Refuse to Dwell

I refuse to dwell on negatives and the things I cannot change. 

  
Part of the reason I took a blogging break earlier this year is because the only thoughts I had were once that induced worry and stress, and I didn’t want to give precious blog space to things that don’t warrant it. 

Will we find a house in our new city?

Will the Young One make new friends?

Will the Older One visit once he’s out on his own?

Will he be able to feed himself if I’m not there to do the cooking?

I can’t dwell on these things. Worrying about them won’t change them. 

We moved. 

She made friends. 

He visits, and he seems well-fed. 

Life goes on. I can’t change its pace.  

The only thing within my control is how I react to the obstacles in my path. I can stand still and dwell on how I cannot possibly hurdle it or I can look beyond it, focus on the positive and move on. 

I choose to move on. 

Today’s post is brought to you by Five Minute Friday and the word “dwell”. 

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Puppy Tough Love Replay

Yesterday, I let the Fluffy One take over my blog with a guest post, and now the Furry One is jealous. He thinks I’m playing favorites, and he’s threatening retaliation.

The last thing I want is for him to start peeing on the new rugs, so I gently reminded him that he was the star of the blog a few years ago when I interviewed him about his reaction to Fluffy joining our family. He is denying any knowledge of the interview. (He’s almost 98 in dog years, so he is allowed a little senility.)

So to make sure the trash cans don’t get dumped while I sleep tonight, I’m pulling the interview out of the archives for everyone’s enjoyment.

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Puppy Tough Love

It is a sunny October afternoon, and sun filters through the picture windows that make up the north facing wall of the great room.

Furry One

I find the Furry One in his usual spot on the plush sofa. He lounges on his side, his head and a paw dangling off the edge. His eyes are closed, but when he senses my approach, they pop open, and he is alert.

We both turn our heads toward the foyer when we hear the approaching sounds of scampering feet and joyful yips, followed by a fruitless chorus of no-no’s.

Furry pushes his slightly overweight body to a sitting position, leans back into the couch and heaves a weary sigh, “Puppies,” he declares with a droop of his shiny black fur covered head.

I have come today to interview Furry about the turmoil that entered his life last month when his family returned home with a tiny white Maltese that he has come to know as The Fluffy One. He shakes his head again, and we begin.

Stiletto Momma: Tell me how it’s been.

Furry One: I haven’t had a decent nap in a month. I used to wake up, go outside, mark my territory, come back in, do a little treat-begging performance, nap for a few hours, then do it all over again. I was up to about eight solid naps a day.

Momma: Wow! That’s some professional-caliber napping. What happened?

Furry: Fluffy is what happened. *sigh*

Just then a fluffy ball with four legs zips into the room, and stops at the floor below Furry’s seat. Between frantic flips of a long flowing tail, I can just make out Fluffy’s big brown eyes and pink tongue.

Fluffy One

Fluffy: Furry! Furry! I’m back from my walk. I’m back from my walk. Did you miss me? Did ya? Did ya? Furry?

Furry: See what I mean?

Momma: Yes. She certainly is…um…energetic.

Furry: She’s crazy!

Fluffy: What’s “crazy” mean, Furry? Furry? Furry?

Fluffy high jumps from the floor to the couch directly to Furry’s left.

Furry: Seriously, how am I supposed to take a nap with this noise going on all day. It doesn’t stop!

He stands and gingerly lowers himself to the floor.

Furry: I’m ten years old. These are my golden years. My job was to protect my boy when he was younger, but now that he’s grown up and moved to that obedience school at West Point, I’m retired. I should be able to sleep when I want to without being interrupted.

Momma: I can understand that. It’s a big change. Let’s talk about how Fluffy came to be here. She’s a shelter dog, isn’t she?

