My review of Rachael Ray’s “Nutrish Dish” brand dog food

So many pet foods out there.. ! aisles and aisles of them, all claiming to be the very best, highest quality or made with the freshest ingredients blessed by mother nature herself, etc etc. I remember when I was a little girl we fed our dog Purina Puppy chow as a puppy (the kibbles with the powdered stuff on it that turned into a creamy substance when water was added)  and then Purina Dog chow as an adult/senior.  There were no breed specifics, special needs, ‘hormone free, additive free, all natural, free range, soy free/wheat free/ choices out there.   A few years later  while watching Price is right one day I saw a commercial for ‘cycle’ brand dog foods. Cycle one, cycle two, cycle three. It was pretty much laid out in front of you. Feed your dog this.. and it will eat.

 

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Everything was so simple back then…

but then came greedy corporations that thought making pet food (AND human food for that matter, but that’s another rant!) was too expensive for their bottom line so they cheapened it, started adding fillers, fake colors, fake flavors and crap that has now become what we call our food today. Working in the veterinary field as long as I have, I have witnessed hundreds of cases of doggy diets done wrong. Your average consumer will judge a pet food by how it is displayed on the container. “Fresh garden greens, carrots, peas, potatoes and chicken” Wow! perfect! it all sounds fine and good until you come home from work that night to find “Fido” has vomited on your carpet and those ‘fresh garden carrots’ have left a bright orange stain that is very unbecoming of a fresh carrot. What I’ve noticed is usually it’s the prettiest bags that hold the biggest lies when it comes to picking out a pet food. One brand which will remain nameless looks amazing on display, but it’s all for show.  The majority of allergy cases we have seen have been related to feeding that brand of pet food.   Dogs will start having recurring ear infections and skin issues, wake their owners up in the middle of the night licking and chewing on their feet and butts.   Anal gland issues, you name it!  That’s what you get when you eat stuff that doesn’t belong inside your belly… your body starts to revolt!   It’s not the pet owner’s fault at all,  it’s false look of the food and the bells and whistles in its advertising that makes them think they are making an amazing choice for their furbaby.

 

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Influenster once again offered to send me a product to test, and this time it was for my dogs.    A new food that was debuting to the public in March.  Rachael Ray’s Nutrish/Dish with Chicken and Vegetables.

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My dogs were thrilled at the opportunity to eat!  No, really!   Usually when I feed them I have to put their bowls at opposite ends of the room.  Otherwise Rebel will gobble up a mouthful of his food then run over to Daisy’s bowl and do the same.. running back and forth until both bowls worth of food are packed tightly in his mouth like a hamster.  He will then attempt to chew and swallow what is in his mouth like a doggy version of ‘chubby bunny’ that often ends up with him coughing out whole pieces of kibble and me chasing him around trying to make sure he doesn’t choke himself to death.    I did an ‘unboxing’ video for Influenster and it turned into a double feature of unboxing and taste test.  Mainly because once I opened the bag the dogs were REALLY interested in what I had.   The first thing I noticed in the bag was dried veggies.   Carrot slices, shriveled up dried peas and little dice shaped dried potato bits.  Then there were chicken bits with kibble.   I divvied out a bit of each piece and let my dogs check it out.   Both were enthralled in eating the food.   Not gobbling up and swallowing as fast as possible but rather enjoying each bite.  Their noses remained in their bowls (THEIR bowls,  Rebel wasn’t doing his usual running back and forth routine) until almost each bite was gone.    The only thing they had trouble with was the rather large carrot slices.  I tried to break them into smaller bits but resorted to just soaking them in a tiny bit of water to soften them.. then they were free game to devour! Overall I really like this food for my pups.  They really took to it and it is very apparent that Rachael Ray formulated this food with the pet’s health in mind.   It’s not just a ‘pretty’ food but rather a REAL food.    Am I going to switch my dogs over to this when it officially hits the shelves?   You bet!

 

Another reason now why I loves me some Rachael Ray.. 😉

 

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Thank you Influenster and Thank you Rachael Ray!  ❤

 

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Spinning yarns vs just plain bullshit

This has been good therapy writing about things from my past that have taken residence in my memories all these years.  Just about every little thing you go through as a kid can be considered a life lesson,  and sometimes you learn things by watching other peoples’ mistakes.    In this case, it was my ex.

He was all about status and how he looked to others. It was that mentality that rocketed me to an eating disorder and made me think for many years that I wasn’t good enough for anybody except for him.   When you’re in a mentally and emotionally abusive relationship the days all blur together and it’s very easy to get into the mindset that the way you are living at that very moment IS going to be the rest of your life.    I know I could have left at any time and I should have left, but I didn’t.   Thus the life lessons that I learned while I was with him.

