The Asphalt Gods have been appeased yet again in Lexington

     Oh joy, oh rapture, construction continues to be ongoing with the Citation Boulevard extension project behind my house. Each morning this summer at ZERO DARK THIRTY, the equipment rumbles in from the distance like an approaching thunderstorm.

     Sunday has not always been sacrosanct due to the weather.

     My Ziva has the same reaction to both forces of nature. I will find her in the hallway after I get up or next to me with her head on the pillow when a huge clap of thunder finally wakes me up. Jethro usually snores though it all,having been raised on a farm as a pup. My rescue girl is learning that there are rainbows after a storm, just in different areas of life. Like treats and hugs and the feeling of being safe and loved.

 

     I mourn the loss of finding deer in my backyard, of finding out it is likely that the young buck, who jumped my new fence just so he could see what was on the other side, was shot only for his rack. Which was not that impressive. Done just because someone could, who was so ignorant they just left him behind the house. I was lucky; I did not see him; my neighbor said he reported it, but I am convinced one of his redneck buddies took him out. My other neighbor is sad because the den of foxes have disappeared, or at least moved further away. I have looked for the huge groundhog was the second neighbor to welcome me to the cul-de-sac. Cedar Mill Charlie has moved on. The moles have moved into my backyard with a vengeance and I just don’t have the heart to drive them out.

     They keep Ziva busy. Once morning I was blessed with the gift she left one morning on the back porch. Very dead. Perfectly intact, not a mark on him. I miss the hawk that landed on the fence—thunk!–one morning. He GLARED at me, his grumpy self wanting to know why I had put the fence in.

     My greatest joy is that the birds have remained. I still see and hear a great variety. Even the redwing blackbirds have stayed to snack and gossip in the early mornings. They are good company and the best entertainment in the winter. Feeding them has helped quite a bit with that and it is a wonderful hobby. Naturally, the lone squirrel has settled in since there is a handy food source. We have Masterson Station Park close by, where Jethro can imagine he is King of all he surveys.

Master of the Universe

     But fall is approaching and so is the daily loss of early morning light. The crew is now arriving later since the sunrise is too. They are missing more days due to the rain. I still can hear the coyotes at night, but the stars will be more difficult to see when the lights are turned on. Citation is like the building of the Death Star or the menace of the Borg. Resistance is futile.

Such is the nature of ‘progress’.

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Mornings, or no life decisions before caffeine

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This morning I slogged out of bed as usual after my subconscious heard a polite whine from Ziva. Which, by the way, was before the traditional alarm. Mainly because the new alarm is heavy construction equipment which arrives at ZERO DARK THIRTY where they are building a road behind my house.

A separate post I will leave for another day.

Any real or perceived movement from under the covers produces an onslaught not to be believed–except by other pet owners. Suddenly I have two German Shepherds and an 18 year old crabby cat pouncing on my head. “Wake up! Wake up! It’s a beautiful bright shiny day!!!!!”

Crap.

I have to admit, there are days when I am not sure I would bother except for them. They keep me out of trouble, have me well trained, and give me all the unconditional love I can stand. They have helped me to get a real life.

Who could ask for more?

THOUGHTS ABOUT MY DAD

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MY DAD

Dad, seldom present,
rarely capable, yet he
did the best he could.

My aunt has a framed needlepoint on her wall that says “Anyone can be a father, but it takes a special person to be a Dad.” It’s a sad thing to admit, but I have no memory of celebrating Father’s Day when I was growing up.

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I am part of the baby boomer generation, the oldest of five children, all girls. We were raised in a traditional Catholic family, went to Catholic school. Mom would fix us peanut butter and jelly sandwiches on toast for breakfast, which were carried in our lunch boxes and eaten at our desks after Mass and before class. That Zorro lunch box, complete with thermos filled with Campbell’s tomato soup, still brings back happy memories. Wherever it may be. Probably on Ebay.

Dad went to work, or we thought he did. Mom stayed at home to raise the children, at least until it became painfully obvious that he was not employable. We ate dinner together each night. No television, books or cell phones, — thank God– were allowed at the table. We learned how to have conversations, and how to interact with family on a daily basis. With mixed results. Being of Irish and German extraction, generally one could expect lots of hard-headed arguing and certainly some shouting. In the long term, I think eating dinner together, having that simple routine in our lives, was one of the few things that kept us from becoming totally uncivilized. We were also blessed with the gift of receiving a good education and to have come from a family that valued it.

