Rosie and the new supplement

Rosie is our 28 year old, well loved, Welsh pony mare.  She was a retired broodmare and has a gentle and peaceful personality and is filled with charm and grace that is rare among equines.  She is hard to keep weight on and has Cushings and founders frequently.  Rosie realizes her physical limitations and despite her feet, she still greets me with bright eyes, pricked ears, and a nicker for her grain!  In human years she’d be the equivalent of somebody about 80 years old and she treats her condition as a way of life and copes with grace and dignity.

Cushings and founder can be so difficult to manage and they can be such heart breaking diseases- at any point things could go south and we’d be done.  Rosie complicates things by being a hard keeper and picky eater and has  well worn teeth.  Many of the feeds that are recommended she won’t touch and she doesn’t like soaked/wet feed.  Luckily, she is comfortable with her condition and still on her feet, happy, and bright eyed.  If the time comes when she’s done, she’ll let me know, but for now she’s still happy with life and I feel very blessed to have this wonderful pony in my life.

Despite her medication (pergolide – permax), her feet are bothering her again.  I’ve been speaking with a lady at the feed store because Rosie had gotten picky about eating her Alam grain which is supposed to be one of the best choices for IR/Cushings horses.  We switched to a Smart Carb which she enjoys (at least for now).  The lady at the feed store suggested a supplement and I decided to try it.  If it lives up to half of the claims it makes, I’ll be happy.

I think when I bought the supplement I made the comment driving home, “Please, God, let this work!”

The next morning, kiddo is helping me feed and as I got out the supplement, he said confidently, “When this works, Rosie will feel better and my Daddy will appear and see me.”

I asked him to repeat it and he did.  I tried to put two and two together and decipher the mind of a four year old and I couldn’t wrap my mind around it.  I asked him if his Daddy ever came and visited him because they say that kids often have those experiences.  But he told me, “No, my Daddy just stays up in Heaven.”

So, I don’t know… I can’t quite wrap my head around his statement… he may be associating my conversation of God, and praying that this works with Heaven and Heaven is where his Daddy is.  I don’t know.

I do know that I have a little boy who desperately wishes he had his Daddy and draws him pictures and says he misses his Daddy and leaves me saying, “I miss Daddy, too.  He loved you very, very much and wishes he could be here with you.”

So, prayers for my pony… hugs for my son… and Love Always to John!

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11:09 7-23-12

Naturally, July is a tough month and the last several days have been a lot of reflecting and remembering.

11/9 was John’s B-day and I find myself catching the time frequently.  That and 9:11.

At 11:09 PM on Monday, I had the radio on to a music station as opposed to NPR.  I’ve developed the habit of listening to talk radio as yet another coping mechanism.  Talk radio usually doesn’t have lyrics about losing love, the one that got away- you get the point.  But there was something on NPR which I had about as much interest in as chopped liver, so I’d flipped the station to 98 Rock.  Often 98 Rock late nights are a little too heavy for me… remember I’m getting older… But this night was different… I liked the tunes… and I was jamming away.  Good thing the windows were rolled up… nothing like a 36 year old mom– who can’t sing to save her life– rocking out.  lol… I’m really not making a fool of myself… I’m practicing to embarrass the crap out of kiddo once he gets older.  Besides… it was dark… and barely any traffic…

Anyway, John’s favorite band was Van Halen.  I hear Unchained come on the radio .  I look at the time 11:09. Unchained by Van Halen


I smile…. think of John… and smile again.  I hope that everybody has the opportunity to find true love… I just hope yours lasts for 50 or 60 years or more… but mine wast tremendous while it lasted and I have many great memories stored safely in my heart and I will love and cherish them for as long as my heart continues to beat.

Miss you John… love you always…

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The circle of life

July 21st, 2009 marked 3 years since John passed away.  It was a challenging day and will forever be a challenging day.  I caught myself saying one of his phrases… “It is what it is.”  I haven’t bawled but, I’ve shed tears.

