Sjs59's Blog

one tiny voice among many

Ah, so Where Do I Start?

This morning I was out walking my little dog Etta and again, we had the great misfortune of running into a know-it-all, not giving-a-damned about the rules and doing-what-they-want kind of dog owner who proceeds to tell me what is WRONG with my dog and how I can FIX her.

It really baffles the shit out of me how they, who allow their very large, wormerwiner, (is that how you say it, not sure?), anyway it’s a very large grey dog with pink colored eyes, to walk a good distance ahead of them with the dog leash dragging behind it aaannd, never picking up the large dump that the dog makes along the way.

For one thing, I already KNOW my dog is neurotic so shut up already.  That is why I walk her when there is little to no chance that we will encounter you in the morning or later on in early evening when I walk her again.

For another, she is a rescue dog and I know now that she was probably abandoned downtown by someone exactly like you who allowed her to do exactly as she wanted when she was a pup and when she got older you didn’t like it anymore and didn’t think it was quite so cute anymore.

Furthermore, if you think that in the last five or six years that I’ve had her I haven’t tried to retrain her to not do the things that she does that are so undesirable, you’re wrong.

Etta’s incessant whimpering, whining and getting over excited about almost everything is probably the direct result of not being taught anything about decent dog behavior.

The way Etta behaves, it’s as if she has two separate personalities, her indoor or “at home” personality and her outdoor personality.  

At home, except for her whiney ways, she does pretty much everything I tell her to do….for the most part, she listens!

On the other hand, when we are outdoors, she does not listen to anything I tell her.  It is a constant battle for me to try and get her to behave in a normal, calm, well behaved dog way that I could take anywhere.  I can not even take her past a certain point in my neighborhood without her whimpering and hyper-ventilating….it’s really so embarrassing sometimes.

 I have had choke collars, shock collars, brought a rolled up newspaper with me, a crunched plastic bottle to make noise to get her to pay attention to me, tried giving her praise or treats for behaving good and nothing I have done has changed her neurotic behavior.

And one more thing I should mention, is the fact that every time I try to teach Etta, or discipline her outdoors, I seem to run into another dog owner, whose dog, btw, is, of course, walking them, if you know what I mean?, telling me that they are going to call “Animal Protection” on me because I’m being abusive to my dog.

I meet people too along the way that think that Etta’s whimpering is cute and keep encouraging her to do it more when they say “oh, what’s the matter, it’s alright, etc., etc.” or something to that effect.  I’ve had the thought of putting a sign on  my dog stating to please ignore her whimpering because I am really sooooo, so tired of telling so many to ignore her.

I love my dog so much.   I just wish it wasn’t such a challenge to get her to behave in such a way that I could take her anywhere with me.  

It would be so great to be able to even just take her for a ride in the car without her freaking out and whimpering and crying all the way to, for instance the vet, and then all the time we are there in the waiting room and then all the way back home again.

In the summer I used to love going to the outdoor concerts and I would love to be able to have Etta come with me but I can not.   She’s such a great companion to me at home and it’s such a disappointment that I can’t take her anywhere with me.

I guess the reason I’m writing this is to ask people out there when you encounter dogs and dog owner’s along the way and you think the dog is behaving badly and the owner is not doing anything to try and control it, don’t interfere.

Ignore the dog, especially if it is making a lot of noise so you will notice it.  Keep walking….the dog does not need your attention unless the dog owner allows it and only when the dog behaves in a calm, quiet state, otherwise, you are a part of the problem, not the solution.

I do realize that I am the only one responsible for how Etta behaves and I won’t stop trying to get her to behave in a calm, quiet way when I take her outdoors but I would really appreciate it very much if everyone I run into while I’m out walking her, would just mind their own business and let me do what is necessary to try and teach her to behave better.  Thank you.


Letting Go

There comes a time in everyone’s life when they need to see that for some things you just need to let them go.  Things like situations that you try your darndest to rectify and nothing you do is ever enough.  Your efforts sometimes may even make the situation worse if you do not stop. 

I am at that point with a situation in my life.  I have to let it go because my self-worth is deteriorating as a result of my still trying.

