Fractured Facade

"A fathers death...a daughter's life...a sociopath's vendetta...FRACTURED FACADE ...a novel written as memoir. Only $4.99 and available exclusively on Amazon. Kindle Unlimited members read for free! Click here for direct link.


THE VALENTINE'S DAY CURSE -- A Short Story, Free everywhere...except on Amazon (boo! hiss!) where it's $.99 to buy! Click here for direct link! Let them know it's free at these stores and they may price match it! Smashwords, Barnes & Noble, Apple Books...more to come.

Monday, December 31, 2012

Worst & Best Event of 2012

The worst and best events for me in 2012 have to do with dogs:

The worst was losing my beloved Welsh Corgi, Max. It was in April and I blogged about it here: Max is Gone.

The best was finding a crazy Malti-Zhu, Bella. I received Bella as a Mother's Day present and I blogged about her here: Meet Bella.

Although she's no Max, the unconditional love from Bella matches Max's. She has healed a gaping hole in my heart and has become my new best friend. Never underestimate the power of a pet to kill loneliness and fill you with love.

On a happier note, Max will be a main character in a supernatural book I have begun outlining. His memory will forever live on...

Sunday, December 30, 2012

More or Less Hopes

Based upon my failure rate of keeping them, I no longer make New Year's resolutions. Why bother proclaiming I'm going to do something when in all likelihood I will not keep to it? If you think about most resolutions, they're just doing "more" or "less" of something, so instead I prefer to start my year off with a More or Less Hopes list.

I Hope To:

Spend LESS time on-line, especially on social media websites. They really are a time-drain and I'm tired of getting pissed off at people I don't even know.

Spend MORE time on my computer. What? Didn't you just write you want to spend LESS time on-line? Yes, I did. I'd like to spend MORE time off-line, taking all my story ideas off of napkins, matchbook covers, bits of papers, notebooks, index cards, etc., and organize and develop them so I can continue to write books.

Spend LESS time reading reviews of my already published books. Yes, most are good, but the few negative ones hurt, even if, as my cousin says, they are written by women who are probably gold-diggers themselves.

Spend MORE time patting myself on the back for struggling to bring light to the dark situations elderly people may encounter via Fractured Facade. Based on personal e-mails and some reviews, folks appreciate the heads-up and plan to keep a closer watch on their loved ones. Mission accomplished.

Spend LESS time looking in the mirror and bemoaning the loss of my once slender figure. I am no longer twenty and I have had two children, so I'm giving myself a pass.

Spend MORE time working on shedding weight. True, I'll never be the size 3 I once was, but there's no reason I can't lose some of the blubber. I plan to ramp up my workout routine utilizing my bicycle, Zumba Wii Dance games and DVD's of Bollywood exercises. Although I toyed with the idea of joining the Y for warm water exercises for my RA, the thought of getting in a bathing suit amongst strangers fills me with dread. I want to shop somewhere else for clothes besides Ross. BTW, thank God for Ross!

Eat LESS of my favorite foods. I've read the Wheat Belly Diet and it's an impossible task for an Italian to take on. Rather than deprive myself of every tasty thing imaginable, I will make a concerted effort to avoid fattening foods, especially bread, cookies, cakes, pies, donuts, bagels, sweets & pasta.

Drink MORE water. Boring, blah, blech, but necessary.

Drink LESS wine. Nectar of the Gods, calming, delicioso, but fattening and liver-killing.

Become MORE organized. Running a business, raising kids (they're still kids even if they're young adults) writing, creating, and running after a puppy, causes me to sometimes "forget" things. Not my age! I plan to utilize lists more, as well as writing appointments on the calendar where I can see it and not just in my planner which lays at the bottom on my pocketbook.

Schedule LESS. I'm going to learn to say no more.

Spend MORE time with those that appreciate me, and LESS time with those that use me. I am who I am and if you don't like it, oh well, move on. If you take me for granted, lie to me, are unloyal, or are a "false friend," I'm not going to waste my time with you. I don't want to spend any more time on energy drainers.

Worry LESS. I cannot control many things, and I hope to learn how to "give up" my worries.

Love MORE. Not just my family, friends, and community, but I hope to learn to love myself as well. Only then can I love the rest of the world.

I think the above hopes are doable, but I'm not going to stress if I fall of the wagon. Whatever you plan to do in 2013, I wish you all the best in your success. Happy New Year!

