Category Archives: Pointless Rambling

Five Days Gone Forever

I’ve never been much on religion or fate or astrology. I’ve dabbled in all three at different points in my life and eventually abandoned them all and just lived day to day thinking that everything that happens simply happens with no rhyme or reason. Then something happened that makes me question that theory. I don’t know which of the three was in control of the situation (or maybe something else entirely) but something bigger was calling the shots to make everything fall into place perfectly. There are just too many coincidences for this to all have happened on its own.

About five months ago, I was in the middle of a horrible break-up. We had decided to go our separate ways and I was looking forward to spending some alone time to focus on my three year old son and  myself for a change. I had reconnected with a very special person from my past and we agreed that we would see one another but take things very slowly and get to know each other again after nearly  30 years.

This special man and I had seen one another three times when I collapsed on the floor out of nowhere and wouldn’t wake up. He called an ambulance and searched through my cell phone for family to call. I was taken to the hospital and placed in ICU. For days I slept and the doctors couldn’t figure out why.

While I slept my family and friends all gathered together at the hospital. Family that I hadn’t spoken to in years, friends that cared more than I was aware of and old friends from high school that I hadn’t seen in years poured in to wait together for a verdict  on my condition. There were wars and reconciliations as well as accusations and apologies and I slept through it all. I slept long enough for all these people to settle their differences and talk out their issues. They all had the opportunity to see from their own perspective that I had a lot of people who cared about me in their own way.  They were able to see the role I played in each of their lives and when I finally woke up, I was also able to see how important I was to each of them.

Eventually the doctors were able to diagnose bacterial meningitis and began to treat me accordingly. After five days, I opened my eyes. There were a lot of after effects that I had to deal with and five months later, I am still recovering. That special man never left my side and has turned out to be the man I’ve been looking for all my life. He just happens to be the man that my parents didn’t approve of when we were kids, but they were given the opportunity in those five days to get to know him and see how much he cared for me. He came home with me from the hospital and took care of me until I was able to take care of myself.

I gained so much from the whole experience. I now have a relationship with my mother and brother and because of that, I have a lot more contact with my oldest son. My family was able to talk to the people that have been closest to me over the last several years and to know that I have been responsible and thoughtful and worked hard to be a good mother to my little guy…and I had worked hard to do the right things for my oldest son as well. I also gained an appreciation for life and the little things that I never noticed before. I realized the importance of slowing down and taking time for myself and taking care of myself.

I lost a lot along the way as well. Most of which I am getting back slowly over time but some things may be gone forever. I look back now and see how far I’ve come in just five months. When I left the hospital, I had problems using KathyV2013my hands, words wouldn’t come easily, my thoughts were slow, I walked on a walker and I slept most of the days away. Now I am back at work full time, I have use of my hands and my legs and I’m back to a somewhat normal sleep pattern. My words have come back and my thought processes are still speeding up. I think I’ve regained most of my mind but it seems to work differently now. That is something I will learn to work with over time.

I also lost five days of my life that I can never get back. That is emotionally very hard to deal with. The ‘not knowing’ of what really happened and having to rely on what I’m told from each person’s point of view. I gained so much from the whole experience that in the end it doesn’t really matter what happened. It only matters that it happened and it changed my life forever.


Decades of Reality

When I was a kid, wrestling was a big thing in my house. We all gathered ’round the television to see who was going to beat who up and who was gonna finally agree to that cage match that everyone wanted to see. The adults encouraged the kids to imitate their favorite wrestler and the kids practiced their pile drivers in the back yard with no mats or pads. We all thought it was real. These guys loved and hated one another and the drama was so intense that we just couldn’t miss a single chance to see what would happen next. Then it all came crashing down. I was too young to remember exactly what happened to expose the whole thing, but it was scripted. Imagine that! Wrestling was scripted! At that point, the whole thing began to move down on my family’s priority list when we turned on the television. Over the years we each individually stopped watching it all together. It was fake…and we just couldn’t be bothered with a bunch of fake stuff.

Nearly three decades later, I find myself glued to reality TV…but it’s different now. Looking back, it’s absolutely amazing to me that technology has gone so far that once the Big Brother or Survivor or Amazing Race season is finished, I can get on Twitter or Facebook and actually talk to the people I watched for months. I can have real conversations with them and get some insight into how they go about moving on with their lives after their show. A large majority of them really are ‘real’ people and do have an appreciation of their fans. Many of these people are given opportunities for new careers and travel after their time in the spotlight and some choose to go back to their normal lives. In most cases, they keep some type of contact with ‘their people’ in varying degrees.

It’s particularly interesting to find someone who is a few years out from the experience and has moved on with a somewhat normal life. One example is Natalie Cunial from Season 9 of Big Brother. Keep in mind that for three months, I watched her brush her teeth every morning, strategize in bed every night and everything in between. So, even though I didn’t find her until a few years after the show had aired, it was like I knew her. It was like finding a friend on Facebook that you thought you’d never see again. The strange thing was, she didn’t know I existed…and I’m just another ‘friend’ on her massive list of people who took an interest in her life. Natalie is an amazing artist and has just given birth to her first baby. She and I have spoken a few times about pregnancy and being a new Mom. I’m sure she’s spoken to thousands of people just like me but that’s the thing that draws me to these shows. She is real. Even though I realize that Big Brother is at least partially scripted, Natalie is a real person and somehow felt enough of a connection to her fans, who she had never seen, that she has kept in touch and continues to let us care about her and her life.

There are others active on Facebook and Twitter, who have a show currently airing. Speaking to them is just a little different. They won’t generally tell you that they are under contract to keep certain secrets until they hit prime time, but you just know by the way they clam up when you ask certain questions. CBS is currently airing the 26th season of Survivor and among the castaways, you’ll find a few Facebook junkies. My favorites, John Cochran and Dawn Meehan are both actively speaking to a few thousand of their closest friends on a regular basis as we all learn a little more about their fate in the game each week. Phillip Sheppard, Malcolm Freberg and Brandon Hantz are also on my ‘friends’ list and I have spoken to each of them very briefly.

Even though I know that scripts do come into play with these shows, I also know that after the show life goes on for these people…unscripted life. Just like everyone else, they have good and bad times…joy and sadness. They are real and many of them don’t hide their ‘realness.’ I can’t imagine what it must be like to get online everyday and speak to a few thousand of your closest friends but I’m sure it’s a great comfort in the hard times to have a few thousand people send their well wishes. We all want someone to care…and that’s something that hardcore reality fans just do. We care.


Fear!

Maybe I’m a little slow but I’ve just figured out that fear is the reason for absolutely every decision I make. I don’t just mean decisions about what food to eat or locking my doors at night. I mean absolutely every decision I make!

I get out of bed in the morning because I’m afraid if I don’t, I’ll not get to work on time and I’ll lose my job which will open up a whole new can of fears. Everything I do to get ready for work in the morning is based on this fear of losing my job. I’m afraid that if I wear sweats and flip flops, things could go downhill quickly with the boss. Then if I don’t drive a certain way, I could have/cause an accident and not get to work on time.

I drive on the right side of the road for fear that I could hurt myself or someone else. I make coffee when I get to work not only because I want some, but also because I know it will help with my shining disposition and the thought of an outburst at work is simply terrifying. I sit at my desk a certain way, for fear that my feet and legs will hurt when I get up if I sit wrong. I pick my son up at preschool on time everyday, for fear that he might get kicked out because of me and that can be disastrous on many levels.

Fear is such a tiny little four letter word that means so much. It comes from everything around me and I subconsciously react to it with all of my senses and most of the time, never really realize that I’ve actually made a decision. Kind of like not touching the hot burner on the kitchen stove. I don’t think about it but it’s just something I don’t do automatically for fear of being burned.

With all  this built in fear of the little things, how sad is it that while all of this is going on, there are forces in the world who constantly and deliberately bring even more fears to my attention? I’m talking about the media, the drug companies, advertisers in general, politicians, preachers, and the list goes on and on.

I have to eat Activia every day or my pipes will get backed up and I need a glass of red wine to keep “the cancer” away. I need this pill for this and that pill for that and If I don’t take my calcium my spine could disintegrate and then where would I be? I have to stay healthy because all the terrorists are coming to kill us all and I have to be strong enough to fight! Well, at least until late December because the Mayans have told us that the world is going to end and I should really prepare myself for that too. I only have a little over a month to make sure that my afterlife is taken care of and I won’t be stuck in some horrible place for eternity with no access to my Activia, wine and calcium.

No wonder I’m such a mess!


My Own Personal Holiday Hell

It’s happening a little early this year for some reason. I can’t quite pinpoint the trigger but my usual holiday depression is setting in and I feel myself slowly slipping away. Sometimes I wonder if it only comes because I expect it. I fight it every year and somehow manage to survive. Some years are easier than others and some years I pay a little visit to the doctor to get some help for a few months.

Well, I’m sick of it! I’m suspicious of the reason that it comes back year after year and I’m beginning to believe that my methods of coping are the culprit. So, this year, instead of stuffing it all down, ignoring it, denying it, turning the pain into something else…I think I need to try owning it instead. For once, admit it, pay attention to it, take it out and lay it on the table and just look at it.

I’m actually a little afraid to face it all but I think it’s necessary. I just don’t want to live the rest of my life knowing this will happen every year and knowing in the back of my mind that there is the possibility of making it stop.

So, prepare yourself. This could get very ugly.

 


“Sandy” As Cheap Entertainment

I think most people from time to time wish they could lock themselves in the house and never have to deal with other people again. I’d like to think that would make me feel better and lower my stress level considerably. We all know that is not very realistic. We still have to make money to buy the necessities in life and to pay for that roof and four walls we’ve surrounded ourselves with. Besides, I don’t think it would take very long before those walls started to close in on me and cabin fever would set in. My stress level would probably double at that point and totally defeat the purpose.

Normally, I tend to think this way when someone or just general circumstances in life become hard to deal with. I have recently found myself feeling just the opposite. Lately, I have had a “difficult person” in my life but instead of wanting to just stay away, I find myself wanting to be around more and more. It has become a form of entertainment for me.

This person, we’ll call them…oh, I don’t know…. “Sandy”….like the squirrel from the Sponge Bob Squarepants cartoon, because that is what happens to be on my son’s television at the moment.

Like the cartoon Sandy, this one is actually very intelligent and capable of doing what needs to be done and figuring out how to deal with more than your average day to day problems. The thing is, this Sandy loves to manipulate people, lie when it isn’t necessary and keep drama rolling at all times. All Sandy’s energy and brain power is devoted to these things rather than just simply taking care of the everyday tasks and solving normal daily problems. I’m sure it’s all very exhausting.

I’ve learned that there are very simple rules in dealing with people like Sandy. First you have to keep your nose clean and make sure you are doing what you are supposed to be doing. Cross all your  T’s and dot all your I’s and by all means, re-check yourself often. Second, watch your back every second of the day. Never just assume that everything will be okay because people like Sandy can strike when you least expect it. Finally, the third rule is to be sure to give them plenty of rope with which to hang themselves. Then sit back and watch the show. All this checking and re-checking and watching your own back, does take a little extra energy, but it is necessary and the payoff is usually worth it all.

The Sandy’s of the world are a very interesting breed to observe. They seem completely oblivious to the tangled mess they make of their own lives in the process of deliberately trying to hurt someone else. They usually believe that they are winning the “game” until the very second before their whole charade is finally exposed.

If you happen to be the target of their deceit, take it as a compliment because they only attack people that they see as a threat in some way. Maybe they think you are smarter or more capable of something that they want for themselves. Maybe they envy you in some way. Sometimes they just want to get rid of anyone intelligent enough to see through their lies.

So, instead of Sandy making me want to turn into a complete hermit, she has accomplished just the opposite. I am beginning to very much enjoy the show. Who doesn’t like seeing justice served?


Fun With Spam

Who doesn’t get a ton of spam in their inbox? I don’t know of anyone! Every morning I grab a cup of coffee and sit down in my office to go through the email that has flooded my inbox overnight and it’s always the same story…247 incoming and not one REAL email from someone I know or someone who has legitimate business with me. It gets old. It gets real old, but since I’m trying to be more positive these days, I thought I should take these lemons and try to make some lemonade.

I started with the email from George. George says he can teach me “another language” in 10 days! Yes, that’s right, 10 days! So after digging a little bit, I figured out how to email George directly. Turns out, George isn’t George at all! I know, shocker! George signed “his” first reply to me as “Juliana.” So, I expressed my interest to Juliana in learning another language. She replied to confirm that English was in fact my language of choice. I responded that it is not my language of choice, it’s just what my parents taught me as a child and that I already know English so there’s no point in wasting 10 days beating a dead horse. Portuguese is actually my language of choice but I don’t know how to speak it and I thought maybe she could help me out with that. She proceeded to explain to me that she doesn’t know Portuguese but she does know Spanish and if that were to be my language of choice, she would be glad to teach me for a fee. So, I explained that just as she had mistaken my language of choice for English, others could mistake it for Spanish if I learn Spanish and then where would I be? I would still be without my language of choice which is Portuguese! She then, agreed to teach me Portuguese. I was very confused by this! How can she teach me Portuguese if she doesn’t know Portuguese? I was then expected to believe that if I paid my fee 10 days in advance, she would use that money to compensate her own tutor and learn Portuguese in 10 days. Then in turn she would teach it to me. Awesome!! I asked who her tutor would be, so I could just cut out the “middle man” and pay them to teach me, so as not to waste any more of her time. She never replied…darn it! (Come back, Juliana….come back!!)

