Thursday, March 16, 2017

One Foot in Front of the Other

How many readers remember the song from Santa Claus is Coming to Town?  How many remember Santa Claus is coming to Town?  I am dating myself now I am sure.  Please enjoy the earworm below.

This is something I have done in hard times.

27 years ago my Dad passed away suddenly at the age of 45 when I was a senior in college in the middle of midterms.  To this day, I cannot tell you how I drove to the hospital, following the ambulance and then drove home again after the doctors had told us they did everything they could.  I remember praying in a waiting room with my Mom, sister, aunt and uncle.  I remember other random things from that morning...trying to dial a rotary phone in the trauma room, friends arriving at home, etc. but I have NO recollection of the drive back and forth to the hospital.  No residents of Elmwood Park and Melrose Park were harmed by my distracted driving to my knowledge.

I also don't know how I got through the days and weeks after.  It was the dead of winter, there was a blizzard the week after.  School needed attention, work needed attention.  What is the line in Apollo 13??  Failure was not an option.

I went back to work, I learned how to drive in the snow, I went back to school, made up a missed midterm and graduated 4 months later.  I got a job, bought a car and life went foot in front of the other.

In 2000, my Grandma passed away while I was out of town.  It was sudden.  I had a 5.5 hour ride to get home to family.  I had a husband not in tune with me or my ties to my family; reason #542864281 why he is my ex husband, more on that later.  We made it back and hard as it was...we kept foot in front of the other.

September 11, 2001 dawned as a beautiful late summer day.  I am fairly certain anyone reading this who was alive then, knows how it ended.  The world changed that day.  Thousands lost loved ones.  People united, people prayed, mourned, came together and kept foot in front of the other.

In 2003, my first marriage ended.  If I am being honest, it probably lasted a few years longer than it should have.  It took me a while to come to terms with what I considered to be a failure at life.  I don't take failure easy.  I picked myself up, reassembled my pride and self esteem, moved home for a bit, lost 65lbs and kept foot in front of the other.

Fast forward to late 2014 and early 2015.  I have mentioned the shock of a diagnosis of stage 3 non Hodgkins Lymphoma.  It still stops me up short when I think about it.  You know the drill by now...I saw doctors, got some hardware installed, battled cancer and survived...all the while putting one foot in front of the other.

Since the election last year, I feel like this country is at a crossroads of sorts.  It's clear that there are differing opinions for sure.  It's clear that things are stressful, divisive, and contentious.

People are resilient though.  We're determined. We are strong.  Maybe we agree with what's going on.  Maybe not.  Things will change; it cannot continue at this pace, at this volume, at this magnitude indefinitely.

Right always prevails over wrong; good over evil.

Love always wins. We will keep going...

Friday, March 10, 2017

Heaven for Everyone

I am a music lover. I often have it playing in the background of whatever I am doing..working, cleaning, cooking, battling cancer,  driving, whatever.   My first car (a 1990 Sunbird) had a CD player and a cassette player.

Today the bluetooth in my car often syncs to my iTunes playlist before I get my seatbelt on!

Today, a song I never heard before played on my commute to work.  A while ago I had downloaded Queen's Greatest Hits I II and III The Platinum Collection.  My playlist is perpetually set on "shuffle" so you never know what will pop up.  This song from circa 1988 is written by Roger Taylor and sung by Freddie Mercury.

I thought it was timely with everything going on these days.  I think about life, death, and heaven more after being sick.  I think about how the world works and how it can be better.  I think about how people can be better to each other. 

This song really spoke to me today. 

"This could be heaven

This could be heaven
This could be heaven for everyone

In these days of cool reflection

You come to me and everything seems alright
In these days of cold affections
You sit by me and everything's fine"

With the way things are today...every disagreement magnified, hatred spewed across the ether.  The thought behind this song is so simple, beautiful, inclusive.

"This could be heaven for everyone

This world could be fed, this world could be fun
This could be heaven for everyone
This world could be free, this world could be one

In this world of cool deception

Just your smile can smooth my ride
These troubled days of cruel rejection, hmm
You come to me, soothe my troubled mind"

I loved Queen and Freddie Mercury; no offense to Adam Lambert but it's not the same with him.  It's good, don't get me wrong; but it's not the same.  Freddy was one of a kind...maybe born before his time.  I think Freddie was a bit of an enigma as well...
a person or thing that is mysterious, puzzling, or difficult to understand.

When I think of Queen's music, I think of big productions, the music is loud, strong; voices and instruments soaring.  This song is soft...a ballad; but the words are strong.

