Monday, January 12, 2015

2015 Goals

I’m taking the plunge. It’s time for me to start writing again.

Please, hold your applause until I actually DO it!

I’ve made a commitment to write 15 minutes per day, 5 days per week. That doesn’t sound like much, but that’s more than I’ve done for the past few years.

Since writing a book is what I’ve wanted to do since I was a child, why haven’t I done it? The best I can say is that life got in the way.

I started tonight’s writing by crafting a letter resigning from one of my clients. I hate to do that, but something has to give. If I don’t let go of something, it’s my health that’s going to suffer. I’m not a kid anymore, and I don’t have the energy I used to have. (Yes, I'd like some cheese with my whine. I love cheese.)

I also plan to buy a new house and move this year. Closer to work, which will give me a little more free time, and a lot less stress in the winters. I commute 30 minutes each way, which can turn into an hour each way in bad weather. I won’t miss the drive time at all!

I found the house I want, but there are problems. (Do I ever do anything that doesn’t have problems?) The seller doesn’t seem too interested in selling. They aren’t willing to turn on the utilities for a home inspection, and no bank will give me a mortgage without an appraisal and inspection. So I’m working on finding a way to make this happen. I can be persistent when I want something. :)

So this is my official, public proclamation. I am going to write, and I am going to move to a new home. These are my top two goals for 2015.


Stay tuned for updates!

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Tuesday, November 25, 2014

For Want Of A Nail...

(Go to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/For_Want_of_a_Nail if you don't understand the title.)

Last year at this time, I suddenly decided I needed a new couch. The old one was broken and worn out, so it was time to replace it. I started couch shopping. The more I looked at new couches, the more I realized how terrible my living room looked. So I decided to re-do the living room before I bought a couch.

I hired my sister and niece to do the work. They replaced broken drywall, spackled and painted, and put up nice new ceiling tiles. They were almost done when my furnace died. So, I ordered a new furnace.

Leaving work one night, I stumbled and fell, badly bruising both knees and pulling my right hamstring. I made it home, but in the morning it was clear I had to go to the hospital. My daughter brought crutches and hauled me to the ER. The furnace guy called on our way to the ER, and I told him he couldn’t install that day.

Back home, with lots of strong pain meds, my sister brought me a walker and I called the furnace guy to come the next day. Sis stayed with me, since I was drugged up and needed help getting to and from the bathroom. I spent my time on the couch. Yes, the old, worn-out couch.

The furnace was replaced, and I moved to my recliner. I spent several weeks recovering, and was finally back on my feet. The living room was done and I had heat again…so it was time to shop for a couch.

I was hauled from work to the ER with a massive kidney stone. I started doctoring, learned what lithotripsy was like, and went through four months of agony. I spent several nights on the old couch or my recliner, because it hurt too bad to lay down flat. In that time, the strut on the recliner broke. So now I sat at an angle.

Once I was back on my feet again, stone free, my girls told me I needed to move closer to civilization. They had a hard time with these back roads, getting me to and from doctors and hospitals. I decided they were right, and it was time to live where I could get in and out during the winter. So, I started shopping for a new house.

Still had the same old worn-out couch.

Found a house a mere block from my younger daughter, where my son-in-law said he would take care of my mowing and plowing. How could I pass that up? I dealt on the house for three months, running into snag after snag. Finally, the deal fell through.

I came close to a deal on another house, five minutes from work. If I couldn’t be close to my kids, I’d live close to work. My hour commute would turn into ten minutes. A win!

We discovered that the house had serious sewage problems, so that deal was over. It was getting to be fall, and I know I can’t get a truck close to my house in the winter, so moving was out of the question until spring.

Last week, I finally got a new couch and recliner. I rearranged everything in the living room, and now I’m happy with it. Last night, I was sitting on my new recliner, the cat was sprawled on the new couch, and I was just basking in my comfortable home. Suddenly, something occurred to me…

I need a new TV.

A bigger TV, with better sound. I jumped up and started measuring, to see how big a TV I would shop for. I got online and looked at new TVs. I realized that I would need a new entertainment stand before I got a new TV. In the midst of online shopping and running to the living room to measure space, I tripped over the cat and banged my knee on the new recliner...


Here I go again.

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Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Movie Review - White House Down

White House Down is a movie for…young girls. Yes, really. Let your daughters (over 8) watch it.

