Monday, December 14, 2015

The Absolute Joy of Bowling with Dogs





                                            The Absolute Joy of Bowling with Dogs


   Maybe I'd better rephrase that before the local SPCA knocks on my door and tries to take my babies. My dogs were in no way harmed in the telling of this story. The year was 1982, and sadly the dogs in this story have gone to the rainbow bridge along with others I've loved since.


    I guess I'd better start at the beginning with this one. Some parts of this story, aren't so joyful. But oh my goodness the ending was priceless. And trust me, there weren't many joyful times in my life right then.

    I've always loved to fish. I've been fishing since I was old enough to hold my pole. I'm not good at getting then off the hook or baiting the hook or even putting a hook on the line. Okay, so I kind of suck at fishing but I still like to catch them.

   If you've read my bio you know I've been in a physically abusive relationship. Let me assure you now, I will never be in another one. I don't have a lot of happy memories of that time in my life, but this is one of them.

     Since I never let on to, let's just put it out there, The Abuser, hereafter known as TA, (which is kinder than what I normally say about him), that I loved to fish, I got to do quite a bit of it. Now that's either a good thing or a bad thing. Catching fish, good thing, no fish, bad thing. But that's not the point of this story.

   At that time, I lived somewhere in Arkansas. For only living there for four years, I have a lot of funny stories about it. I guess it comes from seeing the beauty around you regardless of the situation you find yourself trapped in.

    TA decided we needed to scope out a new fishing hole. So we loaded up the dogs and took off. By dogs, I mean my dog, Freckles a Queensland Heeler / Border Collie mix that was meaner than any snake I have ever encountered. She had one job in this life. To protect me. Always, against anyone. Including, TA. And the funny thing is, he never crossed her. I know now it was because he was a bully and had I known then what I know now, I could have brought him down myself.*

   But that's old news. Back to finding new fishing grounds, It's not hard in Arkansas or, at least, it wasn't back then. Water was everywhere. So were fish...and other things. But today was all about the fish. TA soon found what he thought would be a great new fishing hole. Yeah, not so much.
 
    Did I mention we were in Arkansas, well it rains in Arkansas. It rains in Arkansas a lot. It had been raining for a couple of days. Rain + Dirt = MUD therefore, MUD = LOL.

     TA found what he knew was a great fishing hole. And look, you could even see the fish swimming in it. He kept trying to get me to get out of the car and come look at the fish in this hole. Okay I finally got out of the car to go look at the "fish" he'd found and of course, the dogs jumped out with me.
 
     TA got so excited about the "fish" in the pond that he just had to get a better look. He slipped slid his way down the bank to the very edge of the pond with Rags right on his heels. They both stood at the edge of that pond looking at the "fish". All I saw was a long skinny thing that resembled a short, skinny funny looking snake. I know now that the things I was looking at were indeed a species of fish called an Alligator Gar.

      Well, it seems Freckles wanted to get a closer look too, so she got close to the edge and slid right down that bank and pushed both of them into the water right along with those ugly fish. She never swerved toward the gutter or slowed down, she hit them right straight on. TA couldn't get out of the water fast enough, and he couldn't even blame Freckles for pushing him in because he was the fool that wanted to get a closer look in the first place.

   Yep, Karma does, in fact, come around and sometimes you even get to watch.

til next time,

Debbie

*TA had a sweet little boy named Rags that I loved beyond measure. He died of heartworms before we were even aware there was such a thing. Years later I was able to save my rescue Beau from them when he came to me instead of being taken to the pound. Sometimes life's lessons are hard. Karma also lets us make up for past mistakes, even if they were inadvertent.






Friday, December 11, 2015

Living Life with Joy: A Funny Thing Happened on the way to Raleigh

Living Life with Joy: A Funny Thing Happened on the way to Raleigh:             A Funny Thing Happened...........      My sister was getting ready to move for the second time since she'd been marrie...

A Funny Thing Happened on the way to Raleigh




            A Funny Thing Happened...........


     My sister was getting ready to move for the second time since she'd been married to her forever love. She'd already moved from her home in Galveston to her new home in Birmingham. Now she was moving from Birmingham to Raleigh. She had just moved from Galveston when the Hurricanes hit the Gulf Coast. And her home, sadly, was one of the homes that were damaged. We are thankful that she was safely away, and prayed for those that were still there.

     After her husband's residency had been finished, she moved to Raleigh for his fellowship. It was when she was in Birmingham that we went to see her. I don't remember anything about the trip over because my sister was in trouble. It was Christmas, and her unborn baby was trapped in a toxic environment. What we heard, come now they're in trouble. It also happened that it was my birthday.

       I got the greatest gift in the world for my birthday that year. The life of my sister and a beautiful baby girl that to this day is my special treasure.

The second time I went to Birmingham was a lot different. I took my Mother, and I paid attention to where we were going. I had to; I was driving. But the thing is, The only thing you see on the road to Birmingham from Texas is nothing. You see trees. The road signs say things like, Chattanooga next right. No Chattanooga, just more trees. Until you cross the Mississippi river. Then the scenery changes. Look it's a bridge.

    The next time my sister moved it was to Raleigh. I never got the pleasure of going to Raleigh to see her, but my Mother did. She told me this funny story.  Thanks, mom.

     Since Fellowship only lasted a year, they thought they'd just take the bare minimum and just make do. They rented a nice home and got moved in. They had great neighbors a wonderful park nearby and a place for Brandi to play. Brandi was a beautiful Golden Retriever. My sister was getting ready to move back to Texas at the end of the fellowship and was making lists of last minute things that she needed to get done.

  1. Take out garbage
  2. Settle up with Landlord, turn in keys.
  3. Poop in neighbors yard
  4. Don't forget sani wipes for the car
     
       And the list went on, but these are the finer points. Poop in neighbor's yard. My mom was helping her with this list, and she got to that item. She was going to ask about it when my sisters husband came in. He also looked at the list of things left to do.

      He looked at my mom, shrugged, and looked at my sister who was just coming down the hallway a bag of garbage in tow, and said, baby, why do we need to poop in the neighbor's yard? And who's going to do it. Of course, he was laughing all the time.

       She came out and said, "that was a note to remind me that Brandi had pooped in the neighbor's yard, and I needed to go clean it up." Nice man that he is, her faithful husband did it for her.

        A good laugh was had by all. I hope you have one too.

til next time.,

Debbie




Tuesday, December 1, 2015

A Not So Joyful Experience



                                               
                                                       The Day of the Not So Dead?


     Yesterday I thought I smelled something off in my laundry room. My laundry room not only houses my washer and dryer, but it also has a pantry area where I store my unused appliances. That's not to say I don't use them; I do, just not all the time. Anyway back to the phantom smell. I looked around and decided it had to be the trash. Which, by the way, is also in my laundry room. There is also a large covered container for the food I feed my three fur babies. And of course, the water drinker that resembles those that you find on top of the ones you see in office buildings, that people are always talking around.

      Quite frankly, I never understood the fascination with the water cooler. I'd rather talk around a nice fire or a bottle of wine, but that's just me.

        I turned my laundry room upside down trying to find the "dead thing." Since I have three fur babies, one of which I know likes to bring in dead things and save them for me to come home. Laci gave me the gift of stink while I was away from home on a cruise. She decided that my recliner would be a wonderful place to put the baby bird she found that had fallen out of its nest. The problem is that it takes a while to find the smell when it's surrounded by an entire recliner's worth of material and stuffing. It seems the bird had gotten wedged underneath the seat and between the liner and the floor.

