Tuesday, April 30, 2013


Since I was an English Major in college, I took several Creative Writing Classes, as you might imagine.  The focus of this particular class was writing short stories that were true (aka non-fiction).  The class would break up into small groups of three or four, and read/critique each other's work.  I remember ONE of those stories twenty years later.  I can recall it in fairly accurate detail.  Let me share the bare bones of the story with you...

It is the story of an 11 year old girl who wants so much to grow up.  She wants to do grown-up things.  She has been yearning for the day when she can shave her legs with the razor that she has seen her mother use.  She knows how to do it.  It is merely squirting out the foam and then gliding that razor up the leg in precise movements.  Until all of the foam and hair is gone.  That act will define her as a woman.  She will leave the hair and childish things behind  her.  Today is the day.  She is finally squirting the foam and using her mother's razor to strip away childhood.  This day isn't the way she planned it.  There is none of the joy that she expected to feel.  None of the freedom.  There is no song in her soul.  After the act is done, she puts on the black dress hanging on the back of the door, and joins her father.  Today is her mother's funeral.  After they come home, her father surprises her with a kitten.  He knows that today was a difficult one.  She nuzzles the new friend to her chest and decides to name her Zoe, meaning Life.  The end.

I was crying by the end of that piece, which was actually several pages in length.  I had nothing for it by way of critique.  It was wonderful.  Until that story, I had never even thought about the impact of a non-fictional short story.  After that, I did.  I knew that a short story of no more than two pages, if it was well written could pull a punch.  It could land one right in the gut.  The fact that I remember that story is a testament to its power.

Will I ever write anything, long or short, that impacts a person the way that story did me?  I don't know.  However, this blog is me exercising my writing muscle so that it doesn't get flabby.  I might not knock out gems here every day, but I try to write *something* every few days just to stay toned.  That way when I jump back into the Writing Game of Life I will be ready.  Thank you Christine (the writer of the awesome paper) for the inspiration.  Thank you, too, Zoe!

Rating: Life Lesson

Who has inspired you to be a better writer?  What stories do you still remember twenty years later? 

Monday, April 29, 2013


My theme for this challenge is Passions, Phases, and/or Life Lessons.

Yesterday I talked about how migraines can X Out your life.

Today I want to talk about the Power of Yes.  When you are being X'd Out, you find yourself saying Maybe a lot.  After a time, maybe turns into No.  Eventually friends stop asking altogether.  They know your situation.  Doors start closing instead of opening.

I have a wonderful blog friend who has been on many adventures.  He has lived an extremely full life.  He has also been very willing to pack up and go, with his wife, on a dime when a new opportunity has knocked on the door.  In other words, he has always lived with "Yes" on his tongue and in his heart.  He has traveled the globe, met more interesting people, and done Fantastic things.

Before Migraines stopped me in my tracks, I was "Yes" person, too.  Adventure comes to the person who is ready to seize it.  Love comes to the person who is ready to embrace it.  Once you decide that you are ready to be a "Yes" person, step back and watch your life change.   I believe that once we begin to invite good things into our lives, we will be amazed at how many good things there actually are... that we were missing out on.  In fact, we might find ourselves having to evaluate and sift through this bevy of riches, much like a child in a candy store, who only has a dollar, and there are twenty dollars worth of candies that he/she would like to buy.  Fortunately, the candy will still be there tomorrow, so it is simply deciding what do I want to bring into my life today. Next week.  Next month.  I know I am going to say Yes eventually.  Why?  Because I know how wonderful it is and I now always want More. 

I am not going back to Maybe and No.

Rating: Life Lesson

Are you living the Power of Yes?  Sometimes?  All the time?  Not enough?  Would you like to be living the Power of Yes more often?  In all of the areas of your life and not just some of them?  Would you like your life to bloom and become an adventure because your heart is open and saying "Yes?"

Saturday, April 27, 2013


I have dedicated many a post to migraines over the years.  One of the things that migraines will do is X Out your life.  I have no doubt that other Chronic Illnesses do the same, but Chronic Migraines are my Biggest Offender, so they are the Illness that I am going to speak to right now.

