Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Oops Blogoversary, Your Favorites, and Thank You!

I missed the exact date. But that's no reason to miss the celebration! This silly blog was two years old on September 7th! Can you imagine? I, who was Never Going To Have A Blog, have been at it for two years.

I went back and looked at that Very First Post. I said, "Blog, blog, blog: it's the new blah, blah, blah." I wrote a little story about public poopage way back then! And I included an excerpt from the novel, most all of which has been cut from the rewrite. (Not the Run! part; but it's been changed and moved.)

I introduced you to a Very Old Dog and we said goodbye to him.

I laughed with Lady Maria ...

And visited with a Nekkid Neighbor .

And said goodbye, after a Lifetime of Laughter. Little sweet pea.
We extolled the virtue of Support Socks! Remember?

We laughed at the notion of being considered SEXY!

I shared some fiction, one I wrote about Santa, which got shared a LOT, thank you so much!

And the most widely read and shared post of all, a three part short story about a Rescuer, and the dog she rescued, Joe.

The horse short story has already gotten almost as many reads. Looks like you are sharing that one, too. More thank yous!
Here is a piece I wrote the very first week of the blog, which you might have missed.
I've made new friends, and reconnected with old ones. You've supported me through a rather challenging year, and put up with certain rants and pity parties.
I hope in return I've been able to bring you a smile or two, and a good kind of cry once in a while.
I sure do want to say a most heartfelt Thank You!
So I think I'll do a random draw from the comments on this post and send a free, signed copy of Mama Pajama Tells A Story.
And, if you would, for me, please hug your hounds!

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

A Friend

Someone did something crazy nice for me.

I still can't believe it.

Thank you Laurie!

hug your hounds and your sweet friends

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Bill's Work

(Click on any image to enlarge, then use your back button to return.)
Worley Road, watercolor, 9" x 3"

Bill has been creating an absolutely delightful body of work for an upcoming show with two other Lowertown artists. The show is titled Wee Three, and all the work will be miniatures.

Seeing as how I have Special Privileges, I get a daily preview. And since I owe you Dear Readers a great deal, I thought I'd share.

Oh my lands! Mr. Webster defines delightful as giving great pleasure; highly pleasing.

These little pieces are highly pleasing, indeed. And because they are miniatures, their price will give great pleasure also. I look forward each evening to see his day's creations.

Small Fall, acrylic, 6" x 6"

Looking Out, acrylic, 6" x 8"
I included this one, because it's not a typical Renzulli, but I love it!

East Point Lighthouse, acrylic, 8" x 10"

Is it just me? Or do you find them as fun as I do? If you want to see many many more, fix yourself a cup of tea or coffee, or grab a glass of wine if it's that time of day, and go to Bill's blog.
Just keep clicking on "older posts" - it is a nice journey.
If you are a local reader, the reception for the show will be at Leaping Trout Gallery (on Madison between 7th and 8th Streets) on October 9th, from 5 - 8 PM.
It's a beautiful day to hug some hounds!

Friday, September 25, 2009

Thank you smiles

Mama Pajama ate her chicken breast and basamati rice for dinner, and she took her meds.

I am blessed with generous, kind, oh so smart friends, some who live right down the street, and some who I see once or twice a year, and some whom I've never met in person. (See that I can go from rant to hoke in one day!)

Thank you all. We feel better. I know better than to complain when I am given the company of any dog for more than 13, 14, even 15 years! I do know better. And I wouldn't trade a day.

Thank you all.

Good night

And hug your sweet hounds, while considering yourselves squish-hugged by me

This Blasted Year!

[If this is your first visit to this blog, do me a favor and scroll down and look for "Readers' Choices on the right. Pick any of those stories. Just skip this. Please.]


I shouldn't say I can't wait until this year is over. I'll never get that time back, after all, now will I?



Just a brief recap. And I'll run it all together and zip right through it because it's not cheery and fun and who wants to read it all, but I want to RANT and it's my blog and I truly do try to keep you Dear Readers in mind but here I go anyway and you can just skip this and come back later.

