Spice – The Tiny Dog Who Stole Our Hearts

Spice, Colorado 2017

It is with sad and heavy hearts Ron, and I must share that our beloved Spice left this world Wednesday night. Spice was Ron’s dog mainly, and along with her sister, Sugar, nursed Ron through bladder and prostate cancer. She was loyal and loving and will live in our hearts forever. Our lives were better because of her sweet soul. 

When Ron found her in her crate that morning, her tag had become lodged in the metal grate of the door. It appeared she couldn’t get it loose. She was diagnosed with a collapsed trachea many years ago and at 13 ½ years old, she had been having more problems. In dog years she was 91, spunky, yet frail. I can only hope and pray that her passing did not allow her to suffer.

Both dogs had been crate-trained for ‘sleeping only’ since they were born in Montana. For such an odd thing to occur breaks our hearts. Her sister, Sugar is lost without her. The dogs had only been separated twice for overnight stays at the vet. Sugar suffers from diabetes and is frail too. The first thing I did was take Sugar’s collar and tag off.


Sugar & Spice 2011, Montana

Our pain is inconsolable. We got these two magnificent girls in 2004 when they were 4 months old. Spice was the runt of the litter, and sugar was a roly-poly fluff ball. My husband had only months before undergone radical surgery for bladder and prostate cancer. He spent the days alone while I worked many long hours as a bookkeeper/estate paralegal. I knew the two dogs would require him to get up out of his chair and give him something to care for. It worked. The life came back into his eyes, and he was ready to experience life again.

How do you thank two little souls for giving you the most precious things in life: loyalty, unconditional love, and kindness? From the day we got them in May 2004, they have filled our lives with joy.


Sugar, Ron, and Spice, Florida 2015

I have struggled with the writing of The Meadow Fairy and wasn’t sure why. I am an empathic writer, and there has been so much unrest in the world. These things affect me deeply. It seemed that certain things had to happen in the universe and in my life in order for me to add them into Abby’s new story. I don’t question how or why this happens any longer. I just wait, and then, I write.

Yesterday, I knew that the only way I could pay tribute to our beloved girls was to write them into the story so they could remain immortal on paper. In this way, their personalities will shine and spread love and joy to others.

Spice’s ashes will come back to us so that we still have a bit of her with us. Her spirit has joined the collective, and I know we will see her again, in another place, and time.

Love,

Ron and Colleen


After – Hugh’s Weekly Photo Challenge

Hugh’s Weekly Photo Challenge: Week 30 – After
invites us to share images of what ‘After’ means to us.

Hugh says:

‘…and they all lived happily ever after.’

“I remember those words so well. In fact, along with ‘Once upon a time…’ they must be words that many of us remember reading during our childhood. A few songs that include the word ‘after’ also come to mind, but you wouldn’t want to hear me sing! I may be Welsh (aren’t Welsh people supposed to be good singers?), but I never trod in the footsteps of my father who, for many years, sang in a Welsh Male Voice Choir.”

This week, Hugh wants us to show him a photo that captures the word ‘After.’ Maybe it’s a pop group or cast of a show taking a bow after their performance, or how about somebody taking a well-earned rest after a hard day’s work? Maybe you have some photos that capture the before and after of a project you completed, or of a scene that captures the result of the aftermath of a rainstorm or of lots of visitors?

Want to join in the fun? Here’s what you need to do.

1. Take or choose a photo that you’ve taken which interprets After.
2. Create a new post on your blog entitled “Hugh’s Weekly Photo Challenge: Week 30 – ‘After’
3. Add the photo(s) you have taken to the post and tell us a little about what you are showing.
4. Create a *pingback to this post and/or leave a link to your post in the comments section so other participants can view the post.

*Due to the current problem WordPress is experiencing with Pingbacks (read the post here), I’d highly recommend that you copy and paste a link to your entry into the comments section of this post. 

Not sure how to create a pingback? Click here for a step by step guide on how to create one.

Here are a few images of what “after” means to me.

After the Storm: Runoff in a creek at Glacier National Park

Here are Spice & Sugar – all cleaned up after their grooming appointment!

I hope you enjoyed my take on “After.” I hope to see you all again!

