Precious moments..

They often go unnoticed. I’m sure they get lost on me from time to time. This weekend a few didn’t. I lost AJ 3 years ago this week. I had a client cancel, and an emergency new client book me. After having my port taken out I was leery of which dog I would sit. Haley was a seven year old cow dog/bull mix with the sweetest heart and gentlest spirit, and she hung out with me for a few days.

Then today, a message from my regular client. Sitka, another grand cow dog, had passed.

His owner wept when I sent this to him..his beloved Sitka.

Sometimes when the world is throwing giant snowballs at our heads we choose to ignore it’s signs. I keep trying to ignore the blasts of cold. AJ was the best thing that ever happened to me. I bought her a house, moved to Idaho, changed everything I was, and never fought harder for anything in my life. I could’ve moved back to California or Nevada, but that would’ve meant giving up her or at the very least her huge yard and lovely home. If it had been just me, I would have left a few months after moving here. Because of her, I stayed for the first time in my life. I dealt with a million little things I would have never bothered with. I made and lost friends, still was unsettled unprofessionally, but tried many good professions, even found one I liked. I became a good freshwater fisherman and a hunter. I started this company, Andy’s Animals, in honor of her as a way of copeing with her loss and celebrating her life.

Though sometimes coincidences just happen, I try to pay attention. Seek out potential, read the signs, and be present! Not exactly sure why I was back in Belize at the precise time. Maybe I missed a great opportunity? My animals never stop reminding me of life’s fragility, perhaps I should go back to the shelter there? Just to check, you know.

The final curtain….

The last thing to do after you beat cancer is to take out the port. A port is a plastic mechanism with tubes that run directly into your veins. When you recieve regular treatment, like chemotherapy, it’s much easier to stick a needle in and prevents the patient from looking like a heroin addict. I loved mine, but now that I am cancer free the device is no longer needed. So CIAO!

See the bump on my chest..that’s the port.

The removal is a GREAT moment as it signifies the end of your battle. It’s better than ringing the bell, it means the doctors are convinced you are done! Even though I have months of physical therapy to still go through, and a lifetime of pain to deal with I am thrilled at this milestone!

All done!

Ok, says the nurse you are all done! Time to call my friend, Craig, and get a ride home. At least someone was here for me! Can’t thank him enough! Time to put this behind me, keep the lessons it has taught me so I can help others in the future!

Happy Thanksgiving tomorrow! I know I have a lot to be thankful for!

It’s a bust..really?

After 2 months of focused effort on my hunts, I came up empty handed. For the first time I went after males and shockingly, I didn’t get one. Why do they get the rack? Not fair. Several people have offered their condolences others have silently rejoiced. (Scavengers know who you are. I like to earn my meals.) Even Mom dropped me off at the airport at 6 am and apologized that I didn’t harvest. Dad on the way home last night…no apologizies! Completely unnecessary! Here’s the thing, as with fishing, there’s nothing to be sorry about! I sat for 10 hours one day just listening to sounds of squirrels, 5 hours of freezing cold, final moments watching turkeys cross the road. More countless hours thinking of what has and will become of me. Never saw a buck. Oh well.

Dad and I in 30 and 60 degrees.

I was able to spend time in Missouri with my Dad who I haven’t seen in a few years due to my health. Not a conversationalist, dear Dad and I rarely speak, not in a bad way though. Let me assure you, the regrets you have in life are those you don’t get to spend with your loved ones. I wonder if this boy grew up, had kids, and would’ve taken me fishing?

I was on a mission to see one more thing and catch one last fish in case my eyesight should fail. I’m glad I did it, but the real trips I took, the ones with lasting, heartfelt memories are the ones with my family, friends, and nature. Spending another birthday with Mom was especially poignant after my year of cancer, aneurism, necrosis, and neverending neuralgia.

6 years, in sickness and health, still feel like a little girl saying goodbye.

