Sunday, July 26, 2015

Not Sweating the Small Stuff

I know I've changed.  That's a fact.  But some of the changes have surprised even me.  I'm just not sweating the small stuff so much these days.

The other day I was in a bit of a hurry and while refilling the cat food bowl, the whole thing dropped and food went everywhere.  Those little morsels can really slide across the floor, too!  Instead of getting upset, it seemed like a photo op.  Ha!  The mess you see is the main pile, but I would have had to take many shots to show the extent of the mess.

It occurred to me that I was taking the whole "big-mess-when-in-a-hurry" thing very well, but I didn't think about it much more.  After all, who cries over spilt cat food, right?

But today, I reacted calmly in a situation that would have previously sent me into a full-blown hissy fit.  My bookmarks disappeared.  As in GONE.  No, I hadn't turned off my bookmarks toolbar or something simple like that.  They were there one moment and gone the next.  I tried all the tricks I could find, searching through "bak" files and more.  The bookmarks could not be retrieved.  Years of carefully culled bookmarks were lost in the great internet void.  I did experience some mild shock, but there was no hissy fit.  There were no tears.  There was no panic.  After the mild shock, I thought it through and realized that I would be able to find most anything I needed and they needed cleaning out anyway.

I think my biggest shock is that I didn't have a melt down.  Frankly, I'm a little worried.  Do you think it's possible that aliens abducted me and removed all the hissy fit cells from my brain?  Or is someone putting Prozac in my almond milk?  Who am I?  If Rudy is looking down on me, I'll bet he's even confused.

By the way - I'm knocking on wood.  Every time I gloat about doing well with anything, it seems I eat my words soon after.  I wouldn't be surprised if a hissy fit comes along soon.  Probably in public for maximum humiliation.

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Lost Keys

No.  I didn't misplace my car or house keys.  I came across this quote on Facebook and it sent my mind into a swirl of contemplation -

My first thought was that I had lost these three "keys".  Then I thought about it some more and realized I am getting by with temporary keys.

My something to do is not something of great purpose, but I stay pretty busy.  I have grass to cut and dogs to take care of.  I have bills to pay and so many things to figure out.  Most importantly, I make time for fun with friends and family. I have very little time to get bored or dwell too long on things I'm sad about.

My someone to love is not technically with me, but he feels close by.  I usually knew what he would say about most anything, so I can still have a complete conversation with him.  Plus, it feels like he's with me, watching over me and helping me find my way.  It's not the same as having him by my side, but "it is what it is".  I use that phrase a lot.  It reminds me to stop thinking I'll wake up to find this whole thing has been a bad dream.  Meanwhile, even though I may not have my special someone with me, I have a huge group of friends and family to love.

I haven't figured out my something to hope for yet.  I can't for the life of me picture what I want to do with the rest of my life or how it might look down the road.  When I think of the future, it's just a big blank.  On the other hand, I think one day I'll figure it out.  In other words, my something to hope for is that one day I'll come up with something to hope for.

See?  I no longer have the keys I have used for so long, but I do have some temporary keys. Eventually, I'll replace these keys with better keys.  Meanwhile, I'm going to be happy with the keys I have.

Seriously, my life kind of stinks right now without Rudy, but there is still so much in this world to be grateful for.  In order to survive, I have to focus on that.  It's not always easy, but I know with all my being that it's what I need to do. Lost keys can turn up in the darnedest places.

Saturday, July 11, 2015

A Very Cool Ride

Daniel has made amazing progress on the '65 truck in the last two weeks, thanks to a little help from friends and family.  Luis and Carl (Daniel's dad) have been especially helpful.

Last, but not least... Wanna go for a ride?

Friday, July 10, 2015

Wow. Teddy is Looking GOOD!

I have no idea how things will go long term, but Teddy has made sort of a miraculous turn-around!

Whatever his issue is, it's being helped by either antibiotics and/or steroids.  He's walking almost normally and he's not stumbling or falling at all.

I can't tell you how good that feels.  I was really getting down at the thought of having to watch him go downhill.  I know better than to think that it still might no happen at a later date, but at least for now, he and I both are really happy.

Here's a video that shows him in action -

UPDATE: Teddy doesn't have a tumor or anything so serious.  It all seems to be allergy related (something outside).  He's now on allergy medication and doing great!

Monday, July 6, 2015

A Lesson From Teddy

I've been feeling pretty low lately.  Tomorrow will be 2 months since Rudy's death.  It's been a long, hard 2 months.  I really don't like that I'm marking the anniversary of his death.  Id rather mark happier anniversaries, but I can't seem to help myself.

