Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Fur Children

My first dog was a black Cocker Spaniel appropriately named Blackie. She was my dog. I sang to her, talked to her, put on shows for her. She was my captive audience, but I have to believe she adored me. When I was ten years old, she died. I laid down beside her body on the ground, put my head on her side, and cried my heart out. I don't think anyone ever knew. 
We also had a wonderful Siamese cat named Lady. Although I loved her, she slept with my sister and was really my mother's cat.
Fast forward to my adult life. I bought another Cocker Spaniel- a buff this time. I named her Megan Marie Bennett. That was her AKC registered name. I could never get Megan to calm down. In those years, I wore panty hose and dresses or skirts nearly every day to work and when I returned home, Megan would jump on me and tear my stockings. She would also run away from me. She might chase a bunny or hear some children playing in the distance or get a whiff of a trash can. And she was gone. Each time, someone would find her, read her tags and return her to my veterinarian. I would get a phone call and go pick her up. Finally, she ran off and I didn't get her back. I placed an ad in the newspaper, offering a cash reward. My daughter was two and a half and it was winter. I got all sorts of phone calls from people who had "found my dog." I bundled my daughter into her snowsuit, strapped her into her car seat and off we would go on a wild goose chase. I was amazed at how many people didn't know what a Cocker Spaniel was.  All it took was two words, cash and reward. I never got her back. Whenever I would see a buff Cocker with a white blaze on its chest I would wonder if it was Megan.
I cried for three weeks. My then-husband said "For God's sake, it is a dog." (Please see the word then.)
I had her before I had my daughter and Megan had been my little girl.  I was heart broken.
When I moved to Bloomington I decided I wanted to get another dog. I studied every breed. When I mentioned getting a dog, someone wanted a large dog. I wanted a small dog. I decided upon a Corgi. Finding a breeder in a nearby small town, I drove out to the farm to take a "look" at the puppies. They were three weeks old and couldn't walk. Someone suggested something was wrong with them because they couldn't walk. I retorted "Oh, could you walk on your knees and elbows when you were a little baby on gravel in a farm lot? That hushed someone up. By the time I left, I had paid a deposit on the smallest of the litter. I named her Chelsea Kabob Bennett. Once again, this was her registered AKC name. I'm certain someone at the AKC said "oh, that Bennett woman has bought herself another dog."
Isn't she lovely?
Chelsea Kabob 4.5 years old
Chelsea is a sweetheart.  (Oh, I love her so!) She follows me every where. She can be annoying at times too.  I suppose they all can be. She lives to play fetch and will drive you crazy. She barks and has a big loud bark. There are words she understands - Frisbee, walk, fetch and more.  Her ears perk up and it is all over. So we sometimes spell as if we are in the presence of a toddler. Should we take her for a w-a-l-k?
I love how Corgis put their chin out flat when they lie down.  She will cuddle up with me and put her chin on my leg.
Typical Corgi
Doug's cat, Tree, is the original country farm cat. (His sister found him in a tree when he was a kitten and named him, Tree.) He catches mice, rabbits, moles and voles (is a mole and a vole the same thing?) and leaves their corpses on the front porch as a gift. Once, my house/pet sitter friend was here and Tree brought her a decapitated bunny for a gift on Valentines Day. If that isn't love, I don't know what is.
My cat, Milo, was an indoor cat before moving here. In my hometown I lived on a busy street and  never imagined he would ever go outdoors. When I first moved here, every door had a sign Orange Cat Does Not Go Out! Then the orange cat started to see the other cat and the dog going out and you could see him thinking...hey, why don't I get to go out? I was worried at first but now I know he is fine being outdoors. Milo is fourteen years old and if he wants to do anything other than lie around and sleep, I am going to allow it.
This is why we cover the sofa.
left to right: Tree, Chelsea Kabob and Milo
I am one of those people- my clothes have cat and dog hair on them and I carry my lint brush in my brief case. Because Chelsea is a tri-color, her light fur shows up on my dark clothing and her dark hair shows up on my light clothing.
How do they know, I wonder.  How do they know when I don't feel well or I am feeling blue? They seem to know and give me lots of love and affection. Chelsea and Milo greet me every morning and I pet them simultaneously saying "there is enough love...there is enough love for everyone."

