Remembering a Love of Horses

It’s my father’s birthday today and I didn’t want the day to pass without honoring his memory in writing. So I wrote a blog post on my other site about how I’m dedicating my time today when playing World of Warcraft to him. I figured I’d just paste it in on this site for my followers here to read…

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A Day for Horses

There are a lot of animals to choose from for mounts, hunter pets, and battle pets in World of Warcraft. I’m fond of many of them, but today I’m focusing on horses. Why? Because it’s my father’s 79th birthday and he started riding horses in his 50s and was a natural. Although he left this world in 2009, his spirit is always with me and I think about him and miss him every single day.

My dad started riding horses because I started riding when I was 13 and he came to every single lesson. He’d help out around the stables and at shows and became friends with everyone there. After a few years of me riding, he decided he’d give it a try and he took to it like a fish takes to water! He could also swim like a fish too so maybe there’s a correlation there. He started doing jumps much sooner than I had and he placed well when competing in shows. Most important of all, he loved riding and it was awesome being able to ride together.

The other day I finally earned exalted on Syaine with the Order of Embers and Stormsong’s Wake and promptly purchases the Smoky Charger and Dapple Gray horse mounts. I’d reached exatled with Proudmoore Admiralty a while ago and of course already had the Admiralty Stallion. I love the updated horse models in World of Warcraft and wish they would update horses across the board, but they haven’t yet. Even though my latest horse mounts can’t still fly, I still love them. Even when they act a bit less than graceful sometimes…

In honor of my father’s birthday, I decided to ride only horse mounts today, aside from flight point mounts obviously. Fortunately, I have the Headless Horseman’s Mount so I have a flying horse when necessary. I also have the paladin class mount and warlock class mount for flying horse options on those classes.

I also decided to finally tame a couple unicorn hunter pets on Sriset. I’ve been meaning to do so since they became tamable but they kept slipping my mind. I’m so glad I have them now because I love how much true horse personality they have. I gave them names that honor my father in a cute way and I’m sure he appreciates the gesture.

It might seem silly to some for me to make today a day of horses in World of Warcraft as a way to honor my father, but it’s helping me feel closer to him, lifting my spirits, and making the world seem a bit less lonely.

Making Peace with October

My father with our cat Sylvester

My father with our cat Sylvester

Today marks nine years since my father passed away. Sometimes it feels like more time than that and sometimes less time than that. Either way, any amount of time without my father has been difficult. However, as the years have passed, the actual day of his passing has lost some of the heavy weight it had upon my heart and I’ve learned to make peace with October.

Feeling sad without my father after his passing used to come around certain dates such as holidays, his birthday, family birthdays, and the day he walked on into the spirit world. It would also come at just random times when I’d be struck with a wave of sorrow that nearly knocked me off my feet. But time has lessened the pain and I’ve learned to enjoy holidays and birthdays again. While I miss him every single day and will always miss him, I also know that he doesn’t want me to dwell in pain and sadness. After all, when my father was alive he was very much into celebrating holidays, birthdays, and all special occasions with as much happiness as possible.

This year leading up to the anniversary of my father’s passing, I’ve been distracted by various things. I was working hard to save up for my recent trip to New England and the week before I left for that trip, I was battling wasps that had come through the wall of my closet. The wasps were an unexpected and unwanted adventure and the trip to New England was my little reward to myself for surviving that harrowing escapade. I think those distractions served me well, even though one was far less pleasant than the other. I had a strong feeling that I needed to go to New England this October because I hadn’t been out in October in many years, and I’m so glad I went! I know my dad was with me in spirit as always and sharing in my travels.

Today I spent the time just enjoying a lazy Sunday with my daughters. My mom stopped by briefly to drop off a new coat for my youngest daughter and we had a nice little visit chatting about various things. I’ve also been playing a bit of World of Warcraft with my oldest daughter, which is always fun and interesting. Then I did some beading of a new Halloween themed pin and had a nice talk with my youngest daughter about the tablet she uses for school and how it helps her with her homework.

