Yesterday I added Brazil and Moldova to readers. These days I get around virtually and through language, not physically. For some reason even though I have the TSA “fast pass” for domestic flights and Global Entry for international, while my husband may be carrying a cooked brisket from Texas on dry ice and I’m carrying a small purse (just enough for wallet and keys) and tiny laptop case with enough room for electrical cords for said device, I always get called aside. Naked scanner, pat-down, then they disappear and tell me not to move from the mat, and they swab my hands for bomb residue.

I was born in the northeast, never got into trouble or have anything but one parking ticket and that was over 40 years ago. I’m nearing 60 and could be a grandma. Why am I treated as a terrorist?

* * *

That’s neither here nor there. We’ve a live tree we used for Christmas. My husband took the cranberries and popcorn I made away from me. He chose a needle that was too big and was breaking all the popcorn. So I made Christmas-y paper chains like in kindergarten, but with staples rather than paste. I didn’t have to wait for each one to dry. He wanted the tree to retain the twinkly white lights so I made an anti-Christmas tree the other day with blues and browns to evoke the colors of our living room.

He’s working on a book and client development. We’ll be married fifteen years ago later this month. Our dog, who we adopted from a shelter the day she turned six weeks of age, will turn fourteen years old this month as well.

We eloped and only did a draft “photo book” that I recently found. We had six guests, one of whom married us as a retired Navy Captain, his wife and two others were witnesses and one took the lion’s share of photos. One walked me down the “aisle” of eucalyptus trees and stood up for my husband. Another stood up for me. The Admiral (Captain’s wife’s nickname), she just died last month. When I opened the album the other day some of the photos had fallen off so I spent a bit of time this morning fixing that issue. I showed it to a bride-to-be, she’ll be married later this week.

As to the dog, we only had one milestone down in deciding my husband needed a dog before a kid. Adoption was the dog course. Zoe’s hips were horribly bad, the worst her surgeon had ever seen. So at six and nine months we asked her to excise them. As there were no titanium hips for dogs under 60 lbs. and she was 20, we did it at six and nine months as after ten months there is less of a chance for recovery. She grew her own from cartilage and when she was younger, she could corner around a tree and get a ball faster than any Retriever. Plus, she was smart enough to stay in the outfield, something pups don’t understand. She only had to run in.

We could have thought of taking her back to the shelter but when potential adopters found out the price of recovery including physical therapy she would have been euthanized in that shelter in a heartbeat. We never thought of it, just researched and did the surgeries and my husband used to sneak her into a community pool at night for PT. I was in charge of most puppy walks and stair training. Dr. Val said only to baby her for two days. Then make her work. That we did. Nearing 14, after that, only eating dead stuff off the pavement has made her ill. All her tests/charts come in perfect.

Our Zoe has an infectious sunny personality and is beloved by all who love dogs, kids getting to know dogs, even 99% of dogs and any cat that doesn’t run from her. She met a Sphynx cat a couple of weeks ago and I held him, there was no animosity, they sniffed each other and Zoe was just playing with her “precious” to get our attention and show that she was cool, too, even though her fur didn’t feel like suede.

It doesn’t fit in the same month but Dad died a year ago and my living tree, given by ladies in my husband’s family, was used for Christmas and is now a themed tree to echo muted colors of our home, with one recycled glass star from the EcoCenter in UT, and paper chains with high-grade construction paper, staples and time. Also hand-made twisty long ornaments of aluminum or tin, from a trip we took to Vermont with in-laws for leaf-peeping et al. They just reflect the light.

His loss affects me every day. I miss his voice on the phone, silly Italian birthday cards, trinkets from overseas, but especially a hug, conversation and his deep blue eyes. Also his paintings. He took up painting at age 80. I’ve beautifully framed three of his works and he promised me two smaller ones two weeks before he died.

Marriage, pet adoption, nourishing and loving both members of my current nuclear family, and there was a death that let me know in no uncertain terms that I am my father’s daughter. Cheers! Dee


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