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Thoughts Of Suicide

Confession: March 24th was going to be the end for me. Months with no car, pain, painful treatments, meds screwed up, isolated, low on cash...

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

My Merry Little Christmas

Okay, I was kinda dreading Christmas. Never ever had the 'Hallmark Card' Christmas. Wasn't looking forward to any holiday. My son Blake, graduated and is living his own life. Didn't bother getting a tree. Seemed pointless. But then I decided to try and get out of my own way and "let Christmas happen." I did a little prep work by getting involved with services dedicated to homeless women and children. I also signed up with a nation-wide "Secret Santa" campaign, sent a few gifts to my 'match' and received a wonderful gift package from mine! That just might be my new tradition.

Couldn't avoid the invitation for long so I went to my son and his girlfriend Tara's home for Christmas dinner. Didn't really want to go but Blake wanted me there.  I thought I would stay a few minutes, make up some excuse to leave and then go back home. But when I got there, it was like stepping onto a "Walton's" soundstage. There was an enormous tree decorated with everything from popcorn to handmade ornaments. Dinner was ham with sliced pineapple, buttered corn, rolls, Pringle's PECAN PIE potato chips(!), millions of calories etc. all for the consumption; presents to the ceiling and for the first time in a very long time, I was in a houseful of children! The kids-ages ten and under--were screaming, shrieking, running and causing trouble. The chaos was wonderful!

The biggest surprise for me was the diamond/ruby necklace my son and his girlfriend gave me. Normally, my son can't keep a secret but this is one time he did. Wow! Dinner, a gift and family.
When I left for my own home, I started thinking. What is 'family'? There's the one you start out with, the one you hope for and the one you end up with. This certainly isn't the one I dreamed for my son. But so what? My 'family' is now Blake, Tara, her three children...and a granddaughter for me whose ETA is mid-March '14. How 'bout that? It's a wonderful life.

Now I am ending my Christmas Eve with the first Midnight Mass of Pope Francis. The Bishop of Rome is teaching me non-judgmental love and that maybe I should continue 'getting out of my own way.' Who knows what blessings await when you just let things happen!

Thursday, December 12, 2013


He was sixteen, driving at three times the legal limit for alcohol with two friends in the back of his pickup truck. After he crashed, there were four people dead and nine wounded. This was not the first time he'd driven drunk nor was it the first time he'd been in trouble with the law. Prosecutors wanted the maximum penalty of twenty years and with this teen's history, they thought he'd at least be taught a lesson. But during the trial, a doctor was able to convince the Texas judge that this teen suffered from "Affluenza," or the effects of having no parental guidance or boundaries due to his parent's wealth therefore needing rehab instead of restitution and jail time...and the judge agreed. So now the teen is being held until the 'proper' rehab center can be located while four of his victims lie in their final resting place. The news reported that "Rich Dad" wants to place the teen in a 5-star resort facility in California because they "don't allow cell phones in the suites or their gourmet dining areas" at a cost of four hundred thousand a year.

We know of cases where women were deemed "too pretty to go to jail" and that rich people get treated differently by society and the legal system but now we have a pseudo-diagnosis of being too rich for jail and a name for it: Affluenza. It was explained like this:

         "Affluenza is the result of wealth. Your parents are so busy buying you things, taking you places and seeing to it that you are experiencing only the best that they aren't able to give you the proper guidance, teach you right from wrong and/or set boundaries. They do not have the ability to tell their children, 'No.' Because of their wealth, they are unable to follow through on punishments or make their child suffer any sort of consequences. Therefore the child is an abused child and needs treatment instead of incarceration." As stated before, the judge agreed.

Four lives gone and nine others will forever suffer the consequences of this teen's actions while he never did--according to the 'justice' system. The judge reportedly claimed, "No punishment will bring any of the victims back, the focus must be on the living...the teen." Wealth has prevented any further actions or appeals at this 'sentence' while the judge prepares for her impending retirement.

Monday, December 9, 2013

Lennon and Madiba

I was a teen when Grandma walked into the kitchen and said, "Somebody's shot John Lennon." I didn't believe her. She had to have the wrong information. That was too much of a shock.Who would want to kill him?

By the time I was old enough to know who The Beatles were they had broken up. Strangely enough, my grandmother had their music in our house right along with her collections of The Carter Family, Roy Acuff, Hank Williams, Sr., Bessie Smith and Dinah Washington. Grandma liked to listen to the words of songs and thought "those English boys say such wonderful things."
After their split, it seemed that each Beatle had gone onto their own individual success--even Ringo. Paul had gone off with Linda, George was getting spiritual, John had Yoko and I think Ringo had an actress wife. I was just grateful that they had left their music to the world. "You've Got to Hide Your Love Away," "Ticket to Ride," "Norwegian Wood," "We Can Work it Out" etc., were works of God-given genius as far as I was concerned. I'd wonder what it must've been like in those "Lennon-McCartney" writing sessions.
When I first heard "Imagine," I was struck by it's simplicity. The song reminded me of some of the discussions I had with various friends of mine. We asked, "What if...there was no Heaven, hunger, war" etc., while John (yes, we kind of felt like we knew him) asked us to "Imagine" those things. Maybe if we could "see it" we'd "achieve it." We figured he'd be around when his world "living as one" started to happen. But he was taken from us that night in 1980.
There's been a lot of coverage of the passing of Nelson Mandela since Dec. 5th and as I watched some of it, I remembered the death of John Lennon was Sunday the 8th. I didn't think the two men could be connected in any way and then I saw the children in New York simultaneously singing "Imagine" with children from Johannesburg, South Africa at the end of this particular news broadcast. Maybe somewhere John and Madiba are smiling. Imagine that.

