coping, death, dogs, life goes on, loneliness, on closer examination, photography

Spinning my wheels…

For a very long time after Charley died I didn’t walk the dogs at all.  I was fearful that I wouldn’t be able to control them if they got upset over anything, and I thought that the net result would be that I would wind up getting hurt.  Neither dog is aggressive so I didn’t fear for anyone else, I just wondered what I’d do if I fell and broke my arm.  But as time has gone on I don’t think as much in terms of the alone-ness, I suppose it’s not the novelty it once was.  So I walk them now, once or twice a day, and I take for granted that they will behave.  We pass this yard on our route every day, and even after I posted a picture of the azaleas I have continued to take pictures because it amazes me every time I pass by.  This one (above) was taken last Friday and I think they were just about at their peak.  Now I see patches of only green where once the light pink flowers were.  I hate to see them go for another year, a reminder of time passing.


Zoe tried to bring this home with her on our walk this morning…


Taking off the closet doors so Ozzie could get under the desk more easily hasn’t done a thing for my leg room…

3-8bayport3-8libraryWhen I’m out with the camera I usually take a few shots with my iPhone also, but I don’t always remember to look at them.  Sometimes they are the best shots of all.


I was completely out of salt the other day, and it hit me that buying salt is one of those milestones that you could measure time by.  How many boxes of salt does a person buy in a lifetime?  I can’t remember the last time I bought some, I’m pretty sure I moved the same box of salt with me a few times.  Thinking about that brought to mind something a friend once told Charley.   He said, “Someday you’ll have a dog that outlives you.”  That thought stopped me in my tracks, even though I didn’t think for a minute that Zoe would be that dog.  For that reason I know that these are my last two dogs, and I’m assuming that I will outlive them.  But is this my last box of salt?



Bayport, coping, loneliness, nature, photography, Pine Island, sunset


I had to force myself out for the sunset.  I had a busy couple of days ahead and wanted to be prepared with photos just in case, but I wasn’t going out with my usual enthusiasm.  I went to Pine Island, but I just wasn’t feeling it.  It wasn’t pretty in person, and there was a large group of people settled in for the sunset in the area where I usually stand to take photos.  And that really was the problem, that after being so enthused with Pine Island sunsets for quite a while I wasn’t expecting to get anything different from all the other sunset photos I’ve taken there.  Which is why I took the photo above and the one just below, of the beach to the left, not really aimed at the sunset.  The gulls were in the air and the Laughing Gulls were laughing, calling my attention to that side of the beach.  And when I got home I was surprised that I liked the images that I had gotten.  I thought I had been wasting my time and I was discouraged, so I headed next door to Bayport.

sunset4sunset3sunset2sunset1At Bayport you have a choice.  You can be out in the park area with just the setting sun to focus on, or you can park in the other lot and peek at the sunset through the palms.  For some reason I felt more like peeking.  Just me and the camera…

adventure, childhood, coping, courage, finding my way, life, life goes on, loneliness, memories, photography, unintended consequences

Rolling back the clock…

I suppose there are endless ‘what if’ scenarios I could play out in my head, especially at 69 years old. Lots of water under the bridge, over the dam, forks in the road, and many more cliche phrases apply. But there is something about being alone at this stage of life that has me thinking, wondering, about the person I was ‘supposed’ to be. How did I spend so many years ‘under the influence’ so to speak? I was a spunky little kid. My cousin and I once decided to go for a walk, and set off, a 5 and a 4 year old, having an adventure. We were spotted by a woman who I think chatted with us as we passed her chain-link fenced yard. The next thing I knew there was a policeman on the scene, asking us who we were and where we were going. My cousin must have been much more polite than I was because she told the policeman everything he wanted to know. Not me though. I was mad. I wasn’t lost, and I certainly wasn’t finished having my adventure, so I wouldn’t tell him a thing. But since I lived upstairs from my cousin that was a bit of a moot point. I don’t remember the upshot, what my parents had to say about it, I only remember the woman, the fence, and how mad I was.

