Going to the Dogs

Typically, the term “going to the dogs” has a negative connotation. It is used to describe someone or something that is continually becoming worse in quality or character. However, when I say I’m going to the dogs, I mean something totally different, the opposite, even. Since I miss McKenna (pictured to the left), I decided to start a new business venture, dog sitting. The Bristol area isn’t exactly a metropolis with a huge demand for this type of service, but I have been pleasantly surprised by the amount of interest my business has received since its inception just a few weeks ago.

I have a profile on Rover which has generated business and even repeat business, which is the best kind. Click here to see my profile, and use promo code SUZ120320 to get $20 off your first Rover booking.

I will occasionally tell about my furry charges here on my blog, but, out of respect for their owners’ privacy, I will not say names of animals or owners, or mention location of the job. I just really have to tell you about the dog I will be staying with the next few nights. Pictured on the right, she is a very sweet Boxer. Being a female, she’s on the small side for a Boxer, but she can vertical jump about as high as my head. In fact, she can be standing still in front of me and suddenly jump up and lick my mouth. The first time she did it, I just stood there in shock. She loves attention, and she loves to play fetch with her ball.

Next week, I will be staying with three dogs, a cat, and four chickens. It will be my first time doing anything with chickens, but it seems like it won’t be that hard.

So, for now, my plans are to be a tax preparer during tax season and dog sit the rest of the year. It should work out well since summer and the holidays tend to be when people go on vacation and need a dog sitter. This year it has been a successful plan, anyway.

…Two Months Later

It’s been two months since my last post, in which I said that my life would be completely changed in two months. And, I was right!

I wasn’t right about being completely moved out of Scott’s house by now, though. Sam and I are physically moved out, but we are still working on getting our stuff out. I’ve been busy selling and giving away lots and lots of stuff. We have a storage room about half-full of things we are keeping. I still have several things to get ready to sell, photograph, and post on LetGo and Facebook Marketplace. (By the way, those two sites are a great way to sell things you no longer want or need.)

For now, we are staying in an adorable, little guest house owned by a family in our church. Sam went to school with their older sons, and he has enjoyed visiting with them. They have been gracious enough to let us stay here for a couple weeks, until Sam can find a permanent place of his own.

My plans are not fully formed yet. I’m pretty sure I’m going to be leaving Bristol, but I’m not sure when or exactly where I’m going to go. For that reason, I’m not looking for a place for myself at the moment. I have some exciting things going on this month and next (which I’m not comfortable with sharing widely just yet), and after that, I’ll see what God has in store for me. One thing I’ve learned this summer…God’s plans for me are more exciting (and sometimes more surprising) than anything I can come up with on my own.

One very sad note about all the changes taking place is that we had to get rid of McKenna. Although I wasn’t very happy when Sam brought him home without first asking permission, I quickly fell in love with the little fella, and I miss him dreadfully. Tonight is only the second night he’s been with his new owner, but it already feels like an eternity. I texted the guy today to see if McKenna is doing okay, and he replied that he is doing great, and he loves to go outside to play. I’m glad we were able to find him a good home with someone who was wanting a dog. I have to stop talking about him now, before I start crying on my computer.

If you’re interested in my adventures, stay tuned. There will be plenty more in the near future!

Changes on the Horizon

Two months from now, my life will look nothing like it does now. Everything is changing! Most of the changes are good, and I’m looking forward to them. For starters, I’m finally getting divorced. It’s been a long time coming! In fact, when I have told some friends that the divorce is finally happening, they have invariably replied with, “Girl, I thought you got divorced a long time ago!”

For my readers who don’t know me or my history, I have been married for twelve and a half years, and I was separated for seven of those. Last year I approached Scott with, “You know, this whole separation thing is stupid. We need to either get back together or just get divorced.” His response was that he did not want a divorce. So, I told him we could get back together as long as it wasn’t like before…I wanted us to be a real family and have a close relationship. He said he had changed and things would be better. Yet, here we are, about a year later, getting divorced. The papers have been officially served, we have come to an amicable agreement regarding the settlement, and the attorney should have the settlement papers ready for us to sign next week. It’s really happening!

For the rest of this month and next month, I will be busy selling as much of my stuff as I can, giving or throwing away what I can’t sell and don’t want to keep, and packing the rest. I don’t know exactly where I will be living two months from now, or what I’ll be doing, but it’s sure to be a grand adventure, which I will be sharing here. So, stay tuned…

Home, Sweet Home

Thursday was the final day of our epic road trip, and it was the most uneventful. I’m grateful for that! As happy as I was to get home so I could rest, a huge part of me wished I was still in Colorado.  I don’t think I could ever become jaded to that view!

