Sunday, November 30, 2014

Black Friday Tale

This is a story of how Black Friday can be humorous.

All through most of her life my father was on my sister about her weight. She takes after my mom and was just a little heavy. I felt really bad for her. Now the tables have turned and he is on me about my weight.

My sister had started yet another diet, bless her heart, and was doing very well on it. Especially for it being around the holidays.

Now, my sister and her good friend since childhood used to go out every Black Friday. They would go at 4:00 in the morning and wait in the long lines together. I never went, but it sounded like they had such great fun.

One year the Target store was their first stop. They waited in line in the dark, bitter cold. But the store was doing something nice for the shoppers. They had free coffee and doughnuts for the first people through the door.

My sister and her friend got in, were handed the doughnuts and coffee, and proceeded to get their buggies.

Just then, my sister found herself on TV. The local channel's news department had sent a camera crew to cover the big event.

Later in the day, everyone in the family saw the news footage.

My sister, on her diet, with a doughnut in her mouth.

I don't think my dad has ever let her forget it. We all still find it so funny. Her doughnut diet.

Now she is just as beautiful but she is thin. I am the fat one.

She is in a great relationship with a marvelous man, her fiance.

Oh, wait. I don't know if he knows this story. I have some sharing to do!

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Happy Fibonacci Day

It is the day of the year that follows the beginning of the Fibonacci number sequence. 1, 1, 2, 3, and so on. Each subsequent number is the total of the two previous.

Though it originally appeared in Indian mathematics, in Sanskrit, Leonardo of Pisa (known  as Fibonacci) wrote about it in his book Liber Abaci in 1202.

The graphic above shows the sequence. It is used in computer programs and has many other applications.

But the one thing that draws me to Fibonacci is the way you can find it in nature. You can see the sequence in everything from flower petals to fruits and vegetables and my favorite, the shell of the Nautilus.

I usually stink at math but in this case I find it to be quite beautiful. Poetic, even.

If you want to learn more about Fibonacci numbers and their applications here is a great website that explains it all.

I hope you enjoy your Fibonacci Day!

Thursday, November 13, 2014

World Kindness Day

Today is World Kindness Day. I think every day should be Kindness Day, but what do I know.

From the time we are young we should be taught kindness. "No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted" teaches Aesop in his fable about The Lion And The Mouse. If the lion had not shown a bit of compassion when he first caught the mouse then he would have been doomed when he found himself stuck by a thorn in his paw.

You don't have to go big when performing a compassionate act. Random Acts of Kindness.Org has pages of kindness ideas. You can even narrow the field by category, money, or time involved. The ideas range from something as simple as holding a door for someone to something more elaborate like buying someone a vacation. Bottom line is that there are a lot of good ideas.

You never can know what someone is going through and that smile you show to the harried cashier may just make her day. Complimenting the blouse of the woman by you in line may make her a bit happier the next time she wears it. Tell that customer service representative who is helping you on the phone that you really appreciate his help, it may be the only kind thing he hears his entire shift.

"You cannot do a kindness too soon, for you never know how soon it will be too late."  Ralph Waldo Emerson

The things I have mentioned cost nothing but a few moments of your time. Yet, by doing any one of them, you can deeply affect someone's view of the world. Isn't that a grand idea?

"Conquer the angry one by not getting angry; conquer the wicked by goodness; conquer the stingy by generosity, and the liar by speaking the truth."   Gautama Buddha  The Dhammapada

So please, if you can, show a little kindness. Especially on this, World Kindness Day.

Yay! #HintingSeason

There is a promotion by Best Buy on Twitter. You use #HintingSeason in order to hint for something that you would like for Christmas.

I have just started using Twitter. One of my first tweets was to hint for a new laptop and a year of Geek Squad protection.

Well, emails were sent back and forth.

Today I received via FedEx a gift card to Best Buy for $100.00!!!

That is enough for a year of Geek Squad help!

I am so very grateful to Best Buy for noticing my hint and, of course, for the generous gift card. I never win anything.

In other news, I am still very sick. I apologize to NaBloPoMo. I couldn't post yesterday due to feeling so cruddy. But tomorrow I see the doctor because my symptoms seem to be getting worse instead of better.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

No Delivery

Sorry. The delivery didn't happen today. Hopefully I will know something tomorrow.

But in the good news department I did have some very nice friends today. One chatted with me all morning via Facebook and one texted me and even came over and sat with me for a couple of hours. So I do have some nice friends.

Unfortunately, though, I think that I have caught a friend's cold. I knew I was risking it when I took her to get her medicine on Sunday. Waking up with razor blades in your throat is not fun. And my nose won't blow, but it'll run. Go figure. I'm sucking on zinc lozenges like they are going out of style.

So I have felt anxious and excited and spacy and like crap all day. And then the people don't come. It has been a disappointing day, to say the least.

These are my tissues of choice - Puffs Plus Lotion. They are good ones, worth the extra cost.

Hopefully I will find out something tomorrow and all will be good.

In the meantime, I have eaten my soup, blown my nose, sucked on my last zinc lozenge for the night, and I am going to go to bed.

See you tomorrow.

Monday, November 10, 2014

When Help Is Needed

I am pooped. I have been cleaning all day in anticipation of guests tomorrow.

I may have won something in a contest. All I was told was to be ready for a delivery tomorrow. I will certainly let you know what it is in a blog post.

I'm very, very excited because I never win anything.

Because I have been hurting so bad lately I asked my neighbors if they would help me by doing the dishes and taking out the garbage. These are the things that cause the most pain. I paid them in advance because they had some errands to run first. Well, at 7:20 tonight they knocked on my door and asked if they can come over tomorrow morning and help me. I said yes, what choice did I have?

I am so nervous about them coming in the morning that I have set my alarm for very early and will start on these things when I get up. Surely they will come in the morning, though.

Everything else is dusted and vacuumed and mopped and made to smell fresh and clean. It feels better in here, makes me feel better. But there are times that I just can't do anything. It is then that I have to ask for help.

It took a long time for me to think that it was okay to ask for help. I didn't want to bother people. But then I made a few friends that were happy to help me. For free. And there are some people who will do it but you have to pay them. My dear friend who would help is very sick right now with a cold and bronchitis. Otherwise she would have been here for me days ago.

I am thinking that asking for help for any reason is hard for some people. I am very up front and quick to ask for help from my doctors when my mental health is concerning me. But my physical needs are another matter. I often kid myself that I will surely feel better tomorrow, so I 'll put off doing the task.

So, if you think you need help, mentally or physically, ask for it. Don't do like I do and wait until the last moment. There are people who will help. You just have to find them.

Sunday, November 9, 2014

The Paper Situation

I struggle with Major Depressive Disorder and Anxiety. When I don't sleep, my anxiety goes through the roof and it starts me on a downward spiral into depression.

I have new meds now, and I can fall asleep. But I have another problem.

I started getting the local newspaper. Since I live in an apartment building, the carrier leaves it propped against my door. There has never been a problem, until now.

