Gone to the Dogs

My life has gone to the dogs.  Literally.  Well, last month it did, anyway.  Every year my parents take the grand kids camping the week between Christmas and New Year – and every year, the one week I have without my son, Mr. T, I usually get sick.  It’s like my body knows that I don’t have anyone to take care of and it decides that I shouldn’t have any fun.

This year I would have welcomed being sick.  What I got instead was way worse…

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Meet the cast: Zack

I’ve mentioned that my 27 year old brother has congestive heart failure.  So, since he isn’t working, he decided to go camping this year.  Mom and dad took Zack, the giant German Short-hair Pointer that is the sweetest and gentlest of dogs and he loves to go camping.  I always take Zoey, the Bichon Pomeranian mix that wakes up in a new world every day, as Zoey and my dog Shorty get along very well.  With my brother, Lee, going camping, this left his dog Cassius, the Boxer, to take care of.

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Meet the cast: Cassius

Now, don’t let his sweet and innocent face fool you.  Cassius can’t stay home alone, he loves getting into the neighbor’s yard, he loves barking loudly and as he’s only a couple years old, he loves chewing up everything.  Being the good sister I am, I said “sure, I’ll take him for the week.”

Obviously I’ve lost my mind at this point; I just couldn’t see it yet.

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Meet the cast: Zoey

I live in a subdivision.  I have a lock on my gate and I have a doggie door.  Shorty pretty much has free run of the house and yard.  He and the dogs behind us run the fence line playing with each other.  He likes to bark at the dogs to the side of us, which are huge, just to show them who the boss is.  He very seldom bothers the dog on the other side of us.  I only have to lock Shorty inside if one of the neighbors is using the weed-eater, as the weed-eater is his mortal enemy.

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Meet the cast: Shorty

Day 1 I learned that I can’t leave the big door open providing access to the doggie door.  All day long I was up and going to the back door to call the dogs inside.  Every time another dog was let out, Cassius lost his mind.  I’m sure he wasn’t trying to be mean, but he’s a boxer, and he has a loud bark and he will “box” the fence, he pounds his front paws on the fence.  I’ve learned that this creates a huge ruckus.

Day 3 I learned that it is pointless to sweep and mop your kitchen when you have ground still wet from the snow and you have three dogs.  I hadn’t even finished mopping before I had mud on my floor again.

Day 4 I learned that if a boxer boxes a fence too much, it will break.  I also learned that a Bichon Pomeranian can fit through an opening the size of a fence board.  I also learned that when you put rusty nails in your pocket while you are replacing the fence panel to be careful when you sit down! I kinda forgot that I had put them there, but they reminded me pretty quickly!

Day 5 I learned that a fence is a fence is a fence and it doesn’t matter that they’ve already broken panels on one side that you have had to replace, they will break panels on other sides, too.  I also learned that some neighbors aren’t as understanding… Fortunately, we mended fences – literally and figuratively.

So, due to incoming inclement weather, I got a call that they were coming home from camping a day early!  Yay me!! So very happy!  I got all the dogs loaded in the car, gathered up leashes, bagged up the left-over food and collected the toys.

My car battery was dead.  Yeah, that happened.

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Lessons Learned from the Movies: 50/50

When I get a free weekend from my cable provider for the premium channels, Mr. T and I go through and record everything that we want to watch.  He gets to his movies pretty darn fast; it takes me much longer to watch mine! Mr. T goes camping every year between Christmas and New Year with his grandparents and I always take one day during that time for me.  This year I chose to catch up on my DVR.  I watched several movies that day, Hangover 2, Horrible Bosses (which I realized at the end I had already seen), a movie I’ve already forgotten, and 50/50.

50/50

50/50

My aunt had cancer, and though she lived in Alabama, she came in every 3 weeks and stayed with my parents and did her treatments here in Texas.  Towards the end of her life, she moved down here and bought a house a few blocks away from my parents.  I knew that the movie 50/50 would hit some sore spots, so I had put off watching it.  If you have ever gone through cancer with a loved one, then several parts of this movie will seem familiar to you.  The bonding time over the treatments, the finding a driver to take you to and from your appointments, and, just like in the movie, my aunt shaved her head before her hair could fall out.  As far as accuracy goes, it was very similar to what we went through a few years ago.

