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, January 24, 2012

Little Oido

Back on December 19 a little stray chihuahua mix showed up in the parking lot of the complex I work in. He was very skinny and appeared to be fearful of just about everyone and everything. Because of my love for dogs and just about any other animal I picked up a bag of dog food while running errands that day. Come to find out, not only was I feeding him, but just about everyone in the complex was. I called him Oido.

Over the past 5 weeks Oido and I became very good friends. He was still very skittish and would not let me touch him but he spent all day by my office door.

Whenever I would walk anywhere in the complex he would follow me right on my heels.  At the end of the day he would follow me to my truck and as I was leaving I would see him running behind my truck. It was heartbreaking.

Last week he was beginning to show some happiness when he saw me arrive in the morning.  He would run around in circles, wagging his tail and yipping. I really felt like I was making progress with him. I had multiple homes lined up for him once I was able to socialize him. He could not take that leap of faith and actually come in my office, but he got close!

Today would have marked the beginning of week 6 with Oido. I waited and waited for him to show up for his breakfast but no Oido. As the day progressed I got very sad thinking about what could have happened to him.

Hopefully he will show up tomorrow.....

Thursday, January 19, 2012


I have always loved animals. My Mom used to frequently dream that I brought home a stray elephant I had found. Throughout the years I have adopted numerous stray dogs and even a few barn cats.  For me, animals bring so much joy into my life that I can't imagine being without them.

They can sense so many of our emotions and give us unconditional love. I believe one can find so much symbolism in the way they behave and often times parallels between their life and ours can be drawn. I want to share with you one such true story.

Quite a few years back an injured dove showed up at our house. I don't know if he had been shot or hit by a car, but his breast was completely sliced open.  I first noticed him while I was throwing scratch (cracked corn) on the ground for my chickens. He was trying desperately to steal some but the chickens kept chasing him away and it was obvious that he could not fly. I threw him some scratch off to the side so he could eat.  For the first week he ate alone, away from the chickens and away from me.  Every morning he would appear for his share of some scratch and it wasn't long before my chickens began to accept him and he blended right in.  Over time his breast began to heal and he could fly a little bit at a time; not very long and not very high but to me it was fantastic improvement. During his healing he learned that I was not a threat and he had no fear of me.  When eventually he could fly good as new he never left our place.  He would always be waiting for me when I went out to feed in the morning and often when I would leave for work he would ride the bed rails of my truck until I pulled out of the driveway. He would then fly up to rest on the power lines. Often he would be waiting on those same lines when I got home. As I pulled into the driveway he would swoop down and ride the truck to it's parking place. In the evenings, as TJ and I sat on the patio discussing our day and planning the next he would happily perch nearby. He eventually found a mate and they built their nest on our patio right outside the back door. While TJ wasn't happy with the mess they were creating, I convinced him to please let them be. They raised not just one but two families right on our patio.

When I moved from that house after TJ died there was no way for me to bring him with me so I was forced to leave him behind and it broke my heart. I can still vividly remember the last time I pulled out of that driveway and he was on the bed rails of my truck. When he flew off just as I pulled into the street I stuck my hand out the window and waved goodbye.

I was leaving my old life behind to begin my own healing process.  I was beginning my own journey to learn how to spread my wings and fly again. Small short flights at first, as the pain held me back. But with time and nourishment much longer and higher flights. I am not yet soaring above the power lines, but I will.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Can Friendship Last Forever?

The friends I am closest to have been my friends for years. Recent research shows that people replace about half of their closest friends every seven years! The definitely does not apply to me. I am very selective when it comes to letting people into my "inner circle". I have to know that they will be there for me forever and unconditionally. I have come to realize that I am basically not trusting of people in general and they must prove to me I can allow them in. I am often very closed with my emotions and feelings (in person at least, on here I lay it all on the line). Throughout my life I have been blessed with some friendships that I believe will last forever.

I met Terry my freshman year of college. He was head over heels for my girlfriend and she was difficult, to say the least. We became friends through our discussions about her. Today he is one of my dearest friends. He has always been there for me and he was the only person who ever stood up to my Father when he would treat me poorly. My Dad quickly learned to not talk down to me in Terry's presence as he would not tolerate it. Over the years Terry has never missed my birthday! I always get a phone call, text, or email from him to say happy birthday. While we live thousands of mile apart, I know if I truly needed him he would jump on a plane and be here for me. Thanks Ter, I love you!

Bob, aka Bad Bob, I met while working at Grand Canyon National Park. I spent 5 years working at the park and loved every minute of it. Bob and I worked in the maintenance department together. While we both had significant others we still managed to spend one weekend day together exploring the Kaibab National Forest. Over the years we lost and regained contact many times, always picking up right where we left off.  After TJ died and I bought the new house I was speaking on the phone with Bob's girlfriend about how I think with the new house I may have bitten off more than I could chew as far as remodeling goes. She suggested that Bob (she called him my brother) fly out to help me as he was unemployed at the time anyway. She handed the phone to Bob and without hesitation he said he would happily come help me.  Bob came out for 3 weeks and did nothing but work on my new house the whole time he was here. That, my friends, is true friendship! He expected nothing in return as he was here just to help his friend. Bob and I will be friends forever, I am sure of it.

I could go on and on with my special friendships: Ed, he went to high school with my ex-husband and now we live within a mile of each other; my sister (Alberta), we have never had a period where we didn't speak and I truly love her; my brother (Mark), we are not in constant communication but I know he is there for me; my first boyfriend (Greg), we have a truly unique friendship that has lasted throughout the years; my best friend from high school (Mary) we only reconnected recently and you can read about our friendship here.

