Disheartened 

So.. How was your week?

On Tuesday, I wrote about how I took my son with me to vote in the election. I mentioned how I don’t discuss politics or religion with my friends and family members for the sole purpose of keeping the peace.

I don’t know what it’s like around your neck of the woods but around here, it wasn’t socially acceptable to have voted for either Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump. I realized that pretty quickly even before the election happened. People were incredibly nasty about opposing opinions and ideas.  That really motivate me to keep my mouth shut about my decisions.

I’m certainly not opposed to debate with anyone or even a lively conversation but I also don’t like to be hassled. I find the thought of a debate or even a lively discussion about either of the candidates and the issues to be exceptionally tiresome. Mostly because I know what awaits if my opinions don’t match theirs.

As I read about the “protests”,  and let’s face it and call it what it is, “riots” that are happening in the country after the results of the election,  it makes me think that this was more about “your candidate” winning or losing than it ever was about the issues and what’s really happening in our country.

I really don’t care who you voted for or why. It’s none of my business. I do take issue with violence and the destruction of property. At that point, your cause is lost to me. When you’re attacking police officers, setting things on fire, breaking out windows and holding up signs about raping Melania Trump, I no longer want to hear your concerns. I do not support that.

Maybe that opinion will be unpopular but I stand by it. While you do have the right to protest whatever you want to, you don’t have the right to attack people or destroy property. If I was Hillary Clinton, I would be embarrassed.

I made the mistake of responding to a post on Facebook to make that point. The Facebook belonged to a very smart woman who is educated, a professional and hails from the same small town that I am from.

She posted an article that justified the riots.

I’ve known this woman since I was probably five years old. When I touched on the violence and destruction and the fact that people were calling for the rape of Melania Trump and reminded them that it was not going to reverse the outcome of the election, I was informed that I was a racist, had no compassion for the human race along with some other horrible and hurtful accusations.

If you want to know how that felt, it was hurtful and it was rather shocking to me.

Two things.

1. My resume proves these accusations wrong. I’ve worked as a public servant since I was 22 years old. I’ll be 40 on December 1.  If you were to ask anyone who has ever encountered me they will tell you that I am kind, generous and fair. I’ve also saved the lives of countless strangers that I have never even met. I’d give you the shirt off my back if you needed it.

2. Nothing screams compassion for the human race like attacking a middle aged white guy that you suspect is a Trump supporter. Or calling for and encouraging the rape of Melania Trump. Or setting a business on fire. You’re hurting your communities and your cause.

I was unfriended and blocked on Facebook because I pointed out that what was happening was wrong. I’ve never told anyone who I voted for. However, I will never stand by and justify these things. Anyone in their right mind wouldn’t.

My 50 something cousin also unfriended and blocked me on Faceboook because she made a false statement and I told her she was wrong and then backed it up with facts. Again, I pointed out a fact and never once have voiced who I was supporting in the election. The problem with that was that I won’t allow a false narrative or an outright lie. I didn’t even say anything on her personal Facebook. It was on mine.

If you’ve ever wondered what your worth really was to the people in your life, you probably found out this past week.  My question at this point is, how do you come back from that? I can only assume in the months to come, if and when things settle down and people aren’t so angry, that the people who were that angry at you over your opinion might try to make amends. What if they do? What if they don’t though?

I should’ve listened to my grandfather and just scrolled right on by and kept my mouth shut. I shouldn’t have to but it would probably be better. I would at least still have my childhood friend and my cousin. It’s easy to say that I don’t need these women in my life but I don’t feel that way. Apparently, I wasn’t valued by them.

I value the people who are in my lives every day.

If you’re having disagreements with your friends and family please think twice before you allow things to get too heated or you make the decision to disown them.  These are the people who are standing by you and support you and are around you everyday.

Disappointing.

Happy Birthday! Dominic Adam Turns 11

I now have an 11 year old.

I remember thinking last year, “Wow, I have a 10 year old,”  Somehow, this is equally as mind blowing. My little kiddo is not so little anymore. He’s growing up.

My son, Dominic Adam, turned 11 years old on June 10th. We celebrated the previous Sunday with a small gathering of family and friends at our house.  We had a really good time.

