Sunday, November 28, 2010


With four days off from work, one would think I had all the time in the world to write, clean house, cook, shop, start and finish projects, and relax. And maybe once upon a time, I did. Aging is a sneaky little devil though. I remember once a senior writer and member of a large writers’ group critiqued a piece of my work with bared teeth. “You’re wrong when you have your protagonist says he feels his years. I’m that age and I never feel old.” I hope that I managed to hide the smirk lurking within me that evening as, of course, he was oh so wrong. He was in denial. At his age, he had to think and feel old! I’m that age now and while my body occasionally reminds me of that, I don’t feel old. And because of that, I often misjudge my timing. Yes, in four days I should have been able to do everything I needed to do as well as what I wanted to do. Well, I’ve discovered a hidden joy in aging. I can choose to ignore the “need-to’s” without guilt and be grateful instead that I still have the “want-to’s” and the ability to enjoy them.

So as I step over dog toys, dog hair, dust bunnies and squeeze through the clutter on my desk to the keyboard, I’ve decided to stay within the spirit of the holiday weekend and remain thankful:

That I listened to my heart instead of my mind when I chose the “perfect” dog last week.

That I have a handsome, healthy and loving grown-up son who can still smile without being condescending when I ask, “Where’s your coat? It’s cold outside.”

That a wonderful Kurecka family still wraps their arms and warm hearts around me and my son each Thanksgiving Day.

That I see, through Facebook, a niece creating her own holiday traditions for her son in a very untraditional but wonderful way.

That I have a soul sister that I can miss and love and know we are there together whenever I see a Cardinal, a Bluejay or a Wren.

That my holiday was completed with a text message from a long-lost beloved brother and sister-in-law wishing me a “Happy Thanksgiving.”

That sharing breakfast over laughter and stories with dear friends has become a weekly tradition that I hope never stops.

That I spent time with a girlfriend shopping and tasting wine instead of vacuuming, and

That today, I’m going to romp in the sunshine and crisp fall leaves with two little dogs that fill my heart and house with love and all kinds of stuff….. before I start on the "need-to's".
Thank you God

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Imperfect Dog

I went to pick out a new dog for Shelby, my little Chihuahua on Saturday. Every time I’ve said that I wasn’t going to get another dog, that Shelby and I were happy as a pack of two, I’d find myself still searching Petfinders for that perfect dog. I had found a new face this week, a black and white supposedly part beagle, part border collie female. She was full grown at 22 pounds and since Shelby weighed in a hefty 13 pounds, I thought it might be the perfect match. If not, there were a couple of other dogs that I might be interested in. Maybe. Just as all of the other dogs I’ve looked at in the past few months.

I asked two dear friends to go with me Saturday. They are the epitome of dog lovers and recently lost one of their dogs as well. I wanted their opinion and to help me with Shelby. Yes, I know. She’s a little dog and no, I probably didn’t really need the help. What I needed was a shove. I’d become obsessed with finding the perfect dog which meant no dog.

David and I met Bindi while his wife went to Home Depot. I instantly realized that the beautiful wiggly 22-pound bundle of black and white joy would be too much for Shelby. I also realized that David had fallen in love with her. He'd found his perfect new dog and he hadn't even been looking. I moved on, looking for that dog that was meant for Shelby and me. A dog that would replace Mercedes in that crying hole in my heart. The “perfect” dog.

I’m not sure how it happened but I came home with the most “imperfect” dog there. A male one-eyed Yorkie/Silky Terrier mix that looks more like a possum than a dog. Shelby had seemed okay with the little fellow at Petsmart but it's not going smoothly now that we are home. Shelby is jealous and can’t stand him; I’m a little queasy with the missing eye thing. Peeve, now Petey, brought home a fleet of fleas, and spent his first few hours male marking everything in sight. Definitely not the perfect dog. I’ve resisted calling the rescue organization to take him back so far but it’s been hard and there’s no guarantee that I won’t end up doing that. A lot depends on Shelby. Or is that a cop-out on my part? I don’t know. I didn’t fall in love with this strange little dog like David did with Bindi. Still, when Petey looks up at me with his one eye beaming with love and affection asking to be held…. It’s going to be a difficult next few days for my heart.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

