Monthly Archives: December 2012

Should Old Acquaintance Be Forgot….

It’s the end of 2012.

Wow.  We made it.

No Mayan prophecy to doom us all to oblivion.  We are still here, in one peace, hopefully of sound mind, hopefully happy, healthy, and moving into whatever should come our way.

This year saw a lot of changes for me personally, as well as those around me.  People got engaged, people had babies, people moved away, relationships ended, relationships began, new homes, new cars, new outlooks on life.

It was a particularly trying year in a lot of ways, ways that I won’t go into right here in this blog posting, though if you choose to look back through my posts, you can find of what I’m referring.

I’m looking ahead, forward, and focusing on the now, the present, whatever that may be.

So, come at me 2013.  I’m ready for anything you have to offer.  I come into this challenge as prepared as I can be, knowing that I will probably stumble along the way, but that I’ll have the fortitude and strength to get up, and keep on keeping on.

To all the folks who have read my blog over this past year, thank you for allowing me to be a part of your life story, and thank you for being part of mine.  It’s been fun hearing from the folks who have commented, who took time out of their day to say something encouraging, or even like a post.  I don’t write these things for the gratification of that…but it’s nice to know someone out there is listening.

Life is cyclical in nature.  We have our ups and downs, our good and bad moments.  2012 had moments both bad and good, but here’s hoping that 2013 brings the good moments that far outweigh the bad.

I wish you all happiness, health, and prosperity in the coming new year, and perhaps a cupcake or two.  Because let’s face it.  Those little cakes are delicious.

HT.

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The Most Epic Battle of All Time

It was a foggy evening, and there were no sounds coming from the villages nearby.  The castle’s lights had been vanquished, for the enemy was drawing ever so near.  People were speaking in hushed voices, afraid their voices would carry above the hills and waken the monster.  Still, there was a relative calm echoing through the halls, as everyone knew it was only a a matte of time before the attack.

Minutes felt like hours, hours felt like tortuous days, each person a prisoner in their minds, never sure where disaster would strike.  Glances were stolen to check in with loved ones, to make sure they were all right, and hearts warmed for a brief second, but then panic returned.

In the distance, a belch of flame lit up the night sky.  The dragon was on the prowl, and he was hungry.

The people scurried about the castle looking for safety, some sort of cover, some sort of protection, but the castle’s thin walls were no match for the dragon.  And only moments later did the dragon’s awesome frame fill the horizon, a mean look in his eye.  Sending belching flame after flame towards the castle rock, people were incinerated instantly, leaving only four knights to save the day.

Make that three, because as the dragon swooped down, it swallowed whole one of the knights, whetting its appetite for human flesh.  The knights knew they needed reinforcements.  The sounded the alarm, and the horns filled the sky, barely audible above the horrible din from the dragon’s roar.  Hopefully, the neighboring kingdoms would hear and respond.

And they did.  Moments later, Iron Man swooped out of the sky, followed by Astronaut Mickey, Super Grover, A B-52 Bomber, and another knight, the Dark Knight, all coming to defend the castle against this horrible, evil dragon.

They launched their assault, trading blows with the dragon from all angles.  Astronaut Mickey was no match, and the B-52 Bomber got in a few lucky shots before plummeting to the ground in a fiery death.  Iron Man’s suit stood up to the dragon for a while, but even he was outmatched.  The Dark Knight deployed every trick available, and used his mind to think like the dragon, anticipating his next move so he could counter, and proved to be a strong foe.  The dragon was unsure of himself, but began making careless mistakes.  He knew he had been outwitted.  He retreated to the safety of his cave, to await another dawn, another chance to overtake the castle and make all its inhabitants his dinner.

And this is how I spent Christmas Eve.  With three of my nephews, engaging in the most epic battle ever.

TONIGHT: As presented by the End of the World Players

TONIGHT: WEST SIDE STORY as presented by the End of the World Players….

Tonight, tonight
The world will end tonight
With clouds of doom and fire raining down

Tonight, tonight
We’ll all die after tonight
So, F it all, let’s get drunk and go to town!!

