Monthly Archives: August 2013

Grief (and uncertainty)

I had a session with T today. We covered bits and pieces of things from here and there, but stopped on grief and transition and being “stuck”. She keeps trying to tell me that I’m stuck for a reason, and that I have to figure out what being stuck is doing for me. I don’t cry often in session, but today was one of those days. I also cried on the way home. I cried after I got home. I’m still crying on and off.

I’m tired of feeling hurt. I’m tired of feeling like I will never get over the grief of losing Sweet Pea. I don’t want to do anything because i don’t want to get attached to anything…I don’t want to become emotionally attached, because I’m tired of feeling hurt. I’m tired of feeling emotional. It sounds stupid to say because I love my husband, I love my family, I love my dogs. But it’s difficult for me to let myself feel an emotional connection with other things because of how much I might get hurt. It took me over a year to tell Le Moo that I loved her…and some days the words are still a struggle. I have yet to say it to Butthead, but then again she can be kind of difficult to love during this adjustment period.

I don’t know how being stuck in this awful place is doing me any good. I’ve never been in session with T and wanted to leave, or watched the clock in hopes that it was over, or considered asking if we could end early. That’s how I felt during this session…which I know means we were hitting on important things. I know it, but that didn’t make it more comfortable and it didn’t bring me any answers.

The anniversary of SP’s death is coming up on me fast. I don’t know how I’m going to be or what I’m going to do. I’m grateful that it’s on a day where I have no appointments, because I know it won’t be an easy day for me. She was such a huge part of my life…she was there for me every single day of her life with us, living without her has left such an enormous hole that I have not been able to fill. Won’t ever be able to fill. Have not really been able to figure out how to live with the gaping hole.

The thing is, I do feel like I’ve moved forward in some ways. The fact that I still grieve her, that I still miss her, that’s not so strange considering the enormity of the loss for me. Have I become stuck because of the fact that I still grieve her? I don’t understand that. I’ve done lots of things since her passing, including opening myself up to another dog (or two), with as much of my heart as I can spare. I have loved (and lost) family. I have dealt with every day issues. I have not stopped my entire life, I have just lived with the grief weighing heavily on my heart.

But I know I have lived with some uncertainty as to what I want to do with my life. I don’t know why. Another post to come on that.

This has been more rambling than I’d hoped. Less about grief and more about uncertainty and not knowing. Not getting answers. I have been sitting on this “grief” post for weeks, unable to write it. Again, I know it means it is something important to deal with, but I’m still not able to process through it, apparently.


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When the time is right

I’ve been thinking lately about how animals (and people) come into our lives when the time is right for us. And potentially, vice versa I guess. I try to keep this belief and use the change that happens to learn and grow. I can’t say I’m always immediately successful, but these big happenings can spur great changes if we let them.

I was sick for over a year (the first time) when we started looking for a dog. Even though I was feeling really poorly physically, we thought that since I was home all the time, it would be good to get a dog. This was our first dog as a couple, even though I’d had dogs all my life. Of course, I was not responsible for the dog growing up and there were six people in our house at the time. But I didn’t think having a dog would be all that difficult. When we found Sweet Pea, we were taken with her and adopted her almost immediately. But SP had issues that required a lot of patience and diligence. Even though it was terribly difficult for me at the beginning, she became my constant companion. She kept me company, kept me (in)sane, and kept me from collapsing in on myself. I had to be up and mobile with her. I had to learn patience for her. I learned compassion and sympathy and…strength. I had to find my own strength in order to care for her and the issues she had. Learning all those things changed me and helped me grow. She taught me things I didn’t know I needed to know…and she brought me so much joy and love. She was the impetus for much of my daily doings. She was the reason I pushed past pain and grief over the loss of my “normal” life. She was why I got out of bed, because there was no one else to take care of her every day.

