Saturday, January 31, 2015

I'm a Failure

It's actually a good thing, I guess, I promise you. I volunteer for a dog rescue group, Mid Atlantic Pug Rescue.  I've been a foster for them for a couple of years.  So far, I've fostered 5 dogs/pugs for MAPR...Clyde, Molly, Jake, Duke and Roscoe.  I've loved every one of them and wanted to keep every one of them but circumstances being what they were, I wasn't able to...until Roscoe.

I read a book in 2010, The Lost Dogs: Michael Vick's Dogs and Their Tale of Rescue and Redemption because I was interested in how the dogs fared after they were rescued.  Michael Vick got to play football again, but what about the dogs?  I love animals. I love football.  

After reading this book, I searched out pit bull rescue groups in my area and found Carolina Care Bullies (they have since disbanded but have broken out into new groups).  I wanted to do something, anything because I want all dogs to be the best they can be.  The need for a foster home was great and so, I became a foster parent to a dog named Lacey.  

Isn't she beautiful?  I thought so too.  But she needed so much more than I could give her. We know she was an  American Staffordshire (pit bull, like her mama) but I'm pretty sure this bady daddy was a Rhodesian Ridgeback.  She was so much like an RR it was amazing.  I loved her so much that I wished I could have kept her.  But in my small one bedroom apartment with no chance at exercise, I was not her best fit.  After a year in rescue, she finally found her forever family.

But after her, I knew that fostering a large dog in a small apartment, in a community that did not provide a dog area, would not work.  So I searched and searched until I found a pug rescue.  I wanted to continue fostering and pugs, well, I love them too.  

My first true dog love was a pug named Midget.  And to be honest, I hated her when I found out about her because she wasn't originally my dog.  She was my mom's dog.  But Midget loved me...for 13 years.  Crazy dog.  

When she left this world I swore I would never love another dog again.  But I got lonely, and my family found me Rosey, another pug.  So far, so good...she's been here with me since April of 2008. I don't know how much more time we have together but that's what rescuing an unknown is about.   

Back to MAPR and Roscoe.  Since I found them and they researched me, there's been Clyde, Molly, Jake (I got to name him and since I always wanted a dog named Jake because of a Pirates of the Mississippi song  that's the name he got!),  Duke (whose mama loves him immensely) and then Roscoe.  

Maybe it was just time. Maybe it was meant to be.  Maybe it was the "Dukes of Hazzard" catching up with me.  Roscoe.  

He fulfilled every need I had that Rosey just couldn't provide.  He loved.  And he showed it.  When he and I are together, he wants to be as close as possible.  His vision is extremely limited but he showed me that you do not need to "see" to love.  

I couldn't let him go.  Every application I got, I found something that just wasn't right...for him.  Oh sure, they would be great for any other dog but not Roscoe.  

Roscoe and I are still working things out.  And Rosey hates it when he gets all crazy and then he gets scared of her.  But right now, both are sleeping on the couch, together, snoring. loudly.  And I wouldn't have it any other way.  

Here's Rosey btw..

The Super Bowl, Russell Wilson, The New England Patriots and Their Deflated Footballs and the NFL

Honestly, I don't care.  I'm not all that interested in this game.  Not one of my "fave" teams or players is playing.  All the commercials have been released.  I'll probably leave the TV off until "Downton Abbey" comes on.  But that doesn't mean I don't have an opinion.

My favorite NFL teams are the Washington Redskins (yes, I wrote that!) and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.  Can you name a player that played for both teams annnnndddd....won a Super Bowl with the Washington Redskins (damn, did I just do that again?)?  Go!

I also like the Denver Broncos because I loved John Elway and I love Peyton Manning.  I also hope Phillip Rivers and his Chargers can someday get to the big game.  I love Phillip Rivers!  WOLFPACK!

