Chicago Police Memorial Foundation Run To Remember 2017

On the morning of May 6, 2017, I traveled to Chicago to participate in the 13th annual Chicago Police Memorial Foundation Run To Remember 5k and walk.  The Run To Remember is a 5K USATF certified chip-timed 5K Run combined with a noncompetitive 5K walk sponsored by the Chicago Police Memorial Foundation. The event also features a junior jog, and a family friendly after party with children’s activities. You can participate as a team or as an individual.

This was my fifth year participating.

The Chicago Police Memorial Foundation provides assistance to the families of police officers that have been killed in the line of duty and also for the officers who have been catastrophically injured in the line of duty.  They have also assisted in the purchase of ballistic vests for officers and aid the families of officers with seriously ill children.  They have been able to offer over 8 million dollars in assistance.

You can learn more about that HERE

The event starts at the Gold Families Memorial Park that is located next to Soldier Field. Soldier Field is home to the Chicago Bears. The event goes from the park along Lakeshore Dr. and then circles around along the shore of Lake Michigan. You pass by the Shedd Aquarium and also the Field Museum of Natural History.  During the last stretch of the race you pass by photographs of some of the fallen officers. It gives me goose bumps every single time. I am honored to be a part of this.

The race ends near the memorial wall in the Gold Star Families Memorial and Park.  Participants gather for a few hours to enjoy new friendships and refreshments at the after party. It’s a lot of fun and such a worth cause.

The 2018 event takes place on Saturday, May 5.  Rain or shine.  You can find more information about how to participate or volunteer for the the Run To Remember HERE

Want to help the foundation but you’re not really into running or walking? Check out their website HERE for more information about other events or opportunities that may fit your interests. Or just consider making a donation.

What Is Jennie Up To?

Whew, have I been busy over the past few months!  I don’t think any kind of life/work etc balancing would really be able to have changed a whole lot of anything. I keep saying that I hope to return to more consistent blogging and I still hope to do that.

In the meantime, I have been working on a series of short stories. I am also still working on a story that I mentioned a few weeks ago in my blog post “Breaking Free- Goodbye To Writers Block”. It’s glorious to be able to have a rhythm going and new ideas popping into my head.

I am really grateful for Google Docs. I have easy access to this feature in my Google Account that allows me to be able to save documents. If I have a great idea or anything I want to remember, such as a conversation or catch phrase for a character,  I can simply open my Google Docs and create a file and save it. Having constant access is very helpful. You can also download Google Docs to your smart phone.

Google Docs is free to use and has too many features for me to mention. You need to go and check it out for yourself. There is something useful for everyone. Google knocked it out of the park with this program. This is my opinion, but since it’s a free service, you really can’t beat it.

I am considering the start of yet another writing project. When I complete the start up on this, I will share more about it. I hate being vague, but at this point, I haven’t gotten enough work done on it to share it yet since  literally just started working on the idea of it today.

Stand by for that.

With Spring approaching, I will be doing more outside. I’ve been researching more local destinations for hikers in my region. I’m hoping to expand my travels to locations within one hundred miles. Then perhaps next year, I will travel further.

I have found social media apps such as, The Outbound Collective, that organize hiker reviews and allow others to rate the experience. Recently, my submission for the  “Glacier Flats Trail” at the Spicer Lake Nature Preserve was added to their “featured” collection of destinations.

I’m hoping to continue doing that, even if it’s just for fun.

I’m keeping busy. Dom is doing well. Life is interesting.

I hope that everyone is doing well..  I leave you with a photograph that I took on a recent visit to the Indiana Dunes State Park on Lake Michigan.

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Death Of A Friend- The Story Of Sasha

My sweet Sasha has flown away. She was 12 years old. She drifted away peacefully in her dreams during a late afternoon nap. One moment she slept peacefully on her bed and in a moment she was gone.

Several years ago, I came across a little female rottweiler at the local animal control center in our city. I was actually there to look at a different dog that was involved in an incident that involved the police department the night before.

