365 Challenge: Day 311 – Purpose

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Purpose: the reason for which something is done or created or for which something exists

purpose.jpg

This morning has been different, but I expected it to be. W needed to get back to work today, and with Ryder gone, it means I’m alone in the apartment for the first time. Between the silence, frequent memories and constant head shake when I realize I don’t need to give Ryder his pill, check the water bowls, let him outside or look for him between my feet as I wander around, I’m lost this morning. I felt it the most when I sat on the couch with a cup of coffee and began reading through overnight email. It’s part of the process and I understand it takes time to figure it all out. I question the purpose of taking away such a lovable member of my family too many years too early. Part of what I am struggling with today is the realization that my life will be different. When I left my corporate position over a year ago, I felt like I had less of a purpose than I did previously. I no longer needed to leave the apartment on a certain schedule, nor did I have a deliverable due to a boss or an organization to support. With Ryder gone, there’s one less thing I am responsible for, which has made me question my own purpose again.

It’s mostly in that no one truly needs me or my attention in the same way they did before. As an author, my deadlines are generally my own, which can be positive and negative. I still have milestones to reach, networking to do with fans and followers, and stories to tell, but they are because I want to and choose to focus on these tasks — not because someone tells me I have to do it, or because I am a caregiver. I’m not ready to pick up my second novel, Father Figure, and begin wading through the beta reader feedback I received last week; that is the next step on this book. I will not meet my February goal to have it with the publisher to begin their launch process, but that’s okay and I can re-adjust my schedule to fit what will work for me right now. There is one thing I can and need to do when it comes to fleshing out my purpose. And that’s the 365 Daily Challenge.

When I began this daily blog challenge on March 13th, 2017, it was 365 consecutive days to post a characteristic about myself, ending on March 12th, 2018. After a few months, the daily blog challenge evolved to include my connections with other people (author alerts and spotlights), interesting news about my novel, or lists that we could all debate. It seems the daily blog challenge will need to evolve once again, as I missed 5 consecutive days of blogging while supporting Ryder and grieving his loss. But I’m okay with the change and in no way do I feel like I didn’t follow the course I set for myself back when this started. As I thought about it over the weekend, it became clear how to pull this back together. I could double up posts, but in full disclosure, the next few days or weeks are going to be difficult to focus on strong, quality content; one post per day is quite enough. Thus, I’ve found a solution that works for me.

I’m going to extend the daily blog challenge by 5 days, which means it will now end on March 17, 2018. In a way, this is more ideal. This challenge was born out of all the major changes going on in my life at the time — leaving a job, publishing a book and turning 40. My 41st birthday is March 18, 2018. With the new end date being the day before my birthday, it’s a fitting way to end one year (plus 5 days!) of introspection into who I am. As I wind down in those last few weeks in March, I will reflect back through the year on this journey; everything from Ryder’s Rants to the Author Alerts, the lists of things that described who I am to the stories I’ve shared about my life. My goals are still front and center, and the extra five days provides me a way to jump into the next year of my life with so many positive changes and friendships. It also gives me a chance to work through my grief and find the best path for my future — to find my purpose.

Thank you to everyone for their support and guidance the last few days (and the last ten months)… and believing in me and this 365 Daily Challenge — plus five!

 

About Me & the “365 Daily Challenge”

I’m Jay, an author who lives in NYC. My debut novel, Watching Glass Shatter, can be purchased on Amazon @ http://mybook.to/WGS. I’ve always been a reader. And now I’m a daily blogger. I decided to start my own version of the “365 Daily Challenge” where since March 13, 2017, I’ve posted a characteristic either I currently embody or one I’d like to embody in the future. 365 days of reflection to discover who I am and what I want out of life.

The goal: Knowledge. Acceptance. Understanding. Optimization. Happiness. Help. For myself. For others. And if all else fails, humor. When I’m finished in one year, I hope to have more answers about the future and what I will do with the remainder of my life. All aspects to be considered. It’s not just about a career, hobbies, residence, activities, efforts, et al. It’s meant to be a comprehensive study and reflection from an ordinary man. Not a doctor. Not a therapist. Not a friend. Not an encyclopedia full of prior research. Just pure thought, a blogged journal with true honesty.

Join the fun and read a new post each day, or check out my book reviews, TV/Film reviews or favorite vacation spots. And feel free to like, rate, comment or take the poll for each post. Note: All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks to their original creators.

Follow my blog with Bloglovin

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365 Challenge: Day 310 – Ryder (LIST: Objects I adore)

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Ryder: my 10-year old shiba inu dog who unexpectedly passed away this week

Ryder

When I took this photo 3 months ago, I never realized its meaning…

Sundays are LIST days and today is no different. While I never expected to include Ryder as an object I love, it feels appropriate given his unexpected death this week. If you are new to my blog, you should first read this message, which explains what happened to him earlier this week. This post will be about celebrating his life and my love for him.

