Posts Tagged With: pets

Sunshine, questions and a big juicy life

A while back, a blogging friend Dor, awarded me the “Sunshine Blogger Award” – this award is as special as sunshine on my shoulders, sunshine on my toes… Or saying my future’s so bright I just gotta wear shades!

taken yesterday

Thank you Dor for your kindness & for including me. The rules are to do the following –

  1. Give a Big Hearty Thanks to the blogger who nominated you & link back to them (Check!)
  2. Answer the questions the other blogger asked you (See below)
  3. Nominate a host of others (rules suggest 8-11) but I’m just gonna leave this open whomever wants to play along and 😀
  4. List the rules/display the Sunshine Blogger Award on your site. (done)

Here are the questions Dor posed for me:

  1. Are you an introvert or an extrovert?  Do you wish you were the other and why?
    • Gemini ~ both, depends on the day and situation.  I can work the room at a conference or cocoon myself away with my books ~ it all depends.
  2. Are you an animal lover?  What pets do you have and love?
    • Yes, no pets right now but our Grand-Dogs and a Stray Cat warm my ❤ regularly
  3. Who was your favorite teacher and why?
    • Mr. Corbett; he was smart, strict and fun
  4. Have you ever had a bad habit you  broke?  What was it and how did you change it?
    • I’ve stopped asking for permission to enjoy myself!
  5. What is your favorite place to relax?  Explain where it is and why it helps.
    • Home or outside / outside at home / the beach!  I’m cozy at home and comfy outside, provided it’s not 95F+
  6. What is your favorite movie of all time?
    • One I watch every time it’s on is “Something’s Gotta Give.”  ~sigh
  7. Do you love to travel or do you hate it?  Why?
    • Love to travel for vacation and I tolerate business travel.
    • I love the coming & going, but I don’t love impatient flyers trying to fit a couch into the overhead compartment. Remember when flying used to be fun?
  8. Are you an organized or a disorganized person?
    • Organized. My grocery list is typed in the order of the store.  I admit it 😉
  9. Are you always late, early, or right on time?  Are there any advantages or disadvantages to your timing?
    • Always early. A disadvantage is that not everyone riding with me is ready on time!
  10. Do you create lots of blog posts in advance of publishing or do you do one at a time?
    • As they come to me
  11. What inspires you to create a blog post?
    • see answer to #1  😉

And here are your questions, friends:

  1. What’s a scent or fragrance that takes you back to summers as a child?
  2. What dessert item do you remember savoring at family reunions, parties or weddings?
  3. Name a song that makes you want to get up & dance.
  4. What ability do you wish you had and why?
  5. Who do you wish you could have a conversation with?
  6. And lastly, what are you looking forward to?




Categories: Animals, Attitude, Beauty, Blogging, Confidence at any age, Determination, Family, Food, Friendship, Fun, Growth, Home, Joy, Life, music, News, Opinion, Personal, Relationships, Seasons, Thoughts, Travel, Wisdom, Women | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Random 5 Friday ~ TV dinners, road trips, community and common sense

Random Five Friday pic

It’s Friday and here are 5 random happenings and thoughts from this week:

1.  Hubbs and I talked about this a couple of days ago but who else remembers when TV dinners were good and something to look forward to?   I remember, on special occasions, Mom coming home from town with some of these.  Our excitement was palpable as we placed our foil trays into the oven and, later, peeled back the cover and attacked the fried chicken, potatoes, vegetables and little apple or cherry dessert.  It was even better if Mom and Dad were going out for the night and my cousin and I had an Elvis movie coming on at 8!   Haven’t had one of these in 35 years but I still smile at the memory.

tv dinner

Oh yes!

2.  Road trip Wednesday crossing three counties and at least 3 weather bands.  Several times I drove through freezing rain or flurries.  On my way to my last appointment, I rounded the bend on a country road, and spotted something odd.  It took me a few moments to realize what I was looking at: newly shorn sheep shivering in the snow.  (Say that seven times – ha!)


Dude! It’s way too early for us to be naked!!

