I see it has been a while since my last post.  I do mean well though.  I think about posting, as there isn’t a day that goes by that there isn’t something to write about.  I mean the presidential election this year is going to be very interesting. Currently, I know who I’m not voting for, but have no idea who I am going to vote for.  I am looking strongly at the Libertarian candidate, as I consider myself an independent.  I vote for the person and the type of job I feel they will do, not what party they are.  The problem is that there really isn’t much difference between the Republicans and the Democrats to a point.  They say different things, but when it comes time to take action, you normally end up with the same thing.   Lies, broken promises, and wondering what has happened to our great country, the USA.  No matter how bad things look over here though, you would be hard pressed to find a country that is better to live in.  We still have freedom of speech, freedom to worship or not worship as we please, decide who to marry and how many children we want, and a whole host of other freedoms.  There are certain countries where if you said one bad word against the president or leader you would be killed or thrown in a locked cell never to be seen again.  If you were in their country illegally you sure wouldn’t be able to protest on the streets talking about what rights you should have.  First off, you probably wouldn’t want anyone to know you are there illegally and the minute they find out you of course will be either deported, jailed, or killed in the streets.   But, that wasn’t where I was going with this post…

You could also talk about the police shootings, racial tensions, all the acts of violence that are happening not only here but around the world, but that isn’t what I want to talk about.  I guess what is really bugging me right now is Facebook and social media.  I guess social media in general just has me baffled.  The other day I was told I was too dumb for words by a person I barely knew.  Don’t even think she was one of my friends, but I blocked her anyway.  All I had done was post a meme about gun control, which she took completely out of context and there you go.

I then had a Pastor who I have known for years up and block me because I didn’t agree with his politics.  First of all, why is a pastor telling me how to vote?  Not suggesting or saying the pros and cons of the situation, but that we have to have Hillary as president, Obama was the best president we have every had and Michelle Obama was a better first lady than even Jackie Kennedy… That last part really upset me.  But, what we got the most crossways over was how he felt like he could post all types of memes about how all white people are racist, we hate Obama because he is black, and other let’s hate all whites sort of items.  If you haven’t guessed it yet, he is a black pastor, of whom I was part of his church for a long time.  I told him first off I don’t hate Obama, I just don’t like his politics and what he has done for America.  I also try very hard to not see color, but after having all this race rhetoric thrown at me, it makes it very hard not to.  I guess when he posted for all to see that my husband had become loony and needed to get back on his meds just because he didn’t agree with the pastor, I finally had to tell him like it was.  Of course, we are both now blocked from his page, which is probably best.

The problem with social media is that for some reason people will say anything they want to you and about you because you are not face to face.  They can hide behind their computer screen, say anything they want, and then when things get too heated they can either block you, erase the posts, or just sign off.  I couldn’t imagine being a young person now, as I remember getting bullied and made fun of in school, but once you got home you could forget about it.  They didn’t have an easy way to communicate with you, and that was that.  Today, you can’t get away from them.  The bullies find you on social media and then harass you.  If you block them they will make a different screen name, get you to become friends, and then turn on you that way.  Someone can take a picture of you in a compromising situation and then blast it to everyone through texts or messenger.  It is just mind blowing.  I have told several people that if it wasn’t for wanting to keep up with my kids and friends, I would just close my Facebook account, but then I would lose out on my ability to communicate with them, and that would mean the bullies would win, and that is not an option.  I have come to the point where I try to post only cute and funny things so I don’t have to worry about the backlash… You know, pick your battles sort of thing.

But all that aside, my main focus right now is to finally start focusing on writing fiction.  I know I have been talking about this for a while, at least 3 years, but this year I turn a speed limit on August 1, you know the speed no one can drive?  55….  So, it is time to either start writing or move on to something else… Is there something in your life you have wanted to do, but just haven’t started or gave up on it?  Maybe it is time you take inventory of what you really want to do in this life before it is too late… As life does seem to go faster the older you get and before you know it you’re at the end…. Till next time….

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a-ha-ha-wr-be-a-writer-funny1We are now on week 2 of my month of writing in May and my first week went to heck in a hand basket…  I didn’t get but 2 short stories wrote, 1 blog post, and nothing else… Today I have to step back, shake myself off, and try again.  There is no way to make up for last week, but I can still complete my writing goals from today on.  That is the thing about dreams… You have to put in the work to take them from the dream stage to reality.  I could get all upset, and beat myself up over not making my goals, but instead of worrying about it, I have to stop and regroup.  See if I am really chasing the correct dream or did I just let life get in the way.  Sometimes you start down a road of what you believe your calling is, or your dream, and get halfway down the road and realize you have no desire to follow this path at all.  I don’t mean you are just tired, but you decide you have no desire at all to even do it.  Sometimes what we think are roadblocks and obstacles are really landmines we have laid ourselves to keep from doing what we really aren’t wanting to do to begin with.