This evening will be more along the lines of just spending time with my girls and being grateful for the blessings and happiness in my life. I know my father would want it that way and I know that he’s always with us in spirit. He watches over us, laughs with use, and most of all, loves us all.

A Day That Snuck Up

My father and I in the Adirondack Mountains. My favorite picture of us.

With the prolonged winter weather, plumbing issues, and car trouble I’ve experienced this year, I’ve often lost track of days as I work through it all. The late arrival of spring has me thinking it’s still April some days and therefore I was surprised to realize that one day in particular snuck up on me unawares: today, my father’s birthday.

As my mother said incredulously yesterday, my father would’ve turned 77 this year. That’s mind boggling to me because in my mind, my parents don’t really age. My father left this world when he was 68. His health had deteriorated in the last years of his life. But fortunately with the passage of time, I usually remember him as the healthy, fit man he was in his 50s. That really is a blessing and something I’m certain makes his spirit happy.

In past years I’ve felt sorrow in the days leading up to his birthday and on his birthday, but not this year. Admittedly, I’ve been stressed about getting my car’s transmission fixed, dealing with yard work, and so on, but even without those things, I don’t think I would’ve felt sad.

I miss my father every single day and I wish he was still here to help me with so many things, but overall I feel like I’m in a good place in my life. I’m content and happy and don’t feel as lost as I used to. I believe I owe that in large part to everything I inherited from my father. He taught me to always see the bright side of life, to look at things from different angles, and to appreciate all the blessings I have.

Life isn’t always easy, but it’s always a gift. So while I no longer have my father here to give gifts to on his birthday, he continues to give me the greatest gifts of love, strength, faith, gratitude, acceptance, and determination.

Love Is An Apple Pie

heart apple pie

Love is an apple pie

Today marks eight years since the day my father passed away. As my father was a great cook and baker, I felt that an ideal way to honor his spirit this year was to bake an apple pie. I don’t actually remember my father baking many apple pies, but that doesn’t mean that he didn’t. That just means that my memory is getting foggy in my “old age.”

What makes this pie lovingly special is that I made it with apples that my daughters picked just for me. My favorite pie apples are Gala apples because they’re so sweet and juicy. The girls went apple picking with their father last weekend and picked several apples that they thought were Gala. My youngest also picked some smaller “mystery” apples and I used all eight apples of various sizes in the pie. I have a favorite peeler I use when making pie and I’ve gotten quite good and fast at peeling. Once I peeled all the apples, I cut them  into thin, small pieces to ensure that they cooked through completely and were nice and soft. I use the Better Homes and Gardens cookbook recipe for apple pie with a few changes to make it my own.

The house smelled wonderful yesterday while the pie was baking, but as usual a bit of the pie juices leaked out and dripped onto the bottom of my oven. That didn’t smell so good, but it seems to be part of the process when I make pies so I’m used to it. I used a bit of the extra pie crust to make a heart on the top of the pie because everything I cook or bake is always made with love. To make sure the pie was “safe” for human consumption, I tried a piece last night and found it quite yummy. The apples in it were a bit more tart than I usually use so perhaps they aren’t Gala after all, but as they were picked by my daughters and used in a pie to honor my father, they are the best apples in the world!

October Already?!

October sky

Evening sky during our walk yesterday.

My oldest daughter went through the house last night flipping all the calendars to October because I hadn’t yet. I’m still trying to adjust to the fact that October is here already. September went by very fast and while it started out fall-like, there was a lot of summer heat in the middle and end of the month that made everything seasonally confusing. The poor trees that had started to change colors during the first bout of cool weather didn’t know what to do once summer heat returned. A lot of them just seemed to give up and start dropping leaves without much color change and I fear it won’t be a very colorful autumn this year. Nonetheless, leaves are still changing and falling and autumn is tied for spring with my favorite season.

