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Archive for the ‘life’ Category

What is your grief journey like?

Grief.  It’s what we’ve been having for breakfast.  And lunch.  There may have been a  small side serving at dinner too.

Late in the first week of March, as I was preparing to leave work, I found out that someone I have known my entire adult life passed away.   I was in the middle of a conversation with my coworker when I got an alert on my phone, so I looked and it was a message on FB asking me if I had heard about our friend passing.  I immediately stopped the conversation and called another friend in California, looking for clarification.  I was devastated.   I just couldn’t believe it.  Actually, I still can’t believe it – but then I go to his FB profile and I see that it’s true.  The pain I felt when I found out he died was similar to the pain I felt when I found out Todd died and at one point the following day, I felt like it was worse than when Todd died.  I don’t know how true that is or if it was just feeling that way because it’s been almost 12 years since Todd passed.  The entire world seemed so much darker for me, it felt like I was gutted and then run over by a semi-truck.  It was horrible.  And if that was the pain *I* was going through?  I could only imagine how his family was feeling.  I lost my dad last year, at the end of this month, so it’s pretty raw for me still.  But his death was expected and I think that gives it a difference to a degree.  It didn’t make it any less painful, but it wasn’t unexpected and it wasn’t something I didn’t see coming.  This was something his family did not see coming.  It was sudden and it was unexpected.

I met Jef at the young age of 18 while I was working at Odyssey Records.  He was working at Boston Pizza across the street with his best friend, Mark.  Shortly after meeting them, chatting with them when I’d go over there for a break or calling and ordering food, we found out we were all on a bulletin board system (BBS) called Multi-Comm (it kind of predates the internet, similar to ICQ. chat rooms.)  A small group of us formed a tight circle.  We were all so close.  So young, silly, loyal, constantly together.  I say this almost every time I talk about him, but I think it’s awesome, so it must be repeated!  His daughter was the first baby that I ever changed a diaper on.  We had our differences, we had our similarities and we always had our loyalty towards each other.  There wasn’t much I wouldn’t do for that guy and his family.  He was one of my favorite people to walk this earth for any amount of time.  Before I moved to Louisville, we had lost contact.  But thanks to Facebook, we were reconnected shortly after I relocated.  When I would go back home, we would try to meet up for coffee.  Sometimes it didn’t work, sometimes it did.  I loved meeting at Starbucks at Desert Inn and Eastern, catching up and chatting for an hour or more before one of us would notice the time and had to go.  We disagreed on a lot of things, but we never let those disagreements take over our respect for each other as humans; as friends.

There was a celebration of life the weekend after he passed.  It was such last minute for me, I couldn’t make it there for that one.  But a mutual friend planned another one the following weekend and I was able to get some time off work and get back home to pay my respects to my dear friend and his family.  Three of us who live out of town all went into Vegas for the celebration.  It was amazing.  His daughter, his sister, and several of our old friends from Multi-Comm were there, including his best friend from when he was a child.  We cried a little and laughed a lot.  We shared stories, we did shots in his honor, we reminisced and we mourned together.

I will never forget the impact he had on me, as a person, and on my life overall.  Rest easy, my friend.  You’re work here is done.  We’ll take over the watch and be sure to watch out for us.  I’ll see you soon.

Until next time…


My Old Lady Josie

When Josie turned 13 years old (about 2.5 years ago), I started calling her my “Old Lady.”  She was the longest “relationship” I’ve ever had.  She was the love of my life, my soul mate, my companion and my ride or die bitch.

In June of 2000, I saw her for the first time when she was just days old and I named her.  I named her after the cartoon Josie and the Pussycats, if you’re wondering.  In August of 2000, when she was 7 weeks old, I brought her home.  She was so tiny, she fit in the palm of my hand.  Over the years, she grew quite a bit, but never went over 8.5 pounds.

Josie as a baby


Here she is as a very young Josie.  Looking over the edge of my bed, trying to figure out if she would make it or not!

She was such a precious girl.

She was loving and cuddly for the first few years of her life.  As she grew older, she didn’t like to be held unless she was in the mood.  She didn’t like to cuddle as much unless she didn’t feel well.

In October of 2000, I had surgery on my left hand.  I was laying on my bed, propped up against the wall, watching TV and playing “tug” with her with my right hand.  At one point, she jumped and landed on my left hand.  I moved my left arm so fast, it flung her off the bed and across the floor.  I just about died.  I was in tears until I knew she was okay.

One of her favorite things to do was to jump up on my lap while I was on the phone or in a conversation and since I wasn’t paying attention to her, she would put one of her paws on my mouth to try to shut me up.  She would do this to very few people, but my best friend Tobe was given this treatment when I lived with her and her sons.

In May of 2015, she had a stroke.  At that time, we discovered she had a slipped disc in her back, which was causing a lot of her clumsiness.  She was also in the beginning of kidney failure and dementia.  She had high blood pressure, a heart murmur and was deaf.  In May, the vet told me it would just be a matter of time and that my Josie would let me now when she was ready to go.

Yesterday, when I got home from work, I discovered Josie had lost control of her bowels and bladder.  She was experiencing very labored breathing and was whimpering in between each breath.  After I cleaned things up as best I could (including her butt that was caked with poop), I wrapped her in a pee pad and a towel and snuggled her.  I knew it was time.

me and josieI was devastated and heart broken.  As I cuddled her, I took this photo because I wanted that reminder of how I knew.  She let me know through the way she was looking at me that she was done.  She needed to rest.

I called my mom in a panic and we agreed it was time.  I then took her to Blue Pearl Veterinary Hospital over in Louisville.

They put us in a “comfort room” and came in to talk to me (between my sobs I learned the vet’s name was Ruth).  Ruth let me know that they would do it in this room and I could hold her as long as I needed before they did it and after.

The tech took my Josie to put in an IV port and then brought her back to me, still wrapped up in the pad and towel.  I held my girl and sobbed and told her I loved her and that I would be okay.  She could rest now.  I thanked her for being the best dog ever and for being my constant companion for the last 15.5 years.  The vet came in and gave her a sedative through the IV.  I immediately felt and heard a difference in Josie’s breathing.  It was no longer labored.  She then made eye contact with me as Ruth put the meds in that would put her to sleep.  She went within 2 minutes of that injection, the entire time, holding eye contact with me.  I watched the pain leave my baby’s eyes and I watched her rest for the final time.  It was the most precious and heart wrenching thing I have ever experienced.

Less than 24 hours later and I’m going in between being numb and being devastated and sobbing.  Right now, as I’m writing this, I’m sobbing.  I have to get ready for my 2nd job though so I need to compose myself and get ready for that.

Josie Barrett was born June 4, 2000 and passed away November 30, 2015.  My best friend, my soul mate, the love of my life.  I will never forget her.  She was the best companion I could have ever asked for.

Until next time…

Being proactive.

After my last post, I started reaching out.  I’ve contacted my work EAP and have my first counseling/therapy session on Monday after work.  The therapist answered her own phone and I got a great vibe from her after just a 1o minute conversation, I’m actually looking forward to it.  I’ve also started a 9 week program online through the same EAP for my anxiety.  It’s a Cognitive Behavior Therapy thing and I think it’ll really help.

I’ve rejoined a gym.  I did cancel my membership at Crossfit the Ville per my doctor’s orders and I’ve gone back to the chain gym type.  I joined Planet Fitness for $10 a month.  I have 24/7 unlimited access to the equipment.  Their cardio area is to die for as far as I’m concerned.  They have treadmills (I can’t use those – too high impact); ellipticals, Arc machines and rowing machines.  The rowing machines and Arc machines will be my best friends when I go.  I tried the Arc machine and loved it, so I can see myself using that quite often.   If I were to upgrade to the $19.95 a month membership, I’d have unlimited tanning each month (once a day) and unlimited use of their hydro-massage tables.

Did you know that working out is the least used anti-depressant there is and in order to save my feet, I had to go with the lower impact stuff.  I’m looking forward to getting back at it as much as my feet will let me without trying to push myself to the brink of death, as I did with Crossfit.  Don’t get me wrong.  I love Crossfit.  I mean, insanely love Crossfit.  I’m hoping I can work my way back to the Crossfit box once my doctor and I get my feet under control.

I also got a new dog.  This was a spur of the moment decision and I ended up getting him for free.  A friend had to re-home her 5 year old Havanese because he got aggressive with their son.  She posted on Facebook about it and I told her that if Zeevah got along with him, I’d take great care of him and spoil him rotten.  I took her over there Tuesday evening after work so they could have a “play date” and they got along very well.  I can’t blame her for doing it, but I know how heartbroken she was.  So I’ve added a new four legged friend to my routine and I just adore him.  He is so stinking cute, I can hardly stand it most days.  The girls are getting along with him very well.  Zeevah has a new play mate and Josie loves it because now Zeevah doesn’t aggravate her as much as she used too.  It was a good decision and he’s turning into a great addition to the family.

So while I’m working through this depression and anxiety, I’m finding myself not having to force as much as I was.  For months, I was forcing myself to act “normal.”  I was forcing myself to pretend everything was okay and nothing was wrong with me, all the while isolating myself, not doing things that I enjoyed (except play WoW and shop).  Now that I’m done pretending and I’m taking proactive steps to fix it and recover, I’m feeling slightly better.  The road to recovery will be ongoing and possible a lifetime of work.  And I’m okay with that.

