Category Archives: Deep Thoughts

Not okay.

http://www.thebullyproject.comI got a comment on my 50 Shades of Domestic Violence post this week that was so incredibly rude that I wasn’t sure what to do with it.  (Yeah, I’m talking about you, “bluelove.”) My first thought was to just delete it.  It’s my blog and I don’t have to let anyone’s awful victim blaming comments have space here.  Then I thought that maybe I should approve the post and then let my readers go to town on the person because I’m too pissed off to do it myself.

The more I thought about it though, I decided that I want you to see the bullshit comment that this woman posted in response to one of my readers saying that her husband gave her this book that is full of emotional abuse in hopes that it would improve their already abusive relationship.  I think people need to see what complete lack of empathy looks like.  What victim blaming looks like, and how incredibly WRONG it is. So instead of approving the comment where it was made, I’m going to just put it here.  She wrote the following:

Get back in the kitchen or leave your husband because women act like they don’t have a choice. Stop blaming men, stop blaming the media and stop blaming books. If you have the nerve to tell strangers on the internet that youre being abused, you should have the balls to leave him. There are two types of people:prey and predators. You decide which one you want to be. Does anyone blame the lion for eating the weak gazelle?

Bluelove, you clearly have no idea what it’s like to live in fear of your life because of a partner who uses power and control over every aspect of your being.  You have no idea how hard it is to “just leave” or how many victims are killed by their abusers when trying to do that.  You don’t know any of the pain that these victims go through.  You’re lucky.  My hope is that you never have to live through domestic violence whether it’s emotional or physical.  I also hope that if you do have to endure the spirit crushing pain that abuse brings, that no one is ever so insensitive to you.  Because I can say that as a survivor, comments like the one above are exactly what we don’t need to hear.  Comments like that are just as bad as the abuse and do absolutely nothing to encourage change.  Blaming the victim is never, ever okay.


Sunshine Award!

The lovely Chris Allen-Riley gave me a blog award! 🙂

So now I have to answer the questions below and pass the award on to some other bloggers. 🙂

1. What is your Favorite Christmas/Festive movie?

Oh man… just one?  I guess I’ll pick Elf because it still makes me snort.  But Love, Actually and National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation are other favorites. 🙂

2. What is your Favorite Flower?

Lillies.  My Grandma’s (Mom’s mom) maiden name was Lilly and I’ve always been drawn to the flowers.  Once I had a psychic reading by a medium and all I told her was my name and birth date.  The first thing she said to me was, “I’m seeing an older woman and she’s showing me a lily…”  That was her way of showing me that it was her.

3. What is your Favorite Non-Alcoholic Beverage?
I’ve been on a cherry kick lately… Cherry Diet Coke, Cherry Coke Zero, Diet Cherry Pepsi… 🙂

4. What is your Passion?
My family, and being as creative as I can.

5. What is your Favorite Time of Year?
I love the fall!  I adore being able to wear jeans and a sweater but not need a coat.  It’s the perfect weather for a knitter like me. 🙂

6. What is your Favorite Time of Day?
It’s definitely not morning!  (The above mentioned Chris somehow managed to get my ass out of bed to have breakfast at 7:00 AM on a Saturday last weekend when we were at a writers conference… that’s some serious love right there, people!)  I love to stay up late working on writing or something artsy, but unfortunately I don’t get to do that as much as I’d  to.  Cause you know, I’m old. LOL

7. What is your Favorite Physical Activity?
Does sleeping count?  LOL  I love to walk but it hurts my body because of all of my mystery ailments so I can’t do it as much as I’d like.  I’m a water baby though, so any time I can be in or near the water makes me happy. 🙂

8. What is your Favorite Vacation Spot?
Disney World.  Absolutely love it there.  I want to live in Cinderella’s castle and stand at the window doing a princess wave every so often throughout the day.  LOL  Back when I had a decent job I used to go to Disney every year and it was awesome… for my 30th bday I went to Disney and met all of the princesses. LOL  Sadly I haven’t been there in several years. 😦

I pass this blog award on to…
Jen of Sweaters for Days and Moves Like Jaggger

Lara of Lara Writes

Margaret of Writing Slices


Getting Close

Just before 6:00 a.m. my mom woke me up because she thought that Grandpa was about to die. He was non-responsive and his breathing was very poor.

I’ve been sitting in this recliner next to my Grandpa’s bed for sixteen hours and he’s still hanging on. There were times when his breathing stopped for at least twenty seconds at a time and then would start back up again. Other times he’s asked about food and drink for the first time in about three weeks. His swallowing isn’t going so great now though so even when he’s thirsty it’s hard to get a good drink in him.

