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Monday, January 31, 2011

Wrinkles

Having been a sun worshipper and a smoker all of my adult life, my mirror recently seems to be shining a spotlight on the crows feet  around my eyes and various other creases and folds upon my face.  I could change the light bulbs to a lower wattage, but unfortunately, I seem to be having a little difficulty seeing in dim light these days.  Ahhh the curses of aging.

I think back to about 10 years ago.  I saw an elderly woman (probably in her mid 70's).  It was at a bowling center, and she was in the lane next to me.  She had more wrinkles on her face than there are stars in the sky.  Deep, well defined creases . . . . and she was Beautiful!  I was mesmerized by her.  Each line seemed to tell a story, and the sparkle in her eyes held so much life.  The smile on her face was joyful, yet I knew instinctively that she had seen much pain.  I remember thinking to myself, "I hope I can age as gracefully as her".

But now . . . looking in the mirror I'm irritated.  And I wonder if that lady from 10 years ago was irritated when she looked in the mirror?  Her beauty seemed so effortless. 

Now that I think about it, her beauty was from within, and it was the lens that surrounded her that I was seeing her through. 

Note to self:

1.  Work on the inner beauty
2.  Until that's taken care of, change the light bulbs in the bathroom.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

A 9 year old's deamons, 40 years past.

Mr Gilbert, the school principal at a busy little elementary school stood watching the students at lunch.  There were groups laughing and talking. Some going back for seconds, and others concentrating on their lunches.  It was a whir of activity, as it was everyday.  But there, sitting by herself was a little 4th grade girl.  Who just a couple weeks ago was an average awkward 9 year old girl with a sparkle in her eye.  Recently though, she seemed morose. She sat alone, she looked very sad and heavy like she had the weight of the world on her tiny little shoulders.  He'd been noticing her this last week, and each day she was a little more withdrawn.  She just picked at her food, and didn't seem to notice the activity around her.  Lost in some deep disturbing thoughts.

He had no idea that just yesterday at home, her parents had the radio on while they went about their normal routine, and the little girl had heard a commercial for "First Call for Help" (A suicide hotline) and then sat in her room to compose a letter to that advertiser . . . though she didn't know what to say and couldn't put into words what she was on her mind or even where to send it.  So she left the unfinished letter crumpled in the corner of her room and went to do her chores.  The letter read:

                     "Dear First call for help,
                      I need help. I don't know what to do. I . . . "

No, Mr. Gilbert didn't know about that letter.

He also didn't know that recently, when she was alone. She sat on the on the floor and would bang her head on the wall. Hard. She'd bang her head, and it would hurt. Then she'd bang it harder, and it would hurt more. Then harder . . . and more.  Nobody saw, nobody knew . . . she was alone and her heart was heavy, and somehow hurting herself made her feel better.

When the little girls parents would go out, or had to run errands, they would send the little girl and her 10 year old brother to the neighbors house to play with the little girl's best friend.  They'd build tree houses, run races, play pretend store and some times they'd play hide and seek, and some times her best friends adult brother would play hide and seek with them.  Suddenly, the little girl didn't want to play hide and seek anymore.

Sometimes she would stay overnight at her best friends house, and since there was an adult child there, her best friends parents would leave.  And her best friends adult brother was there. . . and in charge.  Sometimes he would drive her home, and make her sit real close to him and quietly whisper . . . "If you tell anyone, I will kill you AND your brother."  Sometimes there are things too big, too shameful and to heavy for the little girl to think about.  Sometimes, just for a moment, when she'd hurt herself, she almost couldn't feel the other pain . . . the one in her heart, her mind and her soul.

Back in the lunch room, Mr. Gilbert approached the little girl.  He knelt down next to her, and looked her in the eyes.  She averted his stare.  He asked her  "How are you?" in a concerned voice.  She glanced at him, and said "Fine" as she quickly looked away.

He responded with "You've been looking so sad lately, can you tell me what's wrong?"

The little girls chin began to quiver, her eyes brimmed with tears that spilled down her cheeks as she looked down at her lunch tray.  Mr. Gilbert felt her pain as he waited for her to speak . . . but her words weren't coming.

He added,  "Has somebody been hurting you?"

The little girl, was so close to sobbing, and did everything she could to hold back the tears, her hands were shaking and palms were sweating and she finally answered with a slow nod, never looking away from her plate.

He knew he was getting somewhere and he gently prodded, "Who's been hurting you, and how have they hurt you?"

