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Updated: 2018-03-06T12:58:24.006-05:00


Flying High!


Cowboy here. The imp is beside herself with joy, into more mischief than usual, more mischief than the nonsense she pulls during “run amok week.” This is because my right hand was injured, a while before it’s completely healed. I’m keeping score; eventually someone I know walking around, a silly grin pasted on that sweet face, is up for some real retribution come hell or high water. You can bank on it. I told the imp my left hand was worthy. Sar fell over laughing at that remark. Now and again I notice she’s giggling for no reason.

Life continues – normal days plus bursts of chaos and mayhem – never a dull moment around that birbantella of mine. The newest dog, a Malinois shepherd was getting along with all the cats, changed its mind one evening, growled at one of them. The tomcat jumped on the dog’s head, basically beat the crap out of the dog until Sar stepped in. Dog got the message; peace reigns again. So! Life in on an even keel; back from Alberta. Doorbell rings while Sar is out shopping. Did I mention I married a birbantella?

Two guys are on my doorstep. One’s a Royal Mountie, the other looks like an Aussie ranch hand. They have paperwork for me to sign prior to taking ownership of a wild mustang. A wild mustang! That’s a horse in case you thought it was a Ford vehicle. I must have muttered something intelligible that got rid of them because my head was immediately filled with… “when I get my hands on her!”

Then I remembered my injured hand… that woman really pushed some limits. 1/The neighborhood covenants do not include horses as pets. 2/Neither do I. 3/Wasn’t planning on renting stable accommodations for a wild mustang. 4/Where in blazes was the imp planning to take it to tame it, etc? 5/Was she going to break her neck when the horse threw her off its back? 6/My left hand can accomplish a great deal!

Miss Innocent arrives home, a load of groceries in the car. I wait until all is put away. I casually mention the paperwork about a horse I specifically said was not imminent in our lives in this life time or the next. The imp raises an eyebrow in my direction; I cross my arms, give the imp a stern look. Sar giggles. Couldn’t help myself; burst out laughing, gave her a good hard swat using my LEFT hand. The imp runs out to the backyard; sics the Neo on me, climbs a tree.

I climb up after her, grab her, etc. Sar leans back in my arms…. Wait for it!
She says “ so when will the mustang arrive?”

It was easy enough to hold her in my right arm while my left hand made threatening gestures. I’m getting too old to climb trees; yeah, the imp keeps me young.

Other thoughts: A few questions some of you have asked over time.
Why do I hire Marines to protect my wife? Do you really think I’d put a well-trained Navy SEAL in a dangerous situation? I’ve seen Sar incapacitate Marines in a matter of seconds. They’re always amused to be watching over a pint-sized woman that I warn them about until they go against her wishes, breaks a few fingers, knocks a knee out of joint or puts them into severe intestinal distress. David says they should get combat pay; I agree. Sar’s a dangerous opponent when crossed. The kicker is the smile on that sweet face when she gets her way. I married a birbantella.

You asked how Sar can eat junk food and not gain weight. Sar has a high metabolic rate; burns calories while asleep. Also, she dances every day; jogs almost every day, lives life in double time. That burns a lot of calories.

How long have we been married? Not long enough; it will never be long enough.


Quick note: Sar posted a novella in the vanilla section of her fiction website - Tune the Violin, a favorite story filled with rich characters, a bit of history. Hope you enjoy reading it.



Spring happened! It seems like overnight the mountains were brownish with snow caps – in between the evergreens – and the few deciduous trees and shrubs in the yard – in between the evergreens - were without leaves. We had a few really vicious thunderstorms (my kind of weather) and on the first almost drizzle-free morning, daffodils and other bulbs popped up through the ground. Flowers are starting to bloom everywhere; squirrels are plentiful and Woody Woodpecker and his family are back banging on the tops of the Douglas firs. My feeders are full of seed and suet and the dogs and I are anticipating rollies on the back lawn.The giant squid is anticipating catching me. He doesn’t care if the dogs roll down the hill. Honestly folks, he was toilet trained far too early in life.SWAT!We have a new dog; a Belgium Malinois. That’s like a German Shepherd but from another country. Malinois are really smart pooches, a little smaller than a typical Shepherd and very easily trained. This one was not taken care of as well as it should have been, needs a lot of positive reinforcement and praise. He’s so lovable I don’t know how anyone could have mistreated him. So far, Henry Canuk, the homeless feline I found on the beach in Cape Breton, has taken him under his wing so to speak. I don’t know any Belgium words but the animal seems to understand Canadian French (which Henry speaks fluently but then he’s an articulate cat.) The giant squid understands some French – he’s fluent in other languages – said Henry knows too many naughty words. I wondered how Cowboy knew those words were naughty if he’s not fluent in French. Hmmm… Oh wait! I know why. He’s a sailor.SWAT!We were out of the country for a few weeks; went to the Baltics. Cowboy has friends there. The food was outrageously wonderful; I got a few new recipes. It’s amazing how much Western influence has changed this area since the Iron Curtain came down - a lot of entrepreneurs, a lot of kiosks, a lot of lovely wares. I met a few gypsy dancers and felt right at home; however, not one of them would admit to dancing naked under a full moon. That was a disappointment.Vi and Glory are doing okay; without Max, there’s a huge void in their daily lives – mine too. Some locals have hit on them; they’re both beautiful women but savvy about life so I’m not worried. Vi is a kick boxer and very skilled in one of the martial arts; Max taught Glory how to box and Cowboy taught both of them where all the pressure points are on a man’s body. I think the men in Gulfport are just enamored of Vi/Glory’s good looks and the fact that Glory is a 5-star chef. Anything for a good home cooked meal. We’re up in Alberta, Canada at the moment. There’s a wild mustang roundup. These horses are absolutely magnificent. Of course I want one. Of course the giant squid said no. I’m positive I could train one as easily as I train dogs but the Neanderthal I live with still says no. I’m checking into the neighborhood covenants to see if a horse is okay and whether or not I can get hay/alfalfa/oats delivered on a regular basis. As for treats, we grow apples here in Washington State. Sugar cubes are in the grocery stores and just think! Horses like carrots and I don’t! This could work out wonderfully! Naturally, I’d share my Twinkies (but not my chocolates.) I’m sure the local vet won’t have a problem with a horse and there’s some guy – I think he’s called a furrier (which is nicer than some words he could be called) could take care of horse shoes or whatever it is they wear on their hooves. I really need to research all this on the Internet. I’m sure Bull would help me out; he’s from Arkansas. I’m positive they have horses in that state. I know it’s filled with a lot of horse manure…A really awful thing happened shortly after we arrived in Alberta. Personally, I thought it was hilarious; Cowboy had a different view. We were in a paddock area oohing and aahing over a pretty mare. Cowboy stroked the horse’s neck; somethi[...]

Imp's Fury


Cowboy here. Don’t think I’ve ever mentioned that the imp has a temper – a serious temper. Outside of the occasional pout or under her breath mutterings about squids, bullies, baboon buttheads, Neanderthals, it’s a rare event that causes Sar’s temper to reach a boiling point. I thank the good Lord that fury wasn’t aimed in my direction.

Are you laughing yet? I know most of you are aware that my stealth (sneaky) warrior woman is pint sized next to me but that doesn’t mean Sar’s an easy pushover. It’s amazing how powerful a woman can be that weighs slightly over 100 lbs. I’ve seen women in the military use their highly trained maneuvers to take down a man twice their size. I’ve seen them use minimum effort to best an opponent that seemed overwhelming. Also, I’ve seen my wife lose her temper, curse, spit, fight dirty. Sar doesn’t recognize any rules of decent behavior when she’s mad as a wet hen.

