I love DC

You can take Susanne out of Virginia, but you can’t take Virginia out of Susanne.  I do love traveling, discovering different areas, but it’s nice to go home sometimes too.  Time and time again, I’ve left for various reasons and returned to the DC area for various reasons.

Grew up in northern Virginia from 1972-1986.

Lived in Roanoke and Lexington my first two years of college, 1986-1988. Lived in Virginia Beach summer 1987.  Worked for Greenpeace in DC summer and fall 1988.

Moved to Wyoming to complete Spring Semester in the Rockies (WY, CO, UT) 1989.  Click here to read about it.

Moved away to Colorado in 1989 (Boulder, Telluride, Durango).  Click here to read more about life in beautiful places.

Finished college in Prescott, Arizona 1993.

Moved back to Virginia with my oldest daughter and went through a divorce 1994.

Worked for Greenpeace in DC 1994-1996.

Got my master’s degree 1998.

Moved away to Nevada 1998-2001. Taught sixth grade.  Remarried 1999. Had another daughter 2000 and son 2004.

Moved back 2001-2004 so my husband could attend law school while I taught sixth grade gifted/talented.  Click here to read more about that.

Moved away to Texas in 2006, visited Virginia in 2008 for a high school anniversary reunion, for a short weekend wedding this summer, and again last week to help my mom through a single mastectomy.

Cancer brought me home this time.  It changes everything and puts everything into perspective.  Cancer runs in my family.  My father had kidney cancer and then liver cancer. He died from bleeding complications during surgery.  It was a surprise to all of us because we knew about the previous kidney cancer but did not know that it had spread to his liver.  Knowing my mom was facing it alone, I did what I could to help.

When I go back to visit, it feels like home. The city, the suburbs, the culture and history are all a part of who I’ve become. Landing and taking off over the monuments and seeing Washington, DC by air reminds me of so many parts of my past there. It’s where I grew up, and it’s still intertwined with my life in Texas. Back home in Texas where I am comfortable with my family and it’s another beautiful sunny day, I appreciate both places for what they offer and know that Virginia/DC will always be my home. Texas is my second home, a place where we can spread out and my kids can grow up and call home. This is where I’m growing roots after transplanting from the east coast.

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This is a picture of the house where I grew up in Northern Virginia. My mom bought it and we moved in during 1972. She is still there today. There used to be a big pine tree in front of the left side of the house. I used to climb it as a child and sit high up in the branches, sticky with sap, looking over the neighborhood at roof tops and trees. Those moments were times I would steal away, sit back, and observe life around me. I remember doing roundoff-backhandsprings all over the front and back yards and wonder today how I did it when I see how sloped the front yard was. There were birthdays, homecomings, proms, Halloweens and Christmases in this house. Years upon years of memories, both good and bad reside here. What a trip to go back as an adult and re-experience it from another perspective.

This is truly the “house that built me.”

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This is where I went to take a walk while my mom saw her lawyer to get her will in place. It’s a familiar park near my house where I used to go all the time when I lived there. It was a heavy day emotionally, writing her advanced medical directive and discussing her wishes just in case anything went wrong in surgery. I lost my dad to complications from his surgery for liver cancer and didn’t know he was having surgery or that he had liver cancer, so this experience with my mom was the exact opposite. I did get to contemplate in advance what would happen if she didn’t come out of surgery ok.

Driving into Lake Accotink Park in Virginia, the road meanders through a secluded forest in the middle of suburbia. Tall trees line the road, and the speed limit slows to a pace where it’s impossible not to appreciate the surroundings. During any season, this is a beautiful drive into a pretty piece of nature where you’d least expect it. It’s a man-made reservoir, but it is a beautiful lake with trails around it. It’s a perfect park for picnics, bike rides, runs along the trail, boating, and parties at the facilities. As a kid, I used to ride my bike all around the park and had fun rope-swinging into the muddy water with friends. I loved getting out in nature. As an adult, I ran the dirt trail around the lake and rode single track mountain bike trails off the beaten path.  One of my favorite mountain biking memories is from riding single track at Accotink in the rain.  The trail was really muddy, and I got soaking wet but it was a fantastic time!

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I took a long walk and did some yoga in a secluded flat spot by the lake. Afterwards, I laid down on a bench for a while to let the sun’s rays caress my skin while my body relaxed. Lying in the sun is one of my favorite things to do; plus vitamin d is good for us (the sun is the only natural source of vitamin d).  The fall air was crisp, and the sun was warm, warmer than I expected and warmer that day than the rest of the week. I opened my eyes, looked up and saw this beautiful view of a tree with spectacular fall colors. The striking orange against the clear blue sky reflected a calm yet vibrant spirit within. I truly loved taking in my surroundings at that moment. Pale tree trunks reflected the loveliness of the place with initials inscribed surrounded in hearts with arrows. It was obviously a place where many others sat to enjoy the moment.

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In the final moments before my flight back to Texas, this was my view outside the airplane window. It was a beautiful morning at the end of a special week. My mom survived breast cancer surgery and was in good hands with friends, family, and a home health nurse. I was able to support her through a difficult experience. We mended fences and forgave each other for the past, and I focused on a zen mindset of being calm.

Dream Board 2013

Dream Board 2013

I also got a chance to reconnect with old friends and family members I haven’t seen in years. I appreciated my time there despite the circumstances. I felt reconnected with the place I’ve left so many times.

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US Capitol Building as we began our ascent out of Reagan National Airport.

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Washington Monument, Tidal Basin, and Jefferson Memorial

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Washington Monument, National Mall, and US Capitol Building

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Lincoln Memorial

Thanks for reading this entry. Peace out!

Going home

Today, I am flying home to Washington, DC after moving away about seven years ago. I went back for a quick weekend wedding in June and we went back as a family in 2008. It’s been a long time away, and as I’m on the flight I feel both anticipation and dread for the week that lies ahead. This isn’t a so called fun trip; my mom has breast cancer again after fifteen years and is having a single mastectomy on Wednesday. We’ve had a strained relationship and a very rocky road especially the past few years, but cancer changed everything for me. It’s a reason to forgive, let go of past difficulties, and offer unconditional love and support. She lives alone, and I feel it is the right thing to do to go there and help her as she goes through this unfortunate process. As a secondary focus and added bonus, I do look forward to reconnecting with friends and family in the area whom I haven’t seen in years.

It is odd and a little disconcerting to leave behind my husband, kids, and pets for so long, but I am thankful for their support and confident they can take care of everything for me while I’m gone. I know day to day that although I don’t work outside of the home, my job is busy, challenging, and stressful at times, I laughed this morning about how long the list of things I usually do and manage really is. All the tasks I take care of may seem like low level jobs, but they hold our family and household together. My husband works long hours and I’m not sure how focused he is on all my little jobs, so I gave him a long list or reminders this morning:

Please remember to:
1. Feed, walk twice a day, care for the dogs, and don’t let them run away.
2. Feed the fish as much as they will eat in five minutes twice a day. (I cleaned both fish tanks yesterday so they would be ok this week. Last time I went away he forgot to feed my fish).
3. Mail a bill on Monday that I already put in a stamped envelope.
4. Water the hydrangea shrubs every day. Water indoor plants when they are dry.
5. Make sure dogs are in the fenced run when outside because the puppy eats my plants and digs holes.
6. Take our son to Taekwondo Monday and for his belt test Friday(got his uniform ready for him last night).
7. Attend our son’s musical at school Thursday.
8. Take and pick up our daughter to and from school and to and from dance classes (m-Th &Sat). And make sure her dance bag is packed and that she put it in the car. She also needs something for dinner since she is there until 9 or 9:30 at night.
9. Make sure kids take their medications and vitamins every day.
10. Make sure kids have lunches or lunch money.
11. Take our daughter to the orthodontist Wednesday.
12. Take our son for allergy shots on Friday. Don’t forget to bring the epi-pen.
13. Pay any bills that come in the mail.
14. Check our son’s folder for checks from other parents in his class and file them away with the ones I’ve collected so far. (I’m class mom and am in charge of the class parties).
15. Trash goes out Saturday and Wednesday. Recycling goes out Wednesday.
16. Remind kids daily to do homework and chores.
17. Change the laundry often because it will stink if it stays in the washer too long.
18. Our son has a guitar lesson and baseball end of season party today.

