Enjoying a Rare #SnowDay #VictoriaBC

After a rough week where we had to say goodbye to our sweet baby dog, Annie, Mother Nature gifted us with a rare snow event here on Vancouver Island.

It’s a good thing we’re enjoying the RV life because a snow squall hit overnight with 90 km winds that knocked out power to 28000 on the south island alone.

Luckily, we have propane heat and a generator to keep the power going, so we’re better off than most. It’s been hard on the birds and plants. I worry about the poor hummingbirds- we had -16 with the wind chill last night.

This giant cedar fell across the road to Fisgard Lighthouse and Esquimalt Lagoon.

We took Annie to the beach a couple of times, but she hated the water. Not even for DH, would she go near it, lol.

We’re going to miss her for a very long while ❤

Cooking up Memories-Cousin Jack Pasties #Recipe #Familyfirst

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

This post started out one way, but took a different turn after a distressing end to my week. Let me explain.

As a child I was what’s known as a tomboy. I’m sure I disappointed my mom, who liked to place my long, wavy brown hair in braids or barrettes and dress me in pretty dresses I couldn’t wait to get out of. While she dreamed of a daughter to do crafts like crochet or paper toíle with, I was outside playing marbles or catching bugs with the neighborhood boys.

One thing that I did have in common with my mom is a love of animals. We didn’t have a lot of extra money growing up, but she always made room for the strays I routinely brought home.

Which brings me to this week:

Eight years ago, DH (Darling Hubby) brought home a six month old pup. His workmate was going to have her put down because she was the runt of the litter, didn’t have the markings people looked for, and was horribly thin and skittish. We had just lost a dog a couple of months earlier that was precious to us and had decided not to take in any more for a while, but this pup needed help, so…

DH stayed in the backyard with her for hours until she got brave enough to come and check him out. You should have seen it–the most amazing connection happened between man and dog. She crawled on her belly to where he lay under the lilac tree, her sides heaving with stress, but so, so wanting to trust this human who waited with such patience.

I still tear up when I think of that moment.

For a while now, Annie (our Shepherd) has been suffering from degenerative hip disease. Friday she fell down the stairs because her hip let go and her mobility hasn’t improved. DH is carrying her in and out to do her business, but she weighs over one hundred pounds– he can’t continue to do this for long.

We can take her to the vet, of course, but her age is against her and hip replacement surgery is astronomical in price. Needless to say, we’re heartbroken. She’s our baby, quite literally because she is still that scared little pup on the inside and doesn’t trust anyone except us- her family.

She’s not in pain and is still eating, so I guess we’ll play the waiting game for now. One thing I have found that helps, is Absorbine Junior. She doesn’t like the coldness against her skin, but it seems to give some relief. All we can do is hope and pray for a few more years with our girl.

Do you have a favorite pet or a home remedy you can suggest? I’d love to hear from you and thanks in advance.

Cousin Jack Pasties the way Grandma made Them

This is a favorite in our family and brings fond memories of afternoons spent with my grandma and mom over a flour-covered kitchen table. I hope you give them a try.

3-4 white or russet potatoes, cleaned, peeled and cut in small bite-sized pieces. (On the small side is best)

1 chuck or round steak, cut into bite-sized pieces (on the small side is best)

1 large onion, cleaned and cut into small bite-sized pieces.



Mix all except spices in a large bowl. Add salt and pepper to taste, stir and set aside.

If you’re good at pie pastry you can make your own (like Grandma did 🙂 ) or you can buy frozen large pastry shells (like I would do, lol)

Add approx two tablespoons of mix to shell and then run a finger wetted down with water around the edge and pinch closed.

Cook for 35-40 minutes in 350 oven until crust is a nice golden brown. (Hint: a light egg white wash over the top will give a nice sheen to the crust)


Where have all the good dogs gone? #ilovemydog #mgtab #amwriting

Where have all the good dogs gone?

My dog is driving me crazy!

Seriously, she barks if she so much as thinks there’s another dog in the neighborhood. And it’s not a cute little yap, yap type bark either. She’s a German Shepherd, when she barks you listen.




Don’t let that sweet face fool you. She’s evil incarnate!

Okay, I exaggerated a wee bit. A lot.