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Another Day, Another Freebie

Heads up...The Valentine's Day Curse -- A short story is free December 27th & 28th on Amazon. Hope you'll check it out!!! Thanks!

Click here or on the cover on the sidebar to download it.

If you're in the UK click here for a direct link.

It's also available in every Amazon store around the world, Bwahahaha!

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

My Christmas Miracle

So, if you don't think Christmas miracles really happen, you might want to read this tale. Be forewarned...It's lengthy!

It was Christmas Eve Eve Eve and we had just gotten back from two parties including a Bluegrass Christmas at Dallas' shop.

It was a nice reprieve from the kitchen where I had been spending most of my time making more cookies than the Keebler Elves. It was about midnight when my husband turned on the dishwasher so everything would be nice and clean for me to resume my baking duties bright and early the next morning. About five minutes after it started I heard a cry from the basement, "Elena, get down here quick! We have a serious problem!" I was already in bed and groaned as I made my way down the stairs, "What now?"

I stopped short when I saw water spraying down from the ceiling in the laundry room. "Where's that coming from????" "It's gotta be the dishwasher!" "Well, shut it off!" My husband bounded up the stairs and yelled down, "Ok, it's off!" The stream of water became a sprinkling and then just drops bouncing off the top of the washing machine. I threw a towel on the machine, not daring to look inside at the clean clothes I hadn't yet put in the dryer. We pulled the plug out of the wall so a fire wouldn't start and threw dirty towels on the floor. Exhausted from all the pre-Christmas shopping, wrapping, cleaning, baking and cooking I couldn't deal with it at that moment. We both collapsed in bed.

The next morning I hoped I had had a nightmare and really hadn't experienced what I thought I had. My out of town guest would be arriving by the end of the day, and I still had massive amounts of cleaning, baking, cooking, and wrapping to accomplish. The last thing I wanted/needed was to make a trip to Lowe's to buy a dishwasher. Unfortunately, when I went to get the coffee pot out of the dishwasher I saw it was still filled with water and I realized I hadn't been dreaming.

Everything got put on hold while my husband went to work on removing the dishwasher. I was cursing it, "It's only a year old...I thought Maytag was supposed to be a decent brand! Look at these prices. We can't afford one right now. I'll just wash everything by hand." Although I was having people over Christmas Eve, and a house guest all week, it wouldn't be the ideal situation I wanted, but it was doable.

"Hmmm, that's strange," my husband murmured while laying on his belly with his head under the cabinet. "It's dry back here. I can't see where it's leaking from." "Maybe it's not the dishwasher, but it's leaking from the sink," I ventured. "It's not wet under the sink either." "Let me see what happens when we run water." So my husband turned the water back on and quickly realized that was a mistake. He forgot that the hose normally connected to the dishwasher was still uncoupled. You know those comical scenes where you see a fire hose that cannot be handled spraying all over the place? Yeah, that was us.

"The cookies! Save the cookies!!!" I ran the trays into the other room while water sprayed everywhere, my husband shouting, "Hand me the crimper!" Bella thought we were playing with the hose and she started jumping on my husband trying to catch the spray in her mouth, while I searched for the crimper. Of course I didn't know what the hell a crimper was, so couldn't find it. Meanwhile my husband folded the hose to slow the stream and pointed to the tool. Oh, he meant the pincher! He handed off the pinched hose to me, "Hold this tight while I go downstairs and turn off the valve. Don't let it go!" I tried my best, but after days of abusing my arthritic hands with the horror, I mean joys of Christmas preparations, I couldn't keep it closed long, so I let it stream down the drain, and apparently on top of my husband's head. Bingo, it wasn't the dishwasher after all! I was happy for a second until I was informed this was much worse. It must be a pipe in the wall. Craptastic!

So I had the bright idea that maybe something was jammed in the pipe, like hardened baking oil or something, and all that would be needed to make everything okay was to roto-rooter the pipe. Although my husband didn't think that was the problem, I insisted he humor me and use that piece of equipment that I bitched about him buying when the sewer drain in the basement got clogged. So he did it. And then we turned the faucet on to see what would happen. I heard him scream from the basement to shut it off, shut it off! Apparently we had made it worse as the stream was now a gusher that no number of dirty towels could sop up.

