Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Picture This!

One of the my fellow spondys posted a link to Gitzen Girl's Blog. Gitz's stories were inspirational and her faith was unshakable straight through to the end. If you have not read her blogs be sure to check them out. One of the things I enjoyed the most about her blogs were her week in pictures. These are actually last week's photos but I thought I would carry on. I think they are connected to Project Tuesday for Mom's. Not being a Mom (of a human baby) I'm just posting pictures of my week.

Monday, Oct. 10th: I am a pet Mom and have given my heart to many furry creatures. Only thing is the average life span of a pet is much, much too short. I have loved and lost and do sincerely believe that giving my heart was worth the pain at the end. In the time I have lived in this town I have watched four pets grow old and pass. I seemed to have collected a house full of pet ashes. So on Monday I decided it was time to let go.

Letting Go

Newness & Light

I was a little worried that I wouldn't physically be able to do this but I was shocked to find that not only was I able to complete the task but it was fairly easy and very therapeutic. I dug a hole, put in all the pet ashes and planted a butterfly bush. Hopefully, the ashes will help to make the flowers bloom.

Tuesday, Oct. 11th: It was an absolutely beautiful day so I went out the Spillway to take photos. Just to take photos. Another physical challenge that turned out better then I had expected.

Ain't Wish' Gone Fishin'

Hard At Work
Wednesday, Oct. 12th: I've been taking pictures for my church. I take so many pictures without thinking twice. I love pictures from both sides of the camera (sad but true). I sometimes forget that everyone isn't as camera friendly as I am. I was quickly reminded. He's a cutie but I suppose he's allowed to not want a strange woman randomly taking his picture.

Saturday, Oct. 15th: I think I was busy with work on Thurs and Fri but the camera was out by Saturday for the church concert!

Oh Happy Day

A good time was had by all! I'm off to take photos for this week. Talk to you later.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Dark Side of the Moon

I've been unusually interested in loss this last week. I come from a fairly - well actually, a very large family. My mother is the oldest of 18 children who all have their own children, grandchildren and some even have great grandchildren. My mother's father was one of 14 children which means, I therefore have a roughly half a million relatives on her side of the family alone. Interestingly enough we have lost very few of them and when they do pass it is either following a long illness or they are well into their 90's. I know it makes us a very blessed family but sometimes I think lack of experience makes it even more heartbreaking when someone is gone.

I've never been a fan of the Fall. As a Spring Baby, I've always equated Fall with death and endings. Oddly, the relatives I have lost all seem to pass in the Fall. The pets I've had and lost...all passed in the Fall. Did I mention I was not a big fan of the Fall?

Labor Day weekend I came home to a lethargic, slow moving dog. My high energy pup never knew the word for lethargic. I figured it was the heat causing her age to finally catch up with her. She was 9 years old after all. After watching her through the next day I decided medical attention was necessary. After two days in the doggie ER the vet diagnosed her with an autoimmune disorder. Having lived with one of those for nearly 30 years, I said, alrighty then and started her medications. Prednisone, Immuno-suppressants, and antibiotics just in case. Oh and the pills to coat her stomach so all this mess doesn't create an ulcer. I knew the drill. I live the drill. It took a few weeks for me to realize none of this was working and my dog wasn't going to survive this illness. Two days later they were telling me that it was actually a tumor on her spleen and that this was the end for her. It was heartbreaking. The next day the mystery of the lost dog was solved as well. A dog I had adopted at the end of August had gone missing for several weeks. The Saturday after losing my 9 yr old, a woman contacted me about a deceased dog they had found in their yard that looked like the pictures I had posted for the lost dog. Last year this same time I lost my other dog and my first pet ever passed in October several years ago. I can't really blame the season, right? Yeah, well I'm not a fan of the Fall.

Then there are the people. My Grandmother was buried in August. My Great-Aunt passed in September and my Aunt in October. This year after burying the dogs I packed my things to head home for my Great-Uncle's funeral. Yesterday, I missed the funeral of my Uncle's ex-wife who has remained connected to our family.

