This brightened my day..

Have you ever seen something so breathtaking,  so beautiful and so out of the blue that your first thought is of a departed loved one?   I had that experience a few days ago.  It was early morning and I was headed into work.   It had been snowing hard the day previously and the clouds were still pretty thick in the sky.    All except one area that glowed so brightly it almost looked like a beam.   I took out my ipod and started snapping photos,  hoping that a picture would do what I was looking at justice.   I took a lot of pictures driving up the hill and I will post them all,  because all of them are different if even slightly and just as beautiful as the next.   The first thing that came to mind was my sister,  then my mom.    I had always found comfort in thinking that if there was any possible way our departed loved ones could watch over us that they would find a way.    It would be subtle,   but it would be there if you were ready or  able to notice it.    Something similar to that happened shortly after Cindi’s funeral a few years back.   She had always loved white butterflies.  In my hometown they are everywhere as it is, but that week that we were planning her service right up until we left the chapel after the gathering I saw them everywhere.    Her oldest son made the same comment too  “Mom always liked these white butterflies,  I’m seeing them everywhere I go!”   I felt that if Cindi had any way of letting us know that she was there watching over us,  she would do it in a way like this.   Something subtle, yet comforting and peaceful.      Wishful thinking?     Maybe… but isn’t that a simply wonderful  thought?     And even if that bright ray of pink light wasn’t something specifically for me that morning,  it’s still nice to think that maybe it is meant for someone else in order to brighten their day.  All I know is  it brightened my day.     I don’t know,  maybe I’m just reading too much into things,  I’ve always been a real dreamer but I’m proud of that.

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My sister

It was recently my sister’s birthday and also is coming up on another year since she has been gone come May and I still can’t believe that she’s gone.  Even today I still get a strong urge to pick up the phone and talk to her.  Talk to her about my day, about her day, about the many tv shows that we would watch together over the phone.     The day she left I lost more than just my sister,  I lost my very very best friend.    We shared a bond that only sisters could share…  she got me and I got her.   Grr,  see even now I go from missing her so much to bring furious that she is gone.   I’m still trying to figure out God’s purpose in taking her so soon.. especially when we had begun to lean on one another so much.

After I got word that she was gone,  I flew home to be with her oldest son and family.  It was him that had actually found her on the floor in her apartment that day and he had the whole responsibility of taking care of his mom’s property, remains and plan her memorial service.    She has two sons but her youngest…. that’s another story for another time.   So I went  there to help clean out her apartment.   I had never been there before.   I mean, we had talked about me coming to visit but I never did.   I regret that because I know we would have had some really fun sister time.   I had always dreamed of spending time with her the way we had always talked about on the phone.   She would always say she wished that Mike and I would move closer because she needed me  to help keep her in line.   She would say that I was the Roseanne and she was the Jackie.   She would emotionally go off the deep end over something and I would help bring her back to reality in a sisterly bedside manner that only the character of Roseanne

would do 🙂

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That was our relationship in a nutshell,  but it always wasn’t that way.   Someday I’ll explain.

In her bedroom on the dresser sat something that my sister’s best friend told me was meant for me for Christmas.  She was with her when she bought it months before.   As soon as I saw it,  I couldn’t pick it up and clutch it to my heart fast enough.  It summed up our relationship perfectly and even though her and I never got to actually say goodbye or have any final words to one another… this is just as good if not better.     It’s forever a sign on how much I meant to her being her sister and her friend and I will treasure it always.     I just need to find a picture of the two of us worthy to go into the frame.

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It was sitting on her dresser untouched as if I were meant to find it.   Did she know she was going to pass away?  Her son said that there were some documents sitting on her table that would not otherwise have been there.   Medical papers.   I have always wondered if people silently do know when their time will come,  maybe not consciously but maybe something deep in the subconscious mind.   So things are prepared without one actually knowing it.    Whether or not it was done intentionally,  it helped console me and let me know that she was always thinking of us even though I was so far away.  It was her final message to me in the form of something I can look upon every day with a smile.
I love you sissy,  and I miss you every day.

Tigger!

