Thursday, August 18, 2016

To Samantha, As My Heart Breaks

So, yesterday morning I discovered you have blocked me on Facebook, and today I discovered that you are referring to me as toxic to you and your children. You have no idea how much both of those things hurt me, or how much I've cried--not just the last two days, but the last week since you and Annamea left here.

I hope that you will read this letter and tell me exactly which of these things were so toxic, and which of them justify my no longer having contact with you or Annamea.

From the time I found out you were on the way, you were loved---and since we'd spent over a year trying to have you by then, you were definitely wanted, as well. I know that your childhood was never an easy one, but you and I both know that there was always one person who fought for you no matter the situation, who was always on your side....and that person was your mother.

No matter how often your father disappointed you with broken promises, I refused to say anything against him to you. I told you that I was sure he loved you, in his way, and that having a different relationship was something the two of you would have to work out for yourselves. I never kept you from spending time with him, or talking to him on the phone, no matter how many times he tried to convince you and your brother otherwise.

When you went through several years of traumatic experiences during your visits with your father, which you weren't able to fully disclose until you were six years old, I was the adult in your life who believed you without question, the adult who made sure you got all the help you needed to deal with it, the adult who defended you when others in your life called you a "fucking little liar" or told others that you had made similar claims about other people doing the same things to you. And I was the one who had to comfort you when your father hired a lawyer to defend your stepsister AND sent a letter from his attorney that he was going to suspend visitation with you and your brother, which he did for an entire year.

When your father and stepmother insisted you needed to be held back in second grade because you weren't "socially ready" to move on, even though you had all As and Bs and were academically amazing, I was the person who contacted a child psychologist and had her list all the reasons why holding you back would be detrimental to your future in school, and who tried to stop your father and stepmother from going through with it. And when you basically gave up on school after that, I was the one who kept trying to encourage you, to remind you of how smart you were (and still are), and who always believed that you could do it.

When you were diagnosed with ADHD, I was the one who tried everything the doctors suggested to try to keep you off medication. I made behavior charts, bought you prizes when you reached your sticker goals, changed the entire family's diet for nearly a year, made sure you got lots of time outside to "work off" your excess energy, etc. And when we finally went the medication route, and I saw a change in your behavior the very first day, I was the one who felt GUILTY for not putting you on it immediately after the diagnosis.

When you started telling stories that weren't true, and got CPS called on me several times, I took it in stride and put it down to you having trouble dealing with your father's inattention. Even when you lied about your sister doing something to you, claiming you had to spend a week in the hospital because of it, I was easier on you than I probably should have been, because I felt bad about all the things you'd had to go through in life.

When you reached your eighteenth birthday and decided you didn't want to live in our house and follow our rules, I let you go, even though it broke my heart, because you were an adult. When you decided to drop out of high school, I didn't make a big deal of it, as I knew you were fabulous at test taking (after all, you had scored an 18 on the ACT in junior high) and presumed you would take the GED shortly after dropping out, pass with flying colors and be able to go on to college and take the courses you were looking forward to rather than the ones you were being forced into in high school.

Over the next few months, how many times did I let you come back home--and how many times did you walk out again just because you didn't want to follow the house rules of a decent curfew, getting a job, and taking your GED?  You burned bridges with nearly everyone else you knew, but you always had a safe place to fall with me, time and time again.

Even when you moved to South Carolina, and started referring to virtual strangers as your family, I was always there when you called to vent, or when you needed advice. I missed you like crazy, but I was hopeful that you would find yourself and create a life that made you happy.

When you, Andy and Micheal came to Ohio and needed a place to stay, we never hesitated to take you in....even though we had to support all three of you for the next several months as neither you nor Andy made any real effort to get a job or contribute to the household. When we finally asked for money from you, you packed up the next day and moved to Michigan rather than act like responsible adults.

In spite of that, when you and Andy were having marital problems, and you wanted to leave, it was our house that was open to you yet again. We asked only that get a job, get your driver's license, and get your GED--and I was willing to watch Micheal for free while you worked toward all those goals.  You put in very little effort toward any of them, and after a few months decided it would be easier just to go back to Michigan.

