Growing up uncool

This afternoon I received a message on Facebook from someone I went to high school with.  She asked me if I was attending our 30th high school reunion.  I told her I knew nothing about it, so she said she’d forward the information to me.

Then I saw that the reunion is scheduled for next weekend.  As in less than two weeks away.

And in the blink of an eye all those old feelings started to rise up.

I’ll spare you all the sordid details of my “growin’ up.”  Just know this- I was never the cool kid.   I entered adolescence chunky and I stayed that way until my parents bought me an 11 foot v-hull fiberglass boat with a brand new 4HP Evinrude engine.  I spent the summer before 8th grade on the Withlacoochee River every day.  My mom would give me a couple bucks for gas if she had it, and I’d run that river every day until the gas ran out or it got dark.  Other kids were hanging out at each other’s houses and swimming in pools.  I was catching alligators and swimming in Gum Slough.  I took a glass of lemonade and a pickle wrapped in cheese every day.  By the end of the summer, chunkiness wasn’t a problem for me.


But being poor still was.  And living seven miles outside of town was, too.  I was a river rat.  I grew up living in a trailer.  Not exactly the set of circumstances that provide an in with the cool, rich kids.



So I gravitated towards the cool, not-rich kids. I was so desperate to be liked that I did a lot of dumb, sometimes crazy stuff.  I just wanted people to like me.  It seemed like people paid more attention to me when I acted out or made them laugh, so that’s what I did.  Eventually I found a place where I felt comfortable, where I didn’t feel like such a hanger-on, someone out on the fringes of the cool group.

Instead of going to high school football games and formal dances, I went drinking on Government Hill, or the dairy farm, or the pines, or mudslinging in Moccasin Slough.  You’ve never lived until you’ve been riding in the back of a 4×4 Bronco and go bouncing through a mudhole and it takes a few minutes before you realize that thing poking you in the ass is the barrel of some redneck’s shotgun laying on the back floorboards.  While most kids my age were shopping at the mall on a Friday night, I was walking through Moccasin Slough at midnight with my best friend with no flashlight, trying to find the road because that Bronco was stucker than stuck and the guys sent us for help.


I met one of my lifelong best friends during this time.  I had  a lot of fun.


And that led to my entire 20s being spent living life on the wild side, or as wild as a river rat was going to get.

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Time passed.  I was never invited to a high school reunion.  I knew they had them but nobody ever invited me.  Ten years came and went, nothing.  Twenty years came and went.  I joined thinking that would make it easier for people to find me.

But nobody ever did.

So I eventually stopped worrying about being remembered and included and I just went about the process of living my life the way I wanted to and making new friends.

With age comes wisdom, right?  The older I got, the less interested I was in chasing people and trying to get them to like me.

Every birthday gets a little harder when I look in the mirror and I see more gray hair, more wrinkles on my face, an awful metabolism that’s even more awful now.

But you know what’s great about 48?  When you realize that the four years of high school don’t matter anymore.  Sure, I still have some lifelong friends from high school and social media has made it easy to keep in touch.

But I don’t chase anyone for anything anymore.

You like me?   Cool.  Let’s hang out and see how it goes.

Sixteen years ago I met a bunch of strangers on a message board.  These are people that have traveled to my house from as far away as England to Australia, California to Canada.

Can you believe that?   I met a bunch of strangers on the internet and they have paid a lot of their hard earned money to fly to my town and stay in my house, to  ride on my jet ski or paddle in my kayaks.

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I flew across the country in 2003 with only 24 hours notice to attend a slumber party with a bunch of women I couldn’t even pick out of a lineup.  I met my sister from another mister that day.


And one of the smartest, funniest chicks I know.



I’ve flown to England to see the Foo Fighters with them.




We’ve done a lot together.  In fact, two of them just came to see me last month.  While we were floating on the Gulf of Mexico we were already planning our next vacation.

You know what I’ve learned about myself?  I do love a good vacation plan.

When I got that message earlier today I immediately felt the old, familiar pangs of “not enough.”  Not cool enough, not rich enough, not whatever enough for anyone to remember to include me.

But the beauty of being 48 is being able to stop that nonsense dead in its tracks because this isn’t 1986, and I’m not in high school anymore.  And if I get real still and think about it, I don’t really give a shit that nobody thought to invite me until less than two weeks before the reunion.

Also?  I don’t care if I listen to music that’s not “cool.”  I know every single word to Third Eye Blind’s Semi-Charmed Kind of Life and I AM NOT ASHAMED.

This is me now.  Older, wiser,  a lot more cantankerous and a lot less likely to put up with people who PBS (perpetrate bullshit).

I’m not chasing anyone to try and get them to like me ever again.

I’m too old for that.

And I’m finally too cool for that.



Oops I did it again





Meet Foxy Brown the Feral Hound.

Before Foxy came into my life, my pack was calm.   Things had gone back to the way they’d been before I rescued Boo Radley, lost him a few months later, then rescued Cocoa Loco and lost her seven months later.  My two OGs (that means original gangster, Mom), Atticus (aka Big Bones, aka Bonesy, aka Nugs, aka Atty) and Scout (aka Scouty McScouterson, aka Medium Bones, aka Scouty, aka ScoutScout, aka Nug Nugs, aka Nuggy)  soaked up all the attention and affection and those two cats that live here would take a few ear scratches now and then.

Things were quiet.  Things were peaceful.

And then I did what I always seem to do when things are perfect.  I got hormonal and went trolling the local animal control Facebook page.  And I saw a plea to foster three feral dogs, siblings that didn’t stand much of a chance for adoption if they weren’t socialized first.  They had been living on someone’s property but had either never been handled or they’d been abused to the point of total fear.

What’s that, you say?  Psychologically damaged?  Needy?   A sad story?  I’LL BE RIGHT THERE!

And when I got there I found this:


The other female had already gone to a foster home, so I agreed to foster the remaining two, a larger male and tiny little female.  We got leashes on them and had to practically drag them out of the building, at which time Foxy promptly pooped all over herself.  The male started to go crazy, bucking like a wild bronco, thrashing everywhere.

I got scared.  I had visions of him attacking my two OGs.   They are so accepting of every dog that comes through my door.  I couldn’t expose them to possible danger.  So I made the decision to only foster Foxy, a decision I immediately regretted because within five minutes he had bitten through his leash and run away.  I found out later he’d run through the woods out to the highway and been hit and killed by a car.

I brought Foxy home and kept her in a crate on the porch for the first few days.  She was so terrified of everything she wouldn’t look me in the eye.  I couldn’t touch her without her drawing herself up into a tight ball and lifting her back leg, as if to try to protect herself. She smelled awful from all the fear pooping, so she had to get used to me pretty quickly because I had to wipe her down with baby wipes just so I could stand to be near her.

I spent a lot of time sitting on my porch just talking to her.

After a few days, I brought her and her crate into the house and began to integrate her into the pack.

And I fell in love.  Hard love.  Love so deep that looking at her made my heart hurt a little.

She was so scared.  She would jump up and run away if I tried to touch her.  If she was cornered, she’d just curl up and shake and go stiff as a board when I tried to pet her to soothe her.   This wasn’t just normal fear.  This was batshit crazy, psycho fear.  But never once did she ever show any signs of aggression, never once did she so much as show her teeth.


And so I pressed on.  A scratch behind the ear turned into a scratch on the belly.  I gave her a corner of the living room between the couch and loveseat, a space only big enough for her.   She felt safe in there.

And my pack accepted her, as they always do.  Having them around gave her comfort.  They helped her understand that it was ok to follow them to another room and that I wasn’t going to hurt her.


My OGs are the only reason she let me get this close at first.


The only time Foxy ever relaxed was when she was sleeping.  I cried every time I found her asleep like this, because it made me so happy to see her relaxed.





I started sneaking over to her and gently petting her while she was asleep, so that she would slowly wake up and realize I was touching her and not freak out so much.


Eventually I realized that allowing her that safe space wasn’t doing us any good anymore.  She needed to get used to me moving around.  So I closed off her space. I also talked to the vet about anti-anxiety meds, because I felt like I needed something to help me just a little.  Everything was still so stressful for her.  Anything new led to absolute terror and total panic.  And when you have a feral fear pooper, you will try anything to ease her worried mind.

Foxy takes her meds now, and they seem to be helping her.  Between the meds and closing off her corner, I can now approach her without her running away.  She still cowers and shakes when I first touch her, but she’s getting better.  My friend’s daughters came to visit last week and they made huge strides with her, even getting her to crawl halfway out of her bed for some chicken!



I’ve had Foxy Brown for ten months.  Life is much more complicated now.  I can’t just take off and ask anyone to dog sit because sometimes she gets spooked when I call her to come back in and she runs back into the yard and does her crazy nervous loop, watching the back door, wanting nothing more than to come inside and run straight back to her bed, yet scared to come through the door.  Sometimes I have to stand there for five minutes with the door open, coaxing her in a singsong voice.   I can’t just put her in the car and go, because of her fear pooping problem.

I’m starting to take her on walks to get her more used to the world outside.  Getting her out the door is super stressful on both of us, but once I get her outside and I start walking, she trots alongside me, constantly looking up at me for reassurance.



My pack has completely accepted her, but I never expected anything different.




Deep down, in my heart of hearts, I was waiting for her sister, Hope, to be socialized by her foster home, and then I wanted to go adopt her and reunite her with Foxy so they could have each other like Big Bones and Scouty have each other.   Sadly, Hope died from an allergic reaction to de-worming medication.

Foxy is the only one left of the three siblings.

Every time I look at her my heart cracks open. I want nothing more than to protect her for the rest of her life.  I want to help her learn to trust me.  I want her to jump up on the bed and snuggle with me.  I want her to not cringe in fear every time I get down on the floor with her.

I never seem to get the easy dogs.

I just want her to love me as much as I love her.


And so I wait 🙂


Love Letter to Big Red

Jamie Dad

They say that when someone has a terminal disease, you have a chance to make peace.  They say you have a chance to prepare yourself.  I thought I had.

We knew Dad had a terminal disease.  Last summer, when he was hospitalized with complications from his liver, one of his doctors told us that Dad might live two months or two years.  The nurses were kind enough to whisper to me what symptoms to look for, what I could expect when the end was near.  We were advised to call Hospice, but Dad ran them off.  He told them he’d call when he was ready for them.

What they didn’t tell me was that my dad would come home and start digging trenches across our front yard for new sprinklers.  A dying man wouldn’t start working on a sprinkler system, would he?  I watched my father sweat and struggle with those sprinklers during the hottest time of the year.  I didn’t think he should be working so hard in that heat, but he was determined.  I made up my mind then to say nothing and just let him do whatever it was he felt such a pressing need to do.

I watched him butcher the limbs on our trees because he figured it was easier to cut the limbs now, rather than pay to fix the fence if they ever fell.  I said nothing as I watched our lush tree line grow sparse.  The limbs would grow back.  If my dad wanted to cut the trees, so be it, but it sure was hard to keep in mind that this man was terminally ill.

I guess, because my father rallied so well after his hospital stay that summer, I didn’t take the time that some people would to talk about things.  My dad certainly didn’t make it any easier.  He was frustrated because he knew he was going to die and there was nothing he could do to change that.

Sometimes we got snippy with each other.  I lost some patience because I became the parent.  Suddenly, I was trying to figure out his finances and telling him what he should do.  He didn’t really like that, and it made for tense times around our house.

But we had our good moments.  They usually fell on Sundays, when we were both home. Dad would circle all his picks in the sports page and then sit and watch football games all day.  Between naps and chores, I would sit with him and read the paper.  He always got to it before me, so he would tell me whether Dave Barry’s column was funny that week.

Shortly before my dad died, I told him of an early morning walk I’d taken.  It was foggy, and I’d heard a noise in a tree.  I stopped and saw a redheaded woodpecker tapping in an old tree across the street.  I inched closer to him, but he just watched me out of one eye and continued tapping.  I was enthralled, and I rushed home to tell Dad.   We often sat on our porch and watched the woodpeckers and bluejays, and he knew how much I enjoyed watching them.

Not long after he died, I went to the cemetery for the first time.  I sat down and started talking.  I had to let Dad know the Bucs didn’t make it to the Superbowl and FSU wouldn’t be No. 1 this year.  But, most of all, I tried to say all the things I wish I could have said to him when he was still here.  I told him I wished we’d spent less time fussing and more time talking.  I told him I should have asked him to show me how to light the pilot light on the furnace.

I told him I just wanted to know that he’s okay.  I told him if he could just send me a sign to let me know everything is all right, I would feel so much better.  But I also told him it couldn’t be anything that might scare me, because he knows how scared I can get.

Suddenly, a redheaded woodpecker flew out of the woods across the street and landed in a tree to my left.  I wondered if that was my sign, but I couldn’t really be sure.  So I told my dad if that was my sign to let me know he’s okay, I would take it.  I just wanted to be sure.

At that moment, three more redheaded woodpeckers flew out of the woods across the street and lighted in the trees just in front of me.  After a few flybys, they settled in and began tapping away.

I took that as my sign.


us looking for artifacts

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Finding Pearl ~ The Day I Did It All By Myself

Yesterday I said goodbye to something that’s been a constant in my life for ten years.

