Saturday, September 25, 2010

STRANGER THAN DICTION


For those of you who like fiction -- I began a blog titled 'STRANGER THAN DICTION' (which you can get to from my profile page) where I am showcasing an original piece of work that I have been working on for over a year now. A few weeks ago I posted the prologue and today I just posted chapter one.

I hope you'll join me over there and give me your feedback.

Some people paint, sew, crochet, knit, do crafts, make jewelry---I write.

Much peace, serenity and creativity,
~Jo

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

BECAUSE SOMETIMES YOU JUST GOTTA


I did something BIG -- something huge that would normally require planning and agreement with all parties concerned (meaning Ed and B).

I made plans.

Not plans to go to dinner or what movie to see (both of which we rarely do) but major plans that will involve many details, researching and financial planning -- you are the first to know, even before Ed and B.

But allow me to intentionally digress here before I go even further. Last night was tense. Without naming names or giving away personal details, let me just say that suddenly and quite shockingly, things exploded here at home.

It's something that rarely occurs but when it does, it occurs big. Monumentally huge.

Ed went to bed upset and angry, I went to bed upset and angry and B just...left.

Apologies were made but the fact remains that things got personal and forgiving and forgetting won't be so easy this time.

There will be another person going with me to therapy on Friday -- the first time this has happened.

But that's not the plans I made.

A few days ago I posted about my calling my best friend in Maine, Sue. And how after just a few minutes of talking, we both felt like nothing had changed -- all the time and distance hasn't affected our friendship.

Out of the blue, she calls me this morning. How she knew I needed this is beyond me. With puffy and swollen eyes I had been battling with my emotions all morning, going over and over the events of last night...then she called.

And out of nowhere I made a promise. I made a promise to my best friend whom I haven't seen in 20 years.

I made a promise to her -- on this first day of Autumn -- that this coming summer, I am getting on a plane and flying to visit her. And I'm taking Ed and B with me.

This will come as news to them.

It came as news to me.

I think I'm just tired of hearing and reading about everyone else's fun and good times -- fun with family and friends. So, I'm cultivating my own life and the events in it.

I'm not a spontaneous kind of gal -- especially with something as big as this. Our two day Catalina Island trip took me two months of planning and the most spontaneous thing I've ever done was get my nose pierced, recently (yes, it hurt!).

It would seem I'm simply finding my salt.

This is one case where buyers remorse won't be setting in. This is something that's been a long time coming and I'm going through with it with no apologies.

With Sue's hectic work schedule as a cardiology nurse and family with problems just like every other, it would be impossible for her, financially and otherwise, to come here. So, I am coming to her...AND we're getting matching tattoos.

And I'm doing it as carefree as making dinner reservations or buying a movie ticket....because sometimes you just gotta.

Nike would be so proud.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

REACH OUT AND TOUCH SOMEONE


Very often we read blogs and kind of go through the motions -- always reading and mostly caring (let's be honest) but not always connecting.

As you may know, I belong to 'SITS' blogging group which helps sway bloggers over to that days featured blog.

Today was just another such day and so, I meandered with as LITTLE enthusiasm as I could muster and found my way to 'ENJOYING THE SMALL THINGS' by Kellie (you can get to Kellie's blog under 'Blogs I Follow' in my profile).

I thought; "Great. Another 'Mommy Blog'. Yay."

Normally I steer away from the 'Mommy Blogs' -- no disrespect intended; as I wrote to Kellie myself, I just feel that as a Mom with two grown children, I've 'been there, done that' and prefer to read like-minded blogs instead.

It's just a personal choice and again, no disrespect was meant to those who dedicate their blogs to raising children. I've written many times in previous posts that were blogging available back when I was raising kids, I may very well have been one such 'Mommy blogger' myself.

What would I have titled it? I wonder...

*'Ed and me = C and B'?

*'C and B + 2 more = 4'?

*'The 4 Leaf Clover'?

*'Tales From One Exhausted, Ill Equipped And Well Intentioned Mama' seems more likely and appropriate because, as the great line from 'Terms Of Endearment' said, in regards to parenting: "As hard as you think it's going to be, you end up wishing it was that easy".

But I digress....

So, today I met Kellie -- not sure if she has met me yet. My long and verbose comment to her today will either compel her my way to meet this Kooky west coaster -- or frighten her and make her run for the hills.

As I wrote to Kellie, meanings and tone can be easily misunderstood in writing.

Especially since I'm not one who partakes in the overly used 'LOL' movement so popular in texts and chat.

Regardless, her post MOVED me...it moved me to tears in fact.

Kellie doesn't need me to 'follow her' -- Kellie has over 7000 followers.

Nonetheless, she now has one more.

Kellie, who hails from Florida, relayed the story -- and did so quite poignantly with beautiful pictures she took herself to boot! -- of how she connected with a Montana woman. She connected so well, in fact, that she flew with her two youngin's in tow to Montana to meet this woman, who also has two kids the same gender who are also right about the same age as Kellie's.