Last November I took Maria in for some tummy troubles and we found a big awful mass and I took her body to be cremated that day instead of bringing her home and in December I was talking to my dear friend, Carolyn, on the phone, hearing her cheerful voice rising above her glioblastoma, and she said "Greg is sleeping too late, I'm going to wake him up," and then Ping called me to tell me that when Carolyn went to wake him, she found her husband, her best friend in kindergarten, she found him dead, and when she asked me if I would take Easy and Spice "after" I said I'd be proud to, and I prayed that Easy would defy all odds and outlive his beloved Carolyn, which he did.
And then in one week in the end of March Carolyn died and I was glad I had been there for her birthday just weeks before, and my sister was admitted for 'constipation' which was oh by the way stage four ovarian cancer, and my shadow my Giacomino days shy of fifteen couldn't rely on his legs anymore and I held him and kissed him and SCREAMED all the way to the crematorium and I called Bill on the way home and SCREAMED I CAN'T STOP SCREAMING.
And he helped.
And I did what it took to reactivate my RN license and I worked the 12 hour shifts for free as part of the refresher course and the job that was promised turned out to be 7 pm to 7 am and you know what? No. Been there, done that. So I still don't have a job, no I wasn't let go I never started and then Spice's eye bugged out, her beautiful sweet eye, and I knew that Easy's every day is a miracle, but I was going to make Carolyn proud and
Spice was going to live to sixteen and then there I was again driving back to the damn
crematorium town, only a different facility because I could NOT WOULD NOT go back to the screaming place.
I got my first EVER rejection for a piece of writing, well I guess I was due, but the timing sure sucks.
And now my Mama Pajama has elevated pancreatic enzymes and this morning I made her yelp trying to pry her mouth open to take her meds and she wouldn't eat boiled chicken even and oh I'm scared and I cannot post something cheery
I'm sorry.
I will be glad when this year is over.
hug your hounds

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

I Read A Book, a very *good* book

(Non Dog Related)

I'm stepping out of my dog writer shoes for a moment and sliding on my fluffy book reader slippers. I must share this with you.

"This" is a novel that I just finished reading. I've been reading a lot of 'first' novels and classic novels. The book before last was To Kill A Mockingbird, which was both. I've heard everywhere and back again that writers should read good writing. I read the 'first' novels to give me hope.

I got a recommendation for a book on Barry's most excellent blog, An Explorer's View of Life. Seems the author was one of his blog friends/followers. I checked out her blog, and I loved her voice. So I followed the links and ordered her book.

My copy of Tender Graces, by Kathryn Magendie, arrived in the mail. It is published by BelleBooks, Inc., which I assume is a smallish press out of Smyrna, Georgia. I had to finish two library books which were due back. I made the mistake of reading the first chapter of Tender Graces. Library books, shmibrary books. I was hooked.

I raced through Tender Graces, not the way you would gulp down a big juicy hamburger after a couple days without food. More the way you would attend to a fresh-steamed Maine lobster, wanting to savor every bite while the butter was still hot and the shell burned your fingers a little. Everything else could wait.

That I had only recently re-read To Kill A Mockingbird is one of those inexplicable Gifts of the Universe. That book, (okay, along with Gregory Peck), holds a very dear place in my heart. Harper Lee is one of the best writers in my world. And I read Tender Graces thinking, Wow. She's that good a writer. This book is To Kill a Mockingbird good. And I was right.

Now I have to wait until the next in the series comes out. The rest of you can use the links and get your own copies. Don't bother with the blurbs - they don't do the storytelling justice. Here's a blurb: It's the story of a girl and a mountain and whispers in the wind. Of riding fast on an imaginary horse and parents who drink and make hornets buzz in a little girl's head. It's about kindness and flaws and doing better. Hot Louisiana summers and brothers who are gone and there and gone. It is simply a great read, beautifully written.


Monday, September 21, 2009

Something Snapped!

I swear. I even heard the *Ta-WANG*!

For seven years and two months I have been training my dogs to ignore stupid city squirrels. I moved to this graceful southern city with a pack of dogs who had bagged a minimum of a squirrel or two per week in their country digs. Killed 'em dead and ate their heads first. We moved here and there were more squirrels than ever, but no chance for off-lead murders. Oh lordy our walks were loud. Dangerous. Awful.

The country squirrels had been bad enough. (On several occasions, the dogs encountered Suicide Bomber Squirrels. Having chased a squirrel up a tree, six whippets and a big black lab would surround said tree, screaming, leaping, slinging spit, gnashing teeth. I would watch in abject horror as the stupid squirrel, instead of sitting in the tree counting his many fortunes, would run back down that tree into the Jumping Jaws of Death. Hello??? Darwin calling!)

But these city squirrels. They spend hours on the telephone wires over the yard blowing raspberries at the dogs. They even bomb the dogs with walnut shells. On our walks they sit just beyond the lengths of the leashes, flicking their turpitudinous tails in contempt. Smacking their lips around their abominable buck teeth. Oh, they are vile, vile.

And after seven years, having employed every trick in the book and more, I had finally trained the dogs to look to me for a treat when they saw a squirrel, instead of caterwauling to raise the dead, or biting each other as the next best thing. Our walks were peaceful at last.

All bets were off when Easy arrived. At eleven and a half, an expert squirrel dispatcher in his own right, he spends his walks scouting the heavens for the brutes. He barks his fool head off when he sees one - every twenty feet or so - and wonders what the hell is the matter with his silent buddies, Mama Pajama and Fat Charlie. The barking irritates the cancer growing in his throat and he gags and wretches.

Oh, I hate those rodent bastards.

Yesterday I was finishing my last walk. I had met up with sweet Deb. Deb is peace personified. A beautiful, gentle soul. Sammy, Lindy Loo, and Swede William were quite thrilled when she joined us. We got to the last block. William started his oh-I-see-one dance. The dogs turned to me for their treat. The squirrel looked at us with disdain.

It was the same squirrel that had tortured Easy every day last week. I would know those beady black squinty eyes anywhere.

"Uh oh," said Deb. "Shew, Mr. Squirrel."

That's when I snapped. I saw every Bad Thing that has happened in the last ten months in the mockery of that rodent's pointy face. A sense of purpose enveloped me. I was Possessed. Maybe the spirits of Maria, Giacomino and Spice took control of my right hand. I watched that hand reach down and slip Sammy's lead over his head. I watched as Sammy - now a whippet bullet - shot across the twenty yards of grass dead aiming for the little sucker.

"Oh," said Deb.

"Git him!" said whatever possessed my mouth. (Normally, I'm almost a vegetarian.)

I watched the squirrel sit there. You know the old cartoons on Saturday mornings when a character's eyes would pop out on springs: boing oing oing? That's what Mr. Squirrel's eyes did. As Sammy's jaws started to crunch him into eternity, his little bucktooth mouth said, clear as day, "Oh Thit!!! Thith ith not good!" and he beat feet up the damn tree.

Sammy skidded in the mud - a perfect base-stealing slide on his butt - and leaped up the tree trunk, just like the good old days.

Lindy Loo and William cursed their misfortune and their servant, at the top of their lungs. Sammy thought that, deprived of his squirrel, he should perhaps come back and bite the brats.

"No, Sam," I said.

"Can I help?" offered dear Deb.

The murderous demon left me, and I said, "Sam come." He did. He is such a good dog.

This morning Sam, William, Lindy Loo, and I encountered a black cat and a squirrel within ten feet of each other and us.

They went wild. And I laughed like the fool that I am. What's seven years?

hug your hounds

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Blog Award

A kind and generous fellow blogger, QueenMother Mamaw, gave me an award! In presenting it to me she said:

Patience your stories are so full of the humane philosophy I see this being meaningful to you, also.
You, of course may do what you like with this award, but it is presented to you in sincere admiration and a tribute to your humane treatment and love of your dogs.

