• Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

    Join 156 other followers

  • “Writing, to me, is simply thinking through my fingers” — Isaac Asimov

  • Recent Posts

  • Pages

  • Categories

  • Archives

  • Blog Stats

    • 161,693 hits

From a Distance

Today is day 4 post-Hurricane Michael, and I’m sitting in a friend’s pool house in Auburn, Alabama reflecting on the past two days.  I’ll go ahead and ask for forgiveness ahead of time because there is some rambling as my emotions are all over the place right now.

In some ways, I feel disconnected from the cleanup that is going on at home.  I’m keeping up with it via social media and daily check-ins with my friend, Megan, but it’s hard to sit back while others are living out the hard stuff.

With that said, the Mr. has mandated that I stay away.  He’s working with Emergency Management to coordinate relief efforts and the restoration of necessary services to make life livable again.

Meanwhile, I’m watching from a distance and doing my best to put one foot in front of the other despite wanting to crawl into bed and sleep until it’s over.

Yesterday afternoon, the dogs and I made the short trek from our hotel to this beautiful home after spending that morning in the hotel lobby watching guests come and go.

At one point, the manager came out and chatted with me.  I’m glad he did because it gave me the opportunity to personally thank him for waiving the no-pets rule and allowing us to stay.  If you’re looking for one of the most accommodating hotels in the Auburn-Opelika area, I highly recommend the Fairfield Inn at Tigertown.

My car, at that point, smelled like wet dog.  It had rained for a day and a half thanks to the storm that had traveled northeast.

The dogs have been good sports throughout this ordeal.  Pele has been super-stressed, but he has continued to trust me – even when stuffed in a car with a lot of other things.

Notice how much of that stuff belongs to the dogs and how little belongs to me?  Priorities, people!

The house we’re staying at is the same one the Mr. and I visited last year when we came to an Auburn game.

It is akin to a resort, I kid you not.  The amount of land is breathtaking.  The dogs took to the yard immediately.

I have been filled with an incredible amount of sadness and helplessness, so this time to regroup is appreciated.

I haven’t smiled a lot, but being outside in the beautiful weather helped a little.

The dogs and I are leaning on each other with all of the strange happenings.

We stayed outside, poolside, for a couple of hours.

I can’t lie, though.  I feel as though I’ve aged a few years.  Maybe that sounds bad to say given my surroundings, but it’s about as hard emotionally to be away as it would have been to be in town.

My heart longs to be with my people . . . actually doing something to help.

My hosts are some of the nicest people you will ever meet.  T, the wife, is as laid-back as they come.  She took us for a ride on whatever the vehicle is called (pictured below).

Gambit was pretty scared, at first, but he settled in as we went from one side of the property to the other.

This place could be used as a mental health getaway, I kid you not.  It’s just so peaceful.

After we got done riding around, we returned to the main house.  T encouraged me to take the dogs’ leashes off because she wanted the dogs to be as comfortable as possible (she’s really my kind of person), and boy, you should have seen Gambit.  He was totally in his element.  I think he was meant to be a country dog.

Pele has been cautious.  At twelve years old, he’s not keen on change, so he’s sticking close to me.

T took me with her to a shindig her sister-in-law was hosting.  Y’all, if you think my current surroundings are something else, you should have seen the house we went to.  It was an architectural delight that I wish I could have taken photos of but couldn’t because it would have been rude.  The house belongs in a magazine – French style with a courtyard and everything.

The Mr. called me during the get-together, and I held out hope that I’d be able to go home sooner rather than later.

I went to bed with homesickness in my heart but also gratitude for a comfortable place to stay.  I slept well, but I found myself getting up fairly early.

The dogs and I made our way downstairs into the wonderfully crisp air.  While I chatted with Chicky on the phone, the dogs kept watch on the robot pool cleaner thing.

Pele refused to eat breakfast.  I’m very worried about him, despite the smile on his face.  That’s a stressed-out smile.

Gambit, on the other hand, is embracing this for the adventure that it is.

He’s loving the extra time with me . . . time when I’d normally be working or distracted by other things.