Here is my Motley Crew now (from left: Josie, 15 year old Yorkie; Zeevah, not quite 2 year old black lab/GSD mix; and Beck, 5 year old pure bred Havanese)

My motley crew

Misunderstandings and forgiveness

I was on a break from work yesterday when I opened up Facebook on my phone and got one of the biggest shocks of my life.  Someone I had once considered a great friend had passed away at the age of 40.  It was unexpected from what I’ve gathered.  Many years ago, we had a falling out.  We were both mean and it was ugly.  I remember the details, but I won’t go into them here.  I’m just going to say that I held a grudge for a few years.  Somewhere along the way, I forgave her for her part in it and hoped that she forgave me.  Over the last year or so, I would think about reaching out to her to mend fences and then I’d just chicken out.  I didn’t know how it would be received and I just didn’t want to face rejection, if that’s where it would end up.

It was a clusterfuck of misunderstandings that led to our fall out.  I don’t know exactly when that fall out started, but I know where it ended and it never sat well with me.  My feelings were hurt and I got angry.  My anger and resentments have always been fear or pain based.  And until I worked on that part of myself, I felt anger and resentment towards her.

At one point in time, we were as close as two people could be.  We had so much fun together.  We helped each other, we challenged each other to be better women.  She also flew all the way to Vegas to drive cross country with me when I moved here to Louisville.  How many friends do that?  She was a very large part of why I moved to this region.  She was just a few short hours away in Indy, so I knew we could spend weekends together whenever we wanted to or had time.

And now she’s gone.  I’ve talked to her, I’ve let her know I love her and forgive her and hoped that before she left this world, she forgave me for my part.

I am sad.  I am heartbroken for her husband, best friend and family.  She was so young and so full of life.  Rest in Peace, my old friend.  Until we see each other again.  xoxo

Protected: New Year – new me?

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My week in a nutshell…

I posted something and then I deleted it.

My week has been exhausting and revealing. I get fatigued extremely fast. I worked part of Thursday (my first day back to work) and then all day Friday. I felt like I had worked 7 days straight. I’m approaching the one week point of being on these medicines and I know that it takes 2-3 weeks for these things to kick in and do their “job.” I’m trying to be patient with myself and just take it easy and not over do it. Easier said than done for me. I’ve been doing a lot of old school writing in my journal and I’ve been listening to Spotify on my phone. A lot. It helps.

The good news is, my foot has not really hurt all that much for the last week. I don’t know why that is. Maybe because I was in the hospital Sunday night and most of Monday and then didn’t do anything Tuesday and Wednesday except visit the doctor. Whatever reason, I enjoy walking without pain.

I woke up this morning to the news that a friend of a friend committed suicide last night back home in Vegas. Such a tragic loss for his family and friends. It brought back some memories of when a friend I worked with, committed suicide back in 1997. It was a horrible time for his loved ones and friends. I’m counting my blessings tonight.

Until next time…

Well hello there.

I’ve gone back and forth in my head on what to do with this place. Sometimes I want to keep blogging and other times, I just want to let it die. And then I get a wild hair up my ass and come here to see when the last time I posted was.

Since my last personal post of my workout in April of 2013, I have been told to no longer do high impact workouts and sadly, I can’t even wear a tennis shoe because the injections of cortisone did something to the skin on the top of my foot and so it hurts to have anything over my foot. I have no idea who still reads this, but this is what’s going on with me since my last post.

I’ve had surgery on my foot to remove the neuroma from the nerve. It healed to a certain point and then stopped. This is partially my fault due to the fact I went back to work 4 days after surgery (yes, I know. I don’t need a lecture) because it was payroll Monday and God forbid I’m not there for payroll. I really don’t think I took enough time. I’ll be going back to the foot doctor soon to have it looked at and see what’s going on with it. This time, I’ll do exactly what the doctor says and won’t go back to work until he tells me I can. I promise.

I’ve been having a bunch of dental problems. I had a root canal recently that for some reason, caused a lot of pain AFTER the fact and so I had to wait for that to heal before going back to get the temp crown and then the perm crown. However, that costs more than the root canal, so I’m waiting on that. I’m hoping to get that appointment in sometime this week so I can get that moving towards being good again. I need a broken tooth in the back removed and I need at least two more root canals and crowns. Needless to say, I have NOT taken great care of my teeth. Never too late, right?

My car is falling apart. I need new brakes, I could probably use new tires and it’s making some strange noises. I’ve been told Volkswagens always make weird noises. It doesn’t make me feel better. It’s paid off and I want a new car, but I’ll drive this POS into the ground before I entertain that idea seriously. Although, the longer I put it off, the higher the chance of it just up and seizing on me.

