The last blog post here was from Vander–he decided to take over my blog to write about our summer vacation. I have to rebut a few things he wrote, because he wasn’t completely accurate. I suppose that’s what I get for letting my dog write my blog.

I’m also part of a blog hop with this blog post at Christina Cole’s How I Spent My Summer Vacation.

Anyway, here is my rebuttal to Vander’s post:

            Dear Dog! 
            First of all, Van—dear, love, one of the lights of my life—I am not attempting to lead break your daughters because as of this writing, they are only six weeks old. They’re barely weaned. I understand time to dogs is a bit different than it is to people, but six weeks isn’t old enough to even think about starting that. And to call the mother of your children hard-headed is not a wise move, especially considering how the mission to get Dixie to conceive was accomplished. (You don’t want your secret fetish with plastic bags to come out, do you?)
            Secondly, yes, I did make a lot of show leads, but those leads are sold to help support YOUR show career. If you want a new show lead, say so. Honestly, I would think you’d want to stay with the lead you win on—but, hey, your move, chief. And, I watched Man of Steel no more than five or six times this summer. (As a trip to Wyoming didn’t happen this summer, I needed something really pretty to look at, other than your beautiful face.) I fail to see how you can be sick of it when you were only sleeping in my office one time when I was watching Man of Steel and I had the headphones on the whole time. We won’t talk about all the times you wanted to watch the Lassie movie, because, Dude, that’s a boy. Thank you, though, for noting I have been working on a third novel.
            Also, teasing your big brother is not a wise move. Arizona could flatten your pretty butt to the ground any time he wanted. He just doesn’t because he’s a gentleman. And your cousin is NOT a jerk. Wyatt is just a high-energy, very self-confident male—rather like yourself. Speaking of the collies at Jacque’s, you forgot to mention that one of your girlfriends who lives there was also at the shows in Biloxi and she gave Dealie a run for her money all four days we were there. Forgetting to mention Daisy could have hurt Jacque’s feelings so try to be a bit more careful with what you post on my blog, if you ever guest post again (and I’m thinking it will be a cold day somewhere before I let you do that).
            Yes, you did get it right that Tenna and I will be neighbors with Jacque AND DICK in the foreseeable future in Tennessee, but you forgot to mention that Dave, Tenna’s husband and Ken were also involved in this purchase. (We really need to talk about your jealousy issues with other males—regardless of the species!) And, Jacque informs me that the pot-bellied pig IS NOT—I repeat—IS NOT to be chased, harassed, tormented, or annoyed in any manner. Eating her is off the table, too.
            Adding the Piper story as a post-script…Vander, really? That is every dog owner’s worst nightmare, that their beloved pet gets lost, gets found, and then won’t be returned to them. There isn’t enough bandwidth to discuss how sickened I am with Penny Sanderbeck and her so-called rescue operating under the name “Central Ohio Sheltie Rescue.” Yes, we have been following that story since the twisted tale began in late April and while I appreciate you chiming in with your meme of “Bring Piper Home,” you could have given the story a bit more prominence in your blog post. I think we need to talk about your organizational skills when it comes to writing, too. You could have at least shared a link or two so that people who don’t know what’s going on could read up on how utterly messed-up that whole story is. Like this link:
            After this experience, I don’t think I’ll be letting any of my dogs guest blog for me again. Sorry, Snape…tell Vander about it. He blew it.
            If you click the link embedded in Christina’s name at the beginning of the blog, it will take you to the main page for this hop where you can check out a lot more summer vacation reads. There’s also a rafflecopter contest where you could win all kinds of neat prizes, including an Amazon gift card. Go to Christina’s page and show her some love, too.


