MOM-versation about G-Ma-ing the Dogs

Booker T. Washington is having a stay-cation at his G-ma’s house.

Growing up, my brother, Jeff, always (and I mean that literally) stayed at my Nana’s house. One night, I planned to sleepover. But, when mom came to tuck me in and leave, I confessed that I was scared. Mom packed me up and let Jeff stay instead.

Booker T. Washington is much braver than me.


After driving G-ma to her fluff-n-fold (hair appointment), Deseret Book and the grocery store, Booker stayed.

Mom called to fill me in on the details.

MOM:  When I give him his M-E-D-S, I put them in his T-R-E-A-T-S. But, I don’t tell him they have his M-E-D-S. I just spell those words.

ME: (Writing it all down so I can blog about it.) Well, that’s probably for the best.

MOM:  Today, he played with his downstairs piggy and learned how to squeak it. He jumps up on the sofa, but won’t jump up on the chair. I’m going to measure to see if they are the same height.

ME: (Thinking, seriously?) I’ve never thought about the height of the furniture.

MOM:  Well, and, he won’t jump up on my bed. He’ll jump down, but he waits for me to pick him up and put him on the bed.

ME:  He won’t want to come home.

MOM: He knows I’ll be careful and put my hand under his backend so his back doesn’t hurt.

The Next Day

MOM: I measured the sofa and the chair. They are both 18″. But, the bed is 21″. Booker did jump up in the chair today, but I’ll still pick him up when we go to bed.

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And in the End


And in the end

the love you take

is equal to the love you make


The Hooker Horde celebrated snow and Princess’ tenth birthday. Our Berner Bunch of Buddies cheered for us.

Somehow, Princess overcame the odds. Even our pet communicator said, “I don’t know how you did it, but she loves them and they love her. She loves you, too. She’s not going anyplace.”


Our home was covered with yoga mats. Both Faith and Princess needed the extra grip to get up and down.

On February 8th, just as I left for school, Faith’s legs gave out. I helped her settle.

When I came home, she could not walk.

We loaded up in the Element and went straight to Dr. Prior.


Princess and I puttered around the waiting area. When we walked into the big room, Dr. Prior had tears in his eyes when he explained, “She ruptured her ACL.”

Sitting on the floor, Faith rested her head in my lap, looked at me with her pretty brown eyes, and told me, “Momma, I’m done. I can’t do it anymore.”

Knowing the history with Faith’s breathing and elongated soft palate, she was not a candidate for surgery at 8-1/2 years-old.

Dr. Prior, knowing the history with my “Berner Peeps,” offered to let me take her home.

Faith said, “no.”

The next day, after I lost my Kaibab family for the choice I made, I was given flowers and a note that “Faith lives.”

And, she does.

Faith lives.

Then, on February 24th, the cancer came back.

I poured myself a glass of liquid courage and Princess helped herself.

Big tears were cried with Dr. Prior when we said “goodbye.”


Our friends sent this beautiful portrait of our girl.


The Little Prince came home on St. Patrick’s Day.

Ten days later, he did not feel very well.


Turns out, the baby had a liver shunt.


He made me brave.

We traveled to Fort Collins. We even took his Princess from Auntie Barbz.


But, my Little Prince couldn’t make it.

He said “goodbye” and took our hearts.


We celebrated Mother’s Day.

My girls and I picked up Honey.




This ended my first year at Park City High School.


Diesel arrived.

He fit right into the Hooker Horde. Diesel was Princess’ boyfriend. He slept on her bed and loved her furry siblings. He even loved the puppy.

We took “The Little Prince” to see “Prince.”

All of our hearts broke again.


Betty White was tired. Her knee was displaced. Dementia was difficult; it isolated her from the pack.

With a growl and snap, Betty left.

September 9th

With BW leaving, there was room for Hef (short for Hefner and Hefty).

He flew in from Houston on my birthday.


Diesel was so proud of himself. He snuck off and jumped in the pond.


A few days later, Dr. Keri, Christie, and Dr. Prior and I wept.

My boy, Princess’ buddy, was filled with cancer.

October 28th

Heidey Hooker arrived from Missouri.


December 30th, 2017


In the end,

the love you take

is equal to the love you make.

We made a lot of love in 2017.

2017, you kicked my ass.

2017, you broke my heart.

2017, you gave me the Liver Shunt Society; new Berner friends and family; and, you made me brave.

2018, BRING IT.

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My Year of No Shopping Starts Today


In a piece by Ann Patchett published in the New York Times, Patchett tells the story of her friend who made a conscious decision that she had enough stuff.  For one year, her friend did not buy shoes, clothes, jewelry or purses.

About a month ago, I read Patchett’s piece. The idea of a year with no shopping has been swimming in my head ever since.

I cross-posted it and met Facebook friends that wanted to try it, too.

After weeks of thought, I have considered what a year of no shopping means to me. These are my rules for 2018 (although, I’m starting today, Christmas):

  • I will not purchase clothes, shoes, accessories, purses, or jewelry.
  • I will not purchase anything I do not need. Yes, I realize “need” is subjective.
    • This means, I will use up the shampoo in my shower,  my guest shower, and under the bathroom sinks.
    • I may purchase two Dream Tint foundations at Lunatic Fringe during the course of the year if I run out of what is currently in my makeup drawer.
    • I just bought 2 BLINC mascaras and have an unopened Maybelline Big Lash in my drawer. Therefore, I should be able to manage with what I have.
    • I may purchase hair product, but only from the salon.
  • I may purchase services for myself and friends.
    • Self Care is essential. Therefore, I will keep my Align Spa membership and continue to add upgrades.
  • In regard to gifting, all gifts wil be:
    • events, memories, or experiences
    • consumable (like a dinner or a bottle)
    • or, a book
  • Now, about the dogs — this impacts them, too.
    • They will, with my help, be more conscientious about toys, including tennis balls.
    • We do not need any additional toys. But, I will continue, obviously, to stuff KONGS with treats.
  • I can buy plants and flowers for the yard, but I cannot purchase yard art or pots.

To accomplish my goal, I am doing the following:

Hitting the UNSUBSCRIBE button from every retailer (even the ones I REALLY like).

  • Recycling catalogs instead of bringing them into my home (even J. Peterman).
  • Avoiding the seasonal aisle at the market.
  • Wait one week before purchasing anything that I think I need (ex: vacuum). If I wait a week, I may find that emptying the bag on my old Kirby is just as effective.

I believe these rules will work for me. Choose your own. Then, together, let’s see how much time and money we save.

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Being Heidey Hooker by Booker

Welcome Heidey!

Since I am the oldest Hooker in our home, I thought I’d give you a little advice on being Hooker.

Hooker.  It’s a thing. Not everyone can be one.

We are Hooker’s Horde. Mom is not a hoarder.

We’re Hookers.  Being a Hooker means that, like Grandma says, “where much is given, much is expected.”  We’ve been given a lot. We have a warm home, nutritious and delicious food, soft beds, toys, bones, and love. So, we pay it forward. Whenever someone needs a place to crash  or hospice care, they come to our home.

Mom is a little crazy. But, she owns her crazy and her crazy doesn’t hurt anyone else. So, it’s okay.


This is a picture of our mom last year with Faith. Faith crossed the Rainbow Bridge in January. Faith and Houston didn’t like Momma Zombie.  Mom loves Halloween, but we don’t invite trick-or-treaters. We (the dogs) put an end to that craziness.


You should know that mom is a vegetarian. She makes us eat our vegetables. But, she covers them in chicken and chicken broth. Every week she slow cooks A LOT of chicken for us. We have Merrick brand kibble for croutons. Usually, our mornings include yogurt and blueberries.

This is G-ma.

We LOVE the G-ma. On the left, she’s feeding Hef (short for Hefner) from her plate at the rehabilitation center. G-ma is bionic. She has two new knees. G-ma gives us gifts. She REALLY loves Berners because she likes to hug you. The photo on the right is G-ma feeding Diesel some of Jeff’s birthday cake.


This is Uncle Jeff with mom and our “dear cousin Lynn.” She’s more than a cousin. She loves us.

Mom thinks that people should drive respectfully in our ‘hood. So, she put up this sign.IMG_1458

Now, it looks like you may actually weigh more than mom. When we walk, we need to be careful. If we pull mom over and she breaks a hip, we’ll be stuck inside for the winter.

