Thursday, 31 March 2011

I have nothing to say...

I apologized to a friend today. Perhaps I didn’t need to. Perhaps I did.
But, it’s this little act, and my friend’s response to it, that seems to be breaking my silence.
I haven’t blogged this week. Not really anyway. I’m experiencing one of those rare times in my life when I actually feel as though I have nothing to say. What multitude of explanations I could give to this phenomenon…
Anyone ever watch the Muppets? Phenomenon…makes me think of those odd little creatures that sing “Mahna Mahna, Doo Doo Doo Doo-Doo”… “Phenomenon, Doo Doo Doo Doo-Doo”…
Uh, Yeah…back on topic.
*taps fingers* Not blogging, speechless, multitudes of explanation….
My ability to put brain to fingers to keyboard seems to be occluded by stress, frustration, illness and exhaustion. The latter three, I’m sure, are most likely being fueled by the stress.  I spend a majority of my time hobbling around in a fog. I walk into rooms and forget why I’m there.  I begin a task and can’t remember what goal I was seeking to accomplish. I put a package of hot dog buns in the grocery cart, head for the hot dogs, and walk right past them to get my other groceries, while never giving the hot dogs a second thought until I get home and realize I don’t have them.
I’ve fallen three times in the past week – two of them while at work. I’m avoiding stairs and …. stares.
I’m watching the calendar expectantly, as if it will make my neurology appointment come faster.
I’m fielding questions from peers.
Questions asked out of nosiness rather than concern.
I wonder why then, me being aware of their intent, I initially felt as though I must explain when they were brazen enough to inquire. My first impulse was to answer their rudeness with rudeness of my own, “It’s none of your damn business!”
Instead, I just sigh and say, “I’ll be fine.” When most people ask what’s going on with you they really don’t want the answer anyway.
Besides, how do you explain feeling as though your body is turning against you? How do you explain something you don’t understand yourself? Clearly, I haven’t figured this out yet, as those I do try to explain it to just look confused.
My body rebels, and me, who has always been a fighter, can’t do anything but sit here and take it; all the while wishing someone could put all the pieces together and come up with an answer.
Every year there is a new diagnosis, a new autoimmune response, to add to the list of ones I already have, and it seems no one but me sees that there must be some common denominator that isn’t being factored into the equation.  How else do you, over the course of time, find yourself diagnosed with seven different autoimmune disorders?
One or two? Sure, no problem. But seven? Seriously? Seven different, and completely unrelated, disorders that cause my body to turn against itself and attack healthy tissue?
I’m not buying it. Not for a minute.
And I’m mad.
Not just a little mad. I’m really stinking angry.
I’m really stinking angry and I’m too tired to do anything about it. I want to kick something but I’m afraid if I lift my foot off the floor to try it that I’m gonna fall flat on my face. Because now, the newest thing to turn on me is my legs.
There’s nothing so humbling as being angry and not having a way to direct it outward.
I’m stuck.
I have no sense of direction.
I’m angry.
And, for someone who felt they had nothing to say, I think I may have said too much today….


Saturday, 26 March 2011

How you know you're from Arkansas...

I’ve cracked a few jokes about Arkansas this week, so I thought it would be appropriate to pose the following question to my fellow Arkansans on Facebook, and then post their responses.


--for my fellow AR friends, comment on this post with a statement that answers the question, "How do you know you're from AR?" I'll use your statements, and a few of my own, for my blog post tomorrow. :)

Here are their responses:

From Jana:

You know when you’re from AR when you know of, or have eaten, Poke Salad.

Have any of you non-Arkansas folks ever had this little bit of southern goodness? Poke is a leafy green plant that grows wild. It’s not salad, as in Hidden Valley and croutons; it’s cooked down like you would collard or turnip greens. We just choose to call it salad. It’s a southern thing. Don’t ask.

