Saturday, May 24, 2014

Rememberance

It was a beautiful day outside today. I got up this morning, pain in my neck, and headed out to the hospital lab to get blood work done for my primary care doctor. I decided that since my rheumatologist has standing orders for me to have blood test every 4 weeks I thought it was a good idea to kill two birds with one stone and combined the draw for both doctors. Only one stick.

After I left the vampires behind, I headed back home, changed my shoes and went to the cemetery to walk. I was surprised. I've been walking at there for almost a year now, off and on. It is just a beautiful place but I rarely see anyone about, even the cleaning crews. It is part of the reason I like walking there.

Today was different. The place seemed to be crawling with people and cars. They were coming and going and I had to get off the road a couple of times to allow two cars to pass. Most were old people, some on walkers, and some were probably middle age, and there were a couple of young mothers with children. Everyone had flowers and I noticed that flowers were more prevalent all over the cemetery. I found myself feeling a bit put out by all the coming and going but comforted by the fact someone remembered.

America is not a culture of death. Quite the contrary, we exhibit life with all the stops pulled out, never thinking about tomorrow, never looking back. We're a country focused on, as one beer company used to put it, "all the gusto you can get." We live for and in the moment, at break-neck speed. It is why drugs are so popular. When this feverish existence seems to slow down, because life actually runs at a much slower pace than we force it to, we are faced with normalcy and the drugs speed things up again. When you're moving so fast, reality is a blur you can ignore.

So, cemeteries are places we go when we die, to be forgotten. It is where life stops. If you don't believe me, ask anyone if they visit the cemeteries for any reason and how often. You may even get a few pulled faces and comments about morbidity and creepiness. But if you ask the same folks if they want to be forgotten, they will tell you they don't. In fact, I think most of us don't believe we will be forgotten. 

As I walked today, around each curve someone was getting out of a car, bending over a grave, placing flowers, or leaving a grave site. It was moving in an odd way. Of course, you know me, always find the flaw in the pattern, I realized that my home is not here. I have no extended family here but a granddaughter, son and a sister, none of whom I believe will remain here when I am gone, if they outlive me. My granddaughter, especially will likely go off to college, meet a Prince Charming and move somewhere else. I'm not likely to see that. And I will lie here in this cemetery, forgotten. No one will lay flowers or stare at my name carved in the stone and remember me.

This has bothered me a lot since Jerry died. As I said, no one wants to be forgotten. One of my greatest sorrows has always been that my Mama lies in a cemetery so far away I can't visit her grave and place flowers on it. I know that they're not "there" but this desire to leave mementos on graves is as old as humanity. It is inherent in us. Archaeologist repeatedly find sites of ancient burials with the remains of flowers and other mementos that were left by the living. Maybe some people do not have this inclination but it is so prevalent around the world that I wonder what is wrong with those who don't. What has happened to change us? 

It used to be even more common for people to visit cemeteries than it is today. Latin American countries have Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) where whole families have veritable picnics in cemeteries to pay homage to their dead and celebrate their life. Asia and Africa have many special ceremonies to honor their dead.  While these may seem extreme or weird to us, I don't find the intent odd at all. 

I rounded the last curve in my walk and the VA section came into view. I saw all those flags waving in the breeze. I saw the flowers I  placed on Jerry's grave and flowers other's had placed on their loved one's grave. I walked over to Jerry's and adjusted it. I read the name carved in the stone. I looked at the rows of graves of those who served this country, some sacrificing their life for it. More than a hundred small flags fluttered in the breeze and there were more on other Veteran graves in other parts of the cemetery. Monday there will be a memorial service here and the names of all the veterans who died in the last 12 months will be read aloud. There will be a 21 gun salute fired and a benediction given. For this weekend, at least, they are remembered. 

For those of you who are still with us who served and those who still serve, you are a special breed and you have my eternal thanks for your service to this nation. 






