A year ago today

A year ago today I posted this photo for the second time.
The first time I posted it right after the delightful meal we all shared in Philly.
Last year it was posted in loving memory of our dearest Warrior Queen.
Today I post it in memory of both Anne Marie and Todd.

Todd, Fearsome, Mistress Maddie and Anne Marie

Our blogger friend Old Lurker has an incredible tribute HERE

Todd and Anne Marie, we miss you but are grateful that you are still in our hearts. You always will be. Smooches!

A post dedicated to Anne Marie in Philly

After a player’s strike delay Baseball season officially started this week, and now I’m writing a post that I can honestly say that I don’t really want to write.

You see at this time every year Anne Marie and I would start a banter back and forth as to which of our teams would win this year. She was a lifetime Phillies fan and I, a more recent convert to baseball, a newbie Padres fan. Both of our teams are National League teams and therefore would play each other twice during the regular season, one stand at each home stadium. We would always be hopeful that this would be the year for our team, in hopes that we may each receive a postseason playoff berth. For most of the seasons we wouldn’t get to see our teams advance further than the regular season.

A dream of mine was to one summer fly out to Philly and take her to a game. Get us really good seats on the field above her Phillies’ dugout. I could just hear her voicing her opinion at the players as well as the flirty comments about their looks and physical qualities. I actually had started to stake out last season’s summer to try and see if I could surprise her, as long as this Covid crap would allow it.

Then unfortunately late last spring that day came when I looked down and saw Todd’s name come up on my phone. My heart sank as I knew there was only one reason Todd would be calling me on my cell phone. I answered with caution. The news was as bad as I thought it would be. I would never get to take Anne Marie to that Phillies game, at least not in person.

Instead I will take the force of The Warrior Queen with me to baseball games in my heart. My eyes weep as I write this. She loved her Phillies as she loved the city of Philly itself. She loved Todd and her cats and her blogger buddies as much as she loved to wholeheartedly express her opinion and to stand up for what was right.

Unfortunately for us I can no longer share this blog post about his beloved wife with Todd either. I got that text on February 4 of this year from Anne Marie’s hometown blogger buddy Mistress Maddie. Todd had joined the love of his life on the other side. Todd adored Anne Marie. I was fortunate enough to see the two of them together and the love that man had in his eyes for The Warrior Queen was a love that only the most blessed among us get to experience.

Fortunately for them they are together. Godspeed my friends, for one day I will take Anne Marie to that Padres vs. Phillies game. Just instead of in Philly, that game will be on the other side.

Hey Anne Marie…it’s time for the two words we all love to hear…

PLAY BALL!

 

John Fogerty – Centerfield – 1985

Thank You For Being A Friend

Back a little before Christmas I had my 89 year old mom out to Macy’s for a little seasonal shopping. While in the women’s department with her I heard a different take on Gayla Peeve’s classic I want a Hippopotamus for Christmas and was quite taken with it. Some artist I didn’t know had given that 1950s song a new tropical twist and I couldn’t get it outta my head, so when I got home I had some searching to do. It took some time and wasn’t easy to find, but find it I did and posted it here on this here blog thingy on December 10, 2021. It was by a group I wasn’t familiar with called Lake Street Dive. Man did they give that old Christmas tune a new life. After finding it I bought it on iTunes to add to my library.

After finding it I also followed Lake Street Dive on YouTube and am glad I did. Today a new Lake Street Dive cover popped into my feed and they knock it out of the park. Not only did the memories of Betty White and The Golden Girls make me tear up but the passion and emotion that which they put into their take on Thank You For Being A Friend also made me tear up with emotions of joy and hope.

Lake Street Dive – Thank You For Being A Friend – 2020 (posted to you tube January 4, 2022 in memory of Betty White)

And to all of you who are reading these words, Thank You for being my friend.

Namesake

This classic popped into my YouTube feed moments ago. I have no reason to know why as I haven’t ever searched Nicolette Larson. However there is a reason I stopped everything to push play.

Nicolette Larson – Lotta Love – 1978

My first dog that I ever brought to my own home after leaving my parents house was a blonde cocker spaniel named Nicholas. Unfortunately in the first week of his stay at my home he got loose and ran into a busy street about 3 blocks away. We found his body lying in the bushes of the median the next day.