***

Ryder was born September 3, 2007. During the Thanksgiving holiday weekend that year, while visiting my parents in Pennsylvania, we took a trip to a pet store with the only intent being to visit with a few puppies. By the next day, I adopted Ryder, a red sesame shiba, who was about 13-weeks old. He was such a tiny little puppy, the runt of his litter, and looked more like a little bear.

puppy

Ryder first lived in Brooklyn, NY with me, as I had just moved back from California that month. We had a temporary garden apartment on the first floor of an old brownstone. It had lots of nooks and crannies, and he loved to play hide and seek. I think it was being in that apartment which caused him to be a bit of a little devil. He never liked to listen to commands, even when he went to doggie training, but he passed the weekend course and learned to sit, lay down and give someone his paw. After a few weeks, we enrolled him in a doggie daycare, so he would be socialized with other dogs, but also because there were times I had to stay late for events for my job. I didn’t want him home alone for 12 to 14 hours a day.

daycare.jpg

One of those days, the owner called me at work to tell me Ryder had an aggression problem. He would play with other dogs, but after a minute or two, he would intentionally start a fight. Seriously. He was being a little ass, and I went to watch him for an hour one day through the window. They were telling the truth. If another dog got too close, even after they happily played for ten minutes, he would growl and jump at the other dog. He would never harm or bite, just be aggressive. He’d thrown his ten-pound body against a thirty-pound dog and expect to knock it over. I vividly remember thinking…. Why me? I’m so quiet and non-confrontational, how did this happen! Needless to say, we were told Ryder couldn’t come to doggie daycare anymore. I found another reputable place and tried again. A week later, he was asked not to return. I was so ashamed! I tried a third one, and clearly told them upfront that Ryder needed training. They understood and were willing to try it by putting him in with the big dogs to let him get tossed around a few times, in the hopes it would control his behavior. They would watch him, and only do it for short periods of time… but even the big dogs didn’t scare him. He had the ever-famous Napoleon complex. So… Ryder was never enrolled in doggie day care again.

Shortly afterwards, Ryder had his first seizure around 6-months old. It was small, but I had another dog with horrendous seizures. I wanted him on the same medicine, a lower dosage, as it had worked for the other dog. The medicine controlled his seizures, and for the rest of his life, he would only have maybe 2 or 3 per year, if even that. We went for a year once without any. It breaks your heart to see it happen, but you can’t touch them during it, as you don’t want them to associate you with the feelings they get from the seizure.

favorite

But that fear is quickly ingrained in you… and every night, if he got out of bed, and I heard the tapping of his toe nails against the wooden floors, I got up to check on him. He was a good sleeper and rarely wandered. If he was out of bed, it meant something was wrong. A few weeks later, the weather started getting warmer and spring arrived. I’d let Ryder out on the enclosed patio we had on the apartment in Brooklyn. One day, I see him chasing something… assuming it’s a fly. When I go outside to check, I notice it was a bumble bee. Ryder is barking and screeching at it, almost to the point someone thought I was killing a cat. He runs through the screen door opening and into the living room… I follow him only to see him bite down on the bee. It didn’t end there. His screeching suddenly intensified and he fell back on the floor. The bee went flying out of his mouth and he yelped as if he was hit by a car. I grabbed hold, checked his mouth and saw the huge black mark on his tongue. He’d been stung by the bee, which he of course deserved. So… an hour back and forth with the vet, as I don’t know if he’s allergic to bees, or if that could trigger a seizure… needless to say, he went unharmed, but he had that black scar on his tongue for the rest of his life. He also still chased bees whenever he saw one. He didn’t get his intelligence from me, I’ll say that for sure!

Right after he turned one, I moved out of Brooklyn and bought a house with a large backyard. He had a doggie door and could go in/out all day long while I was at work. He screamed at birds, chased squirrels and ate everything he could. At least twice a week, he woke me up tapping on the bedroom floor, not because of a seizure, but because he was yakking up whatever he’d eaten that day. If I could tell you how much lack of sleep or worry this dog has caused me in ten-years, you wouldn’t believe me. But that’s where our bond began – as much as he drove me nuts, it made us closer. He ran to me for everything. He developed a need to be near me 24/7, and although I would force him to go play by himself from time to time, I missed not having him sitting on my feet or laying against my thigh.

patio

In time, my job became too intense and I was away from home too much. Commuting by train took an additional 3+ hours each day, which was time away from him. I had also just met W and wanted to live in the city to be closer to him and my job, so I sold my house and moved into Manhattan. Ryder was not happy. He was going to lose his outdoor space. And he did… my first apartment was a small box, even for someone his size. He whined and yelped all day. I could hear him from the elevators which were a good 40 feet from my apartment door. Speaking of elevators, Ryder’s first interaction with one was with W. I had pulled my car up in front of the building, unloading boxes. W took Ryder to the apartment and rode the elevator. He had no idea what to do with it. He was a very young puppy when we lived in the city last time, on the first floor, so he never used an elevator before. It’s one of W’s first memories with him, and I know it’s a happy one.