        Needless to say, we went furniture shopping the next day.

        I moved the dryer out of the way and found many assorted items that missed the garbage can. The person who's responsible, who's not me, lives in my house and shares my life. I just sigh, clean up the mess and go on with my mission.

        Next on my agenda was the dog food container, the water drinker, and the washer. Thankfully I only got as far as the dog food container. It appears my "dead thing" was a potato that was passed it's prime. It was a new bag; I wonder if I can get a refund for the smelly thing? Nah, I am now the proud owner of the cleanest laundry room in town. I think I'll have some potato soup for dinner with the remaining potato's that aren't "dead."


Til next time,

Debbie

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Double Platinum

 


Double Platinum

  This has been one heck of a week for me. It started with a mosquito. A truly nasty pest that has invaded the peaceful sanctuary of my patio. It appears one of the nasty things left me with a nasty thing, West Nile Virus. Lucky me I only got the kind that affects 99% of the population. A man in my city was not so fortunate. He contracted the same thing, but his traveled to his spinal column. We are all praying for him to recover. 

 When the hateful creature bit me is undetermined as I have been fighting off the evil creatures all summer. When a mosquito takes up residence in your guest room toilet and your guest finds them, it's truly despicable. Thankfully the guest was my borrowed son and he thought it was funny until one of them bit him on the.....well I guess you can just imagine where he got bit. 

  Anyway, the evil virus that engulfed me was kinder to me. I had bone crushing fatigue that caused me to sleep twenty hours a day. Debilitating pain in every part of my body, and a migraine-like headache, for nine days. Thankfully it's over, on this, my last day before leaving on vacation for a month. So I have spent the entire day packing like a mad woman on a six-pack of energy drinks. 

  On Wednesday, last week, my Beau Jangles, decided to sit and spin on my rug. It was time for a trip to the vet to get his anal glands evacuated. As you can see he is a happy boy normally so he was totally up for the car ride and probably would have driven if I had been as sick as I was the next day. 


   The vet advised me that he thought he found a mass but would like to see him in a week to do a follow-up exam to determine if there was indeed a mass. I made the appointment and was on my way home when a headache from hell started. I'm always in pain due to fibromyalgia, and since migraines are a part of life for me I just went home and took an Imitrex. It didn't even come close to stopping that train wreck of a headache. Nine days later and I can still feel it in the background waiting to come back with a vengeance.

  I came back from the dead enough on Friday, that I could take my boy to his appointment with the vet. He did another exam, found a mass the size of a pencil eraser and we came to an understanding of what would need to be done to have it taken out. He is going to do a laser surgery to keep his sphincter muscle intact. This, hopefully, will keep him from being incontinent. We are all praying that it's benign.

  The thing is I take him and drop him off tomorrow morning. The day I leave for vacation. Thankfully my borrowed son will be here taking care of my home and babies. And I have a great pet sitter / vet tech who is going to pick him up from the hospital and check on him during his recovery to make sure everything is going as it should. I have some awesome people in my life and I hate to think about what my life would be like without them. 

   Since I was so out of touch all week, it affected people I care about a lot. But mostly it affected Diana. My best friend, Diana. She was anxious and had a feeling that something was wrong. Today out of desperation she contacted Lance to make sure I was still breathing. I messaged her back, answered another friend that I was okay and that I would call Diana. I accepted 19 friend requests. (none of them spammers) and messaged back to two other friends. That was on facebook. I'm afraid to look at the other sites.
 
  This would explain why I misplaced my phone after I used it to talk to Diana.

  Since I was still packing and doing some last minute things, it's understandable I misplaced my phone. My phone is my life. It is my computer, my social media connection, my business and my constant companion. My phone was missing. I do not have a land line with a phone hooked up to it. I have a fax machine, a television, and various other items that use it. Basically everything but a phone.

   I got Lance's phone and called my phone and walked around trying to find it. I searched the entire house and finally got to where I could hear it but still couldn't find it. I knew it was somewhere in the bathroom. Since it's enclosed in a Lifebox, I knew that even if it had fallen in the toilet it would still ring. Nope, not in the toilet. Not in the dirty clothes hamper either. It actually sounded like it was coming through the wall. Yes, it was in the linen closet on top of the sheets. I guess I put it there when I was changing the towels out.

    Some people have blonde moments, I have double platinum moments, but that's what makes life fun.  This is me and my Lance taking photos of the eclipse. As you can see, one of us was having fun.




Til next time,

Debbie




   

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Time Management


 Time.

 It's what we all want, need, beg for, but never seem to have enough of. Most of us have at least some sort of time management skills. I have none. Zero, nada, zip, a big old goose egg, no time management skills. I did when I had a "9 - 5" which was actually never really a nine to five at all. It was more an 8 - 5 or some odd variation of the normal definition of a workday. Now that I'm "retired," and I use that term loosely, because as many "retired" people work harder when they retire than they ever did while they were working, it seems like I never have enough time. Ever. Because I cannot focus on one thing unless I visit my sister.
 
 This is why I lovingly embrace those times each year that I get to go on vacation. Which as it happens I'm getting ready for now. A long vacation. A month long vacation. But in getting ready for said vacation I had a hiccup, a glitch, a gremlin, a time warp. I was gone for four days doing the impossible task of getting my Mother's things ready for a yard sale. My sister, whom I love, is a slave driver. We crammed four weeks of work into  24 hours of work.

 Since my mom is in an assisted living facility and is moving into an efficiency apartment, we had a great deal to go through. It was hard for my sister and myself to do it. Because even though our mom is still with us, we had to let go of memories of our very separate childhoods. My sister is 21 years younger than me. I was already married when she was born and since we weren't raised together we don't have the same attachment to the same things. So we both had things that meant so very much to us in different ways.

 I wanted things that I remembered from my childhood. The Christmas ornaments that my mother lovingly put on our tree every year, or the garland that hung on the mantle. These items are as old as I am and mom used them faithfully every year.

 My sister, the more practical of us, wanted things she would use. So when it was all said and done, my Santa Fe was loaded down with treasures and my sister put her things in her cabinets as we went along.

 It was when we got to the clothes that the tears fell. It wasn't because we felt any attachment to the clothes, it was the scent when we opened the plastic tub they'd been stored in. It was the scent of our mom. I know that scent is the most powerful of all the senses, but to have it hit you in your heart when you weren't expecting it, that's when it becomes real. So we cried a bit, hugged a bit, and then laughed a bit because mom is still here.

 My sister is my greatest joy. Her children are my second greatest joy. I love them beyond measure. But my sister is still 21 years younger than me. I'm old, slow, and have lots of artificial body parts. Some days I get up and think to myself, I wonder what part is going to fail me today. Thankfully we made it through the sorting and pricing and got to the actual yard sale. At 11:00 I needed to take a small break. I was so exhausted I fell asleep at the sink in the bathroom washing my hands. It was when the hot water ran out and started running cold, that I came awake enough to go to my bed and tell myself, five minutes, I just need to lay down for 5 minutes. Right. Five minutes turned into almost three hours. When I finally came back from the dead, everyone else was asleep and Lance was loading our car. Bless him.

 The ordeal was finally over and we finally rested for the first time in three days. Lance and I came home the next day and he lovingly unloaded our completely packed car. The next day I decided I would get everything washed, dried, and put in it's new home. Always the optimist of course I failed at my self imposed task because it seems as if I have the squirrel syndrome. You know the movie UP by Disney/Pixar, (if you don't you are missing a national treasure), the dog loses all focus when he sees a squirrel, that's me. I lose all focus every time I try to do something.