But these two teams....pfftt.  I really dislike the Patriots (seriously, I don't see the deal with Tom Brady and I think that area is too cold and By God, the Band Waggoners....get over it especially the Southern Band Waggoners.  Almost as bad as the Southern Pittsburgh Steelers Band Waggoners..)  As for Seattle, sure, Russell Wilson is a former NC State Wolfpacker but...NCSU did him wrong and he hardly ever mentions NCSU so...I just don't know.  I guess if I had to choose then I'd choose the Seahawks but damn, they beat Peyton Manning and the Broncos last year so the love is just. not. there.

But Russell Wilson seems like a good guy.  I follow him on Facebook and Twitter.  What an inspiration!  He hasn't married a Brazilian model.  Yes, he's divorced.  Sucks but then, divorce happens and I don't believe that should discount any of the other positive things about his life.  And yes, he did graduate from NCSU so, he is an alum.

Tom Brady, the Patriots and "Deflate gate." Look, I don't like the Patriots.  I never have and I never will.  There is nothing at this point in time that would ever endear me to them (If they played the Dallas Cowboys in the Super Bowl I would probably find a way to do some kind of football amnesia so as not to see any of that cruel mess.)  Tom Brady is a "celebrity."  I don't like his kind of "celebrity."  Also, don't they play in Boston, Mass?  Why not just call them the Boston Patriots?  Like the Bruins?  Like the Celtics?  There's quite a few states that don't have a football team.  This whole "New England" thing is just annoying.

On "Deflategate" my stance is this:  if they cheated, then they know they cheated and the win just can't feel good.  If they win the Super Bowl and they cheated prior to that, is it a good win?  Karma people...karma.  I don't know science.  In fact, I really wasn't all that good at it in school...all schools.  I hear Bill Nye the Science Guy came out and disproved the NE Pats whole "atmosphere" deflate thing.  Facts are facts.  But the thing is...THE INDIANAPOLIS COLTS ONLY SCORED 7 POINTS!!!!!!!!!   Now, if the game had been closer, I sure would have questioned it but, the NE Defense obviously helped win that game.  So what they scored a lot, the Colts DID NOT!  Let's move on people.

Look, the NFL is entertainment folks.  I think the Super Bowl numbers have fallen recently and let's be real, all of this controversy stirs even the not so football oriented person up.  Can't you just imagine the headlines tomorrow?

Once again, I reiterate, I won't watch.  I don't care.  Commercials annoy me.  I'm reading "Gone With the Wind"  and I will stop for "Downton Abbey."  This girl, once consumed by all things sports, just doesn't care anymore.

Go Seahawks????

I Am Woman

...and I'm learning how to fix toilets.

Now, before you start laughing let me explain.  I bought a 30 year old townhouse back in June of 2015.  Since moving in I've learned that not much has been replaced in this place.  Oh there's a new refrigerator and a new stove.  There's some fake wood linoleum in the kitchen and slightly new carpeting (I really wanted hardwood floors but I digress...).  But inside this home that's it.  The bathrooms are straight out of the 80's and that is when they were built!

I bought it knowing that it was going to be up to me to do things with it, to fix it up.  I want to redo the bathrooms and the kitchen.  I want to install hardwood floors.  I want cool paint jobs in all the rooms (the dining area just really needs touch ups because it's awesome!)

So eventually, I will get new toilets.  In the meantime however, I'm learning how to fix bits and pieces of these old ones.  The first part that got replaced was the flapper.  Now since I've moved in, the toilets always "made noise" all by themselves.  I had no idea what the problem was and just dealt with it. I figured if someone ever came over here with some toilet knowledge and heard it, well, I could ask them about it.  And finally, someone did!  My family spent Christmas here and I gave the master bedroom to my mother and my stepdad.  Guess they heard the noise and soon, we were headed to Home Depot.  He showed me what was needed, we bought it and headed home.

He did the first toilet and I did the second toilet.  I was so happy with myself that I had finally learned how to do something.  It was quite an exciting moment to fix the flapper on the toilet.  And do you know, since that day, the toilets have not made any noise?

