Pippa “Pipsqueak” Wiggleton

This is my latest foster, Pippa. Or Pips. She was a Piper, but she’s classier than that.

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She’s 6 mos now and is a pit bull terrier mix. Very deadly. Terrifying. Like a mouse. She’s become best friends with Peanut, although he complains that she kicks him in the face and snores too loudly.

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She is really a sweetheart. Except when she refuses to come inside and makes me pick her up and carry her back into the house.

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And sometimes she refuses to get off the bed. I thought there wasn’t a dog who loved bed more than Bella. Then I met Pippa. I have to drag her off the bed just so I can get on with my day.

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Pippa will be available for adoption soon through Louie’s Legacy Animal Rescue. She is a snuggle pup and such a sweet, goofy dog.

Emotional Manipulators

A friend of mine shared this recently and it resonated strong with me:
8 Ways to Protect Yourself From Emotional Manipulation

Emotional manipulators have no sense of accountability. They take no responsibility for themselves or their behavior – it is always about what everyone else has “done to them”.

I have dealt with several of these manipulators and this part is always the same. I am always the bad guy, the mean one, the one who doesn’t care enough. Nothing is ever good enough for an emotional manipulator and they act like they are owed something, despite whatever bullshit they dump on someone. I owe them nothing. Not my compassion, not my kindness and certainly not my friendship. Those are given to those who truly deserve it.

Artifacts of a Life

How does one file away ten years?
It’s one thing to move on and never look back, but no one mentions what is to be done with the random shit lying around, waiting to remind me of all these feelings I’m trying to shut up. The wedding dress is easy; I found an organization to donate it to. And honestly I probably would have donated it anyway regardless of the divorce because what am I gonna do with a wedding dress? I’d much rather see it get reused and have a purpose. But what am I supposed to do with wedding photos and stuff like that? It was easy the first time I got divorced. Given the circumstances, I was completely fine setting all remnants into a bonfire and being done with it. I could purge myself completely of that person.

But this time…I just can’t do that. I mean, I could, but it doesn’t seem like the correct solution, or at least not like a non-emotional one. Do I just box them up for Peanut to have at some point? Do I toss them? Burn them anyway? I really don’t know. A wedding album does not have any use for me any more other than trudging up feelings of heartache, and I have no need for more of that either. I don’t want to revisit the past.

Did anyone write a manual on this stuff, cause I could certainly use it now?

Distance

I am finding that it was easier to deal with certain feelings 1200 miles away. I’m sure that’s the novelty of being out of town. Business or vacation, things feel far enough away to let my guard down and relax.
Today was a little more challenging than I’ve had in a while. I have this stupid emotional side trying to self-sabotage my progress and the logical, rational side doing everything it can to shut those emotions up. Once again, I am yearning for a switch.
I feel so drained and worn out lately. It’s most likely related to my just coming back from traveling, but there are moments when I think “Shit. I am on my own here.” In all honesty, I am never truly alone, but there is a tiny bit of fear and panic that creeps in now and then. When those feelings start to take over, every little thing feels like a pang to my heart. There’s not else to do but try to push those emotions aside and reassure myself that I’ll be fine.
It just takes patience, which I seem to be running short of these days.

Words of Wisdom

I have been told many things by many friends and family as they encouraged me to pick up and move forward with life. I am fortunate to be surrounded by such amazing people; people who are insistent that I am a much stronger person than I feel sometimes and people who seem to know how to put things in perspective exactly when I need it most. I definitely feel re-focused post-trip, plus I’ve been keeping busy which helps. Anyway, this bit of advice was shared with me in one of my less focused moments and it resonated so strongly with me:
 

Love is the thing that gets you through this. Love for your kids, for yourself…Love is what causes you to do what you have to do, no matter how hard it is or how much it hurts.

