Archive of ‘Ramblings’ category

Samson, My Samson

By Natalie

Today I miss you.

Most days I miss you.

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The sweet dog smell that I loved to take in for the first time in my life. I miss our cuddles. I miss how you laid behind me while I cooked. I miss how happy you would get when we’d come home. I miss your sweet low groans when you’d get excited about something.

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I loved watching you play. I loved rescuing you. I loved giving you a home. I loved the feeling of attachment I had with you. But it made it so much harder. I can’t explain to you the traumatizing emotions I felt when I had to see you in the shelter after you were taken away. Dozens of dogs barked constantly around you. Volunteers screaming behind closed doors. And there you sat in your own filth because who has the time to take out a dog who’s on death row? I want to forget the nightmare. I want to ignore that they never gave you the toys I left. I want to forget how you whined in confusion while you watched me walk away.

But I never want to forget the last time I held you. In that small little room, just the three of us, and with tears in my eyes I tried my best to apologize to you.

I am so sorry my Samson. Sorry I couldn’t give you a better life. Sorry the opinions of people hold so much value. But thanks sweet boy, for being such a joy to me while I had you. For teaching Brandon and I to grow closer together through it all. For showing us who true friends are. And simply for being the light in my life that you were.

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The Trouble with Reviews

By Natalie

What is our trouble with unhappy endings? I’m not just talking about the stories that end poorly, I’m talking about the stories with unsatisfying endings. They get to us. And there we are pleading desperately for more closure. I recently stopped by the library downtown to pick up a couple of books. Because books lately have been a healthy food to my mind. I just needed to pick up a few quick reads to get me through the weekend. I finished a book called The Spectacular Now by Tim Tharp, and it was a book that caused me to think. Which is more than I could ask for in an author. The story was kind of tragic really. But the more I think about it the more I attach myself to the story.

The trouble with book reviews and any review for that matter is that everyone has differing opinions. I become frustrated with the people who rate everything 5 stars because not everything is worthy of 5 stars. But I also grow frustrated when I see people rate stories so poorly. There’s just too great of a spectrum. Too many different genres to compare one from the other. You must compare mysteries on the scale of other mysteries. Classics on the scale of other classics. Just because something was a different genre doesn’t necessarily mean that it is worse. Different stories speak to different people.

Let’s unpack this for a second. Reviews should be based on such things as storyline and character development. Intrigue certainly has grounds to be judged, for what good is a story if it does not capture you? Emotion of all things certainly should not have a large role in a review, because we are all innately biased. We are creatures of opinion, with differing morals, and all walks of life. This is why it frustrates me when people rate a story too low simply because they do not agree with the lifestyle of the characters.

Upon finishing The Spectacular Now I felt so empty. Before giving this book a low review I stopped to think… In a way the author did his job. I felt just as empty as the main character of the story. And isn’t that the point? To relate with in some way, to feel what the characters feel? To emerge yourself in the story and be overcome with emotion over the characters. Ok ok you’re about to have an intervention with me. Natalie… too many books. Never. Like I said, reading has been good for the mind. Swirling my imagination in every which direction. Giving me fuel to write myself. It is one of the only things that keeps me writing.


 And so… I just had to say that not all stories have happy endings. And that’s difficult to accept because we all want happy endings. Hence the reason the movie version of this book just had to take the extra five minutes to provide closure. To give you what you wanted. But is that honest? Is life really full of all happy endings? No. And that’s why I kind of loved this book. The main character Sutter Keely was the most tragic character. In the end he felt he was this certain type of person and he loved this girl, but he wanted what was best for her. And it wasn’t him. As much as you wanted it to be him, you know it wasn’t. But you admire him for doing all he did for her anyway.

This is all just to say that the next time you review something take a second to think about the story. Did you not like it because it was poorly told. Or did you not like it because it didn’t turn out the way you wanted it to?