So, we’re at a gathering of dogs, their handlers and owners – on base – all military, active and retired - watching obedience trials, agility trials plus just plain funny, dumb dog tricks. Lots of youngsters, families, old Neanderthals like me. Plenty of dogs, mostly large breeds, all on leads strutting their stuff.

We’re watching another agility trial. When it’s over, a dog that didn’t do as well as its owner expected – a Belgium Malinois, its owner a Marine Lt. Colonel on active duty – starts to beat his dog with the other end of the leash. The dog is cowering; the Colonel is cursing; my wife races toward the pair on Pegasus’ wings. Sar comes up behind the Colonel - - -

Did I ever mention Sar’s a kick boxer?

The imp has a look on her face that says the man is dead meat. She jump kicks the 6-foot, 200+ lb. man in the middle of his back. He goes down; the imp kicks a knee out of joint, grabs the dog’s lead, yells for an MP.

Chaos ensues. Folks are yelling at the Marine, cheering Sar.

The MP’s take the Colonel in hand – conduct unbecoming, etc.

Sar soothes the dog.

Base Commandant announces ice cream is on the house.

Sar tells me the Malinois belongs to us now until it’s ready to go to a new home. Our Neo, Sweetie snuggles up to the MALE Malinois. I swear that animal is gay.

I tell the imp she could have been hurt. I’ll discuss this further when we’re home. Sar says it wasn’t such a big deal; it wasn’t as if she maimed the guy. Sar’s version of maiming vs my version of maiming seem to differ at bit.

Other news: The imp and I have been traveling a bit. Visited friends overseas, spent time in the Baltics, ate a lot of good food. Sar’s been back/forth to Gulfport, MS to visit Vi and Glory. The ladies are being encouraged to write a bit of their life history; Sar has already written some of it accounting for the time they lived together. The stories make me ache a bit for the childhood she had, also for the childhood she should have had. Sar sees it differently, recounts all the good times to hold onto.

Just before we went out of the country, the imp was able to get several truck-loads of snow delivered from the Olympic mountains to our yard. Yeah, anatomically correct snow people – some of them monstrous in size – neighbors were appalled as well as delighted. Bull helped the imp; that man will do anything to stay on Sar’s good side. Bull’s mantra: She cooks. I eat.

Finally, we’re home. Spring is showing signs of happening. Sar is dancing again, climbing trees to wave to God, cooking, baking, working in the garden. Our home is full: 2 dogs, 4 cats, a retired sailor and marine, a very busy imp.

I’m content.


Happy Holidays!


Cowboy here. Our house is in holiday chaos as it is every year at this time, my wife busy decorating, hunting for presents she’s sure Santa has already bought and hid. Hiding places are getting harder to find. The imp is easily distracted by chocolate treats I stashed in the usual hiding places. Eating them hasn’t ruined her appetite at all; Glory’s doing the cooking/baking.

The ladies have had a few hard months now that Max’s gone. We’ve been back and forth to Gulfport to settle some details. We invited them to stay here but they’ll go home after the New Year.

Sar has slowly come back to life after Max’s passing. She’s kept busy creating art, making some outstanding pieces, might do an exhibition in the spring. Glory’s energies result in culinary wonders. Vi is the organizer – from the house to managing the marketing of Sar’s art work. Vi organized the children’s Christmas party for the neighborhood, dragged David over to be Santa, made the rest of us run around fulfilling her demands, would have made a fine officer if she wasn’t so tiny. Don’t let her know I said that.

There’s been a lot less mischief lately but never fear, there’s still a bit to go around. Despite the weather, Sar has been doing plenty of tree climbing. It boggles the mind to watch that woman scamper up a tree. Bundled up she can sit on a high branch far too long to make me comfortable. A bit of a breeze has me out there pulling her down before pneumonia slips in. Bull – who has yet to move out – has braved the imp’s temper on occasion, pulling her down unceremoniously, hauling her over his shoulder while she yells a bunch of ugly words she knows. He’s not immune to being kicked either when she’s mad. He takes it all in stride, slipping a piece of chocolate out of his pocket to appease her. That usually stops the fuss for a bit. Come to think of it I think all of us males fill our pockets with chocolate for those just-in-case moments.

No snow so far this year so no anatomically correct snow people either. That’s a blessing in itself. I think the neighborhood might be a bit disappointed. My money’s on the imp; Sar’s bound to find a way to make up for that.

The monster dog we’ve adopted has filled out – a sweet personality for an animal that was bred to ride the Roman chariots and go to war. Our smallest cat Pipsqueak has attached itself to the dog. Apparently it’s fearless of a muzzle that could gulp it down in one bite. Another one of our cats, Miss Emmy, has for some reason developed an extra thick coat of fur. The animal sheds like crazy and leaves its fur everywhere. I’m tempted to shave the beast.

Our garage is overloaded with Twinkies. By now you know the company that makes these god-awful treats went bankrupt. Sar must have bought every one of them that was available in western Washington. Friends from all over the country – plus some from overseas – have been sending boxes of Twinkies wherever they are. I told the imp some other company would start making them but she’s determined to eat the originals for as long as possible. Glory made up a batch just to see if she could match the recipe. Glory’s version was outstanding so at least we have a backup when we run out of the originals. According to Sar, that’ll be a dark day.

Happy Christmas, Happy Chanukkah, Happy New Year. As always, this old warrior prays for a more peaceful year - from our family to you and yours.


Sweet Peace


My Max died.

I can barely write the words it’s so darn painful.

This is the man who didn’t blink when Glory dragged me to their basement apartment when I was 10 and cold and hungry and had nowhere to sleep. This is the man who took one look at a skinny smart-mouthed girl and pronounced that I was now a part of his family. This is the man who called me his girl child and was more than a father to me – a friend and mentor. This is the man who loved me when I had no idea that there was such a thing as love.

In his last days he slept a lot. We made up a bed for him on the back deck so he could see the ocean, listen to the tide and feel the ocean breezes. Tucked him in comforters and quilts so he wouldn’t take a chill. We slept out there with him – Glory, Vi, me, Cowboy, Bull, David and the cats. Sweetie the Neo slept with his head on Max’s bed, the cats near his chest. We told him how much we loved him; he knew that already and when he could no longer speak, we told him we knew how much he loved us. I whispered it was okay if he wanted to go; we would understand. We made sure he was pain free and finally, in the middle of the afternoon a couple of weeks ago, he slipped into a coma and left us.

I was holding his hand when he took his last breath.

Vi keeps everything inside; Glory fell apart. I needed to be strong for all of us and I was until the funeral home folks came for him. It’s so darn hard to say goodbye.

Max was cremated at his request. We flew to New Orleans to hold a memorial for him. Folks came in from Chicago and Gulfport. It was an old-fashioned New Orleans wake with old jazz musicians he knew playing “Saints” as we walked through the French Quarter to the church. Afterwards we hosted a reception at Antoine’s swapping Max stories – his youth, his “stable of working girls” in New Orleans and Chicago, his generous heart – making Thanksgiving, Christmas and other special days a free banquet for the street folks.

Although Max grew up in Kingston, Jamaica, he was actually born in Gulfport, Mississippi and that’s where his ashes were scattered. Glory and Vi will probably return to their home in Gulfport but for the time being, they’ll stay with us in Western Washington. Cowboy will help settle their legal issues; Max made sure his ladies would live comfortably after he was gone.

I’m not sure how we’ll all get on without him. He was such a strong presence in our lives.

Glory and Vi and I danced under the last full moon in his honor. Cowboy stayed inside; left us to do what we had to do to ease our hearts. Later, I slept in my lover’s arms grateful for his strength and support. Max was his friend as well.

Max always said “Life be short; you best be ‘preciating it for all it be worth.”

Sweet peace, Max.


Catching Up


We're back at the beach again. Went home for a few weeks to take care of things but Max feels better when the ocean breezes come through the windows.

My Max is dying. It's hard to see him this way; he's dropped about 30 lbs – chemo and a bunch of drugs to stave the pain, others to stop the side effects that drugs do to a human body. Mentally, he's everything Max has always been – strong, supportive, loving and determined to ensure that Glory & Vi will live comfortably when he's gone. Cowboy and I will make sure that happens as well.

We're eating large, of course. Glory makes all the foods Max loves – anything to entice him to eat; his appetite is shot. We've had a few visits all the way out here on the West coast from Max's New Orleans & Mississippi friends. The mail, email and texts come daily and it does our hearts good to know Max's friends care that much about him. Two of our cats – Pipsqueak and Henry Canuck (also known as Mr. Chunky) sleep on Max's bed with him, follow him as he moves around the house.

Bull & David are back from DC. Bull's recuperation and rehab is on the upswing; we're optimistic he'll be even stronger in a few more months of therapy. He's back to eating for 6 and still on the thin side. I told the giant squid we need to start raising cattle, buy a chicken farm and a few dairy cows if that boy doesn't get married and move out. I keep a lot of lasagna in the freezer ready to nuke in case we have other company. That way, I can get him partially full before dinner so the rest of us have a chance at eating a meal. (He has a BAD habit of sneaking food to Sweetie under the table. Considering the animal is pushing 160 lbs, it's amazing the dog can fit under the table without constantly bumping its head.)

Easter and Passover were in the same week this year; we had a seder as well as sunrise services on the beach for Easter. Glory helped me with the cooking; she was beside herself trying out recipes new to her and sampling everything. Vi, who watches her figure, sneaked a bunch of foods she doesn't usually eat and Max found his appetite for a few days. I think it's the ocean air that does that. Sweetie, the Neo thought the guests were there for his benefit and graciously accepted all the food they shared with him from their plates. The animal howled when the prayers were said before the meals. I'm not sure if he was praying along with the rabbi & priest or if he was saying let's get on with it and eat.

Have I ever mentioned that the giant squid is O-L-D? There's no doubt he's slowing down. It took him about 6 minutes to catch me when I decided to dance naked under that gorgeous full moon we had recently; usually it only takes him about 2.5 minutes. My mistake was running into the water to evade him; he's a former SEAL – swimming is part of his DNA. He might have been an Orca in a previous life… or a water buffalo… or a stubborn warthog… or…. Oh! I hear ice cream and twinkies happening.


Hogwash, Balderdash & Shitake Mushrooms!


I yelled at God today. I do that from time to time. Makes me feel like I'm being heard above all the other folks yelling. I yell when things happen that shouldn't happen. I yell when it's obvious someone is going through a hell that wasn't necessary. When I'm feeling charitable toward God I ask that someone I know comes home from deployment alive, in one piece and emotionally able to live a normal life. Sometimes I ask that someone be able to recuperate from an illness, helacious disease and if that's not possible, to allow that person to go peacefully. My yelling hasn't done a lot of good as far as I can tell but sometimes that's the only I can do – a prayer, a positive healing thought, maybe just wishful thinking that got loud and vocal and yes, sometimes I curse. The giant squid doesn't say much when I start yelling. He's a good Catholic – goes to mass regularly. Tells me he always asks God to watch out for me; lights a candle to that saint who's supposed to be responsible for hopeless souls. I know he's thinking of me when he does that but he never says so. I'm not really hopeless, just cynical.I'm not hyped up about organized religion; it's enough that I believe there's a "something" greater than I am. Two of my dearest friends are believers – one a Buddhist, the other a rabbinical scholar. When the three of us get together, we generally spend a lot of energy eating fried Twinkies and drinking root beer floats. We curse politicians and pedophiles, toast warriors and strong women and usually fall asleep on the deck coming down from a sugar high. Cowboy says I'm a bad influence on them. If he thinks that's bad, I'm not letting him know what I used to do to nuns when I was a grade school kid. If there's another life after this one, I'd like to skip childhood, thank you very much.My Bull is recuperating nicely. I make him run with me and I ride his back when he does pushups. He's still getting physical therapy for his shoulders and I don't know what else but every day he looks more like his old self. He's off to DC in a few weeks for a follow-up visit with the docs that saved his life. David will go with him; give both of them a chance to spend some time without me badgering them. He misses the Corps; he misses his unit and he misses fighting for his country. I keep telling him he's done more than most, time to do other things, get back to civilian life. I might have to break down and invite a bunch of pretty ladies over to keep him occupied. Hope they can cook… he's back to eating like it was going out of style. Max had a "port" inserted into his clavicle; he's decided to go through chemo. I'm hoping it will relieve some pain and give him more time on earth. We're going to be totally insane when the time comes to say goodbye. I agreed to rescue a Neapolitan Mastiff. His name is Sweetie and he's a gigantic monster of a dog that's been neglected. He had to be anesthetized to cut his nails; they were extra long and horribly deformed. Had his teeth cleaned at the same time as well as his ears irrigated. Neos have lots of wrinkles and a really pugnacious face but the critter lives up to his name – extraordinarily sweet. The cats adore him and groom him; he eats anything including my t-shirts. He might be part goat… I made mac & cheese for the first time in a long time; he slurped it up and looked for more. It won't be too much longer before he's back to fighting weight. Slowly but surely the animal is learning to follow commands and like my Rott, SweetPea used to do, is sleeping outside the bedroom door. Yesterday, the giant squid raised his voice…. yelling that I'd be sleeping on my belly if I went running in the rain. Tsk. Sweetie let him know that wasn't something he wanted to hear. I noticed the squid waited until we were behind closed doors to give me a swat. I yelled for Sweetie and the animal charged into the bedroom and aimed a "stink-eye" [...]



Cowboy here. Finally got around to checking email, discovered a bunch from those of you who follow this blog. Didn't realize how long it's been since 1 of us posted.

Ok, life happens to all of us. Generally that's a good thing. Lately, not so much for us. In the past year, we've lost 4 dogs who were family members, devoted pets, mostly Sar's companions. They lived the good life and passed on. Sar still looks for them in the morning, they always rushed in the bedroom when I left, then she remembers they're gone. Takes a few minutes to get going after that. Got a call about a neo mastiff in need of rescue, hoping to get mia bambina to take a look at it, let nature take its course.

Bull is up and around, due mainly to my wife's nursing. Sar's no Florence Nightingale. More like a rogue cop badgering a witness, insists on long walks, short runs, damn hard exercise. Makes the man laugh, cry, get whatever's bugging him off his chest. The imp throws food at him, lasagna, apple strudel, slices of blueberry pie. If Bull's alert, paying attention, he catches the food, eats it. Otherwise he ends up with food all over his tshirts. Grateful she saves the peach concoctions for me. Sometimes she "tags" him, runs. Bull gives chase, around the house, up/down stairs, along the beachfront. The man gets worn out but I notice he's regaining muscle. Then he eats enough to feed a crowd.

Spent a week in London, got back, went home to the mainland. Spent a day with our young friend Patrick, his mother. The boy is about as tall as Sar, doing well in school, picking up a bit of an English accent, turning into a fine young man, miss him in our daily lives. Out at the beach again. My wife loves the beach in winter, came back out here to spend a bit more time. Hard to see the imp running on the beach without the dogs.

About life: Max, Glory, Vi went home after Christmas. Glory called last week. Max was complaining about back pain; his ladies dragged him to a doctor. Bunch of tests later, discovered a tumor on his pancreas; it's metastasized. Flew down to Gulfport, packed the 3 of them up, brought them back here. Max has a biopsy next week; man looks fit as a fiddle, a bit thinner than a few weeks ago. What we know so far is that the medics have given him 6 months. More than that, we won't know until after the biopsy. Max is in his mid-70s, the ladies about 10-12 years younger. Both of us want him here, family surrounding him. His ladies are stoic for now; damn sure they'll fall apart if/when things get worse. Got Navy medics taking care of him. Might need a bit of help later for the ladies, Sar as well. When life gets hard, some folks eat. Sar loses appetite. There are times I think a good hard spanking will cure whatever ails her; unfortunately, that's not always true. In the near future, Sar's friend Alli will fly in, stay awhile. Alli has always been close to Sar's family, lived with them off and on when her own life was a bit rough.

