Tag Archives: family

Happiness

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Can you see me grinning? Can you feel the happiness spilling out of me all over the floor?

Our son came home from Thailand yesterday for the first time in over 3 years. After he had a chance to catch up a bit on sleep, we shared beef stew, pets, and good conversation until about 11:30 last night.

There are no words for how full I’m feeling. I have everything right in my home. Right now.

Our elderly cocker spaniel/schnauzer cross, Molly, not only remembered him, crying with excitement and joy, she insisted on spending much of the evening in his lap, only moving to push her face closer to him. We were all touched by how happy she was to welcome him home again. Amber was her usual boisterous self, blissfully unaware of how huge she is and how much destruction she can cause in a short amount of time. She, too, calmed down, though, after a while, and was content to come over and demand he love her every once in a while.

It doesn’t matter what we do while he’s here. I’m going to try to get some pictures, and I’m trying NOT to smother him, though he’s telling me I’m ‘worrying too much’ about whether he’s comfortable or not, has everything he needs, can find things, remembers about our weird hot water system, etc. There is no way a mother quits worrying until she is gone.

I’ll collect as many hugs as he’ll allow while he’s here and just enjoy the time spent with him, whatever we’re doing. I love to talk with him. Last night we started talking about meditation. He is really into the practice and it’s helping him calm his mind and deal with whatever happens. I’m really happy he has found something that is so rewarding.

He just came into the office after eating his breakfast and before going up to shower. He loved Amber until she calmed down and then came over and gave me the best hug in the world. Now I’m adding tears to the joy.

So, you’ll probably get sick of happiness exuding all over the place from me over the next three weeks. I have to tell you I can’t help it and I’ll be happy enough for you and me BOTH!

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Filed under Family, Favorite People, holidays

And He’s Home!

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My face is split ear to ear with a huge, goofy grin.

Our son is HOME.

I’ve received three good hugs so far – one at the airport and two when we got home.

He took the ‘short’ flight from Chiang Mai here – 28 hours all told – (8 hours waiting between flights). He flew from Chiang Mai to Incheon, South Korea, waited 4 hours and then flew from Incheon to the DFW airport. Waited another 4 hours and then flew from Dallas to Fort Smith, Arkansas.

He said the OTHER option was one which would take 58 hours.

He was in shorts, sandals, a tee shirt and a hoodie. He said when he left Chiang Mai, it was in the high 80s – night time, and he was sweating the minute he left the house. He never has to wear a hoodie, much less long pants, heavier shirt, full shoes and socks, and maybe even a coat, hat and gloves…. It woke him up to have to walk with us to the car in short-term parking.

We tried to prepare him for Amber, our 94 pound yellow lab PUPPY, but the reality of Amber is a ‘whole-nuther-thing.’ She finally calmed down enough for me to get her to go to her place and THEN Brian could get to know her a bit. Molly remembered him, even though it has been years since he ‘disappeared.’ I thought she would wag her little stubby tail off. She cried, trying to get closer and closer to him. (I know how she feels.)

I’m smiling all over knowing that he’s upstairs sleeping now.  We’ll plan to eat some beef stew together tonight, talk a bit, relax, and then regroup for tomorrow. We need to get supplies for the smoothies he wants to make and other food, plus get his driver’s license renewed before it expires on his birthday. (He needs one when he’s here, but not in Chiang Mai.)

We’ll play the next three weeks by ear, open to whatever he would like to do. I’m hoping we can talk a lot.  And I’ll sneak in as many hugs as he’ll allow…

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Filed under Cause for Celebration, Family

Beyond Happy

The APP Ecosystem

Our son is coming home today for a visit!  He’s been in Chiang Mai, Thailand, this time, for over three years.

Thankfully, he’s a really good communicator, so most of the time we can ignore the fact that he’s across the world from us. We have a secure chat program he set up so we can either message each other or ‘talk’ real time. (He let me know he’s at the DFW airport now waiting for his flight that will bring him here.)