All of which brings us to your relationship with Terrance and his family. From the very beginning, he has been mean to Micheal, yelling at him, hitting him, and behaving like a child when dealing with Micheal's toys--taking toys away from him and then playing with them himself in front of Micheal, or breaking his favorite toys as a form of "discipline."  Instead of sticking up for Micheal and putting a stop to it, you ignored it, made excuses for it, or denied it even happened. And he has never treated you much better, throwing ridiculous tantrums (threatening to throw out every dish in the house because he found a dirty spoon in the dish drainer), hitting you, trying to hook up with other girls right under your nose, doing dumb things to get put in jail so that you had to take care of yourself, the kids, and his financial responsibilities on your own, etc.

Let's not forget that you've let him and his mother treat me like garbage all this time as well. How many times have you and I been talking on Facebook, joking like we always do with each other, and the two of them have jumped into the conversation, cursing me, telling me what a horrible mother I've been, accusing me of throwing you out of my house and never being on  your side, etc?  And where would they get those ideas unless YOU were telling them those things about me?

Yet, a week and a half ago, when Terrance slapped you and then punched you in the eye, and when they were threatening to take Annamea away from you, who did you again turn to for help? Yep, your "horrible mother." So your best friend and I made the trip up there, got the two of you, and brought you back here---and I don't know about Sarah, but I never even heard a "Thank you."

If you would have stayed here, you would have had generous visits with Micheal whenever he was out of school, you would have had a job by now that would have at least been something to help out with expenses until you could get something better, you would have been in a GED class, you would have been learning to drive, you would have been free to make any and all decisions for yourself and Annamea---and most importantly, you would never have had to worry again about Terrance or his mother putting their hands on your or either one of your children.

But less than 48 hours after you got here, you started talking about wanting to go "home" to the your "family" and your "real friends." Even when you were told that going back would result in you losing any and all custody of Micheal, your only response was "I know."  Is that really all having him in your life means to you?

Last Thursday afternoon, Terrance and his father showed up to take the two of you back to Michigan. This "man" who supposedly loves you two so much, and is supposedly willing to change to make you happy, sat on his butt in the truck while you carried out all the bags and boxes of your belongings and loaded them into the truck.

I've cried for you and your children ever since and Annamea because I know you're both in a dangerous situation, and I am scared that they will find a way to take her from you and toss you out on the street, and Micheal because he's going to lose his mother and his baby sister, and he's going to feel like he doesn't matter to you anymore.

I know, deep in my heart, that someday you're going to need to come home again.....right now, though, I don't know if I'll ever be able to open my heart to this sort of pain again, or if this time you've finally burned the last little rope bridge you had left.

No matter what, though, know that I love you. I always have, I always will.


Sunday, May 22, 2016

SUNDAY STEALING: Ask Questions Meme

Welcome back to Sunday Stealing which originated on WTIT: The Blog authored by Bud Weiser. Here we will steal all types of memes from every corner of the blogosphere. Our promise to you is that we will work hard to find the most interesting and intelligent memes. You may have heard the expression, “honor amongst thieves”. In that age-old tradition, we try to credit the blog that we stole it from. We also provide a link to the victim's meme in our "Previous Victims" widget. (It's our way of saying "Thanks!") Sometimes we edit the original meme, to make it more relevant to our global players, to challenge our players, to select the best questions, or simply to make it less repetitive from this new meme or recently asked questions from a previously featured meme.  

Cheers to all of us thieves!!!  

Ask Questions Meme

1. What type of criminal would you be?
A very bad one.

2. What are you listening to right now?
Audiobook of How To Build A Girl, by Caitlin Moran

3. If you had to choose a stripper name, what would it be?
Dolly Wilde

4. If your phone started ringing, who would you hope is calling?
My daughter, with my two oldest grandchildren.

5. Do you drink alcohol?

6. Do you smoke?

7. What is the first thing you notice in someone?
Eyes and/or smile

8. Do you get attached easily?

9. Do you like your eye color?

10. Have any stupid human tricks?

11. Humor me. What physical ideal do you imagine in a boyfriend/girlfriend/partner?
Tall dark and handsome, of course. @@

12. Any other essential quirks/interests/other you look for in a boyfriend/girlfriend/partner?
Intelligent, good sense of humor, faithful, responsible.

