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.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

The Triggers That Lead To Pain

I still periodically run across triggers that bring tears to my eyes. My triggers vary widely; songs, smells, sights, sounds, words from other people. Going back to "The Shack" was a huge trigger for me. I had thought it through in my head and had myself convinced I was going to be fine. Nope....I cried.

Songs/music is another trigger for me, but not all of it is bad. There is some music that when I hear it will bring back a memory from deep in the recesses of my mind and put a smile on my face. But, of course, there is other music that no matter where I am or what I am doing will put tears in my eyes.

Crying For Me by Toby Keith - Most of you probably don't know, but TJ was a left handed guitar player

Home by Michael Buble - I just want my old life back sometimes...I want to go home, but I can never go home again.

If you aren't familiar with any of the above songs click the link and give them a listen. They are all wonderful songs by their own right.

Last week I bought some overripe bananas to make banana bread. I couldn't bring myself to do it. TJ loved my banana bread and I thought the smell of it cooking would be too much. I threw the bananas in the garbage this morning.  Good thing I only spent 79 cents! Yet, there are other things that I cook that TJ loved and it doesn't bother me at all.

The sight of Shiner many times brought me to tears. Shiner was 110% TJ's dog and whenever I looked at him I saw TJ. I had to put him down last August and it broke my heart.

Good grief! Do they both have that don't bother us look on their faces or what?

Sounds! Oh my are there so many sounds that trigger me. Maybe not always tears, but a flash flood of memories. TJ was a carpenter when I met him and then we started our own crane service. The sound of a Skil Saw, a large diesel truck, the backup beeper on a large truck (he backed his crane in everyday when he came home from work), a nail gun, the hydraulics of a boom being extended. These are the sounds that I don't hear as frequently as I used to and it is those sounds that make me turn my head and acknowledge the memories.

Words from other people....I am over all the stupid stuff people say and have said....with one exception. This one exception does bring me to tears.....he is not my EX husband. Being apart is not something either one of us chose. You can call him my dead husband, my late husband, my husband that has passed away but he is not my EX!

We all have triggers, although some of us don't have such overpowering reactions. These associations can be limiting and paralyzing and can cause physical and mental pain that is completely unrelated to our current circumstances. They divorce us from the present and thrust us into a dark, painful past. The past is over. Today is a new day. We all deserve peace, but it is up to us to do it for ourselves.

Next time you find yourself stuck in a trigger that thrusts you into a painful memory just remember: we can't change that we've hurt before, but we can choose not to suffer now.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

The Drive Home From The Shack

 On Sunday when I had to leave the shack I decided to do a few quick chores and hit the road early so I could take some back roads home. The first thing I wanted to do was to go take a look at the Grapevine Ranch. It is for sale and would be a dream purchase for me, but I had to go take a look at it anyway. Maybe I should start playing the lottery.

 I am partial to this picture of "The Beast" in front of the Grapevine entrance. I love my beast. The black tank in the back is for my water. It holds 85 gallons, plenty for a weekend, even with horses.

 This is right inside the gate to the Grapevine.

Mickey has total disregard for no trespassing signs!

I took Cascabel Road home and it was a beautiful drive.
I stopped along the way to take photos of the many ranch entrances that dotted the road.

If you know me at all, you know that I love cattle. I think they are beautiful creatures and even better on the grill. This photo has 2 of my favorite things...cattle and high plains desert. I could have stayed there all afternoon just watching the cattle graze with those beautiful mountains in the background..

Thursday, June 14, 2012

7 Things About Me

I am not a fan of the whole blog award thingy, but this one was given to me by someone near and dear to me. A big thank you to JarieLyn over at Dance With Words, but it was through her other blog, Write Place! Write Chick! that we became friends. I met JarieLyn shortly after I began blogging, which was just as TJ received his terminal cancer diagnosis, and we have been bloggy friends every since. Over the years she has encouraged me with her comments and friendship. Thanks again JarieLyn!

So, of course, there are conditions placed on the receipt of this award; I have to tell you 7 things about myself. Well, turns out that isn't so easy for me. In a random email I was sending to a friend I mentioned this and said friend promptly emailed me back a list of 7 things about me. So, I have decided to use what my friend said about me, but include my responses.

You have a loving heart for distressed creatures.
              This is true! You can read about the dove I rescued HERE.

You have an exceptional taste in wine. But not snooty.
               Oh, I can be a wine snob, I am just too cheap to be

You have a cool truck. That you love.
               Yes! "The Beast" kicks butt and will out tow just about anybody! I used to have another kick butt truck but was hit by a red light runner, rolled & totaled my truck. You can see the pictures of the wrecked truck HERE.

You are a great interior decorator.
               This is just not true & I have no idea where this came from!