I’m not one to run through cars all willy nilly, trading them in on a whim when a newer model’s chrome blinds me as they saunter on by.   I may have commitment issues when it comes to every other nook and cranny of my life, but when it comes to my cars, I’m in it for the long haul.

In high school I drove an old VW Dasher my parents bought for me.  I don’t remember how it died, but I do remember floating a keg in the back on graduation night.  After that, I drove an old Corolla they bought me.  When my Mom was ready to trade up, I then “bought” her old Nissan 200SX.  That Nissan 200SX was the car that cemented my friendship with this girl I call Pilar back in 1993.  Our friendship was founded on the fact that we drove the exact same car and loved to drink beer and throw darts and go nightswimming.  I drove that car for years after the air conditioner stopped working.  I would just drive everywhere in shorts and a tank top and then change my clothes in the car when I got there.  You can take the girl out of the country but…

One year I went to visit my parents for their birthday (yes, my mom and dad were born on the same exact day, as was Mom’s twin sister).  My stepdad and I went to pick up the BBQ ribs for the party.  We drove by a 1993 Nissan Pathfinder.  Oh, she was sweet, with all the bells and whistles.  The next thing I knew we were headed back to the party in my new Pathfinder.

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I loved that car.  We put a stupid loud stereo in there and I drove her until her cv joints just couldn’t take anymore.

By then I was married to someone who knew about cars and wheeling and dealing, so when I saw the new Mazdas in 2005 I just said that’s what I wanted, and the next thing I knew we were on the lot and my beloved Pathfinder was gone and I was falling in love with Ginger the Lava Rocket.  No muss, no fuss, all I had to do was say “that one”.

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Ginger and I had a rocky relationship.  I loved her for her flash and her haulass.   I loved her for pulling my jet ski and carrying my kayaks and carrying me all over the southeastern United States.

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I hated Ginger for her shitty air conditioner but I loved her for her thug badassery when she drove right through tropical storm Debbie  because the dolphins had stolen one of my favorite Anne Klein wedges when we’d drunkenly jumped into the Gulf of Mexico at midnight the night before, as the storm moved in.  In yet another impulsive mistake, I decided to drive back out to the beach during a tropical storm and try to find my shoe.  Act in haste, repent in leisure, that’s my motto.  I never did find my shoe but that’s ok, now I have three.

That Anne Klein wedge cost me one air conditioner compressor and one front axle that I apparently broke  or ruined driving through huge puddles like this:




I still don’t understand how I could break an axle and yet keep on driving but that’s what they told me so that’s what I paid for.

After years of driving through floods and dipping Ginger’s ass in the Gulf to put my ski in the water, she began to run less like a lava rocket and more like a jalopy.   I’d broken and fixed all three motor mounts and then broken another one again and said screw it.   I would just slide her into neutral every time I came to a stop and that would stop most of the vibration, which was fine unless your bladder was full.

So I started dreaming about a new car, one with an air conditioner so strong it would put your ass on arctic blast in seconds.  I obsessed about cars.  I had a few in mind and I stopped strangers and talked to them about their cars.  I looked online every day, trolling dealership websites.

Finally, I got the opportunity to pay off debt and buy a car.

Now, this is the part where I should tell you I don’t enjoy stuff like that.  I am the exact opposite of a “the art of the deal” kind of girl.  I don’t like being told what to do, I don’t like being told how to do it, and I don’t like being strong-armed into something just because I don’t understand what you’re saying.   I suffer from what I call Scarlett O’Hara Syndrome- I just figure if something upsets me like that, I’ll just worry about it tomorrow.

But Ginger’s a/c was hit or miss, and I have a job that requires me to be in the heat much of the day.  Living in Florida and climbing in attics without having a/c in my car is not an option.

So yesterday I was just putzing around my house, as I’m wont to do, when I was compelled to drop every damn thing I was doing and GO. BUY. A. CAR. NOW.

I’ve been dreaming of a white Hyundai Santa Fe for a year.  Yesterday I found one. She’s a few years old but she’s only got 27,000 miles with one original owner, a clean Carfax report and a record of service.   Are you kidding me?!

As I sat there and negotiated with the guy, I started to feel myself getting all hyper-ventilaty.   Wheeling and Dealing is not my forte.

But I had a number in my head that I was willing to spend, to top out at.   Of course everyone wants a deal, but I also don’t expect to get something for nothing.  I want a car, they want my money.   I stuck to my guns and gave them a reasonable offer and they lowered the price.

