Thursday, April 28, 2011

The Mourner's Path

"Life is a succession of lessons, which must be lived to be understood."
Ralph Waldo Emerson

The quote above was from the Daily Love email I get everyday. I didn't read it until now. If I'd gotten my lazy ass out of bed this morning and read it then, I might have gone into the afternoon with a different mindset. Maybe I would have felt braver, or at least open to new understandings.

I signed up recently for an 8-week session of something called the Mourner's Path. I heard about it several years ago. After my mother died I considered taking the facilitator's course before taking the "griever's" course. I don't always pay attention to celestial arrows that point me towards things I would probably not do on my own. But sometimes I am aware of a gently nudging, like the cat making room in the middle of the bed by pushing me closer to the edge inch by inch. For weeks, even as I tried to ignore them, I've been getting reminders that the class was approaching and I needed to sign up. Finally, I made the call and threw a sarcastic comment toward the heavens. OK, God, I said, I'm on the list, now are you happy?

Then I didn't think any more about it. This morning dawned and I didn't have a real sense of dread, just a few butterflies. When I told Sweetie I'd probably prefer a poke in the eye, he asked me to approach it in a positive way so that I can learn all there is to learn then share it with others as a beacon of hope. Let's face it, there's a lot written about grief, but it still come down to having to each of us walking our own path. Sometimes it's helpful for someone else to shine a flashlight for you.

I was hardly down the road when I started to cry. I'd stopped at church, drove past the Peace Garden, whispered hello to the Patty and Oki trees and saw day lillies blooming. Danggit. That's all it took. The tears started falling. First of all my father loved that Peace Garden, took great pride in helping restore it to the beauty it deserves. He/we would go and sit in the car just to look at the Patty Oak. And he had those silly lillies (ha!) planted twice. They rarely bloomed. This year they all seemed to be about to bud at the same time. [Photo: This makes it look like there was only one flower. Most of them were blooming in other places.]

Then the fear set in. Then the beginning of a full-blown panic attack. I drove in the right direction - no turning back - but felt the fear swelling up in my chest like a wet sponge with every mile I drove. I called my daughter who has her own experience with this kind of thing. "It's okay, Mom, this is normal. You don't have to do anything you don't want to do." (Novel idea!).

Then I called my friend Dani, who has a background in grief counseling. "Breathe" she told me. It's normal to feel this way." Normal to be so damn scared about something I don't even know what I'm scared of?" You mean other people feel this way? In very scientific terms, Dani told me I was in the "I don't give a rat's ass" phase of my grieving. My inner two year old was screaming that she was afraid, she didn't want to meet new people, she didn't want to share their pain or hers, she didn't want to cry in front of strangers, she didn't care if God was leading her to beside what might someday be still waters. And frankly she didn't give a rat's ass about anything. She wanted her Daddy back.

That's the attitude I had as I sat in the parking lot trying to breathe. I had 15 minutes to stop the tears and pull myself together. I looked at myself in the rear view mirror and thought of all the times in my life, I've cried by myself, then pulled "it" (whatever "it" is) together and presented as a confident (more or less) adult. Ha! Don't leave me alone, she cried. I'm right hear, holding your hand, I told her.

So I entered the church along with 5 other women. One or two chatted with the facilitators, the rest of us sat quietly, all with the same kind of walking wounded dullness in our eyes. Walking the Mourner's Path is a faith based but none-denominational program. I think most of us there were Episcopalians, not that it makes a difference. With the opening prayer, my eyes started leaking again. It's normal, I told myself. At least normal for me, so I let them fall and brushed them away with a finger before they puddled in my new workbook.

As much as I hate when you're in a group and the leader feels like he/she has to read the material to me when I have 2 perfectly good eyes and can read myself, I was relieved that the "sharing" was slow in coming. But come it did. We were instructed to pair up with the person next to us and talk about the one we'd lost. My partner didn't waste any time asking questions, and I told my story in between snorting into a handful of wadded up tissues. Then she told her story, and I stopped crying and gave her the same kindness she had given me. Maybe I'm not a selfish butthead after all. Then, after 20 minutes of sharing we rejoined the circle and introduced our partner and their lost one to the group.