His flight has been really awful – not a lot of plane changes but the whole flight from his place to our airport will have taken 28 hours!  Needless to say, he wants to come straight home and hit the bed for several hours before sharing some beef stew with us tonight.  Just knowing he’s up in what is now the guest room will have me smiling all day long. :0)

He will stay about three weeks – celebrating his birthday AND Christmas with us!

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This Scrooge is Thawing

This photo of our son, Brian, and me was taken at Christmas in 2007. It’s still one of my all-time favorite photos.

I’ve been a Scrooge, basically, since then because my heart wasn’t really in it. Our son decided several years ago that in order to really learn Mandarin, he needed to live where it was spoken. He packed up and went to China, attending an American language school there, leaving just before they had a terrible earthquake. He came home, but then went back, this time living in Shanghai.

Then he decided that he wanted to live somewhere more quiet, so he went to Chiang Mai, Thailand. He has made it a point not only to continue learning Mandarin, but also to learn Thai. He participates on a regular basis on an app where people can call in for translations between Mandarin and English and Thai. This allows him to get more and more fluent as he tries to help others.

A friend and his wife joined him in Chiang Mai several years ago. They work together doing computer stuff for various clients in the U.S. Before he left the last time, he set up a secure chat program so that we could leave messages or type at each other real-time. We do that on almost a daily basis. He also set up a program called ‘appear.in’ which he and his friend use in conference calls. We can see each other real-time and talk, like Skype or other similar programs, but MUCH better quality.

It’s been three years since he’s been home. We communicate more than a lot of families who live in the same city, so he hasn’t really seemed a world away, though he gives wonderful hugs, and my ‘hugs bucket’ has been empty for a long time now.

Recently he talked about MAYBE coming home for a visit. I put it out of my mind because a lot can happen in a short space of time, making it impossible – although intentions are the best.

He is actually coming home! We will pick him up at the airport on the 10th of this month!!!! He can stay until January 2nd, when he will fly to see other relatives and good friends before returning to Chiang Mai.

I am definitely feeling the Scrooge in me thawing this year. This morning I got out the two Christmas wreaths I kept after my purge of ‘stuff’ in our home and put them up. I then got out one bag of decorations that I’ve put up in the past, when I wanted to look at least a little bit festive. These are up in the dining area now. (I’ll take some pictures to share a bit later today.)

My husband and I decided that this year we would decorate a Christmas tree and get out all the decorations we haven’t used in years. This means we will need to move furniture in the living room to accommodate the tree – plus haul the huge Tupperware bin of decorations and the tree up from the basement – something we haven’t done in a long time. I’ve decided to wait until our son is home to do the tree, so we can do it together as a family.

As the fact that he has his tickets, and we have a flight arrival time now (the trip from Chiang Mai to here will take a total of 28 hours with layovers, etc) the fact that he’s REALLY coming home is starting to sink in. My heart feels full, plus lighter and lighter. I keep finding myself smiling.

The very best Christmas present we could have – except for when I gave birth to him 40 years ago on Dec. 13th…

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Filed under Attitude, Cause for Celebration, Delightful Surprises, Family, holidays

Ordinary?

Waldorf Today via Desiree Angelique Hackett

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Thing One and Thing Two

 

Gym Junkies

THING ONE:

When I came downstairs this morning, I found my husband cooking us breakfast! We are on NutriSystem, trying to get a bunch of our lard off, so we’re usually eating one of the NS breakfasts, so this was a really nice surprise. AND he didn’t go nuts, trying to cook what we USED to eat for a typical Saturday morning splurge breakfast. He cooked three pieces of bacon for us to share and two fried eggs. (No toast and jelly, no hash browns, no third egg, no three-pieces-each on bacon, or orange juice.) It was a wonderful surprise, and we didn’t even have to feel guilty, since it was in the proper range of calories for breakfast and we hadn’t had a flex meal breakfast this week. :0)

THING TWO:

I told you recently that my friend, Marsha, and I are having trouble communicating lately. We aren’t sure what the problem is, but we’ve now confirmed email addresses, phone numbers, physical addresses, have talked on the phone, and are continuing to search for the reason for our problem.

