Friday, December 30, 2011

Bring it On!!!!!

It is December 30th.....2011! One more day remains of this year and once again I sigh in dismay as I have just finally gotten the knack for writing 2011 instead of 2010. Drat! It has been a year of growth for me. Amazing that in 2012 I will hit the big "50" and I am just finally learning a bit about myself. Better late than never I guess.

This time of year always fills me with such mixed emotions. I have this wild desire to race around and tie up all the loose ends remaining from the old year and yet race ahead and start planning for the new one. I saw a sign the other day that said: Never look back because that is not the direction you are going. How profound and yet with the close of the year....that is all I seem to be doing is looking back. Maybe I am trying to find out what worked and what didn't so that I hopefully won't be repeating past failures in the new year. There is also the possibility that I am having separation anxiety from the current calendar year and simply don't want to let go of what I know and am comfortable with. Hmmmmm

This year was about change for me. I, as usual, set goals for myself......and as usual....failed dreadfully with most of them. Much of this you witnessed right here in my blog. You got to see the good, the bad and the ugly.......the really, really ugly. While I did lose sight of some goals....I actually did achieve some other goals I didn't even know I had. It wasn't a terrible year and yet like all definitely had it's ups and downs. I wrote more and had some personal accomplishments, but at the same time.....planted myself firmly in my own way not allowing myself to accomplish other things. I grew a back bone where some where concerned and remained jelly in the sight of others. I stepped outside my box only to find that sometimes a box is okay if it has doors and windows and you aren't afraid to go beyond those walls from time to time. Of just don't want to dart out into oncoming traffic.....which is kind of what I did, but venturing out is a good thing.  Life lessons....they were all life lessons.

I learned this year that it is okay to step back and regroup when life overwhelms you. I found myself on the brink of disaster and once again humbled beyond words and am still in the process of fighting back. I realized that time is flying past and where my kids are concerned I don't want us to just exist.....but to get to live some too. I have watched David hit further milestones and to some degree we seem to be beating the beast called seizures. We learned about Shriner's Hospitals and now have a visit scheduled for the new year. I have watched Z grow and mature and become an awesome young man (even though he has the ability from time to time to drive me to drink). I have gotten to see him perform and to continually go after his dreams and put behind him some of the painful past. His strength is amazing as is David's and most days I am in awe of the two young men who reside in my house.

This year I have been fortunate enough to meet some new friends, reacquaint myself with some old ones.....and sadly....lose a wonderful one. There has been laughter and tears and once again I have realized how blessed I am to have the friends I have and how much they mean to me. Over the course of my life I have cultivated some wonderful friendships. What is amazing is that some of those friendships have lasted decades and are still in tact. Time and space have not tarnished them a bit and whenever we are together it is as if no time has passed.Yes....I am truly blessed.

Another amazing feature of this year has been that at this stage of my life.....2011 held a few firsts too. Z had a first dance, a first time at karaoke,  a first time where mother and son were in a bar together and a first job. David had some firsts too....the most important of which was starting 4th grade. And yes....I too managed a couple of firsts myself. I had my first dating experience as a 40 something woman and I got my first tattoo. It was also the first time since my late teens/early twenties that I dedicated myself to prolific writing and although I didn't manage 365 consecutive blogs.....I did manage to write A LOT!!!!

So someone asked me what my New Year held in store and what my resolutions would be. Well....being that I am not psychic, I have no idea what is in store for me.....and I rather like it that way. That way I get a new surprise each day. As for the resolutions???? Perhaps I should resolve to gain 30 lbs, be poor and never move from my couch. The way my resolutions go.....this would mean I would lose weight, get rich and exercise my heart out. As it is though....I think this year I simply resolve to let each day be it's own, to roll with the punches and to try and learn a little something with both the good and the bad.