When that commercial comes on the TV asking if you have 15 or more headache days in a month, I always sigh.  It says that if you do, you are suffering from Chronic Migraine.  And you should see your doctor because you shouldn't have to life with a Maybe Life.  Well, I have been in many a doctor's care for the last ten years, and I know all about the Maybe Life.  Let me tell you: it sucks.

It actually X's out your life.  Someone with a Chronic Migraine cannot commit to doing anything in advance because they don't know what their migraine will be like on any given day.  If you know you are going to have a migraine every day (I do), it is always a matter of severity.  Even taking pain killers only does so much to take the edge off of a bad migraine.  Hence, you are always living a Maybe Life.  Or, to put it another way, I feel like my life has been on Indefinite Hold for the last ten years.  However, to be more accurate, it really has just been X'd Out.  Wasted.  Gone.  Flushed.  The best years of my life lost to a Maybe Life.

So, it was Pretty Darn Awesome when we moved back to Florida and I saw my new doctor for the first time.  She had a diagnosis for my migraines and a treatment plan.  She X'd Out all of my pain medication first thing.  I have to admit that I was nervous about this plan.  I had been subsisting on prescription and over-the-counter pain meds for the last ten years.  EXcedrin being the only one that is even remotely effective, if you are curious... She swapped out the pain medication for Phenergan, which is used to primarily treat nausea.  The first four days were awful, terrible, miserable, but then everything settled down to the way it had been.  If I took the Phenergan round the clock, I felt just as I did taking the pain medication round the clock.  Who knew?

I also began to follow the rest of her treatment plan.  I started seeing the therapist she suggested for tapping.  That kind of therapy was completely new to me.  Using tapping, the emotional trauma is released from the body.  It is amazing all of the things that we keep locked inside that make us physically ill.  I knew that was working when I no longer had an emotional reaction to "old junk."  Additionally, I switched up my diet.  More vegetables, more protein, less carbohydrates, no sugar, more water, absolutely no processed foods, and multi-grains were my new menu.  When I combined all of these changes, it made a HUGE difference.

My doctor has since added a few supplements to make up for some genetic deficits.  She wants to eventually get me off of every prescription that I am on as I get healthier.  She believes  my body will be able to restore all of the imbalances in my own system, going so far as to return even my antibodies that are autoimmune back to a normal state.  In other words, my body can heal itself and X Out all of the things that have in the past X'd Out My Life.  I have always believed that there was an Answer out there.  I never stopped looking for someone who would help me get on this Road To Wellness.  After ten years, my perseverance has been rewarded.

Never Give Up.  Always fight for your life.  Don't allow yourself to be X'd Out.

Rating: Life Lesson

Have you ever had to fight for anything even though the battle was long and failure seemed likely?  Have you ever felt you were being X'd Out by someone or something?  Has a hardship in your life ever tested your faith or your endurance?  

Friday, April 26, 2013


Yeah, you really have to watch the video.  I know it might not be your cuppa tea in terms of music style.  However, I also know you can suck it up for a few minutes.  If you don't watch it, the rest of this blog won't make sense.  This one is about Life Lessons.  Actually one of the Most Important things I have written in this entire challenge.  This is not a fluff piece on euchre, umbrellas, movies, a TV show, or even a great book I  read.  So, did you watch it?

Anyone who has ever been in an abusive relationship will actually look back and see a pattern of abuse.  That last abusive relationship is probably just the WORST relationship.  Or maybe just the most recent.  This song will ring like a Battle Cry for every person who has ever survived an abusive relationship.  Until the next time.

Did you get the part about patterns? 

Until you figure out the pattern, you have NO HOPE of stopping the pattern.  Until you understand that you are attracted to abusive personalities, you have no hope of stopping the pattern.  Until you understand what it is about that abusive personality that you are attracted to, you have no hope of changing anything.  You will stick with that person until you scream, "No more."  Then, there will be some Down Time until another Abusive Person steps into your life and the entire Scene rolls again. 

