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Journal Journal: Some observations on life and death 1

I've been doing some thinking lately about life and living, death and dying.

My significant other (BBB) has a brother that is a quadriplegic and is living in a nursing care facility. Last Sunday, since my huge sewing project was done, we went there to visit for an extended period. (during the project we did visit, but it was brief if i was along)

During our visit, his brothers roommate died. He had liver cancer and had been delusional for the previous 3 days, calling BBBs brother "mom" and pinching his arm, thinking it was the call light. We knew it was only a matter of time, but it was interesting to have it happen when we were visiting.

On the up side, the firemen and aid units were called, so i got my fix of firemen. On the down side, this man was a person that brother had known for 6 years and was a perfect roommate for him.

Yesterday was the memorial service at the care facility. It appeared to me that this was the only memorial that was going to be held because there was a huge number of outside people that attended, with only a handful of residents, BBB, brother and i.

The thing that seemed "not right" was the fact that this huge group of people were there moaning and wailing about the loss of their loved one and in all of the time that they were roommates, there were only two people that BBB and i had seen, and brother had only seen 4 visitors. (and if you are gonna miss him so *damn* much now that he's died, where the f$ck were you during the last 6 years?)

BBB and i had provided hot sauce, some food stuffs and sodas for the roommate, because his family very rarely visited. He was always grateful and paid us for things that he specifically requested. We also provided little "extras" as presents to him.

His daughter was in charge of the memorial, and made a great point of thanking brother and family (us) for all the support given. She also took the time to thank us personally, for all our help to her father. She didn't visit as often as she wanted to, because she was away at college, but he was very proud of her for that accomplishment.

His sister thanked us, saying that everytime she talked to her brother, he was always telling her what BBB and i had done for him or brought to him.

His twin brother said, "I thank God that you are around to take care of your brother and mine." (good thing, since you couldn't be bothered)

His younger brother said "I can see why nobody ever messed with you." (referencing BBB's sheer size and presence. he is well known around the facility for making things "happen" for the residents)

Watching all of this made me think about my family and the patterns that i personally had with my family. And the fact that since BBB and brother were reconnected, we have made a point of visiting at least twice a week, sometimes both of us, sometimes only BBB. On those rare times where we don't visit, we are in touch via the telephone.

I can really understand people being uncomfortable with nursing care facilities. Hell, *i'm* not overly fond of them and i spend a couple of hours a week at one, besides the times that my choir performs in them.

It's just a very sad statement that two strangers should end up having to take care of someone, merely because they have become friendly during visits with their own family member.


User Journal

Journal Journal: For the dragon . . . 10

Since BBB and Sol and Blinder play WOW together, i get an opportunity once in a while to converse with them via the game. I have been involved in a very large sewing project, which she requested that i write about.

I have been sewing for a very long time, and from time to time have been known to take on projects which give me a little extra spending money.

This summer, i was drafted to sew for a friend's wedding. This consisted of: one wedding dress, three bridesmaids dresses, one flower girl dress, four mens shirts, two boys shirts, one mans kilt, two boys kilts, four drapes for men, three rosettes for women and one lap robe for a man in a wheelchair.

This was a Celtic/renaissance wedding where all of the womens dresses (including the wedding gown and flower girl) have a chemise (under dress) and an over dress. The men were wearing kilts, with the exception of the "man of honor" who is in a wheelchair, so he merely had a lap robe and drape in his family tartan over pants.

The biggest challenge here was the fact that only one of the women (the "best maid") was able to fit the pattern size that i have. All of the others, including the bride, were much larger. I had to adjust the patterns and fit them individually.

The other challenge for me was the flower girl. Do you know that they don't make renaissance patterns for little girls? I had to get a pattern for a fairy outfit, which had the bodice part and the rest was done without a pattern.