Midnight, I found myself in a bar.  A bar???  Yes, a bar??? I don’t drink, but if I did it would have been a good day to take up drinking.  Several co-workers had promotions and we were celebrating.  My initial thoughts was not to go.  But then at some point, I had a 180 reversal, I didn’t want to be alone… and since I couldn’t embrace John, hanging out at a bar seemed like a rational thing to do.  I literally am like a fish out of water at a bar… I don’t drink… don’t dance… oh well… at least the company was better than a toddler.  Other than being emotionally drained when I saw the clock had creeped past midnight, I was doing okay.

My drive home took me through Elkton.  On July 21, 2009, John had died in Elkton at Union Hospital.  The tears started… my eyes burned… my heart ached.

On the door of my sitter’s house a huge mostly yellow moth sat on the door.  It made me think of a LiveStrong band.

Yellowish Moth

I picked up my son and just wanted to hold him… to snuggle… to hold him close.  Instead he wiggled and squirmed and wanted down.  It reminded me of how when I got back from the hospital I picked up Nathaniel, held him close and tried to explain to him that his Daddy was dead and kiddo pointed to a bird and said, “bird!”

In the morning we went to the park with friends and it was nice to get out and do something that we enjoyed, but it was even better to hear my friend acknowledge the day and ask how I was doing.  So many people skirt around the issue or hide when there is NOTHING MORE that I would like to do than talk about John… to remember and honor him and share his life and his stories and his soul and the WE that there once was.

In the afternoon we went to a friend’s house it was their daughter’s birthday.  Funny how one person’s happy day is another person’s worst day.

As if to drive that point home, my cousin delivered a healthy baby boy, today.

I’ve learned it’s okay to be happy and sad, just generally not in the same second.

Kiddo picked out a flower to take to the cemetery.  He knows where his daddy is buried, he picked where to put the flower,

Nathaniel putting the flower on his father’s grave.

And he fixes the LiveStrong band…

Fixing the LiveStrong band

And then my heart breaks when he says,

“But I don’t know… When will daddy not be died?”

I don’t know what to say.  How does one explain to their four year old son that his Daddy is never coming home?  …will never be there to pick him up?  … won’t be able to give him piggy back rides or hold his hand when he crosses the street?  won’t be teaching him how to throw a ball (and oh by the way,  his moms sucks at it)?  won’t be taking him to a game?  won’t be teaching him how to use a hammer and how to fix things?  won’t take him to the firehouse to let him sit on the fire truck?  won’t be there to  see him graduate from high school?  Won’t be able to explain to him about dating?  and won’t ever have the opportunity to hold his grandchildren.

I wanted to curl up in a ball and bawl, but instead I said, “I don’t know, buddy, I don’t know.”

My worst day is somebody’s best day.  And your worst day is or will be somebody’s best day.

John- Miss you… Love you… forever and ever always…

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Due date

July 14th, 2008 was my due date.  Kiddo was showing no signs of budging, so John and I did exactly everything we shouldn’t have done… we went to Annapolis… probably a good hour maybe more away from the hospital.  I did a fair amount of walking.  We ate spicy food at Chipotle.  Mmm… it was delicious… at the time we didn’t have one in our area.  Now we have one close to my work, but I can’t bring myself to go there… sigh.  We went to the firehouse and it was so great to see everybody and everybody couldn’t wait for the baby!  We kidded about the firefighters getting to deliver him and get their stork!

Kiddo had no intentions of coming yet, he’s stubborn like that, sometimes.  But John and I had a perfectly wonderful excursion… the two of us… about to become three… a “real” family… young… in love… and having no idea of what would happen to our lives in a few months… in a year… I can’t tell you how many times a day, I think how much John would love to see his son and how he would have laughed and smiled… and busted at the seams with pride and love…

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Typically in life, you upgrade… newer car… bigger house… you know… “the American dream.”

