blogging Mental Health Writing

Oh Hey, May

That moment when you blink and some months have passed.

I’m now 36. My husband is now 35.

I’ve now gone on my first cruise and we’ve decided that, yeah, we’re “cruise people.”

We’re in the middle of baseball season which means I’m simultaneously loving it, praying for rain, cursing the fact that I’m missing Penguins playoff games, sweating, freezing, mumbling under my breath, clapping, holding babies, and eating soft pretzels with cheese.

I love soft pretzels with cheese.

School ends on Friday. On Monday, our oldest son went to the middle school for a tour while I cried into my coffee at home. Today Marley went to school so our oldest son could do a presentation for “Teach the Teachers” on White German Shepherd Dogs. I have no pictures because children swarmed us. Marley thought it was the best thing ever while I practiced deep breathing. Tomorrow that same kid goes to Akron to watch a minor league baseball game. He’s so excited he could burst. Thursday brings the Awards Ceremony and Friday is Fun Day.


Remember in past years when I was all, “blah, blah, we don’t do summer bucket lists or any bucket lists,” or something anti-whatever-is-currently-popular because I’m sometimes a jagoff? Well, this summer I want to do all of the things. My bucket list bucket is so deep I’m not sure how we’ll do all the things, but we’re gonna give it our best.

I sit on my front porch a lot lately, mainly because I planted all of the flowers, including our first every Fairy Garden which ended up in two big pots because I over-purchased. I still have a few things I want to purchase for the front porch, but it’s slowly becoming the porch I imagined when we bought the house five years ago.

Five. Years. Ago.

I’m hoping to get the new deck built by the end of summer. We’re, SURPRISE!, going on vacation with my family to the beach this summer. The boys got to go last summer while the parental units (us) stayed home and worked. Life is different now, so we get to go, but that involved moving money from our Early Summer Deck Rebuild Fund to the June Vacation Fund. The Late Summer Deck Rebuild will be just fine.

I’m back in yoga. Which means my arms and shoulders and abs and FEMURS kind of hate me. But I needed yoga in about eight different ways. A new studio opened in Zanesville, and I’ve fallen back in love with my body and the weirdly strong things it can do even though it’s been over a year since I regularly practiced yoga. I assume my arms will stop aching right about the time we go to build the new deck which will, yes, cause them to ache again.

It’s a cycle, this life.

I mentioned on Twitter (which, btw, is still alive and kicking and where you can keep up with the complete downfall of our current government) that I receieved my first rejection letter of 2017. Which means, yes, I’m writing again. It feels good. It feels right. Now is the time to do so. And so I am.

I can still do hard things.

I still have hard days, but I’m allowing them to be solitary and not take over entire weeks or months. Mother’s Day and the dreaded day before felt really hard this year for so many reasons. Then I woke up on Monday, went to yoga, and allowed myself the grace of starting again. In short: My medication, therapy, and positive affirmations seem to be working. I’ll stick with them and thank everyone and thing that brought this current state into my life—some of whom are you, so thank you.

I have pieces for this blog rattling around in my head and on various pieces of Post-Its and journal pages. They’re coming, all the words. I move a little slower with them now, think a little more, weigh the words before and as I type them, but oh, they’re there. It’s a really, really great feeling to move from black nothingness in my head to the creative space I prefer to dwell. I like it here.

All this to say: I’m here. I’m okay. I’m a blonde now. And most days, save for Hallmark holidays, I am happy.

Who would’ve thunk it?


Oh Yeah, We Got Another Dog

This is the story of how Marley became a Hatfield.

I’ve wanted a second dog for approximately eleven thousand years. Last year, I set the boys on task to convince their father that our family needed a second dog. It didn’t work very well. He muttered things about responsibility and poop.

Once, a dog showed up at the local pound that we felt some interest in, but we didn’t make it in time before another family adopted said dog. We chalked it up as “he wasn’t meant to be our dog.”

I upped my game on the second dog playing field late this year with the “dog or baby” “compromise.” Of note, neither of us can make the babies anymore. I still didn’t think anything would come of it, because second dog.

On a Thursday in mid-December, I returned home from one errand to grab something in the house so I could run another errand. As I tried to walk out the door, my husband said, “Hey, look at this,” and he wasn’t flipping me the bird.

Instead, he showed me this:

Marley Meets My Husband

And this:

Marley Meets My Husband

“What does this meeeeeeeeeeean,” I gasp-whine-cried.

“We’ll talk about it later.”

Naturally, I called everyone I knew as I ran my errands and exclaimed, “WE’RE GETTING A SECOND DOG!”

We talked that night. My husband explained how the wife of one of his fellow firefighters is the new dog warden in town. She stopped by on their shift and mentioned that the pound received a surrender of a white German Shepherd dog. That next morning, while I was out running my errand, my husband went to the pound to “see” Marley.

If you know the story of Callie, or have ever gone to “see” a dog, you know that no one goes to just “see” a dog. It’s code for “that dog is going to live in my house.”

During our conversation, we hit all the crazy variables. What if Marley didn’t get along with Callie? What if Marley wasn’t good with kids? What if he ate all the things in the house? What if he was a spazz like Callie? What if he didn’t like her boring grain free food? Also, he was a Big Boy; would we have enough time to walk and exercise him? And so on.

We decided to go “see” him the next day. Because, yeah, I was going to meet a big white polar bear of a dog and not take him home with me immediately? Silly husband.

At the pound, we discussed our options and decided to foster him over the weekend to see how he got along with our dog, the boys, our space, and so on. When they brought Marley in, my heart melted. He didn’t know a stranger, letting everyone in the office pet him. More over, he came up to me and buried his head in my side. Immediately.

So we took him home. On the spot.

Taking Marley Home

We bathed him and brushed him. Callie growled at him, but nothing happened. Because this is the most chill dog on the planet, you guys. His spirit animal is a sloth. He reminds of Flash from Zootopia. We made jokes about how he was the therapy dog I needed.

Turns out we weren’t far off.

Marley started his life in the Ohio Cell Dogs program. An inmate cared for and trained our dog, who lived with one other owner before us until that owner became too ill to care for him. It’s therapeutic for both dog and inmate.

This is why he doesn’t bark. This is also why he is not fond of the crate. This is also why he comes directly to me when I’m feeling low and buries his head in my side. Why he listens to commands so well.

His next owner also owned other dogs, and that’s why he doesn’t bat an eyelash at Callie when she gets jellyface.

Marley comes to us with a past patched together with loss and love and something bigger than just wanting to own a pet. He comes into our home very much wanted and, turns out, very much needed. He already seems like he’s lived here for much longer than a few weeks. He feels like he’s a part of us.

He’s now officially a Hatfield.

Regal Marley

For all of his previous training, he doesn’t pose well for the camera. We’ll work on it, because I believe you can teach an old dog new tricks.

Thanks for being ours, Marley.