The mis-adventures of a (potentially) one-eyed pug

Uff, it’s been a rough week out here at the ranch, for man and the little beast.

And by little beast I am referring, of course, to the pug.

Here we go again…

Let me just start here with the mild heart attack that helped kick off my Sunday morning curling hangover at the beginning of this long week. As I was at the in-laws drowning my sorrows induced by too many Bud Lights the night before and deciding that I am getting too old to stay out until 2 am (and also deciding that there is not enough coffee in the world),  in my attempt to declare it a “Good Morning” anyway (I try to keep it together for the family), I discovered my body had retaliated against my irresponsible behavior by taking away the one thing that gives me control over my world–my voice.

I felt like the Little Mermaid, but without the gift of great legs and a charming prince.

Because my prince was looking a little haggard as he wished that God had never invented whiskey and reached for his third cup of coffee.


And then the phone rang and his momma answered it…

“Well, hi….yes, yes…it was a fun night…a little wild, but fun. Yes, the music was alright…I think the kids had fun…hmmm…ok….yes….”

I listened to the conversation from under my hoodie and fluffy blanket, deducing from the tone of voice and conversation topics that it was my momma on the other end of the line, fully expecting the receiver to be handed over to me when their chat was finished and trying to figure out how to have a phone conversation with no voice….

…and then mother-in-law turned to my dearly beloved on the other end of the blanket and said:

“It’s the Veeder’s. They want to talk to you.”

They wanted to talk to husband?!


While you were out...

This just became serious. My momma didn’t want to talk to me to see how the curling went, to have me pick up milk or dog food or bananas on the way home? She didn’t want to wish me a happy Sunday?! No. She wanted husband. And I pretty much ruled out the one positive outcome of a phone conversation between the two of them–a super secret surprise for yours truly– when I saw husband wrinkle his nose and say the following: “Hmm…that doesn’t sound good.”

Oh sweet Martha Stewart something was up. Was it pops? Was it a neighbor? Was it my sister, a car accident, a raging flood, a house fire, an avalanche…crop circles or those aliens I’ve been waiting for? Why doesn’t anyone ever talk to me? Why do they keep me out of the loop? Don’t they think I can handle it? Bring it on. I can take it. Just tell me. TTTEELLLL MMEEEEAAA!

Wwwhhhhatttt isss iiitttt?

I gripped my coffee close to my chest and hunched over, blanket draped across my shoulders like a nursing home patient and stared husband dead in the eye as he hung up the phone.

In a pathetic yell type whisper I squeaked frantically:

“What? What? Who is it? Why did she want to talk to you? Who is missing a limb? When’s the funeral? We need to get home…”

He shook his head, rolled his eyes and declared the following:

“It’s Chug…”

I knew it.

I gasped and forced words from my scratchy wind-pipe:

“He’s dead isn’t he? Hit by a truck. Eaten by a coyote. Ravaged by a rare pack of angry bears. Abducted by aliens….”

Husband sighed and rolled his eyes again.

“No…not aliens this time. But he did find a porcupine again. And he has a quill..





Oh mercy.

Say it ain't so...

Well, I could go on here about how we got in the car and drove home to the ranch to take a look the poor unfortunate soul and make arrangements for the vet. I could give you a synopsis of the conversation we had about how the pug thinks he 150 pounds of pure instinct, it’s just too bad his instincts are so far off. I could give you a million reasons why pugs were not built for a rugged ranch experience and how he might lose his eyeball and might have to wear a patch and how we might have to start letting him smoke cigars and get him a peg-leg and start calling him Captain Pugwash or Lucky

I could tell you how he should have learned his lesson the first time. Remember that?

But you can’t really get after a dangerously curious, playful and mischievous little smooshy faced innocent black dog who has proven time and time again that he is too big for his britches when you come home to find him dramatically hunkered down on my parents’ couch in the hour of his discontent.

Even when his hours of suffering turned into my own as I was charged with driving 45 miles to and from the vet to drop the brave pup off to be sedated and eyeball examined. And then I drove back again to pick him up only to be rewarded with a hefty bill and a bag full of prescription meds that rival the collection you would find in Charlie Sheen’s medicine cabinet.

None of them prescribed for me.

Anyone have a pill organizer I can borrow?

