Posts Tagged ‘golden retriever’

ABBA: The Iconic Band, The Dog, & The Six Degrees of Separation

ABBA — those four letters are iconic!

Yet, for me, they have an added, special meaning.

If you follow me on social media or if you’ve regularly read my blog over the years, “ABBA” instantly makes you think of my beautiful late golden retriever.

If you’re seeing this from anywhere else across the world, the four letters, “ABBA”, instantly identifies one of biggest and the best musical acts ever!

My love of Agnetha, Anni-Frid, Benny, and Bjorn inspired me to name my dog ABBA and it’s the inspiration for today’s blog — a love letter to the foursome and a big “Thank You For The Music” and for the memories!

As I get into the meat and potatoes of today’s blog, I’ll be sharing a few personal stories that connect me to ABBA — the super group and the dog!

This was my dinner in Gothenburg, Sweden in 2017, which is where Bjorn was born and a city that played a big part in ABBA’s musical history. (Okay, that’s a slight deviation there, but I said this was going to be personal!) ūüôā


We’re not quite there yet, but it’s mind-boggling to think that we’re approaching the 50th anniversary of ABBA’s world domination!

They scored their first Swedish hit, “People Need Love”, in the summer of 1972 as “Bj√∂rn & Benny, Agnetha & Anni-Frid”, then recorded “Ring Ring” for the 1973 Eurovision Song Contest.

But, it was winning Eurovision the next year, in 1974, with “Waterloo” that propelled ABBA to international fame!

I still listen to ABBA’s music regularly and it brings me just as much joy today as it has over my lifetime!

However, I was inspired to share my stories and my love of Agnetha, Bjorn, Benny, and Frida (Anni-Frid) after reading Carl Magnus Palm’s 2001 biography called, “Bright Lights, Dark Shadows: The Real Story of ABBA”, which sat on my bookshelf for almost two decades!

Crazy, right?

What a great read! Check it out!

Growing up in the southern United States (Kentucky) in the early-1970s, I was country when country wasn’t cool!

I was still infatuated with Tanya Tucker, while my teenage cousins (our summer baby sitters) were dancing around to the Carpenters, Olivia Newton-John, and ABBA. But, I was slowly coming around to pop music!

Somehow I acquired the 45 rpm single “SOS” and I was hooked on ABBA!

It was just two years earlier that I bought my first pop single, “Delta Dawn” by Helen Reddy, at the age of eight!

And, just as I was getting on the ABBA bandwagon as a fan, the international super group was coming undone and were calling it quits.

In the summer of 1980, they released the single, “The Winner Takes It All”.

It was the lead single from the upcoming November album, “Super Trouper”, with Agnetha singing lead.

While Bjorn says the song is about divorce and it’s fiction, he and Agnetha divorced early that year.

Yet, that wasn’t the end. The group would release what would become their last studio album, “The Visitors”, in November 1981.

The lead single in America was “When All Is Said And Done” with Frida singing lead.

Like “The history book on the shelf/Is always repeating itself”, Frida and Benny ended their relationship and divorced earlier in the year!

With both couples in ABBA divorced, new relationships pursued, and outside musical ventures already underway, there was no reason for the band to make new music together.


While they hadn’t charted on the American singles charts since early 1983, the world would experience an ABBA-renaissance a decade later!

It started in the summer of 1992, when my favorite English pop group of the 1980s, Erasure, released “Abba-esque”.

That four-song EP featured remakes of the ABBA hits, “Lay All Your Love on Me”, “SOS”, “Take a Chance on Me”, and “Voulez-Vous”.

The duo scored an American Top 10 Dance Club Songs hit with “Take a Chance on Me”.

An ABBA revival was just getting underway and was ready to sweep the world!

After eight studio albums and countless compilation and greatest hits albums in the 1970s and 1980s, the real ABBA was ready to claim their rightful place again in music history.

“ABBA Gold: Greatest Hits”, featuring 19 of the group’s biggest hits, was released in September 1992.

It has gone on to sell more than 30 million copies worldwide making it the best-selling ABBA album ever!

In the spring of 1994, I was getting ready to make the biggest (and best) decision of my life.

I was moving from my small hometown of Mayfield, Kentucky (population around 10,000) to Chicago, the third largest city in the U.S. This move would lead to my career as a television meteorologist and it opened the world of international travel to me.

That spring, while packing to move, “ABBA Gold” was on repeat and the song I remember most vividly was “Knowing Me, Knowing You”.


After the international success of the Erasure album and “ABBA Gold”, the band’s profile would be raised even more in 1994 and 1995 with the release of two Australian dramedies — “The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert” and “Muriel’s Wedding”.

In “Priscilla”, the movie centers around three drag queens on a cross country trip across the Australian Outback. One of the queens is obsessed with ABBA and two of them perform “Mamma Mia”.

In “Muriel’s Wedding”, socially awkward Muriel spends much of her time fantasizing about a glamorous wedding to get out of Porpoise Spit, Australia, by listening to ABBA (and 1970s music)!

Like in “Priscilla”, Muriel and her friend, Rhonda, perform an ABBA number. They choose “Waterloo”!