Officers had come across the biggest Rottweiler I had ever laid eyes on.  The dog was running loose around the neighborhood attached to a log chain. Residents who saw the dog running down the street were alarmed and called the police. I can’t say that I blame them the dog, nicknamed Bruno, was the Great Dane of Rottweilers.

I was curious about him so I went to check him out. I was lead out to the pen adjacent to the building, along with Bruno, to see if we might be a fit for adoption. Bruno was not interested in me or the girl from Animal Control. He sniffed around the pen keeping one eye on us and one eye on the ground as he made his way around.  The hair was standing up on his back and he was growling at us. We couldn’t get him to come back to us to go back into the building and we had to utilize a catch pole. It wasn’t good. He ended up being adoptable.

As I was leaving I was informed that there was a female rottie, named Sasha, who was currently being held as part of a possible hoarding situation. Sasha was found running loose with her brother and when a woman came in to claim her she also tried to claim several of the other dogs that came in at the same time.

After about a month and a half of waiting for the legalities to clear up, I adopted Sasha and brought her home. I also had another Rottweiler named Jabari, who was also a rescue. He and Sasha ended up being like peas and carrots. Perfect fit and no problems there.

Unfortunately, Sasha and my now ex husband did not end up being like peas and carrots.  Sasha was pregnant and nobody knew. She was so emaciated that you couldn’t tell. We woke one morning to the cries of puppies and she was still delivering. The ex lost his mind.

He seemed to settle down and accept the idea that Sasha and the pups could stay downstairs and that I would handle the care and any mess and that as soon as the puppies were old enough that we would place an ad. He was okay with that at the time.

Or so I thought.

For the longest time, I have allowed people in my past to save face and  I have done my best to beat around the bush or mask the actual events of what happened to Sasha. I believe in taking the high road and just allow people to reveal themselves in time. While that’s truly the best way to conduct business, I have stopped hiding the truth about Sasha.

My marriage at that point wasn’t great. My ex husband cheated on me several times with several people. We were “working on it”. We were in the middle of losing our house due to allowing ourselves to become victims to a predatory home loan. We were planning to allow the house to go into foreclosure and we were going to find a rental. There was a lot going on.

I never expected for him to load up Sasha and her puppies and take them back to Animal Control. Or at least that’s what he said he did. I later learned that Animal Control had no record of them coming back into the shelter. All I know is that I came home from work and Sasha was gone.

I didn’t bring it up. I asked him what the staff said to him when he came in with her and he said “That dog looks like Sasha and I said, yup it is and a litter of puppies,” that was followed up with a “I don’t give a fuck, I didn’t sign up for puppies,”

Over the next few months we moved out of the house and into another one in another town. Life went on because it has to. Eventually, everything continued to fall apart and there was really nothing I could do and I admit, I was tired of even trying. We split up and got a divorce.

I wasn’t able to find a place to stay that would allow Jabari at the time so he went to stay with a friend of mine. I think that helped my mind with the issue of Sasha also. I would have had two dogs to rehome instead of one.

Life changed a lot over the next five years. I found my footing, changed jobs and moved a couple of times into the house that I have now. Things settled down, for the most part. Like I said, life went on because it had to.

I still talked about Sasha. I still carried around the guilt that I had put her in that situation. She was a very sweet girl. Kind to everyone and loved my son who was very little at the time. You could see the love in her eyes. You could also see that she had lived a harder life and likely had a lot of experiences. Yet, she was still so very kind.

In July of 2013, I received a phone call from  Animal Control in my city. I didn’t recognize the number so I let it go to voicemail. I listened to the message tells me that my dog Sasha had been recovered by the Humane Society in Phoenix, Arizona.

I called Animal Control and I explain the situation and the woman I spoke with remembered me. She tells me that they had no record of Sasha ever coming back into the shelter and asked me if I wanted to get in touch with the shelter in Arizona.

Sasha had a micro chip. Apparently, I also listed the phone number for Animal Control in addition to my own and they decided to call them first. My phone number, at the time, was still the same as it was five years before.

I contacted the Humane Society in Phoenix and explained to them what happened. They had a few choice words about the situation and then asked me what I would like to do. I was in awe of the situation and had no idea how I was going to get to Arizona to pick her up.

