Wednesday, December 31, 2008


It's New Years Eve. May yours be happy and safe, and our best wishes for 2009. As tonight ends the old year, I find myself reflecting on times past, both good and not so good, earmarked by the nights that defined and provided closure to years, decades, and even centuries. As we look forward to the change that tomorrow will herald, let us give thanks for our blessings and bid farewell to those things we would happily discard. The new year will be what we make of it and here's to Auld Lang Syne.

From my twenties to several years into my fourth decade I did not like New Years Eve. Each year, as Christmas gave center stage to Auld Lang Syne, I tried to shrug off the gloom . "Another year gone," I would say to myself. "Another year of life past with no particular achievements to show for it." I would sigh, shrug, and go out to dinner. Resolutions unfufilled, I wondered just what it was I was supposed to be doing and accomplishing, but the answers never came.

I haven't felt that way in a long time. Since way back in the 20th century in fact. Now, I look forward to the New Year and the adventures it may bring while saluting the recent past. This year is no exception. Personally, I've been lucky in 2008...and I count my blessings. Thanks to an inheritance, I was able to pay off my house and all my debt. I welcomed my first grandchild into the world and enjoyed the birth of Danny's first step grandchild. I published my third book. And, now that "Marley" is no longer alive, I have the world's worst dog! Here's to Chili. I look forward to 2009 which will herald Danny and my 7th happy year together, bring a new son-in-law into the family on January 3rd, a grand daughter in April, a new and hopefully better era in Washington DC, and...well...who knows what other adventures yet unfortold?

Now undeniably, this year, 2008, has been a bad one for most people. I keep hearing folks say, "I won't be sorry to say good bye to 2008." Well, they have good reason. Horrible weather disasters, global warming, terrorism, war. Political scandels and business double crosses. And we all know what a crappy year it has been financially for most of us in America. People out of work who can't get new jobs due to hiring freezes and companies going belly up each day. Massive credit debt. Houses lost to forclosure. People getting sick with no health insurance. Stocks plummeting and retirement savings trickling away like sand in an hourglass. Locally, we've seen all the same problems as anyone else in our benighted country as well as increasing crime such as the horrific murders of a lovely young graduate student at UCF and the senseless murder and subsequent cover up of the murder of little Kaylee Anthony. Yeah, good bye and good riddance to 2008.

This morning, for some reason, I woke up trying to remember what I had done on the last dozen or so New Years Eves. While the required coffee was brewing, I sat down with pad and pencil at the kitchen table and numbered the years from 1994 t0 2008. That's actually 14 years, but I always like to set the bar a little higher when asking a lot of my memory. Just for practice and also since those were significant years in my 'life passages' folder. In 1994, I was separated with a divorce pending after several decades of being married. Color me then hopeful, happily adjusting to positive new experiences for the first time as a single adult while somewhat nervous about a financial future then uncertain. I remember spending New Years at an incredibly crowded Universal Studios with my friends Joanie and Angelo. Despite waiting in lines for hours to ride Kong and Jaws and the appropriately named Back to the Future, we had a blast. At midnight, Joanie said, "Happy New Year, everything is going to get better and better from now on." Joanie was right. Each year after that, I learned new things, gained confidence in my abilities and talents, made new friends, helped in many ways to promote the arts in Central Florida, fundraised, and discovered a whole brave new world when I began to write poetry and fiction.

I won't detail all the rest of the 20th century New Years Eves in order except to say that they were spent with friends at parties of one sort or another. Several were at Scottish Hogmany events. One year I went Sea World on a miserbly cold night with my kids and high school chum Shelley who recently returned to live here from Colorado. I almost didn't go to a party on New Years 1999 fearing that on the stroke of midnight, all civilized life would stop, and I might have to face a thirty minute walk alone in the dangerous dark to get home to my stranded dogs. Sounds pretty silly now, but the press kept telling us that all computers would stop and we would plunge back into the dark ages. I remember how we all waited with baited breath for something awful to happen at 12:01 and when nothing did, we shrugged and partied on. We had nothing to fear but fear itself.

2001 was the first New Years I spent Home Alone. I dreaded the night, but discovered it actually wasn't so bad. I made myself a steak dinner, watched rental DVD's and walked dogs. Nothing to fear but fear itself again. I thought my New Years might be like 2oo1 for the duration but I was wrong and once again Joanie's prediction was correct. 2002 was the first New Years I spent with Danny. The new century has been pretty great, at least on a personal level. Bring on 2009. I believe its just going to keep getting better.

Ta. Live long and prosper.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Ho ho ho, Merry Christmas from our house to yours. What did you do on the big holiday? Last evening, Danny and I attended Christmas Eve services and watched several classic holiday films. (My fav: A Christmas Story). We made very merry today, first at Amy's house for breakfast and to watch Alex enjoy his first Christmas. Check out my flickr pix. for some of the photos. Then, after dog walkin' and naps, I made a roast beef and pork loin Christmas dinner for Danny n me, Laura and her very soon to be husband, Paul. Danny made mulled apple cider and he and I drank way too much but it was very good.

Was "Santa" good to you? I got some way cool gifts, including but not limited to: a Digital Speaker System, which charges my iPhone, works with the iPod and plays all my music (from Danny), a dog agility training set (from Amy and Elias) and the object pictured with me in the second picture. Yes, folks, my very own "Leg Lamp" as seen in my favorite Christmas movie mentioned above. This one was from laura and Paul.

The best gift of all was being able to enjoy the holiday with family and talking via phone with absent but dear to our hearts family in Georgia and New York.

Included, a Christmas poem . Peace, and good will to all.


Nancy Deutsch

Christ child's coming, bringing hope and grace

Holly and green mistletoe and joy on every face

Reindeer leading Santa's sleigh across a moonlit sky

Icy lanes and frozen ponds with skaters whizzing by

Singing songs and carols around a sparkling tree

Tapers glowing softly on gifts for you and me

Memories of Christmas past with those we wish were near

chuckling at fond ancedotes and brushing back a tear

Angels watching newborn babe and wisemen from afar

Smiling in the silent night beneath a golden star.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Santy Paws says, Merry Christmas, one and all. May no enemy smell you out, may the squirrels be slow, may the road rise up to meet you and lead you to new adventures, and may meaty bones fall from the sky. Or whatever jingles your bells. Bark the Herald Angels sing. Ta.

Monday, December 22, 2008

On Christmas in the Time of Doom and a pirates point of view

Its almost Christmas. It is a Christmas off a different sort this year. Not so much Holly Jolly. More of a Blue Christmas. As I drive around town, I see less red, green, and white lights shining merrily in people's yards than in past years. Too many houses are dark and empty looking and many yards have 'for sale' signs, some of which have been stuck in the ground for nearly two years now. There are no buyers. The storefront windows beckon the sparce crowds on the sidewalks with 50-70% off signs. At Lowe's the Christmas decor was completely gone last night as if Christmas itself was non existent. I don't think they sold out of trees and lights and blow up Santas. I read in this morning's paper that retailers are taking things off the shelf and selling to wholesalers for dollar stores and Big Lots type discounters. Desperation is in the air instead of roasting chestnuts. I hear no silver bells or any other kind. The charity bells ringers are gone, too.