The one thing about myself that I constantly have to work at is keeping my self-esteem in check.  

High self-esteem is not a natural occurrence for me….it is something I have had to build up over my lifetime and it is an ongoing effort to maintain.  If anything, it is a natural occurrence for me to want to tear myself down….especially if with all my efforts, situations do not change or get better.

Also, what does not help is that I have had plenty of people in my life who want to tear me down too.  It’s kind of like a “catch 22″, when you have low self-esteem your actions give it away.   Everything you do says who you are.  People who have less self-esteem are attracted to you because of it….the cycle just keeps going.

What is very true about me too, is that I am a stubborn person….very.  I really hate to quit or give up on something until I have exhausted every idea that I can think of and it still does not change the situation.

Some people seem to know right away to give up on a situation.  I do not.  I believe that we are given situations in our lives to teach us things about ourselves.  I just don’t know how much or how little I am supposed to do before I give up, or give in to it.  Perhaps for me that is the lesson here to be learned.

When I begin to feel like who I am as a person is compromised because of all that I am willing to do to get someone to see me as valuable and worth while in their lives is when I finally see that it is time for me to let go of the situation.

People are going to see what they want to see no matter what I do or how well I treat them.  Some people just do not have inside of them what it is I want for them to have.  They are not capable of giving me what it is that I want so I have to just rely on myself and do the thing that is best for me in the long run…….let go of the situation and believe that everything is going to turn out just the way it is supposed to.


Clutterer’s Anonymous?

I sometimes look around my apartment and wonder why I ever divorced.  Just think, if I still had that husband, I may not have all this clutter surrounding me.

Yes, he was a definite deterrent to all the clutter in my home.  Every time I turned around he was going behind me, cleaning up and throwing away everything that I thought I wanted to save.

One time he even threw away a greeting card that his Aunt had given us and it had money in it.  Believe me, he had no quams about digging through the trash that night after I told him what he had done.

But seriously though, clutter is a serious issue with me because I can never seem to decide what is worth keeping and what I should throw away.


clutter 001

This is one example of what I’m talking about.  Both in the basket and the bag are papers that I am going to shred because it has my personal information on it.  The problem is, there is never a convenient time, when I have time that is, to shred it.  

Either it’s too late or too early to be running the shredder in the apartment building where I live.  I do not want to disturb the neighbors with all the noise.

Another example is my desk.  Believe it or not, for the most part, I do know what’s in this pile……it is stuff that I need to file away so that I can find it when I need it, said with a sheepish grin and red, embarrassment face.

clutter 003

What’s funny, (not in a ha ha way), about being a clutterer is the fact that I seem to be oblivious to what I am doing sometimes until I notice one day that it is done.  At that point though, I become thoroughly disgusted with myself and get angry that I have let it get like this.  It’s very frustrating to say the least.

I know of no one who enjoys being a clutterer or who enjoys living like this. Personally, I like neat and orderly, I just don’t seem to know how to keep it that way.

I have discussed this with a few others who do this and who shall remain anonymous……we keep trying to find a legitimate reason for our cluttering.

Some seem to think it’s heredity and some think it’s learned but whatever the reason, it always makes one feel like crap about themselves and yet, we keep doing it.  I seem to keep cluttering no matter how many times I’ve vowed to just throw stuff away after I’ve looked at it but I can’t seem to stick to my decision.

This got me to thinking the other day that maybe like in AA, one has to first admit to having a problem before they can do anything to change it.  So consider this post my admission to being a clutterer. 

Now that I have taken the first step by admitting it, perhaps I will finally stop cluttering.  

Well, I guess one can always have the hope at least.


Dancing in the Livingroom

Dancing in the livingroom to rock and roll songs,

sometimes fast, sometimes slow.

Splashing one another in the puddles after a warm, summer rain,

sometimes a lot, sometimes a little.

Walking together in the mornings for exercise sake,

some times slower, sometimes quicker.

Cranking up the radio in the car,

sometimes singing, sometimes not.

Alas my dear child,

these are a but a few,

of the many memories I have,

from knowing someone as beautiful and special as you.

RIP Katie

5/15/75 – 9/10/03

Starting to Again Feel…….

the descent cycle of this roller coaster ride I call My Life.

Yesterday I was in Westfield, the last place we went as a family before my daughter Katie died.

As I walked along Elm St. looking for the business that I was interested in finding, I found myself thinking back to the day we were last there.  I think the event was called “Taste of Westfield”.

They had food tents from different restaurants, amusement rides for the kids and musical entertainment for everyone.  The featured band was the “Beaver Brown”  band……I’ve loved them since I heard their music in the movie, “Eddie and the Cruisers” and I really wanted to see them perform.

Katie had worked that day and after she got out, she and I took my grandkids so that they could go on the rides and hopefully have a good time being there.  My son Adam was meeting us later.

With each side street and alleyway I came upon, I found myself asking myself, “was this the one?”   I was looking for some familiarity to remind myself which alleyway we had stepped into to allow the kids to finish their ice creams, away from the crowd of people mingling along the street and sidewalks of Elm St.

I couldn’t remember which alleyway it was for sure.  

Eventually, I found the business that I was looking for and my thoughts went back to the business at hand.

It is August again and every year, so far, since Katie took her own life, my everyday life thoughts are infiltrated by memories of how my everyday life was and events of “back then” and what might have happened to cause my daughter to do what she did.

I remembered after Katie’s death,  how that day in Westfield,  Katie seemed so irritated and how I tried so hard to get her out of it and I actually thought then that I had succeeded.  Now I think, I did not succeed. 

A couple of weeks ago, I also came across some negatives when I was going through some old photographs.  I thought they were of pictures that I had put together on a collage for my son and it might of been lost through some unfortunate situation so I had pictures reprinted from the negatives.

When I looked at the pictures after getting them back from the printers, I realized that they had been taken only a month or so before Katie died and my mind took me back to a place of trying to see in the pictures what I might have missed seeing when my daughter was here and alive.

Why doesn’t depression really show in pictures sometimes?  Why can’t it even be seen when you are with someone every single day?  Was I oblivious to my daughter being in so much pain?

My heart is broken.  It will never be unbroken.  

I can not go back in time and nothing can be undone.  I live my life with a quiet acceptance of  what is and feeling the feelings that go along with the loss of my child’s life is permanent.   From that lowest of low point, everything else is a slow, painstaking creep up to the top of the roller coaster chute.

I know that the descent is going to come back…..always.  On a roller coaster ride you cannot have the highs if you do not have the lows so you just have to brace yourself and hold on tight.  At least now the lows are not as  frequent as they once were and my memories of Katie are more about how she lived rather than of how she died.

Thank you for reading.


Short Garden Update

So far everything in my garden is doing well.  

Since the last time I wrote about it, I’ve planted my zucchini, spinach and onions.  They really don’t look much like anything yet, but I know before long they’ll be growing like crazy.


new growth 002 new growth 003


In the top picture, green bucket, is the zucchini and in the lower picture is the spinach and onions.  Sorry, I don’t know whether the green sprigs are spinach or onions yet.  They’ll be more distinguishable in time, I’m sure.

Also, I decided to give each tomato plant it’s own bucket and already I’ve got my first flower that will turn into my very first tomato.  I’m very excited that, so far, my garden seems to be doing so well.


new growth 001


I will continue to periodically update on the progress of my garden.

What’s Broken?…….stepping up on my soapbox

I wish I knew how to fix what is broken in today’s world.  

I wish I knew what it is that is broken.  

I know I’m not alone.

It seems like every day in the last 3 or 4 days, someone is going off on a shooting rampage or stabbing rampage and killing and wounding innocent people…….WHY????

How does this keep happening?  

Does everyone suffer from a mental illness or are we all just a bunch of self-centered, self-indulgent, self-motivated and any other self related label that applies, individuals with no sense of reality who thinks that the world should revolve around us and when it doesn’t we get pissed and have an enormous hissy fit?

I mean, come on now.

Whatever happened to treating others as you would want to be treated?

Whatever happened to people exercising self-control?

Have we become so accustomed to and accepting of so much violence going on in the world that we think it’s just another “normal day”?

How have we gone so far from being able to relate to one another on a human level?

Some people can’t even feel a connect to their own family members and can kill them so easily……how does this happen?

I, unfortunately, do not have a solution for fixing what is broken in this world.  How I wish that I did.

It’s no wonder that everyone suffers from anxiety and depression….you just never know when it might be your turn to experience the carnage.

It’s like the proverbial “elephant in the room” that no one wants to talk about…….the hidden land mine that can go off at any time and anywhere. 

Dr. Wayne Dyer says that, “the solution, is always in the problem”.  So what is the problem, what is broken that these horrific things keep happening?

My personal opinion, these suggestions couldn’t hurt and for what it’s worth-

turn off your device and tune back in to life….at least long enough to notice that those are people sharing the space that you’re in.

Stop indulging every whim that your child has….be willing and brave enough as a parent to be able to say “no” to them and not worry about whether they’re going to like you.  Look to the future and make decisions based on what kind of people they will be living in our society.  Teach them that no one gets their own way all of the time and how to handle disappointment.

Give people your time… attention to what they are doing and tell them or show them that you noticed…..that they matter to you.  Sometimes all people want is to feel appreciated.

So like I said before, I don’t know what the problem is with people and I do not know what the solution is but hopefully we will figure it out…..soon.

Now I will step down from my soapbox…..thank you.




Vegetable Garden with a View

Thursday I planted my vegetable garden.  

Up until then, I was waiting for the rental manager where I live to have our “vegetable garden” plot of land turned over by a tractor.  Needless to say, he never did.

Well, like my Mom always said, “time waits for no one”, and I had to get the veggies in the ground.  As it is, we really don’t have a very long growing season in this part of the country so as soon as we can and the threat of frost is passed, we like to get the plants planted.

I’m actually very excited to see how well the plants do in the buckets on my balcony.  That’s right, everything is in buckets and so far, they don’t look like they’re shriveling……knock on wood!

Everything but one in the white buckets are vegetables.  Everything else is a perennial that I rescued from the flower garden that I tried to have below on the ground which, seemed to me, to be sabotaged by the landscaping company that was hired to do the lawns here at the apartment complex where I live.  (A whole other story in itself which I don’t have time to get into right now).


my veg garden 001


With the help of my brother Edward, I’ve planted potatoes, tomatoes, green peppers, cucumbers and green beans so far.  I still want to add zucchini and maybe some lettuce and swiss chard…..I’ll see.

I expected that I would merely get a ride from Edward to go buy everything I needed to get started but he was very generous and gave me the soil, the plants and the seeds…..all except the potatoes…..those were mine and I got all the buckets from where I work.

Oh, and one more thing, they’re all being organically grown.

I think in a way, I’m kind of glad that the site manager didn’t follow through when he said he was going to have someone come in and turn the soil for us tenants to have a garden this year.  

I doubt that everyone who planted would be interested in growing organically and I’m sure that some of the pesticides would have been transferred somehow to mine from theirs.

I do think it’s unfortunate though that a lot of families that live in the apartments here are not going to be able to plant a vegetable garden.  It’s such a waste of land as far as I’m concerned.

With the way the economy and everything is these days, people would save so much money by growing their own produce if they can and it is so much better when you can control, to a big degree, what goes on or in what you are eating.

I’m excited about my garden and I can’t wait to see what comes from it.  I will also post pictures from time to time to let everyone know how it’s progressing.  

Thank You All for Your Patronage

Me:  (cheerfully) Hello

customer 1:  (matter of factly)  Can you slice my bread?


Me:  (friendly) Hello

child of customer: (oblivious) Can I have a cookie?


Me:  (enthusiasticly)  Hello

customer 2:  (without even looking my way)  I’m just looking


I love my work.  Cake decorating and baking is what I’ve always loved doing, for as long as I can remember.  Most days I even enjoy working with all the people that I work with…..we’re like a dysfunctional family at other times, but not often, which is a good thing.

