Tuesday, November 27, 2012

When Staying Over Your Parents House...

Lately I have found myself staying overnight at my parents house for various reasons at different times. In doing so I have come up with several rules to follow for these occasions.

Rule #1:  Do not pack and wear your warmest pajamas no matter how cold it is.

My parents turn the heat up so high I feel like I'm in the tropics when I'm over there!  The first night I was sweating so much I was crawling around on the floor, looking very much like Mr. Magoo I'm sure, since I didn't have my glasses on, looking for the floor vent so I could close it.  When I got up the next morning and looked at the thermostat, it read 80 degrees!!  O.M.G!!!  There is something seriously wrong with that.  But my dad is always cold and he doesn't like long sleeves.  So in the dead of winter, they just keep turning the heat higher and higher instead of giving dad a sweatshirt or a sweater.

Rule #2:  Do not plan on watching any of your shows while staying at your parents house because even though they assure you that there is cable on the TV in your room, the TV itself is so old the numbers only go up to 20.  The remote is wonky, the TV is weird, the numbers stop at 20.  As if I don't have enough reasons to feel like I'm 10 years old again while at my parents house, this one just drives it home!

And speaking of shows, dad watches the worst stuff on TV.   Westerns. if it's not a game show.  And if all else fails, he watches Gunsmoke or Bonanza reruns.  So Rule #2B is, pack a book or two.  Better yet, just being your Ipad, Kindle, Nook or device of your choice if you have one.

Rule #3:  This rule only applies if you are staying at your parents house when there has been a time change.  Be prepared to change many, if not all, of their clocks.  Most likely they have either forgotten, decided not to bother, don't know how to change them or didn't realize there even was a time change.

Rule #4:  Discard all old, moldy, spoiled and expired food because they never will.  There is that mindset in older people "waste not, want not" so you may have to achieve this one on the sly.  But do it.  Oh please do it!   What lead me to doing this is that I went to make a box of Kraft Macaroni and Cheese for the nieces.  I know, I know it's gross to begin with but kids like it so what can you do?   So I grab a box from mom's pantry and go to make it.  The boiling of the noodles goes fine, I have my butter ready and once the noodles are cooked, drain them and add the butter.  Then dump in the disgusting powdered cheese.  Something is amiss.  The neon orange is not there, instead the "cheese" is red.  Not just a little off from orange, but RED.   And I'm stirring it thinking, "wow, it's really been a long time since I made one of these, I wonder why it's red?"  And I'm stirring thinking it will turn orange.  It doesn't.   I can't shake this "this is just not right" feeling so I grab the box and look at it.  The expiration date on the box was June of 2008!!!  Promptly the whole thing went in the trash.

That led me to grabbing a garbage bag and going through the pantry and refrigerator and going through everything.  I'm sure mom was horrified by all I was throwing out but it had to be done.  It's November and she still had peaches in the fridge!  Do you know how long peaches have been out of season around here?   Is it any wonder that they were shriveled into little pebbles?  And then I found the orange color that was missing from the cheese powder.  It had transferred itself to an unopened jar of pineapple preserves.   Correct me if I'm wrong but shouldn't pineapple preserves be yellow, not orange?  Yeah I thought so.  The date on the preserves was 2010!

After all this, I am very grateful my parents welcome me back.  After all, it's for their own good that I do these things.  At least, that's what they used to tell me when the tables were turned :)

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

When You Want It...

... nothing else will do.

That's kind of how I feel at the moment.   I had a job interview last week.  And honestly, I put no expectations on it at all.  When I applied, I didn't know what I was actually applying to.  I didn't know where it was or what it was all about.  My sister posted the job listing to my Facebook wall, a listing she saw on a friends wall and, knowing I've been looking she thought why not post it to me.  So, sure, what the heck.  I'll apply.   And wouldn't you know, they emailed me for an interview.

When I got that email I almost immediately turned down the interview because it was then that I saw where the company was located, and it was pretty far from where I live.  Probably at least an hour drive each way.  I even wrote the reply turning down the interview, but something stopped me from sending it.  I deleted it and rewrote the reply telling them when I was available to interview that week.  We set it up for last Thursday.  And I kind of dreaded it a little.  The drive, that drive!   It kind of haunted me.

For once, I wasn't really nervous about going to an interview.  My mindset was that this was merely for the experience of interviewing.  There is no way I'm going to take a job with such a long commute.  I'll just go, have another interview under my belt and that's that.  So off I go with my little GPS program for the Iphone.  And a funny thing happened.  It wasn't over an hour, it was about 43 minutes.  Hmmm, I'm stunned by this, but suddenly it doesn't seem as daunting.  The drive was very easy, all highway, and felt very fast.  This is actually doable.  But still, I don't want to get ahead of myself.

Considering I gave myself an hour and 15 minutes to get there, just to be safe, I'm SUPER early for the interview.  I sat in my car for a few minutes, but then just said fuck it, and went in.  It was small, with a little sitting area with a leather sofa, a huge dry erase board in front of it, a funky swag light, a bookshelf and a very large portrait on the wall.   On the other side there were three cubicles, one of which was pictured in the job listing when I applied.  And no people.  No one was there.  One of the cubicles had a nice computer set up that was running, and well, the door was open so I knew someone was around.   So I sat on the sofa and waited, looking around.   What I noticed immediately was that the computer set up was Mac.  Ahhh Mac!  I'm a Mac girl through and through and part of the problem I'm having with my job search is that I don't have much Windows/Office experience and that is what most everyone wants.

After I'm there for a few minutes, a guy comes out of the back and is a little surprised to see me.  I tell him that yes, I'm super early because I didn't know how long it would take me to find the place.  He  has long hair, is wearing jeans, and the pièce de résistance, he's wearing a Radiohead t-shirt!  I immediately feel at ease and like I have really stumbled upon the right place.  And so the interview commences and it's amazing.  The place is a start up, but it's gaining speed and things are moving fast.  They need someone soon and it's all clicking into place.  This is where I want to be.  This is where I belong.  This job was made for me.

Alas, I have to meet with the other partner who is not there that day so we immediately set up a second interview.   That was this past Monday.  A second interview?  What do I do?  I have a standard interview uniform that I wear, but now that I have a second interview I can't exactly wear it again.  So I must find something else.  I settle on black pants, a black tank top and a zebra striped cardigan over it. And as I'm getting dressed I realize that my tits have a mind of their own and refuse to be contained in the tank top.  I'm standing in front of the mirror and all I see is cleavage.   This just will not do.  I cannot go to an interview with a CEO of a company looking like Busty McGee!  I'm slightly panicked because I don't have a huge wardrobe and I don't know what I'm going to wear now.  I tried, really tried to pull the tank top up so it wasn't overly revealing but it just didn't work.  I finally settle on a different zebra sweater, one that buttons to just below the neck with no chance of a wardrobe malfunction.

And I'm off.  Once again I'm stunned by the shorter amount of time it has taken me to get there.  Again it was about 43 minutes, give or take.  This time when I walked in, only a few minutes early, both guys were there, working at their desks.  Yes this is a small office.  It would be the two guys and me.  That's all.  That is my kind of work environment!  What I mean is small... no politics, no bitchy back stabbing.    That was how my last job was, just me and the director and it was great.  I worked there 10 years and loved it.  I have everything they need.  I have all the qualifications, experience and I'm ready to just start.  But for whatever reason, the second interview has made me feel self conscious and a little uneasy.  The person I met with this time wasn't as laid back as the first and I didn't have that immediate feeling of relax, even though the first thing he said was that they were informal and I should not feel uptight about the interview.  And so we talked, and it was nice and he was nice but I didn't have the same feeling.   I guess it's because this guy kept talking about my commute and how far I live and he said even though that in and of itself is not a deal breaker, it is a concern.

I left there unsure of myself, unsure that I would be able to land this job.  They plan to make a decision soon, so now it's just a waiting game.  My hope is that they do not find someone with the experience I have who is closer to the office.  In my thank you letter for the interview I made it very clear that I want this job, and if you're so inclined you can again steal my line, "I really hope you'll give me a chance to prove to you what an asset I would be to your organization. "  I liked it.  It's not vague and conveys my desire to work there.  That should count for something shouldn't it?

Thursday, September 6, 2012

And Now, Some Levity

As some of you may (or may not know), every Wednesday I go to my parents house and take my mom out to do her weekly shopping and whatever else needs to be done.  A few weeks ago she wanted to return a top she bought at Macy's because she didn't try it on first and it didn't fit.  So we did that and then headed over to the shoe department.  Alas, like most woman, my mom and I are shoe fanatics and Macy's had some shoes on a 75% off clearance rack.  Mom found a pair she liked and so did I.  She headed up to the counter to pay and I said, "did you try them on?"  She said no.  So I became the mom and said, "try them on because if I come over next week and you say you need to return your shoes because they don't fit, I'm going to be really pissed!"  So like the dutiful faux daughter she is, she tried them on.  And she bought them.

Sure enough, when I got there this week she says, very sheepishly I might add, "I have to take the shoes back to Macy's."  I'm perplexed, she tried them on.  I saw her do it.  But they don't fit.  They fit when she tried them on sitting down, but she didn't walk around and her toe was right at the tip and thus, too small.  Oy.  And then she tosses in, "by the way, the new Clinique gift is in at Dillard's so I want to get that too."  Terrific.  Now I'm not just going to Macy's, I'm going to the mall, something I hate to do.

The shoe return goes by easily and uneventfully.  Then we head to the other side of the mall to Dillard's.  The Clinique counter is jumpin!  Jumpin with a bunch of old ladies just like my mom who are chomping at the bit to get their free gift.  The free gift that, by the way, my mom complained about on the way there. "blah blah blah, it's always a make up bag!   Why can't they give us something other than a make up bag??"  To which I say, "um mom, they sell make up."  Anyway, the line is comprised of a bunch of old bitties who want their freebie.  So we wait.  And I take a spritz of Happy (which I love), and wait.  And wait.  While we wait, mom decides to get out her Dillard's card so she's prepared.  What's this?  She can't find it.  In her large menagerie of credit cards, of which she has a separate wallet for, she cannot find Dillard's.  She's got everything else under the sun, but Dillard's isn't there.  It's not really any big deal, they can look it up, but it's the principle of the thing.  She used the card to buy something online several weeks ago and the card is most likely sitting on her desk by the computer.  She decides she'll just use her Visa.  OK.  Whatever.

We wait.

Finally it's our turn and mom hands the salesgirl the bottle of the make up she wants.  Because you do realize of course that you have to spend $25 to get the free gift (worth about $10 no matter how much they seem to want you to think it's worth).  She gets mom her make up and now the fun starts to happen.  I swipe mom's Visa for her, because mom quite often refuses to put on her glasses and therefore cannot see well enough to work the little machine where you swipe your credit cards.  All the while I'm playing mom and she's playing daughter as I bitch at her for not putting on her glasses and say, "just give it me!" and I do it myself.  The salesgirl is amused by the scene in front of her.  The Visa doesn't go through.   Why?  Because it's expired.  So then we tell the salesgirl that she does not have her Dillard's card with her.  Not a problem, she tells us.  She can just look it up and tells mom that there will be a series of questions on the little screen on the credit card machine.  Oy.  She still didn't put on her glasses.  So she struggles to see the questions until, of course, I get annoyed enough to say, "just let me do it!"  Of course I realize this is her ploy all along.  I just keep falling for it!  And salesgirl continues to chuckle.

Something is still amiss.  The machine keeps asking the same questions over and over, going back to the beginning.  Salesgirl doesn't know what is happening so she decides to call direct.  Luckily we were last in line so we aren't holding anyone up because this is taking awhile.  Salesgirl gets an automated call and tries to input the information mom has given her.  But it is doing the same thing as the machine was, and going back to the beginning instead of giving her the card number.  What the fuck is going on?  No one knows.

Salesgirl comes up with a new idea.  She will go about the process of opening a new account for my mom and when the system realizes she already has one, it will give them the account number.  OK, have at it.  So as mom is giving salesgirl more information, another one pulls me aside and says, "Some dude (actually she knew his name, I don't remember it because I don't know jackshit about the Browns) from the Cleveland Browns was in this week and he bought $4,000 worth of merchandise and his transaction didn't take this long!"  We laughed, although I think I cried a little on the inside.

They are finally done and viola!  A new account is opened in my mom's name.  This is not what the salesgirl told us would happen.  At this point though, it doesn't matter.  I want to get the hell out of there, mom wants her fucking free stuff and the salespeople probably hate our guts.  The transaction is mercifully over and we leave.  As we are walking, and mind you, we aren't even out of the Clinique area yet, mom turns to me and says, "Oh... the Dillard's card is in your father's name."

Deep breath.  I swear I cannot make this shit up!

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

This. Is. Crazy.

