Remember Stewart’s Dog Named Beau?

The night he read his tribute about his dog named Beau, Jimmy Stewart’s poem was rare…it was uncommon at the time (1980s) to see someone show publicly that much love and emotion about a pet.

Today, bloggers and social media sites deliver to us a ton of wisdom and many sweet personal memories about dogs and cats. We’ve had opportunities to learn so much more about the unconditional love and lives of dedicated dogs. We didn’t always have that.

I remember watching Stewart turn into teary poet on live television (back when television meant something) when he spoke of his golden retriever who’d passed away.

It was a summer night when Rob was a baby and we were spending the night with my friend Debbie. Johnny Carson was on and his guest was, of course, Jimmy Stewart. Debbie and I both cried; for days, I teared up when I thought of Jimmy’s poem. At some point, I bought his book of poetry just so I could have that one poem.


A book of so-so poetry, except for one…Stewart’s “A Dog Named Beau.”

No matter how many dogs I have had to tell good-bye, I still think of this night…and, when I hear Jimmy read it, it still gets to me.

If you have a curiosity about Jimmy and his dog Beau, there’s a great article on Psychology Today.  Below is an excerpt:

“The truth is that it’s just really hard for me to get to sleep without a dog in my bedroom….After he died there were a lot of nights when I was certain that I could feel him get into bed beside me and I would reach out and pat his head. The feeling was so real that I wrote a poem about it and about how much it hurt to realize that he wasn’t going to there anymore.”

Click here to watch Stewart’s appearance on Johnny Carson on July 28, 1981.

Well, Aunt Janet, if you’d just pay attention…

Mother told me that she needed to go to the insurance company TODAY (12/31/15–New Year’s Eve) and talk to them about her slightly higher premium. I offered to call them for her and found it odd that she didn’t want me to do it.

As we drilled down into the REAL problem, the truth is that she lost her payment envelope and she wants to get out of the house today, but she’s been listening to all her elder friends talk about their premiums. So, while she’s over there in Lake Jackson paying her bill, she’s going to talk it over with them so they know she’s paying attention.

Paying attention? I reminded her of a holiday season of the past and she laughed…she always does.

Over 40 years ago (when Mother was in her early 40s) my cousin Larry was a little fellow. We were sitting around my Aunt Jo Ann’s table for a holiday dinner. Mother (whose name is actually pronounced “Jeanette” because my grandfather said so) kept interrupting everyone and making them repeat what they’d just said.

Little Larry, still small enough to sit on a catalog to reach the table, said quietly in his precious East Texas twang, “Way-elllll, Aint Ja-nay-ett, if you’d just pay attention and listen the FIRST time, you’d know what everybody was saying.”

We all sucked in our breath not knowing how Mother was going to take it (because she had been known to throw a high fit at a holiday dinner when she perceived an insult) but she loved Larry and broke up in laughter. The rest of us breathed, the holiday was saved…and to this day, Mother laughs when I say “Well, Aint Ja-nay-ett…” because LARRY said it.


If you grew up in Texas, you can’t help but love this book.

My brother-in-law has bedeviled my sister repeatedly reading excerpts to her and she finds herself laughing until she cries.

My full review is at the link.

The Ole Man – Episodes of the Heart by James Killingsworth

Amazing Foxy: My Hero!

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Amazing Foxy

Foxy Stone remains high on my list of good dogs and I just have to brag on him. I spent a night during the holidays at Rob & Kelly’s by myself the other night.  

Before bedtime, I crept out with Foxy into the big dark backyard full of trees and unseen boogeymen and barely let him have time to get his business done because I saw something white running around the yard in the distance…Rob said it was probably a possum.  I am pretty sure what I saw was the Bigfoot seen in the Pacific Northwest and it had migrated to the seemingly safe for children woodsy suburb located just north of Houston where my son lives.

Bigfoot from the Pacific Northwest seen in Harris County, or was it a possum as my son said? ( I KNOW it had to be this guy!)

We made it back into the house and I bolted the door. I worried about him getting up in the night needing to attend to more business, so I put a puppy pad by the back door.

Once in bed, I thought how clever I was to do that…then, I remembered that he is well up in years and wouldn’t relish the idea of having to go all the way downstairs to use the pads.  Drat!  But, just then I heard a loud noise. I texted Rob. He said it was probably the ice maker, but I think it was six men who had broken into the house wearing scary rubber masks.

