Wednesday, November 16, 2011


Some of you have wondered what happened to me since I disappeared, quite literally, from here. Life happened, I suppose.

My husband has filed for divorce and is trying to take my daughter from me, claiming I am "unfit". If I were, I'd be the first to admit it.
Life is extremely stressful and hard right now. I am trying to focus on improving my relationship with my daughter and fighting to protect her. With how things are right now, I'm afraid all my writings would be dark and angry, and you guys do not deserve that.

Also, friendships have been broken that were once dear. It seems as if I am buried right now and the only one who can save me is the precious angel I hold in my arms...for now.

God help me if he wins her from me, for I do not know how to survive without her...

I would not mind venting on here with my writings, but am afraid that he could somehow use it against me in the custody battle, so for now and until the hearing at the end of this month, I do not dare. Perhaps after then I can feel more free to do so, but I can't risk losing her due to hurt or angry feelings on my account in a public setting.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011


Life was perfect in the embrace of your arms
I wanted for nothing
Shined so brightly
Loved so freely and felt loved in return

Glass houses cannot stand forever
The sun turned cold
Your embrace was empty
My world shattered like my dreams

Hurt and bitterness replaced hope and trust
I fled to protect my heart
I wear anger like a shield
What once was broken can never be mended

But I remember the nights in your embrace
Tender and giving before receiving
Stroking life into my soul
A master artist in every sweet touch

I remember how we fell in love
The music that sang for us alone
Our time of exploring and searching
How you so patiently calmed my demons

Was everything you said and did then a lie?
How could I not see your pain?
Why did you not confide to me?
Why did you hide such a terrible burden from me?

Even wounded my soul yearns to be with you
I see your face in our child
I hear your laughter in her voice
And I bury inside how much I miss you

Am I giving up on us too soon?
How can I have you now?
Can you release the lies for us?
Is there a hope anymore for us to be?

More than just distance separates us now...

In my secret thoughts you are ever there
You are still my only love
Even amidst all the pain and hurt
Though after all this you will probably not believe

How can we turn our backs on all we had?
Can we ignore our history?
Can we find ourselves again?
But how can I live as your second love?

I long to return to your arms but have distrust
Reassure me and court me!
Tell me you have stopped the lie!
Show me that it is still me that you desire!

There is no one else I want more than you
Be the hero you once were to me!
Turn away forever from the wolf!
Pledge yourself to me as you had once!

Can you not see what I need from you?
Kindness, compassion, devotion
Outward signs of inward affection
If indeed you still feel any toward me at all

Long have my tears soaked my pillow
And I miss you with every breath
Yet I need you to understand
I cannot return if I am no longer your love

Do you still not understand what I say?

Even hurt
Even weeping
Even raging
I still fiercely love you, James


Come back to me....

Saturday, August 27, 2011

My apologies-Giveaway

My sincerest apologies to all those I let down in the blog giveaway. There really are no excuses that would make it right, so I would like to do a belated giveaway. On September 3rd I will give away three interviews to those who comment, even if you just post 'Me too'. I will announce the winners on Sept 5th and post the first interview as soon as I can conduct it.

I hope this will help soothe ruffled feelings somewhat. I have had a lot of personal things going on and the day simply slipped me by. I feel awful about it and have actually been avoiding being online because of how badly I felt. It took a few friends to convince me to come back and face my disappointment as a blogger.

ALL comments to this post will be approved, no matter what they say. Please feel free to be honest in this.

I hope you guys will participate on the 3rd.

Thank you.


Saturday, August 13, 2011

Busier than a Bee...or Would that be an Ant?

I am sure you have noticed that I am not posting near as much as I was. This is due to several things in my life, but the most pressing is my re-entering the world of academia.

I decided to try to finish my master's degree this time. While I am enjoying having homework again (yes, I said 'enjoy'...I am truly a nerd!) and showing my daughter an example of time management, it takes away from my creativity with my blog. By the time I am finished with papers and assignments, I feel like a dried up sponge. This is reflecting well in my grades (a 96 thus far in my Intro class), but horribly in the creative community.

So I thought I would pose a question to the void: Does anyone have any advice on balancing my creativity and my homework? Any sage words of wisdom in helping me figure out how to bolster my flagging muse while my nerd side kicks it into full gear?

Any thoughts could help, and be most appreciated!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Words are a Double-Edged Sword

"Words can hurt"... when we hear of this, normally our thoughts turn to the person the words are inflected upon. Yes, those words hurt, but what of the person who spoke them? Do the words reflect back to slice into them as well?


Recently I have been handling the blade of wounding words as if I were a master. The reason for this I am not sure exactly, except that I truly was out of a certain medication that makes me a more pleasant person, able to handle more, able to understand more, to "put up with" more... Without those lovely psychotropic pills, I can become quite a bore and a witch, besides.

For years, I have dealt with other people who are different than I. Surprising, right? We all have friends who range into basically three categories: My Twin, Slightly Aggravating, and Why on Earth Do I Put Up With You????

Our twins hardly ever irritate or annoy us, frequently finish our thoughts, and never seem to be far away. We could not speak or see each other for ten years, then meet up and resume a conversation we had previously as if no time had spanned. These are usually our "dearest friends".

The slightly aggravating friends are the ones whom we clash with from time to time, but always find a way to overcome it. These are the people with whom we build our own character, ride the roller coaster of life with the most, and expose our deepest secrets to. We fight, we fuss, we argue, we throw things, but all in all we come back to each other with opened arms and streams of tears.

With the third category, usually these 'friends' are not exactly our friends at all--they are merely called this because of circumstance or their own design. These are the ones to whom we do not feel close to, often entertain ideas of eliminating the unhealthy limb, and avoid as much as possible. Usually, we find a way to end the relationship.

But what happens when we unintentionally treat our first or second category friends as if they are the third? This can happen in times of stress, illness (mental or physical), immaturity, and just plain stupidity. In time we realize that we have mistreated our friend, but words have been spoken, wounds have been caused, and the other friend is (understandably) bleeding. Like with any wound, we cannot reverse it to keep it from happening, nor can we simply offer a bandage to contain the hurt. This is a hurt that oozes and instantly infects. It changes everything. It wounds both the person the words were directed at, and the one who spoke them.

I have suffered from this stupidity recently and wounded a dear friend who was just being herself. I have known for years that she is the way she is and will not change--at times I am able to silently bear with it more than others. When I boiled over to inflect my cutting words, I was suffering from stress, lack of sleep, lack of medication (which truly does help for some of us), aggravation, and a build up of repressed emotions. Under normal circumstances, I could sigh it away, like I have for years, and appreciate the friendship. That day, I lashed out at her, spoke words that, while true, were very hurtful, and should have handled it more like an adult instead of a bitch.

Usually I would try to use a different word, but I think that one quite accurately describes my behavior, so it will stay.

I regret more than I can ever express my behavior that night. The words were honest, but needed to be said differently, at a different time, and perhaps not at all. We are both hurting from numerous avenues of our lives and did not need me attacking at a vulnerable moment.

She may not read this, or respond. She may be upset to the point where she can no longer be around me or suffer my presence. I cannot say that I would blame her. I just wished to apologize again, in a way that is more sincere than the last way we spoke, so that she has it whenever she is ready for it.

From the depths of my heart, I sincerely and humbly beg your forgiveness, my friend. I hope you are able to come to the day where you are ready to speak to me about this, and perhaps I may earn my friendship again.

Until then, I wait upon your convenience.

Monday, July 11, 2011


This is Lydia again. I know Jennifer will probably post again tomorrow, but for now I wanted to share my exciting (to me) news...

I learned how to crochet tonight!

My mother's been asking to teach me for years, so did my grandmother (who passed in May 2010) but I remember how I clashed with my mother when she taught me cross-stitch. Oh dear, was that horrible! I had no patience (hm, I still really do not have much patience) and we both ended up arguing so terribly that neither of us spoke to the other for hours. Trust me, for us, that's something.

So a friend taught me. You might have read her blog, The Modest Peacock where she posts all sorts of creative tidbits. She's a walking fount of artistic knowledge!!! She has shown me the basics and been very patient with my repeated questions.

I'm using one of my grandmother's crochet needles (if that's what they're called--I have a lot to go in learning all of this!) so I think she would be pleased. Sometimes, working on this, I've heard her voice in the back of my mind encouraging me and instructing. I must be remembering the lessons she taught me long ago, and only now am pulling it out now that I'm doing this.

