We Are Family…


Dearest Readers:
I suppose one could say this week has been an eventful week. A week of highs. Lows. Events. Thankfulness and most of all, Gratitude.
Early Tuesday, I left Charleston, driving to Georgia to visit with my sister and her family. My sister’s name shall remain anonymous. I believe in protecting privacy. We had a nice visit and dinner, planning the next day at the hospital. My sister was scheduled for a heart Cather. Her blood pressure has been rising, and she has been a bit tired. I suppose she should be tired since she is still working and on her feet a lot, and she chases after a darling little two-year-old great grand.
Early Wednesday morning, her family picks me up and off we drive thru the heart of Atlanta, GA traffic. I’m accustomed to traffic jams since we have so many as a daily routine now in Charleston. Arriving at the hospital, my sister checked in. We were told to remain in the waiting area. “Someone will come to get you later.”
My sister’s procedure was scheduled for 2:00 pm. It was about 10:00 am now. Because I am a coffee connoisseur, I smelled the freshly brewed coffee. I ask the attendant at the front desk where I could get some of that delicious aroma. He guided me to where it was. The coffee machine wasn’t a Keurig, although it worked on the same premise. I do not own a Keurig but a grind and brew machine, so I had ‘no clue’ how to operate it. Back to the attendant, I go. Yes, it was a blonde moment!
“Excuse me,” I say, using my flirty personality. “Just how does one operate this machine to get a cup of coffee?”
He smiled. A nice, young guy, dressed in pale blue, denim scrubs. He showed me how to operate the machine and within a few minutes, I had a hot cup of coffee! Most of you who read my blog will know, I’m not worth anything, nor can I function until I’ve had coffee in the morning! With my sister away getting prepped for her procedure, I enjoyed the coffee, not wanting to drink any coffee around her. That would be selfish and I am not considered to be a selfish person.
Tick Tock. The clock continued passing the time away as we sat. And SAT. AND SAT! Finally, we were called back to see my sister. She rested in a bed. IV solution hooked up, along with all the machinery. Ready and waiting for the infamous 2:00 hour. She appeared to be in good spirits. Tick. Tock.
I suppose I should report here I was lacking major sleep. Although it was Wednesday, my average sleep for this week was about four to five hours nightly. So exhausted I wanted to scream or cry, just like I do when I am fighting to sleep during stressful weeks, I kept reminding myself I was not stressful. I had prayed, and prayed, for God to keep my sister safe and for her not to require open heart surgery. How I remember open heart surgery since my husband had a quadruple bypass in 1998. I remember touching his skin after his surgery. His skin was clammy and freezing to the touch. He was connected to a ventilator and other machinery. He did not respond to my voice or my touch. The nurse caring for him was named Kevin. “He is highly sedated, so he cannot respond to you, but he is all right.” Easy for him to say since he was the attending nurse, and I, the wife of the recovering patient, had never seen my husband in this condition. Feeling a bit faint, I inhaled. Exhaled. And walked out, rushing quickly to the waiting area, spending late hours at the waiting area. Waiting. No doubt this would be a late night.
About midnight, I sent word to Kevin that I was going home. I left my cell and landline phone numbers with him, in the event he needed to contact me.
Now, here I sit with my niece, awaiting the hour to start my sister’s procedure. At 2:03 pm, she was wheeled back to the operating room. We met with the doctor prior to the procedure. He mentioned he would do a heart Cather, looking for the leaks and or blockages. If a blockage was found, he would do a stint. He had a soft, kind patient and family mannerism and I liked him. He took the time to answer our questions, reassuring us she would be fine.
Two-and-a-half hours later, we were becoming a bit tired from sitting and not knowing anything. I approached the kind attendant at the desk. He reassured me he would check to get a status report. A few minutes later, we were called back. My sister’s procedure was complete and the doctor would see us in a few minutes. My sister was removed from recovery. We stood next to her bed. Her color was great. No paleness and no ‘deathly white’ like my husband was after his heart surgery.
According to the doctor (sorry, I cannot remember his name), my sister had “about an 80% blockage, so he performed a stint. She has a few small blockages that I believe we can care for with medications and getting her cholesterol lower. She will spend the night here and should go home tomorrow.”
I breathed a sigh of relief! My sister was going to be AOK! Thank you, God!
After spending most of the day at the hospital, my niece and I were exhausted. I was hoping I would sleep that night. I suppose although I felt I was not ‘that worried’ – Obviously, I was and that is why I failed to relax and sleep.
Now, home in Charleston again, I am happy to report last night I got at least eight hours of sleep. I awoke after 8:30 am. Normally, I am awake and moving around by 7:30. Yes, I needed rest. After a week of speaking to God like He was my closest friend, I am thankful my sister phoned me to let me know about her procedure. And I am thankful I was able to make the plans necessary to get to her and her family prior to the procedure, and I am grateful for a caring, loving sister who considers me a part of her family.
“What?” You might be asking. “Of course you are family.”
Only those with a close family would ask such a question.
My sister and I have worked for years to repair the damage of our childhoods, and now, we are family.
As the song says:
“We are Family. I’ve got my sisters with me.”
For me, I will say:
“We are Family. I’ve got one sister with me…”
Yes, I am thankful for the one sister I am blessed to bond with and to share life with. Most of all, I am thankful she came through her heart Cather without any problems.
No doubt, God was holding her hand during the procedure.
Thank you, God, for all you do for those who believe!
Yes. We are Family…!

Auchumpkee Creek Covered Bridge_2

No More Robo Calls!


Dearest Readers:

If you live in the states where all of these imbecile politicians are fighting to get your vote, I am curious. Have you been bombarded with these robo calls in the past few weeks?

We have. My husband is the type who believes IF the phone rings, one must answer it. I don’t think so! I always check caller ID, but now — these imbecile politicians have gotten smart — in phoning respects! They have caller ID’s that seem familiar. When I do answer, I will say “Hello” if they don’t answer, I hang up.

