Sjs59's Blog

one tiny voice among many

I Wonder What It’s Called When You’re Having Dry Heaves the Other Way?

Everyone knows what the dry heaves are, right?  That awful cramping, convulsing, muscle spasming that goes on when there’s nothing left in your stomach to be expelled after a long night of drinking but the body keeps on trying to get it up and out of you?

I don’t know what it’s called when it’s happening the OTHER way but let me tell you, it’s just as awful.

Consider this a warning to anyone deciding to make any changes in your diet for a healthier lifestyle…….ADD NEW FIBER FOODS GRAD-U-AL-LY.   Do not consume too much of it, at one time, no matter how good it tastes. You may be sorry when it begins to do what it is supposed to do.

And we all know what it is we want fiber to really do for us, right?  Clean us out, reasonably fast and regularly?

I do not know how many times I ended up back in the bathroom the other day but believe me, it was a lot.  And talk about soar?  You better believe it.  

Not to mention the disappearance of almost a whole roll of tissue paper in the process(s)…..which is not cheap these days, as everyone well knows.

Some might ask, why is she writing about this?  It’s so gross.

You’re right, it is gross, which is exactly my point.   No one ever told me to don’t overdo the fiber.  I can’t remember ever hearing that anywhere or from anyone.   I think people need to know fiber is good for you but too much at once is not so good.

Jus’ sayin’

Disclaimer:  I am not a Doctor and this is not medical advice.  Happy April Fool’s Day!

 

 

Newly Inspired

I just watched the CBS morning news show and they did a story on the marijuana job’s fair in Colorado.  That’s right, MARIJUANA.  They described it as a “BOOMING” business.  People were lined up around the building waiting to be let in.

Well now, there ya’ go.  Who would’ve thought that I would see the day when people were lined up around the building waiting to get into a job’s fair to be hired in the marijuana “industry”……..and it was all LEGAL?

I haven’t smoked a joint in over twenty years but I tell ya, it’s got me thinking of packing up and moving to Colorado to reinvent my life.

Actually, I don’t think I’d have to move all the way out there.  It’s probably just a matter of time before it’s legal here too, now that everyone sees how lucrative a business it actually is.  I’ll bet every lawmaker in the country is saying, “cha-ching”, from all the money that is being made in taxes alone.

I can see them now rubbing their chins and saying something like,  “hmm, maybe that marywanna stuff there ain’t really so bad after all.  We should really reconsider that legislation that was proposed”.

Isn’t it so ironic how “good” something is depending on who’s idea it was and the time that it was thought about?  Have any of you ever seen that movie that was made in the 1920′s, I think,  called “Reefer Madness”?  Perfect example of what I’m talking about.  

It shows people as becoming degenerates and psychotic because of their use of marijuana.  It was great humor back in the late sixties and early seventies.

So for all you hidden entrepreneurs, don’t give up on your chosen profession yet.  There is still hope for you to end up legitimate.  And for anyone who is old enough and hasn’t yet, register to vote and go vote.   It really does count. 

Another Suicide

It’s been a long, cold winter this year or maybe it just seems that way to a lot of people when you live it day to day…..I know it seems to be that way for me some days, at least.  When there are so many days in a row with the temperatures being so low and you feel so cold all of the time and no matter how many layers you put on, you still feel that chill in your bones.

I wonder if that’s how it is when you have thoughts about suicide……is it like being in the middle of a bad period in your life, and you feel like it’s been like this now for a very long time, and you ask yourself, is it ever going to be any different and decide, at that moment, in that instant, that blink of an eye that it won’t ever be different, and in one single act, you extinguish your life?

I wish I knew.  It’s been what I’ve been wrestling with for the last 10 years….trying to make sense of what does not make sense to me.

As far as feeling depressed about the weather, I think it’s fairly easy to feel hope again very quickly because everyone knows that in only a couple month’s time, it will be warm again……..this is what we know to be true…..it is proven every year, again and again and we can tolerate the cold until it gets warm.

I do not understand suicide……don’t know if I ever will!  

