My life changed dramatically and forever when I lost TJ.

I welcome you to follow along as I adjust to my "new normal".

It is not all puppies and ice cream but it is my life....real and honest.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Yard Work

Now, after almost 3 years, I am finally going to do something with my landscaping. I have put it off because I was working on the inside of the house getting it fixed up. Also, landscaping is rather overwhelming to me. I may not have been working on it while living here but it has always been on my mind.  I finally have a plan and yes, that plan includes a small horse set up! I have designed my yard and horse set up over and over in my head. I have walked my yard with several people getting their input on what I should do. I may not know the details yet but I can at least get started on it and I am sure everything will fall into place as I go.

My first order of business was to dispose of this. Do you know what it is? It is aloe vera.....a whole darn circle of it! Not only do I have this circle of aloe but there are 21 others just like it on my property. Yes, I counted. Who needs that much aloe I ask you. My plan was to put it in my trash dumpster to be hauled away. Well, that was plan A at least. The one I dug up today filled my dumpster to the brim and at that rate it will take me 11 weeks to get rid of all that darn aloe. Plan B may include my pick up truck and a trip (or 2) to the dump.

After the aloe is gone I will be chopping down every single one of these on my property. All that white fuzzy stuff blows everywhere (read as: it blows in my pool) and creates a huge mess. The lay name for these plants is, broom plants. The settlers would cut them before blooming and since they are somewhat stiff would use them as brooms to sweep out their cabins. Personally, I think they just cut them before blooming so as to not have to deal with the fuzzies.

These 2 saguaros are out of here to make room for my horse set up. I am currently contacting landscapers to see how much they are going to fetch me. Saguaros are protected in Arizona and can't be moved without a permit. New construction homeowners pay big bucks for saguaros to be placed in their yards so landscapers will actually pay you for the privilege of moving your saguaro.

Time to dig up more aloe. Anybody want some?

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

I Am Very Thankful This Year

It has been a fairly good year for me and for that I am very, very grateful. I have wonderful supportive people in my life and I see a wonderful future for me. So as we sit down to Thanksgiving with family and friends let us not forget those who have touched our lives in many different ways and are no longer with us. But, at the same time be grateful for those who have come into our lives when we needed them the most.

"She closed her eyes and thought of her year. It couldn't just be the "good" she was thankful for, it had to the "all"....the fullness, the depths, the journey. The dance of life. For these, she gave thanks." ~ Terri St. Cloud

It is with immense gratitude that I celebrate Thanksgiving and it is with gratitude that I think of all of you. Thank you for being a part of my life

Monday, November 12, 2012

Dog Sitting.....Yes, Again

If you all haven't figured it out by now I love animals. I especially love dogs. I grew up with dogs and have had anywhere from 1 to 5 dogs at any given time in my life. Because of my love of dogs I am always game to dog sit for my friends. Well this past weekend I had the opportunity to do just that. I am pleased to introduce you to Sierra. She belongs to my neighbor and has the sweetest personality.

I have a soft spot in my heart for Labradors as my first dog after college was a black lab named Phantom. He was very special to me. With Mickey getting up in the years and really starting to show her age I have been thinking about what breed my next dog will be. I will not bring a new dog into the house until she is gone and unfortunately I feel like it may be sooner rather than later. For the past 8 years or so I have had mid size to small dogs and have been considering getting another large dog.

This past weekend was the perfect opportunity for me to experience a large dog in the house again. While Sierra was perfect and very well trained, I now know that I am not interested in a dog with a coffee table clearing tail. No, Sierra didn't clear my coffee table with her tail, but I was keeping an eye on it the entire time. After having Heelers and little Tater Tot I am just not interested in a large dog anymore

I would dog sit for Sierra again in a heartbeat and Tater had a blast playing with her. But, when it comes to my next dog I know I want a small to mid sized dog. Most likely I will get another tri-colored Queensland Heeler.

As a side note. It really cooled off in Arizona this weekend. OK, by my standards it was darn cold! Highs in the low 60's and on Sunday morning it was 37 F !!!! Way too cold for this old desert rat. Time to start counting down the days until summer.
It may have not been as cold as this sign showed but it was cold enough for a fire in the ole' fireplace.

Sunday, November 4, 2012


Wednesday, October 24, 2012 my best friend's ex-husband committed suicide. He hung himself in her garage. She found him. She is hurt and angry. They have an adult son who I can only imagine is hurt and confused. Me, I am just plain angry!