Reading her well written words about spiritual connection tugged at my heart.

It tugged so hard it made me pick up the phone and call my best friend, Sue, who lives in Maine and whom I haven't seen in nearly 20 years.

There's no real connection for me here where we reside, I know that now -- it's just simply a place we live and work. The connections I don't have, B does, and that's what's keeps us here.....but once upon a time, I had a friend. A good one. A best one. I still do, in fact.....

Sue and I met in high school when I moved to Colorado at the age of 14 to live with my Dad and step-Mom -- Sue lived down the street.

We got into plenty of trouble together and saw each other through the ups and downs of adolescence for the few years I was there. I always wondered how this good student and cheerleader and I became best friends. Me? This girl from southern California who left behind very few, if any, friends when I moved.

She was the epitome of my 'new beginning' there and although we couldn't be farther apart in this country now, we have still managed to transcend time and distance.

We weren't there for the milestones: we didn't make it to each others graduations, weddings and births of our children....but we still managed to maintain this friendship through the years -- I even have a framed picture of her and her husband on my rattan shelf in my living room. So, in a sense, I see her every day.

It had been a while since either of us had connected with the other; she's busy being a Cardiology nurse (who went back to school at the age of 40 to become so), wife, Mom to three grown children and a grandmother.

To hear her New England voice when she picked up the phone and to hear her say; "Jo Anne?" (as she's always called me even though it's Jo Anna -- she knows that, of course, and it tickles me every time!) as if I couldn't have called at a more perfect time, as if hearing my voice was just what she needed at that moment.

We couldn't talk long as she was waiting for a ride from her sister-in-law to go to a family birthday party but we managed to get in a few snippets: "Cassidy is in her second year of Junior college and works as 'Best Buy'...". "B is in junior college, too, oh, and we have a new puppy!"

She spoke briefly about her newly divorced older son and that her daughter, Cassidy and B would probably be good friends if they knew each other.

She has a middle son but we couldn't get to that as in the background her dog began barking alerting her, and me, that her ride had indeed arrived.

However, it matters not how brief the conversation, it was simply a few moments of comfort knowing that she was there, that I reached out and touched her today -- and in doing so she could never possibly know how much she has touched me.

One of these days, I said to myself, one of these days I am going to fly to Maine -- and reach out to my best friend.

So, thank you, Kellie, for your beautiful post today that made me reach out for a much needed connection.

I needed that -- and so do you.

Make that long overdue phone call, send a 'Thinking Of You' card or even purchase those airline tickets you've been putting off to go see a long lost friend.

Reach out and touch someone...and enjoy the small things.

Friday, September 17, 2010

MOON AND MERCURY MEET THE STARS


In an upcoming yet to be titled film biopic, Mike Myers will be playing KEITH MOON, the troubled and destructive drummer from 'The Who' (Ed's all time favorite band!) who -- in addition to having enormous talent -- was infamous for blowing up toilets and trashing the hotel rooms that housed them.













Keith Moon died in 1978 of a prescription overdose that was intended to treat his alcoholism.













Also up is Sacha Baron Cohen as 'Queen's' lead singer, Freddie Mercury, who died from complications of AIDS in 1991.


















My love of music -- and rock & roll in particular -- is evident in my new blog 'STRANGER THAN DICTION' (which you can get to from my profile page) where I am posting a story I came up with about love, life, coming of age and rock & roll in the late 1970's. Mostly fiction with little pieces of me and my family weaved through...

Thus, I am naturally quite interested to see the dynamics where these two stars take on two planets.

Brilliant, catastrophic casting!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

RE-POST THREE: THE KING AND I



In today's "SITS' challenge, we are to re-post a post we are particularly proud of.

Yesterday's post/challenge didn't garner any attention or comments and, I admit I'm becoming a bit weary of why I am doing this, is it going anywhere, is there a point and is there even anyone out there reading this?

I realize, of course, that this is inconsistent to my comment yesterday about not having that many comments and being okay with it.

I was never a popular gal (in school nor in life) and this blog of late is kind of re-enforcing and re-visiting those insecurities for me at the age of 44.

Call it peri-menopause or simply a case of 'cry-babyitis'. Either way, ignore it.

In any case, without further adieu, here is a post I wrote back in June about the Tudor Dynasty.

I am quite proud of this one as I consider it not only historically accurate but also well written with a myriad of information.

Hope you enjoy it.

'THE END OF A DYNASTY' written on 6/25/10:

A few nights ago Ed and I watched the series finale of 'The Tudors'. For those of you who may be unfamiliar with the Showtime series, 'The Tudors' was a four seasons long adaptation of the reign of King Henry VIII, whose last name, of course, was Tudor.

Starring in the titular role was the gorgeous Irish actor, Jonathon Rhys Meyers who artistically nailed King Henry's tyrannical demeanor.