Even if it's only my imagination, it feels good to be doing something grandma wanted me to do!

Guest blog Day #1

Hi! My name is Jennifer! Lydia is letting me guest blog for this week since I don't have one and I want to write about my stuff at the beach. I suppose I could start my own but then I'd feel pressured to keep writing in it after this week and I don't know if I want to do that yet. If I decide to, then I might copy and paste. Anyways, thank you, Lydia!!

Day one at Destin and we are staying with our wonderful friend Marilynn. She has been overrun with small children (my two year old and my friend, Jenny's, three year old) and has been smiling instead of running away or shutting the door in our face. Bless her heart!

Plans for today? Um.... make it to the beach and don't melt in a puddle from the heat. haha At least I should lose some weight this way! I can see it now: "Wow you look great! How did you lose all those pounds?" I'll smile and say "It's the sweat-loss weight plan. Go to the beach...hide in a sundress since you think you're too wide in a bathing suit, add a few more pieces of clothing, and viola! Ten pounds lighter in three days!"

I wish.

The beach is so rewarding for a writer. The smell of the salty ocean wafting on the breeze has always gotten my better creative juices flowing. Watch out, Kitty! My creative juices are flowing all into your van! Someone go get a towel....

I'm not sure what else to write, lol. Lydia's much better at this blogging thing than I am. For now, I will sign off, but more to come as this week progresses, I'm sure!

Oh! Marilyn has this amazingly beautiful queen of a cat named Charlotte. She's 15 and absolutely gorgeous! When we came in I let her sniff me at her leisure and then once she presented me with her chin I pet where she allowed. Marilyn had been distracted by the children and once she turned to me, her eyes widened with astonishment. I learned, much to my amusement, that Charlotte does not allow ANYONE to pet her without biting or scratching. Marilyn took one look at me pampering her baby and asked the magic question: "You're a cat person, aren't you?" Heehee Little does she know exactly how MUCH I love cats! I am definitely going to get pictures of this amazing diva before we leave! (Right now she's hiding from the children...a wise idea...)

Monday, July 4, 2011

Tragedy Strikes a Turkey

Why is life so exciting? Just for a few months I'd like to be overwhelmed by sheer boredom and complain in my blog that I have absolutely nothing occurring in my life.

Alas, such is not the case.

Yesterday four (yes, FOUR) of my family members were involved in a head-on collision very close to where I live. I could stand on my porch and hear the sirens loud and clear. By the time I had found someone to take my daughter so I could try to help at the scene, the road was blocked by a nice, but very firm policeman. (My brother and I wondered if the policeman could jump in his car fast enough and catch us by the time we arrived at the scene anyway...but we didn't do it.)

My grandfather, his wife, and my aunt and uncle were traveling in their white Scion when an idiot in the other lane decided he wanted to pass everyone. Unfortunately, my family was in the way and there was no where for them to go since that area has no shoulder. Grandpa turned the wheel slightly so that the two vehicles did not slam completely head-on (for that would have instantly killed everyone), but even askew the damage was quite shocking. Scions not being noted for their massive arm and leg room anyway was cramped with four adults. Add another immovable object and you have a recipe for disaster.

The front half of the Scion was ripped away and mangled beyond recognition. The front of the other car (about the size of a Grand Prix) was mixed into what remained. Glass was everywhere...fluids both from the car and the injured people all over the street... the road was shut down on both ends.

The driver of the other car (idiot, moron, ignoramus) was life-flighted to Atlanta Medical Center, but we have no other word on his condition.

My family spend yesterday in the trauma center of Grady's ER. At first everyone thought that the worse injured was Grandma Pam since she has a hemotoma on her head, two broken bones in her arm (one came out of her skin...), hip broken in two places, and various other problems. She had had to have been cut out of the Scion with the jaws of life since the dashboard decided to get rather friendly with her lap and chest.

But, no, the most badly injured has been my uncle, who was sitting behind her. He said it hurt to move so a possible spinal injury was suspected. He spent most of the night in surgery and we were informed this morning that his large intestines were damaged. Pieces had to have been removed and the wound left open to help with bruising and swelling. He has been placed on partial paralysis to help him heal faster, but time will tell with this kind of injury.

My aunt Stacey has a broken breastbone and they have been trying to explore if her lungs were punctured since they discovered a bubble of air in her chest wall. No word on this yet.

My grandfather, the man I have been feuding with for the better part of a decade and had declared I would never speak to again or allow in my life... My grandfather who is more stubborn than any of us combined... My grandfather who refused to come to my wedding based on a technicality (and now I'm starting to see that perhaps I myself should have skipped the wedding)... he lay on the gurney, neck in a brace, banged up, bruised up, cut up, in pain, and repeating over and over "We could have died today and there was nothing I could do about it". It would take a harder heart than I have to ignore this pitiful display and continue to hate the man for being himself.

After nearly twelve years, we finally made our peace. And, wow, the look on his face when he saw me! If the situation had not been so dire, it would have been quite funny.

Now, almost 24 hours later, they are still in ICU, rotating in and out of surgeries, being tended to, needing support and love.

But can I go to the ICU? The last time I was in an ICU waiting room, it was for my grandmother Dora, watching her die over a week. Can I struggle against those memories while being allowed to see my grandparents, uncle and aunt for only a few minutes every few hours? And with a rambunctious two year old?

At least after this incident, I realize that even after all his crap, his irritations, and quirks, I do indeed love my grandfather. I will never have the kind of relationship I wish to have with him--he's just not that kind of person--but I can try to make a relationship with him for the years he has left with us.

My tongue might grow holes in it...

Please pray and keep my family in your thoughts as they heal and are tended to by the doctors. They all still have quite a recovery ahead of them!

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Ink vs Keyboard

I want to write. I want to write so badly it is like a physical ache and a driving hunger. I think of my previously published book and of it's unfinished sequel and I yearn to finish it.

What is holding me back? The fact that I cannot find my college-ruled notebook paper and ballpoint pens.

I have always written better, have had my ideas flow more smoothly, when writing with ink on paper. As the years passed and I found myself more on the keyboard, I have attempted to "quicken" the process by skipping the handwritten portion and placing it on glowing screen.

But my sequel has lain dormant for almost a decade now, whereas the first book took a decade to write, edit, and publish. The difference, I believe, resides in the fact that I physically wrote out my rough draft (and re-draft, and third edited draft, etc), and this sequel I have attempted to merely type.

I do not feel a connection to my written work with it laying in electronic land that I did writing it out by hand. I still eat, sleep, breathe, and talk to my characters from the first one--I cannot seem to even manage a passing hello to the sequel.

More and more I have my thoughts consumed by imaging myself writing out a book by hand again. I dream it, I wake to it, I daydream of it...

Perhaps I should stop fighting the pull and purchase a notebook at the local grocery store. I would buy my favorite ballpoint pens, but alas...they are no longer made. I suppose I could use the newer version, the P-700 over my favored P-500, but that, too, fills me with nostalgia. Why cannot we have what we are comfortable with? Why does everything, even ink pens, have to be "improved"?


Perhaps I am merely getting older and intolerant...

Thursday, June 23, 2011

The Box is Turned Upside Down

In keeping with my blog title, I felt that an upturned box very accurately describes this latest phase of my life. A number of you have been following my recent, few, sporadic posts (bless you!), and a blogger I know in real life has commented to me that it seems as if I have dropped off of the face of the planet. I very nearly feel that way myself...

Life has not been promised sunshine without rain...though I must say if it rains any more on my life then Noah's flood will seem like a trickle! With the outpouring of support and my own ambiguity with not using my real name, I feel able to finally open the dam and let out what has been stirring in my life these past couple of months. The poems tell my emotions better than anything else I could use to write, but the details are sketchy. If you have wondered, then soon you shall wonder no longer.

My husband of nearly six years has an addiction problem to pornography. This is not your regular, "it's a guy thing" kind of problem. No, this reaches much deeper and has slowly destroyed our relationship and our lives. In that I will not quite go into detail as it is ugly and sordid (and this post will be depressing enough). Add to his "issue" the fact that he has a rather nasty temper. Yes, my own temper can be extremely disquieting, but his anger comes with unexpectedness in its ferocity and leaves behind bruises of the physical type.