Friday, December 6, 2013


'Baby Daddy' was lying on the living room floor in his reindeer boxers when I came out of the bedroom.
"I'm tired, overdue and a mess! I'm having this baby today!" I declared.
He just said, "Sure, okay." I went back to bed.
He was still there in the same position when three hours later, I came out of the bedroom and said, "I'm having this baby today."
"I know. You already said that."
"No, I mean I'm having this baby NOW!"
Labor had begun.

He flew by me to get my packed bag from the bedroom closet, I just made myself comfortable in our big recliner. He came back in the living room with my bag and said, "Let's go to the hospital."
"I'm not going anywhere. I'm going to sit right here."
"But you can't have the baby here. We gotta go."
"I'll have this baby anywhere I want." I said, "I'm not going anywhere. Since you're so fired up to go somewhere, go to the kitchen and bring me some cherry Jell-O."
Well, God bless him, he ended up bringing me all six containers of the Jell-O over the next hour but he was watching me so intently that I just couldn't take it anymore! "Okay. If you'll quit staring at me I'll make YOU happy and go to the hospital. Let's go." I said.
That man walked me to the car like a sheriff escorting a suspect and drove me to the hospital like he was at Indy. But we made it there safely (even though he did reach 80mph. at one point.)
I had natural childbirth and while there was a crisis involving the umbilical cord,
 at 9:14p.m. Tuesday, December 6th 1994, Blake was born...during a commercial break on TV's "Frasier"!                                   
                                                          Happy 19th Birthday, Blake!    

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Post-Shopping Elixir

Nothing cools down a spicy meal or a day of Christmas shopping like sangria. I'm reminded of that famous commercial---let me paraphrase it, "I rarely drink but when I do, I like some sweet sangria. So stay thirsty...and keep shopping, my friends!"
Combine 1/3 cup orange juice
2/3 cup lemon juice
1/4 cup sugar in a half-gallon pitcher.
Stir the sugar until dissolved.
Add 1 bottle (approx. 750ml) dry red wine.
Add ice, lemon slices and orange slices to the mixture.

Friday, November 29, 2013

Ghosts of Christmas Past

When I was ten, I got the idea to get my grandma a Christmas present by cleaning the house of an elderly woman who lived down the street. Grandma had raised me since the day I was born and we'd never exchanged gifts before. I was so excited. Not only was I going to buy my grandma a present, I was going to earn the money myself!
So I went to 'Ms. Anna's' house and spent a little over an hour cleaning it. When I was finished, she gave me ten dollars! At the time--it was like she'd given me fifty!
There was only one store in town. They didn't have very much but I thought my grandma would be happy with anything because it was coming from me. I found a purple scarf and box of candy. I took the items, went to the cashier and paid for them. The woman behind the counter asked me about my purchases and I proudly declared, "These are for my grandma! I earned the money myself!" She was so impressed with me that she reached under the counter and put both items in a pretty red box.
All the way home I was imagining how great Christmas was going to be and how happy I would make Grandma. For once, she would know how much I appreciated her raising me all by herself.
I walked in the house and tried to hide the gift behind the couch but she saw me.
"What is that?" she asked.
"Oh, nothing." I probably looked like the proverbial cat that swallowed the canary--I was so clever!
"You tell me right NOW what is in that box!"
Okay, the surprise was ruined but...
"I got you a Christmas present." I said.
"How the Hell did you do that? You don't have any money. What is it? A damn box of candy?"
So, she guessed it. Big deal. She didn't know about the scarf, at least. But for some reason, she was very, very angry at me. Why was she so mad?
"Where'd you get the money for that?"
"Ms. Anna let me clean her house and she gave me some money..." but I never got to finish my explanation. My grandma marched me down to that store, made the checkout lady take the gifts back, give the money back for the gifts and then made me take the money back to Ms. Anna. I also had to apologize to Ms. Anna for "bothering her." I was a humiliated, broken-hearted little kid at Christmas.
That little girl shows up about this time every year.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Ladies: Get In The Game!

4th and 18 on their own 27 yard line, down one point--33 seconds left in the game, #7 Auburn QB Marshall throws a 73 yard 'hope this works' Hail Mary pass in the vicinity of two Georgia defensive backs who each tip the ball which (somehow) lands in the hands of receiver Lewis for a game-winning touchdown.
All I could do was paraphrase the great Al Michaels and yell, "Hey Auburn...do YOU believe in miracles? Yes!" My female friends didn't share my enthusiasm.
In my opinion, that play was better than any movie my lady friends tell me I absolutely "must see." These are the same women who complain about 'all that football' every weekend. They don't understand why 'he' would rather watch games all weekend than go to a movie, dinner or shopping with them. "Saturday it's college and Sunday it's the pros," they whine. I didn't mention that Monday night and Thursdays are football nights, too.
Every weekend they call me and every weekend they complain to me and every time I give them the same advice: Get in the game! I tell them:

You don't have to know the history of every team, the rules of the game or any position. All you have to know is that one team is trying to beat the other. You already know about running plays. You understand lining up offense and defense---I've seen you at 'Black Friday.' Nobody was getting by you or faster than you crossing the doorway at that shop! You know what possession means. I saw you grab that pricey handbag the second it fell out of that woman's hands and onto the floor. You know about "recovering a fumble." You're a football fan waiting to happen.

