Oy

I don’t write much lately, life’s been busy. Today though, I want to remember one of my pets. Oy. 

Several years ago I was on the hunt for a little dog. I think I was looking for a maltese but I can’t for the life of me remember why. Back home, in the north Georgia mountains where my father grew up, was a family whose ‘maltese’ was pregnant and puppies were to be born soon. I drove over there with my Dad for a different reason and stopped by to see the puppies. I picked out the runt of the litter. He was so small compared to the others that I said that I’d take him if he survived, but if he didn’t I’d take a different one. He survived. I picked him up several weeks later and we drove back to North Carolina. This tiny little thing stole my heart.

I have had several dogs over the years, I’ve loved each one. Dogs have always been a part of my life. Having pets in the home requires a bit of work but they are always happy to greet you and don’t usually complain about their food. They snuggle, and rub, and beg but they are always full of love. Oy was no different.

Over the years, I had another child, got a few more dogs, and Oy managed to always stake his claim. He slept with me each night. We would argue over whether he got to burry under the covers or not. A lot of times when I had just changed my sheets I’d lie there with my arms pinning the sheets down so he wouldn’t get under. Eventually I would fall asleep and he’d win. He’d always win. He’d burry down to the very bottom by my feet and then work his way back up, doing a full circle of the bed. It wasn’t always easy to sleep with him but if I didn’t I wouldn’t sleep at all. If I ‘forgot’ to let him in the room, invariably just after I start to drift off to sleep, I’d hear this tiny little scratching on my door. If I didn’t budge, it would become more insistent until he would ultimately begin yipping and working himself into a frenzy. He would win, always. I was well trained.

These are my pillows. He looks quite comfortable.

Oy was named from the dog like character in the Stephen King series The Dark Tower. He looked a lot like a rat, wasn’t even close to maltese, and weighed in at a max of eight pounds. His hair was unrully, part fur and part hair; looking a lot like he’d stuck his tail in a light socket. He abhorred anyone trying to clip his nails, ultimately peeing on at least one vet tech before the task was accomplished. He didn’t mind showers, instead he’d sulkily walk into the shower knowing he had no choice. When I describe him I often refer to the rat character in Mutant Ninja Turtles. Oy was unique, so ugly he was cute.

My pillow, my blanket, my bed…

The past year he’s been showing his age more. He’d wake up in the middle of the night to get a drink, always waking me to let him down and back up into the bed. He’d get up early to go outside, and when he came back in he’d want to lie down and sleep away the rest of the morning. We’d get into arguments with me holding him in bed hoping he’d just go back to sleep so I wouldn’t have to get up yet again. He’d win, always.

To say that Oy died prematurely the other night is a stretch. He was beginning to have the look of a walking zomby due to his age. His death was still a shock because I somehow thought I could avoid it with him. I know that’s not possible, but I was so used to having him around. I sleep better now because he’s not there waking me up, but I wish that weren’t so. I miss him. I still wait for him sometimes by the door, thinking he’s just on his way and taking his time. I still look for him before getting into bed. I know this will pass. 

Oy was a great little shit of a dog. I’m honored that I was able to share my life with him. 

thanks for reading,

me

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Be Grateful

Over the years I’ve always tended toward gratitude. This morning, though, I wanted to list some of the things for which I am grateful. Being grateful even during times of trial is one of the ways people like me survive our trials. I remind myself that time is short and that ‘this’ trial shall also pass should I just keep on keeping on.

What am I grateful for? My kids. My health.  My sight. My ability to breathe. The house I live in, the roof that does not leak, the heat in the winter, and air conditioning in the summers. The fall air this morning. The ability to awaken from a deep slumber into a soft bed with a warm blanket.

I’m grateful for the sunburn I got from sailing, for if I hadn’t then I wouldn’t be reminded of sailing daily as it heals. I’m grateful for having dropped my computer in the river, for if I hadn’t then I wouldn’t have been able to recognize the miracles of being able to pull it from the depths of the water despite not seeing it, the fact that it currently works after only a few days of drying. I would have missed the miracle of a God caring enough about me that even the little things count to Him.

I’m grateful for being snuggled by my dogs. Of my geriatric dogs still enjoying their time with me. I’m grateful for coffee. For having enough food to never go hungry. For enough money to pay my bills, even if it’s not all of the bills covered it is enough to maintain a house over my children’s heads. I’m grateful for bills, for without these I might forget that life is a journey.

I’m grateful for soaps that smell like flowers, for books that make me cry, for friends that make me laugh, and for shoes that keep my feet from hurting.

I’m grateful for my mother who forced me to start taking Juice Plus so many years ago, who gave me her business so that I could continue it, who trusted me with her legacy regardless of how I determined to go.

I’m grateful for school, for the opportunity it provided for me to excel, to grow, to mature. I’m grateful it was hard, for if it had been easy I would have never learned that I could accomplish something so difficult. I’m grateful for the patience my teachers had, for the friends I gained despite myself, for the books that crowd my bookshelves, for the notes that crowd my brain.

