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Je suis … fatigué

Police-involved killings of black civilians (more to come on that in a later post), an ambush on police officers and now the attack in Nice, France.

This about sums up my feelings on all the hatred and violence going on in the world. #JeSuisSickOfThisShit

We Must Do Better

I don’t have the answer. Some magical solution. I am positive I don’t even have all of the information necessary to form a well-informed, rational and thought out arguement.

But I know that we must do better. We are failing…as a society, as a nation. Failing. 

And rather than have calm, rational, REAL meaningful conversations about gun control, responsible gun ownership and how to end these fucking senseless (and preventable) mass shootings, we are screaming at each other. Again.

Fighting the same fight. YOU CAN’T HAVE MY GUNS! GUNS DON’T KILL PEOPLE, PEOPLE DO! NO GUN HAS EVER DONE HARM ON ITS OWN!

BAN ALL GUNS! GUNS ARE EVIL AND HAVE NO PLACE IN OUR SOCIETY! WE ARE GUN OBSESSED!

I don’t have the answer. But we must do better. Because mothers and fathers just lost their children. Dozens of families are missing pieces of their hearts and souls.

And it’s crucially important that we don’t gloss over that the entire reason these people were slaughtered in a dance club is because they are gay.

BUT BEING GAY IS GROSS! BEING GAY IS A SIN! IT’S IN THE BIBLE!

Like, who fucking cares? If you’re that wonderful of a Christian, you’ll pray for them. Not judge them. You’ll love them anyway. You know, like Jesus did. Because if you are using your religious beliefs, or religion in general, to discriminate against a group of people, to view yourself as better than someone else, then you are doing religion wrong. And that’s not an opinion – that’s a fact.

Seriously, we must all do better. Tolerance is not enough. We must speak out about the injustices and inequalities that they gay community faces every single day. Just because you don’t see it, or don’t believe it happens doesn’t mean it isn’t happening. Because I assure you it is.

And just because you disagree doesn’t make you right.

You don’t have to agree with me. You can believe that everyone absolutely needs to have the ability to own an AK whatever, but that doesn’t mean you’re right. If I disagree with you, it doesn’t make me right, either.

But we MUST do better. Everyone’s lives literally depend on it.

Bringing Noise to the Silent Struggle

I haven’t posted much lately. Life has been….interesting. I’m not complaining, at least I’m trying not to, things have just been weird. Especially, lately.

You may not know this, but I am a guest contributor for my friend Nathan’s blog, NateTheWorld. Each month, Nathan sends out an email to his contributors asking for submissions and he provides writing prompts, in case any one needs inspiration. I don’t always send something in, especially if my own life is a crazy, hectic mess because finding time to do one. more. thing. just doesn’t seem possible.

But, this month one of the prompts was ‘my struggle’ and it spoke volumes to me. So I sat down and started writing. I sent my contribution over to him and he posted it. And then I started thinking about the struggle I wrote about and thought about how I was still struggling. Still dealing with it and what else could I do to lessen the burden?

So, I wrote another piece and posted it to my other blog. And really, I thought that would be it. That a few people would read either piece and maybe find comfort in my words, or at least have some light shed on a topic with which they are unfamiliar.

But that is not what happened. Not at all. What happened instead is I started receiving messages from people telling me that they were going through the same struggle. That they had a similar experience. That they, too, understood my pain and frustrations. It was……overwhelming. Amazing. Incredible.

Then, I decided that if I received such an amazing response from people I know, what could happen if people I didn’t know also heard my message? I reached out to another blogger/writer that I really like and asked him to read the piece, and if it made sense for his page, could he post it? AND HE DID! I couldn’t believe it; this person who doesn’t even know me, felt like what I wrote should be shared.

Of course, comments came in, and they didn’t all go my way, but that’s alright. Because at the end of the day, I know that thousands of people have read what I wrote, and perhaps they learned something they didn’t know beforehand.

Some of the comments said I was perhaps being a little too emotional or oversensitive to the topic at hand. Maybe. But that doesn’t make me wrong. Or make my point/opinion invalid.

Facebook2 Facebook3For the record, I DID donate those samples to my church. And I gave the coupons that I kept receiving to the Early Ed. center so they could go to parents who WANT them.

I'm not sure that expressing my opinion makes me selfish, but she's entitled to think that.

I’m not sure that expressing my opinion makes me selfish, but she’s entitled to think that.

I’m not sure that it’s the worst article ever, but again, she is entitled to think that.

Facebook6I’d also like to point out that I didn’t say anything about malice from the companies; I pointed out the short-sightedness of the campaigns. I also didn’t call for a boycott, just stated that I won’t be giving my money to them. As for questioning my struggle with infertility, that I took a little personally. She says that a year of not conceiving doesn’t count as infertile. Actually, it does. According to the Mayo Clinic’s website: “Infertility is defined as not being able to get pregnant despite having frequent, unprotected sex for at least a year for most people and six months in certain circumstances.”

My husband and I have been trying to start a family FOR A YEAR! That doesn’t seem like a long time, unless it’s something you really want and it doesn’t happen, over and over and over again.