In addition to toys and clothes and other gifts, Dom received a brand new sleeping bag and his very own dome tent to use when we go camping. It’s currently still set up in the back yard.  He’s having a lot of fun with it.

The next day, Dom and I went on a day-hike at the Spicer Lake Nature Preserve. This is our favorite local hang out.   The highlight of the trip was the Painted Turtle that we met in the parking lot. Later, we came across a nesting site where several of the hatched eggs were still there.

We had a really good time wandering around the park.  It’s the perfect size for Dom as it only has approximately 4 miles of trails. We can hike the whole park and it doesn’t usually wear him out.

I am planning an over night camping trip for him on my next days off from work. He says he wants to go and is excited. Hopefully the weather isn’t too hot or stormy. I have a ton of ideas to keep him interested and from getting bored.

So excited.

Operation Hilli Dig: A Funeral For A Friend

Hilli has been laid to rest.

This past February, I wrote two stories about my red Australian Cattle Dog, Hilli. I wanted to share the stories about my girls, where they came from etc. The first story I wrote about Hilli was about her adoption and adopting a senior dog.  You can read about that story here at Sweet Souls Of An Old Dog: Hilli.

Sadly, the second one that I wrote was only a week later and it was about her death. You can read about that here at Death and Friends; Hilli Has Flown Away.  Hilli had lived with me since October of the previous year. She was a sweet old girl.

If you’ve been following along, you know that I live in the midwest and it gets really cold here in the winter. Even though our winter was fairly mild this year., the ground was frozen in February. This posed a problem with her burial as I do not own large equipment that could dig a hole for me.

With the assistance of my friend, Diana, I was able to place Hilli’s body in a freezer until the ground thawed enough where we could use shovels to dig her grave site. I already knew where I wanted to bury her as far as location, but I still needed to find a spot for her grave.

Diana and I discussed the location and options in addition to how exactly we were planning to smuggle two shovels and a frozen dog into the undisclosed location to bury her.  It ended up not being as hard or awkward as I thought. Illegal? Maybe. I decided to just do it and not ask for permission. If I got caught I would apologize and ask for forgiveness.

After a lot of thought and even mentioning it to a couple of people, I determined the risk of being discovered by the police etc really wasn’t that scary and after I explained the story of Hilli, I would probably be met with understanding or at least a blind eye.

Move along, nothing to see here.

I also have the benefit of being known. It’s good to have connections, right? Amiright?  I don’t suggest smuggling your pets onto government owned property to perform a burial of your beloved canine. However, I would totally root for you.

As fate would have it, Diana had a large backpack that Hilli’s body easily fit into.  We decided to drop off our shovels and the backpack containing Hilli’s body near one of the back entrances to the undisclosed location. There’s a gate here but the fence has also fallen down and you could easily step over it. We hid the backpack and the shovels and then drove around the property to the entrance of the undisclosed location.

We hiked about a mile and a half until we selected the perfect spot. The location is up on a hill, just adjacent to the trail. It is between a ring of tall Oak trees and overlooks a wet land area that has a small creek flowing away from it.

We buried Hilli in the center of the ring of trees. In the spring, she will be covered in trillium’s. It was so peaceful.  It wasn’t weird or gross. She was perfectly preserved and looked like she had simply curled up and fell asleep. She was wrapped in her blanket and placed into the grave. We used the rocks that we dug up as a headstone.

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In our usual fashion,  we laughed at the situation. I think Hilli would have wanted that. Hilli tagged along on our winter hikes and she loved the property where we roamed. She would most definitely found the humor in the situation that presented itelself. I also believe that she appreciates what was done for her in the end.  At one point while we were still digging her grave, there was a cow in the distance that had the most eerie and demonic sounding moo, I’ve ever heard.  It was obvious that no one could see us from the road, but we couldn’t help but call out CAR!

We look so normal.

It’s stuff like this that makes me think about friends, life and things that are important. I’m lucky to have been able to have Hilli, even though she was only with me for a short time, but also that I have Diana and that she was more than willing to help me.

Below in the gallery are some shots of the undisclosed location.