Dear Lalia 12 years ago,

I know you just left a job you loved, and not by choice but by circumstance of the branch being closed down.  It is what it is.  But girl, you have mad skills!  You are in demand so don't take too much time off.  Get back on that horse and find the next job of your dreams.

Love, you

Dear Me,

But, but, but....  You know as well as I do that I probably never would have left my job voluntarily.  So now that it's been taken from me, it's my chance to do something completely different, completely out of the box.  I love to cook, what if I try starting my own catering business.  I can work out of my house and it'll be great!  That's what I'm going to do.

Thanks, love you.... Lalia

It was great.  For a short time.  Until the economy took a nosedive.  Until I realized I couldn't cater jobs by myself.  Until I didn't have enough room in my house to store large trays of food or to cook large trays of food.  Until it wasn't great anymore.  So where does that leave me?   It's 12 years later and the economy is still in the shitter.  Money is tight and I need to work.  So I decide to go back to what I know, office work.  Well that's what I thought I'd be doing anyway.  There are jobs to be had, but the pay scale is so awful it's hard to wrap my hairdo around what is going on.

I had a job interview this week.  It sounded really good, interesting, different and even fun.  And the best part, they use Mac computers.  I'm a Mac girl through and through.  I love all things Apple.  I cried when Steve Jobs died.  I want to change my name to iLalia.  And Mac jobs are few and far between.  They pretty much don't exist unless you are in some kind of graphic design field.  This job is not exactly graphic design but along those lines.  It was pretty exciting to be called for an interview on this one.  So I went and all was well.  The job was nothing like anything I had done before but they seemed interested in me.  They seemed thrilled with all my Mac experience.   So I am liking how this is going.  Until they told me the salary.  $10 and hour.  Seriously.  $20K a year.  Do you know anyone who could live on that?  Me either.

OK yes, I've been out of work for a long time and I realize I have to start over.  But that is less than I was making 12 years ago.  Cost of living has changed.  Gas prices have changed.  Everything has changed.  I never thought I'd be making less than I was making back then.  Maybe the same, but most likely I expected a bit more because of cost of living changes.  So not the case.  

So what does one do, other than brood and cry and lament the fact that by trying to establish my own business I have in essence ruined my life.  Maybe that's not true, but it feels true.  There are so many things I want to do.  So many things out of my reach because I cannot find a job that will pay me enough to make those changes happen.  Do I change course and try a whole different line of work again?  Go with what you know seems logical.  But how can you go with what you know when everyone is struggling so much that companies can't pay better salaries?

When I'm in an interview and am asked the question, "What are you looking for?" My standard answer, with pauses at the appropriate times so it looks like I'm just making this up on the fly (ha!), is "Well... I'd like to be in a place where I like the people I'm working with.   Where I don't dread going everyday and where I'm doing work I can be proud of."  In both interviews I've had, I've used this line (it actually was on the fly in the first interview and went over so well I decided to use it again in the next one).  Both interviewers loved it, so feel free to use it if you find yourself in a similar position and are asked that question.  The thing is, it's not bullshit.   I do want to be around people I like, doing work I can be proud of, in a place I won't dread going to.  I'm 46 years old, on a fast track to 47.  I don't want to be one of those people on Facebook who posts some whiney ass graphic every Monday morning that declares how much Monday's suck.  I just want to be able to make ends meet.  It's not really a lot to ask.  But at the moment it feels completely unattainable.

PS... sorry all my posts are so angsty lately.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Missing Natasha

I wrote this 8 years ago, after losing my girl Natasha.

I know a lot of people were wondering where I was last week, and to everyone who sent emails asking if I was ok, I thank you. The fact, is, no I'm not ok. Last Saturday, September 4, I lost my sweet kitty Natasha. I know in a time of such horrors as war, car bombings, kidnappings and death and whatever else plagues this world, some people may not think having to put a cat to sleep is such a big deal. But I'm here to tell you, it is a very big deal and this is our story.

Sixteen years ago this month, I was single and living in an apartment with a roommate, Tom. We decided we wanted a pet and into our lives came Hobbes. Hobbes was an adorable gray tiger striped kitten who was just as sweet as can be. She was by my side constantly and unfortunately this is what caused us to eventually give her to the humane society. One day, while Hobbes was still a kitten, she was trying to get on my lap as I was sitting at the kitchen table. She missed, and instead hit her head on the underside of the table. She suffered a concussion and was really never the same kitten again. She became mean and prone to fits. She was more than two working people who aren't home days could handle so we opted to give her to the humane society in hopes that she can find a home where she could be cared for. That same day, I had heard about a woman nearby who's cat had kittens that she wanted to give away. My friend and I went to go see them and I instantly fell in love, with both! One was a gorgeous little black and white tuxedo kitty, hanging from one paw from a bookcase. The other was the most unusual looking and beautiful kitten I had ever seen, what I learned then was a tortoise shell kitty. I took them both, in hopes that the companionship would be better for them, since we are out all day.

Fast forward to sixteen years later, and they have been with me all this time. When I married N almost 11 years ago and moved out of the apartment with T, they came with me. Boris and Natasha have always been my babies. They have enhanced my life more than I can ever ever express in words. Boris, the mild mannered tuxedo kitty who has nothing but love to give and wants nothing more than to be held and loved back (and an occasional treat of canned cat food). Natasha, the ornery little troublemaker who can make you laugh so hard, you can't believe you were ever mad at her in the first place. She loved to give kisses (we call it a kiss... you pucker your lips for her and she will head butt them) How did these two incredibly different personalities come from the same litter? It's amazing.

About a year ago, Boris became ill. He went from 14 lbs down to 9 lbs at such a rate, we thought we were going to lose him. He was diagnosed with diabetes and it became a daily routine to give him 2 shots of insulin a day. Just as we began to marvel at how far he has come and rallied, putting back on just about all the weight he lost, it was Natasha who became thin.

On Thursday, September 2, we noticed the weight loss. But she wasn't acting any differently. Natasha is the kind of cat who, even at this age was still like a kitten. She played, she ran, she chased Boris. She never seemed to slow down until that day. On Friday morning, September 3, I called our vet, Dr. B, who has cared for them both since I got them, and made an appointment to come in. I was told right then that he was leaving the country to see his ailing father and I had to come immediately. His office is an hour from where we now live, so I headed right out the door with Natasha in her carrier. When I arrived, Dr. B saw me holding Natasha from another room and asked, "What happened to her?" He could tell something was very wrong from a seeing her in my arms a room away. I told him we didn't know, she's been fine until the day before. He drew blood and noticed that she was very pale. He took her temperature and it was very very low. I had told him she didn't want to eat that morning, but he gave her some special food and she ate it right up. We had hope based on this. He said the results would be in the next day, and that his sub would be able to read them and diagnose what was going on, so we went home.