I just love that little kid that I was. But I have to wonder, when did I lose her? How did I let her go and never notice that I had done just that? That memory, and there are more from when I lived in that house and was that spunky kid, all date back to before I went to school. Is that when I started worrying about what other people thought, and doubting myself? By the time I hit high school I was quite sure that I didn’t measure up in any way, and spent most of my mental energy on trying to make sure that no one else knew just how out of it I was. I never expressed an opinion, practiced a go-with-the-flow attitude, got married young to hide from the bra-burning women’s libbers who seemed to be saying that I shouldn’t want a marriage and family, which is exactly what I told myself that I wanted, mostly because I thought of it as ‘safe’. Don’t misunderstand, I really was happy, found myself living all over the country and thought that was quite the thing. Enjoyed the heck out of raising my kids, and appreciated the accomplishment of raising them to be the people I’d hoped they’d be. And at work with Charley I had a position of authority that I enjoyed, but I also was aware that I hadn’t earned it as much as I had married into it. It wasn’t a bad life at all, so why am I so unsettled now?

I am an old lady who, now that I am alone for the first time since I was very young, finds myself relating more to the little kid that I was than to all the years in between. No one hijacked my life, I willingly participated. But now what? If you thought that I was going to wind this up with some sort of brilliant conclusion you’d be wrong. All I do know is that I have a vague notion of heading ‘home’ this summer, back to the people and places that I find myself thinking of so fondly. Back to where I was a spunky little kid with my whole life ahead of me…spunky.jpg

coping, death, dogs, finding my way, grief, healing, life goes on, loneliness, marriage, memories, photography

U R Making me Comfortable…

That Charley wasn’t always a dog lover would come as a surprise to most people who knew him when I knew him, but not to the people who knew him before he met me.  They knew he was a cat lover.  That I had a cockapoo was something to be tolerated, but I can’t say that he was enthused about having a dog in the house.  But Barney grew on him enough that when it was time that Barney had to be put down he initially refused to go with me, saying that he didn’t want to go down forever in family history as the guy who took the kids’s dog to be put to sleep. He must have felt sorry for me though, because he did go with me, and he stopped and bought Barney an ice cream cone on the way.

But while Barney was still with us Charley instigated that we acquire Nugget, saying, “My mother never let me have a puppy”.  He had bought me a necklace shortly before that, gold nuggets on a chain which I still wear every day.  He would say to me, very dramatically and with his eyebrows going up and down like Groucho Marx, “Hey Neem, how’s your Nuggets?”, which the kids found hilarious.  The innuendo wasn’t lost on them.  Neem was a pet hame, if I stop to explain this post will be a mile long.  So we were at the Mall and in the pet shop window was a litter of mixed breed puppies, and upon seen a golden one Heather declared, “Hey Neemie, it’s another Nugget!”  We had her 18 years, I could measure the length of my marriage in the ages of the dogs which populated it.

Last week or so I talked about Charley, memories which had come to me because of this ropeysaliva

picture.  I took this when I first got my iPhone 7+, practicing using portrait mode and capturing Ozzie’s drool.  But happening upon that picture reminded me of when I first met Charley when he joined the dental office where I was working as a hygienist.  He was a brand new dentist on his first job, but even though we were the same age my schooling was so much less that I had 10 years experience in dentistry and he would sometimes ask me my opinion on things.  That anyone would ask me my opinion on anything was quite flattering, but especially a dentist asking me my opinion concerning dentistry made me feel important.  He asked if I had a pet peeve in dentistry, and I did actually.  I told him that what drove me the most nuts was… ropey saliva!  It would wrap itself around the prophy cup when you were polishing teeth and go flying!  That cracked him right up.  He loved that answer.  I wonder if he married me because of ropey saliva.