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Girl Date

A rare warm day for Southern Indiana in January- 54 degrees.

This could be volume 3 of what she wore but it isn't.  I want to tell you why I prefer girl dates to dates with men. I'm old-school and still say "girlfriend."  My daughter says I shouldn't say "girlfriend" because people will think I'm gay.  I'm not gay and I am old enough not to care what people think.
Yesterday, I had a girl date with my girlfriend, Jennifer.
I love Jennifer.  She is my wind beneath my wings friend. She is always positive. She is crazy and fun and enthusiastic.  She cares and loves deeply.Once at one of her parties I had the realization she makes all of us feel the same - that each one of us is so very important in her life. Even when she is sitting there saying "oh, no.  What did you do now?" when I am about to tell her one of my stories. (That happened yesterday.)
Yesterday I had time to fuss with my appearance.  I tend to be a person that cuts it close when it comes to getting ready to go somewhere.  I slap on the makeup, blow-dry my hair as fast as I can, pick it out and put the flat-iron to the spots that are sticking up.  And I bolt out the door. With the exception of my nails, (which I did not find the time to tend to), I felt good about my appearance.  I was ready for my girl date with my girlfriend.
I feel women tend to put more into their appearance when we are going on a girl date than any other time. I've told men before- "we don't dress for men- we dress for other women."
Jennifer is always. beautiful. Always.  She is the same age as my daughter - 30, so time is on her side.  She is addicted to working out and is looking good.
She is always gracious and complimentary. Always. Usually the first words out of her mouth are something along the lines of "you look beautiful!" or "have you lost weight?"  Even when I am not looking beautiful or haven't lost weight, her words are music to my ears.
Yesterday was no exception.
We were dressed in similar fashion- she wore a black blazer, I wore a grey blazer. We both wore black tops.  She looked dashing festooned with a black and white scarf. The first words she said was "you look beautiful."  I said "well, I figured it was about time since I always look like crap." She retorted "you do not." I said "Yes I do- and you haven't seen me look good since our Christmas Eve breakfast in December of 2010."  She laughted but it was true.
She had suggested we meet at Cafe Django. I had only been there once before- for dinner. The cafe was crowded that night and the service was awful.  I ordered a dish without onions and when it arrived it was chock-full of onions. It isn't that I don't like onions - I do. I can't have them for health reasons. Afterward, I vowed never to return.  Bloomington has over 400 restaurants and there are too many other excellent restaurants. However, as soon as I arrived for breakfast, I could tell I was in for a better experience than previously.
As soon as I arrived I ordered a cappacino and mimosas. For my entree I ordered the savory crepes. I had not had crepes since France, and these were not French crepes, but stuffed with ham, tomato and cream cheese they were very good.
Our words fell from our mouths like drops of rain plopping down. Before we knew it, hours had passed. Jennifer is busy.  She is completing her graduate degree and has Mr. Man.  
Our breakfast was a wonderul catch-up.
Visit Jennifer at Bess Wess and read what she has to say about Ladies Breakfast.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

The Love Issue

You may notice a new publication under "published in." This is the latest issue of the magazine out of my home town's newspaper.  I believe my editor called it "the chocolate issue." I call it "the love issue." That makes it sound racy but it is anything but racy.  Perhaps this will intrigue you. A few of you have asked me how to get an issue to read - until recently, it was a subscriber bonus.  But I believe you can get this issue or back issues if they have them in stock.  From my editor:  Anyone interested in purchasing a copy of her should call The Courier-Times: 765-529-1111 or 1-800-489-2472. The receptionist answering can help.
In this latest issue I wrote about my art journey. For most of my life I had no idea that I was artistic. Oh, I could draw well enough to keep my children quiet in a church service. And my earliest memory of writing anything was a play that I wrote one summer with a friend when we were around ten years old.  But if anyone had told me I was artistic I would have laughed.
Although I came late to the world of art, I'm thankful I learned it was there - within.
Art calms me.
Art distracts me.
Art allows me to focus on what I'm doing and not any issue or problem(s) at hand.
For me, art is a little like writing because often times, it takes me where it wants to go.
If you haven't dabbled in art, I encourage you to do so.
You will be glad you did.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

2012 the year that was.

