Saturday, January 31, 2009

My Mama...

Is 80 years young today! Happy Birthday, Mom. I wish I could be there with you to celebrate.

My mother, Hazel B Lael, is one perky lady. You'd never guess she'd hit the big 8-0 to meet her--she's sharp and funny and always busy with her many projects. She has one of the best senses of humor I've ever run across, and still does the crossword puzzle every day--probably in the flowing turquoise ink she has always favored. She reads and reads and reads--I got my love of books and my ability with words from her. When I was young, and always writing stories, she never told me to go outside and play. I think she always believed I could be a writer, and that belief was powerful. She sewed Halloween costumes every year, made the best chocolate chip cookies and Snickerdoodles in three states, and if we were sick in the night, she always came to offer consolation and smear our chests with Vicks--to this day, that smell reminds me of her and brings me comfort if I'm under the weather. I still hear "The Night Before Christmas" in her warm voice. She filled stockings on Christmas Eve, made me go to Sunday school, and loved all four of us with her whole heart--all the while worrying that she wasn't doing it right.

You did it all right, Mama.

Here's hoping you have a wonderful day and 80 MORE birthdays.

We'll hit Auntie's Bookstore when I get home. :)

I love you.

Today is also my brother Jerry's birthday. Have a happy one, big guy. I love you, too.

Friday, January 30, 2009

Hello from Big Sky Country

I'm in Billings, Montana, and got up EARLY this morning to appear on two different TV news shows. I'm enough of a ham that I really love appearing on TV--even when it's still dark outside!

I only got a few hours of sleep last night, because I was so charged up after seeing Steve and Terry Miller, two very dear friends of mine. Steve is a sort of shirt-tail-relation-by-ex-marriage; he works for Montana Silversmiths as their marketing guy and is also a gifted Western sculptor--I've given away several of his pieces on the monthly website contest, and there will be more. Anyhow, Steve took me out to MSS in Columbus, and the incomparable Judy Wagner gave me the tour. I was blown away by what it takes to make those fantastic buckles that are awarded to the champions every year at numerous rodeos, including the National Finals in Vegas every December, not to mention the jewelry. The skill of these artisans is something to behold, and this cowgirl was mighty impressed. The Yellowstone River runs right past the offices, and it was frozen over--a breathtaking sight. I took several pictures. Later, we met up with Terry at a local steakhouse and enjoyed a fabulous meal and lots of good old-fashioned jaw-flappin'.

Anyhow, back to today. After the TV appearances, Lorrie Niles, of the Barnes and Noble where I'll be signing tonight from 7 pm to whenever we're through, took me to a local hangout with a great name. We had breakfast at the Muzzle-Loader!! Do you love it??? An excellent meal and excellent company. When I got back to the hotel, I got back into my pajamas and crashed for several hours.

Serendipity is a wonderful thing. I was having trouble getting online with this laptop earlier today, after lunch, and so was using one of the public computers in the lobby. A cow-hand walked over and said howdy, and we got to talking. Turns out, he's here for a big convention of--here comes the serendipity--old-time rodeo cowboys!!! Their big do is tomorrow night, and I'm going to attend. And it gets better! Wilford Brimley, the actor, is their keynote speaker. I've been a fan for years, and I actually got to shake his hand.

A funny thing happens when you let go and let God, and just decide to enjoy whatever comes down the trail. You don't miss all the things you would have missed, if you'd been focused on your own outline of how things ought to go. God, it seems, always has a better idea!

More tomorrow. Hang tough, pardners. We're travelin' this road together, and that's what counts.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Greetings from....

The coffee shop at Cheyenne Regional Airport!

Gosh, I'm sorry to be leaving this windy, snowy town. I made some new friends here, and felt right at home. Joanne Kennedy was my able escort, getting me to the TV station by 6 o'clock yesterday morning! Later, we stopped by her house, so I could meet her dogs, Taz and Libby. What a kick--and I needed some dog time, since I miss mine so much. Taz is a big guy, rescued from the pound, with Scooby-do ears and the sweetest temperament. Libby is a Jack Russell, and she made me laugh so hard I nearly cried, dashing around at warp speed in a big figure 8, unable to control her glee because Joanne's husband, Ken, was down on his knees playing a game with her. She ran as fast as she could, and would dodge close to Ken as she passed and then dart away again.

