Category Archives: Spirituality


Goodbye to Bailey.

Goodbye to Bailey | Kiki's ListOn Sunday we said goodbye to our sweet Bailey. We ordered her a pizza, took one last family walk and then sent her to heaven. Life will be very different around here- quite an adjustment as we don’t know life as a family without her.  💔🐶

It was April of 2001 that she came into our lives. One night, after attending a wedding, Mike and I walked by our neighborhood pet store to find the most adorable litter of black and white “lab-terrier mix” puppies. I wanted the tiny one, the runt. Mike said to pump the breaks, but at the same time gave me a smirk because he knows how relentless I can be. That Monday. I went to back to the store with a friend.  The store owner shared that they were only 5 weeks old and were abandoned by their mom, so they couldn’t be properly weened. That was that. It was serendipitous- that “runt” that I had wanted all along came up and snuggled up to me. I was not leaving that store without her. I was so excited, I called Mike at work and said “I’m coming to introduce you to your new daughter.” I could imagine him rolling his eyes while he laughed on the other side of the phone.

I put her in the kennel in the backseat of my car and set off on our way. As soon as the car started moving she started whimpering loudly. Like any new mother with a crying “ human” baby, you become extremely anxious, so I pulled over and put her in my lap while I drove. Bad idea. Being the runt, she was a mere 2.5 lbs and wiggled off of my lap in between the drivers seat and the door. I finagled her back into the kennel, clenching the steering wheel through her yelping and finally made it to Mike’s office.

Because I got to pick her out I left the naming rights to her daddy. Champ Bailey, who played footbal for his two favorite teams; College ball at UGA and at the time was recently drafted to the Redskins, so Bailey seemed quite a fitting name.

She had so many nicknames- B, B Girl, Bail, Bailbo, Boo, Boodies, Bailey Louise Parker Salmon the First (when she was in trouble.) Mike even tried changing her name to Portis after Champ Bailey was replaced by Clinton Portis, but that just didn’t stick. She also quickly became known as the World’s Best Bad Dog. Whether it be getting kicked out of obedience training, acquiring police citations, jumping out of a window from a second story because she was so excited to greet me that she couldn’t wait until I got upstairs, eating a pack of gum, and having a grand mal seizure, eating a frog and foaming at the mouth, eating a cellphone, stealing burgers (her specialty) or begging incessantly. She was so, so bad and so stubborn. But so awesome- she truly had the personality of a human. I always thought if she could present herself in human form, she’d be Sofia from the Golden Girls. She didn’t give a f%^k.

Goodbye to Bailey | Kiki's List Goodbye to Bailey | Kiki's List Goodbye to Bailey | Kiki's List Goodbye to Bailey | Kiki's List Goodbye to Bailey | Kiki's List Goodbye to Bailey | Kiki's List

She was our everything. So much that when Mike proposed to me, he pretended that Bailey was choking and when I went down to tend to her, there was the ring, shining in my face. Exactly one year later, at our wedding my brother-in-law gave his best man toast he said “let’s all hope that their kids will be better behaved than Bailey.” Everyone laughed because they knew what a punk dog she was. And as we came back from our honeymoon, we received word from our friends that were watching her that she literally ate through our kitchen wall while we were gone.

In September 2005, the week before E was born we were marinating buffalo chicken on skewers that we would grill later that night. We left them on the kitchen counter while we ran out for a bit. We came home to the casserole dish that the skewers were in left perfectly placed on the floor. There was no chicken or wooden skewers. We looked around the kitchen thinking she couldn’t possibly had eaten them all, but alas, she did. We called the vet and they said that we were in for a rough night. But there were no repercussions- in fact she slept through the night and had a solid poop the next morning. The vet called to check on her the next day and after Mike told them that she was fine, the tech joked “we are going to reclassify her as a goat.” That was our girl- raw chicken, wooden skewers, even chocolate.. She ate it all, without consequence or hesitation.

Her shenanigans kept up until we brought E home from the hospital. The moment we walked through the door with that sweet baby girl, it was like a miraculous exorcism had occurred. Suddenly Bailey had a job- to look after her baby. And that she did. B never left our girls’ side. We called her “ Nurse B” as she laid in bed with them when they were sick. She licked their tears when they cried and often times was conflicted as to who she would sleep with, so she slept in between their rooms. Then there was that time when E was a baby. She was the best napper- we’re talking four hours on weekends. Mike and I took this time to catch up on our Netflix shows. We were nearly through the end of an epic Weeds marathon when Bail started barking at the base of the steps and kept looking up the stairs, as if she was saying“open this god damn baby gate!”. We tried everything to shut her up so she wouldn’t wake the baby, but then the crying from upstairs began. As soon as we opened the gate she darted into E’s room. As the light filled the room we could see blood on the walls and in her crib. Somehow she had gotten a bloody nose during her nap- Bail was trying to let us know that her baby was in trouble.

She was so good, and so sweet, but still such a pain in the ass. Friday nights are pizza nights in the Salmon house. Mike made the mistake of giving her his crust once and from that point on nobody was safe from Bailey’s demands for the their crust. Our pizza delivery guy knew her. It was almost like she could smell him driving down the street. The drool started as his car turned the corner.
Goodbye to Bailey | Kiki's List

Goodbye to Bailey | Kiki's List Goodbye to Bailey | Kiki's ListGoodbye to Bailey | Kiki's List

About two years ago, she really started slowing down. First she stopped jumping up on the bed for cuddles, and soon after, she refused to even attempt to go upstairs. We thought the end was near so we started talking about looking for a puppy because we knew this family couldn’t go long without a dog in the house. That’s when Lola came into our lives. Bailey tolerated Lola, but Lola loooooved Bailey. B made sure that her little sister knew who was boss and constantly put her in her place when she fell out of line.Goodbye to Bailey | Kiki's List Goodbye to Bailey | Kiki's List

 Bailey taught Lola how to be a member of this family and most importantly how to love and support our girls. It was now time for her to pass the baton. It was now time for us to let her go. We didn’t want to do it, but she has given us so much, giving her a peaceful ending was the least we could do for her.  So now she is up in heaven watching over us and eating all of the pizza crust she could imagine. We miss you Bailbo- you will be forever in our hearts.Goodbye to Bailey | Kiki's List Goodbye to Bailey | Kiki's List

This book was recommended to me by a friend.  A must read for all dog lovers.


the best day.

Today is certainly not the best day.  Eight years ago today I lost my mother to a very long battle with cancer.  I miss her every day and think of her when I look at my girls and how much she would eat them up.  I was devastated when she died just two weeks shy of E’s birth.  But she lives on in them and most importantly she lives on in me.  I am a better mother for having known her and (although it sounds weird) for having lost her.  I have a legacy of greatness to live up to.  I love this quote shared with me by a friend who also lost her mother.  It’s by author Cheryl Strayed (aka: Sugar.)

The kindest and most meaningful thing anyone ever says to me is: your mother would be proud of you. Finding a way in my grief to become the woman who my mother raised me to be is the most important way I have honored my mother. It has been the greatest salve to my sorrow. The strange and painful truth is that I’m a better person because I lost my mom young. When you say you experience my writing as sacred, what you are touching is the divine place within me that is my mother. Sugar is the temple I built in my obliterated place. I’d give it all back in a snap, but the fact is, my grief taught me things. It showed me shades and hues I couldn’t have otherwise seen. It required me to suffer. It compelled me to reach.

Since I am a teenage girl at heart, I have a playlist dedicated to my mom.  This song is the very first track.  It makes me smile, it makes me cry, it makes me know how lucky I am to have had her as my mom.


The Universe.

A few years ago, a friend of mine at work suggested that I subscribe to Daily Thoughts from the Universe.  It’s a daily email reminder of what’s important in life.  Surprisingly, this automated email has gotten me through some pretty rough times.  And although everyone receives the same email every morning, somehow they seem to be pertinent to what is going on in my life at that very moment.  Here are some favorites….

