Thursday, June 18, 2015


I have to admit, I am actually disappointed in our family. I shouldn't be. I've learned over the last 25 years to not have high expectations for anything, ever. They aren't horrible people. They just don't seem to want to be a close part of our lives. They choose to be involved in the lives of other family members, but not ours. We've tried to include them, but I guess most of them just have a different definition of "family" than we do.

After spending years and years being upset, sad, hurt, and/or angry with them, I've come to a place in my life with pretty low expectations. Years and years of family members telling us that they were going to come watch Keaton play a game and/or visit...and then having them cancel at the last minute...made me (and especially Keaton) feel disappointed. Not being included in family pictures prepared me for feeling unimportant. Putting my heart and soul into making scrapbooks for family members and most of them never even saying thank you has left me feeling empty. Spending hours making videos for them and not having most of them even say thank you has left me feeling unappreciated.  Not replying to emails, messages, or texts has left me feeling unimportant.  Not being included in things has left me feeling unliked.  Having my father and beloved dog pass and not having many of them take a minute from their busy lives to express their condolences has left me feeling unloved.  (Even an email or text would have been appreciated.)

Keaton and his girlfriend, Autumn, drove over to attend my nephew's open house in Flint for a short time. It was the first time most of them had met Autumn. I just have to say I'm really disappointed in most of our family who was there. I shouldn't be. I really shouldn't be. I don't know what I was expecting. Maybe that they would actually TALK to her? Maybe LISTEN to her and have a conversation with her? I am shocked at their total lack of interest in Autumn. There's a high probability that Autumn could be a member of our family one day and I'm saddened by how she was ignored. I guess I just had my expectations set too high.

Don't get me wrong...not everyone was rude. Some were interested in her and enjoyed talking with her and listening to her. If people joined the conversation, they'd learn that she has a good sense of humor, is bright, is kind, enjoys people and animals, and brings out the silliness in Keaton. Plus, she's gorgeous! She makes Keaton happy and it's soooooo great to see him happy! I think she's really good for him!!


It's taken me 25 years to accept the things I cannot change. I can't force people to like me or accept me. I can't force them to have a close relationship with us or with Keaton. True, we chose to live away from our family. However, in our defense, we made a conscious effort to include them in our lives. We've video-taped and taken pictures of every step of Keaton on his journey through life. We've sent letters, cards, sports schedules, school schedules, pictures, videos, and emails over the years. We've called with updates.  I even started a blog almost eight years ago, hoping our family could feel connected to us. (Sadly, I don't even know if anyone even reads it.) True, Keaton could have made a bigger effort to strengthen the bonds, but I honestly don't believe that forming a close relationship is the sole responsibility of a child.

It's taken me 25 years to have the courage to change the things I can. Well, I've tried to change things. I've tried to talk to some family members about the lack of a close relationship with Keaton, but they just get defensive and deny what I'm trying to tell them. I now avoid most family functions because I pretty much leave them feeling upset, sad, and hurt. Years and years of not feeling liked or being included kind of does that to you:  not being given showers or invited to showers...or only being invited at the last minute as an afterthought; having family members make plans right in front of you and then not asking if you'd like to be included; having family members take photos and not take any of you...with you sitting right next to the person they're photographing; Keaton and I not even being included in family photos...even after being told we could have them taken when we arrived; not being thanked for something you've given them (Sorry, telling someone to tell me thank you is not the same as thanking me personally.); being excluded in gifts the rest of the family receives.  (I could go on and on, but this is getting too long as it is.) So, I've done what most people do when they're hurt...I've just shut down.

It's taken me 25 years to have the wisdom to know the difference. I've learned the difference between those that care and those that care when it's convenient. Boy, I sure do miss my dad. He would call a few times a month just to see how Keaton was doing. He was the only one who ever asked to have Keaton come stay with him. He always commented on anything I sent him or gave him. He always fussed over any scrapbook I made for him and thanked me. He ranted and raved about Keaton's open house memorabilia. Even after my dad left the open house, he immediately called minutes later just to tell me again how much he enjoyed all of Keaton's memorabilia and how wonderful Keaton was. That made me cry. I sat on the porch and sobbed as Keaton's open house was wrapping up. I was happy that my dad got it...that he cared so much and made it a priority to have a close relationship with Keaton. But I was also sad that not many others got it. And that's what is so sad...people are missing out on having a close relationship with a wonderful person. They don't have to like me or include me, but I really want them to include Keaton. He is kind, funny, sensitive, smart, handsome, caring, loyal, giving, athletic, fun-loving, playful, and loving. He knows he's loved by our family and we are thankful for that. But, sadly, he has learned not to expect to be included in much with our family. I just want our family to know how special he is and to try and include him in their lives. And to include Autumn. I just hope I'm not setting my expectations too high.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Sigh for Cy

Sigh.  It's been four long months...16 long weeks...112 long days...since we lost our precious Cy.

