This post has been sitting in my draft folder for almost 2 months.  I click back to it every week or so, finding myself staring at my screen in doubt.  It’s one of those emotional posts that I always hesitate to click “publish”.  After all, I know people who have lost a daughter, sister, husband, father, son, grandfather this year.  It seems perhaps innapropriate to wallow in pity over the loss of a very sick 12 year old Chihuahua.    But recently, my friend Kim had to put her beloved LuLu to sleep, and I thought it maybe it is time to revisit this post.   I hereby declare it is ok to be sad about missing a dog, even in the midst of others suffering worse pain.  To Rosie and LuLu, together may you be drinking bacon grease from the doggie dishes on the Rainbow Bridge! You are so very missed.

12 years ago, I dragged my reluctant (on a lot of levels) Then Boyfriend/Now Husband into Haines City, Florida, looking to acquire a prized pedigree white tea cup chihuahua as a companion for Meester Fernandez, my very cranky chi purchased from a bucolic town in Georgia 2 years prior.  As the internet presented, I was under the assumption we were going to an esteemed breeder. Instead, we stumbled into a trailer park with 88 chihuahuas stuffed into 3 metal crates presided over by a lady with an overstuffed doll collection and a decades younger boyfriend.  To this day, I still regret not calling the authorities.

While we were presented the 1 lb “Brenda’s Beguiled Beastly Love”, who I initally inquired about and who was lying on a satin pillow in a baby crib, (YES THIS PLACE WAS UBER CREEPY) I couldn’t help but notice a crate in the kitchen with a few dejected puppies.  When I inquired, I was told those pups were unfit for sale- runts,rejects, deformities, etc.  When I asked her what would become of them, she whipped her greasy, wiry ankle length braid over her shoulders and gave me a “whatever” face.  I looked hard at My Then Boyfriend/Now Husband.  There was a tiny puppy in the corner…she was whimpering, had a gash on her side, and mites were crawling out of her ears.  I don’t know much but I knew then we had to take her and save her from becoming chihuahua potpie.

And save her, we did.  Every day was a gift – she went to the vet in Tampa, and I was scolded for buying her from a puppy mill. The normal inoculations sent her to the ER as she filled up like a puffer fish and needed Benadryl to get through the night.  Ever tear your ACL?  Well, Rosie blew out three of four and we never go them fixed.  Named after the protagonist in the Springsteen song Rosalita, she took on that artist’s penchant for blue collar strife – seemed like every day was really a gift as this dog was always up against it in the early days….

… forward 11 mostly glorious years ….three kids have shown up, and all she did was kiss and love all over them….never once losing her cool….

After a recent rapid weight loss and near constant thirst, the formerly obese Rosie was diagnosed with diabetes during the Thanksgiving holiday in 2013.  The day of her diagnosis, I tearfully made a promise to care for her as an atonement for the neglect she suffered as each new baby popped into our lives.  I spent the following 11 months dutifully giving her twice daily insulin shots which left her yelping in agony and always flinching when she heard me coming to fetch her in the laundry room.  And now I was the scary monster from whom my dog cowered.

Her anxiety level, which was always high, skyrocketed in the beginning of the summer.  We started hearing repeated ramming on the laundry room door at 4 AM.  Over and over again.  Rosie was ramming her head into the door to get out.  I would rush downstairs to let her out, to just watch her amble back onto her bedding.  Our compassionate and wonderful veterinarian (by the way- what veterarian have you met that isn’t an amazing human being?) told us that was a sign of the beginning stages of doggie dementia.  On top of diabetes. On top of blindness, on top of just being a severly nervous dog.

How agonizing for her.

I had to make a choice on her behalf.  A choice that I avoided making at Thanksgiving.   But we I waited.  I knew she was never going to recover, but the fact that I was deciding to extend or cease her life was a burden to my conscience.  And it had to be my call, because Rosie was truly The Husband’s dog…

The morning we called the vet to bring her in, I intended to spend the day holding and caring for her.  Telling her how loved she was, thanking her for always adoring the next baby I brought home, giving away that one more slice of our love and attention.  It was easier to sit at my kitchen table and look at her as she lay sunning herself.  I remembered how she loved the backyard sun of our Tampa house and the warm saltillo tiles.  How I emailed my mother-in-law every day of our honeymoon checking in on her and Meester dog.  How nothing made her more happy than hearing The Husband come home- well, maybe bacon grease poured over her dog food.  How she tried to attack the armadillos that used to nose around our shubbery in Tallahassee during her last patrol of the evening.  For the record, she hated snow the most.