Quirky, corny and elementary as they are… I love them.  Sign up here to join the mailing list.


Too Soon.

It was a hard to get out of bed this morning. I don’t normally make a habit of talking about my day job on this blog. Today, I will make an exception.  For four years I have worked for a company that I love.  Before starting here the only Apple product I ever owned was an iPod.  Now, things are different. These products have changed my life, and the leader of this company has changed the way that I think.  An inspiration to us all, Steve was a visionary, and will sorely be missed.  One thing that people forget is that behind this corporate figure is a husband and a father, who won’t get to see his children get married, or kiss his wife goodnight ever again.
Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life.

 Don’t be trapped by dogma – which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. 

Don’t let the noise of other’s opinions drown out your own inner voice.

 And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. 

They somehow already know what you truly want to become. 

Everything else is secondary.” 

Words to live by.  Rest in peace, SJ.



A New Chapter.

Today would have been my parent’s 42nd wedding anniversary.  I am thinking of you today, Mom.  She has been gone for almost six years now.  It’s hard to believe.  Time marches on, and things change.  Last month, my father and his girlfriend, Helen got engaged.  Helen is a lovely woman and has been a part of our family for many years now.  We absolutely adore her, and we are happy to celebrate this union with them next summer.
  Lately I have been having dreams that my mother is alive, and Dad and Helen have moved on, and she is left out of the mix.  I feel so torn between them.  I know, it’s my own craziness. For some reason, it feels like a part of our family is being left behind.  Don’t get me wrong, Helen has done a wonderful job navigating through these tough waters.  She has never tried to replace her, and we talk about my mother constantly.  To top it all off, she often helps out with my 90 year old grandmother, Nanny (my mom’s mom.) Which for most would be quite awkward (especially since she is not an ahem… easy woman.)

Nanny giving a toast at her 90th birthday party.

As time goes on, I am nervous that it will be harder and harder to keep the memory of my mother alive.  I am scared that I will forget the feel of her skin, or her smell, or even the piercing sound of her voice (think Fran Drescher.) Then I look to my girls, who seem to have this unwavering connection with her.  They think that she is hilarious, and they never even knew her.  Every night as I put them to bed they ask me to tell them a story of when I was a little girl.  Inevitably, all of their favorite stories contain my mother.  They think that my impersonation of her New York accent is hilarious, and E is constantly repeating the one-liners that seemed to come out of her mouth. 
For example, my entire family and Mike came to JMU for my college graduation.  My mom (Neets, as I called her) was never much of a drinker.  The night before my graduation, we dropped my mom and Nanny off at the hotel. Mike drove my Dad (who we affectionately refer to as Big John), my siblings, my roommates, and I around from bar to bar.  Sure enough it was closing time and Big John was not ready to throw in the towel.  Not only did he convince a local pizza joint to open it’s doors and make us pizza, he greased them into serving us more beer.  So…… with two hours of sleep, we were all a wreck the next day.  Neets was PISSED.  So with all seven of us packed into the family roadster, my mother would not stop talking (which was not unusual for her) but the more we asked her to stop, the louder she became.  It was clear she was going to teach all of us (especially Big John) a lesson.  In between her ramblings, we passed by a flower bed that beautifully depicted the JMU logo, and without even taking a breath she said in between ramblings “Awwwhhhh, look at the flowaaaas” (my best phonetic NY accent.)  It was so funny, I nearly peed my pants.   
Now, when Mike and I are driving in the car with the girls, E will randomly bust out with “Awwwhhhh, look at the flowaaaas”  Still gets me every time.  Through these moments. it occurs to me that we are keeping her memory alive. While it’s important to share memories of the past, it is much more important to live in the present. So, as we move into this new uncharted chapter for our family, we welcome Helen with open arms, and will continue to keep Neet’s memory alive.  Above all, we will always “look at the flowaaaas.”