Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Gracie Bear Roth

I was walking my dog, Gracie, the other day. That’s not unusual for a dog owner. But I was also talking to her while we were walking- maybe also not so unusual for a dog owner.  But talking to my dog got me thinking about how many (sometimes) silly things do because I have a pet dog. I came up with a pretty extensive list without even trying! So here it goes…

You know you love your dog when:

 You turn on the heated seat on the passenger side of your car so the dog won’t be cold when she goes on a ride with you.

Your buy dog toys for your dog to give other dogs as gifts for Christmas.

You sign your dog’s name, along with the rest of the family’s names, to cards being mailed.

You leave the radio or TV on when you’re gone so the dog won’t be lonely.

You say “I’m sorry” to the dog when you accidentally step on or trip over them.

You find another place to sit because you don’t want to disturb the dog while she’s sleeping.
Shhhhh... She's sleeping...

You play ball with the dog, even when you don’t feel like it.

Guarding the back yard
with a stick in her mouth.
You know when your dog wants to play ball. My dog squeaks the ball as she pushes it against my leg.

You give your dog chores. “Watch the house while we’re gone, girl.”

You talk about your husband to your dog and you refer to him as Daddy. “Daddy will be home soon, girl.”

Gracie Bear.
You give your dog a middle name. Our dog got her middle name “Bear” because when she was just a baby pup she looked like a bear cub. Her coat is still the texture and color I would imagine a bear cub’s to be.

I’m sure the list could go on and on.

Cesar Milano, The Dog Whisperer, says when he dies he wants to come back as an American dog. He says that only in America are dogs so spoiled. I think that is because of a couple of things. First, the Industrial Revolution. American dogs don’t really have to work anymore. Farming and ranching (and really everything) is much more mechanized that ever before. Therefore, farm dogs don’t have as much work to do.  As for city dogs--I’m not sure if city dogs have ever really had a job other than companionship. Maybe some could have worked as guard dogs, I don't know.
Second, we are a less neighborly nation than we used to be. We live in such a rush-rush- dog-eat-dog-world (no pun intended). People have so little time to relax and enjoy themselves. Life can be stressful. Dogs fulfill a need. They’re a source of duty, comfort, and companionship.

Kisses from Gracie.
There’s another saying. “Dog is God spelled backwards.”  Maybe so. Both are compassionate, forgiving, loving, and loyal. Both will lead us from trouble/temptation if we let them.
And as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord. And have a dog. :)

Until next time,

Be Good to Yourself.


Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Procrastination (Poop Potato)...

I’m a procrastinator and it drives me crazy. At least, I’m a procrastinator when it comes to writing.  And I love to write, so what’s the deal? What’s my problem?

Every week I make a blog post on Wednesday.  And every week it seems like I’m sitting in front of my computer- scrambling to get an idea to write about or if I do have an idea, I’m scrambling to get the post written. Every week. It’s ridiculous.  Like I don’t have a moment’s time to do it before Wednesday morning? Yeah, but I do. 

And this procrastination of mine has bitten me in the butt more than once.  Some of my posts are missing details and key ideas that I think of after I’ve posted.  If I would have written the piece earlier in the week, I would have given myself some time to think about my copy and add to/edit what I’d written before posting day.  Also, even though I try hard to catch all typing errors, I don’t.  Again, because I’m not making enough time to let the work simmer before I throw it out there.

I’m also working on my pitch to get an agent to look at my first book.  I have procrastinated the hell out of this.  I keep re-writing and word jockeying the query letter. To make matters worse, I do about a million things before I get down to this number one priority task.

For example, today, instead of working on trying to sell my book I’ve:

1.    Looked at Facebook
See number 8 on my list...

2.    Read the newspaper

3.    Researched chalkboard art on Pinterest

4.    Checked my NCAA bracket standings (like I really care!)

5.    Hung a picture in my office

6.    Laundry

7.    And….. wrote this blog post (did I mention that today is Sunday?)

8.    Spent a ridiculous amount of time looking for clip art for this blog post.

Thinking and plotting is not procrastination.
Avoiding thinking and plotting is.

So it goes.

Until next time,

Be Good to Yourself.

P.S. Today is Wednesday, and guess what?  I found three typing errors and clarified a couple of sentences...hummmmm...

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

March Madness

It’s for real.  I am the most un-athletic person I know. Yet I’m All In for college basketball tournament time.  

Years ago, when our kids were still in grade school, we organized a pool with our neighbors, who had three children around the same age as ours. The four parents and all five kids put money into a kitty and we all filled out our own brackets. When the kids were little, one dollar was the buy in.  By the time they were in high school, the amount was up to five dollars. The money sat on top of our TV during the whole tournament. Taunting us. We all wanted to win. More for bragging rights than for the nine up to forty five dollar pot.

Our neighbor’s oldest daughter, Hope had by far the best winning record over the years. She won so often that we started to tease her that we should just give her the money and forget about doing a bracket. Now the kids are all grown up and moved away.  I still post a Facebook message to Hope every year about sending my five bucks to her and calling it good. 

Traditions are important. That’s why I continue to send my yearly FB post to Hope.  Another sports tradition in our house is to have a picnic on the living room floor and watch the Super Bowl. Our son came up with that idea when he was about five years old. Every year we made big hoagie Dagwood type sandwiches and ate sitting on a blanket in front of the TV. Years have passed since we last watched the Super Bowl while having an in-door picnic with our son and daughter, but every year I ask my husband if he wants to have one for the Super Bowl.

