Palette knife portrait by Judy Mackey
Not all these tales are perfectly happy. For starters, Tyson had no tail. A docking job gone poorly. Good thing they left his soft floppy ears alone. Tyson was a stray, turned in to the boxer rescue still dragging a heavy chain around his neck. He’d probably been used as a guard dog. He had busted loose, looking for freedom and a better life at the age of 4-ish.
Meanwhile, my life was headed towards another rough patch. After enjoying my nice promotion for a few years, our company was going through a reorganization affecting me and my staff. What better way to take your mind off problems than to create new ones? Since I had no control over this situation, I decided to go save another boxer. It was a disastrous decision, but with a few heart warming and humorous moments. Continue reading
Photo portrain of Shaylea by Mark Winslet
Within two years of divorce, I saved enough money to move myself and the dogs out of our little bungalow into a new home with a fenced in back yard and pool. I got a promotion and a fresh start. I graduated from eating beanie weenies with boxed wine, or no wine, to fresh fish and a decent bottle every now and then. I still washed and reused baggies, though. Being broke will make an environmentalist out of you. Life was good. Continue reading
Water Color of Buster, by Jacqueline Stubbs
(Having recently lost my 4th boxer, Tia, from cancer, I thought a blog would be good therapy and a way to honor her. Even better, I’ve decided to start from the beginning. This is Part 1 of “Boxer Tales”, in memory of my beloved Boxer dogs and to showcase the work of artists who captured their spirit.)
Thanksgiving weekend, 1999. My soon to be ex-husband (“X”) was pulling into the driveway in his consistently late fashion. Peeking outside, I noticed he had one of his “running buddies” with him. A dark, handsome stranger sat in the passenger seat of the sedan. I stepped away from the window, bracing myself for his latest excuse, when the front door opened and in bounded an excited 9 month old male boxer. No running buddies in sight. The dog had been riding in the front seat like he belonged there.
I recently read more letters from my Dad to my Mom during the Vietnam War. They encompassed significant dates such as Valentines Day, their anniversary, and the birthday of my younger brother. Dad was notoriously frugal, yet generous. This Valentine’s Day card is a perfect example. In the enclosed letter he describes, with pride, how he procured a “good as new” wool pea coat for Mom from the ship’s store. The sailor to which it had been assigned, never picked it up and it was on sale for $3.00! However, it will cost $15 to have it lined, so figured my Mom could “do that herself.” Frugal. He also described how he was going to buy her a beaded “shell” for $25 (a lot of money then), and “I assume you are still a 38 and I dream about them.” Generous and in love. Continue reading
My holiday road trip on and off Route 66 took me to Santa Fe for a couple of days. It was a week into the new year and crowds were thin. We were able to wander the town square and other areas taking pictures without waiting on people and cars to exit the frame. We stayed just off the square at La Posada de Santa Fe, also known as the art hotel of Santa Fe. Filled with original works of art for sale, it was perfect. Also perfect, was the Georgia O’Keeffe museum. Here are some “tree-full” memories from the Santa Fe art scene and landscape.
Triptych in the lobby of the hotel by Kim Barrick.
I recently spent a week driving from Southern California to Houston Texas with a photographer friend. We drove from Indio, CA, through Sedona, Monument Valley, the Grand Canyon South Rim, Santa Fe, Amarillo, and finally home over the period of a week. Along the way we travelled through the Navajo Indian Reservation and intermittently on Route 66. Our primary mission was to photograph rock formations and Route 66 memorabilia, but then there were also trees. Not as many trees as we were used to (living in The Woodlands, TX) but still beautiful trees. These are my favorites from Arizona.
A lone tree near The Chapel of the Holy Cross in Sedona.
One of my readers challenged me to do a travel blog. When I travel, I prefer to enjoy the experiences and not be considering how I will write about it. Integrating a travel blog with my love of art and trees was the solution. Continue reading
Early retirement has been like walking this zig-zagged iris garden boardwalk. Lots of fun travel over here. Golf and art lessons over there. Short term volunteer assignments along the way. Thoughts of marketing some of Mom’s artwork (she loved painting irises). Blogging a lot, then not. Walking around enjoying the beauty, like these travelers, but not jumping off into any particular field. I’ve written about my retirement identity crisis recently. However, I’m turning the corner into some things that are motivating me like I haven’t been for a while. Continue reading
Settling in with the loss of both parents and recently retired, I have found time to do things I’ve been putting off. Today, I started digging through a box of letters that my Mother had saved. I remember the first time I saw it. It was the spring my Father died and Mom moved into assisted living. I knew it was precious or they would not have included it in their household shipment to Texas. It was in the hall closet, along with photo albums, video and audio recordings. Into a box they all went, and there they stayed, in my closet, for 4 years. Continue reading
The above was from an article written in 2013 when the thought of early retirement didn’t exist. I was fully immersed in a career that I loved, working for a company and with people I respected, and really doing well….until my Father died shortly after it was published and I became the primary caregiver for my Mother. I spent the next four years immersed in elder care, my job and nothing else….until I started considering early retirement. There is lots of advice on the financial aspects of retirement and how to spend your time, but not that much about one’s shifting identity and the emotions involved. I think of retirement planning in terms of three F’s: Finances, Fun and Feelings (MOSTLY feelings.) Continue reading