Adam has cancer and it’s not good.  He’s going through this journey with his best friend Kyle, his mom, a crappy girlfriend and his therapist.  Adam’s girlfriend ends up cheating on him (which, is not uncommon in this situation.) so that cuts down on his support system.  At one point, Adam has just had enough.  No one could understand, no one cared like he did, no one could admit that he was going to die, no one was being there for him like he felt they should be.

Wow!  Haven’t we all been there?  Not to that extreme, thank you God, but had moments where we have felt isolated, alone, on an island all by ourselves.  I’ve had moments like that where I would swear that there isn’t a single person out there looking out for me.  I’m sure you’ve felt it, when all your friends and family call for help with their problems, but don’t even bother to ask about yours.  When you’ve been struggling and your friend texts about an inane subject, not giving any consideration to what you are going through.

We’ve all had those moments when we feel utterly hopeless, isolated and alone and Adam hit that point in the movie, too.  He felt insular, removed from everyone in his life.  I think that feeling actually closes us off to what is around us, and it was illustrated in the movie.  When Adam was at his worst, feeling so very alone, there was a moment when his eyes and his heart were opened.  Once he stopped being so upset at everyone else, he was able to see them more clearly.  What he saw was that his mom was going to a cancer support group.  That she was doing what she could to help him, and that she had others to be there for her to help support her so that she in turn could be there for him.  Adam saw that his best friend was reading a book about going through cancer together.  Not only was his best friend reading the book, but had dog eared and underlined and highlighted pages.  Kyle wasn’t being a total dope, but was doing what he could to learn how to be there for Adam.

When that feeling of hopelessness settles in, it is easy to close our heart and minds off to those around us.  I think that if we stop for a moment, and allow our hearts to open, we might really see the good in those around us.  We might see that despite what it originally looked like, their hearts are there for us.  They are willing to support us and be there for us, if we will only let them.  And, with an open heart, we should let them.  Let people in, let them help!

Of course, there are those that just don’t care and will text you about inane subjects with no consideration to what you are going through! They still will exist, no matter how open your heart is! Just like you have those in your life to help you; maybe you were put in their life to help them.  Just a thought.

Here's a group of my friends (support group!!), all of which I'm sure would help me shave my head!

Here’s a group of my friends (support group!!), all of which I’m sure would help me shave my head!

Standard disclaimer: Just my thoughts, pictures used by permission (except the one of me and my friends, they’ll just be surprised when they see it – hi Karaboo!), I wasn’t paid to talk about this movie, but if you want to pay me to watch and talk about movies, leave a comment below!

Under Pressure

Y’all, not that long ago, Me, Myself and Kids asked me to write a guest blog for his site.  I was very honored by this request and so very giddy about actually doing it!

Take a moment to click on over to Me, Myself and Kids and support a fellow blogger!  It actually was a really funny post I wrote – if I do say so myself – and it’s worth a click!

So, again – go visit Me, Myself and Kids!! Trust me, it’s totally worth it!  Not just for my guest blog appearance, of course, he’s got an awesome blog, it’s just a bit more awesome today cause I’m in it! 🙂

And, for just a moment of seriousness, Me, Myself and Kids thanks so very much for asking me to write a guest blog.  You’ve been an inspiration to me and you’ve been motivation when I’ve stumbled.  Thank you!Image,

Do I Pick Comfort or Joy?

I’m reading a book.  This is not uncommon.  I read a lot, but instead of the dime store novels I normally download, I downloaded a book by the author of Pay It Forward.  It is an inspirational book and a journal of the author learning to make a better life by using the life she already had.  It’s pretty cool so far.  If I was a good blogger, I’d look up her name and the title of the book for you… I’ll try and get to that before I post this for your enjoyment!

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See, I am a good blogger, I found the info for you!

Normally when I am reading a book and the author asks you to think about something “think about your journey” “think about the last time you did XX” or as was posed to me today in a blog a friend forwarded “think about the last time you did something brave”, when they ask me to think about things, I don’t.  Sometimes I don’t want to explore, sometimes I don’t care and usually, my primary goal is to just finish the book.  Like everything else in my life, I’m always competing against my own internal clock.  I want to just get everything done.  But, sigh, that’s probably another blog subject!

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At the Meatloaf concert that BA and I attended in Shreveport.

In the last chapter I read, the author was talking and asking about comfort.  This is a subject that I am familiar with.  I love my comfort zone.  I am very happy in my comfort zone. I’m also very happy in my black pajama pants.  I believe in comfort.  I believe in finding the happy place.  And, yes, I believe in my black pajama pants.

