Monday, August 31, 2009


STOLEN POST

I--eh hem--'borrowed' this from the lovely Lori's blog (The Peterson Family).

I 'thunk' it kind of a groovy thing to do on a Monday. The idea is to write five quirks about yourself.

Gee, do I have any???? Nah--not me!

Please send me a reply if you decide to also post five things about yourself so I, and others, can check out your answers on your blog--and make sure to check out Lori's; I still can't figure out how to link on here--hope you can find her blog; very worthy and worth the time.

Here goes--I just deleted her answers and put mine. I don't know if my answers can be considered 'quirks' per se, but here are some 'fun/interesting facts' about me nonetheless:


Five quirks:

1. When I was thirteen I was shot in the leg by a 22 rifle by my then brother in-law.

I'll give you a moment to process that before I continue.

Ready now?

My sister and her then husband had me over for the weekend. They decided to go--GULP!--quail hunting in Perris, CA.! I think my later foray into veganism must've been Karmic retribution for my participating in that days event. 'Participating' in the sense that I simply went along--although, I in no way held a gun more less shot at anything.
So, he and his friend are up on an incline cleaning their rifles, my sister and I are just below. The dumb-ass must've thought he was out of ammo as all of a sudden I heard a loud noise and felt something hit my leg.
I seemed to be in a trance-like state of denial as I simply thought they were throwing rocks at us. I indeed felt something hit my leg--a 'ping' but didn't think anything of it until my sister looked down and saw two blood spurts shooting out from my right calf and then proclaimed in a loud and panicked voice; "You F***er! You shot her!"

Only THEN did I feel the pain and drop to the ground.

Damn her for ever saying anything!

I was carried to the car (no easy feat as we were in the middle of nowhere) and taken to the nearest hospital.

The bullet went in and exited clean. No long term damage.

They WERE going to use hollow point bullets--in which case, I wouldn't likely be here sharing this. Also very lucky it only got my leg.

Phew!

One life down, eight to go.

I am a cat, aren't I????

2. I have raised nearly $10,000 in two Walk seasons for the National Multiple Sclerosis Society.

3. For a self-proclaimed music lover, I have only been to five concerts--in order they are; Peter Frampton (1980 or 1981--Denver, Co.), 'The Monsters Of Rock' which consisted of Van Halen (with Sammy Hagar--yes!), Metallica, Scorpions and Dokken (1988 'L.A. Coliseum'), Elton John (1992--nose bleed section L.A. 'Dodgers Stadium'), Van Halen (again with Sammy!--2004 at what was then 'Arrowhead Pond', Anaheim, Ca.) and the 'creme de la creme'; Ms. Stevie Nicks (2007 The Greek theater, Hollywood, CA.). Amazing and talented lady. I had wanted to see her for nearly 30 years at that point. A dream come true for me--thank you, Ed!

4. My first rock and roll album was 'Fleetwood Mac's' "Rumours" given to me on my 12th birthday in 1978 by my older brother and I consider 'Landslide' to be MY theme song. That album was like my doctrination into rock and roll. Out went the teeny-bopper posters...in came adolescence.

5. My Dad was a man who could--and did--live without his kids. Regardless, I nonetheless grieved for what never really was when he passed away in 2006 and through my grief I could still be grateful that he died on June 7th, 2006 and not June 6th, 2006. Why? Because not only were his initials R.I.P. but then his date of death would have been 6-6-6.
Now, that's just bad form.

MONDAY UPDATE:

Hi, all--happy Monday! I know that's an oxymoron for those of you who hated to see your weekend end and a new week begin. Whatever it is that you do--do it well and hang in there. Friday will be here before you know it.

I just made an appointment with a new attorney for Thursday evening.

How do I feel?

TRYING not to be too hopeful and get ahead of myself. With that said, I like this man--I like his no nonsense approach, I like his knowledge, I like his thirty year bankruptcy law experience and I like and appreciate the time he has taken with me; I have spent more time with him on the phone (Wednesday evening and this morning) than I have had in conversation all these months with our other attorney--soon to be previous, I hope.

However, what do I like most about him, you may ask? And if you didn't ask--eh, screw it. You're getting the answer anyway: I REALLY like the fact that he called our other attorney a 'son of a bitch' for not doing his job in a timely and efficient manner and for wanting to charge us nearly $1,000 more than what this man is going to charge us (which we had to, of course, borrow).

Do I dare??? Really. Do I dare hope???

In other news: B started Community College today--he hopes to later transfer to a four year University. I was looking at my six foot two young man last night--no longer a boy. He and his girlfriend ('gf') took care of everything on their own; registration, books, parking pass, class schedule, etc. They even helped their friends with all of their scheduling and registration needs. Not to mention he is driving them all back and forth daily--they are sharing gas expenses.

I am blown away. What happened to that little boy who used to hold my hand and wrap his chubby arms around my neck? The one who cried for Mommy when he fell?

I miss that. It happened fast. Too fast.

So, my dear friends--that concludes today's update.

Your support has been undeniably good for my heart and soul and I thank you.

Trying not to melt (105 degrees today) and wishing you all, as always, peace, love and happiness.

Sunday, August 30, 2009


Hope FALLS Eternal

Hi, all. Been a few days since I posted--busy weekend; laundry, heat stroke prevention, etc.

Quick update on bankruptcy...:

Spoke to another attorney Wednesday evening by phone. He said to do 'this, that and the other thing' (mostly entails adding up Ed's paychecks) and we are going to be making an appointment with him this week. He seems to think this can be handled in a more timely and efficient manner than what our current attorney has done--mostly he doesn't see what the hold up has been all this time and feels that we should indeed qualify from what I told him of our finances.

Considering we only have about $50.00 for two weeks of groceries--this will be a welcome 'event' should it all go through as he thinks it SHOULD.

Trying not to hope too much....I simply don't dare.

B has been mostly been eating at his girlfriends house but since he is starting [junior] college tomorrow, I wanted to make him dinner tonight. I don't care if we have to eat Top Ramen and bread for the next two weeks, I miss cooking for my son and having him at my table so tonight I am buying some meat for my son.

I wish I could make for him a great chicken dish, a casserole or bar-b-que hamburgers--something nice. Instead I have to go very cheap so it will likely only be along the lines of 'Sloppy Joe's' and chips.

Last night we (me, Ed, B, B's girlfriend and two of B's best friends) went to Christin's house (see her wedding picture on sidebar) where she bar-b-qued for us and we relaxed in her air conditioned home. Then we went in the jacuzzi later--well, MOST of us; Ed slept as did B's girlfriend--ha!

Nice getting out of our HOT house--and into an air conditioned one--for a few hours and being treated to such a nice dinner. Today was 105--same tomorrow.

Anyway, That is that.

Again, trying not to hope--hope, as I have learned, falters, sways and falls, so for now, I am simply praying things don't get worse. Well, that and that a money tree grows in our yard overnight--or I find a $20.00 bill lying on the ground somewhere. Either one.

Hope this finds you all having a beautiful weekend!

Hugs!

EDIT: Just came back from the market to buy stuff for 'Sloppy Joe's' for B, Ed and B's girlfriend. Ground beef was $2.28 a pound--yikes! I needed two pounds so instead I went for the ground pork @ ninety-eight cents a pound. Two cans of 'Sloppy Joe' mix was also ninety-eight cents per can. Eight pack of generic hamburger buns was eighty-eight cents. I bought one can of 'Pringles' on sale for $1.44 for a grand total of $6.24.
B also needed some gas money for this week; time to take in some cans and bottles...and for him to get a job (he has been looking but...slim pickins'!). So, make that now about $40.00 or less for groceries...

Friday, August 28, 2009


E-gads!

111 degrees here today, 108 tomorrow--have I mentioned I am air conditioner-less?

Might as well set me up with a lawn chair directly on the sun and stick a fork in me.

Oh, yeah--and I got my cell phone wet to boot--so, now I am out a cell.

Life is grand.

