tHe haPPy grOUch

tHe haPPy grOUch

Friday, June 17, 2011

Friday, June 17, 2011

Have I really not written for nearly two months? And there’s been so much to write about. How very odd…

Since my last entry, Troy and I have been to Boston for his Cardiac “workup”.
Although his ejection fraction has improved since this time last year (up to a whopping 25%), his cardiologist still writes- “His MRI today continues to show severe left ventricular dysfunction with moderate right ventricular dysfunction”. He is considered a class III heart disease patient.
Since our visit to Boston, I have had more than my usual (what I like to call) “holy shit moments”. Those are the moments where I realize that this big, strapping man in front of me is actually very, very ill. And that, god damnit, he may not be around as long as I’d like him to be.
Although, based on my hot and cold behavioral habits, Troy would argue that I often times don’t want him around at all.

Anyway…

I’ve been in school now for over a month. These summer classes are very intensive, as they compress an entire semester into 7 weeks. So far I seem to be doing okay. Pretty well, actually.  This week, my Communications professor emailed to ask if I would be interested in the honors program at UMA, as she was thinking of nominating me. Now, I’m not familiar with the program; I’m not even sure if it’s anything more than a status. But it sounds good, and I was flattered. My English papers have all come back with exceptional grades. Which is good, considering I’m an English major. Thank goodness my blogs aren’t graded… I have a love affair with parenthetical speech, the ellipsis, and fragmentizing.
I’m looking forward to classes ending this month, and spending the next two months enjoying the summer with the family. In the fall, I’ll be hunkering down with a full class load. We’ll see how that goes.

Hercules is still stable. As stable as he can be for a dog with multiple neurological/orthopedic issues. He’s still managing the stairs, doesn’t fall down (unless he hits one of the few non-carpeted slippery spots on the floor), and simply looks like he’s drunk most of the time.
Anselmo is still as sweet and slobbery as the day he came to live on Fitz Lane. He’s a good boy, even though he stinks.
They are, easily, my best friends.



Speaking of dogs…
I have introduced the idea of potentially adding another to the household. Before you say it, yes, I am crazy. Why on earth would I get ANOTHER dog when I already have 2 HUGE ones, 7 cats, and 5 people in the house??? Plain and simple- I don’t know. Maybe I am becoming a pet hoarder. But I don’t think so, as pet hoarder defined is- keeping higher than usual numbers of animals as domestic pets without having the ability to properly house or care for them, while at the same time denying this inability. Ok, so I do have a higher than normal number of pets, however, I don’t fit the last part of the description, so I can’t be a hoarder. My house isn’t small (although it is becoming slightly more confined due to added people and pets, lol), and my yard is enormous, with a fenced in area. And we are financially capable (so far). So, the questions goes from Why? to Why not? J

The kids are well...
Logan is 16 now. I honestly can’t grasp that concept. When did I become old enough to have a 16 year old? How did that happen?
I count my blessings (or I at least try to), that she is such a good kid. I see these other teenage girls; they focus on their boyfriends, they dress inappropriately, some are “goth” or “emo”, they’re not doing well in school, they have no moral fiber, they’re not thinking of their futures… And I thank the lord, or the universe, or whatever, that my girl is not any of those things, and in fact, essentially the complete opposite.
The one thing I am unhappy about is the fact that she’s considering a college in Vermont. Can’t she stay here, at home, with Mommy?
Dawson and Kayli are like Tweedle-dee and Tweedle-dum. I suppose that’s a good thing. Hell, it could be worse. I know, I’ve seen it, experienced it.
Dawson continues his weekly visits with his therapist. I’ve seen an improvement in so many areas with him. He is adjusting to his new living circumstances, both here and at Dad’s. His frustration level (his quick temper) has become less of a problem. He still suffers from a lack of self-esteem, and I’m not sure why. We are working on that. He still has a difficult time with maintaining focus. We are working on that too. Academically he struggles, but not noticeably more than his classmates, so it is still workable. My absolute LAST resort is to have him tested for ADD. We will see how the immediate future goes.
Kayli is a sweet, sweet girl. Sometimes so well behaved that I still look for a microchip, or some wiring, or some other clue that will prove my hypothesis that she is, in fact, a robot. Then other times I am reminded that she is, after all, just a kid.

I’m still adapting to having “other people” living with me. I’ve never been good at co-existing. Not with significant others, not with roommates, and barely with my own children.
Just ask Liza. She came to stay with me for a couple weeks, when she thought she couldn’t tolerate living with her grandparents any longer. We thought it would be great, since we were best friends. I suspect it didn’t take her long to miss her screaming Meme.

Well, I suppose I should wrap this up and do something productive. I have a 4 page paper due on Monday, a 10 page research paper due in two weeks, two separate communications assignments due on Tuesday, two (thick) chapters to read, laundry that needs washing, floors that desperately need to be vacuumed, and a lawn that’s screaming to be mowed.

I certainly shouldn’t be bored.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Friday, April 29, 2011

Well, exactly two weeks from today I will be saying goodbye to the bank.
Oddly, I feel a tiny bit funny about it.
Not about leaving Corporate America, where you’re not allowed to listen to the radio (or even CD’s), where you aren’t allowed to carry your cell phone in your pocket on silent, where you’re not allowed to check the weather online, where you can’t email your advisor (or anyone else) during downtime because your forbidden to email outside the intranet, where you can't wear open toe shoes or capris…
But about the girls.
The first six months or so I spent at the bank, there was discord. Behind the line were 4 women trying to “get along” in a small space. And needless to say, it got off to a very rough start..
And then there were changes within the branch. Pat (unwillingly) relocated, Katie stepped down, Lisa was out on medical leave, new faces came and went, new rules were enacted and enforced…
And suddenly, us lowly tellers started to band together, formed bonds, and developed friendships.
And I suppose, as much as I complain, I will miss those women. 

