Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Ringing the Bell for the Salvation Army


Today we rang the bell for the Salvation Army at WalMart. This is actually Prosper's second Christmas doing this Community Service....he did it last year as a baby puppy. This year he was learning how to take "Munny!" from folks and take it to the red bucket. Please notice the happy faces of the people who are watching all this. The temperature was in the high 20's, and the wind was blowing briskly, but it was a fun, exhilerating day for all of us. Rob came out and snapped pictures and filmed and even blew a few notes on his trumpet.
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video

Monday, December 8, 2008

A Good Day at the Dawg Show

Wellllll...our trek to Fayetteville, AR was wonderful and productive.

I woke up Sat am about 3:30 puking.....Virus or food poisoning, I don't know until Rob comes down with it.... :-)

So THAT got me off to a late start, and I arrived at the show site at 11:24. We showed in Obediene at 11:35....God provided me with a VERY close parking space (it HAD to be Him, because this is a very crowded show with limited parking and NO grooming space once the sun comes up), and James and I hurried in to pick up our number and make a quick stop at the bathroom :-(

James did Beautifully. Even his heeling was quite good! With little or no warmup (who neeeeds warm up, Mom! I'm getting to be a PRO at this!). However, instead of Drop on Recall, he Sat on Recall.....(he's never DONE this one before!). The ring is on red dirt, and I'm thinking he just didn't Like the idea of lying down in dirt. James is my "meticulous" one---always bypassing puddles, Never digging in the dirt (unlike his brothers Baden and Prosper), and being very particular about his "bathroom" habits.

So, the rest of the trial was No Pressure! And it was all very good. The out-of-sight sits (3 min)and downs (5 min) were Wonderful. He sat there like the movie star that he IS, and when I returned, I don't think I could have ever smiled any bigger. He is such a pretty sight amongst all those "other" breeds (pardon my snobbery). Ah, well. ANOTHER good Training Session.. Btw....NOone qualified in this group....It really is a very difficult place to show---one whole side of the ring is right next to a very busy, busy aisle w/kids sometimes hanging on the metal bars....

Prosper came into the show site trying to ski me down the aisles.....Sigh.....He was SOOOO Happy to BEEEE there! So many new people to meet and greet and so many doggies to sniff and play-bow to.....HOW does one tell an innocent that Life is not actually as we have "presented" it to them, and that they Could git dawg bit if they do not stay close to Mommy and let her do the leading???? Prosper doesn't Know that there is any "badness" in the world (except of course when I yell at him for chewing up the nativity figures).

Well, he did Rally Novice Obedience just fine (with Lots of "Prosper! Here!" and "woooo woooo woooo!" and "whaaaat a smart boy!"), pulling on the leash minimally....On the spiral, I got to talking so much, that I LOST my place, and re-did that. Didn't check the judge's sheet later, so don't know if I lost 10 pts on it or not. Best-in-Show ring was going on closeby, so there was a LOT of whooping and clapping down the way, and Prosper lost focus a bit, listening to all that fun that was going on. But we Q'd with a score of 79 (must have bet 70-100 to Qualify). And it wasn't the lowest score that day, either! At least we know that we can DO it....He's truly not ready---not like a focused, loose-leash walker, but he's getting there.

I bought a couple of crate pads (These were just really cool, and they are slick and won't hold dog hair), drank a Sprite (REAL, with sugar!), and headed to the motel, then Petsmart, then Wendy's for a baked potato. We all piled into the bed while Animal Planet played on TV (it ran all night--can't Believe that!). Got up at midnight again and threw up the potato.....

Back to the show site Sunday morning. Fluffed and puffed the liddle wolf cub and stuffed both boyz into crates and went for coffee and my armband numbers. Prosper showed in Breed at 10:50; James showed in Obedience at 11:30. (Arrruuughhh! WHAT was I Thinking???)
Prosper won his little class (12-18 mos), w/the judge (Garry Newton) laughing all the time. Prop actually did pretty good standing and running around, but when the judge "slicked his face back," he didn't like that a BIT. Plus, looking at the teeth was a bit wiggle-butt-ish...He did fine on the "up and back"....until he came back towards the judge, and he hopped. I truly DID think about stopping and going back, but figgered, what the heck....won't chg anything...But the judge grinned at me real big, and said, "Why don't you try it again?!" So we did, and Prosper straightened up, and stayed with me. For Prosper, it was actually a pretty good showing. I could actually see some seriousness on his face at some point. Not at all like the "fun" we were (not!) having in the Rally ring.