THE TRIBE HAS SPOKEN

Or..."Is It Just Me?--part deux"

Ever follow someone--maybe even promote their blog (perhaps via a logo) on yours--only to then realize; "Um, I don't think I really like you anymore"?

Has this happened to anyone else?

Well, after reading one such blog this morning, I realize; I don't much care for this person.

I'm the first to admit that I am far from being everyone's 'cup 'o tea'. I am what my Mom would call 'an acquired taste'.

I'm certainly not for everyone and am old enough--God knows--to realize that we can't please all people anyway.

However, were someone to follow me and then suddenly stop and remove themselves as a follower--I guess I would have to ask myself "why?". I think it only right if we judge others (you know who you are) then we should be fair and brave enough to judge ourselves.

And after writing this blog this morning, I, too, may experience some loss of followers and may very well have to sit down and have that good heart to heart with myself. Or a drink. Either one.

Not always good in my case as I am quite harsh on myself and seem to need approval; call it the 'youngest of nine syndrome'--or neurosis if you want to get all technical.

So, I'm reading said blog this morning--that shall go nameless--and thought; "What a serious pompous ass this person is!" Seriously.

Complaining about not getting into their favorite restaurant--which they frequent regularly--'cause someone else had the nerve to reserve it for a private occasion. How dare someone retire, get promoted, get married or celebrate a birthday when this person and their family are hungry! The sheer audacity.

Then the blogger goes on to write that they had to go--gasp!!--somewhere else and that the kitchen actually made this persons spouse and child something to eat that wasn't on the menu to pacify and appease them. Now, the child I can maybe understand: Fussy eater? Allergies? But the spouse?

Now, I could be wrong, but if you are blessed to be able to live in a lovely, enviable area (which no doubt was worked hard for; I'm not saying that it isn't deserved or earned) and are equally blessed to frequent ANY restaurant on a regular basis, then in my book you are blessed enough.

Most of us would like your problems for five minutes.

Now, since I was a new follower of this blog, I don't particularly feel any guilt about removing myself what-so-ever.

This goes right along with those to whom you comment on their blogs regularly (not just once) but who have never ONCE commented on yours.

So, the tribe has spoken. You are so off the island.

So, my beautiful friends and bloggers, I once again ask that loaded question: Is it just me?

Thursday, August 27, 2009


Fans--and a little smut!

Not having much new to report today (spoke to another attorney last night by phone--making appointment to see him next week; a potentially positive move--trying not to get hopes up too high, though...), I thought I would just ramble off some random thoughts and goings-on....

Today's weather (in Riverside, CA.) is reporting a high of 105-107. We have no A/C--nuff said.

In light of this, I was wondering--is there perhaps a suggestion box or complaint form I can fill out to gripe about unreasonable weather conditions? Does Mother nature have an E-mail address?

Anyone?

So, a little funny true story: a few weeks ago when B and his girlfriend were still in Maryland on summer vacation, his friends would occasionally come over to visit Ed and I. One such friend arrived one evening and noticed how hot our house was. He says that he has A/C at his house and some extra fans that they don't use or need. I tell him to please not go through any trouble for us nor to deprive him and his family of the fans, but sure enough he comes over the next night with two fans for us. What a sweetie!

So, B's "sister" (his best female friend who is truly like my daughter and his sister) texts me that night and I tell her that so and so just brought two fans to our house.

She then replies (TRUE STORY): "Oh my God! Who are the fans and why are they in your house?"

I roared!

I then have to explain to my blonde-rooted young friend that they're the kind of fans you plug in--not the groupie kind (WHY I would have groupies in my house is beyond me!).

She then texts back; "Oh my God! I'm so dumb!"

Yep.

God love her!


Hair today, gone tomorrow:

You know that picture of me on my profile--pretty, long red hair? Well, that was taken last December. I no longer look like that. Haven't been able to afford to do my hair for about three months now.

Now, this may come as a 'shocker' but...I am not a natural red head. Whoda thunk it? I'm actually a natural brunette with now heavily 'ladened' not so natural gray roots. It's just wrong.

Ever feel like you were born with the wrong hair color? I feel like a red head at heart. I don't go get my hair professionally done--that's at least--what?--fifty big ones? Uh-uh--can't do it.....

::DISCLAIMER: READ NO FURTHER IF YOU DON'T LIKE DIRTY TALK--AND IF YOU DON'T...WHAT THE HECK IS WRONG WITH YOU????::


So, I made a point to become--eh hem--"friends" with the lovely 'Miss Clairol'. She has been a patient and loving companion waiting months for me to invite her over for another 'girlie day' of special alone time...

It's important that she knows I still want her; her 'box' of 'Bright Auburn' really turns me on. That little box of hers rejuvenates me and makes me feel young. No other box does it for me. I've tried others--but they were cheap and tawdry never making me feel as good as she does.
I hope to get reacquainted soon--I miss that hour of alone time with just me and her in my back bathroom--and to then finish off our time together in the shower.

Ahhhh...how the sweet aroma and memory of her still linger....

END OF SMUT TALK--now onto other things:

Have I ever mentioned that I'm clumsy? I mean REALLY clumsy.

I'm the person who walks down the street and falls for no apparent reason.

So, the other day Ed and I are on the back patio and he goes to--for whatever reason--who knows what gets into him???--tweak my nipple! Sorry, I forgot to tell you the smut talk wasn't quite over...Oops. My bad?

In my defense in trying to avoid said nipple tweaking, I fell over backwards in my resin lawn chair onto the cement patio--nightgown over my head.

I don't know who laughed harder--me or him.

All I have to say is payback, Ed, payback.

So, this morning in front of B, his girlfriend and his two best friends, I'm walking across my living room and trip over the fan cord--landing hard on my knees (scraping them and my shins up in the process) and hitting my head on the 'papa san'. Night gown rising up in the back, of course.

Grace personified.

Those fans once again causing trouble.

I'm having his friend pick them up tonight.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009


NO LOOKING BACK

You'll all be happy to know that I've started the process of looking for another attorney.

I have sent out three E-mail's to local attorney's so far today.

Not sure Ed will go for it as he's more passive than I am and just assume waits it out with the piece of shit attorney we have now--so, we'll see what happens.

Thank you for all the love, support and advice....

Here's to a renewal of hope--I hope.

SPLISH-SPLASH AWARD

I'm going to take a few moments, step outside of of my turmoil and the disheartening news we received last night, and just be GRATEFUL.

Lori ('Peterson Family') was gracious enough to bestow upon me the 'Splish-Splash Award'.

I'm going to copy and paste what is written on her blog so as not to fiddle with the good Karma she was so kind as to see me the recipient of.

In kind, I am to nominate UP TO 9 people. Yikes! This is hard.

So following the instructions below, are my nominations--and why--for the 'Splish-Splash Award'.

Thank you, Lori, for this honor and for the very kind things you wrote about me and my blog. You are simply wonderful!

So, this is my chance to reach out to some of you (wish I could have nominated EVERYBODY!) to return some of the love you have shown me.

Read on:



Here is the scoop on this award:


The Splash Award is given to alluring, amusing, bewitching, impressive, and inspiring blogs.


When you receive this award, you must:


* Put the logo on your blog/post.
* Nominate & link up to 9 blogs which allure, amuse, bewitch, impress or inspire you.
* Let them know that they have been splashed by commenting on their blog.
* Remember to link to the person from whom you received your Splash Award.

*Edit from Jo: The "Splish-Splash button" is on my side bar.---->

Here are my Splashes:


I have seven of them--they are as follows....

Rain: The first time I fell into Rain's blog ("A Walk In The Woods")--in the BEST sense--I felt transported. Transfixed. Transgendered. Wait! Where am I? What? No (not that there's anything wrong with that). ;) Seriously, Why did I pick her? Rain is an avid animal lover--as a vegan and animal rights activist, I simply dig that about her. She also inspires me to just get on with it as she herself is embracing life again after going through something very similar to what I am and has found the grace to appreciate the simple things. Finally, her blogs alluring green color, photos of her life and description of her walks in the woods makes me feel as if I am right there walking with her. And you know what? In a way I am.

Rae (http://myweathervane.blogspot.com/): Well, first she likes butterflies, as do I, and her first name is also my middle name--spelled the same, too ('Rae'). Isn't that enough? Well? Isn't it? In case that's not, here is another good reason; her post titled 'My Indignity'. Most of us women have 'been there, done that' and the way she tells it--what a scream! This wife and grandmother took a serious topic and injected it with her brand of humor. And why the hell not? Got MY attention. I'd like to add that Rae also has MS (Multiple Sclerosis). I hope she doesn't mind my including that as she revealed that to me in a post reply (if I crossed a line, Rae--I sincerely apologize). However, nor do I think she'd appreciate my making her a 'poster child for MS'--that's belittling and I will not do that to her or anyone who is afflicted with it. I simply mentioned it to not only bring enlightenment and awareness (I know many of you will now look it up) but to show that life and humor is alive and well. Actually, I didn't show you that--Rae did.

Eva : What can I say? She's a hoot--what I would call 'a good egg'. Her honest prose simply makes for great reading. Eva was a school teacher, an insurance sales woman and--I LOVE THIS!!!---was once a carhop for 'A & W Rootbeer' which she said her mother claimed would lead to "harlotry"! I swear, when I read that coffee flew out of my nose. ::Note to self--must go to store and buy coffee remover for PC::
Please also read "Remember, He's Not A Mind Reader" about what happens when us married gals send our husbands to the store. We could write a detailed list and they come home with everything BUT. Hubby calls me at least two times each trip--even with list in hand. Eva chronicled her frustrations on this perfectly; "Well, guess we're eating nothing but eggs, tomatoes and ice cream for the next week!"
In her latest post titled; "Have I Got a Deal For you" details her not so smooth journey into adulthood . Oy! Can we all relate to that or what?
In the last paragraph she writes; "I managed to get through college, and didn’t become a harlot, although, had I known then what I know now, I might have given that career serious consideration… at least as a leisure activity, if not as a means of support. You know what they say, 'We’re too soon old, and too late smart!'"
Not in your case, Miss Eva. Brava!

Jo : Yep. Another Jo. Jo was the very first person to reach out to me on 'blogspot' and told me, in my loneliness and want for sisterhood; "I'll be your sister."
I will NEVER forget that.
Unfortunately, Jo doesn't blog as often as I would like--and I am actually quite concerned about her. Jo has terminal cancer and recently underwent a double mastectomy. She also spoke in one of her last blogs about "getting things in order". This kills me.
All I can really say about this warm, wonderful woman, who in spite of her own illness reached out, is to please pray for her that she is well enough to see this and knows how much I think of her and how deserving she is of a life fully lived free of disease. Jo, I love you.

Nanny Goats In Panties:: Anyone who's read this blog needs no explanation.
If you haven't read it--go. Now. You won't regret it (I actually have a "Nanny Goats In Panties" button on my sidebar).
Enough said. Oh, except--thank you for the much needed laughs!

Isabella : Isabella Golightly. First off, is there a cooler name? Like you, I'm sure your mind instantly retreats to Audrey Hepburn.
This 'wonder from down under' was another one who reached out to me in a post reply and I fell in love with her talent. Simply put, she makes things. She posts her patterns--rolls and rolls of fabulous fabric--that is so pleasing to look at that makes you immediately imagine what she is going to make next. Then she posts the finished product.
I envy that kind of know how. My idea of sewing?: "Hi, Mom. It's me. Whatcha' doing? Yeah, yeah, yeah, hey listen love ya, gotta go but first can you sew a button on Ed's shirt for me? Okay, thanks. Oh dear, there goes the doorbell. Gotta run now. Thanks, Mom!"
Thank you, Isabella for sharing your talent.

Michael :
First of all, the title of his blog; "...Disgruntled Secretary". Love it. He's so UN-pc he's right up my alley. Simpatico. I love that he didn't name it; "....Disgruntled Executive Assistant"--ha! Doesn't have quite the same ring, does it?
This man is ME only in male form. A fellow southern Californian and I.E. (Inland Empire) resident, how could I not acknowledge my fellow 'cranky' (again, only in the best sense) blogger who, like me, doesn't think ALL babies are cute?

I'm more inclined to think most newborns look like 'Yoda' (my son included--but who grew up adorable! Of course.). And Michael is right there with me--in Yoda voice: "Mmmmm....like looking in the mirror it is."

Plus, did I mention he's just a witty and intelligent writer and knows everything about 'Disneyland'?

God, I Love this guy.


*So, go check them out. Right now, I have to inform all of them of their 'Splish-Splash Award' and hope that I linked their blogs correctly on here--that's something I have trouble with.

Thank you again, Lori--you're just lovely.

And thank you, everyone, for the heaps and mounds of support. Will keep you posted.

Peace, love and happiness,
~Jo

EDIT: I am having trouble linking their websites. So sorry but hopefully you'll be able to find them this way:

*Rain: "A Walk In The Woods" http://ocean-sunsets.blogspot.com

*Rae: "The Weather Vane" http://myweathervane.blogspot.com

*Eva: "Wrestling With Retirement" http://wrestlingretirement.blogspot.com

*Jo: "Jo's Corner" http://jomoseleysblog.blogspot.com

*"Nanny Goats In Panties": http://www.nannygoatsinpanties.com

*Isabella Golightly: http://isabellagolightly.blogspot.com

*Michael: http://meekothedisgruntledsecretary.blogspot.com

**Hopefully that works. God, I'm dumb! Thank you for your patience...

Tuesday, August 25, 2009


FINALLY--NEWS FROM OUR ATTORNEY

Ed and B just returned from The Angel game--Angels lost 5 to 3 against Detroit.

Of course, the one night Ed gets to go out and have an enjoyable evening (even though The Angels lost--getting out of the house outside of work is a big deal, the tickets were courtesy of a vendor)--and THE ONE TIME he can't get to his phone--wouldn't you just know it our attorney (a.k.a. scum-bag piece of shit--here I go again with technical terms) finally calls.

He left Ed a very distressing message saying that the "numbers aren't adding up" and thus we are not qualified for bankruptcy.

All this time. All this time he told us to hold out for four pay periods with only 10 to 14 hours of overtime every two weeks, which Ed has adhered to, and with the garnishment in place. Just for him to jerk us around time and time again--not returning calls, E-mail's, NOTHING! Only then to come back with this...

So, according to scum bag piece of...well, you know--our only option is for Ed to cut overtime completely (which is the only way were were feeding ourselves)--and then we'll have no choice but to give up our Internet, which B needs for school; he starts this Monday at our local community college.

So, I'm trying to find out if there's another option. Following is the E-mail (copied and pasted) I just sent to our attorney:

"Ed received your message tonight but was unable to hear his cell phone at the time you called.

We waited all this time and the news is indeed quite distressing as this is not what we were told; we have held steadfast during these few tumultuous financial months and the very little overtime Ed was told by you he could work, he has stayed true to and not gone over--not to mention what little he worked was needed desperately to keep food on our table and gas in his car.

So, what we need to know is what other options are available to us...you mentioned something before when we were in your office about a payment plan.

We cannot delay any longer our financial health. The ONLY meat we had in our house this week was ONE leftover chicken hot dog that I divided onto grilled cheese for Ed for dinner yesterday while our son has been eating dinner at his girlfriends house. We simply cannot continue to live this way.

Again, I ask you what other options are available and to please try again to reach Ed or let us know what number and time would be best to reach you at.

We really need to figure something out soon--if you are unable to help us, please kindly just let us know up front.

Thank you."


I'm not holding out much, if any hope. If it comes to us having to give up the Internet--I will do my best to let you all know ahead of time.

I have so very much and deeply appreciated your support, your friendship and companionship--it's been a very long time since I've had those things.