Sad to say, I am a counselor. I am very used to accessing someone else in peril and directing them to the exit in a sinking ship. Once on my own Titanic, I blindly turned away from the life jackets and the open door, thinking that out of all people, I was the single one who could actually repair the broken ship and sail off to safer waters. The more I struggled against it, the more I became the stereotypical abused wife: making excuses, claiming he didn't really hurt me, and that I could "handle" it.

The reasons why I did this are not important, for I would hate for you to become distracted with disagreeing with me religiously and miss the import of the events.

Back to the issue at hand...

My husband--whom I will not name truly, though let us call him Jay--has indulged his desire for masturbation in the same room with our sleeping daughter twice before. I told him if he did so again I would leave, divorce him, and take our daughter away from him. Pleasuring himself aside, this (to me) was a no-brainer for a parent; it is simply not done. Ignoring my needs and myself is one thing, but to expose our innocent child to something that should not be done at all, or at the very least done in private and alone? This I would not have!

At the time, he cried and agreed, even adding that he would "help me pack" and not "contest the divorce" as long as I let him visit with her when he wished (always supervised, of course). Like a fool, I believed one more of his lies.

A month ago I caught him, for the third time, repeating his unforgivable act in the room where our slumbering two year old lay. If she had woken at any time, she would have seen more than any child should ever see.

I made plans immediately and left, taking my daughter with me. Living with my parents again, but this time my father has been more supportive than he ever has before, more open with me, my father used to be. I have friends here that have surrounded me during my inward struggles. For struggle it is. I love Jay, as stupid as that is, but now I am beginning to hate him. I warned him this might happen if he continued in his behavior, and like everything else he did not believe me. His actions might have been more bearable for me if he did not lie to me constantly on top of it. I do not know anymore if anything he says is the truth, for everything he has done up to this point has simply been another lie.

Where is the man who courted me and won my heart? I do not know. That man is gone, replaced by some monster who is now telling me if I move beyond seperation to divorce that he will fight me. He said he would use my health against me to try to win our daughter because "I'm an excellent father".

Excellent father? I about ran my car off the road in disbelief. What man could claim to be a good father who would expose his child in such a way? Who could say that he kept her best interests at heart while he took no thought to the consequences for doing such an act in the room where she lay sleeping?

My sadness as this pitiful situation unfolds has turned to anger and bitterness--and resolve. I would not willingly expose his deeds to strangers, but if he attempts to smear my name to win our child from me, I will fight back with all the behaviors, all the marks he left on me, the times I have had to take her from him when his anger began to spiral out of control, the nights he has tossed her on her bed in a temper when she (just a newborn) was not quieting down fast enough for him. I will paint the picture with every color. If he wants a fight, then I will fight until my last breath to keep her safe and away from him.

And then I truly will hate him until the day that I die.

Now, at this time, he has a chance still to reconcile, to win me back, to restore our family. But if he chooses to do this, to make this already difficult decision to divorce him into a nasty and horrible ordeal, then I will never walk into his arms again.

And I will cry. Oh, yes, I will cry. For I will always, somewhere in my heart, love him and yearn for him. Yearn for the days we snuggled on the couch while watching movies. Yearn for the times we spent sharing and expressing our love as only a husband and wife can do. Yearn for the insane little songs he makes up to brighten my day. Yearn for the feel of his arms around me when I am upset or frightened. And yearn for the fact that my daughter does not have her father in her life as she should...

So you see, my life has gone from upsetting to crazy to simply insane, and there are no clear answers to be given, no definite solutions to be found. All I can do is try to love and keep my daughter safe.

And if it should come to it, to fight for her with every fiber of my being.

So if I seem a little distant, or angry, or sad, or is merely due to my life being tipped backwards onto its head, for now my life is truly "upside down"...

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Feeling Hopeless

So much has happened in my personal life that it would be beyond depressing to write about it, though, having said that, the poet in me usually comes out strongest when I cannot find the words to say. And this poem was born...

Lord I’m broken in two!
Prostrate on the ground I fall
If I humble myself before You
Would You hear me when I call?

Shattered, alone, and confused
Dying a little more each day
If I feel as if I have been used
Would You answer when I pray?

Having drifted apart from You
I don’t expect a response at all
But having no other hope to see through
Would You catch me when I fall?

My life is in pieces and scattered
My faith a dim light at the best
Yet I yearn that to Someone I’ve mattered
Please, Lord, hold me and grant my request!

Monday, May 23, 2011

Broken and Scattered

My heart is in a million pieces on the ground
If I just bend I can pick them up again
Each piece glints with memories
Some with sharp edges and others soft
If I just bend...

But I have bent so many times before!
I am weary and battle-scarred
Apprehensive and bitter now
I glare at the pieces on the ground
I am weary...

The person responsible should not be
I am filled with anger and hurt
There is no clear way to turn in the mire
There is no easy solution to take
I am filled with anger...

These pieces on the ground are lost hopes and dreams
A pox on he who causes me to weep so!
Do I even feel as if I want to pick up the pieces anymore?
Would I be better protected if I left them?
A pox on he!

Which direction do I go now?
It is not just myself who must be protected
My heart has been broken before, but hers?
How can I keep her safe and guard myself?
It is not just myself...

I am so weary from this constant battle!
What do I do with the pieces of my heart?
Everything in me tells me to leave~
But now I have no where to go...
What do I do?

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Thoughts as I Attempt to Move Through the Grieving Process

The question uppermost in my mind this week is: why? Why did Grandma choose to leave us? Why did she not want to spend more time with us?

She could have taken medication to help with her blockages. She could have changed her diet and prolonged her life. She was told what she needed to do and she was given instructions on how to stay with her family longer.

She chose not to do so.


Was it because she had been a widow for sixteen years? Was it because she had moved to the mountains and had hardly anyone for company? Was it because most of her friends had died and gone on to their Reward?

Why did she not want to watch her great-grandchildren grow? Why did she not wish to stay around for her grandchildren to spend more time with her? Why did she not want to continue to provide guidance for her surviving children?

Why did she not talk to me?

We had been close--she talked to me about a lot of things over the years. We shared, we laughed, we cried, we grew to be friends. Why did she not talk to me about her plans? Was I so focused on myself and my family that she thought I would not hear? I had moved to another state, but I always had time for her. Did I not tell her so?

At least I know I told her I loved her. At least I got to speak to her privately before she finally passed on. I just wish I had the satisfaction of knowing she went to her Reward...She had been unfaithful for a long time, though had just determined to make a better effort at returning to God. Does that count for God if she had decided that the day before she suffered her heart attack, or was it too late?

I suppose that part gnaws at me the most....not knowing if she is suffering still, or finally at peace.

And above it all I cannot help but wonder "why?"...

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

The 10th of May

Today is a hard day. Today is the day that I lost my grandmother. Oh, she did not die completely on this day--her body hovered for another four days before it finally figured out she was gone. Not only do I have this anniversary to mourn, but I have to do so without the comfort of a cat.

Why is this a big deal, you may ask?

All of my life I have had a fuzzy comforter to bury my face in the fur and sob. Better than any Kleenex as a tissue is discarded and a cat purs, licks your face, and loves you in return. In order to move in with my husband's family, I had to give my cat, Ginger, away to a loving home. I see pictures of her (thank goodness for Facebook friends!) but I miss her as well.

My entire last year feels as if it is one of nothing but loss. I lost two grandparents and my cat. I lost my job and my independence. I lost my ability to provide for my family and I lost my self-esteem. (Like I had much to begin with...)

So depressing as this is, these are the thoughts consuming me. I will hug one of my daughter's stuffed kitties, sniffle into Kleenex, and mourn like most of the world.

You never realize your own strength until you have to learn how to mourn without the comfort of a cat...

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Avoidance should be a 4 letter word

Yes, to the world it is Mother's Day. The wonderful day that we take to celebrate our mothers and all the good things that they have done for us. Usually, I am right in the middle of it and enjoying the special attention lavished upon me by my husband and little girl.

This year, though, I am pretending it does not exist.

How is that working for me? Hm, well, mostly okay as long as I avoid reading people's news feeds where they happily wish each other Happy Mother's Day. And I can blindly ignore the comments directed my way pretty easily when they are done electronically and not in person.

For if I chose to acknowledge this day, I must also allow that on this day, one year ago, was when my precious Grandmother suffered her heart attack. It was during the long hours of this night that the surgeons toiled over her to try to save her life, even with four blockages. It was during this fight that she was lost for over thirty minutes and obtained brain damage, though no one knew of it yet. And it was this day that began the longest week of my life in sitting and waiting for word of improvement in the CCU waiting room.

