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Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Photo With Santa!

My friend Peggy at PetSmart in Buckhead where Snap-2IT was taking photos with Santa. Peggy is very special as she has a non-profit shelter for dogs in Monticello, Georgia, Atlanta Canine Adoption Project.

My last two dogs came from Peggy on New Year's Eve and the following week.

Silly Rascal was my New Year's Date. Peggy delivered her to my doorstep on New Year's Eve Day. Then a week later I adopted Miss April In Paris. The two gals love to kiss on each other since they have been able to stay together!

Merry Christmas Peggy! Keep up the good work! Just remember, my house is full.

I think I'll forward this link to her now! A snuggly dog makes a great date for New Year's Eve. I always say better to kiss a dog than a dog of a date!

Monday, December 20, 2010

Feeding your Pet Like a Human = Risk of Poisoning by Guest Blogger Julee Russo

But Mommy, that food looks so good. Slurp! I'd like a tasty sample.  WRONG!

A perfect article at Christmas time when we tend to overlook our usual dog feeding habits.

Bella: Follow Her And Julee Russo on Twitter at jbarkrusso!
Our quest blogger tonight is Julee Russo, who I met through my friend Eliza, publisher of the SilverAndGrace Newsletter for women, in Canada!

Julee's short bio gets right to the chase. A gal after my own heart! Julee writes, A dog lover who focuses on living life and savoring every moment without messing up the next :)

Let's see what dangers are lurking around tempting our furry friends:

In Julee's words:

As pet owners we all love our pets. We dress them up in cute outfits, name them after our favorite celebrity or TV character and even treat them as if they were our own children. It’s inevitable that people get attached to their animal and treat it as if it’s part of the family. This means feeding your pet human food, many foods are healthy for our pets (cottage cheese/yogurt) but Pet poisoning is a serious risk without the right knowledge.

Here are some human foods that are bad for your furry friends.

1. Chocolate and Caffeine
While we all love a nice cup of coffee or some amazing chocolate, it’s actually dangerous for pets. Eating too much of this can be toxic, causing your pet to vomit, have diarrhea, start panting and experience intense thirst. Dark chocolate is actually worse for your pet than milk chocolate. But it’s best to stay away from chocolate and caffeine altogether.

2. Alcohol
It should be a given not to give animals alcohol. But be aware that there are quite a bit of foods that contain alcohol. If your pet consumes this, it will experience some vomiting, diarrhea, trouble breathing and can slip into a coma or even die.

3. Macadamia Nuts & Walnuts
These nuts can be found in stores, salads, cookies, and candies. These nuts are considered to be pretty harmful to your pets. The nuts can make your dog weak, can cause vomiting and possibly tremors and hypothermia.

4. Grapes
The exact ingredient that’s bad for your animal is unknown. It is a fact, though, that grapes can cause kidney failure in animals.

5. Raw Meat and Eggs
Salmonella and E. coli can be found in raw meat and eggs. This is very harmful to your pets. Eating raw eggs causes your pet’s skin and coat to have multiple issues. On top of these items, raw bones can be really dangerous for your pet if swallowed. Bone consumption can cause him or her to die or have severe injuries if it damages the bone splinter or gets stuck in the digestive tract.

6. Xylitol
Xylitol is mostly found in gum, toothpaste and candy. Too much consumption can cause your pet to experience live failure from the amount of insulin in Xylitol. Having too much insulin can cause your pet to have low sugar levels, resulting in seizures.

7. Onions and Garlic
Garlic isn’t just bad for vampires--it’s also bad for your pets. Garlic and onions are more dangerous for dogs than cats, if your animal eats a lot of it. Having small amounts won’t be too toxic for your pet, but don’t give them significant portions.

8. Salt
If your pet eats too much salt, they can experience a lot of thirst and urination. The sodium ion can even be poisonous for your pets. If your pet begins to vomit, have diarrhea, seizures or tremors, your pet may have had too much salt. It’s important to take them to a vet because ignoring it could lead to death.

While it’s always fun to dress pets in clothes and treat them as part of the family, it’s important to keep something in mind. They’re animals. Animals might be able to wear clothing like humans, but they can’t eat all our foods.

Thanks Julee for some great information so we can keep our loved pets safe this holiday! Look for more infor from Julee in our future issues.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

An Award From Psychology Degree Online Schools

Dogs Are The Sunshine Of My Life

I went through my e-mails deleting old messages and realized I had missed this particular one. My blog was awarded a badge as an essential resource for widows by Psychology Degree, an online web that helps people decide on careers in psychology. I was added to their list of blogs for widows/widowers.

I then came back and looked at my blog and had to smile. So many dog faces staring back at me! But then love is a great healing tool and dogs give unconditional love. I have that times six with my silly pack of hounds.

I do have an odd little blog on being a widow. But I think that my love of dogs, my heart open to life around me and my faith to move forward is certainly sprawled all over these posts. The same energy can be found in my book, The Unfaithful Widow! You can check it out on my web

Thank you, Psychology Degree for including me. Maybe someone will link to my blog that needs a warm hug and a sweet kiss and will be inspired to go to their local shelter to adopt a dog. As much as we are lost when a loved one is gone, there are lost dogs that can help mend a broken heart.

I am honored to be included in your list! Thank you!

Saturday, December 18, 2010

My First Attempt At Making A YouTube Video With My New Flip Camera

It's raining cats and dogs and the dogs are nestled in their quilts. I just opened my new flip camera and did a test run with my dogs. They were totally unimpressed. When I get this down to a science get ready for some dog stars to emerge!

Friday, December 3, 2010

The Rich Rewards Of Fostering Dogs, Patti Foy, Part 2 of 2

Tonight we finish our discussion with Patti Foy on how to foster a dog. (Part one can be seen right below this post). Patti's information on fostering a dog is great.