Friday, May 23, 2014

Remembering The Rules



Today I was reading a set of penalties posted on Facebook for parents to use with their kids. It focused on doing good things to earn points to revoke grounding. It was a brilliant idea. It reminded me of the set of "rules" we posted on our refrigerator for our sons when they were teenagers. When they got in trouble they had to read them and specifically focus on the item that applied to their situation. It was posted on the fridge for years and I remember when they finally moved out, I took it down and the paper was all stiff and the ink faded but it was still legible.

As I read over them again today it reminded me that I wasn't a terrible parent. I did do some things right and now, years after I wrote and posted these rules, I can look at my sons and realize that despite their flaws, we didn't do a terrible job. If I compare the positive with the negative I can see that something got through to them. I see caring and compassion men who show respect for others, well, most of the time. No one is perfect here. They love their country and respect its laws and as far as possible, its leaders. They believe in the rights of others and when those rights are infringed, they are incensed. They recognize the dangers of tyranny and want to fix it. 

They love God. This has always been so important to us. We saw how the world was failing and we feared that they would stray far away from their faith and never find their way back. And they did stray but we also watched, with great fear, as they struggled to return to that faith and to reinstate the values we tried to instil in them. We often feared the struggle would end in failure. Their dad is dead now but I know, were he alive, he'd feel so relieved at some of the changes in his sons. He'd be so proud of them.

I am blessed with good boys. There are things I'd change if I could but they became who they are because of who we were and how we raised them. And if there is something I don't understand about them or can't accept, I have to deal with that.  As adults, it is up to them to fine tune their character if it needs it. I hope we gave them the tools to do that. Reading those rules and seeing the results of our work, I think we might have done. I hope so.

Rules of Respect
  1. Show courtesy to everyone. Please, Thank you, Sir, M’am, You’re welcome, and excuse me, are all keys that open doors. Everyone likes respect. You get what you give.
  2. Ask first. Do not take something that is not yours. If you “borrow” without asking, it is stealing. Get permission
  3. Wait your turn. Do not interrupt others when they are talking. Or, if you are not part of the conversation and need to speak to someone, “excuse me” is an appropriate way to get their attention if you have waited for several minutes.
  4. Know who’s in charge. If you see a need or problem, do not give orders – find the person in charge and politely mention the problem. If you have not been put specifically in charge, allow the person in charge to give the orders.
  5. Refuse to argue. Ask if you can quietly discuss the problem. The Bible says “a soft answer turneth away wrath.” Usually, it is hard to yell at someone who won’t yell back. After a while they get tired. Remember, sometimes it doesn’t work, especially if you have wrecked the car or broken curfew.
  6. Allow the other person to be right. No one is right all the time but neither are they always wrong. YOU could be wrong. It is more embarrassing to loudly declare you’re right and be proven wrong than it is to keep your mouth shut and let others loudly declare when you are right.
  7. Offer help. If someone is ill, physically unable to do a chore, or simply needs an extra pair of hands, offer to help. Do not wait to be asked. Offer kindly. If your help is refused, say nothing and allow them to do it themselves. If asked -- give your help to the best of your ability.
  8. Respect other’s privacy. Do not ask questions about someone’s personal life unless it will affect you personally. For example: You do not need to know about someone’s sex life unless you plan to have sex with them. Do not tell secrets you have been told unless there is a danger involved or a crime. Do not listen in on others’ conversations uninvited. Do not tell something you have overheard in a private conversation. Would you want someone to tell your secrets?
  9. Do unto others. If you want kindness, give it. If you want love, give it. If you want help, give it. If you want friendship, give it. If you want understanding, give it. If you want fairness, give it. If you want truth, give it. If you want joy, give it. If you want peace, give it. If you don’t want any of this, do nothing and you’ll get nothing.
  10. Overlook the jerks. There will ALWAYS be someone who defies all of the above. And because of it, no matter what you do, it will never be enough or it will always be wrong – to them. Walk away and smile. If you have done your best and followed the rules, you have won anyway. Always, always, always let them go before you. When the axe falls, it will be their head that rolls.
You have been taught a set of values. If you choose to abandon these, we will not avert the consequences of your actions. If you get arrested, we will not bail you out; if you catch a disease, we cannot cure you or even get expensive medical care. Adult behavior requires adult responsibility. You are on your own when you set your own values and rules of behavior. If they conflict with our moral code, you must move out and support yourselves. We will still love you but we made our choices before you were born. We have not changed our minds since then and will not do so now. As a result, we may lose you but if we give in, not only will we lose you but we will also lose ourselves.


