A Girl and Her Dog

I lost Rudy for a while tonight.

I was terrified.  This has never, ever, happened with him.

Rudy is what I call a "velcro dog", meaning he never leaves my side. He follows me everywhere, sleeps in our bed (much to Craig's chagrin), and he thinks he's human/kangaroo (you should see his leap).  And if I'm not home?  He's right next to Craig and Murray.  He was my Mom's dog for many years, but when she died, I wouldn't let anyone else take him.   He is still my Mom's dog, but he's mine by proxy.

I digress.  He scared the life out of me today.  Here is what happened:

Rudy and his foster sister, Emma, were in our fenced-in back yard while I was making a late dinner for Craig and myself. The hounds tend to be a bit of a tripping hazard in the kitchen, so I put them outside until I was ready to serve supper to all humans and canines.   When I went to bring both dogs back into the house, Emma pranced in, but Rudy wasn't there. 

Again, this has never, ever happened with our Rudy.  If any of the two dogs were going to bolt, it would have been ten month old Emma (our foster).

I was frantic. I checked both gates, and they were secure.  There were no signs of digging under the the fence, so I could only derive that Rudy had finally gotten brave enough to leap the four foot fence.

Craig wasn't home yet, so I couldn't go looking for Rudy, because Murray was already in bed.  I was sick to my stomach at the thought of losing our gentle giant. 

My neighbors were on vacation, so no help there, either.  I called our local radio station -  who are famous for "pet patrol" -  and listed my information. I was ready to call the local vets and pounds, when I heard the sweet sound of a familar, sharp bark.  My heart soared.

Yep, it was my Rudy, standing outside of the gate, looking at me with a silly grin that told me that he had a had a pretty great romp into unknown territory. I wondered how many squirrels and rabbits he  had "played too hard" with on his adventure.  He may have made me crazy scared, but I just couldn't be mad at him, because after all, he came back.

  He was pretty tired after his adventure:

From now on, I think we need a higher fence.  Old dogs CAN learn new tricks.


Here at the Murray's Momma household, we've been enjoying a pretty awesome summer.  The weather has been wonderful, even if a bit on the way-too-hot side at times, but it's been perfect lake weather.  Sadly, the summer is flying by, and I'm not quite prepared for the changes that the fall will bring.

This will be Murray's first year of school.  Pre-school, yes, but still it's school.  Full time pre-school.

When we enrolled him last winter, I was confident that he was ready.  I thought I was ready, too.   Our parish school has a wonderful pre-school program, and he will attend Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m..  We toured the school, met with teachers, and we were all pumped when he was accepted.

But that was in February, and at that time, his school days seemed so very far way.  Here we are at the end of July, and it suddenly hit me that again, time has gone way too fast.

When we got home from the lake last weekend, I opened my email and found a note from Murray's school.  It was an email similar to those that probably every parent of a school-aged child receives this time of year; listing school supplies, dress code, back-to-school night dates, etc., but it was a first for me. 

That's when I realized: I am so not ready for this.  Murray is, but I'm not.

He went from this:

November 14, 2007

To this:

July 22, 2012

And to get from then to now, it's taken 4.5 very short years.

I know he will be fine, and even thrive.  Excuse the cliche, but he's just growing up so fast.  He has so much to look forward to, and as parents, we do, too.  We did bring him into this world knowing that some day, we'd have sit a bit farther back in the bleachers.   I'm just having a hard time letting go.

Murray is crazy excited.  He loves to talk about "St. Joe's" (his school) and all that he'll learn.  I'm excited for him, too, just a little bit anxious about entering this new whole world.

For now, we'll enjoy the rest of summer, and I'll keep writing on this blog, so that someday, when he graduates from high school and college, he can look back at laugh at what an emotional wimp his Mom was.

And, I suppose I should make a trip to Target for school supplies. 

How I Met Your Father - A Fairy Tale

Dear Murray,

Once upon a time, I fell in love.

When I was twenty-two years old, I met a man.  I was working as a bartender at a local restaurant.   It was 4:35 p.m. on a Thursday (I know the time because we  always turned down the lights in the bar at 4:30 p.m., and I was a little late that day).  He was there for a business meeting, and he ordered a Jim Beam and Coke.  I made his drink and served his colleagues -he bought the round - and we bantered back and forth in typical bartender/customer fashion.   The man and I flirted a bit, and then he went to table fifteen and proceeded with his meeting. From my perch behind the bar, I watched him, hoping we would make eye contact just once more.  We didn't.