When you’re a widow… not only are so many dreams crushed-gone… over… D E A D– you also have to deal with the reality that there are no more two incomes… there is one… and in my case John made close to twice as much as I did.

Sometimes you are forced with the reality of downgrading.  A few weeks ago I discovered the freezer was no longer working and I had to throw out the entire contents because everything was soft.  I needed to clean the freezer and fridge out, but not really to that extent.

I held my breath when the repairman came… please let it be cheap… please let it be cheap… please let it be cheap.  The generator had just needed repaired and took a LONG time and I was anticipating a $400-500 bill from that!  We built the house in 2004 and didn’t move in till the end of the year… way too soon for the fridge to go.

Within a few minutes the repairman came back with the verdict… the compressor was toast.  The next day the estimate brought worse news- over $500 to fix it and the repair person recommended purchasing something new rather than repairing.

So… I faced the reality… DOWNGRADING.  We have a nice fridge… side by side… GE… stainless steel… ice maker & DE-LICIOUS filtered water.  John always believed in quality and he’d rather pay more for something and purchase something good than get a piece of junk.  The repair person guesstimated that it had been in the $1800 to $2000 when we purchased it.  I have no idea.  I let John make the decisions about the appliances.

$1800 to $2000 is not in the budget.  The budget has already had a tough year with purchasing needed thing like horse run in sheds (at 25% off), and base, and a big unanticipated vet bill for Gadget- the Now Almost Toothless Wonder Dog.

It has been a tough experience going into different stores and saying… I need something under $600… and answering the “what do you have now?” and saying “I have to downgrade.”

It is hard to see how limited the options are in some stores… one store didn’t have anything in my budget.  Others had one or two.

I know I’m not the only one to have to downgrade and I know lots of people have to downgrade for many reasons… divorce… loss of job, etc.  I know it’s not JUST me, but that doesn’t make it any easier to BE ME!  I don’t want to be in these shoes… I want the extra pair of shoes… my husband’s shoes… with him in them… and healthy!!!

Today, I ended up in the scratch and dent Sears Outlet store which came highly recommended for deals.  But… my options were limited there, too.  OUCH!!!  I looked at these fridges that smelled funny and bore scars and dents.  In some ways I almost felt a strange bond with these appliances… we were both damaged goods… cast off by society… not good enough… we had scars, dents, scrapes and dings.  But, in other ways, I was repulsed, too… I wanted my old life back… nice, shiny, stainless steel.

But, life is different now.

We’ll see.  I’m still checking out sales and hoping I can find a good fit.  But, if not… I’ll have artwork and pictures and magnets to cover those dings and scars and life will go on.  All I need is a fridge that works… and hopefully will last… I’m downgrading… no need for fancy water dispensers and ice makers…

And… I look at my current fridge and am reminded how it is a reflection of my life… sloppily covered in a hodge podge of items… including Christmas and Easter magnets (neither which are close).. kiddo’s artwork… magnetic letters… vet’s magnets- easy to find the number if an emergency arises and I don’t have access to my cell… a “save the date” magnet from the last wedding that I’ve been, too- in 2008… and other things…

My sloppily covered fridge

like John’s IL2 schedule that I couldn’t bear to remove because it had HIS writing on it and he put it there.  What woman in her right mind has a failed cancer research study medication treatment schedule plastered to her refrigerator?  (note “failed” in the sense that my husband died- for some people the trial may have been a success).

John’s IL2 Schedule

There is also a 2009 calendar,

2009 Calendar

and the 2009 Ravens schedule.

2009 Ravens Schedule

A Christmas card with a note from 2009.

Christmas card with treasured note,
“Mrs. Smith,
We all miss Smitty. He always made me laugh.
Duane (AFD)

A photo John had taken of our now deceased cat, Winnie. His favorite. Along with a list of things that needed to be done from back in 2009 when I had help with my “To Do List” Now it would be shorter to make a list of what actually got done.

2009… the year when everything ceased to matter in the way that it had previously mattered.

Cancer magnets and kiddo’s artwork.  The penguin was a library project and I LOVED it!