 

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Planning and Deep Thoughts-Replacing What Was Lost

The warmer weather is starting to make me itchy to make plans for the upcoming summer.  There are so many things that I want to do. Last year, I didn’t get to travel anyplace spectacular.  Due to the merger that happened at work, we weren’t permitted to use our vacation time until this year. Also, I was dealing with Lyme Disease and probably wouldn’t have been able to do much if I had gone someplace.

I have two weeks of vacation time to burn before the end of the year! Also, I have been feeling a lot better physically over the past few weeks. I am hoping that this means things are looking up. Lyme sucks, I’ll post about that later.

I’ve had to replace some things over the past few years. One of these things being my camping tent. My ex took my tent. I don’t know why. He wasn’t outdoorsy and didn’t care about it when we were together. However, he felt that it was his.  Sadly, he probably ended up giving it to Goodwill.

While I was married, I didn’t get to do a lot of camping anyway. I went on day hikes and when I did travel to go hiking, I went alone and chose to get lodging vs backpacking and staying out on the trail someplace.

It has been a few years since my divorce and my son, Dom, is about to turn eleven. He likes to be outside and even enjoys hiking. He thinks he’s something special when he wears his Camelbak hydration pack. I have been thinking about taking him camping for quite awhile.

I started looking at different options online. It has been a really long time since I have looked at getting new gear or replacing certain things that I used to own. It turns out that the tent that I owned probably wasn’t so great after all and I could do better.

After about three weeks of researching and reading reviews, I decided to get a Kelty Trail Ridge 3 dome tent. Kelty is a good brand and this particular tent has really good reviews.  I’m anxiously awaiting for its arrival.

I hate that I do this but, sometimes making a purchase like this makes me think of where I have been or where I am going. Things have gotten a lot better since my divorce. It has been six years this past April 10, that it was final.  Coincidentally, this was the date that I finally ordered the new tent.

Little by little, life has come full circle. I just have to be patient for some things.

While I am waiting for our spiffy new tent to arrive, I have been researching sleeping bags.  I’ve also been going through boxes of things that have been moved probably 4 times in the past 6 years that haven’t been gone through in ages. I found my old griddle and other cookware.  It has been patiently waiting for me.

This is exciting. I’ve traveled all over the place but I haven’t been on a real camping trip in a long time. I am looking forward to it. I will probably take Dom for one or two days at a time to see how it goes. He takes after his mama so I am certain that he will love it.

 

 

 

 

 

Easter Weekend- Part Three- Hiking, Tacos and Ice Cream

Easter morning at our house was pretty awesome. I was off from work for the first time in years.  I don’t even recall the last time. I got to sleep in a little bit. Of course sleeping past 6:30 in the morning is considered sleeping in around here. It’s glorious to be able to do that.

We had colored eggs on Friday afternoon so I had them carefully hidden around the house. As Dom was searching for them I had to laugh at myself because I forgot to count how many I had hidden. We started out with two dozen but a few of them ended up as a snack. Oops. I’m pretty sure he found them all.

Dom loved his Easter basket.

After lunch, we went to Dom’s grandmothers house to drop off her Easter basket. Then we made the twenty minute drive to Potato Creek State Park to do some hiking.  The weather was perfect. Blue skies and a lot of sunshine with a breeze. It was nice.

I let Dom explore along the shore of Worster Lake for awhile before we headed out on the trail.  We walked along for probably a half an hour before I realized that Deer Ticks seemed to be falling from the sky. They were popping up everywhere.  By a fluke, I spotted a tiny one on Dom’s pant leg.

Since I am recovering from Lyme Disease, this makes me very nervous and I decided that we needed to leave and do something else.  I can’t afford to put myself into the position to reinfect and I certainly don’t want Dom to be infected.

I had friends come out of the park after a brief hike and between the three of them they had removed 11 Deer Ticks. This made me feel a bit frantic to get home and check Dom and myself and change our clothes. depending on their stage in life, Deer Ticks can be as small as a poppy seed. It just wasn’t worth the risk.