But...let's truly hope for the best--I'm already struggling typing this trying to see the monitor just thinking about not only having to give this up for myself, but worrying about my son having a fair shot at adulthood. He deserves better.

Here's to hoping...


A special thanks to Lori ('Peterson Family') for my beautiful 'Splish-Splash' award (see my side bar)--I couldn't be prouder or more grateful. I promise to try and be back tomorrow to fulfill my end of the bargain with nominations.

Peace, love and happiness,
~Jo

IS IT JUST ME?

Okay, my dear friends--I'm feeling my oats today: you may call it PMS. Call it perimenopause. Call it feistiness "(Oooh! What got into her???). You may even call it an exorcist.

Perhaps I'm just cranky and need to take it out on something.

Be that as it may, I'm ready to change it up--and by 'it' I mean, 'Blog Of Note'; that ever coveted spot most bloggers would be honored to receive.

Don't get me wrong, 'Blog Of Note' introduced me to the neighborhood when I first arrived here and showed me around. It did everything but give me a list of local babysitters, tell me what day trash pick up is and bring me a plate of cookies.

I found some neat stuff in 'Blog Of note' in the beginning--some originality. Personality. SPARK. And I still follow those blogs.

Now, I'm certainly not going to name names or blogs--and you're more than entitled to disagree with me, naturally--but some of them lately are just plain boring. Not all of them mind you but I am seeing a bit of a pattern here...

Vintage items. Art. Pictures. More art....and a bit of pompousness. Just a tad--but it's enough.

Mind you, again--this is simply my opinion, fellow bloggers, dear friends and good people. Don't be angry. You know you love me. Don't you???

::Bites nails nervously::

I'm enlightened enough to know that my blog certainly isn't worthy of 'Blog Of Note' (nor would I expect it to be); my title and subtext isn't exactly cheery and the look of my blog as a whole is quite dull (I don't know how to fix that yet). Even I know THAT.

So, this is truly not about me. But let's give it to someone with some "oomph!" Let's change it up a little.

I'm talking gritty. Edgy. Maybe even left wing. Something. ANYTHING.

Give me something different, something to chew on.

And speaking of something to chew on, kindly give me my plate of cookies.

A LEISURELY WALK AROUND THE BLOG

When I began this blog, I virtually knew nothing about the infrastructure of 'Blogspot' or the inner workings of blogging. I knew how to write--that's about it.

I suppose I started this for much the same reasons as everyone else: to share my life, my thoughts, to build a network of support, love, friendship, sisterhood/humankind-hood. As I've stated before, I don't have friends to go out with--I don't have that girls night out, the weekend get-a-way. I have my husband and my kids.

I have a daughter who will be 23 on Sept. 1st but whom I rarely get to see and spend time with (her choice--long, sad story for another day) and I have my son and his friends (a.k.a. "my other kids") who are the end all and be all of my social life. I am immensely grateful and thankful to have them.

I do have my friend, Scott, who has MS (whom I walk for and who inspired me in the MS Movement) but he lives in assisted living (*see my blog titled 'Many Scars' for more info on that). I also have Pat. Pat is a friend I knew back in junior high school (no, we were never an item, I dated his then best friend way back in the day). Pat lives about 30 minutes from us and in addition to being an L.A. Sheriff, he is also in the 'Army Reserves' and was recently 'shipped' to Kosovo for 12 to 15 months. Actually, right now he is in Indiana for a months training then off to Kosovo he goes, leaving behind a thirteen year old daughter and a nine year old daughter (he is divorced). Either way, he is now gone from my tangible life--and theirs. For a long time. Please wish him God speed.

So, here I am. A woman with a beautiful family (immediate and extended)--that includes my Mom and wonderful in-laws--who has much to say but really no one to say it to.

Enter you.

To burden my Mom and in-laws with our bankruptcy proceedings and colossal financial upsets is something I choose not to do.

I do have siblings (nine to be exact--I'm the youngest) but...we are primarily detached from one another except what seems only on national holidays: "Merry Christmas", "Happy Thanksgiving", "Happy Birthday", "Happy Hanukkah", "Kiss my ass", Kiss his ass", Kiss Your ass".

I've tried to include them, stay in touch, keep them posted on our Mom, on us...to attempt a bond that has been missing (enter 'Facebook'.....exit 'Facebook' a month later--did not go well...).

As I've stated before, they have a life already in progress and have made it clear that they do just fine without me. They're not cruel, just...absent and apathetic. There's been no offer of help to us--but let me make it clear; I have NOT asked nor would I. Not even sure I would take it as the truth is that even in my day-to-day hardships where I want so desperately to be removed from this miserable situation, I recognize that this is OUR problem and not theirs or anyone else's. Our attorney is the one who is letting us down and we're suffering the consequences of that while trying to figure out what to do and how to do it; contemplating where the money will come from for gas, utilities, food.

Last night I made Ed (hubby) three grilled cheese sandwiches ('B', our son, was at his girlfriends for dinner) and the only meat we had in the house was one leftover chicken frank that I sliced length wise and divided on Ed's grilled cheese so he could have a little protein. No chips or salad. That is simply what we had on hand.

THIS is what it's like day after day. Again, OUR problem and our attorney's. I didn't mean to suggest that my siblings are cruel and/or insensitive. I don't know really how much they know about how bad it really is--nor if I would even tell them. They know we lost our house, my job and are going bankrupt--beyond that, not sure. Again, this is not their problem--just wanted to reiterate that. Everyone has their own issues, I understand that fully. We're not the only ones going through this in the world.

And I post not for sympathy--but for empathy. Big difference.

But I digress--again. Told you I do that--a lot.

::Wonder where I put that pencil--the one where I chewed off the eraser::

::I need a pedicure::

::Damn, no money for a pedicure::


::Is it too early in the year to watch Halloween movies????::

::I need to change the vacuum cleaner bag::

So, being new here to the blogging universe--and being the cheeky gal that I am--I started poking around others' blogs. My God but your blogs are pretty!!

So, I wanted to make mine pleasing to the eye as well. However, with my blog title being rather dower (but...appropriate) I couldn't very well make it cheery, could I? Truth is, I couldn't make it anything! My pea-sized intellect just couldn't figure anything out.

So, Ed (hubby) helped me figure out how to add gadgets. Widgets? I know, wadgets.

So, through my sheer nosey-ness, I found the web-site 'The Cutest Little Blog On The Block'--through someone else's blog--and that's how I got my butterfly background. Not too bright & cheery and I like butterflies. Done.

But...not quite. I used to post the title of my blogs where they're supposed to be--in the title/subject box. However, after I added my butterfly background, I noticed the words "Cutest Little Blog On The Block" now blocking my post title and added picture--and I don't know how to move it to another spot on my blog.

Furthermore (can you believe after all this time there is a furthermore?? Told you I'm cheeky), I would like to change the look of my header/banner--instead of just having the standard 'Blogspot' navy blue. Of course, I don't know how to do that either--I have looked around and found it isn't as easy as it was adding the background.

There's all these sites that you can pay to have someone do it for you--well, it's nice if you can do that. I, of course, can't. They're all lovely--but, priorities abound.

So, my rant, my soliloquy is quite finished.

My blog stays as it is. My apologies.

I'm just happy to be here. Really. Stop looking at me like that.

Sheesh.

Thank you all for the much blog love I've been receiving--you are all talented, gifted and very welcome in my life. I'm happy to know all of you and wish you all well, as you have been so kind as to wish me and our situation.

Your support and encouragement is deeply, heartfelt-ly appreciated.

Peace, love and happiness,
~Jo

Sunday, August 23, 2009


TWO TICKETS TO PARADISE (pier, that is)

A few weeks ago I received two tickets to 'The Disneyland Resort' from the 'MS Society' (in appreciation for my fund raising for two walk seasons).

Since all southern California residents get into 'The Disneyland Resort' free this year on their birthdays, we are going to take my Mom for her birthday in October.

