Saying Hello Again

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23794965_10213358775537270_6046750840292526396_nA few posts ago I wrote a poem titled “saying goodbye”. I wasn’t able to express or explain at the time due to grief but I wrote that about my little two year old dog who got hit by a car about a month ago.

It sounds silly but it was a shocking and painful experience with so many horrible firsts. My first indoor dog to pass, the first time I found my own dog on the road dead, the first time I had to carry her little lifeless body off the road onto the lawn only to cry hysterically over her for 10 long minutes before my fiancé showed up, seeing me stroking her body as if it would soothe her. I genuinely lost my mind for a couple of days. I couldn’t stop crying and many people would think it was silly but I would consider this one of my most painful experiences. What she meant to me and what all my animals mean to me I cannot put into words, I can only say that they mean so very much to me and I love them more than most people would understand.

That was a little over a month ago. This past Sunday we were going to my Fiance’s sister’s house to a Christmas party she was hosting. I had blocked out my little dogs death days after her passing and tried not to think too much about her. However that previous week I was missing her and even though I still had my big hound dog I had always had multiple dogs growing up and I was feeling her absence and still mourning the loss of one sweet little life.

This past Sunday we were driving down a quiet county road where there were no houses and hardly any cars around. I saw a puppy walking across the road to a telephone pole surrounded by weeds and watched as it laid down in them. My fiancé wouldn’t turn around at first because we had to go to the Christmas party. We had a nice day but seeing that puppy kept bugging me and I couldn’t get her out of my mind.

Five hours later in the dark we were driving slowly down that road until my fiancé spotted something by the same telephone pole. When he pulled around I got out of the truck and moved slowly over to the puppy speaking sweetly to it. It came over and started whining when I picked it up. It shock in my arms for a couple of minutes in the car until it settled it’s head in my elbow and began to nap. I quickly discovered it was a girl and that she had no collar and wasn’t fixed. It was very clear to me having grown up in the country that this poor little girl had been dumped.

When I got her home I gave her a bath first thing to make sure she didn’t have flees and to wash all the dust off her from laying in the field. She was very sweet and has proven herself to be well behaved. She isn’t housetrained so that has been a work in progress but she overall has been a very easy puppy and has continued to be well behaved.

25354051_10213589332541051_3375486740129818450_nAt first we weren’t sure we should get another dog yet and keeping her didn’t seem like a viable option sense we both have been working so much lately. But something felt right to us and figuring out that we could take her to work with us made training easier. We ended up naming her Kimber and she already has bonded with my five year old hound, Copper, who can’t get enough of her yet somehow still manages to get jealous when he thinks she is getting pet more than him.

Now looking back on our decision it seems silly how much we went back and forth and even trying to find her the right home, because we already love her so much. Saying hello again to another dog turned out to be the best choice we could’ve made.

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6 Years Together and 6 Months Engaged

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For six years my honey and I have spent the majority of our time laughing and loving one another having the best times of our life. For six months we’ve been engaged trying to figure out wedding plans. Through all of it we’ve kept our relationship strong and our communication clear and I love him more and more as time goes on.

So today even though I’m working a ten hour work day I wanted to celebrate our life together in some small way until we can go and celebrate properly this Sunday. So I thought I would make a small timeline of some events that I’ve managed to document despite the fact that I usually forget to take pictures in the moment because.. well.. we’re just having too much fun.

20171215_0805021099744966.pngI guess we’ll start here. I met my fiancé while out riding horses with his high school ex girlfriend (It sounds more dramatic than it is). We met and she encouraged our relationship the whole time. She is now married with two kids and still one of my best friends. Anyway, it turns out I lived very close to him and I would often ride to his house to visit, this is a picture from early on in our relationship before I could even predict how amazing our life is now.

20171215_0805321425647966.pngThis next picture is simple but it was valentine’s day (our first) and it was the first time anyone had EVER given me flowers. They were so beautiful and I was so wowed and I still remember how special it made me feel.

The cowboy hats belonged to him and I.

20171215_080317777892356.pngFast forward to our three year anniversary. I just remember being ridiculously happy and in love that day and we decided to go up to Kaweah Lake for a pretty drive and it was very pretty. That’s where we are in this picture. We also drove further up into the mountains just to enjoy the view and being together. I don’t remember if we did much else but I remember being ridiculously overjoyed at being with him that day.

