Peanut Butter & Jelly & books & racism everywhere

“In case you are itching to foster….” read the text, beneath pictures of several puppies so tiny they collectively could be called a handful. “Do they need to be fostered together?” I texted back. “If not, I can take two.” Someone else on the group text emphasized my words with a HA HA HA. A couple of days later, without telling anyone, I drove to pick them up. I arrived home just after my youngest got home from school. IRead more

Toads and the Fourth and maybe a rat

There’s a toad living in a pair of sneakers I keep on the back patio. He switches from one shoe to the other, but he’s always in one of them during the day; at night, he emerges and hops around the yard. I guess he’s looking for bugs. Every day I peek to make sure he’s there. Do toads sleep? They must. Whenever I look, though, he’s just sitting there quietly, tucked into the dark cave of my shoe, hisRead more

When horses were my jam.

Friday was my dead horse’s birthday. Her name was Junie because she was born June 1. My father gave me Junie after I turned eight. She was technically a family horse, but I was the only child old enough to ride by myself back then, and she was too small for Dad to ride. Anyway, in my mind, I had paid for her. Dad told me she cost $23, which coincidentally was the amount of money I had saved, soRead more

Ethel finds a home, and puppies keep pooping

When the puppies were nearly six weeks old, Ethel developed mastitis. It was a Sunday, and she refused to eat breakfast, then she moped around all day. By evening, she was shivering with fever, and could hardly walk. I know this because I’ve learned how to take a dog’s temperature in the butt. Mastitis frequently occurs in breastfeeding women – it’s an infection in the breast tissue due to bacteria transmitted by a baby’s mouth. It also occurs in breastfeedingRead more

Easter squirrels make a Good Friday sacrifice. Jesus and I weep.

I went to the grocery this morning just four minutes after it opened, and it was a pleasure cruising down the aisles by myself. I only planned to buy essentials – eggs, the four different types of milk we consume, bananas, Dave’s Killer Bread Thin-Sliced with 21 Whole Grains and Seeds*. Somehow those items morphed into $184. What the even heck? I can’t keep buying all this food if people are just going to eat it. *Have you had Dave’sRead more

The arrival of Mama Ethel, and witnessing a birth – Part II

Are you behind? Click on Part I to read Part I It’s barely 6 am on a Sunday morning, and I’m well into my first cup of coffee. I’m in bed writing, and sweet Ethel is curled against my legs. Cookie snuggles against my hip, and eyes Ethel warily; she’s scared of Ethel, who emits a low growl if she thinks anyone’s too close to her brood. The house is quiet and still; sometimes, I use moments like these to grade papersRead more

The arrival of Mama Ethel, and witnessing a birth – Part I

Currently, five humans live in this little house of ours, plus 13 dogs. I might be turning feral. We’ve been fostering homeless dogs for a while now. First there was Bernie Sanders. Then Skippy, Joey, Chicken, and Cheeto. We found good homes for all of them. Cookie, a tiny black terrier mix who weighed about five pounds, stole Neale’s heart, so Cookie has stuck around, giving us a pack of three dogs – one large, one medium, one small. Cookie’sRead more

Turtles and grief and a hard, hard world.

One afternoon not long ago, Nico called me from the bus stop. I was at the dentist with Scout. “MOM! YOU NEED TO COME HERE RIGHT NOW! I NEED HELP!” “Honey, I’m at the dentist with your sister. What’s wrong?” I tried to swallow the panic. Was he hurt? Being kidnapped? Had he cracked his phone? “No, Mom, you have to come right now! There’s this turtle….wait….I just need to….okay, I’m tucking some of its insides under the shell….MOM. IRead more

Annual Vacation Odyssey! and a Rocky Mountain High

I’ve missed you. I hope you’ve missed me. Would you believe me if I said I spend a percentage of each waking hour wishing my fingers were tapping on a keyboard? Probably not. But it’s the truth. When I say this to Hot Firefighter Husband, he says, Then write! Just write! Do it! and I think, I will! I will write today! Then the oldest child calls from the school nurse’s office because her toe is bleeding and the youngest childRead more

The unfortunate chaos of busy-ness

The Russian spy ship Victor Leonov is not far off the coast of Florida right now, which means if I hop on a cruise this evening we could meet up by lunchtime tomorrow. I mean, not that I’d want to. I’m not a spy or anything OR AM I but apparently the Russians are our friends now, and with all their eavesdropping equipment I feel like somebody on board could help me get to the bottom of why Common Core math evenRead more