Also, from Jana:
When you can step outside and get soaking wet when it’s not raining!! Really, you need to be donning scuba gear before you step outside because the humidity is sooo thick you can actually see the water hanging in the air!!
Arkansas summers are crazy. Seriously, 100% humidity! Sometimes the air is so thick you can hardly breathe. We actually pray in August that it DOESN’T rain! Rain in August only makes it hotter. You can see the steam rising off the pavement. No kidding!!
Two from Jenifer:
 You know you are from Arkansas when you’ve had to switch from heat to air conditioning in the same day!!
Ain’t that the truth! I’ve done that three times already this week. It’ll be forty five degrees in the morning and eighty degrees at lunch. Craziest darn thing I’ve ever seen.
You know you are from Arkansas if you have ever driven home with a lawn mower tied to the top of your car to get the grass cut...
Ok, so I’ve never done this. Well, not exactly anyway. I have had a lawnmower in the backseat of my car and in my trunk. I have also driven a not so close neighbor’s riding mower down the road to my house.
From Cindy:
When you have to tie a rock to the leg of small children to keep the mosquitoes from carrying them off.
Hee hee, she said mosquitos. She must not be from AR. Round here everyone knows they’re skeeters.And them bugs that look like giant skeeters? Thems skeeter hawks. You don’t kill those. They eat skeeters.
Brianna:
I car pool with this chick every day. She has some of the best one liners and she only utters them when I’m driving, so I can’t write them down. Course, the morning trip she drives, and I’ve often question the safety of that. She’s a little slow in the morning. Really Bri…you should have coffee before you leave the house. Just sayin’.
You know you're from Arkansas when "Bubba" is your uncle, brother, cousin, and neighbor all at once.
Yep. There’s so many Bubbas around here I think they should all be assigned a number. Bubba 1, Bubba 2, Bubba 3, Bubba 1,657,984….  There are also grown men called Biscuit and Twinkie. It’s just odd….
All this inspired the following conversation.
From my momma:
if your front porch falls in and more than 3 dogs die.
I think I actually know people this has happened to.
From me:
If a fellow Arkansan is elected president and they choose to commemorate the event with a library that looks like a mobile home!
Thanks Bill
If the headline of your personal ad says, "Must have teeth"
To which my momma said:
must have teeth and must brush them!
This was actually one of my dating pre-requisites. Followed by must have at least one car that runs and must have job.
From Regina:
You know you're from Arkansas when you see a man wear overalls to church and you just grin b/c it's your father-in-law.
Arkansas has a large number of men whose entire wardrobe actually consists of 4 pair of overalls, 1 pair of Carhardt coveralls, one pair of cowboy boots, a pair of work boots, six flannel shirts and a camouflage ball cap.
Then, my sister in law chimed in. You have to forgive her, she’s from Texas and can’t follow the rules. That conversation proceeded as follows:
Amanda:
WOW!!!!!!! im so glad im from TEXAS.
Me:
Have mercy! Don't get me started on TEXAS!!
Amanda:
Ok now there is nothing wrong with Texas. Dont get me wrong i love it here and wouldnt move back for a million dollars
Mom:
Ya know why Oklahoma is so windy??? Cuz Kansas blows and Texas sucks!
Lol That shut the sister in law up. Sorry Amanda, you know I love you.
Kathleen:
You know you're from Arkansas if you know what "Toad Suck" means.
Andrew:
You know you’re from Arkansas when your cousins are also your stepsisters (true story by the way my step-mom was once my aunt and her and my uncle had a few kids together)
Really darlin’, you shouldn’t advertise this. But, if it makes you feel any better I have cousins whose sister is also their Aunt which makes some of their cousins also their nieces and nephews. Kinda bizarre and hard to explain. But that’s them…

Thursday, 24 March 2011

Chicken on a stick and Toadsuck

I love spring and summer in Arkansas. Like most states, Arkansas has dozens of wonderful festivals. We have a watermelon festival, daffodil festivals, they used to have a pickle one in Atkins, there’s Wildflower Weekend in West Fork, and the list goes on.
My favorite though, is one in Conway called Toadsuck Daze. Yeah, you read that right. Toadsuck….
If you want to know more about Toadsuck – like how it got its name, for example, click here.
Maybe it’s just the name, maybe it’s watching the joy on kid’s faces as they participate in the Toad Races, or watching the video of the Stuck on a Truck competition. It could also be the crafts, the rides or the music.
Nah…forget all of that. It’s chicken on a stick.
Every year I make my way to this festival for one reason. I must have chicken on a stick and a funnel cake.
Now, you must be wondering, why this festival? Lots of festivals have chicken on a stick and funnel cakes. That’s true, but where else can I take my toadally awesome fried goodies and make my trek down to the Toad Dome to watch the kiddies race toads while a Toadmaster officiates? Where else can I stand in a place called Toadsuck Square and listen to live bands play? Where else can I shop at a place called The Toad Store?
Ok, back to chicken on a stick…
I love chicken on a stick. You gotta be careful though and find the right vendor. Not all chicken on a stick is created equal.
Some chicken on a stick is just that….
Chicken…
On a stick….
But other chicken on a stick?
It’s marinated chicken, onions, potatoes, and pickles skewered on a stick, dipped in batter and deep fried to golden greasy yumminess.

I keep telling myself that one day I’ll figure out how to make this stuff so I’ll never again have to brave the crowds and traffic to pay 6 dollars for five tiny bites of chicken on a stick that I’m limited to experiencing once a year.
I’m sure there should have been commas in that sentence, but it hurt my head to try and figure it out.
Chicken on a stick…. 
And now I've lost my train of thought.
Because I lost my cell phone.
Which, after 15 minutes, I finally found sitting on top of the files inside the file cabinet.
Which was probably Karma for yesterday's post.

Wednesday, 23 March 2011

Filing for dummies (and Nurses too)....Yeah, that's the book I'll write....