Scary old men in masks or icemaker dumping ice?

I was really tired and had left my weaponry back home by my bed. So, I reasoned that if those mask-wearing-maniacs wanted this tired old woman that bad, they were probably a heck of a lot older than I am, and I could beat them off with my brand new amazing Chi Flat Iron with Ionic Tourmaline Hair Straightener even if it wasn’t hot  (because it gets REALLY hot and makes my hair spikey like I like it). With that sure plan of action in mind and my flat iron within reach, I fell asleep.

Flat Iron or a weapon to beat up six old men up to no good?







In the night, I half awoke to Foxy jumping up in bed. Uh-oh! I hoped he was just up to get a drink of water…I should go check! But, remembering the ancient masked men bumping around downstairs, I declined to get up and investigate and went back to sleep.

The next morning, I eased quietly around the second floor so as not to attract the attention of the would-be assailants (who were obviously too old to climb the stairs) while looking carefully for a Foxy puddle to sanitize. Finding none there, I, emboldened by morning light, ventured down the stairs to investigate with old man Foxy at my heels.

puppy pads
The best XL puppy training pads I’ve ever used.

We made it to the back door without attack and I was pleased and amazed with my old boy. He had indeed gotten up in the night and made his way down a lengthy set of stairs to find the extra large wonderful puppy pads that I use exclusively and he had used them before climbing back up the stairs and returning to the bedroom! In addition, while he was down there, he ran those bad men out of the house because there was not a one of them in sight.

Thank you, Foxy. You are just an awesome traveling buddy.

Adult Books (Coloring Books, that is.)

Remember coloring books?  

Well, now we can have our own!  We don’t have to share with the children or grandchildren anymore!  They’re supposed to be stress-relief tools.  My judgment says they will stress me to the wall because I can color worth a flip. And, I will be stressed because I don’t have time. None the less, I am about to order the Creative Cat Coloring Book!  Of course, that will require art supplies to go with it.  (Good thing I have a lot of points saved upon on my Amazon Rewards Card for such frivolities.  It is guilt free spending.)

My good friend DB bought a coloring book last week.  She started coloring last night.  I asked her this afternoon (her morning) how the coloring was going.  DB said her hand was tired and she’d be ordering gel pens to go along with her other art supplies.

I’m tagging this post as Stocking Stuffers!  This will be a fun gift for our 50 plus girlfriends.

Review – Skip Bo Craze Revival

You have probably played the card game Skip Bo and if you have, you love it or you hate it.  I was introduced to it on a cruise.  It was our go-to way to spend time out at sea.

Meanwhile, back here at the ranch, I am fortunate to have four 50-plus friends who like playing cards; I carried my Skip Bo cards to our last gathering and we’ve all gotten addicted not only to playing the Skip Bo card game cards together, we have all downloaded the Skip Bo app and we’re playing that, too!

Skip Bo can accommodate five players.  There used to be four of them and they had a great time playing Spades. Now that I’m in the group, playing Spades is out of the question.  Spades is the favorite game for all of us, but Spades  for five isn’t fun.  Next weekend, my high ol’ time for celebrating Labor Day will be in the midst of a Skip Bo throw down.

If you haven’t tried Skip Bo for a while, download the app on your Kindle Fire or phone and have fun with it!  I play mine on my Kindle Fire HD, my iPad Mini, and my phone.

Being 50 plus years old is the best…like college, but with more money, and you can play Skip Bo all night if you want to!

Don’t forget to wear your cheaters!

Counting Today’s Blessings (No one called the police.)

This morning I was sleeping, and I was sleeping, sleeping, sleeping…such GOOD sleeping.  I woke up about 10:30 a.m. and stumbled in to make a cup of coffee.  My Samsung Gear 2 (aka my Life Alert, so say my smart@ss co-workers) started blinking alerting me that I had a phone call.

I had left my lifeline, my Samsung Note 4, in the bedroom, but I needed to answer because it was a client–my bread/butter of writing client.  I hit the little button and spoke into my watch.  “Hello?”  He said, “ARE YOU OKAY?”

“Yes…I’m fine, why? I slept in.”

He:  “I’ve called you six times and I have already called Rob and I was about to call the police and drive to College Station. In all these years you have never NOT answered your phone.”

Still speaking with slurry sleepy words into my Gear 2 and fumbling with the coffee, I said the only sentence I could say, “So, did Rob answer?” (Wow, I thought…what kind of smart @ss question was that?)

My caller must have thought so, too. He didn’t answer me.  He grumpily said that now that he was sure I wasn’t dead, he was going to have coffee with a friend.

I stumbled back to bed with my coffee cup and noted that indeed I had turned the ringer off on my phone.  UGH!

First of all, I’m so blessed to have this man as a friend.  I’m blessed that he values me not only as a contractor but that he cares about me. I feel horrible that I scared him like that.

I’m blessed that he didn’t have my mother’s number because that would have been the icing on the cake.

I’m blessed because I was wearing my Samsung Gear 2 and didn’t cause my friend anymore worry which would have resulted in a 911 call.

I’m REALLY blessed that he didn’t race to my door or didn’t call the police so they would see me open the door in response to loud pounding (which no doubt would bring out the neighbors so that they could all see me) standing there squinting into the sunlight with hair standing on end wearing nothing but a brown wife beater and a pair of leopard print granny panties with two frantic backups, old Foxy, a fuzzy pom mix, and a little black dog named Harry that doesn’t know how to bark, just scream like a banshee.

Well, as they say, all’s well that ends well.  A good Saturday has come and gone and my unfortunate readers will need bleach to get that visual out of their eyes.

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Dedicated to the 7 Sisters

This blog entry is dedicated to six women who make me feel sixteen years old, like we are hiding and smoking cigarettes, driving through the Sonic in our hometown in old cars, double-dating, and doing anything except handling real life.

We get together for weekends as often as we can and tell our life secrets from back then and now.  We open our lives and share the ups and downs of what was wrong then and what’s good and bad about now. In the summer months, we live in our swimsuits and don’t worry about bags, sags, or wrinkles. (Most of the 7 don’t have those things…primarily me.  They are beautiful women!  Okay…WE are all beautiful women!)

These are the Monkey Sock Feet of my Best Friends from Childhood

These are the Monkey Sock feet of my Best Friends from Childhood

We dress up and go out to dinner; we play  “Remember when…” for hours at a time, and all of us really do remember when, because we were there.

7 Sisters - Friends Forever!

7 Sisters – Friends Forever!

We do not see the years etched on the faces of our six friends, we see the smooth faces of girls.

In the winter months, with our heads all that is showing atop blanket ponchos wrapped around us tightly, we gather  in an animated ring of female conversation around a blazing fire pit. We are girls at a pajama party, and the party is so much better than they were back then.  We build fires to warm us on cold nights while we gossip, tell our own stories, and make short runs into the house to grab another glass of wine or to reach into the cooler by the back door for a beer.

When we are together, we giggle and laugh loud, the only care being that we should not wake any nearby neighbors trying to sleep. We can’t see gray roots or strands of hair, the worry lines, or wrinkles on the faces that look back at us. They all tell a common story–that decades have passed since a mild night in May when we graduated from high school.  We can’t see that age has changed any of our friends…we are the same as we were that night as we ate graduation cake with our parents and grandparents impatiently, then ran to our bedrooms and pulled off our best dresses, stockings, and church shoes, and put on pasture party clothes.

We are the same girls which perhaps that night retrieved a stash of cigarettes from a hiding place and loaded into cars with boys (none of whom remain in the picture) to join our classmates  to celebrate passing through the halls of AHS for the last time. When we are together, the dancing light from the firepit illuminates faces that belong to the girls we were then.

In real life, we have all fared pretty well.  Most of us (well, all except me) charted out a great life and stuck to the plan–I did okay, too, but typical for me, I took the hardest, roughest road I could find to get there!

Now, we are 50 plus, but when we are together, we are 15+.  We love our time together–we protect it fiercely.  Only the worst of events can hold us out of a meeting of the 7.   Even sight loss didn’t keep me away from a planned weekend with the girls in February, 2014.

When my retina detached about that time, I saw a doctor who told me that he needed to do surgery on the following Tuesday.  After agreeing upon a time for surgery, I asked him if I could go be with my girlfriends…could I drink wine? Could I laugh hard and sit in a hot tub on a cold night?  He laughed and gave his blessing, and one of the girls came after me and took me to our girls’ gathering. They will  always come and get me if I am in between good times with my sight. It’s not the same if we aren’t all together.

We support each other, pray for one another, and sometimes when we feel like it, we put on dance music…maybe a little Usher…and we dance in our swimsuits like nobody’s looking!

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Fun with scheduling eye appointments

Sometimes you have to laugh!

I have an appointment with Dr. Cataract Surgery (ophthalmologist) to plan for getting my implant (lens) cleaned up. I know it needs doing–he knows it needs doing, but in order to squeeze out as many appointments as my insurance will pay for, we have to plan ahead for it by having a pre-appointment to assure what we already confirmed in my last appointment.

I called today to ask Dr. Optometrist (same office) to get an appointment for an exam on the same day so I could get more contact lenses. I am nearly out.

“We’re sorry. Before you can see Dr. O, you need to have an all clear after a yearly eye exam…you’ll have to get a clean bill of health. That’s not what your appointment is for on the 3rd. We’ll need to make another appointment for that. Then you can see Dr. O.”

[We went through this 3-4 times.]

Finally I said, “I j-u-s-t need a contact lens prescription within the next two weeks.  Now, if we can’t do that there on the 3rd or before, I can go to a different optometrist tomorrow who will not care if Dr. Cataract Surgery gives me a clean bill of health. I just saw Dr. Retina three weeks ago. He said my eye is in great health. Oh! And, HE GAVE ME A VICTORY HUG because his retina repair work looks so good.”

She scheduled an appointment with Dr. Optometrist for me on the 3rd.

Apparently, there were super powers in that victory hug!

It’s Not the Size of the Trailer that Counts, It is How Many Parking Spaces You Can Block!

Being the nosy Mrs. Kravitz that I am, I noticed that a silver truck with a trailer was doing something odd in our parking lot. The driver worked feverishly backing up and repositioning several times to get the trailer positioned juuuussssst right (except it wasn’t parked right at all) into the covered parking space next to my car to load up SOMETHING PRESUMABLY REALLY BIG AND HEAVY out of a condo. (Otherwise, why go to so much trouble to get a few inches closer?)

The driver of this truck and trailer has blocked me in, blocked my good friend DB out of her spot, and another neighbor is blocked out of her space, too! Oh hell NO. That’s dangerous business, right there.

After 15 minutes, I have observed that the truck owner has manhandled out of the condo one measly nightstand that I could have loaded up by myself with no problem.

I hope that something else that is super heavy is loaded up before long and it’s worth blocking three working women’s parking spaces because when one or both of those two women come home and can’t park, there’s going to be some trouble out there.

I’m waiting by my kitchen window for one of them to arrive and frown at the truck and trailer parked rudely in the way — my friend April won’t be able to get into the parking spot belonging to her.  Sure, she could park in the guest area and walk a few extra steps, but at quitting time, no one wants to walk a few extra steps.  You’ve walked around all day in shoes that are gorgeous and make your legs look awesome, but when 5:30 p.m. rolls around and you are ready to get out of those rotten criminal b**tards called designer shoes, every step is like walking 6.27 miles on shards of glass.

That truck owner better get ready.  His lunch better be packed in a Gilligan’s Island lunch box with a matching thermos, because in a show of solidarity for working women wearing pretty shoes all day, I’m going to grab my purse and run out screaming like a banshee, “Move the truck…get that trailer out of my way!! I have a broken nail — it’s an emergency and have to get to the salon before it closes!!!”

If he knows what’s good for him, he’ll reverse that pathetic parking job he’s done and run for his life.

Appointment with my Senility Counselor?

[Written April 15, 2015]

I have marked myself out on my work calendar for tomorrow from 11:30 to 12:30 pm with a description that no one, not even I, can decipher. It says “LUNCH PLANS.”

Yeah…I know I’ve got LUNCH PLANS (in UPPERcase letters so it must be important business), but what the H they are…I have no flipping clue.

I will check my phone records to see if I can figure out if I have a doctor’s appointment, nail appointment, hair appointment, or an appointment with my senility counselor.