This is me today

This morning I walked into a store to buy a coffee.  I smelled you.  I looked everywhere but you were not there.  14 years and it hit me like a punch in the gut.  I saw a man in a car today.  I thought it was you.  It was not.  I think I’m going to see you soon.  I feel it.  And it doesn’t really matter.  I’m OK.  You’re not OK.  My version of the book.

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NOT.

I am moving soon.  It is a difficult thing to do.  The packing and selling and organizing.  Selling some of the stuff in my parents’ house so I can get my stuff out of here and in there.  Log jam!  Sometimes I feel overwhelmed.  And other times I feel like – I’ve got this.  I’m a frigging production manager.

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My father had his shoulder replaced last week.  He looked so awful afterward in the hospital, he scared me.  And I don’t scare easily.  He will be 81 on March 30.  He has been in rehab since Friday.  He is himself again.  If he wasn’t sitting around in jammies and wearing a sling, you’d never know.  Yay!

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I have a new job.  Driving an escort car for oversize loads.  I love love love love love it.  If I have my way, I will never ever sit in an office again.  Unless it is volunteer work of some kind.

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The other day I was escorting a guy whose handle was Big Daddy.  I kid you not.  But I did kid him about it; oh yes I did.  So we’re coming over 691 and I said, “Big Daddy.  See that tower up there?”  He said yes.  I said, “When I was in high school, I used to go up there with my friends and smoke the wacky.”  He laughed and said, “Me too.”  Turns out, Big Daddy went to high school in Connecticut, as did I.  We graduated in the same year.  I met Big Daddy in person at the end of the run.  He looked like my ex.  A little taller and his Buddha was a little smaller.  He had a shaved head complete with baseball cap, bright blue eyes and the same hands.  I said, “Big Daddy.  You look like my ex.  Hey!  You could be my next ex.”  He rolled his eyes.  I get a lot of that.

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I have this dog Dante.  He is some kind of freaky critter.  He is not my Mikey.  This doesn’t mean I don’t love him.  Maybe I feel about Dante how mothers feel about their kids.  You love them all but you love them different?  First I had Dave and he was my baby.  No doubt about it.  Then I had Mike and he was my BFF.  I loved him with my heart.  I still do.  We got each other.  Now I have Dante.  A rescue.  I had the others from puppy stage.  Dante has issues.  He is needy.  He cries and barks.  But he is sweet.  He stares at me all the time.  And he loves me.  And he is playful.  He worries.  I can tell.  He paws at me if I don’t touch him enough, which for him is most of the time.  He throws himself at me.  He tries to sit or lie on my lap.  He weighs 55 pounds.  He hogs the bed.  I have to fight for space.  But I’m a dog person/poodle mama.  I love his screwed-up little self.  But I think I might miss Mike every day for the rest of my life.

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Never heard of Pharrell Williams till the song “Happy” came out.  I freaking love it.  I wish I had written it.  But I never would have worn shorts to the Academy Awards.

Because I’m happy
Clap along if you feel like a room without a roof
Because I’m happy
Clap along if you feel like happiness is the truth
Because I’m happy
Clap along if you know what happiness is to you
Because I’m happy
Clap along if you feel like that’s what you wanna do

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Today, I am happy too.

happy day

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Call me Zoe. Please.

The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched. They must be felt with the heart.  Helen Keller

There are lots of kinds of love.  This is a story about one of them.

I don’t know if I love my sister’s son more than other people love their nephews in general, but I think that answer may be yes.  And probably because I don’t have children.  I’ll admit it.

I had been trying to have a baby for 4 years.  When I found out my sister was pregnant just 4 months after her wedding day, I thought my heart would break.  Right in half and just fall out of my chest.  Quietly.  Poof.  Just like that.  To say I was not happy would be a gross understatement.  I wasn’t mad at her.  That didn’t even enter into my misery.  But then I saw him.  And it was love at first sight for me.

When he was little and he would cry, I could make him stop.  His mother could too, obviously, but so could I.  It was an amazing feeling.  He used to sit on my lap facing out at the “crowd”.  I would sniff his head.  Baby-head smell.  Is there any lovelier perfume on earth?  My sister worried he would grow to be an adult man paying hookers to sniff his head but so far so good.  As far as we know.  When he got fussy, I would sing the Yale Fight Song softly into his ear.  Boola boola.  Boola boola.  I don’t know why it worked.  But it did.  He probably dreams about that song and has no idea why.

