Monthly Archives: April 2012

A Reply to ~Just~

I suppose it’s not very professional blogger like to reply in one swoop, instead of to each individual comments… thank gawd I’m not a professional blogger and I can break all of the rules at will. 

This is a subject (referring to my last post) I didn’t really want to touch, in fact I have yet to proof read the post, or to even read it a second time.  But I had to publish something… had to let go.

I’m a poor sport when it comes to grief of any sort.  I’m the one who shows up at a funeral because I’m asked, but stands at the back giving the sympathetic smile to those who have lost.  I can’t force myself to say, “I’m sorry.” when someone has lost a loved one of any sort… it just never feels sincere enough.  But the right words never come to me.  I can hug, I can listen, I can be there… but I never can say a word… that’s just me.  (the feelings are there)

Which brings me to my next fault and or issue.  I can’t take sympathy.  I don’t like being the target for sympathy.  See, I said target.  I grieve alone… that’s how I cope, without a crowd and nothing more than me and memories.  Posting this was entirely difficult, because I knew people would feel, and I couldn’t blame them for that… eh, it’s just a hard thing to explain.

But I can explain the title, the main theme, the thought of “Just a dog”.  I know he was never that, just a dog or anything of the like… none of my animals are just anything, they are all unique, all special, all worth dying for.  I was born needing them, and them needing me.  (yes I’m claiming to have a special “thing” with most animals, deal, lol)  The theme came from my chosen career for the past 12 years.  12 years of being in the canine industry, from working at a popular kennel in every aspect, to being a vet tech, to finally running my own dog training business.  I’ve seen every aspect of the dog.  Birth and death.  Easy deaths, horrid deaths.  Health and disease.  (you might want to grab some coffee, I have a lot of rambling coming)  One year into my career I had to develop a wall, a barrier against the heartache.  With over 300 dogs at anytime within my view, 40 plus hours a week… you see things nightmares are made out of, not because of where I worked, but because the very nature of the beast.

One can not attach themselves to every snout that they meet… not if you want to sleep at night.  Which sounds awful and cold, and terrible, but I imagine Doctors develop the same walls.  You care, you fight, you feel, but you must have a switch.  Every client I get, I love instantly, every last one of them… even the ones that want to eat me.  But one simply cannot open fully to over thousands of true loves… even if I can still name each one by name at this very second. 

People over years have looked to me to be their rock in hard times with their four-footed kids.  I’ve held their babies as they took their last breaths, I’ve held their hands as they’ve made that call… they look to me to be strong.

I have to be strong, always, it’s my job.

But then the strong have their own pets, usually more than the average pet owner, even though they know too well what will come to be.  My dogs are my kids, but also my business partner, my companions, my classmates.  The ones I have now attended school with me.  We got here together.

A year ago this last winter I spent every waking moment with a new-born and our German Shepherd.  He had crossed paths with a terminal illness at the young age of six.  I spent every moment I could force feeding him, giving him shots, giving him all I could… I made the call.  I still at night look over every action I did, wondering if it was right…

So when I say, “He was just a dog,” it’s my defense, my nature, my hope to carry on.  It’s not the way I have ever felt, not even about the strange dog I never met, whom I didn’t know the name, who passed amongst 500 other dogs at the kennel… that dog still weighs heavy in my soul and always will.  It’s how I’m expected to react, I’m supposed to be the strong one… the one who has held the needle to the rainbow bridge.  No animal has ever been just an animal.

Gus was special, perhaps more so than my other pets.  My first dog that I picked out, the first dog I ever got to call my own.  At one and a half he had his first seizure, declared to be an epileptic.  The vets at two different clinics gave him just years to live with his mix of Great Dane Blood, epilepsy and a constant dose of the liver killing drug Pheno.  But he lived on, through moves and changes, agility and my novice training… 13 years, a far cry from the seven-year at best prediction.  I’m not sure if that made it easier or harder, I think I had convinced myself that he was immortal.  When I began my own family my mom asked to keep him, he made her feel safe, the big black dog that was scared of everything.  He passed suddenly in her arms Saturday night.  I thank God that he was allowed to go with no dementia, no blindness, no hearing loss… no issues at all.  He was a picture of health, I could only wish that for so many others.  He now rests on our land, and finally last night I got to say my goodbyes without anyone looking to me for strength. 

