Memories of my Dad

IMG_5629My dad passed away Tuesday evening at the age of 84. He had been struggling for a while, suffering from Alzheimer’s, Dementia, and Parkinson’s. The one person who should have been holding the family together, was more instrumental in tearing it apart so that now we are a family divided.

The last time I visited with my dad was this summer. He didn’t seem to know who I was. He still looked well and I felt good about my visit with him. That was the last time I saw him. I know that as time marched on, his condition deteriorated and I chose not to visit. While some may view this as a cop-out, I look at it as self-preservation. The family drama also made visits difficult.

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My mother, father, younger sister, me and my sister Debbie.

I lost a sister fifty years ago to Leukemia. I was 5 and Debbie was 7. I remember some things as though it happened yesterday. It was an event in my life that changed me forever. I do not deal very well with losing people. I know that it’s part of life; just not one that I deal with very well.

I’ve been through a lot of loss in my life, beginning when I was very young. The last, and most devastating loss was during my divorce from my children’s father. That was 18 years ago. Although they are blissfully unaware of what transpired (the therapist said I protected them too much) and how things have progressed to where they are now, it was through manipulation called Parental Alienation Syndrome. That’s the problem with PAS. Children do not normally realize what happened until sometimes many years in to adulthood and they get angry any time it is mentioned. Sometimes much too late to reconcile with the alienated parent.

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My Dad‘s parents, my dad, me and my daughter, Ashley

This is a loss I wake up with every day of my life. While we bury some of our loved ones, grieve, and somehow manage to move on with life, this is different. It is a loss of a loved one every day and you continue to grieve, but not move on.

My Dad wasn’t perfect. None of us are. But, he was a good dad. He was a State Trooper for many years and because the pay was extremely low, he sometimes worked three jobs to support his family. If I had a “situation” he was there to fight my battles, to defend me. He sewed my broken bra straps. He dried my tears. When I needed a bug collection for science class, he helped me catch the bugs and then he carefully preserved them and mounted them inside of a glass case that he built for me.

He built two wooden shadow boxes and hinged them together. It had a handle and a latch and looked like a wooden briefcase. Inside each side he mounted styrofoam board with my bugs and installed glass over each side. It was the best in the school. While others mounted their bugs on poster board, my dad helped me mount them in first class. I was teased unmercifully, but like Dolly Parton’s Coat of Many Colors, that bug case was made with more love and attention that most kids get in a lifetime.

There was a Christmas when I received a little keyboard and I learned to play the Blue Danube. He was so proud. Anyone who came to the house had to listen to me play! I remember my dad singing all of us to sleep with Red River Valley. I also remember him keeping a little jar of lemon drops on the dresser and we were forbidden to enter my parents bedroom. We’d go to bed and listen to make sure they were in the kitchen and one of us would sneak into the room and take a couple of lemon drops. He never said anything about the missing lemon drops, although I’m sure he knew we took them.

He passed on his love of German Shepherds to me. He accepted me as the person I am. I am proud to have had him as my dad.

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State Police Headquarters

When my dad began feeling the effects of his illness, he mention two things that he wanted to do. One was visit the State Police Academy and the second was to visit his hometown of Olla, Louisiana. My husband (also a retired trooper) made arrangements to take him on a tour of the academy and he had the opportunity to sit in the Colonel‘s chair. He enjoyed his day tremendously and I was so blessed to have this time with him. The second in command presented him with two State Police medallions and when we returned home, I printed a photo of the old academy and of him in the Colonel’s chair and framed it along with the medallions. He loved to look at it everyday and tell the story. I regret that his health soon declined and we never had the chance to take him to Olla.

My dad had retired from the State Police by the time my second daughter was born, but when my first-born was little, he loved driving up to my house and putting the lights on for her. She would stand in the window and clap her hands. She adored her grandpa and he her. She was the first grandchild and the darling of his eye. He often picked her up and took her home with him.

IMG_5609My dad was a member of the MPs.

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This is my older sister and I with my dad at Christmas around 1959-60.
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My dad and me about 20 years ago.

While I miss my dad terribly, I know he is in a better place. A place where he can no longer hear the drama and manipulation around him. A place where he can now hold the child he lost so many years ago. That brings peace to my heart and I feel more happiness than sorrow. I’ve had him all these years and now my sister will have her turn in eternity. That makes me happy.

Those thoughts will carry me through his wake and funeral. I’ll grieve but it will be bittersweet. Goodbye for now my wonderful Dad. You were here for me when I needed you and I will miss you. Enjoy your life in eternity.

 

As the days are slowing creeping by, more memories have been floating around and I wanted to add them to this post, mostly for myself, but I also thought you might enjoy them as well.

When I posted on Facebook – what did we do before Facebook – to let my friends know that my dad had passed away, they began sharing memories of their own, which in turn, brought back memories for me.

