Saturday, May 17, 2014

A Lesson about Shit Sandwiches

Have you ever had a certain piece of advice stick with you without really being sure why?  I can think of a couple different things that were more cliche than anything, and I'm not even sure where I may have heard them the first time.  But I do have this one... particularly insightful piece of advice that my brother gave me more than a year ago, and I can't forget it.  I told him awhile back that it stuck with me and he kind of chuckled, but in the past two days the advice has proven to be perfect in both application, and hilarity value (very important when you're dealing with fun haters and not-so-bright people) and I figured someone else might benefit from this wisdom. 

WARNING: If the word "shit" bothers you, you'll want to go ahead and walk away now! :)  

Okay here we go:

Advice from the bro:

"Okay, you keep eating the shit sandwiches she makes for you so what do you expect?" 

I was like... "uhhhh what?" 

And he said: "Yeah, every day she makes you at least one shit sandwich, and you look at it, think about it, talk about it complain about it, and then... you eat it."  

"So tomorrow, or even later today, she's going to make you another shit sandwich, and based on what I've seen so far, you're probably going to eat it again." 

And I was like "hmmmm.  I do, do that, don't I?"

And he says, "Yep, and as long as you keep eating her delicious shit sandwiches, she's going to keep on serving them to you." 

And that was that. 

Shit!!!  I don't like shit sandwiches at ALL. But you would never have guessed it because he was correct... I was being served GOURMET SHIT SANDWICHES at an alarming rate for the past several years, and I DID complain.  I bitched and moaned and griped and complained, but I ate them, time and time again.  I can't tell you how many times I threatened not to eat those damn things anymore, but I have a laundry list of reasons (excuses) why I'd give in and belly up to the shit sandwich buffet, and people... I am proud to say I am now happily living a Shit Sandwich free life. 

You would think it would be fairly easy to stop eating shit sandwiches, but sometimes it just isn't.  Sometimes you worry about the people you love who are also eating those same shit sandwiches.  So coming to terms with the fact that the other shit sandwich eaters are old enough to  make their own decisions and suffer their own consequences was a necessary component in the plan to go Shit Sandwich free. (And It took a few extra sandwiches to get that point to sink in, trust me!)

And now... things will probably be looking a little different to some folks in my life, and I'm sure they will be misconstrued, and  misunderstood as usual, however, I know that I have done the right thing.  I have never withheld love from the people who mean the world to me.  I've worn it on my sleeve, I've proclaimed it to the world, I've given them everything I can and expected NOTHING in return. I will never stop doing these things...  so I stopped feeling guilty for wanting to walk away from the bullshit.  I stopped feeling guilty for leaving someone I love more than life in a spot where it probably feels like they have to fend for themselves with no support, because I know in my heart that person knows I'll always be there for him.  I stopped feeling guilty for knowing that if I turned my back on the bullshit I'm taking the risk of losing contact with some other beautiful things in my life, and that was probably the hardest thing... but I know the universe unfolds as it should, and I know I wasn't doing any favors for the people I love by being a phony shit sandwich eater.  

And one thing has become very, very clear.  When you get tired of something that makes you feel bad you really can wake up one day and decide to change it.  You have the power to do that, and it really is THAT EASY. 

So, do you have someone serving up shit sandwiches in your life?  Think about it!  ;)

Thank you brother, for giving me the most useful advice I've heard in a good while.  And delivering it in a way that I can share it zebra style!  You're the best. 

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

I forgot I had a defibrillator (& other dumb things I've done recently)

 *** It took me a day or two, but I found the funny in it ..... ***  (Still not sleeping well, but that'll come!)

Well, it's official. I've joined the "Bless Her Heart" ranks in the highest degree possible. You know the ones... the members of these ranks get told "Bless your heart" a lot, right to their face... and while being discussed by others who see the problem you would see a lot of slow, shaking heads, and hear a lot of "ohhh bless her heart"... sometimes even in unison! What they really mean when this statement is made (at least most of the time) is "She ain't right", or sometimes " "That poor thing, there's not much hope for her is there?, and also very often these words might mean " That one's a special kind of stupid isn't she?" LOL!

