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Wednesday, June 12, 2024

Who Let the Dog Out? by Bea Tifton

Sometimes a dull, predictable day takes an interesting turn. It was raining lightly and the dogs were snuffling around before the rain worsened. My senior terrier pug does *not* like walking on wet grass, so he was grumbling a bit. My father’s mini labradoodle began barking excitedly and I caught a flash of red fur just outside the fence. I thought at first it was a cat, but when I walked over there I realized it was a small dog, peering in the chain link fence and trying to make friends. When I ran into the house and out to the side of the yard, the little dog pancaked but didn’t try to run. I scooped him up as the rain began in earnest and put him in the bathroom before running out to the backyard to retrieve my dogs, who were sitting under the covered porch in front of the back door with a collective, “I’d like to see the manager” look on their faces. 

When I went back into the bathroom to check on our guest, I put out some food and water. He drank the water but seemed uninterested in the food, which told me he hadn’t been lost for long. He was damp, of course, but his fur was glossy and he looked well cared for. No collar. I tried to give the people who owned him the benefit of the doubt and thought maybe it had fallen off.

What to do? Throughout the day, I made the rounds of the online lost pet sites like Pawboost and consulted Nextdoor. I took numerous photos of the cutie. He didn’t seem overly concerned, a little nervous but very friendly and affectionate. It was pretty apparent he was a lost pet and not an abandoned one.

My vet checked for a microchip, but there wasn’t one. I left a “Found Dog” post on Nextdoor and waited. If you ever find a pet, Dear Reader, insist on seeing some photos and/or vet records. People can claim a dog that isn’t theirs for a variety of nefarious reasons, from thinking they just want to keep the dog as a pet to the more gruesome goal of selling the pet to a lab or using him as bait for dog fight training.

My little house guest spent the night in the bathroom, and I washed my hands each time I played with him before I left the room. He looked healthy, but I had to protect my own pets (I also thoroughly scrubbed out the bathroom when he was gone).  


The next morning, I had a message with a photo on Nextdoor from his worried owner. I called her and her husband came to pick up little Luke that morning. The dog was ecstatic at reuniting with his person, and the man was clearly relieved and snuggled Luke into his arms. They were new to the neighborhood, but the woman admitted Luke was a little escape artist, but that “he usually came back home.” She was very gracious when I sent her a link to the microchipping site from the city. I hope they tighten up their fence, add a collar and a microchip, and aren’t so unconcerned about their seven pound dog going on walkabout in the future. They were nice people and they clearly loved their pet.

If you have a small child, you probably don’t let the youngster roam the city alone. Dogs have the emotional intelligence of toddlers. And even in the best neighborhoods, people can steal them, cars can hit them, other animals can attack them, or they roam so far they just can’t find their way home. I have small dogs and I go out with them but I know not everyone feels that’s necessary. My pets also have collars with pet id tags engraved with their names and my phone number. I have microchipped all of them. Most cities have animal shelters that will microchip at a reduced price. It’s $20 in my city. Go online and register your pet when they are microchipped, uploading a photo. Dog proof your fences and make sure no one leaves the gate open. Your companions are depending on you to keep them safe.





Photo Credits: Pexels.com
Roman Odintsov "Brown Short Coated Medium Sized Dog on Brown Dirt"
Bilge Seyma Kutukoglu "Puppies Sitting Behind Fence"
Rachel Claire "Crop Man with Puppy in Hands"
Ron Lach "Girl Holding an Open Umbrella While Standing Beside Brown Dog"


 

Wednesday, June 5, 2024

Wedding Traditions~ Sherri Easley

 I can’t believe it is already June. I would love for just once to write this blog without saying my life has been hectic. Back in the office two days a week with special projects, and DFW Fiberfest are all hitting at the same time.

True to nature, I requested a double booth this year at Fiberfest, because preparing for a single booth wasn’t stressful enough last year. I have been busy sewing up my Harris Tweed and knitting project bags just like I waited until the last minute to prep (because I did).

Now for my blog:

When I think of June, I think of June Brides, dressed in white, carrying floral bouquets, and the happy couple eating a beautiful cake at the end.  

