Archive for the ‘writing’ Category

MEMETASTIC BLOG AWARD

I was recently given the MeMetastic blog award!  This award is a fun guessing game for my readers.  Read on…

A fun guessing game for readers!

The award was given to me from Deb, at DorkyDeb.com.

THANKS DEB!  I think 🙂

Once you receive the award you must do a few things:

  • You must proudly display the award in a post.
  • You must list 5 things about yourself and 4 of the 5 must be BOLD FACE LIES.
    (your readers must guess which one is the truth)
  • And you must then pass this prestigious award on, to 5 deserving bloggers.

Below are my five stories.  The five blogs I chose are listed at the bottom of the page.

Remember, only one story is the whole truth!

1) I was confined to a wheel chair, as a result of a childhood bone disease when I was a toddler.  The doctors told my mother I might never walk again.  I hated that chair!  My brother, who is ten years older than I am, used to take me and my little chair on wheels to the top of our steep road, which was deep in the mountains.   My two older sisters would stand at the top of the road, holding my chair, with me in it of course, until my brother made it to the bottom.  He would count to some number, which was their clue to let me go.  I would fly down that mountain in my little chair!  It was great fun!  The best I can remember, my brother always caught me.  My mother didn’t mind this game.  I wasn’t happy the day I put my foot on the floor and was able to walk again because I had to give up my little flying chair.

2) When I was fifteen I skipped school one day.  It was the first time I had ever done anything like that.  In fact, I never broke rules.  I was always trying to be the perfect student.  Anyway, it was raining that day.  I was driving my boyfriend’s truck.  My brother saw the truck.  He began chasing it because he didn’t like my boyfriend.  The road was curvy, but lucky for us, I had learned to drive several years earlier.  I was wearing a pair of, “Candies,” which was a style of high heel shoes popular in the ’70’s.  The heel got caught under the gas pedal.  We both wrecked.  I drove straight into a brick building at 80 mph.  My brother’s car slid into the building too.  The truck I was driving only had a small dent in the corner and I didn’t have a scratch on me.  My boyfriend had serious cuts and bruises.  My brother had to have nine stitches and it totaled his car.   I realized my brother must have done that out of love, so I stopped dating the guy and never saw him again.

3) I have an authentic Mile High Club button, which I had a great time earning.  A professor at a college I attended was also a pilot and ask me if I wanted to go flying.  Sure I told him.   He told me how he had always wanted the button, but never knew a woman brave enough to help him earn it.  I was young and daring!  In order to get the button and become a member of this club, we had to put the airplane in the hanger a mile high in the air, which we did, but not without turbulence.  The plane nose-dived.  I wasn’t the least bit afraid.  I thought it was great fun!  Shortly afterward we were flying normally again.  The professor, whom I obviously had great confidence in, couldn’t believe I didn’t get scared.  “I trusted you knew what you were doing,” I told him.  “I do, but I lost control of the plane.  We nosed-dived!”  he exclaimed.  “We did what?” I asked him.  “We are very lucky,” he added.

4) I love Comic Sans, Oprah and Dr. Phil!

5) I got caught speeding when I was 20 years old.  I had driven my dad’s car to a city an hour away.  It was raining hard and I had decided to see how fast I could make it back home.  I pulled over when I saw the blue lights, rolled down the window about two inches, just enough so I could talk to the officer without getting wet.  The officer asked if I’d been drinking.  I told him all about the wonderful drinks I’d enjoyed earlier.  He said he clocked me at 124 mph.  He and four other officers had chased me for five miles.  I laughed and told him that wasn’t a very long time at that speed.  I went to jail, lost my license and my father didn’t speak to me for a several months.  I learned some important lessons and never drove like that again.

Which story do you think is entirely true?

The Five blogs I chose as recipients!

Seeking Equilibrium

Jessie causing a calamity

Autoimmunemaven’s blog

planetjan

licoriceroot

You can visit the MeMetastic Hop to add your name to the list of recipients of this fantastic award.

I’ve heard that I’ll be hunted down by the creator of this award, pronounced meem-tastic, if I do not correctly follow the instructions.  I’m scared!

I hope you enjoyed my stories.  I also hope you will leave a guess in the comments, as to which one you believe is the whole truth!

Thanks for visiting Dogkisses’s blog!

