Blogging 101: Why am I doing this?

I’ve wanted to write for as long as I can remember, but life kept getting in the way – I like living indoors. I could have made time, I just didn’t. Until now. And what I’m finding is that I have no idea whether my writing is any good. I’ve been writing technical stuff for years and everyone seems to understand what I write. So, I’ve got ‘clear’ down.

I’ve never been much for writing fiction. I prefer creative non-fiction – true stories. My dream is to write something like Thomas Friedman’s Hot, Flat, and Crowded. It doesn’t have to be on global warming; I like the broad research concept. I’m a long way from there, so I’m taking part in blogging 101 to get some feedback on my writing, some practice with the above concept, and create the discipline necessary to keeping moving forward.

I look forward to sharing with the group.





We found Heinz by accident all the way in the back of the shelter. He didn’t wag his tail or come to the front of the cage. He’d been through this before. People looked but turned away when they saw his problems and his age.  He was eleven years old and he’d been there a year. Heinz had lost hope of finding a family again.

Heinz came from a very happy home. He lived with his mom, dad, and four brothers – and his humans, who loved him very much. They all played together and he was never alone. Then the fleas got him. Who knew he was allergic to them. His fur fell out and he got infections from scratching. He looked horrible and felt worse. His humans couldn’t afford the vet bills and they wouldn’t let him suffer. So, they gave him to the Humane Society. They knew he would get the proper care – and he did. But, big patches of fur never grew back. And his chronic ear infections wouldn’t go away. So he stayed in a cage and wore his front teeth to nubs from chewing on the bars.

We were there to look at another dog, but he’d already been adopted. That’s when I wound my way through the maze of cages and found Heinz. I fell in love instantly; he barely looked at me. He knew no one wanted him – everyone wants young, healthy dogs. But, I couldn’t let him die in a cage. So, we took him home.

He gave me a quizzical look when we put him in the car. Like he wasn’t sure what was next. The last time he was in a car he ended up in a cage. Should he hope? Were we taking him back to his brothers – finally?  No, but he was getting a new brother and sister – our two yellow labs. He passed the sniff test and started to play. He ran in circles for so long I thought he would pass out. And then he smiled.

A few years have passed and both of our labs are now gone. Heinz is 16 years old! Amazing! But his arthritis has spread and is getting worse. We are past the glucosamine and strictly on pain meds. He likes to lie in the sun, but, this is Northwest Ohio and the winters are grey and cold. He still plays with our pug puppy. He lets Buddy climb on him and they lie together on the couch. Maybe he will be better in the spring. Maybe we won’t have to “make the decision” until fall. Maybe his heart will give out and we won’t have to make the decision at all. How do we decide when it’s time to say goodbye?

We are living one day at a time. The vet says we will know when it’s time. My husband travels for work and every time he comes home, he sees the decline. I’m here every day and don’t notice it as much. He says it’s time. We gave him a good life and it’s time to let go. I can’t do it.  A few weeks go by. I help Heinz get on the couch and I nuzzle him like I always do. He turns away. Buddy tries to play and Heinz growls at him. I will call the vet in the morning. But, the next morning, he almost runs out the door to chase a squirrel. He lives another day!

We continue this way for a while, but the good days are few and the spring rains bother him. Even I can see that it’s time. Keeping him here is just plain selfish. I call the vet and Heinz gets his last car ride. I cry but I’m not as upset as I thought I would be. I know it was the right decision – until the next morning when I go to help him get off the couch for breakfast. And he isn’t there. Then the grieving begins.

04/27/2014 – There is (still) Holiness in the Air Today

I had to concentrate on the ‘Holiness in the Air’ a great deal the last few days. We just lost a friend to cancer, another has entered hospice, and a third is in Intensive Care and has a 50/50 chance of living. These are all people who are 10+ years older than me, so fear of my own mortality is only slightly on the rise. I’ve heard those older than me say they have moved to the era where they are losing their friends and their world keeps getting smaller. Yikes! I never want to be in that position. That’s one of the things I liked about working at a university; I was surrounded by people of all ages. I enjoyed listening to the ‘adults’ around me. “Why can’t they pull their pants up? What idiot pierces their tongue (nose, navel, eyebrow)?” It reminded me of my mother’s comments years ago. “Turn that music down. I buy you perfectly good clothes. Why do you wear bluejeans? Tell him to get a haircut; he looks like a slob.” I thought I was so unique, but every generation has that rebellious stage. It’s how we separate from our parents.