So I choose to ignore this day, for this year, and avoid those thoughts. It brings me little comfort and I am not nearly as successful as I would like to be in pretending all is well. I sleep nearly constantly, do not talk to anyone, and have sequestered myself away from others.

This day is a hard day. This week will be a hard week. There will be much weeping and remembrances.

I know Grandma would not want me this way, but I feel as if I can cope with it no other way.

So have a happy Mother's Day to those of you who celebrate this day, but please understand when I do not return the greeting. Next year, I will go back to acknowledging this day, but for this year, for me, it does not exist.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

I've Been Tagged!

Wow...never been tagged in a blogtag before... Let's see if I can do this right...

Oh, first of all, Jenny at
The Modest Peacock got me into this madness, so I have to place blame...I mean, credit...where credit is due, heehee.

If you could go back in time and relive one moment, what would it be?

My wedding day. I was so nervous that it's mostly a blur. I'd love to go back so I could pay attention and actually relax!

If you could go back in time and change one thing, what would it be?
Being tripped by a bratty child when I was a waitress (age 16). Due to that fateful moment, I have had myofaciitis in my back and pelvis, leading to a lot of days in pain.

What movie/TV character do you most resemble in personality?
Belle from Disney's The Beauty and the Beast. She reads constantly (as do I), and she feels as if she does not quite fit into the world around her. I feel this way as well. She's a dreamer and yearns for something more to her life. This parallels me exactly!

If you could push one person off a cliff and get away with it, who would it be?
Hm that's kind of a mean question, but I believe it to be a coward's way out to simply say "I wouldn't do that" since we all have those days where there is definitely someone we would want to push off a cliff. We'd regret it later, but yes, we'd be tempted. For a day like that, it usually involves my father. There are many reasons, and none of them I feel like explaining right now-yet for those of you who know me truly (and my parents), I think you would agree!

Name one habit you want to change in yourself.
My wonderful ability to doubt myself. I hardly ever see the good in myself and constantly doubt my abilities.

Describe yourself in one word.

Describe the person who named you in this meme in one word.

Why do you blog? Answer in one sentence.
I like to share my thoughts and opinions with others, and to learn their thoughts and opinions in return.

Name at least 3 people to send this meme to, and then inform them:
Shannon at
The Warrior Muse
Deirdra at A Storybook World
Misha at My First Book

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Staying Up is Not for the Old at Heart

As it stands, it is 6 am (central time) and I have been up nearly twenty-four hours. Perhaps not surprisingly, I am not really very tired either.

Stupid insomnia...

Why the venture into watching the sky darken and then lighten again with the rising of a new day? No, not for obvious reasons--or, rather, not just for those reasons. Added to the difficulty that I cannot seem to sleep without medicinal help (see my blog post in April about Insomnia), I had the added bonus of the fact that my husband wishes to visit the local unemployment office as soon as they open (8 am for those who do not know) so he can "beat the crowd".

...Sad that in our affluent society we have a "crowd" at the unemployment office...

But I digress...

Anyway, in order to make sure that I did not miscalculate with the medication (which requires eight hours of sleep before it releases you) and so I can watch our daughter while he does his errand, it required that I not attempt to sleep at all. What a disaster it would be if I had fallen asleep and could not awaken to allow him to leave as he had planned! (I say disaster as we have extremely recently had a...disagreement...about what insomnia is and his lack of understanding about how it affects someone--I would not want to invite the argument that would ensue!) Much simpler, therefore, to just stay awake.

His parents do not understand. His mother thinks I am awake simply because I could not "get away from" the computer (oh the look I received when she came down the stairs and saw me awake!). His father is more guarded in his expressions, and is usually infinitely more kind toward me, so I cannot venture for a certainty on what he is thinking.

Which leads into my other prevalent thought: I am getting very frustrated with our living situation. I have been invited to a second job interview on Thursday for someplace that I very much would like to be employed, doing a job that I would very much like to do.

May God grant me the ability to secure this job so we may soon move into our own home once again!!!!


Wait. Wow, did I veer off at the last moment! See? This proves what I was originally going to make a statement about: I had no problems staying up with no consequences when I was eight years younger. Now that I am approaching thirty I am finding that my mind becomes jelly the longer I am awake, instead of sharper. A strong cafe mocha loaded with sugar and plenty of caffeine, and I was ready to face a full day of college classes. Today I will be thankful if I am able to string a coherent sentence together!

Oh for the days of being younger!

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Reflections on the A to Z Challenge

Yes, I am a few days late, but here are my few reflections on the blogging challenge I just finished.

I never knew I could do it! I am a procrastinator at heart. At least when it comes to writing. If there is not a deadline I can write all day long. Give me a deadline and my brain halts. So finishing each day, each letter, is quite something for me!

It would not be right not to thank those who have read, visited and commented. I know I have a few lurkers who never commented (you know who you are!), or who contacted me on Facebook to talk about my latest blog. And those of you who actually took the time to comment and offer public encouragement, your words mean so much to me! There were some days where I took a leap of faith in posting sensitive matters of my heart, and you embraced me wholly. I thank all of you!

Since I had only had my blog open for a few days before the challenge started, I did not have much of a following. I think, actually, I was at a grand total of 2--and both of those women I know personally. Through this challenge I have gained 22 followers! My ticker also shows nearly 900 views! Wow! This is amazing to me! So many like to read what I write, controversial or not. It is a huge shot in the arm!!

I am going to add the "I survived" button with great pride!

And if you are bored, wondering what to do or what to read, there is a bloghop for you to check out at the end of the post. Yet right now I want to speak to a few in particular:

The Modest Peacock. "You are the reason I'm in the mess..." I believe were the words I gave to you a week into this challenge. I have not yet had a chance to amend them and thank you for helping me to expand myself beyond my meager world. Thank you so much for your support and guidance during April, and my entire life!

Arlee at
Tossing It Out for hosting this grand mess! I have helped be a judge for fanfiction awards and that is crazy enough...I can't imagine how you juggled your personal life and then supporting those of us who decided to follow you into madness. Thank you for bringing us into your world!

And of course, Shannon from
The Warrior Muse. You bestowed upon me my first blogging award, which completely took me by surprise as I did not know those existed. I have enjoyed lurking on your blog with the few comments I have posted. Please know that even if I did not post, I certainly saw! I love to see what you will post next, and I look forward to lurking on your blog some more!!

MybabyJohn, I do not know your name but I have valued your comments each post. Thank you for your insights and offerings. I hope you continue to follow me as I blog. I do not plan to blog every day, but at LEAST once a week! (And then, in addition, whenever the mood strikes.)

There are so many more that I would like to give my thanks to, but I fear this blog would be extremely long as a result! Even if you were not singled out, if you have posted comments please know that I value your time and efforts!

Thank you for joining me on this ride. Perhaps there will be another challenge soon and I will attempt to pick up that gauntlet as well!

Monday, May 2, 2011

The End of an Era?

I see splashed all over the news the word that Osama bin Laden has been killed by U.S. forces. No photos have been released and the body was speedily dumped (oh I'm sorry "gently eased") into the sea.

I wonder, though, if it is a political hoax?

I know I am too young to be so skeptical, but when it comes to politicians trying to be re-elected in our times there is no actual limit to what they would not do. Our current President has messed up his reputation with his voters to the point where he knew it would take nothing short of a miracle to be re-elected. Now that he will be credited as the President in the White House when bin Laden was finally killed, this is the shot in the arm that he needed.

Hm, I bet former President George W. Bush is wishing this would have happened during his administration...

This is not to take political sides. This is merely to wonder if bin Laden is truly dead. It may be morbid, but I would like to see pictures and television specials about how they identified his body. (We have television specials about everything else, why not this?)

What are your thoughts? Do you believe bin Laden is truly dead, or do you share my skepticism about this possibly being a ploy?

Saturday, April 30, 2011

Zippidy Doo Dah!!

We made it! 'Tis the last day of the A to Z Challenge and we have crossed the finish line, hands held high, fists in the air, broad smile for all to see. The gauntlet was tossed and we proudly picked it up. We have completed something that may seem small, but is something to be proud of.

It is accomplishment.

It is fulfillment of a promise.

Click your heels together, sing on the rooftops, dance in the streets! It is now time to celebrate and heave a sigh of relief that after thirty days we have finished what we have started.

Pin a blue ribbon to your chest, put on your best outfit, and go celebrate!

