Paris, Part Deux

Howdy everyone! Just to preface this…we were in Paris from October 6-14. I’m super slow these days with my posts, but determined to preserve as many memories as possible.

Here we are in front of Notre Dame. Truly a magnificent place! I know that I’m a bit jaded sometimes, but nothing can prepare you for the grandeur of this church.

Paris is such an utterly charming city. We were walking along a busy bridge and found this pianist parked over the river. During our week there, we saw a cellist, an opera singer, a jazz band, a guitarist and so many other street performers.

Danny and I both love Mexican food, but he thought it would be hard to find in Paris. My aunt and uncle recommended this cantina. It was fabulous and they made fantastic margaritas (or so I’m told…I can’t drink tequila.) Danny said they were amazing.

Danny submerged in the delicious margarita. Glub, glub.

I think this is when we wandered around Le Marais, but I’m not 100% certain. I just loved the birch tree trunks decorating this spot. Lots of cool boutiques and shops in this area.

The photographer at work…

We found a garden hidden among some apartment buildings.

Mark, Cyndi and me exploring Paris. Such a wonderful start to the trip!

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Notre Dame at night! Look at those Flying Buttresses!

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La Tour Eiffel in the distance…

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I occasionally love candid shots that are slightly silly. The auto timer makes that SO easy to accomplish!

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We saw a Parisian marathon! (Or maybe a 5K. Not sure.)

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I think this is the Musee D’Orsay. I really enjoyed this museum because it wasn’t too crowded and was well organized. It’s inside an old train station.

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Danny took some amazing gargoyles shots with his super zoom camera!

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We ate an afternoon snack in this lovely garden full of unusual plants. I want exotic palm trees in my backyard…

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Yet another shot of Notre Dame…

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I lit several candles during the service.

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L’Arc du Triomphe! We did not get to go inside this monument because it was late at night. What’s really cool about it, to me at least, is that it stands in the center of a very busy avenue, the Champs-Élysées, or Elysian Fields.

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We happened to venture out to the L’Arc du Triomphe and the Champs-Élysées right after a Paris St. Germaine match, obviously a victorious one. It was WILD! Chanting, honking, excited throngs, cars cruising the avenue slowly waving flags.

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We watched it for a bit and then wandered off down less crowded streets.

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Struck a pose with an F1 driver mannequin…

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Our evening ended with crepes at this very unusual eatery. I almost expected the band from the Star Wars cantina to come out.

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How charming…

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Ladies, I bring you…cucumbers. Just kidding, I have no clue about the context of this statue.

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I love how Paris has carefully preserved its artistic heritage…even these art nouveau metro signs.

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This building houses 30 artist studios, making me immediately want to revert to my art school days. Oh, to have studied in Paris!

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A far off view of Notre Dame surrounded by the city…

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The lounge inside the Museum of Modern Art. I wasn’t super fond of this place. The escalators alone caused me quite a panic.

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You can see me to the left, enjoying the reflecting pool and the view, from afar, rocking my Air Force Ones (purchased that day for their incredible cushioning support and comfort), jump suit and faux fuzzy satchel.

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This sort of reminded me of Howard Finster…

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Such an unusual installation! I was shocked that we could actually climb inside this art.

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Man in black contemplating colorful box…

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Box without contemplating man.

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Yeah, one of the exhibits had a dead mouse. C’est un pipe?

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Along the River Seine…such a lovely stoll…

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We took a cruise up and down the river late one night. It was so romantic and peaceful, a welcome respite from the otherwise bustling metropolis.

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I wanted to post a video of the Eiffel Tower sparkling, but I don’t have video on my blog anymore. Oh well…it’s gorgeous even when just lit up!

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Transported to another world…

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Our fascinating hotel, Vice Versa. It’s named and decorated themed for the seven deadly sins.

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La Tour Eiffel!!! It’s insanely massive! I refused to go up any of the elevators. My fear of heights is just too insurmountable. There’s not enough Xanax in the world.