He was very insecure.   Like, VERY insecure.   Every human being has some form of insecurity inside them.  It’s normal. Everyone, whether they choose to admit it or not really does care what others think about them.    Some of us just hide it better than others.    X tried to impress others by stories.    Stories I heard a million times whether or not I was actually there at the time or not.  He had a twist though,  he would twist the truth and add details every time he told it in order to get more of a reaction from his audience.   At first I thought it was a unique creativity he had in telling stories… but later on I saw it for what it was.  A really sad attempt at making people think he was more interesting and mysterious than he really was.     After a while, out of morbid curiosity  I would purposely bring up a particular story for him to recant to those we were with just to see just how much more he would twist a story that was originally very normal. At the time I didn’t see it as mockery, but that’s exactly what it was.   He was so serious when he would tell about these ‘experiences’,  and I found it entertaining to see just how far he would stretch it.      This is an example of what I mean.

Original story:   (What I actually witnessed)

One day at Disneyland we were standing outside of the Pirates of the Caribbean ride.    A girl who was smoking a cigarette and dressed in denim walked past us into line leading up to the ride.  As she passed underneath the arch that read “PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN”  she took her cigarette out of her mouth and flicked it at the wall near where the trash can was.   It bounced off the wall and landed nowhere near the trash can as she continued into the ride.

End of story

The story that it ended up to be:

We were at Disneyland standing outside of the Pirates of the Caribbean ride.  Suddenly we heard behind us a ‘TIK TIK TIK’ sound.  We turn around and see this tall thin REALLY ANGRY chick walking past us.  Her hair was spiked up in several jelled spikes,  she had on a denim jacket with spikes and the “TIK TIK” sound we heard were the metal spikes on the bottom of her what HAD to be 8 inch, if not longer heels.   She was dragging long heaves on her cigarette and looked like she was ready to fight anyone that looked at her wrong.    So, there was a sign right next to the entrance of the ride that says “No smoking past this point”.    Without breaking a step she takes one last heave on her cigarette and flicks it (imitates a peeetoyyeeeee sound to enhance the fact she flicked it so violently from her hand )   It bounces right off of the part of the sign where it says ‘no smoking’ and sparks fly everywhere.   There were a group of tourists standing nearby that had to step back otherwise the cigarette sparks would have hit them.  Oh my god!  It was so crazy!

annnnnd  scene!

The second story captivated his audience and got more of a reaction so therefore while he told it he was the center of attention.   He did that all the time even with the smallest of topics.   Another example,  his cousin Rusty.. who I was terrified of meeting by the way he was described to me.   The day I met him I thought I would be meeting a guy that closely resembled Charles Manson.   Scars all over his body from the numerous fights he was in throughout his life.   He only had tunnel vision in one eye due to being hit by a rock by a group of kids while he was younger.  He barely spoke and had a wolf as a pet, oh.. and a squirrel as a pet too.

Rusty turned out to be the sweetest person I had ever met.   (Years later after I had long left the X,   he considered me a part of his family.   His mom had taken me under her wing and helped me get back on my feet since I had invested everything I had in my relationship.  I had zero money, no place to live and decided that being desolate was a better option than continue my life with X which was clearly going nowhere.  My mother had recently passed away and I had nowhere to go,  Rusty and his family were my saving grace… seriously, I can’t even begin to say how much I love and appreciate them. ) Rusty had a rough life and did have run ins with the law, served jail time and battled drug problems.  He loved his motorcycle..   Unfortunately he was in an accident several years ago that resulted in the loss of one of his legs.  Through the rough exterior and everything he had been through in his life the man had a heart of gold and fought his demons to the very end.   Shortly after getting out of prison he moved back in with his mother and committed his time to fixing up his motorcycle and reconnecting with old friends.   One day he told his mother he wasn’t feeling well and was going to go take a nap.   He never woke up.   I never wanted to know details,  but from what I heard from others that he had some preexisting  health issues that caused his heart to stop.  Living hard finally had caught up with him.    His death hit those that loved him the hardest…  I’m so thankful that I had the opportunity to know him and that he considered me family.    If I had listened to X and his ridiculous stories I may never have.

X is no doubt still telling outrageous stories to this day to anybody who will listen  in desperate attempts for attention.   Stories about how he’s a direct descendant from King Charlemagne and how his father’s job at TRW involved alien communication (I’m not making this up)    Being around him all those years ago taught me to be real with people.   If they don’t like you for who you are,  then making up a story isn’t going to make any difference at all.   In fact,  chances are if you do that then people will most likely laugh behind your back instead.   Which is worse?

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RIP Rusty…  ❤

Everything happens in your life for a reason… good OR bad, it all has a meaning

I’m a huge believer of that.

Have you ever,  with morbid curiosity ever wondered how your life may have turned out if you had taken another path in your life?   Made a different life changing decision,  stayed in a situation where you knew it was slowly killing you but too afraid to make that first brave step to independence?   I did… recently.    And I can honestly say I have only ever done this once and this was the first AND very very last time I will ever do such a thing.

I wasn’t seeking it out hoping that I could have missed out on something great.  My life right now is fantastic and I wouldn’t change a thing.  I guess the curiosity mainly stemmed from wondering if karma had indeed made herself known to that person that I shared my life with for over 12 years.

This person I chose to share my life with during my younger years was in a word insecure.  Very very insecure.  I didn’t see it at the time but he desperately needed attention and admiration to deal with his life.    To be blunt,  he was more fucked up than he would ever dare to admit.    His parents weren’t the best of role models.   His dad was some bigwig stuffed shirt at TRW that had a lot of money (or so he said)   and his mother worked for a telephone company (I think)    From what I had gathered by what he told me his dad was a playboy from day one and lied, cheated and ran out on his mother more than once.   When he was very young his mother and father decided to leave one another at the same time, leaving him to fend for himself alone in his apartment.  He used to tell me that he stayed there for a few weeks alone before his mother finally came to collect him and his belongings but in the meantime  he would go to school,  come home right afterwards and only eat whatever was easily accessible in the kitchen that he could open with a can opener and cook on the stove.   Later on in his high school years his father would throw money at him and pat himself on the back calling himself a good and loving dad.   He didn’t know at the time that his dad was really just giving him the child support money directly to his son,  to spite his mother.   The times he lived with his father there were a revolving door of Asian women that would frequent his time, leaving his son to raise himself  (and soak in like a sponge what a pathetic pig player his dad was,   treating women like playthings,  telling his son to lie to the ‘girlfriend’ from the week before if he was asked if there was another woman in his dad’s life)

I met him during a chorus ‘field trip’.  I can’t remember exactly where we had gone that day but my friend and I sat across from him on the bus and I was instantly attracted.    He held himself as if he was THE shit..  rode to school in a limo that his father paid for and concentrated more on his bad boy image than anything else.  I think I just liked him back then because he was different,  and he distracted me from all the drama and shit that was going on in my own world.   My parents were going through a nasty divorce and I hated being home around all the negativity.   It was a constant reminder that the family that I grew up to know was all gone and all I had of the happy times were memories.  He was my ticket out of that place,  and I grabbed it as quickly as I could.     I started ditching school with him and spent practically every waking moment with him,  my mom would let him stay over pretty frequently  (after getting me on the pill, that is)   After his class graduated (he didn’t, because he felt he was too good for school) his dad got him an apartment  and I moved in with him.     We stayed together for 12 years and in those 12 years he cheated on me repeatedly (or ‘he gave them self esteem’ as he called it)   and finally I was just done.  I walked away from what was left of that relationship and never looked back.

I’m not saying he was the only person at fault for the demise of our relationship.  I know I was difficult to live with at times.  I wasn’t a great housekeeper and I was so insecure that I let him basically do whatever he wanted from the beginning.   Keeping a relationship together, especially as young as we were would take a lot of work on both parts.  Unfortunately we became too comfortable with our situation and started to accept that this was how our lives were supposed to be.  Looking back on all of now though, I don’t see how I did it.

Titles schmitles

This is a vent and one of my biggest pet peeves.  Kind of ironic too since this pertains to me also,  I’ll explain.

(let me get comfy in my rocker before I begin)  BACK IN THE YEAR 1988 when I started my first job at a veterinary hospital,   I had zero experience.   None.   I just saw the advertisement in the classified ads and figured I’d give it a shot.   The business was only a few blocks away from my home so I figured it would work out a lot better rather than getting another job at the mall a few miles away.  I had just come off a holiday hiring at See’s Candy and was so stuffed full of free chocolate that the mere thought of working around food again made me ill.     I remember walking into that interview dressed sloppily in some jeans, a top,  black boots and in a thick black corduroy (yes, you read that right)  trench coat.  I was young and had no interviewing experience, and maybe it was because I didn’t think I had a snowball’s chance in hell of getting the job.  Whatever the reason,   I sat there and acted like I knew what I was talking about and did a terrible interview,  but to my surprise the doctor must have seen something in me because he hired me anyway.

Boom..!

I was a bright, new,  shiny ‘kennel attendant’.   Talk about a dramatic change of pace,  I went from working fast food/retail to being in a medical environment.

The pecking order at my first job was very VERY different than what things are like today.     There were the:

Veterinary Technicians:    They had the title, the schooling, the experience and the LICENSE that backed up that title!   Considered  ‘second in command’ to the doctor, they had the biggest responsibility in the veterinary hospital.   The doctor relied on the technician to ensure that everything was running smoothly at all times.   Patients were admitted,  cared for, medicated, catheterized, fluids checked, etc etc etc   They prepared the patients for surgery so all the doctor had to do was gown up, scrub in and walk into the surgery room to do the procedure.  They pulled up all the drugs the doctor requested,  had a close eye on every patient in the hospital at all times and reported back to the doctor with progress reports, questions, input,  whatever.   The first technician I ever worked with was named Tess and she knew her job almost flawlessly.    She would move non stop all day in her routine helping our doctor with appointments and procedures,  often even being one step or so in front of the doctor when it came to getting the things he needed for his patients.  (“Oh, Dr Smith usually needs this medication and this medication for an ear infection”    or   “Dr Smith likes to do the spay surgeries first so they have the longest time in the day to recover so I’ll get them prepped first” )  I have to admit, I was in awe watching how they worked together.  I would pause a little bit between cage cleanings and watch them, realizing finally that I knew what I wanted to do for the rest of my working career.

Veterinary Assistants:  The ‘second pair of hands’ of the vet hospital.   Their main job was to help the technicians achieve their missions throughout the day which was   mostly restraining/holding animals, holding off veins, helping with xrays, and cleaning up after surgeries and any other prep mess that is left behind.   They didn’t get to DO any of the cool stuff but they were exposed to it by being able to assist the tech.    Usually veterinary assistants were up and coming technicians trying to get hands on experience so they could move on and go to school.   Sometimes if a student was doing an on job training they would get to closely follow, assist and often perform certain technician duties but only if directly supervised.

Kennel attendants:  those that did the cleaning around the hospital.   Cleaning cleaning cleaning.   Vacuuming, sweeping, mopping,  and cleaning out kennels and cages.  Occasionally walking dogs into the gated yard.    Sometimes they even did bathing of the animals too!  Back in the day before there was decent topical flea and tick prevention there was horrible chemicals you’d pour on your pet called ‘dip’.   It stank and was ridiculously expensive but people got them for their pets because they hated fleas more than anything.   My first summer at that place I must have easily mixed up 100 gallons of that disgusting toxic swill.   That was pretty much it though when it came to contact with the animals.   If we weren’t moving them and cleaning up after them,  we were bathing and dipping the fleas off of them.   It wasn’t glamorous work but it needed to be done.    You rarely saw the kennel attendants anywhere around the treatment area or surgery room.   Every vet hospital needed a maintenance crew and I was proud to be a part of the totem pole, even at the starting level.

I worked as a kennel attendant for a little over a year until I was called into the doctor’s office and asked if I wanted to learn how to be a veterinary assistant.     I was over the moon!!!      It was a promotion into doing something that I wanted to do and up until then I hadn’t had any training at all.   When Tess started training me to assist her I started to learn her routine and it made everything run like a well oiled machine.    Everyone knew their job, nobody overstepped anybody else and we all worked together from morning until close.

Now on to my ‘pet peeve’  after all of that back story 🙂

Nowadays it seems like the technician title has been ‘cheapened’ to the extent where everyone who works at a vet hospital considers themselves one.    It’s no longer a title that you earn by going to school,  getting experience and obtaining a license.  You’re just a technician by working there.    It’s a given title,  and it annoys me to NO end!    I mean,  the definition of technician is:

tech·ni·cian
noun:   technician; plural noun: technicians
  1. a person employed to look after technical equipment or do practical work in a laboratory.
    1. an expert in the practical application of a science.
    2. a person skilled in the technique of an art or craft.

    Key words.. SKILLED in the technique of an art or craft.   Or in other words,  not just anybody can come off the street and get a job as a technician.   A little over 10 years ago I tried for my license when we lived in Washington state.   I never went to school for it,  but there was a way back then where, if you had enough years and enough letters of recommendation under your belt, then you could grandfather into the program to take the test for the license.  I think it was 10 years or more you could qualify,  and I had way more than that… so I gave it a shot.

    You couldn’t miss more than 3 questions and I missed 4..  FOUR!   Missed it by just one. 😦  It was so close the lady who gives the tests put a little yellow sticky note on my results when I received them in the mail.   It read “So close! I hope you try again next year!”    I never got the chance,  a few months later we were headed to Germany for our first tour.  After that it really wasn’t a priority any longer.     Really sucks and I’ll always regret that but I can’t do anything about it.    That means  that in reality  I can’t even call myself a “technician” even though I have had enough hands on experience to do everything a licensed tech can do.  I’m a veterinary assistant with a shit ton of hands on experience..  which is still impressive.     I’ve lost count of the people I’ve met that claim to be a tech but when it comes down to actually doing the duties of one,  they don’t know even the basics.  I’ve overheard these ‘techs’ giving medical advice to pet owners that makes me cringe.  (“It’s ok to buy a large dog dose of frontline and divvy it up into smaller doses for all of your dachshunds!”  That cut on your dog’s paw will be fine!  give aspirin for pain if you think he needs it!”   “You don’t need heartworm medication for your dogs if they don’t go outside!” )  Of course the pet owners only see that they are speaking to a technician so they MUST know what they are talking about, right?  Ugh!  A few times I’ve intervened and saved the owner from making a dire mistake.     Why did the title of Veterinary Assistant become so lackluster that nobody wants to be one?   Why isn’t it still appropriate to work towards a title that is considered being skilled in a profession?   One of the best parts of a career is that you can learn new things every day… why act so soon like you’re such a know it all?    Once while working in Heidelberg I had taken my dog in to the vet clinic there because she had injured her back and needed radiographs.    I knew how to work their xray machine and I got permission to go in and use the machine and take my own xrays.   The ‘technician’ working there at the time came into the radiology room and introduced herself.    She was real nice, but didn’t have a lick of experience.   She said “Oh, SPC Lukasko,  the guy that knows how to work the machine isn’t here today!”    As if only one person in that place should know how to take an xray?   I invited her in to help me and started to show her how to measure depth and length in order to set the machine to correctly take a picture.    She left the room for a second and came back with a textbook about radiology and started flipping pages trying to find how to measure my dog.  That day I showed her that there is a big difference between reading things out of a book and trying things HANDS ON.  She had been too afraid to,  and when I showed her you could tell that she thought it was one of the coolest things she’d learned in a long time working there…    hopefully that brought her one step closer to working towards having that title that she held there.   A short time later her and her husband PCSd and I think they moved to North Carolina.. she had gotten a job at an animal shelter as a technician.   Hopefully she continued working towards it.

