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Sunday, February 28, 2010

A Hallmark Moment

This is how Foxy and Jake traveled in the back of the van throughout the many years my husband and I visited family. Two dogs leaning on each other for support down a rocky highway, especially when that highway took them over a mountain and the ride became bumpy. They cuddled up to each other and never felt the rough patches. Foxy still has that security with five new pals since Jake has gone. At any given moment she has a dog to rest her head on and a pal to romp with. All six in the house only a nose butt sniff away from each other.
If only it were that easy for people. No butts for me to sniff at my house, to speak in doggie lingo. I felt a little widow crack sneaking in today. The day was so glorious I wanted to share it with someone, but there was no human to be found. Just me and the dogs and the dogs had their fun already. It was time for their couch crashings. I grabbed my vintage thrift store leather jacket, put on my lip gloss, fluffed my hair and headed out the door to see the life around me. A week full of friends and dates, but a small window of loneliness this afternoon with the sun shining so brightly it hurt my eyes and the air so crisp I couldn't breathe in enough of it. A day to be shared with someone special and I was alone.
I think we all have days like that. Everything is running well, then suddenly there is a moment when you want to reach out and no one is there. It is especially so for those who live alone, but that feeling can creep up on anyone at any time.
I did get an e-mail today pronouncing that it was Friendship Week. I think that e-mail has been passing around a good bit, as I Googled Friendship Week and it was some months back. But I loved getting the e-mail. Someone thought of me. It made me smile when it came in. I forwarded it on to five more people. Maybe they would smile too. Maybe they needed a little pick me up telling them you're in my thoughts.
Every day should be a friendship day. One where we let our friends and family, those we love and hold dear, know that we care. That we are thinking of them. No matter how full a life, you never know when a crack may be picking at a heart and your call will be the glue to mend it.
We all take for granted tomorrow, I'll do it tomorrow. My widow wisdom to share is do it now. It is never too soon to say a simple hello, how are you? You may interrupt someone in the middle of their busy day and hear "can't talk right now". But I bet they will smile that someone thought to call. Right after my husband died I couldn't get enough calls. Then I'd make calls thinking, I'm bothering my friends again. I soon found out that there were days my friends needed a call more than I did. We were both at peace after a brief "how ya doing?"
Sometimes I am too friendly, but I'd rather err on the side of offering friendship to someone who may not want it rather than wonder if I've overlooked someone. It's an error I think we all should make more often.
Widow Lesson Learned: Letting someone know you are thinking of them is better than the icing on a cake. It is the cherry on top.

 Stop and smell the flowers. Take time to call your friends and family!

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

In Memory of Jake, Mr. February 2010

The Male Who Rules My Life - read about Jake in my book The Unfaithful Widow. His is a remarkable story.  The calendar photo was submitted to German Shepherd Rescue, Raleigh, NC shortly after Jake's passing in April 2009. The best Valentine of all they chose him for their upcoming calendar. Now, don't get sad when you see Jake has gone. He had a life that took him four years longer than anyone expected. He ruled my life from the first moment I saw him. He showed up on Labor Day weekend all those years ago causing quite a stir in the neighborhood. No one could get near the beautiful Shepherd with his badly mangled leg. We got him in my neighbor's yard, no tags, and no one responded to our ad. I knew from the first moment I saw him he was mine. A big old bear of a dog, weighing 65 pounds when we found him, blossoming to 95 pounds with love. Jake had some most unusual treatments to keep him walking when his hind legs gave out, acupuncture to get his Qi in order, Chinese herbs, all I could think of to keep him well. The miracle, he started walking again for several more years. Then those legs went again. Jake's journey was as sweet as he was. If you love a story where the dog
is saved and lives happily ever after twice, you will love Jake's tall tale.

Jake's favorite transportation. When he gave out on his walks I'd go pick him up in the wheel barrow. He still walked to the street with his hind end sling, but then liked to have a ride back!