You have fantastic friends and do girls night.
                I do have rockin' friends and I do a girls dinner every Wednesday, plus we do girls pool day every Saturday in the summer....I am blessed

You have a great sense of adventure.
       depends on what it is
You have great faith and are willing to take blind steps because of your faith.
                I only recently learned this, but yes, true!

Now, I will pass this on to a few of my favorite bloggers.

Terri over at Terri Sonoda mostly because she likes to talk about herself as much as I do and she is hilarious!    Love ya T!

Kim over at My Inner Chick  Kim lost her sister, Kaye, to domestic violence and has now dedicated her life to bringing awareness to domestic abuse. I love you Kim!

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

The Return To "The Shack"

It has been almost 2 years since I have been to "The Shack". For my new readers, "The Shack" is my property in Southeastern Arizona.  I own 10 acres at the base of the Dragoon Mountains.  TJ & I bought it years ago with the intention of it being our place to retire. Until we could retire and build a home there we wanted to use it. The property borders state land and is 1/4 mile from National Forest. Fantastic horseback riding country. In order to make it convenient for us to use we built a shack on it for shelter when we camped down there. The main shack was first and then a guest shack and then a bathroom. TJ used to tease me that he wasn't going to actually build me a house there....just 2,000 square feet of shack! Over the years we spent many weekends, weeks and once 2 weeks down there. Numerous friends came down with horses and lots of parties & horseback riding was based at "The Shack". I have neglected the place and I finally decided that I either needed to take care of it or sell it. My choice was to take care of it and in order to do that I had to return and assess it for repairs.

I knew returning there would be hard and take an emotional toll on me, but I had no idea it would completely drain me emotionally. Looking back I realize that just preparing for the return was emotional for me. We have no water or electricity so water must be hauled down with me. Just the simple act of packing the truck to leave seemed to have me reeling. TJ & I had packing to leave down to a science. He had certain things that he did and I had things that I did. We could pack and be on the road in less than an hour.

Once there I was surrounded by bittersweet memories. Everything about the place has TJ's signature on it. He was a fantastic carpenter and the buildings, while in disrepair now, were once beautifully constructed buildings. Both shacks have wood burning stoves in them for warmth in the winter. TJ built both of the stoves as well. He could build just about anything out of wood or metal. The entire weekend my brain was flooded with memories of what used to be. Friday night I barely slept because I could not turn my mind off.

(click on pictures to enlarge)
 The Bathroom! Complete with flushing toilet (if you fill it up with water first) !
Dragoon Mountains in the background.

 The main shack on your left and the guest shack on your right. Tater Tot in the middle!!
Both are seriously in need of paint!
My shower location. The actual shower was too filthy and I had no cleaning stuff so I just showered outside.
Off in the distance are the Chiricahua Mountains.

This was how my Saturday morning began. Dead batteries!
Kudos to AAA for sending a truck to jump me.
But mostly kudos to Albert for such a great attitude even though he got stuck getting to me.

This was Tater Tot's first trip to "The Shack".
He thoroughly enjoyed himself and slept all the way home.

While the emotions were overwhelming at first I did ultimately adjust. I was happy to be back home and I thoroughly enjoyed my weekend. Just like always, I hated to leave on Sunday and I can't wait until I can get back.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Kitchen Remodel

The kitchen is one of the most expensive rooms in a home to remodel. I was lucky as I didn't have to pay labor and I brought all my appliances from the old house with me, but cabinetry is an investment in itself. I chose to put all new cabinetry in the house; kitchen, bathrooms and laundry room. I searched and searched for cabinets. I did the lay out of the kitchen myself and had a list of cabinet sizes I needed. I finally found a guy that had reasonable prices and would sell me cabinets based on my measurements and not charge me to send a guy out to do what I had already done!

I did splurge and pay $100 for delivery. I would have had to make quite a few trips and my time and fuel would have cost me more than their delivery fee.

 This is one side of the kitchen before demo began.

 Bob is working on demo while I take pictures!

 This is a view of the other side of the kitchen before demo.

 After photo of kitchen.
Note that I added a pantry.
While I no longer feed a family I still wanted more storage.

Another after photo. Those are old hats of TJ's up top as well as his old rope saddle.
I did an overhang with the counter as much as I could without having to use corbels to create a bar area.
Turns out I love that bar area and sit there all the time!

My counter tops are laminate. I am probably the only person in the world that absolutely can not stand granite. I have a friend that does granite and offered to do them at a deep discount for me and I just couldn't force myself into granite. Granite tops can harbor a plethora of bacteria and if you don't believe me you can read about it HERE . I also find granite to be very cold and hard. I figured that with concrete floors and dark cabinetry I needed something to soften my kitchen.

The kitchen was fun, but I couldn't measure for counter tops until the cabinets were installed so I lived with no counters and of course no kitchen sink for 2 weeks. That was kind of a hassle but worth it when it was all said and done.