    Seriously,   every time I run into a ‘tech’ where I work I get less and less impressed.  It really cheapens what those of us that take our jobs seriously do,  and don’t get me wrong… there are many MANY genuinely awesome people out there that make the veterinary profession proud every day with their skills and dedication.   I just don’t like that we are lumped in with those that don’t deserve that recognition.

    Rant over…

Forgiveness and Fear

Boy,  this is going to be a tough one.   It’s been on my mind a lot lately so I may as well get it out.   Now that I’ve gotten my writing mojo back for a time there are a ton of other drafts sitting waiting to be completed,  but those can wait a bit longer.

When people in your life start dying it’s normal to question your own mortality.    When you’re young it rarely (or at least with me)  crossed my mind that I, too would grow old, sick and die someday.   Death seemed like a long long way off so why even worry about it?    You hear about so and so who died after a long battle with cancer,  or so and so who was killed in a car accident.    Either way it starts to sink in that death is inevitable and eventually your time will come.

My grandma on my mom’s side passed away after suffering from dementia.   My last memories of her were when she was in the nursing home crying without her teeth.   The staff had misplaced them.     She was thin and gaunt and didn’t look anything like the grandma I used to watch Benny Hill with.  The worse she got the less I was taken to see her.    Eventually I didn’t go at all,  I think my mom wanted to make sure I remembered her in a more positive light,  which I can say now I’m glad she did.    Grandma passed away one day and I think my mom was by her side.   I asked her what happened when she died and she said  “She just let out one breath then that was all”.

My mom died from cancer back in 1998.    She was a lifelong smoker and didn’t go to the doctor until it was too late.   It started with lung cancer but had already spread to her brain.   The doctor told her there were so many he stopped counting lesions after a while (what an awful thing to say!)  Mom was sure she was going to fight it and in the early days of the internet she had heard of a new drug called Hydrazine sulfate on a news program.    I remember her calling me and saying this would be her cure.   “I’m going to be at your wedding someday!  I’m going to hold my grandkids someday!”   she would tell me.   I looked up everything I could on that drug and silently prayed nightly that she was right.  She endured radiation treatments to no avail.   The cancer was too advanced.      The last few months of her life she had distanced herself from me.   Once again my mom was protecting me from the grim reality that she was dying.   I didn’t know until years later that a hospital bed was brought to the house and that’s where she stayed until hospice took her.    I also didn’t know that by then she had wasted away to less than 100lbs,  was in diapers and mentally had reverted to a child.

Alzheimer’s took my father back in 2000.   He used to be such an intelligent man.   Worked for Skylab and then for Hughes Aircraft.    He was always there for me when I needed help with my homework and some nights we would just sit and play chess.   His disease progressed slowly and looking back on it all I could tell he was changing but I didn’t know exactly why.   After he left my mom and married Donna the story around the house was that dad was manipulated into going with her because he had Alzheimer’s. Up until my stepmother recently came back into my life I thought that very same way as well.  Now,  after re-getting to know her I see what is the truth.   My dad belonged with her.   She took great care of him in his later years and only when he needed medical care did she reluctantly admit him to hospice.   She would visit him often and more times than not she said he wouldn’t know who she was.  Donna cared for my dad as long as she possibly could and for that I am so appreciative that he had her.  Along with that,  the other thing I’ve come to terms with is that my mom,  even though I know she loved my dad,  wouldn’t have been able to handle my dad in this condition. The last time I went to visit him was in 1998 (I think it was just after my mom passed away).   My half brother and I drove out to Palm Springs to visit and he had no idea who we were.   He kept asking me if I was family.   Only once through the whole visit did I see a glint of recognition in his eyes and he started to cry “Oh, Stacey!!  my princess!   You’re here!!”    He hugged me,  we cried together then a few minutes later he was back to  “Are you family?  You’re so pretty!”  It broke my heart seeing him that way,  and I didn’t want to admit it at the time but Donna handled everything so well.    She had moved them to a housing area that was completely fenced off.   Dad had started to wander and if he did manage to get out of the house without Donna noticing  the extra security was for his own good.    Dad also fought prostate cancer   as his Alzheimer’s progressed and came out of it cancer free.   There was one incident in the hospital where he had managed to get out of his hospital bed,  remove all his catheters (including his urinary one,  ouch!!)  and became combative with the hospital staff when they tried to get him back to his bed.  Through all that I don’t think my mom could have handled it.   Dealing with someone whose mind is going must be as equally draining physically as it is mentally and emotionally.    The fact she did it as long as she did I applaud her for and am so thankful that I have this chance now to talk to her about things that I had always wanted to talk to her about.   We’ve been given a second chance,  and it feels good to tell her how much I appreciate her.     My dad would be happy if he knew that her and I were talking I bet.   I think now all he wanted all along was for me to accept her and support him being happy,  but back then I just couldn’t.   In my teenage mind all I saw was another woman stealing my father away and I couldn’t get past that.   It’s amazing how your mindset changes after you experience life, hardships and the real world.   Everyone deserves to be happy in their lives and I do believe in soulmates.   Dad belonged with her,  and that’s why things worked out the way they did.

 

 

DAD

With all of that being said now, this brings up “THE” subject that’s been weighing on my mind.  Alzheimer’s is inherited which means I could have the gene that carries the disease.  The fact that I may eventually start losing my memories and mind scares the shit out of me.   I’m not going to lie.   I am on quite a few medications for blood pressure, depression and an appetite suppressant and within the past few months I’ve noticed I have had a short term memory issue.   It’s especially obvious at work when I can’t remember names not even a minute after someone tells me.  I’ll walk into a room and forget why I was in there,  or the most annoying thing is when I leave the room to go do something like get a drink of water but I get distracted en route and end up making numerous trips until I finally am able to focus on what I ORIGINALLY entered that room for.    Overly sensitive?   me?    maybe… but look at the definition of Alzheimer’s.

What an awful death sentence to have.     I can’t help but wonder if my dad knew what he had or if it just gradually drifted him away to the point where he didn’t care.   I should ask Donna that.

How can you place that kind of burden on those that you love if you know you have the possibility of having that disease?  In that way I am a lot like my mom.   But on the same page,  what will happen to me if I do get to the point of wandering, diapers and being combatant?   It frightens me to tears and I don’t know how I should feel.  Just like my mom who would have meant well with my dad but would not have been able to care for him properly… how can I place this kind of responsibility on my loved ones?     I’m planning on meeting with a lawyer as soon as I do some more research so I can get my wishes documented for peace of mind.    Right now as things are,  I can’t in good faith subject anyone to the task of caring for me if I become an invalid.   I’m lacking that sense of peace that comes with knowing everything is going to be alright.

Or does that come later?   God I hope so.

Closing the account on an emotional investment

Have you ever been so damn disappointed in someone in your life with the choices they have made for themselves?   You don’t have any tie to this person except for being their friend but for some reason you, being the outsider just can’t help but get frustrated anyway.   I’m in that position.   Not going to name any names but once I considered this person a very close friend.   Overall I like to think I’m a friendly person (although some people have said I make ‘expressions’ with my face where I look like I’m angry? Not intended… )  but very few people have I opened up to and let in.  I have a lot of emotional baggage and have learned that it takes a very special person that will be there for you through good AND bad, who will listen when you need to vent rather than just have you there so they can vent.   I’ve become associated with  too many brick walls over the years to want to let just anybody know who I really am deep inside.   Isn’t that what a  friendship is?

Well,  this person and I have been friends for a few years now.  We lived closer for a while then had to move our separate ways due to work.   We stayed in touch as much as we could and made plans to see one another the next possible chance we had.    The next time we did get together though,  they had changed.   Their attitude was nothing even close to what I remembered,  like I didn’t even know them anymore.  The first thing that they said which raised a red flag was they were talking about another friend they had back where they were currently living.  A comment was made “I tell them they are my best friend but really YOU are!”    Then, off and on throughout the visit we heard complaints and insults about that ‘best friend’ back home.  Pretty venomous stuff.     My husband and I planned a vacation with them and we went for my birthday.    That trip turned out to be the major turning point in our relationship  (me and the person, not me and my husband)    I felt almost like we were embarrassing them on that trip.  They would  go off a lot on their own (or so we thought) and I took that as we were boring or bothering them.   By the time the trip was over I was looking forward to everything getting back to normal.   Just being around that person was awkward and uncomfortable all the way up until they finally left to go back home.  For one thing,  I kept thinking back to the awful things they were saying about the person who thought they were so close.  Who is to say that exact thing wasn’t being done to me and my husband?  I bet it is.   Finally, once we got back they confided in my husband the real reason why they kept disappearing during our vacation.   It seems that the people we had seen them with the night we ditched them after we heard them call out to us,  turned out they had a stash of weed,  so instead of being honest I guess it was worth making the extra effort to lie to us about it.   Did they think I would judge them? embarrass them?  I’m thinking the latter.   I do admit that towards the end of the trip my husband and I did see them a few times hanging out with some people who I can only assume were ‘those’ people.  One night we e heard our names being called out but we pretended not to hear them.  It had gotten to the point where we felt if we were ruining their trip, embarrassing them and making them look bad,  then why subject said person to further humiliation around these new friends? Don’t get me wrong, the vacation wasn’t ruined at all despite all of this needless drama.   My hubby and I had a wonderful time on our own and made some amazing memories.  The night before our trip was officially ending,  I had my birthday dinner.   My husband and I got dressed up and had a wonderful time.  We were seated next to a mother and daughter who were a lot of fun, AND the staff of the restaurant already knew it was my birthday so they sang and I got a mini dessert with a candle to blow out.  Of course my ‘friend’ was nowhere to be seen but I wouldn’t have had it any other way.  After all,  in the end I married my TRUE best friend and that’s the best birthday present I can ever ask for.   Ever since then I haven’t gone out of my way to communicate with them.    They are miles away and even though before I would have said I wished they were closer that is NOT the case any longer.  The further the better.   It really hurts being lied to,  and it hurts even more since it was on my frigging birthday.   The fact they toss around the title ‘best friend’ to just anyone  (for what purpose? ) really cheapened how I once felt for this person.  It really gives you a used and empty feeling when that’s done to you.   For the record, I wouldn’t have cared if they smoked pot from beginning to end of our vacation.   It’s a shame I was looked upon so lowly to be lied to.    Whoever picks a temporary high over friendship isn’t worth my time or effort.   It’s just such a disappointment it had to end like that.