Thoughts on educating our children

Earlier this month, I participated in a focus group with The Mission List about public education and the common issues and concerns centered around the public school system. Both of my boys attend public school, but the choice of the school was a well-researched and deliberate decision on my part. There are few things as important to me for my children than a good education. I have told them and continue to tell them that education is key for everything. A few people are fortunate to get by without a college education or even a high school diploma, but those that are successful are already self-made, ambitious, and determined to succeed. Obtaining a proper education and an advanced one at that is liken to gaining a powerful ally in your corner. My own background consisted of private schools, but the tuition these days is not something I really can afford. (Seriously, how did MY parents manage it with 4 kids??) When Phoenix was barely a toddler, I began researching schools. By the time kindergarten age arrived, we were living in a lovely neighborhood that had an abysmal public school in the district. I opted for private school for him, up through 3rd grade. By the middle of 3rd grade, we had found a rental in the neighborhood I coveted. The school ratings were consistently high year after year. What really sold me, and what makes the particular school district so good, was the involvement of the community in the school. I have never seen an entire community so invested in the education of their kids. Without the parents acting as advocates for their children, I don’t think the school district would be nearly as successful.

The move to the school was a good one. I feel like my kids have wonderful opportunities for them in this district. While other communities are losing funds for arts and other so-called “electives”, our community rallies for the funds to keep our programs safe. I found my experiences with my kids’ school and educators has not been the standard to other parents in the focus group, especially when it came to communication. Our school district has embraced social media and electronic communication, so updates are never farther than a Facebook post or email away. But again, I feel like this is due mainly in part to the parents pushing and advocating this system.

What about your experiences? Have you worked with your community and fellow parents to create change in the school or the district? Was it successful? What about communication between yourself and your child’s teachers or the school administrators? Do you find any kinks in the communication channels that you want fixed?

Please share your thoughts below in the comments!

Detoxing

I’m typing this about 10,000 feet up in the air, give or take. Wi-Fi is a wonderful thing. I’m heading back home after a combo work/fun trip in beautiful Colorado. I met some amazing people and filled my head with all sorts of knowledge and plans. I tacked on an extra day in my trip, not knowing during the time I booked it that it would be an almost necessary addition.
I desperately needed to set a reset button. I hate to use phrases like “drama” because, for starters, I am not 12 years old. More importantly, I think chalking things up as “dramaaaaa” attempts to excuse one from their own part in the bullshit permeating their life, but it also puts us in a passive role in our lives. We still maintain a level of control in terms of the type of people we associate with, what they add (or subtract) to our lives, and how we react to things. If you feel there is too much “drama” in your life, take a long hard look at yourself and your choices and figure out what the hell you are doing wrong to attractive, allow and cause what I otherwise call useless bullshit.
But yes, bullshit was around. And I am responsible for it affecting me. I required an emotional detox. Few things provide better perspective and clarity than distance and nature. Seriously. Go stand at the top of a mountain and then decide if bullshit is worth the effort. Mountains are cool like that.

The “fun” stage of my trip went beautifully. I drove from Denver to Estes Park to stay at the Stanley Hotel, because why the hell not?

