The Princess of the Pugs meets a Mermaid



Image found here.


The Princess of the Pugs meets a Mermaid

(Written for the final portfolio of my creative writing class)


As the oldest child, the Princess of the Pugs had decided long ago the only reason her parents continued to add contenders to the throne was due to their quest to please the mermaid of the Blue Lake. Either that, or he was trying to have enough children so every tree in the backyard needed to be outfitted with a ladder swing of PVC-pipe rungs and rope simply to entertain them all. Her favorite tale to be told, when her mother wouldn’t be distracted by the screams of the youngest princess, was that of a promise a mermaid had told her father years ago.

Before he was King of the Ladder Swings, her father had been an amateur competition water-skier. A photo of him in the center of a pyramid of skiiers prominently was displayed on the fireplace mantle. He stood between two other skiers, laughing as two skiers waved from his shoulders, their other hands locked securely on their ski ropes. The man on top of the pyramid pumped his arms in triumph.

Since then, her father had purchased a boat that lived in the backyard under a moldy green cover and only emerged on Sunday mornings, when her father hitched it up to her mother’s Jetta and drove it to the lake down the road. Even though her mother made her wear a life jacket and swim around in the boat, close enough to be fished out at a moment’s notice, the Princess of the Pugs loved going to the lake. Muffy, the royal Pug, did not. After an unfortunate incident overboard, she preferred to stay at home or wait on the banks for her Princess.

            The Princess, however, was waiting for someone else at the lake. Someone who could solve the mystery of why her parents wanted more children after her.

“Your father was slow to want children,” her mother told her each night, stroking back the fly away white wisps framing her older daughter’s face. “One morning on the lake, he had jumped out and I pulled the boat around, waiting for his signal to throw the engine into gear and pull him up.”

The Princess nodded and raised her thumb in the universal skier’s sign.

“A large boat passed us and the waves rocked the boat, nearly capsizing me,” her mother continued. “When I turned around, your father wasn’t there. I screamed and called his name. I threw the ladder over the side of the boat.”

The Princess nodded. Her father hung ladders of PVC pipe and rope from everything, not just trees.

“Just when I was about to jump out and start searching, I heard a young woman laughing. I turned and saw a girl with hair like long tangled seaweed, pulling your father toward me. “Lose something?” she asked me.”

This was the princess’ favorite part. She recited with her mother in a smaller voice, so her mother still felt like she was telling the story. “She was the most beautiful girl I had ever seen. And the strongest. She lifted your father over the side of the boat like he weighed less than a feather and put a hand on his chest. He coughed up half the lake before opening his eyes. When he tried to thank her, she just shook her head. ‘No need,’ she said with a wink. ‘For your daughter will help me more than I could ever help you.’ “

“Now I could see that your father was disappointed. ‘Daughter?’ he repeated.”

“Oh yes. You’ll have lots, but it’s just the one that I need, with hair of sunshine and eyes of the lake. The first one is always the best.”

That was the Princess’s favorite line of the whole story.

“The girl just dove back in the water after that and your father swears he saw fins and a tail, though I’m pretty sure he was hallucinating. After we had you and found out we were pregnant with your sister, I asked your father if he was upset we never had a boy and he said, “Why would I argue with a mermaid? She was right! One princess is so delightful, why not have a whole house full?”

Unfortunately, her parents had taken that quest to new extremes. This summer, the Princess was determined to find this mermaid and convince her to convince her father to stop adding princesses to the castle. The bathrooms were already too crowded, there was an abundance of pink everywhere and she never wanted to see another doll in her life. “We must find her, Muffy,” she informed her furry companion. “If we don’t, we’re going to have to go live in the treehouse soon!”

Muffy licked her nose in agreement. As much as she liked the treehouse, she liked air conditioning more.

The next Sunday, at the lake, the Princess convinced her parents to visit Bikini Beach, where all the high school girls and moms who thought they were still in high school liked to lay and wave to the boys skiing by. “We can get a burger at the ski shack,” the Princess wheedled. “It’ll be fun.”

“A burger would be nice,” her mother mused.

“Burger, burger, burger!” her younger sister changed, setting off a chorus of squawks from the baby princesses. The King of the Ladder Swings crinkled his eyes, his beard reaching his temples. “Do you want to ski there?”

“Really?” the Princess had never skied such a long way before. The last thing she wanted to do was disappoint the King. “Sure.”

He threw the ladder over and she jumped in, bobbing until he flung the rope in her direction. She fished around in the water for her skis and pulled them on, holding the rope between her knees. He raised his thumb. She raised hers. He threw the hammer and the engine roared, pulling her above the frothing waves and across the green glass beneath her skis. The Princess was flying.

She zipped across the rapids and over the waves, weaving back and forth. Her mother waved and her younger sister raised her thumb. The Princess jerked her head back and her father’s proud laughter could be heard over the roar of the engine. Never had a Princess skied this fast before. Soon, she’d be big enough to be a flier on a pyramid. She could learn flips and jumps and…

The glass water below her grew choppy and hard and she gripped on. She would not let go. She would not let go. She would make it to Bikini Beach.

The waves, however, had other ideas. They tossed her up, stealing her skis and pulling her down under into the brown murkiness of the lake. Her lungs burned and she flailed her arms, suddenly so heavy without her life jacket. She opened her eyes to a pair of sparkling green ones that matched a glittering tail.

“Hello, little one. Did you know you look just like your father?” Her mother was right. The mermaid was more beautiful than any woman she had ever seen. “Let’s get you some air, shall we?” Before she could nod, the mermaid wrapped her to her cool bosom and kicked her fins back and forth. They burst through the surface and the Princess gasped. “But I’m supposed to help you,” she sputtered as soon as she could find her breath. “You weren’t supposed to help me!”

“Oh you will, little one. In time.” The mermaid fished her life jacket out of the weeds of the bank and helped her draw her arms into it, buckling it up. “You’ve been looking for me, haven’t you?”

The Princess nodded, ashamed. “I wanted you to tell my father to quit having kids. Ever since he met you, he’s obsessed with having more and more girls.”

“Funny. I don’t think it has anything to do with me. I think it has something to do with you.” The mermaid tapped her nose. “He once told me you were the happiest part of his life. Humans sometimes think that more is better, when usually it’s just more.”

“Can you tell him that?” the Princess begged.

The mermaid just laughed. “Promise me something, little water princess.”

“Anything.” The Princess meekly took the skis the mermaid offered her and clutched them to her chest as she bobbed in the water.

“On your 16th birthday, promise you’ll have a party on the lake. I have a gift for you.”

The Princess groaned. “That won’t be for ten more years!”

“It’ll go faster than you think.” The mermaid turned her head towards the roar of the boat fast approaching. Over the side, she could see her father’s face pinched with concern under the frayed crown of his worn cowboy hat. “See you then, little one.”

“Wait!” the Princess of the Pugs called. “How am I supposed to help you?”

            The mermaid flicked her tail. “For now, I wouldn’t mind a hamburger with from the Ski Shack. I’ll see you next Sunday, Princess.” With a wink, she dove back under just before the boat pulled up. The Princess didn’t even have time to climb the ladder. Her father yanked her out by the scruff of her lifejacket like a naughty kitten, tossing her heavy fiberglass skis in the back like they were as weightless as cardboard. Her mother wrapped a towel around her and kissed her head. “What happened, darling? Are you ok?”

“The mermaid would like a hamburger,” the Princess informed her mother.

“When I turn 16, I’m having my party on the lake.”

            “Is that so?” The King of the Lake laughed and steered the boat toward the shore of Bikini Beach. “You know, a hamburger sounds pretty good to me.”

            Muffy agreed by licking her face. Pugs always were in the mood for hamburgers.

My Squirrel


Image found here.

To the tune of “My Girl” by the Temptations

I’ve got so grapes on a cloudy day,

When it’s cold outside,

I’ve got a coat of grey,

I guess, you’d say,

What can make me feel this way?

My squirrel, my squirrel,

Talking about my squirrel.

I’ve got soooo much corn,

The deer are green,

I’ve got sweeter nuts,

then the birds in the trees,

I guess  you’d say,

What can make me feel this way?

My squirrel, my squirrel.

Hey, hey, hey.

I don’t need no money, houses or fame.

I’ve got more corn than any horse can claim.

I’ve got grapes on a cloudy day,

I’ve even got tortillas just for me,

talking about my squirrel.

Stay tuned, Invisible Friends!  More fun is on the way– an Easter recap tomorrow! 

Bathroom Art

photo 2-18




“Mother!”  Abbi tugged on her mother’s hand.  “Mother!”


“Mmmhmmm.”  Her mother didn’t bother to pull her nose from the novel she was currently buried nose-deep in. Slouched against the towering bookcases of the local bookstore, her mother looked like a frizzy-haired caterpillar in her voluminous tunic and huge frames.


“Mother, I need to go!” Abbi hissed, pulling her mother’s fingers until the joints popped.


“Then go.”  Her mother turned the page.


“I can take her,” the clerk volunteered, watching from the counter.  Abbi twisted and squirmed, gluing her thighs together.  The clerk adored her mother and after weekly trips to the store, knew that the longer her mother stayed entrenched in her novel, the more novels she would purchase.  Sometimes, Abbi felt the only way she would get her mother’s true attention was if she pressed herself onto blank white pages and bound herself up in hard pressed board and cloth.  Abbi pressed the fingers to the front of her dress.


“Abbi, ladies don’t hold themselves,” her mother chastised, never lifting her eyes from the words.