Sar's got about a dozen stories started. Don't know when she'll get around to finishing them. Been hoping writing will take her mind off other things. I've read a few; would like to know what happens next.

Last piece of news for now – hope it gives you a chuckle. The Hostess Company declared bankruptcy a few days ago. This is the company that makes Twinkies. As soon as my wife heard the news, she went out, bought every Twinkie she could find, stored them in the garage – crates full. Waiting for her to go online, order more.


SweetPea & BullyBoy


Cowboy here. It's been a year of ups, downs. Have a bit of an adjustment to make; it's a hard one. SweetPea, Sar's Rott nudged her out of bed a few weeks ago. This is mighty unusual because the dogs sleep outside our bedroom door. Sar got up, insisted on sleeping on the sofa in the upstairs hallway. The Rott climbed up next to her, his head in her lap. BullyBoy joined them. SweetPea didn't wake up the next morning. BullyBoy died the following day. Both dogs were a little over 9 years – old for both breeds. History repeats itself; our first Rott and Mastiff died within 2 weeks of each other. My wife mourns deeply. These dogs were Sar's constant companions since they were born. She trained them, loved them. In return they were completely devoted to her. The emptiness in our house is loud. Our cats remain silent, eat little. The big male tomcat shadows Sar, grooms her face, neck, mews. That feline seems lost without the dogs. It wasn't so long ago we lost Panda, then Tank. All the dogs were close in age, our fault I guess for not taking that into consideration when we got them.

After some time goes by I'll talk to Sar about rescue work again. Right now she's not interested in getting pups for pets, starting that routine again. My wife's a damned good dog trainer; would be a shame if those skills weren't put to use.

Bull gets stronger every day. The man walks fairly well. Docs insist he continue to use a cane for now; that works ok. Once in a while, he gets flashbacks – war does that to a vet. I talk him through it. David talks him through it. Sar makes lasagna for him.

Halloween is upon us. The imp has been a bit listless lately, not too enthused about the holiday this year. I hid a bunch of tootsie rolls, chocolate candy corn – favorites – hoping that will revive her.

Have an errand to take care of in London first of November. Going to take the imp along. Will be there a couple of days, enough time to visit our young friend Patrick before returning home. David might come along as well.


Long Story Short


Cowboy here. Our house remains full. Will probably be this way through the holiday season. It's ok; lots of good company, good food, a million moments to commit to memory.

We're currently at the beach, David's house. Mia bambina is in her glory; the imp loves the beach in cool weather. All of us perk up; animals are more energetic; food is plentiful, Sar eats. That is always good.

Bull is walking! Stairs remain a challenge for now. A cane has replaced crutches. The man is starting to look more like his old self. A member of his unit injured in the same conflict recently died of those injuries – set Bull back a bit. Didn't know the young man. My wife, who does not recognize organized religion of any kind asked me to light a candle for him; I did, paused to thank my Maker for the blessings we have.

Mia birbantella: Pulled a muscle in her calf. Couldn't dance, limps, cannot walk far on the beach. Not the best patient in the Pacific Northwest, not in the U.S. David made the mistake of grabbing the imp, tossed her onto his back, ran up/down the beach front teasing her that she was powerless to stop him.

Folks—say a prayer for David.

My wife is a kick boxer. David deposited her back on the deck after his run. Sar promptly kicked the retired marine under the chin – using her good leg – knocked David on his ass – fell on her own rump which remains sore, was rewarded by Glory with a carrot cake/cream cheese icing, currently plotting more revenge. Sar went to bed that night sore but satisfied; David went to bed, bruised under his chin plus a sore throat.

I sent my thanks heavenward that the imp loves me.

Rescued an English Bulldog – Sar named it Lola after another bulldog she knew. Animal has a monstrous under bite, snores, snorts, drools. It's wearing a pink bow so you know it's female. The Bulldog is the U.S. Marine mascot. Knowing that, Sar invited the local Marine dog handler to bring one of the bulldogs to the beach. They pride themselves on their dog training. "Tobias" came visiting, took a look at Lola, forgot all his training. We're gonna hear about that for months. While the K-9 trainer was muttering under his breath, Sar, Lola and Tobias had a twinkie orgy on the beach.

I sat in David's living room, drank wine with our Rott and Bullmastiff and ignored them.


The Best, The Worst, etc


Cowboy here. Our house is still full.

Best: Glory continues to fill our stomachs with fine cooking/baking. In a previous lifetime, Vi must have been military; makes everyone clean their room, spit/polish a daily task. If displeased, her glare would do a drill instructor proud. Glory makes a mess in the kitchen; Sar makes a mess whatever room the imp's in. Never mind the dogs/cats/giant tortoise living in the guest bath or out on the deck.

More best: Bull is standing unassisted, walks a few steps, can take care of personal needs, teases the ladies nonstop about anything, has started arm wrestling David, having substantial success. That marine makes us all proud.

Max and Bull play chess about every day. Sar taught both of them to cheat so watching them play a game turns into interesting matches. Bull's hands are large; he can palm a board piece, place it anywhere without Max being the wiser. Max, on the other hand, has learned to hide extra pieces up his sleeves. Did I ever mention how many Las Vegas casinos we got tossed out of when Sar cheated at cards or craps or roulette? The question in your minds is how does a person cheat at roulette? You have to see the imp in action. Unbelievable!

The Worst: Sar spent 2 nights in the hospital – dehydrated, complete insomnia, a raging headache. The world's worst patient's foster mother (Vi) kicked the doctor when his hand got too close to Sar's chest. The world's worst patient's other foster mother (Glory) inspected the hospital kitchen, deemed it an unhealthy institution. The woman brought food from home to feed her offspring. According to Glory, jello and clear broth are not suitable nutrients for her girl child. She used the hospital kitchen to whip up milkshakes, sundaes, other sustaining junk foods. Max sneaked in a dozen packages of Twinkies.

More worst: David brought the cat in. The cat spit at hospital personnel. I claimed no responsibility or relation to any of them. They were relieved when we took the imp home.

Got Sar home. The imp climbed into Bull's bed – top of covers. The 2 of them spent quality time eating lasagna, drinking root beer floats, probably plotting mayhem.

As soon as the imp gains back a few pounds, she's gonna be sleeping on her tummy till Christmas.

A prayer to give me strength would be appreciated.


Sugar High


Cowboy here. Our house is full. In addition to Bull, male nurse on duty 24/7, Sar's family is here- Glory, Vi, Max. David dropped by several days ago, plans on staying till God knows when. Folks in/out of the house day and night. Bull's former marine unit mates drop in, stay a few hours, eat whatever my wife puts on the table, can't get rid of them. Neighbors drop by, some bring food, most just eat. I can't hole up in my office, converted that into a bedroom for Bull. Whenever the opportunity arises, I grab the imp, lock the door to our bedroom so I can remind her who I am.

Made the mistake of taking Sar and Glory to the commissary. Should have done that bit of shopping myself. Got to the cookie aisle- I think every brand or species of cookie got tossed into the grocery cart. I counted about 26 kinds, then I stopped counting. About half of the boxes were eaten before we got to the checkout. The cashier raised eyebrows at all the empties he was ringing up. Glory and Sar were sugar high, just about flew home; both were about 2 feet off the ground. Was supposed to take them to the civilian grocery store next. I passed on that idea. At the rate they were eating, they would be in comas by the time we got home. I told them they both bake better stuff. Glory turned to Sar, said doesn't he know we have to eat stuff while we bake? I poured myself a tall one and shut up before the conversation deteriorated further.

Bull is doing well. He stands, takes a few steps, should be running a mile in a few weeks- I hope. His nurse stated the rules for visiting him, feeding him etc. Sar set him straight. Don't know what she said but the guy's a bit intimidated. Funny to watch. Sar trains the man daily pretty much like she trains large unruly dogs-with a firm voice, gives treats when he responds accordingly. Every day I thank my lucky stars I'm bigger than the imp.

The dogs stay close by Bull's bed; apparently he feeds them from his plate. The cat sleeps on his bed, spits at the nurse, makes my bambina laugh. She will sit by Bull's side while he naps; write a bit on her laptop. I read over her shoulder a few days ago. Interesting twist to a story she's been working on. The good thing about her sitting with Bull and writing is that she's resting, something the imp never gets enough of.

Vi has rearranged things in our home, getting ready to go out to the beach to redecorate David's place. In another week or so we'll all go out to his place to enjoy the beach. Sar's due for a medical checkup soon; crossing my fingers we won't have a battle about that.




In chronological order: We're HOME! Wonderful trip to Poland - more about that later. Stopped in DC. Picked up Bull! Ate Twinkies all the way to the West Coast and more…

In order of importance: Bull is at our house! Hurray! Cowboy took the yellow ribbons off our front yard trees, raised Old Glory in front of our house, and almost got run over by the neighbors who came to visit our war hero and give heartfelt thanks that he was back with us. I passed out Twinkies to everybody and ate a few of them myself. The giant squid stuffed one in his mouth before he realized what it was…

Did you happen to hear that sonic boom? For a moment, I thought Mount Ranier had erupted. Oh no! It was just the giant squid causing the world to spin out of orbit. Tsk.

We arrived home from DC a few hours before Bull's medic plane arrived at our Naval Air station. A helo brought him in a lot closer to the mainland and a Naval medic ambulance brought him to our house. DomTom, our dominant tomcat leaped on Bull's chest before he made it to the front door and BullyBoy drowned him in slobber as soon as he was settled on a hospital bed we set up for him. Bull's face split into a grin as the animals greeted him. He's all in one piece but not nearly as strong as he says he is. A male nurse with stay with us, assisting his daily needs and remaining here until Bull can walk on his own.

I ordered a whole cow, a dozen chickens and turkeys, fresh wild king salmon and a few other delicacies, cooked and baked most of the next few days, made some of his favorite foods. Of course I teased him unmercifully letting him know I could beat him up if he didn't follow doctor's orders. Bull laughed. Lord help me! I needed to hear that laughter. Bull's mama will be here in a few weeks; she'll spend some time with us. My family will be here in a few days; Max and Vi and Glory are flying in from Mississippi. Glory will fuss like crazy, cook and bake up a storm. Vi will rearrange the entire house, order all the therapists around and lecture the dogs about rubbing up against her. She doesn't like fur on her clothes. Max will play chess with Bull. I taught both of them to play chess and taught both of them how to cheat at it. It should make for some fun games.

David will be back from the other side of the world in a couple of days. He wasn't due in until mid-July but when he heard Glory would be here and cooking…. He arranged for an earlier flight. Nothing like food to make a former Marine happy.

His Holiness will sit back, enjoy the food, chauffeur whoever needs a ride somewhere, and try to keep an eye on me and Vi and Glory. For some reason or other, we seem to draw mischief to ourselves like magic. I don't know why that happens; it just does.

Cowboy also had a birthday first week of June. I made sure he remembered how o-l-d he is and sliced his peach birthday cake for him so he wouldn't have to handle knives…



Needless to say, he wasn't nearly as appreciative of my gesture as I thought he should be. He mumbled something in Italian. I didn't understand any of that but I'm sure it was a bunch of naughty words.


I made sure he enjoyed his birthday as much as possible. For an o-l-d man, he still has what it takes, etc.

People I love are filling the house. It doesn't get better than that.


Brief Update


Cowboy here. Tying up loose ends at home; we're off to Poland at the end of the week. Plan to visit Gdansk, Warsaw, Krakow. Got railway tickets to travel between cities, want to see the countryside. Some old friends live in Poland; eager to catch up. Sar's interested in the food of course; hopes to get recipes, reproduce those meals at home. I'm always grateful to watch mia bambina eat a complete meal. Will probably visit Auschwitz memorial; there's history there. A hard stop but in my wife's eyes (and my own) a necessary visit. Families of elderly friends lost their loved ones there; we'll pay our respects. Ukraine borders Poland; not sure we'll make it over the border; it's a possibility.

Plan to connect through DC on our way back. Bull should be ready to fly home with us – a military medic plane. He's showing a great amount of stability now; expresses a desire to drive the imp crazy, enjoy all that cooking. Have no doubt the 2 of them will manage to get into mischief one way or another.

Sar's gallery exhibits across Canada were received well; sold a few pieces. She'll start a number of new ones when we're home for the summer. I expect she'll run herself wild – taking care of Bull, cooking, baking, creating new art. All that will make her happy. When mia bambina is happy, I'm happy.

Most of the Bloodhounds we fostered – still have 2 – are in permanent homes. The dogs will be trained to join search/rescue teams. Right now they're at that floppy stage – feet bigger than the rest of them – tripping over stuff; eat like there's no tomorrow, still chew anything they can sink their teeth into. Cats still hover, groom, smack them upside the head. Makes my wife laugh; I love that laughter so I tolerate a lot of mischief.

Expecting David home mid summer. The retired Marine will spend a bit of time at our house; he likes to eat my wife's cooking, loves to tease her crazy, will help Bull's rehabilitation. Might get a visit from Sar's family; Max and his ladies always spice up the house. If they show up, Sar's friend Alli and family will probably fly in from Chicago. A full house will keep the imp flying high. Will also fill our days - good times, good memories.

Don't want you to think the imp has been a saint lately. Never happen. Hauled her out of a tree a couple of days ago. Found her asleep in the gazebo yesterday; we had a light rain. Didn't want her catching a chill. She complained; I gave her a swat. Heard a few more complaints, curses, threats. Landed another swat; thinking about hiring a food taster.


Chaos & Joy!


Cowboy here. I know it's been a while since 1 of us checked in. Have had a few ups and downs. Such is life. On the down side, we lost our Rott Tank. He was about 10 years – old for a Rott – continued to mourn his mate Panda that we lost not so long ago. His quality of life remained good. One day he stopped eating; Sar knew right away the end was in sight. She held him all night. He drifted away in her arms. Sar's grief is indescribable. When mia bambina cries, my heart shatters.

Have flown back and forth to DC a few times. Bull remains hospitalized for the time being. His progress is slow but steady. Hope to have him with us by summer. The medics are conditioned to our frequent visits; they stay out of the imp's way whenever possible. Sar comes loaded for bear – also brings a bunch of good stuff to eat – for Bull, the other wounded military, nursing staff, etc. Have had a dozen or more requests from other military to come along when Bull moves back to our place.

Had a chance to go to Italy – Rome. A few officers I served with had a reunion there. Took Sar, had a pleasant trip except… when the Swiss guards escorted the imp out of Vatican City. I didn't want to know why; that innocent look on her face when I picked her up at 1 of the gates… sainthood may not be in her future after all. The likelihood is that she entered a building or some rooms closed to the public. However, I noticed 2 of the guards were munching on Twinkies… no telling what the imp did.

Got home from Italy. Animal rescue asked if we could take a couple of Bloodhounds in for a few weeks – pups. The cats went wild; they're attracted to the long ears, groomed the pups round the clock. House full of yapping dogs running everywhere, cats chasing them, my wife cooking soft foods for them, a bit of chaos for a while. The distraction helped a bit but Sar's grief over losing Tank remains a hard loss. I owe that animal my heartfelt gratitude – a young man jumped our fence 1 afternoon while Sar worked in the yard. Tank cornered that kid, kept him on the ground away from my wife until the police arrived. Panda was alive then; used her body to shield Sar. Miss both of them. No matter how long you have them, it's always a painful loss when they go.

