I (accidentally) Went Sled Riding Yesterday…Without the Sled

With my usual grace and style, I made my way down the hill leading to the beach yesterday afternoon. In a split second, I was on my as#. And I kept going…about fifteen feet down the lumpy, bumpy, slope before I came to a stop.

Probably because the old “a body in motion stays in motion” law applied?

My latest ‘acrobatic’ feat seemed a metaphor for my life. I often land on my posterior–literally and figuratively. Thankfully, I’m not overly bothered by my falls and failures…

When I stood at the top of the hill in the wet, slushy grass, the bottom didn’t look treacherous. It just looked covered with a dusting of snow. Yet I ended up on quite the unexpected ride.

Even though I am known for my agility and catlike reflexes (hah!), I didn’t try to stop myself.  Seemed worse to fight it. I hadn’t realized the terrain was so rough until fifteen feet of it jabbed my behind as I bounced my way downhill.

For sure my rear end will be riddled with bruises.

Not that I will look. I try NEVER to look at the state of things back there.

Undeterred, I quickly dusted off my (very) wet jeans and set forth on my walk. The trail my butt blazed in the hillside made me giggle. And I had a wonderful walk, despite its rocky start…

Though it is winter in Northeast Ohio, I walk the Little Black Dog at the beach most days. Unless there is a blizzard. Then I go to the woods, or to the nearby park with the asphalt path.

I need ‘outside time’ each day. I cannot do without it.

The only downside?  I must brave the elements…

There’s mud.

Last week, I happened across a slippery slope. It rained earlier in the day.

It was sort of like skateboarding–except on mud instead of a sidewalk. And with no skateboard. I instinctively threw my arms out for balance. And all was well. I only slid a few feet. And I somehow managed NOT to become a human mud pie. Then I kept walking. Hardly missed a stride.

And water.

I am often hit by waves. Which means my shoes, socks and jeans get wet.  I tend to lose focus and end up too close to the water when I look for beach glass. Or when I throw sticks and tennis balls to The Little Black Dog. Or I get sidetracked taking in my surroundings…

No matter the season, there’s always something to appreciate. In the spring, bulbs sprout into tulips and nature begins to turn green again.

Summer brings spectacular sunsets over the lake. And the fall is stunning when leaves on trees turn all shades of golden-yellow, orange and red.

In the winter, the beach is desolate and barren. But the ice coating the empty tree branches is lovely. And there is something magical and serene about the beach during the cold, winter months.

The best thing? It isn’t crowded. In fact, I never see ANYBODY down there in the winter. I love the solitude.

Which either makes me brilliant or not so bright…or maybe a bit of both?

Nature is invigorating. So much so that I don’t mind getting disheveled to have ‘outside time.’

Could care less that I head home with snarly, windblown hair.  Wet and/or muddy sneakers. Smeared mascara and a sniffly nose from the cold air. With my jeans droopy from the weight of the rocks and beach glass in my pockets.

Nor does it matter that The Little Black Dog is a muddy, smelly, wet mess.

On the outside, I might seem mussed–save for the wide smile on my face. On the inside, I always return home lighter, happier…and with my spirit Perfectly in tact.

Yesterday’s adventure reminded me of a favorite quote:

Do not be too timid and squeamish about your actions. All life is an experiment. The more experiments you make the better. What if they are a little coarse and you may get your coat soiled or torn? What if you do fail, and get fairly rolled in the dirt once or twice? Up again; you shall never be so afraid of a tumble. 

~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

Emerson was onto something. And he could have spoken directly to me.

The more banged up I get, the less afraid I am. In fact, I’ve been knocked around and bruised with such frequency, that I am nearly fearless these days…

Congratulations on the new puppy ~ But a Basset Hound?

My friend Stella just brought home a new bundle of joy. She rescued an adorable female basset hound…

Hail Mary, full of grace! The Lord is with thee; blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus…

How could anybody resist this adorable little thing? Look at her face!!

I get it. I’ve rescued a dog or two myself. (And a cat one time.) But I just might have some willpower in resisting a Basset Hound. Once in this lifetime is enough for me…

Growing up, we had a Basset Hound named Mike—for 10 years. Our family adored him. Even though he was a tad bit stubborn and mostly did what he wanted to do.

For example, Mike LOVED going for walks. But if he tired or decided he was done, Mike flopped down on the sidewalk for a rest. And that was it. His walk was over. The options? Carry him home, or cool our heels until he got it moving again.

I remember an incident when we had company visiting our house. My mother had a plate of chocolate chip cookies on the coffee table. Mike simply put his face in the cookies and ate them. Just helped himself. Even if we could have rescued a cookie, who would have wanted one?

Good times growing up with “Iron Mike” around…

We called him Iron Mike after he chewed up a razor, and then swallowed most of it. Blade and all. And didn’t DIE.

There was the time he stole my fathers false teeth from the night stand. (Thank goodness he didn’t chew them). But the relative who happened upon Mike lounging with a set of teeth between his paws was beside herself. She thought the dogs teeth had somehow fallen out!!

Iron Mike loved my mother. They often relaxed in our sunroom; both of them on the sofa. Mike curled up with half of his body on my mother’s lap—Mom patting his head.

When Iron Mike was bad, my mother would ask him, “Do you want to get the needle?”  (As in Euthanasia…)

But on a good day, she patted his head.


Quite a few years ago, when my kids were in elementary school, we shared a neighborhood with Gus. Many days, Gus napped in the middle of the street. On his side. Short legs stretched out.

The development had narrow roads. When the school bus came through, Gus would NOT move. The bus would stop, honk its horn. No reaction from the dog. Gus continued to count sugar plums.

Whoever was outside: GUS! Come here

Gus opened an eye…some days even lifted his head…then went back to sleep.

Whoever was outside: GUS! Want a treat? Here Gus….GUS!!!   

Same thing. Gus opened an eye, (maybe) lifted his head…then went back to sleep

This went on until somebody dragged him (many times by his collar…and still on his side) out of the road.

With no room to back up, the bus had no choice but to roll down the narrow road Gus occupied and turn around in the cul-de-sac. That was the only way to get back out of the development.  And the street was too narrow for the bus (or even a car) to get around Gus…

Not sure. But I wonder if that is why our kids had a new bus driver each year?

Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death. Amen.

I will pray that Stella has an abundance of patience and keeps her sense of humor. (As well as her sanity…)

Of all people, I understand the need to bring a puppy home. I am weak, when it comes to dogs.

And Lulu (that is her name, so far) is ONE cute puppy.

What is WRONG with this picture?

Something just isn’t RIGHT with my dogs.

I was at my computer working away a couple of days ago. The house was quiet and the dogs were resting. They are excellent at resting. Besides walking, swimming and eating, it is their FAVORITE activity.

But, The Red Dog was resting in the cage?

His cage days are long over. He used a cage as a puppy for about 6 months or so. Yet if there is a cage up, he is IN.

Where was the Little Black Dog who is just over a year old? Curled up on the couch…sound asleep.

Why do we have a cage set up?

Trust me, I wonder this myself. We rarely use it.

We have the cage out for The Little Black Dog. She is a Perfect pet 99% of the time. Every once in a while, she decides to chew up a shoe, a permanent marker, or some such thing. This generally happens when we are unusually busy–such as last weekend when we were at a wrestling tournament most of the weekend.

She might get irritable and chew a shoe. Or she might not.

I like the cage, because it eliminates the element of surprise when I return home.

However, The Red Dog LIKES the cage. When I am trying to get The Little Black Dog in, Big Red hustles in. Then The Black dogs runs away. And I have to drag The Red Dog out (because he is happy and doesn’t WANT to vacate the cage), then find The Black Dog…and it ends up being a circus.

Which makes sense. My LIFE is a three ring circus many days…

Don’t feel too sorry for The Red Dog. He sometimes enjoys a bit of ‘couch time.’

Probably, the dogs BOTH get far more time on the couch than I do. Really, they have it made…








Ricky (the rabid?) Raccoon…meets my dogs???

When I pulled into my driveway yesterday and opened the car door, both dogs bolted in the opposite direction of our front door. They NEVER do that. They always trot straight to the front door.

“Grace! Rocky!” I shouted, as I ran around the back of the car. Then, I stopped dead in my tracks. BOTH dogs hovered over Ricky Raccoon, who was in a heap on my front lawn.

That’s when I REALLY went ballistic and yelled for the dogs to get in the house.

For once, the Red Dog was (somewhat) obedient and hurried over to the front door. I quickly let him in the house.

The dog I thought was smart stood over Ricky Raccoon, curious…trying to figure him out.  After a minute, she headed to the front door and relief washed over me.

When the dogs charged Ricky Raccoon, my first thought was that Ricky would attack them. And with $1200 total spent on vet bills this past month, another trip to the vet was out of the question.

The sight of those dogs ready to pounce on Ricky (the rabid?) Raccoon had me in a sweat. My heart raced.

Once the dogs and I were inside, I tried to collect myself. To calm my nerves.

Obviously, Ricky was not feeling well. Generally, raccoons don’t loll around on the ground, with dogs nearby. Periodically, Ricky’s head moved. Or his body shifted. But it was barely noticeable. He mostly looked like a large stuffed animal  tossed in a heap on the front lawn.

I called the Sheriff’s Office, because I have never had a half-dead, or dying raccoon lounging on my front lawn.

Me: I’m not sure what to do. There is barely moving raccoon in my front yard.

Dispatcher: Name? Address? We’ll send a Sheriff over to shoot and bag it. Then the health department will come pick it up in a day or so.

Me: Okay…

Eeeewwwwww. Gross!!

I’m not a fan of guns. Have never even held one in my hand. And the thought of an animal having its guts blown out in my front yard made me nauseous.

Ten minutes earlier, I rode along in my Trusty Honda, headed home to put groceries away and get dinner started. I sang (badly) along with the radio as I pulled into my driveway. All was right in my world…

How do these things always HAPPEN to me?

It wasn’t long before the Sheriff showed up.

Me: He’s over there…

Sheriff: I see him.

We stood on my front steps looking at Ricky out in the yard. There was some idle chitchat while he took my name and address. My cell phone interrupted our conversation.

Me: Yes?

Darling Daughter: Mom, are you cooking dinner?

Me: Yes. Can I call you  back? I’m talking to the Sheriff who is about to shoot the raccoon in our yard

Darling Daughter: What are you making?

Me: Spaghetti, Salad, Garlic Bread. Listen, I need to call you back.

Darling Daughter:  Yummm.

Daughter clearly wasn’t phased by the happenings at home…

The Sheriff at first managed to stifle his chuckles, but then lost the battle. He was openly laughing at me as I got off the phone.

Sheriff: Sorry. But that was a funny conversation to have.

Me:  Yeah. These things happen to me. I don’t know why. My kids are used to it. That conversation wasn’t all that unusual around here…

The Sheriff needed a garbage bag. I really, REALLY wanted to give him a cheap white garbage bag—given I am down to my last two giant, heavy-duty, black bags. The cheap, thin bag seemed a bad idea. Ricky was rather chunky. What if the Sheriff lifted the flimsy, white bag and Ricky busted through, then tumbled onto my driveway?

The offending bagged raccoon would be left at the end of my driveway for  “a day or two” in his plastic coffin, until the health department picked him up. I didn’t want the tail, or a foot to break through the bag. What if I could see the mess inside the cheap white bag when I got my mail, or pulled in and out of my driveway? Worse…what if Ricky eyeballed me with lifeless eyes through the thin white bag? I grudgingly handed over one of my last ‘good’ garbage bags. (And yes—those thoughts did run through my mind. I am being honest.)

Sheriff: Just go inside and don’t come out until you hear the gunshot.

Me: I’m going to HEAR it?

Sheriff: Yes. I need to use my shotgun. If I used my other gun, I’d have to shoot it between the eyes and the health department might not be able to look over the head.

Me: Oh.

Eeeeewwww. Way too much information!

He didn’t need to tell me twice. I hauled  my a#& into the house, then cringed at the loud ‘boom’ noise.

When I pulled out of the driveway to get my son from wrestling practice a few minutes later, I couldn’t miss the black bag.  At least I couldn’t see Ricky. Nor could he eye me up.

I wonder what today will bring?

Tis The Season…

Forgive me for being absent to the blog scene lately, but my computer was on the fritz.

Thank goodness I have a working computer again. Not having one was making me crazy. (Or at least crazier than I already am!)

Hurrah! I am back to blogging during this ‘wonderful’ time of the year.

I know it is a ‘wonderful’ time of the year, because everybody SAYS it is.

The (unavoidable) Christmas music says so, too. The Christmas music that blares through the parking lot when I am getting gas, that plays in EVERY retail establishment and is the ONLY option on many radio stations.

I might seem a bit of a Scrooge. Really, I am quite the opposite.

It has just been an eventful couple of weeks. And by eventful, I mean financially challenging.

Last week, our puppy ate something that severely upset her stomach. What? We have no idea. But we do know she barfed several times, before finally hurling up a puddle of blood. Which sent me scurrying to the Emergency Vet, where The Little Black Dog had a doggie sleepover.  Luckily, Gracie Dog is just fine. She is romping about in the normal fashion, except it cost $800 to fix her up.

Like…Merry Christmas children. Your dog ISN’T dead.

Picking Gracie Dog up from her doggie sleepover went something like this:

Me: Do you have any idea WHAT she ate that made her so sick?

Nice Man at the Vet: Nope. When you have dogs, it’s always an adventure…

Me: An expensive adventure.

We shared a chuckle, but I wasn’t laughing on the inside.

Nice Man at the Vet: Might want to take her out on a leash, to make sure she doesn’t eat any more of ‘it’ outside.

Me: I will, because I am a wreck that she will eat more of whatever ‘it’ was.

Also, it would be rough to drop $800 and STILL have a dead dog.

Later in the day:

Son: We’re getting a dog for Christmas…

Me: Huh?

I was just stunned for a moment. I mean…didn’t I just pay good money to SAVE one of our dogs?

Son: Yeah. A little Lab-German Shepherd-Pit Bull Mix…You know, Gracie Dog.

Took a minute for his joke to sink in.

We are referring to the incident as Gracie’s $800 ‘snack.’ Worse? It was (and remains) a ‘mystery snack.’

And if that didn’t blow the Christmas budget, my Trusty Honda (since early this week) is driving like a Race Car. Loud as sh#%. It needs a new exhaust system. Because it is an old Honda, the exhaust is original and rusted out. Another $800…possibly $1000.

I have stopped driving it, because it actually vibrates at higher rates of speed. Though that might be a case for NOT fixing it? Could give new meaning to the term Joy Ride…

And yet, it is worth fixing our old Trusty Honda because I paid cash for it. Meaning there is no car payment. And it is a solid vehicle…just old and needing some of its parts replaced. I can identify…

Merry Christmas children. When I fix the car, we can hit the stores to listen to Christmas music and look at all the ‘wonderful’ things that $1600 to $1800 COULD have bought.

iPads, iPods, Laptops, a heap of new clothing…

Instead, I’ll be fixing the heap of a car in our driveway.

The crazy thing?

My children are taking it in stride. They don’t even seem to care. They have never given me a long lists of ‘wants’ and ‘needs.’ Though they appreciate nice things, they aren’t at all materialistic. They have always been content with whatever lands under the Christmas tree. (And some years are better than others!)

A lucky thing. Because this year, there may be little under the tree, unless I win the lottery. A long shot, since I almost never buy lottery tickets.

Yet, we’ll have a ‘wonderful’ Christmas Day.

We’ll have brunch, visit with family and friends, share some laughs and maybe go sled riding with the dogs if there is snow. The most important thing is that we will be together. That is what makes the season ‘wonderful’ anyway.

For a little EXTRA Christmas fun, try this….

The 13 Second Test: The only RULE is that you must say the first things that come to mind within the allotted seconds. Just “think fast!”

PART I:  You have TEN SECONDS. Name 3 GIFTS you received last year for Christmas.

PART II:  You have THREE SECONDS. WHO did you spend the holiday with? Your best memory?

Years ago, we played a similar game for ‘sport’ during a holiday with the family. It started with a simple conversation. Turned out the kids didn’t remember the expensive gifts, or the items that their parents stood in line at all hours of the day and night to get. Give it a go with yourself, your family and friends and let me know how it goes…