Guest post from my dog

photo by Tenna Perry
Hi, all! Ummm…my name is Vander and I’m filling in for mom for this blog post. She was supposed to write about how she spent her summer vacation but she’s busy with promotion for her latest release from The Wild Rose Press and trying to get my two daughters trained to walk on a lead. Good luck with those two, Mom. They’re way too much like their mother. Never met a more a hard-headed bitch than Dixie. (And, I’m not calling her a bad name. In my world, dogs are male and bitches aren’t.)
Anyway…how did Mom spend her summer vacation? Let’s see, we played dog show until the first weekend of June. I went to those shows but didn’t get to play because I thought it would be a wise move to shed all my coat the weekend before. Mom was so not impressed with my idea to shed. But, I got to cheer for my buddies Driver and Dealie while we were in Biloxi. And on the way home from that trip, we stopped and spent a couple of days at Aunt Jacque’s house in Tennessee.
I LOVE staying with Aunt Jacque. All of us get to get out of the van and run for hours. We like it there so much sometimes Mom stays an extra day just because she can. Aunt Jacque’s got the coolest place in the woods there—lots to see and bark at. There’s a couple of deer who wander through every morning about 4 AM. I’ve seen turkeys, hundreds of squirrels (I hate squirrels because they don’t play fair), birds, and even a pot-bellied pig. And one of my girlfriends lives there. Plus, I get to tease my big brother, Arizona, and my nephew, Wyatt. Wyatt is a jerk, BTW.
Apparently Mom and Aunt Tenna (one of our traveling to dog show buddies) like it so much at Aunt Jacque’s that when some property right next to Aunt Jacque came up for sale, Mom and Aunt Tenna bought it. I wouldn’t mind living in Tennessee. The winters aren’t as cold and snowy there as they are here in Indiana.
photo by Johanna Lance
Mom spent most of the summer making dog show leads, watching movies (and let me tell you, I AM SICK of Man of Steel and if she names a dog around here “Clark” I’m gonna puke!), and writing her third book. She told me that she’s dedicating it to me—because I make her smile. I don’t know what it is that I do to make her smile, but she does smile a lot when she looks at me. She makes me happy, too. I love to play dog show and get all the cookies she feeds me while we’re playing but we don’t play dog show in the summer because it’s too hot for us (the collies) to have to run around a ring and Mom says she hates really hot, humid weather. (Me, too!)

So, that’s been our summer. I’ve been told that my vacation is almost over and we’ll be back to playing dog show. If you’ll excuse me, I need to go practice my show pose. I’m a bit rusty.
P.S. Oh, we’ve also been following the story all summer long about Piper the sheltie being kept from her owner by the Central Ohio Sheltie Rescue. All Mom and I have to say about this is #BRINGPIPERHOME
head study by Tenna Perry