Before I tell you my latest Bless Your Heart Moment, let me give you a quick background.
  I was diagnosed with Sarcoidosis in 2008. My diagnosis, came after an original diagnosis of stage 4 metastatic disease... cancer... less than six months to live... not much hope... "you've got to get your shit together cause your expiration date has been handed to you".....

Two months into my expiration day journey I had a burning need to find a doctor who would do a biopsy on my just so I could get a name for this cancer that was about to devour me for a meal.... they said it was everywhere, but I figured it had to start somewhere... there had to be a primary spot.. and oldest tumor SOMETHING to be able t give it a name. I wanted to know what to call it. I had a bone to pick with it. I asked my oncologist about the biopsy, and he said "Why do you want a biopsy? You already know you have cancer" And I simply said I needed to address it by name. He fought me on it for a few hours, but finally consented to take me up to the computer room and have a look at my PET scan... the one that prompted 4 other doctors to confirm the cancer diagnosis. And so we went.. and looked... and discussed... and by the time my questions had all been asked, he was convinced a biopsy was in order as well... and I will just say from here, to shorten the story... within ten days I had had a biopsy, and a whole new name for my monster. Diagnosis: Sarcoidosis. And it's been up and down and up and down, but for the past almost 2 years, a lot more ups than downs. I've been feeling fantastic! I've dropped tons of weight, I've gained back energy that I was certain was gone forever, I've become 100% more active, back to really living this life I love, playing with grand children... enjoying my photography more than ever before, and LIFE. IS. GOOD. So good, in fact, that I really tend to forget that I've got an insidious disease that can rear its ugly head in unexpected moments, and Sunday, this is what happened:

My youngest grandchild Addlee Laine turned four on the 9th and her birthday party was at the skating rink on Sunday. There I was doing my thing... you know... barefoot with the babies in the bounce houses they have all around the skate floor! I had just sent a little one down the slide to her momma waiting at the bottom and started sliding down myself. About half way down the slide I'm blind. Pure white lightning flash in my eyes, body lifted up from the slide a few inches, and I'm thinking "OH MY GOD, there's a loose electrical wire on this thing and I just found it with my butt!! They need to shut this thing down and fix it. And I stood up at the bottom and "BOOM WHITE LIGHTNING FLASH, Somebody's freakin horse kicked me in the chest from the .... INSIDE? OUCH DAMMIT! Oh HELL. That was my defibrillator. SHIT! I rub my eyes cause everything is a little blurry... spot my two older kids and my parents and head their way. WHITE FLASH AGAIN... BOOM GOSHDAMN HORSE KICKIN PIECE OF... and I hear a yell... a LOUD Yelll. Oh my god that was me yelling... shit. I caught my breath and my mom's attention as well as my youngest son and screamed CALL 911 my defibrillator keeps firing and about tha time WHITE LIGHT BOOM HORSE pos what did I ever do to that horse damn! And my dad is at my side holding me up, trying to get me to a safe place to OMG WHITE LIGHT BAM BAM HORSE SHIT.... the Shit was my dad. He got shocked tooo. But he never let go. Still walking to the side bench and just before we get there ahhhhhh WHITE LIGHT BAAAAAM!! HORSE a;nd MAYBE A DONKEY TOO this time. and Dad feeling it again... Dad I"m so sorry.

A really nice lady I don't know helps me take my pulse until the Ambulance crew gets there. She calms me down. Soon the Paramedics arrive, hook me up, My mom goes to my office for me to grab my wires transmitter so I can fix my defibrillator journal to the docs in Colorado, the paramedics are watching, watching, and waiting... no more shocks, but it took a good hour to stabilize my very high blood pressure and very fast heart rate. And I was grateful, and emotional, and terrified for the first time in 4 years of my defibrillator, and a little loopy, pretty exhausted, and praying that all was caused from a malfunctioning defibrillator... which didn't turn out to be the case. Spent much of the evening up at the hospital while they got things documented, and started me on heart meds for the first time in my life. My doctor called me this morning from Denver and they are setting up the National Jewish Lab Rat Maze (that's what I call the testing times when I have to go there lol) and will be calling soon with dates.

I was feeling so good. I didn't even remember that I had a defibrillator... Every test I've had in over 2 years was awesome. Last time I was there, the little one (my name Sarc doctor's nickname cause she's petite and adorable and reminds me of a lit stick of dynamite) told me she didn't want to say I was in remission, but I was as close as I'd ever been and she felt okay with not rescheduling an appointment for awhile, so I didn't... and promised her I would call if I needed to. And that was that. About six months or so ago, my defibrillator downloads to Colorado were still showing lots of short runs of Vtach, but they were kind of letting me be the guide on it all. I wasn't having any episodes that were making me dizzy, nauseated, light headed, or weak. While I could sometimes feel fluttering, it ever lasted too long, and I didn't feel that I needed to be concerned with it at all I have the downloads every three months, and a checkup once a year. Guess that will all be changing. I guess my whole point here is this:

I believe in living my life. And I don't regret ANY of the way I have that since my diagnosis. And I think I'm even okay with the fact that I did forget my defibrillator too. Because I don't want that damn thing to define me... even thought that's pretty much exactly what it's done for the past 48 hours.. But in general, No. Most people don't know I've got one. I"m not ashamed of it by any stretch of the imagination... I just don't use it for an excuse, or a reason not to be normal.... and of course the downside of all that is... you think you've slid your butt across a loose, live electrical wire on a bouncy house slide before you remember it's just you and your Thumper. I issued a letter of apology to all of the parents at the birthday party for upstaging their event for awhile and forcing them to have to answer questions from their little birthday party goers.... "Mommy What was wrong with that lady making those noises with fire coming out of her ears?" Just kidding on the fire... but there might have been smoke... just sayin.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Itches and Lumps and Things I'm Sure of

One minute I'm scratching a persistent itch under my right arm, blink, and there I am in a doctor's office half naked discussing that damn lump and inverted nipples.  So.... how was your day?

Sometimes my life is too weird for words. Seriously... I'm a writer (yes I do throw that title around very loosely thank you very much!) and I'm not sure I could make up more convoluted stories to write than those that are my own reality! 

 So, I've found myself (yet again) in that place where one or two unanswered questions threaten to own me.  Okay A) Rough patches make me extremely quick to figure out how I'm going to get beyond them.  and B) Every rough patch I've been through (and there's quite a few that qualify as rough) has made me a little smarter, a little crazier, and a LOT stronger by the time I've kicked its ass. 

 SO I'm thinking "this limbo thing is ridiculous"  and at that moment I decided to NEVER be willingly consumed by things I can not control again.   My way of dealing with the unanswered questions tonight is to remember the things I am absolutely sure of, and writing them has been  humbling.  How could I ever forget that the things I am sure of are so much more important than the unanswered questions regardless of what those answers might mean. Without further adieu this is what I know:
  1. I am the most blessed person I know. I hope you are the most blessed person you know, too. 
  2. I would be lost if my life were not crazy, chaotic, uncertain, and unpredictable  
  3. I've always been able to embrace change regardless of where it occurred in my world.  I know that isn't true for many people, and I consider this one of the greatest blessings in my life simply because I have never been paralyzed by fear when I've had to deal with life changing events.  
  4. I know who God is.  Seriously. We've met.  We talk.  We laugh.  I don't care if you don't believe me.  Some of you know what I'm about to say is true, some of you will write me off as the loon you always figured I was and stop reading right after you read the next sentence.
  5. God is absolutely, positively indefinable by any source, ANY. Not a church, not a book, not an organization, not your momma, your gramma or your Uncle Homer.  And if you're trying to know a definable God, you are sooo missing out!!  
  6. Attitude is more than half of any battle and I have proof.
  7. Family has absolutely nothing to do with blood and biology (THANK GOD!) 
  8. Miracles come wrapped in difficult, scary and sometimes very ugly paper.  Knowing this will help you to see miracles that most everyone misses, and recognizing miracles can, and will change your life in beautiful, unexplainable ways. 
  9. There is always, yes ALWAYS something to laugh at in every situation if we are willing to look for it.  Laughter is the best possible way to get through the darkest, ugliest, and scariest parts of life without falling apart. AND......lastly....
  10. The universe unfolds as it should.  
There.  Perspective is a beautiful thing isn't it?
By the end of the week (I hope) I should be able to add a couple more things to the list I just made.  No matter what those things turn out to be, I will find a way to be grateful for them, and THAT is how I know I will be giving the ass kicking rather than getting one if the results of these tests are less than optimal.
 And now I've got to go see a certain sandman about some sleep I seem to have lost.
If you've got an extra prayer you could send up on my behalf I'd be grateful! Thanks for stopping by! 