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Another fantastic garden…I love those topiaries!

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I think this is Napoleon’s tomb. Forgive me if I forget. This was four or five days deep into our whirlwind trip.

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Heading up to Sacre Couer and Montmarte…

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An incredible guitarist performing on the steps…

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An artist in the market up on Montmarte.

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Perfect timing for a hilarious shot!

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I bought a stunning painting of a kitten for Bam here from this gentleman. We had to do some detective work a day or two later because I didn’t buy it when we took this photo. Live and learn.

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This photo is last, but in now way, least. This is me and my precious Aunt Cyndi. I love this gorgeous woman so dearly. She is delightful and so full of love. It was such a treasure to have her and my uncle Mark greet us in Paris (and her brother, Kenny)! It set the tone for the trip and made us feel at ease immediately. J’adore Paris!

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Enchanté de Vous Rencontrer, Paris! Part One

Bonjour! As you may have guessed, this is all about our trip to Paris! I had dreamed of going to Paris my entire life, so to finally go, especially with someone I love, was incredible! (Danny took most of the photos, over 2,000, so I’m just featuring the ones I took on my cell phone. I apologize in advance for any jumps in chronology or omissions.)

I think we were in Newark here, waiting to depart. I’m glad that we were on a red eye flight. We got a good nights sleep before we landed. (Thank you, Dramamine!)

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We met my Aunt Cyndi and Uncle Mark, along with her brother, Kenny, on Saturday when we first arrived in Paris, and dined with them at a lovely café. (I don’t have these photos, so I’ll include them in later posts.) They also took us to a wonderful gelato shop and gave us a tour of the St. Germaine area late into the evening. Such a fantastic introduction to Paris!

The Musée D’Orsay was one of our first stops, on Sunday. I loved this museum since it featured dozens of works by impressionists such as Monet, Cezanne, Van Gogh, etc.

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I love Monet’s “Le Dejeuner Sur L’Herbe” and how it spills over two canvases, with one horizontal and one vertical. That touch is so contemporary, despite the clothing being dated to that era.

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Les Dindons. For some reason, a painting by Monet of all these turkeys tickled the daylights out of me. I️ love saying it…LES DEEN-DON!

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We unwittingly wandered into Notre Dame during mass on our first full day touring Paris. The exterior is supremely impressive…

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But, OH, how it pales in comparison to the inside during mass…incense, candles, a hushed multitude, and a breathtaking choir ensemble.

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Regardless of faith, this hallowed space is profoundly moving. You are surrounded by centuries worth of history and devotion. I can scarcely begin to describe the majesty of Notre Dame. Utterly breathtaking and beyond sacred.

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I only wish I could post the video of Notre Dame as well. The choir was quite impressive too. 

I’ll be adding more Paris posts in the next few days. My trusty iPad is running a little slow these days, which complicates posting. Bon soir!

 

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Looking Kinda Fly…

I’m a little rusty with my blog, so I apologize for the photos being all out of order and for being months behind. It has been a super busy summer! I finally got to go on the annual Montana fly fishing trip in July! We stayed in a lovely cabin right on the banks of the Missouri River, in Cascade, Montana. Two very special family friends greeted us when we arrived, Kris and Nancy. They spend the week with us and organize the meals for everyone. I happily gained five pounds enjoying all the delicious food they lovingly prepared.

Pictured below: Rob and Bo…two of our three fishing guides extraordinaire! (Not pictured, Jeff) Bo is Kris’s son.

The view from the back deck…

Yes, there was some dancing…Mom and Kris getting down.

Susan and Steve joined us for this fabulous trip…

Mom and Me

Me and Becca getting misted at the falls…

A stunning lakeside view…

Mom traversing a log bridge…

This young buck visited the back yard several times…check out those antlers!

Dad enjoying the view in Big Sky country after a long day angling…

Hat. Check. Polarized specs. Check. Buff. Check.

Have you got your gear? I got gear. Rain gear. Check. Bug spray. Check. Binoculars. Check.