I’ve been going through some shit at work that I won’t talk about here but I will say that I know I’ve gone all the right things. I’ve done what I should, the way it should be done. I’ve stood up for myself and I’ve stood up for what I think is right. Outside of that, what happens is out of my control and I continue going to work doing my job to the best of my ability and doing it well. I’ve been told I’m a vital portion of the division and that I am needed, so that’s kinda nice to hear.

My number one priority is to get my foot healed so I can get back to my workouts because my stress reliever was taken away from me the minute the doctor told me to stop working out. I can feel it, I haven’t been dealing with stress very well at all since April. I’ve also gained back 15 of the 30 pounds I lost back in 2011. The 2nd priority is my teeth and get those taken care of.

2014 is going to be my year for getting myself back to feeling good. I’ve let my physical health go quite a bit in 2013. It’s time to reverse that trend and get on it.

I’ve also been 2 days 10 hours 29 minutes free of cigarettes. I’ve been going to Cooper/Clayton classes again. I tried last year and failed. This year, I’m not going to use my stress as an excuse to keep smoking. I’m determined and I may feel like I got hit by a bus right now, but I’m going to push forward and keep doing it.

Until next time….


This post was originally posted on 9/11/06. Every year, I like to repost it in memory of those lost that day that were NOT FDNY or NYPD or EMS or PAPD. The civilian casualty numbers are worth remembering as well.  Maybe next year, I’ll break the habit and post something original.  Until then, here’s a story about one of the many people lost that day – Stephen V. Mulderry.

Never Forget.

This post is dedicated to the life of Stephen V. Mulderry who was on the 89th floor of the World Trade Center when it was hit by a plane. All of the information I’ve gained is from obituaries and online websites dedicated to the victims of September 11.

The impression I got from everything I read, was one of happiness, family, love and generosity. It seems he was generous with his time and love and he loved to help people. I can’t say that I knew him. But I can say I’ve known people like him and I wish I had known him. People who take up the whole room when they enter. Their energy and magnetism just light up the room. There’s no mistaking the charismatic look in his eye in the pictures I’ve seen of him.

To the Mulderry family, I am incredibly sorry for your loss. I am also very humbled and grateful that I was able to write this memorial for your son, brother, friend and loved one. May you find joy and happiness as you continue to remember the wonderful person that Stephen was.

When I look at the picture of him, I envision a tall, lanky, happy man who is secure in himself and in the world he has immersed himself in. I see passion and strength. I see happiness and love. I feel a warmth spread from my heart, at the same time as feeling incredible sadness that the world lost someone like him.

Everything I’ve read on the internet has given me the impression that the man never rested. He was always doing something for someone. He was always working at something that he loved, like being a top equity trader and a vice president of the employee-owned investment banking and brokerage firm, Keefe, Bruyette and Woods. Even in high school and college, Stephen did for others. He worked as a counselor and mentor at Project Strive, in Albany, an after school and summer program for grammar school students.

Stephen Vincent William Mulderry was born on May 4, 1968 in Albany, NY. Stephen had seven siblings, Amy, Andrew, Daniel, Peter, Anne Connel, Alexandra Andreani, Bill and Dara. Stephen’s parents were Anne and Bill Mulderry. Stephen attended Bishop Maginn Diocesan High School. After graduation, he attended the University of Albany.

Stephen moved to New York City after graduating from college, to pursue his career. When he first moved to the City, he was delivering chocolate milk to bodegas and he was a bartender. It’s been said that he poured energy into everything he did. Whether it be work, family, or basketball. He loved playing basketball and played it throughout college, where he led the team as point guard for three seasons.

Stephen’s nickname on the basketball court (and probably other places) was Zipper. I’d say this was because of his speed and agility on the basketball court. While playing basketball in the city leagues, he was voted Most Valuable Player during the Lower East Side Hamilton Fish tournament.

Everything I read also told me that he was a gifted musician, singer and dancer. People have said he had a quick and kind wit. He was uninhibited with his appreciation of other people’s talents. In one of the many pages I’ve read, his brother, Andrew, had this to say: “He loved basketball, but he had four passions: friends, family, work and basketball. He was an incredible source of love and support for me. Even in the midst of this horrible circumstance, I feel nothing but blessed for the older brother I have.”

What an incredible source of light and memory we have. Stephen Mulderry, I pray that you are resting in peace. Know that we remember you and what you did while you were with us on earth.

Until next time…

Tuesday April 16, 2013

12 minute AMRAP:
25 v ups
10 deadlifts (83#)
4 rounds + 30 reps = total of 170 reps
5 minute plank holds.

I had to modify the planks and do them on my knees, instead of my toes. Bending my toes back like that is excruciating so I modified it myself. They still suck ass though. That’s for sure.