Saturday, April 30, 2011

I'm Starting To Think....

...that I might be suffering from depression, or that the tendency I've had toward bipolar is getting stronger. I've always had to deal with SAD (seasonal affective disorder), where I've been more "down" during the winter, or even when it's a really dark, gloomy day. But recently, I've noticed the "blah" days...days where the tears are always right there, just looking for an excuse to fall, where the lump in my throat won't go away, where I have no motivation and just don't give a damn about anything...are coming more often, and even on days like today when it's beautiful and sunny.
I guess I'm just going to have to break down and go talk to a professional, as much as I've tried to avoid that route. I just don't want to give any sort of credibility to all those times my mother told me that I was "crazy," and somehow it feels like getting my depression diagnosed would do that. GRRR....I HATE those voices from the past that never seem to get out of my head!!!!

Friday, April 29, 2011

Thoughts On The Royal Wedding

I've been watching coverage on BBCAmerica since 3AM. Just some random thoughts...

* The Beckhams looked gorgeous as usual...but Victoria's hat choice was less than stellar.

* The Prime Minister's wife didn't wear a hat...the British press was scandalized!

* Prince William and Prince Harry looked very handsome in their uniforms...I think Harry actually outshone William this morning!

*It was so "normal" to see the two of them chatting and laughing together at various times today.

* Kate's mother, sister, and Kate herself all went for simple but elegant...gorgeous ladies and gorgeous dresses.

* Camilla's dress was nice...and that's all I'll say about her.

*Loved the bright cheery yellow the Queen wore--and it was so sweet to see her forego getting out of the car on her side, but scoot across the seat to allow Prince Phillip to help her out. They're such a sweet couple, even after 63 yrs together!

*Wasn't sure of the idea of trees in the Abbey, but the effect was magical...and the trees will be planted at Highgrove later, so they'll be a lasting memory.

*Catherine got all of William's names in the right order!

*William isn't going to wear a ring...apparently a royal tradition, but one I don't much care for, personally.

* During the Bishop's Address, Amy and I actually caught William twiddling his thumbs!

* The entire ceremony was, as usual, very impressive. Another example of what thousands of years of tradition can do!

* Watching William and Harry during the recessional...perfect heel to toe precision with every step!

*And the crowds go wild as the newlyweds step out of the Abbey!

* Catherine looks absolutely giddy riding in the coach back to the Palace.

* Catherine's reaction on stepping out onto the balcony: "Oh wow!"

* William BLUSHED after the first public kiss on the balcony!

* Harry and Prince Phillip had a good laugh at William's expense after the blush. Again, the seem to be relaxing and becoming more "normal."




Thursday, April 28, 2011

How Embarrassing!!!

This post is written from a prompt, provided here:
Mama’s

5.) Something embarrassing that happened at school.

I can still remember this like it was yesterday. I was in eighth grade, and it was a cold winter day. My three best friends and I had decided to have a dress up day, so we were all in skirts or dresses, hose and heels. As was our usual routine, we went to the band room to drop off our instruments, then decided to leave via the back door and the fire escape, which would put us a few steps closer to the junior high building.

Naturally, it didn't occur to any of us that, it being a very cold morning, there might be ICE on the fire escape. The first indication any of us had of said ice was when my feet flew out from under me, and I went sailing down on my back. I closed my eyes and resigned myself to hitting hard at the bottom...but just about the time I thought I should be slamming into the concrete, I felt a pair of hands close around my waist.

When I opened my eyes, I almost wished that I HAD hit the concrete, because I was looking up into the face of our band director--who I'd had a crush on ever since I met him the beginning of seventh grade! He asked me if I was all right, and I automatically answered "Yes, I think so," even though I was having trouble remembering to breathe (but I was sure that had nothing to do with the fall, and everything to do with him holding on to me). His response brought the "moment" to an abrupt end, however: "Good...then get off my folder!"

I stood up, willing my legs to work, turned around, and sure enough, on the bottom stair, there was his music folder, where he'd tossed it to stop my fall. I reached down, picked it up and handed it to him, muttering a "thanks" before I was surrounded and whisked away by my friends. It was definitely a moment to remember...and not in a good way! (Although I DO laugh about it now, which at the time I never would have thought possible!!)

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This is the building where the band room is located...you can see the back door between the two windows...the fire escape goes across the roof and then down the side of the building.