As I listened, I found I did give a rat's ass. Somewhere in my heart there seemed to be room for others. When my partner shared about me, she reached for my hand and held on til the next person began to talk. And there I sat, tear-stained face, holding the hand of a person I'd only known for 10 minutes, and feeling strangely at peace. Is that weird?

Before the session was over we were asked to pick a stone that would represent our deceased love one throughout the next 8 weeks. A basket of rocks and stones was passed around. I am usually drawn to smooth or shiny or colored stones. This time my hand fell on the biggest rock in the basket with nothing about it that one might call pretty. It was just your basic old rock. I rolled it around in my hand and was amazed that it seemed to have some "heft" to it. It wasn't a girly rock. It was solid and strong like my Daddy. I wrote Oki on it, instead of Dad or Luther. I'm not exactly sure why, but that's what felt right to me and I was beginning to go with my gut.

And then, without realizing 90 minutes had gone by, the 1st session was over. I'd made it. I hadn't passed out. I hadn't thrown up. Oh sure, I'd cried, but in some ways that's just my way of saying this is part of who I am. Dogs and cats do the butt smelling routine, I cry.

On the way to the class I passed what I thought was a purple tree. I made a point of retracing my steps for a pictures. This is what I found:
[This picture does not do it justice.
In fact it looks a little like John Paul Jones.
But that is not a tricorn hat this angel is wearing. It is a halo of twigs.
I wonder how many drive down that road every day
and are not even aware of angels in their midst?
Or have seen it so many times they no longer take note.]

Life is a series of lessons which must be lived to be understood.
Today I learned:
  • I CAN be brave even if I don't FEEL brave.
  • I should buy stock in the Kleenex company.
  • I can depend on others to tell me what I can't tell myself.
  • I am not alone.
  • The Mourner's Path is a sacred journey.
  • A stranger's hand can feel just like my mama's.
  • The Hebrew word for "breath" and "soul" are the same.
  • You don't have to be on a starlit hill in Bethlehem to find angels. Sometimes you can find them right along the side of an ordinary road, or the other end of a cell phone.
Wishing for each of you a person to call when you are scared,
Merry ME

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Easter Finery P.S.

I'd be hard pressed to pick my favorite Spring flower. But right up there near the top is the sunny yellow daffodil. This is the time of year to be living in the Northwest if you are a bulb lover. Tulip and Daffodil fields line the highways and every house has their own supply.

I haven't seen the first daffodil this year until today. My sister sent me this picture. The flowers are from the flowering of the cross at her church. Once the service was over the church ladies were going to toss these beauties because they don't smell so good. What? Toss them as in throw them away? My sweet sister, Linda Lu, is a natural born savior of cats, dogs, nieces and nephews, sisters and now daffodils.

I have added seeing a whole Easter cross covered in 50 varieties of daffodils to my bucket list. Be still my heart, I swoon at the very thought of such beauty. On that note I leave you with a daffodil poem. It is like an exclamation point at the end of a gorgeous Easter Day!


I wandered lonely as a cloud
That floats on high o'er vales and hills,
When all at once I saw a crowd,
A host, of golden daffodils;
Beside the lake, beneath the trees,
Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.

Continuous as the stars that shine
And twinkle on the milky way,
They stretched in never-ending line
Along the margin of a bay:
Ten thousand saw I at a glance,
Tossing their heads in sprightly dance.

The waves beside them danced, but they
Out-did the sparkling leaves in glee;
A poet could not be but gay,
In such a jocund company!
I gazed—and gazed—but little thought
What wealth the show to me had brought:

For oft, when on my couch I lie
In vacant or in pensive mood,
They flash upon that inward eye
Which is the bliss of solitude;
And then my heart with pleasure fills,
And dances with the daffodils.

William Wordsworth

Wishing for you heart full of pleasure,
Merry ME

Easter Finery

"Our Lord has written the promise of the resurrection,
not in books alone,
but in every leaf in spring-time."
Martin Luther

Newly baptized Aidan Christian

I'm not sure which looks more delicious -
Maya Champagne or the bag full of candy.

Whatever your religious beliefs (or if you have none) today is a day for celebrating. New life... New hope...The promise of something better to come.

As a Christian, I don't think I ever wanted to believe in the Resurrection more than I have this year. I can't imagine what it would have been like when my father took his last breath if I didn't know in my soul that he was going to a better place to be (re)joined with his friends, his family and my mom. He seemed afraid and worried there at the end. He asked repeatedly for a priest's assurance of forgiveness and life everlasting. For me there was a perfect peace in his passing from this life to the next. Call it drugs if you want to. I call it love of the Creator who led Dad home.

One of the bloggers I follow, Laura Paine Carr, recently wrote about a day spent with her seven year old granddaughter. I swear I love, love, love the innocence and truth that manifests itself in children. They are so pure (and never more so than all dressed up in their Easter finery). I think even when they make you want to pull your hair out, kids live in the moment and give it their all. Laura and her granddaughter, Annie, were out inspecting the splendor of a Spring day when they came across a no-longer-alive robin. They buried it then Annie took it upon herself to decorate the grave. I'm betting if the ladies at the tomb of Jesus had tried they couldn't have done a better job. I've taken the liberty of sharing it here even though I never got permission from Annie or Laura. I hope it's okay.

I don't know if you can zoom in on the picture above or not, so this is what it says:
We watie in are sorrow for birds to come, to Pray and remeber their beloved Son. And if he rises we shall rejoice for god is with us, and with him there is miracles. Amen.
No deep sermonizing. Just a simple truth as seen through the eyes of a child. At the other end of the spectrum is a writing I discovered this past week from my Grandmother. What do you do with boxes of stuff - photos darkened with age of people you don't know and newspaper clippings from the 1930's - from long ago? Right now I'm still in the read every word and scan every face mode.

I love how the Divine One's timing is spot on. No coincidence that I found this particular piece during this rather hard week. My father's father was a Methodist minister in rural Tennessee. He died from complications of the flu when he was still a young man; my dad was only 10 years old. My Grandmother was a single mom, school teacher and devout Christian in her own right. Because I was not around as she suffered in her last years, I remember her always with a smile, and a bounteous love for redbirds, flowers and children. In an address to the General Meeting of the Newport Methodist church in April, 1974 she said ...

... I have strong beliefs about many things but I find that my firm belief in the one Creator and ruler of our universe is probably the strongest.
On a spring morning when I observe all the beautiful flowers awakening to life after the winter's sleep, and I hear the song of the birds I cannot help but feel that there is a great Supreme power over and above it all.

... The flowers of that first Easter morning have long since faded and gone, but with the coming of every springtime there have been other flowers just as beautiful, just as fragrant to remind us of the love of our Father.

In my church there is a whole week of activities leading up to the glory of Easter morning which will be hailed with much pomp and circumstance. As much as I embrace the majestic climax of the week, I think my favorite part of it all is the recreation of the Last Supper. It is a time to remember the Christ as a man of service to others not the King of Kings.
I give you a new commandment he told his disciples - to love one another as I have loved you.
That is the Easter message I get, year after year, to love one another. From the manger to the cross the story of Jesus is the story of love and miracles. What might this world be like if each of us lived that love commandment and believed in miracles regardless of our sex, color, creed or religion? I wonder why, when the universal language is love, that is so hard to do.
What does Easter mean to you? A story of love and redemption? A time for new dresses, colorful hats, and patent leather shoes? A hunt for a golden egg? A basket full of chocolate bunnies and jelly beans? Baby lambs and chicks and bunnies? Or the promise of Spring as manifested in the beauty and rebirth of Mother Nature?

[The flowers on that cross have a hard time competing
with colorful tops my sister and I are wearing.]

May your baskets overflow with the joy and the beauty of the season,
Merry ME

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Three Months and Counting

It's been three months since my dad passed away. In some ways it feels like a lifetime ago, in others just yesterday. A couple of nights ago I sat upright in bed when I heard him call me. No matter that everything has changed since then, I heard his voice and my body reacted.

I've begun to feel alive again. Like the budding trees turning green. But it doesn't take much more than a thought or a word to make my tears start flowing again. I no longer climb into bed and curl into a ball. Instead I just let the tears fall, feel the sadness and keep on going. That sounds like a lot of improvement until I admit I don't have much ambition so the "keep on going" part isn't like moving up the final slope of Mt. Everest. There is still much to be done to get our house back in order. It's livable to the half of Ellington-Cook family who is not hard wired to hanging pictures and emptying the endless parade of boxes that make their way into the house from the garage. In each box I find some reminder of Dad that makes me stop, hold it close to my heart and go back 3 months to a different time. It's weird how I can be going along perfectly fine and then have to stop to pay homage to the man and the journey all over again.

It happens (ed) when:
  • I see the silver brushes mom gave dad as a wedding present. What, pray tell, does one do with someone else's brushes?
  • I was washing my sister's feet at church on Maundy Thursday and they morphed into my father's feet and I remembered all the times I'd been down on my knees to trim his nails and rub lotion into his dried heels.
  • I was looking for a new dress for Easter so I could match the flowering bushes with Springtime color. I stood in front of dressing room mirrors and remembered how Dad offered to buy me a "shirtwaist" dress for my birthday last year. I have his checkbook so I can buy me a dress from "him" but my heart misses the offer.
  • I lool into the soulful brown eyes of a ditzy dog
  • I see the lilies Dad planted in the front yard coming back from the winter's freeze and realize I still haven't transplanted them.
  • I try to balance Dad's checkbook that, in the 3 months since it's been in my possession, has become irreconciable with the bank's statement.
  • I see the crap strewn around and realize the difference between his messes and mine is that his were confined to one room.
  • I see a picture of him and realize I'm slowly beginning to forget what his face looked like in life, but I cannot forget the way he looked on his deathbed. I wonder who's in the room where he died. I think about going and sitting in the comfortable chair just outside the nurse's station. Then I realize none of that is going to turn back the clock. Did I do everything right? Did I pay enough attention?
  • I think of his last day and forget to be grateful that his final wish was granted. Instead I long for more time.

I've signed up for am 8-week course on managing grief. I think if someone can come up with a plan for that then they should be able to manage a simple tsunami. I know it will be good for me. However, walking cold into a group of people, who like me may be more dead inside than the one's we mourn, to share these feelings is pretty darn scary. But it's been three months, the same amount of time for winter to turn to spring. I anticipate a re-awakening of my joy, a re-birth of my song. But sometimes I still cry.

Wishing for you a happy heart,
Merry ME

Friday, April 22, 2011

Skater's Waltz

[In My Dreams!]

Is it just me, or does this happen to anyone else? Let's say you're driving down the road and the Skater's Waltz comes on the radio, are you instantly transported to another time and place? Do you imagine that you are on a frozen pond, dressed in a blue wool coat trimmed in fur with a matching hat and muff, and white skates laced up tight so you can swoosh from one side of the lake to the other doing spins and axels without your ankles giving way? Do you channel your inner Sonja Henie or Kristi Yamaguci?

I swear I've only ever been ice skating once or twice in my life, and that was more than 50 years ago. I can say with all honesty that while I remember standing up and moving on the ice, it was not graceful and I only went in one direction, around a circle, near the edge of the rink. It's weird, don't you think, that reality seems to have no say when I hear music that conjures up a wintry scene and a talent I've never possessed except in my dreams? In my imagination I am one darn good skater.

