Category Archives: Life

They Say It’s Your Birthday…

“There are two great days in a person’s life – the day we are born and the day we discover why.”

~ William Barclay

I don’t feel old enough to have grand children. When I was younger it always seemed like grand-parents were these really “OLD” people and as I’m still in my 40’s I don’t exactly feel old, but I am still totally weirded out about having grand-kids.

The youngest grand-baby turned one a little over a week ago and my youngest daughter is holding the birthday party tomorrow. Because I cannot sit for long periods of time, the 352 mile drive north to see them and spend the weekend with family is impossible. I fervently wish it weren’t. I miss seeing everyone.

Yoda-hubby is; however, going up to see family today and will attend the party. At the moment I’m feeling a more than a bit lonely and a bit depressed. I attempted cleaning house to take my mind off things. No go. And listening to 90’s alternative music really isn’t helping matters. When you are down, Nirvana might not actually be the best choice, but then… I get Foo Fighters “Everlong.” I’m more than pleased, but it really is an odd auto-segue  because Dave Grohl was Nirvana’s drummer. **Mind blown**

Now, let me get to the particular reason for this post. I hate the birthday song. No. That’s not a strong enough word. I despise the birthday song with a passion that mere mortal men cannot truly comprehend. You know the one… “Happy Birthday to you…blah, blah, blah freaking blah.”  This song is old. Really old. It dates back to the late 1800’s and appeared in print in about 1912. It’s been translated into so many different languages and (unfortunately) it’s the most recognized song in the world.

When I go to restaurants, I actually feel nauseous when I hear it. It makes me angry. And fortunately my family knows better than to have a bunch of strange people sing this freaking song to me in a restaurant – ever. I would seriously walk out in the middle of it because I not only hate the song, but I hate the forced singing by people who don’t even know me.  God help me if I someday end up in a nursing home and have to listen to this mindless musical drivel on a regular basis.

I actually have adopted my own birthday song, “Birthday” by the Beatles. (It’s on their 1968 “white album.” Great stuff on that album by the way.)  “Birthday” is a thunderous symphony of sound and motion. It’s a song that makes me say, “Hell, yes! It’s my birthday.” (And this is the song I would undoubtedly crank in the nursing home to ward off others more than anything else.)

So with all this said  for her first birthday (as it were)… Stella, this one is for you.

 Beatles – “Birthday”

 

The Perfect Night’s Sleep

To Sleep
O soft embalmer of the still midnight,
      Shutting, with careful fingers and benign,
Our gloom-pleas’d eyes, embower’d from the light,
      Enshaded in forgetfulness divine:
O soothest Sleep! if so it please thee, close
      In midst of this thine hymn my willing eyes,
Or wait the “Amen,” ere thy poppy throws
      Around my bed its lulling charities.
Then save me, or the passed day will shine
Upon my pillow, breeding many woes,—
      Save me from curious Conscience, that still lords
Its strength for darkness, burrowing like a mole;
      Turn the key deftly in the oiled wards,
And seal the hushed Casket of my Soul.

I have to admit I have been on a massively long creative hiatus. I have been sick with a few neurological disorders and frankly, I have been feeling sorry for myself for quite a while. However, a pity-party of one can only last so long. So here I am once again trying to start life anew.

My husband unit, who I affectionally call Yoda, received a king size mattress set from some sweet and generous people at work. We have two queen size beds in our little apartment so right now, as there is no king-sized bed frame, the majority of the living room floor is filled with a king size mattress.(The box springs are standing on end “out of the way” in the rarely used dining room.)  The actual reason for this was we wanted to try it out and see if we were going to really like it despite the fact the bed I sleep in has mattresses going on 20 years old and there is some serious divoting in the bed. Seriously, there is a huge mountain in the middle and the rest looks like a truck has driven repeatedly down a muddy alleyway in springtime.

Despite the lack of room to walk or play with the dogs, there is something supremely gratifying about comfortably laying down in the living room and watching a movie or playing the X-Box. (Yes, I’m a nerd. Get over it.) I’m actually considering getting a day bed with a trundle for the living room. (Which would also help when family comes to visit.)  We shall see how that goes.

