Beloved (photo challenge)


Almost a year ago we adopted two dogs whose owners at the time wanted them kept together if at all possible.  That’s Bear in the foreground and you can see his age is showing – he’s 12.  Bear is a fitting name too – he stands nearly as tall as our dining room table and can clear the top of the coffee table with a mere swipe of his tail.  And his tail is always wagging!  He’s a sweetie, and so firmly lodged in my heart I wouldn’t give him back if they paid me.  The only downside is that his bark is strangely unnerving.  It doesn’t seem to affect my husband, but when Bear is excited about playing tug of war (or for umpteen other reasons) he barks – loudly and often – and the feeling or sound or whatever is akin to fingernails on a chalkboard to me!  Bear always wants to be as close as possible to us and the above photo captures his favorite car-riding posture.

You can see Kohl up there behind Bear, resting his chin on Bear’s hips.  They’re both fairly large dogs, so sharing the back seat can be challenging.  Kohl is slightly smaller than Bear and his limbs are more delicately shaped.  He’s the more sensitive of the two – taking a scolding more seriously than Bear, who shrugs it off when we’re correcting him.  Yes, dogs can too shrug!  Kohl is about 8 years old but still has the energy of a puppy and wants to play ALL. THE. EFFING. TIME!  He’s also our first responder – letting us know whenever there’s even a hint of company arriving. Every night when I shut the car door after parking I can hear him going off inside.  Here’s a better photo of Kohl, practicing his yoga:

Kohl yoga

There are moments I think we did them a disservice by adopting them.  At their original home, they were in a fenced yard all day while their family was at work.  They could run around as much or as little as they wanted.  The two of us are on either side of 60 and we just aren’t as active as the boys need us to be.  Also, we live in a senior mobile home community which claims to be “pet-friendly” but frowns on walking dogs within the park!  So their outdoor activities are somewhat limited.  We can walk them around our little yard and we take trips to the park down the street for a quick walk.  There’s also the occasional visit to the leash-free park when the weather and the husband’s frame of mind are sunny.  As a result they’ve put on some weight and aren’t looking as sleek as they used to be.

When I have those moments of wondering whether we made the right decision, they look into my eyes and Kohl smiles his doggy smile, snatching a Wubba toy out of the air before his brother can grab it.  Then I’ll hear the rain pouring outside and remember they’d be out in their yard (at least on a workday) in that weather if we hadn’t adopted them.  They had a shelter from the rain of course, but I like to think they’re very happy being inside during the worst of the weather – they’re never reluctant to come indoors at least.

They became part of us the moment they arrived, an essential, beloved part of us.  And I wouldn’t change it for anything.


via Photo Challenge: Beloved


The Hat by C.S. Boyack

The Hat

I always have good intentions about reviewing the work of other authors, especially when I enjoy it.  We all know about good intentions though don’t we?  My follow-through is sadly lacking.  Add in that I’m not an experienced reviewer, and when I read other reviews I realize how poor my own are…well, you can see I’m not all that motivated.

However, I thoroughly enjoyed The Hat, by C.S. Boyack, whose blog is here.

If you’re a fan of fantasy and adventure with a bit of suspense thrown in, you’ll enjoy The Hat.  Think J.K. Rowling’s the Sorting Hat meets Stephanie Plum!

As mentioned above, I don’t have a lot of experience at writing reviews but I can tell you what I liked about this book, or novella actually.

The characters were well-defined and very believable.  I’m sure other reviewers have mentioned that Lizzie would make a great friend and I’m on that same bandwagon.  We would definitely have fun snarking at each other.  The Hat was such a genuine personality I had to remind myself it was a hat for heaven’s sake!  I loved his curiosity about the Internet, as well as his musical talents.  He could also give snark as well as Lizzie.  Together they make an unbeatable team.

Envisioning the Hat’s different forms was entertaining in and of itself.  One of those styles creeped me out a bit but I won’t spoil anything by describing it.  You’ll have to read the tale for yourself.

I’m realizing I haven’t mentioned anything about the plot, or how the Hat comes into Lizzie’s possession.  Briefly, Lizzie is working 2 jobs to keep herself afloat.  Her strong work ethic resonated with me.  When her grandmother passes, her uncle won’t give her anything to remember her grandmother by, so Lizzie swipes a box with unknown contents.  The box is home to the Hat, who has been stored away a very, very long time – hence his curiosity about the Internet.

Together they must solve a baby-napping mystery and along the way Hat teaches Lizzie some family history and how to jam, among other things.

This was incredibly fun to read and I look forward to seeing more about Lizzie and Hat in the future!

A day late and…

This would have been so cool to post in MLK Day, right? With his “I have a dream” theme.

