Blessings are reminders….

Good morning all you food drunk, retail exhausted people! Welcome to My Contradictory Life! I hope you all had an awesome holiday weekend, but it’s time to get yourselves back to work.

The furry support staff is particularly vocal this morning. It seems there is a stray dog (imagine that) running around loose this morning and has chosen my property on which to do his business. This has my crew in a tizzy trying to jockey for a good position at the front window to get a glimpse of the intruder. I can only imagine the view from outside with the Beagle on the bottom, Aussie in the middle, and the Weimaraner towering over top. My view is little butt, fuzzy butt, and large butt! The Corgi team is in the bedroom voicing their frustration at not being able to join the chaos, but trust me all the other dogs are much safer with them separated.

I hope you all had a fantastic Thanksgiving! I cannot describe the job felt by my entire family to have our mom home. My sister Robin, and my two brothers, Greg and Chad and I all pitched in to fix an amazing Thanksgiving dinner. It turned out beautifully. We were joined by our Grandmother Gladys and her husband Johnnie as well. Clean up went well and we were reminded by our mom not to make a mess on several occasions. After the dishes were done and everything was put back into its proper place, we all gathered in the sun room to share memories and laughter, just like old times.  It made me realize how much I missed my sister and how happy I am that she has come back into the fold. We all realize how blessed we are to have spent this holiday with our Mom. It is a reminder of the power of prayer and will that she is still with us. It’s a reminder that God is good and our faith in him should be what drives us every single day. Blessed is almost an understatement in my opinion. I have my sister and one of my bestest friends back, I have my mom, my hero, my mentor, my idol still here. Blessed, lucky, fortunate, whatever you call it, there is no question that God performs miracles and answers prayers.

Cody’s 2018 colt

My favorite Chincoteague mare, Cody 2 Socks has foaled! The above photo is her colt by Wild Thing. He has the most unique markings. He was almost a Medicine Hat, but these markings are so crazy it doesn’t matter.  He looks like two different ponies from each side.  I really hope that he goes to someone I know so that I can keep up with him. Her colt from last year went to a sweet young lady in California and she named him Bongo.  Cody has one daughter on the island named Doc Amrien. She is a beautiful bay pinto mare who produced her first foal this year. Cody herself is the daughter of the beautiful half Arabian buckskin stallion, the late Copper Moose. Copper was stunning when he was in his prime and at the top of his game.  A vicious, nearly fatal fight with another stallion left him weak and unable to sustain a band.  It was so sad to see.  He disappeared in late 2014/early 2015 never to be seen again.  Doc Amrien is the first photo below, it was taken at this year’s pony penning by me. The second photo is credited to Daisey’s Island Cruises and is of Copper Moose.

Doc Amrien
Copper Moose

So, I managed to survive another Thanksgiving and subsequent Black Friday weekend at Cracker Barrel.  Why don’t we just call it Black Weekend? Seriously, the sales start on Thursday and the ensuing chaos extends into Sunday. Why not call it what it is? I mean except for ridiculousness personified. Every year it becomes more and more foolish. Deals start earlier, decorations go up way earlier, and the tensions soar higher. How can anyone enjoy the holidays when they are embroiled in these battles to get the perfect toy for the perfect kid and the perfect time? I never, as a parent bought into the idea that my kids had to have the popular toy of the year. If, by chance, they got one, it was given by another family member. The idea of Black Friday and all the stress it beings feeds into the growing rudeness with which people are treating each other.  On Thursday I was assisting a guest with a lost and found issue. Another guest bullied her way through and began asking me questions while I was helping the other. No “excuse me” or “pardon me” was uttered, she simply butted in and insisted I answer her question. The first guest spoke up and said “excuse me I was talking!” The second didn’t skip a beat and just continued to talk to me about what “she” wanted. I tried to apologize to the original guest but to no avail, it was then and only then that the offender felt it necessary to apologize. From where did all this lack of respect for others come? I witnessed first hand, numerous incidents of guests verbally abusing fellow employees over this past holiday weekend.  I’m sorry, but that is absolutely unacceptable.  The folks who are working on the holidays are not with their families because they have to be there to serve the public. They don’t have a choice in most cases, as most companies block requests for holidays off.  I, myself, worked a short four hour shift on Thanksgiving day and then made haste to be with my family in Oriental.  On the way home Kayla and I decided to stop at the closest convenient store to grab water because we were both extremely thirsty. As we were checking out I asked the clerk if she had been able to spend any time with her family for the day. She replied that she hadn’t so that someone else would have the opportunity to enjoy it with family. Upon hearing that, I profusely apologized for having stopped and creating a need for someone to be there, even though I had worked that day, I felt bad for stopping.                   I saw two kinds of entitlement that day. First, was the kind in which the person felt as though something was owed to her. I’m sorry I owe you nothing more than respect that should be mutual. The other was the kind that chafes my butt the most and that is the kind in which the person deems himself or herself better than the people around him or her. I’m sorry but who died and made you a princess? Get over yourself! So, this one group came in and bulldozed its way to the hostess stand only to discover that here was a thirty minute wait on Saturday. The group chose not to wait and as they were leaving I overheard one member say, ” There is no way I am going to sit here and wait thirty minutes to eat some crap ass food!” Wait….wut?? So, you mean to tell me that were there not a wait, you would be perfectly willing to eat and pay for “crap ass food?” You are a special kind of stupid!!

Well now that I got all that off my chest I must get busy!  Oh don’t worry there is more to discuss soon! People make it easy!!