I also notoriously feel awful in the Fall. Something about the change in temps and the dampness in the air. This year it started early. I've been doing well all summer. I've been to Cayman Island and back with little discomfort. This last month I've been struggling to get to the office and back. I'm worried I've pulled something that I needed. Scared I'm losing function. Scared the Fall is robing me again! With that I stumbled on Gitzen Girl's Blog. Gitzen Girl is written by Sara a woman with Ankylosing Spondylitis. She passed yesterday from AS complications. I've spent the week knee deep in her blogs. For the past few years she has been home bound and blogging. The interesting thing about her blog, once I let go of the fear that I was reading my future, I learned a thing or two. Her blogs are mostly about her faith and her daily decision to choose joy. I have to say, that's a lot harder then you would think. Well maybe the world knows it is a hard decision to make. Maybe it's just me who thinks that should be easy but can't always manage to make that choice. Pain and loss, death, and endings, yet still deciding to choose joy is very difficult. Tomorrow morning, up and out and choosing joy. Gosh, I hope I'm not defeated by the Fall.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

We Remember

I had finished my graduate school course work the semester before and had moved to Illinois to do my internship and to complete my dissertation. I hadn't been here more than 6 weeks but I had already let them know that I wasn't a morning person. My supervisor gladly allowed me to work from 9am - 6pm instead of the usual 8-5pm. I was more than happy with that schedule. In my twenty something years of working I had never worked a regular 9-5.

My schedule also allowed me to catch the morning shows as I got ready for work. This particular day I was moving slow, real slow and was actually laying on the sofa watching Good Morning America. I remember the first plane hitting and thinking it was an awful accident. What was wrong with the pilot? How did he not see that huge building? Then the second plane hit and I knew - this was not an accident. I remember listening to the news reporters - I think it was Charlie Gibson at that time - as they went through the same thought process. No one really knew what to think. Were we under attack?

When I arrived at work the people were in a frantic state. Most people were out of their offices and a television was set up in the main conference room. In our brick building with no cable the feed wasn't clear but we still could make out the rest of the story regarding the Pentagon, the collapse of the towers, and the speculations as to what was happening. At the time I remember thinking it was directly connected to our government's foreign policies. For the life of me I could not understand how so many people would be killed in retaliation for government decisions. Hundreds of innocent lives lost - many of which who may not have even known our foreign policies. I was perplexed.

Although, I had many of my own feelings to process, my job was to aid others in their process. Our training director who works wonderfully in a crisis, immediately worked to set up make shift crisis counseling stations throughout campus. I don't remember how many people were directly affected by concerns for family and friends in the New York area.  There were at least a handful that came through to get support as they tried to reach relatives flying that day or working in the World Trade Center. Mostly, the people that came through our stations were people worried and frightened for our safety as a nation. Several hundred miles away from ground zero and we were all greatly affected. We were all affected throughout the entire year and years to come, from those who lost friends and family members to those who were deployed to the subsequent wars. Young men and women, putting aside their education, their future, their relationships and their families to check for weapons of mass destruction, to fight a war that many of us didn't understand.

So today I'm sitting and watching 9/11: Ten Years Later. It is the raw footage of the day as it happened through the eyes of a camera man. It is both heartbreaking and heartwarming at the same time. It's a little overwhelming but I sit and watch because it's the least I can do. Too many people  have lost their lives in this 10 years so that we can remain free and safe. We Remember.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Walking in the Sand

Today I pulled my sandals out, slipped my feet in and found that there was still sand from Cozumel inside my shoes. What a pleasant surprise.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

I Know My Ship Is Coming In

I took a vacation. I don't remember the last actual vacation. I started traveling so much for work a vacation was staying home and enjoying my own shower.  This year, upon the urging of my family,  we went on vacation and it was fabulous! 

Today's blog is dedicated to a small number of the 400 some odd pictures that I took from here to Cozumel, Mexico. Did I mention the vacation was fabulous?

Dr. Cove Beach. Montego Bay, Jamaica

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Rose that Grew From Concrete

Did you hear about the rose that grew
from a crack in the concrete?
Proving nature's law is wrong it
learned to walk with out having feet.
Funny it seems, but by keeping its dreams,
it learned to breathe fresh air.
Long live the rose that grew from concrete
when no one else ever cared.

There is something spectacular about something showing up where you least expect it to be living, breathing, and surviving. The rose that grew in the middle of the concrete. The duck taking a leisurely swim in the middle of Lake Michigan only a handful of blocks from the hustle and bustle of the city. Spectacular.  
It has been a very draining week. I keep getting messages from the universe that I need to make a decision about my future. I've been running around, minding my business and folks keep telling me things that imply it's time for something new - something different. It's a feeling I've had for a little while. That feeling you get when your pants seem at least one size too small but I've been ignoring the people and the squeezing. I'm comfortable in my discomfort. I'd like to say I'm the duck cruising happily through the lake or the rose growing despite all odds against it's survival. I'm not. Truth is, I'm just comfortable in my discomfort but it's time to figure something out. It's time to be still and think. Time to sit quietly and listen for that still small voice. The one that knows our purpose and place. 

