Baby Rose

The Birds and The Bees

Our sweet German Shorthaired Pointer, Anna, was six years old when we drove her to Wisconsin to be bred to FC AFC Dr. N’s C. J. MH, VC  a  recognized champion in the National Bird Dog Hall of Fame.  350 miles, some Mickey D’s, and two pit stops later we arrived at his kennel ready to take a picture of the dogs when they met and mingled.  I figured there would be at least a half of an hour of photo ops as they became acquainted;  sniffing, greeting, and circling.  I wanted to pose them side by side for a picture we could frame.  Afterwards, I imagined both lovebirds would go into a private kennel while we owners drank champagne and passed cigars around.  

Dr. N’s C.J.

As soon as Anna hopped down from our truck, CJ was on top of her.  He is a boy who has been to this rodeo before.  John and I were equally shocked at the speed of connectivity.  Even Verizon Wireless would be impressed.  We locked eyes in panic and John rushed to Anna’s side.  The camera dangling around my neck was my only move…I was stopped cold, frozen in my tracks.    The kennel owner explained how important it is that we witness the blessed TWENTY MINUTE event to prove he used the correct stud.  (Jeez-Louise, I would have believed him anyway.)

After 25 years of marriage, we were honestly embarrassed in front of each other.  I thought I had seen it all, but had to laugh (inside) watching John hold Anna and whispering to her, “It’s okay, Anna, it’s okay,” as CJ’s tongue lolled out the side of his mouth.  Throughout the service, John locked eyes with me and I with he, and we did our best to feign dignity.   The stud’s owner shot me the skunk eye when she noticed the camera.   We were busted.   I didn’t bring it for the express purpose of doggie porn, I assured her.   We were totally green –and Anna was too by then.

May 1, 2003  -  Whelping Day

A few short months later, we had a litter of eight speckled pups and all the joy our hearts could hold.  Their little squeaks were music and they would cuddle in our arms for hours.  The first five weeks were a piece of cake; Anna did all the work.  After that, they figured out how to get out of their enclosure and left us gifts of every size.  One pup would be a keeper; a gun dog to take over momma’s job.  We had to pick. 

Ours had to have the best nose, lots of intensity, and we wanted a white-ish one, a real “looker”.     There was one pup in particular who was especially connected to Anna.  She kept by momma’s side and did a lot of sitting.  She was heavily ticked and the darkest dog–and some in my family thought she was the ugliest one.  She was fat, too.  A big, round, fat, full puppy.  As the rest of the puppies were sold to hunting homes, somehow Creekwood’s Ramblin’ Rose stayed behind.  My fat baby Rose–the dog only a mother could love.

Remi at 8 weeks

Nap Time in May

Rosie proved to be a solid hunter.  She had a great nose and made trips to Iowa and the Dakotas where she put up hundreds of pheasants.  John did a great job getting her ready.  Everyday we worked on obedience and field training.   Her deep chest was full of air and her stamina rivaled that of any professional hunting dog.  Everyone wanted to hunt behind John’s dog.

Anna and Rose, doing what they were born to do.

Fate Steps In

Anna, our sweet momma, grew jealous of Rose.  She began to take off with Rose and run away, trying to lose Rose.  They would be gone for two hours and Anna would come back first, feeling triumphant.  Then Rose would (thankfully) show up and we could all breathe again.  Our solution was to never to let both dogs out at the same time.  For months it worked until one day the housekeepers were here and they unknowingly let both dogs out at the same time.  Sure enough, Anna took off and Baby Rose followed.  It was a 20 degree November day filled with flurries and dropping temps as the night drew down.   No Anna.  No Rose.  Finally, John’s cell phone rang.  A frantic lady said, “Hurry, come out to Baldwin Road.  Your dog is hurt.  I hit it with my car.”

We shot through the front door, dropped the truck in drive, and fish tailed down the road spitting snow, ice and salt.  In a sad way both of us secretly hoped it wasn’t Rose.  When we got to the scene, Anna was standing and Rose was in the back seat of a car, wrapped in a red blanket.  Her upper thigh bone was snapped and exposed.  The opposite hip was out of the socket, rendering her a paraplegic.  The lady said that after she hit the dog, it spun around and was dragging itself across the icy road by it’s front legs and crying out.  She couldn’t leave it.  Using the information on Rose’s collar, she called us.  THANK GOD for responsible drivers!

At Michigan State’s Veterinary Hospital in East Lansing, we learned that her whole caboose was shot.  She was four years old, in her prime, and fully trained to do what she was born to do–hunt upland game.  We opted to have her leg surgically repaired with rods, plates, and pins and the hip was placed in a sling that we lifted each time she had to evacuate.  You learn those nifty words in the hospital.  After six months, the rod became infected and had to be removed.   The vets at State assured us that the bone had healed and it was strong.  The day we brought her home from the hospital, I heard a loud snap.  She screamed and hobbled on three legs.  John and I knew we were back to square one.  At this point, having gone through all the pain that I know we three could tolerate, we opted to put her down.

Fate Steps In

Training Day

Buckets of tears later, while staring out a window, a random thought popped into my head.  I wondered if Dr. N’s CJ was still at stud.  If we couldn’t have Baby Rose anymore, maybe we could get a half sister? (Anna was ten years old and wasn’t viable.)  At 13 years of age, trusty CJ had sired an impressive litter seven weeks earlier.  Off we went, hearts in hand, back to Wisconsin, where we played with a pack of puppies and picked a perfect pup– Remington’s Iron Maiden, Rosie’s sister!


3 Months Old: Our first camping trip!

Anna accepted Remi with a scowl, but soon enough everybody loved everybody.  Now fully trained to pheasant hunt, Remi has just turned four years old.  I tell her every day that her Daddy was a champion and her sister was loved.  She just looks back at me with impatient eyes that say, “So are you going to hand over that treat, or what?”




Eyes on the Prize

Remi honors Cash



Remi in Winter White

Remington’s Iron Maiden

Rose and Anna

The Pear

Technology has finally caught up with my dad.  He invented “The Pear” which today is similar to a facebook “Poke” with a sinister twist.  The hand gesture is made by placing all fingertips (and the thumb) together and pointing it at your victim.  It is a “gotcha” when you consider that he and his grandchildren discovered The Pear during an innocent visit to Medieval Times. 

The  pear of anguish is the modern name for a type of instrument displayed in some museums, consisting of a metal body (usually pear-shaped) divided into spoon-like segments that could be spread apart by turning a screw.  The instrument was inserted into the victim’s mouth or rectum, and then slowly spread apart as the screw was turned.  Of course the six to ten year-olds were fixated by the latter use and giggled uncontrollably all night.

Never one to miss an opportunity, Gramps invented “The Pear.”

“Getting Peared” became the end game of our family times together as the grandchildren grew and became parents themselves.  They peared each other, they peared inappropriately as often as possible, and they peared ME!    Technology helped them find long distance pearing methods.  My niece, Sarah, living in Washington state recently “got me” with this one.  Gramps would be proud to know it has TRICKled down to another generation.

The pear is especially handy when most socially inappropriate…like getting someone with it during a long, boring meeting or doing it when only the recipient can see it.  For example, you might be meeting someone important (like your child’s teacher) and as introductions are made, your kid gets behind the teacher and shoots you a Pear.  Sometimes I pass one of my kids today on the road and as we near each other, I stick my hand up and out of the moon roof and shoot him a Pear…this is known as a drive-by Pearing and it gets extra brownie points.

The real challenge lately has been to keep myself from driving 360 miles to Pittsburgh to spank my nephew’s butt for encouraging his (otherwise) wonderful son, Caleb, to draw pear pictures and mail them to me.

Caleb, when he is not drawing pictures of pears.

I get the mail, my heart swoons because Caleb has sent me a letter!.  But nooooo….   that stink pot is at home giggling, just waiting for Aunt Kelly to get Peared.   His dad is lucky that he is a U.S. Marine and only me and Chuck Norris are afraid of U.S. Marines.

When my oldest son went skiing in Switzerland, I asked him to bring me something back (I’m thinking CHOCOLATE).  Silly me.  His “gift” was a photo of himself, standing so triumphantly in front of a 10′x15′  public transit billboard of a ripe, dew covered pear.  I have to admit, I kind of admired his choice.

Cell phones have taken this fixation to a whole new level.  I might be shopping at Target for a shower curtain and happen upon one covered in pears.  OMG…Instantly, my heart starts racing.  I have to “get someone with it.”  This generally results in a group text.

There was one year, though, on Grandparent’s Day, that I got even with my dad for all this when I framed this super sweet photo of his grandchildren as his “gift.”



















The Story of the Broken Ankle

The only smart thing I did that day was to sneak off into the woods and relive myself behind the tent as soon as I woke up.  My brother was shuffling around down by the boat so I walked over to see what the commotion was.  Woody had just tossed back what we affectionately call a snake (an undersized northern pike) and was parking his fishing pole against a tree, all proud of himself.  It was around 9:30 a.m. on a chilly Yooper summer morning on a remote, wilderness island anchored two miles north of our base camp on the Michigamme Reservoir near Crystal Falls, Michigan.