My wheels turned and I started scheming. When my mind stopped spinning, I recalled that my friend Amanda and her husband lived just outside of Phoenix. They were on their way home from a vacation in Colorado. They didn’t even have to think about it and agreed to go and pick her up from the shelter.

That was the easy part. The hard part was getting her back to Indiana. Actually, I take that back. The hard part was worrying about what the ex would say when he found out.  He isn’t shy about voicing his often loud and unsolicited opinion about everything. There was a time when he thought he was still in control of my life.

I reached out to different groups on Facebook. I eventually made contact with a group of wonderful people associated with the Kindred Hearts Transportation Connection. I had been previously advised,  by someone involved in a rescue group,  that I shouldn’t tell anyone that the situation was the result of a domestic problem because “no one would want to touch it.”

I told the truth anyway. The woman that I spoke with was compassionate and annoyed at the situation and had the attitude and said “Fuck that guy,” and was happy to help me. Over the next couple of weeks 24 people grouped together to volunteer to get Sasha home to me.

After several weeks,  Sasha’s journey ended in Lake Station, Indiana where Mike and I greeted the final volunteer driver, Staci Govia and Steve Garcia from ABC7 out of Chicago, who was interested in covering the whole story.

I had no idea that how big this story would end up being but it was huge. It went viral. I saw stories about us in several different languages all over the world. I was asked to do several phone interviews and was even asked to be on the Steve Harvey Show. I declined. Most thrilling was when someone from Diane Sawyer’s show had called me.

I was a nervous wreck for awhile. Being famous is hard. Especially when people start calling you at work to talk to you about it. It was an emotional time. I was over the moon that I was able to get Sasha back but it also ripped the scab off of an old wound.

I was angry and bewildered when it happened. I also wasn’t in the best position to oppose or do anything about it. I know he has since spun his own tale and version of events. It is what it is, I suppose.

Facing judgement from the commentary on the various social media and news media sites wasn’t always easy.  We didn’t disclose the actual situation at the time the story went viral.  People had a lot of questions.  From how does a dog just come up missing and why wasn’t the dog in the house to why wasn’t the chip discovered before this?

Over the next few weeks, life went back to normal and time continued to march on. Sasha was once again a part of our little family. She was incredibly kind to my son and she was fiercely protective of us both.

Sasha was my constant companion and would follow me wherever I went from room to room in the house and wherever she could follow outside of the house. She was never very far away, if ever out of sight.

Sasha and I were kindred spirits in a way. She was one of my oldest friends .We led similar lives of abandonment and periods of great sadness. Sasha was an old soul. You could see it in her eyes when we would look at each other and seem to just understand and know what the other was thinking.  Battered, bruised and weathered from the many storms we faced.

Sasha was buried in an undisclosed location where we hiked all of those years ago and occasionally since she returned home. A beautiful place, under a tree, that overlooks a sprawling meadow where people rarely travel. I chose this exact location on purpose. In the spring, I will plant crocus, daffodil and tulip bulbs on her grave site so that flowers will grow every year.

While her life certainly wasn’t always perfect, in the end, she passed  with the love of a little boy and a woman who came to her rescue twice. She never went hungry, was cared for, had a big fluffy bed and was loved.

Life was good.

Life came full circle.

Keep your faith and never lose hope. Everything is in God’s timing.

This was the lesson taken from my experience with Sasha.

So long my sweet, Sasha. Our lives were better because you were in it.

 

 

Prayers for Delphi- Double Homicide Of Two Teen Girls In A Small Town

On February 13, 2017, fourteen year old Liberty German and her friend, thirteen year old  Abigail Williams were dropped off near the Delphi Historic Trail System near the town of Delphi, Indiana.  Delphi s approximately 60 miles north and west of Indianapolis.

The girls had planned to hike in the area and were to be picked up later in the afternoon. They failed to arrive at the predesignated area. They were missing.  Twenty four hours later, their bodies were discovered in the woods, along the shore of Deer Creek. They had been murdered.

Liberty had posted some photographs to her Snapchat. One of the photo’s was of a strange man that they had seen in the area. It is unclear to me how many snaps were taken or if there was any further explanation from Liberty as to who this man was.  Liberty also managed to get audio of this man’s voice.

You can find more information, including the audio clip of the strange man’s voice on the media release from the Indiana State Police. The Indiana State Police have posted the man’s image and his voice for everyone to see and hear in hopes that someone might recognize this monster..

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I wish Liberty would have dialed 911. Just call and scream at a dispatcher.  Scream where you are, if you can, and for help. A good dispatcher will wear themselves out tracking you down. Literally, will  wear themselves out until they exhaust all of their efforts in doing so.

I wish we could have found them sooner. I  wish a lot of wishes.

Liberty was a brilliant girl. I can speculate that perhaps she knew that they were in serious trouble and that they weren’t going to be able to get out of it.  I can speculate that she sensed this and she did what she could to help us find the monster that took them from us.

To quote Sgt. Slocum of the Indiana State Police, “Libby is a hero,”

I am so angry that this has happened.  These girls should have been free to explore and to go on an adventure without the fear of a monster lurking in the brush. Just like I did when I was a girl. I would roam the countryside from sun up to sundown, without a care in the world.

All they wanted to do was go hiking.

I am confident that the person who is responsible for this will be found.I have total faith in all of the law enforcement agencies who are investigating their homicide.  I have no doubt, this monster will be found.

God will not give our girls back to us but he will deliver the person who is responsible for taking them from us. We will find this person. We will have our justice for Libby and Abby.

This morning, Dingo Lu and I went on our morning hike. It was the first morning hike we’ve been able to go on in a few weeks. Work, responsibilities and lack of ambition have been my excuses. It would have been a shame to waste the final day of unseasonably warm weather we’ve had.

As I made my way down our familiar path, I couldn’t help but think about Liberty and Abigail. It was hard not to. With the exception of the warm temperature, it was a typical gray sky, winter morning.

Lu and I sat on a small footbridge that covers a small creek and enjoyed the view and the sound of the water passing below us. I grieved for these girls and their families.  I prayed for them. I prayed for the capture of the man responsible for harming them.

I am an advocate for the outdoors.  I encourage women to get active and to get outside. No fear. Just do it. Get outside. I write blog posts and reviews for trail systems and parks for other organizations. Being an introvert, a lot of my favorite places are fairly remote.  It angers and frustrates me to think about how women and girls have to be so careful as we go about our day to day lives.

Guilty of just trying to enjoy life.

I stop and think, maybe I shouldn’t do that anymore?

Maybe I should issue more warnings about being safe.

I don’t know that I would change any of my practices moving forward. I still encourage women and girls to get outside and enjoy our Earth. I think that females are hardwired to be hyper aware and vigilant for their own safety, even if it’s subconsciously. It’s not paranoia, it’s survival.

I just exhaled a huge sigh.

I am angry. I am tired.I am hurt. I am terrified. I am horrified.

Most of all, I am angry…

Please say a prayer for the people of Delphi, Indiana. Say a prayer for the dispatchers, the police officers, the firemen, the paramedics, the countless volunteers and the families.

Pray that they can find peace..

Getting It Together In the New Year

I don’t follow along with the whole “new year, new me” cliche. Every day is a fresh start to make whatever changes that you want to make in your life. No matter what it is. With that said, at the conclusion of 2016, I realized that I really needed to get real with myself.

On January 1st, I wanted to wish everyone a Happy New Year and wrote a post with that was simply titled “Happy New Year” In that post I made a list of resolutions that I wanted to make for the upcoming year.

I have changed the name of the resolutions to the following;

  1. Life Plans
  2. Promises to myself

Organization- Time Management etc

The first thing that I did for 2017, was to go out and purchase a daily planner.  This seems like a no brainer but it actually isn’t.  Apart from making the purchase, you actually have to utilize the planner by writing the events you need to remember and the notes in which you need to recall.

I also utilize the Google Calendar. You can access this through your Google account. It’s free to use. The smart phone and tablet app(lication) is also available. Your Google Calendar will synch to the app on your phone as well and vice versa. You can color code events and also determine how you want to be notified.

