Wednesday, March 31, 2010

I'm Celebrating. Book Edits Complete!

The Unfaithful Widow, Barbara Barth, copyright 2010. Coming Soon!
Image Pam King Photography

I am celebrating tonight. I have sent my final book edits to Outskirts Press and given the OK to start the printing process. They have my beautiful cover designed by Jill Applegate, inside images by Pam King Photography and now they have my book. Finally. Eight sets of edits. I am having a glass of wine. Care to join me?
Widow Lesson Learned: It's fun to celebrate with friends and I consider all of you my friends. So I raise my glass and toast the best accomplishment of all, friendship!

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

A Ton Of Pea Gravel And A Vintage Corvette

A perfect spring day today. The Reverend came over to help me with my new patio. I can't seem to get grass to grow and with six dogs flying across the yard chasing one another I know grass may be a thing of the past for me. I've already built a small deck to cover part of the bare ground and above ground tree roots. But the area off my huge old cement patio still looked pitiful. Then at Home Depot it came to me. Pea Gravel. Pavers. Stones. I'd make a little gravel patio right off my new deck. The dear Reverend who now looks after my yard is my gardening angel. "I'll get the gravel with my truck and be there Tuesday." Little did I know I would be his helper today. We mapped out the area and covered it with something from the back shed. Roofing paper, maybe. But it will do the trick for now. Then I ran back to Home Depot to buy some edging pavers and the Rev started to unload half a ton of gravel. I got back home and looked at the pea gravel and thought, not enough. So the Rev went back and got another half ton. While he was gone I went all about the yard finding large old stones and the left over cement chunks from the foundation work I had done in the fall.  I lugged stones and cement chunks all day. Haven't felt this well in weeks. Sun, sweat and a job well done is better than a date on Saturday night. And those words coming from these lips mean something! We stopped at five and the Rev was sweeping the excess stone off my driveway. He kept looking at my corvette under its car cover. I am so embarrassed to say I have not driven it in six months. But it needs some work, headlights need adjusting and I haven't had time to get it to the shop.
"Let's see if it cranks." The Rev was excited. It needed to be done and I was in denial. I just couldn't face it not starting. "Come on, I'll help if it won't start." He kept looking at the car cover and at me. Why not! I ran got the keys, yanked off the car cover and there it was. My beautiful '79 Corvette Stingray. The sunlight bouncing off its sleek hood blinding me with its brilliance. I opened the door and slipped into the low riding front seat. Oh my, it felt good. I put the key in and pumped the gas pedal twice. It reved up, but didn't turn over. "Try again," the Rev encouraged me. "Hit the pedal twice again, slowly, then turn the key." I held my breath and did as he said. The car roared and the sound made my heart race. I just sat in the seat and smiled. This week it goes to the shop.
I let the dogs out in the yard after the Reverend left. They ran through my new pea gravel patio like it was sand at the beach. Then they raced out into the yard, running circles around each other, joyous to be in the weather. Their barking could be heard throughout the neighborhood I am sure.
I sighed and smiled. A perfect day.
Widow Lesson Learned: Listening to dogs bark on a lovely spring day is almost as much fun as listening to the motor hum on a vintage corvette.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Rescue Dogs And Things That Go Bump In The Night


Oh my.  Met this little pup at Pet Smart Saturday.  Someone dumped her and her sister on the side of the road and my friend State Trooper Peggy who has a non profit dog rescue shelter tried to tempt me to take this sweetie home.  Just a pup, part Cattle dog and just as lovely as any dog could be.  Took all my willpower to leave the pup and head home to six howling hounds waiting for dinner.  Would another dog upset the applecart? After two months the six dogs have developed their routine. Four were doing fine, then two dogs, Rascal and April In Paris came in for New Year's Eve. Talk about a rock and roll first part of 2010. Dogs butt sniffing and getting to know each other! Finally, about three weeks ago peace came to the household and all the dogs bonded. They have their strangeness about them, Bray the chair eater and April In Paris who is so timid she falls down when you look at her. But the dogs kiss each other and play together.  What would a new pup do to a household that is bursting at the seams with dogs already?  Common sense prevailed, for now.  I never know what I may do. But if you want to give this pup a home, let me know and State Trooper Peggy will contact you!
Living with six dogs you have to be quick on your feet. Twice this week I've tripped trying to move forward when a dog cut in front of me. "Help me, I've fallen and I can't get up." I think I may have to chain my cell around my neck in case of an emergency! Last week Rascal ran in front of me right as I headed from the living room to kitchen. Kaplunk! Down on my knee, which is still a little blue. But no harm done and I didn't land on the dog flattening her! Tonight, I went to reach for April In Paris and Bray ran in front of me. I fell on my tail bone and bonked my head on the edge of a table. I didn't see stars so that is a good thing. And I can sit on my tail bone, another very good thing indeedy. But this week has made me realize that I need to stay more alert or else I may be run over by the pack. It is hard to be mad when you are flat out on the floor and dogs are covering you in kisses. But my aching bones. Reminds me of a that song by Incubus "Love Hurts".
   Love Hurts
   But Sometimes It's A Good Hurt
   And It Feels Like I'm Alive
Happy to report I am alive and love is grand with the dogs. Just them bones that hurt!
Widow Lesson Learned: You must stand tall on two feet when surrounded by four feet times six.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Jumping Jack Flash


Bray has taken the spotlight this month. I hope you enjoy his antics as much as I do.