I am not sure how many people think of going this route, but it is a wonderful way to help a dog in need, while you open your heart to the love of an animal who will have a real life again because of you.)

Thanks Patti for the time you took to share this information with all of us! Barbara

The Least You Need to Know

There's a lot of skill and knowledge you can develop as you gain experience with fostering, and that will come with time. But really it's pretty straight-forward. At the very least, here's what I suggest:

You are agreeing to provide a safe environment with food, shelter, exercise, and some amount of socializing, so make sure you can do that. It's important that you and your family are all in agreement on this.

Mostly though? They just need lots of love.

It's not required but it does help if you already have some experience with dogs.

Also, an eagerness to learn more about them and how to work with them is a big plus. This makes it a much richer experience for everyone involved.

The shelter will help you find a good fit between your situation and the right dog.

There are lots of things to consider when making a match, but for example, you don't want a puppy if you can't be up during the night sometimes. You don't want a dog that intimidates you or is known to be unpredictable if you are not an experienced dog handler. Use your common sense to make sure you are not putting yourself or your family -- or the dog, for that matter -- in harm's way.

Note that some shelters provide more assistance and training than others.

The reality is, most rescue groups and many shelters are run by volunteers. They are overworked and not always as organized as they would like. You may or may not get much help from them about what to expect or how to handle tricky situations. This isn't ideal, but it's sometimes the reality.

Still, they are your first resource and if nothing else they can help you get answers and guidance.

If You Want to Know More

Information's pretty easy to come by nowadays with the internet so accessible. Here are a few of the better websites I found that provide great information if you want to look into being a foster parent.

Informative article on what's required, what to expect, and how to find a dog to foster. Includes videos!

How to successfully foster dogs and puppies - This is a helpful article about some of the details, with 5 links to similar articles at the bottom.

Short article with some good tips about finding a rescue group or shelter to foster for, preparing to foster, and then working with that organization.

Comprehensive Foster Dog Manual (PDF) from the Seattle Animal Shelter. 49 excellent pages. It's specific to the Seattle shelter but most of it can be applied anywhere.

And don't forget to ask your local shelter for information too. The bigger ones, especially, can be a wealth of information.

Begin Where You Are

So as you see, there's actually a lot you can know about fostering, but the good news is you don't have to know it all to begin.

Fostering is a lot like life in that it's a process of discovery. You may be more talented at helping dogs than you imagine, even if you have no experience. Just as with anything, we start with small steps and learn as we go.

If you have even an inkling you might like to do this, there's no reason at all not to proceed and see if you can find a good match. And if you are able to give it a try, I just know you'll be glad you did.

If you have any fostering stories, we'd all love to hear them. Or do you have questions? Tips or pointers? Please do share!

BIO: Patti Foy is a blogger at where she writes about discovering our true selves and shining our light, along with offering her services that can help us do that. She lives a simple, natural life in the high desert of New Mexico with her husband and two dogs, where she enjoys writing and being connected to nature and animals.

On a personal note; my favorite rescue is Animal Action Rescue Atlanta, they have a great selection of dogs and are always looking for foster 'moms".

 Fostering may be just the anwer you've been looking for. Do a great dead, give a great dog a home!


Thursday, December 2, 2010

The Rich Rewards of Fostering Dogs: Patti Foy Part 1 of 2

 Part 1 of 2: Come back tomorrow and visit with Patti!
Patti Foy, Author
 Patti Foy is a blogger at Light Spirited Being where she writes about discovering our true selves and shining our light, along with offering her services that can help us do that. She lives a simple, natural life in the high desert of New Mexico with her husband and two dogs, where she enjoys writing and being connected to nature and animals.

I asked Patti to talk about fostering dogs. I am a keeper type, if a dog comes in my house it stays. But fostering dogs is a wonderful way to share your love and help a dog find its forever home. Read below and see if fostering might be just the ticket for you! Barbara

The Rich Rewards Of Fostering Dogs (Part 1 of 2)

Are you aware that just around the corner from you are a zillion little opportunities to enrich your life? Okay, maybe not a zillion. But however many dogs are in your neighborhood shelter? That many.

My life, for one, has been deeply enriched by the wonderful experience of fostering rescue dogs.

Seven years ago, we unexpectedly lost our 6-year old lab to cancer. We were all so sad, our remaining dog included. My husband and I knew we would want another dog at some point, yet we weren't ready to even consider adopting so soon. Our pain was still raw and we needed more time.

I was almost sick with grief, and as it turned out, fostering proved to be a most potent medicine. It gave me a deep sense of purposefulness along with spontaneous bursts of joy and laughter, which I needed then, almost as much as I needed air. And although it did have its challenges, I'm positive it played a significant role in my ultimate healing.

I'd been involved with a local rescue group, which I had helped found, and as luck would have it, they called one day to see if we might be able to foster a pup for them. We'd never fostered before and weren't so sure how it would work out, but after some thought, we decided to give it a try.
Kelsey, our first foster

And from that point on, we were hooked.

We spent that whole next year fostering dogs, about 10 in all. One of them was one we found ourselves, abandoned and terrified. (We live in a remote rural area where people from the city bring dogs to dump them.) She was a young black and white pointer with pink markings around her nose, whom we called Rosie. She was the sweetest thing, and so exhausted that first day that she kept falling asleep even while standing up.


The only reason we stopped fostering is because we finally adopted another dog (a 4-year old lab mix, from the shelter) and no longer had the extra space to do a foster dog justice.

But I often think that when the powers that be are smiling upon me just right, I will be blessed enough to get to foster again.