More gear! Net! Gloves! Expensive reel! Rubbery shoes!

Me and Becca enjoying the rushing water…can I have one for my backyard?

Breathtaking…

Mom and me…

Summers are brief in Montana, but WOW, are they ever gorgeous! These flowers were stunning!

I can’t recall which lake this is, but it was VERY windy and chilly…somewhere near the Road to the Sun.

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I love the Glacier Park mascot, Rocky. He’s riding a lightning bolt.

I need a t-shirt with Rocky all over it. I love, love, love him!

The view from the lodge was spectacular!

As you can see, the trip to Glacier was just for the girls. The fellas were out fishing that day.

How can I get my flowers to grow this big? Chicky-poo? Miracle Gro? Voodoo?

We got to ride through Browning and see folks gathering for the native festival.

Another fabulous meal courtesy of Kris, Nancy and Bo! Cedar plank salmon! Woohoo!

Our charming fishing lodge…

Bo, Kris and Nancy…what a pleasure to meet you. I hope we get to spend more time together next summer. You are treasures and tremendous blessings in our lives.

Susan, Me and Mom on the river cruise to the Gates of the Mountains…

My first fly-fishing trout catch ever! What a beauty!!!

Strictly catch and release…

Patrick going for a swim…the water is a little chilly but quite refreshing.

Scaring the fish away with a gun show…


Gene and Gene with their amazing kissing trout…

Our stag returns! 

Netting the catch after walking the dog…

Becca learning from Bo…

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A nice catch! 


Trout bandit 

Trout bandits…

Dad hauled in a beauty! 

Gene and Gene 

Like I said, the photos are all over the place, but they capture a small slice of our Montana experience. Big Sky Country is a wild, overwhelming paradise, full of so much rugged beauty. 

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Puppeh On The Go

Now that Biscuit is an only dog again, I try to take him everywhere with me so he’s not lonely. He enjoys bike rides on the belt line (check out his new wheels!), road trips all over and rapt attention from children and adults alike.

Snoozing on the sofa…

Closer…

And closer…

Biscuit over the Beltline

On his way to a softball tournament…

Biscuit giving his new best buddy some kisses…

Nap time after a long day entertaining kids…

He is…THE MOST INTERESTING DOG IN THE WORLD…lol.

Or perhaps just the snooziest puppeh ever…

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Earthquakes, Weddings and Other Epic Events

Hi there! I apologize for my long absence. This summer is flying by at breakneck speed! My brother, my cousin and my best friend are ALL getting married in the next two months (not to each other). Weddings are now accompanied by a flurry of themed showers, bachelorette and bachelor parties, engagement parties, brunches, lunches, meet n’ greets, hootenannies and other festivities. I can’t possibly review all of them, but I will say this…my brother is marrying the sweetest, most bubbly, glowing, brilliant, wonderful girl. They are lucky to have each other. She invited me on her bachelorette party, which meant the world to me. I got to know her better (and her friends). We partied in a pirates saloon, sweated buckets doing beachside yoga, and enjoyed the finest dining in Amelia (where I ate three baskets of truffle fries. THREE). 

In my family, there is a saying…something mumbled about “Cox Luck”. I’ll get back to that soon. Anyway, I finally got to go to Montana for the fly fishing excursion. My dad and brother have been going since 2000, and it was boys only until 2016, when my mom and a couple other ladies were also invited. Getting to Cascade, Montana is no easy trek. We flew to Salt Lake City for a few hours en masse, then boarded another flight to Great Falls. After landing there, we drove another hour to reach the fishing lodge. Our caretakers, Kris and Nancy, had prepared a fantastic meal; one that we all scarfed down, sending us to bed early (11pm MTN, 1 am EST). I had just fallen asleep in the upstairs bedroom when a long dormant fault line decided to stir. A 5.8 magnitude earthquake hit Lincoln…the quake was felt as far as Washington state and Vancouver. I waited 17 years to go to Montana. They haven’t had a quake there in 40-50 years. I might post my thoughts about the quake someday, but for now, I will just say that I was quite traumatized. The silver lining was a very memorable trip with my family and loads of lovely fish. I caught 8 or 9 the first day! I loved that it was strictly catch and release. Our guides, Bo, Rob and Jeff, did a great job teaching the ladies (Me, Mom, Becca and Susan) the rods. I’m truly grateful that Dad invited the girls on the trip. It was a priceless window into the shared love for the stunning scenery, the skill, knowledge and prowess required to be a proper angler, and the camaraderie found in those wild places. I really hope we get invited back again, because it expanded our family and I can’t wait to see them again. Plus, we all love to drink, dance and sing.

