March 23, 2018

Another Day Another Year: Update

It's been a few years since I did my blog. As we all know, technology has changed substantially. I primarily post on Facebook. If you like my writing and want to friend me on Facebook feel free to let me know. It's under Debbie Kollar or email me at kollardk@aol.com and put something that will attract my attention in the subject line like: FRIEND ME ON FACEBOOK.  :-)

The past several years have been both good and bad. We've lost all the original crew for our pets. It was a hard road to take.

Emmy, our dog, was the last one to die. She was 16 and had stomach cancer. The vet had said we probably should euthanize her right away. It was a painful way to go if it erupted. To us though, it seemed like she was acting normal. She wasn't ready to go. She lasted another year and boy, did we give her the best life we possibly could with treats, walks, attention and love.

The day after Christmas, it was time and we made the hard decision to euthanize her. She was starting to not know her surroundings. The vet said he had no idea how she had lasted a year based on how big her tumor had grown except that she was waiting for us to be ready. I believe it. Cats and dogs--even people--who have a death sentence with cancer or any other disease always hold out for their loved ones. Love always conquers pain.

Since then we adopted Tweedledee and Tweedledum or Tip and Oreo. My husband had a two week business trip in France and because of the anxiety of doing it all by myself over those two weeks, I decided to add on to it and the kids and I scoured the shelters to adopt two puppies. A definite surprise for my husband when he arrived home.

They are quite the workout. Oreo, a German Pointer mix male, chews on everything. He's chewed up a toy helicopter, several rolls of decorative washi tape, pencils, markers, book covers--I can't even remember everything. Tip, a Terrier mix female, is super smart and super bossy! She has a good heart but with other dogs, they better not try and mount her or that bitch goes off on them. Pardon the expression. They are a work in progress, but I've never given up on pets. That's just who I am. Besides, someone says it takes three years before they are truly out of that puppy or early dog stage.

As for writing, my short stories are now printed in several anthologies. I've also done a profile interview for our local newspaper. I worked really hard. I still need to put more work into sending stuff out to get published. I am my own worst enemy when it comes to succeeding. Not sure if I'm afraid to fail or afraid to succeed. Although I can certainly say, I've grown a ton and for the better with writing.

Our two children are 11 and 6 now. Olivia (6th grade) is in a private volleyball club. She loves volleyball and plays as a setter. She's pretty dang good too. She also loves to draw. Other than occasionally talking back (she's got that preteen phase down pat) she is a good girl. She's super smart, but more importantly, kind and caring with others.

Noah is in Kindergarten. He is as talkative as ever. He once said he didn't like sitting next to a girl on the school bus because she talked too much. He likes to be the center of attention, in a mostly unselfish way. It's his personality. I see him as a comedian, an actor or a race car driver. If he ends up with a desk job I'll be incredibly amazed. He loves to draw, too. On Facebook, he's quite the star with his antics and the stuff he says. His preschool teacher had said, "Noah has a gift for understanding sarcasm. Do you know where he got this?" I told the teacher, probably me. LOL

I guess that's it for now. An update into my world. I'm considering posting on my blog again. Not that anyone reads this, but it's therapeutic and fun. It shows my life in words. I hope everyone is well and remember, if you want to be friends on Facebook go under Debbie Kollar or kollardk@aol.com and put something noticeable in the email heading. I post funny things about life on Facebook. About my family. About me. Some inspiring, some humorous.

June 5, 2016

Find Your Unique Quality in This World

We all have something specific we bring to the table and often, we need others to show us what it is because we can’t see it ourselves. YOU have this too.
I went to a writer’s workshop yesterday on VOICE. This is the unique style writers bring to anything they write. For example, Stephen King has his own unique style whether he writes a thriller or a memoir. I have never been one to write flowery descriptions or beautiful settings. I realized this year; it doesn’t matter because we each bring something different to this life.
At the workshop, we separated into groups of three. Each group had about eight pictures and we had only TWO minutes to write a really short story/scene for each picture. The two other people in my group read their eight stories. From the woman in our group, we could tell she’s good at inner thoughts of the character. We knew we would learn something from her style/voice. (No surprise, she has two Masters Degrees. You see, everything ends up showing itself somehow.) In the young man’s stories, we saw how religion and emotions are strong in his VOICE. Guess what? He has a major in psychology and went to a religious college.
When it was my turn to read my eight, I was a little embarrassed and I told the other two this. My stories didn’t sound anything like theirs at all. But after reading mine, the two people showed me what I couldn’t see. They said, “You are this apologetic person in life but in your writing you don’t apologize for anything. You go straight for the truth whether it’s good or bad. You might not set the scene or build it up but you go right to the story or heart of it.” The woman said through my eight stories she could see I was an advocate for people. I was floored because I LOVE when I learn something from other people. I couldn’t see this myself but it’s so true. Like a first sentence of one of my short stories goes, “Mama lost her baby boy in the bathwater in the earliest part of May. When April showers give way to the soft winds of springtime and everything which lays dormant in the winter springs up to grow again.” Most of my stories start with an unapologetic truth and I realize this is my VOICE or style and it is okay. I’m not meant to be Hemingway or James Patterson or anyone else.
My point to you is you can’t be good at everything but you can be amazing at something. At times, you don’t see it and others need to show you. It doesn’t matter what you do in life or who you are as a person, you have a talent for something specific. There’s no questioning that, it’s 100% true. Some of you know what it is; some of you are still searching for it. But it’s there. The hard part is not just in finding out what that is, but taking action to push it as far as you can.
We always compare ourselves to other people but in reality, we are not meant to be like everyone else. We need to grow and flourish what we can bring to this world. The young man in my group said something I thought was very insightful. Gone are the days when beauty is what people will be looking for. On social media alone, there are thousands of photographs of beautiful people. It has become common place. (You can even buy beauty with plastic surgery.) What will stand out in the future is what makes a person unique? So find out what you bring to the table of life and if you don’t know, ask people you trust and respect. We all have a unique VOICE/gift/purpose in this life. What’s yours, do you know?

April 7, 2014

Chewie and Tigger are 18!!

Chewie and Tigger
Chewie and Tigger turned 18 on April 4th! I am very proud. I have had the two since they were born. Chewie had a heart attack when he was sedated once, almost died. Tigger almost died and was opened up to see what was going on because he wasn't eating. We put him on medication and he made a full recovery. Doctor said it was a miracle.

Now, Chewie has cancer (had an ultrasound) and Tigger has cancer or something? When the doctor had opened him up he said something was wrong with a connective duct. Tigger had made a full recovery but it finally caught up with him. Not sure how long he will last. We are feeding him with a syringe and giving him water with an IV. He still is up and down so we haven't given up quite yet. He still has quality of life.

If anyone questions why we work so hard to keep our pets alive when there are so many who need a home the answer is, they are part of the family. It is a very hard process. To say goodbye to a pet or a person is quite horrible. If Tigger is in pain, we will make the hard decision to euthanize him. But like I said, it hasn't gotten to that yet. And Lord, I do not look forward to that day!

I haven't written a lot of posts lately. So much is happening right now. I do send messages and funny little things with Facebook so you can always send me a friend request. I will start writing more for my blog once we see how everything goes with Tigger. I can't complain though. They made it to 18! I begged God to let him live until his birthday and he did. I gave both of them a great life full of love, medical care, quality food and being held - always! They never knew what an animal shelter or pound was like, they were never lost or scared, they never were hungry or cold. I have to look at the bright side. I will still miss them (of course) but in the end, I gave them my best.

January 20, 2014

The Never Ending Pot of Pork Soup

My parents are visiting this week to help me with the kids. My husband is on a business trip in Texas and I have a lot of things to do.

I decided to stir-fry some pork. My intentions were to make sweet and sour pork stir-fry. The outcome, something which went very awry.




First, I thought I would add some cornstarch to the pork pieces because I read somewhere it makes a thicker sauce. Perhaps I put too much cornstarch on it, perhaps I starting shaking the white powdery substance on top and couldn't seem to stop. (I'm not admitting to anything.)

In any case, it looked like boiled squeegee pork when I was done with it.

So then everything started going in the pot. (I'm not sure if you read about my attempt at making Indian samosas and the green goop that unfortunately followed. It isn't a pretty sight when hell breaks loose in my kitchen and I start adding things.)

I added chopped vegetables into the pot along with oregano, cumin, Italian Spices, oh and I found leftover (maybe) expired chicken stock in the refrigerator, then I had to add another container because there wasn't enough liquid, and the nasty chopped celery my mom brought up from South Bend (even though I didn't want to but she would know if I threw it away) and by the end of it --- I had a soup.

I let go of a huge sigh when I was done. What the hell did I make? Nothing was going to save this pork and instead I made a great soup surrounding nasty pork pieces. Ugh.

So for the past two days (since I added everything in the refrigerator practically) we have had this pork soup. I am so tired of it yet I don't want to waste food.

When my parents and daughter ate it for the first time they were wondering what kind of meat was in this soup. My daughter thought it surely had to be chicken brains, my dad's bet was on under-cooked chicken. (No, it's pork people, PORK!)

So the never ending pork soup is still in the refrigerator waiting for yet another day and another lunch. Now if my husband were here, I could somehow pawn it off on him. But he is on the business trip. My daughter is picky, my son spits it out onto the floor, my dad can barely chew the pork (he's 80 and can't even chew lettuce) and my mom will say, "It's okay" in a nonchalant tone and then I'll find it dumped in the garbage with paper plates on top to hide it.

Even my dog won't eat a piece of that pork.

Lesson learned: Always - measure - cornstarch!



January 11, 2014

There Are Lessons Everywhere: Cutie Pie

Beautiful Cutie Pie
Last night, Cutie Pie, our FIV cat with the kidney and liver problems took a turn for the worse. He no longer moved a lot and when we tried to pick him up he would growl because it was painful. His belly was bloated because we gave him fluids and his body wasn't absorbing them. It wasn't looking good for him.

I held him until 3 in the morning and we didn't expect him to live through the night. He did and in the morning we made the hard decision to put him to sleep. We first asked the doctor if there was anything at all we could do. But our cat was in pain and some of the light was gone from his eyes. He looked uncomfortable and defeated.

If you have ever had to put an animal to sleep it is horrible. But it is necessary because I have also let pets die naturally because I couldn't give up and hoped for a miracle. It was the wrong decision.

Seeing a pet in severe pain, dying, is wretched. The sounds which they make can stay with you. So I had to put him to sleep before that happened. With his organs shutting down it would have been pretty bad. I had to do the right thing even if I didn't want to go through it. To me though, being with a pet (or human) when they pass away is important. You want them to see someone they love when the last light goes out of their eyes. For them to know you love them enough to be there in their most difficult and final time.

So I am very sad. I feel like today I'm in the twilight zone. With every pet I have lost (and there have been a lot the past ten years) and when our baby lived for a day, after it was all over, I felt like the day went on as usual, people busy and living life, but the day for me was going in slow motion. I felt like, everything that goes on in the world doesn't truly matter. The only thing which does are the relationships we have (pet and people alike) and how we love and care for others.

Anyway, there is a small lesson in this experience I would like to share with you. As mentioned, I feel very sad about losing him and I wish there had been something more we could have done. But as I was feeling bad, I realized I had asked God to please let him live past our Christmas vacation when we were gone for a week and he was boarded at the animal hospital. And he did live. The doctor was surprised at how strong he was. I begged God to let him come home and spend a little more time here instead of die in a hospital. He did. I got to hold him for a whole week, I got to hold him his last few hours, and I got to be there when he took his last breath. All of these were blessings which didn't seem likely. But he held on.

I could look at the overall end, my cat is gone and he died. But I also choose to look at how lucky I was to have a little more time with him and even though it was horrible to go through, he had a loving and graceful ending. There were four people petting him when he was injected and he purred to the very end. And after the light went out of his eyes, somehow the door to the examination room was opened and the song, In the Arms of An Angel, played on the radio in the front room. It has always been a special song to me (a story for another time) and it just seemed like it was a sign, he would be okay.

So even in the worst circumstances, it is possible to see a blessing somewhere. It is hard but this is how we get through life, knowing even in our most difficult times, God is looking after us - even if it's just a little.

January 7, 2014

Growing Up and Growing Cold

Olivia doing her homework
It has been a virtual ice land in the Midwest and with school closings because of frigid temperatures we have been inside for the past three days. It really has been nice. My husband is working from home because of it so with all of us stuck here and most businesses closed, we have been "made" so to speak to spend more time with each other instead of going everywhere: lessons, grocery store, work, school, and activities.

It is actually 2 degrees outside. 2! And I had to post the following because I thought it was hilarious. We finally had to venture outside for necessities like milk and stuff for the toddler and I asked my 7 year-old daughter to get dressed so we can leave. (She loves to wear comfy pajamas in the house.) She comes back to the living room with a long sweater and shorts. Yes, shorts!

"You're not wearing those are you?"
"Yeah, why not? I have on a sweater and I'm going to wear my long coat. They'll cover my legs."
I started laughing hysterically. I just couldn't help it. "Do you know how cold 2 degrees is!"

Sometimes, I think my daughter is growing up too fast. She is at a transitional age where Disney princesses are no longer interesting and video games and Disney teen shows are the new replacement. She isn't in to pink anymore but leopard and zebra prints. She doesn't want me to braid her hair and favors makeup and "cool" things. In the past two months, she graduated from having me help her take a shower to doing it herself. It's nice but it also means she is growing up. But when she says cute things or doesn't realize something like how cold it is outside for shorts, it is a nice little reminder she is still young.

They grow up so fast.

Olivia
Olivia




Olivia
Noah


Noah



Noah
Noah and a tired big sister