After seeing “Muriel’s Wedding” in 1995, I decided that my next dog would be named “ABBA”.

That became a reality in the summer of 2000, when I got my golden retriever. And, yes she was named ABBA!

October 2011

With their chart domination and stardom in the 1970s and with “ABBA Gold” and those two Australian movies in the 1990s, the world already had two chances to fall in love with iconic group.

However, the music of ABBA was getting ready to conquer another entertainment staple and a whole new audience!


The musical “MAMMA MIA!”, featuring a story line based around the music of ABBA, opened in London in April 1999. Almost a year later, it made its North American debut in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

My personal connection with the musical: Before it opened on Broadway in the fall of 2001, it played at the Cadillac Palace Theatre in Chicago that summer, where I first saw it.

Since we got to the venue early, we stopped in at Dunkin’ Donuts, right around the corner. And, you’ll never guess who was standing right in front of me?

It was Louise Pitre, who was playing Donna in Chicago and would originate the role on Broadway! I so wish I had said “hello”, but I let her be!

Pitre earned a Tony nomination in 2002 in the Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role category!

Worldwide, since 1999, based on limited available data, ‘MAMMA MIA!”, the musical, has grossed almost $2.1 billion (yes, that’s BILLIONS)!!!


In the summer of 2008, the movie version of “Mamma Mia!” with Meryl Streep in the lead role became an international blockbuster bringing in $615.7 million at the box office.

It spawned a successful sequel in 2018, “Mamma Mia!: Here We Go Again” ($395 million).

There’s even talk of a third movie that may feature new ABBA music!

And, before I share my ten favorite ABBA songs, I have the ultimate connection to the group as if naming your dog after them, isn’t enough. ūüôā

It’s like “life imitates art” or “imitation is the sincerest form of flattery”!

In late 2016, being the planner that I am, a trip to Scandinavia was booked for August 2017 to see much of Norway, some of Sweden, and Copenhagen, Denmark (loved it)!

However, in early 2017, my ex and I decided to end our eight-year relationship, but the big down payment on the Scandinavian trip was already paid!

So, in true ABBA fashion — the band with their last two albums and us with our trip — we honored our commitment to travel together even as divorced or separated couples!

That was us in Gothenburg, Sweden.

We parted amicably with fond and beautiful memories of Norway, Sweden, and Denmark!


Okay, let’s kick off the countdown with a little ABBA chart trivia.

Ironically, Australia was one of the ABBA’s biggest success stories, while the U.S. was one of their biggest disappointments! It’s no secret that the band didn’t enjoy touring and that’s vital to success in America!

On the Billboard Hot 100 chart in the United States, ABBA scored 14 Top 40 hits.

Of those, four reached the Top Ten (“Waterloo” #6, 1974; “Dancing Queen” #1, 1977; “Take a Chance on Me” #3, 1978; and “The Winner Takes It All” #8, 1980).

Shockingly, in the U.S., “Dancing Queen” was the band’s only #1 song on the Hot 100. Yet, when you add in sales and other variables, “Take a Chance on Me” was their biggest hit in America!


I narrowed this list down to 23 songs and it was so hard cutting it down to just my ten favorites!


INTERESTING TIDBIT: Original working title was “Boogaloo”!


INTERESTING TIDBIT: ABBA rarely allows artists to sample their music, but Madonna was permitted to use the instrumental introduction of this ABBA hit in her #1 2005 smash “Hung Up”!





INTERESTING TIDBIT: Originally recorded for a Frida solo album!

INTERESTING TIDBIT #2: Spent a record setting 14 weeks at #1 in Australia!



INTERESTING TIDBIT: Original working title was “Tango”!





INTERESTING TIDBIT: Considered as Agnetha’s first “heartbreak classic”!

INTERESTING TIDBIT #2: I still think Pierce Bronson should be sued for slaughtering (not slaying) the song in the “Mamma Mia!” movie! ūüė¶ ūüôā

Now that you know my favorite ABBA songs and my history with the band, I have one more confession to make… as a teenager, I had the biggest crush on Benny!

Thank you for taking the time to ready my love letter to ABBA. What are you favorite ABBA songs or memories?


With all the craziness in the world, make it the best in your little part of it!


Random Friday Thoughts — June 10, 2016

We’re moving closer to the official start of summer, but this is going to be the hottest weekend in the Quad Cities since last September. ¬†I’ll definitely be floating in the pool with a cold beverage!

Great response and feedback to last week’s “Random Friday Thoughts”, so let’s jump right into this week’s edition.


It’s been more than four years since superstar Whitney Houston died, but in his new book, “Every Little Step”, ex-husband Bobby Brown confirms a longstanding rumor about Houston.

As I wrote in a blog in early 2013, there was always speculation that Whitney was in an intimate relationship with her personal assistant, Robyn Crawford.

Whitney Robyn

In that blog, Whitney’s mother, Cissy Houston denied it.

However, in his new book, Brown says that Whitney was bisexual and that she and Crawford were in a longtime relationship.

Brown writes, “I really feel that if Robyn was accepted into Whitney‚Äôs life, Whitney would still be alive today.” He goes on to say that Whitney didn’t have any close friends after Crawford.