I’ll still cry, looking upon his grave… he meant the world to me and always will… but life goes on… and I fully plan on giving God a reaming when I get to heaven on Why he gave us best friends that only live such a short time. 

Moving on (before I enlarge the bags under my eyes even more).  I won’t be getting anymore dogs anytime soon.  Unfortunately, or fortunately depending on how you look at it, my dog training program required me to own five dogs.  Add in the fact that I married another trainer from the same school…. we have four dogs currently.  Four dogs, a goat, two cats, two parakeets, fish and 9 chickens (do we count the moosen goosen and the bears?)…. I have plenty.  And even though I dream of the day of being able to fly off into the sunset without having to hire someone to tend to my “flock” I’m sure we will always have a zoo here… it’s in my blood.  Even when I hate it.  Even when it kills me.

Point being, and me trying not to drag this out even more than I have, I do appreciate every comment, every sympathetic ear, but I personally cannot respond individually… that’s just me.  I don’t do well with the group hug.  I do well with the unheard cries at night… that’s just me.  But I have read every comment and appreciated them all.  Thank you.

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~Just a Dog~

It was just a dog.  She kept repeating the phrase over and over again in her mind to fight back the flood of emotions.  Just a dog, she told her mind.  Just another dumb dog.

Just thirteen years, that’s all the time she spent with him.  Just thirteen years spanning from college, to marriage, to children.  Just a dog who took up her whole entire full-sized bed, just a dog who danced with butterflies, and chased snowflakes.  She shook her head, trying to shake loose the vivid memories that were flooding her mind.

“Just a dog”, she reminded herself.

The children, her children, stared at her eyes after her husband hung up the phone, they watched her cracking heart as he said the word she was dreading the most.  She swallowed hard the lump of death that was forming in her throat, digging her nails into her palms to remind her that she couldn’t react, not in front of the kids.

“Just a dog,” she told herself again.

Just a runt of the litter, worm bag that no one else had wanted.  A pup her mother certainly was not happy about her bringing home.  Just a runt who turned into a 90 pound Great Dane mix that could no longer fit into her Sunfire.  Just a dog who she bought an SUV for, so they could continue their drives into the country, and the trips to agility practices. 

“Just a dog, not a human.”  She whispered.

Just a mutt who scared off the van full of strangers that had followed her home one night.  Just an animal who had always been there when everyone else turned away.  Just a dog who now was laying dead, waiting for her to take him away.

13 years, a life longer than ever expected.  13 years, not quite long enough.  Just a dog… that everyone loved.

She took a deep breath as she made the turn, she bit her lip to keep it all in.  Gripping the wheel tightly as the storms pounded outside her car, taking the dog for his last ride, past the trail they always walked, her and that dog.

Taking him past his favorite park, feeling his phantom breath on her chin, going so slow, so gentle to protect the memory from any harm.  Letting it all play out in her head, the movie of her and that dog.

Breathing slow and deep, calculated, counting the hours, the moments, begging the memories to wait until they could be alone. 

Until he was home, safe and sound, till the world was asleep, and he was secure under his tree.  Just her and her dog, saying soft one-sided goodbyes…

Until we meet again.

You were more than just a dog.

~Gus, 12/15/99 - 4/28/12 ~

Short Story Attempt #3

The stars hanging above her head made her feel smaller than small.  They made her feel as if she were nothing at all.  She pulled the hood of her sweatshirt over her head, pulling tightly at the drawstring.  Wishing that the night breeze would go away or that she had brought her coffee outside with her.

She balanced her head back on the edge of the lawn chair, looking back up at brightly dotted sky.  Wondering what the moon thought about all of those stars.  She closed her eyes tightly, squishing out the day as completely as she could. 

She felt alone in a different world, this darkness, it wasn’t the same place by day.  Alone and surrounded by hundreds of chirping tree frogs, a distant owl, a howl, sounds she couldn’t even label, all closing in on her.

