photographer. artist. author. singer. songwriter. musician. teacher. student. humanitarian. visionary.

Jellyfish and Psycho Stalkers

  Jellies at the Aquarium of the Smokies- Gatlinburg, Tennessee (Canon G3/manual)


Today is my birthday; I’m 44!

I have a roaring migraine.

🙂  <<<<<<<<<<

But, given the circumstances, it’s not surprising. I could write a book on the (mis) adventures of our vacation in the Smokies, but my head won’t let me and I have to start on homework soon. Right- on my birthday-with a migraine. I’ll keep things short.

As we were leaving Maggie Valley in North Carolina on the 15th (Sunday), putting along down the interstate, my Mom’s car died. On the interstate. We pulled over off the highway and sat on the roadside. (It was 3:00 p.m. or so.) Numerous calls were made to AAA- hours went by- my daughter, Heidi, was violently ill and my Mom, who is almost 70, was exhausted. People needed to pee and we were making very little progress with AAA. More time passed. More calls were made. (More waiting. More calls.)

Finally, after being stranded on the interstate for 7+ hours, our guy pulls up in a (very) small tow truck. He then tells us that he can’t tow more than two people and we were basically screwed. I was able to pull a few strings and he called his buddy (unbeknownst to AAA) who owned a double cab who promised to come and tow us to a hotel and auto body shop.

More time passed. It was now pitch dark and we were on the side of the highway in a black car and a dead cell phone. Nice.

Finally, after much cussing and praying, our 2nd guy pulls up and tows us to safety and a Comfort Inn in Ashville, N.C. After hanging out on a small hill the following day, among the sweet smelling pines for several hours, we were told that the mechanics had found the problem and we would be on our way soon.

By this point, I had incredibly bad “highway hair” and could feel my head slowly cracking; I just wanted to prevent “the migraine”.

After returning home that evening, I was informed that our dog, Chance, had run out when Brianna left that morning. Naturally, I couldn’t receive text messages on the road because my cell phone had died hours before. After I was told that he had run outside 10 hours earlier, I was crushed. Josh and I spent the next few hours combing the city; whistling, calling…we didn’t find him. I was devastated. I couldn’t blame Brianna, of course. Chance no doubt wanted to be with us and might have run out to try and find us, but really, he’s a “bolter”. He loves to get out and run- full blast!

I didn’t get much sleep that night and cried, so much. Chance is my baby. I’ve trained him to fetch things, to give me a kiss, and he’ll chew on Josh’s beard, as if to groom him; it’s totally adorable. He’s been our baby for 10 months now, which makes it especially weird when I received an email from his former owner’s girlfriend, telling me that they received a call that Chance had been picked up (when we were broken down in N.C.) and at first, I was glad to see her email, as we have stayed in contact with each other, remotely. She has written me several times asking for updates on “Willy” (his previous name). I had felt a bit uncomfortable with her wanting to stay in contact with us (regarding Chance), but didn’t see any reason not to send her a few shots of Josh and Chance out at parks, etc. and share some information on how he’s doing. (Big mistake.)

After spending the night searching for Chance, crying- exhausted from being stranded on the highway and just exhausted in general from not eating and sleeping properly because of the whole chaotic “stranded situation”, I continued reading her email, and quickly  became outraged. She had the audacity to tell me that they received a call that Chance had been picked up, and that she and her boyfriend were going to go and get him on Thursday (tomorrow), and that,  “We are going to pick Willy up from LHS thursday and he will not be given back to your custody.”


After keeping her updated on his well-being and even sending her cute little pics of him? What the hell is wrong with people? They’ve lost their decency and ability to exhibit a smidgeon of compassion anymore it seems. She had no idea we were stranded, or that we’d all just been through 2 days of highway hell. (Yeah, and his name is not “Willy” lady! It’s Chance. Get it straight!)