 Tonight was a great example. I was unloading the dishwasher. No big deal right? Yeah, you don't live with me. It could take me 5 minutes or 5 days to unload the dishwasher. It really depends on how many squirrel moments I have during any given task. I took some flatware to the dining room and remembered that I had't finished the sorting of the canning rings that needed to be discarded from the ones that I can keep. Since I can so many things in the summer months I go through this process at the end of the season so I can start out fresh the next season.

 That job got interrupted by another job, then another task, and then something else, and well you get the picture. I like to chase squirrels and my husband wound up emptying the dishwasher. I think I'll keep him.

Til next time,

Debbie

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Tears for the Fallen



It seems like every day on the news we hear of another school shooting, or another sniper attack on innocent drivers on interstate 10 in Phoenix. Not to mention the soldiers that defend us whose lives are taken in battle or due to tragic accidents. Bad news seems to dominate every aspect of our lives.

I am always so sad to hear of another fallen due to negligence or pure evilness of another. Tonight I was face to face with another senseless slaughter, sadly, in my own home.

I guess I need to start at the beginning.

I love dogs. I love all dogs. I love all animals. Animals are non-judgmental. They don't care what you look like, what religion you belong to, or who you vote for. They love you because you love them. I have always had a very special relationship to all animals. My dad was the same. Animals have a sense about people and can tell when you mean them no harm. There were always animals coming up to my dad to eat from his hand. Little chipmunks, squirrels, butterflies and even the odd caterpillar. (But that's another story.)

I inherited that trait from him as animals have always shown me the kindness that I show them. I have numerous birds land in my hand to be fed, so many butterflies have landed on me I have lost count of the number. I have gotten vicious dogs to lay down at my feet with nothing more than an outstretched hand and a soft voice. The same for insects. I have never had fear of them because if they see you coming and you aren't invading their space, typically they will leave you alone. Any animal will defend itself if cornered. From the smallest insect to the largest elephant. I always approach with caution and care. I have taken some amazing photos because of the caution and care.

I took some amazing photos of an insect that because of his coloring, thought he was dead. I was saddened by the loss as he was a praying mantis. Praying mantis' are what are known as beneficial bugs. They, like my favorite insect the lady bug, eat other not so beneficial bugs such as aphids. I'm not sure what the diet of a praying mantis consists of but I know that as an organic gardener, I'm glad to have both species in my garden.

This praying mantis however wasn't dead. I know this because when I spotted him I thought he was trapped in a spider web and was going to dislodge the spider to greener pastures instead of my garage door. When I bent down to move the web and said praying mantis, the mantis moved. I could't get my camera fast enough. This was my chance to photograph a juvenile mantis.

This is the mantis. He is sitting on my husband Lance's hand. As you can see he is not the bright green color that you would normally associate with a mantis but a dull tan color. He was also completely happy to be sitting on this odd surface. I got multiple photos of him but this one was my favorite. He just kept moving his head and followed me as I photographed him.

This was a photo of him a few days later sitting on a rock in the planter for my hibiscus tree. He was just starting to turn a lovely shade of green.

This is my beautiful girl Laci. She was rescued in March of 2014. She is my Boston "Terror" and I love her unconditionally. She is one of the lights of my life. She is also an exterminator. An unpaid exterminator. A sometimes, like today, unwanted exterminator. She committed murder on my poor praying mantis. I knew she had a bug when she came in because of the way she was acting. I was thinking it was one of the usual suspects, probably a June bug or a cricket. No, it was my lovely praying mantis who was finally the beautiful green color of an adult. I hadn't seen him in a couple of days and was hoping to see him again when he finally turned his adult color so I would have a completed set. Sadly he was missing his head when she finally dropped him. I couldn't bring myself to scold her because it's what she does. But I was still saddened at the loss of my beneficial insect. 


So here's to you dear mantis. You were well loved while you were alive and sadly, you made a tasty snack for my sweet exterminator. 




Until next time,

Debbie


Monday, August 31, 2015

The Joy of Multitasking


                    The Joy of Multitasking


I've been multitasking all day. I'm the person who can do a load of laundry while cleaning a bathroom as I'm taking a shower with a phone conversation on the other side of the shower door. 

Yep that was me this morning. I had just gotten my shower ready to get into and my phone rang. I left it on speaker the entire time I showered, cleaned the shower and started a load of laundry. Why did I do this? And who was on the other line that wouldn't be offended because I was doing this? Well that's a story now isn't it. 

This morning my phone rang much the same as it does every morning. Usually it's from a number unknown to me and since I get so many phone calls wanting to sell me everything from janitorial supplies to printer ink for my home based business, I usually let it go to voicemail. I decided to answer it this morning because it's Monday, I felt like it, I just wanted to see what they were trying to sell me today, or maybe I just had a feeling that this was a call I couldn't ignore. It was priceless.

I answered the phone as I usually do with unknown callers, Design Styles by Deborah, how may I assist you today? Now to be completely honest with you I thought I was talking to a real person, the computer voice was that real, so kudos to the company on that one. But I, being the person I am, hate talking to computers. I really hate talking to computers that I don't know the company they are affiliated with. So by the time I figured out it was a computer I decided to have some fun. 

The computer proceeded to ask me if I was me. I looked in the mirror just to make sure. There's more of me than there used to be, but yes, still me.  So I said yes. 
Okay. Are you still living at your address. I went outside checked the numbers on the house. Yep this is where I live. So I said yes. 
Okay. Since I've confirmed that you are the person I'm trying to reach, can I ask you a few questions? 
Sure. That's when I figured out it was a computer. It didn't understand my response. 
*Rubs hands and shouts for joy.
I'm sorry I didn't understand you, can you repeat that? 
Yes. But first I have a question for you. Who is this? 
Holiday Travel. 
Okay, proceed. 
Have you ever traveled out of the United States?
Yes.
Have you ever used the services of a travel agent?
Yes.
Do you have a passport?
Yes.
Do you have a credit card?
Yes.
It sounds like you are qualified to receive this free offer. Would you like to hear about it?
Yes.
We would like to offer you a free cruise to the Bahamas. You would only be responsible for the port fees of $69.00 per person. This is a wonderful opportunity to visit the Bahamas on a luxury cruise ship for only $69.00 per person in port fees. Would you be interested in this offer. 
Yes.
Okay let me transfer you to one of our travel specialists. Please hold until someone comes on the line. 

Sadly I ended the call right then. Not for the reasons you might think but one of my own in addition to the ones your thinking. I have been to the Bahamas. I hated the Bahamas. I will never go to the Bahamas again. EVER. It was a steaming mass of humanity, sweat, and a huge rock pile that only offered a Straw Market for entertainment on one island and a trip to view all the rich peoples vacation homes on the other. 

Imagine if you will, A giant bale of hay with tunnels cut into it miles deep that only has one way in and one way out. Then add the fact that these tunnels are filled with "shops" much like those found in a flea market. Remember we are still inside a bale of hay. The only opening is the one we came in. The walkways are only large enough for one person at a time. There is no going back the way you came in. To someone who is claustrophobic, this was a living nightmare. It took me days to find my way out of that hay cave and by the time I did I had been manhandled by more humanity than lives in my current hometown. I wanted a shower, a nap and a Xanax in no particular order. 

The other island was just as bad but in a different way. We thought we were going to see the sights of the island. Yeah, we saw Oprah's house, P-Diddy's house, etc. you get the picture. Plus the tour guide went on to tell us the names of the people who care for the houses and their salaries and why it was such a great job. Really. 

