My Furry Valentine! Brie and Me

BrieValentine

You had me at first “ruff”

Teaching me about true devotion.

And that love doesn’t have to hurt.

You have loved and accepted me for the human I am.

I’ve learned that fidelity is not meted out,

But flows from the heart like doves.

I rescued you, and in turn you rescued me.

I will fight for you like a mother dog!

Even if I’m just your accessory.

 

Can a soulmate have four paws?

I didn’t want a pet. I couldn’t keep a plant alive. But she had no place to go, a failed show dog. I was told she needed a “forever” home. Long-term wasn’t something I was good at.. Somehow I avoided getting married. I guess I didn’t want to do the dirty dishes. I wanted to get rid of the friend who kept calling me like a real estate agent. She promised to drive me to Connecticut to see the dog in need. Even buy me a tuna sandwich. I was in for trouble.

The breeder’s house was in a fancy suburban neighborhood, but it was small and crammed with with cages. Dozens of animals for sale. A dog pack was roaming around the living room. There were terriers of all sizes—each one jumped onto my lap flirting and begging to be rescued. Except for you.

Our first date didn’t go well. You hid under the couch and growled, pried out only with a slice roast beef. Afraid to leave. The cage you knew was a familiar misery. Liberation was more frightening. The breeder said, “Those dogs are like dumb blondes. She won’t go with just anyone. You’ve got to earn her love.” It was a line. But it turned out to be the truth.

I said to the breeder, “No thank you. It’s not the right time” as I turned on my heels to leave. But something pulled me to turn around. Perhaps it was those eyes. Those sad brown eyes haunted me. I scooped up the matted terrier as she flailed with all her might.  I had changed my mind.

“It’s for a few days,” I said as we headed out the door, without even a Wee Wee pad. In a flash, she went from rags to my small apartment in New York City. Not exactly riches, but a dramatic improvement. I figured even if I wasn’t the perfect dog mother, she’s be better off. ( The ASPCA had turned me down for a canine ownership because of my inappropriate single lifestyle, but I was approved for senior cat adoption.)

I didn’t know what to feed her that first night. Chinese food! And thus began our partnership in steamed chicken (sauce on the side,) canine couture, and pink bows. It took many adjustments on both our parts, but we traveled our lives together for several years.

And then the illness struck. During a routine checkup, and the doctor found a tumor under her tail. We spent three months in and out of the animal hospital. I navigated her care as if she were a parent or spouse Fighting, negotiating and at times, yelling. Toys were replaced with pills and syringes. With an IV in her paw, my terrier lay in my arms until the sun came up. I bargained with God for one more day with my best friend. The prospect of losing her was imaginable. The profound emptiness. Somehow she battled and came through it.

Each day,  look into those eyes that are filled with love and say, “Thank you. I am grateful.” It’s that grace of one more day. I don’t regret the invitations I declined to visit friends in exotic places. Not at all.

I am loved because I keep loving.

Happy Valentine’s Day my friends!

 

 

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What is your Why?

 

Simon Sinek, President of Apple,  explains how great leaders inspire action in this popular Ted Talk.
Start with your Why. Not your How.
Apple sells an identity.
The iconoclasts.
The rebels that ate from the Apple in the Garden of Eden.
So, do you want to be one of us?
And by the way, you can buy a computer, iPhone, and
iPad…
What is your purpose?
Your why?
What the burning singular thing that drives your message?
Is it real?
Is it true?

Where are you?

rainbowinNYC
Jane Ranzman Writer

“Where are you?”  According to the story, God’s first line in the Bible addresses the errant couple, Adam and Eve.

Now I’m not an expert on these matters, but doesn’t the Divine One have an internal GPS?

Once I got lost on the way to a dinner. I had been to my host’s house several times before, however, the bus route changed. I got off at an unfamiliar place and walked for what seemed like miles. All the streets looked unfamiliar. Finally, I walked into myself into a dead end. I called my hostess in desperation. She asked, “Where are you?” And the truth was I had no idea. And the truth was I had no idea. If I could tell her, my friend would have been able to find me. I hobbled to the subway on my kitten heels.

That night started me thinking. I asked myself, ” Where am I?”

