Saturday, August 27, 2011

It's my Vacation...NOT!

      I had been planning this trip home to Michigan for the last year.  Finally I was going to be able to attend our multi-class reunion we call Burtpalooza.  This is the third year that they have put it on and I was so looking forward to it.  I had planned to make some dishes for the potluck that went along with the bbq'd pork they were having for the main course.  I was looking forward to spending time with friends, old and new, that I have not seen in years.  Unfortunately, things don't turn out the way you plan them in your head.  This vacation has turned out to be a doozy for me.

      Two days here, I had to rush one of my friends to the hospital.  She was staying with me and my family and had planned on helping me make all of this food.  Unfortunately, her long term illnesses caught up with her once again and she was waylaid.  Between running back and forth to Saginaw for her and trying to get ready for the reunion, I was worn out.  I wanted to crawl into bed and not wake up for a day or two, but that was not in the cards.  I was going to that reunion come hell or high water, and Mother Nature was about to give us plenty of that too!

      The morning of the reunion party, I got up and put together all the salads and the layered dip, packed up the cooler with our beverages and loaded it all up in my jeep along with a few fold up chairs.  The sky was sunny in the early morning, but then the clouds rolled in.  By noon it was down right overcast and the darker storm clouds were creeping in.  My friend fought with her doctors to get released from the hospital early, but they would not let her out to after at least 4pm.  Lucky for me, my Mom volunteered to go spring her out when it was time so that I could set up and enjoy some time with my friends without having to worry about anything else.  Nothing else except the storm that is!

      Around 2pm, the wind suddenly picked up and whipped through the party area.  The wind and rain were pelting from all directions almost like trying to form a tornado.  We grabbed what we could and raced for the garage where we had set up the food.  A small group of us were soaked to our skins and stood wide eyed watching the two tents we set up go flying around the yard!  The umbrella took off and I think ended up in the next county.  It just flew up and over the house and then it was gone.  Then one of the porta-potties tipped over.  Luckily, no one was in there or had even used it yet and it was still in working condition after the rain stopped and we were able to put it upright once again..  Just as suddenly as it came through, the storm left and the clouds began to clear.  More people arrived and the party got rolling right along. 

      Almost all of my Soul Sisters were able to make it and I was so happy to see them again.  Another friend surprised us all by coming after saying he wasn't going to make it this year.  Good food, great friends and finally nice weather made that day extra special for me.  I handed out pictures of the cover of my very first novel out next month and they had me sign them.  My friends made me feel like a mini celebrity.  Nothing like an ego boost from people who love you!  By the end of the night, promises were made to keep in touch and we parted ways once again.  My heart was full and my dreams were filled with plans to see them all again soon.  Unfortunately, the nice relaxing vacation that I had envisioned in those dreams was going to be a distant memory.

      Two days after that wonderful reunion party, I received a phone call from my step-mom.  My dad, Dale Dennings, was taken to Sparrow Hospital in East Lansing.  They found a huge brain aneurysm and he was going to be transported to Grand Rapids for surgery.   My stomach dropped when I heard the news.  We had plans to meet up in Birch Run the following morning and the three of us were going to drive up to see my Grandma in Grayling.  This was not happening!  First my friend, and now my Dad.  Damn it to Hell!

      Since it would be several hours before they were to transfer him, I made sure that I was able to visit the one Soul Sister who could not be with us at the reunion.   She had been very ill with CRPS lately and just exhausted and in a lot of pain.  There was no way I was going to miss seeing her and give her the gift I had made for her.  The six of us now have charm necklaces that bind us together as sisters.  I also wrote a poem called Prayer for Strength and Courage.  I showed her how to use the poem with the white candles and a little lavender oil.  It will be her prayer spell to help give her the strength and courage she needed to get through and she would draw on the energy from the rest of us by holding on to her charms.  When I wrote the poem, I only had Tara in mind, but turns out all of us were in need of this prayer spell and my family in particular.

      My dad has been a heavy smoker and drinker for a great deal of his life.  It is the smoking and the high blood pressure that lead to the formation of the largest aneurysm that the surgeon has ever seen.  It covered up both of his optic nerves.  It's a wonder he didn't have symptoms before now.  They are optimistic that they have the bleeding under control, but now he is going through alcohol withdrawals.  Top that all off with his COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease) and you have a patient that cannot be taken off the ventilator yet.  The doctors are tweaking his sedatives to hopefully find the "happy place" so that he can be comfortable as his head and lungs try to heal.  We won't know if there is any long standing brain damage until he is extubated and can talk.  He is going to be in the hospital for at least another 10 days and I have to go back to California well before then.