Okay, so NOW he has to go Back into the Breed ring again, at Some point! And I have to show Jamie in Obedience.... So, I asked a breeder from Indiana if she could help me out. One of her junior handlers took Prosper back in, and said, aside from his sitting in the ring a couple of times (omg!), he showed really well. Upon reflection, I realized that he was "offering behaviors," and trying to see what she wanted him to do in order to get that liver.....As a thankyou gift, I gave her Prosper's pretty white lead with the blue stars I had made.

James did Beautifully in Open Obedience! Beautifully! There were two little girls hanging on the fence right where we were starting out--with CAMERAS!!! I told them to Leave. (on the drop on recall, the judge even tries to wait a few seconds while the "traffic" subsides on that side---it's bad). Retrieve over the jump went well. James sailed over the jump. Got the dumbbell. Headed back for the jump....DROPPED the dumbbell....PICKED it UP....but...sigh.....was in a position away from the jump, so he went around it......Thatsa "No Qualification."

I cked the judges sheet later on.....IF James'd cleared that jump, we'd have Q'd scoring in the 190's (out of 200).....I couldn't be more proud!

One thing we DID do between exercises is we Danced! Yep! We actually Danced. Not just turning circles or prancing around, but we Danced. He turned backwards, spun around, backed up between my legs, then returned to heel, etc. It got him barking a bit (doesn't take Much), but it also made it fun and he got to show off how cute he is. Plus, it took away the seriousness of the whole scene. James gets serious, he shuts down.

We packed up and headed home (the Indiana breeder put in an order for a leash), and I stopped at Taco Bueno for my favorite Mexi-Dips and Chips.....I may regret that tomorrow.....

Boyz are dead in the floor, cuddled on blankets.....I don't think I realized how tiring this can all be...

And Now I am going to knit and contemplate my navel....

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

IS WEBKINZ REAL?

This question has been addressed many times in the past 6 months since I purchased my first Webkinz. A sable and white Collie, of course. It was a way to further communicate with my older granddaughter--we play games together online and discuss various ways to take care of our cyberpets.

I was at a Very Expensive home the other day, beautifully and tastefully decorated with lots of light and art and Beautiful Items. In the front window of the drawing room (I'm thinking it musta been called that, or the "parlor," because there was no TV set in there), there was a lovely pedestal with a pretty spider plant, its baby runners cascading halfway down.
I tried to tell the homeowner that I have the Very Same pedestal and plant in MY Webkinz room! Somehow, she just didn't understand....

My daughters tell me that Webkinz is not Real. I Know that. I really do.

Do you also know that you Never have to dust in Webkinz World? And there are no dirty dishes. The pets Only go to the bathroom whenever I want them to...None of this "hitting the door" over and over again until SOMEone pays attention...And they NEVER bark.




Thursday, November 13, 2008

Knitting on the Moon






Below is an article I stumbled onto while I was looking for a knitting pattern. It was written almost 2 decades ago, and voices much of what I experience regarding this craft. I, too, have taken my knitting (leash braiding, quilting) on all my outings, and truly would love to be able to take it with me to church and other more formal gatherings.....SOMEhow, it makes me listen more efficiently when my hands are busy. And the time spent knitting is never wasted.

One more note---this goes along with knitting, honestly. I have an extensive case of Groomer's Addiction....And having 3 big male Collies certainly helps feed my habit. These dogs are so precious to me, and Everything involving them is very important, even the very hair that blows all over the house and yard. I have put the groomed-out fur in the trees for the birds to use in their nests in the spring, I've twisted it and used it for hair for the angels I craft every Christmas, and I've sent boxes of it to a woman in NJ who spins it into delicious Collie Wool.