My hosts graciously invited me to attend the Auburn game with them.  They have a block of seats for each game.  Fortunately, I’d thrown an Auburn shirt into my suitcase when I’d packed in a rush, so I was dressed appropriately.

On the way in, we saw the makings of a wedding . . .

A tailgate wedding . . .

A short walk later, we’d found our way to our seats.

Watching the eagle make its way to the field always takes my breath away.

Untitled

The entrance of the band is always fun to watch . . . so full of pageantry.

Untitled

I’ve got to tell you, though, that as much as I love these games, and as glad as I was that I was there, my heart was still so very, very heavy.  The band started playing America the Beautiful, and the crowd started singing it, and I started crying quietly, tears running down my face.

I thought of home and the beauty that was stripped away so viciously.

Then, I thought about how resilient my hometown folks are.  Already, debris is being cleaned up, a long process to be sure but one that is proceeding.

I thought about a devotion I’d recently read about God using dust to create beautiful things – how He created mankind from the dust of the earth.

America is beautiful not just because of its landscape but because of the people.

Watching how the people in my city and other cities around the country are coming to one another’s aid is so humbling.

I drew comfort from T, my friend, as she put her arm around me to console me,

I found kind, listening ears in the orthopedic surgeon I met today, a friend of L (T’s husband) as he asked about my home and what everyone is going through.  He was genuinely interested and actually shocked at how dire it is back home.

The game’s preparation continued, and again, I found myself emotional as the flag was unfurled.

I thought of my sweet boy, serving his country and yet still finding the time to text me regularly to check in.

The flyover was breathtaking.

Untitled

Y’all, I am a hot mess right now and don’t really know when to smile and when to cry.

I did get caught up in the game, the highs and the lows (lots of lows as our season really sucks this year).

The halftime show was sweet and ended with a tribute to those fighting cancer and those who have survived it.

The final score of the game was sad though.

After tailgating with T and L’s family, we headed back to their house and watched more football.

The Mr. called in the middle of one of the games.

His update was filled with bad news.  There’s still no water, and the sewer system isn’t close to being fixed because they haven’t gotten generators yet.  I told him about the sewage backup I’d seen in a photo in our neighborhood group on Facebook.  It’s backing up into numerous streets.

Sounds third-world, eh?

The Mr. doesn’t want me going home until both the water and sewer are restored.  We can deal without electricity, but the other two things are essential for decent living.

He told me that people are trying to leave our town – that’s how bad it is.

I’ve seen the long lines of people waiting for food, water, and other essential items.  The needs are great.

So, although I am desperate to get home and be with those I live next to and work with, I’m not.

I had told the Mr. that I needed him to be in charge – a rare admission for this go-getter, overachieving gal.

He’s doing that and with much gusto too.

He needs me where I can actually help him once he wraps his head around what he, personally, needs.  It’s funny how he can assess needs for the general public, but focusing on stuff in a more narrow scope is mentally draining.

Prayer Requests:

  • Decision making for those in charge – There are so very many small details that must be attended to before the big things can come into play
  • Wisdom – Something of this magnitude hasn’t been seen in our area before
  • Generators for the lifts needs for the sewer system
  • Protection from looters – Because bad people come out of the woodwork
  • Honest repair companies that won’t try to scam people – This is happening to people in my neighborhood!
  • Those who are living out the daily grind of cleanup, finding food and other basic necessities
  • Those of us who left and are watching from afar – It’s hard to be patient and let others do the work
  • Pele – I’m super worried about him.  He’s hardly eating at all, is drinking a lot, and is struggling physically with his back legs.  I took him to the vet the day we evacuated, and although she ran bloodwork and said he’s doing fine, I know that he’s not.  He’s trying to keep up, but he’s slowing down, and I don’t think my heart can take another loss.  I am praying that this is just stress and nothing else.

A Woman, Two Dogs, Sweet Tea, and a Couple Dozen Muffins

Confession Time . . .

I am a coward.

I ran away from Hurricane Michael in the middle of the night.

A mere couple of hours after penning my words of bravado, I caved to the fear.

The Mr. called me after the 11pm update with the news that the storm was now a Cat 4 with sustained winds of 135mph, and we made the decision that I should leave.

I quickly called Super Sis.  She and her hubby had fled to Alabama earlier in the day, and she had called to check on me. She was happy when I called her and told her I was on my way.

I ran around the house like a crazy woman, throwing clothes, shoes, makeup, and bathing essentials into a suitcase.

Y’all, have you ever had to pick up and run with nary a moment to plan?

I cannot tell you how hard it was to decide what to take.

I looked around my house and wondered what I could live without because if I can be honest with you, I knew that my home might not be the same when I returned.

Sobering thoughts.

I wound up grabbing a small jewelry box that I keep my rings in and threw in a couple of necklaces and my favorite bracelet.

I snatched my laptop from the table I keep it on, its charger, my phone charger, and my good camera.

As I passed my dining room table, I slipped my knitting bag over my arm and stuffed in my newest project.  I also swiped my recently finished cowl and shawl from the table – items I still hadn’t gotten around to photographing.

I passed the bar in my kitchen and took two or three books from a stack.

Before I could put anything in the car, I stuffed the dogs’ beds in the back so they would be comfortable during our journey.  I packed the rest of my stuff around them once I got them in the car.

Then, I put my newly purchased snacks and water in the car along with dog food and the dogs’ bowls.

It was a frantic thirty minutes.

Before I closed the door for the last time, I ran back in and grabbed the muffins I’d baked earlier and the gallon of sweet tea I’d purchased that afternoon.  A girl’s gotta eat, storm or no storm.

Leaving my house was so hard.  I felt like I was a two-timer.

I prayed over my house as I left.

Such a sad thing.

But y’all, I didn’t have time to feel sorry for myself.  It was late, and I had many miles to cover.

The dogs had gotten used to riding in the car thanks to our weekly jaunts.  It’s funny how God prepares us for such things, eh?

Super Sis called to let me know that she’d reserved a hotel room for me a mile away from hers, and that the hotel was allowing pets because of the storm.  Praise God!

I’d been concerned about the roads being congested, but at that time of the night, my worry was in vain.  There was hardly any traffic.

I gassed up an hour into my trip, called the Mr. to let him know where I was, and continued my drive.

I listened to the Bible Binge podcast along the way to help keep me awake.  My mind was alert, but my eyes were so tired.  This girl doesn’t see well at night, so I drove carefully.

My ultimate destination was a small town outside of Auburn.  Turning off of a main highway onto one of the country roads made me perk up.  I grew up in Alabama, so the route was familiar.

I’d turned off the podcast and had begun listening to a Christian station.  When this song came on, I belted it out, touched by the words – so timely given the storm bearing down on my hometown.

So sad, y’all, but such a great reminder that God never lets go of us.

I finally got to the hotel – thankfully – because the dogs had gotten antsy.

Props to the Marriott folks for the kind lady who was manning the night desk.  She had been expecting me and was so patient as I couldn’t hardly think straight by then.  It was 3:30am, and I’d been awake since 9 the day before.

I’d been given the last room – a handicapped suite – so spacious for my big dogs and their big beds.

They were a little nervous about going into the elevator, but heck, this whole trip has been about firsts so there’s that.

The dogs were a bit out of sorts despite the smile on Gambit’s face.

It took them a long time to go to sleep.  Of course, I still haven’t slept; my heart is incredibly heavy for my husband, who’s still back home, and for my friends and students who stayed behind.

I’m keeping my eyes glued to the Weather Channel.  Between those updates and the ones I’m getting from the Mr., I just can’t sleep.

This storm is one of the strongest my area has ever seen, and some people predict that it could reach a Cat 5 status.  The last update had it intensifying even more.

Please continue to pray for that area.  I’m sitting here sick to my stomach as I type this.  I am incredibly worried.

I’m also glad that I’m where I am because I would have had to sit through that monster by myself.

Thanks you!

 

Weekend Miscellany

Miscellany – yes, that’s a word.  I looked it up just to be sure.

Let’s talk about random things from the weekend.

Saturday

I got in my walk and did #somuchgood

Here’s the photo without the Charity Miles info . . . because Gambit is so cute.

I received a package in the mail . . .

