friend

Book Review: Goodbye, Friend: Healing Wisdom for Losing a Pet by Gary Kowalski

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Last week, my ten-year-old shiba inu dog, Ryder, unexpectedly passed away. My grief was raw and unmanageable, as this amazing creature stood by my side, offering unconditional love and support 24/7. My other half, equally as impacted, purchased a few books to try to help us understand how to find any solace or ability to move forward, as Ryder was part of every moment of our day. I picked up a paperback copy of Goodbye, Friend: Healing Wisdom for Anyone Who Has Ever Lost a Pet by Gary Kowalski as the first one to read this week.

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The author is a minister who approaches the loss of a pet from a spiritual perspective, but the book is carefully balanced to not be excessively religious. I bring this up, not in a good/bad way, only to point out that if you are a religious person, you’ll find helpful content, but if you’re not a religious person, you will also find many chapters focused on the emotions of the grieving process. It’s essentially a good read for anyone — without pushing any one belief or philosophy.

The author’s tone is charismatic. He shares personal stories of his own pets, those of friends and others from his congregation. He quotes verses from works of literature and various religious tomes, including outside of Christianity. All-in-all, it provides strong perspective on what’s happening in your mind and in the animal’s mind during the final days of losing your beloved pet. When he spoke of the euthanasia process, or the inexplicable appearance of pets that had previously passed on, you will shed a tear for a minute thinking about your own experiences. In these moments, I connected with the book. In others, where it was more generic, it seemed like things I already knew; then again, the reminders can provide subtle help we’re not even aware of.

It felt like the kind of book not to read all in one sitting, as there are poems and stories you can read separate from the advice and guidance he provides. There are links to other articles or books that could help you. It’s a good, basic approach to beginning to understand your grief and determine how to step forward. If you’re looking for something deeply analytical, thoroughly psychological or lengthy stories about beloved pets, this wouldn’t be the right book to read for that purpose. But I am glad I read it, as it did push me to think differently in a few areas of my mind. I’m grateful for that help.

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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365 Challenge: Day 247 – Toxic

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Toxic: when two friends no longer mix well and the relationship has run its course

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Friendships are often the thing that holds us together when life throws too many lemons our way. Friends have your back, they show up when you ask (or even when you don’t) and they offer a sympathetic ear when you need encouragement. Over the years, friendships continue to grow stronger and deeper as the connection forges even more tightly than before. But what happens when things aren’t the same anymore… is it okay to walk away from something that has become toxic?

I’ve had many friends over the years… grammar school, high school, college and even those in my twenties. For the most part, I am not as close with many of them as I was once. Our separation in nearly all the instances was just that: a separation due to physical proximity or the momentum of life situations. It wasn’t a conscious decision, but life takes you in different places and you grow apart; it’s sad, but it happens. There are a few who you can remain just as close with and you adore every minute of it. At the opposite extreme, on occasion, you need to make the tough decision that the friendship is no longer the same, and for the better of both people involved, it’s time to walk away. It’s not fair and it’s certainly not fun, but if the friendship as become toxic, why would you want to continue to hurt one another. Perhaps it’s over jealousy or a stupid incident that just won’t go away. Maybe it’s the way one or both friends change in their own individuality. Religion, politics, opinions and life experience can often help formulate who you are and who you want to be… and sometimes, as you age, those things evolve and take you down a different path.

It’s hard to say goodbye when someone dies. It’s harder in some ways to choose to walk away from a friendship, knowing you will miss the person and/or be reminded of the past too often. There should be some effort put into repairs, but if it’s clear there’s a fork in the road, or in this case, the relationship, it might be okay to walk away from it. It doesn’t change the connection you once had. It doesn’t erase the memories of good times. You might find your way back to being friends again in the future. When the core of the current friendship starts to crumble or change its form, staying in it might end up hurting you more in the long run.

Friends often rely upon one another so much, it becomes second nature. If someone’s thought processes or needs change, it’s not always clear or obvious at the moment. A fight might change the nature of intimacy for a long enough period that the bond is not strong enough to remain stitched together. If one person feels anger, jealousy or abrasiveness, it can start eating away at you to the point where you don’t enjoy the time together. But even when a sense of obligation tells you to keep texting or calling, visiting or going out… it may be time to analyze the whole situation before you keep pushing to fix it. I’m not saying once you have a few fights, it’s time to throw in the towel. You should always make an effort to repair, but when the core things that once kept you close no longer exist, it might be time to accept the changes and walk away as happier people.