I could go on. I have discovered that being grateful in the small things helps me to see through the hard things. I am grateful for you, my reader, for without you I might have not found my voice.

thank you for reading,

me

Life continues and another loved one is included…

I decided to allow my eldest to read my book. I needed to explain things that would allow her to come to her own decisions without making the same mistakes I had. I wanted to give her the gift of my experiences. And she wanted to know what I wrote. I allowed her.

Once I handed over the book, I felt a little bit frightened. I wanted to take it back but I let it be. She read it quietly, I never saw her with it until she was about half way through. She seemed to be doing well. The second half of my book is a bit more difficult for me than the first, yet I wasn’t going to take it from her. I just didn’t know quite what to expect. Love? Hate?

I didn’t know which way it would fall when she learned more about me, my secrets, my past. Today she took my book to work. She came home early. Tears. Sobs. My heart was breaking as I held her. She let me hold her as we both stood and cried. I knew it would be difficult. I was right. She is strong enough and she needs to know.

I’m an open book now. Literally. Our relationship is strengthening more than I could imagine. I regret she hasn’t finished the book yet, there’s more terrible things to come before things turn around. However, we’ve both decided she should continue reading it at home.

This was yet another step for me facing my fears. I love my children like I love myself. They will be better for having a mom like me. My how I’ve changed over the last couple of years! I once said I loved only my kids, not myself. I once thought I should die so they could have a better mom.

When I started all of this I never imagined I’d be the person I have become. I never imagined I would be able to hold my head high and yet have the past that I have. How can this be? I surprise even me.

thank you for reading,

me

July… Where did you go?

This month has FLOWN by! I can hardly believe the year is already more than half over. I’ve spent my spare moments job hunting, but the main things about this month were that I was not home. My daughter added it up to discover that I was only at home for 8 days this July. 8 days. Wow! The rest of this month was spent doing “good” things.

I had signed up with Boy Scouts as a female leader on a coed high adventure in South Florida over a year ago. Two weeks in the keys, with one on a boat, didn’t sound bad at the time. And truly? It was fun. BUT… I was gone from home. I missed my babies. I lost time that could have been used for looking for a job. Sure, it’s good to volunteer, to help others. I love helping with scouts. I wanted to go, I just didn’t know it was going to be only a part of what I did this month.

Prior to leaving for S Florida, my kids decided we should go family camping. I said yes to that as well. I mean, who wouldn’t? Your kids actually want you to spend the weekend with you, and you get to be outside camping? I love spending time with them and I definitely wanted them to know that I love them enough to run away with them. Definitely worth the time! But… That was less than a week before leaving… I was beginning to feel stressed back then and it was only the 3rd!

Then!!! Because I am the one in the family who is unemployed at the moment… (job interview in the morning and another the next day, wish me luck!)… I was the lucky one to be “free” to fly to Nevada in order to meet my brother and drive with him and his things back to NC. Great idea, moving him closer. He’s lived away from the rest of the family for about 18 years now. It’ll be great having him local… I said yes, again. I got back home from S Florida on a Thursday night and then left for Nevada the following Tuesday. I then spent the next three days helping him pack and load his things, and the following three days driving home… I got home yesterday morning at 1 am…

Three wonderful trips, for wonderful reasons, that I would never mind doing if it weren’t for the fact they were all in a single month. What have I learned? 1 – I still have a difficult time saying “no”. 2 – I have definitely improved my self-care to the point that even though I was exceedingly stressed (there were several incredibly difficult circumstances with each of the trips), I was still able to keep a clear mind and a calm tongue for most of it. 3 – I still need to yell once in a while, 4 – I deserve to be taken care of, 5 – I need to keep myself on the list or else I’m not going to make it.  There’s probably more but it was at least a small comfort realizing I could take a breath and redirect my thoughts preventing me from saying terrible things just because I was tired and sore.

I hope your month went well.

thank you for reading,

me

My book is finally done!

It’s done! My book is finally finished awaiting publishing. I’ve been writing it for five years, but only knew that I was writing it for a little over one year. That’s what happens when you journal. My journallings have been a consistent way for me to get my thoughts out of my head. With so many things going on, my head was noisy! I could barely hold a single thought longer than a few seconds, my thoughts would race from one event to another and I couldn’t breathe, let alone sleep. Journalling provided my means of escape.

My book? It’s a good book. It still makes me cry, smile, and laugh. It brings back terrible memories yet provides proof of how amazing my life is now. It shows how a person can climb her way out of chaos and create a life that she loves. It provides proof that life is changeable, no matter your age. If I can do it so can you. It shows determination, fear, love, peace, and hate. It is my first written masterpiece and I’m excited that it’ll finally be published.

