Saturday, January 31, 2009


We adopted Lily the yellow Lab from the humane society today. We are both smitten! Lily is such a peach as we knew she would be! She was happy to come home! We took a big walk with her, gave her supper and treats and a bath! She is a great dog! She is irresistible and has been getting proper dog worship! As I write this she is sprawled out happy and napping beside me on the dog bed in my office. We now have a legacy of dog beds. So we have a dog bed in each of our offices, the dining room, and bedroom! And a few water bowls around the house. This is heaven for her and for us. She is so content to be beside me on her bed and I feel whole again.

Friday, January 30, 2009

Man's Best Friend

Outside of a dog, a book is probably man's best friend, and inside of a dog, it's too dark to read.
-Groucho Marx

Ever consider what they must think of us? I mean, here we come back from a grocery store with the most amazing haul --chicken, pork, half a cow. They must think we're the greatest hunters on earth!
-Anne Tyler

I wonder if other dogs think poodles are members of a weird religious cult.
-Rita Rudner

If dogs could talk it would take a lot of the fun out of owning one.
-Andy Rooney

My dog is worried about the economy because Alpo is up to 99 cents a can. That's almost $7.00 in dog money.
-Joe Weinstein

If a dog will not come to you after having looked you in the face, you should go home and examine your conscience.
-Woodrow Wilson

He is your friend, your partner, your defender, your dog. You are his life, his love, his leader. He will be yours, faithful and true, to the last beat of his heart. You owe it to him to be worthy of such devotion.

If there are no dogs in heaven, then when I die I want to go where they went.

Quotes of the Day

Love in the past is only a memory. Love in the future is a fantasy. Only here and now can we truly love.

Do not blindly believe what others say, even the Buddha. See for yourself what brings contentment, clarity, and peace. That is the path for you to follow.

The mind contains all possibilities.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Quotes of The Day

If your compassion does not include yourself, it is incomplete.

Health is the greatest gift, contentment the greatest wealth, faithfulness the best relationship.

The trouble is that you think you have time.


I found Honey on PetFinder 6 years ago, 8 months after my coon hound and my Lab of 14 years had died. I saw Honey's photo and went to the RI North Kingstown dog shelter 45 minutes away to adopt her. I was lucky because I was the first one to call, but five people called while I was there. I met the dog catcher, a blonde lady who was very short but built to handle the dogs and people that came in. She had a lot of spark and said she knew my vet, even admitting she had a crush on him! I paid a nominal fee and signed a paper promising to spay Honey. I immediately had her checked out and spayed by my vet who was amazed that she had been abandoned. He looked for a chip and there was none. That was 6 years ago.

Looking at hundreds of dogs on PetFinder this past week I've seen many that I liked that are represented by New England rescue organizations. They all seem to be located in Utah, North Carolina, Arkansas, Nebraska, and Tennessee! People are prepared to ship hunting dogs from the South and shelters are charging extremely high prices for these used stray dogs that people don't even get to meet in advance because they are so far away. Many even ask for $100 non-refundable deposits "to show you are serious." They write clever, heart-rending stories about the dogs. Meanwhile all of the local and urban shelters have mostly pit bulls mixes and they call them Dalmatians and Labs and pointers, anything but pit bulls! All of this greed and ignorance has been escalating into widespread used-dog adoption businesses. The Internet has helped to escalate these scenarios.

When I saw Ozzie represented as a Lab/pointer mix, as he seemed to be in the photo, I filled out an application and spoke to the seller. After seeing so many dogs that were really far away NYC seemed local to me. I made an appointment to drive down the following afternoon. We drove 4 hours and when we got out of the car they brought out Ozzie--He was up to my waist. A Great Dane! No more than a teaspoon of Lab or Pointer in him! You can't deny a Great Dane! It was laughable. I no longer trusted these guys. And after being deceived I was in no mood to give them my business. We stuck around long enough to pee and wash our hands. I did see their dogs and I saw a retired couple buy a very sick bloated sad Weimeraner. The owner and his sidekick were like used-car salesmen obviously just trying to make a buck while taking advantage of people's desire and ignorance. So we turned around and drove home with lots to talk about and ate our tuna fish sandwiches and apples we had packed for supper.

