rescue part one

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my phone wallpaper-everyone thinks this is me

Hang on to your Perfectionism readers, this post is about to go all Anne Lamott on you and tell the raw badass truth about something that’s on my mind that I gotta deal with. And it’s one of those I’m just gonna say this one time deals.  In fact, I decided to write it just so I have a link to send people who piss me off/offend me/step on my sensitive bits are well meaning as I do think I will be facing more of this little issue as time goes by.

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First off, I was inspired by this piece I read this morning.  It really hit home for me. I highly encourage you to take a read.

Please Don’t Envy Me:  The Facebook Status Everyone Should Read.

Blogging is interesting as you put yourself out there, you also invite opinions and feedback.    Often anonymously and from people you likely will never meet.  Then you have to figure out how/if/when to respond to that.  Or not at all.  It’s not for the faint of heart or those without armor which actually kind of describes me.  So we fumble and stumble our way along.  There are no real rules.

I was confused when I shared with a friend that I was just coming up for air from my vacation meltdown in a text last week and she responded “well you’ve done a good job of hiding that on Facebook”.  Like everyone airs their dirty laundry on Facebook!  Hmph!  No one wants to read our shitty days, then we chastise each other for not being real.  Ok, well, maybe Facebook is the land of scrapbooks and rainbows but my blog is my blog and I get to say anything and everything I want.  I think that’s kind of the point, right?  I might start getting more down and dirty on Facebook as well.  You’ve been warned world.

 

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I’ve been thinking about a couple of words lately that get a bad rap:  needy and rescue.

I’m going to explore both of these more in depth as time goes by but for today I’m starting with rescue, but not in the way I had intended.

I’ll just say it out loud, proud and again.  I’m getting a puppy.  In fact, I’ll be purchasing a pure bred Cockapoo puppy at about 8-10 weeks of age from a breeder sometime after the first of the year.  A breeder that’s been personally recommended who I’ve done a lot of research on so let’s get that out of the way and done with.

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Now I would reconsider this decision if someone would find me a male, pure bred Cockapoo who’s in the color family of buff or apricot or white or cream who comes with a one year health certification and DNA testing on the known parents who is 8-12 weeks old having been raised with it’s mother in a loving known family environment for all those weeks.  I’d adopt that puppy from a shelter in an instant!  I’m on the Cockapoo Rescue mailing list and they’re doing great things–for adult dogs needing rehoming.  I salute them but it’s not my cause, at least at this moment in life.

So many things have been made hard in my life, so many curve balls.  Taking this step with some kind of ease and knowing what I’m getting for lack of a better phrase is something I feel absolutely deserving of.  In fact, I feel smart to do it this way.

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how could you resist?

I’m not sending this out to any one person in particular but I am sending it out to a certain mind set.  It’s been annoying interesting to note that once I started talking about getting a puppy, people felt the need to chime in their opinions and at times flat out admonitions, that I should rescue a dog from the pound/street/shelter.  And that I should get a dog, not a puppy and outline the reasons why.

I realize that most of this has to do with their own projections and I’d like to get to a stage in my life where I just breeze past naysayers and opinion givers and do my own thing.  Maybe I’m one step closer in declaring this as the one and only statement I’ll make about it then shut up and go about my bidness.

I was never blessed with having even one baby in my life.  It’s one of my life’s greatest sadness and personal tragedies although I rarely think/write/speak about it because it’s just too heartbreaking.  It’s not that I didn’t want to be a mother or didn’t try.  It just didn’t happen for me and I have a life that’s devoid of the many many experiences that motherhood brings you.  It’s more of a question mark in my life than an understanding and has a profound impact on the woman I am. There, I said it.

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And, to complicate things further, I’m one of the most maternal people you could meet.  Go figure.  I should have had a child.  But I didn’t.  It wasn’t in the cards for me.  And there it is.  As simple as I can make it.

The best I can come up with is that somehow I was chosen, by the Powers that Be, to be the last one holding the torch for my entire lineage.  And I do think I’m up for the task and it was a good choice but not without sacrifice.

For me, this idea of having a puppy is awakening all of those maternal feelings in me (as I typed that I just saw a hummingbird jumping from tiny flowers outside on my patio).  It’s giving me a chance to experience that feeling in the only way I can imagine it happening for me.

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Now don’t get me wrong–I’ve had cats most of my adult life.  I’ve had kittens even.  My two cats I have right now, Sabine and Coco, came to me as kittens.  Both rescued.  All of them rescued in fact.  I’ve rescued kittens /cats my entire adult life.

This feels different.  Caring for a puppy feels like a completely different relationship.  More demanding yet more rewarding in some way.  I can feel it in my bones.  I feel this thump thump thump inside my heart like a heartbeat calling me to itself.  I don’t know any other way to describe it.

Those of you who have had babies I invite you to ask yourselves:  was waking up in the middle of the night and arranging your life around that infant worth it or was it just one big stress ball in your life and that’s how you remember it?  When you compare it to say, caring for a sick adult, the same kind of demand?  Did it feel like you were getting something back very unique and not received any other way?