I hope writing this doesn’t make me sound like a snob because that isn’t intended.   It’s just a subject that’s been weighing on my mind for a while.   This is my form of closure I guess, and writing about it helps.

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So there 🙂

Closure….. reopened (sort of)

Like I said before,  my stepmother and I have recently reconnected and a lot of old emotions have been resurfacing.  My dad passed away back in 2000 and even before then we had no contact for about 4 years before that.   Even before that our relationship was pretty strained… mostly because of what happened between him and my mother.  I blamed my dad and his new wife for everything and went out of my way when I was a kid to make their lives (well, mostly her life)  as miserable as possible when I was around.   My mom and dad had a very long and ugly divorce and so because of that my whole world was turned upside down.   Therefore I did what any normal teenager would have done.  I lashed out at everyone around me.

So, needless to say when my dad passed I knew he was in advanced Alzheimer’s  but really nothing more.  I was told in the form of a phone call from one of my half brothers.   All he said was “He’s dead”.   Both my half brothers which were dad’s sons from his first marriage had written dad off years ago.   They are off in their own worlds to this day and I never speak to them.  So as far as my father,   I had no contacts that could tell me anything more so instead of living a life of so many questions I started drawing up my own conclusions in order to feel some sort of closure.  One conclusion being that he went to his grave hating me.   My stepmother Donna’s reaching out to me online a few weeks ago was a total unexpected surprise.    At first I was really cautious with my wording with her because her and I had such issues in the past,  but now after talking to her several times I’m coming to terms with a lot of things.   The main one being is she loved my dad with all her heart,  and that they were in love back in their high school days.   Even when they both separated for a time and went onto other relationships Donna always held a torch for my dad.   Then when he started getting sick and showing signs of dementia she took care of him up until his final breath.    The fact my dad was happy is all that matters.  This is still an extremely hard thing to wrap my mind around and I’m taking it one day at a time (it’s hard not having my sister around to talk to…) .    I never thought this day would come… ever.

She recently sent me  a small package with the following letter.. I was home alone when I opened it so thankfully nobody was around when I sat and held the letter for an hour sobbing uncontrollably.  I hadn’t even peeked in the package yet.

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I always thought my dad didn’t even give me a second thought after I lost contact with them.  What I had figured was my father was happy with his new wife and disowned me and my two half brothers.   When I was younger I felt abandoned by him and left it at that.  I mean, if I attempted to contact him then I would have also have to talk to ‘her’ and to me she was the enemy.   So I considered my father gone from my life.   In fact, I considered the whole “Norris” family gone from my life.   I didn’t want any part of being a Norris any longer.    It broke my heart but I never told anyone that.   Well,  I told one person, my sister.

Inside the little package was the following:

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The picture with him and the older gentleman is my grandpa Norris.   He died when I was very young.   I barely remember him,  in fact all I do remember is going to visit him shortly before he died.     We went to my grandparents’ house and he was laying in bed with an oxygen tank next to him.   I remember climbing up on the bed and saying “I hope you feel better grandpa”  and seeing his eyes well up with tears.  Later on in the car on the way home my father told me that what I said to him was very nice and it made him happy.   I wish I knew more about him… I’m hoping my stepmom can help me out a little bit as long as she’s still willing and able to answer questions.  From what she has told me so far though,  dad’s father was his hero and he grew up to be more like him, rather than his mother who was……  well, let’s just say people in the neighborhood used to call her ‘that mean old woman’.

The picture of the girl with the giant hair is me..  yeah…   1988.   They had those studios in the mall called “Headshots” and my sister took me there for a birthday present.  They tease, tease and spray your hair up as high as it could possibly go,  then they stick it to a board.    When you leave there you look like a peacock since the back of your head is flattened from the board.    I don’t even remember giving my dad this picture and I’m so surprised he kept it in his wallet all of those years.    It means a lot to know this..

As I’m getting to know my dad all over again I’ve been going through a lot of emotions.  It’s been hard to concentrate when my mind gets churning about all of this.   It’s like I’m trying to make sense of all of this information at once which is literally impossible!    Hopefully I can sort this out so it’s manageable soon before I go crazy but until then it’s one day at a time.     I’m grateful I have Donna to talk to though,  if you would have told me a year ago that I’d be in touch with her again I would have never believed it.     Maybe dad made this possible somehow from wherever he is so I’d have some real closure…maybe?