3.  Stopping for gas yesterday morning, an older gentleman was filling his van up just ahead of me.  As the wind blew my hair sideways I looked up, his eyes met mine, I smiled and commented, “So much for Spring, hey?”  He laughed and replied, “I know, we just got home from Florida yesterday, and I told the wife next time we’re staying there!”  He chatted a bit more about their trip there and the snow on the ground at his home here and what a crazy year it’s been weather-wise.  He paid his tab, wished me a good day, and off he went.  And as I left the gas station, there he was at the next intersection, giving me a hearty wave good-bye.  I smiled, waved back, and gave thanks for living in a place where weather is always a safe topic and more people than not are friendly and nice.

4.  I’ve been out of the office a lot lately and something I’ve had reinforced again is a simple rule of business etiquette.  When I’m away, I put the “out of office” message on ~ I let internal employees know how to reach me and my team and external contacts know I am away until X time or date.  I do the same with voice mail.  This helps manage the influx of requests, keeps inquiries and tasks moving, and lessens the “Hi it’s so and so; call me back please” messages — simple, effective, and irritating when others don’t do it, too.   Yes I know we live in a 24/7 society and instant everything but there are times I’m in meetings or out of range.  I’m not a Fireman and managing expectations has become as important as meeting deadlines.


5.  Saw this recently and laughed out loud.  I’m pretty sure our dog Frankie would have answered to these names, too!

stop that dog

Do you remember having TV dinners on special occasions as a kid?  What’s the most interesting thing you’ve seen on a recent road trip?  Does it make you happy when random people comment on the weather to you?  What rules of business etiquette work for – or annoy – you?  And what other names do your pets answer to?

Happy Friday, peeps!

Categories: Animals, Attitude, Family, Food, Fun, Home, Humor, Joy, Life, Mom, music, Personal, Random, Seasons, Thoughts, Work | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 16 Comments

Random Five Friday ~ September’s end, just like that

It’s Friday! It’s Random! Let’s go.

1. Got a flu shot yesterday. It hurt. It still does.  The end.

2. A co-worker recently moved back from a stint out East. Great guy, experienced, kind, and funny as what.  He’s a big guy, about 6’4″ with an equally big voice. His office is next to mine and he has a tendency to land in my doorway, all Kramer-like, and startle me .. at least once a day. But I love it.  We laugh, we talk and we share stories about our lives, our families and our frustrations.  It goes kinda like this:

3. Remember last week when I bought the Honey crisp apples?  Well .. sorry to say but these were picked on the green side.  Now this is a deliciously sweet and crispy apple.  But these … weren’t sweet at all.  So I had no choice, really. It was destiny that they find their way into an Apple crisp.  My office-mates sure were happy yesterday :).

You know I brought Iced Cream, too :)

You know I brought Iced Cream, too 🙂

4. I took today off.   It’s going to be 76F and sunny, and we all know what’s coming.  Sometimes, in the face of deadlines, conference calls and project updates, you just have to go for it.

5.  Arriving home last night, I heard a dog barking. Not a bark I know.  You see, when you live in a place for a while you get to know the barks of the neighborhood There’s the yippity-yappity dog 2 doors down who we’ve have come to ignore because she’s the kind of dog who barks …to bark. Then there’s the big hearty husky with a mournful howl who always makes me a bit sad when I hear him.

But this was different.

I looked outside and saw him…. right across the street. The neighbor’s dog .. the one who is never out on his own. Never. Not in the 10 years they’ve had him. And there he was .. pacing, barking, kind-of wagging and then – wait – and there he was out in the road looking hopefully to each passing car …

“Oh no,” I thought, grabbing Frankie’s leash.

We don’t know these people well .. he’s a bit .. off.   The kids go from this house to their Mom’s house and back again. But I remembered the last name from mailbox mix ups and Googled a phone number for the grandparents who live nearby.

He barked hard at me … and when I set some water down, he promptly followed me back to my doorstep where he sat as I dialed.

“It’s o.k.” I said.  “You’ll be all right,” I said.