"Yeah, this could be heaven for everyone

This world could be fed, this world could be fun
This should be love for everyone, yeah
This world should be free, this world could be one
We should bring love to our daughters and sons
Love, love, love, this could be heaven for everyone"

 I wonder sometimes what is missing from people's lives...people who hate, or seek to destroy, exclude, people who take and never give, people who abuse physically, verbally...

"You know that

This could be heaven for everyone
This could be heaven for everyone

Listen - what people do to other souls

They take their lives - destroy their goals
Their basic pride and dignity
Is stripped and torn and shown no pity
When this should be heaven for everyone"

I think there's not enough love in the world.  There's too much judgement, too many opinions, too much bullshit.  Everyone should just concentrate on themselves.  What's the phrase??? "You do you" and the implied, "I'll do me".  Sure, you can have an opinion about me but I have to be honest...I don't really care what you think.  You see, I have fought a battle and won. I learned through my illness and healing that even though I sometimes try and fail, I am a good person.  I might not be thin or wealthy but I am grateful and healthy.

The world has taken a scary turn for many in the last couple of months.  Some days anxiety is high.  Much energy is spent sifting truth from the lies.  Music is an amazing escape from the madness.

Below is the link to the video for Heaven for Everyone...Enjoy!


Friday, March 3, 2017

On Hypocrisy and Witches

So I posted this on FB today from .

Hypocrite- noun. a person who pretends to have virtues, moral or religious beliefs, principles, etc., that he or she does not actually possess, especially a person whose actions belie stated beliefs.

Then this:

  2. a person who feigns some desirable or publicly approved attitude, especially one whose private life, opinions, or statements belie his or her public statements.

Then this:

 from Urban dictionary: (1) A person who engages in the same behaviors he condemns others for.

(2) A person who professes certain ideals, but fails to live up to them.

(3) A person who holds other people to higher standards than he holds himself.
The only reliable product of an organized religion is a flock of hypocrites who feel that only *their* hypocrisy is divinely sanctioned.

I am not going to lie.  I posted it in response to the fact that Mike Pence used a private email server and account while he was governor of Indiana.  

Where is the self righteous indignation from the right?  Where are the chants of "Lock him up"?  Now don't get me wrong, I don't think Pence should be locked up for doing something stupid.  If we locked up every person that has done something stupid in their lives, everyone would be in jail. 

But let's be honest whether you're the governor of Indiana or the Secretary of State, or POTUS you shouldn't be using a private server, email account or cell phone because there is someone at a computer in their mother's basement in smalltown USA or Russia that spends all of their waking hours trying to hack into high value targets.  There are bad hombres or comrades who would pay top dollar/ruble for the info garnered in a hack.

I probably wouldn't give a fig about this if email security hadn't been a huge cornerstone in Mr. Pence's boss' campaign.  OMG the emails.  We wasted time and energy and MONEY on Hillary's emails and what did we get...nothing to prosecute.  When the investigation was reopened days before the election, here is Mr. Pence's reaction from Twitter

"@realDonaldTrump and I commend the FBI for reopening an investigation into Clinton's personal email server because no one is above the law."

Neither are you Mr. Pence, neither are you.  An honest man might have had an "oh shit" moment and thought, "Hey, I am doing almost the same thing.  I should probably change things so when the time comes I can come clean and say honestly that I made a mistake and fixed it."  Own this Mr. Pence; you have an opportunity to appeal to your detractors.  Don't lie and deflect.  People are on to you and the number of those people grows daily.

The hypocrisy displayed by both parties is both mortifying and laughable.  I loved watching Mitch McConnell accuse Dems of stalling Senate cabinet confirmations.  Does he not remember Merrick Garland?  When stuff like this happens, I seriously want to scream at the TV.   There isn't a separate set of rules for different parties or races or religions.

This is simply a matter of right and wrong.

I spent some time reading about how 45 thinks the investigation of ties to Russia is a witch hunt.  Maybe it is. 

Here's some advice for 45.  If it truly is a witch hunt and you have NOTHING to hide, keep quiet, let the investigation finish and find nothing but witches.  Then, I don't care if you spend a weekend at Mar-a-Lago tweeting, "I told you so!"

See, I think you have a lot to hide because you are protesting more than an actress in Hamlet.  I think you have enough financial dealings with Russia to show up on a tax return which is why they haven't been released.  I think you are beholden to the president of Russia which I am guessing is terrifying if you aren't president of the free world.

