Tuesday, November 27, 2012

5,000 Pipes and a Whole Lot of Stops

Who knew that Washington loved organ music?  The new Rubenstein Family Organ made its debut at The Kennedy Center tonight in a free 6 PM concert.  The tickets were given out to those standing in line starting at 5 PM.

Given the poor attendance at most NSO concerts, I figured I could waltz in around 5:30 and get a ticket somewhere in the Concert Hall.  But when I arrived at The Kennedy Center around 5:00, I realized I had totally miscalculated my chances.  

For starters, the entire Kennedy Center garage was full, meaning the limited street parking was all that was left.  As I drove by the front of The Kennedy Center I was dismayed to see the line snaking around the building.

I managed to find a parking spot about 4 blocks away and quickly walked over to The Kennedy Center to find the line even longer.  It was about 20 minutes to performance time at this point.  Soon thereafter a KC official told my part of the line we were at about 800 with only 300 tickets left to be distributed.  

Instead of going home, I decided to go inside and see if I could find someone with an extra ticket.  It turned out there were two guys with 4 tickets whose friends had not materialized.  They were happy to give me one of the extra tickets, which turned out to be a box seat with a great sightline to the organ.

For the next hour or so, I enjoyed hearing the magnificent new organ show its stuff, accompanied by the NSO.  It reminded me of my days playing the organ in my younger years.  I’m always amazed when a single individual bequeathes something as expensive as a pipe organ!

But it is an instrument that will greatly enhance The Kennedy Center’s Concert Hall.  Hopefully we will new see organ concerts that have never been the hallmark of this venue.

Perhaps my greatest coup was spending exactly $1.50 instead of the $22 standard parking fee.  It was a cheap night filled with beautiful music.

(The photo above was not from the concert, but rather from the days preceding as the organ was installed and the 5,000 pipes voiced.)

Getting Adjusted

Getting a puppy and having a baby have an awful lot in common.  If you remembered the reality of either, you would never go for another round.  And so it might be with our new addition to the family.  

We wanted something sweet, lovable, and cuddly.  But we seem to have forgotten about the getting up in the middle of the night and the incessant peeing.  Not to mention those needle teeth that seem to find their way into the bottoms of whatever pants I have on.  And the bark of our little Ari is enough to send shivers down your spine.

We had also requested “feisty”, or at least not complacent like our wonderful old black lab Dylan, who hardly moved except for food.  We definitely got what we asked for here.  Ari is often in perpetual motion when he is not sleeping.

The thing we both failed to realize was that our lifestyle would need to change to accommodate our new puppy.  We could no longer pick up and go off for museums and lunch without securing an Ari-sitter or crating him.  We have resorted to the latter a few hours a day just to have some free time to do the things we always did before Ari arrived.  So far he has not adopted the crate as his “den” the way the books promise, but rather seems to throw a temper tantrum with screaming and kicking for a long time after being imprisoned.

Just today we may have turned a significant corner.  Ari slept from 11:30 last night until 7:00 today, giving us both some much-needed rest.  Today he has been opting for the treat-every-time approach to pottying outside instead of puddling on our inside floors.  

I can with certainty say he will be the last puppy of our lifetime, but I think we are going to enjoy seeing him grow up as we grow old.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Ari vs. The Stick

We wanted a dog with spunk and we most definitely got one.  Today Ari found a stick much larger than he is.  He raced back and forth across the back yard with it, growling ferociously at it.  He loves his back yard!

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Day 3 with Ari

You might wonder where the dog in this photo is.  Ari seems to have the same escape artist instinct as Jake did.

We are attempting to periodically crate train him so we don't have to keep a constant eye on him.  Especially after yesterday's fiasco with turkey hotdog bits offered as treats, which caused him to drink and therefore pee constantly.

Midmorning today I put him in the above crate with his favorite toys and went to practice the piano in the living room, still forbidden territory for Ari with its rugs and furniture.  He immediately began crying like a baby in earnest but then settled down for 20 minutes or so.  When I came down to answer the phone, I was utterly amazed to see Ari prancing up to greet me, as if to say "Look what I was able to do!"

He had obviously gone out through the top of the crate after turning over the Playmate cooler and standing on the blue side.  I can't even imagine how he managed to pull himself up and over with no apparent injuries.

Today we have seen only one accident and that was when I corralled him for a few minutes in a doggy playpen.  He is insisting on freedom and is being fairly convincing.

One of his favorite spots to nap is on a cushion under my husband's desk.  When asleep he looks angelic, but then so do most babies.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Ari At Last

It was reminiscent of preparing for our first-born.  We had acquired all the necessary things -- crates, toys, food, treats, a car harness, etc.  We were all excited as we drove the 2-1/2 hours to pick up Ari and bring him home today.

When we arrived at Fox Creek Farm, another family was meeting his sister Roxy for the first time.  They are in the DC metro area, so we quickly started planning play dates for the 2 puppies who had never been apart for the last 8 weeks.

Ari easily settled in for the car ride home, moving from one lap to the other.  I took the above picture as he slept in the crook of my arm.

Once home he began exploring his new surroundings in earnest.  Can you imagine going from 12 square feet to an entire house (or at least the non-carpeted parts of a house)?  Here he is taking a break in my lap.  At this point he still had a perfect record for accidents in the house.  That would soon change.

We are trying a positive approach to training Ari, rewarding him for things like asking to go out.  He is also training us to read his cues.  

He is definitely not the complacent dog that Dylan was.  He is full of spunk but ready to snuggle when he gets tired.

Below he is enjoying the bed Jake slept on.  You could fit at least 12 dogs his size on it.  But he seems content to luxuriate in the extra space.

I am starting to wonder how his first night will go, when we confine him to his crate and get up every 3 hours or so if he wimpers to go out.

This is just the beginning of what I hope will be a long and loving relationship!