And then, after my two weeks is up, two days later I will be starting my college classes.
Holy crap.
I go back and forth daily between excitement and sheer panic.
But mostly, I am just excited. 
I have spent the last few weeks getting everything in order… Financial aid, the scholarship program details, immunizations, class registration...
I only have to get my books now, and actually go school shopping. That just blows my mind. I’m going school shopping, not for my kids, but for ME. How surreal.
The girl with lots of credits and no degrees, who could never really decide what she wanted to be when she grew up, who was never afforded the time or opportunity to go back to school, is finally pursuing a Bachelor's degree, and her pipe-dream of being an English teacher.

I pinch myself daily.
I don’t know how I got so lucky in all of this. 
How did everything fall into place so neatly?
I happen to meet a wonderful man, who is moving in, and willing to solely support this household while I go back to school.
I happen to hear about this Competitive Skills Scholarship Program, submit my application (along with thousands of other people), and I get picked out of the lottery.
As most of you know, I have never been the poster child for “good luck”. I’m pretty fortunate compared to a lot of people, but my life has been a consistent stream of hardships. 
And so, I still pinch myself.

The dogs are doing well. Herc is stable. The prednisone seems to be doing it’s job. He is still very uncoordinated, and looks like a dog on Jack Daniels. But he’s actually able to navigate stairs now, which he couldn’t do 6 months ago. He still doesn’t illicit any signs of pain. We are still hoping he will live a long life with us.
Anselmo is a sweet, sweet boy. He is very clingy to his people. Which is hard sometimes, because he is constantly covering us in his thick, gelatinous saliva. It is seriously disgusting.

Logan is turning 16 in a few weeks. Oh boy. She will be testing for her license soon afterwards. Which is frightening, to say the very least. She definitely needs more practice. 
Softball has just started, and I am excited for tonight’s first game. She has been a first-baseman for years, but she is pitching this year, which she has not had much experience with. Hopefully she doesn’t suck. LOL…
She is still a “good kid”. I see other teenagers doing awful things, behaving poorly, making very bad decisions, and I count my blessings that she is who she is. However, there are still days that I’d like to strangle the life out of her.

Dawson is making gains in his personal and academic life. We had a meeting at school this week regarding what he needs in the classroom. We are in the process of getting him evaluated at school, so that he can have a formulated plan that will follow him from grade to grade.  
He was having a really hard time coping with all the changes at both Mom’s house and Dad’s. I got him into a counselor a few weeks ago. Even though he was quite open and talkative with her right from the beginning, he argued that he didn’t need to go. Recently though, he has begun to look forward to their weekly meetings. This week he told her- “I think EVERYONE needs a therapist”. Pretty smart boy.

Kayli is just a lovely young girl. I really can’t say anything else. I often tease Troy, and call her a “stepford child”. She is so good, she must be a robot. Her and Dawson just love each other. Really love each other. Dawson has actually said “I love you” to her the last few times they have parted. And she definitely looks up to Logan. And for whatever reason, she loves me too. 

My relationship continues to thrive.  How? I don’t know. He must be a very patient man. Or he must love me. Maybe a little of both.
We are learning to live together. Or maybe I should say, Troy is learning to live with ME. God knows I am NOT easy to live with.  
I want the toilet paper put on frontward. The shower curtain is to be closed after a shower. The toilet lid must be down at all times. Towels go on the towel bar, not on the shower curtain rod. Windows you open must be closed. Closet doors must be closed, not left open a crack. Empty returnables go in the bag, not on the counter. Big trash items go in the big trash in the closet, not the small trash under the sink.  Jars of spaghetti sauce and cans of vegetables go on the bottom shelves in the pantry, snacks and cereals go on the top shelves. Leaves on the table get folded down after dinnertime.
And on, and on, and on…
Poor Troy.
Seriously though, we have been through some of the typical relationship struggles. And we have managed to come out on top each time. I guess this is how a functional relationship works. When two people truly love each other, maintain the ability to communicate, put each other's needs first... Huh. Who knew.

And now, I must end my rant and go get ready to join the ranks at Corporate America.
Just two more weeks.

Be well.

Friday, April 1, 2011


So, the week started out fairly normal. Then got interesting. Real quick.
Grab a cup of Joe and get comfy for this one folks...

First there was the announcement from Sharla that she was moving off to the lake about 30 miles from here.
Not that 30 miles is a big deal. But it's farther than we (the family) had anticipated.
Why do I care, you ask?
Well, for one, I like to keep an eye on my baby sister, if you haven't noticed. I'll feel especially compelled to do so now that she's going to be "on her own". And the fact is, she hasn't been "on her own", well... ever.
Oh sure, it'll be great spending the summer at her house on the lake. We're all really looking forward to that.
So again, what's the big deal, you ask?
Well, it has been suggested that my 15 (16 in May) year old daughter babysit overnights for her this summer while she's working at the hospital. Truth is, she'd be babysitting the next day as well, as Sharla would need to sleep.
Again, what's the big deal, you ask? Have you met my neice and nephew?
And it's on the lake. And in a neighborhood where they don't know anyone. And it's overnight, and possibly the next day (when the kids will ultimately want to swim all day).  And 30 miles from us. And probably 45 minutes away from any 911 response. 
Huh.
Even given all of those variables, I ask myself- If I were to go away for a night, would I feel comfortable leaving Logan to babysit Dawson alone all night here in my own home and neighborhood?
The answer is a resounding "No".
And so, I am put in a very precarious position here.
Sharla needs help. We as a family, always lean on each other. We always help each other out.
If I make the call on this that I am leaning towards, I automatically become labeled as too over-protective, too worrysome, too paranoid, too unwilling to help my family. 
I become the bad guy.
Great.

So, I get a stomach bug this week. Wicked psyched about that.
Thank GAWD it seems to have passed. Although my guts still aren't quite right.
Upside is, I lost 4 pounds.
Hopefully they won't find their way back.

