“We Don’t Need a Damn Dog!”

IMG_0568   I don’t have children, I have dogs!

It took nearly four years of prompting, prodding, poking, pleading and pushing to get my husband to agree to adding a dog to our life. Finally, around Valentines Day 2011 I was able to get the stars to align.

In 2008, I was working an event and I met a dog breeder. She had a baby English Bulldog in her arms and of course I had to ask to pet her and got to talking to the woman; telling her how much I loved French Bulldogs, where I had first encountered them, etc. She said that she and her husband bred both English and French Bulldogs and she gave me one of her cards. I tucked the card away and only casually mentioned to my husband that I had played with a baby bulldog that day and got the usual response, ” We don’t need a damn dog“.

The business card ended up in the bottom of my work bag for more than a year; until one day I was cleaning out the bag because I was getting a new laptop at work and wanted to carry it in the bag. I came across the card and popped it into my wallet.

Several months went by and I happened to pull out the card when I was getting out my debit card to pay for something online. I decided to pull up their website to see what the cost of a Frenchie would be, I had heard they were expensive. Once on the site I knew I had heard correctly. They didn’t have any puppies available at that time, but I looked at a bunch of pictures of some past puppies and their parents. I showed a couple to my husband, he admitted that they were cute, but again said “We don’t need a damn dog“.

I would pull that card out every few months, look at the puppies, see if they had any available for adoption, show them to my husband and hear the same thing. “We don’t need a damn dog“.

Sometime around the end of 2010, I started looking at their website almost daily because they had posted a note that they had two new litters of Frenchies being born and I wanted to see the new puppies. As I remember the two litters were quite big; 6 in one and 7 in the other. So many cute puppies and they would be available around Christmas time, of course.

I watched as each little cutie was adopted by another family, each time telling my husband; “oh no, another one has been adopted can’t we please get a puppy.” And again he would say “We don’t need a damn dog” and now he added “especially at that price“.

It was the around the end of January and I was just finishing up another event out-of-town. I had some time to kill at the end of the day right before we could start packing things up. I was wasting some time looking at email, Facebook and then I thought to pop over to look at the puppies. I was surprised, they still had two little ones left, both appeared to be very, very small they were around 3 months old and still hadn’t been adopted. So on a whim I sent the breeder a note. I mentioned that I had met her all those years ago and that I had been longingly watching all the puppies get adopted and saw that they had two still left. I asked if they might be willing to work with me on the price, because the regular price was just out of my budget. I sent it off figuring that they would probably say “no negotiations on the price and thanks for looking“. I packed up and headed home.

The next morning I got an email. “Thank you for your interest in our frenchies, I think we can negotiate on the price. I need to share your offer with my husband. I will contact you shortly.” My husband was up watching the news, I was still lying around in bed. But I got up, so excited about the possibility of the new puppy, I kind of forgot that I hadn’t event spoken to him about it.  I kept checking my phone as I got ready. I took my shower, checked the phone, dried my hair, checked my phone, brushed my teeth, checked my phone.  Finally, the reply came. “Yes, my husband agreed to your offer. Which puppy would you like to adopt? Both are female”  She offered to send me a link to some video of the puppies. I replied;  “Great I will show them to my husband and get back in touch.”

So, then I had to think about my approach with my husband. I decided to tell him about the great deal I had the chance to get on a puppy and would he please just look at the pictures and the videos that she was sending me and to just keep an open mind. Please.  His reply was “We don’t need a damn dog” but this time it was accompanied by “But I will take a look at the pictures and videos

IMG_0234

Maddie the day we brought her home.

Then he saw her, tiny, cinnamon brown with a little black mask on her face hopping around her sister. Those cute bat ears and a tiny tail that looked like it belonged to a baby dear.  I couldn’t believe it, he said “OK, that one!

Within minutes of that “ok” I made the deal, paid the adoption fee and made arrangements to pick her up the next morning. I wasn’t going to give him a chance to change his mind.

We picked her up in the Denny’s parking lot just off I-5 halfway between Vancouver, where the breeder lived, and Olympia where we lived. She was so tiny, I could hold her in one hand, she trembled when I took her in my arms, but soon snuggled up next to me under my coat and stayed there for the next two hours. Snoring, sleeping and snuggling with her new human. I don’t think I was ever as happy as I was that day.

And so much for all the rules my husband laid out when he agreed to the dog. Not on the furniture, no sleeping in the bed, no feeding her from the table, you walk her, feed her, etc, etc.  He was puppy whipped in a day. She was sleeping on his lap while he watched T.V., he was singing her to sleep at night in her crate, giving her scraps from the table and within a month she was sleeping in the bed and not the crate. She has helped him lose 20 pounds, cut his blood-pressure medicine in half and I think just in general really cheered him up.

They say people with dogs are happier and live longer and I believe it!

What about you – do you have pets?

 

Life is good Pet Tees

Character Development

   Developing my own character as a writer.

I have been trying to write regularly about any and everything to get in the habit of daily writing. Some of it is for this blog, some for me and some for that novel I always had running in my head. To keep me on track I have been checking out different writing and author sites and this one caught my attention, The Write Practice. They have a writers prompt that you get when you subscribe to their blog and they had an interesting article about using of the Proust Questionnaire to help you develop more deeply the characters in your story to help you get to know them better.

Some of you may know this questionnaire from the back page of Vanity Fair magazine or a version of it from Inside the Actors Studio where host James Lipton asks a version of the questionnaire that was used by a French show host named Bernard Pivot.

So I thought I would complete the questionnaire as the writer I want to be so that you can get to know me a little better. And if you are game; I would love for you to complete it too so that I can get to know you better.

What is your greatest fear?  Losing my mind
What is your current state of mind?  Stressed out
What is your favorite occupation?  Writer
What historical figure do you most identify with?  Katherine Hepburn, I am a bit of a ball buster too.
Which living person do you most admire?  Anyone you sacrifices to help others in need.
Who is your favorite fictional hero? Wonder Woman
Who are you real-life heroes? The police who sacrifice and take crap everyday
What is your most treasured possession? My family
When and where were you happiest?  Alone writing with a nice cup of coffee
What is your most obvious characteristic? Tall and talk a lot
What is the trait you most deplore in yourself? Smartass
What is the trait you most deplore in others? Cruelty to humans or animals
What is your greatest extravagance? None – I am a state employee that wants to write – I can’t afford extravagance.
What is your favorite journey? Any road trip
What do you most dislike about your appearance? Big nose and 20 extra pounds
What do you consider the most over-rated virtue? Hard worker
On what occasion do you lie? When it will hurt another’s feelings
Which words or phrases do you most over-use? “Living the Dream” and “SSDD”
If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be? I wish I could sing!
What do you consider your greatest achievement? Being married to the same man for 24 years when everyone said it would never last.
Where would you like to live? Near the water
What is the quality you most admire in a man?  Humor and intelligence
What is the quality you most admire in a woman? Honesty and humor
What is it you most dislike?  Mans inhumanity to man.
What do you value most in you friends? That they continue to put up with me
How would you like to die?  quickly
If you were to die and come back as a person or an animal, what do you think it would be?  Rock star would be the wish, but likely a man with a bad attitude.
If you could choose an object to come back as, what would you choose? Big piece of busy machinery.
What is your motto, the words you live by or that mean a lot to you?  I try to remember to “Don’t sweat the petty things and don’t pet the sweaty things!
Who has been the greatest influence on you? My family

What do you think, will you take the questionnaire?

Top Ten

IMG_0161   Nothing inflames the passions like a top ten list!

I heard an interesting NPR piece on All Things Considered about the American Scholars; 10 Best Sentences. They admit that the choices are subjective, but they usually have come from a “hey listen to this” conversation. I picked three of my favorites out of the ten below.