Finally got around to scanning a bunch of pictures so this blog is back in business!    I found a picture of my childhood pet turned mom’s best friend and there he is in all his fluffy orange’ness.     And look what is in the picture with him!  I thought that was a classic find!   I’m going to guess that Tigger had just entered his senior years in this picture.  When he got older he knew that he wasn’t supposed to get up on the furniture just like this dining room table, but he didn’t care…  my cat,  the honey badger!  Tigger

It’s never like when you’re young…

I’m a real baby when I’m sick or injured.   When I was young and I was sick my mom waited on me hand and foot.    I was set up in my room comfortably in my bed,  the small TV from the kitchen moved into my room so I could watch it between naps.    Mom would bring the TV tray in and set it next to my bed with either soup, crackers, 7-up or whatever else I ask for (no milk products during a fever though!  I learned that the hard way!)   She had my medication schedule timed to the exact second in her head so if I needed that dose of Amoxicillin you can bet I would get it every 12 hours.   Bottom line,  my mom went into full on mama bear mode when I was sick.   She always knew how to make me feel better whether it be her doting over me or coming in to check on me several times a day.  When I had surgery for a dislocated shoulder I remember she brushed my hair and tied it back into a pony tail twice a day so it wouldn’t get tangled.   I was stricken with Chicken pox during the time of my Kindergarten graduation (hey, to a little kid that is a HUGE deal!) and I cried for days that I couldn’t attend.  Mom would sit and comfort me while she put dabs of pink Calandryl lotion all over the spots.    She didn’t rub it in like, say suntan lotion.. nope, she covered each spot!   Oh, and every day that I was out of school she packed my lunch box just like normal so I could eat it during what would be lunchtime at school.  Little things like that make a huge difference,  especially for a little kid.  It was such a warm and safe feeling having your mom care for you like that,  God I loved that.   Even a few years after I moved out and was living in Lake Tahoe I came down with a horrible flu while housesitting for one of my grooming clients and the first thing I did was call my mom.  It was instinct… and just by hearing her voice and having her tell me what to do to take care of myself it always helped.  Kind of like a warm hug from my mom even though she was miles away.  (with the flu,  she would put a semi flat glass of 7-up in another room and I would get up occasionally to walk into that room for a sip.   She felt that moving around a little bit along with tiny sips of flat 7-up was the key to helping the pukies.  I never questioned it,  and for me, it worked!)  I remember laying there in that strange home shivering from a fever with the phone pressed to my ear talking with my mom.  She made it all better just by being her.

I believe she instilled a bit of her mothering techniques into me when my loved ones are sick.  When my ex was on the cusp of dying from cancer I did the same thing for him that my mom did for me.  Same with my husband,  minus the cancer part…    it was the way I was raised,  mom taught me how to mama bear just like she did right down to the internal medication timer.  My mom rocked!

I’d be lying if I said that it didn’t hit me kind of hard the first time I got sick and I wasn’t treated the way I was when I was home with my mom.  It just felt like a natural thing:  You’re sick+ you get taken of =  you get better faster.  I learned that not everyone was raised in the same way and it has taken me a long time to accept and understand that.    The first time I was sick life went on as usual.  I stayed home from work and slept through my medication time.  Later on that evening I was asked what I was making for dinner that night.   What?   But I’m sick!  There was no flat 7-up, propped up pillows or doting.    I admit, I felt insulted at first, but its irrational to be angry..   Everyone is raised differently and who am I to complain when someone doesn’t make a fuss over me even though I’m sick?   I can’t help but secretly wish I still had that kind of care.    In fact, every time I still get sick or hurt to this day I hope that somehow, someone would bring me soup or tuck the blankets around my feet or let me sleep without waking me up several times to let the dogs out or show them the ‘proper way’  how to microwave food.  (ugh)  Even though I’m sick the animals still have to be fed,  laundry has to be done and the house cleaning has to be kept up on.  Otherwise getting sick puts me back weeks in chores (and also gives me 5 angry hungry animals to appease)

Those days of being young and having my mom there to take care of me are long gone….  😦    Someday I hope I see her again so I can thank her.

Valentine’s day, random yadda and more adorable pet pics

Had a very quiet and simple Valentine’s day with my beloved and furkids.    Then tonight we went out to the Pershing Community Club on post and had a five course dinner.   They had it last  year too and it was delish so I have been looking forward to it ever since.    Now, here I sit in a food coma not wanting to move and thinking to myself  “Oh, crap.. I haven’t scanned any new pictures like I said I would!”    Procrastination… it’s becoming a bad, bad habit.   I found a small album that has pages of pictures of just places.   It looks like it was taken on a trip and there are explanations written on them but its just of places, no people.     My uncle traveled a lot so I’m guessing they were his pictures.   You’ll see when I post them,  they are interesting in their own odd way.

I also got an email reminder that my sister’s birthday is in one week.  FTD has sent me that reminder  for years now and I just can’t cancel it,  yet.     I’ve been thinking of doing something in her honor for her birthday… something she would do if she was still here.    Maybe a donation in her name to   http://rabbit.org/    She loved her bunnies.   Right after our mom passed away she went right out and got herself some rabbits,  and not just two…   several.   Like, too many.   Mom didn’t want to have any pets in the house except for her  cat Tigger.