      Making the trip up to Grayling to tell my Grandma that her son was stable but far from out of the woods yet, was very difficult for me.  I didn't know if she would understand what he was facing or if she understood that there was a chance that he may not make it through.  Her short term memory is not all that great so there was a lot of our conversation that we had to repeat, but I didn't mind.  It was great to see her again, even under these circumstances.  Unfortunately, she thinks Dad will be cured of his alcoholism once he wakes up and won't want to smoke or drink again.  Sorry, Gran.  That is just not how it all works.

      Did you think that was the end of the vacation nightmare?  Nope.  My brother totalled his truck avoiding several white tailed deer.  He is all battered and bruised and having trouble getting around.  WTF!!!!???

      Last night I got together with a few more friends at the Backwoods in Burt.  We had  a few drinks and a hell of a lot of laughs.  Leave it to my friends to help me get the happy back into my vacation.  Today, more friends and family will join me here at my Mom's house for a bbq and swimming.  I need this day to relax a bit, for tomorrow I have one last visit with Dad at the hospital before I head back home late Monday night(September 29th).  Good thing I have one more day home in California to regroup before I go back to work at the veterinary hospital.  My mind just can't take much more of the drama around here!  LOL

Saturday, August 13, 2011

My Soul Sisters

How many of you have a group of friends who have been there for you through hell and back?  They don't have to have been in your life for as far back as you can remember, but the time they have been bonded with you has made your life rich beyond measure.  I am lucky to have five such women in my life.   One of them I have known since kindergarten and our friendship stood the test of time and separation and we are stronger now for it.  Another I reconnected with over the last two years and the friendship is more than I could have ever asked for.  We have found that we have so much more in common than we ever imagined when we were young, and now we can truly appreciate the blessings we give to each other. Another  sister looked me up on Facebook and we bonded over heartbreak, illness and the love of the paranormal.  She is my dear fae and forever holds a place in my heart.  Another is the practical one of us all, more of the protective Mamma Bear.  Threaten one of us and her claws come out and she will rip you to shreds.  Always there for you with a sympathetic ear and shoulder to cry on, but she will give you a swift kick in the butt when you need it too!  The newest one came into my life a bit unexpectedly.  She is the sister of one who I had been in love with since the tenth grade.  Through him, I got the privilege of getting to know someone with a heart of gold and a fierce protector of her family and friends.  Even though my relationship with her brother cooled, she remains in my heart as if she has always been there.

The last year was an emotional roller coaster for me.   I am currently in the end stages of divorce proceedings,  had my heart shattered beyond repair by someone I thought would be by my side through the next stages of my life, and nearly lost myself through it all.  For a short bit there, I lost sight of who I was and what I wanted to do with my life.  The pull to end it all was so great, but the love and support from my Soul Sisters was even greater.  They pulled me back from that darkness and now I am looking toward a bright future.

My first novel will be out next month and I am working on more.  I even pulled out files of books that have been works in progress for over 15 years.  I WILL finish those and submit them as well.  Finally, I will be living the dream of being a writer and hopefully very soon a FULL TIME writer.   Time will tell for that one, but I know I will have the support of my friends and family.  They deserve to share in the joy that is my life now because they stood by me through it all.  

I wrote a poem for them and recently had it framed and sent to them as a surprise.  The six of us will be together soon, but I wanted them to have their gift from me before I got into town.  I didn't share the poem with anyone before now.  I hope you enjoy it and that you are blessed with people in your life like my Heart and Soul Sisters.  I love you girls!

Heart and Soul Sisters

Bound together by all but blood,
Two sets of three drawn together
After all of these years.
Mothers, daughters, sisters, friends…
Always supporting
Never to judge.
Loss of loved ones,
Empty nests,
We’ve helped each other through
Some of life’s hardest of tests.

Ups and downs.
Joys and fears.
Smiles and Frowns.
Laughter and tears.
Three by three we stand
Meeting each challenge hand and hand.

Fascinating women each and every one,
All on their own.
But together they are
An unstoppable force.
When one is in need
The others rally around
So they are never alone
But instead meet life’s challenges
Head on and full throttle
Which for these women is par for the course.

I am blessed to count myself
As part of this group of friends
I hold dear to my heart.
For without them,
I would have lost all hope
And fallen apart…
Whenever they’re in need
I will be there as I know
They will be for me.
For it’s now and forever
In my heart and soul
Will these sisters be.


Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Going home again

Last year I went home to Michigan with a heavy heart.  I had originally planned my entire ten days of vacation along with another person who flaked out on me a little over two weeks before I was set to fly back east.  What made it even harder, it was the first time I had been back home since my Dad's funeral in November 2005.  I had such mixed emotions that day and I would like to share a poem that I had written on the the last leg of my trip.  As the plane took off from Minnesota I had a good deal of the poem written and just put the finishing touches on it as we landed. The following is the original travel log/post that I put up on Facebook during my trip last year.

Going home again...

by Tammy Dennings Maggy on Sunday, October 31, 2010 at 9:43pm
Today was the first day back home to Michigan in nearly five years.  The last time was in the company of my husband Jeff and we were traveling the Saturday after Thanksgiving...two long days after my Dad, John McInerney lost  his battle Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma.  The airports were a madhouse then, but not so bad this visit.  This time all of my flights were on time.  This time I was traveling alone, but still with a heavy heart.

As the plane took off from Minneapolis beginning the last leg of my journey home, I could feel the tears start to threaten to fall.  I kept willing them away.  Please, not now. Let me have one day without tears...but they had other plans.  I kept my eyes closed and tried to pretend to sleep, but the Delta pilot sitting next to me noticed and asked if I was okay.  "Sure, just have not been home in a long time and I need to be."  He smiled at me and handed me his travel pack of Kleenex.  "Now why would a beautiful woman like you be sad about getting to go home?  Seems like you should be smiling that killer smile I saw you flash the ticket agent as we were boarding."

I had to laugh at that.  I didn't realize that I had smiled at the older woman when she fumbled with my ticket or that someone was watching me so closely.  I would be lying if it didn't make me feel good to be told I was beautiful by a stranger...and one in uniform to boot!  Feels like such a long time since someone told me that...and meant it...and I believed them.  I thanked him for the Kleenex and tried to leave it at that, but with just gentle prodding he got me to tell him my story:  losing Dad, my marriage falling apart and heading for divorce.  But I held back telling the other things that were bringing me down and he could sense it.  "I think there is more to your I right?"

I smiled a little at him and nodded.  He didn't press it, but I could tell he understood.  After the stewards passed out the peanuts and the Coke, he spoke to me again.  "Don't let the fact that a fool let a woman like you fall through their fingers get you down.  They are the failure here, not you.  And I am not talking about your marriage."  I was stunned and that made him laugh.  "Oh I know that pain all too well,  I have five sisters!"  I had to laugh at that one too.    The flight was only a couple of hours but for that time, this off duty pilot made me forget about all the crap that was going on in my life and just giggle for no reason.  He was a riot.  He asked me to dinner, but I already planned to drive home that night and had to decline....maybe the next time we were in town together. He smiled and said..."well, can't blame a guy for trying.  I hope you find what you are looking for pretty lady."  Then he walked off toward the parking structure to his car and I headed in the opposite direction for my rental car shuttle.  Damn it!  I should have gone out with him!  LOL  Oh well, at least I had a fun flirtation going on today!

It took forever for that rental car shuttle to show up too.  For those of you who don't travel through Detroit Metro let me set the stage.  When you go through baggage claim on one level, you have to take an elevator to the next level to get to a walk way over to another section of the building to take and escalator down to another level to meet your shuttle. Good lord that is not easy with a nearly 50pound piece of luggage! Then the elderly gentleman who drove the shuttle struggled with all of our luggage and cracked jokes the whole time...about how the construction going on was probably exactly as I remembered it from five and maybe even 10 years ago when I first moved away to California.  And you know what? IT WAS!!!  LOL

Driving 275 to 23 up toward Flint and then on to 75 brought back so many memories of living in the Detroit Metro Area and driving up every other week to visit my parents.  Some of the leaves still had color but most of them went brown already, but they still looked beautiful to me. Even the freaky construction zone was a welcome sight.  My heart was heavy and happy at the same time.  I missed my Dad so much at that moment.  I am hurting so badly and he would always be there to pick up the pieces and help me find myself again.  He isn't here physically, but I can feel him everywhere.  His office, the yard, even staying up late on my netbook...which he would have had to have at least one himself.  He was so into these things.  And I am just like him with my reading glasses part way down my nose while I am typing this.  I can almost hear him whispering in my ear and hugging me tight...."It's gonna be okay, honey.  You will get through this and you will give your heart to someone who really deserves it one day and they will cherish it forever.  Not that there won't be tough times, but he won't bail on you when the times get tough.  You wait and see."  That was what he said to me right after I went through a huge breakup right after I first moved to California.  I gave up everything for that man and got nothing in return.  Dad never made me feel stupid about it.  He told me to follow my heart and love with all I could.  I would always wonder if I didn't.    And he was right.