Like knowing that the weather will eventually change, we all really do know that eventually, circumstances and situations will change in our lives as well…..that’s life!  What makes some people not want to hold on and stick it out until those changes take place?

Friday a neighbor of mine, who lives across from me on the other side of the parking lot told me that her friend, Sherry, of 28 years who lives just across the street from her, with 2 kids, took her own life.   She started to cry as she said,  “I stopped her 2 times before from doing it…..they just took her out.”

I wonder what makes a person tolerate their life and everything going on in their lives up to that point and in a split second decide to just not tolerate it any longer?

As anyone who reads my blog knows, my own daughter Katie took her own life a little over 10 years ago in our home.   I have been trying to make sense of it ever since. 

I am not angry with Katie for taking her own life.  I have never felt anger towards her for doing this….I just feel so much, incredible sadness and heartache that it has to be this way….that I have to live out the rest of my life without my precious daughter with me here on this earth……I loved every single moment of the time that we spent together on this planet.  Although I feel so blessed  for the time that I did have with Katie, I still wanted, no that’s I want more time….28 years was just not enough for me.

What I do feel angry about is that there is so much stigma attached to suicide, mental illness, depression, etc. that people who have thoughts of suicide sometimes keep it all inside of themselves without telling anyone because they feel ashamed of themselves, their thoughts or their feelings.  

I am angry too, and tortured by the fact that my daughter died all alone in her dark room……all by herself.  The amount of pain and lonliness that she must have felt at that very moment crushes my heart and has caused me to gasp for breath at times in the beginning of this journey I’m on. 

I know first hand about the stigma.  As a matter of fact I started learning about it the night Katie died.   Some of the first responders to my apartment were treating me with so much blatant disrespect after they discovered that she might have taken her own life.  I remember being looked at with disgust and being talked down to.  

I even remember one fireman asking me if there was anyone he could call….I thought he cared that my daughter had just died and I gave him my sister’s number.   What I heard him say to her next disgusted me and I grabbed the phone out of his hand.  He coldly and matter of factly said to her, “Your niece just killed herself, can you come over?”

I don’t know if they immediately thought that it must be my fault because I was a bad mother and therefore didn’t deserve any respect or consideration or that she just didn’t matter because she took her own life.  It wasn’t until later after the detectives and state police arrived that anyone showed any kind of compassion for me about my daughter having just died.

Unbelievable to me now too, is the fact that when that whole experience was happening, I was standing there feeling like I had done something wrong………the stigma attached to suicide was there.  

I used to wonder why……why me…..why my daughter?  What have I done to have this terrible thing happen in my life?  What I think now is why not my daughter?  In God’s eyes we are all equal….suicide can happen in anyone’s family.  Now I ask myself, what am I supposed to do with this experience?  Katie’s life, and death were not a waste and I know I am supposed to do something for some good to come out of it.

“Every 16 minutes in the United States someone dies by suicide…..every 17 minutes someone is left to try and make sense of it.” ,  according to the latest statistics from the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention  (AFSP).  In 2003, the year that Katie died, it was someone dying by suicide every 18 minutes….that means death by suicide is increasing.

After Katie’s death by suicide, I immediately wanted to get involved in helping to prevent another suicide from happening ever again.  I did not want for another family to feel what I was feeling.  I did not want to see another person die by their own hand after feeling so bad and hopeless about their lives.  I thought that my efforts would stop another suicide from ever happening again.   I was so naive!

For the first couple of years after Katie died, I tried to become involved with the local Survivors of Suicide group…..people who were surviving the loss of their loved one dying by suicide.  They organized a yearly community walk that I became involved in and I walked with them for a few years but always felt like it just was not enough.

I went to the planning of the walk meetings and suggested a change in where the walk took place because I thought the place they were walking was not public enough.  I suggested too, more advertising about the walk because I didn’t see it advertised enough in newspapers or on tv.

When I realized there wouldn’t be any changes, I stopped going to the meetings and only participated in the walk the day of the walk to show my support for suicide awareness and then I’d go right back home again and not do anything more for another year.  

