Saturday, December 28, 2013

Hell on Wheels

Goodbye 2013!

I hope to write something else before the last day of the year, but I wanted to start early wishing this one a big ole aideeooose.

Martha Beck outlines a simple strategy for knowing if you're on the right life track. She suggests looking at what you are doing and how it makes you feel. She says if it feels like you're shackled, limited in mobility and feeling "stuck," that's not what you should do. If you feel happier, freer and more hopeful, you should do more of that.

She calls it "shackles on" versus "shackles off."

Starting 2012, I felt deeply shackled to our store. It leaked money like a sieve, We had way too much overhead and I lived with too much stress. Our relationships with some employees broke down and I wanted Murry to start stepping up.

When 2013 came around those stresses and feelings only got worse. I suggested the employees start looking for work. I told them I would accommodate if they got something else. Finally, at the end of March, I couldn't take it anymore.

One of my workers was so angry with me she told me that ended our friendship. I told her I understood. She's since talked to me and while we're not "best" friends, at least she understands I didn't do it on purpose.

Well, okay, maybe I did. I felt overwhelmed and decided to stop that feeling. I do like that about me. I wont stay FOREVER in a bad place. I will stay maybe longer than I should, but that's just hope.

I've already said this today, but it bears repeating. I will always be the person who digs through horseshit looking for the pony. It's just my being. Again, not forever, but long enough to see what I can find.

After we sold off a lot of inventory and paid employees and as many creditors as we could, we locked up and left. I told the landlord what was happening. He said he understood. I felt terrible. He lost the building.

Since I'm disabled and I was feeling terribly useless, I applied for disability. I got it and got on the health plan. Good thing too. Two months later, I found a lump growing on my leg.

I've outlined that on this blog so I'll just tap the highlights. I got melanoma cancer. I found out that people with albinism, like me, have the cells to produce pigment, but they don't work. These melanocites are what give you melanoma.

Lucky for me, it didn't spread. I spent two more months being poked and prodded and had surgery to make sure. I still gotta be checked to make sure no new lumps come up. As Pooh would say, "Oh, bother!"

On the same day, my hubby came home and tells me the big box store he works is closing its doors. So he went looking for another job at a little box store. They hired him as holiday help and he worked there long enough to get his employee discount card.

Then yesterday, they told him Tuesday is his last day.

My life is pretty simple and I don't want for much. I can handle it, he can find another job of some kind. It will be alright.

Strangely, though I should feel shackles on about him losing the job, I don't. I think it will be okay. Butt.....

Grab a shovel, help me find that damned pony.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Stop! In the Name of Love

I love it when I interact with someone and they come away feeling better than they felt when they started the conversation. Life sometimes sticks and it just needs a little gentle nudge to start moving again.

My greatest asset comes from scouring my memory for connections to sticky spots. Maybe I haven't had that exact problem, but maybe I had something similar. Maybe all I have is a different view.

Biology built pain as a warming. Since we evolved a contemplative mind, we started using emotional pain as warning too. Like a stop sign, pain guides us to avoid certain interactions.

Sometime past experiences come up in our brain and distract us. The pain of these experiences can cause us to veer off the road and send us into a ditch.

I believe that their purpose often gets neglected. I neglect the guidance often. Then I remember that all interactions, even so called "negative" information can keep us on a safe wondrous path.

Use the directions nature gives you. Have pain? Stop, look both ways, when clear, proceed at a careful pace.

Even the most cautious driver makes mistakes. Have a strategy for getting out of the ditch. For me, the most common "ditches' come in the form of what John Bradshaw calls "shame spirals."

Bradshaw says that when we feel we are not worthy and something happens, like we miss an important deadline, we can pile on every misstep and attribute it to our lack of worth. Instead of doing that, have a back up plan.

Many people now carry cell phones at the very least for "emergencies." Find yourself in an emotional ditch? Phone a friend. Text if you must but try a real live human interaction as soon as possible. Make sure the friend doesn't have anything to do with the problem. That way they are less likely to get caught up and wind up in the ditch with you.

Maybe you'll need a mental tow truck? If you had a tough life like mine, therapy REALLY helps. Make sure that you find a reputable one. A good therapy person will help you get calm in order to help you. Though therapy does bring up pain that seems to hurt MORE sometimes, they should never EVER cause it.

