Furry Friends – Names From the Heart

Best Friends. Yes, your best, truest friend is your pet. For me it has been dogs.

When I was 3 – 4 Mom talked Dad in to getting a dog and somehow that poor dog was named Princess. Princess was a Spitz (back then not a recognized AKC breed – now they’re know as American Eskimo Dogs), and was – so the story goes – meant for me. Well, Princess had other ideas. She decided that her main “love” was my little brother. She would wiggle her way in to his playpen just to be with him. When it was his nap time, Mom had to pick up BOTH of them. Princess insisted that she couldn’t get out.

Our next dog was a Doberman/Lab mix. It was decided that her name should be peace – in some language – because it was felt that she would take a piece out of someone while defending us. So, she was named Pax. Pax was Mom’s dog, well mostly anyway. Yes, there was a time that if she could have gotten to the intruder she would have gotten a piece!

My next dog was while my husband and I were living in Colorado. A co-worker’s ex-husband brought two male Samoyed puppies for his daughters (and to make life hard for her). Well, since they couldn’t keep them I was asked if I would want one of them. Fortunately we got first choice and picked the puppy that came to us. He was adorable. I insisted that he should be named Sam. Of course my husband said but everyone names Samoyeds SAM. I didn’t care, that was his name and he liked it. Sam was a smart, tough guy. He went to work with Kim and always listened to both of us, and he was very lovable. It turned out (after about six months) that both of the puppies had been stolen. According to Colorado law, we could have kept Sam, it broke my heart but, we decided to return him to his rightful owners. It turned out his registered name (yes, he was a purebred) was Sam Spade.

Kim-96It took years for us to get our next dog, most apartments don’t allow them. But when we got our house (in 1996), we got a dog. One of my husband’s co-workers had a dog who had just had a litter of puppies. Shepherd/Lab mix. The puppy that walked up to him was mostly black with a bit of white on her chest. It took a bit of thinking, but it hit me – Kodi! Like a Kodiak bear (because at the time – 2am – I honestly thought that bear was black with white markings on the chest). Well, she seemed to like that name. Kodi also had epilepsy. She would come to me when she had seizures. She would get in the way to be there for me when I had seizures. Oh, in the way meant that it was hard for Kim to get to me so he could be there thru my seizure then get me to bed. Fortunately all the neighbors loved her – no fenced yard so she roamed a bit. When she died Kim dug a deep enough grave for her so that she wouldn’t be disturbed. She rests with her favorite blanket and toy. Yes, I still get teary eyed when I think of her.

Now it seems that every other dog is solid white with the other two being black/brown/white mixes. So, does that mean our next dog will be white? Who knows.

As of this writing one of our nieces has a new puppy and is trying to decide on his name. I told her it would come to her and that it would come from the heart – I know that’s how it worked for at least three of my dogs!

We haven’t gotten another dog yet, I guess we’ll know when “our” dog will come. Just wish it will hurry up and get here!

What Do Garden Gnomes and Nell Have in Common?

You may know that we were “adopted” by our neighbors, and their daughter calls us Grand Neighbor. My husband and I have fun with this.

Last year she (for this I’ll call her Nell) noticed a garden gnome door I had made and asked about it. Nell wondered how we got it and how she could get one. Well we told her that gnomes are shy around people, but we’d talk with our gnomes and see what happens.

Nats gnome doorSo, of course for her birthday (in December) a gnome door appeared in their yard. Mom video taped Nell’s reaction so we could see. Grand Neighborette told Daddy that they had to show Grand Neighbors!! Yes, we’ve been having fun.

Shortly after the gnomes “arrived” it happened that someone threw trash out a car window – a pizza box. We told her that the gnomes must have had a fun house warming party.

Now it’s Summer (well according to the calendar), Nell and Mommy have been doing yard work and clearing some of the foliage around the gnome door. She put out chairs and a Welcome sign. She also sent a note saying she was glad to have a garden for them and explained what she planned for the garden. And added “Love you Gnomes.”

Of course the gnomes HAD to write back. Blue Jay and Bearfoot thanked her for the chairs and the sign and told her she’s doing a fine job.

