The Story of Frank and Nora

Today would have been my parents fifty ninth wedding anniversary. They said┬átheir marriage vows and meant what they said. They stayed together through sickness and health, better or worse, and richer and poorer. For them, being with each other meant something special. My mother stayed at my father’s bedside through all of his hospital stays. She would read to him, or play gin rummy until he got tired. She did not make excuses about not wanting to go. For her, there was no excuse. Her husband was in the hospital, and that was all the reason she needed to be by his side.

There is no such thing as a perfect marriage, but one thing is certain, they did not flush theirs down the toilet because it got hard. Marriage is hard sometimes. it speaks to the moral compass we live by whether we choose to love someone no matter what or if we just throw in the towel when times get hard.

In this day and age, divorce is easy. In the days of my parents, it was an absolute last option.

Why is it that marriages do not last the way they once did? Is it excessive abuse, cheating, entitlement? I am not sure.

My parents on paper were a total mismatch. My mom wanted to be an English teacher. She married a man who butchered the English language on a daily basis. It drove her insane. Mom could be highly critical, but she was realistic, and she was my father’s sounding board. He made no decisions without her input. Yes, they argued many times, but one thing stands out to me, they knew that they loved each other. Mom ran the house. She did the shopping, the cooking, paid the bills and took care of dad. In his younger days, dad took care of the cars, and all house related problems from plumbing to yard work.

Then he got sick in 1980. He was in the hospital for six weeks and mom was by his side the whole time. Once he got better, mom went to work with dad at their auto parts store. They were totally devoted to each other and learned to accept the things about each other they were not crazy about.

My mom could be critical of dad, but never in public, and if you criticized dad for no reason, I pity you. Mom was dad’s biggest fan. She loved him and she loved her family. They did just about everything together, especially watching the New York Giants. We took family vacations when we could afford them, and they did the best they could with what we had which wasn’t always much. Many years there were no vacations or many extras due to dad’s many hospital stays.

None of that mattered to mom. She was happy in that small house with dad and her kids.

They may not have had extra money a lot of years, but in many ways they were rich. They toughed it out when mom got diagnosed with ovarian cancer in 2000, and managed to not fall apart when they filed for bankruptcy om 2004.

The story of Frank and Nora ends on March 31, 2005. They were married forty nine and a half years then. One of the hardest things I have ever had to do was go with my older brother to inform dad that his beloved wife was gone.

Til death do us part meant something to them. It was the end of a real life love story through thick and thin.

I love and miss both of you.

A Walking Target

please pay attention

Last week while walking around town to run errands, I was almost hit twice by motorists not paying attention. Distracted drivers are unsafe not just for other drivers, but for pedestrians as well. Why is it that nowadays we live in a world where every single thing has to be done right now?

The reality is it doesn’t. That red light you ran could be the difference between life and death for me.

It was the middle of the afternoon on Thursday. I was walking home and had the walk signal. A van decided to blow the red light and almost hit me in the process. This driver who was clearly at fault, then had the nerve to curse at me. NOT COOL! I decided to give him a piece of my mind. I was so shaken up that as soon as I managed to get home I had a small panic attack, complete with crying fit.

Drivers, I am sick of your bullshit. What makes you think that your time is more valuable than my life? Just because you can’t get it together on the road does not give you the right to yell at me for crossing in a crosswalk. When I hear a driver shout “Fuck you pedestrian!” It makes my blood boil. Why should I have to live in fear that I will once again be hit by a distracted or stupid driver who cannot obey traffic signals?

I am old enough to remember a time when drivers yielded without giving pedestrians the finger or shouting obscenities. Where has the decency gone?

We all have things to do, we are all busy. I get that. What I do not get is why you are so selfish. The age of entitlement has done nothing but bring society backwards. We cannot be away from our smartphones for even one second it seems. How many accidents do people have to get into to realize that most of this stuff can wait? If it is a matter of such importance that you answer your phone, maybe you should pull over to the side and stop looking at your lap while driving.

This is not the first time this has happened and sadly it won’t be the last.

Those of us in the crosswalks have rights the same as you do. In fact, since we are more vulnerable to being hit, I suggest that drivers stop being all about themselves and PAY FUCKING ATTENTION TO THE ROAD!