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Polishing Turds (Revisited)

Grabbed this one out of hiding and dusted it off a bit... it fit today for reasons that I won't bore you with, but it was a good reminder for me and mentally a good place to get to... maybe you remember it, maybe not so much.  Either way, I believe it's a timeless concept ~ When I wrote the original (and a little different) I was in a different frame of mind, and today as I re- read it, it brought a whole different thought process to a completely different scenario ~   enjoy.

Life is hard sometimes.  But I tend to do a good job of making it twice as hard as it needs to be on a pretty regular basis. I over-think everything.  I analyze the crap out of the most ridiculous things.  I'm very good at making a mountain out of a molehill when it does the least amount of good, and sometimes the greatest amount of damage.  Welcome to my emotionally charged day! :D  

There's a very fine line between being jaded/suspicious and being cautious about who you decide to let into your personal world, and that line has been crossed and re-crossed so many times in my life I lost count.   I'm still learning that one, and in the process I've been burned a time or two.  I'm still trying to sort out the lessons, which are inevitable as well, and lead me to believe that the people in our lives aren't completely our own choice.  God sends people in to teach us, bless us, and love us. And one might tend to think that when God sends someone to us they must be a highly trusted and stellar individual.  Why wouldn't  we? But in my experience, the truth has been a bit warped in comparison to the ideal.  Sometimes they're not a pleasant experience by any stretch of the imagination.  Sometimes they make us look like fools.  But ALWAYS they are sent to teach us something, and hopefully you will read the rest of this with that thought in mind.  

For several years  now I have been trying to spray the dirt and crap off of what I thought might be a true gem.  I have continually come up empty handed, but I am having a hard time walking away.    Hmmm.  what is the definition of  insanity again? Oh yeah.. to continue to do the same things over and over again, expecting different results.

 Are you familiar with the term "Polishing a Turd"?   I used to have a friend who was a turd polisher.  Yep, that's what I call her.  In fact, that's what she calls herself.  She can take a piece of crap be it a house, furniture, car, or human being and polish it up so that it looks amazing.  Now all of that is awesome when it comes to the non human things.  But not so much when the humans come in to play.  Sometimes a turd is a turd no matter how much you scrub it up.
My particular turd isn't ever going to change.  I think I can see that rather clearly right now.  So where to go from here?  Learn to love this turd you say?  Hmm.  I already do love it.  That's part of the problem.  Not a deep love like the way I love my boyfriend, or my children...  more like a very naughty pet.  You love the pet, you couldn't take it to the pound for anything.  But much of the time (at least every other day) you wish it was the neighbor's pet or maybe belonged to someone that lived across town. 

I think what I'm supposed to do here is change the way I see the turd.  I'm casting it in a very negative light for sure.  Perhaps I need to give it less significance in my life while still acknowledging that it needs to be here.  I'm not sure, but pounding it out on the blog helps a little.  I can see that I'm the one who needs to make the change.  I'm pretty sure the turd doesn't mind things the way they are at all..... As always~ thanks for stopping by!

Monday, January 6, 2014

Things that rhyme with GRUDGE

Humans hold grudges.  Some humans hold on to grudges as if they might win a prize if they refuse to give them up.  Why we do things to ourselves that keep us unbalanced is more of a mystery to me than the secret of life.

