Fear and Love

So.

I’ve had a real home for a few months, had a shift change, and am now held again to my IDP. (Individual Development Plan as you remember).

New team manager can be a bit of a stickler, and he is gonna hold me to it! (Thanks, Mr. Man. I definitely need the motivation/prods).

It’s not that I don’t want to write. I do! I really really do! There is just so much going on in my twisted little head…

First.

There is of course a fear of starting back up. Writing on a regular basis means commitment!

Other than my high and lofty goals, set out 1.5 years ago, I haven’t written regularly since 1993 when my best friend in the world, the mate of my soul, and one of the most loved people in my life Kevin, died.

He was so young. Just 30 when AIDS took him.

This was before the first cocktail went into trials. This was back when people were so afraid of AIDS that they freaked out at the mere thought of knowing someone affected. I remember my mom being worried because I used to hug Kevin, and even (OH MY GOD) kiss his cheek. She was frightened – afraid that I would contract the disease from that kind of contact.

Back then, people weren’t very informed. There was a LOT of hysteria about the disease. The docs didn’t know much, and the general populace, even less.

I however, knew that we were OK. If he didn’t have an open sore on his cheek (and yeah. Whose gonna kiss a cheek with an open sore anyway. Really?) I would be fine. It wasn’t airborn, so hugs were FINE.

And, at that time, we were both in need of hugs.

I had miscarried my first baby, and he was in the midst of an ugly breakup with his boyfriend. Ex-boyfriend was still his roomie – because they couldn’t afford to live separate. Ex-byfriend was bringing new boys home every couple of evenings – and in the end, had a “live in”. Poor Kevin. His heart was given, and he tried to be stoic, but I know he was hurting. His heartbreak was mine.

I loved Kevin from the first time I met him, at the Denny’s where my first husband waited tables early in our marriage. (He worked there, and I had a job as a subcontractor for the USGS, doing data entry). He worked there as well, and when I came in for all night coffee, waiting for Rick to get off, Kevin never minded if I had a table in his section.

We would talk about books, politics, religion… any and everything that could or would come up. Debate, and discussion, and even if we didn’t agree (which didn’t happen that often, surprisingly) we had a rousing good time, often ending with heading out to breakfast when his shift was over, to discuss more!

It was with Kevin that I saw the movie “The Accused”. Jodie Foster playing Sarah Tobias, in a film that was loosely based on a 1983 rape case, involving a woman gang raped in a bar in MA. SHE was the accused, because she “dressed and acted provocatively”. This movie had me in hysterics. Kevin was able to calm me down, talk me down, help me feel not so violated watching the movie. (I have some serious empathy issues – and when I can relate, Nellie bar the door!)

It was with Kevin that I learned about non mainstream religion (read paganism, in all of its forms) and started to come to an understanding of what the divine means to ME. It was with Kevin that I learned to be a bit more open. Kevin was like a brother I didn’t grow up with, but had he been NOT gay, or I a man, he would have been my love. My one and only. And I would have been his. In the bodies/lives we had however, that was not to be.

Kevin was also my writing buddy. Both of us had the fire. The need. The want. We would read, and critique, and edit, and then reread each others work. He was a maarvelous author, and he had faith in ME and my writing as well. Of course, thinking back on what I was writing then, I cringe. SO fraught with meaning – symbolic as hell, and oh my gods preachy? I should say SO! Ugh. I hope that when I get up the courage to try to write more than my little blog posts here, that I will have found I have grown, and that I am better for the wisdom I have gained.

Still, and most importantly, we were both writing. Kevin was in school – taking classes at the community college, and writing stuff for his Creative Writing course. He also had a filebox full of titles, snips and ideas, as did I.

1993. Kevins HIV positive status had tipped over into full blown AIDS and he had Kaposi Sarcoma. It was invading his legs, feet… pretty much the entire lower half of his body, and with HIV, yeah.