The Rewards of Fostering

It was my experience that the entire fostering process was rewarding and the dogs themselves were such a joy. Here are just a few of the rewards you can expect:

You're likely saving the dog's life. This is extremely satisfying.
If dogs aren't socialized and able to fit seamlessly into a family, they just don't get adopted (or they get returned to the shelter) and are too commonly euthenized. You provide that priceless TLC that helps them adapt to a new home.       
You get to help that dog be happy for awhile.
Most of the dogs in shelters are traumatized. Any bits of love you have to spare are not only appreciated but returned ten-fold.
You get to experience that dog's unique personality.
This is just plain fun. They're such characters and enormously uplifting.
Your heart will be opened.
It just happens -- guaranteed. And when you have an open heart, you can love more deeply and more fully. And not just the dog, but everyone and anyone in your life, even yourself. It helps your natural kindness and compassion blossom, and it feels wonderful!
It's healing, for you and the dog.         
I think the benefits to the dog go without saying. But like with me, if you or a family member have been through something that's left you broken, the fostering experience can go a long way toward helping you feel whole again.
You are helping train the dog and that helps in its placement.
Even though a lot of training is straightforward, the dog has a much better chance of being adopted and to a wider range of adopters if it's already trained at least in the basics such as being house-broken, staying put through the night, not pulling on the leash, etc.
You get to know the dog and your input helps in finding a matching home. 
Knowing what the dog's capable of as well as its personality is a surprisingly big help in matching it to the right owner(s) and helping guarantee they will keep it.
You get to see the dog go to a permanent home.
It may take a little while but invariably that dog will get adopted. It's a red letter day and you will barely be able to keep your feet on the ground. A happy day, all around.
It's temporary. 
Unlike adopting, it doesn't require a 10-25 year long commitment. It's usually anywhere from a week to a few months, sometimes longer. And then if you want another, there's no shortage.
The Challenges of Fostering

I personally think the rewards far outweigh the challenges, but it helps to know ahead of time that it's not a complete cake-walk. Here are a few things to be aware of.

You need to make a commitment and work through issues.
These dogs need as little disruption as possible, so you want to foster one you know you can keep until it's placed. Work with the shelter to find a good match for you.

It can be disruptive and time-consuming.
Even at its best, fostering's going to make a few waves in your typical daily schedule. It's very satisfying but it does require some adjustment.

Sometimes foster dogs need to be taken to the vet, and they almost always need training of some sort. Even when the dog is healthy, well-behaved, and non-demanding, you'll still want to spend quite a bit of time with them.

There's a chance that some of your things may get damaged.
Usually dogs learn amazingly quickly and you'll both benefit by whatever training you can provide. In the meantime, though, it's common for something or another to get damaged. Chewed hoses, dug up flower beds, pee'd upon carpets.

In most of my cases, there was none of this, but it's always best to expect it might happen.

There may be issues between/among "family members".
You do what you can up-front to make sure everyone will get along (people and other pets included) but every now and then there's a surprise. This is why everyone needs to be on board ahead of time. Be prepared to get creative.

It's temporary.
This is listed under the positives too, but it's a double-edged sword. Letting go can sometimes be hard. Still, it's a bittersweet sorrow, and so worth it.

Come back tomorrow eve for Part 2 of Patti's article!

Monday, November 22, 2010

Doughnuts For Thanksgiving? Krispy Kreme In Atlanta.

An early 1900's postcard with a girl eating doughnuts for Thanksgiving. Do you suppose they were Krispy Kremes?

I came across this old postcard tonight and had a laugh. Who puts doughnuts on Thanksgiving cards? What was on the mind of this artist so many years ago? But looking at that plate of doughnuts put something on my mind alrighty. Krispy Kreme doughnuts.

A little doughnut history.

The founder, Vernon Rudolph, worked for his uncle who purchased a secret recipe for yeast-raised doughnuts with a glazed coating, and a shop on Broad Street in Paducah, Kentucky, from Joseph LeBeouf of Lake Charles, Louisiana. Rudolph began selling yeast doughtnuts in Paducah and delviered them on his bike. The other family members joined in to meet the customer demand when the operations was moved to Nashville, Tennessee. The first store in the nation with the Krispy Kreme name opened on Charlotte Pike in 1933.

A visit to the Krispy Kreme web is a mouth watering treat. 

In Atlanta, visit Krispy Kreme at 295 Ponce De Leon Ave NE. When their "Hot Doughnuts" sign is lit - stop and pull in for a box of mouth watering glazed delights that melt in your mouth. One is never enough, two is good, three is better, and then who can stop?

I think I'll skip the pumpkin pie this year. I'm thinking Krispy Kreme, thanks to a post card of a lady eating doughnuts, on a Thanksgiving so long ago.

Wishing You  A Thanksgiving That Is Warm And Full Of Love.

Widow Lesson Learned:  When eating doughnuts it is sometimes best to do it alone. It is hard to explain how a dozen disappeared so quickly.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Meet Hank - And Welcome Guest Blogger Beverly Olsen

Beverly and friend
Beverly Olsen is a writer on Skirt's online magazine and a volunteer at a  no-kill shelter, Our Pal's Place, in Marietta, Georgia. I've borrowed her post from Skirt and reprinted it here.

Hank, a grand old dog that could use a home, speaks in her post. Beware there is talk about putting dogs down, but good news on changes in the law.

My name is Hank. I’m an overweight, middle-aged guy; but, the ladies say I have soulful eyes. I want to tell you about my current home. The house I live in at the moment is an old ranch that’s not in the best shape. I don’t mind, though because my space is under a great air conditioner and I have a comfortable bed. I get fed twice a day and get to go outside four times a day. It’s a pretty good set-up. The people who care for me are great! They really care about me and the others who live here. Our medical needs are taken care of and we are well fed. This place is meant to be a way- station, a layover, on the way to a new life for each of us.