I've gotten hooked on satellite radio. There are hundreds of channels to fit my every mood. Feeling sad? I put on Spa music to soothe me. Feeling nostalgic? I play some tunes from a bygone era. Feeling countryish? I've got my choice from old time Opry to modern, guitar banging Garth Brooks. Need some prayer time? I head straight for the religious music. Lately The "POPs" station is my #1 pick.

So there I was running errands, listening to some orchestra music that I like but have no idea who composed when the song began. I don't think my driving was affected because I did not swerve from lane to lane as if my car was a pair of skates. But I was transported to place where waltzes ruled. Regardless that I was driving in Jacksonville on a 2011 Spring day with record high temperatures so there was no ice or people around to wave to as I skated past, the music enchanted me. Music has a way of doing that doesn't it?

I promised Oprah I wouldn't text and drive. I promised MADD I wouldn't drink and drive. I've never made the promise not to skate and drive. Perhaps I should.

What kind of music moves you? And where does it take you?
Merry ME

Photo: Ivan Sekretarev/Associated Press;

Thursday, April 21, 2011

New Dog, Old Tricks

The Humane Story told us Miss Suzi Q she was corralled by the county dog catcher. She came with no other history than that. We asked the questions but the answers were vague.

House broken?
Who knows?

Good with cats?
Can't tell ya.

Gets into the garbage when no one is looking?
We can't say for sure but she must have been used to foraging for food cause she doesn't look starved.

We fell in love immediately so the answers were kind of a mute point. We'd deal with what we had to deal with. Perhaps we should have given the whole bringing a new dog home from the pound some more thought.

House broken?
Mostly. I can say that our brand new carpet has been properly (or improperly as the case may be) Christened. This doesn't make us happy, but Sweetie and I take responsibility because even though she seems to have a bladder as big as Lake Tahoe the bird brained canine doesn't quite grasp the concept of going outside to pee. Outside is for barking.

Good with other dogs and cats?
After the first day when Boy Cat laid down the law, Suz (Sadie, Lucy, Daisy, or whatever I call her at the moment) has become one of the pack. When she takes me for a walk this dog of mine wants to stop to chat with other dogs and people. She is not leash aggressive. Her feelings are easily hurt if someone walks by without a nice pat on the head.

Digs in the garbage can?
Well, the answer to that is the garbage can has a new place of honor - high and out of the way of a certain sniffing dog's sniffer.

Get her plenty of toys the behaviorist told us. She's a working dog, giver her something to do. With this as my goal, I've become a regular patron of the dog department in every store I go to. I've purchased rope toys; plastic toys; soft, furry, stuffed toys; rawhide bones; and an orthopedic foam dog bed.

If I had to guess I'd say rope toys to play tug of war with Laci are the favorite of both dogs. It is great fun to watch how each warrior employs her own battle skills. Laci's Rottweiler jaw clamps on one end of the rope and doesn't let go. Suzi's longer legs put more leverage on the rope, but mostly she uses the "what's that over there, another rope?" trick to take Laci's mind off her prize causing her to loosen her grip and Suzi then trots off triumphantly with the rope.

None of that, however, seems to be as much fun as shredding the soft toys and shaking stuffing all over the living room. The only thing that can top it is destroying the foam inside the bed.
In this case perhaps a picture is worth more than words.

Scene of the crime.
Notice the perfectly good rubber bone lying there untouched.

It doesn't take Sherlock Holmes to determine the culprit.
Look at that smile and how proud she is of her work!

Dog tired.

I've met a lady who walks three dogs while I struggle to walk one.
"Be the leader," she told me.
"Make Suzi know who's boss."
"It's a walk not a sniff."
"Change your shoes, walk at a fast pace."
Good golly, you'd think I was in dog walking boot camp.

As you can see from the above pictures which were taken AFTER our morning walk, the one who is most tired out after the walk is me. That whole keep up a fast pace thing needs some more practice!

And so does the toy shopping.

Wishing for you furry 4-legged friends and new tricks to learn,
Merry ME

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

The Future

"How did he do that?"