Yes, Collie Wool. Two-ply yarn, light beige in color. I have one skein of grey now that Prosper is getting his big boy coat. Once knitted, it continues to "bloom," creating a halo-effect in the lacework holes.

And it smells Delicious! JUST like my boyz smell....More than any other feature, folks are amazed at how beautiful it smells.

Lots of folks look at me like I am really weird (go figger That!) regarding the saving and spinning of the Collie fur, but I adore the softness and warmth and the nearness of the boyz, even when I am away from them. My spinner-friend sees a certain spirituality in making this wool, and has a picture of my Collies attached to her spinning wheel. What a connection she has made with me just regarding that very small act!

And so I knit. I knit with the nubby yarns of merino and acrylic, and tiny cotton threads, and pink fuzzy mohair and stringy eyelash....But my favorite, heartofheart yarn is the soft downy fur of my three best boys.....Here's the article.....


KNITTING ON THE MOON


by Paula Rice Biever

No matter what project I am knitting, as long as it remains on my needles it is a security blanket. In unfamiliar places, amongst unknown people and the possibility of chaos, there is always my knitting.

I bring my knitting with me on vacations, trips, and whenever I anticipate long periods of waiting around for something to happen. I bring my knitting to social occasions, but not because I anticipate being bored. Knitting helps me relax and feel comfortable and able to observe and interact. I don't knit in order to isolate myself from people - I can carry on conversations while knitting, without any problems. Sometimes I even talk to my knitting.
I have also developed the ability to knit and read at the same time. It isn't all that hard to do, since knitting becomes fairly automatic once the pattern is established. Propping the book open is the most difficult part. I have bought a couple of gizmos to do this for me, but they make turning the pages a complicated task.
I have no qualms about unraveling my work, and a good thing too, since I knit while talking and reading. I have a gadget called a woolwinder that winds yarn up into nice tidy balls. I find it fascinating to turn the handle on my woolwinder and watch rows and rows of stitches disappear much faster than they were created. For me the greatest pleasure of knitting is the act of knitting and not quickly producing a finished product. I am just as happy to be able to use the same wonderful yarn again until I get the project knit up to my specifications.
I like to knit vests. I have considered adding sleeves to some designs, but vests still present endless possibilities for me. I can change the shoulder width, the neckline, make long or short vests, and can knit them in lace designs or in multiple colors. I always use circular needles. A circular needle resembles two shortened regular needles connected at the ends by a length of thin plastic tubing. Stitches are cast on as usual, but knitting the first stitch creates a joined circle. Subsequent rows of circular knitting are referred to as rounds, and the knitted fabric grows to become a tube. If you are not careful and accidently twist the stitches around the needle on your first time around, you can end up knitting a Mobius strip.
I knit my vests in a circular fashion up to the point where I want the armholes to start, and at that point I start knitting back and forth instead of around and around; finishing the front and back of the vest separately. I bind off the front and back shoulders together in order to form the shoulder seams. The neckband and the armhole bands are made by picking up stitches and knitting with smaller circular needles. I do not need to use a sewing needle for anything, except for weaving in the loose ends. When I finish binding off, I am finished with the project, unless I decide to unravel it and start over.
Knitting never fails to intrigue me. Fabric is created just by wiggling knitting needles to pull loops of yarn through other loops of yarn. I like the feel of wool, cotton, and mohair, and the changes in texture that occur as a result of knitting in various patterns. I have skeins of yarn stocked up in baskets and it makes me feel secure to know that yarn is waiting for me. I feel the same way about all the books we have in our library!
I am sure that someday I will read a human interest story about the first piece of knitting done while in space. Once a space station is established, someone will bring their knitting up there; not because they are bored, but to bring a bit of comfort and home along with them into a strange territory.
"Knitting on the Moon" was first published 1990 in Remnants.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008


Walking for my Health ????



2 weeks ago I broke my wrist. Walking for my Health, and just plain fell. Fell walking (fast) downhill on concrete. When I "gathered myself," I knew immediately that I was not okay. My left wrist looked like the letter S, and my chin and forearm looked like bacon.