You will never change the Abusive Person.  Obviously.  The person who needs changing here is YOU.  If you are attracted to Abusive People, YOU need to figure out what is going on so that you can break this pattern. 

I knew that after several abusive relationships that I was in a Pattern.  I knew that I had to figure it out.  It wasn't a coincidence that every long-term relationship I'd ever had was Not Good.  There was some sort of emotional or verbal abuse in all of them.  The last boyfriend introduced the" joys" of being with a liar, cheater, and someone who would steal from you (on top of all of the other qualities I had already experienced).  I was already laden with a chronic migraine, so I knew that the stress of that relationship Was Not Helping.  It still took me YEARS to untangle myself from that Nightmare. 

I dated a Pretty Nice Guy after him.  There was zero chemistry there.  It is only now, with my current therapist, that I understand that he was not messed up enough for me.  Had he been a Hot Mess (and I don't mean this in a good way), I would have jumped back in.  He had potential.  He was rather aloof and emotionally not a "sharer."  However, that was not enough to hook me.  I needed someone who needed major rescuing or was constantly in and out.  Meaning he really loved me one day, but was then not into me at all.  You know... someone who could really wreck me emotionally.   This guy was simply pleasant.  My mom liked him a lot.

Now I understand that the dynamics in my family were not good. ::understatement::   My grandfather was a verbal and emotional abuser.  My dad tended to withhold affection from my mom, but never from my brother or I.  My dad's extended family were big believers in divorce and didn't take any junk from anyone.  All of the women just divorced their  husbands if they were liars, cheaters, abusers, or unpleasant people.  My great-grandmother divorced 5 times.  My grandmother divorced 5 times.  My aunt divorced 3 times.  Then she started living with men and kicking them to the curb.  Now, let's swing over to my mom's side of the family where it is a totally different story.  My mom's side of the family was filled with tales of abuse all the way around.  Every woman on my grandma's side was being verbally or physically abused by their husbands, and possibly their grown sons. However, No One Left.  It was a major dichotomy that I couldn't wrap my brain around. 

This is important; my parents each married someone just as screwed up as they were.   (In other words, both of my parents were the products of an abusive/dysfunctional household.)  However, they picked someone from the opposite end of the spectrum in terms of the "crazy."  My dad vehemently didn't believe in divorce and remarriage (after watching his side of the family), but this also caused him to be emotionally withdrawn.  My mother simply didn't want to marry a verbal abuser like her father.  She went to the other end and got someone so far out that he couldn't give her anything.   With these role models,  I involved myself with men like my grandfather, trying to resolve that relationship, or withholders of love, like my dad to mom, every single time.  Or possibly a combo of the two. 

People who are in abusive relationships are almost always trying to fix another relationship with a family member that is Unfixable.  The relationship with my Grandfather: Unfixable.  He passed away a long time ago, but even if he were still living, I could not make him suddenly become not emotionally or verbally abusive.  He was that way his entire life.  The relationship between my mom and dad: Unfixable.  I could not make my father become more emotionally available to my mother.   So, my pattern has been to get involved with people just like my grandfather, and father, to heal things that can never be healed.  It is the hamster on the wheel scenario.  The healthy person figures this out and decides to get off.  The unhealthy person never figures this out and relives this pattern the entirety of their life.

I am now on a quest to get me right.  I will know when I am there.  I will actually be attracted to the Right Guy from the start.  The one with all of the issues will no longer be the one who draws me like a Magnet.  So, I won't have to sing Wrong Song like a Battle Cry every few years into my relationship.  I will start choosing better because I will have taken the time to fix ME.

Rating: Life Lesson(s)

Have you ever been in an abusive relationship?  More than one?  Have you ever stopped to reflect on the pattern?  Has this post made you think about changing you so that you change the kind of person to whom you are attracted?  If you have never been in an abusive relationship, do you know anyone who has, and does this information help you understand abuse at all?