Since this very well maybe my last blog of 2011 (unless I get to feeling sappy tomorrow), I would like to thank all of you who have read my blog throughout this year, all of you who have commented and all of you who follow me both here and on facebook. Some days....knowing that you guys were reading was the only thing that put excitement in my day. I hope that 2011 has played fairly nice with all of you and that 2012 brings each of you peace, joy, understanding, hope, happiness and a great big helping of love. So with this I bid a fond farewell to 2011 and to 2012 I say.......Bring it on!!!!! Happy New Year everyone!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

RIP My Dear Sunny

I cried last night. I cried a lot.....and I was not alone. Many whom I know also cried last night. The tears I shed were a mix of tremendous sorrow and tremendous joy. I lost someone last night....NO....the world lost someone last night whose quiet presence in this universe made it a much better place.

In about 2002 I finally had the time and the desire to become more computer literate and internet savvy. I was told the best way to use the internet to the fullest was to social I found a message board for my favorite local radio station and DJ. It was great fun but when said DJ left our area....I was once again just a very tiny fish in a huge internet pond. I was lost. That was when the creator of the original message board invited me to another board he had founded which was based on politics. I was pretty leery of this, one.....because I really knew very little about politics and two....because I knew very little about politics. He talked me into trying it out and once there.....I never looked back. Why? Mainly because of a young girl I met there. Her name was Sunny. At the time.....Sunny was in her late teens or early 20's and far more politically in tune with the world than I was. She also knew her way around political message boards much better than I did and had the etiquette (what little there was) skillfully mastered. When she could see that I was flailing (which at first was often), she would quietly message me and show me how to fix whatever it was that my words had damaged or gotten me into. She was my message board guardian angel and we just seemed to hit it off from there.

Possibly what bonded us even closer was the similarities in our personalities. She was a devout Catholic as am I, and she was politically conservative and extremely pro-life. Sunny loved babies and worked tirelessly to quietly and respectfully end any and all atrocities to human life. She was one of those people that regardless of which side of the fence you were on politically or still couldn't help but like love Sunny. We had also had a similar past dealing with premature babies and pro-longed NICU stays. Like my David who had experienced such a difficult start to life, Sunny had a baby sister born in 1997 whom had also started life precariously and had spent about the same amount of time in the NICU as David. They brought Nicole home in December of 1997 but sadly lost her some months later. You could tell the way Sunny spoke of her sister that there was such a bond there even all these years later and maybe that is why we so connected. Whenever David was ill....I was sure that many prayers would be going directly from Illinois to God's ears courtesy of Sunny and her family.

Sunny in her own little way was a very funny girl. I have seen her take on some really dyed in the wool liberals and put them in their place with only a few words. She never seemed to hold a grudge though, nor did they.......which is a bit difficult in the political arena. Minutes later she would be talking to the same liberal about her photography or school or something else completely removed from politics. In all of the things in Sunny's never had need to question where she stood on a subject from the removal of communion rails in the newer Catholic which political candidate she was standing behind. And she didn't just talk the talk....she acted on her beliefs and openly and actively supported what she believed in .

After the political boards became way too political for me, I took a hiatus from the computer. When I came back I joined facebook and low and behold....I found Sunny. Within a short period of time, I found myself not only friends with Sunny but also her sister and her parents. It was easy to see where Sunny got both her inner and outer beauty as well as her kind heart and strong stance both morally and spiritually. They are truly a lovely family and they loved their Sunny!

In recent years Sunny started having heart problems. As I recall it started with having trouble breathing and I know that she was a bit miffed from time to time as she had to change her diet and change her lifestyle quite a bit. I noticed in her posting that at times you could see a sadness as she was making frequent trips to doctors offices and ER's. I finally messaged her mother and asked what the "real" situation was. (Sunny was not big on complaining.) Here is part of what her mother told me:

"She doesn't like to talk about it. She has Idiopathic Pulmonary Hypertension (PVOD). She will need to have a heart/lung transplant. She is one of 200 people in the world who have this condition. Because it is so rare there hasn't been any research on this disease. No one knows how she got it or what to do for it. There are other types of Pulmonary Hypertension which aren't so rare and there are therapies for those but not for PVOD. She doesn't get out much, and she gets out of breath easy. So much of the time she sits in the "Lazy Boy" with her feet up and surfs the net and is bored."

I was shocked! On top of this....Sunny's insurance dropped her and then they had to find insurance that would accept her and then she had to wait to be treated because of her pre-existing condition.  Before she could ever even see a transplant doctor or get on a transplant waiting list all of this had to be in place. would likely be five years before she was eligible for a match. Sunny and her family all knew that the prognosis was not a good one and the outcome could be dire...but they refused to give into fear and they trudged ahead.

Sunny continued to spend her days in the Lazy Boy working on her laptop, visiting with friends on facebook and her other favorite sites, watching her beloved dogs Coco and Ali and taking pictures out her window.

Sunny's pictures were wonderful. It was as if she was not just taking a photo but somehow capturing the essence of what she was seeing. It also seemed that the furry creatures (often squirrels) who would reside outside her window knew that she needed some entertaining and they would almost always strike a pose for the cutest pictures I have ever seen. Whether she was using her lens to capture a beautiful Cathedral, her wonderful family or the animals in nature who seemed to call her friend.....her photography was captivating.

While facebook seems to be the common ground for people to vent and whine (I should know...I do it enough myself), seldom did you ever see Sunny complain. The few times when she did mention her knew things might be taking a turn for the worse and when this last week she talked openly about how badly she was feeling....I couldn't help but wonder what this meant for her overall health. After I learned she was in the ER and then later admitted....I had a horrid feeling. I prayed with all my heart and yet I knew that her body had been through so much. How much more could it take?

When I heard she was gone.....I cried...and cried...and cried. Someone many tears is enough to ease the pain? I obviously haven't gotten there yet. I couldn't help feel a bit joyous for her too. Sunny loved God above all else and I know she dashed into His arms with a smile on her face the moment of her death. He father posted that she was now with her little sister and.....I cried some more. It was true....that little sister that she so loved, I am sure got many hugs and kisses last night. I cried not only for the fact that I will never get to see a new Sunny photo or see a Sunny post about something that meant a lot to her or getting a Sunny message that said she would be praying for me, but I cried mostly....for her family. They lost someone so special and no parent should outlive their child.

Sunny was one of those rare people that God only graces this earth with ever so often. She was fragile and strong, gentle and tough, and she left an indelible mark on every life she touched. And she touched many. She made me want to be a better person and emulate the good that I saw in someone so young. She made me smile so often and she showed me how to speak like a lamb and be heard like a lion.

My dear Sunny was not only a wonderful friend but she was also a fan of my blog and when she felt like it she would send me little notes on blogs she liked. So today Sunny....this blog is for you. It is for all your kindness, generosity of spirit and determination. It is for taking the time to help an internet confused lady not trip over her words, for praying my son out of the ICU several times and most of all...for being the sweet and wonderful friend you are. God definitely picked the finest from His garden last night and like The Little Flower St. Therese that you always reminded me will forever bloom in our hearts. RIP my dear Sunny!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Ghost on the Canvas

I know I am aging myself, but I grew up in an era where variety shows were the best reality tv going. You could weekly watch Johnny Cash take the stage and say "Hi. I'm Johnny Cash." We could also weekly hear Moon River crooned as Andy Williams and his family and friends entertained us along with shows from Perry Como, Dean Martin and many others. At Christmas time we could always count on specials from Perry Como, Bob Hope and my yearly favorite.....Bing Crosby. It was a simple time with perceived simple values where music reigned king in my home and my parents never had to worry about what I was watching on tv because there were only three stations and in our house....only one tv. Of all my favorite variety shows though...the one that had me sprawled out in front of the tv and begging my parents to turn it on every week, was always the Glen Campell Goodtime Hour. I simply adored this man and my parents were at a loss as to why.

