A journal of healing

Posts tagged ‘animals’

Views from the Garden

Switching up a bit and offering some of my photography. One of the great things about retiring is being able to spend time in my garden.

Soon as the weather got better, I got out there. This first shots are  actually sometime in May.                                                             This is June.           The trees in our neighborhood were gorgeous this year. Also my lilac bloomed more than it ever has.            We have resident bunnies, chipmunks, squirrels, doves and cardinals and a host of all kinds of other birdies.

  But I am glad we have a fence because this year the neighborhood hosted a deer heard.

I put in over four flats of flowers and now I have even more to plant.

 

The dogs love the garden as much as I do.  

   Pots before

Pots after     New this year was doing something with the front rock garden. Because there are so many roots in there I had to do something different.     Before

After      We love sitting out in the garden.  

 

 

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Retirement blues

I have not posted anything in a long while as times have been a bit grey around here. But a lot has happened in the past three months, not all good. Having PTSD and being a highly sensitive person, I am affected in a manner that most people cannot comprehend. They click their tongues and come up with platitudes. They do not understand that words have little effect on me. By the time I become upset, it is way too late for words. And try as I might to self-sooth, there comes a breaking point where my body reacts, even if my “brain” says I am cool.

Winter is my least favorite time of year. This winter has dragged on. Here it is April 8th and it is snowing out right now. We have had it every day for the last week. The sky is a dull grey that looms over the area day in and day out. The cold is damp and seeps in everywhere to permeate my bones. I have been wearing four layers of clothes for the last three months. I feel like Randy in The Christmas Story as I whine “I can’t put my arms down.”

I retired from my job the first week in January. People think I am lucky because I do not have to work. Truth told: I left because of my health. I am a pretty sick. The stress was no longer worth it. Leaving has helped as my blood pressure has gone back to a normal range. The first month was a bit disorienting. I felt I had no purpose. I obsessively set out to clean out my house. I emptied out closets, boxes and drawers of clothes no longer worn. I sent off a boxful to a friend who is similar in size. I made multiple trips to the donation center.

Then in February, my husband got into a car accident and wrecked my brand new 2018 SUV. We bought it in August. He was fine and it was not a big accident. He was not paying attention and rear-ended someone. I was stranded now at home. Before I had his car to use as he took the new truck to work. It took over 6 weeks to get the truck back. I was pissed at him big time, but I tried not to get in his face. As the days wore on, it got harder and harder not to be resentful. I had to go to the dealership and fight for several misdeeds and we finally got the truck back. I had my freedom again. I do not know how people cannot drive. I understand now how the elderly feel when they have to surrender their driver licenses.

I got in my head that I needed to get a job. I obsessed over this nightly from 2 am to 4 am. We had some work done on the house and spent money I had not planned on spending. Word of advice for those who are planning on retiring: you will worry about money. There is a sense of loss knowing that you are not generating an income. I have worked since I was 11. We had been planning on me leaving for over six months. But the reality of it does not hit until you are no longer getting that weekly paycheck. I felt useless.

I spent hours combing over Indeed. I have applied for over 70 jobs. I did get hired for a very small job that pays me a ridiculous small amount. I am not sure how long it will last. It did give me a sense of doing something and being connected. I was perseverating and creating a problem that was not necessary. I do that a lot. I do not like to feel unsafe and not having an income will do that. However, I left on my terms and with planning. This is a lot better than being fired unexpectantly which is something “old” people experience a lot. My ex-company was clearing out people over fifty like they were the plague. Most of the senior clinicians and administration are all gone now with five more retiring after I left. I started something.

I am hopeful things will turn around soon. I did leave because my health has been deteriorating steadily. I am not going to go into it in this post. I am going to a specialist next Wednesday to see what can be done. It took three months to get in to her. That was also frustrating. I am ready for a battle because I will not tolerate fat shamming by anyone. It is time my doctors pay attention as to what is going on. None of it is due to being fat. Much of it has to do with being on the wrong medications.

I am also hopeful that the snow will stop and my favorite time of year will commence. I love Spring and early summer. I will be outside every moment I can. I will work on the garden, which right now is covered in snow with huge branches and sticks that blew down from the last wind storm we had. It is a mess out there.

I also shifted my point of view of worrying about work. I have the time now to do some of the things I never had the time or energy to do. I got my ceramics out to paint. I am going to look into taking some music lessons or join a choir. I want to take some classes and my husband and I went up to the rec center to look at what they had available. I am going to learn to play golf which is loves so we can do that together. And I have read a ton of books. Sitting curled up in my chair with two dogs in my lap and my Kindle has been one of the best things. I used to feel guilty doing it because there was always some work to do.