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My Dad was not home much, but he did join us at the table for dinner upon occasion, which usually left all of us stiff with apprehension. We tiptoed through the nightmares of holidays. Dad was an active alcoholic, in and out of AA, still doing things his way, and one of the brightest people I’ve ever met.

Rages were always anticipated, we were always hypervigilant, and knew nothing different. Loads of drama and chaos came with him, but my Mom gave as good as she got and all five of us were stuck either watching the show or becoming bit players on the stage. My point being, Dad was so smart, he was too smart to get the fact that he was dying a slow and painful death and his disease was affecting everyone else around him. That’s not really true. He just wasn’t ready to admit defeat, to say he couldn’t do something and he did what he wanted until the bitter, lonely end.

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It was very painful to even think of him for a very long time. I was scared to death of him for years, but was also the only one of my siblings fortunate to have spent time with him as a child when he wasn’t drinking. Misty, mixed-up memories. Dad had nicknames for us, mine was ‘Peanut’ since I was a preemie. He had no son so I filled that role. Dad taught me how to shoot and to have respect for firearms. He took me to riding lessons just to aggravate my Mom. He had hunting dogs and I participated in that. Somewhat. At least in terms of caring for them which I now know was convenient for him. No instruction involved, yet lots of criticism when I didn’t do it right. Repeating an old pattern, because he simply didn’t know how to teach, how to be a Dad.

But there is one particular memory. A cold, grey, snowy Thanksgiving morning. Hearing Dad getting ready to leave and talking him into taking me along. Rarely do I experience a Thanksgiving anymore without the memory of that morning years ago, the air cold and crisp, our breath like quicksilver mare’s tails. Feet crunching in snow now sparkling like crystal when the sun finally appears. The dog running happily in front of us, ever hopeful, anxious to flush out that first pheasant. It is a positive memory, something to focus on, being outside with nature, the dogs. Being with my dad. The dogs are still my link with him today.

And the apples didn’t fall far from the tree. For alcoholism is a family disease. We certainly learned how to contribute our share of drama as children. I asked my Dad on more than one occasion when were ‘moving to the ranch.’ He must have thought I’d been hatched or that the milkman was responsible. Then again, probably not since he knew who my parents were. What he didn’t know was that Zorro, Roy Rogers, the Lone Ranger, even Pancho and Cisco, had replaced him at some level as father figures. Doing good, catching the bad guys. So sad. Of course, there were the horses. I am still horse mad.

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Several of us in the family, including myself, are members of AA. We know today that life is tough, but drinking doesn’t help a thing and makes any problem worse. We know today that we have something bigger than us that sustains us, teaches us faith, friends that lend us their support. We have regained hope that was lost. Today we are blessed by the Grace of God that we don’t have to live the way we used to. In misery, in fear. My sister told me she asked Dad one time when he was in a period of not drinking, why he could’t stay sober. He apparently had a moment of clarity and told her the truth. “It was my thinking, honey.”

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Just as simple as that. I can’t speak for anyone else, but I know for myself that I have wasted countless energy and time trying to fit a square peg into a round hole, that I have worried about things that have never happened, that I have let to many people, places and things rent too much space in my head. And that rent is not worth the price of my serenity much less my sobriety anymore.

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Coming to terms with my Dad took a very long time. The anger and fear slowly dissapated as I got sober and realized why he struggled. Not a thing I could do. He was my point man, showed me I had a choice, to continue on with my life as is, or make the changes necessary to move forward. To learn how to live. I did get to tell him I loved him before he died and he told me the same. It helped both of us find peace. I was not there when he went into the hospital and I was told he asked for me. I had made the decision to go out of town that weekend. No one knew he wasn’t coming back out. I still sometimes feel bad about that, but know today that he understood.

Dad will always be my Dad.

happy trails

THE DOG ATE IT

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Came out this morning to check on my Kentucky Derby day project and found one of my rose bushes missing; it was in pieces around the yard. So, I’ve found a new use for tomato cages. Not that they will really do any good, but it made me feel better.The CSR at J & P said she’d replace it free of charge even though the’dog ate it’ (Jethro) wasn’t covered by the guarantee. Once she stopped laughing. She said she had never heard that one before and wanted to know what kind of dog I had.

