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Time for a new feature!

I call it Irrationally Strong Opinions.  Now, children, comes the time in our show when I share a personal opinion which is really much stronger than the situation actually warrants.

It seemed only reasonable to start with Irrationally Strong Opinion Category #1: Harry Potter.

(Not to make you all jealous, but I colored this.  By myself.)

See, I’m kind of a fan.  Like, kind of a know-my-official-house (Gryffindor), know-my-official-wand (chestnut and phoenix feather), and know-my-official-patronus (dragonfly – wtf?  That’s a irrationally strong opinion for another day.)

Ok folks.  What do you people have against Ron and Hermione being together, huh?  The majority opinion (probably opinions of a completely rational strength) seems to be that Hermione should have ended up with Harry.  I DISAGREE. I DISAGREE MOST STRENUOUSLY.  I love Ron and Hermione together.  I love Harry and Ginny together.

The biggest thing seems to be that Hermione can’t possibly be happy long-term with Ron, who is not as smart, driven, or ambitious.  And who sometimes says or does stupid things because he has a slightly narrow and comfortable worldview.

Here’s the thing though.  That’s totally logical.  Love isn’t.  Hermione needs Ron as a reminder that simple is often good, necessary.  While its important to fight for what you believe in, to push for better; its equally important to have a home base.  Ron is home base.  He’s not really ambitious.  He grew up in a big, noisy, messy home where everyone loves each other and torments each other.  Where achievements are honored, but are not necessary for acceptance.  A home where money was scarce but family was plentiful.

I’m not saying everything will be easy between them, but it makes perfect sense to me.  And they mean enough to each other to work through the rough patches.  When I first read Harry Potter I was 21.  I saw myself in every aspect of Hermione.  My parents are even dentists! (Ok, that is a total lie, neither of my parents are dentists).

Now, I am older than 21, and have been married for nearly 12 years.  To Ron.  Legitimately.  He’s so Ron.  Doesn’t have red hair (doesn’t have a whole lot of hair anymore.  Sorry honey.).  Does come from a big, loud family where people genuinely like each other.  Being a farm family, during my husband’s childhood there was time when money was somewhat scarce.  But family was strong.

He’s my home base.  I’m the ambitious one.  I’m the driven one.  I’m the take-extra-classes-do-all-the-things-find-extra-hours-in-the-day one.  The under-it-all-still-insecure-one. He’s the reminder to slow down and sit by a bonfire on a summer afternoon, to read a book on the couch on a rainy day, to appreciate the hours in the day instead of trying to find more.  He is not threatened by my intelligence, my ambition, or my drive.  He understands my insecurities. He has his own thing, and he knows its not less than what I have.

So, yeah. Ron and Hermione will be just fine.  Perhaps if Ron remembers to TAKE OUT THE GARBAGE LIKE HE SAID HE WAS GOING TO YESTERDAY, it would help.  Hypothetically.

Since we’re on the Harry Potter kick, here’s one more.

Can we stop with the ‘I want to find someone who loves me like Snape loved Lily.’  No.  Just no.  Because what you are saying is ‘I want someone to love me obsessively but disparage important parts of my life to others when I’m not around.  I want someone who loves me selfishly without concern for what actually makes me happy.’

I can sort of see how that would appeal to a 14 year old.  Let’s aim a bit higher ladies.  Find someone who loves you like Arthur Weasley loves Molly.

 

I’ve got more (so many more).

Stay tuned.  Like and share (then go to my facebook page and like and share that!) to be sure you can stay up to date with my rantings!

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I wrestled with this for a while.  I wasn’t sure what to say – whether to say anything.  The reality is, though, that to hide is to be ashamed, and I won’t be ashamed.

Today is Day 1.  For the first time in my adult life, I am unemployed.

I had the good (?) fortune to have known this was coming since late October.  Time to get my head around it.  Here’s the short version: Reorganization, eliminated position, opportunity to apply for a position that was truly not a good fit for me.  Hit me like a freight train.  Then this occurred to me.  When my husband was laid-off about 8 years ago, we look back on that as the best thing that could have happened to him (although it certainly did not feel like it at the time).

Well, this doesn’t feel so great either, but I have decided its the best thing that could have happened to me.  A couple of weeks ago I wrote a letter to the universe.  I really didn’t think I would publish it here, but I have decided to.

Dear Universe,

 Is this a test?  Because it kind of feels like you are testing me. 

I think about the last five years or so when I started to feel like maybe I needed to move in a new direction.  I think of opportunities that fell through.  When they did, I put more energy back into my work, seeking a way to make more of a difference.