This isn’t always the problem.  A lot of the time you really want to follow a certain dream, but life really does get in the way.  When that happens you can’t just stop, but rearrange things, make a daily schedule, do whatever you need to do to make sure you have some time every day to work on your dream.  If you only have 15 minutes then use that time to write a chapter, a drabble, or whatever you need to do.  If you are an artist in 15 minutes you could sketch a character, cut out a pattern, sew something, or at least get your ideas on paper so when you have more time you don’t have to think about what to do, as you have already made the blueprint to follow.  Sometimes I find it helpful to write down before I go to bed what I want to accomplish the next day, a question about how to proceed in a story I’m writing, or just for clarity in how to get through the next day.  When you write this down your subconscious will be working on the problem while you sleep and normally when you wake up you will have your answer, or an idea, or you even had a dream that showed you what to do.  This doesn’t always work, but you would be surprised how much clarity you can get when you do this.

The thing is, most of us do waste time every day on things that do not bring us closer to our goals, but just wastes time.  I admit my biggest bad habit is watching TV.  Once I start a show I have to see what happens.  I am going to sit there until the end, as I don’t want to spend the rest of the day or evening trying to figure out what happened.  I watched the finale of The Good Wife Sunday night.  I have been watching this show since episode one and was totally vested in how they were going to end the show.  They said fans would be happy with the ending.  They said things would be tied up and nothing left to the imagination.  Well they LIED to me… I still don’t understand the ending.  The only ending that really upset me more was the series finale of The Sopranos.  That ending still pisses me off.  I also hate it when they leave a series in a cliffhanger and then decide not to renew it, so here we are years later still wondering what happened… i.e. did they stay together, did she lose the baby, who did she pick, did they both die?  I mean I could go on for pages about the shows I watched to the last episode, got into the cliffhanger, and to this day never found out what happened.  This is a big problem when you have a writer’s or creative mind is you will mull over all types of endings and what could have happened and you are just never completely satisfied.

But getting back on track here… I am going to have to get myself back on track if I have any intention on becoming a writer who makes money from my words.  For those of you who are reading this, it is time you regroup and figure out what you are supposed to be doing in your life.  What makes you happy.  What makes you want to get out of bed every morning and get to work… Also, are you hanging onto a dream that if you really are honest with yourself was never your dream to begin with, it was just a way to make money, or your family said you should be this or that, or you just thought it sounded cool and decided that was your goal in life.  Take inventory on your desires.  If need be do a pros and cons list where you take a piece of paper and draw a line own the center.  One side you write pros and other side you write cons.  Once you did that honestly write down why you should follow this dream and why you should not.  Why you think it is right and why you think you made a mistake.  Once done take a minute and really look at what you wrote, as normally you will see the answer…. Till next time…

mothers-day-card-pride-mom-funny-ecard-XYLIn the early 1900s a lady called Anna Jarvis was the reason we have Mother’s Day today.  In wanting to honor her mother who worked to clean up and sanitize the make shift hospitals and such during the Civil War.  Most women stayed home and took care of kids, not volunteering to improve the health of the soldiers.  Through Anna’s efforts to honor her mom, she ended up getting the US Government to authorize the holiday so all mothers could be honored by their children for their hard work and love for their kids.  The problem was Mother’s Day ended up this very commercialized holiday that made it more about what the kids spent on the present then really honoring their mom through spending time with them.  If your kids didn’t go out and spend a bunch of money on you then you must be a bad mother, which is part of where I believe the depression comes from related to Mother’s Day.  The thing is Anna got so upset that she started petitioning, picketing, and protesting the government to stop the holiday, as it didn’t mean what it did originally, it became more of a guilt trip on kids who either were unable to or did not buy a big gift or fancy dinner for their mom.  The sad thing is Anna spent all her money on trying to stop Mother’s Day as we know it.  Her true feelings were expressed in her quote:

A printed card means nothing except that you are too lazy to write to the woman who has done more for you than anyone in the world. And candy! You take a box to Mother—and then eat most of it yourself. A pretty sentiment.

— Anna Jarvis.