I won’t get a baby in this life.  It’s not in the cards for me.

But I will get this puppy.

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I have spent the last two months researching and will spend the next two or three setting up my home/life (there’s the hummingbird again) to invite this new precious baby in to my world.  I just bought a book last night on how to raise a  puppy and have another on the way!  I have found a “pet resort” literally walking distance from my home that offers training classes, grooming and boarding if need be.  I’m going to learn every single thing I can about raising this puppy and being the best “Mommy” I can be. I’m taking most of the entire year of 2015 to make this my focus, forego the kind of traveling I’ve been doing and I couldn’t be more excited!  I have the time and resources now and dammit I deserve a relationship that has the unique kind of give and take almost everyone I know with dogs brags about.

It’s kind of weird even for me as I always, always considered myself a cat person.  This came out of the clear blue a couple of years ago when my neighbor Tom was walking his new dog Webster (a Tibetan Spaniel) and Webster ran up to me and jumped on me and I fell instantly in love.  I still feel that way every single time I see Webster and warn Tom he might go missing some day.

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Why am I doing all of this justifying?  I don’t know.  I guess I need to get it out of my head and on paper and have a link to just send out when these judgments and projections come flying my way.  Like here is my response to that.  Or maybe this is just my declaration to the world to hopefully stop.

What I want to ask is this:

If someone told you they were thinking of having a baby, would your response be “think of all the needy children who need homes in this world! How selfish to want your own baby!”.

If someone told you they were building a new home, could you imagine a response “but there are so many fixer uppers out there, why would you consider something new?”.

Is there something about my life that would invite “Kathy would just be so much more awesome if she did just a little more rescuing.”?

And please don’t insult me by telling me “a puppy isn’t a baby” because I might just tell you to fuck off.  I’m not stupid.  But this puppy will be my baby and I have everything and more than most any other human being on this planet has, to give it.   I’m ready to open my life and my heart in to this new magical world of being a dog owner.  I’m ready for an intimate relationship like this that I can call my own.  I’m ready to go for walks and hikes and wake up in the morning to this little face greeting me with love. I tingle just thinking about it.

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I have a life filled with rescuing.  I’m ready to be rescued.  I feel it coming with this little fur angel, in so many ways, most of which I have no idea what they even are.

I have a dream, a STRONG CLEAR DREAM and I’m following it. Every time I’ve followed a dream like this it’s set me on a new magical pathway.

Please don’t bother me with limited thinking. I’m not telling you how to live your life and unless mine or someone else’s is in danger, I’d prefer you to be the same with me.

I invite all of you reading to consider what dream of your own are you shutting yourself off to because someone told you you shouldn’t/couldn’t do it?

In the meantime, I’ll be over here reading Cesar Milan, obsessing over puppy pics and figuring out where to put in a doggie door.

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I mean!

 

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Greetings from Home, finally.  It was a long vacation.  17 days to be exact.  Probably about a week too long for me, considering the circumstances.

I’m glad to be home and yet I wake up feeling sad and melancholy which is absolutely what a person is not supposed to feel after a rejuvenating vacation.  I need to make some changes.  I need to be more realistic about my life and expectations.

I’ve been a very high functioning person my whole life, able to manage most any circumstance and retain a positive attitude (most of the time) or at least return to it once the dust settles from any conflict/crisis/time of transition.  I think I underestimated myself when I took on the task of being the primary caregiver for my brother.  Right around the time our father is entering advanced age.  With no backup, just myself.  I sit here with tears streaming down my face at how exhausted I get.   How exhausted I am right now.

I wouldn’t have chosen it any differently I guess.  I threw my brother a life raft and I do believe he would not have survived otherwise.  But I need to make adaptations now.  I’m not as young or resilient as I once was.  I hit menopause as all this was coming at me and it’s basically kicked my ass.  I was already vulnerable healthwise in the endocrine department and it feels like I just can’t quite stabilize.  This has been going on for over two years now.

I have too many demands on me and too little support and I really don’t know how to fix it but surrender and find a way to ask for help.  This vacation, at the end, ground me to nothing.  Traveling with an obese (meaning hard to get around easily, fit in spaces and other complications) schizophrenic man and my 83 year old father who’s mobility has really taken a nose dive is, I’ll just say it, work.  And I love my family to pieces but I end up so exhausted and just wanting to run away.  Actually I did run away there toward the end for two nights.  I felt like I couldn’t breathe one more minute with all the demands I deal with that go basically unnoticed by anyone, including me, until it’s too late.  This is a pattern I’ve noticed.

I manage most if not all of all the travel arrangements, much of the activities we do, problem solving, all the navigation, some of the driving (while single handedly navigating because they don’t know how to use electronics for the most part),  lodging arrangements, fun activities, food prep, cleaning, shopping,  etc…I pay for everything then get a check at the end reimbursing me for my expenses–groceries, tickets, travel expenses etc.  I could go on and on and I’m sure it feels more exaggerated than it is right now because I’m so depleted.