Aside from my paranoia, we had a really great Easter. We stopped for ice cream on the way home. It doesn’t seem like anyone closes for the holiday anymore. Dom wanted Tacos for dinner so of course, that’s what we had. It was awesome.  After dinner we enjoyed watching some movies Dom had gotten for Christmas.

Below is my usual gallery of photographs taken from our adventure. I hope you’ll check them out.

I hope everyone is having a great week!

 

 

Easter Weekend Part Two: The (Former) Mother In Law

Im already exhausted and I haven’t even started writing this blog post yet.

The first thing that you need to know is that my (former) mother in law, we’ll call her Sharon, is 1. An introvert and 2. The reigning passive-aggressive-knock-out- champion-of-the-universe.

Okay, that’s technically two things but they go together. These are the key points that you have to remember any time I tell a story about her. Just remember. We are referring to her as “Sharon” and she’s difficult.  Just thinking about everything I have dealt with, with this woman, I often wonder why I even bother.

I respect her as Dominic’s grandmother. Since her son decided to make other choices, she has really stepped up to help me raise Dominic. However, this has come with a price. I have to submit to the jabs and harassment from the ex husband. It’s him that she’s really mad at, but I often get the backlash. She will say and do things to him that he will turn around and take out on me.

All of that drama is an entire separate blog post.  With that said, there have been times when she hasn’t been so pleasant to me for whatever reason either. Up until this year, I’ve tried to include her in things and treat her as if she was some kind of matriarch. She sort of is I suppose.  It has bitten me in the ass more than once.

She pulls stunts. I won’t go into all of it now but don’t worry my dear readers, something will come up. Probably soon because she’s been fairly well behaved recently. Just one example is the time she kept the invitation for Grandparents Day at Dom’s school for herself and never told  me about it nor did she send the information home. Since I didn’t know about it, my mother missed out on Grandparents Day at school.

We’ve had some rocky times in the past year because I’ve grown tired of her. I’ve ran my mouth a few times and I didn’t used to or probably shouldn’t have. It just gets old and I’m only human. I shouldn’t have to listen to it but she is Dom’s grandmother and she does help me out a lot.

I decided to try to be more thoughtful or at least mindful of holidays and her birthday. So on Valentine’s Day, I made a batch of cupcakes and cake pops that I decorated. They were really cute. I also got a basket of wild flowers that was really beautiful. I put it all together and helped Dom make a card to give to her. The. We went and gave it to her.

She seemed really surprised and appreciative of the gesture.

Fast forward.

Things haven’t been so great. For some reason she stopped talking to me. When ask she says nothing is wrong and everything is just fine. Ugh. She’s the passive-aggressive-knock out-champ, if you recall. Fine. Be that way.

So, when I decided to put together an Easter basket for Dom to give to her, I should have known I was setting myself up to have her suck the winds right out of my sails and boy she sure didn’t disappoint.  I called her on Saturday night to make sure she would be home. I told her Dom had a gift for her.

We go to deliver the Easter basket and she was less than enthused and was just like “thanks”. We were at her house for less than five minutes. While I certainly didn’t expect her to break out into dance and do cartwheels, she could’ve at least expressed some gratitude.  Dom seems to be picking up on these things too. He was like “Bye grandma,”

I have my moments when I allow myself to get upset over “my circumstances”. I certainly didn’t sign up for things to be this way but I’m doing the best that I can. I’m not going to apologize for going to work every day and making a living. My hours aren’t the best but it is what it is right now.  She was a single mother too, you would think that she would cut me some slack.

I’m sure I’m not alone in dealing with people who behave like this. She’s technically not my family but she’s Dom’s family. Up until now, she was the only reason I was staying in the area. I try to keep an eye on her.  She literally has nothing and she seems to alienate everyone on my ex husbands side of the family also.

Sigh.

Below is a photo of her basket before it was finished. That little planter is adorable and I almost bought one for myself. I’m not going to lie,  I considered saying “to hell with her” about forty times and thought about keeping it all for myself.

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I totally should’ve just kept it for myself.

 

Easter Weekend: Part One

I got to enjoy a rare weekend off where my son was also at home. It was a bonus that it was Easter weekend. Easter is my favorite religious holiday. I was raised Roman Catholic and Easter was highly celebrated for obvious reasons.