Today, on a radio talk show, they were talking about the weird history of a certain wedding tradition and it got me thinking…what else did I not know…

Here are a few wedding traditions and their histories from Minted.com. Am I the only one who didn’t know this?

1.     “SOMETHING OLD, SOMETHING NEW, SOMETHING BORROWED, SOMETHING BLUE.”

From an Old English rhyme, this saying refers to the four good-luck objects a bride should have on her wedding day.

“something old” represents the couples’ past lives.

“something new” symbolizes their happy future.

“something borrowed” means incorporating an item belonging to someone who is happily married, hoping some of their good fortune rubs off.

“Something blue” represents fidelity and love.

 2. BRIDAL BOUQUET

The bouquet that a bride carries today is different for every bride, and while traditional bouquets are floral, I once saw one that was creatively made from antique broaches.

Back in ancient Greece and Rome, it was all about herbs. During that time, it was en vogue to hold aromatic bouquets of garlic, dill, and other herbs and spices to ward off evil spirits. Carrying a favorite floral variety is a tradition that became popular in 1840, when Queen Victoria married Prince Albert and carried a bouquet of snowdrops, his favorite flower.

*The radio station I mentioned earlier stated the reason for the bouquet was because in old days, people didn’t take baths but once a year, usually in June, and carried flowers to mask the smell. 😉

3. TRADIONS FOR REPELLING EVIL SPIRITS

In Roman times, matching outfits meant good luck and were a common wedding tradition. Ancient Romans believed evil spirits would attend the wedding in an attempt to curse the bride and groom. To confuse the spirits, bridesmaids acted as decoys and dressed identically to the bride with the idea the spirits would be confused, leading them to leave the couple to wed.

During the same time period, the bride would walk down the aisle wearing a veil over her face to disguise herself from any evil spirits looking to ruin her wedding day.

 4. WEARING YOUR RING ON THE “RING FINGER”

Also traced back to the Romans, the fourth finger on the left hand was believed to be connected directly to the heart by a vein called “the vein of love.”

 5. WEDDING INVITATIONS

In olden times, it was only England’s aristocracy who used wedding invitations. The noble class would commission monks, skilled in calligraphy, to hand-write the announcements. The invitations would often depict the family crest or coat of arms and would be closed with a wax seal.

The tradition of double envelopes where the wedding invitation is enclosed in both an inner envelope and an outer envelope also originates from this practice. The courier’s journey might damage the outer envelope, so upon delivery, the outer envelope would be removed and the sealed inner envelope, with the invitation inside, would be presented to the invited guest.

Higher-quality printing became possible with the invention of the metal-plate engraving printing press in 1642, which allowed artists to engrave the invitations using an inked metal plate in reverse that was stamped onto paper. Since engraved invitations needed time to dry, tissue paper would be placed on top to prevent ink smudges. This tradition remains to this day.

We request the honour of your presence. Have you ever received a wedding invitation with “honour” spelled out with the British-style “u”? This formal spelling style lets guests know that the wedding ceremony will be held in a place of worship, like a church.

6. “GIVING” THE BRIDE AWAY

This wedding ceremony tradition dates back to a time of arranged marriages, where the “giving away” of the bride represented a transfer of ownership. Back then, young women were used as collateral and were given away in exchange for a “bride price” or dowry.

 7. TYING THE KNOT

In Celtic and Hindu weddings, the bride’s and groom’s hands are joined and tied together to symbolize the couple’s commitment to each other and their new bond as a married couple. The Celtic ceremony ritual is called handfasting, while in Hindu weddings, the ceremony is called the hastmelap.

8. TOSSING RICE AT THE END OF THE CEREMONY

Back in the day, marriage meant expansion, from starting a family to increasing one’s assets. Rice symbolized both fertility and prosperity, and tossing it at newlyweds at the conclusion of the wedding ceremony conveyed best wishes and good luck—for babies, bountiful harvests, and everything in between. Nowadays, the wedding tradition of tossing things on the couple takes many forms, from dried lavender buds and blowing bubbles to biodegradable confetti.