What a lovely thing to say! I have been a total ingrate and have not gotten it posted forever. And I have discovered that QMM is a neighbor, living somewhere nearby in Western Kentucky! How small a world is that!

I must pass this award on. I can think of no one more deserving than Wally's ma ape. Wally has gotten ten trillion well-deserved awards. But this one is for his human. She goes to the SPCA every weekend and plays with the dogs and posts photos on Wally's blog to help them get adopted. It doesn't get much more humane that that, does it?

hug your hounds

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Novel Excerpt part three (fiction)

I'm sorry if you came here looking for the excerpt. I've edited and re-written it since I posted it here. I'm pleased with it now! I'll save the pages for any agents that are willing to look.
hug your hounds

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Novel Excerpt part two (fiction)

Sorry! I've re-written and now I'm very pleased with the results. FINALLY! Maybe someday this will actually be a book.

hug your hounds

Monday, September 14, 2009

Novel Excerpt part one (fiction)

Emily Hunt sat at her computer. The phone startled her.

“You better come now. She just had a contraction.”

Lucy’s voice, rich and sixty, was usually a source of comfort for her niece-in-law. On that night it carried all the calm of a roller coaster, a little wild and out of control.

“Coming,” said Emily. “I’ll be right there.”

Still clutching the phone, Emily hurried down the hall, and burst into her husband’s study. A big yellow Lab and three whippets skittered after her, their toenails trying to find purchase on the old hardwood floor. The dogs had been sound asleep in Emily’s computer room. They entered Emerson’s den, doing the wake-up-shake-all-over with sleepy eyes and tails wagging, eager as ever to join in the fun.

Emily held the phone up as an explanation. “Zelda’s in labor. I’m on my way. Are you okay with the dogs?”
Emerson looked at his wife and smiled. She was so excited that he could feel waves of electricity surrounding her. He loved her.
Illustration (C) W.F. Renzulli, MD
(C) Patience Renzulli, all rights reserved
hug your hounds

Friday, September 11, 2009

P. O. (d)

I went to the Post Office today.

I love the folks at our Post Office. When friends or family visit, if I have to go to the Post Office I bring them with me so I can introduce them to the folks at our Post Office. We laugh, we ask how each others' kids are, we say it is great to see you, hope you have a great weekend, and we mean it.

When the 2nd edition of Mama Pajama Tells A Story got done, my peeps at our Post Office celebrated with me and helped me mail all the pre-ordered copies. They were happy for me.

So this new guy - new to our branch, not new to postal work - was at work one day. I brought some books to mail. My friend, Diana, weighed my packages and told me what they would cost. She got a thought and said to the new guy, "Hey, [hmmm says the evil writer... what fictitious name shall we give the new guy] MEAN MAN, Patience has written a book!" To me Diana said, "MEAN MAN collects books. Fancy ones, with autographs and stuff." To MEAN MAN, "You should get one of Patience's books!"

Nice as could be, all smiley and polite, I say, "I'd be happy to sign a book for you."

Mean Man sneered, yes he did, he positively sneered at me. "I only collect first edition hardcover books, signed by well known authors. I don't want your book."

Well, okay then. My friend Diana said, "You'll be sorry when she's on Oprah!" She rolled her eyes at me. "He will, won't he!"

That was a couple of years ago.

Today I went to mail a couple more books. (Thank you Dear Readers!) My friend Bonnie was working, but noooooooo, the way the line worked out I get Mean Man. Bonnie asks me how I've been, it's been a while, it's great to see you, you cut your hair! I told her that I was asked to do a reading of my book at the college on October 29th! Maybe she could come!

Mean Man said, "Something is wrong with dog people. They're sick." Now, Dear Readers, I'm not going to repeat what Mean Man said. He went on for EVER on how people who loved dogs didn't really deserve to live. And when he ran out of bad things to say about dog people, he started in on artists, and how crazy they are, and what inflated senses of their talent they all have. (My husband is an artist. I forgot to tell you that part, Bill!)