Truth is, she’s normally a sweet-tempered, loving, smart-as-a-whip much-loved addition to our family. But she has serious issues with other canines and I can’t seem to break her of it.

Which is bad, very bad. We live in an area where there’s a 2-1 ratio of dogs to humans, I swear! And she is an eighty-five pound, four-foot monster who wants to eat them all. You can see where this can be a problem.

Her name is Annabelle, Annie for short. We took her in as a rescue when she was a five-month old, scared of her own shadow, pup. It took DH a week of countless hours laying outside in the grass waiting her out before she finally got brave enough to check him out. That patience won him her undying devotion. She’d do anything he asks of her- except leave other dogs alone.

We’re not sure if she was the runt of her litter and picked on, or what her problem is, but it is definitely frustrating. Walks are an exercise in restraint, on both sides! I have to keep her in heel whenever a dog comes near, and she has to hold herself back, which she hates and tells me all about. 🙂

I remember when I thought dogs were cute, lovable little critters like 101 Dalmatians:



In the first book I ever wrote, I used Annie as my inspiration. The Title is Tidal Falls and is the story of Nick Kelley, an animal handler with the US Marines.

Nick Kelley spent years working as a dog handler in the U.S. Marine Corps. His sole focus, to keep his team alive in the midst of chaos. When he fails to notice an IED in time and loses most of his teammates, Nick shuts down. It takes meeting and falling in love with a woman in danger to make him realize life’s worth living.




I love her, I really do. I just wish she’d outgrow the need to dominate her fellow mutts.

Any advice appreciated!


This week I thought I’d talk about pets. We own a cat, a calico named Harley, and a German Shepherd named Annie. If any of you have ever owned a Shepherd you’ll know they are fiercely loyal, loving, and mild tempered animals. They also SHED. I’m talking, we could make a quilt, kind of shedding.

Much as this drives me crazy, I hate to think how much we ingest, yuck, I still love her very much. She’s family.

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Harley joined our family a year ago, and it wasn’t long before the two became inseparable. We took them on walks to the amusement of our neighbors. A seventy-five pound dog and a little kitten, most often the kitten leading us all, 🙂

In my WIP I’ve added a German Shepherd, and like our lives, he’ll be an integral part of my characters lives as well. Jake, the Shepherd in my book, has recently returned from Afghanistan where he worked as a service dog searching villages for IED’s. When one explodes too close for comfort, Jake and his handler, Nick, are injured and return home to a hero’s welcome. Needing space from all the hoopla, they use the excuse of therapy to escape to the small mountain town of, Tidal Falls, Washington, where they hope to be left in peace.

Sara Sheridan is also looking for peace. She’s on the run from an abusive marriage and just wants anonymity. Her and her daughter cross the country searching for the perfect place to disappear, until they come across Tidal Falls. The town welcomes them, and after a while they happily settle into small town life.

Then Sara’s landlady, a matchmaker and a true romantic, hires one of her new tenants, Nick, to do some repairs on Sara’s house, and the sparks begin to fly.

Can these two work through their emotional issues and find a life together? Or will Sara’s ex-husband catch up to her and destroy everything she’s built?

I’ve had a hard couple of days. The chapter I sent in for critiquing came back with a lot of harsh comments I couldn’t help but take personally. I know you need to pick yourself up, dust off your pants, and keep writing, but sometimes I second guess myself. Maybe I’m not good enough to write a book. Maybe I don’t have the talent to get my thoughts across properly. Maybe I should give up.

Added to this, my DH took Annie, our Shepherd, with him when he left for work this time. She has an issue with other dogs. She doesn’t play well, or at all, actually.

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The park we’re staying in has strict rules about dogs, behave or get out. So, he decided to take her with him and set her loose with some other dogs her size, in the hope she would learn to play. If not, he’ll find her another home.

A bad week, as I said.

After a nice breakfast with my biggest fan this morning, my mother, I’ve decided to tackle the book, again. I’ll try to take the best of those critics advice, and discard the rest. I won’t let a few harsh words defeat me.

While I’m working on that, my baby dog is going to be doing the same. Learning to adjust, take the good, get rid of the bad.

We’ll both succeed, we aren’t quitters. 🙂

Have any of you received harsh critiques or reviews? What did you do to overcome them? Any advice on teaching a dog manners? I’d appreciate feedback on both topics. Hopefully next week turns out better.