Thanks to the dementia he keeps forgetting what’s going on. He’ll say things like, “Maybe I’m so weak because I need food…” but he doesn’t understand that he hasn’t had more than a sip of juice or soup in almost a month. So we remind him that he hasn’t eaten and that seems to worry him. “That’s not good,” he says. We remind him about his Congestive Heart Failure (CHF) and that it’s not getting better but he forgets that too. He’ll say, “Maybe those pills you give me will help…” but of course in order to take the pills he needs to be able to swallow.

We got a few pills in him just a little bit ago but it was a chore. The poor guy wanted nothing to do with the Juicy Juice he’s been drinking all week and swore that milk would be better. But with CHF when the heart starts failing it creates fluid buildup in his lungs so milk isn’t exactly the best choice since it can make him phlegmy.

Mom tried explaining to him that if he’s thirsty he should drink anything that’s wet and he agreed but then decided that he still didn’t want the juice. He says, “But I don’t want the juice.” She then told him that she didn’t care what he wanted and the look he gave me made me giggle. He looked at me like, “Did my daughter just tell me no?” 🙂 I watered down some milk for him and he handled it okay but of course it didn’t taste very good anyway because his sense of taste is off. He asked more about food and other things he couldn’t have and once again we explained why he couldn’t have them and why he wasn’t going to be getting any better.

It’s basically been like that all day with lots of napping in between. He’s still in there, still the goofy old man we all love so much, but he’s fading. I really hope that he can just let go sometime tonight so that he doesn’t have to go through another confusing day like this.

He’s ready even if he doesn’t remember telling us so, and as sad as it’ll be to see him go, we’re ready too. The living that he’s been doing for the last couple of weeks really isn’t quality. He’s seen all of his kids except for one, he’s seen almost all of the grand kids and great grand kids who live in the area, and he’s even seen his brand new great grandson via Facebook who was born just two days ago.

He’s talked about seeing people in heaven like my grandma, his brother, sister and his mom. Apparently he doesn’t think his dad is in heaven though, but maybe he’ll be pleasantly surprised. 🙂 Hopefully there Gramps will be able to eat all of the Filet-o-Fish and chocolate shakes that he wants, his ticker will be perfect, he’ll be able to walk without any assistance, and even better… he’ll be able to drive again!

I’ll admit, when we moved Grandpa in with us almost a year ago it was scary. I was worried about him getting hurt or dying on me when my mom wasn’t around to help me. Despite how hard the year has been though, I’m really glad we were able to have him here. He loved being able to visit with my brother’s crazy kids when they came to spend the night. He loved watching hour upon hour of Law & Order in his own living room while knowing that if he needed help we were just in the next room instead of a 30 minute drive away. He liked having the animals around even if he eventually forgot Sly’s name and just called him Big Cat and continuously pronounced Kia’s name wrong. Even the ongoing Ketchup Saga of 2012 is pretty funny now despite how annoying it was back when we were in the thick of it. (Gramps decided at one point that Heinz ketchup was too bitter for him but he claimed that it was because the ketchup was in his words, “rancid.” When we’d explain that the ketchup was brand new he’d point to the 57 on the Heinz logo and tell us that the bottle was from 1957. This happened almost daily for a while until we switched to the much sweeter Hunt’s brand. That eventually went rancid too and he just stopped eating ketchup.)

Sure, it’s been really, really hard on us. My mom not only had to quit nursing school just six weeks shy of finishing (she did get her LPN though, yay!) but she had to stop working and was pretty much here at home 24/7. I gave her respite as much as I could but of course with my own job I couldn’t do it as much as I would have liked. Hospice didn’t get into the mix until just a few months back and although they did help out and let her get out of the house a little some days, I wish I’d been able to help more or that other family would have helped more. But, what’s done is done and I know that my mom and I have given Gramps all he’s needed not just this past year but long before that. There’s no doubt in my mind that he knows just how much we love him.

Life for us is about to make a huge change again. Mom’s going to be able to go back to work, and we’ll go back to living in this house without a hospital bed in the living room. There won’t be an oxygen machine, syringes of morphine gel, and we won’t have to take turns leaving the house so that someone can stay here to Grandpa Sit. Of course we’ll miss him dearly, but we’ll also have so many great memories to keep in our hearts and for me at least, that’s the most important part and what I’m choosing to hold on to right now while sitting here next to him. He’s a pretty awesome guy and all of us who know him are blessed to have him in our lives and in our hearts.