We’ve been in Canada the past few weeks touring provincial galleries where Sar is exhibiting her fiber art. Fills my heart to see her work on display. Home is next though our other Rott and Bullmastiff are with us. On the agenda is a trip to Poland next month, maybe a few other stops in Eastern Europe. Getting the travel bug out of my system for a bit; have to be home in time to welcome Bull. One other note: stopped in London briefly – connected with our young friend Patrick – a teenager now. Hard to believe it's the same boy we met not so many years ago. He stands tall, has a lot more confidence now, turning into a fine young man. Last note for now: for those who've emailed/asked about David. He's in Japan helping out the relief effort there.


No Ups


Did you watch the Super Bowl game? Tsk. A bunch of heavily padded very tall 8-year olds tossing a ball and running all over the field while some Neanderthal types piled up on top of a bunch of other heavily padded etc. Good thing I made lots of food so I wasn't bored. I couldn't tell which team was which until Cowboy said the Green Bay Packers' uniform was green and gold. That worked. I've been to lots of cities in Wisconsin – good cheese. Pittsburg is where a character – Kyou – in my story EMMA sent his heart throughout the tale. It's probably one of my favorite stories. Meanwhile, I listened to the announcer announce 1st down, 2nd down, etc. Four downs, no ups. No wonder those guys pummel the beejeebees out of each other. They must have been terribly frustrated by their lack of balance. What's a down without an up? Up/down, day/night, etc. The Neanderthals… er… sailors and marines Cowboy invited over to watch the game didn't seem at all fazed by all the downs without any ups. I did notice they grab their crotch A LOT when the football players bumped bellies et al in celebration of some move or other. Speaking of crotches… many of the players had towels hanging from their waists to cover their groins. Some of the players who didn't have those towels REALLY needed those towels.SWAT!Tsk. I call it as I see it and trust me, I didn't need to see it.Except for a couple of commercials, I thought most of them were boring and the half-time show absolutely stunk.SWAT!Tsk.On a happier note, it's FEBRUARY! We're February-ing! Cowboy is completely worn out but I cut him some slack – he's old.SWAT!Tsk.We had lots of snow recently. I wanted to make a snow people village but the giant squid said… and I quote: "No villages, imp! Not while I'm in the house!" Is the man too easy? I told you he was old. SWAT!Tsk.So-o-o-o when Cowboy was OUT OF THE HOUSE to drive to the base to do some of that male bonding stuff with other o-l-d Seals… I got to work and made a cemetery of snow folks – heads coming out of graves, snowmen sitting on top of tombstones, a couple looking like they were sinking into the ground and mouths open screaming for help, a couple of open caskets, etc. Calvin & Hobbes would be SO proud. The neighborhood kids came over and helped. I think their parents were relieved there were no naked/anatomically correct snow folks. Not to worry. I'll do that next time. The giant squid wasn't thrilled with my snow cemetery. He growled that a cemetery is a village of dead people. Tsk. Semantics. Did I mention he's old? I hope this isn't the beginning of advanced senility.SWAT!Double tsk. In between February-ing, I'm cooking and baking and freezing food for a major event. The event will occur in early March – I hope – and that event is that Bull will be flown into Washington state for rehab! As soon as he's stable, he'll come live with us! The last 6+ months have been downright awful but I'm optimistic Bull will be good as new in no time. My job is to fatten him up, schedule the daily home visits from therapists, etc and keep his spirits up. His Tommy – our DomTom feline – will be his shadow. That'll be good for both of them. My Rotts are showing their age. Tank is almost 10, old for a Rott. He still mourns the loss of his mate, Panda. So do I. He continues to sleep with her collar, blanket and toys but he's quick to play, eat, run with the other pups. SweetPea is almost 9, still my cuddly teddy bear. BullyBoy is the same age as SweetPea and that's old for a Mastiff. Cowboy says they inherited good genes. Maybe. I think it's all the Cracker Jack, Twinkies and mac & cheese they eat – plus the beer and wine th[...]



Cowboy here. Between my last post and this one, there's been a week of Sar's extra mischief – running amok – the new year, a trip back to DC to visit Bull/his family. Back home there's been more snow than we've had in a few years. Sar didn't just run amok; she ran, leaped, jumped, climbed, jogged, you name it. Both of us enjoyed most of it; a swat here and there after I finally cornered the imp; otherwise, more fun than not. My wife isn't in to brat behavior; her mischief is a bit more sophisticated.

Among other things, the imp ran through the house wearing a T-shirt of mine, nothing else, distracting the hell out of me. I gave chase, wondered why she suddenly stopped on the stairway landing. The little devil said it was only fair to give me a chance to catch up because I was getting too old to catch her fair and square. I reached out to grab her, deliver a swat or two. Before I could do that, the woman stripped, giggled. I lost it. Didn't make it to the bedroom, just did what comes natural right there on the staircase. Can't resist that woman.

Won't go into the rest. Assure you it was a week of much fun, much laughter, much lovin. Warmed her up a few times but when I hear the giggles, pretty much forget everything but my need to grab the imp, love her. Consumed quite a bit of chocolate, wallowed in it, etc.

New Year's was a festive one. Flew to DC to visit Bull, his family, our friend David. Sar cooked/baked a bunch of special dishes for everyone. Stayed in David's condo a few days. While there, the imp rearranged everything in his kitchen, bedroom closet, home office. The man is still calling to yell at her, can't find certain items. Sar swears no memory of the event. For Christmas, she gave the retired marine extra large women's lingerie so he could discover his feminine side. It was pretty funny but if that ever happens to me, the imp won't sit for a week.

Bull is in good spirits, sitting up, a bit clumsy using his hands/arms but all things considered, doing well. A ways to go yet but definite progress. He has titanium inserts in his legs, standing with help. No walking yet but it's in his future. Can do a few personal things unaided, flirts with all the nurses, therapists, ready to go to rehab full-time. The young man's gained a few pounds, looks like a million bucks to our eyes. He told Sar he probably looked like a tractor ran over him. Sar said he was alive. That made him beautiful in her eyes. Did I mention how much I love this woman? Hope to bring the young man to our house in the near future.

Snow here in the Pacific Northwest, expecting to see snow angels soon. Any day now the yard will be covered in anatomically correct snow people. I catch the imp that makes them, that imp's gonna be anatomically warmed up.


Happy Christmas!


Cowboy here. Taking a few moments to reflect. The past year was a series of ups/downs, indescribable joy, deep regret. Like so many other folks – worldwide – my wife and I have folks that are dear to us in war zones. That said, we are blessed that many have come home alive, some with serious injuries but alive.

We are grateful for each one's service.

Joy: Sar and I travelled extensively this past year. The imp says we had to do this while I was still physically capable of getting around. Yeah, she got a swat for that. Contrary to the imp's testament that I am 0-l-d, I still manage to chase her down when the chasing is necessary.

We spent Christmas Eve alone. We try to do this every year; it's a special time for us. I'm happy to report that my 1st gift was my beautiful wife under the tree, wrapped in red ribbon. The unwrapping was as it has always been each Christmas – complete joy.

This morning, a wide-eyed young girl inside the mature sexy body of my wife slid down the banister. No matter how many Christmases we have shared, Sar still approaches Christmas morning the same way she did when she was 10. That was her first real Christmas. As a small reminder of the years she lived on the streets, there's a bowl of hard candy on the coffee table. The look on her face when the imp saw what was under the tree is more Christmas joy than I can describe.