I am sad to see the year that was Paris end and say good-bye to this calendar.
If you are a regular reader you will recall last Christmas when my daughter's family gave me a ticket to Paris. In January I got my passport and started "training" for Paris - getting in shape and losing weight.
This time last year I was excited to start a new job at the university on January 23.
In February we attended the Soupbowl which is a local fundraiser supporting the Hoosier Hills Food Bank.  Doug's middle son is a major player there working for the USDA. I love pottery and you get to pick your bowl and take it home.
In March the Little Bee turned one and I made the trip out to Maryland for the celebration. I rejoined the "tough gym" and started working out harder. We had a visit from Doug's oldest son and his wife from AZ.  They brought their adorable baby puppy and their older dog so Chelsea had visitors, too.
In April I continued to work out.  I had a visit from my dear friend, Kathy, from my home town. She and I have been friends for over thirty years and first met at the YMCA in New Castle.
May was our trip to Paris. I worked out until two days before. It was a good thing I had lost weight and worked out so much as we walked all over Paris.  Little Bee toddled everywhere with us and charmed the Parisians. I wore my Paris pink tennis shoes so all who met me knew I was an American. All too soon we were back home. I started taking kick boxing after we returned.
In June we went to an appreciation banquet for our local world music festival, Lotus. When the question was put to us "who would like to become more involved?" I made my way up front and handed over my business card.
My friend, Bectoria, from TN joined us for the Taste of Bloomington.  She and I have been friends since age five and we are quite like sisters.

In July, my sweet friend Jennifer and I went hiking at Turkey Run State Park to celebrate her upcoming birthday.  Then the week of her birthday there was a huge Hawaiian themed birthday party. I continued with kickboxing and purchased my new Trek bicycle and started riding- mostly rails to trails paths.

The first weekend of August was my class reunion in my hometown.  On Friday night I had dinner with my old lunch group - Bec, Beth & Shelley. Saturday was my reunion and it was great to see everyone, but I had a terrible migraine.  I was able to visit with my friends Kathy and Elaine, also. Elaine and I have been friends since my son was in high school and he dated her daughter. She likes to joke that she is my most conservative friend and that is possible, but there is a lot of love and respect between us and I value her opinion and encouragement.  
The second weekend in August my daughter and her wife and Little Bee visited.  Doug and I took Little Bee to Wonderlab and had a great visit with her. I hope we can take her back as she grows. My daughter, Big Bee and Little Bee and I took Little Bee to the parade in Mooreland where my Grandma used to live and we all went to the Mooreland Fair together.  All of my life and my daughter's life we went to the fair and my daughter wanted to take her daughter to the parade and fair. Doug and I visited the Indiana State Fair and checked out all of the chickens. I started volunteering for Lotus working with the volunteer coordinator and the visual arts committee.
On the last day of August I headed to North Carolina to see my son for his birthday.  I was able to stay with my friend Laura. She and I have been friends since age 17 and my daughter is named for her. I am now honorary aunt to her daughter, Isabelle. I got to meet my son's girlfriend's parents and brother.  We all played games together, went hiking and had a couple of birthday celebrations for my son. My son's girlfriend's mother and I discovered we have a lot in common.
We had a drought this summer and when it finally rained, the lower portion of our  house was flooded.  But I got new carpet in the bedroom and we didn't lose anything.  It could have been worse.

