Old Friend … Dear Friend

THIS HAS BEEN A VERY LONG and very hard two weeks for me. Especially the last week. Especially Friday, Saturday, Sunday … and Monday.
Yeah, Monday was the pits.
I had to say good-bye to my fur-friend. The decision was made Friday, but I needed to somehow manage to make it through to Monday so my daughter could say her good-byes on Saturday.

Sweet Kaeli

Waterlogue application of a photo I took of Kaeli, creating a water-colour image. I love this one.

I was struggling, trying to decide if it really was the “right time”. To do the right thing for her. Really, I’ve been struggling for months. I’ve really not been my cheerful self. Not really. And I apologise for being a grump—and a downer—now and then. The struggle was very real. Her symptoms would fluctuate, she’d rally … giving me hope—and I’d put off the inevitable. Then her symptoms would rear their collective ugly head again. I kept hoping she’d be better … but finally, I decided I needed to look at the whole thing through her eyes. I don’t think any time is right for this sort of thing … nope. Never. If only

My Spot!

Sebastian was forever pushing her off “her spot” on the couch. Unfortunately, he usually won … I think this was one of the few times they actually shared.

they could talk to us and express their feeling in tangible ways. In ways we’d understand without a doubt. Without having to guess and second guess …

We’ve gone on lots of little walks—long walks were too exhausting. I took her to many of her old haunts so she could take in all the wonderful smells. We drove all over the place, revisiting places so she could try to catch air (literally) as we drove down the road … snapping at the air, lapping up the air then lolling her tongue and letting the air flap her lips in the breeze … making me giggle as I listened to all the different sounds coming from the back. I’ve seen it all in the side mirror. I couldn’t figure out how to capture it on

Catching the Breeze ...

She loved to hang her head out the window (sorry it’s sideways …)

my camera without being fully distracted on the road … how I wish I could have.

For about fourteen years, I have loved my silly girl. She came to us somewhere before her second birthday. I loved her antics. Her energy. Her joy for life. I’ll cherish each and every one of them. Always underfoot … staking her claim on the couch, always shedding (she was part golden retriever and lab, after all), always giving. And getting into things she shouldn’t (actually, I think that’s part of what is ailing her

Sebastain and Kaeli

Sebastian and Kaeli … one of the few times near the end when she allowed him near without being a grump.

since it was a “new” behaviour she picked up about three years ago). The last couple years have been hard on her. The vet reminded me at the time that she was about 86 or so. She’s lived a full life.

My protector—from things real and imagined. The only thing she feared was thunder (and gunshots—yeah, we live in the country … and other loud, sudden noises) and those were the only times she needed me to soothe her. Yup … didn’t fear things she should either—like skunks (had to give her a tomato bath on two occasions …) Yup …

Beach Walks

She loved the beach—chasing the ebbing waves, the seagulls … investigating the piles of seaweed.

Otherwise, she was always giving “baths of love” … that’s what I call them—those slobbery never-ending kisses where you really need a towel ready when she finally decided she’s done; leaning on me for one more pet or brushing … exploring the yards for new smells, chewing on sticks or wanting one thrown for her to retrieve and … always guarding our home from things seen and unseen. Squirrel!

So, finally, I had to say farewell to Kaeli …

Good-bye my sweet little missy.
Jump for joy now that there’s no more pain.
Run long and hard … and savour every single moment joyfully.

Know that some day, I will join you. Some day.
Until then, go across the Rainbow Bridge, my sweet girl.

My Daddy and Sadie will be waiting for you.

Daddy will shower you with love until I can join you. Jim will be there too.
Cover all of them with slobbery “bath of love” kisses for me. Daddy will joyfully accept all you have to give … and then some. Jim will scritch that sweet spot behind your ear for as long as you like.

Prance in the flowers; chase butterflies. Take Jim, my Daddy and his sweet Sadie on long walks. Play fetch—and maybe you can return the ball or stick to them once in a while.

See if you can find Lucky—he will be your equal. His stamina, energy and love for life match yours beautifully.
He loves tug-of-war as much as you used to—perhaps more.

And Devon and Chelsea … my mischief makers.
They will be more than happy to play with you … oh, yes. They will tire you—yes, even you!