Okay, so a lot of the plot points are outlandish. All military stands around and lets terrorists take over the White House? Nobody even tries to get in? A hacker finds it that easy to override all systems, and take control of the nuclear missile system? All right, so it’s corny. But it’s a thrill ride, so I’m willing to shrug off the silliness.

The best part of the movie is Emily Cale. This little girl has more guts than many of the grown men in the movie. I don’t want to ruin the movie by listing the brave things she does, so I’ll just say she should become a hero for little girls everywhere. Guts, brains, political knowledge and… she’s a flag twirler.

Of course, moms will want to watch Channing Tatum’s muscles…and those eyes…and that smile. Dad will enjoy watching all the explosions. Sons will be awed by the gun play and blowing up the white house. So this is a movie for the whole family!


It is rated PG13, so decide if your younger kids can handle the violence. But if you have daughters in the 8-14 range, give them an eyeful of a new heroine. Let’s hope for dozens of movies showing girls doing more than just being rescued.

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Monday, May 05, 2014

Helping Others Reach Their Goals

A long time ago, Widdershins asked what ignites my passions. Apparently, the question didn’t ignite anything at the time, but it caught my attention today.

What ignites my passions is helping someone who wants help. I don’t mean someone who wants me to do something FOR them, but someone who needs a boost to reach the next level of…whatever.

We get a lot of people in The Writer’s Chatroom who SAY they want to become a published author. Some mean it, and do the work to make it happen. They take notes from our topic chats, ask questions on Wednesdays, and listen to the Sunday guests. They keep learning, and aren’t afraid to make changes.

Then there are the other people who come into the chatroom with their minds made up. This is how it’s done, and this is how they’re going to do it. They argue with any ideas that are different from theirs, and put down people who may be taking a chance on something new. Their minds are closed. Some of these people may get published, but they aren’t the ones who will build a rabid fan base and garner renown. They will go through their lives at the level they are now.

I’ve had two work study students as assistants at work. I picked them both because of an undefinable something I saw in the interview. They were not only willing to learn, they were eager. Both had picked a direction for their lives, but they were interested in learning other things, things that didn’t necessarily fit their career paths.

Jena was working on her teacher’s degree. She was specializing in social studies education. What in the world could she learn from working in an accounting office at the YMCA? Well, one thing she learned is that accounting is NOT the right job for her. But along with the data entry she did, she watched how I dealt with money and Human Resources problems. She learned how to organize events, the importance of planning ahead, and how to deal with people who don’t see things the same way you do. All important things for a teacher (or anyone else!) to know.

Last I heard, Jena was working for Outreach America. She researched several possible career paths, decided this was the one she wanted, and went for it. Of course, I gave her a glowing reference that I’m sure didn’t hurt.

The main point is that she was open-minded. She watched everything, wasn’t afraid to lend a hand, and soaked up experiences like a sponge. She asked questions and wasn’t afraid to question the answers. If she didn’t understand something, she filed it away in her head and watched for information that would deepen her understanding in the future.


Jena will go far. 

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Saturday, August 03, 2013

Blogger and Lipitor

Well, I finally got back in. Apparently Blogger no longer works in IE8. I haven't been able to post for over a month. I finally got around to downloading Chrome so I can update my blogs. It's annoying! Why should I have to buy a new computer when it works just fine? Grrrr.

Anyway. I wrote this post a while back, and wasn't able to post it. This happened a couple months ago...

I just came through a rough week. My doctor put me on Lipitor, because my cholesterol was creeping up. Not in the danger zone yet, but we were going to be proactive and knock it down before it became a problem.

Nothing medical is ever that easy for me.

The doctor warned me to watch for signs of jaundice, and so did the pharmacist. I checked the mirror twice a day to make sure the whites of my eyes were still white. They were, until they turned bloodshot.

I started taking them on a Wednesday. Saturday night, I was tired. I decided it must be from the emotional stress of a 55th Anniversary party for my parents. Family get-togethers always involve stress. So I went to bed early.

Sunday, I was exhausted. I napped twice. Monday, I managed to work all day, but told my boss I wouldn’t be in Tuesday. I figured I had picked up a bug and needed to sleep it off. So I slept more than I was awake on Tuesday.

Wednesday, I didn’t feel any better. I couldn’t stand up straight, I was so tired. I made it to work and sat through an all-day workshop. I think I stayed awake, but I wouldn’t swear to it. Everyone was very nice and caring about my illness.

By this time, I was starting to suspect the Lipitor. It was the only recent change I could come up with. When I got home, I read all the literature that had come with the prescription, including the rare side effects. Yep, there it was. “Unusual tiredness” is apparently a sign of liver problems. Why I didn’t turn yellow, I don’t know.

