Monday, March 29, 2010

A BARBIE WORLD



Hi, all. Hope this finds everyone relaxed and ready for another week and hoping a good weekend was had by all.

This last Friday marked the ten year anniversary of my nephews accidental death. He was 20.

His name was Junior and he was my sisters son.

My sister and I haven't always been close, we've had an on again-off again feud that keeps us at a distance even though we only live about 45 minutes apart.

With me being a 'yours, mine and ours' baby, I didn't have a consistent upbringing with my siblings (three brothers and a sister from my Moms first two marriages and three sisters and a brother from my Dads first marriage).

My Dads kids would come occasionally on the weekends and I looked forward to having playmates. 'Barbie' was our common ground then, at one point Juniors Mom cutting off one of my Barbies hair assuring me it would indeed 'grow back'.

I always envied my siblings' closeness and the bond they shared having grown up together. Even though I am not an 'only child' per se, it sure seemed that way at times.

My Moms two oldest were out of the house by the time I reached school age and the two youngest boys of her first brood were in junior high and high school before I could ever get a handle on what family dynamics were all about.

I remember coming home from Kindergarten and when I was supposed to be napping, I instead had my nose pressed against my bedroom window waiting for my brothers to come home so I could pester them.

I suppose I just wanted a little piece of what they all had.

I also recall when my Dad would go pick up his kids on the weekends and I would tag along in my excitement as we drove to Orange County and would pass Mattel on the way -- I suppose one could call it symmetry that Barbie was our common bond.

Juniors Mom was someone I would only see occasionally as I got older, only now and then getting together with our growing family, but never staying in consistent touch.

In March of 2000, I received a call from my other sister saying that Junior had accidentally shot and killed himself.

His death was ruled accidental with no malice or forethought from him or anyone. It was merely a stupid accident that should have never happened and it changed his moms (my sister's) life forever.

They lived in a bit of a rough neighborhood. Junior lived with my sister and her husband and his girlfriend had recently moved in with them. My sister also had two daughters who had children, and so, Junior being protective (and having had some trouble with neighbors) bought a gun, unbeknownst to his Mom.

He was handling it one night in his bedroom when it accidentally went off, killing him instantly.

I won't go into further detail as it's simply not necessary.

The last words my sister said to her son before hearing a gun go off and his girlfriends screams, was; "Junior, there's chicken if you and [his girlfriend] are hungry".

My son, B, will be twenty this year -- Junior's age when he died.

After I received the horrible news, in spite of our absence from each others lives, Ed and I drove to their house so I could be there for his Mom, my sister.

I stayed for three days, helping to make arrangements, picking out the casket and just being there for whatever may be needed.

This tragedy brought us closer together.

We got through the funeral and remained close for a time.

The following January my three sisters and I went to Colorado to visit our father and I came home early alone due to one conflict after another.

After that my visit with Juniors Mom was sporadic until finally there were no visits or communication at all.

It's been about 7 or 8 years now and with Juniors ten year anniversary death being here, I thought it a good time to reach out to his Mom.

I called and left her two messages, one on her cell and one on her home phone only to hear nothing back.

I thought petty grudges aside, it's time to end this. I guess she feels differently.

I'm still holding out hope but the rejection is a difficult thing to embrace. It took a lot for me to reach out and call after all this time but felt the occasion was appropriate and warranted it.

Wish I still had my Barbie's so I can at least pretend that all is as it never really was but should be.

R.I.P Junior
October 12th 1979 - March 26th, 2000

Saturday, March 27, 2010

MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING



Hi, all. Been a few days. I simply haven't had much of a chance to do any posting: Ed came home from work Thursday night with a flat tire and so he had to take yesterday off of work and buy two new tires.

In the meantime, B is having to use my car until he can get his Jeep up and running again (he was hit by a 'hit-and-run' driver in a stolen car).

Ed asked me the other day if we're saving any money.

Yeah, about that......

It's one damned thing after another; the day of Oscar Sunday our T.V. blew up. It was old (almost 20 years to be exact and our ONLY T.V. in the house), it was time and it cost us. We were able to find a 42" plasma for $500.00 and although that is a great price, it nonetheless hurt.

Then we're paying for B's school (he's a full time student) out of pocket (since whatever Fafsa's criteria is, he doesn't qualify for financial aid) and then there are the neverending car issues.

So, yeah.

Can't win for losin', eh?

I wanted to give you an update on 'G', whom I posted about in regards to depression (see previous post).

Turns out it was 'much ado about nothing' and that it was all about blog issues with other bloggers that were at the forefront of 'G' leaving the old blog behind and starting anew anonymously.

I had misinterpreted the whole situation -- all well meaning and with the best intentions -- as I knew that 'G', like myself and many others, suffers from much of the the same depression/anxiety issues as I.

After 'G's' ambiguous E-mail that said "I quit. Thanks for everything. Take care. G", I felt I was left with little choice but to jump to my own conclusions and think the worse.

I was genuinely concerned for 'G's' well being.