Death is a natural part of life. Rejoice for those around you who transform into the Force. – YODA

10/13/12


Positivity and Feelings

Source: NataleeDee.com

I wrote not too long ago about the idea that what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger and how sometimes I don’t want to be stronger, I just want to be given a break. I’m still a firm believer in the idea that if you’re positive then you’re going to attract positivity but if you’re negative you’re going to attract negativity. I try to practice the Law of Attraction as much as I can and for the most part it works. I think though that some people are taking the positivity thing the wrong way.

It is perfectly okay, in my opinion, to be pissed off. If something upsets you, let yourself be upset. You don’t have to wallow in the anger and make it a huge part of your life, but you do have the right to be upset. I get so frustrated when I voice a concern and everyone I know jumps on me trying to show me the positive side and “fix” it so that I’m not upset. I’m entitled to feel whatever I feel, don’t try to change that. Let me feel what I want to feel. Just because you may have been through a similar experience doesn’t meant that I have to feel the same way that you do or move through my feelings at the same rate as you. If you want to share your experience with me, great… but do not try to tell me how I should feel, that simply isn’t up to you to decide.

I think people are too quick to say, “Oh I’m being so negative” and then push their feelings aside. So meanwhile we’ve got all of these people going around with forced smiles on their faces who haven’t actually allowed themselves to feel anything. I’m not okay with that.

Imagine if social workers, counselors, and doctors worked under that belief. If you came into my office for help because someone you loved was dying and instead of letting you express your feelings I just kept telling you why you shouldn’t feel that way. That wouldn’t help you deal with your grief at all. I know this because I’ve been a grief counselor and know that although it’s not healthy to let your grief define who you are, it’s also not healthy to deny your emotions. One of the things we used to say over and over again in the grief support groups that I led for years was “All feelings are okay.” It’s okay to be happy that someone died. It’s okay to be sad that someone died. It’s okay to be both happy and sad plus pissed off, confused, and scared too. We have feelings for a reason, denying them isn’t going to make your life positive.

So why do that to me in any other situation? If I’m pissed off because of something at work, let me be pissed off for a minute. Let me express my pissed-offed-ness and then once I’ve been able to feel and experience my feelings I can move on. Telling me that I shouldn’t feel what I’m feeling is only going to piss me off even more. LET ME FEEL IT! Tell me, “Man, that blows…” not “You shouldn’t feel like that because of X, Y and Z.”

Denying someone the opportunity to feel what they’re feeling is never okay. Like when a little kid cries over something, adults will often tell the child to stop crying. But essentially when you do that, you’re telling the child that it’s not okay to feel what they’re feeling. It may not be appropriate to throw a kicking and screaming fit on the floor when you can’t have another Oreo, and perhaps the child needs to be taught other means of expressing their feelings, but feeling upset is still okay. The whole “big boys don’t cry” thing is another pet peeve of mine. Actually, unhealthy big boys who are taught to stuff their feelings don’t cry. Healthy big boys do cry because they’re able to express their feelings.

In the past week I’ve had an aunt die and watched my Grandpa enter the final stages of his life. As I type this he’s at my house in a hospital bed deteriorating. I know that because of the current stress in my life I’m a lot more sensitive than usual. I also know that when people try to fix things for me it’s because they care. I know that not everyone is a social worker. Not everyone has been through the training I’ve been through and learned how harmful it can be to deny people their feelings. Because of that I try to have patience when people try to fix my problems when I’m not looking for a cure. But to be completely honest, I’m kind of at the end of my rope with the positivity crap right now.

Last week I said that I was upset because I didn’t have enough leave time to be home with my mom & grandpa the way I’d like to. The response I got was, “At least you have a job where you have leave time.” That didn’t help me at all. Who cares if I have a job where I earn leave? The point is that someone I love is DYING and I can’t be there because I myself am so sick all of the time that I used up my bank of leave time. The point is that my mother is alone at home watching her father die and no one else is there with her most of the time that I’m at work. That is the point. I can be pissed off about that all I want.

Yesterday I said that I didn’t like the way the Hospice nurse and nurses assistant treat me and my mom sometimes. The response I got was that they’ve got a hard job and they might not mean to come across the way they do. Yeah, and my Grandfather is dying in my house so my job is hard too but I’m not a jerk to the nurses when they visit therefore they don’t need to be jerks to us.

Today I said that a change at work was making not just me but everyone in the office uncomfortable. The response I got was that I should embrace the change because work isn’t a democracy. Telling me that isn’t going to make me say, “Holy crap, you’re right… I don’t have any right to be uncomfortable!”

Do you see where I’m going here? I totally get that the people responding to me were trying to be helpful. And I know for a fact that because I’m a social worker I often try to help people see all sides of a situation too, but there’s a difference between providing perspective and denying someone the chance to feel. There’s also a huge difference in being a negative person and allowing someone to feel emotion.