As they have for the last three years, the doves showed up and refurbished their nest. This is the ultimate sign of spring for me, even if the weather is not cooperating. I feel so bad for them as it has been bitter cold and we have intense winds several times. I know she has at least one chick now because of the way she is sitting. I can sit out there with them and they walk around me or fly up to the nest with no worries. Even the dogs do not bother them. The yard is filled with bunnies and chipmunks and very fat squirrels. Some would say they are vermin. I love them and feed them daily with bird seed. And at sunset, when I sit out all bundle up like a mummy, they entertain me better than TV. We all want spring.

I feel like I have climbed over a mountain. I have more mountains a head, some of them could be life challenging. I wish I was like my husband who goes with the flow. I am just the opposite. Part of it is because of the PTSD and not feeling safe and in control. I have worked all my life to get to retirement. It is what we all do. I don’t want to waste this time worrying over things I cannot change. But those things I can change, watch out!

( Note:  I just took a break to let the dogs out and noticed the doves are gone this morning. Something happened because they would not leave with a chick in the nest and they have not been off it for two weeks. GONE… you have no idea how upset this makes me.)

 

 

 

 

 

Who rescued who

  It is no secret that I love animals. These two came to us after they picked us. When visiting the home where they were being fostered, Cookie crawled into my lap and Browny nestled in on my side. We were sealed forever as a family.   After my Heart Dog (one who owns your heart) Bishop passed away, I did not think I would ever feel the same. And I did not when we got the pair. It is different, but it still is love.

 Miss Cookie selected me to be her favorite, although she loves her Dadder. Browny bonded more with him. Browny comes to the Mommer especially when he needs hugs and reassurance, which is often. Mommer also gives him energy massages which he loves.

At first, they would not sleep in our bed. It took a lot for her especially to trust us. They had clearly been abuse as they cringed when someone raised their hand  or held a stick up. There was no tossing sticks for them and it took a long time for them to run after balls, being fearful of the toss. They ran when I had the broom out. It took time and love.

Their personalities are very different. He is hyper and demands a lot of attention. But he is a sweetie.  She now likes to be in my lap as much as possible and has a quirky funny disposition. She is a love.

 She loves to roll in the snow, but hates the rain. She likes to be with someone, especially me.  We spend hours together in the garden. She comes for me promptly at 9:00pm to go to bed.   She is silly and possessive and devoted. We cannot figure out why anyone would hurt these two. Browny has suffered two seizures, booth mild. Other than that they are healthy, active and our loves.

   We do not know their true history and never will. We do know Cookie is slightly older than Browny, maybe. We have had them four years. We figure she maybe around nine if she was really five when we got them. They both have slowed down unless there are squirrels in their yard.

  This morning I woke up to Cookie throwing up on my foot. She has been itching a lot. She has seasonal allergies which have reared every year about this time. There is little we can do except give her low dosage Benadryl and lots of love. She hates the itching and so do I. This morning, she seemed to be very off and I pray there is nothing more wrong. I do not know if I can stand to lose her in such short amount of time and I certainly do not want her to suffer. It was then I realized how much I adore these two. And so, who rescued who?

By the time I finished writing this blog, after I fed them, Miss Cookie seems to be feeling much better.

June Island images

Summer is half over and so I thought I would post some images from an early trip to the 1000 Islands. But first, my doves. For the last couple of years, we have had doves nest in our porch eve. I love them. This year, they started in March and right up to June they had chicks after chicks. This is the second to last batch.

  They had two chicks, this time around and they got quite big.  I do not know how they all fit. But there was one more chick born after these two left the nest. Unfortunately, the new baby fell out of the nest and died at my feet. It was one of the many sad things that happened this summer.

Tradition has been for me to spend my birthday week in the Islands. We took Joe’s daughter with us this year. The water height was drastic. We have had the wettest summer and so I am not sure if the water has gone down much. Here are several examples of the water.

The first picture is last year and the second one this year.

    They put barrels on docks to keep them from floating away or breaking up from waves.   People build docks over their existing docks.

  

This is a picture of the spot where I normally go every afternoon to meditate. There is an old piece of a wood dock which normally is about a foot out of the water. I can walk to it on the rocks, which are also under the water.

My favorite activity up there is to take pictures of the wildlife, especially the herons. We saw a few in our travels like this dude who was sitting in a canal on the golf course we were on.