My own shopping habits are different than in past years. I haven't bought anything in a department store in longer than I can remember. Generally I shop in Target or Ikea or yes, I admit it, Wall mart and K Mart. As far as I can tell, so does pretty much everyone else I know. I wish the money would go directly to American business instead of China but at least the stores employ local folks and benefits the economy indirectly...somehow...I think.

These are tough times: the worst since the great Depression of the 1930s. We all know that. Over a half million people in my own state are out of work. Job hiring is frozen in most places. Folks are uninsured. People who have saved are watching their 401Ks and stocks tank day by day. Nobody can sell their houses. Many have faced or are facing imminent foreclosure. We are angry that big business bankers and CEOs got government bucks for running the economy of the county nearly into the ground itself when the middle class can't make it and the poor get poorer. Many of us hope the new administration in Washington can halt the disaster and get us on the road to recovery. The Christmas message is one of hope. We must embrace that message. What else can we do?

Thankfully, due to a little inheritance from my parents I am in better shape than most folks right now although I know that financial security (and indeed life itself) is never really a sure bet for anyone. Recently, I was given a not so welcome prediction that my future financial picture may not be as rosy. So, I asked myself, am I making responsible financial choices? Upon reflection, I think, yes, I am. I was able (thanks to my mother) to pay all my credit debts and pay off the mortgage on my house. I no longer use credit cards. I paid cash for necessary upgrades and repairs on my house and saved enough to buy a new roof and replumb when necessary. I have started a HSA and secured less expensive health insurance. I got rid of my luxury car and bought a much less expensive but good quality one I plan to keep a long time. I spend no money on travel. I spent a grand total of $300.00 on clothes for self in 2008. I invested in the stock market and in other areas recommended to me and put more money into my retirement funds. Unfortunately, that area isn't going well. But investing isn't going well for anyone else in America either, so I won't beat myself over the head for that. My only real indulgence, aside from buying books to read, is eating out several times a week ...and that at least does help the local economy.

I do need to decrease my carbon footprint and be more aware of ways to 'go green'. That's one of my New Year's resolutions along with eating less fat, lifting weights and doing Yoga more times a week. Actually, these are good goals for everybody! Good health practices and take care of the planet too.

As for the doom sayers and those who live their lives according to their moods which are usually gloomy( and which they usually try to infect everybody around them with), as well as surviving the crappy economy, I offer the Captain Jack Sparrow Philosophy, according to me. The key is adaption and optimism. Yes, Jack is a fictional character and yes he is a pirate. In his films, he doesn't stick to a plan but makes it all up as he goes along. But, he has something to teach. Jack is full of self reliance. Jack believes in Jack. Jack knows that if he depends on government or on friends to save him, he may get roasted by cannibals or hung by a foppish East India Company merchant snuffling snuff and clothed in velvet. Or a corrupt politician. Or scammed by another pirate. So, Jack assesses whatever situation the he is thrust into, doesn't panic, uses his brains, assumes that there is a solution, changes his behavior to effect a favorable to Jack outcome (which in the films usually involves staying alive , drinking rum, and getting away with some cash), and does it all with a bit of witty dialogue. The witty dialogue may be a bit of a stretch for many but the rest is doable.

Yes, Jack is a pirate and his friends mostly assume he will let them down, but in fact, he never does. What he is really is, to put it in practical terms, is an individual who doesn't follow the company line. By the end of each of his films, Jack trips up the real villians, sets his friends free and exits smiling. One of my favorite Jack moments was when it seemed in his second film that Davy Jones would win and Jack's doom was assured as The Krakken climbed over the sinking ship to eat him, he lifted his sword, strode over to the monster and said with a smile, "Hello Beastie!" So yo ho me hearties, we have nothing to fear but fear itself.... and take that all ye Krakkens. Good old Jack. Confidence and self assurance, self reliance and the refusal to accept doom as inevitable, taking the initiative with attitude again.

Okay, I heard that negative tut tutting. Is a fictional pirate any worse than a real businessman or stockbroker or your neighborhood banker or company CEO? I think not, so suspend your moral tut tuts. Jack ain't asking for no government bailouts after all.

So,like Jack, I thumb my nose at predctions that we are all doomed. As Jack would say, "You shall always remember this as the day you almost captured Jack Sparrow." Or to put it another way, as Molly Brown who was a real person said while stepping on the life boat just before the Titanic sunk, "I ain't down yet."

Enough analogy you say? Okay. I will close. There will always be Krakkens and there will always be Jacks to spit in their eyes. At least I hope so. So, let us enjoy Christmas in whatever ways we may. Bring on 2009. "Hello beastie."

I hope that those who are having the toughest of times don't lose hope. And for those that are better off I ask you to make just one person smile today. Give what you can, whatever that may be. A hug, a letter, visit, a check, or even a joke. Ta.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Some pix from Festival of Trees

Finally, I post some pictures from our afternoon at FOT at Orlando Museum of Art. It was a great jump start into the season. Picture number 2 is Danny's mom, Charlotte, and with me in the last photo is his sister, Robin. We always look forward to their annual holiday visit from Atlanta. Ta.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

This week in brief.

Hey Bloggers,

The pictures tonight are from Downtown Disney/Pleasure Island where we celebrated Danny's birthday last night. We ate spring rolls and pumpkin ravioli at Wolfgang Puck's and then shopped the shops and visited the Lego Dogs display (one of my favorites...go figure, eh?). The picture of me with the jeep vehicle is in front of a new place called T Rex that has a giant, uh, T Rex just inside the restaurant that swings its head back and forth. The eatery itself is a bit like Rainforest Cafe, but 'dino cool' and there is a dig your own fossils pit for the kiddies. Fun. Great place to take little Alex, Gavin, and Bailey in a few years! By the way, Danny wouldn't let me take his picture but he doesn't look any older than last week at this time.

I just have that one more elusive gift to find and then I am all ready for Christmas itself. Figured out (with a little advice from Palmer Electric) what went wrong with my outside holiday lighting display which is back, flashing merrily in all of its multicolored glory. Abby knocked over one of the smaller 4 ft. inside trees jumping at the window and now the lights won't work on that one. Arrgh! It was the dog ornaments tree. Appropriate, I guess. I have some spare light strings in the garage and I suppose, sigh, I can fix it. But I hate doing lights! Ah, the complexities of Christmas season.

It's so good to have all my parties done and cleaned up. I enjoy them, but they are a whole heck of a lot of work, before and after. Glad I am my little padawans, that I now have a whole year before doing parties again. I am getting a little tired of eating the leftover party food too, except for the cookies!

Well, it is almost Friday. Enjoy, silver bells, chestnuts roasting, holly jolly, let it snow someplace, wassail away me hearties for the year is drawing to a close. Ta for now.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

It really is all about me!

On parties and bloody noses

Hey Bloggers,
Some pictures today from out Art Festival party Wednesday evening. First, me an Danny with our good friend and superb cookie maker, Camille. In the second with Art Festival Co-president Linda and her lovely daughter Katie. The last one is of course the required donkey ears picture.

