A Sign from Sophie

As many of you who know me know, I’m not much for organized religion. Having lived in the deep south (North Carolina) for some time, I had the opportunity to meet many devoutly religious people – some were wonderful people, and some were the most racist, judgmental people I’ve ever come across. I do not for a second believe that your religious beliefs or practices can define you as a person. I do not go to church, have no desire to ever go to church, struggle with the thought that ‘God’ is an individual who is not only solely responsible for my life, but guides it daily, etc. However, I try to be a good person, and I DO believe that there is more than just us – fragile creatures of Earth – spinning on a blue marble in space, alone. I just cant fit my beliefs, or my assumptions, neatly into a box, as defined by a specific religion. None of them truly make any sense to me. I am at heart, a scientist. (NOT to be confused with scientologist!)

That being said, a couple of months ago, I lost my precious dog Sophie to complications from cancer. It was a quick, unexpected death for her, and while I knew it was inevitably coming, it happened with a suddenness that I did not expect. While I’m grateful that she didn’t overly suffer, and that I was with her when it happened (instead of the kids), I have found that I miss her profoundly. I don’t possess that sixth sense that some seem to have – I don’t feel her nearby – or see her in her favorite places (lying in the backyard in the sun). I have since adopted another rescue dog (a story for another time, for sure), but I still miss my sweet but stubborn Sophie terribly, and can literally count the days and hours since she had to go. (It’s been 56 days and 17 hours as I write this).

The other day, Ellie Bean (my new pup) and I went for a long walk through the nature trails that surround my neighborhood. It was a bit chilly and we were alone for the entire five miles we walked. Like most dog owners, I babble constantly to my pets, and today was no exception. I told her how Sophie and I used to take walks like this and that she and Soph would have been buddies, etc. Blah, blah, blah. I looked to the sky, told Sophie I missed her, and would love for her to send me a sign so I would know she’s okay. I also said, “you know me Soph, it cant be subtle either, else I’ll miss it”.

The next day, I had to work. I am an ICU nurse and work in an 18 bed unit. I had been hoping to care for the patients I had had before my day off, but was assigned to two other patients. Both were critically ill, on life support, with multiple medicated drips and other equipment at the bedside, so it was a crazy busy day. That morning, one of my patient’s daughters was in to see her dad, and said she’d be back later that afternoon. She did return, and she came in carrying a little ‘beany baby’ sized stuffed tan dog for her Dad. As she put in in his hand, she looked up at me and said that the stuffed dog was named Sophie, and that she was very special to her Dad. It took me a minute to realize what she called the dog, but as signs go, it wasn’t subtle. Soph had found a way to let me know she was okay.

Coincidence? Sure, maybe…but I asked for it, and I’ll take it. ♥

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I LOVE YOU, SOPHIE!!

The Third Victim – Phillip Margolis

The Third Victim – Phillip Margolis

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Driving through the woods at night, a motorist slams on the brakes as something tumbles out of the forest into the roadway. It’s a female, bearing the appearances of having been held captive and abused. As she recovers from her ordeal, she remembers enough to lead detectives to the cabin in the woods where she had been held, and a prominent local attorney is arrested for the alleged crime. In another seemingly unrelated event, a pimp threatens a decorated police officer when he finds him beating one of his prostitutes, and then winds up dead himself.

High powered attorney Regina Barrister and her capable assistant Robin are hired to defend the accused Alex Mason who swears he is innocent. Despite his pleas of such, the evidence appears cut and dried, and he is ultimately convicted and sent to death row.

But Regina has been experiencing episodes of forgetfulness, that do not go unnoticed by her legal team, and they have lingering doubts about Alex’s guilt. As they delve deeper into the investigation for the defense appeal, it appears that not all things are as they seem – is Alex’s wife a grieving spouse, or is she a master manipulator? Is the rescued victim, Meredith, really the victim she appears to be? Is a decorated police officer a sadistic bully, or is he a murderer??

This book had me hooked from the very beginning and kept me guessing until the end. Full of action, suspense, and enough twists and turns that keep you guessing until the very end. I couldn’t put it down!!!

Friendship and other things…

Many years ago, up in New England, I was a paramedic for a private ambulance service. I was young then, and the world of emergency medical services was exciting. We weren’t so very regulated then, and we worked hard, but we played hard too. I made some life long friends there during my years there, and had some friendships turn adversarial too. I cringe when I think about how young we were, and of some of the things that we, and I, myself did. Fortunately for me, this was all before the age of cellphones and cameras everywhere, so our exploits have all been saved to (fortunately) fallible memory.

One of those friends of mine was named Samantha – we used to call her Sam or Sammy for short. During that period of my life, we had a pretty tight knit group of friends. We worked together, hung out together on our days off, and vacationed together. I was in a relationship at the time with whom I thought was the love of my life – and yes – he worked with us as well. Being young, insecure, and fairly jealous of those who were prettier, more slender, and more fun than I was, I was constantly trying to improve myself, by emulating them – I’d try to find similar outfits, buy the same make up, etc. (I cringe when I think about some of that now – how in my young mind I thought I could improve self-worth, or improve my confidence with an outfit or a blush color…) I digress. Anyway, my jealousy and all around stupidity led to the demise of my then relationship and a particularly important friendship I had at the time – with Sammy. It was a very confusing and painful time for me in my life, and one that has lead to a fairly introverted personality for me as time has moved forward.

At that time, I felt I was the victim – Sammy had gone from being my bestie, to excluding me from things and making fun of me every chance she got. I was isolated from my circle of friends with increasing frequency, and I was fairly certain that Sammy had slept with my boyfriend. Of course it didn’t help when he asked another close friend of mine to a dance of some sort and she said yes. I felt as if she should have declined, out of respect for me. Ahhh, youth…do I miss it – being young, yes? The lack of the wisdom I now seem to possess? NO!

Time moves on – Sammy left the organization and went to work elsewhere with her then boyfriend, and I was absorbed with nursing school. Once I completed that program, I became a full time nurse, and worked sparingly for EMS. By then, my little company had been bought out by a larger one and things had changed drastically. I was not in a committed relationship of any kind, but had a casual thing going with a co-worker and found myself pregnant, shortly after we had celebrated his birthday. He denied involvement, and, rather than forcing him to acknowledge something he clearly didn’t want, I decided to go it alone, and after my daughter was born, I left EMS all together and focused on nursing. Once I made that switch, those friends/adversaries were left to the past.

That is, until Facebook came along.

Once I joined the Facebook craze, those ‘blasts from the past’ would continually populate my newsfeed. Of course, those adversarial friends became ‘friends’ too – I ‘friended’ out of curiosity as to what they and their lives were like now, and I’m more than certain they had similar curiosities as well. As time went on, Sammy and I started conversing a bit. She too had gone to nursing school, and we shared similar career paths – critical care nursing, children, back problems, a love for animals in need… I sent her a small gift when she was laboring with her firstborn, and we developed a sporadic communication – usually via commenting on one another’s newsfeeds and the occasional text or message. When her marriage fell apart, she confided in me a bit. The communication remains sporadic, and we have not yet talked person to person – via phone or in person. She has invited me to call, but…it just makes me nervous. Silly, I know, as it’s been close to 25 years since all of that childish drama happened.

Now, she’s here visiting in my neck of the woods, and she has invited me to spend some time with her and her significant other. Drinks, beach time, and chatting is the agenda. We have a lot to catch up on, and I’d guess a lot of reminiscing to do. Do I want to go? Yes, actually I do. Am I insecure about how my 50 year old body compares to my 25 year old body? Yes, absolutely! Am I insecure in general? Yes, even more so…am I going to go? I’m scared to death but yes I think I will. I am anxious to see if we can find any of that crazy tight friendship we used to have…

Wish me luck!! And send some confidence my way please!!

Running In The Dark – Sam Reaves

Running In The Dark – Sam Reaves

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Leaving the crowds of Manhattan after a relationship goes sour and tragic events unfold, Abigail finds herself in the middle of small town Indiana, prepared to begin a collegiate teaching career in mathematics. She settles in to an apartment rented to her by the enigmatic Ned, and begins calculus instruction at the nearby university. While going out for a run one night, she witnesses a murder disguised as a car accident – and she notices a man in the woods watching, who smiles at her before he turns to walk deeper into the woods, unnerving her. Additionally, a student begins to make unwanted advances on Abby, leaving her very unsettled. As tensions mount, Abby attempts to assist the police in identifying the man she saw, additional deaths occur, Abby feels as if someone is watching, and she finds herself in the crosshairs of an unknown adversary…

I enjoyed this book, although it did seem to move a bit slow for me at times. The characters were engaging, the story was realistic and the ultimate perpetrator was a surprise to me, although in hindsight, I should have guessed who it would be. A good book for anyone looking for a mellow mystery/adventure read. I will be reading more from Sam Reaves in the future!