Homeownership, & Growing Up

By Natalie

Sometimes, sadly, I find that I don’t have too much to talk about. I have a million and one drafts of things that I wish to share, but for some reason today, I just don’t know what to talk to you about. You know I’ve been bit by the reading bug again. You know about the Lupus walk we did recently. You know quite a bit about me now don’t you? But today, what shall I share with you? hmm. Perhaps that we bought a new ac unit? Hurray for home ownership! Our nasty 24 year old beat up ac unit was screaming desperately to be put out of its misery. And come to find out it actually had put itself out of its misery in the dead of this past winter. We only realized because as the sun began to warm the interior of the house these past couple weeks the house grew hotter and hotter. FInally we realized that the poor little thing wasn’t even running outside. Just puttering in some sort of air through the vents somehow.

And so, we young homeowners bit that horibble bullet and bought ourselves a new ac unit. Oh but it is grand. No really. It’s about twice the size of our old one. Making it quite a bit more efficient. After it was installed B and I ran outside to inspect it. Bingley sniffed around it, and I wrapped my arms around that unit and hugged it. “We might as well get excited about it you know. It’s brand new! We didn’t pay all that money not to get excited about it.” I said to Brandon, and he raised his eyebrows, and laughed.

It’s funny. The things you get excited about when you get older. I think the first time I realized I really grew up was the black friday that Brandon came home, and surprised me with a new vacuum cleaner. Never would you know that the smile I produced in that moment was due to a new vacuum cleaner. I opened the box as quick as I could, and began to vacuum our whole apartment. Every Nook and Cranny..

And then just recently we got this carpet spot cleaner. Where you can spray water, and cleaner and scrub, and suck it all up through this hose. It’s amazing! I got on my hands and knees, and cleaned the whole carpet in our bedroom I was so excited.

Can you believe that you just listened to me ramble on about that silly stuff? I know. You think I’m a clean freak… I kind of am. Something to do with being in control of my life I think. But who knows, that’s a different story for another day.

Happy Day. And don’t be ashamed of getting excited over the silly, or small stuff. I sure am not.

Of Sunshine & Good Writing

By Natalie

I went outside today to read for about an hour because it’s one of those lazy Sundays that the sun decides to grace us with its blinding presence so I figured I’d take advantage. I’ve recently finished a book, and I find that when I finish a book, I need to quickly jump on another because if not I won’t read for too long. And reading… it’s marvelous. There is nothing quite like the feeling of becoming completely entranced in a story, as all that’s around you begins to blur. For some reason I have an MO of not finishing books, and I really dislike that about myself. However, for some reason whenever I am reading a book that I can discuss with someone I am much more motivated to continue. Some of the best books I’ve read were the ones that my sister and I read alongside one another. And so, I thought why not start a small little book club. Because yes, I’m not your average twenty two year old, and I find excitement in the thought of a book club.

Graciously, some friends were equally excited as I was about the idea. So we kicked off our book club a few days ago, with a short and simple read. The Fault in Our Stars by John Green. And I’m in love with it. I know, I know, you think I’m in love with alot of things, but I am. I love it when I find myself reading a sentence over and over again because I just can’t get enough of it. Each word dripping with symbolism, and creativity. I do love a good writer who captures my heart, and shares their story so eloquently.

photo (4)Having a perfect day to match a perfect read is beyond compare. I laid out in the backyard with my book basking in the sunlight with the rest of the day ahead of me to read on. Finally, I looked up from the pages of the book my mind still lingering on the last words of an exquisite sentence. Off to my left a certain little (Well not so little anymore) pup meandered his way over to me. Dogs always seem further than they actually are, and then all at once they just hit you with their tremendous weight, and drool. I was gifted with the sloppiest of puppy kisses I’ve ever known. I decided to finally step back inside as I was in need of wiping off said kiss much to Bingley’s confusion, and when I did step in from the cloud of heat I found that I had become a much browner version of myself. And B looked on in amazement.

I do so love when the weather is nice enough to read outside.. I do so love the way the sun chooses me to goldenly darken.. I do so love puppy kisses.. I do so love sharing my day with you..

Observations of a Wife

By Natalie

Here is the definition of a Rambling:According to Taking an irregular course. Straying from one subject to another; spread out irregularly in various directions.

Now take note, this is a serious rambling, if ever there was a rambling.