“Mother, I’m going to wet myself!” she whined, her cheeks hot and cold at the same time.  She shifted out of the path of the air conditioner to her mother’s left.  What was it about icy air that made one’s bladder want to loosen?


“I really don’t mind taking her,” the clerk said, louder.  The clerk really didn’t relish cleaning up a puddle of pity pee.

Her mother sighed and raised her annoyed eyes to her squirming daughter.  “Abbi, the bathroom is right over there.  You can go by yourself.  You’re six years old.”


“But”– Abbi bit her lip. Her eyes shifted toward the clerk.  The clerk pretended to stack and scan books, but her left ear was tilted toward them. “I’m scared of the bathroom,” she confided in the faintest whisper, barely louder than the flickering of her mother’s pages. “Please go with me.”

Her mother sighed, her sign that Abbi was being ridiculous and was to be barely tolerated.  “Let me finish this chapter.”  The clerk snickered and furious color flooded Abbi’s cheeks.  She might have to pee, but she still had pride.  “I’ll go by myself,” she announced, sticking her tongue out at the clerk.  The clerk’s smile faded.  “Are there any books you’d like me to pull for you, ma’am?” she asked, glaring as Abbi stormed past her.


The only thing that could rouse her mother from a book was the promise of more books.  “Oh yes.”  She closed the pages around her thumb and pointed.  “I need the new Charles Roberts, the new Chelsea Brooks, the third and forth in the Magnolia Tea Rose Mystery series…”


Abbi closed the door on her mother’s demands and flipped on the light.  The whispers started right away, soft and inviting.  “Won’t you come see us, Abbi with an i?  Won’t you come play?”

She hitched up her skirts, keeping her eyes trained on the floor.  The whispers became orders.  Playful orders, but still orders.

“You know we’re much more fun than any silly old book!  Why would you want to read about an adventure when you could have one?”

Abbi began to hum.  She flushed the toilet and washed her hands, careful to keep her eyes on her own terrified reflection.  Something shimmered in the corner of her eye, but she would not look.  Last time, she had barely made it out.

Abbi.”  They were singing now, so pretty and sweet.  “Abbi with an i, won’t you come play?  We miss you!”  The paint rustled and a breeze fluttered the toilet paper.  The water trickling onto her palms turned gold, flicked with glitter.  “We’ll let you win this time.  We promise.”

She scowled but didn’t respond.  A bunch of cheats, they were.  Drying her hands on the towel, she turned and twisted the doorknob.  It wouldn’t turn.  When she heard his voice behind her, she wasn’t surprised.

“Come on, Abbi with an i.  Or are you scared?”

This time, she did turn, folding her arms and narrowing her eyes.  The boy peered out of the wall-length mural, his sharp ears wiggling faster than the wings on his back.  “Ah, there’s my pretty girl!”

“I’m not scared of anything.  And I’m not your girl,” she sniffed.  You couldn’t give fairies ownership of everything.  You never knew what they would take.

“Some day, you might be.”  He held out his hand, his curled fingernails kissing the pads of his fingertips.  “Come on, Abbi with an i.  The pixies are having a party and the elves have missed you.”

Abbi considered.  “No witches or ogres this time.”

He nodded, but his lips teased with the blooming of a smile.  “This will be the third time  you’ve visited us, Abbi with an i.  Are you comfortable with the terms of our arrangement?”  Behind him, the flowers bloomed and trees rustled, drawing her in with their sweet scent.  She glanced behind her, then shrugged.  Her mother had her books, after all.  Pressing her hand in his, she followed him into the painting.


Later that night, after a successful day at the shop thanks to a group of retirees and a few buses of tourists looking for local cookbooks, the clerk stopped in the restroom.  She inspected the crow’s feet and etches across her forehead and grimaced.  Drying her hands, she turned and looked at the painting, as she did every night.  “Can you imagine children are afraid of you?” she smirked, returning the towel to the metal ring.  “I can’t imagine why.”

She traced the fairy’s face, her lips outlining his impish grin.  Next to him, a small girl in a blue dress was gathering daisies, her face turned to the yellow centers.  The clerk hesitated.  She went out and returned after a moment, leaving a book of fairy tales on top of the toilet.  “It was your mother’s favorite.  She bought it for you, earlier.”


The fairy didn’t stir.  Neither did the girl.  The clerk left for good this time, but didn’t turn off the light.


She didn’t want Abbi with an i to get scared, after all.


Stay tuned, Invisible Friends!  A new fun week awaits!  Have a wonderful Easter!






The Spider would like some spideycakes

photo 1-17



“What kind of a joint is this?”


I pause, holding my laptop over the counter.  In it’s usual spot, two little eyes peer up at me.  “Uh, hi?”