My den/bedroom and entire downstairs looks like a warzone.
I keep reminding myself it is a temporary inconvenience, all for the greater good.
When this is all said and done, I will have a second bathroom.
At least the crew provided me with some entertainment while I was down this week.

We got Logan a car. Another car.
About a month ago, I had bought her a 98 Saturn. It was all I could afford. I was all excited. I don't know why.
I look at the car and think- "Even I wouldn't be caught dead driving that car"...
She was very gracious.
And yet, she's been depressed for a month.
She was trying to conceal it, to not hurt my feelings. But she was embarassed by her "new car". She didn't tell her friends she got a car. She didn't take it driving every night to practice for her licensing test.
And still, she said nothing to me. But I knew.
Now, I know what a lot of you are thinking- When I was her age, I had a piece of shit car, and I was thankful to have a set of wheels. Most 16 year olds don't even HAVE a car... etc, etc, etc...
And yes, I get all that. I agree.
But damnit, Logan has been through a lot in her life, she's responsible, mature, a good student, and a goddamn good kid. She deserves it.
And we found ourselves in a position to be able to give her something better.
And the look on her face (as you can tell from the pictures), made it worth every penny and every gray hair acquired from the stress of it all.
We are all very happy.
Well, except for her Dad. Who claims (and I quote)- You only did this for your own convenience and your need to be the hero.
Whatever, Dickhead.  :)

Yesterday we went to an appointment for Troy to have an echocardiogram and to see his cardiologist.
Normally, I would not discuss this, as it has been a very private issue for Troy for the last couple years of his life. Now that he has gained a fiance and an extended family, it has become less private. And since there is actually good news to report, it becomes facebook news for my friends. :) With his permission, of course.  :)

We were preparing ourself for the worst yesterday, because Troy hasn't been feeling well for a few months now.
You see, Troy sufferes from "viral cardiomyopathy". Translated, heart disease brought on by a virus. In August of 2009, Troy suffered a heart attack while very, very sick with a virus.
The last time he saw his cardiologist, his heart function was so poor that they were discussing putting him on the national heart transplant waiting list. 

It is said that the heart will improve within the first six months after a heart attack, and after that, that's all you get. But Troy's heart function has actually improved since the last time he was seen. Which shocked all of us (even Dr J, the cardiologist). The last time Troy saw Dr. J was in February of 2010 (bad boy, he's supposed to go every 6 months), and his heart function is now up about a 10-15% increase from this time last year!
His fluid retention level is not any worse (that's one of their main concerns with him, fluid in/around his heart), and his blood pressure and cholesterol are both normal. His meds are doing their job.
Next we will be going to Boston for a cardiac MRI, and a biopsy. Can you believe that? They can actually biopsy the heart.. how weird! 
Depending on the results of the MRI and biopsy, we will re-visit the idea of putting in a defibrillator. 

And so, it seems that love does actually heal a broken heart.  :)
(Although, Sharla said- "Once they take out a peice of his heart, he'll be just like us.")    :)

So yesterday there was definitely cause for celebration! We went to dinner, had a nice evening at home with candles... and then I fell asleep on him.
Doh!

Phew... What a frickin week.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Random thoughts...

I've gone through ONE room in the house. The SMALLEST room in the house (the laundry room). And already I could stock an entire thrift store with the shit that came out of there.

Twin mattresses don't seem all that heavy, right? They're quite light, in fact. Until someone of my stature carries one over-the-head, up stairs, and puts it into a loft bed. Damn.

Dunkin donuts coffee brewed at home is no where near as good as brewed at Dunkin. (Either way, I've probably had too much)

I miss my kids when they're gone. But I like my "me time". 

While shopping at Marden's today with Kayli, she grabs a pair of thong underwear off the rack and says- "Butt floss!" Easily the highlight of my day. 

Life is a lot like "Good cop, bad cop". I would really like to, just once, be the "good cop".

I really enjoyed the last couple family gatherings. I miss our tightly knit core.

I have to figure out what I want to be when I grow up. I say this a lot, but now I REALLY do. In order to participate in the Competitive Skills Scholarship program, I have to pick something. Crap.
I always spell "competitive" wrong.

I miss singing. A lot. 
(Don't go saying- "oh get back into it, Crista!"... You all already know that any good musicians are already working. So save it.)

Four days ago, I fixed all the holes in the walls, washed them, took off all the switchplates and outlet covers, and moved all the furniture from that side of the house, in preparation for painting. Four days ago. It's still not painted. What does that mean?

 I'm about ready to trade in this housework shit and an over-active brain for some loud music and a tall ice-cold kahlua.

Friday, February 18, 2011


I couldn't sleep last night. I couldn't sleep this morning.
It might have had something to do with the masssive amounts of coffee I consumed yesterday, my last cup being at midnight.
Although it might have been because my brain just won't shut off.

I'm on vacation. Six days off from work. I don't think I've ever had a real vacation before. I plan to thoroughly enjoy the next several days. That is, if I can get my brain to shut off.

I have been asked to take in another Dane.
Because of the personal nature of the situation, I can't say much about it, other than that saying No to this Dog (and it's humans) would be like turning away family.
My knee-jerk reaction was- Of course! Take the dog! No questions, no hesitations!
Then I remembered that I was part of a team. And teams work together. Teams make decisions together. At least that's what they're supposed to do. 
Which, as my history has shown, I've never been terribly good at.

I am well aware of all the stress it could potetnailly add to our lives...
There's the added expenses. More food, more vet bills...
There's the typical inconveniences of being a multi-dog household...
Watching the two dogs closely so that Herc doesn't play and injure himself. Letting them out at separate times. Constantly monitoring them.  No one to pet sit TWO huge dogs when we want to go away. Crating both dogs while we're out of the house. Annoying horseplay. 
A LOT more drool and hair, a LOT less space in the family living room.

Thing is, I've been wanting another Dane for a while now.
We fostered Brandy last fall with the intent to keep her. Unfortunately, Brandy turned out to be a trainwreck. A completely unstable dog, whom we couldn't trust or tolerate. And so she was just a foster, until her forever home was found.
And lately, I've been scowering the internet, looking for puppies.
I've kicked myself on a number of ocassions for not keeping two out of my litter.
Then this "opportunity" comes along. This is a good dog. A great dog. And they are in need right now.

Why would I want another big huge drooly dog?
I don't know.
Maybe it's because I'm depressed about Herc's illness.
I'm depressed because we can't do the things we used to do together. He can't run and play with us. Go for long walks. Get in and out of the car to go shopping and visiting around town.
And I'm depressed because I think of how early in life I might lose him.
Maybe it's just because Danes are addictive.
Maybe it's just because I'm nuts.
Who knows.
But I have to make this decision. And soon. 

I'm terribly unhappy at the bank. I want to make a move, but I can't yet afford to.

I need to take my entrance exam for school. I haven't cracked a book in 20 years. And I can't understand why x and y have to be put next to numbers, or what the hell I'm supposed to do with them.
I'm panicing.

I am going away this morning. We're going to Mohegan Sun for the weekend. And probably the Crystal mall. A nice hotel. Maybe Mysitc village shopping. Some gambling.
Then we are taking all the kiddos to Portland for a couple days.

I am waiting for my brian to shut off, so I can get excited.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Lately life seems a bit like a roller coaster.
Scratch that. It seems A LOT like a roller coaster.

I have two wonderful and healthy children. Great parents, a best friend in my sister, a loving Nana who is still with us, and an amazing fiancĂ©, with a daughter who loves me.
And for all of that, I am grateful.

However, I can't help but be totally pissed off at life for cursing my young dog (and best buddy) with a (very short) life of pain and discomfort.

Some of you read the updates, some of you sympathize, probably some of you think- it's just a dog, what the hell.
Thing is, he's not just a dog.
First; take your normal, average pet lover. Someone who may be single, having nothing but their pet(s) to keep them company. Someone who thinks of their pets as their children. Who loves them as a cherished members of their family, and an integral part of their lives.
And then times that by a million.
That's how much I love my dog.
I keep saying this, but it is so true... that he is quite literally my baby.
I lost his mother (my other best friend) during birth, and raised him by my own hand. Up all hours of the nights feeding him, cleaning him, keeping him warm, making sure that little bugger had a fair shot at life.
Other breeders were amazed that I was able to successfully raise the entire litter. Normally, when a mother dies, you typically lose at least a few in a litter within the first few weeks. It's just how it is.
But not us. Not our babies.

And so anyway...
I'm pissed off.
My baby and best friend is a neurological and orthopedic TRAIN WRECK. And there's not a friggin thing I can do about it, but accept it.
And that just sucks.

And so, I'll go broke and in debt up to my eyeballs. I'll re-mortgage the house. I'll eat ramen noodles every day for dinner.
All so Herc can get some acupuncture. Maybe some chiropractic care. Laser therapy. Go back on Prednisone, and eventually Tramadol for pain.
All to give us a bit more time together.

But I'm really pissed off.

Have a nice day everyone. 

Friday, December 17, 2010

Good morning everyone! And yes, it is a GOOD morning! Wait, it's a GREAT morning! And I haven't even finished my first cup of coffee yet! I know, you're all thinking the same thing- "who IS this person, how did she replace the cynical, jaded, bad-ass Crista we all once knew and loved, and when do we get her back?" 
Well, I hate to disappoint, but it seems that once pessimistic Gal is long gone. I know, I know.. you're also all wondering who will keep the masses entertained with the quirky, pessimistic, witty, sarcastic status updates and notes... Well, I officially pass the torch to Becky B. on that one.

So anyway...
I wanted to tell the quick story of how this engagement came to fruition.

About a month ago, Troy and I went to Quality Jeweler to have some work done on his Mom's ring that he had given to me shortly after her passing. While we were there, we (of course) browsed the engagement ring section, and I absolutely fell in love with one setting in particular. We joked about how that was "good to know, for future reference, of course".  :)

Last Friday, we started discussing the idea of a "promise ring" (Someone we knew had recently received one, and so it brought the subject to the table). The following day, I mentioned it again. And Troy simply said- "I've been thinking about that. You need a promise ring. And so we're going to get one". And alas, we went to Kay, and he picked one out for me.
Of course at this point, he had already ordered my actual engagement ring!
Last night we laughed and laughed about this. He kept saying- "What was I supposed to do, say that you couldn't have a promise ring because the real thing was on it's way??" At least he knew that I had no idea a proposal was coming! We now call it the "500 dollar diversionary tactic". Too funny!
(Against Troy's wishes, I have insisted that we return the promise ring, by the way!)

So yesterday he texts me and says- "I just got a call that your Christmas present is in, going to pick it up now!" My response of course was- "ooooh, what is it???" He replies- "It's a.... PONY!"
We continued to joke about the new pony off and on all day, and yet I still had never imagined that it might be an engagement ring.

(I should also mention here that during the day yesterday, Troy drove to my Dad's work. Dad thought he was stopping in for some more tweaking to his truck. He was quite surprised when Troy asked if he could marry his daughter. No one has ever done that with my Dad. I think he was probably as shocked as I was. This meant a lot to my Dad, and also to me, once I heard of it.)

I went to dinner with the girls from work last night, and then met Troy at the house afterwards. We said our hellos, discussed our hectic day, and everything seemed normal. He then said ' "Come into the bedroom for a minute..."  No, it's not what you were thinking... You see, in the past Troy has brought me gifts, and typically he hides them in the bedroom, it's quite cute actually. At this point, I was suspicious, due to his history of gift-giving. I figured whatever he bought for me for Christmas, he just couldn't wait to give to me. And yet, I still had NO IDEA that it might be a ring.
And then he got on one knee.
(And for those of you who know Troy, you understand how difficult that is for him!)  :)
He pulled out a box from behind his back, and proposed. I was so taken aback, that I was actually silent for several seconds. I finally stammered- "Are you SERIOUS?!?" And he started laughing. After a few more seconds he said "WELL????" I finally replied- "OF COURSE!" 
We laughed, and cried, and laughed and cried some more...
It was the perfect proposal. I have told him in the past that if ever he were to propose, I could do without all the pomp and circumstance. I didn't want a public scene, or banners flying in the clouds, or a ring in a champagne glass, or on the shrimp cocktail, or any of those other silly notions. (Perhaps the cynical side of me still exists, just a wee bit).  :) Seriously though, I knew exactly what I would have wanted in a proposal, and he has given it to me.

And to answer the onslaught of questions- We have not discussed a wedding yet. We have no date in mind. That will come later. :)

This is my Christmas miracle. I wish I could take credit for that statement, but I can't. Because Troy calls me his Christmas miracle.
The truth is, we saved each other.
I never knew the true meaning of being blessed, until now. 

Ok, enough of this mushy crap.
Have a good day. Bah Humbug.  :)

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Again, and as always, it’s just stuff. Stuff that won’t fit into a 420 character status update.

You may or may not have been keeping up with Herc’s updates on our website (fitzlanedanes.com). If not, here’s a brief rundown.
His growth plate deformities in his front legs are presenting more severely. His front feet are now very “easty westy” looking, and he is beginning to walk on the insides of his feet. He is still not acting lame in his front end though. The orthopedic surgeon in CT (Dr. Palmisano) says that based on the film and the snapshots I sent, this amount of deformity is not that unusual. Odd. It looks awfully unusual to us. But he also states that given his relatively new problems with his back end (the bunny hopping, the instability, the lameness- the concern for hip dysplasia), and the concern for elbow dysplasia (the elbows being pulled out of socket due to the abnormalities in his front legs), that he should be seen down there for a consult and more films. I knew that would be the case. But I’m still not prepared. Neither emotionally or financially.
Hercules now is exhibiting so many joint related issues, that he would essentially have to become the 6 million dollar dog to be well again.
And unfortunately, that’s just not in the stars for us.
Not only does it not make sense financially, it doesn’t make sense for Herc. How many surgeries would he have to go through in order to “fix” the elbow dysplasia, the hip dysplasia, the growth plate abnormalities? How traumatizing? Very. How painful? Extremely. And with what guarantees? None.
And he’s just barely over a year old.
Damn you Karma.
Dr. Palmisanmo is being very accommodating in freeing up anytime I can come, because of the distance and cost. And he has been good about “remotely” looking at Herc so far.
I will try to find a way to afford a trip to CT, at least for the films and consult. At least to get an accurate idea of what we’re dealing with, of how bad (or not so bad) things really are. It would be an injustice to Herc if I were to just do nothing.
How unfair that the one best friend I’ve had over the last (very rough) year in my life, is to be taken from me prematurely.
Again, damn you Karma.

Thanksgiving.
As always, we’ve had to rearrange our thanksgiving dinner due to kid’s schedules with Dads. I don’t mind. Last night my mother was bummed out because we weren’t planning anything for actual thanksgiving day. I reminded her that it’s not the day of the week that matters... It sounded like something she would say. Oh god, I am becoming my mother.
I am thankful. Even though I sound like a pessimistic bitch most of the time, I truly am thankful. I’m thankful for my healthy and (most times) happy kiddos. My Mom and Dad, Nana, Sharla, Troy, my dog, the few friends I have, the house, a job…
Still, life certainly makes being thankful a challenge at times.

Christmas is looming.
I’m stuck somewhere between elated and riddled with anxiety.
Aren’t the holidays wonderful?

Troy goes away this weekend. The annual guys-at-hunting-camp vacation. Originally I was quite unhappy about this. But now, I am quite accepting. Oddly.
Who knew I’d get used to this give-and-take thing. Maybe I’m getting better at relationships in my old age.
Or maybe I’m just ok with being alone because it’s what I’ve been used to for so long.
The kids will (as usual) be gone as well.
I’ll keep busy. Maybe I’ll just get Chinese take-out, and spend some quality time with the dog and the DVR. Just like the good old times. Maybe I’ll spend some money I don’t have and go Christmas shopping.
Or maybe I’ll go out. Ok, I’ll definitely go out. Probably a lot. Cindra, I’ll be counting on you to keep me out of trouble and out of jail. Free up your weekend sweetheart.

Recent family happenings have got me thinking. About life, love, relationships, (the family curse), and history. “They” say (ok, maybe it wasn’t “they“, maybe it was just my most recent, highly volatile, and slightly insane ex-husband) that life is about circles. Regardless of who coined the term, I tend to believe it. Life has a pattern. A circular pattern, where it goes around, and then comes around, and meets again. Historically. I have it permanently imprinted in ink on my back, serving as a reminder.

And since I’m being so vague, I understand that I’m not making ANY sense whatsoever. LOL
I make sense to me though. And when it all comes down to it, that’s really the only thing that matters. Isn’t it?
I’m not crazy or neurotic. Just contemplative.

I have enjoyed working at Raena’s these last couple of weeks. It’s busy, busy, BUSY. A lot of hard work. I haven’t worked that hard in years. I try to remember all the calories I’m burning.
Plus it allows me the social outlet I so innately crave. That would also be part of the family curse. Thanks Dad.

Well, the morning has dwindled away, and it’s time to head off to Corporate America.

Be well.



November 6, 2010

Today has been a proverbial emotional rollercoaster. I need some free therapy. Let’s get to it.

Ever notice that as the years pass, your family ties seem to loosen?
I notice.
Today I went to my first “family gathering” in a long time. I’ve missed the last few. Once out of necessity. Twice by choice.
But today was nice. Although I haven’t seen many of my cousins in quite some time, and we’re not nearly as close as we used to be, it was nice. I wanted to hug every one of them. But oddly, I didn’t.
Perhaps hormones are just making me feel nostalgic.

I can’t commit to buying a new car. I only mention this because it makes me wonder if it’s relative to the rest of my life.
I mean, the financial aspect is my biggest fear, of course.
But then I mull it over, think it through, pick it apart with a fine tooth comb, and I think… Is it relative?
I’ve been called a commitment-phobe on more than one occasion.

But then again, I can’t be a commitment-phobe.  Because you know what else I noticed today? I am needy. Not in the material, or tangible sense, either. Emotionally needy. Will someone please tell me exactly when THAT SHIT happened??? Seriously though. When does love cross that fine barrier between affection and codependence? How do you make sure that it never does? And what if you feel like it might be? Do you run away screaming as if the house were on fire?

I also got angry a lot today. (Yeah, yeah, yeah. What’s new.)
There were many times I wanted to just reach out and punch someone. Sharla and I discussed this. We’re blaming it on the hormones.

And then I spent some time with my son. And he lit me up. I swear, that kid is good medicine on a bad day, every damn time.
Then again, there are many days where I’d like hang him from his loft bed with duct tape…

I was teary eyed on occasion today as well. And it was over nothing. Nothing at all. In fact, I think there was an Eminem song playing in the car. How effing ridiculous.

I work tonight at Raena’s, I am looking forward to it, although I wasn’t earlier. Again, the rollercoaster.

I need something tonight. I just don’t know what it is yet. 
A mood stabilizer would probably be a good start though.

Smile.

November 3, 2010

Just another random lengthy status update in note form…

Nothing new really. At least not that all of you don’t already know about. Mostly, I’m just bored. So on with it.

Mohegan Sun, Foxwoods, and Mystick Village… Connecticut was awesome. I think I conveyed that already though, via pictures and sappy status updates.

Kayli and Dawson have become fast friends. That’s very cool.

Logan is driving. She’s driving. Ugh. Now she can drive me crazy both figuratively and literally. Lovely.

The corporate job continues to be a challenge. Not in the “I’m learning new things, keeping busy, and advancing my career” kind of way either. Unfortunately, I’m working less hours now too. Which has been a blessing and a curse all in one. Kind of like leaving Jester’s.
Fortunately I’ll be filling in at Raena’s once in a while. Starting with this Friday and Saturday night actually. That should be fun. A little bit like the old days at Tozier’s, I would guess. Drink slinging like crazy, busting up fights, dealing with creepers. Ah, the good old days.

I will be making yet another vehicle purchase in the near future. Very near. Like within the next several days. The Bee has been fun, but it’s a lemon. And it’s conveniently yellow. Huh.
I swear, if it weren’t for bad luck….

Herc is off all medications and doing very well. Minus his orthopedic issues. Which may go unresolved due to aforementioned financials. Seriously though… We’ll continue to treat him with MSM, Glucosamine, and Chondroitin supplements, keep him active (but not enough to cause further injury), and hope for the best. His littermate Ezzy was recently diagnosed with Wobblers. This litter has suffered my kind of luck.

Speaking (again) of my kind of luck… I feel like I’m waiting for a tsunami or something…
Becky B. would warn me of self-fulfilling prophecies. Cindra would say “Don’t start doing the Crista thing”. Mom would say “You’re always waiting for the train to come. Just get off the track”.  I just think it’s life. That’s all. Life hands you good things, and then it takes away. Often times in multiples, and with unjust severity.

I am always busy. I work part time, so how is that possible? This weekend I’ll be even more busy. Is that possible too? I need a maid, a driver, a cook, a handyman, an accountant, a nanny. Volunteers?

I miss music. A lot. I live vicariously through all you local face book musicians. My illustrious singing career reduced to an occasional cameo. Sigh.

I apologize for sounding self-absorbed.
It’s oddly quiet here. Except for the coyotes. I need a gun. Well, then again, maybe not.
I think too much. Quite at random (obviously).
Probably time to call it a night.

Be well.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Ok, so the bug that I thought was on it’s way out, was actually only moving around my body. It didn’t leave, it just took turns taking up residency in different locations.
After a weeks worth of the worst sore throat I’ve ever had, and the vomiting last Saturday, it went back to being a sore throat and headache, and general nausea. Then mid-week it moved to the lower regions, and I suffered another two days like that. Thursday night it moved back north just a bit, and the vomiting resumed. Fortunately the vomiting has stopped (again). Today it’s back in my head, in the throat and ears. And I can now feel it settling into my chest.
This is easily the sickest I’ve ever been. And I never get sick. This is frickin ridiculous.
And of course, I’ve now passed it to Troy. He came down sick yesterday morning.
I am now enjoying my first cup of coffee in days. That is at least a small pleasure. And last night I actually ate a full meal. A small one, but at least a meal. Something other than soup or crackers.
Frickin bug.

The boss sent me home yesterday morning, for the weekend. I was supposed to work all day yesterday, and today as well. I can’t help but feel like it was a bit of a disciplinary action. Although it was said it was because she knew I was sick, and wanted me to rest, and come back well, “with a smile on my face“, on Monday. I admit I have been a bear all week. But damn, I’ve been battling this crap. It’s hard to be pleasant. I missed a day of work last weekend. I didn’t call in all week, although maybe I should have. Even when you’re legitimately sick, in these times, there are still repercussions to missing work. I don’t know. Hopefully I am at least close to fully recovered on Monday, and can be smiley, as she asks.

I just spent the last half hour or so looking through my old blogs. One actually got me smiling. It was December of last year, a month after Craig left us. I was sad, and lonely. I wrote about a dream I had. And this is what I wrote… “This morning I had a dream about a man. No, it wasn’t perverted, you dirty minded fools. And I don’t even know who it was. He didn’t really have a face, so to speak. The dream didn’t really even have a flow to it, it was jumbled. But there was a man. And there were flowers for me at work. There was hand-holding. And I was grinning with child-like giddiness. It was silly, really.”
What got me was the “flowers at work” part. I don’t know why I would have dreamt that. I’ve never gotten flowers at work before. But I dreamt it. And now it is. That made me smile.
Lots of things make me smile now-a-days. 
I say a private thank you to the powers that be every day now. I have no idea where this came from, or why, or how. But I’ve finally quit trying to figure it out, and just enjoy and be thankful.
The four letter word that I had lost my belief in found it’s way into my life. And I am blessed.

Well, Herc and I are off to Dawson’s last soccer game. Because of the Saturday work schedule, I have only been able to see one game all season. And that stinks. The upside to being sent home, I get to see this last game.

Have a good weekend all.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

So much has been going on this last week or so, that it is far too much to share in a simple status update. So I thought I’d catch everyone up in a note. Grab a coffee and a comfy seat.

Troy is doing better. As well as can be expected. I still can’t possibly fathom how he must be feeling. It is a terrible thing to watch the one you love experience such a horrible loss. I do my best to give him what he needs, although most of the time I’m not sure what it is, other than just being there. Please hold him and his family in your thoughts.

Speaking of Troy…
Things continue to progress at a very rapid pace. Rapid, yet oddly, quite comfortable.
I pinch myself daily.

(I’ll get wishy-washy here for a moment, and then I’ll move on)…
After Craig left, I truly felt that love had found (and left) me for the last time in my life. Even though I constantly complained about being lonely and alone, I’m not sure I even wanted it to find me again, or even believed it to actually exist. I had become jaded, bitter, defeated.
“They” (whoever they are) always say that’s when “it” happens. Who knew, “they” were right.
The few times I have been in love, it’s been more of the growing kind. You can feel it coming on, it develops, and then, before long, you love that person deeply. Whether or not you’re “in love”, remains to be seen, but usually that develops as well, but then again, not always.
This time for me has been completely different. It’s not like I woke up one morning and realized I was in love with Troy, but it was kind of like that I suppose. I did get a bit of warning. I could feel it creeping in around the edges. I questioned it drastically, of course, especially considering how briefly we have been together. I was skeptical, as always. But before I knew it, it blew my doors open, and there was no further denial. It was fast moving, and furious. And I love it.
Troy is easily the most wonderful man I have ever met. He’s kind, generous, attentive, funny, smart, loving. He’s just the right amount of tough-guy and softy, all in one. He’s patient enough to handle me at my worst, and loves me just the same when I’m there (although I’ll admit, I haven’t been much of an ogre lately!). He humors me when I want to go to the local dive karaoke bar, and yet (for once in my life), I am quite content to spend a Friday night in, watching movies and cuddling on the couch. Who knew!
And believe it or not, our kids actually get along too. Now THAT’S good fortune!
I have NO idea how I got lucky enough for us to find each other. I guess Karma owed it to me.
So anyway…

Hercules IMHA seems to be under control. He had a very promising red blood count this week. It has risen to 41%, even on 5 milligrams of prednisone, twice a week. We will now taper him to one 5 mg dose per week. If he is still stable in two weeks, he will then come off the pred completely. We have waited for this day for many months. We never knew if he would survive this disease at all, let alone be able to come off medications completely. Most dogs with IMHA live the entirety of their lives on prednisone. We have been very fortunate.
Our next concern is whether or not to follow up with his immunizations. It is loosely theorized that they could trigger his immune system to go haywire again, but there is no proof of this. I’ve always been a supporter of immunizing, but I may have to reconsider and err on the side of caution. We shall see.
On the flip side of this good news (as it always seems), there is also bad.
Herc has had some developmental issues in his growth plates around his wrists. His front legs (near the feet) are now turning quite outward, and he’s starting to walk on the insides of his feet.
We knew he had some issues, but we weren’t sure how severe it would become. This week, his x-rays showed that they were considerably worse than we expected.
Growth plates, which are responsible for longitudinal bone growth, are located near the ends of the bones and are found in animals less one year of age. In normal circumstances, these growth plates “close up” as the dog grows to maturity, usually before one year of age.
In Herc’s case, the growth plate at the end of his lower radial (outer leg) bone closed prematurely at some point, while the growth plate on the ulna side for some reason has not closed yet. This allows the ulna (or inner) side to continue to grow, while the radius remains the same length. The wrists twist, the feet point outward, the elbows eventually get pulled out of alignment, and arthritis quickly sets in. Lameness and pain are not noticeable yet, but it is only a matter of time.
I am in the process of emailing a renowned orthopedic surgeon in CT. I am hoping he will take a look at Herc’s films. We may be able to travel down to see him at least for a consult, and to discuss his options for surgery. Whether or not we will be able to afford that surgery is another issue entirely. It doesn’t seem likely.
The problem is, without it, Herc will eventually fall to the pain and arthritis that is sure to come. It could be disabling if not corrected. 
I cryptically wonder if we saved him from the IMHA, only to lose him prematurely to this.

The kids are good. 
Dawson just turned 9. I can’t believe that. They grow so fast. 
Speaking of growing, my baby is driving. She’s driving. Holy crap.