When Josh and I got Chance from her and her boyfriend (also named Josh), they failed to mention that we would need to register Chance’s microchip with us. They gave us no information on it at all.  It’s not absolutely mandatory and it has no bearing overall on actual and legal “ownership”. It’s a good idea for new owners to do that, but if the new owners choose not to, that doesn’t mean that the dog still belongs to the previous owners simply because his microchip number still bears their contact information. She could have chosen to contact us in a civil manner rather than outright threatening us. Not the best idea.

After researching microchip ownership and conferring with an attorney, I discovered that many animal shelters refuse to let a new owner register the animal’s microchip in his or her name, because often, the animal will wind up right back in the shelter and the shelter gets tired of having to (re) register the new contact information over and over again.

I would have been completely willing to continue to apprise the former owner of Chance’s well being and maybe even share a few more pics, but certainly not now. I believe she’s a bit unstable and out of touch with reality. Who would give you a dog and then tell you almost a year later that your dog is still named what they named him?

Psycho much?

Things are slowly returning back to normal now; Josh is in the living room playing the guitar and singing, our feline and canine family are lounging around enjoying the music, and Bob is at the table with me- he wanted to come and see me for my birthday- it’s a treat. :0)

In other news, Carl is losing his fight against feline AIDS and although he’s still eating voraciously, the food is just going through him so quickly- like water- he’s wasting away. Brianna has made the executive decision to have him put to sleep tomorrow; she doesn’t want him to suffer further. She’s being incredibly strong right now and I’m so very proud of her.

Even with the migraine, the crazy mishaps in the mountains of North Carolina, and the psycho- former owner of my dog threatening to “dognap” him, I can say that all is well still: I’m alive and still carry a smile.

(selfie in the Smokies)


29 responses

  1. Happy Birthday! Hope your migraine goes away and I’m glad you got your family back together! My dog Chewy was a bolter too, many a neighbour had to return her to us so I know what’s THAT’S like 🙂 Take care and enjoy the rest of your day (may it be nothing like the crappy one endured in the Smokies!)

    September 18, 2013 at 7:18 pm

    • Oh, thank you so much, Nikolette. I just finished off a piece of red velvet cake with cream cheese icing. That makes everything better, right? heheh… Thanks for stopping by, and I hope your evening is a great one too. xo

      September 18, 2013 at 7:20 pm

  2. yvo

    Oh mannn . . . what is an unbelieveable series of events!!

    Happy OH HAP HAPPY Birthday dear B!! In spite of everything, your spirit shines through because you are truly an amazing powerhouse of a gorgeous uberly- talented Chiquita!!! Hope 44 rocks in waves of BLESSINGS!!

    What you described in the Mountains with the car break down is pretty my vision of a nightmare. I guess logic would say in the midst of it all, some sort of mantra like: “I WILL be back home someday safe and sound, I just don’t know exactly when.” But me I would probably have had a sky high blood sugar, migraine and a good old fashion hissie fit to shit wit meltdown. Gee whiz your a trooper Girl!! Did you get your dawg back??? Yeah, my spidey sense would be tingling with that gal being too invested still. People are nutz. It’s one of the things in this world you anpretty much count on. Sorry for the events, glad you are home safe now. Calm blue ocean calm blue ocean calm blue ocean. Hugs and kisses !! xoxoxoxo y.

    September 18, 2013 at 8:50 pm

    • Y, I can’t thank you enough for coming by. You mean the world to me and I appreciate you dearly. You pretty much summed everything up right on point..heheh.. it was a freaking train wreck. My comfort was that I was with some of my closest family members, but the whole ordeal was nothing in comparison to losing my dog. Yes, Chance is safely home with us again! The former owner had her info. seriously twisted and has been semi-stalking me through this very blog. (Yes, people are crazy!) But I’m not going to let anybody limit me, take away from me, or change me in any way- life is too short. It’s sad that she can’t let go- there are 10,000,000 dogs out there and she wanted to reclaim her old one, you know? That tells me that it’s not really “about the dog” – she has emotional issues that she needs to iron out in therapy (who doesn’t?)- but leave my dog out of it…heheh..

      Anywho, it’s sure good to hear from you and I’m betting your hands are full right now with all sorts of projects! I’ll be popping over to the Bubble just as soon as my sanity is restored.:) Can you believe it’s almost fall already? It just goes by so fast…

      p.s. I actually didn’t handle things as well as you might have thought. I guess you can imagine how my email went to Chance’s former owner! (It wasn’t pretty…) And that’s enough on that subject. 😉

      Love you, gal! xo

      September 18, 2013 at 10:01 pm

      • californiapunk

        Happy birthday. Sorry to hear about your misadventures in the Smokies. And your poor little kitty. Breaks my heart. I’m a sentimental fool when it comes to animals.

        September 18, 2013 at 10:23 pm

      • Me too… my daughter is 19 and loves Carl (the kitty) so much. I told her to go to work, as usual, and simply “say goodbye” to Carl as she usually does when she leaves. It would break her heart to go in the the animal hospital and go through the process as he is put to sleep- that’s too much for her. I’m going to do it for her: it’ll be rough on me too though. 😦 Thanks for your care though- that means a lot. xo

        September 18, 2013 at 11:11 pm

  3. Dear friend…you SURE know how to extract every ounce of interest/lesson/drama/excitement? from your journey don’t you! (spoken from one who does exactly the same!) I wish you a happy birthday or at least hope it was memorable for some good reasons as well as all of the above! AND I hope that somewhere in there you managed to find time to chill for a moment and appreciate all you have achieved/survived/overcome and who you are! Love you ….. and I wish you more peace in your existence!!!

    September 19, 2013 at 1:29 am

    • Wendy, I swear you’re so fine tuned it’s scary. 🙂 I was pondering our conversations only yesterday and “Wendy waves” were rolling in from across the sea..heheh… I sure do miss you! I hope you’re well, my friend. You know, I think of you every time I hear or see the word “smoothie”, by the way. I hope you and the kids are still juicing every morning. 😉 I was (day) dreaming the other day that you and I were hanging out in Australia. I haven’t given up my dream that I will someday be able to come there, and you are at the top of my list of friends that I simply must meet! I do love you very much, Wendy, and it’s so good hearing from you. 🙂 xo

      September 19, 2013 at 2:55 am

      • That’s a good dream to hold onto. I would love to show you around if you can ever cross the Pacific! Just stay safe and well and find some peaceful space from all the energies out there that do NOT resonate with you….. sending you some more waves….xox

        September 19, 2013 at 6:08 am

  4. starscraper99

    Oh I’m really sorry about Carl, and when I thought he was getting better!!

    Woah, they can’t do that, just take your dog away? How long have you had him, a year wasn’t it??

    September 19, 2013 at 2:07 am

    • Yeah, 10 months! We have him back safely back with us now- all is well. Blogs can be a double-edged sword though because it makes any potential stalker (in this case, the former dog owner) ‘s job so much easier. After seeing my blog, the woman started semi-stalking me so she could see pictures of Chance (our dog). Cuh-razy…

      September 19, 2013 at 2:22 am

      • starscraper99

        Wow, that is crazy! I am glad to hear he is safely back with you, it must have been a traumatic last couple of days, it really must!!!! 🙂

        September 19, 2013 at 2:23 am

  5. Yes it has been! I’m really looking forward to things getting back to normal. (Whatever that is..heheh..)

    September 19, 2013 at 2:59 am

  6. shreyapunj

    Sorry I’m late but HAPPY BIRTHDAY!
    You are s beautiful and look not a day older than thirty!
    How was your trip? I missed this post on my reader. Weird.

    September 19, 2013 at 5:37 am

  7. shreyapunj

    Oh shit. Just read the whole post.
    What is wrong with people? You managed to control your temper? I am amazed!
    I hope your daughter and mother are well now and that the migraine is gone.
    I’ve missed you on WordPress!

    September 19, 2013 at 5:42 am

    • Hey, I’m missed you as well, and thanks for checking up on me! Things are better now- our dog, Chance, is safely home with us again and my heart has been restored. Yeah- the former owner was a bit of a whackjob- wish I would have known that sooner, but well..I guess they’re all around us these days…heheh.. Migraine is almost gone- this is day 2- (they usually last no more than 3 days when I do get them, which is rare any more) so I’ll be doing schoolwork in bed today with my laptop. (Classical music playing and Chance sleeping by my side- I can’t complain.) 😉 Do well in school!

      Thanks for the birthday wish. xo

      September 19, 2013 at 4:19 pm

      • shreyapunj

        Even my migraines last two days. The first day is the worst.
        What’d you get for your birthday?!

        September 19, 2013 at 10:25 pm

      • A whole lotta birthday lovin’ from my man. :0) (Which is really enough.) I did get a few other things too but I don’t remember now! 🙂

        (Cake was involved…heheh..)

        September 20, 2013 at 6:45 am

  8. Absolutely, Wendy. And you know me well; my biggest challenge is not with any other person or “them changing”: it is my own self, accepting what has come and finding ways to create peace, love, and harmony out of all the &^%$ around me! Like a dung beetle. 🙂 Take it all and make something functional and GOOD out of it- and I know it can be done. I marvel at you for these reasons- you can be utterly falling apart and still you hold fast to your grace in the end- that’s what it’s all about. :0) I hope you have a terrific day today (morning to you, soon, right?) and you know, I have the image of you out by the tree (from your blog) firmly attached in my mind and heart and want you to know that I carry you with me wherever I go in this world. You’re verrrrry special to me! Be well, always. Big smiles. 🙂 xoxo

    September 19, 2013 at 4:28 pm

    • awww…. blessed woman… I love how you see me….. but smile because if you lived anywhere nearby, you’d know that “grace” you imagine is pretty darn elusive, more like me swearing and cussing and going red in the face or shedding a few tears before going outside and laughing at myself…. ha ha
      As for the dung beetle image….. ha ha ha that’s what I love about you and all us good folk, who take on the crap and roll it all up in a ball and dispense it one way or another (and blogging about it is a great way to do so!)
      Wish I could get all the dungballs and hurl them at a few people some time, but I guess everyone has those dungballs of their own to deal with.
      May you have a dung free day my dear! big hugs and a couple of huge smiles…

      September 19, 2013 at 9:39 pm

  9. Girl…you have all the luck! I started getting an empathetic migraine just imagining being stuck on the side of the road away from my home state. Sorry to hear about Carl and why did Chance’s former owner give him up in the first place? Liked your self-portrait…there’s an intensity in the eyes that says something about you. Happy birthday from across the river!

    September 19, 2013 at 9:00 pm

    • “Intense” would be a good word to describe me, Al…heheh…but I tell you, I have become accustomed to bizarre and wacky things happening to me- on a semi-regular basis. I don’t know why Chance’s former owners gave him to us, they didn’t say and we didn’t ask. I can’t say I’ll be sending them a Christmas card anytime soon! heheh… good seeing you. :0)

      September 19, 2013 at 9:22 pm

  10. Beautiful captures. Hope all is well 🙂

    September 21, 2013 at 3:49 pm

  11. That is such a cool shot. The colouring and texture are superb!

    September 24, 2013 at 4:40 pm

  12. Claude O

    Belated Happy Birthday, Hon!!! :)) XOXOXO

    Sorry – been stranded at home sine the 12th w/o a vehicle. 😦

    September 26, 2013 at 9:08 am

    • Thanks so much, C! I’m sorry to hear that you’ve been busted down but man, can I relate. Here’s to hoping things turn around soon. 😉

      September 27, 2013 at 7:09 pm


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