I called the doctor. He told me to stop taking the pills, which I had already decided to do. He said if I turned yellow or had problems breathing, to get to the ER immediately. Otherwise, give it 48 to 72 hours for the drug to get out of my system.

I worked three hours on Thursday, then came home and slept. I managed a full six hours on Friday, then napped so long I missed my Friday night meeting. I was counting the hours until my system should be clear.

Friday night, about 10 pm, I suddenly woke up. I could hold my head up, and my mind was relatively clear. Of course, I couldn’t get to sleep then. I had a client Saturday, and made my way there on a three-hour nap. But I didn’t feel that bone-melting exhaustion anymore. I just felt like I hadn’t had enough sleep, a condition I suffer from most of the time. I did take a three-hour nap Saturday afternoon, but I’ve been back on my usual schedule since.

So, once again, I learn to read ALL the potential side-effects. I suggest you do too. Yes, we have a lot of chemicals today that can help us be healthier, and extend our lives. But we have to watch, because those same life-saving medications can be killers in some people.


Now I have to get serious about changing my diet and losing weight. A pill would have been much easier!

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Sunday, April 21, 2013

Movie Review: 50/50

I just watched 50/50 with Joseph Gordon-Levitt. I usually make a point to watch my Netflix movies as quickly as possible. I pay the same price per month, no matter how quickly or slowly I turn them around. So the best value is to watch them the day they arrive, and send them out the next day. But this movie arrived Wednesday. I’ve picked it up several times, but just couldn’t watch it. Today, four days later, I took the leap.

It’s an amazing movie. If you don’t have first-hand experience with cancer, it may not mean as much to you. But if you’ve been through it, or are going through it, you want to watch this.

SPOILER ALERT!!! He survives. I normally wouldn’t dream of telling the ending, but the people this post is aimed at need to know that. If you are a cancer survivor or (especially) fighting now, you shouldn’t be watching movies where a cancer patient dies.

This movie is realistic. People you think you can count on, disappear on you. People who stand by you, don’t always do it in a way that’s comfortable for you. Sometimes, no matter how you feel, you have to accept that your caregivers can’t be or do everything you want. Nobody is perfect. Realize that they are in it with you, and forgive their weird behaviors. They’re hurting too, and doing the best they can.

The movie also is realistic about the gamut of feelings the fighter goes through. The calmness when you just BELIEVE that it’s going to be okay, even if deep inside, you know you’re lying. The fear that colors everything in your life. The anger that builds up, because your own body has turned against you. The rage that twists your gut because you may be dying and you can’t do anything to stop it. The despair because you feel so weak and lost.

After the scene in the car, when he loses his cool and explodes, I had to stop the movie to compose myself. I was dizzy from holding my breath, then almost hyperventilated when it was over.

I’m a tough cookie. I rarely cry. When the movie was over, I just sat there. I was holding myself together so tightly I couldn’t get out of the chair. I lost that battle. I sobbed until I couldn’t breathe.

50/50 is an outstanding movie. Watch it.

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Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Guns Are Not The Problem

With the horrific shootings in a Connecticut school, people are again screaming for gun control. I agree that people have no need for machine guns in their homes, but I don't agree with banning guns. Criminals will still get guns even if they're outlawed, and normal people will have nothing to defend themselves with.

I live alone in the country. I keep a loaded gun beside my bed. I'm not afraid to use it to protect myself. If someone is trying to hurt me, I will shoot them.

Liza Long doesn't think we need gun control, she thinks we need better care for mentally ill children. See her story "I am Adam Lanza's Mother". Of course, she isn't Adam's actual mother, because he killed his mother before heading to the elementary school to kill innocent children.

Liza's story is terrible. I can't imagine living the way she has to. Reading the comments, she's far from alone in this situation. Her post was slammed by another blogger, Sarah Kendzior . The commenters there pretty much tell Sarah she's being unfair, so make sure to read the comments on Sarah's post too.

After Liza and Sarah had a private conversation, they posted a joint statement. No war here, just two people who want to see children safe and happy. As we all do.

My point in all of this is that it isn't guns we need to be afraid of, it's people who need help and aren't getting it. Liza's son has threatened her with a knife. Should we ban knives? People die every day in car crashes. Should cars be outlawed? 

Let's stop the knee-jerk reactions, and think about what we're saying. Let's stop trying to take tools away from responsible people, and get effective help for those who need it.