A Palm Sunday cross from last year and a 2009 Christmas card. I put all of the Christmas cards on the fridge from 2009… it made me feel loved and comforted… in 2010 there were fewer… and then in 2011 even less.

I gave John these magnets for Christmas in 2008. I didn’t know what he did with them. When the contents from John’s Annapolis fire locker were given to me… they were in there. His boy meant the world to him.

A magnet of my dearly beloved mare. I lost her on July 7, 2010… within a year I lost my soulmate husband and horsey friend of over 17 years.

The magnets of both her and Winnie had been on the fridge well before they passed– I’m not THAT weird… and I also do have a magnet of Remington with a photo that John had taken at a show, and a photo magnet of Winston.

And a few of kiddo’s masterpieces!

In my defense, I do have a 2012 calendar, but it kept sliding off the fridge… and I have had relatively few appointments and plans, so it hasn’t been up for a while.

As hard as it is to downgrade… letting go is harder… I know when the new fridge comes… I can’t put those magnets back up.  I also know I can’t throw away that IL2 schedule.  Someday, I may need it to help kiddo understood how hard his daddy fought to stay alive, to win the battle.  John was insanely afraid of injections… sweating… heart racing… practically panic attacks… in fact in the academy a brilliant mind thought it would be a great idea to do the TB testing while standing… well… John passed out… skull to concrete floor resulted in a tripod fracture and surgery.  John didn’t accept the injections – that he had to give himself… till he was a DAD.  Then he wanted to do everything possible to stay alive for his son.

So the downgrade in the fridge will also mean a change in scenery… which some people will see as a positive… but to me it will probably signify one more way that John is less present in my life.

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Little treasures

I went to roll up John’s sleeping bag from our camping adventure… and found this little treasure….

Funny… one would have never thought that somebody’s handwriting of their last name could bring comfort and a smile to somebody else’s face.  And yeah… I missed him a little too.  John and his sharpie.  I must say, I’m glad he used one… it makes it just a little more permanent…

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Link to Relay for Life T-shirts

Relay for Life- Saturday Night Fever T Shirts 2012

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Making peace with the lawnmower

Sunday evening, I made peace with the zero turn mower.  It may seem strange, but it’s actually a big step.  John used to mow.  I didn’t even know how to drive the zero turn.  He’d tried to show me when I was pregnant with kiddo.  My belly was huge and I couldn’t even get through his course of cones that he set up.  We’d laughed together and called it a day.  I figured maybe sometime after kiddo was born, he’d show me again and I’d be better.

When John was sick the firefighters stepped up and made sure our lawn was mowed.  We both appreciated their help.

The following mowing season I was on my own… the offers to help were gone… I’d even asked for help, but been blown off.  People have their own lives, gas is expensive and well, John is dead.  I guess that is it.  Maybe it’s me.  I don’t know.

I wasn’t happy.  I was frustrated… hurt… alone.  But grass doesn’t care if you’re grieving.  I contemplated fencing the whole property and turning the horses lose to eat the grass, but knowing my crew I’d have them coming in the front door, standing on the deck or chewing on the siding.

So, I had to learn how to use the zero turn.  I hated it.  HATED IT!!!  At first it was quick and I was clumsy.  It was like being given a sports car to drive on your first ride.  I don’t know that I hated the piece of equipment- it is a John Deere- can you really hate a John Deere?

I hated me fumbling and driving so jerkily.  I hated being covered in dirty, itchy grass.  I hated when I got it into grass too deep and stalled it out.  I hated the gross cans of gasoline.  I hated trying to pour the gas into the lawnmower- each time I was convinced I’d forever pollute my well with the drips that spilled… either that… or end up with a huge fireball when spilled gas exploded when I started it up.  I hated that it was boring.  I hated the monotony.  I hated worrying about kiddo since I couldn’t take him on the tractor and mow with me.  I hated how loud it was- I didn’t like to wear the ear plugs because I needed to be able to hear kiddo.  I hated when kiddo insisted on riding or when I had to take him on the big loop around the field because I couldn’t leave him while I did it- I was terrified he’d fall off and get mowed over.  I hated when the mower wouldn’t start.  I hated my incompetence.  I hated that the yard looked like crap when I mowed. I just hated every damn thing.  I was mad and pissed.