I get very little alone time and when I do, it’s often interrupted with things like a plumbing emergency or need to come and greet the next arrival of guests. I overdo and take over managing things because, often if I don’t, I think they won’t get done.  I know this is part of my problem too–overdoing things when I should let the chips fall.  But time and again, when they fall, I end up repairing things anyway so figure I may as well do it on the front end.   And I do it well for the most part but I won’t lie, I had a 36 hour meltdown there toward the end of this trip. I’m surprised it took me that long honestly.

I arranged and paid for my own hotel room and just left my family on their own so I could recover.  I laid in that bed, got room service and took baths for 24 hours and got back to some semblance of myself that could function.  I was in an environment that is very hard for me to function in — I don’t want to go on and on about it but I will just say hoarding is a very real thing and in my family, it’s going downhill fast.  Hygiene and grooming are major issues now and it’s hard for me to exist in those kinds of environments without constantly cleaning, telling someone to change their stained shirt to go out to dinner, wash their hands, and on and on. I cleaned the shared bathroom at least three times a day.

I got myself in a clean, controlled environment in the beautiful Boston Parker House Hotel so I could find some semblance of the familiar and get stabilized. Once I came up for air, I had a great time roaming around the city by myself.

I miss my sister.  She would have been much better at all of this.  We would be doing it together, somehow.

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I was born a middle child and didn’t naturally develop internal resources to be on the front lines.  I have heard dozens of times recently “I don’t know how you’re doing it”, including from total bystanders just watching me.  I do believe there is some kind of master plan and everything is unfolding as it should yet I also feel like I’m failing, mostly to myself.

I realized after this trip I need help.  I even have to figure that part out by myself because there is this kind of unspoken and sometimes spoken expectation in my family that I will figure it all out.  On my own.  And I will, and I do.  I have an idea, from a seed that was planted at Rancho La Puerta last year–a life coach I really connected with.  I looked up her info again this morning.  I’m in a hamster wheel of caretaking and I need a fresh perspective.

But for now I need some recovery time.  I fear the future as it won’t get better and I don’t feel like I’m managing things well now.

I will say this.  I went to bed nearly every night and woke up every morning fantasizing about the puppy I’ll be getting.  Somehow I know this addition to my life will soften my heart and bring in a new joy and focal point.  In our family we’ve had no new life;  just death.  Endings and very few new beginnings. No new babies.  I’ve known for years now that it will be me bringing in the torch of our lineage, on my own.  I need to find a way to live in grace with these demands so I can feel good about how I’m representing. And right now I don’t feel that way.

On an up note, Alfonse did very little hallucinating on our trip.  His depression was there but not debilitating.  His daily functioning and social skills need serious work so I’m going to hopefully find someone to take that role over for me.  It shows up in a million ways (grooming, basic awareness of other people around him, etc) that concerns me as he’s ready to embark on a whole new life of social possibilities.  But he needs some basic training and I’m not the person for that job.

I want to be the woman.  I often say “I”m the man of the house” in my family and I’m the only girl.  I handle most every single thing that I would imagine a man, a good man, would.

I will say that, miraculously, I had two men express interest in me during my trip…in that way.  You know.  I feel so disconnected from myself in that way, I’ve risen to a level of patriarchy in my family role, that the female in me is ground down to sand.

Then I think about my little puppy and I feel my heart and mind and soul soften and come alive in a way that feels so correct and so healing for me.  I don’t know exactly how this new life force will impact me but I can feel it coming.

And it’s my light at the end of the tunnel right now.  At least a spark and the one I’m hanging on to right now.

I did have great times on my vacation but before sharing I just had to keep it real and get these thoughts off my chest.  I think the start of any big change is with awareness and this is the semi ugly truth of where things are at right now.

And now I need to take my brother back to his house so I can go to work.*  And be there for other people.

I surrender.

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* In the land of irony, just as I finished typing those words, John came downstairs looking sheepish telling me he’d tried to use my car last night to go get food after I went to bed and he couldn’t get in it because it was parked too close to the wall.  His face showed me something else so I pressed it and in reality, he tried to use my car and it wouldn’t start.  He said he lied to me out of fear I’d blame him for the car not starting.  This is the kind of thing I deal with over and over again…things that could be made simple, made hard.  And zero assistance to help me but roadblocks put up.  This is the life of caretaking and I need to stop whatever I’m doing that makes things worse for myself. Starting today.

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Alone at the cottage I find myself blissed out in the kitchen making lobster bisque and listening to Todd Rundgren channel on Pandora, feeling Cindy so bittersweetly present.

Deciding what to drink with my lobster roll lunch, I land on opening that bottle of Cook’s champagne in the frig, in her honor.  It was our drink, always.  We’d say “let’s get cookin” and grab 3 bottles for $10 from Osco and our evening was made.

As I poured us each a glass, Todd’s A Dream Goes On Forever came on, one of our favorites.

Forever, indeed.  I’m doing my best to find you Cindy, when and where I can but well, you know.  My heart is breaking and maybe that’s an ok thing.

Love goes on forever.  Cheers.

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Moment of zen

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Which is funny at this point seeing it’s taken me hours to figure out how to post this video using apps, two devices and frustration. Let’s all enjoy my moment of zen from yesterday.