To tell you the truth, I didn’t know what else I could do except keep speaking up about my daughter and suicide every time someone would bring up the topic of their children, make jokes about suicide or respond to people’s gestures like putting their fingers to their head, implying it was a gun and they were going to pull the trigger or gesturing like they are pulling a noose tight around their necks.

Two years ago I found out that the local walk place had been changed to the city near the community where the walk had been held every year.  I started to feel hopeful again that suicide prevention would get the notoriety it deserved and more people would actually get to see all of us walking for such a worthy cause.

Disappointment again!  The walk actually started at the civic center on the main street of the city.  This is what gave me hope.  But the route we walked was not down main street and up and around that block area.

We walked down a side street in front of the city hall, across the street where you could gain access to the highway and also led to a park near the river.  The sidewalk we walked on was in the park,  located parallel to a busy street that leads away from the city with many businesses on the land between the two.   Not only that, at the measured mile marked point of the walk, we simply turned around and walked back the same way we had come from…….again, no one really saw us walking and I asked myself, what’s the point?

Some of you may say, but at least they’re doing something and you’re right, they are!   I commend them for that.  

For me though, I want to see billboards and large signs all over the place with the message for people having suicidal thoughts or with mental disease or depression, etc., to know they are not losers….they are valuable and worthwhile and someone does care if they are here on this planet.  I want for them to know it!  Maybe this will help them to help themselves.

Maybe these signs will also help people who do not suffer from these afflictions to understand that mental illness is an illness and most of them are treatable.  Perhaps that would remove some of the fear that some people feel as well and help, in the long run, to remove the stigma attached to suicide, mental illness, depression, etc.

In the support group I belong to, Fran, mother of Justin, died last year, used to end her posts with a quote something like this, (sorry,can’t remember exact quote), I am one person, I cannot do it all, but I will do what I can.

I feel the same as Fran.  I am only one person but I will make the most of any opportunity I am given to shed some light on the subject of suicide and mental illness and the stigma surrounding it whenever I can.

Thank you for reading.

 

Ho, Ho, Ho?

“Twas the day before Christmas and all through the store,

the hustle and bustle of a madhouse for sure.

The managers all armed with their pens and their pads,

demanding the workers increase all their wares.

 

 

Never a good word do they all have,

for any of the workers who are striving so hard,

to assure there is plenty and everyone’s pleased,

such are the rigorous labors gone unnoticed .

 

 

The music is playing and the atmosphere cheery,

but not for those who are providing the service.

 

 

On Deli and Florist and Meat Department too, get with it you

bakeshop and Dairy Department too!

 

 

As the day passes and 6:00 nears, 

the excitement starts building amongst all the peers, 

Tidying up at the end of this day,

is one of the best jobs these workers could have.

 

 

So Merry Christmas to all,

and to all a good night!

 

keys outside 002

based on Clement C. Moore’s

“The Night Before Christmas”

Holiday Overkill

This morning I was watching one of the network morning shows.  No, scratch that….I was actually flipping through the channels trying to find something interesting enough to watch and to also try and find out what the weather might be like during the day today.

Well ordinarily, not much time passes when these channels are repeatedly interrupting regular programming to tell you over and over what to expect, weather wise, during the day and yet when you are really looking for that, you can’t find it.

This being the “holiday season”, programming is now constantly being interrupted by commercials.  We now have to watch every single, solitary commercial be about Christmas or “the” holiday.  ugh!

Now I really don’t know how other people might feel about that, but I for one, am sick of it all!  If I never, ever see another holiday commercial, I will be perfectly ok!

For one thing, it isn’t necessary for me to be bombarded with sights and sounds of the holidays in order for me to know that it is the holiday season or that the stores are trying to lure me into their midst in order to get me to buy something…..I’ve already decided that I will be buying stuff….it’s a given.

For another thing, I work in a store.  From the day after Thanksgiving until the day after Christmas, I and my fellow employees are subjected to the the torturous, monotony of having to listen to “holiday” music being piped in over our PA system for the duration.  Like a lot of people, I used to like hearing holiday music but now it is just over done and redundant.