13. Have you ever stolen anything? 
Yes, as a kid.

14. Any romantic gestures you really like?
Any that come from my husband.

15. What’s your favorite color and why?
Carolina blue, just because.

16. What were you like when you were a kid?
Shy, quiet, klutzy, bookworm----pretty much the same as I am now.

17. What would your dream house be like?
A beach house with a huge library.

18. What last made you laugh?
A story my mother told me during our daily phone call.

19. Do you have a place you like to go to collect your thoughts?
No particular place, no.

20. What is your favorite word?

21. What is your least favorite word?

22. Would you go bungee jumping/sky diving if given the chance?
Not a chance!

23. Do you have any siblings?

24. Do you like to dance?

25. What is your definition of cheating?
Depends on the situation.

Saturday, May 21, 2016

Saturday 9:What Hurts The Most

What Hurts the Most

Welcome to Saturday 9. What we've committed to our readers is that we will post 9 questions every Saturday. Sometimes the post will have a theme, and at other times the questions will be totally unrelated. Those weeks we do "random questions," so-to-speak. We encourage you to visit other participants posts and leave a comment. Because we don't have any rules, it is your choice. We hate rules. We love memes, however, and here is today's meme! 

Saturday 9: What Hurts the Most (2006)

Unfamiliar with this week's tune? Hear it here.

1) What hurts Sam the most is her sole, since she just found that earring she thought was lost by stepping on it with her bare foot. How about you? Any aches and pains to report? 

Been having some issues with my back recently....worried I may have to see a doctor about it soon.

2) What's the last thing you misplaced? Did you find it?

My phone...and yes, I just called it and followed the ringing.

3) Lead singer Gary LeVox sings that he's not afraid to cry. When is the last time you shed a tear?

Oh gosh, probably yesterday. I get weepy at the drop of a hat these days.

4) Gary auditioned for another country group, Little Big Town, but didn't get in. Considering how successful Rascal Flatts has been, he's probably not sorry. Tell us about something you thought you wanted, but later weren't so sure.

Nothing I care to share today.   :)

5) The country group has their roots in Columbus, Ohio. What else is Ohio known for?

The Wright Brothers, Neil Armstrong, Skyline Chili, Wendy's hamburgers, Paul Laurence Dunbar, and of course ME.

6) Lead guitarist Joe Don Rooney married model and former Miss Georgia, Tiffany Fallon. Many major pageants give prizes in the talent, congeniality and swimsuit competitions. Would you prefer to have exceptional skills, a great personality, or a terrific body? 

Exceptional skills

7) 2006, the year this song was popular, was a very good one for tennis pro Roger Federer. He reached the finals in all four Grand Slam tournaments, and won three. What's the last game you won? (Yes, Words with Friends counts.)

Don't play games often....but I won a signed copy of a book this morning in a giveaway.  

8) Actor Tony Shalhoub won an Emmy in 2006 for his portrayal of detective Adrian Monk on Monk. Who's your favorite TV detective?

NCIS  Special Agent Leroy Jethro Gibbs.

9) Random question ... You've just won an all-expenses-paid trip but now you have to choose: Carnivale in Brazil, the Bordeaux Wine Festival in France, or the Running of the Bulls in Spain?

Bordeaux Wine Festival in France is definitely more my style than the other two.

Monday, May 16, 2016

Musing Mondays

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Musing Mondays is a weekly meme that asks you to choose one of the following prompts to answer: (Answering more than one, just because I can....LOL)

  • I’m currently reading…The Madness Of Mercury by Connie Di Marco
  • Up next I think I’ll read…From A Broken Land by William R. Herr
  • I bought the following book(s) in the past week…None
  • I’m super excited to tell you about (book/author/bookish-news)…
  • I’m really upset by (book/author/bookish-news)…
  • I can’t wait to get a copy of…The Winds Of Winter by George R.R. Martin--if he ever gets it finished!!
  • I wish I could read ___, but…
  • I blogged about ____ this past week…
THIS WEEK’S RANDOM QUESTION: What do you think is the most overrated book?
For me, that would be the entire Fifty Shades series....UGH!!!!

Thursday, February 4, 2016

The Five Love Languages

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I have always been fascinated by Gary Chapman's book, The Five Love Languages Of Love. For those not familiar with the book or the concept, the basic principle is that each person has a primary love language--something which means "love" to them. You feel most loved when someone responds to you in your love language, and it is also the way you naturally express your love to others.
I took the online test again this morning, just to get my most accurate results.  Here are how my scores came out:
7Physical Touch
7Words of Affirmation
6Quality Time
6Receiving Gifts
4Acts of Service

What Each Language Means

1) Physical Touch: This isn't all about the bedroom. A person whose primary language is Physical Touch is, not surprisingly, very touchy. Hugs, pats on the back, holding hands, and thoughtful touches on the arm, shoulder, or face – they can all be ways to show excitement, concern, care, and love. Physical presence and accessibility are crucial, while neglect or abuse can be unforgivable and destructive. Physical touch fosters a sense of security and belonging in any relationship.

2) Words of Affirmation: Actions don't always speak louder than words. If this is your love language, unsolicited compliments mean the world to you. Hearing the words, "I love you," are important – hearing the reasons behind that love sends your spirits skyward. Insults can leave you shattered and are not easily forgotten. Kind, encouraging, and positive words are truly life-giving.

3) Quality Time: In the vernacular of Quality Time, nothing says, "I love you," like full, undivided attention. Being there for this type of person is critical, but really being there – with the TV off, fork and knife down, and all chores and tasks on standby – makes your significant other feel truly special and loved. Distractions, postponed dates, or the failure to listen can be especially hurtful. Quality Time also means sharing quality conversation and quality activities.

4) Receiving Gifts: Don't mistake this love language for materialism; the receiver of gifts thrives on the love, thoughtfulness, and effort behind the gift. If you speak this language, the perfect gift or gesture shows that you are known, you are cared for, and you are prized above whatever was sacrificed to bring the gift to you. A missed birthday, anniversary, or a hasty, thoughtless gift would be disastrous – so would the absence of everyday gestures. Gifts are visual representations of love and are treasured greatly.

5) Acts Of Service: Can vacuuming the floors really be an expression of love? Absolutely! Anything you do to ease the burden of responsibilities weighing on an "Acts of Service" person will speak volumes. The words he or she most want to hear: "Let me do that for you." Laziness, broken commitments, and making more work for them tell speakers of this language their feelings don't matter. Finding ways to serve speaks volumes to the recipient of these acts.

Barry's scores don't come out in the exact same order as mine. but we do share physical touch as one of our main love languages--his second is quality time, which I need to remember and honor more often.

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Top Ten Foods I Could Eat For The Rest Of My Life

I don't know if I can limit myself to ten, but I'll give it a shot. The fact of the matter is, I LOVE food, and have SO many favorites.

1) Lasagna
This is always the first food that comes to mind when someone asks my favorite food--and my favorite lasagna is the one my husband, Barry, makes (followed closely by the lasagna from Spaghetti Warehouse!)

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2) Lobster
This follows closely behind lasagna when I start to think of favorites. Don't get full lobsters very often these days, but I gladly settle for a lobster tail.

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3) Pizza
Just heard this morning that, according to a Harris Poll, this is America's #1 comfort food.  I can understand that, as it is one of the first foods I think of when I'm trying to decide what to eat for lunch, especially in the winter. My favorite type of pizza is Hawaiian, but I'm also a big fan of supreme--and I'll eat almost anything on pizza in a pinch, except anchovies.

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4) Burritos
Love, love, LOVE burritos--homemade, storebought, restaurant food, whatever!

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5) French toast
My all-time favorite breakfast food!
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6) Blackberries
I can eat these any time of of my favorite snack foods

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7) Brownies
Either plain or a la mode, I don't care which!

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8) Cheesecake
I have always enjoyed regular cheesecake, but I also just recently discovered cappuccino cheesecake, thanks to my youngest daughter.

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9) Fried bologna sandwich
Comfort food from my childhood

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10) Peanut butter and pickle sandwich
This has been my all-time favorite sandwich since I was twelve years old, and I still eat it on a regular basis.