It was in that first Manhattan apartment that Ryder exacted his revenge on us. He wouldn’t adapt to walking for his bathroom breaks. Instead, my living room rug was his personal wee wee pad. I tried to cage him to avoid it, but that little rascal would purposely pee in the cage, roll in it and then expect me to clean him when I got home from work. After a week, I gave up and papered the floor with wee wee pads. Eventually, he learned to use them, but he’d have accidents in the wrong place 10% of the time. I call them accidents, but they were on purpose. He could be spiteful in a fun way, and we all knew it. But that was part of his charm. You played by his rules or you didn’t play at all. W and I moved in together for a short time in his apartment where the same things happened until Ryder adjusted. A friend referred to W’s rug as a bio-hazard for a few weeks. Neighbors asked if we had a cat living there, as they heard strange whines all day. They weren’t supposed to have dogs, so we said yes, it’s a cat… and that’s how Ryder came to have his own Facebook page: Ryder the Cat-Like Dog.

ice cream

Summertime meant the beach. We rented a house off the cost of Long Island with some friends every summer and would travel there at least 10 weekends. Ryder loved it. He had outdoor space again. He could chase wildlife, even had his first encounter with a deer! He was afraid and in love all at the same time. We let him off-leash one day, to see how he’d do – big mistake. He ran everywhere, and it took almost thirty minutes to catch him. W aged a few years that day, as it was his idea to test Ryder and was so afraid to lose him. We lured Ryder back with treats and various calls, but then he never went off leash again. He loved the place so much, prancing around, except when he realized there was water at the beach. We took photos of him surfing on a board one day, getting knocked around by waves. He hated it. He refused to speak with us for days. We kept torturing him on walks by walking close enough for the waves to get him. We tried to get him to adjust, but he never would. There needed to be 20 feet between him and water at all times! But hey, after what he put us through with the bio-hazard rugs, what’s a little water torture as revenge?

water.jpg

When it came time for W and I to buy our own apartment together, Ryder made the decision. We knew it had to have outdoor space. We wanted something big enough for Ryder to get in a few runs, but not ground level as it would be too easy for someone to break in. We got lucky when we found our current place… Ryder came over to test it out, and he went berserk running all throughout the apartment, in and out of the two different doors to get outside. We have a video of him seeing his new home for the first time, and he was absolutely in love. We called the outdoor terrace ‘Ryder’s Enchanted Garden,’ and W spent much of his free time cultivating a beautiful space for Ryder to have trees, bushes, flowers, play areas, and lounging area (he loved to lay in the sun). Finally, Ryder learned how to do his business outside again, as well as use pads if he was ever inside for too long while we were out.

snow

There is so much more I could say about this lovable little creature, but I will keep it brief with a few fun memories before I say goodbye to him. This is only 1% of 1% of the memories we have had together as a family…

  • Ryder loved beef brisket so much. The first time he had it, he wolfed down his plate, then had to immediately go to the bathroom. He couldn’t get out quick enough and while we were eating, just a few feet away, did his business on the floor. We called it the ‘brisket shits’ ever since that day, but luckily, he controlled it on a go-forward basis. As soon as he ate, he’d run to the glass door, tap on it furiously, we’d let him out while we were eating and within 5 minutes, he’d be back for more, furiously tapping on the door to be let inside. We got no rest or time to eat with his antics. His needs always came first. W and I would swap turns, so whomever let him out didn’t have to get up to let him back in. The last meal Ryder actually ate before he grew too sick last weekend was brisket — made by W that day to try to cheer Ryder up and get him to eat something. He actually enjoyed the meal and had a smile on his face for a few minutes.
  • Ryder caught his first bird on the terrace. I had already gone to work. W was in the shower and heard Ryder screeching. When he came out to check, Ryder had dropped a dead bird on the dining room floor, prancing all about – proud of his work. W was unable to process it (he can’t be near things like that) but had to. I was at work and he couldn’t leave with the bird on the floor. Poor Ryder, he never understood how scary his gift to W was!
  • Ryder was not fond of small children; whether it was height or age, anything under 10-years-old unnerved him. When W’s nephew and niece visited, Ryder barked incessantly. He tried to play, but he was just not sure how to interpret them, and they were well-behaved. He actually ran off to the guest bathroom and literally pushed the door closed so no one could get in. When they left, he wandered out, nervously, and then hid under the table for a day. He also dressed up for a few Halloweens to help give out candy for trick-o-treaters, but quite unwillingly. He’d answer the door, stare at the children in costume, lean towards them to smell them, and as soon as someone squealed ‘doggie,’ he barked and ran to the bedroom. W forced it on the poor pup, but I suspect Ryder secretly enjoyed it.
  • There was only one time when he ever willingly played with a child: Grace. She was a friend’s daughter, about 2-years-old, and chased him all over the apartment. He hated it at first, but then she sat down on the carpet with her bowl of cereal. Slowly, she won Ryder over… handing him cheerio by cheerio, until she stopped eating them and he ate the whole bowl. Grace became his new heroine that day, and he actually let her pet him, if she’d hand him a cheerio. He had intelligence that day, so I know he just liked to play W and I against one another to get what he wanted. He was quite astute when he wanted to be.
  • Ryder’s favorite thing to do besides eat, was to take your spot. Whether it was on the couch, or where you stood trying to cook dinner or unpack bags, the moment you left the spot, he went to it. He needed to be attached to one of us while sleeping. He would alternate nights staying up a bit later with W who watched a TV show while I went to bed to read for a bit. As soon as he was ready, Ryder would tap into the bedroom, paw at the bed, and I’d lean down to lift him into it. When we left the apartment, he would sleep in the front hall by the door until we came home. We left music playing for him and lights on so he didn’t feel too alone. And when we left the terrace door open, he’d stay outside the entire time keeping watch over all of nature.