I am going to recover and talk to my friend the veterinarian because he sometimes hears of great dogs that families have to give up due to divorce or moving etc. I'll keep searching on PetFinder but stick with the truly local shelters.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Lost And Found

Today I told my husband I have to take a walk with my invisible dog (again) and I headed out towards the sun in the icy air. I was thinking all morning that I don't feel right without my daily walk through the city. No matter how gloomy I am I usually feel a smile coming on after a few blocks. Today as I passed the senior center on Social Street I saw a loose dog running up ahead on the sidewalk in front of the Rent-A-Center. I whistled for him. He was being pursued by three nine-year-old boys carrying skateboards. I ran towards them to meet the dog. The boys asked me if it was my dog. I said no. The dog seemed friendly and strong. They were holding the dog by the collar trying to read the printing on his three green, purple, and blue dog tags; Blackstone Dog license, Countryside Vet Clinic rabies vaccination, and a tag labeled Seamus with a Blackstone phone number. I said Seamus, a nice Irish name. I told the boys I'd take the dog home and call his owners. I also told them that my dog just died ten days ago and she was a chocolate Lab too. One of the boys said are you sure she died? He was implying that this was possibly my deceased dog! I said yes, I'm sure.

I didn't have a leash or a rope so I just gripped his wide leather collar and held on for a very vigourous mile. It must have been a funny sight of me pulling, slightly bent over while walking, steering him to my neighborhood. Boy was he strong! We had to stop a few times for me to switch arms. He had a huge head and was dark brown with yellow eyes. I tried to make eye contact with him and to get him to sit but neither worked. He was obviously young and a Labrador and judging by his head shape possibly mixed with pitbull. We walked through the park onto Elbow Street and a tall man getting into his white pickup truck parked behind Joe's Moldy Oldies offered me a piece of rope about three feet long. I thanked him and as I was trying to make my favorite knot shaped like an eight, a woman came out onto the porch above us and said here you go! and tossed down a black leash. I said thank you so much! I can return it! She said no, I have plenty. I clicked on the leash and he was in heaven and so was I! Sadly we were a block away from my home because now we were both ready to have a real walk.

I let him into our little yard and he sniffed everywhere, marking where Honey's scent remained. We went into the big yard and I knocked on the living room window motioning to Bill to come out. I told him the story of finding the loose dog. Do you believe it! God is winking at me, I said. Bill offered to call the dog's family while I played with Seamus. I threw a tennis ball and he tried to find it in the snow. He was a goofball! He loved burying his face in the snow and snorting with delight! He chased the ball but didn't exactly bring it back. So I retrieved it for him and tried again walking in the deep snow in my clogs! After about 15 minutes the dogs owner arrived and he was very grateful and sweet. I told him we just lost our chocolate Lab ten days ago. He said, Seamus loves you! He said the dog is a pure-bred Lab 16 months old and has escaped his yard a few times. He said the dog is not fixed because they are going to breed him. He looked at the dog and said his tail is down because he knows he's in trouble. I said don't be too hard on him, we had a lovely time, as they descended the steps.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Myself As A Dog

In reading the adoptable dog listings I started to imagine describing myself as a dog:

Friendly, one person dog, likes a daily routine, this dog is extremely emotionally sensitive, loves people but doesn't like to socialize in large groups, likes to be scratched on the scalp and behind the ears, sniffs everything, needs daily long walks, loves to swim especially in very cold water, loves to eat but has a delicate stomach, loves to play in the snow and go for car rides, has a wacky coat!


I am singing for the first time!!! (In the key of G). I'm performing two Carter Family songs that are longtime favorites of mine "Keep On The Sunny Side" (my mantra!) and "I'm Thinking Tonight Of My Blue Eyes". Lauren sings the high harmony and our blend of high and low voices sound authentically Appalachian.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Munroe Dairy Band

Have a look at the three minute Munroe Dairy Band video Richard Goulis made of us!!
I love it!
Click here to watch the Munroe Dairy Marching Band on YouTube.