I started feeling dissatisfied with the limits on how to do that work, like the demands of others (reasonable or not), restrictions of funding, and others.

I took on new challenges and learned new things.  I still felt that itch, but I was doing good work.  Then the itch grew bigger and became more insistent.  Another opportunity fell through.  And I knew.

I knew it was time to make the big change.  To leave organized employment and set out on my own.  Not yet, though, because I still didn’t know exactly how to do what I wanted to do.

I wanted to help people heal.  I’d spent two years at that point researching trauma and its long-term effects.  I’d seen first hand the struggles of those who had not gotten sufficient support.  I was beginning to explore energy work.  I liked talking people through finding creative solutions to problems.  Yet, I knew becoming a licensed therapist was not my path.

Somewhere along the way, my inner self had gotten tired of being pushed aside to make room for logic, the world, and everything else.  My inner self started speaking up, and for once, I started listening.  Within 2 days I had made the decision to become a massage therapist, open my own business, and develop a protocol to reintegrate touch to those who struggle with it due to trauma.  I could use massage to help anyone who needed it, to calm the body and mind.  I could do energy work.  I could be a life coach.

It all fell into place.  I could take classes part-time for a year and continue my full-time work.  Work I was good at.  Work that paid bills and allowed for a few extras.

I had to wait a year to begin classes.  The timing was just a little off. So I waited, and though the itch continued to grow, I did my good work.

I started classes.  I juggled.  I stretched.  I was tired and a little overwhelmed.  But I managed.  I am good at managing things.

I figured I would graduate next August and start to build my business on evenings and weekends.  I would be tired and a little overwhelmed for a while longer.  I would juggle.  I would keep doing good work at my job and I would build my new career.  My new purpose.

I figured maybe by the following January, if I was lucky (and worked hard enough), my business would be viable to go full-time.  If not, I would continue a while longer.

Here is where you stepped in, Universe.  You see, I am really good at planning.  I need to plan.  I don’t like unknowns.

Then I was told there was no more job.  Not after the end of December anyways.  There would be a different job, and I could apply for that if I wanted to.

Except I didn’t.  That inner self looked at me and said, ‘please, no.  This is not our path.’

I felt like I was standing on glass over a deep pit.  A safety net had been offered, a chance to continue earning a steady wage.  It was the safe choice.

And it was the wrong choice.  Wrong for me.  It wasn’t the work I was driven to, that I had been pouring myself into.  It wasn’t work I felt good at.  It wasn’t work I felt I could do and be well.

I waivered.  I crave safety and predictability.  I need it.  Logic and order. 

But now safe and logical didn’t feel safe.  It wasn’t ‘safe’ to my inner self.  It was a sacrifice.

I’m willing to make sacrifices, to make hard choices.  But this time it felt like I was sacrificing the well-being of my innermost self.  And I stopped.  I couldn’t do it.  I wouldn’t.

I went ’round and ’round with ‘but what will happen’ if we step off the safe and predictable path.

And that’s when I felt it.  I felt you, Universe, grip me by the shoulders, and with a little shake say ‘Will you just trust me this one time.’

You know, trust is not something I naturally do.  I thought back to the single other time I decided to let go and trust you Universe.  And I married him.  And he is the best man in the world.

So ok, Universe – if this is a test – Challenge Accepted.

Let’s do this.

 

So, today is Day 1

It is Day 1 of my new career and my new business.

It is Day 1 of my future.

It is Day 1 of me learning to love and honor myself.

It is Day 1 of me learning to listen to that ‘still, small voice’ inside.

It is Day 1 of me reminding myself that life is not a dress rehearsal.  We have one chance to make it count.

It is Day 1 of the next chapter.

 

Carpe Diem.

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Hi,

 

I haven’t been writing much.  Not for a year.  That seems like such a strange thing to say.  I haven’t written anything worth reading in a year.  Its not entirely true, but true enough for here.

I haven’t written anything I thought I could put here in a year.  I always envisioned this space for fun and foolishness.  I haven’t felt very fun and foolish in the last year.  If writing is sunshine, I have been in a shadow.

That’s not to say I haven’t written, because I write a weekly blog at my big-girl job, and I have been proud of what I’ve included there.  Its intended purpose is to inform people about Trauma-Informed Care (which is a big deal in its own right), but I mostly focus on empowerment and self-care.  I realized that there was a sort of light there too – one more like fire than sunshine.

