Losing Lamar

Losing Lamar

I guess we’re supposed to accept that loss is a part of life, a major part of life. But it never gets easier. On Saturday my family and I unexpectedly lost our dog, Lamar. He was a chubby chocolate lab that lit up every room his unnaturally curly tail wagged through. Lamar was only six years old, and up until Saturday he was the happiest and healthiest dog that I’ve ever seen. Greeting everyone with a snaggle toothed smile and a tail wagging a mile a minute, he stole the heart of everyone who had the chance to pet him.

He went outside Saturday to pee when I woke up, as usual. Only this time was different. Instead of hearing his bark asking to come back inside, I found him lying in the sun beside a large pile of throw up. He wouldn’t move, only lie there. I lured him into the house and once inside he once again laid on the floor and wouldn’t move. He wouldn’t drink water, he wouldn’t smile or respond to high pitched pupper talk. Lamar just sat there with his eyes half open, breathing heavy.

I informed my mom and she called the vet, only for us to be told to bring him as soon as we could. When we pulled into the parking lot there were nurses at my car asking if we were here with Lamar. I was in disbelief how on the ball and ready they were for our pet emergency, and on a busy Saturday yet. Very impressive. They took him from us and rushed him into a room, leading us in the opposite direction to wait. We were quickly informed that Lamar had a tumor on what they thought was his spleen and informed us that they had to do emergency surgery. Damn. I had woken up about two hours ago, and thank goodness I didn’t have time to put makeup on because I was then standing in a room with tears streaming down my face wondering how we got here.

We were told he had a 50/50 chance, and that we couldn’t see him because he was already being prepped for surgery and it would start as soon as we gave the go ahead. If it was a tumor on his spleen it could be removed, and if they opened him up to find more we would have to consider putting him down. My mind raced. He was all alone and scared, torn away from us without a chance to even hug him or say goodbye. I thought for sure it was just a stomach bug, or maybe he bit a bee and had an allergic reaction like our old dog. I never imagined that watching the nurse rush him across the parking lot would be my last glimpse of my dog.

We got sent home to wait, and shortly after received a phone call. Too shortly. Nothing good can happen with an emergency surgery in only 20 minutes. It was a tumor, a tumor that burst, but it was wrapped around his main artery. Apparently his stomach was already filled with blood, and if they tried to remove the tumor he would bleed out. They could wake him up for us to come say goodbye, but they told us he’d be gone within 30 minutes, if even that long. My mom had to make the terrible decision to have him put to sleep during the surgery. We didn’t want him suffering. And as badly as we wanted to say goodbye, and as unfair as I think it is that I didn’t get to, I’m glad that I remember him with a smile and a wagging tail rather than how he would’ve looked lying on that vet table.

So that was it. Lamar, who was barking and “talking” to my dad on the phone two hours before that, was gone. Forever. Speaking of my dad; my dad is a truck driver. He goes out over the road for a month and comes home for about three days. Every pet is loved by the whole family, but holds an extremely special place in one specific family member’s heart. The pet that clung to my heartstrings was our old cat, Snowie. My mom’s was our old dog, Kipper. Lamar? He was my dad’s; my dad, who was stuck in Utah, hours and miles away from our home in Pennsylvania. We had to break the news to him over the phone, and it was heartbreaking.

Now I hear my mom blaming herself, wondering what she did wrong. She’s going through every decision she ever made, and everything that has ever happened, combing through memories looking for something that could have changed the outcome. She’s wondering if she made the right decision. She didn’t have time to think about anything at the time, the whole event took place within about three hours. Now she has too much time to sit and think. There was nothing she could do. The vet told us that he could have had the tumor for YEARS, and we never would have known. He never showed symptoms of being sick, so we never had reason to have him x-rayed. He could have lived for years with it unknowingly, but it unfortunately burst.

Why do things like this happen? Sure, it makes us stronger. It’s true that we shouldn’t be sad that we lost something, we should be happy that we were able to enjoy it while we had it. But loss is hard, and it doesn’t make sense. Lamar was only six years old. He should have had years and years of life left.

Our house is so damn quiet now, it’s deafening. It feels so empty to walk in the door and not be greeted by his big nose poking you to see where you came from. Coming home from work I had to cry. Lamar always met me at the door and shoved his nose up my dress. He had the cutest weirdo quirks. It feels wrong to eat without him sitting beside me with his head on my lap, waiting for me to sneak him something. I even miss his annoying whining and barking to get outside every five seconds. As many times as I got frustrated with it, I’d give anything to hear it right now. I can’t even drink water without missing him, because he’d always know the exact second you finished a bottle of water and run to your side to grab the bottle and chew it until the cap popped off.