Ten titanium screws and a plate later, and I was home with a red cast and very potent pain pills. It took me several days to actually get on top of the pain, but by the following week I was on my way to the Girl Scout National Convention in Indianapolis.

Of course, when "things" happen to me, I am always asking The Planet what it is that I should Learn from this experience---learn it quick! and then the "pain and suffering" should pass and one should not have to relearn it....Here are a few things that I have learned from this:

I am NOT a fighter. I'm Not. At least not for myself. I think I will just curl up and let the world go on without me....I'm just not willing...If anyone else is needing someone to fight for them, I'll be first in line to champion your cause.
I would rather tolerate the pain than take the meds to get rid of it. At least the dull, once-you-are-home-from-the-hospital-type pain.

And Sleep is good. Sometimes I'd like to just sleep thru the pain--then wake up Well and healed!

Buttoning my jeans will never be taken for granted again!

Cards in the mail are a blessing. So are folks who offer to take care of your orphan kittens while you are recuperating.

Walking outside and scooping dog poop can be a great healing action. Being OUTside at any time is healing.

Your right forefinger fits Exactly into your right nostril. Same thang for the left. Are you going here with me on this? Picking your left nose with your right finger is just all wrong and clumsy. Doesn't fit, is not effective. Never gonna take That for granted again, either.

Thumbs UP! is a very important gesture! My left one won't go up---yet. I'll work on the range of motion this week, knitting, typing, braiding leashes, then get back to ya.

And, finally I have discovered that exercise really IS necessary for good health and keeping your weight down. I haven't walked any great distance in 2 wks, and it is beginning to show on my body. Just walk upright, that's the key.....














Thursday, October 16, 2008

Prosper is One Year Old!

Now that I am a Big Boy and have finished a year, I can do lots of things. Mostly, I can jump. Jump. Jump. Jump! I Love to Jump! I used to be very scared to Jump, but now I practice every day, and I can jump ennywher.

And you know what!? I can even Jump up on Mommy's bed! She smiles, then covers her mouth with her paws and says "Off!" I can Jump Off! too! I can Jump in the midle of the room. Like Eddie the cat does. I can Jump onto the Big Chair in the livroom. And when I lie down in the Big Chair, I pretend I am the King. But Mom says "Off!" again, and I hav to be the Big Boy on the Floor.

I think James is realy the King. But I lik to pretend sumtims.

I can Sit!, too! And I can Stay! I kno how to weave inside Mommy's legs. And I can circle around her while she circles the other way. I can bak up on both sides of Mom. And I can bak up in front of her. She smiles a lot when I do that. Sumtims I can even walk real nis besid Mom...Specially if she has kukies in her paws! She calls me Prancer when I do that.

\And you know what! I rid nis in the car, too! I can hup hup in and I Wait! when Mom opens the dor for me to get out. I Wait! reel gud!

Yes, I am groing and being Big. Maybe I'l get biger too and they won't cal me Erkle so much.





Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Could This be What is WRONG with our Country Today???


Today I received a call that I have received at least 3x a week for several months. It's about credit cards. Even tho I have been taken off the "soliciting list," they still have the "right" to call because it is regarding my current credit card. So it is considered "customer service," and not a solicitation.
They want to give me lower interest rates and open up a new card for me. I don't need lower interest rates. The card is paid off monthly w/out any interest accrued. Duh.
I have told them to take me off their call list. I've been polite. I've been rude. I've been brusque. Today I was an overextended redneck. Don't know if it was effective in reducing the calls, but I sure did feel better.....

The lady axed me (yes, she axed me) if I wanted to lower my cc rates. I told her of course. She then asked what my current rate was. I didn't know. How much did I owe on my cc? About $85,000. She didn't even gulp. She just asked me how many cc's I had. About 8, I told her. When did I plan on paying them off? I laughed and told her that would be the rest of my life! We Both giggled.
Would I like to have another card at a lower rate? Sure! Visa or MC? I'll take MC. Well, do I have an account that has not been shut down or maxed out? I told her all of them are maxed, but none are shut down, I just keep payin' on them. So then she asked me to give her the number of one of the accounts that was in current use so that they could verify it was "in good standing."

