Friday, June 30, 2017
Today I am sitting outside while an electrician is working in the house. We have begun the messy and inconveniencing journey of having upgrades done on the house. Today we are having the electrical outlets in the master bathroom relocated before we have the new custom cabinets installed. I do not mind working outside, in fact I rather like it! It is a bit windier than I would prefer but it sure makes for wonderful sounds as the wind blows through the different types of trees around me. The leafy trees sound much alike, but the ones that are the needle variety or similar sound different. There is a specific sound of the wind through pine trees. It is a sound I have always found comfort in.
When I was young, my godparents had a cabin in the mountains. My godfather built a small tree-house for his grand-kids and I to play in. Sometimes if I was the only kid up there - as I was an only child - I would climb up into the tree-house with a pack of sunflower seeds and a book to read. I would be surrounded by the sound of the breeze through the pine trees, as well as the chatter of squirrels, birds and other little critters. Those sounds were the only ones that compared to how I felt (still feel) about the sounds of the waves rolling in and out at the beach.
I grew up in the city - sort of - it was a city but a suburban city and not what would be considered a metropolis. I wasn't far from the crazy of the big city, but it certainly wasn't quiet where we lived. I was wishing walking distance to all three of the schools I attended, elementary, middle and high school as well as a park that opened into my small neighborhood. Yet, in the middle of all those was a major intersection. When we moved there in the early 1970's, the intersection was simple and had not become a 4-way signal. As the neighborhoods grew and the traffic to and from the high-school that touched one corner of the intersection increased, so did the motor vehicle accidents. Screeching breaks and crunching metal was a sound I became familiar with. Several times we, the other kids on my street and I, would run around the corner to see what happened. There were actually quite a few times that we assisted with people who were confused or only slightly injured as we knew the owner of the business on the opposite corner of the high-school. We would walk them up and ask Bill, the owner, for a chair and if we could use his phone (long before cell phones) to call someone for the person we were helping.
I now wonder how much of an impact and influence these experiences had in my investigations of traffic accidents, and several of my neighborhood friends going into first-responder jobs. Surely it either was part of the desire or we always had the instinct and running to the accidents were just in our nature. Obviously our childhood experiences can have a massive impact on us. They can drive us to do wonderful things or they can make us angry and bitter, often sending us into a darker more negative direction. It is such a tragedy how sometimes these negative experiences can be passed along generation to generation.
Tuesday, May 23, 2017
“And those who were seen dancing were thought to be insane by those who could not hear the music.” ― Friedrich Nietzsche
It is crazy how much music can influence me. I have always had music in my life. As a child, my parents always seem to have the stereo on, Of course the stereo of my childhood was a huge cabinet with a turntable, AM radio and "reel to reel" tape deck. My parents had gatherings (aka parties) just about every weekend it seemed to me and I remember my favorite cousin, whom I idolized, would be there and we would put a 45 on and sing along recording it on the tape deck. Some of our favorites were Joy to the World by Three Dog Night, several songs by Sly and Family Stone (which I have on my iPod now LOL) and several Jackson 5 and Donny Osmond songs. Oh! I can't forget Tie a Yellow Ribbon Around the Old Oak Tree by Tony Orlando & Dawn was another one we played a lot. The Sly and the Family Stone songs were actually on an 8-track tape. My dad had managed to splice in and connect an 8-track tape deck to the stereo. My cousin, whose nickname was "Pooh" and I would share a bright orange vinyl chair. The couches were a green, not quite lime but not quite avocado in color either. Of course, the carpet was a red and orange shag and the upstairs carpet was a blue and green shag!! The color of the felt on the pool table and poker table matched the green in the shag very well. That's right, my parents were hip and happening in the 1970's! LOL.
Wow my mind wanders and I digress. I started out with the intention of making the point how music can really effect my mood as well. I am listening to playlist on my iPod while I work and I cannot sit still for nothing! As a kid, I used music as an escape. I would put on my earphones and a record and zone out when I was trying to take a mental vacation from things going on in my life. Don't get me wrong, I did not have a bad childhood, but I was an only child - to which I often refer to as a LONELY child. My parents were unable to have more kids, and as a result of miscarriages and difficulty getting pregnant, my parents were in their 30's when I was finally born. As a result, most of their friends and my cousins were all older than me.