Another thing I'm dealing with is the failing health of my dog, Teddy.  He's the young one who had what we thought was mange, then it appeared his skin troubles were solved through a limited ingredient diet.  I guess it wasn't solved. Some of his "hot spots" seem to be coming back as you can see in the photo.

I'll try to get some better photos soon.
A few months back, we thought Teddy had injured a leg or hip, but we didn't think it was too serious.  He was walking a little odd, but didn't seem to be in pain.  In the last couple of weeks, his walking got worse. He wobbles and seems unsure of his footing.  Sometime he stumbles and tips over.  I took him to the vet today.  She feels sure it's something neurological, most likely a brain tumor.  There's also a chance it could be some tick born illness or something similar.  Before we give up, she wants to try him on steroids and antibiotics.

I am hurting over this on so many levels.  It would be really hard to watch him go down.  I'm still trying desperately to erase the memories of Rudy's last weeks.  I'm  focusing on good memories so hopefully those the images will be the ones that first come into my head.  Watching Teddy go down would be too much of a reminder of those painful days with Rudy.

Teddy is such a sweetheart.  He's a very trusting, happy dog.  Ok.  Enough of that.  It's not helping.   Let me get to the better part of this post.

This afternoon, I went for a walk with the dogs.  Teddy went along.  He looks a bit spastic when he walks, but that didn't stop him.  On our walk, he was dashing around here and there and even did a good bit of running.  He was wagging his tail and looking quite happy despite his issues.  There's a lesson there.

I guess I'll go on the journey with him and we'll BOTH try to be as happy as possible.  He may have a brain tumor and go down rapidly.  He may have something that is able to be contained with pills.  I know better than to attempt any predictions.  Teddy and I will do the best we can with what each day brings.  And maybe we'll go for more walks.

This quote (and this post) is more positive than I'm truly feeling, but I'm working on it.

UPDATE: Teddy doesn't have a tumor or anything so serious.  It all seems to be allergy related (something outside).  He's now on allergy medication and doing great!

Saturday, July 4, 2015

Tractor Donation to 180 Degree Farm

This week the tractor went to a new home and I feel really great about it.  It now belongs to 180 Degree Farm - a non-profit organic farm that helps those fighting cancer and other illnesses.  I met them when they were at CTCA donating food to cancer fighters.

The original tractor owner was Chick Johnson.  People who grew up in East Point and particularly those who went to Headland High School, may have known the Johnsons.  Chick and Faye were the parents.  They had 4 kids - Mike (who graduated with Rudy), Beverly (aka Sister), Wanda Kaye, and Carrie.  Rudy loved them all.  When Chick knew he was dying from cancer, he passed the tractor along to Rudy.  So you see, both of the tractor's previous owners died from the stupid disease that 180 Degree Farm is helping to fight.  They donate lots of clean, organic food to cancer fighters AND they also sell to the public at large to help support the donations.  When you buy their food, you help others.

180 Farm got not only the tractor, but also the metal trailer, and a bunch of tractor parts.  We worked out a deal that was mostly donation, but also a bit of bartering and one out-and-out sale.  This was another thing that wasn't at all about the money.  Scott and Nicole Tyson, who own the farm, have been incredibly nice to work with.  They are such good people.  I think it must be really wonderful to live your life in such a way that you know you are making a difference in so many people's lives.  Their motto, by the way, is GROW-GIVE-TEACH.

The tractor, trailer, and attachments were meant to go to them.  It's another example of things happening for a reason.  The farm was in need of these things.  In serious need, actually.  Scott had no idea how he'd get them.  He had intervention from above, exactly when he needed it.  I'll bet Rudy and Chick are loving it.

On the barter end of the deal, I am getting some wonderful, healthy food each week. I am now a 180 Degree Farm CSA member!  Here's what I picked up this week -

I want to make it clear. These photos were not taken by the farm.  The vegetables were not specially selected just for me to photograph.  Nicole randomly picked up bags she had on hand for CSA members. She had no idea that I'd be taking photos of them. The vegetables in this collage are photos of exactly what I picked up at the farm this week.  I unpacked each bag and snapped photos of the veggies on my cutting board.  Aren't they beautiful?   I love the variety, too.  Organic selections in grocery stores are fairly limited.  They don't branch out too much. A variety of foods = a variety of nutrients.  Just look at those tomatoes.  It's obvious there are 4 different types.  At the grocery store, the organic section wouldn't have all those and the ones they had probably wouldn't be that pretty or that fresh.  Buy organic.  Buy local.  Buy variety.  I'm covered!

They sell to the public on Saturdays from 9:30 to 1.
If anyone would like to ride over with me any Saturday, just let me know!  


Be sure to read this one -
The farm started because their son, Mason, got cancer. 
They turned the story around with the help of good food.
Their are 5 short pages to the story.  Make sure you read them all!

