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Author. Artist. Animal lover. “It’s OK to smile.” I write books for kids — Liz & Toby Adventures, Book 1: My Dog Sees Ghosts.


It’s a slippery slope between 1 and 1 dozen…

Image by Gundula Vogel from Pixabay

“You’re saying we need 6 litter boxes for 2 cats?” I say incredulously, not really believing I’d heard the vet correctly.

“Yes, for each floor of your home, you should have one litter box for each cat plus a spare.” Our vet said this as if she was saying something completely reasonable and obvious, like the fact that the sky is blue or drinking gasoline is a bad idea. I wonder about the size of the mansion this 20-something vet must live in that leads her to believe putting six litter boxes in our home is a sane recommendation.



How pets can help you become a winner

Image by auenleben from Pixabay

Pulling into our garage after a painfully slow commute home, I exhale a sigh of relief and turn off the podcast I’d been listening to. It was one of the roughly 12 gazillion podcasts on the topic of how to become successful. Most seem to center on leaving your job, following your passion, and drinking tropical drinks on a beach where you can’t speak the language.

Opening the door into our home, I realized the story I’d just heard made me feel more defeated than inspired. I’d tried many of the ventures this show featured, yet, I was still commuting…

Eavesdropping Taught Me A Lesson About Listening

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

As I was typing away the other day, on a roll writing about how worried I was that our cat, Jasper, was going to get himself stuck inside a wall*, a loud voice interrupted my flow. I was startled at how clearly I could hear the deep, male voice even though he was outside and I was inside a building on the second floor. Granted, my window was open and there was a coffee shop next door with a few outdoor tables, but I often left the window open and had never been disturbed by the coffee shop chatter before.

No cats were harmed in the making of this essay

(Images by sibya from Pixabay, RacheliBD from Pixabay, and author. Edited by author.)

You know how some people can just put up curtains, toss some throw pillows, hang a few pictures and it all comes together like a spread in House Beautiful? That’s not us. Other than required maintenance, my wife and I have done nothing to our house in the 9 years we’ve lived there. We actually still have boxes sitting around that have never been unpacked.

We are not naturally gifted interior decorators. Our style, if it could even be called that, is more about pragmatism. We are still using the curtains the previous homeowner left behind because, despite looking like…


A story of strategy and teamwork

Image by Here and now, unfortunately, ends my journey on Pixabay from Pixabay

Today’s challenge is one I have been dreading for weeks: taking our two cats to the vet. My wife and I approach this event like we’re coaches preparing for the Superbowl. We discuss various strategies for getting these two wild animals into one small carrier.

“What if we shut all the downstairs doors so we can trap Jasper downstairs in the back part of the house?”

“His screaming is going to alert Max who will then run and hide.”

“Can we lock Max into the upstairs closet while we deal with Jasper?”

Seriously, we could be diagraming this play on…


The realities no one talks about

This is Max / Photo by author

I awaken to a strange noise in the darkness. As I become more fully conscious, the sound is unmistakable…“blagumph, blagumph, blagumph” (gag, retch, splatter)….Max is throwing up a hairball.

“Crap,” I mumble, weighing my options. Do I get up and clean it now, thus reducing the chance of a bad carpet stain, or wait and deal with it in the morning? I glance at the clock — 2:41. Middle of the night. I could get up and still have plenty of time to sleep, but it took me so long to fall asleep in the first place. …

Don’t despair when you hate the new best-seller

Image by PublicDomainPictures from Pixabay

Have you ever read a book that everyone is raving about only to find yourself asking, “What did I miss?” That has happened for me more times than I care to admit. Usually, it doesn’t bother me. Now and then though, I wonder if the problem is me. Am I not empathetic enough? Not smart enough? Has menopause impacted my brain so much that I’m not making logical connections?

Realistically, I know these things aren’t true but I think many of us experience these moments of self-doubt. They don’t need to be negative though, they need to be acknowledged and…

My plan for taking back my life

Image by Simon Lehmann from Pixabay

Was last year easy for you? If so, you are among the very few. If not, I’m right there with you. Around the middle of the year, I noticed my personal productivity and enthusiasm had taken a nosedive. I decided my latest project was not something I felt good about continuing. The questions and comments from the various groups I belonged to that had once inspired me no longer held my interest and the newsletters that had once fueled my passion just left me tired. I was burned out on work and overwhelmed by life.

What I am going to…

Are You Still Processing the Trauma? I Am.

Image by Greg Reese from Pixabay

Now that I am fully vaccinated, I feel like a turtle peeking out of his shell. It’s exciting to see the world again, or at least a small part of it, but I’m not sure I’m safe. In talking with others, I’ve found this is a common fear. We just spent the past 15 months learning to be fearful in order to stay safe. We rarely went outside our own homes, didn’t socialize unless it was through video chat, and many of us even worked from home. We learned that the outside world is a scary place only to be…

What I learned about how my brain is wired

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

Are you the type of person who can easily articulate yourself verbally, tossing off facts and opinions in well-reasoned arguments with no prep time? I am not. Sometimes I get asked questions that cause my brain to go foggy even though I know I have the knowledge in my head. It’s just that I need time to sort out my thoughts. It can be really frustrating.

Last week I read Dr. Bo Stapler’s article, 3 Irresistible Advantages of Using Voice-to-Text for Writing Stories. He explains how much he enjoys dictating stories and explains why this is so. His thoughts so…

Dakota Duncan

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