The Zero Degree Walk

Good morning,

It’s the ungraceful hour of 6 AM on Thursday.  To say the least this morning’s weather rates up there in the brutal zone with a polar vortex/cold front/freakin’ cold monster clutching us in its teeth.  Schools have been canceled (don’t laugh Alaskans and Canadians, we don’t endure this stuff every day like you do).

As I laid  myself to sleep last night I prayed the good Lord would delay Dickens’s nature call until it got a little warmer, say 5 degrees, so he wouldn’t become an ice pup.  Nope.  No such luck…up at the crack of dawn.  So, what did I do?  I pretended to sleep praying he would settle down and have mercy on himself and me.  Silly girl.

So, I gave up and got up.  Readying myself and Dickens for a cold, Arctic embrace, I worried.  Cold can damage tender paws, cause joint issues, and just be very tough on dogs.    Coats (that’s right, more than one) safely clipped on,  I applied some paw wax to each of those little paws to serve as a temporary barrier from icy pavement and rock salt.  Paw wax consists of a mixture of pure beeswax mixed with coconut oil and olive oil all melted together to make  lip balm…only its for dogs…and me.  I donned about six layers, two pairs of socks (thank you, Myra) and a huge stadium coat.  I looked like the Michelin lady.

It’s the fastest pre-dawn walk we’ve ever clocked.  We made it around the block in 5 minutes.  Dickens sniffed and I urged him to “get busy”.  He sniffed to find his spot.  I bit my lip hoping the Almighty protected us from the sharp air as Dickens barked his way through it all (sorry, neighbors) perhaps saying “Hey, it’s cold out here!”  Ya think?  Thankfully, he did his business and we raced back home.

Once home and removed of all the layers, I proceeded to make Dickens a warm breakfast of ground turkey and green beans, whilst I stood in front of the brewing coffee pot expressing profound gratitude that we’d survive the first of many walks today.  Why is it that the first sip of the day’s first coffee sets the tone of the entire day?

As the hot liquid dripped into the pot it reminded me of our fragility here on earth…of the seen and unseen forces that live among us, so why, then, aren’t we kinder to each other?  As we live in the grip of a polar vortex, an unseen force of nature, one that can snap power lines, cancel schools, and kill, why would we ever be so unkind to each other?  So, today, I ask you to be kinder to each other.  If you live in a cold snap area and know of an elderly person in your neighborhood, call or stop by to see if they need anything…that they’re warm enough…have enough food…enough medicine.  It seems to me if we address the fragility in our human nature by helping each other, we just might create a more tolerable climate.

Sincerely, JD


Dickens in the Doghouse

Hi, me!  Dickens!  Writing to you whilst Mom’s on the phone and I’m in my crate.

I’ve been put on a short leash (literally) since Christmas.  I’m not really certain what I did wrong, but Mom told me that my next move involved a short trip to the pound (or was that she was going to pound me shortly?  I forget.)

Mom came in from wherever it is she goes and placed a lovely white box on the table.  She didn’t notice the kitchen chair hadn’t been pushed under the table and, well, the box had such a beautiful ribbon on it that, well, I couldn’t resist.

Now the afternoon had been fairly quiet, but after my bathroom break, Mom would ask me what I’d gotten into because apparently I pooped out almonds  Whole almonds.  Never been digested almonds.

Originally she thought I gotten into the nuts under the beech tree, but it didn’t add up.  Then she thought she had purchased a bad bag of dog treats.  Nope.  She didn’t put things together at all.

It wasn’t until Christmas eve that Mom found her answer.  Now I’m pretty good at hiding things.  Really good.  (Mom’s still looking for that ball of yarn she bought last autumn.)  I guess with all the Christmas energy swirling around, I got distracted.

It seems I didn’t bury the ribbon in the sofa cushions deep enough and she followed the trail to the back of the sofa where she found the empty white box that once held the almond bark.  Wow!  Did the kibble it the fan!  Really!  She said something about seeing a vet (I don’t like that word).  Next she said something about taking me back where I came from.  (I didn’t know she knew my mother). She kept giving me that look that means more barking with her hands on her hips and more head shaking (hers not mine).

Now, I’m not permitted in the kitchen.  At. All.

Would I do it again?  In a tail’s wag, yes!  Except next time leave out the almonds.  They go right through me.

Happy New Year!

Merry Christmas To One and All!

Just a quick note tchristmas treeo wish everyone a Happy Christmas.  May today and always be joyous and love live and grow in your hearts.

Every Christmas contains gifts of every size and bulk (trust me, I’ve wrapped enough of them).  This year’s Christmas present didn’t come in a box or a bag or a bottle (there have been times leading up to the day that almost drove me to the bottle, but I digress).

This year’s gift came from the world of the unseen and morphed into the seen for me to enjoy and to learn.  My soul received the gift of wonder.  Everywhere I turned today there it popped up to say, “Hey, isn’t [insert visual here] terrific?” From taking a Christmas walk with Dickens to watching a baby enjoy her first Christmas (“Nice toy, may I please eat the gift wrap?”), I experienced wonder all around me.

I am blessed with fantastic friends and two eccentric animals.  All keep me on my toes.  All bring me a sense of wonder, not just today, but everyday.

And it doesn’t get better than that!

Merry Christmas!

Peace on earth (now, please!)

Gift Idea for the Gardener

If your inner gardener find him or herself depressed beyond words because the days of manure and soil have passed, here’s an indoor solution that’s sustainable and affordable:

Yessirree, if you’re stumped on what to get that gardener, take heart.  One shop flourescent shop light hanging from this light stand should warm the heart of any horticulturist.  Just add water.


A Note from Dickens


Mom’s off doing something in the house.  I did take a nap…a long nap.  Actually, with all the rain out there I decided to pretend to snooze so she didn’t insist I use the local fire hydrant.  Fat chance.

She roused me about twenty minutes ago, slapped my raincoat on me, and leash on out we went.  How I despise going out there when its raining ladies and gentlemen.  Fortunately, I didn’t have to do “the main event,” so I got a little wet. As I paw this, I’m kicking back in Mom’s recliner doing a little grooming.

Oh, oh, gotta run.  I think she found the shoe I had for dessert this morning.  How I love leather in morning!



Welcome to the New Blog

Hello, folks.

It appears I’m entering blog universe once again after a respite (well, actually, I’ve written my head off, but not blogging).

For those of you unfamiliar with my earlier blog, please go to  The previous site chronicles my life as a daughter/caregiver for both my parents until their deaths.  That 5-year period proved to be scary, precious, maddening, and a life changer.  I’ve sorted out what’s important to me after this experience.  My faith has grown exponentially.

In the past year I’ve found myself moving from the harsh helping that grief serves after death to taking small bites of life and savoring the good, discarding the unpalatable.  My latest bite involves a small part-time job at a yarn shop.  I’m teaching two classes presently and re-learning the retail trade. Don’t know how long the job might last, but I’m grateful to have found something that I love doing, sharing, and, truth be told, pays for Dickens’ (my dog) and Amelia’s (my cat) foods.

Speaking of the animals, they are still with me, thankfully.  Dickens has proven to my stabilizer.  When I get into a funk, he pulls me out of it by doing something ridiculous.  Right now he’s taking a snooze to recharge his batteries to run down mine.  He’s growing into a lovely, sweet dog.  We have a unique relationship, he tells me what he needs and I respond (I swear this guy read Pavlov’s laboratory notes).

My Amelia, in all her feline, feral charm, still fears life more than I do.  She’ll demand a treat and then run like crazy when I offer the treat to her.  She knows what she wants, but refuses to cross the trust threshold.  Someday, she will.

So, we’re back.  It’s good.  Pull up a chair, pour yourself a cuppa and stay awhile as I write about re-entering the world, a Cairn terrier with an attitude, a black cat with anxiety issues, and life in general – gently.  Thank you for stopping by. Come again, soon.