I am utilizing my lunch break to gather my thoughts today. Unfortunately, for those of you reading my blog, that equals a rant. A somewhat humorous rant, but it’s a rant just the same.
I work in an office where medical claims are reviewed and processed by registered nurses. I am the assistant to the Nurse Supervisor and provide clerical support to the remaining nurses. Today, in an effort to keep my eyes off the computer screen for a bit, I assigned myself the daunting task of thinning and purging our files.
It should be simple really. The filing system is not complicated.
Let’s say you have a file for ABC Medical Group that you’ve reviewed and made a decision on. You would take that file, locate the drawer labeled “A”, locate the first expandable folder in that drawer, also labeled “A” and labeled 2011, because that’s the year we’re in, and you would place your claim in the front of that first folder. It doesn’t even have to be alphabetized within the A’s, it just has to be in the A folder with newest claims first. How hard is that?
Anyway, the result is, I should be able to open up the file drawer labeled “A”, go to the back of the files and pull out everything for the year 2009 by removing a single folder.
This didn’t work today. Their method of filing this year has been “Pick A Folder, Any Folder Labeled A and Stick It In There”. Now I’m mad and I swear after a moment resembling Linda Blair in The Exorcist, spinning head and all, I think I shot laser beams from my eyes.
After lunch I’m going to attempt to shoot fireballs from my fingertips.
I’ll let you know how that goes.
How ‘bout this one? Let’s say they want me to locate a folder for The ABC Medical Group. I should still be able to locate it in “A”. But no, not with these college educated girls. You know where I’ll find that one? It will be filed under “T” for THE!
Or, what about….
Yesterday, I walked into the office to find five women scrambling around their desks in complete panic. It looked something like a scene from Chicken Little, except they were women in heels and not chickens.
The sky is falling! The sky is falling!
You know what the problem was? The IT people changed Office Communicator to something called Lync, and when they logged on a box popped up on their computer screen offering to give them a tutorial for the new program.
“Oh no! Erica, what is this? Have you seen this? Is this supposed to be here? What should I do? Is this a ‘security incident’? Should I report it?”
ARE YOU FREAKING KIDDING ME?!?
I wanted to tell them to step back, as their computer screen would self destruct in five seconds. They probably would have believed me.
But that would be wrong.
Except I really would have enjoyed the chaos that followed…
And one of them would probably have pulled the fire alarm and evacuated the building…
And then a bunch of red neck Arkansans would have been featured on the national news and portrayed for the dumb hillbillies the rest of the country already thinks we are.
(Have you seen the Clinton Library? Even Jay Leno and David Letterman have had a good golly time referencing that big trailer in the sky.)
Someone please tell me how people like these ladies get a college degree? Is this why they’re “paper nurses” and not “clinical nurses”?
Am I supposed to be amused and not annoyed?
Is filing really that difficult?
Do you think Chicken Little is offended by the comparison?


Monday, 21 March 2011

I saw the first dragonfly this weekend...