And he still is right.

I will stop regretting loving with my whole heart.  If I never took the chance, I would still be wondering what if, and now I know.

Now here is the poem that I wrote at the beginning of that trip.  Let's see what I can come up with when I fly home again next week!

Home Again

As soon as the wheels touched down,
The memories came flooding back.
Last time here was to say goodbye to the head of our family,
Our Rock, Provider, Protector.

Could feel him with me today,
As I left yet another plane.
Could feel his hand in mine;
Could hear him whisper
"it's gonna be okay. You'll get through this too."
I am here.  Lean on me.
Lean on the family.
That is why you are going home.

Five long years have passed
Since he was laid to rest.
But his guidance remains
Pulling me home again when life became unbearable.

So many emotions run through me as I drive North toward Home:
Shame to have failed yet again in love,
Failed at the marriage he had blessed.
Ashamed to have let another steal my heart and soul
so completely and leave me devastated.

But this time the Fixer of Broken Hearts and Souls
Was not there to pick up the pieces
and give me a reason for going home

This year was supposed to be different
Thought I found another to help me mend.
For three long years I barely existed,
Losing myself with each passing hour and day.

An old friend returned the smile to my face
And the laugh to my soul.
My Heart was nearly mended enough to trust again.
But the love that was promised was not true.
It was not meant to be.
So the heart that could not mend, shattered all the more.

Now I return home to my family and friends.
They will help bring the joy back into my life,
The smile to my face, and the laugh to my heart and soul.
For this is why I return again.
This is why I am going home.

(dochappycamper 10/31/2010)

Saturday, August 6, 2011

The "D" word: how your life can begin again after divorce

      Less than three years ago I was in a deep depression and thinking that I had nowhere to go and no one to turn to to help me get through it.  I felt lost and alone.  I had failed at yet another relationship but I wasn't ready to admit that to myself, let alone admit that my marriage was actually over before our third anniversary.  I was determined to keep trying, to find some way to stay married and keep the friendship going at the very least.  It wasn't working, and I was miserable.
      I put up with the neglect and kept making excuses.  Not that he was physically abusive, but mentally I was being torn down.  He never said mean or cruel things, but it was more like I was an afterthought.  My wants and needs were ignored.  Like a child, he was more into fulfilling his own needs than mine or working on our marriage.  Sure I got all the promises to try harder, to make our marriage more of a partnership, but once a day or two went by, it went back to the "benign neglect"and I was left to fend for myself.
      Finally after six years I reached my breaking point.  I wanted out.  I realized that I had to take care of me for once, but damn was I scared!  How the hell was I going to make it on my own in California where the cost of living is so high and you need two incomes to survive?  Should I stay here or move back home to Michigan where all of my friends and family lived?  I worried about him too.  Would he be able to take care of himself and make it on his own?  Because of those worries, I kept delaying filing for divorce. All that did was make it harder to break free for the both of us.
      During the last two years I was working on and off on my first erotic romance For the Love of Quinn.  I poured my heart and soul into it, spilling all of my sorrows and yes sharing my fantasies.  I told the story of how I wanted my life to turn out, how I would find my happily ever after.  The day I received the notice from the court that they officially recognized our legal separation date, I received word from a publisher that they wanted to publish my "baby."  I had gone through hell and back and now I was going to live my dream!
      Today I met someone who was also going through the divorce process.  Just three short weeks ago her husband told her he wanted out.  She said fine with her, but inside she was reeling.  How would she make it on her own?  Would she lose the house or suffer in other areas financially?  In her eyes, I saw the anxiety and fear that I had felt for all of those years.  There was no way I was going to sit back and let her doubt her decision.  I told her a bit of my story and by the end of it, she was smiling and told me she had renewed hope.  She could begin her life again and it would be even better.
      Yes we can!  Divorce is not a dirty word in our cases, but the beginning of a whole new world for both of us.  I wish her all the love and happiness that life can bring and the freedom to enjoy it all to the fullest.  Lady Fate has bestowed those very same blessings onto me.  I can see my path in front of me and look forward to exploring every single part of it!


Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Cover for my first book For the Love of Quinn

Jinger Heaston captured my vision perfectly.  I couldn't be happier!  The tentative ebook release date is now September 13th.  I will update everyone when the date is finalized.  Stay tuned for excerpts from Quinn's story and other posts soon.  The final edits will be sent off to Siren tomorrow!  Follow me and the Now and Forever series on facebook too!

Wildfire Romance Series