Meeting Family for the First Time

Musical Selection: Kindred the Family Soul|All My People

I’ve known them for over two years and have never seen them

Photo of my plants: Dora, Jupiter, and our newcomer, Lyric. Photo collage credit: Tremaine L. Loadholt
Photo of my plants: Dora, Jupiter, and our newcomer, Lyric. Photo collage credit: Tremaine L. Loadholt

On Saturday, December 03, 2022, I had the lovely opportunity to meet part of my work family. Yes, I said, “family.” I mean it. I’ve shared some harsh and intense days in radiology scheduling with these individuals.

We have a hard job — one that attempts to pummel us daily, but we all band together to provide support, guidance, understanding, and love to each other. I spend the bulk of my weekdays with them virtually (we work from home) and some of my Saturdays. These are my people. My family.

I have no shame in saying it. None at all.

Our direct supervisor has been trying to plan an outing for us to meet for what seems like forever, but this time, it happened. And I could not be happier.

BBQ can bring people together

One day, amidst a crazy scheduling day of the week, we all received an email including a poll on where we’d like to go and a selection of dates for when we’d like to meet.

Most of us chose yesterday and a city that is halfway between Winston-Salem and Charlotte, North Carolina. Our supervisor mentioned the barbeque spot, The Smoke Pit, and we were “all in for the win!”

This was my first outing to a restaurant to sit down and eat since before the pandemic began.

I was anxious. I was terrified. I almost backed out. But I am glad I did not.

My plate of food. Burned ends, fried okra, macaroni-n-cheese, and cornbread. Photo Credit: Tremaine L. Loadholt
My plate of food. Burned ends, fried okra, macaroni-n-cheese, and cornbread. Photo Credit: Tremaine L. Loadholt

When I arrived, only one of my team members was there. She was still sitting in her truck. I had questioned the restaurant staff about our party and no one had been inside or seated yet.

Anxiety continued to mount.

I knew everyone was on the way, but try telling that to my nerves. I decided not to pace in front of the establishment and walked over to my team member’s truck.

She had stated in our group’s text message she had already been there parked in the car lot. She was easy to spot.

We went in, grabbed a table, and waited for everyone else to arrive.

There is nothing like good food to usher in a good time. As you can see, the meal I had was not only picture-worthy, but it was satisfying as well.

Barbecue can do that. It has the power to bring people together.

Original abstract artwork by Lindilu Q, she’s also on Instagram. Photo collage by Tremaine L. Loadholt
Original abstract artwork by Lindilu Q, she’s also on Instagram. Photo collage by Tremaine L. Loadholt

Sharing smiles, games, and enjoying each other’s presence

Aside from the delicious food, there was a numbers game that included original paintings by one of my co-workers as gifts.

We did about three rounds of this game, and I took four different paintings home. I am going to give two of them to my mother (not pictured above).

We shared stories that involved incidents at work, how we feel about our new phone system, and missing supervisors and co-workers who have left us for other opportunities.

Our presence in this space drew attention from other customers, but we did not care. We had not seen each other or had congregated on this level in over two years, and having a blast was on the agenda.

A definite blast was had.

I conquered my fear, and it was worth it

For a little over two years, I had not sat down in a restaurant among other patrons to eat and enjoy a meal or conversation with anyone. I have placed orders with various eateries I love, selected the option for delivery or pickup, and casually went about my life.

I had a small meeting with one of my co-workers at a favorite coffee spot of mine nearly three months ago. Besides us, there were probably four to five other people in that small space. I also met up with Sherry Kappel for lunch at a spot that served patrons (and their dogs) outside a few months back as well. Neither was as overwhelming as this event nor did they send my nerves into overdrive.

This experience was a leap into something I now know I can do — I faced my fear of heading back into the “wild.”

And being with a group of people who I laugh, cry, and vent with every single workday was more than worth it.

Our supervisor not only paid for the holiday meet-up but also gave each of us a Croton houseplant (I’ve named mine “Lyric”), Christmas candy, and positive affirmations (at least 30 of them in a decorative jar). She showered us with love, just as she does every single day.

Sometimes family doesn’t have to have the same blood coursing through their veins as you. Sometimes family is who you choose and who chooses you.

©2022 Tremaine L. Loadholt

Kindred the Family Soul, All My People

Originally published in A Cornered Gurl via Medium.

First Outing Since the Pandemic Began

My Little Monster, Jernee Timid Loadholt, enjoying the sights and sounds around her. Photo Credit: Tremaine L. Loadholt

Today, I had lunch with a writing friend of mine. We planned this a few weeks back, and I am glad it actually took place.

I was afraid I’d get too anxious and back out or far too afraid to even go. This was actually my first outing to sit down and eat at a restaurant (outside on the patio) since the pandemic began.

We decided on a place called Relish in Raleigh, which is about an hour and thirty-five minutes away from me. We had a delightful time. The food was great. The service was excellent. And it is a pet-friendly environment.

These days, I pretty much have to have Jernee with me if I venture away from home for too long, so this place being all it was and so much more, was definitely a Godsend.

