Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Stumped for a Gift Idea? Avoid the Dog House

This video doesn't only apply to men buying gifts for women. Avoid the problem of giving the wrong gift by purchasing something everyone would appreciate.


Thursday, November 11, 2010


My husband. He’s one of the most focused people I know. And he can never sit still. He just retired from a long career with the airline industry as a customer service rep, or as I like to say, he’s the guy who lost your luggage. I should have known that even with time on his hands, he would act like there’s never enough hours in a day. (I mean seriously, what did he do when he had a full time job?) No kidding, this guy works non-stop, running errands, adding his personal touches to our new home (mostly guy type stuff like switch plates, bulbs, window tinting, garage shelves, etc), and wandering the aisles of Home Depot looking for new projects worthy of his attention. What’s not to love about this guy? Especially when he putters around the house and leaves me to write.

Now I’ve got the holidays coming up, and yet again, I have a book project deadline that is looming. It’s a squishy one. My publisher has already given me more time, but I still don’t want to abuse that courtesy, so I’m trying to stick close to the original date. But as the holidays get closer, there are certain things I do that are purely my thing, like our Christmas newsletter. (Joy to the world! Another writing project with a hard and fast deadline.)

Now for years, my busy, detail-oriented husband dutifully has given me HIS list of noteworthy things we’ve done during the year, to make sure I don’t forget to mention them. Need I say, that as an author of FICTION, I find these things fairly tedious and mundane. Are they real? Yes. Do people need to know we did them? Not so much.

So in the past, I have embellished our lives with my creative imaginings by making us ambassadors to foreign countries, or polar bear hunters, or the first line of defense when space aliens invaded Aruba while we were drinking numerous libations at the Pega Pega bar. So before my husband gives me his list, I was hoping to get help from the very creative people we have posting to this blog.

What fun—and very untrue—things can I add to my Christmas letter for 2010? Or what fun things have you read in other Christmas newsletters? Has anyone made you laugh out loud at their annual letter?

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

One Life

I was remembering our old dog, Feliz, the other day after I had found her collar in a box and wanted to share something that I had written to get past the profound sorrow of losing her.

Feliz had passed from this life after sixteen years of sharing her love. And as we knew it would, her death broke our hearts. Grief manifests itself in many ways. We still hear the click of her nails on tile, still see her shadow at the door, and we still linger at the garage, waiting for her to show and claim a biscuit. All of these moments are products of our wishful thinking and old habits are hard to deny, but it’s amazing how well she trained us. And if Stephen King’s story in Pet Sematary were true, we’d gladly welcome her back to this life, even if she were the spawn of Satan. That’s how much we loved her.

Her full name was Feliz Navidog. Yes, she was a Christmas present, but not for us. We had given her to my parents with the caveat that if they truly didn’t want a puppy, they could return her to us. And within two weeks, back she came. In hindsight, she was the best present we ever got. We nearly called her Boomerang, but in Spanish, the word Feliz translates to ‘happy’ and that suited her just fine. She always had a smile on her face.

When she was a pup, she had a dark muzzle, one ear up and one down, a curled tail and an unfaltering bounce to her step. People often asked us what breed she was. In truth, she was a German Shepherd Chow mix, but we lovingly called her a “Somma Dog”—because she was somma dis, somma dat. But one man’s mutt is another man’s idea of perfection.

And Feliz had many admirable skills, despite her questionable lineage.

She was a practitioner of puppy telepathy, transmitting her thoughts to us with a meaningful stare. And she spoke the language of human beings with unfailing accuracy, developing an extensive vocabulary. Balancing a biscuit on the end of her nose then tossing it into her mouth had become her signature move. And in later years, she mastered sign language when her hearing was failing. Who says you can’t teach an old dog new tricks?

And every morning of her life—without fail—she awoke for the sole purpose of pleasing us. We saw it in her face and felt it on her warm wet tongue. She never tired of the routine or the mundane, even after her joints got stiff and her eyesight grew dim—because in her mind, she was always that puppy with a bounce in her step.

Dogs remind us that love should be unconditional. And in their world, friendships begin with a well-placed and unerring sniff—completely devoid of an ulterior motive or personal agenda. If you pass the sniff test, you’re in. No cover charge and no membership fee. And with a mere wag of a tail, a dog can make you smile and lift your spirits. We can all learn from them—because their love comes from a higher place.

I’d love for you to share your pet stories. Do you have a favorite pet?