Category Archives: truth

A Woman’s Touch

As I’ve been convalescing the past few weeks I’ve looked around our home. What is a “man cave,” anyway? He usually spends so much time around the country for work that when we’re together on weekends, we’re together. He doesn’t play cards or drink. He knows billiards but doesn’t wish to be alone in a basement we do not have at the moment.

A workshop, yes, while his younger brother was out canoeing and hunting deer, he built a workshop and invented things, like a micro-switch for the grain bin. Now that would be his kind of man cave.

As I contemplated my will and eventual demise I realize that I have decorated our home with artwork that is very feminine and beautifully framed. The quilts are from his mother, one flowery one she refreshed, from an ancestor and one she designed and made the squares in the seventies (we consulted on the design for years and made it of the seasons). Some are personal, such as of me as a baby, then cooking at the James Beard House.

Much art and photos are of dance. My kitchen is all me. Do you know what he brought to our relationship, actually our kitchen, besides his wonderful self and a work ethic that only belongs to someone who grew up on a dairy farm? One blue plastic colander his mother gave him to go to college. Of course we still have it decades later.

I’ll never forget those nine bulls 20′ away when I turned on the light on “meet the parents weekend” to use the bathroom. They stared at me, eyes shining so I shut off the light. They thought his father was getting up to feed them but it was three in the morning! Whoops. We married two months later, rookie mistake taken in stride by all. Not the marriage, the light and noise of the bulls.

My in-laws are being flooded out for a lake to serve a big city water. They have to move all the cattle. They must leave in 90 days. When I think of how his mother decorated it’s rational in terms of his and her needs and those of the “kids” who flew the coop years ago but love to come visit.

My husband has no interest in making a living space homey or attractive. When we met he was living in a man cave on the first floor behind mailboxes looking at a parking lot, with his dual-brained computer he built and string cheese wrappers littered between refrigerator and computer. Of course there was nothing on the walls.

Now we always have a view. Thanks, Dad, for teaching me! Everything in me wants to be with him for the rest of my life, but I know it will not be as long as his life. Every few years we have a two minute conversation with me asking him to re-marry after I’m gone and have a kid and he responds not to talk about that. He’d be a great father.

Should I will anything personal to my family? My parents’ wedding photos, beautifully framed. My father’s art (he took up art at age 80) of Tuscany and one Maori piece I love. The dancer’s pieces which should go to my brother, head of a dance company.

Or should I leave everything with suggestions if he does find another lifelong companion and hope that she is kind and caring, acknowledges that I did exist, takes care of my dog and most especially my husband and parcels the art she does not wish to have where I’ve designated. I do not wish to see him alone.

Oh, our wreath on the front door crashed yesterday with precious family ornaments. Pine needles all over the place. It’s in the guest bath right now awaiting judgment. I got it two days before Thanksgiving and think now that it may have been in storage for a month, as it is so dry. There are so many memories, ones we made for our years together of a snowman with a lasso, a reindeer in an apron delivering a tray of cookies, Santa on a bi-plane and me the moose lying atop a bi-plane with presents.

Santa in a kilt with bagpipes and me as the national flower of Scotland, the thistle. He as a moose riding a trout when his brother visited and they tried fly-fishing. I had to go “catch” three steaks for dinner! After all these years, there are more. Finger puppets, he’s the cow (dairy reference), I’m the horse and the dog is the dog. Now we’re all together on Dad’s evergreen tree, dairyman didn’t fall with the wreath, I rescued him and placed him back with us before the wreath fell.

We rescue each other, all the time. Cheers! Dee





Yes, it means death. It is allowed for pets but not for people. Only secretly for people.

For a cherished pet a proper parent should make the decision when there is no other alternative, hold that pet and be there.

For pets I would ask that there is a special room with a panic button. My old dog got up five times after the anesthesia and I couldn’t call on anyone. It was heartbreaking for me because I knew it was the last time I would see her alive and I didn’t want her to suffer. Because of what I went through, they’ve a “death wing” with a separate checkout and back door for payment, and the rooms have panic buttons to summon assistance.

I know that this is to prevent grieving pet owners from paying the death bill in front of others at the front desk. Two friends arrived at the hospital and visited my Chani before she died. In the end, Chani had bled out and had no hope of survival.

When I got home I called a dear friend and her husband answered the phone. Are you sitting down? Yes. I lost Chani. I’ll be right there to help you find her. This is an Army Ranger, yes, the Army Ranger.

No, she’s gone. What do you need? Companionship and a good glass of Pinot. He ran for me with a precious glass. I jumped the wall 200 feet away and we missed each other. He’d called his wife to come home, and when I arrived he arranged to have Chani’s remains given to me, not fodder for a pet cemetery.

