Loving the Strange – Let’s talk about ghosts

“I talk to her all the time.” Shaun about his ghost doll friend.

Dogs Are Smarter Than People: Writing Life, Marriage and Motivation
Loving the Strange - Let's talk about ghosts
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It’s our second podcast and you can hear how:

  1. Shaun has a haunted doll friend.
  2. A ghost felt Carrie’s thigh.
  3. The seance where the pencil caught on fire.
  4. Carrie’s grandmother’s ghost.
  5. And Shaun swear and be slightly naughty because he’s Shaun.
  6. How Maine is the most haunted state and Mainers don’t really seem to care.

This podcast isn’t about writing. It isn’t about life tips. It’s really inspired by how Shaun and I are such opposites about so many things and yet we still love each other. There’s got to be a lesson somewhere in there, right?

It’s unscripted and fun and just meant to make you feel like you’re hanging out with two weird people talking about strange things.

Please like and share and subscribe, it totally helps us out!


HELP US AND DO AN AWESOME GOOD DEED

Thanks to all of you who keep listening to our weirdness on the DOGS ARE SMARTER THAN PEOPLE podcast and our new LOVING THE STRANGE podcast.

We’re sorry we laugh so much… sort of. 

Please share it and subscribe if you can. Please rate and like us if you are feeling kind, because it matters somehow. There’s a new episode every Tuesday!

Thanks so much for being one of the 256,000 downloads if you’ve given us a listen!

LET’S HANG OUT!

HEY! DO YOU WANT TO SPEND MORE TIME TOGETHER?

MAYBE TAKE A COURSE, CHILL ON SOCIAL MEDIA, BUY ART OR A BOOK, OR LISTEN TO OUR PODCAST?

JUST CLICK ON THIS LINK AND FIND OUT HOW WE CAN.

And to hear our podcast latest episode for DOGS ARE SMARTER THAN PEOPLE about cats on Tinder and other bad advice click here.

Our first episode of LOVING THE STRANGE is here. It’s about loving places for no logical reasons.

The visuals for our podcasts are all on Carrie’s YouTube channel. You can like and subscribe there, too!

Love Your Way Through It

We don’t need to be in love or to even feel love in order to make another feel loved or cared about, we simply need to remember that the most powerful love is the love that we give to another, without expectation of obligation or return.

 This morning I realized that it has been exactly one year since we traveled as a family.

This week is a school break week here in Maine and last year at this time Carrie, myself and our youngest daughter, Kittiey, drove to Georgia to see our oldest daughter, Emily, who was in the Army and stationed at Ft. Benning at the time.

After spending a couple of days with Emily we drove to Florida to spend the remainder of our vacation and see my family.

Shortly after returning from that trip, Carrie and I managed to spend a weekend in Portland Maine for her birthday. Since then, none of the three of us (Emily is currently isolated at Tuck University getting her MBA.) have traveled more than forty miles away from our house.

Both of those trips out of the house were for specialized dentist appointments and other than those joyous trips to the dentist, none of us has gone more than twenty miles away from the house and all of these trips are for curbside grocery pickup at the nearest Walmart. Curse you for this involuntary hermitic existence COVID-19! 

While it may seem as though I am complaining, and I am a little bit because we all love to travel and see new people and places, complaining is not what this blog is about.

It is about love, the miraculous fact that while we are in constant contact with each other (Kittiey is 100 percent remote learning), we all still love each other and nothing has drastically changed in how we feel about each other, unless it is a deeper understanding of patience.

To me, that is a testament to the power of love!

After all, love is the mother of all things good; kindness, empathy, compassion and understanding. Honestly, I am a little surprised by our success in continued friendship through this last year and I am supremely happy about the results!

For those of you who may have suffered far more than anyone should ever have to, I offer my greatest condolences and wishes for better times.

Even without COVID-19 the world faces a myriad of disasters every day and somehow humans have always managed to survive the unthinkable forces working against us.

Why?

Because we are capable of loving one another.

We are capable of being compassionate and empathetic to one another. We are capable of respecting one another.

We don’t need to be in love or to even feel love in order to make another feel loved or cared about, we simply need to remember that the most powerful love is the love that we give to another, without expectation of obligation or return.

We must simply remember and realize that love is the greatest gift and the greatest investment! Always, love your way through it.

Shaun


LET’S HANG OUT!

HEY! DO YOU WANT TO SPEND MORE TIME TOGETHER?

MAYBE TAKE A COURSE, CHILL ON SOCIAL MEDIA, BUY ART OR A BOOK, OR LISTEN TO OUR PODCAST?