One of my little pleasures is sitting down with the Sunday paper and a cup of coffee and spending a couple of hours reading it all, going through the sale circulars and everything.

Well, I noticed that my Sunday paper had been read already. The sections were folded and crinkled and the whole thing was just stacked up, not one inside the other like a new paper. My coupons weren't in there.

Someone was stealing my paper then putting it back after having read it.

My psychiatrist told me to call and ask that the carrier knock when they dropped off my paper. I did that.

The very next Sunday I got up when the carrier knocked and opened my door to see my neighbor across the hall reaching for my paper.

I have repeatedly gone to her door to ask her not to steal my paper anymore, but she will not answer my knocks.

Today a friend suggested that I offer to let her read the paper when I am done with it. That way I could let go of this stressful situation and go back to sleeping through the night (hopefully). But when I knocked on her door to offer this solution, she didn't answer. Of course, today she could have been at church. She goes to church every Sunday, dressed in her finest. After stealing my paper.

So for now I will continue to be awakened at 4:00 so that I can foil a thief. My stress level will remain high and my health will suffer.

I think, though, that I will take my social worker up on his offer to go to the office for me. There are cameras in all the halls, so the theft would be recorded. She will be given a written warning. I will see how I feel after one more week.

Sorry to be a downer today. I have just had enough.

What would you do in my situation?

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Punsters Day

Today, November 8th, is Abet and Aid Punsters Day. Sounds cool, doesn't it?

To help us celebrate, I found this list of 15 of History's Greatest Puns. My favorite on the list is Winston Churchill's "If you are going through hell, keep going".

For the hardcore pun lover, there is the website Pun of the Day. It has puns submitted by people from all over the globe and you can vote for the one you think is best.

My very favorite pun of all, though, is one I made up with my youngest son, J.

We were sitting around one day, enjoying some delicious string cheese. I removed a few strips from mine, tied them, then asked him what it was. He said that it was string cheese. I replied, "No, it's knot cheese". That just struck us as hilarious and we laughed about it the rest of the weekend.

Laughing with your kids gives you a fabulous feeling. Even if it is about silly things.

So Happy Abet and Aid Punsters Day.

What is your favorite pun?

Friday, November 7, 2014

Good Bad Movies

I just got off the phone with a dear old friend. Thirty-seven years is nothing to sneeze at. He lives in a nearby city so we don't see each other much but we talk quite often.

While on the phone we will listen to the same music, talking about it. But what we do more often is watch the same movies or TV shows. The badder, the better.

Tonight's fare was Robinson Crusoe On Mars. We laughed and laughed. No, it wasn't a comedy it was just that bad. I am sure that it was a very serious adventure when it came out.

The special effects were great. The stock film of volcanoes was hilarious because he put his arm up to shield his eyes, like that would block the heat if you are 50 feet from a lava flow. And the aliens were relentless in their search to destroy Friday.

But please, see it for yourself sometime if you enjoy laughing at bad movies.

Speaking of which, IMDB has compiled a list of movies so bad they are good to watch. The Internet Movie Data Base has made it easy for you to find a serious movie that will make you laugh.

So it isn't just my friend and me who enjoy pointing out silly things in serious movies. Laughter is such good medicine for the soul, especially when one is depressed or anxious. Which I am quite a bit.

Try it, you might like it.

Do you have a certain bad movie that you watch just so you can get in a good belly laugh?

Thursday, November 6, 2014

A Gratitude Break

I am so very grateful that I can write. I can express what I am going through and, once it is out there, it allows me to examine my feelings more thoroughly. And I am even more grateful to you for reading what I have written and giving me feedback.

There is still a stupid social stigma associated with mental illness. I hope that by writing about what I go through you may realize that you are not alone. There are others out there who know exactly how you feel. Sometimes the difficulty is in finding those people.

I am grateful that I have access to health care when so many do not. While I don't like the fact that I have to rely on pharmaceuticals to balance my brain chemistry, I am grateful to have them. And the wonderful doctors and other members of my care team are so quick to respond when anything changes.

Much of the time I feel anxious but otherwise okay. For those times when I don't, I am thankful that help is only a phone call away.

Since I write about a myriad of subjects, I am always on the lookout for inspiration. Anything that can draw my attention is fair game. Did you know that today is National Men Make Dinner Day? No? Well, now you do. I found out myself only a couple of days ago.

But what I like to write about the most are the everyday occurrences that many people may pass by without noticing.

  1. When the cool autumn breeze lightly brushes your face just right and makes you notice the changing leaves for the first time this year. 
  2. When the kitty has just given herself a bath and feels extra fluffy and soft.
  3. When that first sip of coffee is just exquisite. 
  4. When your hands are warmed by the mug of hot chocolate someone fixed for you when you returned from a walk outdoors in the winter.
  5. When you have washed the last dirty dish and you turn and there are not dirty pots and pans on the stove.

What does your writing do for you that makes you grateful for the ability?

Do you want to suggest something that you wish I would write about?

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

No Sleep For Me

I am going on very little sleep for a week and a half now.

My meds are being adjusted. When I started having trouble falling and staying asleep, yet wanting to just stay in bed all day, I got myself right to my doctors.

I struggle with Major Depressive Disorder and Anxiety. From miles away I can feel differences in my depressed state and I have to act quickly. Otherwise I could end up spending a month in bed and that's just no good.

Usually my books on my iPod will do the trick. I will drift off listening to the soothing works of Stephen King or Robert R. McCammon. Weird choices for bedtime stories, I know, but I find them soothing.

When I am sleep-deprived like this, I tend to have a certain poem rattle around in my noggin. It is Antigonish by William Hughes Mearns. I first heard it in the movie Identity when a portion of it was uttered by Pruitt Taylor Vince.

Here is the poem:

Yesterday, upon the stair,
I met a man who wasn’t there
He wasn’t there again today
I wish, I wish he’d go away...

When I came home last night at three
The man was waiting there for me
But when I looked around the hall
I couldn’t see him there at all!
Go away, go away, don’t you come back any more!
Go away, go away, and please don’t slam the door... (slam!)

Last night I saw upon the stair
A little man who wasn’t there
He wasn’t there again today
Oh, how I wish he’d go away...

I suppose that the reason that I enjoy the poem so much is because in times of stress and fatigue I have been known to see things just in the corner of my eye. Fleeting images. Real, or not? Repeating the poem grounds me. Soothes me. I am grateful for it.
Do you have a poem or snippet of prose that you can turn to for comfort?
Well, here is to hoping that the soothing narration of King's The Tommyknockers lulls me to sleep tonight.
And in the meantime, "Yesterday, upon the stair...".

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Dealing With An Old Dog

It's official. My little black cocker spaniel has been called a very old dog by his vet.

My Max turns 15 this month. He went to the vet for his shots (he needs his dip-tet - from Raising Arizona) and for him to be shaved in certain areas.

He barely hears. I have to speak very loudly to him. His sight is not the best. When he drops part of a treat I often have to pick it up and give it to him because he can't find it. And I guess that means that his nose isn't as keen as it once was.