As you begin your week, please keep in mind that someone else is probably experiencing the same holiday stress as you, of not very similar. Little Johnnie or Jenny will actually survive if that “oh so, can’t live without it” toy isn’t available.

Don’t forget the furry ones as you blow up the internet on this Cyber Monday. The need lots of biscuits in order to get through this odyssey called “holiday shopping” with you.  Scritches and much love to them all! Santa better come see them!! I will be watching! Please comment with a photo of your furry support staff! I will put them all in a Furry friends gallery on my page!

Take care of yourselves! Would love to see all of your decorated homes and yards, so feel free to share. By the way, if you are looking for a charitable cause which to donate, please consider the Chincoteague Pony Rescue. My friend Deb Ober works tirelessly to make sure these ponies get what they need and your help, no matter the size would be greatly appreciated. There is a link on the My Contradictory Life home page.  

See I told ya!

Santa is watching so…

Play nice ya’ll…

Holiday Season is Upon Us!

Good morning my peeps!

And welcome to My Contradictory Life!!! Hope you all have awesome plans for your Sunday!  I ,fortunately, have the day off which means game day in this house!!! With a die hard Redskins fan and a die hard Eagles fan living here, game day can be quite interesting here.  I myself, could care less and pretty much just serve as a referee when things get a bit out of hand.  My plan is to not be here when the two teams play each other on December 30th. You know, self preservation and all!!

The furry support staff is up and moving around.  Beagle (Roo) is chasing his tail. It seems to be stalking him and he has about had enough of that. It does not want to cooperate at all, so he is giving it a good chase.  Occasionally, he gets dizzy and does a bit of a wobble when he comes out of an especially wild spin session.  It takes a minute to gain back his balance, but as soon as he does the pursuit continues. You have to admire his dedication! Bailey and Blankie (the Weim) are vying for a choice spot on the couch with Kayla. Bailey has seniority and he knows it, but Blankie loves him some Kayla and will not relent. Bailey however, is oblivious to his advances. The Corgi team and Minxy are asleep!  They spent a good part of the early morning outside patrolling the yard for any trespassers or passers by.  They definitely earned their keep this morning.

Things are finally beginning to look up around here.  We suffered a bit of a rough patch mid week, but we finally turned things around by the end of the week.  The big news is that Kayla finally found a job in her field!!! Woohoo!!! Thank you, Jesus!!! Patience and persistence are definitely virtues when job hunting.  Yes it is possible that you might have to take a job and is below your education temporarily, but eventually with a little perseverance it will come to you. Now with both her and Justin working, I will have a bit of relief from the bills and maybe some things can be repaired around here.  Lord there is so much to do!!! With a lot of faith it will get done!!!


I have been thinking on a topic all week, but it was escaping me until I worked yesterday.  Today is the beginning of Retail Hell Week! It actually started this past week, but S**t is about to get real!!! I understand that folks begin to get in a holiday frenzy and I understand that these are high stress days. However, if you are feeling like this, what joy are you getting from the holidays?  I have never been one to stress over the holidays, mostly because I start Christmas shopping for the next year the week after Christmas. I made the mistake of doing Black Friday once with my late mother in law Bertha Nassef.  I swore that day I would never take part in that holiday hell ever again and I haven’t.  The big deals are just not worth the stress of being knocked around, shoved, run over, and stomped on, plus I don’t have the personality or the bail money that would be required for me to take part in that annual chaos!! I prefer online shopping where I can order what I want, generally have it shipped free in the comfort of my own home.  People seem to be particularly rude during this time and especially towards the sales people in the stores.  Let me just say, someone being rude is not exactly incentive for sales people to be helpful.  We are trained to do whatever it takes to make the guest experience enjoyable at Cracker Barrel, however that doesn’t make it alright for the guest to abuse an employee. Thanksgiving day is the single most busy day at our store, but is also the most stressful.  We have never taken reservations and we never have, but I guarantee we will get at least 20 calls asking us to put someone on the wait list.  I’m sorry that will not happen.  We do have an online wait list for parties of six or less,yet at least one will say they have six but come in with more. That will only get you at the bottom of the list with the correct number of people. And one major hint….children count into the number in your party whether you bring them in walking, or in a stroller, or in a car seat. All of those count as 1 each in a party. That goes for anywhere you go.   What it all boils down to is that we have rules to which we have to adhere, those rules being changed for one person isn’t fair, nor it is wise, because then others will expect the same consideration.  Before you know it all the rules fly out the window and chaos ensues. Then things get really stupid!                    So please remember, the sales people in whatever place you choose to shop are people too. They don’t deserve to be abused or harangued. If someone tells you they don’t have the item for which you were looking, it’s not that person’s fault. No one can make an object magically appear just because it’s what you want. Most of the time they know exactly what stock they have in the stock room.  Asking more than one sales person to go look for what you want is not productive either.    

 Please, while you are out shopping this holiday season, try to exercise patience and kindness.  A moment of kindness can go a long way. We try our best to honor your requests, but it’s hard to be polite and nice when someone is being negative in your face. We are eager to please, it’s not only our job but as retail sales people it is also our specialty!

Well, that’s all for today….I’m sorry my rant went on for longer than normal, but it’s something that kind of sticks in my crawl. Anyhow, I hope you all enjoy the rest of your Sunday.  It’s quite a beautiful day so if you aren’t watching a game, find yourself something fun to do outside. Take those furry friends out and spend time with them. You and they will be happier for it. Love and scritches to them and extra biscuits as well. 