9. THE WEDDING CAKE

The tradition of a wedding cake also comes from ancient Rome, where guests broke a loaf of bread over the bride’s head to symbolize fertility. The newlyweds would share a few bites while guests would scoop up the leftover crumbs for good luck. In medieval England, the bride and groom had to try to kiss over a pile of stacked spiced buns, scones, and cookies—a precursor to the tiered wedding cakes of today—supposedly ensuring a prosperous future if they were able to successfully smooch without toppling the whole thing over.

Saving the top tier of the cake

Traditionally, the top tier of the wedding cake was saved and kept frozen to be enjoyed by the wedding couple once again at their future child’s christening. Back in the olden days, many people assumed the couple would have a baby within a year, so by preserving the wedding cake, they wouldn’t have to buy another dessert to celebrate the pregnancy or birth.

 10. CANDY WEDDING FAVORS

Like many Western wedding traditions, candy wedding favors also date back in history to the European aristocracy. In the 16th century, as a show of wealth, couples gave guests a bomboniere, which was a small trinket box made of crystal, porcelain, and precious stones that was filled with candy or sugar cubes. Sugar was an expensive delicacy during this time period. As sugar became more affordable, bombonieres were succeeded by sugar-coated almonds. The now-traditional wedding favor of five Jordan almonds symbolizes five wishes for the newlyweds of health, wealth, happiness, fertility, and longevity.

 

There you have it. I knew a couple of these, but I am skeptical about a few of these. At least next time you are sitting teary eyed at a wedding, you have something else to think about.

Monday, June 3, 2024

BOOKS OR MOVIES?

 By Caroline Clemmons

Obviously, I love reading, especially romance. If the romance includes mystery or suspense, even better. But I also love movies, especially when I can enjoy them in my own home. When my eyes are too tired to focus or my mind and body too tired to concentrate, a good movie on TV is relaxing. Like a mini-vacation for the mind.


When a movie is a depiction of a favorite book, I have mixed emotions. With a book, the author’s descriptions create images of characters in my head. If the book is engrossing, I know who these characters are, how they dress, even how they walk. The reader is privileged to characters’ internal dialogue as well as vivid descriptions. Of course, a movie doesn’t need setting descriptions, but I miss the author’s version. 

One example of excellent description that comes to mind is Loretta Chase’s LORD PERFECT. When the main characters first see one another, Ms Chase has what I think is the most enchanting reactions recorded in any book I’ve read. It's too long to include here. My favorite is this part of the hero’s reaction to the heroine’s astonishing beauty and presence: “She is a woman who causes accidents merely by crossing the street.”




Depicting books like Nora Roberts’ or Debbie Macomber’s as a screenplay usually results in an engrossing movie. I love Ms Macomber’s Mrs. Miracle movies. (Say that fast three times.) For me, though, the movie often doesn’t quite live up to the book. For instance, one of my favorite books by Nora Roberts is MONTANA SKY. That book scared me in many places and kept me turning the pages hurriedly to learn about the sisters. In the movie, some of the edginess disappeared. Oh, the movie was great, but the book is much better.

For long, involved books like LES MISERABLES or EYE OF THE NEEDLE, only portions appear in the movie. I enjoyed “Les Miserables.” Hugh Jackman! Oh, I mean the movie inspired me. Each of the actors performed superbly.

Ken Follett’s EYE OF THE NEEDLE is one complicated book, as is each of his fascinating works. The movie depicted only the last few chapters of the protagonist’s journey and the heroine’s courageous actions. Again, I enjoyed the movie, but it paled in comparison to the book. Ken Follett is a gifted author and I am in awe of his ability. 

Every author hopes one day his or her book or books will be adapted into a movie. I was excited for Lori Wilde, a friend and local author whose books I enjoy, when one of her books became a movie. Now she's had others adapted into movies. Yay, Lori!



The fact is, I enjoy reading books. I like to visualize each of the characters and the settings. Perhaps it’s because I’m old enough to have played “pretend like” as a child before watching TV or playing video games commandeered imagination. Yes, I watched TV, but the selections for kids were very limited and I had chores and homework to keep me from being glued to the set. And I read and read and read. Not great works like LES MISERABLES. Nope, but Nancy Drew and Louisa Mae Alcott launched me into other worlds.

Which do you prefer—movies, books, or both?