If all I ever did was bitch about how awful everything was and how the world hates me and I never smiled or laughed or believed in anything positive and was a huge bully to everyone, you could feel free to call me a Negative Nancy. But if I’m an essentially good person who is going through a hard time and happens to voice my frustrations so that I can process them and begin the progression of feeling better, please don’t get in my way by telling me that I’m wrong. Especially if you have no idea if I am wrong! If I’m wrong and you know it because you’re a part of what’s happening, by all means put a boot in my ass. Or if I’m wallowing in self pity a little too long and you can tell I need help, yes, step in and lend a hand. But if you’re just assuming that you know what’s best for me without knowing exactly what’s going on, stop. I have to be able to make my own mistakes and feel my own feelings and acknowledge my own stuff without someone telling me that I’m being too negative.

Nothing in the world would ever change and improve if everyone just forced themselves to be happy with everything at all times and didn’t allow themselves to get worked up every so often. Can you imagine how awful that would be? Don’t like racism? Too bad, that’s just the way things are. Think bullying is awful? Oh well, there’s nothing we can do about it. Someone treating you like shit? They probably had a bad childhood so just give them a break. Someone sexually abused your kid? That’s awful but get over it. Devastated that someone you love died? Move on, you’re being too negative. Or perhaps we can experience and acknowledge our feelings. We can use our feelings to change and grow or just simply process and move on. Feelings are meant to be felt.


Grandpa, Lady Gaga’s Ass, and Bullying; a lesson in perspective.

It’s funny how situations bring a new perspective in your life. This week has been particularly hellish in my part of the world. Gramps took a huge turn for the worse on Tuesday and by Tuesday night we were calling in family from out of town just in case he didn’t make it. By mid day on Wednesday though he’d bounced back and was doing much better. He’s still declining, of course, but not as rapidly as we expected (at least as of this particular moment).

For me, family always comes first. Family for me also includes my closest friends. If my family needs me for something, they’re first priority and everything else comes after. So when I stayed up almost all night long in a recliner next to my grandpa’s hospital bed in the living room on Tuesday night I wasn’t concerned with being at work the next morning. I knew I had 8 hours of vacation I could use and that was all that mattered. Frankly, if I hadn’t had those hours to use I would have taken unpaid leave because what was important was my family.

When I found out that rather insensitive comments were made by someone at work because I wasn’t there yesterday, it was sort of the last straw for me. For someone (who works in a religious social work agency that is focused on family) to put work before my family frankly pissed me off. It basically just reinforced how I feel about putting my family first and how insensitive people can be when they don’t stop to think about what they’re saying before they say it.

This morning I’m back at work since Grandpa is doing better and his death doesn’t seem so imminent. I had a whole five pages of work to file so after doing that I scrolled through Facebook. I came across a photo that a local DJ posted on his FB wall of Lady Gaga. I’d been listening to him on the way to work and he was basically saying how he had this picture of Gaga that was super unflattering and he was going to post it to FB. My initial thought when hearing that was, “Why?” If the picture is so bad, why post it other than for people to make fun of it? But I sort of blew it off and went on my way. When I came across the photo on FB I had to make a comment though. The picture is of Gaga in concert and it’s basically a picture of her ass sort of hanging out of her nylons and thong. No, it’s not pretty, but every single comment under the picture was a bash at Gaga. So I said,

“I heard you talking about this on the way to work. You kept saying how unflattering it was. So why post it? Just so people can pick on her?”

The first response I got was from the wife of the DJ who said,

“She chose to live a life that is in the public eye. You can’t get mad at someone else for that.”

Then she followed that up with another comment right away that said,

“Seriously. We all know she dresses like this and goes out in public like this for 1 reason: attention. She wants the publicity. If she didn’t she wouldn’t do it.”

To that I responded with,

“I didn’t say I was mad at anyone, [Name of Wife of DJ]. I was just asking a question. Also, publicity and public bullying are two different things.”

Her response was,

“oy vey lol.”

So then her husband the DJ finally jumped in and said this,

“Exactly. Oy vey. I posted it because my job is to talk about celebrities — things they do, say, how they look and act. That’s my job. My job is also to engage people online, to get “hits” on the website. People listen to the radio station because they like music and they want to know what’s going on with celebrities. I posted it because it’s something that people will want to see. Even if they make jokes like “I’m eating.”

I understand that Gaga is a public figure and choses to be so. I also understand that if she wears clothes like she does that often fall down when she’s dancing that there are going to be unflattering pictures of her around. However, I don’t think that gives everyone else in the world the right to bully her and that’s exactly what people were doing in their comments. From things like “Ew, I’m eating!” to someone saying that it looked more like Xtina (assumingly because Gaga’s ass wasn’t as fit as usual) and then the DJ himself saying that no it wasn’t Xtina because it wasn’t bright orange (alluding to Xtina’s spray tan).