I think we're going to learn a lot in the coming months.  I hope I am wrong about what we're going to find out.  I hope the glimmer of presidential-ness you showed the other night grows like a wildfire and that the positive things you've promised move towards fruition and I hope someone who has an open mind and moderate beliefs steers you straighter on some of your more ridiculous promises.  You are a smart man 45...billions of dollars are needed for far more important things than a wall on our Southern border.

Thursday, February 2, 2017

I Think I Have Figured It Out

Well, maybe not all of it but I think I figured out how we as Americans elected 45.  Please note that due to the fact that he has not lived up to the standards I have for an American President, I am not going to refer to him as such.  He will simply be referred to as 45 until he can prove he is worthy of the title in my mind.

I will be the first to admit I was pretty surprised when 45 won the election (well, he didn't really but that's another blog post entirely).  Let's be honest, he comes off as an ignorant blow hard, how could he possibly appeal to voters?  Then it hit me...the world we live in has changed.  We live in a world where 91.5 million people are Instagram followers of a vapid sex tape star that has somehow become a "brand".  We live in a world where "beautiful" men and women with no self respect go on a dating "reality" show and the drunkest, sluttiest, most cad-ish (is that even a word?) one wins and millions watch it.  The couples rarely stay together...are there one or two?  I don't care enough to check my facts on this.  We live in a world where people get to appear on TV shows because they have 19 kids or keep every piece of crap that has every come into their houses or who had all kinds of bad things happen to them as children, they ate their feelings and now they weigh over 600lbs.  We live in a world where people put others on "blast" on social media, there are such things as Twitter wars, and where people think it's OK to bully others on social media and sometimes that bullying leads to the victim committing suicide.

45 appealed to some because "he tells it like it is".  OK, I can see that.  However, why is it his place to call out a fellow candidate's looks?  Let's be honest, he's not GQ material.  Why did so many people follow his misguided and false claims that President Obama wasn't an American citizen?  That one is easy...because millions of people in this country, 45 included, were irate at the fact that a Black man was elected President (twice).  There is a vetting process that candidates for President go through when they file their candidacy; it includes providing proof of citizenship. I will maintain that the vetting process should include plans for divesting a candidate's businesses and disclosing tax returns for any future businessmen and women planning to run for President.  Hopefully the next President of the United States will not consider themselves above the law as 45 does.

Let's get back to telling it like it know 45 doesn't really do that except for when he is putting someone down.  He lies...a lot.  Oh wait, I forgot, he uses "alternative facts".  Let me be clear...alternative facts are lies.

This, however is not going to be a bash 45 post.  Although I have plenty of material for one of those.

This is an explanation of how we got least as I see it.

People wanted a non politician...OK, you got one...probably the worst example of a non politician.  He claimed he wouldn't be beholden to anyone; well except for the leader of Russia and members of his inner circle (read Steve Bannon).  Be careful what you ask for America.  To me asking for a non politician to run our country is similar to hiring a non pilot to fly your plane.  Do you see where I am going here?

This isn't a reality show.  Those of us who have no use for 45 can't fire him or deny him a rose.  Of course, he cannot fire people he doesn't like either; oh wait.

This is the real world where there are diplomatic, legislative, governance protocols.  We do not govern by signing fancy paper in a leather binder in front of TV cameras.  Being President is a difficult, sometimes thankless job that requires a steady hand, a big heart, and a broad mind. What I have seen so far from 45 is a reckless hand, no heart and a narrow narrow mind.

Those who still support 45 will say I am not giving him a chance it's only been 2 weeks.  My response is...dear god, it's only been 2 weeks.  That's another problem with the world we live in one listen/reads to hear or see; they are listening and reading to RESPOND.  I wanted to blast off this post on 1/20 but decided to do some random acts of kindness on 1/20. #one20  I also wanted this to be a well thought out blog post.

You cannot run this country like a reality show.  Maybe Americans should spend more time learning about the ACA, Social Security,  radical Islam, LGBTQ rights, pick your issue instead of seeing how deep the garbage is in a hoarder's home or what pet name they are having tattooed on a pixelated body part that even a cable station cannot show.  You don't have to agree with every piece of information, however people who are so overly closed minded about things need to change.

I have been told because I do not identify with the pro-life movement, that I am pro-abortion.  That could not be further from the truth.  You would be hard pressed to find a person that is pro-abortion.  I am pro-choice because while I believe that life begins at conception, I also know that it is not my business what other women do with their bodies.  It's not the religious right's place to tell non religious people what to do anymore than it is the left's place to tell religious people how to live their lives.  It should never be up to men to determine what women can and cannot do with their bodies.  I also don't see a bunch of women trying to outlaw rights to Viagra.  The God I was taught about in school judges each person individually.  There is a reason why church and state should be separate.