I thought, Christmas is ruined! I could go without a dishwasher, but there was no way I could have guests over without a kitchen sink. What would I do wash dishes in the bath tub like Kramer on Seinfeld? We'd have to cancel Christmas Eve. There was no way we could get a plumber on a Sunday on Christmas Eve Eve. My husband directed me not to panic yet, and he called our plumber who answered the phone. My excitement became as damp as my kitchen floor when I heard my husband say, "Oh wow, I'm sorry to hear that. I hope you heal soon." He had just gotten out of the hospital, so he wasn't available.

I wasn't even upset at that point. Actually, I found the whole situation amusing and began to laugh. "I give up. Jesus, I'm putting this in your hands. Whatever happens, happens. I'm tired of cleaning anyway, so it's all good." My husband directed me not to "give up yet" as he had met a friend of Dallas' last week who was a plumber, so maybe he would help us. Nothing to lose, call Dallas. Of course Dallas doesn't have a phone, so the only way to contact him was to track him down. And track him down my husband did. And then they tracked down the phone number of the plumber. My husband left a message, but didn't have high hopes. Joe the plumber called within five minutes, and said he would be right over. And he kept his word.

After he cut open the wall, he discovered a pipe back there was indeed the culprit.

It had rusted right through and would have to be replaced. He advised us to change the entire pipe from the kitchen down into the basement, a major job, but for now he would concentrate on just getting me up and running. He worked almost three hours and completed the job in time for him to watch the Giants on television.

I then found out he was originally from New York! "Couldn't leave a fellow Yankee out to dry on Christmas." After paying him a fair sum, I handed him a large bucket of homemade cookies. He left smiling, and even though we still had a long way to go, we were smiling as well.

Angels really do exist...this time mine happened to be a plumber!

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Strouffler Eve

If it's Christmas Eve Eve, it must be strouffler time! Even though I am totally
backed up due to the major plumbing catastrophe, if I didn't make stroufflers Christmas would be ruined! No, not really. Anyway, here's the recipe for anyone that wants it:

6 eggs
4 cups flour
2 1/2 tsp baking powder
3/4 cup sugar
3 tbs Crisco

Mix flour, baking powder and sugar. Add Crisco. Make a well in the middle and put eggs into it. Mix together until smooth. Make long snakes, cut into pieces, then roll by hand into balls. Make them small -- they expand!

Fry them in tall pot in Crisco. Place cooked balls on a brown paper bag.

In a large pot heat a jar of honey with a 1/4 cup sugar. Stir until thin. Throw balls into them, mix with wooden spoon to cover all of the balls. Then plate and sprinkle with nonpareils.

Enjoy and Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Bella's Back!

Yay, the cone of torture is gone! Bella's boo-boo looks good so she got the all clear. When the cone was removed underneath was a matty mess. Just missing one week of bathing made her look as if she has never been washed. Tangles, matts, and dirt. When the vet said they could give her a bath and groom her as best as possible I jumped for joy. Her floppy ears were horribly matted and I couldn't even think of how we would fix that. Well, the only solution was to shave them. She looks like a different puppy, doesn't she?

I have to say she handled that cone pretty good. In fact, she adapted so well to it that when she wasn't trying to rip it off her neck, she found other uses for it, like hiding the antibiotic pill in it when she pretended to eat it. I caught on quick to that ploy. When it was raining out she would use it to catch the drops and then lick the inside of it to quench her thirst. In the backyard, the cone made a handy shovel to rip up the roots of trees and flick rocks in the air. Cabinet opening became one of her favorite pastime's. She learned how to wedge the corner in between the doors and pop them open. I learned I needed to hide her treats in a different spot once I found the entire bag gone. This was last night's booty. Guess what it is...

Right now she's zooming all over the house..."I'm free! I'm free!" Of course I know when I'm not looking she'll get her revenge somewhere. I'm just thrilled I won't be woken up in the middle of the night by a cone in my face, or have to remove her from under the bed because the cone became wedged behind the headboard.  And no more playing hide the antibiotic in cheese. Look at her toss her food dish in the air and slam it against the wall. I guess she's telling me she's hungry. Bella's back to normal!

Monday, December 17, 2012

Keep the Lights Shining Bright

The other night my husband noticed that one of the five lawn stars was not shining brightly. Upon further examination, he discovered that someone had intentionally cut the wires. He was pretty steamed up and I couldn't blame him.

In fact, it was me who said a couple of weeks ago, "Why do you even bother lighting the house and property up? It takes you three days to do it and costs us too much in electricity. It's not like the kids are small anymore and we won't be having grandchildren visiting us anytime soon. So why do you bother?"

