Today is day three of my salute to Norman Rockwell, as inspired by our dear blog friend Bert.

The image I chose for today is this one:

"Canine Solo"

“Canine Solo”

When I was a kid we had dogs, (still do but these were not “my” dogs). My grandmother had two, a poodle named Pete, and a little rat-terrier that she called Dolly. Now, both of these dogs were grandma’s “babies” for sure. Pete was your typical poodle, standoffish, regal, and stately. He had an air about him that just said “I am in fact, much better than that”. Dolly on the other hand, was the attention hound. She would wriggle and writhe and shake her whole body in an effort to get attention from anyone who would give it to her. A spunky 8 year old with boundless energy, I was her favorite playtime pal. We would spend hours running about the yard chasing anything that moved, from leaves in the fall to snowflakes in the winter to butterflies in the spring to rabbits in the summer. I don’t think she ever caught anything – at least nothing that was alive.

Dolly’s most impressive talent however was her intense hatred of the word “Kennedy”. Somehow, she had come by this hatred through my grandma. See, this was the year that Teddy Kennedy was running for election. My grandma did not like Mr. Kennedy – not one bit and she shared that information with anyone in hearing distance any time the man was on television. Now, Dolly was a smart little dog who loved to sing. She would throw her little head back and howl anytime grandma turned the television to Hee Haw or Lawrence Welk – especially if there were banjos – oh how she loved to sing to the banjos.

My grandma thinking this was the cutest thing ever, decided that she was going teach Dolly to express her dislike of Mr. Kennedy as well… She would sit for hours and sing “Kennedyyyyyyyyy” and Dolly would howl along. After a while it got to the point that every time Dan Rather or Walter Cronkite (only two newsmen alive that were worth a darn to here grandma tell it) would say “Kennedy” Dolly would throw her head back and howl. Much to my grandfather’s dismay. There wasn’t a peaceful newscast in our house until the Tedmeister lost that election. Not a single one. Granddad missed nearly a year of six o’clock news because of that silly little dog. And grandma? She’d just throw her head back and howl right along with her; then laugh uproariously.

Grandma and Dolly are both gone now, and I long for the days of Dolly’s sing a longs! How about you? Did you have a quirky pet that did something so silly, talented, or funny that you just couldn’t get enough of it?


Stay tuned! Tomorrow will be Day 4 of my Norman Rockwell series entitled – The Wild Child 



Today is the second day of the Norman Rockwell series. The inspiration for this series is courtesy of Bert’s blog, where he tells amazing stories of “men and women doing the right thing”. If you haven’t yet, please head over to his site and give him some bloggy love. All of the art for this series is from

Today’s image inspiration:

At the Vets - March 29, 1952

At the Vets – March 29, 1952

I will never forget Misty. She was my first dog, and my very best friend for almost 10 years. We were constant companions until the day she slipped quietly over the Rainbow Bridge. She came into my life via a cruel and heartless owner who threw her away like a bouncing ball. Coincidentally, that’s how the crass bastard threw her from his car – he tossed her little ball out the door and out she went after it. He then slammed his car door and off he went leaving that sweet little baby in his wake.

It just so happened that my neighbor Mark and I went outside not long after and heard her rustling around under the trailer. We looked and there she was, all cute and cuddly and white… and muddy. Cowering in the chill of November and holding her ball in her mouth. I quickly went back inside and slipped back out with a bunch of turkey from our feast that afternoon (something I did in fact in in major trouble for). After what seemed like hours, she finally got close enough for me to grab her. When I did she dropped her ball, and it rolled into the yard – she dashed after it and brought it back to me… dropping it at my feet – and I was hooked y’all.

I named her Misty after the weather outside that day, it was hazy, overcast, and cold with a light rain drizzling down on us. In that single ball dropping moment, she became my best friend forever. We spent hours with that silly ball. She preferred the bright yellow tennis balls that I substituted after a week of not being able to find the little blue racquet ball she came to me with.

She was a Cockapoo or so said the veterinarian we visited with her not long after her arrival – shots and a check up were the order of the day. She became a part of our little family, and my dad’s dog dutch fell in love with her.

The first time she went into heat they bred, and after she miscarried after only two weeks of pregnancy, she was immediately taken to the vet and spayed – she almost died, as did I.

When my dad passed away a few years later she was there to lay on my bed as I cried for hours on end. She was there to play ball for hours and hours when I needed a distraction from all the grief and pain. She was there to watch over me as I slept a fitful and nightmarish sleep for those first few months.

She moved with my mom and I when we went to Florida – the only one of the dogs we had to make the “moving cut”. The others, two German Shepherds and a Great Dane were donated to loving families prior to our departure. She was there as I learned the ropes of a new neighborhood and was the catalyst for me to make new friends.

She had a real passion for my grandmothers chocolate chip cookies – at one point enlisting the cat in her fiendish addiction; coercing him to knock the sealed container from the top of the refrigerator in order to chew a hole through my grandmothers Tupperware pie keeper to get to the rich chocolaty goodness inside.

She had a run in with a bunch of saran wrap at one point, prompting another trip to the vet and an unfortunate surgery to remove three feet of the stuff from her stomach. A surgery I was allowed to “scrub in” for at the ripe old age of 14. The next time she went under the knife was because of a bunch of tinfoil she consumed. And another for a round with our fiberglass garage door as she had inadvertently been left out there instead of in the house.

When I was 16 and she was 9 she was diagnosed with cataracts. The vet said they were not yet bad enough to remove yet so we just kept an eye on them. Six months later she was totally blind. Then she lost her hearing. She got lost not long after the hearing loss and I was devastated! She had somehow gotten out of the back yard and wandered away. For three weeks I put up posters and searched the neighborhood for her. Finally, I found her living with another family who had taken her in when they found her wandering around their back yard with a tennis ball in her mouth. Old habits die hard.

One afternoon I came home and found her cowering in a corner, despondent. She had an accident on the floor and was totally mortified by her actions. It happened again that night. She was unable to find the door to ask to go out. We decided to have the vet take a look and see if she was suffering. That’s when they found the cancer. It was eating its way through her liver. Her internal organs were shutting down… she was dying.

A week before my 18th birthday I took her in my arms for the last time, and carried her into the exam room and lifted her onto the table. I stood quietly by while her lifelong vet inserted the needle into her leg and promised me she would feel no more pain. I held her in my arms as the medicine flowed into her little body and she sighed her last breath, dropping the tennis ball to the floor. She was buried in the pet cemetery at the vet’s office with a tombstone that read “Misty – faithful friend, constant companion, tennis pro”.

I miss her every day of my life.

Thank’s for reading to the end – I know this one was long, but it was a story asking to be told.

Happy Wednesday! Come back tomorrow for the next Norman Rockwell inspired post entitled Dolly.



Yesterday we decided to go on an outing so that I and the kiddos could be introduced to our new home. Now that it’s not freezing outside and we can actually do that sort of thing you know. So we decided to head over to River Bluff Trail and take the dogs on a walk… mind you there are seven of them. Yes I said seven – don’t judge only five of the little buggars are mine. Ok… yes, I have five dogs, but they’re all very small and really only equal one big dog.  Anyway – they needed a good run, and all the humans needed some fresh air and sunshine themselves. So we took a walk. A lovely walk…


A walk that included lots of limestone, and beautiful flowing water….




A walk that also included a dam:











And dogs in the water…

Dogs in my purse…

He was tired... don't judge me!

It also included ducks:

 Ducks who were apparently less  impressed with us than we were with them.

This walk also included trees:

 And more dogs…

Beautiful trees!

I’m not sure what this is – but it was LOVELY!





See how pretty?








And of course the walk included kids… how do you think we handled all those dogs??

Little Man, being goofy!

Our Girl!















Oh yeah – there were flowers too!

And what walk is complete without at least one kid and or dog playing “King/Queen of the mountain”??

King and Queen of the Mountain!

In the end, it was a good day. We all had a great time and the dogs/kids got plenty of exercise… I Loved it!


Weekly Wrap Up – Sept 12

Well… I survived my birthday without a hitch… I managed to do NOTHING all day and get away with it – even the kids cooked dinner. Except my oldest son Jon forgot that it was my birthday… but that’s not unusual – he’s a man…

So what’s been happening in Set in My Ways land this week? Not  much really… but here’s the wrap up:

  • Our girl seems to be doing rather well with the break up. She hasn’t called A or spoken to him since last Friday… we’re surprised, but very much supportive of her.
  • Our Guy got himself nicely grounded last weekend when he decided to come home 30 minutes late after not calling all day. Not something he’ll want to do again.
  • Our Guy’s birthday comes next Wednesday… I’ve got a nice cake idea for him – Native American! I think he’ll really like it.
  • I heard from everyone on my birthday except my grandmother. She passed wishes through other family… but its not the same. Its also not like she could forget – she was attending the birthday party of my adorable cousin who was born last year on my Birthday…. yeah. Oh well, I’ve always known that side of the family wasn’t the birthday wishes type…
  • This morning – after three months of traitorous living two doors down… the old lady returned. She met me at the door for ear scratches and food this morning!
  • I played around with some of my photos this week look at my grandson:

Check out those baby blues!!!

Happy Sunday!

Saturday Special

Hi all! It’s Saturday!!! YAY!

So we showed our house yesterday – and no, I don’t know yet how we did or if they’re still interested… I guess we’ll find out Monday… anyway – we had to make ourselves scarce for a couple of hours, because it wouldn’t do to have Grace, Kit, and Footy following people around yapping and nipping at them while they decided whether to buy this place or not.

So we took to the neighboring state of Alabama and headed to the Blue Hole – Little River Canyon…

Guys, this place is phenomenal! Aside from a LONG walk to get there, treacherous rocks to climb down to get there, and having to either A. slide down a waterfall or B. JUMP to get in the water – we really had a great time…

And before you ask – Yes, I did get in the water… I even jumped in! Not from the highest point, or even the mid point – but I did jump in! Much to the amazement of my kids, they didn’t think I would do it – and then suddenly – BAM, mama’s in the water!

Of course there is no photographic proof that I was in the water – because so was everyone else. But I did take a few shots that I thought I would share with you guys:


Meanwhile this was waiting for me:

Yep, I came DOWN that slope, to be faced with this:

If you squint, you can see the water through the trees waaaaaaay down at the bottom of this hill.

Yep… they went too – All three did so well on the trip that we plan to take them again – however, we are going to choose something that takes less rock climbing to get to next time!

The kids jumped…

Heck, even Shawn jumped. One of the dogs TRIED to jump, but we stopped her just in time.

Then… after a while of things like playing in the waterfall:

Or hiding in it:

Playing with the dogs:

Or getting out – to get back in…

Everyone really had a great time:

It was beautiful, and we had the place to ourselves… so it was peaceful as well!

(If you count three loud teenagers, three barking dogs and three adults trying to control it all… peaceful) *sigh*

Although, I wouldn’t try to go without taking the kids, or at least someone younger… and fitter than myself to make sure I made it alright. I was very impressed with A… all the way down he was one step ahead of me picking the best way down and giving me a hand when I needed it for balance. Part of the way I had to carry Footnote because he was a tiny bit afraid of the steep drops going down. On the way up, he just ran like crazy and wanted me to hurry up.

It was fun, but today – I am sore in places I had forgotten. I am sure that I will pay for this dearly later. It was worth it – the photos (and I have not shared them all… I’m saving some for another post) alone made it worth while – but when you add the priceless joy of watching your kids have so much fun… it is the greatest experience. I’m just glad I didn’t drop the camera in the water or on the rocks!

Happy Saturday!

An Epic Battle…

In this corner, please welcome the contender! Weighing in at 4.3 pounds the Tiny Mauler (aka. Footnote) is ready for action!


In the other corner – the three time world champion! Bosco the Brawler!


This fight will go three rounds our until one or the other parties is KO’d.

And so it begins:


Footnote eyes his opponent from the safety of his mama’s lap…


SCORE: Footnote takes one!


Round two is scored again!


Finally the contender takes the prize and the former champ takes the walk of shame….

Which really makes me wonder if this sign is totally necessary:


Yeah… the realtor asked that we put these on the door – to prevent any lookers from letting in the monster…

If they only knew….

In other news – this one is the one to be afraid of:


Don’t let that innocent look fool you…. just look at the damage she can do:


Yeah… that angry sucker runs from the top of my thigh all the way down to below my knee on the BACK of my leg! OUCH!!!

And just FYI: Bandaid brand antiseptic wash in the “Pain Free” formula…. yeah – that crap HURT like hades when I used it on this bad boy!