What’s the point of using a planner vs using a service like the Google Calendar? Accountability. You can easily dismiss notifications from your devices. I often don’t even read the notifications. I swipe it away and tell myself that I will look at it later. I may or may not. Often, I will still remember but there are times that I do not.

With the written planner, I write it down. I have the planner sitting out where I can refer to it the night before or the following morning. I have a large block of space to write notes for that particular day. Let’s say that my ex husband was 25 minutes later dropping my son off at our scheduled custody exchange, I can explain what happened that in the notes for that day.

Keeping the Google Calendar also keeps my schedule handy on the go. Obviously, I am not going to lug around my calendar book everywhere I go. I don’t need to do that. If I need to check a date then I can get out my smart phone or tablet and check the app.

I do not believe that this is extra work. For those of us who are on the go constantly, these things  are life savers. Keeping an electronic calendar is awesome but so is the written planner. You just have to decide what works for you and your lifestyle. For me, I am choosing to have both.

I created a space in one of my spare rooms to keep a small desk that I am referring to as my “writing desk”. It’s actually a table that I purchased at the Goodwill and painted a really pretty blue/teal/Robin’s egg color. The original intention was to use it to keep my plants on it. I now have other plans for it.

On my writing desk, I have two organizer boxes from a company called Basketville. One is for supplies, pens, markers etc and that the other is for notebooks, books and part time home for my iPad while it’s charging. I also have an adorable glass vase with an iron branch that homes a small ceramic bird. Lastly, this is where I keep my lap top. It’s big enough to hold these essential items and that is all. It’s perfect for deflecting clutter.

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This is my personal space to sit down and write, blog, journal or surf. Whatever. I have another desk in the den where I get down to business with bills and other things. I wanted to separate my creative space from a work space. Also, my little bird vase couldn’t look nearly as cute sitting on that desk.

I also keep a note pad on my desk to jot down my to-do lists or anything that I need to remember to do before I go to bed or first thing in the morning. Anything that doesn’t make sense to put in the calendar. For example, if it’s “Team Spirit Day” at my son’s school, this will remind me to allow him to wear his orange t-shirt with his school’s mascot on it. I find myself creating shopping lists the most.

Finances

I started using a ledger for my checking account again. Seems like another no brainer. However, how many of us are actually keeping track of our finances the way that we should? We have fallen back into the habit of checking our accounts online and expecting ourselves to just keep track of everything in our head.

Maybe that works for you, it isn’t for me. I know for the most part where my money is going, but it doesn’t hold me accountable all the time for my decision making. In the past I have had a habit of nickle and diming myself and I need to make sure that comes to an end.

I want to build my savings. I have plans for the future. More than anything, I want to hold myself accountable for every penny that leaves my possession. I think that every time you write an expense in your ledger, you pay closer attention to your decision to spend money.

I am also taking advantage of a free service called Digit. Digit is a program that studies how you spend money and determines what you can afford to put into savings in small deposits.  One day it might take two dollars, another day it might take five. It just depends on how much money you make and what you spend.

The idea is to save money without you even noticing that it is gone.  The less painful way to save. People believe that small deposits into savings don’t matter much, it has to be done in larger amounts. That simply isn’t true. It builds up over time and you will be pleasantly surprised.

I would recommend for you to go to the Digit website and read about it for yourself. Again, it’s free and you have total access over your money. If you need to take money out of the Digit savings and deposit it back into your bank account, it usually only takes 24 hours. My experience has been less than 24 hours.

You have nothing to lose in trying this. I turned my boyfriend onto the service about 2 years ago and he raves about it.  I haven’t been nearly as committed to it as he has.  I can’t recall what date I resumed using the service, it was sometime this month.

You can get updates anytime to your phone through text.  I wanted to inquire about my savings since I resumed using Digit.  Side note* You can pause saving up to 60 days at a time.*  This is a snapshot from my phone screen to give you an idea of what that looks like.

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Taking care of my health.

Apart from visiting with doctors for my Lyme Disease, I haven’t been as proactive with my health as I should be. I had the PHA for insurance completed in December. While the results weren’t frightening or even surprising, I have issues that I need to work on. I turned 40 and I realize that I really do need a primary physician that knows me. Taking care of your health is more than just going to the gym. I finally made an appointment to have a real physical completed so I can move forward with taking better care of myself.

I also made an appointment to have an eye exam. I haven’t had an eye exam in almost seven years. I have been wearing the same gas permeable contact lenses since that time. I actually haven’t had new glassses since 2008. The only reason I even went then was because my son flushed my contacts down the toilet. Case and all. He went through a phase where he would flush whatever he could if he had two seconds of unsupervised time to do it.

These are small things. Big to me. Small to others. I know there are a lot of people out there who ignore these aspects of their live and responsibility. I am to the point where I am serious about buckling down and doing things better for myself. More than just what I have to do to get through the day.

Organization is a huge thing for me right now. All of the issues that I think that I have all go hand in hand.  Since I have made these small changes moving into the new year, I actually feel quite a bit better .

Onward and upward.

What about you? Have you made any changes in the new year? Are you sticking with them?

Below is a small gallery of the items I am using on my writing desk. I really love this little space. It’s cute and simple. Not too big and not too small.

How To Select and Clean A Pomegranate

Jennie Lives Blog

Three perfect pomegranate's. Three perfect pomegranate’s.

With the holidays coming up, people like to not only decorate their homes for the season, but it also inspires them to try new things with the food they are preparing for family and friends. It seems that since the pomegranate began to gain popularity they have become a holiday season treat. I’ve also noticed that replicas of the pomegranate are being sold as decorations.

Inside of the shell that you see in the photo above are “arils” which are the fleshy seed that you eat. The pomegranate is the perfect  exotic garnish for any salad and not to mention the perfect snack all by itself. The arils also go great with sliced bananas, strawberries and blueberries. The arils are sweet and are crunchy. A lot of companies have tried to replicate the taste for various products that sort of taste like the cranberry. I do not…

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It Was All Just A Blur

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I started the day out with great intentions.  I haven’t been feeling the best but I still had plans to conquer chores around the house and leave myself enough time to be able to sit down in front of the computer and put things together.

My big mistake was checking my work e-mail. I still don’t know why I decided to do that at 9a.m. I became seriously pissed off. It was all down hill from there. I decided to call off and take what we refer to as a “Mental Health Day”.

It was also my first day back to work after my three days off. This makes me the “douche bag of the day” for that little stunt. It’s a minor crime to take an extra day off at any point in your rotation.  I just seriously couldn’t stand the thought of being at work, stewing about what was going on while forced to listen to the new guy cough and clear his throat all night.

I was caught up in  another one of those moments that I have had over and over where I question my station in life and consider making major changes regardless of crazy things like money and responsibility.

I sent a few texts, I answered the e-mail and I made a phone call. Angry. Hurt. Confused. AKA, “the usual”. I’ve been such a good sport for the past two years but that idea of keeping a positive outlook is waning.  I feel doomed.

Then I checked Twitter and saw that we lost two police officers in Orlando, Florida. This can catapult me into outer space while I mourn for people that I have never met and consider the state of our country and the world around  us.

It set the tone for the rest of the day.

When I allow myself to slip into this state of mind, it’s hard to pull myself back out of it. I tried to watch a program on tv and take a nap to shake off the angry feelings. It didn’t work. I ended up cleaning in the basement and listening to the new track from The Weekend, called “Starboy”, over and over.

It’s my jam right now.  You should check it out.

Now here it is, 8pm and I haven’t started what I wanted to hours ago.

I need to have my mind set in a particular place where I can sit down and focus. I want to give all of my attention to ideas that swim in my mind. All morning up until that point where I allowed myself to get distracted, my ideas were practically beating themselves on the walls of my brain.

The day was mostly a blur. I should’ve just gone outside and taken a walk. That would’ve cleared my head better than anything.  Oh well, at least my laundry is done and the basement is clean.

The pages of the chapter I am writing for my story however, are still blank.

I have been sitting down for a few minutes going over my notes and listening to the sound of rain falling, thanks to an app called “Relax Oriental”. There is a free version of the app available in the Apple store. I do not know if there is an Android version available. I am sure that there is something similar.  I find it useful.

I have two hours of time allotted to work on my notes and try to get some words down in my story. It’s still as exciting to me today as it was when I shared about it a few days ago when I wrote about it in Breaking Free- Goodbye To Writers Block

As usual, I just need to relax and stop letting the outside influences bother me so much.

Breaking Free- Goodbye Writers Block

I woke up this morning and realized that I had what I refer to as an “epic dream”. I had a dream that was almost movie like. I could remember every scene, I felt every feeling and smell, touch. I can remember every character. I can remember their clothing and what they had in their hands and what they wanted for lunch.  I was blown away. I was completely and totally attached to all of the characters that I met. I would dare to say that I am in love with each and every one of them. 

The story was remarkable.  I can’t wait to dive in and tell it to the world.

I have been wanting to and trying to get my mind back into the place where I needed it to be to start writing again. I haven’t been in a really long time.  I think I am ready. This is it. This was the motivation that I needed.  I am excited about it. 

I had to work today, but I  still managed to spend about three hours jotting everything down. I wrote down the name of every single character, who they were and even what they did for a living. Then I wrote out an entire summery of what the story was about so I wouldn’t forget it. 

I then moved on to research the places that were mentioned in the dream or at least the areas surrounding them. While actual business weren’t mentioned, I was given an approximate location to reference back to. 

I have my art mostly collected, up to and including what I would want the cover of the book to look like. Fortunately for me, as far as my own gratification goes, one of my own photographs was chosen as an “inspirational piece” to look at and gather feeling from to continue to write the story. 

I even have a couple of songs chosen and a few poems. 

It might seem silly to do that but I find it to be a fantastic motivator. 

If you knew me a few years ago, I would have poem after poem.. Song after song. Short stories, long stories. Notebooks and journals. All of them filled with words and scribbles. I have missed that for so long. I already have several pages of a notebook filled with information and snippets of lyrics that I like. 

Tonight at work, when we weren’t busy, I told two of the women that I worked with about the book I am finally starting to write and the story that it will become. The first one said “Oh my God, I would read that book and probably buy it, ” The other one is not a reader and she said “I would totally go to that movie,”

Crazy.

This is an enormous gift to me from God. I have been waiting for this for a long time. 

Trip Around the Sun

Oh hi!

I managed to live to see 40 years old.

Hold your applause.

I was able to celebrate with Michael and Dom over a fantastic spaghetti dinner. I made the best garlic bread that I have ever wrapped in foil and reheated in the oven. It was delicious.  Michael surprised me with some thoughtful gifts that included a chocolate birthday cake with purple frosting. I like purple.

People always ask you your thoughts when you turn 40. I don’t know why. I don’t know that I am as wise or more wise than anyone else. I have some life experience, good and bad. I think I could write a memoir but it would be mostly filled with what not to do in life. I am an expert in the art of bad decisions.

I meet questions with a lot of shrugging.

I haven’t been horribly worried about my looks or getting older. I feel like my body started rejecting itself after I turned 32. That seems to be about the time that I started to crackle and pop anytime I got up from sitting too long. Aches and pains are just part of life.

I don’t know that I feel any different otherwise. It’s another age. I’m just glad that I wasn’t given black balloons or that anyone made a big deal out of it. It’s just another number. In addition to the usual aches and pains I notice that my body is different, but it doesnt’ bother me. I like myself.

In a way, when I look back, I am almost surprised that I lived to be 40. When I was younger, I used to engage in some seriously dangerous behavior. Jumping horses without saddles, breaking and training horses that were “problems” for other people, driving too fast, working in corrections, on the road as an officer, hiking alone in bear country, hiking alone in general, kayaking without a life jacket. You know, things.