This year, I’ve gone digital. I’m part of my son’s ESPN bracket group. All of my picks are very un-studied. I sometimes make my choices based off the team’s record, but often I make my picks because I maybe like the team name, colors, or mascot.  Holy Cross typically gets a win on my bracket because – really? Holy Cross? With a name like that how could you not give them a win?  This year I have Providence getting a win because I used to live on Providence Drive. See? Very scientific.

The older I get, the more I realize that these little traditions, started for fun, were so much more than just that. Traditions mark the passing of time. Traditions are our history. Traditions shape our future.
What traditions do you have in your family? If you need some ideas, certainly use mine. They’re great fun!

Until next time,

Be Good to Yourself


Saturday, March 12, 2016


This week my two granddaughter’s baby sister was born. Now I have three beautiful granddaughters!

I had the privilege of seeing them meet their new sister.  They were so excited and curious.  Their love for their new sibling is a testament to how well their parents prepared them for the change that would take place in the family dynamics.

Sister-brother sibling relationships are different from sister-sister sibling relationships, I think.  Sisters are complex. Love/Hate, Laugh/Cry, Play/Fight—it’s all rolled together in a sparkly/dusty ball of emotion.

I’ve been thinking about my sister a lot this week. Snapshots of our childhood, teen years, and early adulthood have been flashing through my mind. My sister bought me my first Cabbage Patch Kid. We were in our teens and they were all the rage and hard to come by.  My CPK is a boy (the girl dolls were always sold out) named Augie Benson. (I remember his name but can’t remember his birthday and the little tag with that information was ripped off and lost long ago.) She is also the person who made me haul my ass all over town in our old 1965 three- on –the- tree turquois blue Impala, because I got my driver’s license a year before her and she thought riding around was cool. So did I, but I was sure our parents would kill us if they found out, and was too nervous to really enjoy myself. (I always had an excuse ready: “We wanted ice cream and DQ is all the way across town.”)

The thing about having a sister and being a sister is that your relationship tends to ebb and flow.  Raising kids, jobs, moving, husbands—all contribute to the complexities of sisterhood. The cool and lucky thing for me, is that now we’re both empty-nesters and we’ve sort of rediscovered each other.  My life would not be the same without my sister. Love you sis.
Until next time,
Be Good to Yourself

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Lent “Sacrifices”

Lent is an important time for Christians.  It is the time of year for extended reflection and abstinence.  Lent begins on Ash Wednesday, where Christians are reminded that they are from dust and dust they shall return- until Easter, when The Lord rises from the grave. Forty-some odd days to really pay attention to God.  It’s a gift.

I’ve always enjoyed the Lenten Season. I like being a participant in something so big, so important. I feel prideful of my Church, the Catholic Church and its practices.

Every year, Christians all over the world abstain from something- a food or an activity-and fast on Fridays. (“Oh, I gave up candy, cookies, cake, beer, gambling, etcetera, for Lent”.--Sometimes we can get martyr-ish in our claims of abstinence, can’t we?)  This year, our priest encouraged us to go a step further. He asked us to DO MORE, rather than less. How?  Well, just as in abstaining, we have the free will to decide what the MORE will be. For years, Tim’s MORE has been to go to Mass on weekdays during Lent, and not just on Sundays.  He enjoys that. I personally have a hard time getting up early enough to enjoy it.

I have decided that my MORE will be more reading. More reflection. More prayer.  I just finished a book called Life’s Greatest Lessons: What I’ve Learned From the Happiest People I Know, By Allen R. Hunt.  The first thing I liked about this book was that the story was told by a grandson and his “happiest people” were his grandparents. On page 47, the author wrote: “She knew exactly what she would do when she got to be a grandmother. She would pay back every bit of love she had gotten from her own Granny by pouring that same love into the lives of her grandchildren.” I have fond, fond memories of my grandparents.  A grandparent’s love is so special. The message in a nut-shell was to Love all people and show it with your actions.  To Earn as much money as you could by being honest and faithful to the gifts (knowledge, skill, etc.) that God has given to you.  To Give as much money to the poor/needy as possible. The family in this story tithed 10% of their income- a hefty commitment! And to Save as much as possible by living simply and not spending all your money on stuff.  L.E.G.S.

I’m reading another book, Rediscover Jesus, by Matthew Kelly, that has 40 short chapters- one for each day of Lent.  In this book, the author talks about how radical Jesus was for his time. I really connected with chapter 18: Jesus on Lifestyle. The chapter starts on page 84 like this: “People were made to be loved, and things were made to be used. But often we get this confused and many of the world’s problems are caused because we LOVE Things and USE People.”

Think about that.

When Tim and I were in our Pre-Cana marriage preparation classes some thirty-four odd years ago, our priest gave us the truest gift.  A gift we never forgot and have always tried to live by.  He said, “Love people not things. Things can’t love you back.”

The next book on my reading list is The Four Signs of a Dynamic Catholic, also by Matthew Kelly. I’d like to challenge myself to see how many books I can read on the subject of being/becoming a more humble follower, but that really is not the point, is it?  It’s not about the quantity of books I read, but rather quality of time I spend in reflection and action. I’ve still got lots of work to do.

Until next time,

Be Good to Yourself.