Meeting Online



#2 Did you ever date anyone you met online? Do tell……

It was the summer of 1999. I was going through a difficult time, and I had joined several of what are now called Yahoo Groups. It was only a day or two before I took notice of someone else who was also on a couple of the same groups. He had a warped sense of humor much like mine, and he was a big flirt, also much like me. We took part in several group discussions, and then one day I mentioned I was dealing with an online stalker of sorts...a guy who just didn't know how to take "No" for an answer. The guy I had noticed on my email groups volunteered to "take care" of the stalker problem for me, so I sent him the screen name and later that day he sent me a copy of their message conversation....he had told Stalker that he was my new boyfriend, and that he didn't take kindly to Stalker upsetting me!

It wasn't quite what I'd been expecting (I'm not sure WHAT I'd been expecting, to tell ya the truth!), but I emailed him back, thanked him, and said something along the lines of "If you're going to be my new boyfriend, guess we ought to get to know each other, huh? LOL" That was the beginning of our daily online chats, where we started to learn more about one another than we could from the groups.

Backing up a little, I should mention that he lived in Arizona, and I was in Ohio...so I was thinking strictly in terms of friendship when we started talking. I continued to think that way throughout the summer and fall, even though we were now chatting online for HOURS every day. One day a mutual friend of ours told me that she could always tell when I'd been talking to him before I talked to her because I was just "more bubbly," and she got me to start thinking about how I was REALLY feeling about him.

Not long after that, we had a conversation that changed things for me. He was talking about what we would do if I were there in Arizona....going to lunch, taking a walk after....and I told him he should find someone close to home to actually do those things with. His response: "Why would I want to do that when I've already found the girl I want to be with?" Idiot that I am, MY response was "Oh? When did this happen?" And then he totally blew me away: "When I started talking to YOU, of course!"

From that point on, we were much more open and honest about how we felt, and in March of 2000 he made his first trip to Ohio to see me. From then until August 2002, we had about two visits a year, HOURS of online chatting every day, and several hours of telephone conversation every week. In August 2002, he made the move to Ohio, and the two of us, along with my three children, moved into an apartment together. In May 2003 we made it official....and I love him more with every day that goes by!!!


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The happy couple, on our anniversary last year. :)

Friday, April 22, 2011

Blogging With Mom

This post is written from a prompt, provided here:
Mama’s

2.) If my Mom were a blogger...

I truly can't imagine my almost 72 yr. old mother as a blogger. She had a computer for a couple of years, about a decade ago, when she was in college. She was on AOL, as was I, and tried to get the knack of instant messages and email, but they left her confused with all their "complicated" technology.

But just for the sake of this post, let's pretend that she was as into the whole internet experience as I am. I would guess that, if she were, she would blog rather sporadically, rather than on a daily basis. She would most likely blog about pet peeves (she has even more of them than me), political things that aggravate her, and her family.

I would dread reading blog posts about the family stuff. I've always been "the black sheep" in her eyes, and I can just imagine her using a blog to tell the world how disappointing I am to her. And, until I had it out with her a couple of years ago, there would have been posts about my daughters which would have made it obvious that she favored one of THEM over the other.

So, no matter how much I love my mother, and value her opinions in many cases, I am VERY glad that she isn't online and doesn't blog! LOL

Betrayal

#3- Were you ever betrayed? Describe if you were able to forgive and forget, or not.

I have been betrayed a few times in my life. Today I am writing about the very first time it happened. I was a junior in high school at the time.

First, a little bit of background. I was a trumpet player in our high school band (marching, pep, jazz and symphonic that year), and had been playing trumpet since I was in fifth grade. In addition to the time spent rehearsing at school, I spent an hour or more every day practicing at home, as well as taking private lessons every week. I was often told by the band director that I showed talent, even though he razzed me for playing so softly when I had to play something on my own in front of him.

Every year the band participated in district contest, and we prepared for that for months in advance. As I recall, we got the contest pieces in January that year, so I had already been practicing them for months when this incident occurred in May.

During spring break, in March, I had my tonsils taken out. That meant I was not allowed to play my trumpet for six weeks. By late April, however, I was back on my regular schedule of playing at school and practicing at home, and looking forward to going to district in May.