In many ways he was like America itself, big and strong, full of good intentions, a roll of fat jiggling at his belly, slow of foot but always plodding along, always there when you needed him, a believer in the virtues of simplicity and directness and hard labor.”  Tim O’Brien, The Things They Carried

For what do we live, but to make sport for our neighbors, and laugh at them in our turn?”  Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice

It was the United States of America in the cold late spring of 1967, and the market was steady and the G.N.P. high and a great many articulate people seemed to have a sense of high social purpose and it might have been a spring of brave hopes and national promise, but it was not, and more and more people had the uneasy apprehension that it was not.” Joan Didion, Slouching Towards Bethlehem

However, what I enjoyed the most about both the NPR story and the ten best are the comments by readers on each story. People are picky, passionate, mean, loving, encouraging, snarky, funny and above all enthusiastic about their picks and their comments on the choices of others. Check them out, if you don’t enjoy them almost as much as the story I don’t want to know you.

Some of my favorite sentences in no particular order and without strict limit to one sentence only;

She had walked close to him today, his am had brushed against hers and his roughness had caressed her softness. There had been a sensation akin to death and birth.”   Amulya Malladi, Song of the Cuckoo Bird

And a passage I loved from one of my favorite books.

“We die containing a richness of lovers and tribes, tastes we have swallowed, bodies we have plunged into and swum up as if rivers of wisdom, characters we have climbed into as if trees, fears we have hidden in as if caves.

I wish for all this to be marked on by body when I am dead. I believe in such cartography – to be marked by nature, not just to label ourselves on a map like the names of rich men and women on buildings. We are communal histories, communal books. We are not owned or monogamous in our taste or experience.”   Michael Ondaatje, The English Patient

Someone posted this quote in the comments section on NPR, I have never read Joseph Conrad, but this made me want to seek him out.

Droll thing life is — that mysterious arrangement of merciless logic for a futile purpose. The most you can hope from it is some knowledge of yourself — that comes too late — a crop of unextinguishable regrets.”  Joseph Conrad, “Heart of Darkness”

Words, sentences, quotes and songs all sound different to me depending of the variables of my life: my mood, the openness of my heart, the delivery, whether I’m  hungry or full, whether I’m there in the moment or wasting this moment thinking of one off in the future.  They all impact me in different ways too; soothing me when I’m angry or upset, welling the tears when I am sad, filling me with love and warmth when I am open and willing to be vulnerable or fueling my anger, building a hate and slamming a door when I am closed and not truly listening.

I want to listen, be open and live in the moment. No more wasted energy, life or love.

Do you have a favorite sentence, story, poem or song? Does it or do they make you feel something?

 

Sweet Sixteen

No Billion Dollar perfect pick for me. Darn Duke and Arizona State really got me off to a bad start! And Saturday night Villanova crashed and burned and then Wichita State killed all my dreams – I had them taking the tournament.

So with the Sweet Sixteen set – my card stands at 36/48. And I have 47 points, no where near the lead. But it has been a fun tournament. With our Gonzaga Bulldogs at least making the tournament over my nephews Butler Bulldogs we had at least little bragging here in Washington.

Some great match ups still to come even without a Billion dollars on the line. Going to have to cheer for the Dayton, Flyers!!

 

Basketball

I don’t know if you are basketball crazy, like a good portion of the rest of the country seems to be right now, but even if you’re not this might make you want to pay a little bit of attention.

Quicken Loans and Yahoo have a Billion $ Bracket Challenge. Pick the perfect card and you win. Visit: http://www.quickenlonsbacket.com if you want more information.

Here is a link to my picks or a printable card: Yahoo Billion $ Bracket

Going with a wildcard, Wichita State, to take the trophy and bring me riches!

I used to love basketball and played in highschool and long after in college intermural and in a ladies recreation league.

Are you taking the challenge? Watching the tournament?