While others profited from the day, Jarvis did not, and she spent the later years of her life with her sister Lillie whom she had taken care of for years. In 1943, she began organizing a petition to rescind Mother’s Day.  However, these efforts were halted when she was placed in the Marshall Square Sanitarium in West Chester, Pennsylvania, broke and with dementia.  People connected with the floral and greeting card industries paid the bills to keep her in the sanitarium. She ultimately died in 1948.  The committee she formed tried to stay together after her death, but finally disbanded.  Anna Jarvis never married nor did she have any children, which is a bit of irony as she was the reason for Mother’s Day and she never was a mother.

I do believe the problem with Mother’s Day is the same problem with most of the other holidays, there is this expectation of what everyone should do or expect, and when reality hits the depression sets in.  Let’s say you are a mom, but your kids are older and basically just call or such, you then wonder what you did to be such a bad mom that they didn’t feel compelled to do more for you.  You then have Christmas with the gift giving and the crap that goes with that.  Of course you have Valentine’s Day and the expectations that come from that, no big gift so the person must not really love me.  I read somewhere that the day after Valentine’s you will find the most traffic from women looking for a new guy on one of the many dating websites, including the married looking for married type.

With all this said, people need to stop having such big expectations for these commercialized holidays.  Most holidays were not started as a reason to give a bunch gifts or such, they were started to honor an event, a person, or a group of people.  Whether it be veterans, mothers, dads, and Jesus, the reason for the season needs to come first, not the expectations given to a person through the constant bombarding of commercials on TV, radio ads, or even surfing the web.  We all need to remember it isn’t the gift that is given, but the thought behind it…  Till next time….

 

The month of May has become my month to get my writing on track.  Not only is the first week Book-in-a-Week.com, but the entire month of May is storyaday.org.  This is where you can setup your own rules, but you have to follow them, whether you write 31 stories for 31 days or a story a day for 5 days a week, or whatever, you need to follow your rules so you get into the habit of write daily, on a regular schedule.  This is the hard point for me.  I work a weird shift, try to work in enough sleep, and then I get scattered with everything else I need to do, so figuring out a writing schedule and sticking to it is a must for me.  Both events give you the ability to get a lot written, but the key is you aren’t writing a finished product.  You are getting the words on paper and then you will come back later and do clean up.  Some of the stories you write you will probably never look at again, but then others may clean up to become some your best work. 2016stadabadgesq500x500

What I find interesting is a short story can be as short as 25 words or less.  There is Twitter fiction where you have to fit the story in 144 characters.  You have drabbles that are about 100 words.  You could also do flash fiction which is normally between 500 to 1000 words.  The one thing you must follow is the story, no matter how short, must have a beginning, middle, and end.  The reader is not going to like you if you take them right to the cliff and then end the story.  They are going to wonder whether the main character jumped, turned back, sat down, or just disappeared, but for some people they may not read your stuff again because you just pissed them off.  I am one of those who hates open ended movies, as my mind goes in all sorts of directions trying to figure out how it should end, a week later I may still be trying to figure it out and just wish I had never seen the movie.

But getting on point, if you have a desire to become a writer or artist or whatever, you need to make a time every day to practice, even if it is 5 minutes here or there.  I carry both a sketchbook and writing notebook in my purse everywhere I go so if I find myself having to wait somewhere or such I can pull out what I need and get some work done.  It also helps if you can find something like the book in a week group or something related to what you are trying to do, so you can have accountability, focus, and encouragement to make the time and start turning your dream into actuality.  Till next time…

This past month I have been really starting to focus on my art skills, specifically drawing.  I know, I am supposed to be focusing on writing, but I had a bit of a sidetrack.  I am still working on my writing, but that is for another post.  I found a wonderful book on creating “Imaginary Characters: Mixed-Media Painting Techniques for Figures and Faces” by Karen O’Brien.  In it she says to draw 100 faces so you can develop your own style, so I decided to draw 100 faces.  I thought there was no way I was ever going to get them done, but not only did I finish them today, I can actually see where I have started figuring out my style.  I mean I have been painting doll faces on cloth for art dolls for years now, but there is a big difference between painting faces on sculptured cloth and a face you draw with pencil or paint on paper.  My goal is to make the transition from 3D dolls to 2D flat surfaces, and this exercise has helped me see where I need to improve, plus where my style is going.  I must say I am so surprised at the difference between the first 20 compared to the last 20.  I posted some of my first drawings and final ones below.  I am now going to venture on and draw 50 hands and 50 feet, as they are both my nemesis…  My hands look like claws and my feet look like clubs, so if I am ever going to be able to go into fashion illustration it would be very helpful to be able to draw an entire person, not just a floating head or a lady with a head and torso, but no arms or legs.  I think that would be rather creepy.  

