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Somewhat ironic that this may contain errors caused by only having my left hand to type...


my dad dad had died 3 years before I got engaged, so I wanted to keep my name. I also have some now obsolete software manuals authored in my maiden name. Our compromise was to combine, ex Williams-Smith. First issue is that my driver's liscense couldn't have 14 characters. The hyphen was deleted, and using the example, WilliamsSmith.


I have to bring photo I'd to all doctors appointments. So the office staff is aware of the correct spelling and punctuation, or lack there of, of my name. Yet I get asked, which name do you use? Do you know if that's filed under Williams or Smith?


The latest round of doctors I have pointed out "my last name is one word, 13 letters, no hyphen, no space, and I use the whole thing." Prior to the surgery a tech wrote on my right arm, in bright green ink, my name and the surgery being done. He even checked the spelling because the name is usually spelled with an e, but we use an I. Yet I still got a call today from a post op nurse checking my recovery, and she asked for my maiden name.


It may only be a big deal to me, butaa person's name is tied to their view of themselves. When someone arbitrarily changes it to fit his/her own concepts, it takes away from the individual. My husband puts it a little more crudely: "If someone says my name is Bob, spelled S-u-e. I'm d*** well going to say Bob, and write Sue."


So I tried to call my primary care physician for the name of orthopedist. The number is disconnected. Maybe I have the wrong number saved, so I do a google search. In Nov. 2016, 8 area doctors were arrested for a "pill mill", and prescribing fatal doses of hydrocodone. Mine was one of them.


So I have to find a new primary care doctor as well as an orthopedist.


Btw, for those that might remember, I was upset hearing my doctor ordering ammunition, same guy.


I laid the bike down yesterday when I ran into gravel across the road on a blind curve. Sheriff came, police and ambulance.
One deputy got surly with hubby when he asked why there weren't warning signs out about the gravel. After all the road is a popular route for bikers on their way to Big Slick's Bar and Eatery and The motorcycle outpost. Gravel like that is a serious danger for bikers.
Later when the ER is releasing me I can find my license in my purse, but not the case I keep my license and d bit card, nor my debit card. I call the sheriff's office, assuming I my case had been dropped in the squad car. Eventually the deputy from the scene calls me back. He surly tells me he distinctly remembers putting my case in the black purse with pink stripes. I responded that my bag has an eagle on it, and I don't normally wear pink. He'll get back to me. 20 minutes later the EMT calls, she found my card in her purse.
I can't speak for my husband, after all his heart condition makes him aggressive when upset/angry, but I kept my tone neutral at all times. I also carefull chose my words to let them know I believed it was accidentally misplaced. At no point did I even hint that someone stole my card. But I got the short end of his temper.
the card is back in my possession, so all I have to do is find an orthopedist about my knee, and heal.


Sometime in 2009 or before, I was home alone with my son when my phone rang. We had caller id on a huge globe, and the caller was listed as "Victoria, BC" with a number I didn't recognize. I let the answering machine get the call. The message, from a woman, was "Where are you babe? I miss you. I love you." I thought it was a wrong number as my phone number was unlisted. Except I discovered that hubby had forgotten his personal cell phone, which was ringing with a call from the same number. A minute or two later, I learned he had also left his work cell phone at home when that also rang with the same number.


When he got home from work, feeling betrayed I played the message for him and asked what it was about. He said it was nothing, just some woman he met on IMVU, a game he played. It was just some "internet thing" and didn't mean anything. I was furious, he was dismissing my feelings as inconsequential and irrational. I started looking for ways to leave him. My plan:


1) get a work force certificate or a degree to prove I have an usable skill set
2) stay with hubby and work for a year to clean up my credit
3) move out and file for divorce


In fall of 2009, my older brother paid my tuition and a friend bought the course text so I could start an office technology course and become and admin assistant. That didn't work out too well. Not because I couldn't handle the self-paced work, I completed it in 6 weeks with an A. The problem was with the college IT department and some weird issue with my username being 15 characters due to my 13 character last name and the print spooling software. I could print one assignment, and then I'd have to switch machines to print the next one. So most of the 4 hours I spent in the lab was waiting on computers to boot and log in. The IT department was not interested in fixing the issue since I had a work around, that is switching computers. So I dropped out.


Miserable, stuck at home due to no transportation and no child care for my then young son, I eventually found this site. An infected tooth and high doses of tylenol with codeine reduced my fears enough to try chat. That changed my life. I made friends here who helped me realize I could still fix things in my life. I was determined to complete my plan, and get free.


Originally I was planning on going back for the office technology certificate. Not a glamorous job, or extremely high paying, but it would pay a living wage. But the program had moved campuses, and was being overhauled.