These robo calls have pushed my final buttons! Earlier this week, I got a phone call, checked caller ID, noticing a local area code. I answered. Here’s the bulk of the conversation after I said “Hello” THREE TIMES!

“Hi. This is _______ [sorry I don’t recall her name, but her husband is Ted Cruz. “I’m calling to thank you for allowing me, my husband Ted Cruz and our children into your home….” I hung up!

Gee…she and the Cruz clan came to our home? News to me. At the moment, my home is still suffering from the effects of the ‘torrential thousand year rains’ South Carolina had in October. The mold is scheduled to be removed soon, after we got our roof replaced only yesterday. Now, I ask you — would you have guests to your home when the home is still under construction? I don’t think so!

I’ve never met the Cruz family. Now, I am convinced this family will say ANYTHING to get the vote.

Sorry,  Mrs. Cruz, you and your family JUST LOST my vote. I am convinced these politicians and their wives will say anything to move into the White House!

Incidentally, I’ve gotten phone calls from not only Cruz (who appears to phone at least three to four times daily). Other phone calls from Bush…Rubio…and so on.

While I realize these are ‘political calls,’ and they are exempt from the Do Not Call list, these politicians/legislators who make these laws must realize, we are busy people. At least Hillary hasn’t phoned. I would give her a piece of my mind since I  believe she should just go away with her sweet, precious Billy Boy.

Tomorrow is the election day for South Carolina. If only I could vote for Mickey Mouse, or someone who really had leadership abilities. I’ve researched these politicians. One is too hot headed with a diarrhea mouth to be trusted, and he certainly needs a new hair cut. The others. Well, I suppose I will let all of you decide. Who will I vote for? Let’s just say it certainly will not be to encourage the first woman President in America, and I am a feminist.

Happy Voting Day, South Carolina. Oops…Excuse me, I must rush to answer the phone. Never mind…these politicians never have anything interesting to say. So, why waste my precious time?!?

If only these politicians would run off into the sunset!

 

Welcome to My Pity Party


Dearest Readers:

Have you ever had a time where you could not shake your mood? No. Matter. What? I’ve had more than a few weeks like this. Tuesday, December 15, 2015, everything came to a standstill. Losing my temper, I recognized I needed to inhale. Exhale. Breathe.

On that date, I got up in a dreadful mood from so many nights without sleep. I counted the days until Christmas – only ten days away. No, this wasn’t the Christmas blues – just a time of physical exhaustion and stress triggered by the torrential storms we had in Charleston in October. Still, my home wasn’t well. The leaks from the skylights appeared to be growing with a science project of mold, mildew, and ugliness I wished to erase. I decided we should decorate our Christmas tree in the den this year, not the traditional place in the living room.

Negative thoughts ate away inside of me. My stomach was twisted in knots; at least, it felt like it. Christmas music helped a little, although I still had moments where I wanted to scream. Still,  the moodiness left a bad taste, an emotional feeling of absolute depression, clouding every thought and mood. Looking at the calendar again, I realized December 19th would soon be here, only now, I could not celebrate my dad’s birthday with him. This year he and his identical twin brother would celebrate 101 years of life. I lost my dad on July 6, 1999. He lost his identical twin brother long before I was born, or even thought about. How I wish I could reach out to him – just to wish him a Happy Birthday.

This year I could not shake my mood. I jotted down things I should be happy about, and then I added an additional listing of things I wish I could change. “No wonder I’m so depressed. The things I wish I could change are longer than the happiness list. Not a good sign. Meanwhile, the phone rang, almost constantly – a nauseating ringing of telemarketers and scam phone calls that refused to leave me alone. I’m certain you’ve probably received your share of these calls. One call said ‘unavailable,’ another was ‘unknown caller,’ and another said ‘government.’ I listened to all of them, never speaking as a robot call said ‘this is your third and final call. You owe the IRS…’ I laughed. Just what is this? We are on the Do Not Call list. Honestly, I think when you sign up again [for perhaps the 10th time] with the Do Not Call list, there must be a way these companies are getting our phone numbers, just so they can aggravate us! Another caller was a guy. He expressed the following, “Congratulations…You’ve won!”

Okay, I’ll play his little game. I listened as he shared that we were the winners of a contest we recently signed up for. “News to me,” I breathed. “We haven’t signed up for anything except the Do Not Call list!”

“F$%# you,” he said. I hung up, daring him to call back.

Without a doubt, this was one of the worst days I’ve had in a long time. “I suppose this day is my pity party day,” I shouted to the walls inside my house.

My poor husband was greeted at the door by a woman almost half out of my mind. Grief. Sadness. Tears. All of the ingredients for a pity party.

Although I tried to shake this strange mood, I could not. Defeated, I took a leisurely bath, having a soft, quiet discussion with myself, recognizing I was behaving in the same manner of my mother. ‘This has to stop.’

After the bubble bath, I approached my husband again, only, this time, I apologized for being such a monster. “It’s so unlike me to be this way,” I cried. “I’m so worried about the house. I wish I could make all of this go away.”

Phil hugged me. I kissed him and went to bed. I prayed for God to listen to me. Much to my surprise, I whispered, “God, are you there? Do you hear me? Are you testing me? I need you.”

The next morning, my mood was better, although I failed to sleep well. After two cups of coffee, the phone rang. I checked caller ID. The caller was listed. It was a phone call from a church. That’s unusual.  I answered it. The caller was a recording, mentioning scriptures from the Holy Bible. I suppose God is telling me something. I listened to the entire conversation, recognizing I’ve never had a phone call this — EVER! I  suppose God was listening to me and now He is encouraging me to get a grip. Be the person you know you can be, not the person you lived with as a child. 

A few minutes later, while praying, the phone rang again. My best friend was on the line. She was recovering from another kidney surgery. I asked how she was progressing. She was in route to work. Still weak and having a bit of pain, I listened to her while recognizing how selfish and insensitive I had been.

Why? Simple. All of the stress I’ve endured will ease when the house is finally repaired. I will be able to get myself out of this house and the stress. As for my friend, she was fighting to get well. To have healthy kidneys. She is my best friend. Every day I pray for her and for a miracle to happen in her life.

