Saying Good-Bye

House Sitting…Again

I have been staying at my friend Kathy’s who you might remember from the Boney James concert or from my House Sitting page.  I was house sitting when I first got here Wednesday, her  family was in South Carolina visiting their families.  They have a little chihuahua, a black cat, and…a pool.

What time I was not spending going to the doctors to get some last-minute checkups since I still have my health insurance until the end of the month I was spending sleeping, sunning, and writing.  Good news though, I already have Hepatitis B shot in my blood so I do not need any shots!  Just had my tetanus shot a year or two ago so that is good.

Well, I was also trying to keep peace between the cat and the dog.  The cat would go over to the sleeping dog and jump attack and would chase him around when he came in from a walk.  Then at night the cat would come and try to chase the dog out of the bed and then try to sit on my face.  When no one would pay attention to him, he would start tearing at the blinds.  It was interesting.

Saying Good-Bye

The day before Kathy and her family came home I went to the store looking for a birthday gift for Kathy’s oldest daughter Helen.  We have been best buds for five years.  I was her first sleep over that was not family.  I took her to Disney to get her Princess Makeover.  From birthdays to Christmases and Thanksgivings we were all a family.  Her mom has been like an older sister to me and she is like my niece.  Her mom’s last presents were tickets to see Boney James and Chris Botti but I had not found something for Helen.  Normally, I like to give her presents that are something we can do together.

As I walked around the store, an entire flashback montage came back to me starting five years ago when I moved to Winter Haven for my first job after I graduated from college.  From buying my first curtains and my nice living room and patio furniture and plants for my garden where I threw many dinners.  I used to sit out on my patio on my swing that converted to a fixed, flat bed with a fire pit and watch the stars and listen to the crickets.  I would cook with my fresh herbs on the grill.  Jack would dig up every pineapple I tried to grow and ate my cinnamon basil if I left him outside.  I met Kathy and her family, who lived one building down in my apartment complex, and then every night Jack and I would walk to Kathy’s house.  Almost every night.

There was the time Jack got out from the patio when I was at work and Kathy’s husband found him sitting outside of the gate barking at people who went by.  Or the Halloween when the stray kitten I tried to adopt ate my bird, Sunny and Kathy and her husband came and cleaned the entire mess up. Including the mess the dog left behind because he shaking in the corner scare. The bird was friend.

Or maybe the only Thanksgiving I spent living in Winter Haven when I went down to Kathy’s house and used her girl’s wagon to haul a load of beer and liquor from my apartment to her’s, with the then two-year old girl in the wagon (there is a picture somewhere).  Hours of sitting and talking gibberish with said two-year old.  Experimenting with so many recipes.

So many memories.

So, I was walking through Wal-Mart trying to find a fitting present and trying not to cry.  I thought about a scrapbook but I already bought her one of those.  Then it hit me.  I should get her something we can interact with while I am gone.  So I bought her a picture album with pages you can organize pictures in any way possible (not just 4×6 slots) in a binder.  I also bought some stickers and matting pages.  The premise is that everywhere on my trip I can send her postcards, currency, map pages, paper momentos etc. Hopefully along with Google Chat and Google Voice we can stay in touch.

Then on Monday the family came back.  We have been just hanging out all week.  Cooking great food with the now seven-year old and trying to entertain the teething 18-month old with Disney Jr. games on the computer has been fun.  I still cannot get the baby to say my name but she calls my computer Kicky (Micky) because we watch Micky on my computer.

For dinner two days ago we had corn on the cob, asparagus, beef and chicken kabobs with my renowned (thanks to Alton Brown) marinade, picked cucumber and onion salad, and milkshakes.  It was amazing.  Tonight we had bow tie pasta with pancetta, peas, corn, mushrooms, and Parmesan cheese, herb and cheese stuffed mushrooms, garlic crostini with some of the stuffed mushroom filling on top, and grill pineapple and bananas with white chocolate sauce (which I did not partake in) and pineapple syrup over vanilla ice cream.  I have never made either sauces or grilled fruit but they turned out pretty good.  The kid was a great sous chef.  She husked the corn, mixed ingredients, stuffed the mushrooms, and in general was a great kid.

The First of Many

I realized this week how many good-byes I am going to have to give this weekend.  And I do not know when I will be back to Florida.  So, I set up dinner and dancing and yoga and trail dates with friends throughout Central Florida.  I also set up a massage appointment with the guy at Ananda Kula who helped me get into yoga seriously and taught me how I needed to heal my body from over use injuries and

Yoga

On Friday I found a yoga studio in Downtown Winter Haven called Groundwork Yoga.  I went to the 6 PM flow class with Jody so I went back Wednesday.  If you want the full story (including headstand prep with chairs) please read my post about the yoga in Winter Haven coming up shortly!