There were times when I was stopped by policemen and didn’t understand why. I was always told I was going too fast, when I was pretty sure I had not been. Years later, I found out the reason. My dad, who was a State Trooper at the time would occasionally come across other law enforcement officer’s children who were speeding. He had a habit of following the kids home or driving them home, if need be, and standing there while they admitted to their parents that they had been driving way too fast, or were inebriated. Turns out, it wasn’t always appreciated by the parents. Also turned out, I was an easy target. I drove to school my senior year and like most places with one highway, it was easy to spot your target. While it bothered me at the time, I’m pretty proud that my dad tried to take the better road by trying to help these fellow classmates out rather than plopping them in jail. I can only imagine the retaliation I would have received if that had happened.

My high school boyfriend said there were many scary moments with my dad (I think I may remember more than my fair share – blushing here) but the one he really remembers is when he hit a parked car as he was driving past my house – about 15 miles away from where his father thought he was.

Another school mate admitted that my dad had stopped him for speeding and he must have been singing my praises (he was a friend) because being my friend got him out of a ticket.

I guess those were the good old days with such simple stories. My little group of friends and I were the goody two-shoes as the saying goes. Our idea of trouble was stopping in a curve on the “back road” and running into the graveyard to touch a grave. Of course, it was Deadman’s Curve where the groom was racing to see why his bride had been delayed and they crashed head-on. Doesn’t everyone have a story like this?

My dad’s CB handle was the Toy Maker. He carried his wooden toys that he made in a box in his police unit. When I was expecting my first daughter, he built a cradle for her. It is a work of art. He later made replicas for both of my daughter’s for their dolls. I have a toy train that runs around my Christmas tree each year.

I’m not calling this post finished because I know there are lots of memories that I will remember. Hope you enjoyed some of them.

 

Memories of Me: A Complete Guide to Telling and Sharing the Stories of Your Life by Laura Hedgecock (Review)

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 Memories of Me CoverWe all have stories to share with our children and grandchildren. Whether it’s a proud moment, memories of grandparents, or a lesson you’ve learned, Memories of Me: A Complete Guide to Telling and Sharing the Stories of Your Life helps you put the episodes of your past onto paper and share them with loved ones.

Look-Inside-for-Site-2Inside you’ll find

• Simple, down-to-earth instructions to get you started

• Worksheets with in-depth brainstorming exercises to spark recall

• Plenty of examples to spark your creativity

Writing advice to make your memories shine

Preserve your stories and share them with the important people in your life by using the tips and advice found in this comprehensive guide.


Author Laura Hedgecock

LAURA HEDGECOCK is passionate about telling stories and connecting with others. She comes by that passion honestly; her grandmother, Hazel Crymes, wrote throughout her life. However, her grandmother wrote in secret; Laura believes in sharing.

When she’s not writing, Mrs. Hedgecock enjoys spending time with her husband and two teenage sons (and her Springer spaniel), playing soccer, nature photography, and finding her roots.

Website  http://www.TreasureChestofMemories.com

Blog       http://TreasureChestofMemories.com/blog

Purchase on Amazon in these formats: Kindle Or Paperback

Other Buy Links:

B & N Buy link              http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/memories-of-me-laura-hedgecock/1118078230?ean=9781462114535

Book and Things          http://booksandthings.com/memories-of-me-a-complete-guide-to-telling-and-sharing-the-stories-of-your-life-paperback.html#.U0aYl_ldXH0

The Blaze Marketplace              http://marketplace.theblaze.com/memories-of-me-a-complete-guide-to-telling-and-sharing-the-stories-of-your-life.html

Two Chapter Review:

The first thing that grabbed my attention with the book was the cover. I was drawn to it and actually sat there studying it for a few minutes. The author talks about a treasure chest of memories and the story, or how to, begins with the cover. There is a treasure box of old post cards and letters, and a computer.

As you open the book and begin reading about how to compile your own “Memories”, the items will take on a new meaning for you. They are history in the making, with a little help from us and this book.

The book is set up to make topics very easy to find and the author gives good advice on how to get started from recording your stories to choosing a medium to finding the time to write. You may prefer writing a journal. Some may prefer going digital (computer), while still others may share their stories by blogging. Whatever medium you choose needs to be something you enjoy, helping you continue your process of recording your history. The author generously offers the printable worksheets used throughout the book on a website.

My family tree looks nothing like the iconic oak with its rounded top and  balanced, far-reaching branches. That archetype conjures images of the entire family gathered together, sharing its cooling and protective shade, drinking lemonade or other beverages while the kids climb around above. When you’re trying to trace your ancestors’ stories, though, the experience just doesn’t seem as symmetrical or accessible as the oak’s branches. Roots seem more applicable – hidden, fragile, tangled, and often more than just a little bit dirty.

If you are thinking about compiling your memories, your stories, MEMORIES OF ME, is a good place to begin. It is an easy book to read with clear and precise avenues of beginning your journey. I only read the first two chapters, but I’m impressed with what I see. I can definitely recommend the book.

These connections are the marrow of our lives, sustaining and nourishing us from within. This life-giving marrow of stories and memories should be shared and passed on so that we can fortify our connections to each other and springboard conversations in the here and now. They also allow us to continue to connect, teach, support, and console after we’re gone.