Megan showed hers off during our meeting last Thursday, and I think two or three of us ordered one on the spot.  I’ll let you know how it works!  I’m hopeful because being able to stand in proximity to some of my more spirited students, as opposed to standing in front of the board, will take my classroom management skills up a few notches!

I spent most of the day reading and finished this book . . .

It was excellent!  I gave it four stars on Goodreads.  The author has another book coming out in January.  I’ll probably pre-order it.

Sunday

I slept in, opting to skip church because of the loud music and my head. The dogs were not amused because they were waiting for breakfast.

After they ate, I went for a walk.  Then, I did some laminating.

For some reason, I was really tired, so I slept for an hour.  Unfortunately, I woke up to find a migraine brewing.

I also had a craving for a cherry slushy, so I loaded up the boys and took them along for the ride.

Aren’t their faces priceless?

Despite taking a pain pill, which I had been able to avoid the past few days, the headache lingered.

I decided to do some baking.  I used the same recipe as last week, but this time, I topped them with chocolate frosting, a suggestion from the recipe writer (she kindly responded to the question I asked on her Instagram post).

Untitled

The frosting is amazing!  It tastes like the kind I’ve always bought at the store.

The Mr. had been at work all day, not his usual schedule but that’s how it goes.  When he got home, he saw that I wasn’t feeling well and kindly ate leftovers.  Bless him.

Meanwhile, I wound up a skein of yarn for a new project.

Weekends sure do fly by, even when you’re not doing a whole lot.

Weekending with Auburnchick

It’s Tuesday, and I’m only now getting around to posting about last weekend.

Yep, school prep is in high gear.

Sigh.

Let’s begin with Friday.  Gambit had an appointment for a bath, but I accidentally slept through it and had to reschedule.

Oops.

Although I didn’t have to go in to work, I was so overwhelmed with an already-growing to-do list, so I spent the day on that.

Lesson planning is extremely time consuming.  We don’t start school until the 15th, which means that we’ll only have a three-day week with the kids, but the planning is still intense even for that short amount of time.  There are so many routines and class norms, even at a high school level, that a teacher has to establish.

I’ve got two preps this year, which many teachers would trade their loads for but which is overwhelming for me.

I’ll be starting out by explaining to each group of students what their respective classes entail.

That’s my Smartboard file, which I create for each week as a visual for the kids and myself.

I worked all afternoon and was tired when I finished.  It wasn’t pretty, y’all.

Yeah, I think I stayed in my pajamas all day.  I really cannot remember.  That could have been the evening we went to Chili’s.  If we did, I changed clothes.  I promise.

On Saturday, I took Gambit to his appointment, which I’d smartly rescheduled for 11am – plenty of time for me to wake up.

He smelled amazing when I picked him up a couple of hours later.

How bad would it be to say that I don’t remember what I did the rest of the day?

Y’all, the struggle is REAL.  I know that I didn’t work because I forced myself not to.  I’m still recovering from my concussion, so I know that I can’t push myself too hard.

Oh, and how could I forget about the mail.  Look what I got . . .

I found the case on Amazon, but there was a card inside from fakemeats.com.  I think this was the actual seller.

And, wouldn’t you know it, but I found two or three recipes that include jackfruit in them in this cookbook, which I purchased around Christmas.

I’ll be sure to post the results of anything that I try.

Sunday, the Mr. had to go in to work.  I’d already elected to stay home from church because loud stuff still makes my head hurt.  He wound up needing to take my car since he couldn’t get into his work vehicle, which forced me to not run errands.

Darn.

I did get out and go for a walk, my first since June and really, my first workout of any kind since hitting my head.

I had signed up for the Half-Giant Half Marathon, a Hogwarts Running Club event.  Sunday’s walk was going to be the first leg of it since I knew I couldn’t make it the full distance.

It was a little later in the morning than I would have preferred, and it was hot as all get out.

I was careful, though.  Although I could hear my pace being announced through my ear buds every half mile, I tried not to let it stress me out.  Yes, I was going slow, but I knew that I needed to reacquaint myself to the whole move-your-body thing.

I had originally told the Mr. that I would only walk a mile.

He should have known that I wouldn’t stick to that.

Truth be told, I should have only gone two miles.  I wasn’t feeling very good when I got home – probably the result of the heat and my head hurting.