I was in a rather fragile state, and he was being so mean, without provocation, that I was actually fighting tears at this point.

Son of a bitch stinkin' snorkle douche (oops I didn't mean that) ugly horrid book collector with fake signatures on fake first editions shithead. (Oops I did mean that.)

I looked him in the eye. I knew anything I said in defense of dogs or dog people was only going to fuel his ugliness. So I said, "I suppose the twenty-six years I've been a Registered Nurse is worthless too." I know I was beat red. Poor Bonnie was mortified, as were the other people in line.

Well I guess he had a little change of heart or something, because he backpedalled. "Oh, I wasn't talking about you," he said. "I was just talking in general, you know."

Now, usually, I can't think of the right thing to say until I'm lying in bed at two in the morning, still livid. Or finally livid after being sad. But today? Today I had taken all the beating the universe had to give. I looked at that Mean Man and I said

"Oh, I know. Some people get pleasure out of saying hurtful things. They get pleasure out of making other people sad. There are actually some people who feel more important when they are mean to folks who haven't done anything to anyone." [Okay I didn't actually say the last sentence. I thought it, though, so there! And I did actually say the other two, out loud. Not ugly or angry, just matter of fact, trying not to cry.] "Bye, Bonnie! Hope you have a great weekend."

(Of course I forgot to pick up my flat rate envelopes, and Bonnie had to call me back when I reached the door, so I had to come back after sounding all baddass and everyone could see that I had started to cry, but still. I think the dogs would have been proud that I stood up to that Mean Man. It. Was. Enough.)

I am hugging my sweet hounds, and sending out big ah-WOOOOOOOOOOOS to all you WONDERFUL, KIND, LOVING Dog People!
(Google Image, source

Monday, September 7, 2009

For Barry

My blog has been so sad lately. I have a blog friend who could use a laugh. This is an old story. I hope it brings a smile or two!

Back when we lived on the farm, I came up with this Great Idea. The dogs were pulling me down. Literally. We’d be out walking, enjoying life, and some stinking squirrel, or rabbit, deer, groundhog, fox, figment of Opie’s imagination, whatever would take off down the path ahead of us, and the six whippets would simultaneously accelerate. It is hard to stay upright and hold on to six leads when one hundred and eighty pounds of Whippets go from two to thirty mph and you’re not expecting it. Shoot, it’s hard to do it when you are expecting it, but at least you can sit down.
I had started wearing a hefty belt outside of my coat, and affixing Giacomino’s lead to it. He was recovering from orthopedic surgery, and he simply could not run loose. So my Great Idea was to make special three- to four-foot-long leads for all of the dogs. I would snap all six leads to heavy brass rings on the hefty belt. That way, the dogs couldn’t pull the leads out of my hands when they took off. And because the leads would be attached to my waist, my center of gravity would be lower. It was a Great Idea!
I figured the beauty of the Great Idea was that, what with my lower center of gravity and all, the dogs wouldn’t be able to pull me splat on my face, as had become their habit of late. I could dig in my heels, quite literally, and all would be well.
I walked that way for about a week. There were a few incidents of squirrel, deer, and groundhog sightings, but I remained on my feet and no dogs got loose. I arrived at work fairly beaming. “This is the Best Idea I’ve ever had,” I crowed. “I need to find a way to market this so that everyone can walk all their dogs at once.”
The very next morning I went walking all the dogs before work, congratulating myself for my Brilliant Idea. I turned the corner at the edge of the woods. There is a slight decline there, as the tractor road dips down for about a hundred yards until it turns gradually left into the woods.
I felt the speed even before I saw the rabbit. I was somehow flying. Or, not quite. I was running like the Six Million Dollar Woman: going about twenty or twenty-five miles per hour, with each stride getting longer and longer until each foot would only touch down every fifteen feet or more. I was screaming, “No, no, no, no, oh stop, no, no, no, ahhhhhhhhhh,” but the Whippets didn’t hear any of it. They were six dogs who were one. Because of the belt, I couldn’t fall down. It was like I was water-skiing or on one of those flying kites behind a boat. And we kept increasing in speed.
We had already covered the hundred yards and were turning into the woods. The stupid bunny just kept running straight down the tractor road ahead of us. It could have turned into the woods and disappeared, but noooooooooooo, it just kept running straight in front of the six Whippets and the Six Million Dollar Woman, and I swear to you, dear readers, I swear to you, at this point we were going at least, at least thirty miles an hour.
Now I’m not a particularly religious person. It’s been years since I set foot in a church. But as we entered the woods, I felt both of my empty hands waving way up above my head. Every finger wiggling like so much wheat on a windy day. And I heard a humble little Patience voice, crying out loud, “Oh, Sweet Jesus, help me!”
The next thing I remember is wondering why on earth I had decided to take a nap in a wild rose bush. I was lying about five feet into the woods, with my face smack up against a multiflora rose. For those lucky readers who’ve never been up close and personal with a wild rose bush, well, that’s what they use in Ireland to keep bulls away from the cows. A multiflora rose bush makes barbed wire look like dental floss.
As I regained consciousness, there were six contrite little Whippets looking down at me, each one saying, “It wasn’t me. No ma’am. It wasn’t me at all. I wasn’t even here. I just got here to see if I could help you. Could you move away from the roses, though? They are awfully stickery.”
Well. I thought it was a great idea.
(adapted from an essay in Mama Pajama Tells A Story, (c) PC Renzulli, all rights reserved)
hug your speedy, innocent hounds