Friday, April 29, 2011

Y is for Yawn

For those who do not keep up with time stamps on postings or on my Facebook, it may shock you to discover that I have clinical insomnia. Yes, I am afraid 'tis true. I stay wide awake unless I force myself to sleep...and that is not an easy thing to do. Ambien is my friend, and sometimes that does not even help.

I have tried warm milk...and promptly vomited.

Then I tried to cut out all caffeinated drinks completely. After the withdrawal wore off, I noticed that my sleep problems did not.

I tried the over-the-counter approach. I have to take so many of them at one time to get them to force me to become sleepy that I began to fear I would overdose in the quest for sleep.

If left alone, my body would go for three or four days without sleep. Then, finally then, I would fall asleep and sleep all day.

This, as you can see, is a problem.

I lay my head down and my mind simply races into all sorts of places. While this may be good for my writing muse, it is unproductive for the purpose of sleeping. I toss, I turn, my back hurts and aches. Every sound distracts.

Annoying, really...

So unless I force my mind to shut down, I do not sleep. My husband, not suffering from insomnia ever in his life, does not understand why I cannot simply just "lay down".

Oh, if it were only that simple!

Thursday, April 28, 2011

X is for ...Well, I think I'm stretching this one...

Cross-stitch!! Also known as X-stitch, so I know for sure I am stretching this blog to fit my purposes, but it works!

I have always said that cross-stitch is an adult version of color-by-number. You have a color coded pattern to follow in order to create something beautiful. But like anything, you can cheat.

Embellished cross-stitch patterns have the background stamped onto it and all you have to worry about is finishing the details. In my opinion, humble as it is, this is cheating. Whenever I see embellished cross-stitch patterns I just want to take a strong flame to them! They are easier, less work to do, and cheating.

I much prefer the counted cross-stitch patterns. A blank canvas that calls to be given life with strings of color. Yes, it is much harder and if you miscount...well, just don't. Hm, if you do, then the cross-stitch definitely becomes an individual work of art. Which, if you think about it, each one is a work of art: hairs get caught in the thread, dirt rubs off of hands and slightly distorts the coloration of the string, and even some food and drink becomes spilled onto the material. Thank goodness it can be washed!

I have discovered that I am truly gifted at cross-stitch. Not only can I follow patterns to have elaborate works of art, but I can create my own! I can cross-stitch without a pattern (free-lance, if you will). Once I have finished, I frame them and either sell them or give them away as gifts.

In all my time of doing these projects I have learned a few things that I would like to share with others either starting out or merely interested:

~Wash the threads BEFORE you use them in your cross-stitch! The instructions say to do this and it is for a reason! I made the mistake of not doing this for a Civil War cross-stitch, and when I washed it after it was completed to get the dirt out the colors ran! That was several years ago and I am still embarrassed! My buyer still purchased the completed, framed work, but it took many painstaking hours of carefully taking gentle stain cleaners to reduce the damage. It is hard to see the mistake now unless you know exactly where to look--but I know!

~When washing the thread or the completed work, Woolite is your friend! Use cold water, a little Woolite, and hand a sink...with your own hands. The string will fray any other way, and the completed work might be damaged beyond repair if you are not gentle with it.

~Dry threads and completed cross-stitch by gently rolling it into individual towels. Rolling it keeps it from creasing and the towels not only absorb the water, but if the threads are determined to run their color, it will keep it from getting on the other threads.

~Be flexible! If you miscount, which will happen at one point, be able to flex with it and fix it on your own. If it does not completely, 100% match the structured pattern, who cares? Most of the time others cannot tell if you strayed, and the slight difference makes it uniquely your own.

If I can figure out how to do so, I will include some samples of what I have done with brief descriptions. The main thing to remember? Have fun!

This is the one I am working on now. I am nearly done. I still have to finish the grass and all the detailing. Then I will start on my work of art: a huge cross-stitch that depicts ladies from the Civil War in their hoop skirts! (Very excited to start that one!)

I did this one for my best friend when she got married. This was the first cross-stitch I ever completed that it had alternate patterns included so you could make it even more suited for who you were doing it for!

Here is the Civil War cross-stitch I did, called 'Gettysburg'. I do not have any actual pictures of the completed one since it ran the colors:

This is what I did for my daughter when she was born. It was great fun to work on this as she grew inside me, knowing that I was creating something for her to keep!

I have many more projects completed and many more I have waiting to do. I love to cross-stitch!

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

W is for WoW

WoW is not an exclamation, but an acronym for World of Warcraft. Yes, I am hopelessly entangled in that world and have been for several years.

Where else can you have complete control and get to kill things without worrying about being arrested for it later? Actually, you are told by the local law enforcement to "take care of it" so you have permission to kill things. You get rewarded for it! Gold! New armor! Food!

Dying is a pain, but there is always resurrection!

I proudly state that I have a level 85 human mage (for those who are not aware, level 85 is the highest you can get ...before the next expansion is released, that is). She cooks, fishes, knows first aid, can tailor and knows enchanting to enhance armor.

Hm, she's more accomplished than I am!

No matter how much she eats, she stays a size 8. Her clothes always fit, and enhance her abilities. She doesn't say much but she's deadly and she has a reputation with many of the lands of Azeroth.

It is a land of fantasy that I can actively participate with more freedom than a Choose-Your-Own-Adventure novel. I have met several helpful people, none of whom I have actually met. The ones who became friends are actually allowed on my Facebook! They live in California, Utah, Europe...we might never meet face to face, but we are truly friends and care for each other.

The only thing that I wish I could change is that it costs each month to enter this land of play and achievements. Yet, when I cannot afford to go to Azeroth, that is what a good book is for!

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

V is for Self Promotion!

I have resisted the urge to speak of my published work and now V blog offers the perfect opportunity! Why is this so? for vampires.

A summary of my work and then a blurb to hopefully leave you wanting more, or perhaps to purchase it? Oh, I can only hope!

Samantha is mysterious, beautiful, and a vampire. Chris Stanton is not sure what she wants with him, a mere human, but is shocked to discover that she wishes to train him in how to kill others of her kind. Yet before those lessons begin, he must understand how a vampire is created, and for that Samantha tells him her story.

Turned against her will, college student Samantha Edwards is thrust into a life of violence and blood. As she begins to learn of her new powers, she also uncovers information on how to keep a shred of her humanity. Balancing the two worlds is difficult in the extreme. While she plays the part of dutiful lover to the Master Vampire, she stalks the day to kill the others in the cadre. It's a dangerous part to play, for if the Master Vampire suspects her, her own life will be forfeit.

But for a vampire who is undead, what other risks could she take?

Can Samantha retain her humanity while flirting dangerously with desires she cannot fully control?

Excerpt from Chapter 2 of Vampire's Apprentice:

Evening seemed to settle a little earlier than usual to Chris as he swiftly strolled to his house. It was located in the center of a city block surrounded by identical squat homes with tired shutters and fading paint. His eyes flicked constantly to every angle in order to catch any hint of movement near him. The hair on the back of his neck prickled and he could not decide if it was because of his nerves or if someone—something—was behind him, following his every move.

“I will guard you, as I said I would.”

Samantha’s words rang in his mind as the last rays of the sun dipped into the earth, leaving Chris alone on a street filled with menacing shadows in the glare from the streetlights that were sporadically positioned about the street. When he reached the alleyway that he normally walked down to his house as a shortcut, he hesitated. The alley was a mass of gathered darkness. Anything could be lurking there, waiting for him.

Oh, come on, he scolded himself sternly, trying to reassure himself. The light just faded. There can’t possibly be a vampire there yet; it’s too early. If you hurry and go now, you can get to your warm, cozy bed without any problems. He finally convinced himself that there could be no danger and shifted his weight to step into the alley.

A deathly cold, immensely strong hand shot out, latched onto his left arm, and yanked him backwards. A dark shape slammed him against the brick wall of a store and he found himself staring into Samantha’s cool, pale blue eyes.

“What?” He gasped, trying to recapture some of the air that had been forced out of his lungs by the hard impact of his body against brick.

“Silence.” Samantha’s answer was clipped and harsh, her eyes distant, her head cocked to the side as if listening. Gradually, Chris quivering in unknown fear, she let go of him to stand slightly ahead of him. Very slowly and almost inaudibly, she cautioned, “Do not continue toward your house, Mr. Stanton. They do not know that this is where you dwell, yet I can hear them waiting to catch sight of you. We will silently back away and retreat to my home instead. I need to give you something of importance. Come quickly.”

Briefly, he wondered how he would be able to follow her if she, in the gloom of early night, became a shadow again. He knew that she was aware of his limitations of sight. His mind was further put at ease when, encountering their first obstacle of darkness, she guided him through the deepest pockets of shadows lying against walls, crates, and anything else large enough to hide two people behind.

On this second journey to Samantha’s house, conscious and alert, Chris noted the winding path that Samantha took through the mostly deserted streets. They glided through cramped alleyways between rows of more low-income houses with almost every window in the houses dark as exhausted workers dropped into an innocent, deep sleep to forget the mindless tedium of their existence. Then they traveled three streets north of his residence and two west. Samantha directed him into an alley and pointed to a large, dark green dumpster at the mouth of the alley.

“Stay here, still and quiet,” she growled softly to him.

“You’re…” Chris heard his whispered voice squeak and tried again. “You’re leaving me here?”

Before she turned her back on him to gaze out of the alley, he saw in the nearest streetlamp’s glow an expression of amusement flit briefly across her face. “You will be fine. I will only be gone a moment. Keep a low profile, Mr. Stanton.”

He shook his head as Samantha smoothly began walking toward a house lit by only a single streetlight.

Oh, yeah, he thought sarcastically as he slinked closer to the dumpster, trying to ignore the smell of rotting food. As if a big, still mass of warm blood isn’t going to attract your precious little bloodsuckers right over here.
With a sigh he realized he ought to be watching the street, so he turned his head to determine where Samantha had gone. By the light of the lone streetlamp, he saw what he surmised to be her house by the neglected appearance of the outside structure. The shutters were hanging on to the side of the windows by sheer will alone. The paneling was rotted and sagging while the bricks of the chimney were crumbling, leaving gaping holes in the unsteady structure. The house’s exterior lacked all of the dignity of its interior with Samantha’s old furniture and graceful touches that gave the inside of the house its character. He frowned as he looked at the startling contrast of the house with his memory of the inside. Was the dilapidated appearance to keep others away and not know the secrets within, perhaps? He was sure of one thing: if he saw this house under any other circumstances, he would definitely not even walk on the same side of the street just in case it decided to collapse on him while he was hurrying by.

His eyes caught a faint movement near the bushes that overran the side of the house and soon he could make out Samantha’s form as she crossed the street and charged straight at him. He stayed crouched down low as she swiftly entered the alley and dropped something into his lap, hissing in pain. She leaned heavily against the dumpster, shifting it slightly, and croaked out, “Put it on.”

He could tell that he was taking longer than she would like, but the chill air and darkness was causing him to fumble with what she had dropped into his lap. She peered up and down the street and growled, “Now. I did not hurt myself just to amuse you.”

Finally, his fingers found the clasp on the necklace that she had given to him, and he fastened it behind his neck. “Care to tell me what this is all about?” he asked her as he stood to flex his sore muscles from squatting so long.

Not looking at him as she continued to watch the dark street, she explained, “It is silver. It will protect your neck from them. It does not have such a strong reaction on me, though it still burns if I hold it too long. Keep it. I received it too late to help me. I will not make that mistake with you.”

Chris found that he had no reply, or at least none that would not reinforce his ignorance of her history. He sighed quietly, feeling the cold of the silver around his neck. Abruptly he realized that just because his neck was protected did not mean that he was entirely safe from the other vampires.

“Why does she wait?” she changed topics.

It was the first time that Chris had heard Samantha use a singular pronoun when talking about their pursuers and it caught him off-guard. “She?”

Samantha glanced at him quickly, and then returned her observant gaze to the street. “The fledgling who challenged me, my prize. The one I thought I could convince to help me is the ‘she’ I speak of. Her name is Chloe. Learn it well, for she wants you dead at all costs.”

Her news disturbed him and yet, oddly, it caused him to grow calm. This was a dangerous time for both him and Samantha; he knew that without doubt. If events unfolded to become the worse-case scenario, it would be two against—how many? He crept up to the edge of the alley and glanced down the side of the street that Samantha was not currently looking. “So,” he tried to ask nonchalantly. “When is this Chloe going to make her move? Is she going to wait all night? I’d like to get some sleep. I’d also like it if I could be ready to fight, since I’m going to be your target from now on.”

Samantha sighed, exasperation welling up in her. “You do not need to do anything. You need to act innocent, if you know how.”

He stopped looking up and down the street to study her. “Do you have a plan that you haven’t told me?”

She never once took her searching gaze off of the street. “The longer they think that you are not with me, the more likely it is that you will be spared.”

Chris swallowed and tried to ignore a slightly odd feeling that was crawling its way up his spine to the back of his neck. “And…what will you do when they come for me?”

This time she did turn to face him and her eyes flashed with a dangerous gleam that suddenly frightened him beyond words, making him remember who and what she was. “Leave that to me.”

After a moment, her eyes softened. “Now I suggest that you walk as casually as you can and perhaps you will reach the other side of the street alive. They are there, waiting. I cannot feel their exact locations…but I know that they are there.”

He could not see anything in the deep pools of darkness where the streetlights did not reach. “How did you know, back at my house, that there was anyone there if you can’t sense them? Were you expecting some sort of ambush tonight?”

“Yes,” she informed him, slinking back into the shadows as she thought she saw an almost imperceptible movement near one of the buildings. “When you left your work building tonight I could feel that something was not right. I saw shadows detach from the walls and follow you, so I came as well.”

Chris studied her for a moment, trying to see past her unbreakable shell of this impassive facade to the one who had decided to ensure his safety at all costs. For some odd reason, he smiled. “Thanks for the warning.”

Frowning at his smile and not understanding what lay behind its meaning, Samantha did not return it. “You are only fortunate that I got to you before they did. You will have to be brave for what I am going to ask you to do, tonight and all the nights after.”

Flippantly, he responded, “I doubt that I have had a choice but to act with courage since I met you, what with vampires and death and all that.”

A reluctant smile appeared fleetingly on her face before she resumed watching out of their hiding place. “True, Mr. Stanton. But this may cost your life.”

Chris peeked out at the street again and said casually, “Well, you could refer to me by my first name or my nickname if you want so much from me. I don’t want someone calling me ‘Mr. Stanton’ as I die. It’s kindof impersonal, you know.”

“Should you live through this, I will call you whatever you wish,” she shot back.

“Well,” he mused, stretching out his arms and legs. “As long as you’re not asking me to submit myself to being tortured or killed, I’ll do it. I have little choice anyway. There’s no way I can return now to my normal life, knowing things as they are now. Nothing I can do now but trust you.” Trusting her did not seem to be a bad choice on his part, since she was the only one who was keeping him from the other vampires at the moment.

“True,” he heard Samantha say softly. “You have no choice. You will only be killed or captured if caught, which I will do my best to prevent. And I must trust you, Mr. Stanton, do not forget that. It is the way of things.”

“Is it just me,” Chris abruptly changed the subject, suddenly anxious to have this done with, “or do all vampires have difficulty getting to the point?” He smiled wryly.

Samantha brought her head around, trying to decide if he was insulting her or being funny, and decided it was humor at his smile. “If you were as old as I am, you would have all the time you need to ‘get to the point’. Now, we must act, before they do.”

“Samantha,” he grabbed her arm fiercely. “Is your own life in danger?”

Softly, she told him, “My life was forfeit long ago.”


Interested? I surely hope so!! If you want more, you can go to and search for Vampire's Apprentice. You will see my true name, but I think that you will enjoy the book!

And....I'm working on a sequel!

Sunday, April 24, 2011


I have recently come to understand a few things about myself and my family:

That love comes with heartache, but can be regained once lost.

Parental love should be continual, unquestioned in sincerity, and not requiring a grandchild as a price of admission for acceptance.

That my Grandmother was the wisest, sweetest woman I ever knew.

May 14th will be the hardest day of this year to overcome with grief and sorrow as my Grandmother's one year passing is finalized.

That a person's sense of self-worth is most often fashioned from how others perceive them and value them.

My daughter is already an accomplished actress at the age of two.

And that the rocky gravel one has traveled upon to reach this point in life helps pave the way for someone else to understand their own path.

Most of these understandings have come at great personal cost. I hope to the depths of my heart that no one else know some of what I have experienced. No one should have to know that their parents value their progeny more than themselves, or that they feel worthless based solely upon everyone else's opinion of them.