Now, that's not to say that the kilts were easy, by any stretch of the imagination. The tartan was Maxwell, and the fabric was *yummy*. It took eight yards for the groom's kilt, and it was a pain in the butt. The biggest compliment that i could have gotten came from the groom. He has an over-the-counter kilt that he also wears and he said that he could see why men liked the handmade kilts better. The one i made him fit him ever so much better and was way more comfortable than his store bought one.

As a matter of fact, i got many compliments from the guests and bridal party. The one thing that didn't happen (which annoyed BBB) was a public thank you from the bride during the reception. In her thank yous, she even included one person whose only contribution was to put plastic up inside the garage because of some leaks, but she didn't manage to thank me for my sewing.


The up side of the wedding was that I got three new contacts for sewing. The man of honor wants a couple of shirts made up in black because his wife wants to get more involved in the ren circuit. There were also a couple of others that took my information and will contact me at a later date for sewing.

I still have more sewing to do (now, where did i put that brown lining fabric?) but i'm going to take a little time before i start the next old project. :-P



Journal Journal: Wow, I didn't know I was Mrs. Claus 7

BBB and I were in the "short bus"* after completing an errand and were on the way to return it to where we store it.

Sitting at a stop light, I notice the woman in a van next to us rolling down her window and motioning me to roll down mine. I complied and she leaned out to me saying "Would Santa Claus wave to my son, please? He wants to wave back."

I turned and looked at BBB and he said "sure". He leaned over in his seat and waved at the little boy.

For the next couple of blocks, every time the traffic made us pass them or they passed us, he dutifully waved, because the little boy was waving.

After the van turned off, I turned to BBB.

"I wonder how that mother explained why Santa was driving a short bus?

As we are laughing at that thought, he piped up with "I guess I get to be the HD (Harley Davidson) Santa this year."

He then told me that he was shopping at a local grocery store a couple of weeks ago and a mother pulled her cart up next to him and asked if he would talk to her little girl. He said sure.

The little girl looked up at him and said "Santa, am I going to get a puppy for Christmas?"

BBB looked over the little girl's head at the mother, who nodded, and looked back at the girl and said "I can guarantee that if you're good, you'll get a puppy."

So, I guess that I get to be Mrs Claus if he's going to keep being Santa.


* We own a handicapped access bus, because BBB's brother is a quadriplegic and we like to be able to take him places.


Journal Journal: Things to ponder 2

This isn't anything newsworthy, but a couple of conversations that I wanted to remember at a later time. They fall into the category of "things that make you go Hhmmn".


The first was a conversation a couple of weeks ago, where my friend was telling me that another mutual friend complained that she acted differently when she was alone, compared to when she was with her spouse. She tried very hard to convice me that *everyone* does it.

It was particularly interesting to me for a couple of different reasons, one is that I have also observed it in her. It's a big enough difference that it could almost be a personality switch. When she is alone she is a warm and outgoing person. When she is with her spouse, she is very reserved, almost wanting to fade into the background, leaving him to be the center of attention.

The other reason I find it interesting is that I see a past me in her actions. With my ex-husband, I suppressed my own personality, because he was not a people person. I (consciously or unconsciously) faded into the background so that he would seem more outgoing in contrast.

If you said something to my friend about it, she would protest that her spouse is a drama queen and attention slut and she's just stepping aside and letting him get the attention that he needs. I'm not buying the explanation tho. I believe it's more subtle than that.

The second was a conversation that I had with another friend. We were talking about lots of different things and she said something that totally blew me away.

She told me that I treat her the exact same way, every time I see her. It doesn't matter what situation I see her in, socially, work, privately or just running into her randomly. I always treat her the exact same and she has issues with that. She finds herself getting anxious because I don't immediately drop what I'm doing or interrupt my conversations to pay attention to her. She starts worrying that I'm unhappy with her or mad at her.

I thought that was intriguing, because I had never really thought about the way that I treat her. She is my friend. I treat her no better or worse than any of my other friends.

However, in the past she had been involved with a married man, and she allowed him to treat her as mere aquaintances in public as opposed to when they were in private. Eventually that relationship fell apart and left a bad taste in her mouth for the duality of appearances in relationships in general. (Oh, and did I mention that she's very young?)

Then it was my turn to blow her away, because I relayed the fact that I don't like all of the people that my best friend does.

BF and I have been friends for over 3 decades, and there are some people that she is friends with that I don't care for. At all. Ever. I may wonder in the back of my mind why on *earth* she would want be be friends with them, but it never bothered me that she was.

We ran in different circles in school and our lives have taken different paths as adults, but I never questioned her loyalty to me. The fact that BF has other close friends is a joy and delight to me, because I am deeply satisfied with my friendship with her and it adds another dimension and subject of conversation between us.


In some bizarre way, these two conversations converged within me. I realized that I (try to) treat everyone the same, all the time.

I've been told that it is apparent that BBB and I are nearly joined at the hip, we're so close. Other than specific behaviours that I don't choose to make public, I treat him the same all the time.

My relationship with BBB made the first conversation land rather sour with me. It was also interesting that the person I had the conversation with had *no clue* that I didn't agree with her assertion.

This also brought to light the fact that I am getting rather good at playing the "sweet and stupid" role in conversations, also known as the "smile and nod". I choose my battles carefully, and disagreeing with peoples beliefs is something that I'm at peace with.

Sometimes I just gotta shake my head, though.


User Journal

Journal Journal: Mah baby's got new shooze 2

Why is it that when the tire store has a sale, it's never on the size of tire that I need?

The dealership told me that I needed new tires a couple of weeks ago, but I wasn't in any hurry until I drove through a rain squall on the way into work this morning. It's really unnerving when you are driving up a hill on the highway and you lose traction on your tires because you drove through the water coming down the road.

I could really tell the difference on the drive home from the tire store.

*dancing wildly* My baby's got new shoo-ooze!

I've been kind of silent lately, so I thought I'd take the time to give you a bit of an update. My work has also squashed down on excess surfing of the net. Some idiot thought it would be a good idea to do a fantasy football league using the work servers . . . All sports related sites have been blocked and we've been reminded that the web is to be used for work purposes, except for the odd break or lunch here and there.

On the brighter side of work, we got a 4 month reprieve. Our end date has been extended to March 31, 2007, instead of Nov. 30, 2006. However, the new computer system is due to go on line at the beginning of the month. There has been testing, but not of a full month's cycle, nor have they done any parallel testing. :-/ Oh, and training? Fuggedaboudit. We are going to be trained by our manangers, who have no real clue about what we do, and the new system is not intuitive. You need to follow certain steps in order to do the processing we need to do. Training manual? You guessed it. Fuggedaboudit.


I really must do something about finding a new job. (thanks for the tip, RW. I'm sorry I didn't get my resume out there)

I've been real busy at home too. I'm sewing for a midieval . . . ok, rennessiance wedding. Hrm, lessee, 6 shirts (2 child size), 3 kilts (2 child size), 1 lap robe, 6 drapes ( a couple with rosettes), 4 dresses consisting of a chemise and outer dress each (1 child size) and the wedding gown.

It has been a blessing that SolemnDragon and Blinder are playing WOW with BBB. The computers are in my sewing room, so while I am busy stitching (and tearing my hair out) he's in the same room, 'splaining the conversations, the leveling process and exclaiming about what treasures he's found or been given (Sol and B, you really *are* a gift to us too)

Oh, did I mention that the wedding is Nov 11? And the bride finds me on IM asking for progress reports . . .

So, enough of this blather and back to the sewing table.



Journal Journal: Wow. That could have been me . . . 2

I just found out that one of the people that I went to school with recently committed suicide.

She had years of problems with alcohol and depression, including several arrests and detox centers. About 4 months ago she went on a binge and drank so much that her blood alcohol level was .52. About 3 weeks ago, a schoolmate had spoken with her and she confessed that she knew that she had another relapse in her, but that she didn't think that she had another recovery in her.

Sure enough, last Saturday, she went on her last drinking binge and woke up in the local county hospital and was to be shipped off to detox once again. Before the van could arrive to take her there, she walked out of the hospital and went to an overpass and jumped. The bottom was about 3 stories below. (I remember hearing about the traffic tie up caused by the accident, but I couldn't find anything in the local web news about it.)

I say, "that could have been me", because I have a history of alcoholism. My wake up call was a DUI in 1994, where I was caught with a .13 blood alcohol level. Instead of wallowing in my pain and the fact that I could no longer drink, I decided that drinking was no longer an option and quit. Cold turkey.

In September, it will be 12 years clean and sober for me.

My life hasn't been a bed of roses since. As a matter of fact, you may remember that I am currently facing a layoff and will be required to find a new job sometime in the future. (we haven't gotten our pink slips yet, just a "target date")

There have been ample opportunities where I thought "if I was a drinking person, this would be a great time to get shit-faced." I have always known that drinking could be my downfall, and if I started, I wouldn't quit. So I just don't drink.

It's one of those things that makes ya go "hmmnn". (and I'm really glad to be me.)

In other news, BBB had surgery to correct his tear duct last Tuesday. He's doing remarkably well at being "out of commission". Aside from being lightheaded and occasionally nauseous, he is healing rather well. The recent heat wave has not been helpful, however.

I thought that keeping the biker down would be a difficult task, but he's being rather graceful about accepting help. He's limited to lifting 2 pounds and cannot bend over at the waist. He also hasn't driven since the operation because of the lightheaded part and he can't wear sunglasses or his eye swells.

Looks like he'll be around to grow old with.


User Journal

Journal Journal: What's in a name? 6

Last night, the Mariners played the Minnesota Twins. The pitcher for the Twins was Boof Bonser. BOOF Who names their kid Boof?

Word is, not his parents. He was named John when he was born. He legally changed his name to Boof

My doctor's name is Beard. When his lawyer wife was pregnant, they were discussing names for their first born. They were were talking first and middle names only, and when the little girl was born she was named "Anya Katherine".

It never occurred to them that anything was unusual until my doctor's FIL called him and asked "What's Anya Beard??"

What's the most unusual name you've ever heard?


p.s. What idiot changed the HTML format for italics to something other than "less than I greater than"?? And does anyone have a clue on what it actually is now?

User Journal

Journal Journal: HBD to Moi! 10

As per my usual, I am wearing my tiara, and so far I've only gotten stares and no questions. I'm not sure whether it's because it's a lovely rhinestone tiara and not the cheap sequin one of the past (it broke) or whether people have just decided that it's more polite to stare rather than to ask.

Talinom has requested that I post pictures for ya'll. We'll see . . .


User Journal

Journal Journal: Hello, I'm here. 4

It's been a while since I've posted. It's partially because of laziness, partly because it's been busy and some of the the same old, same old.

Things are starting to get interesting now, so I thought I'd give you an update to show where I am.

The wonderful world of work
Due to the downturn in the property market and the upturn in the mortgage rates, my employer has decided that they really need to cut corners and consolidate departments. There were also a number of acquisitions in a short period of time, which caused redundancies that they want to get rid of.

It appears that my job will be going away, but we are a small department out in the middle of nowhere (the red-headed step-child, as it were) and they have not really addressed our department by name or site. We were included in a meeting that stated that certain functions will be moving to IL this year and then to SC next year, so it appears that we will be out of a job by the end of October, but we should know for sure by July 31 of this year.

Add to that, we are migrating to a new computer system on July 1 and the department that we are attached to is the lead in this switchover. IMO, they are less than competent to be initiating this project.

On the home front
I am going to be making a number of dresses (including the bride's dress) and kilts for a fall wedding. There is a mountain of fabric on my sewing table, and I'll be getting the tartan tonight for the kilts. On the other hand, BBB has been busy with his handyman work and won't be short of jobs this summer. (*RW, we need to get together with you to figure out what your plans are for the deck.)