The Wasp Whisperer

I met a Wasp Whisperer last Sunday. I didn’t know I was going to and if I had, I wouldn’t have gone to the book discussion. You see, I am petrified of wasps and yellow jackets. Actually almost any insect except for pill bugs and lady bugs will send me into a screaming mass of fraying arms and legs as I try to escape the portion of my world they are in at the time. I still remember once when my then to-be-husband, Eddie, took me, my son and his three children to the local park to play tennis. Not being that athletic, after a few sessions of chasing the tennis ball instead of hitting it, I opted to sit on the sidelines and watch. Everything was going well, his kids seemed to like me, and then… a bug flew inside the front of my blouse. I’m not sure that my screaming and pulling my blouse over my head made the best impression on Eddie or his kids that day. Or the folks playing on the other tennis court. But he still married me eventually.

In my defense, I am deathly allergic to stings from wasp, yellow jackets and fire ants. I’ve also had some close calls in the past when stung. I always carry my Epi Pen in my purse which never leaves my side. This might explain why I’ve often been compared to Sophia of the Golden Girls.

Now that I’ve given you a bit of background, you can understand better why, while sitting in the living room where the book discussion group met Sunday, I abruptly interrupted the leader by standing up and saying, “Excuse me, but there’s a wasp climbing on that picture,” before I darted to the hall way. Eddie always boasted, that even in a group of 500, if there was a wasp anywhere I’d be the first to see it.

I honestly expected everyone to rise in mass hysteria as well but no one did. It was as if they were waiting for her to take command. The Wasp Whisperer. This woman serenely, a word I would have never imaged using to describe this scene, got up, opened her spiral notebook, walked over the wall where the wasp was, invited it into the page, gently lowered the notebook cover just to the tips of its wings, and said, “Open the back door and I’ll let it outside.” Don’t hold me to this, but I swear I heard her sweet-talk it as well.

Dazed and not believing what I just witnessed, I went back into the living room to join the book discussion. Four more wasps appeared in the room and throughout the meeting, the Wasp Whisper would nonchalantly nudge one into her notebook and quietly release it outside without disturbing the group. Amazing as this sounds and more so to have witnessed, I was more awe-stuck with how calm I became and how safe I felt being surrounded by this group of woman, wasps and the Wasp Whisperer. Hum, maybe this woman was a Betty Whisperer, too?

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Blogging & Butterflies

Blogging is work, I’m discovering. I set my timeline for Sunday once- a week-postings. You’d think that would make it easier, not having to come up with either wisdom, humor, truth and just plain good writing more than once a week. I remember the days when I could sit down to the computer after an eight-hour demanding job, followed by a one-to-two-hour commute from hell, allow brief playtime with the hubby, dog, and cat before cooking whatever was the quickest for supper, clean up the mess, and write a 5,000 word short story that I knew was a candidate for any top literary press smart enough to recognize my wordsmithing talent. As the old song cliche goes, those were the days, my friends. So what happened to me? Sure, I got older and that’s good thing, something I would like to keep on doing, but my daily demands are less now, my commute shorter by an hour or so. Since writing isn’t necessarily a physical task, it can’t be that the muscle tone and strength that I’ve lost so maybe it’s the brain cells? Naw, can’t be. Just ask my friends who should pay me for the entertainment I provide with my oral dyslexia.
Blogging is work because we have to write about ourselves, explore the events of our day or week with honesty as well as style. Sometimes, if we are lucky, life is uneventful. If we are more than lucky, are blessed with family and dear friends, our lives interweave and our particularly mundane day or week is brightened by their joys or shadowed by their sorrows and pain. And as we get older, it seems that more days are spent in the shadows than we’d like. Yet, as I write this, the morning sun is reaching out to me, chasing the shadows away so that I can see golden butterflies. Hang in there, Soul Sister! The butterflies are coming.