I finished my shift at 6:30 p.m., and decided that it was just a silly flirtation with the nice, cute man.  After all, at that time in my life, I had decided to take a break from dating. 

But then.  A magic fairy intervened.  Serendipity, I tell you.

Later that night, I went to a local pub to have a quick beer with two of my best guy friends (one, an ex-boyfriend, but still good friend).  I was just ready to head home, and a man stopped by our table.  He was the same cute guy I that I had served a drink and flirted with at work.  Turns out, he used to coach my two friends at softball, and had known them for a long time.  I didn't look very nice after getting off my shift after a long day of bar tending. It was the middle of winter and I was wearing a huge coat and really warm sweatpants and a t-shirt. I had thought I was just going to head over for a quick after-work beer, then head home. It was pretty obvious that I wasn't on the prowl, looking for a date.  Nope, not this time. 

The man said, "Hey, it's you! 

And I said, "Hey, it's you!

And he said, "Wanna dance?"

And I said, "Sure!"

So we danced.  And we danced.  And we danced some more.

And he said, "Wanna get coffee?"

And I said, "Sure!"

And so, over eggs and coffee, in a booth in a crappy diner at 2 a.m., I fell in love.

I'll never forget the first message he left on my answering machine: "Hi Craig, this is Marie. I just wanted to see if we could still get together. I'm working this morning, but my number is 555-4659." 

Is that not adorable? He was obviously nervous.

I was thrilled to have heard from him so soon, so I called the number.  The number had been disconnected.  It turns out that the number was 555-4569.  Not only had he transposed our names, but the numbers, too.  We didn't reconnect that weekend, and slightly brokenhearted, I moved on.

I wrote the word "number" a lot in that last paragraph.  Anyway.

It took 3 weeks for that man to come back into the bar where I worked, and at that time, I had pretty much given up.  He was with my two best guy friends that I told you about, and they were playing matchmaker.  The problem was, I had been on a few dates with the singer of a local band, and he happened to be there at the same time, visiting me at work.  It was a bit, erhm, awkward.

It worked for the best for me, though.  The man wrote down the correct phone number, and our mutual friend quietly slipped the piece of paper to me.  That evening, I gently told the "band guy" that it wasn't going to work out, and I called the "other guy" the next day.

The "other guy" is your Dad. 

Ten years after falling in love with the "other guy", I couldn't be happier.  He's smart, athletic, strong, handsome, handy, charming, funny, a wonderful father and my best friend. 

Plus, he does the laundry and cooks.

Don't get me wrong, this isn't all roses and hearts, and it's certainly not always a fairy tale.  Marriage is hard work, sacrifice, and compromise.  But, it's worth the hard work, the sacrifice, and the compromise.

We are happily every after.

The End.


It all started with no nap.  Things went worse over a peanut butter sandwich.

Murray might be four, but he's one of those kids that just needs good sleep.  When he doesn't have enough rest, tantrums ensue, and life for all of us is a lot more difficult than necessary.

Craig has been traveling again, so Murray and I were on our own today.  My sister-in-law, nephew (also four), and baby niece spent the day with us.  What a relief it was to have a sane adult on my side.  Four years old just plain stinks.

Worst. Age. Ever.

And yes, before you ask, we do discipline.  As a matter of fact, we don't put up with much.  In my opinion, anyway.

I digress.  The boys did pretty well, despite the fact that they didn't have a nap.  There was the typical arguing and fighting, but when all was said and done, we had a pretty fun day.

It was when Murray's cousin left that started the drama.  First, Murray passed out on the couch.  Yay!  Two hours later, Craig came home from his trip and woke him up.  Nay!

I wanted to send Craig to the North Pole because I was so mad at him for waking the sweet sleeping boy.  I just knew Murray was going to be a bear when he woke up.

I wasn't wrong.  He was a bear on steroids.

What does Craig not understand about the concept of "never wake a sleeping baby"?  Granted, Murray isn't a baby anymore, but still!  Don't wake up the child, unless it's an emergency.

