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

Posts tagged “vacation

House of Pain

For the life of me, I don’t understand why a man chooses to  view pornography when he has a beautiful, FAITHFUL woman who loves him. I’ll never understand. No amount of words that he may utter from his lips could ever make enough sense for me to understand.

I just returned from Texas, from my Aunt’s memorial service. She died of a heart attack as soon as she got into her car, following her work day. She and her husband had been married for 63 years. It was a beautiful service and I was finally able to meet all of my extended relatives in Texas (my native home state in which I was born). That made it especially bittersweet, that I was able to meet them for the first time, as a result of my Aunt’s death. In that way, I’ll consider it her parting gift- and her sacrifice.

I had left my home, and my guy was here alone for a week. We’ve had many (too many to count) “situations” in which he views pornography as soon as I so much as walk out of the room. He’s quite addicted. And in some cases, he’s admitted to viewing pornography with me sitting right in the same room. What kind of man can lust after naked women with his lady right in the freaking room?! An animal. That’s what kind. A crude beast- without a heart or any measure of decency. And he professes to be a Christian! That’s the kicker.

And so, as I was travelling to Texas last week, a little (Spiritual) birdie flew into the car and let me know that he was at it again. I tried to put it out of my mind, because really, I’ve given too many years (10) to this and have given him too many chances. At some point, I simply must take a stand for myself and say “Enough is enough; you blew it, kiddo.”

And so I came home yesterday, to a filthy house (in more ways than one)- every dish in the house- stacked up on the table- nothing had been done. Dog feces on my bedroom floor. I had left this bedroom clean as a whistle for him, before I left. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to see that this man doesn’t care much for me. Isn’t it funny how we tell ourselves things? And we believe them. Because the truth is just too painful. We choose to believe a fairy tale lie because it hurts far less than the brutal truth.

Well I’m tired of his lies, and I’m tired of lying to myself- thinking that he loves me. No. If he loved me, he would have made different choices. I don’t have the patience or the ignorance any more to believe that he looks at porn but he REALLY loves me too. The problem is that he may love me “a bit”, but he just doesn’t love me ENOUGH to choose our love over porn. Every choice has a consequence. And you just can’t have your cake and eat it too. Not anymore.

A man that is constantly cheating on his woman (over the years) doesn’t deserve a good woman. He deserves a trashy tramp- somebody with no self-respect. That’s what he deserves. Not somebody who loves him with all of her heart and never so much as even thinks about looking in the opposite direction. He doesn’t deserve that woman’s love.

And so now this is my life. I find myself feeling frozen, in a strange and cold tundra. I’m numb. And I’m tired of crying. My eyes are swollen from crying for hours. Everything I thought I had is gone. Shattered. In shambles. 10 years with this man- down the drain. I’m so tempted to simply lie here on my bed and crawl inside myself and disappear. It hurts too much to move and think and feel. But I can’t do that. I made myself get up out of bed and go make coffee. I made oat meal- I even made a bowl for him and left it on the counter. I think it’s important to choose compassion when somebody’s done you dirty. It builds character.

Anyway, I’ve lost 7 lbs. I wanted to have lost 10 already, but no go. I’ll just have to start taking my daily mile walks again. I’m forcing myself to stay busy all day long- and active. I need to stay distracted- at least during these first few initial weeks. It will do me no good at all to lay down and die inside. And so I’ll continue to work and clean and scrub and not give any thought to the situation at hand.

And I’ll continue to pray, and ask God to give me the strength to endure these painful days and lonely nights. I’ll continue to ask God to help me to forgive my offender. And to not hate. It’s too easy to hate right now. I really do believe that God has all things in His hands. And if I ask him to share His love and grace with me, I know He will. He’ll give me the love I need to carry on. Just because I’m alone now doesn’t mean I’m loveless. God loves me. So I’ll dwell on that, and heal.