Even at my young age, I knew the pureness of Campbell's voice and he could lull me with songs like Wichita Lineman and Gentle on My Mind. Perhaps the reason though that I was so fascinated by him was that to me, he looked very much like my dad (albeit a slightly younger version). My parents were going through and had been going through a horrific marriage breakup for several years and my dad was not at his best as a father or a husband, but when I saw Campbell on stage....his physical resemblance was close enough that in my mind he was the perfect father figure I wished I had.

Perhaps because of my emotional attachment to this man and the fact that his voice was like no other..... I have been a fan since the late 60's. I have followed him through 45's, LP's, eight tracks, cassett's, CD's and now itunes. In every stack, mix tape or play list I have ever had....Glen Campbell has had a place. Galveston and Southern Nights have woven themselves into the tapestry of my life and have attached themselves to some wonderful memories.

Yes...I know that Campbell's perfection was only in my mind and I watched as he sped out of control and hit a wall during the Tucker years....the years of booze and pills and bad choices. And I forgave him as we all forgive those whose talent eclipses their life and their art becomes intertwined with their ego causing one or both to crash and burn. Sadly I was probably more forgiving of this man and his bad choices than I was of my real father figure. Of course my real dad could never make me smile like RockaDoodle did.

Through the decades I have remained a loyal fan and have introduced my son to this voice. While Z see's only a slight resemblance to his grandfather he, like me......appreciates the beautiful gift which Campbell possesses and the way his songs can stir the soul.

Not long ago....a friend of mine who is a classic country dj was talking to me about the different cc stars and Campbells name was brought up. He then told me that Campbell had been diagnosed with alzheimer and with this diagnosis was embarking on a farewell tour. I felt sucker punched at the news. I know....ridiculous being that stars fall from the entertainment sky all the time. But as you can well imagine....for me it was different....because emotionally his face and his voice connected with me back in the late 60's and through the years he had remained a part of the soundtrack of my life. I was legitimately sad.

A couple of weeks ago I happened to turn on my tv (which coincidentally now has somewhere in the range of 200 channels and I was watching on one of our 3 home tv's) and I saw a tribute to Campbell. I hadn't seen the man in years and me...he still looks like my dad. Campbell sat in the audience and watched as the different stars accompanied by his song writer Jimmy Webb played one Campbell hit after another. The camera would pan to him and you could see the joy in his eyes that he had touched so many people and that now they were paying tribute to his life of work. After all....isn't that what every true artistic being touch someone with their work? It also struck me as tragically sad, for maybe not tomorrow or even next week.....but someday very soon, he won't remember that night. He won't remember Gentle on My Mind or the Glen Campbell Goodtime Hour or all those singers who paid tribute to him. I won't lie....there were tears.

So this morning I turn on CMT and low and behold who do I see but Glen Campbell. He has a new song out and I was mesmerized. Not only did the words of his song touch me (his voice still has the ability to capture me) but the video was beautiful. So beautiful in fact that again....yes....there were tears. Why all the emotion? I think in some strange way it is because he is emotionally tied up with my father and my feelings for and about him. Maybe too my mind still remembers Campbell as a young man and the video captures glimpses of that man while also reminding us that youth was fleeting and has been replaced by time, age and in his case.....some hard living. Still though it was amazing. This man who has such an awful disease is not going down without a fight and I for one would expect nothing less.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Here and Now

It feels a bit strange being back. The writer in me though....can only go so long without exploding into an eruption of my own thoughts and it was time. It has been a strange existence recently. I am trying to figure things out and I am learning that even at my age....most answers still allude me. Maybe all of this uncertainty and yes....frustration are because I am racing to the half century mark and I still in so many ways feel like I am barely legal. It is a strange place to be in life and yet I know that at some point and some age we all have to sort out who we are, where we have been and ultimately......where we are going from here. 

This last year has been one of seeking, trying new things and trying to find out where and even "if" I fit in anymore. I am here to say that I have no more answers now than I did Jan. 1, 2011. I simply have more miles and more stories.....most of which you all have already read or heard about. Maybe though I have some different perspective.