I was sitting on the front porch Saturday afternoon, talking to my dad and soaking up some much needed vitamin D, while Lola playfully nipped at my toes. J was inside watching a movie, Jr. was with his momma and Don was still working out of town.
I love my conversations with my dad. We had just finished talking about him moving closer to us, which thrilled me, and had moved on to discuss my Aunt K and how we wished my cousin Jamie (her son)  could get his life together.
Some insect was buzzing around my head and it wasn’t until it finally settled in front of me that I realized it was a baby dragonfly. It was tiny, no more than two inches in length, one of those plain little black ones with the yellowish specks. I was excited to see it. It was after all, the first indication of spring for me. We sat there, that little dragonfly and me, and looked at each other until Dad and I wrapped up our conversation, then I bid it farewell and headed into the house.
I piddled around the house a little, checked out facebook and went to find my phone so I could make a call. I noticed a missed call from my dad. I thought it odd that he would call right back. We talk only a couple times a month, as neither of us likes to spend much time sitting around chatting. But, I called him back, just the same.
“Your Aunt K called right after I got off the phone with you,” he said. “Jamie is gone.” Then he proceeded to explain what had happened. It hasn’t even been a year since she lost her husband.
It’s not my story to tell but, I wish I could.
My dad’s side of the family scares me. Men and women, all living hard and dying young; my brother and I seeming to be two of the few of our generation who were able to break the vicious cycle that has plagued our lineage. I’m thankful every day for my mother. Without her we couldn’t have done that.
 My grandfather was my age when he died. He was driving home from his baby sister’s funeral when he wrecked his car. He was thirty-eight. She was thirty-four. Of their siblings, only two remain. Hard living, car wrecks, heart attacks and strokes killed them all.
My great-grandfather outlived his wife and all but three of his eight children. But he spent the last 20 something years of his life confined to a chair due to stroke, and couldn’t speak except to say three phrases. Wanna know what they were?
1.       Now woman! (To my Aunt Dot when she wasn’t giving him what he wanted--usually his eggs at breakfast)
2.       By God listen! (When “now woman” didn’t work)
3.       Shit (when 1 or 2 wasn’t working and he realized he was defeated)
He died in August of 1987. He was 82. I’m not sure if he was a great guy. I wouldn’t dare ask my older relatives if he was, but something tells me, from small bits of family conversation, that he most likely wasn’t. And maybe because he was a man who couldn’t find anything to say except three ugly phrases to the one daughter who was willing and able to care for him.
There are fonder things I remember though. He was a funny old man who always wore denim coveralls; a man whose face would light up and he’d get a big grin every time I walked into the room. I’d always make some time to sit with him, even if it was just to sit in silence and watch The Young and the Restless.
*sigh* I seem to have gotten off topic but, after dad relayed the news to me, these are the things I thought about. These things, and my oldest son who seems to be trying to carry on the family tradition. Then I wondered if the cycle would ever be broken.
I managed to hold it together until J went to bed that night and then, somewhere around 9 o’clock, when the house was quiet, I remembered that little dragonfly that sat on the porch looking at me and I lost it. I felt the walls close in on me and grief and fear wrapped its angry fist around my heart as I began to cry.
I don’t do this very often and, even now, I’m not sure who I cried more for.  Was it my Aunt? Maybe my cousin? Was it my oldest son, D? He and Jamie aren’t so different. Or, was it me?
Perhaps I won’t ever be able to answer that.
What I do know is that I really haven’t been in a good place since then. I’m kinda quiet and reserved, and  I had a hard time leaving my children and my husband to go to work this morning, as if I need constant reassurance that my family is OK, that I’m OK.
For the remainder of the weekend I felt like one of those needy women I abhor. Every time I was in the vicinity of my husband or children I had to reach out and touch them to make sure they were really there. All through church yesterday morning, gripping Don’s hand like I thought God might swoop down and whisk him away then and there.
I think I need a little time to get my mind right before I post again. So, if you don’t hear from me much this week, I’m still here and will post again soon. I’ve just got to find some perspective. Who knows, I might find it tomorrow. It might not be until next week. Either way, it’s just a quick mental/emotional walkabout, and I’ll be back.

Saturday, 19 March 2011

It sucks dried meatloaf...

I don't usually blog on the weekends, so I'll assume ya'll are surprised to see me post today. I'm not quite sure I even have anything interesting to say. But, I'm home alone. Jr. is with his momma for the weekend, J is doing his own thing, and Don is working out of town. That leaves me, Lola and Sky, and they aren't talking to me today either. I've had a shower and brushed my teeth. I don't get it.

I watched Burlesque with my mother last night. The acting isn't really that great but, just the same, it was still a decent movie. Perhaps though, that has more to do with my fascination with burlesque. In another time, and certainly a younger  pre-child birth body, I think I probably would have been a burlesque girl.

The business is still sucking dried meatloaf. (Thanks Tom, for that fantastic description.) Today is one of those days when I'd love to tell Don that I'm sick of it and to go get a reliable job. He's the optimist to my pessimist on this one though, and he's convinced that eventually it will all come together. I've never seen a man work or try harder to take care of a family. Have I mentioned lately how much I love that man? He's the cheese to my macaroni.

Why didn't I blog yesterday? Well, there's another good one that sucks dried meatloaf. I've basically spent the last two days nearly flat on my back. It's hard to explain fibromyalgia to someone who doesn't have it. They look at you and think you don't look sick. They don't see that every nerve and muscle in your body is screaming; that the act of putting one foot in front of the other is just plain agony sometimes, that sitting, laying, or standing, it doesn't matter, it just plain hurts.

Truthfully, I did have a post for yesterday. I had it composed in Word and ready to go. My prompt for the Red Dress Club.  I was working on the last few details and trying to edit it into the 600 word limit, thankful I was almost done because I couldn't stand to sit there much longer, when the power went off. It wasn't saved. No prompt or link for me this week, and now I suddenly remember why it's a good idea to save periodically. But, who the heck expects the power to go off on a beautiful eighty degree day, right? That sucks dried meatloaf too. It was a dang good story. I do have good notes though, so I guess I could always re-type it and post it just because.

For the rest of today I'll be hiding, trying to ignore the fact that the weather is gorgeous and I'd rather be outside, cuddling with my heating pad and a prescription for muscle relaxers.

See ya'll Monday...

Thursday, 17 March 2011

I hate women...