I spent 47 years of my life not really concerned about how my health insurance worked or how much it cost me.  Then I got cancer.  Now it is something I am concerned about daily as I will spend the rest of my life with a pre-existing condition.  Also, in case you don't know, cancer treatment and tests  are expensive so I am grateful for out of pocket caps as I like not having to spend money I use for my mortgage to pay for tests I will have to take for the rest of my life.

It is the ridiculous closed mindedness of many that is what is tearing the country apart.  Having an opinion doesn't make anyone correct or infallible.  It just means they have an opinion.  These days with access to limitless information, it's interesting to me how many opinions are just simply misinformed but good lord the owner of the opinion is going to die on the hill of that opinion.

I have no plans to burn down a pharmacy or overturn a car in protest of 45.  Who knows, maybe he'll earn the title during his tenure.  I will say I was thrilled to see him board a chopper to Dover yesterday to honor the Navy Seal lost last weekend.

I do plan to be informed every day, contact my legislators (already have and will continue to do so), march if necessary, vote lawmakers out of office if warranted.  I am not going to panic when alt right or far right news sources are spewing their alternative facts (read lies).  I am also not going to take alt left or far left news sources at their word; that is whole other group of alternative facts (also lies).

You know a bird or a squirrel, if they go too far out on a limb of a tree, falls.  Once they learn that fact, they stay closer to the trunk of the tree (the middle). The right and the left in this country are very far out on their respective limbs right now.

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Scan Stress--Anyone Else?

I am fine...really.

I had my scan last Wed...drank the awful stuff, spent some time in a tube, laid the burden on the tech; the usual routine.  My scan read appt is tomorrow.  I am terrified.

I am fine...really.

I look in the mirror every, my skin tone isn't a scary shade of grey, my eyes are clear and bright, my hair has body and the crazy curls bounce into place with a quick toss and some gel.  Most nights I sleep like the dead  very well.  Although as the stress of the scan read mounts, I wake more in the night.

I am fine...really.

I am back to the gym regularly and if I cannot make the gym, I exercise at home, outside, weather permitting (we've been fairly lucky weather wise so far).  My energy levels are great!  Workouts feel good!!  I am looking for a regular yoga class that fits into my schedule; I miss it terribly.  I am thinking that some meditation may banish this scan stress.

I am fine...really.

I have been planning, cooking and eating good meals.  Let's be honest, I love food!  If I didn't, I would need to move into the gym!!

I am fine...really.

So why does every tiny ache, pain, ITCH, quease (is that even a word?) send fear coursing through my body??  I had a headache the other day...yep, a brain tumor.  Took a vitamin on a slightly empty stomach...the resulting nausea was reminiscent of the days leading up to my diagnosis.  I have been doing some research on the symptom of itchiness that lymphoma patients experience.  Now every itch I get paralyzes me with fear.  I have sensitive skin, I live in Chicago, it's winter and it's been very cold; those facts can cause itchiness as well and HAVE for many many years!!!

I am fine...really?

Am I really going to go through this before every scan, during the time between scans and follow up appointments? Am I ever going to feel like NHL isn't lurking around the corner?

When am I going to be able to schedule a scan/blood test/Dr's appt and know deep in my heart AND my mind that

I am fine REALLY!

Monday, January 2, 2017

Year End/Beginning

So this is Christmas...and what have you done?
Another year older, a new one just begun.

I have always liked this song but as I have gotten older, it has taken on new meaning for me.  The end of 2016 gave me the blahs.  I only need to go back to early November to find out why...and no, it was not because the baseball team from the north side of Chicago won the World Series.  😂

I learned some things about myself and about some people I thought were friends in the weeks and months leading up to the election.  Most of it was rather disappointing.  I think it was better when we didn't discuss politics and religion in polite company.  But I digress.

I am getting ready to embark on my 49th year.  I feel like I am on the brink of something...yes I know...50.  While that may be true, it's more than that.  I am on the brink of 2 years cancer free.  I have a scan this week.

A lot happens each year, both good and bad.  I have learned to let the bad go and savor every moment of good.  So a new year has begun...I have some resolutions and plans for 2017.  I am steeling myself for some interesting times starting in a couple of weeks.  I waver between waiting to be vindicated for what I know to be true and hoping I am wrong.

I don't dread getting older anymore.  I wear every wrinkle and scar with pride, every day is an opportunity to do something cool, fun, good, hard, complicated, serious, funny, flirty, musical, interesting, unbelievable, amazing, lovely, delicious, fast, slow, bright, beautiful, humble, kind, and completely unique!