Saturday, May 17, 2014

Litany of Lament

Just when you think things might improve, they don't. After a long and torturous week, I woke to some very unusual symptoms. I ached all over particularly my hands. The index finger of my right hand was doing something weird. I held my hand open and that finger remained at a 90 degree angle at the middle knuckle. I couldn't not straighten it, no matter how hard I tried. Finally, I took my left hand and pushed the finger forward and it snapped up, just like you'd snap a lid, with the same snap feel. Not terribly painful but down right freaky. I closed my fist and tried again. I did this several times to test it and it happened each time. All the joints were stiff and hurting. 

In addition, my right leg was in a vice. I was having continual cramps from the hip all the way to the ball of my foot which felt as if it were crushed. I could barely stand on it and it felt as if the tissue inside my foot was jelled. I've had major pain in the foot and cramps up and down the leg all day. I have no idea what it is or the cause. I suspect the foot and hip is the RA and this could cause the cramps I suppose. 

In a few hours of rising, the finger seemed to have recovered its sanity and was working normally, very little pain remained in my hands. The foot and leg... not so much. It is pretty much agony and walking is simply unbearable. My ankle feels sprained. But I got out and cut the back lawn because I simply refuse to go quietly. There is no knight in shinning armor coming to my rescue, no hero going to save the day, no dashing man to hand me a drink. tell me to take it easy, and offer to take care of things. I eventually may end up wheeling myself to the mower but if that's what I  have to do...well, then I'll do it.

We've had a cold snap with lots of damp. I suspect this is the catalyst for all the stuff that's been happening to me. On Wednesday the physical therapist was at a loss. All the apparent progress seemed to have evaporated and she didn't know what to do. She opted for less to see if I could recover by Monday. Long term I've had a pretty good run but if the trend continues, I'm not so sure this is going to end well. Already walking is looking bleak. 

And in other news.... it is freaky cold! What happened to spring? You can bet it will end abruptly and be an arid opposite with intense humid heat. I haven't been able to walk because of the cold and my foot. Soon the humidity will make it miserable to be outside.

Ok, nuff said on that. 

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Take My Advice... or Not

Somewhere it was suggested good blog topic would be "Life's Biggest Mistakes". I'm not so sure. I mean, it isn't like talking about them will make them disappear or change me in some way. I can't reverse the procedure. And I discovered a long time ago that giving advice to people is generally a waste of time. They don't listen to you and in all likelihood, they have probably, somewhere on the internet, posted a blog about their own mistakes. 

I decided to "offer advice" instead. Now, when I tell you you should do this, I tell you from personal experience. I either wish I had done or I have done each of these. But you're not going to take my advice anyway. You can leave when you don't want to hear it anymore. 

1.  Don't get married before you're old enough to vote. Yes, I did but don't do as I do, do as I say. I was young but I'd had a fairly rough life by age 17 and was a lot more mature than the average 17 year old. I know everyone says that but in this case it's true. I lucked out and married a guy who treated me like a queen.  You might not be so lucky. So, just don't do it. You have plenty of time. There are a lot of things you need to do before you settle on one person. If it is the right person, you'll be married longer than you're single, so make those single years count and take your time.

2.  Exercise religiously. Start as young as possible. And don't stop because you go to college, you have kids, or you go to work. They're the reasons you need to keep doing it. I exercised all my life... until I started college at 31. I had two children and a husband and a full class load for five years and by the time I was done, I had a BA in history and 30 extra pounds. Don't stop. 

3.  Eat healthy now. You'll pay for it later. In spades. You can dig a grave with those spades. Remember the Ace of Spades is called the death card? Now you know why.

4.  Don't ever buy a new car. Really. It cost $30K and you drive it off the lot and it is now worth $25K. Buy a good used one and save the depreciation. Even major repairs are cheaper than a new car. Drive careful and insure it well. 

5.  In fact, don't ever buy new if used works just as well. Use appliances, furniture, clothes, toys, books. Anything. Save your money and waste nothing. You can travel on it later. Cause you're going to be in good shape from all that exercise and healthy eating, right?

6. Open a savings account and a Roth IRA NOW. Just do it. It is very important. You'll thank me in 20 years. Or at least write a memorial to me.

7.  Travel whenever you get an opportunity. Use the money you saved on the car and from buying second hand. Or just take cheap day trips somewhere you can drive in a few hours. See new things, sit down and relax. You may never get another chance to see something new.

8.  Buy a good tent and camping gear. Forget the campers. Tents are cheaper and if you're going to take the housework, you might as well stay home. Buy a good sleeping mat for the tent, preferably a firm, 4 inch pad. Your back will thank you. And when the world becomes a mad house, go to the forest for a week. Your spirit will thank you. And if the power goes out, there's an earthquake, or some other disaster you'll be equipped. You'll thank me then, too.

9.  Learn to cook over an open fire. The food will be the best you ever ate. When you're done, sit beside the embers and stare into them. You stomach will be full and your soul will be warmed. And in the event of that natural disaster, you'll be equipped.

10. Learn to garden and grow your own food. It taste better and is healthier for you. You will need to know this at some point in your life. 

11.  Learn to sew buttons on, put in a hem, and repair a seam. Yes, even if you're a man. You'll always be able to mend your clothes instead of paying exorbitant fees to have it done. Besides, those skills can also be used to sew up open wounds in a disaster. Well, you've been wanting a zombie apocalypse. You might as well be prepared.

12. Keep a fully stocked emergency kit. No, not for a disaster, for the kids.  But it is good you're thinking ahead. And the zombies,too, if you really believe that stuff.

13.  Take photos, real ones, of people you love, smiling, laughing faces. Frame them and surround yourself with them. When the power goes out and those digital things don't work or life goes dark, you can take them down and hold them close. 

14.  Always tell the truth, even when it hurts. Lies hurt worse. Lay hold of the truth and hang on for dear life. 

15.  Never blame someone else for your mistakes. Sometime, somewhere, someone will blame you for theirs. You' won't like it. 

16.  Never abuse those you love. You may wake up tomorrow and they are not there... or you may not wake up. Either way, someone has to live with the memories. Make good ones. If you can't do that, leave.  Better yet, don't get married or partner up and inflict you're stupidity anyone else. And if you're with someone like that, get out now. You can't fix them and it will only get worse.

17.  Never argue with your spouse or partner in front of your children. If that's too hard, don't have children.

18.  Never let the sun go down on your wrath. Always, before you go to sleep, every night, make sure you clear any animosity, resentment, and anger from your heart and mind. They rot overnight. Eventually, everyone will smell you. You'll smell yourself when everyone is gone.

19.  Always be willing to apologize, even if you're not wrong. You're not apologizing for being wrong. You're apologizing for participating in a conflict where someone got hurt. Pride is useless when you are wrong and pointless if you're right.

20. Always accept defeat with grace and dignity. People will remember you far longer than they will the winner.

21.  Attend church regularly. Pray regularly. Pay tithes and give offerings. Count your blessings. You can't out give God. And if you don't forget Him, He sure won't forget you. 

22. You get out of life as much as you put in. Put all you have into it. If you do it right, a six foot hole won't be able to contain it. 

There's probably more but this will do. Maybe I'll do another one someday. Or maybe you will.


It Came In the Mail

I stayed home today. Pain wasn't good, even the therapy Tuesday and Wednesday didn't help me. This morning, I was not feeling good and although I dressed, I had no energy to actually go to work. I have lain around all day. I even kept my work clothes on. I was too tired to care or maybe I thought I could eventually make it in. Anyway,  I went to sleep in the chair around noon, absolutely couldn't hold my head up any longer. What is up with this? Overwhelming need for sleep has become a common thing of late, along with this neck pain, and it is really interfering in my life. What is up with this?

After I woke up, I was sitting in my chair, reading. I heard someone talking as they approached the house. I paused and waited for the doorbell to ring and either a pair of Mormans or Jehovah's Witnesses to be smiling at me when I answered it. Nothing happened and the talking came onto the porch and then, with the same speed, drifted off and away. But there was a ruffling sound before that. Hmmm. Well, drat. I have to get up.

Opening the door I watched as the postman.....no, mailman.... no, mail carrier walked down the middle of the street, away from my house, talking on her cell phone. Really?

OK, I know it must be a really boring job but I happen to know they get paid very well. They get great benefits. They .... never mind. My point is there is a problem with the mail. Seriously. I work in a government business and if you know how much postage cost, well, in an assistance program it is extremely high. That might not be so bad if the mail actually got delivered to the person it was addressed to most of the time. It doesn't. They bring it back "undeliverable as addressed" or "no such number" or "forwarding order expired". After five years I should hope so but you just noticed it? 

Now, we know that every piece of mail has the correct address. The houses we send them to have legal addresses established BY THE POST OFFICE and we actually do an annual inspection on them once a year. We KNOW they're there. And yet... they can't find them half the time. And don't bother telling me I'm wrong. Granted that on rare occasions, about 1 a month, someone moves away without telling us or a letter is hand typed, rather than automatically generated from the software, with the wrong address. But neither account for the volume of return mail we get. I have to put additional postage on the letter, package, whatever and re-post it. One package cost us $1.60 to mail and of those we send about 150 a month. Sometimes it comes back so often we have to call the person and tell them to go to the post office and deal with the problem.

There was one month in which we had so much mail coming back that we actually had to call the post office ourselves and complain to the Post Master about the delivery problem. That month we were sending some of the same mail over and over and over. Who knows how many other places had that problem that month! And it took two months to see an improvement. I guess they finally fired the person.

Now, these people have to pass a rigorous test to be come a postal worker. I know they do because my husband took it and failed it and he was a college graduate. We never could figure out how that happened but it did. He'd even got one of those books designed to help you. It didn't. However, I've finally decided that it was simple. He knew too much. He simply knew too much to pass the exam. He said he thought it was a time problem. {pregnant pause} Apparently they have a time ... limit? Who would have guessed. I'm still confused on that point.

Of course, that was before cell phones. Now things become even clearer for me today. I realize why some of my clients use the excuse "I didn't get my letter for two weeks. The postman delivered it to the neighbors two blocks away and they finally brought it to me. I don't even know them!"  It sounds lame to us when they use that excuse but now it makes perfect sense. The mail carrier was talking on her cell phone and didn't pay attention to the addresses!

I would never have considered that as a problem. See, I'm a government employee and I have to use my cell phone on the job.... uh, never? No, but I can't let it interfere with my job - data entry, business calls, appointments, face to face conversation with clients. Yeah. But hey, maybe some government jobs let you talk on your phone all day about things unrelated to your job.

I think the solution to the problems cell phones have created is this: if you're mobile - on your feet or behind the wheel of a car - it is a felony to be caught using a cell phone.I'm serious. I can't stand you people trying to navigate in McDonald's parking lot, during the breakfast hour, driving your SUV, and talking on you phone. Really, lady? You're an idiot. Maybe you can afford the gas for that boat but I'm having trouble keeping mine full. I don't need you wrecking my car. Right about now I want to slap you and take a hammer to your phone.

For the ignorant, phones were not meant to be used in moving vehicles, when you're walking, in the drive thru, while you're in the grocery line, in the theater, or any other public place. Phones were meant to be used in a private area, away from people who don't know you and who don't care about the party you attended last night, or the fact that your kids just pooped his pants at school, or the affair you're having with that woman/man. Get a life and don't share it.

Phone booths were the greatest invention known to man. It gave access and privacy to an amazing means of communication. I miss phone booths. I liked closing the door and talking to someone and watching the rest of the world hurry by... or wait in line, while I had a conversation with someone I knew was actually listening on the other end. Never mind those movies where someone is in a phone booth and a car either rams the booth or fires automatic weapons at it. The phone booth is a sad loss to society. They can't even put them in movies anymore.

They'd have done better to leave the booths in place for idiots who think walking and talking on the cell phone on streets where there are potholes, manholes, and uneven sidewalks is nifty. It isn't. Get real folks, when you're on the phone you are little more than an idiot who doesn't see what is happening around you. You can't read while talking on a cell phone and this probably is a clue that you can't deliver the mail at the same time. Mail carriers get paid to deliver mail, not chat with the BFF during work hours.

One thing, maybe a positive thing, has come out of this stupidity. They now show movies with people talking on their cell phones getting hit by cars, shot in drive-by shootings, falling into manholes... wait... that's in real life. Hmmm, maybe this problem will correct itself.

Note: I may have found a character to off in my next NaNo Novel.


Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Question of the Day -- #2

How did I spend last evening?

Funny you should ask. I spent it looking at an old group site I used to belong to about Marie Antoinette. I was in the group for about 2 years and only because I had an invite from the moderator, who adored MA and thought my writing my views would lend interest to the group. I, of course, could care less about her. As I read my old posts, I had to laugh. I brought more than interest. It was sheer controversy and chaos. I was roasted more than once, one fan actually threatened me, called me lots of really nasty names, made aspersions about my intelligence (and lack of), and sent me emails. I actually filed a complaint about the latter. He hated me. However, there were several who actually liked what I was doing and played along. They didn't agree with me but they had a blast arguing their points. Nasty boy's behavior actually got me more interest. And most members were respectful. I was very disrespectful to their Queen, who I felt was more or less unimportant to history. They, of course, felt she was the be all and end all of Queens. As for the moderator who invited me, it was the best two years of his life in that group. He raved about it.

It was actually fun to read over that stuff. It dealt with the history of the French Revolution, and the life and death of MA, and her impact on society. I read over all of it and some of it was amusing. I was deliberately controversial and it showed. I swear it was nearly a cult but there were some really wonderful folks I connected with and I had such fun doing it.

One lovely thing that happened to me while I read was that I realized that I'm a really good writer. I know! I was a bit surprised at it, too.  But there was some truly great post I produced during that period. And these were done on the fly in a forum. No time for editing and research. I did do research but usually when I wasn't on the boards and really, the group was quite knowledgeable. They lived and breathed the French Revolution and MA. I knew next to nothing. So, it was quite nice to see I am better than I generally think I am. Maybe I should go and copy those posts and save them? 

Tracking down my own posts was not easy. I wasted hours on that pursuit. I looked at the stats for the board. During my time on that board the post shot up to over 700 in one month. Generally, for the whole two years, it fluctuated from about 150-400. Before and since I left they average around 25 and this year, less than 20. It just proves that when you challenge people's thinking, they actually start to think... they may never agree but at least they think and respond. 

So, that's how I spent my evening. And I enjoyed it. I left the forum smiling, thinking about rejoining, deciding that the time has passed, and wondering what happened to the group I interacted with. Their names do not appear much after I left and in the last several years of posting, not at all. When I look at all those posts and realized I probably generated the activity, it is kind of ... well, I feel pretty good about it. That was cool.


Monday, May 12, 2014

Question of the Day - #1

If no one ever read your blog or knew that it existed, would you continue to write? Ran across this somewhere in a list of things to blog about. It interested me only in that I've had this thought before.

I started blogging so long ago I can't even remember the year. If you want to know you can go back to the first posts. Oh, never mind. It was 2005. I looked. 

I called it something else back then. The name isn't the only thing that changed. I did, too. I'm not sure who I was back then but certainly I'm very different now.