Even though I argue that I may need the meds more than the damaged pug after days of wrestling the 35 pound porcupine hunter to the floor to pry his poor, sore, eye open in order to apply ointment directly on the eyeball as the pug literally puts on an act that consists of whipping his head back and forth in an attempt to release my firm, but loving, grip on the neck that he doesn’t possess. All the while the pug pretends he can’t breathe by making these very dramatic snorting and puking noises while I whisper (because that’s all I can do…still) “It’s ok boy. Shhh. Shhh. You’re ok, you dumb, dumb, poor, dumb dog.”








Pathetic made even more pathetic by the little bandage where his I.V. was placed. Oh my heart.

And after all of this– the money, the drama, the pain and the ointment, the damn pug that I love despite my best efforts still might lose his eyeball, have to wear a patch, get a peg-leg and a cigar and call himself Lucky.

Oh pray for his eyeball.

I just love those big, buggy eyes.

Again, my heart...

So that’s that. That is what my life has become.

Hope you have a prick-free weekend.

And if you’re venturing out into the wild blue yonder please let the pug’s misadventures be a lesson to you to always wear the proper attire, and for the love of ggaawwd, your safety glasses.

I am all about the lessons.

Love you and you’re welcome.

Oh, and P.S. in case you’re worried, the pug is pain free (thanks to the drugs and the wonderful vet care) and was caught chasing the horses and barking at coyotes yesterday in true form with all of his passion and gusto.

“Never. Say. Die.”

That’s what he told me when he got home.

The pet that can’t be trusted…

Oh Chug the pug. You are in big trouble.

I fear you cannot be trusted.

I fear that you never could.

I should have known better when I left you alone with the guys last week. Alone in the little house with your couch and your fluffy blankets and your cats with no responsibility but to sleep and be so kind as to step outside, scratch on the door, bark, whine, something, when you had to poop.

But oh, you could not be bothered could you?

Between all of the lounging, snoring, snuggling, snarfing, sniffing and watching the boob tube,  you happened to find time to do things, wonderful things, that distracted you from your urgent bowel movements.

Like munch on a slipper or two…

…and a tube of Tough Actin’ Tanactin, wherever you happened to come across such a thing.

How was that for ya?

And then, you know, just to get the taste of fungal cream out of your mouth, husband’s remote control.

And then a highlighter for good measure. The one that was sitting innocently on the coffee table at a height that you would never exert yourself to reach if, you know, it was easier for me to just lift you on up there. But there must have been something so attractive about that neon marker.

Something that looked delicious.

Delicious like that full bottle of Coca Cola you found the time to gnaw the lid off of.

That was sure nice of you. You must have been so thirsty. I really do feel bad about that.

But not as bad as I feel about the fact that the toe of my favorite black pump is missing.

The black pump that was hidden away in the depths of my closet, because life choices have restricted pump wearing for me lately.

You must have had to really exert yourself on that one.

I hope you are not too tired.

This winter must really be rough on you, acting out like this.

And if this unruly, rebellious behavior is about the outfits:

The trapper hat.

The Santa suit.

To that I send my sincere apologies. But in my defense, humiliating you for my enjoyment was one of the main reasons I granted you the permission to enter this family in the first place, so you might as well get used to it.

You exist for my entertainment.

And cuddling.

But I’m mad at you right now so I’m going to need a bit of time.

Because it’s bad enough that you cannot be trusted.

Bad enough your nose squishes up like that.

Bad enough that your tail curls and the barrel that is your body finds its way in the space next to me, your paws work to unfold my protesting arms.

Bad enough that you are in big, big trouble mister.

And worse that, frankly, you just don’t care.

A year in review…with you.

Happy New Year!

Wow. It’s December 30th. I just looked down at the little calendar icon thing at the bottom of my computer screen and it screamed at me–“It’s almost the end of a whirlwind year lady! It’s almost the beginning of 365 days of new adventure ahead. You should probably reflect on this!”

I jumped right out of  my neckerchief at the thought, and  since I’m not going anywhere today because nature is ringing in the New Year with yet another blizzard and more drifts of snow blocking my driveway, I figured now is as good of time as any to let you all know something about me.

I am a grateful, frizzy haired, pug loving, frozen and slightly more squishy thanks to the holiday cookies lady.

I am thankful.

I am thrilled and hopeful and full of love and nerves and excitement and overwhelmed…not only at the thought of a year full of changes and decisions and heartbreak and joy and manual labor at my back, but for the one ahead.