As you head into your Thanksgiving week make sure to stop and take time to reflect on that for which you are truly thankful. I’m am thankful for all of you and my family, friends, and my furry support staff.  I am also thankful for my God given talent that has allowed me to reach so many more people and meet so many wonderful new friends.

So, even when your holiday shopping isn’t going as well as you planned, please remember…

Play nice Ya’ll…..






Apathy=Self Preservation

Good frosty morning my friends! Wow what a difference a week makes!!!    Last week this time we were trying to find a way to keep cool without turning on the air conditioning. Today air conditioning is not necessary by any stretch of the imagination.

Yes I know it has been a while!  I made the mistake of letting life get in the way of what I really wanted to do.  So much has happened in the last months that I hardly know where to begin.

I will start with the furry support staff! Everyone is doing well and seem to appreciate these cold temps much more than I do.  I’m not sure if I have already introduced you all to the newest member of the herd, but we now have a rescued Weimaraner, named Merle. He is beautiful and much larger than I thought Weims to be.  He came to us underweight, very needy, and with a light and shadow obsessive, compulsive disorder. Not much is known about his previous life, but is obvious that he has suffered from neglect and some abandonment issues. I have seen improvement as he integrates into the pack here. His fit with the others is quite awkward, I’m guessing because of his size and exuberance. Having dealt mostly with herding breeds, I was not prepared for the need for constant companionship of a sporting breed. Thank goodness for the help and advice of friends who have the experience.  I have developed a bit of insight from them and the vet where Merle is concerned. We discovered that he is just at a year old, not approaching two as we were informed when he was brought here. So anyhow…we have a Weimaraner!

I went to Oregon in September for the opening of yet another Cracker Barrel.  This time it was in Medford, near the California border.  Let me just say, I love Oregon! It is a beautiful state. Little to no humidity and gorgeous landscapes make it one of my favorite places to visit! While there I had to opportunity to knock something off my bucket list that actually wasn’t on my list, but it was on my late husband, Jeff’s. I went to the highest point possible by vehicle to Mount Shasta.  It was the most peaceful, breathtaking place I have ever visited. The air was so clear and the lack of noise was incredibly relaxing. I didn’t want to leave! I kept thinking “on a clear day you can see forever.” And you could!!

mount shasta

I returned home from Oregon early upon news of my mom being in a coma. Her leukemia had morphed into lymphoma and it was bad.  As a result it was decided to administer an aggressive chemo regimen, which proved to be more than her system could take.  I have learned, without a doubt, that there is power in prayer.  At one point we were quite sure we would soon lose our mom, we all prayed for peace, we begged friends, family, and complete strangers to join in our prayers. I came home from Durham and within a few days received a message that she was awake.  Within a couple of weeks she was walking and talking, something none of us had thought possible just a few short weeks ago. This past week my mom came home! Yet another milestone no one expected to see at the beginning of October.  I want to thank everyone who supported us with prayers, calls, etc… Another moment of extreme joy has been reconnecting with the sister whom I have missed more than I was willing to admit. I will never forget one day when she was at my house…oh about 25 or 30 years ago, something struck us funny! To this day I cannot tell you what it was, but whatever it what was erupted into a giggling session that lasted a good ten minutes. When we finally were able to get our breath, my now ex-husband walked in the door and looked at us like we were mad! His perplexed look lead to an additional session that lasted another ten minutes. I have not laughed like that in a long time!


This past few months has been trying at best!  I am not going to go into detail on everything, except to say “UNCLE!”  I’m not going to admit that I am superstitious openly, but I did get rid of the $2 bill that was hanging in Justin’s room and the broken mirror that was behind the house. The loss of a friend who was basically an extended family member was extremely difficult to take.  My heart goes out to my “sissy” Teresa and Ray’s children and mom.  I want to also mention that my dear friend, Cindy became a first time grandmother! Little River was born with a slight defect that had to be repaired surgically shortly after his birth, but so far the little trooper is thriving! Congratulations to Cindy and her son’s family!! Yet another piece of good news, desperately needed, is in the photos at the top of this post, from DSC photography and Captain Dan’s Island Tours.  A medicine hat colt was born to the stallion, Wild Thing ,and the mare, Thetis on Assateague island, in Virginia. Medicine hats ponies are considered very good medicine in the Native American culture. These highly prized animals were thought to protect their riders and were sought after.  Often they were stolen by rival tribes that wanted to benefit from the powers the horses were thought to possess. This beautiful colt comes at a time when the herd is suffering from a swamp cancer that has claimed the lives of many and has affected several more. Maybe the birth of the little guy is a sign of better days for the herd.  Who knows? It won’t hurt to believe!

Did you ever feel so overwhelmed that you became calloused to everything around you? It feels almost like if you retreat into yourself things will slow down or somehow the effects will cause less damage.  You appear to be apathetic simply to protect yourself from the stress that would come from blowing a gasket. There is a fear that if you release the valve on your feelings or emotions that you will be deemed psycho, emotional, or even ridiculous. You are afraid to hurt someone else’s feelings so you sacrifice your own in order to prevent that from happening. This has been what’s happening in my world and in almost every aspect of it. Slowly, I have started to take back my life, my home, and my sanity. Though my plans for my future have been put on hold for a bit, I still intend to live out my dream!!

Well that is all for today. I promise not to be so remiss in my posting from here on out!  Love and scritches to your furry support staff! It’s the weekend, make sure you spend some time with them. You and they will be happier for it in the coming week.

Remember, I love you all most ardently! And remember even when it seems like things are crashing down around you and you can’t get a handle on things….

Play nice ya’ll….

What’s in a Name?