I can’t understand why the world takes such beautiful souls so early. I can’t find a reason that a pet that was so loved would be ripped from his family so unexpectedly. It of course doesn’t end with Lamar; my mind can’t wrap itself around loss at all. It’s a cycle, the cycle of life. But it’s vicious, and it’s hard. Pets are family members. I always see people say, “We don’t deserve dogs.” We don’t deserve them, but we need them.

Lamar, like so many other pets, was so full of love and fun. He brought so much life to our house and our lives, more than we ever knew. I hope doggy heaven is full of endless scratches and nummies. I hope my Lamar has all the tennis balls and empty water bottles that he could ever want. Between my mom, my dad, and I, so many tears have been shed in these past few days we could have flooded our tiny town. What an awful, unexpected turn of events.

We loved you so dearly, Lamar, and you are so incredibly missed.

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SOS (Send Sangria Or Something) 

Have you ever felt like you’re drowning?? Drowning in paperwork. In applications. In stress. In lifeeeee asdfghjkl;

I’m 25. I just bought a car, and to my surprise I didn’t need a cosigner. My credit score was awesome! However, I had to have surgery about two months ago. Now? Now I have almost $3,000 in medical bills stacked up, and each time I check the mail I’m either getting a new one or a second, third, or fourth reminder of the ones I haven’t paid and can’t currently pay. I had the summer off without pay, and even when I am in work I make $12,000 per year. How in the hell am I supposed to pay $3,000 of that in medical bills?! I’m just worried that if what I’m trying to do to alleviate this problem doesn’t work, my credit is going to get crushed.

Don’t get me wrong. I’ll gladly write out a check for my new car. I’ll write a check for my credit card when I splurge on Victoria’s Secret a few times a year. (Those “spend this much money and get a free tote!” deals just suck me right in. I KNOW I’M NOT ALONE!) But medical bills? That’s not fair. I didn’t choose to have a dermoid cyst on my ovary that I HAD to have removed! I didn’t wake up and say, “Hey, I’d like to rack up thousands of dollars in medical bills this year and go through hell!” Nope. I had no say in that.

I also finally go back to work tomorrow; an exciting yet stressful thing to think about. AmeriCorps is basically a volunteer program. We get paid, but it’s technically a living stipend. But we have free health insurance and we get money towards our student loans. Also, it’s an incredible opportunity and gives me great experience to put on a resume.

BUUUUTTT… it’s a stressful year. It’s not an hourly set schedule. To complete the year, we must get 1700 service hours. They provide occasional volunteer opportunities on weekends, but the majority of it is up to us to figure out. This would be no problem for those working at host sites and doing programs from August to August, which is an option. I, however, am working at a school. This means my term is only August to June, cutting me a few months short. Taking that into consideration, along with holiday breaks and snow days, it requires me to work AT LEAST nine hour days. Most of the time I’m at the school from 7:30am to at least 5:00 pm, sometimes even longer. It’s stressful and tiring, but it’s worth it.

I think I’m just rambling at this point. Wait, this isn’t a diary?? Oops!

I’m just stressed. I’m overwhelmed. I really don’t know how to be an adult. I want to go back to vacation with my lover and run away from all of this. I have so much going on, and it’s honestly just beginning it.

God bless my boyfriend. He listens to me whine about the same problems over and over, day after day, and never hesitates to make me feel better. He supplies me with unlimited smiles in any time of despair, no matter how stupid or serious the actual issue is. I’d probably be a bawling basket case 24/7 if it weren’t for him. Shoutout to you, Beb! <33

Anyway, how do you deal with stress? Because if you’re looking for a solution, take mine. Grab a glass, and fill it with wine. I mean fill it. I don’t understand these people on TV that pour a centimeter of wine into their glass and spend more time swishing it around than sipping. FILL THAT CUP AND DRINKKK. Next, grab a spoon and a jar of peanut butter. DIG IN. Peanut butter and wine can fix anything! I mean, unless you’re allergic to peanuts… or wine, like my best friend. In that case, don’t do that. Maybe try beer or chocolate or something.

Very Valued Vacation

Very Valued Vacation

Ahhhh, vacations. Why do vacations ever have to end?!

I recently returned from a four day vacation to Gettysburg with my boyfriend, Sam. It was my fourth time being there (though the first visit was when I was about seven, and all I remember is crying the entire time because I used to be afraid of EVERYTHING), and my boyfriend’s first time there. We had a blast.