Needless to say I passed on the Bahamas trip.  

Have a laugh today. I did.

Until next time. 







Sunday, August 23, 2015

The Joy of Friends



Best Friends Forever


I have friends that I have known since I was born. When we get together it's almost as if we haven't been apart. It's often said that good friends can go years without seeing each other but the love is still there. I felt that last night, again, it wasn't the first time I'd felt the love embrace me and it wont be the last. But the feeling of seeing an old friend is like no other. 

Friends are like small treasures we pick up in our lifetimes and lock away in our hearts until we see them again. We had a great supper and talked for almost 3 hours. It was priceless time. Time to make new plans to see each other again, to hold each other up for those 3 hours, it was time to just be us and the rest of the world fell away. 

It always reminds me just how precious your friends are. They love you unconditionally and expect nothing more from you than you can give them. They ask for noting more than your time and give you as much of theirs as you are willing to take. 

We both love to scrap book so this winter when it's cold and we have nothing else to do we are going to scrapbook.  I have so many things to go into a scrapbook that I could easily make 20 of them. But the really funny thing is, I have made them for everyone in my family, 8 of them, and have never made one for myself. Its's a funny thing why we never do for ourselves what we've done for others. Well this is my year. I am going to make my wedding book, and my honeymoon book. Lance and I have been married almost 9 years so I think it's time.

I also have photos and memories of all of the cruises we've been on. I've lost count of the number of them but I know we're close to being platinum level on carnival. Those memories alone will fill a few scrapbooks.

We are going to go on a long vacation this fall from Texas, through New Mexico, to the Grand Canyon, then to Las Vegas, over to Los Angeles to support, "The Salute to Cancer Survivors Cruise." Which is 7 days, then it's off to San Diego for some much  needed cultural education. Tucson will be our next stop, to visit with Lance's family and then it's back to LA for another small cruise but this time with Lance's Mother Marty with us. This time it's 5 days.

Then we go back to Tucson, spend the night and drive home back to Texas the next day. I hope I find lots of great things to use in scrapbooks, the children's books I'm writing and that I just have fun on this new adventure. Whatever happens I'm sure I'll have plenty of stories to tell about it.

Til next time.......

Debbie

Thursday, August 6, 2015

The Art of being Joyful

                         

                                     The Joy of Children



Have you seen a bunch of children playing outside, in the street, laughing, having a good time?
Have you seen them lately? I did just yesterday. From my front window and my back yard. Children outside playing. It was such a joy to watch them. It was almost as if we had gone back to the times when children played outside. When we made up our own games. We could do anything our imagination would think of.

I was lucky to not only have Cindy and Pam but also Jimmy, Lynda, Ginger, Bobby and a bunch of friends. Pam, Cindy and I were all the same age plus we were cousins so we were born playing together. Jimmy and Lynda are also cousins but they were a bit older and would sometimes play with us. Bobby, my baby brother, and Ginger, were smaller so we had to be careful with them. Scott was kind of in the middle of Bobby and Ginger but we all cared for each other and we all had so much love.

We played outside where we built forts or had fights in olive trees with the olives as ammunition. I remember one time we got carried away, Jimmy and Lynda were in one tree, Cindy, Pam and myself were in another tree. Jimmy shot an olive toward our tree with the aim of a true marksman. He hit me right between my eyes with that olive and I went over backwards and fell right out of that tree. I hit the ground so hard my Grandma came running outside screaming for my Grandpa. Jamesy, JAMESY, HURRY UP ONE OF OUR BABIES FELL OUT OF THE TREE..

Of course I was fine. I was a kid. Kids don't get hurt falling out of trees onto grassy surfaces. I just got the wind knocked out of me. Of course we were banned from the trees after that and let me tell you that if we got caught....I don't even want to think about it.

We lived in a small mining community called San Manuel. It's located in The southern portion of Arizona. As kids we played in the desert. It was a second home to us. It was full of incredible things like cactus and devil horns and blister bugs. Of course the devil horns only resembled a devils horns. They were actually a seed pod for one the the trees in the desert. I'm not sure which one. When you are a kid you don't really care about those things. We played with horny toads and big bright green june bugs. We would catch them put a string on their leg and fly them like kites. We always let them go when we were done playing with them. We also had bats that would come in after dark. My Mom was always telling us that they would get in our hair. Well we weren't allowed out after dark so we never knew if a bat would get in our hair our not. We always made our own fun. We used our imaginations and became whoever we wanted to be. Life was easy then. If only we could go back for a few days and live those good times over again.

Those were the good things about life in that small town. The downside was often the town itself. The mine was underground and had its own railroad system and its own smelter. At that time of course the EPA was nowhere in sight and so for years we all breathed sulpher smoke from the twin stacks that belched it out all day every day. When the barometric pressure got just right it would blanket the town in a smoke so thick you couldn't see much less breathe. This stuff would literally burn you lungs when you breathed it. But those were the only times I can think of that were hard.

I was always so easy for us as we were all right there in the same town. We didn't know what it was like to be away from each other. Until one of us did. Oh we still got together on major holidays but eventually we all grew up and moved away. Even now, I feel like an island unto myself. I lived in my current home town with my Mother, Sister and Brother. My sister got married and moved for school and settled three hours south of me. My brother did the same and moved 2 hours north of me. Then he to decided to move to where my sister was, so now he is also 3 three hours south of me. My Mother who had to go into assisted living last year, also now lives 3 hours south of me. The rest of my family is scattered to the four winds.  But we all still talk on the phone, or on Facebook and are all still very much a part of each others lives.

Til next time,

Have a joy filled day.

Maci and the Dandelion



I have recently started on a new venture. I'm writing children's books and would love to share a short story I wrote just for fun. Please enjoy and if you know anyone with children who would like some cute stories about great critters, please direct them to my page on Amazon.  



MACI AND THE DANDELION

BY DEBORAH JOY




My family was gathered, at what would be the last time at my Mom’s Kitchen/Dining room table. Since she only had a dining room table and her kitchen wasn’t large enough for a table, this was the place to be when we had a family gathering.

My niece,  Maci, who was 5 at the time, was always busy. Busy tormenting her brother, busy begging for a story or just  busy wandering around looking at things in Grandmas house. Today she was busy opening things. She came upon a basket with a lid on it. It was a small basket my Mom used for random things. A stray button, or a lost paperclip. Well at one time, Maci decided it needed to house a dandelion.



I guess at some point she had put a flower in the box so it would dry out and Mom could still remember the flower that Maci gave her. Of course when she gave Mom the flower had been many months ago. It was winter now, and no flowers had been growing for a long time.




 So the dandelion did what dandelions do, it turned into a puff ball of seeds. Of course Maci, like all children, love dandelions.  This one was no exception. She sat at that kitchen table, took a deep breath and blew those seeds right into her face.

  It was impossible not to laugh. The look on her face was priceless. A combination of awe, shock and fear covered her entire body. Of course everyone was laughing and finally she laughed with us. Her brother, Bryson, who was 2 at the time, just looked astonished. I’m sure it was his first experience with a dandelion. 




This is where my writing comes from. These little people who are so excited by everything around them. Everything  they touch becomes something new and different and exciting.  I try to remember what it was like when I was that age. I see the world through their eyes for a moment and realize just how much I’ve been missing.



Thursday, July 23, 2015

Going Bald Gracefully. Not.





The Art of Going Bald.

There really should be an art to it.