I don't really know why I originally started blogging. I think I had some notion I'd become famous. Laughable now but there it is. We all crave fame at some point. Then we grow up. Actually, we watch the news and see what happens to the famous and realize it isn't all it's cracked up to be.

For the most part, it is a silly blog filled of things I was experiencing and thinking. Probably not a good format for a blog if you're wanting to be famous... and read. I considered revamping and restructuring. I've change the layout a few times, added things, removed things, and changed the name once. Still, it is pretty much the same kind of blog - a recitation of all that I go through. And honestly, that's got to be useless to everyone. I doubt anyone knows I'm here. Or if they do, they quickly forget. 

More recently I studied the "branding", "marketing", platform stuff and found those are fancy names for work. Decided I wasn't interested. 

I actually enjoy blogging, even if no one reads it. So why would I stop? If it hurt me, say like dropping a hammer on my foot, I might not be so eager but it doesn't hurt. It is actually a kind of nice feeling when I get a post done and sometimes, when it is actually a good post, it is a great feeling. And if someone comments... well, that's euphoria. And if it cost me something I might stop but it's one of the few things in life that is actually free. That's so rare that I have no intention of giving it up. Unless they start charging. 

I suppose the answer is that yes, I'd continue blogging. I have done for over 10 years and two attempts on Yahoo 360 & Multiply - both of which sunk. My Blogger site has endured.  So, until something changes to make it a negative experience, I'll continue. Even if you or anyone else never reads it. 

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Many Thoughts

Today is was Mother's Day. I went to church with my oldest son, Mike, my granddaughter, Sarah, and my ex-daughter-in-law, Becca and her boy friend. We went to the church she attends. Afterward we all went to lunch at Mandarin Gardens. I came home with Mike and Sarah and we all took naps, which I really needed. Altogether a nice day, if gloomy and gray. While Becca is no longer married to my son, I'm glad we still like one another and enjoy each other's company. 

I've got a hodgepodge of thoughts going around in my head. The best way I know to deal with them is simply pour them out and start over. So, here we go.

My neck is feeling better, if not cured. The PT appointments are helping. The ladies at Advanced Therapy Innovations are absolutely awesome. They hurt me terribly when I go in and I feel better when I leave. Not as awful as it sounds. What they do to me hurts but once they're done, the long term effect is dramatic and I love it. Feeling much better most of the time. The "Original McKenzie Cervical Roll " I bought has brought a much better night's sleep and less pain on waking. It works most of the time. The exercises they've given me take most of the pain away within a short time and help keep it away throughout the day. No, there is no cure but I think I might survive with their help as long as I can get it.

The job is still a nightmare. I still need to get out. I'm working on it. I'm saving every penny I can spare. I'm paying certain accounts months in advance with the savings. I'm paving the way so I won't have many bills to pay once I leave for at least several months, so I can find some kind of work. I think, I pray, I could get by with about 20 hours a week. That's a conservative guesstimate. I'm praying for a mass layoff which would garner me unemployment pay for a short time. Pray with me. I feel guilty for saying it as my co-workers are suffering as well and a few of them would find it very bad indeed, even with unemployment and they certainly couldn't make it on 20 hrs a week. And we all know jobs in Obama's America are just not there. They know how I feel and I've apologized to them for even thinking that way but they also understand. I am certain that if I continue in this job, I many not make it to the end of the year without something bad happening to me.

Writing is not going well. My fault. I really have been very sick. Only a couple of months ago I was becoming very despondent and the amount of pain had escalated to the point that death was becoming very attractive. I say this in all honesty and with no sense of drama. Just the facts, m'am. I'm not suicidal nor do I want to die but I am here to tell you that sometimes life can become unbearable. I don't care if you disagree. I don't care what your philosophy is or how wonderful you may think life is in general. Or how sacred it is, in fact. A life filled with the kind of pain I was experiencing is not worth anything at all and it most certainly is not sacred at that level, it is cursed. I had clearly reached my tolerance level and it was swiftly going downhill. Now, I am very aware that I am constantly on the brink of that cliff at all times. I live pretty much in terror of falling over and the effect of that on my mental state. It was not and is not good. I have absolutely no desire to live like that, ever, ever, ever.