By now, Rob had left because he was laughing so hard. He was taking the checkbook to the WalMarts to buy some drain cleaner for the tub.

I had on my full Redneck regalia by this time. Hard "i's," misspoken English, poor grammar. And talking a bit loud and excitedly, too, I mite add....

I told her that I wuddin givin out my cc number to ennybody over th phone!!! That's how folks can steal yer identity, and I didn't want that to happen. She assured me that this was proper and according to their protocol.

Okay, stop and THINK about this! It coulda been Shaneeka from Muskogee calling on her boyfriend's cellphone, for god's sake! There was NO way in the world I coulda known if this were an actual call from Visa....

So, I told her to just mail me sumthin, and I'd git the information that way. She promised to do so...I'm assuming she has my address right there with my phone number, too? Or maybe she was just trying to finish up this call and go on to another one.....

Sigh....SOMEhow, this was a lot more beneficial to me than being rude......I really hope they call again....I think I'll start crying next time and make her feel really sad about my debt that isn't my fault.....

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Thursday, October 2, 2008

My Final Requests....



I went to a funeral the other day. And, of course, these occasions get one to thinking....About ones OWN demise and ending of this section of existence. It is certainly something to look forward to, tho there are plenty of "things" and folks that tie us to this planet. But a funeral is something that I have found is so very important to Those Left Behind. And, as a "final gift" to those loved ones, I think it is important to make ones wishes known regarding the "graduation party."


My friend Susy McHughes had the right idea. We had talked many times before she died (thinking our "end" was a very long way off) about what WE wanted when we passed on. We both agreed that the funeral homes get wayyy too much money from the grieving family, especially if the family is caught unawares. And we noted that we certainly should write down the plans for the party so that the family throwing it would not have any guilt regarding "all that money spent" or "not Enough money spent."


So, here goes, yall. Here are MY "instructions for the Party."


First of all, Let it be known here and now that I have had a Wonderful Life. I've not made history, but I Have made the front page in the local newspaper a few times (tree-hugging, dawg training, walking pre-schoolers to the library in costume, etc), and I've been influential in two very important lives who have become beautiful women. I've known the exclusive love of a kind and handsome man. I've taught the Lord's Prayer to many people. I've taught people how to crochet, knit, embroider, braid (hair and leather!), sew, get stains out of carpets and quilts, pump their own gasoline (yes! There was a Time when it was a new skill to learn!), plant potatoes, create water gardens, and teach their dogs to be Good Citizens. Maybe that's enough. Probably not. I've had way too much fun doing it, so it may not "count" for anything.


So, I'm thinking that all this fun time living should be Celebrated, not grieved. Rejoiced, not wept over.


I don't want this party to be in a church building. I used to think that this was very important, but I've buried too many gerbils, hampsters, kittens, and even dogs in my own yard, with our own ceremonies and prayers to know that the confines of a brick building is not necessary in order to remember the Joy.


So, just use my yard, if the weather permits. If not, then the church gym. Tell folks to bring their guitars so we can sing. And sing yall's favorite hymns (I like "Great is Thy Faithfulness") and campfire songs. "Barges", "Girl Scouts Together," "Ain't it Great to Be Crazy," Disney songs, "Mr Moon, Mr. Moon, You're Out too Soon," ---Em has a bagful of my old songsheets....Pass 'em out! At some point, pray the Lord's Prayer. That's enough "ceremony."


Cheese and crackers, Hershey's chocolate, koolaid, coffee, tequila. Maybe grapes. Beer if the boys want it.


Everyone should wear their favorite color. Mine is Red. I hope everyone who knows me, knows that. We should ALL know each others favorite color and pie. So, wear your favorite color to the celebration, and wear enough of it that everyone will know, beyond a shadow of a doubt, what YOUR color is.


Nametags would be good. And bring your business cards, so that if you meet someone you do not know, and discover that you have lots in common, you can contact each other later.


Let my dogs in on the celebration. They can work the crowd like no other. And they will help to make you smile if you decide you wanna grieve....