 

My brain has been in full panic mode since Montana, not just because of lingering PTSD. There are lots of amazing things about to happen and it’s nearly overwhelming in terms of sheer joy. I leave on Saturday for a trip to Canada with Patrick and Danny. We plan to do some exploring in Toronto. When I get home, it’s time for more wedding events…another shower and a bachelorette party! Woohoo! Danny and I have started looking for a place to rent, which is super exciting, but also daunting, because Atlanta is now a hotbed of new construction, more demand than supply and higher living costs. We have also planned a trip to Paris in October. I have always dreamed of going to Paris with someone I love. It delights me that Danny and I will share this together. In what little spare time I have left each day, I have finished another baby quilt, painted a few needlepoint canvases for my Etsy site, started painting again, gone biking lots with Danny, played a little volleyball (not enough though…I’ll be hitting it hard in August to get lean again), and watched a few great movies (I’ll definitely make recommendations). 

Here are the two movies that really blew me away this past weekend: Lion, starring Dev Patel and Nicole Kidman, and Baby Driver, starring Ansel Elgort and Lily James. I wept after watching Lion. It is SUCH an uplifting, powerful film. I’m not a huge fan of Rooney Mara (she always seems so remote and cold), but Dev and Nicole, wow. It’s a true story too. Baby Driver is so much fun to watch. The soundtrack is fantastic! Atlanta natives will love that the entire movie was shot in the ATL. It’s a little distracting at times though, and I’ll argue right now that there is no way possible, short of having a rocket attached to the car, that the robbers could get from the Perimeter Mall area to midtown as quickly as they do. Shenanigans! LOL. 

I’m trying to get back into my healthy blog pattern, so expect more posts coming soon…

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I’ll Never Let You Go…

Thirteen years ago, Patrick and I bought our first real home and moved in. I had always promised him that we’d get a dog when we got our own home. We brought Biscuit home on September 11, 2004. He’s a Snow White Tibetan Spaniel and rather fond of shoes, paper and wood. For a year, he chewed his way through our house, destroying window sills, base boards, furniture, tennis shoes, flip flops, expensive coffee table books, entire rolls of toilet paper. My boss told me that Biscuit was bored and lonely, and needed a companion. I told him that he was crazy. I needed another dog like a hole in my head. So…I looked at local pet rescue agencies and found a female Tibetan Spaniel at Atlanta Pet Rescue. We trekked en masse to APR to let Biscuit and the lady Tibbie meet. She had ZERO interest in him. Zilch. Feeling rather disappointed, we searched for another option. Standing amidst 40 raucous, barking dogs, Skyler looked like the chillest dog ever. He wasn’t jockeying for attention…he had a calm smile on his face and looked so happy. So we introduced Biscuit and Skyler…

The boys hit it off instantly. Biscuit is naturally submissive and ridiculously docile. Skyler had the domineering personality typical of chihuahuas (he was a papillon chihuahua mix, we think). We took him home and I went back to work for the remainder of the day. Fast forward to five o’clock…Andy calls me and asks if I had turned the new dog over. Erm, no. Andy told me that Skyler had giant swollen black testicles. He was supposed to be neutered!!! I called the vet in total panic. I assumed that he was going septic and/or had gangrene. She assured me that he was merely suffering from a post-op infection and that we could bring him in the morning for an antibiotic shot. I was certain he’d be in ICU by dawn. Skyler’s balls healed nicely after all. Unfortunately, he had contracted kennel cough and passed it along to Biscuit. Their first month together was spent miserably ill, sleeping in twin round dog beds, side-by-side, forming a very special bond. 