Having lived with 4 other Berners, I can tell you that you don’t want that.  Winter is your season. Snow is fun.


When mom comes home after a long day at school (or, even after 15 minutes), we like to welcome her with confetti.  Nothing shows her how much we love her more than toilet paper confetti.


This, as you now know, is our front door. That’s Honey looking at you. She’s about seven-months-old and we keep asking mom to give her back. But, that’s not what Hookers do. So, Honey is staying. Mom keeps telling us that she will grow up and stop being a “hooligan.” We’re WAITING.

Mom got us a bottle of ZinfanTAIL to celebrate your arrival. The champagne is hers. Apparently, a glass of champagne or red wine (or both) is healthy for our hoo-man.


This is your brand new bed with some brand new toys. The thing is, ultimately we share everything.  We’re Hookers. Your bed is memory foam (just like the family bed). Yep . . . mom is single. We’re pretty sure that’s because no one else wants to sleep with her and six dogs. That’s their loss.


Some of the toys in this basket are special and we haven’t been allowed to touch them for months.


Auntie Barbz sent the Little Prince his own squeaky lamb to herd and the hedgehog princess. Those toys haven’t been off the mantle since Lil P left.

The mittens and the hat (it squeaks) were in the BarkBox that someone sent our Princess for Christmas. Mom put them aside for her to use this year. But, Princess went to join Faith in Feburary. Now, they belong to you because you are a Utah dog.

So, welcome.  You’re a Hooker now.

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MOM-versation about Poop and Driving

ME: Standing in my driveway, holding a roadie that she cannot see since I’m talking to her on the phone.  She wouldn’t even know what a roadie was.

STILL ME:  I can’t chat for long; I have to go to the State Volleyball Championship game in Orem.

MOM:  Well, I hope you’re not driving alone.

ME:  Nope.  I’m getting picked up.

MOM:  Who is driving? I hope they are safe.  Will you all be wearing your seat belts?  Are you coming home before it gets dark?

ME: Mom, we teach high school. We are not in high school.  Tell me about your day.

MOM (chuckling): I was going to tell you about a little joke that we have in the physical therapy room.

ME:  Tell me.

MOM:  I saw that one of the other patients was wearing a badge. When he saw me looking at it, he asked, “Do you want to see my badge.” I looked and it said, “I POOPED TODAY.”


ME: What?

MOM: For older people, after surgery, it’s hard to that.


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A Manic MOM-versation

downloadMOM:  Slow down.

ME (unloading groceries from the car): What?

MOM: Slow down.

ME:  This is my speed.

MOM: You and Jeff move too fast; it’s not healthy.

ME (pausing): What?

MOM: It’s not good. Moving that quickly is unhealthy.

ME: Where do you think we learned it?

MOM:  Your father.


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A Visit from Saint Keri

‘Twas the night before my first day of school, when all through the horde, all the creatures were stirring, chewing, and digging.

Honey, in all her puppy cuteness, decided to dig while I sipped what I thought would be my last weekday wine for a while.


(See, she is cute.)

Dirty paws and a dirty nose meant that the two of us would take a bath. So, I filled the tub in my lavatory. After wrestling Honey into the tub and into the water, I realized the puppy shampoo was in the guest bath.

I told her to stay.

Yea, right.

She did not stay.

While I dashed from the bath, through the bedroom and into the guest bath, Honey followed. Well, it was more like she chased me — dripping wet and shaking water EVERYWHERE.

Diesel, Houston, Booker, Gus and Betty White let me know that someone was at the door.

Snatching a towel, I wrapped it around myself and darted down the stairs.

Saint Keri was at the door with  a BACK-TO-SCHOOL Survival Basket!

What was inside the basket will make me a better teacher.

First, I’ll be happy because I ate a delicious cookie after re-wrangling Honey into the tub.


The “My cat is a Democrat” magnet is already on the back of the Element. People are always shocked to learn that I have cats. They won’t be surprised that they are Democrats.

I’ll wear “Love Wins” tomorrow. (How perfect after #Charlottesville!)  I am grateful for empathetic friends that make me a better teacher.