I have had over a week to process this and I still can't figure it out. While this may have been her ex-husband they were very close. We knew he had some mental health issues and she was trying to get him help. He was renting a room from her and she was trying to help him get his life back in order. He had a lot happen to him details of which I won't share. The night before he was found in a hotel room with a gun. They took him to the hospital only to release him at 2:30 am. In a matter of about 6 hours he had killed himself. I don't understand why the hospital didn't keep him longer. I am mad that they didn't keep him longer. Furious actually.

I am angry that my best friend has to go through this. I am angry that their son, who was deployed overseas, had to be told on the phone what happened. He then had a long flight before getting home to his Mother. I don't understand why he didn't realize what he would be putting his family and friends through. To me, this was the ultimate act of selfishness and it sickens me.

I got the phone call at work on Wednesday morning. The terror in my best friend's voice was frightening. I left work immediately to meet her at the hospital. When I arrived the social worker was attacking her with questions. She was pushing her to make decisions immediately. I put a stop to it. None of those decisions had to be made that day and certainly not at that moment. We took her home and we talked and drank beer. We drank a lot of beer. I had to have someone drive me home we drank so much beer. I am fully aware that alcohol does not solve problems but sometimes it dulls that initial pain and one does what they have to do just to get through those initial hours because they are the worst hours ever.

The next day I went to work. My best friend made the decisions that needed to be made and with the help of the Red Cross contacted their son overseas. This day was the 3rd anniversary of TJ's death. You see, my best friend and I have led very parallel lives. Our lives have paralleled in ways that nobody knows but us. And now there is this. They may have no longer been married, but in many ways she is a widow too now. My heart aches for her, but she knows I am always just a phone call or a text away and we have proven to each other time and time again that when the chips are down we will always be there for one another.

"I longed to lift the burden of her sorrow and yet, I knew it was hers to carry. And so I walked next to her. Side by side. I rested when she rested. I cried when she cried. And loved her more with each step of the road." ~ Terri St. Cloud

Thursday, October 25, 2012

3 Years Ago Today

TJ -

I can't believe it has been 3 years without you. I still miss you very much and my love for you has not waned even slightly. I still have bad days but they are farther and farther apart. I am spending less time feeling sorry for myself and more time living. I suffered for so long after you were gone that it feels good to finally experience living again. By that, TJ, I mean truly living and not just faking it to keep those around me happy. So much has happened the last 3 years. Everything has changed......everything.

I moved out of our home and into a new house. I hated it, no, I despised it at first. Sure, I finally got the pool you would never let me have but I still wasn't happy here. TJ, I have no horse set up here. You built me the perfect horse set up and now I have nothing. Not having a horse set up has brought me to my knees sobbing many times over the past 2 1/2 years. I hate it. You gave me what I had dreamed of having when I was a little girl and now I have nothing.

Our dogs. Remember when we would talk about how great it was to have 3 young dogs all within a year of each other? We would also talk about how hard it was going to be when we lose them. Well damnit TJ, you left me alone to care for our aging dogs. Mickey Lou is the only one left. Putting Shiner down was the hardest. I felt as though I was losing you all over again. My heart ached for weeks and it threw me back into a deep depression. I hid my despair from my family and friends....something I had become very good at doing.

I have decided to keep the property down south. I finally went down last weekend to paint and it actually felt good to be home again. You were on my mind a lot during the weekend and I thought so much about our plans for the place. Packy is still there! Can you believe that sucker is still alive and piling stuff on the bathroom step?!?!

You wouldn't believe the people that just disappeared after you died. I learned who our true friends were and it was rather shocking who stepped up and who I haven't even talked to since your wake. My disappointment in some of our friends can't even begin to explain my feelings.

All in all, I am OK....and I really mean that. At least for right now. You are my soulmate and a huge part of me died right alongside of you. That part of me is gone forever, but I am rebuilding my life TJ. I am rebuilding slowly but I am making progress. I know in my heart that somehow, someway, it is you that is pushing me and giving me strength along the way. I often think about the many heart to heart talks we had after your diagnosis and it gives me strength to remember how much you believed in me. Thank you for everything you gave me those last few months of your life. I would not be where I am today without the advice you gave me. I still love you with all my heart TJ and I always will.

When you lose someone you get used to living day to day without them. But you will never get used to the "10 second heartbreak". That's the time it takes to wake to full consciousness each day and remember....." ~ Nina Guilbeau

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Rescuing "The Shack"

I finally took the time to rescue "The Shack". It has been neglected since TJ got sick....about 3 1/2 years ago. After he died I wasn't sure about much of anything in my life let alone what to do with our place down south. Well, I finally got it in my head that I should keep it and whip it back into shape again. A friend graciously agreed to help me get it back into shape with the promise of being able to hang out down there and do some horseback riding. So we both took a 4 day weekend, loaded his truck full of paint, generator, tools and headed south for 4 days. We spent Friday and Saturday doing repairs and painting the Main Shack and the Guest Shack. I was too tired and my back hurt too much to paint the bathroom on Saturday so we left that part for another time. Since the bathroom is the smallest building it should not take long next time we go down. On Sunday morning we thoroughly cleaned the inside of both shacks. Sam encountered a family of mice in living in the guest shack and even though it meant breaking a broom handle one of them didn't make it out alive and hopefully the others have left permanently. Later in the day we drove into town (Sunsites, AZ) and went to the local watering hole and had a couple of beers. Ironically, the local bar is named TJ's Bar & Grill!

 The bathroom that is in desperate need of paint. Note the pile of brush on the steps by our resident pack rat aka Packy. We will knock it all off every morning and every night he fills the step back up again. He sure is a hard worker!

 The shacks before paint....isn't it just awful?! I forgot to get a really good picture of them after paint.

 Sam is hard at work finishing up painting the trim. What a difference huh?

 The sunrise on Saturday morning. The mountain range you see to the east are the Chiricahua Mountains

This is a view looking west at the Dragoon Mountains. I have had the pleasure of riding horseback all through this mountain range. It is also where TJ's ashes are spread. He loved it down there.

I owe a huge thank you to Sam for agreeing to help me down there. I can't imagine doing everything that needed to be done all by myself. TJ & I had planned to build an actual house down there as our retirement home. I thought my dreams of that were over when I lost him. But I now have renewed faith that someday I will live down there full time. I have often said that my home is in Cochise, I just happen to work in the Phoenix area. So this past weekend was like going home for me.....bittersweet, yet it sure felt good to be home again.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

I Have Been MIA

Yes, I have been MIA. No blog reading, no blog writing. Nada...nothing. If you have been a reader of mine for a while you know I do this periodically. Life just gets in the way. Things finally picked up at work and that left me less time for reading and writing. When things were slow I got in the habit of doing those things while at work.

October is also a rough month for me. It was on this day 3 years ago that Dr. N told TJ there was nothing else he could do for him. He suggested we call in Hospice to control his pain for the time he had left. I was crushed and scared. I will never forget the look in TJ's eyes as he looked over at me and asked me if I was going to be OK. I, of course, told him I would be fine. But the reality of it was that what little bit of me that hadn't already died was preparing to die right alongside of him. I just wasn't prepared for how much of myself I was going to lose. I had no idea that my spirit and zest for life would be gone when he was.

On a brighter note. My boss suggested to me that I work at home 1 or 2 days a week. I worked at home for 11 years while TJ & I ran a business. While it was good to "go" back to work in 2008 I am looking forward to working at home part time again. I will be starting off working at home just one day a week and providing it all goes well, and I assure you it will, I will increase that to 2 days a week. I could not be happier about this. But more importantly, Tater Tot is absolutely thrilled. Today was my first day working at home again and when he realized I wasn't leaving he grabbed a toy and ran laps through the house. Seeing his joy was priceless.

I was actually fairly busy today, but being able to turn my head and see him happily chewing on his bone made my day. He stayed on the bench by my desk all day long.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

My Opinion Of The New Sitcom "Go On"

I must begin this with a disclaimer of sorts. I rarely watch TV other than local news for weather and traffic in the morning. I don't go to movies. I haven't been to a movie theater since 1983 (my senior year of high school and I sure wasn't there for the movie *wink*). I don't know the names or faces of actors/actresses. I have no idea what good or bad acting looks like. The last sitcom I remember watching is MASH. Show up unannounced at my house on any given evening and I can pretty much guarantee you that I won't be wasting my time staring at the television. What you will find me doing is sitting outside, playing with the dogs, reading, writing blogs, or doing some type of household project.

Having said all that. What I am is a widow and the show Go On is about a widower. I heard about it on Twitter. Yes, I do confess to wasting loads of time on Twitter....but mostly at work....shhhhh. I looked it up on the internet and subscribed to it on Hulu.