 And there must be thousands of books on the subject but apparently they are all hidden in someones basement never to be seen or heard from again. I know because I have looked for books on the subject of going bald

 Men do baldness with grace and dignity. Some even shave their heads because, why bother with hair if you don't have to. It's certainly easier in the shower. Only body wash required. Shampoo optional. Men are supposed to go bald. It's a rule. They even have a name for it. Male pattern baldness. There are, of course, some men who hold out to the bitter end before admitting defeat. They have a ring of hair around their heads that looks like a Frisbee got stuck there.

Then there are the others that take the three remaining hairs on their heads and comb them to the side then wrap them back around in a sort of swirl effect until it looks like they have three hairs on their had that decided to do a waltz and are now standing at attention. These men are so attached to their hair they will do anything to keep it.

Women don't have that same luxury. We need hair, Hair is what we hide behind, frame our faces with, Create fabulous works of art with that take hours only to go home after the party and wash it all out. Having hair is work and women need to have hair. Think about the time in the bathroom women would save everyday if they, suddenly went bald. The same things would apply to us. Only body wash in the shower, no more trips to the salons, Lots of money saved there,

I'm not really changing the subject just veering away from it for a minute. I've been going to physical therapy for 16 weeks on the orders of my doctor. The therapy I've been engaging in has been based in the swimming pool. I've gotten stronger and have lost a total of 20 pounds. Next Tuesday is my last day of therapy. I see my doctor on Monday. At that time I will beg her to give me a medical release to do water aerobics with the 15 or so ladies at the pool each day. I have learned a lot from these ladies. But one of the main things is that they are, to some degree, losing their hair. Today I felt free for the first time in I can't remember when. I have been wearing wigs, hateful contraptions that make your head itch like crazy, an odd assortment of hats, yes I have about 75 hats. I like hats so I'll probably keep wearing them. And I have some head scarves that I wear when I want to challenge someone to a fight because they think I'm a Muslim, instead of the shirttail Baptist that I actually am.

Today was therapy day. I got ready to go and hat in hand was walking out the door. I decided then that today would be the day. My freedom day. Today I went without a hat to the pool. Yes some of the ladies actually cheered. I didn't feel out of place, I didn't feel like people were staring at me. And I didn't put my hat back on to go to the grocery store, or the pharmacy or even in my own home. I am going to embrace the baldness. not. I will still wear hats, the hateful wigs and the scarves until it is socially acceptable for women to be seen in public bald.

Til next time,

Have a joy filled day.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Joyful Cooking



                                  RECIPES FOR FUN

  NOUGATS AND NIBBLES


       I've always loved recipes. I can't tell you how many cookbooks, cooking magazines and just plain recipes I've gathered over the years. The ones I'm going to share with you came from friends along my way. I have treasured them because they are handwritten and have been some of the best food that I ever ate.

 A smiling face is half the meal.   Latvian proverb                                                                                                         
Have you ever looked around at something and ask yourself where did all of this stuff come from? I am a collector of recipes. I have no idea how I became a collector of recipes, unless it was handed down from my Mom, who is also, a collector of recipes.  I have no intention of ever cooking all of them but I like having the option of cooking them…someday. Being a collector of recipes has its pitfalls. People feel like they need to give you more recipes to add to your collection of recipes that you have no use for.  But as a collector of recipes some have found the way into my collection that are, quite simply, extraordinary.

I don’t know the author of this recipe or how it came to be in my collection. It’s written on a sheet of lined tablet paper and has been encased in what appears to be clear packing tape. I have copied it here exactly as it has been written.

“ “This receipt is guaranteed to be the most unorthodox, unconstitutional, & ridiculously compliled you have ever tried to absorb!” “
“P.S. a real Mexican would shudder & say no-no-no. But I don’t like their chili either.”
Meat
Ground Beef (regular) Browned in skillet (alone first)
“           “        (course grind)
Bulk Sausage
Canned tomatoes-crushed with potato masher
Onions-diced and sauted-oleo
Green peppers-“    “       “-oleo
Green chilies-popped in oven-diced
Mushrooms-chopped fine and well browned
Garlic-Fresh-thro garlic press
Cumminos (spice sparingly)
Mild chili powder (2 cans we sent) for flavor
Hot chili powder-to taste
Sugar and salt-to taste

Optional-(all adds flavor)
Canned mushroom soup or gravy
Tomato juice-Lea and Perrin or A-1 sauce-Red pepper-can of tomato puree

Various other tidbits & nick nacks & odds and ends to numerous to mention.””   

Happy eating!
.
Food has always been a big part of my life. The following recipe was given to me by Alice. This was one of her son’s favorite meals and since he was my new husband at the time, it was with great pleasure that I cooked it for him.  Although, having been born and raised in southern Arizona, this was not the way I learned to cook enchiladas.


Enchiladas
2 cans-cream of chicken soup
2 cans-cream of mushroom soup
2 soup cans of water
1 can chopped green chili (small)
3 or 4 cans tomato sauce (8oz)
½ can of el pato sauce (more or less to the taste)
Combine and heat until warm (do not boil)

Method
Brown 2 lbs. ground beef with
1 tsp. garlic salt
Drain and set aside

Dip corn tortillas in hot grease to soften (or heat in microwave)
Dip tortillas in sauce. Put a little ground beef and cheese on tortillas, roll and place in baking pan. Pour sauce over the tortillas, top with cheese. Bake at 350 degrees until cheese melts.

Ole`


 This last recipe, also for enchiladas, is from Charlie. He is as handy as a pocket on a shirt. He even has a possible box. I asked him one time what a possible box was. He told me it was possible he was going to need something out of it. I told him I’d had one of those for years, it’s called a purse. Mine weighs approximately 28 pounds and has everything that anyone could ever need. It is also the size of a small suitcase and causes me to walk lopsided. I finally learned to change shoulders every so often so I can straighten back out. After my spinal surgery this spring, my surgeon advised me not to carry a purse. Okay. Now I carry my driver’s license and debit card only. 

Lance carries my purse.

Here is Charlie’s recipe for:
White Enchiladas

1 pkg shredded cheese
1 # meat (hamburger, chicken or turkey)
1 can chopped green chiles
1 can cream of mushroom soup (small)
1 8oz cup of sour cream
8oz picante sauce
1 pkg flour tortillas
Brown meat in skillet Pour out any excess fat add picante sauce and simmer until well combined at same time, make white sauce, In sauce pan put green chile, sour cream and cream of mushroom soup. Add enough water to make it pliable and not stick. Bring to a slow boil. Roll meat mixture into tortillas and place in a 8x11 pan. Pour white sauce over top. Bake in 350 degree oven for 10-15 minutes or until sauce thickens on top. Add cheese on top and melt.
I put extra onions on top before I put in oven the first time. I use aluminum pans so if I don’t want to wash it, I can just chunk it.

I have to say I like his logic. I often have felt like just “chunking” something. I have actually tried both of the enchilada recipes. Oddly enough they are both quite good considering that they both use soup. I have nothing against soup but I had never thought of them being a staple for Mexican cooking. 

 Until next time.....


Happy eating




 

Saturday, July 4, 2015

When Life Gets In Your Way

                                               



Sometimes life gets in the way and keeps you busy with other things that you'd rather not do. Like spending time in the emergency room twice. Having to face the prospect of physical therapy for 16 weeks. And having one of your fur babies need the services of a veterinarian for 2 days in a row. That has been my downside of my life for the last few weeks. Hopefully a medication change has made my desire to rearrange my face one piece at a time, history.