I walked out of there with $1500 left of that topped out number I’d had in my head.

I called my mom and told her how nervous I’d been.  She told me I should have waited and bought it today, because today is the eighth anniversary of my Stepdad’s death.

I would give anything in this world for my Stepdad to be here.

But I didn’t need his help yesterday.  I bought a car all by myself for the first time and I got the exact car I wanted and I have money left over.  I bought the first car I even test drove because that’s the car I wanted.  I am not a bargain hunter.  I am not a comparison shopper.  I found exactly what I wanted and so I bought it.  She is gorgeous and clean and so fancy compared to Ginger.

And I did it all by myself without one high speed comeapart.  It was all very grown up for a 46-year-old woman with commitment issues.

Meet Pearl.





But I’m going to call her Minnie Pearl for short 🙂

Is there a 12-step program for taking things personally?

What’s up, buttercups?  It’s been a while.  In fact, I just realized this weekend it’s been over a year.  Wow.  Time flies whether you’re having fun or not.

I spent a while licking my wounds after half the world wide web (give or take a few)  told me I was a judgmental asshole for writing that blog about Cocoa’s former owners.  *If you are looking for some admission of guilt or act of contrition, you won’t find it here*  

When the internet loves you it is awesome.

When the internet doesn’t love you it smarts just a bit.  I got over it 😉

The last year has been pretty icky.  I spent a lot of time being sad, a lot of time being pissed off, and a lot- and I do mean a LOT- of time questioning my judgment.     This weekend I spent a lot of time walking in the park and thinking.  I am going to just let it flow all stream-of-consciousness style, since walking in the park doesn’t allow for paper and pen and taking notes.

In the past I’ve always been what I’ve called situationally depressed.  When my Dad died I got depressed.  When I was unhappy at the end of my marriage, I got depressed.  When my other Dad died, you guessed it- depressed again.  But I always felt my baseline was happy, with a little bit of situational depression thrown into the mix.

This weekend I realized that at some point my baseline had changed from happy with situational depression to depressed and only situationally happy.

I recently spent two weeks in England and had a fabulous time laughing with friends.  They came back to Florida with me and we had a metric shit ton of fun and adventure.  But as soon as they left, I felt myself dropping back down to my new  baseline.

So I had to do some self analyzing.  Those of you who know me well know this isn’t my normal behavior.  I tend to move through life like Mr. Magoo.  According to Wikipedia, “Quincy Magoo (or simply Mr. Magoo) is a cartoon character created at the UPA animation studio in 1949. Voiced byJim Backus, Quincy Magoo is a wealthy, short-statured retiree who gets into a series of comical situations as a result of his nearsightedness, compounded by his stubborn refusal to admit the problem. However, through uncanny streaks of luck, the situation always seems to work itself out for him, leaving him no worse than before.”

Now I’ll be the first to admit this strategy might not be the smartest one, but it’s gotten me this far.

Yesterday during my eight miles of walking (I had a LOT of thinking to do, obviously) I had a couple of those Oprah Winfrey “aha!” moments.


But first I need to back  up a bit.

I have had issues about being “chosen” for most of my adult life.  I don’t need a therapist to explain this to me.  I am the adult daughter of an alcoholic father, so I’ve got daddy issues for days.  In fact, I’ve talked about them on this blog before.  Now, I’m guessing my issues come from a father that always chose the bottle over me.  Well, if you want to get technical he chose the bottle over my Mom, my sister and me.  If you want to get even more technical, he chose the bottle over his health, his jobs, his own life.

Fast forward to my life as a grown up.  For as long as I can remember, I’ve always been emotionally wounded when someone chose something or someone over me.  I have never been able to look at things objectively.  In fact, I can be completely irrational when someone chooses this other *thing* (whatever that thing may be) over me.

 Hello, my name is Jamie and I take things personally.  

I’ve read Don Miguel Ruiz’s book The Four Agreements.  I know I’m not supposed to take things personally, but that is easier said than done for me.

Want to hear my earth shattering “aha!” lightbulb moment I had yesterday?  You might want to stand back so you won’t get burned by the brilliance of what I’m about to say (insert eye roll here).

When all of those people in my life made those choices, they weren’t choosing *that thing or person* over me.   
They were just *gasp!* making a choice.   


I can mouth platitudes all day long about The Four Agreements and all the other self help stuff I’ve ingested over the years but this was a huge realization for me.