Snake Extraction

“Our spot” had all the creature comforts any adventurer would expect from two seasoned campers.  A green, dented Coleman cook stove was percolating some cowboy coffee on top of a sturdy, white pine picnic table.  Nails were pounded into trees to hold ropes, lanterns and supplies.  The fire pit was protected by heavy stones of every hue and shape that we’ve carried in year after year and arranged as the years blur by.  There is a tarp covered cache for our food and we have a flat bench by the fire where boat cushions are stacked for extra comfort.  The best part about our camp is its location, on the back side of this island, hidden from view by a secret passage.

Oh yeah…deluxe!

Still in my sleeping shorts and tee shirt, I gathered up a Pop Tart for breakfast and sloshed it down with an ice cold diet Coke from the cooler.  Woody finished his coffee and wanted to head back to Way Dam Resort, our base camp.  The day was so perfect, so peaceful, so beautiful, so aromatic and satisfying that we struck a deal.  He would take the boat, go back to the resort, and return for me about five hours later, at 3 p.m.   I’m thinking, “I have my pop and my Reader’s Digest so I’m all set.  Go!  Leave me alone in paradise.”

Pure Michigan Sunrise

He wasn’t gone but ten minutes when I got to thinking about that fish he caught.  I figured if he could catch a fish from the shore right there, I could too.  I snagged his pole and walked down the steep, sandy bank to the water’s edge and began to cast and retrieve.  Nothing.  Again.  Nothing.  Then I got to thinking maybe the boat’s wake mucked up the water right there so I should slip over a bit and try my luck again.  My luck struck.  Instantly.  Before my mind could grasp the consequences of my actions, I was splayed out on the ground and my leg went one way while my foot went the other:  a washout was under the sand.  On the way down I was fortunate enough to hear two crisp snaps.  Uh-oh.

This was ugly.   I took an instant inventory as adrenalin spiked my senses.  I remember thinking, “This isn’t good.”  When the horror of it subsided, and without extra or really any thought, I grabbed my foot like one would instinctively swat a bee and snapped it back into place.  Within a couple of minutes, I had kankles!


Suddenly I realized how wet and cold the sandy shore was.  It didn’t worry me much because the sun was getting higher in the sky.  Screaming for help was not an option; I knew that no one could hear me or find me.  So I did what any Campfire girl would do.  I started to sing songs and make a mental note of the birds I saw flying overhead.  At one point a giant, white headed bird sailed low, very close and my thought was, “Buzzards!”  I continued to entertain myself and wait calmly, knowing that in reality, THIS was the best the day was going to be for me because, once I was rescued, doctors would be poking, prodding and pinching me.  I was in no rush, and, surprisingly, it wasn’t as painful as you might think.

The passing hours allowed me time to figure out a plan.  Our boat was a deep-V Lund aluminum one and my dad’s boat was a  bass boat with a flat front style.   Woody would be coming back in five (short) hours with our deep-V boat and I was intent on sending him back for dad’s.  There was no way I could move or crawl up on the bank back to the tents so there was no way I was crawling up into a boat with my ankle dangling.

Soon, I began to shiver…just a little at first, goosebumps, and then some violent shivering.  Hypothermia was setting in from laying so long on the wet sand coupled with the strong breeze and wet clothing.  Did I mention the nifty “Y” shaped stick I found to prop up my leg?  I lifted it out of the sand and dragged myself up the bank using my elbows and one good leg to reach a patch of tall grass and reeds.  They made a great blanket as I picked and wove them to cover my body and got the ‘ol leg propped back up on the stick.

Back at the cabin…how I spent my summer vacation!

Then he saw me.  Woody glided the boat to shore and instantly sprang into action.  I’m waving my hands and telling him not to worry and that I’ve got things all figured out.  He runs up to his tent, grabs his sleeping bag, and throws it over me.  Then my handy, awesome brother gathers two long, flat pieces of driftwood and some duct tape to construct a makeshift splint.  He springs back into his ride and blasts out of there as I’m yelling, “Tell Dad to get his van ready at the far boat launch so I can crawl into it.”

My day ended as you might suspect:  emergency room, x-rays, and glorious medications.   Doctor’s orders were to get to an orthopedic surgeon the next morning.  Diagnosis:  broken heel and small broken ankle bone.  Snap-Snap.






Blame Elvis

“It is Elvis’ fault.”  That’s what my grandparents said about the blue eye shadow, doing “the bump”, wide neckties, and the tube tops of my generation as their eyes popped out of their heads while watching the first adult male in televised history get “All Shook Up.”  Rock and Roll was declared a devil and Elvis had horns.