This is Marsha (on the right) with a friend of hers.

This morning I received an email from Marsha, suggesting that we try to connect on the chat program via gmail. I searched all over the place and finally found an icon I could hit that showed she had sent me a connection request. We connected and then proceeded to type madly at each other! It was great, and I’m glad we have another way to communicate, particularly when all else fails. I’ll keep the chat program on all the time so that I can check it each time I come back to the computer during the day and evening to see if she’s left a message, or – better – if she’s available to type at me real time. Hooraaaaay!

What a GREAT start to my morning!!

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Sweet Doggie

Jill Abramson – sayingimages.com

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Reminder

sayingimages.com

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A Good Day

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My husband and I are getting over the cold I brought home from my trip and graciously gave to him. :0)  Each day we’re stronger, though we both still feel we’ve been run over by a truck.

Today my husband spent much of the day talking to a Level 3 Microsoft person, trying to get Windows Office installed on his computer. This is a computer guru having trouble with something that is supposed to be so easy, but in truth took the EXPERT much of the day to do it. He finally said it was Windows’ problem, making my husband feel better about the need to ask for help. My husband has a LOT of important files in Word and Excel, so it was crucial that he get the program installed and working.

My SIL was kind enough to send me ‘cards’ on my phone, listing some contact information. I had trouble getting the files to ‘open,’ then FINALLY got the idea to check my gmail account online and see if they showed up in my contacts. After a LOT of fiddling around (I am NOT a computer guru and technology is basically ‘magic’ to me) I finally got my contacts to show. I found numerous duplication, due to my ineptness, and then went on to correct some outdated information, add more contacts, etc. so that now I have ONE list that also shows up on my phone. I feel empowered!!!!

I also have finally made it through the maze of getting the Visa gift cards promised to us when we installed the ADT security system in our home recently. It started with each of the people involved pointing to the other, but FINALLY I now have the certificates and codes needed to fill out the application forms. My husband was threatening to tear out the whole system, but I managed with firmness, rather than threats, to get what we needed.

I was contacted yesterday by a relative we haven’t seen in years, reaching out to us to let us know one of my relatives is having serious health issues. I can’t believe his kindness in essentially reaching out to a stranger, and in an incredibly kind way, letting us know what was happening in his family. I wrote back, thanking him profusely, asking more questions. He answered me today, again making me feel glad he reached out. Sometimes people can make you tear up with their generosity.

So, we’ve had a productive, good day and are getting ready to relax for a bit.

I hope YOU had a good day, too.

 

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Road

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Dog Song

Good Morning Quote

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Sneaky Amber

Amber is getting sneakier as she ages.

Her newest “trick” is getting into the trash. This is not your “dump the trash can over and strew it all over the place” type trick. It’s much sneakier. She KNOWS she is not supposed to get into the trash. When we feed Amber and Molly in the mornings, we have Molly on one side of the gate that is in the doorway between the dining area and the living room and Amber on the other, or Amber will sneak by us as we’re fixing breakfast and eat Molly’s food after wolfing down her own.

While we’re distracted, she quietly goes to the trash can beside my living room chair, takes ONE piece of trash out and distributes it in several pieces. She doesn’t dump the trash can. She takes one and ONLY one piece out each morning. She never gets into the trash at any other time of the day – just in the morning. It’s as if she’s taunting us.

If I remember to dump MY trash into the can beside my HUSBAND’S chair, we’re okay. If I forget, the one piece of trash is on the floor when we finish breakfast and are on our way to the office.

We let her in to the dining area as soon as Molly finishes eating. She and Molly like to sit down on the floor beside the dining area table, hoping for a bite or a plate to lick. She knows she’ll be fed – and a good amount. She knows she’ll get a bit extra from our breakfast. She knows she’ll get clobbered if she gets into the trash. The taunt continues….

