img10I spent 35 years working in the legal field, the last 17 of which were for a state supreme court justice, and emerged undamaged and with a great deal of knowledge about legal principles, formatting legal documents for different purposes, legal citation, and appellate work. As a medical malpractice paralegal, I picked up medical terminology and aspects of anatomy, physiology, and disease process very easily. My college major was psychology, and I still enjoy the occasional journal article, especially about neurodevelopmental disorders.

I am a big fan of most breeds of dogs. I have bred cocker spaniels, malamutes, and papillons. I’ve also shown some of my papillons. If you’re interested in showing your dog, I advise against it. It’s very expensive and very political. If you’re still interested, I’ll happily walk you through the process. The same goes for breeding dogs, except that it’s not as political unless you want to breed show dogs. But it is very expensive. See my article “Acquiring your new family member” under Sample Work on this site for a discussion of the pros and cons of breeding.

Since I’m sure you’re interested, I have seven papillons. Yes, seven—Star Skylar, Sophie Munchkin (sometimes known as “Killer”), BelleStarr, RockStar SuperNova (Rocky), PopStar (Poppy), Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds (Lucy), and Tyson (our brain-damaged rescue who can’t remember anyone from visit to visit and sometimes within the same visit if the guest moves). They’re small and don’t add up to one good dog, but they’re companionable and hardworking. They accompany me to work (the kitchen table), announce visitors loudly and with the appropriate amount of panic, quietly converse among themselves while I’m on the phone, and practice their bullying techniques on each other, circling and making threatening growls until I’m finally forced to intervene. They’re particularly entertaining during our breaks. They all rush for the back door as if they’ve had to potty for two or three days, pushing and shoving to be the first one out. Tripping me is an added benefit. Surprisingly, snack time is their quietest time. They all crowd around silently so they can hear their name when it’s called. I always give them their snacks in the same order. That prevents trying to grab the treat, pushing each other out of the way to get to it, and the inevitable growling and snapping. They solemnly wait, get their treat, and then try to hide in an 8 by 10 room so the others don’t know they have one.

They have discovered the benefits of having me home all day. They plan my social life now, centered around things they like to do—long walks; investigating dead things, compost piles, and trash; barking at swirling leaves and neighbors they’ve known all of their lives; riding in the car; and readying themselves to protect me and the rest of our family from other dogs.

I also make jewelry on occasion. I don’t use precious stones – diamonds, rubies, etc. – but I do use semi-precious stones and beads created in third-world countries and sold under Fair Trade provisions.