Santa had delivered! Her belief in Santa Claus isn't so much the man as it is the spirit of the season. However—the look currently on the imp's face is one I know only too well. Tomorrow is the 1st day of a few days where more mischief than normal happens. Sar calls it the days in which she can run amok. I call it the days of unbelievably imaginative mischief. I'm certain I will enjoy more than a bit of it if the good Lord gives me strength to get through it. Knowing my wife's penchant for all things naughty, I trust she has convinced a number of you to follow in her footsteps.

Fortunately, Sar also has a penchant for all things sweet. Hopefully the rest of your holiday season will be as sweet as I intend for ours to be.

Happy holidays from both of us to you and yours.


Mr. Grumpy!


When I married the giant squid many years ago, it didn't take me long to realize he was descended from Neanderthal stock. Egads! The real shocker came when I discovered Neanderthals had several personality quirks that no one ever mentioned, mainly… in addition to being spank-happy, Neanderthals pout! I don’t care how much he denies it – Neanderthals pout! They don't pout like cultured ladies pout; they pout like 8-year old boys. They get grumpy. I've lived with Mr. Grumpy for a lot of years. I can attest that his bouts of grumpy pouts are few and far between but when they happen… Get Out of his LINE OF FIRE!

When Mr. Grumpy is grumpy, he grumps about EVERYTHING!

Just because I happened to be cleaning out the hall closet and had to use a ladder to get to the top shelf… where there is a ceiling door to the attic… and there was dust up there… I mean… no one likes to see dust at the top of the closet… so I decided to push that door aside to get the dust out of all the cracks… and guess what! Santa had made an early delivery! Shocked! That was me. Uh huh, shocked.

… and stunned when I was suddenly no longer on top of the ladder in the closet and over Mr. Grumpy's shoulder… He sure can grump at the slightest things! I think he might have needed a glass of wine and maybe, a nap… or two.



I spotted the Rott snoozing in the hallway and yelled "KILL!" but the beast just yawned and went back to snoozing. Why oh why did I ever let that ferocious canine bond with Mr. Grumpy?

Later, I made chocolate pecan pie and after you-know-who ate about half of it, he wanted to know if I made peach cobbler, too. I didn't, so he grumped about that. Maybe two glasses of wine was needed and a very long nap.



Since Mr. Grumpy is so o-l-d…. I thought I'd better remind him that RUN AMOK WEEK is only FIVE days away! I don't want to spring it on him in case he's forgotten…



He responded with… you won't believe this… NO MISCHIEF IMP!

Honestly… No mischief and imp in the same sentence just doesn't make any sense to me. Not to you either, right? Tsk. I told you he was o-l-d.




Checking My Lists


First: That jolly ol fat man in the red suit is supposed to make an appearance in 9 days. I have it on good authority that Mrs. Claus is about to bust her buttons. St. Nick is still studying the global maps and he hasn't begun to pack his sleigh. It seems the world has changed the names of so many countries in the last few years that the giant elf (not to be confused with the giant squid…) is making sure his route is correct so no one on his "nice" list gets a lump of coal instead of socks and underwear. The giant squid told me Santa is giving ME socks and underwear.

I've never had enough socks in my entire life – I go through them much too quickly so socks are ok with me. (Leg warmers for dancing under a full moon are also socks…) As for underwear, for folks like me, underwear = lingerie! I'm good with this.

Next: And "most" important, it's only 11 days until RUN AMOK WEEK! I'd like to go outside and shout HAPPY! HAPPY! JOY! JOY! but that would be redundant. Also, it's very chilly out there right now. We had Arctic winds, snow, sleet and freezing rain in the last day or so. Personally, I was snug and warm and very happy to watch WEATHER happening but you-know-who was grumbling and growling about pee-numonia and bronchitis and fevers, etc. The pups were fascinated by all that growling since they weren't doing it. I reminded them that in order to become a U.S. Naval officer, the giant squid had to take Growling 101 as part of his training.

When he heard this, the giant squid muttered something in Italian so all of us innocents were spared hearing the message. (I need to get a pocket-size English/Italian dictionary.)

The words I hear most frequently these days are: "Better not be planning mischief, imp!"



Laughing… After all the years we've been together, you'd think Cowboy would know that I don't have to PLAN anything. Mischief just sort of happens. What? You didn't know that either? Tsk.


Still laughing… Back to my list: The stockings are up, the tree is up, the menorah is still lit, cookies in the oven, hot chocolate on the stove, raspberry chocolate mousse in the works, and someone is making cream cheese omelets so I'll eat something that has protein in it.

Tsk. He really is an old-fashioned kind of guy. I was planning to eat tiramisu for breakfast.

I found a bunch of "wrapped goodies" in the attic space above the garage. I just happened to be looking there to see if Cowboy needed to change the mouse traps… I couldn't reach the goodies but I think if I put the ladder on top of a chair and…

A huge vat of chocolate paint arrived yesterday. I plan to use it during RUN AMOK week. I've also stashed a bit of catnip in Cowboy's bedroom slippers. I have a feeling DomTom, Miss Emmy and Pipsqueak will be rubbing all over the giant squid's ankles for days. I think it's good when cats and their humans bond, don't you? Henry, our Canuck cat is above these things. That feline is more interested in the raspberry mousse.

Last, for the record, I'm running out of "goodness." Mischief is really calling my name - actually, it's shouting at me.


15 Days!


If you've been checking the calendar regularly, you know that Christmas Eve is only 13 days away. That means RUN AMOK Week is only 15 days away! Oh JOY!People! You need to make your plans early! Don't be caught wondering what to do when Dec. 26 rolls around. Plan now! It's never too early to get those plans in shape. Trust me. I know these things. (Even the giant squid knows these things because he's already growling about it.)"Better not be planning mischief, imp!""Moi?"SWAT!Tsk. I think His Holiness could use a nap. (He's o-l-d, you know.)SWAT!laughing softlyI decided not to do Christmas cards this year. I usually send them out day after Thanksgiving but life jumped down my throat and I had other distractions to keep me off schedule. So, this year I'll send New Year's cards instead. I've started creating my own cards – fabric cards, quilted, embellished, painted, whatever medium comes to mind. I make some year-round, then write a note to whoever the card is going to. For David, I made a hula dancing lady; on the inside the note says "too bad you can no longer keep up with me." I'm sure he'll appreciate the sentiment; he's getting o-l-d too.I can't tell you what Cowboy's card says; he has a habit of reading this blog. His short term memory is still working…SWAT!Cowboy says I should send a card to all the docs that have to put up with me. That would take a lot of thought. Do I send a blood sample for them to suck up? Do I send a hypodermic and hope they stick themselves? A tray of my "special" brownies? A note that says "be sick and see what it feels like to be on the receiving end?" Maybe, an invitation to be billeted elsewhere? Like Somalia? So many possibilities.I did send a box of water taffy to the dentist.I sent an old pair of Cowboy's night vision goggles to the eye doc and a box of shell casings (empty bullets) to one of the drill instructors on the base. I hope that confuses him.The K-9 team got giant boxes of dog biscuits and a 10-lb bag of dried liver. Animals and I get along better than most other relationships I have. Hmmm… I wonder if that comes from living with a giant squid?My neighbor, MsHairUpHerAss, also got taffy – she's just had new dentures made.MsKeptWoman who lives down the block got a really pretty blue teddy. Thinking about buying another in XXXXXL size for a marine I know.I just can't stand how thoughtful I've been. Will have to make up for all this goodness during RUN AMOK Week. I sent Santa my last letter for this year. I reminded him I had been good ALL year. I omitted which year I was referring to… Cowboy said if I combined all the 15-minute stretches of good I've been in all the years we've been together I might have accumulated a couple of months of goodness. Truly, that man needs a nap!Adding insult to injury, I bet he read my email to Santa! Is nothing sacred in this world?Cowboy is getting soooooooooo o-l-d I may have to give him a sweater with elbow patches… a walker for when the time comes that he needs one… extra warm socks and slippers with bunny ears. I made peach cobbler the other night and mushed it up so he wouldn't have to chew so hard. Was he appreciative of my thoughtfulness? SWAT!Tsk. Did I mention the man needs a nap?~Sar~[...]