However, believe me when I say that depression is indeed real and I've heard from so many supportive people out here in blogverse who have had much of the same issues and, so, I would much rather find that 'G' is okay than not.

Disaster averted but I feel a little....stupid.

I've had my fair share of blog issues with people who don't agree. My feeling is that if I don't care for a persons blog or their content then I simply avoid it. It's not my place to blast someone on their own blog, more less name call.

So, I told 'G' to hang in there, ignore them, stay strong and that I will support 'G' as 'G's' always done for me.

Turns out I got it all wrong.

It was the other way around.

So, in light of this I told G that I just need to stay out of the fray but that I will continue to be Gs friend as G's indeed been a very good bloggy friend to me and supportive of my MS cause.

All any of us can really do is learn from our mistakes in the hopes that we've learned what not to do in the future.

G admitted some of what had happened and I appreciate that G came forward wanting to set the record straight. Accountability is a sign of growth in itself.

I know what started it but I don't know what was said to G in return by others.

So, I'm still kind of in the dark here simply hoping that all is now well so that G and the others involved can all find harmony here in blogverse.

Lesson learned by all, I hope. In the meantime, I hope any communication will be a little more clear so that those of us who care about our friends -- in blog and life -- won't be so inclined to immediately think the worse.

Here's hoping to better days -- again, in blog and life -- and that 'Much Ado About Nothing' stays on the production stages where it belongs.

Thank you all for your concern and well wishes for G.

Wishing everyone a peaceful and serene weekend.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

ABSORPTION



Hi, all. I took a breather yesterday after our bankruptcy discharge notice so as I can just breathe and absorb all that has occurred.

I'm still not sure it's sunk in completely but I'm getting there.

To everyone who has supported me through this journey, your gift of friendship has been truly uplifting when I needed it most and immeasurable beyond words.

This morning I received a disturbing E-mail from a very good blog friend whom I will only refer to as 'G' so as to protect their privacy.

In the subject title was the words "I lost it" and the content of said E-mail was as follows:

"Time to quit.

Thanks for everything.

Take care,

G."


This is a person who, like myself, suffers from depression, and so whilst trying not to overreact, I admit to being quite concerned about my friend who has been so good and supportive of me that I felt it necessary to address this issue publicly.

Depression doesn't have a rhyme or reason. It just is.

In my case -- and I can only speak for myself -- it crept up on me with my sudden loss of joy in life. The joy I used to have was replaced by fear.

Of course, my therapist and I attribute this to the loss and emotional toll this past [almost] two years took on my frail psyche.

The fact that B has had two fender benders in less than a month -- the most recent case by a stolen car who hit and ran him leaving me car-less (not that I go anywhere much) so he can get back and forth to school and us with $600.00 damages to repair on our own due to us not being able to afford uninsured motorists -- certainly hasn't helped.

I had several fender benders last year, too, due to my anxiety.

So, I simply and, in my mind, quite logically avoid leaving my house unless necessary -- and the energy it takes to be this neurotic is as times crippling to the point of physical pain.

Depression's partner, in my case, is anxiety. Anxiety at the thought of having to interact with the unknown, the chance that something bad will befall me should I leave the well created and tended to bubble of my existence.

I make excuses not to walk, not to go my in-laws, the movies with my Mom and/or family, not to go to baby showers, birthday parties, bar-b-ques, etc. I would just rather not.

This disappoints the people in my life, naturally, who might see me as aloof and uncaring as to their needs.

I shake uncontrollably and stall when I have to do my banking, grocery shopping, etc. I send B out as much as I can to do my 'dirty work' as it's just unbearable to the point where I don't know if my family even recognizes how bad it is.

Even talking on the phone sends me into a rattling incoherent nervous wreck and my memory and cohesive thought takes forefront to logical conversation and thinking.

The truth and the real kicker here in regards to depression and anxiety is that nothing bad has to happen for it to rear it's vengeful head and for me to feel this way.

Nothing has to happen to make it a bad day.

Again, it just is.

I have, as of yet, chosen not to go the med route. I'm also now recognizing, however, that meds is in my near future for the betterment of myself and those around me.

So, to my friend 'G', I don't know what happened for you to shut down your blog by eliminating all traces that you were even here.

However, I know you were here because you reached out to me in sincere kindness and support leaving an imprint.

I understand all too well the toll depression takes and that those around you, whether in blog or life, may not completely ever understand.

I also know that all it takes is one nasty, negative comment to send me into a tailspin of defensiveness, and while it deflates me for a time, it was you and my other good blog friends who picked me back up, dusted me off and kicked me in my rear when I badly needed a boot back there!

I'm here for you. You have my E-mail. Know I'm thinking about you and sending good vibes your way and am hoping that once you absorb whatever it is you're going through that you will indeed return to us.

We'll be here.

Stay strong.

Peace and serenity,
~Jo

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

IT'S FINALLY OVER



Three months and counting since our bankruptcy hearing in January, it is now official -- upon receiving our 'Discharge Of Debtor' notice today -- that Ed and I are officially bankrupt.