The one ahead that is sure to bring all of those things and more…especially that manual labor stuff.

But before I look ahead with you all, ahead to a year where I hope I will see the dust from your car trailing behind you down our pink road and onto our doorstep, I want to look back.

Because looking back always helps remind me, especially when I am in the middle of shoveling away what the blizzard brought us, or sweating and cursing the burs of summer, or trudging through the gumbo of the buttes after a wayward cow, that I am here.

Right back where I started from.

Right where I belong.

See, I’m not sure if I made this clear in the beginning of this little project I started (which I simply refer to as “writing it all down,”) that last year at this time I was living alone. I was living alone in a big house in a town an hour and a half away from the ranch–an hour and a half away from where my husband had just moved to take a job.

And I couldn’t go with him because I too, had a job to do. And together, we had a house to finish–a house we purchased on a good five year plan to gut it all out, put it all back together nice and shiny and live there, working and saving and making our way back to the ranch in good time.

But the fast paced industry in which husband is employed sent to him an opportunity that we couldn’t pass up–an opportunity to continue work with his company and  live where we wanted to live. For a good long time.

And we were looking for some permanency, because we had spent the last five New Years in different houses.

Whew, were we ready to be home.

So this couldn’t be passed up. Because ten years ago, when we graduated from high school, together, we would have never guessed that we could be out here in our mid-twenties and starting the life we always wanted.

So husband packed his bags and I kept my job and my stuff in the house that was torn apart from wall to wall. And on the weekends, along with our wonderfully helpful family members, we hammered and nailed and painted and sawed and planned and stained and varnished and cleaned and one of us may or may not have gotten her head stuck in a ladder.

I can’t remember.

And I was exhausted. And I missed my husband. And I was lonely and felt like the winter was never going to end. I cried a bit and then looked on the bright side and then cried a bit more.

Then I went to Vegas.

Me, not winning...

And I met big Elvis and saw Bette Midler and won a dollar and wore my fancy outfits.

Then it was back to the real world, more snow and more building and more missing each other and more tears until one day I finished a job that was challenging and good for me, we cleaned up the sawdust, packed up my shoe collection and the pug, shut the door and put out the for sale sign.

For Sale To the Highest Bidder-the last two years of our lives (and some of husband’s blood with my tears splashed in).

And down the road we went, all of our earthly possessions crammed in husband’s pickup, sweat trickling down our faces, paint on our clothes. Here I would like to say the sky opened up and the sun shone down on us and all was right with the world.

But I am nothing if I’m not real and so I will say instead, I was scared to death. Because I had major plans. And I told people about them. I had this vision of living and having a family and sharing this place with others since I was a little girl.

And here I was and all I could hear in my head, over the birds chirping and the cows mooing and the coyotes howling was my voice…”now what?”

But after a mental breakdown, which I’m sure I’ve told you about, that husband of mine found me out in the grass, and told me to do it already.

Just do it. Do what you want to do. Do what you have always wanted to do.

And I guess all I needed was permission, because in the last seven months, from day two of dropping my bags on the floor of my grandparents’ home, I picked myself a welcome home bouquet and began the journey of  telling you all about it…

…and damn it if you didn’t listen and cheer me on as I kicked off my work shoes and postponed showers and my daily grooming habits to roll in the grass, to walk down the pink road, to bury my face in the neck of a good horse, to climb to the top of every hill on this place and take a good look at it all.

To really see it.

And you laughed with me as I danced in the pouring rain and then shook your heads when I came up with the brilliant idea to fling our bodies down the side of a slippery, deadly, bloody clay butte, defying death and acquiring a nasty case of butt burn.

Good Lord.

You listened as I suffered from the nostalgia a childhood home cultivates and nodded your head as I told you about a youth spent in the dirt and mud and hills of this place, hair wild and dreams big. You helped me welcome my relatives for a family reunion and remember my grandmother, make her jelly and imagine her life here.

You shared your memories as well and I thank you for that.

You came with me as I jumped in the cool North Dakota Lake Sakakawea…

…rode my horse behind one of the best cowboys in the country and fought with the attitude of The Red Fury

…baked my skin under the big, blue sky on the Maah Dahh Hey Trail

….held up a rattlesnake….

and won a photo contest for crying out loud. (What?!)

And as I continued to add to the members of our pet family, you never judged, just oooed and ahhhed over the utter cuteness.