So, I’m going to write again.  I’m going to try not to worry about the number of ‘likes’ a post gets, or anything like that.  I’m just going to focus on the fire I have inside to write, and put those words out.  Some of it will be fun, because I believe that fun is powerful.  Some of it will have other focuses.  Like kindness, acceptance, and love.  I’m going to call this section ‘Life Logic.’

I hope you’ll come along for the journey.  I’ve started a new pathway for myself this week that I will expand upon at some point.

Thank you for reading what’s been here so far.  I hope you’ll like what is coming next.

 

Take care,

Kim

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I swear, I’ll try to make this funny.  I will.  The truth is I feel pretty crummy.  I said good-bye a couple days ago to a very special friend.  A companion.  A big goofy dog.

My dog.

You see, I’ve had this dog since right after my husband and I got married.  I’d been wanting a dog for years, but I knew it wouldn’t work in an apartment.  But hey – we bought a house, game on. I had grown up with a black Labrador named Lacy.  She was the best dog in the whole world.  Smart, loving, and satisfactorily quirky.  My dad got her (technically for my brother) not long after my parents got divorced.  I was 8 at the time.  I’m not going to go into details, but we’ll go ahead and call this ‘a difficult time.’  Every time we had visits with my dad, though, I loved the chance to hang out with the little black furball.  Lacy passed away when I was 24, at the very ripe (for a large breed) age of 16.

I really wanted another Labrador.  They are just really good dogs.  I know what many of you (assuming ‘many’ applies to whomever is reading this) will say ‘why not rescue a dog?’  Considered it.  Can’t say I’ll never do it because I probably will someday.  Let’s just say there are a lot of reasons, and my choice was to get a lab puppy.  I had standards.  I abhor puppy mills, and won’t support them.  I also have no interest in an overbred dog with ‘standards’ I don’t care about, and don’t want to pay for.  I wanted a good dog.  I wanted a family on a farm who just happened to have a litter of puppies.  I promise, I’m going somewhere with this. So, house bought – check.  Fence built – sort of check (it was scheduled!).  Saw an ad in the paper and talked the hubs into going to look (just to look! I promised).  We drove the hour south, and met the family.  Daddy dog was laying out in the yard with a cat climbing on him – I thought that just maybe he was kinda laid back.  Momma dog was also hanging around, and generally being a sweetheart.  Then, the human person said ‘here, I’ll show you the pups.’  She opened the door of the shed, and I saw a hay bale across the entrance.  Then. . . . .

Pop, pop, pop, pop, pop, pop, pop, pop, pop

Up came nine little faces.  I turned to Matt and muttered ‘oh crap.  Let’s go choose.’  There is no turning away from nine puppy faces if you are even sort of considering a puppy.  So much for ‘just looking.’  We picked a spunky little chocolate lab, despite planning to get a yellow.  We named her Wrigley, because Matt was a big Cubs fan, and being a new wife, I still wanted to show him how cool with that I was. The first time we took her for a walk (the day after we got her – she was 7 weeks old), she made it a block.  Then she planted her butt on the ground and looked at us as if to say ‘you want this walk to continue, you will carry me.’  We did.

About a week after we got her, she was conked out on the kitchen floor, so Matt and I decided to make a bowl of popcorn and watch a movie in the living room.  We had a split level, so we went down and settled into the Lovesac (Not a product placement – we just have one).  All of a sudden, we hear this scrambling.  Wrigley woke up, ran under the kitchen table, dove through the railing onto the couch, springboarded onto the floor, then bounced into our laps.  She landed in our laps with her face in the popcorn bowl.  She ate quite a bit before we recovered and stopped laughing enough to stop her.  Popcorn was always a particular favorite of hers – her entire life.

We got her a stuffed chocolate lab toy, that was just her size (for a week), and we called it ‘Dog-Dog’ because my niece who was about 18 months old at the time called dogs that.  Wrigley loved Dog-dog and took him everywhere.  We have pictures of her sleeping with her head propped on him like a pillow.  Then one day at about 4 months old, he must have insulted her mother or something, because we came home to find Dog-dog in little bitty pieces.  As it turns out no cloth was safe.  That nice blanket we gave her?  Ate it.  The OTHER blanket we gave her?  Ate it.  And when I say ‘ate’ I mean ‘consumed’ not ‘chewed up.’  This required me to chase my dog around the yard when she was trying to poop because all that cloth got bound up and we had to pull it out manually.  I’m sure the neighbors thought we were super classy.