And she welcomed it. 

Her thoughts danced on the wings of a bat overhead.  She said something terribly wrong, just moments ago, something she couldn’t pick out, but something that sent him storming off in a fit of rage, doors slamming behind him.  A single tear ran down her cheek, as she tried to clench the hurt away through her teeth. 

Maybe this would be the time, that moment when he would finally give up.  Maybe this was that one single thing that would push him over the edge.  Something she couldn’t even remember.  She forced her eyes back open to the damnation from those stars, and stared hard, looking for an answer.

The stars stared back, mocking her. 

What was she supposed to do?  Go in and beg for forgiveness?  Forgiveness for what?  She always is the sorry one, maybe this time she should stand her grounds.  But it killed every inch of her soul to let the sun set on a fight with him.  But shouldn’t he back down for once?  And what was she going to do, sit out here all night crying with the stars, shivering from the wind, and picking june bugs off her clothes?  It was killing every inch of her soul.  She sniffled, wiping at her eyes, switching her focus back to the moon.

Maybe it was all over.

Her core trembled with the thought, she could feel the shattering of her heart.  Her eyes tightly closed.

“Hey.”  Her heart jumped to his voice, her palms instantly sweating.

She opened her eyes, and turned towards him.  Towards his outstretched hand, reaching for her.  Begging for her.  The hands that felt as though they could protect her from anything the world could conger up.  He blotted at a tear on her cheek with his thumb, so strong yet gentle, pulling her up from the chair. 

“I’m sorry.”  He whispered, honest but still proud.  And she didn’t care what it sounded like. 

She followed him back inside, eager to sleep in his warm embrace, turning once, looking back at the moon, whispering, “Thank You.”

The To-Do List

I try to keep my list simple, short, without guilt and such.  That’s the safest route with a teething, heading into the terrible twos, toddler, a six-year-old and a nest full of animals.  Shit is going to happen, plain and simple.

I’m still never prepared.

Like today’s list… Laundry, Dishes, Tend to the four-footed and feathered minions, make bread, plant stuff.  And somehow come up with a blog post before the bebe woke up from her nap.

And of course you know what happens next, someone has to up and add to my list WITHOUT my permission.

Not on today’s list:

Chasing a Copper Head full-grown monster Snake out of the garden (the sucker was a whole two feet from me, gah!) with a GARDEN HOSE. 

Why can’t I ever remember to grab the camera before I grab a weapon? 

And why can’t I ever remember to bring a REAL weapon out there with me?

AND why doesn’t Martha have shows about gardening with weapons?

Pardon me, I have bread to finish and a gun to clean…

~The Monster in Her Head~

There’s a snake, all long and cold, black as coal, red glowing eyes, curled up under her desk.

She sits, trying to type, trying to reach her dreams, with her legs folded under her, praying not to wake the creature.  Many times before she has tried to kill the beast, that lies sleeping under her desk, but no mater what she does he always comes back. 

He’s ready to strike with his large poisoned fangs.  He wants her to feel the fear, the pain, the agony he represents.  He wants her to give up, to walk away, to hide in fear. 

His threats are hard to ignore.  The pain so real.

And the battle goes on day after day, between her and her snake.  She dreams and he strikes, some days it’s all too much, the scars as thick as her hopes…

She wonders if she’ll ever beat this monster in her head.

Tuesday Thinking

There’s a whopping whole five days left for this NaBloPoMo (if you’re me, that is, and you don’t do the weekend posting thing).  Just five more post, including this one to meet my goals.  So I have to wonder, did I come close to where I wanted to be? 

And of course I’m my own worst critic, and by nature I’ll never be satisfied with anything I’ve done… that’s just the way I am… the way a lot of us are.  And I’m trying to view everything from the eyes of baby steps and every inch forward is a positive mark.  The whole point of everything is the learning… Am I learning?

And what have I learned?

Knowing that all these questions and thoughts I’m pondering are the type that never can really be answered, not in the way I’d like, I’m going to probe you instead. 

