Wednesday, November 12, 2014

My friend died today

We were eleven when we first met. She had these big, beautiful breasts and we all wanted to hate her for them...except she was beautiful and kind and her dimples went on for miles.

So she became our friend.

These are some of my random memories of my dear friend...we were little then:

bike rides through the MetroParks. I know exactly where we hid our bikes and wandered off to sun on the rocks. I have this one picture that takes my breath away from then...

We pierced each other's ears. Mine hers and her mine, We were stupid.

Her then step dad introduced us to egg-drop soup: Campbell Noodles chicken soup with an egg cooked into it: who knew!

She gave me a button down FORENZA shirt that i still wear to bed to this day.

she gave me a blue silk nightgown i somehow lost track of over the years

we used to listen to U2 ALL.THE.TIME. (and sometimes REM). Bullet the Blue Sky, Helter Skelter, Where the Streets Have No Name, With or Without you...we listed to these songs (and more) for hours.

We used to read the exact same books at the exact same time. mostly Stephen King and Anne Rice. we'd get so excited and so lost in the story. The Talisman will forever hold a place in my heart...we'd jump up and down on our beds so excited to talk about where the book was going!

I'd rub her back and she'd rub mine...for hours,

I watched my beautiful friend bear a child. I fought the battle of mental illness and drug and alcohol with her and, as is life, i lost track of her along the way.

there are 100 million more stories but today i focus on what i have to give, now.

seriously. 10+ years since we last knew her, she fell into our laps. I played big girl and called her last Thrs (less than a week ago) and talked with her. I went this past Saturday with my lifelong friend's mom (I could not go alone), I hugged her, kissed, her, told her i loved her.

I made plans with my parents to see her this Saturday and hopefully start reading to her,

it's so weird that life goes on but, it does.

today i remember my friend and all of the secrets and hiding places and everything else we had...including our fistfight.

i love you friend. i am overwhelmed with memory and emotion. i miss you, i just re-visited your message to remain poetic. i lost way some but will come back around.

poetry is not hard when you're surrounded by such beauty.

you are missed. i am sorry we missed out on so may years.
i am  sorry cancer killed you.
know that you were sought after and loved, always.

Good-bye Lauren
I love you forever.
Leah

Monday, May 12, 2014

There's a racist amongst us

It's one of those things you try to ignore, because believing it is true is too hard.

Comments like "monkey" talking about black sports players. Hints and tips here and there that someone "in your circle" might actually be racist. A real, hate-mongering racist. 

Because of their stance in your life there's not a whole lot you say or do.

Until they say words like "Nigger" and "Spics" and "A-Rabs" (emphasis on the "A").

It actually makes you feel like you're in the twilight zone when it hits you that this person might actually be a racist. And then, they just declare it. They just out and out say: "I'm a racist." 

And...wait, what?! Did that just happen? 
And it did...

So, all you can do is leave. 

There's no arguing with ignorance. 
You strap on your strength to not try and fight with ignorance and you leave.

And then you're eternally sad. 

Sad for the influence this person has on people in your life. 
Sad for this person for being so smart and so ignorant. 
Sad over the worry they might teach hate and racism to a future generation. 

And you realize, sadly that your relationship with several people just changed forever.

There's no time for ignorance and hate today. There just isn't.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Happy New Year 2014

It’s another new year…and I’ll take it!

So, in the tune of well-wishing and good luck wishes for the New Year:

First, what I do not wish:
I do not wish for you a perfect life…I like you more than that!

I wish for you happiness and gratefulness and perspective.

For all of these wishes to come true; I wish for you a life and a world that offers enough trials and tribulations to keep you honest and true and hard-working and grateful.

I wish for you a kind heart so you help strangers…be it folks who need a meal, animals who need a foster home or a family member or friend (or any relationship) that needs a little more understanding and possibly a bit of forgiveness.

I wish for you patience as you realize the steps mentioned before often don’t happen just the way we want. Be patient and keep trying.

I wish for you income and a home and a way to feed, bathe and clothe yourself and yours. I wish for you true appreciation of the SO much more so many of us are lucky to have, above and beyond these few treasures mentioned here.

I wish for you an appreciation of a life without drama. I wish for you the strength to drive those from your life that bring drama to your doorstep. Be that strong. Drama thrives on attention; give it none.

I wish for you the time you need to remain calm when life throws a wrench your way. I wish for you the ability to breathe, focus and know that in the end, it will be ok.

I wish for you a relationship/partnership/marriage (or whatever it is that you want) that makes you happy. Not one that fills the day, not one that you just happen to be used to, not one that is easier to stay in than get away from so now you’re stuck. I wish you a partner that makes you truly happy and a life and circumstance with your partner that makes your truly happy.