But this week, the toilet handle broke.  I couldn't flush the toilet on the outside.  I had to take the lid off and pull that stick thing (handle arm according to the diagram I am looking at right now).  Today, I headed to Ace Hardware (I try to shop "small") and bought a new handle and handle arm.  According to the package directions this is supposed to be an easy fix.  Sure it is, if the last handle/handle arm condo hasn't fused together.  Believe me, I almost started crying because I could not unscrew the plastic nut from the old contraption.  And my wrench just kept stripping the plastic off.  I hated this house.  I hated this place.  Why didn't I just move out to Garner and buy a brand new place with blah, blah, blah?  Yes, this is what is going through my head.  I saw my dog Roscoe sitting there watching me and knew that I had no choice.  I had to do this.   Finally, I found a straight edge screw driver and slipped it between the nut and the tank.  I pushed and pulled and finally, got that nut off!  Not by unscrewing it.  Lots of broken plastic pieces that I had to clean out of the tank (UGH!!!)
Anyway, I did it.  Got the old one off and the new one on.  Flushed it quite a few times to make sure it worked.  It's all good.  Whew!

Oh, and myself and another female put together a treadmill all by ourselves on Thursday!  And it works!  We only missed one step but thankfully it's a cosmetic one.  We celebrated with pizza!  LOL.
It sucks to be alone but I'm learning that I can do things by myself and I don't always have to call on someone to help me.

I am woman...starting to roar.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Book Review: "Being Mortal" written by Atul Gawande

Wow!  Just wow!  What an eye opening book I have just finished.  It's good to see someone in the medical profession write down, on paper, things I have often wondered myself.  

This book has made me think about, sadly yet happily, end of life and the decisions that must be made.  As someone who is currently single and childless, I have a lot of decisions to make with regards to how I want my life to be should I continue on for years and years.  Dr. Gawande really gave me the "meat" of what is out there.  

He discusses hospice care vs. hospital care.  Options that make you sicker and therefore unable to enjoy life vs. enjoying the time you have knowing that you are dying.  He discusses nursing homes, and assisted living homes and a combination of the two.  

Basically, I've made up my mind.  At the ripe old age of 42 and while I still have my wits about me I know what I want.  What I don't want when I'm 60 or 70 or 80 or any year in between, are endless trips to the hospital, chance procedures attempting to keep me alive,   For all the talk about old people and healthcare have we really talked to the old people?  What do they want? 

Sure, a doctor's job is to keep your body healthy but guess what?  You will die someday.  It is inevitable.  You are not nor will you ever be mortal.  At least not with what's out there these days.  So really, all a doctor can do is prolong your life.  But at what cost to you and your family?  

So, here's the deal folks...I want to live and I want to be able to "do."  I don't want to be tied to machines and drugs that make me ill, or unable to function on a day to day basis.  I don't want to die in a hospital.  I watched my grandma do that and I wouldn't wish it on anyone.  How much better would we all have been, especially her, if we'd just said, "goodbye" instead of focusing on keeping her alive one more day.  

With the anniversary of her death coming up I realize how much we put her through.  She was ready and we wouldn't let her go.  Why?  Honestly, because we are selfish when it comes to love.  And when we have it, we don't want to lose it.  Our thoughts kept saying, "surely the doctors can do something, give her another pill, whatever."  For months she kept saying she wanted to go home (to South Carolina).  She lasted a while.  Got to see family and friends and then, it was just time.  But she had to die in a hospital.  Well I don't want that.  And yes, I'm going to get a living will to state that. 

So I challenge everyone, sit down and picture yourself as your grandparent or someone with a disease so debilitating that really, your time is limited anyway because treatments are limited.  How much are you willing to take?  How much are you willing to sacrifice?  If you have family, what options will you give them?  

I encourage everyone to read "Being Mortal".  Maybe your answer will surprise you at the end.  

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Taking a Break

The other day I read an article about one of my favorite hockey players, Chad Larose.  Finally, he spoke out about all the "drama" surrounding his departure from my favorite hockey team, the Carolina Hurricanes.  At the end of the 2013 season, he walked out of his exit interview with the General Manager, Jim Rutherford.  When the fans/masses/writers/twitterers/bloggers/etc. found out about it, oh the heat was on.