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I Love Dogs – Take 1

Roger Caras – Facebook.com/FortheLoveoftheDog

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The Bottom Line

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I Love You

SayingImages.com

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The Best Things in Life

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August 1, 2018 · 11:45 am

Amber is a Wonderful Challenge

This is Amber, our 16-month-old, 92 pound (the last time we took her to the vet to weigh her on his scales) yellow Labrador Retriever ‘puppy.’ So far, all we’ve heard about labs being very puppy-ish through two years is true.  Amber likes to try to scrunch herself up so that she can sleep in Molly’s bed here in the office. (There is a larger bed just on the other side of my desk – complete with chew toys – but she and Molly like this one best.)

 

For comparison, here is Molly (our elderly cocker spaniel/schnauzer cross) sleeping in the same bed as I type. (Amber went out to play in the rain.)  As you can see, this bed gives Molly a good bit of spread-out-room.

Our latest battle of wills involves Amber going in and out. When the door opens in either direction, Amber is like a bull charging at a red target. She runs right over Molly or the cats, plus us, if we’re not careful. We’re trying to get Amber to sit and wait until we say, “OKAY” before she goes in or out. This is a real test of wills. We have to start getting her to sit before we even touch the door, then keep watching and making her sit until the door is open. If we’re successful, she sits until we say ‘okay’ and everyone lives through the action. Otherwise, not so much.

We WILL prevail, but it may take awhile…

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Filed under Amazing Animals, character-building exercises, Family

Companionship

Smoke apparently was up much of the night catting around. She isn’t saying much, but plopped herself down on my calendar this morning and seems not inclined to be particularly sociable until further notice.

 

She just allowed me to pet her. We have two cats, Smoke and Abby, neither of whom purr worth spit. They seem really happy and spend a lot of time either beside us, being companionable, or sitting on us when they get the chance, often for hours if we’ll allow.

We adopted Smoke from our vet’s office. She was in a cage with some others when we brought one of the doggies in. I went over to the cage and she came right up, rubbing up against my hand and much as she could with the cage between us. My heart melted, but we already had a cat, plus two dogs, and really didn’t need another cat. That night I dreamed of her and named her Smoke in my dream. I told my husband. Being a ‘keeper’ as far as husbands are concerned, he agreed that we did, indeed, have room for another.

This is Abby. We adopted her through a newspaper ad, describing her as a ‘lap kitty.’ It actually took us a day and a half of trying to calm her down in one of our bathrooms before she warmed up to us. In the end, the ad was more than correct. She is now fat, sassy, and a wonderful cat. Smoke is the head cat, though, even though she was adopted second. Abby defers to her in all things.

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92 Pound Greeting

This is Amber. She is 16 months old now, weighing 92 pounds at last weigh-in at the vet’s.  Words to describe her include, “energetic, sweet, exuberant, loving, boisterous, cute, unrelenting, playful, and ‘watch out!'”

Each morning I come down the stairs half asleep. My husband usually makes it downstairs before I do, letting doggies out and starting to feed animals. Sometimes Amber greets me at the bottom of the stairs. Other times in the living room, or the kitchen. I’ve learned to ‘brace for impact’ as we TRY to teach her not to dive-bomb us.

This morning she caught me as I was going to my recliner to retrieve the shoes and socks I had left there last night. She caught me from the side, causing me to almost fall onto the couch while I was trying to sit down in my chair. I took some time to love her, rubbing her all over and cooing to her, trying to get her to calm down. She’s like a volcanic eruption, though. It’s hard to contain all that love and enthusiasm.  (I held my feet up off the floor while greeting her, having learned the hard way that allowing her to step on my toes results in soreness and bruises.)

 

I got her calmed down, only to have to start over when I tried to stand up. She finally heard, “SIT!” and complied – just long enough for me to get completely up and around the chair. She circled around, over and over, tail wagging madly, as I made my way carefully to the kitchen. I finally got through one of the dog gates and closed it between us.

I AM smarter than this dog – I THINK.

We WILL get her to SIT and STAY one of these days ‘real soon now….’