Jump or Move Back

Yesterday, I felt as if I lost an old friend. I didn’t know him personally, but I thought the man was a comic genius, an incredible dramatic actor, and from what I did know of him, someone who was a genuinely decent and good human being. Robin Williams took his own life yesterday. Not out of an attempt for attention, but because as someone who suffered from severe depression he had apparently reached the point where there was no more rope to tie a knot into and hang on for dear life. The prospect of a life without the crushing sadness, without the continual physical pain of depression, without the agony of psychological pain was greater than the need to continue that struggle.
I know that struggle. Like Robin Williams (and countless others), I struggle on a daily basis with severe, clinical depression. I have Type II bipolar disorder. I go from periods of extreme manic (how does ANYONE think I can write a 65K+ manuscript in 10 days?) to crushing depression when the effort to even get out of bed is too much of a battle. Add in the perpetual battle with insomnia that even prescription medication will not touch and that depression becomes greater. I haven’t self-medicated with alcohol or drugs, but I can fully understand the temptation. ANYTHING to stop the pain…even the eternal numbness of death.
Depression is real. Depression is a killer—it is a silent, relentless, merciless killer. The bottom side of the never-ending cycle of manic/depressive behavior is a very, very dark place. Sometimes, it feels so dark that not even light can escape from it. Like most people with a depressive disorder, I can feel the changes in my thought-process before it even starts. For me, there’s a sense of being disconnected from everyone and everything around me. There’s a sense of hopelessness that becomes overwhelming and seems to dim everything. By the time the depression sets in, the actual physical pain is unrelenting.
I had started that downward spiral several days before the announcement of Robin Williams’s death. The announcement did several things to me. It kicked me fully into that dark place that depressives both fear and yearn for—because amazingly, within that dark place, we are so numb that the pain and heartache doesn’t seem to hurt so much. We fear that dark, dark place because it also skews our thought-process. We start thinking that if the darkness numbs the pain, how much better will we feel if we never have to leave that place and if we can make the numbness, the darkness, the painlessness complete? What would it take to make it complete, to make the pain go away?
If you know someone with depression, please, let them know you are there for them. Understand there is NOTHING you can do to help them, but you can save them. Just be there. Hold that person’s hand and help them hold on; tell them you will hold them until they can find the strength to go on; let them draw on your strength because sometimes, even just one second more of life is enough to change the through process from ending the pain to being willing to endure it for another minute…or day…or a lifetime.
A true depressive will not threaten suicide. We just do it. Ninety percent of depressives who commit suicide gave no warning. I was watching a stand-up routine Williams did with HBO last night and there came a part of the routine where he was talking about his recovery from alcohol and how alcohol affects the brain—shuts off the conscience, and he compared it to that little voice in the back of one’s head when you are on top of a very tall building and look over the edge. He said that little voice whispers, “Jump.” A chill went up my spine with those words and there was almost dead silence in the audience. He recovered quickly, realizing the joke didn’t have the impact he was looking for—but in that moment, everyone in that audience and everyone who has ever viewed that program had a glimpse into the skewed thought process of a manic/depressive. Most people don’t hear “Jump” when looking over the edge. They hear “GET THE HELL AWAY FROM THE EDGE!”
I’m forcing myself to write this because I’m hearing “Jump.” I’m hurting all over. Depression is physical pain. The uptake receptors in a depressive’s brain don’t work right. The darkness is closing in. Asking me what’s wrong doesn’t help because there is nothing situational that can be changed to alter this depression. Trying to tell me what I have to live for is a form of trying to shame the depressive into a better mood—the old “snap out of it” line. I know damn good and well what I have to live for. Unfortunately, that little voice still says “Jump.”
I know what I have to do to silence that voice and I will do what I need to do to continue living. That is my promise to myself, to the people who love me, and the people who care about me. Silencing the voice telling me to jump and continuing to live are two different things. That voice will never be fully silenced. The only way to silence that voice forever is to enter the darkness for one last time and surrender, and I don’t think I’m ready to surrender.

First Step

Okay, it’s time to ’fess up. I have been told that the first step to recovery is admitting I have a problem. So, here’s my confession: My name is Lynda and I’m addicted to office supplies. Yep, pens, pencils, paper (OMG—the smell of reams of paper!), paper and binder clips…so this time of year is incredibly difficult for my self-restraint. Walk into ANY store in town and I find a display of back to school supplies. Those almost always include pens, pencils, paper…Well, you get the idea.
I can’t walk past these displays without touching the multi-packs of mechanical pencils (my favorites because I don’t have to keep sharpening them to keep a fine point), the pens (gel-pens and super-fine tip make me giddy), pads of paper. And, the packages of paper clips in a myriad of colors and different shapes…Did you know that you can get paperclips shaped like hearts, and little feet, and hands…and…Where was I? Oh, yeah…
I’m addicted to office supplies. My grand-daughter has discovered Grandma’s stash of pens, colored pencils, markers, highlighters, crayons (yes, I have those, too) and mechanical pencils in a large drawer in my office desk. She comes trotting in on a regular basis asking to borrow a few. Part of me growls when she even thinks about touching them but the larger part of me forces a smile and tells her she can borrow whatever she wants, she just has to be sure to put them all back when she’s done using them. And, she always forgets to put back the items she’s borrowed, so after a while, I wander through the house, collecting the abandoned writing instruments and carefully putting them back where they belong.
I’m afraid that my addiction is contagious, because while my grand-daughter may borrow writing/drawing utensils from me, she is also growing her own collection of crayons, colored pencils, pencils, markers, and highlighters. I may be creating a monster.
I do try to rationalize my addiction by comforting myself that when the grandchildren visit, I have plenty of paper and crayons, colored pencils and markers for them to draw and create with. And, if the zombie apocalypse happens, I’ll be able to still write—all be it long-hand—and I can probably completely secure our location with a fortress built of paper and binder clips.
See, it’s not all bad, is it?

