Finding our way

It’s been months and months since I last posted here. They have been hard months, but I guess there’s that whole “if it doesn’t kill you, it makes you stronger” piece and, well, I am still here.

Life is all about transitions right now. Spring is here and the days are getting longer and I have started hiking again, which is a very good thing.

I was hoping to hike the whole Appalachian Trail this summer but it’s impossible to pick up and leave when you have 4 cats and a spare dog. (I was planning to take Steve.)

Maybe next year, though it’s awfully hard to feel optimistic.

Anyway, my optimism did supply me with the equipment for a night or two in the woods, so Hambone, Steve, and I wandered off into the woods several weeks ago for our first overnight.


I am still trying to figure out where everything goes in my pack! There is a lot of stuff and not much space! Plus now I have a dog sleeping bag hooked on the outside as well because Ham is a sissy.

But it was wonderful. I failed at fire-making 101, but otherwise everything went well. I love my little tent.


I haven’t been able to schedule another overnight, but I have been obsessing over my guidebook trying to figure something out.

We’ve also been doing a lot of day hikes, both on the Appalachian Trail and off. Lots of state gamelands and a couple of state parks. We hiked 28 miles in one week. Pretty awesome.

It feels good to be outside. It feels good to use my body, to sweat, to sit on the rocks looking out on an amazing view and have a snack.

Is this real life?



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Overwhelming gratitude

There is so much difficult right now– all these financial stresses, a new diagnosis of fibromyalgia from the rheumatologist I saw on Monday, looking at having to leave my long-time therapist due to not being able to afford insurance that will allow me to see her.

And yet I am overwhelmed with gratitude. I am overwhelmed by the outpouring of donations through my Go Fund Me campaign to help me afford to sell my house. To those of you from here who have donated, I don’t know how to thank you enough. To those of you who have shared my link, thank you. The more people who see it, the more likely I am to reach my goal. Closing is now set up for the 30th, but the buyer has access to the house to begin repairs and work on it, so there is security in that because I know he is not going to walk away.



Feelings of shame, feelings of being a con-artist.

Because there is no way I could deserve this kindness from friends much less from strangers.

And ever so grateful for this crazy dog who stays by my side through all of it, who goes to day hospital every day and just chills. This dog who never chills at home. This dog who broke the entertainment center yesterday, spinning and killing his toy. This dog who is immediately on his feet and in my lap when my anxiety starts to rise. This dog who just knows.


I am grateful to his breeder for creating him and entrusting him to me. I am grateful to her for taking my baby Bean back when I could no longer care for him. No question. No blame. No wavering. Gratitude that she is going to keep him and not just place him, that he gets to still play flyball and that he is so comfortable being handled by whoever is available (having been to several tournaments without me because I was inpatient) that he was putting down 3.8s and 3.9s in the pack for her.

He is a lot to be proud of.

I miss him so much but he is better off with her.

Grateful to all of my friends for their patience and their support. Grateful for the internet and all the friends I have made there over the years, simply because we were brought together in places of mutual interest. Rats. Dogs. Books. Mental illness.

I’ve known some of you for almost 20 years now. Unbelievable.

We are all still here.

I love you.

I am beside myself with gratitude.

I don’t know how to thank you enough.

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This is the face of shame. This is the face of desperation.

This is the face of mental illness, I suppose.

Last February I had my hours at the job where I had worked for over 9 years cut from full to part time due to being unreliable as a result of needing psych hospitalizations with no warning and with no word when I’d be back. With this, too, went my work-funded health insurance. Less money, more bills.

In June, I had to leave my job completely in order to attend 5-day-a-week day hospitalization for my depression and PTSD. Since then, I’ve had no income. I’ve spent 7 weeks total locked in the inpatient ward. I’ve been living off my dwindling savings and credit cards (bad move).

I did get a part time job in a library, briefly, but lost the position when I ended up back inpatient for 3 1/2 weeks.

Finally, a few weeks ago, I got what I thought was terrific news– the house that I panic moved out of several years ago finally had a prospective buyer. His offer was less than what I owed on my home equity loan, but I figured that would be fine. What I didn’t realize at the time was that the loan was against the house that I am selling, not the home I live in.