So, here I am with deep holes in my life left by those who have bid me good-bye. But, my world isn’t smaller. Soon, I will realize that those deep holes are just nesting places for Heidi, Mary, Cathy, Sheryl, Melanie, Kent, John, and so many more. I am a very lucky woman who has the coolest life on the planet.

04/21/2014 – There is Holiness in the Air Today

I took an early retirement in 2012. Best thing I ever did. Not enough money (after all those years!) but the health insurance is great. Since then, I’ve been looking for my next career. I’ve been doing some editing – faculty journal articles, dissertations, etc., but that seems to have dried up. Or I’m not pursuing it correctly. I’ve done some writing, but just can’t seem to get any momentum. I’ve applied for jobs to no avail. I know God (or the Universe, or Allah, or Higher Power – whatever works) has something wonderful in store for me. Something I recently saw – When you are down and out, God is up to something. So, I quit working at it and now I’m trying to be quiet and just listen. This may be working (I’m not ready to trust it just yet), First came the affirmations, then the personal trainer, then the idea to write about this journey. I’m not writing to create a business, or inform anyone. I’m just being me for all the world to see. And, poof, I have three followers. How cool is that!

Today, I start an online writing class through Coursera. It’s taught by a Duke faculty member! I’m so looking forward to it. One of my next career options is to write creative non-fiction. That’s what this blog is, on a very low level. That’s what Jonathon Katz does when he is writing about his dogs. That’s what Thomas Friedman does in his books on global warming and global economies. I have my work cut out for me, but the course is designed to promote research backed writing. I won’t be trying out much of my material here since publishers want unpublished articles and books.

Time to hit the gym. I haven’t  lost any weight yet, but  I am following the program. More will be revealed…

2014/04/18 – There is Holiness in the Air Today

I am on day 3 of my new eating plan and day 2 of exercise. No weight loss yet 🙂 And I’m very sore. I spent an hour on the treadmill yesterday and angered a tendon in my ankle. A few years ago, I spent 6 weeks in a soft cast and I don’t want to go back there. So, today, I worked out on the exercise bike. That helped my ankle, but my arms are now sore. This too shall pass… The eating plan is pretty simple: eat every 2 hours, alternating a carb and a protein from the list. That will expand in a few weeks; this is the quick start program.

I’m still optimistic and have not deviated from the program. But, I’m dying for a piece of chocolate. I will wait until my 5 week check-in and decide after I see the results.

The pug is awake and demanding attention. Time to play!

2014/04/15 – There’s Holiness in the Air Today

That line stopped me dead in my tracks. We get so immersed in our day that we don’t notice most of what goes on around us. I like to operate in a straight line. Isn’t that the most efficient way? But my life meanders. So, when I stopped to think about the holiness surrounding me, I began a winding journey. While searching my bookcase for something else, I found Louise Hay’s book, “You can Heal Your Life.” That put me back on the affirmation path and my first two affirmations had to do with my weight. I’m 61 years old and no longer a size 10 and nothing seems to change that. A week or so after repeating the affirmations daily, my husband made an appointment for me with a personal trainer.

So, today was the big day. I listened closely because this guy knows what he is doing. He is a REAL trainer, not the 16 year old kid at the gym. I signed up for the nutrition program which gives me one free training session, use of his gym, a month’s worth of vitamins, and a heart monitor for one fee. No monthly gym fees and he will check me every 5 weeks to see how I am progressing – forever. I’m supposed to eat every 2 hours for the first 2 weeks. The plan looks like a lot of food, but we will see. I’m excited but scared. I’ve tried so many things and every year there’s a few more pounds. Will this work?