I wish for you the time and inclination to reflect on the above and make appropriate changes in your life if you need to; I really do.

I wish for you so many little things:
Happy days, warm sunshine, laughter that makes your face hurt and your belly ache, walks with pooches, kitten purrs, beach-glass hunting.  
A brisk walk in a blowing snow, a good glass of wine in front of a roaring fire and toes nestled in fresh grass or sand on a beach.
A bird, with giant wings floating on the sky that you just happen to catch a glimpse of.
At least a couple times where you can sleep in.
Drinks with friends when you need them: good coffee, warm tea or a ton of booze: whatever the situation calls for!
A good meal – one you prepare for others and ones that get prepared for you.
A good book to read, music you can dance to and the ability to enjoy both.

I wish so many wonderful things for all of us.
I don’t believe in resolutions but I enjoy the freshness of a new year and the hope that since the year is new, it holds promise for us all.

My last wish is that you realize what promise lies within you and that now; above any other time, now is the time to grab hold, bust loose, hunker down or kick-ass…whatever it takes to make this the very best life for you.


Cheers friends.

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Must everyone be an "expert" on PPACA?

I'm betting some of the "experts" out there don't even know what PPACA stands for and initially have no idea what this post is about.
I shall tell you - it's all about the oh-so-many of folks out there that are now experts on "Obamacare" and health insurance in general.
I worked in the healthcare industry for 18 years. I know about health insurance. I have managed two small businesses, I know about group insurance premiums. I have an individual health plan, I know about individual health plans. I know what an HSA is, I know how a FSA works and I know many of the rules surrounding both and I bet most of you don't.

I know that the commercial on television that is either republican or tea party based that talks about how this woman doesn't want her children to just be a number in the government's system is stupid. Duh - we are ALL numbers in the "government's system" - have you never heard of social security numbers?
I wonder if the people so vehemently against "government run" health insurance have ever heard of Medicare. The government has been managing the healthcare of some of our most frail since the '60s folks. It's not perfect but its' fundamental idea is pretty good.

I think it's quite ironic that some of the folks posting hate for our president and hate for this plan are some of the most "christian" people I know. I think it's strange that I have stood elbow to elbow serving hot meals to folks in need or have seen the posts or pics of folks helping at the food bank from some of the people most against helping to equalize access to healthcare in the country. So you can give of your time and give sweat equity but you'd rather keep every penny for yourself and leave someone who dare not have insurance bleed and/or die in the street.

See - that's essentially what you're saying. That folks that don't (for the dozens [hundreds?] of reasons why they may not) have health insurance they should not receive health care. Because if they can't pay for it, and no one else should be expected to contribute to the assistance of others, then we should let them bleed to death or suffer the pains of terminal cancer or blah, blah, blah.

Of course, the alternative is to allow them (under our good graces as human-folk) to receive necessary, emergent medical care only (EMTALA) and then let them go bankrupt trying to pay the bills...because that is the monster that has become healthcare in this country. Is it your fault? No. It's not mine either. And it's not the fault of the folks who aren't lucky enough to be able to afford health insurance. See that's the thing people: too much of life is a crap-shoot and we shouldn't stand by and allow others to suffer an injustice of the world and of our society that has been in the works long before we got here. We should try to be heroes for those coming after. That at least we tried to fix things, at least we tried to care for others, we tried to make it better.

I believe people's health premiums are going up (but: they've been going up; year after year for many years), I believe nonsense plans are dropping coverage for people. This is NOT the president's fault. This is not the government's fault. Are you blaming the government after a catastrophic claim against your homeowners or car insurance totally jacks up your premium or causes you to get dropped? Of course not...because that would be silly, right? Don't you see the correlation? Part of your current car insurance is for un and under-insured drivers, right? You're paying to cover an accident caused by someone who can't (or won't - there are those) buy auto-insurance. Is that the president's fault? Nope. Does it protect you in the end? Of course. As does spreading out the cost of health coverage for the many, to the many - protects us all.

In the end it's about equalizing the cost and access of healthcare for all. In some time, as things shake out, healthcare costs: from an x-ray to an insurance premium should come down...but too many people are focused on their hate of a president or a political party or whatever else to see the forest through the trees. Instead folks spread hate and ignorance via FaceBook memes and Fox News quotes and anything that fits EXACTLY how they do or think they should feel...in alignment with their neighbors or their political party or their spouses or whatever else.

I don't believe that the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act is perfect. I'm not even that big of a fan of Obama in general. But I'm educated in this arena. I can't discuss or debate this with many people because people are SO hot about their hatred of PPACA and/or the president and/or democrats and/or the government as a whole (hell - no one likes the government except the government themselves, right? But we should be better...) that it's like folks can't see or think straight. It's weird to me.

So - if you can't discuss or debate this like a normal person and you don't want to actually learn true pros and cons of PPACA (it actually does have some good ideas rolling around in there!) then can you please just kindly keep your "expertise" on the matter to yourself? Stop sharing posts that are baseless (or are based in hate or ignorance). And if you're actually interested in learning about PPACA and/or discussing its' good and bad: let me know. I refuse to discuss such things on FB or via email or text but I am a calm and patient person and I actually know how to discuss and debate in person without fighting or swearing or losing a friend: I do.

In the end, you may still not believe in PPACA and that's ok but, if you can get beyond the hype, I truly believe a lot more people out there would at least begin to appreciate the underlying idea and at least lose some of the hate strangling their hearts. Life is too short to be so hostile about this.

Thanks for your time.
'Nighty-'night.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

CH-CH-CH-Changes...

Life is a funny thing.

My life has changed dramatically since my last post. I am now employed full-time, split between two positions with two organizations that support each other. Business Manager for a local business and Fundraising and Development Director for a local dog rescue. 

It's a really different day and a really different life. 

I feel like I actually make a difference. I wake-up in the morning and not dread my day. 

I feel good supporting this phenomenal person who graciously welcomed me into both of her organizations as an integral member. I know I am helping her and making a difference but I am eternally grateful to her and her crew for welcoming me in, for supporting me and educating me...and listening and accepting the new and the different that I bring to their everydays.

I get to see dogs every day. I get to help save them. I get to help acclimate them to kindness and good food and clean spaces and safety and security. I get to moosh faces and kiss wet noses and send dogs off to new homes and new lives. 

Not too shabby, eh?

Doesn't mean I'm not still playing the lottery: I am. But I'd share it with a whole new group of people today. 


Monday, February 11, 2013

Big, Bold, Stupid Steps

Just to put it out there: sometimes taking big, bold steps is a big, huge mistake.

I feel like that stupid Alanis Morissette song "Isn't it ironic...?"

Isn't it ironic that in my entire 36.5 years on this planet I had never taken a bold step. I had never done anything big or brave or outside of my comfort zone: I have been too worried about not being able to pay my bills and maintaining perfect credit and not being able to take care of my pets and not being able to help others and not being able to be secure.

Until my last (first) big, bold move I had never made/taken any big steps in life. I had never been brave, I had never thrown myself out of my comfort zone: it was far too scary and far too risky.

You know what?

Totally.not.worth it. I had high hopes and I had good intentions. Didn't matter this time around. I hope to make that matter in the near future.

So, now I know and I suppose there's that.

I really try and not be the whoa is me type (there are plenty of negative people out there) so this is just an acknowledgment that sometimes we fail. Sometimes things don't work out.

Just means you re-figure and re-group, right?

Goodnight peeps.



Sunday, December 30, 2012

Holidays 2012


It’s that time of the year again…thoughts on holidays and families and friends and a New Year right around the corner.

It’s the biggest New Year I’ve had in a long time (ever?) – I will start a new job! I finally left my job of just over 16 years back in September. It was beyond time. I was lucky enough that my boss offered me 16 weeks severance and has kept me on his benefits this entire time. Not something you see/hear of everyday (or ever) and I was glad to accept. He appreciated me and my time as much as I appreciated the employment and flexibility over the years. I think the severance package spoke huge volumes about both of us (maybe a little more about his kindness and fairness).

I am glad, finally, to be away from the job; in so many ways because I simply didn’t care anymore. This was a job I had had since I was 20; I received two college degrees during my time there and I was stuck doing a job that anyone with a high school diploma could figure out (although frankly not as well as someone as educated as I am could [the doctor’s didn’t “scare me” and I was confident in my knowledge and education to stand up for and/or against all things as I felt necessary]). I am glad because now I am regaining a friendly relationship with my now “old” boss – we were getting to a point where we could hardly get through a week without wanting to kill each other...and in years previous we had a great friendship and mentor-ship  I am looking forward to (at least in part) regaining that).

I will now be the Executive Director of a local non-profit (in the animal rescue-ish world) and am anxious to start! I am excited and scared and all things that go along with new employment and new possibilities.