The last week of rehearsal, the director called me into his office and informed me that when we went to contest that Saturday, he wanted me to "fake it" during the prepared pieces, since I had missed so many rehearsals...but he wanted me to play my heart out during the sight-reading exercise, as he believed I was one of the best sight readers he had at at the time. I was so angry with him that I couldn't talk about much of anything else the rest of the week...to everyone except him, of course! If I wasn't good enough to play the prepared pieces, what made him think I WANTED to play in the sight-reading competition and help him out? And if he knew I was such a good sight-reader, then why couldn't he trust me to do well with the prepared pieces I'd already been practicing for weeks, even with a six week break?

By Friday afternoon, I had decided what I had to do. I was simply not going to show up the next morning to go to district contest. I let a few of my trusted friends know, so that they could pass the word to the band director on Saturday. I also let my parents in on the plan, and they were both totally supportive of my decision, understanding my anger and hurt feelings.

Saturday morning, my mother woke me with the news the band director was on the phone, wanting to speak to me. Reluctantly, I went to the phone, not sure I was going to have the courage to go through with my plan. He said that my friend Lori had let him know I wasn't coming, and he tried to play on my sympathy, telling me how much he needed me there for the sight-reading. He said he was going to send the buses on ahead, and that he would wait, with the truckload of instruments, and I could ride with him. Since I'd had a crush on him since I was in 7th grade, that was very tempting....but I managed to pull myself together and hold my ground. I replied with what I'd been saying to others for days: "If I'm not good enough to play the prepared pieces, I'm not good enough to play the sight-reading piece, either. I will NOT be there today." Then, without giving him a chance to respond, I hung up the phone and went back to bed.

Later that day, there was another betrayal, by another important person in my life, but that's an entirely different story...and one I was able to share with the band director on Monday morning to keep him from kicking my butt out of band! :)

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Why I'm Here

What do you want to accomplish with your blog? What is it for?

When I started this blog, it was going to just be someplace to occasionally post stuff that was on my mind, or stuff that the family was up to at the moment. Then I started taking my "writing for publication" class, and got bitten by the writing bug, so I was posting a little more often. I found a few writing challenges, and started posting to them weekly, and through reading other responses there, I found other challenges and memes to keep me writing. Then I found out about "postaday2011," and that was just the push I needed.

So now I'm committed to posting something here every day for the rest of the year. By that point, I figure it will have become a habit, and I'll be able to continue to post every day. As a writer, it's important for me to keep WRITING...some days will be easier than others, and some posts will be more pertinent than others, but at least I'll be writing.

So, if you stop by here regularly you'll see a mix of things...fiction, memories, opinions, random facts about me, pictures, and the occasional surprise. I hope that the combination of these things will give you a glimpse of who Teresa was, is and hopes to become.


Monday, April 18, 2011

Greg Mortenson

For those of you unfamiliar with his name, Greg Mortenson is an author, humanitarian, public speaker and former mountaineer. He is the author of "Three Cups Of Tea" and "Stones Into Schools," both of which detail his efforts to bring schools and education to the children, especially the girls, of Afghanistan and Pakistan. He is the co-founder Central Asia Institute, and founder of Pennies for Peace. CAI is the nonprofit organization which provides the funding for the school projects, while Pennies for Peace is a way to get young children involved, teaching them they can make a difference in the world, one penny at a time.

I belong to a book club, and we have read both of his books: the first in the fall of 2009, and the second in April 2010. The day before we were to discuss the second book, Greg had a speaking engagement here in town, at Wright State University. Barry and I went to hear him, and we got to meet him afterwards, and get both of my books signed. Here's one of the pics Barry took of me with Greg that night...
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Between the books and the presentation that night, I was very inspired and impressed by Greg. If he could do all that he had done and was continuing to do, while being a self-proclaimed "painfully shy introvert," there was no reason I couldn't start looking for ways to at least make a difference in my own little corner of the world. So, in the past year, I've been pushing myself a little further, stepping out of my little comfort zone, and putting myself out there in a variety of ways.

Late last week, I saw a commercial for 60 MINUTES, and learned they were doing a piece on Greg and the CAI...and it didn't sound like it was going to be all sunshine and rainbows. I looked at Barry, who was already looking at me--he said "We're going to be watching that, aren't we?" He knows me SO well!!!

So, last night, we were both sitting in front of the television watching the story..and I found myself angry, sad and disappointed. According to what they reported, even though Greg makes $30, 000 per speaking engagement, which goes into his own pocket (as do all profits from both books), most if not all of his travel expenses are paid by CAI--including the occasional use of a private jet. Footage from some of the schools built by CAI show them being used for storage space for crops rather than to educate children...officials from some schools supposedly being supported by CAI say they haven't received any help from CAI in years...the number of schools actually built, while still impressive, doesn't match the numbers reported by CAI---and the list goes on. There were also claims that some of the stories told in the books are exaggerated, or just plain fabrication, including his claim to have been kidnapped and held captive for 8 days by the Taliban.

