Monday, May 27, 2013

I Grew A Little

Interesting weekend. Actually....interesting beginning of summer. Everything seems a bit out of kilter. Mostly it is weather wise. We are just now seeing weather and temperatures that we normally see in early April. According to my is almost June. At the rate we are won't be warm enough to swim until mid July. The upside....we don't have to use the air conditioning and the nights are still cool enough to need a light blanket. I guess I will take that as a win.....for now!

I also found myself having to grow (at least mentally) this weekend. Motherhood is such a strange thing. We have these tiny, helpless little beings that we are suppose to nurture, care for and basically help them to sustain life for years and years.....and then we are just suppose to let go. It doesn't matter if we know they are making bad decisions or if we fear for their safety......we are just suppose to cut the "mothering" off and let them dive head first into life. I know! I know! The thinking behind all of this is that we are suppose to have taught them to make good decisions, to be safe and to have common sense in all those years that we were sustaining their life, so that when they embarked on their journey away from the apron strings that they would have all the tools they need to survive. The problem with this is....quite honestly, I am not sure I was that great of a mother. Perhaps I didn't drill safety and common sense into their heads nearly enough. Maybe I was in the midst of making a bad decision myself when trying to teach good decisions.....thus the lesson canceled itself out. Since I am sitting here second guessing my mothering skills, it does make me question just how good their survival skills really are!

My adult child always keeps me guessing. Just when I think that maybe I did actually teach him something worth while and he actually retained it.....then he opens his mouth and says something that leaves me speechless and wondering if he slept through everything I ever taught him, or if I just dreamed I taught him all that stuff. The way he tends to rewrite history......I am not even sure what actually did and did not happen. You can bet though that every "historical" tale he tells ends in...."and it was all Mom's fault." I heard just such a tale today followed by a life attitude that regressed him right back to his "I am a grown ass man and I can do what I want days." And we had come so far. Sigh. Bottom line is.....I have to let go and let him find his own way....even if that means some bad choices. After all....they are his choices to make and it is his life to live....whether it causes me to break out in hives or not.

Then there is Z. When did Z turn from a little kid into a man? Did I blink too quickly? He will be a senior next year and suddenly he is pulling the apron strings so loose that they are about to fall completely away. Z has been driving for a couple of years now but mostly small town driving. Since his accident.....he has been a very cautious driver and had little desire to drive in Wichita....however, necessity is making it so that both he and I are having to step out of our comfort zones. It makes it more difficult when I still can't help but see him as my "little boy" instead of my "young man." Heaven has certainly been getting a lot of rosary's from me of late.

Z is also no longer satisfied with being the homebody he once was. He now has the 17 year old mentality that he must be running somewhere every waking hour of the day. The common sense part of me knows that he needs at least some of  this while he has the safety of home to return to, but the mother part of me wants to pull my hair out and ground him just on general principals. Trust me....the common sense part is winning out.....but the Mom me is going to be in therapy for the rest of my life.

As I said.....I grew a little this weekend. I am trying to adjust to the fact that none of my kids are little anymore and all of them (David included) have their own personalities and their own lives. I guess I am discovering what mom's for century's have learned......we are mom's until we become obsolete in our kids lives. The good thing is....eventually they realize that mom's are really never obsolete and as their children make them realize just how little they know about life.....they always come back. Until then though.....I drink!

And a final word. Let us not forget all the men and and deceased that make it possible for  me to write this blog and say what I truly feel....not just what "others" want to hear....and allow me to say! Let us not forget those who have given up the comfort and safety of their lives so that I and my children might sleep safely and comfortably at night knowing that we are protected. Let us not forget that some gave all and all gave some so that our country remains free. Thank you to all vets for your sacrifice for our flag and our country. Thank you everyday but especially today. Happy Memorial Day!

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

They Call Me.....Wishy Washy

I am in a weird place right now with all that is going on in the world and close to home. Things seem to affect me more at this place I am in life than they ever have before. It is hard coming to terms with the fact that as a control freak....there are simply things in this life that we mere mortals....even me....have no control over. Things that have never before bothered me, I find mess with my emotions and not just some emotions...but all of them. No....I am not bi-polar or manic. I am simply at a place in life where I no longer ignore or deny things because they might be unpleasant or they might offend someone else. I still don't deliberately set out to offend anyone and I think that even my greatest antagonists would have to agree that I go out of my way to say what I have to say without belittling or insulting anyone personally. That being opinion has at times not won me friends (in fact it has lost me a few) and has even caused some to resort to name calling both to my face and behind my back. I have also been attacked for allowing others to post on my blog an opinion that is not conservative. I guess it matters not that on my blog the First Amendment is still alive and well and just as I express my opinion....other and differing opinions are also welcome and in fact encouraged. Nowhere have I ever stated that if you don't agree with me that you are banished from my blog or even my life. Agreeing with me is not a requirement to ensure my friendship.

A little fact about my opinions. I rarely have an opinion that I blog about...that I don't first research. I hate to say something that I can't go back and back up if necessary. Another fact is...sometimes people are so set in "their own" opinions that all the facts in the world won't change their mind. It is the way of the world today. Belief and nonfactual opinion seem to trump fact over and over again. Go figure.

I have also heard several times of late that some feel that I am "wishy washy" in my opinions and beliefs. This doesn't just come from readers who don't know me except for my also has come from those that do know me and should think better of me. I hate the term wishy washy as it basically means you can't pick a definite side on anything. Come on people....I think you all know what a load of bunk that is. I rarely back slide on my beliefs because I do research them. However....I am not so firmly wedged into the ground that if I do learn something that I didn't know before and it has an affect on my stance...then I will admit I was wrong and move forward. Many don't agree with this. Many feel that you should hold your ground until that ground covers you and suffocates you....right or wrong. I believe this is called being narrow minded. Another pretty unflattering term and yet a term that seems to cover many people on both sides of the coin.

This all came to a head when I was writing a lot of both political and religious blogs. I was being cheered on from the side lines by those who felt I was on the same page as they were. And lets face it, most of you know that I am irritatingly conservative both politically and religiously. (Irritating that is to those with a more liberal sensibility). However...the funny thing about picking "a side" is that no side EVER in the history of man....has been completely right. On the other side is completely wrong either. Why? Because humans are involved. Human ego and human desire always comes into play. When we try to convince the world we are all right, then we must demonize the other side as all wrong....that is where narrow minds rear their ugly heads. There suddenly becomes no room for mid ground, compromise or shades of gray......and let me tell you.....everything has shades of gray. As I said other than God and satan/Heaven and hell, nothing else in this world is all good or all bad. If life were that cut and dry then there would be no need for extenuating circumstances or jury's. People would not be capable of change and life would be either good or bad and you would know definitely which side you fell on.

So when I stepped outside what some conservatives felt was my conservative box and stepped into a subject that they viewed as both politically and religiously liberal.....not to mention....reprehensible....I was given a verbal beat down by several AND suddenly I was told by more than one, that I had become someone that these people simply didn't know! I was now labeled as wishy washy and one even called me brain washed. Another person told me to my face that I was neither a Catholic nor a conservative because of the way I believed. Sorry folks....I am both. I am also a human being who realizes that God makes us all and that in doing so....He makes no mistakes. research went into both my blog and my opinion....but that made no difference....I was wrong in a lot of eyes. On the upside....I was also thanked by some politically and religiously conservative people who like me, were beginning to see the gray area of the subject. No....I had not turned on my beliefs. I had simply acknowledged that there was more to the story. lost me friends and apparently respect from some. But then again....are those the friends and the respect I wanted if it is so easily lost over a respectful difference of opinion?

I was cut down again on facebook over a kind word about the president. On most days....I find it difficult to find even a civil word to say about the man, but I do try to look for the good in everyone. And whether it was just a show or if it was a true act of good.....Obama did something I thought deserved a word of praise. It wasn't even a big word...just an acknowledgement that even he could do something good. After all....he is a human and he can't be all bad all the time. My acknowledgement of this singular act though, was as if I had changed political sides and suddenly was trying to convert the masses. I was called out on facebook by several who really didn't surprise me. I was prepared.  They saw his act as a show and me as being deluded for falling for it. C'est la vi. I knew that there would be those who disagreed, but honestly I didn't realize it would be to such an extent over such a small thing and if I had it to do over......I would probably do the exact same thing! The fact didn't matter to me whether it was a show or not...the end result was that something that should have been done long ago was finally done....and he happened to be the one to do it. Kudos...for whatever the reason! It was however....the behind the scenes attacks that got me. From friends no less. People brave enough to attack me through email....but not brave enough to do it so that all of fb could see. It was really the first time that this kind of stuff got to me. I have been called a lot of rude names and been insulted by a lot of rude people. Heck...I have had people write blogs about me and rip me limb from limb. You expect that in the world of political and religious debate, but you don't expect it from friends and you don't expect it over something as mundane as a kind word. It showed me then and there what a crazed and emotional society we are becoming. Facts mean nothing. Kindness is only acceptable if given to those certain people......certain other people find acceptable. It is okay to strike out and ridicule any opinion or belief that is not your own and if God forbid you have a difference of better be wearing your thick undies that day.