If there’s anything my heart breaks for it’s divorce, and broken marriages. I see the struggle on people’s faces. I see the hurt, and feel their grief. There was a night when I worked at Starbucks I was sweeping the cafe. There was a couple sitting in the corner bickering. There was another man with them. He may have been a lawyer, a friend, a family member maybe, attempting to mediate. As I got closer I caught a few of their bitter words. I gathered that they had been going through a divorce, and were in somewhat of a custody battle. “I don’t understand why I can’t see my children more often. There are times that you’re away, and I’d love to spend time with them.” the man said. “You don’t see them more often because they don’t want to spend time with you.” The woman replied in a harsh tone. Every word that escaped her lips  was so venomous. It pained me to even think about how she had gotten to that point. How hurt has she been? How tired is she of fighting?

They battled back and forth for a while until one of my supervisors felt the need to come over and quiet them as many other customers were beginning to feel uncomfortable. The rest of the couple’s words somewhat melted together in heated frustration. I couldn’t get past her words. “They don’t want to spend time with you.” I don’t know the circumstances, and I certainly don’t know the man or woman. But I didn’t need to. My heart still broke for them, and their children. Were their insults at all helpful to the situation at this point, or were they only negatively affecting their children for life?

I wished so badly for them to see themselves from my perspective. I felt for the woman but there is no doubt I felt for the man as well. His words quickly reminded me of that last scene in Mrs. Doubtfire. Where Robin Williams is fighting for partial custody of his children.

The idea of someone telling me I can’t be with them, I can’t see them every day.. It’s like someone saying I can’t have air. I can’t live without air, and I can’t live without them.

I wish there were more parents out there like that. Ones that would fight for their children no matter the circumstances. Growing up in a broken home caused me to grow up very quickly. I’m so grateful for my mother was always unbiased towards my dad. She never spoke negatively of him to me. She wished for me to form my own opinion of him. I don’t know how she did it, but I am grateful for it. I didn’t need to know details of their marriage at such a young age. Too many adults share information with their children that are not for children’s ears. The child begins to view one parent in a different light because the other is telling them so. It’s so very manipulative and upsetting to me. Allow your children to grow. Speak highly of your spouse. Show your children what a happy healthy marriage looks like.

I never believed people could truly love one another forever. It wasn’t until I met Brandon that I knew for sure it was possible. There is no trick to marriage. You will never have enough helpful tips. And it isn’t just blissful after 15 years. It’s hard work day in and day out [Period] Sometimes Brandon doesn’t put his dish in the sink. Some days I let it consume me. Flustered, I’ll mumble to myself “Doesn’t he know by now?” Then some days it’s an honor for me to put his dish away. Because that extra dirty dish belongs to my husband whom I love. Those dirty socks lying just a foot from the hamper, I groan as I toss them in. But then I remind myself who they belong to and I smile. “Babe!” I’ll say in shock, “You’re socks have done it again! They’ve jumped right out of the hamper. I don’t know how they do it.” If those dirty socks weren’t there that would mean I had no husband there. So rather than live in frustration I have to choose to find those little quirks, and cherish them.

This is another one of those “Go tell your significant other you love them” posts. And do you know why? Because it’s necessary. Every day, it’s necessary.

A Note On Beauty

By Natalie

Ever since I was little my mom always told me to find someone who called me beautiful. “Pretty means on the outside.” She’d say. “Beautiful is on the inside.” It was a truth I always held onto, and come to find out she was right. I did a little research on the definition of each word.

Beautiful: Possessing qualities that give great pleasure or satisfaction to see, hear, think about,etc.; delighting the senses or mind.

Pretty: Pleasing or attractive to the eye, as by delicacy or gracefulness


When you do a search for beauty all you’ll find is tips for makeup, different haircuts, hair styles, and clothing. Why is this? Images of perfection flood our minds. They’re all things that cover, and hide our natural selves. This has caused me to recently question. What is beauty? Is it in how we see ourselves? Is it in how others view us? Or is it both? I write to make sense of things, so let’s see if I can jot a few thoughts down, and figure it out. Join me?