Foxy and Jake liked to play dress up and were often found on my Me Page on Ebay during the years I sold there.
Foxy is still my old gal and has enjoyed the rescue dogs (5) that joined our home after Jake.
Widow Lesson Learned: It took a dog to teach me you can live happily ever after twice.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Fastest Fingers In The South

Foxy Lady. My thirteen year old Shepherd. In her vintage hat, ready for spring. But tonight it is cool and dark and all the dogs were chewing rawhide. What is it with rawhide and Foxy? She chews on her bone and the next minute I hear her hacking away, it has gotten stuck in her throat. I have stayed away from rawhide because of her. But with six dogs a yapping, I thought I'd try again.  So this week I bit the bullet and bought rawhide bones. Five for the bigger dogs and Chloe the Chi has a dental bone. Every dog was just chomping away, happy with their big ole bone,I was on the computer and then, argh, I heard this horrible gasping sound and turned around, Foxy was choking on her rawhide. A big old glomp of it in her throat. Her head was down and she was gagging. The rawhide was stuck and she was trying to get it out. This happened to her years ago and I vowed not to let her near rawhide again. I ran over, opened her mouth and with two fingers was deep into her throat and jerked it out. After my total panic and then the happy moment she was fine, I remembered that all those years ago I was forever doing this to her. My husband told me I had the fastest fingers in the south. Couldn't believe how quickly I could snatch something out of her throat. From rawhide to the worms in the yard and other things I dare not mention.A sweet memory tonight after a total panic on my part. So, no more rawhide for the dogs. Back to letting them chew on my furniture. I'd rather replace a chair than a dog. If anyone has some thoughts on treats for dogs that take time to chew and are safe, please explain to me! You would think after all my years with dogs I'd get this right!
Widow Lesson Learned: It is better to put up with the racket and chewing on chairs from six dogs than to have one dog hacking away choking on her toy.

New Facebook Page! Chic Chick Giveaway

 (Chic Chick Giveaway Free Copy Of Book)
I am trying to redefine the impossible every day. Doing things I've never done before, dreaming big and saying "yes I can".  Sometimes I laugh and tell my friends, "I have so many hats and have so many answers I feel like the B/S Queen." But no, I am walking the talk. Somedays its like running and I am flying, and somedays it is like dragging weights on my ankles. But I am always taking steps. That is what I hope you will take away from my book. No matter what happens in your life, you can redefine the impossible and make great things happen. I do it every day. So today, I started my Facebook fan page, please join, it's a lonely blank over there! And I've entered a contest by Chic Chick Media. If I am featured my giveaway is a free copy of my book, which lord willing the creek don't rise, and I feel the need for more edits, will be available the end of March 2010.  The book is mentioned as a giveaway here so I can link to my product for them. But remember, if you go to my website and scroll down to the bottom link that says subscribe to the latest you will be included in a free giveaway of an autographed copy of my book as soon as it is released. 
Widow Lesson Learned: One step leads to another so keep moving forward and you will find great things in your life.

Monday, February 22, 2010

A Sick Day, I've Got A Bug

That's the woman looking out to sea vintage painting over my bed. I got to see it most of the day. Sick. I've gotten a bug. So I can pamper myself, which can be fun, except for the feeling like crap part. But most of the day found me under my quilt - surrounded by dogs. I can look across the room and see my favorite painting reflected in the mirror. This painting makes me so serene. It keeps my mind occupied too. Painted in the 1960's by an art teacher in Georgia, I wonder what was on his mind when he painted her. My mind questions her all the time. Is she waiting for her man who is out fishing or is she a widow like me, just looking out to sea comtemplating her future? Maybe she's written a book and is waiting to see if the mail will bring an offer from a publishing company? I love to play with her in my mind! It is one big painting and I won her on Ebay. Right after my husband died I went on my jag to decorate my way. A survival method that kept me busy hauling stuff from the house to my antique booth and gave me an excuse to hit my favorite shops. A good distraction when one was badly needed. Now my bedroom is filled with ice cream colored cottage furniture and when the sun comes in the room it looks like a day at the beach. After I finished moving things in and out I stood back and looked at my room, hands on my hips to be sure I gave it a very impartial look over. My god, all I could think, it looks like a teenage girl lives here! My rose paintings on the wall made the room too sweet. So, my answer, the lady, a harsh, stotic woman looking out to the sea. Then the other paintings were changed out for beach paintings. Modern and vintage. Gave the room punch. My husband's best friend came up from Florida to help me with boxing things that needed to go. He and his wife have an elegant home and my way of decorating can give men the willies. We went to the bedroom to hit the closet and box my husband clothes. He smiled at me and asked, what bedroom is this? The master bedroom, I answered. The brief look that crossed his face told me he was horrified. I've changed it out, I explained. I see, he replied. I could tell he was sure it was my decorating that had done my husband in. It is a sissy room, a girly room, full of pinks,blues and greens. A room that says life is fun. When I lay in bed I can let my eye roam and there is always something that makes me smile.
Some folks have said a bedroom needs to be serene, calm, free of clutter. My mind is cluttered thinking of things to do every second, so a serene room would only allow my brain to keep spinning. When I enter my bedroom, my brain switches gears, instead of thinking, it just relaxes and looks at the eye candy. Eye candy that lets me drift off quietly to sleep looking at things I love.
At first I thought no man would want to enter this room because it is so girly. Then I said who cares!  Its not the decorating he will be coming to see. Candles can make a room romantic, so I keep one handy just in case. Now I've filled the house with dogs. Dogs who like to sleep in bed. Simple solution, a bag of bones is now tucked in by the candle. Six big old chew bones. When a man comes down my long hallway to my bed, I'll light a candle, toss six bones down the hall and slam the door quickly. Maybe a blindfold would be in order for the guy walking down that gangplank to pleasure in my room. He could decide if he wanted to take it off or leave it on. Playing pirates can be fun. Widow Lesson Learned: A room full of eye candy can sooth a mind that is spinning all the time.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Conversations On Sunday Morning With The Sun

