It's Monday.

I have a gentleman that regularly compliments when I'm out in the parking lot after school every day. I'm fine with it. Today was no exception, compliments abound. Little did he know that I spent a good chunk of my afternoon with my sweater on inside out. #winning

Last week, I got bit by a miniature donkey. It hurt about the same as if one were to be bit by a full-sized donkey, at least I'm pretty sure. It was a love bite, and I don't hold a grudge, but my students were fascinated. Today when they walked in, I got asked how my donkey bite was doing. I'm pretty sure that when you've reached that level of conversation, it's family. After three years, we don't really hold back in my room. Sharing is caring. 

I still have at least one moment every day where I want to save a story and tell my dad. I've been writing some of it down, but I feel like this is a good place to share, too. No offense, but this post wasn't for the living. 

If, however, you can recommend a good dehydrator, I will take that into consideration. My dad used to dry fruit and I'm out. Yes, I could buy already dried fruit, but did you know that they add sugar? Bastards. 


Another Milestone

This past week marked another day that left me wanting my dad. I want my dad back every day, but special occasion days and holidays are hard. It left me wanting to share some more things about him and how fantastic he was. I want everyone to know how great he was. Maybe that's the reason. Maybe it's keeping track for me, because I don't ever want to forget a single thing about him. Maybe it's selfish. Maybe it's both. I think that's okay.

10. My dad loved hockey. He played his entire life. Pond hockey. College hockey. Floor hockey. Parking lot hockey on roller blades. Old man hockey. He loved to watch it, too. I loved going to a game with him when he visited us here in AZ. He even bought a Coyotes shirt for the occasion. I wish I would have thought to take him to the gift shop and gotten him something special.

9. He baked for his students and teams. Brownies, cookies, and sometimes around the holidays he would make candied bacon - I'm not even a fan of bacon, but I don't know what he did, but it was really good.

8. He loved water. Kayaking, canoeing, swimming, fishing, whatever. He had recently purchased a paddleboard about which he was excited.

7. His collection of ties was beyond impressive. My mom's mom always bought him ties, his students bought him fun ties, he bought ties - tons of them. All crazy and fun and bright colors.

6. He liked rhubarb. A crumb topped rhubarb pie? Forget about it.

5. He looked out for me. My first car was from him. The first car I bought? From him, at what he owed the bank, to help me build credit. When I moved to AZ, he offered to trade me cars (his was newer and nicer) because mine didn't have AC. We ended up having to pay each other a penny for the sale/transfer of ownership. When he died, Jeremiah bought his car. It seemed fitting, as all of his cars seemed to go my way.

4. I love how much he loved Jeremiah. He called him "Jer". He searched for rare beers for him, because he knew how much Jeremiah loved craft beers. When he died, we went wandering into the unfinished portion of the basement. There, before our eyes, was a massive collection of beer that he'd been saving up for Jeremiah. Because he knew they'd make him happy. He bought him beer magazines and seasons of the Simpsons, because he also knew how much Jeremiah loved the Simpsons.

3. We had phrases and sayings that we would say that would instantly make us laugh, even if it hadn't been brought up in years. Wisconsin Cheese; God Speed, Mr. Nibbles; I Like Whistles and Drums.

2. He sneezed REALLY loudly. Like, LOUD. He also laughed really loudly. I loved being able to make him laugh.

1. He had a great sense of humor. He told me one time that a stray cat showed up wounded at the house.
Me: So what did you do?
Dad: I put on some triple antibiotic ointment and told him to come back in 24 to 48 hours.
Me: And?
Dad: And he did.

Dad: Some bees showed up in the backyard. A big swarm.
Me: Agh! Shit! What'd you do?
Dad: I showed them the open apartment out back (he had an extra hive) and asked if they were interested.
Me: And?
Dad: They were.

Bonus: He took care of his people. I can't speak for anyone else, but I can say that he loved his mom, my gram, so much, and helped her as much as he could in those last few years. I never once heard him complain. He loved his brother and sister. He loved all of us. He drove me everywhere as a kid and a teen - he once told me that it hadn't been my choice to live in the country (even though I loved it), so the least he could do was drive me to where I needed/wanted to go. He took on so much for so many people, never an unkind word, always a giving heart. He was a listener but didn't give unsolicited advice. He gave even when people didn't give back. And he didn't complain. I honestly can't think of a better person. How lucky for me that he was my dad.