Thursday, April 25, 2013


the view from The Plaza: The Las Vegas Club
 The Opposite Corner is The Golden Gate Hotel and Casino

Straight down the Middle is Fremont Street (gorgeous at night)

Remember my "E" post (yes, I know that was a lot of letters back) on euchre?  My parents were avid card players.  My dad really liked to play poker.  That was not a game that he taught to me, but that feeling that he had about Las Vegas must have been something that I picked  up on, because I vividly can recall saying as a teenager that "Dad and I are going to Vegas when I grow up."  Did my dad talk a lot about Vegas?  Not that I remember.  However, there must have been a feeling in the air about it.  I knew that he wanted to go.  And even though I had never gambled in my life, I wanted to go, too.

After I graduated college and started working, my dad acted on his own desire.  He started  to go on local casino trips.  He then started a Casino Tour Group with his brother and another partner.  He enjoyed that for many years.  He even went to Vegas several times (without me).  However, it didn't really fill that Vegas need that he had.  So, he moved there.  Yep.  He left Ohio and moved to Vegas.  Even I was shocked.  I was living in Georgia, or maybe Florida, by this time.  (It's so hard to keep up....)

Eventually, my mom and I did go to Vegas while my dad was still living out there, so I did get to spend time with my dad in Vegas.  In a strange way that edict that I made as a teenager was fulfilled.  More specifically, I actually went to Vegas with both of my parents, despite the fact that  they were divorced.  It wasn't the trip with my dad that I had planned in my head, but it sure was fun.  And they got along much better divorced than they ever did married, so we all had a great time.

Both of my parents have always been conservative gamblers and so am I.  I love it like crazy, but my dad taught me to never take more than you can afford to lose.  Ironically, our family is pretty lucky overall, and since we play it so cool, we tend to come out even or ahead in these matters.  However, gambling was something that my brother *used to say* that he would never do.  In fact, I can clearly recall him saying that gambling is the same thing as flushing your money down the toilet.  Mom and I just looked at each other.  (How was this possible?  Dad loved to gamble.  She loves to gamble.  I love to gamble.  Aaaahhh.  Lightbulb moment: he just hadn't tried it yet.)  Needless to say, once he visited my dad in Vegas, it was all over but the taking it back.  My brother now loves the Casino.  And Vegas.  So much so that he bought a Timeshare there.  That was something else that he would Never.Ever.Do, because it was throwing your money away.  

The takeaway: never say never.   The other takeaway: don't take your debit card to Vegas.  Only lose what you are prepared to lose.  And if you win or break even, you are one lucky duck.  

 On a more personal note, you simply don't know how much time you will get with people.  If I hadn't made that trip out to Vegas with mom when I did, I never would have gotten to fulfill my "Vegas trip with dad desire."  It wasn't long after this trip that he decided to move back to Ohio.  Shortly after that move he was diagnosed with Stage 4 Cancer, and passed away.  Life is short.  Take advantage of the opportunities when they come.  Seize the day.  Viva Las Vegas!

Rating: Passion, with some Life Lessons thrown in...

Have you ever been to Las Vegas?  Any other Casinos?  Did you love it or hate it? Have you ever been thankful that you seized an opportunity when you did or filled with regret that you missed one?

Wednesday, April 24, 2013


image found on www.weheartit.com

When I was in high school my Umbrella Loss Rate increased dramatically.  In fact, it got so high that I started getting them four and five at a time for Christmas.  My mom stocked up and then goofed me at the holidays every year.  It would have been funny had it not been so Necessary.  By the time December rolled around, I was all out or down to the sorriest umbrella that I owned.  There is always one that you can't seem to lose no matter how hard you try.  It's the one that has broken spokes, flips inside out in a good wind, and/or might not even fully extend anymore, so it's handle reach is half what it once was.  Yep.  I have lived with a combination of all these scenarios.