All work and no play
Makes Jernee a grumpy dog
Today we had fun

Outing with a friend
Delicious food to savor
A pet friendly place

We will go again
When I’ve gathered up the strength
It had been too long

A Few of My Favorite Things: Part II

A homecooked meal: spaghetti with spicy turkey meatballs and steamed broccoli
Weird looking mushroom clusters
Jernee Timid: she had stolen my spot in my favorite chair and would NOT give it back.
Me from Thursday of last week; frustrated with work because of the many software glitches we were experiencing throughout the week.
Foggy trees in the breeze
Homemade blueberry muffin (I did NOT make it; I purchased it at one of our local grocery stores) and a decaf white chocolate mocha
Me, rocking one of my favorite T-Shirts from work. It says, “Radiology Life.”
My feet propped up in one of my favorite pairs of shoes, at my dentist’s office.

The Grieving Room

Dressed in Red. Photo Credit: Tremaine L. Loadholt

Finding peace at every turn and growing at my own pace

If I can be honest, this past week has been a great week for me — overall, one of the best I have had in several months. I am overjoyed to see these words typed on-screen. There were some stressful points at work, but the fantastic team I am a part of makes things much better. We all jump right in and ride the waves of the slew of calls we get, and everyone is so supportive.

It beats swimming alone when you know the tide will be at its highest. It beats chipping away at a mountain when you know you still haven’t reached its peak. It beats running away from something when all it takes is patience, prayer, and perseverance.

I am enjoying the drop in temperatures over the past few days. There is a cool breeze in the morning and at night, and the sun is not trying to body slam me into submission during the day.

This tells me — autumn is in the air, and I am here for it! It is one of my favorite seasons. I look forward to dressing in layers, drinking hot cocoa, making stews and crockpot soups, and cuddling under my favorite blanket with Jernee.

Peace is moving in steadily, and I invite it with open arms.

A moment to relax and enjoy a favorite pastime

Last night, Friday, August 12, 2022, I watched Dog Gone Trouble via Netflix. After I’d rid myself of the workday, walked Jernee, ate dinner, and snuggled up with the Little Monster in my favorite chair, I switched on Netflix for what has become a favorite pastime of mine — ending my workdays with laughter and animated goodness or enjoying a weekend bonanza of all things kid-friendly.

My happy place is a space for all ages, yet I am content experiencing it alone.

This movie had so many high points for me and, of course, a lesson I believe most adults could benefit from, especially nowadays. Just in case you’re interested, the trailer is below.

Dog Gone Trouble. Netflix ©2021.

I will give you a bit of a spoiler — the dancing tree squirrels will have you laughing your head off with the leader’s crazy amount of phrasings, including the word “nuts.” Trouble (the dog) actually says on more than one occasion — and I am paraphrasing — “This just sounds so inappropriate.”

If you love to laugh, enjoy cartoons or animated movies, and have about one hour and 30 minutes to spare, then give yourself the gift of Dog Gone Trouble. It’s worth it.

Comfort foods and their impact

Sunday, August 06, 2022, I made one of my favorite comfort foods. There’s nothing truly special about it — it’s made with delicious and basic ingredients and will also allow you to have leftovers for at least two to three days after you have prepared it.

What is it, Tre? you ask. I call it “hearty beef dip.” You can substitute the meat for any other meat you’d like: ground chicken, ground turkey, or ground pork. After adding cheese sauce and shredded cheese, light red kidney beans, onions, and chopped spinach, what you get is a feast in your mouth as you dip corn chips into this hearty goodness.

An animated image of hearty beef deep and corn chips.
Hearty beef dip & Chips. Gif created by Tremaine L. Loadholt

I learned about this basic yet filling meal from my best friend almost twenty years ago. It has been a staple in my home since then. I do not have the meal often — perhaps once every other month. But I always look forward to making it. My stomach does too.

Growing at my pace and it feels good

Soon, I will partake in something completely out of my comfort zone and new to me. I am shaking as I type this very paragraph for this newsletter, but something has moved me recently to continue to step out of my comfort zone. And doing so has gotten me to a calmer place.

This cannot be a coincidence.

If I attack or stare down fear and take it head-on, the things I avoided doing seem less scary.

I have more research to do, some basic contact emails to send, and becoming one with this new venture as I learn more about it.

*Fingers crossed I will have good news in the coming weeks*

Ever since I was a child I have had this instinctive urge for expansion and growth. To me, the function and duty of a quality human being is the sincere and honest development of one’s potential. — Bruce Lee

Welcome to The Grieving Room. I am here. You are here. We are not alone in this.

See you next Saturday.

©2022 Tremaine L. Loadholt Originally published in The Grieving Room newsletter via LinkedIn.

Happy Father’s Day

Father’s Day Breakfast

I called my dad EARLY this morning to wish him a happy Father’s Day. I also made certain he knew I’d be emailing his poem to him. Recently, I shared We Don’t Want To Rewind Time on this blog, and the piece is actually doing very well across all writing platforms. I wanted/want him to know I’ll always have a place in my heart for him, and there will never be anything but love for me to share with him. Regardless of anything and everything else, there is love.

So, on this Father’s Day, I want to wish every father, caretaker, mentor, uncle, older cousin, and anyone who is giving their time, efforts, and love to a child or children of any age nothing but love and a beautiful day ahead.

For anyone remembering a father or fathers no longer here with us, I offer you peace and healing, and may there be happy memories for you to pull from your memory bank to reflect upon and embrace.

I am enjoying a lovely breakfast as my own personal gift to all of you by way of a happy tummy.

Peace and blessings!