The bed will contribute to a much better night’s sleep. However, I have no cure yet for the people who live in the apartment to our north. I want to shoot them every weekday morning about 6am when there is a crap-ton of yelling and screaming at the kids to get up, get ready for school and all that jazz. I may actually have to stumble out of bed and go over there in my jammies one of these mornings and give them a small piece of what’s left of my mind. Five days a week, I pray for uninterrupted sleep. It doesn’t happen. I think I will have to break out the ear-plugs again. (Highly recommended: Flents / 29db.) And I wonder if it would be wrong to break out older Fall Out Boy, Linkin Park.  Metallica. Led Zeppelin etc. about 2am every morning for a week or two? It would definitely have to be something with a great bass beat. (And rap music is out. I’m not a fan. Why torture myself?)

Of course, these are the same relatively nice people who brought a “rescued by the side of the road” puppy home and they have no earthly business owning a dog. Seriously. The mom actually admitted they know nothing about raising a puppy. (Buy a book?) The pup is cute, but has no discipline and no training. They also bought the pup, who is now probably 5 months old tops, a shock collar because he’s biting. I have no problem with shock collars; however, if you don’t know how to use them you are going to create a problem with the animal. The little girl who lives there was playing outside with the dog and when I let my dogs out (on leashes mind you) the dog would not leave mine alone. She threatened to get the shock collar because he wasn’t minding. I nicely told her to put the dog on a leash and work on commands – the shock collar isn’t going to work when you don’t have any idea how to properly use it. It’s so frustrating.

They also just let the dog outside by himself to go potty. No leash. No nothing. He wanders by the creek and we have all sorts of wildlife that could harm the animal including (but not limited to) coyotes, possums, raccoons, snakes and more. And without watching the animal, it would also be very easy for someone to steal their pet. It’s pretty sad. But what can I do? Not much I’m afraid.

In other news, I have found a few local radio stations (after living in the Metroplex for a few years) that I totally dig. One is a classic rock station that reminds me of my years in broadcasting. Right now, Bog Seger’s “Turn the Page” is playing.  My word. I love this song. I brings back so many memories. The downside is I’m singing along and my German Shepard is not amused. To make her howl some more is the question. The aforementioned neighbors are home so the answer: I’m singing.  Heh.

(Insert quick bathroom break here.) 

Oh heck. I just broke out Fall Out Boy, who is not my favorite band, but I really love their music. “I Don’t Care” is cranked to 100 (and the dogs are hiding in the other room.) Patrick has such a cool voice and Pete Wentz plays a pretty solid bass line. I know I shouldn’t feel this pleased, but I just looked outside and the neighbor’s dog is running amok again. After this comes Zeppelin. Yeah, it’s going to be a good day, I think.

Fall Out Boy – “I Don’t Care”

Checking In and Some Thoughts on Current Events

Hello, my friend!  It sure has been awhile. I don’t know where the time has gone, but I’ve really missed your smile. 

~ Nelson ~ 

My oh my. It has been awhile.  The last few months have been filled with job hunts, landing a job and dealing with hosts of medical issues I hadn’t thought possible. I’ve thought a thousand times about sitting down at the computer to write, but the serious lack of energy / inspiration / motivation has kept me away. So I thought I would play a little catch up and hopefully it won’t be such a long time before my fingers grace the keyboard again.

First: What in the heck is going on in the world? I mean… SERIOUSLY?

In the past few months, it seems there has been a triple-dose of crazy run amok. I normally try to steer clear of more of the political hot-bed topics as this is more or less a me / writing type of blog. But let’s just get down to brass tacks here. This could be the bones of some great writing material.  In coming up with ideas for writing, I like to call my idea-file the “What If File.” Don’t laugh. I’m only creative on the page, not in my organizational skills. I leave that to my youngest daughter who is an organizational Jedi Master.  But I digress.  Back to the original thought of the here and now lunacy.

What if – the world actually thought it was okay to let Iran play with nukes?

What if – a once great Olympic athlete were given an award for courage, not for his athleticism, but for his, now her, transgendering to the masses and there was no public outcry, it was just another day at the office because no one cared?

What if – after a mass murderer is sentenced for killing a bunch of people in a theatre, a copy cat hundreds of miles away in another state lathers, rinses and repeats the same horrific crime?

What if – we all lived in a world where we didn’t have to listen to the latest “news” about Kim / Kanye or any other stupid “celebrity” and everyone minded their own business?  (And I say to myself… what a wonderful world.)

You see where I’m going with this? Take today’s headlines and ask yourself, “What if…” It’s a beautiful concept.


I have always loved astronomy and while I admittedly played with Barbie’s as a young girl, I also used my telescope to look up to the stars and wondered about what was out there. It’s a vast universe and the Hubble Telescope, long-range scans and other missions to the great beyond are showing us just how much. This brings me to a couple of points.