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Two Mollys

FUZZY MOLLY

 

SHORN MOLLY

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It’s a Dawg’s Life

Amber took advantage in the rain let-up for a minute to take a swim in her clean kiddie pool, thanks to my scrubbing it out yesterday and refilling it.  She is now wet and happily sprawled out in the foyer, taking a nap.  I took some pics last night that I wanted to share. She has taken to sleeping upside down, back legs sprawled, half-on and half-off her bed n the evenings while we watch TV or a movie.

She won’t let you come up to her, no matter how soundly she seems to be asleep. I even had to turn on the camera in the office and get the flash ready before I came out to the living room to get these pics, but she will stay like this for a LONG time, very comfortably sleeping.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

She has such a hard life. Don’t you feel sorry for her?

 

 

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Admiration?

Email from Bill Lites

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New Cat Bed?

 

We got a new food and water bowl set up, and then put a tray under it, trying to get Amber to give up her ‘play-in-the-water-dish’ game. So far, it has worked pretty well. Having the water bowl up in the air seems to take it out of the toy category. Fingers are crossed that this continues. Meanwhile, Smoke decided this morning that this was a grand new place to sleep! She even stayed there as Amber stuck her head down through the hole where her food dish goes to check Smoke out.

 

I would think that having Amber slurping water right over her head would be disconcerting, but Smoke didn’t seem to be bothered at all.

 

Maybe this allows Smoke to be trampled by the ‘playing-dog-fight’ between Amber and Molly t one less time during the day.

 

 

As I walked to the office after taking these pictures, Smoke followed me and is now asleep on the shelves beside me, on top of my calendar and to-do list…

 

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Can Fish Smile?

I really like my fish. They don’t do tricks. They don’t say anything. They’re even quite a lot of work, since I’ve been having trouble coming up with a filtering system that was the right size to fit nicely in my aquarium and do the job it’s supposed to do. I enjoy speaking to them, especially when I feed them twice a day. The four fish all get in the upper corner on the right side when they see I’m ready to feed them. They wriggle like crazy and I swear they smile as they anticipate the fish flakes coming into the water.

That said, I bought a different design filter today. This is for aquariums from 5 to 15 gallons, so I’m at the extreme low-end of the scale. I took EVERYTHING out today, including all the gravel. I completely drained the water, washed the inside of the glass, scrubbed everything that went back in and then filled the tank again with the treated water I fix for them so that my tap water doesn’t bother them.  (I have 4 gallon jugs of treated water that is room temperature.) I put in the new filter pump with a new filter cartridge.

The newly cleaned tank has been running for about an hour now and is looking pretty good. The fish seem happy, and were even trying to convince me that it was time to feed them – gathering in the corner, wriggling, and smiling.

I don’t mind changing the filter cartridge more than once a month, but I don’t like having to change it every three DAYS as I was before, and it wasn’t even keeping the water clear! FINGERS CROSSED that what I did today results in the water staying clear for longer.

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Heart

email from Bill Lites

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Wet Amber

Ambrose Bierce via Email from Bill Lites

 

We got a kiddie pool for Amber last year. She was a cute MUCH SMALLER puppy last summer and was a little intimidated by the water. We finally got her to walk around and drink some of the water, but she didn’t want to actually swim in it much.

 

Now, since the weather is so beastly hot already here – and it’s not even officially summer yet – I let Amber out and she comes back sopping wet. She heads for the pool immediately, leaps in, walks around, drinks some of the water, then lies down in the middle, saying, “Ahhhhhh!” She may do this several times while she’s out. Then she barks at the door, wanting to come in. She’s 93 pounds of bull-in-a-china-shop wet puppy – and exuberant in her (1) wish for a cookie for barking when she wants to come in, and (2) wish to snuggle with her people.

I now keep dog towels at the front door and at the garage door so that I can at LEAST keep her from dripping all over everything. I’ll make this a routine until our weather cools off – hopefully in October – scrubbing out and refilling the pool every 3 days or so. She LOVES her kiddie pool now. She really doesn’t understand why we don’t care to snuggle with her until she dries off….