I woke up this morning with the sun teasing me, poking me to get out of bed. Come on, it taunted me, get up. It's early, you went to bed late, you were a little punky, but look, I'm playing in your yard. I stretched and turned my head ever so slightly and all I could see were dogs. Three of them snuggled together taking up most of the rest of the bed. Who was that talking to me? I know I heard a voice. For a moment I smile. I remember when there was a man in bed with me poking gently at me, "come on, get up, breakfast." Now there are just dogs. Three in bed, one on the floor, two on the couch in the living room. Any moment they will jump up and want to go out, then breakfast. The quilt goes back over my head. Soon. In a few minutes, maybe. I am hiding under my quilt. Hey, you in bed. I lift the quilt and look around. No one but the dogs and a room ablaze in sun. Oh my head.I was at a party last night, with old friends of mine. Too much wine for me, the gal who rarely drinks. Laughing and sharing stories of younger days. Talks of nights of too much drinking and waking up in bed wondering how you got there. Then one woman laughed, "at least I always knew who was in bed with me." I toasted to that one. Then thought, hell, I know who will be in bed with me too when I wake up with a little hangover.  Dogs. What sane man would try to sneak into my bed with that crew refusing to move?
April comes running in (I have given her a nickname, longer than her real name, April In Paris. It makes her feel glamorous). She is the tall one standing on the floor and can lick my nose while I sleep. "Goodmorning, Miss April In Paris," I reach my arm over to her and toss my quilt to the side. She is all wiggles and ready to head out to the yard. Suddenly they are all up. Yapping, hitting the floor as they race towards the kitchen door. I grab my jeans, jump into them and dash behind the pack. "Out!" I've managed to reach the door ahead of them. I open it and the dogs whoosh by me, barking loudly, rejoicing in the moment. The sun coming through my tall pines leaves a toile like pattern on my dirt patch lawn. I grab my fresh cup of coffee and head to the deck. My wonderful vintage chippy black painted iron rocker from the thrift store ( a deal at $9.99) beckons me. I plop down careful not to spill my coffee. I am in the moment loving it. The sun is warm on my face and I can feel it moving down my legs, warming every inch of me on its journey.
Even with my eyes closed I know where the dogs are. Each has its favorite spot in the yard. I can hear the sounds of them crunching through the old dead branches and vines that soon will become a bounty of color with spring.
It is a glorious day. I am happy. It will be cold and rainy soon, but today is the stuff dreams are made of. And I almost missed it. Hiding under a quilt. I look up at the sky, thank you sun for your wake up call. I am talking to the air, as I do on many occasions since I am living only with the company of dogs. I speed dial my thoughts to Mother Nature. Can you arrange another date here? I'd like to see Mr. Sun tomorrow. I am crossing my fingers I have better luck with Mother Nature and second dates than I have with the online dating services.

Miss April In Paris with Rascal in the sunroom resting on the antique wicker chaise after their morning outing. See the sun leaving bright little spots on their bodies?  Oh joy.
Widow lesson learned: If you hide under a quilt you will miss the sun in your life.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Is There Enough Philip Nutman Wet Work Coffee To Wake Me??