After SP passed, I was sure it would be a very long time before we adopted another dog. I was more than heartbroken over the loss and the thought of another dog was … I just couldn’t even consider it. I couldn’t even consider having to do the things I did for SP for any other dog, so I felt that meant there should be no dog. It was almost as difficult to think that we would not have another dog as it was to think that we would have another dog. It was so strange. But the house was empty and I hated it. I hated being alone during the day. I hated the lack of sweet love you got from a dog. I knew we weren’t ready, but I started looking because we had been discussing a specific kind of dog. We were totally open for a mix of that breed, but there was only one breed we were really interested in…and we only rescue dogs. We never buy. So finding the breed we were interested in was bound to be difficult, so I started looking around. I registered with the local breed rescue and watched petfinder. It was reassuring that I felt I could look but didn’t have to adopt at that point, knowing finding the right breed would take a long time. But then a picture came up, of a dog that was not the breed we were looking for. I sent it to Hub and he agreed that the dog was cute and her description was really nice. But feeling something for the dog–even just via picture–was painful for me. It was only a few months after SP passed, I didn’t think I could handle it. I tried to let the dog in the picture go, but something kept me going back to check to see if she was still available. I finally gave in and emailed the rescue to find out more about her. And her story was a terrible one–dumped as a youngster, shuffled around from home to home due to circumstances beyond her control–I felt a tug on my heart. So we asked to meet her, even though I still hurt every day from SP’s loss. I hurt badly; I cried daily. We had my parents’ dog (Cray-cray lab) to consider, since we often dog sit for them and she was/is not great with other dogs. So we asked to have the new dog come to our house so we could see how she interacted with Cray-cray lab. Since the dog was still living with her current owner (allergies *sigh*), the woman agreed to come to us after hearing what a great home she would get with us. The meet & greet with  Cray-cray lab went well, surprisingly, but the dog we met was nothing like the picture or the description. The dog we met had to be at least 20lbs overweight, round like a basketball with a tiny head. And she had absolutely no personality whatsoever. She seemed uninterested in anyone in particular, and mostly stood there looking around like she didn’t care what happened to her. It was devastating to me. I wanted a connection. I wanted to see a spark of life like we saw with SP. We got nothing. Nothing. But on paper she was everything we would have wanted, except for the fact that she was not the breed we had been interested in. We told the owner we had to think about it and we sent them home. And I spent that evening and the next day crying almost uncontrollably. I wanted to want the dog, but it hurt so much that she wasn’t SP. And it felt horrible to me that I felt no connection with the dog. This was the first dog for adoption we saw after SP’s death, but for some reason I felt that this was supposed to be our dog…but I didn’t like her. Or rather, I felt nothing for her, because she was just a big giant lump. I bawled on Hub’s shoulder and he told me over and over again that we didn’t have to adopt the dog, that she would get a good home somewhere else. I heard him, but again something told me this was supposed to be our dog…if only we had found her a few months later, I thought, it would have been perfect. I would have been okay, I would have been ready. But it was here and it was now. I asked to see the dog again, with the understanding that we still weren’t sure. The owner agreed and brought her over again. We tried to spend more time with her, to draw her out. We watched her interact with her owner to see if they had a connection and maybe the dog was shy. No, there was the same blankness with her owner (of over 8 months). I couldn’t help crying while they were here, because I had to have this dog for some reason, even though the timing and everything felt wrong. So we adopted her…Le Moo. And I think I cried for the first month she was here. And I left Hub to interact with her for the most part. I mean yes, I took care of her and fed her and took her out in the yard on a leash a million times a day (no fence yet). I gave her treats and I looked out for her, but I didn’t sit and pet her or brush her or even really talk to her. And in a strange way, she seemed okay with it. Le Moo is part cat…she is independent and prefers her own company most of the time…and comes seeking attention when and if she wants it. After probably a year she seemed to develop some personality, but the truth is, she’s not anything like SP. She doesn’t NEED us the way SP did. She doesn’t have to be in sight of us…and just as easily will sleep in an entirely different part of the house from where we are. She doesn’t need to sleep in our bedroom at night…and mostly does not. She doesn’t need to be in contact with us, or look for us during the day. She was perfectly fine with not being let outside all the time–although once outside she preferred to stay out there as much as possible. She didn’t need me to be emotionally attached to her. And at that time, I couldn’t be emotionally attached to her. But as she’s been here, I have become attached…and so has she. In her own independent way, she loves us and she loves my parents and brother. And she tolerates my parents’ lab in a nice way. I couldn’t have adopted another dog like SP who required constant attention and love, who needed to be fawned over and needed my interaction. Le Moo was the dog I needed. She kept me moving in her own subtle way. Less than SP did, but enough to keep me involved in life. She was so laid back and so centered on her own, I know now why she was the right dog and why my heart kept telling me to adopt her even though I didn’t want to.

Le Moo was stubborn, but she settled into the household easily. We had no housebreaking incidents and no other behavioral issues. She also seemed to get along with every other dog she met, considering how laid back and confident she is. She seemed to be the kind of dog other dogs looked up to and didn’t test or dominate. So after a long period of adjustment with her, we decided to start looking for a second dog. Le Moo seemed to LIKE other dogs, so we figured she’d be good with a companion. Again, we started looking for a certain breed, but this time there were two breeds we were interested in. Big dogs, of course, as we really enjoy big dogs…hairy, too. Both SP and Le Moo had and have long and lots of hair. Don’t judge me.

So we started looking for a second dog, registering with both of the breed rescues we had interest in. And I watched petfinder again, as well as some other local resources. I found a few dogs here and there that were of interest, but none of them worked out for various reasons. A couple of times it was really sad to have the potential adoption not happen, but I kept telling myself that the right dog was waiting for us somewhere. I just had no idea that somewhere would be over 1300 miles away! See, I found a listing on a rescue group I was a part of for one of the breeds I was interested in, with a link to a picture. The face on this dog was absolutely adorable. Like, you look at this face and you can’t help but smile. When I read the description for the dog, I thought she sounded exactly like what we were looking for, with the exception that she was a little younger than we had hoped. We really wanted a dog that was no less than 2 years old, but this dog was showing as 18 months. But the foster said she was very well behaved, loved other dogs, and wasn’t terribly rambunctious. The problem was, she was in Oklahoma. 1300 miles away. And we had no way to get her. But after talking to the rescue, and then to the foster, we were so far hooked it was crazy. The foster told us that they’ve used a transport group in the past and that he had used them to move his ten dogs when he moved from one location to another. So we signed paperwork, sight unseen, for this not-quite-adult dog. And then we had to wait for three weeks, because we missed the transport by one day and the next one was two weeks away…and the trip took almost a week because of the stopover they made halfway to let the dogs stretch and relax, and so they could clean out the transport truck. When we finally got to pick up Butthead, I was pretty terrified. We’d never met her, we only had the foster’s information to go on, and when she got off the truck, she was big but so so skinny. Like malnourished looking skinny. It made me want to cry! All this happened… But for all the trouble we’ve had with her (including being reduced to tears multiple times and wanting to send her back many many times), Butthead has opened my eyes to seeing the world differently. She’s more active than Le Moo, which requires more of my attention and more of my activity. And much much more of my patience. She reminds me to not be so serious all the time. She reminds me that I need to be engaged, not only with her and with Le Moo, but with people around me. She loves to be underfoot–like SP was–but without the neuroses that SP had. Luckily, she’s not noise or thunder-phobic (as Le Moo is turning out to be, unfortunately), though clearly still a puppy with puppy-type issues.