Good morning all you humidified people! The descent into your weekend has begun. Please turn off all cell phones and put your tray tables in the upright position. Ok well you don’t need to cut off your phone until you finish reading this actually….you know priorities and all. Lol.

The Furry Support staff is outside enjoying the early morning temps. Yesterday was so miserable and humid they didn’t stay out long when they did go out. Very unusual behavior for Jeb, who loves to be outside. Hopefully this heat and humidity will break soon! I truly hate feeling clammy or sticky!!

Remember in January and February when everyone was tired of the cold weather, even up to March? And remember everyone daring anyone to complain about the summer heat? Well I’m gonna go there…I would take three months of winter over just one week of this humidity. There I said it…and meant it. I hate feeling like I am melting. Much more of this and I will be a puddle in the floor…

I have been struggling with a few things here recently and I have begun to pray about it. And praying works, it might not be the answer you expect or want, but it does work. I know that God has placed some pretty amazing people in my life, a couple I consider guardian angels of sorts. I hope that some day I can be a blessing to all of them as they have blessed me.

I was scrolling through some pet photos the other day and couldn’t help but giggle at some of the names that were attached to these poor animals! Mr. Bubble Britches? Really? Shorty McPuggle?? Crystal Blue Love??? Seriously??? Omg it was hilarious! I’m sure or well hoping that these names are shortened so that it makes life easier for the dog and owner. My late husband Jeff bought Jeb for me in 2007. That afternoon we were going over names. I wanted something short and simple, because a dog recognizes not his name, but certain sounds that his name makes. So if there is a prominent “E” at the end of his or her name,for instance Sassy, hears the “SassSeeeee” Bailey hears “baiLeeeee” Beagle puppy hears “jethRo, those changes in sounds is what is heard. They key in on mostly the vowel sounds. Well Jeff decided he was naming Jeb and that all there was to it. Jeff was a huge Civil war buff, so He was going through all the names of Confederate generals that he could attach to this Corgi puppy. Finally he says “I’ve got it! General James Ewell Brown Stuart!!!” I sitting there with a blank stare thinking “wut?” After a brief argument I finally got him to agree to Jeb Stuart, which eventually was shortened to simply Jeb. Thank the Lord! He would have been halfway to Raleigh by the time I got out “GENERAL JAMES EWELL BROWN STUART!!!” In his early puppy years, Jeb also picked up the nickname Rabbit, because of his large Corgi ears. We used to worry about the owls when he was a puppy, but today it would take some kind of prehistoric pterodactyl owl to pick him up. Lol! He answers to Rabbit just as quickly as he does Jeb. Bailey was named by my daughter’s ex fiance and I’m almost ashamed to say he was named after a brand of cigarettes. I call him Meatball. Sassy’s real name is Sacajawea, but the name Sassy so well defines her that no other  nickname is necessary, except to maybe shorten it to Sass. Minxy’s name came from a literary character, but I also call her Wiggles because when she gets excited she turns into one big wiggle!



Pet names are often used to describe what perception we have of when the puppy is an adult, such as Brutus, Kong, or Thor for the larger breeds like Mastiffs or Rottweilers, or Fluffy, Tiny, or Princess for Poodles, Chihuahuas, or Yorkies. Some names are straight and to the point others a little more complex. Most show dogs have a registered name and then they have a kennel name. My first show dog was Wyndridge Matters of Elegance, but her name was Mattie. My second was Bent-Win’s Soul Provider, we called him Bolt. What can I say, I got him the weekend after I attended a Michael Bolton concert and had met him backstage. All show dogs have the name of the breeder’s kennel attached to their names. Sometimes there are even two. A friend of mine often collaborated with another breeder, so those dogs always had Bayshore/Propwash in their names.


When naming your new puppy or even kitten, you can give it all the names you want. Just keep in mind that, even though it doesn’t care what you name it, don’t handicap it by giving it a name it can’t even begin to comprehend. Mr. Wiggle Britches McNally??? Really???

Please send in your dog’s name in the comments, especially if it is unique! And we would love to hear why that name was chosen.

Well that is all for today folks! Try to stay cool in this oppressive heat! It’s Friday so you know traffic will be a beast!

Love and scritches to the furry ones before you leave the house.

How about let’s keep that road rage under control people.

Play nice y’all….

Puppy Love…or not?

Good morning people! Welcome to Wednesday! It’s gonna be yet another hot one so be prepared!

The Furry Support staff appears to be quite grumpy this morning! Everyone is voicing opinions on something I’m not privvy to at the moment. The only one not letting his voice be heard is my grandpuppy. He’s just chillin’ in Justin’s room wondering what all the fuss is about. I will so miss that dog when he joins Justin in Ohio. Oh, i will miss Justin too, but that dog is the last of my Aussie line and his resemblance to his grandad JasperJax in looks and most of all personality is uncanny. The first photo is Jasper, the other is Bailey.

I want to wish a very Happy Birthday to my road bestie, Suzan! I miss being on the road with her so much! One of the only people I know that I could spend five weeks in a hotel room with and not want to kill! Lolol! Love you much my lady!

I want to share with you all a photo taken by my go-to photographer and friend Deb Noll. This is the mare Misty Mills, that surprised everyone by producing a filly a few weeks after it was thought she had rejected her colt. Turns out the colt wasn’t hers at all. So, this beautiful filly now has a forever home as does the mystery colt. The filly is part of the Feather Fund group directed by another friend Lois Szymanski, which helps young people to purchase a pony at auction. Can’t wait to see this little girl grow!

