I realize that my last post wasn’t really cerebral. It was a mess of thoughts, and I hope they were coherent. A lot was emotional build-up from the past two years, as well as from now. I should have edited more carefully than I did, so I apologize for any typos I missed.


We thought the nation had gone round the bend for voting for W.Bush into the Presidency with his bumbling; yet his intelligence, charisma, and ability to unite people was enough to get him reelected.  Of course most people who did reelect him regretted it. We were so certain that our nation was fracturing from the pressure of the issues caused by the military conflicts and domestic political differences that he and VP Cheney were at the heart of.

We fought hard to sort that out; we were still working on sorting it out with President Obama, fighting to overcome global community’s view that we aren’t concerned with:

    1. our leaders being educated or
    2. inherited Eurocentric imperialistic attitude
    3. an inability to self-police human rights violations and war crimes
    4. the rights of all of our citizens
    5. the fact that our politics, attitudes, actions affect not only our nation but globallyPost President Obama, and that list is longer than my left arm. We can thank certain politicians who encouraged the fanatical extremist evangelistic religious right and tea partiers to take up a torch, run for office, and lobby hard. We ended up with men who were willing to allow a criminal onto the GOP ticket, without vetting him, even as he made disqualifying comments about his intentions for the presidency frequently including his intent ignore the U.S. Constitution.

The GOP thought they could puppet this man because their Vice President pick, a thoroughbred tea partier fanatical extremist evangelist on the religious right, a man as corrupt and neck deep in campaign corruption, election corruption, and corruption all throughout the new administration. They were wrong. Instead there was already a hostile foreign puppeteer’s hand up the devil’s arsehol… err… the man they chose had already been corrupted years ago by a hostile foreign nation and been approached in his campaign. There wasn’t room for a second set of hands up there. And then scandal after scandal has ensued.

Scandal is the wrong word. We have to find a different word, because “scandal” minimizes” what this uneducated, un-presidential, divisive, racist, bigoted, misogynistic, sadistic, ableist, chaotic, anti-government, anti-veteran, anti-education, incompetent, weak, unintelligent, boorish, gauche, pro quid-pro quo, unpatriotic, anti-American faux president has been doing to our country.The entire presidency has been an extended exercise in abuse on a massive scale by a man who is being allowed to use more power than he legally is allowed to use for personal gain, for petty revenge, and to aid countries who are not our allies.

I almost…. al.most long for the days of W.B. Then I remember we were lucky enough to have President Obama.

We’re still a young country, but one might still think that by 2020 we’d be much more enlightened than we are now. I mean, we elected a Black American for our President. Twice. With a House and Senate both packed against him he still managed to get a lot of good things done, but was blocked on far more.  He was mistreated beyond belief. Effigies of him were burned in the streets and hung.  We’re still fighting over the rights of marginalized groups of people in this country, and whether their rights infringe upon religious groups and supremacy groups rights to behave in hate speech and hate acts. Obviously, nah.

We’re still fighting over whether people deserve the right to live and expect affordable health care and health care coverage.

It’s become, somehow, a “far left wing liberal agenda” to believe that Human Rights, Civil Rights, Women’s Rights, Children’s Rights, Disability Rights, etc. et al, are important ideals to not only uphold but to fight for and encourage. That it’s an extreme idea. That these “extreme” ideas, these “extreme left liberal” ideas are something hateful and not a true entitlement. The words Democrat, Liberal, and Left are spat out like they’re epithets or slurs. I mean, sure, there actually is a far left but in the current Democratic Party, the most liberal of them aren’t nearly as liberal as “far left” gets. That’s a whole different post, differentiating aspects of different parties.

It’s a left wing liberal agenda to believe that every United States citizen deserves equal rights to be given a free and equal education. It’s a left wing liberal agenda to believe that people of color in the United States do not deserve to be receive police brutality, and that police reform needs to occur. That’s not a liberal agenda. That’s Human Rights. That’s Civil Rights.

If you poke around the internet, say, Twitter to start, you’ll notice that people dedicated to Trump politics until their dying breath, will hatefully vomit up that “liberalism is a mental illness.” Aside from the obvious issues I would have with that as a disability advocate, this is just one extreme example of the Us vs Them mentality I’ve mentioned in the past. It’s an example of encouraged hatred and division. Every word coming from Trump’s mouth, every single staged photo, every publicly scripted act since the death of George Floyd a little over a week ago has been intentionally divisive, corrosive, and encourages more violence. He’s taken the approach of Him + MAGA & Military Might vs Not Racist Americans.