The little girl thought about how she would answer this question, and then she said

"My brother has been teasing me and calling me names."  She held her breath for what seemed to be a lifetime.

Mr. Gilbert was surprised that a brother's teasing would cause this much sadness, but was satisfied that he had gotten to the bottom of her sadness.  He gently counceled her on dealing with her brother and walked off to resume overseeing the rest of the lunch room.

The little girl got up and went to the bathroom, sat in a stall, and banged her head, hard.  And again . . . harder, and again, until her head throbbed.  She went back to class.  She went home that day and for the rest of that year, sometimes her parents would send her to her best friends house, and sometimes her best friends adult brother was there . . . and in charge.  And sometimes he would drive her home and make her sit real close . . .

To Mr. Gilbert, my elementary school principal,

You were SO close.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Technology and Etiquette

With Cell phones, iphones, smart phones, Blue tooth (or teeth???) There is hardly a place you can go where you don't see someone texting, talking or tweeting.

Me, I don't like talking on the phone while I'm shopping.  And I always find it confusing when I'm standing next to someone who seems to be talking to themselves.  I always have to look twice to see if they are talking to me.  And, I just find it to be rude when someone is at a check out counter, talking on the phone AND expecting the checker to discern whether the last thing they said was to them or to the unknown person on the other side of the customer's phone conversation.

Recently, we were having a family Christmas.  Rehashing old stories with new twists, catching up with loved ones that we don't spend enough time with, and making new memories.  Then I turned to see one of my relatives (who shall remain nameless) texting on their phone and they continued to text for quite some time. Or it may have been emailing . . . who knows? The point is . . . . Really??? Come on!

To me, it's the same kind of rudeness as speaking a foreign language, or whispering so as to exclude others.  I wanted to be like my 8th grade English teacher when she caught me passing a note, and say "Would you like to share that with the rest of the class?"

What could be SO important that it can't wait an hour or so?  What part of our newest technology excuses bad manners? 

I'm pretty sure each and everyone of these wonderful new gadgets has an OFF button.  I think it should be utilized a little more often.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Suing McDonalds Over Happy Meal Toys? McNonsense!

So, I saw on the news tonight that a mother of two from California along with advocates from the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) are suing McDonalds for marketing their Happy Meals with toys.  Enticing her poor innocent children into pestering her until she gives in and takes them to McDonalds so that they can get the latest and greatest toy in that Happy Meal.  The poor beaten down mother just cant resist her children's incessent wrangling to get those McNuggets and a $0.12 toy.  So much so that she is now telling McDonalds to either change their Happy Meals, get rid of the toy or face her lawsuit.

McBullshit

Ask anyone of my children and they will tell you in no uncertain terms that they were quite familiar with the word "No" when they were growing up.  I think that California mother might need to take a few McParenting classes so that SHE too can learn how to say the word "McNO" and McMean it!.

Gosh, my 6 year old granddaughter saw a pair of 4 inch heels in a commercial the other day that were "SO COOL" . . . I'm pretty sure her Mom didn't call up F. Lee Bailey to petition the court to have the advertisers not make their shoes so damn pretty, so that she doesn't have to get a backbone to stand up to her daughter.

And how about those Snickers commercials . . . Who's going to be the first one to sue them when little Johnny No-Discipline pushes Betty White into a mud puddle?  Come on!

Ronald McDonald himself would probably have to find a rope if this court case actually happens.

Can you say McFrivolous?

For It

A young woman with her world upside down
Daddy's little girl felt all alone
she kept remembering how he'd tell her each night
She was a special blessing and his shining light.

He'd say
Your Mama loved you from the moment she knew
the love we made made her dreams come true
Though her health got bad, she refused to let go
Until the day I brought you home.

Your Mama didn't just say she loved you
She lived for it

A few years later daddy was called to duty
Tearfully kissing his little beauty
fighting for freedom on a distant shore
till an officer came knockin at the door

He said
Your Daddy loved you more than you knew
He told us many times all about you
The battle got bad, but he fought till dawn
And now with honor, we bring him home

Your Daddy didn't just want a better world for you
He gave his life for it

Now as a teenager spiteful, hungry and cold
A runaway with no one to hold
Stopped at a church to get out of the rain
was met by the pastor who saw her pain

He said
Your Father Loves you more than you know
He promised that he will never let go
He's with you today and he wants you to know
He'll be with you now and until you come home

You see your father didn't just say he loved you
He lived and died for it

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Studying for My Stress Test

As the self proclaimed "female Bret Favre of the co-ed softball world", it is difficult to publicly admit that because of a few recent scary health "events", I have been scheduled to take a stress test tomorrow. 

