Boxer Tales Part 1 – Buster


IMG_4146 (002) Buster Mom's portrait

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.

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“Dad Romance” – A Valentine from Vietnam

Dad card 1I 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

The Art of Trees – Santa Fe

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.

Trees in Santa Fee Hotel 2

Triptych in the lobby of the hotel by Kim Barrick.

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The Art of Trees – Arizona

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.

sedona tree

A lone tree near The Chapel of the Holy Cross in Sedona.

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Finding Purpose After Retirement

iris fieldIMG_0987Early 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

Letters from My Father to My Mother

Dad and Adm LyleSettling 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

Retirement – Identity Struggles and Feelings

flying high solo (2)

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

The Art of Trees – Part 2

As I mentioned before, I love trees.  I didn’t really know this about my self until after I retired, had more time to look around, and noticed the theme of art and photography in my home.  I’m not sure how or why it started, but…trees. Here are some of my favorite artistic images of trees.

Joichi Hoshi (1911-1979) was a Japanese wood block print artist.  I learned about him from my Mom.  She gave me a couple of his pieces as gifts and had a few in her own collection.  This particular print was produced and purchased in 1973 when we were living in Japan.Hoshi green








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Navy Fathers and Their Daughters

IMDB NAS Emerald Point.PNG

IMDb NAS Emerald Point Cast Photo

The other day I found the first episode of NAS Emerald Point on YouTube. Having lived on two Navy bases growing up, I was excited by this show (CBS 1983-84 season). I’d never seen the life of military dependents portrayed on TV. Often, one hears about the sacrifices military families make to support the careers of their fathers and husbands.  The show touched on this some to some extent, but also featured a Navy Daughter following in her Father’s footsteps by graduating from the US Naval Academy and being accepted into flight school. It made me think about the opportunities that were presented to me as a Navy Daughter. I didn’t go into the service, but my Father’s service gave me the chance to live, work and study in many places. It also exposed me to Supply Chain, which I spent the first 20 years of my career performing. The TV show featured another real life Navy Daughter, my class-mate actress Stephanie Dunnam. We first met when we were 13 and I felt a geeky pride to see her in this show. She didn’t follow in her Father’s footsteps, but one of her Father’s tours of duty gave her life changing experiences. Continue reading