Tell funny stories about me. And laugh. Laugh a Lot. Hug each other. Don't feel sorry for me or any of yall. Just remember me and get tickled.


Gee. I don't even have a picture to go with this post. And I hope it ain't too morbid for ya. I hope that it gives you a bit of insight to the fact that the bonds of this planet do not hold me as tightly as they did when I was younger. It's a nice planet. My favorite, in fact. But I look forward to what lies beyond and all the songs I will learn thereafter.






Friday, September 26, 2008

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Buy WHAT for your Soul???



"If two loaves be your Daily Dole, then sell one and buy hyacinths for your soul..." ---from an old metal sign in my backyard



Today, I went shopping for new walking shoes. My old ones were handmedowns from one of my daughters, and had rubbed a huge blister (that popped en route home) yesterday during one of my 4-mile treks.



I don't have sexy legs and feet (I hope to acquire those someday when I ascend into Heaven. Oh, yes, and full, round bosoms). I wear shoes that are low to the ground and "safe" and ones that do
not draw attention to my less-than-perfect calves and toes.


I truly intended to buy new walking shoes. Walking is one of the reasons I have kept my weight down for the past 2 years....Rob had given me great confirmation regarding this purchase....I Really meant to buy the Practical and Comfortable....


But today....Today there were some very lovely red patent leather round-toed heels that jumped off the shelf in the shoe store and onto my feet in a most disturbing manner. They made me walk with my chin held high and my breasts thrust forward. I had a confidence and an arrogant attitude that I didn't recognize. They shone up at me from the basket as I eased them off my feet. and as I rounded the corner, another surprise greeted me. Purple heels with peekaboo toes. Purple. Spike heels. On sale.



So, today, instead of spending $30 on walking shoes, I spent the money on the impractical. The frivolous. The UNcomfortable. Shoes of a color I have never had before. Bright shiny red and brilliant rich purple. Because they did so much for my soul, you see. Very much like the aromatic scent of hyacinths in the spring.



My mother died 13 years ago this very day. I don't think I ever saw her wear flat shoes in the 43 years I knew her. But today, just for a moment, I think I caught the scent of her perfume.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008






















Mom! Hey, MOMMMM

I hear this a lot. Not so much from my own children anymore, for they have flown our nest and are Moms in their own rights.

But I hear it. Children everywhere call out that phrase. "Mom! Look at ME!" "Mom! Watch this!" "Mom! S/he broke my (fillintheblank)!" "Mom!" "Mommmm!" "Hey, Mom!!!"

There is a point in all our lives when we want our moms to see and be a part of everything. Of course, then comes age 12 or so, and they would like it if Mom became a hazy figure. SOME of the need for Mom's approval sweeps in and out over the next few years, and moms relish the (albeit brief) attention that before had so annoyed them prior to puberty.

There's also that age when the children know a lot more than mom, and, once again neither really likes the other for a while. It is a portal thru which we must all pass.

But allinall, Moms are a necessary part of becoming who we are. They infiltrate their children's very being and soul, and they place markers thruout their psyche that affects them for a lifetime. They give us a template, and most of us match it, good or bad. Some of us take what we like, and forget what we need to forget (my Animal Behaviorist friend calls this "being like Teflon").

I had a friend once who was so angry at her mom because she never said anything that was quotable.

Now. Once you've read that sentence, think back to SOMEthing that you've said in the past 24 hrs that your Mom told you. I thought everyone quoted their moms, that her words always came back to you at the moment that you needed it. Like the clean underwear thang, or as long as you have a smile on your face and your hair is brushed who cares if you are wearing the latest fashion? Or, your face is gonna freeze that way. Or, there are children in China who are starving (name three...--that response'll get your face slapped). Or even, you cannot fit that whole thang in your mouth.

My mom left us with a lot of quotes, in addition to the old standbys aforementioned. She told us to always pass on the Good. She told us to be a lady if it killed us. She told us that as long as we had manners, we could eat and drink with kings. We could get glad in the same pants we got mad in. We were praised for "going the second mile" (putting the liner in the trash can after we empty it). We were chastized if we did not take exquisite care of our hands. We never ate chicken salad (she had this "thing" about spoiled food). And we were told if we got pregnant before marriage, she'd jump off the Mississippi Bridge.