So, the feature photo.  Charley had been in the hospital a week, and he had become so dependent on the oxygen mask that he was reluctant to take it off to talk, so he was writing messages on the clip board I brought for him.  He had been moved to the ICU the day before, and I had been told that visitors had to wait until 8 AM and that’s when I got there. The nurse told me that he was upset that I wasn’t there at my usual 6 AM or so, but when I did get there he wrote “U R Making me Comfortable”.  He really liked the Arnold Palmer iced tea/lemonade that I had been buying him at Duncan Donuts.  But when he wanted some he wrote Jack Palmer, I assume he was thinking of Jack Nicklas, when he wrote that and I was looking forward to teasing him about that when he felt better.  I never got the chance to do that.

So dogs and ropey saliva, Ozzie has it in spades.  Gleason could drool, but I think Ozzie has him beat.  I may not be cleaning teeth anymore, but I’m still dealing with ropey saliva.

bulldogfaceCruisin' DudesCharleyandOznuggetandnorts

blessings, childhood, connections, coping, death, family, finding my way, grief, healing, life, life goes on, marriage, memories

Lost and found…

I’ve been up since 2 AM, thinking. About a lot of things, but mostly about Charley. Thinking back to when I met him. I was talking with my aunt and uncle the other day and I told them that when I met Charley I had the most overwhelming sense of re-connecting to someone I already knew, someone I treasured and had lost track of. I had found someone who had been missing. And what popped out of my mouth next was something that hadn’t occurred to me in the entire 34 years we were married. That person was… me!

It was the Italian thing. Funny since Charley wasn’t Italian, but he may as well have been. His mother had been raised in an Italian neighborhood in Baltimore, and his step-father was Italian. The first place that we went together was an Italian deli in Baltimore, Trinacria’s, and when he opened the door and I walked in I was stopped in my tracks by the smell of the place. I had just walked into my grandmother’s kitchen, or so you’d think by the smell. That he ripped off the end of the loaf of Italian bread and handed it to me was such a familiar gesture. Something lost was found. I was whole again.

Thank you Charley…

coping, finding my way, healing, life goes on, loneliness, memories, moments, photography, sky, sunrise, the big picture

Finding my way…

I was sitting in the dark and quiet, minding my own business, when a photo of the Super Moon came across my Facebook page.  It triggered a memory of the very first time I went to Hammond’s Creek Bridge for a sunrise, and the moon was also present in my sunrise shot that day.  I thought it really made the shot.  That thought sent me leaping out of the recliner to hurry and get dressed and get to the bridge in case the Super Moon would be in the sunrise shot again.  I only had a half hour until sunrise…

As I drove I could see the moon directly in front of me, when the fog thinned enough to see it at all, and already I knew it wasn’t going to be in the sunrise photo, but I kept going.  As has happened quite a few times already, the reflection of the sunrise was as pretty as the actual sunrise, so all was not lost.  It was worth the hurried trip out of the house.  The moon is in this shot, but you have to look for it.


I’ve been a little melancholy that I do everything by myself these days, and on the way home I imagined myself trying to get Charley to leap up and head out the door to go with me.  It would never have happened.  Charley used to do his full grooming routine, including ‘skunk piss’, before he would leave the house, including to head to the Y and work out on the machines.  I argued with him about that, because on the way home he would stop at my store when I was working, to shop or to just say hello, and he was always absolutely drenched in sweat, looking like a dirt ball.  Thankfully that was good skunk piss because he still aways smelled good.  Heaven forbid that he show up at the Y not looking his best, maybe it was because of the ‘exercise divas’, as his trainer friends called them.  But no, I shouldn’t lament that I have to head out the door alone to take pictures, because most likely if I didn’t head out when the thought struck I probably wouldn’t head out at all.

Besides, because of that I never know where I’ll be in the next five minutes, it’s a bit of an adventure.  As long as I keep finding my way home again it’ll be okay…