Now I have my bloggy and twitter friends, some I have met in person and some I have not. Regardless of meeting in person, many have become very special friends to me. I have my local IRL friends that have supported me in person the over last few years. I am sure if I were to rewrite this 10 years from now some of these people would be included.

Take a moment to think about your "forever" friends. Friendship for life - what a great concept! 

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Happy, Happy, Joy, Joy


Yesterday I had an appointment with my Physical Therapist as well as my Pain Management Doctor. They both released me from treatment. My truck accident was on June 2, 2011 so after six long months of recovery I am finally healed. Well, healed with conditions of course..... I was given a 6 month supply of the pain creme I use since I still wake up every morning with a sore neck and I was told to be careful for the next year.  But no more appointments.  While I loved both my doc and therapist I am happy to not have to see them again. EVER...hopefully.

In light of this I am declaring 2012 to be a year of NO DRAMA for me. I have not had a drama free year since 2008 and I am due for one. Needless to say I am absolutely thrilled about having an entire good year so please wish me luck, cross your fingers, cross your toes, whatever it is that you think will help.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

One of My Favorite Movies - "Always"

I am not a movie person at all. TV/movies bore me and put me to sleep. Fact is, I haven't been to a movie theater since high school and, well, we all know the main reason I went then. While there have been many times that I have begun watching a movie there are very few that I actually stayed awake long enough to see the ending. The movie Always is one that manages to keep my attention.

Always was released in 1989 and was not a big blockbuster even though it was produced and directed by Steven Spielberg. It starred Richard Dreyfuss, Holly Hunter, John Goodman, Brad Johnson and Audrey Hepburn.  Always is a remake of the 1943 drama A Guy Name Joe. Both Dreyfuss and Spielberg were fans of the 1943 movie and talked about doing a remake of it during the filming of Jaws in 1974. I have read somewhere that A Guy Named Joe is what inspired Spielberg to become a movie director.

The basic plot is about a firefighter pilot that returns to earth after being killed in a fire to help his girlfriend fall for another pilot and get on with her life. To me it is similar to the movie Ghost that was released at a later date.

I was originally drawn to the movie because it is about wildfires. I had just left a 5 year stint at Grand Canyon National Park and moved to Indiana. I had numerous friends while living at the canyon that were firefighters. I was able to liken the various personalities in the movie to friends. I even related to the sense of loss the entire firefighting community feels when they lose one of their own.

Now, all these years later, the movie has a different meaning to me.  I now relate to the loss Holly Hunter (Dorinda) feels.  I understand her deep grief. I understand her ability to not "move on" to a new relationship even though she has met someone she is interested in. I understand the scenes where she "feels" Richard Dreyfuss (Pete) in her presence.

Most of all, I truly understand loss now. I didn't when I first watched this movie and fell in love with it.  My life was easy and carefree then. My life had not yet been shattered by loss and I had no idea what the future was to hold for me. Always is a movie that has touched me for many, many years.  If you have the opportunity to watch it please do. It may just touch you also.

Monday, January 2, 2012

2011 A Year In Review

Every year that TJ and I were together we would sit down at the end of the year and discuss our accomplishments, our failures and our plans for the following year. In business they call it "strategic planning", in a relationship I called it "crazy".  I often complained to my friends that we ran our relationship like a business. As much as I complained about it, I loved it. If something would come up unexpected we would always say, "maybe next year, we will see". Obviously our 2009 didn't go as planned one bit since TJ's diagnosis was in March of that year. Our plans and dreams for the year got pushed overboard, never to be seen again. As a result I have been living day by day since the beginning of 2009 and frankly it is driving me nuts. My usual extremely organized life is now lived in complete disarray.

I spent some time yesterday outlining my plans and goals for 2012. I don't make resolutions, I make a plan and set realistic goals. I feel like I can finally get a handle on my life. The big projects in my house are basically complete and I can focus on living and not remodeling. As I was thinking about 2011 I realized there were a few significant events in my life in 2011.

In March I found a little white Jack Russell Terrier puppy roaming the parking lot at work. It was a Friday and I just couldn't stand the thought of leaving him there all weekend so I brought him home with me. Tater Tot, as you all know him, turned out to be a huge blessing in my life.  I didn't realize it at the time but I really needed the laughter that a puppy brings to a home.

On my way home from work on June 2 I was broadsided by a red light runner. My truck rolled twice and while I had some injuries, I basically walked away. I loved my now totaled truck, but I reminded myself that it is just a material object and can be replaced. Every time I see the pictures I count my blessings that I wasn't seriously injured or even killed.

Of course I could not make it through an entire calendar year without death being a part of it. On August 4th I had to put TJ's dog, Shiner, down. Totaling my truck now paled in comparison to losing Shiner. TJ and Shiner were the best of buddies and I saw a little bit of TJ whenever I looked at Shiner. I still miss Shiner very much. For those that say, "he was just a dog", obviously never met Shiner, he was special and anyone that dog crossed paths with will agree.

On the 25th of this month I "celebrated" 2 years of TJ being gone. I got a tattoo with his ashes mixed into the ink.  This was a huge turning point for me and one of the best things I had done since losing TJ.

My sister, brother, sister-in-law and I went to the Saguaro National Forest and spread Mom's ashes. Mom is finally where she wanted her final resting place to be.

When compared to 2009 and 2010 I have to say that 2011 wasn't all that bad. So I say BRING ON 2012. It will be an even better year, I am sure of it.

Happy New Year to all and may 2012 be the year you see at least one of your dreams come true!