Unimaginable time with my brother, watching him catch his first fish on his boat he’s been too busy to see! NICE Robano, skipjack run, but no yellowfin tuna!

Time with dear friends, Brandi and Danny. New friends Joan and Kim in Belize. The point is not what we did, but that we were together.

I wonder all the time what would life had been like if my Father Andy was alive. The different paths I may have taken, and if I would be anything like the person I’ve become today? These flights of fancy are the driving force behind my need to fulfill every important, immediate desire. Life is short. After losing Andy at his ripe old age of 35, I treasure each moment. So, is spending time with family, friends, doing things like fishing, hunting, EVER a bust? Not to me!

Be with those who love you, if only for a moment!

I did get to fish a bit thanks to my FABULOUS friends!! I love you all!!! You know I am a happy hooker from I-da-ho. While I’m not funny I do love to laugh and i have no qualms being the brunt of the joke.

In short, haha, I urge you all to choose happiness (it’s free), and never look upon an adventure of mine as a failure. You may not know it’s ultimate goal.

I DON’T FAIL! I’ve succeeded beyond my wildest dreams!

Hi 45!

I made it. Miraculously, I have survived 45 years. Never thought I’d make it to 30, so this is a lot of gravy. I prefer it to whipped cream, but quite a bit of topping anyway! 10 different careers (at least), owned 7 companies, countless jobs, written 2 books, 3 marriages, lived in 6 states, 2 countries, traveled to 9 countries, driven cross country 6 times (once on a motorcycle), survived cancer, 9 surgeries, loved, lost, rich, poor, and left a legacy. Even now I’m learning new niches for the future I’ve set forth for myself and planning more trips.

In sickness and health I’ve tried to always be kind and do good, although not always successful, I’ve tried to right any wrongs. I’m thrilled that my relationship with family has gotten better with time. Most recently with my Brother, my cup runneth over that we are working together. I’ll be celebrating with Mom and Dad in Missouri for the last time! They will be heading to Florida.

I’ve seen the changes, and resisted the evolution of technology. 7 Presidents have governed, 2 wars, women and gay rights expand, social network explode, newspapers fall, and sadly seen the rise in violence across the globe.

This next decade should be my best! With a clear vision and specific goal, I charge ahead to help people suffering from critical illnesses. Buy2beat.org will grow, andyscaramels.com will get merchant services, and I will get a non fiction book published.

The people in my life are AWESOME! What a crew! They are a spectacular circle of beauty in my life that shares each others joy, fear, and pain. We offer support, give our time, and pay attention! When we can be together, we are PRESENT!!!

I will continue my work with American Cancer Society and Relay for Life. Already set to fight for home based chemotherapy in January at the Capitol. I will give more speeches on patient advocacy.

In just one year and so much has changed. 2018 was tough with all the illnesses and surgeries. Going forward I have ongoing health challenges and a world of what ifs and who knows. I talked to a lady last night who’s Father plans his whole life by his P.E.T. scans. For those who don’t know, it’s shows cancer cells. I will not let my health dictate my life. I have set up way to have a life if I go blind, professionally and that’s about all I can do. Go to therapy, doctor appointments, and one more surgery next week. The last year felt like a lifetime in and of itself. 2019 became a positive drive I haven’t had since I was a teenager!

This girl can!

I am going to focus on helping others.

Don’t worry I will finish book 3.

Of course, I will continue to travel!

So far, this has been one hell of a ride. A roller coaster of epic proportions! A fight to the (almost) death. Whatever is next I will do my best!

Devil is in the desire..

Since he is scared of me, I will take the golden fiddle! To be free is a constant debate and filled with misconceptions. Are you free to do whatever you want? ABSOLUTELY, but consequence inevitably follows. In my opinion, freedom is more of privilege. The comedian, George Carlin and I totally agree. If it’s a right, it can be taken away.

It’s a privilege really. To have transparency with the governing bodies so that they cannot overstep the power of the office and are held accountable by the people.