The 60 Minutes crew attempted to speak to Greg at a speaking engagement in Atlanta, after getting no response to calls and emails (a statement was issued AFTER this attempt, however). He put them off, saying he had books to sign, so the reporter asked if they could have a few minutes of his time after the signing. He seemed to say yes, and then he was seen nodding toward one of his "people," who summoned hotel security. The crew was "banished" to the hotel lobby and told Greg would speak to them later. Instead, he cancelled his later engagement and went out a back entrance to avoid them and leave town. Now, maybe it's just me and my perception, but that sort of screamed at me that he had/has something to hide. If he were being totally honest and transparent, why not stick around and say so on camera? Oh, and let's not forget that the "honest and transparent" organization stopped posting their tax returns online with the 2008 fiscal year!!!

And then I got up this morning, and found I had received email from Greg overnight, through CAI...sent out to everyone on the mailing list. His explanation for dodging the interview was as follows:
The Board of Directors and I made the very difficult decision to not engage with "60 Minutes" on camera, after they attempted an eleventh hour aggressive approach to reach me, including an ambush in front of children at a book signing at a community service leadership convention in Atlanta. It was clear that the program's disrespectful approach would not result in a fair, balanced or objective representation of our work, my books or our vital mission.

Sorry, but that just doesn't fit with the 60 MINUTES I've watched almost my entire life. Sure, they do exposes on a fairly regular basis, but they always seem to be fair, balanced and objective...and I think this one was, as well. Okay, maybe not so BALANCED, but that's only because Greg and CAI refused to give them anything to balance it!

I still support the ideas CAI, and Greg, stand for, but I have to say that I'm less inclined to continue supporting the program financially at this point. It's something I'll have to research and work out over a period of time.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Names

Was just reading through some prompts I saved, and ran across one asking "Do you prefer classic children's names or modern children's names?" The simple answer to that would be that I prefer classic children's names...but I have always had a few "rules" I used when naming my own children, which makes the answer a little bit more complicated.

For starters, there's a family tradition on my mother's side which I'm sure was unintentional until I noticed it---female names that end with the letter A. My great-grandmother was Emma, my grandmother was Freda, my mother is Gloria, I'm Teresa, and my daughters are Samantha and Amylia. It appears the tradition may end with them, however, judging from the names they are throwing around (even though neither is currently expecting or planning to be any time soon).

When it comes to male names, I like names that have a history in the family. I like the thought of keeping them going, in some form. To me, it's a way of honoring family members who have come before us.

Each of my three children have names with stories behind them:

1) Brian Alan--Brian is his father's middle name, and Alan is his grandfather's middle name. If he had been a girl, his name would have been Brianna Elizabeth. :)

2) Samantha Adrienne--Before I realized I could continue a family tradition, I wanted to name her Adrienne Elizabeth, and her father wanted to name her Samantha Josephine...so this was our "compromise" name. If she had been a boy, her name would have been Gerald Alexander, names from great grandfathers on both sides of the family.

3) Amylia Marie--I wanted to name her after her father, but I don't like any of the feminine forms of George (they're a little TOO "old" for my taste), so I used his (and his father's) middle name of Amyl, and feminized it, so that it's pronounced Amelia--and we've shortened it to Amy. Marie is George's mother's middle name. If she had been a boy, we would have continued the tradition of the first name George and a middle name beginning with A, and she would have been George Alexander.

I also have names that I would use if I ever had another child (which is NOT going to happen)...Rebecca Anne and Jacob Alexander (yes, I'm stuck on Alexander as a middle name, and never got the chance to use it! LOL)

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Sibling Rivalry

Sibling Rivalry-Describe why you love your sister/brother but cannot get along with them.

My brother is nearly seven years younger than I am. We haven't really gotten along since the day he was born, as he was SUPPOSED to be a baby sister. :) Seriously, though, I loved having a baby in the house...until he got to be a toddler and was able to wander into my room. Then my favorite refrain became "Moooooooooooooommmmmmm.....get this PEST out of my room!!!"

