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.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

My Past Life Is Slowly Slipping Away

I have split my life into two sections. My life with TJ before he died and my new life without TJ. There are so many things that I want to hold onto from my past life. Sure, I will always have my memories, but there are other things that are slowly and piece by piece slipping through my fingers. Last August I had to put TJ's dog, Shiner, down and that was very much like losing a part of TJ.  Last week I put Okie down. While Okie was 100% my baby he was still from my past life. Our home is gone. My truck is gone. These are just a few of the little bits and pieces of my past life that are falling off and out of my reach. It scares me to think that soon all I will have left is my memories.

Some days I struggle with the conflict between my future and watching my past slowly slip to mere memories. I believe there is always a way to turn your life around if you look for it hard enough and it is never too late to start again. It is the letting go of that past life that is hard. It hurts, but the hurt reminds me of what was, and is beautiful. Of what I've known, and lost. Of love given, and love taken away. The more it hurts, the deeper the ache, the sweeter the memory. So, while I hate the hurt, I have learned to live with it.

There is no pain like losing someone you love. It takes a lot of courage to allow yourself to be happy again. I am happy again. I have learned that it is not about having the answers in life; rather it is about the search for those answers. I know that I am free to live my life as I want to; with my heart wide open and my soul alive with song.

"Happiness cannot be traveled to, owned, earned, worn or consumed. Happiness is the spiritual experience of living every minute with love, grace, and gratitude." ~ Denis Waitley

Monday, May 21, 2012

RIP Okie

There comes a day when you wake up and realize that it just isn't humane any longer. You realize through the tears that it is time. It is time to let go of your very, very dear friend. I can no longer watch him in pain and misery. I had to let him go.

Okie was born on April 15, 2000 in our home. Mickey gave us 8 beautiful puppies and she was a wonderful Mom. The minute Okie was born I knew he was the one I would be keeping.

Mickey with her litter. Okie is the one with the spot for a tail.

How could I not fall in love with that face!

 As he grew he became even more precious.

 He often hung out on the couch like this to watch the happenings around the house.

TJ didn't want me to keep him, but fell in love with him also and they became very good buddies.

RIP Okie, you were one of kind and the joy you brought me will never be forgotten. Nor will the comfort you have brought to me over the past 3 years. There were countless times you curled up on the bed with me and let me sob into your soft white fur. I hope you see Shiner and TJ and tell them I am doing OK and that you helped me through the loss of both of them.

"If having a soul means being able to feel love and loyalty and gratitude, then animals are better off than a lot of humans." ~ James Herriott

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

A Corner Turned - Unexpectedly

It is Tuesday, May 15, 2012 at 6:30 pm. To you, my reader, the time and date is not important but for me it is very important. Much of my life the past 3 years is chronicled in this blog and tonight I want to remember this turning point. I want to remember it forever. Today has been a beautiful day in Arizona so I decided to dangle my legs in the pool with a glass of wine, a book and Tater Tot. When Tater bored of playing with me I began watching the sun set on the beautiful Superstition Mountains that I fell in love with many years ago. They are why I live here.

I began to think about my life, my future, what I want. The amazing thing is that I did not look at these things as my life after TJ, or my future without TJ, or what I want now that he is gone. I was simply thinking about me. He did not enter my mind. I was not thinking what would TJ want me to do, or he would approve or disapprove of this. I was only thinking of myself.  This is a first. Sure, after he died and I bought the new house, I used to say, "it is all about me now" but it never really was, he was always there, in my mind, guiding my every decision.

I found myself with a sense of inner peace, calm, and yes, even happiness. True happiness. I looked around my property and saw my "home". I saw this place where I have lived for 2 years as my "HOME"! They say home is where the heart is, but my heart has not been here. It is now. I see a future here for me. I see lots of happy memories being made here. Isn't that what a home is all about?

So, before the sun sets completely, I am going to pour a 2nd glass of wine and watch that beautiful, beautiful mountain turn red. I will toast to TJ, whom I will always remember and love and hold in my heart, but I will also toast to myself for having reached this point. I will toast to the new life I am about to embark on. And by the way, I have tossed some of that old tattered baggage that I have been dragging around with me into the desert. I may have kept a small carry on, but that is nothing compared to what I have rid myself of.

While I watch the sunset tonight I will say goodbye to many things, but more importantly I am looking forward to the sunrise tomorrow. I am on the precipice of something new and wonderful. The baggage I carry now is in the overhead compartment, out of sight and out of mind. I might, just maybe, leave it there, as I will soon be changing planes.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Fireplace Transformation & A Monkey

If you have been reading my blog for a while you know that after TJ died I had to move and for some crazy reason I decided to buy a house that had been a meth lab, was repossessed and empty for a while. It needed a lot of work and I thought it would give me something to take my mind off everything I had just gone through. I am fairly handy so I thought I could do most of the work myself. It is still a work in progress but I thought I would share a few before and after pictures.
(click on pictures to enlarge)
 This was the fireplace when I moved in. I don't like Indian stuff so I hated it. Not to mention the carpet that was white at one time.
A close of up the freaky Indian guy. I could not handle him staring at me all the time!
So we did this to it. No more Indian guy! By WE, I mean my very, very good friend who happened to be unemployed at the time. I flew Bob to Arizona and he spent 3 weeks working full time on my house to prepare it for move in. That is one heck of a friend in my book!
Now it looks like this.