In a sense I feel a great relief. I am not shocked per se` by this outcome as this is indeed what we were striving, struggling and fighting for all this time; to get relief from our debt after losing our home and owing thousands upon thousands to the financial company that loaned us the second on the house.

The house where we lived for 16 years and where we raised our children.

We did not intend this to be how our lives turned out. While there were certainly things we could have and should have done better, it was not done out of maliciousness, credit card debt (of which we have none) nor ill intentions.

Still, to say that justice was served or perhaps that I feel good about this outcome is incorrect.

We will not be toasting it's success nor celebrating our 'good fortune'. This is not something to be boastful about: this simply calls for nothing less than humility and gratefulness.

Gratefulness that we survived this and finally found a good attorney who stood by our side and fought for us.

There are still lessons to be learned that await me -- it has to first wade through all the sludge of my grief, despair and shock before revealing itself.

Thank you for being by my side during my on-going journey of hope.

"I think all we can aspire to in this situation is a little bit of grace."

'WOW' ME



Hi, all. Through my good bloggy friend, Elle (over at 'A For Effort' -- you can get to her blog through her blog button on my sidebar -- she is funny, bright and electric!), I joined a new blog group I wanted to share with everyone.

It's called "WOW' which stands for 'Words Of Wisdom' -- I just posted their blog button on my sidebar under 'Favorite Blogs'.

'WOW' is for bloggers who write -- and like to read -- good blog content. I realize that the word 'good' is subjective and a rather broad term: after all, what's good to you may not be good to others and vice versa.

I guess from my perspective, 'good' would be anything that captivates me.

What attracts me to what I consider a good blog may not be what attracts you.

I like honest, controversial, personal, thought provoking, silly.

I like 'chutzpah': people who put it all out there as I do in what I refer to as my 'warts and all' confessional.

That's what this blog and my '90 Days' blog was set up for. I'm a 'no holds barred' kind of gal who's clearly not everyone's cup 'o tea.

I've had a few battles here: some win, some lose and some draw. Mostly what I've gained from blogging is more of a sense of self.

This is my own. Only I am accountable for my blogs content.

I've been accused of being whiny and narcissistic. I've lost some followers but mostly I've gained friends here -- something I don't have a lot of in my 'real' life because I've simply isolated myself figuring it's easier to not chance being hurt and disappointed in others.

Been there, done that.

The friends I have made on my blog have proven to be just as real and valuable to me as anyone else in my life and I love them for it.

'WOW' isn't just for women unlike other blogging groups. They'll surely be blogs we like and connect with and blogs we won't.

Mostly, I think it will be a nice contrast to the 'Mommy Bloggers' (again, I mean no offense to the Mommy bloggers out there) and all female 'clientele'.

I am not a traitor to my gender so don't misunderstand me. Just today I commented on Elle's blog that I support women, not just Moms whether it be working or SAH, but WOMEN.

However, I like that 'WOW' is for EVERYONE -- not just women, not just men, not just Moms and not just for people who are bankrupt or live life well. 'WOW' is a blogging group that I can get behind and support wholeheartedly and I'd like to see it fly!

Again, if you're so inclined, you can get to 'WOW' from their blog button on my sidebar -- look for the typewriter that says "Blogs Of Note W.O.W." (See? No pink!).








In other brief news, I want to thank all of you for your heartfelt congratulations on the impending arrival of our new 'family member'; a baby due in November and wanted to clear up what our role will be in this child's life and that of it's parents.

In the mid 2000's (I want to say it was '04 or '05), we had a neighbor boy who lived across the street from us (he was about 18 or 19). He was working and would occasionally come over and visit. He lived with his parents and was unhappy at home.

We had a spare bedroom and he moved in with us paying rent.

With him came 'J', whom I refer to in my blog as our 'oldest son'. J and this young man were good friends and through him, J became a part of our lives.

Eventually, the young man moved back home after losing his job and not really meshing well with us, but J remained in our lives: he and B became 'brothers' and he like a son to Ed and I.

J is good hearted, close to his family and we just 'gelled' well.

So, J's been a part of our lives for many years now (he calls me 'Mom' and I refer to him, again, as my 'oldest son'). We see him daily and were there when he married his wife, 'C', four years ago and were there when they announced last week that they were having a baby.

So, again, I just wanted to clear up any confusion. While this is not my biological grandchild, I couldn't be more thrilled at this news.

Imagine how tickled I will be when B announces one day that he will be a father.

So, again, while Ed and I aren't 'Grandma and Grandpa' per se, this baby will nonetheless be a part of our daily lives, just as J and C are. B is crazy happy to be an 'Uncle' just as we're crazy happy to be whatever we are destined to be for this baby.

We've learned through J (and B's other close friends like V and A, whom I've also mentioned on here) that 'family' is more than blood, it's really, quite simply, what connects our heart strings.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

HAPPENINGS



First of all, wouldn't it be lovely if I, just for once, didn't begin a post where I'm apologizing for being a bad and neglectful blog friend?

It would indeed be idyllic for me and all concerned (blog and otherwise) if the inner workings of my brain and life were such that I just simply stayed on top of things and manage my time better -- and then just perhaps I wouldn't always be asking for forgiveness from somebody. Everybody.

My humblest and sincerest apologies. I'm a schmuck.












Secondly, onto my news of the week:

I'm entering a writing contest where the grand prize is $10,000 and a trip to New York for two. The first prize is $5,000.

There's a $25.00 entry fee but so worth it. I have to describe who I am, as a woman over forty, in 150 words or less.

Um, yeah.

That's like asking Paris Hilton to straighten up, fly right and get off her knees.

Difficult task.

I also got invited back to work at the MS camp coming up in May and am thrilled and excited to once again take part in something so enlightening. This will be my third year, but before that I have the MS Walk coming up next month for which I'm still fundraising for.

In other news, B was hit in his Jeep coming out of school the other day by a stolen car. Hit and run. Thank God, he and his friend, V, were not hurt in any way. They found the car abandoned a few blocks away and the culprits (two young women -- likely late teens early twenties) took off on foot, no where to be found.

The police were called and B had witnesses, however, the girls were long gone. The police called the owner of the vehicle who claimed that he was in class and that his car must've been stolen from the parking lot.

Our theory? He lent his car to his girlfriend who went joy riding with her friend and he's not giving them up. No proof of that, however, which leaves B monumentally screwed.

No, we don't have uninsured motorists insurance. We have the bare necessities.

So, we're left to our own devices where we're looking at about $500.00 to $600.00 worth of damages.

B found a broken down Jeep through someone he knows that he's going to buy for $200.00 -- and outside of tires, this car has everything in it he'll need to fix his Jeep.

So, all we can do is the best we can. In the meantime, until this all gets resolved, I'm out of a car as B will be needing mine to get back and forth to school.

The other big happenings is that I'm going to be a grandmother.

Kind of, sort of.

'My oldest son', J and his wife, C, are expecting their first child.









While Ed and I aren't exactly 'Grandma and Grandpa', surely we're more than just Ed and Jo Anna and 'Auntie and Uncle'.

We'll work out the terms of endearment later, in the meantime, we're thrilled and are looking at a mid to late November delivery.

J and C have been married about four years now and both are in their mid twenties. C works full time at the local medical clinic and J has been actively looking for work in his field since graduating from 'Wyotech' (a diesel mechanics school in Laramie, Wyoming) in late September. The economy being what it is, he's now looking for just about anything.

He finally got a bite and received a call from our local Albertsons Distribution Center here in southern California to work in refrigeration. He'll be interviewing with them this week or next.

::Keeping my fingers crossed::

In the meantime, I'm still trying to get healthy physically and mentally and stay that way (I also just posted on my '90 Days' blog).

I think about you all and am now off to see what's new in your blog world. Will try to get to everyone today and tomorrow.

Peace and serenity.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

ENTERTAINMENT NEWS



Bringing you the news of the beautiful people in 'Tinsel Town', 'The City Of Angels'....whatever euphemism you have for Hollywood, it would appear that all that glitters is indeed not gold.

Just ask Sandra Bullock and Jesse James.












Right on the heels of her Best Actress Oscar Win for 'The Blind Side', Sandra Bullock -- according to Hollywood gossip reports -- has reportedly moved out of the home she shares with her husband of nearly five years, Jesse James, amidst reports that he had an affair with this woman, Michelle 'Bombshell' McGee (ask me how much I HATE that this woman has an Irish surname!):












Despite reports that 'Ms. Bombshell's' boss has come out in her defense claiming that "She's the nicest woman you'll ever want to meet", I somehow doubt that as all evidence suggests she's the one who's spilled the beans on this alleged 11 month affair to the highest bidder.

These last few days reports have been flying of trouble in what seemed like the 'odd couple done good' marriage of Bullock and James since Sandra cancelled the promoting her film, 'The Blind Side', abroad this week citing "unforeseen personal reasons".

Today they say she has indeed moved out of their Long Beach, CA. home.

This after a fierce custody battle for James' youngest daughter (six year old Sunny) against his ex-wife, another -- eh hem -- 'model' in which Ms. Bullock, having no biological children of her own, has indeed happily taken on the role of 'Mom' to James' three children.

My take: I love and admire Sandra Bullock, always have -- she indeed personifies everything that is good in Hollywood and I hope they can work through this. While certainly not ideal, an affair doesn't have to mean the end of a marriage.

Watching Jesse Jame's face as Ms. Bullock accepted her best actress Oscar win stating; "To my husband, there's no surprise that my work got better when I met you, because I never knew what it felt like for someone to have my back. So thank you" you can see how proud and in love with his wife he is.

'Ms. Bombshell' may get her fifteen minutes of fame, but Sandra has already won the whole ball of wax. She's proven herself classy, scrappy and dedicated in her personal and professional lives.

I say take a cue from Tiger Woods' wife, remain publicly silent, classy and work through this.

In other news, I was very excited to wake up this morning and find that the upcoming Julia Roberts film, 'Eat. Pray. Love.', released it's first trailer. This is from the book of the same name, which I read with delight by Elizabeth Gilbert.