JUST CLICK ON THIS LINK AND FIND OUT HOW WE CAN.

And to hear our podcast latest episode for DOGS ARE SMARTER THAN PEOPLE about cats on Tinder and other bad advice click here.

Our first episode of LOVING THE STRANGE is here. It’s about loving places for no logical reasons.

The visuals for our podcasts are all on Carrie’s YouTube channel. You can like and subscribe there, too!

What Makes Someone Great? Sometimes It’s Just Love

hat’s the way love should be. It should be something that solids you up, that makes you throw your arms open, makes your eyes sparkle, something that spreads and spreads and stays in the present tense.

 

I’ve been lucky enough to be a fill in dog walker for someone who has A.L.S. this week and it made me think of my friend, Jerry Kauffman, who died of A.L.S. in February 2008.

I still think of Jerry in the present tense even though it’s been years, but I still adore him and that is the sort of thing that doesn’t go from present tense to past tense because of something like death.

            That’s what Jerry Kaufman taught me. He taught me that the good things – love, adoration – they endure.

            Jerry was not a perfect man. He could be almost too loud sometimes. He could be brash some other times. That was part of his enthusiasm, his style. He always knew what he believed and sometimes what he believed struck people in a bad way. That’s not why I adore him, but it’s part of why I admire him. It takes an immense amount of courage to always loudly and bravely state what you believe and what you think is right even when no other person agrees with you. And then to sometimes change your opinion after you’ve done that.

It’s something I wish more people could do, could feel safe to do, that their egos could allow them to do.

            But the reason that I adore Jerry is because he adores his wife, Jacqui.

            Jerry’s adoration of Jacqui stays in the present tense, too. Something like death never changes that.

            The first time I met them I was doing an article for WERU’s newspaper/bulletin. I drove down to their house in Surry. I was in my twenties.

I was really, really shy.

I parked my Subaru, listened to the sounds of dogs yipping and stared through the darkness at a house lit up from inside with absolutely golden light, trying to brave myself up enough to go inside.

            Then Jerry flung open the door.

            The first thing I noticed was his hair. There was all this hair, wild, dark, curly, like a lion’s mane. 

            I may have stepped back.

            But Jerry wasn’t good about letting people step back. He stepped forward bellowing, “Hello! Hello!” and pulled me into a hug.

            Then I noticed Jacqui, his wife. She too had amazing hair, amazing in a beautiful way. But the best thing was her eyes.

            Writers always talk about people’s eyes sparkling, but Jacqui’s really did. They sparkled brilliantly reminding me of the warm golden lights of their house. Then I looked at Jerry’s eyes. They were sparkling too.

            “The great love of my life,” he said, gesturing towards her.

            I knew right then, absolutely, without a doubt, that what they were sparkling about was each other. They loved each other more than any couple I have ever met. It made me sigh with happiness. It made me smile. It made me want to be just like them.

            It’s about twenty years later and now I am a lot closer.

            It’s about twenty years later and now I love a man more than I could ever imagine. It’s the kind of love that Jerry and Jacqui have.

            It’s about twenty years later and Jerry has died so many years ago already.

            I know, I know absolutely without a doubt that a lot of people think Jerry is a hero for dealing with A.L.S., for making himself into Stem Cell Man (his adopted superhero name) and approaching illness with a vitality and humor that most people never show when they are healthy.

            But for me, Jerry and Jacqui Kaufmann are heroes for loving. It’s rare that you find people so willing to put all of their hearts, all of their souls, out there for the world to see. Every time Jerry saw my little girl, which was about once a year, he would throw his arms open, wrap her in a hug and tell her how beautiful and brilliant she was. That’s the way love should be. It should be something that solids you up, that makes you throw your arms open, makes your eyes sparkle, something that spreads and spreads and stays in the present tense.

            That’s why I adore Jerry Kaufman.

            That’s why I will always adore Jerry Kaufman, because no matter what else he did or what else he was, no matter what fights he faced or opinions he carried, he is someone who taught me all about that kind of love and how that kind of love is truly the essence, the joyous essence of a beautiful, beautiful soul.You can find out more about Jerry at his website. It has a lot of information about A.L.S., a place to donate, and a bit about Jerry and it was made out of love, not just for Jerry, but for the world.


LET’S HANG OUT!

HEY! DO YOU WANT TO SPEND MORE TIME TOGETHER?