About 2 hours later, I called N at work and told him he had to come home. Natasha was getting worse by the minute. He left work immediately and was home within half an hour. By that time, Natasha could hardly walk as her back legs kept giving out on her. I called Dr. B's office and told them I would be bringing her back. Panic is setting in and this is when the tears started to flow. When we brought her back, the sub vet, Dr. L, said that she could be in liver or kidney failure because she couldn't keep her back legs up and that was a classic sign. This is getting worse by the minute. We decided to leave her in their hands because they wanted to make sure she would be hydrated. She was placed on an IV for the night, and I was told by Dr. B's wonderful assistant C that I could call her at 8:30 am when she arrived to see how Natasha did overnight. Dr. L would be in at 9:30 am and would call me with the results.

As you can probably imagine, I didn't sleep much that night. Asleep by 3 am, awake by 6 am... I updated my message board readers on what was happening and waited the painful hours until 8:30 when I could call and see how she was. C informed me that Natasha had knocked out her IV overnight... how typical of my feisty little girl... but she was standing. She wouldn't eat, but she did take a drink of water. Now I had to wait another hour for the test results call. C assured me she would make it a priority for Dr. L to call as soon as she arrived. She called about 9:45 with the horrible news that my baby was in almost full kidney failure. She had only 15% use of her kidneys left and there is no recovery for this condition. N and I are absolutely devastated by this news and we headed straight to the vets office.

Once we arrived, Dr. L and C tried their very best to keep us calm and told us that we had a chance of getting her stable so she could live up to a year. If she stayed hydrated and ate, it was possible for her to rally some. They taught us how to use an IV, prescribed a pill that would stimulate her appetite, and told us to give her absolutely anything at all that she would eat. They also loaned us a heating pad for her to lay on because her temperature was still so low. We were scared and upset but had to give it a try so, armed with Dr. L's home number, and a promise from C that we could reach her too, we took Natasha home. We tried, unsuccessfully throughout the day to get her to eat. She looked like she was going to eat the cat food she ate at the vets office, but she just sniffed it. I made her an egg, soft, so she could just lick it... but she wouldn't touch it. I gave her milk and she did take some, but only a few sips. She couldn't lie still for very long, I think her discomfort was getting to her. She kept getting up and moving, even though she could only go a few steps. She went to her water bowl and wanted to drink so bad, you could see it. But she couldn't do it. Amazingly, she went to the basement to pee, at least once. We figured we would take turns taking her downstairs in case she had to, but she did it on her own. We did carry her up when we realized where she had gone.

The realization of what was going to happen hit when we tried to give her one of the appetite stimulant pills and she threw it up 5 minutes later. She was so weak and throwing up took so much out of her. She wasn't going to eat, no matter what we tried. She wasn't going to drink. Around 10:30 pm on Saturday night, through a mass of tears, we decided she'd had enough and we couldn't let her go on this way. With our vets office closed until Tuesday, we had no other choice but to take her to a 24 hour emergency animal clinic. I called ahead and told them what we would be coming in for and they said they would be on the lookout for us.

When we arrived, they put us in an examining room, took Natasha from us to insert an IV cath, and then brought her back. They told us then that we could have as much time with her as we wanted. Nick and I cried and cried and told her how much we love her. I kissed her about 10,000 times and just wanted to hold her forever and never let her go. When we realized we could stay there all night holding her, we called in the the vet. They ask you if you're ready... but how can we ever be ready to let our baby go? We told him we were though, and he explained what he would be doing and how the injection would be instant. We stayed, and pet her and kissed her and told her how much we love her. And in a moment, her head dropped and she was gone. It was the most gut wrenching experience of my life and as I sit here telling you through my tears, I can see her little head drop and hear that awful sound. But even so, I wouldn't have it any other way. I would never have left her alone at that moment. The people at the clinic, people who had never met us before that night, were so kind and so compassionate. They hugged us, and made sure we were ok. And a few days later we received a lovely condolence card from them. I felt awful that the vet who took care of her since the beginning of her life, wasn't there at the end of her life, but they were wonderful to us.

I returned to Dr. B's office on Tuesday, to return the supplies and thank them for all they had done. While I waited for Mrs. B and C to be available to talk to me, a woman I had never met before saw the flowers with Natasha's photo and said how pretty she is. I burst into tears and she immediately realized I had lost her and came to sit with me, hold me around the shoulders and telling me how sorry she was. In fact, as I went to buy the flowers I walked into the store and asked for help. Crying, I told the woman what they were for and she began to cry and tell me how she lost her dog only two weeks before. Animals have such a deep bond with us. It's amazing what happens when you tell people you lost your beloved cat.

Mrs. B (the doctors wife) said she would be talking to her husband that evening and knows he will be upset and want to see us when he arrives back on the 16th. Of course I would like to see him too. She told me that she had come to take him to the airport that Friday morning when I brought Natasha in the first time and he had refused to leave until he saw us. He's such a wonderful man. I gave them the flowers with the photo of our little Natasha, and we looked at other photos that I had brought and I cried and cried, while their compassion and love of all animals helped me heal some. I told C to take as many photos as she wanted, and she said she would really like to have one of Boris too, so she took one of him, and then one of Boris and Natasha together.

I want to thank everyone who already knew, who followed our progress on the PVB Message board, once again for your kindness, your cards, ecards, flowers, emails and poems. Special thanks to D and to CT. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for your care and concern, for your kindness and your compassion. N, Boris and I will never forget it. And please know, we are keeping Boris close and watching to make sure he doesn't go into depression without his sister. Thanks again xo

Friday, August 17, 2012

Frustrated Part Two

After all the unnecessary angst, the trip to Chicago was very very nice.  My mom was in heaven being with so much of her extended family that she doesn't see much anymore.  And it was nice for me to get to know some family I never really knew at all.  The drive was not too long but kind of boring (straight and nothing to see but a lot of cornfields).  My dad did very well with the people we hired to come in and check in on him, and my aunt and uncle came by to see him several times.  All in all, everything turned out beautifully.

Aunt Lucy's 90th birthday party was held at an Italian restaurant in Naperville and was just lovely.  The food was delicious, the desserts were to die for, and Aunt Lucy had a wonderful time.  She was so surprised by all who had come from out of town.  There were pictures of her throughout the years from very young until now.  Balloons that said 90 years old on them.  She wore a lovely corsage.  On every table were placards with things that happened the year she was born.  No detail was left out.  It was really special.