I’ve had the summer off because of my job — I’m currently working at a school in an AmeriCorps position. However, as I previously discussed, it didn’t truly feel like “summer”. This past week did. FINALLY!

Our days consisted of exploring, swimming, and major tourist-ing. Being that I only get to see Sam on weekends usually, a whole four days together was absolutely incredible. FOUR DAYS WITH MY BEB! It was so nice to be away from our small towns, doing whatever we wanted, with no schedules to follow. 

Gettysburg is such a fun place. There’s so much history around every corner (literally around every corner — when you walk up and down the streets there are signs everywhere informing you of historical events that happened right where you’re standing!). There’s so many unique restaurants and taverns, so many adorable gift shops, and so many spooky opportunities available. I never wanted to leave, but unfortunately we had to.

Returning home I feel so rejuvenated. I feel like myself again. I thought I’d feel so down about coming home. Sam and I both still live with our parents, despite being so ready to live together, and I often times get very angsty because I don’t get to see him as much as I’d like. Little trips like this always make me want our future together even more than I already do. I thought for sure that returning home without him would make my heart ache. But we had so much fun together, I left feeling so incredibly full of love and happiness. (Although I definitely miss falling asleep cuddling and waking up laughing.) But, it was nice to see my mom, my kitties, and my pupper again. I start work again this coming week, and now that I feel like I finally had a taste of summer, I’m excited and ready!

Take my advice: plan vacations. Just do it. They are good for the soul! Spend time with the people you love. I’d go on an eternal vacation with Sam if I could. Money is usually the one thing holding you back. Being off all summer and making the stupid decision not to get a seasonal job, I, of all people, definitely understand how it is to be tight on money. Vacations don’t have to be extravagant. Sam and I started looking at beach houses, but soon learned that it’s well over $100 a night for most places, and those aren’t even the good ones. We booked a hotel about five minutes from downtown Gettysburg for less than $100 a night. The whole trip, four days and three nights, was about $360 that we split evenly. I paid about $130 for four whole days of fun with the love of my life, and it was still cheaper than one day at the beach! And we still got to swim and enjoy warm weather together. Remember that next time you’re booking a vacation!

Wherever you go, go with your heart.

Renee Returns

Last year I found myself lost and confused. I started this blog, but as you can see, I didn’t do a very good job keeping up with it. This year, ironically around the same exact time of year, I’m stuck feeling lost inside of myself again.

Maybe it’s the summer season. Summer used to be so special. It was a time of year that I looked forward to for MONTHS. I had the best group of friends growing up. There were about 12 or 15 of us. We met in Kindergarten, and we somehow managed to stay like a tight knit little family well into college. Growing up was a blast. Summers consisted of friend time almost 24/7.

It was the perfect schedule, and I’d give anything to go back to those simple and fun days. We’d wake up around noon, throw on bathing suits, and head straight to the park pool. We’d arrive before the life guards even got there and we would walk out with them as they closed the pool down for the day around 5 or 6 pm. We’d go home and eat supper, all the while planning what we were going to do that night. There used to be so many options. We lived at each other’s houses having movie and game nights. Fires were a popular choice! Smores, camp pies; one time we even made corn on the cob on the fire together and made it into a meal.

When it got dark, the real fun started: flashlight tag. My friends all lived in the same development, along with a bunch of other kids around our age. Having three friends that lived right in a row, we’d use all three yards for hiding. There were 20, if not more of us. The swing set was base. “The pelican is in the washing machine” was code that the person that was “it” wasn’t around base, and it was safe to go set everyone free that had been tagged. We’d play until after midnight, and then sit around on the swings and hang out until our parents made us go home.

We played ultimate football one summer. We’d go to the drive-inn at least once a week when we turned 16 and were able to drive. There wasn’t a movie that I didn’t see back then. The Ranger was our favorite ice cream place because it also had a mini golf course attached. Our possibilities felt endless. If it rained, we’d head to Richland Lanes for Rock-N-Glow, bowling from midnight to 3am when they’d shut all the lights off and blast music. When we got home for the night, we’d get on AOL and chat way into the middle of the night. I still remember my screen name – candy66r. (It was during my Aaron Carter phase and “I Want Candy” was my favorite.)

Anyway, summers used to be so fun. There was so much to look forward to, and not one night that I could say I was bored or lonely. Now? I really only know it’s summer because the Weather Channel and my Facebook newsfeed full of vacation pictures tells me so.