I just called her and she is very excited as she has never been to the 'California Adventure' park there. However, it's also been about 20 or 25 years since she's even been to 'Disneyland' so we we're torn on which park to go to--they have so many new attractions since she's been there last (going to both is, unfortunately, out of the question). 'Disneyland' is quite fun and festive in the Autumn, however, we're leaning more towards 'California Adventure'.

My niece and her family will also be joining us (they have season passes to both parks), so, we have something really nice to look forward to.

'California Adventure' is a salute to California and it's amenities. They have rides called 'Soaring Over California' (a faux hang gliding experience over California, complete with the light spray of the ocean and the slight scent of the orange groves--fantastic!), 'Hollywood Tower Of Terror' (an elevator shaft ride experience in a 1940's Hollywood golden age era 'dilapidated' hotel) and a kick ass (technical term) roller coaster called 'California Screamin''!

'California Adventure' play great old beats on their overhead throughout the park from the likes of 'The Beach Boys' and 'The Mama's & The Papa's'.


We have to save up for gas, parking and *food for that day (*about $10.00 per person per meal, and that's if you eat CHEAP!) so I will start saving change in a can and a dollar here and there to help fray those costs so we're not stressed about anything that day other than the crowds and long lines--ha-ha-ha--oh, and my mother! :D

"You're a pain in my ass, you have really bad hair but I like you a lot."

Robert Downey Jr.'s character to Anne Bancroft's character--who played his mother--in 'Home For The Holidays'. :D

'The Happiest Place On Earth', here we come!

Saturday, August 22, 2009


DAMN.


As I sit typing this update on this hot, muggy Saturday afternoon (with no A/C no less), I am trying to figure out how to piece together my thoughts to make words, those words into a sentence and that sentence multiplied enough to convey the true scariness (is that a word? Must be...not underlined in red. Hmmm...) of our situation.

Ed is stressed, upset, leg jiggling in nervousness and his face has 'that look'--you know that look? Everyone's got one. The one you don't see often, where you feel everything he's feeling and you know it's best to just stay out of his way. Not like him to be so restless. To see his fear so palpable and unguarded sends shivers down my spine that reach clear inside of me and yank on my throat and my heart.

THIS is bad.

No call from our attorney, no E-mail--and another pay day with garnishments.

Something's got to give--and it looks like it's going to be our faith and hope that we could have a happy ending, not to mention more of doing without; struggling to put food on the table, gas in our cars, utilities paid--more less help put our recent high school graduate son through junior college.

The pure injustice of this--of the cruelty being exercised by our attorney's silence, ambivalence and apathy at a very real and high personal cost to our livelihood--is clearly taking it's toll.

I just don't understand....

We simply do not know what to do anymore...it seems our hands are tied. This has become unbearable.

Friday, August 21, 2009


Please read post a few below this one that says "EDITED ON FRIDAY, 8/21/09" for bankruptcy/attorney update.

Also the one above that titled "WTF?"

Hey, it fit. Don't judge me.

Thank you for the blog love and support.

OOXX

A Brief Conversation With 'B' (my son)

B (who is 19) is at his girlfriends house today. In anticipation for his Dad's homecoming tonight--after being away on a business trip for a week--our phone conversation was as follows:

B: "So, have you vacuumed yet?"

Me: "Nope."

B: "Why not?"

Me: "'Cause I hate vacuuming and would rather stick needles in my eye."

B: "Oh, okay."

Me: "Yup."

B: (((Laughs))) "Well, good luck with that."

Me: "Thank you. So, what time are you going to be home?"

B: "No clue."

Me: "Oh, okay."

B: "Yup."

Last word freak.


WTF?

Charming and eloquent post title, I know. However, I thought it befitting.

Following is the E-mail I just sent to our attorney.
Second one this week--combined with previous E-mail inquiries we have sent, along with phone calls, to get him to please stand up for us and with us--this makes about about the umpteenth attempt at contact in about a month (see previous posts).

*A sincere thank you to my fellow bloggers for your support and kind words.

Read on:

"Hope this finds you having a good day.
Well, no doubt the garnishment is still in place for, once again, the next coming pay day (in less than a week).
Please try and empathize at how increasingly difficult this is becoming...
While we certainly understand and can appreciate what must be your crazy schedule, we had hoped after your E-mail a week ago that we would hear something from you by now--something good.
As you know, we have done all you asked--and then some at this point with the garnishment continuing on and on...
Please kindly get back to us--Ed returns home from his business trip tonight (he's on a plane now) and is back in his office on Monday--I was hoping he would come home to some peace of mind....
Looking forward to hearing from you and that you have a nice weekend ahead of you."


Naturally I, once again, left him our numbers.

That I am disheartened seems to be an understatement at this point.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009



*EDITED ON FRIDAY, 8/21/09:

Four Five Six Days One Week And Counting....

Still nothing from our attorney.


That means for sure another pay period with the garnishment in place, all because he didn't do what he needed to when he needed to do it.

He let us down.

Oh my God. Really. I mean it. OH MY GOD!

Ed comes home tonight from his business trip--I HATE to see him walk through that door not only jet lagged but feeling even more defeated in life than he already does. Heartbreaking and he simply does not deserve that.

Out of no where sometimes Ed will say to me; "You're a good woman." Just for doing simple little things like hanging up his shirt or making coffee.

This man is truly a man among men. If you see our picture on our side-bar of myself, Ed and 'B' (our son) the first thing that may likely come to your mind--and what comes to most peoples minds--is "Hippies" or "Bohemians". :D

That tickles me. Even B says that to me; "Mom, you're such a 'hippie weirdo'." Ha! But truthfully--we honestly try and implement the "hippie" philosophy of 'peace and love' into our every day lives and attempt to handle the negative Karma in the same manner. Especially Ed who--in spite of his long hair and somewhat intimidating appearance--is nothing short of a teddy bear who just wants to live life as peacefully and well as he can.

In spite of my dower blog postings about all of this mess, I guess I really want to convey that we have a great sense of humor and we have compassion for others--unfortunately that doesn't come across as much as I would like. You can scan through some of my older posts such as, "When It Rains It Pours", "Don't mind me, I'm just here for the sales" and "Many Scars" to hopefully get a better sense of who we are.

I hate that our situation has turned me into this whiny, bemoaning person....a person I scarcely recognize anymore.

Ed does not deserve this and I feel as if I let him down...what I could have done differently during this tumultuous time, I just don't know.


Shame on this attorney. Shame on this situation.

I wanted Ed to come home to some peace of mind. That is not going to happen.

Instead--for whatever it may be worth--he'll be coming home to open and welcome arms--lots of them; me, B, B's beautiful girlfriend (see prom picture on side bar) and many of B's friends. The camaraderie amongst our extended family is an amazing gift. Even in this time, we can surely recognize that.

I always say; "If we didn't have weeds, then how would we recognize the flowers when they're in bloom."

I don't know where we go from here--I'm scared. Ed's scared.

However, life may indeed be kicking our asses right now--with a little help from our ambivalent attorney--but at least we have each other.

John Lennon said: "If someone thinks that 'love and peace' is a cliche that must have been left behind in the sixties, that's his problem. Love and peace are eternal."


Amen.

We're trying, Mr. Lennon. We're trying.

SIDEWAYS

So, Ed (my husband) is in Ohio this week on a business trip. We spoke last night by phone in which we asked one another if our attorney had gotten in touch with either of us--both of our answers were, of course, 'no'.

To briefly re-cap, our attorney finally left me an E-mail Friday in which he made excuses as to why it took him nearly a month to get in touch with us after we made one plea after another for him to please contact us and simply let us know what our next move is.

Our E-mail's and calls have gone ignored leaving us in a perpetual mode of--not to be a drama queen--panic and desperation.

You can read our updated blog a few below this one in which I copied and pasted his E-mail from a few days ago--first time we've heard from him in MONTHS.

He said he would "review our file over the weekend".

The weekend came and went.