Health background:  I smoke, I drink, I work hard and I play harder . . . nuff said on that.

The instructions given to me when this test was scheduled include a segment that is titled  "How to Prepare". (the actual instructions are recorded below in black. My comments are in RED)

  • Wear Comfortable, casual clothes Duh! and good walking shoes. Do you suppose it would be okay to be barefoot?
  • On the Morning of the test, you may eat a light breakfast if you wish, but no later than one hour before the test. My breakfast usually includes 2 cups of coffee, cigarettes and a side order of email & facebook
  • Please refrain from alcohol, No problem, coffee Ooops! and cigarettes Now come on! for at least 2 hours before the test. So, What you're saying is NO breakfast!   Seriously, If we're going through all the trouble of a stress test, wouldn't it be more productive if we made it as realistic as possible????  I mean, I can't think of a two hour span in which I am not smoking or drinking coffee or both prior to 3:00 in the afternoon.  I'm already getting stressed just thinking about it!  Isn't the whole point of a stress test to see how my ticker reacts when pushed? . . . If it's going to react negatively, it'll do it a whole lot quicker if I just do my normal routine prior to, and right up to the point where I'm walking into the hospital.  It'll save a whole lot of time if we do it MY way. Just sayin.
I've always had a little test anxiety, and this one is no different.  Especially since the LAST stress test I had (about 7 years ago) I ended up in the emergency room.  (I wonder who was more stressed?  Me or the technician who administered the test?)

For now . . . I'm planning on being back on the streets within one hour of the test . . . hopefully it's not in an ambulance ;-)

Winter

An unblemished blanket of white covers the ground
Natures diamonds shimmer abound
A defiant sun shines through my window
cleverly seducing my senses

A younger soul may not understand
Mother natures crafty illusion
How she temps you with the warmth of the sun
Then stikes you with her frigid hand. 

Saturday, January 22, 2011

The Miracle of Birth - Lily the Black Bear

Last year I stumbled across this website and became obsessed with watching a black bear (Lilly) Wintering in her den. It was suspected that she would give birth to her first cub. I was one of the lucky 9 thousand or so to witness it live! What a joy. Here's the video: www.youtube.com/watch?v=VBNtANbW5vE

I then became transfixed by the opportunity to see this little black bear cub (Hope) growing: www.youtube.com/watch?v=U_Jg7N_ydaQ Then to see her frolic with her mother throughout the summer. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uTUNxmL_OKg&feature=fvsr

Fast forward to 364 days later. Lily & Hope are back in the den, it's 20 degrees below zero outside, and Lily gives birth again - This time it's Twins!
http://www.bear.org/livecams/lily-hope-cam.html

What a wonderful opportunity to see how nature works and to learn more about the black bear.

Dr. Lynn Rogers is the person who is heading up this study, and he has dedicated his life to this mission. To see more amazing videos and read the trials and tribulations, go to http://www.bear.org/

It is simply mesmerizing!

Friday, January 21, 2011

For Every Action, there is a Consequence.

When you toss a pebble into a pond, it does not just sink to the bottom, never disturbing anything.  It causes a ripple . . . that goes on and on.  Tossing a pebble is not a bad thing, but the ripple it's self . . . does it have negative consequences????

Almost 12 years ago, my now ex husband and I adopted a sibling group of 4.  Two girls ages 12 & 13 and two boys ages 8 & 9.  They came from . . . shall we say, less than ideal conditions in Fresno California.  We were told that ALL were healthy though understandably there were some "behavioral issues."  Nothing a little love can't fix . . . right???? 

We added these four children to our already busy household of 5 other children. Girls ages 12, 14, 16 and Boys (1 adult & 1 deceased at 18 years old)

Nobody mentioned (and I didn't think to ask) about the biological Mom's alcohol use during pregnancy.

Eventually, it was clear that EACH of these 4 children had various levels of fetal alcohol syndrome/effects.  The worst of which were the boys.  (I was later informed by a doctor who specialized in this type of disorder that usually it is the youngest children that are the most affected because the nutritional level of the biological mother decreases with each pregnancy, and therefore becomes less and less able to fight off the abuses of alcohol on the fetus).