It’s sad to think that if that’s true and she had been accepted for who she was, she might still be with us.

You can read my blog about her mother’s views on Whitney’s sexuality and relationship with Crawford by clicking this link.¬† (It’ll open in a new window and you won’t lose your place in today’s blog.)

One last thing — Bobby Brown, please don’t continue to mine Whitney and Bobbi Kristina’s deaths for your personal financial gain. ¬†Let them R.I.P. after this.



Those 115-thousand-plus Hillary retweets and likes were just in the first hour!

On the other hand, Donald Trump’s comment had 100-thousand less retweets and only 26-thousand likes in the same time period!

Oh Snap!


While things didn’t work out for Senator Bernie Sanders in the 2016 Democratic race for president and he did get testy and borderline rude toward the end of the primary and caucus season, I commend him on the fight and the awareness of the broken system he brought to this year’s race for the White House.

APTOPIX DEM 2016 Debate

After meeting with President Obama Thursday, Sanders told reporters he would “work as hard as I can to make sure that Donald Trump does not become president of the United States”, which he said would be a “disaster”.

He also said, “I look forward to meeting with (Clinton) in the near future to see how we can work together to defeat Donald Trump and to create a government which represents all of us and not just the 1%.”

Here’s to unity and the political demise of Trump!


House Speaker Paul Ryan (Mitt Romney’s 2012¬†vice presidential¬†running mate) this week said that 2016 Republican presumptive nominee Donald Trump made¬†“a textbook definition of a racist comment” about U.S.¬†District Judge Gonzalo Curiel.

Trump claims that because Curiel is of Mexican heritage he can’t preside over Trump’s case fairly because the likely GOP presidential candidate wants to build a wall between the U.S. and Mexico.


But, Ryan¬†still says he’ll be voting for Trump in November.

Nicely played, GOP!


Bretagne (pronounced “Brittany”), a 16-year-old golden retriever, crossed the “rainbow bridge” earlier this week in Houston, Texas.


She’s the last known surviving canine hero who searched the rubble of “Ground Zero” after the 9/11 terrorist attacks on September 11,¬†2001.

“The Daily Golden” reports that her owner and handler noticed that Bretagne wasn‚Äôt eating (her favorite thing) and she knew something was wrong.

On Monday, members of the Texas Task Force 1 and the Cy-Fair Volunteer Fire Department greeted Bretagne as she entered the veterinarian’s office for the last time.

Goodbye Bretagne.jpg

She was later brought out draped in an American flag while her admirers still stood saluting.

An autopsy is being conducted since the American Kennel Club Canine Health Foundation is conducting a study of all 9/11 search and rescue dogs.

I don’t often tear up when writing my blogs, but I did with this entry.


Last week, I talked about the Cincinnati Zoo incident that led to the shooting death of a 17-year-old silverback gorilla after a 3-year-old child crawled into the animal’s exhibit.

Hamilton County prosecutor Joseph T. Deters announced earlier this week that no charges would be brought against the little boy’s mother stating she¬†“did not act in any way where she presented this child to some harm. She had three other children with her and turned her back.”

Deters added, “The zoo lost a beautiful animal and one that many people in this area have enjoyed watching for some time.” ¬†But, he continued, “it’s still an animal”.

He stated that zoo officials are “heartsick” and “on so many levels, this is a tragedy.”


If you’re a big YouTuber or an avid “American Idol” fan, you might know 31-year-old singer-dancer-choreographer-actor-director Todrick Hall.

If not, let me share with you a soon to be masterpiece. ¬†Hall blends together two of my favorites into seven minutes of pure bliss — Britney Spears and “Beauty and the Beast”.

So, until Britney drops her new single “Make Me (Oooh)” in July and the album this fall and the live-action version of “Beauty and the Beast” arrives in theaters next spring (more on that below), this will be on repeat on my computer.



Confused over the whole controversy of allowing transgender Americans to use the bathroom of their gender identity and not their sex?


If you haven’t been following the story, North Carolina put into place “House Bill 2, the Public Facilities Privacy & Security Act” which bans people from using public bathrooms that do not correspond to their biological sex in late March 2016.

The Department of Justice alerted the state’s Governor and the University of North Carolina system that this is a violation of the U.S. Civil Rights Act.

In just the first month after “House Bill 2” was announced, tourism and hospitality took a $77 million hit in investments and visitor spending with cancelled concerts, TV and movie production, and many state and city governments refusing to travel to North Carolina.


You don’t have to be a country music fan to think the world of Dolly Parton because of her open-mindedness and honesty.


While Dolly didn’t cancel the opening night of her “Pure & Simple Tour” in Greensboro, North Carolina last Friday night, she definitely has something to say about the transgender community and the controversy.

This appeared on CNN Money’s Facebook page last Friday.

Kudos Dolly!


Pop icon Cyndi Lauper, Broadway and movie star Harvey Fierstein, and the cast of Broadway’s “Kinky Boots” have an entertaining and thought-provoking look at the whole bathroom debate with “Just Pee”.

What are your thoughts on the matter?


We’re already six months into the year and I still haven’t gone to the movies yet.¬† I had planned on seeing “Money Monster”, but that never materialized.