She cheated at cards. She carried a pistol in her purse. She wore 6-inch spike heels every day. She had her hair done professionally every week. She got up every morning at 5 am to fix our daddy's breakfast. She danced. She sang off-key. She believed in God.

I am sure that my daughters can add a few sentences regarding "quotable moments" from their mom. They actually did listen to me when I thought I was screaming to the wind. I have heard them tell their children some of the exact same things I told them. So, the eye rolling and the heavy sighs continue on to the next generation of children hearing these quotes.

I am fifty-six. Fifty-six and a half, really. My mom died when I was forty-three. I have lived a very good life and have even jumped a few minor hurdles. I'd like my mom to see what I've done. I'd like for her to look at how I've grown and what I've become. I'd like to be able to say Mom! Hey, MOMMMMM!

Guess we never really outgrow that.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Emeril's Essence

I bought some of this stuff today. Emeril's Essence. It's a salty seasoning with a bit of a hot bite to it. Emeril yells out on his show, "BAM!" when he uses it. I'm thinking I can duplicate it, but for right now, at $2.50 for a large-sized bottle, I'm pretty happy with what it does to me....It's a good product. Goes well with Tequila....Well, actually sprinkled on crackers that you eat when you drink Tequila....

Do I Love You the Best? Favoritism Parenting




Do I love you the best? Of course I do. YOU are my very favorite. Some parents have it "easy" because they have one of each....Therefore, they can say, "You are my favorite little girl," and "You are my favorite little boy." I never had that "luxury." So I told both girls they were my favorite.

Truer words were never spoken. And most parents would understand.

Both girls, born from the same parents, nurtured in the same womb, victims of the same net income and parental humor, consumers of the same diet, attending the same church and schools-----they turned out as different as night is to day and both quite lovely and unique and funny.

So, yeh....I love you the best. I've never met two people whom I would love to count as my dearest friends more than you. I admire you, marvel at you, and get hysterically tickled at you more than anyone else on this planet (well, maybe your Dad ranks a little bit higher, but, then, he's got a few legs up---so to speak---on you).

After my Mom died, I realized that my brother and sister both thought that they were her favorite. Not so! I was! Certainly she loved ME, the baby chile, most like her, the most. We were intimate. We knew each others thoughts and we enjoyed the same activities and believed almost the same beliefs, religiously. She marveled at all that I did and everything I accomplished. No WAY she loved Sherry or Nic more! But they believed the very same thing as I did.

This "realization" made me think that Mom had a very special "gift" of convincing each of us that we were most important in her life......Now I know that it was not a gift at all. It was just her way of delighting in us----in each of us. It was how she lived out her mothering.

So, yeh....Don't be thinking I am an exceptional woman because I can convey to each of you your importance to me...

Nope. It's just how I enjoy you! I love your creativity--you make bows, fashion jewelry, dig ponds, sew baby clothes, design homes, heal wounds, find new ways to teach your children. I love your spirituality, your heart for mission, and your desire to serve. I love your humor and your patience and your positive approach to Life. AND, you are doing all this on a Limited Budget and with literally no help from anyone else. It all belongs to you and the Creator who probably had a blast making you!




Friday, September 5, 2008


It is dusk...Sitting outside on the deck w/locusts singing. There's a football game at the high school, several miles away, and I can hear the announcer. Water garden fountains are singing. I see flickers of lightening bugs as the sun gets more pale in the sky. Dogs are discovering new things in the backyard and coming in every once in a while to "check in." I have the citronella lamps burning. The air is cool but not clammy, and I am trying to talk Rob into spending the night out here, sleeping on our foam mats.