I told Ed that perhaps we should give him a "few days"...but he feels (and I know he's right) that it's in our best interest--especially knowing how this guy now works--to not drop the ball on our end and to stay on top of it.

I'm exhausted.

Moving sideways will do that to a person. Being in limbo simply wears one out.

Also exhausting is compartmentalizing my feelings so as not to let this affect other aspects of my life; I still have a home to run and a son, daughter, Mom, in-laws, "other kids" and a husband to love...

So, here is the E-mail I wrote to our attorney this morning:

"Hope this finds your week off to a good start.

As you know, Ed is in Ohio until Friday on a business trip but asked that I stay on top of this as we are struggling with the garnishment and are hoping to finally put that to rest before another pay period is afflicted.

But, I'll be honest--I really don't want to have to constantly write or call you. I would like to simply trust that you'll be in touch today. This whole process has been soul seizing and pride swallowing as it is.

Our struggles with the garnishment for all this time (which we thought would end sooner) has had one devastating effect on our family after another.

So, I'm doing what my husband asked me to which was to get in contact with you today (after your E-mail said that you would look everything over during the weekend) and deep down I know he's right; if we don't get pro-active and indeed stay on top of this whole thing--we could end up in an even worse position.

Complacency is nearly as unattractive as not being able to put food on the table.

Please understand our position and why I am once again writing to you asking what the next move is.

Thanks. Hope you had a nice weekend and a good day ahead of you."


After that I left him our contact numbers and so we're once again in a wait and see pattern with this guy.


Trying not to lose hope and faith....

Monday, August 17, 2009


YOU'VE GOT MAIL

For those who would like--and requested--my E-mail, here it is (naturally any spammers will be weeded out).

Please put your blog title in the subject box so I can identify you from those whose intentions may not be in friendship.

Thank you all again for your words of kindness:

ejcbtheshamrock4@aol.com

Return Of The Prodigal Attorney--sort-of

Received this E-mail Friday night--after nearly four weeks of trying to reach our attorney, this is what we finally receive (copied and pasted):

"I received the fax of Mr. -----'s pay-stubs, as well as, the numerous phone and voice-mail messages and e-mails. I have been in trial and as such not in my office and unavailable to return calls or messages.


I will review the file this weekend."


In nearly a month he couldn't E-mail or place a call? He didn't have 5 minutes?

I "liked" his "NUMEROUS" comment--accompanied by ZERO apologies.

What this man has put us through....

The bottom line is as of now, hubby's wages are still being garnished as the cease and desist has yet to be ordered because the attorney dropped the ball and left us hanging.

So, we have $70.00 for ten days. Luckily (financial wise, I mean), hubby left this morning for a week long business trip to Ohio--on his company's dime--so we don't have to worry about gas and how he will get back and forth to work, for a week anyway.

So, if this isn't resolved within' the next two weeks, we're back to square one again and hopefully hubby can get back to overtime. From there? Who knows?

To those of you who have responded--I am simply touched and overwhelmed by your kindness.

On another note, we recently reconnected with my husbands Mother from whom we have had an over decade long estrangement (about 15 years to be exact).

She came for dinner last night to "meet" our son--whom she hasn't seen since he was 4; he is now 19.

Thought I would cry when she embraced him--a lovely picture that is now embedded in my memory....

It went quite well--it is so nice to have one thing resolved in our lives. To be able to put aside years of anger, resentment and estrangement for the common good of all of our betterment.

I see quite a change in her--and I suppose we've changed and grown, too.

As for this financial karmic happenstance that has befallen us--it simply remains to be seen how it will be played out.

However, let me say this; a year ago if someone would have told me that we would be re-connecting with my husbands mother--I simply wouldn't have believed it could, or would, happen.

So, albeit however brief it may stay, hope is once again--although with trepidation--restored.

Let's hope hope stays for a while....

Sunday, August 16, 2009


Thank you!

Very busy day--will update tonight or tomorrow--but just wanted to send a quick, but very sincere, 'thank you' to everyone for their well wishes and support.

Means the world to me.

I wish you all a peaceful and beautiful day.

Love, peace and happiness,
~Jo

Friday, August 14, 2009


What now?


So, if you've been keeping up from the beginning (and if you have, please leave a comment--my blog is feeling a little lonely) this much you know already, and if you haven't, I'll re-cap before I begin my 'soliloquy':

Lost our house last year. Had a second on it. The financial company sued us. We lost. We owe $30,000 which is now being garnished from my husbands wages.

We're in the process of filing bankruptcy--or so we thought. After nearly a month of trying to reach our attorney to no avail, we are now left on our own, even worse than when we began.

He abandoned us.

My husband left him one final message yesterday. This is the--eh hem--cleaned up, condensed version: "You are an unethical and despicable human being. What a HORRIBLE way to do business and treat somebody who trusted you. I will be reporting you to the California State Bar".

This man, this bottom feeder flew right under my radar.

The only way we were making ends meet with the garnishment is because of the overtime my husband was working. Then our attorney told him to stop. For four pay periods. Stop. Otherwise he said we wouldn't be eligible for filing bankruptcy under the grounds that my husband made "too much money."

::Excuse me. Coffee just flew out of my nose::

So, we were devastated and couldn't quite figure out the logistics of how this could possibly work.

Well, it worked only because of the following reasons:

~Had to borrow one months rent

~Had to cancel auto insurance

~Hardly bought groceries.

~Didn't go out to eat or take drives.

~No extra purchases.

~Switched from my beloved my store brand 'Breakfast Blend' coffee to generic brand--white can, blue letters.
*Be thankful when you go to 'Starbucks'. One doesn't realize how much of a luxury it really is.

~Did without things like foil, fabric softener and hardly purchased any meat, fruit, milk. We ate a lot of sandwiches, pasta and rice.

~A friend bought over fresh veggies from her family's garden which we appreciated and stretched to go with the pasta and rice.

So, with the help of a few good people along with some careful planning and shopping, we made it through these past two months.

So, we've been TRYING to contact our attorney to say; "Okay, we did it. Here's the pay-stubs--what now?"

Silence.

For weeks--nothing.

He told us that my husbands work would be faxed a cease and desist on the garnishment. So, that's what all the "what now?" inquiries were about. Because now, the garnishment is still going.

We're so monumentally screwed it's not even funny.

We've left messages at the office and his cell. I've sent E-mail's asking what the next move is.

So, if you're thinking; "Well, maybe something awful happened to him"...somebody in his office would have returned our calls. He has people that work for him and we always left specific messages with our numbers.

There is simply no excuse.

Maybe he took on more than he could chew.

Maybe he felt our case was hopeless.

Whatever the reason--all he had to do was call. He NEVER once said that he couldn't or wouldn't be by our side. He never verbally or in written word removed himself from our case.

So, all this time these past two months, my husband could have been working overtime so we could be in a little bit of a better place than where we are now.

Maybe we could have contributed to our sons trip and for his first year in junior college (which he's getting ready to start).

Maybe we could've helped contribute to our "other son" (my sons best friend/"brother") flying home from where he's going to school out of state to attend his grandpa's funeral today. He made it here late last night but with no help from us, sadly.

Maybe we could have a little money in the bank for a rainy day so perhaps once in a while we could eat out or go for a drive.

Maybe we could've eaten just a little bit better here at home.

Maybe we would still have auto insurance.

Maybe we could've paid my husbands traffic ticket.

So, now we're simply left bewildered and in a state of 'now what the f*** do we do?'

So, what now? Where do we possibly go from here?

Wow. Way to kick someone while they're down.

Do you want to know the worst thing about all of this? The worst thing that attorney did?

He gave me hope.

Thursday, August 13, 2009


WHEN IT RAINS IT POURS


There's that saying again. Is there, perhaps, a better saying that fits an occasion such as this?

"Don't pee on my leg and tell me it's raining"?

Nope.

"When in Rome"?

Eh.

"Stupid is as stupid does"?

Close.

"Confucius say...."?

Damn.

Well, "When it rains it pours" it is.

