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Archive for the ‘My Unpopular Opinions’ Category

I promised I would write an update to what else has been going on. My mind is too scattered to go into it all but I’ll cover a few things.

My mother-in-law sent me a birthday card and a gift card to Applebees. A few weeks ago she told us she was sending a package and it never came. We told her it didn’t arrive and she gave us tracking. We figured out she left the ‘North’ off our street address. My hubby made 3 trips to the PO in 4 days to find it. Finally it was found laying around the PO after it had been delivered in error to the same ‘South’ address. It was a small lap afghan she had crocheted as a thank you for us taking her on the RV trip. It is very pretty with tans and burgundy that will match nicely in the RV. Our Post Office is terrible. It’s worse than it’s ever been. We’ve only lived here 22 years and yet they have no clue. We have nothing but substitute carriers that end up not delivering the mail until 6:30 at night! I could go on a rant but I’ll spare you.

 

We called my mother-in-law last week after we finally figured out when we’ll be taking our next RV trip. We invited her to go along and she said yes. I asked her if she had any plans that week and she said no. About an hour later she called back to say she had a wedding that weekend so couldn’t come along. Now we have to decide where to go. We were thinking of Black River Falls, WI but maybe Michigan or Indiana. We’ll have to make up our mind soon.

 

Last week I got in a fight with an elderly man while walking the dogs. I was picking up dog shit from Ivy on the boulevard of his home. I was standing on the sidewalk and the guy came outside and was just staring at me with a mean look on his face. I asked him, “What is it?” and he proceeded to yell at me for letting my dogs go to the bathroom in his yard. I told him I had picked up every morsel and he could come and check if he didn’t believe me. He said, “Why should I have to do that?! It’s not my job.” I told him I always carry more than one bag and pick up after my dogs every time. He said, “The dogs pee on the grass and it ruins it.” There was no winning with this guy. I told him that technically, we were on the boulevard which belonged to the city. He then complained about having to take care of it. I told him that I could sympathize with him disliking people letting their dogs leave feces in his yard since I’ve had it happen while I’m walking the dogs. I’ve come home to find a huge steaming pile a foot from my stoop. He said, “If you know what it’s like, you shouldn’t do it.” I told him that he shouldn’t treat everyone the same whether they pick up the dog crap or leave it. I told him he has every right to yell at people who don’t pick up after their pets but that wasn’t me! Then I said, “You don’t remember yelling at me before, do you?” He replied, “No, not you in particular.” I said, “Well, you did! And I’m not about to let you terrorize me again!” Last time he did it, Mom was still alive but I was dealing with a lot caring for her. I remember him coming out and yelling at me and then the rest of my walk i felt terrible and was near tears thinking that the world is against me. Now I’m in a much better place and feel I shouldn’t have to take shit from anybody. I’m a good person and I don’t bother another living soul. I don’t say anything mean to anyone ever. I try to always do what’s right. Then to be attacked by this old guy was too much. I told him that “From now on, we don’t speak to each other and we don’t look at each other!” He said, “That’s fine with me.” So then I walked off on my usual way. I felt a tad bit shook up because I don’t like confrontation. When Greg got home that night, I told him about my encounter. He told me how proud he was of me for standing up for myself and not letting someone treat me badly. I know it’s a hard thing to do and I am proud. Greg has a hard time standing up for himself no matter how much I want him to. He thinks other people’s feelings, thoughts and opinions are more important than his own. My mom is the one who taught me to stand up for myself and I will be forever grateful.

 

It’s a wonderful feeling when someone has your back. When no one else is around, you have to have your own back. That is what I’ve learned and it’s an invaluable lesson.
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It’s been almost a month since I posted anything on here. So much has happened and I’m not sure I can even recall it all. My birthday was August 7th and the 3 of us went out to lunch at Boston Fish Market. We haven’t eaten out since and probably won’t until vacation next month. The weekend before my birthday hubby finished the pergola in our backyard. It turned out nice and he put a tarp on top. Greg didn’t think it would last long with the winds we get so he decided to put a roof on it. A flat roof made out of decking boards. He just finished that this past weekend and it looks fine. Except he asked some idiot at Menards (hardware store) what to use to fill the cracks and they told  him caulk. He had about 1/3 done and it rained and the caulk came through onto everything below. Like his new expensive grill cover looks like a bevy of birds crapped all over it. So now we have to rethink everything and see what else we can do to make it more weather proof.