Thankfully the Grandma answered. (That’s the thing about older people, they still have land lines and they still answer the phone!) Quickly the daughters were dispatched from where-ever they’d been back to the old guy leaning against me. His tail wagged and tears fell,  including my own.

And once again I found myself thinking that life has a way of putting us right where we were meant to be.

The poor old boy gave me a full-body lean while we waited.  An Emjayandthem (C) photo

He trembled as he waited.  An Emjayandthem (C) photo

And how was your week?  Any “Kramers” in your world?  Do you get a flu shot? Have you made any furry friends lately?


Categories: Animals, Attitude, Determination, Faith, Family, fear, Gratitude, Life, Personal | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 16 Comments

Sounds in the night

The other night, a ferocious thunderstorm woke me up.  Rain lashed the house and thunder rumbled around us. I sat up immediately and it took me some time to get settled again.

It was what I didn’t hear that grabbed my attention.

No scuffling.  No nails on hardwood.  No sighing and licking of lips near my head.

You see, there is no longer an old dog leaning in, asking in his own sweet way to maybe-possibly-I’d-just-love-you-forever-if-I-could-join-you-in-that-bed kind of way.

When he was a tyke, he’d bound up the stairs and launch himself onto his bed of choice.

As he got older, he learned the boys’ beds were fair game but ours was a permission-only zone.

As he got even older still, he’d plod up the stairs and deposit himself next to my head, sigh, and lick his lips.

And in the flash of lightning I’d see his sweet old eyes staring back and me and I’d hug his neck and we’d gently lift his 68 lb arthritic self up onto our Queen bed, smoothing out a spot just for him.

And in the rumbling summer storm sounds that followed,  the one that lingers with me still was his sweet sigh of contentment.

Oh how I miss that old fellow.

Me and my bear. An Emjayandthem (C) photo

Me and my Frankie bear. An Emjayandthem (C) photo


“If there are no dogs in Heaven, then when I die I want to go to where they went.” Will Rogers




Categories: Animals, Family, Grief, Growth, Joy, Life, Personal, Relationships | Tags: , , , , , , , | 23 Comments

Random Five Frrriday

Brr, it’s cold.

this morning in West Michigan

Jan 3rd 2014 in West Michigan

My random Five Frrriday (emphasis on my chattering teeth) are:

1) You know you’re getting used to it when Hubbs says, “but look, the high Saturday is 30” with a smile.  We’d talked about how we’d most likely stay in all weekend, not meet friends for drinks & dinner, and skip the cold.   In Michigan, 30F is an “acceptable” temperature to venture out in, provided you do the venturing late-afternoon, early evening! 🙂

2) 2nd day back to work — but the truth is, I worked a bit over vacation.  I did that for me – to keep up on things & to clean out the ever-growing inbox.  Finally got it down to ~400 instead of 1,000.  The volume these days … insanity.

3) Last year, Uncle Mac & Aunt Janet told me about a new way of eating they’d adopted and how they’d collectively lost weight & felt better. Both had battled cancer and both felt bloated from the treatments and life in general.  They called it the “beans & greens” plan but it’s better known as “Eat to Live” by Dr. Joel Fuhrman.  I’ve had the book for a while .. and I know what do to, I just wasn’t doing it.  New Year’s day, while Hubbs enjoyed football and naughty food, I took it easy and ate my greens. And my fruit. And some more greens.  Did the same yesterday.  Down 3lbs today.  3 lbs in 2 days!     I am not sure if I will  do this full-time but I do think I could most times; I love veggies and fruit and I don’t mind (certain) beans.  I can live with having meat only a couple of times a week.  And who knew that Romaine has nearly as much protein as a steak?   Read more here.

4) Devoured a couple of books over Christmas break and now I feel like I’m in wandering lost through a canyon … anyone else feel like that when a good story ends? Not having a good book ready gives me anxiety.  Mom and I talked about this very thing on New Year’s Day and she gave me the best compliment, “You know, of all my kids, you’re the only one who reads like me; have you ever just wanted to live in a bookstore?”   Smile.

And #5 is below.

It's been 6 months.  I still miss him.

And so with that, I’ll leave you with this silly picture I found this weekend. Rest in peace, silly old dog.