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I had asked for a haunted room and that request was granted. I had done some research on the room I was assigned and was a little hesitant about what I was getting myself into. I found comfort from the Stanley’s resident psychic, Madame Vera. She mentioned that only the kid ghosts would “visit” me. More on that in a bit. Madame Vera was such an amazing person. I have never gone the psychic route but I figured I might as well. She knew so much and laid down some much needed true talk on my ass. Even if there is no truth to the “psychic” part, she has some sage wisdom. I will definitely be going back to her when time and the situation allows.
Now onto the “haunted” part of The Stanley. I’m not 100% sure of the validity of ghosts, but I did have some interesting experiences. The first happened during a ghost tour that I took. I was standing in this tunnel under the hotel with my back to this corner where we were told a ghost hugged someone to photo bomb them, essentially. The guide went on to talk about how the founder of the Stanley died of a “broken heart” months after his wife died. I got a tad emotional and that’s when I felt pressure in my back, like when someone puts a hand in the middle of your back. I leaned into the feeling, not remembering that I was on the trip alone. I jumped and looked behind me to see if someone was there perving out on me, but nope.
There was an incident with a ghost who likes to close doors, but I’m not convinced that this particular haunting isn’t more of an issue of an uneven floor. The good stuff happened in my room, after I went to bed. I woke up but didn’t open my eyes. I sat there in the darkness hearing the sounds of things moving in the room, plus with a few knocks here and there. As I started to think “eh, creaks from an old house”, I hear what I can only describe as pitter patter. It sounded like kids running around carpet. I laid in bed listening to the sound coming mere feet from me, trying to determine if I should be brave and open my eyes. I did not opt for bravery. The sounds went on for several hours and I finally drifted back to sleep for an hour or so.
The rest of my trip involved an escape into the mountains. I left early in the morning, hoping to see more wildlife. I didn’t get to see as much wildlife as I hoped, but it was fantastic trip, even with my rental car that had zero pickup to it. The auto trail goes into the tundra part of the mountains, which is amazing. And cold. Stupid cold. I was SO unprepared.
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Driving up the mountain was still worth it for the experience alone. The road hugged the edge of the mountain at times and the air was so crisp. I felt amazing. Maybe it was the altitude but I felt my head clear for the first time in weeks. And I became friends with all the marmots up there. They are cool little rodents.
Trip endings are always bittersweet, no matter what the circumstances. I miss my kids and pets, but we also don’t have mountains where I live. Or marmots! Also, unrelated, I’ve noticed this one truth in travel: it does matter what airport you are in; there will always be some dude in a cowboy hat.

0-2

I’ve tossed this post around in my head, trying to figure out how to write it and trying to reign in any emotional overflow. It’s taken over a week and I think I’m finally at the point where I can tip-toe out and say this: I’m in the process of dissolving my marriage. It was not where I envisioned things would be after 10 years, but being out of my routine for a few weeks now, I can see where this is a much needed change. It’s hard to accept certain aspects of life and fake contentment for so long. I’m realizing that I don’t need to be complacent with my life. It’s easy to just shrug and say “these are the cards I’ve been dealt”, but at some point a person must recognize that choices have come into play. These choices are not always the best or smartest, but we’re not flying through our lives on the whim of a predestined fate.

I know, this sounds like vague mumbo-jumbo, but I’m not interested in listing all the gritty details in a public forum. My life is changing. It’s a good change, but I have and will have some rocky moments. I am keeping a list of all the awkward places I have started crying at. The weird part is I don’t know why I am crying. It’s like a grieving process, but I’m grieving what I thought I had, not what I actually did, if that makes sense. I’m looking forward to being out of the grieving stage, and as each day goes by that end seems closer. Most of all, I’m looking forward to beginning this new chapter of my life.

Helping the Locey Family

As a pet owner, there is one scenario that you never want to face.  Unfortunately, a dedicated volunteer of Louie’s Legacy Animal Rescue and a wonderful photographer found herself in this devastating scenario.  On the morning of June 19, Carol left for work only to be notified that there had been a fire at her house. Out of her seven beloved pets,  all but one perished. As a friend of Carol, my heart is completely broken for her. Carol gives so selflessly of her time and talent to the rescue. I cannot imagine what she and her husband are going through. A fund has been set up to raise money for the Locey family to help them pick up the pieces and begin to recover from this loss. Please donate and share http://www.gofundme.com/ahw0bo.

In Regards to Freedom of Speech

If there’s one thing that irks me – and believe me, there’s not just one – it’s when people use the argument of “Freedom of Speech” as a catch-all card to justify whatever hateful speech they or someone else is spewing. My favorite is when someone says “I don’t agree with what he says, but hey, Free Speech!”

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Lucky, there’s a comic to explain in fewer, and far better words, what Freedom of Speech really entails:

xkcd Free Speech

Bottom line is, if you say jerkface things in public, don’t be surprised if there are personal consequences from you saying jerkface things. It’s that simple.