I had spent six years trying to gain legal leash-free areas in our city. The entire neighborhood donated money to the city for a tree in her memory. The city decided the type, location and size of tree and the money and we paid  it. Then there was a big fight with neighbors who didn’t like dogs in “their” park.

Time was spent with both of my parents, who are gone now. They both had onsets of debilitating diseases that were accelerated by either medical mistakes or diseases of just being in a hospital. Mom died. Dad just died weeks ago. I can’t even find his grave. They both went through torture just to decide to die. My pets had a better death.

We scattered Chani’s ashes, at night, everywhere. But I’ve the last thing she brought to the park, a large teddy bear I bought at a garage sale for fifty cents, from a woman who hated me for trying to allow dogs in the park. A milliner friend, dear friend, placed ashes in the bear and sewed on a heart with lace and beading and everything.

I spoke with said other mother this evening. My new old dog, 13 years, would eat Chani’s bear so I keep it up high, always remembering the family that called me their daughter and still do so. She’s getting older. We had a good talk this evening and I promised a visit.

As to trees, there are so many now I can’t even see Chani’s on Google Earth. I heard the Wicked Witch of the West is no longer controlling “her” park so will visit, place flowers and water on her tree, and meet the people who made me, me. Thanks from your only daughter, Dee



Family, Caring and Rescue

We have been planning our first vacation in 14 years. It is a very special one as it is for my father’s 85th birthday. For two months I have been unlucky in finding my dog a place to stay.

She has been vetted at a local cage-free location but has never stayed overnight. Yes, she’s been vetted in Austin, Houston, everywhere. I like her to be at home. She’s my companion, a herder who may be sleeping but will go back to sleep in minutes, at my feet in another room once I move.

I’ve been sick for two days so haven’t checked my email. Two days ago, after sending in a request for a second doggie daycare visit and overnight. That was today. I got her there, she pulled like a donkey not to go in. I should have listened to her. Then I went home and checked my email. Two days ago this company said there were cages. Yesterday, over two phone calls I was told emphatically there were no cages.

I called a lawyer’s referral service for an opinion. This has nothing to do with dogs (except mine), and knew I had to use every means available to rescue my dog.

Complaining about the lying was covered up as “we should have explained it better.” I think their customers are dropping like flies because they want to cut down customer service while keeping up rates and keep numbers of dogs in the dark all night from 7:30 p.m. to 5:30 a.m. without going to the bathroom. Who knows? When I checked Zoe out (the charge was a pittance against getting our old dog back from the liars) the water bowl behind the admittance desk was empty. Home, Zoe went right for her water and drank two cups. Yes. I immediately took her out.

Then, after my complaint, the lady at the desk with the nose ring said “You’re lucky, you showed up just in time to pay the half-day fee of $18.75. I paid it, got my dog and they are the ones who will not be lucky.

They lie outright to their clients, switch stories. What kind of business is this? One an attorney and the Better Business Bureau would enjoy looking into. Fido, no friends. Overcharging for services not provided, not properly knowing or supervising dogs. I will never place Zoe there again, even to just get her nails trimmed. Yes, I’m always in the room with her as a “tech” and no other dog is present. Yet I still cannot give them any business.

Today, I got there asap and just said “I want my dog.” If they lie to me, they’re lying to her. If they changed the rules they certainly never told any of their customers.

The thing is this company must have turned to cages for a reason, liability. Perhaps a dog was attacked without provocation and with no supervision, let’s check it out. Zoe is once again two feet from my desk chair and calm, sleeping. She’s hydrated once again, relieved, sleeping and calm. Cheers to animal welfare and the end of fraud by any means. Dee




I used to be all about ideas. Now all I do is put out fires.

How do we move this forward? How can we make this work?

Now it’s retirement, cooking dinner and getting the dog her shots. Fires include taxes, insurance, bills. Cleaning out the frig and taking out the trash. Picking up dog poop.

Mom said something persuasive when I wanted to become a cheerleader in my early teens. She asked “why cheer when you can do a sport?” She was right. I got into track (I was awful but got the nice lady in the office to say we came in second, instead of losing). Then gymnastics. I became the head of our team at a different school.

The problem was that I was also in music (two classes), dance et al.

I was a horrible gymnast but a great leader. Oh, I’ve stories. Thank you Olga Korbut! I actually ran into Mary Lou Retton in an elevator across from Disneyland. She was still so tiny.

I worked for many years then married. Always a leader, my father taught me well. Now I lead a dog. Sometimes another dog if someone needs us. I volunteer for politics sometimes. Our volunteer center has no use for me. Cast to the sidelines of life, I am glad that my husband still believes in me. Dee


It’s About Everything

Yes, that’s life, as Frank Sinatra sang it. Many people concentrate on one facet, whether it be sports, math or English literature.