Finally, one more thing that occurred to me this morning, what about all the non-Christian people that are being subjected to all this commercialism being thrust in their faces at every turn?  It must all annoy them a tad as well.

I know that complaining about something is not going to change anything…..the holiday season is what it is.  As long as there is money to be made, even annoyance works when you’re trying to sell people something….at least it gets people thinking about what you’re selling even if they don’t actually buy at holiday time…..they just might at some point.

Commercialism, s’mercialism…….

My Mother’s Hands

These are my hands. 

my hands 005 my hands 001

Over the years, my hands have become the way I remember my Mother’s hands looking…..like “working hands”.

When you use your hands to earn your living, you can definitely see the wear and tare over the years.  Your veins get bigger and the fatty tissue seems to bulk up every time you flex.  Then after a certain age, to add insult to injury, the colder it gets outdoors, the dryer your skin gets.

From the time we were little kids, my mother was a hard working woman.  

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I can remember watching her many times, out in the cold, freezing her fingers, wooden clothespins clenched in her teeth as she hung out the wet laundry to dry in the middle of winter.  I remember too that sometimes she cut off the finger tips of gloves so that it was easier for her to manipulate the clothes to hang on the line.

What some people didn’t realize back then, (in the 50′s), was that there were times too when our automatic washing machine was “on the fritz”, as Ma liked to call it and she had to scrub our clothes on a washboard in the bathtub.  

With a lot of kids and a lot of clothes, there was always a lot of scrubbing that needed to be done….so much that sometimes her knuckles would bleed.   But that was easier for her to do then trying to get us all together, plus the laundry to trek up to the laundromat.  

It wasn’t until we older kids were about 11 and 12 years old that she would bundle up one load of laundry in one brown paper bag, (could be 3, 4 or more loads at a time), measure out in plastic sandwich bags the amount of detergent to go in each machine, load up our old, grey baby carriage and send us older kids up to the laundromat to wash the clothes for her, then we’d bring all the wet clothes back home and she would hang them all out on the line to dry.  

You can’t even imagine the embarrassment I used to feel sometimes having to do that but Ma said we just have to swallow our pride and do what we have to do to get things done.

There isn’t a time that I can remember when Ma wasn’t doing something with her hands.  Every day there were potatoes to peel, socks to darn, mending to be done, buttons to be sewn on, shoelaces to be tied, babies to be bathed, diapered and dressed and so on and so on. She worked from the time she got up in the morning about 5 AM until she was finally able to get to bed, sometimes around midnight.

I love my mother….she amazed me.  I was so impressed that she was able to cut paper dolls, strung together simply by turning your scissors this way and that and cutting away the excess paper.  Or that it never bothered her in the least to cut an undesirable bug in half with her fingernail to get rid of it….ewww!

Ma was very creative too.  She made lots of our clothes, especially when we were very young, she came up with ides for homemade Easter baskets, hats and many school projects that we had to do as well.

As we kids grew up and after we moved into my Grandfather’s house, Ma loved getting into the dirt and tending to her vegetable garden and fruit vines in the back yard…..she was always busy doing something.

When I look at my hands now, I sometimes see that my hands have become how my Mother’s hands used to look to me….dry, rugged and worn but still very useful but mostly it makes me think of my Ma and how much I love her and miss her.

The Throwaways

It used to be that businesses used to think of their workforce as an investment.  They spent their time, energy and money on training people to help secure that they would have the help that they needed to build and maintain their business for as long as needed.

Business owners also used to believe that if they treated their help well and fairly, that the workers would be happy and they would feel loyal and want to stay with that particular company for a long time.

And over the years of employment with some companies, workers were offered the opportunity to invest in themselves with a pension plan to help pay for their years after they retired from their jobs.

As many know, that way of thinking is what helped America become the industrial nation that it did for a very long time.

Over the years, that way of thinking has been replaced with how can I get more work done with less people?   

I have the answer!   DISPOSABLE!

Stop thinking of your workers as people…….they are numbers.  Increase or decrease your numbers at your discretion and see what works best for you.

No Excuses!   Instill in the numbers that they have to do whatever it takes to get the work done that you demand get done because there are plenty more numbers lined up at the door just waiting for a chance to be let in to do what the present numbers are not capable of doing any longer.