The director of the facility where I live gives her heart and soul to this place everyday. It’s something called a 501-3C, which means that none of the great volunteers that work here make any money. They care for us because they love us. The director is the kindest, hardest working woman that I have ever known. She literally saved my life more than once! She saves multiple lives every month.

I asked a friend of mine to write this for me. Times have been tough this year since all the home foreclosures and we are busting at the seams here at Our Pal’s Place. The house is an old 1950’s ranch that could really use an “extreme home makeover.” It needs new plumbing, wiring and HVAC (whatever that is-my benefactor told me to put that in here). Last year there was a plumbing leak that got alot of the support beams wet and pretty well rusted out the central A/C. We stay cool with small window air conditioners. They are duct taped into the old windows which themselves are falling apart.

Now I’m not complaining because if I wasn’t here, I would be dead. That’s right DRT (Dead Right There). I would have met my fate with the gas chamber about 3 years ago. I know what you’re thinking, “What gas chambers? The United States doesn’t use gas chambers for execution. That was the Nazis in Germany.”

Well, guess what my kind have been murdered in your state for years in this brutal fashion. This year something wonderful happened. Georgia Governor Sonny Perdue has announced that he has signed HB 788 into law! This means by January 1, 2011, no county or city in the state can use carbon monoxide gas chambers to kill shelter animals.

Yep, I’m a dog or canine citizen as I prefer to be called. Here’s my latest photo!


I want to personally invite you to come visit me. I won’t lie, I am asking for your help. My dream is to raise enough money to build a new facility, so that we can save even more lives and expand our education program. We are in a great location and have enough land to expand. We need someone who has the financial resources to donate or to help in a major fundraising effort. If my little story has sparked your interest, please contact my human friend Beverly Olsen at
Thanks, Hank


Saturday, November 6, 2010

Saturday Night Rumble!

SmackDown Superstars!

Are you ready?

How can we rumble? Everyone but me is sleeping.

Psst. I've got an idea.

The crowd starts to liven up

Well, a smackdown of sorts

Widow Lesson Learned: Sometimes your Saturday nights are quieter than expected. But it's always a party with a pack of dogs a snuggling.

Who has the popcorn?

Friday, October 29, 2010

Happy Halloween On The Romantic Side

Sharing with you some vintage early 1900's Halloween postcards. I love the idea that you can look in the mirror and see your true love!
He Is Your Fate
Who's Face You've Seen
In The Mirror's Face
On Halloween

Happy Halloween!

Widow Lesson Learned: I think it was easier to find a man in the mirror in Victorian times than it is to find one online today.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Book Review "I'll Always Love You"

During an interview when I was on tour with WOW, Women On Writing, I was asked what book influenced me most as a child. Well, my mind went blank, a senior moment perhaps.( Dear Heavens, am I really using that phrase?). I don't remember books from my childhood, but I do remember a childrens' book from my adult life that I love to this day!

"I'll Always Love You" by Hans Wilhelm. This charming, sweet book was published in 1988, by Dragonfly books, and can be purchased on Amazon online.

The story is a simple one. Elfie, a dachshund, and her young boy progress happily through life together. As a young pup, Elfie is full of pep and pranks; but as her master grows taller and taller, Elfie grows fatter and slower. One morning Elfie does not wake up. The family grieves and buries her, and the boy refuses a new puppy. He is not yet ready for another pet; but when he is, he will tell that one, as he told Elsie every night, "I'll always love you."  (Amazon review).

The naive watercolor illustrations add to the feel of this dear book. It is one of the best books I have read on dealing with the loss of a pet and the lesson learned is one, that as adults, is a good one to remember. Tell those you love that you love them every day.

Written for ages four to eight, it is a book that every adult, who has ever loved and lost a pet, will treasure.

I tell my dogs every day I love them. I tell that to my friends and family too. It amazes me that a book written for a small child can have so much impact on my life as an adult!

A perfect little holiday gift to show those you love, that you love them!

I have to add my own two cents worth here. When your pet leaves you, remember there are dogs that are grieveing for a forever home. Don't wait before you find another true love. We can't replace those dogs we love, but we can love a dog that is lost and needs love. There is no better feeling than to open our hearts to animals in need.

Check with my favorite rescue group, Animal Action Rescue, to see dogs that need your love.

Widow Lesson Learned: Sometimes a childens' book can point an adult in the right direction on how to deal with life. 'I'll always love you,' Foxy, Bray, Annabelle, Chloe, Rascal, Bray, and mother, and all my dear friends.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

When A Dog Has More Style Than You, Or Finding Your Inner Beauty

Miss April In Paris, A Vision Of Style

That is Miss April In Paris. My rescue dog turned Diva. She has her own blog where she talks about visiting the city of lights. She has been a lazy Diva these last months and her diary has fallen behind, although her dreams are still large.

She looks better in hats than I do.

How sad is that?

Perhaps it is even sadder she wears a hat and I don't.

I am uncomfortable with anything sitting on my head. Yet, when April had this lovely, vintage, pink, rose chapeau placed on her head for a round of dog photos I was doing at Easter, she transformed from the shy dog that fell on her side to the ground, cowering, as I walked into the room, to a Diva. She was the latest rescue dog to come to my house. Number six. She had been here only a few months and had not found her place in the pack yet.

Suddenly wearing that hat, she had attitude. April did not seem a fitting enough name for her now. April was her name from the shelter. A fine name, but now plain for this Diva.

I looked at her and smiled. I put my hands on her face, bent down to kiss her nose and whispered into her ear, "I shall call you Miss April In Paris because you are so lovely."