Flash forward 50 years.  Sorry, Grandma.   The problem with kids today are video games and the  associated violence, isolation, and seduction.   Seduction– it is a two horned devil:  (1) pornographic stereotypes of the game characters, and (2)  addicting the player to level after level of play as a precious childhood clock goes tick, tock.  Isolation is the cruelest side effect of the three because it sneaks up and becomes a way of life.  Isolation and seduction are related.  Players get addicted to the game levels and spend extended periods of time clicking a controller and fighting for life on a blinking-flashing-noisy screen,  alone.   A L O N E  becomes safe.    You don’t have to risk acceptance or rejection.  You don’t have to meet people, exchange ideas, or practice the art of conversation.  You don’t have to play an instrument, be judged, solve problems, help someone, or walk the dog.


I figured this out in the 1980′s when Super Mario Brothers came out.  My oldest was five.  One day we were playing the game and he had the controls because I couldn’t make the guys move or jump right (yet).   He was successfully passing level after level and we were both really into it.  Then there was a hard level and I was yelling at the TV.  He kept trying and we both kept pushing.  Eventually he threw up all over the carpet from stress.  It scared me.  I had no idea of the real dynamics at play.   I had unknowingly placed so much expectation on this five year old that he got sick.

We all learned to play these games with more care and caution.   I realized how addictive and isolating Super Mario Brothers was because I tried it and I liked it.  I started to play the game too much and recognized it when I would say things like, “Go make your own bowl of cereal, I’ve got to get past the lava.”   Eventually I accepted that Luigi was bad for me and for my family. It dawned on me…. POOF–”Elvis” was in the building.


So, we quit “gaming” and I became the mean mom when I said,  “Get out there and build a snowman” or “go outside and ride bikes” and when John and I asked the kids each night, “What did you do today to make the world a better place?”  Sure, I let them play some video games (who wants to raise a dork?) but time was regulated and we fought the games by creating an interactive family life.  We took the kids camping, fishing, rollerblading, water skiing, and played board games or cards.   We gave them chores.  We went to their grandparent’s houses as much as possible.   We tried to make our family more entertaining, balanced, and challenging than a video game.  It was hard because when the kids played video games, we had freedom.


Today, knowing how much time I spend texting, fiddling with my ipad, BLOGGING, downloading my itunes, editing photos, “talking” on facebook, and checking my gmail as an adult,  I HAVE NO IDEA HOW PARENTS PARENT TODAY.  All this tech stuff is just as addictive, too!  I catch myself isolated and find ways to justify it.  I have to be my own cop.   OMG…Elvis is in the building!


In the end, I grew up okay (so far) and my kids grew up okay (maybe).   I find myself swirling in a sea of worry– just like my grandparents.  For what it is worth, maybe some of my Mean Mom Rules can bring a little  “Mayberry, U.S.A.”  to you and yours.  My kids still hate me for them and I consider it of a badge of honor.  (wink)




  • Your bedroom is for sleeping or reading which meant:  1.  No phone in your room.  2.  No TV in your room.  3. No computer in your room.  Sure we all had access, but in family friendly areas of the home.
  •  Nothing good happens after 10 o’clock (p.m.)  This rule was very useful during the high school years.  I really didn’t care if they stayed out later, but I didn’t want them heading out to something at about that time.
  • “No, you are NEVER going to the mall.”
  • If I catch you driving with another human being in the car, your “wheels” are gone FOREVER.
  • I have eyes in the back of my head; don’t make me use them.
  • If you slam your bedroom door, I will take out the pins and you won’t have one.
  • Please love each other when you grow up.
  • Come home after every dance…no guy’s room and girl’s rooms at area hotels or going up north afterwards.  WTH!!!
  • Don’t tell me about everybody.  I didn’t give birth to them.
  • Don’t make me take off my shoe.
  • If you are at a party and drink, don’t drive…call me and I will come and get you–no questions asked.
  • Don’t lie – Mothers know everything and what we don’t know, we find out.
  • No tattoos, no smoking, and no body piercing.  You don’t want to go “there.”
  • Remember who your best friend is when the sh*t hits the fan.  I’m your first call.



Crime Stoppers

The Evidence

Using my stealth powers of logic, deduction and reasoning the perpetrator of this crime has been discovered and has been sentenced to death by Patoomba should he attempt to desecrate another towel.

Since only two of us live in this home and one of us, namely ME, would NEVER touch “the good towels” in the bathroom, it was elementary, my dear Watson.

I left for one day and wham…the towel snatcher struck. According to FBI pro-filers, he subconsciously wanted to be caught…hence the heap on the floor.

Trust me, ladies, I nipped this in the bud.

Criminal Minds

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