I’m doing a program called AmeriCorps, and that means that I was placed at an elementary school to work, serving from August to June. A summer off?! I was so excited, I didn’t even look for employment for those two to three months that I’m off (despite what my bank account said I should have done). I couldn’t wait to take advantage of this opportunity to have a real summer one more time before I hopefully start a career next year after finishing AmeriCorps.

However, I find myself just sitting around, thinking. No flashlight tag, no pool parties with friends, nothing. I didn’t even do anything I was planning on doing, and we’re over halfway through the summer. I wanted to focus on publishing poems, get back together with my group of friends, go on trips and vacations. I’ve done none of that. Sometimes I swim with my cousin at my aunt’s house, and thank god for that. Sometimes myself and the four friends I have left out of that group will head to the Ranger or the drive-inn.

We all know it’s not the same. We’ve grown up, and we realized that our possibilities were definitely not endless. On the slim chance that we can get together around busy schedules, there’s nothing really to do. I miss the innocence of being a kid and being excited for summer.

This post got way off track! Anyway, I feel lost, and I’m not sure what I’m doing with myself – still. AmeriCorps is a nice way to put all of the stress off for two years, but that will be ending after this coming school year and then I really have to get my shit together. I still haven’t done anything with my writing other than force my boyfriend to read a few poems here or there, but I really want to. I want people to know my name. I want my writing to be out there. Maybe this really should be the first step, this blog. Maybe I never should have stopped last year. I thought my posts were boring and dumb, but looking back at them, they weren’t too bad.

I got on here just out of curiosity today, and I still have five followers! I actually think that’s more than when I was posting blogs last year. I think I’ll give this another shot. I was never really one to quit things, even if it took me a while to come back to something. I still don’t know what I’m going to blog about, or if anyone out there even cares, but I’m excited to try this again. Wish me luck!

Back to Basics

Back to Basics

I was planning on establishing a pattern for this blog; maybe I’d blog everyday, maybe every other day, maybe once a week. I haven’t been very consistent, but I feel like there is nobody even reading this yet to notice anyway. If I have any followers who even noticed I was missing from the blogging world, I’m back! Back to reality.

I was at the beach for a few days and off of work for five whole days! It was incredible. I spent the time in a gorgeous house about ten to fifteen minutes from Bethany Beach with my boyfriend and his family. Now, I only see my boyfriend about once a week typically. We work opposite schedules. He has a normal 9:00am to 5:00pm job, and I work night shifts. It’s actually hard to see anyone, family, friends, because of my work schedule. I usually work 2:00pm to 10:00pm, and almost every weekend. When I’m off, I have to try to squeeze everything I want to do into those days.

It was incredible being away; away from my small town, away from my hectic job. I got to spend five days with my boyfriend relaxing on a beach eating seafood and drinking giant strawberry daiquiris, falling asleep laughing and waking up to drink coffee together only to plan the day’s adventure. I got to travel five hours each way. That’s five hours away from my crazy world here at home.

Coming home was hard. This was the first time in my life that I’ve ever felt the desire to move away from home. Maybe it’s the fact that his brother and sister have lived at the beach, maybe it’s the fact that I can’t find a job here at home with my writing degree. Whatever stirred these feelings up inside of me, it won’t go away.

I’ve always pictured my life so differently than it’s going now. When I was younger, I thought I’d be married and settled down in my own house at 20. HA! I’m 24, still living at home and working at a gas station to pay my student loans and not even close to being engaged, let alone married. I know I’m not alone. I know I’m not supposed to have everything figured out already. I know things take time. But I’m so damn restless.

I want my own place to fill with furniture and decorations from T.J. Maxx. I want to host movie and game nights with my best friends in my own little space. I want to wake up everyday and be excited to go to work. I want to write, and I want to get paid for it. I want to be able to see my friends and family whenever I want instead of having to plan around my two days off a week. My list of desires goes on and on, yet I have no idea how to start working towards them. I feel so stuck. I’ve never ever even thought about moving away from the town I’ve grown up in, and now it’s all I can think about.

Coming home from the beach has left me in this rut. I mean, everything is better when you’re on vacation! It’s so hard to return to the monotony of normal life. I want to travel more, go exploring, take pictures. I want to go back to that weekend beach trip and play it over and over again. I want to get the nerve to move away from my tiny hometown and try to make my own life on my own terms, but I can’t figure out how to leave everything I have here behind. I need to find balance in my life, and find the motivation to stop napping and start trying to make things actually happen in my life. Until then I’m just stuck, restless and unsure of the future. Someone send help!