costume

Ryder had a wonderful life. He was adored and loved by countless friends and family, everyone on the blog and all the people who took care of him over the years. Ryder passed away at 10-years old on January 18, 2018 at 12:43pm EST, in my arms with W sitting with us. Ryder will be missed more than any words this man can conjure or imagine. I don’t know how to move forward with his Monday Ryder Rants, but I probably will discontinue them tomorrow. I will always be grateful for the time we had together; you were part of my soul, Ryder… and someday, W and I will see you again. xoxo

sleeping.jpg

***

Sunday posts, the end of each week, have become a theme on This-Is-My-Truth-Now, often organized by groups of five (5) focused on interesting things about my life. I’m continuing the trend of the seventh day, ending the week on Sunday, as a list (we know I love them) that provides more in depth knowledge about me. Past weeks included:

  • Weeks 1 – 5: Primary ethnicity groups and nationalities
  • Weeks 6 – 10: A to Z Favorites
  • Weeks 11 – 15: Colors with an important meaning
  • Weeks 16 – 20: Cities I’ve lived
  • Weeks 21 – 25: Jobs I’ve held
  • Weeks 26 – 30: Top 10 entertainment options
  • Week 31: How to follow or contact me across all social media platforms
  • Week 32: How to help an artist with promotion
  • Week 33 – 37: Favorite Book Genres
  • Week 38 – 42: Holidays
  • Week 43 – 47: Objects I adore
  • Week 48 – 52: TBD

 

About Me & the “365 Daily Challenge”

I’m Jay and I live in NYC. By profession, I work in technology. By passion, I work in writing. I’ve always been a reader. And now I’m a daily blogger. I decided to start my own version of the “365 Daily Challenge” where since March 13, 2017, I’ve posted a characteristic either I currently embody or one I’d like to embody in the future. 365 days of reflection to discover who I am and what I want out of life.

The goal: Knowledge. Acceptance. Understanding. Optimization. Happiness. Help. For myself. For others. And if all else fails, humor. When I’m finished in one year, I hope to have more answers about the future and what I will do with the remainder of my life. All aspects to be considered. It’s not just about a career, hobbies, residence, activities, efforts, et al. It’s meant to be a comprehensive study and reflection from an ordinary man. Not a doctor. Not a therapist. Not a friend. Not an encyclopedia full of prior research. Just pure thought, a blogged journal with true honesty.

Join the fun and read a new post each day, or check out my book reviews, TV/Film reviews or favorite vacation spots. And feel free to like, rate, comment or take the poll for each post. Note: All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks.

Follow my blog with Bloglovin

Explanation for my absence this last week: an unexpected and core-shaking loss

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As many of you have noticed and commented, I haven’t been online in the last week. Given my 365 Daily Challenge and normally frequent interaction, it was unusual and unexpected. Even when I went on a two-week vacation last fall, I briefly posted each day to stay connected with all my online friends. There would only be a few things to keep me from blogging or responding to comments, and unfortunately, I experienced one of them this past week.

Ryder Reg

For anyone who doesn’t know, Ryder was my ten-year-old shiba inu dog, who had a huge presence not only in my life, but on this blog. As you can probably tell by my use of the past tense, Ryder is no longer with us. It’s taken me several days to even be able to return online and to try to let everyone know what happened. This will unfortunately be a very sad post, and if you prefer not to read it, I completely understand. I know how many people enjoyed hearing from Ryder, and I wanted to at least let everyone know what occurred this last week. You can skip this and just read a happier memorial here.

Ryder has taken anti-seizure medicine for most of his life. We ran regular tests once or twice per year to check his blood chemistry, as the medicine which prevented seizures also has the ability to destroy his liver. When we went to the vet ten days ago, as I could tell Ryder was too lethargic by normal standards, I expected to adjust his medicine and possibly add something else if he was starting to become arthritic. Unfortunately, when the blood test results came back, it showed his liver was severely impacted and that we needed to take quick action.

The recommendation was an immediate transition from one anti-seizure medicine to a newer one, but given the potential for Ryder to take on more side effects, the ideal course was to load a higher than normal dosage of the new medicine while slowly weaning him off the old medicine over a five-day period. Ryder was very ill over that weekend and stopped eating by Sunday morning. He was disoriented, vomiting and refusing to take his medicine. Both W and I were very worried, but knew it would be a rough transition. We expected him to recover within a few weeks.