I am taking a very big pay cut and even bigger benefit cut with this new position but it breaks me into the non-profit world (as a worker-bee and not just a volunteer) and offers me the opportunity to do something I am truly passionate about and helps me put my good, extended education to use! I have also been working with a small business that I am truly impressed with for about two months (after having volunteered with the sister organization for about a year and a half) and will be able to continue to do that, taking away some of the sting in the financial loss: who’s that lucky, right? And I’m not being facetious; I mean it. I sought out positions where I knew I’d take a financial hit. I was ready for it (not quite this much but, ready)…because I’m ready to finally make a difference in this world with my work (anyone can make doctors money, you know?).

On to Newtown, CT and the horror that community has, is and will be facing for so long: I am sorry. As a fellow citizen of this world, I am sorry. I don’t have children so I have no idea the pain you’re enduring, and no parent that hasn’t buried a child of their own truly knows what you’re going through but my heart aches for you and yours. Countless lives hit by this act of evil and meanness and whatever else it might be.
            From here, the talk to guns and gun control and healthcare and mental illness.
1)      To every extremist: stop it. There will never be a day when there are no guns in this country. Not even a ‘smidge feasible so stop your rantings about it: please. To the other side – stop it. Stop buying every freakin’ gun under the sun because you’re “worried” you won’t be able to buy them later. Stop saying the president is the one trying to take your guns away and stop acting as if that day will ever come; we all know it isn’t and it won’t.
2)      Once you all stop it – take a breath and admit that something needs to change and there’s a huge, nightmare mess of several issues that need to be addressed. If you expect something to go your way please recognize you have to let something go “the other way” too. Compromise is the only way effective conversation and change will ever happen.
3)      Mental illness is an illness people and our country too often leaves folks with mental illness out in the cold, to fend for their own. This or they leave families ill-equipped to handle these sometimes terrible situations on their own…which leads to unnecessary evils being inflicted on others. The others are sometimes family members, sometimes further away than family but so often, with proper medical care and systems in place; avoidable. This has to be a piece of the conversation. 

On to the general nature of people…I love FaceBook – I really do. It’s just about the best tool ever for getting in touch with people, staying in touch with people and sharing our lives: far and near! It also opens your eyes to the true nature of some folks.

I have never, in all of my 36+ years “known” so many unhappy people: really! I wonder how often (if ever) people look back over their posts and see how negative they are (overall). I mean people: c’mon! If you’re really that miserable, if all the little things you post/bitch about (and how the heck do some people have the time to post 4, 6, 8x/day [these same folks who then gripe about not having enough time in the day]) bother you that much then; your life must truly suck…and you should do something about it or STFU (and by “STFU” I mean “flip” – shut the flip up)! My god! Quit yer bitchin’ and do something about it. Stop using everything in your power to stop you and start mustering up the power within yourself to take care of business (and still please: stfu in the meantime btw).

Next – I wish people would stop posting/cross-posting tons of false crap on FB. It takes about one minute to figure out whether something you’re about to post is correct or false. Please do us all a favor and stop perpetuating falsities and mistruths by spending about one minute to look it up. And once someone points out that it’s wrong – frickin’ delete it. Too many people see the story and not the posts below that show it’s false and re-post the bad information (hence why these stories go around and around and around).

If (on average) no one is “liking” or commenting on your posts that’s a sign: you’re posting too much or you’re posting so much crap the majority of your “friends” have hidden you or just didn't give even a half a crap to acknowledge it…so maybe stop?

Next…be grateful. I am consistently astonished by folks who simply refuse to take an honest look at themselves and their lives and just be grateful. No one has everything they want or need (no matter what we may think…everyone has hidden insecurities and fears and misgivings and missing pieces) – but you can choose to be so grateful for what you do have: really, it is just a choice folks. I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again…you really can choose to be happy. In spite of it all, maybe, necessarily; because of it all: be happy.

So…there are a few reflections and a few gripes (I generally try and not complain on a regular/daily basis. I choose to save my energy for being happy and helping others and for trying to be and do good).

My hopes for you and all of yours (some might be repeats from previous years): Be happy. Do good. Acknowledge kindness. Appreciate everything! The Good, The Bad and The Ugly are all necessary: learn how to work your life appropriately. Shut up once in a while. Stop complaining so much. Sit outside, in the quiet, by yourself and breathe from time to time. Spin or cross-fit or yoga or walk or run or hop on an elliptical but do something to keep moving. Be grateful for your health but don’t take it for granted: do something to maintain it or better it…depending on your need. Thank people. Smile at strangers; say “Hi!”. Hold doors open for people. Pick things up for folks who may have dropped them. Make an effort to make your world and the world around you better; this will make you more happy and more satisfied than you might ever imagine (and it makes others all warm and fuzzy too!).

The end.
Happy New Year friends.