In the Doghouse

My husband came to visit from a new job far away, for thirty hours during Labor Day weekend. Our dog Zoe would have nothing to do with him as he’d been gone a few weeks. He got in at 1 a.m. so it took until morning (Zoe wants her beauty sleep) but the “fun guy” was back playing ball with her and she was happy.

The other night I got a nosebleed and had to take apart, wash and put back every piece of bedding after waiting overnight for sheets and everything to dry. I got out two soft blankets and placed them on the L-shaped sofa and that’s where Zoe and I slept. She was not pleased with me all night for that, jumping up and down and clicking on the wood floors, until I took her out early this morning and fed her then put the bed back together after everything was dry. She’s happy now.

She only squeaks the ball when I get it down for her. She fetches it for my husband, and squeaks. It is an indestructible toy he “invented” and her first lasted ten years until the materials finally deteriorated due to age. That’s pretty good for a dog who can eviscerate a stuffed animal or tennis ball in 60 seconds.

Years ago when my youngest sister was 1-2, Dad went away every Tuesday for meetings across the state and returned Thursday night. She would cry when he returned as if she did not remember him, then hug him before he left. As a young girl I was somewhat responsible for her care and it bothered me because I knew the days and that he’d return. She was too young to know that.

Dogs remember things and people as well. My first dog always remembered people in uniform because her deputy sheriff owner would beat her. She was also afraid of children because she was left out in the sheriff’s yard and neighborhood kids threw rocks at her. That all changed when she came home with me. I’d like to think that living indoors in a good home with daily training and trust allowed her to let her the past be the past. She certainly showed it in our neighborhood and they loved her for it, military, children, dogs and their owners. Cheers! Dee


I lived above a dairy farm as a kid and am still in touch with the two families who owned it. We had great birthday parties there, competing for the best hay fort. That’s when they made small square bales, not round ones or what we call “marshmallows” that are wrapped in plastic.

There is a quality in a human being that comes from growing up on a dairy, now ranch. The hard headed-ness and attention to detail and driving, driving, driving everything is hard.

My husband is that man and we both effect change and that bothers the people who hire us to do so because they think they want it, but do not want to live through the change to achieve their objectives, mission, vision. I’ve retired from working for money but still effect change and work to help my husband do so as well.

One of my favorite homes is tearing down its mainstay, where many US Presidents and others have spoken and countless musicians, dancers have performed. It is and should be a national historic site. My dad saved it 35 years ago with other historic buildings for eight million dollars. Now they want to tear down one historic structure and add more seats for thirty million.

I worked there for years. My father was the president. One is supposed to be uncomfortable in the wooden seats where I sang Panis Angelicus in the County vocal championship in fourth grade. Second place.

There are fights that need to be done, and those that must be left alone. Change is a scary thing in any endeavor. When my husband, in a job interview, says dairy he’s usually hired on the spot. Before we married I asked what he did on holidays, family traditions et al. He said he milked cows.

He brought me to meet his parents. I used the guest bathroom at about 5:00 in the morning and unfortunately turned on the light. There were nine bulls staring at me from 15 feet away and they thought I was his father coming out to feed them. Those glowing eyes freaked me out. That’s ranching. Have a great day! Dee

Zoe Stories

Our Zoe is nearly 11 years old now. We got her from the shelter at six weeks. I took her out eight times a day but she was always a sleeper and even as a young pup she could easily sleep from 11 p.m. to 6 a.m. Now as an old lady she jumps off the bed when the sun begins to come up and crawls underneath it, under my pillow so I can’t go anywhere without her knowing. Herder, I love and hate it at the same time, hate it when she serpentines in front of me when I have a load of laundry in my arms to fold!

At nine weeks of age we went to see two of my husband’s college buddies, brothers. We took Zoe and their parents were kind enough to take her while we went out to dinner. We returned and there were towels all over the house. Zoe did not fall into their pool. She got a running start and dove in! Luckily she learned how to swim, swam to the other side and they fished her out. Oops.

Then there was Zeus. We went to Easter that same weekend at the vet who ended up taking out her hips a few months later. Val had many animals, horses, goats, dogs, cats and others. After dinner she gave all the hard-boiled and decorated Easter eggs to the dogs. Zoe got right in there. Zeus, the Alpha dog said NO! She went running. She was probably always Beta but certainly was after that day. When her hips went bad she’d just lay on the hill, tummy up, and no other dog ever disturbed her, I think it’s her kind and happy spirit that kept her from evisceration.

When her hips went bad at five months I looked into treatments. FHNO was the best option (femoral head and neck ostectomy) so we had Val do the surgeries at six and nine months of age as research showed doing the surgeries before 10 months led to an 80% chance of normality. There were no titanium hips available for 25 lb. dogs because they’re not supposed to get severe hip dysplasia (Val said it was the worst case she’d ever seen) so she grew her own hips from cartilage and has been very happy and healthy for over ten years. Still cow-hocked, but happy.

Zoe can corner around a tree faster than any big dog. And she plays outfield and gets the ball first. Smart gal, our Zoe. She now has a complicated game that requires removing wooden pegs and moving sliders to get treats. In a month and 7-8 trials what took her four minutes now takes 45 seconds. Then it’s my turn to fetch, under the sofa and coffee table for pegs to put up for the next time.

Val’s son had a guinea pig in a cage in his room back then. I was downstairs and heard the guinea pig and remarked that I never heard one talk before. Turns out her son opened the cage and Zoe tried to kill it, it was shrieking. After all that we were actually invited to stay other times. Zoe got it back, though. I’d take her out at six in the morning and the animals thought Val was up and they were about to be fed. Pork Chop, a 1,500 lb. cow and Val’s favorite horse followed us. The ground shook and Zoe was so freaked out she couldn’t do her business!

Oh, Pork Chop is buried on the property. Only fitting. Zoe is known around town. People don’t know my name but they know hers. Look, it’s Zoe! She has made many children happy. She even likes cats, one has even come to call for her, sleeping in front of our door because she knew our puppy walk schedule and with us, the brute squad, she could keep away from the mockingbirds.

Sometimes I wonder what Zoe is dreaming when she’s in REM sleep. Yes, people tell us dogs don’t dream, and that they can never remember anything after 45 minutes. WRONG! She runs in her sleep, after squirrels or mice, and she always goes to my father-in-law’s personal spot on the sofa to watch for him on the four-wheeler coming back from feeding the cattle, even if she hasn’t been there for a few years.

All y’all have a great day, Dee


I had several favorite classes in college and some ridiculous ones, as in when we were learning required philosophy classes and were told not to think, only spout out what the priest said. Philosophy without thinking. I knew it was bad at age 18 but didn’t want to have to take it again so aced it.

My favorites were Art History 1 and 2, Renaissance and Reformation, and Marriage and Family. The first three were taught by a favorite priest, long gone, Fr. John. The last is by my favorite professor, Fr. C.

Propinquity is nearness, it means marrying the kid next door or two blocks away. But they had to use the word to make it sound serious and meaningful. I asked “why can’t you just say nearness?” That’s how I met my husband 13 years ago. We lived a mile apart and met at a restaurant by chance at lunch. He called the next day, took my hand and so far has never let go. And all of a sudden I cherished the term propinquity.

Marriage and Family was taught by my chosen adviser, and it also included a campus favorite, The Barbie Lecture. Fr. C talked about the measurements of the doll vs. real women. She would be 7′ 4″ tall, etc. The class was about not seeing just the body, but the person. My mother and I were never close but she never let my younger sister or me to have a Barbie doll. We read and went to the library instead, and watched Walter Cronkite at dinner and Jacques Cousteau when we didn’t want to go to bed.

Maybe sometime I’ll tell you about a night class on deviant behavior. But you have to be really good in the meantime…… Cheers, Dee

Blue and Yellow

Years ago my neighbor moved a few doors away. She stopped talking to me after we’d been friends for years and we had even rescued George the cat and re-homed him. She said I lied to her. I never did.

