Posted by on Jul 18, 2012 in my day, personal, pets | 0 comments

Editors note:  I read this to a writer’s group.  It was dead quiet……..  Finally someone realized what I was talking about.  I do not think my husband is all that amused.

Hah!  Well, now I know.  He’s left me.  Yep. Years of service, love, loyalty and obedience apparently mean nothing.  He’s found something better.  He’s practically moved out!  That ingrate!

For years I’ve picked up after him, fixed his meals, entertained his friends, waited up for him when he came home late, done his laundry, made his doctor’s, uh Vet, appointments…. What do I get after all those years of devotion?  Tossed away like an old shoe.

Here I am, left alone with an empty bed!  I’ve been tolerant of his “other friends.”  I know he visits around.  We just don’t talk about it.  I’m understanding when he goes out with the boys and doesn’t come back home until the wee hours.  When he’s had too much of a good thing and is unable to walk home, I go and pick him up.  I don’t complain
And now this!!  This is too much to bear.  He never comes home any more.  I see him, lounging in the sun by her front door, sitting out by her pond.  Oh, I see him, I know!

What does SHE have that I don’t?  You know what he says?  Get this!   He says she gives him his SPACE (her house is bigger).   SHE doesn’t try to control him.  SHE doesn’t make him stay on the dog bed when he is in the house.  SHE never nags him about his diet.  SHE gives him table scraps.  I suppose he thinks SHE is prettier too!!!.

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Posted by on Jul 8, 2012 in my day, personal, pets | 0 comments


The family name has been disgraced.  Junior was picked up on a vagrancy charge and booked.  The authorities held him for two days before I located him and arrived to make bail.

I am marked, an unfit mother.  I know everyone is talking about it.  I suppose we have been too permissive.  He is such a social fella and enjoys visiting his friends so very much.  The thought of curtailing his exuberance and delight in life overshadowed our good judgment. We have not been strict enough about his boundaries.

It is not that we are not vigilant.   He does have a curfew.  Really, we do have rules!  He must be on his bed before 10:00 pm.  Most of the time he is very prompt.

I know it is not nice to lay blame at the door of your parents but, in this case I think mine should shoulder some of the responsibility.  You see, Montana and Sunshine are basically outside boys.  My Mother and Father, in their good hearted ignorance, have spoiled the boys by letting them in their house whenever the boys show up.

Now, Mom and Dad live a couple miles off and, while Montana is an intelligent guy, I fear he has Attention Deficit Disorder.  We have a psychological evaluation scheduled for next week which may or may not confirm this suspicion.  The disability causes Montana to lose track of goals and to be easily distracted. 

You see the problem.  There he is with the best of intentions, headed off for a visit with Grandma and Grandpa and it happens.  Something or someone catches his attention. A chiseler, a child, another dog, an elk a lawnmower, it does not seem to matter.  He’s off on a tangent.

This is how he was picked up for vagrancy.  He was spotted hanging around a condo complex and reported.  Thank GOD, there were no complaints of vandalism.  Vagrancy is shameful enough.

Add to this disgrace, which has been a burden to the entire family, is the simple fact that Montana is no longer to be trusted.  We’ve explained to him, in no uncertain terms, how his behavior has affected the family.  We’ve detailed for him the shame caused by his arrest and incarceration.  It is hard to admit but, even after all this; we have twice, in the two days following his incarceration, found him again, hanging out at the condos.  Apparently someone there offered him refreshments.    Now we have no choice but to confine him to quarters.

So far it has been AWFUL!!  The Dad is off to work these days.  Kid #1 is at college in another state and Kid #2 is at school all day.  That leaves me, yep, just me and the delinquent.  I’ve tied him up.  He barks.  I’ve locked him on the porch.  He has an “accident.”  The only workable deterrent to his going walk-about is to keep him in sight every second. 

So, now I am taking him with me wherever I go.  He stinks up the car, sheds like mad and eats the groceries.   Now, guess who feels like she is in jail?  I’ll just BET no one shows up to bail me out!




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Posted by on Jun 23, 2012 in family, husband, kids, my day, personal, pets, short story | 1 comment

Author’s note:  I was reading the following passage to my husband.  I’d written this a few years ago and was presenting this as prideful evidence that in the last few years, I’d improved dramatically.  “I am so much more well adjusted,” I bragged.  Husband number one cocked an eyebrow, “Um hum,” he said,  choking back a laugh and ending in a fit of coughing.  As I said, husband number one….


