to a local thrift store. "Come on over" they said. "We have several adult bikes". Innocents that we are, we drove into town and visited the thrift store. Bikes are, of course, at the far end of the store and up a steep stairway. TAO dragged himself along up the stairs and we found only a couple of little kids bikes.
Next stop, I reconnoitered in advance of having the star of our cycling team get out of my car. There was a motorized wheelchair, without a control stick, a nice iron head-board that almost sucked me in, but no adult bikes. We went back to work, vowing to visit one more store on our way home.
A bike was found for $17.99 after senior discount. It needed a clean-up and air in one tire. TAO is, once again, mobile.
Kodie, The Forest Pup, was with us for the past couple of months. He and his brother had been abandoned in a National Forest, far from human habitation. The dogs were skinny, full of worms and had never been on a leash or in a house before. Young and vigorous, despite that, Kodie came to us for evaluation and socialization. Whilst initially worried and skittish about meeting new humans, Kodie had an inherent self-confidence with other dogs. A great asset that colored all of his play times at the dog park. He was great fun to watch, impossible to offend and could outrun any potential trouble, smiling all the way.
Mingling with other human-friendly dogs and their people, as well as coming to work every day with me, had Kodie quickly catching on that people are a good thing. He'd like to be a lap dog, if allowed. Kodie needs a knowledgeable and active home, with ongoing training, but he'll do fine. He's a very happy boy. I handed him off to our rescue group president last week, as we were, supposedly, leaving on vacation.
Pictures of the Caribbean Vacation, that wasn't, may still be forthcoming in the near future. We haven't given up (yet). Thank goodness the tickets we had to cancel were inexpensive. Life has been full of highs and lows lately. I can't put my finger on any highs to mention right now and I don't want to empower the lows, which is partially why I haven't been posting.
I have had Kodie as exercise partner ( a tired dog being the best kind of dog to have around) and I've had some creative outlets. A local newspaper recently published an article about us. I had to supply a bio and pull-quotes, which I always enjoy.
One other creative validation has come from acceptance of my concept for a Dreams Happen Playhouse. A dozen playhouses are created by builders and architects (and me), displayed at major high end shopping mall for several weeks, then auctioned at a Gala Event as fundraisers for a non-profit that helps fix up run down homes for old, sick or poor people, enabling them to stay independent in their own homes.
I have wanted to participate in this for years. It's for a great cause and a great showcase for the skills and products of the selected participating teams. Our concept is Provencal.
La Maison de mes Reves is simple, with authentic materials and finishes. We have an 8 x 10ft footprint size allowance and both height and weight limits.  The houses will be delivered by trucks and cranes and must be able to be lifted over some homes to get them in. Costly delivery subtracts from the fundraising results at the end of the day.
The houses must be kid friendly but attractive enough for the parent to want one in their back yard. As children grow up, there's the possibility of the Playhouse evolving into an office, art studio or yoga space, in the future.
The barn doors on the side can be opened to our California sunshine and also serve to make the Playhouse accessible to any child, or family member, in a wheelchair.
The rear of the house has a climbing wall to a small loft with a rope and a ladder that go down inside. The rain barrel on the side swings open as a secret door.
We plan to have soft stencilled letters naming "La Porte" and "La Fenetre" and some sort of climbing vines to soften the corners. It's always a nice surprise when TAO agrees to a project that I am promoting. No subterfuge required this time.


  1. Great to see your new post and congratulations on the acceptance of your project-concept, sounds awesome! Dry version of Kodie looks extremely huggable :)

    Hope the lows lift and highs arrive in abundance for you and TAO this year.

    All the best!

    1. Wiola, dry Kodie is a very huggable soul but the happines exuding from the naughty face of the dog who wrestled in wet sand is priceless. I did have to go to the dog-wash before taking him home:)

    2. That is true - a smiley, well-walked dog is the happy dog :) He looks as if you blow dried him :-D

  2. Secret door and climbing wall! That's not a playhouse, that's a kid's paradise! Congratulations on getting accepted.

    And again, nothing but thanks and admiration for taking Kodie in so he could have a happy life. You are such a treasure to these dogs.

    Hope the new year brings better days, good bikes, and lots of posts. I missed you.

  3. Jean, I hope that the playhouse will appeal to the kids and parents enough to raise a good sum for the cause. These playhouses go for anything from $5,000 to $150,000, depending on who's bidding.
    As to the dogs, they reciprocate and keep me sane and exercised:)

  4. Both your house and the cause are marvellous . I hope they both raise a huge amount of money !
    Here we're lucky enough to have a volunteer group of handy people who do small household repairs for the elderly and infirm free of charge . Even something simple like changing an overhead lightbulb can seem insurmountable to someone a bit tottery , so the help is important .
    I love the revolving rainbutt idea , as would my grandsons . I can imagine the gleeful cackles , now !

    1. S&S, this branch of the national non-profit "Rebuilding Together" raises sufficient funds with this bi-ennial event, that they are able to change a roof rather than just fix a leak, etc.
      The rainbutt escape came from the idea of a dog door, then I thought "service dog" which led to making the whole house accessible with the barn door and ramp.

  5. Congratulations on being accepted. Those playhouses are a dream come true for some lucky youngster. Hope you raise lots of money for the cause.

    Glad you found a new bike.

    Love the dogs. They are so beautiful and lucky to have you. They keep me sane and exercised too.

    1. Greyhorse, thank you. I wish I could self-motivate to walk without a dog. It's not the same:(
      Wierdly, I wouldn't try to ride without a horse:)

  6. Yay for a post!

    Who could abandon a dog in the middle of nowhere? And what a gorgeous creature he is!

    That playhouse. Be still my heart! The rain barrel is the best part. Love it. Love it!

  7. DTD Birdie, thanks for nudging me to write something. We always wonder about what our rescues have experienced. Luckily, most dogs can start fresh with each new day, as long as there is food, shelter and love ahead, they don't dwell on the past.

  8. i feell like i'm missing something here - couldn't you just have bought a new wheel for the existing bike?

    1. Pixie, good to see you around still. The original bike was in terrible condition. It was old and tired before we found it at a garage sale. Every clickety-click of its parts rubbing together, even pre-forklift encounter, screamed "euthanize me". I like it better now as Art.

  9. on the subject of bikes i believe there was a long standing series of "practical jokes" on the set of the original Star Trek where Leonard Nimoy would regularly find that Shatner had "hidden" his bike (one one occasion chaining it to a lighting gantry)

    1. Hmm? A bike seems very Low-Tech for Star Trek.