Category Archives: It’s a Brand New Day

Life is a banquet! For Heaven’s sake, don’t starve!

In the Marble

I went to lunch today with my best friend who suggested that I set aside an hour a day to write.  I have been encouraged by so many in the past year and especially in the past few months to just WRITE!  I’ll try to explain my writing as best I can, and as I explained it to my buddy. “Did someone point to a canvas and tell Van Gogh to paint A Starry Night?”  That was my first response to my best bud.  I followed with this little story. One day I was bumbling around Florence, Italy without a map (which is the very best way to bumble).  I would study about what I saw, of course, but in the moment, I just wanted to absorb every single brick, statue, street, smell the veal cooking, taste the wine and be amazed.  In my wandering, and because a creative mind might see things just a little differently, I noticed a long, very old building with a covered walkway.  The building itself was nothing spectacular.  The roof over the walkway was held up by a series of archways.  In the early afternoon light, these archways threw crescent-shaped shadows across the tile.  That’s what caught my eye.  Not the building, not the arches, but the beautiful design that the light played on the tile.  Had to get a picture…or many…now.  I quick-stepped to the arches and then through them onto the walkway, the shutter of my old Kodak clicking crazily, capturing shadows. As I stood there inhaling light and shadow, I noticed a small, rather inconspicuous sign next to a doorway.  Squint.  I stepped closer.  “Admission – 50 lire”.  Admission to what?  Who knew?  Thinking, “Okay, I’ll bite…”, I stepped inside, gave a thin, expressionless attendant behind a podium my fifty lire.  No pamphlet?  No brochure?  No headphones?  “Dove?” I asked her.  “Where?”  She stood there, stone-faced in her spiffy little red bellman’s jacket and pointed to my left.  (I get impatient when I don’t get anticipated information, and I was on the edge of cranky.)  I took approximately 20 grumpy steps when the room opened up and there before me was Michelangelo’s “David”.  My breath was sucked out of me with pure, unadulterated awe.  I had just bumbled into the famous Academia which houses some of the finest renaissance and pre-renaissance works of art in the world.  I had studied Michelangelo, written papers on his life and works, and I was acutely aware that the magnificent sculpture before me was created when the sculptor was 26 years old.  It has been written that he picked out his marble from the quarries in Carrara personally.  They (the infamous “they”) say that he could see David within the block of Carrara marble and “simply” took away whatever wasn’t the David. As an aside, I would like to note that I brought some Carrara marble home with me from that trip with the intent of sculpting it.  After all, it’s in my genes, right?  I ruined every chisel and sculpting tool I owned and couldn’t even scratch it.  It is very, VERY hard, which explains how it lasts for centuries, but how that 26 year-old genius put a dent in it, I will never understand.  I went to the town of Carrara in northern Italy and watched them cut and shape the slabs of marble for shipping.  They did it with water.  Sigh… I spent a good hour staring at the David.  I eventually remembered to breathe.  Every vein in every arm, finger, leg and throughout his body was revealed by the veins that ran through a giant, rough white block of Carrara marble.  It is nothing short of miraculous when you view the detail up close and personal. I finally broke free of the masterpiece, only to find another and yet another; On plaster, on canvas, on wood, gilt in purest gold, the Muses looking down on me from their giant canvas (bigger than any two walls of the room where I now sit), the Madonna and Child throughout the centuries by various artists and scribes, in every medium and at the very back of the Academia…Michelangelo’s unfinished works. Unfinished.  Unfinished?  Why?  An arm and a thigh jutting out of a block of Carrara, and part of a head.  Perfect in every way.  Why did he stop?  Did the Caesar call him away? (“Michelangelo, PAINT!”)  Did it just not come out the way he thought it would?  Did he go blind or die before he could finish? It was at this point of the telling of my “bumble” that my buddy asked me, “Did someone ask him to sculpt The David?” No.  He did it because it came to him.  Through divine providence or pure creative genius it appeared in his mind and in his soul.  He did it because he SAW it and then he HAD to make it real. I am no Michelangelo.  No one is.  But something in me understood that he saw it and HAD to do it because that’s how my writing comes to me; not because someone admires my work or tells me to do it.  It is simply there and I have to, or it isn’t.  It’s that simple. Those of you who know me well also know I’m a bit over a year into finding myself with four English Mastiffs.  You may read that again for confirmation.  Four.  One 210 pound therapy dog with a paw that I’ve nursed, one rescue who had a knee replacement and a tail amputation and two spankin’ new puppies who will also become therapy dogs.  I haven’t felt free to go into my cave as I am now, but I promise you this.  I see things hidden in the marble of my life and they WILL come out.  Thank you all for your patience.


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How To Disable a Biped

One of the things I’ve always enjoyed is my husband, Rick’s close relationship with our mastiffs.  When “Daddy Comes Home”, there is generally severe tail-whacking of the cupboards and walls before he even gets in the door.  Boadicca wagged her tail so hard that she split it open, spraying the walls, door, appliances and artwork with Puppy-B-Positive and had to have a cast put on her tail for weeks.   “Daddy Come Home” is some serious happy-dog business.