Invisible Dog

I miss Honey and it seems to really hit me hard when I first wake up in the morning. So I stand in the backyard for a moment and breathe the fresh air like I would normally do with her. I am taking myself out for the same ritual of neighborhood dog walks and that feels right. I fear I will never find dog love again, but I know that is a ridiculous thought. I suspect it's just part of the grieving and my winter head. So, for now I am walking my invisible dog.

I am so thrilled Obama is our new president. His speeches bring tears to my eyes and inspiration and hope back into my heart. I feel like we are experiencing a long
awaited miracle.

Beloved Honey

Our beloved Honey dog passed away last Thursday January 15th. She had been suffering from kidney disease which was triggered by Lyme disease she contracted in November. We miss her terribly. Our family and community of friends and neighbors loved Honey and they all miss her too. It is so sad. As I make the rounds without her I tell people and we shed tears together. The letters and cards and flowers have been flooding in. I am comforted to know that she had a wonderful life while enriching ours. She taught me that she was happiest walking for many miles each day and then running as fast as she could to chase and jump after the tennis ball. So we did as often as we could, and getting out was a blessing to us both! She was a graceful and beautiful athlete. A real dog ballerina! She could hop over a tiny fence in our flower garden to retrieve a ball and not disturb the plants. She was a working dog put to work. She was a conduit for me to connect to my community. Because we were rarely apart and we were both a bit daring, I brought her places dogs aren't allowed; the parks, the bank, the YMCA, Beacon school, the post office, the public library, city hall, GiGi's store, even the police station. People were thrilled to meet her and many got to know her including the dog catcher and all of the public works folks who work outdoors around the city. She was fifty pounds - lamb sized - and would sometimes curl up in my lap on car rides when we were both passengers. I could lift her and carry her if ever I needed to. When we went for walks it wasn't unusual for people to shout out of their cars and apartment windows "What a pretty dog!" as we walked by. She was a magnet and a conduit for nearly everyone in her path. She was our little brown monkey.

When she sat upright her proportions were beautifully showcased. She looked like an adolescent chocolate lab. She was a mixture of chocolate Labrador and German Short-haired Pointer. I adopted her just after Veteran's Day Weekend November 2002 from the North Kingstown Dog Pound. They told me she had been abandoned at a horse farm. My vet examined her teeth and determined she was about two. She had a long scar behind her right shoulder that told the story of having been hit by a car. That's probably why she never liked trucks or motorcycles driving by. When we adopted her she had never been indoors. It was all a new experience for her, riding in a car, walking up and down stairs, and learning to tell us when she needed to pee. We discovered she loved to play and chew plastic bottles or milk jugs; she loved making the crinkling sound. I imagined that was what the former owners threw out in their yard for her to play with. She would drink other people's coffee if they put their cup down unattended. She had loose lips - when she drank water she gulped heartily and then left a sloppy trail of water. I learned this was a Pointer thing! In the summer when she had been playing fetch she would put her front paws in the water bowl to cool off. She loved to swim and had gorgeous thick sturdy hairy-between-the-pads webbed feet! I always loved and admired her big feet! But in winter if she got salty ice clumps in her paws she would lift them up which made walking tough. We would stop to take out the ice balls or I would sometimes carry her over to a fluffy snow spot. One winter we got her booties. She didn't mind wearing them and ran through the deep snow in the cemetery that day until the booties were rags.