This guide not only provides an outline for you to construct a legacy of written memories to be treasured, but it should also motivate, challenge, encourage, and cajole you as you create a treasure of incalculable value for your loved ones.

Thinking of writing your memories down? Leave a comment below to be entered to win an e-book of Memories of Me.

My Life. One Story at a Time. is an Amazon advertising affiliate; a small fee is earned when purchases are made at Amazon through the link above. A free book was provided by the source in exchange for an honest review. Views expressed by authors are their own and do not necessarily reflect the views of My Life. One Story at a Time. My opinions are my own. This provided in accordance with the FTC 16 CFR, Part 55. 

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My Life in Review – Never let it be said that life is dull

Never let it be said that life around me is dull; I’ll just make my own fun. Yesterday was mow the yard day. Trawling season here in South Louisiana opened so Hubby was occupied for the day and I was looking for something to do.

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photo 5 (2)Ryka and Calypso love to ride the new mower so after all was said and done (the yard mowed) it was have some fun time. I pulled up to the kennel and cut the blade, and they both came running out, actually stumbling over each other in their haste to see who was going to climb up on the mower first. This surprised me as Ryka doesn’t seem to trust me. She’ll ride with Hubby, but is quite hesitant if given the opportunity to ride with me. Kind of makes you wonder…but Calypso? Now, that is a throw-back to the 1960s. She is the wild child and doesn’t think twice about anything. She leaps without looking. It’s all about fun.

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Now, you may think I’m a little crazy because how do I know what my dogs are thinking? Clearly, if that’s the case, you don’t have a dog (and not everyone wants a dog). Ryka is the regal one. She sits like a queen, acts like a queen, gets treated like a queen. Of course, she’s earned it. She came to us fully trained, but sadly only listens part of the time. When I call her, she sometimes just sits there and looks at me. Just like a teenager! I’ll tell her to “come” again and she’ll put her head down and give me the sad eye look. Generally, the third time I call her, she’ll slowly drag her body up – like it’s a huge chore – and walk on over, hoping there will at least be food. On the other hand, if she thinks there’s a belly rub coming, she’ll flip over in a nano second.

Calypso – what can I say? She’s the wild child. She’s half Ryka’s age at 3 and has Doggie ADD. She loves spring – she loves any season. She loves the cold and wet and mud in the winter. She loves the cool days of fall and spring. But, she especially loves the summer months with swimming and bugs. Actually, she loves water period. She loves chasing anything that flies by. I love sitting on the porch swing watching her run back and forth. If you’ve ever watched a cutting horse, you’ll understand. She is very graceful. She runs and cuts and heads back and spins on a dime. Shepherds are very powerful animals and to watch her run and gain speed and cut is actually quite a beautiful dance. What is particularly interesting to watch is when a mosquito hawk (dragon-fly) lands on the chain link fence. She does a series of tapping with her back legs until she gets her position just right and then up she goes on those hind legs and grabs the bug without ever touching the fence – that is grace. Then, in a New York second she’ll bite your finger trying to get her doggie cookie – we’re working on that one. I can feed her ham or cheese and she is quite careful about nibbling it out of my fingers as not to bite (I’m constantly trying their patience on that one so they remember not to bite the hand that feeds them), but if I have a dog cookie, she’ll take my fingers off in the process. I’m still scratching my head on that one.

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Signs have been popping up all over the parish (we are in Louisiana) in the shape of forks. It’s all about tourism. I was at a meeting focusing on our Parish Comprehensive Plan (I’m on the Planning Commission) and there was talk about a new fork that had popped up. To us, who live here on the bayou, it depicts a little humor. It is so often the answer when someone is asking directions – “It’s up the bayou” or “It’s down the bayou.” It is a phrase I even find myself using it quite a bit. I’m a transplant to the area and never gave it a second thought until one of my daughters asked me – “How do you know what is up the bayou and what is down the bayou?” I guess it’s one of those relevant things – if you are here, that’s up and that’s down. Move a little and what was up is now down, or visa versa. Anyway, I thought you might enjoy the sign and a little trivia. This particular sign can be found once you exit the interstate, (which crosses Bayou Lafourche) and you circle around to Louisiana Hwy. 1 which runs with the bayou. Instead of Raceland or Lockport, it just simply states “Up the Bayou” or “Down the Bayou.” You have only those two choices.

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I did have a little excitement this week. I attended a meeting and then headed off to grocery shop. My habit is to put my keys in my pocket when I exit my vehicle and then lock the doors. That way, I NEVER forget my keys. There’s that word I NEVER try to use because it always comes back to bite you – NEVER! About half way through shopping I happened to run my hand down my side and realized in a panic that I didn’t feel my keys. At that point I tore my bag apart searching, hoping frantically that I had tossed them inside. No keys.

