Dark night

There are times when I wake up at night and wonder why me? I know that isn’t a good question and that there is no answer, but I ask it anyway. All I wanted was to be able to enjoy a few years of retirement doing something I enjoyed instead of toiling away to earn a living at jobs that were mostly unsatisfying and soul-crushing. I was good at my jobs, but grew bored quickly; then the jobs became a chore. I have been working since I was 16 – not always full-time – but I’m weary of working. Bone tired. So why can’t I enjoy a few years of leisure to compensate?

The middle of the night is probably not the best time for philosophical meanderings for me. I only sleep for 2 or 3 hours at a time before waking. Very rarely do I sleep for solid chunks of 4 or more hours. Part of this is because the dogs tend to wake me when they want to go out. Since one is getting elderly, she’s 12, and the other has a history of ‘marking’, if they want to go out, I let them out. What’s weird is that if Steve asks them if they want to go out, they just nestle further into the bed covers (yes, they both sleep in bed with us!) but as soon as I ask the same question, they’re running for the doggie door, which is closed off at night.

Lots of things go through my brain in the middle of the night. Things like will it bother me when I lose my hair? How long do I really have of a quality life before the cancer kills me? It isn’t fair that I have to deal with this; I want the opportunity to dance at my grandchildrens’ weddings. I want time to finish writing all the stories in my head; I want time to be able to go to all the places I haven’t been yet – or at least some of them.

I don’t know how much time I have; I may not know for quite some time. Everything hinges on how well the chemo works. And I’m not sure whether or not I want to be on chemo for the next several years.

Then I tell myself that nobody really knows how long they have to be on this earth. So I will try to make the most of whatever time I have left. I will continue to be grateful for every day I open my eyes on this beautiful world we live in; I will continue to be grateful for family and friends; I will continue to be grateful for whatever opportunities I have to have fun. And I will do these things for as long as I am able.

Whining, and other nasty habits

We all know them; those people who are always whining about something. Or talking about how unlucky they are. Or extolling the virtues of having nothing good happen to them. I have a friend or two like that. They wear me down if I listen to them too long. And, I’ll admit it, there are times I want to slap the whine right out of them. I want to rant and jump up and down on their heads and tell them how good they have it compared to some other people I know. I don’t know what makes some people so negative while others are always positive no matter what happens.

I have to think about my own life and how negative I used to be. When I hear my friends whining about inconsequential things, I think back to when I was younger – was a a whiner like that? And the answer is, yes, I probably was. I felt so beaten down by my life that I couldn’t see anything positive. I did manage to change how I thought, and I try to help others to become more positive. But I forgot that in order for someone to change, s/he has to first realize there is a reason to change, and then has to want to change. There are people who are perfectly happy being miserable – my mother was one of those. So they are not going to change.

I have one friend, I’ll call her Karen, who is going through a difficult time right now. She has cancer, no job, and no health insurance. She could so easily fall into the pity pot and whine and cry; but she didn’t. She set out to find how she could get her life saving surgery and gathered up an impressive support network. I know she will be fine.

I have another friend, I’ll call her Kathy, who has a wonderful life. She has a good job, a strong family connection, and friends all over the world. But she is constantly whining about how she can’t find a good man; about how the only luck she ever has is bad luck; and how some of these bad things ‘could only happen’ to her. She doesn’t really believe she has any worth, and she will continue to attract negative events and people to her.

I truly believe we teach people who to treat us by how we treat ourselves. Karen has friends who would do anything for her; Kathy has friends who will continue to use and abuse her. The only difference between these two people is their attitude about life and their expectations about how life will treat them.


Did you know that the term ‘holiday’ began as Holy Day? Did you know that the holly and the ivy were considered sacred by the ancient Druids? Did you know that the Christmas tree is a continuation of the practice of bringing greenery inside the house in winter to make sure that Spring comes back?

There are so many traditions this time of year, no matter what holiday you celebrate, or don’t celebrate. Chanukah, Christmas, Solstice, Kwanzaa, Festivus, New Year.

So whatever you celebrate, thank you for a wonderful year with your comments, your blog posts, and your support. May Peace and Joy surround you now and always.

Concerning Friends

If you search for quotes about friend(ship), you will find lots of pithy cute quotes. While all of them may be true, having and being a true friend goes far beyond one sentence quotes. Some friendships endure time, distance, good times, and bad times, arguments, marriages, children, divorces; others never make it past the first disagreement. What makes a good friend? I can’t honestly answer that question, because I don’t know. Some women are still friends with girls they met in Kindergarten; some women seem to gather up friends like sunshine on a clear day and drop them just as fast.

My mother was one of the latter. She would spurn friends at the drop of a hat if they did or said something she didn’t agree with. And after that, she would never mention them again. She was also a very selfish woman who thought everything revolved around her. If it rained when she wanted to have a barbecue, the gods were against her; if the item she wanted in the store was out of stock, the store did it on purpose because they knew she wanted it. I think you get the drift.

When I was growing up, we moved a lot. So I went to a new school every couple of years. The constant moving made it hard to make and keep friends. When I was a teenager, I did make friends, and when I moved yet again, we promised to keep in touch. And we did for a while. But then my letters went unanswered and I felt rejected and alone once again. After I finished high school, we moved yet again, this time across a huge ocean; keeping in touch seemed impossible, and it was.

Nursing school, marriage, kids, all gave me new friends, but they, too, disappeared as fast as they appeared, and for many and varied reasons. Then one day, I started to wonder if there was something wrong with me that nobody would stay friends with me. It took me a long time to realize that there was nothing wrong with me. Friends are friends for as long as they need to be. People come into our lives, and leave or not, depending on what it is we need at that point in our lives or on what it is they need from us at that point in their lives.

Recently, thanks to the wonders of technology and social media, I have re-found some of those old friends. We have had fun catching up on each other’s lives, but it’s difficult to pick up where we left off after some 40 or more years of going our own ways. And again, because of technology and social media, I have made a lot of new friends over the last 10-15 years. I may never actually meet them in person, and I don’t make friends with just anyone. Some of us met on one site, and migrated together to another; some of us have stayed on the same site. We have laughed and cried, shared each other’s misfortunes and down times, shored each other up when necessary, and supported each other through death, divorce, heartbreak, and new adventures. Our backgrounds are varied; and if we had met in person first, we may never have become friends.

So maybe that’s what true friends are: people who support you no matter what; people who will laugh with you, cry with you, commiserate with you; and give you a kick in the butt when you need it.


I love dogs; they are like 4-legged furry children. We currently share our home with two. Peanut is a 9-year-old red merle Queensland Heeler. We rescued her when she was 9 months old; her previous owners gave her up but we don’t know why. Spud is a 4-year-old black and tan phantom Miniature Poodle. We rescued him when he was 11 months old; his owners moved and left him with a neighbor who turned him in to the Humane Society within 2 days. Both of them came with ‘baggage’ that we have learned to live with. Peanut comes when we call her but with head down and almost crawling on her belly as if we’re going to hit her; Spud is insecure and marked everything when he first came home (he’s much better now but still occasionally freaks out and marks something).

Peanut took to Spud right away, even though he bugs the heck out of her. And there are times when she aggravates him. They fight over toys; each one always wants the toy the other one has. And Peanut tattles on Spud when he’s outside barking; she comes barreling in the doggie door yipping to let us know Spud is being ‘bad’. But she also is very protective of him and will get between him and danger every time. She doesn’t like when I bathe or brush Spud because she thinks I’m doing something bad to him.

They keep us entertained when they are playing together; they love to snuggle with each other and with us on the couch or in the bed.

Peanut is a herding dog, and when we had cats she would try to herd them. Now anyone who has been owned by cats knows you can’t make a cat do anything it doesn’t want to do! But she tried. She also loves to chase toys; we throw and she catches. The only problem is she doesn’t want to quit.

Spud is an athlete and loves jumping up and down as if he’s on a pogo stick. He can take a flying leap from the bedroom door and land in the middle of the bed; a distance of at least 10 feet. He also loves running circles; from the backyard, into the house, onto the back of the couch, back outside. Peanut just sits and watches as if she can’t figure out what he’s doing.

I love my dogs!


I have started and discarded several blog posts this week but have been unable to complete one; my thoughts are still too scattered after last Saturday’s shocks. So I will merely say that I hope all of you tell your family and friends how much they mean to you now. And let us also remember the families of those killed and injured, as well as the family of the shooter. I can’t imagine the pain and shock all of those families are feeling right now. And let us also think about what we say before we say it; words can hurt and anger others when they are thoughtlessly thrown out. In other words, be sure your brain is engaged before you put your mouth in gear.



It is during difficult times that we learn who our friends are. They are the people who show up at your door, or call you, as soon as they hear of a problem; they are the ones who sit silently holding your hand while they listen to your rants or your tears; they are the ones who let you be who you are without trying to change you, but will tell you what they really think without adding sugarcoating to make it more palatable. Friends will pull you along to where you need to be; they will support you even if they think you’re wrong; but they will also be honest. Friends who disappear when you need them are not true friends.