Last year, it was December before Ray and I finally went to the theater and we saw “Krampus”.

This will all change October 7th when “The Girl on the Train” hit multiplexes with Emily Blunt.

The Girl on the Train

If you’re not familiar with it, get on board and read the thriller.

In Paula Hawkins’ 2015 worldwide best seller, “Rachel is an alcoholic, divorced woman who becomes obsessed with a couple she sees on a regular basis from the train she takes into London.¬† One day, she sees something strange that will trigger a series of events that will have you feverishly turning the pages to see what‚Äôs real, what‚Äôs not, and what really happened. ¬†It‚Äôs a page turner until the end!”¬† (That’s what I had to say about the book last July.)

Here’s the movie trailer.

After finishing the book last summer, here’s a blog I posted with my dream cast.¬† Needless to say, Hollywood didn’t listen.¬† But, I do love Emily Blunt.


“Beauty and the Beast” is my favorite Disney movie ever!¬† I absolutely adore Belle!


I honestly grew up in Kentucky as the male “Belle”.¬† In Mayfield, where I was born and raised, I felt like Belle in the “poor provincial town” — just waiting to get out there and I’ve been gone 26 years now!

I’ve been very protective of the 1991 “Best Picture” Oscar-nominated original.¬† I haven’t seen the musical, but I’d like to one day.

When the direct-to-video sequel, “Beauty and the Beast: The Enchanted Christmas” arrived in 1997, I bought it only because it was Christmas-themed.¬† It was enjoyable.

Two summers ago, a live-action version of the film was announced for a March 2017 release date starring Emma Watson of the “Harry Potter” series and “The Perks of Being a Wallflower”.

I was elated and scared at the the same time.¬† Now, after seeing the first trailer, I can’t wait until March 17, 2017 arrives!

The trailer has been viewed almost 16 million times already in just over two weeks!


American singer-songwriter Meghan Trainor blasted on the music scene with her chart-topping single, “All About That Bass”. ¬†That song stayed #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 for eight weeks and was downloaded more than 9 million times in the U.S. alone!

“Bass” also won two Billboard Music Awards in 2015 and in 2016, Trainor picked up a Grammy Award for “Best New Artist”.

She’s now added three more Top Ten hits on the Hot 100 (“Lips Are Movin”, “Like I’m Gonna Lose You” (with John Legend), and “No”).

While I thought her music was cute, I didn’t jump on the “Bass” band wagon.

However, I do like “Marvin Gaye”, a duet with Charlie Puth.

I fell in love with Meghan after her smoking hot performance of her new song on Jimmy Fallon’s show. ¬†I probably wouldn’t have noticed it if she hadn’t fallen off her high heels after the incredible performance.

But, it was the style and class she exhibited when she fell that endeared her to me. ¬†And, the song, “Me Too”, is now one of my favorites. ¬†It’s such a fun “Song of the Year” contender.

“Me Too” is already a Top Ten hit in Australia and Canada and is currently one of the twenty most played songs on American Top 40 radio.


There’s already speculation as to what will be 2016’s “Song of the Summer” (Memorial Day to Labor Day). Justin Timberlake’s “Trolls” movie song, “Can’t Stop The Feeling!”, is a front-runner.

“Billboard” magazine just released its Top Ten songs of each summer dating back to 1985.

Flashing back thirty years to 1986, Madonna had the “Song of the Summer” with “Papa Don’t Preach”. ¬†I remember so well getting ready on Saturday nights and heading out to “Club DV8” jamming to this song.


I have nothing new to report on the talented English actor!


However, if you haven’t checked out the mini-series “London Spy” or the movie, “Lilting”, stop wasting time and do so now!


Well, this has been fun and I already have some thoughts for next week. ¬†I didn’t want you to have to read all day!

As always, thank you for checking out my thoughts and I always welcome yours — as long as you’re diplomatic if we disagree.

Until next week, peace, love and understanding!



How Can Two Years Seem Like Forever & Yesterday?

Time.¬† There’s so much of it, but we never really have enough of it in life.


In song, there’s “Time After Time”, “Time (Clock Of The Heart), “Time Is On My Side”, “Does Anybody Really Know What Time It Is”, “I’ve Had The Time of My Life” and “If I Could Turn Back Time”.

If I could turn back time, like Cher, would I go back 731 days (or roughly 17,544 hours) to February 3, 2012, when I kissed you goodbye for the last time and held you as you took your last breath?


Or, would I go back 4,955 days or roughly 7.1 million minutes to July 11, 2000 and to that little country llama farm in Tuscarawas County, Ohio, where I said, “the first little girl golden retriever that walks over to me would become ‘ABBA’.”

ABBA July 2000

From the summer of 2000 when I ripped you away from your mother and father, Dolly and Fletcher, and all of your brothers and sisters when you were 7-weeks-old to that unseasonably warm, early February morning two years ago when I said my tear-filled last goodbyes to my best friend, we had a whirlwind life together.

We traveled from that farm and made our home in Youngstown, Ohio, Chicago, Illinois, Salisbury, Maryland, and Moline, Illinois.  We took road trips back to Ohio, to New York, to Kentucky, and to Ontario, Canada.