So, today I want to touch on a subject that might tick a few people off, but it’s something that literally drives me nuts! The act of humans transferring human like qualities and emotions to animals is simply inaccurate, and I believe arrogant on the part of humans. Animals are so much smarter than we are. Humans have lost their ability to use all their senses together. Our sense of smell and hearing is nothing compared to what it was in the early days of man. So now we rely on other animals, particularly dogs to do those things for us. The domesticated animal I believe was man’s saving grace. But back then these animals were not pets! They were working animals! They were not coddled, petted, or even fed most of the time. They got the scraps. This continued into the early 20th century and even a little longer. Horses were generally used for farming or as mounts for the military. Pets were considered a luxury of the well-to-do. Dogs were used for hunting, herding, and protection, while cats generally lived in the barn to keep the mice out of the grain storage. Again, only the very wealthy could afford to keep animals as pets. When taxation reared its ugly head, all animals on a farm, that had a tail, were taxed. This began the idea of tail docking of dogs as the norm. Yes it also was a safety issue for dogs herding large animals, but the tax was the main reason. In those days, everything that lived on the farm had a purpose. An extra horse used for merely riding would have been considered a hay burner. The point is the relationship between man and these animals that were domesticated was born out of necessity not loneliness or love.

Does Jeb love me? Hmmmmm, the pet lover in me would like to think so. But really, it’s probably more akin to a pack leader kind of thing. Do I love him….yes I do! And he misses me when I am gone for the first few hours and then goes on with his life. When I come home he is happy to see me, he tells me everything that happened while I was gone, then brings me all of his babies and settles on my feet. Does he know he is my heart? He probably has more of an idea that in the hierarchy here, he is number 2, which is evident in How the other dogs here give him a wide berth. He rules with an iron fist! The relationship between my son and Bailey is different. That is pure devotion! That dog worships that boy.

Do animals mourn? Yes they do! Domestic animals appear to feel it more deeply though and for longer period. For example, when my first Corgi, Peedee died, Jeb sat it the back yard for a week waiting for him to return. In the wild, however, animals don’t have the luxury of extended mourning periods. Elephants have been known to mourn a lost member of the herd, but they move on quickly. Last month, with the loss of Butterfly Kisses, the heart wrenching story of Riptide trying to get her up, had everyone misty eyed. Is he still mourning her, probably not. He has a job to do, he doesn’t have the luxury of mourning her, even though she was his lead mare. He has foals and mares to protect. He has mares to breed to ensure his line continues. He is a stallion, he is wild, and he doesn’t have time to mourn. The job of lead mare will fall to the next mare in his band, probably Starry Night, and life will go on.. Hate to say it, but the beautiful Butterfly Kisses is probably already forgotten. But I have seen several comments about how he misses her so much and he is in mourning. Ummmm no….as much as many would like to believe it’s so…its not. We as humans can and will mourn her loss, just as we did with Surfer Dude, Courtneys Boy, and the many that have passed through the years. These animals don’t dwell on things as we tend to do. It is not in their genetic make up.

One thing I have discovered is that my dogs do have a sense of fairness. If I give one a treat, I should be ready to give them all one. If I love on one, yes it is expected I will love on them all.

Another thing, I wanna touch on is house training your dog. So many times i have seen people reprimand a puppy by smacking it or rubbing its nose in its own urine. The problem is, that puppy has no idea that it came from him. You can’t beat it out of him…(heaven forbid you tried that with a human baby). The best thing is diligence about letting him out regularly and I’m sorry but immediately after he eats or drinks is not the time. Also, putting down paper or puppy pads isn’t the answer either. All you are doing with that is teaching him to pee on paper, then you get upset when he leaves a deposit on your newspaper left on the floor. I remember when Bailey was around a year old. He had come to live with me around the fall of that year. He was house broken but the first thing he did when I put up the Christmas tree was lift his leg on it. Thankfully it wasn’t decorated yet and I hadn’t put down my beautiful candle wicked tree skirt yet. But I couldn’t get angry with him because I saw it from his point of view.”Granny put a tree in the house!It must be for me! I must mark it!” I had brought him his own personal bathroom into the house….how convenient for him! Your dog doesn’t have the same consideration for material things that you have, and most definitely your cat doesn’t! He doesn’t care if you buy him an expensive collar, he gets excited because he feels your excitement. He doesnt care that you just spent a small fortune getting him groomed and all pretty….if he encounters something that smells bad, he is gonna roll in it. He has no concept of value, or appearance, or keeping up with the Jones. He is a dog, he is gonna do dog things.

This brings me to my last story, this one is about Jeb and the Fox poo. A few years back my bestie and I took a road trip to Mathews, Virginia. Jeb was along for the ride. It was January and it was cold as heck! There was ice and snow on the ground and the air was bitter. As we were about to leave we decided we should let Jeb run a bit and take care of business in the field adjacent to where we were visiting. So he is out there, running around like a little kid having a blast, when all of a sudden he dives to the ground and starts rolling. Curious as to what has caused this reaction, Susan and I walk to where he is and discover this fascinating scent he has found is fox poo! Now, I don’t know if you know this, but foxes have a musk gland that excrete musk whenever he poops. Somehow it is extremely attractive to other foxes and well I guess Jeb too! Susan and i didn’t find it so attractive once we got him in the car and to return home. Both of us had tears in our eyes. Once the heat from the car hit that odor it permeated throughout the car. I’m quite sure there was a green funk cloud! We rode home on this cold January day with the windows down just to keep from puking. Jeb didn’t care, he was happy in his stench! It took close to two weeks to get that smell out of his coat! And again, Jeb had no clue how offensive he was, all he knew is that he got to run around and roll in something delightful, in his opinion. Lol!