Tell me anything you’d like about anything this month.  Did you hit goals?  Did you face road blocks?  Any advice, comments or critiques for me and my readers?  Was there a post of mine you really liked?  Or one you could have done without?  What about your post?  Did you have one that you want to share?  We’re talking open forum here, the sky is the limit and such.

NaBloPoMo 4.12’s Archives

 

 

Short Story #2

The end was closer than the underwire that was stabbing me in my armpit. I had meant to throw the old bra away months ago, it was on my list. That was before things fell apart. Our lives were being held together by a thin string, much like my underclothes, and both were as equally painful.

Two months ago we started this garden, my husband and I, more so for a hobby, something to do with the land we hand, something to build and grow together. We had no idea when we first broke the ground with that shovel that we’d be counting on it for a means of survival in such a short time.

That’s just the way things happen. One week you’re laughing over a beer, the next you’re practically begging for water. Water while it’s pouring down on you in massive hurricane ways.

First it was that injury of his at work, then me losing my job, then the car breaking down, illness… the rain it keeps falling.

He spends his days glued to the want ads and selling everything of value. Me breaking my back, cursing the ground I’m trying to convince to grow us something to eat. My hands resemble some red and brown version of shredded swiss cheese, and I’m positive the dirt will never release itself from under my nails. My sides ache with tremendous pain from the crying, from the hunger, from the work. My feet are swollen and sore, my arms beyond repair. This is all probably beyond worthless, but it’s all I can do. It’s all we have.

Two weeks, the bank said, just two weeks before they’d force us out.

So I dig, I dig and I pray. And I sow and I water. I pray and I cry, and my blood literally is being put into my work. Two weeks isn’t long enough to grow a garden, two weeks isn’t long enough to give us food. But my brain can’t handle anything else, there’s peace in the dirt.

My hand shovel snapped under the weight of the worthless clay soil, snapping my soul with one quick snap. I threw the pieces as far as my trembling arms could throw them. I wiped the sweat from my brow, leaving a trail of dirt across my face, and pulled at my bra strap. I was born overly determined, I’d die being overly determined. I dug my fingers deep into the dirt, pulling away, funneling my hatred for everything straight into the ground.

Pulling and moving, digging and clawing, making way for the only hope we had left. My husband’s shadow towering above me, filling me in on only more despair.

I collapsed next to the bag of seed potatoes waiting for me to plant them, laying my head on top of the burlap, praying for an end, I was done. My eyes fell upon the hole I was so desperately trying to dig, and let me tears roll out. Without much strength I talked to it, “Please don’t fail me, just let this stuff grow.”

The ground sparkled back.

I switched to another angle, the hole still glowed metallic back at me. Knowing now that I had totally lost my mind and dug my hands deeper into my hole, bringing my craziness up to the sunlight. Opening my bleeding fingers to reveal 5 small stones… gold.

 

If you’re new here or trying to catch up, you can find out what the heck I’m doing with these quick unedited short stories here

 

A Short Story Attempt, Day 1

Short Story Attempt #1

I tightened my grip around the leather leash, keeping Vinny my dog and best friend close to my side.  The new tension shot down the leash causing him to quickly halt and stare up at me, looking for an explanation. 

I didn’t have one.  We had walked this path, through the fields behind my house, at least a hundred times, but today it felt like a new strange land.  The same gravel crunched under our feet, the same telephone poles towered above our heads, I knew every inch of the trail, but yet I didn’t, and I couldn’t place my finger on the change.

Vinny pulled forward, picking up our pace.  I followed his lead, trusting the short red lab mix’s instincts over mine any day.  But I kept getting that feeling, the one that sends goosebumps over your flesh, and makes you run down dark hall ways at night, afraid to look back until your safely hidden under your covers.  But we were running away from our home, not to it. 

Half way down the gravel path to the other side of the field I stopped to look back, still trying to talk myself out of the chills that were running down my spine.  The path was empty besides a lone bright red cardinal pecking in the rocks.  I could still see my little house through the line of trees, sitting there empty, lined up in a perfect row with the other houses.  Everything looked normal.

