And just like that, he’s five years old

Saturday was Maverick’s birthday. Five years have passed in a flash, but it seems that Maverick does everything fast. 🙂 My wild, funny, goofy, smart, red headed boy is apparently middle aged in dog years but try telling HIM that! He thinks he’s a teenager and as much as he can drive me nuts, I wouldn’t really want him any other way.

On Monday we finish one class, and on Wednesday we start another. It’s been a wild ride with him these past years and today I took a few minutes to ponder on how far we’ve come. There was a day at the park when he got the zoomies on leash, and I stood in the middle of the whirlwind, laughing so hard I don’t know how I held on. There was a day when he got away from me at that same park, and ran directly to the place I knew he’d go, the tennis court. There was a time when I locked myself in the bathroom and cried because he wouldn’t stop tearing up the house, and wouldn’t listen and was just an absolute holy terror.

We blocked off rooms and the stairs for a few months. He couldn’t be trusted to not try to fly through a window if there was a bird outside. And then we opened up the house, and he proved that he was, indeed, not a baby brain ALL the time.

I wanted a velcro dog. Be careful what you wish for. He is attached to me like white on rice. (Is that racist? I’m pretty sure it is) He rarely leaves my side and while that’s a wonderful thing to be so adored, it’s also exhausting. My sister calls me his emotional support person and although she’s wrong about many things, I think she may be right about this one.

Five years ago I was in a very bleak place. Max had gone to the Bridge, after months of fighting the cancer that couldn’t be cured, no matter how hard I tried. Bear was working second shift, so I was alone, again, for all the hours of darkness, it seemed. And dark those hours were. I cried more for Max than I cried for most people I’ve lost. He was my heart, my constant companion, my rock when things were really bad. Five years later, I still miss him every day.

The amazing thing, well, one of many, is that Maverick is actually Max’s great nephew. I like to think that Max saw my grief and sent me Maverick, knowing full well that this ball of fire would keep me from having time to wallow in tears. (There were tears, yes, indeed, but not the kind that left me sobbing from a heart that was not just broken, but shattered into a million pieces.)

Maverick has slowly and steadily knit those pieces back together. He is the center of my world – and yes, the Bear knows that. Maverick is the center of his world as well.

So Happy Birthday to my wild child. May you have 10 more birthdays – at least – before you join your big brother (Max) at the Bridge. I will love you forever.

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Classes and stuff

Well. In spite of my trepidations, Maverick has managed to not only be a rock star, but to be the class clown. I am in shock, and so flippin overjoyed that I seriously cried the entire way home after the first class. I had told myself I would be happy if he didn’t bite another dog or a person. He was very aware of the other dogs – there are 12 in the class – but he didn’t react at all, even when they came within what I thought was his bubble. He was totally an idiot with the instructors, demonstrating what is known among the Golden Retriever crowd as “excessive greeting disorder.” Better that than biting them!

Two weeks into class, he managed to bruise my ribs and pull the muscles across my upper back and shoulders and just cause a good bit of mayhem. Sleeping in a recliner with a heating pad – well, little sleep happened – is not conducive to attending a training class. My dear friend stepped in and offered to be the handler. And she had a ball. So, indeed, did Maverick, and so did I! It was way more fun with two of us. She asked if she could come to the next class. Hell, yeah!

So we haven’t learned a whole lot, because this was basic stuff we’ve done for ages, but it was a great experience, being with the other dogs, having to listen to Mommah with so many distractions, doing what was asked. Next Monday is the last class. I’ve already signed us up for the next. I think we might just be onto something here.

And in other news. My granddaughter, known as the kiddle in the middle, announced to us that we will be great grandparents this October. Emotions I didn’t expect overwhelmed me. I did not give birth to her dad, but I’ve been Grams to this child since she was a few months old, and she, and her sisters, are mine in every way that counts. I was awash in memories, rocking her to sleep, holding her when she was sick, playing so many games. I bought a pack and play for her little sister. It’s been used by several people over the years, and is currently in storage. In 6 months, it will be used by her child. It feels like yesterday that I lifted her up and sat her in the “kid cage” because she just loved playing in that thing – it’s more of a playpen than crib – and just laughing at the sight of her.