After last Monday’s Ryder Rant, where he mentioned he was feeling blegh, things quickly deteriorated. When we wrote that post, I had every expectation of continuing my regular posts that week while Ryder recuperated from whatever was ailing him. Part of me knew he was going to become a different dog, but I didn’t expect the true extent as to how bad the situation had become. I checked again with the vet that Monday morning to let him know that things were getting worse. Given Ryder’s refusal to eat and take his pills, the vet scheduled an immediate ultrasound to check his liver and stomach.

At 2:30 that afternoon, we took Ryder to the veterinary hospital and had the ultrasound. When the technician brought Ryder back to us in the waiting room, I could see it on his face. By 3:30, the vet let us know that Ryder’s liver was beyond repair. I knew my worst fears had come true. I’ll spare everyone the details of the next few days, but Ryder was never able to leave the hospital. We checked him in for emergency care and tried for two days to load the medication into him, get him to eat and ease any pain. We knew there was a very small chance that things would turn around, but there were a couple of attempts made to help him, so that we could truly understand if his liver might function once the old medicine was out of his system.

By Wednesday morning, we knew there was nothing left to do. I made a few deals with whomever controls this world; I offered up a year of my life to give Ryder more time with us, and I begged for something else I loved (being a writer) to be taken away from me, instead of Ryder. I knew it wasn’t rational, nor did things even work that way – but I would have done it if were an option. When I accepted that Ryder only had a few more days, W and I focused on getting him healthy enough to bring home, so he could have a day in his own apartment where he could spend his last moments.

Throughout most of the week, W and I visited him in the hospital several times per day, for several hours. He was given extra medication, IV drips and constant attention. When we came home for breaks, we spent the time staring at the walls or the phone, in fear the call would come that he either had a seizure or things took a turn far worse. Luckily, Ryder’s last few days were seizure-free, and at most, he was uncomfortable and confused as to what was happening to him. We knew he wasn’t strong enough to make it home for even a few hours. I am disappointed, angry and sad I couldn’t give that to him.

On Wednesday afternoon and evening, he roused a little bit to give us a few lucid moments. We sat with him in a small private pet waiting room where he licked and kissed us a few times. He took a few spoons of his favorite vanilla bean ice cream, and slept next to his favorite toys. On Thursday morning, my parents came into the city to visit Ryder, as he loved them dearly. They were able to say goodbye and help comfort us. In the afternoon, W and I held Ryder for the last time, cradled in our arms, where he passed away peacefully.

I’ve spent much of the last week in a complete daze. I haven’t slept. I barely ate. My eyes have not had a moment without filling with tears. I couldn’t speak to anyone on the phone but the vet or my parents. W has been and felt the same way. We have been unable to go out or see anyone. While the rest of my post is all about how I feel or what Ryder has meant to me, it also applies fully to W, who has been the only reason I am able to function right now.

My heart is broken, and my entire core is unsteady. I lost grandparents, godparents and friends when I was much younger, and it all devastated me as a child or teenager, but this has truly been my first major personal loss as an adult. I’m experiencing everything from anger to guilt, but I know it is part of the process and will get better in time. I cannot look at his food & water bowls, bed or toys without breaking into tears; yet, I will not be able to put them away anytime soon. I haven’t just lost a pet or a close family member. I’ve lost a part of me, perhaps the single most important part of my humanity.

I tend to be quiet and shy, preferring to be alone rather than in groups or with others. I have often been told I hide my emotions/feelings and tend to have tunnel vision over what’s going on around me. Ryder changed all that. He taught me how to be selfless. He showed me how to put someone else first. He helped me realize how to care for someone dependent on you for nearly everything. Ryder has been a part of me for ten years. Every part of my day revolves around him, and always has. He was always healthy, but he took medicine twice per day – and I couldn’t easily adjust the time frames without impact. I was always on the lookout for a potential seizure. I talked to him all day long. He had a voice in our day and decisions.

I’ve decided to share two separate posts today: this one, to let everyone know what happened and explain my absence, but then a second, which you can see here, to tell everyone what Ryder meant to me. This very special dog changed me when he came into my life, and I fear he has changed me again when he has left my life. I know we all feel like this when we lose someone important, but for me, I’m scared that I will forget him, or that I will forget my humanity and my ability to love others again. Right now, seeing pictures of him, or sharing memories, doesn’t feel like it will ever be enough to connect with the real thing.

I am beyond grateful to everyone who checked in on me, or to ask about Ryder, in the last week. Despite being completely destroyed emotionally and uncertain where I was or what I was doing most of the time, it helped to see your messages. They made me cry more. They made me happy to know how much he was adored. It is in these life moments where I believe there is goodness in the world that will always overpower the negative and the evil. Thank you for being part of Ryder’s life and listening to me speak from a place of raw emotion. I’ve tried to control the extent of my words, as I want to look back on this time and remember Ryder with love and not sadness.

