My New Doggie

In August, I became a doggie-mommy again.  I adopted another Golden-retriever mix, who has many Aspen-like similarities.  We named her Dixie, as she was found on a Tennessee highway. Actually, I tend to call her Dixie-Doodle a lot…..to represent her Southern heritage and her new Yankee Doodle home.

I announced in July that I would be adopting her. There was no forethought, no discussions. I didn’t ask permission. It felt like the right thing to do and I was doing it. 

Not a single person asked me WHY I was adopting a new dog.

I’ll assume it was one of two logically-concluded reasons–(1) she looks so much like Aspy, that OBVIOUSLY Anita had FINALLY found an Aspen-replacement, and/or (2), anita is such an animal lover, that she must have felt the need to give another dog a good home. On some level, both may be true. I joke around that one day I might become a crazy dog lady.

I adopted Dixie because I was tired of feeling alone.

When Aspen came into our lives in 1997, hubby and I had moved to S Cali a few months before. He was over his head in an exciting new job, and I was sitting home alone in a new state, a new community, without a job, just started a new school, with no friends or family around…..and I felt very alone.  Granted, hubby had promised that we would get a dog in our new home (a very exciting prospect for me, as I LOVE dogs and was never allowed to have one). But I had never truly appreciated the saying “man’s best friend” until Aspy came into our lives.  She became my best friend during a time that I needed one. Aspy helped me get over a bad “break-up” with a very good friend; she kept me company when hubby worked late or traveled; and she comforted me when I’d come home from a long day of classes, when I was tired and tired of feeling like an outsider. Aspen always had a smile for me. And I can’t forget to mention that she was a great snacking partner–she and I both put on a few pounds snacking on potato chips while studying for finals and the bar exam.

Over the past 3 years, I’ve been dealing with a lot of personal shit. Losing Aspen in 2011 was hard. The following year, lots of emotionally challenging things happened–my human BFF died (see previous post), family issues took a huge emotional toll on me (esp. Since I was still reeling from BFF’s death). Did some therapy, lots of soul searching. Couldn’t climb out of my funk. Then my kids started getting older (natural progression of life, I know)….and they started to need me less….or more accurately, they have started to do their own thing. Hubby’s been wrapped up in a new job and basketball.

I began to feel very alone in the world again.

Then one day, in July 2014, a friend posted on FB, a picture of a young, blonde female Golden Retriever mix up for adoption through a rescue organization in Tennessee. She had Aspy’s eyes and small ears. 

I looked at her picture and all I could think of was……friend.

So with a little bit of rebellion and spunk, I put in an application to adopt her. I didn’t consult or talk over the decision with anybody. I just did it. To assert MY independence and free will, I guess. 

Dixie has been with us since August. I have been able to focus more, and to see the other “side of the coin,” if you will. I am calmer, and slightly more at peace. I love having that smiley happy face look up at me and say “hey there”. Someone who loves me despite my faults, fears, anxieties, and funky moods. No expectations or demands, other than a belly rub and a pat on the head (and a walk would be very nice, too).

  

So, that’s my new Dixie-doo, my new friend and companion. Very glad we have saved each other.

A little too much Beverly Goldberg?

I love Beverly Goldberg.  I feel like I am the modern-day Beverly Goldberg wanna-be. I grew up in the 80’s, I love big hair (although, try as I might, my hair is too fine to give me that fantastic big-hair look), I love big hair rock bands, I love colorful sweaters with padded shoulders (I do still own one, that I purchased circa 1989), I love pastel colors, and floofy skirts.

And I love my kids.  Almost as much as Beverly Goldberg loves hers.

And you know what I mean by that.

My problem is getting close to that line….and crossing it…when it comes to Nosy-Mother-Syndrome.

For years I have heard and read articles on “make sure you communicate with your children…..know where they are….who their friends are…..who they are with…..build a relationship with your kids so there will be mutual trust.”   For the most part, hubby and I have succeeded in developing fantastic relationships with our boys.  We have always eaten dinner as a family (unless hubby is traveling or we luck out and go on a date night).  On weekends, I cook up nice “fancy” breakfasts that we all eat together. We’ve gone on vacation trips together and seen things and hung out together….instead of shipping them off to a vacation “kiddie camp”.  We go out to dinner as a family once a week. And for 98% of the time, both parents are at each child’s sporting event.   We ask them about school, we (ok….I) can sense when something isn’t “right.” And they talk to us. It’s great.

But we have now entered the teen-age years with the twins. And they have mobile communication devices. With social media apps.  Parenting has become a whole lot more sophisticated in terms of technology, and keeping up with it.

I remember the teen-age years.  A teen-ager wants (and needs?) to be left alone to sort out feelings and friendships. A teen-ager doesn’t want to have a clingy mom hanging on or spying or questioning every move.  Teen-agers typically push parents away.

Luckily there hasn’t been any pushing or shoving away YET.  There’s been some “MOOOOOOMMMMMMM, leave me alone.” And I can handle that.  But I want to continue to stay involved and have the lines of communication open, but without crossing the boundaries.

For example, T-man has been texting with a girl for several weeks.  I am *dying* to know what they write about (and I know T-man well enough that it is all clean, and platonic, and most likely bordering BORING). But I want to know.  So I have to think back 20+ years and remember that my mom (for the most part….that I know of or can remember) respected my privacy by not listening on the other phone or reading my diary.

As for M-Man, he’s a lot more secretive and sneakier.  He is always on the verge of pushing boundaries or acting slightly suspicious. I feel the need to  Spot-check his device for inappropriate stuff or breaking rules–and I have caught him on 2 occasions with breaking rules.

So for now I have to continue  trusting my kids, keep talking with them, keep trying to be the “cool mom” ……without crossing the Beverly Goldberg line.

return to blogging

I’ve decided that I’m going to make a splash back into blogging.  Some deeper stuff.  I’ve been to therapy, and I’ve spoken with friends, and yes, I have even written in a journal. None of which has “done the trick.” I’m assuming because the therapists, my friends, and yes, even the journal, can’t relate.  Or maybe I’m too stubborn to comprehend and act on the advice I’ve been given. I feel that if I put my thoughts and issues “out there”, maybe, somewhere, one person who’s had similar thoughts and issues can say “Hey, I’ve been there….it does take a while….but here is what helped for me.”

Upcoming topics—marriage, jobs, friends, kids, parents.  Sounds like a typical life, huh?

I’m molting….

Or at least that’s what I’m calling it.

 

Approx. 3-4 weeks ago, Casa de Thomas was struck by Hand, Foot and Mouth Disease (which  is in NO WAY affiliated with Mad Cow Disease….or cows).   We  think it started with M-Man, the weekend of June 21st.  He claims to have been “feverish ” and “not feeling well”…..although he didn’t tell ANYONE, yet proceeded to become the only Thomas to wake-board.

A few days later, specifically, June 24th, T-man came down with a HORRIBLE fever (along with headache, nausea……none of which Advil helped)…which lasted through the 26th.  He wasn’t able to participate in Large-Boston-area College Basketball Camp for those 3 days….so we are just calling his camp fee a “donation” to the athletic department. He attended Friday…..apparently  he declared himself BORED staying at home…but complained about blisters on his feet as we were driving home. I attributed the blisters to the new b-ball shoes we bought.  (and….to put it as politely as possible…..I didn’t really want to look at T-man’s feet —YUCK!)))

Friday, June 27th, Little Guy wasn’t feeling well…..run down and feverish (no other symptoms, appetite is OK)…..couldn’t tell if it was the same as T-man, or just a case of possible exertion/dehydration from the hoops camp.   On Saturday, Little Guy  had a birthday party to attend, and he claimed, and swore up and down, that he was feeling better. (Mom noticed slow movement and lethargy…but who am I to argue???).   Little Guy has been invited to so few parties this year…..I questioned him up and down on “how he was feeling”…..and he convinced me enough to send him to the birthday party.

The following day, Sunday, was Little Guy’s soccer team’s end of the season party.  We all went—big boys too (although begrudgingly).  After the party, Little Guy is complaining about spots/blisters on his hands and feet.  Once we get home, Hubby checks them….yes, Little Guy has red spots and blisters.  So I check out my trusty friend, Dr. WebMD.com, and when I put together “fever” and “spots/blisters”……the answer came up as Hand, Foot, and Mouth Disease…….which is typically acquired by children 10 and under, primarily toddlers. [yes–I did the “right thing” and contacted all the parents who went to the party]

You wanna guess what’s happens Wednesday July 2nd????

I come down with a mongo-huge fever, no appetite, advil did ZILCH to take away the fever.  And it flows into July 3rd—-the day we leave for vacation.  Luckily, I am strong-willed enough to “cure myself” to the point where I can make it to the airport.

But the REAL FUN doesn’t begin until July 4th……where I start developing blisters, hot spots, peeling skin….molting….on my hands and feet……which as been going on for 3 fun-filled weeks now.  My feet are raw and tender, and walking (my primary form of exercise) is painful. So much for it being a 10 and under disease.

I have bought myself a $5 bottle of nail polish and given myself a home-remedy mani/pedi, because NO MANICURIST would want to touch my feet.   I spent 3 days putting Neosporin on the tender spots, kept my feet up, done little to nothing.  I take a decent-length walk, and my feet are BURNING in pain.  Today, I went to the beach, the hot sand BURNED my feet, the wet sand scratched my feet, and the cold water felt refreshing. My feet are actually worse now……sigh.

So I sit here and complain trying to figure out how in god’s name I will function with burning feet………

 

One step at a time.

Losing a Best Friend

This is probably one of the hardest blog-posts I will ever write. It’s a year in the making. Why do it now? Since I consider writing/blogging to be therapeutic, I think that “putting it out there” might help me heal.  I find blogging to be my community therapy session. I’m not looking for sympathy…..just trying to heal and move forward.

A little over a year ago, I lost my best friend.  We had known each other for just over 10 years. We had many things in common–both of us have Polish backgrounds, we both worked in banks as college students, both drove Ford Tempos, we each gave birth to twins in 2001–she had identical girls, I have fraternal boys–  our husbands are pretty successful and very career-oriented…..the similarities and shared-experiences are numerous.  She was the one person I could ALWAYS call for ANYTHING. And vice versa.  We had scheduled “Tuesday Morning Chats”….the one morning that we both were free to just….chat….catch-up….bitch….laugh…..cry.  Of course we talked to each other on other days if something spontaneous came up that we had to share. But we both looked forward to the Tuesday Morning Chat.

The year 2012 turned out to be complicated for both us….for our own unique reasons. Unfortunately, for BF, she *really* struggled with her issues. She went into a black hole. Very few people knew of her situation. I was one of them. I tried SO HARD to help her–to have her see her situation in not a dark and grim light. I called her every day. Despite our crazy hectic scheduled lives, and the hour or so to drive out to visit her…..I went out as much as possible. I even visited her in the hospital after her parents thought it best she receive care by professionals.  I keep replaying conversations. Is there anything I could have said differently? Could I have offered an alternative scenario? Should I have tried “tough love” rather than sympathy and empathy and a shoulder to cry on?

Sadly, I know the answers to those questions. There is nothing that I….or anyone else….could have done.  BF couldn’t see beyond her pain. Some people called her actions selfish. For those who really knew BF, she didn’t have a selfish bone in her body. She was so giving and thoughtful….to friends, family, and even strangers. BF was struggling with  a deep, dark pain. A pain she couldn’t bear to live with.

Since the loss of BF, I have been struggling. I think of her EVERY DAY. Tuesday mornings are especially hard. The body-clock won’t forget. I feel sadness, an emptiness….and even anger. I am MAD at her. WHY? WHY? WHY? And WHY couldn’t anyone help her? WHY did she not want to help herself?  Then the anger turns to guilt…..because I “shouldn’t” be angry at her, right?

I’ve had many people reach out to me, trying to console me, be a friend. All very nice people, and I truly do appreciate the effort. But it is hard to find the same connection that BF and I had.  I realize that friendships don’t “just happen”…they need to grow and be nurtured. But I’m looking to replace something that I desperately need….a best friend…someone to talk to….laugh with….cry to….without being judged…someone who wears similar shoes….someone who has similar feelings and opinions.  Ironically, there are a couple of people in my life that I could see fitting the job description, but they all seem to live thousands of miles away….kinda hard to drop in or even call with time changes and kids schedules. So then I end up feeling so alone….and it becomes a nasty circle….alone…angry…guilty….sad.

It’s a grieving process–my grieving process–one that will probably last a long time. It’s hard to replace a 10 year friendship.

Miss you, BFF.

 

The Adventures of Zorro

Back on December 25, 2012, a jolly ol’ elf left a special little gifty for our son T…..a Bearded Dragon named Zorro.  I’m thinking the jolly ol’ elf really has something against me; he keeps bringing gifts for my boys that mommy and daddy (well, maybe just mommy) wouldn’t normally buy for the kidlets.  But when it came to Zorro…. Really, what was he thinking!!!???!!!

Baby Zorro

Baby Zorro

Needless to say, it’s been an interesting year getting to know our little reptile. We are *all* fascinated by the little bugger. He is pretty cute. We enjoy watching him catch his crickets. Despite being told that Beardies (as they are called in the reptile world) like fruits and veg, we haven’t seen Zorro being very health conscious. Although, T did manage to video him chomping on some lettuce one night.

He has deemed me as the “pretty one.” He always diverts him attention to me when I enter the boys’ room, and when we let him “out-and-about” he does tend to crawl over to me.

He loves to hang on peoples shoulders and just watch the world.

scott and zorro

During the times when Zorro is “hanging out” with his peeps, he can be entirely motionless for a long time, but then he ZOOOOMMMMS around the room. Quick little dude!  He has become “trapped” under couches, behind cabinets, and the one time we let him “roam free” in the yard ( lets just say we won’t be doing that anytime soon) he zipped over to the bushes and bark mulch and we had a very hard time finding him because he blended so well!

I think the biggest (and hardest) adjustment we had to make was the crickets that Zorro eats. It’s like a pet within a pet.  We have a cricket-keeper, where we hold about 100 crickets per week.  T is responsible for feeding the crickets and cleaning out the box. When Zorro was a baby (and that didn’t last long enough!) he ate “tiny” crickets. But at about 4 months, he graduated to the “large” crickets….aka…..the chirping kind.  I felt so bad for M (who shares a room with T). It’s one thing to have to deal with T’s snoring, or love of night-lights….which have now been replaced by Zorro’s red night lamp.   But to have to sleep with chirping crickets—-that boy deserves a medal!!

This summer, I turned into Cricket Warrior Princess. There was one cricket—I called him King Cricket–who made  nice home for himself in Zorro’s log. And he chirped and chirped and chirped…..LOUDLY every day and every night……for 2 weeks.  I would go into Zorro’s cage with a pair of tweezers to try to “fish out” the crickets from the log. Kinda help Zorro out finding his food (it got to the point where he stopped “hunting” for a while because he knew the Pretty One would get his food for him).  Anyway….I just couldn’t get King Cricket out.  And then….one night….I saw him. Holy Guacamole….he was HUUUUGGGGEEEEE!!!

I told Hubby that my plan was to cut a section of the log to create a bigger opening to go “Cricket Hunting.” Hubby thought I was nuts. And I was becoming more nuts with each passing day. The alternative was to send me to the funny-farm, so he gave me his blessing to cut the log. Funny, I wasn’t give the opportunity. M-Man wanted the honor.  As you can see from the picture, he (we) meant business!

Cricket Hunters

Cricket Hunters

It worked! Within 2 days, I was able to capture King Cricket, and I was never happier to watch Zorro chomp on a cricket! Luckily, since then the crickets have been on the “quiet” side.

Zorro is now about 10 months old. He is getting quite big. Almost outgrowing his 50 gallon tank. There are days where he is somewhat boring, sleeping most of the day. Other days he amuses us with his funny poses or smiles.  He kinda fits well with us!

Catching some rays...

Catching some rays…

 

PJs vs. Workout Wear

If you haven’t figured it out yet, I am somewhat of a traditionalist. I believe in PJs. As a young child, I wore my feetsies (love the feetsies), then the cotton kind with lacey trim. I went through my Tshirt-to-bed phase (which, I suppose, is technically NOT a PJ), and my silky Victoria Secret 2 piece cami-jammies and sleep camisoles. Over the past decade (or so), I have worn my fair-share of flannel sets and cotton 2piece tshirt and short sets.

But  now, as I’m seeing….blurred lines….if you will….over PJs and workout wear. I can probably blame my local Target, where the workout wear and PJs are right next to each other. Quite often I can’t figure out where one ends and the other begins.

My most recent Jammie-purchase is a 3/4 sleeve length pink top with a wide top, and a pair of gray, reach-the-knees, “sweatpants.” It is so wicked comfy. But when I put them on at night, I feel like I should be heading to the gym instead of bed. And forget when I wake up in the morning….I don’t want to change into “regular” clothes.

Upon further reflection, haven’t you as well noticed people wearing flannel “pajama pants” and “fuzzy ugg-like slippers” out in public…to go shopping, to school, to football games? And we wear the workout wear to bed. My neighbor is a workout fiend. She is *always* in workout wear. For the life of me, I can’t picture what she would wear to bed….because it’s probably very similar to what she wears during the day. Funny, huh?