Once he got past that stage, though, I was again happy to take on the role of big sister, having him trail after me and want to do whatever I was doing. I enjoyed the attention, I suppose. What I quickly did not enjoy, however, was being the one who got into trouble when HE did something wrong...our mother used the logic that I was the oldest, I should know better, and so I should somehow have been able to control HIS actions.

Which leads to the reason I believe we have a very distant relationship right now. To me, at least, it always seemed that Mom was setting us up against each other: that he was the perfect one, and I was the "bad one." I love my brother, and I'm very proud of the person that he has become. I wish that we could be closer, and have more of a presence in each other's lives...but it is what it is.






(Written in response to a prompt provided by Moms Tree House )

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

No Space Shuttle For Dayton

Well, it's now official. The National Museum of the Air Force, located in Dayton, Ohio, will NOT be getting one of the retired space shuttles to add to their collection. The four shuttles will be going to the following locations:

1. Smithsonian Institute, Washington, DC gets Discovery
2. Kennedy Space Center, Florida gets Atlantis
3. California Science Center, Los Angeles gets Endeavor
4. Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum, New York gets Enterprise

Other than the Smithsonian and Kennedy, I do not understand how and why these sites were chosen above Dayton. We're in the middle of the country, a central location...the museum is filled with flight history...admission to the museum is FREE...Ohio is the home of the Wright Brothers, John Glenn, Neil Armstrong....about a dozen space shuttle astronauts have been from Ohio. The list of reasons is compelling, in my opinion.

I would like to hear from someone just HOW this decision was reached, especially since I'm aware that not only did we meet all 10 criteria that were presented to be eligible, we also EXCEEDED several of them. There are rumblings that a request has already been made to have a investigation launched into the selection process. I feel as if this decision was a slap in the face to our efforts here to present the ENTIRE history of aviation to anyone who is interested...and not just to those who can afford the price of admission.

There are some people who are already saying that the selection process was a political one. If so, it was a poor political move...could it be that people have forgotten how important OHIO is in any national election? I say it's time we stand up and be counted yet again, Ohio...there's more to the United States than New York and California, after all (no offense to any of my friends who live in either state...I'm sure you all know what I'm saying!!!)


Monday, April 11, 2011

Opening Old Wounds

First of all, I have to admit that I went against my own better judgment last night...I watched OWN, which I had vowed I would never do! However, they lured me in with a show about Naomi and Wynnona Judd--when it comes to women in country music, I'm not likely to discriminate against any network.

While the show was entertaining, and informative (I learned a little more about their life prior to "making it big"), it was also a little more difficult to watch than I'd expected. Listening to them talk about their mother/daughter relationship, and watching them together...it brought back a lot of stuff I keep trying to forget/get rid of/get over.

From what I can remember of my younger years, my mother and I had a good relationship then. She was a stay at home mother, so she was the person I spent the most time with every day. Since I learned to read between the ages of three and four, I can only presume that she was instrumental in teaching me. From the look of all the pictures of my preschool and early elementary years, I appear to be a very happy child.

Things started to change as I changed, somewhere around 11 or 12. As I entered puberty, I became more and more introverted. Rather than being outside playing with the neighborhood kids after school, I chose to spend more of my time reading, writing, and/or listening to music. My mother didn't understand this at all, and began to refer to me as "not normal." The same woman who would always tell me I wasn't everyone else when I would ask to do something that "everyone else" was doing, was now also asking me why I couldn't be like everyone else. That was a conundrum that I could never quite work out in my mind.

From that time on, I've never felt that I was "good enough" for my mother...definitely not the daughter she wanted me to be. She wanted me to be a nurse, and was disappointed when I quit nursing school in my second quarter. During the nine months I stayed at home and took charge of all the cleaning and cooking, to make things easier on her (she was by that time a single mother), I don't remember ever hearing that I had done a good job...it was always "Why isn't this done?" or "Why can't you do that better?"

Even when I graduated from college, and was out on my own, I was still a disappointment to my mother. I wasn't a good wife, I wasn't a good mother, I was always lacking in some way. I felt as though I was expected to achieve perfection, and I knew that I was never going to be that person.

I kept all these feelings to myself for a long time, just letting it all build up inside me until I wouldn't be able to cope with them anymore. The first time I felt unable to cope was when I was 18 and in nursing school...that time around, I tried to take my life. The next time, I was 22, and I went to see a psychologist, worried that what my mother had been telling me for years--that I was crazy--was the truth of the matter. From the time the psychologist told me that I was NOT crazy, but that he sensed someone trying to manipulate me and run my life (based on my answers to psychological testing), I felt a little stronger and was able to take it for a much longer period of time.

