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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...

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?