Because you need to know where you are before you can receive direction on where you’re supposed to be.

 

Cupcake Mirage

cupcake-maryn-chilson
Jane Ranzman Writer

One starry night a fallen New York yuppie dreamed…

I was hobbling along barefoot in a desert with the Lord, “Enough of this walking. Couldn’t you at least point me toward a Hyatt? What I wouldn’t give for a pair of those ugly biblical sandals at a time like this.” I couldn’t see anything, but I knew something divine was hovering around.

The dark sky flashed pink as rosy haze suddenly rolled across the sky, and the happiest moments of my life were projected onto the billowing clouds.

“Look there’s mom. She held a tray of pink birthday cupcakes entering my bedroom in Seaside. That was our tradition. Cupcakes for breakfast.” Six candles were a blaze as she sang “Happy Birthday.” She was so young and beautiful and her eyes were full of love. I watched them turned to hate as her dementia progressed.

“There I am! A pudgy cherub with big brown eyes and pigtails.” Mr. Pierre, our family poodle, gobbled a glob of pink icing from my tiny hand.

I marched forward on this strange pilgrimage on the burning sand, carefully, placing one foot in front of the other. I noticed two pairs of footsteps were fixed in the sand, despite the wind. “ How strange. There’s no one here but me. Maybe it’s a hallucination. Emergency need for bottled sparkling water.”

A basket of daisies flashed across the clouds. I had just gotten into Harvard College. That’s the code my mother and I had. Now the bells of Memorial Hall were chiming. I was throwing my cap high in the air as a new graduate. Now, that was a day. I recalled how the four years flew by. The images flashed at an accelerated rate.

“Hey, slow down. I can’t make out the pictures. I’m trudging along with no shoes–not even a kitten heel. Without a yak or a camel and I have no desert apparel.” I saw bits and pieces of cherished objects, but they quickly faded— the precious painting of the Impressionist beach scene in my apartment, my dog’s worn polka dot harness, foggy pink eyeglasses thrown haphazardly next to the kitchen sink, great-grandmother’s Fiegle’s tarnished Sabbath candles that I never lit, an antique cobalt blue glass box, a rhinestone evening bag in the shape of a Yorkie, mother’s old tortoise shell powder compact. I looked down at the sand and saw two sets of footsteps. Maybe I’ll run into two pairs of Prada pumps to fill them. Size 6. Only one pair would do….

Now there were flashes of people I loved. Only the outlines of faces, but I knew who they were. Fleeting glimpses of family and friends. I wanted to stay with them a moment, and hold on to the feelings they evoked. But the phantasms zoomed across the haze as I continued my arid journey. A searing pain pierced my chest. Loss. Life goes so quickly. Maybe I didn’t pay enough attention.

I gasped, seeing my most horrible memory flicker through the heavens. It was lowest point in my life. I stood on the icy earch before my mother’s grave on a freezing January day holding a small prayer book. The Lord is my Shepard. I shall not want. I had the realization that my life was forever changed. How would I live through losing a part of myself? I drifted through years of acute grief, darkness, and fear. “Lord, why didn’t you at least make a cameo appearance? Now, I am left wandering.” I looked down for relief and saw a solitary pair of footsteps.

“Whatever it was, disappeared when I needed company the most. ” I felt a familiar tinge of abandonment.

I suddenly looked up and saw a Western Wall in Jerusalem against the backdrop of a pink sky. I was sobbing and praying. My hands were placed across the cool stones hoping for healing. I was at a crossroads in my life. I had gotten a pink slip from my job during the recession and had no prospects. My mother was ailing. Prince Charming’s glass slipper was cracked. I wondered how on earth did I get here? I had fallen and felt alone in the universe. I needed a sign. Was there anything or anyone or out there that heard our prayers? My heart was broken open. And there it was with perfect clarity. A pink slip was curled into a crevice above me in the Western Wall. There it was like mistletoe above me. My prayers were heard. What had been an icon of loss had become a symbol of grace.

“I must get out of this dream.” I looked down at the solitary trail of footsteps. “So Lord, when things are really tough, you take off to your vacation home.”

I heard a voice within me whisper, “Listen sweetie, YOU can only walk in in stiletto heels. Who do you think has been schlepping you?”