Time to start editing my book! 😀


Welcome to Silver’s Tea Party – A February “TEA” Sharing Event

Hello, and good day! Welcome to my tea party! Much like the weekend coffee sharing event from Part-Time Monster, my monthly Sunday tea party is where I want to catch up with friends, old and new! This is also a way for me to introduce you to some great new blogs and people that I have virtually met along the way! In addition, I want to share my great love of tea, and all things TEA!

Happy Valentines Day!
I hope you have found some time to tell the ones you love how much you enjoy their company!

So let’s begin. Please come in and have a seat. Make yourself comfortable… What kind of tea would you like?


Since our last tea party in January, I have been busy! How about you? Towards the end of January, I got to meet one of my favorite blog friends and author, Wendy Anne Darling who also lives here in Colorado. You can read all about our fun visit here.

Two of my best friends had book releases this month, Melissa Barker-Simpson, with her book, Brothers in Arms, and Ronovan Hester, with his book, Amber Wake – Gabriel Falling, along with co-author P. S. Bartlett. I am so proud of all the hard work they put into their books. You might want to check them out if you are looking for a good read!

I have been writing like I am possessed by the very fairy nymphs I am writing about. I must say the journey in writing my book, The Swamp Fairy, has been an interesting and educational experience. I feel like I put every emotion and my entire soul into my writing. If not for my trusty writing muses, Sugar and Spice, I don’t know what I would do. They seem to lend me their brains as they sit with me in my creative room, hour after hour.

Sugar and Spice after a long writing session with Mom!

Another dear friend and fabulous author, Seamus Gallagher, did me a great honor in awarding me the “Champions Award.”

In his own words:

“…in a world that seems to rush around at an even faster pace than ever, I’d like to take a few moments to have yeez consider how important it is to acknowledge publicly the many wunnerful folks who populate Blog Land… there are already gazillions of splendid Awards, recognising the goodness of so many of our fellow scribblers and readers… supporters all in their own way, worthy of a thousand special ‘thank you’ nods… the intent of these CHAMPIONS AWARDS is to differentiate those fine people who go that extra special mile for others… my fervent hope is that this will circulate and ‘viralise’ (new WURD, Mabel, settle down) and trigger your own CHAMPIONS AWARDS for those you know deserve it!

Thank you, Seamus! I am honored beyond belief to be honored by such a giving friend who works so hard to promote others on his blog, on Facebook, and Twitter.

I have the BEST blog friends! ❤ Thanks for making me feel so special!

*~*

I told you I had a couple of special guests I wanted to share with you and here they are!

First up is my friend Melissa, from her amazing blog, The Aran Artisan! If you haven’t met her you will want to check out her blog! It is a delightful mix of family, farming, crafts, and a life filled with wonder and love! Whenever I visit Melissa’s blog, I feel like I know her in real life. She is so comfortable to be around. So come on in, have a cup of tea and chat with Melissa for a bit!

Happy Valentine’s Day from Melissa, the Aran Artisan

How fitting that Colleen has invited me over on this celebratory day of love to discuss tea–something near and dear to my heart, and something which we share a passion for. Thank you, Colleen! It’s such a delight to join you today for a cuppa and to connect with your friends and readers.

As a home farmer and gardener, I grow many plants used in making hot tea, iced tea, and fermented tea (also known as kombucha). My husband and I are working to combine these plants into an area all its own, making a proper tea garden. I’m going to tell you about a few of these plants, but first, some facts about tea…

Most people have heard the term ‘tea leaves’. Used, in general, it refers to the plant Camellia sinensis which tea- white, yellow, green, oolong, and black- is made from.

Tea can also be made from one or a combination of the flowers, fruit, seeds, roots, and leaves of other plants. Technically these are not teas at all, containing no tea in them, but are tisanes, an infused drink made with plants other than Camellia sinensis. Here in the western world, we rather call them herbal teas, and so it is. The fact is many of these herbal teas contain fruits and spices also. With all this choice, there are endless combinations that can be created to suit the palate of each tea drinker.

Today I’m offering one of my favourite tea blends which is made using four herbs. It’s modified from a packaged tea that was served at a massage therapist’s office I used to visit, and is both delicious and healthy. Honestly, I don’t care much for the taste of liquorice, but I do adore both the herbs fennel and tarragon. The flavours combine so smoothly that there’s only a hint of liquorice taste and it’s well balanced with the other herbs.

