Archive for January, 2007

Dancing with the Dogs
January 27, 2007

Jeremiah 31:13 – Then shall the young women rejoice in the dance, and the young men and the old shall be merry. I will turn their mourning into joy, I will comfort them, and give them gladness for sorrow. 

I’m not a TV watcher at all; my true confession is that I don’t even know how to turn it on (what with the various remote controls, cable stations, etc.). Yes, I’ve heard about the show, ‘Dancing with the Stars’, but of course I’ve never watched it. The fact that Joel and I are beginning a course of dance lessons has nothing to do with this show, and our aspirations are not to dance like those showboats do. It is merely a desire to do something fun together and learn a new social skill while having a so-called, ‘date night’. Actually, it was Joel’s idea.

We met at the Sonia’s World of Dance studio in Houston this week. Don’t call us Fred and Ginger yet, but after only one lesson, we both learned that the key to dancing smoothly together is not your feet. Proper placement of and subtle pressure from the hands is what directs the movement of the feet without having to actually look at the feet. Who knew?

  We ate a post-dance supper out after our first lesson and vowed to practice our newfound skills faithfully. Then as I was returning home, a call from Mom came to say that Dad was going to the ER in an ambulance, and could I come pick her up and take her to the hospital? So much for that date!

 The very next day, a call came from the animal hospital to say that our Bailey was ready to go home after 12 days of being confined after his surgery. As you can imagine, he’s been a real stick-tight ever since, and although I’m not really sure what Shadow thinks about all this, I do know that between them both, it’s sometimes difficult to maneuver!

With all the excitement of bouncing between Dad and dog, several days passed before we had an opportunity to practice our new dancing skills. Given the recent Velcro behavior of our pups, ‘Dancing with the Dogs’ is an apt description of what took place next. Did I mention that we had gotten to the point where we don’t have to look at our feet? Well! Those two dogs were certainly watching our feet! They were heeling to our feet. But it was confusing to them when we’d change direction, and we ended up stepping on one or the other… maybe we need to train THEM to dance with us! How cool would that be?

  Suffice it to say, there is an underlying atmosphere of joy in our household with the return of our sweet Bailey (and the current stability of Dad’s health). Dancing seems an appropriate way to celebrate, and so we shall continue to do so, dogs and all!

  and the ‘old shall be merry’!


Time in a Bottle
January 20, 2007


I saw Eternity the other night,  Like a great ring of pure and endless light,  All calm, as it was bright;  And round beneath it, Time in hours, days, years,  Driv’n by the spheres Like a vast shadow moved;  in which the world  And all her train were hurled.                       

 -Henry Vaughan (1622-95) 

Have you ever wished that you could stop the whole world for a while to catch up on all the things you’d like to do? Sometimes when I am working at my desk, I get mad when more and more jobs pile into my inbox. Just when I think I’m finished, here comes another one!

Working at home is nice, but it’s hard to escape it. When I know there is a new job there waiting for me, I tend to just do it, so I can start with a clean slate in the morning. This means that I sometimes work at all hours of the day and every day of the week!


Honestly, about the only time I ever take any time for myself is when I go out of town. It’s a forced idleness, when I can recharge my batteries without feeling guilty. This doesn’t happen very often, though, so one of my fantasies has always been that I could have an extra 24 hours that nobody else has. Time in a bottle, so to speak… once a week might be nice!

Obviously this is an impossible wish, and even if it were possible, one should be careful about what one wishes for! While what happened to me this week didn’t exactly fulfill my secret fantasy, it did remind me of it in a way. But I’d give the resulting idleness back in a minute to have things return to normal at our house.

As regular readers know, we took our dog Bailey to the animal emergency room on Friday a week ago, and subsequently, he’s had surgery from which he is now recovering. Our plans were to go to San Antonio last Tuesday, arriving back on Sunday, which was going to be a totally restful time for me to read some of my six new Christmas/birthday books, go where I wanted to go and/or do what I wanted to do. No grocery stores, no cooking, no dishwashing, no laundry, no work.

However, with Bailey’s condition uncertain on Monday, we opted to bail out of the trip (which was fortunate, because the weather was really nasty, and it would have been miserable). All of a sudden I had four days at home with not a thing on my calendar. I came THIS close to sending an e-mail to everyone saying that I would be in San Antonio and to please hold everything until I got back… but I didn’t. I couldn’t have kept up the ruse, and besides, they all (the Bailey fan club) knew about Bailey, and would have wondered.

As the week marched on, I had some work to do, but no appointments other than to visit the pet hospital every day. It’s been nice to catch up on a few things and read real books, but I’d give all these quiet days back just to have our Bailey recovered and home. Bring back the dog and I’ll happily do the work with no complaints ever again! Promise.

Bailey, Blessings and Birthdays
January 13, 2007


It didn’t happen at all as I had planned it, which is a lesson in itself. Visions of a leisurely birthday morning followed by some enjoyable Saturday activities vanished late on Friday evening when we took our Bailey to the Animal Emergency Clinic. He’d been exhibiting some unusual behavior, but he’d just had a check up on Thursday, and all seemed to be fine. Still, though, as we thought back, we could pinpoint some instances that might have given us a clue if we’d looked a little more closely.

Bailey is the epitome of exuberance. He is a delightful two year old Sheltie who loves life, loves his human family and adores his older ‘brother’ Shadow. From the moment he awakens to the moment he reluctantly closes his eyes, he prances, he dances, he wiggles, he wags. Whereas Shadow glides regally, Bailey struts boldly. They are both exceptional dogs, but each has a totally different personality.

It came as a real shock to see the active and younger Bailey in such distress last night, and to hear the words, ‘critical condition, prognosis guarded’. As I write this on Saturday afternoon, we are still waiting to hear what might be the cause of it all. The worst part is how pitiful and frightened he is; it’s a great cause of anguish to be unable to explain to him why he is in such a scary place. When my thoughts dwell upon him, it’s hard to hold back the tears.

I talked to God a long time last night, and I told him that I knew it may seem silly to pray for a very small dog, but oh, what a precious one he is, and how happy he makes so many people when we go visiting our friends at The Seniors Place. But then I recalled the words of a favorite hymn, which gave me some comfort that God DOES hear my prayers. I’ve changed up the lyrics just a bit to fit this situation:

His eye is on the sparrow, and I know he watches over Bailey.

The blessings? It’s that we live close by the Animal Emergency Clinic, which is well staffed with caring people. We live in a city with marvelous veterinary resources, including the specialty hospital where Bailey is currently undergoing tests. Houston is near to the Texas A&M School of Veterinary Medicine, where a particular doctor is the only one in the country to perform an operation that Bailey may need. Finally, we are able to pay for all this good care, and there is no limit as to how much that may be. I suppose this is a good reason to think about Pet Insurance, but it’s too late for that now!

The birthday? All I want for my birthday is for Bailey to be healed and to return home soon. That’s all I want.

Magic Words
January 6, 2007

I picked, he barked, I pouted, he sulked. And thus did our evening end. None of this ‘never go to bed angry’ stuff. Neither of us was ready to suck it up and address the issue at hand.

Morning came, and with it the heavy weight of knowing that all was not well. It didn’t help that fog had us socked in, and the day was a dreary one. I sat at my desk and turned the page of a daily calendar my sister gave me for Christmas. I believe it’s a ‘Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff’ calendar, and each day features some words of wisdom that ostensibly help one to be serene or some such thing.

 Guess what the words said?

          An apology is an excellent opportunity to deepen your love and your partnership.

 Oh my. You’ve heard the phrase, ‘God Speaks in Whispers’, and it certainly fits this situation. What an interesting coincidence it was that I really needed to read these words on the very day they were featured.

I ripped the page out and held onto it to help give me just the right words that might diffuse the tension that still lingered. Although I was a little anxious, I managed to say I was sorry in a way that was accepted and appreciated. It worked! A reciprocal apology came next, and although I’d like to say the sun came out, in reality, the fog kept on rolling in. I then shared the calendar page, and it was marveled over by us both. (Note to my sister: if you are reading this entry, I want you to know that your gift to me was very appreciated at our house today!)

I’m reminded of another squabble almost three years ago, this one with my daughter. I can’t remember what it was about, but it was similar in that bedtime didn’t see any resolve. Morning brought the same tension, and our conversation (about what to fix for lunch, I remember that part…) was stilted. As she walked out the door, she turned and grumped, “Mom, I love you, but I’m STILL mad at you!”

Before she drove away, I said to her, “Shannon, I am so glad that you know the difference!” With that came a hug, and our day began on a happier note.

Apologies can be hard, especially when one feels wounded. But they do work magic, and go a long way towards dissolving anger and mending fences, relationships and families. If there is someone out there that needs one from you, try it today. The calendar was right!