Today, the world is somewhat rainy
A normal kind of Thursday
That opened with dawn’s light

But here we are
The final hours circling our star!
Tonight!!!!!

OFFSTAGE: Veruca!
MARIA: Un momento, Papa.
OFFSTAGE: No tenemos un minuto! Hay que prepararse para el fin del mundo, y el fuego del infierno y la condenación!
MARIA: Si, Papa, si.

TOGETHER:
Tonight, tonight
We’ll all just die tonight
With suns and moons all over the place

The bits of the sky
Will burn out every eye
Leaving horrible scars upon my face!!

Today, the world was just an address
A place for us to live in,
But if the Mayans were right….

Just get with me
Cause tomorrow, you’ll be consequence-free!
We’re done tonight!

Someone likes me!

Liebster Award

Woo-hooo!

 

I’ve been nominated for a blog award!  Wow.  What a nice treat to my otherwise mundane day.  I mean, I love writing about cancer as much as the next person…but seriously, there’s a limit.

Anyway, I’ve been nominated for this Liebster Blog Award.  HLW nominated me.  Maybe it’s because I have naturally thinning hair, or maybe it’s because I wrote thought-provoking posts, or maybe it’s because I make a really mean turkey sandwich, but the fact is I was nominated.  Suck on that, bitches.

In the interest of the Liebster Blog Award rules (there are a lot of rules for a nomination process…but whatevs) I submit to you the following:

Post 11 random facts about yourself”.  Here we go:

1.  I am a bleeding heart liberal.  So bleeding, I cry at commercials.  I am not ashamed.

2.  I don’t care if they ever make another zombie or vampire movie.  I don’t get it.  I don’t get it.  I don’t get it.  I know people say, “It’s the gay agenda turned into”…I’m not even going to finish that sentence, because it’s crap.  Stupid.

3.  When I was a kid, I used to sit at my desk with a stack of paper.  I would draw out various scenes and say the voices out loud as I drew them.  I was directing, or acting, or creating my own TV show…whatever you want to call it.  And then I would throw them away.  It wasn’t for any purpose other than to amuse myself.

4.  I believe in the prophecy of my dreams.  So much so that I feared turning 35, because I had a dream I would die by the time I turned 35.  It didn’t come true…but this year isn’t over yet.

5.  I prefer baths to relax.  But then I always rinse off.  So, really, it’s a bath and a shower.  A bower ™.  That’s a registered trademark, courtesy of me.

6.  I type 110 words a minute.  Yes.  I know.  Aren’t you impressed?

7.  I am losing my hair.  But only on the top.  I look like a monk.  I wish it would just decide already and either fall out, or grow back.  Though that’s not going to happen.

8.  I drink more diet coke than water.  That’s changing in 2013….18010309183081.

9.  I love board games.  Not because I want to win (though I do) but because it’s just something fun to do.  If I could have a game night every night, I would.  But that doesn’t happen.  And so I sit at home, and watch Community for hours on end.

10.  I laugh at odd things.  A turn of phrase, a look, something that other people don’t notice.  I might be the only person in a theater who laughs in a particular moment.

11.  My favorite superhero is Wonder Woman.  And that’s only because she has the magical power of changing clothes by turning around.  It literally shaves minutes off of her day by being able to just turn, flash of light, and presto chango, magical cape for her to do a press event.

And now, per the instructions, I am supposed to answer some questions specifically chosen for me by the blogger:

Here’s your 11 questions:

1)  What’s your favorite holiday tradition/memory?  My favorite Christmas memory growing up was sitting around the TV with my siblings, threading popcorn.  Our white trash (even though we were Mexican…but not according to my grandmother…a story for another time) garland for our tree.  We would watch Christmas specials, and constantly prick our fingers on the spindle and die.  Oh, wait…that’s not my life.  The popcorn part is.  The spindle part is something I heard somewhere…

2) Sex or sleep?  Why can’t it be both?  Sex AND sleep?  Sex then sleep?

3) What is on top of your pizza (when you’re not forced to order what the kids like)?  I like jalapenos.  A little kick with my cheese.  Because nothing says delicious liked stopped up fecal matter tinged with a ring of fire.

