It’s A Busy Life This Week!

I am getting ready to head stateside next week for a friend’s wedding and have been busy with preparations.  On top of that, I am co-hosting a baby shower for a friend here on island on Sunday which I have to make Martha Stewart’s favorite Coconut Cupcakes for, getting a door replaced in the master bedroom closet, supervising the house cleaners on Saturday morning, picking up the hubby from the airport on Saturday evening, getting in one more acupuncture/massage appointment before sitting on the plane for a total of sixteen hours on Tuesday and getting a pedicure.  Whew!  So, needless to say, I am not getting a whole lot of reading done this week/weekend.  That is okay though because on the flight over, I have set aside THE GARGOYLE that I won from BOOKISH RUTH this summer as well as the audio download to read along too.  I’m really excited about that and will try to stay awake for most of the flight (Tokyo to Dulles is 12.5 hours) so I can get on the East Coast sleep schedule more quickly.  I only have two weeks at home and I have things to do and tons of people to see. 

Tonight, I ran out to get Rocky some food with my friend Shyla, and while we were at the PX we found a Sock Monkey dog toy.  Well of course I had to get it for Rocky.  It’s pretty cool and has a plastic bottle inside of the monkey so it crunches when gnawed on.  This thing was an immediate hit with Rock when we gave it to him but he ended up loving it too much.  After about twenty minutes he started to chew a hole in the monkey’s head.  No more Sock Monkey Rocky.  Here’s a rawhide.  Enjoy!

Early Birthday Cookies!

Today I made some cookies for the hubby since he won’t be here for his birthday next week.  He LOVES chocolate & peanut butter so I made Peanut Butter Whoopie Pies from Martha Stewart’s Cookies Cookbook.  Oh my goodness where these easy to make and even easier to eat!  Hubby was so tired when he got home today and to see him sink his teeth into one of these huge cookies and see the smile spread across his exhausted face was all the thanks I needed. 

When I was transfering these pics to the computer I was reminded of some pics I had taken last weekend of Rocky.  I just love it when he is relaxed and resting at the foot of the bed with us.  He looks a bit annoyed with the camerawoman though.


Booking Through Thursday ~ Holidays

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It’s a holiday weekend here in the U.S., so let’s keep today’s question simple–What are you reading? Anything special? Any particularly juicy summer reading?

Somehow the Independence Day weekend is here.  The first half of 2008 have flown by in a blur.  I have read fifteen books so far this year and am about to add another title to my read pile.  I am almost finished with the touching and enrapturing book, “The Art of Racing In the Rain” by Garth Stein.  As I read it and listen to Enzo telling the story of his family and their lives, I find myself talking more and more with my own dog Rocky.  I have always asked Rocky “What are you thinking about?”.  Now I really wonder more than ever, what is that adorable creature who inhabits our lives and home thinking? 

                             I\'m thinking about....

Book Review ~ Where The Red Fern Grows by Wilson Rawls

Summary ~ “Billy, Old Dan and Little Ann – A Boy and His Two Dogs… A loving threesome, they ranged the dark hills and river bottoms of Cherokee country.  Old Dan had the brawn, little Ann had the brains – and Billy had the will to train them to be the finest hunting team in the valley.  Glory and victory were coming to them, but sadness waited too.  And close by was the strange and wonderful power that’s only found… Where the Red Fern Grows.”

Monday, I finished “Where the Red Fern Grows” by Wilson Rawls.  Though I needed a box of tissues to get through the end of the book, I loved every exhilarating, loving and heartbreaking word.  I sat there with my dog Rocky laying in my lap and read the last pages about Billy’s childhood and the little hunting dogs who changed his life. 

“Where the Red Fern Grows” is a story about a determined boy with a terrible case of “dog-wanting disease” set in the Ozarks of northeastern Oklahoma during the Great Depression.  After saying a prayer asking for help with getting his hunting pups, Billy Coleman spent two long years working to earn and save $50.00 to buy two little hunting puppies he had seen listed in a fisherman’s discarded magazine.  With the help of his Grandfather, his prayer is answered. 

   “I wanted so much to step over and pick them up.  Several times I tried to move my feet, but they seemed to be nailed to the floor.  I knew the pups were mine, all mine, yet I couldn’t move.  My heart started acting like a drunk grasshopper.  I tried to swallow and couldn’t.  My Adam’s apple wouldn’t work. 
   One pup started my way.  I held my breath.  On he came until I felt a scratchy little foot on mine.  The other pup followed.  A warm puppy tongue caressed my sore foot.
   I heard the stationmaster say, “They already know you.”
   I knelt down and gathered them in my arms.  I buried my face between their wiggling bodies and cried.  The stationmaster, sensing something more than just two dogs and a boy, waited in silence.”

And that was the beginning of a beautiful friendship that carried those three through the valleys, riverbanks and mountains of the mighty Ozark Mountains.  Billy’s loving and supportive family consisted of Papa, Mama, three little sisters, Grandma and willy old Grandpa.  After training his pups to hunt ring-tail raccoons with a coon pelt, the adventures this trio experience during hunting seasons are endless. 

The vivid words jump off the page and create the lush, dark, mysterious, and beautiful land in my mind’s eye.   Not only did I feel that I was following along with Billy as I listened to him telling me what his dogs were doing as they were hunting but I could feel the same rush as the hunts were coming to an end and a hide was the prize. 

As I was reading “Where The Red Fern Grows” I thought about the plot that Rawls was getting across to me as the reader.  It was simple.  Boy wants dogs.  Boy gets dogs.  Boy trains his dogs to hunt and with that skill mastered to perfection by Old Dan & Little Ann, the story takes off.  The dangers that hunting can entail fill the pages of this book with breakneck chases and sneaky raccoons tricking the dogs but the power of the canine nose winning out in the end almost every time.  

I have never been an advocate of hunting and the idea of going out to hunt for sport and not food isn’t my idea of ethical but when reading this book, those feelings were cast aside and I happily read about treeing raccoons, vicious fights with claws and teeth gnashing out and the final moment when a dog’s steel trap of a jaw settles in until the last breath of a raccoon or some other animal marks a win for a spirited hunter. 

I read this book as a child and I would recommend anyone from the fourth grade and above to read this magical tale of unconditional love you can only find with man’s best friend. 

{Rating ~ 5 out of 5}

Rocky & His Raccoon 

Here’s Rocky with his toy raccoon.  I took this picture this morning and he willingly posed perfectly for all of you out there. 

Sunday Salon ~ June 22, 2008

This weekend has found me reading “Where The Red Fern Grows” by Wilson Rawls.  The last and first time I read this book was back in 1984 when I was a fourth grader.  I can’t remember if it was required reading for class or if I had ordered it from the Scholastic Book Fair and read it on my own, but I do know that I absolutely loved it.  That’s proving true this time around too.  I find myself remembering what is about to happen in the next few pages when my memory is jarred by a passage and it’s the coolest thing.  Billy, Old Dan & Little Ann are like old friends I haven’t seen in ages and I feel like a little girl again and I’m following them around Billy’s folks land in the Ozarks of Oklahoma.  Watching them go on their night time hunts and playing down on the riverbank below their home is as exciting as it was the first time. 
I’m actually reading the same copy that I read those many years ago and I laugh every time I come across a word that has been underlined in pencil.  When I put a book down for the day, I would underline the word I was to start back up with when it was time to get back to reading.  My fourth grade handwriting is on the inside cover showing my name, teacher’s name and my phone number (in case I lost the book it could be returned to me). 
As a child and again as an adult I am the proud owner of a beautiful silver Cocker Spaniel.  Lightening struck twice with me and I feel so blessed to have loved twice when it comes to dogs.  Growing up my dog’s name was Maxwell and he was my best friend.  I could tell him anything and he would listen with all ears and heart.  I got him in the summer of 1981 and he lived until the summer of 1993.  He was the family dog but I believe (and my dad backs me up on this one) that because of my pleading and carrying on for a dog like Lady in “Lady & The Tramp” for a couple of years, my parents finally gave in and we got Maxwell.  He was the best, most adorable doggie.
Now as an adult I have the shear luck of being the proud owner and “mother” to Rocky.  He’s the most beautiful, intelligent, funny dog I’ve ever known.  My husband and I love him and because we don’t have children he fills a lot of shoes in our home.  Dog, confidant, child, protector, playmate, teddy bear, and couch pillow.  We got him from an ad in the Little Rock, Arkansas newspaper when we were living in Memphis, TN five years ago.  We drove two and a half hours to a little double-wide trailer in Cabot, AR and there was our little Rocky.  We bought him for a whopping $125.00 (same price my parents paid for Maxwell back in 1981) and took him home with us.  Now he is a world traveling dog with Okinawa, Japan as an address.
As I have been reading “Where The Red Fern Grows”, there have been moments when I think about the fact that Rocky will join Maxwell in time and won’t be with us anymore.  In those sad moments, I hug Rocky and tell him I love him with all my heart.  Below is a picture of Rocky when we brought him home on Memorial Day weekend 2003.  He was eight weeks old.
8 week old Rocky, May 2003