Where did our compassion and kindness go people? Who said that regardless of which side of the fence you are on that a comedian like Lizz Winstead can make a cruel joke about conservatives being targeted in the Moore, OK tornado? Who said we can't pray for the president and give him the tiniest of compliments when we think we see a glimpse of his humanity? How does kindness and compassion towards other human beings both born (regardless of race, creed, color or sexual orientation) and unborn somehow make me wishy washy and somehow less respectable on both sides of the fence? How does it make me less conservative and less Catholic because I want to see the goodness in people? Isn't that what we as humans (conservative or liberal) and as Christians (regardless of denomination) are suppose to do? People are quick to spout bible verses but what about "judge not" and "love your neighbor." I don't think restrictions were put on either of those.

So I guess if I am viewed as wishy washy. So be it. Obviously those who have labeled me as such will not let the actual facts get in the way of their opinion. So go ahead and bring on the names, the insults and call me out. I can take it. Like my mom always used to say......"if they are picking on you...they are leaving someone else alone." However....just remember that with age comes less and less filter and we all know I didn't have a whole lot to begin with. Someday you might just get to see the unfiltered me in all my glory....and trust me....wishy washy won't be what you will calling me then.


Tuesday, May 21, 2013

God Bless the People of Moore, OK

It has truly been a week....and it is only Tuesday! You would think that with all that is going on that I would have lots of words to say, but truthfully.....I really don't have many. I am as speechless as everyone else. I am especially withdrawing when I hear about the loss of little kids. I guess like everyone else I want answers. I want to know that if this must happen.....that somehow, some way that there is purpose in it all. The faithful side of me realizes that there is purpose in everything, but the human side of me feels deflated and at times even angry that such tragedy takes place.

Yesterday was a day that none of us will soon forget as the town of Moore, OK was devastated by yet it's fourth tornado in 15 years. This tornado hit right as school was getting out and it's path wiped out two schools (both elementary) as well as a hospital and many neighborhoods, businesses and a horse ranch. With the latest technology and 20 some local and cable news stations......we all watched the loop of the tornado baring down on Moore and eventually hitting it head on. In the aftermath....we watched as people wandered aimlessly.....stunned and shocked, looking for any sign of what used to be their neighborhood, their home....their life. First responders were on the scene as soon as traffic and weather would allow and worked professionally and swiftly in a search and rescue effort to remove as many children as possible from the schools. school had all of their children and staff out and safe (at least that is what I last heard). The other school however had removed the 4th-6th graders but the pre-K -3rd grade were unaccounted for. A few began to be brought out, some on their own two feet and didn't look good. My heart broke as the news announced that it was no longer a search and rescue mission and that it was now a search and recover mission at the school. The numbers began coming in....3 kids lost, then 24 and when I quit listening as the number was up to 30. I have yet to listen today. I just can't bring myself to hear the final count. This was only the kids. I know the numbers of men, women and children that were in other places in town will also grow as homes and businesses were literally ripped off their foundations. If people weren't underground when this hit....... 

In the days and weeks that come there will be so many unanswered questions and what if's where this storm is concerned. The schools decided to hold the kids for their safety....instead of letting them out when they heard the storm was headed their way. Parents could of course come pick up their kids but many parents worked..... some in OKC, so there simply wasn't time. I am sure in the days and weeks to come, the school administration will ponder the what if's and parents will grapple with the what if's but in the end....the what if's wont matter because the reality is......this storm was no match for any of them. This storm was destructive and deadly and the nightmare that both schools and parents pray will never happen.....did happen.

More though than the what if's are the why's. Why did Moore get hit yet again? Why has it been hit 4 times in 15 years and two of those times causing mass destruction? Why did it hit right as kids were getting out of school? It is almost certain that if this had hit later in the evening....say 6 or 7 p.m. that the body count might have been much lower. Why with all of our technology were the people of Moore not given more time? The list of why's just goes on an on and sadly....most of those questions will never be answered.

I guess though there is the other side of all of this. The side that those involved in this storm will be holding onto with all their might. There is the side that Oklahoman's are a tough and resilient people. I have known an Oklahoman or two and I know that although like the rest of the world watching....they will feel the devastation and loss, they won't waste time on self-pity. They will mourn their loss, help their neighbors and begin the clean up...and the rebuild. They will fight back, they won't lose their faith and they will go on. Yesterday the governor of OK made the statement that these people still had pioneer stock in them. This is so true. They are fighters and although this storm may test their will definitely not destroy it.

To all those who have been affected by this storm, lost their homes and/or their loved heart breaks for you and my thoughts and prayers are with you. For those first responders.....I thank you. Gratitude is not nearly enough for I know that just a little to the west or a little to the east.....I too might be frantically looking for loved ones and praying for the best all the while fearing the worst.

I know that if you live within a 300 mile radius of Moore that there is an overwhelming urge to jump in your car and go help, but after experiencing a couple of tornado's myself.....this isn't as helpful as you might think. What we can do is use technology to its fullest. If you see on facebook or twitter post where someone is looking for someone involved in the tornado, pass it on. If you see someone trying to send a message to family members....pass it on. You never know who might see these posts and with your help, they just might get to where they need to be. Also....check with the Red Cross, they can tell you in the days to come where you can send money and supplies for those who lost everything and they can also tell you when they will need people to jump in their cars and come help. For now though....there will be days ahead of search and recovery and the fewer people there to crowd the area....the better. 

Yes....I know there is purpose and from great sadness comes great strength. May God bless the people of Moore, OK.

UPDATE: I just heard that the death count has been lowered from 51 to 24!!!!! Of course these numbers can change....but there is definitely a blessing in this!

Friday, May 17, 2013

Do You Say the F Word?

Of late....the news has just been full of interesting tidbits to blog about and today's blog is about a piece that was run on the local news last night. Do you say the F word? Quite has snuck into my vocabulary over time and I am not very proud of it. I rarely say it but if I am very angry OR if I hurt myself unexpectedly....there is a fairly good chance that it might come flying from my lips. I really hate the word and what I hate worse is that mainstream America no longer even bats an eye as it is used as both a noun and a verb in a lot of everyday conversations.

The first time I ever was aware of the word was when I was about 8 years old. I had been drawing on our driveway with some white chalk-like rocks. I went in for lunch and when I came back out, someone had come along and written the F word in huge letters across the cement. I had no idea what the word meant and I went on with my chalk drawing. When my mother came out to find the word sprawled across her driveway.....she nearly had a heart attack. I still didn't know what the word meant....but I knew it couldn't be good as my mother read me the riot act over writing such a word as she frantically scrubbed the driveway before any neighbors saw it. It wasn't long before she realized that I really had no idea what the word meant and that I had not written it. Then I ask the question I am sure she dreaded...."What does it mean?" Back then, kids truly were innocent and even if she had gone into detail....I would still have been clueless, so she just said it was a bad word. In fact she said it was the worst word you could use next to gdamn. She told me never to use it. No big deal. It was simply not a word that I ever heard. At the time...I went to Catholic school and I never heard it there (the nuns would have done us in had such a word left our lips within their hearing) and my parents NEVER used that word. They both cussed from time to time.....but not that word.

It wasn't until I was in junior high that I first realized that the F word was obviously not as taboo to public school kids as it was to Catholic school kids. Of course middle school is where hormones run rampant and little boys like to show off their tough guy vocabularies. I was legitimately shocked the first time I heard someone my age use that word. I still had no idea what it meant but I knew it was bad. Not being able to find it in the dictionary (it was the 70's after all) I finally decided to try and get my mom to define this word for me. First of all....let me say that if I had known what a can of worms I was opening....I might have chosen just to stay ignorant of the meaning. When I asked Mom what it meant, immediately came the question, "Where did you hear that word?" Not being smart enough or quick enough to come up with anything other than the truth I said, "A kid at school said it." Next question of course was "What kid?" Again....I wasn't a quick thinker on my feet and when Mom gave me that look....the kids name came flying out. I was assured that the school would be getting a call the next day and the principal would be informed that this kid was using that word. Mom kept her promise. Poor Mom. What she didn't realize is not only was that kid using the word but so were a lot of the kids. I guess we were both a little naive back then. After the indignation part of our conversation...then came what for me was the embarrassing part. If Mom were to explain the meaning of the word....then she had to explain what sex was. That's right....we segued right into our first sex talk. I got so much more information than I bargained for that day. In short though....what I took away from the conversation was: sex is a wonderful, beautiful act that should be respected. The F word was a vulgar description of sex which completely disrespected the act making it cheap and dirty. It was a really good definition and one that has stayed with me to this day. I sincerely believe that my mother went to her grave not using that word even once in her life. And when it slipped from my lips in front of her in my twenties.....she almost put me in my grave. That was simply something people did not say in front of her. 

