Month: March 2014

Family, Parenting

Happy Dance

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Happy Dance
Happy Dance

Allowing me to grocery shop is like saying, “here’s $400, go nuts.” My idea of grocery shopping has always been to walk down each aisle and purchase whatever the hell I want. I’m the guy the grocery store loves because all those things placed at eye level to help encourage impulse shoppers to overspend, I like all those things.

I’m a list maker because I know there are things I need to buy, it’s the other things I just want to buy; cookies, four Delmonico steaks, 15 pounds of pork chops, artichokes that I don’t know how to cook, assorted home goods like cleaners we don’t need, quail eggs…it goes on and on. All the things I need combined with the other stuff that costs $295.00. I’d proudly bring home my loot and get laughed at. It was funny but in a pathetic out of control way like how you laugh at your friend who’s has one too many at the pub.

Today was the first time I’ve ever gone grocery shopping as a single dad, or single anything for that matter, who has half of the kids each week. I made my list vowing to stick to it. The idea of making dinner for half the number of people was considered when making my list like, instead of two packs of hot dogs I got one. Surely that would help me to keep the spending down. I also decided to first stop at the dollar store just in case they had some things there. I’ve been to the dollar store before but it was for cheap toys and candy. This time I walked down each aisle, sticking to my list, and purchased 18 things. My bill came to $18.54. Most of those items were non perishable and my guess is I would have spent more than tipple that at the grocery store. I walked out with a smile on my face. Will l like the dollar store body soap I wonder?

My next stop was the grocery store and the real test. I walked in feeling determined but that’s where the Sandies Pecan Shortbread cookies are, right at eye level. Instead of walking down each aisle browsing, I followed a patch directly to the things I needed making sure to keep my wandering eyes focused straight ahead. Heading down the bread aisle I saw the damn donuts. They also keep them close to the milk isle, smart marketing, but I only noticed them at the bread isle. The temptation was strong, I even stopped in front of them and almost reached but I moved along. I walked away and felt good about it.

Heading to the checkout lane I felt confident having stuck to my list. I’ve never just purchased what’s on the list but I did it. My total bill came to $83.24. Leaving I felt relief in not just sticking to my list but knowing I can cut back. I think I can make it.


I have a confession. I bought one Cadbury egg in the checkout lane. The wait was long there and the chocolate eggs were piled high with shiny wrappers.

Family, Pets

Faithful Otis

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The move yesterday was quick. As the hours passed Otis (our dog) kept staring out the window. A car drives by or car door shuts and he raises his head in anticipation then lays his head back down facing the window.

Last night, in the early evening, she stopped back by to pick something up and Otis jumped up on the bed near where she was standing and sat there waiting to be acknowledged. I know he was happy. He’s content  just to be near her.

Saying bye must have been so hard for her knowing how much he truly cares for her. I wonder if he could sense something was different this time and that she was saying bye in a different way? He just stared at her studying her face. She was visibly upset so I think he was wondering about that.

Late last night he sat on the steps for a long time just high enough so he could see out the window on the top of the door. The house was quiet and empty, something he’s not used to. I call his name but he won’t look back at me. He will wait for a long time I know because he loves her.

Nothing makes Otis happier than the idea of being next to her.  I understand how he’s feeling but he doesn’t know what I know. She won’t be coming home anymore. When the garage door is activated he will jump to his feet barking, tail wagging and hoping she walks in but she won’t. In his eyes there’s no one who can take her place.

Memories, Michigan, Nature, Photography

Lake Superior


Lake Superior Lake Superior Lake Superior

Seven years ago we visited Lake Superior for the first time. I’d always heard it was cold and immediately deep so that swimming was not particularly enjoyable. As we pulled into the park I noticed the waves were cresting at quite a distance from shore indicating sand banks piled up. It seemed odd to me because it wasn’t what I expected. We walked to the shore and followed sand banks out to the waves. I was amazed at how far we were able to walk on the soft wind-blown sand.

The low water level was the result of low precipitation and evaporation. As cold dry air from Canada moves across the warmer Lake Superior the water is soaked up. The winter before was mild allowing more water to evaporate than usual.

Photography, Uncategorized

Cloudy Days

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Cloudy SkySun Rays

Black and White Sunset

The sun shines bright in Arizona but sometimes there are cloudy days. Even with the clouds the sun shines bright. I see this as a lesson in life. Today is a cloudy day for me in terms of current life events that I can’t control. I could focus on those clouds or I could be thankful for life and the fact that the sun will still continue to shine.


Cactus Flowers

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Cactus FlowerI like cactus flowers. I’m always impressed at how something so delicate can grow out of something so rough.

General anger was a common theme for me. A scowl on my face for no reason I could put my finger on but certainly the result of something or things. In time anger becomes a security blanket I suppose and the reason for it is lost as it just becomes a way of life. Something makes you angry and you hold on to that anger even after you have forgotten what caused it. What a waste of time.

Each day I put on my anger so that it was with me when I drive, gritting my teeth and daring anyone to challenge me. It was there as a kid, used as a front, so that I was perceived as a force. Anger protects and gives an appearance that will hopefully prevent being victimized. 

Cactus FlowerAs I stood in the kitchen, a look of anger on my face, she said in a soft voice, “what’s wrong.” I puffed up a little not wanting my wall to crack or show weakness but then there was a smile, even if a smile of slight embarrassment. I knew then it was time. I felt ashamed that my anger was visible to someone I cared about.

Eventually I began to question myself and look for the source of this anger I wore and that at times consumed me. I tried on my own, being aware of it, with some success. Then I tried with outside help and it was that combination of outside help and self-awareness that was the key.

I still get angry and grit my teeth at times but no more than anyone else does. Anger is a natural emotion just like happiness and sadness but there needs to be balance. Now when I am angry I don’t necessarily fight it but I am aware of it and consider the thing that makes me angry. Just yesterday I was trying to merge into traffic and the driver behind me was acting like he wasn’t going to let me over so I called him a MF’r out loud. Of course he couldn’t hear me but I hoped he could make out what I was saying . Right after that I kind of chuckled to myself at the overreaction and felt a little silly. It’s the self-awareness that helps.

Nature, Photography

Arizona Sunset


Arizona Sunset

The sun setting in Arizona. As time goes on, things are finalizing, I think more about Arizona and how I’ve always felt drawn to the desert. It’s in my mind to head out there for a long while making it my home. A friend of mine moved there at least seven years ago and has always encouraged me to visit and make it my home. There are things that keep me grounded in Michigan so this will remain my own for a while at least.