The business that we’re in is referred to as a service industry….we are here to serve the customer.  Not all, but most everyone in this line of work is in it because they really like what they do.  

How else can you explain people staying for 5, 10, 15 and 20 years or more in a place where a lot of people really aren’t shown any appreciation for what they’re doing….on a daily basis, I might add?

A lot of the general public are under the misconception that a job in a supermarket is somehow not a real job.  Believe me, it is a real job and it is real work and not everyone could do it if they had to.

Try if you can, to imagine what step by step actions it must take to fill every single shelf in the entire store….it’s a lot of space to fill isn’t it?  Do you really think that can be accomplished if someone does not take the time to think about what needs to be done?

My work day begins by first checking to make sure there are no specially ordered cakes for me to do.  Then I have to go out onto the selling floor to check the cake case and make a list of everything that is missing from it.

From there, I have to go into our freezer and find everything we need for the cake case.  This is a complete project all in itself. 

When I first enter the freezer I am immediately faced with the dilemma of having to move at least 4 racks full of heavy product including the boxes that are thrown on top of them.  

Then I might have to climb up on a step stool to try and reach a full box of product that is still out of my reach at the top of the heap of boxes on the top shelf and, if there’s no one to help me, try to maneuver it to the edge so I can get it to topple over and not hit me on the way down to the floor.  All while freezing my fanny and fingers off to the point of frostbite in some instances.

Once I finish that little maneuver, I then have to push a heavy U boat (flat storage space on wheels), loaded with, for instance, over 20 heavy boxes of  unbaked muffin dough out of my way so I can perform the task I just completed on the other wall of the freezer on this side of the freezer.

Once I get everything labeled and put out into the cake case, I then have to make or put together what we did not have already made in the freezer. So back into the freezer I go to get all the product I need to make the cakes I need.

Some days though, it’s a real challenge for me to get all the work I have to do done because over the years, personnel in the store has been decreased quite a bit and I sometimes get a lot of interruptions.

Interruptions are a good thing though.  It’s where I get to interact with our customers.  

Most people I encounter are very nice and respond in a positive way when I greet them but there are always going to be some who can’t be bothered to even say hello….

That’s alright though.  Thank you all for your patronage.   Without you I would not have a job that I love doing.



Expectations and Disappointments

I should be vacuuming and dusting before I get ready to go to work but my keyboard was calling me, so here I sit tap, tap, tapping out this message.

This morning as I was out walking my dog a little after 8am, the thought of what I expected today kept popping into my head.  You see, today is my birthday and on days that are holidays and such, I have a tendency, I think, to have certain expectations.

I didn’t used to, not since I was a kid.  I think I kind of grew out of it after my own kids were born.  I even tried to teach my kids that if you don’t expect, you don’t get disappointed.  Having some of the people in their lives that they had, I thought it was important for them to get this particular lesson.

However, in the years following the death of my daughter Katie, I think the thought of expecting certain behavior from the people around me kind of crept back into my psyche without me even noticing it happening.

In my reflections this morning over the past 62 years of my life, the thought hit me like a wop up side the head.  Dr. Wayne Dyer calls it an “epiphany”.  

I all of a sudden was aware that I do this a great deal in my life.   It’s like I expect people to behave a certain way because that’s how I think they should behave and when they don’t, I’m disappointed.

It seems lately I’ve felt a lot of disappointment and it’s caused me to feel sad, lonely and down right miserable.

Granted, this time of year is always sad since Katie passed because May 15 is her birthday and she in not here any longer to celebrate it but that does not usually monopolize my thoughts as much as when she first passed.

I think now I am causing most of my own misery by expecting things to be a certain way.

So this morning, as I was walking with my dog, I told myself, “No more expectations”!   When I got back inside, I got 2 texts from 2 different people, wishing me a happy birthday.  What a nice surprise.

My intention from here on out is to not expect people to behave a certain way and maybe I won’t feel so disappointed and miserable a lot of the time.  Also, if I don’t have expectations and let life unfold before me, everything I get is a gift.


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