So, one year ago today, my dad died. He just died. Suddenly. Unexpectedly.

I could say that I lost my dad, but that makes it sounds like I misplaced him, like a hat that sometime I might be able to find again. That isn't true.

If your favorite person in the world has not yet died, let me share this - it shatters every single thing that you knew to be true. There is a hole in your heart that can't, won't, shouldn't be filled or fixed. You are changed. They are dead, and you must keep living. There is nothing to which it can be compared. It's a cruel joke.

It's been a whole year, and as I write this, I'm crying. I'm crying because I miss him, I'm crying because I'm sad that he doesn't get to live in this world and see the wonderful things that he loved so much, I'm crying because to be honest, I feel sorry for myself. I want my dad. When things have been hard this past year, that has been my cry, my plea.

I know that life is not fair and all that other garbage, but I can't comprehend how someone so completely good and humble and generous and thoughtful is gone so soon in his life when there are horrible people that live only for themselves and complain constantly that keep on living. How does that work? I don't want to hear any bullshit about God's plan or it was just his time. That's what you say to people when you don't know what to say and I don't want to hear it. That'll be a whole different post - "How to NOT be a wank when someone you love's favorite person dies."

I understand that some people choose to celebrate their loved one's "heaveniversary" and if that helps them, good. Do it. Rock that shit. We all have our own grief path. Mine does not include celebrating this horrible day. Instead I have finally unpacked/opened the urn that I had made by a family friend. Put dad in there. I lit a honeysuckle candle that he got me because we both loved honeysuckle. And I'll just cry a little more.

When I was little, I remember reading The Tenth Good Thing About Barney. While my dad had many, many amazing qualities, I'm just going to list ten today. Ten memories or quirks or whatever you'd like to call them.

10. He was super freaking smart, especially if it was geography, history, or science. Anything outdoors, he was your guy. If you were lost in the woods, you'd want him with you.

9. He use to rub his feet together. The rest of him would be completely still - reading or watching tv or talking to you, but it's like his feet couldn't stay still.

8. He liked breakfast. He was amazed (and disturbed) when he learned I hadn't been to an Ihop and he took me immediately. Breakfast anytime of the day.

7. He volunteered - his time, his money, whatever. He was on boards, he judged and coached Science Olympiad, National History Day, OM, my softball team. Everything.

6. He would drop everything for a good board game or puzzle. The number of times that he and I played Clue, Payday, Monopoly, Sorry, Skip-Bo were endless. It didn't matter how busy he was or what he had to do to prep for school the next day, we played.

5. He taught me to swim and to float and that ice cream was the reward after a day at the beach. The White Duck was never a convenience store to me, I always just thought of it as an ice cream shop. That's where we got ice cream. Never occurred to me to turn away from the ice cream counter to see a whole store behind me.

4. He liked music. He liked to talk about it, listen to it, he liked old stuff but loved when I would introduce him to newer things. He liked Green Day. Florence and the Machine. Arcade Fire. Eisley. I learned about the Beatles from him, and every other older band. He loved Traveling Wilburys.

3. He babied me until he died. There's no other way to say it. I don't mean that I was spoiled or didn't work for things, but I had his support. And when I was sick, he made me either chicken and rice (his speciality) or noodle soup. He cut my pizza into little squares, because that's how I liked it. I don't think he said no to me much, but I didn't ask for things like money - I usually wanted his time.

2. He liked to garden. Together we planted tulips and daffodils, and I planted glads, because I liked to pronounce them "glad-e-o-lees". So he bought me a bag of bulbs to plant, just so I could say the name. His garden was amazing. Wildflowers, poppies, lillies, foxgloves, peonies, lilacs, hyacinth, honeysuckle, lavender - everything. If I wasn't in the garden with him, I was talking to him from the deck or balcony while he was out there.

1. He was my absolute best friend. He knew all my secrets. There were lots of drives he and I did together - to college, to Gram's, to Phoenix - we could sit in silence and it was comfortable, but we also talked a lot. A LOT.

So. One year ago today my dad died. His story doesn't end there, though. I refuse to let it.



Spike had another vet visit. Our time with him has been shortened considerably. We were looking at 3 - 5 more months, and now we are at 2.

Two months. The cancer is spreading quickly, despite the meds.

I handled this by buying more squeaky toys and dog treats.*

Jeremiah handled this by driving us through McDonald's and getting Spike a burger and fries.