Today’s note? Nell wants to know other gnome names (presuming Grand Neighbor’s gnomes – those will be Periwinkle and Buckhorn), wants a playdate, said it’s OK for her gnomes to add things. (Bearfoot is thinking about a picnic table…). Then added “PS please don’t leave your trash outside.” Hmm, it seems those young gnomes have to clean up their act! Oh and I understand that there’s another note, she wants the little mesh bag and ribbon (used to tie the note) returned.

It seems that Bearfoot also has to find a mailbox. Hmm, maybe Blue Jay can do that one.

Now about that play date thing. I’ll have to remind Nell that gnomes (being very shy) are night creatures and that when they’re around people at any time they “freeze” in to statues. Being a statue makes it very hard to play. Oh, have to tell her that sometimes gnomes travel to help wild creatures, so there may be some times when you won’t see an answer to your notes right away.

Now to answer that question: What Do Garden Gnomes and Nell Have in Common? Grand Neighbors!

Should Santa Be Paisley?

On the news the other day I heard the craziest thing – people getting upset about Santa’s ethnicity.


With all the crap going on in the world, this is what people are upset about? So, people seem to want to know if Santa is a white guy. Then the other suggestion was: let’s have a penguin in a red suit represent Santa. HUH??????

12-17-13 Dr. Oz - TurkIn my mind there are a couple of things wrong here. Let’s think logically. Santa Claus or St. Nicholas as he started off being known, was from an area of the Mediterranean around Turkey, Greece, and Italy. The men from that region generally look like Dr. Oz. So, not really a “white” guy, more of an olive skin tone. Then, the guy moves to the North Pole. SERIOUSLY cold up there.

Oh, and no penguins. (Just how would a penguin drive a sleigh anyway???)

As I’ve mentioned before, I am a BIG fan of this season. My belief has always been celebrating Christmas is being with family and friends and enjoying the companionship. I feel it is a blessing to be with those I love and cherish – especially since some are not around…for various reasons. I celebrate the gift of love and pray for peace. It’s watching kids have fun and the wonder on their faces. Just as I still believe in the spirit of Father Christmas, St. Nicholas, Santa Claus what ever one wishes to call the basic core feeling/belief. You may be thinking, well Liz you can do that any time. You’d be right, because the feeling/spirit of Christmas should be year round.

When you hold to the belief that Christmas is a feeling/spirit, in your heart he can be represented in any fashion you want. He could be a short skinny guy with a paisley beard and purple skin. Who cares? Just so long as you see Santa in the image you want. Then keep in mind that people from different regions of the world have differing skin tones. My ancestors came from northern climates, so yes, they were white. My husband’s came from southern France in an area where the Moors invaded, he’s a dark complected white guy. People near the Equator are, to varying degrees darker complected.

So, depending on the specific region of the Mediterranean St. Nicholas came from, he could have been white to olive skinned. He physically wasn’t Latino, Black, Asian, Aboriginal or any other variation, but in your heart he is what you want/need him to appear.

Now, having said all of this, I wish you all a wonderful and blessed Christmas. I wish you all joy, happiness and peace. And, if you get that Radio Flyer wagon you’ve always wanted, then BONUS!!

Did I Inherit Grandpa’s Curiosity?

G n GGASP! I’ve become my Grandparents!

While this isn’t really a bad thing, I wish I was more like my Grandmother she was amazing with managing their budget and still got to go on great vacations; there is one aspect I’m concerned about.

What is that you might ask?

Well it’s the “let’s check out the new store so and so just built” thing.

Back in the early 1990s they were living in Deltona, FL and a new Walmart was built in their general area. Grandpa was excited and he really wanted to go and see the place. I asked why, it’s just a store. (What’s a Walmart anyway? At the time we didn’t have any in the area of MI I’m from.) Grandma told me that this is something that will make my Grandfather very happy. THEN she threw in “besides Honey, going to a store like this gives old people something to do.”

OMG! All I could think of was all those wonderful trips they used to take and now going to Walmart was a highlight???

Well, not long ago Kroger opened a superstore not far from my home. Shortly after it opened I thought, hmm, might be interesting to go and check it out. Then WHAM it hit me, I sound just like my Grandpa and that Walmart store!!! From what I’ve read it’s basically a grocery store on steroids with amenities. According to an article the place features “an on-site wine and beverage steward, a fresh sushi bar and a Starbucks. Other features include a diverse offering of fresh meats, an extensive produce department, organic foods, and a bulk natural foods section.” Then the article goes on to brag about the LED track lighting, skylights and heat reclamation system for air and water, and that the new place includes “an extensive health and beauty care department, a large selection of baby items and Kitchen Place, which carries small kitchen appliances and basic kitchen needs. The store also offers a convenient drive-thru pharmacy and an onsite fuel center.”