Some might say it’s “all in good fun” and part of a DJ’s job to do this, but I have to disagree. Yeah it may be a DJ’s job to provide the picture so people can see, but I don’t think it’s their job to participate in and encourage bullying and back that up by saying its okay because it’s a public figure. Would it be okay if I took a picture of the DJ’s ass and posted it online solely for the purpose that people could pick on it? No, it wouldn’t.

I’m not saying that I’m a complete angel. I’ve said and done things online over the last decade that I’m ashamed of. I’ve jumped in on flaming people online and didn’t even realize how mean I was being at the time. I joke about people online just like everyone else. I even send some rather questionable tweets out about Xtina during The Voice sometimes because of her behavior. But I think there’s a difference between complaining on Twitter about a coworker who talks with her mouth full and posting a bad picture of someone and encouraging people to flame it along with you. I also think that there’s a difference in commenting on someone’s public job performance, as in Xtina on The Voice, and just picking on a bad photo of her ass. When I complain on Twitter that Xtina’s tits are about to fall out of her shirt and she once again has forgotten to wear pants, I’m not making digs on her weight or how she looks or even who she is as a human being, I’m just saying that she’s being a crappy role model to young girls by walking around on television half clothed since she backs that up by picking on other people for not being good role models. Some people might think that’s the same thing, but to me, there’s a difference. It’s possible to point out your aversion to the behavior without being mean.

In a time where cyber bullying is so prevalent and we live in a world where people (including children) are choosing suicide because they’re being bullied, we’ve got to be a little more careful. It’s rather hypocritical to justify bullying with “She’s chosen to live a life that’s in the public eye.” I lost a long time friend about a year ago because she posted a joke on FB about the president that was so inappropriate that I couldn’t help but respond to. This is the joke,

Barrack Obama, Michelle Obama and Oprah Winfrey were flying on Obama’s private plane. Obama looked at Oprah, chuckled and said, “You know, I could throw a $1,000 bill out of the window right now and make somebody very happy.” Oprah shrugged her shoulders and replied, “I could throw ten $100 bills out of the window and make ten people very happy.” Michelle added, ”That being the case, I could throw one hundred $10 bills out of the window and make a hundred people very happy.” Hearing their exchange, the pilot rolled his eyes and said to his co-pilot, “Such big-shots back there. Shit, I could throw all of their asses out of the window and make 56 million people very happy.”

I thought the “joke” was inappropriate because joking about anyone’s death in my book is not okay. I was also offended by the racial undertone of the whole thing. I pointed out that there’s no humor in wishing someone would die simply because you don’t agree with how they’re doing their job and also pointed out that they’re talking about real people with feelings and family who would be devastated if they were to die.

The response I got from my comment was a lot like what I got today. People said that because Mr. Obama was the President and Mrs. Obama was the First Lady and they were in the public eye if he wasn’t doing a good job people had the right to complain about it. I then pointed out that complaining about job performance and wishing someone dead were very different. I posed a question of “What if I worked for you and decided you were a shitty boss so I made jokes about how I wished you’d die? Then I posted them on FB where your children or friends could come across the post to see… Would that be okay?” Unfortunately, I didn’t get the opportunity to find out what the person said because the person I was friends with decided to just unfriend me so that I couldn’t respond to the joke anymore. So after over ten years of being in my life, this person cut me off and never spoke to me again. She wasn’t even involved in the dialogue back and forth; she’d just been the one to originally post the joke.

There were a handful of people today who clicked the Like button on the DJ and his wife’s responses to my comment this morning and one Like of my comment (thank you, Amber). What does that say about our society? I’m not by any means trying to claim that this DJ is a bad person. I know he’s just trying to do his job, but why does being a DJ have to include encouraging picking on people? Why does a job in the media in general mean that you have a license to be mean? And what exactly about my question was so offensive?

I argue with people all the time about how rude they are to celebrities. Someone can post something online about Justin Bieber giving tons of money to charity and I can guarantee most of the comments will be things like, “He’s gay…” “He has no talent…” “He needs to just go away…” You can like him as an artist or not, there’s absolutely NO reason to bash him like that. You can barely read any article online without someone pulling out of their ass that it’s Obama’s fault. It could be an article about why clouds are fluffy and someone is going to find something negative to say about it just because there’s a comment box available.