At that time his response was something to the effect of, "Bother? You think spreading good cheer throughout this miserable neighborhood is a bother? I don't mind the time it takes. I like seeing the beacon when I come up the hill; it brightens up the darkness. The little kids on the block really enjoy seeing our house. Just look at their faces light up and when the school bus passes they always wave you said. Even the adults stop by and tell me thank you. I don't think it's a bother at all. It's a tradition. We're expected to do it."

That was his response then...after the cut wire, this is it now, "That's it, I'm done. The third time was the charm."

Third time? What third time you ask. Well last year someone cut the wires between the lights on the four little pine trees at the far corner of our property. At that time I defended it saying it must have been an accident...someone probably took a short cut through the woods and didn't realize wires were between the trees and accidentally broke through them. My husband didn't buy that "theory." He showed me the clean, cut wire and although I agreed with him, I just shrugged my shoulders and asked him to fix it. He did.

The year before that was the year of the defiling of the deer.

My husband was really steamed that someone had put them in a compromising position, not only because the motor had burnt out on the once-moving buck, but he worried about the little ones across the street at school seeing it. At that time, he began pulling the lights down, and the only reason he stopped was because my daughter asked him to please wait until her birthday was over. After he cooled down he realized it was just a teenager stunt and he got over it.

I have a feeling he may not get over this one though. Whoever it was had to make a concerted effort to do harm via carrying a knife, sharp scissor, razor, box-cutter, or whatever, on them or, if they were in a car, stop, get out, and walk onto my property to do the damage. That does not leave me with a warm and fuzzy feeling and frankly, it wouldn't have mattered whether they had shot out a bulb with a gun, or, as they did, cut the wire with a sharp instrument. Both methods are destructive and belligerent.

It makes me wonder. What lurks in the mind of someone who consciously goes out of their way to hurt, harm, or even kill someone? Obviously, I'm not talking about the star -- my husband already rewired it so it's shining brightly again. I'm talking about harm to innocents. There's no one on this earth that can put together a life when someone deranged decides to snuff out someone else's light.

I believe our focus should be not so much on the weapons of choice a sociopath employs to commit their horrendous act, but more so as to the why they've made that choice. And perhaps even more importantly, what could have/should have been done to prevent them from making that choice.

Now I'm not saying that the teenagers, if they are even teenagers, who have damaged our decorations for the last three years are sociopaths, but to me, there is something "off" about them/him/her. And I only hope that the people around that person is aware that something is not "right" with them and looks to help them, before it's too late. Parents are the first line of defense. Teachers, friends, family and neighbors should also be aware that they too are part of the "protection system."

It's up to all of us to keep the lights shining bright...

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Fractured Facade -- Book Brief on Indies Unlimited

Today Fractured Facade is being featured as a Book Brief on Indies Unlimited...hope you'll stop by there and check it out. By the way, there's still time to order a paperback for those stockings!

Thanks for all your support...

"The way to happiness: keep your heart free from hate, your mind from worry. Live simply, expect little, give much. Fill your life with love. Scatter sunshine. Forget self, think of others. Do as you would be done by. Try this for a week and you will be surprised." -- Norman Vincent Peale

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Boo-Boo Baby's Cone of Torture

Look at my poor boo-boo girl having to wear that hideous cone. She doesn't understand why we are torturing her, and I feel horrible watching her discomfort. The baby girl keeps bumping into walls, chairs and even got tangled in the Christmas tree lights. Her low mournful wail is enough to melt even The Grinch's heart and her pleading "help me" eyes brings tears to my own.

Why is she subjected to this cone of torture? It's because of her spaying over two months ago! I noticed her licking her belly two days ago where the still not completely healed incision was. It looked red to me and the bump looked larger. I showed my husband and he said, "It's nothing." I felt it was "something" so I kept a watchful eye on Bella. I noticed she was being way more cuddly than usual. She reminded me of a sick child that wanted to be held, and if you know her, that's very unusual.

Yesterday I rolled her over on her back and noticed the incision looked even more red, raw, and raised and thought maybe it was leaking. I put some peroxide on a gauze pad and dabbed it. When she about hit the ceiling, I knew I had to bring her to the vet. My son drove us and the poor baby trembled as soon as she got in the Jeep, knowing full well where she was going.