An American Icon

 Last night, I watched The Searchers again. I have lost track of how often I have watched that movie. Yet, there is something about it that demands a reviewing on a consistent basis. I’ve written a few blogs about what a masterpiece this movie is, so I won’t go into that again. What led to this blog post, though, was a quote from The Duke on the door to my office.
That quote got me to thinking if I could find other quotes from John Wayne. A quick Google search revealed over 1.7 million hits within the search parameters of “John Wayne”. Apparently more than thirty years after his death from cancer, The Duke is still popular.
Here are some of my favorites that I found which can be attributed to John Wayne:
John Wayne was unapologetic in his patriotism and love of country, so it was no surprise to find that he said this: “Sure, I wave the American flag. Do you know a better one?” Nope, Duke, I sure don’t. And, while he was lambasted and lampooned for that staunch patriotism, Wayne never flinched. When he was invited to Harvard to attend the annual lampooning banquet and knowing he was the one who was going to be lampooned in that elitist environment, Wayne made the most of it. He arrived in a borrowed tank.
War movies and Westerns…those are what we remember John Wayne’s career for. He apparently had a few things to say about Westerns, things that still resonate today about what he saw as simple basic truths and values (especially with this Western historical romance author). Of the appeal of the Western, he said: “Put a man on a horse, and right off you’ve got the making of something magnificent. Physical strength, speed where you can feel it, plus heroism. And the hero, he’s big and strong. You pit another strong man against him, with both their lives at stake, and right there’s a simplicity of conflict you just can’t beat.”
Wayne was also a staunch defender of the genre. In defense of the Western he is quoted as saying “Don’t even for a minute make the mistake of looking down your nose at Westerns. They’re art—the good ones, I mean. Sure, they’re simple, but simplicity is art. They deal in life and sudden death and primitive struggle, and with the basic emotions—love, hate, and anger—thrown in.”
John Wayne played John Wayne playing John Wayne—or at least that was the criticism of his acting skills. When confronted on that shortly after losing the Oscar for True Grit, Wayne said, “I play John Wayne in every part regardless of the character and I’ve been doing okay, haven’t I?” Another time, when asked in an interview what set him apart from other Western movie idols, Wayne is reported to have thought about his answer for as long as it took to finish smoking the cigarette he’d just lit. As he ground the butt out, he said just two words: “John Ford.”
Wayne’s loyalty to those around him, to his friends and family was legendary. He had little tolerance for racism and bigotry. The anecdotes of his lack of racism and bigotry are many—told by former cast members, members of the filming crew, and members of the extras used on set. He was incredibly well-read and highly intellectual—something of a surprise to Lee Marvin, who was also rumored to have been a bumbling ignoramus. When the men began comparing notes on the set of a movie they were filming together on the next book to read as filming a movie involves a lot of down time Marvin said something to The Duke about not being anything like the stereotype he was depicted as. Wayne leaned in and said, “Let’s just keep this among ourselves, shall we?”
When criticized about some of the violence in his movies, Wayne admitted that he had been in movies where he was depicted as killing people, but those people were killed because they violated the code. That code was what he lived his life by: honesty, loyalty, being true to one’s word, and strength of character. Because of his iconic status, Wayne was once quoted as saying he never wanted to make a movie that he would be embarrassed to take his mother, his wife, or his daughters to go see. He understood that he had another role to play outside of the movies because of the respect that he had earned from the movie-going public.
God, I miss The Duke.