Jethro was chewing enthusiastically on a twig last night and sneaking looks at me like he was getting away with something since he knows I don’t really care for him to do that. I should have known….
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Of course, we know who DIDN’T do it

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Ziva still likes to supervise from afar. She does not like either the mower or the tiller so was probably counting on them reappearing. Jethro, on the other hand, doesn’t want to miss a thing, will follow me around while I mow and get as close as he can to the tiller. And was apparently sizing up the bush that looked the most likely candidate for plucking. Yours truly was apparently paying way too much attention to gardening. Jethro gets credit for grit and determination since the rose bush, named ‘Sunny Days’, wasn’t thornless. A good laugh was much appreciated on a dreary Monday since it’s been raining steadily now for 2-3 days.

Staying positive over things like this is a huge change in behavior for me. Don’t get me wrong, I can still work hard on having a bad day if I so choose. I just try not to wallow in it for as long. In the past, this sort of thing was a golden opportunity to vent misplaced anger at the dog, the rose bush, the world, whatever. And a great excuse to get drunk. Problem was, I would wake up/come to feeling like crap but the rose bush would still need to be replaced. Calling and asking to have the rose replaced and being told they would do that for free probably wouldn’t have happened back then, either because of my poor attitude in general. Or if they did offer to replace it free of charge, that gift would not have been appreciated nearly as much as I do now.

God likes to hand out pop quizzes every so often. That’s life, one pop quiz at a time, sprinkled amongst ongoing term projects. I think I did pretty well on this one, and that is a good feeling.

“No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.” Eleanor Roosevelt

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I love this picture.

OK, I’ve also posted this on my new favorite website http://www.refugees.bratfree.com. It’s for people who have no children by choice. I was told this was the place to rant. Being actually raised rather than hatched, my parents had their issues but we were taught MANNERS. They set BOUNDARIES. I had four younger sisters and we could go to a sit down restaurant with tablecloth, silverware, and napkins and knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that we would never get to come back if we didn’t behave. That’s what we were told and we BELIEVED it! LOL My sisters have had children and they have finally stopped asking me when I’m going to have a baybeeee. That was expected and short lived behavior but I digress. Those who tell you that you are less than for not having children are LYING. They got sucked into meeting someone else’s expectations and don’t want to suffer alone. They made a choice and so can we. End of story.

Yesterday…..Haven’t run into this EVER but hear about situations like this all the time. I guess there is a first time for everything.

Stopped at the LOVE truck stop on my way home to get gas and a snack. Paid for gas and went inside because, honestly, I love to go in. I feel as though I’ve stepped into an alternate universe. I just love them. Had a lovely conversation with the clerk who noticed I’d bought two for one hot dogs but only one bun and she laughed and said I must have a dog since she does the same thing. Feeling warm and fuzzy, I exit through the EXIT door. Two people walking side by side were entering and one said ‘REALLY??!!’ like some teen-age smart mouth. Without thinking I absently replied “REALLY!!” with no clue as to what was going on. Until I heard this screech behind me, ”YOU need to watch what you do with the door, BITCH, that was my ARM. Don’t you know I’m PREGNANT!”

LOLOL I just kept walking because:

1) So that her ignorant ass behavior would be observed by everyone at the cashier counter.
2) I don’t carry a crystal ball, how would I know you’re pregnant?
3) How could I tell you’re pregnant, both women were ‘traditionally built’, ‘bulked up’ or ‘just plain obese’, take your pick.
4) If you don’t want to get hit by the door, walk in front of or behind your pudgy friend, cousin, whatever instead of expecting everyone to get out of your way just because you’re PREGNANT. And if it hit your fat ass on the way in, you deserved it.
4) She is lucky I’m mostly a changed woman, that I didn’t need to stoop to your leve. In addition, I do have a conceal/carry license but you’re not worth wasting a bullet on.

What I wish I’d said was “I am so glad you will never be my Momma”.

White trash bitch. There I’ve said it.

Venting this was so cathartic. There are too many people in this world who have spawned, I mean, littered, I mean, brought children into the world that have no business having them.

And while I’m on this rant, people are screeching about gun legislation and background checks, etc. I personally believe that anyone who wants to have a baybeeee needs to be licensed, attend classes on childcare, which includes why you should NOT get a dog if you are worried about the baybeeee. JMO but I don’t think I’m alone in this. It took me no time at all to obtain a conceal/carry license for my firearms after I took the required class and the background check took less than five minutes at the gun store. So, for all of you whining about THAT when you don’t even blink over getting a driver’s license, passport or voting, get some cheese to go with it. Limburger is a good choice for you, I’d say.

Thanks for letting me share.