As Rick enters the door, something closely resembling a buffalo stampede occurs as he attempts to drop his laptop, briefcase and keys in the midst of 360 pounds of furry love.  Then it’s time to head directly down the hall in a tail-wagging caravan behind Daddy to bail onto the bed with him and get some serious cuddles and have a sing-along.

One particular afternoon, events were unfolding as usual.  Rick dropped his gear, headed to the bedroom, laid back against the pillows and the impossible happened…Boadie (140 pound female) took Bentley’s (220 pound male) spot next to Daddy before he could get on the bed, and HE is Daddy’s FIRST BORN MASTIFF PUPPY-CHILD!   NO!  Bentley wrinkled every wrinkle in his forehead, whined and stomped his feet standing next to the bed, jealous and agrieved.  Attempting to get Daddy’s attention away from Mister Whiney-Pee-Pants, Boadie reached out to tap Daddy on the shoulder.  Rick turned his head at that moment and her newly trimmed claws hit the bridge of his nose instead and laid it right open.  I normally stand at the bedroom door to witness the spectacle, and Rick looked at me and said, “Am I bleeding??”  “Uhhhh…yes, Honey…she got your nose.”  Rick hopped up and went to his bathroom to staunch the blood flow with a wash cloth.  Bentley followed, worrying over Daddy.  Rick came back and said, “Okay, let’s try this again…” and lay back on the bed.  Well, Boadie STILL had Bentley’s spot!  Rick said, “C’mon, Bent!  There’s plenty of room!  Get up here!”  Rather than going around to the empty side of the bed, Bent’ immediately leapt in the air and came down on Rick’s chest.  “Oooof!!!  Get him off!!!  Mary, get him OFF!!! I can’t breathe!!!”  I gave Bent’ the “off” command and he promptly jumped down off the bed, resuming his tap dance as Ricky caught his breath.  “Okay, Bentley…come on.  Come see Daddy…”  Boadie at this point had enough of taking the back seat with Daddy’s affections and reached out a second time to thump him on the shoulder.  Again, Rick turned, wash cloth still pressed to his nose…and she caught him with a nice three-stripe chevron across his entire left cheek from jaw to eyebrow.  More blood…another wash cloth, and Bentley still throwing a tantrum next to the bed, stomping his huge paws and whining.   “For cryin’ out loud, Daddy!  We haven’t even done our singing yet, and SHE has MY SPOT!”  Rick let out a huge sigh as I contemplated whether or not sutures were required.  “OKAY, Bentley!  Get UP here!” Rick commanded.  (Bentley minds so well…)  Bentley leaped into the air a second time and came down with an elbow to Rick’s…well…huevos…with every one of his 220 pounds balanced on that point.  Rick screamed, curling into a fetal position, Bentley panting, drooling and smiling atop his midsection.  Again Rick begged (in a rather high voice), “Get him OFF!  I can’t BREATHE!!!”   “Bentley, off,” I said.  (Lordy, but he’s a good dog!)  Bentley hopped back to the carpet.

Rick said, “Okay…I think we had better take this outside,” and limped down the hall holding himself with one hand and staunching the blood flow on his face with the other.  (You know, facial cuts really bleed like crazy!)  He hobbled over to the pool fence where he could toss the ball very far away from himself.  He held the ball in the air as both dogs circled him awaiting the Hail-Mary-Daddy-Toss.  Who would get it first?  Bentley had the size, but Boadie had the speed.  Bentley hurled himself into the air to snag the ball out of Daddy’s hand as Boadie rushed him from behind, catching him at full speed in the back of his legs.  As I watched from the picture window in our living room, holding a frosty beverage for my poor, battered husband, I saw his legs fly up in the air, laying him out horizontally, suspended in time and space for a moment, three feet off the ground.  I held my breath as he came down HARD on his back…and he didn’t move.  (I’m sure you’ve seen this move on Monday Night Football… I think it’s called a quarterback sack.)   I rushed to the back yard, fearing a concussion.  There lay Ricky, pale, bleeding, eyes closed.  As I approached, he opened his eyes and in a croaking whisper, said, “I can’t breathe.  Gimme a minute…”  Thank God.  Just knocked the wind out of him.  As I pulled him to a sitting position, he turned one shoulder toward me and asked, “Is there anything on my shirt??”  It was the only time in the last 20 minutes that he got lucky.  He had landed about a millimeter from a mastiff-sized pile of poo.

I e-mailed Rick’s boss the next morning, as he awoke battered, scored, limping and moving very slowly.  He was late for work for possibly the first time in his career.  I explained to his boss, Tom in an e-mail what had happened, and asked that he be kind to Ricky this day.  He was incredibly kind.  He didn’t forward my e-mail outside our solar system.

I may get Rick a flak vest and helmet for Christmas.  What do you think?

© 2011 Mary Watson


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Banana Nut Bricks

The following is a copy of the e-mail I sent to my husband this morning after the smoke cleared…

Ya know…I’ve always made really great banana nut bread.  Remember?  You even photographed some, Hunnie, and put the pictures on the internet to show your friends.  You were so proud.