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“Remember Me Laughing” – Father’s Day 2018

Bubba Watson via sayingimages.com

 

Jim Wheaton

My dad had a great sense of humor and shared it generously. The humor came in many forms: wonderful stories, jokes, looks, puns, and funny actions. He made us all laugh, even at times when we felt like crying.  To him, making people laugh started out as a way to be accepted at school. This was a HUGE thing because one arm was shorter than the other, his left hand almost completely useless – an easy thing for unkind kids to use to bully and belittle him. The fact that he made everyone laugh and forget he might have had an extra challenge gained him acceptance.

He used his wonderful sense of humor to create a one-man advertising agency in Tulsa, Oklahoma. He and my mom celebrated when he finally gained enough clients that they were able to pay the bills more easily. He put my brother and me through college with his talent, finally winning a Silver Addy Award for Lifetime Achievement in Tulsa. The radio stations still play his commercials from time to time to honor his memory. (This happened the first time when my husband and I were visiting my mom and his parents, who lived on the next street. We were in Dillards Department store. All of a sudden I heard my dad’s voice! I dropped to my knees in the middle of the store. One of the clerks rushed over to help me. When I told her what was ‘wrong,’ she explained to me that the radio stations do that every year to honor my dad, since his commercials were so distinctive and funny. )

He taught me to stand back and look at situations as if I were looking at a movie.  This allowed me to see the humor in many situations, allowing me to laugh, rather than get hurt or angry. I thank him often for teaching me this.

I miss him, of course, and get weepy at times, but I FEEL him looking down at me – usually when I’m trying something for the first time or sticking my neck out in some way. I can FEEL him smiling at me, urging me on. It lights me up from the inside, filling me and giving me strength.

On his last day, he scribbled on a piece of paper, “Remember me laughing.” And I DO. I cherish memories of him telling a story, laughing so hard at times – unable to go on for several seconds – being able to SEE the situation. The helpless laughter is what I remember most. I’ve forgotten a lot of the stories, but I’ll never forget his joy in telling them.

(One of his favorite stories was about going camping with his friends.  If you knew them, this was already funny because neither my dad, nor any of his friends, were outdoor people. He described a laborious afternoon after they figured out where they would camp for the night. One guy decided to dig a hole in the ground because he slept on his back and wanted to be comfortable in his sleeping bag. He would dig a bit, ‘try-the-hole-for-fit’ and dig a bit more until it was perfect. The rest of the guys decided that seemed like a great idea, so they, too, dug holes for their butts. At dark, they got ready for bed. One of the guys was suddenly cursing. They turned on their flashlights to find out what the problem was. It turned out the guy was trying to brush his teeth – mistaking the “Unguentine” for toothpaste!

They got into their sleeping bags, still laughing, and suddenly the guy was cursing again. They turned on their flashlights to see him moving his sleeping bag to another spot. He angrily told them, “I sleep on my stomach!” )

I’m smiling now as I type this, easily picturing my dad trying to tell us this story, laughing his rear end off.  I’m so lucky to have known and loved him.

 

 

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Best Deal Ever Made

M. Facklamemail via Facebook/FortheLoveoftheDog via email from Bill Lites

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Delights of Living with a Water Dog

One of the many challenges we’ve had with our SWEET 15-month-old, 93-pound Yellow Labrador Retriever PUPPY, Amber, is that to say ‘she is a water dog’ is one of the biggest understatements out there. When I scrubbed out her kiddie pool a couple of days ago and was refilling it, she wouldn’t even wait for the water to start filling the pool before she was in and out, barking at the spray head on the hose and playing in the water.

This love of playing in the water translates INSIDE, as well, to our aggravation. We try to have water bowls readily available inside and outside for our dogs and cats. Everyone ELSE just goes over and quietly drinks from the large plastic bowl we had. Since Amber delights in putting a paw or two in the bowl and happily spreading the water all over the floor, we switched from the plastic bowl to a large untippable stainless steel bowl. She doesn’t dump it, but manages to splash the water everywhere on a regular basis.

