An All-consuming Year

This year I’ve been consumed by

  • Politics—how does a country go from the grace and dignity of Obama to Trump?
  • Capitol Crimes 2017 Anthology. Chairing  an anthology of short stories for my local chapter of Sisters in Crime was time-consuming but rewarding, and I was thrilled to have my submission included

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  • House hunting—looking to downsize
  • Family and friends—healthy and happy for the most part—a blessing
  • Pets—both rescues, Sox is velvety, loves to play and taunt Shooz, our puppy. Now a year old, Shooz keeps me running, climbing under beds to retrieve toys, playing tug with her, throwing the ball, and so on. They bring me joy

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  • Blow Up on Murder—trying to make my latest Spirit Lake Mystery the best I can

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Always Incomplete

My book is not quite complete. I’d hoped to have it published in 2016 but time has gotten away from me. My new projection is that January will be the magic month. Shooz continues to yank me nearly off my feet when we pass other dogs on our walks, so more training is needed. She’s still afraid of men in hats and I’m not sure how to deal with that. My concern over the political situation disturbs me hourly, and it’s harder than ever to watch the news. We haven’t found a house yet, but will keep looking.  I’m grateful for family and friends who are nearby, yet always missing the ones far away.

And yet, if I know one thing about life, it’s that in order to thrive, we need to embrace the incompleteness because that’s where possibilities lie. Possibility sparks curiosity, curiosity engages imagination, imagination triggers action and action stirs up the magic.

Wishing you all a healthy, happy, prosperous and magical 2017.

 

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Walk On

I said goodbye to my old dog yesterday. We walked at least twice a day together for almost four years, until she couldn’t anymore. Native Americans use the phrase “walking on” when someone dies and I like to think that’s what she’s doing.  The piece below is based on a prompt from my Friday writing group.

Following Dog

Arms pumping, iTunes pounding in my ears, I’m on my daily run through the neighborhood. Past the foreclosed house,  past the homes that line Locust Street, where last week a flock of wild turkeys stopped traffic. I turn right onto Bellwood, trying to get a decent workout with New Year’s Eve champagne sloshing in my stomach, when a black dog stares at me from someone’s lawn. I wonder if the owners know it’s loose, but I don’t stop. I have my route to finish.

I turn a corner and the dog evaporates from my mind. Ten minutes later I’m rounding the cul de sac on Wildflower Way, my final stretch.  I move to cross the street and trip over something. The black dog. It must have been on my heels for blocks. Creepy.

I feel along the grimy pink collar. No tags. I walk back to Bellwood and try every house on the street, but no takers.  I don’t have the energy to continue knocking on doors.

She’s a lab or shepherd, maybe terrier mix, about forty pounds.  White muzzle, half-moon scar on her side, an arrow-shaped one near it. Another on her leg. She whimpers and scratches at her right ear. I lift it to take a look and gag at the stench. I drop the ear to hide the infected mess inside.

I call the SPCA, but everything is closed on New Year’s Day, even the vet. Animal rescue says an old, sick dog won’t be kept more than forty-eight hours.  I take her picture and post a found dog notice on craigslist and the newspaper and plaster the neighborhood with posters.

We go to the vet the next day. They name her Lucky. She also has abscessed teeth so we’re there a long time. The vet can’t believe a dog in that much pain could be so sweet-tempered. We head home with three kinds of meds.

No one claims her. Not that I would give her back to anyone who could let an animal suffer like that. She doesn’t bark. She doesn’t pay attention to other dogs except small white fluffy ones. She is infinitely patient with children. People pet her but she shows no interest.

We don’t know each other’s history. I don’t know how she got her scars and she doesn’t know how I got mine.

It’s New Year’s Day a year later and I’m running through the neighborhood with Lucky at my heels.  She follows me, whether I sit at my desk, or walk to the kitchen or go to bed. She’s interested in my every move and grins when she sees me even after a short separation.  Everyone says she is lucky to have found me, but they have it backward.

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