Hiding My Heart

I wrote my first story when I was about seven years old. “Cali the Cat” it was called. My grandpa bought me a Windows 98 back when computers were first getting popular. The first thing I did was open Notepad and start writing. I would sit there every night spilling my little thoughts onto the screen and forcing my mom and dad to read it. I knew from the time I was little I wanted to be a writer. The only difference? Back then, I wanted the whole world to read my writing.

When did things change? I remember doing poetry contests and writing essays in elementary school and making everyone from my parents to my grandma’s friends and neighbors read them. I was so proud of my work. I thought I was the best. Now? Now, I hide a book full of poems under my bed and I keep secret blogs and tumblr accounts with writing on them. I write things on my laptop and hide them in folders under names like “merp” so that nobody ever dares to open them.

Maybe it’s because my writing has changed. I’m not writing stories about cats that run away and the adventures they go on. I’m writing poems about how much I hate myself. I’m writing about people in my life. I’m writing about what goes on behind my smile. Some of my writing is dark, despite how happy I always seem to be. It’s not all kittens and sunshine anymore; being an adult never is.

I’m afraid to show my family and friends. I’m afraid of criticism, afraid that I’m not as good as I think I am. I sometimes feel like nothing I have to say is worth reading. Even this blog; I just find myself rambling. I don’t want people to see how I really feel about myself or about growing up. I want to be a published author. I want the entire world to see my writing, except the tiny percentage that is people that I know. Do you see the problem?

I have a best friend who is an incredibly talented writer and without a doubt the most creative person I have ever met. (Hi, Nathan, if you’re reading this!) We have such a close relationship, and we can talk about anything and do anything together. He’s so passionate about reading and writing, and I know he’d be able to give me constructive criticism and probably even help me figure out what the hell to do with this blog. So when he asked for the link of my blog or asked to read things I’ve written in the past, why am I always so hesitant to show him?  He’s the only one who knows about this blog, and probably the only other set of eyes that’s read some of the things I’ve written.

I’m so restless with where I am in life, and I know I’m ready to start getting serious about my writing and trying to get it out there. I guess the first step is sharing it with the people who love me the most. Friends, family, if you’re reading this, I DID IT. Until then… hello, beautiful strangers!

Creativity Coverup

Don’t tell me that I shouldn’t wear makeup.
Don’t tell me that I have too much make up on.
Don’t tell me that I should wear more makeup.

I’m 24 years old, and I honestly don’t remember a time in my life when I didn’t have acne. I have horrible skin. I got really into makeup at an earlier age, probably making my skin worse. I’ll admit that I’m definitely one to push confidence. I compliment people every single change I get. Everyone is perfect in my eyes; everyone is beautiful. However, it’s different with myself. I’m my own worst enemy, and I’ve torn myself apart with self hate for YEARS.

Makeup makes me feel confident. I’ve grown attached to it, despite how much I hate the fact that I depend on it so much. I’m leaving the house to run to the Dollar Store? Hold on, let me fix my makeup. Now, don’t get me wrong. I might be painting the wrong picture. I never look “perfect”. My eye liner is always smudged, and I can never seem to cover up my flaws completely. I’ve never even tried contouring or any of that fancy stuff. I’m talking about throwing on some coverup and concealer to hide my acne and adding a streak of eyeliner so that people don’t ask me if I’m sick or tired. I never go overboard, not that there’s anything wrong with that either.

I don’t think girls (or boys) do their makeup to please others. I don’t think they’re worried about others opinions. I’m certainly not. If you don’t like me, don’t look at me. I wear makeup because it truly makes me feel better about myself. What’s wrong with a little confidence boost? Everyone has¬†their own vices. If mine is that I don’t like leaving my house without makeup, shouldn’t you be happy that that’s the worst thing you can find about me? Makeup makes me forget that I have imperfections. It makes me forget about my acne. It makes me smile, and it makes me feel pretty. It allows me to look people in the eye without worrying that they’re talking to my acne, rather than me.

Makeup is creative. It’s really fucking creative. Have you ever seen some of the things that girls can do? Winged eyeliner, contouring, smokey eyes; it’s beautiful, and it takes skill, time, and patience. It’s art that we are allowed to display on our face.

Honestly, I really do envy people that have “natural beauty”. Perfect skin, a natural glow, even skin tones, et cetera. If I didn’t have acne, I probably wouldn’t wear makeup at all. I’m lazy, and that would mean more sleep in the mornings. But makeup has become part of my routine, and I’ve grown to really love it and what it does for my appearance and my view of myself. You don’t like makeup? Good thing I’m not putting it on your face every morning!