Jonathon Rhys Meyers as Henry VIII










What Henry Tudor wanted, Henry Tudor got and Jonathon Rhys Meyers did a beautiful job of portraying someone whom we really have no idea how he sounded, walked or even looked as even the well known paintings of the infamous king should really be viewed with an abstract eye as most paintings of that era portray everyone -- men and women alike -- as pretty much looking the same with heavily lidded eyes and small mouths. I, personally and in my humble opinion, attribute this more to the artistry of the era rather than accuracy.

What we do know is that King Henry VIII changed the face of religion as we know it today and added divorce to our vocabulary.

Throughout the series, Ed and I remained perpetually in awe of this man who wielded unstoppable power.

*Season one saw Henry married to Catherine of Aragon of Spain, his brothers widow.












Maria Doyle Kennedy as Catherine Of Aragon












They have one child, a daughter; Lady Mary.

Henry, in addition to being King, of course, was also a virile man, supposedly quite good looking and charming allowing him to have any woman he desired in his bed chambers, and he did, having several illegitimate children along the way.

When he meets Anne Boleyn, it is then -- with Anne Boleyn's encouragement and manipulation -- that he becomes increasingly dissatisfied and distasteful of the much beloved by the people, Queen Catherine, who miscarried numerous times unable to bore him a son, with Henry then seeking to annul their marriage so he could marry Ms. Boleyn (whose older sister, Mary, as history tells it, allegedly bore the King's illegitimate son whom Henry wouldn't acknowledge).

When the pope refuses to grant him an annulment, Henry puts in motion to make himself the head of the Church Of England, thus making his own rules and religion and 'divorcing' Queen Catherine to marry Anne Boleyn.












Natalie Dormer as Anne Boleyn











Queen Catherine died shortly thereafter alone and in poverty by royal standards.

History: Lady Mary, of course, would later become known in her short reign as 'Bloody Mary' for her burning of hundreds of so-called heretics when she tried to reinstate Catholicism as England's only religion and denouncing protestants as heretics.













Sarah Bolger as Lady Mary








*In season two we see Anne Boleyn then crowned and married to King Henry as his second wife and already pregnant with Elizabeth who was born in September of that year. After several miscarriages thereafter and not producing Henry a son, he soon becomes bored with Anne and starts courting his future wife, Jane Seymour.

Cries of alleged heresy and incest with her brother surrounds Anne and she is soon imprisoned, tried for treason, found guilty (though she was not) and ultimately, infamously beheaded. Elizabeth was not yet three.

History:

Anne later becomes a sympathetic figure in the women's movement and their daughter, Elizabeth, 'The Virgin Queen', becomes the longest female ruler in England's history (this was, of course, prior to England being united with Ireland, Scotland and Wales to become the U.K. with the title then later belonging to Queen Victoria) with her reign known as 'The Golden years'-- she was the last of the Tudor dynasty.











Laoise Murray (right) as Elizabeth Tudor












*Season three opens with Henry marrying who is said to be the true love of his life, Jane Seymour, Henry's third wife.













Annabelle Wallis as Jane Seymour








Jane was said to be a gentle, agreeable woman and whom encouraged good relations with Henry's daughters, Mary and Elizabeth, who went largely ignored by their father.

She gives birth to their son, Edward VI, but dies less than two weeks later from post-natal complications, sending Henry into a long period of grieving.

History: Jane Seymour was the only one of Henry's wives to receive a queens funeral.

Henry is then advised he must have a queen and it is arranged for him to marry Anne Of Cleves, a German noblewoman, who would become Henry's fourth wife.












Joss Stone as Anne Of Cleves











However, Henry is immediately dissatisfied in not being attracted to Anne and has the marriage soon annulled, bestowing upon Anne a home, generous income and the royal title of Henry's 'sister'.

Anne is particularly close to Henry's daughters and Henry and Anne remain good friends, often visiting and playing cards -- she becomes one of his confidants.


History:

Edward VI was nine when Henry died and thus became ruler of England under his maternal uncle's (Jane Seymour's brother, Edward Seymour) guardianship and guidance.

King Henry's daughters, Mary and Elizabeth, were deemed illegitimate and therefore, not eligible at that time for ruling England: Mary was deemed illegitimate due to Henry's annulment from her Mother, Catherine Of Aragon. Elizabeth was deemed illegitimate due to her Mother's, Anne Boleyn's, execution.

Edward VI died when he was fifteen naming Lady Jane Grey, Henry's great-niece (oldest granddaughter of Henry's long deceased sister, Mary), the successor to Edward's throne.

Very soon after, Parliament declared Henry's eldest daughter, Mary, the rightful queen and reinstated her as such.

Lady Jane Grey was then executed less than two weeks after her succession to the throne for high treason.

Lady Jane Grey became a protestant martyr for centuries.

*Season four, and the final season, shows Henry now married to fifteen year old Catherine Howard, his fifth wife (and Anne Boleyn's cousin), with a renewed vigor for the aging king who is painfully afflicted with gout.