There was a close call in November of that year – where I (as executor of his estate, and Power of Attorney for him) was told that his family should be called – he wasn’t likely to last much longer. He was out of his head – delirious.

Of course, this happened when we were in the beginning stages of a full blown blizzard in Denver. Still, I went to the airport (20 miles give or take each way) three times to get his parents, and each of his brothers as they flew in and take them to the hospital.

Turned out, the staff at the hospital had given him a drug that was dehydrating his brain, and hadn’t given him saline in his IV to help. Once someone realized that, he was more himself.

At that point though – I had another meeting with the hospital staff. His condition wasn’t going to get better, and they wanted me to choose a hospice facility.

It was a happy chance that the one closest to where I lived (only about 6 miles) was also rated the best. At this point, I was spending 18-20 hours a day at bedside, making sure he was never alone. After he got moved to the hospice, he became clearer, more focused. The staff there was awesome. He however, was breaking my heart. He kept talking about “when he got out”. I didn’t want to face it, but I had to.

“Kevin, hon. This is a hospice.”

“Yeah – I know. But when I get out – ”

“Hon. The reason you are here, is because there isn’t much time, and we want to keep you as comfortable as we can until…”

“You mean I am going to DIE here?”

“…” (with a squeeze to hand, and tears in my eyes)

“Why the FUCK didn’t anyone tell me? Mom and dad have been talking about when I go home. There’s so much I need to do before I die! So much I need to get out. Please. Make sure my stuff gets done? My books and stories get written? Finish them for me?”

(This is pretty much verbatim for how that conversation went. It is seared into my brain.)

And for the next week or so – I took notes. And listened. And committed to memory. And spent time with my best friend, my soul mate, as he slipped further and further away.

Finally, on December 3rd, 1993, we were in the sun room, and he was giving me more information about stuff he wanted written. Ideas he had, and novels that were conceived, but he was wandering a bit. A couple of nurses were in the room as well, having a smoke break. (This was back in the day – most places still allowed smoking, and in this hospice, that sunroom was the smoking room.)

They looked at each other, and then at me, and the sadness and compassion in their eyes told me exactly what I was afraid to hear/see. “Why don’t we get Kevin back to his room now for a bit? I think he is probably a bit tired.”

They got him back into his bed, and then went to hunt down his family. I stayed there, holding his hand, and a couple of minutes after everyone got there, he was done.

I leaned over, and kissed his cheeks, his lips, his eyes, and whispered into his ear that I would write for him. I would remember him, and I would love him forever.

Now, 20 years have passed. I still love Kevin, and I miss him every day. Some thought of him comes most every day for me still. He was and is, a part of my life that is precious, and beautiful. I have NOT however, fulfilled that promise. I stopped writing.

Apathy. Fear. Heartache. These invaded my life, until it became easier to make excuses than it was to make stories.

Writing this blog was supposed to be a way back to the joy – but I have been letting fear (and a bit of real life) get in the way of that.

Fear is the biggest part here. I have been left with a huge responsibility. Write his stuff – and do it justice. Write my stuff, and do IT justice.

I am afraid. He was such a marvelous writer – and I don’t know that I CAN do this. He had faith in me, but I am having a hard time finding that faith in myself. Can I write it – get it out, and get it READ? If I do, would it be what he wanted it to be? Would it be good enough?

These thoughts haunt me, and I find myself sinking into a quagmire. If I don’t try, I won’t fail.

If I don’t try however, I can’t succeed. I will also have broken a promise made to someone I loved, and still love with all my heart.

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Serious and Important.

So.

I said I was going to try to be more fun, and HAVE more fun with my posts, but then something happened this week.

A very good friend of mine had something truly horrific happen with and to her family. Her oldest son was accosted, beaten and kicked, by TWENTY children. While a coach at the school stood by and did nothing. The school wants this shoved under the rug, saying that it is a “one time thing that probably won’t happen again.”

