It’s OK to laugh

On March first, I hit ‘send’ and the first draft of my manuscript went flying through the ether to New York to land in the capable hands of my editor. It was simultaneously exhilarating and terrifying. If any of you watched the Oscars and heard De Niro deliver this little nugget:

The mind of a writer can be a truly terrifying thing. Isolated, neurotic, caffeine-addled, crippled by procrastination, consumed by feelings of panic, self-loathing, and soul-crushing inadequacy. And that’s on a good day.

That pretty much sums up my experience of churning out a manuscript. It lifted my spirits to know I was in such good company in my certainty of inadequacy. I’m still not sure of the publication date yet; it depends on a lot of things, such as Grand Central’s current catalogue and how many rounds of editing the book has to go through before it’s whipped into shape like a perfect meringue. I’ll be sure to keep you posted because I did guarantee AT LEAST 25 copies sold and my mom can’t buy them all. 🙂

In the meantime, I set myself to a side task which turned out to be rather entertaining. As part of my contract I get to submit about 15 black and white photos for the book, covering my life with Taffy, Emmett, and Kekoa. The latter two I’m set on, but finding old pictures from my childhood was a bit more of a challenge.

My father, like my husband now, was an early adopter of new photo technology. This is all fine and good if the technology sticks, but of course as we’ve found it usually doesn’t. This resulted in two major problems:

1. 1975-1983 exists solely on old slides.

2. 1997-2002, the early digital age which also coincided with vet school, ended up on an old-school iOmega zip disk. The whereabouts of said discs are unknown. They may be floating in a box that’s been packed since the day I left vet school, or in a Goodwill store somewhere, or maybe Brian put them on an old PC that is also dead and gone, who knows. It is possible the pictures could be recovered if I actually HAD them, but at this point I would need a genie and a committed tech nerd.

Fortunately for me, my father kept his slides miraculously intact, and spent the last year faithfully transferring them into a digital format. It was crazy to see what he delivered, keeping in mind the last time my father actually set up the projector in the house was 1983. I hadn’t seen any of those pictures since then, kindergarten, first communion, all those moments from decades ago. Taffy as a puppy.

I chose one or two of Taffy looking cute then a few more of me looking as dorky as possible, which meant pretty much all of them (I had a very extended awkward phase.) So because I love you all and I thought it was funny, I wanted to share one of the pics I didn’t end up using but is very illustrative of my formative years:

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I’ll need my sister (the elegant brunette in the back) to chime in on the age of this one. Mid 80s for sure. And there’s me, the love child of Sandy Squirrel and Benny Hill:


It was a bad time for fashion in general.

And of course Taffy, who was as always plotting her escape. Or perhaps planning where in the house she wanted to pee next. I owe my dedication to the newest odor removing technology to years of following her around with an ineffectual roll of paper towels and whatever carpet cleaner they had in the 80s.

Your turn- who was your first pet? What is your most clear memory of them?

Filed: Blog, Daily Life, Musings Tagged: ,
  • JaneK

    Hahahaha! Love being a child of the 80s 🙂
    My first and only childhood pet was Greta the schnauzer. My dad used to rough house (appropriately rough) with her every night when he got home from work. It was great fun to see them chasing each other around the house. I am pretty sure my mom didn’t think it was too fun as they would tear across the wood floors…. Good times!

    • Our wood is destroyed. The price we pay, I suppose! That reminds me I need to look up refinishers!

  • JaneK

    PS: congrats!!! Look forward to hearing about the progress. And my childhood pics have the same fate and I don’t even know where the slides are…. Oh well, I think I look better in my memories anyway.

    • I kind of feel the same way- I knew they were bad, but not THAT bad. On the other hand I’m old enough now that I’m not embarrassed, just entertained.

  • Steph

    My first pet was Heidi, a doxie. She lived to be around 12 or 13, I think.. like most doxies she had back issues and we would spend hours just massaging her back, it helped, or at least I like to think it did. As for the pictures.. awesome! My kids think it is hilarious to look at our wedding photo – their Dad had hair :)!

    • I love that you gave your doxie back massages. Based on all we know about their physics and the tension their muscles deal with, I am sure you were doing something wonderful for Heidi!

  • Rose D.

    Whimsy! A beautiful black lab. I have so many memories of her, butone of the sweetest was towards the end of her life. She was 13, and had trouble getting around. I had just had my tonsils out and was lying in bed upstairs in a pain haze, and I hear, “thump, thump, thump,” as she made her way upstairs. Then she stucks her head on my bed to check on me, sniffed me all over, gave my hand a lick, and then “thump, thump, thump,” back downstairs. She hauled herself all the way upstairs just to check on me.

    I was also the one in charge of cleaning her ears and taking care of her when she vomitted. Lucky me.

    • Aw, what is it about black labs? They have got to be the kindest pups ever.

  • kgseymour

    The first pet of which I have real memories (my parents had two enormous Labs when I was born, but both passed away by the time I was 3 or 4) was Lacey, a black Lab who fit every single Lab stereotype you want to throw at me. She ate a La-Z-Boy recliner. She ate countless packages of bread and cookies and whatnot. She swam across the lake near our house — even when it was beginning to ice over in the winter — to get to parties happening on the other shore because — you guessed it — they had food.

    Since I was an only child, I absolutely considered her my sister. I clearly remember laying down with my head between her paws and her laying her head on mine while I sang to her about, I don’t know, whatever I had on my 7-year-old mind. Probably cookies, a subject she was also pretty passionate about. She learned early on how to open the cabinet door where her treats were hidden, but happily, she never learned to climb high enough to reach them.

    She was a good old dog and lived into her early teens. She had hip problems and never learned to heel, but I still miss her loads.

    • Textbook lab. Love it! How do you even go about eating a La-Z-Boy?

  • Michelle Cotton

    Missy, our Pomerainian. My parents wanted a little girl named Michelle, but they got Missy first. My best memory of her is tiny Pom kisses, and how when we traveled (which was a lot) she would pace the whole way. She also loved to ride on your shoulder whenever she could. She died of a collapsed trachea when I was 13, a loss I still feel today.

    • She rode on your shoulder? I love that!!