I consider myself to be a narcissistic asshole some days and pretty normal most other days but you guys, I always made those people’s choices all about them rejecting me instead of them just assessing a situation and making a choice for themselves, whether that choice was good or bad.  Or whether or not I agreed with their choice.

I took that shit personally, yo.

Over the past year I have taken a whole lot of stuff personally.  A higher-minded being might have been able to rationally look at all those difficult and sometimes shitty situations and see them for what they were- someone making choices, many of which were what I considered to be bad ones.

The last year has been filled with drama (not mine) and anger (mine) and frustration.  I found myself in a very difficult situation that was oh-so-familiar to me.

Difficult situation-2; Jamie-0

I spent a lot of time thinking about the “difficult situation.”  Recently I saw this on the internet and it made me laugh:


 Now let me make this clear- I am not stupid, nor are the people I know and love, nor are the people who sometimes make bad decisions.  I just liked the part about making bad decisions because let me tell you, my path is littered with ’em.

I feel like the darkness of the past year has been a sort of mourning for something.  I’m not sure what that something is.  Perhaps I’m mourning the fact that my life hasn’t turned out how I would have hoped, if I’d given it any more thought than Mr. Magoo.

Don’t get me wrong.  I have a good life.  When I’m able to look at things objectively I realize that.  I have friends all over the world, I do cool stuff, I have family that I love and that love me unconditionally.  I’m super lucky to have so many people who love me.  But even so, some days I’m just sad.

Which brings me to my next topic.   I don’t know about you, but when I get The Sads I self medicate with ice cream… a lot of ice cream.  And then comes the weight gain, and then comes the self loathing and then I fall into a shame spiral and I start staying at home even more and avoiding social situations because I don’t want people to see me this way.

Here’s the thing.  I’m just going to lay it on the line right now.

To All The People I’ve Ever Slept With, Wanted to Sleep With, Dated, Liked, Loved, Lusted After, Stalked, Etc: 
I gained weight.

There.  I said it.  Now you know my big secret.  I am thick in the middle and just one of my boobs is the size of a small child’s head.  I’m out of shape and need to lose weight.  I carry a spare tire around my middle that would make the Michelin Man proud.  Some people may say I’m not fat, I’m just “big boned” *ahem*.

Regardless of how you define “fat,” I am not comfortable in my own skin right now and that is what is important.

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*I like to distract people from my weight gain by posing as a yeti* 

Before anyone accuses me of fat-shaming myself, know this- I have been sitting here fat shaming myself for the last year.  Saying this right now is the exact opposite of fat shaming myself.   I may still be embarrassed by my weight but I don’t have to hide away anymore because now y’all know my big secret.

“So now we’ve come upon the hardest thing I’ve ever done
Its telling you that I’m a mess
What sort of mess I mean
Is self-destructive gasoline
The kind that strips you of your best”
Blue October- Chameleon Boy

Now here’s the part where someone else might make grand proclamations:

“I’m going to quit eating sugar!”  
“I’m going to run a marathon!”
“I’m going to pursue my lifelong hobby of (fill-in-the-blank)!” 

You’ll hear none of that from me.  I’ve said all those things too many times before.  I don’t need to disappoint myself anymore than I’ve already been disappointed in the past.

What you’ll hear from me is more of a whisper.

I’m tired.

I’m tired of being sad.  I’m tired of taking things so personally.  It’s exhausting always being the victim of someone’s *choice that wasn’t me*.

I’m tired of having sadness as my baseline.

Nobody is going to come swooping in like a superhero and rescue me.  I have to be my own superhero.  I’m always rescuing other things and people and dogs but I can’t sit here waiting for someone to save me.  I am nobody’s business but my own.

I need to be the superhero of my own life. 

*Side note- to all my friends who have reached out repeatedly, thank you.  I know it got old constantly being rebuffed by me.  Know this- you are my constant (shout out to all the LOST fans).

So there you have it, the Readers Digest condensed version of the past year of my life.   I didn’t write this looking for approval, I didn’t write this looking for anyone to tell me I’m not fat, and I didn’t write this for anyone to tell me why I shouldn’t feel this way.  Feelings are feelings and we’ve all got them.  It’s just that some folks are better at not letting them take over their lives.

I needed to say all of this because I need to hold myself accountable for fixing this stuff.  I needed to say all of this because I listened to this song today:

“If you knew that you would die today
If you saw the face of God and Love
Would you change?
Would you change?
If you knew that love can break your heart
When you’re down so low you cannot fall
Would you change?”
Tracy Chapman – Change 

For those of you who have been concerned about me, know this –
you can’t keep a good yeti down.  