Humbly yours….  Jay

(It’s okay to LIKE the post, as I know it comes from a good place.)

 

About Me & the “365 Daily Challenge”

I’m Jay, an author who lives in NYC. My debut novel, Watching Glass Shatter, can be purchased on Amazon @ http://mybook.to/WGS. I’ve always been a reader. And now I’m a daily blogger. I decided to start my own version of the “365 Daily Challenge” where since March 13, 2017, I’ve posted a characteristic either I currently embody or one I’d like to embody in the future. 365 days of reflection to discover who I am and what I want out of life.

The goal: Knowledge. Acceptance. Understanding. Optimization. Happiness. Help. For myself. For others. And if all else fails, humor. When I’m finished in one year, I hope to have more answers about the future and what I will do with the remainder of my life. All aspects to be considered. It’s not just about a career, hobbies, residence, activities, efforts, et al. It’s meant to be a comprehensive study and reflection from an ordinary man. Not a doctor. Not a therapist. Not a friend. Not an encyclopedia full of prior research. Just pure thought, a blogged journal with true honesty.

Join the fun and read a new post each day, or check out my book reviews, TV/Film reviews or favorite vacation spots. And feel free to like, rate, comment or take the poll for each post. Note: All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks to their original creators.

Follow my blog with Bloglovin

365 Challenge: Day 309 – Blegh (RYDER RANT)

Posted on

Blegh: how Ryder feels right now – not so hot

026

In lieu of Ryder’s Rant, he’s sharing a photo of him from a few years ago when he was taking a nap. He’s not up for posting today, as he’s under the weather. We’re doing a rather quick switch of his anti-seizure medicine, as the old medicine was beginning to cause liver problems. After a trip to the vet last week, his blood work came back with some issues. He’s basically sleeping 24/7 and will be for the next week while on multiple medicines, apart from a few breaks to try to eat or drink. I’m hoping he will be more alert by next week, but he may need another week off from his Monday rants… for now, keep him in your thoughts. I’m going to lay down with him for a bit this morning… back again soon. Sorry if I’m missing any comments or responses the next few days! Will be back online again once things are improved here.

 

About Me & the “365 Daily Challenge”

I’m Jay, an author who lives in NYC. My debut novel, Watching Glass Shatter, can be purchased on Amazon @ http://mybook.to/WGS. I’ve always been a reader. And now I’m a daily blogger. I decided to start my own version of the “365 Daily Challenge” where since March 13, 2017, I’ve posted a characteristic either I currently embody or one I’d like to embody in the future. 365 days of reflection to discover who I am and what I want out of life.

The goal: Knowledge. Acceptance. Understanding. Optimization. Happiness. Help. For myself. For others. And if all else fails, humor. When I’m finished in one year, I hope to have more answers about the future and what I will do with the remainder of my life. All aspects to be considered. It’s not just about a career, hobbies, residence, activities, efforts, et al. It’s meant to be a comprehensive study and reflection from an ordinary man. Not a doctor. Not a therapist. Not a friend. Not an encyclopedia full of prior research. Just pure thought, a blogged journal with true honesty.

Join the fun and read a new post each day, or check out my book reviews, TV/Film reviews or favorite vacation spots. And feel free to like, rate, comment or take the poll for each post. Note: All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks to their original creators.

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365 Challenge: Day 308 – Bottle (LIST: Objects I adore)

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Bottle: Bailey’s Irish Cream two friends drank during college, where life started to get easier, and I will always remember the fun times

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Sundays are LIST days and today is no different. For this group of 5 Sundays, I chose objects I adore or that have some huge importance to me. We’re in our second week and I’ve gone with bottle because of the treasure you see in these pictures. It’s an empty Bailey’s Irish Cream bottle from 1996, the last week of college during my freshmen year. I’ll explain more later, but of course, as I was only 19 at the time, I didn’t drink anything that evening. I participated only in the conversations and not the imbibing! 😛

I’ve mentioned two things in the past: I’m an only child and I am very shy. I was even more shy 20 years ago. After a decent freshmen first fall semester adjusting to a new life, I found myself considering changing colleges to stay at home, rather than live on campus two states away. My family convinced me to return for the spring semester and give a full year a chance. So… I did. And it worked out. I met a fantastic group of guys, and joined a fraternity. I also met a fantastic group of girls in a sister sorority. Friendships bloomed and everything was feeling great. I finally became a full brother after the pledging period ended, completed my final exams and had a few day before my father could pick me up on the weekend to head back to Long Island for the summer. I had met two girls (they were graduating seniors) and grew quite attached as friends. Everyone else left for home for the summer, but I had the extra few days… luckily, the senior class was around for another week until their graduation. I was staying to say goodbye.

