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?

fitness and nutrition

Air Relaxation

Recently I went to a stretch therapy appointment. Part of my therapy included an air compression method that would help increase blood flow, circulation, reduce swelling and aid in recovery. I had seen this type of device in use before but never had the opportunity to test it out.

Today was the day. The timer was set for 15 minutes. My head was propped up with a neck pillow and I just relaxed. It was peaceful. The minutes went by quickly but they also allowed me some time to myself to let my mind recover. Not the intended purpose of this device but an added benefit to me.

Now, did I feel any immediate results? It’s hard to say. I’m sure I did but I can’t articulate what for sure in relation my legs. However, the relaxation did offer me enough motivation to order myself the same device to use at home. I justified the investment because I have multiple athletes in my home that could benefit from both the relaxation and the recovery aid it promises.

It’s been a few weeks now and I use it a couple of times a week. Post-workout is the main time I use it but if I also have a sedentary day at my desk I opt to use it to increase my circulation. This might not be for everyone but I am merely tossing this out there to my blog readers in case somebody was on the fence about giving this therapy a try.

It’s obviously cheaper to go for a one-time session at a facility that offers this to see if it’s a fit for you. Then if it is, think about your use level. I’m pretty active thus it was an easy justification for this girl. Also do your research. There are many options. Choose the one that fits your wallet and has good reviews.

Just a little Soapbox Sunday post for you.

anonymous letters

Jab and Duck

I’ll refer to the boxing terms jab and duck for this post. Keeping in mind it will always be the jab from another and a duck from my side. Meaning I don’t pick the fight, I defend. Simply stated I will defend my honor, pride, family, friends, and property.

I counted about twelve jabs but I really wasn’t counting per se which means the number is probably much higher. With each jab I ducked or dodged the jab. These are not physical jabs at my body as in a fist fight rather they are jabs that are almost like a dagger to your heart, your soul, your mind, your family, your property and such. It’s about as real as a fight gets without the live boxing match.

I always go to brain over brawn. Some may think otherwise if they saw me in person however its true. One can always outsmart the opposition with knowledge, strategy and a calm, cool and collected self. Sometimes patience is the key to success. Sometimes fast action is critical. Wit is always required.

I find it humorous that time and time again the little turtle pokes its head out to snap at me. Covered in a hard shell to protect itself thinking I would retaliate with a rock or something. Nope, not worth my time or energy. But when the snap comes out to bite or pinch or jab at me, I will welcome the invitation to show my wit.

My brain not my brawn. My clever and detailed side. The one that never leaves a stone unturned. The one thing others should fear the most in me. It’s my hidden talent. My ability to handle the shittiest of situations and make sunshine prevail. Many can and will try to steal my sunshine or other other items they may want, but if I’m not ready to give those items away a fight will ensue.

My jabs will hurt. My jabs will come from off angles. My jabs will be unexpected. My jabs will never touch one’s skin but they will be felt to the core. Maybe it’s the emotional core I’ll hit. Maybe it’s the mental toughness I’ll prey on. Maybe I’ll do nothing and let the silence eat oneself. My choice. My fight. My desire to win fast or slow. 

The moral of this story is don’t pick a fight with me. It’s not a wise choice. I can sit dormant and wait for the guard to go down to retaliate. I’m always aware. I’m always watching. I’m never too busy to take care of unfinished business.

If you read this and wonder if it’s about you, it might just be. I suppose you’d have to ask me directly if you wanted the answer. Funny thing is I know you only peek out from your turtle shell now and again and you certainly don’t do it with fear in your eyes. You only do it when nobody is watching. Or you think nobody is watching.

Such a weird post for me to write since I often coach people not to fear. However if you are not on my good side I am really one you should fear. What an irony.

For now I’m working on my dodges and ducks. Staying up on my toes dancing around life waiting for my time. My time to jab. Indirect jabs. Keenly accurate jabs. Deep jabs.

Be ready. Sunshine is coming. The little turtle has no chance. My options to exercise control and power almost seem limitless. It’s unfortunate that the turtle can’t see past itself to see this. 

Uncategorized

5 am Bagel

I’m heading over to your house now he texted. It’s 5 am, nobody is awake I said. But you have bagels and I don’t he exclaimed. 5 minutes later the dogs are barking, the toaster is toasting and bodies are in motion. It’s still dark, it’s still not past 6 am. No school today. A day off work. Why oh why and am I awake?

Time to take the dogs out for the morning when they were perfectly content sleeping in. These little pups have no clue why they were jostled but they go with the flow. They bend and flex. They are loyal to the core whether it’s 5 am or 5 pm. We should model a dog’s resilience and adaptability more times than not.

Days like the one above may seem annoying in the moment, but today it seems like just what the doctor ordered. Nobody really likes a quiet house. They like a lived in house. That means people, laughing, chaos, and so on. This morning was a good example of such.

When I think back to my younger days I had siblings around most days but as the youngest those days thinned out. Less people. Less laughter. Less chaos. I never really thought about those days from my mom’s view until I myself had the shift in my own life.

Days dwindle. The kids go off on their own. College. Marriage. The teen who is always out engrossed in activities. Sometimes it’s just me and the dogs. Idle minds wander. As I reflect on the random visits for laundry, the 5 am pit stop for a bagel, the hi, what’s for dinner tonight randomness is part of what makes a house a home. Unpredictable times.

The family. The community. The chaos. One day this will be gone In the blink of an eye. However, we can all appreciate a reminder to live in today. Appreciate what is front of you. Even if it’s 5 am, the connection of people or sense of community is really what it’s about.

On a recent trip, I was the 6am girl. Are you making coffee I said to my neighbor. She replied yes. Can I come over? She replied yes. I enjoyed my early morning community. I think she did too but was she thinking omg why are you calling me at 6am? I don’t know. I didn’t even think about it then. 5 am, 6 am, 7 am are just time stamps. Open yourself up to the unexpected. Foster community with whomever needs it. You never know when opportunities like this will fade. Seize the moment. Make the coffee. Enjoy the memories.

As I go through phases in life, I see the same things differently. Some days I’m appreciative. Some days I’m annoyed or frustrated. A lot of days I’m tired and overwhelmed. However days like today? I’m thankful that I have life in front of me. As chaotic as some days get, I wouldn’t want it any other way.

I’m not homeless, but many are. I’m not jobless, but some are. I’m not hungry, but some are. Today I shift a little from my normal routine to spoil some around me. Spend time with cherished family members. Live in today, because I can. I’m making that choice. I’m taking that time. There is a spontaneous part of life that we can easily miss with so many have tos on our plate. 

I can’t ever get time back thus I must use my time wisely. 24 hours each day. You choose the path. Work? Family? Friends? Memories? Fitness? The beauty of today’s time is all mine. How I choose to share my hours and minutes is all on me. I plan to make spontaneous choices at random intervals over this year to ensure I am staying true to opportunities even if they appear at 5am.