Tuesdays are horrible days and I end up doing a lot of crying.  I'm trying to feel better, but honestly just can't seem to yet. Cyrus was more than just a dog.  He was a member of our family and I ache for him.  I still find myself calling out for him; telling him we're leaving the house but we'll be back in a little while; reaching for him while I'm going to sleep or in the car; looking at the clock to see if he needs to go outside; looking for him on the couch or on my bed; dreaming about him; looking where his food and water used to be to see if they need refills.

It's so hard for me to be around dogs.  I try, but it only makes me sad and then I end up crying.  A lot.  I've cried pretty much every day for four months now.  I'm sure Matt's pretty tired of me moping around, but I just can't feel better yet.  I'm trying.  I just miss Cyrus so much.  I miss his little furry body cuddling with me. I miss his stubby little tail that wagged whenever I walked in the door or talked to him.  I miss his little nudges he'd give me to have me pet him.  I miss him begging for food.  I miss him yodeling at me when I came home from the grocery store.  I miss hugging him and kissing him all throughout the day.  I miss talking to him.  I miss his full-body stretches and huge yawns.  I miss his pre-bedtime parade around the dining room table with his beloved liger in his mouth.  I miss him standing and stretching along the back door and I can't bear to erase his paw prints.  I miss him pouncing on us and waking us up in the morning.  I miss him balking at the garage door when it's raining.  I miss him waiting outside my bedroom, waiting for me to come to bed.  I miss brushing him and brushing his teeth.  I miss feeding him and washing his dishes every day.  I miss his companionship.  I miss trying to find where he's hiding during a thunderstorm. I miss him barking at Matt whenever Matt would hug me.  I miss his hugs. I miss him more than anyone will ever know.

Losing a beloved pet is like losing a family member.  When Keaton left for college, Cyrus was all I had left to smother.  I don't think I could have loved a child more.  Cyrus was just a little bundle of love. When he was a puppy, he instinctively cuddled with Keaton whenever Keaton was sick...we never had to pat the bed to get him to lie with Keaton.  He'd just jump up and cuddle with him...Cy's version of trying to make Keaton feel better.  After the loss of my dad, I was sitting on my bedroom floor and Cyrus walked up to me, sat between my legs, and pressed his head to my chest...seemingly offering me comfort. Anytime I was sick, he'd scratch at the bedroom door until it was opened and he could jump in bed and cuddle with me.  He was so much more than a dog.  He was my therapist. He was my cuddler.  He was my buddy.  He was my pillow. He was my sidekick.  He was a huge piece of my heart.  He was my Shmoopie.  He was my Precious.  He was my Pookie. He was our beloved Cy.  Huge sigh.

This was taken 4 days before he passed.
Keaton always teased me that I had more
pictures of Cyrus on my phone than of him.
He was right!

Our beloved shrine to our beloved puppy.

Friday, June 12, 2015

More Anniversary Stuff

Even though our anniversary wasn't very romantic because of all the house stuff we had to take care of that day (bank stuff, pest inspection, & house inspection), we did try to make our late, late dinner of Arby's about as nice as we could.  I went all out and put our food on eating from wrappers for our special day!  ;-)

25 roses...I counted.
Matt gave me this pretty necklace.
I framed a picture for Matt with our
names carved on a tree in a heart.
(No tree was harmed...except for the
paper I printed it on.)

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Silver Anniversary

    Matt and I celebrated our 25th wedding anniversary on Monday.  We didn't get to do much celebrating with all of the house selling/buying stuff we had to run around and do on Monday, but we did manage to enjoy a nice lunch. We're planning on taking a trip in the fall to celebrate.  In the meantime, I did some updating on a list I made a few years ago.  25 years.  In a row.  WOW!

    25 Rules for Wedded Bliss (At Least Most of the Time)
  1. Always close the toilet seat and lid.  ALWAYS.
  2. Eat at least one meal together each day.  It's always nice to have your husband bring something home for dinner once in a while.  It's even better if he also cleans up afterward.
  3. Put a new garbage bag in the garbage can immediately when you take out the garbage. (This is still an ongoing battle in our house...Matt.)
  4. Just accept the fact that guys will have ESPN/sports on the TV at all hours of the day and night.  Just accept's got something to do with the hard-wiring of the male brain. Learn to watch Lifetime or HGTV on another TV.
  5. Always kiss each other goodnight.  What happens after that is your own business and this is not that kind of blog.
  6. Accept the fact that guys don't clean as well as girls. They try their best, so be sure to be thankful for what they do...and then go over what they missed when they're not looking.
  7. Listen to the radio station your wife would like to listen to while in the car.  And in the house.  But, the radio in the garage belongs to the husband.
  8. Always compliment your wife and tell her she looks fabulous...even if she's having a really bad hair day.
  9. Don't get on your wife's nerves.  (Maybe this one should be at the top of the list.)
10. Accept the fact that men aren't nearly as emotional and/or neurotic as women and don't want to talk and talk and talk about their feelings.  They mean what they say and then move on.  They don't analyze every single word they've said and worry what others will think.  They've already forgotten what they've said and are now thinking about either sports or sex.
11. Have anchovies (and other gross stuff your spouse doesn't like) on the side, not cooked ON the pizza. 
12. Accept the fact that sometimes your spouse just seems to breathe really loudly.  Don't succumb to the urge to smother him with a matter how irritated you are at 3 a.m.
13. Always smile and tell your wife that dinner was delicious...even if the chicken was a little dry. This will avoid any cooking boycotts in the future.
14. Bring your wife home flowers once in a while.  Or Snickers.  It may help her resist the urge to smother you with a pillow one day.
15. Learn that there really is a difference between cream and off-white. Men just can't see it for some reason.
16. The A.I.S. (Ass in Seat) Rule does not apply to your wife.  If she needs an hour...or get ready to go out, then wait patiently.  Your wife may need extra time if her hair won't cooperate, she sneezed while applying mascara and has to start all over again, and/or there's absolutely nothing in her closet to wear (and/or everything she puts on just makes her look fat).  Adjust your departure time accordingly, tell her she looks fabulous (and thin), and never, EVER ask her how much longer she'll be.  You can always just watch ESPN while she's getting ready.
17. Say 'I love you' every day. This usually works better if you say it to each other.
18. Embrace your wife's silliness and craziness. Smile when she sings commercial jingles and puts the dog's name in them. Chuckle when she talks about the musical bridge you're on and then realizes she's wearing headphones. Laugh when she gets stuck in the pool without the steps while she's home alone. Accept her Lucy moments.
19. Open all doors for your wife...especially in flu and cold season.
20. Always remember the little things and celebrate them:  Valentine's Day, your anniversary, and the first time you kissed...just to name a few.  Presents are always a good option. You can never go wrong with jewelry.
21. Listen to your wife when she's rambling and carrying on about something that totally doesn't interest you in the least. Always sympathize and let her know she's justified in feeling like she does and she is right. You don't have to listen to every word she says...just tune in once in a while, nod in agreement, reassure her she's right, and then go back to thinking about which pitcher to put in your lineup for your fantasy baseball league.

22. Never, ever ask your wife what's wrong while she's in the middle of eating an entire carton of ice cream. Wait patiently until she's done and then have the kleenex ready...and a bottle of Pepto and/or alcohol.

23. Don't fear PMS. Accept for a few days every month that:
    • all of her clothes are horrible and make her look fat and frumpy
    • her hair is horrible and just won't do anything
    • pretty much everything you say is the wrong thing to say
    • you just don't understand her feelings and are wrong
    • you just don't understand her point of view and are wrong
    • you can't do anything right and are wrong
Just hold on and ride out the emotional roller coaster for a few'll be over soon. Hopefully.

24. Never, ever, ever, ever leave an empty roll of toilet paper on the holder. Ever.

25. Just accept the fact that your wife is right 99% of the time.  Concede and you'll be guaranteed a happy marriage...and life.

Sunday, June 7, 2015

Team Lost Dumasse Rides Again!

We spent the weekend up at Silver Lake so Matt and his partner, Dave, could do another adventure race. It was a grueling 5-hour race with 25 miles of biking, orienteering through woods, and scaling up huge sand dunes on their hands and knees. They finished 33rd out of 244 teams, snagging 23 of 40 checkpoints.  Not too bad for a couple of middle-aged guys running all around town with a team name of Lost Dumasse (it's really Lost Dumbass, but for some reason the adventure racing officials frown on profanity.)  They had a great time!! (The leaders in the five-hour race got 29 out of 40 checkpoints. It was definitely a very hard race!)  I told Matt I'd actually consider doing one if I only had to ride 10 miles on my bike (downhill both ways, of course), didn't have to get dirty or sweaty, and could stay on groomed trails in the woods where things couldn't  touch me (leaves, branches, bugs, etc.) I guess I'll have to find a princess race somewhere. Something where I could wear pretty sparkly shoes.

After the race, and a much-needed shower for Matt, we drove up to Pentwater to watch the sunset.  It was spectacular.  I don't think I've ever seen a bad sunset on Lake Michigan.

Pentwater Light Station