Saturday, October 31, 2009

Sammy the Saint and Literary Doings

It's been a fun-packed time around these parts.

I went to my first-ever writers' retreat and learned oh my gosh so much. The presenters (see below for some great book recommendations) were enormously talented, and helpful, and funny, and did I mention talented? As were the other participants. I think I did a very bad job of being me: I felt like I said exactly the wrong thing at every opportunity; like I picked the absolute wrong choice of my writing to read; like I was a big impostor who-did-I-think-I-was boob for being there. Do you know what I mean?

I felt like I had shrunk so far as to be nearly invisible.

But once I cast aside my ego, bruised and pulpy from nothing but my own demons pounding the poop out of it, I emerged more educated, more determined, and strangely - after a couple of weeks of being back home with the dogs and Bill - more confident.

Our Kennel Club hosted our four day autumn Agility Trial. Two words? It. Rocked. I stayed too busy to be frustrated by the fact that Sammy wasn't entered. For the most part. But the judges were happy, the competitors were happy, the club members were happy, and the facility was great. We got the most spectators ever and they loved it. The dogs were spectacular. The club fed dinner to about eighty guests and I'm still full!

And yesterday Sam I Am and I did a book signing/reading at Western Kentucky Community and Technical College. I am not usually that nervous at a reading. But the recent humility of the writers' retreat, coupled with the fact that I would know so many in the audience, including and especially Bill, I was a mess and a half.

It poured. I mean there were flash floods and closed roads. I followed Heather (of Emmett and Baby Ben fame), and as we walked to the library I thought, If Heather weren't leading me I'd never find this place, and if I knew where it was I surely wouldn't come in this rain.

I figured I'd be reading to Bill, Heather, Kim who invited me to read, and Lee, who was bringing Bill. The thought of no one coming made me even more nervous.

But they did come. Lots of people. Oh I was glad to have Sam I Am with me. At first he was confused: since when were his Bill and his Heather and his Lee and his walking buddy Tracey at a therapy setting or a reading? But he was so good. I usually bring a little bed for him, but I forgot, so I put his coat on the floor.

Heather sat in the front row, and when she cried during Opie's Song, Sam sat with her for a bit. When I read The Wild Dinner Party and he heard his name, he rejoined me at the podium. The audience was so very kind and generous. I stumbled over more words than usual because of my nervousness, but folks were forgiving. My sweet friend Deb came and took these pictures. Thanks, Deb.

These stories are always so well received. They certainly aren't great literature. They're just little stories. But I think it's because they come from the dogs. That's why people like to hear and read them.

They come straight from the dogs, and all of our dogs speak the same language, don't they?

hug your hounds

Or better yet, sneak them cookies like Lee did! You ROCK, Lee!
*** Book recommendations from the writers' retreat:
edited by Jason Howard
hysterical!!! by Anne Shelby
by Squire Babcock
by Silas House

Friday, October 30, 2009

Friday My Town Shoot Out - Park Landscapes

The topic for October 30 is Park landscapes - by JarieLyn .

Paducah has lovely parks, but alas, with the four day Agility Trial over the weekend, and my book signing and reading yesterday, my plate was overfull. I'll rely on photos hiding in my computer.

We have a clever and oh so creative Parks and Rec department. They took a notion to put a skating rink in the downtown parking lot of this southern town in way Western Kentucky. I mean smack downtown, right on the River. In the photo above, granddaughter Abigail, who is on a hockey team in her city of Chicago, shows the locals a thing or two.

The majority of the locals had never worn ice skates in their lives. It was fun to watch them go from hanging on to the edge of the rink for dear life to proficient, if wobbly, independent skaters by the end of the season.

Schultz park is 55 acres of riverfront in downtown Paducah. It is at the foot of Broadway, behind our beautiful flood wall. Barges often wait here for their turns through the locks.

Sam I Am, Swede William, and Lindy Loo wait patiently for me to take the photo.

oh no let's go let's go CRAZY!!!

We worried for the park during the ice storm.

There is good reason for our flood wall.