Friday, September 4, 2009

Adagio for Strings

Thank you, John and Kristin Williams for figuring it out.

I believe my dear friend is hugging her darling hound. And that is something to rejoice.

Thursday, September 3, 2009


A friend sent me a note today, which ended with this line:

Life isn't about waiting for the storm to pass... It's about learning to dance in the rain.

I love to dance. I'm not very good, but I imagine myself to be fantastic.
I love music. All different sorts of music. oh no let's go let's go crazy. I forget that I'm older than dirt. I forget that I look a little creepy: an old lady shakin' her booty.
I love to sing. I'm terrible, but only in real life. In my mind.. in my shower, in my car... There have been times in the van when I'm singing so loud, with such enthusiasm and verve that the whole waggle has felt compelled to join in. And we are homeless, homeless. Moonlight sleeping on a midnight lake ahwoooooooooooooooooo!
On the morning which would be Spice's last, Bill and I accidentally met on our walks. I was standing, transfixed, in front of this stunning home:
Out of its upstairs porch were floating the most hauntingly beautiful strains. Violins leading their orchestral cousins in the sweetest, saddest melody. Vaguely familiar and so moving. The assembled whippets - Easy, Fat Charlie, Mama Pajama, Spice, Delia, and Luciano - listened. "Bill, what is that? Do you recognize it?" But it ended. We walked home together. I want to find that song, for it is forever linked in my heart now with one dear, sweet, loving, wagging, generous, darling dog. I want to find that music.
I remember the title of a book, I'm Dancing as Fast as I Can.
I was no saint for bringing Easy and Spice to our home. Please do not make that mistake in your thinking. It has been a rare gift. Spice was the sweetest dog I have ever known. Right there with Opie, our old Lab, and there is no higher praise. I have been able to hold on to a piece of my late friends, Easy and Spice's beloved Carolyn and Greg, right here in my arms.
I am comforted by the image of Spice galloping towards Carolyn and Greg, with her head stretched high and her ears pricked, that tail wagging like crazy. And the reunion that would follow. That's what I hear in that music. That's it. I wonder if I heard it in those violins without knowing what I was hearing? I wonder if Carolyn was in that music? If the dogs heard her?
I'm trying to dance. Sometimes it's raining too damn hard. I'm trying to focus on that happy reunion. I'm trying to block the image of that goddam bastard nightmare seizure.
I need to find that music.
I'm hugging my hounds