MAYBE TAKE A COURSE, CHILL ON SOCIAL MEDIA, BUY ART OR A BOOK, OR LISTEN TO OUR PODCAST?

JUST CLICK ON THIS LINK AND FIND OUT HOW WE CAN.

And to hear our podcast latest episode for DOGS ARE SMARTER THAN PEOPLE about cats on Tinder and other bad advice click here.

Our first episode of LOVING THE STRANGE is here. It’s about loving places for no logical reasons.

The visuals for our podcasts are all on Carrie’s YouTube channel. You can like and subscribe there, too!

We can make a difference together even if it’s one person at a time

We all want to be seen and cared for. We all want to know that we have a team rooting us on–even when that team is full of strangers, it matters.

About three years before my mom officially died, she took a downward turn and I blogged about it on LiveJournal. I was on LiveJournal back then. I know! I know! It’s like admitting you were on MySpace.

Anyway, this is what I wrote:

My mom went into the hospital yesterday. She was bleeding a lot (in a gross way) and her hemoglobin was really low. Last night she threw up blood. They’re giving her an endoscopy to try to locate the bleeding source. She’s diabetic. Her diabetes gave her anemia. Her anemia gave her a heart attack awhile ago. Her diabetes also gave her (a non-drinker pretty much – like 3 drinks a year) liver disease.

She’s in ICU. Any positive energy would be great. Thanks.

And all these people posted and sent love.

The next day, I printed out all those comments and brought them into the ICU and showed my mom and I wrote about that, too:


I saw my mom yesterday and right before she went completely lost it, I showed her all of your comments (I hope you don’t mind) and she started crying and said, “All those people? They’re thinking about me?”

And I said, “Yes.”

And then she sort of clutched the paper print-outs and sniffed.

About a half hour later she seriously lost it. The hospital nurse asked me to help restrain her because they were short on orderlies. Let me tell you my little mother is one strong person when she’s lost it. Let me also tell you that my mother is not usually someone who acts like that.

It’s because she now has Hepatic Encephalopathy.

Which is seriously bad news.

When she finally (after hours of wild anger and thrashing and swearing) fell asleep she looked so sweet. I got to leave then and eat. We hadn’t eaten that day. I forgot about the whole food concept. But while I was gone, she woke up again and got worse and started punching and biting people.

They had to put big-time restraints on her.
She is refusing to take medicine to help get the ammonia levels in her (This is what’s making her act like this) back down. My brother has power of attorney and nobody could reach him. I got him finally. He’s flying in.
If her levels don’t go down, she could have a stroke. She could also die.

I really don’t want my mom to die.
I really don’t want her to be miserable.
I really don’t want her to be so sick.
And I really don’t want my last memories of her to be like yesterday.

I also think that hospital orderlies are the super unsung heroes of the universe. Nurses, too.
I also think that all of you guys are unsung heroes. Commenting and thinking about my mom meant a lot to her yesterday and it will always-always-ALWAYS mean a lot to me.

I firmly believe that my mom seeing that all those people cared about what happened to her made a difference and helped make her strong when everything went wrong. She got to hold onto those papers and that memory and love.

We all want to be seen and cared for. We all want to know that we have a team rooting us on–even when that team is full of strangers, it matters. Sometimes it might matter more knowing that out there are other people who are capable of rooting for you and that even when you feel horribly alone and terrified, you aren’t alone, not in spirit.

I didn’t post for a week because I suck at posting when terrible things are happening in my real life. But I did again.

Okay. I am trying to figure out how to thank everyone for all their cool thoughts/energy/calmness and comments and emails and phone calls and text messages last week when my mom was almost dying.

But I can’t.

Because the kindness that everyone did is soooooo big that I just can’t thank anyone the right way. I’m not a good enough writer.

Just know that you are all beyond awesome and totally rock.

And I really think because of you (and because my mom is so damn feisty) she did not die last week even though the doctor gave the YOU NEED TO THINK ABOUT HARD DECISIONS speech and she was totally demented (sorry, Mom, you were) for a while.  She opened her eyes Thursday. On Friday she was once again capable of rational thought. Yay!

She’s still in the hospital but not in the scary ICU part.

Thank you for helping her and for helping me. I am really blessed to have such amazing friends (on-line and off).

I’m not a person who has a lot of family anymore. Since I was one of those kids who came fourteen to thirty years after the other kids of my generation, my parents and grandparents (all of them) are dead as are most of my aunts and uncles. And my family situation is complicated.

But sometimes I think about how lucky I am because I get to have two families, one online and one that raised me. I had a bunch of different cultural experiences as a kid because of the aunts and uncles I had and I know they expanded who I was and what I knew about the world.