These animals, they came to me when I needed them. They were brought into my life for a reason. I’m sure I haven’t discovered all the reasons with the current dogs, but I’m open to finding as many of them as possible. Even if they sometimes infuriate and frustrate me, in the end I know I will grow and change and be better with them as part of my life.


Posted by on August 27, 2013 in anxiety, Butthead, change, dogs, Le Moo


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And thus the return

Well, Hub has been back for several days now (since Wednesday). It was a long couple of nights (and days) without him, and caring for the Wayward Pup he brought home with him was difficult. Fortunately, we were able to keep her isolated from our dogs for the two days she was here without having to literally lock her away. We hadn’t planned on actually keeping her isolated, but we tried to introduce her to Le Moo and Butthead, but she freaked out and tried to attack Le Moo. There was lots of scrabbling and growling and snapping and biting… It was a little frightening, for several reasons. Number one, Le Moo is so freaking laid back sometimes you wonder if she’s still breathing. It was a little scary to see her in attack mode. Number two, Wayward Pup is 22lbs and Le Moo is 95lbs. Wayward Pup could have really gotten hurt, and it was only Hub and me right there so we had to scramble to pull the two dogs apart while they were biting and snapping and generally trying to eat each other. Butthead? She got scared and kept away from the whole ordeal. So we kept the dogs separated in the house and walked Wayward Pup on the leash away from the other two dogs. When Hub went to retrieve his parents from the train on Friday, he took Wayward Pup with him, so that was the end of that stress. I made it through the day alone on Thursday with the three dogs, including leaving them in the house and getting myself out to physical therapy, and I was able to walk WP while the other two were in the house several times.

Meanwhile, Hub got completely and utterly screwed by the car rental place he used to drive home. I’m really pissed because we ended up paying almost three times what they said the charge would be. And there was no one at the lot to explain when Hub turned in the car. Now, I’ve asked him to call the rental agency every day, multiple times a day, since he got back…but he has not done it. I want an explanation for why they think they can charge us THREE TIMES the fee, but he hasn’t done it. Hmph. Between the exorbitant rental and the gas, the drive home was waaaay more expensive than the flight down for him and his brother. Arg. And it’s not like the flight was cheap…

So his parents are home and really banged up. We have offered to go over and help them, but so far they’ve had other family and friends stopping by to see them. Many are bringing food, so at least they will have enough to eat for the time being. Their physical needs are hopefully being taken care of, I just worry about their emotional and mental well-being. They’ve been severely traumatized, not only by the accident and the loss of their dog, but also by what could have been. And I think, a little bit by their own mortality. Hub’s parents are younger than mine by at least 10+ years, and I think they haven’t really felt their mortality the way mine have…just merely because of their stage of life. But I think this incident has changed that, and I worry that they aren’t going to seek the help they might need. Although I love them and they love me, we don’t have the kind of relationship where I could go to them and suggest quietly that they remember to seek mental and emotional assistance if they need it. It makes me sad and concerned about them.

On the up side, Hub is home! And I made it through with much less anxiety than I thought I would. I slept almost four hours the second night he was gone, which was double the first night. Now you might not think four hours is much (and it really really isn’t), but it’s more than I had expected, considering I didn’t expect to sleep at all either night. I had some worries here and there, and I felt somewhat overwhelmed at some points, but I didn’t let it overtake me and I used the tools I had at hand to stay in the moment and remember that I was completely able to handle things. Even if I had to remind myself repeatedly, I was able to and I did handle everything that needed to be handled. I am very proud of myself.

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Posted by on August 24, 2013 in anxiety, dogs, family, hub, strength


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One more night

I made it through another day. Another evening of just me and the dogs. I did get to talk to my mom on the phone (and then in person for about 10 minutes), so at least I saw some other human beings today. Meanwhile, another night taking the dogs out in the dark. More dog barking for no reason. Now they are abed and so am I. But to sleep, perchance to dream? Not likely.

