this is alf.

alf. i never would have imagined that a harmless facebook post with this fuzzy little alien’s mug on it, would trigger so many memories. although the show was cancelled 25 years ago and i only watched it a handful of times, i always liked alf because his voice was funny, he was quick-witted and obsessed with cats, and his cute little face reminded me of a dog we had when i was little. our dog’s name was “jacques”.

jacques (stunt double)
this is jacques’ clone.

jacques was an airedale terrier. because we were so young when we got him, my memories of jacques are a little fuzzy. i remember that he was very soft, fluffy and full of energy. i also remember my mom saying that he was very expensive and, if you knew my mom, that was very important. the only other things i remember are that he liked to jump, and my mom, who gave him his french-inspired name, constantly corrected my siblings and me (we were  6, 5, 4 and 3 years old), “his name is not ‘JACK’, it’s pronounced ‘JAAHCKK’!”. we were a very cultured crew.

unfortunately, jacques was not with our family for very long. one day when my mom went to the back door to call him inside, she noticed that both gates were closed, but he was nowhere to be found. jacques was gone for good. i’m sure we were devastated, but i honestly have no recollection of our response. although we’ll never know exactly what happened, my mom always said he was stolen “because he cost a small FORTUNE”. we had several dogs after that, but jacques was the last dog my mom ever paid for and the only dog taken from our back yard.

as we’ve been clearing out our childhood home over the last several months, we have come across many photo albums overflowing with polaroids and our family dogs are very often front and center with the four kids. i haven’t found any pictures of jacques yet.

while there’s no record of jacques, a picture of his doppelganger, alf, and the friend who innocently posted it, have inspired me to start writing. so, i freely admit that i am spinning with everything that’s happened over the past several months and what will happen over the next several weeks. it feels like my mind will spontaneously combust if i don’t tell my stories and the stories of those who lie under the radar. there is gentle kindness to be found even (especially) in these moments.

let the spinning begin….

saying goodbye


In a couple of weeks, my friends, family and I will say goodbye to our family home. For 43 years, our house provided WAY more than shelter. It’s the place where two of my siblings were born. It’s the place where we celebrated baptisms, first communions, graduations, birthdays, dances and a wedding. It’s the place where friends and neighbors congregated after school and on the weekends. It’s the place my brother left, and it’s the place where I learned his ultimate fate. It’s the place that housed many furry and not-so-furry friends, including dogs, a cat, lizards, gerbils, fish, a bird and a rogue squirrel that took up residence in our attic at one point. It’s the place where we laughed. It’s the place where we cried. It’s the place where we played hard. It’s the place my mom left and never returned. It’s the place I will always call home.

It’s been over 43 years of the highest of the highs and the lowest of the lows and many in-between days too. It’s been a constant in my life and in the lives of many other people.

Saying goodbye is never easy for me, and it would be so easy to become sad and resentful over this loss. However, as I sit here on the sofa with our warm puppy, Jane, to the left of me and our sweet Bailey on the floor to the right, I realize unconditional love and kindness are right here in front of me and I have a choice. I am following their lead…