Michelle.

Writer or blogger

“So, what do you write about?” the eye doctor asked.

“Pain,” I answered.  I could have said life, health or my childhood memories, but pain seemed as good an answer as any.  The conversations at the eye doctor have the feel of the ones at the dentist’s office.

“Really,” the doctor remarked with enthusiasm.  “Where do you write?”

“I have a blog,” I said.

“Oh.  You’re a blogger.”  His enthusiasm was gone.  He didn’t ask me anything else about my writing.

Okay, so I’m a blogger.

I haven’t personally thought of myself as a blogger, even though I see nothing wrong with it and obviously, I am one.

I’ve always looked at it like I have a blog.  I like to write and I write in a blog.

I don’t usually say I’m a writer.  I say I like to write.

Saying I’m a writer seems to imply many things that are not true for me, one of which is, that I make a living doing it.

My sister and I were talking over the telephone yesterday.  I brought up the subject of blogs, since I’d just been to that doctor.

“I’ve never even heard of a blog until you had one.  I don’t know anything about them.”

“Well, people call people with blogs bloggers,” I told her.  “Apparently, some people don’t have such great attitudes about bloggers.”

“Well, I don’t see why,” my sister said.

My mom was asking what we were talking about.  I could hear her in the background.

“Michelle’s a blogger Mother!” my sister shouted out, as if that was new news and kind of cool too.

I laughed.

“A what?” I heard my mother ask in the background.

“A blogger!” my sister said, again enthusiastically.

“Well, I knew she had a blog,” she replied, as if to say, well duh, but my mother’s tone changed when she added, “but I didn’t know she was a blogger.”  The way she put emphasis on blogger left me wondering what she thought of the word.  It didn’t sound like too much.

I feel like a writer.  I want to do it every day.  Sometimes, it’s all I want to do.   I don’t think I’m that good, but I enjoy the process.  I don’t like throwing away ten pages that it took to get one decent and maybe even nice sentence or paragraph, but I sure like it when I get it right.

When I don’t write, it’s because I’m either sick or too busy.  If I ran out of ideas, I think my memory would have had to have failed me completely.  I simply run out of energy or can’t concentrate.

Writer or blogger, either way, I like to write and I write in a blog.

When the truth doesn’t matter

my dad had the best story to tell

home

There was a chest in the corner of the upstairs second bedroom, which is where the photo of the pretty woman from France was.  The bedroom was a holograph of the past.  Nobody slept there anymore and the same crocheted quilt with big colorful flowers on it seemed to have always decorated the bed.

Once in a while, with enough pestering from me, either my grandmother or dad would go up stairs with me where we would sit together on the bed beside the wooden chest.  They would open it and let me choose an item for a story.   Stories that I never tired of.   Stories that connected me to them and us to our ancestors.

My grandmother had lost a daughter to cancer and the room held the memories of her in framed pictures, her jewelry and pieces of her favorite clothes hanging in open view from hooks on the old wooden walls.

One story I liked for my dad to tell me was about how I was named.

“Let me see the woman from France,” I would ask my dad.  He would let me hold the picture, while he told me the story.

“She was beautiful,” he would say.

He would start with talking about being in the Army.  He was a cook and sometimes I think he wanted more interesting stories than he had actually lived.

“Her name was Mechelle,” he would say, trying to make it sound French, which I loved.

“I gave you a beautiful name because you’re a beautiful girl,” he told me.  I was happy he thought I was beautiful.  This was back in the day before we stopped talking to girls about their looks and instead started telling them their smart, which I think is a good progression.  At the same time, I don’t think I was damaged by my father’s innocent compliments.

Of course I asked him once if he loved her and if he thought she was more beautiful than my mother.  He nearly cried.  He cried easily.  I’m a lot like him.

“Oh no,” he said with great emotion.   “Your mother is the only woman I’ve ever loved and the most beautiful woman in the world.”  I believed him and I still do.

“I knew her before I married your mother,” he would remind me.

“Did you ever kiss her?” I remember asking him.  He would smile, as if he was a ladies man and say jokingly, “Maybe once.  The women couldn’t say no to me when I was in uniform.”

I never believed he kissed her and I’m sure that’s exactly how he wanted it.

My mom recently told me that my dad made up this story about the woman in France and about naming me.

“But what about the picture?” I asked her.

“There ain’t no tellin’ where he got that from,” she said.  “He could have picked that up at the dime store,” she added.

I don’t think so!

I knew, even as I believed my dad loved only my mother, that this photo was important to him.

My mother tells me that I was, “supposed to have been a boy and was already named Michael.”   She had been a little too sure of herself.

She said her reason for naming me Michelle is that it was easy to change the name Michael.  A very boring reason right?

I’m going to stick to my dad’s story, which also included telling me he always knew I would be a girl, which is exactly what he wanted.

And did he sing the Beatles to me?  You bet he did!

In loving memory of my dad and his stories of adventure, real or imagined.

Interludes in reality

“What are you looking at?” I thought I heard someone ask.

I turned to see a middle-aged woman standing near us.  She was addressing my son, which is fine because he’s a grown man.

I knew this was going to eventually happen somewhere.  Staring isn’t acceptable in our society and personally, I too am generally uncomfortable with being stared at for any length of time that seems out of the ordinary.

The waiter had brought our menus and it was during this moment when I thanked him that the woman walked over to our table.

The hostess had given us a round table in the middle of the large open dining area.   I thought this was a mistake.  I asked my son if he would rather sit along the wall with a bit more privacy, but he said no.

People have always told me that I can’t hide my feelings because of my eyes.  I’ve heard it all my life.  I decided to harness this transparency trying to communicate with the woman standing by our table that my son had meant no harm.

I can’t be sure what was translated when I looked into her eyes.  Perhaps it was a plea for compassion.  It seemed as though we met briefly where words are unnecessary.

“I’m sorry.  I didn’t mean to startle you,” she said.   “It’s just that he was looking over at us,” she paused, looking briefly at my son and then questioningly back at me, “but he was smiling.”

“He likes seeing happy people,” I told her.  “He gets very happy when people laugh.”

My son continued smiling while she and I chatted for a moment.   It was a gleaming smile, much like a child’s at Christmas.  The woman didn’t seem bothered.

She apologized again and invited us to join them.

“If you want to come sit with us you can,” she told my son.  “You too!” she added.

They were having a cookware party.  “We’re having lots of fun as he can obviously see,”  she remarked.

I think his smile rubbed off on her.  Her invitation felt sincere.  My son seemed genuinely interested in cookware.  I told my mom about it later and she said, “Well, he would have bought some, that’s for sure!”

We know him.  We know how enthusiastic he gets about things.  We know he laughs hard.  We know he laughs sometimes when it’s considered inappropriate.  We also know this is a way his brain is processing information.  Other people don’t know this, of course.

I thanked the woman, but declined the offer.

She walked away and for a moment my son looked sad.  I asked him what was wrong.  He said he was just trying to figure things out.

I felt bad for him.  Trying to figure things out and all.  I haven’t figured out too much myself.  He doesn’t understand certain rules that when I think about them, neither do I.  Things about our world and society that honestly don’t make sense or aren’t rational, but are nevertheless realities.

We enjoyed the rest of our meal.  Art literally covers the walls inside the restaurant.  In the corner of the room where we sat is a tall puppet-like man with a theatrical face whose head reaches the top of the high ceiling.  Most of their display includes Folk art created by the local artists.   It’s a very cozy place and the food is good.

My son and I were able to engage in a conversation, which is unusual when it’s just the two of us and we’re surrounded by strangers.  He usually seems quite distracted by his physical environment.  Times when his grandmother and aunts visit are the best.   He sits in the middle of us and has a wonderful time.  He must feel safe surrounded by strong loving women.

The occasional group laughs from our cookware neighbors made him smile, but the art captured most of his attention giving us something to talk about and honestly, something for him to stare at other than the group of laughing women.  The tuna also held his attention.  He likes good food as much as anything, but each time the women laughed, so did he.

On the way home I asked if he wanted to stop at the thrift shop with me.  Shopping is another activity he has a hard time with.  Most of the time he can’t stay in a retail store longer than about five minutes.

This time was different.  He enjoyed walking around and bought several items.

We had a good day.  I think the kind of day we had is a pretty normal day for most people.  It is for most people I know.

That night by the fire I realized I’d had several good days in a row lately.   The positive feelings from this experience are unfamiliar and I felt anxiety.