Happiness is a warm puppy. ~Charles M. Schulz

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I was given a wonderful gift last night. Ziva slept in the bed with me all night. While that is not a big deal to most, it was HUGE for Ziva.

This is Ziva.

Ziva
Ziva came to me through an email sent by someone looking to save this girl from certain death in a high kill shelter. I see lots of dogs posted and they all tug at my heart, but when I saw her face ravaged by fear and pain, I had to bring her home. She weighed 48 lbs. and was heartworm positive. It was obvious that she had been well-used as a brood bitch and had never experienced good care much less kindness in quite some time. Ziva was not the first dog that I had rescued, but she was the first dog that came to my home not knowing any love.

When I awoke this morning and felt her still beside me, it brought me to tears. Jethro came in and jumped on the bed; they both started nosing me. My two furbabies knew something was up. I remembered what it was like to be loved only conditionally for much of my life, To never feel as though I deserved anything good and positive. When it was presented to me, I didn’t know how to accept it. I still have trouble with these things and it is mirrored in Ziva. Jethro reminds both of us that everything will be OK, no matter what.

Ziva has been afraid to trust and so have I. It has been a struggle for both of us.

Ziva and Jethro went to the groomers this past weekend. Jethro acted like he was being abandoned but it’s all boy and all drama. Poor little Ziva began to tremble all over. The groomer was so good with her. By the time I returned, they were at least friends. But before Ziva saw me, I could see the hope and the anxiety warring with each other in her kind face. And when she saw me, she gave a cry that tore at my heart ‘You DIDN’T abandon me!’ and threw herself at me. Jethro was much the same. It feels so good to be wanted, even if I am a means of escape.

 Once again, I am reminded that we are not alone. In the past, the combination of ego and low self-esteem sent me on many a fruitless chase for acceptance from people who I WANTED to like ME, instead of focusing on those that already did. Now there are people in my life that like me for who I am, warts and all. Four-legged as well as two-legged. Best of all, I am learning to like myself.

Charles Schultz gave us so many examples of how to keep life simple. He was able to express it through his art and to bring laughter and joy to so many. I don’t know what I would have done without his outlook on life while growing up. ‘Peanuts’ was is emotional anchor of sorts for me and I never tire of watching ‘Charlie Brown Christmas’ each December.

Happiness IS a warm puppy. And I am finally starting to recognize what that feels like.

Welcome to my world

They say that ‘a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step’. “They” being either Lao-Tzu or Confucius.  Who is credited with saying this is not important to me. What is important is that the quote illustrates my decision to stop procrastinating and finally start blogging on a regular basis.

The time has finally arrived to focus on what is important to ME. How I feel, what I believe, even what I think no matter how crazy those thoughts might be. To continue to learn, to grow, to ‘enlarge my spiritual condition’ which can take many forms and bring many surprises!

What is really important to me?

The Power of Spirit that lives in all of us. Even though I agree that one cannot believe in the Light without believeing in the Dark, I prefer to live as much as possible in what some call ‘the Sunlight of the Spirit’. I have been on this journey of recovery for sixteen years and it’s true for me that the longer I travel, the less I know. But I no longer have to do this alone.

In this and subsequent posts, meet the furry people that matter to me, who have shown me the Power of Unconditional Love:

JETHRO — He has forced me to step up, he is a Force of Nature.

Jethro8wks       JethroNov12

To say that Jethro has taught me much about myself would be an understatement. He is not afraid to show how much he loves his family members, he is not afraid to express his opinions on EVERYTHING, and he is not afraid to try and convince me do things the RIGHT way in a kind and loving manner. All of this is nearly the opposite of how we were taught to interact with the world growing up. One did NOT have opinions, one did NOT speak unless spoken to, and what one thought or felt was dismissed. Especially how one felt, because neither parent was able to cope with their own emotions, much less those of five children. Besides, we would be be stealing THEIR thunder.

Each furry member of my family is a living, breathing, sentient being with a soul. Each one has a different personality and each has taught me different things. Jethro is teaching me about boundaries, about standing up for myself and not being afraid to speak my mind. He is trying to teach me how to speak from the heart. Jethro is also teaching me how to have fun, to not take myself so seriously and knows that this task is not an easy one. But he is a German Shepherd and he will not give up on me even when I sometimes give up on myself.

I am blessed, one of the lucky ones. I am thankful every day that I can be aware of everything around me and sometimes even appreciate it. To be in this world and to walk this path is such a gift from the Universe, even on the days when I want to just pull the covers up over my head and isolate.

Jethro won’t let me do that for long.