My Favorite You

We had been binge watching The Crown all evening. I was relaxed in my recliner, with the Christmas lights all around me competing with the glow of the television and the golden flickering fire. I was in my fuzzy jammies, with my dachshund, Quagmire, gently snoring against my hip, covered by a fuzzy blanket. I think I may have nodded off a few times myself. I could have stayed right there for the rest of my life.

But alas, I had to go to work in the morning. So at the end of an episode, I gently raised my seat back to the upright position, eliciting a sleepy moan from Quagmire. I peeked under the blanket, and he burrowed deeper.

“Sorry, buddy. Time to go pee.”

No response.

So I picked him up, and he draped himself over my shoulder like a bag of wet cement. Except he was warm and relaxed and cozy, and miraculously still asleep. I stood there for a moment, giving him cuddles and kisses.

“Of all my favorite you’s, this is my favorite you,” I whispered, as I carried him to the back door.

I set him down on the back porch, and for a moment he seemed like he wasn’t quite sure where he was. But then he trudged groggily down the ramp and did his business, and came back immediately to lean against my calf. I closed the door and picked him up again, and carried him into bed and tucked him in.

After brushing my teeth and making sure all the doors were locked and that the on lights were on and the off lights were off, I came back to the bedroom to find Quagmire still snuggled right where I had left him. I climbed into bed, making sure I didn’t crush him, then arranged him pointy side out. We spooned as I drifted off to sleep, feeling as though all was right with the world.

The next day, I thought about how I don’t say this often enough to the people I love in my life: “Of all my favorite you’s, this is my favorite you,” and then go on to give details. I need to start doing that. People deserve to hear it. Maybe that should be my New Year’s resolution. That’s one I think I might actually enjoy keeping.

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“I Bought a Dog Today.”

Dear reader, take heart. All is not lost. There is still kindness and decency in this world. Despite all our divisiveness and infighting and moral decay, the milk of human kindness still flows. The story below is a true one. The good deed was done by a friend of my husband’s, who gave me permission to share it with you, as long as he remained anonymous. The picture is not of the actual dog in question.

It’s important to share the good news, to remind us that now is not the time to abandon all hope. Love still wins. It’s still here.

For all of you out there who spread goodness in ways big and small, thank you.

I bought a dog today. I was taking the feral kitten we caught to the shelter today and there was an old man there trying to pick up his dog. He explained that he had been in the hospital and that his dog was there. He wanted to take it home. They explained to him that it had been there for a while and it was up for adoption. He said he just wanted to take him home. She said he would have to pay the adoption fee and expenses. She told him the cost and he said he couldn’t afford it. I bought a dog today.


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A Hilarious Throwback

On this, the one year anniversary of my marriage, I thought I’d share with you one of my very favorite posts. Trust me to have a wedding night like this one! (Still the best decision I ever made, though.)

For a good laugh, please click on over and read The Great Cupcake Caper.

Junior, AKA The Culprit.

An attitude of gratitude is what you need to get along. Read my book!


True confession: I’m equally drawn to, and repulsed by, the macabre. It has always been thus. I think it’s because when the disgusting exists in the world, I want to find out why and how.

Because of this, if I ever find myself in the vicinity of Waycross, Georgia again (please, God, no…) I will have to stop in to see the Southern Forest World Museum. I do love a good Environmental Center, and from the looks of it, this is a good one, indeed. It seems to get universally fantastic reviews, and the images on the website are intriguing.

But I’d go there mainly to see Stuckie. Poor, poor Stuckie. What a story.

Back in 1980, a chestnut oak was chopped down and sawed into logs, and then placed on a lumber truck. That’s when Stuckie was first discovered. He was a hound dog, and he was mummified in the hollow of the tree.

It’s estimated he had been trapped in that tree for at least 20 years when he was found. And he’s still in that tree to this day. He’s on display in the museum. (I first learned of him by reading the amazing book Lab Girl, which I highly recommend.)

We’ll probably never know how Stuckie got in that tree. The most plausible theory is that he chased a racoon and got stuck. I hope he didn’t suffer much. After that, it was perfect conditions, wind that blew away the smell of his dying body, which meant that destructive bugs weren’t attracted to the site, and dry conditions within the stump, that caused Stuckie to arrive at his present state. It sure makes me wonder what is inside the trees that I pass by every day.

I can’t help thinking that somewhere in the 50’s, some poor family lost a beloved member, and never knew why. They probably searched and searched, and maybe even came heartbreakingly close to finding him. That makes me very sad, indeed.

RIP Stuckie, if you can, with so many people staring at you.


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So Glad My Dog Can’t Talk

My dog wakes me up every morning around 5 am to go outside and do his business. Who am I to complain? I have to get up at least once myself, most nights. So, on days when I’m not working the day shift, I get up, shuffle to the door, let him out, doze off a little while leaning on the door frame, let him back in, then go back to bed.