Gosh! Who wouldn’t want to see that? Well, as the store has been open for over a month, and I’ve driven past it quite a few times already, I guess I’m not in that big of a hurry to visit. But, I’m thinking that my “inner Grandpa” might win out and I’ll check out the store in the near future. I can always say his spirit is guiding me…

Fuddy Duddy – Hopelessly Out Of Sync?

fuddyduddyOMG! How can this be?

It seems that some of my thoughts/beliefs put me in the “old fuddy duddy” category. Just what are these (just some) thoughts that put me there? I’ve made a list and not in any particular order:

  • There’s the store commercial showing a couple excited about passing out Halloween candy at the 1st doorbell chime, then at the 2nd opening the door to Christmas carolers. How/when did that happen? Have we forgotten a holiday in between? It’s called Thanksgiving for those who are wondering.
  • FordHow did (one of) my heart throb change so much? Did I change that much?
  • The waistband of (some) guys pants is down so low they have to hold them to walk – well move in any way. WHY? Who started this, and why would anyone think this is a good look? I’ve never spent time in a prison, but I know what that means in a men’s prison!
  • What is it with being “politically correct”? It seems OK to go overboard on removing some religious symbols (because some find it offensive), but OK to keep others. It’s OK to call me a “cracker” but I can’t return any slurs??? (for the record – I wouldn’t anyway, never have)
  • When did it become the status quo to throw common sense out the window? I mean really, suing because hot coffee was too hot?????? The same crib (gulp) older adults were in as infants can’t be handed down as an heirloom for use because it isn’t safe – “a baby could get stuck”. Cant’ spank a child, it might damage their little psyches? As we can see from all the rude kids running around, that “time out” form of punishment certainly isn’t doing the trick. My brother and I survived “corporal” punishment.
  • No keeping score in games? “Because everyone is a winner, everyone is equal.” HUH??? Yep, that’ll get a child ready for the real world. Besides, how do you know when the game is over?
  • I know that respect is earned. However, when did it become unacceptable to hold a door open for the next person? When did it become OK to break into an older (80+) person’s home and beat them (either almost or to death) because they didn’t have what the burglar was looking for? I know burglary has been around for centuries, but really, beating people in their beds because they don’t have valuables in their home? When did the basic yes ma’am/no ma’am go away?
  • Why don’t politicians have common sense? That’s it for politics here, won’t discuss on this blog, not what it’s designed for.
  • Why don’t proper titles work? For a young man – prior to puberty – his title is Master, as in Master Robert. A single woman is actually Mistress, as in Mistress Caryn. Although for the record, Miss is a proper abbreviation.

Well, yes there is more, but who wants to read my HUGE list? You can get a good idea of my views from this list. I’m not a stick in the mud. I don’t faint at “colorful language,” because I can swear with some of the best. Nude scenes in movies (there’s a LOT more of it, is it really needed for the story?) don’t bother me. It can’t be just me. Have we gone overboard? I still enjoy the I Love Lucy re-runs, no sex/swearing in those. Going back to Harrison Ford and Star Wars – 1977, no sex scenes and the amount of violence was right to tell the story. Oh yeah, another peeve. Why is there so much more violence and sex to tell a story?

OK, stepping down from my soap box. I do know that much like Pandora’s Box, since some things have been released there’s no putting them back. However, mutual respect for one’s fellow man should never be out of mode.

Just my thoughts. What are yours?

Well Slap Me Silly and Call Me Shirley

Somebody’s trying to tell me something, I’ve just got to figure out how to listen!

I’ve been writing a variety of things over the past few years and sometimes I wonder: is anyone actually reading this???? I’ve apparently gotten thru to some. I was asked to write (and edit) for an e-magazine: It’s All About Yes, written by women entrepreneurs with the goal of helping (thru our experiences) other women entrepreneurs. Now I’m writing for Small Biz Forward an e-magazine sponsored by Business Success Unlimited. This magazine is geared to all “super busy entrepreneurs with their everyday needs” and this magazine also appears in a printed version.

im publishedBut here’s where I get a bit crazy. The publishers of both of these magazines enjoy my writing – or they wouldn’t have asked me to contribute. Right? (Yes, sometimes I feel like Steve Martin in The Jerk: My name’s in print!)