As an did become much more mainstream. Men especially, seemed to use it quite often and then one of my close friends went through a period where she couldn't say ten words without using the F word as an adjective. At first it shocked me and I would tell her to stop. Then I heard it so often that I too began to say it. I hated hearing myself say it though. I never sounded cool or tough, I just sounded to me like a girl trying to sound cool or tough. I gave up the word mainly because I felt trashy when I said it.

When my husband and I got together....the only real fault he had was that he used the F word in every sentence. He had always been a bit of an edgy kind of guy so the word was a huge part of his vocabulary. The military didn't help it much. In probably just deepened the use. I would call him on it time and again and lucky for both of us.....he never let it slip around my mother. However, everywhere else....that word flew. After Z was born, I asked him to watch it in front of him and he did try but still....ever so often that word made its appearance and I would cringe. I warned him that one day that word would come back to bite him....and it did. We had a living room full of company and our precious 2 year old was doing what he loved to do best. He was talking a mile a minute, dancing and trying to soak up as much attention from those present as possible. He was actually really funny, but Tim didn't want to let Z think that he could act like that every time we had people over. He told Z to sit down so the adults could talk. Z ignored him and continued to entertain. Tim was not a dad you ignored so he then told Z in a very strict tone to go to his room. Yep! Wait for it! Wait for it! "I'm not going to my F'n room," was the strongly irritated 2 year old response he got...hands on hips included. Tim went red all over. I didn't know whether it was from embarrassment that his toddler had just dropped the F bomb in front of all of his friends....or whether he was about to ensure that Z would never see his 3rd birthday. Luckily for everyone it was the whole embarrassment thing. Z did go to his room and he never used that word again.....and Tim learned a very valuable lesson about listening to me. Tim almost completely broke himself of using that word in our house and he even started calling others on it. Leave it to Z to accomplish what I couldn't!

I noticed as my kids got older....that the F word was used more often by both kids and adults and men and women. It seemed to have hit mainstream conversation and we had all gotten so desensitized to it that it barely raised an eyebrow. My adult son says it, but seldom does he say it around me. Z I don't think says least not in front of me. As I said.....I have said it, but aside from not liking myself much when I do say it, it has always been my fear that if David ever did start talking.....that might be his first word. 

Today the F word is in our music, in our movies and it is on our tv.....although so far, the networks still bleep it out. It is used daily and by everyone from celebrities to the Vice President of the United States. Truly I don't believe that most use it with the vulgar intent that once caused people to shutter, but bottom line is.....the meaning of the word has not changed. It still means the same thing as it meant when my mother defined it for me when I was in junior high. At the most it is a vulgar, degrading and demeaning word for the act of sex. At the very least it is a vulgar word that shows a poor vocabulary, poor manners and a lack of education if that word is used at least once in every sentence and takes the place of adjectives, nouns and verbs. Apparently some are just too lazy to expand their vocabulary to include other words.

All is not lost though. There are still those out there that see the F word for what it is. Last summer I was with a bunch of friends who were my age and we were just talking. One guy in particular had said the F word several times. It was nothing new. He had always talked like that and then we started talking about our kids. Apparently one of his daughters who is an adult, used the word and he hated it. He took her aside and told her that he knew he had set a bad example....but there was just something so vulgar about a girl that used that word. He went on to tell her that if that word continued to be a part of her vocabulary that it could really affect how people in the professional world viewed her as well as anyone who might be left in polite society. I had to admit that I was a little shocked listening to him tell us about this. He of course was right. There are still those people who will be offended by that word (as well they should be) and if the word is said in front of the wrong could give them the wrong impression about who you are as a person. I know I certainly wouldn't want someone to hear me say the F word and assume that I was always that crass and vulgar.

I was talking about all of this a while back with another friend who admitted that the word was pretty tacky, but sometimes the word just had to be said. Sometimes no other word would get the point across quite as well as the F word. I thought about this. It is true. The times I have been pushed to the point of using that word in anger, irritation or frustration.....people did pop to attention pretty quickly. Was it because I was a woman half a century old using the word? Was it because I was really angry and any word I had used in that tone would have had the same effect? OR was it the combination of the two along with the word? Did that word in that particular tone at my age cause them to realize that I was dead serious and that lines had been crossed? I just don't know.

The bottom line is.....I am sure that at some point that word will rear it's ugly head in my conversation again. However.....I am making a major effort to avoid it. I also know that the F word is not going anywhere. It's even in the dictionary now! That doesn't mean we have to sit idly by and accept it though. There is nothing wrong with asking someone not to use the word in front of you, turning off a movie that can't get through one sentence of dialogue without it or refusing to listen to music that is laced with it. I don't think the F word should be part of mainstream conversation and I don't think we should just sit back and let it overtake us. I think we should be shocked when a 2 year old says it, when a pretty young girl says it, when an 80 year old man says it or even when an angry 50 year old woman says it.  If taken at its true is a shocking, vulgar and really degrading word. No matter who you are....the F word never makes you look any cooler, smarter, prettier or classier by using it. In fact, in most does just the opposite. For the most part....we are an educated country but you surely couldn't tell it.....when we open our mouths and speak!

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Angelina Jolie and Her Breasts

Yesterday's big news was Angelina Jolies breasts. It is said that Jolie was tested for the breast cancer gene because her mother died in her 50's from cancer. Jolie found that she had the gene which gave her an 87% chance of getting breast cancer, so she opted for a double mastectomy and reconstructive surgery to lower her risk to less than 5%.

Message boards, Facebook and other social media were alive with public input on opinions of her actions. Some thought it was nothing more than a publicity stunt to amp up a stalled career. Last I knew her career was fine as she gets multi-millions if she chooses to do a film and if she chose never to do a film again.....I think her, Brad and their six kids would be just fine financially. Then there were those who felt that what Jolie did was extreme overkill feeling that she "mutilated" her own body out of fear. Of course there were those who have watched someone die from cancer or know that cancer is rampant in their family and they totally got why she did it. They too would do it if faced with the likelihood of breast cancer because of genetics. And finally....there were those who had no idea that there was a genetic test for breast cancer and that such pro-active measures could be taken to prevent the disease. So as you woman's actions (be it a high profile woman) set the media on fire and brought about water cooler conversation for days to come.

Here's a little story that some of you may know but many of you don't. My mom had three primary cancers. What this means is that she had three distinctly different cancers and none of them were related. Often cancer from one place will spread to another making it a secondary cancer to the primary one, but in Mom's case....they were all primary. She began with uterine cancer, had a full hysterectomy and was fine. Then they found that her breasts were full of what they called "pre-cancerous" areas. Having been terrified when she learned of her uterine cancer....she did her research on what she could do to prevent the inevitable breast cancer that was in her future. This was about 1998 or so and cancer then like now......was without a cure and then we didn't even have what we have now in cancer treatment. When she found that she could have both her breasts removed.....she didn't think twice. Having this surgery when she was healthy and when it was her choice rather than wait until she "did" get breast cancer and run the risk of the cancer spreading was a no brainer for her. At the time insurance did cover the procedure as preventative (especially since her breast were pre-cancerous) but reconstruction was not covered. Her doctor strongly recommended reconstruction but Mom wasn't sure. At first she really didn't think reconstruction was a big deal. Several people in her life seconded that saying that reconstruction was nothing but vanity. After careful thought though....Mom decided that reconstruction was necessary for her as a woman. Those breasts had been a part of her for 60 years and losing them completely was not something she was ready to do. It was a decision she never regretted! Long story short....her surgery was covered....her reconstruction was not. Before even being completely mother and several other women who had also had the procedure done, went before the Kansas State Insurance Commission and explained why this surgery and the reconstruction were so important to women. Apparently they got through to the Commission as it was immediately covered. Mom did go on to have two other primary cancers (lung and colon) and sadly the colon cancer is what she died from in 2002. It was felt that my Mom's Lupus which she had lived with for over 40 years and possibly her ecosystem growing up on a farm full of DDT and other chemicals we now know to be cancer causing agents, could have played a part in all of this.

Mom was not alone in her cancer issues as several of her brothers and sisters also had cancer. The only two they had though were breast and colon, so quite possibly Mom's 4 pack a day cigarette habit for 30 some years had something to do with her lung cancer and the Lupus possibly aggravated it all. However....with a family history like mine, you have to know that I have always lived with the possibility of getting cancer in the back of my mind. My chances for uterine/cervical cancer diminished to almost 0 when I had a hysterectomy after David was born. I was hemorrhaging and it wouldn't stop. They wanted to leave my ovaries but my mother threw a fit and said I really needed to have a full hysterectomy where they took everything. I will thank her forever for having me do that. I found out though that because not only did my mom have pre-cancerous breasts and a couple of aunts as well as a couple of first cousins having breast cancer......I also had an uncle with breast cancer. That is pretty rare and when they see this in a family waves all kinds of red flags. My doctor strongly suggested that I start having breast exams every six months. In one six month period I have a breast MRI and in the next six month period.....a diagnostic mammogram. She also highly encouraged me to do genetic testing for the breast cancer gene. Because of my family history....I only paid $400 out of pocket for a $3500 test. The peace of mind finding out that I did not in fact have or carry the gene was worth every penny that I am still paying off. With my uncle having breast cancer though....I continue the bi-yearly exams as well as monthly self breast exams.

The bottom line about the breast cancer gene is that it takes an average chance of getting breast cancer (somewhere around 25%) and ups it to around 85-90%. As my doctor explained it to me.....if you have the gene then it quits being about "if" I get breast cancer and it starts being about "when" I get breast cancer. Then you live with "will I catch it in time?" Many people when faced with these percentages fall into denial and thus refuse to get the bi-yearly or even the yearly exams and opt to put their heads in the sand because they can't deal with the "C" word. My doctor explained the options to me when I was waiting for my genetic test results to get back (anywhere from 3-6 weeks). She told me that if I had the gene I could stick with the bi-yearly exams or I could have a preventative double mastectomy and reconstruction. I didn't even have to give it a second thought. My kids had already lost too much and too many people.....I wasn't about to make them lose me too. I also knew that anything that insurance did not cover was going to be a lot cheaper than cancer treatments.....and a six week recovery time is much easier than possible death. As with was a no brainer. Fortunately.....I don't carry the gene and I am good with my bi-yearly exams. It is the smartest preemptive strike against this horrid disease and I am all about being one step ahead of the game where cancer is concerned.

To be quite is easy to see how people would view Jolie's actions as publicity stunts. For some actors/actresses.....this is what their lives are made up of and that is what we are growing used to from celebrity. However, Jolie doesn't usually jump into the media every time she changes her clothes. In fact....Jolie went through the surgery and reconstruction before she ever came out to the public. If it was just for the media attention.....she would have been proclaiming her actions from the get go....having the media follow her ever incision and suture. She did not. I would say Jolie came out about this to make women aware of the option....and she did. Many women didn't even know that there was genetic testing available or that even though this option is extreme that they could have an elective double mastectomy. A lot of people also came down on her because she was wealthy....therefore she could afford it where as the average woman cannot. I don't think this is necessarily true. Now I am not sure what is covered since Obama-care has come in and torn up the healthcare system....but before all of this, the surgery was considered preventative when you have the gene and with written recommendation from your doctor....both the surgery and reconstruction were mostly covered just like any other medically necessary procedure. Obama-care may have changed that. I truly hope not.

The bottom line....cancer is nothing to play around with. A wait and see attitude could be the difference between life and death if you have the gene. It is also important to note that if you have the gene....your daughters (and sons) have an even greater chance of having both the gene and the well as your siblings. In this case....knowledge truly is power. Is this procedure extreme? As a woman I would say absolutely, but my peace of mind, my health and my life are far more important to me than my breasts. So before we nail Jolie to the cross and make her the poster child for media posturing and extreme medical procedures, lets take a look at the bigger picture. Jolie has opened a lot of eyes to breast cancer, the gene and the possibility of prevention. She has started a dialogue and because of this....woman may go to their doctors and ask questions which could result in many lives saved.  The choice is obviously an individual one that cannot be made without all the facts, but today because of Jolie and her announcement....a lot more women now know that they actually have a choice.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Judgement, the Blame Game and Walking Away

I am fully aware that as Christians (for those of us who are)....we should not judge. I am also fully aware that as humans.....we do. I try though to go with "Judge the action not the person." Sometimes however....the action does tend to seep over into the person and it is hard to draw the line of where the action ends and the person begins. It is also hard not to say something or at the very least....not to think something about the person/action. A certain individual comes to mind as I am writing this. This person is not really close to me but for some reason....they have had an affect on me.

I am a firm believer in God putting people in our lives for a reason and at first I thought maybe I was put in this persons life but after much deliberation, I think this person may actually have been put in mine. I know beyond a doubt there is a lesson here but I am not sure what it is. Of late I have questioned whether that lesson is just that I should mind my own business. Perhaps though, it is a lesson in kindness. Not everyone will return kindness but does that mean we still shouldn't try to give it? Maybe it is a lesson in patience. Sometimes people do want others to care....but they push people away in fear. Is the lesson that with patience this person might accept the hand of friendship? Sadly though, I think the lesson I am being taught is that not everybody wants to see the positives. Some people literally want to go through life being miserable and spreading that misery. Because of this, they will admonish, insult and even hate anyone who doesn't pity them as much as they pity themselves and they will shut out anyone who thinks differently than they do or anyone who they perceive takes attention away from them and their misery. In a nutshell....they are happiest in their misery and no one will ever change that.

The person I speak of is older (I hate to say elderly because from where I stand...elderly is 90 and I don't think this person is quite that old) and I believe they have had a rather rough life. I don't know details but I have glimpsed bits and pieces which indicate that there have been trials. This person is also very negative person and very close minded to those who have a different or more positive perspective. They also seem to fluctuate from believing in God to cursing God and then....denying Him. This I guess comes from the trials that have been experienced. I think the most frustrating thing about this individual though is the blame game they play. One of the latest conversations had to do with having grown children who this person had no contact with. It was the children's fault and it was the other parents fault but it was in no way....this persons fault. Then there were the trials and issues this person has. Of course this person has no fault in anything that has befallen them. is God's fault. God is wicked for causing such issues in their life. But then again.....there is no God and don't you dare even suggest that there might be.

If someone were to call this individual on any of this or relate something in their own life to this persons life to let them know that they are not the only one who suffers....then both the kindness and the story are ridiculed. The storyteller is both weak and pathetic...not to mention argumentative and completely disagreeable. The bottom line is.......the storyteller will be admonished for making this persons issues about them. It is a very warped view of the world.

I have actually wondered if this person is somewhat medicated which might explain some of the attitude changes, for on occasions this person can be charming in an older person type way. There seems to be almost a gentleness there which can catch you off guard. Just as suddenly though....the walls come up and then the claws come out. This person can come off with a four letter tirade that would make a sailor blush and in the next sentence say they will not allow cursing. The word bi-polar comes to mind....but that is just an assumption with no fact to back it up.

So this person sought me out. I have no idea how they knew about me, but apparently they did and they introduced themself to me. I was leery as I have other people in my life who have similar qualities but not to the extent of this person. I can't turn people away though....especially if they express a need and this person did. I remained quiet though and watched and listened. Several times I held my tongue as I didn't want to say something not knowing the whole story and really not feeling that it was my place. It wasn't until God got brought into it with such venom and blasphemy that I finally felt I had to say something, not because I thought it would change this persons outlook, but because I couldn't in good conscience be around someone who talked in such a way. At first this person actually backed down and even apologized which really surprised me. There wasn't a lot more conversation about God after that.

I guess the last straw for me was when this person said that we don't need to help each other out in this world. Everyone just needs to mind their own business. In their way of thinking.....most people don't want or need help anyway and just because I might perceive someone as needing help doesn't mean that they would want my help. I disagreed and countered with the fact that sometimes people really do need help and have no idea how to ask, who to ask or where to go to ask. I used a death in the family as an example. A lot of times when there is a death, those left behind are numb and they do need help but have no idea just what they need. Having someone step in and just "help" can be such a relief. In other words...there is a need but that need is hard to convey. After saying was as if I had verbally slapped this person. They told me that I was making what they said about me and that the problem with this world was that everybody had their nose in everybody elses business. This person didn't need anyones help and apparently neither did anyone else in the world. Very strange and at this point....more manic than I could handle. I then bid this person farewell and cut off all ties.