The vet looked at her and asked if she could bring her to the back and shave the area to get a better look. I heard her yelp twice from behind closed doors and I knew all was not well. Sure enough, Bella has an infection from the inside suture. The vet stated it was very rare, especially this long after the operation, but some dogs do have a reaction to them when they dissolve. Since Bella resides in the house of rare medical conditions I wasn't surprised. The wound was opening up so now Bella has two staples holding it together and the cone of despair so that she doesn't lick it. She's also on pain medication and antibiotics. The cone has to remain on her until her follow up appointment next week.

I had thoughts of running up to Brooklyn tomorrow but no way that is happening now. I can't leave my baby in the boy's hands. He's hardly home and will not be as vigilant as I am with her. Although I'm sorta sad I won't be in New York, I'm more glad that my mommy instincts kicked in and I listened to my inner voice. Had I not, and just went away, who knows how bad that infection would have gotten. So, here I will stay, because mommy's babies, even the four-legged ones, always come first.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

12 Things I love about Christmas

Twelve things I love about Christmas on this twelfth day of the twelfth month in the twelfth year of the 2,000's,  and in no particular order...

1. Anticipation

2. Christmas music, surely divined

3. Advent Calendars

4. The possibility of a White Christmas

5. The smell of the Christmas tree

6. Christmas cookies

7. Christmas decorations, even the tacky ones, especially lights, lights & more lights

8.  Christmas cards

9.  Wrapping presents

10. Decorating a gingerbread house with my daughter

11. Christmas Eve guests

12. Christmas memories of those no longer with me

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Max Was My Santa Dog

As I stated in my last post, this is the first year we will be celebrating Christmas without Max, my Welsh Corgi. In his memory I'd like to revisit and share a blog post from 2010. Notice how he treated the Christmas tree vs. our new addition...

My Santa Dog

One of the happiest members of this household to see the return of the Christmas tree is my dog Max.

He watches carefully, wagging the nub as we hang the lights and ornaments, and waits patiently while we vacuum up all the pine needles. That's the one time he doesn't attack the vacuum cleaner! Although Santa does bring him a new toy each year he doesn't wait for the 25th to find his present. As soon as we're done vacuuming Max fetches his "babies" and places them under the tree.

From now until we take the tree down you can find Max lying under it, baby by his side, treat in mouth, watching himself in the mirror. Max is my little Santa Dog. And yes, I actually did name him after the Grinch's dog. Max is so smart that when presents are placed under the tree he puts his babies on top of them and he has never, ever eaten the cookies we leave out for Santa.

What a good boy, and cute too! Now if only I could get him to stop smoking those stogies he'd be the perfect pet...

Thursday, December 6, 2012

The Power of a Pet

Too many Christmas carols and the memories they bring have affected my shopping habits. It seems I can't go into a store without stopping midstream. As soon as I hear Nat King Cole sing "The Christmas Song," I think of my mother cutting crosses in chestnuts and placing them in the oven. My heart swells as I notice the sweater, perfume, or a million other things at my fingertips that would have been the perfect gift for her, if she was still alive.

When the first strains of "I'll Be Home for Christmas" rings out of another store's PA system, I find myself in front of a VHS-DVD recorder that my father would have been amazed by, and think of the countless hours we could have spent transferring his enormous collection of tapes.

Boris Karloff calls forth my cousin John Paul and the roast beast dinners we shared on Christmas Eve at Grandma's as children. The Grinch doll winks at me in the Hallmark store, and I flee before I break down.

I sit on a bench in the bustling mall, alone, surrounded by people.

I think the puppies will make me feel better so I head there, but stop myself when I see the picture of a Welsh Corgi hanging on the wall. Max. This is the first Christmas without Max. "O Holy Night" has nothing to do with him, but it sends me over the edge and out the doors.

I arrive home, empty-handed, once again. Bella keeps her distance as I cradle the tin that holds Max's ashes. Once the tears begin, Bella jumps on the bed and wipes them away with her tongue. Her snaggle tooth sticks me in my lip, and her love snaps me out of my grief. That's the power of a pet. If you don't have one, please consider visiting your local shelter and take one home. Give yourself a Christmas gift...a pet, the best gift ever.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Latest KDP Select Results

It's been a week since my last KDP Select freebie ended for Fractured Facade and I wanted to share my observations. First and foremost I am happy to report that an author need not get picked up by POI or ENT to get noticed. POI has never picked me up, and ENT has changed in that they no longer just focus on free books. In fact, they've scaled it down to only a couple of day. Naturally, if one did get picked up by either of these two outlets your downloads would multiply greatly, but don't despair if you don't.