“How foolish I have been,” I said aloud after we hung up. “I can change my mood. I can do something pro-active to feed good thoughts, and I can move to get away from the stress, if only for a few hours.

My friend is fighting just to get stronger. She’s like the energizer bunny, always bouncing back.

As for me – I’ve been a fool. I have to remind myself of the old clichés I say to myself normally when depression kidnaps me.

“This too shall pass.”

“It’s when things seem worse, you mustn’t quit.”

“Life is like a box of chocolates…You never know what you’re gonna get.”

“Stupid is as stupid does.”

One of my favorite quotes is “Once you replace negative thoughts with positive ones, you’ll start having positive results.”

Yes, I knew better. I am a strong woman. Normally, I can talk myself out of these situations. I suppose today is an eye-opener to me. A day to be thankful I am still alive. A day to breathe in and breathe out. A day to give thanks. I still have a home. I have a warm bed to sleep in, even when the four dogs take over the bed, and I have a good man to live with me and to love me, even when the devil of depression kicks in wanting me to have another pity party. Little things. These amazing little moments that help keep me focused. Little moments when my personality shines as I smile at someone. Little moments when I greet a complete stranger.

I cannot walk in the shoes of my mother, [nor do I want to] and I must promise myself that next time – when the monsters of depression torment me, I must move and force myself to get dressed, to smile and to appreciate life’s precious moments.

I must get dressed every day, and not stay in pajamas — ALL DAY LONG!

These actions are not who I am. I must remind myself that I should take care of myself. I must appreciate life, with all of its blessings and with all of the tests that can easily defeat us. I will not be defeated. Today is a new day.

Next time, I plan to take a nice long walk on the beach, to remind me I am blessed! No doubt, the beauty of the ocean, the sand between my toes, the warmth of sunshine, and the Pelicans flying along the waters will bless me with reassurance that life is to be lived, every day — even when the gloominess of a pity party attempts to ruffle my feathers.

 

 

 

 

Happy Birthday to the Perkins Twins


Dearest Readers:

Today is a special, melancholic day for me. On this date — 100 years ago – December 19, 1914 – my dad and his identical twin brother, Lewis, were born. Before Uncle Lewis’ death in September, 1941 from Bright’s disease, they were known withini
the State of Alabama as The Perkins Twins. Together they sang, harmonizing, sharing their belief in God and their sermons to all who would listen. It is unfortunate for my Dad, Walter Perkins, that the music stopped for him in September 1941. Never did I have the pleasure to meet Uncle Lewis. Reportedly, he and my dad were inseparable. When he died, according to relatives and stories my dad shared, his death broke my dad’s heart so much that he never was the same. Gone was his spirit and passion to sing and preach the gospel.

Happy 100th Birthday to The Perkins Twins – in Heaven!

Unfortunately, I lost my dad to esophageal cancer on July 6, 1999. Today, I have regrets – regrets for not documenting the stories Dad occasionally shared about his life as an identical twin. Like most children, I listened a bit to his stories, but never wrote them down. Reportedly, The Perkins Twins were so identical people could not determine just who Lewis was and who was Walter. Their handwriting was the same. When one spoke, the other finished the statement. As a child, I found this strange – now, as an adult, I wish to know more. Uncle Lewis never married, but according to my dad, “He loved beautiful women…and…they Loved him!”

In Dad’s diaries I cannot find his deepest feelings about what it was like to lose his twin brother. The only comment listed during September 1941 related to Uncle Lewis and his illness was a passage that ‘Lewis was rushed to the hospital and Uncle Vera, their sister, donated blood for a blood transfusion.’ I cannot find anything else about his condition or death. It is difficult to read his diaries still. Although my family had a tradition of writing in their diaries, many of life’s important and dreadfully sad moments were not recorded.

I suppose I should find an archive to donate all of these diaries to, just to record more about the Perkins Family. Perhaps one day I will but for today, I want to remember The Perkins Twins.

My parents were married in the 1940’s. If my memory is correct, I believe it was 1943. Their marriage was not a happy one…more like a torrential storm of events. When I was a teenager, I listened to their toxic fights – always shouting, cursing and spitting violent poisons of hatred to each other. As hard as I try, I cannot remember them hugging or kissing – EVER! After their divorce, my dad changed all for the better.

Gone was the hatred, replaced by a peaceful, calm and happy man who actually said that he loved me. When I first heard “I love you,” from his lips, I stepped back, recognizing this was a new man. I was so proud of him. Over the years, Dad and I became closer. When I graduated from high school, he stood in the audience, applauding me. When my only child was born, a son, Dad sent me a hydrangea plant, with a card signed with his love.

When we moved Dad to Charleston to be closer to us after his retirement, the bonding between us grew tighter. When cancer knocked on his door in 1997, I became his caregiver. Suddenly I became the parent to my parent and it broke my heart to watch him slowly fading away from me.

Now that he is gone, I still miss him. Today is an extremely sad day for me because it is his 100th birthday. How I wish I could sing Happy Birthday to him. How I wish I could hug him, just one more time.

I suppose all of us who have lost our parents have the same emotions and thoughts in our minds on their birthdays. For me, this day is extremely difficult. I walk through my house; glancing over at the dining room table, looking at “Dad’s chair.” The chair he always sat at during our many Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays. After his death, I found myself placing a plate, glassware and silverware by his chair, recognizing moments later that his chair would be empty. I don’t set his place now, but I still look to see my dad sitting there. I can almost hear his laughter and the prayer he always expressed so eloquently during the holidays.

Now, it is his time to be with his identical twin brother. This is their day to celebrate their short life together. Today, I wish the Perkins Twins a happy, glorious 100th birthday. To say I miss my dad is an understatement. I still grieve. I suppose we always grieve over losing someone so important in our lives.

Once Dad described me to others as ‘his shining star.’ During a television interview during his illness, the reporter mentioned that Dad was a poet and a writer. Quickly, Dad interrupted him, stating – “No, I’m not a writer…My daughter…Now – She’s the writer!”