I’m used to stress.  I’m used to quarterly “mental health crises.”  I’m also used to being fatigued much of the time and feeling like life is passing me by as a result.  My point is that I don’t know what it’s like to have lengthy periods of time without serious stressful matters to deal with.

It’s like when the doctor asked me to take some pain medication and call him, “after twenty-four consecutive hours without pain.”  I laughed.  I thought he was joking!  He wasn’t.

I was altogether stunned the day I called him to report that I’d experienced a full day and night without pain.

Sometimes you get so used to something that you don’t realize what a large impact it’s having on you or your life, like the fear I felt when I imagined having more good days, or rather, not having them.

I felt scared to imagine life being easier.  Experience tells me that the next crisis is always lurking around the corner.   How can I dream or ponder on dreams when who knows what might come my way the next day?

If I start thinking about the things I could do if I didn’t have so many crises to deal with, then I get scared of being hit in the face with… I don’t know what.  Reality?

Reality it is!

Less than two days after my peaceful interlude, much has happened to bring me back.  Back to a reality that is pretty hard to deal with.

Maybe I expected too much.  Maybe I expected things to keep moving forward peacefully, without too many bumps in the road.

 

Thank you for visiting Dogkisses’s blog,

Michelle.

“Remember that there is nothing stable in human affairs; therefore avoid undue elation in prosperity, or undue depression in adversity.”

—  Socrates

sweet memories

“Mother of the Year” is written on the front page of the little book my son made in elementary school.  I’m pretty sure all the moms of the students in his class were elected.  The year was 1993.

Today I was trying to find something on the bookshelf and came across the book, which is an entirely wonderful personal treasure.

The first page says he is happy that I was elected.  Then he goes on to say why.

“The best thing about my mom is that she’s fun to be with and nice.”

The next question asks him what the most important thing his mother has taught him.

He wrote that I taught him to, “Stop wars and boms.”  Boms, not bombs.

He drew a picture of me, holding my palm out with the word stop written beside my mouth in one of those little cartoon type clouds.  There was another person with a gun and he wrote the word “okay”  beside that person.

I guess in a child’s mind stopping war and bombs is that easy.

The next part was written in larger letters:  “Don’t use Drugs!”  He spelled that right.

The next page reminds me of how much energy I had.  “Mother on the Move” he titled it.  I scanned it but it’s almost twenty years old —

mother on the move, before fibromyalgia

I love my little book.

My son and I had a great time in his childhood.

I actually could clean a house in ten minutes.  I played with him all the time but I only played Lacrosse once.  He must have thought I was pretty good.

A letter to my blog

a letter to a blog and dogs can ride horses

Dear Dogkisses’s Blog,

I’m writing to say how much I’ve grown to respect you since you were born.   I admit that you were an accident and I didn’t have a plan as to how I would care for you.

I remember what fun it was the first time I clicked publish.  The life in you began to shine.

Unfortunately, I don’t know your exact birthday, but it was about one year ago.  I’m sure I could find it somewhere on your dashboard, but I changed the dates of my first several posts.   I can’t believe I trashed the “Hello World.”  I’m sorry.  I thought it was terrible writing, but now I can see where it would be cool if I could see your first appearance.

I realize you are just a blog.  I know I can do almost anything I want to with you.  What I failed to realize when you were younger is that how I treat you has an effect on others.  The blogosphere doesn’t revolve around you.  You live within it.

I’ve been working on cleaning up your archives.  Not only did I click publish too soon, without doing a spell check, much less a full edit, I also failed to work harder at finding the right words, or better words than some of the ones I chose to use.

I should have watched more videos and read more about blogs before giving birth to you, but please know I’m trying to learn and do better in creating you and your, um… online presence.

From this day forward I will have a greater respect for you and your capabilities.

Love,

Your maker and caretaker.


Little creatures are great teachers

Dogs can talk and if we listen we can hear what they have to say.

Keeping a safe distance at the dog park

I’ve never met a dog that couldn’t talk but some have a lot more to say than others do.  My girl Ruthie told me just a second ago how much she loves being loved.

Oh she’s the sweetest, and I mean THE SWEETEST 4-legged I’ve ever met!