My older brother kept pushing me to do something with my BS in computers, but my skills were out of date. Chatting with AJ, Phantom, and a few other techies had me looking at the community college's computer department. There was a certificate in Cisco networking, 4 courses, about $625 in tuition, over 2 to 4 semesters. A quick check showed a payment program that would work.


My older brother died, which made me more determined to do this. As soon as I could get the money, I bought a scooter for $800 and I started in March of 2015 with 2 courses.


On a whim in Fall of 2015 I applied for a scholarship. I didn't think I'd qualify because I had exhausted my financial aide eligibility getting my bachelors. However, I was awarded a scholarship for spring 2016, enough to go full time, not 2 classes a semester, but 4 or 5. When the application process for scholarships for 2016-2017 opened up, I applied again. Someone must have really wanted to help me. I won another scholarship - from a community college in Illinois. Enough to cover full time tuition for both semesters.


Somewhere during this time I realized that the Cisco certificate and 3 other certificates overlap so much that it's maybe 2-3 courses to get more than one. I made an appointment and talked with the program advisor. She looked at my previous college degree and pointed out that I could transfer that work in and earn a degree instead of a certificate, without having to take any more classes. She also confirmed that I could earn more than one degree or certificate.


So I'm taking my last 3 classes, should graduate in May, with honors. I need to be applying for permanent jobs, internships and an unpaid apprenticeship. I also need to talk to my advisor and apply for my Cisco networking certificate. I have finished the 4 courses, and just need to take the Cisco exam to be a certified CCNA. I can't bring myself to do any of it. I'm scared I guess. Time to divide and conquer again.


So tomorrow I'm going to campus early and talking with the advisor. I'm going to start the process for a certificate and find out how I get an internship. Maybe by blogging here I'll actually do it.


Dear Neighbor.....

I'm sure your child is precious to you. All parents think their child is precious. I know your child is excited about his Christmas presents and wants to show our son. Our son is excited about his as well, and wants to spend his Christmas vacation playing Xbox One with his dad. You know the one who works 12 hour shifts and only gets to spend a day with our boy every other week?


We understand your son loves your pets. We love ours too, and consider her part of the family. She protects us, loves us and is excited to see us when we return home. We don't bring her down to your home to bang on your door or do her business in your yard.


Please help your son understand coming down once to see if our son wants to play is acceptable. Coming down every hour, is excessive and intrusive. Bringing toys down to bang on the door is upsetting, to the two legged and four legged residents. Please have your son keep his toys and pets at home.


ok, rant over, you may resume your regular reading......


Unfinished Work

When someone dies, there is always some unfinished work left. Usually it's something the deceased started. Today I found something I started for my brother when he first got sick 9 years ago. I was knitting a prayer shawl that should end up like this, only in denim blue heather:




The pattern,, was slightly beyond my skill level. I can make it, but can't recover from a dropped stitch without tearing out rows. About 5 years ago I was babysitting a boy who was fascinated by my knitting and would end up dropping stitches for me. Which mean restarting from scratch many times before I learned about "life lines", a piece of yarn that is run through the stitches on the needle every so many rows to prevent having to start over. I put my knitting away when the boy began pulling out the life lines.


So I don't know what to do. I don't have a lot invested in yarn, only 6 skeins if I remember right, but the specialty needles I bought were expensive (48 inch size 13 circular needles). I hate having an unfinished project around, but also know that if I were to try to finish it I would be constantly reminded that my brother is dead.


Strange Day

It started with a dream. At first the dream was nice. I dreamt I bought an old farmhouse, a southern one sitting on blocks, to restore. I got some pets, at first tiny puppies, that became some kind of pet rodent that really peed - like rivers. Suddenly there were a few youths at the summer porch door asking to borrow any camping gear I had. I told them I didn't remember any, and suddenly the summer porch is filled with angry youths who find 2 sleeping bags I forgot (In real life we had them, but they have fallen apart from age/use). The youths are angry and start tearing apart my house. Literally ripping boards off the roof, stealing wiring, etc. I got a phone call from someone blaming me for the violence because I wouldn't give them the sleeping bags so her cousin could join them camping.


I woke up throwing my cell phone across the room. The phone still works, but unfortunately my cell phone case is also my wallet. I found my driver's license and medical card. No idea where my bank card or student id went though.


About an hour and a half before the end of my shift I was sent to another branch to get a car. We passed a nasty accident, that had just happened, involving a semi. that was sideways over the jersey barrier. I got off work 20 minutes late and stupidly decided to take the highway because it's faster. An hour and a half is enough time to clean up an accident right? Nope. Two lanes of the highway were closed, so 20 minutes to go 1 mile. The driver of the SUV behind me was usually giving me enough space. But every now and then he/she would get a phone call and would stop too close. I started stopping on the shoulder - kind of woke the driver up to the danger of cell calls in stop and go traffic when you're behind a motorcycle. I get out of the jam and nearly hit someone behind me who tried to pass me on the right (guess I wasn't going fast enough).


So much later we're heading to my husband's plumbing cardiologist (their terms), I've got my bike because the doctor is half way to class and I had my final tonight (aced it). I sit down in the office, and set my helmet on the chair next to me (don't like it on the floor, don't want icky stuff on it to get in my hair), and the saddle bags beside me. I proceed to review for my exam, when the door opens and this very large middle age woman (close to three of me) huffs in, picks up my helmet, kicks my saddle bags and plops in the chair before dropping my helmet in my lap. The only thing that stopped me from defending myself was realizing we're in a cardiologist office, she's probably a patient, and her heart is probably too weak for her to walk any further.


After the appointment I headed to campus to study. I'm working hard when one of my classmates comes in. She's the one that everyone dreads....The type that side rails the lectures on minor points. The one who asks all kinds of minor questions and keeps asking about it until the professor asks the student to ask that during office hours. She starts to ask me questions about the exam - so I lied and said I was taking my last chapter test for another course.


Very glad the strange day is over.


So my brother's memorial happened, despite mother nature's best effort. The nasty rain here delayed my flight, The unusual snow fall, plus cold wet spring prevent the bush for my brother from being dug until two days before the memorial. Which meant we didn't have the sign ready since we weren't sure what we would be able to get. Rather fitting I think for my brother and our family. We never quite fit the mold that society expected of us, my brother more than the rest of us.


Many people who said they would come, didn't. Some I had no idea knew about his passing did. Odd to see my cousin looking so much like my dad, and hear from them how much we all look like dad. No explosions, I held my temper. Some sharing of memories.


Today the township sent the family a picture of the plaque in front of my brother's bush. So it's final, and finally done. But it doesn't feel that way. The tears don't fall so often, but I still miss him.


Games belong on sports fields or tables. I absolutely abhor games. I was brought up that manipulating people is disrespectful and just plain wrong.


The one girl I work with plays games. Our job description is cleaning cars, we get $3 more an hour than drivers do because it is harder work in less than pleasant conditions. She will do everything possible to get to do customer pick ups and drop offs, including taking 45 minutes to clean a car. She claims she's tired, that's why she's slow, because it is so hard to work open to close. But that's the schedule she wanted, and tried to force the rest of the car cleaners to accommodate. Really tired of it, but don't know what to do.


This week my doctor recommended genetic testing due to the prevalence of a specific cancer in one side of my family. The doctor told me to call the lab and they could look up my insurance to see if the specific test is covered. So I did, only to be told that the lab can't do that, but what they can do is call me after the blood is drawn (and costs have been incurred) if it will be more than $375. So I called my insurance, to be told I had to refer to my husband's company's plan document. Called HR to get that, guess what? The rep I was talking to said I should call the insurance. He didn't get why I was mad at the run-around and games. All this I can't give you this information, this person can, but when you contact that person they refer you back to the first person/company? Arg!


On top of all that, we still have the cable/phone company saga. The cable company had to replace their cable because it rusted through. In doing so they cut through the phone line to our home. Well today, we found they didn't properly bury the cable anyways, as the boy ran over it with the lawn mower. So more blame game there too.


echos of the past

Tonight while trying to get a date set for my brother's memorial one of his friends messaged me on FB. I thought it was his first girlfriend, but it turned out to have been someone he dated later.


In the last couple times my brother and I talked, we finally talked about the foster home, what happened, why people didn't listen. I learned a lot. It wasn't that people didn't listen, they did, and some even reported it, but the people investigating dropped the ball.


Tonight I learned that even after he left the foster home where my sister and I were abused he kept running away to come back and get us. He was so angry and frustrated that we were separated. Makes me wonder if he thought leaving/getting kicked out would get all of us moved?


I enjoyed talking to her, and learned a lot about my brother that I didn't know.


endless circles

I've tried to write this so many times, and keep deleting it. I really don't know how to say what's on my mind.

  • My brother, R, wasn't feeling well at the end of October, but our sister, M, thought he could wait until he saw the specialist in December.
  • I spoke with M before thanksgiving when she wanted one of our dad's recipes. I suggested getting R to a doctor then, but she felt it could wait until the specialist visit in December.
  • The appointment with the specialist was January not early December like M and R implied.
  • He had the flu which caused pneumonia. The autopsy found a cyst on his pancreas, indicating he had an infection there for some time.
  • One of the internist attending R mentioned he was taking immunosuppressants.
  • My niece, J, was his care taker and was supposed to go shopping with him. She refused to be seen in public with him. So he was able to purchase large quantities of alcohol.