In the last week I've noticed a definite up turn in my emotions. I can't say why or how. I just know I don't feel the heavy burden of grief bearing down on my shoulders anymore. I've caught myself both laughing and singing.

As the veil of grief lifts I can see more clearly. Not just the tasks at hand. I can see a future waiting for me to make a move. Oh sure, I'm still very tentative. I'm not yet in a place of full trust. I'm holding on tight to my green security blanket and keeping the Kleenex close. One never knows when the next tsunami will hit. I am, however, taking baby steps towards what will be.

Even as I write that, I chuckle because really I have no clue "what will be" so how can I move toward it. I think, the first step is in believing there is something else to do. My life is not over because my Dad is gone. Perhaps my life is on the brink of just beginning.

I see a whole world of opportunity. I just have to zero in on what will work best for me. Ahh, that's the stumbling block. Knowing there is possibility is one thing, stepping out is another.
So yesterday my dear and trusted friend, Qn Dani gifted me a reading from her friend and Psychic to the Stars Brett d'Arras. I've only ever touched my toes into the water of psychic readings so I didn't know what to expect. But I was curious. And, I would love to have someone other than me say, here you go girlfriend, this is your life no go live it. If I depend on myself, who will I have to blame if things don't work out? ME? How scary is that!

The time of my appointment arrived. I had a couple of questions so I was ready when Brett asked what I wanted to know. Mostly I quizzed him on what might be in my future and who might be tagging along on the journey with me. See, how fear hangs around me. The idea of following my psychic-ly ordained life without a wise one to hold on to, as opposed to say just a bright Star in the East was too much for me. I wanted to make sure I had a guide!

That is not to say that I don't trust Sweetie will join me on my journey. But "what if" he doesn't know where we're going either. And we all know about men and direction asking. a newbie's sponsor is a very important part of working a 12-step person. I remember being told, when I was new in the program to pick a person who seemed to be where you'd like to be someday. Make him/her the lantern that lights the path for you. That's what I was asking Brett. Who will be my light?

Well, let me just say that this man, who I've never met and who doesn't know me from Eve told me a lot about ME, my life as it has been, and my life as it could be. He said I have "healing" energy around me. And even if that sounds a little woowoo, my heart exclaimed, "yes." My father told me a story shortly before he stopped talking that answered a big "why" question for me. And Brett validated it in a way no one but me could know. I'm not going to run right out and sign up for medical school. I am going to acknowledge what my Spirit wants from me.

Brett says that the creative energy I'm developing now, i.e. redecorating (how did he know that) is what is going to propel me into a new phase of creativity. How that's going to look we'll have to wait and see. And I AM going to have guides, maybe I've already got them in my life or maybe they'll show up in the summer. As I sat at lunch with a friend I've wanted to get to know better, today, I couldn't help but look at her long blonde hair and wonder ... is she the one? My eyes are open now to new possibilities. How cool is that.

And as far as my relationship with Sweetie goes (how could I not ask?) Brett told me we're going to get back to being on the same path now that I'm not distracted like I've been. I nearly swoon at the idea of walking hand in hand down life's grand avenue. Because I've got to tell you, both of us wandering around Home Depot and meeting at the check out counter to pick out this and veto that is getting old. I know it's a learning curve, and I know that melding our likes and dislikes at a furniture store is just on the job training for the rest of our lives. Whether it will be traveling in an RV (probably not), becoming foster parents (maybe) or setting sail for totally new horizons I love the idea of beginning a new chapter of our book.

I hope to be able to stay focused on the future instead of just letting life runaway with me. I think it's going to take work, positive energy and commitment. Three things I've always given freely to others, I hope I can do the same for me.

Wishing for you a light to guide your way and courage to explore uncharted lands,
Merry ME

Saturday, April 9, 2011

There's a New Dog in Town

"Oh Susie Q,
Baby I love you
Susie Q."