So, Murray wakes up hungry and demands a peanut butter sandwich.  I tell him to say "please"  but he just couldn't handle saying a one-word polite response, so off he goes to his room, in a time out,  yelling at me and crying hysterically.

Really, I only wanted a "please".  How hard is that?

It took an hour, but he finally got his peanut butter sandwich.  Really, kid?  I've said please AND thank you for a chili-cheese burrito from Taco Bell.  Good grief.

The point is, good behavior and manners are a must in this house. 

But so is a nap.  Obviously.

Dear Mom - Happy Birthday

Dear Mom,

Fifty-five years ago, on this day, you were born. Almost five years ago, you went to Heaven.

As a tiny newborn, no one had any idea of exactly what you would accomplish.

You tackled the world.  Independent, strong, and gentle at the same time, you made your own way.  You were an amazing Mother, and I will never forget the lessons that you quietly taught me, in your stern but patient manner.

I have so many amazing memories, and then, I have to admit, I have some that weren't so great (who doesn't in a parent/child relationship?), and I bet you do too!  That said, our mother/daughter relationship was really the best of the best. I have no regrets.

Remember when you would french braid my hair and get frustrated because I wasn't holding the pony-tail holder right where you needed it?

Then, there was the time that you were so sad about the divorce from my dad. You were trying to be cheerful,  when I caught you silently sobbing (you didn't believe in crying out loud or in public), trying to be strong for us girls.  Remember how you were holding a spoonful of whipped cream, and when we went in for a hug, it made a big "splat" on the floor?  We all giggled together through our tears.  Laughter is the best medicine.

Our special times at the lake will remain forever in my heart.  I still sit in the exact same spot that you used to sit on the dock at the lake, and God help the person who sits there instead of me.  Crack a Keystone Light for me!

I remember when you were taking your Minnesota boards, and we stopped at a picnic area on the way to St. Paul.  Then, we proceeded to drive around the same circle for an hour, and though we could see the building you needed to get to, we just couldn't quite figure out the St. Paul traffic.  You got us there, though.  You always got us where we needed to be.  And you know what?  You still do.

Our road trips are by far my favorite, because that's when we could talk without distraction.  We could talk, and talk and talk - for hours, driving to see Maggie, driving to a holiday weekend, driving to the lake.  We may have crashed into a deer or two (which made us all cry - once, you got out and petted one until it was gone), but we always made it safely.

You could take a bad guy out like no one.  You might not have looked intimidating, but by God, you were the last person a criminal wanted to get mixed up with.  Good grief, some of the things that you did would make a person fall over, just thinking about it.  But, I knew you, and I never was afraid for you.  If anyone could protect us, it was you.  And you did.  Always.

I miss our daily phone conversations; I will forever.  Instead of hearing your voice before I crawl into bed at night, I talk to you in my prayers.  You taught me that, too.  "When we can't be together, we'll be together in spirit.  Wrap your arms around yourself, and know that it's me hugging you.  We're under the same moon and stars," you told me...over and over.  I know you are still there, watching out for us.

You made the absolute best sandwiches in the world.  In fact, I loved everything you ever cooked.  No mayo for the Murray gals! Must have lean meat, cheese, and lettuce. I miss your cooking so very much, but I model my methods after yours.  I love following your recipes in your handwriting, and remembering your hands measuring, pouring, and stirring.  Although, I admit, I have to add quite a bit of garlic and spices to please Craig's palate.  But, I know you know that.   

Remember when I was sixteen and bought the duckling?  You were ever so supportive, and let me keep it; Tucker was his name.  We were both surprised when it followed me everywhere - swimming in the lake, following me around our yard, and even sleeping in the house with a diaper.  When it turned out to be a goose, you set up a home for it in the backyard.  That was you, Mom, a tender heart to all animals and humans.

The day that we found out that you were sick, I never once gave up hope, not ever.  While everyone was preparing for the worst, I just couldn't stand to think of life without you.  I know you weren't scared - you were never scared of much - but you were "damn mad", as you told us.

You had hundreds of people in and out of your ICU room to say goodbye, and I'll always remember how you insisted on brushing your teeth and grooming yourself before anyone visited.  You were brilliantly beautiful, even in your last hours.  Even Rudy thought so, when he visited you in the hospital for the last time.

My heart hurts, Mom, and I will never, ever forget who you were or stop loving you.  You were my light, my guide, my wisdom.  When I come to a situation that confuses me, or face a decision that I scares me, I think of you what you would have advised me to do.  You taught me well, and those lessons will remain with me forever.  Still, I will never be as good as you. 

Oh, one more thing.  I just read this to Murray, and he wants to tell you how much he loves you.  We all do.

You are my sunshine, my only sunshine.
You make me happy, when skies are gray.
You'll never know, Mom, how much I love you,
Please don't take my sunshine away.

The other night dear, while I lay sleeping,
I dreamt I held you in my arms.
But when I woke up,
I was mistaken,
And I hung my head I and I cried.

You are my sunshine, my only sunshine.
You make me happy, when skies are gray.
You'll never know, Mom, how much I love you,
Please don't take my sunshine away.  -Jimmie Davis

Sleep tight and be at peace, dear Mama,
Marie, Craig, Murray, and Rudy


I love kids.  I really do.  Trust me, I spent about 5 hours in the pool today with children aged 1-8.  It was awesome.

But you know what?  Sometimes, as much as I love my own child, there are times when I really don't like him.  He's four, and four year old boys are impossible. 

Four year old boys break things, make horrible messes, they don't listen, they laugh at you when disciplined,  they say bad words (I think they get that from me - son of a bitch comes out of my mouth frequently), they toot in public and think it's hysterical, and they generally act on the ridiculous side; you know really silly (which is SO annoying).

We can lecture, scold, give time outs, spankings, and take away favorite toys, but at four, they just laugh in your face, no matter how stern mean we parents are. 

It's maddening! Four is the WORST age ever. 

But then, when I'm fed up beyond belief, my four year old will look at me with the sweetest expression and say, "Mama, you are SO pretty!"

I'll take it.  For now. 

While Walking Duncan - A Guest Post, Sort Of

Note:  This post is long overdue.  My host site had problems for over a week, and then we went on vacation.  I'm so excited to share this with you!

I'd like to introduce you to my blogger friend, Curt.  Curt and I met through the power of the Internet.  His Dad, a man I worked with years ago, sometimes posts links to Curt's blog, www.whilewalkingduncan.com. on Facebook.  As soon as I discovered Curt, I knew we were kindred spirits.

Curt and I  both blog, and we both love Golden Retrievers.  Curt writes about his adventures with Duncan, his Golden Retriever, his partner, Ken , and all about life in general.  Curt, like me, suffers from General Anxiety Disorder.  Curt is is honest, he's pragmatic, and he has a heart of gold.  And,  the man can WRITE!  This is a snippet of Curt's thoughts on GAD:

Anyone who suffers from anxiety knows that it's a truly horrific experience that changes your entire perception of the world. Nothing is safe and even when there doesn't appear to be any anxiety the fear of it returning becomes even worse than the anxiety itself. The world becomes your enemy. Tasks that most people take for granted, things I'd done daily, like drive to work, or watch television, go to movies, visit friends, walk Duncan, become impossible. I spent three miserable months holed up, hardly venturing outside, watching as Ken struggled to be brave and patient and comprehend what was happening. - Curt Rogers - www.whilewalkingduncan.com

Isn't he amazing?  When I first read this, I felt as though he had written the words directly out of my head.  This is what I've been trying to put on paper for a very long time, but I just couldn't find the words.

This is not an "I'm feeling sorry for myself post", because self-pity is not something I feel when I go through these phases.  What I do feel is terrified, anxious (obviously), helpless and guilty.  Depression and anxiety go hand in hand for me.  Trust me, I don't want my worst enemy to struggle with this, and it makes me sad that my loved ones have to suffer because of my issues. 

Curt has found a tactic that helps him, and it's pretty neat.  Read more here:  http://whilewalkingduncan.blogspot.com/2012/05/feathers-for-flight.html

Myself, I'm working with essential oils, medication, a gluten-free diet, self-affirmation, and therapy.

My point is, if you suffer from GAD, depression, or any other condition, speak out!  We need to communicate. We can only help one another by talking and sharing ideas.  We're all human.

Special thanks to Curt for letting me share his thoughts.

God Speed.


Test Post.