My hostessing duties are over for this year, our personal Christmas party having happened last evening. It was friggin cold out...a real December night all right...but that was kinda good since it forced folks inside from their usual congregating poolside, so they finally got to see all my inside decorating efforts. Which are considerable. Beaming mom to be Laura and her Paul were immense help in setting up for the party and in bringing some extremely yummy dishes. Amy and Elias brought my cute lil grandson, the future Alex the pirate, for everyone to see. People enjoyed Alex. Alex did not enjoy people. The dogs proved to be popular in their garage hideway. If I'd known folks would want to go out there to see The Mutley Crew, I would have cleaned up better!! Oh well, 'tis done for another year. And it was great to see so many friends that I mean to see during the year and never quite get around to. Even if my hostessing doesn't let me talk long to anyone.

Tonight, if Danny's first ever hangover lifts in time, we have the Knights Templar Christmas party.

The only negative thing on my horizon (aside from all the $$$ gone from my retirement accounts thanks to the recession) is that I had two pretty scary nose bleeds last night. Out of nowhere for no discernable reason. I mean blood was gushing, dropping on the floor, soaking tissues, and scaring me half to death. For awhile I thought I might actually have to wake Amy up to take me to Emergency since Danny was snockered and couldn't drive. Finally the blood stopped, but I was afraid to fall asleep and stayed awake till three am. Then whenIi woke at seven thirty I was afraid to get up for fear the nosebleeds would start up again. My nose feels sore, like something is stuck in a nostril...but I will not blow it!!

As I recall, I used to get some pretty bad nosebleeds in the winters when I was a little kid in cold snowy Pennsylvania, but never since then. My Mommy knew just what to do. I miss her...once You are never too old to miss your mommy when you are not feeling well. But hopefully, it was just some freak thing last night and all will be chippero from here. Maybe...I'm just too old to do two big parties in one week...

Well, ta for now. have a great week end.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Tick tock, I'm on the clock.

Tick tock I'm on the clock. That's how I've been feeling and what I've been muttering to myself since Thanksgiving weekend. Every minute has counted...but I've managed about 50% of the Christmas shopping, signed, addressed and mailed the Christmas cards and wrote the holiday letters, wrote my annual Christmas poem, cleaned and over decorated the house, installed outside lighting, custom designed 5 Christmas trees, gave a dinner party for between sixty five and seventy folks on Monday and will host a second party for about 40 on Friday. After Friday though, I'm all about fun for the rest of the month...

My books are here. Yes, you too can have your very own copy of my poems...and one to give for Christmas. That's Between The Lines, by me, Nancy Deutsch. will send one your way. If you prefer short stories, Flights of Nancy is still available as well. Newsflash: it makes a nice gift set all you Santa babies out there in Blogland.

Ta for now. I'll try to post more before the Whos eat the roast beast and Olive the other Reindeer rides again.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Thanksgiving Update and Beyond

Hey there Bloggers,

These photos are from Cocoa Beach last Friday. In the first, I am holding up the pier. In the second, Danny looks like he is waiting for something to a-pier. Notice that we are not dressed in swimming clothes: it was pretty cold by Florida standards so the only folks in the surf were the snowbirds. It was a great walk on the beach day though. After walking, we found a terrific Italian place to eat. Pricy but divine food, worth the hour drive alone.

Backing up a little, Thanksgiving itself was great fun at pal Cheri's house with good food, good friends and their families. We wrote down all the things we were thankful for in 2008 and read our offerings to the group after dinner. We also wrote down bad things we wanted to be rid of and put them in the belly of artist Cheri's handcrafted "Burning Man" and burned him in a back yard bonfire. I wrote down losing 50K of retirement investments to the dang blame recession and spiders in the garage.

Jumping forwards again, on Saturday, we holiday shopped all day at Ikea and Super Target. Just little old me, helping keep the economy afloat a little longer.

Sunday, we went to Sea World where we rode The Polar Express twice, visited the penguins, and caught the Pets Ahoy show. It rained buckets. We bought slickers and umbrellas and kept going.Then, we went home to decorate the house some more for you know what and watched the film The Polar Express.

It took me a solid week, taking time out for the big week end, but I have finished the interior decoration. I am soo tired. Sigh. Still have to do the outside lights and...yuck, yuck, yuck, clean up the porch/pool area for the parties next week. I am halfway through my card list, have printed out all the Christmas letters for out of towners, sent out all the party invitations, paid the first part of the month bills, ordered presents for the out of town relatives, and got started on Christmas shopping. And, it just turned December 3rd fifteen minutes ago. So, I guess I am on schedule.

Chili is sick again with yet another mystery illness that involves her peeing too much. Vet did tests yesterday with no definite results. The epilepsy meds may be making her drink too much. Its always something with Chili. Another rug bit the dust yesterday. Danny is suffering too, from another really bad gall bladder attack. But, he is soldiering on. Put an Ikea dresser for the 2nd guest room together for me tonight. Good Danny!

The first 50 copies of my new book, Between The Lines, came today. I opened the cover on the first one at the top of the stack and it was my cover on somebody else's book! I just about but not quite freaked. Checked all the others and they were fine. My words on the pages. Mistakes happen I guess. Gonna check with the publisher tomorrow.

I'm off to bed. Ta.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Well tomorrow is the official stuff yourself silly day. We got started early today at my house. Since the kids couldn't come on Thanksgiving proper this year, I prepared a "Thanksgiving Eve" turkey dinner with all the fattening trimmings and Laura made a pumpkin cheesecake and homemade bread. When Danny got home from work, Laura, her guy Paul, Danny and I sat down to feast with drooling dogs arranged on the floor around the dining room table. Afterwards, we groaned a whole lot. The dogs munched on leftovers. The only slightly weird thing was that I had to start decorating early for Christmas since I am having two parties in early December. So, we ate on a table set with turkey stuff next to a Christmas tree with a chandelier bedecked with cranberries over our heads.

On Thanksgiving day, after watching the Macy's parade, dog walking, and addressing Christmas cards (my TD tradition), Danny and I are going to our friends Cheri and Carl's house for yet another yummy feast with their family and our friends from California and their kids.

I have a lot to be thankful for this year. Wonderful friends, wonderful children and grandchildren,
wonderful Danny, good health, a paid off house, finishing another book, dogs to cuddle up with on cold nights, sunshine and blue skies, chocolate, and a nearby Ikea store.

God bless us every one.

Friday, November 21, 2008

this week in my world

Well boys n girls, Thanksgiving is almost here. The food in my fridge purchased for the day is already singing a drool song. We're celebrating a day early on Wednesday with Laura and her guy since he has to work two shifts on Thursday. Then on the official day, we are joining good friends for a feast with their families. Yummy fun!

Did you know that the first Thanksgiving Day celebrated on American soil was not at Plymouth in 1620 but in St. Augustine in 1565? Of course, the Spanish settlers probably did not have turkey! It was President Abraham Lincoln who declared it an official national holiday in 1863 and suggested a date of the 3rd Thursday in November. I don't know what Honest Abe ate that first official Thanksgiving either. Benjamin Franklin supposedly suggested the wild turkey as our official national bird in lieu of the eagle. Speaking of wild turkeys, they can fly. They actually fly well. Some folks think they can fly after consuming the bird's namesake brew. They do not fly well. Our domestic turkey birds, raised for food, are too heavy to fly. So very American. Fat and unfit.

Okay, enough Thanksgiving trivia. My book, Between The Lines, is done, title is live, and I have received my author's proof copy! I am proud of self. That's two books in two years. A short story collection and a poetry collection. Danny says, "Next one novel." I do have one in progress about a girl in 1960s West Virginia and her dog.

Tomorrow, Danny's mom and sister Robin come for their annual fall visit. We're taking them to the St Andrews Night Scottish celebration and dinner and to Festival of Trees at Orlando Museum of Art.

I spent the earlier part of the week reclaiming my original home office-- later home gym and turning it into an official 2nd guest room. I was determined that Robin would sleep in a real bed instead of a blow up one next to a weight machine. Since the existing guest room is very "Laura Ashley" girly I did the other room in more masculine New England sea motif using my real baby grandson Alex as my imaginary grown up boy resident inspiration. Okay, yeah, I did help with one Designer Show house too many fund raisers a couple years back and I do watch alot of HGTV. We put the home gym in the garage. Takes up half of the space. Since Danny is a former trainer, it is a very professional set up. I should use it more! Especially after Thanksgiving.

Don't tell, but I'm getting an itch to go to Ikea again. I haven't had an Ikea 'fix' in two weeks. I want to buy buy buy...and I want some more meatballs! It is my duty to do my part to keep the economy afloat. In a responsible Swedish socialist way of course.

I'm starting the Christmas decorating next week since I have two parties to do in early December. I can't wait to dig into the boxes (all 14 mostly large) and get started. Its interesting thinking that last year at this time Amy was still pregnant, baby Gavin wasnt born either, and Laura was separated but not yet divorced. We were still getting over the death of my mother and I had not yet sold her house or paid off mine. America was sliding into a recession but we still hoped to avoid it. We thought maybe Hillary would be President. So many changes.

Well, ta, I'm off to do...something...maybe I'll remember when I leave the room what it was!

Friday, November 14, 2008

Wow, this week has flown on mariposa wings. Don't you just love that word? Mariposa.The sound just rolls across the tongue. Means butterfly in Spanish. Danny had Veteran's Day off and we went to Sea World. Hoped to catch the Polar Express but it doesn't open until this week end. We consoled ourselves by having a really good dinner at Sharks Grill which overlooks the underwater section of the big shark encounter tanks. In case you are wondering, there is no shark on the menu, so the big guys are safe.

My new book is in print! I am expecting my author's advance copy any day and once I approve that, the first fifty copies will be shipped to me. Definitely in time for Christmas giving! Won't my family be thrilled, eh? Just what they've always wanted: a poetry book from me! Okay, quit laughing. I wrote this one, makes it special and its not like I won't be giving them stuff they really want, too. As soon as I get the publicity files, I will post the cover in all its glorious fall colors and it will be available in December on for your holiday gift giving. Don't forget to read Between The Lines. This message brought to you by unfamous live poet.

Only four doggies showed up for dog agility class last night, so Ginny got quite a workout. I got stung by a bee.

This week end we must finish the garage work! Danny's mom and sister come next week end and I want the 2nd guest room to be free of work out equipment with a real bed instead of a blow up bed in place. I'm getting excited about decorating for the holidays in two weeks. Wrote my annual Christmas letter and poem yesterday and am planning my two holiday parties already. Fun!!

Well, happy Friday. Tonight, we're off to Home Depot to keep the economy afloat for another wek end and get stuff for the garage. Then dinner at El Potro. Ole. Adios.

Monday, November 10, 2008

some new pictures

Bits n bytes:
We got to visit with Danny's "boys" Stephen and Brett, Stephen's young son Gavin, and Gavin's pretty mom Casey in Lakeland last week end. Also made progress in the garage clean out although I have two suspicious bites on me that might be from evil arachnids. Hoping they're just ant bites. Waiting anxiously for my book to be in print. Starting Chili on more Epilspsy medicine tomorrow. Today is Amy and Elias's second wedding anniversary. Happy Day!! Off to writing workshop. Cheers...

Thursday, November 6, 2008

early november update

Hey y'all,

Well, the election is over (thank God). No more annoying robo calls and endless mailings full of
half truths and outright falsehoods. As you probably figured out, I wasn't an Obamite. I voted for McCain. But, now I believe that everyone should fully get behind President Elect Obama and give him a chance to...hopefully...succeed or even fail without any of that political partisan crappola.

I am sorry the dawgs lost so dramatically to Florida tho...not the first time a dog has been eaten by an alligator I guess. Even big dogs get eaten. Speaking of dogs...real ones that is...I fully approve of the new first family getting a puppy for their daughters. All kids should have a dog. It would be really nice and a good example if the Obamas would adopt a shelter dog. Plenty of full bred dogs as well as mixed breeds to choose from and saving a life is important.

Speaking again on dogs did you like the funny pictures of Ginny yawning? How bout them choppers! The other pictures are Alex and daddy on halloween and Auntie Laura, Uncle Paul and Alex the same night. Speaking of Laura and Paul, its going to be a baby girl!! Just what they wanted, too. So, look for baby Bailey Lynne Brown to appear around Easter bunny time.

One more news byte. My book edits are done, corrections approved, cover approved, book in production. With luck, Between The Lines will be available for your Christmas gift purchase. Buy it, make an author smile. More bout that later. Ta for now.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Happy Howloween y'all. Georgia is playing Florida this week end. Go dawgs!!

Only a few more days until we see if the big money machine has saturated the brains of the masses with 'promise em everything even if we can't deliver' propaganda and bought the election for smooth talkin' Barry O and Joe the doubletalker. I voted early. I can hit the mute button whenever political pablum comes on now. And I do. By the way, I voted for one Republican and the rest Democrats. But the one Republican I voted for will probably not win. Can't compete with big money and Bush fatigue in all probability. I couldn't vote for Barry, sorry. In my book he's just too unproven and all that glitz and smooth talk doesn't sit well with this gal from 'Bible and guns' land Pittsburgh, Pa.

By the way, its too bad we can't shoot or knock out with a Bible the guy or guys who had the brilliant idea of political robocalls. I've gotten to the point now where I just don't bother to answer my land line at all.

Well, anyway, Happy Great Pumpkin night to all. Hope your kids bring in a lot of chocolate to the old homestead.


Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Its almost Howl-o-ween. Watch out for ghost dogs.

I was a good American this afternoon. I went to my local library and took advantage of the opportunity to vote early. I only had to wait about thirty minutes, too. I feel good about my choice even if some of you might not agree with it. But, that's they way our system works. We do have a choice. God bless America.

I got word that my book proofs have been sent to the design department. So far so good.

Its a beautiful autumn day outside, sunny, breezy, and cool. The dogs are happy. They've walked, played chase in the back yard, dug holes, and rolled in the sand. I have lots of chocolate in the pantry. Life is good.

Happy hump day. Ta

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

I hate book manuscript edits and Excel stinks.

I call this wonderful picture of Danny's very creative little niece "Dali baby" but I guess it could be "Picasso baby" too. I post it tonight because the skewed eyes, mouth, and expression sorta exemplifies how I was feeling since I last posted. Totally surreal and off balance. Looking at life through, well pop eyed paper eyes. By mid week end, Danny could attest to my snappy grumpy behavior too. By Monday I was overwhelmed and depressed and suffering from acid reflux. Even a day of shopping and coming home with an iPhone and a new chair that goes with my new love seat on Sunday had only temporarily lightened my mood. Why you might ask did I get so squirrely?

Well, here's what happened. I "blue lined" my poetry book manuscript and cover art pdf files in preparation for making corrections on the required Excel table forms. All last week. I combed the manuscript four times for errors. Carefully wrote them down four times. Then on Friday I tried to type the errors on the Excel forms downloaded from the publisher. That's when I went nutty. I don't know Excel. I don't use very many office type applications. Microsoft word is about it. So, I typed a bunch of stuff in, then discovered I'd made some errors and needed to delete a line, add a line and...oops...I screwed up and the tables scrambled themselves somehow, all the page numbers columns disappeared and I found myself on top of the horns of a dilemma. That's worse than riding on a rhino folks. Dilemmas are merciless. I got nuthin' done on Friday. The frelling edit job and my failure to communicate with Excel hung over my head all week end 'cause I was grumpy as heck.

I didn't even want to try to deal with the mixed up Excel thingy on Monday...which was okay since I spent most of the day trying to print a manuscript for critique at Monday evening's writers workshop. My printer kept working for a few pages then malfunctioning and stopping. Nothing and I mean nothing else went right all day either. When good days go bad they just keep at it. By six o'clock I had only bits and pieces of the manuscript thing done for a six thirty workshop. I was convinced that I was a printer imbecile as well as an Excel imbecile. Then, Super Danny came home and pronounced my printer broken. Vindication! At least on one front. I didn't get to the workshop though and by that time I was almost in tears. He decided to help me with the Excel thing since I was chanting the I can't mantra. He did help me sort it out and I finished round one on the final edits and emailed them off. Voila! The sun came out, the stickers fell from my eyes and I could smile again.

With a little luck and maybe some more help from Danny the next round won't be so bad. Book probably won't be out by Christmas as I'd hoped since the publisher is a whole lot slower getting stuff back to me than on the other two books. Que sera sera.

There's no moral to this story. The only piece of advice I can give is that M and Ms help no matter what the frustration. Pretty cool that they come in the little snack bags this close to Halloween and that the bags were two for one, too. I made good use of them during my squirrely weekend. So what if I had to buy some more for Halloween today? While I was at it I got some Reeses Peanut Butter Cups too.


Thursday, October 23, 2008

Holy Cow, the Great Pumpkin is coming

Its almost Halloween already. Where has October gone? I guess I've been busy with one thing or another while the month was slipping by. I don't even have my Halloween candies yet fer Chrissakes. Well, I do have the two bags of M and Ms I bought...but those are for me!

I realized today while walking the poochies that Fall is now my favorite time of year. It used to be summer when my kids were little and we lived at the beach in SC from June to mid -August but now summer is just hot hot hot and pretty unexciting. I still love the month of Christmas but I seem to be more energized when October brings that first cool, crisp weather. While I don't follow football (sorry all you Gators, Seminoles, Golden Knights, etc.), I love the round yellow harvest moon and the falling acorns and all the funny scary Halloween decorations that spring up in the neighbors yards like mushrooms after the 'I'm glad they're over' summer monsoons. I love to play scary music on Halloween night and welcome the hordes of small Jedi Knights and Spidermen and Harry Potters and other 'trick or treaters' at the door. Heck, I enjoy any holiday that features chocolate candy. Its great having all the leftover candy to snack on until Christmas, too. Funny how I always seem to buy too much.

So, here's to October and Fall, a frightfully good time of year.

Right now I'm reading a terrific new book by one of my favorite writers, Neil Gaiman, called The Graveyard Book. It is sold as a YA genre book, but can be enjoyed by any one of any age with imagination. Kinda appropriate title and subject matter for October, too. Another scary, well written book is Dragonfly by Frederic Durbin.


Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Ginny at Agility Class

These are some photos taken of Ginny and Danny at last week's Level two Agility class. They were shot in the dark which is why the colors are a little muted. Obviously, she was having fun!

I am busy 'blue lining' my book manuscript which I hope to finish by Friday. I'll blog more when I'm further along with the edits. Ta for now.

Friday, October 17, 2008

my book cover is done!

The picture above is not my book cover. You'll have to wait for that.

Ginny likes snoozing on my new loveseat in the home office/library though.The new Ikea 'Billy' shelves look good, don't they? Thanks be to Danny for assembling them. We also assembled the sofa. It took less than five minutes. Ikea makes it super easy. Clever Swedes. I'm becoming an Ikea junkie. Hooked on the meatballs, too.

Finally finally, my new book cover design is done. It has to be tweaked for a couple errors but all in all, I like it a whole lot. I'm in process of checking the manuscript for formatting and line errors and then have to determine if the mistakes are mine or the publishers. Then do corrections and send it all back for final edits and publication. It seems like forever and a half since I sent it all off in July. Two and a half months isn't so bad I guess. I just get impatient when I have to wait for anything. Anticipation is hard for me.

I'll put the cover up after I get the revised version. I bet you'll like it, too.

We had a really busy week with meetings, classes, and the like. Tonight, Friday, was the first night we've been home since last Sunday. We opted out of our usual Friday night supper out to stay home, walk dogs, do yogs, and watch SciFI shows.

Last night Chili really misbehaved in dog agility. She hadn't been to class or practiced for two weeks and she was totally distracted by...everything. Wouldn't hold a sit/stay or a down/stay and tried to ambush every single dog at the place. It was friggin embarassing. I got glares from all the owners. I don't know if it was the full moon, or the allergy shots she just started, or her eplilepsy, but she was really off her game. She did the jumps, A-frame, and table fine though, and heeled off leash as long as no other dogs were within striking distance. Ginny did better. I took Abby to watch and she was unnerved. She tucked her tail and shook most of the time. Oh, well, we knew she has her shelter post traumatic isssues to deal with in all new situations. At least she was friendly to all the other dogs!!

Sanctuary is almost on. Gotta go. Live long and prosper.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008


Little Miss Adorable

She's adorable. She was born that way, I guess, even though I wasn't there. All cottony white and fluffy eiderdown, with round cocoa cola eyes and pearly white choppers. She, looking around at the world with the interest of a born opportunist, just waiting until her little body could catch up with her devious desires. A few moons after and she, a whirling dervish of deviltry was pulling at the slumbering Pit bully boy's eyelid and challenging Dyna, who nobody or nothing in their right senses would dare to distress, challenging Dyna to a dominance showdown. Hurricanes Charley, Frances, and Jeane didn't daunt her. How can a hurricane dominant a dervish?

“She doesn't really sleep as far as we can tell,” Laura complained. “She just seems to micro-nap occasionally. She drives me crazy, getting into everything and nothing I do or say has any effect. She just looks at me as if to say, Well I am not sorry and eventually you'll stop yelling. Then you can throw the ball for me five hundred times.”

Why, I wondered, did you bring her into your life? But, I knew. She's adorable.

That's why I brought her into my life a year later. After she'd broken her hip playing too rough with Cody. After Dyna'd finally had enough and promised to have her for supper. After Laura finally was tearfully at her wit's end and planned to honor her sales agreement and give her back to the breeder who would certainly have put the now physically defective puppy down. She's adorable. That's what. And, the little beast, bouncy busy and bad to the bone plays it to the max at warp four.

Little miss adorable ACD was a obedience school drop out after chewing one too many times on the hapless boxer puppy. I've seen her flawless technique every time we walk and at every agility class since. Here's the scenerio: Wag the plumy silver tail, mouth open in doggy smile, black ears up, eyes bright, dancing a dingo prima ballerina dance. Strange dog approaches. She sniffs. Dog turns away to sniff. her adorable ACD butt and.wham... she nails it with a quick dart and scizzor snip. Dog screams. Owners frown. I know what they're thinking. Why can't you control that nasty little dog? Little miss adorable laughs inwardly. It's Chili -- whose AKC registered name tag is Big Trouble in Little China-- it's Chili 4, world zero. Again. It works on humans running past or bicycling too near, too. Lure em in. Attack from behind. Put em in their place according to the Cattle Dog's Life's Little Instruction Book.

“Oh she's soo cute,” people gush. “I want one of these dogs.”

“No, you don't.” I say. “Not unless you have a cattle ranch. Not unless you are willing to do agility and flyball, and spend hours at dog parks and the lake and pool or take endless walks and unless you have the patience of Mother Teresa.”

People fall for Chili's adorable persona all the time. People that haven't been dived bombed by the silver streak, that is. People who haven't spent all nighters at the emergency vet clinic once or twice a quarter after one of her spontaneous adventures gone horribly wrong, or had to give up their carpets to chewing and peeing games, had to put locks on their pantry and repaint the pantry doors when she circumvents the locks and baracades in search of doggy booty that will send her back to the emergency clinic. Shes so adorable. By crikey, she is! But beware, her ancestors were scratching fleas under the dingo tree just a short time ago in eviloutionary time. She's a wild canine child in every way. No rules just right. If the opportunity is there, so is Chili. Don't sweat the small stuff mate, eighteen Combat Quick Kill Roach Baits won't kill her. Anyway, it was fun finding them and breaking into the cabinet and chewing them into black plastic pulp. The butcher knives she knocked down didn't kill her either. The pottery didn't break on her head this time. And she looked so adorable greeting me when I came in the door before I rushed off to call the vet one more time.Yes, adorable with her black ears pricked forward, doggy smile and gleaming pearly choppers shining, pink tongue lolling out above her fluffy chest. Dancing her distinctive doggy dance.

Who knew adorable would be so deadly or could be so addictive? Or so effective. Well, I suspect, Chili did. Does.

Addendum: The snake she caught this morning wasn't venomous after all.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Hey Bloggers,
Here are several pictures taken during cousin Margie's visit. The first is Margie and Alex, the second shows Amy, me and Alex at Disney's Dolphin Hotel, and the third, Paul, laura, and I at our family dinner at Bosphorus.

While Amy and I were out having lunch at the Dolphin with Margie, my dogs had another dog party and ate 18 new Combat Quick Kill Roach Baits I bought and never opened, raided from a kitchen cabinet. They also pulled down a set of butcher knives, plastic bags, a flashlight, and some pottery. I am hoping I still have dogs tomorrow. I try so hard to take good care of them, but they seem either to be excessively stupid or have a death wish.


Tuesday, October 7, 2008

BIts n Bytes

This is why so many Australian Cattle Dog puppies find homes. Unfortunately, they are a very difficult dog to own for anyone who can't give them a job to do and hours of daily exercise. That's why all too many end up in shelters and kill facilities. Sad, so sad.

Geesh, sorry its been almost a week since I wrote. I've been a bad little blogger again. Up to my ears in writing projects, so when I'm at the computer I am engrossed in creating and editing several stories at once.

Backing up for a quick update in my world: Chili had a great agility class last Thursday night. Except for an annoying tendency of lunging at all the other dogs who got within leash reach, she executed the obstacles with alacrity, except for the tunnels. She still doesn't know what the heck she's supposed to do with tunnels. The jumps and table she did well. Even tackled the A-frame, although it was obvious that her comfort level wasn't entirely there. So, maybe she made a Labrador shriek when she bit its butt, the Australian Shepherd enjoyed the same nipping invitation to Cattle Dog games. When it came to the relay races, Chili was in her element. She won six times. I suffered from sore leg muscles for two days after from running with her across the field. Yes, I am that much out of shape.

Ginny, in advanced level, consistently nailed all the obstacles and jumps. Her concentration was really up and she enjoyed the relays too. Unfortunately, she was disqualified early on when paired against her pal Cody...who is half greyhound and has legs that go on for miles. This Thursday is the last class of the session.

We worked on Winter Park Sidewalk Art Festival screening last Saturday during the day and partied Saturday night. Sunday, we dog parked with the Mutley Crew (Chili met another cattle dog!) and then went to the Maitland Art Festival, after that to the mall and dinner at The Elephant Bar, then finished at WallMart. Sort of an odd combination day but fun.

I cleaned house all day Monday. I'd like to say I won my unwilling battle with dust, but it's back already. How can I miss you dust, when you won't go away? Tonight, we enjoyed getting together with my cousin who's in town from NYC for a planned giving seminar and my Khoury kids and Laura and her guy Paul at a Turkish restaurant here in WP. Afterwards, we took Miss Margie to her hotel at WDW. I'll post a pix or two tomorrow.

So, that's it. My life, except for writing more of Charlotte's Dog and a story featuring vampires, fairies, witches, vampire hunters, fallen angels, Navajo gods, and a famous vampire hunter called What Happens In Vegas. Story is called that, not the vampire hunter. So, I'm tired. Its late. Give me a grammatical break.

I watched some of the 2nd Presidental Debate. Here's what I thought: both men are really good at the town hall format. Here's what I really honestly wish: that both men could actually work together. The one with most votes gets to be Pres and the other VP. Forget about 'What Do You Know Joe" and Sarah 'I'm just folks' Palin. A Republican and a Democrat on the same team working not for party glory and party power along party lines but as a team listening to and learning from each other for the good of All Americans. I really hate the Democrat and Republican party platform loyalty crap. All it does is blind people to the really important things. But, sigh, thats not how we do it in the USA. It looks like Danny and I will be voting on opposite sides, but I think either way it will be a step up from what we have now.

History will judge our current leader better than I, but it seems to me that his genius was in hiring really incompetent people in all positions. I can't imagine either candidate will do as poorly in that respect.

Ok, I'm through here. Ta.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

just checkin in

Photo one: a picture I took on a recent day at Sea World of a cute widdle baby seal and its mama napping.
Photo two: a requested shot of my recently recovered living room sofa. The sofa had needed recovering for about five years. Sometimes, it takes me a while to get around to things.

Hey Bloggers,
I've been a blogger slacker lately. Excuse please, I have been busy with this and stuff and writing stories and checking out hundreds of images for my (new) book cover. Chili took another dive in the kitchen garbage and got really sick...all over the foyer, dining room, and breakfast area. Another trip to the vet, another couple hundred bucks, an IV fluid bag, some horse pills and she's better. Until the next self generated Australian Cattle Dog disaster occurs. Ginny's becoming a very proficient agility dog and she absolutely loves going to what I call "dog class". Stephen and Casey and Baby Gavin are cozily settled into a new nest in Lakeland. Baby Alex is crawling and pulling himself up into standing position. Walking is just around the corner. Danny has been building bookcases for the home office/library for the past week and a half and is nearly done. We love our "Billy" system from Ikea. Keep finding corners and walls for "just one more". Now, if I just didn't have to dust the books before putting them away....dusting=dust mites=allergies=headaches. Generally, I try to just ignore dust and let it sit where it wants.