He is going to have fun being both mom and dad this week and getting a closer look at my daily life as a stay home mom. I’m thankful for his help and support as well as for his mom because she will also be helping with the kids this week. I know they are in good hands.

As for me, the trip will be a practice in zen and a trip down memory lane. My mom still lives in the same house that I grew up in. We moved there in 1972. Of course, there are many memories from the past and I will choose to focus on the positive ones. I used to climb a big pine tree in the front yard and sit up high looking at the surroundings. I ran wild outside and rode bikes with friends until it got dark. We played kickball in the culdesac below us.

Life was so different back then.

As for the zen part, I’m determined to keep my inner peace and strength regardless of what goes on around me.

Thankfully, I got to see two great friends when I landed at the airport! I arrived from Texas right before another friend was departing for Florida. We stopped and visited over some chardonnay. Talk about serendipity! I love it when things work out like that.

Thanks for reading this entry. Peace out!

#Handstand365 Challenge

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Day 1

This picture (above) was taken a few days before mother’s day in May 2013.  I was messing around in the front yard and decided to do a handstand for no reason. I also did a cartwheel on the sidewalk.  Seven years ago when we first moved to Texas, I could still do an aerial in our front yard. Not any more.

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day 2

Then I saw that my friend on Facebook started doing a challenge called #handstand365.  Lauren Rudick started it. She’s a yoga instructor who is popular on social media sites like Instagram and Facebook.  Here is her website and a link to the #handstand365 challenge:

http://www.avignayoga.com/

http://www.mindbodygreen.com/0-8936/the-365-day-handstand-challenge.html

 

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Day 3

I started doing a handstand every day, knowing I probably wouldn’t do one every single day for a year, but I wanted to try to do 365 of them nonetheless.  I started handstanding in the different places I went like the Dallas World Aquarium.  Yes, people looked at me, but I didn’t care!

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Day 5

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Day 6

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Day 7

Day 8

Day 8

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Day 9

I practiced at home a lot, including putting my feet up against the wall for support.  I usually do yoga daily at home, so I incorporated handstands into my practice just for fun and balance and practice being in the moment.

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Day 10

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Day 11

I went out with friends and did handstands in the hallway of the hotel we stayed at for July 4th.  I had a few drinks before this picture.  I fell down and crashed my leg pretty hard.

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Day 12-at the pool

Yes, I asked a lifeguard to take my picture doing a handstand at the pool.  Looking back, I can tell I was still suffering from bloating from gluten allergy.  I got off gluten in May 2012.

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Day 13

This is my spot where I exercise in front of the television at our house. I keep a yoga mat, physio ball, foam roller, strap, and weights in our living room so I can stretch and strengthen while we watch tv at night.

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Day 14

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Day 15

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Day 16

This picture was taken at Texas Rangers’ Ballpark in Arlington, Texas.  My husband coaches my son’s baseball team, and we had the end of the year party at a Rangers’ game.  Fun times!

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Day 17

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Day 18

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Day 19-at the baseball ballpark

Took this picture after one of my son’s baseball games.

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Day 20 at the gym

I love doing handstands in the pool!

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Day 21 – at Texas Tech Rec. Center

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Day 22 – Texas Tech University

I went to see my daughter at Texas Tech this summer and got in a few handstands while I was there.

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day 23

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Day 24 – at the Omni Las Colinas

Another hotel hallway handstand. Yes, my friends did them too, but we didn’t get pictures!

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Day 25 – at the Hickey’s house

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Day 26 – Destin, FL

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Day 27 – at Pelagic Surf Shop in Destin, FL

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Day 28 – Destin, FL

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Day 29-Destin, FL

The pictures from Destin were the last ones from the summer. My back pain flared up really badly, and I realized I wasn’t doing the hanstands yoga style. So I took a little break to learn to do them right. I wrote about it here.

Day30-at the gym

Day 30-at the gym

The other day, I decided to start again. Now I do them correctly (yoga style). I start in downward-facing dog, kick up with one leg and then bring up the other leg until I balance.  I’m going to keep trying until I get to 365.

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Day 31

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Day 32-at the gym

Thanks for reading this entry. Peace out!