I did my best to calm down and then began praying in earnest. I completed my shopping and retraced my steps back to the truck. No keys. At this point I was beginning to panic. I stepped up to the window and there on the console were my keys and after my initial excitement, I realized they were locked in and I was locked out. And, to make it worse, Hubby was at a meeting 40 miles away and that person had picked him up at our house – 15 miles “down the bayou” and that is where his set of keys to my truck were. Not a good situation and to make matters worse, it was 6:00, the time his meeting was set to begin. I was quickly adding up the miles involved to get my truck opened – 40 + 15 “down” + 15 “up” + 40 back to the meeting = I had better find another way into the truck.

photo (1)Then I remembered – ONSTAR!!! Then, I thought oh no, how do I call OnStar? I am one of those people – the one who is so organized, she panics that maybe that is the one time the information won’t be found. I did have my phone and I called. The kind lady asked how could she help and of course, being me, I told her my keys were locked in my truck and I was locked out of the truck. The whole process took less than three minutes. I gave her the needed information and she told me to step away from the truck and the locks popped up. Magic! Needless to say, there was a whole lot of prayer thanking going on.

I’m sure those weren’t all of my adventures, but I think I’ve blocked the rest out. See you next week!

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My Dog’s Adventures (Sentry)

     How do I start except for saying my poor dog. First, she fell off of the wharf on Sunday and last night she got locked in my husband’s workshop for the night. I was teaching religion and while I was gone, it started thundering, which Sentry is deathly afraid of, so she kept following my husband, Jeffery, in and out of his workshop. Once she observes a routine, she becomes complacent so she must have stayed inside for a while and when he closed up, she got locked in. That was around 7pm last night because that’s when I drove up and I assumed she was under the house because of the rain. 

    This morning I went out to walk and I called and called and rang the bell – no Sentry. I looked under the house, in her house, in the barn – no Sentry. By this time I am getting frantic (remember, I am SO good in a crisis) and I am almost in tears telling hubby that he has to come and help me because I can’t find her. THEN, the idea came to me that she may be in the workshop (has happened before) and so I knocked on the door and she started whimpering. She doesn’t bark when I call her; which I do not understand. It would make my life so much easier. I wouldn’t have to panic quite as often. 

     When I opened the door and out she ran, she followed my trail back and forth and round and round before she came to me. That trail was a definite indication of how frantic I was quickly becoming. She is perfectly fine now but probably won’t go in to the workshop for a while.   Getting back to our Sunday event when Sentry toppled off of the wharf – what a frantic time again! My husband and I were sitting in the swing on the wharf enjoying the slight breeze and peacefulness. Sentry was lying in her usual spot – the edge of the wharf – watching the fish jump and the minos swim by. She is fascinated by them. It all happened so quickly that I’m not sure what exactly happened, but the next thing I knew is that she was in the bayou! She just seemed to roll right off of the wharf and SPLASH!

     Of course, I am sooooooo very helpful in a crisis. I did the only thing I could think of – I started screaming! Now, we all know how much that helped. My husband was sitting right next to me – I am fairly certain my screaming did nothing to alert him to what he had already ascertained – the dog was in the water. Now most people probably wouldn’t panic. They know dogs can swim but you have to remember – this is MY dog and she’s never been in anything deeper than the ten inch ditch in the back yard; and that, she just splashes in. She still had her leash on – thank goodness – so we (make that hubby, not screaming me) were able to guide her around the pilings and the crab trap and the fishing line, 20 feet down the wharf to ground. None the worse for wear, she shook a few times and went right back to her spot, you guessed it, on the edge of the wharf. 

     Fortunately, life went quickly back to normal and we went back to swinging. (Little did I know that there would soon be another crisis…….)

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A tribute to Sentry

Sentry passed away three years ago right before Christmas, after being a loyal companion for 7 years of my life. I found this story while perusing my other blog and decided to post it. There were a lot of adventures involving Sentry. I got Calypso and Ryka two months after Sentry passed and they have been a blessing,  but I sometimes wish Sentry could have known them. I miss her dearly.
How do I start except for saying my poor dog. First, she fell off of the wharf on Sunday and last night she got locked in my husband’s workshop for the night. I was teaching religion and while I was gone, it started thundering, which Sentry is deathly afraid of, so she kept following my husband, Jeffery, in and out of his workshop. Once she observes a routine, she becomes complacent so she must have stayed inside for a while and when he closed up, she got locked in. That was around 7pm last night because that’s when I drove up and I assumed she was under the house because of the rain. 

     This morning I went out to walk and I called and called and rang the bell – no Sentry. I looked under the house, in her house, in the barn – no Sentry. By this time I am getting frantic (remember, I am SO good in a crisis) and I am almost in tears telling hubby that he has to come and help me because I can’t find her. THEN, the idea came to me that she may be in the workshop (has happened before) and so I knocked on the door and she started whimpering. She doesn’t bark when I call her; which I do not understand. It would make my life so much easier. I wouldn’t have to panic quite as often. 
     
When I opened the door and out she ran, she followed my trail back and forth and round and round before she came to me. That trail was a definite indication of how frantic I was quickly becoming. She is perfectly fine now but probably won’t go in to the workshop for a while. It’s strange how every dog I’ve had has managed to get themselves locked in the barn. You would think that would be the first place I’d look!