When people online come together to do something good, to comfort, to make someone’s life better or make the country or their community better? It’s a big deal. It gives me faith and hope in empathy and love. It’s easy to focus on the horror that happens, and it’s good to acknowledge that horror so that you can fix it. But it’s not all that is. Life is bigger than that. People are better than that. We can be.

I’ve seen it over and over again. We don’t have to be perfect, but we really should try to spread good things, too.

It’s so easy to close yourself off because you’re afraid of people being mean to you, of internet trolls, or maybe the negativity from your own family. When you close off your heart, when you are afraid of being vulnerable, it’s almost impossible to love your way through things. Instead, you hunker down in fear.

And if you hunker too long, your knees start to hurt.


HEAR MY BOOK BABY (AND MORE) ON PATREON

On one of my Patreon sites I read and print chapters of unpublished YA novels. THE LAST GODS and SAINT and now ALMOST DEAD. This is a monthly membership site (Hear the book chapters – $1/month, read them $3-month, plus goodies!). Sometimes I send people art! Art is fun.

On this, my second site, WRITE BETTER NOW, you can do a one-time purchase of a writing class or get two of my books in eBook form or just support our podcast or the dogs. It’s all part of the WRITING CLASS OF AWESOME.

It’s a super fun place to hang out, learn, read, and see my weirdness in its true form.

And I’m starting up a brand new, adult paranormal set at a Maine campground. You can read the first chapter here.

almost dead book by carrie jones
almost dead book by carrie jones

LET’S HANG OUT!

HEY! DO YOU WANT TO SPEND MORE TIME TOGETHER?

MAYBE TAKE A COURSE, CHILL ON SOCIAL MEDIA, BUY ART OR A BOOK, OR LISTEN TO OUR PODCAST?

JUST CLICK ON THIS LINK AND FIND OUT HOW WE CAN.

And to hear our podcast latest episode for DOGS ARE SMARTER THAN PEOPLE about cats on Tinder and other bad advice click here.

Our first episode of LOVING THE STRANGE is here. It’s about loving places for no logical reasons.

The visuals for our podcasts are all on Carrie’s YouTube channel. You can like and subscribe there, too!

If you like what you read, please heart it below or share it, it means the world to this writer. x0- Carrie


Finding a way past fear using love and death

Sometimes, when I am afraid of what might happen, of mistakes I’ve made, of mistakes I might make, I tell that fear that I know it’s there, but that I know I am there, too. And that’s okay. You don’t need to be fearless. You just need to be you.

Who we are is something deeper than the things that have happened to us. It’s an essence that you can feel.

There are two instances that help me describe that feeling—that soul knowledge of myself or someone else.

When our dog, Bethlehem died, she was just under two years old and a giant Komondor/Great Pyrenes mix. My husband (at the time) wouldn’t come with me to the vet for her final moments because he had to work and he said he couldn’t handle it. So I carried her 150-pound mass up these tottering wooden stairs to the vet’s office. Cars zoomed by outside. I struggled until someone pulled into the lot, ran up the stairs and helped me, taking her back legs so we can carry her inside.

            I’m not the physically strongest person and I couldn’t thank him enough for helping.

“My soul wouldn’t have been able not to help,” this random man said.

I’ll always remember that.

My soul wouldn’t have been able not to help.

He didn’t even have an appointment. He just saw us struggling and came.

            Bethy was our first family dog and adorable. Em, our daughter, adored her. She let us dress her fluffy self up as a ballerina, as a firefighter, she let cats sit on her back. She barked at any and all threats.

We all loved her so much.

She grew a cancerous mass the size of a football on her leg. It took two weeks to go from nothing to something massive, something that the vet said had already invaded her system. She faded so quickly.

            We had no choice, they said.

            So I made the appointment and after that man helped us up the stairs, I sat on the floor with her, holding her head as she stayed still on the floor, sideways. I cried silently. The vet’s assistant started to weep. The vet teared up.

And the moment Bethy was gone, the entire room filled with peace. It was as if Bethy’s soul had taken up the entire space.

I will always remember that feeling and cling to it when I doubt about things like souls and essences and life after your body is no longer useful.

            The other instance is a bit more chill. You know how sometimes you are only barely awake and you turn to the person you’re sharing a bed with and your brain can’t even form their name yet or you can’t even remember who they exactly are or look like, but you just recognize them there in the dark next to you?

            It’s like that.

            That’s what our souls are like.