I love that you agree with me on the cuteness…

…and the fact that you never judge me for my obsession with the pug, but cheered him on as he heroically saved a cat from an eminent death and were genuinely worried when you thought that damn dog was lost or eaten by coyotes or mangled from a porcupine attack.

Which is more than I can say for some members of my family. So thank you very much.

We rode our bikes through the summer when we weren’t on the backs of our horses.

You walked with me down autumn paths and got in close as I took my time examining the mushrooms, and stems of flowers, and acorns buried underneath the leaves.

You helped me appreciate the small things–the small things that sometimes go unnoticed. I noticed them because I wanted to show them to you.

And you wanted to see them.

So I thank you for that too.

Together we marveled at the changing of the leaves…

…and welcomed, bravely with teeth bared, the first snow

…in September?


So I took you along, trudging through snow banks, examining the contrast and the shapes the flakes make on their own and piled up like that.

I flung our bodies down snow covered hills and to a screaming stop in a big pile of family at the bottom.

Then you helped me say hello as we welcomed my new nephew into the world with open arms and came with me to Texas, where part of my heart lives…

…and of course suffered through my home movies and maintained your patience as we kneaded the dough in our tiny kitchen.

And you tasted Cowboy’s cooking.

And, again, didn’t judge as I continued my study on his strong jaw line, masculine silhouette and dark, mysterious eyes.

Which is, again, more than I can say for some members of my family.

So, you know, thanks!

So as the new year rolls in and my plans to make you all a place to stay, a place to hike and bike and ride horses and take pictures continue I know the challenges are ahead. I know this. But it is because of you and your appreciation, your enthusiasm and support and thumbs up and kind words that I was able to see this place again–not only through my eyes, my grown up eyes, but through your eyes as well.

Because this year you know I didn’t scale mountains, or travel the seven seas, or save the world in any way.

But I saved myself.

In 2010 I saved myself by finding within me the spirit of a little girl who fell in love with this land and possessed the gumption and  nerve and energy and wild-hair-up-her-ass ideas to maybe make them work someday.

And I have you to thank for that.

So I raise my cocktail glass to a Happy New Year friends.

And to more good stuff, hard stuff, muddy and snowy and annoying and furry and lovable stuff ahead.

Oh, and my New Year’s resolution? To finally get to that damned laundry already….

See ya at the ranch!

The pug: from dismal to dashing

My momma came home from her trip to the big city of Fargo last night…

…and this is what she brought back with her:

A dog trapper hat.

For which I deduced was made for a dog to wear while trapping, not for something else to wear while trapping dogs.

Because, yup, you read that right. They have made it explicitly clear: “For Dogs Only.”

The dog trapper hat is not for a cat.

Or a baby.

And, unfortunately it is not for me, even though I’ve been looking for a winter hat that has cutouts for my ears.

Anyway, I’ll tell you something about my momma–buying outfits for dogs is not her typical behavior.

Buying turtlenecks, knit scarves and Christmas sweaters for my husband is more her thing.

But, perhaps she was feeling a bit defeated in her attempts to convert the man I married into the beatnik she always knew would be right for me, so she thought she could work her styling magic on her new BFF–the pug.

Ok momma, let’s see how this works out.

So, without further adieu, I present to you the makeover:

Chug the pug before. A small but feisty pup who just came in from a breakfast of, no doubt, squirrel guts and poop, the evidence of his meal remaining on his face. Clearly a pathetic creature in need of a new wardrobe and bit of sprucing up.


…drumroll please….

Chug the pug after:

Poof! Transformation a success. What a dashing, nobel and adequately dressed trapping hound. Now this looks more like a dignified pup who eats squirrels and poop the proper way...with a knife and fork.

Now let’s go outside and test his new accessory against the elements. Is it fashionable as well as functional?

Let’s find out…


“I. Hate. You.”

What was that?

Are you warm?

I can’t hear you…

…someone is laughing hysterically at the top of her lungs.

How rude.

It’s times like these I wonder what my life has become.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to go get to work on my social life. I think it may need more help than the pug.

Sometimes you’re the windshield, sometimes you’re the pug

You know when your husband nudges you in the morning and so sweetly says “time to get up” and  you barely open your eyes enough to squeek pathetically back “I don’t wanna” and then in a huff roll over to finish that dream about Matthew McConaughey?

And then your alarm goes off, but not loud enough for it to rouse you from your coma and most definitely not loud enough to prompt you to throw the covers off and take on that meeting you so bravely scheduled for 8:00 am.

So when you finally peel back those eyelids you panic as you notice that you have exactly three minutes to shower, feed the dogs, round up the cats, find your pants, tame your hair, make the coffee (because coffee is essential) and drive thirty miles to town.

And in the frantic search for your pants, you curse your compassionate heart as the baby kitten you so gallantly saved from an immanent death, in her desperate plea for attention, attempts to climb up your exposed leg drawing a fair amount of blood as you dash to the basement for the laundry you left in the dryer.

Then on the way back up the stairs one of those hornets, (you know what they look like) the ones that have been threatening to swoop in from the sky and sting you all season, finally makes good on his promise and smacks you a good one right on the bare, pant-less, ass.

Yup. Not even on the nice fleshy part you have been growing all summer with beer and hot dogs and fried things, but the underside, the tender side that never had a chance.

And it stings. Oh lord it stings.

So you whimper a bit, and hold your hand over the violated flesh and stop only to find the little bastard and squish it in all your rage…

But you don’t have time to cry. Or to find ointment.

You have to get your pants on dammit…

…and round up the herd so you can bring home the bacon.

Yeah, I may have had one of those mornings…once or twice….

And I would take this time to complain, but it could have been much worse.

I could have been the pug.

The pug, whose passion is too big for his short, stubby body and who curses the day he was put into a stumpy dog outfit with short legs, a curly tail and a nose that has so much to give to the world, if only it were just a little more practically designed…like for smelling.

Or breathing.

But he gets by. No, he doesn’t let his body, which is much better suited for napping than for chasing wild animals around the ranch, get in his way. Because in his mind he is 110 pounds of fierce muscle and pure instinct.

Pure, animalistic, instinct.

See when the people are away, you know, earning the money that pays for their kibble, the dogs…well…

…there is so much to do out here when no one is watching….

Like chase squirrels.

Bark at the horses.

Dig giant holes.

Watch TV.

Chew on my favorite shoe.

Eat poop…all kinds of poop.


Roll in poop.

Show the cows a thing or two about who is boss.

Run after deer with high hopes of bringing home a leg or two…

Eat poop…and…well you get the idea.

So while I was suffering through that meeting and trying to balance comfortably on one butt cheek, I imagine the pups were doing all of the above, having the time of times, a day of days, taking it all in so they could tell me about it when I got home (cause they were a little worried about me I am sure, the way I stormed out of the place)

But when I got home….the pug was gone.

But the pug is usually gone.

Cause his best friend lives at my mom and pop’s about a mile down the road and he takes that trek, against my wishes, every day. Sometimes two or three times.

Yeah, he’s in big, big trouble most of the time. So I wasn’t particularly worried as the lab and I went out for our usual walk,  just like the old days when he was the only dog. And it was kinda nice, but I didn’t tell the pug.

Cause he was gone.

Anyway, on my way home it was getting pretty dark and from across the coulees I could hear the pug yelping.

But I wasn’t worried. I figured he was being dramatic as his BFF was playing a little too rough. So I continued on my merry way, thinking about dinner, thinking about my bed, and thankfully, not thinking about my wasp sting. And when I arrived home refreshed from the beauty of the evening, a flush in my face, my lab loyally  by my side, I asked husband if he has seen the pug lately.

Have you seen this guy? 2 feet tall, 35 pounds of pure muscle, black hair, brown eyes.

“Nope.” He replied. Also, not concerned

“Well, I think he’s at mom and pop’s. He’ll be ok until morning. I am ttttiiiiirrreeeddd….and did I tell you that a wasp stung my bare butt today?”

I pulled down my pants to show off the evidence.

“Good Lord,” said husband.

“Good night,” said me.

And we snuggled down in bed proud that we were finally turning in before 11:00 pm and happy that we were going to finally get that full night sleep we deserve.

The lights went out, the pillow went over my head, my eye lids closed, Matthew McConaughey appeared again and….

“Rrriiinnnnggg, rriiinnnngggg…”

Oh shit, someone’s calling. Something’s happening. Something’s wrong. My sister’s in labor (this was pre-baby…she’s not having another one, don’t be crazy). We won a million dollars. We lost a million dollars. There’s an alien invasion….

“Uhhh, hello.” I said meekly when I finally found the phone.

“Ummm, yeah. Hi Jess? Dad here.”