Division or diversity, right vs wrong, go left and step off, why must we only have the perception presented to us? Get it?

What color is the sunset?

Do you prefer the ocean or mountain? Who’s desire is right? Who’s happiness is left?

Stay with me for a moment please. I may disagree with you and you me. I once sat for an hour in Tennessee listening to 3 guys who couldn’t agree on directions to a hardware store. You can do it!

How bad would it be for all of us to read the 10 commandments in the house everyday? Say a prayer? You don’t have to include religion, just silently or aloud bless the day and be thankful. Could it render harm to send our children off to school with an appreciation for all that they have and love in their hearts for the other people in the world? Would it KILL us to look on our own day and say thankfully you have a job, home, and food? Maybe write a reminder to treat someone especially nice each day even though they make your blood boil or say a kind word to a homeless person.

I can tell you right now that this “living in constant fear” existence is the wrong path. I worry about my Brother because of a sticker he has on his car. I want to wear my birthday present, but real fear of assault gives me pause. I saw a picture of Martin Luther King today and wished I could walk with him.

I’ll never agree with you, and vice versa but I will NEVER know hate for you. Belize constantly tested me. I agreed to disagree so many times over football, politics, religion it was as if I was being tested. I walked away from people who wanted to start arguments. STOP! I don’t want to debate about Roethlisberger’s ability to throw the ball. Kaepernick’s right to take a knee. Religion on school. This doesn’t include the ABSOLUTELY horrible lies that are said about me..I’m stopping now!

We MUST stop the hate no matter the desire! Got nothin’ but LOVE ❤🙏 have a WONDERFUL DAY!!!!

Facades

On a stormy morning in May, my fifth day in Italy I was walking into a convenient store, and a man was coming out. A giant glass door opened and the wind caught it. The heavy piece swung fast on it’s hinges and crashed into me. The brute of the force was stopped by my two big toes in my soft suede boots. The pain was unbelievable, but I sucked it up and soldiered on knowing the injury would take many months to heal.

“I refuse to sink” says the shirt!

Indeed, it has. The top nails had died off and were barely hanging on. One came off in North Carolina and the other came off last week in Belize. Underneath, the new nail has been slowly growing in. I started to see these poor things a lot like my recovery and it’s facade. While the shiny gel coat looked great on the outside, beneath was this rough, tender, and ugly regrowth.

I’m trying to put on fierce, strong exterior, of course, and take on the world. So many are genuinely surprised to learn I still am fragile and have repercussions from the last year.

I’ve been trying to hide it for so long, what can I say? Even gel polish chips.

Travel..

“To travel is to live.”

This year has been an adventure of a lifetime! Belize, (AMAZING new friends), Women With Bait fishing tournament, Cancun, started 2 companies, buy2beat.com and awarriorwrites.com San Diego, for Brandi 50th, learned an entirely new business Shop2beat.com, Italy (what CAN’T I say?), andyscaramels.com, writer’s guild, Elaine Ambrose, FANTASTIC new people in my life, San Diego fishing with Frank and Danny, then with my brother a few weeks later, back to Belize with girlfriend (even more new friends), and now I wait to go home so I can fly to Missouri to hunt with Dad.

In between, I had my WONDERFUL animals, and am in the process of 2 more companies.

What a whirlwind of delight! Life can be thrilling if you try. I see it in the people around me. The lovely students from Denmark on holiday from their studies in Mexico, the backpackers headed North for the Riviera Maya, (not a clue where they are spending the night), the visitors from the mainland on a rare holiday, (what a treat for the children to see the beaches). Just as some have never seen the beach or snow in America, so is true in the Caribbean.

Life is so precious and poignant everywhere I discover, and is found again in the places I return to.

The lively smiles, weary faces, determined demeanor, all surround me as we board the ferry to take us away. A paradise for some, others disappointment but none can escape the glory of the sea!

“To travel is to live,” said Hans Christian Andreson, and I feel ALIVE!