            They are an essence, a recognition, a comfort, a realization. They can fill up an entire room and also speak to half-asleep brains in the dark.

            Sometimes, when I am afraid of what might happen, of mistakes I’ve made, of mistakes I might make, I tell that fear that I know it’s there, but that I know I am there, too. And that’s okay. You don’t need to be fearless. You just need to be you.

            Fear can protect us from actual dangers (like running into the woods at night when you hear a predator) or stepping in front of a bus. But it also can keep us from taking some more lovely chances and opportunities.

            And sometimes people in power use that fear to twist us into hating other people.

            Fear has got a lot going on.

            But love has got a lot going on, too. And that’s what you’ve got to cling to–the love part–even when the fear is calling to you to sink into its hollow. You’ve got to go for the love and the light and cling to it whenever you can.


LET’S HANG OUT!

HEY! DO YOU WANT TO SPEND MORE TIME TOGETHER?

MAYBE TAKE A COURSE, CHILL ON SOCIAL MEDIA, BUY ART OR A BOOK, OR LISTEN TO OUR PODCAST?

JUST CLICK ON THIS LINK AND FIND OUT HOW WE CAN.

And to hear our podcast latest episode for DOGS ARE SMARTER THAN PEOPLE about cats on Tinder and other bad advice click here.

Our first episode of LOVING THE STRANGE is here. It’s about loving places for no logical reasons.

The visuals for our podcasts are all on Carrie’s YouTube channel. You can like and subscribe there, too!


If you like what you read, please heart it below or share it, it means the world to this writer. x0- Carrie

Love Your Way Through It

Compassion and empathy makes you stronger. You don’t need to walk through this world with a big stick, scream from a bully pulpit or sermonize with fear. Empathy and kindness for even those who hurt you—or those who try to hurt you—only makes you stronger.

It’s really easy to get all wrapped up in status and ambition, to fall into the syndrome where you think the grass is always greener everywhere except your lawn, to be jealous at other people’s accolades or family’s or looks or luck.

            Shakespeare said that comparisons are odious. And that long-dead white guy was right.

            Comparisons make you feel like poop.

            I know that a lot of people try to make themselves feel better by comparing themself to others and find the others lesser.

I’ve had people do it to me all my life. I bet you have, too.

My husband before Shaun was a hospital CEO in a small, local hospital. I was volunteering to decorate for one of the hospital’s two annual fundraisers. I was up on a ladder wearing my favorite Snoopy shoes and jeans, hardly hospital CEO wife clothes, but good stuff for climbing ladders, hauling tables and putting out poinsettias.

My hair was its natural color and in a lopsided ponytail. I had no make-up on.

I’ll never forget these two wealthy ladies about two decades older than me loudly saying, “What does he see in her?”

            I tottered on the ladder a bit and the person helping me knew that I heard. It would have been impossible not to hear.

            “Don’t listen to them. They have miserable small lives and they’re jealous. Just jealous shrews,” the helper said.

            She might have been right, but it didn’t matter right that second.

I heard their words and for a moment they hurt me, but then I just felt so sad for them. How lonely their lives must be if they had to say that about me. How sad.

All I could do was love them when I thought about the hurt that they must have had inside of their hearts.

            Neither of those women probably even remember that moment, but I do, and I also remember that I made a choice.

            I could have luxuriated in that hurt instead of acknowledging it, seeing it, and then letting it pass through me.

            I could have lashed out at them and matched their pettiness with my own.

            But instead I chose empathy. I had the luxury and safety of doing that because I’m secretly pretty secure in who I am. I love myself even when I suck. I chose to love them when they sucked, too.

            A translation of Dhammapada verse 223 makes it so that  Buddha once roughly said, “Silence the angry man with love. Silence the ill-natured man with kindness. Silence the miser with generosity. Silence the liar with truth.”

Some translations use ‘overpower’ rather than ‘silence.’

Overpower the angry man with love.

            Love your way through it.

            Compassion and empathy makes you stronger. You don’t need to walk through this world with a big stick, scream from a bully pulpit or sermonize with fear. Empathy and kindness for even those who hurt you—or those who try to hurt you—only makes you stronger.

Let’s all be strong together, okay?


HELP US AND DO AN AWESOME GOOD DEED

Thanks to all of you who keep listening to our weirdness on the DOGS ARE SMARTER THAN PEOPLE podcast and our new LOVING THE STRANGE podcast.

We’re sorry we laugh so much… sort of. 