Miss ABBA, it’s been two years today since you traveled over the “rainbow bridge”.¬† I think about you a thousand times a day.¬† I say goodnight to you every night and I touch the urn that sits by my bed.¬† I’ve made peace with you not being here, but I know you’re looking down upon me and after me, just as I did for you for almost twelve years.

I no longer cry when thoughts of you cross my mind or I see a golden retriever walking down the street, on television, or in a magazine.  I smile and I think of how goofy you were and how much joy (and, on occasion, frustration) you brought me.

ABBAreenactmentABBA Christmas 2009   ABBAGAGA2011ABBAFashionShowJan2012

Our life together was filled with so much happiness and solitude.  You were aloof, but so observant.

I remember your first snow in Ohio when you were just months old.¬† You walked outside and barked at the snow-covered yard.¬† It wasn’t the brown, dead frozen grass you saw the night before when you went out before bedtime.¬† You loved the snow so much and I think of you every time the flakes start to fall.¬† You really would have loved this winter!

ABBA -- January 11, 2012ABBAsledding1252010 ABBAdemandingsled

I remember all those walks along Lake Michigan when most dogs were running with their people and you’d just sit and watch the world go by.¬† Or, when we’d go to granny’s house in Ohio after driving all day and the minute you were out of the car, you’d be in the pool or how you’d race from the car and into Spirit Lake when we’d visit Ray’s parents in northwestern Iowa.


I remember your apprehension at taking your first boat ride as an “old lady”, but then after that, you’d be standing at the boat waiting to go back out!

You were a sweetheart!¬† And, what a trooper.¬† After being diagnosed with cancer in late March 2011 and given two to three months to live without surgery, chemo, and radiation, you defied the odds.¬† Spring turned into summer, summer turned into fall, and fall back into winter.¬† You were there for our wedding and you were there to see it snow again and make “snow angels”.

It’s even hard to believe now that you were making snow angels and running down the snow-covered streets on that Saturday and then six days later you were gone.

However, I’m blessed that after making peace with your diagnosis and the short time we’d have left, we were blessed with ten more months together.

But, I’ll never forgot that last 24 hours when you took the turn for the worse and I knew it was time.¬† Lying on the bed as you snored loudly and I comforted you, instead of letting the tears flow, I let my thoughts pour out onto paper:

The fog hangs in the air shrouding the light, not only in the sky, but in your eyes

You look lost and just want to sleep with me close by your side

I listen to you breathe and each breath sounds deeper

Is it the end or just a peaceful sleep

As I caress your neck and shoulder blades,

You snore even louder as I try harder to hold back the tears

I don’t want you to hear me cry,

I want you to let go and not fight for me

You’ve been there for me all your life

And I want to be there for you now, my love.

My best friend


You found peace and comfort in life, except in thunderstorms or when you heard fireworks.¬† It took me some time find that peace after you went to “puppy heaven”, but the reflections of our life together is as beautiful now as it is in this picture of you in Ohio.

While I may celebrate birthdays with Madonna in Las Vegas or dinner in Paris, I’ll never forget that last warm birthday in 2011 when we got to spend all day outside playing together.


And, that last Halloween of you in our makeshift graveyard will live on with me with the tattoo I got a couple of months after you went away.

ABBA Inspiration For TattooAnthony ABBA Tattoo

ABBA, I may not be able to hold you and kiss you, but you’re always with me.¬† Thank you, my friend, for everything.


Daddy A

May 22, 2000-February 3, 2012

Happy Birthday! Let’s Have Cake!

It’s a very special birthday for me today.¬† It’s not my actual birthday.¬† That’s in October.

My blog turns two years old today!  Happy Birthday!


I want to thank each and every one of you that took minutes of your day to read my thoughts regardless of the subject.¬† And, I also want to thank you for sharing your views on my blog whether you agreed or disagreed with me on the topic.¬† I love to write and share my thoughts and if it gets people to think, that’s even better.

Here are a few interesting numbers.¬† I can’t believe that in the two years, the blog was viewed roughly 227,500 times.¬† If I had continued to blog daily over the past year since I started my new job and schedule, it would have easily surpassed a quarter of a million hits in the two years!¬† That’s incredible.

The most viewed blog day was last Saturday with details on the weekend snowstorm and this week’s Arctic cold outbreak (2,328 views).

Some of the more popular blogs that I’ve written¬†(in number of views) were about Adele’s weight and eating disorders, John Travolta coming out of the closet, Magic Mike, the Erie, Illinois school board’s decision to ban a book about alternative families (gay), my leaving WQAD, and then getting hired at CBS4 in the Quad Cities.

The most viewed blog over the two years (25,052 views) was about 50 Cent.


But, here are some of my favorite blogs I’ve shared with you.







adele out









As we head into the third year, I hope you come along with me to see what I might be writing about next.

You can also use the search at the top of blog page to look for topics that might interest you to see if I blogged about it.

Again, thank you.


Another Beautiful Golden Crosses The “Rainbow Bridge”

It’s now been a year since Miss ABBA crossed the “Rainbow Bridge” went to “puppy heaven”.¬† There isn’t a day that passes that I don’t think of her a thousand times a day.¬† However, time heals all heartache.¬† Now when I think of her, I smile and I think of her goofiness, her unconditional love, and those warm, greeting eyes, that smiling face, and her wagging tail.

I have many friends that have dealt with that same pain before and after Miss ABBA’s passing.¬† I know how you feel and I hope you smile now when you think of your four-legged baby that is now with Miss ABBA.

They all have a new friend to play with in heaven.

It appears that “Frankie”, Maroon 5 lead singer Adam Levine’s golden retriever crossed the “Rainbow Bridge” Thursday.

Adam Levine Frankie 2 Adam Levine Frankie 3

While Adam hasn’t made a public statement about his loss, the news is widespread on Frankie’s Facebook page and Twitter account.¬† Yes, the golden has both.¬† The life of a celebrity golden! ūüôā

Adam Levine and Frankie

Frankie, you were a beautiful girl on Earth and will be a sweet addition in heaven.  Say hello to Miss ABBA for me.

Frankie Levine

Seeing the pictures of Adam and Frankie warms my heart and to know that he got a tattoo (one of many on his beautiful body) of a paw print that has “Frankie Girl” under it was so touching..

Frankie Tattoo

It inspired me to get one of ABBA last spring after she left us.

Anthony ABBA Tattoo

And, Adam even wrote and recorded “Won’t Go Home Without You”, one of their radio hits from the “It Won’t Be Soon Before Long” album, about Frankie.

Frankie Tweet

Adam Levine Singing

Here are some of the lyrics about Frankie:

“I asked her to stay but she wouldn’t listen/She left before I had the chance to say”, “The taste of your breath, I’ll never get over/The noises that she made kept me awake”, and “Every night you cry yourself to sleep/Thinking “Why does this happen to me?/Why does every moment have to be so hard?”/Hard to believe that”

Frankie, have a blast with Miss ABBA and all those beautiful creatures that went before you.

Frankie 3.7.13

Adam, my heart goes out to you at this difficult time.


The C-word Is So Heartbreaking

The c-word is vile and disgusting.  And, sadly, it takes our loved ones everyday, whether they have two legs or four.

In 1978, I lost one of my best friends, my grandfather, John Henry Peoples, to cancer when I was only 13-years-old.

John Henry

And, just over a year ago, I lost my other best friend of almost 12 years, Miss ABBA, to cancer.¬† This picture was taken just weeks before she crossed over the “rainbow bridge”.¬† Miss ABBA fought the odds and led a courageous battle to live ten happy months after she was given only two to three months to live when she was diagnosed with cancer.

ABBA -- January 11, 2012

Sadly, cancer is the leading cause of death in golden retrievers.¬† If you’re a golden owner (or a dog of any breed), here are some of the possible signs of cancer you need to look for in your furry friend.

Golden Cancer

Although it may be too late for Miss ABBA, some exciting research is being done to find out why goldens are so prone to developing cancer.  One of the largest studies of its kind is being conducted in Colorado.

I found that story and the graphic of the possible tell-tale signs on a beautiful website called “The Daily Golden”.¬† Check it out!

One year ago, on February 6, 2012, just three days after losing Miss ABBA, I wrote a blog called “There Is A Heaven & I‚Äôll Be Going There One¬†Day”.¬† I want to share it with you again in case you missed it the first time.

Thank you for checking out today’s blog.


Your Memory Brings Less Tears & More Smiles One Year Later

Since February 3, 2012, 366 days, or 8,784 hours, or 527,040 minutes, or 3,1622,400 seconds have passed.¬† That’s easily measured.¬† However, in that same time period, I can’t count the number of times that I’ve thought about Miss ABBA.¬† It was one year ago today, after her courageous fight with cancer, that our beautiful golden walked over the “Rainbow Bridge” away from us and I lost my best friend of almost 12 years.

ABBAAnthonyBD20112009 Family Christmas

For those of you that followed Miss ABBA and our life in person, on Facebook, or in my blog, you know she led a spoiled, beautiful life.

If you’re unfamiliar, here’s some of what I wrote January 28, 2012:¬† In late March of 2011, I discovered a tumor on Miss ABBA that was unlike the ‚Äúfatty tissue‚ÄĚ tumors that are common in older, larger breed dogs.¬† Her veterinarian examined her and made arrangements to put her under to do x-rays.¬† He called and told me the x-ray confirmed his suspicions that the cancer had already started metastasizing.¬† He could remove it, but since it had spread to the lymph nodes, it would be a painful process that would require more surgeries to remove the lymph nodes, in addition to chemotherapy and radiation.

“Those surgeries and the recovery would take place over several painful months and it might buy Miss ABBA another year.¬† Without surgery, chemo, and radiation, she would live about two to three months.¬† I made the painful decision to let it be and make sure she had the most enjoyable two to three months on top of the wonderful almost 11 years we had already shared together.”

Spring turned into summer and Miss ABBA celebrated her 11th birthday.  Summer turned into fall and fall into winter and Miss ABBA was still around for our wedding, our reception, and her first snow of the winter of 2011-2012.

On the morning of January 28, 2012, Miss ABBA and I went on a walk and she enjoyed the 0.9″ of snow that had fallen overnight by making snow angels.

The next day, I noticed that her back leg had swollen several times its normal size and I called the doctor Monday.  After a visit, he confirmed that the lymph nodes were being attacked and that she probably would lose the fight this time.

Four days later (and ten months after being given two to three months to live without ever getting outwardly sick), Miss ABBA became disoriented on a walk.¬† As the day progressed, she became lethargic and slept the rest of the day and I knew the end was near.¬† While Ray was at work and Gretel was at school, I laid on the bed with her caressing my beautiful golden.¬† Lying there, I had to hold back the tears because I didn’t want her to be concerned with me and I knew that she would have looked up to see what was wrong.

I grabbed a notebook and just let these words spill onto the page without thinking about what I was writing:

ABBA letter 001

Here’s the translation if you can’t read my tear-stained letter or my handwriting!

ABBA: My Best Friend

The fog hangs in the air shrouding the light, not only in the sky, but in your eyes

You look lost and just want to sleep with me close by your side

I listen to you breathe and each breath sounds deeper

Is it the end or just a peaceful sleep

As I caress your neck and shoulder blades,

You snore even louder as I try harder to hold back the tears

I don’t want you to hear me cry,

I want you to let go and not fight for me

You’ve been there for me all your life

And I want to be there for you now, my love.

 ABBA SleepingABBA Afternoon Sunshine

After napping on the bed, she spent part of the afternoon on the sun porch allowing the golden rays of sunshine to warm her sleeping body.¬† That evening, I bought her one of her favorites, a McDonald’s double cheeseburger and she ate it like there was no tomorrow.¬† And, for her, there was only a few hours of tomorrow left!

ABBA Last Hamburger

After dinner, she went on a walk and was energetic and even carried my glove home.  I began to think that I was wrong for thinking the end was near.  However, her restlessness that night and not being able to walk the next morning confirmed that we had to make the decision not to let our baby girl suffer.

I told Gretel before she went to school to talk to Miss ABBA because she might not be there when she came home in the afternoon.¬† Once Gretel was at school, it was time for that fateful R-I-D-E.¬† I always had to spell the word “ride” because ABBA would get so excited to go anywhere in the car.¬† That morning, she had to be carried.

February 3 2012 Daddy A & ABBA

And, I held onto my baby when she went to sleep in my arms and she walked over the “Rainbow Bridge”.¬† Miss ABBA lived every day to the fullest and she would never have to worry about anything else on Earth.

One year later, I think of her many times every day.¬† Except for tearing up while writing this, I smile when I think of her now.¬† I miss her, but I’ve made peace with her absence.¬† Her urn still rests on my night stand by the bed.¬† I’m still not ready to put her in the curio cabinet with the urn of my chow chow, Keshia, that died in 1998.

Miss ABBA, you’re in our hearts and in our memories forever.¬† And, we even had a double cheeseburger last night for a snack and I’ll have one every February 2nd in your memory. ūüôā

Here is a video tribute I made for Miss ABBA.


Anthony, Ray, & Gretel


May 22, 2000-February 3, 2012

Look For The Silver Lining & Not The Cloud

This blog is not about weather.¬† However, I’m going to quickly mention it.¬† From a statistical standpoint, the middle of January is the coldest part of the winter.

Frosty Cold

This time of the year, you probably notice some people are more depressed.¬† It may have nothing to do with boyfriends or girlfriends, their life or lack of a life, or their financial situation.¬† Those people could not only be sad, but they could be suffering from “seasonal affective disorder”, or SAD.

Here’s what the Mayo Clinic says about it:¬† “a type of depression that occurs at the same time every year. If you’re like most people with seasonal affective disorder, your symptoms start in the fall and may continue into the winter months, sapping your energy and making you feel moody. Less often, seasonal affective disorder causes depression in the spring or early summer.”

Those people are excluded from what I’m talking about today.

Positive Thinking

I consider myself an “optimist”.¬† I always try to think that the best things will happen for me, my loved ones, and for mankind.¬† With that being said, I really consider myself a “realist”.¬† And, not only do I try to live my life that way, I’ll always tell you the way it is.¬† I’ve made people cry before and then I feel guilty.¬† Yes, I’ve made people cry!¬† I confess.

And, I shed tears, too.¬† Back at Murray State University, as a 20-year-old, I remember crying to “Can’t Fight This Feeling” by REO Speedwagon, and pining for a boy who out of my reach and wondering if I would ever find someone “like me”.¬† I can listen to that song now without being sad, but I still think back to those days in the mid-1980s.

I cried when my mother died 22 years ago and I remember the very dark years that followed.  The loss of my mother, turning down my first career job to move home, being single, and battling bulimia were great burdens and allowed little happiness in my life.

That was then and this is now.¬† That is why I’d never want to be in my 20s again and I sympathize with those trying to find themselves in their 20s.¬† I love my 40s and I can’t wait to see what my 50s bring in a couple of years.¬† Don’t do the math!¬†¬† Use the brain cells for something else. ūüôā

Cozumel December 22

This is a picture I took December 22, 2012, somewhere out in the western Caribbean after we left Cozumel and were cruising slowly back to reality.