I have day dreams folks, and since it’s one of the few remaining holidays recognized by BigLaw, I was off being lazy, so this is being posted now, not then.

Happy Belated MLK day!

Back to Basics

The next page in the You Are Doing a Freaking Great Job book, simply reads:

Back to basics

What does “back to basics” mean to you?

Basics could be the ABCs, or reading, writing, and ‘rithmetic.  Perhaps “basics” refers to living off the land – growing your own vegetables, raising chickens or goats or cows.

Then there’s the fashion basic – black.  I used to wear black a lot.  Many larger women did and still do.  I didn’t trust my own judgment about what colors might flatter me so I went for black because it was easy.  And of course there was the lie we all believed for years that black was slimming.  [Eye roll.]  Now I wear a variety of colors and love it.

Basic jewelry equals pearls.  A simple string of pearls was the one piece of jewelry my mother gave me when I was a young woman.

Basics can also include learning to roller skate, or ride a bike, or drive a car.  Baking your very first cake, meticulously following the directions.

I’m trying to relate “basics” to my job and the only thing I can come up with is learning to touch type and taking dictation.  I never learned to take dictation myself.  But I can proofread, spellcheck, transcribe audio, type quickly and accurately and file like a badass.

Basics got me where I am, with a few flourishes along the way.

Let me know what back to basics means to you, won’t you?


This is another digression from the “Freaking Great” volume so please accept my apologies if you were hoping for more from the book.

Earlier today while I was getting ready for work the faded white lines on the inside of my wrists stood out for some reason.  They’ve been there for 40+ years – since I tried for the second time to take my life. I see them every day but today they were unexpectedly “front and center” in my brain.  I imagine it has something to do with my mother-in-law passing last week and the reminder of my own mortality.  If I had been successful all those years ago you wouldn’t be reading this — duh — but I realized besides writing, there is quite a LOT I would have missed.

In no particular order:

  • The joy and heartache of being a mother
  • Laughing till you cry
  • Fresh bread that I mixed, kneaded and baked from scratch
  • Dog kisses
  • Grandchildren
  • Pie
  • Sunrises and sunsets
  • Coffee
  • The ocean
  • Dark chocolate
  • Croissants
  • Doctor Who
  • Reading
  • Crossword puzzles

Looking back over the list I see it’s far from complete (where’s the damn steak after all?), but there’s still a lot to love about my life.  As 2018 unfolds I need to keep this list handy (after I add “steak” and maybe “beer”). I’m sure there will be moments of frustration, sadness, and pain but these reminders will help me press on.  I have it pretty good after all.

Thanks for stopping by.

Make Like a Superhero

Today’s entry from the You Are Doing a Freaking Great Job book is a bit of advice.  There’s no author cited but it sounds good so I’m sharing it here:

“Before your next big meeting or job interview, stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and put your hands on your hips. A 2012 study by the Harvard Business School found that striking a high-power pose like this increases testosterone and lowers stress, leading to better performance.”

Just don’t let your cape trip the interviewer!

Side note:  This works almost as well when you’re returning to work after a week-long, unexpected and sad absence.  I just call it “putting on your big girl panties” and getting on with life.  My mother-in-law would agree.

A Resilient Woman

In 9 days my mother-in-law will be 88, but she isn’t going to make it.

Taking a break from the “freaking awesome” parade, I’ve been at the hospital several days including spending New Year night in the recliner in her room.  Mom had a massive heart attack early New Year morning and the doctor called us about 5:30 for permission to do a cardiac procedure.  The hospital is at least an hour from where we live so between trying to reach my SIL, talking with one daughter and texting another we weren’t able to get to Everett till about 7:30. 

They had already done the catheterization and the news wasn’t good: they couldn’t use a stent or balloon – there were too many blockages. Mom is not a candidate for surgery either.  All they can do is try to manage it with meds.

When I asked the nurse whether the family should be told to come she said yes and my heart broke.

This strong, generous, and loving woman welcomed me and my children into her family with wide open arms.  She has been through much in her life – losing her father at a very young age, being neglected by her grieving mother, years later losing her first husband and having to support two small children and her mother, having a second husband leave while carrying his child. 

However, she and her third husband, my father-in-law, had a 50+ year marriage.  I never saw them unhappy or angry, though I’ve heard my husband’s stories, and it’s clear it wasn’t always a fairytale romance. 

Now the three remaining children have gathered at her bedside, along with some of the many grandchildren.  She slept most of yesterday, waking only minutes at a time to greet each newcomer. Her nurse said it would likely continue this way – the sleeping for long periods interspersed with short waking moments, until she doesn’t wake up again, leaving a huge hole in the fabric of our family.  

I’m so glad she found her prince in the end. As sad as the loss will be for us, I hope she gets to see him again soon.