Relaxing Tea

1 tsp. French Tarragon leaves– With a liquorice flavour, it’s high in antioxidants, vitamins C and A, and is an excellent source of minerals, calcium, iron, zinc, and more. It aids digestion and is calming and destressing. It is not recommended during pregnancy, though.

¾ tsp. Peppermint Leaves– Peppermint has so many benefits. The ones that I find it most useful for within my family are for relieving nausea, cold symptoms, and headaches. It’s also a digestive aid, reduces flatulence, and is an excellent source of potassium, calcium, iron, manganese, and magnesium. There are many, many more comforting uses and it’s worth researching.

½ tsp. Fennel Leaf– Also liquorice flavoured, but milder and different. I can’t quite describe it. When eaten right off the plant, it doesn’t have the same zingy mouth numbing sensation as French Tarragon. It may be a bit sweeter. Its benefits are also great…an appetite suppressant, a breath freshener, a diuretic (relieves water retention), and is high in vitamin C, potassium, iron, folate, and fibre. My children pick it off the plant and gnaw on it throughout the day. The seeds are easy to harvest and can be dried and crushed for use in tea also.

½ tsp. Basil Leaves– In traditional Indian medicine, Ayurveda, basil tea is used to treat cold and fever, heart and eye problems, and to give stress relief. It’s an excellent provider of vitamins K and A, as well as high in manganese and iron.

I use fresh herbs when possible because it’s easier to just cut and brew. If using dried, which might be necessary for winter when plants are dormant, then use the same ratio as above. If combining fresh and dried, keep in mind that dried herbs are more potent and a general belief is that 1/3 the amount of dried is needed vs. fresh herbs for the same flavour to be imparted. Brew up a pot and see what you think. Experiment and adjust the individual amounts for your personal taste–just remember, it’s a good idea to keep notes.

Warning: Most medicinal herbs have warnings attached, especially for pregnant women or people with major health issues. When in doubt, please consult your doctor or a local herbalist before using these herbs for medicinal purposes.

Also Note: The nutritional value and benefits I’ve listed above are not all-inclusive, far from it. If one appeals to you, visit the library, a bookstore, or search the internet for reliable sources to research it further in depth.

I got my first herb book in 1994 and my most recent one two months ago at Christmas. The following reference list is where I looked to confirm the health information mentioned above.

References:

http://www.nutrition-and-you.com/healthy-herbs.html

‘The Pleasure of Herbs’ by Phyllis Shaudys

‘Herbal Renaissance’ by Steven Foster

‘Holistic Herbal’ by David Hoffmann

Again, I’d like to give big heartfelt thanks to Colleen for having me into her home today. It’s been my pleasure!

Melissa in the middle with two of her lovely daughters

I’ll leave you now with this Irish Proverb–

‘Life is like a cup of tea, it’s all in how you make it.’

Cheers! Melissa Xx

I want to thank Melissa for being so kind to share her passion for tea and for growing all things natural in the lovely paradise of Ireland. Make sure and connect with her on Twitter @aranislandgirl.

My next guest is Barbara Venkataraman, who wrote the book above called, Teatime With Mrs. Grammar Person. She is here to share a spot of tea and to tell us about her BOOK GIVEAWAY OFFER, so make sure to read how you can enter to win this entertaining and fun book!

Barbara says:

Allow me to introduce you to Mrs. Grammar Person, a lovely lady who reminds us of Mary Poppins or Mrs. Doubtfire and who offers witty and helpful grammar advice all blended together in a nice cup of Earl Grey.

If ” I could care less” sounds like nails on a chalkboard to you, you will love this book which endeavors to entertain and educate while teaching grammar through a series of humorous vignettes.

You will learn the difference between “complimentary” and “complementary,” “affect,” and “effect,” and “discreet” and “discrete,” through tea-time tales served with a spoonful of sugar.

And there’s more. Although by no means a complete survey of the rules of grammar, Mrs. Grammar Person addresses such bugaboos as when to use “whom” or “who,” and “it’s” or “its”.

There’s also a helpful discussion of when to use the subjunctive tense. Then there is Mrs. Grammar Person’s soliloquy on the word “get,” one of those words that has many, many uses and which we all use with alarming frequency, but which, if we want to write well, we would do well to avoid. And you won’t want to miss Mrs. Grammar Person writing in verse!