My birthday was on a Friday this year. Hubby bought me beautiful orange roses on the Sunday night before. These are grocery store roses and I usually  have great luck with them. I recut the stems and change the water, add flower food, etc. It’s not uncommon for flowers to last me 10 days to 2 weeks or longer. Well, these gorgeous orange roses were dead by Wed. afternoon! They were in the trash before the actual day arrived. As heavy as I am into symbolism, it was hard not to think this was an omen.


I got my usual 3 birthday cards this year. I always get 3–2 from the same people (Trese & Pam) and the 3rd varies from year to year. This year it was from a slam friend who has now turned into a penpal. She wrote a really nice letter too which I never thought I’d treasure like I do now. I used to receive (and send!) SO MANY letters. It was just taken for granted on both ends. I always liked reading (and writing) them but now no one does it. That sends the act of getting a long handwritten letter into the realm of extraordinary.


This afternoon I got a call from my mother-in-law. She was letting us know that Greg’s aunt Trese passed away this morning. It was something they were expecting. She, too, had Alzheimer’s. The funeral is Thurs. at 11 am up in Pewaukee, WI. So we’ll be leaving by 9 am to make it on time. Thursday is Greg’s day off so I don’t know if that’s lucky or unlucky to have it on that day. He doesn’t have to take off work but we lose a day of our weekend. It won’t be a whole day, we should make it home by 3 pm or a little after. But we’ll be emotionally exhausted so will be good for nothing the rest of the day. Aunt Trese was our 2nd favorite aunt (after Aunt Anne) and Greg’s Godmother.


Poor little Elvis’ allergies came back on  his feet exactly a year to the day after he got them last year! I’ve been giving him Benadryl and then using up what we had left of the steroid tablets we had. I have 1/2 a pill left and am trying to not have to call the vet this year for this. She’s the type who won’t ever prescribe anything without seeing the animal. Even if it’s something they’ve had before. I saw you can order the pills online if you get them from a foreign pharmacy. I’d be afraid to do that for a human…doubt I’d take the chance for a dog either.


Mom’s been giving me a time of it too. We’ve been fighting a lot which is my fault. I should know better. One night we must have fought for over half an hour with her on the toilet before bed. She won’t go when she’s on the toilet but goes when she’s on the couch or in bed. I think my fuse is a lot shorter the more my legs hurt me. Today was the first day in awhile that my legs have felt “better”. Not pain free but not excruciating. These days are so few and far between that I try to recount everything I did or ate the day before to see WHY one day might be better than the others. I got nothin’. I don’t bother to tell people like my in-laws that I have spinal stenosis. Nobody cares or has any sympathy which just makes me feel worse.


We’ve been really getting into the early race for President of the United States. I’m about the most apolitical person out there. Until Donald Trump entered the race. I’m no fan of him and never liked or disliked him before he entered the race. Now after listening to him during a televised Republican debate and several speeches, I am jumping on the bandwagon. Back in 1992, Ross Perot ran for President. Trump reminds me of him in that Perot had never held public office before running but had ran several successful corportations. He also said whatever was on his mind and bucked the status quo. Greg & I both loved him and were so hopeful for what he could do for America. Then Perot went batshit crazy. He went on tv and announced he had to withdraw from the race because aliens had kidnapped his daughter or some other hogwash. It was very disillusioning and has made me skeptical of Trump now.


Donald Trump is an offensive person. I’m not denying it but he also speaks the truth. That is unheard of among politicians. Politicians say whatever will get them elected. Even if it’s lies. Trump doesn’t go for political correctness which is like a breath of fresh air. He wants to make things “fair” for all Americans, not just illegal immigrants. I have no doubt he could turn things around for the USA but I have a sneaking suspicion he will quit at the last minute. He’ll say, “I don’t need this” and move on. Leaving all the people who supported him behind and shell-shocked. I’m sure it’s a risk with any candidate but usually there’s not as much riding on them as it is now. I think his biggest draw is his enthusiasm and passion. I love to hear him speak and seem like he cares and wants to take action. So many of the other candidates are so passive (no energy) and if they weren’t speaking, you’d have to poke them with a stick to know they’re alive.