No discussion of area parks would be complete without mention of the federal Land Between the Lakes. These were for a long time the largest man made lakes in the country. The writer's retreat I attended was held at Kenlake Park, pictured below.

Under these hauntingly beautiful waters lie towns, homesteads, graveyards.

Neighbor Allan Rhoades paints the path on the labyrinth.

And I have to brag about my neighborhood. My neighbors bought an empty lot and put a labyrinth on it. Themselves. For everyone to enjoy.
It is that magical here.
hug your hounds

Monday, October 26, 2009

Book Reading and Signing THIS WEEK!

The lovely Kim Russell at WKCTC has invited me to do a reading and signing of Mama Pajama Tells A Story on Thursday, the 29th at 2 PM in the college library.

[click to enlarge]
I sure hope you can attend! I love to do readings of this book - just little stories - but people do seem to enjoy them.
hug your hounds, and if you're local, maybe you'd be kind enough to spread the word
thank you!

Friday, October 23, 2009

Friday My Town Shoot Out - Classics of Childhood

This week's theme, chosen by Ellisa, is Classics of Childhood.

My son, Jake, who is now 33, with his pony Peter. Yes, Peter has Dixie cups on his ears. And yes, Peter is still alive and well and living with Jake's sister Sara and her two little boys!

Our Paducah Kennel Club is smack dab in the middle of putting on our HUGE exciting Agility Trial. Our four day trial filled to capacity, and we started on Thursday at four with more than 200 runs. Today, Saturday and Sunday we have 330 something runs! Go us! We've gotten in the paper, on the TV news (NBC affiliate WPSD), and we're on the net HERE and HERE and HERE!

So it's a fun busy exciting time and I barely got my Friday Shoot Out up but here we go.
Here in Paducah, baby Ben helped celebrate Lindy Loo and Emmett's birthday
Two Halloween's ago, Baby Ben came as a giant squeak toy!!!

Grandson William sang Oh SOLE MIO!!! while we all made pasta from scratch.
They were magical times!
hug your hounds

Friday, October 16, 2009

I'm here!!!

SShhhhhhh! We're taking a break at the writers' conference. It's GREAT! But I feel like a pretender. They asked us to introduce ourselves at first, and said we could say anything, because nobody knows any better. (Uh-oh, grin.)

So I said, "I'm Patience Renzulli, and my debut novel just made it to 23rd on the NYTimes Bestseller's List."

Everyone's eyes sharpened and their mouths made little o's.

And then we all laughed!

hug your hounds and mine for me

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Friday My Town Shoot Out - Sunrise, Sunset

I first learned of the Friday My Town Shoot Out from my blog friend Barry. That lead me to the delightful blog of the Shoot Out's co-creator, a talented professional photographer named Patty, who happens to hail from my home state of Maryland. Well, it's a great fun way to visit places all over the world in a very intimate sense. You can get the whole list of folks who participate HERE, and go to New Zealand, the Caribbean, Oklahoma, Ontario, Great Britain, Idaho, and here, Paducah, Kentucky.

Today's assignment is from Sherri ( "What's not to love about sunrises and sunsets?" she asks.

I have failed you terribly, Dear Readers. I live on a gorgeous river and the sun, being an orb of fabled vanity, lingers over its reflection every morning. Or so I hear. By the time I have let the eight whippets out, fed them, given Easy and Mama Pajama their meds, and downed enough coffee to be marginally functional, Mr. Sun is up. (Okay, so there's a game or two of Lexulous I play on Facebook while I warm up my mental engines.)

I did get this photo of the river when there should have been a sunrise during Ike-

I took this out of our guest bedroom window during the ice storm this winter:

We stayed in the guest bedroom, because it had a gas fireplace and we were guiltily toasty warm. The entire region was without power, some for weeks.

This is where you will find a dedicated group of dog lovers every Monday evening:

Out at the Paducah Kennel Club property, practicing our dogs in Agility. Wednesday nights we socialize puppies and practice our conformation (show) dogs. Thursday night is obedience class.