I read this book last year and was dumbfounded by the authors courage to chronicle her journey through travels to Italy, India and Indonesia after a failed marriage that sent her into a depressive state and into the arms of another unhealthy relationship.

She takes a leave from her life and takes to the road where she ultimately discovers her love of food in Italy, prayer/meditation in India and being in love in Indonesia.

Not everyone would have the advantage Ms. Gilbert does financially to pull this off (plus, she had no children) and I'm sure of any complaints she may have received, that would be number one on her readers' list.

However, if one can do it, by all means, do it.

It sounds cliched` to say that one needs to leave their home to go 'find themselves', but it nonetheless resonates to anyone out there who doesn't know what the next step is in their lives.

My one complaint is that the making of this film (Ms. Roberts' entourage, etc.) disrupted a deep, religious sabbatical for the people who traveled to India to stay at a specific Ashram during the filming of this movie which brought about much negative publicity, rightfully so.

'Eat. Pray. Love.' opens in July and I for one will make that rare journey out of my home, into my car and into a crowded theater to get my much needed dose.

In the meantime, watch the trailer below, read the book and go find yourself.













*P.S. Happy birthday, Steven Anthony! Love you madly, my friend!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

ERIN GO BRAGH!



In case you didn't know, 'Erin Go Bragh' means 'Ireland Forever' in Gaelic.

Who says you don't learn things from my blog??? Hmpf!

We celebrated our St. Patrick's Day on Saturday with B's regular crowd; 'our oldest son, 'J' and his wife (all is well there now --whatever 'it' was, it's thankfully passed with efforts from her and I both), 'V' (one of B's very best friends), 'A' (Nikki's daughter and B's best female friend) and her long time boyfriend/fiancee`, 'C' (B's 'kinda-sorta but not really girlfriend' --they're really better off as good friends and work really well that way -- not exactly sure what the deal is -- and I don't ask questions -- but whatever it is, it's good and they both seem happier). 'C' made several desserts including vegan rice pudding for me and a Boston cream pie cheesecake and bread pudding for everyone else.

We were expecting a few more people who decided to just not show up (and a few two hours late) -- and while at first I was miffed, the truth is that left more for Ed and B to have sandwiches the next day.

Steven Anthony posted my corned beef and cabbage crock pot recipe on his 'Mandish' blog this morning.

*I tried commenting on it, Steven, but I'm having trouble with commenting today -- either blogspot is acting up or my computer is, not sure which. Anyhoo -- for those who are interested, go check it out: you'll need a four or five quart crock pot, the listed ingredients and about 6 or 7 hours to cook it on high. It's truly, as Steven put it, 'melt in your mouth' delicious. I can't partake but I make a pot of boiled potatoes and a separate pot of cabbage as well as vegan soda bread (soda bread is traditional Irish fare for which I'm sure you can find an easy recipe for on-line, it compliments the corned beef and cabbage beautifully).

By the way, tomorrow is Steven's birthday -- he's a very special person to me and has been a good, kind and generous friend; 'my brother from another Mother'. Please kindly wish him a happy birthday tomorrow (you can get to his blog, 'No Excuse. No Explanation.' from his blog button on my side bar).

The main event Saturday was us watching 'The Boondock Saints II: All Saints Day', the long awaited sequel to 1999's 'The Boondock saints' for which I reviewed several posts below last week.

The sequel was, again, ten years in the making and did not disappoint with more twists and turns.












It left room for yet another sequel in which I hope director Troy Duffy jumps on and doesn't make us wait another ten years for.

The sequel boasts the talents of Academy award nominees Peter Fonda and Tom Wilkinson as well as it's regulars, Norman Readus, Sean Patrick Flannery and Billy Connolly.

You really must see the first film to get the emotional high from the second.

If you watch nothing else on T.V. tonight -- watch these two movies. C'mon, 'Modern Family' is a re-run, so, go buy or rent these two films and have a St. Paddy's movie marathon.

So worth it.

My only criticism is that Sean Patrick Flannery is but a shell of his former self. I understand that the sequel took 10 years to finally get made, but I haven't changed THAT much in ten years and these boys are about the same age as myself.

The problem is that for whatever reason, Sean Patrick Flannery has had obvious plastic surgery which his appearance did not take kindly to. Gone are his lovely features and cheekbones replaced by a bloated face and eyes resembling 'the cowardly lion'.
















The Internet is all abuzz about what the hell he's done to himself as us fans had to take another gander to make sure it was indeed him.

Yep. There it is in the opening sequence, Sean Patrick Flannery.

Check it out for yourself.

St. Patrick's Day trivia:









*The hands on a claddagh symbol represent friendship, the heart love and the crown honor and loyalty.

*St. Patrick himself was, in fact, not Irish. His father was Italian and his mother was Scottish.

*The shamrock ('Searoy') became the symbol of Ireland as legend has it that St. Patrick used it to illustrate the Holy Trinity.

*The legend of St. Patrick driving serpents out of Ireland was really symbolic of putting an end to paganism as serpents were frequently used to represent pagans.