His method of rousing me is to either do a little shake and rattle his collar, or he’ll hop down onto the wood floor and do a tap dance. Click, click, click… “All right, already! Jeez…”

Even if I do get back to sleep, he has decided that I cannot, under any circumstances, sleep past 9 o’clock. He’ll hop up on the bed and lick my face. I’ll roll over. He’ll run to the other side and do it again. I’ll cover my head with a blanket. Then he’ll lick my hand. I’ll say uncharitable things to him. He’ll ignore me. By then I’m so annoyed I can’t get back to sleep anyway.

I love my dog. But he’s the bane of my existence. It could be worse, though. He could talk.

“Ma. Ma. MA! Wake UP! I’ve gotta go! I mean, I really, really, really have to… oh. You’re up. Cool. Come on. Hurry. I’m not kidding. I really have to go.”

“Squirrel! SQUIRREL! Oh. No. That was just a leaf. Sorry. But it looked just like…SQUIRREL!”

“I love you, I love you, I love you, I love you, I love you, I love you!”

“I’m hungry. Starving. Feed me. I want food. Food. Yeah. What you’re having. That would be great. Food. Why won’t you feed me?”

“INTRUDER ALERT!!!!!!!!!!! This is bad! This is really, really, really, really bad. So very bad. Time to panic!”

“Can I come in? Can I come in? Hey! Can I come in? Can I?”

“Pet me. Pay attention. Scratch me right there. Hey. Why are you staring at that screen? I’m right here!”

I love my little Quagmire, but if he could talk, he’d drive me up a wall.


Quagmire wants you to read my book!


The sense I use the most to explore the world is touch. I’m an extremely tactile person. Getting the feel of things is how I comprehend them.

I suspect that most people think that I fidget too much. While I’m listening to others, my hands are often in motion. If there’s anything slippery or soft or oddly shaped in my presence, I’m petting it like a pedigree cat. If I’m wearing clothing with complex stitching, I’m tracing its contours, over and over and over again.

I pet my dog so much that I’m amazed he has any fur left on his body. He seems to like it, though. At least, he keeps coming back for more. (I can’t imagine owning a Mexican Hairless, but I’m dying to know what one feels like.)

I don’t mind navigating dark spaces if I’m familiar with them, because my hands and feet tell me where I am. If I were to go blind, I might be upset, but I’d quickly adapt. (I would like to know how touching someone’s face helps a blind person visualize it, but it’s not like I can walk up to people and ask to touch their faces.)

If I’m told not to touch something, it drives me absolutely nuts. I become obsessed. What does that thing feel like? I have to know! Fortunately, my desire to follow the rules is stronger than my desire to inspect. Usually. So the Mona Lisa would be safe with me. Probably.

I absolutely love holding my husband’s hand. I adore sincere hugs. I love baths because they feel like full body hugs. Walking barefoot seems like the ultimate luxury to me.

Am I weird, or is this normal? Does this resonate with you, dear reader? If it does, I’d like to shake your hand.


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Ever-So-Slightly Askew

Thud. Shuffle, shuffle, shuffle…

That’s what I heard. On my bed.

I figured it was just the dog, so I didn’t even open my eyes. I settled back in, wrapping my arms around said dog, who was on the opposite side of the bed from the sounds.

That sure made me open my eyes. But slowly. Because I was fairly certain I wasn’t going to like what I saw. And I didn’t.

It was a little black bat, fluttering on the pillow next to mine. For a few seconds, I tried to convince myself that it was a really big moth. I could live with a moth. I could fall in love with a moth, given the alternatives. But no. It was a bat.

Everything happened really quickly after that. I jumped up, screaming. This freaked out the dog, who bolted from the room. (Some watchdog he turned out to be.) It also freaked out the bat, who proceeded to fly around my head. This, of course, made me run from the bedroom as well, slamming the door behind me.

Okay, good. The bat was trapped in the bedroom. I could take a moment to figure out what to do. First, close the hysterical dog in the bathroom, so I could prop open the front door. And then turn on every single light in the house.

Now it was time to turn around and release the bat. Except, I didn’t have to do that. Because the little b*****rd had squeezed himself under the crack of the door and was already flying into the living room to join me.

We had a moment, the bat and I. I was screeching and dancing in my jammies, he was doing an acrobatic pirouette, all around my head. (I bet it looked kind of artistic, from an emotional remove, with the mute button on.) Then he darted out the door, back into the night.

So, yeah, that happened. After I spent more than a grand last year getting the bats out of the attic and replacing all the insulation, then spending days blocking what I thought were their only entrances into my house.

They’re baaaaack!

I’m not having a good day. It’s bad enough when this country already feels askew because of the political shenanigans in the white house. Now I get to wonder if I’m going to have unexpected visitors in my home. Everything suddenly feels out of control. Forget parallel universes. Just stop tilting this one, please. I need my rest.

If you’re looking for me, I’ll be the one sleeping in my car all summer.