The message is that those fucking Democratics and god damn fucking nutters who who side with them don’t deserve to be viewed as humans, individuals, sane, to be treated humanely, deserving of living, or hey even health coverage. Simply disagreeing with actions, speech, and particular ideas has become “left wing liberal conspiracy to bring down ‘real American patriots'” and you can guess who the real America patriots are. Not Democratics. Only those people who tow the Trumpian GOP line. If you’re a Republican that doesn’t stand with Trump, he’ll threaten to rip your life to shreds. If you’re serving in Office, he’ll threaten to destroy you. Publicly. With him? There isn’t any room for discussion or real argument.

You may notice I’m differentiating Trumpian GOP from something else. The “something else” would be the Republican Party as it was intended to be, before the Tea Party warped it into something unrecognizable. The other “something else” would of course be the Tea Party who I think also would qualify as “the religious right.”

The Trumpian GOP isn’t truly Republican in any form we’ve ever seen. The Administration as it is now? The GOP Tea Party with Trump sitting in that tea? It isn’t anything I think that GOP TP wanted. Again, this belongs in another post differentiating aspects within each party.

So going the long way round, I come back to this.

It’s worrying when I see and hear people saying that this isn’t the America they know; this isn’t America. I may feel as if I’m waking up in a parallel nightmare universe every single day, but I have no delusions that this isn’t how America really is. The evidence is in front of us in the daily news cycle; we can look back at every daily news cycle for the past 5 years. Racism has always existed in this country. We inherited that as colonists and slave owners. We fought a Civil War over it. We started a Civil Rights Movement over it. It’s always been there. The flames were fanned when we had a Black President because racists, White Supremacists, simply couldn’t handle it. The White Supremacist in the highest office of our land has made it appear more acceptable, since he encourages racism and wants to increase the brutality of our police.

I’d always heard from certain people that race relations were fine, racism wasn’t such a big deal any longer, that POC were just using the Race Card just like disabled people use the Disabled Card, to get a leg up on other people when it’s not deserved. Which is guess means is every time someone notices someone is not white or someone is disabled or they’re part of another protected class that they can’t discriminate against.

He allows his Secretary of Education to break down our education system, just as when she ruined her own state’s education system. I mean, yes he’s breaking down each aspect of the government and social services, entitlements, benefits, etc. He told us that’s what he wanted during the campaign. No one believed him, or it was ignored, but he told us. It’s what he’s been doing. It should has disqualified him.

But hey, for a second, let’s look at history. I’s the dictatorships and medieval kingdoms that preferred keeping their citizenry uneducated.  If they’re uneducated, then an automatic inequality between the gentry and the masses. The People don’t realize there’s a problem because they have no choice but to believe the spoken words and decrees of their leadership. Again,there’s no possibility of equality. Any chance of learning about history, philosophy, maths, sciences, arts, and how to teach others the same with new ideas, how to research, is stifled and again… there’s no chance of equality. What is learned is controlled. How it’s learned is controlled.

The more we, the masses, are educated and encouraged to think things through logically, independently the more we understand when we’re being duped. We recognize propaganda and misinformation more easily.

We know better when our rights are being trampled upon.

We are more likely to use our voices collectively to fight for and demand our rights be recognized because trust me, they won’t be freely given.

Whether we’re women, disabled, a POC especially now when there are peaceful protests; or if we’re part of another marginalized group, we’re more likely to use our voices collectively to fight for those whose voices might not be loud enough, and encourage others to do the same, by showing them they’re not alone.

We’re more likely to demand to be treated equally.

We’re more likely to work in better jobs; we’re less likely to have very large families that would be guaranteed to keep us in poverty.

The more educated, the less poverty. The less poverty, the less control a government has over abusing the people. The governing force is no longer forcing the people to work for it, but now the governing force must drop the farce and work for the people.

The fight is against a reduced, concentrated government; a government-enforced poverty in order to maintain its own dominance and wealth. Some administrations are more guilty of this than others.

So I purged. A lot. I feel better. I may come back and read some of this later and be like, hmmm, let’s edit that. But feelings are feelings. So this might be a good place for me to ta-ta on out. Talk to ya later, loves.


Do you like to write about current events? If you do, do you have trouble keeping up? I do. My brain does. There’s the added issue of not knowing which of the many events and concerns to address first. Secondarily, which of those events is already irrelevant in the news cycle by the time I finish writing about it?

I know, it sounds like a privileged problem. Whether I write about it using paper and pen, an old fashioned typewriter, or a computer, or not at all those thoughts and feelings are still there. I just happen to be one of those people who journals. Usually journals.

So, long way round, as I often do: How do you handle the pace of keeping up? I mean, is it a matter of making a list and just writing your heart out?

How about we extend the day to 30 hours? Time is just a concept. We can change the concept. Update it to adjust for modern needs, like, you know, blogging.


Welcome back, loves. Rather, I hope you’ll welcome me back. 

If you know me, you know that depression has always been at the heart of my gaps. Turning inward is something I can’t help. I’ve been working on accepting the fact that I need to process the emotions flooding me. Doing that takes me away from most online interaction the same way that it takes me away from family and friends. There’s the mask I put on,, which has been slipping more and more since the pandemic began. My anxiety is higher, and my agoraphobia is out of control. The last several weeks have been heavy with chronic pain due to changes in the season. The weather has been finicky, though, with what feels like a colder Spring than usual. With changes in seasons, I have flare-ups in pain that are to be expected. Anxiety is to be expected. 

I have additional anxiety and depression to process, unfortunately. It’s more than typical ups and downs of a life with Depression: The black hole of Grief, in which that tiger in my shadow waits for a chance to shred me to pieces.

Okay, please, don’t slap me for mixing metaphors. It’s just the only thing that made sense. A black hole is like the deepest of shadows, insidiously pulling everything into it without knowing what’s on the other side, while there’s a hunter hiding in the edge of shadows, stalking and waiting for its chance to pounce. See? Black holes and the tiger that’s been stalking me for my entire life. 

For the past two and a half years I’ve been locked in grief after the death of my two remaining grandparents. September 2018, my grandmother passed; March 2019 my grandfather passed away. Both were in their 90’s. The week or so  before my Gram died they had just celebrated their 75th wedding anniversary. We were very close, and I was devastated. 

Emotional, mental, and physical withdrawal. I cry spontaneously when I see particular triggers, whether it’s real, acting, reading fact or fictional stories. Humanitarian issues, social justice, children with mothers, grandmothers with granddaughters, daughters with mothers.

The mask has to be held in place when I’m outside of my bedroom, everywhere in every way. Sometimes it’s only in the most superficial manner. That includes social media except maybe the occasional, rare FB post and occasional Tweet. I find that sharing anything of depth is difficult and I devolve into tears. Trusting anyone to refrain from judging is a challenge. It’s that thing where you don’t want to burden other people; or be accused of bringing others down or attention seeking or whiny.

This is not to say that I don’t have moments or hours or days of happiness. One can be in the throes of Depression and also feel happiness. One can be in constant chronic pain, yet also have moments or hours where the pain is manageable, able to be ignored, or when you can blessedly find that perfect position while sitting or laying down if you just… don’t… move. I love those days. I keep my limits in mind on those days, keeping track of spoons as much as possible. 

All right, I feel as if I’ve taken the long way ’round to get here. The Depression I’ve been coping with already was beginning to ease around Christmas. I started following the developing story about Covid-19 in China in November but paid more attention in January with a sinking feeling. I got a haircut that I knew was too short, even shaving the back, knowing it might be a while before I’d get another. That’s the day I think my anxiety and depression went on high alert. I knew in my subconscious that something was very wrong in the world.

It increased in severity again in mid-March when our high school closed “for deep disinfecting” in the state for what was supposed to be two weeks. It’s mid-May. Schools will continue distance learning for the remainder of this school year. My girls have been lucky, I know, that they’ve had Chromebooks on lend from the school for their virtual classrooms and school work. We’ve also been lucky and very grateful that my Spousal Unit still has his day job working for the State as well as his part time job. For us that means we’ve had wi-fi for the girls in order to do their school work.

The schools have had adjustments made in how grading will occur on assignments and tests. They’ve even been given the option for taking Pass or Fail versus accepting an actual failing grade. I think it has something to do with a student’s ability to take the class again in the future and how it would affect GPA. Graduation will be virtual. Coming on Friday the teachers will be having a parade of their cars through town in honor of the graduating senior class. I don’t have any graduating students this year but we do plan on standing out on our porch cheering our support. 

That’s all been a transition for the girls and me, which of course is a stressful thing, but at least the school work keeps them busy. What’ll be tough is figuring out what to do this Summer. They’re already worrying about social distancing, being bored with too much relaxing, and having a 2nd Summer in a row with being a one-car family. That last one of course means they have to wait for their dad to get home to go anywhere; it depends on how I’m feeling as to whether or not I can drive, and how tired or grumpy he is. 😉 It may also depend on whether he has to head to work again later. 