I will write more soon but in the mean time, I leave you with a quote from Dana Carvey portraying Ross Perot on Saturday Night Live. This is from a comedy skit but perfectly sums up Ross Perot and the crazy things he said. “You can’t put a porcupine in a barn, set it on fire and expect to make licorice.” AMEN. 😉

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At the risk of being stoned, I feel the need to voice my opinion. I hope I don’t regret it. I’m writing this not to stir up controversy but to show another way of looking at things. My view comes from the side of common sense and rationality. I am against Hate Crimes. Not just them happening but that they are called that. My intentions are not to downplay the acts labeled as such. But instead to give them perspective. According to Wikipedia, the definition of a hate crime is: “a bias-motivated crime where a perpetrator targets a victim because of his or her membership in a certain social group. Including but not limited to: race, religion, sexual orientation, ethnicity or gender identity.”

First off, I have to say I’m against all crime. Towards anyone. I try to follow the law not just because it’s the right thing to do but because I have to live with myself. My conscience is over-active and I couldn’t sleep ever again if I did something that I could be caught for. I’m sure people reading this are scoffing, thinking I’m lying about not committing any crimes. Growing up with half-siblings that I was able to watch make mistakes, showed me I didn’t want to follow in their footsteps. I heard tales about my half-sister, Susan, stealing a hymnal from church and when my mom found out, she made her take it back and apologize. I couldn’t stand that type of humiliation. I don’t drive fast but I do speed a little. I go 7 miles over, never more because I don’t want to risk a ticket. The one time I did get a ticket, it was because they had lowered the speed limit on a road I went on often and I didn’t notice. I’m not perfect, I’ve jaywalked when young and got stopped by the railroad police for walking on the railroad tracks! I was in my 20’s, was with my mom and we had no idea it was illegal to walk on them. I grew up one house away from railroad tracks and everyone did it.

All the vicious crimes I’ve read about or seen on tv are all horrific. It doesn’t matter WHO they are done to. To me, it doesn’t make them worse because of the reason behind them. To do something truly evil to someone is hateful, no matter the motivation behind it. Like setting someone on fire. Sure, doing that to someone of color or someone that is gay is unconscionable. But why isn’t it equally as bad to do it to ANYONE? Young or old? Single or married? Fat or thin? Black or white? Gay or straight? The outcome is still the same. Whether someone plans it out in advance or just gets it in their head to do, the person is still dead or burned beyond recognition.

In my opinion, all crimes are hate crimes. To do something against a fellow human being, without regard to their feelings is unjust and uncalled for. Domestic violence is a hate crime. Supposedly, the spouse loves their mate but beating them up repeatedly or stabbing them 47 times is hate incarnate.

Instead of singling out people that crimes are committed against, we should treat everyone as equals. Teach children to respect themselves, each other and everyone they come in contact with from that day forward. Not necessarily respect as in the type you earn over time but as the type implied in the Golden Rule. “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”

Let people know early and often that every living human being’s life is worth as much as the next. Killing a homeless person that has no living family is just as bad as killing a politician with a huge family. Maybe no one will miss the homeless person but it is disrespectful to think that this person has no value. We don’t all start out with the same advantages or disadvantages in life and not everyone can “make something of themselves”. That doesn’t mean that the world shouldn’t mourn the loss of potential or the soul that was never able to contribute to society. Others may be missed much more but are their lives worth more? In the eyes of the law they seem to be.