We have a new pet. While helping a friend move, we were given a beta. I asked what his name was and was told "uh, fish?" So in honor of that, BBB and I have named it "Fishor Cut".

I don't want to bore y'all with a long JE detailing everything that's been going on, but I wanted to let you know I'm still here and still reading.


User Journal

Journal Journal: How fair is that? 1

Under a new bonus plan, the thrift's executive officers can get a cash bonus this year worth up to 350 percent of their annual salary, (the company) said in a regulatory filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

For (the CEO), the new criteria could increase his cash bonus to $3.5 million from $3 million, based on his base salary of $1 million last year.

This, after raises for the peons that don't even match up to the increase in inflation.



User Journal

Journal Journal: On being "different" 4

I've been following SarahAnnAlien's JEs with great interest. We all have our own issues to work out, and I am very interested in the process that she is relating to us publicly to resolve some of her issues.

Funny thing. I am not an alien (as she has called herself, referring to the transgender thing) but I can really relate to a portion of her entry number 1.

To quote, "An then there were the local support groups. At one point I was going to five different support groups for trans-this, queer-that... I went to everything I could find. I did my best to participate in the community. It took about a year and a half, but I eventually realized that there were two basic reasons why I was a bit uncomfortable in the groups. First, just about every single person at the group, while very friendly, was also very, very different than I was. I couldn't really relate to them, since they seemed to be on a completely different wavelength or something, and they couldn't seem to relate to me... but usually insisted that they *did*, despite evidence to the contrary. And second... sigh... what's a polite way to say that there's a whole lot of really fucked up shit in that community? There probably isn't one, huh? Anyway, I decided that I didn't want all that crap to become part of the person I would grow up to be... so I gave up on the groups, and the community, with a very few exceptions."

It's the whole support group thing that I can really empathize with.

You see, on September 14, 1994 (part of my "year from hell", as it's known) I was arrested for DUI (driving under the influence) and as part of my Deferred Prosecution, I was required to attend a two year alcohol treatment program and attend AA meetings.

At the precise moment the police officer asked me to step out of the car, my whole attitude towards alcohol changed. I made a vow that I would never consume any alcohol, ever again.

Later that morning, after I had sobered up and had to explain to my Mother why I was home but my car wasn't, I called my psychiatrist and said, "Your suggestion of a couple of months ago was right.* I need to know what I can do to help myself prior to going to court for this."

He scheduled me for an evaluation and some tests that confirmed that I was, in fact, a stage 3 alcoholic. He suggested that I start attending AA meetings, and located a two year outpatient alcohol treatment program that was specifically designed for women.

When I went to court, representing myself, I presented the judge with all of the information and the fact that I had done my research and had been proactive in showing that I had permanently quit drinking and was taking steps to follow the laws (at the time) for a deferred prosecution. He said something like, that's good, follow the rest of the rules and I'll see you in two years to rule on the final charge.

So I dutifully followed directions and went to the treatment and AA meetings, among other things, and the thing that I figured out very quickly was that I was different from everyone else there. For AA, I went to many different meetings, both mixed and women only. The treatment was women only.

I was not like other alcoholics. First of all, I only drank one or two days a week, but once I started, I couldn't stop. The other thing was, I was done with drinking. It was no longer an option in my life, but everyone else at these meetings insisted that it was a difficult thing to quit. There were complaints about not being able to attend parties or go to a place with alcohol (a bar) or even being with friends that still *drink*, not to mention not being able to have alcohol in the house for fear of a relapse.

The alcohol treatment counselor didn't like me much, I didn't fit into her little box that was labled "alcoholic" so she didn't really know *what* to do with me. I was an unknown and because of that, there must be something wrong with me.

At the mixed AA meetings, I made some friends, though none of them lasted past the meetings. I have some good memories and some kick *ass* sayings, (my favorite is "It's ok to look at the past, just don't *stare*.) but it didn't really help me. I avoided the all women ones. Some of the stories that I heard there were messed up and I try and keep them blocked from my memory.