Perhaps the most stressful thing is not letting the mask slip when having to ease everyone else’s anxieties and things that upset them about all this {waves hands dramatically} also causes me anxiety; when reassuring them seems to backfire; when they need repeated reassurances and hear the same information repeatedly in a different way, in a soothing manner; when I’m expected to remain calm, present, and tolerant at all times no matter how much pain I’m in or however high my anxiety is, no matter what’s causing those problems. 

Retreating for a time seems to be viewed as abandonment. I know that teen years are more important than any other time in a child’s life. I make myself available even if I can’t do all of the physical outside things as I used to be able to do.

I’m still me. I’m learning to adjust expectations of myself and I’m trying to figure out how to help others adjust expectations of me by refraining from comparing the old physical body I had to the current person I am. 

This turned out much longer than I expected it to be. I figured it would only be a couple of paragraphs, and it ended up TLDR-Rambling. 


Good morning, Loves.

I know I’ve been off the beaten path lately, but I know you’ll understand. I’ve got an entire draft that was going to explain what’s been going on, but it turned into something else and went off the rails a bit. Sometimes I do that. So that draft needs refining. We’ll see, I guess… I have eight drafts for posts I’ve been working on but I’m never happy with.

I can’t be the only one that does that. I think for every entry that I post, I typically have two or three drafts. I just merged a few of them and deleted several others in an effort to simplify. At one point I had a couple of dozen drafts.

I’m pretty sure I’m not the only one who does that. Right?


I’m so very sad. No, not sad, I’m feeling grief. My poor, sweet Luna Tinkerbelle passed away in my arms on Sunday. The surgery she had to remove the necrotic cancer gave her an additional four weeks of life she wouldn’t have otherwise had, according to her vet, and so I’m grateful. I’m still upset that I don’t get to have more time with her.

I’m upset that she had to have a recurrence of the cancer, but more than that, I’m upset that the cancer wasn’t enough. Luna had to cope with strokes too. Before that, all she dealt with was some discomfort under her hind legs from the new tumors as she went upstairs. She was still happy, social, sweet. Friday she was still eating and sassy. She didn’t complain about help with the staircase. Luna still enjoyed doing it on her own, and settling on the landing as her favorite perch where she could see and hear both upstairs and downstairs.

I suppose it shouldn’t have been a surprise, but looking back there were clues. She slept on my bed a lot these past two weeks. She didn’t eat all of her kibble breakfast Sunday. For a few days, her breathing was noticeably heavier. She hid in the basement more two days in a row. She came up when Darling Girl called her, but couldn’t make it upstairs to the bedrooms. Darling Girl started to bring her up, and Luna began to drool. I took her and she had belly pain when there was any pressure there. She struggled in pain, unable to make sounds, and all I could do was hold her, snuggle her, tell her it would be all right, we love her, give her scritches, have her family around her. She was calm in the end, seeing us all. She passed away looking in my eyes.

She was spoiled with treats. She made it to her 11th adoptaversary, officially. On her adoptaversary she was spoiled with her favorite wet food. The girls took a lot of pictures and short videos of her. We made sure she was the happiest, most comfortable cat she could be.

I thought that I would be prepared with knowing how sick Luna Tinkerbelle was for her passing. Logically, I guess so. Emotionally, not so much.

It’s hit me really hard. It’s hitting my family hard. We kept our girls home yesterday, and when we took Luna’s body to the vet in the morning for cremation, we let the girls come with us. We let the girls transport Luna in her homemade cat house that Darling Girl had made with such care. Daisy Pearl did her very best to take care of Sweet Girl yesterday as she cried on my bed. I think that sweet cat needed us as much as we need her; she witnessed the difficulties Luna had at the end, knew Luna was sick, and we let her “say good-bye” before taking Luna from the house yesteday.

There’s so much sorrow in our home. The loss of Luna is felt so profoundly. She was such a huge personality, and made sure that her presence was always known. She talked with us, really thinking she was having full fledged conversations. She understood being told “yes” or “no.” She cussed me out in Cattish a couple of times, mimicking Complaining Teeneager Tones, and I swear she People Toned, “BITCH!” at me in Cattish once or twice. But she mostly let me know she loved me back at least as much as I loved her, as we loved her. I think Luna believed she was one of the girls. In my heart, she was.


I have a new update on my sweet Bombay cat, Luna Tinkerbelle. I used the GoFundMe as a blog again. I updated the name of the campaign, and the link too, considering the situation has changed, sadly.

Here it is:

 

Help Luna, Bombay: Necrotic Cancer [Necrotic Cancer in Cats, Luna click here, link for update goes to GFM]

 

I wish the update were more positive. I love this cat like a child. She’s been a part of our family for 11 years, a very important part of our family.

If you already follow me on Twitter, you may have read this update already.