Furry: Yeah, that’s about the only good thing that’s come from this. She was a stray. Someone just dropped her off on the side of the road one day, as if that five pounds of fluff could really fend for herself. Now, THAT makes me mad. Can you imagine how scared she must have been, and all because someone didn’t realize a puppy is a lot of work or some breeder thought she was too small. I’d like to take her previous owners out to the middle of nowhere with no food and no water, and tell them, “You were cute once, but I don’t want you anymore. Good luck getting out of here alive. Bye.”

Momma: You were a shelter dog too, right?

Furry: That’s right.  I was just a pup like Fluffy. That was a scary time–not knowing when I’d get another meal or a warm bed. I survived, but you have to have some street smarts to keep it together in a shelter. It’s no place for a dog like Fluffy. I mean, just look at her….

He points with his nose to the spot beside him where Fluffy is spinning in quick frantic circles.

Fluffy: Furry, look! A big hairy monster is chasing me! But don’t worry. I’m gonna get it! I’m gonna get it! I’m gonna get it this time!

Furry: That’s your tail, Fluffy. Stop it! You’re embarrassing yourself!

Momma: Have you been showing her the ropes since she got here?

Furry: *sigh* I do what I can.  Oh! There she goes again! It’s the Fluffy 500. You might want to move out of the way.

I jump to a vacant recliner as Furry bounds back to the couch, then we watch as the Fluffy One sprints around the room, weaving between the furniture as fast as her little legs will carry her.

Furry: Puppies…

Momma: There has to be something good about Fluffy coming to your family.

Furry: Well, maybe.

He’s quiet while he thinks and watches Fluffy throw a knotted and holey sock in the air.

Furry: I do kinda like that I don’t have to be alone anymore. I don’t like it when my people leave me by myself. It’s a big house, and sometimes when it’s just me here, I think about being left alone before I had this family. At least now I have someone to lay down with when they’re away. I had a brother once, and that’s how it was back then. He was the dog who was with my family when they adopted me. I miss him since he went to the Rainbow Bridge. He used to yell at me too…a lot!

He smiles at the memory.

Momma: Why did he yell at you?

Furry: Oh, lots of reasons. Mostly it was because I was a puppy and wanted to play. I used to take that sock…

He points to Fluffy’s current plaything.

Furry: …and throw it in his face. Ha! Ha! He’d get so mad at me. First, he’d growl. Then he’d throw it right back at me, and we’d each take an end and pull and shake! That was the best time!

Momma: How long has he been gone?

Furry: Five years. That’s a long time in dog years. I remember when…What the…!

Furry has been interrupted by a flying sock flung from Fluffy’s playful antics. It lands a paw’s length away from Furry’s nose. Fluffy stops and stares tentatively at Furry.

Fluffy: Uh-oh…

Furry: Fluffy!

Furry stands.

Furry: That’s not how you do it. You don’t throw it by the end. You have to get in the middle. Then you throw it. Like this.

He lets the old blue sock fly. It meets its mark on Fluffy’s back. She turns several circles before pulling it back to the floor, then tosses it back to Furry just as he taught her. She plops her bottom to the floor and wags her tail, waiting for his reaction.

Furry: You know, you might not be so bad after all, Fluffy…That was pretty good, but I bet I can beat you in tug of war….

Yips and playful growls echo down the hall as today’s lesson in puppy tough love continues.

The Fluffy One Speaks

Around this point in NaBloPoMo (National Blog Post Month) many bloggers hit a wall. The ideas dry up and the words stop flowing. The concept of posting a blog each day for 30 days sounds simple enough, but by day 18, the pressure to string together original musings each day is daunting.

I actually planned for this to happen, and on Oct. 30, I plotted out a very detailed calendar of what I would post each day. I was very impressed with my organization, until the whole thing blew up earlier this week. I had planned to re-post a blog I had written a few years ago (yes, that is acceptable during NaBloPoMo). It was the perfect time to pull it out again, but when I went to do the whole copy/paste thing, I realized I had already done that last year!

