My life changed dramatically and forever when I lost TJ.

I welcome you to follow along as I adjust to my "new normal".

It is not all puppies and ice cream but it is my life....real and honest.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Young'uns Young'uns Everywhere!

I had a serious post worked out in my head, but once again I decided to have a little fun.  Those of you that follow me on Twitter are aware of the Tater Tot escapade this week, but I will recap for the rest of you.  Last Friday a stray puppy showed up at my office.  He was very adorable and I just couldn't imagine leaving him in an industrial area for the weekend so I brought him home with me for the weekend (read: the rest of his life).  While my other 3 (yes, 3) dogs are not happy about this I think it is just what I needed.  I have not had a puppy around for many years (my youngest dog is 11) and I had forgotten how much fun & frustrating a puppy can be.  It is my belief that he is 5 to 6 months old and some kind of a Terrier mix, if you think a different breed please let me know in the comments as I am not very familiar with the small dog breeds.  So, I am very pleased to announce the new addition to my "indoor herd"......Tater Tot!!

(Click on photos to enlarge)
No Mom, I wasn't chewing on the rug or trying to drag it somewhere else!

 Hey, can you wash dishes in the sink from now on?  I kinda like this for my napping area!


Aw Mom! Please don't wash all this bedding, I like it on the floor just as it is...pleeeeaaasssseee

In addition to Tater I have new hatchlings!  The eggs from last week's post have finally hatched.  Some people inquired as to the kind of bird so here is information and a photo that I obtained from

Mourning dove 
Mourning doves occur from the lowest elevations along the Colorado River upward through forests of ponderosa pines to 8,500 feet. Their staple foods throughout the year are primarily small seeds and cultivated grains. Although some doves can be found nesting on the ground in open prairies, the best nesting habitats are brushlands and woodlands within the Sonoran Desert. Here, the woeful call of breeding males can be heard as early as February, and pairs have been known to attempt as many as seven nestings in a single season. Productivity may therefore be high even though the usual clutch size is only two eggs. Incubation takes only about 15 days, and is accomplished by both parents, as is the brooding and feeding of the nearly naked squabs. The young doves are fed regurgitated "pigeon milk" by both parents, and they grow and develop rapidly. Fledglings leave the nest only 12 to 14 days after hatching. Even in southern Arizona, nesting is essentially over by mid-August, and some of the early-hatched juveniles have already migrated by late July. By the first week of September, the migration of most nesting populations is usually underway, the juveniles typically leaving before the adults.

Now that you are educated here are pictures of the little ones:

 It is still getting chilly here at night, but Momma is keeping them warm

I will post more as they mature.  This nest is right outside my front door so I get to check on them before I leave for work and every evening when I get home.  Momma only goes a short distance away as she is used to me looking at her babies.

Monday, March 21, 2011

I Am Expecting A Couple of Little Ones!

I spent this past weekend rejuvenating.  I stayed home all weekend and just kicked around the house.  I got some yard work done on Saturday and took Peaches for a ride on Saturday night so I could get some pictures of the full moon.  I was born a Hoosier which means I love basketball, so I also spent a good amount of time watching the NCAA tournament over the weekend, and, of course, I watched NASCAR on Sunday.

While I love spending time with my friends, I also think it is important to take a weekend once in a while and enjoy my own company.  I usually try to "unplug" from internet stuff on the weekends and talk to "real" people, but this past weekend was all about me and my animals.  It was very refreshing!

Oh yes! I am expecting some little ones.  Last year I was so busy with getting moved I didn't have time to really enjoy them so I am looking forward to watching them this year.

Click on photos to enlarge

Hidden in this cactus is the proud Mama.

The little ones to be!

The pictures of the Super Moon really don't do it justice.  I didn't have anything to reference the size.  I will tell you that it was a beautiful night in Arizona and it was a privilege to have the opportunity to witness such a gorgeous event.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

2 Years Ago Today

How can something that happened that long ago be etched into my brain?  How can it creep into my thoughts yesterday morning and refuse to leave?  How can it deprive me of the joy of a nice spring weekend?

I had plans this weekend....I carried on with them, but not with the vigor I had intended.  I made myself not cancel the entire weekend and stay in bed.  I made myself smile.  I made sure my friends had no idea of the scene that was being played over and over again in my head.  I am sure they noticed my distance, but they are used to that.

It was the day my life as I had known it came to a screeching halt.  My world shifted and things that had been in progress were simply left undone.  Plans that had been made came unraveled.  I lost all control and was simply along for the ride.  There was nothing I could do to change it.  For the first time in my life I was powerless to control what was happening.