So, numbers, climb that too short ladder and get on your tippy toes and extend your too short arms and stretch your fingers to push that too heavy box to move just a millionth of an inch at a time until you can get it to fall, hopefully away from your head, and down to the floor so you can reach it and retrieve it to use for what you need.

One more thing that you can employ as a business owner if you have skimmed your numbers to the bone and you’re expenses are still higher than you would like them to be, start finding ways to weed out the numbers that have invested their time, energy and loyalty to you and your business.  

Make up unrealistic demands that you know they can not achieve and then boot them out the door for not doing what they are getting paid to do.  That way you no longer have to pay the higher salary they have worked their way up to or the pension they have helped to build up.

It makes no difference what kind of business you’re in, car manufacturing to grocery store, the principles and guidelines we have come up with to run a business is working……..for us.  

After all, it is only our profits and shareholders that matter to us…….everything else is just numbers, replaceable and throwaway.

 

I Loved JFK

He was my president…..my first, and I loved him.  

When John Fitzgerald Kennedy was elected to office I was only eight years old. On the day of his inauguration,  I can remember having to walk to the store with my father in the middle of a blizzard…..all I was thinking about was getting home on time to see him taking the oath of office.  

I also heard the broadcasters talking about the inaugural ball and thought that it sounded like it would be something that was fun so I even planned on staying up later, if my parents would let me, to see what it was all about and to see what  Jackie, the president’s wife, was wearing to the ball…..and btw, they did allow it.

jfk-1960-kennedy-sized

I don’t know how or when I first became aware of John Fitzgerald Kennedy.  Perhaps it was from seeing news reports on tv or from having to look through the newspaper to find a “current events” article to give an oral report on at school and from the first moment I knew about him, I was smitten.

JFK was young, handsome and had a young and beautiful family and he seemed to care about people.  I remember having the feeling that things were good in the world. 

I didn’t know anything about what some people didn’t like about the President or that they could dislike anything at all.  In school we were taught about his Space program, the astronauts and  his physical fitness program.

My classmates and I learned about how electricity worked and who the astronauts were at the same time.  We created a game where all the astronauts names’ were on the left side of a board and something about each was on the right side of the board. 

The back of the board was wired to small lights on the front of the board next to each astronaut.  There were also small lights on the opposite side of the board too.  We had to touch, with a small wand, and match the astronaut with the information and if we chose correctly, the light would go on.   I really enjoyed helping to make that game and then playing it too.

Unfortunately, everything did not stay good with JFK.  He was killed.

jfk-1963-kennedy-dallas-sized

I was eleven years old.   And yes, like everyone else, I remember almost exactly where I was and what I was doing when I found out that President Kennedy………my president, had been shot.

I think all the kids might have been outside for afternoon recess.  Myself and some other kids were engaged in play on the black top play area at the back of Dorman Elementary School in Springfield, Massachusetts and one of the teachers came running out, saying that the president had been shot.

I remember immediately stopping what I was doing and just standing in place in disbelief.  First I wondered, how was he and then, why would anyone want to shoot him?  I loved the president….I thought everyone did.

At that moment, I felt a fear and sadness in me that I had never before ever experienced…..what happens now, I wondered?

I don’t remember much after that.   I know it was Friday and we went home from school for the weekend. 

That Friday night the tv in our house was turned on much earlier than it had ever been turned on before.  Over the weekend, my parents kept watching and listening to learn what they could about what had happened to our President…….and of course, all of us kids were watching with them….glued to the screen.

Then on Sunday the Dallas police were moving Lee Harvey Oswald, the man suspected of shooting JFK, from one jail to another and on live tv, I saw a man shot to death.  It was horrible.

It’s so disturbing when I see someone die for real on tv.  It’s so different when it’s not a show on tv. I know it’s real because I get a sick feeling in my stomach when I see it happen.  To this day I remember how Lee groaned, grabbed his stomach and squinched up his face when Jack Ruby shot him.  