20161003_130229705277880.jpgLast year we went to Arizona where we took our first big trip together. It showed us that we travel well together and that we definitely want to travel a whole lot more! It was an absolute blast and I can’t wait until our next trip! Here we are sitting in a café in Tombstone enjoying our lunch in between the many tours offer there.

 

20171215_0808541428979457.pngThis last picture was taken a week after we were engaged at a friends wedding. It was our first chance to get away somewhere quiet (no cell reception) and just enjoy being engaged and getting to celebrate so much love. I’m so excited to be married to this man and our own wedding will be here before we know it.

I will always love you JB! Happy six years together!

Hiking for Health

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Yesterday I went hiking with a new friend and it became apparently clear to both of us how much we needed it. We had both been stressed from the past couple weeks so we went for a hike in the mountains. Not only did it clear our minds and give us the much needed endorphins to switch our moods from overwhelmed to relaxed but today my body feels better than it has in weeks from the exercise. I came home happier than I had been in maybe a couple months. It was more than the exercise, it was the good company and conversation as well as the beautiful nature that surrounded us. It makes me wonder why more people don’t like to go on hikes. It is certainly one of my favorite things to do.

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But thinking about how refreshed I feel today leaves me to wonder what other possibly health benefits you can gain when you go for a little nature hike. I’m going to start with the obvious one which is cardio-respiratory fitness. Your heart, lungs and blood vessels benefit greatly from any cardio but when you throw some hills into the mix you may be getting a better work out than you expected.

You lower your risk of coronary heart disease, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes and stroke. This sounds pretty good to me especially sense I have genetics working against me I want to do the best I can to prevent them. You also lower your risks to certain cancers such as colon, breast and possibly lung and endometrial cancer.
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Another one that is near and dear to my heart is of course weight loss. hiking burns around 370 calories an hour of course this depends on the trail I’m sure but still. Today I weighted a bit lighter than I did yesterday and I feel lighter. And because hiking improves your muscle fitness I feel a bit stronger than I did yesterday with a whole lot more energy. But lets not forget mental health. Exercising in general reduces depression and generally gives you a better quality of sleep, not to mention today I feel incredibly happy and have a more positive outlook on the work day ahead.

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Because hiking for me isn’t only about all these other great benefits. As a country girl very little makes me happier than getting out in nature and getting to see all the beauty that surrounds me. Yes, I know that sounds sappy but it’s simply the truth. Plus coming across the local horse herd didn’t hurt either.

Driving Blind

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In the central valley our idea of a white Christmas is a gray fog. It’s pretty darn thick and if you can see ten feet in front of you, well… consider yourself lucky. It’s no joke and it’s probably the most extreme weather we experience here. But the scary part is not the weather or necessarily having to drive in it. No, it’s the other drivers. You see most people drive like they are high on ecstasy most days and unfortunately in the fog they don’t tend to use common sense even when visibility is almost non existent. It’s a rare foggy day when severe accidents are not reported and there is never a day where I don’t see at least one person doing something substantially  stupid with their vehicle.

It makes me grateful that nothing has happened to me so far but some times I feel like it’s only a matter of time. Because with all the drivers who drive without a turn signal, pass me on a country road when you can’t see the other side and overall drive way too fast for the amount of fog there is, I don’t feel too lucky. I wish they would all slow down a little and exercise a bit of caution because the reality is, we are all driving blind out there.

No Pain No Gain

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So many times in life you hear that saying, no pain no gain. Is it annoying as hell? Yes. Is it true? Well yeah. But let’s talk about why for a moment. Every athlete who has ever achieved a darn thing has put themselves through quite a bit of discomfort and yes, pain. Anyone who has ever achieved anything has had to work for it. Some of the things that mean the most have caused us some kind of emotional and physical distress at one point in our life. Was it worth it for the joy and success at the end? I think yes.

There is no growth without struggle, there is no success without strife. As annoying as it is at times and just as frustrating to hear, no pain no gain. We all have to push through the pain if we are to succeed. However, it’s not just a simple exchange such as if I had pain now I’m going to gain something out of it. Unfortunately it’s not that simple. I used to think that I had dealt with a lot of stuff that made me miserable. I always thought that surely it would be over and something amazing would just happen to me and my life would be great. Surely I was due for some good luck. But it never happened like that. It was only once I began to get proactive in my life that things started to change.