Those days when we need more time to sort through our emotional car wreck, put some flares in our tool kit. Phrases that you practice while you're running smooth that you can pull out to alert friends and family that you need help.

I like to ask for understanding without judgement. My most common confidant is Murry so I say that I need to talk and the only responses he can give are "I understand" or "I don't understand. Please explain."

Another flare that isn't mine but Murry's "Too many inputs." It means he can't handle any more information and he needs some time to process what is going on inside his head.

Sometimes our emotional vehicle needs fuel. This can be a literal sense of we need to eat or a figurative sense in we need joyful experiences. When I am upset or in pain, I can both put off eating or eat lots. I try and remind myself that all basic needs serve to keep me in good running order. I check my fuel gauge and fill up on something I really like that is also good for me.

I will look at flowers, cuddle a kitty or puppy, think about pleasant things like the memory of seeing a yellow butterfly land on a purple gladiola. We all have those fond tidbits in our past. Use them to fuel up our psyche.

What emotions would you equate to what road signs? What tools do you keep in your mental trunk to help you out of a problem?

Kind comments welcome.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013


I'm a science geek. I love thinking of things in terms of experiences, experimentation and evidence. This brought me to the conclusion that I doubt the existence of god as practiced in most religious faiths.

Though I haven't spent extensive time studying all tenants of major faiths, my casual examination leads me to atheism. I would adjust my thinking should a reliable source confirm a god like higher power.

I do see many things greater than myself. Things like group think, the ocean and nature in general leave me in awe of their great power. I find social connection to be amazing and it's my belief that biological connection may be behind intriguing studies on the power of prayer.

I'd like to single out the Christian faith for a few events that pushed me more toward atheism. Mainly because I have more contact with Christians.

I grew up loosely associated with the Mormon faith. My youth made it all seem so silly when it wasn't down right crazy. It didn't help that the crazy Mormon lady I lived with disobeyed the faith by drinking Coca Cola. She taught me that even though she demanded rigorous adherence to her ridiculous standards, she couldn't live up to her own set of values.

Later in high school, my friends talked some about their faith and I felt a little left out. Like there was something powerful in their connection to a power greater than themselves. I wondered what I was missing. I am afraid of "the faithful" because of the abuse I suffered.

I do respect other people who choose an organized faith path. So long as they let me alone to believe as I choose.

Still later, at holiday time, I often felt hypocritical because I didn't believe in the faith aspect. I heard another atheist speak of it being a social time of connection and gift giving. I felt a lot better after that. Though I do see some of the rushing around and worry a bit too much stress. I try and stay out of that.

While at the home of some relatives of my friend, I heard a Born Again Christian tell his children that there were dinosaurs on Noah's ark. It saddened me to see someone hold so tightly to their mythos that they fail to realize the power of their story.

This same father refused to take yoga for fear of being corrupted by the Indian mythos. I started to wonder why the power of "Jesus" didn't prevent this from happening? I've heard from other sources that "God" gives believers free will. Okay, I like free will, but what is their faith FOR if it doesn't give them the power to exercise without falling prey to a new faith?

My illusions of faith finally completely broke down after an online conversation with a devout Christian young lady. She desperately wanted to be in a relationship, but said she couldn't go out with men. She was so afraid the man would excite her into a sexual frenzy. Since that would be against "his plan," she refused to date anyone.

This floored me. Again, her belief didn't seem to comfort or guide her. It just kept her stuck. Clearly these people are not typical of all people's of faith. I know plenty of Christians who take and even teach yoga and plenty of deeply faithful young women who date without hopping into bed with the first person who smiles their direction. However, what they showed me was the lack of power in their "Jesus."

I started to feel the power of my own brain. If I don't want to sleep with a man, I wont. I don't happen to have any faith guiding me against it, so I view it as a choice. I can do what I think is in my physical  mental and emotional best interests.

I do understand that some may take offense at my commentary. Please understand that my conclusions are for me. If you find power and comfort in your faith, I have no interest in influencing your choice.

Kind and thoughtful comments welcome.

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Suicide is Painless

No worries, it's just a title used to illustrate a point. I am not at the moment and rarely have feelings of suicide anymore.

A friend of mine lamented online about her job and I asked her what kind she wanted? Her reply that she wanted to shoot herself in the head. I never encourage anyone to hurt themselves, but I never belittle that feeling. I told her that we should save that for a last resort.