**I** happen to think that ONCE is too many times! Seriously. What is WRONG with people?

Thank goodness a passing parent ALSO saw what was going on, chased off the kids, and called the police.  This could have had a much different and infinitely sadder ending but for that.

Instead of trying to post something fun, or funny, I am going to do something much more important.

I am going to post a link to her blog post about this. I think it needs to be shared, and reposted, and spread about until the school has NO CHOICE but to do the right thing.

                                    Dylan’s Story

I hope that anyone who reads this – y’all see the seriousness, and get this out there! ❤

**Oh – and for y’all that play World of Warcraft, this is a GREAT site about healing, and leading, and all that fun stuff!  I highly suggest checking out the other posts here.  Elunamakata and Braelyan ROCK!

Favorite

So a friend of mine posted a question on Facebook today.

What is your favorite movie? And why?

He asked that it not be answered lightly, but thoughtfully.

My answer? Life is Beautiful. Roberto Benigni and Nicoletta Braschi. Awesome, inspiring stuff.

This gorgeous, amazing, haunting, uplifting and tearful movie has been my favorite since I first saw it in 1999.

What a story. A Jewish man, in Mussolini’s Italy during World War II. Falling in love, and winning the love in return, of a gentile. A description doesn’t do it any kind of justice at all.

Life, and love, and imagination, as well as the fierce protective love of parents for their child, and spouses for each other.

A serious and thoughtful story, told with humor, and hope and a joie de vivre that lifts the heart, soothes the spirits, and makes one feel!

Of course, when I wish to rewatch, the hubster doesn’t want to be around. Not his cup of tea. Not enough gunfire and explosions, not to mention sub titles. /sigh.

Oh well. I know that I have it, and can watch it any time I start to feel a bit down about life. Any time I start to slip into the kindergarten “it’s not fair!” mode that can hit. This movie soothes my soul, making me laugh while I cry, and renews faith in the good that can be found in the world.

I have been uncomfortably fascinated with World War II (the European theatre of the war) since I was a child. In part, because I still can’t understand how hatred, and mob mentality, and following orders, could reach that extent. Not going to Godwin this post, however. This post isn’t about not understanding, it is about beauty!

Guido. His “Principessa “. Their beloved son. Love for each other, and for son, and sons love for father, and mother. Just memories of this movie tug my heart. Think I need to cut this short, and go watch it for the twenty eleventh time.

What’s your favorite movie, and why? If you want to share, I would love to see!

A Year’s End, and….

So very very tired.

It has been a heck of a week, and there are still a couple of days before it ends, and I can crawl back into the cave for the weekend, and to usher in the New Year.

I have never been one to go out and party like its 1999 on New Years Eve. I don’t want to be on the roads with the idiots, and I certainly don’t want to usher in the new year with crowds of people I don’t know. (Can you say nightmare of EPIC proportions?)

Used to be, we would have a few friends over, play board and card games all night, toast in the New Year, and everyone would stay the night so that no one had to deal with trying to drive. (Heck. I had a 4 bedroom house, with living room and family room – more than enough sleeping space!)

Now, Hubster and I ring in the new year together. We will play cribbage, or other two handed card games, maybe a round of Trivial Pursuit (It is a race to see if I can answer an easy sports question before he answers an easy literary one). In Massachusetts, there wasn’t anyone I wanted to ring the new year in with, and here, the few people I might wish to have around, work extremely different schedules, including working that night, are major hermits in their own right, or LIKE the party scene!

New Year for me is more than “party”. It is indeed a new beginning – a fresh new year in which to make changes, even if I don’t plan them out as resolutions. I do still have a list of things I want to accomplish (of course, I love lists! Remember?) but I don’t set the same type of goals that are more traditional for this time of year.

This week has been hard for a couple of reasons.