The dogs are hiding in the living room, safely away from my grumblings. They are wondering if they will get fed or if my meaness will make them wait for kibble. When you go to bed at 5am it is far from fun to have dogs wake you at 8am. But that's what they did. Shame on them. I open the back door.  "Shoo." I  boot them out into the fenced yard. Then I stumble to the coffee maker and plug it in. Thank god I filled it last night. My body is screaming, back to bed  but I am up so therefore I am. (Am what? TIRED!). You may be asking yourself, why so late to bed? Titillating thoughts of a romp in the hay? Did I have a hot date that kept me all excited at that wee hour? No, same answer as always. I am writing. And proofing my writing. I finally got finished with the last edits on my book at that early hour. I was about to pop the key that would send it all back to Outskirts Press when my internet connection dropped me. All my green lights had gone out. What happened to all my work?  If I were a drinking woman, I'd have gone for the scotch at 5am. But, instead, I ran to the kitchen, grabbed my stash of rice krispy treats, stuffed one in my mouth and dashed back to see if my connection came back. It had. Sigh. I looked at my work, my heart pounding, it was saved correctly. I immediately hit the button that said, "Yes, I'm finished. Publish my book." I was so happy. This called for a celebration. I grabbed the last rice krispy goodie and munched it as I crawled into bed at 5am. Dogs hopping on my bed and curling up on quilts on the floor.Well at least I can sleep late. My final thoughts as I click off the light. I awoke to the sound of barking so loud and foul in my living room that I sprung from the bed to see if my house was being invaded. Annabelle, my sweet quiet hound dog girl was making such a ruckus I knew I was in trouble. I grabbed the heavy flashlight from my end table and tiptoed down the hallway. I was prepared to knock the evil doer in the head. Alas, the only evil doer, my dog. She sat there plain as day barking at my neighbor as he drove out his driveway. Of course, her barking brought the crew of five others down the hall. All now wanting to go out. My hope of crawling back into bed dashed. Oh my. I'm up now. Day has started where night barely ended for me. My Philip Nutman Wet Work coffee from the Coffee Shop Of Horrors packed the punch it promised. Look at me, up and moving with only 3 hours sleep. A happy heart my book is getting closer to publication. I can sleep when I'm dead.  You may ask yourself what a widow with six dogs is doing drinking a coffee named after an award nominated book that started the zombie craze? Well I took a screenplay writing course from Phil and he packs a punch as a teacher as well as providing a superb cup of java. Mornin' Phil! I'm getting closer!
My only question at the moment, when do I feed the dogs? Let them wait, I snicker to myself. They will think twice about waking me from the dead of sleep next time. But look, sunshine. Perhaps a treat to tide them over as I finally see the light of day and rejoice there is no more rain or snow.

Monday, February 15, 2010

And We Have A Winner!!!!!! birrrd

The magic carpet has landed and fireworks are shooting into the sky to announce the winner of my giveaway.  And the winner is ...........birrrd from Indiana. I just got an e-mail from Emily and she is sitting surrounded by 8 inches of snow. Maybe she is brrrrr, not birrrd! She loves cats and that's what her bracelet will be. Congrats Emily and I am so pleased to meet you!

Thanks to everyone who came by to say hello. I hope you won't be strangers and will visit me again. There is no telling what a widow with six dogs will be doing!
I would love to have you all subscribe to my newsletter. I can keep you posted on my book publication and any events that might land me in your neck of the woods. To subscribe go to my web home page at . The dog and cat rescue charm bracelets can be custom ordered from my shop on Etsy if you decide you want one. If you place an order, be sure to mention you were in the blog contest and you will have free shipping.  Check it out at . My seller name is botanicalgarden. Just one of the many hats I like to wear. My favorite hat is that of friend. And I've made some lovely friends during this wild carpet ride. This has been the best of fun.  Fondly, Barbara

TICK TOCK Time Is Out. OWOH Blog Giveaway Is Closed!

Tick Tock Tick Tock. Time Has Ended. My blog giveaway for One World One Heart has ended. Who will be my lucky winner. Oh gee, the dogs are pawing at me. I need to feed them supper. You don't mind waiting to see if you have won, do you? I will be back by 10pm EST to announce the winner! Sit tight and dream big. It could be YOU!