There are so many reasons to watch football, ladies. With college, you can cheer for your school and remember what it was like. Follow a player and see what he grows up to be. I'm spoiled in that regard, I went to college with a certain Manning fellow. One of 'Archie and Olivia's boys.'
As for the NLF, it's like looking into an aquarium of all types of men. Grown men. Flawed men. Big, strong, athletic men in all shapes and sizes showing off skill and talent in colorful jerseys and tight pants. Sure they are mostly millionaires who 'play' for a living but all this is available for our viewing pleasure. Makes you glad you're a woman.
Pick a city to cheer for or against. Pick a uniform color scheme. Pick 'that guy' in the gossip rag who's now living with her, partying with him or in that shampoo, pizza or nighttime cold medicine commercial you like to watch.
Pick a storyline. There are heroes and villains, rookies and those on their 'last ride.' Vampires and werewolves? They ain't got nothing on Vikings, Patriots, Ravens or Saints. Neither Sparks or Meyers could match the story of a devastated city's Super Bowl run, win and the image of the MVP's baby son wearing headphones in Daddy's arms as confetti floats all around him.
But if all else fails, go the fashion route. The NFL realized there is a market for women's clothes and it can be used to your advantage. Want his attention? Wearing a nice fitting team jersey---and nothing underneath---just might get you introduced to football terms like 'illegal use of the hands, 'all-out blitz' and 'penetration'! Enjoy!

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

The "Threesome" Question

"What do you think about us having a threesome?" Mike asked.
"I don't know," I answered, "you never seemed the type that would be interested in that kind of thing."
"I'm a guy, what did you expect?" he asked.
"Well, to be honest, I've always wanted to be in a threesome." I said, "I think it would be fun."
"You are always full of surprises."
"What, you think women don't think of those things?"
" I guess. Just never thought you'd be one of them." He said.
At this point, the long pause in the conversation made me think another "hypothetical situation' question was about to be asked. But...
"We've been together a long time and there wouldn't be any reason for jealousy." he said.
"Jealousy about what?" I asked.
"If you wanted to have a threesome. Like you were talking about. If you really, really wanted to, I mean."
"Sure,  you're trying to make this my idea." I said.
"Does it really matter whose idea? Who cares? I just thought it would be something you'd enjoy. You've probably got two or three people in mind, right?" (Leading the witness!)
As matter of fact, I did know a couple of people who might be up for something like that. But how do you ask them? What's protocol? What's the big deal anyway? It's not like I'm asking for a kidney. So after careful consideration, I decided on who to call and for extra privacy, I called from the bedroom phone. Mike was trying to eavesdrop but he wouldn't hear anything. The line was busy. I hung up.
"Well, what happened?" Mike asked.
"Nothing. Rick's line was busy."
"Who the hell is Rick?"
"Our friend Rick. Remember him?"
"What are you calling him for?" he asked.
"I'm calling to see if he'd be in the threesome we've been talking about, of course."
"But Rick's a guy!"
"Of course he's a guy."
"You mean all this time we've been talking about a threesome, you thought I meant ask  another guy?"(he's almost yelling, by the way.)
"Of course. " I said. "Why do men always think a threesome is with two women?"

Moral of the story: Don't just be careful what you ask for--BE SPECIFIC!

Saturday, November 9, 2013

It's All in the Acknowledgment

Whether it is raising your hand in the classroom, letting someone in your lane of traffic or just hoping someone in your day will notice your new haircut, everyone wants to be acknowledged. We like it, it's important. It validates us as human beings and confirms our place in the world.
I was raised by my grandmother and every single time one of her grand or great-grand children was brought over or came by, she acted like she'd just won the lottery. She just lit up! Even when she got into her nineties, she'd almost jump out of that old rocking chair of hers and give you a "hug around the neck." Let me tell you, you haven't been hugged until a ninety-five year old woman, unaware of her own strength, puts you in a strangle hold! You might lose consciousness but it was something you had to endure because she loved you.
Growing up with her example, I guess I equated acknowledgment with approval. They seem to go hand-in-hand. Even though you can be acknowledged for your wrong turns and mistakes, being recognized for simply existing is a basic human need. For example, we hire people--mostly grandmothers--at my hospital's nursery to just hold the babies. Sometimes, the babies are born addicted, very ill or in rare cases born then abandoned. Even though the babies can neither speak, know what's being said or going on, they respond to being held. This is the most powerful weapon we have against "Failure To Thrive "syndrome. "Failure To Thrive" is exactly as it sounds. Babies who are not held or 'symbolically' acknowledged do not thrive. They tend to weigh less, eat less and react less to their surroundings resulting, at times, in developmental problems that effect them the rest of their lives. They may be only hours or days old but they respond to a loving kind of interaction and the acknowledgment that someone values them.
In this Thanksgiving/Christmas season, let's all make an effort to be grateful for what we have and acknowledge those around us. Notice his/her abilities, aspects of their personality you especially love---praise goofiness! Turn something he or she sees as a flaw and make it a fabulous trait. Notice the color of their eyes. Hell, notice them breathing! Make their day. Make their day the way each of you make mine. Light 'em up!
You'll thrive.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Songs in My Life's Soundtrack