I keep looping through those. I guess I'm at the anger stage, but I think he shouldn't have gotten so sick. All of us failed him.


Then the obit, I'm so angry over this. I wanted to pay for it, but my sister wanted the free one. Then she got a "donation" from work and had me write a longer one. Then she rewrote the obit. Some of the things in it angered me. But it's small things really, my sister's control issue is really, really irritating me.


I'm having trouble dealing with some of the responses to his obit. A lot of his classmates talked about him, things I didn't see when he was a teenager. Good things, and I'm glad. But one person keeps reminding everyone of the time we spent in a foster home. Maybe she's not thinking, or maybe she didn't know that the foster home was closed because the foster mother and her daughter were abusing M and I. I wish she'd stop. With all the final details, and the grief over our brother we really don't need to be reminded of one of the worst times of our lives.


Moving forward, maybe

Yesterday was bittersweet. My sister sent me a text to write our older brother's obit. She had wanted to do it, but a crisis with her adult children interfered. It was also my younger brother's 37th birthday.


The obit was simple, we had a max of 4 lines. XXX, 51, of XXX passed away on January 24, 2015 at UPMC. He is survived by 3 sisters and one brother. Preceded in death by both parents and 1 sister.


Very sad summation of nearly 52 years.


It says nothing of the boy I remember: The boy who helped me up the hill in the side yard while sledding with the dog and our younger sister (ok, he helped by putting a hand on my butt and shoving me). The boy who would put my baby doll's head back on after our cousins tore it off again (and hid the other doll when they visited to keep it safe). The boy who gathered scrap wood and built a refrigerator for my play kitchen. The boy who let Mom and I watch Wizard of Oz on the brand new color TV while he and Dad watched baseball on the black and white TV, and the look on their faces when Mom and I thought Wizard of Oz was all black and white and let them have the color TV (and his laughter many years later when I learned of our error). The boy who would let me have the corner where the door jam and barn door met so I was out of the wind while waiting for the bus. And the 11 year old boy who met me at the corner after school every day to walk me to the foster home and protect me from the bullies, even though he had been home from school for half an hour. The boy who hit me in the head with a rock, requiring 17 stitches.


Teenage years changed him. Our foster sister introduced him to cigarettes and then marijuana. By his 13th birthday he was in reform school for drugs, alcohol and theft. He had several drunk driving accidents over the next couple years, mostly in the same curve where he was going too fast to make it. He brought home a german shepherd pup after a night of drunken partying and had no clue where he got it. I don't know why he took that path, our parents divorce, peer pressure, mom's mental illness, the bigotry we faced over mom's mental illness, or maybe he was self-medicating his own mental illness.


It says nothing of the last 10 years struggle with his health. The middle of the night calls from a doctor in a San Diego hospital wanting consent to perform a procedure, but the doctor could not tell my why my brother needed it or why my brother couldn't give consent himself. The issues in the last few years caused by his alcoholism.


There were times I didn't like him or what he was doing with his life, but I always loved him. 4 lines doesn't seem enough to sum up any one's life, but then again in a life with more failure than success maybe it was enough.


*edited to correct grammar*


Grief is weird

My brother died this morning after a two week battle with the complications from flu.


I've lost others before, both my parents, a couple close friends even a coworker. So I thought I knew what to expect from grief.


Only I have this overwhelming sense of rage. At my brother whose drinking weakened his body so much that it couldn't fight off the flu. At his medical proxy and caretaker, both family members, who waited to get him to a doctor. At my sister who wasn't ready to let him go last week and put him through more pain and suffering. At having to make the choice to stop life support...


I know how to handle the sadness and pain, but I have no idea what to do with the rage....



FOX has a new reality tv show, Utopia. The idea is to place 15 people in an isolated setting, limited supplies, no rules, and let them create a new society, based on a Dutch show. Sound possible? Except the deck is stacked for fights.

  • Some one who hates "bible thumpers"
  • a Pastor
  • a red neck
  • a survivalist (doomsday planner)
  • belly dancer
  • a lawyer
  • an ex-con

and others more compatible.


Is it possible for them to create a functional society? Can they stop fighting enough to develop common goals? How quickly will politics develop? I want to watch, but hate what I see.


As writers we have the opportunity to create our own societies, or even micro-societies. How do we keep it functional? Do we ignore politics, or is it part of the story? What is our perfect society?

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