You know what? I don’t like Tom Cruise, but just because I don’t like him and he’s in the public eye doesn’t mean I think I can trash him to anyone else. I choose to not see his films because I don’t want to support him. When he was in the public saying awful things about clinical depression and anti-depression medications I made my disagreement known and I definitely did not support him, but not once did I attack him as a person. I don’t like Mitt Romney’s views and have been fairly vocal about disagreeing with the things he says… but again, I’m not attacking HIM. (Okay, I did share a graphic the other day that called him a “mean dick,” so maybe that wasn’t appropriate. But he was being mean with the things he said.) I don’t know if he’s a good person or not, I just know that I disagree with his way of thinking about a lot of things.

I think that people, myself included, really need to stop and think about what they’re saying before they say it (or type it, text it, publish it, record it, etc.). Disagreeing and bullying are just simply not the same thing and I think a lot of people have forgotten that. People who chose to live in the public eye are still human beings who have feelings. Sure, there are things that they have to deal with more than the average Joe does, but they still deserve to be treated with respect and a little bit of compassion. Just stop for a second and think about what it would do to you if every time you did something someone pointed out something bad about you whether it had to do with the situation or not. You post a picture of yourself on vacation and complete strangers pop up saying, “You’re ugly!” “You need to just come out of the closet!” “You have no talent!” “What a waste of space!” “Oh I just hate her!” It probably wouldn’t feel so great would it?

So why in the world would you do that to a celebrity?


Stronger

Image

We’ve all heard the saying, “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.”  I wholeheartedly agree that the things we go through shape who we are. It’s how open we are to learning from experiences that determine how we grow though.  For example, if you’re not open to learning from mistakes, you’re most likely to make the same mistakes over again and not really learn anything.  On the other hand if you have the strength to learn from what life gives you, you’re more likely to come out of it stronger in the long run.

It’s a good theory, and it’s one that I try to remember to live by.  But sometimes, I find myself thinking “I don’t want to be any stronger.”  I don’t want another life lesson that kicks my ass so that I come out stronger on the other end.   In other words, I want a break.  I’m sick of having jobs that suck and challenge my ethics, I’m sick of having this stupid mystery illness that no one can figure out how to treat, and I’m sick of worrying about my mom and my grandpa.

I was convinced a few days ago that my grandpa who lives with us was within days of dying.  I totally freaked myself out and did all sorts of awfulizing in my head to “prepare” myself for the worst.  Then the next couple of days he was a lot better and so I was better.  Today he’s back to acting like he’s giving up and shutting down.  He hasn’t wanted to eat or drink, he’s slept almost all day, and he’s spent hours just laying back in bed or in his recliner with a warm compress over his eyes.  It’s not like I expect him to be up and running marathons… he is 97 years old.  We’ve had hospice in place for a few months now; he qualified for it not because they thought he was going to die soon but because of his age and because his Congestive Heart Failure isn’t going to get any better.  He is, however, regressing.  No one can say how quickly he may progress, and it’s been pretty clear this week that it’s a day by day sort of thing.  But man does it suck.  Never knowing how he’s going to be one day to the next.  Wondering if today’s going to be the day I get a call telling me I need to come home from work early because he’s getting worse. 

Of course I want what’s best for my grandpa.  I don’t want him to suffer.  I also know that being here at home with us is what he wants and that if he’d been in a nursing home or a hospice facility he probably would have been gone a long time ago.  He wouldn’t have been here to sit on the deck the other day playing catch with a foursquare ball with my niece and nephews in the sun or to tell me yesterday while I was knitting about how his mom used to knit mittens for him as a kid.  These are things I’m grateful for.  Is this all making me stronger?  Sure, I guess so.  I know some day I’ll feel like it, but right now I’m just tired. 

So if I seem a little out of it, I don’t talk as much, I cancel plans, or I’m a little forgetful… please be patient.  It’s just that I’m pretty busy right now learning how to be stronger. 🙂

“Promise me you’ll always remember: You’re braver than you believe, and stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think.” – A.A. Milne

photo credit: AJ Knowles via photo pin cc


Three six

I had a birthday on Tuesday and I got this brilliant idea of taking Monday and Tuesday off from work so that I could have a long birthday weekend.  Let me tell ya… it was great!  I’m pretty sure I’m never working on my birthday again as long as I can manage it. 🙂 

Last year for my birthday I posted 35 things that I’d accomplished/things I was proud of.  This year I decided to be a little random and just give you 36 things about me.   So here we go!