My friends don’t usually make me sad….

Today started the way most of my Saturdays do.  I slept until I was ready to get up.   I got up, let the dogs out, made some coffee and spent a little time on the computer.    I took a long shower, something I don’t always do because I’m a bit of a tree-hugger and I feel guilty taking long showers when Florida is in a perpetual state of drought.   I actually used two or three of the 497 hair care products in my bathroom and tried to do something with my mess of hair.

Eventually I had to leave the peaceful solitude of my house and go to Jacob’s first birthday party.

It was great to see so many friends and their kids.   I have a group of friends with some pretty awesome kids and it is almost always a joy to spend time with them.

Maybe it was the gloomy weather or maybe it’s the fact that some days I can barely hear anything over the sound of my biological clock ticking, but I came home and fell head first into a sea of melancholy.

I don’t have kids.  At this point, it doesn’t look like I’m ever going to have kids.  Most days this is ok with me.

I’ve never had any overwhelming urge to be a mother.  When I was in high school I almost fainted while watching the childbirth film.  I can remember it to this day- who has a baby on a butcher block table in a basement?!  I remember putting my head down on my desk and the teacher having to walk me outside.

It was my very own version of Scared Straight.

I spent all of my 20s having a good time.   Babies weren’t on my agenda.

I got married but that didn’t last long.  The time never seemed right to start having babies and besides, I didn’t feel any pressing need.

I never came down firmly on one side of the fence or the other.  Time and circumstance just got away from me.

I don’t think I yearn for a baby so much as I regret the absence of my child.

I’ve had the opportunity to be a parent.   I’ve made choices.  I’m not a mother.

And most days that is ok with me.

I wake up when I want to wake up.  I fly off to England for two weeks to road trip and spend time with close friends.  I go island hopping on my jet ski without having to tow a raft full of toys behind me.  I clean my  house and it stays that way for days.   I read books and watch tv and snuggle with my dogs.  Some days I don’t even turn on the tv or the stereo.  Sometimes it’s just me and the animals and none of us are talking.

I live in peaceful solitude unless I choose to make noise.   My life is mine, my time is mostly mine.  I do things I want to do and I do them on my terms, not the terms of a four-year-old terrorist.

And most days that’s how I like my life to be.  Neat, quiet, spontaneously fun.

But every now and then, on a day like today, my friends make me sad and I feel a twinge and my womb aches and I think about my future.  I worry that I will grow old and end up alone, with no children to watch over me and make me feel like what I did mattered.

And all the peace and quiet in the world can’t quite make that feeling go away.

Sunsets 025 Standard e-mail view

This may or may not be the mea culpa that you’re looking for….

It’s been eight days since I had to put Cocoa to sleep, my sweet, needy Cocoa.    It’s been an interesting week and quite a learning experience for me.

I published that open letter to Cocoa’s former owners just 20 minutes after I got home from taking her to be put to sleep.  I was sad, I was mad, I was frustrated.  Cocoa was the second oldie I’d had to euthanize in seven months.   I was a bit touchy.  I was writing a letter that would normally be seen only by my Facebook friends.  Ever heard of a blog called “A Day in the Life of Lunchy” before all this?  I didn’t think so.

The people who normally read my blog know me and they know the person behind the words.   I had no idea so many thousands of people would read that letter and not know the person behind it.

Since the letter was posted, I’ve been called names.  I’ve been told I have no right to voice an opinion on animal rescue if I eat meat.   I’ve been told that I’m a selfish idiot for spending my money on a dog instead of humans.  I’ve been told that I must be pro-abortion to have written the letter.  I’ve been told that I should shut up about dogs and go adopt a baby instead.

This week has certainly been an exercise in restraint (a day late and a dollar short, some of you may think).    I don’t owe anyone an explanation or itemized list of how I’m helping the world but suffice to say I help the humans, too.

I do have to give the prize for funniest comment to the person who asked if I rescued the high horse I was riding from that same shelter.

I’ve also been accused of  taking a sick dog from the pound and keeping her alive and suffering for my own selfish reasons.  Cocoa had pancreatitis two weeks after I got her.  It went away in a week or so and Cocoa was a happy little wooly mammoth running around my yard with the boys (which, by the way, are dogs to those of you who thought they were my sons).    When I brought her in that last time, the vet told me I was suffering watching her more than she was suffering, but it was best to put her to sleep before the suffering started.