I moved the post intended for today to Monday, leaving me with a big hole in my editorial calendar. Since I am out of creative ways to fill the gap, I’m reaching into the Bag ‘O Blogger Tricks and am enlisting a guest blogger to fill the hole and give you a fresh idea. She is a beautiful girl I have known for about three years, and I know you will enjoy her perspective as much as I do.

So, in her blogging debut, I give you…the Fluffy One!

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My name used to be Audrey, and I was a scruffy thing when I met Momma.

I mean my hair was a complete mess, and I was in no condition to accept visitors, especially someone as important as her. My tail was one big tangle, and my ears..! I don’t think they had ever had a proper trim, not like the expensive cuts I get now anyway. My color was all off too. My hair had a yellow tint to it, but it’s supposed to be snow white.

You have no idea how nervous I was when Momma walked into my room at that hotel.  She was so glamorous in those spikey shoes. How could someone like that want to have anything to do with someone so disheveled?

But I think she saw my potential.  She sat with me on a rocking chair and brushed the hair out of my eyes. I took the opportunity to show her how big and brown they were.  I opened them really wide and looked up at an angle like I’d seen some of the other dogs do when they got visitors. 

I didn’t know a whole lot about people back then, not nice ones anyway. So, I was afraid to make any noise. I just sat and listened to her heartbeat while she talked to the lady in charge–the one who took me from that last hotel. 

“Audrey just came to us last week,” she said. “She was wandering by herself in eastern KY. She was probably turned out by a breeder because she is so small. We said we’d take her because we’re a no-kill shelter.”

No-Kill Shelter…I always thought that was an odd name for a hotel.

Anyway, I rocked with Momma, and I listened, and I tried not to think about the scary time on my own in the woods and the time before that when I was with someone who didn’t love me enough to care what happened when four pounds of fluff is left to fend for herself.

“She’s been a little quiet, but we think she’s going to be a diva,” the lady said. “That’s why we named her Audrey, after Audrey Hepburn.”

“Really,” Momma laughed, and turned me around, so she could look into my eyes. “Audrey Hepburn is one of my idols, and if you’re a diva, you’ll fit right in!”

fluffyWe rocked some more, and then Momma gave me back to the lady. I got scared again, but she said she’d be back in a few days. For obvious reasons, I wasn’t very big on promises. But she did come back, and she brought a big guy and a little girl too. 

When they left, they gave me a fancy necklace and said I could go with them! They were going to a place called “home”. I had never been there before, and since I’ve always wanted to travel abroad, I agreed to go.  

Everything’s changed since the scary time. I have my own bed now and a pink leash and a box of toys that squeak! I even have a brother, Furry, who showed me the ropes and taught me how to be a best friend.

Life with FAMILY is pretty special, and I’m happy to be a diva with my Momma.

Picture It: Anniversary

When I met my husband 26 years ago today, he wore a leather jacket and a bandanna tied around his head. (I won’t go into all the details here, but you can catch up with this little refresher.) I was slightly concerned for my safety that night, and while I soon learned he cleaned up quite nicely…

Me and the hoodlum at a more formal affair. (It was the '80's. Please forgive the hair!)

…I still wasn’t sure where this relationship was going to take me.

I had no idea I would eventually be cruising the dunes with him in Cabo San Lucas…

Anniversary-7

…or touring Madrid, Spain….

Anniversary-2

…or standing on top of the world in Tortola….

Tortola

Had I known we would be swashbuckling with pirates in the Caribbean, I might have told the dew-ragged hoodlum to stay away all those years ago….

Pirate

But then I would have missed a very nice excursion to Monte Carlo…

Anniversary-5

…and a memorable side trip to the beaches of Normandy, France…

Anniversary-3

…followed by a once-in-a-lifetime cruise down the River Siene in Paris.

Anniversary-4

Had I known 26 years ago that we would sit in the sun in Riviera Maya, Mexico, I probably would have insisted we tie the knot sooner, so we could get this show on the road….