His appetite has diminished. It is hard to find something he is interested in eating. The vet says give him whatever he will eat, dog food wise. He currently is eating a grain free lamb and rice dry and lamb and rice canned food. He seems to like it. Since he is getting more canned food than dry I am to mix two teaspoons of plain yogurt and two tablespoons of low fat cottage cheese to his food and hopefully that will even out some potty problems.

His back legs will give out when he is sitting up or standing up. I am to give him a baby aspirin in the morning and at night. Because of his advanced age the vet does not want to give him a prescription anti-inflammatory.

Now that it is cooler we can go out more without the risk of over-heating. He shouldn't get over excited because of his enlarged heart. If there is excessive panting I am to bring him right back to the vet.

He is still the same loving dog he has always been. Everyone who meets him just goes on and on about what a good dog he is. And I agree.

He has been with me through a lot, has gotten me through a lot, and now it is my turn to make sure to do the best for him.

"Blessed is the person who has earned the love of an old dog." --- Sydney Jeanne Seward

I feel so blessed to have him. And maybe tonight as we spoon on the bed (he has to sleep that way unless it is very hot) I will hold him just a bit tighter.

I will hold him to my heart and never let go.

Monday, November 3, 2014

Fear Of Heights

I am afraid of heights. What am I not afraid of, though, right?

Yesterday Nik Wallenda walked a tightrope between two skyscrapers in Chicago, IL. Just the mention of it gives me chills. Below is a photo from ABC News.

Twenty years ago, though, I overcame my fear.

I was crew on a sailboat on Lake Erie. We were in Erie, PA. It was summertime. They were having a celebration on the nearby waterfront. The festivities included fireworks.

Now, I love fireworks. There was one problem. The steaming light on the mast was blown out. We needed this light to be able to lawfully navigate and there was only myself and the captain aboard.

The light in reference was at the top of a mast that stood 45 feet above the deck of the boat. That is pretty high, for me.

As the morning turned to afternoon I thought more and more about letting the captain hoist me up in a bosun's chair so that I could replace that light bulb. A bosun's chair, by the way, is simply a board for your butt and ropes to go around your legs. It is attached to a halyard, the line that raises sails, and the halyard is pulled, pulling you up the mast.

I must have gotten in that chair a dozen times, chickening out each time. Finally I turned to liquid courage. I had a beer. That didn't do it. I had another. Then I waited a bit. At last, I had a third and with that the liquid courage took hold and I allowed him to hoist me up.

Once I got up there, it was no big deal. I replaced the light bulb, we made sure it worked, and he lowered me back to the deck.

We sailed to the festivities and had a lovely time as the fireworks filled the night sky.

Would I do it again today? No. I am now landlocked and sail no more, and I no longer drink. But I am glad that I can recall the time that I faced my fear and, with the help of a little liquid courage, made it a night to remember instead of regret.

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Time And Again

I am guessing that everyone that should have has already turned their clocks back one hour.

And that means that the clock in my kitchen and the clock in my car are now correct again.

Why don't I just take the few minutes it would take to set those clocks correctly every six months? That is another thing that my depression and anxiety do, they fill my head with "laters". I can always do it later, do it next time, do it tomorrow.

Then there are the times my brain tells me that if I DO do something, then something bad will happen. If I change the clock in the car, then the car will stop working. If I turn back the kitchen clock, it will break.

Such is the joy of depression and anxiety thrown together. Time and again I tell myself that I will push those "laters" and "ifs" out of my head and do what I really want to do. But they always pop back in.

The only time I can do exactly what is needed is when I am caring for my pets. They force me to be in the here and now. Time and again they ground me when I am anxious and give me a reason to get out of bed when I am depressed.

Do you have thoughts that keep you from doing the simplest of tasks?

Do you have pets that act as your therapy?

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Snow Already!

Last week it was in the 80's here. Today it is snowing. Such is weather in the southern town where I live.

But I am in a valley and, while it snows inches in the mountains all around us, we rarely get a good, deep snow.

It brought to mind the snows of my childhood. It seems it snowed more often and the deep snows stayed for days and days. We would be out of school for a week or so.

We were lucky enough to live between two pretty big hills that we could sled down. Of course, traveling those roads by car was treacherous.

And we didn't have the nice, soft plastic sleds. Oh, no. These were the Flexible Flyers. The ones that had the sharp metal runners. When you crashed and those ran over a body part, that body part got hurt.

You could sit on them and steer with your feet or you could lie down on them and have your face just inches from the hard packed snow rushing by. It was about as exciting as anything could be for a kid then.

We would be outside for hours, sledding quickly down the hill then dragging the sleds back up to the top.

One year we did a bad thing. There was a house close to the top of the biggest hill. We thought that the snow was melting a bit too fast and so one evening we took her water hose, turned on the water and placed the hose so that it was trickling down the hill. It was cold enough so that it left the road with a thin glaze of ice. I don't know how, but we were caught and the one whose idea it was stood up and had to take his medicine. But he was out the next day, sledding as though nothing had happened. After all, we were just kids and the snow wouldn't be there forever.

Now I no longer sled but I am happy when it snows. My old dog has a good time in it.

I am sorry if you hate the snow. I know that it can be dangerous to drive in.

But it is so nice to sit in a cozy warm house, looking out at the snowfall. Having a cup of coffee or tea and a good book and your pets snuggled beside you while the snow is falling is so comforting. It is a time for quilts and homemade soup.

I hope you are enjoying the weather where you are, snowing or not. Happy November first!

Friday, October 31, 2014

Winning With Sweet Season

My short story won in the Iron Writer Challenge!

The Iron Writer is a group I am in where there are weekly flash fiction challenges. Five writers are given four elements to include in a story that can be no longer than 525 words. They must complete the story within four days. It is then ranked by four judges and there is a popular vote.

Thank you to everyone who read the stories and voted, even if you didn't vote for mine. And if you are interested in participating in the challenges let me know and you can be a member of the group.

Here is my story for those who didn't get a chance to read it.

Sweet Season

“Damn it,” she shouted as she stubbed her toes on the leg of the table.

Of course it had to be that foot. The other one, the hoof of a goat, could whack things all day long with no ill effect. And the thought of ill effects reminded her once again that she must eat soon.  Ah, well, it would be soon enough.

She limped over to her pantry. The large wood plank door was hard to open. The bottom of the door caught on a nail in the floor and she had to shake it loose. Cobwebs fell as the door opened enough to allow her large frame to enter the pantry. They covered her black raiment with a ghostly shawl before she shrugged them loose.

Squinting, she eyed the labels on her many jars. She chose four and exited the small room.
She set her jars down on the dusty table next to the big copper kettle. The wood fire beneath had the watery contents at a nice rolling boil.

Carefully she added her ingredients. The pickled frog was a pain to get out. She had to give the jar an earnest shaking.

She gave her concoction a good stirring with the large wooden paddle that she had found next to the kettle. This abandoned maple syrup camp was proving to be an excellent hideout. It was perfect for her needs.

With her warty, crooked tongue she licked the paddle. Her violet eyes rolled in ecstasy. This had been a tough meal to come by but it was all going to be worth it.

With a ladle she spooned herself a large portion into a bowl and made her way to the table by a long wall of windows. They provided her with a panoramic view of the snow covered hills and bare trees. She found it to be quite beautiful.

She uncorked a small jug and covered her meal with some of the home brewed maple syrup she had found in the closed shop next door. And for the next three hours she ate and ate and ate.

Once done, she felt her strength returning. Her renewed vigor gave her the conviction that she would be okay through the coming months.

She pushed herself away from the table. It was time for her favorite part.

In what had been the office of the camp she had made a trophy wall. This one, of all the ones she had ever made in her hundreds of years, showed her greatest accomplishments.

She leveled the batarang on two pegs and smiled. It hung nicely, front and center. Surrounding it were a tattered shirt with an S on it, a golden lariat, a visor of ruby-quartz meant to be worn over the eyes, and a severed hand with long, wickedly sharp claws protruding from it.

Yes, she was having a super, sweet season.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Sweet Season

I am part of a group called The Iron Writers. We have flash fiction challenges, and this week a story of mine is included.

Each week there are five writers competing. They are given four elements that must be included in the story, which can be no more than 525 words. The stories must be written and turned in within five days.

The stories are rated by a panel of judges, but there is also a popular vote.

I am asking that you take a moment to read and then vote for your favorite. Hopefully that will be mine but they are all good stories, so vote for the one you think is best.

*You can click here to go to this week's challenge.*

So, if you have the time, and if you don't mind, please go to The Iron Writer, Challenge 86 and vote for your favorite story.

I thank you in advance. Your participation is very much appreciated.

And if you are interested in becoming part of the group and participating in challenges yourself, leave me a comment and we will certainly welcome you.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Coffee Spoons And Introverts

First of all, I love a good cup of coffee. I don't go to coffee shops. I like a mellow roast with some sugar and some hazelnut creamer. Sipping a cup on a chilly fall morning while reading the newspaper or being online is like a little slice of Heaven for me.

There is even a song that could sort of be about my life - Afternoons and Coffeespoons by The Crash Test Dummies.

But - and it's a big but - it causes me to panic. If I am not mindful I can have a full-blown panic attack.

I have grown more and more sensitive to caffeine over the years. But now I found an article that says that it may be because I am an introvert. To paraphrase, it states that introverts are over the normal level when it comes to neocortical arousal in our brains. Thus, while coffee causes extroverts to gain that extra oomph needed to complete a project or give a presentation, it causes introverts to just get more stimulated and flustered. So coffee can make you feel like you can conquer the world or like the world is crashing down around you.

And how do I know I am an introvert? Why, just today I took a test that tells you your personality type.

I am an INFP, an Idealist. It stands for Introverted - Intuitive - Feeling - Perceiving. In other words, I am a big dreamy wuss. And that's okay with me.

Also today I found out today that all my Chakras are closed. But that is another story.

Lastly, I will continue to have a few cups of coffee a week. I can prepare myself in order to weather the panicky feelings when they start. There is just nothing that I have found that boosts my creativity like coffee does. And then there's that taste!  Aahhhh

Let me know, are you an introvert or extrovert? Does coffee work for you or do you pay for it with your nerves? Let me know in the comments!

Monday, October 20, 2014

Getting Started on Christmas!

I have begun making gifts for my loved ones for Christmas. I have more to make, but I think I started early enough.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Five Reasons We Can All Appreciate Diwali

It is the time for Diwali. The Festival of Lights. The ancient Hindu festival held each autumn. The time to celebrate victory of good over evil.

I do not propose to be an expert but I was chatting with a young Facebook friend, D, who told me that it is the time of the Festival. He said, "It's a most awesome festival. We celebrate by sweets, crackers, etc." I could feel his excitement as he told me "It is our largest grand festival ever."

His enthusiasm was contagious and I wanted to know more. I found a wonderful website, which you can visit by clicking here. As I was reading I realized that the five days of the festival celebrate things that we can all appreciate.


The first day of the festival celebrates a legend of good, or light, over evil, or dark. One legend has it that the wife of a young prince is said to have warded off the god of death by lighting many lamps and piling up ornaments of metal and coins so that they blinded the god. She sat through the night, singing and telling tales, and the god of death retreated in the morning. Entrances of homes and businesses are decorated by beautiful Rangoli designs made with colored sand, rice or flower petals in order to welcome the goddess of wealth and prosperity. Light over dark, Good over evil. Who has not said that it is better to light a candle than curse the darkness?

Choti Diwali

This is also known as little Diwali. In reverence to the Lord Krishna killing a demon that had imprisoned many women, they gave him a good bath and massaged scented oils into his skin. The mother of the demon declared that it should be a day of celebration, not mourning, so in many parts of India a bath early in the morning is had, often with loud crackers and fireworks used to entertain the young ones. I think that often we hurry through our bathing and pay no attention to how it feels to have the battles of the day washed away from our weary bodies. Each day we are here is a day that the divine conquered for us.

Lakshmi Puja on Diwali

Ahh, the third day of Diwali is the most celebrated due to the visit of the Goddess Lakshmi. She is the goddess of wealth and prosperity. Bells are rung and drums are beaten in the temples. This is the day that a light of knowledge touches the heart of man and these lights are symbolized by many lamps. Puja is a term for worship. But be forewarned - the goddess visits the cleanest houses first so it is important to have the house spotless for her visit. What I take from this auspicious day is that if we allow our hearts to be enlightened we will be visited by great wealth. And in my mind, wealth is not always monetary.

Padwa and Govardhan Puja

Gudi Padwa is a celebration of the love between a husband and wife. Newlywed daughters and their husbands come over for a special meal and presents. Is this not a lovely thing to celebrate? Govardhan Puja is also celebrated, commemorating the time the god Vishnu saved the world from a flood. Also observed is Annakoot, or mountain of food. A bhot, or offering of food, is made to the deities and then believers take a prasad, a food that has been blessed by the gods. The sharing of meals is always a cause for counting your blessings.

Bhai Dooj

This is the fifth, or last, day of Diwali. It is a celebration of the brother, bhai, a time to pray for his long life. According to scriptures it is said that the god of death went to his sister's house and she prepared him a glorious meal. She also put a mark, or tilak, on his forehead. The god of death was so pleased that he proclaimed that if a sister puts a tilak on her brother on that day, the dooj day, no one can harm him. Brothers also give presents to their sisters on this day.

I hope I covered the very basics of this wondrous festival. It seems a beautiful time of enlightenment and celebration of family and friends. And a glorious time for worship. These are things that we can all appreciate.

Do you have anything to add about your Diwali celebration? If so, please feel free to leave me a comment. I would appreciate it very much. And:

Thursday, October 16, 2014

How My Cat Helps

My little cat is tearing around the house. She's attacking the rugs, the bedclothes, the couch, the floor. It is so much fun to see her play.

It is frustrating to her to play with things like yarn and dangly toys because she is blind in one eye and it seems the vision that she has is failing. She will get upset and bite her own legs.

She has seizures. She has been having them about every two weeks. Last Tuesday I was going to rejoice that it had been an entire month since her last one but she woke me at 4:30 in the morning with the plaintiff yowls that signal that she has just seized.

Seeing her speed through the house today reminded me of an article I saw this morning. It is about saying "to heck with it" and living in the moment.

Finding that article was also serendipitous in another fashion.

Earlier, a friend and I had been commiserating about the ways our illnesses were similar. We both just want to feel normal. We are both so tired of fighting. We are both so tired of having to be strong when our illnesses make us feel weak. We are both tired of the undertow taking us out when we are swimming as hard as we can.

We read the article and we agreed that sometimes you just have to put everything else aside and do something nice for you. It made us feel a bit better.

It also made me look for other articles on the joy of living in the moment and I found this one about what dogs can teach us.

But, today, it was my little cat that made me laugh and feel like things are good for the moment. When everything else seemed handcrafted to get me down, watching her go a little crazy made me smile.

My cat and my dog are not luxuries. They are my links to living for today. Sometimes it's a case of living just for today, and worrying about tomorrow when tomorrow comes.

My cat helps me stay in the here and now. That's how my cat helps me.

How do your pets help you?

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

What I Can Do About My Fear

Fear. I have it. I have it so bad that I often have panic attacks.

Today I have been panicky all day because I am waiting on the bug guy to come to my apartment. While this wouldn't be a problem for some, it has me in a tizzy.

Now, what can I do about it?

1. Breathe

I breathe in through my nose for a count of five and then out through my mouth for a count of ten. It brings about a mindfulness, which you can read more about here. It makes me pause and think, "Okay, I'm not falling over dead. Things are gonna be okay.".

2. Self Talk

I ask myself what would happen if the worst thing that I am fretting about at the moment came to be. What if the manager came with the bug guy and said I had to move? Well, I would rally my resources and professional help and move. Why would that happen? Chances are it won't. When I start in with the 'what ifs' I can remember what my therapist told me and not feed my anxiety monster that lurks in the corner.

3. Distraction

I can watch a movie or TV show that I find humorous. Laughter helps a great deal. Here is an article that describes how there are incompatible mood states. It talks about anger, but I feel the same works for fear. I can go online and scroll through Facebook and Google Plus. I can chat with a friend, online or on the phone. I'm able to be quite candid about my anxiety so I can bounce my fears off another person. And it would be okay if they laugh. That helps me see that my fears are not well grounded in fact.

4. Call In The Professionals

Sometimes I find that the panic just won't stop. If that happens, I am very fortunate in that I have mental health professionals that have treated me for quite a while and know me and my situation. If you don't have a doctor that you see for your anxiety you can Google mental health hotline and centers in your area will pop up. 

I am very lucky in that earlier I chatted with a Google Plus friend. That and the act of researching this post, what research I did, has distracted me from my 'what ifs' long enough for the panic to take a back seat. It's still a passenger, though, but not such a loud, obnoxious one.

I hope that I have given you some ideas on how to handle a panicky feeling, that unsubstantiated fear. What would you add to my list?

Thursday, October 9, 2014

National Depression Screening Day

Today is National Depression Screening Day.

It only takes a minute. You can find screenings online and at various places around the nation. Click here for a good start: help yourself help others..

There is this depression screening test that is just ten questions.

It isn't hard and if you think you may need professional help these are the questions you should be asking yourself.

This test from Mental Health America gives you immediate results.

So, if you have felt down, or sad, for no apparent reason and/or for more than two weeks, please consider taking one of the screening tests. You may just be having a bad time of it lately, or you may be clinically depressed. It could start you on the path to getting so much more out of life.

And, as for me, I think that I will have a talk with my doctors because it seems that I am not doing as well as I could be with the meds I have onboard. This has helped even me, an old hat at being majorly depressed.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

I Have Become The Person You Love To Hate

Thank you for coming back to me. I appreciate your reading after this much time has elapsed. I won't let a long period go by between postings again.

Well, a few weeks ago I became the person we all love to hate. The one with the iPhone using food stamps. But, let me explain.

For years now my phone has been on my friend M's plan. Without him I would not have been able to afford a phone. This was before everything was bundled through a cable plan. Which I would not have been able to afford, either. On his plan, every two years you can get a new phone. It was time for a new phone for me. He saw that I could have the iPhone 4 for free. He asked me if I wanted it and I said, "Yes. I can put digital coupons on it!" So I did not spend $400.00 on a phone while I am on food stamps.

Whew! Now, imagine saying all of that in one breath while someone stares daggers at you.

That is how I feel when I use what little (less than $20.00) food stamps I get and use the coupons available to me on my phone. Yes, I could avoid the angry looks if I just didn't take my phone out of my purse, but if I can save money on food I am going to do so.

I agree that there are people who misuse and abuse the system. You probably know of someone in your neighborhood that has five kids and a new SUV and says that they don't work and that they live alone, when you see the husband every day, and they get $500.00 in food stamps every month. Yes, there are people who lie about income and assets to get more than they should.

I, however, am not one of those people. How can you tell? Well, you can't.

Everyone has a different story. If you worked hard and saved every penny to buy your phone, I applaud your effort. If you are well-off and picked up the phone just because it was new and you wanted it, good for you. But there is a trend in this society to think that just because someone is dirt poor, they should never have nice things. That includes things that were given to them. That includes things that, perhaps, they bought before they ran into misfortune.

And if you ask me how I came to have mine, I will gladly tell you. I am so very fortunate to have someone like my friend M. who does such kind things for me. But I will no longer feel guilty because of prying eyes. They will just remind me to be grateful for everything I do have. I have more than a lot of people I know or know of.

It is my point of view that we should all stop judging each other in the checkout line. Instead of thinking, "Does she deserve to have that?" let's think, "Is that enough toilet paper for that amount of groceries?".Because that could, indeed, be a disaster.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Story In Contest!!!

I have a short story in a contest this week!!  Yay!!

If you click here it will take you straight to the story.

I would very much appreciate any comments or likes you could give it.

Thank you so much!!

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Sorry For The Absence

I want to apologize to those who read my posts. My absence was due to my being in the hospital.

I have been diagnosed with COPD and have to be on oxygen for a while.

The five days in the hospital were rough but once I felt the least bit better they let me out. My little dog and cat missed me very much, from what I can tell.

It was nice to have people bring me food and take away the dishes three times a day, though. The food was surprisingly very good and I was able to eat all that was brought to me.

And I had some great doctors and some very attentive, sweet nurses the entire time I was in there.

I now promise to post regularly again and want to thank everyone who asked about me.

Thank you so much for sticking with me.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Please Give Me A Break

The title is not meant to be said with an eye roll. Please allow me to explain.

I came across an article about fundamental attribution error. This happens when we see a person doing something that irks us and we assume that he is doing it because he is a bad person. We are attributing to that person the label of idiot, moron, ass, etc. You've done it. I've done it. We've all done it.

Fundamental Attribution Error is the tendency to overestimate the effect of personality and downplay the effect of the situation that the person is in. It makes us jump to the conclusion that the individual is doing what they are doing on purpose, possibly just to irritate us.

Let's do this less. Let's give people a break.

So you see a person park in the handicapped spot, get out, and walk into the store unaided by wheelchair or cane. She seems to be walking okay. You think that she is merely lazy, especially perhaps if that person is overweight. Your irritation at the fact that she can park close while you are gonna have to park in the back forty grows to a dull roar in your ears. But if you realize that your thinking includes a fundamental attribution error you can maybe see that she may be suffering with every step. She may have a physical condition that comes and goes. She may be so petrified of being outside that she will panic if she is far away from the store. Or she may be going into the store to pick up her handicapped son who has been shopping with his caregiver.

You just don't know what another human being is going through at any given time unless you ask them. And that can be construed as rude.

To look at me, I appear normal, albeit a little heavy. I walk with a cane because of my painful back and because my balance is not the best. But what is not apparent is the struggle I face just to keep it together. To spend one day without a panic attack or the feeling that I just want to stay in bed forever.

The article lists situations where you should not feel dissed, such as someone not saying thank you when you hold the door open for them. If you just stop to think that perhaps your reaction contains a fundamental attribution error before you call them a name, you will feel better about yourself and them.

So if I don't hear you when you say hello or good day to me, please give me a break. I am deaf in one ear and often miss things said on my deaf side. Quite often I am talking to myself in my head, giving myself some encouragement to just get through the hallway and out to the car.

The world will be better and you will feel better, I believe, if you just give people a break. And that includes giving yourself a break from a rise in your blood pressure from thinking that the slight is personal.

And I know, I know, some people really are just asses and they do things to make others mad just for fun. I have personally known a few. But I would like to think that those people are rare.

Thank you for giving me a break.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

The Four Kinds Of People You Meet Online

I have been on Facebook for a little over a year and have been a part of the blogging world of Google Plus for about four months. At first I was very leery and suspicious of people wanting to engage in chatting with me. But soon I grew to accept a few requests. I have found that there are four kinds of people that you can meet online.


It is wonderful to meet people that have the same interests as you. I have found groups of writers, sailors, dog people, and cat people. One nice young man has introduced me to the group of The Iron Writer. There you can compete in flash fiction challenges. It is a great group of people. I have met friends through other writing competitions online. On Google Plus there are many people willing and able to share their knowledge and expertise and you can have them in your "circles". Google Plus uses circles much as Facebook uses "friends". 

Great Friends

The young man I mentioned above, I will call him M.W., falls in this category. We have chatted and I have followed his blog. He is a very talented guy and a great writer and I enjoy our chats. Then there is L, who I met when I first joined Facebook. I met her through a game and she has become a dear friend who is always there for me and her other Facebook friends. She is very special to me. And I have to include N, whom I wrote about in a previous post Words With Friends Friends. She, I am happy to say, is still there for me to play with after all these months and I love chatting with her when we are playing. I really appreciate her.

Now I am so happy to say that in my great friends category I can include MK. About a month ago she posted in a cat group and I sent her a friend request. We seemed to have some things in common. Well, we have a lot in common. She started Facebook chatting with me about a week ago and I swear we are like two peas in a pod. When she says she likes something, it is always something that I also like. And vice versa. We have started chatting every day and, since we both seem to be on the computer all day, it turns into chatting off and on all day. And at night. She is like me, up at weird hours, and if I see that she is on I know I have someone to talk to if needed. The only bad thing about our relationship so far is the distance. She lives clear on the other side of the country, so we won't be going out for coffee any time soon, which is a shame. It has been a joy chatting with her and I hope we continue to talk like we have been.

Creepy People

Ah, these are the ones that scare you. The ones who, upon accepting their friend request or including them in your circles, send the ever popular and very sexy, "You must video with me now". These are the ones that refuse to accept the fact that you don't want to see them naked. "Nope," you think as you quickly block them. Nope. Nope. Nope. Although it is something that puts me off I wonder just how many times that has worked for them, if at all. I try to see them for the sad, lonely people that they must be but sometimes it is difficult.

Slow Stalkers

These are the people that seem fine at first. Just wanting to chat. So you chat. Then as time goes on they seem less fine and start making remarks about loneliness and relationships and how they are in love with you. And just after a couple of months, too. How lucky am I? With one man I determined that he thought that the pictures of my son's girlfriend were actually pictures of me. Nothing that I said deterred him in his thinking. Unfriend. Block.

As it is with most things in life, I have found that the good outweighs the bad. The relationships that I have online outnumber the relationships I have in the material world. I can't and don't get out much so these online friends are very important to me. They are my contact with the human race. 

I would recommend that you not be as leery as I was at first. Who knows who I missed out on knowing by being skittish when I first joined the online world.

Have you met anyone online that has become special to you?

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

For My Mother

This Wednesday, July 2nd, 2104, will be the 33rd anniversary of my mother's fatal car wreck. I would like, if I may, to tell you a bit about her.

She was a beautiful human being - inside and out. At 5'6" she was voluptuous, reminiscent of Elizabeth Taylor in her heyday. With curly auburn hair and a face full of freckles, bless her heart, she could walk outside in a rain storm and get sunburned. Though she always worried about her weight, to me she was the perfect amount of plump to snuggle into when she would hold you in her arms, to her bosom.

When she met my father she was in nursing school. She left that to get married and have me. She would have made a marvelous nurse - she was so caring and gentle, so tender-hearted. I always felt responsible, I felt bad, knowing that if not for me she could have done so much more with her life. She never made me feel that way, though.

She was amazing at mothering, at making you feel safe in her company. She made sure the dogs and cats were fed and cared for. When we were at the mall one year looking for a dress for me for an upcoming school dance we saw a guard about to throw a tiny kitten out into the snowstorm that was raging. Someone had dumped it in the JCPenney's. She allowed me to grab the kitten and we carried it through the mall until we found me an outfit. We had that little cat, Jesse, for years.

She was a fantastic daughter to my grandmother. Mom lost her father when I was three and she was pregnant with my little brother. I know that must have been hard, because I was pregnant with my first son when she passed away. She was always there for her two brothers. As the oldest, they looked up to her. She was the one who planned the family get-togethers on both sides. My father's mother said that the family would never be together again like it was before mom passed and she was right, there were no more holiday reunions.

My mother was a wonderful friend. She would take care of the neighborhood kids if needed and she was right there to help plan a party. She fit right in with the other mothers.

As she and my father grew apart and got divorced, it became clear what my mother was not. She was not a great housekeeper. She preferred to be involved with us instead of doing the cleaning. The house was not nasty, just unkempt. There were more important things to do.

My mother was not mentally fit. Later I learned that she must have suffered from anxiety and depression. Severe depression. If I only knew then what I know now I would not have been the rebellious teenager that caused her grief. I would have understood her a bit more, been a bit more helpful in the house and with my younger brother and sister. Let's face it, I could have been a lot more helpful to her, but I was seventeen and I knew everything and wanted stuff my way.

When she died I was five months pregnant with my firstborn. I was just getting up the nerve to tell her and my father. How different everyone's life would have been if I had had my mom in my corner when the baby was born! Instead, I was bereft of the joy that would have come with seeing her with her first grandchild and I suffered postpartum depression.

From my mother I learned that everyone on earth deserves to be loved. That every creature is important and has a purpose. That you should always be kind. That there is poetry all around us if we would only look. That great happiness can be found in books. That human touch is, in itself, healing.

But I also got, from her and from my father's family, the propensity for great depression and anxiety. The ability to suffer dire sadness. The love of procrastination where cleaning, inside my mind and in my environment, is concerned. When I think of all that she suffered through without help, it makes me sadder.

I hope that the day goes by uneventfully for my little brother and little sister. It is, of course, very hard on them, too. Although I miss her terribly and hate the awful day she was wrenched from us, I try to take comfort in the fact that I had a bit of time with her at all. She was a wonderful person and I strive to be like her, in most ways.

And I hope that, if you have plans that include your family this Fourth of July holiday, you take a minute and thank your mother for being there for you. Because you just never know, do you?

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Please Vote For Me!

Yay! I have a story in this week's Iron Writer competition!

If you have a minute, please click here to go to the website.

Once there you can read the four stories in this week's contest and, at the bottom of the page, you can vote for your favorite. Even if you don't vote for mine, there are four good stories that only take a moment to read.

What is The Iron Writer Challenge? Each week four writers are given four elements to include in their story of 525 words or less. The writers have four days to complete their story and get it turned in. The winner is decided by four judges' recommendations and the popular vote. You can vote at the bottom of the page, just below the last story.

I am so excited! I think that they are all good stories, so my chances are slim but slim is better than none.

Thank you for voting, no matter whose you do vote for!

How Do I Emote Differently?

There has been a study done that those of us with tinnitus process emotions in different parts of our brain. Click here to read the article.

Although it didn't go into detail, I could have told them that. During those times that my tinnitus is going strong, sounding like a freight train going through my head, I don't really process love and goodness very well. If at all. I mean, I am grouchy.

I'm sure that is not the data they were looking for, but it's true.

Perhaps they could do a study to see if those of us who suffer with tinnitus also suffer from depression in larger numbers. I can't find any info on that.

In my opinion, they would find out this: those who suffer from tinnitus are more prone to depression and anxiety because it is so dog-gone aggravating! Emotions? I'll show you some emotion brought on BY the tinnitus. There's frustration and even anger sometimes. Bottom line is - tinnitus makes it hard to be warm and cuddly sometimes.

But I try. I smile when I really want to choke something, and that seems to help. I realize that explaining to those who don't experience it is hard to do. And it is not always a freight train, sometimes it is a dial-up modem or a hissing sound. So it is not very, very bad each and every minute. And I am grateful for that.

The next time you hear a train whining away in the distance, think about having that sound with you always. And then you could see how we might process emotions differently. Especially frustration!

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

They're Doing It In England!

Well, doctors have been prescribing books for those with mild to moderate depression. While I don't think that it would help me, I applaud the practice. It's called bibliotherapy.

Apparently it has been going on for quite some time according to this article on

When I was an inpatient at a psych hospital we were given books to help with the majority of our problems. While none cured me, they did give me something to think about on my road to recovery.

Books themselves have always been a form of therapy for me, anyway. I can escape between the pages and my troubles are held at bay for a few hours.

It is only in my worst times that my mind robs me of even this activity. When I am very, very down my comprehension skills are nil and therefore reading is more frustrating than soothing. Even books that are old friends are no help in those times.

I have found, however, a new friend in audio books. I first started listening as a means to get to sleep. For years my sleep was catch-as-catch-can. I would have trouble falling asleep, and staying asleep if I did happen to drift off. Then I found out that I could put audio books on my iPod. I have always loved reading aloud and this was like having someone right there reading to me! And It worked!

Audio books make me concentrate on the words and my mind will stop racing. It helps when I am experiencing very bad tinnitus. Occasionally they have even helped with my panic attacks.

And I was thrilled to find some old friends available on audio. Stephen King books It and The Stand, The Shining and Tommyknockers are there, as is Robert R. McCammon's Swan Song. And I have about a dozen Dean Koontz novels downloaded. I also have newer novels like King's Under the Dome and Doctor Sleep. Can you see that I am a big fan of the horror genre?

Although I have an iPad mini that has a few free books downloaded onto it, I find that it is not the same to me as holding an actual book in my hands. So I have yet to be converted to that medium.

Even though the book you are reading may not be considered therapeutic, I believe that the act of reading is. Whether it's a new novel or one that you grew up reading again and again, I think that your mind likes that little trip into another reality. It is like a rest stop for your head.

I hope that eventually the practice of prescribing books becomes commonplace in the United States. So often people who are a little depressed are not aware of the fact that there are books that can help them. In my head my depression is chuckling right now, daring me to try to throw a book at it. It will not help in all cases, but it is worth trying in those cases where it just might.

Friday, June 20, 2014

Do You Have Invisible Hurts?

My hair is graying. I have to wear glasses. I am still 5'6" but no longer weigh just 115 pounds. I would have to say that I look like a normal human being.

I try to conceal any outward show of my struggle with my depression and anxiety. I will try to put on a happy face if I think that the people that I am around would be uncomfortable with my mental illness. It is part of the reason that I prefer not to be around people for the most part.

I am thinking of all this because I came upon a wonderful blog about how the face of mental illness is the face of a normal person. You can't tell from looking at someone what they are fighting day in and day out.

You can click here to read Lindsay Holmes' blog post. I think that she is spot on.

Those of us who suffer from mental illness are often thought of as "not that sick because she looks fine to me". What is the saying about being like a duck? Calm on top but paddling like hell underneath? That applies to so many of us.

Thank you for reading this post and hers. It takes talking about it to try and gain a better understanding of the real face of mental illness. The face of a real human being.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Lovely Quote

This is so very true.

Oh, But What If It Does??

I am plagued with neck and back pain, in addition to my depression and anxiety. Lucky me.

Tomorrow I am going to have steroids injected into my neck to try to alleviate the pain for a while. I am so nervous about it.

A Words with Friends friend, N, says that both she and her mom had them. They worked for her mom but not for her. So, sometimes they work and sometimes they don't.

I was on the verge of calling to cancel when Mary Engelbreit posted this to her Facebook page:

I love her illustrations and the sayings that come along with them. I have been a big fan for years. I love her.

How serendipitous that she post this when I was in the midst of one of my mental turmoils. Or, as I recently learned, it was an example of synchronicity as per Carl Jung. You can read about that by clicking here.

So I think that I will trust the universe and its hints and go ahead with the injections. What if it does work out? I could be pain free without any medication! That would be great.

Has anyone else had these injections? Did they work for you? Thank you for your input.

Change Bad Days Into Good Days

I have been having a lot of bad days.

Something doesn't have to happen to me for me to have a bad day, my little brain just decides that on its own.

But I did come upon an article on that was about just that. How to weather your bad days and get through them to a better time. Click here to read that article.

It helps that someone else is thinking of getting through tough times, although her post doesn't describe those who have sunk to the level of depression that I have available to me. Or to the level of anxiety that I can achieve. I still found her article helpful.

Although I don't do well with embracing the evolving nature of life or with taking mindful action I have found that serving others can do loads for my own way of thinking.

While I can't do much I find that I can still do things like volunteer to help when my apartment complex has Second Harvest days. That is the one day a week when the company Second Harvest comes and distributes food for the residents. Second Harvest is a company that collects food from grocery stores and gives them to the food bank. They then bring a truck of the food to us. We then compile a bag of the foods, one bread item, one meat item, some fruit, whatever was brought to us. And each resident that wants one gets a bag. It makes me feel really good to help the office staff get the bags ready.

Doing anything that helps someone else makes me feel really good. It makes me feel grateful. It makes me appreciate what I have.

So if you are having a bad day, try the ideas in the article. And if you are like me, you can at least help someone else.

I have been feeding my anxiety monster too much (click to see that post). He is sitting across the room, fat and happy and laughing at me. But I have another chance tomorrow. And tomorrow will be a good day.

Saturday, June 14, 2014

For My Dad On Father's Day

This is my father.

He is the smartest man that I have ever known.

As my brother, sister, and I were growing up he worked hard. He was an electrical engineer. When I was five he studied and got his Masters. There was a turtle that lived under his desk and at times I would crawl under there to be with it. I don't think that I gave that imaginary turtle a name. I think it was an excuse to be near him, maybe playing with his slide rule if he let me.

He could do anything. He built us three color TVs with kits you get in the mail. Boy, did he get mad when he found out that my friends and I had discovered that solder could be used to make rings and bracelets. When I was smaller I recall him taking me with him to test the tubes at the machine at the nearby convenience store or at the hardware store.

He took us to Florida every year. A week in Clearwater or Fort Lauderdale and then a week at Disney World. It wasn't until I was a teenager that I realized that not everyone got to do that. At the beginning of the trip he would give us kids each a bag of quarters that were ours to use in the arcade and machines in the rest areas on the way.

Our relationship became strained as I got older. He was disappointed in me for foolishly squandering my intelligence and I was a very rebellious teenager. He preferred I study and I preferred to party.

He and my mother divorced when I was fifteen. When I was much older I found out how hard it had been on him, being married to my mom. I no longer blame him. She suffered from depression and anxiety also and was pretty bad a lot of the time.

He didn't remarry but he had a longtime girlfriend who he loved very much. She became a quadriplegic and he showed us all just how much he loved her by having her live at home and taking care of her. My sister and I would help him but he did the majority of the work until it came time to take her to a nursing home. He went there every day to visit her. My respect for him just grew and grew.

Now I am afraid that I am a disappointment to him. He doesn't quite understand my major depressive disorder and anxiety. I'm sure he thinks that I could "get over it" if I just tried harder. But he doesn't tell me this.

Instead, he does everything that he can for me. He has helped me fix my car more than once. He gets my birthday mixed up with my sister's, which is a week later, but he always sends me something.

For this Father's Day all I could get him was a CD but it was of one of his favorite singers. He called me to tell me thank you. I wish so much that it could have been more.

I am so glad that I grew to have a better understanding of what he went through when I was young. Of just how hard he worked for us. Of all the things he gave up in order to stay and raise us. Some men would not have done that.

So Happy Father's Day Daddy. I love you and maybe someday I will get the chance to make you proud of me again.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Come See My New Layout!

Yay! I did it!

When I added the share buttons on my blog I somehow messed up my html code and it wouldn't let me add any more gadgets. The little gadgets like one that offers you a space to subscribe by e-mail to my blog. When I would think about this, it would make me sad.

But then!! But then I mentioned the problem to a very nice guy, +Mathew W. Weaver and he said, "Why not change your template?" Bingo! He is so smart. Thank you Mathew! It worked.

Now you will notice that you can subscribe by e-mail to my blog posts and you can also search my blog for items of interest to you. It also lists my most popular posts now.

I am excited. This is a new level for me and I cannot wait to see how it turns out.

Thank you so much for visiting my new layout. If you have any suggestions, please leave me a comment.

And thank you again, Mathew!

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

My Little Old Man

My feelings have been hurt for a couple of weeks now.

Max, my 14 year old cocker, is my life. He has helped me through some pretty bad times. When I was recovering from surgery to have my right inner ear removed he stayed by my side 24 hours a day even though I had to crawl for the first two weeks that I was home (I had to learn to balance with only one inner ear).

Well, for a couple of weeks now, when I would go to tousle his little top knot, he would shy away from my hand for a moment. It was really like he was afraid I was going to strike him. Since he has never been hit in his life I was wondering what it was that I could have done.

Then yesterday I was looking deep into his eyes (yes, I do that) and I realized something. Although his eyes have been cloudy with age for some time now I suddenly saw just how bad they really are. So now I move more slowly when I go to pet him on the top of his head and he has no problem. I feel bad, thinking that I was scaring him. My heart hurts knowing that he is going blind. I knew it would probably come as he got older but this is a lot for me to handle. I suffer from major depressive disorder and anxiety and he helps me with dealing with going outside and when I have panic attacks.

He is already going deaf. He no longer hears a soft knock at the door like he used to. I have been around older cocker spaniels before, so I knew this would be a part of his aging. But realizing his blindness in a flash like I did has left me so sad. It makes me love him even more, if that is possible, as now I realize that he will need me to be more careful with him.

That dog bed was the best $36.00 I ever spent! I miss him snuggling on the couch with me but he would no longer jump up by himself and, once I helped him up, I was afraid of him hurting himself by jumping down.

I will try to push the knowledge of his mortality out of my mind until it must be faced. I should still have a few years with him and I need to concentrate on making his life easier in his old age. He has been there for me, now it is my turn to be there for him.

Friday, June 6, 2014

Sarge and D-Day

My grandfather. William Miller Fletcher. He was called Sarge. I have such wonderful memories of him. He passed away when I was a child. He would buy me entire cases of those orange push-up popsicles. He always made sure they had Kellogg's Frosted Flakes in the house when I visited because that was my favorite breakfast. He used to have to rest a lot. I recall getting the pillows propping up his feet just right as he lay on the bed and then kissing his stubbly cheek.

My cousin shared this photo of him with me when I joined Facebook. He pointed out to me that the nice, heavy coat he is wearing is not army issue but rather of German design and that he most likely liberated it from a German soldier.

He came back from the war changed forever. I miss him. I wish I had had more time with him.

He is just one of the thousands of men that should be honored today, the anniversary of D-Day. The men, the young men, who answered the call of duty when the world needed them. The men who were so brave in the face of danger. The men who gave up their life so that so many others could live free from a ghastly tyranny. The men who endured the bone-shilling cold and the sweltering heat. The men who were somebody's son, somebody's husband, somebody's father.

Sarge, I miss you and I love you.