As I wrote in last year’s blog post at the start of October, I’m finally able to welcome October again. Losing my father in October of 2009 made it difficult for me to truly embrace what had until that point been my favorite month and season. On the 21st of this month it will have been eight years since his passing and that doesn’t even seem possible to me. While I still miss him every single day and there will always be a void inside me without him here, I’ve healed enough to understand that his spirit wants me to be happy. I’m sure there will be the usual random bouts of crying and sadness throughout the month, but I know it won’t be as overwhelming as it’s been in the past. Life is about moving forward and not allowing yourself to be stuck in a moment that can’t be changed.

I don’t know what this October will bring, but I’m looking forward to it. I never really know what each day will bring. I have a plan for the day and most of the time it follows a predictable routine. But honestly, every single day is full of amazing new experiences and gifts and I make sure I take the time to notice them and feel grateful for them. I’m sure October will be full of new adventures and of course my favorite holiday of Halloween. Maybe I’ll make it to a Halloween party of some type this year, one never knows! Whatever comes this October and beyond, I know that I’ll get through it just like I always do, with strength, determination, optimism, and hope.

Flowers From My Father

tuilps

All of the tulips behind my house.

My father had a green thumb. I don’t know if he was born with it, or if he cultivated through during his lifetime, but he was great at making plants grow. He loved planting gardens of flowers and vegetables and whatever he touched thrived. His efforts to create vegetable gardens didn’t always go well due to animals finding their way past garden defenses, but his flower beds always thrived.

While I’ve had some success growing things, I did not inherit my father’s knack for making green things grow. I’ve killed cactuses and other low maintenance plants and my annual flower gardens have been hit and miss. I’ve discovered that pansies and snapdragons seem made to survive my lack of green thumb, but I haven’t had much luck with perennials. Well, lucky for me, my father’s spirit decided to help me with that problem.

A few years’ ago, a tulip plant suddenly appeared growing next to the irises behind my house. Those irises have been here since before I moved in and they always do extremely well, but I’d never planted any tulips. I took that first tulip that produced a single red blossom as a gift from my father’s spirit and I thanked him profusely. That tulip has returned every year and I’m always amazed that the squirrels, rabbits, woodchucks, skunks, or deer don’t manage to nibble it away before it can bloom.

Apparently, this year my father decided I needed a few more bulbs in my yard. The first new plants I saw were a couple of yellow daffodils growing over by my smaller shed. I didn’t plant daffodils and I’d never seen them there before, but there they suddenly were one day! When I first saw the splash of yellow next to the shed, I wasn’t sure what I was seeing, especially since the weather hadn’t been warm enough for dandelions yet. I was bewildered when I walked over and realized they were healthy daffodil plants dancing in the chilly breeze.

daffodils

The daffodils by my shed.

Once again, I thanked my dad’s spirit for the gift of flowers and figured that was his new flower for this year. I soon learned that I was wrong.

Shortly after the daffodils came up, I went over to investigate my usual tulip and discovered more tulip plants growing a bit further away from the first. Again, I didn’t plant any more tulips so I was surprised to see them. I thought perhaps they were more red tulips and that they were finally growing because I’d cut the rose bush back more. I was happy to see more tulips growing and appreciated my father’s continued efforts to add flowers to my gardens.

As the weeks passed and the tulips continued to grow and create buds, I noticed that the new plant had five buds on it as opposed to the single bud on the red tulip. After a couple more days I realized that the second tulip plant was a different color than the first tulip plant and when it finally started to show its colors, the buds were a lovely combination of yellow and red. I was elated that such beautiful tulips were growing in my yard when they bloomed and revealed their stunning colors, I nearly jumped for joy. My father’s spirit had certainly upped his game this spring!

yellow and red tulips

This year’s tulip plant

tulips

The original red tulip and this year’s new addition.

I’ve been enjoying the colorful displays of tulips behind my house for the past week or so and even though the blossoms are starting to fade and wilt, I’ve taken plenty of pictures to remember them by. Plus, I know they’ll be back again next year. The gift of flowers that my father’s spirit keeps giving me is something I’m truly grateful for and I wish he were still physically around so I could thank him in person and give him a huge hug.