"I'm selfish, impatient and a little insecure. I make mistakes, I am out of control and at times hard to handle. But if you can't handle me at my worst, then you sure as hell don't deserve me at my best." — Marilyn Monroe

What is wrong with teenage girls these days?
No, forget that. It’s not just teenage girls. It’s women in general.
As a whole, the lot of you makes me want to puke. I think this is why my group of female friends is so darn small. I can’t stand the frickin’ drama you ladies create. Ladies…hmph….how’s that for using a term loosely?
"If you're gonna be two-faced at least make one of them pretty." — Marilyn Monroe

In all fairness, I guess I should fill my readers in on what inspired this particular rant.
It was Jr’s girlfriend. He went to church with her last night and he was no sooner in the door and the girl calls him, squalling like a baby, because she’s afraid he’s going to decide he likes that other girl more and dump her.
Where the heck did that crap come from? It’s the kind of stuff that makes me want to regress and say something stupid like, “Dude! Seriously?”  Or “WTF?”I hate it when my kids call me dude and use chat and text speak outside of chat and text. That’s another rant for another day though.
"Ever notice how 'What the hell' is always the right answer?" — Marilyn Monroe

It’s this kind of stuff that makes me wonder what it is that we’re doing to our generations of daughters that they need someone else’s opinion to reassure them that they’re a worthwhile person. How does whether or not you’re in a relationship define who you are? Are you really that much in need of some daddy attention that you’re content to let a man determine your value? Are you really that inept at self evaluation that you can’t determine what makes you a valuable asset to a man?
You know, I ain’t the prettiest girl out there. I’m definitely not the skinniest…Hell, I got more curves than Daytona and Talledega combined, and not all them curves are in the right places. And, my husband? Well, he’s frickin’ hot, if you ask me.
See? Tell me this ain’t purty….
 Something about that mixture of American Indian and Portuguese makes a beautiful combination.
"When it comes down to it, I let them think what they want. If they care enough to bother with what I do, then I'm already better than them." — Marilyn Monroe

You know what? It doesn’t worry me one bit that he rates higher than me on the hotness scale, and I’ll tell you why.
It’s because I know, without any uncertainty, what makes me a valuable asset to a spouse. I know that he’s going to love me because I’m all the things I am.
Notice here I didn’t say, “All the things he needs me to be.” That doesn’t work folks. When you run around trying to be what you think someone wants you to be, eventually you’re gonna get tired and you’re gonna resent that person for expecting things that you can’t deliver.
He loves me because I am nothing more than what I am.
"It's better to be unhappy alone than unhappy with someone." — Marilyn Monroe

He loves me because  --

I’m independent.
I’m honest.
I’m loyal.
I stand by him, even when I think he’s wrong.
I’m a team player.
I don’t need to be rescued.
His children are my children too.
I know when to lead and when to follow.
I don’t judge him.
I know that sexy and appealing isn’t how you look, but what you believe yourself to be.
I respect him.
I don’t take him for granted. I always let him know he’s appreciated.
I inspire him rather than try and change him.
I exude confidence, even though some might think I shouldn’t.

It’s that stuff right there girls that makes him want you. Do you honestly think that you’re going to be appealing to him because you’re calling him every five minutes and whining silly phrases like:

You don’t love me enough.
Are you sure you want to be with me?
Is she prettier than me?
Why do you love me?
I must not be good enough for you.

Whoever coined that phrase about repeating something often enough makes you believe it was spot on.

You want a guy to think that you’re worthless and not good enough for him? Then, by all means, keep up with your insecure damsel in distress act, and eventually he’ll start to believe it too.

I don’t care how you try to color it, needy, whiny, dependent and insecure doesn’t equal cute. It equals desperate and pathetic. It makes you look like a loser.

If you’re a teenage girl reading this, grow up and get over it. Figure out who you are and find someone who will take you “as is”.

If you’re an adult female and you’re reading this and you’re still acting this way…see teenage girl advice above and stop being emotionally and socially crippled.

If you’re a parent raising daughters PLEASE for the sake of my four boys, and all remaining teens unfortunate enough to have been born male, teach those girls their value. Because, if your daughter calls my son and talks the kind of crap we heard last night, I might find I can’t restrain myself any longer and I’m going to take the phone and tell her what I think. And thank you Lord, for not giving me girls that I’ll have to console after that kind of tongue lashing!




Tuesday, 15 March 2011

My Five Strongest Personality Traits (and how I use them)

I’m gonna do the best I can with this post because I said I would do it today. However, my brain and my body really aren’t on board so I hope this doesn’t come off as disorganized as I feel.  Besides, I’m trying to cram this in during my lunch break so I don’t have to wait until tonight to post it. Good thing I took notes.
I hate days like today – days when fibromyalgia is kicking the crap out of me, days when I’m really stressed and extra tired because I can’t sleep because fibromyalgia is kicking the crap out of me, days when I want to take a particular roofing company, and everything that goes with it, and kick it off the top of the tallest building I can find because the stress annoys my fibromyalgia and gives it room to kick the crap outta me and keep me from sleeping.
Owning a business is not fun, folks. I don’t care who tried to convince you otherwise. They lie. I just keep telling myself we’re only going to be broke for a little while and things will get better. The business will finally start to run without pouring personal funds we don't have into it. That whole think positive BS line only goes so far though when you’re like me and in the habit of arguing with yourself. Somewhere in the corner of my brain there still resides a pessimistic, cynical witch who keeps shouting, “Yeah right!”
So, my five strongest traits and how I use them, both positive and negative. Cynical Witch is strong today so you may hear from her periodically as I compose this.
Ha! You should probably include Cynical Witch as one of your strongest personality traits.
Yeah, whatever. Move over and let me finish.
The traits –
Loyal
Stubborn/determined/strong willed
Honest
Introspective/analytical/thinker