I find it very funny. It pokes fun at the death of a spouse or significant other like I thought only those of us who had been there can do. The show mainly focuses around the widower and his fellow group therapy attendees. Having never attended group therapy I can only assume that one would find as diverse a group of people as the show portrays. It highlights how different people have very different grief journeys and how each deals with their grief in very different ways.

What I especially like is that it portrays the widower not as a sobbing mess, but one who is trying to push through it all. He is attempting to make all things look normal to his employer and his friends, when all the time nothing is normal for him. They show glimpses of him alone and missing his wife. They show how long and lonely the evenings and nights can be. Another accurate portrayal is of his friends, not his group therapy friends, but his co-workers and friends from before his wife's passing. The show portrays them as not "getting it". They try to understand but it is very obvious they don't. His group therapy friends, on the other hand, do understand and hence the relationship between them grows.

I will continue to watch the show to see how it evolves. I also saw on Twitter yesterday that the show has been picked up for a full season. I can only guess that there are others who are enjoying it also. If you have seen it I would love to read your opinion and if you haven't you might give it a shot. It is definitely worth the 20 minutes it takes me to watch it once a week, which is about my maximum weekly TV viewing.

Monday, October 1, 2012

October - The Season For Creepies

October 1st today. The beginning of the Halloween season. While I abhor dressing up in costume, I do love to decorate my house for Halloween. Yesterday I excitedly got my Halloween storage tote out of the shed. As I carried it into the house I noticed how light it felt. It was when I opened it that I remembered why. Last year I got rid of the majority of my decorations with the intention of purchasing some new ones this year. I had only kept a few pieces. The afternoon I had planned to spend decorating took me all of about 10 minutes. It was very disappointing and anti-climatic for me.

In the spirit of Halloween I want to leave you with something I found to be quite creepy

EWWWW!!! I fished this drowned guy out of my pool on Saturday morning. The largest one so far. It gave me the eebie jeebies thinking he was that close to my house.


Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Monkeying Around

I know what you are thinking. More pictures....really?!...and they aren't even good pictures, they are always cell phone pics. I am sorry, but I have just had more to show lately than to share by writing and when it is hot I don't drag my camera with my every where, but I of course always have my cell.

Last Saturday I went to Dave & Dena's house to visit. I have posted pictures of their monkey Angel before but on this particular night she was being extremely friendly. Usually with Angel she either hates me, is aloof & indifferent or thinks I am her long lost best friend. The latter being a rarity. But last Saturday not only was I her BFF so was everyone else!

 I rarely post pictures of myself, but I really liked this picture of her and I. I am admittedly very fond of her.
Heineken, if you are wondering ;)

She had never met Dan before and she even made up to him.

 She had only met Sam a few times and it had been quite a while, yet she still hopped up on his shoulders for some good ole' fashioned bug hunting in what is left of his hair.

Gotta love Angel hugs!

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Things I Have Seen Lately

We are definitely finished with summer. The nights have turned cool and the days have too. The cool nights mean the pool has gotten chilly and I am too much of a cold weenie to even dip my toes in the water now. Guess it is time to begin the countdown until the first day of summer 2013.

A few cell phone photos of what I have seen lately.

 Yeah Tater, I am sad that summer is over too. That is about as close to pool time as you are going to get.
Runt spent last weekend at my house while his Dad was out of town. He & Tater had fun. I enjoyed it too because he looks so much like my Shiner. As a matter of fact I kept calling him Shiner all weekend. Below is a picture of Shiner. I put Shiner down in August of 2011 and I still miss very much

I can home one evening to this outside my front door. Isn't he adorable?! I just love bats so I was thrilled to see him hanging around.

I bought this wine as a gift for a girlfriend. I just love the name!

Turns out Sophie won't be coming to live with me after all. Her original owner decided to keep her. While I miss her, I think Tater is happy to be getting more attention from me.

I saw this personalized plate while sitting at a stop sign. What do you think he does for a living?

Monday, September 17, 2012

It Is Happening Again

The images. The horrible, horrible images. The last few weeks I have been waking up early with those darn images in my head again. You see, being a caregiver for someone you love deeply and watching them die leaves scars, deep scars. Scars that will forever be a part of your soul.