However, when my daughters were teenagers and starting to balk at visits with their grandmother, because of the same issues, it was time to put my foot down. I wrote a rather lengthy letter to my mother, telling her how she had made me feel for years, and why, and then telling her what she was doing to my girls that seemed to be along the same vein. Then I let her know, in no uncertain terms, that if the behavior didn't change, her contact with the girls would be severely limited in the future.

Since that time, I've seen great strides of improvement in our relationship. For the most part, we have a friendlier, more mature and closer relationship. I'm very glad that we were able to iron things out so that both of us can move on, and so that neither of us will ever have to deal with regrets. I just wish that I could somehow reach a point where things like a television show won't always bring it all flooding back in torrents like it did last night!!!




Saturday, April 9, 2011

Nicknames

Do you have a nickname? How did you get it, and do you like it?

At this point in my life, I don't actually have a nickname. However, in the past, I have had several, so I decided to write about them, and their origins.

1) Peppermint Patty--my dad used to call me this when I was young. I'm not really sure how it came about, but I would imagine it was because I was such a tomboy at the time, much like the character in the PEANUTS comic strip. I liked it, mostly because it came from my Daddy.

2) Little Drip--Dad's nickname was Drip, for whatever reason...so I was Little Drip, and when my brother came along, he was Droplet. This came from some guys who had known Dad most of his life, and I always thought it was cute, but ridiculous at the same time.

3) Horseface--a neighbor, who shall remain nameless, used to call me this when we were in elementary school. It sounds horrible, but it was meant good-naturedly, as he and I were always best buddies and hung out together for years.

4) Tish--this one came from the above-mentioned neighbor's mother--and he often expanded it to "tissue paper"...gotta love the sense of humor of a grade school boy, don't you? I actually always liked this one, as she told me it was a Southern way of shortening "Teresa"--and Mom would never let anyone call me anything other than Teresa, so I was never a Teri....

5) Mouse--this one came from my high school band director, and caught on with other band members in no time. It was based on my playing a particular piece of music more softly than he thought I should, so he said "Come on, Mouse, let me hear you!"

6) Reese--came from my best friend about 15 yrs ago, when he learned that my mother didn't approve of anyone calling me Teri. He joked that it was a way around her aversion, and to still give me a shortened version of my name.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Mom Lessons

What is the most important thing you learned about being a mom from your own mother?

When it comes to parenting, most of the lessons I learned from my mother were about how NOT to be a mom. I was so determined not to be the same sort of mother she was that my children learned to call me "Grandma" when they saw something in me that reminded them of her...it was a sure way to make me stop and think about what I was saying/doing.

Don't get me wrong here--I love my mother, and for the most part I had a good childhood. I've been able to forgive the bad stuff, and we've put it behind us for the most part. But when I was going through it, I knew that it was the type of childhood I never wanted to give a child of mine, and I've tried hard to stick to that over the last 24 yrs.

Discipline in our home was a lot of spanking...and in Mom's case, that would often mean grabbing the nearest object to hit me with, whether it was a belt, a hairbrush, her hand, a wooden spoon, a flyswatter, a switch, a yardstick. There was also a lot of yelling from Mom--I seemed to be excellent at setting off her temper, and getting told how worthless and useless I was, how I was "not normal" (mostly because I wasn't a social person, and preferred to stay in my room, reading, writing poetry, listening to music).

The worst part of my childhood started when I was around 12, however. That was when I started to hear, on a regular basis, that I was crazy and/or a pathological liar, and that I was going to end up "locked up" someday because of it. I heard those things so often, for so long, that they stuck with me for years. Ten years later, I found myself consulting a psychologist because I was so concerned about myself...after extensive psychological testing, he pronounced me "normal," and said that my biggest issue, based on my test results, seemed to be allowing someone else to have control over my life. (I asked "Oh, so you've MET my mother?" LOL)

So, as I said, I've made a conscious effort for the last 24 years not to take any of those steps in raising my children. None of them were ever spanked, or belittled, and they certainly haven't been told they were crazy--except in a joking way, which we ALL do with regularity! :) I hope that, as they get older, they will have much more favorable memories of their childhood and their mother.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Death And Tears

Writing prompt: Have you ever cried over the death of a famous person?