An idea came to me..

and it just came out of the blue.   As I’ve said before since losing/misplacing my wedding ring it has affected me greatly.  I have no idea what happened to it,  absolutely NO IDEA and that alone is driving me crazy.  But anyway,  I’m not going to get back into that since it stresses me out every time my mind starts churning over this.

I inherited a ring from my grandmother.  One of my earliest memory of my grandma is of her going into her knick knack cabinet and bringing out 3 diamond rings.    She would show me each one and tell me about how one of them would be mine someday when I was older.  I received my ring back in late 1997 a few months before my mother passed away and it’s been safely tucked away since then.   (at least I did that right!)     Lately I’ve been thinking a lot about that ring, and they say that everything happens for a reason. No matter how awful the thing and how terrible the situation,  there IS a reason behind everything that happens and even if it takes years to manifest itself.     What if that ring my grandma left me all those years ago was meant to be a part of my wedding ring all along?    Oddly enough ever since that thought entered my mind it has given me a sense of peace.    Destiny?   The whole reason behind why this horrible thing happened in the first place?    I’m beginning to think so…

Has this ever happened to anyone else out there?

One of the many reasons why I love my husband

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Animals are extremely meticulous judges of character.    When I was with my ex,  the two cats we owned together interacted with him over half of the time out of fear.   Chris lost his temper a lot and while he never physically hit me,  he would hit items such as walls and thermostat covers.   Once he punched one of our cats for jumping up into the back panel of his piece of crap car.   The panel was so old and worn out that Jolly fell through into the trunk and Chris hit him.   Piece of crap.   If you do that to an animal then you aren’t worth the air you breathe in my opinion.    When I met Mike,  I was a little apprehensive over how he would bond with my cats.   He had never had cats before and would tease me online about how cats were stuck up.  It made me worry that he would never see my two furbabies as the family members to me that they were.    Well,  he surprised me in the best way possible.   Jolly and Wazi both gave me their kitty stamps of approval and since then the new flufflings we have brought into our household all look to him as daddy.  It melts my heart to see an animal bond with someone so closely.   Sometimes he will make a comment that ‘oh finally Daisy is showing me some attention’.    Pttth.. look at these pictures and tell me that there is any doubt that the sun rises and sets in daddy to our furbabies. 🙂     This is why he’s the man for me,  my soulmate and the one true love of my life.

 

 

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Another review blog from Influenster! This time it’s Calvin Klein Reveal men!

Influenster gave me another opportunity to try out something I’ve always wanted to try.   Well,  actually it’s for my husband but it’s also for me 😉   A little over a month ago I was sent a questionnaire about colognes.   What ones have I tried, what ones would I be interested in trying in exchange for my opinion, etc.  I guess I answered the correct answers because shortly after that I was informed that I qualified for the Calvin Klein REVEAL for men  Voxbox!    Yay!    Voxboxes come in all sizes,  this one only held one sample but it was of a cologne that I have always wanted to smell.    My husband has always been kind of a ‘put on whatever smells good at the time’ kinda guy while I am VERY scent orientated.  ( One of the first gifts I bought for him when we first met was a bottle of Curve)   I love putting on things that smell sweet and fruity (Juicy Couture is my absolute favorite)  but I have a small collection of different choices if the mood hits me differently on any given day, and I do make sure I leave the house every morning smelling like one of them.  It’s a ritual I suppose.  For my husband,  it’s always been Curve or Cool Water by Davidoff but sadly, he’s  the complete opposite of me when it comes to fragrance swag.  In our household  I’M the cologne police when he has an important function at work that he has to dress up for and I make sure he leaves smelling just as nummy as he looks.   Sometimes I can tell he just gets frustrated, rolls his eyes and walks away… but I’ll sneak in a spritz on his back while he’s walking away so I still win 🙂   He’ll thank me someday when someone compliments him.

I’m not sure exactly what it is in Curve/Cool Water that I really love to smell on a man, even if I’m out in public walking around I’ll catch a whiff of someone wearing it nearby.      It’s strong and spicy but also clean smelling and exotically sweet.   So, with all that said I was curious on how Calvin Klein would measure up to my favorites.   I definitely wasn’t disappointed!

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The package arrived with a little sample of Reveal in a pump spray bottle (never seen one so small before, so cute!) and a little leather card holder (upper right in the picture)   A little extra ‘thank you’ from them for trying out their product.   When I opened it I snuck a sniff and knew I was going to like it.  It has all the components that makes up the scent that I LOVE.   It’s like  a mix of sweet and spice with  a sandalwood overtone.    The next day my husband had a meeting at work that he had to attend in suit and tie so I made sure he wore it.  It absolutely smelled delicious on him,  and it was just as yummy and fragrant after his long work day .    He did say that he received a few comments (not harassingly  of course) and he made sure to tell them it was Calvin Klein Reveal.   As a whole, I love this and would definitely consider this as a future gift for him the next time I proudly don my scent police badge 🙂

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Thank you again,  Influenster for allowing me to test out another product.   Doing this is so much fun!

**as a member I received these products complimentary from Influenster for testing purposes. the opinions expressed above are mine**