Youth is, indeed, wasted on the young. Older doesn’t necessarily mean wiser but in my case, it works. I had a great family and was taught so much.

When every experience from being bullied to volunteering for a soup kitchen line to cooking school, helping feral cats and adopting four rescues over the past twenty years, I had an education that rivaled my formal education and career. Yes, I also credit my two favorite priests, Fr. Cap and Fr. John, both gone now.

They wove meaning into the fabric of my life. I learned about how history and traditions make us who we are, to accept people we don’t know and, above all, respect, appreciation and honesty.

Through my parents, relatives, teachers and friends I’ve learned much. And my husband teaches me physics lessons while listening to country music on the car radio on long drives. Do you know what’s coming out of that smokestack? No, dear. I can tell by the color……….

Also, having a pet can make a difference. There’s a real responsibility and I’m shirking mine now as I’ve taken her out for “last chance” and she is not by my side. She wants me to lift her up to the bed for her beauty sleep. She’s gorgeous and just turned 84 in people years. She has no hips so cannot jump up by herself. If I slept 20 hours a day I might look that good.

A pet is a grounding experience, especially without a child. So is music, the written word, writing a blog or Haiku or poems.

My husband’s gone for work but I still read cookbooks and make my own recipes and wish for him to come home soon to try them. Yes, my hobbies are cooking, writing and shelter pets/feral cats (spay/neuter). I have had perhaps my last shelter pet, hopefully not, because a dog gets me out to walk and meet people and other dogs. Zoe is old but fine.

Life is about everything and how playing touch football on a dead-end street or softball in our back yard was so special as a kid. The neighborhood kids called on us early and asked for Dad. Mom said they had to wait until the end of dinner. Dad’s only rule was that everyone got to play and play fair. I remember one kid picking up his little brother and running him from first to second base, a tree, and home (we didn’t have that much space) and everybody won because were all the home team. Even toddlers got to play on Dad’s team.

Honesty, integrity, a sense of fairness for everyone, life is about everything. Cheers to you and your family, Dee


My dogs never lie. I’ve always kept them on a schedule but they always told me when they needed to go out and it was not to try to kill a squirrel. Not that it wasn’t always on their minds, but after 25 years of dog ownership my dogs have never bagged an SQ. Yes, that’s what we have to call them these days. As is the only ball our dog will ever have, indestructible, a “spherical device.”

Hey, our brains are bigger! Let us use these brains. I like to think we’ve built up enough trust that they just tell us what they need and we figure it out and do it. Sometimes it’s unclear whether they want the ball or to go out to do #1. Other times they may eat something icky/dead from the sidewalk and vomit on our bed. No problem. Six loads of wash here and one at our friends up the street in a huge washer, the down comforter, with a pair of my Crocs to fluff before folding.

Our Zoe never lies. If she needs to go out, she needs to go out. I jump into appropriate clothing for the weather and go asap. Cats lie. I didn’t scratch the other cat, I’m just sitting here minding my manners and licking my paws! “I saw you do that, Mick”. I’m not paying attention to you, Mom, you only feed me and clean my litter box. I never did anything wrong so bring out my dinner or I’ll keep slamming the kitchen cabinet doors at 4:00 a.m. and pooping just outside the box. Cats blackmail.

My children have been four, two cats, two dogs to raise all from shelters, one cat in need of a private rescue. Each one was taken seriously, and individually. Oh, what stories I could tell. I do know that our dog Zoe is a truthful gal and loves us as we love her.

My husband recently replaced a card of mine with one with her picture. Not the best picture, looks like ASPCA and living in a yard with snow and no water and no dog house. Zoe lives indoors, sleeps on our bed and eats frozen raw lamb, rabbit, venison or duck. Our Zoe does go out for 5-6 walks per day. We interact with people and other dogs and that’s good.

When she was a pup my father-in-law said young Zoe could come for Thanksgiving, he’d clean the leaves out of a goat pen for her. I told my new husband I was staying home with our dog. F-I-L found and cleaned old dog crate and put it in my husband’s old room. They ran a dairy and now a ranch. They’ve no indoor dogs.

Zoe never used the crate, slept on our bed. Now she stands on F-I-L’s sofa space and watches out for him coming in from hauling hay or grain or taking out our nephew. Grandpa J pretends he doesn’t like Zoe but she loves him and he knows it.

I can’t have indoor cats (love them) because my husband is allergic to them. I can have dogs if they’re bathed often, which I do. Our Zoe is at the door awaiting my husband from a business meeting. She misses us, but me most because I feed her and walk her. My husband is the “fun guy” so she loves seeing him and she hates to see him leave for work with a suitcase for a week or two. That’s how it goes. Dee