It has to be paid in full in order to sell the house. I cannot get a replacement loan against the home that I do live in because I have no job and have not yet qualified for disability.

So I need to come to the table with $12,000 that I straight up do not have.

I can get $5600 in a cash advance off a credit card at 25% interest, but even if I do that, I have no way to come up with the rest of it. I don’t know what to do.

It is taking so much for me to just keep treading water, just to keep from drowning, and now what was supposed to be a huge weight off my shoulders is instead a disaster. All I want to do is give up. Walk away from life. I cannot afford to sell a freaking house. I cannot afford to exist anymore.

My dear friend showed up yesterday with two bags of groceries for me. I was so grateful and so ashamed.

I should be better than this. I should be self-sufficient. I should be able to work and pay my bills. I shouldn’t need to depend on anybody, I shouldn’t need handouts.

I cannot do it.

I am so broken right now.

At the urging of both my therapist and a good friend, I started a GoFundMe account. A good exercise in letting go of pride, right? A good lesson in how to ask for help, how to accept grace.

So I am putting it here. If you feel moved to donate, you have my endless thanks. If you can share it with your friends, I’d be deeply thankful also. If all you’ve got is a few words of encouragement, hell I could use those to.

Repeat after me: I am doing the best that I can. That will have to be enough, because it’s all I’ve got.

Click Here to reach my GoFundMe Page

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Still truckin’

Finished another horsie book. I always find it helpful during binge-reading attacks to pick light and fluffy reads for the most part. Short books that make me feel successful and that keep the pace faster.


And Claudia Emerson’s last book of poetry, published after cancer stole her. She was my mentor in college. Kind, wise, generous. I always meant to write her and tell her how much the time she spent with me shaped not only my writing, but my life, and I never did. And now I never can.


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One book down



Yay for horsie books!



Diversity shelfie!


Support crew isn’t being very supportive.

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Mini Challenge: Intro Meme

1) What fine part of the world are you reading from today?

East Coast USA

2) Which book in your stack are you most looking forward to?

I am all stocked up on kiddy lit horse books today, but I have the last book of poetry my amazing college creative writing professor and mentor published (posthumously) and I am both terrified and looking forward to reading it.

3) Which snack are you most looking forward to?

Not a snack exactly but I am craving lemonade like nobody’s business, so at some point I need to run out and buy some.

4) Tell us a little something about yourself!

I am (obviously) a dog-a-holic, and I am totally distracted today by the livestream of this year’s CanAm North-American flyball tournament. Flyball is this crazy sport of teams of four dogs racing over jumps to retrieve a tennis ball and bring it back, and my dogs are total addicts. Check it out!

5) If you participated in the last read-a-thon, what’s one thing you’ll do different today? If this is your first read-a-thon, what are you most looking forward to?

If I need a nap, I’m going to take a nap and do this for fun, not in a militant fashion.

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Good morning Readathon!

For the next (maybe) 24 hours, I’ll be participating in Dewey’s Readathon. Not sure I’ll make it for the whole 24, especially since I am feeling some very serious “go back to bed” vibes, but we’ll see. It’s always a fun day of reading and communing with other book nerds, and I always enjoy it.



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Falling to pieces.

I spent the end of August and the first three weeks of September inpatient again, fighting through despair and excruciating anxiety, through a med change, and developing chronic pain issue that no one seems to be able to diagnose. I donated another six tubes of blood yesterday and all the results will undoubtedly be normal. I have an appointment with a rheumatologist but their first appointment available isn’t until October 19th. Funsies.

I am so grateful that my friends were able to swoop in with no notice and take care of my dogs. I wish I knew how to tell them that they are life-savers, that if it weren’t for them, I wouldn’t be able to go inpatient, I wouldn’t be able to get better.

My Border Collies spent 6+ weeks this summer living with their breeder. This is why people go to good breeders. Because they have your back, because they care what happens to the dogs they produce.