I think I’ve done some pretty great things so far in my life.  I have some good stories. I took risks as a young person and had a great sense of adventure. I liked to explore and in a way I was fearless.  While I am sitting here typing all of this, it almost inspires me to go ahead and talk about the past more on the blog. I struggle sometimes when I consider content. I shouldn’t but I do. I want to inspire other people in life.

Anyway, I made it to 40. Here’s to another 40 years!

What about you?  Did you feel different at 40 or after? What was different?

Happy New Year!


2016 flew by for me. In addition to the rough year that law enforcement faced with 139 line of duty deaths and the loss of Prince, Glen Frey and Carrie Fisher, it was fairly hectic and busy. I started out with my blogging project thinking that I would be able to allow myself enough space and time to work on it, since it is something that I enjoy. I appear to have failed a bit.

I am just like everyone else in that I create a list of things that I would like to change or implement into my life. While every day is a brand new day, I can agree that starting anew on the very first day of the year is also appropriate. New Year’s Day is only second to Easter in being my favorite day for “new life”.

My biggest issues revolve around time management, stress and organization. As you can tell, they’re connected. It only seems obvious that I work out ways to better myself in these areas. One step at a time. I have a list.

1. I want to get my house more “put together”. I live in an older home. Apparently, back in the day, nobody thought that organization or closet space was as important as we do today. I really don’t think that in the early 1900’s people had less outerwear vs today. Yet I have no lower level closet space in my house. I have a rack nailed to my wall.

While I will confess to having too much stuff, I also have nowhere to home items that I actually need. I am going to work on that also. Shelves, cabinets etc. I haven’t invested in proper storage for things that I want to keep either.  Working on that as well.

I have already began the purge of clutter. I went through my closets and gave one of the women who lives on my block. She was incredibly grateful too. I think that was a better choice than donating it to Goodwill. I boxed and bagged it all and left it on her porch and sent her a text.

Everything else though, I am either going ot throw away, give away or sell.  I used to have an issue with selling stuff and I don’t know why. No shame in selling things for extra cash. I need to stop being generous in a way. Weird thing to say but I do have a bad habit of giving away stuff that I shouldn’t. I could always use the extra cash.

2. I am going to work on eliminating some of my presence online. I spend too much of my time perusing websites or social media that early doesn’t serve me at all.  I have at least ten accounts that I don’t use and for some reason feel like I am obligated to keep up with. What is that all about?

I am going to keep my Facebook and Instagram but I am likely not going to use it as much anymore. I am not a fan of deleting social media accounts because I do like to check in with friends and my extended family. I also want people I grew up with or went ot college with to be able to locate me.  Since life is so busy also, it’s the only way I get to keep up with everyone.  Deactivating accounts also upsets people. Not that I have a problem upsetting people, but it really does make more sense to just tune in or out when you feel like it.

I also still plan to keep up with Twitter. Since my return, I have discovered a niche that serves a purpose. I have gained approximately 300 followers. It’s nice to have like minded people in my field to discuss the job, frustrations or to just share a laugh with.

3. Time management. I am going to set aside time to write. I haven’t decided on how often or when yet. I am going to examine how I am using my time in the morning vs time at night. I am working on a plan to ensure that I am keeping my bedtime. This also means that I need to better manage my morning routine. I need to have things set up the night before to make my morning plans run smoother. It may take some practice.

For example. I am back in the gym. I prefer to go after I drop my son off at school since I am already up. I can make a protein shake the night before and have my gym bag ready to go. That way all I have to do is load up my kiddo and I am off. This also helps since I am recovering from Lyme Disease. If I work out until 10 or so, then I can still nap if I need to before I go to work or whatever I have going on.

I haven’t focused on myself in a really long time. I finally got to the point where I was pretty unhappy and asked myself “what do you need?” Aside from camping, hiking, kayaking etc. I used to feel like I really had it together and lately I feel like I have just been spinning. Some of this is due to my job and what has been going on there for the past two years, but also in the areas I have been neglecting. I think this will help eleviate my stress too. I chase my own tail a lot.

These three things I listed are the big ones that I think will eventually even out everything else and make it all come together.   What about you?

Did you make a list of resolutions for yourself?

Do you think that you will keep them?