I can still hear his melodic voice ringing in my ears. How I miss hearing the expression, “You are my shining star!”

Tonight during our date night, I will sing “Dance With My Father Again,” in remembrance of my dad.
Happy 100th Birthday, Dad…Uncle Lewis. Happy 100th Birthday to The Perkins Twins! Words cannot express how deeply you are missed.

Definitely NOT A Friday Reflection – Sears, Kenmore and HERE WE GO AGAIN…


Dearest Readers:

Yes, I understand – today is Saturday, not a Friday reflection. I had every intention to write a Friday reflection yesterday, before all H— broke loose. Allow me to explain. I awoke dreading the day due to another battle with insomnia. I do believe insomnia won this week. Almost every hour I have awakened, unable to sleep, and so, I turned the TV on. Are you aware of how many Christmas shows are running daily now? Lifetime has Christmas shows, Hallmark does, and so does the Hallmark Mystery and Movies Channel – on DirecTV, channel 565. I was amazed as I flipped the channels, attempting to sleep.

Thanksgiving is less than a week away! After several cups of coffee, I was ready to start the day. I planned to glue my butt to the chair and write, but first, I had to do laundry. I sorted. Threw a load of colorfast laundry in my Kenmore front load machine. Hit the buttons to turn it on. NOTHING AGAIN.
I mumbled a few choice words to myself, realizing I had to phone Sears again – just like before in July. I dialed the number, listening to the automated system – awaiting a real person. Never did I realize my voice was already being recorded. Let’s just say, even Julia Sugarbaker would’ve disowned me this time!

“Oh great. Here we go again,” I said. “Welcome to Voice Jail.”

Finally a male voice answered, lecturing me that I needed to calm down and not assume that “Here we go again.”

How dare him!

He looked up my warranty, doing all the things that customer service reps do while we the customer waits for a reply. After several discussions, he mentioned that I had an extensive warranty and might consider getting another washer.

“I bought this one in 2011, or earlier. I believe it’s less than four years old. Just HOW LONG does a Kenmore washer last?”

“The machine was purchased in 2010,” he responded, according to his records.

Funny, never would I consider a four-year-old washer “OLD!”

I remained on the phone with Sears for over one hour. You know the drill. Transfer to one department. Please hold for another so they can schedule your appointment with a technician, and then I asked to speak to someone about getting another washer since mine was ‘so old’ [four years???]. I was told I needed to have three or four more complaints before they would consider a replacement for me. After all, my washer is old. [Four years…!]

The technician will be at my house next Friday. The day after Thanksgiving. I must go without washing any household laundry for another seven days, unless I choose to treat myself to another day at the Laundromat.

As you can see, my Friday was a waste. I planned to jump on the treadmill; however, the only workout I got yesterday was my mouth and jaws! Today is the BPOE show at the Elks Lodge, so another day of so many things to do. Tomorrow, I will work out. My body feels deprived if it doesn’t achieve the daily goals of an intense work out.

I’m still annoyed with Sears. The machine is not getting power. Believe me when I say it needs another computer board. I am hopeful when the technician arrives next Friday he will repeat his suggestion that “You might consider getting another washing machine to replace this one.”

Remember — my washer is old. That’s what every person I spoke with said! [FOUR YEARS OLD!]

Never did I realize, until the discussion on the phone yesterday, that my warranty would grant me a replacement – HOWEVER, I must have three or four more complaints to determine I need a replacement. I suppose they are hopeful my warranty will run out and I’ll have to purchase another washer!

I ask you – what part of LEMON does Sears not understand? I paid my hard-earned money to purchase that machine and now I truly regret it!

My Kenmore front load washer should be painted yellow, to match the lemon that it is!

Enough of this. Maybe I’ll write more tomorrow. Now, I must go get dressed so I can dazzle the audience tonight. If only I could dazzle Sears and Kenmore to stop making lemons.

Maybe I’ll squeeze some lemons and mix a bowl of sugar and water with them – to make lemonade. On second thought, I think I need a large glass of Moscato wine!

How about it, Sears – are you listening? HERE WE GO AGAIN!

Friday Reflections — Enough Said!


Dearest Readers:

Late autumn always depresses me when the sun sets so early and darkness blankets the skies, much…much too early. I enjoy evenings where I enjoy the sun setting later. Tomorrow evening is the Elks show in Murrells Inlet, SC. Since the show started traveling “on the road” with our talents, I have always attended. This show is different because I am not going. It was my decision to remain at home. Many reasons that others do not understand. Quite simply – my budget at this time of year is not one I want to stretch to the limits. Allow me to explain. Many of the casts are driving up tomorrow afternoon. After the show, they are going back to Charleston. Yes, it is true. I could go. And I could drive home late at night, but I don’t think so. Driving after 10:00 at night is just a bit testy, considering all of the drivers under the influence, and of course, the deer roaming around the highways. Then, I must consider, I would need to arrange a pet sitter to come to my house two, if not three times daily while I am gone — at the expense of $20.00 each visit. I do not believe in boarding my animals. They are most comfortable within their atmosphere of HOME. After all, my four-legged friends are rescue animals – four of them tolerated much abuse previously, and now, within our home, they are happy. LOVED. SPOILED. Considering all of the expenses of ‘going on the road’ for the Elks Lodge show, the amount of money it would cost us was just not worth it. While it is true, I could get a cheaper rate for a hotel, I think I made the right decision. I am the type of household finance manager who does not believe in tapping into the budget, squeezing it too tightly. After all, the holidays are approaching! I do wish the entire cast of the show to have a good time. I understand I was ridiculed when I said “Break a leg” to the cast. I got the distinct impression a few of them were thinking I was wishing them to ‘break a leg’ physically. Now honestly…Those of us who have been on stage, or a thespian truly understand the definition of “Break a leg.” Those who do not — well…let’s just say, while I am the type of personality defined as “Julia Sugarbaker,” never do I wish anything bad on anyone. SO, cast members, I still say, “Break a Leg!”