One of my father's oft repeated sayings was: "The best way to get over losing a pet is to go right out and get another one." That's kind of the way he dealt with his emotions. Don't feel the loss. Cover it up with something else. (Note to self...perhaps this is the same as packing away all that BluebellDutch Chocolate ice cream.) I suppose getting a new pet isn't as detrimental as say gin or vodka.

When Black Beauty died, Dad wanted a new dog. While my heart could have applied the "new dog" theory, all Sweetie and I could see was more work. Beauty was an old dog that required little more than good food, a soft bed and lots of love. Her days of walking around the block or playing fetch were over. I didn't see how we (I) would add dog training/walking/playing into my already busy schedule. And, truth be told, there wasn't enough room on Dad's bed for a dog, which, in essence, was what he wanted.

At first we said no.
Then we said, well, what if we just looked?
Then we said what kind would we get?
We looked on line at labs, shepherds, and mutts.
We looked at puppies, teenaged dogs and dogs like Beauty whose sleep patterns matched Dad's.
Let's face it, if you can walk past the cages at the Humane Society and come out with your heart still in tact you are probably not quite ready for a new dog. A heart can only take so much yapping (pleading) and so many sad eyes. Each time we looked, we came away empty handed. We weren't ready.

Then Dad passed away. While thoughts of lovable Labrador Retrievers still danced in my head, actually getting a new dog was on the far back burner. We had more important decisions to make. Stay in the house or buy an RV? Keep the "antique" furniture or buy new? Paint the walls? What color?

On Monday I made the mistake of going back to the Humane Society website. Just looking I told myself. Then I saw him, Raven. A 7 year old black shepherd. An older dog than I wanted, but worth the trip to meet him. Upon closer inspection, Raven, had one major problem. He was huge! Big feet! Big Tail! Big nose! So Sweetie and I made a sad but quick decision that he was not the dog for us. Then we had to walk past a whole row of caged pooches to get to the door.

And the rest of the story, as Paul Harvey would say, is we (well maybe ME) stopped for a little chat with a dog named Susie. I know, not the best dog name. According to her information chart Susie is part Beagle, part shepherd, approximately 4 years old. She was found roaming loose and not claimed by anyone so most of her history is whatever anyone wants to make up about her. She could be Anastasia's lost pup for all anyone really knows. What you can tell by looking at her is that Susie is bigger than a Beagle (think Hound) and smaller than a Shepherd but the same brown black combo. She has gentle brown eyes that spoke to my sympathetic green ones. She didn't run away when Jack spoke to her. This was a good sign. We decided to "just talk" to the adoption lady. [Photo: After a lot of romping in the back yard, Laci and Susie pose for a picture. Check out that smile!]

Talking led to signing papers. Signing papers led to picking her up and bringing her home this morning, with the stipulation that she get along with Laci and not chase cats. In other words we were given an "adoption option" to bring her back if things didn't work out.

Let me just say for the record that Miss Suzi Q
(a slight twist on the name that the Humane Society says she answers to, but in fact ignores completely) is one sweet dog. She has been barked at, chased, humped, and befriended by Laci. She has been hissed at, swatted at and completely frightened by Boy Cat, who for some reason has turned into a wildebeast cat. Who knew the skinny little thing could puff up so big?Girl Cat was curious but not enough to get within sniffing distance. [Photo: What the hell is that?]

In many ways this old house is
shaping up to be a home for Sweetie and ME. We've still got lots of work to do. But having our own dog, not just a visiting dog, makes it feel one step closer to the house that Jack and Mary built. [Photo: You can't see it too well, but that black spot behind the chair is Boy Cat standing his ground.]

I'm a little sad, that Dad isn't here to
meet Suz. I think he would give his approval. Yeh, I know how crazy that sounds. My father is 2 and a half months gone and I'm still looking for his approval.

But that's a story for another time. Right now I have a ball tossing date with a dog.
[Photo: Home Sweet Home]

Wishing for you 4 legged things that warm your heart,
Merry ME