Today we got a new set up we ordered, hoping to solve the problem. This is a food and water bowls combo. The bowls fit into the table-like top, and the top fits onto legs. The table and legs are made of heavy-duty plastic. Since we know our dog well, we found a stud in the wall and screwed the whole thing into the stud. This is a super-sturdy set-up.

We tested it with Molly, our 25-pound, elderly Cocker Spaniel/Schnauzer cross, to make sure she can reach the water. She doesn’t like it much yet, but she is able to reach the water and drink.

Amber looked at it, wagged her tail, and went to do other dogly things.

I just checked, and there was water on the floor. So Amber went back sneakily – when we were otherwise occupied – and managed to splash water out. There is still some water for thirsty dogs and cats to drink, however, and the assembly is still in one piece, still firmly anchored. So we’ve made the problem a bit better, but now need to look for something to go under this to catch as much of the water as possible…

 

 

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A Delightful Man

John Dennis

You can’t choose your family, but if we could, we would have chosen John Dennis in a minute.  John was my husband’s cousin, but he was much, much more than that. He was our good FRIEND. He and my husband exchanged letters – yes – real letters that came in the mailbox.  We would see his return address on an envelope, drop everything, sit down, and I would read it aloud, always laughing at some point, if not more.  My husband would then sit down at the computer and compose a letter in reply. He asked me to check it for grammar, paragraphs and spelling, because John was a history professor and my husband didn’t want to make any more mistakes than necessary. We would print the letter and send it off, already anticipating when we would hear from him again.

He was smart in other ways, too, marrying his wife, Murray – our cousin-in-law (I think), but again, much more importantly, our dear FRIEND. When we could arrange it for our house sitter to take care of our house and animals, we would drive to Thibodaux, Louisiana, 9-1/2 hours one way, to visit. We wanted to stay there forever. The Dennises make you feel SO special, SO welcome. We just loved to go talk to them. We didn’t want to be ‘entertained,’ we just wanted to be able to catch up on all the little things that were happening, and be able to hug their necks. John was quite a cook and would feed us as if we were royalty, yet seemingly without effort. I never understood how he did that. And Murray topped off MY visits there by making cheese grits. I’ve never liked grits. My husband has told me for years that I didn’t add all the things to them that made them wonderful. Each time I tried, adding bacon and whatever else I could think of, they still tasted awful. When I tasted Murray’s cheese grits, I immediately LOVED them, eating like a pig. (If we DID live there, I wouldn’t be able to get through the door now from stuffing my face.)

John and Murray have been such a part of Thibodaux that I imagine it will be hard for everyone to pay respects. Both John and Murray volunteer their time and effort to countless community events, charities, sitting on boards to help make Thibodaux an even better town. They have had small gatherings when we’ve been there, put together again seemingly without effort, but missing no detail. Their ‘small gathering’ included more people than my husband and I KNOW! And the friendship and laughter flowed around the room, people visiting and then moving around to visit with someone else. A truly beautiful experience.

I wish I could have sat in one of John’s history classes, kind of like a fly on the wall. You could tell from his general conversation that history was alive for him, and that he would radiate that to his students, making THEM see history in a different, interesting light. He and my husband shared an interest in genealogy – a more personal history.

He had a beautiful attitude even at the end, saying, “I’m ready for the next adventure.”

We are so lucky to have known John. Our lives have been richer for sharing a small bit of his.

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Our Son’s Music Room

Our son’s music room in Thailand is coming together nicely. He says he’ll probably get a keyboard and guitar next. He has to keep buying, selling and changing his stuff because he needs to travel light in his lifestyle. I’m glad that he can play with his goodies now.

 

I have no idea what the stuff is in the ‘magic box,’ but he sent us a short video of him playing with things, learning some of the wonderful sounds, rhythms, and tunes he can create (if not distracted by all the blinking lights!) I loved watching his head bob in time with his music. :0)

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Filed under Family, Favorite Things, music