I don’t know what happened to the last two that made them go all “heavy masonry” on me this past weekend, and I felt bad about that.  Banana Nut Bread Failure.  I took some solace in your blaming it on the odd double yolk in the egg. It was so very kind of you to suggest that it might make great biscotti for our coffee.

So this morning after you left, looking all spiffy in your white starched shirt…off to deal with the monkeys in the pickle factory, I was so grateful to you and for you.  (There goes my husband…bringing home the bacon and the bones.)  I decided I would (by God) make you some awesome, photo-ready banana nut bread that you SO deserved.

I thought, “ What a great way to start the day with warm golden loaves baking and our two beautiful English Mastiffs at my side and Christmas carolers on the stereo.  Now what did I do differently the last time from my usual?”  Well, originally, Olivia (my mentor) taught me that I could throw all the ingredients into the Cuisinart and make much less work and mess and be finished in half the time.  Last weekend, I used an old fashioned mixing bowl and a blender.

Determined to do it RIGHT this time, I pulled out the Cuisinart, put all the dry ingredients in, using a different can of baking powder and a different kind of salt, measuring very carefully.  I mixed the dry ingredients, and remembered I didn’t have enough nuts.  I dashed to Fresh and Easy and got a bag of pecans.  Came home, tossed in the oil, milk and bananas and as I was putting in the last banana, the milk started leaking out the bottom of the Cuisinart, onto the counter and spilling down the cabinets onto the floor.  Not a problem.  Mastiffs are the BEST at kitchen clean-up!  We call it “Hoovering” here at Casa de Muddy Pawz.  Micah lapped it off the counter and my elbow while Nala took floor, shoe and cabinet duty.  Yeah…”Out of the kitchen!” failed again and I was frantically trying to clean up the milk with approximately 300 pounds of mastiffs shoving me this way and that.  I thought, “Quick!  Throw the lid on the Cuisinart and blend it in!”  It worked!  The leaking stopped, but now I had no idea how much milk was left in the batter.  So I just put “some more” milk in, slapped the lid on and very quickly mixed until it looked like banana bread batter should…I hoped…if I remembered correctly.

I mopped up the dog spit from the counter, floor, cabinets, shoes, and poured the batter into the greased pans.  I stuck my finger in the batter for the mandatory taste test.  Hmmmm.  Banana mud.  I had left out the sugar.  <slap>  I scraped and poured the batter back out of the pans into the leaky Cuisinart, threw in a cup of sugar and hit “blend”.  (Micah likes that sound.  A lot.  He wants to INSPECT that sound, and besides…the machine smells like bananas and milk.)  I threatened Micah with the antique whip hanging on the wall as I ran to the bathroom to wash banana batter from my hands, sweatpants and hoodie.  Back to the kitchen.  Puppy looking like I actually USED the whip on him.  Nothing worse than dog guilt.  I put the batter back in the pans, not giving a rats ass whether I needed to re-grease them.  NUTS!  I forgot the frikkin’ NUTS!  Batter back into the Cuisinart.  Whir-whirrr-sniff-sniff-sniff.  Back into the %$@* pans, slopping batter everywhere, screaming, “I don’t CARE anymore!” and threw them in the oven…dripping.  Nala reentered the kitchen and helped Micah Hoover up any new drippings.  I threw everything in the sink, perfunctorily inspected the Cuisinart, wiped it down and collapsed in a chair.

I just pulled the loaves out of the oven.  They are golden.  The tops split beautifully.  They weigh less than 14 pounds each.  I avoided electrocution, Urgent Care, dog murder and burning myself. Banana Nut Brick

Ya know what?  I’m okay with that.


Posted by on November 30, 2011 in and other things..., It's a Brand New Day


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My Thanksgiving

I have to admit that over the past few months, I’ve been kind of a whiney-pee-pants.  (That is MY noun, and I’m keeping it.)  This has been a tough summer at Casa de Muddy Pawz, beginning with the loss of our baby/guardian/best friend, Bentley, a 4 1/2 year old English Mastiff.  Both cars broke down, one after the other, the vacuum literally flew into pieces at my feet as I was cleaning and the hose bib in the back yard started squirting me in the eye every time I turned it on, and I even backed over the cat food dishes with my Range Rover and learned the true meaning of “smithereens”.  We had the biggest dust storm in a century right after we had drained and refilled our pool, resulting in the largest water bill in history.  I went through a biopsy and surgery for skin cancer, paying for the sins of my youth as a sun-worshipper.  I talked to the real estate commissioner who informed me that commercial real estate wouldn’t be regaining a pulse until at LEAST 2014 to 2016, i.e. “Your career is toast!”  My unemployment had run out and I couldn’t BUY a job.

Damn…things were looking pretty grim.

Now, some good things happened, too, this summer.  I got a grant and went through Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and graduated from their New Media Academy to gain some street cred and increase my smarts.  After months of research, my husband found THE healthiest puppy on the planet in Indiana and flew him home.  Our female Mastiff, Nala (also known as the Princess or the Honey Badger, depending on her mood…) made a turnaround from her fear of men and became Daddy’s Little Princess, complete with kisses and snuggles.  I even reconnected with a couple of long lost friends and made some new ones.  I even learned the definition of “haboob”!  You know…the good stuff!