I am a member of three different facebook groups and they actually like when I post a Word of the Day (today’s – 9/23/13 – was flair). I had been told that it was missed, why did I stop posting that?


I have this blog with followers, thank you to my followers (this happily surprises me), but I don’t get much in the way of comments – even on the posts asking for comments. On my facebook fan page I post from articles I’ve written and called Tid Bits of Help for: various Microsoft Office programs and as new research is shared, I check on it and share on my page. OK, so sometimes it takes one to two weeks to get all of the information shared – just snippets at a time. On my fan page I even have Fun Fridays – posting funnies to share and ask everyone to share anything they think is fun and will produce a chuckle for someone.

But lately I had been feeling that perhaps I just wasn’t all that interesting. People have more important things to do than to read what I’ve written. Then something wonderful happened. On one of the group pages I was given a glowing testimonial from the group host:

“I would like to acknowledge the consistent and meaningful contributions of Liz LaClair who has been sharing excellent words… that can boost our understanding of our most important medium of communication – LANGUAGE.”

“Vocabulary is what defines us. It also broadens our perspective and our understanding of the world. Good use of Vocabulary (backed up by proper use of Grammar) can influence others… and even create impact. I would suggest that we all try to use the Word for the day… to improve our own vocabularies… and in turn it will make Liz feel good that the work she has been tirelessly doing… is being appreciated.”

Today a potential new client said that even if I wasn’t interested in what she needs help with “At least this gives me the opportunity to tell you how much I enjoy your newsletters and your blog.”

So, indeed someone is trying to tell me something. I’m going for the: don’t sell myself short interpretation. Also, Thank You for reading my blog, I hope you find something interesting, or hits home.

I’m Chronologically How Old????

Dang, people’s kids are making me old!!!!

A friend of mine’s first child is going into the SIXTH GRADE. I worked with Jennifer while she was pregnant with her daughter and wondered how anyone could be sooooooooo sick during a pregnancy.

My Grand-Neighborette (GN) started PRE-SCHOOL today. I knew her Mom was pregnant before she would admit it. (Don’t ask me how I knew, I just did)

Nat-Bee 1Yesterday I walked over to visit my GN and her Mommy. I had to check out her hair cut – well OK, it was just a trim. After a couple a few minutes she ran to her room and came out with a gift for me. Simply saying “here Grand-Neighbor, this is for you.” It was that little bumblebee in the picture. I told her that I would put it on the frame on my desk that has her picture.

Over the years I have occasionally given her things from my heart (aside from her birthday) that I thought were important/great for her to have. Before her Christening I gave her the rosary my Great-Uncle brought from Jerusalem for my Christening (it’s made of rough pearls). When she was a few months old she was intrigued by the ceiling fan, so I bought a “gauzy” butterfly with beads hanging from it. (Still in her room) Recently, since she’ll be starting dance lessons, I bought her a ballerina. She took it to her room to hang on a hook by her bed. That night when Daddy got home she told him where to move the hook.

Her Mommy – like a few parents I know – calls her “my little monster.” Well, GN does have a definite way about her and like most small children has no problem speaking her mind. I hope she keeps that, it could be a challenge for her in life, but honesty is a good quality. And GN is very sweet when she sees my husband and/or me and comes running up to give us a hug. Is it because she knows she’ll be scooped up and tickled/spun around? No, not completely.

So, when did this age thing happen? I mean really, when did I become of an age I could be a grand mother??? I sure don’t feel I could be that old…well OK my knees do ache, but then since I was a kid I’ve had issues with them, so what do they know?

It doesn’t seem like it’s been 22 years since I was diagnosed with epilepsy – my first seizure. Then again, it really doesn’t seem like it’s only been six years since my last seizure either. Telling people how old I am (chronologically) really doesn’t bother me – no one believes me anyway (I’m 54). But I don’t feel I’m that age, which by the way when I was a kid in school I didn’t think that number was old – honest! Other kids thought it was really old to be 54. I mean some of my classmates panicked about how old we’d be when the new millennium arrived. I mean really, for some of the kids (like me) our grand parents were that old!

To both of those little girls – I wish them a wonderful life and that positive things go their way. Just what is 54 suppose to feel like anyway???