Last night I slept for about 2 hours. It was 2:20 in the morning and I kept yawning and my eyes were so heavy. So I got up and closed the bedroom door and locked it. Telephone on one side of me, mag light at the tip of my fingers. Then I left my laptop on and turned the television off, so the room glowed by the light of the laptop screen. I turned my clock radio on for the two hour sleep cycle and closed my eyes. After much tossing and turning–which is normal for me–I must have drifted off. The next thing I remember was hearing Le Moo crying. the clock said 4:44. Apparently there was a storm overhead and Le Moo was on the other side of the locked bedroom door. So I crawled out of bed and let her into the bedroom with me, then locked us in again. I sat up with her for a bit, but the storm was small. She curled up in our walk-in closet and cried some more, but not for long. I didn’t sleep for the next two hours…I stared at the clock and listened to the stupid radio morning show until I had to get up the feed the beasts and let them out. Then I went back to bed to rest but didn’t sleep.

I got myself out to PT, which is a good thing. I talked to Hub on and off. He’s on his way home, but the drive is a long one and they are taking it in two legs, which means he’s staying over in a hotel. More $$$ out the window (we paid for both his ticket and his brother’s ticket on the plane, their hotel room in Florida, the rental car, all the gas, and now the hotel overnight and even more gas tomorrow). It’s crazy, but not one person in his family, including his mother and step-father, offered to pay for anything or reimburse anything. Would we have taken it? Maybe, but maybe not. The least they could have done was offer, though. We’re talking about big money for last minute tickets to Florida…and gas and rental car costs are expensive. *sigh* Anyway, they should be home sometime tomorrow afternoon. I miss him. We’ve been together for twenty-one years (married for almost 14)…he’s everything to me. We’re rarely apart for any length of time (except when he’s working, of course!).

So tonight, I am assuming will be much like last night, hopefully without the thunderstorms. Tomorrow is going to be exhausting, not only because I haven’t slept, but because Hub will be home with Grumpy-the-dog and we’ll have to deal with that issue. His parents probably won’t be home before Friday or Saturday, which means I’ll get to deal with Grumpy (Grumpette?) both Thursday and Friday. Woo. Hoo. This week just won’t end, will it?

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Posted by on August 21, 2013 in anxiety, dogs, family, fear, hub


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Up all night

Yeah, it’s no good for me, but I’m going to be up all night. As I said in my last post, Hub is in Florida helping his family after their auto accident…and I’m home alone. Good news is, day one is over, and I survived dealing with Cray-cray lab all day while my parents were out of town. I wasn’t sure how I was going to handle it, because we’ve not really had her here with us since Butthead arrived. The good news is they get along outside, but mostly play (rough) when they are out there. I didn’t want to have to deal with separating them if they got too rough out there, so I wasn’t sure how I would be able to handle them in the house. We brought Cray-cray lab over yesterday while Hub was home to see how it went in the house. I felt reasonably comfortable that I could contain them in the house and figured that I would let them outside separately so as not to have to deal with the play-fighting out there. So I retrieved Cray-cray lab this morning after I got up and brought her here. Unfortunately, she’s kind of a pest–almost as bad as Butthead–so I ended up letting them go outside and play to get some of their energy out. Cray-cray lab is pretty responsive when you call her into the house, so when I needed to break them up, I called her inside and Butthead followed. I took Cray-cray lab home at dinner time so my brother could take over her care until my parents got home late this evening.

I made my way through the rest of the evening alone with Le Moo and Butthead. Took them out about 8:30 (mostly dark outside) and freaked out because I saw a bat flying around outside. I hate bats. I know they are good to keep bugs away and stuff, but I hate bats. They freak me out. I tried to rush the dogs so they would come inside, but of course Butthead had to poop and she takes forever. I finally got them in the house, but had to take them out again two hours later before sending them off to bed. Butthead is in her crate, Le Moo is hanging out somewhere upstairs. I wish she would be in my bedroom here with me–Sweet Pea would have been–but I can’t lock her in here. She’d be miserable and I’d feel horrible. It’s not like I’m going to sleep anyway. There’s no way I’ll be able to feel safe alone, so I’ll be up all night. I have a bag full of library books on the floor and the laptop will stay on all night. I might write some more blog posts tonight (maybe finish the two I’ve had started for days/weeks) or I might play some games. Or I might sit up all night and read and watch television and try to distract myself. I might cry. I’ll definitely have the phone on one side and the heavy-duty mag light on the other (in case I freak out and want to pretend to defend myself with something). When I moved out of my parents’ house and into my first home alone, my dad gave me a wood baseball bat to put by my bed (which I kept with me even after pre-hub Hub moved in and even after we got married). My dad hoped I’d never have to use it, but he said it was light enough for me to grab up and swing easily and yet strong enough to knock someone out with a good swing. And there’s no aiming and/or worrying that someone else might come in and find a firearm and try to use it against you. And if you swing a bat at someone when you’re scared and it turns out to be friend and not foe, you’re not likely to kill them. Thanks, Dad.

Either way, not planning to sleep. If I fall asleep from exhaustion, that’s a whole different kettle of fish. The TV will be on, the laptop will be on, the light will be on. It will be a huge shocker if I fall asleep. But I guess stranger things have happened. Meanwhile, I expect to be awake. I’ll take the dogs out early and feed them, then maybe try to catch a few winks before PT (or not), and then I’ll try to nap after I get home from PT…maybe. In the middle of the day, when I feel safer being alone.