I would like to encourage anyone who is wanting to learn a new skill to sit down and make a plan, go to the library and find books on the subject, talk to others who are already doing what you want to do, and then practice, practice, practice.  I must say you will have such a feeling of accomplishment when you start comparing where you started to each step of your journey and the clear improvements and skills you have developed.

I will be posting pictures of my practice drawings of hands and feet as I complete them.  I have also not given up on writing.  Starting Monday is Book in a Week again, so I have a goal of writing 50 pages this next week, so we will see how far I get.  Till next time…

First few faces:

Final faces:

Quite the difference if I do say so myself….

Upfront I’m going to say I am not a medical professional, doctor, counselor, etc. so any advice I give pertaining to depression is only from personal experience.  I am 54 and have been fighting depression for at least 35 years.  I also have loved ones, friends, etc. who deal with different types of depression, and I know what works for me and them, but if you know someone, or even yourself, that is talking about wanting to die, dig a hole and lie in it, find a bridge and jump, or other things that make you wonder, you need to get them/you help.  It isn’t like the old days when everyone knew Aunt Sally had mental issues, but no one talked about it, while she fell deeper and deeper into her depression.  There is still a lot of misinformation about depression, and someone who has never experienced it really has no idea of what you are going through.  They can be empathetic, but until someone goes through the debilitating condition of depression, no one can truly understand.  With that said, it is that time of the year when depression really seems to hit people.  I have gotten emails from people trying to figure out if a loved one is really depressed or how can they tell.  I have friends and acquaintances who are feeling down and are on the edge of just being blue and having depression.  I do believe it is something about this time of year.  Not only is it the holidays, but it is also a new year.

Part of the problem is everything you see or hear seems to talk about how the holidays are not complete unless you are with family and having the perfect holiday get together.  The kids come in from college and aunts and uncles come in and everyone meets at grandmother’s house and it is a big happy event.  Well, very few families can live up to that picture.  Some people have lost all their loved ones, either to death, distance, or being estranged either due to the other person or themselves, so when you see those commercials or hear your coworker talk about their big family events, it really could get a person down.  Even when you have all your family able to come together that doesn’t mean everything is going to be good.  For years we were happy when we were able to get through a family event with no fights, screaming, or other assorted issues.  Someone asked me how my Christmas was and I told them everyone got along, the food was good, and I got to see the grandkids, so it was a great day.  Sometimes that is all you can ask for.

The next problem is we are entering a new year.  This makes a lot of us think about all we didn’t accomplish in 2015.  How we are getting older and time is passing faster and faster, so if we don’t get our crap together we are going to find ourselves 10 years from now in the same situation, just 10 years older with less options.  That can really get a person to fall into a funk.  Then people do that whole stupid resolution thing.  You are just setting yourself up to fail on that one.  So, you are going to get in better shape, how are you going to do it?  Writing a vague list of things you want to change or do different in the next year is basically just writing a shopping list and then not going shopping.  Until you break those resolutions down into workable goals with time deadlines and a plan to make it happen, you are just asking for failure.  You have to be careful though when you set goals, as you don’t want to set goals so easy you can get them done 15 minutes from now, but then you sure don’t want a goal so difficult you couldn’t accomplish it in a year, let alone in a month or week.  One of my goals is to lose 50 pounds before the end of the year.  Good idea, but how am I going to accomplish that?  Am I going to keep doing the same thing I’m doing now up until December 20 and think I can starve for the next couple of weeks and make my goal?  Of course not.  I need to make a lifestyle change.  Do things differently daily, weekly, and monthly.  Have a plan written down of how much I’m going to work out each week, what will I eat daily, keep a food diary, etc., so I have the ability to fulfill my goal instead of at the end of 2016 wondering where the year went and still needing to lose at least 50 pounds.

But, I will get back on track here, when it comes to depression there are so many types that it really is hard to tell if your friend or loved one is depressed, unless they are so far in that they are not even functioning anymore. One of the emails I got this past week asked about hermit mode.  The person goes into hermit mode with some people but not others.  I gave them this quick overview on depression and thought it would be good information for others.  Just about everyone at some time in their life gets the “blues.”  That is when you just don’t feel like yourself.  Some people say they are in a funk.  They just aren’t happy.  They are focused on the negative and feel bad.  This can be brought on by anything from hormonal changes, the weather, etc.  There are some parts of the country where they have such long winters, short days, and gloomy days that people go into depression.  For this type of situation, they get special lights that mimic the sunlight.  They sit under it for so long per day and they get to feeling better.  Most people who are just blue don’t need medication.  They can still function, but are just not themselves.  They probably need to talk to their doctor, but most people should not be given drugs for the blues.