4) What’s your proudest moment?  Proudest moment?  Wow.  I think recording my solo for the “Annie:  30th National Tour” cast album.  It had been a lifelong dream, and had finally come true.

5) Name the one song that you can hear that makes everything better and right in the world.  “Way Back to then” from the musical, “Title of Show.”  For some reason, that song makes me cry…and reminds me of why I do what I do….

6) When’s the last time you fell in love?  Success or failure?  Five years ago.  It was a success, only because it taught me a lot about myself, and never to settle.  It’s not here anymore, but that doesn’t mean it was a failure.  It’s all how you look at it.

7) Explain you, in five words or less.  Loyal, dependable, honest, kind, generous.

8) Name the best place you have ever swam.  In Hawaii, among the coral reef.  I have a scar from that day.  But wow.  It was amazing.  Absolutely amazing.  I saw fish I didn’t even know existed, and felt free.

9)  What do you really think about Tom Cruise?  I don’t.

10)  If you could dispel one myth about your specific gender, what would it be?  That men like sports.  I don’t care about them.  Figure skating is not a sport, by the way.  It’s an art that happened to sneak it over past the Olympic committee.  And I am forever grateful.

11)  What’s your least east favorite part of being a grown up?  Paying bills.  It’s hard to watch all your money go away.  And then think…wow…two weeks for that?  Big whoop.

And now, I’m supposed to nominated people for the award itself.  So…here we go:

The Better Man Project

YonaPhoto

Proficiency Paradigms

Canadian Hiking Photography

Bloganovel

Grammatically Buff Poems

Dr Anthony’s Blog

Jeyna Grace

Da Mouse

Theo Black

Congratulations!  You’ve been nominated by me for the Liebster Award.  Read about it here!!!

I only follow ten blogs, so that’s all you get.  However, now, I am supposed to come up with ten questions for you.  So, here you go.

1.  If you could change one thing about your past, what would it be?

2.  Name five things that is pretty common knowledge about you, and two things that are not.

3.  What food is an absolute no-no when you go out to eat?

4.  Name something you find funny that other people might find macabre.

5.  Do you believe in miracles?  (you sexy thing)

6.  Favorite ’80s song and why?

7.  Describe a time when you were completely selfless towards someone else.

8.  What makes you the happiest?

9.  If you could do something to change the world, what would it be?

10.  What is your favorite mode of transportation?  Conversely, what is your least favorite mode of transportation?

11.  What’s something you’ve held onto all these years, and what is the meaning behind it?

 

So, that about wraps it up.  Thank you HLW  for nominating me.  I don’t know if this means there’s an adjudication process, or if this simply means I get to post a fun badge on my website for all to see.  Who knows.  Is my name in a database now?  Is big brother watching?  What the hell is going on?!?!?!  Still…it’s an honor just to be nominated.  🙂  So, thanks, HLW, for this distraction from my work day, and thank you to reading the rantings of a crazy cat person.

Have a good day.

Shifts in Thought

After the wake of Friday’s tragedy, I found myself profoundly affected by the entire event, searching for some sort of meaning, some sort of understanding, and wishing that there was something I could do.

But what can I do?  I’m 3,000 miles away, with no personal connection to any of the victims, with limited means of income.  Yet I noticed a sudden shift Friday afternoon that had been brewing underneath the surface for a while now.  It’s been a progression, a constant evolution to this point where I am doing my best to put it into words.

I want to apologize, first and foremost, if this note seems preachy in any way whatsoever.  That is not my goal.  I don’t wish to stand on a soapbox and tell you what you should think, how you should act, how you should be.  I have no control over your choices, and it’s not my place do so.  All I can do is share my experience with you, and leave it as that:  an experience, a story, a lesson in humility.

A few weeks ago, I went out to a restaurant I had frequented several times before with never a problem, however, this evening the restaurant was particularly busy.  My first experience began when the hostess asked for my name, and after I gave it to her, she asked me to repeat myself.  No problem.  I did.  And she asked me to repeat it again.  I did, and spelled it for her.  She then proceeded to call me by the wrong name even so.  I was a little irritated, but I let it pass.  Even with the popularity of the Harry Potter books, it’s still not a common name people encounter.  Fine.  Moving on.

I was seated at a table, in the furthest reaches of the restaurant, and my waitress came to greet me.  She was new, and said as much.  Her energy was high, as she was clearly excited for her new job, and eager to please.  I gave her my order, and she disappeared in the back.

After about 25 minutes of waiting, the waitress arrived with a tray of food.  Unfortunately, it was the wrong order, for the wrong table.  She whisked it away after I brought it to her attention, but then this meant I still had to wait an additional 10 minutes for the waitress to return and give me my order.  I was finally able to eat, but a bit upset at the quality of service that I was receiving.

I finished eating, my plates were taken away, and the bill arrived.  I was a party of one, and when I looked down to see the amount, I was stunned.  I had received a bill for another table to the tune of $259.00.  Another mistake.  I waited, and waited, and waited, as the waitress hurried past, another waiter hurried past, all the while trying to get their attention so the matter could be corrected.  Eventually I caught someone’s eye, explained the situation, and the appropriate bill arrived tableside.

I was ready to leave at this point, and whipped out my card.  But no attention was paid.  Another five minutes.  ANother ten minutes.  Finally, I got up and went to the front of the restaurant, and handed it to the hostess, along with the bill, asking her to run my card.  She did so, and printed the receipt.

Perhaps it was the fact that I woke up on the wrong side of the bed, or traffic was frustrating, or there were other personal problems going on in my world.  Regardless, I allowed that one incidient to inform the decision that I made next.  I wrote the tip amount in at 15%, but across the top of the receipt, I wrote, “Exceptionally bad service.”

“I’ll take that for you,” a woman said, and I handed her the receipt, and noticed it was my waitress.  I saw her face as she saw the words at the top, and I was too embarrassed to say anything, and I left.

I sat in the car, feeling instantly remorseful that I had allowed all of the events of the day, this one experience to mar someone else’s day.  Because in the larger scheme of things, I realized that this was simply one meal, on one day, that would not be mentioned again until this posting.

It also went against everything I do my best to achieve daily, living life with a kind heart, a kind word, and a cheerleader for others.  But the wheels were set in motion, and a shift was afoot.  It was a small move, but an important one.

This past election was brutal.  I saw friends, family, people I love dearly get into heated arguments regarding their particular brand of politics.  People who were once allies suddenly sniping at each other from the safety of their computer.  What could have been civil discussions over very important issues turned ugly and bitter, with name calling ensuing, without an ounce of compassion for the person they were supposedly dialoguing with, but in reality, practicing a well-rehearsed monologue.  I did my best to stay out of the frey as much as humanly possible.

This also served as a fundamental shift in my daily understanding of who I am and how I interact with people.

And then, Friday, when the lives of not only 20 children and six staff members was changed forever, but their siblings, their mothers, their fathers, uncles, aunts, cousins, grandparents, friends, neighbors — the list goes on and on and on.  I woke up, and read the news, as I usually do, and didn’t realize I was crying until I felt my tears hit my lips.  Tears of unspeakable sadness for so much innocence lost.  I made a phone call or two to some very important people, just to let them know I was thinking about them, that I loved them, and wandered around sort of confused by the whole situation.

Not that I don’t understand how it happened.  That much is clear.  But why.  Why does it happen?  And then, suddenly opinions were being bandied about, myself included, for stricter gun regulation, a look at the mental health system, protecting our 2nd amendment rights, waging into our 1st amendment rights, blaming this on the President, blaming this on the opposing party, and on and on and on.

I in no way equate my experience at the restuarant or the political season to a tragedy of such proportions.  I only bring these up as key points because they were fundamental turning points in the ever-evolving game of life for this one individual.

Friday evening, I was out, tending to some errands, and the air seemed different.  People seemed a little less hostile, practicing patience, and even smiling at each other.  And suddenly, all of those movements clicked into place.

We have gotten so commonplace about our interactions with people, that simple courtesies are left by the wayside as we go after our ultimate goal.  The things that are drilled into us as children, being polite, treat others with respect and kindness, learning to share, helping someone out has been replaced by vitriolic speech, bullying, and making fun of those less fortunate for a laugh.

For a while now, I have noticed myself saying to myself and others, “Be kind to yourself and to others” more and more often.  Finding the good in what can sometimes be a  dreary, dismal day.  Not ignoring the realities of the world, but perceiving them differently.

In no way, shape or form do I mean to suggest that simply being kinder to people is the answer to every single problem, and especially in a situation where it seems serious mental health issues are at play.  This is a real problem that needs to be addressed by our leaders, from the top down, and quickly to avoid another catastrophe of such senseless violence occurring.  I offer no solutions, as it is a much more complex world than I’m comfortable even discussing as I don’t have the aptitude for providing a solution to what has occurred, only a call for action.

I am, however, suggesting that in order for this dialogue to begin, it may start with us actually being a bit kinder to each other.  Not agreeing with everything the other person says, but to watch what we say in response, to make better, smarter choices about the way we conduct ourselves instead of the negativity that is so often the go-to tool for people.

Maybe this is a Pollyanna view of the world.  Maybe my glasses are rose-colored.  But I will be completely honest — I’d rather live in that world than ever  have first-hand knowledge of the misery and suffering inflicted on innocents this past Friday.

All of these shifts, these thoughts have led up to this one particular stopping point in this journey of my life, and I realize the one thing I can do, 3,000 miles away from what has happened, is to be kinder to myself and those around me.

Enough

I woke up this morning, 3,000 miles away, and saw the news.  Unsuspecting lives changed forever.  I read the story and felt my heart break into a thousand little pieces, and realized I was crying.

My heart goes out to those affected by the tragedy in Newtown, Connecticut.  Two mass shootings in one week…when does it end?

No one wants to take away your guns.  If you feel you need a gun to protect you, you’re guaranteed that right.

But isn’t it time we stop allowing any person with enough cash regardless of their mental stability the “right” to buy a firearm and unleash havoc on unsuspecting victims?  Haven’t we had enough senseless violence?

The idea that Joe Schmoe needs an Ak-47 or any assault rifle to “hunt” is simply wrong.  An assault rifle is not a fair fight for any creature.

What will the NRA say about this?  Will they spin this into “Guns don’t kill people, people kill people?”  Okay, fine.  If that’s what you want to believe to make yourself sleep better at night, go ahead.  But what about those families whose lives have been unforgivably changed, whose worlds have been completely changed, and whose nightmares suddenly became very, very real?

Stop already.

We are supposed to love each other.  Not murder each other.

I am numb.

Enough is enough.

Choirs Will Be Ringing Silent Night…

I am driving home in my car, listening to the music on the radio.  The constant barrage of holiday hits, from “Grandma Got Run Over By a Reindeer” to “Silent Night,” “All I Want for Christmas Is You” to “The Little Drummer Boy.”  All of them, playing, nonstop, as is the custom every holiday season.

I don’t mind it.  I don’t mind it one bit.  I love the holiday music.  I love the lights.  I love giving gifts.  I love the magic of it all.  Yes, magic.  There’s still something very magical about seeing a tree decorated, glistening with the thought put into the placement of each and every single ornament, every single light, the gifts sparkling underneath, the anticipation of it all.

And yet, I find myself in a world of melancholy at the holidays.  Every year, it always seems to be the same wave of emotion that comes over me.

It’s hard to explain, but I shall do my best.

This melancholy stems from the magic…wanting so desperately for it to be a magical, wonderful, joyous event.  But I find that each year gets harder and harder.

When did the magic start do disappear?

Perhaps five years ago, with the diagnosis of my disease.  Suddenly, things like presents and holiday cheer took a back seat to regimented pill treatments and making moments count.  The idea that nothing is permanent.

Was that the beginning of it all?  I don’t know.  But I know that this year, as one particular song came on while I drive, “Please Come Home For Christmas,” I was struck by the melancholy again.  And I knew that if I were an alcoholic, I’d be in a bar somewhere, hunched over my glass of holiday cheer, dreaming of happier times.

I realized that I am alone for the holidays.  This is not a revelation, as the world is filled with people who have no one to spend their holiday time, to make memories.  I think this particular holiday is particularly sad because a year ago, the melancholy was combated by having a partner…with our Santa and Snowmen stockings, our own little traditions, hanging the paper star from our first Christmas together on the tree, and just reveling in all the season had to offer, thankful for each other.

There is a fight waging within my being about the entire holiday as well.  I *want* to give gifts.  I want to spoil the people I love rotten.  I want to be able to afford the nice things they’ve only dreamed about, and give them a bit of magic.  A trip to Scotland?  Done!  An iTouch?  Check!  A laptop?  Absolutely!  All of these things I would love to bring them, to see their faces light up with joy because someone listened…someone was paying attention during the previous year to a throwaway comment but now is a tangible…no longer a dream.

And yet, I can’t.  I look at my checking account, and breath a heavy sigh, knowing that no matter how many hours I work, no matter how much time I put ahead, there is that Sword of Damocles hanging over my head…the dreaded health insurance premium, set to go up January 1st.  Money is already tight as it is, and I see no way out, except to continue to work until my body gives out completely and I am useless.  A raise is out of the question.  And no benefits are possible.  Absolutely none.

I have done my due diligence, reaching out to those organizations who are supposed to be there to help support those in need, but because on paper it says I make too much money, I am ineligible for anything.  Yet here I sit, struggling to put food on the table, struggling to keep a roof over my head, struggling to keep things positive when clearly there is so much in this downward spiral.

I try to remain light.  Even today, as I wander through the mall, looking at the things I can’t afford to buy, wishing I could spread a little holiday cheer, I kept a smile on my face.  I engaged with babies out with their parents doing their holiday shopping.  I was pleasant to every single sales associate who asked me if they could help me find something — because I am light.

But as the end of the evening draws near, and I get in the car, turn on the radio, and hear the familiar strains of “Please Come Home for Christmas,” that familiar melancholy washes over me again.

And alone, I drive home.  I’ll take in the tree that I’ve decorated, shared with no one.  I’ll look at the decorations on the table, wondering what’s the point of them all.  And at the end of the day, I’ll send my positive energy out into the universe, hoping that those choirs singing silent night will radiate some of those heavenly beams down on someone who believes, who always has, and always will.

 

Moving Forward

Hello blog readers!

It is December 2nd.  And now, with those previous posts (don’t scroll down, seriously, I beg you) behind me, I feel my spirits lifting.  It’s funny.  Things are not better, really.  In fact, they are just the same.  I’m still in a soul-sucking job, and I am not quite sure what the next step will be regarding my health insurance situation, but i am starting to have a lot more confidence and faith that things are going to work out.  They have to.  I’ve gone about as fer as I can go, right?  

I’ve begun submitting resumes, and hopefully, I will land somewhere where my skills will be put to good use.  Somewhere where the person in charge won’t consider me as disposable as a Kleenex, and I’ll be able to thrive.  

I don’t want to be a millionaire (okay, I do), I don’t want to be insanely famous (maybe a little bit of fame…but only to help those less fortunate than myself out…I would use my powers for good!) nor do I want to be so detached from reality that I can no longer relate to people (no parenthetical…except for this one).  I simply want my basic needs met, having a little bit extra, and not having to worry month to month to month about whether or not I am going to have the basic needs necessary to survive.

It’s rough out there.  It’s even more difficult if you are providing your own insurance program.  Obamacare, or the Affordable Health Care Act, can’t come fast enough.  At least then I would feel as though I have options.  Currently, though, I am stuck paying my own insurance at $730 a month beginning in January, and I don’t now how that’s going to happen, short of continuing to slave at a job that is wreaking havoc on my soul, my heart, and my body.  

But I can’t wallow in that.  I *have* to move forward, otherwise I’ll get stuck.  And I’ve been through some tough stuff to let this get in the way.  So, one foot in front of the other, and just keep walking on.  Wherever the journey takes me, I’ll be happy to get there.  And if I happen to meet a couple of nice and able people who want to assist me along the way, well, so much the better.  

I’m off to begin teaching today.  Something I love, and looking forward to working with some great students.  

I hope today is a good day for you.  

Be kind to yourself.