And of course when I’m alone is when some noise happens downstairs that sounds like crashing or breaking glass. After I’m upstairs in bed. And the house is dark. And the dogs are abed. Had to go through the house twice and was heading for the garage when I realized the root beer bottle I’d set on a paper towel (to avoid leaving a ring on our granite countertop in the kitchen) fell over. Fuck. Scared the hell out of me. Felt new gray hairs growing as I was putting the bottle away (recycle bin is at the curb so I left it out to put in tomorrow). This never happens when Hub is home. WTF.

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Posted by on August 18, 2013 in anxiety, fear, hub


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On my own

By the time this posts, I won’t be alone anymore, I hope. But as it stands right now, Hub is heading out of town first thing tomorrow morning, very early. He’ll be here long enough to feed the dogs and head out, mostly as if it were a normal work morning. But he won’t be coming home tomorrow evening, because he’s leaving town. It’s the first time in years that I will be alone in the house overnight. Or alone and on my own all the time. The last time he left town, I stayed with my parents because I couldn’t handle Sweet Pea and my own health on my own. But then, my parents lived thirty minutes away and if I needed help they would have to drive all the way out to help me. Now they are closer, so if I need them they could be here pretty quickly. But it still means I’ll be in the house all alone overnight. Well, the dogs will be here, but honestly they are no deterrent to intruders or anything.

So not only tomorrow night, but the next night, also. See, my in-laws were in a very very bad auto accident in Florida. My father-in-law broke his shoulder and my mother-in-law was really banged up. They are both in pain and unable to travel at the moment. One of their two dogs died in the accident, but thankfully their granddaughter (who was with them) was unscathed. So my hub and his brother (the granddaughter’s father) are flying down to help them get themselves together and maybe help them come home. So Hub is flying out tomorrow morning early (Monday) and driving home with his brother, the granddaughter, and the remaining dog Tuesday night/Wednesday morning. That’s at least a seventeen hour drive, not including all the stops they will need to do because of the dog, plus they are staying overnight in a hotel to break up the long drive.

I am not keen on being alone a lot of the time. I’m accustomed to it during the day when hub is working, but in the evenings and at night…not so much. Even evenings I am alone on occasion, but overnight? It’s been probably eight or nine years. I’m kind of terrified. I’ve already told T that I doubt I will sleep during the night, either night. Not only am I afraid something will happen to me health-wise (I carry a phone with me everywhere, including the bathroom, and I sleep with it in arm’s reach on the bed), but what if someone tries to break into the house? What if someone tries to hurt me or one of the dogs? I’m trying desperately not to blow this out of proportion. I’ve spent the last two days–since we found out he’d be going to Florida–trying to stay in the moment and not worry ahead of time. But time is closing in and it’s getting harder to be in the moment.

No question, I know he needs to go. And in fact, I encouraged him to go from the moment we heard about the accident. This is family and you do what you need to with family. The only reason I’m not going is because I would not be of much help and would likely be in the way. But I’ve done everything I could from here to help, and now I have to let him go. I’m afraid something will happen to his plane, or that he’ll get hurt while he’s down there, or that they’ll have trouble on the long drive home. I’m trying so so hard to not get to a place where fear is all I feel. It’s very very likely they will be successful on their trip and return home without any issues. It is very very likely I will be fine while he is gone, and survive the two nights without anything but some stress.

On Monday I’m going to be taking care of our dogs, plus my parents’ dog because they are out of town until late Monday night. That’s stressful enough. But then when Hub gets home, we’ll be taking in my in-laws’ dog until they get back into town, which could be two or three days, or two weeks. The dog is a smaller dog, accustomed to living with her buddy but not with bigger dogs like we have. Also, she’s kind of grumpy in general and doesn’t know us all that well…and has never been to our house at all. In addition, she’s known to be an escape artist, so she’ll have to be on a leash out the yard all the time. And guess who will be having to deal with her all day while Hub is working? Yeah, me. So on Hub’s return–which will be a relief to me–I’ll be getting new stress with this poor pup. I really do feel for her, she’s lost her life-time companion in a terribly traumatic event and has been shuffled to the pound, then to a relative’s home in Florida temporarily, and then will be on another long car ride and brought here to strangers and a strange house. But for sure it’s going to be tough on me. *sigh* I don’t even feel like Hub’s return is going to bring relief, but instead more stress. I mean, YES I want him home, so no question there…but the stress of having this dog is going to be difficult. We have no crate for her, we can’t leave her free in the house at night because she has no experience here…so we’re not sure what to do. At worst we can contain her in the bathroom area where we tried to contain Butthead at night…and at least she’s small enough to not be able to jump over a baby gate once we have her in there. But I also have physical therapy and I have no idea where to contain her at that point unless we can borrow a crate from someone. I’ve already asked our trainer if she knows anyone who could lend us one and she’s asking around, but I hate to have to go buy a crate for 2 or 3 days. Arg.

I hope I am able to handle the next couple of days. I am so not looking forward to it. I did go out and borrow loads of books from the library to make the time pass faster. And I have some online games I can play that will keep me mostly occupied. But still… I know I won’t sleep at night alone in the dark, and I’m not sure I’ll be able to sleep during the day (I am not a good napper, for sure), so I have sleep deprivation to look forward to.

I might be blogging a lot. Not a bad thing, considering I have only two blogs set to post. I do have stuff to blog about…some changes happening that I can share. And some drafts I have waiting to be completed…but sometimes when I need to be distracted, I just can’t distract myself. I might end up sitting and worrying and fighting off anxiety the whole time. We shall see, I guess.

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Posted by on August 15, 2013 in anxiety, dogs, family, fear, hub


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Food with thought

I know, you’re thinking I mistyped the title, it should be food for thought. But no, I wrote exactly what I meant.

If you have read any of my blogs, you would know that I think too much. And it translates quite directly to my relationship with food, unfortunately. I have a terrible relationship with food, that I know began when I was very young. I do not starve myself and I do not binge, but that does not mean my relationship with food isn’t sucky. Because it is sucky. I cannot sit down and eat anything without thinking about what I’m eating, how much I’m eating, what it will mean for me later, and so-forth. I cannot enjoy a plate of food without thinking about the consequences of what I am ingesting. Oftentimes it leads to guilt, even when I do not eat a larger portion than I should. It does not seem to matter, every morsel of food that I eat, thinking about eating, don’t eat…it all gets analyzed.

I think about food pretty constantly. What am I going to eat next, when am I going to eat it, how much will I eat, how long will it take to make. I think about food when I’m hungry, I think about food when I’m not hungry. I think about what food I will be eating for dinner WHILE I’m eating lunch. I think about lunch the next day when I’m eating dinner. Even when I try to enjoy the food I’m presently eating–savor it–I am thinking of how much I’m eating, whether it’s a lot of carbs or a lot of sugar or a lot of fat. I’m thinking about whether or not I should be eating whatever it is I’m eating. When I’m done, I feel guilty or feel badly about what I’ve eaten. Even if the food isn’t necessarily bad for me, I still feel like I shouldn’t have eaten it.

I grew up in a family of four kids, with both my parents. I was the youngest, the only girl (as I’ve said before), and I was always the chubbiest. Well, one of my brothers was chubby for a while, but he was a boy so he was deemed “husky” and they chalked it up to him being a boy. But me being a girl, it was always bad for me to be chubby. Even as my mother attempted to contain what I ate, she also made sure we knew to always clean our plates. We were of that generation that you didn’t leave food on your plate. If you took the food, then you ate it, no matter how much there was or how full you were. You were not to waste food (we were also on the poorer side, money-wise, so waste was a huge issue). So I totally rebelled against my food being restricted. I can still remember the drawer that they kept the junk food in, and I remember sneaking the food out to my bedroom to eat. I snuck when my mom was at work, or when she was busy outside. I snuck at night when she was in night school, and I snuck when my brothers were outside playing. I’m sure I ate junk at school, or even if it wasn’t junk, I overate. I ate like I felt like I might not have food again–which was probably how I felt because of being restricted by my mother. My father? He was there, but it was like he wasn’t. My mother really did the parenting, unless one of the boys was bad and then my father stepped in. I don’t remember much interaction with my dad when I was growing up, unless it was in the company of my mother and then it was my mother who communicated with me.

As I got older, even my grandmother helped to restrict my food intake. She tried to get me to go to the gym with her (anyone remember Spa Lady? Yeah, she was like a lifetime member, I think), which I hated to do. Fat girl in a leotard? Yeah, no thanks. I remember going to Weight Watchers once with my mom, but I don’t think we wanted to afford the food, so they shamed us into not coming back if we weren’t going to “fully participate.” I think I’ve talked about fat camp? Have I talked about that? They sent me to fat camp as a pre-teen, which totally didn’t work. But of course that was food restriction. And all the diets I went on, with and without parental support, all restricted food. All actively thinking and re-thinking the food I put in my mouth.

With age came food intolerances and sensitivites and allergies. And paranoia over food reactions. Which made me even more hyper-sensitive about eating. And although I don’t really feel “cravings” like I think most people do, there are times when I want something specific. And if I really want something, I do eat it (if it isn’t listed under intolerance, allergy or sensitivity), with the attempt at eating a normal (or smaller) portion of it. For example, one of the snack foods I can eat is Cheetos Puffs…and I enjoy them. So if I want them, I eat them, with an eye for the right serving of them. If I want frozen gelato (my night-time sweet), I will eat a serving of it. Sometimes I am contented with just taking a spoonful to satiate my taste for it. So these days, I try really hard not to restrict my eating. But none of that helps me get past the fact that I am ever thoughtful and diligent about the food that I eat. About food, altogether.

And it sucks. I certainly do not want to gain weight, and I’d like very much to get rid of the 10 pounds I put on these last two months since Butthead arrived. But more importantly, I really would like to have a normal freaking relationship with food. I’d like to not have to think about food so much, or about how much I’m eating or what it’s going to do to me. And I’d like to not feel guilty when I eat something that I don’t necessarily “need” to eat. It’s a layover from all the food sneaking I did as a child, where I know I felt guilty for stealing the food and eating it without permission. I know it, I just don’t know how to get rid of it.


Posted by on August 12, 2013 in anxiety, fat, food, self-critical, shame, thinking, weight


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Impatiently patient

I’m supposed to be patient and wait for what is going to come in the way of change for me. But I am not a patient person, and I asked T if being impatient technically was patience. She said in her opinion, that yes, it was. Because impatience was more giving up hope. Patience means you see the hope at the end of the tunnel that the resolution will come.