Here are some photos from "Tractor Moving Day" -

This area looks so much more tidy without the trailer and tractor parts.

Now I have plenty of room by the barn to park the truck when storms are coming.

 Clyne's wagon is the only big thing under there.  Daddy said if I'd sell that, it would give me more room.  I laughed.  What do I need room for?  I'm not getting more things.  I want to have less.  I'm simplifying.

The wagon is one thing I'm not in a rush about.  I'm not sure why.  I just love it. If someone in the family wanted to buy Clyne's wagon and I knew they'd keep it and take care of it, I'd sell it to them.  I'm not willing to sell it outside the family.  For right now, I've got plenty of room.  

PS - If you go to 180 Degree Farm after reading this post, please tell them Denise sent you!  I get absolutely nothing from it.  Somehow it helps me to know that Rudy and Chick are continuing to help others. They both were always known to be very generous. Good deeds have a ripple effect. 

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Special Friends

I had lunch today with a group of teacher friends.  We were referred to as "The Specials".  Our group included the art, music, P.E., computer and enrichment teachers.  We were special in more ways than one.  We had a really fun group.  It sure was good to see them all today.

Top: Mark, Karen N., Karen S., Alison, and Susan
Bottom: Marie, me

I am incredibly lucky to have so many good people in my life.  

You can't choose your family, but I got lucky.  I have a wonderful family and great aunts, uncles, and cousins, too. 

 You choose your mate, but can't choose your in-laws.  I got lucky there, too.   I'm so close to Rudy's entire family that they don't feel like in-laws.  

You often have little say in who you work with, but over the years, I have worked with quite a few incredible people.  Many have become life-long friends.  The group you see here is truly special.  I love them all!  And by the way, you just can't believe how talented this group is.  

As if seeing them wasn't enough, they also came bearing birthday gifts -

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

My Birthday

Today was my birthday.  I can say without any doubt whatsoever that I am wiser than I was last year.  I'm practically a different person.  The new me appreciates everything more than ever.  I laugh more readily.  I say I love you more often.  I hug more often.  Those are good changes.

Not all my changes are good.  I'm a bit tougher than I used to be.  I had to toughen up.  Sometimes that toughness feels hard, like I can't allow myself to feel too much.  I hope that's temporary.  Also, everything I do, even my laughter, includes sadness.  I work hard to not show too much sadness.   I prefer to face the day with a smile.  That takes effort and can be exhausting.

I had lots of invitations to do fun things for my birthday.  My friends and family were ready to do anything I wanted.  I chose to stay home and rest.  I've been busy for too long.  I've been putting on a happy face for too long.  A day to decompress was long overdue.

The day would seem completely boring to most people, but it was the best it could be for me.  I opened birthday cards, including a funny face one from my niece, Kelly.  I wasn't successful in getting the card lined up just right in front of my face while doing a selfie.  I don't like selfies, but I'm pushing myself to take more of them.  Not sure why.  I'm sure a creative therapist could make something out of that.

I putzed around the house a bit, doing laundry, a tiny bit of tidying and for fun, a little furniture rearranging.  

I also made time for Netflix, my new nighttime friend.  That little gem has come into my life just when I need it.  I hardly ever watch regular TV anymore.  

I decided to walk on the wild side and had a bowl of ice cream (bought just for my birthday) for dinner.  It wasn't dessert.  It was my DINNER.  I had thought about cooking myself something nice, but having ice cream was easier and it made me laugh.  

My neighbor, Bobby, came by with his son-in-law, Adam, to pick up two of the tractor accessories.  

He got a scraper and a plow break.  Just as he started off with the plow break, it began to rain. 

My dad had walked down, so we sat under the barn lean-to and enjoyed it.  He looks pretty morose in the photo, but really, it was very pleasant.  Rain under a tin roof is a simple pleasure.

I played around in the office for a bit today.  I wasn't alone.  I have 6 dogs, but Annie is the one who has decided I need watching.  She's still missing Rudy and I guess she wants to make sure I don't leave her.  My kitty, Sissy, is usually on my desk.  Today, she decided she'd try out the floor to see if Annie knew something she didn't.

My day sort of makes me think of the Flowers on the Wall song.  I should write my own lyrics.  I'd have to mention Netflix and ice cream and obsessive decluttering. I don't have any flowers on my walls.  Maybe I could count things on my to-do list instead.  That would keep me busy. :-D

After my day of rest,  I feel so much better.   I'm ready to face the world again.  My social calendar is pretty full, but I think I'm going to be sure to schedule in more time at home.  There's no need to wait til I'm completely worn out to take a break.  Plus, I need time to reflect.  I can't run from grief.  Wherever I go, there I am.  That's an odd little phrase, but it's fairly profound.