Well, I think i have said enough… This was an extended post, no doubt.

Everyone have a great rest of your day! Extra scritches to your furry loves!

I love you all most ardently!

Play nice y’all…

Love of Chincoteague/Love Chairs

Good morning people! Yep it’s Tuesday! I am so sorry….It looks as though it is going to be another hot one today. Please be careful in this extreme heat. If you have to be outside in it, take breaks, stay hydrated, and don’t push yourself too hard. Please also keep your pets in mind. Make sure they have plenty of shade and water if they have to be outdoors.

The Furry Support staff has been fed and are now partaking in the ritual after breakfast nap. I can hear Beagle puppy (I call him Rut Roh) snoring like a human. My plan is to let them all out once it is light enough so they can at least have some time outside today. My grandpuppy Bailey’s world is about to change. His daddy Justin, is heading to Ohio soon to learn the art of a farrier. I am so excited for him! Since he is flying and I am not about to put a 9 year old dog on a plane that has never been on one, it has been decided that once my car is fixed, I will drive him to Ohio myself. I have another option as well, but that will be if I can’t get him there. So, I guess my world is gonna change a thing it as well. I will have an empty nest for the first time since shortly after Jeff passed away almost six years ago. That’s when my decisions will be made. Anyhow, stay tuned, same Corgi time, same Corgi channel…lol

Hope this photo of Jeb enjoying a doggie bowl at Mr. Whippy’s might help you stay cool!

Today I am off work, so it is the day I will begin the task of cleaning my art area, in the hopes it will spark that creativity bug. It will be a monumental task, so if you don’t hear from me tomorrow, send in the troops!

I’m going to use today’s post for a bit of advertisement. Many of you know ow about my Love Chair design that includes Chincoteague ponies in each of the four chairs. The design has really been a hit and I must take a moment to thank Sue Johnson at Blue Crab Treasures on Chincoteague island for believing in me. She and I are both surprised and pleased with the reception of this. The design is available at this time in t-shirts, long sleeve and short, in a variety of colors, kids sizes are also available. Tanks tops are available in two colors! There are zippered and pullover hoodies, along with pullover sweatshirts. Sue has prints, post cards, koozies, bibs, and onesies as well. New items are being ordered with the design too! Can’t wait to see those. There will be hats with the Ridtide/heart chair embroidered on them. So, we have a lot going on.

Above is just a small sampling of what is available. Call Sue at Blue Crab Treasures in Chincoteague, Virginia, for sizes and color availability. Special requests may be preordered with the next shipment, so give her a call! The the number is (757)336-5507 or visit the Blue Crab Treasures Facebook page.

I would lastly like to mention a contest we are holding at the moment. If you get your shirts and you are on the island, take a minute to have your picture taken on the Love Chairs right across the street from Sue’s shop at Robert Reed Park. Post the photo on the Blue Crab Treasures Facebook page. Judges will choose the top four photos from those submitted. Those top four will be given the opportunity to pick which ponies appear in the chairs next year. And I personally will throw in a t-shirt for the four winning submissions. So let the games begin….the judging will start after fall roundup in October!

That is all for today folks! I am so excited about the events that are happening now. This has been a whirlwind and surreal experience for me. Thanks to all of those who have stood by me and had faith in me when I didn’t trust myself. My bestie, Susan Jones has been my rock and biggest supporter. My Cracker Barrel road bestie, Suzan Sheldon, has listened to my rantings many an early morning when we were stuck in a hotel room for weeks at a time. And again, Sue Johnson, who has stuck by me since that first December day when I walked into her shop.My daughter, Kayla Nassef who used to joke about all my paintings being in the garden tube in my bathroom. My dear friend, Deb Ober, who has been my sounding board, my pony conformation advisor, and sister from another mister. Lastly, there is one person that I need to thank especially, my mom, Emma Lupton, for a phone conversation while I was in Alabama, encouraging me to follow my heart and not wait for things to come to me. That evidently was my turning point…

You all have a wonderful day! Please stay cool and hydrated…are you listening Deb Ober?

Lots of fresh water and scratches for the furry loves. Be aware of their feet and be sure those paw pads aren’t being burned on concrete or asphalt. If they seem to be overheated, a damp tepid cloth to the belly will help cool them down…no ice!

My favorite quote from Pony Penning….”you’re famous!” My response… “well at least I didn’t have to wait until I was dead first!”

I love you all most ardently!

And even when this heat has your nerves frayed to the max….

Play nice y’all….


Good morning all you little worker bees! Hate to break it to you like this and so early, but it’s Monday again! As I am writing this that song by Juice Newton, “Break it to Me Gently,” is rolling through my head. I hope you all enjoyed your weekends and are now ready to face the work force with smiling, happy faces! I’m not! Last night my inner night owl and my inner early bird had a monumental struggle. Both won, I lost, resulting in maybe two and a half hours of sleep. Today’s shift that Cracker Barrel should be fun! I can hardly wait….zzz!

This morning the larger contingent of the furry support staff is inside waiting for the Corgis to finish their business. I’m not sure whose bladder was screaming louder at 4 am, mine or Jeb’s. As I let them out, everyone came running, but the others immediately went back to bed when they realized only Jeb and Sassy were going out. I’m sitting here drinking my coffee and watching Minxy lay on her back on the couch, chasing something in her dreams. I don’t believe I have ever seen her sleep like that. Maybe after seven years she has finally relaxed. She has always been the one on guard, ever vigilant, waiting for the ball to drop, ready to defend her people. That devotion to duty has somehow stunted her ability to just be a dog, but lately she appears to be trying and its down right weird.