The poem is Tupac Shakur. His birthday was today.  His poetry and some of the lyrics to his rap songs are also that little bit of spectacular. The man was a walking contradiction but it was obvious he was a great thinker. I always wonder what people would be like if they had similar opportunities.  It always seemed to me that the kid living in poverty, filled with anger has the same potential for greatness as the kid living in peace on the upper east side. Tupac seemed to think that as well. In this world he was more like a rose that grew from concrete against all odds.

Funny it seems, but by keeping its dreams, it learned to breathe fresh air.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Two Piece Suit

I usually have no idea what I'm going to write about on this thing until right before I sit down and write. This one entry has been walking around in my head for weeks. Weeks! It made me anxious just thinking about it. You'll see how crazy that is in a second.

I was raised by two rather conservative parents. I only have sisters, no brothers. My running joke as of late is that I don't know if my father was crazy before he had all girls or if is crazy because he had all girls. He's over protective and a bit controlling to say the least. Add to that his conservativeness when it comes to his daughters. I look around at the things girls and young women do, say, and wear and think I could have never did that - I have a Daddy. Just the other day I was explaining how we didn't stay out later than we were told, we didn't sneak out windows and I didn't bring a boy home until I was grown. He wasn't having it in his house. Even as a grown woman for years he acted as if he was even supposed to have some say over what went on in my house! That's my Daddy. He has his wild side but apparently we weren't supposed to inherit that that side of him. *Side note: he is a loving man with a wonderful sense of humor. He's just old school and had some specific ideas on how to protect his children*

My Mother wasn't much different in some ways. She is the daughter of a preacher and was raised in a church. She married my father when she was pretty young and was a stay at home Mother for years. She was pretty strict about some things although a little more lenient than my Dad. Oh and when she didn't want to deal with it or just didn't want to be the bad guy she would send us to ask our Dad. I'm pretty sure she knew he would say no. I was grown before I picked up on that little trick. As kids we were pretty sheltered. Similar to her parents she also raised us in a church. House rules were if you went to sleep in her house on Saturday you went to church on Sunday.

My parents are the first factor in this tale. The second factor is the Ankylosing spondylitis. The AS showed up right after high school. Over twenty years with AS and there has been some disfigurement and two major surgeries. The disfigurement is enough that strangers know that something is different and the surgery scars are pretty long. I would say that conservative, religious parents and a disfiguring disability that showed up during identify development has restricted me.

Oh there is a third factor in this issue, I was pretty skinny as a teenager. It isn't a problem, I know! But it made me self conscious of showing too much skin. So take my three factors and I have never, never ever, I mean never wore a two piece swimsuit. The closest I have ever come is a tankini. Being 5'2" a tankini looks like a one piece but it felt daring so I own two of them. Not an inch of skin shows that doesn't show in a one piece. I guess I was thinking that it technically is two pieces.

Last summer I bought my first two piece suit. I can't call it a bikini because the bottom is a skirted but it has a halter top and there is exposed skin. A whole belly of exposed skin.

Note that I said I bought this suit last year. Then while we are reviewing, also note that I said that writing about  it makes me anxious. No, what I really said was that the thought of writing about it makes me anxious. So I've been looking at it and talking about for almost a year. This summer I'm wearing that suit! I've been on my exercise bike almost every day since December looking for my abdominal muscles. Last year a friend suggested I wear it around my hotel room (since I took it on a trip yet never took it out of the suitcase). This year a different friend suggested I wear it around the house (since I moved it from the suitcase to the drawer where it lived the rest of the summer). I haven't done either of these suggestions, although I did move it to another suitcase last week.

I pride myself in being daring and adventurous. I like to think that I live outside of the box. I color outside of the lines. I believe rules were made to be broken and things like speed limits are just mere suggestions. Yet, I'm scared of a two piece swimsuit. I have no idea what I think will happen. The whole world will point and laugh? My Dad will drive three hours to tell me to cover up? Like anyone really cares. At my age I don't think my father even cares. So why do  I? This summer I'm wearing that suit! This summer I'm wearing that suit. This summer I'm wearing that suit.