“Listen, I’ve been waiting for hours and not even a cup of dew drops!” the spider snapped.  “I want fly eggs, dragonfly bacon and spidey cakes.  To go, please.  I have a web to build.”


I set my laptop down gently in the spot next to where it usually goes.  “I don’t know how to make fly eggs and spider cakes.”


“You forgot the dragonfly bacon,” he reminded me.  “Well, there has to be a cookbook around here somewhere?  Or perhaps a snail?  Snails always make delicious breakfast for spiders.”


“Would chicken eggs do?”  I ask, opening the fridge.


“Do I look like a chicken?”  The spider scuttles to the side of the counter and drops down, repelling off a single strand of silver.  “Come on.  You’ve got to have some fruit flies, maybe a pillbug…”  He scurries between my feet and I freeze.  “You know, you have a remarkably clean tile floor.”


“Thank you.”  I shut the refrigerator door.  “What about peanut butter?”


“Do you have wheat bread?” he perks up.  “Sometimes they crush bugs in wheat bread.”


I’ll never eat toast again.  “I have a better idea.”  Gingerly, I raise one foot and tiptoe to the patio door.  Pulling it open, I gesture to the cool morning waiting.  “How about you dine alfresco?”


“Brilliant!”  The spider crows, racing across the tile and over the metal doorplate.  For a creature the size of my thumbnail, he crosses the ocean of tile in barely a minute and scampers out onto the porch.  His tiny head swivels to toward the grill.  “Ooh!  Do you think you could make me some grilled fly eggs and smoked caterpillar?  I’ve always wanted to try that for breakfast!”


I look at the grill, then at him.  “I don’t have any fly eggs or caterpillar,” I reply, sheepish.


“I have to do my own hunting too?  What kind of place is this?” the spider grumbles before letting out a lengthy sigh.  “Very well.  You wait here.  I’ll go shopping.” Before I can blink, he scurries off the porch and into the grass.  Shaking my head, I turn on the grill and go back into the house to make my own breakfast.


Something that isn’t eggs and toast.


Stay tuned, Invisible Friends!  A new fun tale tomorrow! 

A few wedding pictures….

Eight months and 18 hours of prep work….But it was a gorgeous day. 





Are we seeing a theme with the sunflowers?



Congrats to the newest Mr. and Mrs. Pope!


I’m surprised the kid didn’t fling himself from the wagon.


A dip for the kiss!


And we pose on the bridge….


And we pose while we walk…


Walking in…


Lana and Linda


I made Corney dance with me.


I made Danielle dance with me.


Everyone dance with MEEEEEEEEEE.


Fine, you can dance with the bride too.


World’s best aunt and uncle.


If I look like I was in pain, it was because I had professional make up.


Now onto Easter!

Thanks to Uncle Corney, Aunt Lana, Christine Wood and Bella Springs for the photos and for all the help!

The Day I bought the Dogs a Stroller

photo 1-16




I’d like to introduce you to Bear, the world’s laziest Chihuahua.


Bear doesn’t like to walk.  Every day, we set out for a walk.  Bitty is thrilled.


Oh, the injustice.  The agony.


Guess who is not?


Every day, it’s always the same.  We get halfway down the street, sometimes not even past the mailbox.  Bear stops, lifts his paw and gives me a look of pure agony.  I scoop him into my arms and inspect his paw.  “Does it hurt?” I coo.  “Does that feel better?”


There is nothing on his paw, no sticker or bur or scratch, but I kiss it and put him down.  Ten feet later, something extraordinary occurs.



“Can’t I just lie here and eat a pillbug?”

He stops, raises his paw and gives me a quivering nose.  I give up and take them home.





I will hunt you down and kill you.


Guess who isn’t happy now?




Image found here.

There was only one solution: a dog stroller.  Delighted with my brilliance, I went to the magical site of Amazon, pressed a button, and the stroller arrived a few days later.  I tore it open and put it together, thrilled to take the dogs on a walk longer than the mailbox.


Much to my dismay, no one but me was excited.


photo 2-17



In fact, they were rather miserable.


photo 3-10



They shivered, shook and whimpered.


Ben didn’t want to be seen with it.  “It’s not natural,” he grumbled.  “People keep looking for a baby.”


Bitty curled up in the fetal position.


Bear hyperventilated and nearly puked along the velvet interior.  Throwing my hands in the air, I yelled, “Ok, ok, fine!”  I took them out of the stroller.  They promptly walked two miles, including up a gigantic hill while I carried the stroller on my back the entire way home.   Once we’d returned, Ben gingerly approached as I took off the wheels, snarling and cursing under my breath.


“Maybe we should get a wagon,” he suggested.  “I could use that for gardening.  And it’s not a stroller.”


I threw the wheels at him.


The next day, I leashed up the dogs and left the stroller at home.


We made it five feet past the mailbox.


Stay tuned, Invisible Friends!  A new fun story for Friday!