While it’s wonderful to be called pretty, to be called beautiful is much more gratifying. When Brandon took me on our first date he told me I looked beautiful. He didn’t just say it. He admired me for a minute, pondering he looked into my eyes, and said it. My eyes lit up immediately, and I knew he was for keeps. I told my mom, and she smiled. Beauty is not in your looks. It’s how you carry yourself. Woman stare at themselves, fixing their cowlick, adjusting their blouse. They change their outfit, change their hair, change their wardrobe all in a desperate attempt to discover beauty. I am guilty of it, I fully admit. When all along it’s when I feel happy with myself, and my life that I feel most beautiful. With daily tasks, stresses, and fatigue it’s difficult to feel beautiful every day. But that’s only because we are missing the bigger picture. Beauty is not about maintaing a pretty appearance. Beauty is an inner struggle within ourselves, that we must learn to discover. When I’m feeling crummy, and so not beautiful I remind myself of the Proverbs 31 woman. Surely someone who is worth far more than rubies is a beautiful person.


The verse speaks nothing of her appearance. It speaks only on how she is clothed in specific qualities. There is also something to be said about laughing without fear of the future. How difficult must that be? She knows her family is taken care of, and her husband praises her. What’s does she need to worry about? If there’s any quality that will widdle you down, and cause you to not feel beautiful it’s worry. Live the life you wish to live. Do the things you love. Spend time with the people you care most about, and let go of the things that cannot be changed.

Parents of Children with Special Needs

By Natalie

To the man waiting in line of the busy store: Your son moans, and presses his hands to his ears. His ears are so sensitive, he feels closed in. He feels confused, and you hold him gently. You kiss the top of his head and calm him. I saw you.

To those of you who are in public with your children: I’m sorry for the people who stare. I’m sorry for the people who scrunch their faces and scoff. I’m sorry for the people who roll their eyes. I’m sorry for the people who point. I’ve seen you, and I am just as frustrated.

To the parents who take their children to therapy: You smile at your child’s progress. You watch in amazement as they are able to do things you never thought possible. I watch you, and I am joyous with you.

I feel the need to apologize to you for the ignorance of others. They do not understand. They don’t know the tears you have shed for your children. They don’t see the mountains of doctor’s bills, or insurance loopholes you have to jump through. They think your child is rambunctious. They think your child is a disturbance. They think your child should be able to walk or speak. Shame on them. I’m sorry for every finger that has pointed, every rude comment you have overheard. It may not be much, but may I tell you that you are beautiful people, and I admire you so. Do you know that you are built to be stronger than most? Do you know that I see you, and wish to express my understanding? There’s more of me out there, so keep your head up. Keep loving your little one, even through the heartache. In a world full of selfishness they need you.

How to Get Out of the Grocery Store Alive

By Natalie

Once, I watched this terrible movie where a woman was abducted from a grocery store parking lot. Just packing her groceries in her trunk, and within seconds she was snatched up. I now refuse to go grocery shopping alone, especially at night. I much prefer for Brandon to be with me for many reasons.

  1. Protection (Don’t judge me. I have been hit on at the grocery store by meat packing men, true story.)
  2. To keep me accountable from buying junk food.
  3. So he can pick out all of the desserts and juice he wants. (Many a time I have come home with 2 juices in tow.) “Two juices that’s it!?” He’ll say. “I’ll finish that in two days!” The boy has low blood sugar I’m sure of it.

The catch to having Brandon grocery shop with me is there needs to be a list. He speaks of nothing but the list. “Do we have a list?” (while we’re on our way) “Where’s the list?” (when we walk in) “I feel like we’re not getting anything on the list…” (in the store) Well… that’s because I just scribbled a bunch of things down so you’d think there was really a list. The majority of it is in my head. This was one of those moments in my marriage when I realized you’re spouse is around to keep you accountable, and they force you to be a better person. You don’t know how many loving discussions we’ve gotten into over chips, or string cheese. I finally bit the bullet and decided that if it’s important B, it’s important to me. I have now learned that the best thing for us to do before we tackle the task of grocery shopping is to communicate beforehand. Go through the house, figure out what we’re out of, and write down anything we think we’ll want. Steer clear of categories such as ‘fruit’ and ‘snacks’. You’ll be in those sections forever! This makes for a happy husband in the storeIf you’re as bad as I am, and had him come along., and a much quicker shopping trip.