Some of us have very real pain and confusion about our feelings. Sometimes we get low that we think there's an option of ending it all. Mostly we want to just stop all the feelings of ouch. Mental or emotional ouch frustrate people looking at us from the outside AND when we look at ourselves.

It takes a lot of effort to figure out what the actual real feelings are, then sometimes those emotions change, hide or turn out to be related to something else. If someone grew up without examples of healthy feeling models, it's so much harder to know how to act.

I STILL cry when I'm angry and get angry over some trivial thing when what I really am is depressed. I had to learn how to be from TV to some extent. I loved the Brady Bunch because the parents got along, they talked about problems and worked toward a solution. The kids got into trouble and got punished in a way that didn't involve crazy acts of senseless violence.

People tell me, but no family is like that. Here's the thing, it's a better model than what I saw. Even as a child, I knew it wasn't "real," but it was still "real enough."

So to people who feel so much pain that they contemplate suicide, I ask that you consider that as the absolute last option. I would remind you that it is a very permanent solution to a probably temporary pain. Maybe spend a few years searching for alternatives that have a potential for alleviating your pain.

Here are some of mine.

Breathing. I breath in on a count of 4 hold for 2, out on a count of 4. It reduces pain and stress and clears my mind. It's way easier to find an alternative with a clear head.

Go for a walk and look at something natural. Sometimes just seeing the sun, a patch of blue sky, a leaf, smelling the smells of "outside," can ease up on the stress. Even cities have patches of nature. Life abides. It clings to the sides of buildings or cracks in the sidewalk. That's life affirming.

I count what I have. As I sit here, I have my fingers, toes, a mind, hearing, a sense of taste, enough eyesight to do what I need and the rest of my body functions well enough. I have a roof over my head and am managing to pay for food, transportation and utilities. I have friends I can call, chat and text. I had enough therapy that helped me gain skills to sort through my low points.

I choose OKAY. I remind myself that things that happened in the past are NOT happening right now. Even if they come into my mind, that was then and now I am safe. I have way more choices and I'm not six or seven years old. No one has power over me and if they try and hurt me, I can call the police and ask for help.

I understand how someone can feel so much pain as to seriously contemplate suicide. I always think, "wow you must be in a lot of pain," whenever I heard someone say that. That's what I want from people I love. Just to hear me. You cannot take away someone elses pain and denying that is the way they feel can often just push their pain deeper.

I prefer to hear, I understand you are feeling a lot of pain, what can I do to help? You don't even have to do "big helps. " just the act of the offer is often enough to help me. I cannot say what will help another, but I think others will respond to kindness too.

One big thing is to let us feel, but you don't have to feel the same thing or anything at all. Our emotions can be overwhelming, but it doesn't help us or you if you get overwhelmed too. Stay as neutral as you can and if you can't handle our pain, be kind  and tell us that you can't. Ask us to see if we can find someone else to talk to.

Even my dearest friends can't handle some of my hardest days. I don't currently have a therapy person, but they're an excellent third party. A well trained person can keep themselves from being washed overboard. Though telling someone to "seek professional help" can be quite shaming. Just tread light and act with kindness.

NEVER EVER suggest anyone act on suicidal thoughts. Saying you understand they are in pain does not support suicide. If you have acted with kindness and the person still speaks of suicide, YOU pick up the phone and call a professional.

Here's a link to numbers to call:

I have not called any of these personally so you will have to investigate their usefulness on your own. 

1-800-784-2433 (National Hopeline
1-800-273-8255 (Suicide Prevention)

1-800-799-4889 (Hearing Impaired)

1-800-448-3000 (Boys Town)
1-800-999-9999 (Covenant house)
Online Emotional Support
Hours Vary - Approx
12hrs daily / 7 days

I'm Alive Crisis Chat
I'M ALIVE - An Online Crisis Network
Suicide & Crisis Chat
I'm Alive Chat

Share with all your friends, please. 

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Here Comes the Sun

The Oregon coast gets a lot of rain. We don't call ourselves the pacific north WET for nothin! So when the sun comes out, it reminds me of that Beatles song, Here Comes the Sun.

I first noticed it when I lived in England for a few months. Since George Harrison came from Britain, I figured he knew a thing or two about rain. I felt like singing when I saw sunlight.

We're getting a few days of respite between storms. Sadly, my man has to work so no "go for a ride in the car!" Ah well. We haven't got any money, anyway.

I'm going to keep this short, today. I haven't been keeping up, and I just wanted to post SOMETHING.