Pluto. I don’t care what NASA or any other scientist says. To me, it’s still a planet and the visual images recently released are spectacular.

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NASA’s enhanced color image of Pluto was transmitted from the New Horizons spacecraft this week. PHOTO: NASA/REUTERS

Apparently there is another little Earth out there. It’s probably not habitable (in my opinion), but Kepler-452b has it’s own little orbit around a star that’s older than our sun. It was actually “discovered” in 2014, I believe. But things like this take time to get out.  (Please forgive me if my date is erroneous – reading technical jargon always puts me to sleep.)


My last thought of the day and love me or hate me, this is what I believe.

There’s this ugly thing in the world today called “racism.” I’m going to say this straight up, it’s not going to stop. It’s an issue that runs deeper than the color of one’s skin. It’s an engrained mental process and it’s an issue of the heart. A person has to want to change their thinking, their beliefs, their heart and so many people don’t believe they have a problem. This holds true for whites, blacks, reds, yellows, oranges, greens, blues…. you know what I mean. It’s not a black and white problem. It’s a human problem.

The only solution is to learn to love and love unconditionally. It would stop a lot of the hate and violence in the world.  But there will always be hate and violence in the world because that’s part of the greatest story ever told.

On that note, I bid you a good night. Adieu!

Balls!

2014, I have unanimously decided, sucks balls. I thought when I lost my dad in 2009, that was the worst year. No. This one has it beat by miles.

The year started off with Yoda moving to the Metroplex. I stayed behind and sold the house and my old car, which I basically drove the doors off of. Then I had to put a fur-baby, Angel, to sleep. I finally found a job a few months later and moved down with Yoda.

I was not a fit for said job and was also injured on the job. It was a two for one special. But to top it off, I became extremely homesick.

As summer came to a head, I lost a best friend, my sis-in-law, to cancer. It was brutal. Shortly thereafter, I quit my job.

This allowed me to come and visit my daughters quite often and I’m very thankful – especially since I have a brand new grandson. But things at their apartment were going fubar because of a newborn and my BIG sheepdoodle, Maverick the Amazing. As a result, he came down to live with us mid-October. By the end of the month, he was sick.

Maverick visited the vets a couple of different times, but it wasn’t until Monday the vet in the Metro said he needed an ultrasound and more tests because he thought he felt a mass. Gads. Already $1700 down and more to come. So I did the logical thing and brought him “home” to my vet tech daughter that night.

Yes, he needed more tests which were done Tuesday. Doc Chase, one of my favorite vets of all time, advised he needed emergency surgery as there was indeed a mass.

A few hours later, I found there was a large mass on his spleen, he had been bleeding internally and there were other masses. He was not going to recover. I had to make the decision to put him down.

Worst. Day. Ever.

I miss him more than mere words could ever say. He was amazing. Simply the best dog I have ever had.

As 2014 starts drawing to an end, I’m most thankful it’s ending. I can’t really take much more of it and 2015 surely must be better. Surely.

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New York State of Mind

“Some folks like to get away, take a holiday from the neighborhood.  Hop a flight to Miami Beach or to Hollywood.  But I’m taking a Greyhound on the Hudson River Line. I’m in a New York state of mind.”

~Billy Joel~

ESB NYC

They say it’s a city of lights, a city that doesn’t sleep. It’s true what they say. There is an energy that fills the air and warms my spirit. Of the many places I have been in my life, none affects me moreso than my favorite place on Earth, New York City.

Eldest is visiting her boyfriend up in the Big Apple this weekend. It’s the first vacation she’s taken on her own and it’s over 1,700 miles from “home.” But she loves the place as much as I do, there’s family there and if all else fails, I will hunt down anyone that hurts my baby and they will meet the Hudson face to face.  Can you tell I worry?

I’m trying to get my stuff together for a weekend in my hometown about 6 hours away. Yoda and I have had a really sick dog so this should make the trip that much more exciting. 2 people. 2 dogs. 1 Vehicle. Joy. But I get to see family and the new grandbaby so that’s okay, I think.

Enough for now… just thought I would ramble for a little bit.

Sweetest of dreams…

 

 

 

 

Bang Head Here

I have a migraine. Slamming my head into a wall until I’m unconscious is out of the question so meds are in order. This migraine thing is nothing new; however, the day’s events are rapidly drawing to a close and they shall end with me crawling into bed. More from me later. Bon soir, mes amis.

The Joy of Adult Parenting

“Parents can only give good advice or put them on the right paths, but the final forming of a person’s character lies in their own hands.”
~Anne Frank~

Sage-Corkscrew Swamp, Naples, FL
Sage-Corkscrew Swamp, Naples, FL

Anne Frank had it right. You can only give good advice and try to teach your children the path to walk down. While our children may inherit or mimic their parents actions, the one thing we have to remember is they are not us and will choose their own lives. But the “remembering” is not so easy and we often find ourselves with adult children who blow our minds with actions and decisions made that “we” would never do.

The first thing as a parent I have to consider as they are both adults, though still young, is sharing my wisdom (such as it is) and insights without being critical. I also have to now respect each of their differences. It’s truly a balancing act and I don’t know that I will ever have it down, but I do so try.

As I have a solid relationship with both of my daughters, I am and will be forever blessed. As they age, I’m learning  they will  (or is it still?) come to me if they need help during a “crisis” and that I need to keep clear of unsolicited advice.  But the discernment from “crisis” to “chronic” is murky at best sometimes – especially if chronic things have escalated into a crisis.

For example: The ongoing struggle between my sun and moon daughters over cleaning their apartment is a chronic situation that often turns into a small crisis filled with yelling and bitching. But learning to live with others and respecting each other’s choices as adults is something they have to do which means I struggle not to interfere unless called upon by one or both parties. I offer the requested advice and a shoulder, but as young adults, they must learn how to deal with “difficult” people. And each of them finds the other difficult and they have for years.

Again – the whole issue is about respect. They need to respect each other despite their obvious differences. Yoda and I have worked hard to show respect to them and to each other as a model for our lives. They each have to learn they are not the other and will choose their own paths. If they can respect that and respect each other, I believe that at the end of the day, the sun and the moon can come together to create something truly beautiful.

The path we all follow is not easy. It is a lifetime of learning and growing. But in choosing to be a counsellor and friend to my adult children instead of their coach or referee is a better option. In the end, they will each have their own strengths and their own character to be passed down to the next generation.

Mellow Yellow

“Look at the stars,
Look how they shine for you,
And everything you do,
Yeah, they were all yellow.”

– Coldplay-

Chris Ford ‘A Foggy Empire’, United States, New York City, 5th Avenue & 20th St., Cold Spring Night

 Have you ever noticed how music reflects your mood, puts you into a specific frame of mind or just invites you to feel “something,” whatever that something may be? Today is one of those days for me.

I hate October 30th. I have to keep myself busy, too busy to think and maybe, too busy to breathe. But the music reminds me of how much I hate this date. And to go a day without music would be worse than not breathing, than today.

When I woke up this morning, I had Coldplay’s “Yellow” on the brain. It’s from their album “Parachutes” in case you were wondering. I can’t say I’m a “can’t-wait-for-the-next-release” fan of Coldplay, but I admittedly have a couple of songs from each of their albums in my music library. If this had been my record collection, I would probably have more than my fair share of albums, but gone are the days of vinyl, eh?

I wish more than anything, I were anywhere but here. I found the picture Chris Ford took (Ford is a great photographer) and it adequately describes my feelings about “today.” Rain. Walking alone down the streets of New York. Yes. There is where I would like to be. Not here. Not today.

Pops showed me the stars… and they were all yellow.  I wonder which star you are…

Thoughts on “The Book Thief”

“A snowball in the face is surely the perfect beginning to a lasting friendship.”
Markus Zusak, The Book Thief

Book Thief

Apologies for the delay in communication. I have spent quite a bit of time as of late with the new grandson. Small. Cute. Easy baby. All in all, I will give him a 10.

It was during my travels to and from my hometown to my new home I encountered “The Book Thief.” I wanted to watch the movie, but I tend to read the books prior to watching a film as films can only grasp a tenuous amount of plot-line  However, I have to say this time I took it a step further and listened to the book narrated by Allan Corduner during the long, straight drives through the plains under blue or starry skies.

I have listened to some other books on tape including “Watership Down” and “Storm Front” (Dresden files by Jim Butcher-awesome), but while both were excellent stories, this one entangled me. Zusak wrote a great novel and Mr. Corduner’s read is delightful, moving and spot-on with the German, which is a necessity in a book of this magnitude.

Set in WWII Germany, we learn about Nazi fanaticism, a Jewish fist-fighter, thievery, friendship and death. They are all intertwined in the story of a girl seeking out an existence. We learn, we laugh and we cry. We learn that death indeed has a heart.

Liesel Meminger is a character I shall not soon forget. Deep. Well-rounded. Flawed and yet still flawless. She inspires me in ways I have not yet fully realized as she is each of us in our own unique ways. How did Zusak do that?

Beyond the well-scripted plot, the word economy and the descriptions of things seen yet unseen, I found Zusak to not be a writer or an author, but a natural story-teller.  And to add to this, Allan Corduner is a BRILLIANT talent who brought to life this poignant story.

Now, there are some who have trouble getting into the book as Zusak’s writing style is unique. It flips and flops until it settles into a rhythm such as a cha-cha or something of that nature. By the end of the first hour of listening, you are well into the story and transformation has indeed begun.

I generally steer clear of writing about books I have read, but “The Book Thief” changed that for me. I hope you will take the time to delve deep into the pages or the audio-book and breathe in a fresh and inspiring look at the beautiful piece of work Zusak shared with us all.

Almost Five Years….

The older I get, the more I find myself acting like my mother or father – especially my father. This is good because even though he’s been gone for almost five years this month, I still have parts of him with me. You see, some memories have begun to dim a little and I cling to those I remember with crystal clarity.

My pops was a baseball player, umpire and minor league manager. He was with the Yankees, Braves and Brewers in various capacities over a 14 year career, yet never made it on the field in the majors. (Thank you Lou Gehrig.) I bring this up because when I was five, pops and I were in the backyard and he was teaching me how to throw and catch a ball. Apparently my aim at a young age was spot on and his catching sucked because I felled him like a giant Redwood. We didn’t play any more games after that, but I learned the inadvertent power of an accidental curve ball at an early age.

Thought: Dad’s favorite movie was “Pride of the Yankees.” He loved “Hogan’s Heroes” and couldn’t stand watching anything bloody or gory in movies or TV.

At thirteen, when I was nearing the peak of teen angst, my father morphed into a big, bad knight in shining armor. Now, he was an actual knight – bestowed on him by King Peter the Second of Yugoslavia. But this day was awesome. I had a teacher who believed yanking my hair when I got an answer wrong, spoke up/out or under my breath or even silently wished her dead was a good idea. As a result I cut my hair ridiculously short and punky (as it was the 80’s) to mitigate the damage. She actually pulled my hair out this one day and when I told pops, he marched on the fortress of that school and threatened to throw her out of her 3rd floor, un-air conditioned classroom window. She never yanked my hair again. My hero.

Thought: Pops did this one other time at his agency located near the top floor of a bank building. This led to an early “note to self” – don’t lie, cheat or try to steal your way to success.

Sixteen brought an accident on Halloween night. I BADLY burned my hands at work and the man that couldn’t deal with medical stuff sat in the room as the doctors helped heal my hands. The night he brought me home, he set a green glo-light next to the bed so I could see so as to not bang my useless appendages against anything and sat in his office outside my door for hours. He helped with a lot of things I had taken for granted.

Thought: Pops HATED purple with a passion – especially lavender. Mom and I occasionally wore it to tick him off. Purple became my favorite color.

The man that drove more than 2.5 million miles before his first accident taught me to drive. He was not a patient man and I STILL hear his voice in my head while parallel parking, breaking or backing up.

Thought: He loved Obsession cologne and I can’t ever smell it again without his face coming to my mind.

He walked me down the aisle when I was 23 and held my first daughter the following year. Eldest was soon followed by Youngest and he loved the girls in a way I couldn’t imagine until five days ago when I held my grandson for the first time. I just wanted to scream to Heaven, “Hey Pop! I get it now!”

I saw my pop slowing down, his back stooping over and his gray hair turning silver then white as time trudged on. His once big frame leaned out as he couldn’t really eat much any longer. He lived on milkshakes from Malcolm’s. I remember the day my dad became like my child and I loved him even more. I no longer took the knight for granted. It was my turn to care for and save him. But you can’t save someone from the grave.

When it came time to say goodbye, we had his friends come by hospice. My mother came. My sister Chris and her husband came. But…My oldest sister came and together we stayed with him at the hospital. We told him stories and sang to him for a couple of days. The night the nurse brought in a roll-away bed was the first night I slept in days. Dad waited until Ker and I were asleep to whisper his last breath.

I have hundreds of memories and moments throughout any given day when I suddenly do or say something that is “him.” God knows he wasn’t a perfect man nor a perfect father. He tried though and I think that’s what counts. But I wanted to share these with you because memories are better when shared.

Continue reading Almost Five Years….