I reach out through the medium of the internet to seek an understanding soul--and not to be discouraged. I take great personal risk to reveal even what little I have said.

Please do not think little of me in my darker hours.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

T is for Triggered

For those of us cursed with mental illnesses, it can be sometimes difficult to explain the inner workings of our minds to others. Even more so when you have a disorder that renders you unable to talk or communicate in any way once you are triggered. A trigger could be anything: a sight, a smell, a touch, a memory, etc. For those with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and/or dissociative identity disorder (DID) a trigger causes more trauma and pain by rendering yourself helpless to stop what your mind subjects you to. Brief science here: in your brain, you have what is called the lymbic system. I do not claim to be an expert on this, but I have learned more about this "storage area" of the brain that I ever wanted to once I was diagnosed PTSD with DID.

Think of your brain as a filing cabinet. Something happens and the memory goes to be filed away in the cabinet. On a normal day, this is done quickly and with no problems. But if something that the mind perceives as traumatic occurred, the file becomes fractured and gets filed away wrongly. It doesn't even get filed together....some parts go here, some parts go there, and others over here. The brain does this to try to protect you from something it thinks you cannot handle at that moment. If the memory file is in slices and filed in different places, then it is harder to become triggered to the memory that caused the pain.

Yet the body adapts. As humans we have amazing regenerative powers, and none more astonishing than in our own brain. As we grow older, more mature, add more experiences to our lives--the likelihood of becoming triggered in some way increases. And happens. Something you saw brought a flashback to your mind. You are helpless as the flashback takes control and can do nothing until it is finished. Then you regain yourself once more.

In time, these disturbances become more frequent and more intrusive. It gradually gets to the point where you feel yourself sliding away into your own mind. You can hear what is being said to you, you can see most of what is around you, and yet you cannot respond. You no longer have control over yourself. No one else does either (which is why DID is not always a multiple personality disorder--with personality disorders those unfortunates DO have Someone Else take over...but that's a whole different discussion). Time passes, but you do not know how much. You can lose hours at a time, stuck inside your mind. You shout inside your head, but no one can hear you since you have no control over your mouth. You are fighting, fighting for control again. And again, you will have it. In time.

I write things such as this better in prose form. Here is my attempt to explain it from my own point of view:


Whirlpool pulling me under
Hand outstretched reaching for salvation
Going down
Into oblivion
A place I know well
A hell of my own making
Scenes play around me
Aware of what is surrounding me
Screaming but my mouth does not move
Pleading for rescue
Demanding to be released
Imprisoned by my own mind
Beating on the walls around me
Invisible yet unbreakable
Code phrase pulls me up
Out of the gloom
Different each time
Shaking stops
Twitching stops
Sound returns
Heart returns to normal beating
Breathing evens and calms
I open my Eyes
In Control once more

Friday, April 22, 2011

S is for Awareness

April is Sjogren's Syndrome Awareness month, so how could I not blog about it on 'S' day?

What is Sjogren's Syndrome? Sjogren's (show-grins) is an auto-immune disease that is chronic and has the person's white blood cells attacking their own moisture producing glands. Most people experiencing this have dry eyes and dry mouth, though there are several other symptoms.

I was diagnosed with Sjogren's when I became pregnant with my daughter (now two years old). Suddenly, the world made sense to me as the doctor explained this disease to me. I am always thirsty, my mouth is always so dry that I have to constantly drink something, my eyes dry out even with the super-hydrated contacts. No matter what I do, no matter how much I drink, I am always dry and wanting more.

I have what is called Primary Sjogren's--meaning it does not occur (yet) with any other disease, such as Lupus. There is no cure, although there is a medication that can help alleviate some of the symptoms. This medication is over a hundred dollars a month--not feasible for someone unemployed or on a fixed income. Secondary Sjogren's comes along with another autoimmune disease (mostly Lupus or rheumatoid arthritis).


Muscle pain.

Back pain.

Difficulty concentrating.

Dry skin.

Numbness in fingers and toes.

Difficulty swallowing.

Recurrent nose bleeds.

These are just a few of the problems someone with Sjogren's suffers from. Not necessarily all at the same time, thank goodness.

What do I suffer from the most? Severe dry mouth which shut down my glands to the point where I did not produce saliva. Why is that such a problem? Saliva helps to wash germs from the mouth, decreasing gingivitis. Without this ability to produce saliva the gingivitis reigned supreme and eventually rotted all of my teeth. Two or three at a time, starting at the left side of my mouth and traveling to the right, would expose nerves and abscess. Then they had to be removed.

At the age of 27 every tooth in my mouth had been removed. I have bottom dentures, but am waiting to afford the top dentures. I am finally without the tooth pain, finally able to eat (soft) sweets and some candy again, where I had not been able to eat candy or chocolate for nearly ten years. I still have dry mouth and have to take frequent drinks. I have a spray that produces saliva in my mouth for me for those times I can't drink anything (like during church or preparing for surgery), and I have a mouthwash that does the same while making me minty fresh.

I have to use special eye drops to moisten my eyes on a regular basis. I was told I need surgery to plug the tear ducts in my eyes so that my eyes will keep more moisture. I have not yet had the money to do this.

I have chronic back pain that I was told by one doctor required surgery. I went to a specialist for a second (and better) opinion, and he informed me that surgery would not fix my problem since the pain stems from my Sjogren's. I am currently undergoing physical therapy for my back--if it works, I will have to do physical therapy the rest of my life.

My Sjogren's needs to be frequently monitored to ensure it does not also develop into Lupus or cause liver problems. This requires blood work every six months (which I do not have the money for either).

Most of the people affected by Sjogren's are women in their post-menopausal years. I am one of the rare (but increasingly not becoming so) women who have it so advanced at so young an age.

Awareness of this disease needs to be spread. There is so much more to this, and I am still learning new aspects of it every week! Please check out the Sjogren's Syndrome Foundation website for information and become more aware of this disease that plagues more than four million Americans!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

R is for Reality Check

As we become adults, we learn to let go of those things that we keep in childhood idealism. Our parents try to warn us of many of these, but one thing that is never spoken of until experienced is fantasy love.

"Happily ever after". It's at the end of every Disney movie and every fairy tale with a happy ending. The prince and princess fall madly in love, share a romantic (and chaste) kiss, then ride off into the sunset.

What happens the next day?

In our world today, we are inundated with stories and movies having a continuing story. Yet, even in these sequels hardly do we ever see that true love does not beat all odds, that the hero saves the day, that the villains get their comeuppance.

Surrounded by these ideals, I grew up as any big-eyed dreamer. I saw myself being saved by a "white knight", being swept off of my feet, and living happily ever after. I knew the Little Mermaid songs by heart, saw myself twirling on a hillside like Belle, and always knew I would be forever happy once I found that someone special.

...Can you feel the 'but' coming on?...

I had a wonderful, romantic relationship. I was blissfully happy. Blindly happy. Stupidly, naively happy. And it all ended a week after our one year anniversary.

I will not state so publicly what caused the destruction of my dreams--it is not particularly important at this time. What is relevant is that I received the harshest reality check of my entire life. I admit I became a bit bitter, a tad angry, and slightly resentful toward my spouse. I left him a couple of times to try to settle my head and my heart, and when I became pregnant things only complicated tenfold. If not for my daughter, I probably would not be with him today. I would have given up long ago.

How many times can your heart break before it shatters completely?

How many ways can you be run through by deceit and lies?

Please believe me when I say unequivocally that I still love my husband--yet I have learned that witless love does not exist in the real world. Love comes with heartache, suffering, bruising, and healing. Healing is the part which takes the longest and is the hardest to do. A scab begins to form and then it is ripped off to become twice as sore as the original. I am trying to heal, to forgive--but I find it hard to do so when every time I try, he repeats that which broke my heart the first time nearly five years ago.

I love him, yet without trust, is it enough?

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Quirky Questions

We all have questions as we move throughout this life. Why is the sky blue? What does 'intangible' really mean? Do I look like a celebrity?...But the really important, philosophical questions are often pushed to the wayside. It is my job to force you to consider what you would otherwise ignore!

Why do we park on a driveway, and drive on a parkway?

Why is black considered a color when it is actually the absorption of all colors?

How do we know that chicken tastes like chicken? Who decided what tasted like what? How do we know that chicken isn't actually tuna?

Why do we consider the night sky 'black' when if it were truly black, we would not be able to see a single thing in the sky--not stars, not the moon, nothing?

How many lights are in a lightspeed?

Why are they called the dog days of summer? Do they bark? Do they shed? Do they poop on your lawn? Do they eat your shoes?

Why is the Lone Ranger called 'lone' when he always has his friend, Tonto, with him?8

Why are hot dogs sold in packages of 8 and hot dog buns sold in packages of 10?

Why is sandwhich bread square and sandwhich meat round?*

Why are there interstate highways in Hawaii?

What do people in China call their good plates?*

On Gilligan's Island, where did Ginger get all of her changes of clothing when it was only a "3 hour tour"?*

Why do blondes have more fun?

Why do some people have horse sense? Do they whinny and snort?

Where did we get the phrase 'speed demon'? Did someone actually see one zipping along the street?

Just a few philosophical points to ponder!

*Creative license for these questions go to my good friend Cayla, who helps me waste an ridiculous amount of time each day coming up with some of these!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

P is for Baby!!

Motherhood has been the most wonderous (and frustrating) experience for me. I have learned how to look at my world with new eyes and re-discover the joys of childhood. But getting to this point was a difficult journey. Worth it, but very difficult.

It was a May morning and I did not have to go into work until much later that afternoon. For the past month I had been feeling a no outright vomiting or body tenderness to indicate anything major had occurred. On a whim, not really thinking of positive results, I decided to take a pregnancy test. Since I had been trying for nearly two years to have a baby and had been met with a miscarriage and only disappointment, I was not going to get my hopes up this time. I urinated on the impossible stick for the appropriate amount of time, then set it aside to ferment as I finished preparing for work.

I had nearly forgotten about the test! I peeked in the bathroom to sneak up on the stick...and my knees went out on me. I landed heavily on the (thankfully closed) toilet lid and stared at the readout.

Pregnant. I was finally pregnant.

This was such an important moment to me that I cried. I had been told for seven years that I could never have children. I had envied others with children, hated them, and wistfully wished for my own. Now, finally, I was to realize my dream.

But how to tell my husband? It had to be quirky; it had to be memorable. So I kidnapped him from his place of work, took him to Ruby Tuesday, and anxiously waited for the main course to arrive. For the following to make sense, you must understand something about my husband: he loves villians. More specifically, Darth Vader, but he roots for the villian like most people root for the superhero. He has always said that he wants to rule the world (with me at his side in a slinky red dress--ha!).

So I faced him across the table and folded my arms. "You know how you're always saying you want to rule the world, and you need minions to do so?" I asked him.

He gave me an apprehensive look but nodded.

I passed the (wrapped up and sterilized) positive pregnancy test to him. "Now it begins."

I thought he was going to pass out.

To make nearly nine months go by quickly, I will now hit the highlights. Through my initial pregnancy bloodwork, it was discovered that I have an auto-immune disease called Sjogren's Syndrome (and April is Sjogren's Awareness Month, in case you did not know--see here:

How does this affect an unborn baby? The potential risks are extreme: heart defects, undeveloped lungs or other major organs, infant lupis--these are the major risks to the baby. Risks to the mother? Almost as bad: blood clots in the lungs or legs (which could lead to death), the mother's body attacking the baby as a foreign object and harming it, kidney failure, liver failure, difficulty breathing, heart problems, and more. To put it into a summary: I was now classified as a high-risk pregnancy.

I am sure my insurance company hated me by the end. Due to my high-risk status, I had to have ultrasounds every six weeks to check on the progress of the baby and the development of the baby's organs. (Due to the frequency of the visits, not knowing the baby's sex would have been next to impossible--good thing I am impatient and did not want to wait anyway!)

And I did have problems. At one point half of my amniotic fluid disappeared. It just...vanished. Thank you, wonderful Sjogren's which causes horrible dryness... So I had to massively increase my fluids intake (we are talking at least one glass of water every hour) and go back in a week to monitor the fluid. Thankfully, it went back to just about where it needed to be, and stayed that way.

Then there was a problem with the development of my (by now we knew the baby was a girl) daughter's bladder. Two weeks later, it corrected itself and she was fine.

The main issue? Shortness of breath. This problem caused numerous emergency trips to the hospital at all hours of the day or night. (The third shift crew members at the local IHOP grew to know us by name...) My doctor was mostly concerned that I had blood clots in the lungs. Several Cat-scans and MRIs later, a breathing specialist determined that my healthy, breach baby girl was comfortably resting on my lungs. Add this to my pre-existing asthma and you get a mother who literally cannot take five steps without passing out.

Third trimester came after a huge struggle. I was cautioned to rest, but with a job as a social worker, there is no such thing as 'rest', so my doctor forced me to do so with bed rest. The days crawled by. Finally, around the end of October, I began having so many problems breathing that my doctor worried about my safety in carrying the baby. Not only this, but (being a petite woman) I was very nearly running out of skin to stretch. To this day, I have stretch marks past my knees and into my arms--I was very near to running out of room. My doctor gave me two steriod shots to boost not only myself, but the baby, in preparation for an early delivery. Any week now and my doctor knew she might have to take the baby out early to keep me alive.

We went from one tense week to another. October became November. Thanksgiving slowly passed...and then the doctor took one more look at me--huge, miserable, in pain, could not breathe--and decided to do a C-section on December 10th, almost three weeks before my daughter's due date of Christmas Eve.

I was relieved. I had enjoyed having my daughter grow inside me, but after eight months of nearly constant worry about her and myself, it would be nice to finally meet the sweet little face that I had suffered for.

The morning of the C-section dawned and my daughter was determined to enter the world feet-first. Her staying breech only confirmed my doctor's decision to slice me open across the stomach. I was prepped and extremely nervous. I was wheeled into the operating room and instructed to sit on the edge of the cold metal table, my backside exposed to every person in the room. A young man probed at my spine in order to give me the epideral. The problem with this? My spine is out of alignment and so my nerves are not where they should be. This poor guy poked for fifteen minutes to find the magic nerve and had just voiced to my doctor that he was going to get his superior when all of a sudden my right knee went numb. When I told him this, he poked again and it went numb a second time. Finally, he had figured out where my nerves were!

Right before he stuck me with the epideral, my doctor said, "Okay, now as soon as we do this, swing your feet over the side of the table and scoot down."

Okay. I could do that. Piece of chocolate cake. I was injected, my spine started going numb, I swung my legs over...and flopped onto the table like a dead fish.

"Now, scoot down," a nurse said.

I started laughing. There was no way in this world I was going to be able to move my heavily pregnant self down that table now! As it was, the entire team had to pick me up and move me. HA!

The blue sheet went up to block my view, my husband was told for the fourth time to sit down, and the C-section began. I developed an epideral headache, but worse than that the ceiling dome lights were brand new! Why is that bad?

Brand new=shiny.

Shiny= reflective.

Reflective=I can see everything that the doctor is doing. Actually it was rather fascinating, in a disguisting kind of way.

Okay, if you have read up to this point, let me give you a few funny stories that are now legends in the family.

1) When the baby comes out of your body, the baby's skin is blue since the baby has not been around oxygen much yet. When the doctor showed me my daughter, I thought, "Oh Lord! I gave birth to a Smurf!"

2) The baby is also covered with this whitish stuff that is called something technical, but nicknamed "cheese". They had not cleaned off the cheese from my daughter's skin when I saw her. My doctor said, "Here is your daughter. Don't worry about her being covered in cheese--we'll clean it off." I thought, Cheese? What kind of cheese? Swiss cheese? American cheese? Chedder cheese?....What kind of cheese?

3) After I was wheeled (and drugged heavily with morphine) into the recovery room, I still could not feel my legs or feet. For some odd reason, I began to cry. My husband asked me what was wrong, and I asked "Did they cut off my feet?" (My stupid husband answered that yes, they cut off my feet, but that was okay since I did not need feet. His mother nearly killed him for that since in that drugged state I believed him.)

It was a long road, but it was worth it. My daughter is beautiful and strong...and very, very two right now. She has a name that means something ("She who has honor"), and I hope she grows to appreciate that one day. She might hate how unique her first name is, but I think that she will learn to love it. I cannot wait to see the young woman she becomes!

Honoria* Elizabeth was born by C-section December 10, 2008 at 8:30am in Murfreesboro, Tennessee. She was eight pounds exactly and twenty inches long. She is my entire world wrapped up in laughter, temper-tantrums, sunshine, and twirls!

*Honoria is pronounced ah-nor-E-ah