Yeah....I guess I have judged this person but I am really not sure what exactly that judgement is. I do know that they crossed a line when they started their God tirade. Personally....I don't care whether someone believes in God or not, HOWEVER.....I do and therefore I will not stand by and listen to someone disrespect God or my beliefs. As for the rest of it though....I tend to think this person has skidded through a lot of years doing things their own way and possibly making some rather questionable choices....and when things didn't work out.....looking for someone to blame. I don't think a lot of responsibility has been taken for personal actions and it is quite possible that this individual will go to their grave still blaming everyone in sight for the way their life ended up. I guess my judgement is that this person is extremely unhappy and there is little I can do about it. It's the old....leading the horse scenario. You can only do so much and then some of it is left to the person. If they refuse then what purpose is there for you to even try?

I guess the moral to this story is that not everyone sees the world as a basically good place. Not everyone can be a friend or even wants a friend.....even if they seek you out. And finally....sometimes you just have to do your best and then cut your losses before the emotional drowning pulls you under too. Quite possibly....that is the lesson. You can't fix everyone so sometimes it is just better to walk away.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Today....I Plan!

The countdown is on. In 8.5 days it will officially be summer vacation and today everything feels to be in a good place for the most part. The important, health and humor are all in tact...and it is only 7:15 a.m. on a MONDAY! I would say we are off to a good start. It is truly amazing what a little sunshine and warm spring weather can do for a persons soul.

Last week I felt a bit melancholy. There was so much emotionally going on with me and coming off a couple of particularly nasty migraines.....I just felt bleh.'s a real emotion and if you have ever felt bleh then you know exactly what I am talking about. Yesterday was another doozy of a migraine which stayed somewhat masked by meds but remained constant none the less. Today I am just dealing with remnants and have that hung over feeling. I think I am looking forward to a cure for migraines one day almost as much as I am looking forward to a cure for cancer. These things are brutal.

Because of my bleh mentality last week, I let a few things fall to the wayside and that which did not fall to the wayside....fell through the cracks. It was not one of my more productive weeks. Oh....did I mention that my adult child who has lived back home for almost a year now is moving out? He is in transition and I still have custody of his pit bull (Vic) until he actually has a yard to put his furry child in. It is a strange occurrence this time. Adult child seems to have gotten his life back on track. I am thinking he is in a place he hasn't been in since his dad died. This is the first time he has moved out that there wasn't drama or a fight involved with the move. I am really going to miss him.....but I am also so pleased that he is in such a good and happy place. Another change in Lisaland....but this is a good one I think. where was I? Oh yeah....non-productivity. Well, I plan on changing that this week. I have a goal that before school is out to have my house totally cleaned and my yard in tip top shape so that I can start summer with a clean slate. I have so much and yet nothing definite planned for this summer. It is Z's last summer in high school and I want to make it a GREAT one.....starting with an end of school party for his friends. While Z is not saint Z quite yet.....after all he is still a teenage boy, my life would be so much more difficult if not for him. Z has always had a special bond with David and never once has he resented restrictions or speed bumps that David's health has brought to our lives. He is a resilient child who goes with the flow and always puts David first. All of this is why I want to give him an amazing summer. It is his last summer as a high school student and I want it to be a memorable one. I am trying to make a list of all the things we can do. Granted it is a bit limited on a zero $ budget.....but I am sure we will find a way to have fun. We usually do. Oh....and by the way....apparently I have kept some all of you out of the loop and I am hearing about it. Z MADE ESPRIT FOR NEXT YEAR!!!!!! For those of you scratching your head and wondering what the heck I am referring to......Esprit is the honor choir which Z has tried to get into since his freshman year. He would have made it each year if not for grades and this year......he had the grades and then some. I am so proud of him!!! Happy Chris and Marni?????

So today..... I plan! In order to pull off all that I would like to achieve in the coming 8.5 days.....I will need a plan of action, goals......and the energy to carry through with it all. This means.....NO MIGRAINES!!!!! We shall see. Well....I am off to go forth and conquer.....but first there must be coffee. Okay....I am off to go forth and make coffee. Happy Monday!

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Mom, Nurse....and Woman?

I had an amazing conversation with someone yesterday who knew my mom from a different standing than I did. She worked with my mom and she saw the professional side of her. As she began telling me stories about the woman she worked was hard to mesh that professional woman with the woman I called "Mom!" It was especially hard when she told about how if Mom was ever upset about something at work that she would lay it out on the table, clear the air and then never bring it up again. Apparently at work....Mom felt that once something was discussed...then enough had been said on the subject. After need to beat a dead horse....Right?  REALLY???? My mother? The woman who was like a pit bull on crack when I pissed her off? The woman who could give someone the silent treatment for days and who grounded me for LIFE not once or even twice...but THREE separate times? That's right everyone.....I am a 50 year old woman....and by all rights I am still grounded. Where was this "work" mom when I missed curfew? I would hear about curfew violations for days. So this was the other side of Mom.

Funny how as kids we often don't see our parents as humans with actual lives. To us they go from being the smartest people in the world when we are very the dumbest people in the world when we are in our teens.....and then back to the smartest people in the world when we finally get old enough to appreciate all their hard work, sacrifice and life experience. It is then that there comes a day when you realize that 1)Mom's can actually put curses on you and at least one of your off-spring is living proof of that, 2) You were oh so wrong each and every time you said....."I will never say those things to my kids,"....... as you open your mouth and your mother's words fall out, and finally 3) You as a parent can only hope to be half the parent your mom was and because of said aren't even close.

I remember when my mom went back to work after all those years of being a stay at home mom. She had literally devoted her entire life to my brother and I, and quite honestly......I thought that is what all mom's did. It was a total shock when she went back to work and she had a life outside the house with responsibilities and schedules that didn't include us. I was grown but still living at home and my brother was in high school and yet we were like two little kids whose mom forgot to pick them up from daycare. It was culture shock for us to find out that Mom had a life outside of us and that she liked it. In fact....I am pretty sure there were days she would much rather have been at work than at home. Eventually though....I saw some positive changes in my mom. I had always thought she was a Wonder Woman of sorts, but now I saw a quiet confidence in her. She liked what she did (she was a psych nurse) and from all accounts.....she was damn good at it. Going back after so many first she was met with quite a bit of resentment as well as the attitude that she wasn't quite good enough. Mom was a two year, old school RN and she was thrown amongst a bunch of younger degree RN's. It wasn't too long though, before Mom would put her practical experience up against their "book learning" and when push came to shove......Mom's experience won out. After Mom died, a nurse she had worked with took me aside and told me what a great nurse she had been. She said Mom's patient care was above and beyond anyone elses and apparently no one could "take down" or calm a patient like Mom. The nurse went on to tell me that if a patient started to get wound up or go off the little 60+ year old mom would face them head on while all the degree nurses would basically be lined up, hiding behind her. Experience vs. book learning....Go Mom!

Before Mom quit working due to her health, she was a well loved and very well respected nurse by both doctors and other nurses at the hospital. That was not to say she didn't butt heads with them when she felt something was wrong. It was usually over patient care, she was usually right and often she won those battles. I was told that the nurses and hospital staff knew she had their backs and the doctors knew their patients were in good hands with Mom. The patients also loved her. She would go out of her way to make a rough experience as easy as possible for those who found themselves in her care. She would wear bright colored clothing and she had a pair of earrings for just about every day of the year. Seldom would you ever catch her wearing the same pair of earrings twice in the same season. She also preferred to wear her hair grey. I would say "Mom....why don't you color your hair?" By this time her hair was a shimmering grey. She would always say "No!" She kept her hair grey because her patients identified with her as a grandmotherly type figure and thus treated her that way showing her greater respect and often less aggression because of her perceived age. It takes a pretty cold hearted person to hit their grandma...and Mom was counting on that!

When Mom died, most of those she had worked with attended her funeral. She had made some amazing friends in this work life of hers and the church was filled with nurses and doctors who like us....were grieving her loss. It was a time of great sadness for me....but also a time when I learned so much about the woman I had never gotten to really know.

What I find strange is, that as a mom and I talked a lot. We would have conversations that lasted hours and I really thought because of this that I knew my mom. On reflection though, those conversations often were about life when she was young, her family and when I got older.......a lot about ME! Seldom though were those conversations ever about her....her thoughts, her feelings or what made her happy. After she died, I realized that there was so much about her that I never knew. I knew the mom.....her co-workers knew the nurse, but I don't think any of us ever really knew the woman. Even today I will think of something about her and suddenly realize.....I don't have the answers to so many questions. She was a complex woman, who was stubborn to the core. She had a laugh that was contagious....... which always seemed to be a problem in church, but she also hid so much from the world. She had a poker face that revealed nothing and often she refused to show her hand.