I have so many stories about Biscuit and Skyler…it’s going to be difficult to condense 12 years worth of love. My heart hurts everyday because he’s gone now, but I have to record all of this, even the pain. It’s all part of how much we loved him. 

Running away: Skyler was my Olympic runner. He could dart out the door if you gave him three inches of space. He’d be bounding down the street, jaunty tail fanning out behind him like a flag. I’m fast on my feet, and Patrick is like lightning, but Skyler was cheetah-on-a-rocket fast. You couldn’t catch him unless he stopped to eat, poop or snarl at another dog. For Sky, it was all a game. He’d turn around and laugh at you, eyes sparkling, chest heaving, before taking off again like Flo Jo. After nearly being run over by cars chasing him, we learned to just let him roam. His microchip saved him on several occasions. 

Eating terrible things: Skyler spent an unknown amount of time as stray. Someone obviously cared for him as a puppy, but he escaped into the world and had to survive on his own. He was supremely scrappy and resourceful. Week old catfood, chicken wing bones, raisin oatmeal cookies stolen from a toddler, leathery, sun-baked bullfrog roadkill, an entire pack of Xylitol-laden chewing gum, steamed broccoli, giant green grasshoppers…the world was his buffet. We spent many a late night at GVS getting emetics and watching him yak up his strange meals. 

Singing, dancing and paw pumping: Skyler had quite a few talents that we discovered in time. Cell phone ringtones bothered him and he’d sing and howl when certain tunes played. Canned Heat was his favorite/least favorite. I have a few videos and, boy, could he sing! When I’d come in the door after a long day, he was certain to greet me at the door, jumping up on his hind legs, dancing around and pumping his front paws. He taught Biscuit to pump his paws too; only, Biscuit does it when he’s laying on his back. 

Puking on my head: I still laugh out loud telling this story. I was home one day from work, sick as a dog, suffering from a sinus infection and bronchitis, laid out on the sofa like a corpse. Biscuit and Skyler were snuggled up behind me. Suddenly I felt a wet “SPLAT”! on my head and shoulder. I woke up instantly, hearing the blurp, blurp, blurp noises as Skyler heaved and prepared to unload more. My screams scared him and he popped up on the back of the sofa, where he proceeded to puke again. I yelled more and he jumped down onto the rug. BLURP, BLURP, BLURP! Boom! Right on the rug! Dripping with vile, goopy kibble, I bellowed again, and propelled Skyler across the rug (scooting him across like a shuffleboard puck) until he landed on the hardwood floor near the sliding glass doors. BLURP! I opened the door, deposited him outside and watched in disbelief as he dry-heaved. It took me an hour to clean up everything. Poor little guy looked so contrite. I think he was so sympathetic that he got sick to more fully commiserate with me. Or he snarfed his food down too quickly…

Attacking other dogs big and small (mastiffs, Doberman, etc.): Skyler only ever liked three dogs…Biscuit, Bella and Hudson Lou. He loved all people and only three dogs. As a stray, he must have used his hysterical behavior to deter other dogs from approaching him. He’d rear up on his hind legs, pumping and snarling. He was pure ferocity, all twelve pounds of him. Skyler would run up to the biggest dogs and jump right in their faces. He’d also terrorize the smallest four pound teacup poodles. I never knew how fierce the attack would be. He reserved his toughest fronts for the most gargantuan canines…the bull mastiffs and the Dobermans. Sky loved to run pell-mell into the backyard of the 150 pound male and female mastiffs, giddily riling them into a frenzy. The female dog was so big and strong that she could crash through a stained glass door. She could have swallowed Skyler whole. His second favorite dog to antagonize was the nearby Dobie. Skyler went right for the jugular…and almost reached his chest. Almost. 