She has transformed from a shy, panic stricken dog, to a dog full of confidence. She holds her own with the pack now. On any given day she comes up to kiss me right on the mouth. A bold move for a dog that was so timid.

I am amazed. The placement of that hat done without thought on my part, made such a difference for a shy dog.

Am I being silly? Maybe. Perhaps. But it is a true story.

Sometimes the smallest gesture can bring out inner beauty. If a dog's attitude can change with the placement of a vintage hat, during that moment something out of the normal is done, what do you think something out of the normal will do for you?

I like to open up to the possibilites of what if, even if they are silly and make you laugh. A big smile brings out more beauty than any other thing you can wear!

Originally posted on September 25, 2010, a few minor changes here.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

When A Man Loves A Woman - A Favorite Percy Sledge Song

In this case it's more like when your male dog loves a doll! I came across these old photos of my late dog Jake, that ninety-five pound dog that showed up in my yard and ruled my life for twelve years. He passed away in April 2009 and started me on my hunt for rescue dogs to fill my heart. His was a good death. I did not have to make the choice to put him down. Although he had no use of his hind legs for months following the death of my husband, he had a spirit that loved every moment he was here. Even when he couldn't walk and I lifted him with a rear end sling he was smiling. He loved the attention and he loved food. Love and food, two good reasons to smile. And this dog could smile. He left me when he was ready. You can read about Jake in my book, The Unfaithful Widow!

Selling on Ebay for years, both my dogs, Foxy and Jake, were used to being photographed for my bio page (ME page) on Ebay. I slipped a little vintage handmade Raggedy Ann doll by Jake one day, and I think they fell in love.

Back in 1988 I started a newsletter, RAGS, on collecting Raggedy Ann dolls. Owned and published it for thirteen years. I sold it to a newspaper owner in Arcola, the birthplace of Johnny Gruelle, the creator of Raggedy Ann and Andy. It is now called Rags Magazine and if you love Raggedy Ann click here and check it out.

These photos brought back so many memories. Made me think of that old song by Percy Sledge and I am humming it as I post, but I think I'm singing when a dog loves a doll.

Old Jake sure loved this doll.

Widow Lesson Learned: Love knows no boundaries!

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Dreams Can Come True

I've always dreamed about owning a Harlequin Great Dane. Lucky for me that dream did not come true. But, even better, I have six wonderful dogs. I wonder if I added up all their weights if they would total what a Great Dane weighs? Never mind, I can't count that high on my fingers.

This month finds me following my writing dreams. I am working on my new book: Covered In Fur: Life With Dogs and I am going to start an online magazine on dogs. Pretty outrageous for the gal who doesn't know how to do a print ready PDF. But I have some great helpers!

Trying to find a new Print On Demand Company made me a little crazy. I wanted to try something new for my dog book, something a little easier and lots of fun. I found CreateSpace, an Amazon Company. I have already started the process and am working hard on the book of my dreams. You know how much I love dogs and this book will be a great gift item and a tool for helping my favorite animal rescue groups. I am wagging my tail doing something this fun.

While checking on how to get my book in the works I found a great company ePaperFlip that converts your PDF to an online magazine where you flip pages. I hope to have my magazine online and ready to read, hmm, flip through, by December lst.  I'll keep you posted on this one. A big challenge for the technically challenged.

I like to dream big. The worst that can happen is that I learn something new. My brain spins at night thinking of things I want to create. It does leave me tired in the mornings, but then I have the dogs to get me out of bed!

Pay attention to your dreams - God's angels often speak directly to our hearts when we are asleep. ~Quoted in The Angels' Little Instruction Book by Eileen Elias Freeman, 1994

Sleep tight! Tomorrow is another day for something great to happen!

Widow Lesson Learned: It is better to dream of great things and work hard to see what happens then to sit on your butt and eat potato chips. However, I have found that eating chips while you sit and dream is totally acceptable.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Dancing Merengue Dog! Move Over Usher, I'm In Love

Just when I thought Usher had all the moves I like in dancing, a book publishing/writer friend, Michael Marcus (his blog Book Making) sent me this YouTube video on the Dancing Merengue Dog. If you haven't seen it yet, you gotta watch this. ( Direct Link to it in case you want to share with your friends!). Or watch it below.

I love this dog, but I love a man who can teach a dog to dance like this. Where are you, Oh So Mr. Right? (I'm stealing that phrase from my friend Eliza from Silver & Grace who uses that one for her man!)

The most enchanting few moments you'll watch. I can never go back to Dancing With The Stars, not when I've seen the Dancing Merengue Dog!

Widow Lesson Learned: OMG, Dancing Merengue Dog. Never to late to teach an old dog new tricks. I'm putting on my dancing shoes!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Happy As A Bird With A French Fry

Had a shopping moment. I've been working hard on marketing my book and suddenly I decided I wanted something different for the day. Something to make me happy, happier than I was, since working on my book keeps me feeling groovy (oh, am I showing my age with that word?)For me, that is either adopting dogs or buying turquoise jewelry. The house is full of dogs (yes, all my friends and family say amen to that) but I still have some room in my jewelry box. I went to a favorite website  Etsy to look for my old stand by, vintage turquoise bracelets.

As I was browsing the shops, I came across this little poster and loved it. How can you not smile reading it and how can you not want to be that happy little bird?

copyright Studio Mela

That little poster haulted my searching for turquoise, just for the moment. I contacted Shelli of Studio Mela on Etsy and asked if I could share her work with you. All her limited edition posters are so awe inspiring. Simple little sayings for a sweetly charmed life. Go check out her shop on Etsy and then check out her web page Lovely Little Life.  This is a gal after my own heart. Living life in positivity (a Shelli quote). Shelli lives her lovely life in Lake Minnetonka, Minnesota.

copyright Studio Mela

I know what makes me happy, but I am throwing that question out to you. What makes you as happy as a bird with a french fry?

