celebrations, challenges, dare to be different

Sidetracked

I got sidetracked today. I was going one place and got stuck in traffic for 2 hours going 7.9 miles. I had enough of not moving. It was kind of shitty but I was riding topless, in my Jeep, making me able to work on my tan while jamming to music and people watching from a slightly perched view.

While waiting patiently, I voiced my frustrations to my co-pilot who clearly didn’t check the map adjustments before we got locked on a highway in gridlock with no exit in sight. I could have continued, but instead of hovering in the annoyed phase my mind drifted to an alternate plan. I got sidetracked. My mind wandered. A new plan was in motion.

A quick picnic in the park. A short hike. A spontaneous visit with grandma. The plan was on a whim but it turned out to be magical. Lots of giggles. A little sweat in the heat. Smiles for hours. Funny photos. Tons of memories.

This is a story of how to turn a lemon of a day into to a sparkling lemonade kind of day. On a whim. On a shoe string budget. All I needed was a little time. A new perspective. A fresh look on the same day. Sometimes U-turns are the best turns to make. 

Sidetracked on a Saturday was one for the record books. It might have been the longest 7.9 miles of my life, in terms of how long it took me to go the distance. It might also be one of my favorite spontaneous excursions mainly because grandma was my co-pilot. The hike was one I have done before but this time I did pushing a wheelchair. I got my exercise for sure but it was a pleasure ride for my sweet passenger.

She smelled the pine trees. She enjoyed the fresh smell of honeysuckle. She saw some deers in the distance. She listened to the stream flow below the embankment. Her change of scenery and enjoyment of nature is one I will remember. Reflecting on how I got sidetracked makes me giggle. I guess I was really meant to go to point b instead point a. It just took a major traffic jam for me to realize this. 2 hours later mind you.

Never underestimate the fun going off course can be. Try the long route some days. If you don’t have a Jeep or a convertible, rent one for a day or a few hours. Riding topless gives you new perspective. The fresh breeze. The smells in the air. The freedom while you move from point a to point b.

I also got ducked in my Jeep today. A little boy ducked me and he was so happy he got to meet me when he ducked me. Another benefit of Jeep life outside of how often I can say I rode topless today.

challenges, health, Teddie Bear Adventures

Ruff Week

This week was ruff in many ways but I chose the spelling of ruff not rough to symbolize the main trauma of the week as it has to do with my dog and the roller coaster ride we have been on.

Let’s start with last Friday. She spent the day at the groomer getting all spiffy. Check out the picture below of the fitness of health dog edition. A fabulous Labradoodle weighing in at 49 pounds and 11 months old. My baby.

Then Monday rolled around for a routine spay surgery. Complications hit quick. Delays in the operating room. Challenges in recovery. More tests. X-rays. More observation. A few hours with my baby and then labored breathing hit. Luckily I’m minutes to the veterinarian. She stopped breathing en route. Had to be on oxygen and have an immediate blood transfusion. So much chaos in the blink of an eye.

Another operation was required. Internal bleeding was the cause of her rapid decline. Long days. Sleepless nights. This poor baby was at the vet for five days. 24/7 observation. Poked and poked again. On IV fluids and pain meds. We all felt her void. We all felt her suffering. Even her sister was depressed. She was missing her best friend as the rest of us were too. Can you see the sadness below?

Once this one was an only child and it took some adjusting when we added #2. But now she is lost without her partner in crime. Days were long but the reuniting part was amazing. The kisses and sniffs by both pups. The snuggles from the patient. Just the presence of everyone at home was peaceful. Or seemed so, but the positive moments could easily be short lived.

Now the hard part continues. The recovery after 2 surgeries and a blood transfusion, all before turning one year old.  We were lucky this time. We dodged a few close calls. Timing was everything. The moral of this story is trust your gut. I felt things were not right and reacted. Had I brushed off my thoughts and not trusted my gut things could have ended differently. 

Not sure how I feel about my over share of photos but the blood above is just one of the post surgery bleeds. Some from the incision point. Some from stool area. More bodily fluid in the form of vomit. Thank goodness my first floor isn’t carpeted as it might look like a murder scene. 

My ruff week will spill into next week but that is okay. My perspective on routine surgery vs the reality has me ready to take on anything that is thrown at me. Mental toughness. I got it down pat. Years 2020-2022 have given me lots of practice for sure. A pandemic. Loss of loved ones. Isolation. Trauma of many kinds. 

The good news I am here. Blogging away. My creative projects may have delayed deadlines but my life is moving on and I’m living through the ups and down and everything in between. I choose happy despite the shit show around me. 

challenges

The Murder Next Door

It was a sunny Thursday afternoon. I had dinner with some friends to talk about our daughters’ upcoming graduation party. I made it home about 6:10 pm…not bad, I thought. Not bad, until I crested the hill and saw the long line of blue lights leading up to my neighborhood. They weren’t letting people turn in. Had there been an accident? I inched up to the front of the line of cars waiting to turn in. I rolled down my window, telling the policeman directing traffic that I lived in this neighborhood. Can I turn in?