I have always seen myself through others eyes; my parents, my boyfriends/husband, my kids and my friends. In doing so I have (I believe) tried to emulate who they think I am. Some believe me to be someone I am really not which is a bitch to try to emulate when you have no clue and are faking it, and some see me somewhat closer to who I am. However......since I am not really sure of who I all gets a bit confusing at times. This year I have rebelled against who certain people perceive me to be.....only to find that maybe they are not so far off the mark. On the other hand....I have tried with all my might to be the person that others envision me to be only to find that I am not even close and what is worse.....I can't even fake it. It has been a disappointing time for me and very unsettling.

Along with the skewed perceptions of myself....I have also developed a different view of others. It is obvious that others play this game too. I have learned that some are the people they are to me.....because they see themselves as the person I want or expect them to be and that isn't always good. It is pressure for everyone all the way around. It is like I suddenly see things and people through such different eyes. Now if I could just take the blinders off and see myself.

The world and the people in it can be rather funny in an ironic sense. If we have something good in our lives (love, spouse, kids, good job, etc) we seem to want the same for everyone around us. On the opposite end of the spectrum....if we are sad, miserable, unhappy, out of love, divorced, etc......we seem to want to spread the misery. I have people of both natures in my life and recently I have felt very pulled  both ways. I know so many that are truly happy in their lives and because they care they want the same for me. They especially have honed in on the love and spouse thing. I listened and I tried. REALLY....I tried. Maybe it was all the trying. It just didn't work. So many seem floored that I could be a whole decade without a man in my life. It is almost as if I am doing something wrong or unnatural by not being on the prowl and filling my bed and my life with a new man. The reality is.....I am about quality not quantity and just anyone will not due. It has to be right and trying to make it happen just doesn't work. I have been dealing with the fallout of trying to make it happen for months now and I have learned my lesson. Mr. Right is out there. I may already know him or he maybe someone just on the horizon, but whatever the case.....we will find each other and know it.....when it is the right time....not at some contrived, forced time. I am honestly good with that....and I sincerely hope that everyone else is too.

As for the unhappy people in my life trying to share the wealth. I have bought into that too. I have allowed others to make me feel as miserable as they are. I have been brought down so low that I would have to look way up to even seen the curb. The blame is not completely on them. I am very responsible for who I allow in my life and how much control I allow anyone to have over me. Sadly I have been weak enough that my boundaries have not been in place and I have not enforced anything. People can break you if you allow them to and some have come close. I am fighting to regain myself and to implement the line that no one will be allowed to cross.

Sometimes finding yourself is a solitary journey which means you must isolate yourself in order to get to the heart of the matter. I have been doing this....partly because I really don't want anyone's perception of who they "think" I am spilling into my journey and partly because I have been a real whiner on this journey and I don't want anyone's lasting impression of me to be this whiny, pathetic person that I tend to be at times right now. Who I am now is not who I will be (hopefully) when I get this all sorted out. So for everyone involved.....temporarily closing myself off is a necessity. I do however appreciate all who check in from time to time and I am trying to emerge a bit and socialize in those minutes when I feel stronger.

I have relearned what I have always known.....writing is my passion. It keeps my soul in tact and my head from exploding. It also (according to my children) makes me a nicer person and detracts me from their every move. I thought NOT writing for awhile might help to declutter my mind and help me to get centered. All it really did though was give me a whole lot of emotions with no outlet and made me feel as if I was artistically and emotionally suffocating. I also realized what several writer friends of mine had told me all along. I was writing my blog more for others than I was for myself. In some ways I was selling myself and even my readers out by trying to commercialize myself and my blog. It wasn't me and in some ways helped lead me to where I am today. So now my blog is going to be possibly more sporadic, unregimented and completely written on emotion and whim. Sometimes that is the best reading and for now...the only healthy way I can write.

So for all of you who have worried and/or wondered.....I am fine. I am just dealing with, fighting for and trying to make my way through life just like everyone else. I have no idea where this journey is going to take me or how things are going to look when I get on the other side of all of this. All I know is....for here and now, this is who I am, how I am and where you will find me when my thoughts overwhelm me and the world gets too much............