"How dare he?"  "The Carolina Hurricanes were the only team that gave him a chance.  He owes them."  And in the words of Jimmy Buffett, "He'll never work in dis bidness again."  There were many other things said about him and his exit.  And the majority of them...not nice.

I do not know Chad Larose.  I've met him a few times while I was working at Harris Teeter.  I named my dog Rosey after him (it's the bug eyes).  I liked his personality.  I liked his attitude.  He just looked like he was having fun.  And in the end, isn't that what we'd all like from our jobs?  But that last year, you could tell something was going on.  Not just with him but with the whole team.  And now, after reading the article above, I can totally get it.

I won't get into his issues.  You can read it to find out.  But I've been there.  I've wanted to just go away.  I have actually hated a job so much that I just didn't want to go back.  And I didn't want to talk about it.  To anyone.  I hated life so much at one time that I had to walk away and I did.  I walked all the way to Florida to realize that I didn't really have it so bad here in NC.  It took some time.  I had to get over a few things.  But eventually, I came back.

It hasn't been easy.  I've worked hard, lost a few friends but honestly, I'm happy now.  Maybe not scream it from the skyscrapers happy but happy.

The point of it all though is that sometimes, some people, just can't deal with the issues any more.  And rather than hurting anyone's feelings, they just walk away.  They take a couple days, a week, or a month, and then they talk about it.  I don't think there's any harm in that.  Myself, when I get so mad at anything, at life, I cry.  And I hate to cry.  I have to walk away, collect my thoughts, my feelings and then once I've done that, I can talk about it.  Maybe you won't like it.

I know in this age of immediate information we always want to know "Why?"  But for those of you clamoring for information, step back.  Let them collect their thoughts.  Let them release their feelings, thoughts, news, in their own way.  It will happen.  The need to talk to people will win out.

I'm glad Chad Larose did what he did.  It makes me like him even more.  Good luck Chad!  I'm in your corner man.

Sunday, January 11, 2015


I look at that sad, pathetic fool in the mirror and it makes me want to cry.  Crying is for the weak.  I don't cry.  But damn, I want to.

Looking down, I see all the ingredients for turning myself into a "happy" person.  The person everyone wants to see because God forbid, I not be a "happy" person to those around me.

Blush, Eyeliners, Eyeshadows, mascaras, anti aging creams, foundations, powder...goodness, could I have any more paint?

I start to work, massaging, painting all the colors I want for the day.  Making sure I bring out the blue in my eyes.  Everyone loves that.  "Gee your eyes are just popping today. Is that your real color?"  "Why yes, yes it is!"

Finishing up with just a touch of color on my lips, I unwrap my hair from the towel and stare.  Brown, drab, touched with silver way to early.  Ugh.  Age is starting to take it away from me.  It falls out in droves.  It's not the once thick, silky hair I used to have.  I've had to cut it short to make it look...decent.  And so I'm not continuously putting it up in a pony tail.

Some days I fantasize about going bald and wearing wigs and wraps.  A different color, a different style.  I think that would be fun.  Most think I'm crazy when I say that.

I've given up on the style creams, the anti-frizz stuff, mousse and gel.  What's the point?  Do they really do anything any way?  Just fluff and go is how I do it these days.  No style to it really.

Now, off to the closets!  Great, I feel like crying again.  I absolutely hate this part of the paint.  That's shirt's too tight.  That one's just old and tired looking.  God this will take forever.  I have a pile on bed of shirts that I just. can't. wear.

Finally found a shirt, now the pants.  Too tight, doesn't match.  Guess I'll go with old comfy that I wore last week.  One thing I don't have enough of is pants.  But I don't buy them often because of that old mantra "As soon as I lose some weight..."

I can't even wear cool looking shoes these days due to plantar fasciitis.  All those cute shoes in my closet.  I can barely stand to wear them.  I want to cry again because of the pain.  I want to wear those shoes so bad and today is just not the day because my feet hurt so bad.