Lord JC Kristopher is there somewhere, too.
Look for a proud little tri-colour sheltie with a bounce in his step, one ear perky and the other floppy.
He’s a lover like you. Loves to shower his human with kisses. And play.
He loves to chase balls and frisbees too—probably even more than you.

And there is one more I’d like you to find.

I’m not sure what she is like now, but I’m sure she had more energy than we could see whilst she was sick.
She left us so soon. Way too soon. So look for a beautiful golden ball of fur—I don’t know how big or small (Daddy called her a Heinz 57)—but, surely full of life.
Her name is Cuddles. She’s probably embarrassed to have that name, but it’s all this then-eight year old could think of at the time.
She was so cuddly and I loved her dearly … as much as I love you, my sweet, sweet friend.


Be free of pain and live your new life with joy.

We will be back together one day.

To wander across fields of grasses and flowers together, climb hills, walk in the sand along the ebb and flow of the ocean, splash in streams together … and snuggle together—forever.

Until then, know I will always love you.
I’ll be back.

My Beautiful Girl ...

Those eyes … the soft puppy fuzz on her ears that she never lost … her desire to smother me in kisses …
I will never forget you, my Little Missy, my Kaeli.

Traveling—Again …

AAAH … TRAVEL. YES, once again I’m gearing up to travel. My new passport just arrived and it has my head buzzing with ideas. But first, I have some tedious taxes to tend to (lol—an unintended alliteration) … and book four to polish. In the meantime, “normal” life goes on …

I read an article in Monday about how we are so tearjerker (what??? I do have issues with autocorrect … can you tell?)—let’s try that again: about how we are so tethered to our smartphones … and, so says the “CNTraveler” writer, even in travel—that it is “dumbing us down”. It article was shared on Facebook by International Hostelling—an organisation I love, by the way … inexpensive rooms and so many diverse and interesting people under one roof, no matter where you stay. IH makes travel more fun because you are able to put your money into seeing the places you visit, rather than into the accommodations … yup. Hostels are awesome.

Well … anyway, this writer disagrees with the article. Perhaps I’m the oddity, but I’ll wear that title gladly. I find travel stimulating, whether within the confines of our political borders … or when breaking away and crossing those borders—or an ocean—to explore.  Yes, I do use my laptop, but the cost of using my smartphone abroad (all those gigabytes add up so quickly—yikes!) becomes prohibitive and besides … there’s way too much to see and do to be bothered with spending much time with my electronic devices. No texting, no phoning, no Googling. I’ll only go on it to work on my blog … or perhaps to write down some ideas for my ongoing storyline (but I also have a notebook—the paper kind), or check out and reserve a room at the next spot I’ll be visiting … and of course, to off-load all the photos I take whilst traveling. And there’s plenty of them!

This year will be no exception. As a matter of fact, I will be concentrating on my photography—especially whilst in Scotland, since that is going to figure into my story line. In some form … OOPS. Well, mo more spoilers. I’ll just leave you to ponder that one. Teehee.

So. I’ve been working on getting my itinerary in order. There are fixed events that I must plan my stay around. The Celtic Invasion Vacations tour in Cornwall is set in stone, so to speak. I know I want to make a trip to Cardiff to the Dr. Who Experience (foiled twice … definitely going to get it right the third time!) and have two friends in London and outlying areas that I want to visit … which will entail a visit to the Shakespeare Theatre to see “Midsummer Night’s Dream” … and maybe a visit to an elementary (primary) school to entertain the youngsters with spontaneous storytelling (working on that right now). But my primary destination will be Scotland. As far north as I can manage in the time I have. The furthest I’ve managed in the past is in and around Edinburgh—don’t get me wrong … I could spend my entire trip in Edinburgh and be completely happy. But I want to get up near Wick (south of the northeast tip of Scotland) if it’s at all possible, as our clan castle (Gunn) is somewhere near this area—I need to research this further. If not this trip, then on my next trip. Yup, there will be another trip, health permitting …

Trying to juggle all the places and things I want to do definitely requires planning, so even though I’m three-months out, I’m already behind. I do have my air fare to/from the states and the hotel rooms just before my tour and a couple nights before my departure for home. My first night’s stay is not settled, as I really don’t know which way I’ll be headed. Do I travel by trains? Rent a car? (Maybe a wee bit of both??) So many things to figure out … and so little time to do it.

Not much more to say at this point, but my next “trip” blog will be more informative. If you are interested in any of my previous travels, then look through and click on the Tags (on the right) for “Europe Travel” (and others) to keep you busy till my next blog.

Until then, hoping your St. Paddy’s Day was a memorable one and that you can see the proverbial light (Springtime) at the end of the long, dark (Winter) tunnel.







Turning A New Corner …

… OR IS IT TURNING OVER A NEW LEAF? Hmm. I think it’s the “corner” thing. But, I don’t need constant reminders that “something new” is in my near future. Believe me … if I could, I’d figure a way to divert myself from it.

Yeah … I’ll be turning sixty-five this year (sure doesn’t feel like it—it’s just a number to me—though, there are days …) and I’ve been inundated with phone calls (I am on the do-not-call list, but apparently that’s a useless bit of technology …), emails and even postal mail reminding me that my time has come. Time to act. Oh, honestly. Please … give me a break. I’ve actually been trying since before November, 2015 because that was the open enrollment for my current insurance. Trying to find out so many little details … and hitting road blocks all the way. They say I’m too young to ask those questions … (trying not to kill myself laughing).

I try not to be one of those that leaves things (of this importance) to the last minute, but really. I’m hitting brick walls trying to find out what kind of coverage Medicare will provide so I can figure out what kind of supplemental insurance I’ll need. It doesn’t help that Medicare is “mum” until I’m in the 3-month window prior to my birthday before I can find anything out—well, at least it appears that way. I’ll be in the throes of travel prep about then. Rolls eyes as I read … “Medicare is for people age 65 and older and … This calculator can’t estimate your premium if you are under age 65 … If you’re a U.S. citizen or you meet the lawful presence and residency requirements, the Initial Enrollment Period (IEP) is your first chance to sign up for Medicare. It starts 3 months before your 65th birthday, includes the month you turn 65, and ends 3 months after the month you turn 65.” Sigh.

“Back in the day” I used to work for doctors. First as a front office person, responsible for billing patients and submitting insurance, in addition to greeting patients, answering phones … you’ve got the idea. Dealing daily with Medi-Cal (I’m in California, so that’s the health care organization used by the state of California) and Medicare even back then was mind-boggling. Both paid pennies on the dollar for services rendered by doctors, labs and hospitals. Medi-Cal was the worst. Medicare wasn’t as bad about how much they paid, but getting the money was usually a nightmare. Lots of hoop-jumping. Forms. Yeah, they loved their forms. And I learned to hate them. I promised myself, when I changed jobs, to never again deal with the insurance-end of things. It took a few more jobs, but I finally got out of the front office and began working as a medical assistant and kissed those forms and red-tape good-bye.

Now, as I approach “that” age, I hate the thought of what has happened to the system. How much worse, with all the governmental meddling, has it become? And, how poorly will it pay, leaving me—the taxpayer—holding the bag, so to speak? What will they cover … how much do I dole out to keep my three forever-recurring drugs covered? Do I try going without supplemental insurance for a while and see just how bad it is with Medicare alone? Then there’s figuring out Part A, Part B … C and D. What will I need, what comes as a “package deal” … and what doesn’t? Sounds like a nightmare to me.

It took some doing, but after I googled various things—starting with the most logical (to me) … and working my way to less obvious items, I finally came up with some “answers”.  All I can say is (now that I’ve explored a bit … and have a massive headache from the amount of gibberish I see)—I wish I had a health insurance expert on my payroll. Honestly, the games they play. Or, better yet, that I could opt out … but my health insurance premiums jumped a huge amount this year because of my age, so I doubt I’d find anything reasonable.

I think, for the moment, I will put this whole thing aside and get my taxes finished … then begin the juggling act of researching my health insurance options with the impending deadline of turning in my polished manuscript to Inknbeans Press. These next few months ought to be very interesting … very. Indeed.

In the meantime, I wish all of you on this side of the Pond a Happy Irish Month—and best wishes with your tax preparations.

Abundant blessings to all.


Me Myself and I

JUST GOOFIN’ AROUND A BIT … I wasn’t feeling up to working on my taxes or reading any books … not much of anything, really. But here’s an example of what happens when I’m not fully engaged with things around me. Maybe mindlessly (but safely) driving to a destination, or waiting for my breakfast to be ready … or who knows what. My mind wanders. Thoughts start pouring in …

Usually, I don’t take the time to write the thoughts down. I just let them jet on by, enjoying the entertainment they provide. Besides … they’re there one minute … then, by the time I’ve got something in hand to write, the thoughts are gone—irretrievably lost. So, I have learned to simply enjoy them.

This time, I managed to capture the thoughts … amazing, I know. Then I “enriched” it a wee bit more. I must admit … I seldom write or even think in first person, so this was odd. But fun.

So, here it is. Enjoy my goofiness … :

Me Myself and I
by dj jameson smith

It’s just the three of us, y’know. Well, there’s the dog an’ cat too. Oh, yeah. And a rabbit. I’m always forgetting the rabbit. (Sniggle.) I’m always forgetting a lot of things …
Anyway, on any given day, we’re always sparring with each other.
I’m a writer, you see.
The other two? Well, I guess you could call them my alter egos.

Now what are you doing?”
I can hear the agitation in her question, but choose to ignore it, like I always do.
“I’m skulkin’ around on Facebook. Not much of anything interesting. Everybody’s in a re-post mood. Ugh. Hate when that happens.”
Out of boredom, I look up to see what she’s up to. She’s always doing something … always. “So, what are you doing?”
“Trying to organise this mess. Honestly. Why on earth do you let things go for so long before addressing them?” A half dozen sheets of paper slip from her hands, drifting to the floor. Staring at them, she shakes her head, then quickly bent to retrieve them. “It would be so much easier if … if …”
Well, she’s obviously ticked about something and knows if she says any more, she’ll regret it. Heehee. I choose to not delve into that. Let’s divert her attention, shall we?
“I know. I know. I’m a lousy housekeeper and hate doing these taxes. I can’t help it if Kaeli decided use the 1099s as an appetiser. I think they’re okay, though. All the important info is still readable …”
“It’s not just that. You have three books out and nothing has been done—zilch … nada—to promote them!”
“Now, wait a minute. I have too promoted them. Not as much as I should maybe, but I have promoted them—on Facebook and in my blog … and … I can’t help it if I keep getting sick!”
“… What about those manuscripts for books four and five? When are you going get around to them?”
I hate it when she does that. “I’m workin’ on em. I am! Well, not as much as I should, probably, but I am. It takes time, y’know. I try to work on them every day, but things get in the way—”
“What … like surf in the web?”
“Now, now, girls. Quit your bickering! The sun’s shining and there’s not much wind out there to mess with allergies, so I say … road trip! Oh—and don’t forget your camera!”
We just stare at her as she disappears through the door frame. I’ll never get anything done at this rate.
She poked her head back in. “Oh … c’mon! You know you want to. Don’t look at me that way …”
“Really? I’ve got so many things to do—and I’m still recovering from the last sinus infection the stupid winds caused … after I rolled down all the windows—at your suggestion, I might add!—instead of just turning on the AC.” Why is it she’s always trying to get me to go play? Or to get me to do things she knows will turn out bad? It never fails. She knows I’m a sucker for it! I’d rather go take pictures of nature than work in or around the house. Walking at Point Lobos is one of my favourite places … especially with a camera and oodles of time to fritter away. It’s great inspiration for writing—but my house is falling down around my ears (groan) … and these taxes need to be done. And I’ve got deadlines for my fourth book, and … and … oh, I just wanna go play.
“Get your head out of the clouds, dearie. There are things that need doing. And you—go play with the rabbit. Leave her alone.”
My organiser. Yup. Don’t know what I’d do without her … have more fun? (Sniggle …)
“I heard that … just so you know.”

So … after I re-read that, I realized “Me Myself and I” sounded suspiciously familiar …. sniggle …

Well, whilst I work on my book four edit, you all go have some fun. Have a blessed day … and a delightful weekend. Spring will be here before you know it!