I sifted through a few more emails that lead me to websites (and probably a few viruses that I’ll have to deal with later) and finally found another from which I could gain actual human contact. I was greeted by someone named John. John didn’t spell very well and it was extremely hard to decipher the code to gain knowledge concerning his elite group through which “Senior People Meet.” John directed me to a website but I told him I was having some problems with my computer and could only email right now. (I’m such a liar!) I just wanted to get some general information from him so I could check out the website later. John assured me that this was a respectable group of “older” adults looking for companionship. I asked the age of the oldest available man and I asked him to provide me with some information on his background…just so I could get a general idea of his interests and such. He told me about Dan, who was 88 years old and had been a “shopkeeper” before his retirement. I asked if he actually owned the “shop” or if he just kept it for someone else and if it could have possibly been a federal shop of some sort, or a jewelry shop….. It turned out to be a very small town grocery “shop.” So I asked John, who else he had for me, adding the older the better! I was then told about Thomas, 86, who had dealt junk auto parts in his younger years. I asked if he still had grease under his fingernails, ’cause that could be a real downer. John then asked my age so I explained that I’m 40 and though I’m not quite a “senior” yet, I’m very mature for my age. I’ve been through a lot in my life and I’m ready to find the oldest, richest man I can find to support me into my golden years. I never heard from John again….

The last one was short and sweet. I was offered a FREE power-chair! Who wouldn’t want one of those? So I did as the email suggested, and asked how “I can get my free power-chair.” The reply I received was a form to apply for one. It was full of blanks for very sensitive private information such as social security number, address, how many people live in the home, are you able to drive, where are you able to go and how often? So I immediately looked for the “contact us” link, and sent another email claiming that I couldn’t figure out how to fill in those blanks with the computer but I do know how to email if someone could help me. I also asked if they intended to steal my identity and rob me while I was out driving to the same places at the same time each week. Needless to say, I didn’t receive a reply on that one. They must be really busy.

It was a fun morning! Spam is your friend, people! Spam is your friend!


Why Can’t I Be Just A Voter?

A long stretch of my voting adulthood was spent without being registered to vote. Just after my 18th birthday, I registered for the first time and was so proud that I was among citizens who could make a difference. I proudly went to the polls and cast my vote responsibly…knowing who all the candidates were and what they stood for. I took responsibility for my civic duty and felt very good about it…and then something happened. I can’t remember exactly what it was but I know it was something. I stopped voting.

Eventually I moved to another state and refused to register. Just under 20 years passed without a single vote from me. I gave no excuses. I just didn’t vote. Over time, I forgot why I stopped.

This year I registered again. I found a candidate that I believed in and decided to go full throttle in his direction. I got one vote in for him and he dropped out of the race. So, here I am, all registered and ready to vote in the presidential election and looking for a candidate to back. I’ve started reading up on what’s left of the candidates…what they’ve done, what they’ve promised…and I’ve discovered something. I’m expected to pick a box to crawl into and a tag to stamp on my forehead.

The “women’s vote”, the “black vote”, the “Hispanic vote”, Democrat, Republican, upper class, middle class, lower class…….What the hell is going on here?

First of all, I thought my vote was supposed to be secret! I have to choose to be either Democrat or Republican when I’m given a ballot but I’m neither. If I choose Democrat, everyone knows I’ll vote for Obama. Just give me a ballot with everybody on it and let me decide in the booth! I don’t care how long the ballot is or how long it takes me to sift through the names. Just give me the ability to vote for whoever I want!

Am I so shallow that I am automatically going to vote like every other working white female? Is there no room for me to care about the plight of a Hispanic male? I’m not gay or lesbian but their right to marry is important to me and could influence my vote. Am I grouped by that as well? If so, I’m on the opposite side of that issue from most of the people who surround my little plot inside the good ol’ Bible belt. How do they account for rogue voters like me? Am I just a “wild card?” There’s another label!

I guess the thing that gets to me most is the electoral votes. I understand the original reasoning behind this but get with the times people. There is so much corruption in this whole process that there is absolutely no way in hell that all those votes go where they are meant to go. Most of the popular votes don’t go where they should!

So, as I sit with my signature on my little voter registration card, I have a tough decision to make. Do I tear it up and refuse to talk about it or do I waste my time at the polls? I just want to be a voter! Just a plain old voter!


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