Perhaps now you’re thinking, “That’s only four.”

Pfft…Way to state the obvious there, sunshine.

Shut up.

Well, that’s the best I could come up with before my brain went into lockdown and all cognitive thought process jumped on the nearest bus headed out of town. So, sorry…here’s my four.

Loyal

I really struggle with this one. Often I’m so loyal that I miss the fact that I’m dealing with a loser who doesn’t deserve my loyalty. It’s not as bad now as it used to be.  But, I’m not as na├»ve as I used to be and I’m not as passive as I used to be. I think the worst I get out of it now is that it encourages people to be overly dependent on me.  Kind of like, “Let’s dump it on Erica. She won’t mind.”

The positive? Most anyone who knows me will tell you how dependable I am. Friends who I’ve parted ways with know that their big secrets are still safe with me. I talk to myself, my dog and my blog more than I talk to live people. My husband runs a close fourth to those other three things.

Since myself isn’t talking to anyone but myself, my dog ain’t talking to anyone but me, I have clear rules of engagement for the blog, and my husband and I are peas in a pod when it comes to secrets, that pretty much insures that your secrets are safe with me. I’m the go to girl for spilling your secrets. I’ve got more dirt on folks than you can shake a stick at and I ain’t telling any of it. But, I’m constantly skipping around in my brain singing, “I know something you don’t know. Neener Neener Neener.”

Ha! For someone you’re trying to keep at bay there sure is a whole lot of cynical on the outside.

Yeah, like I said, shut up.

Stubborn/determined/strong-willed

Now, if I want to talk about the negative aspect of this trait I guess I’ll have to say that it often translates to unyielding, unforgiving, and extreme difficulty admitting when I’m wrong and apologizing for it. It also causes me to lose sight of the bigger picture. I end up concentrating so hard on the end goal that I miss opportunities to compromise in a way that will benefit everyone involved.

How’s that for honesty?

It’s this trait that has made me such a fierce advocate for my children. Trying to navigate the healthcare system and the public school system for children with special needs is extremely frustrating. But, my tenacity has allowed me to ensure that my children received the best care and access to services that were available.  All because I wouldn’t take no for an answer and because I wasn’t content with, “Well, we know there’s something wrong but we don’t know what something is…”

Honest/straightforward

I have been called brutally honest at times. Sometimes I lack the tact to express myself without hurting someone’s feelings. It’s almost like I’m functioning without a filter. That’s where my cynical nature comes in and has been known to alienate people.

You betcha.

Sometimes though, there is that person who looks me in the eye and says, “thank you for telling it like it is.” There’s that one person who will appreciate the fact that exactly where you stand with me is never in question, because I’m gonna tell you. One way or the other it’s going to be thrown out there.  Sometimes, there’s that one person who looks past the harshness of my snarky comment and sees that it’s actually me being funny, rather than mean.

Well, at least you let me have a little fun with the dummies at AT&T this morning. *giggle*

Introspective/analytical/thinker

Oh Lord, can I think something to death!

I’ll think it so hard that I un-think it and have to start all over again.

I’ll think so much on it, afraid of making the wrong decision, that I’ll think myself right into a state of inertia.

It drives my mother nuts. Just ask her. You have any idea how many times that woman has said in exasperation, “What’s there to think about? Will you just do SOMETHING?”

Hang on a sec, I’m thinking. *chuckle*

But, thinking things over works to my advantage too. Do you have any idea how many lives have been spared from my evil scorpio temper because I needed time to think before I said something? Taking a minute to think it over is the reason that a certain ex boyfriend is in jail and I’m not.

I still say you should have let me whack him with that bottle of Bud Light. It’s not like it would have been a waste of perfectly good beer or anything.

One more time….shut up.

Thinking things through is what allows me to be so resourceful when something needs to be done. Out thinking school officials is one of those things.

Remember that time the superintendent asked if you were threatening him and you let me answer for you?  “No sir, threats are for people who don’t know what to do next. Now, are you going to make the arrangements or am I contacting an attorney?”  That was fun… Or, what about….