Saltillo, Texas- 5 pic panorama (Photo-merge)- Carl Zeiss Sonnar DDR- film lens + Canon Rebel XSI
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More Texas pics (83 degrees in January- barefooted)texas-barn-28mm-i-think
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Three Weeks to Go

I can’t believe that there are only 3 short weeks to go before graduation. (Bachelor’s in Psychology.) My long road is almost over! At least for a while. Somehow, through my incredibly crazy life, I’ve managed to hold on to my grades: I’ll be graduating with honours. 🙂

Statistics for Behavioral Health- A
Marine Biology- A
Senior Seminar- A
Sensations and Perceptions (Psych.)- A
Psychology of Personality (Psych.)- B

I’m not happy about that B, but I can live with it. I am utterly exhausted. Five classes is no walk in the park and I’ve been doing this college thing for a long time now. I’m looking forward to picking up my camera again and MAKING ART. 🙂 I miss the mercurial, barefooted girl I used to be- wandering around abandoned farm houses picking branches and leaves out of my hair. And, if I have to reject one more null hypothesis I’m going to SCREAM. (Feel free to scream with me if you even know what that means!)

I’ll be taking a significant amount of time off after May- at least for the rest of the year. (And maybe all of 2017.)  I need a long sabbatical. Two years ago, when I got my Associates degree in Behavioral Sciences, I wanted to take a year off and do the photography thing again; but- I ran right back into the fire because apparently, I like my challenges on full blast. But I think I’ve had just about enough of that for now, so I’m ready to kick off my shoes and break out my M42 lens adapter and the Carl Zeiss Jena Flektogon and go for a long walk.

I think it’s been more than two years consecutively since I’ve had an academic break. It’s been so long I don’t remember and I think I hit burnout about 3 years ago. I’m so glad it’s almost over! The academic and the artist have been battling it out for years now, and I’m happy to say, the artist is winning.


The Chill Zone

In the past two days, I’ve finished a 10 page/slide Powerpoint presentation (75 pts. out of 80- I’ll take it!), a Powerpoint conference poster, a final exam in Research Methods in Experimental Psychology, two chapter tests in Cross Cultural Communications and 10 forum postings. I’ve just finished up and I’m officially on vacation for a week! Josh is feeling much better today. I’ve been taking good care of him so he can return to work tomorrow. He’s sitting in his chair here in our room pivoting between playing the guitar (and singing the Blues) and his game, Gary’s Mod. I’ve just installed a new Nancy Drew adventure game and am getting ready to make a fresh batch of chocolate chip cookies.

I can’t believe I have seven, long, glorious days in which I can do anything I want. I’m ecstatic. Brianna’s been thinking of moving out soon. Twenty years we’ve been together! She’s my little sidekick and I’m already missing her terribly. I woke myself up last night- twice- crying. I’d had a dream of her (which I can’t remember now) and when I woke up, I had a tear rolling down my cheek and I was weeping like a child. It was the strangest thing. When I went back to sleep, it happened again. All of my kids are special and they all have their own strengths. Heidi’s strength has always been her love. She’s nurturing and warm and selfless. Brian is so funny! He’s always cracking me up. He comes across as not caring so much sometimes but really, his strength is his compassion. He’s a giver too. Brianna has a quiet strength.  She’s not a touchy, feely, huggy person and she’s not overtly “warm” but she’s reliable, considerate, and real. I don’t think she’s even capable of being fake. She’s just got good sense too. They’re all incredibly smart! I’m so proud of my kids. :0) Brianna is my baby though. She’s always been here at home and so her moving out is bittersweet. It was so hard to let Heidi go initially, because I’d waited so long for her to come home. I cried for days when she moved away a handful of years ago. And when Brian moved out, it took months to adjust to his absence as well. It felt so empty here! It’s gong to be tough getting used to Brianna not being here but her guy treats her really well and is so good to her. That’s all I can ask for as a Mom- that my kids are happy in life.

I’m so glad Josh and I are still together. After all these years! He’s truly my hero. No other man has weathered so many storms with me. He’s my rock. And, I can honestly say that we’re still best friends.

SnowTree (Thanks for that, Gav. :0) Helios 44-2 film lens/natural lighting

SmowtreeMJ


A Very Long Sabbatical

I’ve decided that after this semester’s over (in December), I’m going to take 1-2 years off from school. I’ve been pushing myself very hard for 4 years now (since the fall of 2010) with only one summer break. My brain hurts! I’m clawing at the fuzzy realization that it’s only two months away.

I remember the last day I worked at Dialamerica. I was a telemarketer (the woman everybody loved to hate!) and as I got out of the car, pregnant with my son, Brian, I put one foot on the pavement and it was all I could do to heave and ho and drag my other foot out. I hated every second of it. I thought to myself, “This is the last day I’ll come here. No more.” And that was it.

Well that’s how I’m starting to feel about school. I have chronic TMJ gnawing away at my head like a deranged hamster- the pain is gnawing at the pain, and it’s every day. Sleep is the only comfort I have because it’s the only time I’m not in pain. It’s making my schoolwork virtually unbearable. I just don’t feel good. I have the immune system of steel, I really do. I haven’t had the flu (or even a cold) in a year, and before that, it was another year. I seldom get sick, but I pay in pain in every other way.

As long as I’m convicted and driven by principle- I’m in it for the long haul. But this lukewarm romance with college is falling away and I’m scrutinizing the “balance” of it now. I have 3-4 years to go before I get my Master’s. By then, I’ll be 50! I don’t want to wait until I’m a burnt out shell to record my songs and work on my art and photography. (This is not a new song I’m singing. It was the same thing last year, and the year before.)

My mind is tired. The stress and hard work are taking their toll. For anybody who’s never been to college that might think it’s easy to be a full-time student year after year, not so! it’s probably the hardest thing I’ve ever done, continually. I don’t have the best track record in the world either. I have many ambitions and dreams! I’ve followed through on a few of them. But I’m suffering, and I just need a good, long sabbatical. Like- 2 years. I’ll be able to get a “hardship deferral”, so that’s not a problem.

And if I’m honest, part of me doesn’t care if I never return. I’m just So. Burnt. Out. 

Josh is very supportive of this executive decision. It means that I won’t get my Bachelor’s in 2016, but I miss the clouds and my photo-walks and my editing and my guitar playing and my dreaming and I miss the wondering of what the next day brings!

If I have to smell the air of indifference one more day I’m going to break. I’m watching the world spin from under my microscope and I get to be part of it when I go to the store. Yay! It’s not enough. I’m dying inside and I can’t let myself turn into an old, predictable, flaccid curmudgeon! So I’m counting down the days before I’m set free of this academic cocoon.

Today, I was sitting at a red light. I surveyed the scene and it was flat and dull. Cars turned and moved and sat and beeped and it was all very “normal”. I didn’t feel the least bit inspired by anything and felt stale inside. And then I realized why. My “photographic eye” has been asleep for months! When I’m actively taking pictures, daily, then I’m burning with fire inside- I’m alive. My eye is sharp and keen- like a hawk- and it’s quick and I see shots everywhere. I hear stories everywhere. People “speak” just in their gestures and I’m the storyteller, or, my camera is.

Today I was looking at the world through non-photographic eyes and it scared the crap out of me. As I’ve said before, school is choking the artist in me, and I have to do something different for a while. Besides, I want to focus more on my writing. Poetry, memoir, who knows? It’s yet to be explored and that excites me. :0)

But more than anything- I want to take pictures again and wander around with my camera- lost in the moment. That sounds like Heaven…

Weary


Awesome Sale- Awful Vacation

I came back from my vacation with a notice that I made a sale: that’s always nice! Somebody bought a framed print of:

 The Longest Dream

flat,800x800,070,f.u3 It’s a nice feeling that somebody would pay almost $200 for one of my prints. So, to whoever the mystery buyer is, thank you deeply! That made my day.

Unfortunately, our vacation was like a bad SNL skit. It really was the vacation from hell. I blame both of us being overworked-like two highly pressurized pots that have been on the stove for far too long. The best part was sleeping in the car on the first night. We read books on our Androids on an air mattress- priceless! But then we got semi-lost the next day and all hell broke loose. I can’t go into detail, because I don’t want to paint anybody black. There was yelling and cussing and that’s all before we even got to the cabin!

The location was absolutely stunning. But then it all went downhill very quickly, starting with the two large dogs (the size of small horses) which jumped all over us as soon as we got out of the car. The owner, Fred (who took a liking to hanging over his front porch), failed to mention that he and his wife actually lived on the premises too. We weren’t going to be alone as the website indicated; their cabin was only feet away from ours. Strike one.

And then there was the whole no-WiFi thing. The website said there was Wifi- nope! Fred told us that the teens who had stayed there prior to our arriving had used it all up. (Fred conveniently neglected to tell us that part on the phone while booking with him just days before.) Strike two. But the worst part of all was those damn acorns. Not the dry kind that bounces off the roof quietly- no no- these were the heavy, green kind that hit the tin roof with an ear-shattering CRACK. CRACK. CRACK. Every 25-45 seconds- just like clock work, without fail. Strike three.

Kiss your sanity (and any hope of a good night sleep goodbye). I couldn’t go out on my front porch without seeing Fred on his. The entire time, Fred let his dogs roam free, up onto our deck when we were grilling ribs- it didn’t matter. Between the dogs, the lack of internet, and the blasted acorns, I really couldn’t wait to get back home. I did manage to get 10 gigs of beautiful shots. I was only able to edit a few, as it’s back to the grind! Josh is working 12 hours days and I’m back to my 5-7 page research papers. It’s intense, but at least it’s predictable!

Post trip- still sane!

selfieMJbnw

leavesonbridgeMJ
   Josh on the boat
Josh on boatMJ

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Reflections of trees

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Josh, rocking out on the suspension bridge at Red River Gorge
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Pics taken with Carl Zeiss Jena Flektogon 35/3.5 film lens + Canon Rebel XSI/natural lighting/manual


Changing Lanes: The Trilogy

Ole Betsy’s been dead since about last year. (Ole Betsy’s my car.) My sister gave it to me 5 years ago because she thought it would kick the bucket any day. I expected her to last a year or so. Certainly not 4 & 1/2! She overheats at the 2 mile marker, so when Josh and I risk taking her out for a spin, we have to turn it off at the stoplights- you know- just in case.

I’m still able to smile at the (semi-romantic) notion of driving such an eyesore around town when I think about how great it’s going to be one of these days. And one of these days is about 8 years from now. I’ve gone and changed my majors again.

See, I was going to be a probation officer and so thought about taking Criminal Justice + Psychology (double major). But I can’t shake the feeling that I’m forever bonded with CSI and forensics, given that my Dad shared his True Detective magazines with me and my brothers- sparing not the eye at all. Some of the images branded me for life: I suppose that’s why I feel such a connection with criminology and forensics, etc. You’re either cut out for that stuff or you’re not and I certainly am.

I know without a doubt that I’ll be in school for the next 6 years solid. It’s not likely that I’ll get a B.S./B. A. in anything at all and hop right to it. Nah. I’m going to jump in up to both eyeballs, as is my way. So, I’ll be double majoring in Biology and Psychology (which is actually Neuroscience/neuropsychology) which suits me just fine. Afterwards, I’m hoping to transfer to the University of Florida where I can work on a Master’s in Forensic Science.

If you think Forensic Science can be achieved with just “college algebra”- think again. You have to master Calculus (I and II) as well as Chemistry (I and II) and let’s not forget Physics. (I and II) Not for the faint of heart!

I shared my grand academic plan with Josh earlier. It only took his two-word reply to make me shudder, “Imaginary numbers,” he said.

Yep. That did the trick!

“What is I?” He went on.

I stared back stupidly.

“I is the square root of negative one. There is no square root of negative one which is why they call it an imaginary number,” he finished.

Right.

I certainly have my work cut out for me, but if I can actually pull this off, I’m fairly certain that I will have found my calling after all.

Back to Betsy. She’s been really good to me while I’ve had her but I’m afraid I’ll have to trade her in this fall. When I’m combining grocery trips with photo shoot (opportunities) because she’ll only go two miles- that’s pretty much my cue to get a new one.

Josh, leaning against a stranger’s car outside of the grocery store- taken today/Helios film 44-2

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Same car
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Relaxation = Torture

I swear, most people would give their right leg to have my summer. I get to take the entire summer off- work free. Everything is taken care of financially- for that, I can be so very grateful. I own my home (and car) so there are no payments to make there. I can loaf around and read all day, or watch Netflix or arrange my patio furniture on my deck (etc.) or do absolutely anything I want until August.

For most people, that’s called “winning the lottery”. But for me, a perfectionist-workaholic, it’s sheer torture! I live my life by deadlines and goals and am always “achieving something”. Anything less than that feels utterly lazy to me. Logistics aside, I am having a wonderful time in the chill zone.

I’ve registered for my new college- Indiana University East- for this fall where I’ll be working on a double bachelor’s in Psychology and Criminal Justice. I’m hoping to eventually be able to move to Arizona. (That’s later on down the road though.) As much as I’m drawn to both majors, I’ll wait until I’ve completed both before deciding to work towards a Master’s in Psychology or Criminology. it’ll be an interesting road nonetheless.