Getting back to our Sunday event when Sentry toppled off of the wharf – what a frantic time again! My husband and I were sitting in the swing on the wharf enjoying the slight breeze and peacefulness. Sentry was lying in her usual spot – the edge of the wharf – watching the fish jump and the minos swim by. She is fascinated by them. It all happened so quickly that I’m not sure what exactly happened, but the next thing I knew is that she was in the bayou! She just seemed to roll right off of the wharf and SPLASH!

     Of course, I am sooooooo very helpful in a crisis. I did the only thing I could think of – I started screaming! Now, we all know how much that helped. My husband was sitting right next to me – I am fairly certain my screaming did nothing to alert him to what he had already ascertained – the dog was in the water. Now most people probably wouldn’t panic. They know dogs can swim but you have to remember – this is MY dog and she’s never been in anything deeper than the ten inch ditch in the back yard; and that, she just splashes in. She still had her leash on – thank goodness – so we (make that hubby, not screaming me) were able to guide her around the pilings and the crab trap and the fishing line, 20 feet down the wharf to ground. None the worse for wear, she shook a few times and went right back to her spot, you guessed it, on the edge of the wharf. 
     Fortunately, life went quickly back to normal and we went back to swinging. (Little did I know that there would soon be another crisis…….)

 

My Life in Review, a little Southern Comfort

This past week has been a tiring one. Whether it was my blood disorders or just too many activities, the week left me wanting to sleep for days. I literally had difficulty putting one foot in front of the other, but after five days of falling into bed at 9pm, I finally feel rested this morning. 


Last Tuesday night, I attended my writer‘s group. The group is so motivating and I look forward to it each month. It is a time to have your own work critiqued as well as pick other writer’s brains. We have a small group of six and it works quite well for us. 


Our meeting last week was at the home of a member, Monique, who loves animals, so much so, that she has a snake that lives in the bottom of their barn. She didn’t invite him, he just showed up one day and decided it was a nice place to live (harmless of course). Monique is a wonderful person and one where animals seem to know they can find safe harbor in the storm. She is a soft-spoken Southern Lady, and you just want to be in her presence. 


One story that I especially remember and chuckle about when I need a smile is the story she told me about going down to wash clothes and finding the snake in the washing machine. Monique just nonchalantly mentions that she had to disturb him so she could put the clothes in the washer; she just picked him up and set him aside. Folks, that takes a special person because I would have either fainted dead away or screamed my head off and shot up the washer! This friend is a gentle soul and I just love her to death. 


I picked up another friend on the way to writer’s group, Jessica (author of Muddy Bayou andMuddy Grave), and as we got out of the car and started our trek through the barn to the stairs leading to Monique’s home, I told Jessica she had to go first in the event the snake was hanging around, and if I saw it, I was going to shove her up the stairs. I admit it, I am NOT the bravest person around! Picture a snake wrapped around a joist, just waiting for me to happen by, and then as soon as Jessica passed, it swings its head down about two feet so it pops about level with my face and it says (in a snake drawl) “Ha! So, you were hoping to miss me?” (That would be my luck! And, did I mention what an active imagination I have? A talking snake? A Southern talking snake?) By the time we made it upstairs, we were laughing so hard, we did not have to knock, Monique heard us outside the door. 


Monique opened the door to our laughter and one of her dogs barked. Yes, I screamed. I’m sure you can imagine my reaction. I had to actually remind myself it was a dog, that snakes don’t bark. Those are memories in the making and ones I cherish.


On the way home that night, I encountered the bad weather I wrote about. If you didn’t have a chance to read about it, you can here. That was definitely a terrifying experience.


The dogs had a bath last week. I say that because I used to give them baths every week. With the heat this summer,  I have taken to playing with them in the evenings by spraying them with the cool water and letting them soak in their little swimming pools. It is a game to them and one they love. Ryka spends most of her day just lounging around, but comes alive when I start spraying the water her way. She hops around and I know if a dog could laugh, she would be giggling. The change in her demeanor is so cute.  But, playing in the water, and I just do not understand it, makes them smell. One might think that being rinsed off and playing in a pool each day would make a dog smell good. Not! So, last week, they both got soaped up and smelled really good – for about one day. Oh well. 


That brings about another story. I have a wagon that I put them in for baths. It elevates them to a good height so I am not bent over while scrubbing them. It is always a contest when I pull the wagon out and ask who wants a bath first. Yes, I ask, and I will tell you that they know baths are coming. Sometimes Ryka jumps in first, and other times Calypso, and on occasion, both. Then it is a wait and see as to who gives in and jumps out. I never interfere because I enjoy watching the interaction to see what happens.  

 

 

Last week, Calypso opted for the first bath. I soaked her with water and doesn’t that silly dog attempt to chase her tail while standing in the wagon! As  soon as she was dried off, she was gone and chasing dragon flies. Ryka, on the other hand, was content to sit after her bath and be towel dried for as long as I was willing to keep on rubbing her down. When I would stop, she would look over her shoulder at me as if to say, “Just a little longer.”