Life is short. People change. You want to be close with those who make you happy and whom you love. It may be different people at different times, and it might end changing the nature of your existing friendships. If you are intensely close, you probably will withstand the changes, but if it’s causing more grief, tension, concern or issues than the positive aspects, it’s probably time to move on. The thoughts in this post are not about anyone specific; moreover, it’s about recognizing there are start and end times to everything in life, including life itself. It’s always beneficial to make something good last as long as possible, but on the flip side, if it’s no longer good, figure out how to fix it and/or move on from that friend who makes you feel bad, be upset, get angry, act differently… or just makes your day far worse. It’s okay to walk away when you’ve tried to fix it but the connection has vanished, or it’s just not a good one anymore.

Bad friendships suck… I’ve had a few and had to move on. How about you?

 

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 221 – Zero

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Zero: the amount of time and words available to spend anywhere but editing today

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There are moments in life when you are scrambling to get something done and have zero capacity to focus on anything else. Today is one of those days. I have edits due before midnight to the publisher to re-format Watching Glass Shatter so that it includes all the small issues we’ve collected in the last few weeks. Bad news:  I’ve been editing for 10 hours and have at least 4 more to go. Good news: The final product will be updated and will contain so many great fixes before the printed version. So all my words and attention are focused on that task, leaving me zero seconds for the 365 post. Since I’m dedicated to this blog and won’t fail to post, today, my message is simple:

It’s more than acceptable to just show up sometimes — without anything of value to share or give. A friend may just be happy to see your face and know they have your support.

XOXOXO

 

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 130 – Prompted

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Prompted: assisted or encouraged to do or say something

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When I was 16 years old, our English teacher had us write letters to ourselves, listing a few goals, some fears, and things currently on our mind. He took them, nothing that he’d mail them to us in 5 years. A few people laughed, as they didn’t intend on living in the same place when the time came due. Others were afraid to reveal any secrets in case someone else opened it. But the vast majority took the risk and played along. I was one of those people. I listed the 5 goals I hoped to achieve, the 5 things I was most scared of and the 5 things I was trying to sort out in my head. It felt easy and harmless. I had low expectations of ever actually receiving it… the man might not live that long. But he did. And somewhere in the neighborhood of five years, I received the letter in the mail the year I graduated from college at my parents’ home, which is where I still lived during the summer.

It was a surprise. I’d forgotten most of what I had written. When it arrived, I tore it open with nimble fingers. My eyes feverishly scanned the cryptic handwriting; I’ve never been one to write with a deft hand. Did I honestly write some of those things? In the wrong hands, it’d be an easy blackmail scheme.  Thankfully, my secrets remained hidden as I decided what receiving the letter meant to me. Should I interpret it as a nudge to get back on track? Perhaps a reminder to realize what I’d accomplished? No… I saw it as a sign… a sign that this was a fantastic idea! We should all think about writing ourselves letters with some encouraging advice to help us cross the finish line on whatever our goals or tasks might be.

I love Wallace and Gromit. Any other fans?

As a kid, I LOVED getting mail. I made my parents leave it in the mailbox all day, so that when I arrived home from school, I could retrieve it myself and experience the joy of someone sending me a surprise or even an expected message. As I grew older, and started receiving those nasty monthly bills masquerading as wonderful news from different companies and services, I began to dislike the mail. Actually, as I began using electronic email, I found myself not interested in paper communications… online was something new to capture my attention. A few decades years later, I don’t check the mail because there’s never anything good in it. If I have a package or a delivery, the building’s system sends me an email to pick it up or request a drop off at a certain time that evening. In a way, it’s turned itself around, meaning… now I am tired of all these electronic notices, messages and communications. If you really want my attention, send me something in the mail that I have to open to understand what it is you need from me.

No, I don’t want a summons or official notice. Just something with a pretty color, different shape and interesting cover. Make me want to open it. Tempt me with your creativity. That’s the kind of prompt I need to be excited about checking the mail again… that is, unless, we adopted my high school teacher’s method. Hmmm… let’s think this one through together… are there a few goals you have in mind, but tired of tracking them on your phone, computer or journal? Do those sticky notes sometimes seem overwhelming? Maybe you don’t trust yourself to check the status or due date… so why not find a friend who will help you through this solution? Write yourself a letter with all the big things you need to focus on, then give it to them to mail at some point in the future. Perhaps it’s at a date of their choosing… but let them create the envelope so it’s a surprise when it arrives. And you can experience the same cool feeling of opening up your own little present!