1. I have to peel the price tag off of almost everything I buy, but especially books.
2. I judge books by their covers, I can’t help it.
3. I’m a bit of a book snob but I haven’t read a lot of the classics.
4. I’ve tried and failed several times at reading Pride & Prejudice.
5. My cat Kira would’ve been named Clovis if she’d been a boy.
6. I wanted to be a dancer/singer/actor when I was growing up.
7. I sing all the time when I’m alone.
8. I can’t get enough of musicals and concerts.
9. My dreams are often vivid like movies.
10. I don’t let go easily and often stay holding on when I should let go.
11. I’m still afraid of the dark sometimes.
12. I’ve always wanted to color my hair a crazy color or at least do a color stripe but haven’t… yet.
13. All I really want to do is be happy, love, be creative, and have kids.
14. I watch a LOT of Disney Channel.
15. I loved frogs for years before knowing the frog is my Native American zodiac sign. (I have a very teeny tiny bit of Native American in my family).
16. I carry Band-Aids with me because I seem to need them more than most people.
17. I only buy cool Band-Aid’s.
18. My little brother is 19 years younger than me.
19. I want to live inside of Disney World.
20. I’m a city girl who lives on a farm.
21. The high school I graduated from had 4 classrooms, 2 bathrooms, an office and a storage room.
22. My best friend was once one of my high school teachers.
23. My high school principal is one of my close friends, my neighbor and my landlord.
24. I can’t stand Lifetime movies and Harlequin romance novels.
25. I love going to midnight movie premieres.
26. Superhero comic book action movies rock my socks.
27. Almost anything that is rainbow colored makes me happy.
28. Bookstores and coffee shops are my escape.
29. I have a bad track record of falling down stairs.
30. I’ve only broken one bone in my body and I broke it twice on different occasions.
31. I love to sleep and snuggle.
32. I’m often misunderstood because I’m so passionate about things.  People think I’m a bitch or I’m mean because of it.
33. I swear a lot.
34. I’m a Twitter whore.
35. I’ve had prophetic dreams.
36. I have nicknames for most people I know, some that I’ve never shared with them.

Photo source (I find it quite funny that the photo I liked most on google was from a post by another blogger listing 36 things about himself for his birthday). 🙂  Happy Birthday, Aaron!


Cross Post: Life Got in the Way

Well gee… since I haven’t written anything here in a while, I’m going to cross post and give you my monthly post from my writers group. 🙂

Image Life Got in the Way

I’ve fallen into a writing slump.  In the first 14 days of June I was on sort of a roll and was gaining on 8,000 words, I’d met a bunch of my June goals and was feeling great.  In the past 10 days, I’ve written 112 words.

 

It’s not that I haven’t wanted to write or that I haven’t tried.  I think about writing all the time and I have ideas constantly running through my head.  It’s just that life keeps getting in the way.  I know, I’m supposed to be vigilant about protecting my writing times and write no matter what.  But let’s be honest here… that’s not always practical.

 

I live with my mother and my 97 year old grandfather.  He has Alzheimer’s, Dementia, and Congestive Heart Failure.  Although he’s pretty damn with it considering his age and everything going on, his care is a 24 hour a day job.  A job which my mother and I do alone while trying to still have lives of our own.

 

Last week alone saw a 9 hour ER visit, a fall, and talks with hospice on top of me working full time and trying to squeeze in self care.  Due to his age and the fact that he has a heart condition that isn’t going to get any better he qualified for hospice.  Technically to be involved with hospice someone is supposed to have less than six months to live, but with Gramps it’s more of a maintenance thing.  His symptoms will be managed and then each six months he’ll be recertified to continue hospice services.  He may be 97 but his big sister just turned 103 and his baby brother is 90. 🙂

 

The amount of support we’re getting from hospice is kind of mind blowing, actually.  Before hospice we had to pay out of pocket for all medications (last week’s ER visit resulted in seven pills of antibiotics that cost $57.00), all medical supplies (adult diapers, ointments, catheter supplies, etc.) and 24 hour oxygen ($40 a month).  With hospice, all of that’s covered.  Oxygen, medication, supplies, a new cane, a wheel chair are just a few things we’ve received this week that we no longer have to pay for.  If Gramps is sick and needs attention, we don’t go to the ER anymore, the doctor comes to us.  We have a nurse who visits a few times a week to monitor progress, a social worker who is helping with all sorts of things including applying for a grant to help with funeral costs when the time comes, an aide who visits three times a week to help with daily living and who provides my mother with 2 hour respite breaks… there’s even an option to have a visiting chaplain if it’s wanted.   

 

My mom still can’t work outside of the home and is pretty much tethered to Gramps’ care, but this extra support is pretty amazing and much appreciated.  Is it going to help me get my writing done?  Probably not, but then again the less I have to worry about my mom the more likely I’m able to concentrate on writing when I have the chance to squeeze it in to my schedule. 🙂

 

Wishes of high word counts to you all!