Speaking of eating things.  Wrigley was obsessed with tissues.  And Q-tips.  Napkins.  Toilet paper.  You get the idea.   She routinely went on treasure hunts through our trash.  You would always know she had something because she would take off with it and ‘hide’ (badly).  One day, we discovered that our new roll of toilet paper was only a half-roll of toilet paper.  How did we know?  Because it was half a roll.  By width.  The roll had around 2 1/2 inches of width left, all the way through.  We found some very interesting compact white poops out in the yard shortly after that.

We were very good doggy parents.  When my son was about 2 (Wrigley was about 4) we got the news from the vet.  She was fat.  Like, 96 pounds fat.  We were told to put her on a diet until she lost at least 20 pounds.  We did.  To help her with the fact she was getting less food, I provided her green beans and carrots.  She gave me the dirtiest look.  I could almost hear her thoughts ‘What is this and why is it in my bowl?  Did we get a rabbit?  Could I just eat the rabbit?’  She did eat it, because – hey, food!

Once, when she was only a couple years old, we dog-sat for a yorkie.  They were a little ‘mis-matched’ in size, but Wrigley was entirely non-aggressive.  The yorkie, however, had a little Napoleon syndrome going on.  We let them play together in the back yard.  Wrigley must have had a little ADHD, because she would look over and her face would say ‘Look!  A Dog!’ and she would run over and play.  A minute or so later she would wander off, and a few minutes after that ‘Look!  A Dog!’  This went on for an hour or so.  The Yorkie decided to press his luck and boss Wrigley around.  Wrigley took this as an invitation to play, and ‘high-fived’ the smaller dog.  By high-five, I mean she squashed her flat.  Needless to say, Mr. Yorkie did not choose to boss Wrigley after that.  (No pocket-dogs were harmed in the creation of this story).

After we had kids, and she was a few years older, we figured she’d mellow out a bit more.  Labs tend to keep their ‘puppy-ness’ until they are around 4.  Wrigley did not get that memo, and just a few months ago I found myself reminding her ‘you are an old dog! Stop eating the Legos!’  When she was about 5, she still had a small collection of toys out in the yard.  Rubber toys – nothing with any cloth or fur (tennis balls – I’m looking at you.  She would gnaw off the fuzz, then – you guessed it – I would have to pull stuff out of her butt).  There was a certain rubber dragon she’d had for about 2 years.  She completely ignored this thing.  It was out in the yard for 2 years!!!  All seasons!  One day, we came home, and found a small dragon piece.  Two days later we, uh, ‘found’ the rest.  Matt and I figure it went down like this.  Wrigley: ‘Oh, there’s that dragon.  I’m gonna get him.  No! Nope, he’s looking.  Dragons are scary.’  (another day) ‘There that dragon is, today’s the day!  No!  Not the day, dragon’s are scary.’  (months later) ‘I’ll sneak up on him from behind.  No!  Nope, I think he’ll hear me.’  (finally, as she accidentally steps on him with her huge feet) ‘I got him!  I got him right where I want him.  I will eat him.  I am brave.’

Fast forward a few years.  Last year, Matt and I got a fire bowl for the back yard.  We love to sit outside in nice weather, after the kids go to bed, and enjoy a little fire.  Wrigley always joined us, though we are convinced she was trying to light herself on fire.  I thought animals had an instinctive fear of fire.  If so, Wrigley skipped that instinct.  We constantly had to rescue her tail – thankfully successfully, as we never once had flaming-dog.  In all reality, I could write a whole separate post on lab-tails.  Like the time when she was 2 and we had to take her to the emergency vet because she couldn’t sit down – only to find out she had sprained her tail (called Lab-Tail or Swimmer’s Tail) and just needed some doggy Advil.

She was a really good dog.  Very sweet, very friendly.  She loved attention and would shamelessly play up to anyone who might give her some lovin’.  She was a Labrador who didn’t care for swimming.  A relatively smart dog who still managed to be a complete idiot sometimes.  She loved peanut butter.  She did NOT love baths.  She loved to be outside and inside.  She refused to go into our downstairs for any reason.  She was constantly being tormented by squirrels, and never bothered to chase the bunnies or chipmunks out of my garden.

She was the best dog ever.  She was my dog.  I was not ready for this day.  I’m not going to recount what happened – she just got very sick very fast.  We promised her when we got her that when that day came, we would make a decision for her, not us.  I know that’s what I did on Tuesday.  I know it was the right thing to do.  I know it was fair and loving.  And I still hate it.

The kids want another.  Momma needs a little time. If you have a furry friend at home, give them a little extra loving tonight.  I may need to borrow a cuddle sometime.  These are just some of the memories we have.  Each is bittersweet, but will grow a bit sweeter with time.

I’ll try to be funnier later.  I have a great story to tell you all about sweatpants.

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