I hope you’ll forgive me for sharing the GFM. Living paycheck-to-paycheck is difficult, and it still feels like a kick in the teeth asking virtual strangers for help. My main reason for sharing the link here, in my blog, is for sharing the actual update. The story. Not to pitch for the money, or the shares. I simply don’t have it in me to write an entirely new blog entry updating something that we’re still reeling from.

Thank you for understanding. Thank you for reading. Love always.


Good morning, Loves. I hope that this entry finds you well, with the same for any animal companions that you may have. A couple of Thursdays ago, we brought our beloved Bombay cat, Luna to our vet.

For a few months she’s had a bump, which we thought was a cyst that cats her age tend to get, on her left hind-quarters that broke through the skin, in part because she fussed at it, but it ended up growing to become about the width of a silver dollar and almost an inch thick. It was often filled with little blood pockets that needed to be drained, but it always seemed kind of healed.

At one point, the middle of it was extremely soft, formed a little hole, and drained some blood, but it was thick and starting to clot. I cleaned it, and it seemed okay. Then a couple of weeks later, after keeping the area clean and sterile, the area needed to drain again and instead of blood a hole appeared in the center and it drained at least a few tablespoons of what looked like pus. But it wasn’t really.

I feel terrible that we didn’t take her to the vet right then. Unfortunately, money played a part in putting things off. I rationalized it for weeks. Luna seemed to feel fine. She was eating normally, it seemed; and behaved like she always has, it seemed. She sassed when it was time to clean the wound. It healed over, sort of. It would scab. But the cyst never went away. Pieces of it started to fall away, and that was a sign that things weren’t well at all.

And then over the course of a week and a half I noticed, and so did Bunny, that the wound wasn’t healing over. Either she was fussing at it and making it worse, or it had simply stopped healing. The entire cyst was bare of skin and scabs, and not healing over. Luna’s attitude wasn’t sassy so much as,

“HEY! GET OFF MY LAWN!”

Not only that, but the hole that had been healed over reopened and it was white. We thought it was pus, but it was the cyst. I continued to keep it clean, but that last week before we finally took her to see the vet it began to smell bad and it was as if it was falling apart. She was also feeling pain and was beginning to limp; it was most obvious seeing her walk upstairs. We finally were able to take her to the vet on Thursday, August 23rd.

As soon as the vet saw her he knew it was Necrotic Cancer. Luckily it’s only on her skin and not attached to bone, muscle, tendon, or anything else. He suggested surgery for today, but let us think about it since our finances have been hit hard over the past year or two, and we’ve been struggling. However, the vet called Friday morning and told us that while the surgery is her very best chance of survival, she needed the surgery the very following Monday.

As soon as we heard all of this, it felt as if my heart stopped. I felt relief in knowing what was wrong, and hearing she had great odds. At the same time, incredible stress at the “what ifs.”

There was never a question about getting it done. There was a question about how to pay. I detest GFM, and yet I found myself starting one for her, and I’ve been using that as a sort of blog therapy regarding Luna. All this time, I forgot I HAVE a blog where I could share the Go Fund Me, ha ha. Initially we were quoted $2,000. We told the vet how much of a struggle that would be financially. He knocked off some of the things that weren’t essential, and that helped. Then during the surgery, due to Luna’s size and what they actually used and needed there, they brought the cost down some more. We brought it down to $1,000 on the Go Fund Me, to try to help defray costs and pay for the CareCredit.

I hope that you’ll check it out at this link here, maybe share it and help us out. If you feel inclined, a donation would be helpful even if it’s only $5 or $1.00. I promise, we’re not anything like those people who defrauded that poor homeless man. That sort of behavior is appalling, and I’m thankful they were caught. I know it makes people wary of trusting, and I understand that too. Thank you.

Saving Luna From Necrotic Cancer – Go Fund Me Link – Click Here

We’re so very lucky that Luna had a successful surgery. We’re so lucky she’s been healing well. She hates, hates, hates her antibiotic with the passion of a thousand exploding suns. Twice a day. But her personality, her real one, is back. She’s doing her catwalk all over the house again, and happy to go up and down the stairs. She’s sassy and silly, versus grumpy old lady. Well, the antibiotic dosing makes her grumpy and she can hold a grudge, but still. Forgiveness with a snuggle and a treat. I think back, and realize how unlike herself she really was. She was still Luna, but a grumpy and muted version of herself, clearly in pain.

If I could do it over, I’d take her to the vet before the tumor became necrotic. I’m grateful we still have her, but we almost didn’t.

Snuggle your pets. Take their weird bumps to get looked at. They might be nothing, and it’s better to pay a $65 visit for reassurance that it’s nothing than a $1,000 – 2,500 surgery for something deadly.

But you know what? Not once did the staff or vet ever make us feel guilty that we didn’t take Luna in sooner. The vet said I did the right thing in keeping her clean, and noting when things changed dramatically. I thought that was kind. We did what we could when we could, and even though it stings the pride, we’re asking for help with the funding. I still feel guilty, but I don’t think Luna holds it against me.

The truth is that when it comes to our animal companions, they trust us to care for them to the best of our ability. Sometimes, our ability is a little lacking. The same can be said when it comes to other things in life. We’re not perfect pet parents. We’re not perfect mothers, fathers, friends, sons, daughters, grandchildren, employees, supervisors, teachers, police, doctors, but we all do our very best. We have these ideals in mind, saying we’ll “always” or we’d “never” but the fact is that the only thing we can really do is promise to do our best with our best intentions.

With that, love to you.

 


Do you have siblings?

I do. I have two brothers, both younger. BroOne, who has two daughters, is two years younger than I am. BroTwo, who has two sons, is ten years younger than I am. Yes… I’m the eldest. In case you haven’t been able to tell from my writing over the years and my parenting style, I’m an eldest child.

Are you close to your siblings?

When I was growing up, I wasn’t close to BroOne but I was loyal to him. We had a lot of sibling rivalry, which I’m sure my shrink would say is due to the fact that we’re two years apart. [NOTE: That’s what she says is the reason my lovely Dear Girl has rivalous feelings towards Sweet Girl and Darling Girl. SIDE NOTE 2: Eldest of mine, Dear Girl and I chatted, and she shall henceforth be known as Bunny. That is all] We fought constantly as kids. My mom tells this story, which I remember because I was so distressed: I was little and he was a baby. I had this amazing little musical carousel for little kids, and it was one of my favorite toys. It ranked up there with Barbie dolls. We’re talking serious child currency, here. Well, my mom played the musical carousel for my tiny brother and I was devastated she took my toy and “gave” it to him without asking. I took it back, hefted it under one arm, and stomped down the stairs declaring the whole way down that it wasy MY toy, NOT my brother’s, and he wasn’t allowed to touch it. My mom didn’t do that again. She asked to share other toys that had less value to me after that, ha ha. I think that set the tone for our entire childhood and majority of our teen years.

We, BroOne and I, began to fight less frequently in high school. I think it’s because we were both out of the house less, and a lot of our friends were siblings to each other. There was always loyalty, though. We may have driven my mother up and down every wall in the house due to our constant fighting and bickering, but when it mattered we were loyal to each other. I hated seeing him in serious trouble, so I started to protect him at home when I could. Once, I locked him out of the house when my parents were out and he was so angry with me he tried to kick the door in. It was a wood door, and getting old, and it cracked in a few places. We had to press the door back into place but the cracks were huge. We found wood glue, filled them in, and then found wood stain to match it to the door. It was a bonding moment. Ha, see what I did there? Wenever told my parents until I told my mom after they were planning to replace that door. She still couldn’t tell the door had been essentially broken since I was 14/15 years old.

And of course, no one could bully him in school. No one. I’ve always been anti-bully, but to family? Oh no.

We got a lot closer when he met his now-wife. We’re close enough now that he’s Godfather to two of my daughters; I’m Godmother to both of his daughters. I have a great relationship with his wife, and always have. She’s an incredible woman, wife, and mother. I envy her in a lot of ways. I’ll bet she’d be shocked to know that. That said, we have a lot of things in common in our lives including health issues, but mostly in our views on life and parenting. I would do anything for BroOne and SisOne. Their girls are like my own daughters. People say that, but having daughters of my own, I know what that love feels like.

I think I was closer to BroTwo when we were younger. Since he was born when I was a skinny little ten year old girl, and I was thrilled to have a baby in the house, I helped take care of him. I didn’t even mind most nights when he woke up to be fed and changed; I would change him and warm his bottle so my mom could feed him. Sometimes I would feed him myself during the night, just snuggling on my bed. I begged to have him in my room. His crib was in my room until he was three years old. I learned how to care for a baby, and as he got older I learned to babysit during the summers. I loved it. We had a rough couple of years, which I believe I blogged about at one point. We have a much, much better relationship now, but it’s not like it was. We’re still working on it, finding the balance. I’m not sure he feels the distance, but what’s really good is that since his boys were born it’s been easier to relate to his wife. I love them, I love those boys. I love spending time with them. They’re generous and BroTwo is Godfather to Bunny. That’s important to me.

Do you visit your siblings often?

