Character Slayer
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I am bereft.  I am a brute.   And a bereft brute is not a good person. There is a first time for everything and I can’t believe I have done it.  I have killed off one of my characters and bawled my eyes out, along with my main protagonist, as I told her the bad news.   Photo Credit:   My character hadn’t been well and I did try and keep him going for as long as…

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I just watched about a third of the most horrific video about chicken hatcheries before I bawled my eyes out and had to turn it off. I’ve never been a huge meat person and have contemplated vegetarianism for a while now, and I think I’m kind of ready (I’ve been eating tons of veggie burgers lately, which are delicious!). I’m an avid cook and a nutrition/dietetics student, so food is pretty much my life, which worries me a little bit..

For my vegetarian followers, how do you deal with stuff like:

  • Cravings - do you still really crave the taste of a good hamburger every once in a while?
  • Cooking - if you’re cooking for your family or friends, do you expect them to eat vegetarian dishes as well or do you cook separate meals? This would be my main obstacle, I just don’t know how I would deal with things like casseroles or pasta sauces (when you can’t just add the meat later).
  • Eating out - what do you do if there’s only a really crappy vegetarian meal available, or even worse, none at all?

p.s. I’m watching the above gif endlessly to cheer myself up.


Maybe anything can look like a miracle when our souls are empty. Or maybe miracles are there everyday and we only notice them when something silences everything else. I only know that nine years ago today, a miracle entered my life.

I’d spent the night bawling my eyes out, kicking myself for ever letting Suki off-leash, cursing drivers who would hit a dog and not even stop, and wondering why I even thought of going on. You know you’ve had a good cry when your eyes are so swollen you can barely open them, but open them I did, and there, framed by the sliding glass door I’d put into the shed, hoping to collect the sun’s warmth, was a black and white dog, head tilted, and looking in.

I shook my head, wondering if I were hallucinating. But the dog still stood there, still looked in at me. I stood slowly, and slid the door open. He backed up. I told him he was handsome. He smiled. I extended my hand, palm down, so he could sniff me. He wanted none of it and looked at me with a sort of fear in his eyes, matched by his stubbornness to hold his ground.

I turned to the coffee maker and put the filter and the grounds in. I checked the battery levels (on a sunny day, I had enough electricity for one pot of coffee, one minute of microwaving, and internet access for 8 or 9 hours.) As the coffee dribbled out, I saw that he had moved, further away, but still staring at me.

He was skittish. Wherever he’d come from, hands had done him no favors. I noticed a collar, but there were no tags. His long hair hid the collar for most of the day. Finally, I got a good look at the collar. It was a puppy collar, tight around his neck. VERY tight around his neck. It wasn’t until the next day he let me remove it, and there was much growling and showing of teeth as I did. Hands are not friends he kept saying. A puppy NASCAR collar, with checkered finish flags on a red background.

Every day, Suki and I had walked together, and I decided even today, the day after Suki died, I would walk. Her footprints were in dried mud everywhere. Each one stabbed at my heart. The black and white dog kept his distance from me, but followed. Every once in a while, he’d disappear into the sagebrush, and he’d bring one of Suki’s toys with him. He ran back to the shed, and then caught up with me again.

When I returned to the shed, I saw what he’d done, and it made me weep all over again. He’d deposited every toy he’d found on Suki’s grave. I fed him some of Suki’s food, and he ate like he hadn’t seen food in a while. He was thirsty, too.

I was sure someone would be looking for him, so I took his picture and made up a poster to put in the little grocery store window, the place where everyone posted everything that is sold, everything that is lost, and everything that is found.

When I came back from town, he was still there, still watching me. No one claimed him, and each day, we got a little friendlier. Eventually he came into the shed for a few minutes and I congratulated him. A day or so later, he came in the shed and laid on the futon bed. It took another six months of patience before he would allow me to pet his head, or put my hands anywhere near his head.

I played like a rodeo cowboy, lassoing him with a leash when it came time for him to go to the vet in Denver. He tolerated the four-hour drive okay, checked out healthy, had no chip, and the vet guessed he was about a year old. He did NOT like the city. We came back to the San Luis Valley the next day,

Oh, and how did he get his name? I was chatting online with my friend Howard and told him about the dog. I told him I didn’t think I could keep him, so soon after losing Suki. Howard told me that dogs are like Jell-o. There’s always room for more. I couldn’t name a dog Jell-o, but I had come to think of the dog was a sort of angel, so add the two together, and you wind up with Angelo.

And that, my friends, is how my miracle dog came to rescue me.

Happy ninth Gotcha Day, and happy tenth birthday, my dear Angelo.

Angelo and his human have written about 20 books, which are available here:


If all this was a work of fiction… the guys who go to nationals would be the protagonists, and the rest of us would just be extras. But, regardless… we got to play… volleyball.


these boys made me bawl my eyes off. i am literally still crying while typing this. lmao, i love them both and i hope they win this whole damn competition and become successful as hell.