The youngest child (age 8 when they came) had severe anger issues, NO impulse control and unfortunately no ability to feel empathy for ANYbody or ANYthing.  Needless to say, the next 10 years were difficult to say the least.  There were MANY police & court interventions and many criminal charges racked up over the years.  Consequently there were many many placements into juvenile facilities for this young man.

Something else that I wasn't aware of is this.  When your child is placed in a juvenile facility, the court orders the parent to pay "cost of care."   This eye opening revelation came crashing into my world when I was ordered to pay $720 per month "child support".  But, Because of the fact that I really couldn't afford that amount the Court ordered that I could pay $200 per month, but the additional $520 per month would continue to acrue.  This lasted for the majority of about 4 years.  48 months x $520 = $24,960.00 !!! 
This son is now nearly 20 years old, and HATES me. In fact, one of the incarcerations was for "domestic violence" against me. (I think I asked him to take the garbage out or something) One of the offenses was for stealing a car, driving without a license and totalling the car (my car).  One of the offenses was for stealing a strangers car.  One for domestic violence with a weapon against his brother.  etc. etc.  The local police know him well, and regularly check up on me as this young man has threatened to do me harm. He does not live with me now, but doesn't live too far away. But I repeat . . . He HATES me. Go figure.  At this point my debt to the state has been whittled down to under $6000.00 and I continue to pay religiously every month.

Now . . . to the ripple effect . . . One of my daughters is getting married in February.  She has decided to have a "destination wedding" in Jamaica.  She has been planning and saving for this for two years.  I'm SO proud of her.  She is so excited for this wedding, and I am excited for her.

Well . . . guess what.  Because I still owe the state $$$ for the "cost of care" of my son.  I can't get a passport!  Ripple, Ripple, Ripple.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

R.I.P. Teddy

A little background:  "Bear" is our little/big dog.  He's about 9 lbs and he has a favorite passtime.  His passtime is Teddy and he absolutely adores her.  Then we have Levi - He's a lab who weighs in at about 105 lbs, and he knows that he is not allowed to touch Teddy. (Bear's rule, not ours).  We also get a visitor dog from time to time, and his name is Chance.  He is a lab mix and belongs to one of my adult daughters.  Chance doesn't understand the "teddy rule".  Though Bear tries very hard to enforce it, Chance thinks it's a game.  Well, the game ended this very day.  Please see the video.

video

Bath time with the Boys

This is just a fun video I put together of our boys.
video

State of the Union . . . or Maybe just Me on my Soap box

When we as a family are struggling with a potential budget shortfall, we don't go out and spend more
$$$.

I lost my very good paying job last year, and had to go on unemployment.  While I thank God EVERY day for unemployment, it doesn't pay near as well as my job did.

So . . . we had to make some financial decisions.

"Needs" vs "Wants" - We had to cut out ALOT of "wants".  Then we had to prioritize our "needs".

Once this was done, we contacted all of our services . . . ie. Electric co., Gas co, Cable (phone, internet & cable) Cell phone company.  And we re-negotiated our plans/rates/etc.  By doing this, we saved ourselves a couple hundred dollars per month. We even re-negotiated our rent payment (temporarily) and saved ourselves another $150.

Then we started clipping coupons and watching for sales on our budget busters (toilet paper, dog food, laundry soap, grocery staples)  This is now a habit I intend to follow through on even when financial times are better.

The reason I explain all of this is to say, if our local/state/federal government would follow the same principals, it is my opinion that we wouldn't be in the financial trouble we are in now.

When the check book is empty . . . you DONT WRITE MORE CHECKS.  You don't consider buying a big screen t.v. , you don't plan a vacation, you don't create MORE debt.  I don't know . . . It sounds pretty simple to me.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

DPHW 12 Step Program

  1. We admitted we were powerless over when the Dr. Phil's Housewives episodes aired — that our lives had become unmanageable.
  2. Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves (Dr. Phil) could restore us/them to sanity.
  3. Made a decision to turn our T.V's, DVR's and Tuesdays over to the care of Dr. Phil as we understood Him.
  4. Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ALL of the housewives.
  5. Admitted to facebook friends, to ourselves, and on other social websites the exact nature of each housewive's wrongs.
  6. Were never ready to have Dr. Phil remove ALL these defects of character from the housewives. (Once they are all fixed . . . the show is over)
  7. Humbly (or not so humbly) give our advice to the ladies via blogs, posts, website comments, etc.
  8. Made a list of all persons that disagree with us, and became willing to "un-friend" them all.
  9. Made direct amends to such people (who eventually came to their senses and agreed with me) wherever possible, except when to do so would be to admit I was wrong. (cuz I wasn't)
  10. Continued to take personal inventory of the housewives and when they were wrong, promptly post about it.
  11. Sought through T.V. Guide and Google to improve our theraputic skills via contact with the Dr. Phil show and the housewives as we understood them, praying only for the chance to express our own opinions and the forums for which to do so.
  12. Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we continue to try to carry this message to other Dr. Phil's Housewives Addicts, and to practice these principles in all our affairs

Like a Fine Wine

Aging to perfection

Distractions . . .