I can actually think of twice when I cried over the death of a famous person. The first time was August 16, 1977. It was just before the beginning of my junior year in high school, and my father was driving me to a marching band rehearsal. As usual, we were listening to the radio, and there was a breaking news story on the death of Elvis. I'm still not sure WHY I cried, because I was never a diehard fan, although I have always enjoyed several of his songs. Once I got to the school, The King was a major topic of conversation, and I discovered I wasn't the only one having a very emotional reaction to the news.

The second time, ironically, was just over 20 years later, on August 31, 1997. This time around, it hit me MUCH harder, though....the deceased was only 4 days older than me, and I had found myself identifying with her SO much since she'd hit the public eye back in 1981. For those who haven't figured it out yet, I'm talking about Princess Diana. I was up in the middle of the night to see her marry Prince Charles, I celebrated when William and Harry were born, I worried as she grew horrendously thin, I hurt for her when the marriage fell apart...and I cheered when she seemed to find real love. When I heard, late one Saturday night, that she and Dodi had been in a car crash in Paris, I sent up prayers for her, and for the boys, before I went to bed. The next morning, as we were getting ready for church, I turned on the news to see if there was word on her condition....and what I heard had me collapsing on the couch, bawling like a baby. And days later, watching her funeral, I was sobbing again, numerous times. (additional note: yes, I'll be getting up in the middle of the night on the 29th of this month to watch William get married....how could I NOT?????)


Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Books I've Read In April 2011

1) Awakened (House of Night series), by PC and Kristin Cast....completed 4/5/2011

Exonerated by the Vampyre High Council and returned to her position of High Priestess at Tulsa’s House of Night, Neferet has sworn vengeance on Zoey. Dominion over Kalona is only one of the weapons she plans to use against Z. But Zoey has found sanctuary on the Isle of Skye and is being groomed by Queen Sgiach to take over for her there. Being Queen would be cool, wouldn’t it? Why should she return to Tulsa? After losing her human consort, Heath, she will never be the same – and her relationship with her super-hot-warrior, Stark, may never be the same either…

And what about Stevie Rae and Rephaim? The Raven Mocker refuses to be used against Stevie Rae, but what choice does he have when no one in the entire world, including Zoey, would be okay with their relationship? Does he betray his father or his heart?

In the pulse-pounding 8th book in the bestselling House of Night series, how far will the bonds of friendship stretch and how strong are the ties that bind one girl’s heart?


2) The Camino: A Journey Of The Spirit, by Shirley MacLaine...completed 4/11/2011

Following a centuries-old tradition, entertainer MacLaine walked nearly 500 miles across northern Spain's Camino Santiago de Compostela. This memoir of her formidable journey, like her other books, is a likely candidate for bestsellerdom as well as for ridicule in some quarters. An effort to "feel human again," her physical feat was daunting: she hiked for 10 hours a day on her own, often in intense heat, and slept in refugios--crowded, dirty shelters. Though she observes the small villages, historic cathedrals and other trekkers along the way, MacLaine is most interested in her interior journey. The actress, who has written before about her numerous past lives in such books as Out on a Limb and Dancing in the Light, senses that she's walked the Camino before as a coffee-colored, dark-haired woman of Charlemagne's time. Visited in dreams by a spiritual guide, she connects her various lives and soul mates, revealing that her former lover (in this life) was Olaf Palme, the assassinated Swedish Prime Minister. As the journey progresses, she revisits the origins of the human race in the edenic Lemuria, then the dawn of Atlantis and on to ADAMic civilization. On the earthly plane, MacLaine seems to enjoy evading the press, which she compares to fearsome dogs, and whose pursuit escalates as she gets closer to the end of the journey. Though she completed the Camino in 30 days instead of the planned 40, her arrival in Santiago lacks a Hollywood finale. Instead, she slips into the famous cathedral and leaves immediately for Madrid.


3) Foreign Influences, by Brad Thor...completed 4/19/2011

In Thor's formulaic ninth Scot Harvath thriller (after The Apostle), the ex–navy SEAL has lost his job with the disbanding under a new presidential administration of the Apex Project, a Department of Homeland Security secret antiterrorist program that didn't worry about obeying any rules. Fortunately, Harvath lands on his feet with the Carlton Group, funded covertly by the Department of Defense, with an identical mission. After a bus full of Americans is blown up in Rome, Harvath travels to Europe to track down a man known as the Troll, who's been implicated in the bombing. Meanwhile, John Vaughn, a Chicago cop who somehow moonlights as an attorney for private clients, seeks to identify the Middle Eastern–looking man who ran down a woman with his cab. Predictably, Vaughn uncovers a plot against civilian targets in Chicago. Bumbling CIA agents make members of the secret Carlton Group look even more heroic. Fans of TV's 24 may enjoy the over-the-top setups, but even they might wish for a little more sophistication.