The first ER visit was because of a series of events. If I had that day to do over, I certainly would. It all started fairly normal, until the mailman arrived. Let me assure you now. This was not my regular mailman.

I saw him struggling on my front porch to put an over sized package into my small mailbox. Do you see a problem here?  Sadly I didn't. I opened the door and stepped out offering my assistance to the person who was delivering my mail that day. I really don't think that he deserves even the title of mail man and you'll see why in a minute.

Anyway back to my tale, I offered to take the over sized package from him so he could get the rest of my mail in my box. I guess there is some unwritten rule he was following by not handing me my own mail. By this time I had laid the package on the handily located bench right beside the mailbox. So my hands were empty. My Boston Terrier, Laci, picked the moment that I was attempting to take the mail from him, to bolt out the front door. She pushed me off the porch onto a patio that my husband built out of pavers. I managed to give myself a concussion, ripped all the skin off the side of my face and wound up with a broken elbow and a broken wrist. The person delivering my mail, left me lying on the patio, didn't call an ambulance, didn't try to see if I was still alive, and was actively kicking at my sweet Laci, who loves everyone. My next door neighbor chose that moment to come home and actually helped me to get up. Called my husband Lance at work to come home, and was going to help me find Laci. At that time another neighbor brought my Laci back to me.


In case you were wondering. No I never said anything to the post office about the person who was delivering my mail that day. Several people have asked me why I didn't turn him in. I always said, what for, being a complete jerk. I don't think he broke a law by not helping me. But I was certainly glad to get my regular mailman back.

This was the beginning of a very long 3 month journey.

The second time I fell, this time with no help from Laci, was in the back yard. I blame Lance for this one but really he had nothing to do with it. He had mowed the yard earlier and was inside the house taking a break. I was going to the garage to get something for dinner out of the freezer. I had healed from the previous fall and was doing well until the moment I stepped off the walk, to go around the BBQ, and wound up stepping in a hole that was camouflaged as grass. Yep I fell again. This time I bit through my bottom lip, tried to break my nose and actually broke my upper denture. On a Saturday this time. My lip needed 4 stitches, my nose, thankfully, wasn't broken and I had another concussion. Lance found me this time. He was a lot calmer than I was. All I saw was a pool of blood with no idea where it was coming from.

The third time, I guess you could say, was the charm. I fell in my home right before I got into my bedroom. This time I thought I'd break some of my ribs and a hip. I didn't go to the emergency room for this one and my doctor is very upset with me because of it. She didn't even know about the second visit. So she ordered x-rays of both hip and ribs. It's official broken ribs.

This week, Laci decided she'd try to test my nerves by coming in the house with an eye that was almost bloody it was so red. I had been at physical therapy that morning and she was fine when I left. I have no idea what had happened so off to her vet we went. It turns out she had a scratch from something so he fixed her right up with all the necessary drops and gels to get her healed. The next day while I was in the shower she decided to break one of her toenails so that it was hanging by a thin piece of her flesh. Thankfully, her mom didn't pass out on her. I once again took her to the vet, we now have a standing appointment with them, and he clipped the offending toenail off. Put a large white bandage on it and sent her home.

Frankly I'm afraid to leave the spot I'm sitting at because it actually seems a little safer here. I still have joy in my life and I'll let you in on it with my next post.



https://www.facebook.com/pages/Deborah-Joy/968414526535959



























Monday, May 11, 2015

A Tribute



Petunia the Pitbull Puppy


I normally use this space to write about my life but today I'd like to talk to you about someone else.
specifically, Aimee Gilbreath. She did something extraordinary. 

She adopted a puppy. 

Oh, it wasn't just any puppy. It was a Pit Bull puppy. But again, not just any Pit Bull puppy. A Pit Bull puppy with a cleft lip. This is Petunia the Pit Bull puppy's story.
  

Petunia was born in December 2014 with a bilateral cleft lip, cleft of the hard and soft palate, and hydrocephaly.  The backyard breeder who created her was kind enough to tube feed baby Petunia and keep her alive, but unwilling to put any money into her medical care when it became clear she would not be salable. Fortunately, instead of having Petunia euthanized or relinquishing her to a shelter the breeder turned the puppy over to rescue in early April 2015.

When Petunia arrived she weighed less than two pounds at nearly 14 weeks of age and was suffering from malnutrition and related complications. She was so sad and listless that first day it was not clear whether she had a chance. Fortunately, immediate veterinary treatment and round the clock care have turned Petunia into a happy, spunky puppy.  She has gained a pound and a half in less than three weeks and is now tipping the scales at over three pounds - more than a 50% increase in her body weight! Petunia now plays, barks, wags her tail and acts like a typical puppy.  She does not know that she is different and she's not letting her medical issues interfere with her enjoyment of life.

Petunia's medical team is optimistic that she can live a very happy life, which is great news.  The challenge is that getting her to that point is going to be a long and expensive process.  Petunia will need MRI imaging and at least one major surgery (and possibly more) to correct her severe cleft palate. UPDATE:  Our wonderful vets are giving Petunia an amazing discount so the estimate for her procedures has dropped from $20,000 to $12,000!  This is stunning because it includes an MRI an CT scan as well as the two surgeries she will need!
Petunia's foster Mama thinks that she can have a long and happy life and is fully committed to giving her that opportunity.  Will you please help give Petunia the future she deserves?  Any amount helps and all funds raised will go to cover the costs of Petunia's care.

Petunia's foster Mama thinks that she can have a long and happy life and is fully committed to giving her that opportunity.  Will you please help give Petunia the future she deserves?  Any amount helps and all funds raised will go to cover the costs of Petunia's care.

http://www.petuniapit.com/

This is from the fundraising website Aimee created for Petunia's medical expenses. But sadly Petunia lost her battle yesterday, Mother's day. This is from "Petunia's" Facebook page:











Dear Friends -
It is with a very heavy heart that I write to share the awful news that our dear sweet Petunia puppy left this earth last night. After a fantastic day filled with romping, snuggling, naps and playtime she suddenly lost consciousness and stopped breathing around 8pm. We rushed her to the emergency room doing CPR along the way, but she could not be revived. We don't know exactly what happened, and it does not matter, for she is gone. Petunia crossed the rainbow bridge cradled in my arms and I am convinced that it was very quick and painless for her.
As you might imagine, I am devastated. I loved Petunia in ways that I did not know were possible and I am still struggling with disbelief that she is gone. Though I always knew that her medical future was uncertain I really hoped to give her a long, happy life spreading cuteness and joy.
Petunia was such a special girl - sweet, sassy, and soulful - and I am trying to take solace in the fact that we had an amazing month together. I know that many of you loved her as I did and will also be crushed by this loss. Petunia was privileged to have so many people from near and far love her. I am grateful to all of you for supporting her journey and I am so sorry to have to share this terrible news.
Over the next few days I will be dealing with the wrap up of her fundraiser with details to be announced soon. If you have questions or suggestions please PM me here.
Tearfully,
Mama


I know I wasn't the only one who cried today, for a precious soul that was taken from us too soon. I know her foster Mama did everything possible for the little life she chose to save. My heart is breaking for sweet Aimee again today as it was yesterday as it will be tomorrow. I’m sharing her website information if anyone would like to contribute to the legacy of Petunia for other medically challenged fur babies. I know we can’t save them all but in the end, they all leave paw prints on our hearts no matter how long, or how short a time they spend with us.
