Josh is off to get us some authentic tacos and ceviche and we’ve decided to settle in for a night of intense gaming! I swear I’m having the best time of my life these days. No complaints.

water lillies

Bernheim Forest/ Water Lillies  [Van Gogh meets Monet]


Conjecture

I’ve decided that I need a vacation. I’m considering:

  • Turkey (Cappadocia, in particular: the “Land of Fairy Chimneys” and Star Wars-like lunar landscapes)
  • Morocco (Marrakesh & Casablanca- and a desert trek on camel’s back to stay in a smelly tent with indigenous desert tribes in the Sahara- Heaven!)
  • Puerto Rico, AKA “Zombie Island” (due to a startling rise in the number of krokodil recipients). Krokodil is a flesh-eating drug that drug abusers shoot up: they then wander around the island in a semi-comatose trance (or, fully-induced) and do things like stumble into traffic begging for change, or, shove their intestines back into their abdominal cavities as they wander off in search of more of the drug; I’ve seen both in documentaries.

I’ve told a select few that I’m considering Puerto Rico, as I’ve researched the place for years and is in large part why I’ve studied Spanish for the past year; they think I’ve completely lost it because I want to venture off to a place that’s loaded with drug addicts. Hello…the town I live in is loaded with drug addicts who are multiplying rapidly due to the pill mill on the main strip! People stumble around in their pj’s here- doped up- glazed look in their eyes, robbing the Dollar Tree. How high do you have to be to rob the Dollar Tree? I’ve spent my whole life in this area: I’m used to drug addicts.

And really, after dealing with these people all the time, I could use a break- switch up the drug addicts for a change.

Also though, I’m drawn to the El Yunque Rain Forest located near white-sanded Luquillo Beach. I’ve spoken with a woman who owns chalets there in the rain forest: 15 minutes down a jungle path leads you to a waterfall that you can swim in. There’s a hammock on the chalet deck which allows one to relax while listening to the Coqui frogs that fill the night air with their croaks and stories of all the others who were ever there on the deck, sipping a chilled Corona. I want to hear them.

I told my daughter once: “We have $1,000. Pick a city. Wherever you choose- we’re going.” She chose New York City, New York. (I wasn’t expecting that one!) But, I made arrangements and booked the Crowne Plaza on Broadway of Times Square/Manhattan (with wrap-around views of NYC- amazing…) and we drove right into that mug like we owned the place: fresh from Podunk, Indiana! The New Jersey Turnpike threw us off for a minute, but we regained our bearings quickly and found our hotel without (major) incident. It was cold freezing, but we dined on Broadway, toured Times Square at night, and sampled the broad spectrum of ethnic cuisines that New York City is known for.

Apart from having her camera pick-pocketed during a trip to the Museum of Modern Art (MOMA), we I had the time of our lives my life and was able to shoot Times Square at night: a dream-come-true for a photographer.

So yes, I can feel it in my bones that I’m getting ready to jump ship and fly somewhere halfway around the world. I have to scrub the disease of 2013 off my skin and out of my hair…

I’m going to have to squeeze my vacation into my next semester somehow. My spring semester and work on my 2nd degree (A.S. in Social Work) begins January 13. My four new classes are:

Biology: Connections and Impacts
Elements of Economics
Intro to Social Work
Human Behavior in the Social Environment

Let’s get this party started!

Museum of Modern Art- NYC/Man in hallways- stairs
Sigma 17-70/Canon Rebel

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View from Crowne Plaza Hotel- overlooking Broadway in Times Square/Manhattan/NYC
[Sitting on business desk- Indian style/Sigma 17-70- Canon Rebel]

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Jellyfish and Psycho Stalkers

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

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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.”

WOW.

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)

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Getaway

Tickles the cat.

Tickles

Canon G3/manual/RAW/natural lighting

Heidi is here with us now; she’s hacking and coughing but still going to the Smokies with us; she’s a trooper. We leave in the morning. I’ve just finished an assignment (at 1:30 a.m.) and just want to shower and collapse. Unfortunately, I’ll have to take my laptop with me and complete several assignments overlooking the mountains on the cabin deck. Lovely.

I’ve purchased our Ripley’s Believe It or Not oddities museum and Aquarium tickets and have printed them out; they’re tucked away snugly in my purse. Josh says we’re both “overpreparers”. I can’t disgree- we spend more time preparing for a trip than we do actually on a trip. Brianna won’t be able to come along because she has to work.

It’s way past my bedtime.
Next time I write, I’ll be in the mountains. I hope the sunrise out on the deck with be misty and majestic. I’m craving coffee just thinking about it. Man I’m getting old…