I was very humbled and honored by the number of birthday wishes I received from friends on Facebook yesterday. The day was really nothing special. I was here most of the day by myself. I chose to curl up and binge watch The Closer. I love Kyra Sedgewick’s character in the show, kind of reminds me of…well me sometimes. We did go out to dinner last night at my favorite Mexican restaurant, Mi Cabana’s, and I did have the celebratory mango margarita. Other than that is was a quite serene day.

I had considered posting my friend, author, Lois Szymanski’s most excellent response to the PETA letter to the Chincoteague Fire department, but I have chosen to hold off on that until later. I want to wait until the dust settles and see what is left before I revisit the topic again.

Currently, I am suffering from a bit of artist’s block. Unless you have actually experienced it, it’s hard to comprehend the struggle.I can truly sympathize with writers who are on a deadline. The struggle is real! For an artist or writer it can be physically painful, resulting in headaches, sleepless nights, and stretched nerves. Thank God I don’t usually have to deal with deadlines or I would be bald. There is no way to work through it, there is no way to push through it, and there is absolutely no way to force creativity. If its not there, its just not there. I have found a way to help myself though and it is quite comical. So while I was experiencing the block one day I decided to clean my table, organize things, put things in their place, and make it look pretty! My kids will tell you that is a rare occasion! But I have discovered that when it is clean, it sort of drives me a bit nuts, and the urge to mess it up again eventually prevails and the block subsides. I’m not sure how a writer or even a musician would translate that to their fields, but it certainly kick started the artist in me. Yea, I know I’m weird….it’s part of the whole artist persona lolol!!

I am currently working a Christmas card design with the Love Chairs! I can’t wait to see how it turns out. Shirts, goodies and other items are available at Blue Crab Treasures in Chincoteague VA.

Well folks, I have nothing else to say today….its time to feed the furry support staff anyway. The ones in the house are starting to move around a bit, and they will soon realize that breakfast is 30 minutes late. Love and scritches to the furry loves. Its time to get up and at’em people!

I know its only Monday so….

Play nice y’all…

Heart to Heart

Good morning all you weekend warriors! Today begins the close to your weekend. I hope you are able to close it strong! I haven’t checked the weather for the day, but I’m quite sure that it just might rain! Imagine that?

The furry support staff has all had breakfast and two have settled for an after breakfast nap. My grandpuppy Bailey is positioned so he can see my every move, just in case I might happen to walk by the treat canister. Jeb and Sassy are surveiling the backyard. I can hear Jeb growl occasionally, but it seems nothing too egregious is being detected during their reconnaissance, otherwise I would hear Sassy, loud and clear! Minxy is laying on the couch (a new activity for her) with both left legs hanging off, while her body and right legs and head are on the couch. She appears to be comfortable, but not entirely relaxed.

Today is my birthday! An amazing 56 years old, am I. Amazing in that some days I feel 86 and others 26…depends on the weather lol. I was actually born the day Marilyn died in 1962. I’m not really believing the reincarnation thing, but hey if she had been shorter, chunkier, and a brunette, I guess it would be possible. Lolololol…. All kidding aside, birthdays kind of lose their lustre after a certain age. I guess in the early 20s is when it becomes really no big deal. Grandma no longer gives you the annual underwear/socks gift, which really came in handy, unless you wear Victoria’s Secret type undies. Never would you expect grandma to be in a place like that searching for your drawers, lol, more likely they came from Roses or Wal-Mart and were made by Hanes. Sound familiar anyone? Anyhow, birthdays become a big deal again once you hit a certain age and your family is celebrating the fact that you are still around. They take you out to eat and you’re the one getting socks and undies now. I’m not quite to that stage yet…

Today, I want to do a follow-up on the story of Butterfly Kisses who died tragically a week and a half ago and I want to introduce you to someone special.

This is Trigger, son of Butterfly Kisses, heart of Angie Conklin Abell.

Trigger is the son of Butterfly Kisses, who is now owned by my Pony friend Angie Conklin Abell. Angie is a realtor on Chincoteague island. Angie purchased Trigger at the Pony auction the morning before his mother’s tragic death. It had been planned that he would return to the refuge and be allowed to stay with his mom until October to make sure he had a good start when he went to his new home. That, however, all changed that day. The vet agreed to let Angie take him because she had an amazing support staff to assist her in his nutrition and weaning process. He had a friend come along, another foal about the same age, so he has company. You can already see the connection Angie is developing with this little guy. He seems to have completely relaxed and accepted her as “mom.” It is a beautiful story developing between these two and I cannot wait to see how it unfolds. The good news is that we will all be able to see him grow up and no doubt thrive under Angie’s care. What a blessing she is to this colt!

This photo needs no explanation….except “Heart to Heart”

If he is half as beautiful as his full sister Smooch, he will be a heartbreaker!

Judy’s Little Smooch by the amazing photographer Nicole Menta

Thanks to Angie for allowing me to update this story and for the use of photos.

Well folks that is all I have for the day! Luckily I have the day off! The first time I had my birthday off from work in quite a while. No plans….still recovering from Pony Penning week…lol.

Remember to spend some time with the furry ones. They wait all week for you to be off its only fair they be included in your activities or a least have time allotted for their patience and perseverance. Have a biscuit and scratches party!🎉

You all have a great rest of your weekend. I love you all most ardently!

Play nice y’all….

An Answer to the Humane Society of the US false allegations against the Chincoteague Fire Dept by Cindy Wolfe

A recent post by my pony friend Cindy Wolfe pretty much says it all!