Widow Lesson Learned: (But I knew this one already) It is the simple things in life that make life worthwhile. A little birdie told me this.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

How Many Bras Does It Take To Make You Secure?

Recently the topic of bras has come up in my conversations. Two events prompted this.

First, my book. The story about my rescue dog stealing my only bra raised eyebrows. What, only one bra? Sadly, I had to admit it was true. At the time I only owned one. And my dog grabbed it as I was trying to dress for work. I did snatch it out of Bray's loving mouth, shook it out, then slipped it on. I was late for work and my excuse that my dog stole my bra did not impress my boss at the gift shop. However, it did make her snort.

A very reserved friend of mine finally read my book and I was worried what she might think about my dating stories. We knew each other well from the antique world, but she was not privy to my private life. And there in my book was everything I had done in the year following my husband's death.

She called me after she finished it. "I loved it. Just one thing shocked me."

I hunkered down worried what had stood out the most to surprise her.  "I almost hate to ask, what?"

"I can't believe you only own one bra!"

I laughed and then decided it was time to go shopping for another bra, maybe two.

Remember, I am the gal that shops at thrift stores, so an adventure to the mall was not my style. But I needed a plan of action. I called a good friend. "Want to go with me to find some bras?"

"I am so relieved you are buying a new bra." She did sound relieved. "I was afraid you were going to shop at the thrift store for one."

I spent $93 that day on two bras. It broke my heart. I wanted to wear the pretty lace one on the outside of my $4.49 designer blouse from The Last Chance Thrift Shop that I had bought the week before. Sad to spend more money on my undergarments than the smokin' hot top I got for nothing.

I thought I had the bra issue under control. I actually walked around straighter with my chest puffed out a bit. A crew from the county was trimming tree limbs in front of my house. I stood tall and sashayed down the driveway to pick up my mail and turned to eye a handsome male perched high in the truck.

"Morning." I smiled at him. I threw my shoulders back and proceeded to walk back up towards the house.

I heard a large limb crash to the ground and knew my bra was worth every dollar I'd paid for it. And to think, I still have another in my dresser.

The second time? If only I had my mind on walking on June 29th when I dashed into my kitchen and slid on the floor, dislocating my shoulder and tearing my rotator cuff. Suddenly the world of bras had a different meaning to me. I didn't feel sassy, I was desperate. How was I going to get on a bra wearing a sling?

So began my journey to find a front closure bra. Back to the mall where I only found one. It was made to hold up a battleship. Never saw so many clasps.I would have passed out trying to fasten them all. It was huge! I may have been in a sling, but I wanted my sexy back.

Next, I went online and found a front closure bra I could live with, maybe. Not so sexy, but I was sure it would be easier work with. I missed the boat on that one too. The straps and body were one piece and there was no give to stretch across my back. I got rid of it quickly. The next person who shops for a bra at Goodwill may just find mine, brand new with tags for 99 cents.

I finally pulled out a sexy, lacy, low cut underwire bra I had tucked away during my bra splurge earlier. I eased out of my sling, as I have to do to dress. I flipped the bra over, pulled it around my back til I could fasten the three hooks in front, then pulled it back around to the front. All with one hand! Slowly I slipped in my right arm and then the left arm, careful not to jostle my shoulder. Everything fell into place and with a tug of the right hand I was secure. I looked down and actually grinned. I looked hot in that bra.

I slipped on my shirt (one of many I had to purchase that buttoned down the front) and headed to the doctor for my first check-up after surgery. I decided that sometimes sexy works better.  The lower cuts on this bra made it so much easier to get in and I liked the fact a little lace peaked back at my doctor as he gently removed my stitches.

I love my new bras and, while I still have to do the backwards twirl to get myself dressed, I am working it well. I have extras if my dog steals one and my friends no longer lecture me on bra ownership! If only I had known this earlier.

Widow Lesson Learned:  Bras can lift your spirits as well as your.....well, never mind.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Lately I've Been Thinking About Shoes

Or This?

I've been watching more TV than usual since my rotator cuff surgery. I lean back on the sofa, my big black sling rising like a phoenix from my side, a can of soda within reach, my little Chloe curled on my lap, five other dogs stretched over chairs and my feet propped up on a foot stool. I look at my feet and there are my cozy black canvas Mary Jane shoes tapping against each other.

I am bored watching yet another show. But I am resting my shoulder, arm and back since I have actually been out shopping and am in some discomfort from all the movement earlier in the day. I am not on pain meds, which may be why the current show I am watching is painful.

I am on the E network, where yet another young star is prancing down the red carpet in tall heels. You know those sexy, spike heels that are called *whoops* F/ME shoes. I haven't worn heels of any height in 15 years. Day after day they parade by in shoes that are so high I tremble they may trip and fall. How does anyone balance on those spikes?

I am watching the TV over my own pitiful, flat, comfy Mary Janes that are propped up on a footstool directly in my vision as I am slumped down on the couch. (Note: since slipping in the kitchen in my bare feet I  wear shoes at all times).

Now, not only my sling is making me feel sexless, I am worried my favorite shoes are dated or, perhaps, just leaving me dateless.

I love Mary Janes. That is all I wear most all the time. Canvas for casual, black for business, and silver for evening. I do wear flat ankle boots in winter. But still no heels.

Is there a man alive who will consider me hot in my Mary Janes? Then I think, is there a man alive who could make me want to wear heels? My answer, no. That may be why I sit at home with six dogs.