However, he is getting expensive. Replacing all he eats.

My new chair. Will it be next?

Bray has become Jumping Jack Flash on the rocker I just purchased.

I had to buy a new chair to replace the one he was eating. Not the first one he has eaten if you have followed his tale.  A fine wing chair with wood spindles on the arms. Bray found a way to curl up in the chair and lean his head back to nibble on the wood while he appeared to be sleeping. I finally noticed last week that he had almost eaten through the wood. Once done, the chair can not be repaired. A quick trip to the thrift store found a lovely upholstered chair ( for all of $29. I am dog foolish but shopping wise ). Small, deep red in color. Not a speck of wood to be eaten. Perhaps an office chair since the base under the skirt is a metal swivel rocker. I placed it in front of the window and sighed. Such a pretty color. Added pizazz to the room. Smaller in size, the room seemed larger. Six dogs went up to sniff at it and walked away. Oh yes, six walked away from it. That included Bray. Perhaps the chair would hold no interest for him.
I went out with friends for dinner and anxiously opened the door on my return. The chair was still in one piece. The cushion had not been pulled off and eaten (as Bray did with the seat to my leather chair the last of January). I noticed the arm looked darker in color. I went to touch it, damp and with a pin prick tooth mark that had just frayed the fabric. Barely noticeable to the human eye. Bray had bitten the arm and was checking it for tastiness. I grabbed my heaviest quilt and threw it over the chair, tucking it in by the cushion. Problem solved for now.
Last night while talking on the phone I watched as Jake jumped on the chair landing on all fours. He rocked for a minute and then I saw it happen. He realized the chair would move.  Suddenly Bray tilted back and forth, up and down, working that rocker. He looked out across the room with his silly grin and rocked again and again. Up, down, up, down. I think I heard him singing.
I was born in a cross-fire hurricane
And I howled at my ma in the driving rain,
But it's all right now, in fact, it's a gas!
But it's all right. I'm Jumpin' Jack Flash,
It's a Gas! Gas! Gas!
My very own Rolling Stone. Let's see how long this chair lasts.
Widow Lesson Learned: It is more fun to have a rocker thats a dog, than a chair that rocks.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

The Blue Door

The first of the year found me sitting on the couch wondering, what should I do? It was midnight and I was thinking of the next day. I had plenty to do, writing, house cleaning, catching up on things, but nothing appealed to me. I wanted to open my front door and walk out to a fun, exciting, new adventure.
Something different to inspire me. My butt was planted on the couch, my feet twitching, my brain thinking. I kept looking at my front door, looming ominously at me. A dark brown hollow core door that kept me trapped inside. I looked at the door and thought it was so dull how could an adventure lurk on the other side. I wanted a portal to take me to a magic place. Then it came to me. Paint the door. I was so excited at the very thought, I jumped up, ran to my studio to grab my paints and came back with a huge tube of robins egg blue acrylic paint I had gotten at the thrift store for 49 cents. Brush in hand and a little music playing to inspire me (I find Marvin Gaye gets me groovin') I whipped out my brushes and got to work. Twenty minutes later I stood back in awe. I hugged myself in glee and did a dance. Now there was a door that when opened would bring all the magic of the day to you. A door worthy of flinging open, stepping out into the day and discovering what the universe had in mind for me.
I never stop on my creative projects for the blue door needed something fun on it. So I gathered things I thought I might sell at my antique booth and started hammering away. I filled the door with fantasy. Perhaps that is me sitting on the metal gate of roses with my fairy wand. Queen of my domain. Small paintings with flowers and bugs and a metal lady greeting welcome. Not welcoming guests inside my house, but welcoming me outside to greet the day. By 2am I went to bed satisfied with my evening's work.
I love my blue door. It makes me laugh. It makes me feel silly. It makes me hopeful. No matter what troubles may befuddle my mind, one look at my door tells me all I have to do is open it and step out into a world full of wonder.
I am almost over my cold today. The sun is shining brightly. I opened my blue door and reached out to let down the top of the metal storm door. The air is brisk and I inhale it deeply. My heart expands as I drink in all the fresh air. I've fed the dogs, am sipping my coffee, but for lunch I am heading out to treat myself to the day. My blue door, open, beckoning me, delighting me with the thought an adventure is to be had.