That’s another thing I’ve always had a problem with. Laws varying from state to state. I guess originally the idea of state’s being able to set their own laws was good but now it’s to the point where if you kill someone in one state, you get the death penalty. If it’s only a few miles away over the border in another state, it’s life in prison or maybe even less severe punishment. It shouldn’t matter WHERE in the USA a crime is committed. Punishment should be the same across the board. Same goes for other crimes like rape, burglary, driving while intoxicated, fraud, etc. The UNITED States should be united in penalties for crimes. I’m the only person I’ve ever heard express this opinion. Everyone else seems fine with the status quo.

I wrote this blog post almost 2 years ago and had it sitting in my email. I had forgotten about it and found it 6 months ago but didn’t do anything with it. I’m not sure yet that it’s the right time to voice my opinion on this subject or if it ever will be.  

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This morning when I woke up and checked Instagram, I saw something I couldn’t wrap my head around. A very sweet, well meaning woman had taken in a 3 day old feral kitten that had been abandoned by its mother. I thought it was a nice thing to do and the fact that she would be bottle feeding it around the clock to keep it alive was admirable. She announced that she had set up a GoFundMe page to ask for donations for the kitten’s care. She wanted to take it to the vet to be checked out and was asking for $600. I was floored. I’ve heard of GoFundMe before and I thought it was started to recruit money for projects like making a documentary film, hosting an artist’s exhibition at a gallery or starting a small business. For anyone unfamiliar with the website, I’m sure that was it’s original intention and I have no problem with that. The arts are underfunded and it’s hard to come up with startup money for a business even if you have a great idea. Unfortunately, like everything else the Internet gets their hands on, it becomes abused. Daily, I am hearing about people starting a GoFundMe page for everything under the sun.

On the news when someone dies tragically, in an accident or is murdered, a fund is started to pay the funeral expenses and help support the family. At the very least they are trying to get full college tuition money for any surviving children. Not to sound cold hearted (which I probably do) but doesn’t anyone plan for anything anymore? No one seems to have any life insurance (even through their job) or any savings. Or is the real root of all this that no one feels they are responsible for paying for their own things anymore?

The youngest generation of adults don’t realize that some things are optional. I spent a few minutes looking through GoFundMe to see what people are trying to get money for. There’s a ton of people trying to obtain money for medical expenses. I thought after Obama Care, everyone’s supposed to have insurance? There are still copays of course but apparently people think if they can get someone else to foot the bill for those too, all the better.  I can see how someone can fall on hard times. Over 10 years ago, hubby had to be hospitalized suddenly with a bad ulcer and we had no insurance. We had temporary insurance that wouldn’t pay anything. We racked up $20,000 in medical bills. We had to put it on our credit cards and have had to pay for it many times over with the interest. My feelings on the subject of asking for handouts isn’t soured by our experience. Even if GoFundMe was around then, we wouldn’t have felt right asking for others to pay our way. There’s an entirely different type of mentality in the world today where no one feels that they need to pay their way or earn their own money.

Many people are trying to drum up money for a trip they want to take. Whether it’s a school band trip, a foreign exchange adventure or an expensive vacation. Obviously, all the donations are voluntary so no one is having a gun put to their head to contribute. And it’s a great thing that there are so many magnanimous people wanting to help others in all these endeavors. Plus the fact that so many people actually have excess cash TO donate astounds me. But whatever happened to working for the money? To go on a band trip, they used to have a car wash or  sell these overpriced candy bars that people bought out of obligation more than anything. Now they don’t even want to schlep those around. They just take 5 minutes, set up a page and watch the money roll in. Like on “Breaking Bad” when Walter White’s son starts a donation page to get money for his dad’s cancer. Meanwhile, Walter White is making meth and storing millions of dollars in illegal funds. Which brings me to the latest phenomenon of people faking they have cancer or other horrific diseases just to get sympathy and large sums of cash. Sometimes the person is mentally ill, most of the time they are just evil. Believe me, I feel for anyone who has or had cancer. The physical, emotional and financial pain is devastating. But when bad things happen to people, does that mean they shouldn’t have to shoulder the financial burden? There have to be several thousand people who have fought cancer without asking for donations. I’m not saying it’s wrong but why doesn’t EVERYONE deserve help? Sometimes the people too proud to ask need it the most. It just feels like some people think they are more special than others.

Which brings me to the entitlement issue. You knew I’d be bringing that up. Browsing through the pages and pages of people all over the country, I was shocked to see what people were trying to get others to pay for. It was everything from editing equipment for their YouTube channel to a pair of prescription eyeglasses. Lots were asking for money to go to the Prom. Since when is that a necessity? One woman was trying to raise money for a new tattoo. I’m not even kidding. People no longer want to make their dreams come true. Now they want YOU to make their dreams come true! Nobody is guaranteed anything in life and no one owes you a level playing field. If you’ve never been to Disneyland and want to go, just see if others will pay your way. If you can’t afford an ipad, why should you do without when everyone else has one? Just tell everyone to help you out so you don’t have to be deprived.

My husband calls this ONLINE BEGGING. Someone who wouldn’t be caught dead standing on a street corner with a tin cup, sees nothing wrong with throwing a page up to see if anyone will come to their rescue. Even a street musician plays music for donations. The current group of people wanting your money doesn’t have to “do” anything to get it. Maybe give a convincing story. I was raised that you have to work for or earn everything you get. If you get something at a discount or gift, it’s a bonus. You don’t  have to have everything in life. You shouldn’t. It just breeds spoiled people who expect everything their way 100% of the time. I would have less of a problem with it if people had to “take a class in manners” and they’d be given $20-50 by someone. “Clean up litter along the freeway” and get $50-100. You get the idea. People would equate that the money came to them FOR something, not just for existing.

A few weeks ago, I was thinking about how cool it would be to buy an old church or warehouse and renovate it into a home and antique museum. It was after going to that artist’s warehouse in Chicago for the estate sale. I would love having all that room to display everything properly and no worry about running out of space. Obviously, renovating costs money as does buying the property. I joked about using crowdfunding to get the money. I said it sounded like a worthy cause that people could probably get behind. Basically, it’s one of many dreams I have. I’ve also come to realize that not EVERY dream should come true. Some should remain dreams. Also does a dream mean as much if others fulfill it for you? Instead of making it happen on your own, the dream is given to you. Maybe what bothers me the most is that no one else seems to have a problem with this but me.

 

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I just can’t help myself. I have many other things I need and want to write about but feel compelled to address Bob Costas’ pink eye. It seems to be the pulse of the world right now. He is the NBC commentator for the Winter Olympics in Sochi. At first seeing him with the squinty eye was mildly irritating for us, the viewers, now it is simply ridiculous. I don’t know if I expect this post to be funny or educational or a bit of both. There are a ton of websites following his bout with conjunctivitis. Most of them are humorous. The jokes and hashtags on Twitter about his pink eye have been hilarious. But enough is enough. Someone needs to buy this guy a clue!
Bob Costas' Pink Eye

Bob Costas’ Pink Eye

This must be the first time in his almost 62 years that he’s had pink eye because he obviously has no idea what he’s doing. Let me explain. It’s not that I’m a know it all or even an expert. I don’t have advice that maybe anyone else would recommend but it has worked for me spendidly. I just can’t sit by idly and watch this guy suffer for days on end. Obviously, I no longer have to watch him since he’s bowed out of commentating the Olympics since it spread to his other eye. But in the interest of getting Matt Lauer out of my line of sight, I’m going to give Bob a hand. A figurative hand. Albeit well washed.

In my youth, when I worked at the Post Office in Milwaukee, I was an LSM (letter sorting machine) operator. We had to sit at machines and type in carrier codes from memory as we read addresses on letters going by at 50 per minute. If I must brag (and believe me, I must), I had the best accuracy on our crew. This was a job I loved and it came naturally to me. The person “keying” would sit at a line of 12 consoles for a half hour or 45 minutes straight (depending on the rotatiion) and then get relieved by someone. The person keying would then go in back for a 15 minute interval to pull already sorted mail as it was separated into bins. Before the bins would get full (the machine would stop if it got too full and there was hell to pay), they would get emptied into marked trays for the carriers.

What has this got to do with pink eye? More than you’d think. Not only was I handling mail that was already handled by machines but countless human hands along the way. Filthy human hands. So there was that factor of touching mail. But the main thing that came into play was that this was basically a factory environment. This wasn’t your tiny corner Post Office. It was a huge block-long building that ran 3 shifts around the clock. From the second I entered the building, I was touching things that thousands of others had touched. Like the door handles, the elevator buttons, lunch tables, chair backs, mail carts, hampers, etc. The list goes on. The biggest culprit for germs had to be the letter sorting machines. With keys like a piano numbered 0-9, you could key any combination. People would sit there and for all I know, they were never cleaned. Handwashing has always been important but you know how many people don’t do it, right? I remember noticing when I went in the bathroom, how many women went in a stall, came out and just left without washing. EW.

Ok, I’ve just about lost you. You’re thinking, “Bob Costas doesn’t work for the PO or use a letter sorting machine. Where is she going with this?!” I am segueing into a story about my first pink eye. Aww, “Baby’s First Pink Eye”, how sweet. It was while I was working there. Like in my mid to late 20’s. All of a sudden, I woke up one day with no warning and my eye was glued shut. I’m going to leave out the gory details but when I pried it open, it was bright red inside on the white part. Yes, that’s the technical term: the white part. I honestly can’t remember if I called in sick. I might have. It was really frowned upon to go into a huge establishment like that with something contagious. Trust me, I found out later when I showed up with chicken pox. 😦

I went to the eye doctor who couldn’t give me what he said would “cure” it because I’m allergic to sulfur (sulfa). He gave me some other drops and sent me on my way. I’ve read a lot about it and it’s supposed to run its’ course on its own. Just ask Bob Costas how well that’s working for him. Over the years many people would show up at work with blood red eyes. Much worse than what I had. It looked so painful, I would cringe just looking at them.

In case you’ve never had pink eye, how it looks is the least of it. Your eye feels really gritty, like there’s sand in it. It also gives your vision a foggy look. The main thing to do is NOT touch your eye AT ALL while you have it. Of course, you can’t think of anything else because it itches like crazy! If you have to touch it, have clean hands, use a clean kleenex to wipe it and wash your hands again. Always throw out the kleenex. I can’t stress this enough! If you’re using eye drops, don’t let the tip of the squeeze bottle touch your eye. Similasan is a brand of holisitic eye drops and they actually used to make a Pink Eye formula. I was told they quit making it but not sure. Now I buy their Allergy Eye Relief eye drops. My eyes are very touchy and at the first sign of trouble, I used them. Instead of rubbing my eyes, I put in the drops and make myself not touch my eyes.
Eye drops FTW

Eye drops FTW

Now back to Bob Costas. My “quick” cure for getting rid of the real Pink Eye is a 2 pronged approach. I use a shot glass filled with warm water. I lean over the sink with the full shot glass and open my eye into it. I might tip it a little back (and end up with it all over myself) but I get the eye open in the warm water. I flush it a few times. As warm as I can stand. It does sting to do this. Then I take a cloth washcloth and get it wet. I might lightly wring it but there’s still a lot of water in it. I fold it in 4 so it’s a square, put it on a clean paper plate and put it in the microwave. Heat it up for awhile. I can’t remember how long but until it is so hot you can’t touch it. Maybe a minute. Take it out of the microwave and as soon as you can handle it with your hands, place it over the infected eye. It is going to hurt or burn because it feels too hot. It also feels good because it feels like you are killing the infection. If you can only do a few seconds, take it away. Keep doing this until you can hold it on there. When it cools off, fold the washcloth the opposite way and put it back in the microwave. It won’t do any good to put a warm or cool washcloth on your infected eye, it has to be HOT. You can do this up to 4 times with the same washcloth without it being contaminated (folding differently every time). As hot as I have it, I figure it is killing all the germs in the washcloth. Do this several times throughout the first day. By the 2nd day, it is so much better you can resume normal activities. If it seems like it’s getting worse, go back to the flushing shot glass and hot washcloth.

Supposedly Bob Costas is being treated by Russian doctors. I’m not going to rip on them but think that maybe they aren’t telling him things because they think EVERYBODY knows this stuff. But I’m starting to wonder if they do. There is no reason on God’s green earth that it should have passed to his other eye if he was doing the right things! Besides not touching your infected eye at all, you stop touching EITHER eye. No good can come from touching your eyes. When you wake up with pink eye, the first thing you need to do is strip your bed and get your sheets washed. Plus any towels you might’ve used. You had your infected eye on that pillow and now you’re going to sleep on it? With the other eye? This is the biggest thing. Just because you can’t see any evidence of it, doesn’t mean it’s not there. I imagine poor Bob C. in a hotel room in Sochi where they don’t clean his sheets every day and if they do, he’s not watching them and they only change the sheets, not the pillow cases. I feel kind of bad for Bob to have his misfortune turn into humor for the viewers but Americans will laugh at anything. That’s why it’s America. We don’t have taste, we just think everything is funny and a big joke.

I take back what I said before. I AM a big know-it-all. I’ve got to go, my eye is starting to bother me. 😉

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Today’s gem of the day was Mom yelling out, “There’s a fire in the basement!” Without considering the source, panic set in. She was sitting at the dining room table eating her cereal and I was in the sunroom with my SAD light on. Then she made that exclamation and I jumped up LIKE THE HOUSE WAS ON FIRE. Heh. We’ve never had a fire (knock on wood) but I know it’s nothing to fool with. I don’t want to be the person whose house burns down at Christmastime OR EVER. We see it on the news so often this time of year but really all year round. I ran to my mom and said, “What are you talking about?” and she pulled  back the curtain on the window to reveal “smoke” coming from under the window. Again she said, “The basement’s on fire!”  Before my mom was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, she was the most trusted authority on if something wasn’t right. She used to have the best “smeller” and could smell anything that most others couldn’t. I inheired this super smeller but I’m sure mine isn’t what it used to be either. So at one time if she said there was a fire, I would’ve believed her and gone down to investigate. This time I knew exactly what the “smoke” was from. Our forced air gas furnace vents out the side of the house. OMG. I could never forget that since over 10 years ago the next door neighbor kids were playing between the houses and stuffed both pipes (intake and outtake) with snow! The furnace quit entirely and we were freezing to death. Hubby cleaned it out and when he told the next door neighbor what her boys had done, of course she denied it. “They wouldn’t do that.” She also said the same thing when confronted with her boys poking our previous dogs with sticks through the fence! Anyway, I told Mom that’s what it was and that there was more than usual of the exhaust coming out  because it was extra cold today. Temps overnight were around zero with windchills of 15 below zero. She seemed to be satisfied with my explanation but it made me do a double take. Luckily, it really didn’t upset me. I’m trying to find the humor in the situation since I’ve been far too serious most of my life. Now that I’m faced with her gravely serious diagnosis of Alzheimer’s, I need to laugh more than ever before. So I try to find humor in everything I can. That’s why one of my favorite sayings is “We’d get along like a house on fire.” I’m ablaze for you. 😉

Back on Sept. 11, 2001 when Mom still had most of her faculties, she was the one who came into our bedroom while we were still in bed (sleeping) that “They’re flying planes into buildings!” She used to lie in bed in the mornings if she woke up before us and listen to radio. She had heard a news report and got scared. We thought she was out of her mind. Another incident around that time had her coming to us saying there had been a “pterodactyl” on the deck. That it was 4 feet high and just huge. That it was taking fish out of our koi pond. We had NO idea what she was talking about. Shortly after that, I saw with my own eyes the pterodactyl! It was a heron. I could understand her thinking it was something prehistoric because it was enormous and not something I’d seen up close before.

One of the things I regret most is not writing Mom’s life story. I’ve wanted to for the past 15+ years and she really wasn’t interested. She was never a big reader and even less of a writer. I don’t know that she saw the value of having her life documented. About a decade ago, I used to suggest we sit down together and tape record some of her childhood stories. She loved to talk about her time growing up on a farm in Minnesota. Now she doesn’t talk about it anymore and I have no way of getting those stories out of her again. All that knowledge and life experience is just lost. I honestly think it should be mandatory that everyone either write their life story or have someone else write it. It could all be kept somewhere digitally (maybe even on the Internet). If people didn’t want it published until their death, it could be their option. However, this makes more sense to me to honor someone’s life this way than with a cemetery plot and tombstone. I don’t know how we’d get people to tell the truth about their lives. To not only curate their successes but their failures, their broken hearts as well as the love they shared, the pain endured in addition to the happy times, etc. I just feel there should be something left (besides offspring) to commemorate the lives lived. Not everyone makes a huge mark in the world (or has kids) but there has to be lessons to be learned from every human being. As I’ve mentioned before, I find everyone’s life fascinating. That’s why I love reading biographies, autobiographies and blogs. I marvel at the different lives they’ve lived, choices they’ve made, journeys they’ve weathered, etc. That is why I CAN’T DIE UNTIL I WRITE ALL OF THE WORDS. I have so much to tell and share. It’s not that I think I have more wisdom to impart or eyepopping experiences to share than anyone else. It’s my way of making a mark on the universe.

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There’s some people who I would read if they posted “how to take the cap off a tube of toothpaste.” Due to their high quality writing, their beyond honest sharing of daily struggles, humor that can’t be replicated anywhere on earth or just my loyal devotion, they keep me coming back for more, year in and year out. Yet, I can’t pay people to read my stuff. Well, I mean I probably could if I had enough money. But I don’t want to have to pay people. That’s cheating. I now understand why some blogs have “giveaways.” To entice people to their blog in hopes of winning an item that they don’t really need but desperately want. Sure, I could have giveaways too. I’ve thought of it. But that would be cheating. Obviously, it’s NOT cheating but in my mind it is. I feel like if someone comes here of their own volition, it means so much more. That if they’re coming here for the writing, to see what’s going on in my life or even just to be nosey, that’s genuine. I feel like I’ve had to earn the loyalty of each and every reader by writing things that aren’t always easy. Sharing things that are painful or ugly. To try to draw people who would normally have NO interest in me or my writing to come to my blog JUST to inflate my blog stats is SO NOT ME.

I’ve been careful all my life not to buy friends. Maybe that’s why I don’t have more?! Equally, I’ve bent over backwards to make sure others never felt used by me. I love giving to people and don’t expect anything in return. I’ve always been unconventional and don’t like giving gifts on the day of a birthday or for Christmas, etc. I like giving gifts “just because” or any day of the year. If someone gives me something, I make a mental note of it and make sure, down the line, that I repay the person in some way. I try to pay attention to what they like (they usually tell you, if you listen) and surprise them when they least expect it. I’ve never liked “exchanging gifts” with someone. If it’s a true “gift,” it shouldn’t need reciprocity. As I’ve gotten older, I don’t need gifts at all. The intangible gift of friendship is a greater gift than most material things ever could be. A gift could last a short time or for years but if you’re especially lucky, friendship will last a lifetime.

I’ve been seriously thinking of putting an ad for my blog on someone else’s blog. Someone more famous, obviously. It’s $5 a month which won’t break me but I haven’t reconciled with the fact that I’d be PAYING to have people sent my way. This isn’t like a blind date where someone I know recommends me to someone else I’ve never met to get together for coffee. That’s what a blogroll is. This is where I have to pay someone to take a chance on me. Yikes. You know, I’m not against other people doing it or running giveaways. I’m not saying this is the devil’s work. I’m just saying I don’t feel comfortable with it. Just writing this out, makes me wonder why. It has got to tie in with my lack of confidence. I don’t like drawing attention to myself, being the center of attention or even raising my hand in a room full of people. Maybe the difference between others who do this and me is that they believe in themselves. They are trying to sell themselves to others and I don’t feel worthy of that.

I think I’d be crushed if I ran a giveaway and just for that one post my numbers skyrocketed into orbit and then fell back down the next time. Reaffirming that if I wasn’t giving away something of value, no one would show up. Maybe I’ll feel differently in the future. At least I’ve documented my feelings on it now so that I can look back and see if it changes. In the meantime, I want to thank anyone and everyone who takes the time to read this. This type of validation money CAN’T buy. 😉

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