And then it happened.  The fucking bitch cousin of mine who was not invited because she's a fucking bitch and is always getting in people's faces and causing trouble (and she's 48 years old!!) found out about the party.  How?  The bitch was snooping around on my Facebook page.  She is not on my friends list and I have my FB page set to friends only, so I don't know how she did it, but she saw a post I made about being in Chicago for my aunt's 90th birthday party.  Can you even guess what she did with this information?  I bet you can't.  Because normal people don't think this way or react this way.  She called up 90 year old Aunt Lucy and SCREAMED at her.  She ripped her up one side and down the other about not being invited to the party.  She blamed her, she blamed my aunts son, she blamed my mother (!!), she blamed everyone but herself and her own fucked up behavior.  She succeeded in upsetting Aunt Lucy greatly, but did not succeed in causing any regrets.  In fact Aunt Lucy got a big dose of why it was the right move not inviting her.  And she said that no matter what that fucked up bitch says, she cannot take away the beautiful time she had.  OK, Aunt Lucy didn't call her a fucked up bitch, but I don't know what else to call her.  Aunt Lucy said it was the best day of her life and nothing can take that away from her.

I can't remember if I have mentioned this before, but this is the cousin who lived with my Grandma and made her last years so miserable.  She would yell at my Grandma that way, for no reason, and there was never anything we could do about it because my Grandma always defended her.  It made me crazy.  The woman is seriously disturbed and I hate her fucking guts.  And whenever I think she is out of my life for good, that we have no more to tie us to each other, she comes back into our lives like a cockroach.  A diseased, disgusting cockroach.  She even had the audacity to tell Aunt Lucy that my mom and I turned everyone against her.  Yeah we did that.  It has nothing to do with the fact that she's a psycho hell bitch.  Seriously, like I have the time or inclination to bother turning anyone against anyone else.  It's the rantings of a lunatic.

At any rate, I don't know what happens from here.  Something?  Nothing?  I don't know.  Aunt Lucy's son may want to take it up with her and quite frankly if I wouldn't blame him.  The mind boggles at someone who would bitch out a 90 year old who merely attended her own surprise party and was not a part of the invitation sending.

And with that, I turn my rant off and leave you with a song that reminds me of my darling psycho hell bitch of a cousin..

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Frustrated Incorporated

Joblessness aside, my frustrations are still many.  Bear with me, I'm going to vent a little (or maybe a lot, we'll just have to see how it goes as I begin writing).  Back in June right after I interviewed for the job I wanted, my mom asked me if I could drive her and my father to Chicago the weekend of August 10.  And she asked again a few weeks later.  And she asked again a few weeks later.  And she asked again a few weeks later.  My standard answer each time was, "It all depends on if I get the job or not."  This fact apparently didn't sink in, thus the continual asking.  Finally this past week she asked yet again, for the final time.  Silly me, I had just figured that since I clearly did not get the job, the answer was obvious... yes I'll take you.   I didn't want to do this.  But it's a family event and something that is extremely important to her.  And as usual, there is no one else who could do it.  Why?  I have no idea.  Lots of family from Cleveland are going.  Why they couldn't help out this once and take my parents is a mystery.  But that's besides the point.  I am now taking them.  You may or may not know that my father is handicapped and this makes everything much more difficult.  We can argue that this is why no one else wanted to take them (and frankly there would be no argument, that's the reason, mystery solved).

Two days after we establish that yes, I'm taking them, mom says to me (very casually I might add), "you do know your father's not going right?"  Um, how would I know this unless you told me?   And she hadn't.  Apparently dad threw a fit, screamed and ranted and said he was not going and she couldn't make him go.  Suddenly this trip takes on a whole different dynamic.  I'm not trying to sound cold or unfeeling but if you've ever been a caregiver (and I have), you know how difficult it can be.  My mom is his main caregiver now and giving her a weekend away from that life, that stress, sounded good.  It sounded good to her too.  That is until I asked what Dad will be doing for the weekend we're away and she said, "he wants to stay home alone."  Oh no... oh no no no that is so not going to happen!  At this point my mom just kind of shrugged and said, "if that's what he wants to do, then he can do it."  She said he was going to call his brother (my uncle duh) and ask him to come by a few times and check on him and that was that.  No.   This is not enough.  Granted my father can do a lot more for himself than he does, but I don't think 3 days alone is the time to test those waters.  And mom was just so focused on being away, seeing her extended family and just basking in the time to herself she wasn't really thinking clearly.  And she's 80.

When I went home that day I called my brother and we talked about the fact that dad should not be alone all that time and were trying to think of solutions.  All was calm, no drama.  Although I will say that I was a tad bit annoyed that my brother (and his nurse wife, hello!) did not offer to go check on dad at all the weekend we'll be away.  Remember that no help I was talking about?  A day goes by and all is quiet.  And then, it's Friday morning and at 8 am my sister calls from Alabama in a tizzy.  She's in an uproar because dad is going to be alone that weekend. I'm just waking up and I'm confused.  Everything was being worked out as far as I knew.  But as it turns out my uncle was busy and could not come by to check on him (not at all, all weekend.  Remember that no help I was talking about?).  This is the story of my life.  Everyone is too busy to help out.  I don't get that luxury.  So as I listen to her rant and rave and try to bark out orders on what has to be done, my cell phone rings and it's my brother in Florida.  I hang up with sis to talk to him and he too is in a tizzy, although his tizzies are calmer and more level headed.

Apparently all hell broke loose on Thursday and I had no idea.  Mom got in a fight with Cleveland bro, who seems to think mom is being selfish for wanting something for herself and basically told her so.  Aunt told mom "I cannot believe you would leave him alone a whole weekend," thus piling the guilt trip on her more (even though she and my uncle couldn't be bothered to check on him).  Mom in turn tries to force dad to go to Chicago and the screaming escalates to fever pitch.  Florida bro just happened to call mom after all this happened and she was upset and crying.  No one bothered to tell me any of this at the time.  Instead, Florida bro and Alabama sis spoke to each other and decided they needed to step in.  This may sound counter to what I've said previously about no one stepping up to help out but if they are going to panic every time something happens, then they need to butt the fuck out.  They do not live here.  They don't know how things are on a day to day basis.  They always end up making things worse.  Help is only good if it's actually helpful.  If they had just called me when all this shit was going down (drama drama drama!!!) things might not have escalated.  But the sad fact is, no matter how much I do for how long (I have been basically in charge of my mom and dad for 6 years now) I am still the youngest (even though I'm 46) and I am still looked upon as not being able to handle anything.  Newsflash, I handle EVERYTHING.