Please share it and subscribe if you can. Please rate and like us if you are feeling kind, because it matters somehow. There’s a new episode every Tuesday!

Thanks so much for being one of the 256,000 downloads if you’ve given us a listen!


LET’S HANG OUT!

HEY! DO YOU WANT TO SPEND MORE TIME TOGETHER?

MAYBE TAKE A COURSE, CHILL ON SOCIAL MEDIA, BUY ART OR A BOOK, OR LISTEN TO OUR PODCAST?

JUST CLICK ON THIS LINK AND FIND OUT HOW WE CAN.

And to hear our podcast latest episode for DOGS ARE SMARTER THAN PEOPLE about cats on Tinder and other bad advice click here.

Our first episode of LOVING THE STRANGE is here. It’s about loving places for no logical reasons.

The visuals for our podcasts are all on Carrie’s YouTube channel. You can like and subscribe there, too!

Be Brave Friday

This week is always the week of loss for me. My mother and bonus dad both died this week in June. My first cat. I expect death to show up.

When people you love die? It hurts. It resonates and it ripples and you can sometimes associate love with loss.

But you still have to love.

People are beautiful and broken, flawed and therefore perfect. They might hurt you or uplift you or do it simultaneously, but it’s so important to love. That goes for yourself too. Nobody knows your flaws better than you do, but you have to be brave enough to not dwell on them, to love yourself despite them or even because of them.

You deserve to be loved. You deserve to love. Yes, it’s scary. But you’ve got this.

Here’s my random painting. It’s still so hard to show these! Some day I hope it will be easier. Thanks for bearing with me!

Continue reading “Be Brave Friday”

A Little Inter-Species Romance

So, sometimes I wake up and this is what’s happening, and it has nothing to do with writing, but you’ll forgive me, right?

Marsie the Cat: Shhh! Act like I wasn’t just kissing your muzzle.


Sparty the Dog: Does this look natural?


Marsie the Cat: No! Look like you want to eat me!


Sparty the Dog: Like this?


Marsie the Cat: You are the worst actor ever.


Sparty the Dog: We all can’t be Santa Paws, you know. We all can’t be Lassie.


Marsie the Cat: Santa Paws was hot.


Sparty the Dog: 


Marsie the Cat: You know he was.


Sparty the Dog: Baby, you know how to hurt a dog.

Despite Marise the cat’s totally hot-i-tude for Santa Paws, Sparty the dog sleeps with his paw touching her.

He’s all, “I keep you safe all night long, baby.”

I am starting to feel like the odd-species out. You know? Like when your best friend gets a significant other and you all do stuff like go to the beach or a concert, but they are always kissing and making cutie-faces and you’re just sort of … Um, hey? Anyone want to talk about existentialism?… but nobody does because they are too busy sucking face? 

That’s what it’s like. Only it’s like that in my house on my bed.

And on the couch.

And on the floor.

Pretty much everywhere, honestly. 

And the thing is? All that love is beautiful.

“The best thing to hold onto in life is each other.” — Audrey Hepburn


WHERE TO FIND OUR PODCAST, DOGS ARE SMARTER THAN PEOPLE.

The podcast link if you don’t see it above. Plus, it’s everywhere like Apple Music, iTunesStitcherSpotify, and more. Just google, “DOGS ARE SMARTER THAN PEOPLE” then like and subscribe.

Join the 235,000 people who have downloaded episodes and marveled at our raw weirdness. You can subscribe pretty much anywhere.


This week’s episode about archetypes and falling out of cars.

This week’s episode about archetypes and if your sex life was a hashtag. Cough.

This week’s bonus episode with Vivian Garcia Rodriguez about cosplay, book boyfriends, and being brave enough to get rid of people who hurt you. 


COME WRITE WITH ME! 

I coach, have a class, and edit things. Find out more here. 


NEW BOOK OF AWESOME – THE PLACES WE HIDE

I have a new book out!!!!!! It’s an adult mystery set in the town where we live, which is Bar Harbor, Maine. You can order it here. And you totally should. 

And if you click through to this link, you can read the first chapter! 

And click here to learn about the book’s inspiration and what I learned about myself when I was writing it.

New Year’s Gifts and Open Hearts

Open Hearts at Grocery Store

Two years ago, on the last day of 2017 (the no-good, terrible year), I was in the grocery store line and the cashier said something nice about me making a good meal for my man and how cute we are together and then she said, “You’re best buddies. Best buddies forever. Me and my — ” Her voice caught on grief. “We were like that.”

And my heart broke right there.