So in yesterdays conversation......while I was learning so much new information about my mom and trying desperately to grasp every syllable so that I could ponder it later, she said something that I have heard several times recently. She said....."You look so much like your mom." No one realizes just how that makes me feel. To be honest, I always thought my mom was beautiful and I never saw myself looking like her. In fact growing up......I never really looked like any of my family. I always felt like the odd girl out and I would wonder how my pretty mom could have given birth to such an odd me. About a month ago though, I glanced in the mirror and the reflection staring back caught me off guard. For a second, I didn't see me....I saw my mom. It was the first time I ever saw the resemblance. I won't lie....there were some tears. If what they say is true and I am starting to look like her, then I am both grateful and honored.

I guess yesterday's conversation was fitting, as today is Mother's Day. I want to wish my mother and all the mother's in heaven......a very Happy Mother's Day..... and to all you mom's still giving it your best shot every day here on earth......I wish each and every one of you.....a truly wonderful and happy day. Happy Mother's Day!!!!!!

In Remembrance of Mary Jane Doughtery Jacques

Friday, May 10, 2013

Theresa Caputo

Theresa Caputo! When I say the name you either know immediately who I am speaking of or you give me a blank stare. I guess it all depends on how much tv you watch and what kind of tv you watch as to whether you know who she is or not. If you watch TLC (I think it is TLC) or just about any talk show then you probably have at least glimpsed this little....big haired blonde with the New York/Long Island accent who has a propensity to talk to "spirit"! Yep...if you have caught her reality documentary know I am speaking of The Long Island Medium.

To be honest...I have watched very little of her show but I have seen enough to give me pause and make me wonder. Mainly the reason is because she isn't like a lot of the "mediums" we are used to seeing who refuse to even talk to you unless you have first put down money to have a one on one with them or have paid to come to one of their event readings. No Caputo is a medium of a different kind. She gives readings anytime and anywhere the "spirit" strikes her. Literally! She can be at the dry cleaners, getting her car worked on or at the beauty salon and if "spirit" which is what she calls the voices or spirits of the dead who talk to her, starts speaking.....she will immediately search out the individual whose family member or friends are trying to contact them.....and give them a message right then and there. I will admit....this I found intriguing.

Caputo looks to be about 5'1" or 2" with the quintessential big hair and decided accent all the Jersey/New York reality shows have taught us to expect from that part of the country. The only thing bigger than Caputo's hair is her personality. She is all in....wherever she goes. She seems very uninhibited especially when it comes to spirit as she will search out and find the person who is being messaged whether there are 3 people there or 300. According to Caputo she has been seeing/hearing spirit since she was about 4 years old. As I have not read in depth into her life and currently I can find no wiki info on just Caputo, I will assume that dealing with spirit all these years has had its trying, scary and even frustrating moments...especially when Caputo is a practicing Catholic. Yep.....and Catholics as a rule don't usually do the whole spirit thing. Funny thing though, a lot of the mediums that have been hard to dispute have been Catholics. A lot of psychics and those who work with real "ghost hunters," are also Catholics and are in close contact with the Catholic church for rituals such as exorcisms. Catholic prayers are almost always used as a means to drive away evil and evil spirits. That's all scoff at us until someone is possessed. Then who ya gonna call....that's right. A Catholic.  Hmmmm...... Also, let us not forget those profits and saints who have had knowledge of other wordly persons and events. Yes....I know, God given knowledge, but then whose to say Caputo's is not also God given? It would have been a hard fought argument against firm believing Catholics.....myself likely included until yesterday.

Caputo is  married and has two teenage children and her family is well aware of her gifts. Aware almost to the point that they find it irritating and even somewhat embarrassing when Caputo will stop at a school function or the mall and search out who spirit wants her to. Lets face it....all teenagers feel like this about their parents from time to time. The only difference is.....most parents can't tell you that your long dead grandfather left some papers hidden under a floor board in the house and you need to go find them. It is a good thing this family is pretty laid back and has learned to go with the flow...not to mention laugh at themselves.

 Mediums and psychics have not had very good press and many mediums of the past have been proven frauds out to make a buck on peoples emotions. Knowing that you can find out the future or talk to someone who has died is pretty emotional stuff and something that to some would be worth a lot of money. In fact in the 80's and 90's Psychic Hotlines were all the rage. You could call a 1-900 number and hear all about your future......for a price. When they were investigated and found to be nothing more than a money pit for callers who sometimes called numerous times a day and stayed on the call for lengthy sessions.....the Psychic Hotlines were all shut down. Then in the early 2000's mediums were all the rage. For a price.....a medium would sit down with you and help you contact your long lost friends and relatives. It was a new twist on the long practiced seances of the past. This new breed of mediums were masters at obtaining just the right info to give their clients a believable read thus insuring a return visit with more info and an even more believable read. Many of these so-called mediums were also found to be fraudulent and thus mediums almost became a joke.

As far as my belief in mediums....I was brought up that there is a thin line between good and evil and heaven and hell....therefore erring on the side of caution is always best. My mother told me that when she was young that she had gone to a fortune teller. Whatever the fortune teller had told her (which she would never tell me), came to pass and it scared her to death. Mom's overall feeling was that whatever this fortune teller was dishing was not coming from a good place and she used it as a cautionary tale to steer clear of such things. Her feeling was that God has a reason for not allowing us to know the future....except when He gives us saints and profits whom He hand picks to deliver such information. As for ghosts, spirits and the dead.....even though members of my largely Catholic family have come in direct contact with is rarely talked about and it seems to fall into the family tales as more lore than history. I think the issue is that Catholics and other religions too...this is not exclusive to just us, find it difficult to find the line between what God allows us and what the devil try's to convince us of. It doesn't help that so many fakes are walking the street with big promises and their hands out.

When I was in my late teens a local radio station had a psychic in the studio. She was fairly well known and had even worked with the police on several unsolved cases with some success. She was doing readings over the phone if you called in and were selected. Unbeknown to my mother....I called in. I was chosen for her to do a reading and to this day.....I can't tell you what she said or if it were right or wrong. When my mom found out her first reaction was...."You know better than that," followed by...."What did she say?" It obviously wasn't too earth shattering or it would have stuck in my mind better. At least I think it would have. At any rate....I knew my mothers interest was just as intrigued as mine.

I won't lie. With those I have lost, I have thought often about how much I would like to talk to them again. I have even had dreams about it. Still....I don't have the money to shell out for an iffy reading by an iffy medium and even if I did have the money.....I still don't think I would. However....after seeing what I saw yesterday on Dr. Oz, if I had the money I just might spend it on a trip to Hicksville, NY and hang out in Caputo's neighborhood for a day or two and see if spirit has any messages for me.

So yesterday....Dr. Oz had Caputo on. Now I don't normally watch Dr. Oz but yesterday I just happened to flip over and I saw her, so I watched. Apparently she had been on before and it was decided that this time they were going to do some studies on her brain waves to see what her brain did when she was getting messages. They did a before and during study. The test was done by an MD who is an expert in this sort of things. While I didn't understand everything that was being said and shown about the different kind of waves....what I did find interesting was that there was a definite change in the waves and the kind of waves, when she was getting a message. It also showed on her brain a spot that was common with people who have seizures....which she does not have. The MD said there was definitely something going on in her brain when she was getting these messages. Very interesting. Add to all this that when she does a reading....paid or otherwise...she wants no information on a person. Then....there are literally hundreds of people that she has read that the messages she gives are in no way anything she could possibly know. Sometimes the messages are even things the messagie had forgotten or had no idea would somehow be important. Caputo does not claim to be psychic as she does not know the future and seems very happy about that.

I have often believed that if my child were missing and the police could not find them....I would not be above contacting a psychic. I believe that there is both good and evil on this earth and sometimes the evil is not always mortal and not always seen. Perhaps God gave us these special individuals to help fight that evil whether we understand their abilities or not. After yesterday....I am a lot more inclined to believe that Caputo might just be one of Gods special people given this gift with a purpose. Obviously there is something going on in her brain that is different than yours and mine and she has been on the money with her messages too many times to simply disregard her gift. And lets face it....who would actually want to go through life as a messenger between the living and the dead? It would be exhausting and cut into your own life and emotions (although she says she rarely feels emotion during her readings) and at the very least....the lives of her family. At times I am sure it feels like much more of a curse than a gift. So at the end of the the spunky, Long Island medium for real? I would say the facts seem to point to....yes!

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Just Another Story.....About Me!