I’m sure there’s a lot my dad could do with my property if he was still alive and I’d welcome his help. I always make grand plans for gardens on my property, but I don’t have the time or resources. Instead, I just make my little backyard container garden around the birdfeeders and admire it from my kitchen window or when I’m outside on the deck or in the yard. The birds also help me out by dropping enough sunflower seeds to sprout at least a couple nice sunflowers every year.

Although I may never have the beautiful gardens my dad used to create, I do the best I can to keep up with my property and incorporate pretty (and resilient) flowers where I can. It’s nice to know that my father’s spirit seems to understand that I’m trying and that he helps me out as best he can. For as long as I live in this house and even after I move, I know I’ll wait anxiously for spring every year to see if my father has planted more gifts of flowers for his little girl.

flower garden

Standing by one of my dad’s flower gardens.

Finding Light in Darkness

candlelight in darkness by JulieAnn Corbin

On this day seven years ago, my father walked on. It doesn’t seem possible that it’s been that many years, but I know it has. Although the pain and sadness of losing him will never go away, it has faded over the years. His spirt is always with me and I can still hear his voice and his laughter in my mind whenever I think of him.

This October has been the first October since his death when I didn’t feel overwhelmed with emotions of grief. I’ve been focusing on the blessings in my life and creating as much positive energy as possible because I know that’s what my father would want. It’s also what’s best for me and my girls.

I think my father would be proud of the woman I’ve become and how I’m raising my girls. He’d appreciate the fact that I haven’t settled for someone just to avoid being alone. He was a role model for the kind of man I deserve in my life and I’ve yet to meet his match. If I never meet his match, then I’ll remain single, simple as that. I am a tough, strong, independent woman and I’ve learned to enjoy every moment of my life. I cherish the time with my daughters and I make the most of my time when I don’t have them. Life is a blessing and must never be taken for granted.

My father with our cat Sylvester

My father with our cat Sylvester

On this day and every day, I honor my father’s eternal spirit. I recall all the wonderful memories of him and remember how tightly he always hugged me and that we always said, “I love you” when we parted. I will light candles in his memory and smudge my house with sage to cleanse the space and bring healing energy within. Even though the sadness of losing him is eternal, there is always light to be found in darkness and I will do my best to be that light.

Writing to Honor My Father

My father and I in the Adirondack Mountains. He's wearing the bobcat shirt I remember well.

My father and I in the Adirondack Mountains. He was always supportive of my writing.

Occasions like Father’s Day today have been difficult for me since my father walked on in October of 2009. Quite often, I feel sad and cry during the days leading up to the event, but then on the actual day, I’m okay. Surprisingly enough, I haven’t really been sad leading up to or including Father’s Day. I still miss my father immensely and always will, but I think I’m finally in a better place now and able to focus on all the positive aspects in my life that come from having him as my father.

One of the things I remember my father asking almost every time I saw him was “How’s your writing going?” I’d usually reply that it was going okay or some such thing, but I always felt like I was letting him down because I wasn’t published yet. He was one of my biggest supporters when it came to my writing and losing him made it so hard for me to continue writing in any of my books. I think the fact that I now make my living as a freelance writer would please him, but it’s not quite the same.

Yesterday was a wonderful day that started with waking up to my daughters coming into my bedroom and included beautiful sunshine, a conversation that made me smile and laugh, and an afternoon and early evening spent visiting my mom. I felt so elated and inspired that I actually felt like writing in my newest fantasy novel (now over 4 years old and only containing one chapter). When I told my oldest daughter Jordan of my desire to write, she smiled broadly and was genuinely excited for me. She’s blessed with the gift of writing as well and is a far better writer at 13 than I was at her age. In her enthusiasm for me writing again, I saw a bit of my father and I knew I couldn’t let either of them down.

Alas, I was a bit too tired to write last night, so I decided that I would write today. My girls won’t be back until the late evening and it’s too hot and full of deer flies to do much outside so writing in my fantasy book entitled “Unbroken Flames” sounds like the perfect way to spend the day. A lot has changed in my life since I started writing that book and it’s past time that I start incorporating that into the story.