And I said, “C–, you’re breaking my heart and you’re working and I can’t get over there on the other side of the grocery belt thingy and hug you because you’re working.”

The bagger girl at the end of the lane looked away. I don’t think she’s good with emotion.

But C– just smiled at me and said, “It’s okay. It’s okay. I have a new man in my life and he’s so sweet to me and he showed up just when I needed him and my J–, I think he sent him to me.”

Her J — is her long-time, forever buddy, her husband who died.

So, I basically emoted all over the place while she rung up my crackers and I was like, “C–! You are killing me. I’m crying because I’m sad. I’m crying because I’m happy for you. I’m crying because you’re so beautiful. And this is all… it’s all so… It’s poignant.”

She laughed.

The bagger kept looking away.

And when I walked out of the grocery store, this person I don’t know, he touched my elbow to make me stop my mad-fast hustle to the car. It was -2 out. It was cold.

The guy who was all bundled up and wearing some Carhartt’s said, “You know. When you have a heart as open as yours, it’s going to hurt sometimes.”

And I said, brilliantly, “Oh.”

“It’s worth it,” he said. “Do good out there, Carrie. Do good.”

I was a little freaked out, but I thanked him, got to my car and sat there, and I just stared at this cold, Maine, parking lot and the people rushing through the grayness that seems to sometimes overwhelm everything during winter and my heart got so full that I started emoting everywhere again because that random Carhartt-wearing man took time out of his day to talk to me. He stopped in the cold to talk to me.

This guy knew my name somehow, but bigger than that? This guy knows about hearts.


Gifts Out There

So, here’s the thing – there are gifts out there (big gifts and little ones) and they can come from the weirdest places. They’re connections. They’re motivations. They are these tiny times where you get to see inside other people’s minds and hearts.

Savor them this year. Try to dwell on those good things as much as we all dwell on the bad.

And let both the good and the bad inspire you to make a difference in your own life and maybe even other people’s lives (big ways and little ways).

cat, cat wisdom, catandkitten, kitten, Maine cat, maine
cat, cat wisdom, catandkitten, kitten, Maine cat, maine

Thank You

Thank you all for everything you’ve done for me this year. You’ve listened to me worry about things like suddenly being a full-time mom again.  You’ve celebrated with me about book stuff and podcast stuff. You’ve mourned with me when Charlene died.

You haven’t mocked me too hard because Grover (the muppet) is my internal cheerleader and John Wayne (dead cowboy movie star) is my internal editor. You’ve been brave with me on Be Brave Fridays when I shared my art, which is still scary by the way.

Some of you have bought my books and become my patrons. On social media, so many of you have been so kind over and over. And you haven’t unsubscribed to my newsletter. That’s such a big deal to me.

Thank you.

I really appreciate how kind and giving you’ve all been and if I write any more I’ll start crying. And there’s no random stranger guy here to make me feel better.


But there is Gabby….

Gabby’s New Year Wisdom

Love is being right in the moment. It’s about enjoying everything around you. And really feeling it, being open to it.


This includes the couch.

It even includes squirrels.


It’s not giving or taking, but who you are in relationship to all else (especially the couch) at that moment.


Love.

Gabby Dog


Last week’s podcast

This week’s podcast link.

Continue reading “New Year’s Gifts and Open Hearts”

What I Did Before My Dad Died, Dealing With Grief Through Love

Lately, it feels like a lot of my friends are losing loved ones and family. Grief comes in big ways and small as we all adjust to such huge loss of friends, partners and loves. Sometimes accepting that loss becomes almost unbearable and even as we plan a funeral, a memorial service, we are still in denial. Because it seems so wrong that someone we love so much could suddenly not be there.

I’m a person who doesn’t have any parents or grandparents left and hardly any aunts or uncles. I went from a huge, outgoing family to a family with just a few stragglers. Sometimes it makes me feel terribly alone, so alone that it’s hard to breathe.

My dad died of a quick-moving cancer and lasted about two weeks from his diagnosis to his death, but before all of that, at one of his birthday parties, I wrote him this.

What I Wrote

When I was a little girl, I would sit on the golden sofa in our house and my dad would sit on the floor. I’d take a black plastic comb, the kind you can still buy for 10 cents. With that comb I would pick through his hair.

“Whatcha looking for Carriekins?” he’d ask.

“Bugs,” I’d say in my little three-year-old voice.

“Lice?” he’d ask.

“Nuh-uh.”

Lice were far too icky and required shaving off your head. Even imaginary lice were too scary to be in my daddy’s hair. 