I'm not a grudge holder... at least, I don't hold one for very long. But I'm interested in all of the reasons why someone might find themselves attached to a grudge, or all of their grudges.  And while I'm certain there are as many reasons for doing so as there are kinds of grudges, those reasons can be boiled down to exactly..... two.

1. If I let go of this grudge, I'm telling the world that I condone the person/behavior that caused me to feel the grudge in the first place.

2. Forgiving a grudge = weakness

 Two reasons that make the slightest bit of sense, and honestly, that's a stretch.  To me, they don't make any sense at all.  BUT.... humans are hard to figure out. I think this is more related to personality type than anything else, but I will probably never know for sure. This is how I see it though:

Someone (a very WISE someone) once said "Holding a grudge is like swallowing poison and hoping the other person dies.)  And THIS makes sense to me.
I've tried holding a grudge,  and I've held grudges for a short time without trying too.  I think it's human to get angry with people for whatever reason and not want to forgive the action that caused that anger to happen. But guess what?  Staying angry with someone isn't hurting them even a fraction as much as it's hurting you.  THEY aren't losing sleep over it.  Perhaps they did once, or twice, but after that, trust me, they had better things to do.  YOU, however, have lost more than a few nights rest because of that grudge.  You, in your new quest to stand your ground, to rise against the injustice that has been done are going to hold this grudge til  death.  THAT will let them know just how much you disapprove of what they did.  Because YOU are right, and they are wrong and letting it go just can not ever happen.   So hold on til death you will.... and it may not take as long as you thought.

You are poisoning yourself.  Plain and simple.  I bet if you've held a grudge for longer than say... ohhh.... a few months, that you have already got health issues that you don't know about.  You've gained or lost unhealthy amounts of weight.  You're suffering from at least one or two stress related issues.  Blood pressure high?  Stomach issues ongoing?  Cant poop right?  (sorry, but it happens).  Find yourself short tempered?  Shaky? Head hurt a lot?  Going to see the chiropractor more than you used to? Can't concentrate?  Got CRS?  Uh huh...  Sure.  go ahead and blame it on  your age, your job, your genes, the weather.... but if you are holding a grudge... blame that first.

And guess what else?  It's not just affecting you.  It's affecting the people who love you too.  A lot.  Trust me, they get it.  They may not agree with you or feel the same anger to the same degree as you do, but they understand human nature.  They will sympathize with you for awhile, perhaps offer you their time and ear for your complaints, frustrations, tears.... but after awhile grudge holders get really hard to live with.  and soon enough, they either let go, or find more like minded people to spend time with.  NOT GOOD!!  Why?  Because not only does misery love company... but miserable company will feed your unhealthy grudge holding like sugar feeds cancer  And honestly, after a few months of grudge holding... you might as well have cancer  Incurable cancer in fact, because after holding a grudge for too long I'm not sure if it's possible to really let it go.  It becomes a part of who you are.  It becomes a very ugly, hard to watch part of who you are.  and it will kill you.... painfully... without mercy.  It. Will. Kill you.