On top of everything else--and just simply to make matters worse (and we stupidly we thought it couldn't get any worse--shoulda known better)--my husband got a speeding ticket a few months ago.

It has, for obvious reasons (if you're new here--catch up), gone unpaid. We have never NOT paid a speeding ticket and while it's a struggle, we do pay our bills every month. However, this one was a stickler.

So, today we received a call from the county in which I was told that payments will start being garnished from his paycheck.

I called my husband at work in hysterics! HYSTERICS!

After I wiped the snot dripping out of my nose onto my sleeve a few times (hey, we're way past polite chat and etiquette at this point!) I gathered myself and with as much composure as I could possibly muster, I called the lady from the county back.

And after my sordid sob-story--to which I condensed so as to not come across as TOO pathetic--she agreed to payments of $30.00 a month starting in mid-September.

Okay, well, that's better than what we thought it would be. It'll be difficult but manageable. I can do this.

I HAVE to do this.

Damn that Confucius.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Many Scars


On Saturday I was blessed to receive a glass engraved plaque from the NMSS--National Multiple Sclerosis Society--for being in the top 100 fund raisers. I placed # 38, respectively. And today I received two free one day passes to the Disneyland Resort from them.

I know--and fully acknowledge--that I couldn't have possibly received this beautiful acknowledgment of my time and dedication to this worthy cause if it wasn't for the empathy and giving hearts of those who donated these past two years to the southern California Inland Empire's MS Walk, and specifically, to my MS Walk page/campaign.

It is these people who truly have poetic souls and see beyond the needs of themselves.

I feel truly honored and blessed to be a part of this.

Multiple Sclerosis literally translates to mean "Many Scars"--that's just one of the numerous things I have learned since my enlightenment and indoctrination into this venture.

The following is the story of how I became involved in the MS cause--and why I will remain involved:

In October of 2007, MS changed my world…..but back to that in a minute.

The following spring, I would lose my job and my home. Had I been the one who was diagnosed with MS, I might have a reason to give you other than “this darned economy!” However, I wasn’t diagnosed with MS—and neither was my husband. But in October of 2007, I met someone who was.

While there isn’t any obvious correlation between foreclosure and MS, in my small world there was--and both rocked my foundation to its core.

In 2007, I was working in an Assisted Living Community—and with Autumn came a new resident. He was only 51…and he had MS.

I think what struck me the most was that in working with the elderly, I was used to seeing the natural progression of aging and the daily effect it had on those living with it. However, I immediately recognized in our new resident that there was nothing natural about MS and how he came to live there at such a young age.

Diagnosed in 1989 (pre-information era) at the age of 33, this newly engaged man and Hospital Administrator—who chose to forge on with his life--had much to lose. And he did. Slowly, and seemingly methodically over the years, MS eventually took away use of his legs, his marriage, his career and his home. What MS couldn’t do is rob him of his will to keep living well, learning, networking and smiling.

I was fascinated.

What on earth does he have to smile about, I wondered, having had to move into Assisted Living?

But as I watched, listened, grew and learned--he moved there to not only have access to 24 hour care, but to be able to now live his life with dignity. He once said to me; “There was nothing dignified about me lying on the floor and not being able to pick myself up.”

I got it. Curious how smiling is contagious.

We became fast friends and he got me not only interested in the MS cause, but pro-active in it as well. I signed up for the MS Walk in his honor and joined our local Walk committee where along with other committee members, we brainstormed fund raising ideas and how to make the most of the “Walk season”.

From there I was invited to work at a camp for a week where people with MS can enjoy swimming, movies, games, talent shows, crafts (I mean very cool crafts like tie-dyeing T-shirts! Groovy.) and workshops.

I completed my second annual Walk season in April of this year and in May I attended my second annual camp for those afflicted with MS as a caregiver.

I start fund raising for the MS Walk '10 in the late fall/early winter. This will be my third annual Walk season.

Strange as it sounds, I thank God for MS if only for one very selfish reason; that even in the shame of foreclosure—and the financial hardship and nightmare that has ensued for myself and my family following it--at least I don’t have MS.

Whatever else has happened to me, I don’t have MS.

In it’s place I have perspective.

So, from my friend I am learning that it’s never too late to try and live with dignity—and to learn how to smile.

Fourteen And Change


So, after looking at our depleting bank account yesterday--I had some tricky goings-on in my head. How could my pea-sized intellect possibly figure out what seemed to be a conundrum?

Payday is Thursday (now tomorrow) and hubby has to commute--two counties away--to work for two more days until we see the much welcome need of the next paycheck. On top of which, we are in desperate need of a few groceries (and that ever necessary staple--toilet paper!) to get us by just a few more days.

I asked hubby last night--with a grimaced look of angst--how much he was going to need for gas.

::Imagine my leg jiggling in anxiety, lip biting, eyes wide open expecting the worse::

Bless his heart when he said $10.00 will get him by as he already had some left in the tank of his car. Gas that is, not money. Although, may as well be the same thing @ $3.00 a gallon--E-gads!

I felt like 'George Bailey' in "It's A Wonderful Life" during the bank run scene when he asked one of the towns' citizens how much she can get by with--and instead of being greedy (like the ass before her; "I have $374.00 dollars in the bank and that's what I want!") she spoke softly and replied; "Oh, I could get by with $17.50 alright". George Bailey in his delight with her sacrifice, practically hopped over the counter to kiss her on the cheek in sincere appreciation. The look on her face was priceless truly having no idea how much her answer would please him.

I guess I should have kissed hubby. Missed opportunity there. Damned hindsight! Damn it all to hell!

So, in my head I calculated what we need in ratio to what we already had--which ain't much, I gotta tell ya! I know, I know--ain't ain't a word. "Ain't ain't in the dictionary!"

I digress. I do that. A lot. Welcome to the inner workings of my brain. So A.D.D.

"Oh, look, a chicken..."


So, that left $15.00 to spend on groceries for two nights dinners for four, plus lunch stuff (bread, peanut butter) plus that toilet paper. You know what? Come to think of it--that toilet paper could damn itself to hell right along with hindsight!

Hmpf!

So, upon going over the logistics--again, what I had and what I needed--I made my list. Prioritizing what was needed first and what I could eliminate if need be.

I had my list and my pen, so I could add as I went along.

I'll spare you the details of my shopping trip ("Damn. Tomatoes went up in price--guess I can only get two instead of four.", "Wow! Celery bunches for thirty two cents each--I can get two!", "Oh, c'mon, Food-4-Less! We can't do better on sliced cheese than that? Don't you know there's an economic crisis???") but let me just share the following with you:

~One jar peanut butter
~One small shaker of garlic salt (am absolute must in my house)
~One head of cabbage
~Two bunches celery
~Two tomatoes
~Two loaves of French bread
~One loaf of wheat bread
~One package of bacon
~One package of sliced cheese
~One package of instant macaroni and cheese (the kind with the velvety smooth cheese all ready to pour on--no need to add milk or margarine)
~and (YES!) one package--four rolls--toilet paper

All for a grand total of--drum roll, please--$14.72!

God, I'm good.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

This I know To Be True


So, the aftermath of last nights domestic violence case (see previous blog--just right below this one) is that the neighbors in question seem to be putting up a united front.

After their claim of "innocence" and no wrong doing to the officers I called to their volatile residence ("Everything is fine here, officer--we truly have no idea to what the neighbor who called you is referring to") I am left in a state of bewilderment and awe--in the worst sense.

Gone is the husbands work truck--presumably to meander off to work without a care in the world only to tell his co-workers that he had a great night, perhaps watched a little T.V. with the wife and kids after his devoted wife made him an awesome meal which they all enjoyed at the family table.

Gone are any traces that anything violent had taken place the night before.

While their house grew dark and and quiet last night, my lights were on until nearly 2:00 a.m. as I was wide awake, only to rise again after about 5 hours of restless sleep.

I'm having trouble wrapping my mind around what happened--or, I suppose what I should say is what didn't happen. No arrests--only denial where handcuffs ought to have been.