No, he said, with almost a little laugh. This is an active crime scene. There’s been a shooting. Keep moving.

I’m sure my jaw hung open as I slowly rolled forward, past my seemingly quiet suburban neighborhood. I spied the yellow crime scene tape stretched across the road. What do I do now? Where do I go?

I called home to see if anyone was there. They were, and had no idea what was going on. They went outside to see a cop car right in front of our house. Someone was in the back seat.

I ended up parking down the road at a brand new parking lot for a park. Other neighbors were already gathered there, waiting. We saw a helicopter circling.

Details came from all directions. Fragments of a story trickling in. Neighbors who were in the subdivision called with reports of what they saw. One crime scene turned into two. Texted photos of a young man’s body laying in a yard, being cradled by a woman, screaming.

Then the second crime scene developed…astonishingly, the house next door. The older couple. The ones out playing Motown on the weekends as they tended to their lawn and their grandchildren. Grandkids playing basketball in the driveway, waves from their car as it pulled in.

He shot her. Killed his wife. In the basement.

IN. THE. HOUSE. NEXT. DOOR.

And then, he killed his son-in-law, presumably when they came over to the house and found her. They tried to get away, but he killed him at the end of the street.

My jaw still hangs open when I stop to think about it.

(Did I mention this was in the house next door?)

I will never understand…. why? She was friendly and kind. Frankly, the killer was too. I didn’t know the son in law. Rumor has it he was mentally impaired. The man who murdered him could sometimes be seen walking the young man up and down the street for exercise. And now, one of those men is dead. The other sits in jail. I will never understand.

The neighborhood stayed roped off most of the night. Once the helicopter had gone and people were roaming freely in the neighborhood (except for getting in or out), I decided to take a path home through the woods. It was an eerie feeling that night. Like you were living next to a stranger. Who could do such a thing? Fresh eyes of a sort. Cast with sadness.

Since then, the house next door sits empty. The children of the dead woman and murderer come over to clean it out. I cannot imagine their sorrowful work. The heaviness. The heartbreak.

What will happen to the house next door? I would assume someone will move in, eventually. For now, it is just dark and quiet.

And for now, I just feel sadness. For the lives lost. For the family that lost a mother, a grandmother, a father, a son, a friend. None of it could ever possibly make sense.

I walked by the mailbox today. It hung open. So many letters and catalogs piled up. A hanging basket the family moved off the screen porch laid on its side in the front yard. Life goes on and things pile up, topple over, are left undone but left nonetheless.

You never know what is happening behind closed doors. What someone might be capable of. Even the neighbors you wave at, smile at, could be hiding something dark and sinister. Is the message to be kind? Is the message to be wary? Yes and yes.

celebrations, challenges

To Do or Ta Da

Most people have a to do list somewhere. Maybe it’s it’s their own. Maybe it’s for their kids or even a spouse. I probably have many to do lists in a given day.

The must do’s

The I don’t want to do’s

The to do eventually 

The to do’s that I never do

And some days I have the ta da’s!

Ta da, I survived a another day!

Ta da, I accomplished something today!

Ta da, I took care of a personal errand today!

Ta da, I made lunch today!

Ta da, I talked to my friend today!

What I have come to realize: I have more ta das to celebrate than to dos off the pending task list. Could this have anything to do with me? Why of course it does. I choose where I focus. I choose the wants tos far more than the need tos. Sad but true.

Some days this can be depleting. While other days it’s therapy. Today I read more and blogged more. I also bought some new notebooks to write my to do and ta da list in. I might have even color coded the books: pure nerd alert right here.

Ta da, I just finished this post. A thought post at that. Are you more a ta da or to do type of person? Do you blow off some tasks just because you want to even though you know you shouldn’t?

challenges, change

Bravery and Courage

She is a brave girl.

She is a smart girl.

She is lost without her male role models.

She lost one to death. 

She lost one to a girl.

She lost one to the military.

Each taken without warning.

Each situation left a scar.

A pandemic hit and a new loneliness surfaced. A quiet and new normal that included loneliness and suffering no one ever could have prepared you for. Fear. Anxiety. Depression. Rules. Masks. It all came at once. Then death hit. Then separation of a new kind. And then the final take away. All strong male figures in her life. Uprooted. Gone. Without notice. Taken from her. She wants to know why!

She shows bravery and courage every day she tackles the world around her. Making strides while battling her own why me? She is a warrior in my eyes. A diamond among us all. We should all be so blessed to know her and her strength.

She has to fight in order to shine bright on her own. Such a young age to learn such life lessons. Taken. Gone. Stolen.

How can I ever fill the void of these three men? In honor of of International Women’s Day I tip my hat to all of the strong females fighting for themselves each and every day.