May some sunlight shine on you today.

Friday, September 27, 2013

Coward of the County

"Jail Bars Icon" by Antonu - Own work.
Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via
Wikimedia Commons -
Fear used to rule far more of my life than it does now. It came mainly from a person who put the fear of crazy into me when I was six. I've spoken of her before, but I'd like to expand what happened and why I am far less afraid of her insane rages.

My parents divorced when i was four. I have no idea what happened with them, they were both always too bitter to get to any reality of their relationship. I was told there was violence, but I didn't see any. I believe it in that she had violence in all her other relationships.

Now, this confuses me as one would think that a mother's first instinct would be to protect her children, but my older sister and I went to live with dad. I have no memory of ever being hurt by dad. So maybe it was the best option at the time, but it still seems inconsistent with a mother's love.

Dad had a series of babysitters take care of us, I remember a kindly old grandma lady. I am not sure where they came from, but possibly the Mormon Church. We had this one, Ellen, who I didn't like at all, but she did things with my sister like take her to youth groups and the like. Cokie, my sister, liked the attention.

One day, Cokie and I stayed home from school. I was in kindergarten and she was in junior high school. I went over to the little store down the road to buy donuts and when I got back, there was a lady sitting in her car outside. She knocked on the door and took us both to this place called Child Haven for truancy.

After that, somehow we ended up living with Ellen. We saw dad occasionally but I don't remember seeing him often. I went to school with Ellen's son Teddy for the rest of kindergarten, but in first grade they put me on the bus to go to school with the other sight impaired kids.

Ellen's strict ways manifested in cruelty. I suspect the transgressions that got me in trouble came mainly from "being a kid." She turned toys into weapons by "spanking" me with hot wheel track. She regularly beat me while I was eating and had strict toilet rules. To this day, I will cry if I have to poop in a public bathroom. I try and avoid it, both the crying and the pooping, but sometimes ya just gotta go. I do better if I remind myself that I am safe and allowed to do it.

Once while playing a board game with her son Freddy, he and I got into a tussle over a game piece. Freddy bit my finger to get it out of my hand and I cried out. She called us into the living room where she was ironing. I have no idea why either of us would argue in ear shot of her, but once we were standing there, my biggest fear that someone was going to get burned. Ellen had a different idea.

After she knew the story, she decided that I should bite Freddy's finger. I feel such shame that in that moment, I wanted to make him bleed for hurting me. I'm truly sorry, Freddy, wherever you are.

I have no memory of what I had done to get a beating this one afternoon, but as part of the punishment after the beating, Ellen made me stand in the middle of the room. I passed out and came to in a puddle of my own blood. I'd fallen on a drawer knob and cut my chin open. Ellen did take me to the emergency room and I got stitches in my chin. My dad was there, but I don't know if anyone ever told him anything about what was happening. Cokie never told anyone. I think that's sad that neither of us had anyone we could tell.

During a holiday gathering, Ellen took me with her when she needed to go pick something up from a store. Again, I have no memory of what I'd done to set her off. We were in the car when she started by pulling my hair and thrashing me from side to side. Then she wrapped her fat arm around my neck and began to choke me. I wish I knew what made her stop.

She made a second attempt on my life another night, only this time she didn't care there were witnesses. I don't remember which one but one of her sons was pushing me while we were riding in the back of the car. She slammed on the brakes and told me to get out of the car. She told me to walk in front of the car and get in the other side. I told her NO and I turned and ran into the desert. She would have left me there, but Cokie wouldn't let her drive off.

Toward the end, two incidents stand out. First, I went to first grade without wearing underwear. I didn't have any clean in my drawer and I asked her for some but she said I should just stay home instead. No way was I going to be alone with her so I went to school without any. I don't know why I went on the monkey boars. The look on my first grade teacher, she was so frustrated with me.

This time I remember exactly what I did to get a beating. Ellen took us to church every Sunday and I took two pieces of bread from the sacrament tray. She took me into the bathroom, picked me up by my collar and my underwear and threw my head against the sink. I could clearly hear the congregation, so I'm sure they could clearly hear me being abused.

She put me in the car and after services I saw people file past and stare at me. As I sat there with blood dripping down the side of my head, I cried. I'm not sure if they talked to Ellen or if it was her own idea, but not long after, she took me to Child Haven and told them "She is an unmanageable child."