Over 22 years ago, I found myself pregnant at 19 from a "man" I hardly knew. A man I met in a bar/nightclub. A man that should have been a one night stand (yes, stupid I know--hindsight being what it is...), a man that lied to me (about some pretty BIG stuff), disappeared on me (only to return days later with apologies, no explanation and flowers), a man who left his pregnant and scared girlfriend alone way too much only to return just in time for the premature birth of their daughter. A man who hit me. A man who turned my life asunder from which I don't think I have ever recovered.

The last time I saw him, our daughter was 10 months old. She is now nearly 23.

After a particular brutal beating from which I was kicked, hit and dragged by my hair while holding and protecting our daughter, I made the choice to leave him, leave the state in which we were living and move back to California.

I took only what I could carry in my suitcases, leaving behind many mementos, baby items and a car my Dad and step-Mom had bought us--which he then kept--and would have come in handy for a single Mom who had to start from scratch.

I had much help from family and friends who cared enough about myself and my daughter--even when I didn't--to try and pick up the pieces of my messy life.

To those people I owe an eternity of gratitude.

I was lost and damaged and began a downward spiral.

I worked and lived with my Mom and later some friends. I tried to apply for food stamps when I found myself suddenly on my own--never receiving child support (NOT ONCE!) and unable to keep up with car payments, insurance and childcare.

I found myself living without utilities and going for several days at a time without eating making sure she always had food and milk, which was kept in an ice chest. However, the state of California--and the people they employ--decided in their wisdom that I was more than fine and made enough money and, therefore, would not approve me for any state assistance.

My daughter went to live with my Mom up north (after she herself moved) for about 6 months while I *regrouped.

*Euphemism for partied, clubbed and dated.

I was a terrible, shameful excuse for a mother who could hardly take care of myself, more less a child.

That guilt has never left me.

Dr. Maya Angelou has a saying which I refer to often; "You do the best you know how to do and when you know better, you DO better."

I met a man whom I am married to now. A man I knew would never hit me. A man who I knew would love my daughter. A man I loved and still love to this day. We had a son, now 19, and were married a year after his birth--our daughter had been back with us long before this time. After our marriage, we began the process of adoption for my husband to adopt my daughter. She received a new birth certificate with his name on it to which I envisioned a new and bright future for us all.

I wish I could say we all lived happily ever after but the truth of the matter is that our daughter herself is now lost and damaged. After years of us taking her to therapy, one therapist told us that regardless of how much hubby and I love her that she has "a hole in her heart from never knowing her biological father".

And unfortunately, I can't help her. His real identity is a mystery as are his whereabouts.

Now we're in this financial mess and I find myself again feeling lost.

Would I do it all over again?

Yes.

In spite of this turmoil, I know I did the right thing by removing her and I from a situation that would only get worse. If I did nothing else right--at least I did that. But trust me, there is no patting myself on the back or tooting my own horn here.

So, I see the neighbor woman with her kids getting into their car for school this morning.

No visible damage to be seen.

But there IS damage--of that I can tell you. If I know nothing else from my experiences, the damage is indeed alive, well and present. And will remain so for years to come.

I don't know what the woman should have done last night or said to the officers--I don't know anything about them other than what I heard for myself.

I don't know if there are any right or wrong answers here.

I only know what I what I know from my personal experiences.

I only know that as I saw the kids get into their mothers car for school this morning, that while everything looked to be fine from the outside, I know all too well that there is nothing fine about them--or their mother.

I may not know much, only that I know I wish for them to fare better, to find the strength to put their kids above themselves and to find the truth in all of this.

For the sake of the kids.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Thank You For Calling


While hubby and son were at The Angel's game tonight, one of my sons friends came over to keep me company. We were just deciding on which movie to watch when three strangers showed up at my door; it was a woman with two teenagers who were taking an evening walk and noticed our door open. So, as she approached I asked; "May I help you?". The woman then informed me that a man who lives across the street from me was beating his wife.

The lady who came to my door didn't have a cell phone and wanted to inform someone what was happening so that the police could be called (I guess our door was the only one open).

My sons friend and and I asked them to show us which house it was--although, as soon as we stepped outside it was evident which house; while there was nothing to be seen on the outside, you could certainly hear all that was going on inside.

So, I grabbed my phone and ran down the hill in front of said house, where the *commotion was taking place, to get the address.

*Euphemism for beating the shit out of your wife.

As I went to dial 911, I quickly discovered that my phone didn't work as I had inadvertently, without thinking, grabbed my cordless house phone instead of my cell and was unable to make a call (I was too far from the phone base). Luckily there were a few other neighbors who had gathered across the street and handed me their phone to use, saying that they, too, were drawn outside by the fighting that was taking place (but didn't call).

I called 911 and reached an operator who asked; "What is your emergency?". I explained what I was listening to at that moment: "Yes ma'am, I live at such and such address and my name is....." I continued; "There is a man who is hitting his wife inside of their house--you can hear him SCREAMING at her as well as the fear and pleading in her voice."

I proceeded to give them their address and I was told they're sending someone out.

My sons friend and I waited. And waited.

During this time the yelling is becoming more intense and he is calling her names. Then it would stop and start again, with each new round becoming more volatile than the one before it.

I know these people have kids because I've seen them numerous times in the 14 months that we've lived here--I have also heard yelling before from there but not like this.

I was fearful for this woman. This scared me and this was all too familiar and brought back memories from over 20 years ago (before I met my husband)....

Still waiting for the police.

Fifty minutes later they finally show up. FIFTY minutes!!!! Of course, by this time--wouldn't you just know it?--the fighting has ceased. Which I hoped was a good thing in the sense that the husband had simmered down and not that it was quiet because the wife was potentially hurt--or worse.

As the police drove down the street looking for the address, my sons friend and I flagged them down and pointed to the house in question. One of the officers got out of his car and approached us asking what the trouble is.

It took everything I had inside of me not to say; "Well, nothing now."

However, I composed myself and described to him the evenings events, what led me to conclude what had been happening and why I phoned them.

By now, the other neighbors, of course, had settled back into their homes.

Not me. I wasn't going to rest, I wasn't going to go inside and I had lost interest in the movie we picked out.

I was staying put until I knew the wife was going to be safe.

I even told my sons friend--prior to the police's arrival--that if this keeps up, I'm going to knock on the door if for no other reason than to let him know that others are aware of what's going on and that hurting her would not be a wise choice for him.

The police advised us to go back up to my house--so, we did. We sat on the front lawn as I anxiously awaited for justice to be served.

One--maybe two--minutes later I heard the officer, that spoke to me, telling the man to "have a good night".

Hmmm. That's a strange thing to tell someone as you're arresting them; when did the Miranda Rights change? I wondered.

The officers came back out to their car--with no one else with them. No handcuffed culprit.

They pulled up to my house (Yep. we're still there on the lawn), rolled down the window and said; "There's no problem there, ma'am. Both the husband and the wife said that everything was fine."

The look on my face must've read; "And you believed them???" Because he then went on to say that there is simply nothing to report if both people say there's nothing the matter.

I repeated what I had heard earlier and he, in retort, repeated himself. "Nothing to report"--still must have had that same look on my face--"but thank you for calling".

And with that he drove away.

"Thank you for calling."

"Nothing to report"

"Both husband and wife said nothing is wrong".

Well, that's original.

Sorry. Facetiousness got the best of me there.

No. That's not original. What that is is textbook; the wife is fearful of repercussions so she says that everything is fine.

THIS is why people don't get involved.

I cared about this woman's safety.

Cared or care?

Truthfully, I don't know. I would hate to think of this happening again--although, I'm sure it will, perhaps just a bit quieter--and I would like to think that I would do the same thing all over again...

I could sit here and lecture and muse the redundant phrases we've heard over and over; "She feels trapped", "She has no where to go", "She's staying for the kids".

And she'll continue to stay.

And he'll continue to hit.

And I'll continue to hear "Thank you for calling".