Even if you aren’t a believer in Christ, you have to agree that the drama surrounding his crucifixion is pretty wild and is a fantastic story. It has everything Humans seem to want just short of a cage fight.  With that said, I don’t want to pander to either side of the religious debate. We all have our own ideas so instead, I’m just going to tell you what we did this weekend.

We cleaned up around this place.  How about that for excitement?

Dom didn’t have school on Friday (Good Friday) as it was the end of the school semester.  I was really happy about that because 1. I got to sleep in past 6:30 am. 2. He has spent the last two weekends at his dad’s house. I haven’t gotten to spend a lot of time with him. I got to hog his adorableness all weekend.

The first project I wanted to tackle this weekend was the awful backyard.  I didn’t. I tackled the inside of the house instead. I rearranged the furniture in the kitchen, cleaned the wood floors in the entire house and caught up most of the laundry. I feel so much better.

Yesterday we tackled the awful backyard.  It snowed fairly early in the fall and was consistent enough at first that I didn’t bother raking the remainder of the leaves.  I just let it go. I also let go of cleaning dog waste from the yard. I can’t blame all of that on the snow.  Hilli was also using the deck as a toilet and I didn’t keep up with that as often as I should have either.

I know. Gross.

I only filled up four grocery bags of poo. With three dogs, I expected more. There probably was but it disintegrated over the months with the rain and snow. Gross.  I really hope  my yard doesn’t smell bad to my neighbors. I was pretty embarrassed. It’s done though and it’s supposed to rain tonight and tomorrow so hopefully it washes away the yuck for good.

Dom on stick patrol

Dom on stick patrol

Dom was very helpful and picked up sticks and branches for me. He had a great time wheeling around our yard cart and filling it up. Lu kept bringing him her ball to throw.  I paid him back in tacos and ice cream. Our two favorite things.

I filled up several yard bags with leaves and debris. There are six bags, in case you wondered.. The city does a pick up once a week. My next move is to drag all of this mess to the curb this coming Thursday. Yay me! If you look at the bottom right of the photo you’ll see the dead Boston Fern that I swore ALL summer I was going to bring in and keep alive. Fail.

Anyone need a kiddie pool!?

Anyone need a kiddie pool!?

I never in a million years would’ve posted a before photo of this mess.

Almost done!!

Done for now

I still have to clean up the leaves that are trapped in the bushes in the front yard. After I get that accomplished I won’t do anything for at least another month. I don’t generally buy flowers or put decorations outside until at least mid May.  I’m really anxious to get my deck put together.

Im going to put up little fences along the privacy fence to keep the dogs out of the flower beds. I’m also going to choke the rabbit that keeps eating my hostas with my bare hands.  My neighbor is taking care of the squirrel problem.

The only other big thing I want to do is to replace the red mulch I laid out two years ago. It has faded a bit. I’m going to replace it with more red mulch.

As you can see in the photo, my house is blue. The red mulch looked awesome with the blue house. I suppose I can mulch any time. All of the stores are already selling it.

My house. Taken in early summer after I mulched the the front and side.

My house. Taken in early summer after I mulched the the front and side.

 

Ugh. I really want to pull those bushes out.  Or I need to at least learn how to prune them properly.  One thing at a time.  I enjoy yard work to an extent.  I have a few ideas for the back yard but I think with the exception of those crazy bushes, I like how it is already.

I’m so ready for warmer weather.

 

I hope everyone had a great weekend!

 

Home and Family Time- The Weekend

I had a rare weekend off. I work a rotational schedule and it takes awhile for them to come back around. My son was also home this weekend, rather than being with his dad, nearly 3 hours away.

I made a heroic attempt to get the majority of the larger chores done before he got out of school for the day on Friday. Not only did a make a huge dent in the laundry, but I managed to organize and mop my basement.

I’ve been wanting to get that basement under control for quite awhile. How long? There might be years involved here. Years. At least two. I’ve lived here for three years.   It wasn’t stinky and dirty, it was mostly just unorganized. I’m not totally finished. I want to repaint the walls, the floor and get a shelving unit. Or two.

Mission mostly accomplished. I even mopped the kitchen before I left to pick him up.

We decided that morning when I dropped him off that we were going to have a date night and go to his favorite restaurant, Chik Fil A, for dinner. He actually likes to go grocery shopping and doing what I refer to as “administrative” things. ie: going to the bank, car wash etc.  So yes, grocery shopping is appropriate for date night.

My silly kiddo.

My silly kiddo. Hamming it up for the camera.

We enjoyed our dinner. Dom is a connoisseur of sauces and prefers honey mustard for his nuggets and ketchup only, for his waffle fries.  One of the employees even gave him a red balloon ( his favorite color ) after she brought us our ice cream cones. He was pretty tickled about that.

After dinner we made our trip to the grocery store.  I asked him what he wanted to have for dinner ( the next day ) and he told me that he wanted to have Tacos. We had to make sure to pick up plenty of supplies for taco making.

He also suckered me into buying a package of the mini Baybel cheese wheels. It isn’t hard to talk me into such things when you’re as cute as he is and you ask nice. He pretty much gets whatever he wants because he’s so well behaved and doesn’t ask for things very often.

We had a nice and quiet evening at home, watching movies, reading and snuggling.  It’s always nice to be able to spend time with him without interruptions, like school or visitation with his dad. Between all of these things and my work schedule, I protect this time with him.

The next morning, when we finally got up and around, we had lunch and then headed out to do a little hiking. The temperature had warmed up to 50 degrees. The majority of the snow is gone, but there’s a little bit of ice here and there. There’s also plenty of mud. Which we found a mixture of when we got out to the trail.

We hiked for awhile and headed back to the car before it started to get dark. There were tacos to be made when we got home and we were both looking forward to that!  It was a great weekend and we had a lot of fun. I was sad to drop him off at school on Monday morning.

I hope everyone had a great weekend. Check out my gallery below to see some more of ours.

 

When Your BFF Is a Jerk- Part Two

This blog post is a follow up to another one that I wrote a week or two ago called “When Your BFF Is A Jerk” 

I had a rare weekend off. I spent the majority of my Friday morning cleaning the house and doing laundry.  I washed a mountain of laundry and also managed to wash all of the dog beds.  Between the three dogs, we have at least six beds total and a number of blankets.

I say a “number of blankets” because I am seriously not sure. With Hilli ( the red cattle dog) being elderly, and not able to hold her bladder, you need a few otherwise you would be doing laundry every day.

I have three beds upstairs for each dog. I took Lu’s bed and the cover for Sasha’s up to the side room where I usually keep them and left them on the floor. Hilli’s was still in the dryer. I came back a few minutes later and this is what I saw.

 

Poor sad Sasha

Poor sad Sasha

Lu took her bed and not only put it on top of Sasha’s bed, but she’s also laying on the cover for Sasha’s bed.  Oh Dingo Lu, you’re such a cattle dog. AS you can see,  Sasha is completely milking the pity out of this moment.  Just look at that face!  Look at Lu and the “I don’t care,” look on her face. She’s priceless. She’s such a turd.

Lu is a great dog and all three of them get along really well. They play together and very rarely do they scuffle or growl at each other. You put three women anywhere and you’ll occasionally have some bickering.

Silly girls. I couldn’t imagine life without them.

 

When Your BFF Is A Jerk

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Seems legit.

I am moving things around in my spare bedroom because I would like to paint. I’m also boxing up items to take to Goodwill. After I took a load of boxes out to the car, I returned to find that once again, Dingo Lu has taken over Sasha’s bed. Poor Sasha is such a sweet dog doormat, that she doesn’t even try to object.

Sasha is an 80# Rottweiler while Dingo Lu is a squatty, maybe 30# Australian Cattle Dog.

I don’t know why Lu feels like she needs to do that. Sasha certainly doesn’t get more attention.  Lu shouldn’t feel like she has something to prove. I think my best buddy is suffering from Stubby Dog Syndrome. This is a similar condition to what human’s often suffer from know as “Short Man Syndrome”.

Oh Lu.

You’re not bossy, you have leadership skills.  You’re assertive.

You might be a a little bit of a jerk though.