Saturday, May 2, 2015

Reset Switch




The Reset Switch






Don't you sometimes wish life came with a reset switch? Me too. I really felt that way today after attending an airshow at Dyess Air Force Base,  It's the home of the B-1 bomber, one of them anyway. It's also my home. Abilene, not Dyess although my husband Lance retired from there after serving his country with honor for 20 years. The other is in South Dakota. I'm apologize, but the name of the base escapes me at the moment. I could look it up but I figure if it's important to you, you can do it as easily as me. 

The reason for today's topic is because I spent several hours at Dyess today. I was amazed and awed by some of the aircraft from the earliest days of the Air Force to the latest aircraft of today. The sheer size difference alone is incredible. I imagined our grandfathers and great grandfathers flying those small planes, and actually winning the wars they so valiantly fought. I also thought back to those who served in Vietnam and were not welcomed home. And it is with this thought that my missive today is dedicated to everyone everywhere who has ever served, wanted to serve and couldn't because of whatever reason, or those who served in other ways, I salute you and honor your valor and courage in the face of the enemy foreign and domestic. Thank you for your service, it is long overdue, and well deserved by every American Soldier. I am so very proud to have been walking among you, who are serving yet today. 

Lance and I walked a good hike from the only parking we could find, which was actually closer than some, and walked into a wonderland of Airplanes, people and fair food. From the many Air Force Marines, Navy, and Army personnel to the absolute countless civilians, and vendors, I would say it would be a pretty good bet, the mall was empty today.

I'm glad I was at Dyess. I might have been one among the thousands that were there, but I was there too. And I have the sunburn to prove it. I also have a picture of me with the three of the pilots of the Thunderbirds. I know I wasn't the only one they took a photo with, but it's oh so very special to me. They were so polite and I felt blessed to know that these brave young men are watching the skies for us.

We wandered past more planes and found a group of Marines. I too was a Marine, A Woman Marine. I enlisted in 1978. It was before women were big on equal rights and so forth so our motto was Free a Man to Fight. We learned how to iron, polish shoes, put on makeup, how to do trick drill and Free a Man to Fight. You see, at that time women weren't allowed on the firing lines, or to even hold a fire arm and we certainly weren't allowed to wear slacks unless we were at PT. We had a very strict code of conduct. We weren't to speak to the men at anytime and we were very segregated on a small island in South Carolina called Parris. The only time we got to "socialize" was at church on Sunday's and believe me, we socialized.

Anyway, we came upon a group of Marines. I asked them if I could take their photo and mentioned that about 35 years ago I was a Marine too. They dropped everything, enveloped me like a lost sister, and even took pictures of me with them. Another stellar moment in my life that I can tuck away and take out again when I get old, and once again, wish I had a reset button.

I felt that way today knowing something that those young men didn't. I was in the Marine Corps and I took the oath the same as they did, with one exception, I couldn't stay. Or, let me rephrase that, I chose not to stay, because my life turned upside down with one phone call.

Let me back up to 1978. I was one of the lucky ones. The one whose parents were still together, the one whose family loved each other and stood by you no matter what. Who loved you and promised to be there for you for at least the foreseeable future. Or at least for the next six weeks while I was away at boot camp in another state as far away from the Hell that was Playas, NM as you could possibly get. For goodness sake it was six weeks. Six Weeks. Well, someone lied. And this person new she was lying when she did it. Had she told me before she let me get go that day, to start a new life as a Marine, things might have turned out differently. But she stood right there, told me she and my Dad would see me in six weeks for my graduation, and lied to me. Do I still respect her. No, not since that day so long ago. Do I love her? Of course she's my Mother.

I had never been away from home for more than an overnight stay at a friends house in 18 years. But here I was, starting my life as a Marine Corps recruit. I can honestly say I thought I was in Hell number 2, however,  Playas, NM being the proud bearer of that dubious title was taken, so boot camp became purgatory. I look back on it and laugh now. It was a cakewalk. We were taught how to put on makeup, how to dress properly and how to drill. We even had PT, sort of. I have a harder time getting out of bed today than PT ever thought of being when I was a recruit. But if we were born with the knowledge that we have as a 50 year old adult, life wouldn't be so frightening and we wouldn't be dreaming of having a reset switch.

I was in my sixth week of boot camp. Three days from graduating, and I contracted the measles. My Drill instructors packed up my belongings and sent me to the hospital. My squad graduated without me, I got to make a phone call home, and I got sent back to a new platoon to re-do the last 2 weeks of my training.

I think I could have handled the re-do of the last 2 weeks of my training if it hadn't been for the phone call home. I called in the evening when I knew both of my parents would be home. My Mom answered and said to me, "I have something to tell you. your Dad and I are getting a divorce." No warning. Just blurted it out and told me that, she and Dale were married except for the piece of paper that said they were. I can't even  remember what else we talked about or if we talked at all. All I remember was her telling me, your Dad and I are getting a divorce.

I gathered up all of my belongings, went to the hospital waiting room and proceeded to wait for the bus to come and get me. The bus came and took me to my new barracks and I met my new squad.

I went through the next week numb to my bones. I got a long letter from my Dad telling me that he was sorry I found out the way I did but it wasn't his idea. He was so heartbroken, and I could literally see tear tracks on the pages of the letter he sent me. I cried too. My heart was also broken. He told me who Dale was and how Mom told him she wanted a divorce.  It was the same day I left for the Marine Corps. My heart broke some more.

I had been with my new squad for a week and had a week to go. It might as well have been an eternity. I just lost my heart and told my squad leader I wanted out. The next week I was in casual company and watching yet another squad graduate without me. I spent two weeks acclimating back to civilian life. This time it was because of a decision I made. So all total I was gone for a total of 10 weeks. I have a document that states I was honorably discharged from the United States Marine Corps. Thinking of that document I wondered about a reset switch today.

I asked Lance if he ever wished for a reset switch? He said not really. If we could live our lives again think about what we would have missed in this one. The forks in the roads of our lives would have been different and odds were I wouldn't have met you. My heart melted, and I was reminded once again, that God blessed the broken road, that led me straight to him.
.
But I still think if I had a reset switch I would have pushed it and gone back to live that part of my life over again. I'm not sure I would have made the same decision but it would be nice to find out.








Sunday, April 26, 2015

My life with Oreo






OREO



When God closes a door, somewhere he opens a window.                                                          
 The sound of Music


AND SO IT BEGAN
       Sometimes life gives you a kick in the pants. You never really expect it, and it never happens at the right time, but somehow we get through it and somehow, we go on.
Bobby lost his job due to the economy and the fickle nature of the career he had chosen. It wasn’t the first time he had been laid off but he was determined it would be the last. He had to give up his home and move back to his roots. Our mother was widowed when Misti was five. She never remarried, and never stopped raising her children as we were always welcomed back home to be tucked once again under her wings.
    
      Mom loved Indie but she was so allergic to him that he was going to have to live outside if he was going to live with Bobby. Well cats being cats are just as likely to get into trouble as not. Indie got into trouble. Indie got lost. We posted lost pet ads in the paper, put up fliers, and took up a neighborhood search. We finally went to the animal shelter as a last resort. Of course we didn’t find him, and it hurt, and we grieved.
       
        As the door on Indie closed, the window opened, and Oreo walked in. Oreo was an inmate at the animal shelter. He had been turned in as a stray and was calling my name. Since Oreo was a Boston terrier, and dogs were housed separately from the cats it was a miracle that I saw him at all. I was already owned by a pair of Boston “Terrors”, Pebbles and Bam Bam. Litter mates that were about two years old at the time and currently residing at Mom’s house with Pepper and Frodeaux. Since I too, had recently gone through a change of residence due to yet another divorce, and knew that although Oreo had called my name, he was not going to be coming home with me.  I talked to him for a few minutes and lost my heart. He looked a little like a prize fighter. Something or someone had taken a bite out of one of his ears and he was missing a few of his front teeth, as well as a few of the bottom ones. He was actually quite pitiful. When I finally turned to go he cried and my heart bled.