Facebook7This woman commented several times, apparently I struck a nerve with her. Especially since she called my post a rant (it wasn’t). But, I am a long time reader because I haven’t ALWAYS been in this struggle, and because the guy is a good writer and the “hilarities of parenthood” crack me up. But, perhaps I’m not allowed to laugh at parenthood since I’m not part of the club? Who knows.

Not all of the comments were negative, though. Some of them were really nice and were from people who had experienced similar things or understood what my whole point was (that the program’s targeting is wrong because they don’t know who the person on the other end of the data they purchased really is. Being a woman that shops at Babies R Us doesn’t make me anymore a mother than eating a banana makes me a monkey).

Facebook5And some of the comments were just really nice and proved to me that what I had to say was at least heard AND UNDERSTOOD by some people – which is really my ultimate goal. To be understood. Isn’t that everyone’s goal?

Facebook1 Facebook8I did contact the companies that send those formula samples; I sent them my article. And one of them responded letting me know they removed me from their mailing list. Which I appreciate. But that’s not my point. They need to reevaluate the whole thing. I understand the purpose of the campaign. They want to sell a product. But, there might be a better way to target the correct people; I don’t have the answer to HOW to do that, but I’m sure they have really smart people working for them that can come up with the answer.

I let them know that I appreciated being removed, but that if this is happening to me, then it is happening to other women. And that’s the problem. They said they’ve given the information “to the appropriate department” so who knows if anything actually comes out of it. I really hope it does.

So, that’s the biggest thing that’s been going on in my life lately. Just bringing awareness to a silent struggle. One blog post at a time.

It’s So Hard To Say Goodbye….(UPDATED)

Last week was truly the highest of highs and the lowest of lows for our family.  When I say ‘our family’ I’m not referring to our vast and extensive extended family, but rather the family unit that Brett and I consist of.  We are a family of three; Brett, myself and Bogey, our dog.  Bogey is absolutely our family.  He is our fur-kid.  And he is beyond spoiled.  We (read I) go paparazzi nuts with the camera, in fact I have an entire Facebook album dedicated to pictures of Bogey.

Recently, Bogey’s health had taken a turn south, so we did what any parents would do, we rushed him to the ER.  When we got to the hospital, Bogey was weak, dehydrated and his color was off, he looked pale.  We were freaking out.  We didn’t know what was wrong.  I have to say, Blue Pearl in Overland Park, KS is the nicest, most compassionate place I’ve ever been.  They were so incredible helping us through a very tough couple of nights.  After two nights at the hospital, Bogey came home!  Diagnosis? Bleeding ulcers.  Bummer.  But, they were totally treatable, and he would be okay.  Hooray!  Medicine and a bland diet for a week and he seemed to be alright.

But, while we were at the ER the first night, the doctor came in and told us that Bogey had a perianal tumor (which is what they originally thought the problem was).  After lots of tests, they decided that wasn’t the cause of his emergency visit, but that we should still take him to his regular doctor and have that tumor looked at.

We scheduled an appointment and had some samples of the tumor sent off for a cytology report, which came back inconclusive.  Meaning, it might not be cancer, but it might be cancer.  But, it needed to come out.  So, we scheduled the surgery.

Bogey had surgery at 8:00 a.m. on Thursday, June 7th.  He was scared, but okay.  I was there with him, and told him how great he was doing.  He didn’t even squirm, which was great because that meant no full anesthesia!  Local anesthesia is all he needed, which, given his age (15!) was a great thing.  Tumor was removed and he was stitched up and, after a couple of hours at the doctor for post-op observation, we were on our way home.  His tumor was sent off to get biopsied and we’re just awaiting results to find out if it was cancerous or not, so we can start forming a treatment plan for our Dude.

Thursday night was a rough night for everyone.  Bogey hated his Elizabethan collar, which everyone knows as ‘the cone of shame.’ He freaked out and started running in to things trying to rip the collar off.  I hated seeing him panic, so I took it off of him.  Then he started throwing up, which, if I had just recovered from bleeding ulcers, and then had surgery and then freaked out, would probably throw up, too.  Brett stayed up with him until about 3:30 a.m.  That’s when Bogey finally decided to lay down and go to sleep.  On Friday, he seemed okay.  Great!  Our Dude just hated his collar and basically threw the equivalent of a screaming, kicking, crying-until-you-throw-up tantrum.  He didn’t really eat much Friday, so I made him some chicken (I told you, he’s spoiled).  He chowed it down and everything seemed good.  Friday night, more vomiting.  But, not as bad as Thursday night.  So, maybe the food upset his stomach.  He probably ate too fast.  But, his breathing seemed off, and his behavior was off too.  But he did just have surgery 24 hours ago and now has stitches in his hiney….

Saturday, he was walking around the basement in the morning.  We gave him head pats, and rubbed his ears.  Like the concerned fur-mom I am, I still thought his breathing didn’t sound right, but he seemed alright, just tired (which is understandable since he’d spent two nights throwing up).  We decided to leave him downstairs (with his favorite red blanket) to get some rest and went  to check on him every hour to see if he wanted to go outside.  He was laying at the foot of the stairs, and would look up at us when we came down, but wasn’t interested in going outside.  So, we would rub his head and belly, and give him kisses and tell him how much we loved him.