Gum, lip balm and hand sanitizer — classroom essentials. No one likes a teacher with dragon breath and dry lips.


The wine and drinking buddies will stay at the Hooker House. Coming home to tea, bath ice cream, facial products, and aromatherapy will make every day a holiday when I return.


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Another Maltese MOM-versation

The Newsroom RING TONE calls to me from my phone at 9:30 pm.

MOM CELL (because she refuses to give up her landline and only calls me on her cell phone because my 435 area code is long distance) appears on the screen

ME:  Is she okay?

MOM:  Julie?  Julie? Can you hear me?

ME:  Yes.  Is Betty White okay?

MOM: I have to tell you that I’m spoiling your little girl.

ME:  Good. She deserves it. What are you doing?

MOM:  Well, she didn’t eat all of her food and I remembered how much Diesel like graham crackers so I smashed a half of graham cracker into crumbs and she at ALL of it.

ME:  I bet she’s happy.

MOM:  Well, she didn’t cry as much today. But, when she wakes up, she puts her nose in the air and just cries for you.IMG_1424

ME:  I don’t believe that. I don’t even think she likes me.

MOM:  And, she’s so good about going outside. She just went outside and did a poo.


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A Maltese MOM-versation


MOM (holding Betty White on her lap in the car):  Do you have any idea how old she really is?

ME:  Dixie thinks 20. We thought she was 15 when she came to live with me.

MOM:  Well, I hope she doesn’t expire while she’s with me.

ME: She is going to outlive all of us.

MOM:  What would I do if she expired?

ME:  She won’t.  Her little joints a fluid and her heart is strong.

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A Medical MOM-versation

Most often, a MOM-versation makes me laugh — hard and for a really long time.

Growing up, when I whined, “That’s not fair,” my dad asked, “Who said life was fair?”

Now I believe that life grows increasingly less fair with each passing year.

Nine days ago, mom pulled up next to a mailbox. However, her “next to” was a little too far away. So, she opened the door, put her left foot on the ground and reached to put her envelope inside.

Having forgotten to put the Honda in park, it started to roll — dragging her with it.

40 feet later, the Honda mounted a curb and stopped at a second curb just outside the Kentucky Fried Chicken. (Ironic? Perhaps. My second job was at a KFC. I lasted five weeks. But, thank God for the double curb at the Colonel’s on 33rd South.)

A pair of good samaritans scooped mom up and drove her home.

Since mom didn’t want to tell her children, “dear Cousin Lynn” (yep, that’s what mom calls her) drove up, dug the gravel out of mom’s knee and bandaged it.

The next day, mom told me because “dear Cousin Lynn” said, “If you keep secrets from Jeff and Julie, they will keep secrets from you.”

To celebrate the 24th of July, Pioneer Day (Pie and Beer Day), mom and I visited the Urgent Care. There, she received antibiotics and a tetanus shot.


One week later, the bandaging was still sticking to the open skin and making it bleed. Mom wanted to see her “wonderful doctor.” So, we did.

Wearing the same house dress because she can “pin it and my garments up to keep anything from rubbing against my knee,” she didn’t smile as they peeled back the bandage.

Doctor:  Tell me what happened.

Mom:  (Reviewed the accident; see above.)

Doctor:  Any other accidents?

Mom (hesitant, but honest) described the accident that totaled her Toyota Camry, the milk incident, etc.

Doctor:  Let’s talk about your driving. I think you’re a nice person. You don’t try to hurt people, but it looks like you hurt people when you drive.

Mom was quiet.

Mom:  Julie doesn’t think I should drive. But, Jeff, our son, said I can drive if I stay off the freeways and don’t drive at night.

Doctor: It’s time to stop. I’m telling you this because I care about you.

The doctor said he would notify the DMV.

Mom thanked him profusely.

But, I saw a few tears. I heard a sigh.

Mom:  I won’t be able to drive to Cafe Rio to get my tostada salad by myself.

Me:  I’ll take you.

This MOM-versation hurt both of us.

Me:  I’m proud of you.

Mom:  You were right.

Me:  I wish I wasn’t.

Mom:  I know.

Me:  Dad would be proud of you.

Mom:  Oh, no. He’d be disgusted.

Me: No. He is proud. You are brave.



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