Mowing had been John’s thing.  He always loving cleaned off the tractor when he was done and he seemed to enjoy the activity.  Just him out there on the tractor… mowing his yard… doing guy things.

Somewhere in the course of hating, I reached a point where I didn’t hate every second I was on the lawnmower.

My hatred turned into a new emotion– I developed a fuck it attitude.  Fuck it that I was alone and without help.  Fuck it that my property looked like Denace the Menace had been making trails through the grass.  Just Fuck it!  Mow the damn grass and be done with it.

However, Sunday evening when I mowed, I turned over a new leaf.  I just let go.  Yeah, it still looks like Denis the Menace had been traipsing through my yard, but that’s okay- and it makes it more fun.  I could be practicing reining patterns or dressage tests…   If I want to see neatly manicured lawns, I can pick up a magazine or go visit Longwood Gardens… it’s just me and kiddo and an occasional visit from my parents.  My place isn’t a showplace and never will be- I’ve accepted that.  But it’s home to a happy little boy, two happy dogs, two happy cats, and a some happy horses… the important things… and the grass is mowed… till next week.

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Some days Friday feels more like a Monday…

Kiddo woke up before I did and I was still groggy and hadn’t gotten much sleep.  I’d been up way too late again- I haven’t been able to fall asleep well since John died and I’m a night owl.  So, I usually let kiddo get up before me and go get himself some yogurt, play, or watch DVDs.  Today, I was exhausted!  So, I let him go.

I was jolted to consciousness by the sounds of kiddo running across the floor followed by ticking nails of the not really housebroken Beagle dog.  UGH!  Kiddo and Gadget had played like this earlier this week and all had been fine, but I hurried to get to him, so I could get him outside.

I stumbled downstairs to find out from kiddo that “Gadget had to go potty, so he just used the floor.”

I will give kiddo credit, he did put paper towels on top of the mess, or as he said, “I cleaned it up!” and at least Gadget just peed right on the floor without lifting his leg on something. Some days, it’s the little things…

Happy Friday, everybody!

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The dentist!

Kiddo and I had our dentist appointments and I’m glad to report we survived.
Raising a three year old is quite an adventure!  The last appointment we had he was a total pill and refused to even get his teeth cleaned.  This time we were separated and had our appointments at the same time and I spent a good part of my appointment with my fingers crossed hoping my cherub would cooperate and not leave me having to find a new dentist out of embarrassment!

I heard a lot of “NO!” and “Done!”  But apparently, he did behave himself reasonably well and was able to get his teeth checked and cleaned!  PHEW!!

However, he was done much earlier than me and got to pick a toy out of the prize box once he had his toy he lacked incentive TO behave.

And there I am… flat on my back with stuff crammed in my mouth, pretty much like an upside down beetle!

Kiddo wanted to craw on his mommy-gym while I was getting my teeth cleaned… sigh… and then he got bored with that and started bouncing off of the walls… ugh… his book was of no interested… NO he didn’t want to see the fish… NO he didn’t want to sit quietly… NO he didn’t want to read his book… NO he didn’t want to color… luckily, to my knowledge he wasn’t disturbing other patients and the office staff is beyond accommodating– John and I had went there for YEARS before we had kiddo.

I realize why so many mothers are terrible about doctor, vision, and dental checkups.  It takes a brave woman to enter those places with young child and unlike other parents, I can’t have him stay home with Dad or have Dad come along to assist.  But with a little help… I mean a lot of help… from our friendly dental office, we made it through!  Maybe in December he’ll be more quiet, mellow, and well behaved… well… a woman can dream, can’t she???


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