Tamzin Merchant as Catherine Howard











Catherine is young, immature, ill prepared and disinterested in her duties as queen. She is also immensely disliked by Henry's eldest daughter, Lady Mary.

Catherine's youth is the catalyst for her bad decisions, including allowing several people into her service who know of her past affairs as well as Catherine then beginning an affair with one of the Kings courtiers, Thomas Culpeper.

This is all soon found out and she becomes the second wife of Henry's to be tried for treason, found guilty (unlike Anne Boleyn, Catherine was guilty) and beheaded.

Catherine and Henry had no children.

History:

After her arrest, Catherine Howard admitted her past liaisons prior to meeting and marrying Henry but would never admit to an affair with Thomas Culpeper although it is alleged that her last words before the blade struck were: "I die a Queen, but I would rather have died the wife of Culpeper."

Upon her house arrest prior to being taken to the tower for imprisonment and, ultimately, her execution, it is said that Catherine Howard escaped the guards and ran to Henry screaming and begging for her life.

It is said Catherine's ghost still roams the palace halls re-enacting this scene.

The end of 'The Tudors' final season shows Henry's interest in Katharine Parr, a twice married protestant wealthy widow.












Joely Richardson as Katharine Parr











While she does not necessarily love Henry at first, she nonetheless marries him, thus becoming his sixth and final wife, and carries on her duties efficiently.

She is well informed, kind, intelligent and deeply loves Henry's children. In fact, it is she who reinstates the Lady Mary and Lady Elizabeth back at the palace, thus, helping them grow closer to their father.

In spite of the new queens love for her, Lady Mary, due to her strong Catholic beliefs, goes on a quest to have her new protestant step-mother denounced as a heretic and tries, with the help of an ambitious and pious clergyman, to have her arrested.

Their plot is unsuccessful due to interference from Henry.

Katharine Parr and Henry had no children together.

History:

Prior to Henry's death -- at the age of 55 in 1547 -- he told Katharine that she will be treated and regarded as Queen of England even after his death. She was also granted a generous stipend from Henry's fortune and was given his blessing for her to remarry with no interference of her income and status.

She then married Thomas Seymour (another one of Jane's brother's), her fourth husband, six months after the kings death, causing a small scandal. Thomas Seymour and Katharine were having an affair prior to her marrying Henry, however, there is no evidence to suggest that the affair continued during her marriage to the king.

Katharine and Thomas Seymour had a little girl named Mary in August of 1548.

Katharine died a month after giving birth to Mary at the age of 35 due to post-natal complications, as was quite common back then. Katharine's husband, Thomas Seymour, was executed when Mary was one due to treason.

Not much is known about Mary Seymour although it is speculated that she was orphaned penniless as it is said her late Mother's wealth was later confiscated by the crown.

It is suggested that Mary Seymour didn't live past the age of ten after being passed around from family to family.

There are also speculations saying she indeed grew to see adulthood marrying a member of the household of Queen Anne Of Denmark.

Another theory suggests she became a lady in waiting to Elizabeth I.


The end of the series:

During the reign of King Henry VIII, we see him execute Sir Thomas More, Cardinal Wolsey, Secretary Cromwell and Lord Surrey -- all one time friends and advisers of the king.

In the end, we see a re-emergence of most of Henry's dead wives in the series finale come back to chide and taunt him in his near death state.










Henry is left with but one true friend, Charles Brandon, the one he's had the longest, and not since the death of Henry's beloved third wife, Jane Seymour, do we see such a decline and grief in the king as we do when Charles dies.












Henry Cavill as Charles Brandon












Henry, in a fit of uncharacteristic generosity, insists on Charles being buried in the royal cemetery, with full honors and fully paid for by the king.

It was this moment of immortality and rare humanity that touched me at the end of this series the most.

We don't see Henry die, instead we see him commission what will become the most famous painting of the king and as he sees it's unveiling, we see Henry reflecting back on the glory days of his reign, his loves, his children, his tyranny, his life.

We then see in slow motion the grim reaper on a white horse coming towards a youthful king....

Well done and....long live the king.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

RE-DO PART TWO--THE ONE I WISH YOU READ


Today's 'SITS' challenge is to re-post a blog we wish more people had read and/or responded to.

This post was just written on 8/31/10 and is one of my most personal -- unfortunately, it didn't garner much attention....so I am re-posting it for the 'SITS' challenge blogging week.

Of course, I'm not one of those bloggers who have 200 plus followers and get 20, or even 10, comments anyway -- but I've always said that's okay. I accept that.

As I've said before, not everyone is going to be everyone else's cup of tea.

As always for the 'SITS' challenges this week I am to mention the sponsors of this blogging event: 'Standards of Excellence', 'Westar Kitchen and Bath', and 'Florida Builder Appliances' (you can get to their links from the SITS website).

This post below re-caps my distrust of people and why I have trouble making and keeping friends -- female ones especially.

Those of you who have a network of support and plethora of friends -- you're very blessed and lucky.

So, here it is, "THE THERAPISTS COUCH: MY HISTORY WITH WOMEN' written on 8/31/10:

I sure am bored of these re-runs.