October is upon us. Gettin' dark a little earlier and do I detect a small chill in the air in the mornings? This week end is the WPSAF screening week end (art for March festival is juried in) with the Judges Party on Saturday evening. Next Tuesday we are looking forward to a quick visit from NYC cousin Margie and dinner with Laura and her guy Paul and Amy, Elias and Baby Alex.

I'm trying not to worry about the collapsing economy or my bank account at Wachovia and retirement accounts.Like most people I guess. Not even looking at my stocks. Or watching the shenanagins in Washington any more. I mean, what's the point? At least, as far as I know, I'm not eating any chocolate from China. Could be worse.

Live long and prosper. And if you have one, call your mother.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

lets put a dog in the White House

Getting tired of politics? Maybe we should put a corgi in the executive mansion. After all, corgis know how to make things happen in a group. They're great organizers, don't take no bull 'till the cows come home, either. Run on hyper drive, don't miss a detail. Get along with folks on the other side o f the aisle? Sure, as long as they get in line pretty quick. Just a thought.

By the way, Barak Obama doesn't have a dog. John McCain has several. Call it my own personal prejudice, but I don't trust people who don't have dogs. So there. People with dogs can cope with messes, and chaos and aren't too picky. They are more open. In my experience, people who don't like dogs are often too fussy and preoccupied with their appearance and clothes and brocade furniture. Not casting any hard biscuits here, just a personal observation.

Well, on another note, I am glad to see that John McCain is putting his country first, suspending campaigning and postponing the first debate with Barry Obama in favor of returning to Washington to meet with the current President and bipartisan committee politicos concerning the very monumentally serious National financial crisis and proposed bail out. Once again, John McCain is being the maverick a lot of folks admire. In my humble opinion, Senators McCain and Obama need to be on the Senate floor to vote for solutions instead of out there in middle America wooing voters. Though Mr Obama seems to feel his campaign and first debate is more important. I was most disappointed to hear Obama's response to McCain's call to return to Washington. He all but snorted in derision on CNN and said in tones of condescension that a president has to deal with more than one thing, not just rush off to handle every (implied little) problem. He suggested the two candidates issue a joint press statement?!! Wow, that would be impressive non-action wouldn't it? Mr Obama proposes change in his smooth campaign speeches. But what specific kinds of change? In my mind, I can imagine can his mental wheels and gears turning. Uh...lets talk about that...and solutions....uh...they'll be under discussion in a future...uh press statement. Just as soon as I figure out what people want to hear to make them feel good about me. Excuse me, gotta run and talk to my advisers and speech writers. Got an expensive fund raiser in Hollywood tonight, too. I wonder if this smile looks perfectly genuine?

You go, Barry. Sometimes, experience and proven character, and proven commitment do count. Like now. Ta.

Sunday, September 21, 2008


Hello Bloggers,
The first photo today is an aerial photo of a friends house out in Seminole County that borders Lake Harney. The photo shows what Tropical Storm Faye did to the area. In normal times, you approach the front of their house down a long country driveway and view the lake at the back edge of their property several hundred feet away from the edge of their pool. The last time we were there, we saw eagles and deer in the back pasture and their horse was grazing nearby. Now, and the water has gone down several feet, their house is a sandbagged island. The front drive and part of the house flooded and waves came over the pool wall immediately after Faye. They got to the front door in a bass boat. Still do. And yes, there are gators in the driveway. These are brave hardy folks and we hope all goes back to normal very soon!!!

The second photo is Baby Alex at eight months. I was a lucky lady on Thursday: I got to go to visit Alex and Amy and take them shopping for new stuff for Alex. We bought him lotsa new duds. a Gators ball cap (to match Mom and Dads'), some books and a soft side baby "laptop" toy. Fun!! Then Laura and fiancee came over for dinner and went to watch us work the poochies at dog agility class. Both daughters and grandson in one day! Whoo hoo.

Friday, I was suffering from what I will call "tummy troubles" but managed to get a short haircut and eagerly await delivery of some recovered furniture. Then, dinner at PF Changs after a protective dose of Pepto Bismol. Friday night is ethnic food night. We don't mess with that tradition no how. If its Friday, its Mexican, Itlaian,Chinese, or Greek. Saturday, we had a meeting for Free Geek, then went to (as Danny calls it) that good Swedish socialist store Ikea to buy some new bookcases with glass doors for the home office/library. We bought seven tall bookcases and today Danny is engaged in bookcase assembly. My lovely job will be to remove the books from the old cases, dust, and alphabetical order for fiction and by subject for reference. A big job!!!

My roof is still leaking a bit but the roofers have promised to come Wednesday (at last!) for repairs. I have my fingers crossed on this one.

Thats all the news on the homefront. Happy autums. Pumpkin Day is coming.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Nuthin much again

Here's a fun photo of a canine energy conservationist from the CURS website.

Hello boys n girls,

Haven't blogged for awhile for no particular good reason. Call me an energy conservationist, too. Whatever.

Catchin' up on my world: we had an interesting time in dog class last Thursday evening. Danny was having a gall bladder flare up attack, so I had to work with both dogs: Chili in beginner's class and Ginny in intermediate. Chili surprisingly, worked really hard and behaved perfectly. Did all the obedience things as if she'd been practicing all along (which she hasn't since puppy class). No lunging at other dogs. No rolling cages that night. Which was good since it was rainy and the field was a mud pit. Ginny was a wild child for the first twenty minutes, running off the field and all around the fenced area greeting people and other dogs and getting in everybody's way. She didn't seem to think she had to work for me as Danny's sub, but after misbehaving on the A-frame and tunnels, she settled down to do the sea saw and weave poles perfectly.

Friday evening we went to Bahama Breeze for our favorite Ahi tuna and Margarita chicken dishes followed by a trip to the mall and Barnes and Noble. Saturday we stayed home all afternoon reading (me) and doin' stuff with computers (Danny) while waiting for the handyman to finally install the new kitchen cabinet doors and frame for the family room shutters. By the time he arrived and finished it was after six pm! So much for Saturday.

Sunday, after walking the three poochies, we went to Sea World which was fun even though the temperature was in the mid nineties and like Dorothy's witch I was literally melting. Apres park, we chilled out and had fajitas at Don Pablos.

Monday we had another writer's workshop after work. I wrote a piece about bugs at an AA meeting. Really.

So that's it folks. That's why I haven't blogged. Ain't nuthin much to blog about!! I'm too weary of politics to rant...and yes, I do have investments with AIG. Don't want to talk or think about that. I almost forgot to pay my quarterly taxes on Monday. Don't want to think or talk about that either. So, I'm gonna go to bed.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

I doubt any American can forget what day this is or where they were when the Twin Towers at the World Trade Center burned and fell. It is seven years now since a group of Islamic terrorists decided to attack America on her own soil for for their own bogus agenda of pseudo religious hatred. We were not at war with Osama Bin Laden or any if his minons. They attacked, on the flimsiest of self serving political excuses, not military opponents but thousands of innocent civilians in New York, Pennsylvania, and at the Pentagon. I wondered then, as I wonder now, why Muslims in America as well as all around the world did not speak out forcefully against Islamic terrorism or offer aid to those trapped beneath the rubble. Instead, courageous Americans, police, firefighters, search and rescue civilians with their dogs did what they could. In some cases, losing or shortening their own lives in the doing. I salute them for the seventh time. We do not forget them or their courage.