What happened in high school?  Well, it was spread out much like a college campus.  So, when I changed classes, I left the building and went outside every time.  I remembered the umbrella if it rained all day.  However, if it stopped at any given time, I could very easily leave my umbrella under my desk, and not be able to recall where I left it at the end of the day (if I remembered at all).  Sooo... at the end of the school year, I easily went through four or five umbrellas.  However, I never managed to lose the Loser Umbrellas.  Go figure. 

I had quite a collection of umbrellas that didn't work well at all.

My trend with umbrellas didn't improve remotely in college.  At Christmas I was still receiving my Umbrella Stipend with enormous thanks.  Honestly, I could have used about three or four more, or maybe a system of rubber-banding my leg to the chair so that I would remember my umbrella.  I don't know.  The only thing I do know is that my current system Was Not Working.

My junior year we had a late fall rain and I was down to the Loser Umbrella Stack.  Christmas couldn't get here fast enough.  I surveyed the options and they were not good.  I had a flower umbrella that only opened halfway (major pain) and a blue umbrella with half of its spokes broken (but it opened all the way).  It also had a tendency to flip inside out in a brisk wind, but that was easier than trying to huddle under an umbrella that was just too darn short.  I went for the blue one.  I made it to class getting only mildly wet.  It was still raining after class, so the umbrella and I trudged out.  As I passed this cute boy whom I'd never seen before, he says, "What happened to you, a big rock fall on one side of your umbrella?"

Oh Lord Have Mercy.  My face flamed so red I thought I would pass out.  I just walked faster and pretended I hadn't heard him.  Dratted umbrella.  Christmas couldn't come soon enough.

Rating: Phase.... though I currently don't have a Working Umbrella.... Hmmmm.  Maybe there is a Life Lesson in here somewhere????

Have you had similar issues with umbrellas? Have you gone through phases of losing certain items?  Are there any other things that you constantly need to replace right now?  Do you misplace them? Break them?  What is your experience?

Tuesday, April 23, 2013


My ex-husband loves to go to concerts.  I cannot tell you how many concerts that I went to when we were married.  I liked concerts well enough before my constant migraine started.  After that, not so much.  However, he was not to be deterred.  One of the many bands that we saw in our Tour De Force of concert-going was Train.  I had never heard of this band, and I wasn't excited about the event.  The only good thing about this concert, in my mind, was that we didn't have to travel to see them.  They were playing right in our town.  That was a Big Win.  Now, this was everything I thought BEFORE the concert.

The year was 2003, and they were playing at an outdoor venue.  This was excellent news for my migraine.  They recently released My Private Nation and were touring for that album.  Little did I know that I was about to be WOWED.  I loved this band.  I bought a T-Shirt before I left.  The ex-husband did not.  I started buying their CDs.  The ex-husband did not. 

The ex-husband did continue to buy concert tickets for other bands at all sorts of locations, so I saw Train again.  This time they were with Smashmouth and Natalie Merchant.  The venue was indoors and they were still awesome.  I only liked them more, because this time I knew more of their songs (thanks to the CDs).  Pat Monahan is amazing in concert.  He has this ability to relate to the audience that is rare.  He is a funny, funny man.  Yet, he can be serious, too.  He can literally wring every emotion out of you in one musical outing.

Like many people, I feared that Train was done when they disbanded after For Me, It's You.  However, they pulled it together and made Save Me, San Francisco.  They toured on that record for a LONG time while they decided where to go from here.  Their most recent album, California 37 is one of their best.  Each track has legs and can stand on its own merit.  In that way it reminds me of the much-loved My Private Nation, which I about wore the grooves off of back in 2003-2004. 

Here's to you, Train, and your successful comeback.  This is one of my favorite songs off of My Private Nation.  It was never released on the radio, but this video shows Pat Monahan's wonderful "presence" in concert.  You save me, and I will save the day!

Rating: Passion

What is your favorite Train song? Have you ever seen them in concert? Have you ever gone to a concert and been taken surprise by a band or singer?  Either liked them much better or not as well as you thought you would?  Have you ever gone to a concert that had a group/singer you didn't even know and you liked them so much you started buying their CDs or even bought a concert Tee?