Perot museum: Animals Inside Out

Check out these pictures from the Animals: Inside Out exhibit at the Perot Museum in Dallas, Texas.  It’s a special exhibit with various animals including humans after going through a process called ‘plastination.’  Bodies are preserved and turned into plastic, making it possible to see anatomy of living things like never before.  It was a fascinating experience to see the complex body systems that make up the diversity of life!20131028-141439.jpg

Above is a picture of an octupus.  Below is the reflection of its underside.20131028-141516.jpg

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Close-up of the eye of a giant squid. Beautiful, I think!20131028-143200.jpg

Two giant squids with tentacles entwined.20131028-143218.jpg

A Mako shark, the fastest in the world.  A student volunteer said they can swim up to 88 miles an hour (that we know of).  What a fun volunteer job, working at a nature and science museum.20131028-143308.jpgA

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This is a camel, and its neck and head have been sliced into three sections to show different levels of its anatomy.  It was quite large. I’ve never seen a camel in real life before.20131028-143702.jpg

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This is the blood vessel network in a dog!  How did they do that?  It’s obviously dyed red for effect.20131028-143749.jpg

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I stopped and looked at the human leg for a long time, as well as the entire human body.  I’ve seen human anatomy in books, but that’s it.  My legs are frequently sore, stiff, and painful after seven surgeries on the right and one on the left. So, I found it fascinating to look at the musculature and try to ascertain which ones I feel aching from time to time.  20131030-130738.jpg

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20131028-143638.jpgThis was amazing, a cat’s nervous system!  How did they take it out of its body intact like that?  I assume our nervous systems look similar.  Mind completely blown!

Thanks for reading this entry. Peace out!

Goodbye Tom Brady

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Tom Brady was a good dog.  We got him with his sister in March 2008 from a breeder in Sherman, Texas.  They were siblings.  We picked Marley (right) first because of her distinctive look with one white eye.  Then we picked Tom Brady (left) because of his classic Boston Terrier markings.  He was handsome and sweet.

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He learned how to sit, and that’s about it. He never wanted to lie down on command. I’d have to force him to lie down.  He and Marley spent every waking moment together and slept curled up next to each other.

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His collar used to irritate his neck. He had pink eczema like spots on his neck, so sometimes we would take off his collar to let his skin breathe.  One day we put him and Marley outside to eat some fresh beef bones from the grocery store, and we never saw him again.20131018-160430.jpg

He had gotten out of our fence before, but we got him back the same day from some neighbors.  We have an email group for our homeowners’ association, and in the past that has been very effective.

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Obviously, I should have learned my lesson the last time they got out of the fence.  We got them both back. They had both been skunked, so I took them for baths and took this picture when we got home.  I thought he didn’t need a microchip.  I was wrong.  Now he’s gone, and it’s been almost six weeks. I don’t think we will ever see him again.  I want to believe someone picked him up and loved him so much they gave him a new home.  But, I know that might not have happened too.  He couldn’t survive this long out on his own.  Nobody has turned him into a shelter. Every day I still check, get my hopes up, then get disappointed all over again.  He’s gone. I have to accept it. He’s not coming back.

Thanks for five fun years together Tom Brady.  We all love you and miss you and are so sorry we took off your collar. We are so sorry there was a crack in our fence and now we will never see you again.  We love you and miss you.  Goodbye Tom Brady.  We won’t forget you.

Thanks for reading this entry. Peace out!

Pets

I’m a dog person because I am terribly allergic to cats and have been an animal lover for as long as I can remember. I had several pets as a child and have owned at least one dog since 1990. Pets bring life, love, and companionship into life. While some people consider their pets part of their family or as ‘furbabies’ the reality is that they are animals, not humans, and usually want to get away from us. That’s why we have to have cages and fences and tags and collars and leashes. Given the opportunity, they run away and sometimes find new families. I can’t help but wonder what goes through their minds. They truly do become a part of the family and defend their owners and children, sensing emotions, danger, and ill will. Yet, from day-to-day, it’s as if we are keeping them prisoner. Anytime the door is left open, or the gate is accidentally not closed, or if there is any gap in the fence, they will disappear. Nice people may return the pets, but there also is no rule they have to. They can capture the animal and begin keeping it prisoner until it makes its next escape.

One of my two dogs has been missing since Sunday 9/15/13, and it’s been a rough week looking for him and adjusting to life with one dog again. We got sibling Boston Terriers in the spring of 2008. Marley (the female) and Tom Brady (the male) had not been separated since birth…until now.

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Marley (left) and Tom Brady (right) in Coppell, TX 2013

The female was picked up on a busy street near construction by the owners of a local grooming salon. They took good care of her, including giving her a bath, hung up signs and kept her until I picked her up. They said there was no sign of her brother.

Thanks to a weak spot in our fence, they both got out, and they were both not wearing collars because my daughter likes to take them off to pet them etc. Also, Tom Brady had a little rash on his neck from his collar. They got out in April, and I thought of getting them microchipped then, but they were both found in the neighborhood and returned the same day. I got new collars and tags and thought that would be enough. Now that Tom Brady has been missing for so long, I think I will take Marley in to be microchipped!

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I planted two new hydrangea bushes in an open spot under some trees in our backyard garden.  Disturbing the soil and watering it must have caused the fence to break. 

See the crack?

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Here is a closer view from the other side. I had no idea they would push it open enough to get out!

 

We miss our boy and really hope to get him back, but after six days I think somebody must have picked him up and is keeping him because they like him. If they were going to turn him into a shelter, they have had all week to do it. Today, we are on our way out-of-town to visit our college daughter, and I have a sad feeling inside as we get farther and farther away from home knowing he is missing. It rained last night and is still raining today, and the ink on the flyers I put up this week is running and faded now.

He was such a sweet boy, very shy and absolutely LOVED attention. He would tuck his ears back and hold completely still for us while we held him like a little baby. He learned how to sit and would simply refuse to lie down upon command. Despite being a male, he let his sister dominate him. She learned commands faster and listened better than he did. She wouldn’t let him eat or drink when she was around, so I would separate them to make sure he was getting enough. The two dogs used to follow me around the house and lie down right next to each other in whatever room I stopped in. If was playing guitar, they would lie down and listen at my feet. If I worked on the computer, they would lie down next to me, sometimes curled together heads to paws like a little yin yang. They shared a crate, and I used to find them cuddled up together every morning. I’m thankful now that I spent some time videoing them playing and roughhousing in the back yard. I thought at the time it was kind of silly to videotape dogs playing, but I didn’t realize he would run away and we would never see him again. He loved rolling on his back and curving left and right as he massaged his little spine on the carpet beneath him. He snored when he slept and when being held. I’m slightly allergic to dogs and get a rash on my arms and hands if I pet them, so I used to wrap him up like a little burrito in a towel and hold him on my lap. He would cock his head back with his ears back and snore in my arms.

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Tom Brady, our Boston Terrier who has been missing since 9/15/13

 

 

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Marley chilling next to me on the carpet in our house 2013

My first inclination was to get another dog, but I have done that before and it turned out to be a bad idea. After discussing it with my husband, I think I will focus on Marley as the ‘only’ dog and give her even more attention. She has been acting differently without her brother this week. I took her out and got her a new bed and have been spending more time one on one with her this week.

Since none of the shelters have Tom Brady, I am assuming someone has him and wants to keep him. All I can do is hope he loves his new family and they love him too. I hope he will get more one on one attention in a new home, if that is how it has to be. We do have coyotes and bobcats in our area, so it’s also possible he met his demise, but I prefer to think someone has him. I will keep looking until I have a reason to stop.

I got my first dog when I was in college in Arizona in 1989. Kelsey was half Rottweiler, half wolf. She looked like a Rottweiler but had slightly longer hair and a longer snout. I spent the summer in Colorado with my boyfriend, and she had a litter of puppies with a Siberian Husky the next fall. We gave most of them to our friends but kept two females (Jordan and Freya) and a male (Orion). I took the following year off school and lived in Colorado with Kelsey and her three pups.

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Kelsey as a puppy in Prescott, AZ  1990

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Kelsey as a puppy in Prescott, AZ 1990

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Kelsey and my ex-boyfriend in Telluride, CO 1991

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Jordan at my first wedding in Prescott, AZ 1994

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Jordan in Lake Tahoe, NV 1998

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Jordan swimming in a lake to fetch a stick NV 1998

On my twenty-third birthday in 1991, my boyfriend accidentally ran over Freya, and she died in my arms. Heartbroken over the loss, we rushed out and got two more wolf-hybrid puppies (this time they were 96%) We went for one new puppy and loved two of them, so we got them both. Lupus was a golden tan color with yellow eyes. She was beautiful and wild. Grey Cloud was a black wolf, with kind of grey coloring and yellow eyes. She was timid and gentle, a real sweetheart. They were both very smart and loved our lifestyle, living outdoors and taking daily hikes through the mountains. With our five dogs, it felt like we were one big family, a pack. While I’m still not sure exactly what drove me to get and keep five dogs, but at the time it meant the world to me. I liked the lifestyle too and preferred it over one in a house with no pets. I lived outdoors like many other young people there did for about a year and a half, sometimes in my VW camper bus, sometimes in a tent, sometimes in a shack in the woods, and in a teepee for the second summer I was there. It was a completely different lifestyle, one where I felt wild and free too, like I was one with nature.

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Jordan in Telluride, CO 1991

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Jordan (left) and Freya (right) in Telluride, CO 1990

This is the only picture of Freya I have, and it’s also the only picture of me when I grew dreadlocks.

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Jordan and her sister, Suki in Telluride, CO 1991

My boyfriend and I broke up, and I took Kelsey, and Jordan. He took Lupus, Grey Cloud, and Orion.
Grey Cloud ended up running away, never to be seen again, and sadly Lupus died from accidental hanging at an animal shelter when they put her in a cage with her leash on. Orion went on to live a long, healthy life in Colorado with my ex boyfriend. I think he said Orion was sixteen when he died.

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Jordan (left) playing with her littermates Suki (middle) and (Orion) in Telluride, CO 1991

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Grey Cloud as a puppy in Telluride, CO 1991

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Grey Cloud in Prescott, AZ 1992

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Lupus as a puppy in Telluride, CO 1991

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Lupus in Prescott, AZ 1992

I had to get Kelsey put to sleep when she was about three years old because she bit a few people. It was heartbreaking because she was very sweet and gentle with me, but she would jump and bite people for no reason with no warning. After it happened a few times, I didn’t really have a choice. It was awful having to do that. She is buried in Vermont in the yard of my ex-husband’s parents’ house. She is in a beautiful forest in a beautiful place, and I will always remember her.

Then it was me and Jordan for a while. She was the perfect dog, smart, well behaved, friendly, loyal. She loved taking walks off the leash and would alternate lagging behind me and running ahead of me on the trails. I never worried about losing her because I felt a mental connection with her like I just knew she would catch up or wait for me. And she always did. When catching up, she would run full speed, pass me and continue bounding down the path with her curly tail bobbing in delight. She loved water and never missed a chance to take a dip. She got along with other dogs, and she loved to play in the snow. She used to pounce like a cat when I would throw a snowball for her to catch. She’d bury her nose into the snow looking for it and then pop her head up with a funny expression, snowflakes on her nose. She loved chasing us as we went sledding down hills in Nevada and Virginia. She lived until almost fourteen years of age. I was pregnant with my youngest son (who is now 8) on her last day. She had been very sick and weak and slept outside on our back patio area because she kept having to go to the bathroom or throw up. When I went out there that morning, she looked lifeless in the garden, lying flat on top of the day lilies. I took her to the vet knowing it would be the last trip. The kids said goodbye to her before we left, and sure enough, I came home with her collar and leash but not with her. Again, I had to make that terrible decision to put her to sleep. She was getting so old, and there would be extensive testings and surgeries with unknown outcomes. We had a few moments together to say goodbye. I thanked her for all her love over the years and told her what an awesome dog she was. I told her how much I loved her and didn’t want to see her in pain. It was seriously like saying goodbye to my best friend. Then she was gone, just like that (June 2004). I keep her ashes in a special sealed wooden box from the vet and her collar next to my bed still.

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Me, my oldest daughter, and Jordan in Northern California 1998

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Jordan and another doggie friend running in the snow Lake Tahoe, NV 1998

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Jordan and her buddy, Sunbear AZ 1992

We didn’t get another dog until we moved to Texas in August 2006. With a newborn son in the family, there was a lot to keep me busy, and my heart also needed some time to heal from losing Jordan. My husband liked boxers, so I went out and got a boxer puppy. We named her Honey. We learned the hard way that boxers are called boxers because they stand up on their hind feet and ‘box.’ She was strong and fast and kept knocking over my two young kids. We realized we made a mistake and should have done some research on the breed first. We found a family in Austin looking to adopt a boxer and gave her away. They knew what they were in for, and they spent a lot of time outdoors hunting and camping. They had a large lot where she could run too. Honey was happy, and we started over with the Boston Terriers in 2008.

Five years later, we are back to one dog, and now I also have two fish tanks. Thank goodness I don’t have to worry about them running away. I set up a ten gallon tropical fish tank in the kitchen, and we also have a thirty gallon tank in our master bathroom with two goldfish (for good luck/feng shui). They live their entire lives in the tank and eat and secrete waste into their aqueous environment. Nature is amazing that way, that the chemistry works out to support life in a mini-ecosystem like a fish tank!

Between dogs and fish and children, I find that I spend much of my time caring for others who depend on me. It’s always been part of my nature to care for others. And I’m learning slowly to enjoy the time we do have together and learn to accept it when the time comes to an end. Much like human relationships, having animals is a lesson in living, loving, and letting go. 

Thanks for reading this entry. Peace out!

 

 

 

 

30 Day Photo Challenge: Day 26 Home

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This is a picture of my house and home. We moved to Texas from Virginia seven summers ago to take advantage of the housing market. We were able to buy more than twice the house for less money than in the DC area. Although I miss my hometown in Virginia and being in the DC area, I’ve always wanted a nice big house where I can raise my kids and then they can return when they are home from college. Now that my oldest is finished with her sophomore year of college, that dream has already come true. She says she appreciates that she can come home and have her old bedroom. Moving into this house literally changed our lives overnight. We were all able to spread out; each kid got their own room and walk-in closet. We went from one living room to four living rooms. I love coming home to our house and hope to be there for a long, long time!

Thanks for reading this entry. Peace out!

30 Day Photo Challenge: Day 24 Sunset

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This is a panoramic picture of the sunset I took with my iPhone. Texas has the most beautiful sunsets, and I am frequently snapping pictures and exclaiming, “look how pretty the sky is!” to my friends and family. They kind of roll their eyes and try to have patience for me to snap my pictures with enthusiasm. I don’t really care. I love sunsets, and I love natural beauty. In fact, the sunsets are one of my favorite things about living in Texas. The land is pretty flat where I live, so the sky is big! Every night, the sky is alive with color and form. This one isn’t the most colorful or the picture with the most shapes, but in general the overall impression of the sky was breathtaking. It makes me feel small in this universe.

Thanks for reading this entry. Peace out!

30 Day Photo Challenge: Day 20 Water

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This is a picture of the outdoor pool at my gym, my favorite place to be on the weekends and in the summers. Since we live in Texas and it’s pretty hot here, the pool at the gym opens up about a month earlier and stays open about a month later than usual. I’ve always loved swimming and can remember learning the different strokes as a child in lessons. I’m thankful today that I learned all four strokes as a child because as an adult it was easy to pick up swimming as a healthy habit since I remembered how to do it. My two daughters both swam on swim teams in elementary school, but then they both became dancers so they didn’t pursue swimming, but I’m happy they learned how to do it as children. My youngest child, my son, can swim pretty well while playing around in the water, but he hasn’t learned to swim laps in a straight line yet. We just started his swimming lessons the other day. Summer is full of fun things to do, but swimming is definitely my favorite!  Our gym, Lifetime Fitness, also has indoor pools with a water slide as well as jacuzzis, steam rooms, and saunas.  It’s my favorite place to go to work out and unwind.

Thanks for reading this entry. Peace out!

30 Day Photo Challenge: Day 18 Memory

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I remember the day we moved into our house almost seven years ago. It was 106 degrees outside that day! We moved to Texas from Virginia and were super excited to spread out into a bigger house. It was a major change in our lives. We’ve gotten used to the triple digit summer heat and still love our home.

Thanks for reading this entry. Peace out!