After TJ died I struggled with the images I saw every time I closed my eyes. I couldn't remember him healthy. All I saw was him frail, weak and dying. Those images haunted me. Those images still haunt me. I believe those images will haunt me my entire life.

It was because of those images that I did not/could not sleep for months. Lots of months. It adversely affected my general health. My therapist diagnosed me with PTSD. I thought he was crazy. Like many people I thought PTSD only afflicted war veterans. I began PET (prolonged exposure therapy) with Dr. Hallmark (not his real name & he doesn't like it when I call him that). I saw him weekly for 2 hours at a time and I believe we did this for 3 or 4 months. I got better. He promised me that I would get better and thankfully he came through for me.

So why then am I seeing those horrible images again? I thought I was done with that! I know how I am supposed to deal with it when it happens. Dr. Hallmark armed me with an array of tools to use. Those tools are supposed to keep those images from being debilitating. The tools aren't working.

Something has brought this back into my life and I wish I knew what it was. I have faith though. I have faith in myself and faith in Dr. Hallmark. Together we will figure it out, this I know.

"Any fool can be happy. It takes a man with real heart to make beauty out of the stuff that makes us weep." ~ Clive Barker

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Missile Launch

I know I just posted pictures two days ago and now I am posting more. But, something happened this morning that I wanted to share with all of you.

Early this morning the White Sands Army Base in New Mexico launched a test missile. When atmospheric conditions are perfect and the sun is rising at the perfect time we, here in the Arizona desert, get to see the contrails. I haven't seen this for probably 5 years, but this morning I was out feeding my mule when I looked at the mountain and saw it. I, of course, ran inside to get my camera and began shooting. Below are some of the images I was able to capture this morning. It is only for a brief time that the contrails can be viewed and I enjoyed the opportunity to see it dissipate into the morning sky.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Last Pool Party of Summer

 Labor Day is unofficially the end of summer, even in Arizona. It is September when we begin to drop out of the One Hundred Teens and this week we are even into the low 90's. I love summer and I always have. If it stayed in the low 100's year around I would be one happy girl. This year I took the Friday before Labor Day off so I could have a 4 day weekend. Good idea in theory, but I ended up in the pool too much on Friday and Saturday, so by the time Sunday rolled around for my pool party I was too burnt to get in the sun.

Enjoy the snapshots of my end of summer pool party. Of course Tater Tot enjoyed the pool and all his friends too! It was a great day and I am ready for it to warm back up already!


Gee am I going to miss summer. But, Labor Day also means I need to get my chimney sweep out and start looking for good seasoned wood to heat the house with this winter. Nothing is more cozy than a warm fire in the house. Time marches on.....

"And you would accept the seasons of your heart just as you have always accepted that seasons pass over your fields and you would watch with serenity through the winters of your grief." ~ Kahlil Gibran

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Sandy's Dog Boarding

My house has gone to the dogs! Literally.

Mickey is not happy about it at all !!!

This is Macy. Her Mom is on vacation back east so she is staying with me for a week.
Macy was rescued from a back yard breeder.
When my friend took her to be spayed the vet said her uterus was as thin as paper from having too many litters.

This is Sadie. She belongs to my boss. I am keeping her until his house sales and he gets settled in somewhere else. She is only 10 months old and a wild child.

Now this.....this is my new love, Sophie. Or as she is frequently called now, Miss Loren. She belongs belonged to my boss also. Sadie is her litter mate and they could not be more different. I truly am keeping her forever.

Sophie and Tater Tot have become best buddies.

Tater Tot is just plain wore out from all the excitement around the house lately. But, he is glad that his new best friend, Sophie, will be living with us.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Land Mines

Some days I feel like my life has been a series of self implosions. Every time I get in sight of something I really want I throw a landmine in my path to ensure I never achieve it. I can think of numerous times that I have not gotten what I wanted or achieved a goal simply because of my own doing. More often than not TJ was there to diffuse the landmines that I threw down. He was my own personal bomb squad. I don't have that anymore. I need to learn to avoid my own landmines and to believe that I really deserve some of the things I want.

Everyone has failures in life. Ultimately, all of us fail at one time or another. I like to believe that I shed my failures like a rain coat. Once a self planted landmine explodes I move forward only to encounter the next one I have set for myself. I get out of bed day after god awful day and expect things to just miraculously work out. No, I truly believe that they are going to work out, even though it seems that they never do. I simply refuse to accept failure after failure as a part of my life.