You all know how I feel about protecting animals (LOL If you have any doubt, then you truly don’t know me)! I have, throughout my life, supported and respected the Humane Society of The United States … but Kitty Block (the Humane Society CEO) lost me with her recent blog – a gross (and self-serving) misrepresentation of the Chincoteague pony swim written in response to the death of Butterfly Kisses. I didn’t share her blog to my page, because I won’t knowingly post B.S. on my page, but you are welcome to Google it. When you read the article, you likely won’t see my comment on their page, as I fully expect to be censored, but here it is …..

Kitty, You are quick to pass judgement without having done your homework. The loss of Butterfly Kisses during the recent pony penning week (which I attended) was truly was a “freak accident” as the fire company post said. I know of a similar accident that happened to a lovely quarter-horse mare in a friend’s 50 acre pasture – she was running, slipped, slid into (and was impaled by) a fence. Will you now call for the cessation of keeping all domesticated horses because of the loss of my friend’s mare? Or will you call for keeping all domesticated horses indoors all the time, and bubble wrapped, to reduce the possibility of injury? The island community is deeply mourning the loss of this beloved pony, who was promptly and HUMANELY euthanized to prevent her from suffering. Your harsh knee-jerk judgement, twisting of facts, and outright lies (or negligent reporting of unconfirmed “events”) is a prime example of cruelty to fellow humans who are already devastated by this accident. Shame on you.

I (and other hikers) have noted ponies in the wild on Virginia end of Assateague with naturally occurring injuries, or that were in some kind of trouble (stuck in the mud, etc), and I personally have repeatedly seen the fire company respond promptly to attend to and/or rescue these ponies when they are in need. Also there is a regular regiment of pony enthusiasts who hike EVERY DAY to check on them, who communicate regularly with other enthusiasts and with the fire company, and who keep detailed records in addition to the records maintained by the fire company’s veterinarian (who attends to each pony at least 3 times a year for routine examinations and treatments, and as needed for illness or injury).

And as for the pony swim itself, I challenge you to elaborate on the “drownings” you reported to have occurred as a result of the annual swim. When did these pony-swim related “drownings” occur – dates and evidence please? I don’t expect a response from you on this point because there have not been any event related equine drownings (As safety measures, the very young, old, or infirm ponies don’t make “the swim” and are trailered to the carnival grounds, and the Saltwater Cowboys travel across the channel in boats on both sides of the swimming ponies). Over the decades, some wild ponies (on both the Maryland and Virginia parts of Assateague) have drowned while in the wild during violent storms, but not as a result of a pony swim event. VOLUNTARY swimming is pleasant part of their daily lives, and rare drownings during storms is part of the harsh realties that all barrier island inhabitants are subject to (though when large storms approach, the fire company opens the gates to all of the protective compounds, and the wise older ponies lead the others to high ground). The ponies often take to the water (foals included) to cool off, escape the bugs, to swim to other areas of Assateague, and they have even been known to swim across to Chincoteague on their own (see Youtube video “WILD Chincoteague ponies invade campground”). The foals routinely play in the water, and have even been observed playing with their own reflections on the water’s surface.

The one point you have made that is partially valid relates to some of the practices during the 1960s (ponies being transported in all manners of vehicles, etc). However, for you to report things that occurred over 50 years ago as though they are still occurring is irresponsible journalism at best, and is (at worst) hyping circumstances that no longer exist in order to get more support (donations) for your organization (of which I am sure you are a PAID staff member). Come to think of it, as I see it, you aren’t interested so much in protecting ponies as you are in providing your own job-security by playing on the emotions of animal lovers through gross misrepresentation of the pony swim.

Here’s how it’s done today … the fire company reserves the right to refuse to sell a pony to any individual regardless of whether or not they win the bid, and they require veterinary approval (and proper equipment) for transporting the ponies away from the auction. Not surprisingly, many of the foals that go to auction are purchased by people who are known personally in the local (and extended social media) community. Additionally, the Chincoteague pony enthusiasts have an extensive and well-connected social network that tracks the majority of the purchased ponies throughout their lives (believe me … these enthusiasts can identify the foals by name, tell you who the sire and dam are, and many times will tell you their birthdays and stories about their early days in the wild on Assateague). Many of the people who purchase these ponies proudly “register” them in Facebook “Class of (date)” groups, and share how they are doing throughout their lives. And, the pony enthusiast community steps in to support any pony that finds himself/herself in need of rescue (see Chincoteague Pony Rescue in Ridgely, Maryland). I would argue that these Chincoteague ponies have a better chance of being monitored throughout their lives, and are less at risk for mistreatment, than horses who are routinely purchased from breeding farms and private individuals and get passed around throughout their lives with no one watching over them.

I have throughout my life supported the Humane Society, but you missed the mark on this one, and have caused damage to the integrity of your once-trusted and well-respected organization. Please, invest your resources in protecting the wild mustangs out west, who are subject to real cruelty and mistreatment by our government, and don’t chime in on the Chincoteague ponies again until you know what you are talking about.

Extra biscuits and scritches to the furry loves…

Play nice ya’ll…

Cody 2 Socks

I’m just gonna leave y’all with my favorite mare this morning. The beautiful Cody 2 Socks is a wild pony mare on Assateague island. Her sire was the beautiful buckskin, half Arabian stallion Copper Moose, who passed probably in early 2015.

I will be back later today for a regular post. But for now please enjoy this photo by my friend and photographer Dana Dunne and her Ponytails photography. Until then…

Play nice y’all…