Frankie and youngest boy; this was a daily pose from the 2 of them.  June 2013

Frankie and youngest boy; this was a daily pose from the 2 of them. June 2013

Categories: Animals, Beauty, Blogging, Faith, Family, Friendship, Fun, Grief, Home, Joy, Mom, Personal, Thoughts, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 27 Comments

Frankie’s friends

As many of you know, we had to say good-bye to our fur-ever friend, Frankie, this summer.

13 years & 22 days with the world’s greatest dog.

So lucky, yes we were.

Smart and hilarious, I found him at the Humane Society. (More about his adoption here.) In his honor, we decided to pay it forward and sponsor the adoption of another lucky mutt.  He was all about sharing (especially food!) and I think he would have appreciated that.

Last week, still feeling the pinch of his absence, I received an email that made my heart smile.  Read on:

Dear Marilyn:

I wanted to let you know that Frankie’s memorial gift was used on a terrific family today 🙂  They adopted Penny – a 1.5 year old Pointer/Hound mix who has been with us since October 8.  The cool thing is that Penny joins their Golden Retriever, Sam, who was adopted from us in 2010.   The photo of the adopter, her son and the 2 dogs together is below.

Penny (L), her new brother, Sam and their family

Penny (L), her new brother, Sam (L) and their family

The adopter was so overwhelmed by your generous gift that she started to cry.  She couldn’t believe the kindness of you and your family and was even more touched because she just had to put her cat down last month.  She wanted to keep the generosity going so she made a donation to help more animals!

Thank you again to you and your amazing family!  It is truly an honor to be a part of your fantastic story!

On behalf of all of our animals,  we thank you!!!

Nicole C.,  Humane Society of West Michigan.

* * *

We like to think of Penny and her brother, Sam, as “Frankie’s friends” and we’re happy to be part of their success story.

Ever had a “pay-it-forward” moment?  Please share!

 Well done, Mom!

Frankie would have approved 🙂

Categories: Animals, Charity, Faith, Family, Friendship, Joy, Life, Love, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , | 26 Comments

on Herman Shepherd Mix-ups

We sure do miss old dog.


::  I miss my Frankie  :: (And Emjayandthem (C) Photo)

It’s just not the same around here without a fuzzy-faced greeting from an old pal.

Not the same at all.

I look for him when I come home at night, when there’s no nuzzle meeting me with a soft “Herrow.”

I think of him when I walk through the neighborhood, and my eyes always tear up at places he liked to stop.

I feel him near me when I clean leftovers out of the fridge, I swear I can hear him whispering, “Where are those meatballs going? Surely you wouldn’t toss those out? Wha?”

See, when you’ve enjoyed 13 years with the world’s greatest dog, well, you tend find yourself spoiled for any other.

You cringe at stories of dogs who eat furniture, obsess over the mailman or possess other odd behaviors.

He never did any of those things, he was just always … a gentleman.

And as much as Hubbs has shut down the boys comments about getting another pooch, it took me by surprise when he recently blurted out, “You know, when we get another dog, I think I might like a German Shepherd Mix.”

What was that?

Not if.

Not someday.


The truth is, I’m not ready.  And I know he’s not, either.

But you have to start somewhere.

And so, as we do with all important decisions, we’ll start by just talking about it. Without crying.

Someday … not sure when … I know we’ll have another dog.

Perhaps a Herman Shepherd Mix-Up* 🙂

*”Herman Shepherd Mix-Up” is in homage to our friend’s son, Trevor, who as a small boy referred to the family dog Jake, a Lab/German Shepherd mix, as a “Herman Shepherd Mix-up.”  Ha ha ha! Kids.

If you’ve also lived and loved with the “world’s greatest dog  pet,” how much time went by before you jumped back in?

Categories: Animals, Family, Grief, Growth, Life, Love | Tags: , , , , | 38 Comments

And they will teach you

One night last week, I was out front getting the mail. It’s been about six weeks since our dog Frankie passed away; crossing the street back to my house, the old Golden who lives next door came bounding over for a pet & some loving.

He got his fill and when he was done he stood and looked.  He looked at me and then the door to our house. He looked and he looked and then he put his head down and he sighed.

I swear he sighed.

I believe he was waiting for old dog and when the old one didn’t appear, Mr. Golden boy leaned into me and did the only thing he could think to do: he gave me a full body doggie hug and bounded on home.

Don’t you just love that? I do.

And, just for that moment, I felt my Frankie with me sure as the mail I held in my hands.

“But ask the animals, and they will teach you, or ask the birds of the air, and they will tell you. Speak to the earth, and it will teach you, or let the fish of the sea tell you. Every one of these knows that the hand of the Lord has done this. The life of every creature and the breath of all people are in God’s hand.” –Job 12:7-10

Categories: Animals, Faith, Family, Grief, Joy, Love, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , | 29 Comments

Farewell to a fur-ever friend

We had to say good-bye to our fur-ever friend, Frankie, earlier this week.

13 years & 22 days with the world’s greatest dog.

So lucky, yes we were.

Smart and hilarious, I found him at the Humane Society of West Michigan.   More about his adoption story here. In his honor, we are going to pay it forward and sponsor the adoption of another mutt for a another lucky family.  He was all about sharing and I think he would have appreciated that.

Frankie as a wee one

Frankie as a wee boy

Frankie arrived when our boys were 6 & 14; He was a first class salesman (he always got the order), champion bed warmer, professional greeter and happiest .. near us.

We enjoyed a great weekend with the kids & grands by the grill (his favorite), not knowing it would be his last.

Frankie's last grill night with us .. just last Saturday.

Frankie’s last grill night with us .. just last Saturday.

He developed a vestibular disorder suddenly,  which as traumatic as it was to witness, had to have been terrifying for him.  But I know in my heart that our presence, our touch, our kisses, tears, sorrow and hugs .. served to comfort him in his hour of need.

Frankie finds contentment easily

He enjoyed cuddles like this one the last night of his life

Thankfully, the situation was short-lived.

I’m grateful for that.

Thankfully, we were home.

I’m grateful for that, too.

It was obvious we had a decision to make that, as sad as it was for us, was absolutely right … for him.

He deserved no less.

And so we stayed with him as he passed on, petting him, kissing him, whispering words of endearment that will never be enough to say all that we really felt.

We bucked up, carried on and, with tears streaming down, did our best to convey our gratitude to the kind of friend you wish could stay in your life .. fur-ever.

Rest in peace, sweet boy.

Frankie’s farewell … an emjayandthem (C) photo

 “If there are no dogs in Heaven, then when I die I want to go where they went.” ― Will Rogers


Categories: Animals, Faith, Family, Friendship, Grief, Life, Personal, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 37 Comments

Time passages

Looking through some older photos the other day, I came across some older snaps of Frankie the dog:

baby Frankie

baby Frankie

With oldest boy:

Baby Frankie with big brother Boo

Baby Frankie with big brother Boo

and with youngest:

can't. breathe.

can’t. breathe.

Supervising leaf raking as a young gentle-dog:

in younger days, before the grey

in younger days, before the grey

And later, modeling a shrunken woolen sweater in a move known as the Marino-a-No-No.

you guys are ridiots

you guys are ridiots

He’s been a source of hilarity and a source of comfort, too.

See the smile on Frank's face?

See the smile on Frank’s face?

And always, he continues to do what he does best … stay close.

Grill consultant

Grill consultant waiting quietly nearby.

Time passages.

13 years since he came home with us from the pound.

And always, ever faithful.

There is no faith which has never yet been broken, except that of a truly faithful dog.  ~Konrad Lorenz

Categories: Animals, Faith, Family, Friendship, Home, Joy, Life, Quotes, Relationships, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , | 33 Comments

On Fridays

happy dog

Friday’s make me grin

On Fridays, coffee shop lines are filled with people who smile at each other.

On Fridays, the weekend peeks over the horizon with projects and possibilities.

On Fridays, conversations turn to dates and plans, dreams and stories.

On Fridays, we turn off the lights on our week’s work.

On Fridays,  4:30 is to meetings what water is to boarding.

Happy Friday, peeps!

happy cat

Have a great weekend!

*all images from Pinterest.

Categories: Animals, Attitude, Beauty, Faith, Friendship, Fun, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , | 14 Comments

Shorty-pants the Co-op Cat

Oodles of kittens. That's me, lower left and my best cousin and friend, Deb next to me. Behind us is my sister and in ther ver

Oodles of kittens. That’s me, lower left, & my best friend and cousin, Deb, sitting next to me. (Behind us are our sisters).  This picture was taken in 1966 and we were 3, the same age as my grand-daughter MJ is today!

So … growing up on the family farm in rural Saskatchewan, I can tell you now that I lost track of how many kitty-cats we had.

We had Tigger, the orange Tom the size of a bobcat, Alley, the Alley-Cat,  and Minnie Mouse, so named because she was an expert mouser.  There was Flora, Fauna and Merriweather, named after the faeries in a Disney movie, Alice, who we named after Great Aunt Alice and her love of ruby-red lipstick and shoe-polish black hair dye.  And I can’t forget William McDolphus, my cousins’ tomcat or Tia the baby Siamese who showed up just weeks before Christmas.  As we grew up, our cats took on more sophisticated names like Black Magic, Rod the bod (as in Rod Stewart) and Meatloaf, the world’s fattest cat.

But the one who lives in infamy is Shorty-pants the Co-op cat.

Let me tell you the story.

You see, in my neck of the woods, farm families belong to a “Co-Op” association; it’s where they shop for gas and groceries, Christmas presents, farm tools, lipstick and romance novels, and everything else in-between.

Legend has it that Dad drove to town on a cold winter’s day, parked his car and left it running.  You can do that in a small town.  While his car was idling, out fell a cat.

You read that right.

Out fell a cat.

Now it was not uncommon in winters where the average temperature is -40F to have cats, ours or otherwise, climb up on a tire and warm themselves next to the engine. However, it was uncommon for a cat to survive a 9 mile ride to town and several thousand turns around the engine.

Dad came out of the Co-op with licorice and groceries and the mail and heard the most terrible sound coming from under his car. Peering through the snow and the muck and the ice there he saw it — a most pitiful sight: a bloodied kitty shivering in the cold with the back end of his fur .. scorched off.

Now Dad was the softest of the softies and he wasn’t about to let this cat freeze to death.  However, this was not our cat.  Not one he’d ever before seen. He somehow managed to catch the poor thing and get it into the car and, let’s just say, his ride home was …. interesting.

Next we come to my Mother’s reaction, which consisted of, “How did you make out at the store, dear?” “Did you remember to get Canada Dry?” “Did you pickup the paper, too?” And then came “What in the hell is that?”  Picture this before her:  a bitterly cold January day and here’s Dad hauling groceries and a half naked cat. And behind her were five – count ’em – five terrorists kids.

Downstairs went the cat and back up to the kitchen went my Mom.

It wasn’t long before all of us discovered Dad’s little secret: the secret living in the basement! You see Mom is highly allergic to cats. As in can’t breathe allergic. As in probably not a good idea to have a cat – even a half-naked one – living in the house with the rest of us.


We kids didn’t care; one by one we made excuses to sneak away and play with Shorty Pants, and, day by day, he found his way into our hearts.  We rubbed salve onto his exposed skin and found ways to play with him that didn’t make him hurt.  It wasn’t uncommon to find one of us – at any hour day or night – shivering in that cold basement with a warm and smiling cat cuddled in our laps.

The thing is, that cat’s hair never fully grew back and his name never changed.  He lived to the ripe old age of 17, siring dozens of litters and I’m sure there are still descendents of his tucked  up into wheel wells on cold winter days.

Forever and a day, he was known as Shorty-Pants the Co-Op cat and, to this day, he remains, my very favorite.

“Animals are such agreeable friends–they ask no questions, they pass no criticisms.” ~ George Eliot

Did a pet of yours come to you in a most unusual way?

Categories: Animals, Faith, Family, Friendship, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 31 Comments

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