We then get into clinical depression, bipolar, etc., the conditions where the person is so deep into their depression they have lost all joy in their life.  They can’t get out of bed.  They quit taking care of themselves and normally when they get to this point they need medication.  With a bipolar they are either very high or very low and not much in between.  With your clinically depressed they will go into hermit mode not wanting to talk to anyone.  If they are not deep into their depression they may be able to function enough to go to work or do activities of daily living, talking only with those they have to, trying to make people think they are okay, but once they get home they shut the door and try to hide from the world.  But, this is just a short overview of different types of depression, as there are so many types of mental illness that if you or a loved one are acting different, withdrawn, strange, etc., then it may be time to find professional help.  Don’t forget there are a lot of online sites that have questionnaires that can help you figure out if you or a loved one do have a problem.  There are also hotlines to call if you feel like you can’t take it anymore, as nothing is so bad that it warrants taking your own life.  With that said, I promise my next blog post will be more uplifting and fun…  I may even talk about “the girls.”  Until next time….

It is now time to say goodbye to 2015 and welcome in 2016.  This past year I have done a great job of ignoring this blog.  I didn’t mean to, but when it came time to sit down and write I just couldn’t figure out what to say.  I know there were plenty of things this past year that were worth talking about.  There were several times I just wanted to rant about situations, but the words just didn’t come out.  I mean you have the whole Black Lives Matter movement.  I’m sorry, but doesn’t every life matter whether you are white, black, yellow, brown, whatever?  Yes, I’m a white woman who doesn’t have any idea what it is like growing up a young black man, but I am tired of all white people being blamed for slavery, segregation, etc., when most of us were not even alive during those times.  With that said, I am really tired of people saying that those of use who do not want the refugees coming to America are cold hearted, racist, or whatever.  I have no problem with immigrants.  My great, great grandparents were immigrants.  They went through Ellis Island.  If they didn’t immigrate I would not be here, but the big difference is they had to go through Ellis Island.  They had to go through vetting, health checks, and then assimilate into the community.  The problem with a lot of the refugees is they are strong young men with no family with them.  Doesn’t that seem a bit strange?  In a time where terrorists are trying to reek havoc in America, the last thing we need to do is just open the borders and let anyone come in.  If that makes me cold hearted then fine, I think we we need to be more careful than any other time in history, as I don’t want my children and grandchildren to be affected by terrorists we freely let into our own country.

Well, I could go on, but that isn’t the reason for this post.  This blog is going to take a change of direction in 2016.  I have decided to focus on an exit plan out of my career that makes me unhappy.  I was telling a friend a couple of days ago that life is too short to be miserable.  If it is time to make a change then do it.  Figure out what you want to do and figure out how you can make it happen.  For me, I am going to start focusing on my writing.  Fiction writing as a matter a fact.  I have been stalling, not sure why, but have been saying I was going to do this for the past 2 years, but I’m not getting any younger, and my job isn’t any more enjoyable, so what am I waiting for?  What are you waiting for?  What in your life have you always wanted to do but have let life get in the way?  I think for me it was more depression standing in my way, but that is for another post.

I have decided to document my journey onto a new path.  This year I have the goals of losing 50 pounds before the end of the year, draw/paint at least an hour a day, and then focus the rest of my energy on writing fiction. I’m sure I will throw a few posts here and there about “the girls,” as that is always a popular subject, and my journey through life daily fighting depression and knowing others who are struggling also, but the main focus is to help myself and others to make 2016 the year that is the year of true change in our lives.  The year that I/we finally make the changes needed to make a difference in our lives.  I encourage you to go on this journey with me.  Make a list of things you have always wanted to do, places you would love to see, basically a re-connection with the dreams of your past… As it is finally time to make them happen.

When most Americans think of 9/11, they think of the terrorist attack in New York City.  When I think of 9/11, I think of an event that changed my family’s life forever, but it was 9/11/1996, the day in a split second things were never the same.  This year is the 19th anniversary of my husband’s massive stroke.  On the morning of September 11, 1996, we were all getting up to get ready for work, school, etc.  Hubbie was sitting on the toilet getting ready to get up and take a shower.  The next thing I know is he is speech is all garbled, one side of his face is drooping, and at the age of 36 he was having a massive stroke.  I told him to stay where he was and I would get help, but when I returned he was face first in the clothes basket unable to move.  The rest of that day is kind of a blur, between the paramedics coming out and trying to figure out how to get him out of the house.  At that point he was a very big man, so it took some effort to move him.  We were living in a little town called Cleburne, Texas, and when we rolled up to the ER, the head nurse said he isn’t staying here go to downtown Fort Worth to Harris Hospital, where they have the equipment to take care of him, which this is the best thing that could have happened for us.  He probably would have died if he stayed there; they just were not prepared for this type of trauma. 

Next thing I know I am in the ER and the doctor comes out and tells me Gene had suffered a massive stroke, a right ganglion bleed that was too deep to operate on, and could only bleed out 5 cm because after that all organs would shut down and he would be gone within 24 hours.  He stopped bleeding at 4.5.  We made it past the first 24 hours, then a week, and then the doctors started telling me he would be in a nursing home for the rest of his life, couldn’t dress himself, walk, or anything, basically a veggie in a home.  I told them they were crazy, we had three young teen kids, and I was not going to be left by myself to raise them, he was going to leave the hospital and come home.  The doctors told me physical therapy was out of the question, but I had a young physical therapist who told the doctors he was too young not to try.  He could still talk and eat; the rest would come with work.  The main neurologist told us we were all crazy, but agreed to let him going into PT, and he was there for 2 months.  He was in a hospital in downtown Fort Worth and we lived 45 miles away one way in Cleburne.  I already had to do the commute daily for my job in downtown Fort Worth, but now I was doing 2 round trips a day – seeing Gene before work, going to work, going home to situate the kids, back to the hospital to spend time with him before his bedtime, and then home again.  I was living on 2 hours of sleep a night but knew at some point he would be coming home.

Finally, two months later Gene not only left the hospital, he walked out of it.  We had to go by and tell the neurologist that we proved him wrong, and to this day I bet he still thinks about that patient he knew was never going to function again, and he did.  The journey wasn’t easy.  He had to relearn how to sit, stand, and walk again.  Simple things like getting dressed were very difficult, but he persevered.  From that point, I became the breadwinner of the family, which I was not prepared to be and still struggle with, but 19 years later we are doing okay.  We still have challenges with his health, things not related to the stroke, but we make it work.  I know that we never know what is going to happen in our lives and how in the blink of an eye our loved ones can come down with a life threatening disease, airplanes might crash into buildings,  or a natural disaster can hit and wipe out large sections of towns.  We just never know.  What we do know is that we only have so many days on this earth and we need to make the most of them.  When disaster hits, you find out who your friends really are and through their help you are able to persevere, rebuild, and move on.  As we were able to put our lives back together, so were the people of New York, and us as a nation.  Right now there are many Americans who are doubting our ability to overcome the issues in America right now, but we are a strong people, who know right from wrong, and when it comes down to it, we will band together as a nation and make it work, which is what 9/11 represents for our nation.

If you would like to find out more about our life since the stroke, I wrote a book a few years ago that basically helps others understand what to expect if they or a loved one is affected by a stroke.  It is basically a guide of things I wish I had known before he had the stroke.  You can get it at Amazon.com – There is Life after a Stroke.  Till next time….

Well, I must admit I had no idea it had been so long since my last post.  I knew I needed to write new posts, but the last few months I must admit I have been battling my depression.  Every time I went to write I just couldn’t figure out what to say, so just didn’t say a thing.  It isn’t like there hasn’t been a lot of news items that upset me enough to tell my opinion on it, but when it came time to discuss the issue I just couldn’t get the words to form, so finally here we are, three months later and I am finally able to form a thought and put it on paper.  I’m not really sure what started this bout of depression; I think it became a situation where there were so many things that came up that finally it was just too much.  I do know that every year around my birthday I have issues, especially the older I get.  It seems like the older you get, the faster time flies, to the point that every birthday hits and you realize what you have not accomplished, and you have less and less time to get it done.  When you are in your 20s or 30s you can have an epiphany and decide you want to try a new career.  If it doesn’t work out, you are still young enough to start over again at least once or twice, but once you hit your 50s, you don’t really have the time keep starting over.  What really sucks is when you find yourself in a dying profession and you know you need to make a change, but you really need to think hard about what you are going to do.  More than likely if you go into a techie type profession you might end up working for someone who is younger than your own kids, which if you are like me, the first time they smart mouthed you or got snippy you would end up in jail for smacking them, which isn’t a good thing.