       We got back in the car to go home and I called my friend Lance. Lance, who is now my long suffering husband, my best friend, my rock and my sounding board, was in for a surprise. Since he wouldn’t be my husband for another four years and had only been seeing me for about three months I was really going out on a limb asking for such a huge favor. I asked Lance to adopt Oreo. I begged, pleaded and paid the adoption fee.
         Lance, who had two cats, one of whom was Satan in a cat suit, was not convinced he really needed a dog but said he’d go by and introduce himself. One look was all it took for Lance to be enchanted by him.

         Oreo had found a forever home and unconditional love. 

WHAT THE HECK IS THAT THING?

          One of the funniest things I never got to see was Oreo’s first encounter with a hot air balloon. Lance was laughing so hard when he told me about it that it was funny even though I didn’t know what he was saying.

Every year the Optimist club of Abilene puts on a hot air balloon show. It’s always in the fall and the wind is always blowing the leaves off of the trees. It’s always a gamble whether they will actually be able to lift off or not. In all the years I have lived here I’m ashamed to say that I have never been to one. I really don’t have a good reason other than I just never have. I plan on going next year. Really, I do.

Oreo was in the back yard with Lance when a hot air balloon floated over the top of the house. I guess Oreo thought his world was collapsing around him, or this was the strangest bird he had ever seen. He went nuts. Every hair on him was standing right straight up. He was barking at full volume, which for Oreo was not very loud. You could be standing on top of him and couldn’t hear him barking.

He tried to climb the peach tree and actually got half way up before Lance rescued him. I can only imagine what was going through his mind. “What am I going to do with it when I catch it?” “How am I going to get out of this tree?” “What the heck is that thing???????”

THE WATER BUG

Yep this is Texas and not only are we the biggest state we have the biggest roaches too. It seems like they follow water, hence the reason people around here call them water bugs. I just call them ugly. Oreo calls them lunch.

Lance and I went out shopping one day and were gone for a good while. Oreo had been after something earlier and we thought it might be a water bug but with Oreo it was hard to tell it could have been just about anything. Usually he killed them and rolled in them. I guess they taste really nasty. From the expression on his face when he’d kill one and the amount of drool dripping from his mouth, they were not very tasty. Ewww just ewww. Anyway back to Lance and I, we came home and were met at the door by Oreo who promptly spit a giant water bug at Lance’s feet. All I can say is thank goodness he spit it at Lance instead of me or Lance would have been peeling me off the ceiling. The bug was still alive and was running for his life. Lance was doing his own rendition of Riverdance trying to kill the thing. Between Lance, Oreo and his bug hunting prodigy Bam Bam, someone killed the bug and it was disposed of. Thank goodness.

LET’S GO SWIMMING

Oreo was a champion swimmer. He would swim down the hall using the rugs as a handy place to use not only to wipe your underside with but to have something to hold onto while doing so. He would also swim in the yard. When the dew was on the grass we could look out and see where he’d been by the trails he left in the yard. Plus it never failed that when he had a wet belly the first thing he wanted to do was get into my lap to share the wealth, or in this case the wet, with me. It was always me. It was almost like he was saying, “since you weren’t out there to enjoy the freshness with me I thought I’d bring some in.” Thanks Oreo.

He never met a dirt pile he didn’t like. He could swim in those too, but he seemed more inclined to roll in them, and then bring what dirt managed to cling to him back inside the house to me. Oreo was a black, white and brindle Boston Terrier. He had equal amounts of each but after a session with a dirt pile you really couldn’t tell what color he was except dirty so he earned the nickname Joe Dirt. Lance just called him dirt but he was still my cookie.


THE HUNTING BLIND

            Lance and I decided that we were tired of getting up and letting the dogs in and out multiple times during the course of one movie. Three dogs on different scheduled barking,
pee-mail checking, and just because they want outside, pretty much meant we were always going to the door to let one in while another one went out. Rather than installing a revolving door, which was an option that we considered, we decided to go with a doggie door. Since he had to put it in the wall instead of the door, it required a bit more engineering and a special part that had to be ordered.

 We purchased the dog door that indicated it was designed for in the wall usage. In other words it had a front door, and a back door with about six inches of flat space between. The spacer that went in between the two doors was what we needed. This was the reason we bought the door we did. So much for the happy dance we did when we found the door. Another week went by and the spacer arrived and Lance was finally able to install the door. The dogs loved it. Pebbles and Bam Bam had been used to a door like this as I had one at my old house. Oreo not to be outdone by either of them barreled his way through it with a small bit of coaxing and a piece of cheese.

I was at the kitchen sink one day and just so happened to see Oreo “stuck” in the dog door. Oreo wasn’t as big as Bam Bam who is a mutant at thirty-eight pounds and Bam Bam goes through the door just fine so my next thought was that he couldn’t possibly be stuck. I went up behind him to see what the problem was and about then he shot out of that door as if what little tail he had was on fire. I looked out the window and realized he had been using the door as a blind. He was watching the birds in the birdbath and waiting until the just the right moment to spring out at them. To my knowledge he didn’t catch one that day but it certainly wasn’t for lack of ingenuity on his part.


OREO AND TOYS

            Oreo was very protective of his toys. Bam Bam has always been a cuddler. He cuddles his toys like a security blanket. Sometimes he takes them outside with him even though he isn’t supposed to. This is where Oreo comes in. He is like the toy police. He picks up discarded toys and brings them in with him.

            Lance’s granddaughter, who was three or four at the time, came to visit. In his eyes, she made the mistake of picking up one of the toys to play with him. He wasn’t going to stand for that so Oreo spent the entire time hiding his toys from her. He even took Bam Bam’s away from him and hid it.

Lance had bought him a huge ball, you know the ones, they are in the bungie cord bins that kids just have to reach in and get one out so you have this random ball bouncing down the aisle toward you like a mutant melon on the loose. Anyway, the ball was almost bigger than he was, but it still wasn’t big enough to share with someone else. Especially Pebbles. She was the thorn in his side. Or vice versa depending on which point of view you were looking at.

Oreo would put his front paws on top of the ball and roll it backwards around the yard. If one of us was out there with him we could roll it for him and he would chase it. If it was me playing with him it was even better because Pebbles had to get in on it too. The way Pebbles looked at it if her mommy wants that ball then he’d better let me have it.  Oreo had other ideas. Let’s play keep away. Oreo would be on one side and Pebbles on the other each trying to roll the ball away from the other. Snarling and snapping sounded throughout the yard while they tried to shove each other off the ball. They were pretty evenly matched in weight so it was anyone’s guess as to who the victor would be. Generally one of them just got tired and gave up. This was the only toy he never brought inside but he would still hide it from others if necessary.


One time we were out in the yard enjoying a bar-b-que when Oreo came out with a rawhide bone. He carefully dug a hole placed the bone inside and covered it back up using his nose as a shovel. Pebbles watched every move he made and as soon as he walked away she was over there digging up his bone. The thing is, Pebbles doesn’t even like rawhide bones. She, spiteful girl that she is, just wanted to carry the thing around with her and growl about it when he got close to her. Such is life with dogs. There is nothing like it.