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Photo Update – Michigan Almost Summer Day 2

These pictures and the pictures from my first day in Michigan are from my grandparents and parents property.  Jack and I like to take long walks in the woods in the evening.  I walk along and he runs around and when I call him he comes running back and head of me.  He looks back at me like I need to hurry and catch up.  That means he just scares away most animals.  I did see something maybe mink or something and a couple of white-tailed deer and some herons and geese from afar.

Here are pictures from day 2.

Pay attention to the here in now or you might step into a big pile of dog….

Jack is gone

So, its a bittersweet day.  I am one HUGE step closer to leaving, but that step involved my wonderful, loving, best friend, caring, sweetheart, cuddly dog, Jack, to make his way to Michigan with my parents.  I have to admit, its hard to even type this.  I feel like such a jerk for abandoning my dog, even though I know it is better for him to not be here now.  Heck, it might have been better for him to be there even if I was not leaving. Since this kind of leads into the middle of the story, let me start from the beginning…

Where are you? In Savannah

So my mom was coming and then not coming and then she wasn’t coming but eventually when I told her that she could take Jack she decided she could brave her “nerves” and make the trip to Florida. It is a long drive and they were planning on driving straight through Friday morning to Saturday. Worked out perfectly since Friday night I was going to a Chris Botti concert (review next!) with my friend Kathy.  It also allowed Jack to go over and say good bye to Kathy and her family one last time.

So Friday morning at work I was mostly worried about whether we were going to get there on time if we left at 430 (barely) and if I could get in a nap before I left.  So I get a call at 720.  It is my mom, “So, where are you?.”  I replied cautiously, “Um…I am at work, where are you?”

“In Savannah.  See you soon.”

Soon, like in three hours.  Apparently they left Thursday night to miss those horrible storms that whipped through Indiana and Kentucky.  And thank God they did, they just could have, ya know, called me.  So I call my boss and tell him I have to leave early (at 930) and I already worked over time (which I had hoped to cash in) so my hours were okay.  I worked like crazy to get a job done by the time I left and then ran like a crazy person home to clean, clean, clean.  My house was a mess.  boxes everywhere, dirty floor, dirty dishes, etc.  I cleaned like crazy and a in the few hours I had it was spotless, well almost spotless, just as they pulled in.

They brought two of their four dogs with them to make sure they got along with Jack and because mom does not do well without them any more.  It was an instant hit for my dog.  He just loved their dogs.  Their dogs tolerated him but mostly ignored him.  Abbea would chase the ball and Jack would chase Abbea.  It was funny, Abbea hardly even noticed he was there biting her ankles.

So fast forward to me going to the concert, going to Disney with my parents, packing stuff up for the yard sale, selling furniture on Craigslist, mom getting an emergency tooth extraction, and getting my first pair of real glasses and sun glasses with corrective lenses (love the sunglasses, not the regular glasses) and it was Thursday suddenly.  A whole week flew by.  Friday they were going to leave to Michigan.  I had to give up my precious Jack the very next day.

Final walk

So, instead of  going out to dinner to use my gift card I got for crappy service at a Darden owned restaurant, mom and dad brought home food and cheesecake from the Cheesecake Factory so Jack and I could spend the night with each other.  We went for our last walk around Cranes Roost together and then walked with Michelle and her dogs Hercules and H2.  And I admit, I balled.  I cried so hard people probably were wondering what was wrong with me.  As we were walking around Cranes Roost though, I realized I was so busy being upset and missing Jack and being preoccupied with moving that I was not actually spending the last moments I had WITH Jack.  Just being in the moment and walking my dog.  I realized this when I looked up at the sky.  It was a gorgeous sunset towards the west, bright pinks and oranges tinged with gold (much prettier with my new corrective sunglasses I must say).  To the North there were some intimidating black clouds that blew away very fast, leaving the smell of jasmine and orange blossoms in the air.  It was really the perfect Florida night.

If I was caught up in my emotion and attached to my own misery, I was not going to be able to spend this moment with Jack.  I would not have noticed the toddler getting chased by ducks, or the couple walking two massive dogs (not sure of the breed but HUGE) with a third little chihuahua leading the pack, or how in the east the sky was the most beautifully faded colors of blue and pink.  I would not have noticed the couple who wanted to say hi to Jack and who I had a great conversation with.  I also would not have noticed the pile of dog crap in the middle of the sidewalk, that some poor runner ran into.  I also would not have noticed the smile Jack looked up at me with his smiley face and wagging tale, questioning what adventure we were going on next.

My first goodbye

I know he is better off with them.  He was so much happier when they were here.  He was hardly ever alone (and hardly ever will be in Michigan) and when he was he had two friends to play with.  He loves mom and dad and the girls.  He did not chew on anything or pee on the floor.  He is much better off.  And at no point while I was walking around with Jack on our last walk did I think it was the wrong choice.  That did not make it any easier though.  This morning when mom and dad left at 5:30 (and they still have not called me with an update) I was a mess.  I forced Jack to cuddle with me on the couch one last time and took him to the car.  It was horrible, but necessary.

I also know he will be here when I get back, but in the mean time I have to come home and open a door where no happy puppy dog face greets me, shaking his ears and his collar tinkling. No one to cuddle with if I get scared at night.  No one to walk with at 2 in the morning when I cannot sleep.  No one to be there all the time so I never feel lonely.  No one to give me that unconditional love a dog gives.  I know it is all selfish, but I will miss him.  He was my baby.  No, he still IS my baby.  I just need to get over feeling as if I am abandoning him and feeling sorry for myself.

I realized though that I have been looking for something to come home to.  I did not think I had anything.  No boyfriend or kid.  I do not live near my family.  No house.  No job that makes me motivated to get up in the morning.  But, I had Jack all along.  I should have been a better mom to him.  Those, fairly frequent, times where I spent an hour later at work, were they really worth it?  Staying late and then going to yoga? Jack is definitely the number one thing I will miss.

My therapist pretty much told me today to keep on keeping on, in much more eloquent sounding words.  To use my skills I have developed to get this thing done.  Next weekend my lease is up.  So, I did what I do in such a situation, I went to yoga.  Happy Hour yoga at Altamonte Springs Yoga to be precise.  I even donated two bottles of wine (my parents brought four more down with them).  It was just what I needed. Then I chatted with and sold items to yoga friends, the yoga community is so nice to have at times like now.

So I am going to keep on keeping on.  Soon a post about the Chris Botti concert and Disney!  And I will probably take a trip to Epcot Flower and Garden Festival to take pictures.  I also need to find a place to stay after next week, which I am amazing not worried about.  And there are plenty more good byes to make.  But for now, I am going to go to bed.  There is a garage sale to tend to tomorrow; a day to say good bye to so much stuff!

Things I will miss most #2

I really enjoy Florida skies…

Florida is really gorgeous when we are not having adverse weather, wild fires, or you are so hot you cannot appreciate it.  I especially like the skies.  I don’t think I have ever seen so many beautiful blue skies, even when it is cloudy (which it always is).  Bright blue with puffy clouds, light blue with wispy clouds, gray-blue with huge intimidating clouds, and any mixture in between.  At sunset there are oranges and pinks and periwinkle.  I often spend time walking my dog just watching the colors of the sky change at dusk.

…and I like to enjoy them in Florida’s parks.

My favorite way of enjoying these blue skies?  There are public parks all over the place.  Rails to trails parks, lakes, springs, nature paths, bike paths, family parks, etc.  We run down the Seminole Wekiva trail and at Cranes Roost (both within walking distance) and go to the Pawmosa Dog Park in Casselberry to meet some more doggy friends. Nothing beats sunset at the beach, but I have to admit I have not been to the beach in years.  I get sunburned easily and I am not a lounging in swimwear kind of girl and, although I used to live near the beach and go often, now I live in the center of the state. That does not mean you cannot enjoy the natural beauties of Florida.  They are all around.

So if you are in Florida, check out the great parks throughout the state or you might be missing something.

Jacksonville “Treaty Oak

This tree is really crazy.  It is huge but not in a tall way.  Huge as in you could fit a house underneath of it and it has a natural canopy to the ground.

Cranes Roost

My dog Jack and I spend a lot of time here.  It has an amphitheater where there are free concerts and a fountain that plays to music in a very prettily landscaped garden area and a one mile loop to walk around.

Things I Will Miss Most #1

What I will miss most...my doggy.

 

I am going to be posting about what I will miss most while traveling.  Not in a whiny or sappy or sad (or not too sappy or sad) way.  I am doing it to be grateful and appreciate what I have while i have it.  I am probably not starting in a good order because I already know my dog will be the number one thing I miss.  Tonight we went for a walk in the pouring rain and broke in my new hiking shoes.  Jack hates water but his favorite game is getting dry.  I throw the towel over him and rub him and he bites the towel and rolls around on the towel.

You might be wondering how I could even give him up.  Well, I already am so busy I feel I am neglecting him and my parents and my best friend both have houses with big yards and other dogs.  I just have to choose where he is going.  They are arguing over who gets the dog he is just such an amazing animal!

I already miss you Jack!

Jack protecting his hole.

Well, his real favorite game is to be chased.

Or maybe staring into space?