In September Little Bee was here for a visit again with her Mommy and Mama and Doug and I took her to the Indianapolis Zoo.  We had a wonderful day in so many ways - the weather was fantastic, the Bee did great and she had a lot of hugs from random children and met a brother and sister that she played chase and danced with.  She was worn out in the end, but it was a good day. We returned to Bloomington and went to the IU/BSU football game.  The only time I cheer against IU is when they play BSU.  We trounced them and I was so obnoxious Doug got up and sat elsewhere.  (IU in turn spanked us when the IU/BSU basketball game rolled around.)
The third weekend in September was the Lotus Music Festival. Doug ended up getting recruited to work too. I put in forty hours of volunteer work but felt so appreciated and fulfilled.

In October I went to dinner for the last time before my good friend Marilynn moved to PA. I was sad to see her go but happy for her as she moved out east to be with her family. I miss her and our talks.  Marilynn is very straight forward and practical and direct and always told me what she thought, which I greatly value.
October is my birthday month and my close friend Donna's son got married on my birthday.  It was a fun day. I got up early and had my hair done and then we headed to Indianapolis. There was the ceremony, dinner and dancing. A good way to spend my birthday with a good friend.

The first weekend in November Doug and I went to my friend Bethany's Halloween party.  He went as Walter White from Breaking Bad and I went as Mother Nature. It was a lot of fun even if no one knew who we were supposed to be.
The second weekend in November our friend Eric visited from Hawaii and stayed with us for a few nights.
For Thanksgiving we hosted Doug's family and had family in from Idaho, Illinois and Northern Indiana. We ate a lot, hiked a lot and went to the Holiday Market together.  The Holiday Market is one of my favorite events of the year.

The first weekend in December my son visited us from North Carolina.  I made chicken and noodles for him and we had fun running around Bloomington together.
The second weekend in December we went to my hometown to see my parents and sister, our good friends John & Kathy and my friend Elaine.
On the twenty-second I left to drive out to Durham, North Carolina where I visited with my high school friend, Laura and her family.   I stayed with my son in his new apartment.  His girlfriend's family had a big party on Christmas Eve. It was great to meet a lot of my son and his girlfriend's friends and her parent's friends.  Her family is great and I spent time with her parents and brother and extended family. Everyone was so kind to me and everyone told me how much they think of my son. On the twenty-sixth I drove to MD to be with my daughter and her wife and Little Bee.  Little Bee is saying everything and started sleeping in her "big-girl bed" (toddler bed) while I was there.  I made chicken and noodles and Little Bee gobbled up the chicken as fast as she could. My daughter is the greatest gift giver and this year she bought me several things from my Amazon wish list.  I had wonderful visits with both of my children but oh-too-soon it was time to come home.  The day I started driving home (the 30th), I came down with a bad cough and cold.  I've been off work for eleven days and return to work tomorrow.  Since returning home I've done nothing but laze about but am feeling a bit better.

While I was away there was a blizzard in Bloomington. Here is the back 40:

I also helped out my friends Cindy and Wayne in their store, Papertrix, and was able to do some demos and take some classes with Cindy.  I love Cindy for her enthusiasm and I always feel very energized after spending time with them in Nashville.

Evening outings included The Meeting of the Intelligent Minds with friends Jeanna and Marilynn.  Since Marilynn moved, Jeanna and I have fallen apart.
I also got together with law firm girls Alissa and Stefanie.  Stef moved away but there is a great Mexican restaurant about half-way so we still get together.
My girl gang includes MaryJo, Karen, Anne and Rene. What happens with the girl gang stays with the girl gang.
I got together as often as I could with Jennifer.  We have wine and talks and "fire time" in the winter months.  This gal is the wind beneath my wings.

As you can tell, I had a wonderful year with family and friends. We are active in our community.
I was named a columnist for Her magazine and was a guest blogger for little Indiana and wrote for the debut magazine.

In 2013 I hope to work out more, ride my bicycle more, get rid of more, and write more. Thanks for a wonderful year and your kind encouragement and positive comments. 
Go get 'em.

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