Holiday Greeting from The Shire
624 Belle Springs Road
Athens, GA 30607-2706
Happy 2014 and Seasons' Greetings from Mark, Jude, and the herd here at the Shire in Georgia. This is our annual update of activities.
We had an eventful year. Jude finished off an assignment as associate department head at UGA spring and summer. The last two doctoral students for whom she was major advisor graduated. She celebrated birthdays with her Indiana University doctoral student pals in January, attended a conference the University of Illinois in May, and gave a workshop for at the University of North Carolina in July.
We had several visits with friends and family members. Our grandnephew Josh, now a sophomore at Georgia Tech, visited over MLK holiday and Thanksgiving. The rest of his family spent a weekend with us in July, and Jude saw friends and cousins while she was in North Carolina.
Our big adventure was a drive to New York in December to see our cousin Linda, with a side trip to Connecticut to see Mark's stepfather Addo and dear friend Fernando, and a return via New Jersey to visit niece Patti and her family. We planned the driving for days with no forecasted precipitation, but enjoyed a beautiful snowfall at Linda's hilltop home.
After 48 years of teaching and 38 years at the University of Georgia, Jude retired September 1. Her former doctoral student Brent Allison and his wife Cathy hosted a wonderful retirement gathering for her that last weekend in August. However, having used two years of accumulated sick leave toward a 40-year-retirement, Jude then promptly got sick for a month. She also had a couple of publication obligations to complete and 38 years of records and materials to pack up at her campus office. The only things that felt like retirement during the fall were the yoga and tai chi classes she took and plans to continue.
Meanwhile at the house we made some improvements: some beautiful wooden rails added to the stairwell to our second floor, and in July expanded fencing for dogs' yard and a small pond for the "big" yard. Mark added fish to the pond in August. We also purchased our first new vehicle in nearly 20 years: a Ford Escape that will help with our dog rescue activities.
Writing of dogs, we lost our ancient pug Ms. B the end of March. She will be greatly missed. She was a dog with an indomitable spirit.
We also decided not to post Apple Annie for adoption. She is the salt-and-pepper schnauzer we pulled from the Winder-Barrow shelter last December. She is about 10 years old and had to have two surgeries soon after we got her, and we became very attached to her through some scary times.
Meantime we did adopt out Scout, a black 7 year old schnauzer we pulled from the Athens shelter in February. When Scout was returned six weeks later because the adopter lost her job, we couldn't bear to give her up again because she is the "perfect" dog, according to the erstwhile adopter.
It seemed like we were going to lose our schnauzer Charlie too midyear, but blood pressure medications and extra fiber in the diet have returned her to her normal grumpy self (here's a glamour photo of Scout, Charlie, and Annie - you can tell Charlie is not pleased. :)
Our two 12-year-old pugs, Paisley and Harley, did well until Thanksgiving when Harley injured his one remaining eye. After struggling to save the eye for a month, we finally had to have it removed the day after Christmas. Poor Harley doesn't have good luck around the holidays. He had to have the first eye removed last year during the holidays too.
In other activities we have been helping to organize a Neighborhood Watch for our Belle Springs Woods area. Jude was elected to the 2014 board of directors for the Humane Society of Jackson County. And we had a great time pouring beer at the Atlanta Verizon Theatre at an Allman Brothers concert -- staffing a booth there raises money for Schnauzer Love Rescue (SLR). And throughout the year we have also done some volunteer work for the Southeast Pug Rescue and Adoption (SEPRA) group, our third animal rescue organization.
Rescue work for the year included fostering Shiloh (AKA Lil Bear), a schnauzer-Pekingese mix in September; he was adopted by our friend Wilma Harrington the end of the month. In October we fostered a Chihuahua-Yorkie-Chinese Crested Mix Gizmo (AKA Fang, Blondie) for a few days, and in between Mark pulled a schnauzer Ruby from the Athens shelter; I drove Ruby to a foster family in Perry, Georgia, who gave me another schnauzer Jack to deliver for adoption in Atlanta. That was a crazy week. In November Jude pulled Nemo from the Athens shelter, got him vetted, and fostered him for a few days.