Bat Boy

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“Lost Saint Bernard”

I saw this on some local social media recently. My first thought was, “How in the hell do you lose a Saint Bernard?” I mean, this is not a dog that can scoot past your ankles while you’re checking the mail. It’s not going to tip-toe past you while you’re binge watching Arrested Development. It’s not hunkered down beneath your shrubbery, hoping to be overlooked.

Losing a Saint Bernard would be akin to losing a baby elephant. Granted, I bet they can run really fast when properly motivated, but as long as you’re hot on their tail, it would be awfully hard for one to just disappear. I think it would take a concerted effort to lose a dog of this size.

Maybe it got stolen. But you’d have to be pretty stupid to steal a Saint Bernard. They can weigh anywhere from 140 to 260 pounds. Can you imagine how much a dog that size must eat? Taking on a Saint Bernard would be like adopting a full grown human being, but one who is prone to chewing the furniture and is a lot less discerning as to where he or she defecates.

But then, while I was busy scoffing at this turn of events, I vaguely remembered a family story. Apparently, when I was a toddler, we had a Saint Bernard. One of the rooms in our house was a step higher than the room below it, so when I’d scoot around in my walker, the dog would lie across the doorway, to keep me from falling. What a good dog.

I have no idea why we would have a dog that size when my single mother had a toddler and two other kids around age 10, but there you have it.

And, ironically, when I grew up and asked her what became of that dog, she said it heard some fire engine sirens and ran away. Hmm. That sounds a lot like one of those, “Spot is now living happily on a farm” type stories. Looking back as an adult, I bet she couldn’t handle it anymore, and got rid of it, or at the very least was kind of glad when it bolted. It wasn’t the first time she’d made up a story to avoid drama, and it wouldn’t be the last.

Because honestly, how do you lose a Saint Bernard?

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What Took You So Long?

It’s heartbreaking when a beloved dog dies. People who don’t have pets don’t understand, really. They become like your children. Only, if you lose a child, there’s a vast support network. When you lose a dog, people expect you to snap out of it. They nervously offer up something about the Rainbow Bridge, and then they feel like their job is done. They don’t want to dwell on it. That makes it really hard to grieve.

I’ve lost a lot of dogs in my lifetime. It absolutely destroys me, every single time. But I try to comfort myself with the fact that I always do all that I can to give my dogs safe, happy, love-filled, and comfortable lives. And they give me so much love in return. There’s no greater gift. “You are my person, so here is my heart.” It’s a rare human who is that generous.

The last time one of my dogs passed away, some fool said, “You can always replace him with another one.” I nearly lost it. My dog is not like a toothbrush. It’s not like just any old dog will do. “Honey, while you’re out, can you pick me up a carton of milk and a new dog?” None of my dogs could ever be replaced.

Having said that, though, you’ll probably be surprised at what I am going to say next. I sincerely believe that when you lose a dog, you really should get another dog as soon as possible. That’s what I have always done.

No, I don’t mean the dog you lost can be replaced. In fact, no two dogs are alike. I’ve had a unique relationship with every single pet I’ve owned.

The reason you should get another dog, and soon, is that you are needed. There are so many dogs out there who are desperate for love and nurturing. You have a lot of love to give.

I know many people who have been so heartbroken by the loss of a dog that they never get another. That devastates me when I think about it. Because there’s a dog out there somewhere that is supposed to be loved by you, and that dog isn’t getting that love. It’s so sad.

I know the pain of loss is horrific. I know that you don’t want to go through that again. But do you also want to never experience that kind of love again? How can you pass that up? There’s a dog out there, just waiting for you. And when you go get him, he’ll say, “What took you so long?”


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If I Could Bark

Hoo. Okay. Wow. Tears in my eyes.

I just watched the most heartrending 12 minutes of video I think I’ve ever seen in my life. If I Could Bark is about all the things you would say to your dog if you both spoke the same language. It’s about how much our dogs mean to us. It gets right to the very soul of the matter. It’ll make you want to hug the stuffing out of your dog.

So, what would I say to Quagmire if I could bark?

  • You are my best friend.

  • Sometimes you pull me back from the brink of a deep, dark depression just by being there.

  • You keep me warm at night, from the inside out.

  • Thank you for listening.

  • You make me feel loved.

  • I wish you could tell me all that you’ve been through, because I know it’s been a lot, and I want to comfort you.

  • You are what makes this house a home.

  • I’m every bit as happy to see you as you are to see me.

  • Sorry for putting antlers on you every Christmas. (Not really, though.)

  • Some people want me to give up on you, but I never will.

  • I will always take care of you. Always.

  • You are the most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen in my entire life.

  • I live to make you feel safe.

  • For heaven’s sake, stop barking so much. I get it. Someone is on our sidewalk. I’ve got it under control.

  • You are the best dog in the entire world.

  • I’m lucky to have you.

  • I can’t imagine life without you, but I know that day will come, and I dread it.

  • If I could keep only one thing in my world, I’d choose you. You are precious to me.

  • I love you so much.

  • Thank you for everything.

Quagmire Best Pic

A book about gratitude is a gift that keeps on giving!