How’s The View From That High Horse?

Because I think you’re missing the details. While you throw accusations of insensitivity at me you’re stomping on sacred ground.

And don’t you dare try to offer me your comfort and sympathy now. You don’t deserve the warm and fuzzy feelings of that. Yes, I dared to state that pets aren’t the same as children. That was so very harsh of me. Do you need a safe space?

That’s cute. You’re going to lecture me on how hard Mother’s Day is for some people. Did it ever occur to you that I may be one of those people? Oh that’s right, you can’t see past your sanctimony. You can trot right on out on that high horse of yours.

Complicated. Yeah. I’m supposed to play your silly games and pretend that your love for your dog is equal to my grief for the child I lost before they ever took a breath. On Mother’s Day, I might add.

I hear you, just scroll past and ignore it if it bothers you that much. I see how well that worked out for you. No, you decided I must need to be informed and educated and put in my place. Here’s your freaking medal.

As if I could compare stroking my cat’s fur as he breathed his last to my friend that held her child’s hand as she lost her battle to cancer. That would monstrous. I’d be a terrible human being for even hinting at such.

Right. I’m insensitive. I’m a horrible person.

Why don’t you go ahead and explain how insensitive I am to the 85-year-old woman I held as she made the heart-wrenching decision to turn off her daughter’s life support? Indeed, she took great solace in caring for the cats her daughter left behind, but she’d trade them all for another moment with her daughter.

Go on. I’ll wait.

Emerson, the cat, came into our lives during a period of intense turmoil, and he was and still is a source of tremendous comfort. I needed to nurture something. I needed the unconditional love in return and he gave it and then some. He continues to do so today. He has been there for more of my ugly sobbing than I care to get into. It would be doing him an injustice to treat him as a replacement for a child. He’s no surrogate. He’s far more sensitive than you, actually.

Some day, far sooner than I’ll be ready, he’ll be gone. It’s my job and responsibility to make sure that process goes as peacefully and painlessly as possible. I will weep. The grief will be intense and include more of those ugly sobs.

Trust me, I get it that our pets can bring great comfort and solace in the face of pain and difficulty. That relationship is wonderful, special, and not the same as parenthood. Funny how no one seems to have noticed that I didn’t even say it was less. I only said it was different.

Am I a good person? Well my dog thinks so, anyway. My real friends do to. Me? Well, I try to be. Really, I think that’s all any of us can do.

KaBoom! A Place for Play

Today seems the right day to tell this story, the one year anniversary of Amy’s overcoming.

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I’m not wearing that bracelet anymore. I wanted it to do something more. Something different than just becoming a thing that I wore or a keepsake in my jewelry box. Her memory deserves something special.

The answer started with a huge puddle of mud.

Which would soon become a playground, but we had a long way to go and a lot of work to get there.

There was a mountain of mulch

This hole seemed like a good spot

Mud and all

A little help from some friends.

And a swing-set is born.

Add some concrete

And a little on your host.

The overcomer bracelet became a permanent part of a place built for laughter and joy. It rests in the concrete at the base of the swing-set.

I’d like to think Amy would approve.

My Brother is a Grandpa

But I got to hold his granddaughter before he did. It’s what bratty little sisters have to do.

Grace Marie

I don’t know when my brother got old enough to be a grandpa, but there you have it. Hilariously, he’s going to be a daddy again in about 9 weeks. But we all know it’s the aunties that are the favorites anyway 😉

Grace Marie entered the world on Saturday, April 9th weighing in at a mere 5 pounds and 6 ounces. Haven’t held a baby that small in just over 17 years.

He’s grown a bit since then, but Teenbot was only 5 pounds 12 ounces when he came into the world. Sometimes it seems like just yesterday.

She even wiggled out a tiny foot just like her big cousin used to do.

Just wait until she figures out that her great uncle is actually the EvylRobot.

Life moves forward into new adventures.

Life is Crazy and Beautiful

So as you may have seen elsewhere around the interwebs, we spent our weekend with our tribe. Our chosen family. Phlegmfest.

Saturday night sitting in OldNFO‘s living room, I was reminiscing with Christina.  I remarked that here in this room sit some of my very favorite people on the planet and it all started with a little shindig she threw some years back. We’d never met, but since Jim suggested she invite us, she did. I think he may have left out the part where he hadn’t met the Evylrobot and me.

But we figured, what the hell. Let’s take a road trip. What could possibly go wrong? I went to my boss to request the time off. He granted it and conversationally asked, “So what do you have planned?”

“Oh, erm. We’re going out of state to meet people from the internet. With guns.”

He gave me the look. You know the one.

Best crazy idea ever.

Never in a million years would I have thought that party would lead all the wild places that it has. Because of that weekend, I have since found myself dressed in a vinyl catsuit standing in a room cheering on the waxing of a friend. We’ve presented a pink gorilla to none other than Lawdog, himself, and we’ve traded puns with Peter and Dot. We’ve killed and eaten some of FarmDad‘s chickens. We’ve spent our lives south of the Mason Dixon, but it took GayCynic to make grits we actually enjoy. I’ve had my intoxication levels evaluated by Matt G, and gone antiquing with the divine miss Phlegmmy.

It was a pleasure, as always, to spend the weekend with this ragtag group of mischief makers. My soul is replenished by the laughter of my friends. Those of the tribe that didn’t make it, know that you were missed, and we look forward to being in your company soon. Hopefully no one will wind up in the emergency room next time.