A couple of years after she moved and we were not in touch, it was April 2001. Her dog Osa dragged her to my house. I petted her and she died the next day. Osita the little bear needed to say goodbye to Aunt Dee. I brought over a blue vase with yellow flowers. We talked and my neighbor said she didn’t like the guy I was dating or what I was doing with my life, plus that I never lied.

A month later my dog bled out on my front lawn. A tile guy from down the street helped me lift her into my Jeep to take her to the vet a couple of miles south. The vet said she needed to be put down. I stayed with her through a very difficult dying process and afterwards was proved right. She now has a memorial tree in her park that I can see on Google Earth and ashes are in her teddy bear (Osa) that I keep with me always.

The next day my old neighbor stopped by with a blue vase filled with yellow flowers and we were friends again.

* * *

I tell you this because there’s a therapy dog for hospital work here who is up on all her shots and just got kennel cough, which will keep her out of therapy and daycare for weeks. Because of Osa and my first and current dog, I’d like to help.

The first dog with the memorial tree got kennel cough once and she had the bordatella vaccine at the time as well. Keeping her away from her park and friends for five weeks was not fun for either of us. Our friends and the kids and parents were disappointed as well. The kids would yell her name and rush out of the tot lot to pet her, so much for an abused shelter dog afraid of men and children. I don’t like to think that I worked wonders. She was my partner in her rehabilitation to the first and only normal life she’d ever known.

I think I’ll never live without a dog. Dogs keep me out and walking and meeting others. A recent neighbor’s dog died a few weeks ago. I neglected to bring him a blue vase and yellow flowers. My dog and I did, however, water one of Jake’s favorite trees in the park across the street and said a prayer. When we get together again, I’ll bring the blue vase and yellow flowers and tell him the story. Cheers, hug your dog (or cat), Dee

ps I wrote this because of the neighbor’s dog with kennel cough. I took one of the first joint Red Cross/Humane Society rescue courses years ago and looked up the manual for kennel cough, get to a vet for treatment. In it I found a delinquency notice for failure to pay my dog’s license fee with escalating penalties. This is five months after the vet notified the county that she was dead. I just wrote DEAD and the name of the Vet and never heard from them again. Just watch out for these actions and let them know the bad news. Good news are memories, a bear with a heart sewn with love and a collage of photos courtesy of a dear friend. D


It was 46 degrees when I took out the dog early this morning. It’s not even mid-September but the trees are beginning to change color already after a cool summer.Then I hear from relatives that it’s 100 degrees and paint will not dry.

Feed the birds, tuppence a bag. I think of a film I saw several times in my childhood, Mary Poppins and its story, Saving Mr. Banks. Ms. Goff re-created a well-loved fantasy to cover her reality.

I wonder if all great artists are the production of uncaring, abusive or ill parents. I’ve been thinking of a book but even with thousands of posts I don’t know that I’ve the angst to do it because I had a pretty good childhood and life. Perhaps I could do it just for money. I don’t think so, unless it was to feed and house my family and that would not be a book.

Family promises were unwritten. We got to go to the Library every Saturday and check out a few books. My husband and I exchanged vows, promises, nearly 12 years ago and he’s living 2,000 miles from us.

The trees are changing and the flag is at half mast (I don’t know who died) and the wind is not coming from the east, so no Mary Poppins. While I always loved Feed the Birds, I always had a fancy for the penguins and flying carousel horses. Best, Dee


I’ve not worn a skirt for a while but would like to do so a bit after our 12th wedding anniversary. I think I’ve got the skirt and will get a spare, know I have the blouse. The spring cowgirl hat is in the closet. All I need is for someone to make me some real boots that will last a lifetime.

All the songs are down. Country most of the way, laid back, casual. We’ll work it out. My husband knew my plan right away. I want Nanny and my father to be there because we eloped nearly 12 years ago. Of course his parents and family.

I’m hoping for a very short ceremony, outdoors, with music and favorite foods. Nanny is the grandmother of the groom (adopted the bride) and would be escorted by S and a great grand, Jim’s parents walk him in, my father walks me in. I’d love to do it all country with a Ferragamo scarf. I digress.

