Random Acts of Chat – He was kidding, Roxy

Funny photo man with dog and comic bubble

With several California trips on the horizon and a vacation in Vancouver and Whistler planned for the end of July, I had to scramble to book a kennel for our Bichon, Roxy. I’m not sure what the price per day is in your area, but it has gotten expensive here in Boulder. My husband, Danny, didn’t grow up with pets, but I know deep down he loves Roxy. Today, his love must have been buried just a little deeper.

After catching up with other blogs, I chatted with Danny about our vacation plans:

ME: I can’t believe how expensive the kennel has gotten.

Danny looks up from reading the newspaper and we lock eyes.

ME: It’s going to cost $33.00 a day to board Roxy and that’s with a 25% discount for booking her for more than five days and another percentage off for being a frequent boarder.

DANNY: That seems like a lot of money.

ME: I gotta believe it’s like fifty bucks a day to board a dog. That’s super expensive.

Danny stared at me while pondering. I imagined him calculating the cost of boarding Roxy over the next year.

DANNY: We should leave her at the kennel and get a new dog when we come back from vacation.

I laughed until my cheeks hurt.

Don’t worry, Roxy. He was kidding. 

Will you be boarding a pet this summer? Is it expensive where you live? Are you going on any vacations? Want to board Roxy for us?

It’s Hard to Say Goodbye

Dad collage

I don’t think we are ever prepared for the death of a loved one. It is a loss so profound, it cuts a hole in our center, our core and our heart. It leaves us unbalanced, wounded and bleeding. We mourn the ones who die before us and struggle to imagine life without them.

dad and mom

Our family has been hit with three deaths in seven months. I knew Danny’s family before I discovered the Lindau boys had an older brother. Our parents were very close friends and our families often celebrated holidays together. Danny’s brother, his mother, (one month ago), and now my father have left us.

dad mom patty and me

My Father the Madman.

You can’t prepare for it. No matter if it is a slow goodbye or a shock, the finality is something hard to comprehend until it happens. I have imagined it and nothing comes close. I thought I wouldn’t be able to function, but instead I’ve been in hyperdrive. I think I’m still in shock.

mom and dad1

The Secret to Living a Long and Happy Life

But I have found a few things that help. Gathering with family to share memories is the first step in healing. The night my dad died, I made an autumn supper for my husband and children who live in Denver. We laughed and cried over the loss of my dad. He was a great man and could be very funny.

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The Nightmare Before Christmas

dad and the gang

Trippin’ Through Dublin – A Photo Essay

The other way to deal with extreme stress is to get busy. Do housework, laundry, cook, clean, any mindless task or normal activity. I washed windows when I got the news. I cried while finishing. After cleaning up, I cooked our family dinner. Exhausted and reeling, it was worth the effort.

dad in the studio 1

A Passionate Lifetime.

Writing has become a part of my daily routine, so the next morning, I wrote his obituary. I had thought I would regret not preparing it ahead of time, but discovered a healing process in Continue reading

A Twenty-Eight Year Adventure – Photo Essay

mordor

Every young couple starts out with the basics: a map to where you think you want to go and a compass that always leads you back home.

Beaver pond aspens

We started off like many naive newlyweds, sinking our toes into the grasses of verdant valleys not realizing what lay ahead. Our journey has led us to wicked wintry peaks where we slipped from our foothold, but we bundled up and braved the biting wind together.

Sometimes we struck out on a new path and bushwhacked our way through avalanche areas filled with fallen trees as the sun set over the next horizon. When one of us tumbled from the mountain, the other was there to lend a hand. The worst days were spent heading in the wrong direction while scrambling over fields of boulders and taking leaps over deadly crevasses and yet we never traveled alone.

And that was just last weekend. Continue reading

Deconstructing the Avant Garde: Ed McCartan’s Art Retrospective

When my dad moved into the nursing home, I didn’t think an art show would be possible. I shelved the idea of a gallery opening. His amazing work has only been shown publicly at outdoor art shows once or twice, more than fifty years ago. He has always been a humble man and he remains unrecognized for a large body of artwork created during his lifetime.

Ed McCartan Self-portrait

Ed McCartan’s self-portrait.

Then Hospice took over. They came up with an idea to do a retrospective at the nursing home where he is living, the Evansville Manor, a few blocks from my parents’ house in Evansville, Wisconsin. Danny and I had to go.

Drawing had helped my dad with the transition into the nursing home. He would sit in the window of his small room and sketch from photographs or from a book of animals. A few weeks before the show, he stopped drawing.

Ed McCartan Art show 2

Dad and Mom.

My mom had framed many pieces over the course of the last year. He had forty paintings to show. We set them up in order from earliest to latest work. Continue reading

Introvert or Extrovert? Maybe You’re an Ambivert.

We all know people who are so shy, we have to pry words out of their mouths. The whole room goes quiet when they begin to speak. We call them introverts. Other people can talk to anyone in any social situation. We label them extroverts.

introverts and extroverts

Introverts and extroverts are polar opposites, so how can we be one or the other? My eyes roll with every debate. Introvert or extrovert? GAH! There’s a gap the size of the Grand Canyon between them. It’s the perfect place for another personality type called, ambiverts. I would guess it comes from the Latin word ambi – both and verts – green. Both green? No. That’s probably not right.

In order to understand this new personality type, we need to review what we know about introverts and extroverts.

Introverts are reflective and happier alone with their thoughts. They energize through being by themselves. They stress out in social situations. If they do go out, they are exhausted afterward.

Continue reading

A Passionate Lifetime

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Imagine living without the internet, television, or electricity. It’s hard, right? My dad, Ed McCartan, grew up in such a place; A farm located miles away from the closest town, Lake Five, Wisconsin. He went to school in the classic one-room school house and graduated, the only one in his class. Although he is quick with a smile and a joke, it’s possible his shy manner came from this isolation. Somewhere along the line, he discovered art. He bought a motorcycle and commuted to Milwaukee to attend the Layton School of Art. Continue reading

Boccone Dolce, Sewing Machines, Tallboys and Mom

This Mother’s Day, I look back at simpler times and honor my own mother who set the bar pretty high. She is still there to listen to me. When I visit, she pulls out her well-worn cookbooks and concocts gourmet meals. The last time, she made boccone dolce, a layered dessert of meringue and chocolatey goodness. I know!

mom patty and i2I’m not sure I could have survived the drama of elementary or high school without my mom. After skipping home from school, she would greet me with a smile, something warm from the oven, and the question, “How was school today?” I would plop down at the half-moon counter my dad installed in our small kitchen and snatch a warm cookie, its chocolate chips still melted, and would proceed to recount the trivial events of my young life. I always had a lot to say, as you can imagine, but she would listen and hand out Continue reading