Rainy Day

The Life and Times of a Weimaraner

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F. G. Hochberg

In a few days I am going to visit one of my most favorite people in the world……my uncle Dr. Eric Hochberg. The reason I am going is one its been way too long after a hell of a year to see him and two he is retiring from The Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History. Its a bitter sweet day for me because I have been running around his office and lab since I was a wee one….I cannot remember a time I was not running around there. I know this too may be bittersweet for him but he has a beautiful home with a beautiful wife Lena and his beautiful stepdaughter Adel and together they have a beautiful life.

One good thing about moving to Catalina is I will be much closer to him so I hope my visits can be every few months or more.

He has many talents. He is a world renowned scientist specializing in invertebrate zoology (especially Cephalopods and other fine creatures) but he also is one of the founders of the Nature Printing Society of America. He is an unbelievable artist and photographer and his works have been published and even exhibited in the Smithsonian.


However I didn’t realize he was the man he was to the world. To me he is so much more than all this….he is my uncle, my friend, a father and one of the true loves of my life.
I am so blessed that I get to be a part of this grand but sad celebration.
I like to think of this all as a new beginning to our relationship for I have been very remiss in staying in contact. I get wrapped up in my own misery and hide from the world, especially him, because I never want to have him worry.

He is the reason I became a biologist myself, why I love nature and hikes and to want to learn so desperately how to become a real photographer but his greatest wish for me beside my happiness is for me to be a writer. I have no idea how to start but as soon as I figure the whole thing out and stop being so damn scared my first book will be dedicated to him.

He is and has been the greatest influence in my life. All the good in me I feel came from him and I just cannot wait to see him and hug him and just sit and be a part of his days for a week.

So on Wednesday I will be climbing in my truck at 3 in the morning and will drive the 12-13 hours to his house and will relish the love and respite I get. I will keep you posted from his computer and will take lots of pictures.

I look forward to learning even more about this incredible man.

Lots of Love


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Desert Beauty

I love to hike and I love to write and I have hopes of being published one day. But I also love to take nature pictures and this area provides me with so much. I am an amateur at best so I am learning on my own and each day I seem to learn something new. All this blog is on is to let you see some of the beauty I see around me. My dream is to take photography lessons and then just have the time to wait for that perfect shot but for now I will settle for just having fun. I hope you enjoy. I will post pictures periodically as I take some good shots.

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Rainy’s Great White Hope

Rainy is a dog that will fixate on an idea or a project like no one I have ever seen. Her biggest project and biggest obsession is getting the squirrel that moves onto our property every spring that will continue until fall comes and the squirrel moves on.. She has figured out of course where this squirrel lives and will literally sit and watch the entrance of the den for hours….actually all day.

One day last year she happened upon the hole and the squirrel was relaxing just inside with her tail hanging out of the hole. I truly thought Rainy was going to have an anorism right then and there. This of course just fueled her manic fixation. This home the squirrel built (now mind you here in the desert we have ground squirrels much like all creatures that live here) is very long and intricate. It begins way over at the edge of our property and goes under the house and ends where Ron has set up our sprinkler system. Rainy has literally rearranged the one entrance by the road so much so that she can get all but her butt into that hole.
My mother decided Rainy was depressed because the hours she has invested in staking out the squirrel hole has resulted in a big fat nothing. She discussed her concerns with Ron who is a psychotherapist and they both decided that a toy should be bought and planted in the hole that Rainy so diligently waits at.
We hid Rainy in Ron’s truck (or what we like to call call Rainy’s retreat) while he hid the “squirrel” in the hole.

He let Rainy loose and when she saw the fuzzy tail  sticking out of the hole she could hardly contain herself. She swooped up the “squirrel” like a pro that she is and then paraded her “catch” around for hours not willing to let it go for an instant.

Now she has a wonderful sense of humor so whether she was humoring us on our fun little game or she actually believed she got the prize she has waited years to get I don’t know but she seemed quite proud of her find and seemed to gain an inner peace I haven’t seen in her in a few years. Now we hide fuzzy toys all over the property that she just loves to sniff out and get.

There is a new problem however….our patient squirrel (the real one) has decided she has had enough of the shenanigans and has moved her home to under the shed. Rainy knows this of course because she is on top of everything that goes on in her territory so a new obsession has been born and to be quite frank she is testing my patience. She obsesses all night and will get the crazy idea that if she tells us she has to potty at 3 in the morning she can run out to do a surprise visit (much like a parole officer) on her new victim. This does not fly with me and I am not about to indulge this craziness.
I will keep you posted on the the Big Squirrel quest as I am positive this investigation will continue until the first snow. I am praying we will be living in Catalina by then but who the hell knows. We were suppose to be there by now but we will be lucky if we get there by June……but I am not bitter….much.


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It’s Never Too Late for an Easter Egg HUnt

When I was a child one of the best things that could possibly happen each year…..once a year…..was going to my grandfather’s house (I called him Boompa because I couldn’t seem to form the word Grandpa) for Easter. Not only would I get something cool in my Easter egg basket but even more than the chocolate and the stuffed animals was the Easter Eggs.

I loved to look at them. They would be every pastel color imaginable and I knew the best game in the world was about to begin. My Boompa would hide those eggs (very cleverly I might add) all day long. Once I found them all I would prompt him to hide them again and again and again. By the time my mother would tell me we had hid eggs enough it was dark out and the eggs were mush anyway.

This year is the first time I have had my mother living with me and I decided how fun it would be to dye my mother some eggs and then Ron had the BRILLIANT idea of hiding them for her. He is a fricking genius!!!!!

So we began to dye the eggs however we only buy free range cage free chicken eggs which always seem brown…..then we realized we did not have regular distilled vinegar so we had to use white wine vinegar and rice vinegar. We dyed these brown eggs in our gourmet vinegar and the result was…..how do I put it?……well unique.

Then Easter morning we went out and hid the eggs that a woman confined in a wheelchair could find. We had so much fun because of course Rainy helped my mother Annie sniff them out.

My lesson in all of this is IT IS NEVER TOO LATE FOR AN EASTER EGG HUNT….or one can never be too old. However I am much like Peter Pan….I don’t want to grow up.
I have always loved Easter Egg hunting so much I found a game on Facebook called Hatchlings where you go around and find eggs that hatch into all kinds of things and I love it. Its mental masturbation but darn fun.

Happy Belated Easter Everyone and God Bless


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The Incredible Artichoke Eating Dog

I just feel I have to share the most unique talent I have ever seen in a dog. You have have to understand poor Rainy belongs to vegetarian parents. Where most dogs have the pleasure of a steak bone every now and then or even an occasional hot dog, not Rainy. She has made due with tofu and will enjoy her vegetables.
One of my favorite fun foods is artichokes. I just love taking one leaf at a time, dipping it in melted butter and then scraping my teeth at the edge of the leaf and scraping off the sweet meat of the artichoke. At the end off all the leaves I then cut up the “heart” of the artichoke and soak it in the butter and to me there is nothing more divine than that.

But how to share such a wonder with a dog? They do not have opposable thumbs and they do not have the capacity to just clamp their front teeth on a leaf then scrap as the leaf is removed from the mouth.

Rainy however is a freaking genius. She watched and learned if you will. And she is an artichoke eating pro. She loves it and gets so excited whenever we serve them. My next project is to video her special abilities and post them on You Tube but for now we will have to make due with pictures and my blog.

I can see the endorsements coming in now…..a lifetime supply of free artichokes…..Oprah……Dateline and 60 minutes and a book deal I am sure.
So let me introduce to you my sweet and talented Artichoke Eating Dog…..we are so proud!!!

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Ruby Tuesday

I apologize for not writing until now. My internet has been down and this is the first chance I have had since its been up.

I had the pleasure of babysitting a 10 week old Red Hound for a neighbor for a few days and boy did we have fun. She is absolutely adorable and a joy to be around. She was so scared and shy when she first came over but after some lovings and reassurance it wasn’t long before she was off and running. She especially loved Rainy (I am not sure the feeling was mutual). Rainy is a very sweet patient dog and she loves puppies. So played with Ruby and gently corrected her and disciplined her when she stepped out of line….which was a lot. Being a 10 week old puppy we had to really watch for puddles but in a few short days she was getting the idea that big girls potty outside and I would clap and praise when she did. Towards the end she was running for the door so she’s a smart girl.

Ron and I decided to take her on a hike and it was obviously her first. At the beginning I put her down and this little girl looked around kind of bewildered with furrowed brows then Rainy come thundering past her at the speed of light and Ruby was off too. She tried so hard to keep up with Rainy but would give up until Rainy would come back and then we would start all over again.

Rainy has decided to take a shine to digging here recently (she has always wanted to be an architect). So she would run up ahead then we would see a butt with red dirt flying as we passed her and she would take off again to find the next great digging project.

I watched Ruby as she studied Rainy and within a few short moments Ruby had learned how to sniff a trail, run as fast as she could and yes….she even learned to dig (which is probably not a good thing).
I was amazed at her willingness to learn and willingness to please but also for her ability to just be in the moment. She loved being alive and being with those that cared about her. She wanted to fit in and tried hard to keep up (I had to carry her the last little bit back to the truck because she was pooped).

She did not care how uncoordinated she was or that she was behind everyone or that her first dig didn’t get as far as Rainy’s dig. She was just thrilled for the opportunity to try and to hell with everything else.
I am famous for getting pissed at myself if I cannot do something perfect after trying it for the first time. I have a fear of failure obviously but I have limited myself so much to fun, new experiences because I am so afraid I will look stupid trying something or I will do it poorly. As an adult and a teacher I know that it takes awhile for one to get the hang of things but that things will improve with practice and patience however those are two things I have never afforded myself and I have missed out on some great adventures.
Ruby taught me to say “To hell with everyone else…..I may suck right now but I am having a good time!!”

So for all of you out there that have the same problem I do….be kind and patient with yourself and be like Ruby…..just have fun trying a new adventure and be in the moment.