I worry about the world this baby will be born into. She (I’m certain she’s a she) and my bonus grandson, will live in times we’ve never imagined. And I will fight like hell to keep this world safe for them.

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Bruised Ribs

Yes, I’m self diagnosing.
A few weeks ago, I took Maverick to the vet for blood work because this now has to be done before you can get the heartworm meds. I think it’s just an excuse to charge more and to lecture about vaccinations that he doesn’t need and is therefore not getting, and/or to tell me it’s really time to neuter him (it isn’t). Maverick does not like the little exam room. He wasn’t terrible in the waiting room but once we got into the exam room, all bets were off. I thought he was going to break my wrist at one point while twisting the leash in an effort to GET OUT OF THERE! I let go in time to avoid injury there.

But when he jumped on the bench, shoved behind me, and jumped off the other side, while I was holding the leash, causing me to twist sharply, the damage was done. I’ve been in pain since, really bad that night, slowly getting better. Very slowly.

There isn’t much you can do for bruised, or cracked, or broken ribs. Ice at first, then heat, and GET THAT BLOODY BRA OFF because it hits right on the sore spot Rest and try not to do anything to aggravate it. (Do you hear that, Bear? Don’t aggravate me!)

Today I babysat for the darling child who is my bonus grandson. He is now 2 and quite the determined little boy, which is a wonderful trait until he takes me for a walk and is determined to walk in the road. The end result of this was a small disagreement which I won by picking him up and taking him into the house, while laughing and telling him he was a determined little boy but I was a mean old lady and he thought that highly amusing. (I don’t negotiate with little terrorists and 2 year olds are definitely terrorists! However, I don’t cause unnecessary scenes, either. Pick him up, off we go, no one cares, we’re done) After we went inside, we dozed off to Miss Rachel. If you have small children, Miss Rachel is the bomb – and you’ll hate me for telling you this if you don’t already know about her, but your kids will love her.

Also, if you own a “fart machine,” small children will think you’re the funniest thing they’ve ever seen.

Picking up the small child was not a great thing for the above mentioned ribs. Thank goodness for ginger brandy.

In other news, students still don’t know how to read a syllabus. The granddaughter’s afghan is nearly complete. Four books are currently being read. And Easter was quite lovely, just me and the Bear and The Bible on TV and Maverick snoozing after a 2.5 mile walk that wore him right out. It was a peaceful day in a world that’s too often full of chaos and I treasured every minute.

**Update – I have a doctor appointment at 11:30. I expect x-rays and perhaps some pain meds, maybe prednisone. And then there will most likely be a nap this afternoon.

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In today’s episode of “Idiots Abound”

We went for a walk this morning. Walkng Maverick has become training time, I’m tired of hurting everywhere and being dragged around, so we do a lot of stop and turn and go in the other direction because he loves to pull and he dearly loves to pull across me. I can deal with the pulling but when he’s going across me, it throws everything out of whack, and I’m already wacky enough! We’ve also had issues with other dogs -or so I thought, until Mr. Social Butterfly shocked the bejinkies out of me during training class by wanting nothing more than to observe the other dogs with friendly interest. Since then, we’ve been ditching the “head for the field” routine we’ve practiced and passing on the sidewalk with a good deal of space and a whole lot of “ignore, good boy!” going on.

Today’s walk included an idiot with some sort of poo-whore (if it’s a “doodle,” it’s got a poo-whore in its background) (I like poodles, but they’ve come the whores of the dog world. “Want a mutt? Hey, I got a poodle you can breed with whatever you’ve got and we’ll give it a fancy name and make a lot of money off people who don’t know they’re getting a mutt!) (Yes, I’m a breed snob) I saw him coming, and stopped to assess the situation. If there’s a flexi lead involved, we head for the field. The man saw us, and instead of continuing to move, he stopped, and started feeding the dog treats. Okay, I get that he was training his dog, but if you’re going to do that, get off the path so we can pass. Nah, he wasn’t moving, so we took to the field.

The next bit of dumbfuckery was the idiots with the GSD off leash. We were close enough to my car that we just got in, while I muttered things like “I hope your dog doesn’t come over here because mine will probably teach him a lesson.” and “don’t tell me your dog is bomb proof” and “there’s a dog park on the other side of town, assholes.” Normally I would have approached the person after I got Maverick in the car and offered a friendly bit of advice. (I tell people, “while your dog may be friendly to other dogs, mine isn’t always and if your dog runs up to him, it will most likely be a fight, so you’d probably be wise to keep yours on leash.” Should they get snotty, I tell them there’s a rule at the park about dogs being on leash at all times, and walk away.) I don’t do confrontations, I try to be nice about it but don’t fuck around with my dog’s safety.

There were several little yappy dogs on flexi leads. We ignored them. I told Maverick he could get lunch when we got home. (I once told someone, who picked up her child in a total state of terror when I approached with Max, who adored every child he every met, that she needn’t worry, he’d already had lunch. She didn’t find it amusing. Some people have no sense of humor)

We also passed through several groups of people who were staring at their phones while standing firmly in the middle of the sidewalk. I have no problem with using the elbows God gave me on those idiots. I can almost see their brains being sucked out of their heads and into those little screens.

Happy Easter, everyone. It’s a lovely day to forgive the dumbnuts in this world and focus on the fact that Maverick didn’t bark at anyone or bite anyone today. 🙂

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Waiting, and waiting, and waiting

I’m one of THOSE people. The ones who get seriously hangry, really fast. I can be going along happily and then suddenly realize that I’m hungry. In about five hot minutes, I’m not just hungry, I’m “feed me the fuck now or live with the consequences” hungry. It doesn’t happen often these days, because 99% of the time, I’m in charge of feeding myself and I’m sure as heck not going to let myself go hungry.

(As an aside, I totally do not understand people, or dogs, who have little to no interest in food and can happily go without eating for ages. Yes, Maverick, I’m looking at you.)

(Also, Maverick will totally nosh down happily on treats but a bowl of freakin expensive damned dog food, and he only gets the best, is poison.)

(Yes, Mommah is a tad frustrated by this behavior)

Tonight, for the first time in a long time, Bear was in charge of making dinner. Dinner around here normally happens between 8 and 8:30. Yes, I know that’s late for many people, but we’ve been second shift people for so many years that eating before midnight is still considered a tad early for us. I bought cod on Friday because it was actually affordable for the first time in ages, and he’s in charge of dinner when we have any kind of fish. (I can cook fish but he thinks he does it better and hey, I’m okay with someone else doing the cooking on occasion!)

It’s been a crazy weekend. Friday night was our bi-weekly dinner and diamonds with my bestest friends. (Except Peachy, cuz she was being lazy) We’ve been dealing with car issues, both of our vehicles are almost 20 years old and can no longer be trusted for any more than local trips. We’ve been looking for a new vehicle – and somehow got wires crossed with both of us thinking the other was looking for something that neither of us wanted. We need all wheel drive, Bear thought I wanted an SUV, I thought he did. That little blip got straightened out on Friday and I resumed the search for something we could afford. The first car I saw on a local dealer’s website was a cute little blue Subaru Impreza that said “Hi, it’s me, you know you love me!” Mmmhmm

So Saturday being a day of rain and generally stupid weather, we made the drive to the dealer to check this baby out. Apparently she whispered in the Bear’s ear as well. We’re bringing her home this week.

I’m still feeling like “did we seriously just buy a car?” and slightly gobsmacked. When that happens, it’s pretty much always a good thing. It’s been forever since I had a car payment, I feel like a kid again! (Interest rates will make you vomit, however. Thanks, Joe)

There’s kind of a lot I want to say about the current political climate but I can’t put my thoughts into words – too much emotion at the moment.

So…………Maverick and I started a training class. Basic obedience level 2, we did level 1 four years ago, and this is mostly review but we need the refresher. I was a total stressed out mess last night because of his issues with other dogs and because the first class we did, he totally couldn’t focus on me at all. It was so bad I think they passed us just to get rid of us. (DON’T LET THEM COME BACK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!) I had all intentions of taking more classes but then Covid hit and that was the end of that. Then I got him into daycare and it seemed like maybe it wasn’t necessary. (It was) So …………..I picked him up at 5:30, gave him a calming chew, and off we went. I went into the building first, got his mat down and his treats out – we had a veritable smorgasbord of treats – and then got him out of the car. He pulled me into the building! I’m not sure if he remembers the place from 3 years ago, but he was happy to be there. We went into the far corner, probably 12 feet from the closest dog, a border collie. Maverick was very interested in all the dogs, very excited, but did not react badly at all. He and the border collie were eyeballing each other, I think two guys sort of being guys, but that was fine, no growls or even hackles raised. He still didn’t focus on me a lot, but I did get some behaviors from him and the instructors got him to do what was asked as well.

I had gone in expecting the worst, that he would growl at the other dogs, that we would get kicked out, that he would physically hurt me (he’s been beating me up a lot lately). When class was over, I did have to hold on tightly to get him to the car without dragging me but I knew he was done, ready to go home. l went back inside to get our stuff, told the instructor that I had been so nervous and she looked surprised, said, “he did really well!” My heart just swelled with pride. I smiled all the way home, almost cried I was so relieved and so happy. We’ve come a long way since that first class that was such a disaster. And I’m motivated, there will be more classes in our future if I have anything to say about it. (And I do)

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French Fries

We used to eat a lot of French Fries at my house. When I met the Bear, the only things in his fridge were beer and take out containers.


We were so far apart in our eating habits, I guess we’re proof that opposites attract and that love can conquer all. 🙂

He taught me to love French Fries, I convinced him that a salad was not actually going to poison him. Over the years, our diets have changed, when he was diagnosed as pre-diabetic, we had a very long talk with our family doctor (a very sweet man who finds it amusing that I called him Dr. G for two years before one day asking if he minded, and who takes the time to answer any and all questions we have.. He also has never once pushed the jab and that alone makes me love him) who told us what to avoid to get the numbers down and keep them there.

(Pre-diabetes is reversable, but once it goes into the real thing, it’s not. Or so I understand. I’m not a doctor, I just ask a lot of questions. )

So a half bag of French Fries for supper became a quarter bag, and fried foods and take out were pretty much eliminated The numbers came down and stayed down, and while we do indulge more now than we did at first, we’re still careful.

All that said, Friday nights have always been Fish Fry Fridays. I get the breaded haddock squares and we pull out the deep fryer and have a fish sandwich and French Fries. (Currently I’m addicted to sweet potato fries) (I know you don’t care, but I overshare at times, so hush)

Today is grocery day. This is a day that lately makes me cringe because dear Jebus, what went up in price this week? Well, this week it was French Fries. From $2.99 a bag to $5.49.

I kid you not

I am not happy. I could handle $7 a dozen eggs. I wasn’t pleased, but I dealt with it. But FRENCH FRIES? This is blasphemy. My husband, dear man that he is, explained that the price of gas is up and so the truckers have to pay more and it trickles down to the price of everything increasing.

Yes, Dear, I am aware. I am highly educated and almost as smart as I’m precious. I really don’t care about all that hoohah, however. I care that my damned French Fries have gotten almost too expensive for my weekly indulgence.

Damn it, I miss mean tweets!

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Just a small town girl

That’s what I am. Well, not so much of a girl anymore, or so my body tells me, although I still feel like a kid most days. I live in the country. There’s a horse farm just up the road, a cattle farm at the end of the road, another cattle farm on the other end of the road. The guy next door has rabbits and goats. My 87 year old neighbor has chickens. Directly behind us, separated by a very large field, is another farm – I think they grow hay, not really sure, there’s a line of trees separating us and I don’t pay much attention till they cut the hay and the big machines make big noises and Maverick feels that he needs to protect me from them. We’re used to farm smells and farm noises. When people talk about rural America, I guess this is what they mean.

I’ve been hearing about “15 minute cities,” where you can walk to everything in 15 minutes and there’s no need to drive. It takes me 15 minutes to walk to my neighbor’s house. It’s 5 miles to town – where there’s a grocery store, some fast food places, an Italian restaurant, a Chinese restaurant (that isn’t very good) and a hardware store. There’s also a few medical places and a plethora of car dealers. I love this town, but if I want much variety, it’s off to one of the bigger cities for us. I’m not sure where these people who think a 15 minute city is a good idea live, but I invite them to come visit us anytime and see how the real world lives. And then stop telling me how I should live – go back and live in their cities if they like, but remember where their food comes from.

One of the farms about 1/2 mile over on the next road is for sale. The house on the property is a total wreck, there are 4 outbuildings that have also seen better days, and the property is crossed by the road – this is a road where the posted speed limit is 40 mph and if you go that slow, people will pass you on the corners. The owner is asking a pretty steep price – it’s 27 acres but the house would have to be torn down, or a whole ton of renovations done. It’s not worth the asking price, honestly. However. Apparently companies who are creating solar farms are really into buying up farm land and putting solar panels all over the land.

The neighbors are not in favor. Recently, a big company came to town, invited by a group of people who together own about 700 acres of land. They want to turn all of that into a solar farm. There was no ordinance for or against this, so they sat down with the board of supervisors and helped them write one. (Collusion much? Nah) After 7 months of bitter battles, the variance was passed to allow them to do this.

I am not opposed to solar by any means. I am opposed to turning farm land into solar farms, displacing the wild life and creating an eyesore when there are so many alternatives. Even our esteemed governor is pushing to put solar panels on the roofs of factories, or in parking lots, and not on agricultural properties.

So here we go again. The zoning board published a notice in the newspaper, which is technically all they have to do, but which no one sees. Social media strikes – it got posted that there was a meeting and a lot of people showed up. The company did a presentation – I’ve seen a lot of presentations and created more than a few and I can honestly say this was one of the worst I’ve ever seen. Then it was time for questions from the public. Here’s a hint. If you know that your project is controversial, that most people don’t want it to happen, come prepared with answers to any and all possible questions. I would say that 50% of the time, the answers were “I don’t know, I’m not sure.” And then there was little miss attorney, who was too special to stand up and speak into the mic so if she did answer questions, no one could really hear her.

Nothing was decided. There’s another meeting in two weeks. Hopefully they’ll have answers, because we have a lot more questions.

In other news, some moron brought a sick dog to daycare today and the day has gone straight to hell since I got a call saying come get Maverick now. We’re praying that exposure was limited to a minute and that everyone will be fine – and that daycare will be open tomorrow!

And then the software we use to do our taxes refused to co-operate. Thinking I’d at least get a reward for this cluster fuck of a day by getting a delivery from Amazon, I checked my orders – to see that my stuff would be delivered by USPS by 9 pm. Umm, my mail was delivered at 11 am. So I called Amazon and was assured that indeed, the package would be arriving tonight. I hung up, rechecked and watched the status change to “we’re sorry, your package was delayed and will now be arriving tomorrow.” A return call – because I don’t like being lied to – rewarded me with a $5 refund. Umm, yeah, thanks a lot.

One of my favorite books when I was a kid was Pollyanna. I’m really trying to find the good in all this happy horseshit today.