Seriously, that’s probably enough. I’m sure they get the picture. But yes, that was fun…

I guess for #5 I should mention:

Cynical/sarcastic/dry witted/facetious

If you ask me (they didn’t, you know) they all go hand in hand. But, I’m not going to take the time to explain the positives and negatives about number 5. (Gee, thanks) It’s right here in black and white all over my blog. You know what it does for me. It’s the reason you read the stuff I write. It’s the reason I’ll probably have something snarky to say tomorrow.

Maybe you'll like it. Maybe you'll think it's a crock. If you think it's a crock, do me a favor and relay your thoughts to Cynical. She runs the complaints department.










Monday, 14 March 2011

I've been talking to myself...

I wasn’t going to blog today. The plan was to just hide until tomorrow when I plan to  post my response to my challenge regarding my five strongest personality traits.
I was going to pretend the rest of the world wasn’t here. But, here I am anyway, mind spinning in circles, looking for something to share.
For me, journaling this way has become something of an addiction. It’s almost as if I can’t find a way to function if I don’t purge myself of all the words and phrases swimming in my brain. Sometimes I wonder if the endless need to spill my life over on to this blog don’t come from all the things I wish I could say and can’t.
Me? The girl who seems to have no filter in regard to things I say?
Absolutely.
I have rules of engagement. Remember?
If it were just a matter of it being MY things to share, then I most certainly would tell it all without hesitation. But, there are also those daily happenings that don’t belong solely to me. I share my life with a multitude of family and friends who all have their own happenings. Happenings that affect my life as much as they affect theirs. It’s those things I can’t share. It’s one thing to tell all when it comes to me but, for them…
Well, that just wouldn’t be right, would it?
There are things I want to share about the special needs of my children. I feel I can’t though. Because if people knew the scope of the need my kids would be open to all the scrutiny and stigma associated with those needs. They’re children. As their mother, it’s my job to protect them from that, not add to it.
There are emotional and stressful things happening in the life of my brother. Things that, albeit on a much lighter scale, affect me too in an emotional and stressful way. Again, not solely mine to share.
What do I do then? What outlet do I chose and deem safe to express the additional angst that I deal with – things that aren’t just mine? The things I want to rant about but feel restrained by my sense of obligation to those people in my life?
Sometimes I feel as though I’m just going to explode with those things. I can feel them stretching thin the outer edges of my psyche until I feel they’re weak, leaving me fearful of leaking little bits of those things that aren’t mine.
I loathe editing myself. I loathe restraint.
So, how do I reconcile who I am with the right thing to do?
I talk to myself. I have entire conversations with myself. I have entire two-sided conversations with myself. My brain is constantly in a state of give and take, statement and rebuttal, two-sided conversation.
I firmly believe that it’s this little habit that, rather than make me crazy, is the one thing that keeps me sane.

Friday, 11 March 2011

Lot’s of things going on in this superb little brain of mine. So, I’m just gonna lay it all out for you.
You ready? Good.  
Because I’m not sure I am. Suddenly my brain isn’t feeling quite as superb as I think it is and I’m feeling as though I need to take some notes before I get started.
Pfft…Nah…let’s just fly by the seat of our pants. It’s much more entertaining that way. *wink*
First let me introduce the newest addition to our home. This is Lola….


Lola is the product of a Maltese father and a Chihuahua/Pekingnese Mother. She is almost 7 weeks old. Want one? I know where to find four more!
Isn’t she awesome? Isn’t she the most adorable little ball of fluff you’ve ever seen? Several times J has held her in the air and exclaimed, as only one who has actually seen Despicable Me can, “It’s so FLUFFEH! I’m gonna die!”
To give you an idea of just how tiny she is, I measured her this morning.  I couldn’t weigh her, as I’m not sure this little dog even weighs a pound. From the floor to her shoulders she is 4 inches tall, not counting the fur. From shoulders to butt she is 5 inches long. Her little tiny head is the size of a small plum. She doesn’t even look real and holding her is something like holding a newborn kitten with her little tiny bones and all that fluff.  That little dog is basically the same size as J’s size 6 foot.
She is a snob. She doesn’t walk. She prances.
Then, she looks over her shoulder at you as if to say, “Oh, you’re still here.” And, because her legs are so tiny in proportion to her body they will “forget” to support her, and she will trip, rolling over onto her side. She’ll wriggle around trying to right herself and then look at you again as if to say, “Well, since you ARE still here, do you mind helping me up?”
She prances away again, “Thanks, you moron.”
I love that dog….
Let’s see. There was something else. *taps her fingers on the keyboard*
Oh, a challenge. I want to issue a little challenge to you guys. *puts on her therapist hat*
Now, don’t fret. The challenge is for me too. Over the next day or two I’m going to come up with 5 of my strongest personality traits. For each trait I am going to explain both the positive and the negative effect in my life. Then, I’m gonna throw that big steaming pile of self discovery right out into cyberspace for all of you to read.
Why did I choose that topic for a post? Well, I think we can all use a little self discovery. We all have some amazing personality traits. Every one of them can be used either to our benefit, or to our detriment.  I think that knowing how you can use those traits to your best advantage is smart.
Now, get busy.
Oh, wait a minute. I’m not done. Don’t hop to it just yet.
Wait. Nevermind. I am done.
Not as many things in my superb little brain as I thought. Must be delusions of granduer again.
Get hopping.