The Kennel Club property is my sanity and my fun. I've been a country dweller nearly my entire life until moving to this magical town.

I can load the dogs up and go to the kennel club and see a sunset over a horizon of trees again. I can enjoy my dogs and my friends and my friends' dogs - a trifecta! It's good for the dogs, and it's good for my soul.
Mama Pajama on a late spring evening at the Kennel Club. It's not exactly a sunrise/sunset shot, well... except the sun does rise AND set on this little dog!
hug your hounds

Wednesday, October 14, 2009


Delia and her Bill

I'm proud of my husband.

He is on his way to Louisville to make a presentation to the whoop-tee-doo Movers and Shakers and Shapers of our state. We were asked to speak about how the arts can influence a community. I have other commitments, so Bill is going it alone. And oh are they going to love him!

He has worked on his Power Point presentation. He will speak with only some jotted notes, because he knows his subject and he has practiced and worked it all out. He will make his audience laugh, and think, and think some more, and grow. And laugh some more.

This is a man who wrote:

Our lives are a series of choices, usually far more than we ever appreciate. The fortunate person is one who recognizes the choices, and has the courage and the will to make the choices they desire, regardless of the difficulty and risk. Windows of opportunity will exist, often quite fleetingly, and the greater the opportunity the smaller the window.

(From Bill's beautiful book, Have I Told You Today That I Love You )

Delia was sleeping, all curled up under blankets in Bill's study, when Bill took his suitcase out to the car this morning. I will have to let her trot around his studio several times throughout today and tomorrow, to see for herself that he's not there. She won't believe me. He did say goodbye to her, but I'm pretty sure she thought he was simply going to the Post Office or the grocery store.

Bill has started a weekly email promotion. He will be offering two of his small originals at special prices. Here are the first two:
Salmon Sky, watercolor 5" x 8" $90

Summer Day, watercolor, 4" x 6" $60
If you would like to be put on the mailing list, email Bill

I'm going to my first ever writer's gathering/conference on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. It will be small and rather intimate, and I will feel inspired, insecure, under-educated, delighted, and just plain scared to death! It is hosted by a publishing house and the speakers, leaders and other guests are all way more accomplished than I am.
But it's one of those little windows Bill was talking about, isn't it? I will feel oh so humble and like a teensy happy flea jumping around trying to listen and learn. I'll do my best, that's all.
I want Bill to be able to be just half as proud of me as I am of him.
hug your hounds and your inspirations

Sunday, October 11, 2009


Lindy Loo is finished with her time of confinement. (Sing Hal Lay Looooo Ya - do I hear Amen!)
She has returned to the general population. Swede William is glad to have his best buddy back, but... "Are you sure, Lindy Loo? Don't you just want a little Swedish Schmorgasborg?"

No. In no uncertain terms, her answer is no way hose head.

It is so nice to have the household back in the natural order of things.
Swede William is sleeping in the sun. Luciano is barking at me every two seconds to "Turn up the heat!! Now!" Or at least, cover him up again.
Thank goodness we have a little under counter refrigerator in the dog room. Our big refrigerator died on Saturday. Only seven years old ooooooh that gets my goat.
When I was a teenager, I was embarrassed of my parents' refrigerator. It was older than I was, and my friends all had newer, sleeker models in their kitchens. Well, our fridge just wouldn't quit; it lasted until my son was a teenager. In fact, I don't believe it ever died.
Our recently deceased Kenmore is only seven years old. And I think it cost around $1200. Not a top of the line sub zero model, but not the cheapest, either. Seven years!!! The compressor went. It would cost $438 (with labor) to replace the compressor. So much for planned obsolescence. I think it stinks.
Bill and I spoke angry words last night. At each other. This is such a rare occurrence. Twenty-six years of marriage, and I think I can count the times we were angry at each other on one hand. Today we're being extra nice. Sheepish. Quiet. We'll laugh about it soon enough.
I am going to spend the rest of the afternoon outside. It's warmer out than in, and the grass is an out of control swampy jungle. The dogs will bask on the porch furniture in sun while I mow. It's rained for so many days; this sun is like a nice dose of soul morphine. The dogs are addicted.
I know that I will get a hit eventually on one of the gazillion of job applications I've filled out. It never occurred to me that my age and experience would be a liability! How naive am I? Yup, that naive. But this too shall pass.
In the mean time, I have a lovely sunny day to enjoy all the good. There is so much good.
hug your hounds

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Friday My Town Shoot Out - Silhouettes

I first learned of the Friday My Town Shoot Out from my blog friend Barry. That lead me to the delightful blog of the Shoot Out's co-creator, a talented professional photographer named Patty, who happens to hail from my home state of Maryland.

Well, it's a great fun way to visit places all over the world in a very intimate sense. You can get the whole list of folks who participate HERE, and go to New Zealand, the Caribbean, Oklahoma, Ontario, Great Britain, Idaho, and as of today, Paducah, Kentucky.

Thank you for letting me join! I'm no great shakes as a photographer, but I live in a magical little city. Paducah Kentucky is about 255 miles west of Lexington. It's a city of around 27,000, which lives a lot larger than it is.

This week's assignment is given by Carrie: Silhouettes.

Carrie says, "I chose silhouettes because I think they make such striking photos. It's like getting the best of both worlds in one shot: black/white and color."

Okay, here goes!

I set off on my last walk of the morning on Wednesday. This is the house catty corner from ours. It used to be a speakeasy and a brothel! Upstairs, there is still a metal door with a slidey peekaboo window, just like in the old movies.

Here are my favorite silhouettes of all those pictured: my walkmates, Sam I Am and Lindy Loo.
This is at the steps of the Presbyterian Church, which was founded in 1844, and moved to this location in 1888. In the background you see a bell tower of the Catholic Church and the outline of the Hotel Irvin Cobb, named for our famous local humorist, who authored more than 60 books.

I bet you didn't know that silhouettes could be LOUD?

This is the Columbia Theater. Its marble facade bespeaks of grand days. Those days are marred, simply because this is a Matron of the South. People my age who grew up here remember that there was a separate entrance for 'coloreds' and there was a section of seating in the balcony reserved for people of color.
Isn't that amazing?
The city is seeking a buyer for this gorgeous building. There was a rumor a couple of years ago that Quentin Terrintino was going to purchase her, but that's all it was, a rumor.

Downtown in the morning.

This is the old market house. The sides used to be open for carts to back into. Now the front of the building houses the Yeiser Art Center and the back of the building houses our wonderful community theater, The Market House Theater.

Lewis and Clark and little Sacajawea, with their trusty Newfoundland were a big part of Paducah's history. Paducah sits at the confluence of the Ohio and Tennessee Rivers, just upstream from where they empty into the Mighty Mississippi. Looks like these good folks are trying to figure out where to go from here.

If only they had a trusty whippet guide!

The downtown roof tops now sport fancy gathering places for the fancy folks who can afford to live there. They have a lovely view of the river.

And we're home. This tree, which umbrellas Bill's gallery, was twice this size before we were hit with an historic ice storm last winter.
This was so much fun. I walked the same route that I do every day. That I've done every day for the last seven years, in one form or another. And yet I saw new things! Fresh delights opened up to me because I was looking through different eyes.
Thank you for letting me join in. I can't wait to share more of this unique place with you.
hug your hounds

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Looking For Suggestions

Hey, Mama Pajama Tells A Story fans, want to give me ideas for which stories to read? What do you think should be first? Last?


Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Wa- Hooooo! [blush]

I got a stack of posters in today's mail...

(click the image to enlarge, then use your back button to return)
oh boy!
hug your hounds extra for me!

Give Away Drawing Winner

Thank you all for your lovely comments on our Blogoversary!

It means a great deal to me. It's lonely sometimes writing in this little room. Not lonely in that I always have a hound to hug at the ready. Lonely in that I'm writing this book and little stories and sometimes I wonder who the heck I think I am!!!

That's why your lovely, kind words made me smile a bit.

So. It was time to do the drawing for the give away of Mama Pajama Tells A Story. I asked Delia if she would oversee the procedure, and testify that it was on the up and up.

Hmmmm. I'll take that as a NO.

Then I asked Swede William. Due to Lindy Loo's seriously seductive state, I thought maybe he could use a distraction.

I'm pretty sure he said, "Oh yes, Dear Servant. I'd just LOVE to help out any way I can!"

As you can see, comment # 24 was the winner! Comment # 24 was:

Carolyn in Tulsa said...
I love your blog and check every day for new stories. I've laughed and cried with you, and now feel we're practically related! Thanks for sharing your whippets with us.

This is fun! I don't know Carolyn in Tulsa and I didn't know you were reading!!! Cool beans! So please email me your address and how you would like me to sign the book and I'll get it on it's way to you!

Thank you all again for hanging in there with me this year. Sunday was my sister Martha's birthday. Her doctors just smile and shake their heads. No one dreamed she would celebrate this birthday. But she did, and she did in her own home. She is my hero. She is facing some tough, tough concepts: her oncologist has told her there will be no further treatment. My job - as I see it - is (1) to listen to her (really listen) and (2) to make her laugh. So far I've been able to do both, with the help of the whippets. The story of William to the Rescue When I Misplaced Lindy Loo made her snort.

hug your hounds

Friday, October 2, 2009

Swede William to the Rescue! (another story of a senile servant)


I did it again. I misplaced a dog. Not like the first Sad Story of A Senile Servant, which in keeping with the Blogoversary was posted the second week of this blog's existence, and in which I thought I had put Fat Charlie in the dryer with the wash. Nothing like that.

Lindy Loo is in season. This makes for a twenty-four/seven finely choreographed dance, in which our little lovers - Lindy Loo and Swede William - are never, ever partnered. We put a crate in the TV room. Either Lindy or William is in the crate. When one goes outside, the other is in. I worried about Bill keeping up with this, but the threat of puppies is a great incentive!

Last night at bed time, William wouldn't settle. He sleeps in a wire crate adjacent to Lindy Loo's VariKennel. He whined softly. I looked up from my book, (A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court). Their crates form a bank on the wall opposite our bed. William's eyes were glowing red Martian things, twice their normal size, burning holes in my forehead.

Well, the dogs have been passing a diarrhea bug around, so... "Come on, William," I said. "Gotta go out again?"

He ran to the TV room. (There's always a special chewy in the special TV room crate.) Then he ran downstairs, ran outside, took a warp speed pee, ran back inside, ran upstairs, ran to the crate in the TV room, and when I called him he ran into his crate in the bedroom and instantly recommenced whining.

It's only day eleven of Lindy's special time, and the real fireworks don't start until day fourteen or fifteen. "Hush, William!" I said. He tipped his head up to look into the strip of side window of Lindy's crate and looked back at me. His eyes were the size of a '55 Chevy's headlights, and were blinking RED - GREEN - RED like some kind of devil possessed doggy eye neon. It was rather eerie. He whined again.

Hmmm. Maybe he would rather sleep in the TV room crate with the chewy, I pondered. Maybe Lindy is especially alluring and it's too much being in such close proximity. "Come on, buddy. Let's see if you're happier in the next room." I took him by the collar so that he wouldn't think we were going downstairs and out again, and we walked into the TV room. "It's tough on a guy, isn't it, sweetheart," I said.

Well thank the good lord I had a hold of his collar because when I opened the TV room crate, out came Lindy Loo! WHAT? HUH? Uhhhh... But I had given her her biscuit in her bedroom crate??? Did I ... oops, get your sexy butt out of his face! Yikes, oh no.

I got my wits - what's left of them - about me and took Lindy and William into their proper crates in the bedroom. Lindy gobbled her biscuit, which had been sitting in her empty crate. William curled right up and went immediately to sleep.

He had only been trying to tell me that I had misplaced his Lindy Loo! What a good boy!

Hug your heroic hounds