A whole year

 I’m supposed to be writing a post to commemorate that my blog is one year old.  But it isn’t like a child’s or grandchild’s birthday. 

Happy Birthday Blog!

There aren’t any obvious milestones to celebrate.  The blog didn’t start walking after all, and it’s never going to eat solid food.  (Ssh!  Don’t say anything; it thinks it’s getting cake with a candle.)  On the other hand, I can recognize that after a year it’s still up, I’m still writing somewhat consistently, and I actually have repeat readers!  That’s pretty cool; especially since I never expected to have any readers!  That IS something to celebrate!  

I went back and read my very first post, Pleezedtomeecha!.  It says what a lot of bloggers say:  writing is therapy, and way cheaper.  So I have to ask myself, “Self, did you get any benefit from said writing therapy?”  And do you know what I replied?  Me neither. 

I’m not ready to declare it a success or failure.  I know I have felt better after drafting a post out of frustration, even when I haven’t actually published that post.  There are two I think which remain in draft form and will probably never see the light of the Internet.  They’re way too personal to share.  But writing them helped me.  It relieved the tension and allowed me to vent in safety.  So I guess if we’re looking at whether the blog is therapeutic as intended, then I’d have answer a resounding YES! 

Besides the healing properties of the blog, I’ve gained in other ways.  I’ve met some fellow bloggers who have become friends.  I got to meet one of them in person (waves at Grammy) and I’d like to meet the others if we can pull that off.  Put on your thinking caps ladies; maybe we need to do a bloggers’ long weekend somewhere relaxing, hmm?  Maybe a spa?  Some place equidistant from all of us so none of us has to travel farther than anyone else.  These are the kinds of things you muse upon when two of you are a country apart and the others are scattered about in the middle!  It would be so cool! 😀

What I’m really proud of though is that I’ve kept it up.  In the past when I’ve started a writing project I’ve given up when I hit a wall, encountered a plot complication or ran into writers’ block.  Hellooow – I have one unfinished novel and a bunch of short story starts, as well as some stupid poetry.  But not here.  Although I have been known to recycle the stupid poetry here when I need filler. 😕  Sure, sometimes I’ve had to go a few days without posting.  And then there was the whole surgery/no internet hiatus.  Or I posted something dumb just to be posting something.  But mostly I’ve continued my attempts to write and post REAL material.  No, it isn’t deep or dramatic…usually.  But it means something to me…usually. 

In closing, thank you so much for joining me on this adventure.  I hope you’ve enjoyed your time visiting my blog and I hope I can continue to entertain you.  I won’t promise enlightenment or education, though that could happen.  It could too!  Shut up. 

Happy birthday Blog!  No, I didn’t get you a cake with a candle.  How would you blow it out?  See?  We don’t need a candle.  What we need is a beer!  Or rather, a hard cider…with attitude!  Angry Orchard anyone?

You have to try this!

Today’s gratitude is all mine … I’m so very thankful for this place to vent, rant, count my blessings and most of all, find new friends.

Lost and Found by Jacqueline Sheehan

I discovered Lost and Found on the uncataloged shelves at my library.  It has a black Lab on the front and that sold me on the book before I even read the back cover.

From the back cover:

“But then she meets Lloyd.

“A large black Labrador retriever, Lloyd enters Rocky’s world with a primitive arrow sticking out of his shoulder.  And so begins a remarkable friendship between a wounded woman and a wounded, lovable beast.”

Getting to this part in the story takes a little while, but it’s worth it.  Ms. Sheehan’s writing is moving and emotional; I cried along with Rocky at her loss.  You care about Rocky from practically the first couple of pages, which is something new for me.  It usually takes awhile for characters to reach me but I loved Rocky from the start.

And Lloyd!  Lloyd is such a sweetie and Ms. Sheehan gives him his own voice!  Lloyd remembers his previous human with sadness and pain, believing that he failed in protecting her.  As he bonds with Rocky he joins her in her unsettling dreams, understanding she needs “extra watching at night.”

Rocky’s relationship with Lloyd eventually leads her out of her grief.  She is able to move forward, not forgetting her loss but no longer clinging to it instead of living.  I realize I’m not providing a lot of detail here but I’m reluctant to give anything away.  In the end, they save each other.

One of the ways I rate a book is whether I like it well enough to have my own copy.  This one is going on my shelf.

Happy Birthday Dad!

Today is my father-in-law’s 84th birthday.  Sadly, it’s also probably his last. 

I’ve known Dad for 15 years but he’s the only father I’ve ever had.  He treated my daughters and I as family from the beginning.  There are a book’s worth of family stories which feature Dad’s exploits.  Like the time he faced down a local gangster who was stalking my mother-in-law (the guy actually threatened to stab her if she didn’t stop seeing Dad!).  Or the time he loaned Mom his car, shocking everyone who knew him.  No. One. Ever. Drove. His. Car. EVER.

This is one of my favorite stories: 

Once upon a time Dad was engaged to the ideal woman, according to his parents.  She had class, was attractive and her family money didn’t hurt any.  Wedding plans were underway – the date chosen, a venue selected and invitations ordered.  Dad’s fiancée addressed and stamped all the invitations and gave them to Dad to mail.  I don’t recall ever hearing how long he carried them around, but eventually they were deposited appropriately – in the trash.  Making Dad available when he met Mom! 

One more – this one involved me personally.  Hubs and I married in June 1998, after which we flew to North Carolina where the in-laws lived at the time and where we would catch a flight the next day to the Bahamas for our honeymoon.  Tragically, Hubs had been fighting a gout attack throughout the wedding and we were unable to continue on to the Bahamas.  We spent the week of our honeymoon with my in-laws. 

I know, right?  But it was okay.  Really.  Actually, it was better than okay.  It was healing. 

One day Dad and I went out on our own running errands.  Riding in the car alone with him my old terrors came bubbling to the surface.  I’d only met this man twice counting the wedding and here I was trapped in a car with him.  He may have been around the age my grandfather was when he abused me, but I believe it was being alone with him in the car that had my anxiety building.  I’m good at hiding what I’m feeling (except from Hubs) so Dad never knew how close I was to panicking, which is for the best.  His behavior never changed.  He continued to be the loving if sarcastic father figure he’d been at both our earlier meetings.  We chatted about Chapel Hill and his and Mom’s move there from Nevada.  Gradually I felt myself relax and never again have I felt any sort of anxiety with him.  The experience helped me recognize that not every older man is inclined to get touchy feely.  See?  Healing!

I’m looking forward to sharing this last birthday with him.  But damn, I’m going to miss him.