First, for the first time EVER, I was seriously on track for breaking the “Higher than expected” threshold for productivity in my company for the whole month – for the first time ever! I usually sit very very solidly in the range of what is expected. This week however, my numbers have taken a dive, and it looks like it isn’t going to happen. I only have a couple more days to make up all the ground I lost, plus the .5 or so extra I needed. Just a matter of bad luck with issues, and some health type things making me a bit more draggy than normal.

On the quit smoking front. I haven’t been able to get the ecig yet, and the training from the round of Chantix is wearing off. I find myself smoking more again, and again, was “borrowing” cigarettes at work. I hate that, and I hate people that constantly mooch, so they just started traveling there with me again.

This poses a couple of problems for me, personally. I was diagnosed almost a year ago with beginning stages of COPD. I have chronic bronchitis. Now, COPD has no cure. It is degenerative. It will get worse. Smoking will make it get worse quicker. I know this. It is why I started the round of Chantix in the first place. I know that I need to do this. So, why can’t I? I have willpower. I am able to exercise it in virtually every other aspect of my life, and to great result. With this however, it just isn’t working.

I’m tired of people saying “just quit”. If it were that easy, don’t you think I would have done that? Seriously. I do like to breathe, and to do so easily.

Maybe your Uncle Bob has better moral fiber than I. I Maybe he was just stronger. I am happy that he was able to quit a 40 year, 4 pack a day habit cold turkey without anything more than his resolve. As for me? I don’t really know. All I know is, I set out, with great resolve, and fail. Miserably.

I have had a couple of situations at work that haven’t helped this week.

There are all sorts out there, and when a company has a client base that is very very large, it is inevitable that during the course of years working, one will run into all types at some point. I got two of my least favorite, most draining this week.

The first, is the complete crazy. I am talking possible psychotic break here. Trying to deal with a person who seems to have no concept of reality, and is completely overtaken by the world they perceive is both tiring, and sad. Unless you agree with everything this type says, it gets hairy, and rather scary frankly.

These are not the normal, passionate, “GIVE ME WHAT I WANT/CHANGE IT (whatever “IT” is) NOW!” people one runs into on a daily basis. These may show some of the same earmarks, but there is a difference. Tangible, and quite obvious.

I am sincerely hoping that these people do end up with the help they need to rejoin reality. It is draining to deal with though. I am lucky in that I have only had two such people in my almost 3 years with the company.

The other type, are the ones who threaten harm to themselves if whatever they want doesn’t happen.

I don’t know if people in other CS jobs have this issue. I can’t imagine people phoning their cable company, or their cell phone provider, and using this as leverage to try to get what they want. Then again, I don’t really understand it in any situation.

Normally, a suicide threat is one of a few things. It may be the equivalent of “Imma hold my breath til you give me the pretty pony makeup set!” that children try on parents. It may be that they have been told by others that these types of words will get the issue looked at faster, and so, it is added to the original petition to try to “jump the line”. These, while my heart does the odd double thump upon reading the word, I can handle, and manage to get through after a small panic attack.

Finally, it could be credible. These are the ones that worry me the most. I am deathly afraid that I will get a credible, have it misread, and then read in some news post that a life was lost.

Tonight, I had one that scared me. It was a simple statement, as part of the petition text. When talking to the customer, the talk was brief. He didn’t argue. I didn’t mention the “threat”, at the direction of my superiors. I told him why what was happening was not against the rules, and he just said “ok. thank you.” He didn’t get dramatic, or fly off the handle, as most of the people who use this for attention, or to try to get their way do. Just a simple, ok, thank you, and when asked if I could do anything else, another no, thank you. End of conversation.

I am 90% sure that this was a clever line jumping scheme, without the usual fireworks. My immediate superior is even more sure.

Let me be very VERY clear here. Our company, and my bosses, take these very seriously, and if there is any indication by their known (and more knowledgeable that mine) procedure that this is credible, the authorities ARE called. This isn’t something we fool around with.