As torturous as the decision to put our pet down was, the process was completely peaceful.  She would be the last appointment of the day.   She was given an overdose of barbiturates, and before the plunger was even halfway down, she was gone – in the arms of The Husband.  It happens so fast and all at once, I lost control of the situation.  Rosie was gone.


The Husband, My Dad and I buried her at my parents’ Pet Cemetary (of course they have one), wrapped in The Middle’s favorite green tattered shirt, right inbetween Luca and Bear, much more ferocious dogs who are helping her defeat the evil armadillos that may be lurking at the Rainbow Bridge.

Rosie lived a great life, considering how unfortunate it began.  In retrospect, I wish I had the courage to end her pain earlier than I did, but feel solace in the fact that she is at peace.


Put Some Klass in Your Christmas; A 5 Step How-To Guide

After 14 years of constant sunshine in the state of Florida I made the questionable decision to return to my hometown in suburban Philadelphia. Although I am pretty sure I may be suffering from a mild case of seasonal depression, I still look forward to the Christmas holiday when I can embarrass my neighbors by decorating my home like I am contestant on TLC’s Invasion of the Christmas Lights.

If you want to set your house apart you have to take several crucial steps. I have compiled them in what I refer to as the Colley-Holgate Family Christmas Extravaganza.

  1. You need a staff.  

Staff is crucial to the expedition of this project. ENTHUSIASTIC staff. Luckily, mine comes in the form of The Husband and my-over-eager-people-pleaser- firstborn.  If you possess neither of these types of people, there are overly expensive landscaping companies you can pay to decorate.

  1.  Forget the white lights.

Embrace trashy. The secret lies in diversity.  While Target is the place to go for twinkly, purple LED strings of blinking icicle lights, you are going to have to frequent a few more joints if you want some real nitty gritty old skool illumination.  Where else can you purchase “Merry Brite” glitter candles but on the dusty back shelf of aisle 8 at CVS?  Think outside the box: Walgreens, Costco, the Christmas section at Boscov’s.  SPRING YARD SALES! Bingo. Know what is hanging on my backyard fireplace? A set of red chili pepper string lights purchased from a drug store in Tallahassee, Florida 10 years ago.

  1. Fake spray snow. 

Remember that fake spray snow of yonder year they used to sell at Kmart?  (My mother used to find me sniffing the snow-encrusted pine needles).  Guess what, doll? THEY STILL MAKE IT.  Buy cans of it and turn your pristine Evergreen into a chemical laden flurried tree looking as if it was shipped in from Switzerland.

  1. Tinsel. 

Here. There. Everywhere. BOOM.  Bonus points for purple with gold strands weaved throughout.

  1. Large inflatables and plastic characters.

We have yet to purchase the nativity inflatables, but rock pretty much every available kind. The plastic 4 foot Snow men might be harder to come by, I found ours in my cousin Amy’s attic. The kids in your ‘hood will be sure to envy your Spongebob and R2D2 flapping in the wind, and that neighbor across the way who is only allowed to put up and extra large wreath will surely be jealous of your A Christmas Story Leg Lamp…


Happy Decorating!

The Hyphenista

We Go Live @ 5!

In an effort to rebel against the local souless homes framed in mundane white lights , with doors adorned with handmade evergreen wreaths weaved with burlap ribbon freshly cut from sacks gathered the local organic farm…BEHOLD… we give you….


Click on the video below to get a sliver of what is in store.  It all began with the chili pepper lights, purchased on fine Saturday in 2001 at the Walmart on North Thomasville Road in our second hometown of Tallahassee, Florida.