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Tuesday, January 26, 2016

My 2016 Reading List

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Books I've Read So Far
Shamrock Shenanigans by Kathi Daley
A Criminal Magic by Lee Kelly
A Free Unsullied Land by Maggie Kast
Last Dance by Joyce and Jim Lavene
Stabbing In The Senate by Colleen J. Shogan
Thread and Gone by Lea Wait
Swan Deception by Glede Browne Kabongo
14 Days To Die by A. B. Whelan
Whispers In The Reading Room by Shelley Gray
The Things We Keep by Sally Hepworth
All In Her Head by Sunny Mera
The Adventures Of Midge and Moo by Kerry McQuaide (children)
Dee and Deb Off They Go--Kindergarten First Day Jitters by Donna M. McDine (children)
Accused by Tonya Craft
Pretty Girls by Karin Slaughter
The Memory Box by Eva Lesko Natiello
New Beginnings: A 31-Day Devotional Journey by Cathy Bryant
The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey
Sweet Pepper Hero by J.J. Cook
Zimmerman Academy: The New Normal by Kathi Daley
The Infinite Sea by Rick Yancey
George by Alex Gino
Karma's A Killer by Tracy Weber
Gunfight At Grace Gulch by Darlene Franklin
How To Grow An Addict by J.A. Wright
Dante's Gift by Aubrey Wynne
Caskets From Costco by Kelly Wilson
His Father Still by Tim Hollister
Double Doubt by Ann Hammerton
We Are All The Same by Jim Wooten
Journey Beyond The Trauma by Dr. J. Denee
Anthem by Ayn Rand
Game Of Fear by Glede Browne Kabongo
Silly Elephant by Nadhu Poduri (children)
Follow Me Home by Cathy Woodman

Books I'm Currently Reading
The Ravine by Robert Pascuzzi
My Name Is Not Friday by Jon Walter
The Golden Braid by Melanie Dickerson
Chasing The Codex by Patricia Rockwell
Gone By Midnight by Joyce Lavene
Spies And Spells by Tonya Kappes
A Disguise To Die For by Diane Vallere

Books I've Already Scheduled For Review
Murder On Wheels by Lynn Cahoon
The Final Tap by Amanda Flower
No Cats Allowed by Miranda James
A Scone To Die For by H.Y. Hanna
The Gates Manor Band by Jan Hemby
Dearly Departed by Hy Conrad
A Bead In The Hand by Janice Peacock
Killing Me Softly by Kathryn R. Biel
Change Of Heart by Jeanne Bishop
In The Dark by Chris Patchell
Memory House by Bette Lee Crosby
The Beautiful Daughters by Nicole Baart
Dragon Wife by Diana Green
Molly's Misadventures by D.E. Haggerty
Africa's Big 5 Wild Animals by Anna Othitis  (children)
The Ninth Life by Clea Simon
The Girl You Lost by Kathryn Croft
City Of Savages by Lee Kelly
Strangers On A Bridge by James Donovan
Stand by Shannon Perry
The Heart Of The Amish by Suzanne Woods Fisher
Crystal The Christmas Angel by Theresa Oliver (children)
Destination Hope by Shellie Nichol
The Munich Girl by Phyllis Ring
God The Reason by Craig Biehl
Happy Homicides by Joanna Campbell Slan (Valentine edition)
Lie In Plain Sight by Maggie Barbieri
Lincoln's Bodyguard by T.J. Turner
The Daffodils Still Grow by Sherrie Tidwell (children)
Deep Fried And Pickled by Paisley Ray
Shards Of Murder by Cheryl Hollon
Plateful Of Murder by Carole Fowkes
A Jingle Valley Wedding by Martha Reynolds
The Virgin's Daughter by Laura Andersen
The Virgin's Spy by Laura Andersen
The Perfectly Proper Paranormal Museum by Kirsten Weiss
Dark Touch by Aimee L. Salter
Empire Rising by Cheyanne Young
Lastland by A.R. Ivanovich
Mirror World by John Calicchia
Eyeshine by Cy Wyss
The Skeleton In The Closet by Angie Fox
In Gallup Greed by Tower Lowe
Jamie Quinn Series by Barbara Venkataraman
The Emerging Sensitive by Maria Hill
The Semester Of Our Discontent by Cynthia Kuhn
Death Before Decaf by Caroline Fardig
Outrageous by Neil Katz
House Of Echoes by Brendan Duffy
Murder On The Menu by Zanna Mackenzie
Starfish Island by Deborah Brown
Murder At The 42nd Street Library by Con Lehane
Latent Image by Joshua Graham
Delivering the Truth by Edith Maxwell

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