The other 10% of me though?

That part is deathly scared that I shall read a story tomorrow. I know I am going to have nightmares, and that makes me want to NOT sleep. But I am so very tired, I know I have to.

Here’s hoping that all the bad is getting out NOW, so that the new year can be rung in, with much forward thinking and fanfare. Here’s to 2012 being a fresh start, a fresh year, and a sparkly, shiny, bright new outlook!

And not being tired.

Dragged Kicking and Screaming (with joy) into the 21st Century!

It has been one heck of a weekend!

Friday night, as mentioned before, was my company Holiday party, and it was a lot of fun!  There was food to be eaten, drinks to be drunk, friends to exclaim over, and people to watch! People watching at company functions like this is always fun.  It is interesting to see how very eclectic people are, and the various definitions of “Formal Dress”.  There was everything from the normal jeans (with a button up shirt as a nod to “formal”, to a sari, to a Tim Burtonesque tuxedo jacket, complete with brocade, and with the wind outside, flying tails.

Saturday was the up early/out the door day.  Impressed and awed the hubster with my mad shoppin’ skills.  He hasn’t seen me really in anything but the Walmart, and groceries.  I had researched, and in the very first store, almost as soon as we walked in, I found my living room.  Sat on the chair and loveseat, called over the sales guy, got the couch/loveseat combo deal on the loveseat, chair, and ottoman, paid, and we were loading the loveseat into the van within 1/2 hour or so.  Have to wait on the chair and ottoman – they weren’t in stock.  Soon my precioussssss.  Soon!

From there, to the madhouse that is Walmart on the weekend before Christmas.  And it was indeed a madhouse. Rude, loud, aisle blocking people.  Shoving, poking, people.  Mothers yelling at screaming babies.  And electronics?  Ugh.  I did however, find a nifty little Nikon digital camera, to do what I want it to do, for a better price than I was expecting! Of course, Electronics was at the furthest point possible in the store from the door nearest our ride, so a reverse trip through the crowds had to be made.

Did I mention that I really wish I never had to leave the cave?

Anywho!

Home again, home again, jiggity jig!

Pete was wonderful.  All the standing at the party, and then the press of wandering miles of people strewn Walmart had left my already prone to spasmy back spasmed.  He wouldn’t let me help him remove the butt eating couch, nor would he let me sweep and mop the floor, or help bring IN the loveseat.  It is a good thing I married a moose.  He muscled all of that about himself.  RAWR!

He tried to play big man and tell me to wait until Sunday (he sleeps a semi normal schedule, and was going to bed soon) to put up and decorate the tree, but I wore him down.  I promised that I would fluff branches while sitting, only getting up to actually place said branch.  It took me seven hours, but I got it done! Up, lighted (he was in bed by then, so couldn’t say anything about me climbing onto a dining room chair to light the top of the tree) and decorated!

Sunday was all about NOT being in crowds.  I bounced happily back and forth, from the lovely comfort of the loveseat, to my desk, where I have been living almost exclusively these past 3 years.

As promised, pictures!  Looks like I am going to need to learn how to clean up, brighten, and unfuzz me some pictures!  They look fine on the camera, but not so much full sized here.  A challenge!  Still, a promise is a promise, and hey, at least they don’t have thumbs in them!

I wasn’t joking about the tree and the size of the living room.  You see pretty much ALL of the living room here.  There is only about 3 feet or so more off to the right of this shot, and I am standing on the stairs.

Tree

The tree that ate my livingroom!

Spook decided that he liked the new sittings, and proceeded to claim it for the night.

Spook so comfortable!

Course, he doesn’t know it yet, but while he might think he is the alpha kitty of the house, if I want to sit, I will.  I am the alpha MAMA!

Callie wasn’t showing much interest yet.  Probably doesn’t quite smell like “home” to her, combined with the fact that the monstrous one was hogging it.  She chose the more familiar blankets that are currently living on a trunk beside the loveseat.  (The ottoman that is coming has storage, and the blankets will go in that.)