Today I went to warm up a cup of coffee in the microwave, but got distracted before actually turning it on. 10 minutes later I came back to turn the microwave on, but there was NOTHING in it. "Where the hell did my coffee go???"

I looked on the counter top, the pantry, etc. But could not find it. WTH!

A little while later, I decided to make a sandwich. I opened the refrigerator and on the top shelf . . . there stands my coffee cup . . . cold & confused.

Un-Freakin-believable!

The First Step is Admitting That You Have a Problem ...

Hi. My name is Sandie and I am a Dr. Phil's Housewives addict.
(Audience: "Hi Sandie")

It all started when I saw the first episode. I've heard it said that "it only takes one time." But I didn't believe it. I thought I could just watch casually. Oh how wrong I was.

At first it was just for fun, and something to do. Then I started looking forward to each episode with such anticipation. Suddenly, I couldn't get enough! Each Tuesday at 2:45, I'd turn the t.v. on and wait . . . giddy, like a child who could hear the ice cream truck from a block away. I'd count the minutes. Then when the show started, I'd curse the commercials. The high was beyond my comprehension! I'd turn off the ringer on my phone from 3:00 - 4:00 and wouldn't even answer it if my Mother called. The minutes flew by like micro seconds, and then . . . the hour was over. Oh how I craved Tuesday afternoons!

My DVR was full. My Husband wanted me to record OTHER shows, but I'd pretend to forget just so I wouldn't lose any episodes of the Housewives. (the shame).

My addiction became apparent when the housewives went on break for the full month of December. Each Tuesday between 3 & 4, I felt as if I'd lost my best friend.

When January came I was SO excited. Finally, the advertisings promised their return on January 11th. That day, I turned the t.v. on and waited. My palms were sweaty, my phone was shut off. 3:00 came and . . . "WHAT!?! WHERE ARE THE HOUSEWIVES?!?!" I yelled at the t.v., I paced the house! I checked the internet! "WHERE ARE THE HOUSEWIVES!?!?" I "liked" them on facebook, but it wasn't enough!

Now today, hungover and coming down from their live show yesterday, I once again anticipate next Tuesday.

I am an addict!

Monday, January 17, 2011

Turning 50

I figure this is a good way to start this blog. This year I turned 50! Ugh.

I decided, "Well heck, turning 50 is a good thing right? I mean this means I have made it through my 40's and I'm still here." If you would have told me when I was twenty that I would live to be 50 I would have thought you were nuts. But here I am . . . and still on the right side of the sod! Who'd 've thunk it!

So . . . two weeks prior to my 50th birthday, I called my doctor's office to set an appointment for a physical. You know . . . " . . put your feet in the stirrups and sliiiiiide down to the end of the table . . " and other fun stuff. Skin check, mammogram, cholesterol check, blah blah blah.

I love my doctor. He's human, he's "to the point". And he talks to me like an equal. (Even though he graduated from medical school and I hold a masters from the school of hard knocks). The appointment was set for the day before my 50th birthday.

Skin check went fine (always a concern since we have melanoma in the family). Pelvic, breasts . . . they were fine. All was good . . .until the doc said "I want to schedule you for a colonoscopy" I responded with "You can do THAT in the autopsy . . . thank you very much"

We debated this topic for a few minutes and I finally agreed to go to outpatient scheduling to do so. (though I only agreed to appease him. I never intended to go through with this . . . and still haven't).

The results that he had ordered came back indicating a low functioning Thyroid. THAT diagnosis made my day!!!!! He was going to put me on thyroid meds . . . Yippie! Now that extra 20 lbs that I've been trying to get used to was going to go bye bye. THIS, in my opinion was the absolute BEST part of my "I'm turning 50" doctors apt.

I've been on the medication for 6 weeks. Though I haven't lost any weight! WTH!

More to come . . .