Accessories...I'm trying.  Maybe today I can work with a pair of earrings and a couple of rings.  And a watch.  But the bracelets don't interest me much because I don't have time to mess with attempting to put them on.  Do you realize how hard it is to try and put a bracelet on by yourself?  I'm just not gonna deal with that today.

Well, I'm done.  The paint is on.  One more look in the mirror and that sad, pathetic fool has been made up to look like the happiest girl in the world. Isn't paint wonderful?

Friday, January 9, 2015

The Passion of Reading

The past week, there have been many blogs and articles with regards to "Reading Challenges."  Now last year, I did the Goodreads Challenge.  Here you had to indicate at the beginning of the year how many books you would have read by the end of the year.  Every time you added a "read" book to your Goodreads list it added it to your challenge.  I challenged myself to 48 books I believe.  I ended up reading 51 by December 31st.  Whew!

Now believe me, some were re-reads.  Like all the Harry Potter Books, and some of the Diana Gabaldon books.  But all in all, I did a pretty good job.  And I think I branched out quite a bit.  Actually read some NYT Bestsellers and a Pulitzer Prize Winning Novel!

This year, not only am I doing the Goodreads Challenge (55 books!)  I'm mashing together the Book Riot's challenge with PopSugar's Challenge.

I love to read!  And since I don't have cable tv anymore, I'm not tied to watching tv which was starting to bore me anyway.  Don't get me wrong, there were a few books I read last year that I would prefer to never have to read again but I believe I got something out of each book I read.  Even the re-reads.

So, the books I read last year:

The Dinner Herman Koch
The Snow Child Eowyn Ivey
The Dressmaker Kate Alcott
The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks Rebecca Skloot
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time Mark Haddon
The Good Luck of Right Now Matthew Quick
The Invention of Wings Sue Monk Kidd
Ticker Lisa Mantchev
Defending Jacob William Landay
The Fever Megan Abbott
If I Stay (If I Stay, #1) Gayle Forman
Orphan Train Christina Baker Kline
A Clash of Kings (A Song of Ice and Fire, #2) George R.R. Martin
Outliers: The Story of Success Malcolm Gladwell
The Returned Jason Mott
Bitter Winds (Tales of the Scavenger's Daughters, #3) Kay Bratt
Tangled Vines (Tales of the Scavenger's Daughter, Book Two) Kay Bratt
The Giver (The Giver Quartet, #1) Lois Lowry
The Wedding Dress Rachel Hauck
Details T.H.E.
The Paper Magician (The Paper Magician Trilogy, #1) Charlie N. Holmberg
One Lavender Ribbon Heather Burch
Inamorata Megan Chance
A Game of Thrones (A Song of Ice and Fire, #1) George R.R. Martin
Written in My Own Heart's Blood (Outlander, #8) Diana Gabaldon
Dust Angel Jutta Profijt
A Great and Terrible Beauty (Gemma Doyle, #1) Libba Bray
Last Night at the Viper Room: River Phoenix and the Hollywood He Left Behind Gavin Edwards
The Fault in Our Stars John Green
The Absolute Last Weight-Loss, Diet, & Exercise Book You will Ever Need To Read Arthur Apolinario
The Scavenger's Daughters (Tales of the Scavenger's Daughters, #1) Kay Bratt
Veronika Decides to Die Paulo Coelho
House of Bathory Linda Lafferty
The Last Olympian (Percy Jackson and the Olympians, #5) Rick Riordan
The Ocean at the End of the Lane Neil Gaiman
By the River Piedra I Sat Down and Wept Paulo Coelho
And the Mountains Echoed Khaled Hosseini
The Battle of the Labyrinth (Percy Jackson and the Olympians, #4) Rick Riordan
The Circle Dave Eggers
City of Heavenly Fire (The Mortal Instruments, #6) Cassandra Clare
The Book Thief Markus Zusak
Allegiant (Divergent, #3) Veronica Roth
The Goldfinch Donna Tartt
Voyager (Outlander, #3) Diana Gabaldon
Dragonfly in Amber (Outlander, #2) Diana Gabaldon
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (Harry Potter, #5) J.K. Rowling
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (Harry Potter, #2) J.K. Rowling
Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (Harry Potter, #6) J.K. Rowling
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (Harry Potter, #4) J.K. Rowling
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (Harry Potter, #7) J.K. Rowling
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (Harry Potter, #3) J.K. Rowling
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone (Harry Potter, #1) J.K. Rowling

I'm creating an Excel Spreadsheet with regards to the books I hope I'll be reading this year. I like the "categories" that Book Riot and PopSugar created.

I'm sure I'll get distracted by some "new" book this year but I'm going to try and stick to my list.  I'll let you know how I did on December 31st!

Saturday, January 3, 2015

Packing up Christmas (and 2014)

I spent the day putting up my Christmas stuff: Ornaments, Indoor Decoration, Outdoor Decoration, and the Fake tree.  I'm really hoping I can get a real one next year.  This year I was able to put all my favorite things out.  I enjoyed that.  And I enjoyed putting them all back up.

Now it's time for 2015.  I know what I want to do here, in this home of mine.  It's just doing it.  I'm going furniture shopping I know.  And I need to find some good shelves.  I'm not averse to painting and in fact, that may be what I do for some of these items.

I want to get pictures up.  A corner for all my former foster dogs, a corner for all my fur babies.  A wall for my family and friends.  Cool pictures and phrases.

I mean, my kitchen is really the only "done" room in this place.  Granted, I am in there a lot and I wanted that lived in feel.  There are so many walls though and I get confused at times.  I just found a box with a whole bunch of cool frames I've bought over the years.  I can't wait to put those to use.

Basic reorganization for everything else though.  And I want to not be afraid to start a fire in my fireplace.

There's still a lot to do here I just have to push myself to do it.  But that's what 2015 is going to be about...pushing myself.  Whether it's here at home or out there in the world, I have to get moving.

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Happy New Year! 2015

It's the first day of 2015 and I have to admit, it's been a pretty good day.  I usually spend New Year's Eve and New Year's Day pretty much by myself, doing nothing.  This year I was invited to an afternoon of hockey watching, good food and good times.  Thanks to advice from my therapist, I accepted the invite and left my home for the afternoon to spend it with other people, not my dogs.  And I was happy I did this because I did enjoy myself.

Okay, I'll answer your question, why is this so special?  Because I usually say no.  I have always felt like an outsider when I go places where I don't know other people and so, when asked, I usually find a way to not go.  I'm uncomfortable in new situations with new people.

At the start of 2014 I had a decision to make:  do I get out more or do I become a hermit?  I mean, I really do enjoy staying at home and watching a movie, or listening to the radio while reading a book.  I love the comfort of my sweatshirts and sweatpants and the fact that I don't have to comb my hair.  No one here judges me because...there's no one here but me and my dogs!

But I am lonely.  I want people to talk to, or eat with, go to the movies with, etc.  So I started doing little things.  Going to eat by myself.  Going to the movies by myself.  Going to the DPAC for shows, by myself.  Sometimes it wasn't easy but I knew I had to leave my comfort zone, even if it wasn't with others.  I had to just "get out."

Then I got invited to a lunch with the girls.  I said, "what the heck!"  Even requested the day off from my part time job for it.  That day was a riot!  I was invited to a hockey game.  I went!  And for the first time, I saw "The Nutcracker."  Sometimes it was hard, especially when there was that "thing" inside of me saying, "stay home.  It's warm here.  No dress up required.  If you go out, they will laugh and make fun of you and talk about you behind your back."  I would struggle.  But in the end, I went.
And that was what 2014 was about.  Getting out and saying "yes."

I don't know what 2015 will bring.  I have a few things I want to try and a few places I want to go.  I know that I'm going to have to stop dipping my toes in the water and wade up to my knees this year.  I don't want to be alone.