Widow Lesson Learned: A bit of color to an old door can remind you of all the color that awaits on the other side.

Monday, March 15, 2010

A Book, A Cold, And Six Dogs

     Nothing nicer than to have a dog sympathize with your illness!

The weekend started on a high note, as weekends should. Friday night dinner with a girl friend and then off to Eagle Eye bookshop in Decatur, round the corner from my house, for a book signing of The Fall by award winning novelist David Fulmer and the kick off party for Five Stones Press, an innovative publishing venture David has started with some partners. One is my good friend Anna Foote. Check out their web: http://fivestonesllc.com/. I had a grand time catching up with some old friends who had stopped by. I left with my autographed copy of The Fall tucked safely in my purse. As I hit the cool night air I felt a scratchy throat and my head started to plug up. Oh pulease, no. Not another cold. But it seems that is exactly what was coming. I woke up Saturday morning sick as a dog. ('Scuse me doggies, just a figure of speech). And stayed that way until mid day today. Rotten, sick, headachy, don't want to nothing but rest type of cold. That was the bad news. The good news is that I started the weekend off buying a new book. There was some perfect timing. I had something to do when the quilt came off my head.
One thing to be said about being sick with six dogs is that you are never alone. Six dogs fighting to lay next to me, on me and by me all weekend long. The dogs thought we were having a sleeping party. Annabelle wiggled next to my side hugging the back of the couch and barely moved unless I did. Chloe finding this to be great fun, would run up the back of the couch and then jump down on my chest. Only seven pounds, but try that every few hours. And Rascal, the 35 pound bull that is like a bowling ball, jumped straight up in the air and came straight down on my stomach more than once. Now I have that flat tummy I wanted for summer. I think it exploded out my brain however. April in Paris came over to kiss me when I was sleeping, a kiss to my lips that, if it had been human, would have been a great kiss. Let's not comment on how odd it is to have a dog who can kiss, but she has a special talent.  I opened my eyes slowly, dreaming of that kiss .......Was I sleeping beauty? And where was my prince?  Alas, only those deep brown dog eyes staring back at me. I reached out and gave her head a little tap to the side. "Thank you sweet April In Paris, now please find a guy with kisses so sweet."  Bray and Foxy kept tabs by sleeping on the floor close to me only nudging me when it was time to eat, a gentle reminder that even if I was ill, the dogs were hungry. So much dog love it was hard to feel bad.
So next time you find yourself feeling under the weather, grab a good book, hide under a quilt and keep the dogs close for warmth and snuggles. Almost makes a sick day a party.
Widow Lesson Learned: More healing than any cold medicine, dogs cuddled close that generate a healing warmth. Warning, it could become addictive.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Why Do Dogs Eat What They Do?

Dog Or Demon?

Bray.

Loves Wood.

Now Appears To Love Glasses.

Behind that smile is a chewer of incredible tastes.

Today has been a day of dealing with dogs who run in and out of the rain tracking mud everywhere. They run out, see it is raining and run back in before I can close the door. This is great dog fun. They did it all day. In Out. In Out. Great rascally fun. Tiring fun for me. Mopping dog mud prints off the kitchen floor then fluffing the dogs dry with a huge towel. Their bodies wiggling all about enjoying the rub down. Then, minutes later, at the kitchen door wanting out. We start all over again. In Out. In Out. When a dog goes to the back door and wants out, I open it. I am never sure if they have to go or want to come in for a treat. But with six, I don't want to question it. I could be mopping more than mud!
I picked up everything on the end table and headed out to buy dog kibble and dinner for myself at the pub next to the pet shop. Lovely, quiet time reading a book, sipping a bit of wine. I got home and checked my e-mails. Chloe my chi came in lickety split holding something in her mouth. She is of the barter school. You give her something, she gives you something. I am working on this, but I needed what she had now so I tossed her a bone. No time for training. She dropped part of the hard plastic lense to my reading glasses. Then she ran out and came back, proudly wanting to exchange something else, the side piece to my glasses. Now I know there is trouble in the living room and dash in to find the remains of my reading glasses on the floor. Not big pieces, but small little chards of hard plastic and the corner hardware. No other parts to be found.  No dog looks guilty, no dog appears ill. They all just look at me with blank doggie faces. I vacumed up the small chunks that were left and the last piece to get sucked up destroyed my vacumn hose. No suction. No more vacumn.
I have e-mailed my vet and he said fill them with fiber just in case. And my marching orders - poop patrol for 48 hours. So doggies are feasting on bagels, sourdough bread and baked potatoes. With six dogs I don't know who did what, but I am very suspect of my chewer Bray. He is eating through the wood arm of my chair. I will need to replace it this week.  In the past he has eaten a wood foot stool, the front piece of a wood chair, a rug and the window sill on my front picture window. Tasty morsels I guess. I watch Bray jump on the chair and curl up. Then his head slowly slides back, tilting it ever so slightly so he can reach the small wood arm of my latest replacement chair. He is whittling it down to a nubbins. Why, why, why do dogs chew what they do? I have bones and toys on the floor, they sleep on fluffy quilts, but they each have a little demon in them, a doggie demon, that likes to chew things dogs should not. I don't worry about my things, but I worry about my little demon dogs.
Tomorrow to do list: new glasses, new vacumn, new chair, loaf of bread and watching the dogs closely to be sure there are no side effects from tonight's episode. The delightful poop patrol has started. And I thought I had no plans for the weekend.
Widow Lesson Learned: Even the sweetest faces have little demons behind them. Keep plenty of carbs on hand for emergencies. Try not to eat them myself.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Is It Me? Or Is It Them?