Send Help!


Cowboy here. How long have I been married to a naughty birbantella? Sorry, that's redundant. A birbantella implies the imp is naughty. Not just naughty, but capable of black ops stealth, cunning, sneaky, generally successful. A lot of years of wedded bliss for the two of us, a lot of sores, bruises, much worse for the medics that have treated her.

Sar knew there were some medical appointments coming up. Among them, an MRI, other scans, some invasive stuff. Enough going on, the docs suggested an overnight stay, get it all done. Despite the thick file they have on mia bambina, they continue to neglect the basics: mainly, Sar is an escape artist. Won't tolerate unnecessary touching, won't wear a hospital gown, knows every nook/cranny of the local clinic, a whiz kid at jamming computer monitoring, takes advantage of whatever is available to be taken advantage of. Ergo: my escape artist pulled the plug on the computer, hit the security lights on the electrical panel which released locks on the secure doors, climbed out a window, was home eating cake when I finally caught up with her. Not sure the medics realize the imp escaped—again.

Somebody send help.

Announced I was going to burn that little butt. The imp looked up, smiled, offered a glass of peach brandy. Like a rookie, I reached for it; that's when she kicked me.

Mata Hari

Chased her through the house, up the stairs, got to the bedroom, tripped over the mastiff, got the door slammed in my face. Mastiff attacked, pushed me over, drooled on my face.

I need professional help.

Got the dog off, got the door open, faced a large Rottweiler showing off his big teeth. The imp laughed.

Threatened dire retribution. Sar plays dirty. She stripped, jumped my bones. Band tuned up, etc.

A couple of swats, much laughter, another successful medical evasion. Thinking about handcuffing the imp to the bed.

Doc called, wanted to know if Sar was home. I said no. Now I'm a co-conspirator.

Send help.


Sleepin' It Off


Cowboy here. About 5 p.m. here. My wife just hit the sack. Had a wonderful Thanksgiving dinner, ate nonstop for a couple days. Sar's cooking/baking rate top marks. The imp roasted a turkey, baked a ham, all the fixings, dessert fit for a king. Just a few leftovers. Discovered a pile of little gifts on a chair – guessing that's chocolate from everyone that ate – bribes to be invited back.

Sar ate everything but turkey, the only green item the imp consumed was a key lime pie before we sat down to eat. I made cream cheese omelets for breakfast; Sar ate that, followed by pecan pie, ice cream on top. Today, she washed the dogs, groomed the cats, answered a bit of email, sacked out. The imp's exhausted but catching up on rest so I'm not complaining.

Tomorrow I'll complain. Normal schedule, diet or else. (Someone remind me about the "or else" part.)

That broken wrist didn't slow the imp down as much as I thought it would. I see her rubbing it a bit; she's gonna be rubbing other parts if she's overusing it. Someone remind me what I'm supposed to do to ensure that.

Video conference with Bull in his hospital room. His mother had a spread of food for her boy. Sar wanted to know if possum pie was on the menu. Bull said yes but that he had it sent out our way. I asked the imp what she sent him – it's always a game of one-upman-ship for those two. Sar just arched a brow. Keeping score on that game. Sar matched Bull for consuming pie. Reminded mia bambina he wasn't 100% yet. She teased him a lot anyway. The man said he loved her, still waiting for her to grab those pots/pans, run away with him. The imp said when I got too old to eat peach cobbler, she'd do that. Delivered a swat. They both laughed.

Won't be long before Bull gets some innovative surgery – titanium inserts in his legs. Medics say it makes them good as new. He's up for a few skin grafts on his hands – skin will come from his back. The young man's body is still a bit bruised but his spirits remain high. There are casts on his limbs, some ribald comments written on them, members of his former unit in/out of the hospital room regularly. There's more going on. I'll let Sar fill you in. The imp's writing another piece about her favorite tank-size marine.


Pure Chaos


Cowboy here. Next week is our American holiday, Thanksgiving. For some folks, that's the start of the holiday season. Not for my imp. Sar considers 4th of July the end of 1 year's holiday season, Labor Day the warm up for the next one. Halloween puts my wife into overdrive. She consumes enough chocolate, other sugars to take her through the Thanksgiving preparations. Christmas is a whole other event.

The imp is cooking. The imp is baking. The imp is not eating enough. The imp get little rest.

I've been kicked out of the kitchen, our extra large pups standing guard, growling as I try to get past them to grab my woman. I'm keeping score.

That broken wrist makes things a bit clumsy in the kitchen. Volunteered to help out, got rebuffed. Joan de Arc has to do it all herself. Threatened to burn that little backside if she didn't slow down. Finally got her away from the pups, in bed, didn't have a chance to do squat. Sar fell asleep as soon as her head hit the pillow. I let her sleep. Thought about tying the birbantella to the bed – thought about a few other things I could do –- I let her sleep.

We're not going back to DC for Thanksgiving. Arranged to have a video conference in Bull's hospital room. His mother will have a holiday meal prepared for her boy; we'll speak to him via satellite, wish him well. He and Sar can rib each other about eating road kill, who will eat the most apple/pecan pie, other things they tease each other about. This will make both of them happy. Just seeing that young man sitting up, eating whole food, talking, smiling, that will do all of us a world of good. Have I mentioned he's out of intensive care, in a private room, facing a long bout of rehab, some surgery, on the mend. It will be a long haul, slow recovery but recovery just the same. Counting blessings, very thankful blessings.

Having a small crowd over, about 15, smallest crowd we've had in years. My wife is worn out, won't admit it, won't slow down, 15 is plenty. Rethinking tying her to the bed.


Saving the World


Cowboy here. Have I ever mentioned that my wife could be teaching at the U.S. Naval War College? The imp is a pro at stealth, a wizard at making herself invisible, plus she fights dirty. No apologies out of that pretty mouth, no "oops, sorry," just plain fisticuffs.

We were at a local canine obedience trial, brought our pups along. Sar did a demonstration, a little flair on top of the ordinary stuff – sit, stay, down, heel, come front, etc. Our dogs follow verbal commands as well as hand signals. Sar had them heel to her side by scooting backwards instead of going around her, had them dance by balancing a paw on a shoulder, a few other stunts.

There were several professional trainers at the event, all challenged to take an unknown dog, untrained, perhaps unruly, teach it to sit/stay or down/stay. All performed well. After that, the owners were to follow through. One very young dog – a pit bull – didn't do so well. The owner got frustrated, used the leash to smack the dog on top of its head, kept smacking it.

Sar went nuts. Before I could react, my wife ran over to the man, kick boxed him in the chest. He went down, the imp snatched the leash, smacked him on top of his head. She smacked him about 3 times before I was able to grab the birbantella, haul her off the guy. Police came, ticketed the guy for animal abuse, turned the dog over to animal control. The officers took 1 look at Sar, that innocent face in place, had trouble believing the imp could put the man down with 1 swift kick. That's my wife, saving the world one canine at a time.

Got home and discovered Sar's hand was swollen. My frustration bubbled over, admit I lost my cool for a moment. Delivered a hard swat for jumping into a fray that was none of her business. Emergency room, x-rays, 2 fractured bones in her wrist. Promised retribution when the pain wore off. The imp shrugged then kicked me, got behind the rott, dared me to retaliate. Announced that I'd dump her twinkies stash in the garbage. Heard the gun cabinet open. Think we should unleash this sprite on our country's enemies. Sneaked up behind her, hauled her off to bed, made her beg for mercy.