Most people stop when it hurts. I used to as well. It’s not a sacrifice they or I was willing to make. But there is such a difference between suffering in the same situation you’ve always been in and don’t want to be in and struggling to a point of discomfort or pain to move on with your life and make it something better.

I’ve found that it was just after the moments when I wanted to give up the most but didn’t that I achieved my goal. Some people could be ninety-five percent of the way to reaching their goal and decide to stop. So they never know what they could’ve gained. I’ve found that you could be working towards something and there is always a point where it gets exceptionally difficult. I’ve personally been overwhelmed and was more than tempted to quit. But it’s always at this point where you have to work the hardest, push the hardest and dig deep for the courage to keep going but once you break through that wall… you’re there.

The past two years have been challenging for me. They have been draining in every way but they have also been amazing years. I put myself in uncomfortable and scary situations I otherwise wouldn’t have done before out of fear of failure or embarrassment. I pushed through that and yes, there was pain. Mental, emotional and physical pain was a struggle because quite frankly, it’s no fun. I kept going when I felt like quitting and at the end the success was worth all the pain.

If you are like me then I hope this helps. In the past I couldn’t even push myself to do anything I truly wanted to do just because I felt like I couldn’t and when things got hard I quit. Now, I embrace the pain, fear and challenges because now I know for sure, I have so much to gain.

It’s Dark Out Here

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Before the sun rises on a Friday morning,

I have to drag myself out of bed,

Sometimes I pour myself a cup a coffee,

But mostly I go without instead,

I tip toe gently around the house,

I can’t take too long with my choice,

I dress as quickly as I can,

Trying not to make too much noise,

I grab all my things and head to the car,

I warm my engine before I slowly pull away,

It only takes minutes to drive to my job,

But I’ll arrive when it’s dark and stay here all day.

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I pull into the parking lot where it’s still pitch black,

Except for the work lights guiding my path,

I unlock the door and turn on the light,

I warm up the computer and begin to write,

Numbers and numbers, a plus and a dash,

I pull out the money and start counting the cash,

Once I’m done out the door I disappear,

I walk outside and think ‘it’s dark out here’,

I clip up the flag and hoist it up high,

I put my hand over my heart then say goodbye,

Back inside I’ll continue to wait,

Until the time comes to open the gate,

Once we are open all can come in,

Then tomorrow I’ll do it all over again.

 

Take Me Home, Country Roads

“Country roads take me home to the place I belong.” – John Denver

I hear you John. I’m a country girl and boy do I ever love the country. I hope I never have to live anywhere else. But I wish I were farther out in the country and farther away from here.

“Almost heaven, West Virginia
Blue Ridge Mountains
Shenandoah River,
Life is old there
Older than the trees
Younger than the mountains
Blowin’ like the breeze”

There’s a reason no one has really written a song about Southern California. There’s not much that’s beautiful about it especially in the central valley. I’ve never wanted to live here even as a small child I knew I wanted to be somewhere else.

“I hear her voice
In the mornin’ hour she calls me
The radio reminds me of my home far away
And drivin’ down the road I get a feelin’
That I should have been home yesterday, yesterday”

Strangely enough I feel this way all the time. I hear songs and stories of other places that I feel homesick for even though I have never lived there. Sometimes when I’m driving I miss an exit or a turn because I’m focused on something much farther away and many more times than I’d like to admit I had to stop myself from driving away and force myself to turn back even though I really didn’t want to. My life is like driving down a road and realizing I should’ve been home yesterday. If I had my way I would’ve left years ago. Sadly it’s just been a matter of not having the money yet. But one day I will be ready and I’ll be singing the whole way there.

“Country roads, take me home
To the place I belong
West Virginia, mountain momma
Take me home, country roads

Take me home, now country roads”.
Take me home, now country roads

Halloween Time!

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halloween-background-with-a-purple-moon_1048-3271Calling all ghosts and ghouls, black cats and scary bats. Don’t break any mirrors or walk under ladders. Pull out the candy and throw in a movie because it’s Halloween time again!

For some people it’s the fright factor, for some it’s the tradition. Some love the gore and horror and some love the magic and whimsy. Some will go trick or treating and some will stay home. Some love the feeling of nostalgia they get from all the events and movies they experienced when they were kids when times were simpler. For some it’s a day to go to bed early and turn off the porch light to try and avoid any trick or treaters ringing the doorbell and for some it’s probably a vampire or pirate fetish.