So as Florida bro is telling me about a call he put in to a friend who has an ill father and wondering what she does when she needs help (a good idea), I tell him that our cousin is a paid companion for the elderly and, even though he's going to Chicago as well, maybe he knows someone.  He likes this idea so I hang up with him, call my sister back and tell her.  She's down with it, and then I call mom and, although I don't yell at her I do make it very clear that I'm very unhappy that she did not call me and inform me about all the angst.  And that I had to find out from my out of state brother and sister what is going on with her and my father, whom I see every week and talk to almost every day.  Then I tell her what I'm going to do and she too likes the idea.  I call my cousin, we talk, he gives me the number of the place he works for.  I call, they are incredibly helpful and understanding.  This is what they do. They are hired.  We have someone coming in each day from 1 pm to 7 pm.  They will make him lunch, hang out with him for the day, make him dinner, clean up and go.  Lalia to the rescue yet again.  Wouldn't it just be easier if everyone could realize that I know what the fuck I'm doing.  I know how to handle stress situations with our parents.  And if they can't just fucking chill and come up with a solution without all the drama and screaming, they should all just shut the fuck up.

And PS we're all pissed off at Cleveland bro for offering NO help whatsoever.

And now that that is settled, I hope to actually enjoy the weekend in Chicago with my mom.

Thursday, July 26, 2012


Several weeks ago I wrote about my first job interview in 11 years.  Against all odds I landed that interview and against even more odds, it went amazingly well.  Seriously well.  In fact it went so well I thought I was a shoe in.  I tried not to think that, but I felt it.

I was pretty terrified.  I guess in the big scheme I don't know why I'm filled with such terror.  Really, what's the worst that can happen?  They don't hire me.  Anyway, the very first thing he said to me was, "I don't like to conduct traditional interviews, I'd rather just talk."  BIG PHEW!   I can talk to anyone.  This was going to be a breeze.  And it was.  We hit it off so easily and talked about everything from what the company does, and what they expect of the person they hire to what I've been doing for the past 11 years and my work experience previous to that.  We talked about how we both have iPads and talked about some of our fave apps.  And as we were winding down the interview and he was giving me the particulars of when they want someone in place, he said to me, "let me get you all the new hire paperwork."  Holy shit!  Now do you see why I thought I was a shoo in?   I know I've been out of the job game for awhile but is that the norm?  When I got home and opened the packet it consisted of company policies, a form to fill out if I want direct deposit, insurance applications.  All the things you need when you are hired at a new company.  

After that interview I felt amazing!   Confident and calm.  Happy and feeling like yes, everything was falling into place.  It was amazing.  It's very true that when you are feeling that good about yourself, people notice and look at you differently.  I know this because right afterward I was pumping gas and must have been smiling or something because the guy who was pumping gas into his motorcycle at the pump across from me was staring.  Then he gave me the up and down look and, I shit you not, I got one of these...

And I'm all...

I had several days of being on cloud nine.  So confident and at the same time shocked that it was happening.  It was really happening.  I made a plan, followed through and it was all happening according to that plan.  

And now it's a little over a month later and nothing.  No job.  I did all the right things.  I wrote a thank you note after the interview and mailed it, with a stamp and everything.  I emailed a few weeks later to make sure they knew I was still interested and when I still didn't get a call, a week or so later I called to find out if the position had been filled.  At that time I was told it hadn't, that I was still in the running and that a decision would be made within a week and I would hear back either way.  That was two weeks ago.  I haven't heard back either way.  I suppose we could argue that since I haven't heard anything either way that they delayed the hiring again or haven't made a decision.  But the confidence I was feeling has plummeted and I now believe that I have not gotten this job.  And the unfortunate thing is that I have no other interviews lined up.  I never stopped sending out resumes, but I have nothing on the horizon.  And that sucks.  Patience is definitely not my best thing.  In fact it's one of my worst things.  I want what I want and I want it now.  I hate waiting.  I hate that I have to count on other people to help me make things happen.  Can't we just get on with it!

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Tag Tag Taggity Tag

Well thank you Ms. Redhead!  My friend Janine over at Reflections from a Red Head has tagged me this cute bloggers game.  Questions, answers, tags... all kinds of fun stuff and a nice little distraction from all the angst of late.

Here are the rules:

1.  The first rule of the tag is never discuss the tag... wait, no, that's not right.

1.  Post the rules
2.  Answer the questions the tagger set for the post
3.  Create 11 new questions to ask the people you've tagged (or use the existing ones)
4.  Tag people with a link to your post (it says tag 11 but I don't know 11!)
5.  Let them know they've been tagged.

Here's my Q & A

What is the thing that makes you want to get out of bed each day?  Who says I get out of bed each day?
What do you tell yourself to get through painful, difficult, or challenging times? It had been: "It has to get better."  I DO NOT and I repeat I DO NOT EVER say "it can't get much worse" because it always can.   But lately I'm trying to go more along these lines...

What can you look back on and remind yourself you were successful at, or were strong enough to come through?    My father's illness, eight months of hell, doctors, surgeries and recuperation. 
Look around you at this moment and choose one thing to smile about or be thankful for. What is it? My beautiful kitties Murphy, Jett and Bowie.  
If you could do anything at this moment to make yourself happy, what would it be? No comment. =)
Do you have a special place, real or imagined, where you go to in your mind or reality to regroup, seek peace, or just be? A nearby park that I haven't been to lately because it's about 95 fucking degrees outside every day and I can't cope with the heat.
Has there been a particular book that you have read that inspired or motivated you to seek your potential? "Fear of Flying" by Erica Jong.  There is so much in that book that made me sit back and think that there is so much more to life.
What childhood fable, fairytale, or movie stretched your imagination and sticks with you today? Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory.  The Gene Wilder version.  It showed that no matter what your station in life, you can achieve your hearts desire.  And there's chocolate!
What is your favorite form of art and artist (anyone and anything you consider art qualifies)? Music.  Music speaks to me.  It's always there for me.  It helps me cope.  It cheers me up.  It commiserates with me when I'm down.  It never hurts me.  

Do you have a personal anthem, a song, that reminds you of who you are and want to be, that represents the ideal of you? No, I really don't think I do.  I'll have to think on that one.
What did you experience while answering these questions? Some introspection.  A little sadness.  Some pride.
And now the taggies.... (remember, no pressure.  you don't have to play if you don't want)

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Scary Exciting

I'm standing on the edge of some very big decisions.  Huge, life changing decisions.  Decisions that I have spent years thinking about.  Decisions that will change everything as I know it.  Every. Single. Thing.  It's terrifying and exciting. 

I've been complacent.  Content to live a non life.  A life of sameness.  Where nothing new ever happens.  Where no trips are taken.  Where going out has become a thing of the past.  Where I feel like I'm drowning.  Where I feel more like 76 than 46.  And the breaking point has built and built over the years. 

I've heard myself say this and when I hear myself say it, I think it sounds so fucking stupid, but it's so very true.  I ran a very popular website and message board for 13 years.  It took a lot of time.  More time than I ever really knew until I let it go in January.  Once that part of my life was closed, the amount of time I had was unreal.  And the amount of time I had to think about how I wanted different things really started to weigh on me.  And weigh on me.  And weigh on me.  More and more my thoughts turned to things I want to do, to accomplish, to change.

I've said before that it's been pointed out to me that perhaps I am having a midlife crisis.  And I've said before that I don't think that is what is happening.  And I don't.  I think I have just finally woken up.  I have finally seen that a life of nothingness is not fulfilling. The decisions that I'm making are painful and difficult.  I don't know what's going to happen.  I don't know if once the decisions are made if I will be happier.  That's the thing about really big important decisions... you have no way of knowing if they are the right ones until you actually make them and then either way you have to live with them.  So yeah, pretty scary.

So what do you do?  Do you risk everything for a chance at something better (and also risk something far worse?) or do you continue on the path of safety?  Safety sucks.  Safety is boring.  I think I'm really done with safety.  I want more... so much more.

And that brings up another question... am I being selfish?  Maybe, probably.  But so fucking what.  For so long I have lived my life for everyone else.  Everyone but me.  And I finally realize there is something wrong with that picture.  I'm 46 years old and I'm not getting any younger.  It's time to live for Lalia.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

And So It Begins...

This Friday I have my first job interview in over 10 years.  Quite honestly, I cannot even believe it's happening.  I haven't been looking all that long, I haven't applied to too many places and I've had a very defeatist attitude about it.  My reality is that I have not worked outside my home for 11 years.  I do not have a very professional look.  My skills are rusty.  This doesn't exactly sound like the makings of a good job candidate IMO.  My friends kept telling me to be confident.  That any company would be lucky to have me.  That my life experience over the past 11 years is invaluable.  I kind of thought they were blowing smoke up my ass!  But maybe it worked.  I started to see things a little differently.

And then a miracle happens.  After only about 3 or 4 weeks of looking, company saw my resume online and actually wants to meet with me.  It's an interesting business and it's in my ideal location.  I have an interview on Friday.  I'm absolutely terrified!

I haven't been in an office setting for so long and when I was it was so laid back.  In fact, it was just me and one other person and most of the time she traveled so I was alone.  I loved it.  Quite frankly if that office hadn't been closed down I might even still be there.  Eh, maybe not.  I think I would have had to eventually branch out and discover myself.   But that's besides the point.  I'm talking about the here and the now.  And the now is, that I have a job interview.  On Friday.  And I have 3 days left to prepare myself.  I need clothes to hide visible tattoo's.  I need to familiarize myself with the company.  I need to find a portfolio in my room of crap and make a few copies of my resume to have on hand.  I need to calm the fuck down and take everyone's advice and just go in and be myself.

It's my first interview and I don't expect it to equate to actually getting a job.  I suppose stranger things have happened, but it seems unlikely.  I guess that's probably the wrong attitude to have as well so I will have to adjust that mindset by Friday too.

I've discovered so many things I want in life over the past year... well discovered is probably the wrong word, it's more like realized or even let myself finally think about those things, and the first step in getting what I want is getting a job.  Once I have it, then plans can be made and things can start happening.  It's an exciting time, a scary time, and OMG a seriously amazing time in my life right now.  The biggest thing that I have realized through all this self discovery is, it's not too late!

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Times Are A-Changin

Is it a midlife crisis when you reach a certain age and discover you want something completely different out of life than what you already have?  I guess some people would call it that but I don't think it is.  I think it's self discovery.  Over the past year and a half to five years, so much about my life has changed and it continues to change.  It's scary and exciting all at the same time.

Things started to move in a different direction when my dad got sick.  I dedicated a year of my life to his care.  Maybe that doesn't seem like a lot, maybe it does.  To me it does.  Because I continue to be the go to gal for my parents.  They have come to depend on me a bit more than I care to admit.  And I struggle with it.  I struggle with my own feelings of wishing they were more independent.  They can be, they chose not to be.  And I try so hard to force the issue.  But you cannot teach old dogs new tricks.  They are dependent.  And it will only get worse.  To some degree I allow it I suppose, because they will not do things for themselves.  They just refuse.  So my feelings are, on the one hand, resentful.  Resentful that I don't have the help with them I need or the the time to pursue my own dreams because they take up a lot of my time.  On the other hand, I am thankful that I am able to do things for them that they need.  I hear myself thinking, "when they are gone you'll be so happy you were able to be there for them."  That's true, I will be.  But at what cost to my own personal well being?

Through these years since dad's illness, I felt in the back of my mind that life was passing me by.  That I had nothing for myself.  That I needed something for me.  I had my websites, and they kept me busy.  And then, all that changed.  It was time to move on from the main website, the one I have had since 1998.  And on January 20, I did.  And when I actually did it, I felt a weight lift from somewhere deep inside.  Don't get me wrong, the site was very good to me.  I met some wonderful people and had some once in a lifetime experiences.  But it weighed me down.  It blinded me to how empty I was feeling.  It masked how I was feeling inside.  And now that it's gone, I feel ready to pursue new challenges.  I want to do more, see more, experience more.  In my own mind it seems so strange.  How could ending a website bring all these feelings out of me, especially since it was something I loved?  I don't claim to understand it.  I know that since ending it I have wanted so much more from my own life that I didn't know I wanted before.

Changes are coming.  I'm actively pursuing work.  I love my little business but it's not enough for me anymore.  The work is sporadic and not fulfilling.  On the one hand change is terrifying.  Who would hire me after being out of the work force for over 10 years?  I don't want to change who I am, I want to change what I'm doing.  Is my purple hair going to be a problem?  Probably, but I'll cross that bridge when I come to it.  And what if I fail?  What if things don't turn out how I think they will.  But the thing is, I can what if myself to death.  There will always be a scary "what if" lurking somewhere.  I have a pretty amazing support system and I'm really excited about the future.  There is something to be said about breaking out of your comfort zone.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Do You Believe?