Then we get M and others’ great food and iced tea. No drinking or dancing allowed but we’ll have music and good food. I know who we’ll get to stand up for us. It could be fun! Of course we’ll hear some Jerry Jeff Walker, Johnny Cash, Juni Fisher, CSNY, PPM, and of course Dylan and Baez, sadly none present. This event should have happened on our 10th, but this is my wish. Dee

Queen Kate Middleton Windsor Cambridge

Congratulations. Are we repeating the heir and the spare? Now that it can be a girl we’ve no worries, at least from across the pond. Elizabeth the First can finally rest.

We all have our own lives to lead, our own issues which since dot-bomb no-one has dealt with. To see one castle give out the news while another houses the family with a doctor to supervise morning sickness actually sickens me because no-one here is the heir of the wealthiest woman in the world with round-the-clock care of infants and embryos, cooking, cleaning, all the statuary and paintings are dusted every day and the sofas, carpets and chairs vacuumed.

Most of us don’t have that. Being pregnant may not be a good thing at age 15 with no education and a life that may be doomed to failure. To swoon over a royal baby-to-be may allow people to hope for their own families. It does not allow them to do so knowing that the cost is about $25o,000 to age 18. That doesn’t include college. It does not include their coming back home after college and setting up house in your basement because they can’t find a job.

Congratulations to the royal family, to the loyal families and others. Dee


When I used the guest bathroom at my Aunts’, both were English teachers who are going to scold me for my punctuation but not necessarily for content or spelling.

There was the big old OED, yes, a dictionary, on top of the toilet. By the time I got out I was supposed to have chosen a new word, its’ meaning and use it in a sentence.

It is interesting that my husband was read the Encylopaedia Brittanica by his, she’s agreed 12 years ago to be OUR Nanny, starting very early in life. We also had a set of EB and I learned much from it just reading from day to day.

One may say we led separate lives and we did until later in life. We both had dairy, education (science vs. liberal arts), and a will to make life better both for business, non-profit organizations, and us.

Words are difficult when transmitted via phone or email. All I know is that my husband is sick with cold/flu and I’m 2,000 miles away and can’t make him chicken soup or herbal tea.

The answer is tuppence, feed the birds. I’ve seen Saving Mr. Banks again and perhaps childhoods like that made people more creative as they aged. I think we use words because we had good parents, and one had grandparents, to show us the way. Supercalifragisticexpealidociously yours, Dee

ps I never used that in a sentence or explained it. We must ask Mary Poppins!




It was an homage to a calzone I loved at a favorite local restaurant where I usually ordered the portobello mushroom burger. Unfortunately if I turn my oven on above 375 degrees the smoke alarm goes off. It’s a clean oven, it’s just that the darned alarm is five feet away.

Pizza, when my husband is home, is a weekly thing. Friday night is pizza night. I make dough with Italian OO flour and everything. As our dog Zoe would say, “it’s routine.” Yes, she’s a herder. So I decided to try a calzone.

Everything stayed together as I used an egg wash for the seal, a fork to mash the dough down and egg wash on top. The dough was fully cooked, crispy on the outside and soft inside. I’d hoped for crispy throughout but couldn’t get the oven high enough without annoying my neighbors with smoke alarms and fire trucks.

The innards were tasty. I started with two slices of proscuitto, one on each soon-to-be interior, a handful of raw arugula, two cloves of roasted garlic, a shaving of fresh mozzarella, a few crumbs of feta then closed them up and baked for about 15 minutes at 400. Yes, it’s over the temperature limit but the egg wash on the edges on top and on the edges inside kept mayhem to a minimum.

I did enlist one guinea pig to try it and got a thumbs up. Next time I’ll have my mise en place and perhaps use less yeast and get a really thin crust. I may even cook them on the “off” side of our grill. I want it puffy and really crisp. Whatever I put inside it will be tasty. I want to add artichoke hearts next time. Dee