Tuesday, June 16, 2015


For no matter how much we wish it wasn't so, 
losing someone or something dear to us means changes. 
Things are different whether we want them to be or not. 
And, perhaps, when the grieving softens, 
we can be open to new perspectives. 
New ways of seeing the world. 
Emotions we hadn't allowed before. 
New experiences and, yes, new beginnings.

Friday, June 5, 2015


Can you tell this doggie has been
around writers all his life?

Fur against my face and the soft smell of a dog curled protectively around me existed before my first memories of this life.

My mom used to tell stories of me as a toddler, sleeping with my head pillowed on our Collie’s belly...Tippy took his duties seriously, and executed them well. For ten years, he was a companion, a pillow, and a protector.

Though I didn’t realize it at the time, Tippy began my life-long love of dogs, and set the standard for all dogs who would follow in my life.

As Tippy told me, "Collies will carry a special message for you, as I do. You will feel drawn to them, and they will appear at critical times to guide and support you."

And that has certainly been the case. First Tippy, then Duke, followed by Duncan, and now Tucker (shown reading with one of my grandchildren).

This boy is so happy and sweet. He makes me smile just to look at him!

Thursday, June 4, 2015


A guest post from Grumpy Granny

My sister, Gertie, loves those tabloids that gossip about famous people. Got herself  so many subscriptions I swear a new magazine comes in the mail every day. She said the latest hot news is a famous athlete got himself changed into a woman. All the magazines are calling it trans-something-or-other. 

I don't know what all the fuss is about. Why, back when I was a kid--before even havin' a black and white TV was big news--our family had Aunt George. Always wore bib overalls with a plaid shirt and leather work boots. She even had a mustache, though I don't think she was born with it. 

But she had to be a boy from the day she was born. According to family legend, her daddy was a hard-drinking, mean sumbitch--pardon my French. When my great-granny got first got pregnant, he bragged he was going to have him the biggest, toughest son in the county. Then he'd come home raging drunk and tell my great-granny she'd better have a boy or he'd beat her so bad she couldn't fix a decent meal. 

So when Aunt George was born, Great-granny made sure the midwife knew her child would be announced as a boy--no matter what sex the baby actually was. Well, her ornery husband was usually drunk before ten o'clock in the morning and pretty worthless as far as taking care of any household chores let alone taking care of a baby. 

Fooling him into thinking the baby was a boy didn't take much imagination. Babies are bald and scrunchy faced anyway, so who can really tell the gender unless the kid is dressed in pink or blue? Great-granny just named her George and dressed the child like a boy. Her toys were chunks of scrap wood that served as blocks or an occasional hand-carved wooden car. 

Great-granny worked too hard to have much time for socializing, and all the family was sworn to secrecy about George's real gender. So Aunt George learned to crawl and walk and talk being treated as a boy. 

When Great-granny got pregnant again and her second child was born, a neighbor came in to help take care of George. Being new to the county, the woman let slip that George was really a girl. Great-grandpa exploded in a rage, threatening to beat both my great-granny and the child. Fortunately, he was too drunk to carry out the threat immediately.

Soon afterward, that mean sumbitch died mysteriously.

By then Aunt George truly did believe she was the toughest boy in the county, and she continued to grow up proving that was the case. She could out-run, out-wrestle, out-shoot and out-work any boy her age. 

Aunt George also had the biggest heart in the county. If someone needed help, Aunt George was the first one there. If a critter was hurt, Aunt George nursed it back to health. She didn't look for praise or special treatment or make apologies for the way she was. She just lived her life doing what she believed to be right. 

That's the way I look at the brouhaha over this trans-something-or-other. It's nobody else's business if this person wants to be a man or a woman. Just get back to work and live your own life. That's what I plan to do. My new-fangled dryer machine has the loudest buzzer I ever heard. Goes off every couple minutes until I get the clothes out of its innards. There it goes again! Ah, go eat a sock or something!

If you want Grumpy Granny's opinion on other current events, please leave a comment. No guarantees that she will care, but some days she is open to suggestions.

Monday, June 1, 2015


I talked to my mom earlier, who mentioned a severe storm warning for the area south of them. The wind had picked up and they were bringing in lawn furniture so it didn't blow around. 

Though I was over 200 miles north of where the storm was supposed to hit, I fell easily into thinking how I should prepare for high winds and hail. 

I wanted to walk my dogs before any adverse weather might reach us, so I tried to hurry them past their usual sniffing spots. As I did so, my mind was occupied with thoughts of preparing for the worst. I had already taken down my hanging pots on the front porch. The garbage cans were tucked behind the fence. What else did I need to secure? And, oh yes, close the upstairs windows. 

Then a different thought occurred to me: Instead of preparing for the worst, how about preparing for the best?

I laughed at myself as my mind went blank for a few moments. It was an easy habit to prepare for a bad situation, but what about the best? 

Soon my mind was busy thinking in a much more positive direction. In my personal perfect world, what was the best that could happen?

I encourage anyone to try this. It was great fun for me and made me smile a lot!

P.S. As I'm writing this, we did get some thunder and lighting, as well as some very welcome rain. Nothing out of the ordinary for this part of Oregon. So I'm going to cuddle in bed with my doggies and hope continue that best situation in my dreams!