IMG_8659For me it’s the cute fall and jack o’lantern decorations, lighting so many colored candles it’s probably a fire hazard and watching the old fun Halloween movies such as Hocus Pocus, Edward Scissorhands, Halloweentown, Hocus Pocus, Casper, Dark Shadows, Ghostbusters, It’s The Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown and you can’t forget Hocus Pocus. Oh! and the delicious discount candy the day after! And then the intense workout the day after that to try and atone for my candy eating sins.

So whether it’s Disney movies or horror stories, smiling jack o’lanterns or angry pumpkins, dressing up or dressing for bed may you have an amazing and safe Halloween!

#MeToo

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I was blessed to have a good childhood, a childhood most people I’ve talked to haven’t had the good fortune to experience. But despite complaints when I was younger about being sheltered and over protected, I appreciate now that I got to have a childhood not many have an chance to have. I got to be naïve and process things in a very innocent way. Which I am very thankful for because being a girl or a woman that most surely doesn’t last forever.

I’m not sure exactly when things started happening to me or when men started making sexist or inappropriate quips. Part of this is because I was so naïve for so long and another part is because I used to be around men a lot growing up. I went to work with my dad all the time and it was a huge part of my childhood, nothing bad ever happened to me. My dad was and is very protective of me and no one would dare hurt me, especially in his presence.

But I suppose high school was when I began to notice things. Some boys who didn’t last long at the school would be inappropriate all too often and once in an office one of those boys began to advance on me like he would do something. I took a step back and he turned around and laughed. I grabbed a chair in anger and chased him around the room with it. He didn’t bother me again. But it was the first time I realized how scared a boy or man could make me feel. I felt vulnerable and being empty handed I realized how much taller, bigger and stronger he was than me.

The second time I can recall something happening I was in my confirmation class for the catholic church. I was about 16 years old. It was our last class before getting confirmed and a group of boys I usually huge out with at break decided to go to McDonalds for a snack and I came with them. One of the boys had flirted with me before. He had a girlfriend and I had no interest. That night I can’t remember why, he commented on my breasts and started grabbing at them with one of the other boys in view. I told him to stop, I even shouted it in the parking lot and tried to cover myself but he kept grabbing me in places I couldn’t cover. No one helped me. A guy friend I had known for six years at that point stood by and did nothing.  I think it stopped because one of the other boys came out and said something to make it stop. I rode back with him. The offender begged me never to tell his girlfriend who he said he planned to marry. I never gave him an answer but I never told his girlfriend who I met the day we were confirmed. She was clearly in love for some reason.

When I was 21 I dated a guy I grew up with. His family moved away but he was back for the summer. I thought I could love him but one time we made love and he began to hurt me. I begged him to stop and told him how he was hurting me and I tried to get away. He held me down because he wanted to be the first guy to make me cum and he was determined he could do it. He kept telling me to relax and I told him how it hurt. Finally I had to fake an orgasm and he stopped. When I cleaned up I noticed blood from where he rubbed me too hard. I was never that mad at him and we dated for a short while after that. I never realized until later that even though I said yes in the beginning he should’ve stopped when I said no and that that was a form of rape. It really doesn’t bother me as much as maybe it should and I hardly ever think about it. But it still shouldn’t have happened and he should have stopped.

When I was about 23 I was in a church youth group. I had attended several times before and had generally enjoyed it until one night where it was more of a game night than a discussion. A guy who was 29 and huge in size had tried to flirt with me a couple times before. I had no interest as I was dating my now fiancé. That night his idea of flirting was kicking at me when my then boyfriends back was turned. He did this throughout the night until the end where he decided to start hitting my arms. He grabbed at them and jabbed them until my then boyfriend and now fiancé turned around to see what was happening. He pushed that guy away and across the room. We left immediately after that. Later that night my arms began to form bruises. I should’ve called the police. That same guy was arrested at a later date for beating up a coworker.

Sense then I’ve dealt with countless sexist comments from customers at work, inappropriate advances and comments that were downright wrong. My story is not that bad. There are so many more who have experienced so much worse. But it’s bad enough that I have heard at least a few stories from all different kinds of women about things like this. It shouldn’t happen at all, we should be able to speak out but because of guilt, shame or sympathy most women never do. Most men go unreported and do it to other woman and most people don’t know what we go through. I hope it stops because it has to stop. This is not the way to treat human beings.

Most people tell me it’s not unusual and it’s just how it is. They are not wrong, and that’s what’s so sad.