Sunday, January 31, 2010


So, that road? The one that's paved with good intentions? Mine is going to be so smooth. 'Cause I've got a lot of good intentions.

I intended to blog every night last week. Considering that I just started back blogging, I'm going to count three posts as a win.

I intended to write something for my short story/novel/whatever last week. I only wrote one night. They say practice makes the heart grow fonder of writing...or something like that.

My problem is that if my butt ever hits the sofa, that's it, I'm done. I'm too comfy, too tired. Also, Mr. Daddy and I have so little time together that I hate to seclude myself in our bedroom where the computer is while he's in the other room. We may both be watching television if we're in the living room together, but at least we're together and can chat. If I had a laptop that might makes things easier. I could sit on the sofa and write, you know.

Toby is adjusting well to the household. He is the sweetest dog I've ever seen. He hasn't barked yet! He whimpers when we have to put him in his crate when we leave the house, but I've never met a dog that doesn't bark. He's very calm, for a terrier, and he has a bit of melancholy about him. Oh, he'll wag his tail occasionally but his eyes are kind of sad and he looks at us kind of wistfully. The man we got him from seemed very nice (though I'm beginning to wonder if they told us anything true about this dog!), but I wonder what his life was like before he came here.

He sleeps in the bedroom with us every night and he makes an excellent roommate. He clearly prefers Mr. Daddy and camps out on the floor next to the bed on Mr. Daddy's side. Last night I awoke to a strange sound. At first I thought it was Mr. Daddy talking in his sleep. It was a kind of mumbling, talking sound. I strained to understand what he was saying when all of a sudden I heard Mr. Daddy snore. It wasn't Mr. Daddy talking in his sleep, it was TOBY! I would give anything to know what he was dreaming about!

Here are some pictures of our latest addition. And believe me, Bubba is much more excited about having Toby around than he looks in this picture.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Good Girl

We've had a lot going on around these parts in the months since I last blogged. One of the most recent, and unfortunately, the saddest, was the passing of our dog Sweetpea. Mr. Daddy and I got Sweetpea the first year we were married (twelve years ago) and in those pre-children days we did everything with her.

We took her on long walks, we took her to the park, we took her on rides in Mr. Daddy's truck. She had a good life. But she, like many dogs, was terrified of thunderstorms. Once, when we were living in Savannah, we came home from a night out during which there had been a horrific storm to find Sweetpea gone. We walked around our neighborhood calling her name. We drove around the larger neighborhood. We called Animal Control. We even called the police.

No Sweetpea.

As we walked into the house, devastated, we heard the tiniest bark.

Somehow, Sweetpea had managed to crawl under the house and wedge herself into the tiniest portion of the crawlspace. I was so thrilled and so pissed at the same time! Hadn't she heard us calling her.

But, as things often go, when the kids came along, Sweetpea didn't get the attention she used to. At least until the kids got old enough to start playing with her. In some part of her genetic makeup was some kind of herding dog and she used to love to trap the kids between the sofa and her body, herding them. But if we're being honest, things were never the same for her as they were in her heyday.

About three months ago, we noticed that she had lost a lot of weight. A LOT of weight. So we took her to the vet where she was diagnosed with diabetes. We began giving her insulin shots twice a day and she put some weight back on and she perked up a little, but we could tell she was getting old, fast.

And then one day, about three weeks ago, we realized she was blind. We think she could see a little, but her vision was definitely mostly gone. You could hold a treat right in front of her face and she wouldn't even know it was there until she smelled it.

And then one morning about two weeks ago, I walked out of the house and found her. She was gone. Mr. Daddy and I buried her in the backyard with her "soft squishy." Mr. Daddy created a headstone for her that said "Good Girl, Sweetpea." And oh, I cried. I cried for that sweet dog who loved us unconditionally.

For two weeks I looked for her in all her usual spots, running to greet my car as I drove up, looking through the windows of the kitchen as we sat down to dinner. Every time I threw away some scraps of bacon or a hotdog, I'd think "I should give this to Sweetpea," only to be reminded that she wasn't there.