I returned to the SPCA where I had adopted him and a new litter of puppies had arrived. They were mixed Shepard puppies, 8 of them. As I sat on the floor with them and they played and played it was so hard to decide as to which one would be mine. All of the sudden it was obvious. One of them, a little girl, had gotten comfortable in my crossed legged lap and fallen asleep. It was a match.

After bringing her home the first thing was to name her. Nicholas had a name from his previous owner, she was just an 8 week old ball of fur. Naming her after him seemed fitting. Nicolette came to mind which was immediately followed by this song popping into my head from one of my favorite late 1970s artist, remember this was the early 1980s so late ‘70s artist were relatively fresh. That would be it, her name would be Nicolette Larson.

From that day forward she was my baby and her name sake a favorite artist. Now to find a photo from the days long before digital photography.
…I’ll post a photo as soon as I find a good one.

Cheers to both Nicolette Larson the singer and Nicolette Larson my dearest first dog as both of you are long on the other side of the rainbow bridge. One day I’ll see you both again.

Godspeed.

In Memory

One of my inspirations passed away yesterday.

ZZ Top – Gimme All Your Lovin’ – Official Video – 1983

Dusty Hill the famously bearded bassist of ZZ Top passed away at 72 years of age 7/28/21.

ZZ Top formed as a group in 1969 with the current configuration of Billy Gibbons, Frank Beard (the non bearded drummer) and Dusty Hill performing together continuously since 1970. Here is a classic from 1971 that shows the raw talent and depth of this trio.

ZZ Top – Brown Sugar – 1971

The last recorded performance is this one from not quite two weeks ago.

ZZ Top – Gimme All Your Lovin’ – Live – 7/16/2021

Thank you Dusty for the incredible tunes and the Bearded inspiration. Godspeed.

We Are Family

One thing Anne Marie taught me was to have a good time.

Times get hard, politics can suck, shit happens, illness comes and it goes, we age, life isn’t always fair, work is …well work and sometimes all we can do is scream FUCK!

But

We can always stop and have a dance party.

She taught me to feel the pain, but to get up and change my attitude. To get up, get back to it and most of all have a good time. Life is short, why waste it?

She taught me that we can create our own family through our community.

Sister Sledge – We Are Family – 1979

Anne Marie, you are family!

In Loving Memory

It is with great sadness that I write this.
Our beloved friend and blogger Anne Marie in Philly has passed away.

Todd, Fearsome, Mistress Maddie and Anne Marie July 2019

Anne Marie,
I cannot fully express my gratitude that you came into my life. I thank you for the laughter, smiles, smooches, encouragement, likes, comments, tears, fun, companionship, hospitality, outlook, perspective, bitchyness, joy and most of all love. I will miss you greatly. I will always carry you in my heart and share just a piece of you with everyone I possibly can.

Todd,
My condolences in your great loss. Please know that I am always here for you.

Godspeed.

When our pets die

Rainbow Bridge – Author Unknown

Gilda came into our lives as a stray whom we rescued some 14 years ago when she was about 2 years old. It was actually a very long, stressful and convoluted story but we were fortunate to legally adopt her from her owners with the help of our local shelter. She was also fortunate that it was my car she stepped out into the road in front of that day. I first wrote about her HERE and also celebrated her 12th birthday HERE .

Gilda was a Belgian Laekenois and Belgian Malinois cross. She had been purchased by a young family in our neighborhood to be a guard dog. Belgians are a special breed that can be difficult for inexperienced dog owners to handle. It was not a good mix and she found herself in a horrible situation. I won’t go any further into details except that by the time she stepped into traffic in front of my moving car she was malnourished and maladjusted. At the moment my eyes landed on her I didn’t yet realize the blessing the universe had just placed into my path, I just knew I had to get this strange and frightened dog to safety.

After many healthy years here with us, Gilda started her decline about a year ago. It was slow and she had many wonderful days, but she had some struggles too. It’s when the struggles outweigh the good days that we owners have to make that final hard choice. Last Saturday it appeared it was about time to call the vet for the home visit, by Sunday evening it was obvious. Monday morning at 8 am the phone weighed about 20 pounds as I dialed the number, fortunately they had a 12 noon opening for the same day.

Monday was a beautiful day and The Better Half had the day off. We were able to open all the doors and windows and spend the morning right here on the house giving her her favorite treats, help her out into her yard for a few last trips and lounge on the floor with her in her comfy bed. We were all blessed as the breeze blew through the house and she could part this life peacefully with us and all her sibling dogs at her side.

