Tuesday, February 15, 2011


This was me fourteen years ago today...

It's been quite a roller coaster.

A ride with




and relief.

And I don't want to get off.

Happy Anniversary, Pat!

I love you!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Belated Birthday

I let Biscuit’s birthday pass last week without much fanfare. She turned two on the second. It was late in the day before I realized it and we were iced in most of the week, so I didn’t make it out for the new squeaky toy I had planned to buy her. Pat pulled out a big rawhide bone so she could have a special treat that evening.

I’ve never been big on celebrating pets’ birthdays. Partly because I never knew their actual birthdays, only a guess at which month they were born based on the vet’s estimate. Even so, I felt bad about almost missing Biscuit’s b-day this year. I feel like she’s gotten the short end of the stick, and I’m to blame.

She was a few weeks old when we brought her home, only a couple months after our beloved Clyde passed. I wrote about it on her first birthday last year, so I won’t bore you with the details again.

I don’t know if Biscuit came to us too soon, while my grief was so raw I was tender to the touch, but she and I have never completely meshed well.

I hate to say it, but “the dog” grates my nerves, and I think it’s all because I compare her to Clyde, two totally different dogs. Clyde was small, sweet, and obedient. You could pet him without getting smashed in the nose, although he did lick a lot. He greeted you at the door with a smile and a wag of the tail, and he was a perfect leash walker, walking with an heir of dignity about him and showing off for the other dogs locked behind fences. And last but not least, he lived peacefully with our cat Gilligan.

Biscuit, well, she’s insane. Of course she’s two, which calculates to fourteen, a horrible year for hormones. I remember my fourteenth year, except I didn’t follow people around licking at their heels or stretching my tongue to eat meat off the counter, though I did bark at quite a few people.

But I digress…

A complete opposite of Clyde, Biscuit is tall and muscular. She goes nuts whenever you try to pet her. I’ve had many a sore chin and nose just for trying to show her some love. I’m greeted by 60 pounds of dog pushing me down when I walk in the door - and that’s just coming back from getting the mail. You can’t walk her on a leash without having to drag her or her dragging you. And I’ll certainly never be able to own another cat for fear she’ll eat them for breakfast.

We should have named her Marley...

(Yes, we’ve had to replace our bedding because of Biscuit.)

but I thought I was getting that sweet, cuddly dog from the vet’s office. Man, she pulled one over on me.

Pat likes to remind me that Clyde was mischievous when he was young, too. I guess I have selective memory. There was that one time he slid down the roof of our house from the second story and landed in the bushes. And it took him a few months to catch on to the leash and pooping outside. And he used to run around the living room in lightening-fast circles leaving cushions in the dust.

I try to remember that Biscuit is young. No, she’s not Clyde, but she’s a good dog, a sweet dog, and she deserves just as much love as Clyde.

I guess I just need to buy a hockey goalie’s mask to give it to her.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Time to Bloom

I have a bouquet of flowers sitting on my table that’s eight days old. I’ve removed a few wilted blooms, but it still looks beautiful. Usually by now most of the flowers would lie limp and pitiful and I would be forced to throw them out, even though I don’t want to. Fresh flowers are a rare treat for me. But this particular bouquet is still standing tall and showcasing lavender lilies, white daisies, and pink mums. I think they’re still thriving on the excitement I felt when I bought them.

You see, eight days ago I turned in my resignation at work after three years of growing increasingly unhappy with the leadership. I was at the point of dreading Mondays…and Tuesdays…and Wednesdays….and, you get the point. But it was more than just dread.

I grew increasingly tense the closer my car came to the building. By the time I drove into the parking garage I was throwing curse words at anyone and anything I saw. Okay, maybe I didn’t literally yell profanities at innocent co-workers who happened to cross my path – I still had to work with them, you know – but I certainly thought them. I also grew resentful of meetings (especially those at 4:00 on Fridays – I mean, seriously!), and colleagues that expected me to work with the detail that used to come natural to me. I blamed my lack of that detail on having a third baby, when in actuality my morale had tanked.

The culprit: the organization I used to be so proud to work for has changed, and what used to be a friendly environment has become quite toxic, and I've grown bitter.

The worst of it all, I brought my unhappiness home. I tried to nip my bad mood in the bud when I walked in the door, but many times I was unsuccessful. And honestly, no job is worth having an unhappy home.

Pat and I discussed the possibility of me leaving for the last few months, but fear always kept me tied down and just when I didn’t think things could get worse, they did. I had no idea how I was going to drag myself into that office every morning without imploding. I was getting headaches, I was physically and mentally exhausted, and I had chest pains. My body was trying to send me signals, or giving up on me.

When I didn’t act on my body’s message, I received it from another direction: church. Two weeks ago the topic was to trust God enough to take a leap and know that He will lead you where you need to go. All of the songs I sang were speaking to me:

Precious Lord, take my hand. Lead me on, help me stand.
I’m tired, I’m weak, I am worn.

One of my band mates sang a song titled “Word of God Speak.” It’s all about shutting up and listening. As I stood waiting to sing harmony with him I had this feeling of something surround me. It was like I was in this warm pocket and I could feel the music envelop me.

Afterward I talked with a close friend about my feelings during the service and she pulled out a quote that she just happened to have with her. She said it helped her while she was having difficulties and she had thought of me recently when she ran across it again.

What was it about? Taking a leap and trusting that there will be a net to catch you or you will be given wings to fly.

I don’t know how it sounds to you, but I feel like I was getting all kinds of messages that day.

After much discussion and many freak outs with Pat, we both decided it was time for me to get out. I had one final meeting with my superiors that confirmed everything I was feeling and the next morning I plopped my resignation on my supervisor’s desk.

I. Am. Done.

And I couldn’t be happier.

Except when my doubts creep up, and fear settles in, and I think that I was crazy to believe I was receiving messages.

I think that’s why the flowers are still flourishing. They thrive as a reminder of the confidence and joy I felt that day.

I’ve taken the leap and hope there will be a net to catch me, or better yet, I’ll be given the wings to fly.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Am I Still in Texas?

Where do I live?

In Texas, right?

Down south where the winters are short and you rarely get below the 30s?

Isn’t that why I love it here?

Or I used to.

But the last two years have been rather freakish.

We typically have one snow/ice day a year when school is out and you stay home from work with a fire in the hearth and jaunts outside to build a snowman; a snowman that used up all of the snow in the yard. He looked like Pig Pen from Peanuts with patches of brown grass stuck in his snow body.

Now, and I mean this very minute, we can build a family of snow people and still have enough powdery stuff left to trudge through.

I don’t know if I like this. I admit that I don’t like having to wear shorts on Christmas Day, as we’ve had to do occasionally, but this is getting ridiculous.

Remember December of 2009? We had a White Christmas. And last February we had two separate winter “events.” One was known as a Mini Snow-pocalypse, which only lasted a couple days. Not too bad. The other was the Texas snowstorm from hell that knocked out our electricity for 40 hours. We had to keep our milk and eggs in the foot of snow on our deck.

I thought that was just a freak winter for us Texans, but oh no. I had to be proven wrong. We’ve had about an inch of ice on the roads since Monday night, temps in the teens and single digits all week, and then I woke this morning to 6” of snow. School has been closed for an unprecedented four days straight, and I’ve been working from home just as long. I do love being home with my family, but my toes are cold.

I think Mother Nature’s trying to tell me geography no longer matters. I’m trying to make a deal with her, though. If I now have to live with these wickedly cold February months, she should drop the temps down at least a little bit in August.

It’s only fair.