The vet handled this by giving Spike treat after treat. Seriously, I've never seen anything like it.

When your dying dog's favorite thing to do is to eat - you let him eat. In the last three weeks, he has gained a pound. That's a lot when you only weigh 17 pounds. The vet says he fully supports us having a fat dog at this point.

It's weird to think about him NOT being here. He's so stubborn and tough that I imagined him going on forever. But we are prepping ourselves for the upcoming months and doing everything we can to give Spikers a quality life.

*If you have dogs and have not tried the Neuman's dog treats (available at Target or Sprouts), you are missing out. They are little heart-shaped treats with a line down the middle so they can crack in half, which is great for us, because each dog gets a piece of the treat (At this point, Atticus has gained a bit of weight, too. But we will worry about that later.). The ingredients are SIMPLE and I can read them all - not a lot of fake-y chemical stuff. My dogs LOVE them. They adored the sweet potato treats and now we are on the peanut butter treats. We went out yesterday and bought more.


Days of Spike

Last Saturday we were all playing in the pool. I noticed that Spike's backside looked a little odd. I laughed about it, not really taking it serious. After all, this dog of ours is indestructible. He's practically a super species.

Regardless, I called the vet and Jeremiah took him in the next day.

Tuesday we got test results back.


Friday we had a follow-up. X-rays to see if it had spread to lungs or lymph nodes.

Has not spread to lungs, but the lymph nodes have been effected.

At this point, surgery to remove the tumor is basically pointless. Recovery time is extensive. With surgery, we'd have maybe a year. And that's if there are no complications and no infection.

Without, we have maybe four months.

Four months. For Super Spike. My heart breaks.

You would never guess he was sick. He's so happy and bouncy. And loud. His barker has not been touched.

We have opted to celebrate all of these days that we have with Spike, however many that may be. A trip to Cost-co and Petsmart had us dropping over a hundred on anything that squeaks and every treat we could find.

We will celebrate with him, and when he can't celebrate anymore, we will celebrate for him.

We are using #daysofspike on instagram and facebook if you'd like to find us. If not, please just send happy and positive thoughts our way.


That Awkward Moment

When you realize that you haven't updated your blog in about a year...

So I'm going to offer up a fact filled Sunday. And by fact filled I mean six facts. Because I'm slowly getting back into this. Slow.

  1. I quit my job. In March. I lasted as long as I did because I had nice supervisors. I was not, however, passionate about what I did, and if I'm not passionate, I really just do the minimum (which is horrible to admit, but the truth). So I quit. I worked with some really great people. There's only one person that if I could go back in time I would punch in the throat. That's because she commented on my relationship with Jeremiah and rolled her eyes at my team member. That deserves a punch, yo. Actually, two punches. 
  2. These two people:

Are attempting to make this happen:
Ah, yes. The ring. I'm going to be honest and say that I'm more excited about the ring and the travels than I am about anything else. In my eyes, Boyfriend and I are already married. We aren't having a wedding, because I care more about traveling and enjoying myself than I do about other people being satisfied with my wedding day. 

 3.  Our house has become vegan/lacto-vegetarian. For two completely different reasons, but similar end results. No meat. 

4. I'm teaching again. A different school, so I'm giving it a whirl. I've got a different attitude this time. I'm hoping it lasts. I will not let this job swallow me whole. 

5. We're nearly through with a bathroom remodel. Random delays and setbacks have been a beast, but I'm quite happy with the way things are coming along. 

6. Jeremiah has jury duty. He's happy because they pay his mileage, his company still pays him, and he gets reimbursed for lunch. He's very much a glass is half full type of guy. We really are polar opposites. 

Lovesies you all. 


It's the Holiday Spirit. Arizona Style.

Today I waited patiently with my blinker on for a parking spot that was almost two miles away from my destination - Costco. It was so far away that I knew I was going to get thirsty on my walk/journey to the store so I packed a water. I also contemplated getting the journey turned into a trilogy a la Lord of the Rings. Only Frodo has had a rougher journey than the one that I was prepping myself to endure.

And then? A car whipped around the corner and tried to take my spot. I got it, but they sat there and honked at me.

At me.

For a spot that I had waited for. For a long time I waited. And it wasn't even a good spot.

To the asshat that made me feel guilty for taking a spot that I had waited for?

Bite me. And then Happy Holidays!