This week we got a new dog, Toby. Some people might think it's a little soon, but I think that it's a testament to what a good dog Sweetpea was that I wanted to get another dog at all. She was a good dog and she will live in our family's hearts forever.

Monday, January 25, 2010


I have found that the times that I feel most alive -- and by alive I mean, happiest, most fulfilled, most satisfied with my here and now -- are the times that I am truly "in the moment." That feels a little "new-agey," "let's all chant together" to me to say that, but it's true.

Those times when I stop to notice the smell of the air, or that little bird hopping on the porch, or to truly pay attention to what my children are saying or doing instead of listening while I'm doing a thousand other things. Those are the times I'm talking about.

And of course, those moments apply to my husband, too. The man who, in the daily rush of life, probably gets ignored more than anyone else. And he's a good husband, too, so that makes it doubly unfair. I may complain about him sometimes, but he's a good one. a keeper. He changed his fair share of diapers, he helps out around the house. He does the things I don't want to do, like making sure the grass stays mowed and crawling underneath our house to replace the salt in our water filter.

But in the hustle and bustle of our daily lives, we are like friendly ships passing in the night, wanting to stop but not always able. A perfunctory kiss as he heads out the door with Punkin, but only if we're not wrangling our respective charges or haranguing someone to put down that DS and put on your socks. An occasional hug in the quiet house as he heads for the coffee maker, before the kids are awake.

But there are times when I truly see him too. Times when I watch him and he's not even aware and I marvel at him. I watch as he spreads his fingers wide to accommodate Punkin's little fingers as they hold hands. I watch him hold Bubba in his lap, Bubba who is almost too big for this sort of thing, as they stare in fascination at some science or space show on the television. I watch him stand up for something he believes in, even in the face of harsh criticism and I am proud of him.

In the introduction of Bird by Bird, Anne Lamott quotes "The Wild Rose" by Wendell Berry and it made me think of those moments.

Sometimes hidden from me
in daily custom and in trust,
so that I live by you unaware
as by the beating of my heart.

Suddenly you flare in my sight,
a wild rose blooming at the edge
of thicket, grace and light
where yesterday was only shade,

and once again I am blessed, choosing
again what I chose before.

I chose him. And I'm happy he chose me. Our road has not always been easy, but we've traveled it together and that counts for a lot.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

The Evolution of a Blog

So, here's the thing. I haven't written here in a while. And while I occasionally think about it, the longer I stay away the harder it's been to come back. I'm not sure why this is, but I've found the same is true of other things that I've neglected. The more guilty I feel about something, the harder it becomes for me to address whatever it is that I feel guilty about. Exercise, anyone? Counting Weight Watcher points?

I've been thinking a lot about why I started this blog and how I felt about it when I stopped. When I started I felt like I had a lot of stories to tell. I wanted to record the events of my life. I wanted to connect with other people online. I wanted to see if I could do what the bloggers that I loved were doing. And at first it was fun. I made some really great online friends -- many of whom I still consider to be my friend today, even though I've never met them in real life.

But then, for some reason, everything changed. I started to worry more about my comments than anything else. If people didn't comment on a post, or if not "enough" people commented, I took it really hard. Or if hardly anybody commented on what I thought was a great post (one that I'd worked hard on), but tons of people would comment on something I just tossed out there, I was wracked with doubt. What if I'd lost sight of what was "good."

And frankly, that thought still haunts me. What if nobody comments? What if I've lost all my readers?

But today I'm back because I'm trying something new. I'm writing. I mean I'm writing just to be writing. I'm reading the most amazing book about writing -- Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott. I'm barely two chapters into it and already I'm inspired. People have always told me I have a gift with writing, but whenever anyone says that I always discount their opinions. It makes me feel VERY uncomfortable whenever anyone compliments my writing. I have no idea if it's good or not (and this is not a ploy for compliments), but I've decided to try to write something. I don't know if it will be a novel, a memoir, or a short story. But it's going to be something.

And I'm going to write here. I've missed it. I hope you'll join me. But if you don't I'm going to try not to take it to heart.