I’m tired of being patient. I’m tired of feeling frustrated and annoyed. I’m tired of being stuck in this place…this in-between of life. I feel like I’m trying to move forward, to look for a path to follow, but it’s murky. Or it’s dark. Or it’s just a long winding road of nothing that keeps going and going. Hmm, been there, done that. I am so stuck, and I despise being this way. I just want to be able to move on to the next phase, whatever it’s going to be.


Posted by on August 9, 2013 in anxiety, change


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Physically therapeutic

Well, this week I went back to physical therapy. Back to the same facility, back to the same physical therapist, back to the same routine of two days a week. The first day I went back, the appointment was later in the day than I used to do, and I had to figure out how to schedule my day around the dogs’ schedules, my schedule, and therapy. The second day I went this week, Hub was working from home (to deal with the air conditioning guy who came to see our stupid bathroom ceilings), so he was able to handle the dogs and their schedule while I took care of my PT.

At the very least, it seems like we are concentrating on my shoulder differently this time, with different focus, different exercises, and different trigger spots. So it makes me feel less like the first round was a failure and more like we are changing tactics to better target the current pain. And truth be told, when she went looking for trigger spots both days, they were not showing up in the spots where I had them quite badly the first time around. I was surprised, actually, because those trigger points (at the front of my shoulders between my arm pits and the top of my chest) have generally been major problems for me. Don’t get me wrong, next week those trigger points might be back or not, but they weren’t there this week. All very interesting information.

Not sure if I’ve said this before here, but I really like my physical therapist (let’s call her E). Not only is E really good at what she does–and she is–but she’s also a really incredibly nice, patient, compassionate person. She’s easy to like and easy to talk to, and easy to work with. I’m so grateful to have found her, I can’t even explain. When I got back to the office for the first time this round, I saw a flyer on the table in the waiting room for a new service there (for about a month, apparently)…a massage therapist. I had already talked to E the first time around about seeing a massage therapist after finishing PT, and she had recommended someone she liked whom she had used in the past (I didn’t get a chance to go try her). So when I saw the flyer this time around, I asked E if she knew the massage therapist or had heard anything. E said none of her clients had used the massage therapist, and she hesitated to make any recommendation without having used the woman’s services.

On the way out of the office, I stopped to talk to the front desk manager to ask if I could buy E an hour with the massage therapist. Not only because I wanted her to try the service, but because I wanted E to have the opportunity to relax and enjoy. She’s such a nice person and I know she works really hard at what she does…and all of her clients are lucky to have her! So the front desk manager helped me get the gift certificate together, and at my second appointment of the week, I gave E the gift certificate. She was so excited she actually jumped up and down and clapped her hands. I told her to make sure she FINDS THE TIME to use the certificate and she promised me she would. I hope so! And hopefully the woman is good, so maybe I can work her into my rotation, too!

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Posted by on August 6, 2013 in anxiety, pain, physical therapy


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Playing Possum

So, fun times tonight. Hub had some friends over, who apparently left and I didn’t know it. No big deal there. But I’m on here, writing up a blog post, and I hear horrible noises from outside, screaming and squealing and barking and howling. And I FREAK THE HELL OUT.

It’s nearly ten at night, I’m already in my nightgown–technically, it’s like a thing I wear around the house before going to bed, strapless tube-top type jersey gown–and I’m in bed. I’ve showered, I’m trying to relax and focus on my blog post…and out of nowhere, these horrible horrible noises. I pick up the phone and call Hub’s cell, because sometimes the dogs run outside at night and chase rabbits in the yard, which includes barking. But this was definitely different, I just have no clue why. Hub picks up the phone and he’s practically panting…

“Possum…I think they caught and killed a possum.”


So I ask if the dogs are okay, is anyone bleeding. He says he doesn’t know, it’s too dark to tell and Le Moo is NOT wanting to let the supposedly dead possum alone. And Hub is outside with the two dogs, alone. He’s trying to hold Le Moo back and he’s yelling at me to get outside to help him. And as he’s yelling at me, I’m saying, “OK OK OK” and trying to hang up the phone so I can get downstairs and outside, but he’s still yelling at me on the phone! I’ve already pushed my feet into my house shoes, I drop the phone and pretty much jog awkwardly down the hall in my nightgown and my glasses, my hair up from the shower. Problem is, my knees have been KILLING me the last couple of days. I’ve been avoiding the stairs as often as possible because of how much pain I’m in. And here I’m needing to hurry the hell down the hallway, down the stairs, and through the kitchen. I stopped barely to grab leashes out of the dog drawer on the way–we have several in there, I just grabbed what I could and ran to the back door. As I’m rushing outside, I have to slow to get down the stairs off the deck, and then I realize that they are all the way out in the back corner of the yard. The darkest part of the yard…and across the worst part of the yard. The ground is bumpy and craggy, unstable and partially sloping upward. My knees are screaming, I’m hobbling as fast as I can, and Hub is yelling “I don’t know if it’s dead! I don’t know if Le Moo got bitten! I can’t keep Le Moo away from it! HURRY!”

Flashes of my run-in with Le Moo and the snake are assaulting me. I know how strong Le Moo is, and how stubborn. Hub is bigger and stronger than she is, but he’s in panic mode…and he’s got Le Moo by the collar while still holding the flashlight on the possum to make sure it is not moving. Le Moo is a beast when she wants to be, and holding her by the collar is a tough fight.

Meanwhile, Butthead is standing five feet away from Hub, Le Moo, and the possum. I think she’s kind of freaked out…Hub said he yelled at her and probably scared the shit out of her. So fortunately she’s not going at the possum, so I hooked her up to a leash right away, then tried to walk further over to Hub to hand him the other leash while containing Butthead in my freaking nightgown. And yeah, so the possum sits up, nice and alive, and HISSES and shows its sharp-ass fucking teeth. It’s less than five feet away. Le Moo goes BALLISTIC…starts lunging again, nearly pulling Hub off-balance. He’s yelling at me, then starts yelling at the possum to get it to run away. It sort of seems uncertain, hisses and shows those damn teeth again, then starts to get up, but Le Moo starts lunging again. I’m trying to get to Hub to give him the leash, but he’s got Le Moo’s collar in one hand and the flashlight in the other, and he’s struggling. I tell him to wrap his arms around Le Moo’s whole body to hold her back, but as he tries to do that, she lunges again and nearly gets away. Finally, the possum shoots off across the yard. Butthead lunges against the leash I have her on, which nearly takes ME over. Le Moo lunges, but Hub manages to get the leash on her. The possum is thrashing its way through (or up and over) the fence, quite noisily. Le Moo is livid, Butthead is wanting to chase the damn thing, and I’m trying to hold my ground on my freaking painful knees in my freaking nightgown which I had hiked up over my hips a bit because it’s floor-length and I didn’t want it dragging across our crappy buggy lawn. In hindsight, I’m probably lucky I didn’t lose the whole shebang because it was only being held up by a loose stretchy tube-top.

I turn away from the darkness toward the house and try to take Butthead with me, and she actually cooperates somewhat, but Le Moo is planted. Hub is yelling at her to come with him, which does no good. So we trade leashes (yeah, he takes the 65lb weakling, I take the 95 pound cow), and I put my whole body behind Le Moo and start pushing her toward the house. Fortunately, she decides to follow Hub and Butthead, so we trot after them, my knees still screaming. I hobble up the steps onto the deck and we get the dogs into the house.

Thus begins the inspections, because we have no idea if Le Moo or Butthead got bitten. Hub tells me that the dogs raced out to the fence, came away, then raced back again. And hopped UP on their back feet on the fence. And he THINKS that Le Moo grabbed the possum off the fence with her mouth and WHIPPED it across the yard. Then raced after it. It all happened so fast he had no idea if the possum got her or what. But as I said, Le Moo is stubborn and hardly allows us to check her over. She’s also really hairy, lots of the areas are thick, too. So we finally get her onto the floor and we’re checking her, touching her, getting all the stupid seeds out of her fur (from the crap that grows near the fence)…and we see nothing. Not a speck of blood, not a scape or a scratch. He checks Butthead while I sit on a chair and start checking Le Moo more closely, rubbing her neck and legs to see if she flinches or pulls away. Nothing. Butthead is clean, too.

We brush and pet on the dogs, both of us feeling the adrenaline rushing through us. Butthead wanders off to other parts of the house repeatedly, barking for no reason before coming back for more petting. Le Moo pretty much lays on the floor and lets us pet and brush her, as if nothing has happened. She’s all kinds of relaxed at this point.

Jeebus freaking hell-fire. I (and my clean nightgown) am now covered in dog hair and dog slobber, bugs, grass, who knows what else from the run out through the yard. My knees are aching, my heart is pounding, and fear is rushing through me. Any one of them could have gotten hurt. Any one of them could have been attacked, bitten, ripped open… Stupid dogs, did they not SEE the freaking TEETH on that damn thing? Look, we’re basically city people. Yes, we live in a suburban area, but it’s not like we live in the woods or in the middle of wild country. Yes, we have deer in our treed back acre. Yes, we have two foxes and tons of birds. Lots of bunnies. But they don’t come in our yard and hiss at us with big sharp teeth. They stay in their area, we stay in ours. It’s kind of an unwritten deal we have. The snake didn’t, and he had to die for it (there is another one out there, at least one, I know it because they’ve been spotted and so has their skin, but if they stay outta my yard, I’ll stay outta theirs). I sort of now wish we’d been able to kill the possum, although I know that’s terrible. But it scares the hell out of me that he (or she) might come back when the dogs are out again and someone might get hurt. If he (or she!) is smart and stays out of the yard, then we’re all good. The deer stay out, as do the foxes and the groundhog…and the other snakes.

We’re okay. Le Moo and Butthead are okay. I’m going to have damn nightmares all night. I don’t ever want to be that close to a possum again. And I wish Le Moo and Butthead would give up the possum hunt forever. Bunnies are better to chase…they move faster and don’t have scary teeth. Yikes.

(meanwhile, my freshly laundered nightgown is now back in the laundry pile again. I literally JUST washed it this afternoon so I could wear it tonight and over the weekend.)


Posted by on August 3, 2013 in anxiety, Butthead, dogs, fear, Le Moo, pain


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