*Green wasn't Ireland's national color before the 19th century -- in fact, it's national color was blue.

*A leprechaun wears green to blend in with nature to hide.

*Ireland was the first country to grow potatoes on a large scale.

*Kissing the Blarney Stone is supposed to remove your shyness.

*Shamrocks and clover are the same things: Shamrocks grow in Ireland, clover in America.

*A 'Shillelagh' (pronounced 'Sha-lay-lee') is a big walking stick.

*The oldest known Irish carvings show people playing the harp.

*The Irish are said to have brought oatmeal to America.

*The circle in a Celtic cross represents the sun.

*Not until 1997 did divorce become legal in Ireland.

*If an Irish surname begins with 'Mac' it means son of. If an Irish surname begins with 'O' it means house of or grandson of.

*The longest river in Ireland is the Shannon River.

That's all I have for today. I wish for everyone a very happy and safe St. Patrick's Day and to keep a little of the 'Emerald Isle' in your hearts all year long.












Enjoy these videos, 'The Blowers Daughter' and '9 Crimes', from my favorite Irish singer, Damien Rice (I've posted them before but really hope to turn you all on by this gifted man and his co-singer, Lisa Hannigan):



Monday, March 15, 2010

A NON-QUIXOTIC VIEW



Today I had my third therapists appointment.

I found myself flailing topic wise -- I had in my mind a whole list of things that I felt vital to my recovery that perhaps gave clues as to who I have become that just sort of escaped me once I arrived on that couch.

My session was disjointed but that's likely representative about how I feel about my life as of late.

One of the things I tried desperately to remember to talk about -- and of course, it wasn't until a little while I ago that it finally dawned on me -- was that I never thought of life as quixotic -- 'Utopian' if you will.

I'm not a 'romanticizer'. Growing up, I didn't think 'Prince Charming' would come and sweep me away on his white horse and set up house in the castle.

I always simply thought I would marry a nice, decent man (and I have) and that would be that.

So, I can't say that life has disappointed me per se because I had little or no expectations -- I always just wanted and needed to be okay.

The fact that I'm pretty f***ing far from okay....I'm not sure what this means anymore.

Remember my post 'SAD HOUSEWIFE NO LONGER'? Apparently, I'm full of shit. Whatever this is, I just can't seem to shake it.

He asked me to also think about what has me so 'angry'.

Again, blank.

I did relay to him an argument I had with my 'oldest son' a few days ago when I sent him out on an errand on Ed's behalf and asked about the quantity of what he bought back.

I wanted my money's worth.

What I got was him teasing me; "Nope. this is what you paid for -- it's all their is" to which I didn't take kindly. Turned out he was 'joshing me' but I flipped out with my 'oldest son' then looking at me with a puppy dog face and saying; "I can't believe you don't trust me."

I told my therapist that Ed and B kind of took his side and that I resented this because it's not about trust, it simply boils down to money. I told our 'oldest son' that while he was away at school last year that he didn't get to experience us at our lowest low; bare fridge and cupboards, us scared, etc.

My therapist then told me that his 'joshing me' doesn't need to be going on. It's simply not funny and basically they need to back off and give me some space on this to work out my money issues.

Why is it a virtual stranger understands my perspective but my own family can't?

Interesting.

They seem to see me as little more than a shrew and a harpie who yells -- they don't see the source of how frightened I still am to lose even more, to still have that other shoe drop.

So, I need to make a list when I think of things; carry a note pad and remember further points of topic that can give him and I clues as to how I can recover.

He also told me it may be time for me to think about the meds for my anxiety and depression.

I've tried the teas and while they make me feel warm and fuzzy inside for a time, it's really only a temporary fix. I think I am recognizing that I am not going to be cured by a grocery store buy.

I'm all for homeopathic and prefer to go natural, however, unless someone has another suggestion (I'm still going to look into 'St. John's Wart'), I think I may need to go pharmaceutical on this.

That's all for today.

Love you all. Will spend tomorrow morning catching up on what is new with you all.

Peace and serenity,
~Jo

THE ART OF AVOIDANCE



Lately my 'little blog that could' has been devoid of the personal information it was initially founded on.

I have also been neglectful of getting over to visit my friends' blogs, pick up awards, etc.

Once again, I find myself unable to manage my time properly and when I find that I need to get to something, I feel overwhelmed and avoidance becomes my companion.

Anyone else have this problem????

I don't feel like that visiting a friends blog is work per se, so, please don't misunderstand me. Again, my issue simply lies with being unable to manage my time and how much I want and need to put into things comes second to the ramblings in my head; what I need to do, when I need to do it, how much time should I/can I put in, etc.

The next thing I know, it is mid-afternoon and my day, like every other, has been one of un-productiveness.

I say I'm going to do something but I have issues with finishing what I start.

I just posted on my '90 Days' blog which I hadn't done for TWO WEEKS. Why? No idea. It all comes down, I suppose, to what I just typed above. You can get to my '90 Days' blog by the blog button on my sidebar.