There was a terrible storm blew in this past week, on Thursday, I think. Neighbor's roof is destroyed by a fallen tree. No one was living there but the owner grew up in that house and it was very difficult for her. Her mother died last year so that only makes it worse. Death usually does. I think it will be too expensive to repair as the whole house needs a lot of work. There are a lot of old trees on that property so it could have been bad for me if those near the property line had come down. They're very tall and I suspect a few could reach my roof, depending on the kind of fall. A broken limb might not be too bad but the tree that fell on their roof was in the other neighbor's yard and landed square on the roof. So, yeah, I'm at risk. Thankful no one was hurt. Mike was sitting at the stop sign right in front of the tree when it fell.

I spent a weekend working outside last week and this wet weekend inside, doing nothing. I did have a writer's meeting on Saturday, which only Kimbra attended but we had a really lovely time. Well, I did, anyway. She spent a lot of it taking notes so I felt quite important. She may have been doing her shopping list as far as I know but it was quite nice to feel "quotable". 

Now Monday has rolled around and I must crawl back into the foxhole and prepare for more shelling. I no longer have any desire to do anything at all because I feel no matter what I do, nothing will change or get better. 

It has been an interesting month and I've had no time to write and none to catch up on blogs. I tried to get around to them all but only managed a few. I am sitting here wondering why I'm bothering with even blogging and I realize this blog is my closest friend. I can say anything to it and be perfectly honest with no judgement. It lets me simply say and feel and whine and complain and welcomes me to do so. And if I don't want comments, I can just turn them off. I don't generally but the fact that I can is quite liberating. 

I've managed to keep checking in on FB and G+ alternately and very quickly. I find myself totally bored with most social media these days. Not that I don't love my "friends", the ones who bother to say hello now and then. I commented on the few blogs I managed to read. I've had no responses or acknowledgements so most likely they no longer remember me. Best wishes and all that. Maybe they're too busy. Or maybe they died. Or maybe it was more important to me.

When I had Multiply, I had this lovely group of blogger friends who I was in almost daily contact with.  I do keep up with those blogs as much as possible, even if I don't always comment. I've tried to find a replacement online, but nothing has worked out. So, now I just try and keep up with those connections and hear from them as time permits but unfortunately, the dynamic has changed and I miss them terribly.

I've become very aware over several months that people who really know me like/love me. Well, I think they do. If they don't, they're very good liars. I'm also very surprised at times by who they are! The most surprising people like me! LOL, isn't that odd? I frequently ask myself why.

So why do I worry about those who don't? Like me, I mean. Well, we can't be liked by everyone. We'd be boring. But it does bother me. I am striving now to make it not so. I realize I've spent a lot of time trying to "fit in" or be "acceptable" and couldn't. I've noticed that since I began take note of this, I have found it easier to let go of entanglements. Almost too easy. I'm not sure what it means. I simply say it here to note it. Once I did that, I found I was able to start seeing the time wasters in my life. I still have too many but maybe that's part of what is wrong with me. I think trying to fill the void left by Jerry is part of it. I've hung on to stuff, like those hoarders on t.v.. but I've managed to pick up baggage that has only served to weigh me down and contributed nothing to my quality of life and, in fact, stressed me even more. Some losses hurt but I'm not stupid. When it bothers me more than anyone else, it was a waste of time. 

See, I told you, many thoughts in my head. Not sure it is more than just detritus but there it is. Maybe now it is cleared out I can do something more constructive. I can't wait till I can plant my flowers! Fingers crossed for sunshine and mild weather. I have a flat of things seeded and am waiting for sprouts. I have a few already. Now I just need to get the ground broken up.

I do hope you're week goes well and that your blogs are much happier than mine. They've been rather weighty lately. Sorry. I do say this is a journal in the description, so forewarned.





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