The other thing you have to look at is do you really want to go back to school?  Do you want to take the 3 or 4 years to get the degree and then start at bottom of the profession and work yourself up the ladder to where you finally make a good living?  If mean if you are early 50s, by the time you finish school, get in to a job, and then work through the levels of management and such, you are probably going to be in your early 60s and getting toward retirement age, if that is even an option.  I am not saying that once you get a certain age you are unable to be a productive employee, it is more of do you really want to be?  Do you really want to be the newbie at an age where you should be in management or running your own company?  I know that after working from home for 15 years the thought of going back into an office and dealing with all the politics that are normally involved, I am afraid I would hurt someone or tell them to take the job and shove it.  I used to be a wonderful employee.  I was quiet, did what I was told, and always finished what I started.  I was the one you stuck in a back office, gave a pile of work, told me what to do, and then you forgot about me, literally.  I wasn’t the one who was always up and about getting involved in gossip or such, so when it came time to go to lunch or celebrations or whatever, I ended up being left at the office wondering where everyone went.  I just put up with that and wouldn’t say anything.  I am now 20 years older and have come to the point in my life I don’t put up with a lot of crap.  I figure at this point in my life I shouldn’t have to, but then that kind of kills my ability to put up with office politics and not say anything about it.  At least I know this about myself, so it makes a difference when I start looking for an exit plan out of my current job.

The other problem with going out into the workforce again is my evil friend “depression.”  I never know when it is going to hit and hit hard.  When I get to that point I become very unproductive, sit and stare at the computer, and become someone you probably do not want to spend time with.  This isn’t conducive to fostering a good employee/employer relationship, as they like people who do their work, are someone personable, and don’t start crying because you look at them cross-eyed.  Well, I haven’t had that problem in a while as my meds help with that issue.  I know there are a lot of people who have been put on antidepressants who probably just needed to get a hobby, start exercising, or get negative people out of their lives, but there are many others who without medication wouldn’t be able to function in this world and apparently I am one of them.  There are some side effects from the medication I am not thrilled with.  I am not able to feel emotions like I used to, but sometimes that is a good thing, especially when you don’t want to cry at the drop of a hat, but sometimes you feel like you should be able to cry over something but the tears do not come.  But, I am sure those around me prefer the medicated me compared to what I used to be like.  I’m not saying I am always easy to get along with, as I do find myself getting more aggravated in situations that didn’t used to bother me, my patience leaves quickly, and going to the grocery store can become an experiment in whether I am going to get snippy with people or stay calm until I get to the car.  It can get a bit scary at times…

I’m not really sure what the point of this post is, other than for those who suffer from depression, I get it.  I know what it feels like to stare at your computer knowing you need to be working, but you can’t even get your fingers to move on the keyboard.  When a simple shopping trip turns into you trying as hard as you can to not run over someone with your shopping cart and chunk food at them, especially when the lady behind you has hit you three times with her cart because she can’t see we have a traffic jam in the aisle that isn’t clearing anytime soon.  I think you get the point.  I am to the point in my life that I have to figure out my exit plan from my current career while I still have the ability to make the change.  I must say my plan is to start writing posts on my current quest to lose weight and finally learning how to write fiction.  Till next time….

This past weekend a major event happened in Waco, some call it a massacre, at this point I am still not sure what you should call it.  It was sad for those who lost loved ones, it probably should have never happened, but what has really started to come out is the “race card.”  For those of you who don’t know what that is, it is where a person of a certain ethnic group goes on and on about how if the people in Waco were of their color the whole situation would have been different.  It basically goes back to the years where there was segregation of the different races.  As you can tell, I’m trying to be politically correct here, but at times you just cannot do that and still get the point across.  So, to put this in perspective, a group of people I am acquainted with have pulled the race card when it comes to Waco.  The first things out of their mouths was how if it had been “black” people the situation would have gone down completely different.  There would have been the Military, National Guard, etc., etc. and that the police would have gone in shooting before the fight even broke out.

My question is, what news have you been watching?  You had every level of law enforcement out in plain sight.  You had SWAT, Texas Troopers, Waco police, surrounding police, helicopters, etc.  They arrested over 175 people and several are still in jail on a million dollar bond, even though the police department at this time still cannot account for who really shot who.  I wouldn’t be surprised if it came out that the bikers were all shot by law enforcement, so how is that different from if they were all black??  I personally feel the Waco Police felt overwhelmed, went in guns blazing, and started shooting.  If the bikers had really been shooting at them wouldn’t one of the police officers or innocent bystanders been hit by stray bullets?  I think if the truth ever comes out there will be as much of an injustice in Waco as the different incidents in the USA where black men have been killed.