So, in order to learn to change the channel, I see my therapist once every two weeks.

Poor guy doesn't know what hit him.

Last session he asked what I'm doing for myself and I told him that I did recently renew my subscription to Pogo.com: an on-line gaming site: $40.00 for a year of entertainment.

That counts, yeah?

*Side note: if any of you are Pogo subscribers, my screen name is ejcbtheshamrock4 and you can typically find me playing 'Lottso!' on any given day.

You may now return to your regularly scheduled program.

Last year when Ed and I didn't know where our next meal would come from or how we would pay our mounting bills with his wages being garnished while we were in the middle of filing bankruptcy (Phew! That's a mouthful!), my Pogo subscription ran out and I made the wise choice to not renew.

$40.00, as most of you will concur, is gold when you're flat broke.

There's a line from a good movie with Kathy Bates called; 'A Home Of Our Own' where the narrator says, while window shopping at Christmas: "When you're really poor, everything you see is something you can't have."

I get that.

As I've said before and will likely say again, I learned -- and know -- that there's a big difference between what we want compared to what we need.

During that terrible time in our life last year, I was grateful to have a roof over our heads, a few eggs, peanut butter and jelly and a loaf of bread.

I didn't go shopping regularly to buy meals, I made what was available, which sometimes wasn't much.

Being a vegan, that task was made even more trying for myself.

Usually hot dog sandwiches for Ed (even hot dog buns were a luxury so we used bread), 'Top Ramen' and lots of rice and cabbage. But believe it or not, we were thankful, mostly because I know there are many good people out there like ourselves who were going through the same things -- and some not so lucky compounded with little mouths to feed.

So, during that time once my Pogo subscription ran out, I got on this little free networking site called 'Facebook'.

As I've said previously, that time in my life was lonely and brutal and I was looking for a connection as well as a way to pass my time: I found on there long lost co-workers, old 'friends', nieces and nephews, etc.

I reached out to fill a void in my life only to find out that the position was already filled in theirs.

They already apparently had that archetype of the red-headed zany Aunt, friend, etc. and when I would check in daily, I would see pictures of their family bar-b-ques, pedicures, ladies luncheons and girls night out -- complete with empty wine glasses and big smiles.

This went on and on as I would receive little to no feedback: I would send 'Flair', wish people good days, ask them how their weekends were, comment on pictures, etc.

Call it 'the green-eyed monster', envy, jealousy...whatever euphemism you may have for it, all I know is that for me it started becoming hurtful to see and yearn for a life that didn't include me, a life I desperately wanted filled with friends, family, support and giggles -- a life I didn't have.

I found that I was reaching out but wasn't being reached out to.

It just seemed to make me feel worse. Finally B says; 'It's simple, Mom. Get off of there -- it's bad for you. Period.'

And he was right.

My desperation for a connection was breaking up and in return I only got static.

Okay, this isn't working. So, I left 'Facebook' and it's unhealthy for me toxins behind (I'm only speaking for myself) and began blogging my bankruptcy on 'Blogspot'.

I don't work outside of the home (hell, I hardly work in it-ha!) nor do I live in a community where we know our neighbors or where I have lifelong friends. I've, naturally, had women friends in my life here and there over the course of my many years, but people have consistently disappointed me (and I've no doubt disappointed many) and sometimes they've simply moved -- and time and they inevitably moved on without us.

It happens and perhaps I'm equally to blame.

I've lived here almost 18 years and I can count on one finger the friends I made, and that was only recently. Don't misunderstand, one is all we need and I'm grateful to her.

::Waves hi to Nikki (also lovingly referred to as 'crazy ass woman')::

Before Nikki, there was no one but myself, Ed, B and his friends.

So, my therapist asked me on Friday about my friendships....

Um, yeah...about that.

He asked my history with friends, particularly female ones.

I had to go back.

I had to explain that I simply don't trust people easily -- not to be a trader to my gender but I especially don't trust women.

Back in Junior high school in Paramount, CA. I had a friend named Tammy Bailey (yes, I am using her real name -- f*** it and her): we had sleepovers and listened to records. She was a little wild and seemed to accept this gawky, unpopular, weird girl who had bad skin and non-trendy clothes (nor much of a sense of style) as her friend.

She borrowed a ton of my records and in return she told some girls who didn't like me (one of which was her friend) which way I walk home every day -- and I got jumped.

She was there not only not helping me, but encouraging them.

That was a long walk home by myself bloody and battered.

That was the end of my friendship with Tammy -- and my record collection.

Although her betrayal was quite intentional and hurtful, I do also realize that people change -- we grow and we evolve.

I can only hope that Tammy has and that she thinks of me with regret, as I certainly do for all of my monumental mistakes and hurts I've caused others.

During this same time period I was sitting in the middle of the court yard at school eating my sack lunch and literally minding my own business (I tried to blend in and not draw attention to myself) when some girl I didn't know came over with a crowd of people and dared someone for her to slap me in the face; of course, someone did and I was not only slapped, but also humiliated.

