Top Ten Things…

When you lose part of your family as, in our case, half of your family (two dogs in less than two months), you tend to get nostalgic for things past. In that vein, here is a blog I wrote back in April of 2006, 10 years ago. So much has changed, so many loves and hugs have been exchanged, and I just can’t seem to keep from going back, to remember… not so much the “work” part but more the “dogs” part.

Top Ten Things… (written on 30 March 2006)


1. Work. That’s a no-brainer. It’s what I have to do every day, rain or shine, happy or sad, hot or cold, tired or not. I have no choice about it. I have to get up to type the work. Then have to clean up and drive over to the office to deliver the work. Have to pick up the new work and bring it home. Have to think about how much work to type before I go to bed so I won’t have too much to do the next day. This is just about foremost in my mind all the time. Work.

2. Dogs. Since we lost Jasmine Rose, our white collie, recently, I only have one dog companion left (until our new dog arrives at the end of April, that is).

Jasmine and Whitby

(Jazz and Whitby)

Whitby is my best buddy here and is with me all my waking and sleeping hours except when I’m out driving to or from work or the store. All other hours of my life are spent in close proximity to that girl-dog. She sleeps in the bedroom with me now, too – at first up on the bed, but only for a little while, then on the floor on her LL Bean bed. She’s no trouble either.



She’s a joy to have near me. I think about her all day long…. does she have to pee or poop? Is she hungry? Have I hugged her enough today and told her how much I love her? When I’ve finished my typing for the day, I reach for my white sneakers and hold them up for her to see… no words are necessary…she knows that these shoes mean “walkies” and she starts in with her high pitched little squealy voice and keeps it up until I have hustled us both out of the house, poop-bags in pockets, house key around my neck, and Whitby on the end of her lead… she’s one happy dog for that walkie! Oh my aching back, though…it’s getting very slightly easier, but it’s still very painful – since I have spinal stenosis and any kind of exercise makes a lot of pain happen.

3. Paul. Unlike the dog(s), I don’t see Paul much during the day. I think that’s why we have a good marriage, too. Absence makes the heart grow fonder, so they say, and I think “they” were right. He gets up a few minutes earlier than I do, washes, takes Whitby out for her early a.m. pee…eats his breakfast, and is out the door (in fishing weather) for the day. Other days, he’s down in the basement or outside working on his lobster gear, painting buoys, or some such thing. I get up and do my thing, tea, e-mails, work, dog, lunch, work, etc., etc., without ever really seeing him. Now and then I’ll catch sight of him out the window, or I’ll bring Whitby down to her back yard and Paul will be out there sitting in the sun painting lobster buoys, and we’ll have a hug and a snuggle. At supper is when we sit down, face to face, eat, and talk. For about 30 minutes, and then it’s off he goes to his tv and books, and off I go to my work and/or tv and books, and that’s about it for us for the day…but he is always on my mind.

4. Paul’s Health. As I’ve reported recently, he was diagnosed with thyroid cancer, had his entire thyroid removed, and will be starting his radioactive iodine treatments soon…doctors’ appointments, medications, lab tests, thyroid scans, uptake scans, etc etc…all are filling my brain lately…oiy!

5. Paul’s Parents. Since I am an orphan (both parents have passed), these two people are like my own Mom and Dad now… actually they’ve always seemed like that to me since we met in 1985. I love them so much, and now that they have moved up here to live close to their “kids”, we see them a lot, talk to them a lot, share things with them…and it’s really nice to have them near.

Jaz, Paul, Mom & Dad and a smidge of The Whit

6. My Pod Bud. Sandy, my dearest friend in all the world, who lives 1,000 miles away from me, is on my mind every day throughout the day. We correspond by email every day a few times, and we each just go about our lives separately but when we stop and think, pat our heart areas, we know that we are thinking of each other. This is a friendship that was so unlikely. We met in a newsgroup on-line about 5 years ago. We clicked. After about a year, I invited her to fly out here and get on a plane with Paul and me and fly to England in 2002, and she accepted! Not having ever met us in person! We had a ball.

Sandy Bex Paul Jean, Cottage at RosedaleAbbey

(Sandy, Bex & Paul with Jean Burluraux behind us, at Rosedale Abbey, N. Yorkshire, England – 2002)

It was her first trip abroad. It was like seeing a kid in a candy shop… she had wanted to see England all her life…and now she has…we are still inseparable “pod buds” and that holiday together in England will be remembered with love forever.

7. Appliances. My oven broke down recently, and I’m too tired to go into it here now…suffice it to say, the repairman from GE came out, supposedly fixed it, received $125 from me, left, and 2 days later when I went to use it for the first time again, it was NOT fixed! Another repairman (or the same one) will be here between 8 and 12 tomorrow… I hope he’s wearing his armour….I am livid!

8. Grass. It once was plush and green in the spring and summer and fall. This past winter, since Jazzy was very infirm… the dogs had to use the front yard for doing business. We built a ramp up the few front stairs for her to traverse, and it was all she could do near the end to make it that far on her own. We ended up having to carry her up and down. But the grass is now almost all brown, and dead. Grass does not grow well with pee as a fertilizer…I have learned! Darn.

lastday0035 (2)

(Front garden in better days)

9. My Journal. Yes, this is on my mind a lot too, even though I hardly ever make an entry to it. Today, our cousin, Edwin, asked me to keep writing journal entries so he could have something new to read while he is at his job waiting to be given some work to do… gee, Ed, it must be tough having a job where you go in there, sit around and not do anything, surf the internet most of the day, and then get paid for your troubles! The truth is that my life — our lives — here at Crow Cottage are so much the same old/same old every day of the year, there isn’t a helluva lot to report on. I’m not your average creative writer either, so flowery prose isn’t my bag. Life happens, and I report on it. When nothing is happening… it’s all quiet in here.

10. Last, but not least — England! I’m not sure these 10 things are in any kind of order of importance… because England certainly is not last on my list of thoughts. It invades my brain all day, every day. While I am typing, I dream of England – especially Yorkshire. I read our magazines from England…


… and wish we could be there ourselves this year, walking those beautiful heather-covered North York Moors, or traveling up to Grosmont from Pickering on the North York Moors Railway like we do every time we go there, or watching the gliders fly overhead whilst lying on the grass at Sutton Bank, the most beautiful spot in the world… or huffing and puffing this old decrepit body up the 199 steps at Whitby that lead to the church and abbey.

Climbing Whitby's 199 Steps

(Margaret, Paul, Jean B., and Bex (in green coat) coming up the rear)

I imagine us in our little cottage there in the Yorkshire countryside…

Paul, Bex, Bob & Angela

(“Schoolhouse Cottage” Sutton-under-Whitestonecliff, N. Yorkshire, England – 1989 – with Angela and Bob)

… with that distinctive “farm animal” smell that permeates everything, but which is so dear to us. I watch old “All Creatures Great and Small” episodes on video and wish I were there again…so bad. I miss England so much…it’s my heart’s home. I was just born the wrong side of the Pond this time, is all.

Sandy & Paul at Sutton Bank - the best view in the world

(Sandy and Paul looking out over Sutton Bank, N. Yorkshire, England)

3:53 pm – 30 March 2006


Bex & Co.

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9 Responses to Top Ten Things…

  1. nina says:

    Beautiful glance back. It shows how much of you there was then and how much of then is with you now.


  2. What fun Bex! I wasn’t reading your blog ten years ago, so some of the entry is a surprise, while other things, like your love of dogs, are not. I enjoyed your flash from the past.


  3. Bex says:

    Thanks one and all for your comments. And no, Eric, we will not be adding pets to our home. We decided this a while ago. Paul is 71 and after last year’s incidents with his falling, having the orthostatic hypotension thing, his lack of a thyroid (which is under control as long as he takes his meds), and then his concussion which really threw him a curveball, we do not think it would be fair to a pet if something were to happen mainly to Paul, or me, but Paul is the one who does most of the physical work needed around here. I am limited and being a dog mommy is a lot more work than some might think! You need to be able to get down and dirty sometimes, like on the floor, and if I drop something on the floor now, I throw a tantrum and wait for Paul to come pick it up!

    You can see my Archives are listed down at the bottom of my blog pages and they go back to 2003. Most of those don’t have the photos anymore as the photo hosts have disappeared. I have done a fair number of blogs, when I look back. It’s fun reminiscing, especially as I now basically live “alone” – especially in the lobstering season! Except for suppers and British shows at nights. That’s OK.


  4. Bonnie says:

    Really enjoyed your trip down memory lane. 🙂


  5. Rosemary says:

    Enjoyed going back 10 years with you, Bex. Most were happy memories, some in my home country although Yorkshire never visited. Your family has been well rounded with beloved dogs. I miss my last one, gone now four years and vacillate about getting a rescue………… Thanks for sharing your thoughts with us all.


  6. Eric Mayer says:

    Very enjoyable. I guess this predates my discovery of your journal. I didn’t know Paul was a cancer survivor. Apparently the treatment did its job since it is ten years later.

    From what you’ve said I gather you have decided not to adopt any more canine family. I can understand. Mary and I decided, after Sabrina (the perfect cat) to have no more pets. But I do see from this entry that you did choose to adopt in the past and that worked out well, so….

    England. Mary has never returned. She says it would make her too sad and maybe she couldn’t leave again or the modern reality might ruin her memories. She subscribes to some magazines. This England and Evergreen I think they are. The book we have been slowly, slowly working on is set in Newcastle, where Mary is from, during the Second World War, thus predating her, but in researching she has visited many old haunts via the Internet.

    Not at all surprised how well you got on with Sandy during the visit. Back in 1991, long before email and the Internet had taken old, I spent a few days in Detroit and then Toronto visiting people I had only known through correspondence and publishing amateur zines. We all got along just as well as we had expected, as if we’d known each other in person all the years we had been writing back and forth. You can, in fact, get to know a person very well from a distance.


  7. Sleeps_With_Rocks says:


    I enjoyed the entry. Down to earth and very interesting. Some of it shocked me as I didn’t know you ten years ago. Seems you are happiest with your memories of your pups/Paul and England. Memories, that’s all we have to take with us. You’ve made some great ones.

    PS-You are a good writer!



  8. TopsyTurvy says:

    Not counting things age related, you’ve had a pretty good life these last 10 years, Bex. Hope reminiscing made you smile. 🙂


  9. Sandy says:

    You do so well at keeping photos of everything…thanks for sharing…also thanks for kind words on number 6


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