When I was young, I had this Panasonic radio (see pic above - just like mine and same color). It was AM radio because this was before FM was available for normal radio. This radio was shaped like an elongated donut! The color was "banana yellow". It twisted open to exposed the tuning dial. The speaker was on the side so it could be heard when twisted closed. The purpose of the shape was so it could be positioned on a table, worn on your wrist or as I usually had it - hung on the handle bars of a bicycle! I almost always had that radio with me - until the day my favorite radio station 10-Q went to FM. Then I had to get a different radio that was FM friendly.
To this day, even though it has been 30-40 years, there are quite a few songs from that time frame, that when I hear them I think of the beach. We always had a radio (or 2) when we went to the beach. I could swear some songs even come with the smell of the beach!! Yes, I do realize it is a memory of the smell... but with the smell comes the good memories. Spent a lot of weekend days at the beach, with family and friends and I am thankful for every time I hear a song that brings back those memories. During my childhood, I learned to play 4 different instruments and even did some student teaching for the studio I studied at, so music will always be a big part of my heart. Plus, and probably the biggest gift of music is I met the love of my life in none other than the high school marching band!! MANY years ago!
Selections from the song American Pie performed by Don McLean
A long long time ago
I can still remember
How that music used to make me smile
And I knew that if I had one chance
I could make those people dance
And maybe they'd be happy for awhile
But I knew that I was out of luck
The day the music died
I started singing
Bye bye Miss American Pie
Drove my Chevy to the levy
But the levy was dry
And good old boys were drinking whiskey and rye
This will be the day that I die
This will be the day that I die
I met a girl who sang the blues
And I asked her for some happy news
But she just smiled and turned away
Well I went down to the sachet store
Where I heard the music years before
I met a girl who sang the blues
And I asked her for some happy news
But she just smiled and turned away
Well I went down to the sachet store
Where I heard the music years before
But the man there said the music wouldn't play
Well now in the streets the children screamed
The lovers cried and the poets dreamed
But not a word was spoken
The church bells all broken
And the three men I admire the most, The father, son, and the holy ghost
They caught the last train for the coast
The day the music died
Songwriters: DON MCLEAN© Universal Music Publishing Group, Song trust Ave For non-commercial use only.
Data from: LyricFind
Friday, October 7, 2016
It is October, time for the scary movies to be all over tv. I love scary movies, always have. When I was a kid of 8 or so, I would watch The Night Gallery. The faces in the beginning frightened me and I would hide my eyes. The stories, however, intrigued me. My mother and my aunt loved scary movies so I watched many with them.
I remember my younger cousins and I were supposed to be sleeping in the back of my aunt’s truck when she and my mother went to see The Omen – the original one back in the 1970’s. I was awake though, and watched the whole thing lying on my stomach, chin propped on my elbows and looking through the slider window of the cab. Now this is a statement of what I dog lover I am. Even though the dogs in the movie were supposed to be evil, scary Rottweilers, it did not deter me one bit from getting a Rottweiler when I grew up. My mother of course would refer to it as the devil dog because of the movie, but she loved my Kimba as much as we did. Named after Kimba the white lion, one of my favorite cartoons as a kid!
Where am I going with this you ask?? Well…. tonight, I decided to watch a movie that actually DID scare me in jr. high. I saw it with a boy, and there were some scary parts that got me. The boy in return got nail marks where I gripped his arm. LOL. I wonder now how a 13 yr old girl and 14 yr old boy got into that R rated movie because that was unusual back then. The movie was Phantasm and the tall man was creepy as could be. He just kept showing up when the door was opened, behind the door when someone shut it, and the little scary things in the robes. What got me about the little robed creatures was the scene when the young teenager was lying on his bed and he had a crocheted afghan that looked very much like the one that was on my bed at the time. My best friend and I would talk on the phone at night, tell each other about our days as we went to different schools and lived about 10 miles apart. To amuse herself she would tell me not to look under the bed because those robed creatures were under there! Of course it was not hard for my active imagination to view myself lying there with the nearly same afghan afraid to look under the bed or even down. To make it worse, I was an only child and home alone a lot. When she got the chance, she would tell me not to turn around because the “Tall Man” would be there if I did. She certainly got her mileage out of creeping me out!
When we grew up and were married and living in houses (now in different states) we still talked on the phone at least once a month. The ball was then in MY court because she moved into a house that not only had a basement, but had a boiler and that was where her washer and dryer were – in the basement!!!! So all those years later, to my advantage, I would always tell her Freddie Krueger would be waiting for her when she went to do the laundry!! HAHA Karma is a bitch sometimes! We are still good friends but do not talk nearly enough! Now we talk about our adult kids and their families. She would find it amusing, I am sure, to know I am re-watching that movie that once scared me so bad.
Sadly I have seen such evil in the world when I worked for the coroner that I have now found this movie cheesy, and actually boring. Ironically, I am a little disappointed that once again, I am so battle scarred from the true evil and wrong in the world that it is hard for scary movies to do their job for me. Now if I were to watch the news, I would be in tears and most likely have nightmares from that. I miss the innocence of my childhood when I found the news boring and scary movies – scary!
Tuesday, August 16, 2016
Lately I have been thinking a lot about how the job affected me in addition to life experiences in general. I have never handled loss well, but then again I have been losing people I care about since a young age. I watched my grandfather die from metastatic cancer in my childhood home. I lost a good friend to a savage serial killer in my early teens. It just seems that my husband, our kids and myself have all lost so many people over the years. Even my kids are no stranger to such loss. Losing many of their friends in car accidents. Losing my mother unexpectedly and my father to suicide by gunshot. It was me who found him. In a sad twist of fate, I worked over 15 suicides in the year before and year after my dad’s suicide and most of them were of course by gunshot. The cases after my dad’s death often caused me flashbacks and made it very difficult for me to get/keep the image of my dad out of my head. It benefited the family members of the suicides to hear my story and that I had been through what they were now experiencing but it did not help me to keep retelling my story. So why did I? Because in my heart I had to do what was right and if my story and my pain could help these people, then I felt I needed to do it.
What I am going to say next will not make sense to some people, but losing my dogs over the years has been extremely traumatic to me as well. I have been there for each death, but one. I held them until they were gone so they did not have to go alone. The one I did not attend, my husband and oldest daughter did. I just couldn’t handle it at the time. Since that time, it has not gotten any easier. I came to depend on my dogs for emotional support. I have issues trusting people, because people let you down, they tell your secrets, they ridicule you when they do not understand you and dogs do not do any of those things. They just love you and appreciate every minute of attention you give back. When my Bailey began having seizures, and the medications stopped working, we knew we did not have a choice. Nothing could stop the seizures that day and when it was time to put her to sleep, I lay nose to nose with her. I sobbed uncontrollably for some time after that and wondered if I could love another dog. As I written about her before, next came my boy Bishop and now my baby girl Tessa. I admit I get extremely anxious when I am away from my dogs. As I type this now, Tessa is snuggled up to my side and snoring loudly. A sound I find comforting, just as I find my husband’s snoring comforting too. Earlier, I saw a dog video on Facebook about a dog and it made me cry and my boy Bishop heard me, came and put his paw on me and licked my tears. Dogs know. And they just want to make it better.
I have never dealt with loss well and I realize now the job did a number on me because I feel like all the kids and loved ones I had worked on and investigated became a part of me and at the same time took a piece of me. I now live in fear. Every minute of every day I fear someone I love will be taken from me. It creates an incredible anxiety, one I can’t put into words right now but it makes me panic, sometimes it makes it hard to breathe, I need to know my loved ones are ok. Sometimes in my anxiety I start physically/emotionally reliving the trauma of my past losses. I can’t remember where I put my car keys or what I went to the market for but I can remember clearly the moments of losing my loved ones. Sometimes in my nightmares I relive the moments. There have been times when I watch a really scary movie or read a book before bed hoping to dream about anything else, but it has always been this way. Nightmares every night. Some are as simple as just having a bad day but almost always there are the ones where I lose people. Watching the news before bed just makes it worse. I have tried journaling my nightmares but it is so hard to put them into words. It is not for lack of a large vocabulary, it is just that the words do not do justice to the feelings and even when I write the feelings they do not seem to go with the actions, but in my head they did. Some have suggested I have some traumatic head noise from the job. Yeah, I would think so. I can’t put into words what it does to the soul to do an autopsy on a child, or worse a baby. As a mother it was just awful to have to literally cut up someone’s baby. Then also to see what people do to each other. There is a sickness sweeping this nation, this world, where people are hurting each other, hurting children, elderly, animals and even themselves for no purpose and I do not understand. I know that if I had to fight someone for my life or theirs, I could do it. I could do it for someone I love too, but it is not something I would chose to do, the other person would have to leave me no choice but to fight to survive. Now I have to rebuild my trust in people but I don’t know how long or what that will take considering what I have seen and experienced.
Tuesday, August 2, 2016
Update on my baby girl Tessa. After a couple weeks of antibiotics and liver supplements, her liver enzyme count is down in the normal range. Unfortunately, we have been unable to determine what caused the event or find a way to have her tested to find out. We hope it was something out of the ordinary and random, and not one of the many types of critters she chases on a regular basis. She has shown no fear of bees and tried to get one moving slow on the ground just days after the event, but I caught her and got rid of the bee before she could snack on it.
I was trying to get a nice shot of her cute face but she turned into a one eyed selfie!!
She has regained her strength and most of her energy. She just wants to be outside watching for lizards and birds to come into the area she has access to. We are allowing her more and more outside time unsupervised but none at night as that is when the spiders are out and more of the odd bugs. She is so happy all the time and I am doing my best to protect her without stifling her natural instincts or play drive.
Here she is resting on the blanket she took over from me... she was wearing a thunder shirt when I took it because there were big scary trucks paving our street that day!! FYI Thunder shirts do help!! The shirt belonged to our Maggie who was afraid of loud noises and especially thunder, and now we know it helps Tessa when needed!!!
Saturday, July 16, 2016
June 1, 2016… middle of the night
Trying to write a little something on my older laptop because I did not want to have to disconnect the external hard drive and the thumb drives from my shiny new laptop so I could write in my recliner instead of sit at my writing desk…. So it only took about 45 minutes to get to this point because my old laptop runs Vista. Yes I know that is soooo old. Just like my iPhone 4 but I just ordered a new phone and later today, after a nap known as bedtime, I will be switching that over. Rambling, something I do so well and oh too much! I have the tv on and one of my favorite movies “IT” running as some background noise. It is amazing how many things I think to write about when I am driving, doing dishes, waiting for the new dog to potty, but I will be dang if I can think of something worthy to write about when I actually sit down to write. My main problem is that I over think everything.
I am wearing a pair of shorts that have a big hole in the thigh. My husband can’t understand why I won’t throw them out. But you see, that hole was put there by my previous dog Bailey. She was a rescue pit mix, who came with a damaged paw which happened sometime before she had been found on the streets. We adopted her from a rescue shelter. She was a sweetheart and so loving. She came to me at a time when I really needed some emotional support. She slept with me and would get in the recliner with me and such. She had this thing about chewing up my clothes and my stuff. No one else’s, just mine. She would take my stuff and put it on her bed. She was such a funny little girl. So sweet and such a stinker when I would try to make the bed. She would roll around on the bed making it almost impossible to put the clean sheets on, then when I got some of the bedding on she would lay down and refuse to move even if I covered her with the other bedding. We paid $25.00 in fees at the shelter when we got her but built a $1200.00 fence to protect her! She was worth every penny!
When I would come home from work she would somehow know exactly what I needed emotionally. Play, snuggle, or lick my tears as my emotions of the day overwhelmed me. She loved going for car rides and meeting people. I have a photo of her sticking her face out the driver side window at a drive thru because she was sure the girl was talking to HER! We did not know what to expect the first time she was around small kids, but she impressed us all with her gentleness!
She suddenly developed seizures and medication helped for a few weeks but then she just started seizing over and over and we took her into the animal ER and they could not stop them. I lay nose to nose on floor with her as the life left her. I stared straight into her eyes and let her know she was not alone. It broke my heart. She was not even 3 years old.
July 02, 2016 afternoon
Oddly enough I wrote the last post about a month ago, and yet here I am wearing those shorts again. I cannot part with them. The shirt I am wearing looks like it was attacked by hungry moths however the holes are from my boy pup nibbling on my shirt. That is what he does when he is feeling needy. He snuggles up against my side and nibbles my shirt or shorts. Needless to say that is why I don’t wear my good clothes just lounging around the house.
When I lost my pup Bailey, I did not know how I could ever open my heart to another new dog. But then our Shepherd who was now without a canine companion was so sad she didn’t want to eat or play, so we knew we needed to get another dog. We again went to the shelter, and found our boy Bishop who was the last of his litter left behind. Poor little guy had been taken away from his mom, watched all his siblings go away and had been fixed. He looked so sad and scared and I understood.
We brought him home and he began to heal our hearts. He was also a pit mix and had a similar personality to our Bailey. He loved to get in our laps (while he was still little) and sleep between us, and has to have his blanket. Poor little guy had managed to get kennel cough so bad in the couple of days he was at the shelter that it took 2 months and almost a thousand dollars to get him, our shepherd and my daughter’s dog who is hear a lot, to get better. He thought all car rides led to a shelter or vet and did NOT want to get into the car for rides. Not too long after we got him, I was taken out of the field because of my physical pain and limitations. Bishop and I became so bonded being home together….
When we got Bishop, we knew our shepherd was getting older and having several health problems. We knew our time with her was growing shorter, but having a puppy around gave her a reason to get up and around more – she knew she needed to teach the new guy the ropes. It didn’t take long at all to realize Bishop had so much energy, more than our Maggie could possibly match and we knew the right thing to do was to get him a companion more his speed. We rescued Tessa, having been told she was a lab/pit mix, but we knew from looking at her she had no pit in her. Not that we would care if she did, but it was obvious that she didn’t. She had this big floppy ears and we did not know if she would grow into them. She was thin and we could see her ribs. It was heartbreaking! We were told the litter she belonged to was all just abandoned there at the shelter and she and her tiny sister were the last of the them. They had been there over a month. We chose her by her personality. She really wanted to see us and was so friendly. With her appetite we knew it wouldn’t be long before she put some weight on. And spunky she was! She drove our poor old Maggie a bit crazy but even at 15lbs she was ready to go and play with Bishop. She was not intimidated by the fact she was so little. It wasn’t long before they were best buddies and running and playing and having a great time. Maggie was happy to supervise from the sidelines aka the couch, however just having them around lifted Maggie’s spirits and ours. Bishop had moved from our bed to one of the recliners in our room shortly before we got Tessa. She instantly took to sleeping in our bed and has ever since. Her spot was between my husband and me, spooned up against my back with her little puppy nose on my neck. It turns out her little puppy breath on my neck is a great remedy for my anxiety.
** I fell asleep before I could finish this entry….
July 15, 2016
As fate would have it, a week later my darling Tessa, just over a year old came in from about 20 minutes outside late one night and kept licking her paw. I couldn’t see anything wrong with her paw and she went down the hall, I assumed to climb in bed with my sleeping husband – as she usually does at night. I happened to go into the bedroom a few minutes later and found her laying on a towel that was on the floor (from a spill) and she had vomited her dinner and pooped. I called to my husband because she would not get up and seemed a little out of it. He said she was wobbly when he tried to get her to stand up. I went outside to see if there was a snake (we have had 2 previous dog v snake episodes) but I couldn’t find anything. We called our regular vet, who was in an emergency surgery on someone else’s loving pet so we had to drive to the emergency animal hospital a bit further away. Although Tessa was lethargic and “out of it” during the ride, when I finally broke and started to sob “don’t leave me” as I was trying to pet her and steady her as she was standing next to my seat, she still had the dedication to turn her head to me and try to lick my tears. When we told of her symptoms upon arrival, the doc said it sounded like anaphylactic shock. Further examination and labs confirmed it. Her liver enzymes were almost 1100 when less than 150 is the normal. She was given several medications and admitted for IV fluids and observation overnight. I was devastated to leave her. I couldn’t even go into to see her because I knew my sobbing would upset her more. My husband, ever my strength, went in and said she was standing and wagging her tail. He took her one of her favorite blankets. I sobbed all the way home. It felt like I was reliving what we went through with my Bailey. When we got home, her companion Bishop was very confused as to where his mate was. None of us really slept. We went back to the emergency vet at 6 am. Tessa was weak but happy to see us and ready to go home. We had taken Bishop with us so he wouldn’t be left home alone and he was so happy to see her.
She is slowly acting more like herself but she does not have near the energy. That is most likely due to the fact today’s vet recheck and labs show that her liver enzymes are still over 800. Of course that is down from the near 1100 they were during the event but again less than 150 is the desired/normal number. She has been placed on some medications to help her recover and hopefully bring her liver count down. We have been keeping the dog door closed and monitoring all outside ventures. Of course as she gains her strength back, she is going right back to chasing anything that moves. She had caught a bird last week. It must have been flying low because she caught by the leg, somehow killed it then looked at me when I found her and acted like she did not know what to do with it! She has trapped and a killed kangaroo rat, gopher, the bird, and a lizard. I obviously can keep her inside under watchful eye forever but I will do my best to watch her well while her liver recovers and her numbers get back to normal. We also we prescribed a “ready to go” syringe of epinephrine, which I have taped to the cupboard door next to the emergency vet info. Doc wants new labs in 2 weeks. She is bouncing back pretty well and without complaint. She would seem normal to the unknowing observer, but to us we know she is a lot less active than her normal self.
Fatigue has set in and I must post before I fall asleep on my laptop again!!