Anniversary-6

I also didn’t know we would visit some amazing locales a little closer to home, like the twin spires of Churchill Downs in Louisville, KY…

Anniversary-1

…and the Budweiser Brewery in St. Louis…

Budweiser Museum

…and, of course, the scenic banks of the Hudson River….

Anniversary-8

Twenty-six years ago, I had no idea where we were heading, but I sure am glad, I’ve stayed around for the ride. Happy anniversary, Hubby, I can’t wait to see where this adventure takes us next!

Our Very Own

November is National Adoption Month, and I am so fortunate I have the honor to celebrate. Without adoption, I would not have been able to find the missing piece of our family. Every night I thank her for waiting for me and for giving me the opportunity to love her.

The unknown author of the poem below, sums up the experience perfectly…

You’re Now Our Very Own

You first came to us in an envelop
With letters, forms and such
Just two tiny little pictures
With nothing warm to touch.

You grew in our imagination
In our hearts and in our minds.
You brought us greater joy
Than we ever thought we’d find.

A phone call started labor pains
Which lasted ’til we met
Strangers brought together
A day we won’t forget.

You bloomed as you were planned
In our hearts, our lives, our home.
Our child of chance, of plan, of will
You’re now our very own.”

Author Unknown

Don’t Let Them Win

I’m sitting here this morning on a sunny Saturday, my coffee steaming beside me, cartoons on the TV in the next room, and I am scared.

prayforparis

#PrayForParis

I am scared for the people of Paris and for the family and friends of the victims of last night’s attacks.

I am scared for the people of France because this will surely get worse before it gets better.

I am scared for the soldiers who will head into battle and the repercussions that will be felt around the world.

I am scared for the mommas–those who lost children last night, those who will send their sons and daughters to defend their country, and those trying to explain it all to the little ones overwhelmed by the violence reported since they sat down to dinner last night.

I am scared this is just the beginning.

I am scared it will be closer to home next time.

I am scared it will be my son entering the fight.

I am scared my daughter will grow up in a world at war.

I am scared if we let them paralyze us with this fear, they will win.

I can’t let that happen. They are terrorists, and their ultimate goal is to spread fear, make us change our ways and hide lest they strike again.

So, I will say a prayer for Paris, then I will brew more coffee…I will sit in the sun…I will let the cartoons roll.

I will not let them win.

Red Cups and Date Rape Marketing

I am weary of the Red Cup controversy. I am cringing as I type because I have avoided the topic all week. Now that I’m faced with the writing prompt “weary”, though, I have realized that I’m not tired about much except how much time the media has spent on a cup that will find itself in a trash can or recycling bin an hour or less after its purchase.

I really think we have bigger things to worry about this holiday season than what graphics are or are not on a paper coffee cup. Let’s talk about ISIS or global warming or politics (but please not about Donald Trump or his opinions on the cup).

Kudos, though, to Starbucks for a non-marketing strategy that got people talking about their over-priced coffee. I say that with the utmost affection since (full disclosure ahead) my gold-level status is something of which I am quite proud. Now, let’s all agree to draw our own depiction of the holidays on our cups and move on.

I’m more offended by this stellar piece of marketing from the hopefully fired marketing director at Bloomingdales. 

   

While Bloomindales has apologized for the ad that appeared in their holiday catalog, they have not offered an explanation for how this endorsement of date rape got through the approval process. I am hopeful we’ll find out it was the case of an over-worked marketing executive who scrolled too quickly through the proofs and didn’t take the time to read every word or examine every picture.

That is not an excuse to be taken lightly, but the alternatives are disheartening. Either someone at Bloomingdales believes drugging your female friend is the key to a happy holiday or someone at Bloomingdales was affected by the scenario depicted here and finds that combatting rape culture is a lost cause. Both are frightening and cause me great concern for the world my daughter will step into when she is a teenager.