Whatever made you want to write? Were you born writing or did you have to learn the skill? I have been asked these questions several times of late. Perhaps it is because I am blogging more again. At any rate....I decided that on this drury, rainy and YET warmer spring day.....that I would tell the story of "writer" me. You know you are dying to hear it....RIGHT?! So here goes...........

I can't speak for all writers but for journey has been an A to Z journey and I am still somewhere in the middle of the alphabet. My "A" started out with my parents. They never talked down to my brother and I nor did they talk baby talk. My mother was a nurse and therefore a walking dictionary of medical terms. My dad simply felt that kids were just small adults and so he spoke to us like we understood words like "fortitude" and "exuberance" even when we were toddlers. Because of this, when I started vocabulary was miles beyond most of the kids in my class.  Another thing that was initially for my parents benefit but ended up benefiting me, was the fact that if my parents wished to talk about something in front of me that they didn't want me to know or understand.....they spelled the words. My mother was a master at this. She could spell a sentence faster than anyone I have ever seen. My dad and most others often had a hard time understanding Mom's lightening speed spelling, but very soon....I could decipher it as fast as she could spell it. Being left out of a conversation was just not an option for me. I attribute all of this to the fact that I did so well in spelling, reading, writing and most language long as they were in English.

My next step into my writing journey was also thanks to my mom. I always tell people that you can't be a good writer unless you are a good reader. My mother was an avid reader and ever so often she would take a weekend and "read." By this I mean that she would devour as many books as she could in 48 hours. Depending on size and content, I have seen her read 4-5 books over a weekend. It was her escape and her enjoyment. It was cheaper than shopping and didn't have the after affects of drinking and yet it was still therapy. My mom was my hero so if she did it....then so must I. As soon as the written word made sense to me, then I was off and reading. At first I would go through only a book or two in a week, but soon I was to the point that it was nothing for me to read 3-4 books weekly during the school year and usually double that in the summer. At home we had a fully stocked library of garage sale finds and when they were all read....then the library became my dearest friend. Even then I was a people watcher and I loved biographies and autobiographies. I also loved books about pioneers. I was always fascinated by their journey west and how much they both lost and gained from their adventure into the new world headed to the promised land of California.

It was when I was about fifth or sixth grade that I first started critiquing the books I read. If a book kept me holding on and even caused me to lose sleep over it so I could get to the end.....then it was classified as amazing. I would dream of making someone want to read my words like that. If however a book left me wanting more or God forbid bored me along the way.....I would immediately start rewriting it in my head. I would go to sleep thinking about how I would have changed this or that in the story to make it a better read. This was the beginning of my writing desire.....and I didn't even know it. In fact it wasn't until I was in the sixth grade and my teacher said that we were going to keep creative writing journals that I knew I could even put two sentences together. Each day she would encourage us to use our imaginations and write whatever we felt. We could write stories, events in our lives or simply just what we were feeling that day. What I didn't know then was that she was teaching me to open my mind and my heart up to the written word and encouraging me to let it be my guide into the amazing world of.....writing.

I will never forget the freedom I felt writing down all that was inside me. Heck....I didn't even know I had all that inside me. It was amazing. More amazing though was when the teacher read my work and told me that it was really good and that I had potential to be a writer. Those were life changing words as I had really never thought about actually writing. Nor did I realize that in a way.....I had been writing in my head for years.

When the assignment was over....I still found myself with much to say and no real outlet to say it. It was then that I started writing journals. I would fill page after page with thoughts, songs, memories and the start of many stories. I say start because I was not at a place where I myself could start, create, shape, guide and then have a story come to fruition. My ideas were all over the place and I think I was a bit intimidated. I had read Alcott, the Bronte sisters and Poe. Their stories were rich....full and most of all.....complete. They had peaks and valleys which took their readers on a journey. They were full of emotion and they made the reader feel. This was a lot for a young girl to realize and I had no confidence that I could even come close to conveying the journey or the feeling in one of my little half written I would begin story after story......only to tuck them away in a folder when my mind would shut down and leave me with no direction for the story to proceed.

It wasn't until I was a sophomore in high school that I finally completed my first piece. What changed? I was taking a creative writing class and without a complete story....I could not get a complete grade. This was when I really learned how to write. My teacher (Mr. M) was a man who in his desire to coach sports and teach.....had found the perfect combination of both in this creative writing class. We had somewhere around 100 topics to choose from and about 20 assignments we had to pull from those topics over the course of a semester. These assignments kept us busy and freed him up to work on his sports stats. In his wisdom though.....he was always present to answer questions....and yet he left us to create. He never liked to give much input while you were writing but you always knew he read everything you turned in as his critiques were in depth and usually spot on. This for me....was the perfect way to learn and also to take my writing to the next level. What had once been a release to write in a daily journal......was now a passion to write about anything and everything. My mind had been opened to a whole new world that was only constricted by how far my imagination could take me,  and I was rarely without a pen and notebook in hand.....always writing. I wrote in English...and math....and biology. I drove my teachers insane, but if Mr. M passed around one of my stories in the teachers lounge.....they would always smile and say...."Yeah, I think she was writing that in my class." Who knows? I probably was!

In a couple of years I had gone from writing half stories to writing some really good stories...for my age and some even better stories about subjects that I was really too young to know or understand....and yet somehow I managed to make them believable. I think this is when I learned that I actually had a modicum of writing talent....not to mention a whole truck load of imagination. It was also at this time that I learned the art of for lack of a better term....of BSing my way through critical thinking papers and essay questions in other classes. I had honed my creative writing skills and my every day writing was pretty far above average. With this arsenal in my back pocket....I learned quickly that sounding like you knew what you were talking about and using a decent vocabulary along with a somewhat eloquent writing style and a C knowledge could get you an A paper. That even worked fairly well on college papers. I had one teacher call me up after class and hand me back my paper on a subject that I had not even cracked a book on. Being an overworked and understudied college student...I decided to try and wing it and turn my paper in anyway. My grade was an 85% and the teacher let me know in no uncertain terms that she knew I didn't have a clue what I was talking about, but because of the confidence in the way it was written along with the style, grammar and persuasive tone.....she couldn't help but give me a B. She said stylistically it was the best paper she had read in years.....but the content was all BS and she knew it. She also advised that next paper....I really needed to actually study because style would get me no further with her. Lesson learned.

There was a time that I dreamed of being a "real" in a writer that could actually make a living by doing what they loved. Then life stepped in and with a husband, kids and two sometimes three jobs, writing went from being a passion to merely an occasional thing. My dream slipped to the back burner and I honestly thought that might be the end. At the time....I was too tired to care.

In the dawn of the new millennium and with technology in almost every home.....I found my writing passion again. Computers made what once a lot of erasing and whiteout suddenly much easier. With the touch of a key you could remove a whole paragraph in a second. A quick mouse click and you could move a paragraph to a completely new location. The computer also made it so that a writer could concentrate on the flow of the words and not have to worry if changes needed to be made or if grammatical and spelling errors were prevalent. With computers.....writers had hit the mother load in ease and performance.  Another plus was there was no longer a need for drawers full of notebooks to store my writing. I could store it all right on my computer. It was a miracle for someone like me. Technology also brought us into the new world of social networking. MySpace made it so that we had our own little niche on the internet and we could post stories, pictures and music and others could come by, read and get to know us. Then Facebook introduced us to a fast paced world of a few sentences to tell the world what was going on in that minute. Old friends and new friends were learning more about us than they ever dreamed they wanted to. And then came.....the blog! When I found the blog I was both thrilled and intimidated. I knew it was basically just a journal....not much different than the many hand written journals I had kept for years. There were new twists though. You could add pictures and back grounds. You could design and create and make it your own. The biggest thing though was no longer were your thoughts and words private. No longer could you pick and choose who if anyone could read these extensions of your soul. Now you were a part of the information highway in which bots continually picked up your blog and spread it as far as the internet could go. With the typing in of a certain word or "tag" your blog could be read by just about anyone...anywhere in the world. Thus the intimidation. 