I’m not actually joking on this one. Sometimes we all need reminders to do something, to feel something or to consider something. And we also find ourselves easily able to ignore electronic notifications or even our own sticky notes and journal entries. But you can’t really ignore something fun and colorful that arrives in the mail. For instance, if you have a friend who is very shy, send him/her a bold envelope with stamps of half-naked men or women posted all about it. I’d suggest naked, as we all know I’m fine with it, but I don’t know all the laws and wouldn’t want to get anyone arrested, now would I?

{Insert a very sinister and dark laugh!} Wouldn’t that be an amazing shared experience?

I suppose what I am actually suggesting is that we should all write letters to ourselves, praising something we’ve done, reminding ourselves of some big accomplishment we’ve recently attained… suggestions for how to keep motivating our future plans and ideas… and get our friends and/or family involved to mail it out when it’s most needed. So as you’re opening up that jury summons, late notice, exorbitant cable bill, or change in some service you don’t want altered, you also have that really awesome letter to brighten your day and keep you focused on the future prize. And if your friends are in charge of it, think of all the fun you could have? Sending something from “Playboy Magazine” to a friend who wouldn’t ever look at that magazine. Or sending what looks like a list of nunneries or monasteries to a friend who’s about to get married and wants reminders about the wedding! Prompts with Passion. Prompts with Power. Prompts with a Poof!

We all need a prompt every now and then. And that’s part of the friendship circle’s set of responsibilities. So… if someone needs a prompt, I’m offering my availability to help you if it’s needed. I’m also going to write my own letter about what I hope to accomplish in 6 months, then decide who’s the lucky victim. Don’t worry, I will likely pick someone I’ve know for a few years, which rules out all my online friends for right now… but rest assured, your time will come! Any thoughts? Any ideas? Silly idea or something to give a chance to? Share away…

 

RECOMMENDED BLOGGER

  • Today’s 365 Daily Challenge recommended blogger to know is Kiersten @ Once Upon A Spine. Kiersten and I met about two months ago through a few books we were both reading, as well as connecting over previous life experiences and just generally being fun and weird people. I love the name of her site, and she has fantastic book reviews and content all about the literary things in life. She’s also very open and friendly, sharing many experiences that she’s dealt with over the years, learning how to grow from them and also how to keep herself focused on future goals. She’s refreshing and shares frequently, which makes her someone I am often chatting with. Between cat/dog humor, her own writing and young adult fiction (TV or Books), we always find things to talk about. I enjoy hearing from her and think she’d be a great addition to anyone’s list of followed blogs. So please go check out her site. And if you don’t believe me, here’s a small tidbit from her “About Me” section, where she tells us:
    • “I’m a Jersey girl currently living in Charlotte, NC with my two fur babies. I am an unapologetic nerd and chronic worrywart at heart. The focus of this blog is to share my love of literature, to write reviews of the books I’ve been reading, and to (hopefully) spark inspiration for my own stories. In addition to reading, some of my other hobbies include dance, cooking and baking, crafting, and cleaning up cat barf. I’m also a diehard fan of Harry Potter and Gilmore Girls.”

 

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 to their original creators.

Review: Total Recall

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Total Recall Book Review
3 out of 5 stars to Total Recall, the 10th book in the “VI Warshawski” mystery series, written in 2001 by Sara Paretsky. In this book, Paretsky tackles a prominent social issue surrounding the impact of the Nazis and the Holocaust, the war in Afghanistan and the best way to help a friend through what may seem to be a simple problem (but never is!). I always enjoy her books as it’s not just a mystery about made-up characters whom you really enjoy; it’s also a commentary on what’s wrong and right in the world and in history. And for that reason alone, this is a great book; however, I’m a little squeamish about the topic, as it is painful to read about. One of the better parts of this book is the exploration of Lotty’s and VI’s friendship. We’ve seen it thru 9 books at this point, but in this one, Paretsky breathes life into their past, and in particular, where Lotty comes form. And VI is determined to protect her friend and mentor. If I based my review alone on that component, it’d be a solid 4, but the plot unravels too much towards the end and I didn’t feel satisfied with the outcome and the connections VI shares with everyone involved. Especially given it’s the first time we really see / hear about her dating life. As a result, I knocked it down to a 3, but I’ll still keep reading this series. There’s no one like VI!