It felt good, though, to get out.

You can only put Baby in the corner for so long.

I spent the rest of the day, after I showered, in my pajamas while I binged on my new favorite Amazon Prime show, Bosch, and finished up a knitting project (pictures to be posted eventually).

Weekending With Auburnchick

Y’all, this head thing is putting a crimp in my style as far as weekend fun goes.

Because I’m still having headaches, I’m being forced to lay low, which means NO beach, NO pool, and NOTHING that’s too loud.  When you live fifteen minutes from the beach, it’s a bitter pill to swallow.

True to form, I’m making the most of my downtime.

Friday, I found myself without a headache; however, the trade off was that I’d gotten NO sleep the night before.

Nada.

None.

Bet that you can’t tell from the selfie, below.  I’m a girl who pulls up her big girl pants and does life anyway.

Thursday night, I’d taken one of my new pain pills – the one with codeine (to help me sleep) – but it also had caffeine in it (to ward off the headache).  Guess which ingredient my body took to like a flea on a dog?

Yep.

I was super relaxed, though, so at least I wasn’t exactly suffering all night.

It was strange, though, because I wasn’t really tired when I got up.  I took the dogs for a ride to get them out since I can’t walk them right now.

At first, they were suspicious, but when I didn’t make the usual turn for Petsmart, they relaxed.

Gambit’s face though 😀

I was down for the count by 2pm, though, and slept a hefty two and a half hours – in bed.  The dogs were more than happy to oblige me.

I felt a little better when I got up, so I got busy in the kitchen, preparing a few things I’d been wanting to try.

First up was 5-Ingredient Vegan Peanut Butter Pudding, a recipe by Minimalist Baker.

I had prepared the pudding the day before and had it chilling in the refrigerator for twenty four hours, as directed.  It was time to put the finishing touches on it.

First of all, I learned that waxed paper is the best way to go as opposed to using saran wrap when trying to prevent a film from forming on the top of puddings and custards.  I’ll remember that for next time.

Untitled

I’d gone back and forth about the topping.  Although chocolate ganache strongly appealed to me, I wanted to try something new, so I pulled out the can of coconut cream I’d put in the refrigerator a few days before and got to work on a whipped topping (the recipe is linked in with the recipe above).

I’d purchased several cans of this at Trader Joe’s over Christmas break because we don’t have this store, and I had read that to successfully make whipped cream, you have to buy cans that don’t have guar gum, which is used as a stabilizer and prevents cream from being whipped up.

Untitled

I’ve tried, in the past, to make this and never gotten it right.  I guess Friday was the day!

It was light and tasty.  Yum!

I added it to my pudding.

Untitled

I showed restraint by putting it in the fridge because y’all, I hadn’t eaten dinner yet!

The next dish I prepared was really a “recipe.”  I’ll admit that I cheated a little.

I wanted to warm up the jackfruit I’d purchased earlier in the week.

I’ve been very intrigued by this newly-popular food item, and although I’ve found it sold in cans online, I haven’t been able to locate it in my local stores.

Prep was fairly easy, except for the pulling-apart thing (akin to pulling apart pork when making barbecue).

Untitled

Although it’s a fruit, the texture is similar to pork.  I think it would be a great food for people who are making the transition to becoming vegetarians.

I added 1/8 of a cup to each slice of pizza I had leftover from the day before.

It was delicious!  I wound up ordering a pack of six cans of jackfruit (from Amazon) so I can make stuff like this from scratch and eliminate some of the unhealthy ingredients that’s in prepackaged food.  Oh yeah, and don’t be judging me, because I know the pizza wasn’t healthy either.  It’s been a tough couple of weeks for me, so cut me some slack.  🙂

Because of my nap, I wasn’t tired that night.  Gambit was not impressed.

I slept in rather late on Saturday and quickly got dressed.  Chicky was on her way for a very brief stop enroute to see her guy.  She needed to drop a few things off.

I got to see her fur baby, Cali, who is always excited to visit us.  She’s never forgotten us after the summer that she and Chicky spent here when Chicky was still in college.