Guns don't fire themselves. A gun can't kill anyone unless there is a person behind it. Neither can a knife, car or any other tool. Let's get help for the person instead. Or you may lose your car, your steak knife and your baseball bat.

I intend to keep my car, my knives and my baseball bat. And my gun.

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Sunday, November 25, 2012

"7 Below" Should Be Six Feet Under

Watched the movie “7 Below”. When four people escaped from the haunted house, knowing they were a mere four miles from civilization, did they go down the driveway and then down the road? Of course not. They decided to cut through the unfamiliar woods in a thick fog bank. That was when I finally gave up and said, aloud, “Please kill them all before they breed. They’re too stupid to live.”


Movies like this make me wonder what kind of drugs made someone think this would be worth spending money on. Did they laugh and say “Movie-goers are so stupid they’ll think they missed something, and watch it again to figure it out” ? I hate anything that wastes my time. This movie cost me an entire 90 minutes I’ll never get back.

And what was the title supposed to mean? The movie was set in the south. It wasn’t chilly, let alone -7 degrees. Was it a reference to burying the bodies? No, the first murder had five victims, and the second totaled four. I couldn’t find a seven anywhere in the movie.

I was leery when it starred Val Kilmer, because he makes stupid movies anymore. But Ving Rhames was in it too. He’s a good actor, and should be ashamed of himself.

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Saturday, October 27, 2012

Advice From a Two-Time Breast Cancer Survivor

A friend’s sister was recently diagnosed with breast cancer. She asked me what to tell her sister. Well, you know I can’t resist a chance to give my two cents!
My advice (as a two-time survivor) is to immediately have a double mastectomy. Doctors try to "save the breast". I say, what for? Why keep an un-needed body part that has turned on you, and probably will again? Have them both removed, recover, have reconstruction (if you want), and go on with life.

I went through the "save the breast" the first time, which caused all kinds of extra problems the second time. I've been cancer-free for 12 years now, but have to have biopsies nearly every year on the remaining breast. I have anxiety attacks for a couple weeks before my yearly mammogram, then the fear of seeing spots in the films and wondering "can I beat it again?" Nearly every week, I regret not having a double mastectomy in 2000.

This is a subject that gets me wound-up. I see so many women who think "saving the breast" means that they will be “normal” again after their recovery. Not so. There are scars to deal with, along with the fear of it coming back. I don't see any reason to go through all that just to make your clothes fit. Especially when there are so many different kinds of reconstruction surgery that will make a woman look like everyone else, with her clothes on.

Breasts do not make you a woman, and being without breasts doesn't mean you aren't a whole woman. It's a lot easier to enjoy your life without the constant fear of a reoccurrence.

Now that we’re talking about it, are you up-to-date with your mammograms? Do you do breast self-exams regularly? Do you know what to do if you find a lump?
Caught early, many cancers are survivable. The longer it sits there, growing and un-found, the worse it is when it's finally caught. Find it, get it out, live long and prosper. Do what you need to do to stay alive. Life is worth it.

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Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Motor on Through..

Sunday’s chat guest, Paul Doiron, said a couple things that really hit home with me. Not sure why, because it’s not anything I haven’t heard before. Maybe I was just ripe to hear it this time.

At one point he said he spent years wanting to live the writer’s life, but he didn’t do the writing. I made a lame joke, but that was because I felt like I’d been slapped. What have I been doing for several years now? I’ve become that shameful thing: someone who wants to have written, not a writer.

Later in the chat, he was asked how he manages to finish stories. He said “Just motor on through”. I don’t know why that stuck with me, but it was vivid enough that I dreamed about it. (And long-time readers know that I listen to my dreams.)

Sunday night, I dreamed that I was on a motorcycle, slowly picking my way through a devastated city. It was slow going, but I kept crawling ahead. Then the dream changed, and I was driving a bulldozer through the same streets, clearing the rubble and creating a smooth path. Another change, and I was sitting in the back of a long black limo, purring smoothly down that very same street.

What does that mean? Probably…that I shouldn’t have eaten Doritos before going to bed.

What it means to me now is that I just need to motor on through. It may be slow and torturous at the beginning, but then I’ll build up steam and clear the way. Eventually, writing will become easier, and I’ll be able to purr along at a steady pace. I just have to figure out the route, then clear the path. Someday, writing will put me in a limo. With a driver. You know I hate to drive.

So I’m setting the timer every night. I will write for 15 minutes, whether I feel like it or not. Even if I’m exhausted, I will force myself to the keyboard for a lousy 15 minutes. Eventually I’ll find a bulldozer and start pushing those words out with power. (Why do I hear Tim the Toolman Taylor in my head?)

Yes, tonight’s writing is this blog post. Call it a warm-up. I’m putting on my helmet and revving up the bike. I don’t know what I’m going to run into around the corner, but I’ll just take it slow and steady, avoiding the worst of the boulders, until I figure out the best path.

Then it’s dozer time!

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

I Can't Do It

I really thought I was ready to write about my cancer journey, but I can’t. It's still too emotional for me to share with the world.

I ended the last post because I was shaking. I couldn’t believe how much fear was dredged up just from writing those few paragraphs. I cried myself to sleep that night, and had nightmares for over two weeks. I have tried several times to continue the story, but I simply can’t do it. Every time I try, I have bad dreams. So that’s it.

I’m going to go back to blogging about silly, funny or simply inane things that happen in my life. What I’m watching on TV, music that catches my attention, etc. Feel free to ask questions about my cancer journey, and I’ll try to answer them. I don’t make any promises, but I may be able to tell the story in bits and pieces.

So there we go. I’m back! For the moment…

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Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Cancer, Round 1

I promised you a look at the strange things that go on in my mind. Brace yourself! This can be a scary place.

CANCER, ROUND 1 – 1997

Found a lump, went to the doctor, had a mammogram, visited another doctor in Pittsburgh (2 hours away), back to Pittsburgh for a surgical biopsy, back for another visit, Cancer diagnosis, lumpectomy, then 9 weeks of daily radiation treatments. The whole 3-4 months was a blur of exhaustion and fear.

Every time I looked at my kids, I was terrified that I would die and they would be split up forever. Danielle was safely into her own adult life, but she wasn’t in a position to take custody of Jess and Rick. Jess is from my first marriage, Rick from my second. They would be torn apart and I wouldn’t be there to comfort or protect them. Just remembering that time takes my breath away and makes my whole body shake.

The ordeal changed us. Worry and fear had driven the laughter from our lives.

Through those months, Jess and I were frantically busy. I was either working, running off for treatments, or sleeping. Jess was going to school, working part-time, and trying to keep the house together and all of us fed and in clean clothes.

Rick, 11, became withdrawn. He went quiet, concentrating on his video games, TV shows, and martial arts classes. He didn’t want to bother Jess or I, so he tried to become invisible. He started sleepwalking, and quietly cried himself to sleep at night.

Jess, 17, took over being head of household. She skipped a lot of school (which I didn’t find out until years later) and ran with her friends during the day. It was easy. She told her teachers she had to take me to treatments, and they would give her homework assignments and extra days to get them done. They were all very understanding.

Once school let out, she came home to feed Rick, make sure I got home from treatments, went to work as a waitress, brought home food for me, cleaned the house, did laundry, etc. If she went out on weekends, she took Rick with her. Several times she did drive me to treatments, because I got to the place where I was too exhausted to make the trip myself. She was strong and tough, and didn’t want to scare Rick or I into thinking she wasn’t able to handle it. She started having headaches, and quietly cried herself to sleep at night.

I was consumed with staying alive. I got up every morning, went to work until 2, drove an hour to the hospital, had a radiation treatment, drove an hour home, went to sleep on the recliner. Some nights, I slept in the chair because I was too tired to climb the stairs to my bedroom.

I was so exhausted I felt drugged all the time. Toward the end of my treatments, I would pull off the road on the way home and nap, because I couldn’t keep my eyes open to drive home. That’s when I started looking for people to drive me, so I could sleep on the ride home. I didn’t want the kids to know how scared I was, for fear it would scare them. I realize now that part of the exhaustion was from the treatments, but part of it was depression. I quietly cried myself to sleep at night.

How much easier things would have been if we had talked! But we created our roles and played them out. We were all tough, and we could handle anything…or kill ourselves trying.

One night toward the end of my treatments, Rick couldn’t take anymore. He got out of bed and crossed the hall to my room. Jess heard him, thought he was sleepwalking, and got up to catch him and steer him back to bed. She joined him at my door. I was crying into my pillow and didn’t hear either of them. Hand in hand, they came in and crawled into bed with me. The three of us didn’t talk, but huddled up and cried together. The isolation was over. We fell asleep together, and that was probably the best night’s sleep any of us had had for months.

Hmmm…apparently I’m writing a memoir here. Tune in next time for the aftermath of Round 1.