Fast forward to 20 years later when my own daughter was brutalized and picked on in junior high and high school and I suppose it's no wonder.

The look of horror on my therapists face as I sat there reminiscing and crying gave away his usually objective demeanor.

I know what you must be thinking: Sheesh, everything but the mean yard dog chasing me down and nipping at my heels.

Pitiful or not, I wish to God this story wasn't true.

Shortly after that, I moved to Colorado to live with my Dad and step-Mom and made a few friends there (a fresh start, if you will) and to this day I consider myself blessed by Sue, who lives in Maine but whom I haven't seen in almost 20 years but with whom I'm also still in touch by phone or letter when life doesn't get the best of us.

I moved back to California after I went a little wild in Colorado and my Mom had an accident. I got a job when I was sixteen at 'Taco Bell' where I worked during the day and went to night school to get my diploma so I didn't have to re-visit my junior high school nightmare.

Prior to getting my first job and after moving back, I swallowed a bunch of pills and tried to end my life.

It obviously didn't work.

There at 'Taco Bell', I met 'D' and we became best friends where we remained so for seven years. I saw her enter a healthy relationship with her now husband, who also worked there. I watched them go to prom and was there when she graduated from private school.

She, in the meantime, watched my downward spiral and by the time I was a single parent with a one and a half year old at the age of 21 and now in a relationship with her cousin, she had enough and I was kicked out of her home (where I lived with her and her parents while I worked and struggled as a single Mom with no child support or Welfare) and kicked out of her life.

I don't blame her -- not one bit. I self-destructed one too many times and my getting involved with her cousin was the final straw.

I ended up marrying her cousin, a great guy named Ed -- and I'm thankful that through all our ups and downs, we are still married.

'D' was there for our wedding but I wasn't invited to hers.

I wish she knew me now (we've had no contact and I haven't seen her in 20 years), not that I'm such a great catch I suppose but I do know now how to be a woman, how to be responsible, how to be a good person and how to nurture those around me.

I know what it takes to be a friend and what it takes to not.

I've been on both sides and I admit, I push people away. Especially women.

My mission, should I chose to accept it from my therapist, is to go out there and make new friends. Female ones especially.

Yikes, he's asking a lot.

I cried: 'But I have YOU....'

He wasn't buying it.

I've been hurt and let down -- and have done some of that myself.

Not sure how to go about this or if I'm even ready for that big leap of faith but...I'll give it a whirl when and if I think I am.

In the meantime, nurture those in your life. Be grateful. Be thankful. Be understanding. Be non-judgmental. Be compassionate.

Be a friend.

Peace, serenity and friendship,
~Jo

Monday, September 13, 2010

A DO-OVER -- A BLAST FROM THE PAST


Below is my very first post at 'The End Of The Rainbow: Life After Bankruptcy' -- written in January of this year.

As a challenge from 'SITS' blogging support network ('The Secret Is In The Sauce': you can get to their site from their blog button on my sidebar) -- to encourage blogging support and getting back to basics (why we started blogging to begin with, etc.) -- we are to re-print our very first blog post.

I will be doing their challenge every day this week and in doing so, we are encouraged to mention the sponsors of this blogging phenomenon and this weeks blogging ideas: 'Standards of Excellence', 'Westar Kitchen and Bath', and 'Florida Builder Appliances'.

My first post clearly shows my vulnerability after a harrowing financial year and what my hopes were -- and still are. I was previously at 'DIARY OF A SAD HOUSEWIFE: CONFESSIONS OF A BANKRUPT LIFE'--this is an extension of that blog, which is still in tact but also which I no longer blog on. All my thoughts, feelings and anxieties were transferred over to 'The End Of The Rainbow' (my 'regular' blog and my home away from home) after our bankruptcy went through.

As I've said before, this was a time I felt very much alone and needed a venting tool and a way to connect after 'Facebook' left me feeling even more damaged, alone...and toxic.

I am still struggling and fighting through it all and have sought out a therapist to help me come to terms with what happened last year and what I would like to see happen.

I have been encouraged by said therapist to seek an outlet and do something for myself -- so, I find 'SITS' topic this week to be nothing short of an act of irony as just today I began a new blog (in addition to this one and my vegan blog 'Rabbit Food') to post my fictional writing titled: 'STRANGER THAN DICTION' (please see my post below this one written earlier today).

I am proud that although I am still admittedly fragile, that I am learning to attempt to 'step outside of my box'.

It's been a slow process and I'm not anywhere near where I would like to be, but...I am slowly progressing to learn to breathe in and out again...

Thanks for stopping by and reading this far.

Peace and serenity,
~Jo

Enjoy this blast from the past -- how it all began:

'SAD HOUSEWIFE NO LONGER' written on 1/11/10:

Hi, all. Jo here from 'Diary Of A Sad Housewife: Confessions OF A Bankrupt Life'.