A sharp loud bark forced a gasp from my lips, brining a chill down my spine.  Vinny was biting at the leash anxiously, barking in between nips, urging me to continue on.  His short stubby tail was tucked tight between his legs, and his hackles had begun to stand on end. 

I continued walking forward, further away from our home, as he pulled us into a full-out run.  Panic swept over me in waves so overwhelming it was all I could do to keep my body up right, to keep it moving.  Tears were filling my eyes, and cold sweet was pouring down my back.  What the hell is going on?

At the end of the trail, across the old fields that were once meant for a playground and playing fields for the subdivision was an old creek, one that only ever ran with water during storms.  We came here almost daily to wear Vinny out, as no one ever came this far down the path.  Behind it was acres and acres of corn fields sectioned off by old rusted barbed wire.  An old farm that didn’t get bought out during the town’s development days. 

Vinny yanked his leash free from my grips, darting under the barbed wire.  Cursing and calling for him, I carefully climbed through the twisted wires.  Turning around as it happened.

As I looked back down the path the entire world turned red.  In an instant everything we had just left had turned into a burning inferno, with black plumes of smoke filling the sky.  Everything was gone.

Before emotions and thoughts could even try to form, Vinny was back pulling at my pant leg, begging me to keep moving on…

The End

(Look, I almost sorta kind of did it!  If you missed it see yesterday’s post on how I’m trying to force myself to learn how to write short stories.  )

PS. Don’t mind the non-editing and rough-ness of it all, this was a 30 minute unplanned sorta thing.  🙂

And of course all rights belong to me… see the handy-dandy copyright on the right hand side of my blog.

Take a moment and read this… This subject is one that has hit the media often, but obviously not enough. The Sex Offender Registry needs to be changed!!!!

Changing the Rules, Again

In case you’re new here, or in case you just didn’t notice the 5 million other post, I am trying to participate in BlogHer’s NaBloPoMo.  Short and sweet, it’s all about posting everyday for one month.

The theme for the month of April is Poetry, except I’m not big on sharing anything leaning towards the scope of poetry that I’ve written.  And when I say I’m not big on it, I mean don’t ask, I won’t do it.  It’s my very much private stuff.

Moving on.

I also changed the rules that NaBloPoMo is all about posting everyday EXCEPT for on the weekends.  Give me a break, the weather has been beautiful and my husband has been bitten by the motivation bug and is helping me finish outdoor projects I’ve been waiting on for years.  If blog posting would build new goat huts, I’d totally ditch him for you all.  ❤

And while you all are here, I’m going to go ahead and publicly pat my back for going this whole entire time without posting about nothing and or writer’s block.  Sure some of that from last NaBloPoMo was fun… but I was annoyed.  And yes there may be some people who have made millions off of nothing, but I didn’t make a dime, lol.  And also too, here’s an extra cup of coffee for me for not whining in any of the post about writer’s block! 

So now I’m going to go ahead and screw up the whole dang thing.  I just can’t help myself, I need a break from the safe place I’ve found.  And trust me, this latest groove has been super safe, my views have doubled, and my followers have jumped up by ten since the beginning of this month. 

This morning I began to type up another memoir type, from back in the days post… and I yawned.  I read through the entire post and got an immediate headache.  When did I type cast my blog?!  Oh sure, I might have found the right path to work with, but I’m bored!!!!

And that concludes the whining.  Because I’m sure you’d like me to get to the point already.  Anddddd I can’t believe I’m going to do this…

*stabs voice in the back of my head that’s already trying to get me to back down*

From here on out (for April, I’m not that crazy), it’s all about, *takes deep breaths*, short stories and flash fiction.  *forces fingers off of the backspace button*  You know, because it makes perfect sense to dedicate myself to something I have never EVER NEVER been able to do before.  Ya know, just a little something I’ve been trying to do for months now, so it’s obvious that I should pledge myself to doing one every dang day.  *headoven* 

Yup, I’m going to do it, and it’s going to be baddddddddddd.  We’re all going to cringe and convulse and beg me to go back to my safe place.  And I might, just might lose my mind. 

Someone stop me, please………………

I’m already second thinking this…………