My natural state is a hermit.  I am a homebody.  Give me some coffee, food and books and you won’t hear from me for weeks.  I could give up people for weeks at a time.  I don’t like people, nothing personal, but y’all tend to drive me crazy.  It’s not you; it’s me and my issues.  The point is, I am happy in my home, wherever that might be!

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Mr. T driving the boat at our annual adventure to Grapevine Lake. We’ve gone the past couple of years with some friends and Mr. T has even gone para-sailing off this boat!

Raising a child, I had to get out a lot.  I liked it, I’m fortunate that I like spending time with Mr. T.  We did all the things that normal families with young kids do, we went to the zoo, Six Flags, the museum, local festivals, you name it, and we have done it.  I got out of the house a lot – for Mr. T.  I would go out into the world and do things and have adventures, but it was all for Mr. T.  Pretty soon all of my adventures were just for him.  As much as I love being Mr. T’s mom, I needed to be my own person, too.  It really is healthier.

The last several years I’ve worked on being a Yes Man.  Saying YES to everything I could.  Let me say, it is hard to leave the comfort zone.  I can’t tell you how many times I’ve listed all the reasons I should back out of plans I’ve made, or even made the list before I made the plans.  It’s going to rain, it’s going to be so hot, and I’ve had a busy week.   I’d be so much more comfortable if I stayed home.  I’d be so much more comfortable if I was snuggled up on the couch with a book.

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Annual girls camping trip. That’s always an adventure and a time to recharge the batteries. See the tie-dye cup? Guess who that belongs to… 🙂

Now I frequently leave my comfort zone.  In my head I know that I will have a good time once I get there; it’s the getting there that can be hard for me.  I focus on just one step at a time.  I can get out the door; I can make it to the car.  I CAN do this.  It does get easier, even though I still have days that are harder than others.  I’m proud to admit that it’s been years since I’ve made it to a destination just to turn around and go home because I couldn’t walk in.  In those years I’ve had marvelous adventures, made great memories and really experienced some joy.  I’ve left my comfort zone and experience joy in my life.  And, some of those adventures have been in my black pajama pants!

So, when I am asked “do you pick comfort or joy?” I am proud to say that (most of the time) I pick joy.  I get out and I live my life.  I make sure that Mr. T lives his life and has the opportunity to be a kid.  I am a better person for it, too.

Yes, the Halloween party at my house qualifies as an adventure!

Yes, the Halloween party at my house qualifies as an adventure!

I’ve included pictures in this blog of times this year that we’ve picked joy instead of comfort, I hope you enjoyed them!  So… Do you pick comfort or joy?

Growth

Did you read my Facebook post?  Are you aware that my wonderful son created a secondary FB page in order to hide his activity from me?  Have you read any other post by me and realized that he was never going to get away with it?  LOL.

It’s been several days since I took away his iPod, Xbox, computer and removed the internet from his phone.  It’s been a weekend of growth.

I took him to his grandparents on Friday, as he was spending the night with them so I could go spend the night with my Amy.  It was worth it!  Pam joined us and the three of us went and got tattoos.  Took forever, but, alas, I don’t pick from a book anymore, I tell Bailey what I want and he has to draw it for me.  But, he’s done great on the past couple of tattoos, and I trust him.  We planned this trip because he’s leaving the shop where he currently works.  I wanted one more by him before he left.  Yes, I have multiple tattoos – judge away! 

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No Worries! I’ve worked very hard on this for many years. I’ve earned this one!

It was fun hanging out and just having some girl time.  We all needed it.  

I picked T up Saturday morning, I needed to run to Target and T needed some new jeans, so we also hit Kohl’s.  It was a good trip and even though we were running errands, we had fun together. T decided, since I had plans with another friend, he could just stay at Grammy and Papa’s again.  

Twist my arm… So, I left T behind and then took off to spend the afternoon with Karaboo.  We had no plans; we just had free time and wanted to do something!  Well, Joann’s Fabric was having their pattern sale… $15 patterns for $1.  You can’t beat that!  Plus, I had asked Karaboo to help me make a Halloween costume!  She’s a talented seamstress.  I really wish I could sew.  I think that it’s mainly the fact that I run out of patience.  We had fun picking patterns and fabric, and we got a good start on my costume.  It’s cool to see it all come together! We ended the night having dinner together with her husband.  It was a great night!

Sunday, I spent the day alone nursing a toothache. We’ll skip that day!

Today is Monday, and it is a school holiday.  T and I slept in.  We made waffles together for breakfast.  I warmed up some left overs for lunch.  We ran to 7-Eleven for movies and munchies.  When it was time to return the movies, well, I decided I could afford to pick up burgers!  I’ve told you before, but time in the car with T has its benefits.  On the drive T told me that it was weird to drop Facebook cold turkey! He had just started really using it and then he had to stop.  

I told him that I have a specific time frame in mind for his punishment, and after that time frame, it’s up to him.

He knows that I’m waiting for the admission of wrong-doing and an apology.  Today in the car he admitted that he knew I was waiting on that and he told me “I thought about just saying I was sorry, and that I understand, but, I don’t know that I’m ready to say it.  I want to make sure I mean it before I say it.”  I told him that I didn’t think he was ready to say it yet.  That he needed to fully process it and understand what he did was wrong.

I was so proud of him.  He isn’t willing to just give me lip service to get his privileges back. He’s working on being a better person.  I had this weekend to reconnect with my friends on an individual level and was able to celebrate the progress I’ve made in my life. 

I hope that we both keep growing and keep counting our blessings.  And I hope that I will always have moments with T that blow me away and leave me wondering “did that just happen?” 

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I am currently the proud recipient of Mr. T’s laptop, Xbox, both his iPod’s (that sounds bad, but his 4 yr old one broke and had a massively cracked screen so Santa brought him a new one) and currently his cell phone, until I get the internet turned off, which I’m on hold with AT&T doing right now.   

As a reminder, Mr. T is 14.  I have been very clear with him that at this age, he has no privacy and that at any given moment I will pick up any one of his devices to check and make sure he is being appropriate.  We’ve already had the discussion that naked girls are a no-go.  There are enough scantily clad women out there, and his brain is still developing and seriously, he doesn’t need naked.  I found a naked pic a few days ago.  I let it go, just reminded T that he wasn’t to ask for, or keep those pictures.  

If you’ve followed me from the beginning, you know that I’m a hippie at heart.  I’m a big believer that once your responsibilities are done, you should have fun, and I don’t believe in a lot of censorship.  I’d rather he be exposed and talk to me about questions he has, as opposed to being one of those kids thrust into the real world without being prepared for it.  As we all know, I so won’t win Mother of the Year anytime soon, but he’s been good about coming to me over the years and asking questions.  Can I say this word?  What does this mean? 

My wonderful, loving son decided to set up a separate Facebook account.  His very first post on his secondary account was (and I’m paraphrasing a bit) “hey, to all you who friended me on this account, I set it up so my mom would stop checking out my FB”.  

Yeah… 

Several posts later, the dude dropped the F bomb, twice in one post.  Now, I recognize that foul language has permeated our life.  I don’t use that language.  I grew up with it, so I know that it exists, but it’s never been part of my every day vocab. I don’t ask my friends not to use it, I’ve never chastised anyone for using it (short of “you’re about to have a baby that will soon repeat everything you say” or, the short few months when my sister and I both had young kids and we tried to get mom to stop swearing, but these were done in love, not in judgement!)  You would be surprised at how many of my friends don’t use foul language around me, or apologize when they do.  It doesn’t bother me, I’m not offended by it. Honestly, I’m just too smart to use that language.  I can come up with much better words than dropping the F bomb left and right.  I do understand peer pressure and I do understand how if you hang out with people using that language as part of their normal conversation, that it’s easy to pick up.  And, because I do check his FB, I see the other teenagers using that language in almost every post; however, I am not raising my child to be a sheep.  I am raising him to have a mind of his own.  To learn all he can.  To be a better person.  

Currently I’m teaching him not to mess with me.  

Eventually he will think to apologize for his actions.  He’s not a bad kid.  I’m really, really blessed with him, for the most part, I don’t have to worry about him.  I do give him some slack, as I want him to live, to express himself and to learn in a hands on manner about the man he is becoming.  I want him to grow as a person and to experience life.  

But, you don’t disrespect mama.  

On a totally different note, because I’m such a valued member of AT&T, they just gave me free texting for the next 6 months.  I didn’t think to ask if it was on just one line, or my entire package.  Honestly, I don’t care, I am just happy to save some money for the next 6 months and it was nice to have something good come out of the call I had to make to put on a data block and remove internet from his phone! Apparently I’m pretty blessed some days too!