Befriending Bella and Hudson Lou: Skyler had an immediate repoire with Hudson, a second generation cockapoo. I think Skyler perceived him as a twin. Huddie was jumbly and gregarious, without a mean bone in his shaggy frame. He rocked a faux hawk and the sweetest smile. Skyler wasn’t so taken with Bella right away. She was a gorgeous golden retriever, long flowing locks and a goofy, harmless demeanor. She’d lay down and pee on herself when my boys approached. Skyler would snarl and jump on her. It took years before he realized that Bella meant no harm. 

Finding friendly humans to rescue him: Skyler regularly escaped and seemed to have a knack for finding hospitality wherever he landed. Once he spent two nights away from home. We were massively worried, especially since coyotes regularly roamed our neighborhood. I put up reward posters in all the surrounding communities. I checked with our vet’s office. I was going to start calling shelters and animal control, when I got a strange phone call. All I heard, in a tiny voice with a soft accent, was “reward?”. I said “yes, do you have my dog?”. The response…”yes, reward?”. I could tell that I was definitely speaking with a young Hispanic boy. He kept repeating the request while I was trying to get an address so I could bring him his reward. Skyler had wandered into a nearby apartment complex. I knew that it was full of big dogs when we drove up because the barks resonated all around the dark parking area. Wandering to the back side of the building, we found the right door and knocked. To my surprise, an entire family, full of friendly, smiling faces, welcomed us when the door opened, including Skyler standing in the center of the crowd. The little boy came up and said “reward?”. I laughed and said, “yes, absolutely.” He couldn’t have been more than 7 or 8, very close to Patrick’s age at the time. His relatives didn’t seem to speak any English, and he only spoke limited phrases. I handed him his cash reward. He thanked me and told me “We fed him a lot. He was hungry.” To which I replied, “He always is”. The boy translated this to his family and they all started laughing. No one could believe that this slender, tiny, scrawny, 12 lb dog was always hungry. I thanked them all profusely and carted Skyler off in my arms. 

Attacking cicadas: Biscuit and Skyler loved cicada season at Otter Creek. They would chase the wildly buzzing bugs all over the huge deck. They were too afraid to actually bite the loud insects, but they’d spend ages toying with them. I even have video (sadly I can’t post it here, but it does exist).

Eating grasshoppers: Skyler also loved to nosh on those enormous green grasshoppers. I saw him grab one in his front paws, rip the head off and snack on it like it was popcorn. Biscuit watched the entire scene, head cocked in curiosity. He never ate strange things like Sky. 

Chasing Biscuit: Nothing excited Skyler more than tussling with Biscuit. He’d chase him all over the basement carpet, tearing around the quilting tables like two race cars. Skyler took particular interest in Biscuit after they had baths. He’d hump Biscuit repeatedly, which never bothered Biscuit (he’s a very docile, submissive dog). 

Destroying Loofah dogs: I’ve bought tons of dog toys to please the boys, but their absolute favorites were the Loofah dogs. In case you aren’t familiar, they are long, skinny, soft dog toys that look a bit like Dachsunds and usually have one or two squeaky bits inside. They’d parade all over the house, fighting to have both instead of sharing. The loofah dogs would last a few hours, and then I’d find stuffing everywhere. 

Smelling like a tortilla chip: Yeah, he smelled like a tortilla chip when he hadn’t been bathed in a month or more. I think it was the oils and lanolin in his coat. I miss that smell. 

Looking like a Dr. Seuss Character after being groomed: I’ll have to dig up a photo depicting this. It’s hilarious. The groomer made his feet look huge, shrunk his body, left his head poofy and gave him a massively fanned out tail. 