Oh, Tigger… I need to find a photo of him.   There was a house down the street that had stray cats and kittens everywhere.  EVERYWHERE.    I clearly remember the house being in crap shape but people lived in it.    They were nice but somehow their population of cats had gotten out of control.  My friends and I would ride our bikes by the house and see all those cats and kittens that would promptly scatter every which way when we got too close.  ALL of them were feral.   One day one of the people that lived there came out and told us that if we could catch a kitten we could keep it.   I was 12 years old and wanted one of those kittens badly so I went home and asked my mom if I could have one.    “NO”   she said.   No reason given, just no.      So I went and got a kitten anyway.   Hey,  I didn’t see any logic in mom’s decision and therefore in my pre teen mind it must be wrong.   At first I thought I would keep my newly acquired semi feral kitten in my outside playhouse.   I would leave food and water down in there and he would come and go as he pleased with my mother none the wiser.   That lasted maybe a week,  one day I came home from school and I was asked about the orange kitten that kept jumping in and out of my playhouse.   She was angry for a while and would tell me “That cat needs to go to the pound,  we aren’t keeping it!”    Eventually Tigger found his place in her heart   and slowly he became my mom’s after I moved out.   After that Tigger became the excuse for no other animals coming into the house.  “No, because it would upset Tigger”  she would say as if Tigger was a tender soul.  Hah!   I saw that cat jump onto a Golden Retriever’s back and ride it like a cowboy just for it barking at him.   He could have easily handled his own,  but mom was a creature of habit and her habit of saying “NO” to any new animals in the home stayed firm right up until she passed away.    Tigger lived to the ripe old age of 19 and I had the task of taking him in for his final vet visit a few months after mom passed.   After that,   Cindi went rabbit crazy.  I think at one time she had 7 or 9 rabbits and she loved them all dearly.   Her rabbits..  and her neighborhood squirrels.   Loves of her life.   Yep, I think a donation in her name would be perfect!

With that being said here are some more of the cute flufflings that I had the pleasure of helping at the vet I worked at overseas.

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Hello from the week that would not end..

Oh my god I’m so exhausted!   I don’t know if it’s I’m not sleeping well or working too hard but I come home dragging.   Even too tired to eat most nights  (yum,  sleep for dinner!)   my mind has been wanting to blog but the rest of me just wants to lay in a comatose state until morning.    Then, at 3am when the doxies wake me up for their morning potty it’s time to start the day over again.   Wash, rinse, repeat..         at least I’m off on Friday.  I really need it!   Going to hopefully catch up on a lot of things I’ve been neglecting.

I was accepted for another voxbox!    Either today or tomorrow I should be getting one that has Calvin Klein products inside.   How cool is that?  I had so much fun with the last one it’s cool that they really do monitor what their members do and give them opportunities to do other ones.   One of my other friends was just notified she was getting one soon, I think a different one though.. they do several a month from what I have seen.    They always send you the tracking number on the box that is arriving so you can see where it is.  Right now mine is in Illinois.   Hurry up voxbox!

My weight loss is doing wonderful!   Went to the doctor today for a new bout of hip pain that reared its ugly head about a week and a half ago.   Turns out I either strained or partially tore my  Sartorius muscle most likely swinging my leg over to get out of bed one of these mornings when I’m half asleep and needing to take the pups out to pee.  I absolutely love my doctor,  not only is he thorough and listens to his patients’ concerns instead of just going all textbook with zero bedside manner… he takes the time to listen and educate you about what’s going on with you.   For instance, I had no idea that  the word ‘Sartorius’ comes from  early 18th century: modern Latin, from Latin sartor ‘tailor’ (because the muscle is used when adopting a cross-legged position, earlier associated with a tailor’s sewing posture).   Pretty cool although the injury itself hurts like hell.     So, now I get to figure out a different way to get out of bed.    I was given a steroid shot which helped a lot but it’s only temporary if I don’t let it heal.     I’m half tempted to bring my yoga ball back to work to use that as my desk ‘chair’.    That works wonderful in strengthening the tummy and thigh muscles.    My co worker’s rolled over a staple and deflated so I felt weird being the only one up front sitting on a big blue yoga ball so I took it home, but I may bring it back.  For those who have never tried exercises on one, I highly recommend trying it!   It keeps you constantly aware and in check with your posture and you can really feel the effects after using it for a period of time.