Work is work, as usual. 
Although, I am now the proud owner of only one job, instead of two. 
Financially that may not be the best thing in the world. And who knows, I may pick up another bartending gig if I need to. But for now, I am going to enjoy a one-job lifestyle for a bit. Bartending has a high burn-out rate, and I’ve been doing it for about 10 years. That’s about 9 years too many.
Giving my notice last night at Jester’s was bittersweet. I have many customers that became friends of mine, and I will miss them. But I can go in once in a while for the famous pizza and say hello anytime.
The short story behind this decision goes something like this…
During my sick haze yesterday, I got a phonecall. A (reliable) little birdie told me that the owner had announced (openly) that he was cleaning out the entire staff. Well, all except one. And that one was not me. He truly feels that an entire staff change is something the bar needs. It is his business, and these are his decisions to make. I don’t have a problem with that. So, in order to save my resume, I decided to give my notice. 
Whether or not he does “clean house” with the others remains to be seen. Either way, it was a huge relief for me. It is something I’ve wanted to do for a while, all I needed was a little push. 
I am thoroughly looking forward to enjoying my weekends for a while. In fact, when someone in the bar asked why I did it, Troy quickly answered- “she has something better to do on Saturday nights now”. 
And he is absolutely right.
Well, I guess that’s it for now. All the important updates I can think of…

Oh, and watch out for the bug. It was debilitating for me. I haven’t been this sick in YEARS. Sore throat first for a few days.  Easily the worst sore throat I’ve ever had. Tested negative for strep. Then came the vomiting. I spent all day yesterday in bed. I only went to Jester’s last night to avoid being fired, and to give my notice. Today is better, and I think I’m on the road to recovery. Hoping I’ll be able to eat something soon!

Be well.



Saturday, October 9, 2010

Has it really been two months since I’ve written? Yes, sadly, it has.
I’ve thought about writing. Especially recently. To share the wonder that I’ve been experiencing. Yes folks, for once, it would have been to spread sunshine and happiness. Ironic, isn’t it?
As it turns out, I should have written when I had the inclination.

One of the questions I am constantly asked as of late goes something like this- “How do you know?”
My answer has always been- “I just do”.

I’ve been in love before, just like everyone else. You know it when you feel it, even though it happens so rarely and so infrequently. It’s a knowing. It comes upon you, it fills you, it encompasses you. If you’re fortunate to find it more than once, it happens differently every time. But you still know. At least that’s how it has happened for me.

And I was reminded again this morning of how “I know“. But this time, it is in grief that the knowing comes.

I met someone within these last few months. His name is Troy.
Troy’s Mom passed away unexpectedly this morning.

I went to him as soon I knew. I stayed with him for as long as he would let me. And then he needed to be alone in his grief. And so, as much as I hated to, I left him.

I never had the opportunity to meet the woman who raised such a beautiful man.

So now I have a new way to express my answer when asked “How do you know?”
I know. Because I feel his grief, his anger, his pain, and his loss. I feel it in my very bones. Right in the core of me.

If only I had the power to bottle all of the world’s love and strength for him.

And so, I know. I just do.

August 14, 2010

The last note I wrote cost me two friends. Family members, even. Perhaps they were on they’re way out anyway. I suspect they were simply looking for a reason to cast me out. I didn’t quote anyone, mention names, or even imply. But I did loosely paraphrase what one had said to a very good friend of mine. So honestly, I’m not sure what the problem is.
I fully believe that if one doesn’t want to take responsibility for what comes out of their mouths, then they shouldn’t say it to begin with. Especially if it could be hurtful.  I live by that rule. Why is it so difficult for others to?
I’ve said some things, I know. And I take responsibility for that. But never once have I been untruthful in my rantings. I am learning that people who speak or act out of turn, do not like being called out on it. Which is still a concept that I can’t understand. Taking responsibility. It seems so simple to me.

The face book drama, and the he-said-she-said game is the least of my concern in this. The sad and real aspect of it is the entirety of the story… Once, there were 6 girls. Cousins. All closely born to one another through the years. Grew up together. Spent summers at camp together. Had children, got married, got divorced, moved around, came back home. Held family gatherings at least once a month. Went out dancing together.  Spent holidays together. Emailed, called, kept in touch…  And then sometime recently, these cousins came apart, drew lines, and chose sides.
And now, my only family is my sister and niece and nephew, my parents, Nana, and my children.

I’m still fighting for the farm. I have accepted that I can’t stay here forever, it’s just too expensive. But I am not ready to sell just yet. Besides, it’s a horrible time of year to go on the market. We’ll trudge through the winter, and maybe I’ll make a decision in the spring. Or maybe I’ll suffer through it longer, and continue to put off the inevitable. Who knows.
Some days I want to just be rid of this beastly mortgage, and sell, sell, SELL. Some days I can’t imagine leaving this place.

I continue to be plagued with the family curse. I want what I can’t/don’t have, and don’t want what I can/do. Maybe it’s not specific to our family. It’s probably just human nature. But I suspect (and Sharla would probably agree), that it runs deeper in us.  Shoes, jewelry, cars, houses, jobs, men… The desire, the need.. for something new, something different, something more. Always.

Logan is still gone with her Dad. They’re camping with her step-mom’s side of the family. It’s a yearly tradition. They are in Canada, at Campobello (sp?), so she has no cell service. I did just hear from her yesterday, when they went somewhere and she had service briefly. She says things are going ok and she is having a good time. I worry about her. And I miss her, even if she is a moody teenager. I hate it when she’s gone.
This week has allowed Dawson and I some one on one time though, and that has been very nice. He went to his Nana and Papa’s on Wednesday, with the intention of spending the night. By 7pm, he wanted to come home. He said to them- “My Mom is at home all alone, I should go home”.  He is such a sweetie. My little man of the house. As cute as that is, I worry that he worries too much. He is older than his years. Sometimes that is sad for an 8 year old.

One of my closest friends of many years is coming shortly for a visit. I’m looking forward to that. We used to get together weekly for our “coffee talk”. Now with jobs and such, we’ve been too busy. I think Sharla and the kiddos are coming too. It will be nice to see the kids play while we catch up.
Friends are something of a shortage for me. Mostly by choice, partially by chance.

I am looking forward to tonight and Jester’s Street dance. My favorite band will be there… (sorry Sharla, lol)… The boss has staffed fewer bartenders, and I suspect we will have a larger turn-out than past years. And so, I will be pulling my hair out all night. But it will still be fun. I am looking forward to joining them onstage for my usual Zeppelin tune. My illustrious singing career, now reduced to the occasional cameo.

(Sigh)...

Well, Dawson is asking for me to come dig in the dirt with him. Off I go to get filthy.

Be well.