We try to visit with them as often as we can. We live about 18 miles away from my brothers, and around the same from our parents. When we bought our house, we were in a stage where we needed some physical space from the family where no one could simply drop in without calling first. It’s different when family lives anywhere between 2-to-6 miles away. Now, 14 years later, we miss that closeness. I think part of it has to do with the fact that my brothers both have children, and also miss getting to see my nieces and nephews from my Spousal Unit’s side more often too.

I never thought, growing up, that I would feel a need to be physically close to all of our siblings. I guess we’re lucky that they’re only about 20 minutes or so away, for the most part. One of my husband’s sisters lives about 40 minutes away. They’re all in state, so there’s that. We mostly see each other at my parents’ house but that may be changing. We also see each other for events we might host at a restaurant or something, or another family member does.

Do you babysit your siblings’ children?

Most often, when I do babysit, it’s BroTwo’s and SisOne’s girls. Recently, Darling Girl [my youngest, 13 years old] and I went to BroTwo’s house to babysit all four Littles. Both of my brothers and their wives had an event to attend, and it made sense. GoddaughterOne is seven years old now, so she’s not quite so little, but her sister, GoddaughterTwo is three years old. NephewFour [we have three nephews on my husband’s side of the family] is also three years old, and his little brother, NephewFive is two years old.

My brothers left pizza and we had a lot of [tiring] fun that evening. It had been awhile since I’d cared for multiple toddlers before; not since my best friend’s children were toddlers at the same time Bunny and Sweet Girl were toddlers.

While watching the kids, I was thankfully able to use the ladies’ room due to having brought my youngest daughter. LIFE HACK: When you babysit multiple toddlers, limit your fluids that evening.

BroTwo has crucifixes on nearly every wall in his home, and images of Jesus on several walls. He’s very, very dedicated and passionate in his Faith. He has several statues around the house too. Upstairs he has a beautiful, simple, distraction-free prayer room.

While in the ladies’ room, I noticed one or two religious inspirational quotes sticky-noted to the mirror. One says, “God, Others, Self,” which is kind of nice.

As a child, whenever my parents or the priest during homily or my CCD teachers would say,

“God is always watching you; Jesus knows your heart and is always watching,”

I would always, always get nervous not because I have something to hide but because I wanted to ask if that included showering and using the toilet and changing my clothes. Therefore…. The statue of Jesus on the window sill of my brother’s bathroom gives me heebie jeebies.

Sigh.

Jesus Statue, image from Amazon

Jesus, with a kind, loving expression on his face, one hand raised to his Sacred Heart and the other palm facing outward, is facing the toilet most often; sometimes the shower. I swear the eyes on that statue, that particular statue have a mischievous glint in them. He knows what I’m about to do, and it’s like He’s daring me. Or maybe He’s begging me, I’m not sure. Maybe it’s a bit of both. Based on stories told about him in the Bible, and stories Jesus told, I know Jesus had/has a sense of humor. Plus, if he would never force his way into anyone’s home to witness, he’d never, ever force his way into someone’s toilet.

Just sayin’.

So I take up the dare.

Every time I’m in the bathroom, I turn Jesus to face out the window to get a nice view of the trees and creek in the yard. I love Jesus and all, but I doubt he really wants to see me peeing. I say a quick prayer when I turn Jesus.

“Hi Jesus, it’s me, Jessica. But you know that. You’re Jesus. So hey, here goes.

Dear Jesus,

Most holy, he who sacrifeced his life so that we could have eternal life in Heaven, I have the utmost respect for you. My brother has this statue of you in his bathroom. Please don’t be offended when I turn it away from the toilet. I know you’re not in the statue, but it feels like a privacy thing. I’m sure you can understand. Toileting stuff probably isn’t even your thing anyway. I apologize for any offense I may have caused you. You’re still awesome.

Amen

P.S. I love you

Double Amen

And every time I come over, there’s Jesus facing the toilet. Again.

And every single time, I get the overwhelming feeling that I have to turn Jesus away from the toilet. I’m not turning away from Jesus. No, no I’m not. I’m turning Jesus away from something he doesn’t need to see. I stay out of Jesus’ toileting business, he can stay out of mine.

I finally admitted it to my brother when we were about to leave after babysitting. He chuckled. So I’mma keep on doing it.


We all have rainy days, right? Sometimes those rainy days last a long time. We’ve been dealing with some rainy days since I had to stop working a year ago, as we expected. We had hoped that by now my SSDI would’ve kicked in.