sigh,  so… what to post as a picture of the day?     While I don’t have anything vintage tonight to share, I do have another collection that I was thinking about bringing out since a lot of time and care was taken in these photos.  When I lived overseas I managed a facebook page for the veterinary clinic I was working for at the time.   A couple co workers and I agreed that posting pictures of their pets’ really helps boost morale and bring a good name back to the reputation of the military vet clinic.    Sadly they generally have a rep of being employed and ran by people who could care less about animals.  So many times we’d get snapped at with a ‘well I know YOU don’t care if my dog lives or dies!”    I can proudly say that while I was there my team really turned that public opinion completely around. (but then I left, and my team slowly left too and now the place is a hole once again)   Long story short though,  when I left the facebook page I had created lay dormant then was deleted altogether.    The public was told by the incompetent staff that remained that the page was never run by an employee but rather an imposter.   Pssh… whatever.   I know the truth and those that matter know the truth too.   The rest of them can suck it.

So I have lots of pictures saved from my albums that were on there of our communities’ beautiful furbabies.    Until I can get more old pictures scanned here are some cute animals.   Keep in mind that they are at the VET while these pictures are taken and either just got their vaccinations, a thermometer up their booties or had a microchip implanted (to name a few)   aside from all that, look how happy they are!    That’s how much we rocked the block when I was in charge,   Enjoy the ‘Puparazzi’ pictures and will try to write more tomorrow,  Hooah!

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In a perfect world…

I answer many calls a day at my job.   I schedule appointments,  give information pertaining to PCSing pets overseas and answer questions and give advice within my means.   I’ve gotten quite comfortable on the phone when helping people.  If someone calls with a concern about their dog’s smelly ears, for example they will call to see if they should bring the dog in to be looked at by the doctor.   I usually reply with “If it concerns you,  then it is justifiable bringing him/her in to be looked at.  If anything for peace of mind”.    If they do bring them in and have them looked at, even if it wasn’t a dire emergency like they had originally thought… well they got their peace of mind.   Upon check out I will tell the owner “I am happy we were able to see (pet’s name) today”    99 percent of the owners will agree with me and thank me for my concern.   The other option is one I loathe… when nobody will agree to see their pet and they have to resort to consulting Dr “Google”.   They mean well and are genuinely trying to help their pet but it has a way of backfiring at times.   For instance…   A lady who thinks her dog has ear mites because he’s scratching his ears.   She googles it and goes to Walmart to pick up ear med medication.   Turns out it’s a yeast infection and that ear mite medication just made it 100% worse.   Not only does the owner feel like shit for unknowingly doing this to their pet,  but treatment can be more expensive depending on how bad the infection becomes (not to mention agony for the dog)  I get all kinds of calls which I’ve grown comfortable in fielding… but today I got a different call and it’s still affecting me now hours later.

I answer the phone  in my usual “Thank you for calling ****************  this is Stacey,  how may I help you?”   and a man’s deep gruff voice is on the other end.  “Yes, Hello ma’am.  I have a few strange questions I was hoping you could help me with”

“Ok”  I respond.   Quietly wondering if these questions will indeed be strange.   I’ve been asked questions about what to do with an orphan mouse and whether or not to keep an armadillo as a pet and if it would wear a collar.  (no, really… true story!)

The man takes a deep breath and begins his story “Well,  first question is do you do service dog training there?”

“No sir,  I’m sorry but we don’t.  I know of dog trainers in the area but I am not quite sure what qualifications one would need in order to train a dog as a service dog”

* silence for a few seconds*   then he continued “Ok, well here is my next question.  I see you have an animal shelter on post.    Do you by chance have any puppies that will grow up to be a BIG dog?   You see ma’am,  I am a 100% disabled veteran.   I have bad knees and a curved spine and I fall a lot.   I was hoping to find a dog that is young enough to train to help me when I fall, you know… help me get up and assist me in getting around my house.   I am a big guy so I would love a companion like that to help me.”

My heart melted…   This poor man was looking for a friend to take care of him and help him perform regular daily functions.  Why not a dog?    I mean, dogs are trained to help disabled veterans all the time.   In fact, right here on post  there is a Golden Retriever that accompanies his owner to work every day that can tell if his blood sugar is getting too low.  They are so in tune with one another you’d think they could telepathically communicate.   I think companion animals that act as service dogs are a wonderful idea and if trained properly a total godsend to who the dog is assigned.   Sadly though we didn’t many dogs in our facility at the moment so i suggested petfinder.com or looking for a breed rescue.   He told me that he’d love an Irish Wolfhound or maybe a Rottweiler type dog since they are so muscular and could probably help him get up off the floor when he fell    “It really hurts when I fall since i usually land on my knees (ouch)”   I gave him every contact I could think of  and gave him some key questions to ask the people at the rescues if he made contact.   He asked again about any dog trainer contacts and I gave him those too.   “The VA won’t give me any assistance in training my dog so I’ve been doing a lot of research.  I have read that a perfect age to start training is about 4-6 months of age”

I told the man I sincerely hoped he was successful in achieving his goal in finding his new best friend and getting it trained into an amazing service dog for him.  I can’t imagine living with the disabilities he described.   He deserves this.    I pray that he finds everything he needs very soon.

and I hope he calls back someday so I can hear all about his dog.