We recently went to Wegmans when apparently there was supposed to be a snow storm. We had no idea about the storm as it was 50 some degrees outside and sunny. Thank goodness we had our list prepared because I have never been in such a crowded grocery store. At one point I was walking down an aisle and a woman was bent over. She began backing up… several steps… without looking… what on earth? Don’t people know not to bend over like that in public? You never know what some weirdo will do to you. IMG_8082

We later walked by a woman with her two preteen children in the cereal aisle. “Keep walking.” she said to the kids. They weren’t concerned about getting out of the way, they wanted their fruit loops. She proceeded to push the cart… into her children, causing that awful pain in the achilles. You know it, it’s happened to all of us. Then you look at the driver of the cartMost likely a family member. and scowl. Apparently the worst side of people is brought out during a ‘snowmagedon’ or ‘snowpocalypse’ (which are two words I despise for some reason. Maybe because it’s only 4-6 inches of snow and I will be driving the next day?) You are only snowed in for a day people. Do you drink 3 gallons of milk in a day?

Needless to say, we made it home where I was able to witness something once more. The attempt to carry every bag inside in one trip. Why can men not accept that there should definitely be 2-3 trips back to trunk? I can drop off a load of groceries inside, come back out, grab some more, and come back out again to close the trunk by the time he has loaded up one arm.



That is seriously what he looks like. An accomplished smile crosses his faces while he trudges into the house. Don’t mind the trail of items that have wriggled their way out of that tangled mess. “Here babe.” I say motioning for the spot I cleared out on the counter or table. Nope, couch looks like the appropriate place to set them down. Then he’ll plop down beside it like “What? I just carried all of that in for you. Aren’t you grateful?”

Truth is I am grateful. The dynamic in a marriage is so precious to me. B has his antics, and I’m sure he could tell you mine. Sharing your life alongside someone is such a gift. So the next time your man carries all of those groceries in at once smile at him, and say thank you.

My Top 10 Suggested Reads

By Natalie

If you asked me where I was when I read a certain book I could tell you. If you asked me how I felt at a climactic moment in a book, I could tell you. Books have this way of capturing a point in time, almost like any other sense that brings you back to a moment. A sound, a smell, a taste, a feeling, a story. I owe my love for reading to my sister Nadir. It started with her offering to help me read a book for school. The very next day she admit to me that she had finished the book because it was so captivating. Of course I had to see what she was talking about. I made myself comfortable in our big wingback chair and cracked the book open. For the very first time I fell in love with reading. When I say I fell in love I mean I fell in love with all of it. I love to cozy up with a book, not knowing what to expect next. I love turning each page, and getting excited for how close I am to the end. I love the first sentence, to the slow middles, to the satisfying endings. (more…)

A Humerous Email

By Natalie

I often feel the urge to write when I’m at work. It’s much like feeling a craving come on that needs to be satisfied. So what am I to do when I’m at work and feel the urge to write? I look for inspiration around the office, and occasionally express my writing in email form. The following is an email I typed up to my manager.

Subject: Potential Heart & Soul Award goes to… Kristen Suchocki!


While you were away it came to my attention this Thursday night that around 5:30pm Kristen was really getting into her therapy. I stepped out of the front office to find another thing to add to our burdensome Thursday. A broken stool. She has been so dedicated to her patients, wheeling all around them.. Stabilizing them, mobilizing them, making them feel all better, you know. She thought all was well in the world of Kristen until suddenly to her dismay the wheel of her stool broke off! Shattered might I add. It’s ok, don’t fret, our beloved PT was just fine finishing her session in crouch position. However, we can’t stand aside and expect her to be able to meet her full therapist potential in uncomfortable positions. She is a bride to be! You remember the stress, right? We must make her comfortable.

Our poor Kristen now desires a nice new long lasting stool. We know the expenses for Stafford are great. We also want you to know that we greatly appreciate all of the therapy materials you have provided us with. Do you think that maybe there would be any way we could get our poor Kristen a new stool?


A very bummed out Kristen, and Natalie

Wasn’t that much more entertaining to read than Kristen broke the stool? Ok now go run out into the gym and take a look at it!

Happy Friday!

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