Dinner to dust.

“Looks like your dog is walking you”. Harmless neighborhood remark. One I hear often, from many, as my dog drags me around the block.

Man, that comment absolutely ruffles my fur. I feel it start at the base of my spine, the hairs raising, right up to a lip curl, revealing fangs. Who knew I had ’em?

No. neighbor. You are wrong. The thing that has me by the neck, that is dragging me to and fro, threatening to pull me flat on my face on the icy sidewalk, is grief. And right now, I hate it. I resent it. And I really resent comments that refer to my dog training abilities.

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Think. Before you say Nothing.

I have been lucky. My family is kind and uncomplicated. My in-laws, too. I didn’t suffer any over-blown drama with relatives, friends, or exes when my husband died. Just the rawness of people grieving. And much, much kindness from friends.

For the past 9 years, we have lived in a wonderful place, the soft, rolling, warm-hearted Midwest, salt of the earth people, indeed. I wouldn’t have wanted to be any other place during the past half year. This was our home. We would roam the ‘hood with our old dog, then with our new one, we knew people from many streets over, we paid attention to the details…changes in gardens, fences, families and pets.

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Stronger Than Bone

“It looks so prehistoric…like elephant grass, or something. Why are you taking it out?”, my neighbor was admiring the tall ornamental grass I was furiously trying to dig out. I mumbled something about how this grass was actually a bully…squeezing out other plants and grasses with its “survival of the fittest” attitude and roots.

My husband had planted this grass; he loved ornamental grasses. And it was beautiful. It was at least 7 feet tall, and looked so elegant blowing in the wind. But it also seemed to triple in width every summer, was messy, crowding out the other plants, and almost impossible to cut down in the fall because the stalks were so thick. Last year my arms ended up full of jabs and scratches from its bamboo-like stalks and razor-sharp blades. Truthfully, this grass was just a pain in the ass, and I decided it had to go. Continue reading