I think I may qualify as “needy.”  That is a psychological term I’ve been aware of for several years now.  We’re not talking “needy” as in, without assets, but “needy,” as in need of validation, reassurance and self esteem.  I’d never thought of myself as particularly “needy,” until last week.  Now, I am considering therapy.

It had been a particularly trying day.  I had made five trips, 17 miles each way, into town, twice completely, as it turned out, unnecessary.  My efforts to please, to be a good Mom, good daughter, good wife, good dog….whatever (still looking for the right word, “owner” doesn’t work), had been met by complete indifference.  It was one of those days when every time I turned around, someone needed something.  Right now!  Even the boys (ok, the dogs) were unhappy because we hadn’t walked.  I’d not met a single expectation.  No one cared about how hard I had tried.  No one!!!

Mom was in the hospital.  I had met with the doctors and talked to the nurses.  I had been to see Dad, fixed his lunch and done my best to soothe his anxiety about Mom.  Headed back into town from Dad’s house, I encountered my vagabond dog jogging up the road, where he had no business.  He was, evidently, fed up with waiting for his walk and going it on his own.  I returned him home, chastised him and left him, surly and truculent on the porch.  After all, he pointed out; it was my fault he had gone AWOL.  If I had met my responsibility, he would not have been walking on his own.  He was correct.  Obviously, I was unreasonable too.

I’d been to the grocery store, pharmacist, dry cleaners.  I’d bought food, prepared food; I’d picked up everything on everyone’s list.  I’d moved ungrateful children from point A to point B, and then back again; without a thank you.  The day was almost over.  I had not had a walk, the sure sign of a failed day.  Daughter #1 was angry because I protested at her request to be driven home after school and returned to town an hour later (five trips already, twenty  minutes each way, times five, equals… plus one more equals….)   This, to save her boy friend the inconvenience of driving ALL the way to our house to pick her up, and ALL the way back.  You must understand when I drive ALL the way back and forth it is not an inconvenience, it is a privilege.  Anyway, I’d knocked myself out getting everyone’s errands done, missed my walk, failed as a parent and as a daughter and I was running out of gas.  I hate getting gas.

I pulled into the gas station. I filled the car and entered the building to pay.  The cashier was a tall, burley kid with tattoos, a pony tail and several piercings.  Making change, he laconically asked, “How’s yur day?”  My eyes welled up with tears.  Oh my GOD!  Someone cared!!  I told him.  In a torrent of words, I poured out my fatigue, my disappointment, my concern about my mother.  In the warmth of that dear man’s tender concern, I almost cried in relief.  Here was a caring human being, someone who asked about me, about MY life, my day, someone who cared about ME.  I thanked him for his tender concern, his compassion, his warmth.   “Thank you for asking, thank you for caring,” I sniffed gratefully.  About that point, he interrupted to say, “Wow, Lady!  Most people just say, “fine.”

Shoot, now I have to find a new place to buy gas.  I can never, NEVER go back to that station!


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Clover is home!!

Posted by on Jun 3, 2012 in family, kids, my day, personal, pets, short story | 0 comments

Writers note This like it’s companion piece (TO KNOW HER IS TO LOVE HERE)  is from the archive.  It is useful, now and then, to take a look back to see how I have matured and improved.  Yeah, not so much.  Sigh!

Clover is home!!  Once again we hear the clatter of her tiny nails on the floor.  The long orange ribbon (attached to her back with duct tape) again dances across our paths and drapes out from under piles of unfolded clothing.  (DANG, I hope that is a pile of dirty clothes rather than a clean pile!  Well, it’s a kid room, chances are about even.)

Her Highness (as she has asked to be called) escaped her encampment last week, throwing our home into turmoil.  Somehow that rascal turtle managed to peel the tape securing the three foot identifying ribbon off her back and slip out of her outdoor cage.  Fooled by the reassuring presence of the ribbon, left protruding from under her favorite pile of sticks, we did not realize she was AWOL until hours after her great escape.  (Note to self: Never, never substitute packing tape for duct tape in matters of security.  Just won’t do.  Duct tape rules).

The sobbing, the drama, following Clovers disappearance ravished the family.  Search parties were organized.  Neighbors were notified.  Our poor thirteen year old spent anguished nights and days tearfully clutching Clover’s discarded ribbon and making signs to welcome Clover home should she return.  Our home was in mourning.  For over a week we combed the area day and night, hoping for a glimpse of that darling shell, those piercing black eyes…. It was A NIGHTMARE!!!

Time passed under a dark and penetrating gloom.  Would we never see that beautiful little face again?  Whatever had possessed her to leave the loving arms of her family?  Was she alright out there in the forest?  The doubts were constant and burdensome.  Where had we gone wrong?

Well, she’s home.  Her Highness was spotted by the neighbor’s fine, talented Jack Russell and returned to the loving embrace of her family a week after her tragic disappearance.  Joy filled the household.  We were all so happy to see her that I fear she is in danger of becoming more spoiled than she was when she left.  We are so overjoyed that I have even stopped complaining about turtle germs in my kitchen and the 17 year old is allowing Clover to have the run of her bedroom.  This is a big deal!  Clover has been banned from Daughter#1’s bedroom since day one.  Her Highness (wouldn’t you know) has declared this room to be her favorite.

We were never quite sure why Clover picked this particular room.  She may have heard Erin was going to college soon and kept checking to see if it was vacant.  Hey, that’s it!!  Believing Erin was off to college, Clover expected to be getting Erin’s room as her own.  When she continued to be forced into sharing Tara’s room, Her Highness decided to look for more suitable quarters and slipped her cage.  Whew, that has got to be the reason for her leaving.  Clover felt cheated out of her rightful inheritance!

I’d better get to work here!  I have a redecorating job to do!  Erin leaves for college in just a few weeks.  I must ask if Clover would prefer French Provençal, English Country or Danish Modern.



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Posted by on May 21, 2012 in family, kids, my day, personal, pets, short story | 0 comments



Photo is Teton Range from Kelly Wyoming.  This was a lovely summer bike ride.


Today I am looking for a reality check.  I occasionally resort to a reality check as a means of verifying the state of my sanity.  It is not that I really doubt my sanity.  It is true; there has been the occasional inkling of a doubt.  Well, not doubt, really.  It’s just that when enough people in one week shout, “Are you crazy,” it seems wise to at least look into the issue. I do want to stress, however, the validity of the claim of my insanity has never, never been established.

I think I am fine.  Really, it was a cut and dried issue. I mean, if you knew Clover.  Well, suffice it to say, to know her is to love her.  Her personality is radiant.  Those intelligent and knowing eyes look right into your soul.  The darling way she pulls into her shell and then peers out at the world with that coy, sideways glance.  You can see. She had to be saved, at any cost!

It all started last summer when Daughter No. 2 brought home a box turtle.  Well, not just ANY box turtle.   We’ve already established her superiority.  Clover moved into the house while I was asleep on the watch.  Had I realized what was going on, I would have stopped the whole ridiculous thing.  Box turtles do not belong in the mountains where the temperature gets down to 30 degrees below zero, and turtles definitely don’t belong in my house.  As I said, I must have been asleep on the watch because, before I realized what had happened, Clover had taken up residency.

The ploy surrounding her arrival was alarmingly similar to the way we acquired Montana, aka, Monster Mutt.  I said “NO!” to that pup until I saw him.  He was sooooo cute!  Well, that is a different story.  Anyway, Clover is an above average turtle.  Clover stayed.

The real trouble started a few weeks after Cover moved in. My husband assures me it was not my fault, but I am guilt ridden that the elk meat I fed Her Highness (I started referring to Clover as Her Highness shortly after she took up residency…. and control) may have cause the illness.  I gather that turtles do not eat elk in the wild.  Anyhow, it was my fault.

Clover became lethargic and would not eat.  Our normally peppy royalty looked ill.  We rushed her to the vet who, surprisingly in the town of Jackson Hole, Wyoming, was not a reptile expert.  I needn’t go into all the details.  Suffice it to say, that for a month or so Clover, was on intravenous fluids (poor girl was dehydrated), antibiotics (intravenous), and oxygen.  Have you ever seen a turtle on oxygen or hooked up to an IV?  It is heartbreaking!

Our daughter was distraught.  A specialist was called in.  Newly, the kindly turtle guru dispensed valuable advice about disease, habitat, feeding and climate control.  The trips to the vet, the many anguished phone calls to Newly….it was a stressful time for us all.

Thanks to the ministrations of Dan, the vet, and Newly, the reptile expert, Clover survived and has resumed her position as benevolent ruler in our household.  I am so relieved at her recovery I am allowing her to roam the premises at will…. which is what she did anyway.   Well, there you have it.  I was asking for a reality check.  Some, my husband and parents among them, seem to feel I have gone off the deep end.  I ask you; does three hundred dollars seem too large a sum to save a life?



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