VPOTD 8 February 2015- 40 year old handmade Valentine

We’ve all made one at least once in our kindergarten/elementary school years.   It’s sort of a right of passage as a kid.   I made this in Kindergarten and I must say it isn’t too shabby with how old it is.   I remember in school they always sent us home proudly with projects like glued on spray painted silver macaroni pictures,  shrink e dinks and lots and lots of clay figures.   My parents kept them all .. ALL.     You wouldn’t believe what I’ve found so far,  but since it’s almost Valentine’s day this will be the first one in my collection..  so here it is..

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Gotta love that super groovy giant ruled paper that kindergartners were given to write on in order to stay within the lines.

Mom’s bear

It’s amazing how something as small as this little hand crafted bear can hold so many memories.   When I found it packed away in the things I inherited from my family I was surprised it was still around.   After all,  it is about 30 years old….

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This bear was first seen at a mall craft show while I was out shopping with my sister.   I remember her seeing it,  walking up to it and saying “Oooh Stacey!   We have to get this, Isn’t this just MOM?”  I forget what particular event we were looking for a gift for her was (mother’s day?  birthday?) but we both decided that our mom would love this country looking mama bear as a gift.     It cost something like $60 dollars and we took it home.   I don’t remember if we even wrapped it  (we must have)  but I remember mom liked it.    After that she placed it proudly in her home.    First it was living room décor,  then for some reason mom moved it into the kitchen.   She displayed it on top of our refrigerator next to a few antiques she also kept up there.   It stood untouched up there by human hands,  but what did touch it unfortunately was the same thing that took her away from me way too soon.   Cigarettes.    She was a lifelong smoker and thought nothing of smoking one cigarette after the other.    One of her favorite spots to sit and smoke was in our kitchen.    When I grew up in that house, I didn’t notice how pungent the cigarette smoke was in there… it wasn’t until I moved out on my own and would return for visits when I couldn’t be in there for any length of time without needing to step outside for air.   The nicotine smoke got on everything…  the walls, furniture, all of mom’s knick nacks all over the house,  in my hair, clothing and of course…. the bear in the kitchen on top of the refrigerator.  She had smoked so much while sitting in that chair that there was a thick yellow spot on the wall right above where she sat.    Everything in the house that wasn’t regularly dusted became caked with that nicotine gunk.  I also received an antique toll house cookie jar that was up on the display shelves around the kitchen that took me having to soak it in hot water and soap for  several days in order to scrub the layers off of it.    As for the bear,  I vaguely remembering seeing it during one of my last visits to see mom before she went into hospice.  The years had not been kind to mom’s bear.  Her white lacy apron had turned dark and yellow from the smoke and it had a layer of ‘gunk’ all over her,  she was also layered with a pretty thick amount of cobwebs.   Up until that last time I always expected to see it in the same place in the kitchen,   then after that day when I saw mom for the last time I kind of forgot about it,   when mom died a lot of the things I related to her sort of faded from memory.  Maybe it was a way subconsciously I was protecting my heart from completely breaking.    Whatever the reason,  I briefly forgot about many of the things that were in her house.

After mom passed away I know the house was packed up by my sister and her two boys.    I wouldn’t have thought in a million years that the bear would have been salvaged,  I mean.. mom treasured it because it was a gift from her daughters but if someone else would look at it they would see a grungy old craft project.    That’s why I was so surprised to find it in one of the boxes.     It means a lot it was saved so I could see it one last time and reminisce… but I don’t think I can or even should keep it.    As much as the sentimental value of this is priceless,  I can’t see how I can properly clean it so it would look decent to display in the house. It’s in great condition for being 30 years old,  seriously!   and  It doesn’t ‘stink’, but it’s grungy. ..   I don’t have the heart though to just throw it away yet,  so I’ll need to work up to it slowly and probably with a lot of tears.  (yeah, I’m a sentimental softie)    I am proud to be able to share these pictures of mom’s bear with you on here.    Mom loved it so and I know she would have wanted people to know that.

Thank you for reading this and allowing me to share this with you.    When you look at that bear’s smiling face holding that basket of dried flowers just know that it was that smile that prompted two girls to purchase her for their mother 30 years ago for a present.. and after that it’s all history