Yet it seems like the economy has tanked in the good old USA and now Europe is following suit, right down to rioting in the streets.  (More to come…film at eleven…)  People are robbing banks and homes to feed their families.  There enough are droughts, wildfires, earthquakes, tsunamis and floods to make you wonder if the whacked-out 2012 End-of-Days people might not just have something.  And of course, we’re all watching our president vacationing on Martha’s Vineyard and charging $35,000 a plate (Let me repeat that…$35 grand per PLATE!)  for his campaign fundraising dinner, while telling us about his plan for turning our economy around.  (Did you kinda choke on that one, too?)  Well he’s going to make those big bad boys that have corporate jets pay more taxes, by golly!  And he’s gonna find jobs for our nation and get America back to work…somehow…by golly!  (Thanks, Pres’…)  I’m choking on both dust and politics.  It’s a political haboob…

We discovered that our new puppy came with an intestinal parasite, but we quickly got that licked, We fixed the cars, got a new vacuum cleaner with a four on the floor and cherry-pak mufflers, got the puppy through obedience school,sprayed down the dust from the house, drive, cars, patio and leafy things, back-washed the pool 46 times, got my stitches out, and I even landed my first paycheck in 2 1/2 years doing some independent contractor work.  Hallelujah!

On 9/11 the puppy developed a rare joint infection, collapsed on the floor, and I found myself once again staring at forty-eleven bottles of pills and a treatment schedule.  My dear husband had been beside himself through this after losing his best friend with fur, another friend at work and putting in 50-hour work weeks to keep the boat afloat.  Walking the puppy into the same clinic where we said farewell to Bentley just four months prior was too much. It tore my heart out to see him walking in circles in that parking lot, wiping away the tears of grief and fear. We were both red-lining both emotionally and physically and trying hard (sometimes unsuccessfully) not to strike out at each other through it all.

Micah, the puppy is back on all fours again, but it seemed to be one hit too many.  Generally I walk through crises and fires with full body armor and do my bleeding, whining, crying and blistering post-crisis when it’s safe to fold the WonderWoman outfit and drop it in a box.  This weekend I dragged around in slow motion, spent a lot of time in bed with the Honey Badger and only got up do pill the puppy and look at that damned treatment schedule again.  I hit the wall, feeling raw.  I lost my flak vest and helmet and I even shed a few tears.

I woke up this morning, and sat on our patio watching the sun break over Camelback Mountain, and something in me just…tipped.  I realized that I was looking across a beautiful, manicured lawn with trees heavy with fruit, past our warm, sparkling pool at one of the most beautiful mountains in the valley.  I had just kissed my husband and sent him on his way to work for a wonderful company where he works alongside a man he respects more than any other.  (…and ya know, my husband is very easy on the eyes, even in his 50’s!)  Our two mastiffs were stretched out in that beautiful golden morning light, washing each other’s faces and the sun felt warm on my skin.

There are families who have lost everything…lots of them.  I was struck by a news report of a man who was recently arrested for robbing a bank to feed his family and asked the officers to please take care of his dog who was still in his car.

I have a warm, cozy little home, we have been cautious enough to live within our means, even when we lost our juicy second income.  We have food in the fridge, health insurance for us and our pets, a roof over our heads, incredible friends, two beautiful dogs and absolutely worthless silly cats.  Best of all, we have each other.  We’ve had each other about 15 years now, and are getting ready to celebrate our 10th wedding anniversary.  I took a fresh look around this morning and I am overwhelmed with gratitude for my husband, our home, our animals and our life together.  Life is suddenly looking pretty shiny compared to yesterday.  I took a deep breath and…




Copyright 2011 – Mary Watson

My Thanksgiving – Music and Lyrics by Don Henley, Stan Lynch and Jai Winding

Well a lot of things have happened
Since the last time we spoke
Some of them are funny
Some of them ain’t no joke
And I trust you will forgive me
If I lay it on the line.
I always thought
You were a friend of mine.Sometimes I think about you.
And wonder how you’re doin’ now
And what you’re goin’ throughCause the last time I saw you
We were playin’ with fire
We were loaded with passion
And a burnin’ desire

For every breath
For every day of living
This is my thanksgiving.

Now the trouble with you and me, my friend
Is the trouble with this nation;
Too many blessings,
Too little appreciation.
And I know that kind of notion
Well it just ain’t cool
So send me back to Sunday School.

Because I’m tired of waiting
For a reason to arrive
And it’s too long we’ve been living
These unexamined lies

Cause I ‘ve got great expectations
I’ve got family and friends
I’ve got satisfying work
I’ve got a back that bends

For every breath
For every day of living
This is my Thanksgiving.

And have you noticed that an angry man
Can only get so far
Until he reconciles the way he thinks
Things ought to be
With the way things are?Here in this fragmented world,
You know I still believe
In learning how to give love
And how to receive it.
And I would not be among those
Who abuse this privilege.
Sometimes you get the best light
From a burning bridge.And I don’t mind saying that I
Still love it all.
You know I wallowed
In the springtime,
Now I’m welcoming the fall.For every moment of joy
Every hour of fear
For every winding road
That brought me hereFor every breath
For every day of living
This is my Thanksgiving.

For every one
Who helped me start,
And for every thing
That broke my heart

For every breath
For every day of living
This is my Thanksgiving.


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A Day in the Life of a Warrior Queen

A Day in the Life of the Warrior Queen

by Mary Carrara Watson on Wednesday, February 23, 2011 at 7:52am

Went to start my car yesterday to run a few errands before a 1:00 interview….key in the ignition…click.

Called AAA who arrived faster than a 911 responder.  They jumped the car, tested the battery.  Supposed to test at 950 jiggahertz and tested 42.  Baaaaad battery.  Only Land Rover carries the correct battery.  Checker Auto is not an option.

Called my guys at Rover Techs who confirmed they had batteries there.  (Oh, by the way…the “Check Engine Soon” light came on…How soon is ‘soon’?)  They asked me to run it up there and they would have a rental for me so they could replace the battery and check it out.  No problem…plenty of time.  Threw my hair in a ponytail and slapped my Sunday-go-to-meetin’ suit on.

Drove to Northeast Scottsdale to Rover Techs.  Sign on the door – “Out to Lunch – Back at 1:00”.  (ACK!  My interview’s at one!)  Car pulls up in front of Rover Techs.  Could this be my rental????  Nope…parts delivery.  But the guy is sure that they would be using Enterprise for rentals…just up the street.  Guy gives me a ride to Enterprise in new Prius (I would rent that car…).

Enterprise states they have no cars due to the Arabian Horse Show and other events in the valley, and there are 5 people also waiting for a car.  I state my plight and a representative offers to drive me back to Rover Techs in his brand new Escalade.  (I would rent that car!)

I try to start my car.  It’s graveyard dead.  It’s 12:35.  Up comes a 1962 VW Combi with my Rover Tech guys, smiling and waving.  I tell them there are no cars at Enterprise and I have about 22 minutes to get to my interview.  Kevin, the co-owner drives me to Hertz…just down the street in his brand new Range Rover (which I would happily rent).

Hertz rents me a red motorized vehicle the size of a Yorkshire Terrier and charged me $38.  (WTF-EVER!)  I have 12 minutes.  The perky dimpled blonde Hertz girl says I’ll make it.  I want to slap the bejiggers out of her.  I jump in the “thing” and haul butt to Cactus and Tatum for my interview.  As I pull in the parking lot, I glance at the “thing’s” clock.  It is 1:00 on the nose.  I run across the parking lot (in heels), leap to the door, push the elevator button 47 times, trot straight to the correct suite where the perky dimpled German receptionist with a large mole under her nose informs me that it is 1:07 (“Eeet eees vun-oh-SEFFEN”) and the group interview is underway and I may NOT (snaps whip – clicks heels) enter.

I begged.

I believe she turned to granite.

I contemplated crying (never), a primal scream (possible), or just bailing out of the 3rd story window behind her and just ending it all right then and there.

I went back to the red “thing”.  I drove home, put my sweats back on and hung up my Sunday-go-to meetin’ suit, hugged my dogs and went to bed.

Rick came home.  I explained why there was a red lump in the driveway and how I had been in 5 different cars inside of 30 minutes and missed the interview.  He patted my head and hugged me.  Kevin called from Rover Techs and advised us that the flibbergiggit and platasnacker need to be replaced along with the battery…and an oil change and that will total $1,600.  They’re giving us two window stickers for free.  Rick told them to make the car safe for his warrior queen.

I love my husband.  Interview rescheduled for March 8th…the lady understood…she has a Jaguar.  She said, “Those Britts can’t cook, but boy do they make a great car!”  Yeah…except for the flibbergiggits…

© 2011 Mary Watson

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Posted by on August 5, 2011 in The Warrior Queen


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It was ten years ago, but it seems like only yesterday!


That’s what Ricky said when he got up this morning.  The first word out of his mouth was, “Doomsday”.  You see, we both took off work this morning off to go get our marriage license, and for one certain confirmed bachelor, it was a devastating experience.

He was quiet as a mouse driving to the courthouse in downtown Phoenix until he parked the truck and we started walking toward the courthouse. That’s when he asked, “Do we HAVE to do this, Honey??  Couldn’t we just sacrifice a pig or something?”

“Yes, Ricky, we HAVE to do this, and no, we’re not sacrificing any pigs.”

“How ’bout a lamb?  They used to do that, ya know…instead of getting married, they’d just sacrifice a pig or a lamb or a goat and wash in the blood or jump over a broom or something and call it good!  Just like that, they’d be married!”

“No, Ricky.  They don’t do that anymore.  Besides…those little parasites and stuff…you just can’t…and there’s the Humane Society, PETA and all those activists!”

“Well I know how you like ancient history and ceremonies and stuff, and I just thought…”

“No, Ricky.”

Approaching the courthouse steps, Rick said, “I think they’re closed.”

“No, Ricky.  Go ask the guard at the door.”

“Marriage Licenses?  Right down those stairs, Sir.  Empty your pockets into the dish there,” the guard directed.

“Why’d they have to search us??”

“It’s a courthouse, Ricky.  Walk.  See?  Right there’s a sign that says ‘Marriage Licenses’…”

“DOH!  Dear God, what am I doing???”

“Rick, just take the clipboard and we fill out this form.”

“Guys first.  Guys always go first. Okay?  Got that?  I am NOT losing control.”

“Okay.   Now my part’s done, let’s take it to the lady at the counter.”

Approaching the counter, Rick looked plaintively at the clerk and asked, “Ma’am, I just have one question…”

“Yes, Sir?” she responded.

“Is it too late to RUN?”

“Yes, Sir,” she replied.

“You women are all in cahoots.  I knew it all along.”

“Have a seat, Sir.  We’ll call you when it’s ready.”

“Are you SURE we can’t sacrifice a pig?”

“I’m sure, Ricky.  Sit down.”

The Deputy of the Court appeared from behind a cubicle wall.

“Rick and Mary?”

“Oh, God help me.”

“Ricky!” (Swat!)

“Please review the information and make sure it’s correct.”

“It’s correct.”

“Can I run now?”


“Okay I need you to raise your right hands…”

“Ricky, raise your hand.  All the way.  Above the table.  Stop bending it at the wrist and raise your hand!” (Punch!)


“Do you both solemnly swear that the information you have given to me, a Deputy of the Court of the State of Arizona, on this form is the truth, so help you God?”

“I do.”



“Sign here, please.”

“Ricky, stop shaking like that!”

“Can I sign it in BS&T?”

“BS&T?  What’s that mean, Honey?”

“Blood, sweat & tears?”

“Knock it off!”

“Ma’am, I need a witness,” I said to the Deputy.

“Yes?  For what?”

“Please witness that he is signing this document of his own free will; that I have no weapons on me and that both of my hands are above the table.”


“There you go.  That will be $50, and the person who performs your ceremony will fill in the rest and return the lower half to us.”

“Are we done?”

We walked out of the courthouse and Ricky kissed me right in front of God and everybody and said, “My life is over.”

We walked to the truck holding hands and drove away….head-on into traffic on a one-way street.  If I didn’t know him better, I’d have said he was rattled or something.

God help us.

The rings should be here in a day or two from the designer, and I’ll keep in touch about the “blessed event”.



© Copyright 2011 Mary Watson

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Posted by on August 3, 2011 in It's a Brand New Day


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A Day In The Life At Casa De Muddy Pawz

Nala and Bentley, our English Mastiffs

Nala and Bentley

The only way the guy would fix our fireplace was if I kept Bentley away from him, as he was extremely fearful of Bentley’s size alone. So I called our groomer first thing this morning and Tracey, the owner of Paws Salon took them right in.  I called the mason, giving him the “coast is clear” news and he said, “You did that for ME???  Oh THANK YOU!”  He came right over and repaired the fireplace and charged me $50 less because he knew I took the dogs to the groomer for his comfort level as much as the mud between their toes.

Bentley and Nala both got so excited when I pulled up in front of Paws Salon.  They were literally dancing in the back seat and making the car bounce up and down.  They pushed and shoved each other to get out of the car.  “ME first!”  “No, ME first!”  As soon as I got inside, the resident dogs were running all over the place and went nuts when they saw my buffalo herd.  Bent’ and Nala ignored them completely.  (“Awww, shut up, shrimps!”)  When Tracey opened the gate to the grooming area, Bentley’s ears and head went up, his tail curled right up over his back and I swear, I heard him yell, “BIRDS!!!”  Yup, he remembered and made a beeline for the birdcage.  This time, we grabbed both leashes amidst a flurry of panicked flapping wings and flying feathers and got the cage the hell out of there, FAST!  Onward!  Dog butts to sniff!  Kitties to sniff…and all these SMELLS!  Their noses were going at hyperspeed.  We managed to get them out to the fenced play yard and unleash them, and they were doing the grand military perimeter scouting when I left.  Not bad!  Not bad at all!

As I pulled in my driveway the mason, Jim was right behind me.  He loves our little old cowboy house, and he did a great and conscientious job in about 2 hours.  We have a fireplace again!  Woohoo!

I called Tracey to let her know that she didn’t have to keep the beasts for the day after all, and she said they would both be done and sparkling in 30 minutes.  PERFECT!

Knock on the door and here was Ramon who trimmed our palms and our oleanders a few years ago.  I’ve been dying to have our palms trimmed and he offered a fair price, so I not only let him do the palms, but also trim the bottom branches off the jacaranda tree, as cars were hitting them.  Our regular yard crew had been hedging on trimming the branches on the big mulberry by the pool, and it was beginning to drop leaves into the pool the size of salad plates.  They offered to do it yesterday but wanted to leave all the trimmings in the alley or in our yard.  I said, “No way…you gotta haul it out of here.  It’s the law,” and he said he’d do it “Ness veek, Meesus Vatsohn.  I veel breenk my traylore ness veek”.  (Yeah…right…I get “Ness veek” a lot from these guys.)

Since I knew Ramon, I felt okay leaving him here working while I picked up the fur-babies.  Nala heard me pull up and was going “boing-boing-boing” in the bay window at Paws.  “MOMMY’S HERE!”   Tracey let both dogs thru the gate into the lobby (off leash), and we quickly rolled the birdcage right past them and back to safety.  They have on flag print scarves and patriotic bows and they look and smell wonderful.  Amazing the way washing off a little irrigation mud can transform your dogs from stinking barbarians back into the civilized breed that they are!  As I was standing at the tall reception desk writing Tracey a check, Nala hopped up, and stood next to me to watch.  Do you know that when she stands all the way up, she’s the same height as me?  We had to laugh because as I was writing the check, Nala was standing there looking Tracey right in the eye.  The new groomer (a big fella) came out and said, “When I took this job, I didn’t know we groomed HORSES!  I think Tracey had to call the City of Phoenix for a cherry-picker to get them in the tub!”  And then came the words I love to hear, “Mrs. Watson, you have some BEAUTIFUL animals there!”  Tracey said they were very well-behaved with the other dogs and people.  (Exhale.)  Since she has no kennels big enough to keep them in, they have the run of the house, and that makes them feel more at home.  Except for the bird issue with Bentley, they seem to think it’s play day at the spa.

After leaving Paws, we went to the drive-thru at the bank to get cash for Ramon and I thought the male teller was going to soil himself or pass out.  I had the sunroof open on the Rover, so Bentley could really stretch out.  “OH MY GOD!  Those are the biggest dogs I’ve ever SEEN!” exclaimed the teller.  Now, I wanted this to be a “quick and dirty” stop, but the teller left the window with my check and came back with what appeared to be the entire staff of the bank.  The dogs knew they were on display, so they stuck their heads out of the window and sunroof to give everyone a good look.  When the guy’s voice came over the speaker, Bentley let out a giant “BAWOOF” in grand Mastiff fashion, and the window cleared immediately as if my dog was going to jump out through the sunroof and go through their bullet-proof glass.  The tube magically delivered my cash with a whoosh, which set Nala off on a spitting-barking-growling tizzy.  I took my money and drove away with Mastiff drool in my hair, running down the left lens of my sunglasses, on the windows and slowly running off my shoulder.  We Mastiff-Moms accessorize in spit.

I was starving, so I thought I would do a quick trip thru McDonalds for a baby burger and a small Coke, and …. Ladies and Gentlemen…here we go again.  Nala barked at the speaker as they repeated my order.  I just said, “Thank you, and please don’t pet the dogs.”  I pulled up to pay and the girl’s eyes got huge and instead of taking my money, she flat disappeared.  The manager came back to the window, said the obligatory, “Oh-my-God!” and took my money.  Evidently his employee was afraid of putting her hand out to take my money.  Once again…yeah…my dog’s gonna jump through the sunroof into your drive-thru window and eat you alive.  Uh-huh…right.  (Wimp.)  Then at the pick-up window, a repeat of the bank action.  I swear, we shut down operations at McDonalds for 5 minutes of, “Oh-my-Gods, what kind of dog is that, how much do they weigh, do they eat a lot, and of course…bet ya hate cleaning up after them, HUH???”  There were no less than 10 people crowded into the little pick-up window area.  I said, “English Mastiffs, about 220 and 140, four cups a day, yes, they drool, I’ve seen bigger piles out of a Labrador, no, I don’t have a saddle, and no you can’t pet them.”  I may have all that painted on the side of my car for the next little road trip.

We came home, the dogs went in the back yard, the yard crew ran up the mulberry tree like squirrel monkeys, yelling, “Dios!”  and I said, “Told ya to shut the pool gate…”  I herded the dogs back in the house and they’re both sleeping now. Everyone’s finally gone.   I was going to do a little more holiday decorating, but right now, I believe I will join the kids (while they still smell civilized) for a little pup-nap.

© 2011 Mary Watson


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Bentley Sunstar Downunder

The prime example of a Champion of Hearts lived in the 217 pound body of Bentley Sunstar Downunder.  We ultimately created a website around this beast and named it® because, although we love all dogs, we’re just not “jewelry dog” people.  In our home, dogs contain mass, function and a huggability factor of 10, so we go for the giant breeds.  You know…the Irish Wolfhounds, Newfoundlands, Saint Bernards, Bouvier des Flandres and basically any dog that weighs over 100 pounds and drools on your shoes.  MonsterDogz® was created after failing to find a 30 inch collar to fit Bentley at eight months of age.  He still had a LOT of growing to do!

Life with our gentle giant lasted less than 5 years, and those were the happiest days of our lives.  Complimenting Bentley and adding to our joy were two female rescues who arrived via our trainers at Team Canine, the Obi-Wans of dog training.

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Posted by on July 10, 2011 in and other things..., It's a Brand New Day, Muddy Pawz, Uncategorized


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The AZ Heat program, combined with Phoenix Workforce Connection and SOAR allowed me the opportunity to attend the amazing Walter Cronkite School of Journalism…and gave me hope for a bright new future!

I had spent the previous 30 years in an all-consuming, successful career in commercial real estate and development which disappeared like smoke in a breeze with the economic downturn.  Friends, family, acquaintances and people I have never met encouraged me to pursue a career in writing after simply reading little e-mails that I had written on life here at Casa de Muddy Pawz with our English Mastiffs.  I fought them all for a considerable length of time while searching for non-existent positions in “MY field”.

Two years later, my unemployment had run out and “my field” had still not gained a pulse.  As a matter of fact, it was flat-lining.  That’s when I gave in and turned my focus toward a new career using my God-given talent with words. I had some college under my belt, but nothing to support a career in journalism.  In my quest for knowledge in the area and funding to accomplish this feat, I discovered those programs and the venue mentioned above.

I’m currently enrolled at Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and have discovered that you can, indeed, teach an old dog new tricks.  I started this blog site and have already written articles for the Phoenix Police Department and a pet rescue organization in the past few weeks.  I’m becoming “known” and I haven’t finished classes yet!

In my mind’s eye, I’m running barefoot to my house on Mohawk in the Michigan Northwoods with my sneakers in my hand yelling, “MOM!  I learned WordPress and PhotoShop and all about Flickr and Twitter and Facebook and EVERYTHING!”  I wave a brightly printed photo of my new website and squeal, “Look what I MADE ya!”  Of course, she tapes it to the fridge to show Daddy when he comes home.

Except I’m all grown up and I’m waving it at my son and my husband…and I do believe they’re proud.

© Copyright 2011 Mary Watson


Posted by on July 8, 2011 in It's a Brand New Day


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A Muddy Pawz Christmas Carol

On the first day of Christmas, my true love said to me…”Honey, please decorate the tree.”

On the second day of Christmas my true love gave to meeee… 20 cans of cat food and Honey, please decorate the tree.

On the third day of Christmas, my true love gave to meeee…30 pounds of kibble, 20 cans of cat food and Honey, please decorate the tree.

On the fourth day of Christmas, my true love gave to meee…one mortgage payment, 30 pounds of kibble, 20 cans of cat food and Honey, please decorate the tree.

On the fifth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me…2 Mastiffs pooping, one mortgage payment, 30 pounds of kibble, 20 cans of cat food and Honey, please decorate the tree.

On the 6th day of Christmas, my true love gave to me…2 cats a-mewing, 2 Mastiffs pooping, one mortgage payment, 30 pounds of kibble, 20 cans of cat food and Honey, please decorate the tree.

On the 7th day of Christmas, my true love gave to meee…3 days o’ raining, 2 cats a-mewing, 2 Mastiffs pooping, one mortgage payment, 30 pounds of kibble, 20 cans of cat food and Honey, please decorate the tree.

On the 8th day of Christmas, my true love gave to meeee…8 muddy paw prints, 3 days o’ raining, 2 cats a-mewing, 2 Mastiffs pooping, one mortgage payment, 30 pounds of kibble, 20 cans of cat food and Honey, please decorate the tree

On the 9th day of Christmas, my true love gave to meeee…9 Windows updates, 8 muddy paw prints, 3 days o’ raining, 2 cats a-mewing, 2 Mastiffs pooping, one mortgage payment, 30 pounds of kibble, 20 cans of cat food and Honey, please decorate the tree.

On the 10th day of Christmas, my true love gave to meeee…10 loads of laundry, 9 Windows updates, 8 muddy paw prints, 3 days o’ raining, 2 cats a-mewing, 2 Mastiffs pooping, one mortgage payment, 30 pounds of kibble, 20 cans of cat food and Honey please decorate the tree.

On the 11th day of Christmas, my true love gave to meeee…11 WoW heroics, 10 loads of laundry, 9 Windows updates, 8 muddy paw prints, 3 days o’ raining, 2 cats a-mewing, 2 Mastiffs pooping, one mortgage payment, 30 pounds of kibble, 20 cans of cat food and Honey please decorate the tree.

On the 12th day of Christmas, my true love gave to meeee…12 bins of ornaments, 11 WoW heroics, 10 loads of laundry, 9 Windows updates, 8 muddy paw prints, 3 days o’ raining, 2 cats a-mewing, 2 Mastiffs pooping, one mortgage payment, 30 pounds of kibble, 20 cans of cat food and Honey, please decorate the tree.

On the last day of Christmas…I fed the dogs and cats, mopped up the muddy paw prints, folded all the laundry, deleted a WoW character (85 gnomie warrior…Alliance), blew up my monitor, found my umbrella, cleaned up the yard mess resulting from of 30 pounds of kibble, paid the danged mortgage, stowed bins in storage…and put up the flippin’ fake tree.

(We need more dog food.)

Merry Christmas!

Copyright Mary Watson 2011

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Posted by on December 15, 2010 in and other things..., It's a Brand New Day, Muddy Pawz


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