While we will never see her beautiful sparkling eyes again in this life, we know we will on the other side. She was the most loyal, loving and gentle soul that anyone could ever be blessed with in life.

Goodbye for now Gilda. Please say hello to Mitzi, Virgil, Diva, & Nina for us. We love you and look forward to the day we can hold you close again.

Gilda with Fearsome

Gilda with Hazel

 

Gilda and Nina

Her eyes

Godspeed.

I Beg Your Pardon

I never promised you a rose garden.

Lynn Anderson – ( I Never Promised You A) Rose Garden – Live performance 2011

🎵 So smile for a while and let’s be jolly, love shouldn’t be so melancholy, come on and enjoy the good times while we ca-a-a-aan 🎶

I’ve always rather enjoyed this tune from my childhood.

Real Presidents

Real Presidents are respectful, have good character qualities and aren’t petty.

 

No they aren’t perfect, no human is. However they continually march toward betterment of themselves and of society.

Real Presidents are good people. Real presidents lead.

In Memory

A leader, an inspiration and simply a very nice man.

Elijah Cummings with Fearsome May 2019

Elijah, we thank you and we will certainly miss you. Your inspiration shall live on through us.

Godspeed.

In Memory

In memory of our beloved boy Virgil May 5, 2002 – September 10, 2019

Virgil on his 17th Birthday Celebration 2019

Our little old man has passed on. He has now joined his sister Mitzi in a spiritual realm.

Virgil joined us in October of 2002 as a first birthday present of sorts for his older half sister Mitzi. He was from a second litter her mother had from a different father 8 months after her birth. He was an awkward looking puppy that actually seemed as if he  might have a slight birth defect. Possibly from an unhealthy mother did who had her litters to close together. The owner of the mother had him left as no one would take him and was about to take him to the humane society. I gave the guy money to have the mother fixed and I brought Virgil home to foster until I could find him a home.

Needless to say he was a hit with Mitzi from moment one.

Virgil and Mitzi circa October 2002

Our Dalmatian, Mattie, was having issues with a rambunctious 5 month old playing with a wild one year old and got snappy with him. I had a favorite line from Greater Tuna that popped out of my mouth when scolding Mattie for scolding the puppies. I sternly warned her and said “Mattie! Quit it now! …. Mattie, I’m gonna knock you into next week!” That line was used by the character Vera Carp in the funeral home scene toward her son Virgil so the original line was “Virgil! quit it now! …”

I don’t know how to cut it out of here but if you just want to see that line, start at 26:00 and run through 28:10. (This is actually the HBO production of the entire play, if you have time it’s fantastic.)

At that moment not only did Virgil now have a name, but he also had a home. That scared little dog that I took from the back seat of the marina dockworker’s car to foster had a forever home where he continued to live a long, happy and very healthy life for the next 16 years and 11 months. His home was right here with us.

Over his years here our family has lost, and our family has grown.

From left to right in front the back are: Betty, Mitzi (deceased June 2019), Abner, Virgil, Phoebe, Patsy and then Gilda (way in the back).

Others that Virgil shared our home with that passed on before him were our beloved Liver spotted Dalmatian Mattie, our sweet Chocolate Lab Diva and the rescue of our senior Border Collie Nina that was featured here on Fearsome Beard in 2014. Right now instead of here in our bed, he is there with his familiar housemates and sister that he hasn’t been with in a while.

Virgil and Mitzi in their golden years.

Virgil was a happy and healthy boy until the very end. Yesterday he was out on our patio sunning with Betty. He was mobile and out their on his own accord. It wasn’t until last night just before bedtime that he showed signs something may be amiss. He lost his balance and couldn’t stand. He was just off balance, we’ve seen that in other older dogs before and seen it pass quickly so we did not worry. We carried him to bed and he actually had a good night. However this morning he worsened and his deterioration was fast and he did not suffer. He died very unexpectedly in my arms.

He had a great life here with us as we had with him.

Virgil after a grooming cuddling with his youngest housemates Betty & Phoebe

Virgil we will forever love you. We will forever be grateful that you were part of our lives. You will live on in us as we share the love you placed into our hearts with all the others we touch.

Virgil, this is not goodbye as we will see you on the other side. Until then continue to share your love with your canine family that has been awaiting your arrival. Your kisses enrich us. Your snuggles comfort us. Your love fills us.

Virgil, I love you, we all love you.

Until then, Godspeed.

Virgil May 5, 2002 – September 10, 2019