Next week is our show at the Elks Lodge in Charleston, and I still wish everyone to “Break a leg.” Enough said!

This week at Weight Watchers, my weigh-in showed another small gain. This time, .06 of a pound. RATS! After weigh-in, I turned to look at the magic mirror. Have you ever seen one of these? They instantly give you a 10-pound reduction. I want one for my home! Maybe I’ll tell Santa. Perhaps if I sit on his lap, maybe — just maybe — I can convince him I will make this generosity worthy of my talents! Looking in that mirror, I do see a difference. Heck…My body is shrinking, even IF that disagreeable scale says otherwise. I think I’m looking pretty good! I’ll say it again — RATS! I want that stupid scale to stop dictating who I am. Age is just a number, and so is a Weight Watchers scale! Enough said!

Looks like this epistle should be titled “Enough Said.” After all, I am free writing, and I have no idea what my fingers will pour from my soul as I write this. I am sitting at my desk. My little love bugs, Hanks the Tank, and Sandy Bear are resting next to me, curled on the pillows, probably getting warm. The weather is changing drastically…almost momentarily…The present temp is 42.8 degrees…OK…let’s round it up to 43! I am wearing a short black lace skirt with black leggings. Black boots! The temperature inside the house is only 69 degrees, but the house is warm, so I refuse to cut the heat on until later. Yes, I will turn on the electric blanket before going to bed. I simply love curling into a warm bed!

See…I told you, I am free writing. This week has been a better week than last. During that time, for three days, PTSD was dictating the behaviors of my husband. If you’ve never lived, or been around, someone with PTSD consider yourself blessed. Simple eye contact…body language…ANYTHING can ignite strange behaviors and when it happens in this house, I simply close myself away. I do not like to argue, or to be mistreated, so I am thankful this is a Friday Reflections where I can say, this has been a better week. Thank you, God.

On Friday’s, I like to give thanks to God for all that I have endured, experienced, or learned this week. When my dad was alive, and all of us lived at home, I recall him asking me, “What did you learn today?” And when he asked, I shared my lessons learned. How I miss that man. Holidays just are not the same without my dad here with us. After his death in 1999, Thanksgiving was the hardest holiday ever. I cooked the meal, set the table with linens and china, only to notice my dad’s chair was empty. The emptiness I felt was almost unbearable. This year, I feel his loss still — even though it is 15 years later. I’ve asked God, “How long does one grieve?” Funny. I’ve never heard an answer. I believe the grief process last for eternity; however, we who grieve, must learn to walk through the grief and — as my dad would tell me — Move On. That is truly a hard lesson learned.

Now that I am finally writing again, I must give thanks and be proud that the words are flowing — a bit. I still have people ask me — ‘are you EVER gonna finish your story?’

My answer — “Yes…writing takes time.” It isn’t a process where you can just sit and write. NOT ALWAYS!

And so, tonight – while it is still Friday, I am reflecting on life…gratitude…and my personal reflections for this week. My thoughts just strayed a bit while listening to the TV. Honey Boo Boo’s Mom was speaking on the network. Sorry I do not know her name…All I do know is she has two, if not three chins! Oh…my goodness…she is undoubtedly the most non-photographic woman I have ever seen. Just how she became a household name is beyond me. Not a good mother…and certainly not someone photogenic or pretty, or someone I wish to reflect on… Make up doesn’t help her at all! And most women really are glamorous with makeup. So, I suppose I shall keep the remainder of my opinion about that woman — to myself. Is that a first? Perhaps!

To those of you in Murrells Inlet at the Elks Lodge, I hope you all enjoy the show, and to the performers, I still shall say, “Break a Leg!”

Until next week…

Friday Reflections…


Dearest Readers:

If you follow my blog on a regular basis, you will know I haven’t written much in this column in about two weeks. Last week was truly the week from Hell for me. Beginning with suspected car problems where the technicians replied, “The engine light wasn’t on when we checked it…” Of course, that is a typical response from men to a woman at a service department…now, isn’t it — WOMEN! They were slightly mistaken. The engine light icon returned, and on Wednesday, it took over three hours to get it repaired. Of course, the main reason it took so long is due to the fact my car warranty was purchased with the car ($1549.00) at Car Max. Still, I am furious with Car Max; however, I will go on record to say that the service tech at Dodge possessed an amazing amount of patience with them — JUST — to get the warranty approved. Thank you, Dodge…and NO THANK YOU…to Car Max!

But — that chapter is closed and I am pleased to share that the repair that I had to pay for in the amount of $477.21 has been compensated to me – minus the $100 deductible since I DID NOT USE CAR MAX FOR THE REPAIR… Heck, I could not get Car Max to return a phone call, or the Mouse Lady to acknowledge me! Can you detect my frustration with Car Max???

Enough about Car Max! I suppose this post should actually be Friday frustrations, instead of Friday Reflections; however, since I am a person who looks for the positive in life and not the negative, I will do my best to reflect with a positive attitude.

While I am reflecting on Friday and this week, I would like to share that I was finally able to attend my weekly Weight Watchers meeting yesterday — the first meeting I’ve attended in four weeks. I confess, I anticipated a weight gain of 3 or 4 pounds and was a bit happy when I had only gained .06! It was wonderful to get back to my REAL life again. This reflection proves to me that I cannot complete my Weight Watchers journey alone. Like someone with an addiction, I must attend weekly meetings to share my ups and downs with all. I confess, I think the only reason I did not show a weight gain of four pounds or more was due to the fact that I have worked out on the treadmill every day since last Saturday. It was suggested at the meeting for me to ‘shake up’ my exercise routine a bit, so this week I will go for an extended walk — on the Arthur Ravenel, Jr. Bridge, and I will return to walking my dogs again. I’ve been slack about walking my dogs ever since we lost my precious Shamey-Pooh. The last time I walked the dogs on our three-mile journey someone actually stopped me to inquire where the ‘beautiful silver dog was,’… when I replied that he died, they apologized and I burst into tears.