Jake was about 5 and we were sitting on the floor in front of the coffee table.  There was a party going on and there were these little hot dog thingies wrapped in dough.  He picked up one of the thingies and waved it very close to my face.
J:  Do you know what this looks like?
S:  Yes I do.
J:  Well I’m not eating it (as he throws it back into the serving dish).
Grandmother:  Not gay.

This one’s about Dave, my very little cute poodle boy.
J:  If Dave and I were both hanging onto the edge of a cliff and you could only save one of us, which one would it be.
S:  (Looks around room and finds her dog and smiles.)
J:  COME ON!  HE’S A DOG!!!
S:  You should never ask questions to which you do not want to know the answer.

He had a well developed sense of humor.  Right from the get-go.

He can’t be more than 8 or 9 for this one.
J:  I think I’m going to give you a nickname.
S:  Really.  What are you thinking about?
J:  Either Zoe or Turdbucket.
S:  Well if I get a vote, I’ll go with Zoe.

He is bright, funny, well-read, a thinker.  When he was a teenager I used to like to put my arm around his shoulders and look at him very seriously and ask him if he wanted to talk about his “feelings“.  I believe I got this idea from my sister (tag-team torment).  Always got the horrified reaction I wanted.

When he was 12, his parents put him on a plane in Texas and I took him off the other end in Orlando.  I had vacationed in Paris for two weeks and spent less than I did on that kid in 8 days in Florida.  Not kidding.  He wanted me to rent a convertible.  I told him they were too expensive and they were.  About three times the cost of a little sedan.  But the more I thought about it, I felt he needed a convertible.  So I rented a little red Mitsubishi Eclipse.  Sunshine and sunglasses.  He was happy.  I was happy he was happy.  Whatever he wanted, if I could do it, I did.

A few years later.  He’s about 15.
J:  What ever made you become involved with BARC?
S:  Well I have a mentally-handicapped nephew and I wanted to do something…
J:  (interrupting) I’m your only nephew and I’m not…  HEY!  That’s not funny.
Grandfather:  Yes it is.

So now Jake is a young man.  He worked his way through college.  All by himself.  A couple of years at community college and then he transferred his credits to a state university.  And now he’s in grad school.  Most kids don’t work and put themselves through school at the same time anymore but MY nephew did.

Jake lives far away but he and I have had a lot of laughs over the years.  I wish he was closer but that’s not the way it has worked out so far.  We have done the best we can.  I turned him on to sushi.  And sake.  I always take him out for a feast when we are together.  I don’t care how broke I am at the time; I don’t have the kind of money I used to back in the Orlando/Paris days.  But there’s always sushi money.

Jake is often in my thoughts.  But I don’t call him all the time.  I don’t stalk him on Facebook.  He’s a big boy now and he doesn’t need his auntie calling him all the time.  But truthfully, I had to edit the crap out of this thing so I didn’t sound like my Great Aunt Elsie, may she rest in peace, talking about my 4-year-old father back in 1937 Abba Abba I cut my hair.  I would love to dote on him and talk about him incessantly but I control myself.

So Jake.  Here’s the thing.  I couldn’t love you more if you were my own.  I’m proud of you and you can always count on me.  If I can ever help you, I will.  We live far apart and I love nothing more than seeing you and spending time with you.  And taking you out for sushi.  Always know that I’m pulling for you and you‘d better call me if you need anything.  You know, besides money.  And I’d give you that if I had any.  OXO.  LYB.

In memory of Puppy Dog mostly known as PD

My friends Dik and Mary Ann lost their special boy PD yesterday.  I woke up several times during the night thinking of them.  I hate to even think of their pain but I hope they can find some comfort in knowing that they are wonderful dog parents and no dog had a better life than PD.  He was special.  He was always loved.

And this event inspired me to try to write about dogs.  Now I don’t believe I can do the dog-person relationship justice.  And I don’t think anyone who doesn’t have a dog could ever really get it but I’m going to take a run at this.

I got my first dog Dave when I was 37.  I remember thinking after a few short weeks that I had no idea what I had been missing.  I had spent years without a dog when I could have had one.  I find it to be one of life’s most rewarding experiences.  Dave was my baby.  I have his ashes sealed in a little green container and it’s going with me.  I still think of him all the time.  Dave spent a lot of a time in a blue denim pooch pouch – all 5 pounds of him.  I still have it.  Like a backwards backpack with an opening at the top.  I took him everywhere my little papoose.  He went grocery shopping and to Marshall’s, on errands, to all the local Connecticut events – craft shows and the Apple Festival, the fall fairs we have here every year, parades.  He went to work with me sometimes.  He spent a lot of time with his grandparents and his real parents Honey and Moose – quite the pair themselves.  I loved Dave with all my heart.

Honey and Moose lived with my parents.  Moose was a loveable little guy.  Sweet through and through.  Everyone loved Moose.  I loved him too.  But that Honey, she was my sister.   She was one special bitch and I don‘t mean like a dog bitch.  White toy poodle. No more than 8 pounds.  And she was the goddamn leader of the pack, get out of my way, the Queen is here, straighten up and fly right, walk behind me, I am in front fool, thank you for your cooperation, the end.  Now pet me.  I loved her a LOT.  She had “attitude”.

I lost Dave in March 2001.  He had kidney failure.  I didn’t realize he was sick; it came on and ended so suddenly.  And he was gone.  Just like that.  In a few days.  I cried Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday.  I woke up Saturday morning and started to cry again and then I realized I had to stop.  Just had to.  I was so tired.

I am driving home from work.  Why am I bothering to go home.  I don’t have a dog.  I should go out and do something.  But I’m 45 years old and I don’t want to go out.  I want to go home.  I drive into the garage.  I don’t have a dog.  I am walking toward the door.  I insert the key.  Why isn’t the dog barking.  Oh my god I don’t have a dog.  Repeat.  For days.

Then came Mike.  Mike from Springfield.  I liked him immediately.  He was rowdy.  That is why I picked him.  Silly me.  He was about 4 months old that afternoon I drove him home, and more than 25 pounds.  Not like Dave.  I remember napping one Saturday shortly thereafter and waking up to something.  And it was this.  Mike’s face.  Two inches from mine.  Over me.  Staring down.  His nose looked huge from that angle.  I’m looking into those liquid brown eyes and thinking I like you but will I ever love you like I loved Dave?

The answer to that is no.  Not like I loved Dave.  Different than I loved Dave.  But love him I do.  Mike is not my baby.  He is my guy.  Big and bold.  Silly and smart.  My dog has a sense of humor.  He is standing right here looking at me now.  Like a lunatic with a squished yellow tennis ball in his mouth.


Here is something I believe.  And this applies to my whole life.  You get out of things what you put into them.  I love my Mikey.  All 65 pounds of him.  I trust him.  He is beautiful to me.  I kiss him and hug him.  He sits right in front of me and looks up at my face waiting for permission to leap.  I pat the front of my chest and he jumps up and put his “hands” on my shoulders.  We dance in the living room and I sing to him wild thing you make my heart sing you make everything grooooooooovy.  And I get it back.  The love.  The trust.  The sense of fun.  One would never say Mike had a subdued personality. Like his mama.

It’s awful that our dogs’ life expectancies are so short.  But they are.  I’m thinking of you all now my beautiful boys and girls –  the ones who are not with us – PD & Dave, Tiger, Cricket, Honey & Moose.   And the ones who are still with us – Scooter, Ally, Shilo, Marty, My best boy Mike, Lady and the girls AKA Some Poodles, Hickory, Mack, Boo, Barkley, Rock.  And your dogs too.

So in honor of PD, I’m going to give Mike one of his favorite treats today.  His big red Kong with a couple of globs of peanut butter stuffed in there.  Two or three broken up dog cookies pushed inside and stuck to the peanut butter.  Or cheerios.  He likes cheerios.  And I’m gonna hug him and kiss him and call him good boy.  And I will give him the Kong and tell him this is in memory of PD.  He was a good boy too.

I love

I love (in no particular order)
Sushi
My dog Mike
Paris
Hot weather, sunshine, summer
My third husband Terry Bradshaw
Chocolate
Floating in/on Lake Ebeemee
Pedicures
Maps
Supper Club
My parents and sisters even when I want to bop them over the head
Reading in my spot
Sex
Ben & Jerry
The thought of retirement – please please please
Girlfriends
My niece and nephew – Jake you are the child of my heart
The internet
Cooking
Living by myself
Books
My dog Dave, may he rest in peace, I will always miss you, you were my first
Vicky
Flowers
Being in love
My blog (or my blob as I like to call it)
Massages

I do not love (also in no particular order)
Alarm clocks
Lima beans
Snow, winter, cold weather
Potato salad
Arrogance
Vacuuming
Tattoos
Hard mattresses
Arthritis
Organized religion
Non-hairdos – for christ’s sake do something with it
Cancer