I find I am exhausted beyond belief. Yesterday especially was horrible and today I am equally physically tired. My body doesn't want to move which requires help from my brain which seems equally inactive.

I don't have small children anymore so what excuses could I possibly have that would justify my flightiness????

I suppose this is part of why I am in therapy. To get a grip.

I have a therapy session today in which I need to leave for in about 45 minutes. I'm good when I get there but getting there is a whole other issue.

I recently asked B what he sees as my needs to discuss with my therapist. I needed an example of what others see. It's one thing to have needs in my head that need to be addressed, it's a whole other to have other people see something else.

B sees me as angry -- as does Ed.

Fair enough.

I still have issues with money and when I have to spend it, it upsets me. If I send someone else out there to get something for me, I immediately jump down their throats about content, quantity, how much was spent, my receipts and my change.

I just can't seem to help it.

If I'm asked a question in which my answer isn't fully understood, I find myself yelling with everyone then asking me; 'Why in Gods name are you yelling at us?'

Again, I just can't seem to help it. Poor excuse, I know. Really, I KNOW.

Of course, logically I know a simple solution to this would be to do things myself, but I'm simply too exhausted to do so.

Not just tired -- exhausted to the point where I can't seem to move or do so very slowly.

Part of it is also the fear that if I leave my house, something 'bad' is sure to happen. So, I avoid life.

My Glossopharyngeal Neuralgia issues have -- thank God! -- subsided (until the next time when it decides to make it's appearance) but left my body feeling weary and seemingly unable to motivate itself to do much of anything.

This is likely the depression and anxiety also.

I do think it a good thing I have an appointment today -- now, if I can just get someone to carry me there piggy back, all would be right and just in my world.

In other news, on Saturday I received a donation for the 'MS WAlk' raffle I participate in. Steven Anthony from 'No Excuse. No Explanation' handmade a beautiful necklace, earrings and bracelet. I'll download the picture later today after my therapy appointment for you all to admire because he really is truly exceptional in what he does.

Enclosed in the package was also two gorgeous necklaces he made for me with the loveliest note I think anyone has ever written to me.

I don't know what touched me more.

I was in tears with the kindness extended to me and just so very grateful.

For now, I'm off to get ready for my appointment and will return later with more news.

Thank you all for your never ending support and love. Gregory, thank you also in advance for the 'Lord Of The Rings' book set for my raffle.

Everyone's kindness and generosity warms my heart leaving me without the proper words to convey.

Friday, March 12, 2010

MOVIE MANIA -- ST. PATRICK'S DAY EDITION



Just in case you can't tell -- we're a little Irish. Ed is a 100% Irishman who has, sadly, never been to Ireland, our lifelong dream.

I have a little Irish on my Dads side making B more Irish than not.

So, St. Patrick's Day is indeed a big deal for us. We don't go to parades and we've never been to Boston but in our own way, we personify everything good about this occasion and take full advantage of our heritage.

Several years ago we were introduced to a little known film called 'The Boondock Saints'.












Outside of it's cult classic status, 'The Saints' isn't mainstream -- and I kind of like it that way. Think Quentin Tarantino running amok in Boston -- and just as bloody.

'The Boondock Saints' (1999) stars Sean Patrick Flannery and Norman Readus as 'Connor and Murphy MacManus', two Bostonian brother's who work at the meat packing plant.












When they get into a St. Patrick's Day brawl at the local bar with Russian Mobsters who are strongarming the bars owner and friend of Connor and Murphy, 'Doc' -- the brother's take matters into their own hands.

This is the beginning of their intense vigilantism in which the well intentioned brother's attempt to take back their city from the thugs who want to overrun it.

They reluctantly bring on board their best friend, 'Rocco' (David Della Rocco), a numbers boy to the local Italian boss who's tired of playing their patsy and knows much about what goes on in the Italian underworld to prove that he can be of service to the brothers' plight.










The brothers' revenge against their citys sludge gets noticed by F.B.I. agent 'Paul Smeckler', played brilliantly and hysterically by Willem Dafoe -- who, after questioning them about the first series of murders with the Russians, likes and respects them and their intelligence (they speak several languages).








As the brother's continue on their rampage taking down the citys underworld, Smeckler becomes conflicted once he suspects who is behind the blood fest.

Make no mistake about it -- the brother's inform Rocco, their cohort, that Smeckler is a good man, not to be touched.

As the Italian underworld becomes weary of these attacks, they bring in long incarcerated 'Il Duce' (Billy Connolly) -- a criminal so violent that it's better to have him on their side than against -- to try and rid themselves of the brother's once and for all.









Filmed in (here's that reference again) Tarantino-esque flashback to current scenes, we come to see the brothers' Irish Catholicism coupled with tradition and, surpisingly, poignancy come heavily into play during the ritualistic killings in which the brothers lay a penny over the deads eyes (to pay the ferryman in order to cross over to ther other side, we presume) and say the following family prayer prior to killing the offenders:

"And Shepherds we shall be

For thee, my Lord, for thee.

Power hath descended forth from Thy hand

Our feet may swiftly carry out Thy commands.