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Valentines Flowers And One Last Day For OWOH Giveaway

Sharing this beautiful photo my sister sent of the flowers her husband gave her for Valentine's Day. That's what you get when you have a special husband. There are no special men to send me treats but a houseful of dogs who are waiting for treats and give me kisses in return. That's pretty cool too if you ask me.
Wishing all of you love for Valentine's Day, human kind and animal kind. There's plenty of love to go around, you just have to open your heart to it!
Tomorrow is my giveaway drawing for One World One Heart. Leave a comment on the entry dated Feb. 7, 2010 below (the first entry that date) and you may be the lucky winner. We are all winners in this blog giveaway. Look how many new friends have come our way! Thank you Lisa for such a wonderful adventure. I am proud to be on the carpet ride with so many creative gals. Here is a special Valentine from Fuzzy my sister's cat for those cat lovers out there!

Saturday, February 13, 2010


Finally a date for Saturday night. My high school mentality that says Saturday is the only date night of the week was cheering "YES" as I did a little jig. And, almost Valentines Day too. Cool. The heavens were smiling on me. But while the heavens were smiling, the sky had other plans. It unloaded snowflakes all over the city. Beautiful snowflakes, large and white, sparkling as they spun through the air covering the ground with a thick magical white cloak. It was magic alright, for my date turned from a prince charming into flake. Not a big snowflake, but the kind that cancels a date. "Don't think I should drive in this weather." We are trying again next weekend, but I am checking with the weather channel before I put on my lip gloss. While it was bad weather for dates, it was a glorious day for dogs. Dogs that pranced through a white yard digging in deep with their noses and flicking snow up in the air as their snoots shot up for a breather. Five dogs running, barking and knowing Mother Nature sent them a special valentine with the cold wet snow. Little Chloe sat on the chaise in the sunroom watching out the window. She took one look at the ground and marched back in the kitchen door. She gave me one of those looks that said, are you crazy? I'm not going out there. Maybe she and my date should hook up!
A reminder on ONE WORLD ONE HEART, drawing is Feb. 15 at 6pm est. Please leave a comment on my Feb 7th entry (the first entry that day, I have two) to enter my giveaway. I will use the random number generator to pick my winner. I hope to visit with some of you afterwards.

Tomorrow is Valentine's Day and I will be deep in kisses. One is never without kisses with six dogs close by! Hope your day is full of love and friendship. You have filled my heart with friendship with all your lovely notes.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Thanks For Coming By One World One Heart

I am already so excited! New friends are stopping by to sign up for my prizes and I just started my carpet ride today! Be sure to see my last post and add a comment by Feb. 15th with your e-mail address so you will be included in my drawing.  I love dog stories with a happy ending or a sad beginning, so if you want to share yours e-mail me. I also like to chat about most anything so if you want a new friend, you can call on me! I just took the flower test and I am a daisy. (2/21 Note: that link has been removed).

One World One Heart Blog Free Giveaway!

Contest Deadline February 15, 2010!

Come Ride the Magic Carpet! Click on the photo above to enter Lisa's website. Contact me to enter for my free giveaway prizes!

I love the heart behind this event. Lisa created this contest in 2007. I found her blog quite by accident this morning and hopped on board to enter my free giveaway too. I believe in signs as you all know, and tomorrow would be my cutoff to participate. What sign brought me to her today? The original idea behind this giveaway event was to bring bloggers together from around the world who may never ordinarily meet. It closes the gap of the blog community and enables us to interact, discover new and super wonderful people, and in the process possibly win a prize or many prizes along the way.
I hope to find new friends myself, an open heart is the best destination of all and a magic carpet ride is the perfect vehicle to travel with.
All YOU need to do is post a comment here on my blog by 6pm CST February 15th, 2010...please make sure I can contact you by email if you are the winner.
I have two giveaways, both to the same lucky winner. First, because of my love of rescue dogs,(I have six dogs myself if you've been following my blog you know it!) a bracelet I made for the Animal Action Rescue Silent Auction. I will make one like it for you. If you are a cat person, I'll do cat charms instead!

My book, The Unfaithful Widow will be available in March, and I will send an autographed copy to the winner too!

Don't forget, deadline is Feb. 15, 2010.