Without them, my downloads in the US were near 6,000 and in the UK 800. I had a couple from Germany, France and Spain and as usual nothing in Italy or Japan. Now I would like to give a shout out to Free Kindle Books & Tips, Kindle Boards and Ebook Lister for their promotions.

Big deal you say, you had twice, or three times that many. Well, good for you! I didn't need that many to get to #1 Suspense, #3 Family Saga, and also up to #47 in the Top 100 of all books, so I was pretty happy.

Of course I wasn't as happy as I was the very first time I used the freebies last year when every book downloaded was counted 1=1 for rank, instead of the 1=10 now. At that time, I had hundreds of sales afterwards. This time, nowhere as many, however since the promotion ended I have been selling steadily in the US & UK and getting actual borrows.

The borrows are more valuable for the next three months since Amazon has doubled the payment for them. Some folks are up in arms about this claiming Amazon is "doubling down" and screwing up indie authors by "making them" become exclusive to them. Although I would love to not be exclusive in Amazon, it's my choice to be exclusive right now with them. They're not "making me" do anything I don't want to. I wasn't exclusive for over 90 days previous, and had both my books pretty much everywhere. My total sales for that period on those other sites amounted to $3.45. All the clamoring to have my books made available for the Nook resulted in $3.00 of that $3.45. Now when people ask me when it will be back on B&N I tell them, I don't know, but I do have a paperback available, if they are interested.

Another reason folks are hating Amazon lately is that reviews of their books are being removed, especially 5-star ones written by other authors. On B&N, I only had one review, and it was a good one, that I lost when I pulled my books. The rest of mine are on Amazon. I haven't experienced the removal of reviews as I don't believe any were written by other authors. Apparently being "unpopular" and not in the "indie clique" does have its advantages. I wish Amazon would remove some of the one-star ones as they were written by people who didn't even read the entire book. My most recent review after the freebie was a 3-star entitled "Good" and left by someone who, duh, duh, duh, wait for it...didn't read the book yet, but plans to! Sigh.

And that's one of the biggest problems with giving your book away free -- negative reviews. Since folks seem to have a problem with the "f word" based on past reviews after a freebie, this time at the end of the book description I made sure to let folks know there was language they may deem inappropriate, in the hopes they'll just skip over my book. Hopefully they have. Even though I haven't gotten many reviews yet, I have noticed that the "like" number on  Amazon's page has increased, so I'm happy with that.

How long with this slow trickle of sales for Fractured Facade last? I have no idea, but it's better than the no trickle from B&N, Apple, Kobo & Smashwords. I really hope that some folks will consider buying, or better yet, borrowing, my short story, "The Valentine's Day Curse" also exclusive on Amazon, as the royalty for borrowing a 99cent short is better than the sale.

Sorry to those folks who are Amazon haters, but I'm not in that can't argue the numbers.


After I wrote this post this morning I noticed a new 5-star review from someone who downloaded the freebie..."I loved this book, couldn't put it down. I felt that I really got to know the author and her characters. They were like family by the time I finished. I didn't want the book to end. I got this book as a freeie and I can say I wasn't disappointed. I have looked up her blog and plan on becoming a regular visitor. I don't like short stories, but I may even check out her short story "The Valentine's Day Curse". Great job and please keep it up!!"

Just had to share that...thank you Luv to Read!

Saturday, December 1, 2012

The Dog Toy Tree

Still can't believe the crock I was handed about how small Bella would stay. "Oh you'll be able to take her everywhere...She can fit in your purse!" Purse? Yeah, maybe if my purse is on wheels and I can roll it. Look at the size of her. She's bigger than that 15 pound turkey she's trying to steal...

She's longer than the 13-gallon garbage can she's trying to pick...

But the girl says she's still light enough for her to be able to hold, so it's all good. Well, not all good.

Look how tiny and innocent she looks here when she was first introduced to the Christmas tree.

Within hours she came to the conclusion that the Christmas Tree was clearly a gift to her...a personal Dog Toy Tree.

What? I'm not doing anything...

After either chasing the ball ornaments, or chewing the other ones, they usually wind up on her chaise.

I figured she needed some sort of a chewing substitute, so bought her a bag of some chicken rawhide things which she loves, and serves as a distraction.

The problem now is that when she tries to hide it, (she must think I steal them and eat them when she's not looking) she has deemed the Dog Toy Tree as the best place.

It isn't.