The Diva

 

With the Kindle that my dad sent for my birthday, the digital camera that I got for Christmas, and the upgrade to a smartphone that came with signing my new cell contract, I have indeed been dragged into the 21st century.

I gotta say, I am lovin’ it!

Challenge!

So. A very dear and marvelous friend of mine, who has had a very tough time of things, and has managed to come out of it beautifully posted a challenge on her blog I’m Still Standing, I Won’t Be Quiet Now.

(For inspiration, y’all should check out her blog. Her strength of character and courage awe and inspire me.)

Thank you, Miss Kitters, for setting this challenge!

Her challenge seems simple, but in reality, can be much harder. The challenge? Make a list of 50 things that you have done RIGHT, and then share it. So, without further ado, I shall try to rise to that challenge!

  1. Started writing again!
  2. Skydiving despite a debilitating fear of heights.
  3. Learned to function better in the scary ol’ world.
  4. Realized my limits, and try to stick to them.
  5. Made a conscious effort to see the doctor about ills, and follow advice on how to minimize or be rid of them.
  6. Cut way down on smoking. (next step, since quitting wasn’t completely successful, the ecig as suggested by doc)
  7. Made the conscious decision to live in the present, with an eye to the future, instead of the past.
  8. Begun crafting again.
  9. Learned to laugh at myself in a GOOD way, rather than a self deprecating one.
  10. Made and kept some very close friends, (going on 30 years for one!), and stayed open to opportunity to make more.
  11. Planning for future.
  12. Remembered to take medicine (mostly) on time.
  13. Steady improvement at work.
  14. BREATHE! (using it as a tool instead of bolting)
  15. Created a plan for becoming more financially secure.
  16. Getting at least 5 hours of sleep a day.
  17. Writing and publishing blog posts at level/amount in 5 year plan outline.
  18. Creating 5 year plan with thought.
  19. Stopped blaming past issues for current state.
  20. Getting back in touch/staying in touch with nephew TJ.
  21. Forgave Mom for mistakes in the past.
  22. Forgave Dad for same.
  23. Letting go of guilt feelings quicker.
  24. Learning to communicate face to face better.
  25. Reading more again!
  26. Considering options for advancement at work, with an eye toward working for them.
  27. Finding a “life statement” and attempting to live by it.
  28. Treasuring my friends, and letting them know how much I love them.
  29. Treasuring my husband, and letting him know how much I love HIM. (Even when he drives me batty)
  30. Letting go of the past in relation to what has been lost.
  31. Rebuilding my library!
  32. Letting go of hurts caused by misunderstandings.
  33. Listening when someone needs an ear.
  34. Offering a shoulder for the same.
  35. Amusing my friends and co workers.
  36. My awesome sense of humor!
  37. Giving blood, when I could.
  38. Moving to Austin, following a dream, and making it a reality!
  39. Cook awesome food!
  40. Teaching myself Excel.
  41. Being co owner and office everything (not to mention, on the job work – including power tools RAWR! when needed) of a start up business.
  42. Learned that I can live on my own just fine, should I choose to do so.
  43. Being comfortable with myself.
  44. Knowing how to drive in all weathers. (don’t like to, but can do it!)
  45. I am smart!
  46. Sincere appreciation for what others have achieved, without jealousy.
  47. Learned to get past disappointments, and be contented despite them.
  48. Appreciation of beauty, in all of its incarnations!
  49. Knowing when I can let the walls down, and doing so.
  50. Getting myself to a place where I don’t need medication for depression, and staying there!

Whew! That was a tough one! I was able, however, to get it done, and I think very well!

Making this list was a challenge, but it did force me to think about all the GOOD I have done. What a marvelous thing that is!

How about y’all? You up to the challenge? You don’t have to post, but if you want to, I would love to see!