One thing that will never change in any of my writing though is my love for breathing life into strong female characters who are willing to fight for what they believe in, have faced challenges that made them stronger instead of destroying them and who still believe in love and all of the amazing gifts that come with it.

So here’s to you, Dad, your little girl will finally get going again on her writing!

Celebrating Strong Spirits

dad and girls august 2006

(Featured image: My father holding newborn Jaycie with 4 year old Jordan on his legs)

Today is my father’s birthday. He would have been 75 years old. The last birthday we celebrated with him on this earth was his 68th because he walked on in October of 2009. He was more than my father; he was my best friend, confidant, supporter and a man who showed me how I deserve to be treated and cared for by a man. I’ve yet to meet his equal and I probably never will. I was blessed to have him for as long as I did and I’ll always be “Daddy’s little girl” no matter what age I am.

Special occasions like today are always hard without my dad and his birthday marks the first of many special events during the spring and summer. Every summer birthday, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day and Memorial Day feel a bit emptier without him. I miss his hugs, his laughter, his smiles and his voice giving me sage wisdom and advice that I still hear in my head to this day. I feel him in the sunshine, the glow of the moon and the scent of spring flowers. I see him on the wings and in the watchful eyes of hawks as they fill my world. I’ve inherited a lot from him, including his strength and determination and I know his spirit is with me every single day.

My father’s spirit sticks around with more than just me, he’s with everyone he loves. He had a special connection with my youngest daughter, Jaycie. After my father’s strokes, he had physical limitations and his mind wasn’t ever quite the same. Jaycie has had mental and physical developmental delays all of her life, but she’s finally catching up! There always seemed to be a sense of camaraderie between my dad and Jaycie, as if they both understood what it was like to face challenges and rise above them. For a while after my father walked on, Jaycie would occasionally say that she saw him or that she knew what he was doing in heaven. She may not see him anymore (or not tell us if she does) but I know he sticks close to her and the amazing light that she is.

dad and jaycie reading by JulieAnn Corbin

My father and Jaycie reading.

Jaycie is participating in the Special Olympics today and it’s her first time doing so. I’m sure she’ll have fun, do well and that it will be a great experience for her. I think it’s a perfect way to celebrate both her and my father’s eternally strong spirits. I went to the send off for the Special Olympians at the school this morning and Jaycie marched out all by herself looking like a movie star with her sunglasses on. I wished her luck and gave her a kiss and she was all smiles!

Jaycie marching in the send off for the Special Olympians this morning

Jaycie marching in the send off for the Special Olympians this morning

 

jaycie sign

The sign teachers and fellow students made to encourage Jaycie.

My father’s spirit will watch over Jaycie today, urge her on and beam with pride, of that I’m certain. He used to volunteer for a horseback riding program for children with Cerebral Palsy and whenever I would go with him to help, I could see how much joy it brought him so I’m sure Jaycie doing the Special Olympics today is a birthday gift he greatly appreciates. Although he can’t physically be here to help Jaycie shine, I know that today, his spirit shines even brighter as he watches over all of his greatest gifts: his family.

An Emptiness that, at Times Seems to Burn

One of my favorite pictures of my father and I.

One of my favorite pictures of my father and I.

On Wednesday, October 21st, 2009, my father passed away and my life and the lives of my family have never been the same. I think about and miss my father every single day. He wasn’t perfect (nobody is) but he was a great man and he loved me unconditionally. He showed me how a man is supposed to love a woman and I’ve yet to meet his equal. I learned how I deserve to be treated from my father and because of him, I will never settle for less than I deserve.

I have written several blog posts about my father and always post something on the anniversary of his passing. With it falling on a Wednesday again this year, it feels harder to deal with, but I know I’ll be okay because his spirit is always watching over me. For this year’s honoring of my father’s memory, I wanted to quote a favorite excerpt from a movie. The movie is Practical Magic and in it, Sally writes her sister a letter that in essence sums up how I feel since my father left this world.