Traveling cross country: In 2015, I packed up my BMW 3 series, loaded up the boys in their seat belt harnesses and got them situated in plush dog beds in the black seat. We went all the way from Atlanta to San Diego and back, with stops along the way to visit family and friends. Skyler ran away in El Paso, making new friends with a military family on base. He endured gastric episodes every other day, with vomiting and diarrhea. I never could figure out what was causing all of his distress. It took months to slightly solve the riddle…he could no longer eat grains…just protein and veggies. In San Diego, my cousin Summer Lee took incredible care of him and helped him recover from his illness. She kept him at her vet office while her mom and dad took me sailing around Coronado. He and Biscuit would take turns sleeping in the car, so there was ever a watchful eye on me and the road. Skyler was always a great car dog, never whining or running around with stress. He’d curl up and get cozy. Even Biscuit seemed to relax and enjoy the ride. We were the Three Musketeers, braving maurauding motorcycle gangs, crackheads and goats head burrs (if you’ve never experienced one of these spiky monsters, consider yourself VERY lucky). And a wave on the beach that nearly washed us all away…well, Biscuit at least. I’m so thankful we had that trip together. So many special memories. 

Nursing me through depression again and again: Skyler was the most empathetic little dog I have ever known. Scientists say that dogs can understand over 140 facial expressions that humans make, more than even other humans recognize. Dogs can also understand the tone of your voice and some vocabulary. Their sense of smell gives them an additional advantage in sensing our health and mental disposition. Biscuit is sweet and caring, but Skyler would always snuggle with me when I was crying. I spent so many nights on the couch, either weeping, overeating horrible things, or simply inert, and he was my comfort. He never left my side. Skyler knew that I was sick and suffering. He could smell the sweat, the stress, feel the sobs, the tears, my pounding heart. He was so quick to offer kisses. I’d have accepted them all if only he didn’t like to eat poop. He gave all his love to try to heal me. He got me though the worst times with his quiet love, whereas Biscuit would clown around to make me laugh. Together they were the perfect therapeutic combination. If you ever want to dig through my blog, you can find more stories from the trip. 

You passed away on a Thursday, April 20th, in my arms. I spent the day with you, as I should have spent so many days. I held you in my lap and didn’t want to ever let you go. I took you to see Gran, and Bam and Papa. I asked Heather to come see you and say goodbye. Ali came over and sat with me for awhile too. Patrick had said his farewells before he went back to school. Papa teared up saying goodbye to you…he loved you so much. We all stroked your little head, your perfectly round noggin. 

I didn’t want to let go of you, holding you in the blanket. Your spirit had already departed your tiny body, but I didn’t want to let go. I didn’t want to put you in a box and bury you. I can still feel you in my arms. I’ll never let you go, Skyler. I loved you every bit as much as Biscuit. I’m sorry if I ever played favorites. You were every bit as special, every bit as delightful, every bit as loving and wonderful. I wish I had loved you more, done more for you, doted on you as much as you deserved, taken better care of you. I did what I could with all the distractions of modern life, but I wish I had been less selfish with my time. I’d have reached for all your kisses, let you sleep in the bed with us, taken you for more walks, loved you more. We don’t realize how finite something so precious is until it’s too late and you’ve run out of time. Knowing that I was at least so incredibly blessed with your love is some consolation, but no other dog can ever replace you in my heart. I’ll never let you go, my sweetest little man.

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Teenager at Heart (Or how I refuse to stop wearing shorts and bikinis)

So, tomorrow I celebrate my birthday. 41 years twirling around the sun. I always thought I’d hate being older, even mourned my teens and twenties, but I’ve found that I enjoy the experience and wisdom of my years blended with my wistful, joyful, hopeful outlook. I’m really happy with my life. I’m blessed with wonderful family and friends. Patrick is thriving at college now. I have a fantastic job and quite a few fun hobbies. Icing on the cake…I have someone absolutely amazing with whom to share everything. Lots to celebrate!!! To that end, I’m posting a random assortment of some favorite photos. (Disclaimer…they are in no particular order, and if you don’t show up, don’t take it personally, the Cloud isn’t always easy to navigate on WordPress.) Beyond that, I don’t have anything profound to offer at the moment. Just excited about the gift of another year…WOOHOO! LET’S GO DANCE!

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