There were some issues on my end and with losing a doctor last year that made it so that when I received a denial, I couldn’t simply appeal. I had made a mistake in paperwork that I couldn’t fix in the necessary timeframe. The added nuisance of having a doctor leave the practice made things worse, especially since there wasn’t another doctor subbing part time until the new one took over.

I had to wait it out until I knew I had at least one appointment with the new doctor; I had to have all of my paperwork, documents, records, etc. in order. I had to make certain that all of my doctors had things in order and would agree to comply with my wishes to turn over files and speak to SSDI.

I applied this past March. I knew I was missing a couple of things, but the application online wouldn’t allow me to go back and fix certain things the way it had in the past. That’s all right. I knew that if I received a denial letter then I would just provide the documents necessary and I’d finally get the benefits. Right?

No. I had everything in order, the denial letter stated. The problem? I didn’t have enough work credits?

Oh yes I do.

I filled out the Reconsideration Paperwork with an explanation of why I believed they needed to reconsider accepting my application ie. reopen the damn thing and appeal their decision. I had the paperwork to prove I have all of my work credits AND that I’ve been disabled long enough to be covered under the SSDI disability insurance.

I received a phone call within a couple of weeks from “my worker” who received the copy of my W-2 form. She looked up my work history and lo’ and behold, there it was. My 2016 and 2017 work history proving I not only worked but earned all credits. The worker was surprised since they “don’t usually overlook things like that.”

Was it my fault they overlooked two years of work history? That someone didn’t bother checking to see if I had earned all of my credits, had my documents in order, and simply denied my claim with a reason that wasn’t true?

The issue was enough to reopen my case, and make certain that if/when I get approved for benefits it’s the March application date. I was so relieved, it felt like a weight I’d been carrying around for years had been lifted. Then she said,

“There’s another problem. It’ll be treated like a new application. It’ll be prorated back to March of this year when you applied, however… it must be treated like a brand new application instead of an appeal. You can fill out a paper application or have a phone interview in a few weeks.”

“What do you mean, a new application? I thought the only issue was finding the proof that I had worked and was qualified for the insurance?”

“Well… yes, but because of how it happened on our end, it has to be treated like a new application. Just make sure that you have records of all of your medical tests and hospital stays; broken bones, serious illnesses; your specialists, doctors… okay, pretty much everything. If you have the printout of your March application that’ll help too.”

“But won’t you guys have my application in the system to refer to?”

“Um… yeah. They should.”

“I’m not feeling very confident right now. Should I just make an appointment in the local office so I can make sure this is all done?”

“Oh, no, no you’ll end up sitting with the representative for an hour or more. On the phone it should only take a few minutes but no more than half an hour.”

“I thought you said they’ll treat it as a whole new application? It took me, like, five hours to do the online application, maybe more. I had to do it over a couple of days.”

“You ask a lot of questions! LOL”

“Consider it a career hazard of being a mother and former disability advocate.”

“LOL”

“So is this a brand new application? Or an appeal?”

“It’s an appeal that must be a new application. But it’ll be prorated to March.”

As you can imagine, there’s nothing in that conversation that reassured me. I did what I needed to do, or what I think I needed to do.

I had the phone appointment this morning with a very nice woman.

She was under the impression that it was a brand new application, but she was, thankfully, able to pull information from the March application. I didn’t bother asking her about the prorating. She said she read all of the other rep’s notes.

It took an hour. She added new information. I ended up crying, and I could hear her typing what I was saying while crying. She was really sweet and understanding, and very patient with me. I had some issues with my speech and word recall, but she was understanding. She didn’t help with the word recall, but she couldn’t.

Basically, we went over my doctors, medical records, tests done, hospital stays, surgeries and reasons, how my daily life is affected, when my hours were cut at work, when I was forced to stop, etc. She asked a lot of questions. I answered them all as best as I could, and if something felt related I asked if she could use that info. She took down everything.

She didn’t mind when I became emotional. She was very empathetic. I appreciated that quite a bit, because this has been something I’ve been far more anxious about than I realized I would be. It’s different being the one going through this than helping someone go through it. I know what to do and say intellectually. It’s far different when suddenly, my disabilities are affecting what I’m saying and contributing to in my own application. I worry that I’ve made a wrong or contradicting answer, or messed up in a date.

There’s so much more floating in my head I want to say, to purge, but I have an impending headache. I think it’s partially stress, partially “about to rain” going on. I feel something going on up in the clouds.

I also feel as if I may just get something done with SSDI now. The woman did tell me that the doctors will now get paperwork to fill out, possibly get interviewed. I’ll also be receiving more paperwork to fill out for further details. Kind of like testimony. From here on out it should take “no more than five months” but it depends on me getting my paperwork in for the decision to be on time.

 

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