Uncluttering

My life has been over-cluttered, not just with the things I’ve collected that are scattered about my house (although that’s certainly an issue), but with too many distractions and influences that aren’t really adding to my quality of life. It’s time I do something about it.

No, I’m not about to do some mass Facebook unfriending, but there will be some. If you are reading this, you aren’t likely to be on the chopping block, particularly if we interact on a regular basis. Quite honestly, that paring down process has already begun, but I seriously doubt those that have been cut have noticed.

I’m simplifying my feedreader. I just don’t have the time or inclination to read each and every blog currently listed there. I find more and more often that I am hitting the mark as read button anyway. Again, those that will be removed aren’t likely to notice as I probably haven’t been interacting with them already.

And yeah, stuff. I have books that I haven’t gotten around to reading that I probably never will. I have half-finished projects that I should really be honest about and pass on. I have too many “things that may come in handy someday.” So many, in fact, that if someday ever came, I’d never find them.

I want my house to a place where I can welcome my friends. I can’t do that today. And I want my relationships to be real and interactive. I have no need for drama and gossip in my life. It doesn’t enrich my life or make me a better person.

Why should I even tell you this? I don’t know. Few, if any, of you will even be affected. If I suddenly vanish from your friends list and you miss me, message me. I probably cut you off by mistake. That is not my intent.

My intent is a refocus on what is really important. I saw so many people who I really care about this weekend, most of whom had fallen out of touch. I met their children that I didn’t even know existed. I saw the devastation on the other side of my city where people lost their homes and all their stuff. Nobody cared about the stuff. They were just glad to be alright and able to be together.

I want more of that and less clutter. I want to shoot more, both firearms and photographs. And I want to share it all with the people who really matter. People that are a real part of my life, both online and off.

Am I going to stop blogging? Fat chance, you aren’t getting rid of me that easily! Hopefully, I’ll blog more. I want the conversation. The real conversations rather than the drive by kind. And hey! We’ve made some tasty food that I need to share with you all.

She Has Overcome

 

10296634_765089633525106_5060874179762599544_nI have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world. John 16:33

That’s the verse printed on the inside of this bracelet. It’s been on my wrist almost constantly for the last year. I took that picture April 30th of 2014. It’s in support of Amy. I’ve told you about Amy.

Early this morning, she ran out of tomorrows. She is cancer free now, and she has overcome this world. And this world is a colder, darker place today.

She leaves behind a devoted husband, 2 young girls, two siblings, her mother, father, and countless friends whose lives she enriched.

 

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Her daughters brought her this flower. I understand she held it until the end.

Amy,

You were truly a gift from God. A light that shone too brightly for this world. I am blessed to have been a part of your life and heartbroken that your role in mine has come to an end. I know, my tears will dry and I will be left with only the blessing, but today is not that day.

Claim your crown and your new body. Rest in the peace you so richly deserve.

An Open Letter

But not from me.

As for the fear, I will face that head on. I will not allow the victim mentality to win.

You see, living in fear is a choice. You can choose to tremble in the dark, or you can choose to face it head on. Also, making the decision to equip yourself with a lethal weapon does not come from a place of hate. Sometimes you even pray for the bad guys. Go read the whole thing.

Recognizing a Stroke FAST

I was a latch-key kid back in the seventh and eighth grade, my parents each working long hours to support our lifestyle. I’d catch the bus after school and come home to an empty house, which I had to myself for the next two to four hours. This was before the days of the internet and even though we had cable with every channel, that got pretty old pretty quickly.

So I did what any enterprising adolescent with entirely too much time on her hands does, I started getting off at the wrong bus stop. Specifically, the stop that was four stops after my own that just so happened to be a close friend’s stop. Her mom was a stay-at-home mom that always had something delicious to share although her dad worked, he worked odd hours and always enjoyed entertaining us when he was around. And he was a riot. You never knew what might happen next. I remember mentioning that the sugar cookies were rather mundane and so he laid them out directly on the kitchen counter and covered them in chocolate syrup. It was a mess! I couldn’t believe it.

One Sunday morning as the family was getting ready for church, he wasn’t feeling well and sent them on without him. Those were the last words he ever spoke to his family. They returned from the morning services to find him collapsed in the bathroom. They called the ambulance, and I got a frantic call from my friend.

We spent hours in that hospital waiting room. Doctor after somber faced doctor passing through with updates. He’d had a stroke. A big one. And he was gone. Just like that.

I stayed with my friend. Ate the seemingly never-ending casseroles that arrived that she couldn’t work up the appetite to eat. We were in the eighth grade. No one should lose their dad in the eighth grade.

Could that story have ended differently? Maybe, maybe not. Medical technology and knowledge has come a long way since then. Early intervention makes the biggest difference in the outcome for a stroke victim. But you can’t call in the pros unless you know what to look for. That’s where FAST comes in.

Graphic Provided by the American Recall Center
Graphic Provided by the American Recall Center

F-Face Drooping
A-Arm Weakness
S-Speech Difficulty
T-Time to Call 911

The American Recall Center reached out to me* to share this information as we are getting into the holidays. Hopefully, we will all be getting together with our families and friends that we may not see the rest of the year. This can be a wonderful time, but it can also be a stressful time. Stokes spike around this time of year and knowing the signs could make all the difference.

*The American Recall Center asked. They did not compensate me for this post in any way. I agreed that the information was important. Please visit the Xarelto page for information regarding some negative side effects.