June and all that Jazz…


What comes after May but shows up before July? June-that’s what! June alreadyWhere did the time go? 

June is the sixth month of the year and is thirty days long. 

Highly anticipated by kids and teachers as the beginning of summer break and the end of school year, June is the gateway to all things sunny. Swimming lessons, bike rides, lazy library days, drive-in movie nights, and Lemonade stands. 

June has its share of holidays, too. In June in the USA, we celebrate Flag Day🇺🇸, Father’s Day, and summer solstice (when the sun is at its northernmost point) or in layman’s termsthe longest day of sunlight in the year. And who doesn’t love more daylight?

June may have the most daylight hours of the year in the Northern Hemisphere, but also the shortest amount of daylight hours in the Southern. Our summer begins their winter season. 

More fun facts…

To quote famous lyrics…June is bustin’ out all over–but although there is a lot of blooming going on, June’s birth flower is actually the rose or honeysuckle. 

Birthstones for June include pearl, moonstone, and alexandrite; all which symbolize health and longevity. 

Babies born in June fall under the astrological signs of Gemini or Cancer. 

How did June get to be June? Well, June is believed to be named for the Roman goddess Juno…Jupiter’s wife, Queen of the gods, and also the Goddess of Marriage-(quite a resume there!) Therefore, a marriage in June is considered to be good luck! No wonder so many brides choose June. 

June means something different to everybody, but for me June is all about road-trippin’, s’mores season, book readin’, and family visitin’ time. And just to jazz it up so summer boredom doesn’t set in, we added a new puppy family member to the mix.  A Goldendoodle.  And because it’s that time of year, and because she is a little ray– we named her Sunny. 

How  will  you  Jazz  up  your  June?


S U N N Y

Longfellow’s prose is a bit more polished than mine…

Mine is the Month of Roses;

Yes,

 And mine The Month of Marriages!

All pleasant sights and scents,

 the fragrance of the blossoming vine,

The foliage of the valleys and the heights.

Mine are the longest days, the loveliest nights;

The mower’s scythe makes music to my ear;

I am the mother of all dear delights;

I am the fairest daughter of the year.

– Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

H a p p y  J u n e ! 🍉

Puppy Love

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Way back in the day teen heartthrob Donny Osmond crooned out his hit song Puppy Love. (Way before my timeI was but a youth…Ok, you caught me…it was my first 45 purchased with my birthday $ for my tenth birthday!)  Young girls went crazy for him and for that song in particular. Nowadays if you go see him in concert not much has changed, except for the fact that those “teens” are now middle-aged gals who transform back into their dreamy-eyed teeny-bopper selves when Donny teases the opening bars to that particular song.Image result for puppy love 45

Ahhh puppy love… that euphoric feeling of a first crush. A powerful sort of love reserved only for the very young.

Or  is  it?

(use your best Keith voice…)

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There is a type of joy that is akin to that happy “newly in love” feeling of youth. Don’t believe me? Just snuggle a puppy and you can’t help but feel it.

And they call it…

Puppy Love 

(I know quoting Donny’s lyrics was lame.)

Luckily this type of puppy love comes without the added baggage of teen angst and a broken heart. 💔

Previously, I’ve shared about the many pets I had  growing up and the tremendous blessing they were in my life. (Gimme Shelter Oct.2015)  To be accurate, I said some of my best friends were animals-and some of my family members were too! (Still the truth any way you slice it).Image result for faithful snoopy

 

Poster: Oriental Trading Co.

Horses, cows, cats, dogs-it’s all the same. Good day? Your pet is always there. Bad day? Your pet is always there. Mediocre day? You get my drift…. With happy spirits and unconditional love, pet family members have provided countless hours of companionship, comfort, and the best part-humor.

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Sylvester & Tweety

That’s not to say I haven’t done my share of complaining about my diva cat Jellybean, or rambunctious dogs that bark out trouble at every mailman, school kid, and squirrel. I’ve done that. Like Dr. Dolittle I talk to the animals-albeit sometimes in a caterwauling or barking tone of voice. 😼🐶  But pets being who they are, never respond in kind. (There’s that example of pets and unconditional love again.)

IMG_5830Bailey & Zoey BFF’S

Of course animals are a huge responsibility and it’s not all fun and games. Animals can be hard work–but as we all know, anything worthwhile is. And they give so much back, it really can’t be compared to what we do for them.