We put her in the backyard because we didn’t want to risk a less-than-friendly reception by our dogs.

Ahem.

We sent Chicky on her way with my rice cooker, a couple of homemade energy bars, and a bowl of peanut butter pudding (just so you know that I’m not a complete pig).

After she left, I made lunch for the Mr. – chicken fingers – his favorite.

Thank goodness for being a blogger who takes a lot of pictures because my memory is giving me tiny fits right now.  I blocked a project I’d finished in the wee hours of the morning.  I’ll have photos of that soon.

I didn’t go to bed too late, if you consider midnight acceptable.  It is still summer, after all.

I skipped church on Sunday because I was worried that the loud music would make my headache worse.  Although the headaches are less intense, they are constantly present, brewing beneath the surface.  I did get up, showered, dressed in street clothes, and adorned with makeup.

Go me.

Good thing too, because the Mr. called and asked if I wanted to go to Newk’s with some of our friends from church.  He picked me up, and we had a lovely time with two other couples.

Then, it was home again for the day where I rested, knit a LOT on a new project, listened to RHAP’s Big Brother updates (don’t be judging), and binged on Bosch, my latest Amazon Prime go-to show.

The Mr. and I watched the latest episode of Sharp Objects.  What a dark show; it’s so depressing!

While we watched, the Mr. tried, unsuccessfully, to ignore Pele as he ate a leftover hamburger patty.

Although I’m spending a lot of time at home these days, it’s been good for me and the dogs.

They love that they’re getting extra treats and lots of time in the yard.

We are getting so much quality time together, which is difficult during the school year.

Did you do anything exciting?  Can I live vicariously through you for a little while?  🙂

Lazy Day

Because I’d been up late Wednesday night, I slept in a bit on Thursday.

My heart was still hurting from the book I’d finished.

I took my time getting out of bed and hung out with the dogs all morning.  It was a beautiful day, and I should have gone to the pool, but mentally, I wasn’t into it.  I needed a bit of solitude.

I took a nap in my chair even though I’d slept late.  I was so tired.

Being sad will do that for you.

When I woke up, it was early afternoon.  The dogs were eager to get some fresh air.

I had been procrastinating my workout but was not about to give in and not do it, so I got dressed.

Untitled

Just as I was about to get started, my phone rang.  A guy I’d called yesterday was on his way to take a look at my house.  We want to fix our gutters and get a door for our screened in porch.

The workout did not want to happen, y’all.

I persevered, though, and got it in after he left.

Day 72 – Done!

Then, I began preparing dinner for the hubby.  This is one of his new favorite dishes.

Untitled

It’s a bit of a pain to put together, which is why I don’t make it that often.

The rest of my evening was chill as I blogged and watched television.

Sometimes, you just need a lazy day.

In my case, it’s been a summer of lazy days, but who’s judging (it better not be you!). 🙂

When a Book Makes You Cry

Do you remember the first book that made you cry?

I do.

It was Message in a Bottle, by Nicholas Sparks.  I read it when my family lived in Coral Springs.  My children were in elementary school, and I remember sitting up late one night in our front living room.  I was the only one awake.  The rest of the house was dark except for the small corner of the room where I’d set up shop for the evening.

Y’all, I had, to that point, read hundreds of books.  I was a voracious reader in my youth; the stories took me away from the angst of teenage-dom.

Up to that point, I’d been quite stoic.

Well, maybe the reason why I hadn’t cried was because I’d never met a writer who could break my heart the way that Sparks did with that book.

Oh, how I sobbed when I read the ending, quietly of course because keeping the kids asleep was kind of important.

I’m just going to be honest with you.

I don’t like watching movies or reading books that make me cry.  I don’t like the headache I get afterward, but I especially don’t like having my feelings trod upon.

That’s why I don’t watch movies or read books about animals . . . especially dogs (except that I did see Benji when I was a kid and whew, what an emotional roller coaster ride that was!).

A few years ago, I happened upon The Honest Truth, by Dan Gemeinhart.  I read it during summer break and cried as I sat at my kitchen table with that book in my hand.  I loved it so much that I read it aloud to my classes that year . . . and the year after . . . and the year after.

Every single time I read it to a class, I cried in exactly the same places even though I knew what was going to happen.