Kel


Repost: The Rules

I think I mentioned that I’m the blogger for the 25th day of each month over at the blog that belongs to my writer’s group.  Last Friday was my first post and I figured I’d share it here too since I still haven’t updated my Photo-A-Day posts. 🙂

The Rules
May 25, 2012

Apparently when it comes to writing and getting published there’s this idea among writers that there’s a golden set of rules that one must follow.  Not ideas, or suggestions, but The Rules.  Some of which, to be totally honest, are beginning to bum me out. 

 I write because I love it.  I write because it’s fun and it’s a way for an otherwise really, really, really shy girl to share her words with the world.  Sure, I understand that in order to get published there are certain things I’ll have to do and ways that I’ll need to tweak.  I’ve been a fanfic writer for the past thirteen years so I’m well aware that transitioning to the published world is going to mean changing up my style a bit. 

Writing fanfic is like writing for a soap opera that goes on and on, while writing for publishing is like condensing that soap opera into a movie.  Those slice of life chapters that really just serve as filler but aren’t really needed for the plot will have to be cut.  That, I can handle.

But when I talk about The Rules, I mean those things that every writer who blogs seems to talk about when giving advice about writing.  Those things that while although true for some simply aren’t true for all and yet somehow continue to be The Rules.

A blog post I read recently basically said that only the well known big name famous writers are “allowed” to write in first person.  Everyone else has to write in third person if they have any true desire to be published.  I call bullshit on that.  I truly don’t understand why some people hate first person so much.  I’ve heard people call it the “easy” and “lazy” way of writing (ridiculously untrue, IMHO).  People say that unless you’re writing for Young Adults you can’t possibly sell a first person book.  I read a lot of books, and I can tell you that not every first person book I read is YA or was written by one of the big names.  I personally enjoy reading and writing in first person.

It’s not that I’m opposed to third person; I just don’t have as much experience with it.  I’m still working on it, and have plans to keep building my skills.  But to say that the way that I happen to write is lazy, easy or flat out forbidden because it’s not the way that you write, isn’t cool.  Not at all. Not everyone likes to read the same things, so why the heck should writers all aim to write the same way just so it’s easier to get published? 

I don’t like when a book starts out too fast; other people insist that there be absolutely no backstory in the beginning of your book at all.  I don’t enjoy overly wordy descriptions of settings; some people love to read about the tranquil way that the waves pounded on the sandy shore causing the heroine to fall into a hypnotic dream-like state as she watched the froth of the waves form miniature bubble baths for the crabs digging their way out of their sandy homes. 😉  We all like what we like!

To tell me that I’m not “allowed” to write how I want to because I’m not a big name basically isn’t going to work for me.  I’m the one writing the book.  I’m not saying that I’m closed to learning or growing.  I’m definitely not going to be like Susan Minot who likes to write in run on sentences,  leave out punctuation, and have extremely unclear narrators.  (I seriously couldn’t get through one chapter of her book Evening because of her writing style and yet she’s supposedly one of the great writers of our time.) But I just want to write what I love and if I get bogged down by too many rules that will suck all of the fun out of it for me.  I find it hard to think that everyone who has been published, whether by a big name publisher or something smaller, has followed The Rules to a T.  In fact, I know they haven’t! 

Go walking through a book store and you’ll see all sorts of different books.  Sure, you’re going to find a slew of them that follow The Rules and many of them will feel like the same book with different characters and settings.  But you’re also going to find books that broke the mold in that bookstore.  You’ll find those writers who said, “Screw The Rules! I don’t want to write like that, I want to write like me.”

Did you know that Kathyn Stockett who wrote the book The Help had her manuscript rejected sixty times before it was published?  SIXTY TIMES!  But you know what?  She believed in her story and kept trying until it became a huge best seller and then an amazing movie that won Oscars.  By the way, it’s in first person and it was the first book she ever got published.  🙂 

So what’s my point?  Write what you love and how you love to write it!  If no one wants to publish it because you didn’t follow The Rules, you can always self publish now, right? 

Happy Writing and Happy Long Weekend!


More Shades

People are probably getting sick of my 50 Shades of Grey posts, but guess what? I don’t care.  This issue is near and dear to my heart and those of us who see the truth behind this book need to keep speaking up.

Yesterday my buddy Jennifer Armintrout whose 50 Shades recaps I’ve mentioned several times posted something that broke my heart.  It’s exactly why I feel so strongly that these books are doing a diservice to women and the media is only making it worse.

I beg of you, go read Jen’s post.  Another 50 Shades PSA.  Now with added author breakdown.

Then if you haven’t read her chapter by chapter recaps, have a look at them.  Even if you liked the 50 Shades books, you can’t possibly read these recaps without seeing them in a different light.


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