Mom came into the picture and Cokie finally told that Ellen was abusing me. I had to stay at Child Haven while they sorted the custody.

I carried version of Ellen inside my head that kept me fearful for many years. In my late 20s, I found a therapy guy who helped. He suggested I draw a picture of her in order to confront her. This TERRIFIED me. I had no idea how much she scared me until he suggested that.

She would come off the paper and GET me! He suggested I draw a cage around her. I couldn't figure out how to draw the cage, so I drew me some body guards first. Then I drew her, then I drew the cage. From that moment on, the fear I felt decreased by 90 percent. I didn't even need to "confront" her. The act of drawing her out, confronted enough.

I still carry some damage. When I'm feeling low, I hear "unmanageable child" and feel like I'm worthless. I can usually get out of it by checking on the facts.

I try and remember to hold my head up. I am not defined by what was done to me. In a way, Ellen gave me the gift of courage. She taught me that I can be afraid, and still go on and do something. That's why I write this blog. I want to remind others, wherever you come from, whatever you've been through, it doesn't have to be everything about you.

Lets go do something bold.

Friday, August 2, 2013

The Greatest Love of All

Ego, confidence and self regard require an ability to assess your own qualities. People often confuse ego with boastful. When you can do something well, taking pride in that can seem vain.

Some of us get confused into thinking that denial of our gifts is humble. I think it's quite harmful. How can we expect others to hold us in high regard if we cannot look at ourselves in the same light? I had to learn to just say thank you when I got a compliment.

I sometimes have to practice this with myself. I look at myself in the mirror and just remind me of attributes I like about me. I will say them out loud and add a thank you. I have pretty pale blue eyes, thank you. I can draw, thank you. I love talking to strangers, thank you.

Think of yourself as a different person. Don't go all multiple personality on yourself but just imagine if some stranger was seeing you. What would they say? If you cannot think of anything, think of what other people have said. Even the negative stuff has something. If someone said you were ugly, think about that for a second. Are you? If not, you could say to yourself, "People are jealous of my looks enough to put me down. Thank you." If you think you are ugly, be kind. We all feel that way from time to time.

Look around, the world is filled with perfectly happy people who don't fit in fashion magazines. They're married, they have children and pets and go about their lives. They have qualities that they share with the world.

Show up and be on your own side. Start practicing being complimentary with other people too. Find something, anything, nice to say to strangers. It's so easy and it makes people so happy. It changes how they see you.

Tell the truth in a kind way. Deflect put downs by mild confrontation. "You're doing that wrong!" "Okay, can you show me how to do it right?" If their way is better, use it and thank them. If it's not, thank them for the new perspective and do it your way.

The saying "do unto others as you would wish they do unto you, " can be thrown in reverse. Do unto yourself as you wish others would do unto you. If you want a man to bring you flowers, buy them for yourself. Practice how it feels to get flowers. Write yourself a little thank you note. "Dear me, how THOUGHTFUL! Hugs and kisses."

One major thing that helped me live way better. Choose OKAY! If I can't say anything complimentary toward myself, I can always say "I'm okay, thank you. " There's always "I'm breathing, thank you."

Try a little faking confident. Fake it til you make it, so the saying goes. No reason to truly mislead, but a little pep talk of "yes I can" goes a really long way to build self esteem. The song I used as the title of this has a line, "If I fail, if I succeed, at least I lived as I believe." It doesn't promise a success only journey. It says, you might fail, but go ahead anyway.

I believe in you. Whoever you are. I know everyone has gifts and talents to bring to the world. Shine for your own mirror.

Monday, July 29, 2013

Ya gotta have FRIENDS!

I found romance through my hobbies and many friends too. I used to go to science fiction conventions. After closing my business I have tons of time, though my funds are desperately depleted.

So now I'm on a quest for friendship. I'm golden with Internet buddies around the globe and though I know a few people here locally, I want more. When I posted this on my Facebook my friend Nancy said she hopes I find my tribe. That's it, I want a tribe.

For most non native American's their first tribe comes from their family of origin. Sorry sister and nieces who might read this, but the only one in my family I had anything in common with was my bad. He passed away not long ago. I hope to someday be as ornery and cantankerous as he was.

In the late 90's, when I still talked to my mother, I saw the way she was around people and I felt so sorry for her. She couldn't find much nice to say about anyone. Everyone let her down. When someone lets me down, I move away and have less contact. Not mom, she went back for more. She begged them to be reliable in a constant game of "prove to me the world is filled with assholes." Then she'd whine about it.

In 2000 I went to visit dad on Christmas day. We met at a northern Nevada lodge of a friend of his. We hadn't seen each other in a good 20 years. The lodge filled up with about 30 folks from around the area. Some of the women came over to find out who I was. My husband, Murry, said he could see the information ripple around the room. "Who's that with Gene?" "That's his daughter." Pointing and head nodding.

These people liked my dad and he was friendly toward them. He still had his own idea of a lot of things, but he got along. This struck a stark contrast in my mind. Of course I wanted to be around him more. He had his complaints, sure, and he had his pleasures. That's what I want. A multifaceted grouch.

Okay, we can do without gripe as our main focus! Here's what I want in a friend. Lets start with an open mind. I'd love to be around people who can consider, not necessarily settle on, all sides of a discussion. I think it's great to have standards and positions on topics. But I insist that people I am around at least think about what it might be like in someone else's shoes.

My tribe must be diverse. I love learning about new and interesting cultures. I don't care what god you pray to so long as you have that open mind I talked about. I am not changing my mind on atheism. I love to learn about different professions, hobbies and thoughts too.

I insist my tribe members embrace imperfection. We all need something to aspire to and I admire great beauty. I feel expecting nothing LESS than exactness limits appreciation of the here and now. I make glorious life altering mistakes. Sometimes they turn out to be the best thing that ever happened. You never know where a lesson leads to more amazing experiences.

It'd be keen if someone had a little free time, a drivers license and car and an interest in local roaming. Mingus Park is a nice easy walk, so is a trip around the mall. I know there's a support group for blind people in the area. They used to meet at Baycrest Village.

I want to laugh to the point I may need adult diapers! My most treasured experiences happened around food. Since I'm being careful about what I eat, I'd like it to be healthy.

I want to try something new. Something I have never even considered. So long as it is kind to others and involves very little physical pain to me. Getting matching tattoos is out!

Do you have friend hunting thoughts? Where did you meet your besties? What did you do that made your funny bone ache??

Friday, July 26, 2013

Our House

Though I loved writing the fiction and a couple people have asked for more, I felt more like writing about something else today. I'll write some more fiction later. The potential in that story intrigues me enough to continue it.

Someone inside a Facebook group I'm on asked, "if you were a house, what kind would you be?" Funnily enough, I've already thought about this.

As part of an emotional healing exercise, I started thinking of my inner mind as a beautiful old estate. Since I had an erratic childhood and moved around a lot, many of my prized things got left behind. My mother even lost my original birth certificate. It featured a print of my foot. The beauty of my infancy pressed in onto paper within days of my entrance into this world.

Since things could be lost and stolen, I decided that my memories needed a place to live. Somewhere inside my mental home, I have all the treasures and trinkets that got left behind.

I loved my grandmother and she had a few things that I coveted. My favorite was a small glass and mirror shelf that hung on the corner in her dining room. Whenever we went there, I'd gaze at the tiny metal horse and the little tea set upon it. When she moved, grandma gave her shelf and a few trinkets it held.

When I moved out of an apartment, my sister Kathey refused to let me take the shelf with me. It had some damage on the edge and she regarded it as "junk." I was young and I let my sister intimidate me into leaving it behind. Now that I have my mental house, I can display my prizes prominently  That birth certificate with my foot print rests secure inside an antique safe. I keep grandma's shelf safe in my private bedroom.

My mental estate features a large three story house made of light tan bricks with deep set windows with filigree shutters of dark brown. The front shows off a symmetry of elegance with the same number of windows on either side. The main floor bumps out and the windows to either side of the entry way bay out even further. The slight gray of the shingled roofs on each level compliment the tan bricks.

The stately entry recedes back directly in the middle. Two white pillars frame the cherry wood red single large door. A small window with filigree covering sits in the middle upper panel of the door. It opens to query arriving guests. The white steps and porch reflect the solid foundation on which the estate is built.

Inside, dark paneling reflect a calm elegance. An ornate carved banister to the left leads upstairs framing the entry. straight ahead a set of steps lead into the main public rooms. Before the stairs begin to the left, there's an opening into a parlor set with antique furniture including a rocker with a needle pointed upholstered pillow back and lace topped table.

Most of the residents keep to themselves. Each room reflects it's occupant. Most children have all that they need to entertain themselves. Their desire, above all else, is for stability and calm. Their worlds are private, for now. They used to suffer from a mad woman roaming the halls. She would scream and beat on their doors. A few years ago, as lady of the house, I captured her and caged her in the basement. I assigned body guards to keep her confined. Now we only here the occasional echoes of her rantings.

The memory of my father takes care of the grounds. I see him dressed in green shirt and jeans and a cap like a farmer would wear while out plowing his fields. He lives above the garage. There's a small guest house with rooms for my sisters. My mother turned to ivy lives against the house. She tries to block the windows with her leaves sometimes, but my dad keeps on the maintenance and her covering doesn't last long.

I have many gardens with shrubs, trees and a pond with goldfish, water lilies and lotus flowers. The grounds are kept organized but not so tightly planted as to be formal. In my mind estate, I have many walking paths with trellis covered walkways so I can walk wherever I want. I walked on crushed shells under bougainvillea, climbing roses and wisteria.

I like my creative sense of home. Whenever I feel stressed, I can go there and relax. Parts of me who still need the safety of this refuge can live free and happy or cry and carry on as they need.

I guess in a way this is a kind of fiction. It's all very real to me. I live there and I feel safe, most of the time.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Paperback Writer

I love writing as a profession because I can study any topic that suits me. I just come up with something and find a source of information and learn.

I started out writing fiction and stumbled around a lot with it. I still have ideas come to me, and I desire to write it, I just struggle with getting past doing all the work. I could pour my heart, soul, blood, sweat and tears and end up begging others to read my imaginings. Plus the pay is low for fiction. 

I read an article in Writer's Digest that compared fiction to non fiction word rates. At that time the comparison was 10 cents for fiction to $1 per word for non fiction. Seemed like a no brainer to me! 

I started in college after my divorce and the first classes I took lead me to take my non fiction writing serious. Though the magazine writing class I started with ended in disaster. The grouchy instructor left half way through and I didn't like her replacement. I did, however, meet Felicia who talked me into going into journalism and the school newspaper. 

I did get a lot out of Ms. Grouch before she left the class. She told us about trade publications for police, carpenters and groups like that. They buy articles on all kinds of topics and pay better rates than a general magazine. She also had us reading the Writer's Digest Handbook of Magazine Article Writing. It featured just what a new writer needed to start making a career in the word smithing arts. 

I remember two articles the most. One talked about how to come up with ideas. Even though I have no problem thinking up something to write about, it made me feel good hearing another's method. The second was by Barbara Walters. She said to listen carefully during an interview. The person will say something that warrants a follow up question and you better be paying attention or you'll fail to catch it. 

So I started taking journalism classes. I wanted to write for magazines, but doing news stories helped me write fast, with a bit of pressure. I also used my computer skills and started the college newspaper website. At the time, there were only six other community college newspapers online and neither of our local Pasadena papers had websites. 

I went on to edit twice Pasadena City College's vocational magazine Spotlight. I started freelancing for the Pasadena Weekly and earned a cover slot with my second article. The president of the California Affiliate of the National Federation of the blind, Jim Willows, asked me to create a newsletter for them. I did that until Willows retired.

I moved out of Pasadena and worked on other life stuff for a few years. Murry and I remodeled our house and prepped it for sale. After we moved up to Oregon, we worked on this house. Writing went to the farthest back burner.

I started a blog to write movie reviews for the Coos County Library System. It helped me get back into writing and I really enjoyed exploring the DVD collection. I started this blog a few years later.

First, I worked with a web developer friend and we had the domain name and hosting on his server. His real life distracted him so I moved to Blogger as host.

Initially, I wanted to create a community of recovery from childhood abuse. While I think that's still a part of my mission, I decided that focus left me feeling a bit drained. There's so much more in my heart.

I survived and so can others. I know I can help with fellowship and compassion. I can also share survival strategies with people who just want to be happier and more adventurous.

I neglected both blogs after we started our business at the end of 2009. I learned a lot running a business and I will do it again, but I ended up so drained and depressed for a good three months. I saw a former customer and I just didn't know what to say. It's still raw. I am working toward my survival strategies. I feel this blog is leading me out.

Come with me! Come let the sun shine on our face. 

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Don't Cry for Me, Argentina

I'm reading Brene Brown's book Daring Greatly and she said something that made me cry. Not because it made me sad, but because it made me FEEL. Deeply and hard.

It's my nature to be an emotional person. For the longest time, I thought it was because I am broken, beaten up, split open by bad experience. Like a pomegranite dropped from the top of the tree, my innards exposed. I cry over movies, commericials or a memory. Okay, yeah, it can be hormonal.

I share my life story for you. I get to do my lessons. I share not to ask you to feel sad for me or to feel guilty about your own good experiences, but to remind you to value what you have.

LIVE A LIFE FILLED WITH JOY. Share that with me if you want. My sadness or flashbacks are for both of us to learn from but for me alone to experience. I can handle it. You can handle your stuff too.

Daring Greatly talks about connecting and being vulnerable. Brown says that we all crave the basic need to be loved and well regarded. When others withhold that acceptance, we start to question our value to ourselves.

I want to connect more. I love being brave. I like figuring out new ways to experience friendship. I am worthy because I decide that I am. Commment and connect.

Monday, July 1, 2013

Hall of Ugliness

"You're not ugly, " the email read. Thank you, I thought as I raised an eyebrow to the weird comment. Then I got another one.

In those early days of my foray into the Wild Wild West known as the internet, I knew a few things about how to deflect unwanted sexual advances and ASL requests. My witty repartee of "Why no, I don't speak American Sign Language, that's a wonderful skill, your mama must be proud!" usually left the asker confused. In case you live in the real world and don't know, it stands for Age Sex Location. It's a kind of "hey baby, where you from?" come on. 

Could these strange emails be some kind of trolling for chicks scam I hadn't heard about? I asked around and someone found me a URL to a page titled "Hall of Ugliness." It featured photographs of several women from my ISP. My favorite picture that I had posted on our web page gleamed among the array of women. It's the one I still use today, because it's the best one ever taken of me. 


I love myself and I know I am unconventional because of albinism and very little interest in makeup and clothes. If I were gay, I'd be butch, no doubt! Only a select few find me attractive and I get that. I AM NOT AND NEVER HAVE BEEN UGLY! 

I do, however, have issues with weight. As I looked at the other photographs of the other women, I noticed every one of them were big. Then I got it. Some asshole decided to judge a bunch of women based solely on their weight. Oh, this isn't about me at all. 

My weight acts as a shield. It deflects unwanted attention and reflects emotional scar tissue. I love it for what it's done for me. 

These days I'm working toward being healthier and that involves finding new ways to have protection and resolve emotional pain. This blog for instance, gives me great release. Just THINKING about all those butterflies makes me let go. I'm taking tai chi and eating healthier too.

I will share things when they feel like a reflection of courage and perseverance.

UPDATE 2017: I found a group and concept called Health At Every Size. It shows that weight has little to do with health and that attempting to lose weight in any manner is as much a health risk as maintaining a stable weight. We focus on healthy habits like eating more fruits and veggies, drinking moderately or not at all, regular exercise and avoiding smoking. Also, trying all that weight loss crap simply stressed me out. Emotional health IS health. I have learned to love every bit of my body. I'm fat. So? I savor my food rather than feel judgement about it. Life is WAY better!

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Here I go again!

BOOM! The seat restraints clutch at me like the fingers of a giant grabbing me from behind. BOOM BOOM BOOM the second stage cuts in pressing my head tight to the headrest. My heart races at the prospect of the awesome power surrounding me. Just when I think I'm turning into a giant girl shaped pancake, the rocket breaks free and the grabbing digits eases their grip.

Relaunching and refocusing a blog of this nature feels like going into space. I figured I'd use the metaphor. Lets get one thing straight right away. I have fear. Lots and lots of fear. Sometimes it stops me, sometimes it knocks me down and sits on my face. So why call the blog "My Fearless Life?" Because it was good enough and available as a URL.

Living an awesome life comes with down time, mistakes and do overs. We need time to recover from powerful experiences and we need a contrast to know when something is amazing. Honor all stages and show up and do life.

In the next few days I'll post more about who I am and where I'm planning to go. I'm going to leave the posts related to surviving a rough childhood, but the focus of the overall blog is moving away from that. It's a part of who I am and what motivates me, and I love myself and am proud of my survival. I want to focus more on the lessons I learned.

Join me as I experience My Fearless Life.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

New Focus

I've been away. I had a lot to do with my business so this blog got neglected. I am back and interested in starting again and changing the focus. I'd like feedback on color schemes. More later