That’s a lot of crying.

Dan has such a way with words; his characters’ voices are childlike but so easy to connect with no matter the age of the reader.

I’m a member of Pernille Ripp’s Facebook group, where someone recently mentioned something about another book Dan had written, Good Dog.

He’s actually written four books (how have I not known this?).  Good Dog is his most recent novel.

I read a summary of the book on Amazon, and I had a little chat with myself.

“Don’t you dare buy this book.  You know you’re gonna cry.”

“Be quiet.  I need to read this so I can tell my students about it.”

“You don’t need this book in your classroom.  You already have books that your students love.”  (I think this may have been the Mr.’s voice arguing with me.  Ha!)

“But I don’t have this book, written by this author.  I know it’s gonna be good.”

“That may be true, but you don’t have to be in the know about every book.  Stop trying to be tough.”

“La la la la la.  I no hear you.”

Add to cart.

Purchase.

Done.

I couldn’t take my own advice.

The Mr. receives emails of all of the purchases on our Prime account, and he walked in from work saying, “What in the world are you doing?”

He knows me so well.

The book arrived a few days later.

Aubie and Molly’s collars in the background

Good Dog is the story of Brodie, a dog who has just died and is stuck between death and Forever.

Yeah.  That should have been enough to make me tuck my own tail and run.

Even that picture on the cover.

Sigh.

I prepared myself mentally, armed myself with Kleenex, and sat down to begin reading . .

The first two sentences made me cry.

I knew it was going to be a hard, hard read.

I read about Brodie getting used to where he wakes up, acquiring words in the process – words that, as a living dog, he did not possess.

Although it was told in short, simple sentences, this part of the book – the opening chapter – held me captive.

Brodie meets other dogs who explain what’s happened to him.  He can’t remember anything at first; memories come back to him very slowly.  However, what becomes clear fairly quickly is that he has to return to Before, where he was alive and with his boy.

Oh my gosh.  His boy.  Y’all, this part made me think of Rooster and his connection with Gambit.

Gambit never left Rooster’s side when Rooster lived at home.  Rooster was his person.  Fortunately, we still have Gambit with us, so that’s where the similarity to the story ends.

Mostly, what I thought of Molly, who you know I’m still grieving for.

This book, and the story of Brodie going back to find his boy, who he senses is in danger, made me smile in some parts, because Dan was wise enough to know that his readers would need some comedic relief to balance out the heavy stuff, and it made me hold my breath in other places.

It’s a book that made me root so hard for Brodie and the fur babies helping him, feel sorry for the bad dogs trying to stop him, and hope for some sort of happy ending that I knew wouldn’t be there because y’all, Brodie is dead.

Sigh.

I stayed up really late Wednesday night to finish the book because I knew that I would need a few hours of sleep afterward – the emotional price too steep for this tender heart.

The last chapter of the book completely broke my heart, and I tried really hard to cry quietly so I wouldn’t wake the Mr., who was sleeping in the other room.

I thought of Molly, and how I wish I could hug her one more time.  I wondered if she, like Brodie, had a hard time letting go of her person.

Now, don’t be thinking that I’m all emo and need medication.  I’m fine.  Really.  I just have my moments when remembering is so very hard and the missing is so very painful.

You can’t go almost eleven years with a breathing soul and not feel something when that bundle of happy is wrenched away.

Herein is the power of books – even books that make you cry.

Yes, there’s hurting and a whole lot of tears and big, puffy eyes.

There’s anger at the unfair twists and turns and the ugly parts where the bad is happening.

There’s even disappointment when things don’t turn out like you want them to.

A good book, one that makes you cry, should imitate life.  It should get you in your feelings and hurt you where you’re vulnerable.

That’s when the healing can happen.  Sometimes, when we can’t find the right words to match our sadness, a book comes along that does exactly that.

That is why I made myself read this book, even though I knew I’d be doing the ugly cry the entire way through . . .

Until the wee hours of the morning . . .

With a certain fur baby on my mind.

I love you Molly.  You were a good dog (most of the time), and I will never forget you.

“You.  Me.  Together.  Always.”

%d bloggers like this: