How I See Things

How I See Things
Cartoon-like drawing in shades of dark to medium purple. Eyes with beautiful eyelashes, looking through a pair of glasses.

Monday, September 20, 2021

The Sunshine of My Life

 In December, 2017, I was blessed to become the mommy of the sweetest being of all time. 



She was only 8 weeks old. We named her Lady Bella Luna. She was a beautiful Cavalier King Charles Spaniel with the sweetest, kindest disposition of all time. 

She was beautiful beyond all belief. And she loved to meet everyone, go everywhere, look at and explore everything. I took her to my therapist’s office and my therapist said Bella explored everything more with her eyes than with her nose. 

Bella’s favorite things were: 

Sitting in my lap to snuggle or nap

Sitting in my younger son’s lap to snuggle or nap

Eating her dried chicken treat at the end of the day

Every time I left the house, whether it was to get the mail at the end of the driveway, or go to a doctor’s appointment, Bella would wait by a window and watch for me. When I got home, she would go from being a long puppy to a squish puppy. She squished her body into the tiniest, chubbiest it would go and waggle her whole body to greet me with such exuberance. 

I got a doctor’s note depicting her as my emotional support animal due to my Complex PTSD diagnosis. She went with me to therapy appointments, shopping (though not for groceries), medical appointments, to the Town Hall, and even to be at outdoor seating in restaurants. We went to the beach together and recently we went canoeing together with her wearing her brand new life vest that fit her perfectly. She loved every minute of every adventure we went on. 

She accompanied me on the plane many times to the middle of the country where I have friends and family. She was a good traveler. Road trips or plane trips, she was just happy to be with me, wherever we were going. 

She came into my life when I was feeling very down and completely unloved. I needed someone to be happy when I came home from work, and Bella was the charm that did it. She was always so happy to see me come home. Bella made me feel completely loved. When I was sad, depressed, frustrated, she would just sit and look at me and wait for me to put her in my lap to pet her. 

I loved the way she rolled over to let me pet her tummy. Sometimes it felt so good to her, she would start to roll over on her side a little from a dreamy happy place. Then she would perk up and roll back onto her back and just jut out her little paws and legs a bit farther to say, “this is my tummy! This is what you should be petting!” 

I loved her all the time and with every fiber of my being. So did my son. I used to say, “I am her person, and he is her other person.” We had so many cute nicknames for her and we just loved on her every opportunity we could. And we had a lot of opportunities - I homeschooled him so we were both home basically all the time, every day. 



I moved in April to a home with a yard. I didn’t have much of a yard in the previous home, but I have a lovely yard here, up in the Shenandoah Mountains. Bella spent countless hours outside in our yard. We had a groundhog and rabbits and deer here. So many birds, mice, bugs, cicadas, frogs, lightning bugs. They all visit regularly and Bella would chase what she could. It was so much fun to see her chase a rabbit (who got away) last week. 

In April, I was able to move out of a very bad situation that I have not talked about (and will not be talking about) on this blog. I finally was able to get a place of my own. It’s a wonderful home up in the mountains and I am finding my inner soul, my inner Jodi again. Bella was my one constant. My boys are here every other week, but Bella was with me these 5 months. It was just Bella and Jodi. She was here for me, loving on me and doing small things all day long to make me smile and feel loved and loving. She loved me unconditionally. 


I am grief-stricken to say that over the weekend, Bella developed a serious infection. I took her to the emergency vet and she was already dealing with pancreatitis. Her tiny little body couldn’t handle both things. And she died there, at the vet. 

She would have been 4 next month. 

Her tiny little body couldn’t contain her enormous heart, energy, love, excitement and exuberance for life. She had too much joy and love for life and for us and her little body couldn’t handle it all. 

To say I am broken hearted is the biggest understatement of all time. I feel as if a part of my core identity has been ripped from me. My son and I are holding onto each other, comforting each other as we both spontaneously burst into tears. “She should BE here.” “It’s not fair.” “She was so cute!” 

We have taken to writing in a nice journal, everything we can think of about Bella. We have written pages and pages. 

My whole world has toppled over. My home feels so empty without the little ray of sunshine running around doing her daily antics and being silly and cute and fun and loving. She watched me all day long, no matter what I was doing. She just wanted to love me all day and I wanted to just pet and love her all day too.

 

 

She is gone. My sweet Bella Baby is gone. I miss her terribly. My heart is rend in pieces. I don’t know that I can take anymore loss, ever again. This one hurts like I can’t even begin to think to describe. She was way too young. 