I think style can be expressed in many ways. Mine is casual, funky, a little cowgirl in the winter. I am never as cute dressed in my clothes as I feel. But it is how I feel that I like when I am dressed in things I love.

I shop at thrift stores and buy designer coats for $10. Perfect. I find long skirts, frilly T's, and vintage hip length jackets to wear over jeans for dress up. I bought a Coach bag for $16.

I love to layer jewelry, both vintage and newly made artist pieces. I am eagerly awaiting my Silver And Grace necklace from Eliza's Fire Collection called Heartbeat. A red gem that will accent layers of chunky turquoise necklaces.

No one will care what I wear that day, my jewelry will bedazzle them. My flat Mary Janes will keep me grounded under the weight of my jewelry. Bet I would topple over in spike heels and, well, tear my other rotator cuff. So Mary Janes seem appropriate yet again.

Another plus, not related to fashion -  I don't mind short men.

I do have a fantasy. I am in a flirty skirt, my legs are flawless, my heels shameless and men are dropping like flies when I walk pass them on the street. I step over each man carefully so I won't accidently pierce him with my spikes.

I think this reoccurring dream comes from a song I love by Kristy MacColl, In These Shoes. It was the song in the end credits for the movie Kinky Boots.

Widow Lesson Learned: It is better to walk tall in flats than to fall flat on your face trying to be something you are not.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Sybil After Surgery - Donate To AAR And Get Your Angel Wings

Sybil relaxing after surgery. Oh my, what a sweet girl.

An update from Debra at Animal Action Rescue:
Sybil's surgery took place Tuesday, August 3 at Northlake Veterinary Surgery. When I took her in and met with Dr. Greenwood the reality of the seriousness and risks of open heart surgery hit my like a ton of bricks. They have never seen me cry, but I was terrified. This sweet, loving little girl had totally won my heart, no pun intended. NVS is an awesome group and supplied me with hugs and tissues and suggested an early happy hour since I had a designated driver with me. They kept me updated throughout the day and I finally got the call that she survived. I picked her up and took her to our emergency vet (AECD) for observation that night. This little girl is a trooper and is doing great and recovering well at our vet, The Village Vets of Decatur! She is alert, eating well and gets very excited when she has a visitor. She is a staff favorite and they say it was a pleasure to take care of her because of her gentle and sweet nature. She will be seeing Dr. Greenwood tomorrow (Friday) and if he gives the ok, Sybil will be going to her foster home that evening. I can't tell you how much I appreciate the generous donations provided that saved Sybil's life. She is going to be a wonderful companion and family member when she is ready for her forever home, I only wish it would be with me. Unfortunately, I have too many "forever" foster dogs to provide her the life she so deserves!

My update:

Sybil is just one of many incredible dog stories from Animal Action Rescue. This group is dear to my heart as you know. My book signing and silent auction was dedicated to them. 100% of every penny that came in went directly to AAR. 

My book sales through August 20th will still go to AAR as mentioned in my previous post. (So far no one has taken me up on my offer, but Deb and gang I am still pitching for you.) Sybil has had her surgery but there is work to be done. So many dogs need care and homes.

Meet some of the AAR group in the photo from my book signing:

It is not to late to donate. You can still help another dog. Link to AAR Donate and make a Pay Pal donation of $16 and forward a copy of your receipt to me with your mailing address and I will send a copy of my book The Unfaithful Widow to you. Plenty of dog stories there to make you smile. Offer good through August 20th.
Not in the mood to read or spend $16?  Go to the same link and make a small donation and earn your Doggie Angel Wings. Let me know you've made a donation and I will post a list of Dog Angels the end of this month. A small donation can make a huge difference.
Contact me at .

 Widow Lesson Learned: A healthy heart begins with sharing with others.

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Buy My Book By August 20, Help Save A Dog, All Money To AAR

Open Your Hearts To Save Hers! Buy The Unfaithful Widow in the next twenty days by making a $16.00 donation to Chip In (click link) for Animal Action Rescue and e-mail ( forward) payment confirmation to me ( with your mailing address and any autograph you want. Shipping is free media mail. I will let you know book is on its way.

How could we resist this face? Sybil is a happy, friendly girl but was diagnosed with Patent DuctusArteriosus (PDA), so she was scheduled to be put to sleep unless a rescue groupagreed to take her. We had to save her. Ifthe PDA is left untreated, about 60 percent of affected dogs die within a yearof diagnosis. When caught early, and following treatment with successfulclosure of the PDA, most dogs live a normal life. She is young andotherwise healthy, so her prognosis is EXCELLENT! Can you please open yourheart to save hers?

Visit Animal Action Rescue On The Web

Widow Lesson Learned: Start small end big. Every little bit of good you do for others opens your heart to greatness.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Surgery Update 3: Buy Jewelry To Grace Your Neck And Forget Bad Hair

Lily Pad from the new Silver And Grace Collection

My friend Eliza from Canada has designed a wonderful jewelry line and launched it this week. Go check it out by clicking here. You will love Eliza and the spirit of her jewelry.

I am wrestling with my curling iron one handed to poof my flat hair. I remember writing in my book put a piece of jewelry where you want to draw attention. Maybe a wonderful piece from Eliza will take my attention away from my hair before I fry it! I can manage most things now that my stitches came out Thursday, but oh my hair..........I think it's time to shop!

Widow lesson learned: It is better to cook up a new way to feel attractive than to let your hair melt down trying to feel hot.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Post Surgery Week 2 Dancing To Usher's OMG

OMG. Let's dance with

Want a way to get your feet moving, rockin and getting ready to dance through the day? Listen to Usher's OMG. First heard it driving to the gym when I started my workout a few months ago and can't get that song out of my brain. Don't ask me about Usher, but ask me about that song my smile gets big, my right arm does a little hip hop move and my feet start keeping the beat. ENERGY up!
Just crawled out of bed, put on my music, gotta take my arm from sling for some elbow exercises. Sure hope I don't get to excited and throw the wrong arm up in the air! But you know how it is when you're feeling it!
Thanks Usher for my favorite wake up call.
Widow lesson learned (this lesson I always knew): Dance like you're a rock star and it will make your day rock.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Oh my, I'll remember my surgery next trip to the vet!