Finally the two years ended, I appeared before the judge and he dismissed the charges. It has been over 11 years since I have had any alcohol, and I have never been *close* to a relapse. One of the *big* things that I did a couple years after the arrest was to go on tour to Germany with my choir. (Germany, GERMANY! Beer capital of the WORLD!)

I guess what I'm trying to do here is to give you a bit of encouragement, Sarah.

I got "well meaning" unasked for advice from other alcoholics and what I learned to do was to smile and say, "thank you, I'll take that under advisement." and promptly go off and continue my journey, in my own way.

Stop answering these e-mails with long explanations of what you've tried and what hasn't worked. Simply say thank you and go on your own merry way. Remember, opinions are like assholes, every one has one. Most of them try to tell you that their opinion is the best and the only one that will work for you.

By all means, read the e-mails and if you find something that you *haven't* tried or would like more information on, persue it. If it's the same old stuff, say thank you for your suggestion, and leave it at that.

Don't waste any more of your precious energy trying to convince other people that you *are* different.


* He had mentioned, a couple of months prior to my arrest, that he thought that my consumption of alcohol was becoming a problem. I denied it, and he left me to continue until such time that *I* realized it had become a problem and came back with my tail between my legs asking for help.

User Journal

Journal Journal: Why is it? 4

When friends decide to de-clutter their lives as a new year's resolution, it invariably means that your own life ends up more cluttered?


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Journal Journal: "I fought the saw and the saw won!"

Well, actually *I* didn't. BBB did.

He had previously slayed an oversized hedge (about 35 feet tall, 14 feet wide and at least 20 feet long) and was working on cutting up some gia-mungous pieces to be hauled away in a truck. They were being particularly stubborn and refusing to be subdued by his electric chain saw, causing it to kick back and slash open the side of his hand.

Him being the manly-man he is, went into the house, cleaned up the wound, took some clean paper towels and duct taped them around his hand and proceeded to finish helping load the truck with the guy hauling away the hedge.

He then picked me up from work and together we proceeded to the emergency entrance of the local hospital. Turns out the wound was pretty deep and between 1 and 1 1/2 inches long. The doc decided that because of the location (side of the hand, next to the knuckle on the little finger) that he would use dermabond instead of stitches to seal up the wound.

Probably the hardest part of the whole ordeal was when the nurse (the "white faced jackal" as he fondly called her) cleaned out the wound thoroughly, so that the dermabond could be applied to seal it. Poor man was squirming in his seat, good hand doubled up in a fist from the pain and he couldn't do anything to her because she's female! (it's the biker credo, protect the women and children) Fortunately, the doctor only came in and applied the dermabond and then left again. (he was male, of course)

All in all, he's fine, though his hand is a bit sore and he won't be able to abuse it for at least a week. (not that it will stop him, of course)

Enough of that adventure for now.

I have noticed that my JE's have been sporadic lately, though mostly from SSDD syndrome.

The holidays have snuck up behind me and yelled "booga booga booga!" scaring the daylights out of me. I was so busy with the choir concerts, singing for Christmas, that the holidays are upon me and I have only half of one gift purchased.

I also haven't been posting much from work lately because I hardly have time to breathe, much less post on the 'dot. You see, we are short two people. One is on a planned maternity leave, the other on a surprise medical leave and in our department we merely share the workload, putting off some of the tasks until such time as one or both return. (after the new year, hopefully)

It's a sucky way of doing it, but I'm not going to complain too loudly. The days go quickly, because there is alway something that *has* to be done. (that hasn't helped me be motivated to get my home tasks done, like shopping for Christmas presents)

I actually got the chance to post tonight, because I thought it better for BBB to rest after the adreneline rush he's had today. We postponed the planned shopping expedition until later in the week, after he's had a chance to come to terms with his temporary limitations.

Hopefully I will find the time to post again during the holiday weekend. If not, I wish you all the best for the holidays and the coming year.


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