Thank you for reading and I hope your life is going very well and you are finding places of peace and happiness in your life. I hope to find some peace and happiness at some point again in the future, too. I will have to do it completely alone this time. I mistakenly thought I was alone during the recent dark patch in my life, but I was wrong. I had Bella by my side the whole time. I don’t anymore. Now I have things like laundry and dishes and dust bunnies. Bella’s toys and Bella’s fur.

I have gone through more than my fair share of things in this life, so with that in mind, I know I will get through this too. I hope you will forgive me if the blog takes an even slower pace from here on out for a bit of time until I get my feet under me again. 


Slowing Down

Since I stopped going to vision therapy, I am finding I have fewer things to blog about regularly. I am not posting every Monday like I used to. 

I think I will start going to every other Monday now for posting. I will also be posting my dad’s articles because he was a cool writer and I want more people to see his writings. My intention with these is to post the first Monday of every month with these. I just need to sit down and type them in. I’ll get to it. 

Thank you for understanding. 

What topics would you like to see me cover? Would you like more about dissociation? Visual memory? Night vision? Vision exercises? Let me know. Thank you!

Please comment below. 

Friday, September 17, 2021

Baking and Visual Memory

I made cookies tonight with my kids. I haven’t made those in a long time. This time, we were cheating, frankly, because we used premade cookie dough from Dinnerly.com (click here to get a free box!). I didn’t have to follow a recipe. 

I used to make chocolate chip cookies with local duck eggs from the farmer’s market. I would take a fresh batch of cookies and trade them for a dozen duck eggs. The farmer loved my cookies and I loved the local eggs. I swear those eggs made my cookies better!

I keep side-tracking myself; I keep going on tangents and changing the subject. 

When I learned I had no visual memory, I learned simultaneously that visual memory is a THING. Like, people can read a recipe and remember parts of it for a few minutes. Or they can read a paragraph in a book and remember what they read. I dont have that, so I have to commit things to memory by working hard at it. 

I look at a recipe. Let’s say it says, “add 1/4th tsp of salt and 3/4 cup of flour.” I go get the measuring spoon. Then I go back to the recipe, “ok, it wants salt,” I say to myself and go get the salt. Then I go back to the recipe, measuring spoons in hand, salt next to it, and have to look at the measurement again, find the spoon, triple check to make sure I have the right one, and the pour in the salt. Before I put it in the bowl, I will even check again to make sure I am doing it right. 

All those years, growing up, being told I couldn’t follow a recipe (it completely perplexed both of my moms, and yes, I have 2 moms. One of my moms is a former restaurant chef), has made me learn to check, check, check, triple check. By the time I pour in the carefully measured salt, I have completely forgotten that I even glimpsed anything about flour. So that starts all over. 

I am constantly amazed at a recipe that says, “10 minutes prep time.” Because it takes me an hour, easily. I don’t even read how much prep time is on a recipe anyway. It doesn't apply to me. I guess it will take as long as it takes. 

As I pulled tonight’s cookies out of the oven, I remembered that my KitchenAid mixer has the Hershey chocolate chip cookie recipe on there. I taped it on the mixer years ago when I made them regularly, so I wouldn’t have to constantly go hunting for the recipe. 

I was thinking tonight how I used to love making those. The cool thing about making the same recipe over and over is that after a while, I begin to build a muscle memory of the things to get out, where they are, what to pour in to what container to measure … and it feels like a good feeling to have accomplished those things. 

I think I would like to start baking those cookies again. I would like to teach my boys how to make chocolate chip cookies. My boys have been learning how to cook with me thanks to Dinnerly.com. My sons can now finely mince garlic using my fancy Santuko knife. They can do all kinds of cool things now thanks to those recipes. We are now thinking we no longer need the crutch of Dinnerly and will be breaking out on our own, doing recipes we find in the wild. 

All of this reminds me of my Once Upon a Time recipe blog that has sat dormant now for … quite a while. Here is my favorite Bread Maker recipe. I bought a bread maker for $8 at the local second hand shop. I liked making bread so much and my boys ate it so fast, I bought another one so I can bake 2 loaves at a time. Here is my favorite Rosemary Bread recipe from my blog: https://jodis-recipes.blogspot.com/2019/12/rosemary-bread-machine-recipe.html 

Also on my recipe blog, I have a whole category on my recipe blog for Christmas Cookies: http://jodis-recipes.blogspot.com/search/label/christmas%20cookies

If you enjoyed my blog post, will you please post a comment? Thank you so much; I would sincerely appreciate comments. 


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