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Sometimes I feel like there’s a hole inside me … an emptiness that, at times seems to burn. I think if you lifted my heart to your ear you could hear the ocean.

And the moon tonight, there’s a circle around it, a sign of trouble not far behind.

I have a dream of being whole, Of not going to sleep each night, wanting. But still sometimes when the wind is warm, or the crickets sing, I dream of a love that even time will lay down and be still for.”

sallys letter

Just a little clear up shower

image

When my dad was alive and it would downpour like it has several times today, he was known to say “Oh, it’s just a little clear up shower.” He was being a little sarcastic of course, but now every time it rains cats and dogs, I recall those words and smile.

Today’s late afternoon rain did eventually let up and the sun came out, but by evening it was overcast and it started pouring after sunset. I’m not exactly sure what these “little” showers are clearing up, but I do know that they’re doing an effective job of overflowing local streams and runoff ditches. I had to drive through several road ponds on the way to pick up my daughters today and I was left wishing I had a boat instead of a car.

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It’s a rare thing lately to have more than one day in a row without some form of rain around here, but at least the sun comes back out eventually. When I took Jazzmin out for the last time tonight I saw a bat flying through the darkening sky and I’m sure he appreciates all the bugs that come out in the humidity. It’s always nice to see creatures benefiting from the unpredictable weather and it reminds me that the little clear up showers serve an important purpose in the circle of life.

Taking a Day

Father and daughter love

My father and I on his 43rd birthday in 1984. I was 7 years old.

Today is my father’s birthday, he would’ve been 74 years old. He died in October of 2009 and I miss him every single day. The ache of missing him gets even stronger starting about a week before his birthday and continuing through the summer birthdays of me, my brothers and my daughters and the holidays like Mother’s Day and Father’s Day because they all feel partially empty without his physical presence. Memorial Day is a hard holiday too because my dad served in the Air Force during the Vietnam War, but thankfully that weekend I’ll be at the MCNAA Spring Planting Moon Pow-Wow in Randolph, MA, surrounded by great people and lifting my spirit by dancing to the drums in the circle.

I’ve been working hard to finish up most of the week’s work so I could just take a day for myself and do what makes me happy. Although I’m sad without my father, I know his spirit is with me and that he wants me to be happy and so I focus on finding and doing things that give me positive feelings. I didn’t quite succeed at getting all the work I wanted to done so I’ll be doing some of it today, but as I work from home and no longer in an office, it’s a rewarding experience.

I have to take Jazzmin to the vet for some booster shots and I purposely made the appointment this morning because I didn’t really want to bum around the house all day. I’m also taking my mom out to dinner this evening so we can celebrate my dad’s life and be together. We’re going to Olive Garden, one of his favorite restaurants and I plan on toasting him with a cappuccino (no alcohol because I’m driving ;)). In between those two scheduled things, I’m going to squeeze in some work and take Jazzmin for a nice looong walk to enjoy the fresh air on what promises to be another beautiful day!

Taking a day to honor and remember my father is actually something I do every single day, but on his birthday I want to work a bit harder at putting positive energy out into the universe to honor his spirit and thank him for being such an amazing father to me.

What the heart wants

My Dad cooking in the kitchen of my childhood home.

My Dad cooking in the kitchen of my childhood home.

This afternoon when I woke up from my nap and was snuggling with Angel before finding the strength to get up, I realized exactly what I wanted to make me feel better. I wanted my father to make me my favorite comfort meal of mashed potatoes and chicken and then sit down and talk to me about anything. I miss the sound of his voice and I miss hearing about everything he knew in that amazing mind of his. I wouldn’t care if he talked about wars, trains, planes, or the origins of math, I just wanted his company. Alas, what the heart wants isn’t always possible.