At 5:30 p.m. on Saturday, June 9th, Bogey was no longer breathing.  It was heartbreaking.  I got Brett and told him that Bogey wasn’t breathing anymore and we sat there and hugged our Dude and cried together.  My heart broke more.  Brett’s Mom came down and cried with us, too.  And his sister came down, cried with us, and we all said a prayer to St. Francis asking him to watch our Boy until we got home.

As much as losing our Dude sucks (and it is the big time suck) I learned a lot over the last few days and weeks.  I learned that Brett and I are an amazing team, even in super sucky, super awful situations.  We connect to form a strength that is stronger than either of us individually.  I learned there are awesome people who care about our Dude as much as we do.  I learned about Blue Pearl Emergency Pet Services and their incredible staff.  And I learned that we have the most quality people in our lives.  Our families and friends are truly some of the best people on Earth and we are so incredibly blessed to have them.

Having to say goodbye to Bogey sucked.  It still sucks.  Every time I walk downstairs I expect to see his fluffy little face look up from his bed.  I expect to see his red blanket laying on his bed.  I look at the clock and realize that Bogey probably needs to go to the bathroom.  I still look around for him.  And while the emptiness sucks and has left a hole in my heart, I find a small amount of joy knowing that our Boy isn’t hurting anymore.  That whatever pain he was feeling, he’s free from it.  He’s running, and jumping, and chasing squirrels and snoozing in the sunshine.  I find comfort in knowing that St. Francis welcomed our Boy with open and loving arms, and I’m sure he gave him his favorite snack, Cheese-Its, when he got there.

With all that knowledge, I find peace with the emptiness.

The last three weeks of Bogey’s life were not the best, I’m sure.  He spent too many hours at doctor’s offices. But, he also spent a lot of time at the playground, laying in sunshine, lounging next to us, giving us hugs and kisses, and bringing us smiles and joy.  So, I’m grateful for that.

Bogey lived a really long, great life.  In dog years he was 15, which makes him 105 in human years.  105!  What a great life.  He had lots of adventures, and even got to spend a few years of his life as a Texas dog (which automatically makes him one of the coolest dogs in Heaven). He spent his final days at home, with his family.  Surrounded by love and laughter. What a life.

So, this part is for our Dude: Rest in peace, Bogey.  We love you forever and we’ll see you when we get home.  Until then, listen to St. Francis, don’t just eat your vitamins, you cannot have all his french fries, you do NOT eat Raisinets (even though you think you do), I’ll pretend I don’t know you’re eating way too many Cheese-Its, and because you are one spoiled kiddo, I won’t even yell at you if you’re laying on our bed when we get home (just please don’t have muddy feet). Love Forever, Mom and Dad.

Thank you everyone who said a prayer, had us in their thoughts, sent good vibes, asked how Bogey was, sent us messages, gave us hugs or sat and cried with us.  You are the best people.  We are so, so grateful.  The love and support our family has been given over the last three weeks has been amazing, and has truly helped us make it through this big pile of suck. So once again, THANK YOU!

Here are some of my favorite pictures of Captain Bogey P. VonFluffenstein the 14th

As a matter of fact, I would LOVE some Cheese-Its!

Captain Bogey P. VonFluffenstein, Protector of the Universe.

I’m BatDog.

Yeah. I pop my collar. And?

My two boys, watching the X-Files.

I hear everything. I’m BatDog.

Sun Snoozin’

Just Mom & Bogs

Dear Lord, please open your gates
and call St. Francis
to come escort this beloved companion
across the Rainbow Bridge.

Assign him to a place of honor,
for he has been a faithful servant
and has always done his best to please me.

Bless the hands that send him to you,
for they are doing so in love and compassion,
freeing him from pain and suffering.

Grant me the strength not to dwell on my loss.
Help me remember the details of his life
with the love he has shown me.
And grant me the courage to honor him
by sharing those memories with others.

Let him remember me as well
and let him know that I will always love him.
And when it’s my time to pass over into your paradise,
please allow him to accompany those
who will bring me home.

Thank you, Lord,
for the gift of his companionship
and for the time we’ve had together.

And thank you, Lord,
for granting me the strength
to give him to you now.

Amen.

*******(UPDATE: I called Bogey’s doctor on Monday to let him know what happened and to ask him to call us with the results of the biopsy anyway.  I received a phone call a few minutes later and learned that the tumor was NOT cancerous.  So I guess that’s good news, though it doesn’t ease our pain or sadness.)*******

Updates

Since I’ve been looking for a job since the end of February, and just heard back today that the position I was really hoping to get has been filled, I decided I should probably start using this site to also showcase my talents.  You will see a new page listed at the top, News Writing Samples.  If you hold your cursor over it, a drop down menu appears with the headlines of articles I’ve written for class.

I’ll continue to update that page as I find more of my work.  In the meantime, enjoy what’s there!