I will let you know how to purchase it, hopefully within the next week. It’s terrifying letting my secrets out of my closet for millions to read. Yet it is so freeing, knowing that I can be authentically me. No more hiding, no more lies, just me. Thank you for being a sounding board as I struggled to find my way to air. May you, my readers, be blessed beyond your wildest dreams.

thank you for reading,

me

Summer Fun

As a celebration of an end to an era of pharmacy school, graduation and passing of board exams, celebrating a new engagement for my son, and for general fun together as a family… we went camping this past weekend. We decided to camp near Wilson Creek, NC where campsites were first come first serve, land with a fire pit next to a small creek. This was not a problem for most of the group that went. Two of us, my youngest two, had never been primitive camping before. One of these had very little idea as to what to expect. He learned, though.

As the brothers and sisters continued to pick on each other constantly, nerves were worn a little thin once in a while. Food, as always, saves the day when attitudes are poor. We ‘knew’ there’d be plenty of wood around to build a fire and so didn’t bring any along… first mistake. We also ‘knew’ the forecast couldn’t be better… second mistake. Truly, though, we still had fun.

Me with #1 and #2, two of my favorites!

Day 1 – arrival chaos, unpacking, putting up tents, taking over an hour to start a fire from not so dry wood, eventually relying on a pocket rocket to start the fire. Dinner served at approximately 10 pm… Starving kids make for grouchy monsters. Stinging nettle seemed to appear and put boils on a few of the group requiring some Benadryl… thankful I brought a fully functioning first aid kit.

Day 2 – up and breakfast… nope, have to wash the dishes from dinner first. First tub is soapy water, second rinse, third sterilize with a little bleach… then breakfast.

#3 and #4, two more of my favorites. Who needs a swimsuit?

All of us climb into one vehicle, drive up to the river, search for a parking spot, discover a great path down, plant ourselves in a shade on the rocks and wish we put on our swimsuits.

 

No problem, though, two decide swimsuits are unnecessary and are soon immersed in the cool water up to their heads.

Lunch and dry on the rocks, hang out a little longer then back

On the rocks, dressed.

to camp to fix dinner… collect wood along the drive back, start fire very slowly, Mom gets kudos for being a pyromaniac. Dinner served as hobos, corn, and peach cobbler. Satisfied tummies, a good day.

 

Day 3 –

#1 Starts this!

Up and breakfast, dishes done last night. Mom cooks egg-n-bread with bacon, swimsuits on, hike to a water fall,

 

Let’s all do it!

Me too!

head back to the river and find the same spot we had yesterday. Climb down, perfect spot, hop from rock to rock, discover the new fiance is an expert at playing on the rocks in the river.

On the rocks, the pro standing and watching and laughing at the non pros.

Mom settles down on a large rock in the middle of the river as the rest of us take a circuitous path around the river

 

from rock to rock while she entertains the dog… rain, just a little, no worries. They finish their circle around the river

 

and we decide to head back to camp for dinner… gather wood along the way, discover puddles… arrive to camp with two tents not closed and full of water… oops. Lessons are learned, sleeping arrangements are changed, clothes are shared and a fire is attempted… Burn the entire bag of charcoal and it still doesn’t start, finally enough wood dries well enough and Mom starts a fire again, hooray! Tarp hung over a portion of camp just in case. Chili, and s’mores for dinner. All to bed as more rain arrives. Lightening and thunder but no wind where we are makes for a tense couple of hours as we rest in our tents waiting for it to pass… sleep.

Day 4 – Mutiny, we pack up instead of fix breakfast, eat Bojangles on the way home. Arrive home safe and sound. An excellent trip!

Perfect Life Picture

Still unemployed, almost done with my board exams, I’m wondering what a picture of the ‘perfect life’ would look like. The picture perfect life? Hmmm… I already love my life but what could make it perfect?

The physical things: a running car that doesn’t need fixing, maybe a sporty one with excellent gas mileage? A house that is clean with plenty of room to play? A yard that is cut? Physical comforts such as air conditioning, heating, and running water? Maybe also have my house fixed up like new, with no holes in the siding and wallpaper that isn’t thirty years old?

The me things: the things that keep me healthy? A slim waist, muscular body? Maybe another six inches taller? Hair that doesn’t gray, and free haircuts? A massage every week? Or, even better, a massage twice a week? The ability to see my dentist, eye doctor, or regular doctor whenever I need to without fear of money or health?

The other things: my kids visiting frequently because they actually want to be near me. My pets groomed, clean, and up to date on all of their health things. My friends and family feeling welcome at all times, knowing they mean the world to me?

There’s so many ‘things’ that a picture perfect life would have, but the only thing that matters is the things that we do not the things that we have. The helping a child learn to swim, or feeding a family who has no funds. Putting ourselves out there so others can learn from our mistakes, not having to repeat them themselves.

I want a picture perfect life, and I think I might already have it. It’s the little things that make the difference isn’t it? A job, though? I’ll need one of those as soon as possible.

thanks for reading,

me