Love, a Shovel, and Roses = All You Need


Yesterday, I thought about Witness Uganda (Invisible Thread) and what the creators told my students last year about service.

Matt and Griffin told my eighth graders that, to make a difference, “turn to the person next to you and ask, ‘What do you need?'”

For the past six weeks, I’ve been wallowing in my own stuff and wondering if The Beatles were wrong.  What if love isn’t the answer?  What if you can’t love someone enough to make everything okay?

Last night, my neighbor messaged me.  Her daughter’s guinea pig was sick. Touca was not eating.  He was not drinking. She needed a way to transport him to Draper in the morning so a specialist could see him.

I suggested giving him ice cubes for hydration. He was bundled up in front of the fire.

At 6:00 am, I messaged.

She replied, “I just got up.  He’s dead.”

I offered to get him or let him stay at my house during the day. But, they stayed home and cried.

After school, we buried him in my yard.

The art teacher gave me wood to make a marker.

Together, we dug a hole, wrapped Touca in a towel and placed him in the whiskey barrel. Then, we covered him with a rose bush.  We scooped up leaves to keep it from freezing.

Ava chose some of my crystal hearts to set next to him.

Touca is safe.  He’s in our hearts.

And, I feel better for having done something right.

It turns out that “love is all you need.”

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Let’s Talk About Love — Randomly and with Many References

Let’s Talk About Love – Randomly and with Many References

22 September 2015


The Merriam-Webster Student Dictionary defines love:

1 : a quality or feeling of strong or constant affection for and dedication to another <motherly love>
2 a : attraction based on sexual desire : the strong affection and tenderness felt by lovers b : a beloved personDARLING
3 a : warm attachment, enthusiasm, or devotion <love of the sea> b : the object of attachment or devotion
4 : a score of zero in tennis
– in love : feeling love for and devotion toward someone

But, that definition seems to trivialize the feeling of love. Love is overwhelming.

Katherine Hepburn defined love, in her book, Me, “Love has nothing to do with what you are expecting to get – only with what you are expecting to give which is everything.”

When I take that definition to heart, and, when speaking of love, where else can something go, but to the heart, I understand that I cannot love too much. I cannot love too quickly. I cannot love to easily.

To love, I give everything.

In John 13:34, Jesus is quoted, “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another.”

Taken to heart, how can it be wrong to love one another?

Years ago, I was gifted the picture book, Auntie Claus. This inscription read, “Dear Mrs. Hooker, You are our Auntie Claus.”

Auntie Claus has a first and final rule, it is, “whether it’s birthdays, Christmas or Halloween, it is far better to give than to receive.

Therefore, like in A Chorus Line, “won’t forget, can’t regret what I did for love.”

To that end, I’ll take the advice of my friend, Ana, and “never change.” I will continue to pattern myself after Auntie Claus.

Grief can be the garden of compassion. If you keep your heart open through everything, your pain can become your greatest ally in your life’s search for love and wisdom.

— Rumi

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment



The beloved saw this on my icebox today. “You’re a groupie,” he said.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , | Leave a comment

I Don’t Mean This Ugly, But . . .How About Leashes for Children?


This is Gus.  He is a puppy mill survivor and is TERRIFIED of children.

We, the Hooker’s Horde, would be gazillionaires and able to rescue every dog in the world, if we had $1 for every time someone asked, with a sneer, “Are all of those dogs yours?”

Today, the horde, was hanging out in the open space on the private property that our association dues fund. Faith was lounging in the cool grass in the shade, Betty White and Gus were by her side, while Houston and Booker chased tennis balls.

Out of nowhere, twelve children under the age of seven accompanied by only one frazzled blonde, bounded into the quiet. They shrieked.  They ran. They started to chase.


Without missing a beat, I scooped up Betty and hooked Faith and Houston to their leashes.

Some call me a “Crazy Dog Lady.”

The “Crazy Child Lady” ignored the misbehavior of the children and said, “They want to play with that one.  The one that left.”

In the words of one of the elders from The Book of Mormon, “O M Gosh.”

Rather than asking, “Are these all yours?” I said, “You must be making a lot of money with this kids’ camp.”

She replied, “Oh, it’s just a play date.”

The Yellow Dog Project promotes attaching a yellow bandana or ribbon to dogs that are fearful or have issues.

Shouldn’t adults attach something to ill-mannered children? Shouldn’t children be restrained? Shouldn’t children be as well-behaved as my dogs?

A year ago, I was sipping a lovely Pinot Noir in the same open area with my friend and our dogs when we were accosted by children on bicycles that careened into us and spilled my wine.


Really.  I don’t mean this ugly, but .  .  . our dogs are better behaved than most children. Let’s share the open space, the parks, and stop raising hooligans. I’d prefer to have children raised by wolves.  Look how well mine turned out!

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Ray was Right

Ray was Right

Our, and by our, I mean Dwight’s and my friend, Ray, was right. I suspect Dwight is smiling at that statement.

Ray was rarely right. In fact, when his band played Margaritaville, they changed the lyric from “Now I think – hell, it could be my fault” to “Hell, it must be Ray’s fault.

But, he was right.

A few years ago, Ray told me, “Julie, you’re not going to fall in love until Dwight’s gone.”

At the time, I thought, “that’s horrible!” Dwight and I love each other. We both want each other to be happy and loved.

But, for whatever reason, I did not fall in love until Dwight was gone.

Whether it was because Dwight was a great big person and big presence or because I loved him so much there was not room for anyone else, I didn’t, couldn’t, or wouldn’t fall in love until . . . now.

Dwight taught me how to love.

Now, I can love more.


Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

It’s All About Mom: Another MOM-versation

ME:  I’m going to Mexico.

MOM:  Well, will you be home in time to take me for my shot?

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

MOM-versations . . . MOM-versations . . .MOM-versations

MOM:  What did the dermatologist say?

ME:  I’m fine.  There’s nothing suspicious.  I go in every six months to check.

MOM:  Well, why is your face always so pink?


ME: I don’t know.  We didn’t talk about it.  She said I was fine.

MOM: Your face didn’t look like that when you were growing up.  Maybe it’s your makeup.

ME: Because I want my face to be pink? It’s not my makeup.

MOM: Well, what is it?

ME: I don’t know.  It’s like you said, I’m an old lady now.

MOM: Oh, I didn’t say that.  I said you were middle-aged.  Now, let me ask you this.  Have you started “the change?”

Who Am I, Anyway?

Time for Change - Clock

Time for Change – Clock

ME: Mom!  You asked me that the last time you told me I was old. The answer is still “no.”

MOM: Oh, I did not.

ME: Yes, you did.  You’re older than me. My memory is better.

MOM: Oh, well, then, are you sure you haven’t started?

ME: Well, it is hot. Oh, wait! It’s June.

MOM: Do you have regular periods?

Coming SERIOUSLY close to losing it.

ME: Yes.  I have one period each year.

MOM: That’s not regular!

ME: I take birth control so I don’t have to have a period every month.  I don’t enjoy them. I left out any talk of other reasons for birth control.


MOM: Well, who does like Aunt Flow?

ME:  (to myself) Kill me now.

MOM: But, only having one period a year doesn’t sound right. Who came up with that idea? I didn’t know they used the pill for that.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment