We are back from the beach, and safe.  I thank and praise God as I feed my cat community (sixteen fixed and beautiful babies, three are crippled but please don’t tell them that) and comfort my newest adoptee-Miss Maybelline.


I did not ask for these kittens, they asked for me.  Some drop offs, some rescues, and all loved beyond comprehension.  I rush to the kitten, make her purr soft and thick.   The deal was that Dwain would leave the garage door up a foot, and we would place the cat food in said space.

When my husband is going on vacation?  He is in such a mad rush, all besides himself.  Poor guy literally trips over himself in excitement.  I’ll never forget my grandmother’s funeral, and one of the reasons I won’t is because of Dwain’s utter joy at arriving in his first ever hotel room.

“Look, honey!  We have a sitting room!  Wow, look how big that bed is?.” he yelped.  It touched a place in my heart, you know?

light landscape sky sunset
Fall is just around the bend-my favorite time of year. And no, I don’t allow satan to ruin my Halloween. I absolutely refuse!

So, as it turned out?  Dwain left the garage door open alright, but about 4 inches at best.  Meaning that the skinny ones may have had a chance, but our big old farmhouse cats?

I didn’t see this until I jumped out of the truck upon arrival, and noticed my entire cat population was giving me the hairy eyeball.  I mean, I never felt so bad for an animal in my entire life, and I’m the idiot who always feels sorry for animals.  See: crazy cat lady.  Actually, my brother gave me the greatest gift before he moved to LA and broke our collective hearts.

The Crazy Cat Lady action figurine, complete with cats, a litter box and a zuit suit that cracks me up every time I see her.  Wild blond hair, I mean, it’s me, what can I say?

I always learn something new about myself, my faith, when I’m away relaxing.  Problems are solved, a new awareness of my humanness, my weaknesses and strengths.  As we drove home, I was saddened for more than one reason.  As much as I adore my man for booking my first ever house on the beach?  I can’t just do three days.  I have had a love affair with the sea since early childhood-I bloom at the beach.  I need at least a week, before I feel compelled to even think about leaving.


And I did so love the house, the people we met along the way.

God has a way of showing his immense love for me in ways I could never had noticed when I was using.  As I strolled through the woods with my pup this morning, I thought about how much I prayed that people will turn to Jesus if they haven’t already-and know that peace and joy that surpasses all understanding.  I almost wept, thinking of the lonely, the homeless, the ostracized.   If you would just give your life over to Abba, there are no words in the English vocabulary I could use to describe the peace that a life with Christ provides.

The house was jaw drop beautiful.  On the bay, with our own private “beach.”  I thought we were on the ocean for the first two days, until a neighbor said to my husband-

“This isn’t the ocean?”  The look on his face so comical I had to change my panty liner.

But Jesus was there in a multitude of ways, blessing the crud out of us.

The rainbow the first night, confirming our faith and our love for one another on our twenty seventh wedding anniversary.

My childhood furniture in one of the bedrooms, a painting of a golden retriever above the fireplace mantel.  The perfect cloudy weather that makes me come alive.  The opportunity to help a sister awaken, and the beautiful child Aria-the granddaughter of our new friends-who absolutely flit like a butterfly, alighting on each new discovery with child like abandon.

She and her eyelashes?  Restored a part of my heart I never, ever thought would heal.

nature red girl model

On the drive home I felt troubled.  What did I learn about myself?  What new revelation about my walk with Jesus?  Was three days insufficient?  Maybe I wouldn’t have that aha moment this time.  It didn’t matter really, but it was there in the back of my mind.

When we left on Thursday I was a triggered nub of nothingness.  Between the drama involved in trying to help a friend who was dying of cancer.  His wife was not happy about me being there, and the situation was toxic for me.  One day into it he offered me a morphine pill, and I took it.

I relapsed.

He was putting me in between he and his wife, complaining about her and manipulating my emotions.  I was enabling him, buying cigarettes and feeding in to his story that his family ignored his presence, wouldn’t buy him groceries, showed him no sympathy whatsoever.  I didn’t just take a drug, I had relapsed into my old codependent ways of thinking.  I was a human punching bag, it seemed.  He was constantly telling me that his wife didn’t like it that I was there.

Hold on, his wife asked me to be there.

I dreaded coming home to this, as if I had no choice.

Last evening I contacted him, and explained the reasons why I simply could not be his hospice “nurse.”  I told him that I didn’t want to come between he and his wife, nor could my CPTSD handle the constant high drama.

As I finished the text, my Maybelline screamed outside.  She had food and water, and I shushed her mouth, with a firm I. will. see. you.  tomorrow.

It wasn’t until this morning that I realized what had happened.

God grew me a backbone.

Turns out, there was only one set of footprints on that beach-and that was because He was carrying me.

Sleep With One Eye Open……


So, the Hoffmans are on vacation, in a lovely cabin our friends have let us use for years, in upstate Potter County.  We have our own pond, trails to hike, and life is good-but let’s take a look see at the hair raising, cluster eff of the days prior to our trip, as nobody does vacation preparation like us!

It seems like every year, our Spring vacation finds me sick-allergies, sinus infections, and last year?  Lyme.  That word gives me the shivas.  This year was no different, and the torrents of rain fall did nothing to soothe what ailed me-hayfever, baby-and I got it bad, real bad.  Suffering from inertia, a sore throat and incredible fatigue-I took to cleaning, laundry, flea demolition and grocery shopping.  Because I am ill each Spring, and because my husband is a SaintI am accustomed to Dwain doing everything and walking right out the door.  This year?  The poor man is working 60 hour weeks, I had to run the shit show, and this caused just a wee bit of tension in our home.

I am not complaining, just telling you all how it went down, how we began the trip we so desperately needed-there were times I lost my humanity, yes; but with good reason, damnit!


It’s not just the preparation for the two of us-it’s a three ring circus between packing for my husband, ensuring the cats (indoor and out) have enough food and water -I bought such a big drinking bowl at Walmart, that I fear our felines may drown after failed attempts at wetting their whistle-and I’m hoping the seven, count ’em, seven clean litter boxes will not be destroyed by our kitten Hank, Jr., who has only three legs, yet causes chaos wherever he goes.  🙂  I “mistakenly” left him in the house for Maya Angelou (cat) to play with.  I’m sure I’ll hear about that on Wednesday, upon our return, when Dwain finds out.  (Cue the Psycho music here.)

So, this is how it goes:  while I am a nervous wreck in heels, worried about each and every detail, my husband is like a kid at Christmas, and he would and has left without nary a pair of underwear, so this time I packed like the boss I am, cough cough.  Twelve packed bags later (yes, I am a creature of habit, and I like MY sheets, MY towels, MY, well, everything.

I had the house clean, the laundry done, the groceries bought-I made cookies and brownies because I…yada, yada, yada, like MY stuff-no store bought for me.  Dwain was packed, I was packed, very little had to be done……and then, holy crap on a cracker-he was home.  From work.  Early.  I heaved a heavy sigh and awaited the drill sergeant.

“HONEY Is everything ready to go?….did you get my Aleve PM?  Do we have enough food, what should we do for dinner, ARE YOU READY????????  Oh, what the hell have you been doing?”

Oh, he said it jokingly, but I was a withered nub of nothing, had just been gifted my period, and I’m extremely anxious when we leave our home sweet home.  Walking down to the truck with two heavy suitcases, my husband says:

“Did you remember the triple A batteries and my reading glasses?”

Oh, God of unending mercifulness, will you still love me if I bash my husband’s skull in with a box of batteries?  No.  I would never do that.  In high school, I was a varsity crew coxswain.  The coach knew what he was doing when he recruited me for the team-I have a voice that, when used correctly-could not only launch a thousand ships, but possibly be mistaken for a war cry at the Battalion Death March. 

“SHUT.  YOUR.  PIE.  HOLE.   Here’s the deal, and I mean business, Dwain-until we are on the road?  You say nothing to me.  Got it?”

Yes.  I knew it hurt his feelings.  But we are so incredibly different when it comes to travelling, and let’s face the facts-I had had it!  Why, why….it was too much, my nerves frayed to smithereens…..eventually, we did get into the truck, with just enough room for the dog….and my seventeen packs of gum.  I chew gum like there’s no tomorrow; so much so that my man has decided to make me a “mouth cup” so all I have to do is put my head down and grab it with my teeth-because when I can’t find my gum?   I can’t even discuss it without tearing up.

So, after three hours of driving, we arrive in the misty mountains of upstate Pennsylvania.  I grab a few bags to start unpacking, when I inadvertently let the soaking wet dog into the house.

“Honey, look what you just did!  The floor is wet now, Jeeze Louise……”

Sleep with one eye open, sweetheart.  Paybacks are, indeed, a bitch.