When I caught her counter-surfing and scolded her she just let it roll off her back. She had no remorse. She wasn't afraid of fireworks. She had separation anxiety (but so did I!) She was a clockwise dog - running in circles, sometimes even chasing her tail. She liked to keep us on a strict schedule! She was the most vocal dog I've ever had, barking her commands which was good because she had a small bladder and drank lots of water. We would lose track of time but she never did. One time she ate a blob of my sourdough bread dough set to rise and got drunk and staggered and was sick for a day. It was awful. We called her the prettiest dog in the world! With her yellow eyes and Pointer face and soft shapely ears she was a heart melter. She was the most curious dog I'd ever had. She stuck her nose in every box, bag, purse, and instrument case that came into our house. When in the kitchen she'd get flour on her nose, standing under me while I was measuring it out.

I am afraid of loving again, afraid of all of the tick borne diseases and high costs of vet care, afraid of never finding a dog as wonderful as Honey. But as my pals The Red Clay Ramblers wrote in their song "It's half a life without a dog!"

Monday, January 05, 2009


Just because you are born to someone it doesn't mean you belong to them.
-Julius Lester, Pharaoh's Daughter

Sunday, January 04, 2009


Cowardly Lion:

Courage. What makes a King out of a slave? Courage.

What makes the flag on the mast to wave? Courage.

What makes the elephant charge his tusk in the misty mist or the dusky dusk?

What makes the muskrat guard his musk? Courage.

What makes the Sphinx the 7th Wonder? Courage.

What makes the dawn come up like THUNDER?! Courage.

What makes the Hottentot so hot?

What puts the "ape" in ape-ricot?

Whatta they got that I ain't got?

Dorothy & Friends: Courage!

Cowardly Lion: You can say that again.

-The Wizard of Oz, 1939

Resistance To Indoctrination

For those of us who have resistance to indoctrination, how did we get so lucky?


Whom and what we identify ourselves with determines our characters, determines who we are, and what we do. Whose opinion matters to you the most? When you know that, when you know whom it is you most care about pleasing, you know who you are.
-Julius Lester, Guardian

Saturday, January 03, 2009


Whenever I see elephants I want to cry! I love them so much! I think they are all my grandfather Nat. He was big and round and wore gray suits. Recently I have seen elephants on nature shows on public TV. One episode had a mother scoop up her newborn premature baby elephant in her trunk. She carried it out of the sun into the shade.

An Author

An author in his book must be like God in the universe, present everywhere and visible nowhere.
-Gustave Flaubert


Today I read Guardian a new book by Julius Lester. I recommend it. Here's is one of my favorite quotes from the book:

Yes, but it's your life, Ansel. Being a failure at living your own life as best you can is better than being a success living the life somebody else says you should live.

Writing Quotes

If I don't write to empty my mind, I go mad.
-Lord Byron

What no wife of a writer can ever understand is that a writer is working when he's staring out of the window.
-Burton Rascoe

Keep a diary and one day it'll keep you.
-Mae West

Friday, January 02, 2009


The more articulate one is, the more dangerous words become.
-May Sarton


Most people have to talk so they won't hear.
-May Sarton

Poverty And Richness

Loneliness is the poverty of self; solitude is the richness of self.
-May Sarton

Darkness And Light

Help us to be ever faithful gardeners of the spirit, who know that without darkness nothing comes to birth, and without light nothing flowers.
-May Sarton

To Write

To write is an entertainment I put on for myself.
-Jean Cocteau

Truly Free

The truly free man will turn down an invitation to dinner without giving an excuse.
-Jules Renard


There is no story without a listener.
-Susan Baur, Confiding


Sorrow is the vitamin of growth.
- Dr. Elvin Semrad

Thursday, January 01, 2009

A Writer

In the morning when I went to school, my father would put on his good suit and his gray felt hat and ride down the elevator with the other men on their way to the office. From the lobby he would walk down to the basement, to the windowless storage room that came with our apartment. That was where he worked. There, he hung up the suit and hat and wrote all morning in his boxer shorts, typing away on his portable Underwood set up on a folding table. At lunchtime he would put the suit back on and ride up in the elevator.
-Susan Cheever, writing about her father John, in Home Before Dark

There was a man who lived on our street when I was a child. We'd see him walking through the neighborhood all the time in his long wool coat. The kids would say "He's a writer".