Undoubtedly, there has been a black cloud over me for a few weeks, or maybe it is the full moon returning; nevertheless, this week started off — shall I say unpredictable. Monday afternoon, Phil and I left the house a few minutes after 5pm, headed to the Coastal Carolina Fair. What would normally take about 30 minutes was at least 1.5 hours. We arrived at the fair at about 7pm. Never did Phil get annoyed about the traffic and we had a great time at the fair. Little did I know how things would change within 24 hours!

For those of you who do not know – My husband has PTSD – Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. If you do not know what it is like to live with someone with PTSD — count your blessings! Tuesday afternoon when Phil returned home from work, he had a strange look in his eyes. I know that look well — PTSD! Within 30 minutes, we were fighting. I cannot recall what set him off, or me off – but our fight continued. I decided to shut myself away in the bedroom. That night, I broke our rule – a rule made when we were newlyweds…the rule of “never going to bed angry, or without a good night kiss!”

Wednesday – we had the same scenario. No matter what I said, we could not stop the fight. Listening to someone is difficult with him. I approached him carefully, telling him ‘we need to talk.’ When someone has PTSD communication does not exist. Every time I said I needed to talk to him, we fought. The real kicker was when Phil shouted to me that I was exactly like my mother. Yes, he does know the right buttons to push! I exploded although with a calm, diplomatic voice letting him know that I was ‘nothing like my mother!’ Never did I behave, or deceive him in the manner my mother deceived my father.

I gathered my dogs and off we went to the bedroom. I pretended to be asleep! No kiss. Nothing! Breaking the rules continued. I should add, Wednesday, Phil called me several times. No doubt, he wanted to end this scenario on the phone. I stood firm.

Thursday morning, after Weight Watchers, I had lunch with a close friend from Weight Watchers. As I was leaving the car to meet her, my cell phone beeped with an e-mail. From Phil. Subject – Peace! He said he was tired of fighting…recognized that at times he could be difficult, only that is not the word he used! And he was sorry. I phoned him. Fight over.

No, I was not refusing to take the first step to end this emotional battle, but when you live with someone with PTSD there does come a time when you must be firm so they can see the issues related to PTSD. I’ve had several friends ask why I tolerate his behaviors and mental treatments. My reply – simple –he is the only person who has ever loved me. He rescued me when I needed rescuing. If you’ve followed my blog for a while, reading my issues with my mother and the domestic abuse of my family, then you must understand. When someone grows up in such an environment, never do you anticipate a life of love and peacefulness. Never did I EVER see my parents hug or kiss, so — due to LOVE(??) that is why I tolerate such behaviors. I do recall my parents shouting and I shall quote:
Mother – expressed to my father: “I hate you…You no good Son of a B—-!”

Dad’s reply: “I wish I never married you!”

Mom’s reply: “I hope you die soon…”

Those cruel expressions echoed in my ears as a child, and they still echo in my ears. Once you live in an abusive family situation, you never forget it!

Maybe that is why I strive so hard to be positive. When I hear others gossiping, ridiculing others, I say something positive about the person. Maybe that is why I’ve lost “friendships” because I do not wish to gossip about others. I do not function well with gossip or negativity. As a child, I recall my mother dragging me to the beauty shop in Bibb City, GA where she would sit for hours gossiping about women, men and the couples within the village of Bibb City. I hated these moments and would rush outside, or sit with my head covered with one of the bubble hair dryers so I would not hear their shrewd gossip. Women can be so dangerous and cruel. I suppose those ‘toxic stories’ made my mother feel better about herself, and I do recall saying to my mother, “God don’t love ugly.” My grandmother’s favorite expression! My mother’s response, “You shush your mouth, you stupid girl!”

Later in my life, I focused on a new definition of STUPID!
S – Sensitive
T – Tenacious
U – Unique
P – Passionate
I – Imaginative; Independent; Intimate
D – Dignified; Dependable; Desirable

Perhaps for today, these are my Friday reflections. I am hopeful next week will be a positive, happy week for me, and for you. What are your Friday Reflections?

Friday Reflections…Exhaustion…And How To Cope In A World Of Stress


Dearest Readers:

Today is Friday…a day of looking forward to the weekend. As for me, it is another day of exhaustion.

Why? Allow me to explain…Undoubtedly, this week has pushed me to the limit, starting with Tuesday. Early Tuesday morning, my husband and I had to be at Ralph H. Johnson VA Medical Center. Hubby was scheduled for an eye lift. We arrived on time. Checked in at the kiosk and waited…like everyone does for their name to be called for prep. The waiting area was packed! Hubby was scheduled to arrive at 9:00 am. We were early. Parking was an issue, so we used the valet for parking. After check-in, hubby waited impatiently for his name to be called. The procedure was scheduled for 11 am. And so, we waited…and waited…and WAITED!

I don’t recall the time when his name was called, although by the time, I made a few friends, chatting with the ladies in attendance, checking my phone for e-mails, calls and of course, dearly beloved(???) Facebook.

About two hours after the procedure began, the doctors spoke with me, letting me know the surgery was successful and he might have a bit of bruising. The bruising arrived later! After he was cleared for dismissal, we gathered our things and left. On the way home, Phil’s eyes began gushing a ‘bit of fluid…’ AKA — BLOOD!

When he got home, I encouraged him to rest, relax, keep his head back and let the ice pack ease his discomfort. By now, the fluid is streaming down his face. I checked the list of instructions from the hospital, dialed the number for an emergency…having much difficulty getting through. About 15 minutes later, with his face streaked with blood, we were told to get back to the hospital at E-R. Phil did not wish to go back. I stood firm. “This isn’t open for negotiations…Get in the car.”

Reluctantly, he followed me, telling me I was “really being bossy!”