She talks all the time.  She tells me dog stories.  Mostly they consist of her great insect-hunting adventures.  There isn’t any insect that gets by her, which is at times frightening to me.  She doesn’t say much about the snake I wouldn’t let her kill, which she found underneath my bookcase in the living room.  It was rightfully hers and the animal control officer who I called to come and help me said exactly that.  “You ought to set that dog loose in there.  She’d take care of it long before I could get there.”

No way was I going to set my dog loose to capture that snake!  My friend who has spent a lot of time in Africa ended up coming over, dressed in his Safari hat, which was pretty funny.  He was able to get the snake to exit through my sliding glass door.  He also enjoyed making fun of me for being scared of what he called a little black snake, but believe me, it was not so little.  I guess if you’ve seen African cobras it was little.

I had a mouse in the same apartment as the snake was in until Ruthie came to live with us.  She sat up for two nights straight, just sitting in the kitchen, watching the place where I knew that mouse was.  He, or she, left.  I guess it simply couldn’t find a way out.  Ruthie is as good as any cat.  I never heard from that mouse again.

As to insects, she hasn’t told me yet how she knows where they are, especially in the middle of the night when the lights are all off.  Suddenly I’ll wake up to her running from the bedroom where she sleeps to the kitchen or living room.  I’ll get up and I find her in a corner where she has either discovered or captured an insect.  I can’t figure out if she hears them crawling or smells them and like I said, she has not told me her secret yet.

She’s a great insect hunter with natural eye-liner that gives her a Cleopatra kind of look, earning her the royal title of an Egyptian Beetle Hound.

I don’t know where Ruthie came from before I met her, which was at the local shelter, other than she had been recently returned by a family who had adopted her two weeks before I did.  They had a toddler who was allergic to dog hair, or so they said.

Ruthie was certainly shedding when I first met her.  Within an hour of her being inside my home the floor was nearly covered in dog hairs, which comforted my grieving heart.

I’d lost my Free girl only six or seven weeks before I met Ruthie.  Free is the gorgeous black lab in my post, I AM FREE.   There were still some of her hairs in the corners of my living room.  I had purposefully missed those spots while vacuuming shortly after she had to leave this earth.  I tried to keep any  reminder of my girl around for as long as I could, especially her scent.  I missed everything about her.

When my apartment began to have that kind of house smell that comes with homes without dogs, I felt like it was sterile and empty.  Lifeless.

A house without a dog is a sad lonely place to me.  I learned I definitely don’t like it.  I found myself downtown helping homeless people at strange hours of the night.  I’m really not cut out for that.  It isn’t my passion.  It was however, better than returning to a home without my beloved Free girl.

The first day I got Ruthie I couldn’t wait to show her where she would be living.  I knew she would like it better than that dirty shelter.  She was totally psyched!  She knew it was her home too.

Ruthie knew I was her new owner as we walked out of the shelter.  I didn’t know at the time she had most likely been abused and the shelter couldn’t tell me that information.  I would soon learn that she was scared of people until she knew if they were okay or not.  She was scared of just about everything, except our other dog, Tiny.  Looking back to the day I adopted her, knowing now how scared she was of the world, I’m happy to know that she jumped into my car as quickly as I had opened the door.  The look on her face said let’s get the heck out of here.  She didn’t look back as we drove away.

I needed a shower after the several hours of the adoption process, which had included a trip to my favorite pet store to get her a few toys and of course, I wanted to show her off to the owner.  I was quite proud of my new friend.

She barked at the entrance to the bathroom and ran in circles the entire time I showered.  While I dried off she was calm.  I walked into the living room and saw where she had enjoyed a bit of wine tasting from a glass that was sitting on the fire-place hearth from the night before.  Then I noticed a pack of cigarettes, lying on the middle of the floor, completely shredded.

Ruthie looked quite proud of herself.  She was lying right beside of the tobacco strewn across the floor with the same look Free had the time she brought me a dead bird as a gift after I scolded her one day.  I know… that poor bird.

I had a suspicious feeling that someone had taught Ruthie to shred a pack of cigarettes.

The next day it happened again.  She barked at the shower, ran in circles, and got quiet while I was drying off.  There she was again, lying beside of her destruction and again, with a look of pride on her face.

After only a couple of days the shedding and shredding stopped and I’ve had her four years.  I think she’s allergic to toddlers and that was why she was shedding so much.  She’s still scared of all people less than about four feet tall.  She urinates and then lies on her back when she sees a little person.  I never let her get close so everyone stays safe.