Welcome to my new blog--this is where you can find me from now on. I'm not going to delete my old one--it will serve as a reminder that when things will no doubt get tough around here, it can always be worse.

Today was our bankruptcy hearing: after a year of frightening financial woes, we are now debt free with a clean slate.

To try and briefly re-cap:

This was not credit card debt, this was due to losing our home after 16 years and being sued for the second on the house by the financial company.

My husband, Ed, was having $1000.00 a month garnished from his paychecks. We sought the legal help of an attorney realizing that we cannot live like this and made the decision to file bankruptcy. With the garnishment in place, we were barely eating and paying bills took second place to food and gas.

No doubt this is a familiar tale to many people out there who have gone through this same thing.

We picked the wrong representation early on as our former attorney jerked us around for most of 2009, making and breaking promises, getting our hopes up and then letting us down time and again as well as refusing our phone calls and E-mail's.

He left us scared and flailing with us not knowing where to turn to next.

So, to reintroduce you (or to acquaint you if you're perhaps new here), start with the blogs I listed below.

*If you're unable to locate my older blogs through the below links (I can't figure out STILL how to post links on here), then please go to blog archives under my previous blog, 'Diary Of A Sad Housewife'.

My very first blog from back in June of '09 is titled; 'Is It Time For Okay yet?':

http://diaryofasadhousewife-jo.blogspot.com/2009/06/is-it-time-for-okay-yet.html

And 'What Now?' from back in August '09:

http://diaryofasadhousewife-jo.blogspot.com/2009/08/what-now-so-if-youve-been-keeping-up.html

Long story short, in September of 2009, after yet another let down by our attorney, I broke down--and then I got pissed!

So, I sought new legal representation and for the first time in a year, progress was being made.

Today was the final episode in a year and half long struggle: from the time we lost our house, moved, got sued, was left on our own by a BAD attorney and then found someone who cared enough to do his job--we are now debt free and get to rebuild our life.

I don't know how many people in this life get 'do-overs' or if they recognize them when they do. However, make no mistake; this is one of those moments--and I get it.

I'm not particularly religious, but I do know that there was a reason Ed (hubby), 'B' (son) and I went through this.

From here on out, it's up to me what lessons I take away from this and how I apply them.

This much I know; say good-bye to the 'Sad Housewife' because there's a new woman in town--and she sure as hell isn't sad.

Peace and serenity,
~Jo

OH NO, NOT ANOTHER ONE!


Dear friends and readers, I have begun a new blog titled 'STRANGER THAN DICTION: THE FICTIONAL WRITING AND INNER WORKINGS OF JO'S MIND, HEART & SOUL' in which I will showcase my fictional writing (you can get to my new blog from my profile page).

As stated in my introductory post there, this is inspired by my love of writing and my good friend Steven Anthony's talents which he displays in his blog series titled; 'Lilly Swan'.

You can get to Steven's page via his blog button on my sidebar; 'Life In A Fishbowl' and from there find his 'Lilly Swan' series. Quite good.

Thank you, Steven, my dear talented friend, for your words of inspiration and devoted friendship.

I am beginning this new venture (my therapist will be so proud!) with a story I began writing about a year ago -- then life, as it will do, simply got the better of me.

I am pleased beyond measure to have taken this next step and to be revisiting these characters as so many people have asked me; "Whatever happened to that book you started writing?"

Fear not as you can find the beginning of it there.

Please join me over at 'STRANGER THAN DICTION' where I look forward to hopefully entertaining you, engrossing you and captivating your heart with this story and the people in it.

Peace, serenity and happy reading,
~Jo

Thursday, September 9, 2010

NOT JUST THE CAPITAL OF ALASKA










This is 'Juneau':




























Juneau is a pure bred Pomeranian and the newest member of our clan, named such (by B) for her resemblance to a tiny polar bear.

That is a face to love!

B's girlfriend and her family have quite a few Pomeranians, some which 'got busy', thus how we acquired our new family member.

She is eight weeks old and like most puppies, she is still potty training, still feisty and most importantly, still fluffy!

Did I need or want this? Not particulalry -- but Ed and B apparently did and I admit that she's won me over and is what I call a 'happy accident'.

Rest easy, little one -- you have a good home here with us and Sarah Palin is far away.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

A SHOUT OUT & A SWAY


For the few of you who follow my vegan blog, 'Rabbit Food' (and for those of you who don't, I have a 'Rabbit Food' blog button on my side bar -- courtesy of the talents of my good friend, Meeko! -- that will take you right to it), you may have read my latest post there, written last week, about the Food Network show, 'Cupcake Wars'.

Chloe Coscarelli, a talented up and coming vegan chef in Los Angeles, took the winning prize of $10,000 in one of their recent shows -- and put vegan baked goods on the map.

She also took the time -- out of what is sure to be her busy schedule since her win -- to thank me via 'Twitter':

"@the4leafclover Thank you Jo for this wonderful write up! Very entertaining to read :) Thanks for the support!"