My pup and the kittens have been doing their best to look after me but snuggles and shadowing aren’t the same as making me chicken soup or getting me fresh water. I’ve heard that knowing exactly what you want is the first step toward getting it but that doesn’t work in the case of wanting my father and I know that. I like to imagine that there’s at least one guy out there who would be willing to take care of me like my dad did, but perhaps that’s a fantasy. Maybe what I’m looking for only exists between daddies and daughters and men my age are all like my ex: babies when they’re sick and in need of my TLC but unable/unwilling to take care of me when I feel unwell. Perhaps when a once-beautiful chick with a healthy flush in her cheeks and pep in her spirit turns pale, tired, and slightly whiny, she loses all her appeal. Perhaps the whole idea of being with someone through thick and thin is just a fantasy these days or something that just doesn’t apply to me.

I admit, being sick brings out the “wuss” in me and I long for what I don’t have. Even sick I’m capable of taking care of myself, but it would be nice to have someone to help me when I don’t feel good. To acquire at least some of what I really wanted today, I went out, bought a little rotisserie chicken, then came home, and made Potato Buds like my dad used to do. Well, kind of like my dad used to do. In my semi foggy state I misread the directions and added more milk than I was supposed to, but they turned out edible eventually. I then cut some breast meat and a drumstick from the chicken, spooned some mashed potatoes onto my plate, poured myself a glass of eggnog, and settled in the living room to watch an episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation while I ate.

Like the “superwoman” I am I did all my freelance work today despite feeling tired, sore, and foggy. I won’t be walking Jazzmin daily again until I feel better because my body obviously needs and wants rest. Thankfully, Jazz doesn’t have a great concept of time so as far as she knows it could have been 30 seconds or 30 years since our last walk. We’ll get back out there eventually and I’ll find my stride again, but for now, I’m snuggling with my furbabies on the couch watching The Nine Lives of Christmas on Hallmark Channel. I’ve seen it three times now but it has the cute guy who played Superman in one of the more recent remakes and it’s about how he falls for a chick kind of like me with no life, a cat, and a love for large quantities of ice cream. Even if such things only happen in movies, it’s nice that a hopeless romantic like me still appreciates the notion.

kitten in bed

Angel wasn’t eager to get out bed today.

Love and Football (continued)

My little treat tonight.

My little treat tonight.

As last night’s entry on my “love affair” with football turned out longer than I intended, I couldn’t truly say everything I wanted to about the subject. Watching football holds nostalgic significance for me and perhaps that’s another reason why I don’t watch it much anymore. That statement doesn’t seem to make much sense, but hear me out.

While I did watch some high school football games, most of the football I watched was the NFL on television. I also remember watching some arena football games when they tried to make that big on TV for a brief period. Growing up, I remember football on Sundays being about enjoying yummy snacks and listening to my father grumble about his team, the Buffalo Bills, not doing so hot. The Bills did okay for a few years, but overall, I don’t remember them doing exactly stellar. I didn’t really have a favorite team when I was a teenager, I just liked watching the games and I’d root for whatever team or player happened to be running an exciting play at the time.

Another way I remember watching football is not actually watching it, but falling asleep during it. You see, my horseback riding lessons were on Saturday mornings and in the winter, I’d come home almost frozen solid from riding around in a barn for an hour and sometimes helping out afterward. I remember coming home, curling up under a blanket on the big, marshmallow couch in the family room, turning on whatever Saturday game I came across first, and being lulled to sleep by the sound of the commentators. I’d eventually wake up all thawed out and cozy again and by then the TV would be showing the next game. Nowadays, I still almost nod off just listening to football commentators.

When I moved out of my parents’ house to live in an apartment, I finally found a team I wanted to root for. Though I’ve received much ridicule and eyebrow raising for my choice, I still stand by it. The team I chose as my favorite is the Detroit Lions and I’ll explain why. One fall day in 1998, I was watching them play on the TV in the apartment. I remember being impressed by their young quarterback, Charlie Batch, as he took risks that the commentators didn’t agree with. Perhaps I was attracted to the quarterback’s rebellion or just the whole underdog feeling of the team or a combination of many factors, but right then and there, the Lions became my team. I remember talking to my father about the Lions and he’d always tell me that they did really well in the 1950’s. I think the memory of him always saying that is another reason why the Lions still are and always will be MY team. Add into that the fact that my girls are both Leos and that I’ll always be able to watch the Lions play on TV at least once a year, and it’s all good. =)