We were gone on our trip for seven days and six nights. We drove a total of 3,530 miles in ten different states (Tennessee, Arkansas, Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico, Colorado, Kansas, Missouri, Illinois, and Kentucky). I was blessed with the opportunity to see family and friends I hadn’t seen in many, many years; Sam got to add another state (New Mexico) to the growing list of states he’s visited; and Seth got to visit several new states. We were all in awe of the raw beauty of the Rocky Mountains, and we were all equally sad to leave them.

Now that I’ve gotten out of my stay-at-home funk that I’ve been in for 12+ years, I’m hoping to do more traveling in the near future. So, stay tuned for tales of more adventures!

 

Boring Day

I expected Wednesday to be a very dull and boring day, and it probably was the least-exciting day of our week-long trip. It started out by leaving our hotel before daylight to try to get a head start on the day. Then, as I drove east, the rising sun was shining directly into my eyes for better than an hour. It was all I could do to keep my eyes open, but it didn’t blind me too much to see and appreciate the interesting cloud formation in the photo above.

The aspect of the day that I most dreaded was the long drive across the boring nothingness of the state of Kansas (excepting, of course, the spectacular cloud formation above). Mile after mile of …. nothing. A young man we met in Topeka confirmed our suspicions of there being nothing to do around there.

Speaking of Topeka, just as we were coming up on that city, the car made a little jolt and starting making a horrible banging sound. I pulled over as quickly as I safely could. A quick look under the hood revealed the problem. A spark plug had broken! Thankfully, there was an auto parts store at the nearby exit, where I was able to purchase a new spark plug, and Seth was able to borrow the proper tools to install it. Then, after we stopped at a Chick-fil-A for lunch, we were back on our way, good as new.

As I’ve said, other than the broken spark plug, driving through Kansas was dull and boring. That can not be said about Missouri. As soon as we crossed over the state line, we were at a standstill on the interstate. It took us nearly two hours to travel the first 35 miles in the state. First, there was an accident. Then, there was a bit of construction. Throughout it all, there was a LOT of traffic. By the time we made it to St. Louis, after delays due to the spark plug and the KC traffic, it was too dark for the boys to see the Arch. Maybe we’ll go back there again before too long, hopefully in the daylight.

At long last, we reached our destination, which was the home of my friend Mike, in central Illinois. I felt horrible getting there as late as we did, but I was too happy to see Mike to worry about it much.

 

Golden Day

On Tuesday, Sam, Seth, and I went out exploring. One of the places we visited was my favorite town…Golden. The town is small, quaint, picturesque, nostalgic….in other words, perfect. We parked at a park where McKenna was fascinated by the geese hovering near the creek flowing by. We walked around the town some, looking at the interesting businesses lining the quaint streets. We were there at lunchtime and decided to eat at a place called Old Capitol Grill. Sam ordered a BBQ combo plate, and Seth and I both had bison burgers. The food there was delicious!

When we left Golden, we went to Boulder and walked around the Pearl Street Mall. There, I found the souvenir I was looking for…a gold-plated Aspen leaf pendant. I bought myself one when I was in Colorado 15 years ago, but sometime since then I lost it, and I’ve wanted another one ever since. I wanted to take a picture of this unique shopping place, but it was raining the whole time we were there. Nonetheless, I found this photo online that captures it the way I saw it, minus the rain.

The boys expressed interest in going hiking, but the rain negated that idea. So, from Boulder we headed to downtown Denver and the 16th Street Mall (which is similar to the Pearl Street Mall in Boulder). Because of the rain, we nixed that idea and headed back to our hotel in Castle Rock. While the boys went to visit a friend of Sam’s who lives there, I fell fast asleep. With all the walking I did, at an altitude I’m not used to, I was exhausted; and I had to get up very early the next morning to get back on the road again.

Day of Adventure

Monday was a day full of adventure. My friend Julie Vaughan, who I know from Macon, GA, took me all over and was a delightful tour guide. Our first stop was the Celestial Seasonings plant in Boulder. That was a sensory pleasure! The aroma of tea, herbs, and spices was a delight to the senses. In the tasting room, were many varieties of tea to be tested, and we could drink as much as we wanted. I tried a little of each flavor, and my favorite was Almond Sunset. On the tour of the plant, we got to go into the Peppermint Room. I loved it! The sweet, yet pungent, smell of peppermint awakened my senses and cleared my sinuses. I could have stayed all day in that one room. After our tour, we ate in the cafe at the plant. We had chicken salad croissants that were very tasty.