I like marking events and milestones in my life by songs.
The first song I remember hearing was, "Don't Pull Your Love Out" by Hamilton, Joe, Frank and Reynolds. I was a kid listening to my cousin's radio and didn't know anything about songs being on rotation. I just thought I was lucky to hear it every hour or two and I loved the low, deep voice of the group's lead singer.
Neil Diamond's, "I Am, I Said" is the second song I remember. I was feeling pretty sad about being an only child, raised by my grandma and the only girl in a sea of male cousins. The line, "I've got an emptiness deep inside..." really hit home with me. Made me feel less alone.
Songs would come and go, genres would change and so did my tastes. I listened to "Toys In the Attic" by Aerosmith, "Destroyer" by KISS; groups like Bad Company and Grand Funk Railroad.  Music and lyrics explained things to me and even gave me a playlist for relationships or a broken heart.
For example:
REO Speedwagon taught me that if a relationship is getting stale, it might need some "Variety Tonight." For a moment there I thought, "Don't Let Him Go" but the relationship was over and it was "Time for Me to Fly."
Def Leppard proved love and/or a broken heart could come from a simple "Photograph" and if I wanted to wallow in some self-pity about a lost love, Ringo Starr's song by the same name did the trick.
Pink Floyd made me "Comfortably Numb" when life got too overwhelming and Ozzy brought me back with "Flyin' High Again."
I got over the 'love of my life' with songs. Phil Collins came in handy. The relationship began with "Follow You, Follow Me," but soon I could feel the break-up "Coming in the Air Tonight." When I realized my guy was "Throwing It All Away" new songs were needed.
"On My Own" by Patti LaBelle/Michael McDonald said what I couldn't. It was over. When I needed to cry I played, "I've Done Enough Dying Today" by the Gatlin Brothers and "I Call" by M.S. Smith when my little heart thought there was no one but God who could possibly understand. The line, "I call...and you're the one who hears me crying" said it all.
But REM reminded me that "Everybody Hurts," and it would pass then Kenny Loggins told me "This Is It.""Are you gonna wait for a sign? Here's your miracle...stand up and fight" Kenny sang. So I did.
Eventually, Journey declared, "I'll Be Alright" for me, and I was. 
There is a song that could be applied to every bump, bruise and triumph but my favorite example of a song marking a milestone happened the night my son was born. "Circle of Life" from "The Lion King" came on in the birthing suite as the nurse put him in my arms for the first time. It was fitting.
What's on your life's soundtrack?

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Just Empty Nesting

"Every time something ends, something else begins...we just don't realize it." That's just the latest old saying meant to make me feel better about my life change. In one night, my son graduated school and went straight into his new life---leaving me behind. Of course he left me behind. I did my job. Mission accomplished. Childhood ends and adulthood begins. Baby birds grow up and leave the nest. That's how it is supposed to be. But what happens to Momma Bird?
I gotta admit, as Momma Bird I'm a bit lost. I loved staying home raising my son. It was my 'calling.' I had been an RN and motherhood seemed to be the next logical step. But after having a child in school for twelve years, I'm no longer putting anybody on a school bus. I'm the parent of a graduate, not a student. Making pancakes for breakfast and packing lunch is no longer in my job description. As matter of fact, there is no longer a job requiring a description. Living arrangements have changed, too. "Our house" is now "Mom's house" and I'm actually required to knock on the front door of my "son's house"! Outrageous!
Children grow up while you're not looking. They mature behind your back. They get opinions and feelings, dreams and ambitions all their own. Roles change. But it happens too damn fast! Grown and gone. 
I'm just in a transitional phase but I need somebody to spoil. I'm used to having big dinners complete with bread, steak, mashed potatoes, greens, corn, beans, deviled eggs, sweet tea and such. There's supposed to be knives, spoons and forks clanking against plates with the ever-present danger that a full glass of something will hit the floor, not this deafening silence and a table set for one.
I'm being silly. I'm reaching out to the universe hoping for a couple of understanding ears. One day soon, this voyage into self-pity will end. I'll resume my nursing career and continue to write for publication, stop talking to the dog and start talking to people again. I'll focus on myself and it won't seem selfish. I'll reach the final stage of grief--acceptance--and laugh about what I've just written. It won't be today but soon.


Monday, September 30, 2013

One of My Own "Breaking Bad" Moments

The "Breaking Bad" finale broadcast masterfully ended one of the best shows I have ever seen. For me, all the "appropriate" people got killed; the family is safe and the show essentially began and ended in the lab. Occasionally throughout the series 'favorite bad moments' would be revisited prompting me to recount my life to see if I had any favorite bad moments of my own. So in honor of Walter White, here is one of my personal "Bad Moments."

Years ago, I was getting ready for a date when someone knocked at my door. I went to answer it but instead of asking, "Who is it?" or looking through the peephole I just asked, "Mark?" A barely audible response made me think it was him. So like a fool, I opened the door, saw it wasn't Mark, tried to slam the door on this strange man but he blocked it with his foot and got in. Figuring "this is it, I'm dead," a strange calm came over me. I pointed at him and in a slow, "Exorcist-like" growl said, "You just made a major mistake. I'm on my period, I am hungry, I'm really pissed and the only victim here is going to be YOU!"

Let's just say he had a face full of dirt and a nice little bump on his head from the conveniently located potted plant I threw at him at the first step he took toward me. But there's nothing funnier than the sight of a terrified intruder tripping over furniture running away from a short chick throwing flowers. While a clay pot of African Violets lacks the lasting effects of Lily of the Valley---they got the job done!

How do I feel now about that brief transformation into crazy? As Walt said, "I liked it...and I was good at it."

RIP Breaking Bad

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Car Repair Conclusion

Twenty-one days ago, I took my car to the dealership to have a blown head gasket repaired and this odyssey began. I knew my car wouldn't be touched until after the long Labor Day holiday had passed but that was expected. That's just my luck. I chose to believe that a full-grown, college educated woman,  didn't need a father/brother/hubby etc. to act on her behalf in dealing with a mechanic. That's just my ignorance.

I did some pretty intense research online about what fixing a blown head gasket would involve but apparently, I missed ALOT. You see, when I picked up my car, "Bob" gave me the finished work order form that included all of the following:

"1" intake valve
"2" exhaust valve
Radiator inspection
Head resurfacing
Head gasket set
Head bolts
Timing set
Tune-up assessment
Spark plugs
Valve cover set
Oil/filter AND
Oil change

I must admit that nowhere in my research did I discover that fixing a blown head gasket required a tune up and an oil change. My cousin James took his car in for new brakes and all he got were brakes. My cousin Ted needed a new fan belt and all he got was a new fan belt. My Uncle Ray had a blown HEAD GASKET and that's all that was fixed. No tune up, no oil change. Why? Because none of them qualified for the "Little Lady" treatment. What's that?

"Now 'Little Lady,'" Bob explained, "women in are here all the time thinking they know what's wrong with their car but that's for us to decide. We always make sure they get the proper treatment."

Mission accomplished. I'm a lot lighter in the wallet and I've been "treated."

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Car "Repair" 14 Days Later...

For the past twenty years, I've been a registered nurse specializing in intensive care. I've assisted in open-heart surgery, served in ER, run first-aid stations and assisted various accident victims on numerous backroads and interstates. If you've got a medical issue, I'm a good person to have nearby. Unfortunately, this "status" doesn't help at all when the issue is car repair and mechanics. In fact, every conversation I have with them contains a "We'll see," "We'll be in touch," a few "Little Lady's" and a "Sugar" or two.

The research I did before I took my car to "the shop" was for nothing. Knowing and explaining that my car had a blown head gasket got me nothing but a couple of eye rolls when they thought I wasn't looking. I confess, I expected nothing less.

I correctly guessed that taking my car to the shop on August 28th was just a little too close to the Labor Day holiday to expect any service. At the time, my car was the only one they had but I made myself believe that my car was only one in a long line of customers needing repair. I was wrong but what's a girl to do?

The last fourteen days have found me nearly in solitary confinement. The people I have given rides to in the past suddenly were too busy, too far away or too smart to answer their phones when my number appeared on their caller ID. Calls from friends have stopped...the word is out. I've got no wheels. Again, I expected nothing less.

With no wheels, I have been able to catch up on television. The funniest thing I've seen so far is a commercial about a website designed for women who want to buy a car by themselves. The tagline is something like, "I don't need to take a dude with me..." That makes me laugh every time. I shout back at the TV, "Oh yes you do---Little Lady!"  The only thing funnier than a woman taking information from that site to a car dealer would be taking it to an auto repair shop! I know from experience.......

                                                  FOURTEEN DAYS LATER!

Friday, August 30, 2013

The Car "Repair" Saga Continues

On Wednesday I took my car to the dealership and was informed that the "blown head gasket" would cost $400.00 and half would be needed upfront. Put it on my credit card? No problem. "Steve" said he would run my card and the mechanic would get "right on it." Wonderful.
"Call us back on Friday." he said.

Today I called as instructed only to find that:

 1.The card had never been 'run.' (what?)
 2. The mechanic "couldn't possibly start on the car until Tuesday at the earliest." (crap!!)

"I don't understand." I said.
"Well little lady," he said, "it's going to take time and you'll have to pay half up front."
"But you ran my credit card so I could pay half up front."
"Actually, I didn't. But we'll take care of this sometime next week." He hung up the phone. I immediately called back but could only get voicemail. What was going on?

It was at that moment I realized it was Labor Day weekend. This may have started on Wednesday but they had no intention of fixing or even looking at my car that day or the rest of the week. Nothing was going to be done until the end of the holiday---at the earliest.

I spent most of the day mentally beating myself up for believing "Steve" had 'run the card' and the mechanic was 'on it.' How do you NOT run a credit card? Is it like the car salesman who "checks with his manager" who is always "in the back," wastes a little time out of sight, returns to say "it's a done deal" and the customer believes him? Probably. With no father/brother/hubby etc., who'll deal with things like this on my behalf, I'm the perfect fool. My fault.

I always seem to have car issues just before a holiday. Labor Day is no exception. Just my luck, this time it's the holiday that celebrates "work"!

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Women Beware When You Need Car Repairs

My car's temp and engine light began flashing. I added antifreeze but over the course of time, I was adding antifreeze once or twice a week. After going online for information, I made an appointment with a nationally known car repair chain who were going to fix my problem--a blown head gasket. I get to the shop and after I explained to them that no, my husband/boyfriend/brother/uncle etc., weren't with me, the "Boys" took the car and I waited in the lobby.

A hour later, I was called to the desk and informed that my bill would be $519.34! "You see hon, you need the $365.00 water pump package, $65.00 warranty and..." the tech said. But I stopped listening at $365.00.

I drove home, told a friend of mine the story and he recommended a mechanic who did "good work." This man came to my home, I explained about the head gasket but then he started telling me how " women are just helpless with cars." It took him less than an hour to fix the car and only charged me sixty dollars. Really? A blown head gasket fixed for sixty dollars?

Two days later, I found that he hadn't fixed the car at all. The temp and engine lights were back on requiring me to add antifreeze again. The man came back to look at the car but he quickly became so condescending I had to make him leave. There is just so much eye-rolling I'll take!

So what have I learned?

As a woman when I need car repairs (and cannot find any male to accompany me), I'm supposed to turn the car over to a mechanic, pay whatever I'm told and be nice about it. Some businesses even have game plans to get more money in unnecessary repairs from female customers. For example, I was supposed to take the car to the "Boys," blindly trust their 'diagnosis,' buy the water pump package and the warranty, leave the car to be fixed, then return to find THEY had discovered an "unforeseen problem"--a blown head gasket... the reason I took the car to them in the first place.


Tuesday, July 30, 2013

The Johari Window---Our "Panes"

The most fascinating thing I remember from Psych class was the idea of the "Johari Window." It explains an aspect of self-concept and human nature. I believe it shows something that is common to all of us no matter where we live or where we are in life. Rich or poor, Royalty or commoner, think of yourself as a window with the following four panes of glass:

Pane #1: OPEN.
We know ourselves and what we like to show to others. You are just "you."

Pane #2: CLOSED.
This is the part of ourselves we lock away. The past is past--over and done. It's history!

Pane #3: BLIND.
This is what we just cannot see about ourselves that everyone else can. You think you're nice but you come off like a jerk.

Pane #4: HIDDEN
This is what we dare not reveal about ourselves to others out of fear of rejection and/or judgment.  "What if they knew you had...been in jail? a junkie? bouts of depression? etc."

The next time you are in a group, with your friends or alone in a crowd, take a look at all the "windows" around you. Try to imagine who and what you would be OPEN to, CLOSED to, BLIND to and what you feel you'd need to keep HIDDEN from all of them.

Friday, July 19, 2013

COUGAR TROUBLE Pt. 3: "Star Trek Mode"

 I am going into what I call "Star Trek Mode." I'm entering another final frontier where "no one has gone before...to find something positive." Why? Because my son's 26yr old, single mother of three children by two different daddies, roommate, boss, girlfriend is now pregnant with baby #4 by "Daddy #3." Blake is Daddy #3. As far as I'm concerned, the dreams I had for him are gone.

 He won't be going to college (on a full ride) in the fall. He won't be playing soccer for a college team and he won't be pledging a fraternity. He will, however, be joining the fraternity of fatherhood.

All he does anymore is work and as he puts it, "take care of the kids." No eighteen year old boy should be raising other men's children AND preparing for his own. He 'should' be working a summer job, going to baseball games, hanging out with his friends and picking out a dorm in the college of his choice, not being an apprentice father.

I am angry at her for executing this plan for what I have referred to previously as a "manufactured relationship." I am angry at my son for being so irresponsible and I am angry at myself for allowing this to happen. I have analyzed and dissected the 'psychological deficits this woman must have to allow herself to bring children into this world time and time again.' I did the same with my son. 'Did I not provide him enough encouragement, love, opportunity, positive examples or goals? Is he trying to fill some psychological need within himself that came from growing up without a father?' How in the hell can a child spend his entire life with me and grow up to have the exact same easy-going personality of his absent father? Could there be something to that DNA business after all?

While this event has prompted a very adult discussion between my son and myself, I decided to go into "Star Trek mode" and look forward to this new future. They may not have any extra money but I choose to believe it adds to this adventure. My son has a full-time job with benefits so I choose to believe it shows a lot of foresight on his part. Even though at times I have flashes of anger and a few tears, they are private moments that I choose to believe are none of my son's business. My son is very happy and planning to marry this woman so I choose to believe this makes him more of a real man than my father and his own father ever were.

Most of all, while this is not the life I envisioned for my son, in "Star Trek Mode" I choose to believe that everything will be alright.


Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Hello, My Name is Dyane and (apparently) I'm Co-Dependant

     Does anyone remember a time when a character trait or a habit (good or bad) didn't signify you had a psychological condition? Anybody remember when drinking on the weekends didn't mean that you were going to be an alcoholic? When did keeping everything from your or your children's childhood make you a hoarder? When did being punctual and doing the very best you could to keep your word to someone make you "co-dependent"? When did "doing unto others" indicate that you were overly concerned about what others think and you should consider "seeing someone"?
      Tina is a good friend of mine and she's been going to "support groups." Yes, groups. She must've started going only recently because suddenly everything we talk about ends up on the subject of
addiction and conditions. Everyone has one or the other or both.  She has decided that I am "co-dependent." Here's why:

I like to be on time.
If I am supposed to pick someone up, I'll be there ten to fifteen minutes before the agreed time.
I like to listen.
I was taught to treat others the way I want to be treated.

      Tina decided that since I am reliable/dependable, I have a deep-seated need to be liked/loved. I became a nurse because I "can't deal with my own problems so I deal with everyone else's." I arrive a little bit before a designated time because I want to 'go the extra mile' so people will love me. I like to listen instead of talk--because I don't want anyone to know 'the real me.' I try to follow the Golden Rule because I think that "cosmically, the universe will reward me." Meanwhile, my friend is "co-dependent," an "overeater," a "compulsive gambler" and a "social media addict." BUT...
       In all the years I have known her, Tina has never had any kind of weight problem. She has never placed a bet, played the lottery or bought a 'scratch-off.'  As for social media addiction, this girl only recently bought a cell phone! She's not on Facebook, Twitter or any of the millions of sites that exist in cyberspace. Truth is, she is a very nice person who has broken up with her boyfriend, gets a bit sad from time to time and has a habit of seeing problems where there are none. That's right, she's just a normal person looking for a syndrome. Know anyone like that?

                                Title Correction: Hello, My name is Dyane and I'm NORMAL.

                                                               You're NORMAL too!!!!

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

The Other Side of Father's Day

I was getting my report from the previous shift at the hospital. I worked in Coronary Observation. I previously had rooms C100-104 but on this day, I was assigned rooms C100-103 then C119. That last room was all the way at the end of the opposing hall. Why would my charge nurse give me that room?

I enter room C119, gave my little nurse's introduction and then proceed to examine the patient. He didn't seem too receptive to me. Flat affect as far as I was concerned. The man HAD had a heart attack for God's sake. What did I expect?

I took his pulse, temperature and blood pressure and then I noticed the man's name. Leon C. Cox. It flashed in my mind that this name was "supposedly" my father's name. My next thought was, "this could be my father and never know it!" But how would I know? How would I know for certain?

I completed my nursing assessment and then headed to the nurse's station. Could this man actually be my father? After twenty-nine years, is THIS how I discover who my father is?

All the information I would ever need was in his chart. Before I looked in his chart I thought to myself...What do I KNOW about my father? What had I overheard about him throughout the years? Well, he was an electrician, he lived in Maynardville, TN., his middle initial was "C" AND he was married to a woman named "Pearlie." How many men would fit that description?

 I opened his chart and every detail I just told you was there. He was my father.

My charge nurse interrupted my thoughts and asked, "Is everything alright? You look like you've seen a ghost?"
   "I haven't seen a ghost," I said, " but my father is laying down there in room C119!"
"Oh my God!" she said, "You've never seen him before?"
"No I haven't. Not until just now."
 "Well, you can't tell him who you are." she said. "The hospital would be liable if you go in there and tell him who you are. He could have another heart attack."

Really? I just discovered that a patient of mine is my biological father and my charge nurse is worried about a lawsuit?

I grew up without a mother or a father. As a kid, I decided that I was going to make something out of myself  so when I got old--at thirty--I'd find my father and show him what HE missed. I was two months away from my thirtieth birthday and BAM! My father is one of my patients!

I went back down to his room, walked in and said, "Mr. Cox, we have alot in common." After a couple of beats I added, "we are both from Maynardville."
He looked straight ahead at the bare room's wall and said, "Yeah."
"Do you know Lara Roberts or her sister Allie Wayne?"
"Yeah. " he said never taking his eyes off the wall.
"Allie Wayne is my mother."
"Yeah." he said with no emotion.
"It's been interesting meeting you." I said.

 I walked out of his room and to the nurse's station. "If the man in C119," I said to my co-workers, " calls out, needs a medication, a drink, a straw---ANYTHING--don't bother me with it."
"Is he a difficult patient?" another nurse asked.
"No, he's my father."

This was too much of a soap opera for me to handle. I traded him to another nurse and would return to my original end of the unit: C100-104.
The next day, he had been discharged, he was gone. Gone forever.

 At one time or another, every nurse I worked with on that unit came up with a reason to go in his room to see if we looked alike. Why not? This was a juicy story, right? How many nurses stumble upon the father who abandoned her twenty-nine years ago?

I never saw him again. I just meant nothing to him.

I made myself feel better by telling myself that it must've been terrifying for a man who'd had a heart attack to realize that his nurse was the daughter he had abandoned. How would she treat his life when he hadn't acknowledged hers at all?

He died four months later without ever trying to get in touch with me.

So as usual, I won't be celebrating Father's Day on Sunday. People say you can't miss what you never had but you can. I did. I missed the safety and security a father's love gives a female child. I missed the force who'd give me that safe place to fall.  I missed that love. A father's love.

Don't miss that love this Father's Day.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

COUGAR TROUBLE Pt. 2: The Manufactured Relationship

     Since the last time I wrote on this subject, life has changed immensely. After eighteen years under my roof, my son, Blake, is now under the one "Boss Lady" shares with her three children. I hate it. This is not the life I had envisioned for my son at all. I wanted him to graduate from high school, keep working, go to college, meet a nice girl, date her, bring her home to meet me, try to win me over, change my mind about her, marry, give me grandchildren and live happily ever after. What could be better? I know we can't help who we love but that doesn't apply here. My son is just the object in a manufactured relationship.
      As a woman, I know all about manufactured relationships. I know how manufactured relationships are done and have had a few myself. The principle is to evaluate the viable candidates and then choose the best one. I have cut a guy or two from the herd at my place of employment and then proceeded to "get him to like me." You know, gush to whoever will listen about how cute 'he' is, spend a little too much time trying to "accidentally" run into him in the hallway or in the parking lot, making up things to talk to him about and evaluating every glance, look, word, etc. to convince myself that we were "meant to be." While it can be done with any man if you try hard enough, younger men are always easier to get. That is exactly what Boss Lady did. She got a roommate out of it. Unfortunately, these relationships start falling apart when the woman discovers that while she was trying to get the guy to like her--she never really decided that she liked him.
     It was bad enough that he was at her house after work when he was telling me he was with a friend but then he purposely picked a fight with me so he could declare, "I'm going to live with Sara!"
Not the best way to tell your mother your plans, huh? That's exactly what I'd expect from a guy my son's age. I get it. I hate it but I get it. I was just not ready to let him go and I certainly wasn't ready to turn him over to another woman...not this woman...not a twenty-six year old mother of three. Not yet. Now yet. Hell, not ever!

Monday, May 20, 2013



     Blake, my eighteen year old high school senior son, got a part-time job after school in January of this year. Flexible hours. Money in the pockets. What could be better? Pretty soon, he was going to and from work with his friend "Sara."  Another kid from his high school was working there, too. They were dating?.. intimate? Maybe. Got to be realistic. Horrifying thought for any mother.
     One night a very sexy message was sent "accidentally" to my phone. It was from Sara. I showed it to him the next morning as he was getting ready for school, he just rolled his eyes. High school girls are bold these days, huh?
    Two days later, Sara called to tell me what a great employee Blake is and apologize for that text.she had sent. Sara is no teenager. She is my son's boss!
     Sara is a twenty-six year old, single-mother of three children who are all under the age of six. Two boys by one father and a girl by another man. That's just a fact, not a judgment. Things happen. She is however, known to "pursue the new guy" at work. Blake was just the latest. By the way, that text was sent to me on purpose.
     Blake and his date went to the prom two weeks ago. Sara called me to find out where 'they' were and said, "If you'll give me his date's cell number, I'll call and find out where they are--for YOU." What?
     Friday night was graduation and Sara shows up with her two little boys, moves people around, in and out of their seats so she could sit in the ONE available seat next to me. Three people in one seat. During the ceremony the youngest became uncomfortable, began to cry so Sara moved everyone around again and spent the rest of the evening watching from the hallway.
     I tell myself Blake is eighteen, has a job and is responsible. He'll get over this, It's just a phase. He's flattered by the attention etc.. I do, however, have the occasional vision of Blake with Baby #4 as Daddy #3 or Sara sneaking into our house and boiling Blake's dog, Rascal! (He doesn't have a rabbit.)

                                                    I'll let you know what happens.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Value YOUR Mother

Mom and I were inseparable for the first nine months but we split one day and went our separate ways! That's the joke I like to make to explain away the fact that my mother was absent from most of my life. It's easier to take when I make a joke about it.

She was one of those free-love 60's kind of gals who chased after drugs, the latest political cause and men. "Make love not war" was the slogan of the day but she forgot the rest of it..."and be prepared for BOTH." That's how I got here. I was an inconvenience she had to dump and dash. She left me with her mother.

 She'd breeze in and out of my life as the years passed. In a previous entry, I wrote of her sex talk. "All men want to do is stick their..." That's Mom. No boundaries, no filters and no idea how to talk to her child. No desire to, either.

So when Mother's Day rolls around, she expects me to take her out, give her a gift and listen to her gripe about how SHE should've been the one to go to college, get a degree and have a career...not me.
I play along and rationalize in my head that doing this crap will get me a place in Heaven! Gotta have a sense of humor about it, right?

Her absence spoke louder than words. From it, I learned that we are all meant to be here. Love yourself. Admire yourself. Forgive yourself.  Value family. Always be there for your child. Teach what you know. Learn what you can. Get silly. Get that blessing. Get that college education. Get that career. Get that heart's desire. Get hurt. Get rest. Get relief. Get back up. Get an attitude. Get that life you are meant to have. No matter what it is GET IT.

If you were blessed with a loving mother, take today and let her know. Admittedly, I envy those who do.                                                      

                                                            Happy Mother's Day

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Some Refs Really DO Suck!

     I used to believe that sports fans who complained about calls made by referees were sore losers making excuses for a team loss. After the soccer game I saw tonight, I must admit I was wrong! Sure, sure, "it's just soccer" but along with the rest of the world, there are young American men and women who are as in love with that sport as most of us are in basketball or football. Apparently, a lot of the referees could care less about high school soccer games and really aren't interested in setting a good example or enforcing actual rules for these kids...they just want to get paid. If I didn't have to answer to a boss or get periodic evaluations, I'd do the least I had to do, also!
     Tonight two local high schools met for a regular season soccer game. During warm-ups, the field ref was heard saying to one player from the visiting team, "You hicks won't win tonight." As usual, I thought the ref must know that player personally and was just joking. Still, it was a strange thing for a ref to say, right?
     The first half was pretty exciting and the opposing team was up 2 to 0. Though quite spirited, nobody in the crowd booed, argued calls or got the least bit out of hand. In fact, there were hardly any calls at all. The second half was completely different.
     That same field ref gave red cards to two of the opposing team players almost immediately for quote, "Kicking the ball out of bounds on purpose," unquote. Really?  A couple minutes later, a home team player grabbed the jersey of an opposing player, tearing it and knocking that player to the ground. Somehow, the player on the ground was given a yellow card. Really? The astonishing thing about that was the father of the offending player started yelling at the ref for NOT calling a foul on his own son.
      The opposing team scored three more times but two were disallowed because the field ref "overruled" the other ref. The home team scored five times even though two hit the crossbar and didn't cross the scoring line. Once again, the field ref overruled and those goals were awarded. At the end of the game and ten minutes of extra time, the score was 5-3 home team.
      I have never seen a victorious home team crowd so upset. I have never seen a crowd yell at a ref for so many legitimate reasons. I have never seen high school kids realize that a ref actual was calling the game against them.
      Refs are human, I get it. They get harassed most of the time. It's a thankless job I suppose but grown men shouldn't blatantly show their prejudice against players or teams. The opposing team tonight was a small school from a small town but for a ref to refer to their players as"you hicks" is disgraceful. The entire second half was disgraceful but the ref accomplished his "own goal" by ensuring the opposing team lost. Like I said, "Some refs really DO suck." I stand corrected.

Saturday, April 6, 2013

My NCAA Men's Basketball Championship Story

It was the night of the Michigan vs. North Carolina title game. 1993. My mother is from Detroit and the Fab Five were my guys. I was confident in my Wolverines so it was "bring on the Tar Heels!"

Growing up in a family of guys teaches you a lot about sports and I was ready. As luck  would have it, I received an invitation to a party an hour before the game's broadcast. I decided to go to the party. Nothing dramatic was going to happen that night anyway. Michigan would win, I would watch the replay on TV and Life would be grand. Well.........

After much exhaustive research, the minute Chris Webber called that famous 'time-out' in the game, was the exact minute I was meeting "the one" at the party. Long story short, our son was born in December of 1994.

Our son grew up hearing about the night his parents met. "Mom, if you had been a real sports fan," he says, "I wouldn't be here." He is right! If I had stayed home and watched the game that night, there would be one less Wolverine in the world.

When our son was ten years old, Dad and I found the "Chris Webber game" on ESPN Classic and the three of us watched it in its entirety for the very first time. Now our son is eighteen years old and the Wolverines have the chance to go to the title game again. That is why we came to Atlanta. It's a family affair.  All three of us in the arena to see Michigan play for a chance at another national championship game: Mommy, Daddy and "Christopher." Bring on the Orangemen!