Tag Archives: pets

Making Stuff…


Two years ago, two of my neighbors and I got together to create Vision Boards.   A Vision Board is a way put forward the setting of goals and to visualize one’s Ideal. 

My “board” morphed into a book that I called My Life’s Intentions.  I ended up with about 23 pages.  Some were esoteric goals like: be a friend; live my faith; pursue peace; and be joyful,  Others were more concrete like:  write, write, write; live my faith; keep family close; and care for my pets.


Many were day-to-day intentions, and others were long-term goals.

Long-term goals were to travel to Australia.  Tick.  Exercise.  Tick.  Dress nicely.  Tick, I hope.

And the one to which I dedicated this weekend was:  Make Stuff.

I have been making stuff since I was a kid.  Mostly, as an adult, I have paper crafted and sewed.  My high school friend/college roommate taught me to sew, so that I could have more clothes.  (See Dress nicely.) 

In sewing, I found my niche by repurposing already existing items.  I’ve made aprons from skirts and shirts.  I’ve made smocks from shirts, purses and bags from upholstery material and old wool coats and sweaters.  I’ve made pillows, quilts, and more.

Enter Pinterest.  I saw a dress I liked from repurposed men’s shirts.  I was motivated and inspired.  I went to Goodwill, and I got going.  It was a great afternoon, and I ended up with a dress. 


Making stuff.  Never completely a tick, but a start.


A Few of my Favorite Things…


There are some very simple things that really bring me great joy, and I was listing them in my mind as I walked around the track today.  The Sound of Music is one of my favorite movies, and I know almost all of the songs by heart.  I used to listen to the soundtrack on reel-to-reel tapes on a tape deck that my step-dad brought back from Okinawa when he returned from one of his tours back in the 60’s.  I can belt out almost word-for-word every lyric.  I sound really good…to myself, by the way.

So favorite things… I just really love fresh, crisp, clean sheets, and a freshly made bed.  Sunday nights are glorious for me, because that is when I change my sheets.  I wear fresh jammies, and turn on my fan, and crawl in and scrunch up.

The Carolina blue of the Wisconsin sky on a breezy, dry day is a perfect joy.  I have lain in the grass and looked up through the trees.  I have lain in the bed of a pickup and felt thrilled.

I can’t even tell you how laughing with my sisters makes me feel…or the hug of a brother.  Hoo-boy.

When I open Yahoo, and see that I have an email from my beasties, my heart races.  I know I will feel the pull of friendship, and am grateful that I have been blessed with these beautiful women in my life.

I love the way my little dog, Hattie, will lie on my chest when we take a nap together on the sofa after lunch.  And I really love a nap, too.  When Beedle Ray Weedleman (boy cat, extraordinaire) joins us, I am in heaven.

I find joy in a red or yellow autumn leaf.  I can hardly step over a perfectly colored leaf.  I pick them up, take them home, and put them on my kitchen table until they curl up, and I have to throw them away.  I found a craft of making a bowl from leaves that I am going to try, just to make them last a little longer.

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I love the smell of crayons, and I can’t help it.  Sometimes I believe that’s why I taught first grade for so long…so that I could smell Crayolas and arrange them by hue.

Freshly cut grass and new-mown hay are pretty special.  The look and the smell of the lawn send me back in time.  I also have a good bit of house-pride, so that attributes to my joy.

And bluebirds.  Seeing bluebirds makes me really happy.

Yep, it really doesn’t take much.  I’m a pretty cheap date. And now, I have the earworm of Julie Andrews, who I sound so much like in my own mind, and I must belt it out, My Favorite Things.  I wish you could hear me.

Blue skies, nothin’ but blue skies…


Haven’t seen any of those for a week, but last Saturday was the perfect Wisconsin almost-summer day. The sky was that blindingly brilliant blue that is so sharp it hurts your eyes. In the south, we like to call that color Carolina Blue, but in reality, the Wisconsin sky sort of out-does it. At least it did last week.

The temperature was in the mid-seventies. The wind was up, and so I was tricked into thinking the brown-red tone my skin gets from my Mediterranean heritage was was just my imagination. I had been clipping the low suckers off the trees in my sister’s yard so I could mow closer without getting my corneas scratched. I then hauled the bountiful armloads of branches across a deep clover field to a burn pile, my feet dragging through the grass trip after trip.

The dogs were out running their traps, the little ones chasing each other and nipping ankles, each other’s and mine, and the “mothership,” Rosie, was standing with her nose to the wind. Brush collected, I found a spot under a maple, laid down right in the grass. I watched the leaves flutter and the branches bend above my head. Before too long, I had a puppy laying on my head and another tucked under my arm. It’s been a very, very long time since I let myself go like I did that afternoon. It was simply glorious.

Gonna go down to the Animal Blessing…


Once again, it is that time of year.  The Feast of St. Francis of Assisi and the Blessing of the Animals is upon us.  This year, Hattie is a big two year-old girl, and she has her little brother to bring along.  Yes, Mr. Beedle Weedleman the cat is getting blessed, as well.  Frankly, we all need it, and I am hoping that I catch some of that holy water.

You may remember that last year, Hattie was the worst behaved participant present, and there was a PIG there!  I have some standards, and they were totally disintegrated, as my little Hattie howled, cried, whimpered, and more or less made fools of us both throughout the entire event.

The collection of “Blessees” was much less diverse this year.  No pigs, hamsters, or teddy bears were present, only dogs, cats, and two rabbits.   Of course, Beedle was confined to a carrier.  He was completely docile, if not relaxed.  He even purred.  Hattie, on the other hand,  started her cries half a block from church, but once we walked up on the grassy rise by the statue of the Blessed Mother, she sniffed another patient doggie (not saying where), and she was happy, happy, happy.  She sat.  She waited.  She even laid down for a few milliseconds between making friends.

The blessing seems to have worked!  So cooperative was Hattie that I was able to linger for a bit and talk to the other pet parents.  I walked home filled with gratitude for such a beautiful tradition, for being spared humiliation by Hattie, and for the having Beedle as a much loved member of my family and tiny household.  Yes, we are all truly blessed, and what a difference a year makes.

The Blessing of the Animals…


Today was the Blessing of the Animals at St. Leo the Great Catholic Church. It is always near October 4, the Feast Day of St. Francis of Assisi, beloved protector of Nature. My little dog, Hattie, is NOT a protector of Nature. She chews sticks, shreds leaves, and scratches up dirt. But, as usual, I digress…The pets gathered early in the morning on the damp, freshly mowed church lawn, by the statue of the Blessed Mother. There were about 30 people, and more animals. The pets ranged from stuffed teddy bears, to cats, dogs, and a charming pinkish-white pig named Giuseppe.

My little dog, Hattie, is NOT a Good Citizen anymore either, though she has had nearly more schooling than I do, in dog equivalency. She was the worst behaved pet in the whole entire animal congregation which was gathered, and I want to remind you there was a PIG present. I am not exaggerating. She whined, howled, and barked through the whole process, including greetings by the priest, prayers, and queuing up for the individual blessings. She rolled in the grass. (See damp and freshly mowed, above.) One woman came over to try to soothe her by patting her head. The woman behind me in line said to her dog, “You are being such a good boy.” I said, “Down, Hattie. Sit. Wait.” I muttered other things in my head, and looked enviously at Giuseppe the pig, standing properly. One family traded places with us in line, allowing us to get in front of them. How nice.

When it was our turn, Father dispensed with the chit chat and said, “We will just go ahead and bless her now,” leaving the unspoken, “so you can get her out of here.” And then she was blessed. Cheerfully and eagerly, she brought me home, and though she didn’t make any new friends (and neither did I), I think we are both blessed.

Pets. They help you heal…


It was almost like that bumper sticker, “My husband said if I get one more (fill in the blank), he’ll leave me. I sure will miss him.” I left my dog, a rescued Chihuahua, with my former spouse. I couldn’t bring her across country to stay in someone else’s home. I sure missed her, though, maybe more than I missed my former spouse. She never got angry with me, and she was always glad to see me. She was peaceful and lowered my blood pressure, rather than the reverse. I wasn’t afraid of her.
I first tried to fill the pet void with a guard fish, a Beta that I named Red Alert. You just can’t pet a fish, though. So when I returned from a trip, and dropped into see my sister, who was volunteering at a pet adoption, my eyes landed on a fuzzy white blob of puppy asleep on a glass countertop, and I was smitten. When I found, ten minutes before the adoption closed, that she still hadn’t been chosen, I picked her up, and it was, as they say, history.
I passed the screening interview. I was approved at the home visit. I was a doggy mama! She was everything I was not looking for…a baby, a shedder, and an alpha pup. I love her. My little Swiffer puppy is perfect for me. She is sweet, funny, energetic, social, and very, very cute. People stop their cars on the street when we are walking to remark about how adorable she is.
Hattie is going to doggy school, so I can learn how to be the pack leader. She just graduated from her Puppy Class, and is enrolled to begin Intermediate Class. I am thinking about getting the training we need for her to become a therapy dog. She fills a void in my heart, and certainly has been therapy for me. Pets give something that no human can, unconditional love. When your spirit is broken, that is exactly what you need. It is what I needed in order to heal.