I despise and condemn Osama Bin laden if he still lives and those who follow his twisted vision of hatred to Jews and Christians and oppression of women. Nothing I have seen, read, or heard in seven years makes me feel that the religion of Islam is a religion of peace.

While I thought at the time and still think today that our invasion of Iraq was ill advised and precipitous and has brought our country nothing but expensive mistakes, I continue to support fully the courage, devotion to duty, and commitment of our men and women in military uniform. I still hope for peace, but given the continuation of oppression and terrorism around the world I do not expect it.

Here, for the seventh time, is a poem written for 9-11.


Our eyes fully opened

cannot be safely closed again.

Pain, drawn in blood upon our souls

is pain forever etched

from one moment, on one ordinary day, when

we looked, in horror, upon a corner of Hell.

We learned, too late for the lambs

how hatred ignites, consumes worlds

when one leads, who personifies evil.

Remember, Lucifer was once an angel

and had the option, not to fall from Grace!

From drifting ashes of the towers

massive grave of thousands slain

nameless people, now heroes all,

from hope robbed by crimson flames

our true innocence, one surrendered

seems lost, forever.

On that day, one September morn

our hearts so heavy in our breasts

the taste of shock so bitter in our mouths,

we arose unbowed, vowing in one voice

that America would endure

seeking justice, for those so deeply mourned.

Now, as then, we must defend our cause

freedom, liberty, and justice for humankind

saluting our murdered comrades,

those we'll meet again at Heaven's gate.

We are changed forever

and at cost we never chose to pay

the blood of three thousand lambs yet calls

asking that we do not forget

one September morn,

that horror day, when the towers fell.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

A Good Dog

Amy and Elias lost a good friend tonight: their Great White Pyrenees Dog, Abelard. Abbo was suffering from cancer and had lost the ability to stand. He was in pain and it was time for him to move on. Now, he is safely on the other side of The Rainbow Bridge, waiting patiently to wag his plumy white tail again one day when he will be reunited with his beloved human family.

The Rainbow Bridge must be a fine place for a dog to wait. So many of my dear friends are already there. So, this is for Lady, Corky, Abby, Tara, Nikki, Belle, Chelsea... and Abellard. We do not forget you.

Below, some of my favorite lines from poems by poets who abviously had dogs in thier lives and hearts:

By Meribah Abbot

If I was sad, then he had grief, as well-
Seeking my hands with soft insistent paw,
Searching my face with anxious eyes that saw
More than my halting, human speech could tell;
Eyes wide with wisdom, fine, compassionate--
Dear loyal one that new not wrong nor hate.



By Robinson Jeffers

You were never masters, but friends. I was your friend.
I loved you well, and was loved. Deep love endures
To the end and far past the end. If this is my end,
I am not lonely. I am not afraid. I am still yours.


By Jim Simmerman

And let the heart rest
that ran so hard, that grew
too big for this world.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Much ado about Sarah

Hello boys and girls,

Wouldn't the Republican Convention have been about as interesting as...well...a political meeting or a golf tournament or watching paint dry without John McCain's choice of running mate? I watched the great Democratic Love Fest Spectacle last week almost to the very end (I was just too saturated by too much crowd adulation and Hollywood glitz to make it through Obama's speech without barfing) and since I suffered through most of the donkeys braying I thought I'd give the elephant boys equal time to trumpet. Well, Hurricane Gustav changed their plans a bit and not much was happening on CNN or Fox or the other slightly less partisan stations like MSNBC. But, wow, the selection of Sarah Palin by John "Maverick" McCain sure gave everybody lots to talk, squawk, sputter, shriek, criticize, praise, and conjecture. All of a sudden, there was electricity in the air.

I'd wondered, at the close of the Democratic Convention, which was only a little less of a slickly produced spectacular than Nero's Colosseum Offerings or the China Olympics opener what the Republicans were going to be able to do with less money to spend, less high voltage help from the Hollywood and the Political Superstar folks, and the Bush burnout. Well, luckily for McCain, GW and Darth Cheney were otherwise occupied and the Sarah buzz was all that was needed. As far as the show, somebody opted to 'keep it simple stupid'. Good move.

Suddenly the Demos' overblown four nights of media slobbering and fireworks and slavering courtiers...uh Senator Obama's feet reminds me a little of the couture gowned King and Queen partying at Versailles while the downtrodden people of Paris cry out for bread. "Bread, why my countrymen, we shall reduce your taxes while raising our own. You will be able to afford cake...and then who will need bread?! And we shall give you more government programs and control in your lives so you won't have to take personal responsibility." Vive le Democrats? Cie bon. Same old same old.

Like Sarah or don't like Sarah. She is, depending on the station and the reporter, either the media darling (Barry who? Joe who?) or a pariah. But, Sarah is news. Big news. Everybody everywhere is talking about her and her unmarried pregnant daughter and her special needs baby and her moose burgers and Alaska ways. She's young, a looker, different. Definitely not the usual Washington politician. Or Republican. Or the usual Democrat. Pretty much the most interesting Republican in a long long time. (Sorry John. You are a genuine hero but you have been around for awhile).

And how 'bout that Joe Lieberman and his speech? One thing is for sure, this election of 2008 is turning out to be very exciting. And no matter how it plays out, it is and will be history making in ways that we have not seen before. Glass ceiling broken or racial barriers falling...who knows what will happen.

I hope folks let up on the pregnant girl and the pro family values mother, though. Remember the Biblical story about the one who is without sin casting the first stone? Besides, its not smart to pick on a woman who knows how to shoot, dress, and cook a moose.


Sunday, August 31, 2008

Gustav, go away. Hanna don't mess with Savannah

This is what Ginny and I do on those long, stormy days we've been having the last couple of weeks. I mean what else can you really do when its dark, and the rain relentlessly pounds down?
Watching the weather bulletins gets old, really old, really fast and watching the rising water level in the pool is unnerving. So, we get some extra ZZZs. Actually, the pup pictured above is not Ginny but a dog currently available for adoption from Curs, The Catahoula United Rescue Society. Cute hound isn't he? Looks like a big love bug.

So, Gustav is taking aim at New Orleans and the gulf coast three years after Katrina. None of us will forget Katrina, of course, and it looks like New Orleans is doing better to prepare this time. Still, how awful it is. I know I still have post traumatic stress syndrome from our nasty trio in 2004 which were not as deadly as Katrina. My prayers are with the people of the Gulf. We are getting some rain here from Gustav's outer bands I guess. Danny's draining some of the water Faye deposited in the pool out just in case. I'm going to the grocery to stock up on food n stuff too. Hanna is out there and may aim for the same part of Florida that Faye messed up.

Global warming? Natural cycles? I dunno. Awful either way. Anyway, it gets old real fast. And the mosquitoes are getting as big a pterodactyls and as mean as velociraptors. I am a mosquito magnet, too. Scratch, scratch...

Speaking of prehistoric critters, all you Sci Fi fans out there check out BBC America's new Saturday evening series, Primevil. Pretty good show, mates.

W're going up to Mt Dora to supper at some friends new house and tomorrow grilling at Laura's. Happy Labor day. Stay dry.

Ta for now.