It took me a full four years after first establishing my blog to actually use it. I would write something here or there and then it would hit me....."I really don't know who might read this." Then I would lose my writing nerve and hide for a few months.....or years. Finally a very wise person told me that I had a lot of talent and passion where writing was concerned and that he was very ashamed of me for wasting a God given skill. He kindly berated me and my lack of "writing balls" for months....until finally I had enough and started blogging out of irritation. It wasn't long before I realized how much I really did love writing and it was also pretty darn cathartic at a time when my life was heating up and I was living on a constant roller coaster ride. posts were hit and miss and a friend of mine who also dabbles with the written word ask me why I didn't blog more. I had a hundred excuses....time, inspiration, etc. She then called BS on me and said "admit're lazy!" Grrrrrrrr I hate direct honesty....especially when it makes me look......lazy. She then challenged me to write everyday for a month. I found the challenge intriguing and terrifying. IF anyone actually took the time to read what I had to say.....I didn't want them to find it laughable (in a bad way) or boring or anything else negative. I wanted to be loved and exulted by all. As you can well imagine, it took a while before I was able to put on the big girl panties and face the challenge head on. It actually happened though, at a time when I had decided that I was fed up with worrying about what anyone else thought...about anything. I pulled myself into a different persona when I began writing. It was one that was a little bit a lot narcissistic tinged with a bit of egotism and covered in a lot of "my thoughts and words are just as relevant as anyone elses...and know you wanna read them." And on that day.......a writing monster was created.

I blogged about anyone, anything or any thought I had. I blogged daily and I used to try to blog when I first got out of bed. Some of my best blogs came from that morning fog in which my brain had yet to engage. It was also fun to go back later in the day and see what I had actually written. I often surprised myself. It was at this point that my passion for writing came back. My days sped by and my daily load...whatever it might be.....always seemed lighter because my mind was never far from my next blog idea. TV, radio, driving down the road or hanging clothes on the line could often be inspiration. Then when my blogs became consistent.....I started actually getting readers willing to admit they were readers. Not only did they comment on my blogs....but they also commented through email and messages.........and sometimes even in person. People were really reading what I was writing and I was making them feel and keeping them hanging on for my next blog post. I was actually doing what I had dreamed of doing all those years ago. The day I realized this was emotionally changing for me.

Yes...I had also had dreams of being able to support myself with the one true skill/talent I had....but as yet.....that is still just a dream. What I realized though....was as writer, money is secondary to the real writing end game. The real passion and desire comes from having more than just relatives and close friends reading your work. When you know that someone has read your words and cried, laughed or even become angry because you invoked emotion in them.....there is no greater feeling. When someone tells you that they can't wait to read your next blog or that something you said made a difference in their life.......that is when you know that you really are a writer. All the money in the world can't replace the feeling of knowing you did something and did it well and that your words had an effect on someone. That's when you know you have truly arrived!

In case I don't tell you all enough how much I appreciate you taking the time to read my blog......I do. I also appreciate the fb shares and the comments both good and bad. Knowing that I am sharing what I am passionate about with others is truly an amazing thing.

So there you have it. Another glimpse into the person that is me!

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Dating Revisited....Must We?

So as I was trying to drift off last night with a corgi at my feet, a Boston terrier curled up behind my legs and a pit bull snuggled as tightly to me as my own skin, I had to ask myself....."What is wrong with this picture?" I think the answer was pretty obvious. Possibly at this stage of the game.....I really ought to be sharing my bed with a male of the human species rather than three males of the canine species.

I seldom think about this unless I am fighting for my 8 inches of a queen size bed or unless someone brings it up. Remember two years ago when certain someones decided a decade of widowhood was enough for me and that I should be back out on the market? Yeah....that worked out well. The blog documentation alone of my near dating experience was enough to quiet the masses for a while and steer thoughts of finding a soul mate far from my mind.

I will admit that curiosity has gotten the better of me though and I did do a little research on widowhood and remarriage. The information was a little unsettling. According to several studies.....women who are widowed at a young or youngish age (25-45) usually have remarried within 1-5 years. The average is about 3. I was widowed at 38 and I have barely shook hands let alone remarried or anything in between.  On further is not until you get to the 59+ year old widows, that you find that they either remain unmarried permanently or they stay that way for a good 10-15 years. Apparently after that all bets are off and there are a bunch of 70-75 year old newley weds running around. At any rate....according to the statistics....I am a statistical anomaly. Like this surprises anyone. Twelve years out and I haven't even been on a date. Well...there was that one breakfast that ended before it it hardly classifies as a date anyway. It was more of an altercation bordering on misdemeanor assault by use of fake personality and really bad pick up lines. I guess you had to have been there. I'm still sorry I was. 

So as I said....I really don't think much about this stuff until it is brought up to me. I guess with spring trying to be in bloom.....spring fever is starting to work its magic and there are those long time marrieds that think I need to be as married as they are. Why not? It makes it easier to play bridge....if you play bridge. I don't. It also gets you invited to a lot more couples gatherings....if you like that sort of thing. I usually don't. In makes your married friends lives easier. Perhaps this is why a friend approached me recently telling me that I really should think about dating again. If the look on my face was any reflection of what the word "dating" does to me emotionally.....she would have turned and run without another word. My guess is poker face is better than I realized. She continued on with her prattle about twelve years being long enough and some other jibberish which I had almost completely tuned out after the word dating was originally spoken. However, I immediately popped to attention when she said....."I am sure we (meaning her and her band of well intentioned married friends, whose goal in life is to set up any woman who has been single, divorced or widowed for more than five minutes) can find someone for you." I froze in place as she continued on about this guy or that guy she knew....."very nice, still lives with his mother and loves cats and interior design," or ......"he's a keeper. Been married five times and loves the bar scene." I think the infatic  "NO!" that came from the very depths of my soul and charged out my mouth, startled her. I had seen some of the guys my friends thought I would be a good match with. One thought it might be nice if I felt taller (I am 5'1"), so she pointed out a guy that I had a good 3 inches on. Sorry....but no! Then there was the guy that looked like Napoleon Dynamites uncle. He talked like him to. He was all about his glory days of high school football and how he could have been a football god had he just not blown his knee out. In ten minutes I had heard everything there was to know about his legendary football status at his high school....30 years ago, and he had never even asked me my name. Really? This is who my friends think I would be suitably matched with?

So my friend then asked the unthinkable question. "Why.....have I not gone on a real date in twelve years?" When the word "afraid" slipped through my lips....I wondered why honesty had chosen this moment to rear its ugly head and why it had to be in front of this particular person? Yee gads! Then I got to hear the old "get back on that horse" and "it's like a never forget" platitudes. Little did she know....I never rode a horse and I wasn't very good on a bicycle either. Then she said...."You are just too picky. You want Brad Pitt in a Danny Devito world." Grrrrr.....that was it. In my mind she was immediately demoted from friend to acquaintance. If only she knew the consequences of that mental demotion.

The fact is....I am not looking for Brad Pitt, after all, I am no Angelina Jolie, but perhaps I am rather picky. I will give the girl that. Which led to another interesting conversation with another friend just a day or so later. Again....not the topic of my choice, but hers. She too was worried about my love life or lack there of. After 30+ years of wedded "bliss" she too wanted me wedded and bedded (her words) before there was nothing left to wed or bed. She too called me picky. Twice in almost as many days. It was time to defend myself....for whatever reason. Picky is not a bad thing. In fact it is the difference between having someone you cherish and simply settling. In my early years.....I settled for more than one boyfriend, but my marriage and the man I married....I cherished. I want nothing less now. I told her that I want to feel my heart skip a beat when I am around him and I want my palms to sweat and each kiss to feel like first one. More importantly though.....I want someone whose heart skips a beat and whose palms go sweaty when I am around. I want someone who to them....I am the most beautiful woman in the world and that together....we share our last first kiss. Said friend then cut me short saying, "All that romantic stuff is for teenagers. You my friend are no teenager. You need to get real and find yourself a real life man and stop waiting for some imaginary Prince Charming." And with that....she too became emotionally demoted. I simply gotta quit talking to people about this stuff.

So maybe I am just dreaming. Maybe this person that I seem to be holding out for doesn't even exist. So what? The fact is that I don't need a man to survive. I think the last twelve years has proven this. I also don't need a man to grow old with. I am growing old just fine on my own. In fact....there really is no need involved.  However....there might be a want hidden in there. Several in fact. I want someone who makes me laugh. I want someone who makes my knees weak and makes me feel desirable. I want someone enough like me to keep things fun and different enough from me to keep things interesting. I want to eventually share my bed with something more than three dogs. Apparently though....either this guy only exists in my overworked imagination.....or he is already taken. Whatever the case.....he and I have yet to cross paths.

Finally my newly demoted acquaintance who seemed to be at her wits end with me and my ridiculous list of wants....especially when in her mind my need list was far more important, asked me...."How in the hell (her word not mine) do you ever expect to find anyone you want or need....if you won't even go on a damn date?"  Now logic like that just pisses me off. I should so demote her further, but I don't think there is anything under acquaintance. And so...when I have no witty come back nor scathingly brilliant reply......I simply shut my mouth and quietly ponder the facts.