Thursday, the optical center called to let me know that my new lenses were in. Upon their suggestion, I had tried the progressive lenses  rather than going with lined trifocals. I felt like a drunken sailor out to sea – for three weeks. I used them for a week and let them know that I couldn’t do it. I needed the lined trifocals. I then had to go in so they could take new measurements for the trifocals. I still continued to wear the progressive lenses thinking maybe I might adjust to them. I never did and I am so happy to have my lined trifocals! The ship has come in to port and docked. 


With a progressive lens, the corrective prescription runs down the center of the lens, and to either side there is no prescription, so you actually have no peripheral vision. It drove me crazy because I was constantly thinking – follow my nose, point my nose where I want to look. And then, once I pointed my nose where I wanted to see, I then had to move my head up and down to find the right level for clearness. This was definitely not working for me and I was able to exchange them out. Now, my bifocals have a bifocal. But I can see! 


I actually found a group on Facebook for planner addicts like myself. I love my planner! I also use my electronic calendar, but for me, writing down and being able to visually glance at my planner page is my favorite way of keeping track of my ToDo’s.  So like everyone else in the group, I’ve been ogling their planners, and visa versa. I am finding out that others are using stickers and washi tape to decorate their planner pages so I am having a ball doing the same. It really makes a difference. The calendar days are no longer just filled with appointments and ToDo’s. They have smiley faces and hearts and pretty tape, etc. It’s a fun group and if you are a planner addict as well, here’s the link: https://www.facebook.com/groups/planneraddicts/  if you would like to check it out. 

 

 

 

That was most of my week, the highlights anyway. Hope your week was good and if you’d like to share your highlights, please leave a comment.

Mothballs DO NOT deter snakes!

      No, folks, they don’t. If you are under the mistaken – and let me repeat that again – MISTAKEN – assumption that mothballs deter snakes, I am here to tell you that they do not! Repeat – DO NOT!

 

        After lifting up one of the dog’s blankets and finding a coiled up snake, I was told by many to scatter mothballs around my Garden House and the dogs kennel to deter snakes. So, out I ran as fast as I could to purchase a box of mothballs. As soon as I got home, I scattered a number of them – ok, a gazillion – of the mothballs under and around my Garden House, which also serves as the dog kennel. For good measure (loads of good measure), I scattered more than my fair share inside of my Garden House as well. I will just mention here, that at this point, it is not a good thing to walk inside of my Garden House.

         Well, all was fine and dandy for about three weeks and then today Hubby found a snake in the kennel! This is what transpired.

         I was listening for the dogs to bark to let me know the mail-lady was at the front gate because I was expecting a package. Instead, what happened was my phone (which of course was on the charger in my office closet) rang and I was in my clothes closet and heard it somewhere near its last ring. By the time I got to the phone, it had stopped singing. I saw that Hubby had called so I called him back. No answer.

         Meanwhile, at the same time (and unbeknownst to me) Hubby had come home and was in back of the house trying to get the dogs in the kennel so he could let poor Mr. Nick (whose is mostly blind and can’t hear) out of his truck while he hooked up his trailer (taking a breath here). The dogs heard the mail lady blow her horn and took off just as he almost had them to the kennel where he then saw the snake. He had the dogs running off, me not answering the phone, the snake in the kennel, Mr. Nick in the truck, and the mail lady at the gate blowing the horn.

photo (18)

        Just the sort of dilemma he doesn’t like. By then I heard the dogs barking and was going out the front door when I saw Hubby running down the long driveway to the gate. At this point, I am still oblivious (my usual state of being) to what is happening.

         As Hubby is walking back up the drive he starts telling me all of the above and of course, I have all of my questions (the sequence of events) which to him are not that important. When did you see the snake? Is it dead? Is it alive? Were the dogs in the kennel? Did you kill it? How did you see it? There are thousands of mothballs, why is there a snake in the kennel? Yes, the ramblings of a freaking out me!

         Eventually, I did get all of my ridiculous questions answered, but not before having to follow him to the kennel where he proceeded to get the shovel to kill the snake.

         Don’t worry. I was wondering the same thing – was the snake just sitting quietly all this time waiting for Hubby to kill it? Turns out, in the course of answering some of my barrage of questions, Hubby (who fortunately had his white shrimp boots on) had stomped it enough that it was well stunned and paralysed from the attack. So, yes, I guess it was just sort of waiting for Hubby to return to finish it off.

         Then, after killing the snake and picking it (up) and a bird that the dogs had managed to catch and that was now deceased as well, and disposing of them, I kennelled the dogs and Hubby let poor Mr. Nick out of the truck – who had no clue what all the commotion was about. Then, Hubby had to explain the entire fiasco to Mr. Nick.

         Just another typical day on the farm with “Lucy”; although sometimes, it’s more like an episode of Green Acres. 

If You Were Mine, The Sullivans, Book 5 by Bella Andre

BOOK 5 – If You Were Mine, Zach and Heather

The last thing Zach Sullivan wants is to take care of his brother’s new puppy for two weeks. Until he meets the dog trainer, that is. Heather is bright, beautiful, and he can’t stop thinking about her. Unfortunately, she just might be the only woman on earth who wants nothing to do with him.