You have told yourself that you can't simply let go.  You're convinced.  But you've fed yourself a lie, and deep inside you know it.  You're a person who has been wronged dammit, and it's an injustice that can not be forgiven, and SHOULD NOT be forgiven by anyone. Period!!  Sorry.  You're wrong.  But not only are you wrong, you're giving the people who love you and the world around you so little credit that it's insulting!!  You think those who love you will think you've dropped your standards.  You think you'll be judged.  You think you'll appear weak and that someone or maybe even EVERYONE will think you now condone the behavior that had you holding that grudge... they were right, you were wrong... and if you can read this and still feel that holding a grudge is worth it, then you're probably a lifer and can't be convinced.  You're already dying because of the grudges toxicity, and you don't even know it.
Here's something else you might not know.... Forgiveness isn't for someone else.  Forgiveness is for YOU.  When we forgive someone, we don't have to announce it.  We don't have to tell them, or anyone else.  We just do it.  Forgiveness doesn't mean we forget either, in case you wondered. You could pretend to forget it if made you feel better, but I think people who say they forgive AND forget are full of crap.  we forgive because we are human.  We forgive because no matter how mad we are and no matter how well we think we know someone, we have no idea why they do what they do. We forgive because if we choose not to, we sit in judgment of them, and in doing so announce to the world that we are better than that person we choose not to forgive. And that, is just sad.  Forgiveness doesn't mean we have to go back to the way things were before we were hurt, or someone we love was hurt.  It doesn't mean we have to pretend like nothing happened.  It simply means we refuse to be poisoned by hatred and  we refuse to die to a desire to look or feel superior to another human regardless of how bad we hate what they did.  And in spite of what you've told yourself, forgiveness is not impossible.  It's not even difficult.  Be human, get mad, get angry, feel hurt, and then let it go.  Let God figure out how justice gets served... let karma do its thing, because it will and neither karma nor God need our help.  And if you get to witness God, or karma or the Universe rain some hell down upon the one who hurt you it's not un-human to feel a little satisfaction, and it's not un-human to feel a little guilt either.  But dwelling on either of those things will keep you so unbalanced that you may have a skewed view of happiness as a result, and thats just the beginning of why it's not good.

Don't let me tell you what to do.  But if you need to forgive someone for something why not do it and get on with the business of living your life?  You owe it to yourself don't you think?

Sunday, January 5, 2014

I'm Late & You're not Surprised!

Here we are already 5 days into 2014, and I haven't done anything remotely close to a goal setting blog post.  Maybe that's because I'm not really a goal setter, or a resolution maker, but I am certainly a blogger, and maybe I write to see myself write, to hear myself think, to see my soul poured out... and maybe I'm just a poser and not a blogger after all... but I feel like I should at least put something out there in writing so I can either feel good and guilty when I read it in six months and it's nothing close to what I'm doing, or I can pat myself on the back because I'm well on my way or even done with whatever I'm going to put on this currently mostly blank page.  (Can you tell I have no idea what I'm going to say yet?)  :)  It's okay, I'm absolutely okay with that.  I wish I had a dollar for every time I had no clue what I was going to write before I produce a fabulous piece of work!  But alas, nobody really wants to pay me for such things, and it's a crying shame if you ask me....  

Yeah... I've got nothin, at least nothing in the goal setting realm.  I DO, however, have this Guiness stuff on my shoulders... Guinness.. the goofy, lovable dingus dog that we can't help but love.  He's the long eared sad eyed bloodhound that will be entertaining children (even if it's only my own grand children) and their adult counterparts (even if that's only me and MY children) just as soon as my brain cracks open and gives me the flow of words I'm needing to write the stories that are in there. Writer's block is a fancy word for "I've got it all in my head but there's something clogging the hole it's supposed to come out of...."  that's what it feels like anyway.  MENTAL CONSTIPATION!  There's a visual.  Ummm no.  Don't visualize...

Okay.. I can always spout off rhymes... I'm SO not a poet!  But whoever cam up with 'bust a rhyme' in the rap realm got it right!  I can definitely bust a rhyme...

Guinness woke up early
on a day when I could sleep
He didn't care to wait
for my alarm to start to beep

He tried to wake the other dogs
But they ignored his whine
The numbers on my bedside clock
Said it was FIVE OH NINE.

I tried to whisper quietly
And patted his soft head
Instead he heard "It's time to play"
And jumped up on the bed

The cat freaked out and swung a claw
connecting with his ear
A big surprise to Guinness
who reacted out of fear

His big old paw came down
and trapped the kitty by the tail
The sounds ensuing woke the house
And neighborhood as well

The cat flew off the bed
and out the doorway to the hall
and Guinness right behind him
jumped and flew into the wall

I know that cat was smirking
In his eye the slightest gleam
Guinness laid right down and closed his eyes
Like it had been a dream

I wish I could have done that too
But I just scratched my head
No sleeping now I'm wide awake
at FIVE FIFTEEN instead.

Yep... just another Guinness antic to start the weekend off with a bang!  Jeeez, I should write a book....;)