Murphy Brown & Eldin, the Painter

From 1988 -1998, Murphy Brown brought relevant politics to comedy.  The show also introduced us to Eldin, the painter.  Brown, a journalist, hired Eldin to paint her townhouse.  Somehow, he never finished.

A few years ago, I hired my own version of Eldin, the painter.  He had a great eye.  

I love the colors in my bedroom.  Each wall blends like a cup of coffee, latte, cappuccino, or espresso.  My friend, Carol, helped me choose and electric purple trim.

photo 1

Each wall of the stairway is a different yellow blending all the way to the top where it culminates in bright yellow like the solar plexus chakra.

photo 2photo 3


While I went to school each day, my neighbor, Christie, checked on my dogs.  She came at random times.  Each time she visited, my Eldin was sitting in the side yard with his Great Pyrenees.  Never once, in a month, did she see my Eldin with a paintbrush.

On September 11, 2010, my Eldin greeted me at the door.  Tarps covered the furniture, only one layer of paint was on the bathroom wall, and he said, “Do you need a roommate?”

While I refrained from losing it entirely, I replied in a calm voice, “No.  No.  I need a painter who finishes on time.”


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The Newest Party Foul


Double-dipping, bringing an inexpensive bottle of wine, being “over served” and loud — those are party fouls with which I’m familiar.  We’ve all seen those.


Yesterday, at the salon, I was introduced to a new party foul.  Before blowdrying my hair, my stylist looked at my glass of Pinot Grigio and said, “We should put that over there.  Hair in the wine is a party foul.”



Duly noted.


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6 is the Magic Number

Last night, walking with my neighbor, we talked about feeling “overwhelmed.” Someone once told her to make a list of SIX things to accomplish each day. Six is manageable.

More than six, becomes overwhelming.

I’m trying it today.

1. Feed the dogs.
2. Walk the dogs.
3. Return the key to the boutique.
4. Get my hair cut
5. Laundry
6. Water the garden

That is enough.

What six things are on your list? Will you check them all off today? I will.

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Relationships– Just Like Feeding the Dogs

Relationships – Just Like Feeding the Dogs



As an English teacher, I avoid math. The only time I “do” math is when I multiply Charlie’s original IQ of 68 in the novella, Flowers for Algernon, by three on the white board to show that Charlie’s IQ was surgically increased to 204. When I successfully manage the multiplication, my class goes wild. Cheers ring through the room.


I’ve been thinking a lot about percentages lately. In real relationships, it is never 50/50 in regard to give and take. But, in a healthy relationship, it should balance out.


With the dogs, their portions of food are not equal. That is not because I love Gus less, it is simply because he is the smallest. Faith receives the most food because she is 90-pounds. Booker has a smaller portion for his 26-pound body. And, finally, weighing in at 16-pounds, Gus gets the smallest. It is a bit like Goldilocks. The portions, including pumpkin and yogurt are “just right” for each dog.


Dog Food 


Back to relationships . . . I own my part. My romantic relationships have fallen apart because of infidelity, rigidness, and me playing the “fixer-upper.” In each relationship, I know I share a percentage of the blame for its disintegration.


I also claim my part in the success of my romantic relationships. I am compassionate, warm, giving, and thoughtful.


The same is true for friendships. Real friends bolster you when you are down and cheer for you as you rise. In friendships, no one is up all the time. It is a balance. When I was very low, a friend told me, “I couldn’t be there for you in April because you weren’t there for me the last six months.”


Again, with a relationship, friendship, or feeding the dogs, there is a balance. It is not always equal. But, in the end, everyone gets what he or she need and it equals out.

? Percent

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Liquor Laws

Growing up LDS in Utah, the liquor laws that so many complain about were irrelevant to me until I grew up.

In the late eighties, to get a drink in a restaurant, one had to get up from the table and buy mini bottles. That was odd.  Now, you can’t buy mini bottles.

Over the years, the laws morphed. Frankly, I didn’t keep up with them.

But, now, there is a new law. Now, restaurants and bars ask EVERYONE for identification. It makes an old broad like me feel young.

ID-ing an  old broad at Ghidotti's.

ID-ing an old broad at Ghidotti’s.

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It’s More Than a Dog Walk

I’ve written about this before. . . when I walk my dogs, it’s more than a dog walk. It’s a commitment to engage with my neighbors and my community.

I wish I’d taken a picture tonight. Faith, Booker, Gus, Daisy, Jack, Charlie, and Marly all played in the open space while we, their stewards, chatted about barbecues on the Fourth of July, jobs, and dogs.

Before getting to the open space, we visited with Shadow and Teddy. They were out with their “dad,” Jeff.

Prior to that, we stood outside Vanessa’s house and visited with the neighbors who don’t have dogs.

As I recall, there’s a yo-yo trick called, “Walking the Dog.” Here, in my ‘hood, walking the dog is connecting.

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What’s in a Name? by Gus Hooker

What’s In a Name?

By Gus Hooker

In 2010, I was rescued from a puppy mill in Missouri. With a little help, along with 89 other dogs, I made my way to Utah. Eight of us ended up at Furburbia.

The hu-mom saw my picture. As you can see, I’m a strawberry-blonde – just like her! They called me “Barley.” Hu-mom said she was going to foster, but that was never her intent.


She came into my kennel and crouched down next to me. I could smell the treats in her pocket, but I pushed myself as far as I could into the corner. Hu-mom picked me up and I made my body rigid.

The curly-haired lady at Furburbia explained that that was why I was the only one left. Then, she told hu-mom, “He may never be a ‘real’ dog.”

When we got home, hu-mom called me “Harley” because it rhymed with Barley, but sounded tough. She knew I was tough.

But, I didn’t respond.

One day, hu-mom and her friend, Elfie (her real name is Nora), were sitting at the table. I was on the landing of the stairs watching them.

Hu-mom said the name “Gus.” My ears perked up and I looked her in the eye. I told her, “That’s right. My name is Gus.” 

According to hu-mom, I was named for Captain Augustus McCrae in Lonesome Dove. He was a Texas Ranger that just needed a second chance.



Last year, hu-mom read The Fault in Our Stars by John Green.Image

One of the main characters is like Captain Augustus McCrae. His name is Augustus Waters. He needed a second chance, too.



I needed a second chance.

I got it.


The other day, my hu-mom’s mom said, “It is funny that you have a dog named after your grandfather.”


My hu-mom’s dad’s dad was named Gustave Sandstrom. After having a horse shot out from underneath him in World War I, he got a second chance, too.


You know how names have meanings? I think Gus should mean “second chance.”

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