Mrs. G.P. is so pleased to make your acquaintance that she is giving away FIVE of her Kindle books in a random drawing.

To enter, please comment on this post with your e-mail and your personal pet peeve, be it grammar or syntax, so that Mrs. G.P. may soothe your jangled nerves while offering tea and sympathy.

Book description:

Fear not, Gentle Writer, Mrs. Grammar Person is here and she has the answers to all of the questions you never thought to ask. As a dedicated and serious grammarian, she will do what it takes to be entertaining and enlightening, but never vulgar or coarse. Heavens, no! Where are her smelling salts?

Warm and witty, Mrs. G.P. makes grammar interesting with rhyming, wishful thinking, story-telling and a champagne toast. You are cordially invited to join her for a spot of tea!

Find Teatime With Mrs. Grammar Person
on Amazon … BUT DON’T FORGET! TODAY, let her know your pet peeves in grammar by leaving your email address in the comments (along with your grammar gripes) to be entered into a drawing to win her book! FIVE KINDLE BOOKS WILL BE awarded by the author.

Author, Barbara Venkataraman

Award-winning author, Barbara Venkataraman is an attorney and mediator specializing in family law and debt collection.

She is the author of “Teatime with Mrs. Grammar Person”; “The Fight for Magicallus,” a children’s fantasy; a humorous short story entitled, “If You’d Just Listened to Me in the First Place”; and two books of humorous essays: “I’m Not Talking about You, Of Course” and “A Trip to the Hardware Store & Other Calamities,” which are part of the “Quirky Essays for Quirky People” series. Both books of humorous essays won the “Indie Book of the Day” award.

Her popular Jamie Quinn Mystery Series includes: “Death by Didgeridoo,” “The Case of the Killer Divorce,” “Peril in the Park,” and just released, “Engaged in Danger”–the fourth Jamie Quinn mystery!

Follow Barbara on her blog, “A Trip to the Mobius Strip,” at barbaravenkataraman.blogspot.com.

I promised you sweets and here they are!

Thanks for stopping in to celebrate the month of February with me. I hope you enjoyed our tea party and the chance to visit with some new folks, and learn a bit more about teas! I know I loved it!

WE Made It!

Silver moves in

Silver moves in this week!

We made it to Colorado Springs early this afternoon. Ron and I and Sugar and Spice are exhausted but exhilarated that we have finally achieved our destination. Here are a few photos from the trip north through New Mexico into Colorado: (I took these through the car window. The quality is not the best). Don’t forget to click on the photos to enlarge them. 😀

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New Mexico

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Climbing in elevation

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Welcome to Colorado!

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Up Ahead… a dusting of snow on the Rocky Mountains

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The scenery continues to change

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The sign says… BEAR Crossing!

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Colorado Springs – Straight Ahead!

I want to say a special THANK YOU to Melissa Barker-Simpson who not only is an amazing author, she is also a fantastic friend. I could not have accomplished this move without her kindness and friendship. Mel wrote numerous articles and stories for my blog while I was on the road traveling this last few weeks. I am forever grateful for such a great friend. ❤

Tomorrow, we get the keys to our new house. I have no idea how long it will be until I have WiFi, so please be patient and know that I miss you all. Thank you for reading and I will see you all soon.

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The Saga Continues…

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The road opened before us this morning as we headed out before sunrise toward Oklahoma City. Once through Oklahoma we entered into Arkansas and saw the scenery change from open prairie to forests of multi-colored trees. No pictures as the bugs increased with the temperature making the windshield a blurry mess from all the bug bodies that gave their lives to the open road.

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The temperature continued to rise and the road seemed to grow in length before our final stop for the night in Tallulah, Louisiana. A 9 hour driving day finally came to an end. Sugar and Spice said they are sick of all of this traveling!

Tomorrow, Pensacola. Then the really hard work sets in!

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I know Sugar and Spice are about done with traveling. They loved having a couch to sleep on in the motel tonight.

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Hi from Colorado Springs

jumping for joy

Hi, everyone! We made it to Colorado Springs. Whew! 1300 miles in two and a half days! Ron is worn out from all the driving, and Sugar and Spice are tired from sleeping in the back seat.

I am the navigator and my trip planner took us right through the heart of Dallas, TX yesterday morning. The traffic was outrageous at 10:30 a.m. Never again! Somehow, I navigated us through total gridlock, bumper to bumper. Poor Ron does all the driving since I hate it. I am one kick-butt navigator, though!

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Sugar and Spice relaxing at our motel

We are kicking back before the house hunt tomorrow. I will take a few pictures and add them tomorrow evening. The mountains are spectacular! Ron and I love that the area looks and reminds us of Montana. This is going to be our last best place!

We are excited and looking forward to finding the home of our dreams. I have chosen a few great homes to check out! I can’t wait!

Thanks to all of you for participating in Mindful Monday and Writer’s Quote Wednesday. Just please know that if I do not reply in a quick fashion I will try to get to you all as soon as I can.

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Florida COLD

petchallenge     Hope-the Happy Hugger, sponsors Michelle’s Weekly Pet Challenge each week.  Join in the fun!  How does your pet or animals in your area cope with extreme temperatures (hot or cold)?

Sugar and Spice are fed up with the cold!  Last night, cold north winds barreled into Pensacola, FL with a ferocious intensity!  For awhile there, I though I would have to go outside with the dogs on leashes so they would not get blown away in the wind.  The girls have one way of dealing with the cold and that is to cuddle.

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Ron and his recliner is always a favorite choice.  The girls fight over who gets to sit where.

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Spice likes to wedge herself beside Ron and instantly falls asleep!

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Sugar tends to find me on the couch while she grabs as much blanket as possible.

Pomeranians have two coats of fur, which serves them well in the cold, northern parts of the world.  The additional coat keeps them dry and adds extra insulation.  They are often called miniature Spitz.  The AKC website reports that this breed came from Pomerania which is now part of Germany and Poland.  In their earliest days, the dogs weighed close to 30 pounds.  They assisted in the herding of sheep.

Around 1870, the English Kennel Club recognized the breed, Spitz.  By 1888, Queen Victoria found the breed in Florence, Italy and instantly was charmed by the personality of the small dogs.  Once in England, the breed became popular.  The dogs tend to resemble little foxes.

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Spice and Sugar with normal coats of fur when we lived in Montana.

We keep Sugar and Spice’s fur trimmed short because the hot Florida climate is usually too much for them with all that fur.  Unfortunately, when it is cold like today, I am sure they wish they had it back.

Thanks for checking in on us this cold frigid morning.  It was 19 degrees F., with a wind chill of 9 degrees F.  Mighty cold for sunny Florida.  We broke records once again this year.  Stay warm, or cool – where ever you might live!

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Christmas Eve–“Warmth”

 

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Christmas Eve 2014, gave us the most spectacular sunset I have ever seen in Pensacola, Florida.  A brilliant streak of light shot up from the center of the sun itself, turning the entire area a blood-red color.  All of these photos are untouched and were taken with my Samsung Galaxy S5 phone camera.

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As the darkness rapidly descended the colors grew more muted and rosy.  I was totally blown away by the beauty of this sunset.

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I got a view of our neighborhood to give an impression of the magnitude and the colors.  This was outside my front door.

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Even Sugar and Spice seemed to be awed by the spectacular color show.  The rose-colored light turned their fur more reddish and Sugar (in front) being lighter than Spice was outlined in a red glow.

This is my contribution to the Daily Post’s Weekly Photo theme called, “warmth.”

I enjoyed your visit.  I will see you all again.

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Michelle’s Weekly Pet Challenge–Walkies

petchallenge

Sugar and Spice wanted to check in this week with everyone and see how they are faring.  Both of the girls were quite fed up with me as I was unable to walk them every morning for about a week because I had wrenched by back.  All better now.  I was really getting some awful looks from the hairy children.

Pure doggie bliss came on Monday morning when I could walk them again:

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Spice in the back and Sugar in the front – All harnessed up and ready to go walkies!

Now  “walkies,” is a real thing.  When I lived in England long ago in the 1980’s, there was a show on the BBC by Barbara Woodhouse, a dog trainer.  She would say, “Walkies,” to the dogs and they would obediently follow her about.

In fact, here is an article about her.  Apparently her dog training methods have proven to not be the best.  I still like the phrase though.

Thanks for popping in to see the girls, and for a bit of my British trivia from when I lived abroad,

Silver Threading