I have heard it said that the standard by which we are measured lies in our response to our failures. Although, it is my belief that you haven't actually failed until you quit. I have not and will not quit. Not yet and probably not ever!

"If I had to select one quality, one personal characteristic that I regard as being most highly correlated with success, whatever the field, I would pick the trait of persistence. Determination. The will to endure to the end, to get knocked down seventy times and get up off the floor saying, "Here comes number seventy-one!" ~ Richard M. DeVos

Wednesday, August 15, 2012


Merriam-Webster defines Separate as:
  • to set or keep apart
  • to make a distinction between
  • to go in different directions
Merriam-Webster defines Separation as:
  •  the state of being separated
  • a point, line, or means of division
  • an intervening space
We mindlessly separate so many things in our lives. We separate our laundry in whites and colors, we separate our lives into work and social and family, we leave our spouses for a trial separation, our country separates church and state. All this makes separation seem so easy. Not all forms of separation are so easy.

A huge part of my life ended when TJ died. It has taken me a while but I feel confident that I am ready to start the second part of my life. Although, I feel that somehow, I need to separate my life with TJ and my life now. I just don't know how to do that. I can't carry him with me forever. I don't want those past memories to invade the memories I am making for myself now. Honestly, I believe that when I begin to think about separating my life I get separation anxiety. I want to hold so tightly and so closely to my past life that I can't imagine separating it from my present life. Yet, there are times that my past life memories creep unexpectedly and unwanted into my new life. I have no defenses over my past life. It holds my soul and has a grip on the very essence of my being. I never thought that at this point I would still have days that completely unravel on me.

So, I guess my question to all of you is: Am I being unrealistic? Is it even possible to have a separation of two completely different lives. Should I even try to separate? Maybe it is OK to remember the past while forging ahead with the new. These are the questions that I am now asking myself on a daily basis. Either way, the unwelcome intrusions of my old life into my new life are something I either have to live with or learn to block out.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

More Senseless Snapshots

All of the following photos were taken with my cell phone so please excuse the quality of some of them.

This is my girlfriend's 30 year old horse. For those that don't know, that is freakin' old!! I think he still looks pretty darn good though. Keep hanging in there Jay Man!

The Superstition Mountains aka Heaven on Earth. I get to see this everyday on my way home from work. It puts everything into perspective and grounds me before I get home.

My friend's cow. She HATES me. Gives me the evil eye every time she sees me. I love her anyway just because she is a cow and I think cows are beautiful.

I finally got close enough without her charging me to get a picture of her baby!

Saw this truck on my way to work the other day. I just love it. Thank you to all our military past, present and future.

No photo post is complete without cuteness that is Tater Tot!

He decided to nap on a chair in the garage I was drying a rug on. A dog that cute shouldn't have to nap on the hard floor right?

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Please Welcome Pamela Hutchins!

Today I have the pleasure of hosting one of my very dear blogging friends. Pamela is a wife, Mother, and most recently an Indie Author. I don't hand my blog over to just anyone, but I know that most of you are animal lovers and wanted to give you a sneak peak into one of her latest books. I had the pleasure of reading Puppalicious and Beyond before it's official release and I truly enjoyed it. If you liked the stories of James Herriot then you will love this book! So, without further ado, I give you Pamela Hutchins.

At Least We’ll Always Be Able To Find It

Petey the one-eyed Boston terrier went under the knife for the snip-snip. You know, neutering. Why, you may rightly ask, would we do this to our sweetie Petey?

Well, when we picked him up from boarding at the super awesome Polka Dot Dogs two weeks before, they said, “Your little darlin’ is trying to become a father and has his one eye on that Chihuahua over there. And the cockapoo. Oh, and also the Maltese.”

Pooooooor Petey. In his defense, he told me all three were super hot little bitches. And he loves Polka Dot Dogs. Instead of kennels, they let all the dogs of similar size and temperament play in open rooms together. He’d like us to take him along wherever we go, but if he can’t go with us, he prefers PDD.

PDD, however, has a policy: At the age of seven months, little boy doggies no longer get to stay in open-room boarding if they can’t keep it to themselves. While I think anyone would be lucky to get the bonus of little Peteys along with the price of their boarding, I guess I can accept this.

So, Petey visited his very intimate buddies at the vet’s office. After three months of eye treatments, they know and love him well. After neutering my poor baby, they know him even better. Before the procedure, they asked me if I’d like them to put a microchip in Petey, in case he ever gets lost. I said yes, but then I remembered that Eric and I had agreed to partner on all parenting decisions, and Petey was our newest child, after all.

I called Eric. “Do we want Petey to have one of those Finder microchip thingies?”

Eric said, “Sounds like a good idea to me.”

Excellent, because I already told them yes,” I confessed. “They said they can put one in when they remove his you-know-whatsies.”

Eric paused. “Wait a second. They remove his you-know-whatsies and put the chip in the space left behind?”

I didn’t ask, but that sounds likely, since this only came up because of his procedure.”
So he’ll have a tracker in his ball sack??”

I wouldn’t have put it quite like that, but, yeah, I guess that’s about right.”
Another pause.

Well, I guess we’ll always be able to find it, then,” Eric said.

Ew. I’m thinking this microchip may tell us a little more than we really wanted. Whatever happened to the right to privacy? What do we do when Petey starts dating? Or, God forbid, gets married? Wouldn’t it be enough of a challenge that he couldn’t father little Peteys without his anxious parents tracking his every move with his beloved? Not to mention the whole one-eye thing. This is a little more intrusive than, say, a GPS tracker in a car, which I’m not above installing in my kids’ vehicles if they deserve it. But a ball sack tracker? Could I do that to him?

As I pondered the horrors, Eric broke into my reverie. “I’m kidding, Pamela. It’s a good idea. It’s fine. I’ll bet they don’t even put it there. I’ll bet they just use the occasion of anesthesia to tuck it in somewhere else.”



I exhaled. What a relief, because I was pretty sure that wherever they were going to put the microchip, it was a done deal by now.

Later that same day, I picked up our Petester. Oh, what a pitiful sight he was, head hanging, eyes downcast. He seemed awfully low, even for a dog that had lost his manhood. I paid and whisked him to the car, whispering supportive and encouraging words in his ear about his bright future and the long line of female dogs who didn’t give a rat’s ear about puppies, citing to our own and Cowboy as examples of devoted and puppyless partners.

Nothing worked. I just couldn’t cheer him up. We were almost home when a cold dread seeped over me. I pulled to the side of the road and put the car in park. I knew even before I carefully searched his sixteen-pound body for a microchip incision what I would find—nothing.

The only point of entry? Yes, you guessed it: the poochy pouch. Little tears of guilt welled up in the corners of my eyes. I stroked him and begged for his understanding and forgiveness. This appeared to mollify him a bit, and we headed for home.

As I was making dinner that night, Susanne came in. “I guess that surgery didn’t work. Petey’s humping his stuffed German shepherd.”

A few minutes later, Clark swung by. “What a stud, Mom. Petey’s giving it to that kangaroo. Didn’t he just get his balls chopped off today?”

When he walked through the door, Eric exclaimed, “Wow, Petey, you aren’t letting a little pain stop you, are you?”

I could only imagine. As I pondered his actions, even I had to admit it. Our Petey is a total slut. Maybe the vet put the tracker exactly where we need it to be.

By Pamela Fagan Hutchins, who knows better than to share stuff like this on the internet, but she just can’t help herself.

Reprinted from the book Puppalicious and Beyond with permission from SkipJack Publishing, and available on and at other online and live retailers.

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Waiting For Life To Get Easier

I keep waiting. Waiting for life to get easier. No mistakes, fewer risks, more rewards. But really, does it ever get any easier or do we just muddle through one struggle after the other? We tell ourselves, "it will all be OK if I can just get through this". We do what it takes to get through the current struggle only to be knocked down again by something else. So maybe, life never does get any easier. Maybe it is the struggle, the climb, the overcoming of one obstacle after another that life is all about. Life doesn't get easier, it just changes. It becomes different. In reality there is nothing simple or easy about life. I guess I should stop waiting for life to get easier and begin to live life. Live it, as complex and difficult as it is.

Most of us take the gift of life for granted.Your life is a gift. Accept it! No matter how screwed up or painful it seems to be. Life is not a dress rehearsal and there is no time for do-overs. We don't get to practice again and again until we get it right. Even those few times when we do get to rehearse, prepare, practice we find that we aren't even remotely ready for life's grand moments. If only we could slow things down. Because before you know it....the gift of life is gone. 

"To live in the hearts we leave behind is not to die." ~ Thomas Campbell

Thursday, July 26, 2012


It is so often that we forget how much the every day world can hurt. It can hurt people we love, people we don't and even people caught up in the middle. It can hurt those who would give absolutely anything if they would just never, ever, get hurt again. Often times the hurt can't be avoided. It comes hurling at us like a meteor whose path of destruction is unknown and nothing can be done to stop it. Other times it can't be seen and sometimes, it lies next to us in the dark only to disappear at the first glimpse of daylight.

The hurt reminds me of what I've known and what I have lost. It reminds me of what was and still is beautiful. Hurt reminds me of love given and love taken away. Love taken away too soon and unfairly. The more it hurts, the deeper the ache, the sweeter the memory. I may hate the hurt, but I have learned to live with it. There is no pain like losing someone you love. It takes a lot of courage to allow yourself to be happy again.

You can't prepare for the loss of someone you love deeply. You can't brace yourself. You may try to brace yourself, but the emotions run too deep. It hits you out of nowhere and suddenly, instantly, the life you knew before is over.....FOREVER.

It is then that you are lost. A lost, wandering soul. You seek the advice of others and surround yourself with trusted friends and family. You begin to gather everything in and listen to what all your advisers have to say. But, in the end, the decision is yours and yours alone. Because, ultimately, when you find yourself all alone, with your back up against the wall, the only voice that matters in the one in your head. It is that voice that is telling you what you probably already knew. It is that voice that is almost always right.

But, there are times that the hurt doesn't come at all. This is when this other thing flutters down upon us out of nowhere and stays just long enough to give us hope. It is during these times, however rare, but just when we need it the most and expect it the least, that we get a break. An unexpected, yet welcome, break.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Are You A Planner?

I am a planner. I like to know what is going on in my life on a daily basis and I don't like things to change. I get up at the same time everyday during the week. I go to bed at about the same time every night. I have a specific routine in the morning that I rarely waiver from. I know in advance what I am doing every evening after work. Please do not call on me to do anything "spur of the moment". Chances are good that I already have my day mapped out and to make changes throws me into a tailspin. Even canceling plans throws me off. A cancellation means I suddenly have spare time that I wasn't counting on and consequently I don't know what to do with that extra time.

Because I am such an avid planner I don't like surprises. I do like unexpected gifts, but don't put me in a car and not tell me where we are going. It doesn't matter how grand the surprise at the end, the stress of the unknown is just not worth it to me.

Many years ago TJ planned a surprise birthday party for me down at "The Shack". While we often had friends down there with us, there were many times we would go alone. Those alone times were very special to the both of us. It was those alone weekends that we would reconnect, rekindle our relationship and recharge our batteries. The year he planned the surprise party I had told him that for my birthday I wanted to go to the shack with just us, the horses, and the dogs. Off we went for an extended 4 day birthday weekend down south. Because we are in the foothills of the Dragoon mountains we can see traffic coming down the mostly untraveled dirt road for miles. We had not been at the shack very long when TJ said to me, knowing how I hate surprises, "I have to tell you something". As he said this he turned my back to the south so I could not see the incoming traffic. He proceeded to spill the beans, telling me everyone that was coming and at the same time apologizing for not telling me. The first words out of my mouth were, "I didn't bring enough food to feed that many people!!" He laughed and told me they were all bringing their own food and I did not have to cook for them. I ultimately had a wonderful birthday weekend with many good friends willing to drive 4 hours hauling horses to celebrate with me. Although, I have to admit that I am glad he spilled the beans before the trucks and trailers started rolling in.

What about you? Are you a planner or do you like surprises?

"Dreams, ideas, and plans not only are an escape, they give me purpose, a reason to hang on." ~ Unknown

Monday, July 9, 2012

Tater The Water Dog

Tater is obsessed with the pool. The moment I arrive home from work he begins running around like crazy wanting me to put my swimsuit on so we can go play in the pool. On Saturdays when I have the girls over for pool day he spends the whole day outside with us playing in the pool. My daily swim with Tater usually ends up with me laughing hysterically and very happy, wet dog.

 Last Thursday & Friday a girlfriend and her husband hung out at my pool while I was at work. She text me this picture of Tater with the caption, "Tater wants another Bud Light".
He loves to just float around the pool on "his" raft.

 I am not sure what he is doing here but his head is submerged. He obviously has no fear when it comes to the water.

 Dog tired from too much fun in the sun and pool!

You know my tag line....It's not all puppies and ice I wanted to leave you with what we found in the pool on Saturday. Ewwwww, I hate scorpions!