Heather Linsey can’t believe she’s stuck working with one of the city’s top dogs, auto-shop tycoon Zach Sullivan. Especially when his focus is clear from the start—not only to learn how to deal with his temporary puppy…but also to make her his. Having sworn off love at seventeen when she realized it was nothing more than a pack of lies, Heather has stuck to her vow never to fall for a charming man.
But as Heather’s determination to push Zach away only fuels his determination to get closer—and the sensual and emotional connection between them grows more and more undeniable—will the biggest Sullivan bad boy of all tempt her into believing in love again?
Enjoy an excerpt from Book 5
There were half a dozen girls in bikinis waiting in Zach’s garage, but the woman laughing with his dog in her arms, wearing a sweaty, long-sleeved T-shirt and muddy shorts, with a messy braid trailing down her back, put them all to shame.
He couldn’t think of a time he’d ever seen eyes that color, brown with so many flecks of gold that he couldn’t look away. And, Jesus, that mouth of hers, rosy and full, made a man want to do crazy things…like grab the puppy and kiss it all over its drooly, disgusting little face for bringing Heather here today.
He’d been pissed off at Gabe and Summer for dumping the dog on him for two weeks. Now he realized he should thank them, instead.
Unlike most women, however, he could tell Heather wanted nothing to do with him. Fortunately, her dog didn’t seem to have any of the same qualms, especially when he sniffed the glazed sugar on Zach’s fingers from the donut he’d been eating for breakfast.
“Hey, mutt,” Zach said, thinking fast, “I left the rest of my donut on the counter inside. You want it?”
The huge dog’s ears twitched as if he understood, but he didn’t move. Instead, he looked up at Heather for approval.
Clearly, she was gearing up to refuse. But, man, that huge dog could play up thepuppy dog eyes when he wanted to. Zach was impressed. He’d have to remember how to do that in the future.
Her dog let out a low whine and Heather finally sighed and said, “Okay, fine. Go.” As she let go of his leash and the enormous dog loped off toward the garage, she followed him, still carrying Cuddles.
“I get that you weren’t prepared for a puppy, but I can’t leave her with you if you’re going to put her in a crate all day. She needs to understand how to stay with you so she doesn’t get hurt by something in the garage. You’re going to need to work on training her to understand your commands. And you’re going to have to do it without yelling at her.” She shot him a hard look. “Ever again.”
He would agree with whatever Heather said just as long as she stayed long enough for him to convince her to give him a chance. He couldn’t remember ever wanting a woman this bad, this fast.
“Hey Chase,” he told his brother, “I’ve got to call off the shoot.”
The models looked at his brother in confusion and Chase told them to take five before saying, “Chloe is going to have the baby any day now, and then I’m out of commission for a while. You sure you want to reschedule?”
Despite her ongoing protests that she was fine, Zach was already kneeling in front of Heather and gently wiping at the open skin on her knee with an antiseptic wipe from a nearby First Aid kit.
“I’ve got to clear my schedule for puppy training.”
“Seriously?” Heather blinked at him like he was driving on three wheels. “That’s why you’re sending everyone home? Isn’t your boss going to be mad?”
“Agnes didn’t mention my last name, did she?”
Her eyes widened with disbelief as she looked from him to the sign on the wall, then back again. “You’re the Sullivan in Sullivan Autos? This is your garage?”
“Don’t worry, I know cars a lot better than I know dogs.”
But he knew women best of all. And, he thought as he slid a Band-Aid strip over her left knee, he couldn’t wait to get his hands on more than Heather’s knees. Because even as he cleaned and bandaged her cuts, her skin was so warm, so soft, so responsive to his touch.
After he slid another Band-Aid strip over her silky smooth skin, he held out his arms. “Now that the shoot’s off, I’m all yours to train.”
Most women would have been pleased by the sensual undertones in his words, or would at least have blushed, but she simply glared at him with icy cool eyes.
Cuddles yawned and curled closer into her chest. What Zach wouldn’t do to be where the puppy was.
She shifted her legs out of his reach. “You can’t cancel your photo shoot. You’ll lose too much money.” She stood up and grabbed her dog’s leash again. “Atlas, it’s time to go.”
Damn it, she was going to leave. Panic gripped him, even though he’d only just met her, even though he could easily find another woman to have sex with. “Heather
She frowned as she looked down at where he was still kneeling on the cement floor. “Since you can’t keep Cuddles here while you’re” She paused to look at the models chain smoking and talking on their cell phones in the parking lot. “—working, I’ll take her to my office. When she wakes up, she can play with Atlas until you get there for our first session.”
She told him the address, then made a clicking sound that had her huge dog following her out of the garage with an adoring look on his furry face.
Zach understood exactly how the dog felt. One sign from her and he’d happily do the same thing.
His brother moved beside him and, together, they watched Heather leave, her long braid swinging behind her, her legs strong and tanned in her shorts.
“Who’s that?”
Zach grinned. “My new dog trainer.”
And, hopefully, a hell of a lot more than that real soon.
…Excerpt from IF YOU WERE MINE by Bella Andre ©2012.
My Review:
What are the chances of having eight exceptionally good looking siblings in one family? And, what are the chances that they all find perfectly beautiful mates and live happily ever after? Probably next to none, but then that’s why we read fantasy. And, oh what a wonderful fantasy world Bella Andre has created for us in The Sullivan’s Series. 