I was also accused of only approving the favorable comments on the original blog post.   In fact, I approved every comment except one that wished physical harm on Cocoa’s former owners.  That was the only comment I censored.

You know what they say about opinions.  Everyone’s got one.

And that letter voiced mine.  I’ve had hundreds of people tell me that I have no right to judge Cocoa’s former owners because I don’t know their story.

I disagree.  I have every right to form an opinion of someone.

I, Jamie, could never take my 12-year-old family pet and leave them at a shelter.  I especially couldn’t take an old, highly incontinent dog to a shelter.    I couldn’t handle the stress of not knowing what happened to her.  If you take a cute puppy to the shelter, it stands a much better chance of being adopted.

But an old, white faced girl that stunk because she’d been lying in her own urine doesn’t stand nearly as good a chance.   And I couldn’t stand to move on, not knowing what would happen to her.

This is me.  This is my story.   The not knowing would make me crazy.

When I got Cocoa home and realized she was extremely incontinent, we had a few weeks of adjusting.  Every morning when I woke up I had to wash all the dog beds, because she only had accidents while she was sleeping.  I would have to bathe her before work.  I would come home and have to do all of that all over again.

I’m not telling you any of this for praise for taking care of Cocoa.  I am telling you because I want you to know how frustrated I was.  I got angry.  I would never hurt any of my animals but I know that Cocoa could sense my frustration.  I could see it on her face when I’d pick up the dog beds.

And it makes me really glad that she came home with me, and not with someone who might have gotten angry with her and punished her as a result.

See, that’s the part that sticks in my craw.

I know there are people who have to surrender dogs.  I hope to be lucky enough to never have to do that.  I figure I will be, because I have an extensive network of dog-loving friends and family who would gladly take my boys if anything happened to me.

I don’t agree with what Cocoa’s former owners did.  Had she been my dog I would have taken a different route.  And that is what I was trying to convey in my letter.

Here’s the thing.  Along with people calling me all sorts of names, like self-righteously indignant twat (what?!), I’ve also had people call me an angel and that’s problematic, too.  I’m far from being an angel.  Way, way far from being one.  In fact, if you were to weigh my angel to devil ratio, well…. let’s just say most of the time the devil’s got the wheel.  I am loud, I am ornery, I am chronically overweight, I have a hair trigger temper (as you’ve seen), and I have a big mouth.

But here’s what I am good at- I am a good daughter, I am a good sister, I am a good friend and I am a good pet owner.  I may suck at a lot of other stuff but at these few things I rock.

So would I ever turn my 12-year-old dog into a shelter?  No, I would not.    No amount of arguing and name-calling is going to get me to understand.    I’ve tried.  I’ve had people tell me I should extend the same empathy I showed Cocoa to her former owners.   I think that requires a level of Zen Master that I may never achieve.

Should I have lashed out at Cocoa’s former humans?  I  was within my right to talk about something that upset me.  Could I have handled it better?  You bet your sweet bottom dollar I could have handled it better.    My path is littered with good intentions gone awry.   This isn’t  the first time I’ve lost my message in the delivery.

I suffer from what I call the Sally Field Syndrome- I just want people to like me, really like me!!!     To be viewed as an internet bully stung.  Well played, universe.   I get it.

But here’s the part that I regret most- I regret saying anything in that letter that casts shelter workers or rescuers in an unfavorable light.  Sure, I know there are some people working in shelters that are burned out but I believe in my heart of hearts that people working in shelters do so because they love the animals and want to help them the best they can.  When I talked about Cocoa possibly dying on a cold shelter floor with someone who may or may not care how her life ended, I think I hurt a lot of people who have to deal with dogs dying on a daily basis.

And for that, I am truly sorry.  My heart aches to think that I might have hurt someone who works in rescue or in a shelter.  I have respect for people who do a job that I could never do.  I walk around with my heart on my sleeve like an exposed nerve, constantly being bumped and bruised by the world.  I couldn’t do what so many people selflessly do on a daily basis.

To all the people who were able to look past the delivery and understand my frustration, I thank you.  To all the people who shared their stories of adopting the old and broken ones, thank you.  I read them and my heart hurt with love for all of them.    I’m a sucker for the oldies but at this point I have to take a breather from adopting anymore of them.  My heart needs to heal a bit.  Boo Radley and Cocoa Loco took some chunks with them when they died.

Oh, and  I may be 45 but I’m not too old to get in trouble with my mama.  She didn’t raise me to talk like that, so I’m sorry if I embarrassed you, Mamacita.


Cocoa Loco