Through the years, we have evolved.  During our last Christmas in Tallahassee, a photo of our home even made it into the Tallahassee Democrat.  Inflatables have come and gone – we tearfly bid adieu to at least one a year –  and now the collection is brimming at 19.  With the exception of the chili peppers, all C9’s and regular string lights  have gone the way of the DoDo to give birth to the new era of THE LED LIGHTS!

You may think a Colonial Christmas motif may be lovely (booooring with a Capital B), but it’s really not as fun as having a blown up leg lamp on your front yard and seizure inducing snowflakes blinking in the windows of your guest room.

So, while Santa will be filling our children’s stockings with bananas and coupons in order to pay for December’s electricity bill, at least we have the multi- colored twigs trees to admire all month!

Finally, no, of course we do not have a Homeowner’s Assocation and a big, sheepish thanks to the neighbor’s for not calling the EPA.

Stay tuned for open house times for “Hot Chocolate Night”…


Dear NFL Marketing Yahoos,

Sirs, I am sure you are on the receiving end of plenty of opinions and advice from people who actually know what they are talking about, but this very opinionated semi-housewife who rolls in tattered yoga pants and occasionally serves as a Sunday School Teacher sub has an earful for ya.

I am crossing a delicate line here, people.

So, yes, while the throwback uniform idea was a cool idea, for say, the San Diego chargers (who doesn’t like a lightening bolt) , who decided that the Greenbay Packers should wear nudie pants?  Adding to my zero credibility is the confession that I don’t really care or know anything about football.  You say Aaron Rogers and I just tilt my head like the RCA dog.  I just happened to be at my parents house yesterday afternoon whildst the Packers brought the beatdown on the Eagles and I just couldn’t peel my eyes away from the nudie pants.  Firstly, I thought my eyes were deceiving me as the players didn’t look like they were wearing pants.  At all.


So, here are my top 5 reasons, in no particular order, of why these Packer nudie pants need nixing:

5.  They resemble Depression era ladies hosiery.

4.  They resemble 70’s era, Studio 54 ladies hosiery.

3.   Viewers should not be able to so clearly see jock straps and leg hairs while watching a football game.

2.  While wearing such dastardly pants, they destroyed the Eagles. So, while I don’t care about football, everyone else in my family    does.  Cranky family. Blame the pants!

1. MAN PARTS.  Someone had some slippage issues.

I have very few talents that could generate profit, but surely you could use me on your payroll.  We all need someone to recongize and say “for all that is good and pure in this world, no nudie football pants!”  Do you not have someone in the cubes that could have brought this to light?


Disturbed Hybrid in The Frozen Tundra

Dear Snow,

If there ever was a need for a middle finger emoji to be created (has there been? did I miss it??), ’tis tonight.  Our worst fears are realized as we glance out of our windows and watch you gain speed and accumulate on our freshly raked leaf piles.  Yes, leaf piles.  No.No.No.No.No.No.NOOOOOOOOOO.  We are despondent.  Half of the desiduous trees still dangle with gold, orange and red leaves.  You, YOU have  made your first unwelcomed appearance in the 2014/15 winter…on November 13th.  It’s awful early for you to leave a dusting, don’t you think? We beg of you, be brief, be bold, be gone!


Case in point:

*  We still have Jack O’Lanterns on the front porch, with just a titch of rot

*  The mums are still alive

*  Thanksgiving is still so far into the future that no one has stocked up on jellied cranberry from the can yet

*  No one has remembered to restock all of the batteries used last winter.. or replaced the candles, matches, or lanterns

*  Rock salt?  What rock salt?


Really, it wasn’t until summer that we all recovered from The Worst Winter …Ever.  If we weren’t in therapy before, you sent us there last winter.  Snow day after snow day, no escaping the double digit inches you poured upon our rooftops and driveways. You even had the nerve to kill the power lines a few times leaving us shivering and unable to turn on the Wii.  And there we were- stuck inside, with no escape from …OUR CHILDREN.  We.need.more.time.  More time to prepare for what beholds us this winter, the threat of faster, thicker, more SNOW.

Therefore, pure white driven Snow, please melt what you have expelled to earth into the ground and contain yourself in the atmosphere for just a little bit longer.

Love ‘N Stuff,

Mothers Living in the Tri State Area

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