Or this nesting site. When we come back in August, this will be empty. The rocks are white because of all the bird poop.     

  We always find something new up there. This was an addition to someone’s cottage. Quite interesting.

In 2014, a landmark in TI Park burned to the ground. It was a tragic loss as it was such a step back into the olden days. It was an ice cream parlor, store and small restaurant. The building originally housed the fire department and in irony, it burned too. The fire was so intense and quick they could not get the trucks out. They have rebuilt and much to many who do not like it, we found it wonderful. The young couple who own it are charming and the food is great. They still have ice cream and they have added much to make the place a community center. The fire department is now located somewhere else and better.

  Now back to my birds.

   When we get there, it always seems like there are no animals. They seem to hide. By the third day, I have all sorts of animals around. There are tons of geese, which I love especially when they are babies.    

And I love my herons, who are more active at sunset.   Hard to see this one but in the middle there is one.   I like the fire of the sunset though the trees.

On the last day we were there, the geese came to say good bye. It is hard to see, but there is one goose on the rocks who died overnight. I do not know why and I did not go down to investigate. It was like loosing a friend. To me, it was an omen as I have never seen this  and why on this rock? All the years we have come up, and I have never seen a dead goose like this. And true to my omen, this summer has been very difficult for me. Last Thursday, and friend of mine died. He was in his early forties, married and his son is six. We all are in shock over his death. I dedicate this post to him.

The rain continued this summer, but I have heard the water is lower a bit. Three more weeks and we are back in the Islands. I cannot wait.

4th of July Liberties

 

I was born in America. I have never experienced anything but the freedoms we have here in this country. I do not know any better and so I take it for granted. I am disgusted by piss-poor politicians and can be vocal about my feelings. I am entitled. I take for granted the rights and liberties we have. But I am proud to be an American.

However, I hate the way we celebrate this holiday with fireworks. I personally love the display and the colors. But I hate the noise. It upsets my little Cookie.

Last night we were all sitting in the garden as is our ritual before bed. The dogs take a walk around the yard. We call it the perimeter check. And then we sit for a bit and meditate. There were a few little pops in the distance and Cookie was a bit nervous but still quiet. Then a neighbor set off a huge firework which exploded right over the garden. She panicked.

We ran inside and she took off for the bedroom. I had prepared for this and had the air conditioner and fans going. We crawled into bed and she crawled on top of me and shook. I finally calmed her down and she fell asleep next to me but in my arms. I thought we were ok when another one went off. She again crawled on top of my chest and buried her face in my arms. Finally they stopped and she fell asleep attached to me on my side.

I know everyone has the right to celebrate. I wish they would go back to making fireworks illegal in NY. There are enough displays that are set off by the municipalities to enjoy. I am sure tonight and the next night will be even worse for my little dogs. Browny does not seem to get upset by the noise. But he does get upset when Cookie is upset.

I wish I could teach them something I just learned. I am taking a class to become a Certified Trauma Professional. This class has taught me so much about PTSD and trauma. It is taught by Dr. Eric Gentry, who is an internationally recognized leader in the field of disaster and clinical traumatology.

He teaches that people cannot feel the effects of stress or trauma in a relaxed body. Seems so simple. But he explains in length how the human body is always reacting to triggers of some kind. People who have had extended periods of some form of trauma are in a hypervigilant mode all the time. There are chemical reactions in the brain and the parasympathetic and sympathetic systems go into over drive.  In short, our body is in control.

He explains that we need to be aware that this is always on in one degree or another. And we react by constricting our muscles all day. An example is when at the end of the day, you neck and shoulders are way up and hurt and you have no idea why. It is the constriction of the muscles that you held in a clench all day. We clench our muscles everywhere. It is one cause of leg cramps and back pain.

It is common now for people to understand the concept of just take a breath. Dr. Gentry talks about the power of just taking a breath. He talked about other methods for getting control. But the method I think is amazing and it works is called the pelvic floor relaxation. First you have to become aware of the muscles in you hip area. Do a few kegal exercises by squeezing the muscles that can stop you when you pee. Now just completely relax that area completely. Do that several times a day. Concentrate on those muscles being relaxed when something stressful is happening and you will find you won’t be as stressed.

The issue is that the effect only lasts for a very short time. This is something you have to do all the time. It only takes a second and no one knows you are doing it. Another method to use  is called the wet noodle. This is where you go absolutely limp in a chair for ten seconds. It is like a mini vacation. The effect of being in a relaxed body is how people are learning to deal with PTSD and every day stress.