On the bright side, should I ever grow weary of marketing my current employer’s products, I may have to send my resume to both Starbucks and Bloomingdales, especially if I am looking to dial down my marketing efforts. At one, you don’t have to put much thought into marketing concepts. At the other you don’t have to think at all.

***Today’s post was brought to you today by Five Minute Friday and the word “weary”.  

Germ Free-For-All

I love Timehop and its cute little mascot Abe–the dinosaur in the app who so kindly reminds me of all the things that were once important to me, but that I have somehow forgotten not long after posting them to my social media outlet of choice.

He also helps me participate in Throwback Thursday, and this morning, he very kindly reminded me of the Swine Flu panic of 2009. We were nearing epidemic status, and the media was feeding the frenzy with reports that absolutely no healthcare provider on the planet had a vaccine.

When news broke that by some miracle, my local health department had scored a limited supply of H1N1 vaccinations, I took my high-risk self (asthma, Crohn’s Disease and various immuno-suppressants give me that honor) to the parking lot of the university football stadium and sat in line for an hour to get shot up with the coveted serum.

timehop

Now, six years later, sitting in the back of the Young One’s Brownie scout meeting, I’m crossing my fingers that a few drops of that vaccine might still be swimming through my blood.

It’s a germ free-for-all over there.

*cough*

*sniff*

*aah-choo*

One little watery-eyed girl left 10 minutes into the meeting. I’m not sure why her mom brought her to start with. The mom walked in and announced, “She’s not feeling well. I don’t know how long she’ll stay.”

She stayed just long enough to cough on all the other Brownies, fill three tissues and wipe her germ-infested hands all over the table.

I needed some hand sanitizer, and I’m 20 feet away.
*cough*

That was the troop leader. When watery-eyed girl’s mom made her declaration about her sick kid, Typhoid Troop Leader shared that she was just getting over the sickness too. Fortunately, she covers her mouth when she coughs…with her hand…right before she passes out the snack.

*sniiiif*

Who was that? Oh…Typhoid Troop Leader’s kid. Figures.

*ahh-choo*

Dang! That was the red-nosed redhead sitting across the friendship circle from the Young One.

I’m probably over-reacting, but my throat is starting to hurt. I need to go home, chug some cough medicine and suck on a zinc lozenge.

*wheeze*
Who was that?

Great. Red-nosed redhead’s mom just walked in. Her eyes are as red as her daughter’s head and nose. “I don’t know what I got,” she said over a cough. “I feel awful. I think it’s the flu.”

Really, Patient Zero? Really? Did your doctor tell you the best way to treat the flu is to expose your highly contagious self to as many eight-year-olds as possible?

Hey! I have an idea for the next meeting. Let’s add an accessory to the uniform–a medical face mask! And as the community service project, let’s spray each other down with disinfectant.

*ahh-choo*

Oh, crap.

That was me.

I Give To You, My Son

Today, on Veteran’s Day and at almost the mid-point of National Military Family Month, I am reminded what a honor it is to share my oldest child with the people of the United States of America. The author of the poem below remains anonymous, but I am pretty sure she is a military mom, just like me….

I Give to You, My Son

I held him as an infant; I hugged him as a boy,
and through the years he has become my greatest pride and joy.

BDUsI love him more than I can say, his life more precious than my own,
but gone are the whims and notions of the little boy that I had known.

For the years have passed so quickly since the time it all began,
and now he stands before me with the conviction of a man.

He wants to serve his country, he states aloud with pride,
as I try to sort out the emotions that I’m feeling deep inside…

A union of the uncertain fear, which I cannot control,
and the allegiance which lies deep within my patriotic soul.

I trust that my years of guidance will serve as a strong foundation,
as he performs the duties requested from his beloved nation.

I give to you, my son.

I give to you, my son.

God, please guide him as he travels to the places our soldiers have bled,
and walk with him through pathways where those heroes’ feet have tread.

Oh Sweet Land of Liberty, humbly I give to you, my son,
praying you’ll return him safely home when his work for you is done.

—Author unknown—