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Still walking

In the firm belief that for every problem, there’s a book with a solution (this is the result of being over-educated, by the way), I purchased this the other day:

I love this woman, she wrote Calming Signals and if you haven’t read that, I highly recommend it. I started reading it, she outlines a training program that’s pretty much what I’ve been taught before. Stop when the dog pulls, get his attention, turn around and go the other way. (There’s more than that, of course)

Normally I walk 2.5 miles at the park. I’m not happy about it, I used to do 6 miles a day, and I really want to get back to at least 4, but I’m working on it. It’s honestly the only way I can keep my weight down and since I like to eat, I need to walk. So weekends with Maverick have turned into, “let’s go do the miles!” and Maverick, who does not care about food and has no problem with his weight, looks at me like, “Great! Let’s go sniff!” Walking miles while pausing for frequent sniff breaks are not compatible.

So today I made a decision to focus not on miles but on time – to work on the pulling and not worry about how far we got. It took us 45 minutes to go 1.15 miles. (That seriously cracked me up, it takes me 48 minutes to do 2.5 on a good day) The first ten minutes were a whole lot of stop, get attention, turn, walk back in the opposite direction. We did not get very far. At this point I was laughing to myself. The first “loop” at the park is 1/2 mile and my goal was to get around that loop. It took about 10 turns before Maverick got this “oh for crying out loud” look when I turned him around, but he started actually turning himself when I stopped. Really? I know!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Was it a total success? Hell no, it took 45 minutes to go a mile, people! However, we made progress. I made notes – because that overeducated thing, you have to take notes and keep track and stuff – and I know that we both need to do some hard work.

I am feeling slightly optimistic I’m also certain that tomorrow will be hell on wheels. 🙂

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Abject failure

There was no magic to be found in the magic collar.

Barely a quarter mile in, we stopped at a bench and put the Canny Collar back on, while Mommah cried and Maverick, in true honey badger form, did not give a fuck.

(yes, Mother, I know that I use that word too much. Right now, I also don’t give a fuck. And I know you would slap me if I said that to your face.)

So it’s looking like it’s time to call in a professional. I’ve tried everything I can think of**, and I know enough to know that nothing is an instant cure so, yes, I’ve given time and effort to this. So the research will begin to find someone I can both work with and afford.

Wish me luck

**Any and all mentions of flexi-leads will be deleted.

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Maverick’s magic collar

As I’ve blogged about (whined about) before, Maverick is not a fan of loose leash walking. (Maverick has no clue what “loose leash” means.) Our trainer/groomer/daycare lady is currently making martingale collars and donating the proceeds to various charities so of course, Maverick needed a new collar. I have decreed, because martingales are actually pretty awesome training tools, that this is “magic” collar and is going to help with our walking woes. I’m currently in the process of convincing Maverick that the collar, which is quite lovely by the way, is indeed magic.

He doesn’t seem to be totally disbelieving. I’m determined, however, and when I’m determined don’t get in my way.

My body has paid the price of having a very high energy, very smart, and very determined dog. Maverick knows what he wants and is relentless in pursuit of it. Last night, while the temperature was hovering around a balmy 20 degrees, he wanted to be outside. On the porch. Watching the deer sleep and listening to the squirrels fart. As smart as he is, the concept of freezing to death eludes him. (Apparently he tunes out those stupid ASPCA commercials) (Also, don’t give them your money, donate to your local shelters where it will actually be used to help the animals)

My refusal to allow this behavior was cause for much consternation on his part. I was quite grateful that the bottle of Bailey’s wasn’t empty.

We received a new shipment of freeze dried chicken from Gracie’s Doggie Delights


so on Saturday, when it’s colder than a witch’s tit outside, we shall venture to the park with the Magic Collar and a pocket full of chicken, and attempt this loose leash walking thing. Pray that there are no distractions – like grass, trees, squirrels, leaves, other dogs, air……….

I’ll keep everyone posted.

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