Perhaps! I suppose I don’t deal with a grown man behaving like a two-year-old! Upon arrival, Phil was rushed back to E-R…the doctors and nurses settled him in bed and the eye doctor was called. The eye clinic closes at 4:30. Fortunately, the doctors were still at the eye clinic, so they rushed down. I must compliment Ralph H. Johnson VA Medical Center, their staff and volunteers…what a difference they are from another time and visit where I wanted to claw the eyes of a nurse out…but I am not a violent person. [Incidentally, that experience is posted on my blog, if you care to read it.] I believe in diplomacy…or “killing with kindness…” Never did I have to invite my Julia Sugarbaker style to kick in. Everyone at the hospital was kind, courteous and helpful to us. Never did I have to request anything. Such a difference! Maybe the hospital, along with the VA, is getting their act together now. Thank you, Ralph H. Johnson VA Medical Center…I do believe Ralph H. Johnson would be proud of you!

The complication with the bleeding was a result of Phil taking his blood thinners a few days before surgery. After the doctor cleared the blood and got it to stop, his eyes were severely swollen and as black as midnight. He reminded me of a raccoon…or someone who was in a violent fight — and lost. Everyone who has seen Phil has joked about me finally getting my revenge with him and beating the H— out of him. Rest assured…I am not a violent person. Even though I grew up in a family of domestic violence and severe child abuse…where shouting, beating, cursing and knocking each other around was almost a daily ritual, I have never been a violent person. Even when my youngest sister slapped me, I simply wiped my face and walked away. I refuse to become another domestic violence statistic. Whenever I am mistreated, I crawl inside myself, a tactic I learned as a child, and I walk away…so the black eyes are simply a result of surgery.

Phil has been at home the remainder of this week. I must say, having to take care of him, making certain he applies the ointment, rests…applies the ice pack…and doesn’t bend down…has been quite a chore. Tuesday evening I was too exhausted to open my mail. Now, I have four days of mail stacked high. I haven’t opened any of it. Most of it will be shredded, including the never-ending catalogs I did not request. The usual clutter of mail many of us get…so no doubt, my starving shredder will be stuffed with the junk mail I will shred. I do recall getting a catalog from Montgomery Ward’s…didn’t they go out of business years ago?

Sleep has been a major issue for me this week. Monday night — no sleep. Too afraid of what I might have to face on Tuesday, especially since Phil is a heart patient, having the tendency to do what he wants and not what the doctor advises. Tuesday night, I carried my cell phone to the bedroom — something I NEVER do, in the event Phil needed me. His doctor advised him to sleep in the recliner, so I placed his cell phone on the table next to the recliner, with instructions to phone me if he needed me. On Wednesday — now sleep deprived for two if not three days — I was a total B—-! Compared to Julia Sugarbaker, I was truly the wicked witch of the Southeast! Not a Southern Belle…not a Steel Magnolia…just an exhausted, raving B—-! I was so physically exhausted that I wanted to run away from myself.

Wednesday afternoon I managed to go grocery shopping. Since I am doing Weight Watchers, I needed fresh fruit, fresh vegetables, almond milk and bread. How I prayed that no one would get in my way! While driving home, I had a serious discussion with myself, realizing that I was so grouchy — actually BITCHY — because of fear. The last time Phil had a procedure at the VA Hospital, he had a problem with his breathing. I suppose I have learned to keep these fears within myself while recognizing I needed to relax and say a prayer to God, thanking Him for keeping Phil safe. I suppose the gushing blood from his eyes horrified me. He absolutely looked like a monster from a horror movie. I needed to breathe…inhale…exhale…relax…and SLEEP!

Wednesday night I managed to sleep – finally. Thursday morning I awoke at 9:15 — too late to attend a Weight Watchers meeting. Refreshed, but still a bit tired I decided I needed to exercise. I worked out on the treadmill for 31 minutes, aerobics for 35 minutes. Much to my surprise, I felt amazing after my workout!

Today is Friday. A day to reflect. No doubt I haven’t lost weight this week, but on a positive note, I’ve discovered ways to make one of the “two B’s in my name,” recover and relax. I must remember to appreciate the little things in life. The warmth of sunshine. A warm lick from my precious, beloved animals…and mostly, I must appreciate that my husband came through the procedure with only a mild complication that the staff at Ralph H. Johnson VA Medical Center worked quickly and extremely professional to resolve.

Now, I must get on the treadmill…afterwards, I will tackle the mountain of laundry I must fold after doing laundry yesterday…and I must attack that stack of mail. My shredder will be so full and happy as it gobbles the stack of unwanted mail.

Hopefully, next week will be a better week…more relaxed and quiet…with a weight loss!

My Friday Reflections…I hope your week was much better!

Friday Reflections…Finding My Strength To Be The Best I Can Be…


Dearest Readers:

Yes, today is Friday. A day to reflect and appreciate life. A day to give thanks and be thankful for another great week of life.

If you are a regular reader of my blog, you will recall I am on a Weight Watchers journey. Thursday is my weigh-in day, so reluctantly, yesterday, I went to the meeting, anticipating a weight gain of three or four pounds. Why? You might say? Well, although I hate to admit it, I binged. Until Tuesday, I found myself going to the pantry to eat — of all things — peanut butter. I still do not understand what was going on with me, and why I was craving and eating that stupid jar of peanut butter. I do confess to the habit of checking my weight daily, and I work out at least five days weekly; nevertheless, I craved that peanut butter like someone who would never eat peanut butter again.

When I arrived at Weight Watchers and weighed, I read my weigh in card, realizing I had only gained one pound. Rejoice! After all, it’s the little things in life that mean so much to us, especially someone on a Weight Watchers journey.

I looked at my leader, sharing with her my week. Much to my surprise, she did not ridicule me or shame me. That is what is so great with attending the meetings at Weight Watchers. Never do we get shamed or ridiculed. We receive encouragement, even when we
“fall off the wagon,” just like I did this week. I did share with Kathy, my leader, that on Tuesday, after having a serious discussion with myself, I tossed the peanut butter jar into the trash. Thank goodness!

If you are considering a Weight Loss program, I would like to encourage you to join Weight Watchers. I joined in March 2011. For me, it has been a slow journey, but I have stuck with it, even when I miss a meeting, I force myself to continue this journey, especially this week.

What makes Weight Watchers work? For me, I believe it is the meetings…the encouragement and support we receive, even when we have a bad week. During those bad weeks, many people simply give up and quit, only to return to a meeting and rejoin months later…after gaining weight. I embrace all of the members who return and I am happy that they chose to come back. I have made a commitment to myself to continue this journey, even IF it takes me the remainder of my life to reach my goal. Never have I discussed my ‘goal weight’ — but — I do have a goal weight in my mind, and I will reach it. Meanwhile, I continue the journey. Walk on the treadmill, and on the bridge, and I work out. Sometimes, I glance at myself in the mirror and stare for a moment…Remembering WHO I was before losing 35 pounds…and WHO I am now. My “arms are smaller, along with my legs. My hips have “shrunk,” according to my husband, and my face doesn’t have the fullness it had before.

Never shall I forget the first day I walked into the Weight Watchers meeting. Never did I establish eye contact with anyone. I was too ashamed of who I saw in that mirror. Now, when I walk in I am greeted — just like others, and I embrace the new me.

My Friday Reflections for today could easily be a whipping session for myself…beating myself up…like I have previously. Today is a new day…a new beginning…a new step…a new journey…a new life…and so I embrace it while being so thankful that Weight Watchers has changed my life. I am more confident and proud of who I am becoming, as I step out into this journey called life.

For me, Weight Watchers is a bridge of strength and pride while I take the baby steps to grow into the woman I’ve always desired. A woman full of pride and strength, just like the Arthur Ravenel, Jr. Bridge in Charleston.

What about you? Do you have Friday reflections to share? I’d love to read them!

Friday Reflections…


Dearest Readers:

I’ve been just a bit quiet for a while, especially with stories about my Weight Watchers journey. Why? Simple…I’m still on the journey…managing to yo-yo back and forth with the same one to two pounds. I feel as if I am rewinding, but I’m not giving up! My body is getting smaller, firmer and I am excited at that discovery. At times I will glance into the full-length mirror I purchased last year — just to see — who is that person in that mirror? “Rejoice, silly woman…it is ME!”

Today is Friday – a Friday reflection if we must. Yesterday was my weigh-in day but I awoke (actually never slept) with another headache, so I chose to bury my head in the pillows and attempt something extremely difficult for me — the blessed sleep. I suppose my body never goes into the REM sleep mode since I find myself tossing and turning in bed. And — IF I do sleep — I have dreams — sometimes nightmares. I awaken either hearing my voice speaking in such a soft and slow mode I listen to see who is speaking – only to realize it is my sleep voice…a raspy, extremely soft and slow voice. Wish I could record it, but it does sound a bit seductive!

Today is Friday…a beautiful, sunshiny day in Charleston. I walk outside, just to smell the scents of Autumn and I must say, it is refreshing to finally feel the warmth of sunshine on me after one of the wettest September’s I remember! Today I start a new column in this blog — appropriately titled “Friday Reflections.” This column will be a reflection of my Weight Watchers journey. Enjoy!

Friday reflection — Like many of you deciding to lose weight and share what you have learned or experienced on this journey, I would like to share a bit about my childhood and the eating habits I learned while growing up.

As a child, I was lucky IF we ate healthy meals. My family consisted of four girls and two extremely strict parents. We were taught we must eat “everything on our plate.” Vegetables normally came out of a can. We grew up in the projects or in mill villages, so fresh vegetables were too expensive. If we ate anything fresh, it came from the farmers market, or the garden. When we had dinners at my maternal grandmother’s home, we tasted fresh vegetables, Southern fried chicken and homemade biscuits. I loved my grandmother’s homemade biscuits. They were soft, as light and fluffy as a cloud, especially with a pat of butter and jelly and I could not resist. As a young girl, I grew to be the biggest girl in my family, and my youngest sisters teased me until I would crawl into the closet and cry. I am pleased to say, they are much larger than me now…at least they were the last time I saw them — many years ago. I suppose revenge is so sweet. The table has turned in my favor, and I am happy about that. Yes, I could be cruel and repeat to them what they sang to me, but I do not like to ‘get even’ with them. I simply smile while knowing I am the best I can be!

After marriage, I chose to cook foods a different way — fresh from scratch. Nevertheless, I still fried foods until my husband had heart surgery in 1998. At that time, I bounced from the cardiac wing of Roper Hospital to the South wing at Roper Hospital. My dad was battling esophageal cancer at that time. Food preparation was the least of my concerns as I watched my husband slowly come back to life and my father fading away. While my husband recovered, I chose to cook healthier meals. I lost weight for a while, then my body adjusted and the weight loss refused to drop. In 1999, I lost my father. Words cannot describe how much I miss him!

Oops…continuing my journey — On March 3, 2011, sitting at my computer while listening to the Today Show, Jennifer Hudson was on TV promoting Weight Watchers. She had lost over 80 pounds and looked amazing. I Googled the Weight Watchers website, deciding for only one moment to join online. A little voice inside my head said, “No… go to the meeting.” At 9:30, I walked into the meeting, wishing I had a paper grocery bag to place over my head. Three years, and 35 pounds down later, I am still a member at Weight Watchers, still plugging along wishing and hoping to reach goal. Weight Watchers is my life now. When friends ask, “Are you STILL doing Weight Watchers,” I smile…take a deep breath and say, “Yes…I will NEVER give up my Weight Watchers journey, and I WILL make goal!” Daily I work out. Sometimes on the treadmill. Other times, taking a brisk walk and I do aerobics. For me, Weight Watchers motivates me. I’ve made “lifetime friends” at my meeting, and now I wear clothes in a small size. I’ve NEVER worn small in anything previously. Just the other day my husband said to me while glancing at me, “You are getting really small now!” He’s never said that before! Yes, my journey continues…and I am proud of myself on this beautiful morning filled with sunshine on my Friday reflection! Thank you, Weight Watchers for this amazing journey!

Stay tuned, readers. There will come a day that I share — Barbie made lifetime! Oooooohhhhh! I cannot wait until that day! And now, it is time to hop on the treadmill, to do my workout! Until next Friday…!