One night, we sat on the front porch of their sorority house for several hours, just talking about life and our goals for the future. It continued for 4 or 5 days in a row, sometimes til 5am. Anette was going back to Finland. Gina was returning to New Jersey. I was going to miss all my new friends, but these two were quite special — especially since they were graduating and I knew it would be hard to keep in touch once they started teaching and working in the business world, while I was still in college for three more years. Our bond would be tough to maintain given the distance… but they did something a few days later which made it all the more special and long-lasting. They gifted me the first bottle from the first hour of the night we hung out, as there were many more bottles of other things after that — not that I had any, of course!

There are phrases on the bottles that are obvious, and there are some that were just the ramblings of a few drunk people. But it will always be in my memory as the beginning of when I pushed myself to be comfortable with new people, to take chances on friendships and to trust others. While we will still send an occasional message on Facebook, we’ve all moved on in our lives, but if I could ever transport back to a time in my life for a few hours, I’d pick one of those nights to discuss our hamburger theory, to listen to someone telling me to grow a backbone or to dance the macarena together. Life was simple. Grades and classes. Nothing else mattered besides our time together.

I’ve had this bottle for over 20 years. It’s moved with me to California and back. It’s been on my bookshelves and locked away in a closet for safe-keeping. I often pick it up to remember the days of my past. Sometimes to laugh at us them for going from tequila to wine to beer to Bailey’s Irish Cream all in the same night. Other times to just feel that connection. Thank you, Gina and Anette, for being one of my first amazing college friendships, and giving me this permanent reminder. xoxo


Sunday posts, the end of each week, have become a theme on This-Is-My-Truth-Now, often organized by groups of five (5) focused on interesting things about my life. I’m continuing the trend of the seventh day, ending the week on Sunday, as a list (we know I love them) that provides more in depth knowledge about me. Past weeks included:

  • Weeks 1 – 5: Primary ethnicity groups and nationalities
  • Weeks 6 – 10: A to Z Favorites
  • Weeks 11 – 15: Colors with an important meaning
  • Weeks 16 – 20: Cities I’ve lived
  • Weeks 21 – 25: Jobs I’ve held
  • Weeks 26 – 30: Top 10 entertainment options
  • Week 31: How to follow or contact me across all social media platforms
  • Week 32: How to help an artist with promotion
  • Week 33 – 37: Favorite Book Genres
  • Week 38 – 42: Holidays
  • Week 43 – 47: Objects I adore
  • Week 48 – 52: TBD

 

About Me & the “365 Daily Challenge”

I’m Jay and I live in NYC. By profession, I work in technology. By passion, I work in writing. I’ve always been a reader. And now I’m a daily blogger. I decided to start my own version of the “365 Daily Challenge” where since March 13, 2017, I’ve posted a characteristic either I currently embody or one I’d like to embody in the future. 365 days of reflection to discover who I am and what I want out of life.

The goal: Knowledge. Acceptance. Understanding. Optimization. Happiness. Help. For myself. For others. And if all else fails, humor. When I’m finished in one year, I hope to have more answers about the future and what I will do with the remainder of my life. All aspects to be considered. It’s not just about a career, hobbies, residence, activities, efforts, et al. It’s meant to be a comprehensive study and reflection from an ordinary man. Not a doctor. Not a therapist. Not a friend. Not an encyclopedia full of prior research. Just pure thought, a blogged journal with true honesty.

Join the fun and read a new post each day, or check out my book reviews, TV/Film reviews or favorite vacation spots. And feel free to like, rate, comment or take the poll for each post. Note: All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks.

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365 Challenge: Day 307 – Instinct

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Instinct: (a) an innate, typically fixed pattern of behavior in animals in response to certain stimuli or (b) what your gut says

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There are moments in life when you tell yourself to push beyond the instinctual behavior that generally guides your actions. Sometimes you can accept a different feeling or approach, but not always — and even when you do, you may not fully engage to see a different result. It is when you reflect back on your decisions and determination that you often see how accurate your instincts can be after they’ve been a natural part of who you are for so very many years. But if you choose to always rely on them, you might not ever experience a necessary revelation.

My instincts have been on high alert in regard to several decisions and trust over the last few months. I remind myself each day to take chances. It might pay off. It might not. If I listened to my instincts today (as in this morning, this moment), and followed through on what they tell me, I might be listening to fear rather than opportunity. I doubt I’ll cater to them right now, as I can see why the voice is louder in the current period — and that’s a good thing. Recognizing the parameters under which you originally developed your instincts is necessary before unequivocally accepting them as concrete guides to evaluating your options and making your decisions.

I’m more vague and philosophical than usual today — it’s something I usually contain in my open words; it’s underdeveloped thoughts, musings of a sensitive soul, a way to ponder what comes next. Nothing’s wrong or bad. It’s simply good to think outside the box (or even forget there is a box, if you recall a post from about two weeks ago) at times… there  should be a balance each day to relying on instinct versus random decisions; we must learn to use it wisely and evolve the process we use to achieve each goal.