I ended up returning Bean, which was a horrible decision to make. He has been my sunshine and butterflies dog, always so happy and full of enthusiasm. He has been so much fun to hike with, to run in flyball, and to play with in general. But right now I just can’t give him what he needs. He has all the energy of a 3 year old pup and I can’t keep up with him. With his breeder, he gets plenty of time running and playing with other dogs. Rumor has it that he likes to go to work with her. He seems to get to go lake swimming quite a bit as well.

He belongs there.

Steve, on the other hand, belongs with me.

I also sent Toothless back to his mom. He is such a fun dog and I love the snot out of him, but again, I just can’t.

So a four-dog home down to a two-dog home just like that. It is so empty and quiet, but it is so much less stressful. I feel a lot of guilt, but I did what was right especially for Bean. He should be happy, he deserves to run and play, and I just am unable to give him that.

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The more life changes

It’s going on three months now since I left my job as a veterinary technician so that I could pursue full-time psychiatric outpatient care. Add a little 12-day adventure on the inpatient unit (yay I spent Christmas AND my birthday behind locked doors) and week after week of 8:30-3:30 day hospital, a whole bunch of medications, a whole lot of alcohol, and no money, and here I sit.

Somewhere I thought I’d never be.

I started a part time job for lousy pay at a semi-local library. I think I’ll be good at it. I’m hoping I will be able to move to something full-time and perhaps better-paying in time. I like being around books. I like not being around constant death. I miss those extra $5/hour. But it fits around my now three half-days a week psycho program.

And still I struggle. With depression. With anxiety. With sleep. With nightmares and panic attacks and complete lack of motivation to do anything. I’ve stopped running, I’ve stopped geocaching, I’ve stopped doing much of anything. Lie on the couch and watch endless episodes of House. Struggle into grown up clothes for 18 hours a week of employment.

I also have a new pup to snuggle. My friend and flyball teammate’s sport hybrid Toothless is now living with me. He’s a little too terrier for her, but having never had a terrier brain before, she didn’t know that til he grew up in her house. She’s a better person than me, giving up a dog she just hadn’t bonded with to a life with someone who would appreciate him. I should have done that with Mushroom but I never did.

Anyway, he’s little, he’s adorbs, he’s smart, he’s excessively licky, and he doesn’t bark.



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The saddest of good-byes.

I ended up having to take Trek back to the shelter. When the behaviorist came, she thought we would have a good shot at success if I could change both Steve and Trek’s reaction to one another. And I think that it would have worked, would have made a respectable difference. It was based in what I would have done / was doing anyway, but with other facets that I’d not considered, like asking Steve to hop up and then hop off the couch and immediately sit and give me his attention. Same with Trek.

But the very next day, Trek started gunning for Bean’s face. He had no reason. Bean doesn’t stare, Bean does everything he can to not make waves. I had been bitten at least ten times by that point, and I just couldn’t do it anymore.

It’s a horrible thing knowing that you can’t cope with a dog and that the other option is that he’s going to end up dead. Because no good and responsible shelter in its right mind is going to adopt out a dog with multiple bites to multiple dogs, and multiple bites to a human.

He did have good bite inhibition, I must say. The day he got my pinky finger straight on, I was sure I was going to lose it, but I walked away with just a small booboo. He didn’t break skin on Steve. He did lay open a part of Bean’s muzzle.

It was awful taking him back. It tasted of failure and regret. He was such an amazing dog. He had so much going for him. But he just couldn’t work in this household. Maybe it’s because he was male and he needs to live with girldogs. Maybe he needs to be his own dog. I don’t know. Whatever it is, I suspect it’s out of reach. I am pretty sure he’s dead.

My heart hurts so much. I feel so guilty for sending him to his death. But I had to make the right decision for the dogs already here, and I could never bare it if he did serious harm to one of my resident dogs just because I failed to act boldly enough.

Oh Trek, wherever you are, I wish you well. I hope you are safe. I hope you are happy. I hope the couches are comfy and the toys never-ending.

I am sorry I failed you.

Oh little man,  I hope you are safe and spoiled, whever you are.

Oh little man, I hope you are safe and spoiled, whever you are.

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