The autographing I did at Barnes and Noble (thanks, Linda and crew) was one of the best I've ever had, and not only because over 50 people came out to say howdy. There were two very familiar-looking people standing at the back of the crowd. They turned out to be Bill and Sandy Hill, both of whom I have known since earliest memory, from Northport. Bill was a star athlete, and Sandy a cheerleader and prom queen--in the best possible way. Among the most popular kids in school, they were always kind to younger kids. I was so delighted to see them again, I nearly cried. They were high school sweethearts, and after all these years, they're still obviously in love. Isn't that romantic?

Well, it's almost time to go through security, so I'd better close this.

On to Billings, Montana. I'm going to have a tour of Montana Silversmiths this afternoon. Looking forward to making MORE new friends in Montana.

Stay tuned!

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

The Finish Line!

It's still dark, but I just finished "A Creed Country Christmas" and sent it off to my editor via email. Phew! I'll be leaving for the airport in a little under two hours, and I haven't packed a thing, so this is going to be short.

First stop, Cheyenne, Wyoming. I hear it's six degrees below there. Yikes. I have a feeling Spokane is going to seem almost tropical when I get back home to the ranch! I wind up the tour in San Antonio, one of my all-time favorite places--Riverwalk and Alamo, here I come!--so maybe that Texas sun will bake some of the chill out of my bones.

I'll be blogging sometime tomorrow, probably in the afternoon or evening--getting up at the crack to do a TV show in Cheyenne.

Check out the appearances link. If I'm coming to your city, I'd love to see you.

Monday, January 26, 2009

On the Road Again...Almost

Tomorrow, two big things will happen in my life. #1) "The Montana Creeds: Logan", hits the bookstores. #2) I leave for my tour. First stop, Cheyenne, Wyoming. Yee-haw, open this chute, boys, I'm ready to ride!

Sadie continues to be our very own Biggest Loser. The slimming seems to be starting at her shoulders and moving back toward her sizable backside. :) (Happened that way when I lost weight, too.) She had a big adventure on Saturday morning, one I could cheerfully have skipped. My cousins, Steve and Andy Wiley, stopped by for a visit, and came in through the front door. The dogs were excited, so I let them out to meet the company on the sidewalk, which I would not normally do, because there's no fence. Amid all the hugging and how-ya-been's, we all came inside. Or I thought we did.

We drank coffee and visited and I signed a pile of books for the home folks. Then I heard Sadie barking, and thought I'd left her downstairs. Up and down I went, in the elevator, calling her. No Sadie. I finally discovered her at the front door! In all the hubhub, I'd left her outside. (Steve even mentioned that he thought he'd seen her passing on the far side of the back fence, while we were drinking coffee, but knowing how protective I am of these dogs, he figured he was seeing things.) Sadie, it turned out, had gone walkabout. Thank heaven she didn't meet up with any of our local coyotes, the larger dogs that sometimes roam the neighborhood, or decide to duck under the pasture fence to say howdy to the horses. (Beagles are famous for putting their noses to the ground on the trail of some scent and following it until they are thoroughly lost. Had this happened in better weather, I might still be out there beating the brush, looking for her.) As it turned out, I learned a valuable lesson about paying attention, and Sadie was all bright-eyed and waggy-tailed because she had been out there in the big world, and now she was home. Being the sweetest dog in the universe, she bore me no grudges--she was just happy to see me.

What's different about this experience, for me, is that I didn't get all twisted up about all the bad things that could have happened, and suffer as though they actually had. Instead, I was just grateful and happy. To paraphrase Mark Twain, I've worried about a lot of things in my life, and most of them didn't happen.

Sadie is safe and sound, and she's going for her 'swimming lesson' today.

Me? I'll be finishing up "A Creed Country Christmas" and packing bags.

On the road again. Almost.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Self-Talk and Other Ramblings

I've discussed affirmations on this blog before. Except for the one I told you about--good enough that it bears repeating, so I will at the bottom of this page--they don't seem to work very well. Why is that?

Like virtually everyone else in the known universe, I both read "The Secret" and watched the DVD. A lot of that stuff works--I speak from experience, I assure you--but something about "The Secret" bothered me. There is a missing component, but I couldn't figure out what it was. People were writing their goals down on index cards, making vision boards, trying to "feel" as though they had already attained their objective. (The missing component is partly disguised in that last phrase.) Some folks undoubtedly got results, but many did not. Why?

I wrestled with this dilemma. After all, I have goals of my own, and even though I first discovered "The Secret" when I was very young, and happened to get hold of a copy of Claude Bristol's classic, "The Magic of Believing", and got some pretty impressive results, I still knew I was somehow missing the mark.

THEN I listened to "My Stroke of Insight", a book I heartily recommend to everyone, and BINGO, I knew! When exposed to a belief long enough, and calmly enough, the brain builds actual physical pathways to support that belief. Behavior becomes almost automatic. Think you don't use affirmations, that they don't work for you? Brace yourself: you DO use them. They are the things you tell yourself, about yourself and the world and others. Chances are, they go something like this: Nothing ever goes right for me. My thighs are too fat. I'm so tired. I don't have any job skills. I don't understand computers. This country is going to hell in a handbasket. Etc., etc., etc.

Are those things true? Not necessarily. But for us, they might as well be, if we believe them. It's not magic--it's brain science. Whatever you build a pathway for, you will believe, and then you will do the things that naturally follow. And that's the second missing component from "The Secret." You can affirm and visualize and paste magazine pictures onto foam board until you turn blue, but if you don't DO the things you will be prompted to do--speak to that stranger, read the books that jump off the shelf at you, things like that--Nothing Will Happen.

Here's what is working for me. I get quiet, shift slightly to the right--into the right hemisphere of my brain, that is--and I repeat the things I want to be true about myself. Please note that I'm not recommending that you "manifest" a Porsche--that's possible to do, but is it your main concern at this very minute? I think we need to lay a simpler foundation first, things like, "There will always be enough (food, money, love, whatever you worry about)". "There is always a solution." You get the idea.

You needn't believe it at first. That comes with conditioning. With practice. Learning to gently quiet your left brain, which will tell you all the reasons why you're wasting your time. Just yesterday, my daughter told me that she's known for her memory for names--I had no idea--because years ago, in high school, she programmed herself that way in order to learn the lines (some 295 of them) for a play. It worked, and it's STILL working. It has morphed into a fact.

Make it a good weekend. Be kind to yourself and others.

Here's the affirmation. My all-time favorite. And I've seen it work over and over and over again. The only time it doesn't work, in fact, is when I don't use it.

I believe that I am always divinely guided.
I believe that I will always take the right turn in the road.
I believe that God will make a way where there is no way.
(Norman Vincent Peale)

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Thursday Thoughts

I'm off to a slow start today--another one. I'm letting that be okay. I'll quietly write my chapter and celebrate Sadie's progress, (she's celebrating her dog bed at the moment, worn out from yesterday's exercise session), do a little art work, and call it good.

I continue to be fascinated with all I'm learning about the workings of the human brain. What a miracle! The things we tell ourselves leave literal pathways in the brain, thereby establishing fairly automatic behavior, for good or for ill. I don't know about you, but I'm determined to carve out better pathways!

We had a little snow this morning, and there is a good possibility of more. THIS time, I'm going to just let it fall, and not try to push it back up into the sky. :) I might even go so far as to actually ENJOY it.

Let it snow.

Or not.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Saddled Up and Ready to Ride

Right now, part of the theme song from that old television show "Rawhide", is running through my mind. You know the one, back when Clint Eastwood was a nobody? And those words are, "rollin', rollin', rollin". That's me! Ready to roll.

I'm leaving on a five-city tour next week, to promote the first book in the Creed trilogy, "Logan", and I am so excited! I'm hitting three of my favorite cities--Denver, Colorado Springs and San Antonio--as well as two I've never been to: Billings and Cheyenne. Talk about Cowboy Towns! Yee-haw!!! In Billings, I'll be hanging out with my rodeo buddy, artist Steve Miller, and his gorgeous wife, Terry, and getting a tour of Montana Silversmiths. Among other things, the MSS people make the knock-out silver belt buckles awarded to champions at the National Finals Rodeo in Las Vegas every year. Steve is a gifted western sculptor, and I'm looking forward to getting a peek at some of his new pieces while I'm in town.

The book I'm writing now, "A Creed Country Christmas", is really flowing. Busy as I am, I'm working hard to get it to my editor's desk before I leave for the tour. I'll be writing more about the modern-day O'Ballivans, too, in a Silhouette Special Edition titled "At Home in Stone Creek." After that, I'll begin my new contemporary western trilogy, The Texas McKettricks.

Sadie-beagle continues to improve with her acquatics therapy--she lost 2 full pounds the first week, and that's great, but her brown eyes tell the story. She's feeling MUCH better, even without the Beggin' Strips. She's more active, too, and so pleased when it's time to get into the truck and head for "swimming lessons", as we call them around here.

More snow coming this weekend, but thanks to my medicine and some deliberate changes in the way I think--along with more supportive friends and family members than I ever dreamed I had--I'm on the upswing, just like Sadie. This time, I won't try to resist a weather system! :)

Picture me pushing up my sleeves and planting my feet.

Bring it on, world. You may be tough, but we're one hell of a lot tougher, my pardners and me.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

A Boomer Remembers...

On this truly historic day, I cannot help remembering my sixties youth--I remember Selma, I remember a little girl, walking bravely into a classroom, surrounded by guards, such a tiny little thing, all spruced up for the first day of school, crossing not only a literal threshold, but one of mythological proportions. We all crossed that threshold, willingly or unwillingly. I remember Rosa Parks, and how her feet hurt after a long day of hard work, so she wouldn't move to the back of the bus. I remember seeing men in sheets on national television, wondering, with a child's innocent heart, at such ferocious hatred. Wondering why they wanted to cover their faces, disguise their identities. Like I said, I was an innocent child.

Today, whatever side we took in the last election, the most amazing thing happened. The most amazing thing!

These are dangerous times, but they are also times of tremendous opportunity to change. To paraphrase Benjamin Franklin, we must all hang together from here on out, or we will surely hang separately. We are ALL in trouble. We are all Americans, with a fine tradition of stepping up when challenges came. Like the new President, I sincerely hope we can set aside our petty differences and all work together. Time to put on our big-people underwear, folks, and move on. Push up our sleeves, McKettrick-style, and wade in.

On an entirely different subject, I have a book to recommend. (Not my own, for once.) It's called "My Stroke of Insight", and it was written by Jill Bolte Taylor, Phd. It was one of Oprah's finds--usually I take those with a grain of salt, since the divine Miss O seems to favor unhappy endings--but this one was a right-on choice. The author suffered a severe stroke at the age of 37, and being a brain scientist, she was in a unique position to assess the experience from the inside. She explains the workings of the brain in terms a layperson can understand, and offers some stunning insights. We have more choices than we think we do.

On that note, I close today's blog.

Happy Tuesday.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Sadie's Big Adventure

The odyssey continues! Sadie lost 1.8 pounds last week. She is much more limber, like her old self, and very active. Today, she starts her second week of aquatics, and she even ate her special dog food without hesitation this morning. (Beagles can be very stubborn; at one point during the week, I had to wait her out for almost 2 days. She was angling for a Beggin' Strip or some of my supper. I stood fast, assuring myself that when she was hungry enough, she would eat.) Tough love is the ticket, and it's paying off. Besides, if I gave in and tumbled into those hopeful, melting brown eyes, would I be doing that for her--or to ease my own angst? It's very clear what's best for Sadie, and I'm extra thankful for the quick results, because that is proof that I'm doing the right thing.

The new story is rolling, and that makes me VERY happy. I'm happiest when I'm writing, and when my animals are happy and healthy. Banjo, one of the horses, suffered an abscess on one foot and the farrier came to lance it. Five minutes later, the Banjo Man was running through the snow like Seabiscuit (he thinks he's a Thoroughbred) and the other horses dashed behind him in a line, sharing his exuberance--even Buck went along! What a gift that sight was--six horses running in a snowy pasture.

The other day, I was standing in the kitchen with my back to the windows and Jenni said, with widened eyes, "Look behind you!" I turned, and there were two moose, just on the other side of the backyard fence! I grabbed my camera, and we watched in fascination until they moved on down into the draw.

Country life has its trials, that's true. But it also has its singular joys.

Happy Monday, pardners.

Friday, January 16, 2009

My Favorite Affirmation

Years ago, I discovered an affirmation in one of Norman Vincent Peale's books, and it transformed my life in so many ways. Of course, since it worked so well, I stopped doing it, and even forgot it.

During the recent meltdown, I remembered it, and started using it again. Same results. It soothes and calms me, and I've already seen changes.

Copy it down, if you're so disposed. Memorize it. May it do for you what it has done for me.

I believe that I am always divinely guided.

I believe that I will always take the right turn in the road.

I believe that God will make a way where there is no way.

Give it a shot.

And have a great weekend. Sadie and I are off to her therapy session in a little while.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

New Hair, New Me

I'm late blogging today because I had a badly-needed hair appointment. My hair practically qualified as a federal disaster area, since I missed last month's visit due to rodeo, snow, and a personal Chernobyl. (I called the Transition White House to ask for government aid, but they put me on hold. Go figure.)

So, I have a new style and am slightly less blonde. Have I ever mentioned that I HATE getting my hair done? I have hair-salon AADD. Can't wait to get out of that chair and move on.

On the good-news front, I made a new deal with my publishers extraordinaire today--you're stuck with me for a lot more books. :)

Sadie continues to improve dramatically. Tough love is definitely the ticket. She's so happy and active and absolutely LOVES going to her therapy sessions. She walks on an underwater treadmill, so there won't be any stress on her legs, and now that she understands the drill, I'm told she heads straight for the tank as soon as she gets out of the kennel. She sure gets excited when she hears the truck keys jingle, and now Bernice is going along for the ride. I don't think she's into sports, though--as soon as we pull in at the canine facility, she tries to climb on top of my head. (If Sadie did that, I'd be in traction.)

We are still enveloped in fog, here in the Spokane area. It seems we have ourselves an inversion. OK by me--anything but dumptruck loads of wet snow!

On a final note, a wise friend named Ozma said something in an email today that struck me as profoundly true, and I want to pass it on to you. "The present moment creates both the past and the future, simultaneously."

Think about it.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

The Sadie Run

Today is Sadie's swimming/therapy day, and for the first week, until she's used to the drill, I go along to drop her off and pick her up again, which is why I'm so late writing this blog. I know, excuses, excuses!

I continue to enjoy the respite from the snow--it's beautiful stuff, but it just seemed endless. Little wonder--from December 16 until last weekend, we had one day when snow didn't fall! Roofs were collapsing. Roads were impassible. I felt like a bug trapped in a tobacco can.

Of course now that I am a woman with no past, none of that matters, does it?

Sadie, after one treatment, is responding beautifully to the therapy. She's already more active, her eyes are bright again, and she presses her muzzle to the back door the minute she hears the truck keys jingle. This is the dog I know and, of course, deeply love.

On another subject, taking a page from my friend Debbie Macomber's book (so to speak), I've chosen a Bible verse for 2009. Romans 12:2 reads, "And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God." (KJV)

I've been meditating on this verse since the first of the year, mulling it over, letting it soak in. Solutions, ideas and insights have been coming ever since.

Hmmm. Do you suppose it's actually happening? The renewal part, I mean? I'm still not clear on the proving part. Heaven knows, 'perfect' ain't on the schedule--for me. Maybe it means letting God work His will through me?

Still mulling. I'll get back to you. :)

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Fresh Starts

Good things come out of my journaling, as I've mentioned often on this blog. Today, I asked myself what it would be like to be a woman with no past. Not an amnesiac, of course--that isn't what I mean. I'm talking about REALLY letting the past go, not carrying all the old 'stuff', like resentments and disappointments, frustrations and preceived failures.

Sadie-beagle started her swimming therapy yesterday. She's on special food and--gulp--no more Beggin' Strips. This was hard at first, because we have a routine. We go outside, first thing in the morning, and the dogs do what dogs do when they go outside first thing in the morning. After that, we head for the kitchen, where I start the coffee and the girls (used to) get a Beggin' Strip, then breakfast. Today, of course, was different. Sadie was confused when there was no treat forthcoming. Still, if we're going to succeed at getting the Beeg back on track, down in pounds and much more mobile, I have to stick to the program.

I've often said that if I could go back in time, I would do things differently with Sadie and Bernice. Never start them on treats or people food, all of that. This morning, as I wrote in my journal, it occurred to me that I could do that without time-travel. Why not start over NOW, when it really counts?

After that, it was an easy leap to giving MYSELF a new start. Forget the blizzard and all the other things that brought on the minor meltdown.

Square One isn't so bad, really. After all, it's a whole new game.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Sadie's Day Out

Sadie-beagle is starting her exercise program today--water aerobics! She's gotten a little porky over the past several years, as many of you know--and 'a little' is putting it mildly. She's a sociable little critter, though, and enjoys getting into the truck and going somewhere. (She's not terribly particular about where. ) We've cut way back on the Beggin' Strips, her unqualified favorite, and No More People Food. Now that she knows she's not going to get any of MY supper, she's actually eating--ta-da!--dog food!

It's foggy this morning--the draw is enveloped in white mist--but thanks to a very welcome change in the weather, the roads are clear. At least for the coming week, we're off the Blizzard Schedule. Thank heaven!

I continue to feel better. When you have a Dark Night of the Soul, and it ends, that qualifies as 'better'. :) I'm eager to write and looking forward to my Creed Tour, which starts January 27. I'll be blogging along the way, so watch this space.

Friday, January 09, 2009

The Thaw Continues

It's sunny out, and the snow is melting away. Most of the roads are clear. Hallelujah!

My stepmother tells me there is a nice ad in the February/March issue of "American Cowboy" for the Creed books! Now that's exciting--I'm picking up a copy today!

I'm hitting the road for a two-week tour starting the 27th of January--I'll be in Denver, Cheyenne, Billings, Colorado Springs and San Antonio. I am really beginning to look forward to that, now that it's getting close. I've never been to Cheyenne or Billings, and I love checking out new places--especially Cowboy Towns. :)

Obviously, I'm feeling much better.

Have a terrific weekend.

Thursday, January 08, 2009

In the Words of Dr. Phil...

Times are tough out there, but we can DO this.

Collectively, we are the descendents of great people like George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, Martin Luther King and many more. As a student of American history, I can tell you that we have faced much, much greater problems than we do today. The American Revolution was quite literally impossible, but here we are, primarily because General George Washington simply wouldn't quit. He and the American people finally wore down the greatest and best equipped army on earth. During Lincoln's administration, the country was torn into two bloody hunks, and the situation was all but hopeless. The world watched, expecting the Great Experiment to collapse, and the odds were certainly with that judgment. But Mr. Lincoln said, in effect, "Not on my watch". He held the line, in spite of deep personal suffering.

At one time, people of color could not ride in the front of buses or drink from public water fountains. We needed a reminder of our own creed: All men (and women) are created equal. Martin Luther King and other advocates of peaceful revolution and reason woke us up.

Today, we face many challenges.

We have to tough up, big-time. That's undeniably true.

But I think we can come out of this bigger and better than ever.

In short, WE CAN DO THIS.

Wednesday, January 07, 2009


Yes! It's been raining, and some of the snow has melted away. If it doesn't get too cold, we won't have ice.

Someday, I'll be an old-timer, telling tall tales about the winter of ought-8. "The snow was SO deep, it was over the horses' heads" or "You could walk straight out of a second-story window like you were on solid ground" or "We dug down the driveway and found the top of a UPS truck." :) And my grandchildren, should I ever be so blessed as to have any, will roll their eyes.

What I would actually say about this storm and the minor meltdown it contributed to is this: I learned a lot about myself. I learned that if I think depressing thoughts, I'll BE depressed. I learned not to be so darn bull-headed and ask other people to help me. I don't know what I would have done without Sally and Jim, who drove seven hours over bad roads just because they love me, Mary Ann and Jenni talking me through, Larry plowing roads and around the barn at all hours, friends Sandi, Althea and Ozma and Cheri, all of whom ministered by telephone, others by email. To one and all of you: Thank you.

I've also been listening to a Richard Carlson (The "Don't Sweat the Small Stuff" guy) book on my iPod. He reminds us that thoughts are just that, thoughts. They come, they go. But you don't have to land on them from a running horse like a bull-dogger at the rodeo, wrestle them to the ground, and hog-tie them before the buzzer goes off. (That last image was mine.) I have a tendency to view every thought that crosses my mind as the gospel reality--but until recently I wasn't aware of that tendency. That and several other insights I've had have been worth it all, and I don't say that lightly.

Today, I'm only going to bull-dog the happy ones.

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Snow for Sale

It's still dark, but I think there's more snow out there. :)

Sadie is having some problems with arthritis and a stiff hind-leg, so I'm taking her to see the vet this morning. She's back on her diet--no more random treats, no more people food. She's adjusting, sweet thing that she is. It's time for some tough love, and as long as I don't look into those soulful brown eyes while I'm eating, I'm okay.

Years ago, I read a book written by a man who advocated giving dogs people-food. He made a very good case for it. And I wish I'd never seen that darned book, because at least for Sadie and Bernice, it was a bad idea. They got fat. Dogs need DOG FOOD, because it has the right nutrients in the right amounts, and instead of treats, they need attention. An ear-ruffling and a tummy rub are far more satisfying to a dog than any treat.

This being January, I'm in a New Year/New Start kind of mode. I'm looking at my life, deciding where I want to make changes. Things have gotten a little too hectic for this ole cowgirl's liking; I need some simplicity. I need to declutter--like many people, I've got too much STUFF, and that's clogging up the chi.

I am feeling much better. Again, if you are struggling with depression, or any other problem, there's help available. I hope you'll reach out.

You're like a snowflake, you know. There has never been and never will be a person exactly like you. My guess is, a lot of you are responsible for other people--children, spouses, ill and/or aging parents. And there may be pets in your life, too. I'd be the last person to recommend giving them short shrift, BUT remember to take care of yourself, too. My cousin Mary Ann put it beautifully: It's like when you're on an airplane, and the flight attendants tell you to put on your own oxygen mask, in the event of a loss of cabin pressure, before you help anyone else with theirs. There's a good reason for that. You CAN'T help anyone else if you've passed out from lack of air.

As for the title of today's blog--I really do have plenty of snow to spare. By the ton.

Any takers? :)

Monday, January 05, 2009

Relief in Sight

We had another four or five inches of snow in the night, but there's light at the end of the tunnel (I hope it isn't an oncoming train), as we should get rain tomorrow and that will wash away a lot of this. By next weekend, it should be dry.

I continue to take my meds, and my good friend Althea is zapping me with all kinds of white light and good energy. I'm definitely on the mend.

I spent the weekend reading--a decade behind the rest of the world, I finally read Mary Karr's "The Liar's Club". What a wonderfully written book! It definitely made me grateful for my sheltered Northport childhood.

Time to eat, take medicine, and write.

More tomorrow.

Friday, January 02, 2009

Diggin' Out

The snow just keeps coming, but I'm learning to be more philosophical about it. :) Talk about your control-freak--I've been trying to resist the weather. As if I could change it!

Spokane had over five feet of snow, and that's just for December. I'm just getting to the place where I can appreciate how beautiful it is--and there is a lot to be thankful for. The New Years visit from family helped enormously, and the bunch of us had a nice dinner out on the Eve--my medicine is kicking in--my horses have a snug barn to live in--the power is on! (I REALLY came to appreciate electricity during this odyssey, and the many people who work so hard, in all kind of weather, to keep the lights and the heat on.)

I rarely watch Oprah anymore, for various reasons, but I did catch the show yesterday. The subject was happiness. The guest wrote a book called "Happiness Now"--I forget his name--and he shared some good stuff. The stand-out was that there is, in all of us, a place where everything is always okay, and we need to live from that place. I know about that place--I've been there. I just have to find my way back--the trick is just to get quiet, but for hyper me, that's more difficult than it sounds. If that place had a name, it would be "Now". With all the dark news and winter weather, I suspect a lot of us are living in the past, where we're convinced things were better, or the future, where we hope things will be better. But real life goes on in the Right Now.

I resolve to be happier in 2009, no matter what happens. Happiness really IS a choice, for the most part--I just forgot that for a little while. And it's a choice that has to be made over and over again, on a day to day and sometimes moment to moment basis. I forgot that, too.

Hence the title of today's blog. I'm diggin' out of this snow--with a lot of help from Larry the Canadian Wrangler, who plows with the tractor--and I'm also diggin' out of my funk.

2009 can be a great New Year--stock market be darned--if we decide it is.

So I'll close for today by wishing you a very happy New Year, filled with a lot of good choices.