Rotator Cuff Surgery. If I were that cute, young and blonde, hey I wouldn't be having a bad hair day.

Be very afraid dear dogs. I don't now which one of you peed on the foor the day oh my fall, but you might want to watch carefully on you're next trip to the vet.
Aha! I looked at my dogs lined up before me while I eased myself onto the couch. My huge sling almost blocking them from view as I plopped ever so gently down on the cushion. Six little faces smiled at me, six tails wagging. Not one aware my accident might be their fault. And truth be told it was my fault. I wasn't watching where I was going, moving so fast and then......well the rest is history.
Surgery this past Monday for the worst rotator cuff tear the doc had seen. To think I was just worried how I would do my hair. Makes me laugh I was so naive. Now I wonder how I'll get my bra on and shirt. If you can't get those two things on to leave the house, don't worry how your hair is doing!
I am actually happy to report how well this is going in spite of feeling like a fashion victim. The surgeon was fantastic. A sports ortho surgeon with the latest technology.
My big worry and big news is that I am going to have a 5 minute spot talking about my book on The Balancing Act on The Lifetime Network. Filming is in Ft.Lauderdale on August 30th.
"Have to be out of my sling by then, doc." I sounded cool, but I was having a panic attack.
"We'll get you in on Monday, but you'll have to hustle to get the pre-op done. "
Was home by 8pm the day of outpatient surgery. Ran straight by dogs and lay flat on my back, gut sick from meds. Funny thing by the next morning I stopped pain meds and started feeling human. Next day was good. Now my energy level is so high I gotta find a bra and button shirt so I can get out again. Stitches out this Thursday (five tiny spots around my shoulder arthroscopic surgery), sling for 6 weeks and then physical therapy for 6 plus weeks. Cool. I can handle this. Typing with one hand a challenge, but doable.
Left shoulder, not right. Thank you I talk to the man upstairs.
Another round of applause. Thank you Dr. Branch and nurse Tim, two angels of mercy for me. I took in a copy of The Unfaithful Widow and now one of the other nurses wants to meet me when my stitches come out. I feel almost famous.
Sometimes the things we fear can overwhelm us. Oh how I feared surgery.
My old motto from my workout days was not a good one. No pain, gee, no pain. Heck with the gain part.
Life keeps reminding me to be brave and when you come at something with an open heart, good things happen. In the overall scheme of my life will rotator cuff surgery be something that once again brings something from the universe, or will I finally just learn to stop whining when I get hurt? Either way it will be a winning streak for me.
I smile at my dogs. Soon, I whisper to each with love. Soon you'll be sleeping with me again. Try not to look so put out sleeping on the rose chintz slipcover chairs in the living room.
What a lazy bunch of hounds, but each watching me carefully to be sure I am OK.

Can we come in? Promise we'll be good.

Widow lesson learned: No pain, no gain. There is always something to be learned if we have faith to make the best of it.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

It's Official - A Torn Rotator Cuff, Surgery and A New Web

The words I was hoping not to hear. "Well, my dear, it's completely torn."

I looked at the doctor who was very pleasing to look at and batted my eyes. "What does that mean?" I knew what it meant, surgery.

"Going to have surgery, next Monday and then maybe eight weeks in a sling."


"Have to tack it down all the way across."

You know you are a female when the biggest worry is hair. As in how will I do my hair?

It is my left arm which is good news. I can dress, do everything, slowly, even wash my hair in the shower and blow dry it. Then from there I just sit looking in the mirror. How do you style hair with one hand?

I am into plastic headbands from CVS at the moment. My new look, tosseled and pinned down with plastic. My fashion statement.

"You look younger," My good friend tried to make me feel better over dinner the other night. "Straight hair makes you look younger." She was on her second glass of wine. I was eating apple pie.

"And, hey," she waved her glass in the air to flag our waiter, "with that band around your chest holding the sling, you don't have to wear a bra."

I looked at my pie and when the waiter came to our table I ordered vanilla ice cream on the side.

I've written about my fall on The Red Room in glorious details. The truth on how I slipped revealed.

Then I wrote on the USA a blurb on what I was reading these days.  You got it, pitched The Unfaithful Widow for sale on Amazon. I have been writing on many sites under the name writerwithdogs. I got a response back saying, "I wish I'd thought of that name."

I googled it and sure enough my writing under that name is everywhere. So I went and bought the domain and now have a new web page.

A new book is in the works, Covered in Fur, which will be dogs stories, both real and fiction. Haven't figured it out yet, but with my trusty laptop I can mend after surgery sitting on my sofa, dogs by me feet, organizing my writing and sipping LaCroix sparkling water, since I am off caffine now for the surgery. Once weaned I like this better than my sodium and caffine filled sodas.

A bad hair day and a sparkling water. Almost has an aura to it.

Come visit my new web Writer With Dogs and see the fun I'm going to have while my shoulder mends.

I am putting together a media kit for The Unfaithful Widow and if you check my web there you can see it all. Even listen to my podcast on Nia Promotions. 

So busy at work is the best way for me to forget I've got surgery coming up. This could be just the ticket to get me writing again. Have been promoting like crazy and miss my little essays.

You will hear from me next after Monday when I tell you how this all works out.

Widow Lesson Learned: When life gives you lemons, write a book.