Thursday, 10 March 2011

Why I chose Sapphire Dragonflies....



Since I’ve been dragging everyone who reads my blog to travel the darker path I’ve been on the last 2 weeks, I thought I’d try and lighten things up a little today. For all of you who’ve been content to travel with me, I thank you. For those who were hesitant, I’m thinking of you today and hope this post will re-engage you. It won’t necessarily be sunshine and roses, but it certainly won’t be dark.
I’ve been asked why I chose the name Sapphire Dragonflies for my blog. I’m going to do the best I can to explain that to you today.
I’ll start with the sapphire part since it’s easy.
I’ve always loved sapphires. The special meaning, however, came when my husband presented me with my engagement ring. Knowing that I wouldn’t want the traditional diamond that everyone else had, he chose one with a sapphire. He said that it matched the blue of my eyes. He said we aren’t traditional and the ring shouldn’t be either.
Every day I look at that ring and I still love it just as much as I did the day he put it on my finger. It reminds me that he loves me enough to want to set me apart from every other woman out there -- that he thought I should have a ring that was as unique as he views me to be and that he values me enough to put that much thought into something as simple as a ring.


Dragonflies are a little more complicated. I’ve always been fascinated by them. It wasn’t until later in my life that they would take on more special meaning.
For those of you who don’t know, my mother has carved a career for herself out of ministering and providing services to bereaved women who have suffered a pregnancy loss. There’s a story behind how the dragonfly came to represent the program that she created and implemented at the hospital where she works. It is a story that only she should tell, and perhaps she’ll write it for us soon so I can share it with you.   (waves at mom --  hint, hint)
The dragonfly spends the majority of its life immature, living in its nymph stage. It’s only for the purpose of breeding that it enters the mature adult state. In just the few short months that it lives as an adult it manages to do everything. In that, I find a bigger picture. I think it represents, in a way similar to butterflies, the knowledge of waiting until you’re ready to get out and experience life and then doing it with vivacity.
In that way, they represent to me freedom and the ability to live in the moment.
Additionally, there is a lot of myth and lore surrounding dragonflies. In some cultures they are believed to carry the souls of the dead to the afterlife. I often wondered at how it was that they came to be associated with such a thing. And then, there was an experience that concreted that belief in my heart…
In July of last year we lost a woman who I came to call my aunt. I’ve known her since I was 7 years old. Iva was my mother’s best friend and her daughter, Sara, was my best friend.  As a child Iva was my other mom. She paddled my butt, she hugged me, she chastised me and she praised me. She was so strong and she had brown eyes that sparkled like there were hundreds of tiny fairy lights in them when she smiled at me. Then she got sick…

taken just about 2 months before we lost her...

Iva was being hospiced at home, slipping away in the end stages of liver cancer. I sat cuddled with Sara on another bed in the room, sorting through pictures taken of Iva throughout her life. Then, her breathing changed and we knew the time was near for her to go.  The decision was made that everyone except her children was to leave the room.  This was their time; to spend the last few moments alone with their mother and say goodbye.
I sat outside, pulling a chair into a shady spot to avoid the unbearable heat of an Arkansas summer. I popped the top on my diet coke, lit a cigarette and prepared myself to wait.
There they were-- what seemed to be a hundred dragonflies, moving neither left nor right, as if suspended by string, hovering just outside her bedroom window. All of them, frozen in time like they were waiting for something. They waited and they waited…
I watched.
Eventually someone came outside and said it was done. I made my way back into the house and through the rooms to where the rest of the family was. It broke my heart to see Sara lying there with her momma and sobbing.
I found it difficult to stay in the room more than a few minutes. There were so many people at the house that day. The heat of summer, and bodies crammed into such a tight space, only seemed to increase the thickness of the suffocating grief that was surrounding us.
So, I made my way outside to watch the dragonflies. Those fascinating creatures who symbolized growth, rebirth and vitality to me…
Those fascinating creatures, who when I stepped off the porch to look for them, were gone. Not a single one in sight. They had carried her away and were no longer needed.
I spent the rest of the summer in awe of dragonflies. I chased them everywhere, camera in hand, hoping to find the perfect dragonfly shot but, they always managed to buzz away by the time I could get my camera ready.
Then, one day, this dragonfly seemed perfectly content to pose for a picture.  This sapphire dragonfly, edged in hues of green, lighted gently in front of where I sat as if to say, “Here I am.”

There's hope in dragonflies. All you have to do is look....