About Me
For those new to me or my reviews… here’s the scoop: I read A LOT. I write 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 also find TV & Film reviews, the revealing and introspective 365 Daily Challenge and lots of blogging about places I’ve visited all over the world. And you can 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. Vote in the poll and ratings. Thanks for stopping by.

View all my reviews

365 Challenge: Day 45 – Neighborly

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Neighborly: being good neighbor [person who lives close by to you], especially helpful, friendly, or kind

Being neighborly can be a good and a bad thing. As I begin writing this post, I’m smack in the middle of the barometer on the whole subject. Let’s see where I end up at the bottom of this post.

Seems like an easy one, right? You’re nice to the people who live next door to you. But how far do you actually take it? Do you become friends? Do you dog-sit? Do you lend items? Do you stalk? Oh, wait, that’s taking it too far.

I’m proud to say I’ve never had a combative relationship with any of my neighbors. I’ve had a few times where they bothered me a little bit with excess noise or a sour puss… but those things can be ignored or fixed with a minor conversation. Except for once. One neighbor always looked like she was miserable… and trying to be a nicer person, I said “hi, how was your day?” in the elevator. She looked at me, pulled her glasses down towards the end of her nose, smirked and said “There’s no need for us to talk.” I had never spoken to the woman before. Our apartments don’t share a common wall. And I’m extremely quiet, so I couldn’t have bothered her before.  A few days later, a friend stopped by, and we all got stuck in the elevator together riding down a few floors. I admit it was childish… but when the woman stepped out of the elevator before us, I mumbled just loud enough for her to hear… “Shh… talking will send you straight to hell around here.”  Ah, that’s on my board of “Moments I am Proud of.”

Historically speaking… your neighbors were people you were often very close to, related to, or at least knew enough about. Nearly 100 years ago, it was acceptable for your neighbor to complete the US Census for you when the census taker couldn’t get hold of you. And when the cops came around looking for you, your neighbor always knew where you’d be!

Today, people sometimes live in an apartment building for years, never once seeing or meeting their next door neighbor. When I lived in the suburbs, I thought that was completely nuts. How could you not see the person every day? Then I moved into the city and realized… it’s definitely possible.

As a child and teenager, I lived next door in the suburbs to my best friend. We were the same age, went to school together and played or hung out every day after school and on weekends. Everyone on the block knew one another… until slowly generations changed and people moved… then folks started talking about that new couple that moved in… and the nosy gossip started!

When I lived in the dorms in college, I knew my mates and the 2 or 3 dorm room inhabitants directly around me, but not everyone. And when I bought my first house, I made zero effort to get to know the people who lived nearby. So where do I fall on that neighborly scale?

Reasons Why I Am

  • I love small town charm and knowing everyone else’s business. But they can’t know mine.
  • I love being helpful in case (s)he needs to borrow a cup of sugar.
  • I kinda want to know if someone creepy is living that close to try not to get on his/her bad side.
  • It’s probably good someone knows what you look like in case someone else is trying to break into your place. At least there’s a chance (s)he will try to call the cops for you.

Reasons Why I Am NOT

  • I live in NYC where everything is a rush. Who has time for chit-chat?
  • I’m a shy and quiet person. I don’t like to be interrupted.
  • I tend to get a little “that’s mine, don’t touch it” attitude every so often. I was an only child. And I don’t like border disputes! 🙂

In all seriousness though… being neighborly seems like a good thing. It can run the gamut from friendly to just a nod of acceptance. We’re all in this world together, a little gesture now and again shouldn’t kill us. And you never know who or what may come out of getting to know them a little bit.

I also think it’s a different type of neighborly when you live in the same building versus separate land and property. It’s easy to chat in an elevator with someone who lives on your floor. (REALLY, it is…) You may need to make the effort when they live 100 feet away.

How about you? Do you want to know your neighbors or would you prefer to keep some distance?

About Me & the “365 Daily Challenge”

I’m Jay. I am 40 and 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 to their original creators.