From Boulder, we went back south to the Garden of the Gods. I could spend all day there! The beauty is unparalleled. The stark red rocks with a background of blue sky, green grass, and the Rocky Mountains are wondrous to behold. The next time I’m here, I am going to dedicate one whole day to the Garden of the Gods.

In the evening, Sam and Seth joined us at Julie’s house where we were blessed to have dinner with Julie, John, and Jacqueline. McKenna also joined us there and had a little trouble making friends with Sierra and Farley.

 

Mother’s Day

I’m a couple days late in making this post, but I have good excuses. On Sunday evening, when we got checked into the hotel, I attempted to write a blog post, but I couldn’t figure out how to connect to the wifi. I was probably too tired to think clearly. Once I ate dinner, I lay on the bed to rest a little, and I fell asleep, not to awaken until morning. The next night, I was worn out! I had a very adventurous day, and I think the altitude contributed to my sleepiness.

So….Sunday…. We traveled from Seminole, OK, to Castle Rock, CO. In planning the trip, I had chosen the route suggested by my Maps app, which would take us north from OKC, into Kansas, and then west to Colorado. Looking at the app on Saturday night, I realized that it would add only a few minutes to our trip if we went west through the Texas panhandle and the northeast corner of New Mexico. When I mentioned it to Sam and Seth, it was unanimous that we should take the second route instead; and it was a great choice. Sam was thrilled to be back in his birth state, and it was the first time for both him and Seth to be in New Mexico. The landscapes we saw were awe-inspiring, and the closer we got to Colorado, the more magnificent they became. The first sight of the Rockies was a wondrous experience.

By and large, the day was uneventful. We made good time and made it to our destination before dark, so that we were able to see what a beautiful area it is.

Cousin of the Groom

The wedding was beautiful. It was outside, at a farm. We had to drive down a long dirt road to get to it, and at one point I just knew I had somehow missed it and was about to turn around when Seth pointed out the next “Wedding” sign that let us know we were still on the right track.

It was so good seeing my cousin Allen (a.k.a. Neil) again, and I was delighted to meet his gorgeous bride Stephanie. I hadn’t seen Allen since I was about 10 or 11, but he reminds me so much of my Uncle Neil that I think I would have known him anywhere. I’ve talked with Stephanie some on Facebook, and it was so nice to finally meet in person. Don’t they make a beautiful couple?!

I’ve seen outdoor weddings before, but never one with hay bales for seating. What an ingenous idea! They were practical and more comfortable than some chairs, not to mention the fact that they fit in so well with their surroundings. (I confess…the real reason I liked sitting on the hay was because I finally found a place to sit where my feet could touch the ground instead of dangling.)

In the wedding, they incorporated the old custom of handfasting. I had heard of it before, but I’m not sure if I had ever seen it. It’s a very sweet picture of uniting with each other in marriage.

The boys enjoyed the wedding, though probably not as much as I did. What they enjoyed most was the ribs we had for dinner afterward. McKenna got to enjoy a few rib bones as well, so it was a good day for all. We all agreed that we were glad we were able to attend.

I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to get a selfie with my cousin, since who knows when I’ll ever see him again. So, here we are. Congratulations, Neil and Stephanie. I love you both!

 

Home, Home on the Range

File_000I always think of that song when I’m in Oklahoma. I guess it’s because of the line, “…and the skies are not cloudy all day.” The sky here is gorgeous today! Such a brilliant blue with a smattering of fluffy white clouds.

Since there is so much to tell about today, I’m going to write two posts…this one and another one after the wedding. As I did yesterday, I am going to tell about my day by listing things I have to praise God for.

  1. WHATABURGER!! Sam and I have been looking forward to getting Whataburger, and it did not disappoint. The burgers were just as good as we remembered them, and Seth was impressed with his first-ever Whataburger.
  2. I was able to purchase two new tires for my car. I went to Walmart, and they got the new tires on quickly and for a decent price.
  3. My car has a manual transmission. (I forgot to mention this one yesterday.) At some point yesterday morning, my starter went out, but I have had no problems getting it going by popping the clutch as the boys push it a little ways.
  4. The gas has been much cheaper than I had anticipated (and budgeted for). This morning, I filled up for only $1.91/gal, and that was without any sort of discount.
  5. We took McKenna to the park to get some exercise. It did us all good, after spending all day yesterday cooped up in the car.

After getting the new tires, I drove around for a while. I surprised myself by finding my Grandma’s old house with no problem. Well, I had to drive past it a couple times before I recognized it because it has become so grown over with foilage. Seeing that house brought back many fond memories of visits in years past.

Well, it’s time for me to get ready for the wedding. Tune in again later tonight for a continuation of today’s adventures.