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BAILEY

This year has tested my puppy-love to the breaking point. In February our senior dog Bailey suffered a stroke and had to be put down on her 13th Birthday. She had exhibited all the old-age infirmities so we knew her time was limited, but it was so hard to let her go. As we returned home it felt different. Empty. Quiet. So many fun memories with our family revolved around her presence.

Her spirit was sorely missed in our home, and we grieved our loss. Luckily, Zoey our Maltipoo cheered us with her exuberant nature-even as she grieved her own loss. Spending time with Zoey helped us in our reminiscences about the two of them together. The doggy road trips, meandering walks and swims along the Boise river,  their silly canine hi-jinks. We were able to laugh and be grateful for the time we shared and the happy memories.zoey1

ZOEY

Mindful she was adjusting to a new normal, we took Zoey to the drive-in, on car rides, played hours of fetch, and tried to ease her loss even as she comforted ours.
Suddenly, last week we noticed a stumble here-a wobble there. Goofball. What was she up to? A day or so later a fall and some twitching. My daughter promptly took Zoey into the vet, where she on-cue exhibited no symptoms at all so the doc prescribed steroid therapy. Slight improvement and then more aggressive issues and rapid decline. Meds were changed, daily vet contact and still no answers. What was happening to Zoey?
Imagine our shock when one week after her first symptom we had to release her from this life by euthanasia. A mere 3 months after we had lost Bailey. Bailey to old age and a stroke, and Zoey-full of life and playful a week ago-seemingly to a brain tumor.
It’s nothing we could have imagined, and yet even in death we felt as if Bailey had gone on ahead to prepare us for the quick and unexpected demise of Zoey.

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Picture credits: Rescue Angels, Inc.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, All Dogs Go To Heaven…(ok, so I stole it from a movie-still true!) Today we feel the peace of sister dogs reunited, playing together in heavenly fields, chasing squirrels and freed from pain.

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Together Forever…

As raw as we feel, and even though we never want to go through this again (in theory), We know we happily will. Because having them in our lives was so worth it. One day soon this heartache will heal and we will adopt a new pet family member. In fact, we’re thinking maybe two. Sisters. Just like Bailey, Zoey, and all those beloved family pets that have gone on before. Why put yourself through it you ask?

 They call it Puppy Love. 🐾Image result for snoopy

A dog is the only thing on earth that loves you more than he loves himself.

~Josh Billings

Basket Case

It’s no secret that I have a pretty liberal sweet tooth. Of course with age, my palate has become more refined-(if not my waistline). Sadly, candy and I are no strangers. I can’t help it, it’s in my DNA. In fact, I come from a long line of “sweet” people. Let’s just say my family should have invested in sugar cane and leave it at that. Get-togethers and occasions were always times for great food and yummy desserts. And holidays? Don’t even get me started! I’m the girl who’s always going to start her diet right after the holiday-starting with Halloween candy, then cruising through Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s…which then segues right into Valentines and Easter. What’s a poor girl to do?

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Well I’ll tell you what this one did, and it ain’t pretty. Bear in mind I was four at the time, and no one was more sugar and spice and everything nice than me-well the sugar and spice part’s true, anyway.

It was Easter, a particularly good candy holiday, as far as holidays go. I was anticipating a chocolate bunny with yummy ears, (hopefully solid and not hollow), and all my other seasonal favorites waiting to greet me Easter morning in my Easter basket.

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My sister and I shared a room and had wooden bunk beds. She’s 2 1/2 years older so she got the top. I got the bottom bunk and the ladder hanging down in my face. I generally liked to torment her by pushing up with my feet on the slats and chatting away all night. (Until the hall light would suddenly snap on and I would get my comeuppance. I didn’t have the kind of parents who gently reminded me it was nighty-night time. My kind of parents act rashly and ask questions later.)

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Easter, to me was like Christmas. Who knew but what the Easter bunny might be watching me? So I’d better be on my best behavior!

My new pink gingham check Easter dress was all laid out, with shiny white patent leather shoes, lacy anklets, and my favorite part-white patent little snap purse. Nested inside was a new hanky and spiffy white gloves, along with Chapstick and change for the offering plate at church. Jammies on, lights out! I envied my sister, in her pink sponge rollers-(damn my natural curls!) In my excitement, I would have gladly jabbered away all night, but my sister reminded me what was at stake, so off to dreamland I went.

 

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My sister & me...
My sister & me…

 

When I awoke, the room was still pitch-black, and the house was quiet. Had he come? I hadn’t heard any hopping, or singing, or any of the other stuff I imagined the EB did. As my eyes adjusted to the dark, I could just make out the shapes of our two Easter baskets. He had been there! And since it was dark-he’d been there not too long ago, either! I got out of bed, careful not to thwack the ladder, which hung by metal hooks off my sister’s bunk.

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All that candy! But this year no bunnies. Instead there was an enormous chocolate egg in each basket, accompanied by the dud candy used as fillers-(but truthfully, I wouldn’t turn my nose up at those either!) The eggs had beautiful cursive writing on them. Loops and swirls-so grown up! I looked at the names, but I was only four and I couldn’t read cursive. After doing an eeny, meeny, miny, mo of sorts, I grabbed a basket and snuck back to bed. Would the chocolate egg live up to it’s hype? I found out swiftly that it did! I then plowed through the back up candy-including the dreaded mellowcremes-yuck! The only candy I wouldn’t touch with a 10-foot pole was the black jellybeans. Only my dad or my grandpa ate the black ones-the harsher the better. With a spicy gumdrop chaser-lordy! Men were tough.

As I raked my hands through the Easter grass, I realized all that was left were those sorry black jellybeans. Oh no! Could I have eaten all that candy? My four-year-old brain, all sugared up, quickly came up with a plan. I sneaked out of my bunk once more, grabbed the other basket and back to my lair. The plan was to divide up the remaining candy evenly with my basket. So what if my big egg was gone? I could surely explain that away. Problem solved!

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Only that’s not what happened. I saw that pretty, big chocolate egg with that pretty cursive handwriting, and I thought to myself, maybe THAT egg says my name…maybe I ate the wrong one. What started out as a nibble on the underside, quickly turned into a gobble, and the egg was history. Crap! What had I done? No way out of this one, I was gonna get it for sure.

I knew I was going to be in a world of hurt, (literally and figuratively), and so the best way out of it would be to deflect the attention onto somebody else, but who? Snore…an answer from above! My sister! Only I knew I couldn’t blame her outright and get away with it. She was the oldest and the responsible one, I was the naughty one always getting caught. Then I got an idea. An awful, idea. I got a wonderful, awful idea! (Coincidentally, this was the first year The Grinch played on TV, 1966.)

So I did the only thing I could do. Go big or go home. I ate all of the candy except the black jellybeans. I then dumped mine into hers-and set the basket back in place, as if nothing had ever happened, and scooted back to bed. My thinking was this- if Santa could leave coal, then the Easter Bunny could leave black jelly beans to those who deserved it-and as her little sister, I believed she had earned each and every one of those black jelly beans. Now to convince the folks…

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The next morning, there was indeed a come-to-Jesus meeting, but I didn’t get to wear my pink dress, my shiny patent shoes, or my button-up gloves.

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I sat on the hassock like a hot seat, while the inquisition went on. I didn’t understand it, my plan was foolproof. How could my parents possibly be questioning the Easter Bunny’s judgement? It wasn’t my fault if he left me the good stuff and her black jelly beans-ask him!

They didn’t understand my faulty logic. But how could I have known? I quickly learned that day-terrible truths. And not only about the Easter Bunny, but Santa and the Tooth-fairy, too! (and I’d never even lost a tooth).

It was an unforgettable Easter all right. And not just because it’s the only time I’ve ever cried over candy!

I was escorted to my room, tears streaming, to face my sisters wrath. My sister sat with her sorry basket of black jelly beans up on the top bunk. Older but wiser, I was just inconsolable. She leaned over the side, hanging upside down, and began quietly talking to me in my bunk-just like always. I kept waiting for her to pile on more misery, sure it was some kind of trap, but she didn’t. In fact, she was kind. She never even mentioned her loss, or my bad behavior. I think she wisely knew that I lost even more that day than she did. But I gained something too, (and I’m not talking pounds). Perspective. The way she treated me that day changed how I felt about her. She went from being my bossy, mean, controlling sister, to being my friend. My champion, even. She had her chance to rub it in every Easter, and she never did. Like the Grinch, my heart was changed that day. I tried to steal my sisters Easter. She taught me that Easter isn’t in an Easter basket, it’s in a selfless act of compassion and love.

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Easter is the only time of year when it’s safe to put all of your eggs in one basket.

~anonymous

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My kiddos, circa 1993.

* little girl w/chocolate egg picture courtesy of: https://seattle98.wordpress.com/2012/02/03/retro-easter-eggs/

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