While Bob was here I took him to a friend's house who has a pet monkey. Her name is Angel and either she takes to you or she doesn't. In my case, some days she is crazy about me and others she will have nothing to do with me. Moody darn monkey she is!
 I always enjoy the looks on people's faces when Angel starts grooming them. It is natural for her, but weird for us humans. She even pretends like she gets bugs out of your hair and puts them in her mouth. She will also clean out your ears....kinda freaky and clean under your fingernails, which isn't so bad.
She will steal your beer if given the chance, even dig through your cooler for a beer. TJ used to yell at Dena and I, "keep that damn monkey out of my beer!"

I will post pictures from another room next week. It has been quite the project, but all in all it has been fun.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Baggage Full of Fears

A life plan. We all make one and if we are really honest with ourselves most of the time our plans don't work out as we had hoped. So, maybe, instead of asking ourselves, "what is my plan, what do I intend to do with my life?" Maybe we should just plan to be surprised.

When TJ died I thought I would be happier alone. I could have my work, my friends, my animals, etc. I thought someone in my life all the time would be more trouble than it is worth. I am not sure I want back into a relationship where someone is there to pick up the pieces. Where someone starts helping me and I get used to it. What if I am to love again and it falls apart? What if I learn that I need love and then suddenly I no longer have it.....again? What if I like it and lean on it? What if I shape my life around it and then it falls apart? I don't think I can survive that kind of pain again. Losing love is like death. The only difference is death ends, the suffering from a lost love goes on forever.

I am damaged goods and I have baggage, lots of it actually. I have unpacked many of those bags and stowed them away. Some of my bags were overflowing and I simply chucked them in the trash along with all the issues they carried with them. There are others though. Other bags that I carry with me and tightly grip their handles. I am afraid to let go of them, yet the thought of carrying them with me forever scares the hell out of me. I don't want the burden of dragging them with me wherever I go....forever. I am just not sure what will release my grip. Will time release my grip? Will a new love release my grip? Will a day come when I just get tired of dragging them around and chuck them? Will someone who loves me pry them out of my hands, all the while convincing me I no longer need them?

I know full well that I should face the fears I carry with me in those bags. But it is so much easier to keep them packed away and ignore them. That is not healthy and I know it, but I have no idea how to even begin to face those fears. Right now, for me, it is easier to bury my head in the sand and continue to drag my bags along with me.

"Sometimes people put up walls, not to keep others out, but to see who cares enough to break them down." ~ Unknown

Monday, May 7, 2012

The Snake Chronicles

What you are about to read is true and it happened to my friend Michele. It reminds me of some of the stories I read in the book Puppalicious by Pamela Fagan Hutchins. Puppalicious is a wonderful read if like animal humor and you can buy it here

The Snake Chronicles began back in October of 2011. My girlfriend Michele who lives just down the road from me came home on a Saturday afternoon to find a bull snake in her house. We live in a rural area of the desert so, while this was disconcerting, she understood that it happens on occasion.  Using a pair of kitchen tongs Michele removed the snake from the house and placed it at the back of her property. The following morning Michele's adult daughter, Andrea, who was visiting from out of state, noticed another snake slithering down the hall. This time the snake was caught (covered with a glass bowl) and the fire department was called. The fire departments in Arizona are trained in snake removal. The snake was removed and Michele and Andrea headed out for a Mother / Daughter afternoon. Upon their return there were yet more snakes in the house and once again the fire department was called. The firemen informed Michele that there must be a nest of babies in her house and they can have up to 19 babies! That is it....the proverbial camel's back is broken! She and Andrea come to stay at my house for the evening.

Meanwhile we call my "bug man" to come do a thorough search of the house and remove any and all snakes that he can find. "Mighty Mike", as he is called, removed 5 additional snakes. All is good.....still a bit creepy, but good.

Michele spends the next 5 months scouring her home with a flashlight looking for snakes every evening when she arrives home from work. No snakes, so her comfort level begins to return. She begins to feel comfortable the snake problem has been resolved so one evening she does not go on snake patrol upon her arrival at home. She simply walks into her bedroom and begins to slip into her comfy clothes. Yes, you guessed it. Another snake is in her  bedroom. Mighty Mike to the rescue! Back to flashlight patrol. At this point we have sealed all holes in which we think they may be getting in.

Two months pass by with no more snakes. But alas, this past Thursday another snake.....well, make that 2 snakes! The first one was found when Michele arrived home from work. I received a hysterical phone call from Michele around 4:30 pm. Mighty Mike to the rescue again. I sat with her and we discussed options. She had calmed down and I headed home to bed. But I was woke from a deep sleep by pounding on my door at 11:30 pm. She had seen another snake and wanted to spend the night at my snake free house.

Michele has decided to sell her home and move. Frankly I understand. I have reached the point to where I too am always on the lookout for snakes when I am in her house. A person just can't live like that. Besides, she is about to retire and wanted to downsize within the next year anyway.