Okay, I have to admit I just jumped out of bed to let the dogs out, coffee is brewing and I am am sleepy eyed. So maybe I am seeing things with a brain that is leaning to one side this morning. Worked on another round of edits for my book until the moon and sun started swaping places. But as soon as my feet hit the floor and the dogs scooted out to the yard I plopped down at the computer to see what excitement happened while I was sleeping. When you go to bed at 4am and are up at 8:30, not much exciting goes on in that window. But I am always hopeful someone was up earlier than me and I have mail.  This is my morning routine. I bring in my e-mails, check my blogs and hit facebook. You never know when someone special will touch base.  New comments for my blogs from friends faraway. Old friends saying Hi as they wake up. Messages from the writing groups I have joined. A notification from Etsy I sold a piece of steampunk botanical jewelry. And maybe a wink from a handsome man on Match.
This is my last month on Match unless I decide to try again. I seem to dabble on it and then wonder why? The online dating thing confuses me, heck, dating confuses me. But I try to keep my flirt factor up. It is hard to meet men when you are glued to your computer writing at all hours. And I am addicted to mine!
The first thing I see on facebook, an ad off to the side for Match. I see Match ads everywhere, but this one caught my eye. A handsome male face and then the words under his photo Date Men Over 50. Meet 1000's Of Senior Singles Near You. Join Now. The shock factor hit me. OMG. Seniors at age 50??? Pulease, give me a break. No wonder Match and I don't match. Even the Thrift Stores don't consider you Senior until you are 55. Me, let's not talk about my age. I may be in the grave. But such a young looking corpse.
So then, I grab my cup of coffee and look at my e-mails. Aha! My eyes blink twice as I look at my new message. Is it me or is it them?  An e-mail from an online writing magazine. The subject line reads: Lay vs. Lie (vs. Laid). I sip my coffee with excitement. I know what the difference is! If I were in class my hand would be waving to get the teacher's attention.  I lay on the couch watching TV, I lie about my age and maybe I'll get laid. My goodness, why is a writing mag 'splaining this to me? I put my coffee cup down and open the message with anticipation. Boring. Only talking about how to use the words, and, gee I got them all wrong. Phooey! But this is my world and I'll use my words as I please!
The thoughts alone those words brought to my brain perked me up and now I am ready for the day. Lunch with the gals and a class at Emory tonight. A Life Training class. I am such a puppy I may need some training. I run through the halls, roll over to get my tummy rubbed, wag my tail for dinner and love to ride with my head hangin' out the car window catching a breeze. And they dare to refer to those over 50 as seniors. You'd think we were old dogs!
Age is a state of mind, and my mind says I am still growing like a wildflower in an open field. I have so much to do, so many hats I like to wear, so many new friends waiting to be found, so much to say. I decided I needed a new business card. One just for my best of friends, those who know me well and get it. We laugh on the phone about my wild stories. I am suddenly the widow who has opinions on everything, I talk about life's big issues, I play, I work, I have dogs. Strangers ask me what do I do, and they are gone before I can finish my list. I am a storyteller. So my new title: Professional B/S Artist. I fear I am not taken seriously by those who can't smile at life. My business card gives power to my words. So, dear friends of mine on my blog, consider yourself on my list of favorite folks. I am sharing with you the card I only share with those who have won my fancy and get it.
Senior at 50, LOL. Me at my age? The candle is lit at both ends and the flame is bright!

If you need glasses to read my card, don't fret. Me too? But I love glasses. I have reading glasses in every color. And, men like them, I have found. My red ones always get a cool from the younger guys. Those senior guys over 50 borrow them to read the menu with me! From studious to sexy with the swipe of a hand and the glasses placed as needed. There are no seniors, only those who think they are old.
Widow Lesson Learned: It is better to be a viewed as a puppy wiggling your butt in excitement than to be referred to as a senior over 50.