Friday, November 11, 2016

How did WE get HERE?

I have come here a couple of times in the last couple of days trying to think of how to express my feelings.

Trying to reconcile what happened on election day with what I thought were the common beliefs of the citizens of this country.

I have found that I cannot.

I feel a little lost, like I did around mid afternoon on 9/11..when the news bombarded us with the horror in NYC, DC, and rural PA.  I think the news bombards us more now.  I am not sure that's a good thing.

I am beginning to think that perhaps social media is not such a great thing; ironic, no?

Before you decide that you know what I am going to say next let me say that I have been attacked on social media for stating that something offended me.  I didn't say a WORD about who I voted for.  I simply stated that a statement made by someone I thought was a friend was offensive and insensitive.  Once attacked, I did what anyone would.  I defended my position of why I thought it was offensive, and I was attacked further.  Only one person in on the attack knew ANYTHING about me and she was as nasty as the rest.

This is your future America.  Hatred and nastiness have been given acceptance.  If things continue on this path, we won't need ISIS or some other terrorist group to do us in.  We will do it to ourselves.

I am trying to be hopeful that we won't go too much farther down the rabbit hole, but how do we stop it?  I think our president elect is trying.  A predictable tweet from last night was followed up with one more presidential earlier today.  I think no one was more surprised with Tuesday's outcome than the winner himself.  Perhaps he had an "oh shit" moment.  I hope and pray he had an "oh shit" moment. 

I think we ALL need to have an "oh shit" moment.

Social media affords us all the opportunity to put our every thought, belief, idea, joke, quip, or piece of brain vomit out in the open for the world to see.   Why is that necessary?  Sure, everyone is absolutely entitled to their opinion and everyone has the right to speak their mind.  Tell me why anyone else should care.  Tell me why anyone else should hold the same opinion and why they should be attacked if they do not.  Just because you CAN do something doesn't automatically mean that you SHOULD do something.

I will be the first to admit, I probably shouldn't have called out the person I did yesterday but if we don't call each other out when we are being hateful and nasty, when and how does it end?

 It's not OK.  It's not OK from the person getting ready to move into the White House down to the person on the street in Anytown, USA.  It's not what this country was founded on and it's not what makes us great and make NO MISTAKE, this country has always been great and it has been great because of the people; our diversity and our unity.  To say otherwise is a slap in the face to EVERY American; even those chanting those exact words at political rallys.

A friend of mine said it so well--she feels betrayed by her country.  I do too.  I feel like it's a different place than it was on Monday.

I am trying to be hopeful, trying to understand.  I consider myself educated and informed and I am struggling.  I don't understand how he got elected and I don't understand how people think rioting in the streets will fix things.  Honestly, there are so many things I don't understand right now, I am beginning to think that chemo brain is back to stay!

 I have jotted some things down that have crossed my mind since Tues evening.  I know he hasn't asked for my advice but...

Dr Mr. Trump,

Tell me the truth, you were pretty surprised by this weren't you?

Congratulations.  You have no idea how hard that was for me because you see I don't think your are the right person for the job.  I had my doubts about your opponent as well.  Please spend the next 4 years proving me and millions of others wrong.

Be humble and kind when people don't agree with you and tell your supporters to do the same.
Be mindful that not everyone in the USA is a wealthy white male; as a matter of fact most of us aren't.
Be open to those who don't think like you; there are a lot of us.
Remember when repealing the Affordable Care Act, there are millions of us with pre-existing conditions and cannot afford out of pocket expenses in the millions and even the poorest people should have access to affordable healthcare.
Surround yourself with people who have ideas different from yours as well as those who are like minded. 
It's OK to ask for help, please don't try to bulldoze through every issue that crosses your desk in the next 4 years.
Please renounce the KKK's support of you.
Please build unity in this country instead of a wall.
Make good on your promise to create jobs
Make good on your promise to be a president for all, I have friends who are very afraid and there are people in this country who think hate and bullying and harassment are acceptable behavior because you won on Tuesday.
Your children say you are not like the persona you display, show us what your children see.
Rethink some of your positions on women, minorities and the LGBT community, they could use a tweaking.

The world is watching, Mr Trump.  Don't screw this up.  You are going to swear to protect and defend the Constitution of the United States of America...maybe give it a perusal before Jan 20th.

A concerned American woman

I am going to fasten my seat and see what happens.  I know people were terrified the world would end in 2008 and it didn't.