A scared dog is a dog that might bite.

Free always showed me how I needed to be.  She showed me what it was like to be free.  She really did live up to her name.  She was a sweet girl too.  Mostly Free was happy.  That’s what everyone who met her would say, “That is about the happiest dog I’ve ever met.”

Ruthie is different from Free.  She shows me who I am.  She shows me how I am.  She shows me how I feel.  Everyone says, “What a sweet dog.”  One woman who met us said, “She is your tender heart isn’t she?”  I realized she was right.

Ruthie has such a tender heart that if someone gets upset, especially me, well, so does she.  The first signs of her being upset are revealed in her gut, just like mine.  She was diagnosed with Irritable Bowel Syndrome not long after I got her.

A couple of days ago Ruthie had blood literally pouring from her rectum.   I immediately called the vet.  After several tests the doctor said she believes Ruthie was responding to stress.   The vet said some dogs who get boarded there have this same reaction.  I was certainly glad to hear that Ruthie is okay, but it made me sad to know that my getting upset earlier that day had apparently caused this reaction in her gut.

I can’t protect her from life.  I try hard not to let her know when I’m upset, but she knows anyway.  She’s much better now.  I played with her, rubbed her silky coat, and basically showered her with hugs and kisses.   We are both better now.

Ruthie is a teacher, just like Free was.  She teaches me to calm down.  She shows me when I’m getting too upset and my love for her makes me want to feel better so that she will.  She shows me about forgiveness too.  She loves my son, no matter what.  She wants peace.  Most dogs do I guess.

Ruthie shows me what stress does to the body.  She shows me myself.

Free would show me how I could feel differently if I would only follow her advice, which was to go outside and play with her.  If I didn’t listen she would get a ball, usually a dirty one, and toss it in my lap.

Free would fight too, although the times were few and I was always there to stop her.  She would fight over tennis balls, sticks, toys and for sure, food.  I had to keep a close eye on Free.  She would slip off every chance she got and she got better at this with age.  She’d hide behind a tree while I worked in the garden, staring at me as if I couldn’t see her.  I’d play along with her, but if I went more than two minutes without looking she would be gone.

Down the winding paths she would go and in the mountains a dog’s route is faster than a human’s is.  Sometimes I’d have to get into my car to go fetch my dog.  She knew every house in the neighborhood that lived a dog.  She would go into their yards, especially during the day when the owners were away and the dogs were in the house and steal their toys.  If I caught her doing it she would have the toy in her mouth, her head would drop and she looked pitiful.

Free had a strong spirit.  If she had been human then she would have been an activist who gets put in jail from time to time.  She fought to protect what was hers, what she believed in and what she wanted.

Ruthie is not like that.  She is a tender heart.  She doesn’t fight and instead gives and walks away.   She has shown me once that if a person does something that seems intentionally harmful to her that she will protect herself.  Otherwise, Ruthie is sensitive, extremely loving, funny and has a cautiousness about her that I consider a smart trait, one worthy of my attention.  If she was a human she might be a nurse.

When we go to the dog park she gets a little scared, but she also loves it and runs the other way if I say let’s go.  She keeps her distance from the other dogs.  Ruthie likes to walk around the edges of the fence, which is a good distance from the center of the park where the dogs play together.  She’ll play if she finds the right dog but she’s choosy.  She likes dogs about her size or a little smaller.  She freaks out when a pack of dogs surround her, even though they are usually smothering her with kisses.  Even the dogs know Ruthie is the SWEETEST one in the park!

Free loved the dog park too, but she liked the tennis balls better than the other dogs.  She would gather as many balls as she could get, put them in one big pile and then plop down on top of her collection, daring the others with her growl to come any closer.  The other dogs fortunately did not challenge Free, probably because she could never get all the tennis balls.  She sure tried though.

Ruthie is my little drop of heaven.  I believe Free kissed her from heaven, which is why Ruthie’s snout is black.  She was kissed by an angel.

I’m so glad that child was allergic to my girl Ruthie, who is now, Ruthie Mae.

My dog can talk.  She just told me that she doesn’t care much for the time I spend on this computer.

Little creatures really do make good teachers.