When I see this, as I do in life, I see the sun breaking through the clouds.¬† Many people only see the clouds.¬† And, when you’re part of a mammoth social network like Facebook, you see “the clouds” a lot more in people’s posts.

I never want to paint it that my life is perfect.¬† It isn’t, but it’s mine.¬† I get agitated. I get bored.¬† And, that boredom, especially since I haven’t been working, leads to thinking — which sometimes makes me sad.


Additionally, it’s closing in on a year now since Miss ABBA crossed the “rainbow bridge” and left us.¬† I think of her a thousand times a day.¬† But, I don’t cry anymore about her.¬† I smile now thinking of that goofy golden.¬† I think of all of the wonderful days we had together.

When she first died, I thought about the times I had scolded her when she was bad.¬† And, it took me months to know that she needed to be disciplined at the time.¬† I don’t dwell on those times anymore.¬† I only think of the wonderful times we shared because that was our life.

Looking Ahead

I took this majestic picture on Spirit Lake two years ago.  Looking out over this frozen tundra made me realize that life is too short to dwell on all of the negatives in our life.  We all have them.  I have friends that are struggling to pay rent, feed their families, make utility payments, and I have some friends that would rather just be negative about any situation.

Tomorrow, I’m making a quick trip to Chicago to help an old friend that has destroyed their life by making a stupid decision two years ago.¬† This has resulted in losing their job and career, losing touch with their family, several run-ins with the Chicago Police Department, and now, financial ruin and depression.

I know going there tomorrow will not change anything for my friend.¬† My friend has to take responsibility.¬† No one else can do that for them.¬† When something bad happens to good people, it takes more energy to fight back than to accept defeat. I never want to know that I didn’t give it my all in life.¬† And, that’s why I’ll always smile through the tears.

I hope this quick trip to Chicago gives my friend the courage, the conviction, and the strength to fight.¬† If you’re in this situation, I hope you find that same courage, conviction, and strength.

As for me, I miss television and I miss forecasting weather.¬† It was so much fun to fill in for my old friend, Neil Kastor, and do radio weather the past three days for WSDR in Sterling, Illinois.¬† While I’m still angry at WQAD for their decision not to renew my contract, I know that something good is coming my way this spring.¬† I’ll wait out the storm and I’ll keep my positive attitude.

When it happens, you can call me Stefano DiMera, of “Days of Our Lives”.¬† That man has been killed off so many times and like the Phoenix, he rises from the flames.

ABBA December 2010

I want to live my life and I want my friends to live their lives like Miss ABBA.  This picture was taken three months before she was diagnosed with terminal cancer.  When she was given two to three months to live, we had the best two to three months living life to the fullest.  Those three months turned into ten months and she never wavered one day with sadness or sickness until the day before she died.

Miss ABBA, you’re my inspiration.

And, I hope I can relay that inspiration to the people I care about the most.  Smile, my friends, and look for the silver lining.  We only live once.


Most Popular Blog Entries In My First Year — Part One

The weekend is here and I hope you have a great one.¬† Monday marks my blog’s first birthday.¬† In the past year, I’ve covered highs and lows in many topics about love, hate, politics, death, entertainment, the future, and countless others.

WordPress sent me an email on New Year’s Eve telling me that my blog has been viewed in 180 countries around the world.¬† As we approach my blog’s anniversary, I want to recap the stories that have been viewed the most.¬† And, let me tell you now that the #1 viewed blog was viewed more than 25,000 times!¬† I’m not sure what sites shared it to get that many views, but it’s pretty cool.¬† What’s even funnier is that it’s one that I didn’t put much time in when writing it.

Today, I’m featuring #20 to #11 and tomorrow, you’ll see the Top Ten most viewed blogs.

If you missed them the first time, here’s your chance to see which blog entries were the most popular.¬† All you have to do is click on the link.


President Reagan, I No Longer Hate You

Posted:  July 5, 2012

Views: 556


Have Your Reception Here Unless You’re Gay

Posted:  June 22, 2012

Views:  582


New Kitchen = Endless Culinary Possibilities ‚ÄĒ Bon¬†App√©tit!

Posted:  July 1, 2012

Views:  614


Marriage Equality: Is It Simply Black & White?

Posted:  May 24, 2012

Views:  615


Marriage Expert Bristol Palin Weighs in on Marriage Equality

Posted:  May 10, 2012

Views:  659

#15 Movie

ABBA: My Best Friend

Posted:  February 3, 2012

Views:  783

#14 Movie

Gay Rumors ‚ÄĒ A Humorous¬†Look

Posted:  May 11, 2012

Views:  910


Hot Shorts & Push-up Bras ‚ÄĒ It Must Be¬†Summer

Posted:  June 20, 2012

Views:  952

#12 Movie

Advice To Chris Brown, (Yes, That One)

Posted:  July 3, 2012

Views:  979

#11 Movie

Hard Bodies Need Only Apply!

Posted:  June 29, 2012

Views:  1,239

Thanks for checking out #20 to #11.¬† Have a great Saturday and I’ll have the Top Ten tomorrow.