I admit that I haven’t watched the Lions play or any football really, in at least a year. I don’t even know how my team is doing this year. They’ve had some decent years but they always seem to blow it in the end. Why haven’t I watched? One reason is that I’m usually too busy to watch TV for that long and if I do, I prefer watching a movie. Another reason is that it’s not as much fun anymore. Watching football alone now doesn’t give me the warm, fuzzy feelings it did in the past. My daughters have no interest in watching it and without a reason to have a table full of snacks for everyone to snarf as we watch, I kind of forget it’s still on. I’m sure it doesn’t help that the men I’ve had in my life have always seemed to rank football as a higher priority than me, which dampened my enjoyment of the game considerably. I’m sure I’ll enjoy watching it again someday, snuggled up on a couch with the right man, who even if he rolls his eyes at my choice of teams, thinks it’s awesome that I love football. Because I do still love it, but it just doesn’t fit my life right now. Someday…

Bobcat, Teddy Bear, Penguin Collector

My father and I in the Adirondack Mountains. He's wearing the bobcat shirt I remember well.

My father and I in the Adirondack Mountains. He’s wearing the bobcat shirt I remember well.

My father’s name was Robert W. Corbin but most people called him Bob. He was a great man, inspiring role model, and the last gentleman I knew. After high school, he went into the Air Force where he worked on the inner workings of large cargo planes. He worked at Xerox for almost 32 years as an electrical engineer and he earned several patents for his designs that improved various copier mechanisms. Before his first stroke, my father was an active member of Toastmasters, rode horses with me, gave blood whenever possible, and volunteered where he could.

Today is the five-year anniversary of my father’s passing. Even though the pain of losing him has lessened over the years, there will always be a spot in my heart that feels empty without him. I don’t wish the loss of a parent or close family member upon anyone, for it’s an anguish that is only understood by those who have endured it. I describe losing my father as a hole in my heart, a void in my soul, an area within me so hollow I swear I can feel the wind blow through it.

Visiting my father's grave in 2012.

Visiting my father’s grave in 2012.

However, my father would never want me to dwell in the pain of losing him, of that I am certain. His spirit wants me to remember how amazing his life was, how many blessings he had, and how fortunate I was to have him as my father. I don’t quite know why, but when I conjure images of my father, I see him wearing jeans and a shirt he had with the face of a bobcat on it. The bobcat was because so many people called him Bob but as I think of the face of that cat with its stripes and whiskers, I am reminded of my father.

To me, my father was a big teddy bear. Always there for a bearhug, understanding ear and a bit of loving gruffness when it was required. He even used to scratch his back against walls like bears scratch their backs against trees. Despite his softness, he wasn’t a pushover, and he showed me what true strength of character and a good heart look like in a person.

Riding on my father's shoulders. One of the best ways to travel!

Riding on my father’s shoulders. One of the best ways to travel!

My mother loves to tell the story of how my father was trying to get a closer look at penguins at a zoo and ended up bonking his head on the curved glass. From that day on, he received penguins as gifts and had quite a collection that my girls have now inherited a majority of. Whenever I see penguins now with their adorable waddles on land and stunning grace under water, I think of my father. I also think of him whenever my daughters or I bonk our heads on glass either from lack of grace or from wanting to see something closer…

With each passing year, I realize how much I am like my father. I inherited his strength, determination, and stubbornness. He showed me what a good man looks like and I will never again allow myself to settle for anything less than a good-hearted, honest, caring, hug-giving gentleman. My father raised his only daughter to be intelligent, clever, loving, and kind and I know he’s proud of all that I’ve accomplished. He has the right one picked out for daddy’s little girl but I’m not putting my life on hold for that. I continue to live my amazingly blessed and happy life, certain that the right one will be able to catch up to me and add his story to my own.