So we shall flow a river forth to Thee

And teeming with souls shall it ever be.

In Nomeni Patri Et Fili Spiritus Sancti.

Amen."













A fantastic showdown -- exclaims Agent Smeckler: "It was a firefight!!!!" -- ensues with a twist no one saw coming.








The ending begs the question; Saints: heroes or menaces to society?

It's sequel, 'The Boondock Saints II -- All Saints Day' was ten years in the making by writer/director Troy Duffy due to production issues, which was released befittingly this past November around the actual 'All Saints Day', causing a frenzy amongst Saints fans who waited ten years for this.

Everyone is back for the sequel, with the exception of Willem Dafoe. Fear not, his lack of presence is apparently explained with yet another twist in this long awaited sequels ending.

'All Saints Day' -- which we are watching on DVD tomorrow night -- came out this week on DVD. Review will commence next week.












Until then, siochan (peace in Irish Gaelic).

Thursday, March 11, 2010

MATTEL HAS SOME SEEING 'MAD'



I was like every other quintessential little girl in the 70's; I LOVED my 'Barbie'!














The only thing that I have today in Barbie form is an 'I Love Lucy' Barbie my daughter gave me several years ago that I have proudly displayed on my wall unit:












As an adult, I not only still love 'Barbie' and 'Lucy' -- but I'm also a 'Mad Men' nut!









When Mattel decided to mate peoples love of 'Mad Men' and Barbie -- the results were as cataclysmic as horny teenagers in the backseat of a blue Chevy Nova in 1982. Um, okay -- that was specific. Not that I'm talking about ME for heavens sake!

The spawned results of 'Mad Men and 'Barbie':









Since this unveiling today, the media is complaining that Barbie's 'Joan' -- played by the wonderfully curvy Christina Hendricks -- is lacking curves.

As an adult female who not only adored Barbie as a little girl but who as a full fledged woman has struggled with her own curves, I have mixed feelings.

While I think that perhaps Mattel has indeed missed the boat on making Barbie more 'pc' and accessible to all shapes and sizes, like 'Joan' herself, I also feel that they are simply keeping with what has worked for little girls for fifty years: not changing who Barbie is, therefore, keeping her impossibly disproportionate, which is how we always accepted her before.

As a little girl I knew I was imperfect, having Barbie as my companion never solidified nor demystified that for me. She was simply something for me to dress up and for my older sister to cut her hair promising me it would 'grow back'.

I saved up my allowance diligently for Barbie's camper and didn't even mind Ken joining her in there for a 'romp'. The only confusion I had was how they could possibly procreate with Ken having no genitals.












I never paid any attention to Barbie's size until the media started telling me to.

Perhaps the media is doing more harm to starry eyed little girls everywhere than Barbie's size is.

I'm the first one to admit that I don't like it when magazines use size two models in 'plus size' women's catalogues -- but that is my sense of right and wrong, not anyone telling me to think that way.

I am also the first to admit that I think these size zero actresses out there send the way wrong message to young girls. Again, that is ME thinking that -- not anyone telling me to.

Barbie has simply been herself all along. She hasn't changed nor evolved size wise from the time I was little adoring her and her multitude of little sisters and friends (obviously, Barbie's parents had no trouble procreating!)

I say, let little girls everywhere enjoy their Barbie's guilt free and leave well enough alone.

BARBIE TRIVIA: Barbie's full name is Barbie Millicent Roberts.

YEAH...ABOUT THAT



Okay -- so, you know how when we try to do the right thing that it doesn't always work out?

That's me.

At least, that's me in regards to attempting to visit all the kind people who stopped by to see me on my SITS day last Friday.

I had this great idea that I was going to stop and visit every single person to personally thank them.

I got as far as visiting about 90 blogs -- and am not even half way through.

So, I have to eat some humble pie here and offer my apologies.

Time management is one of the things I'm in therapy for and this is just stressing me out. It wouldn't have been so bad if I had just written one big sincere thank you on my blog instead of making this grand announcement that I'm going to visit everyone individually.

Well, guys and gals, I gave it a good shot. I have spent hours so far between yesterday and this morning trying to do the right thing and keep my word -- and I haven't even made a dent.

It's not that I don't feel you're all worth it -- you are -- it's just that I don't have that kind of time to keep putting into this when I have so many other things I HAVE to be doing.

Enter bloggers guilt.

So, to those to whose blogs I didn't quite make it over to, my sincere and humble apologies.

I do want to thank everyone greatly for making my SITS day special.

I still have to go to the bank, the store and prepare for our St. Patrick's Day celebration this Saturday.

My house looks like it's been hit by a hurricane because I haven't been feeling well for about a week now; between my 'Glossopharyngeal Neuralgia' (see my post from last week titled 'HIGH VOLTAGE' for further explanation on what that exactly is) and female issues, I've simply been having my ass kicked and my body betrayed, and trying to do the right thing is causing my anxiety level to go through the roof.

So, I have to know when to say Uncle.

I love you, all -- thank you in advance for understanding my dilemma and my good intentions.

Now, where IS that road to hell?????