I love this place. It's been Home for 28 years, and the land around our house has seen so many changes and metamorphoses. The swing set no longer stands with flat swings and a glider. It houses a dog agility jump and a Little Tykes baby swing. And a couple of pretty windchimes. The "rosebed" is replaced by a large oak tree that came up in its mulch many years ago. Shade, now. All shade. The trees have taken over the full sun area, and the challenge has been to find shade-loving plants to place underneath them. There's benches and stepping stones with angels and old galvanized buckets, rotary telephones, a manual Underwood typewriter, huge granite stones, concrete angels, an old bathtub, even an old bathroom sink. And, of course, there's the iron couldron that came from Aunt Jewel's. Lemon thyme cascades out of it, and nearby is an old iron stove that I burn stray sticks in when the weather gets cold. It's a yard put together for 3 decades by a woman who is so crazy, there are not words to contain who she is. She just Is.

And she knows every square inch of this yard. Arranges rocks in new paths and borders, but no one notices the change except her. The fish in the watergarden know her voice, and come to the top of the pool with open mouths, asking.She scoops the dog poo. She tucks brushed-out Collie fur into tree branches for the birds' nests. She transplants a wild daisy and checks for ripe figs and red tomatoes. She plays keepaway with the dogs and chase the vinca vine with the cats. She curls up in the hammock and sees the shapes in the clouds....

I look at me sometimes in wonderment at all the small things I am and can be. I am encircled by contentment, undeserved contentment.
And I am so grateful that my body and most of my mind appreciate these things.

Thursday, September 4, 2008



James, our "middle Collie."


This is Baden, my oldest Collie. Running Agility a couple of years ago at the Collie National Specialty in NC.

Inventory of Destruction

Inventory of the things that Prosper has torn up in the past 24 hours:

2 bottles of Dog Shampoo (bath outside yesterday, and before I could pick up everything....)
1 fine-toothed comb (left on the grooming table on the deck)
1 numbered-edition book, Dog Tales (we were outside this morning entertaining some of Rob's bicycle friends, and Prosper was being So GOOD inside, waiting for us at the glass door....)
1 empty Triscuit box kyped out of Recycle
1 pink stuffed poodle (sorry, Aint Sherry)
1 fairly empty cottage cheese container (this was Authorized, just thought I'd put it in)
He "tasted" Rob's glasses he left on the night stand, but left no marks (I heard a small crunch sound and jumped up real fast)

WHAT was I THINKING, getting one of these Barksdale boyz????? I call myself a fairly good "manager" and Try to keep stuff up off the floor....But he FINDS things! He goes into my closet and gets my shoes (I have bifold closet doors, and he OPENS them). He just walked in right now with one of my plastic headbands....He's just as willing to trade or even give it up happily (he is SUCH a happy boy!) as carry it around. And I am SO glad that he will pick things up---but----arrrruuuughhhh!!! This "free-thinking" stuff is a LOT to keep up with!

I remember when we were at Barbara's, picking him out, and how Thrilled I was that he brought back that wadded up piece of paper----directly back to me.....I was SO excited! WHAT was I Thinking????

Prosper Can Jump!


Today was a continuation of "Spa Day" bec we got rained out yesterday. I had set the grooming table up on the deck, and proceeded to dremel nails. Baden is 11. He needs help getting up on the table, and when Rob is here, he lifts him easily. James literally glides up on the table, and enjoys each facet of grooming immensely.

Prosper has always needed help getting up on the table....I ask for "paws up!", he props his forepaws on the table, then I boost his bootie up.

Of course NO dog is allowed to jump off the table by himself. Mom gets REEEEEAL mad and growls and fusses a LOT if that ever happens (and sometimes it does, when there's another dog chasing a leaf or something important).

But Today....TODAY, my liddle wolf cub JUMPED UP on the table All By Himself!!! Just, boinnng! and he was standing on the table!!! NEVER thought this would ever happen! Oh! I was so thrilled and yelled and praised and whooped-te-dood! Then I placed him down on the deck again, and he jumped right up again! Not even with a cookie bribe---he just DID it!!!

Of course, I had to go get Rob and show him, and Prosper bounced right up onto the table. Wow!!! And this is NOT a low grooming table. It is as tall as my dining room table..........What was I THINKING? WHAT was I THINKING??? Omigosh, I am in Big Trouble....

Please tell me Barksdale boyz don't jump up on the diningroom tables....

Wednesday, August 20, 2008