There are some books you read, some you find yourself skimming through, and then there are the books you realize that you are hanging onto every word and sometimes find yourself re-reading words and forget you are reading about the character in the book. These books fall into the latter category. 
I absolutely loved this book, but then I love dogs. Book 5 introduces us to Zack Sullivan, lover of all things on fast and on four wheels, and Heather Linsey, successful dog whisper extraordinaire  Who knew that the little precocious daughter of Megan Harris (Book 3 – Can’t Help Falling in Love) would be up to her matchmaking shenanigans again; this time with her soon-to-be Uncle Zach.
As with all of The Sullivans series, this book boasts an enchanting love story with unlikely characters – Cuddles and Atlas.
Technically speaking, I thought the book was very easy going and creatively written. The book also had a complete story line that could end with the last page of the book, if that were the only one the reader chose to read. I did like the way the author set up the next sibling’s story at the end of each book, and although they do not need to be read in order, I personally would recommend that this be done. 

My Crazy Life – Shampoo and a Blow-dry

March 2, 2012

Yesterday was washing the doggies’ day. The first of the month is also medicine day for Ryka and Calypso. Just to insure the dosage was correct, we weighed Calypso about two months ago. She was at 60 pounds of husky muscle. Ryka had also gained ten pounds and currently weighs in at 70 pounds of pure royalty.

Ryka

 

We decided to check Calypso’s weight just to ensure that her dosage was still correct. Easy, you say. Ha! I wish I had pictures of this episode. Hubby got on the scale first (hummm, thought you said you lost weight.) Then, he got off and fussed, and fussed because he was trying to wrap Calypso in a towel before picking her up because she “stunk”. Remember – they live outside. They love to play in the rain (and the lightening, and the thunder.) They are NOT going to smell good! Dogs do NOT smell good when they are wet and they do not smell any better when they dry!

Calypso

We finally got the towel around a confused Calypso and Hubby stepped on the scale. I am desperately trying to read the number on the scale, while all the while Hubby is fussing (he likes to fuss when it comes to “my” dogs) for me to read the numbers. Now, what he DOESN’T understand is the needle is vibrating back and forth as though it is registering an earthquake on the Richter scale. Seriously! How am I supposed to read a number when it won’t stay on one number!

By that time, Calypso has squirmed enough so the towel has fallen and she has gotten heavy so he steps off (still fussing.) He rewraps her and steps back on the scale. This time the scale was probably thinking, “Let me give them a reading because this might go on forever!” Calypso has gained another five pounds in the last two months (or was that Hubby) – which is surprising because she is so active.

Calypso and Ryka love medicine day! Hubby mixes the meds in potted meat and there is nothing left on the plate when they get through.

Then, it was shampoo time. I put them (by this, I mean I literally shove their heavy butts) on the picnic table out back next to the outside sink. There is hot and cold running water and it makes bath time much more pleasant for them as well as me. By the time I finish washing one dog, I’m soaking wet and it gets cold. Just look at their pictures (aren’t they so pretty after their bath) and you can only imagine bath time.

I stand next to the table and they are face level with me. That means a lot of licking and kissing during bath time. They lick and I rinse my face. They kiss and I rinse my face. This goes on throughout the entire bath (and there are two of them.) Ryka likes to put her soaking wet head on my shoulder and lick my neck while I wash her. Calypso likes to tuck her soaking wet head under my arm and give me hickies up and down my side.

I had Calypso on the table and soaped up when the neighbor started his four-wheeler. That was almost disastrous. I grabbed Calypso just as she was about to bound off the table. Thank goodness, he was only moving it into the barn. After lots and lots of shampoo and rinsing, Calypso and Ryka were both squeaky clean. Even after a brisk toweling, with their coats so thick, they were still wet so I decided I was going to blow-dry them. That turned out to be interesting.

Calypso was first – always has to be first! She had to check out the dryer. She sniffed and looked at it and then I turned it on. The noise made her even more curious (this is a dog that the minute she sees me walk outside in my pink hat, runs for the kennel and her house, because she knows I’m mowing grass and she HATES the lawn mower.) I pointed the dryer at her coat so she could feel the air and then I had to point it at her face so she could experience it. After that, she decided the dryer was a “good thing” and stood quietly while I dried her fur. Ryka liked the warm air and enjoyed being dried. I think I’ve spoiled my dogs even more. But, at least they weren’t rolling around in the freshly cut yard, in the grass, getting dirty while trying to dry themselves.

The effort was worth it because they are so beautiful and snuggly soft now.

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