The life you save could be a friend of yours.

I leave you with this question – how would you feel if a family member of yours were hit and possibly killed by an irresponsible driver? What if that driver was you? Would your text message be that important then?

The Fifth Dentist

“Four out of five dentists recommend fluoride” What about the fifth dentist? Did he not get paid off, or is it that the fifth dentist can think for themselves?

How many times have people let major choices in their life be dictated by popular opinion? When I first started dating my boyfriend, it was a highly unpopular decision with many people. I did have one friend in my corner about what I chose to do. I dubbed her “The fifth dentist” since she was not buying into the bullshit that surrounded my dating choice at first. She saw for herself what the truth was, and reassured me that she would support whatever I wished to do.

Many people fall into the trap of not seeing things objectively. They see and hear only what they want to. This is why people can be easily manipulated into believing a bunch of lies. We all need that one friend who sees the big picture, and is able to think for themselves. The rumors that swirled around about me were completely false. I was being attacked on Facebook with startling hatred on a regular basis.

I did not fight back, I simply blocked the offenders and went on with my life, doing my best to not pour gasoline on the fire. The biggest benefit to doing this is that I showed my critics I was not who they thought I was. Life is all about choices. I can make the decision to go after someone or I can let things unfold and let people observe and draw their own conclusions. This is what freedom is all about. I certainly never want anyone to approve of me to gain friends. What I do want, is for people to see for themselves how things really are.

There is an old adage that says “Believe none of what you hear and only half of what you see.”

That is a wise statement. The reality is that we never really know the circumstances behind what we hear. There are always three sides to every story; your side, my side, and the truth.

The friends to keep are the ones who admit being misinformed and are able to see that. In my own experience, I have gained a few new friends this way. There is nothing wrong with admitting to judging a situation before knowing all sides to it. That is part of being human. Just remember that four out of five dentists like fluoride. The fifth dentist sees through that and knows something we don’t.

Don’t always follow the crowd. Like The Beatles say “Think For Yourself”

The Best Therapy

Loud music is therapy for me. I am a headbanger at heart. When I can’t make sense of my feelings, I blast some music.

I am a sensation junkie and I know it. This is why I sing “You Got Another Thing Coming” at full volume when I get stressed out. This coping mechanism may seem odd, but I do not care. Singing relives aggression for me better than talking about feelings. As an added bonus, I get to piss of the neighbors.

So many times I hold back how I feel, afraid to offend someone with how angry I can get or how fearful I can be. There is that voice inside of me that says no one wants to hear it. Rob Halford and company help me tell that voice to go fuck off. This is something I have been working on for a while. Anger does little for me except give me a headache. Years ago, I loved being angry. No more. Being angry means that a situation or a person has control over my thoughts and actions.

“He who angers you controls you.” – Buddha.

I am sick of being controlled. When I get angry or scared, or just nervous, I turn the music up and let it go. This is even better than therapy. It costs nothing. The result is that when I am done, I forget what had me so upset in the first place. Learning to navigate my emotions does not mean I don’t feel them. It simply means that I will not allow them to control me or my behavior.

In my younger days, it would not be unusual for me to lash out. Maybe I would break something. Other times I would say things I could not take back. This never helps. Now, I realize that acting out is not acceptable. I find singing and cranking the music to be an excellent solution.

Me, lose my cool over something stupid? You got another thing coming.

Here is some Judas Priest. Turn it up!

Kicking Things Up A Notch

Since moving to Massachusetts, I have made a whole new set of friends who have become my adopted family. My best friend is someone who is the sister I never had growing up. When we get together we always have a good time, whether we go to lunch on a Sunday, or decide to go shopping, there is nothing boring with the two of us around. When she really wants to have fun, she will say to me “Let’s kick this up a notch.”

I have now started calling her Emeril in response. “BAM!”

It has been a long time since I had a best friend. Sure, I had close friends and all of that, but I had no one that I knew would love me even when I was not that lovable. We have been through a lot together as friends. She has seen me at my worst and I have seen her at her worst. Over the past two years we have become each other’s biggest cheerleader. Every one of us needs that one person who doesn’t let us lie to ourselves. About a year ago, I was so stuck on stupid that she finally said to me some things I did not want to hear.

I needed to hear them. That is what real friends do. They tell you what you need to hear instead of what you want to hear.

Hearing that I was being used hurt, but it was the truth. I respected her for not letting me go wandering around thinking this person loved me. It was the reality check we all sometimes need. When I was done being hurt, she was there to help me. That is what means the most to me. Now it is a year later and our lives have changed dramatically for the better. She has a job she loves, a new home with her man and the respect of her family. I have met someone that I love and who loves me back. We have moved in together and are creating a wonderful life. We have all that we need, and even a few things that we want.

One of the nicest things is that the four of us spend time together at least once a week. With the four of us, we always have a great time. I go out every Sunday with my sister.

Then we kick things up a notch.

Life With Gracie

A few months ago, I moved into an apartment with my boyfriend. We both wanted a kitten, and began posting on Facebook that we were in search of one. A few weeks later, my boyfriend received a message from a friend of his that she had a kitten that needed a good home. She had too many cats already, and could not keep her.

We saw her picture and we were both smitten. She was adorable. It was a simple message back “Yes we want her.”

The kitten was delivered to us the next morning. We named her Gracie the moment we saw her. She is the best housewarming gift we could have ever wished for. She has taught us so much about unconditional love. Gracie is exuberant. She loves to chase toys, play, and to nap in our laps while she purrs.

Gracie is more than just a pet. She is part of our family.

I have heard people say their pets were family members. I never understood that sentiment until now. Gracie is a huge part of both of our lives.

My boyfriend has said that Gracie taught him that a pet can be loved as much as a person. What Gracie has taught me is acceptance. When we first got Gracie, I was sick with bronchitis and would have awful coughing fits. One night, I was unable to stop coughing. Gracie laid down on my chest and began to purr. My coughing ceased in less than a minute.

Gracie has reminded me what it is to be a mother. She has reminded me to be not just a lover, but a teacher. Showing her right from wrong is not a bad thing. I do not spray her with water or tell her “NO!” for no reason. We all need boundaries and rules, even our pets.

As a young girl, I always wanted a kitty. Now we have one and she has made our life together even more rewarding.

Gracie has truly been a gift. We will love her for many years to come. Although, I could do without being awakened each day at 5:30 in the morning to feed her.

Being Me No Longer Sucks

Have you ever seen a person break down only to judge them as a train wreck? Have you ever been that train wreck yourself, yet think you should be able to have emotional outbursts whenever and wherever you happen to be at the time? We are all human, some of us are great at this thing called life, we are the solid rocks others look to and lean on when life gets tough.

So what happens when the tough ones break down? Who or what do they turn to when no one is around?

This is where things get tricky for me. For years, I have been self-reliant. I have had to take care of myself through good times and bad. I lived through highly abusive relationships and had precious few people to turn to. I was that train wreck. I was the one whose life was being judged harshly by others. I had no control over my situation at that time and things got progressively worse.

Things improved in my life once I cut all ties with toxic people. I no longer invite bullshit into my life. When I did that simple action, my entire life changed. The big success for me now is that a bad mood is no longer a day killer like it once was. It has taken a long time to accept that I have limitations on what I can handle. Nowadays, when things start to overwhelm me, I can stop the mood before it gets out of control.

When I first got in the accident, my emotions were all over the map. Today I can still have anger, depression and self-pity. The good news is they leave as fast as they arrive if I refuse to feed into them. This was my blind spot. I had this unreasonable expectation that I would be fine after suffering a skull fracture – and I wasn’t much to my dismay.

The truth is I am getting better all the time. I just don’t always notice it. Having depression and PTSD is no picnic. I do the best I can do with these conditions. I try to stay out of stressful situations. I know what I can handle and what I can’t. I also know that bad days are part of the package and I do my best not to beat myself up when they come.

I have had to learn new coping skills like taking time out, having a coffee, writing or listening to music. The biggest favor I have done for myself is realize I will never be perfect.

I am perfectly me and that is okay. Being me no longer sucks.