At that time, even when they showed film footage of President Kennedy getting shot, the film didn’t appear all that clear to me.   It wasn’t until years later that I was able to see the true graphic nature of his assassination.

November 22, 1963 was a sad day to say the least.  It still brings on some sadness when I think back on that time now.  

I loved JFK…..he was my first President.  I don’t think I will ever understand why someone thought that he needed to die.

The Big Scare

Happy Halloween everyone!

I will never forget the Halloween that I almost spoiled Halloween forever for my son Adam.

Up until that point, he was all for dressing up and becoming someone else for the night……..after “the BIG scare“, not so much.

He was about 3 or 4 at the time and I dressed him up as a little hobo.  He wore one of his plaid, flannel shirts and a pair of bluejeans and we had put together a little pouch tied on a stick for him to carry.

Adam was fine with everything I had done so far and was all excited about going out and trick or treating and all and then I did it.  

It wasn’t the fact that I had burned one end of an old cork, bottle stopper and rubbed it on his face to make it look like he was an unshaven man but the huge mistake of letting him see how great it looked in the mirror.  

Big mistake………..HUMUNGUS!!!!!

As soon as Adam saw what he looked like and didn’t recognize the face in the mirror, he freaked!

Adam immediately started crying and wanted me to clean off his face.  I tried to assure him that it would all be ok if he could let himself get used to it…that it would be fun….if he would just give it a chance. 

Well no way was he having anything to do with his face being disguised after that one look.  

I ended up cleaning off his face and it was only after seeing his own face, once again, in the mirror that he agreed to go out trick or treating.

After that night there was no more face disguising for Adam on Halloween for a very long time.  He’d wear a costume but there was no more disguising of his face. When he looked into the mirror, he wanted to recognize the person looking back at himself.

I felt like such a rotten mother….so guilty for scaring the crap out of my own child on Halloween.  I also felt sad and afraid too that I may have spoiled one of the most fun times of the year for my son……forever.

That didn’t happen though.  Adam has since recovered from the BIG SCARE…..thank goodness!….although, I really think he’s still not much of a fan for disguising his face if he does put on a costume at all anymore.

Early Riser Ramblings

I can’t believe I woke up this morning a little before 6:00….it’s been ages since I’ve done that without an alarm clock.  Last night I watched the World Series game and didn’t go to sleep until it had been over for at least 45 minutes……and by the way, what an ending, right?  I really thought the Red Sox had it…..ugh!…..tonight’s another night.

Anyway, I rolled around in bed for a bit, trying to see if I would go back to sleep but it wasn’t going to happen so I, begrudgingly, got up and put on my coffee. Funny thing about me is, once I’m up, I’m up for good so here I am at the keyboard, sipping my coffee and writing it all down for posterity…..heh, heh.

A little earlier I tried to take a picture of the sky as it started to get brighter because I rarely see it anymore this time of day, but I don’t have a very good camera and the pictures came out lousy so I didn’t use them.  I think maybe it’s time for me to invest in a better camera….will think about it.

Back in the days before Katie died, I was an early riser every day.  It used to feel to me that I was wasting the day if I didn’t get up earlier than eight o’clock.   But my sleep habits have changed considerably since then and I never get to bed anymore before midnight.  

I’ve tried to get myself to shut down earlier so I can get up earlier but I just end up tossing and turning forever before I actually go to sleep and that just irritates the crap out of me so I just wait now until I can’t keep my eyes open any longer to go to bed.

Back then, I started my day with my coffee, my cigarettes and a daily walk but I’ve gotten out of that routine…….and I no longer smoke, either….it’s been about 3 or 4 years now, I think.  I like not smoking and I was always afraid I wouldn’t.  It was one of the things that kept me smoking for all those years….the “fear” of being without them……..but believe me, it’s ok without them in my life.

Well, guess that’s enough rambling for now…it’s now almost 8:00, and yup, it took all that time for me to get the little bit I’ve written here, written…..I try to have what I write make some kind of sense before I put it out for others to see.  

Etta will be wanting to go out very soon.  Hope that someone else got to see the sky this morning earlier……it was beautiful.  Enjoy!

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