The next thing this group of acquaintances is saying is that if they were black they would have been called a gang, but since they were white they were called a club.  Let’s look below at the definition of the two words:

Gang

1.  A group of criminals
2.  A group of young people who do illegal things together and who often fight against other gangs
3.  A group of people who are friends and who do things together

Club

  1. A group or association of people with common aims or interests   ⇒a wine club
  2. The room, building, or facilities used by such a group (in combination)   ⇒clubhouse
  3. A building in which elected, fee-paying members go to meet, dine, read, etc

To be a true club you have to follow Parliamentary Procedure for Club Meetings.  i.e., parliamentary procedure is the etiquette of organization. It is a uniform, businesslike procedure organizations use to ensure that all members have a chance to participate and yet reach conclusions. Parliamentary procedure is merely the application of good manners.  Most of your motorcycle clubs have this system in place.  They have a Sargeant at Arms, President, VP, etc.  Yes, your gangs have their own structure, but normally there is a head and everyone better fall in line or else.  The majority of true motorcycle clubs follow Parliamentary procedure, so they are a club.

I would like to know when the last time you heard of the Crips or Bloods or whoever that had a Toy Run or some other charity event…  I can’t think of one.  The other problem is have you ever heard of an innocent person dying from a drive by from a true motorcycle club?  But, you hear of young children, women, non-gang members getting shot often by a drive by shooting.  I have even heard of people getting shot in their own home from a stray drive by bullet…  Yes, there are motorcycle gangs, not clubs, that are a criminal group.  The problem is you cannot throw all the motorcycles clubs in to one big group like you also cannot throw all black young men into one group either.

Let’s look at the difference between a motorcycle gang and a motorcycle club:

MC Clubs raise money for their area and donate to good causes.
MC Gangs sell drugs to people, steal fight carry guns and use drugs themselves.
MC Clubs are made up of mostly good people with families and are good members of the area that they live in.
MC Gangs are mostly drug dealing trash that never worked a day in their life except on their bike.
MC Clubs have rides and events that are family friendly occasions
MC Gangs go on rides to fight, party, and deal dope.
MC Clubs may have members such as Police officers, Lawyers, Doctors, Blue collar guys, whatever.
MC Gangs usually have ex convicts for members.

I guess what I am so tired of is the fact that one of the main people who I know that is throwing around the race card is a minister of color, one I have known for years.  One who used to preach how there is no color, how the races need to learn to love each other, and that God sees no color, so we shouldn’t either.  How does teaching this line up with him now talking about how the black man is always being singled out by the police, stereotyped by the media, and will never get a break?  My problem with this is if you keep acting a certain way how do you expect anything to change?  I mean if anything the white people should be rioting over the whole Waco thing.  Why you ask?  Well the police came out and said they had been basically profiling these clubs for two months now.  They knew bad things would happen, so they had to take care of the situation.

We now have dead bikers, most likely by the police, so how is that different from the young black men who have died in the last couple of years by the police?  I know, I know, it’s not the same thing.  But, yes it is.  The only thing different is normally white people do not go trashing their own neighborhoods, shoot at police, and act the fool when we know there has been a wrong.  We peacefully protest, write our blogs, send letters to the officials, politicians, and everyone else who is involved.  We go to the press.  We take matters into our own hands and try to make a change.  If you don’t want to keep the stereotypes then quit acting the fool when you feel you have been treated unjust.  I mean the family of the black men who were killed by police have asked the people not to riot, not to act stupid, not to destroy their own neighborhoods, but the crowd goes ahead and riots.  Of course, then wonder why the main gas station in town will not rebuild.  Why should they?

I am not saying all whites are great, as I know there are many people out there who still believe we should be segregated, but there are more of us who believe otherwise and want to know why you are still blaming us for something that happened to the black race several generations ago.  Don’t you think it is time to quit throwing up the race card, and start stepping back and looking at the true facts of the situation?  Isn’t it time to quit saying it is a black problem or a white problem, but a problem that needs to be fixed by working together?  I try so hard not to see color, but it is so hard not to when every time you turn around it is thrown in your face.  I know I can’t be the only person who feels this way…  Till next time…

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