“Nits?” he’d guess.

“Uh-huh.”

“Find any?”

And I would take a pretend bug and show him.

“Oh…” he’d grab the imaginary, nasty bug, carefully look at it and then say, “Yummy.” 

He’d pretend to gobble it up. I’d giggle and giggle and keep finding more. He’d keep eating them. Night after night, he’d do this. Other dads would have rolled their eyes. Other dads may have sighed and gotten up to watch TV. Other dads would have grabbed that comb and said, “Enough.”

Not my dad.

My dad knows how to love.

He still does.

That was so many years ago.

 You’re 75 years old now, Dad. And I haven’t inspected your hair for bugs, but I think there may be a couple or two invisible nits in there right now.

You are 75 years old now and let me tell you and everyone here a few things I’ve learned about you.

I’ve made a list. Of things you aren’t good at. 

You are not a good liar. You always start to fidget and look away when you are supposed to fib. Uncle Kilton is like that too.

You are not a good cheater or pranksteM. Your eyes twinkle too much when you try to pull a fast one and we all know what’s coming.

You are no good at sitting still. You always seem to ache for the movement of your hands and feet, swaying into a purpose. There’s a lawn to fertilize, a chair to build, a person to see, a cat to feed.

You are no good at being selfish. Even though you guys are divorce when Mom needs a ride to the airport. You take her. When a friend is ill. You visit. When there is a presidential election. You volunteer.

You are no good at shirking. You stand up to your responsibilities. You stand up as the man you are, never pretending to be someone different, even if your pants keep falling down.

You are no good at lying, cheating, shirking, sitting still and being selfish. But you are good, you are so good at being Lew Barnard. You are so good at being a father, at being a friend, at being a man.

That’s why we are all here. You are easy to love and for 75 years you have blessed your friends and family with your goofy wit, genuine smile, toothpick eating, ever questioning mind, your forgivenessand your honesty. We love you for it. 

Why I’m Sharing This

There’s only one reason I’m sharing this with you. I wasn’t always a perfect daughter. At one point in my early twenties and I was taking seizure medicine, I barely knew what reality was because my body couldn’t metabolize the medication. I was a grouchy teen. I was bad at staying on the phone with him for hours. But in that one moment, I was so lucky, because I was able to tell my dad how much he meant to me.

And that matters.

And I want to somehow convince all of you to have that moment with the people and animals you love, to show them how much you love them even though you’re imperfect and their imperfect. Don’t be afraid to show them love.

Love isn’t always an easy choice, but it’s a choice to take, always the best choice. Always.

Choose love every day.


WRITING AND OTHER NEWS

IN THE WOODS – READ AN EXCERPT, PREORDER NOW!

My next book, IN THE WOODS, appears in July with Steve Wedel. It’s scary and one of Publisher’s Weekly’s Buzz Books for Summer 2019. There’s an excerpt of it there and everything! But even cooler (for me) they’ve deemed it buzz worthy! Buzz worthy seems like an awesome thing to be deemed!

You can preorder this bad boy, which might make it have a sequel. The sequel would be amazing. Believe me, I know. It features caves and monsters and love. Because doesn’t every story?

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HEAR MY BOOK BABY (AND MORE) ON PATREON

On February first, I launched my Patreon site where I’m reading chapters (in order) of a never-published teen fantasy novel, releasing deleted scenes and art from some of my more popular books. And so much more. Come hang out with me! Get cool things!

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WHAT IS PATREON? 

A lot of you might be new to Patreon and not get how it works. That’s totally cool. New things can be scary, but there’s a cool primer HERE that explains how it works. The short of it is this: You give Patreon your paypal or credit card # and they charge you whatever you level you choose at the end of each month. That money supports me sharing my writing and art and podcasts and weirdness with you. 

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HELP US AND DO AN AWESOME GOOD DEED

Thanks to all of you who keep listening to our weirdness on the DOGS ARE SMARTER THAN PEOPLE podcast as we talk about random thoughts, writing advice and life tips. We’re sorry we laugh so much… sort of. Please share it and subscribe if you can. Please rate and like us if you are feeling kind, because it matters somehow. There’s a new episode every Tuesday!


BE A PART OF THE PODCAST!

Hey! If you download the Anchor application, you can call into the podcast, record a question, or just say ‘hi,’ and we’ll answer. You can be heard on our podcast! Sa-sweet!

No question is too wild. But just like Shaun does, try not to swear, okay?

Here is the link to the mobile app. Our latest episode is above. It’s also on YouTube here.