Total YTD: 17

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Fifteen Minutes Of Fame

This post is written from a prompt, provided here:
Mama’s

My fifteen minutes of fame arrived in 1993 when I was a guest on the Geraldo show. The story actually began in 1992, however, so let's go back there. :)

I was watching an episode of the show in October or November 1992, the topic of which was men who left their girlfriends/wives and wound up with the sister of that woman. Geraldo made the comment that brothers would never do that...so I immediately picked up the phone to call his comment line. You see, my first husband, Doug, and my second husband, George, who were both adopted, have evidence to suggest that they could be biological brothers (which actually creeped me out quite a bit when it first came to light!!!). I left a short message on the subject, hung up and pretty much forgot all about it.

Now fast forward to April 1993. The phone rings, and I hear someone saying they are a producer from the Geraldo show, and they want to talk about the comment I left regarding a previous show. At first I thought it was some sort of joke, naturally, but he eventually convinced me he was for real--and that they wanted us to come to New York City that week to film!! After several phone conversations with George, and with Doug's wife, Mary, we all agreed that we would do it, and just try to have some fun in the process.

George and I left Brian and Samantha with my grandmother for the day, and took five month old Amy with us. We took one of the first flights of the morning out of Huntington WV to JFK in New York City. At the airport, there was actually a driver waiting for us, with a sign that had our last name...it was surreal! And the car already had a car seat ready and waiting for Amy!!

After a drive through New York City that seemed to take forever--and left me fearing for my life more than once--we arrived at CBS Studios. There was some confusion initially at the main reception desk, as the receptionist first thought that we were bringing Amy to a taping for As The World Turns. When that was straightened out, we were soon met by a production assistant who took us upstairs to a dressing room.

I was visited in the dressing room by hair and makeup techs, which was one of the most fun parts of the day. I wish I still had some of the pics from that day...I felt totally glamorous by the time they were done! Dave, the producer of the episode came in to talk to us, which was a rather eye-opening conversation. He told us that, at the beginning of the show, Geraldo would say something, then I was to respond a certain way, etc. Since what they were expecting me to say was not the way things went down, I balked at being less than honest, particularly on national television. And when he mentioned wanting Mary and I to get into a fight, or at least an argument, on-stage, I put my foot down and absolutely refused to go along with that. I wasn't going to embarrass myself or any of my family members that way, period!

Once we got finished with that conversation, a production assistant took us downstairs to the commissary to hang out while they filmed another episode..and to keep us from running into Doug and Mary before our taping. While we sat at a table eating our lunch, we spotted several people we recognized. We saw Ed Bradley and Andy Rooney at a table next to us...Don Hughes, one of our favorite actors from As The World Turns, stopped by our table when he saw Amy--it was Take Your Daughter To Work Day, and he presumed one of us worked there and had brought her with us, as he had brought HIS daughter that day...we also spotted several other actors and actresses from that show during the course of the day.

The actual taping of the show was the longest hour of my life to that point. Geraldo's questions, as well as his "explanation" of the situation, made me look like some sort of "bad guy" ...and then his so-called "expert" went so far as to say that I wanted to have my cake and eat it too. When I was finally given my chance to respond to her, I had reached my boiling point. I told her that she didn't know me, that she was basing her opinion on a 20 minute segment of a television show, where facts were distorted, and that she had no right to make judgments on me or my life. Once I got all that out, I felt much better (and I was disappointed to learn, when the show aired, that my entire rant was during the closing credits!).

When taping was complete, all the guests, as well as the expert, spent some time in the "green room" with Geraldo, and there was a lot of picture taking. Geraldo, whose daughter Isabella is only about a week older than Amy, made a fuss over her and said something about having one of those at home. :) The "expert" attempted to apologize to me, but I was still too hurt and angry to have any part of it.

Then it was back in the limo and off to the airport, where we bought ridiculously overpriced Taco Bell food while waiting for our flight. As I have often told people, it was a fun day, with lots of excitement, marred by a one hour debacle (the taping). If I had it to do over again, I would definitely think twice about making that original phone call!
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