Oh, phew…ok it’s dad. Not the aliens. Now for the terrible, terrible news. What happened. Who do I have to take to the hospital?

“Oh, hi dad, ” I said shakely.

“Yeah, hi. Ummm, well, yeah. You know your little black dog? The little one?”

“Yeah, I know him.”

“Yeah, well he’s over here and he found a porcupine….yeah… a porcupine. And I think he lost. I think the pug lost the battle, cause there are quills all over his face and in his butt. I feel really bad and don’t think I can hold him down by myself to get them out. I think you guys better come over here and help me.”

Now here I’ll admit I experienced a wave of relief knowing that no human was missing a limb and no babies were being born and no flying saucers were coming down to suck out our brains today…

But when the relief passed: Seriously? Seriously? Chug. Chug the pug. What the hell were you thinking?

“Ok dad, we’ll be right over. Sorry bout that. So sorry. Just thought I could get him tomorrow. Oh gosh. Sorry. We’ll be right over.”

After the moans and groans of husband cursing the day the pug was born and giving me a brief but stern lecture on how he was my dog and I should keep a better eye on him and that he just can’t go frolicking around anywhere he choses, he pulled on his clothes and his manly slippers and drove us over to the scene.

Oh, and I was expecting a scene. Because for how much passion and delusion that pug possesses, this was sure to do him in. In my mind pug was going to look like a dog shaped porcupine, quills protruding and spiking out from all angles, the pug limping and gasping and saying his last goodbyes.

But by the time we arrived, my very favorite pops had already removed the quills from the pug’s face and the only evidence of the apocalyptic encounter was left in about 85 good sized quills poked into his butt (I guess it wasn’t the day to be a butt).

And I felt for him as my mom paced back and forth as if this was one of her grandchildren who was enduring this hateful, quill removing procedure. I told mom to keep it together as husband put on his gloves, pops held the pug down and I shook my head and tried to calm the little dog down, pluck after yelp, pluck after yelp, by saying things in my sweet calming voice like:

“It’s ok, you stupid dog, this is what happens when you run away…oh poor puppy, puppy, if you would have stayed home like a good boy you could be snoring safe and sound right now…dumb dog, dumb, dumb dog….what made you think you were going to win that fight…oh poor puppy…poor dog…wish your brain was bigger, wish you would listen…sweet pug, oh pug, calm down…bet you learned your lesson there….puppy, puppy.”

20 minutes, hundreds of deprecating, but sweetly spoken words, and 85 quills later, the pug was free from the pain of his seemingly smart and brave-at-the-time adventure.

And because I thought the situation so grim and the hour so late  and my mind so groggy, I didn’t grab my camera…hence there is little evidence except for the emotional scars and the photos of the actual quills we pulled from the pug’s butt.

He survived.

So, once the pug was released from what he was sure was the end of days, I helped the boys clean up and looked around to find that the little dog had cowered and slunk and sulked his way right up to my mom’s lap. On the couch. In the house where dogs are not allowed. And both had their dramatic, sad faces plastered on.

And as I grabbed him up to take his wounded pride and wounded butt home, I was just a little disappointed that he stole my thunder. Cause that blew my wasp stung ass right out of the water there.

Yeah, sometimes that short little snorty nose leads you up the wrong tree.

And sometimes, just like momma says, there will be days like this.

I guess that’s why God invented band aids.

And moms and dads.

Hope your day was free of stings and pokes.

Heaven help the cat farmer…

Ok, so I realize I am running a major risk of turning into one of those ladies….

But last night, after I had so clearly declared my feelings about the state of the cats in my life and posted it with authority and a couple necessary exclamation points for the world to see, feeling pretty free and right with the world and where I stand as far as cats are concerned, I headed out to the barn to practice taking pictures with my shiny, new fancy nancy, big girl camera.

I was glowing. This machine could quite possibly be the single most beautiful thing I have ever owned (besides the pug of course, but I don’t own him….no, that’s a free spirit there…free as the wind…and I’m pretty sure he owns me).  Ok, the camera…yes, it’s more complicated than any woman I know. With more bells and whistles and mysterious features, not only is this contraption equipped to capture some undoubtedly precious moments, I am pretty sure, if I find the right button, it could very well send me back in time, or at least to the moon or something.  Yes, my life is sure to be transformed with this little piece of magic…or, you know, allow me to capture an image in lowlight for starters.

Anyway, I was out gallivanting around, looking at the world from the other side of a lens that really, I’m not sure I’m worthy of owning. And as I was taking pictures of the inside of the barn, reveling in how beautiful old things can become when you spend enough money to be able to see them in high resolution (as opposed to the resolution of real life, which, as it turns out, sometimes doesn’t seem to compare…especially if you don’t wear the glasses you were prescribed), I heard it…

The lab, who had been hot on the trail of a mole or something heard it….

The pug,? Yes, of course the pug heard it…


Faint at first, I ignored it, certain it had to be the crazy cat from the house following me again. Cats take a while to learn a lesson.

I continued my quest for a Nobel Peace Prize winning photograph…


Shrill, high pitched, panicky…

Ok, that’s not the noise of a creature I feed from a bowl.

But look at that magnificent spider web and those old horseshoes…



This is a plea for help. This is the sound of a creature that needs rescuing—this means business. And no doubt another house guest.

So, as you can imagine, even though I didn’t get around to making the pug the cape I promised him, the super-dog was all over this investigation.

Just call him the Cat Whisperer. Actually, I think his first book is scheduled for release this winter.


It just couldn’t be ignored so off we went, the pug gallantly leaped through the window of the barn and landed nose to the ground toward the pathetic squeaks. And the lab, not to miss a good hunt, squeezed all 105 pounds of him right behind.

Well of course I couldn’t be left out, and going around to the door and out to the source of the “mews” would waste precious time, so I squeezed through too….you know, all of me…somehow…

Anyway, after the nose of the lab and the nose of the pug took them screaming through the barnyard, weaving in and out of the hay bales, very dramatically collecting burs and kicking up birds, I took two steps and looked down at my feet to discover what I had expected:

A tiny, fluffy, noisy, pathetic, desperately adorable, fit in the palm of my hand, kitten searching high and low for her momma, you know, in an old tire.

Oh, I’m no momma, and I couldn’t find one around anywhere, especially not in the tire, so, well you know what happened next.

I mean, how could you leave something like this out alone in the world?

Not possible.

So I swept her up and pulled her close to my face and said a few things like:

“Oh, hewo widdle kiddy kiddy…awen’t you the cutest widdle kiddy kiddy…whews yo mamma? Huh? Whews yo mamma?”

Yup, I was her.

I was that.




Crazy cat lady.

Fast or slow, punctuation or no punctuation, any way you dice it,  it always spells:

C R A Z Y.

And that kitty kitty, I’m sure was glad to be saved.

It took me .5 seconds after that to get back to the house, which was not nearly enough time to concoct a story to tell husband about why oh why I was bringing yet another furry thing into our tiny, tiny home.

But as soon as I opened the door and sweetly presented our little gift from the cat gods (or from someone who is playing a dirty, nasty trick on me for ever having said an ill word toward the species) husband grabbed her up.

And when I began the inevitable photo shoot of the new addition?

getting acquainted...not going so well at this point...

He told me to stop.


Yes stop.

“You are scaring her.”

And then, after my failed attempt at giving her milk, he fed her spaghetti.

And put her in his pocket.

And told me to stay back.

“She’s mine. “

Good Lord, what have we become?

The crazy cat lady has created a monster.

Or a cat farmer.

I wonder if this one will get a name?

Heaven help the softhearted.

I give up.


September…with frosting?

So, it was cold today. And I should have known after putting on my third long sleeved shirt (you know, over the other two) that something was up.

I don’t mind the chill that comes with the fall season here and find it a little thrilling that in this part of the country it can go from 85 degrees to 45 in 24 hours. It keeps us on our toes.

So I was looking forward to taking in the fall colors, enjoying the brisk (although brief) sweater season that comes before puffy coat, mitten and face mask season. But nature had a little surprise this afternoon–a little frosting before the leaves have even fully changed.

Outside my kitchen window...brrr...

Now for those of you who don’t live in North Dakota, just a disclaimer: this is not typical. But it is not unexpected.

So we  took the air conditioning out of the window and I went outside to take some pictures of the things that, like me, may not quite be ready for the fluffy white stuff.

And now I’m making a casserole (you know, the kind with all of the “cream ofs” added in) in celebration of the first snow flurry and the fact that it has already melted.

The pug’s holding on to hope for 80 degrees tomorrow…

May all his dreams come true.

Happy fall!