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Monday, November 28, 2011

Test Results

Yes, I went AWOL on you. Now that it’s all over, I’m ready to talk about it.

I got an ear infection that sent me to the doctor. Since his files uncovered the secret that I hadn’t been there for almost two years, he scheduled all my yearly tests. This time, they found three spots in my breast.

It’s funny, but once you’ve been through a round of cancer, you’re always expecting it to come back. Since I’ve been through it twice, I’m always SURE that a spot means round three. So I started preparing for battle.

The radiologist said that two spots were cysts, and the third was a cyst that had abscessed. I had an appointment to have all three drained. The surgeon agreed that cysts can turn cancerous, but cautioned me to wait until the biopsy. I don’t wait.

Patience is a virtue, and I’ve never been accused of being too virtuous.

I told my boss, and we started trying to figure out how to find someone to cover for me for 8-12 weeks. Told Jess, my daughter, and we started figuring out how she was going to take full responsibility for the business AND take care of me.

Biopsy day. The doctor drained the first cyst. The fluid was clear green which he said was normal and good. He said if it wasn’t from my breast, he would have just tossed it. But my history meant it had to go to the lab. The second cyst wasn’t clear. It was a muddy green. When I asked what that meant, he just said “It goes to the lab.” Ah-ha! Exactly what I was expecting. Cancer.

When he examined the abscess, he decided it was a different type of abscess and couldn’t be drained. It had to be removed in one piece.

(I can’t remember what he called it. It’s hard to remember medical terms when you’re lying on your back, naked from the waist up, with your arms above your head and 4-inch needles stuck into your one remaining breast.)

The abscess has to be surgically removed. We decided to wait on that until the lab reports came back. If I had cancer, we were going to do a mastectomy and excising the cyst was a moot point. Obviously, the doctor was expecting cancer too.

More planning. Things were coming together, and I was preparing for surgery. Met with the doctor for results. I had notes on what type of reconstruction I wanted, and what we had to do ahead of time to make that possible. I was ready!

The doctor walked in, smiled, and said “All clear.”

I was too stunned to even think. Clear? No cancer? But…what about the muddy cyst? Nope, it was okay too. I dropped my trusty notebook back in my purse. The world spun. Crazy me, I was almost disappointed. My plans were coming together so nicely!

So that’s it. I’m having the abscess removed Wednesday morning, and then I’m good to go. Until next year, when we start the process all over again.

That’s where I’ve been. Next week, when it’s ALL over, I think I’ll expand on what goes on in my head every year when the testing starts. I think it’s an interesting psychological phenomenon. I hope you’ll be interested too.

Tuesday, November 01, 2011

Passions

Okay, I did it. I just signed up for NaNoWriMo. (National Novel Writing Month, www.nanowrimo.org , for those who don’t speak “writing”.) The goal is to write an entire (rough draft) novel in 30 days. Yeah, right. I haven’t completed a novel in 51 years. Oh well, first time for everything!

A while back, Widdershins asked what ignites my passions. I assume she doesn’t mean sexual passion, because it’s been a long time since that particular passion has been ignited…

Whimper, sniffle…

One moment, I need to dry my eyes…

I’m better now. *Deep breath*

I spent over half my life suffering from very low self-esteem and depression. In my early 30’s, I finally faced reality and took the reins to run my own life. I believe I’ve become a completely new person, with a happy and contented new life. When I took charge of my life, a whole new world opened up to me.

When I see people who are living like I did, half alive, I have an overwhelming urge to help them find a way out. I’ve learned not to give advice, but to share my story and urge them to find the answers to their own situation. I love it when they start looking outside their little sphere, and coming up with possibilities.

Over the years, I’ve seen several people break out of a hole and feel the sunshine on their face. When they give me that wide-eyed look and say “You’re right, I CAN be more!”, I feel like my heart is going to burst with joy. For me, the greatest thing in the world is to help someone find happiness and new possibilities.

I think that’s where my passion for The Writer’s Chatroom came from. When I “see” the joy from someone who has finally gotten published, or just wrote something that knocked their own socks off, I forget how tired I am, or how I hate researching potential guests and new topics. Instantly, it’s all worthwhile.

So…what ignites my passions? Making a difference. If a little of my time and effort can help someone else find a happier life, I’m there. A few people were there for me, and kept encouraging me to try more, reach further, be more. I’ve lost touch with most of them, but I try to pay them back by touching other lives.

Okay, now I’m getting sappy. Anybody want a hug?

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