I wish I could teach my little pup this. But for her, the only comfort is a dark quiet room and being held by her Mommer.

More Springtime views

  We took a trip out to the Lake last weekend. It was so foggy and gray. The streets are still flooded  in this little lake village of Sodus Point.        There is a street of shops and bars and houses that was  totally closed because of the flooding. We went to the beach and pier.

  The erosion on the beach was terrible.

   The beach was covered with drift wood and garbage. It is a mess and it will required a lot of clean up before they can open for the season.

  But there was some wonderful days during  the long weekend and my hubby and I took advantage and planted flowers and some new shrubs.

   I was not sure how I would fair doing with the planting but I completed planting all the pots and planters. I was in a lot of pain the next couple of days but it was so worth it. I realized I am better than I was the previous year because I got them all potted in a day. Last year it took me several days and I can remember crying being so frustrated with my fatigue and inability to garden.

  Every year is different and  every year I am amazed at how much my garden brings me joy. I am a different person. I long for the time when I do not have to work and can spend hours and days working in the soil and relaxing out there.  I will have plenty of company.

  The doves have been working on their next brood. They are so used to us now they fly in and out right over our heads. Sometime I will hear them cooing to each other in their secret language. On the other side of the deck is another bird house that had a sparrow family. We call them the Cheep-cheeps. The babies would squawk for food all the time and they looked like three little Muppets hanging out of their hole in the bird house. They have grown and moved on and now Mom and Dad are rebuilding the nest.

 Every fall I bring in some plants and then this year I had a bonus of several new amaryllis. I potted some lettuce also because what I had put in the garden was chewed.

  I do a few herbs and I will probably do basil and a few tomato plants this year.

  I had previously put in lettuce in the garden that is in front of the deck.  It really got chewed up. One night I was sitting out and the bunny, who totally saw me, came right up on to the deck and proceeded to chop away. He knew where and how to get around the sticks. We also have a chipmunk who dug  a tunnel with an entrance right in the patch. I closed it and he has now taken up residence under the deck…..

 ….Much to the delight of the dogs. One night this week, Browny actually caught the little bugger but released it. Both dogs thought it was a hoot and I think Browny surprised himself with the capture. The chippy was not hurt.  Now he thinks he is this big hunting dog and patiently waits for the next squeal.

  This little piece of the world brings much peace and serenity to all who visit. I am very blessed.

 

 

Shave and a hair cut…..it is Spring!

  These are the loves of my life. The pups are Papillion mix and the legs are my husband’s. He went into the cheese drawer…enough said if you have dogs. I let their fur grow out all winter to keep them warm. The day this picture was taken, it was 85 degrees. It was an unusually warm spring day, and we were not prepared.

 This is Browny. He is a “special” dog as in the fact he is was pretty traumatized. I have no idea of the truth of their history other than they were very mistreated. They think they were around four and five when we got them and we have had them for four years.

  He is the sweetest baby ever. But he has manic episodes where he barks like crazy at anyone near our home. If they come into the home, its even worse. He has bitten someone. He will defend his partner, Cookie, if anyone tries to threaten her. We have no idea of the true relationship of the pair other than they are devoted.

   Miss Cookie seems sweet at first, but she is a bruiser. She likes to be dirty all the time. But she adores me and her Dadder, especially me. She does not like to be brushed so by the end of winter, she is pretty messy.

  She loves to roll in the snow, but hates baths. She will go out and roll in the grass or mulch and often comes in the house covered in “stuff.” So it was time for their summer haircuts. I finally found a groomer who has a van and will come to the house. Groomer on the Go. Eric was wonderful with them and I highly recommend him.

 Cookie was mad. She did not want her picture taken at all.

  But she looks amazing!

 The B Boy looks completely different. His fur was extremely long with a long tail. Eric cut his tail, which was necessary. But the view is completely different.

  He really fits the name Monkey Boy now.

Spring is everywhere, finally. We spent the day yesterday digging out the veggie garden out and turning the soil. We then planted some lettuce. I was so thrilled to be able to get down and actually work in the garden. It was at first scary getting down, it was even more scary trying to get up after being down on the ground for a couple of hours. But I did it. I am paying for it today, but that’s ok.

  Here is half of the garden with the lettuce protected from the bunnies. I put in some lettuce in pots without sticks and the chomped them down overnight. Sorry bunnies…. the sticks are back.

  Slowly the garden is getting in shape. I think of it as a canvas that Mother Nature and I work on together. Next week I will post pictures of the flowers and lilacs. It is beautiful.