 

About Me & the “365 Daily Challenge”

I’m Jay, an author who lives in NYC. My debut novel, Watching Glass Shatter, can be purchased on Amazon @ http://mybook.to/WGS. I’ve always been a reader. And now I’m a daily blogger. I decided to start my own version of the “365 Daily Challenge” where since March 13, 2017, I’ve posted a characteristic either I currently embody or one I’d like to embody in the future. 365 days of reflection to discover who I am and what I want out of life.

The goal: Knowledge. Acceptance. Understanding. Optimization. Happiness. Help. For myself. For others. And if all else fails, humor. When I’m finished in one year, I hope to have more answers about the future and what I will do with the remainder of my life. All aspects to be considered. It’s not just about a career, hobbies, residence, activities, efforts, et al. It’s meant to be a comprehensive study and reflection from an ordinary man. Not a doctor. Not a therapist. Not a friend. Not an encyclopedia full of prior research. Just pure thought, a blogged journal with true honesty.

Join the fun and read a new post each day, or check out my book reviews, TV/Film reviews or favorite vacation spots. And feel free to like, rate, comment or take the poll for each post. Note: All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks to their original creators.

Follow my blog with Bloglovin

Book Review: Outside In by Doug Cooper

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Why This Book 
In early 2017, I had drinks with a former colleague when we discussed my goal to publish a novel that year. She had grown up with someone who published a book and offered to introduce us. I said ‘sure’ and never actually contacted the guy. Months later, I signed a contract to publish my book, then realized I never followed through, so I sent a message, we chatted a bit, and I thought… I should read Doug Cooper‘s book: Outside In. I got hold of a copy, it sat on the shelves for a bit, but I decided I wasn’t allowed to buy/download another book in 2018 until I finished everything I already owned… hence how this one got picked for January!

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Plot, Characters & Setting 
Brad Shepherd is a middle school teacher whose student overdoses in class. As part of the Administration’s way to handle the student’s death, Brad’s out of a job. He heads to Put-in-Bay, Ohio to meet a friend and have a summer off, where he can party for a little bit and find his new life path. When he arrives, a life he never knew, or perhaps had forgotten, begins to surround him: he’s quick to fool around with a bunch of women, drink himself silly and experiment with a range of drugs. Over the course of the summer, he makes several mistakes and finds himself going off into a darker oblivion. His family re-surfaces, and a friend has an accident, which helps re-structure his course, but life is definitely going to be different in his future.

Key Thoughts 
For starters, I’ll say the book is a very realistic portrayal of what could happen in this environment. It’s not something I’m familiar with, but based on tons of movies, other books and conversations that touch on these subjects, I’d comfortable stating it is accurately written. That said, it is not an environment I would ever want to be in, nor did I like ANY of the characters in the book. They were a mess, indulgent, immature and frustrating. BUT — that’s the point and they belonged being that way for the story. Cooper brought out my inner ‘angry man’ attitude over people who behave like this, so major kudos to him for a brilliant portrayal of his character set.

The writing has quality and brings to life both the background and the tone you need to be successful in a book like this one. While there are some plot points, e.g. the death of the student, the move to the island for the summer and the results of some of the drug overdoses, it’s essentially a story about a group of experiences people have while drinking and taking various drugs. It’s of course larger than just that simple observation, but you have to be comfortable reading about this side of life to enjoy the book. It’s not going to be ideal for everyone, but it definitely has a large audience to work with. Once you get beyond drugs/drinking, you start questioning how we make choices, our fears, what makes us fall for another person, how does someone guilt you into doing things…

The dialogue and narration provide all the details readers need to know what’s going on in the main character’s head; you will hear his voice, see his actions, know the reasons (most of the time) and follow along on his journey. Sometimes you’ll think he’s stupid and full of fault, others you’ll know he’s suffering from a tragedy and just floating around without any anchor. For those reasons, it is pretty obvious that this has happened and continues to happen to people going through this stage of life. The sum of the parts equal the whole for me with this book. It’s a solid read, full of a wide range of situations and thought-provoking ideas. I think if I had gone through something like Brad did, I’d probably like the book even more. I ended up around 3.75 stars.

Summary 
I’m curious to read his other novel, The Investment Club, about a group of people in Las Vegas going through some life experiences at the Blackjack table. It seems this is the realm the author writes in… that space where the group of people interact in ways we can all relate to, but not nearly as far into the depths… and I’m confident when he hits on topics that are more pertinent to me, I’ll be really invested in the novel and have an entirely deeper connection to the author and his work. For now, I’m glad I read this one and look forward to reading more.

About Me
For those new to me or my reviews… here’s the scoop: I’m Jay, an author who lives in NYC. My debut novel, Watching Glass Shatter, can be purchased on Amazon. I write A LOT. I read A LOT. And now I blog A LOT. First the book review goes on Goodreads, and then I send it on over to my WordPress blog at https://thisismytruthnow.com, where you’ll find the revealing and introspective 365 Daily Challenge – words and humor. You can also find all my social media profiles to get the details on the who/what/when/where and my pictures. Leave a comment and let me know what you think. Thanks for stopping by. Note: All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks to their original creators.
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