I had been blindsided and I wanted to strike back, but I couldn't.  I asked so many questions, but the answer was always the same.  I searched and searched for a way to get her to say something different but she wouldn't, she couldn't.  I kept throwing questions at her hoping for some other possibility, even a remote possibility.  Nothing changed.

I didn't know it then, but I was beginning the journey of a lifetime.  I didn't know how deeply I was going change.  I had no idea that what she was saying would forever and permanently change me.  I didn't know I was going to lose friends and I had no idea of the friendships I was going to gain.  Most of all I didn't know the strength I had inside of me and I definitely was not aware of the immense strength I would gain along the way.

Two years ago today she sat in that hard plastic chair next to TJ's ER bed and told us he had 20 brain lesions and it was most likely cancer.  Nothing but cancer causes that many brain lesions she told us.  I don't remember her name, but I do remember her face.  I remember the look of pity on her face.  Her face told me how serious it was.

2 Years Ago Today......I remember it as though it was yesterday.

From the depths of our struggles sprout the blossoms of our strengths ~ Unknown

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Spring Has Sprung!

As I sit on my back patio with a glass of wine I truly believe that spring has sprung.  There is a light warm breeze and the temperature is 80.  In the silence I can hear the mules munching away on their dinner and the click of the dog's toenails as they walk around the pool.  The birds are chirping excitedly and the rabbits are in stealth mode stealing every last piece of hay they can from the mules.  I even hear off in the distance the clickety clack of a horse and rider out for an afternoon stroll.

Growing up in Indiana I hated winters and I still am not fond of them.  Now I live in the desert and it makes the winters more tolerable, but I still love the summers more than any other time of year.  A spring day like this means the pool is slowly warming up and soon it will be time for pool parties.

I thought today I would post some pictures showing some of the things I won't miss about winter.

I won't miss it getting dark at 5:30 and my solar lights can't even stay lit all through the night.

I really enjoyed my fireplace this winter and it served as my main source of heat, but I won't miss it either.
This is a picture of the Superstition Mountains I took a mere 2 weeks ago!  It was beautiful and doesn't get snow like that very often, but I am glad the snow has melted.
This is my back yard 2 weeks ago!  This is even more rare than snow on the mountain.  This was gone in less than 30 minutes and replaced by rain, but I sure won't miss seeing actual snow in my backyard.

I welcome spring and summer with open arms.  How about you?

It's spring fever. That is what the name of it is. And when you've got it, you want —oh, you don't quite know what it is you do want, but it just fairly makes your heart ache, you want it so!
~ Mark Twain

Monday, March 7, 2011

Caregiver defines the word caregiver as: a person who cares for someone who is sick or disabled.

Caregiver is a word I really never thought about or even used in my daily vocabulary before TJ's diagnosis.  Suddenly, in the blink of an eye, I became a caregiver.  I was thrust into the role of scheduling doctor appointments, taking notes when the doctors spoke, administering medication on schedule and noting side effects.  Being a caregiver to someone with a serious illness is so much more than making lunch and handing out pills.  You become that person's emotional support as well as the brunt of their emotional outbursts.  The responsibilities at times seemed endless and it is mentally and physically exhausting.

I did not have a chance to prepare for the role of caregiver.  I did not get to read and study up on TJ's diagnosis, I had to learn as we went along.  The pressure was on me to ask all the right questions, to choose the treatment path and hardest of be positive.  TJ's emotions were in overdrive because of the steroids, mine were in overdrive because of the fear of losing him.  He was able to act out while I had to put on a happy face and tell him it was OK.

Being TJ's caregiver was the hardest thing I have ever done in my life.  I also feel honored and privileged to be able to help him when he was most vulnerable.  TJ thanked me many times for sticking by him and caring for him.  No, I did not choose to be a caregiver, but I am grateful for the experience and the opportunity.  It strengthened me and taught me compassion.  I learned to simplify my life.  It taught me to appreciate the simple things, the moments that may not have meant anything before.  Most importantly I learned that through nearly 16 years of ups and downs in our relationship TJ & I loved each other very much.

One day out of the blue TJ said to me, "Thank You". I said, "For what?" He then said words I will never forget, "Because of you I have known what it is like to be truly loved."

To care for the ill without prejudice you must forget who you are, listen to those lying before you in sorrow, and think, "I can be of help". ~ Unknown