I woke up this morning with a start.  It was later than I usually wake, around 9:15 am.  I had been awake for part of the night/morning and finally fell back asleep somewhere after 7 am.  Immediately I realized my heart was racing.  I had been dreaming about my friend J who passed away in late March.  We were sitting at a kitchen table.  If I really look around it was not my house, it was not her house.  It was not the house I grew up in, which is where I usually dream dreams of being at home.  It was my Grandma's kitchen.  I don't really know why I would dream us in my Grandma's kitchen, J had never been there. But if I had to guess I would say that it indicates that J and Grandma are together.  But I don't know.

I had so many questions for J, mostly about what is going on with her family.  Very recently I have been aware of a situation within her family that is most unfortunate.  It happened after she passed.  So I asked her about it as I fussed around trying to make coffee or something.   She sat at the table, looking so beautiful and so peaceful.  If I really think about it and concentrate on this dream, someone was in the living room waiting, and I think it was my Grandma.  Sure wish she had come into the kitchen to say Hi, but I think she was there for moral support for J. 

We spoke about the situation and she told me how she knows her son will get through it, that he is strong and has good support in his dad.  I was relieved to hear that because watching from the sidelines has been difficult and I keep wondering if I should reach out to him and see if he's OK.  It cannot be easy for him to be going through this so soon after he lost his mom.  She told me that he has, of course, moved back home and things would be OK.

We didn't talk about her but I could see by looking at her and being near her that she looked at peace.  She told me she was fine.  She looked the same as always.  She had her hair, she wore her glasses.  She was my J and she didn't want to dwell on herself, just wanted to assure me her son would be fine.

So, do you believe that was an actual visit or just a vivid dream?  I believe it was a visit.  It's happened to me before with a friend who had passed away a long time ago.  M was only 21 at the time, I was 22.  He died of a brain tumor and I was devastated to lose him.  I had a very hard time coping.  It was my first serious brush with losing someone so close to me.  It was several weeks, maybe even months after he passed away that I saw him.  I could not get him out of my mind and cried a lot.  Then one morning, as if in a dream, he appeared to me.  He sat on the edge of my bed looking almost luminescent.  He told me he was fine, to stop worrying about him and to go on with my life.  I was filled with such peace after that and was able to move on.  I've never forgotten him or that visit, obviously, but I was able to move past it. 

I think you have to be open to such visits for them to actually occur.  I would give anything to have them more frequently.  I would love to see my Grandma, J, M.... hell even Butthole can come visit me if he wants to!  It's beautiful and meaningful and has given me a sense of calm about losing J.  Seeing her looking well and knowing my Grandma is with her, showing her the ropes if you will has been amazing. Maybe it's crazy to believe that, but if something like that can give me peace, so be it.  I'll take the crazy label.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Life is Too Short

Regular readers to this blog know that I recently lost a very good friend to cancer.  Yesterday I was handed another reminder of just how short life is.  It was my niece's first communion party.  My brother had told me about a year ago that his good friend JA has cancer, pancreatic cancer no less.  Devastating news.  JA is literally the only friend of my brothers that I ever liked. Ever.

Bro is 8 years older than me, and so we never really hung out in the same crowd.  He didn't approve of things I did and in general he always acted more like a father than a brother.  But JA is cool.  He's a super nice guy and he always had my back where bro was concerned.  I remember when I was just out of high school and between jobs.  Bro got into a pretty serious accident.  He was working landscaping at the time and was on a tractor when his shoelace got caught on the gas peddle.  He couldn't get it out and was thrown from the tractor with his foot still attached to the gas peddle.   The tractor dragged him for a bit, tearing his shirt off and then most of the skin off his back.  It was horrible!  His back was completely raw.  He came back home to stay with us while he was recuperating.  My mom was too nervous to do the things that needed to be done for him, like change his dressing several times a day and clean his wounds, so I did it.  I took care of him for several weeks while he recovered.  I didn't do much of anything else.  And then JA came over to see him. JA took me into the kitchen and said, "go... go out.  Do something else, I'll stay with him."  A much needed break that he knew I needed, and I went.  And I never forgot it. A bond was formed that day.  From then on he was my friend too.  JA is someone I love.

When he got married it was like he was my kindred spirit.  Married on Halloween, he and his wife had a costume wedding and he was Frankenstein and she was Bride of Frankenstein.  I think those who know me know how I feel about that!   It was awesome!

In the best of times, or the worst of times, JA was always there.  When my brothers friends were calling me a freak and asking bro why I looked the way I looked, JA had my back again.  He stood up for me with the closed minded.

And now, on the occasion of my niece's first communion party, bro told me JA would be there.  My niece is his goddaughter after all.  But he wanted me to know that JA looks drastically different.  Both bro and sis in law let me know that he is almost unrecognizable. And I thank them both for preparing me.  Because I don't think I would have been prepared for what I saw when JA came in.  He had aged a lot and was so painfully thin it's hard to even imagine, let alone see him.  It has been less than a year since I last saw him and it seems like way longer.  He was still the same JA as always though, even given this dreaded illness that he is trying to fight.  I tried hard not to talk about that, when you're going through it, do you really want to keep telling people about your treatments and things?  I imagine not, so I didn't bring it up and we just talked about general stuff.  He stayed a little while, ate well and soon had to leave.  In all likelihood that was the last time I will ever see him.

When the party was over, I thanked my sister in law and bro for letting me know what to expect ahead of time, and still, I wasn't prepared.  Sis in law said that he told someone at the party that he doesn't have much time left.  And that is when I broke down.   Much like J, JA is exhibiting a strength and dignity that I am simply in awe of.  I didn't want to lose J, and I don't want to lose JA.  I know I have zero control over that, but it sucks.  I hate it.  I don't want to lose people I love.  Who does really huh?

Life is too fucking short.  The more things like this happen, the more I tend to reexamine my life and want to make some changes to it.  Being content with sameness is unacceptable anymore.  I'm 46 years old.  I'm not getting any younger.  If something happens to me, like with J or JA, will I have a full life to look back on?  I don't know.  I know there is something missing.  I know there are so many things I want to do.  I know that I am going to go after what I want.  I just wish it didn't take such devastating losses to wake one up to these truths.