Chef Chloe, the pleasure was all mine.

So, hop on over to 'Rabbit Food' (pun intended) to get Chef Chloe's winning 'Raspberry Tiramisu' cupcake recipe and while you're there, feel free to browse around. Lots of information on veganism that may surprise you: I make a point not to lecture nor judge -- I simply post tid-bits, recipes & have a little fun.

You can find Chef Chloe on the cover of the latest issue of 'Woman's World' magazine as well as visit her @ www.chefchloe.com to show support for her endeavors & to learn more about vegan baking & cooking (lots of recipes!).

Peace, love and cupcakes,
~Jo

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

THEY CALL ME A RADICAL, LIBERAL, FANATICAL, CRIMINAL


If the title sounds familiar, it should. Those of you from my generation will remember a song in the 70's by 'Supertramp' called 'The Logical Song'.

I've been wanting to slowly dip my toe back into the waters of commerce in order to fulfill our financial goal. With a son in his second year of college and Ed being the soul bread-winner, I see our bank account dwindling.

I know this is how it goes -- it will go up, down, up and then down again as things unexpectedly pop up: yesterday, for example, Ed's car wouldn't start; nearly $100.00 for a new battery.

That's life. I get it.

Then there's birthdays, holidays, necessities and outrageous electric bills (courtesy of triple digits, thus the use of our A/C).

So, I applied for 'Google ADSense' to try and earn a little extra income.

I thought: "I have pretty eclectic blogs here; I have a vegan blog (hello Almond milk, Vegennaise, soy based products and about a million other items that us 'radicals' consume and use) not to mention THIS blog where I've openly chronicled our financial journey as well as blog about a myriad of other topics including friendship (and sometimes lack-there-of), therapy and wellness, education, movie and T.V. chat, family and all that it entails (including feeding), my fight against Multiple Sclerosis, celebrity tit-for-tat, opinions, my on-going struggle with my hair, weight and my daily battle with my best 'frenemy', COFFEE.'

For this, AdSense apparently deems me an undesirable candidate:

"We've found that your website contains content that we don't allow at this
time. AdSense policy doesn't currently accept sites that advocate against
any individual, group, or organization. Please review our policies for a complete list of site content not allowed on webpages."


What am I 'advocating against' exactly?

Bad writing/spelling/grammar?

Check.

Chewing with my mouth closed?

Check.

Cruelty to animals?

Check.

Unhealthy body, mind and spirit?

Check.

Multiple Sclerosis?

Check, check.

Yep. They got me.

I say take me out back and beat the shit out of me. While I realize that it wouldn't be much, anything would help but I'm obviously criminal element that doesn't deserve their elite sponsorship to help support her family.

They also said that they support 'Freedom Of Expression'.

*cough**bullshit**cough*

Excuse me while I clean up the coffee I just spit all over my monitor.

AdSense is now displaying all evidence to the contrary of their alleged 'support' of our first amendment.

To bring this to a close, let me remind you to watch what you say or they'll be calling you a radical, liberal, fanatical, criminal and you could end up looking like me:










Wednesday, September 1, 2010

HAPPY 24TH BIRTHDAY, C.


Today is my daughter's 24th birthday -- and, today I won't be seeing her.

Nor have I seen her for the last 5 or 6 birthdays of hers.

She keeps us at a distance as we've been estranged for years; she has ideas and images in her head of things that just didn't happen. She's garnered much sympathy from 'friends', and having Asperger's Syndrome, this was key in her life.

Having been picked on and brutalized in junior high and high school to the point of suicidal thoughts (she came by that honestly, I'm afraid -- see post below), she finally figured out a way to make friends by making up horrific lies about Ed and I as a veil to somehow mask her 'odd-ness' to give her and her so-called friends reasoning for it.

Asperger's is a baffling and physically unrecognizable form of Autism: there are no outer (physical) cues to give pause for thought that there may indeed be something amiss.

It's symptoms are behavioral and action based -- unfortunately she went mis-diagnosed her whole life as strictly being A.D.H.D. while I knew in my gut and heart that there was something we weren't seeing, something else there....

She no longer acknowledges Ed nor I as parents: Ed raised her from the time she was 1& 1/2 and legally adopted her once we were married -- giving her an identity, a new birth certificate (she had an absentee birth father/sperm donor), love, a home, a father.

All that love, care, time and attention has fallen to the wayside as she honestly believes these lies to the point where it's damaged her -- and us as a unit.

All I am left with is heartache and disappointment but always hope that one day she will come to a clear understanding of truth versus make believe and fairy tales.

Since she still sees my Mom, all I was able to do was pass along a card with a gift card in it for her, with the message being of love and hope of one day bridging this gap.

So, to my first born, I wish all that life has to offer in the hopes that you grab it...make use of it: be productive, truthful, kind, loving, compassionate, healthy, happy and -- take flight.












I will always be here should you ever want to take my hand....

I love you,
~Mom








FOR C -- WITH LOVE: