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Healing

Before I started blogging, I hadn’t done much personal writing.  I’m a medical writer at work, so I’ve been working with words for decades.  But they weren’t for me.  They weren’t about me.  And they didn’t help me get beyond my share of those things that landed on my shoulders and my heart and pushed down.  Tried to drag me under.  Things that succeeded sometimes, I’m sorry to say.

For years I’d grieved.  I couldn’t get beyond the loss of much loved family members.  Until I wrote this post.  Now, I think and write my stories with more smiles and fewer tears.  Through the humor I found writing it, I got myself back.  And them, too.  It was a win-win.  By writing it, I was able to heal.

I had forgotten that really, the only thing as powerful as words is being able to laugh.  When I first posted Both Sides Now three years ago, my bloggin’ buddies didn’t quite know whether it was OK to laugh.  It is.  I did.  I do.

My long-time bloggin’ buddies may remember this post.  I’m posting it again mostly for myself and for my newer friends.

*     *     *

Both Sides Now

“The Season” makes me crabby.  Grumpy.  Irritable.  I’ve come to hate it.  Everything about it.  I hate the music, the crowded stores, the decorations.  I especially hate the decorations.

Last year a friend stopped by our house in the middle of December.  “God, it’s December 15th,” I said to her, “and the only decoration I have up is the wreath on the door!”

“I don’t think that counts, Lease,” responded my husband John. “You didn’t take that down from last year.”

“Oh, yeah.”

Tonight, I’m looking around at my undecorated house thinking, “uggggh,” not “Ho ho ho!”

It wasn’t always true, though.  I used to be one of them.  I was a veritable Christmas Elf.  I baked, I decorated.  I embroidered Christmas stockings for the whole family.  My son Jacob and I built gingerbread houses that did not come from a mix or a box and were actually made of gingerbread stuck together in the shape of a house!  My friends got a bottle of homemade Irish Cream liqueur.  Some used it to get their kids to bed on Christmas Eve.

But mostly, I sang.  The records, tapes and CDs came out on Thanksgiving.  From the moment I woke up the day after Thanksgiving, until New Years, I would trill away.  “White Christmas,” “Do You Hear What I Hear?” “Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas.”  I belted “Mele Kalikimaka” when I had an established escape route to avoid people trying to punch me.  I know the words to all 18,423 verses of Frosty the Snowman.  I would start singing in the shower and keep going until John tackled me and put duct tape across my mouth, usually at about 8:30 a.m.  Regardless, I’d start up again the next morning.

If the current, Crabby Christmas Me got a hold of the old Merry Christmas Me, I would slap myself silly.

So you see, I do understand the Christmas-sy part of Christmas.  The love, the joy, the traditions.

But now I see the other side.  And it’s that “tradition” part that is to blame.

You see, my family’s always been fairly competitive.  My mother and her sister Ruth were particularly so.  They’d argue at each shared Sunday dinner over a million things:  whose gravy was better (my mother’s), who cracked the best one-liner (always Aunt Ruth – she was a hoot), and most traumatically for me, whose young daughter was taller. (Duh, Maureen was almost a year older than me – of course she won every time.  But you’re not taller now, are you?  And you’re still older, Maur.  You’re still older.  How do you like it??)  Darn, I wish I’d missed the competitive gene.

When I was a kid, Aunt Ruth was high on the list of my favorite relatives.  Now she’s tops on an altogether different list.  And it ain’t Santa’s list, neither.

Because Aunt Ruth started a family tradition.  A competition.  But it’s not a family tradition I recommend, especially during the Christmas season.  In fact, it should have a warning, although I’m not sure where you’d put it:  Don’t try this at home.

You see, Aunt Ruth started the tradition of kicking the bucket on a major holiday.  What fun!  Great idea!  Not many families do that!  Hey, we are DIFFERENT!

Knowing Aunt Ruth, I’m sure her last thought was “Doris, you’ll never top this one!  I’m dying on Thanksgiving!!!!”   She was no doubt a bit miffed when my mother joined her a couple of years later.

Because, not to be outdone, Mom arrived in the afterlife on Easter Sunday.

Their party really got going when we reached Y2K, and my sister Judy died unexpectedly on my birthday in January.  Now, you might argue that my birthday is not, technically speaking, a holiday.  Not a paid day off for most folks.  But hey, in my book, this qualifies.  So there.

As time went on, there were fewer and fewer holidays I could celebrate.  The only big one left was Christmas.

Guess what happened on Christmas, 2000!

Yup, Dad reclaimed his spot at the head of the table with Mom, Judy and Aunt Ruth. Dad trumped them all.  Or because it was Christmas, perhaps he trumpeted them all.  Maybe both.

I must say I am rather ticked off about it all.  Sort of changes the tone of the Holidays, you see.  I plan to have words with all four of them, next time I see them.  And I will not be nice.

In the meantime, celebrating holidays, well, it just seems so odd to me.  Especially Christmas, because Christmas is so stuff-oriented, and most of my Christmas stuff is from them.  It takes a bit of the fun out of decorating.

For a while, I considered joining the Eastern Orthodox Church.  That way I could celebrate the same holidays, just on different days.  I could keep all my Christmas crap!  I could decorate!  I could bake!  I could sing!  But then I realized that the change would just give us all additional high priority target dates, and I don’t have enough family members left to meet the challenge.  So Eastern Orthodox is out.

At the same time, I also realized that, when Dad hit the Holiday Lottery, the whole tradition had to stop.  Because I’m pretty sure that biting the dust on, say, Columbus Day, just wouldn’t cut it.  So why bother?

Nevertheless, this whole thing has made me decidedly anti-holiday.

There is one holiday I still look forward to, though.  Groundhog Day.  I just can’t figure out what sort of decorations to put up.

Photo courtesy of Google Images

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Way Too Many Ducks

A little while ago, my husband, John, nearly made me vomit.

That’s no easy task, as I have a really strong stomach — it makes up for my shittier lower GI system.

Did he make an unappealing meal?  Drive around curves like a maniac?  Take me out on a boat in choppy water?

Nope.

He read the news today (oh boy).  And he felt compelled to share.  That’s when I got nauseous.

Maybe I need to back up here.

You don’t know this, but John loves the theater.  Drama.  Shakespeare.  Comedies.  He loves to go to plays.  He has, in fact, penned a couple of them himself.  But he hates, hates, hates, musicals (with the notable exception of Les Miserables).

So today, after reading the news, he informed me that we have to go see a new musical that will be coming to Broadway.

I was immediately suspicious — once again proving that I am smarter than the average bear.  It had to be different from the usual musical fare to get John’s interest.

And different, this musical certainly is.  The musical that John wants to see on Broadway is called

“The Duck Commander Family Musical.”

It is the rags to riches story of the Duck Dynasty folks.  On Broadway.  The cost of barf bags will no doubt be included in the ticket price.

First, however, it will play the Rio, the Las Vegas theater where the Chippendales normally perform (with significantly less unsightly hair).  Because, you know.  Vegas.

Is it too much to ask that this group of hyper/pseudo Christians will have a special audience?

 

Lions would do nicely, thank you very much.

Am I the only one who simply doesn’t understand the fascination with these vile humans?

NY Times Photo:  Credit Zach Dilgard/A&E

I bet Maria Von Trapp would puke, too. NY Times Photo:
Credit Zach Dilgard/A&

 

 

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Does This Mean That The Washington Post Stinks?

One of my tasks as a fake medical expert, is to keep folks in my company apprised of new scientific developments, studies and trends.  So I scour the news first thing and point out interesting, informative articles.

It’s a part of my job that I relish because it often gives me terrific ways to terrorize my relatives with news of horrible diseases that pose a 1:1,583,222,185 chance of killing them and everybody in their town.  Can you say “Ebola”?  Sure, I knew you could.

Some days, though, I hit the jackpot.  Like today, when I read a fascinating piece in the Washington Post.

Why we don’t think our own farts stink

Not only was it way more informative than any political piece penned and published in our nation’s capitol’s hometown paper, but it contained video.

 

After watching this educational video four or five times, I noticed that there was a followup video that I had to watch.Now you have to watch it too.

 

 

Thanks, Washington Post, for shedding light on at least one stinking thing.  Maybe next election cycle, you can uncover the stink in the GOP.

 

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Longing for Dick

It was while commenting on Doobster’s post, Art Imitating Life or Life Imitating Art, that I realized that the unthinkable had happened.   It’s true.

Doobster made me look back, and I thought of the men in my past.

George.

And George.

And Ronnie.

Now I find myself looking back fondly. Longing for Dick.*

I'm gonna be sick.  Google, why'd you do this to me?

I’m gonna be sick. Google, why’d you do this to me?

 

I wish I were kidding.

Often, I’ve realized that if the GOP hadn’t gone completely over the edge into fanaticism, that I’d be a Republican.

Google Me This

Google Me This

Because, you see, I remember when Republicans were not crazy. When they were a valuable part of the strong government that built our country into the envy of the world.

When they were not out only to protect their rich buddies. When they knew how to govern.

When they could compromise. More importantly, when compromise was the goal, because they knew that THAT is how government works. And good government works for everybody.

I remember the wonderful things that were done in the 1970s — Environmental laws, highways funded, bridges built.  Government FUCKING WORKED.

But starting with Reagan, the image makers changed the face of government – remember:

Reagan put folks into Cabinet positions who didn’t believe in government.  The Energy and Education Departments were led by folks whose job was to destroy the agencies.  The Environmental Protection Administration was led by Anne Gorsuch who didn’t promulgate the regulations that she had to — by law — promulgate.  People were put into levels of responsibility to thwart the laws they were supposed to administer.

So yes, I am sitting here looking back through history and realizing that the GOP has, in leaps and bounds, ensured that government doesn’t work. [I’ve said for years, why do people want to elect folks to government who don’t’ believe in government? What is the fucking point of that?]

It was compounded by George H.W. and then by George W. who put more and more jokers in positions of power.

And what a surprise, the government doesn’t work any more.

 

So now I find myself looking back fondly to Richard Nixon.  My, ummm, hero.

Google, natch.

Google, natch.

Is there no limit to what these Republican will do to me?

 

 

 

 

* Yeah, I know I skipped Jerry. But he served on a naval ship with my Dad in WWII during a typhoon and Gerald Ford saved the ship. So I cut Jerry some serious slack. Sue me.

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Hiding in Plain Sight

If you haven’t seen this bit from John Oliver’s new show, you should.  You should watch it before Tuesday’s election, and then again periodically, just so you remember what I keep telling you.  That elections matter.  And that it is important to pay attention to not just Federal elections, but to the ones lower down the food chain.

Apparently it takes someone from England, from the country from which we declared our independence, to explain to us just how we are letting our own government get away from us.

Because we don’t pay attention to “the unimportant levels of government.”

Ummm, it is at the state level that we’re really getting screwed.  I can attest to this as a resident of “Virginia is For Ultra-sounds.”    Yup, it is the folks whose names we don’t even know, who get to decide these issues that most impact your life and mine.

They are also the ones gerrymandering the US Congressional districts.  They are eliminating access to abortion, to birth control and screwing us in a hundred different ways.  And the state legislatures are the breeding ground, where the Not Ready For Prime Time Players go until they become the Michelle Bachmann’s and the Louie Gomert’s who end up framing our national debate.

[I read recently that John Oliver has been proclaimed the best journalist currently working.  I don’t recall who said it, but I think they are right.]

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Now They’ve Gone Too Far

Lately, I’m afraid that we’ve become a society of apologists.  Have you noticed?  Everybody is apologizing all the time.  And not one of them means it.  Rarely does anybody take responsibility for their beliefs, which are often exactly what was exposed — their racism, mysogony, whatever.

Even more rare are these apologies as entertaining as the one that happened this past week, when the Governor of Delaware accidentally Tweeted a photo of a woman wearing bondage paraphernalia.  More of those would make the world at least a funnier place.

It’s not just that I’m error prone that makes me wary.  Anybody who knows me knows that I’m not big on social media.  Nope, not at all.  And it’s not only because I can’t be bothered to figure out how to use it.  I have a Facebook account that I started so that I could vote for Speaker7 for some contest she was in.  Naturally, I couldn’t vote anyway for some reason.  I have one “friend” on Facebook.

When I first started my blog, I joined LinkedIn, thinking I could promote my blog.  But then I had to enter real live info about myself like my name.  Since it is being used as a professional networking society, the dangers of using LinkedIn to promote my blog became clear.  Including a link to my blog would possibly attract a lot of people who would read my blog, but they would all be clients.  Clients reading that I am a “fake” medical professional.  And then, naturally, I would need to use LinkedIn to find a new job.

I’m sure I’d like Twitter — I love making short, snappy comebacks.  But a Twitter account would likewise end up with me needing to use LinkedIn to find a job because I’d never get any work done.

So I’ve been happy with face-to-face talking, emailing and texting.  And blogging of course, which is a realm all of its own.

But I just read an article that has me shaking at my keyboard.  Worried about where this will all end up.  Afraid of the future.  Because they’re going to get into my brain.  It’s just a matter of time before we can all transmit our thoughts to each other without the aid of a computer or a phone or even a mouth.

Yes, I just read Brain-to-brain verbal communication in humans achieved for the first time.

Oh joy.

It informed me that scientists have just managed to transmit thoughts from one brain to another, across the distance of 5,000 miles.  Brain to Brain.  Non-verbal, um verbal communication.

Can you imagine the future?  What politicians will say now?  The excuses they will come up with for when they express a true thought or opinion and the recipient doesn’t like it?  Oh Lord.  It won’t be pretty.

I think it’s going to be something like this:

It’s closer than you think.

 

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It’s a Joke, Son

My husband John makes a point of not laughing at my jokes.  He pretends that I am not the funniest person he knows — even though I often hear him repeating my zingers with a chuckle.  John has helpfully suggested that whenever I am “trying” to be funny, that I should hold up a flag to let the world know.  I counter that he is humor challenged.

As it turns out, I recently learned that there are loads of humor challenged folks.

And they read our blogs!

SHIT!

Now most of you know my good bloggin’ buddy, Peg-O-Leg.  Well, Peg was Freshly Pressed just yesterday!  It was a delayed FP’ing for a post she wrote over a month ago, entitled: Facebook Ruined My Life, Now They Must Pay.  It’s about how she wants to sue Facebook because somebody put up an embarrassing picture of her from her childhood.

It was a joke, son.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7T2wYE0W1oo

But the thing is, she got comments from strangers criticizing her for suing Facebook.  I’m not joking, she got nasty comments about the lawsuit she was clearly making up for a humor blog.

Just how many humor challenged folks are there?

***

Peg’s predicament reminded me of one of my very early posts.  I couldn’t resist reposting it, because, well, it was my very first blogging experience with possibly humor challenged folks.

Manitoba Bound

It’s time to export all the stupid people in the United States to another country.  Congress will go along with it as long as we can designate “stupid people” a commodity.  A trade lawyer I consulted suggested that designating them as “spare parts” under the Anti-Counterfeit Trade Agreement would permit widespread exportation of stupid people from all over the country.  It would also ensure that only “real” stupid people and not fake or “counterfeit” stupid people qualify.  US export numbers will skyrocket, the debt limit will take care of itself, and we won’t owe China a penny.  Or a Yuan.  The economy will be saved.  More importantly, I won’t have to deal with them any more.

I decided to send them to Canada – nobody lives there, anyway.  Manitoba, to be exact.  Why?  It’s easier to spell than “Saskatchewan.”  Manitoba is right there in the middle of the continent where the stupid people won’t be able to hurt themselves.  Like one big padded room.   They will be safe, happy, well cared for.  Cable TV.  Internet access — even broadband.  I’m not unkind, you know.  A team of teenagers will be available to help them turn on their TVs, stereos, DVD players, mobile phones.  Friends and family members can visit anytime.

There are a lot of stupid people in the US, you say, so where do we start?   We’re starting with the ones that bug me the most.  It’s only fair.  After all I am the brains here.

I deal with stupid people every day.  I work in medical products litigation.  Stupid people believe the TV lawyers’ mantra “Sue then Retire.”  Each time I walk into my office, I am smacked upside the head by the stupid actions of stupid people who sue for big bucks.  I learn way too much about them, sort of like when you interrupt your 74-year-old uncle in the shower.  You’d be happier without the image.

          I want them outta here.

 Here’s a contender:

 A woman named Mona was sick.   Mona went to her doctor and was given a 30 day prescription for the drug that would treat her.  She took it to the pharmacy where the pharmacist typed up a label and put it onto the bottle that the manufacturer dispensed the tablets in, because conveniently, those pills already came packaged in bottles of 30 pills.  Terrific!  Safe!  Foolproof!  How many times have you gotten medicine this way?  Loads of times, I wager.  Have you gotten it that way lately?  Nope.  Thank Mona.

Now Mona is a very precise woman.  She carefully monitors everything.  She uses a pedometer to count her steps, compares food package labels. Understands the food pyramid.  She doesn’t walk when the “Don’t Walk” sign starts blinking.  She knows the calorie, carbohydrate and vitamin content of everything she swallows. Brushes her hair precisely 100 strokes each night.  Flosses.  Therefore, she read the label that came with the pills from the drugstore, too.  She opened the sealed package, and poured out her first dose.  That’s when Mona’s ticket to Manitoba was punched.

Because when she dumped out that first pill into her hand, she also poured out a tiny crunchy plastic package about a half inch square.  It contained salicylic acid – packages like that are put into many products to help keep the contents dry and to prevent mold.  The little package in her hand said “DO NOT EAT.”  So she didn’t.  At all.  She didn’t eat for 30 days while she took her medicine.

She didn’t call her doctor and scream:

          “You never told me I couldn’t eat!” 

She did not call the pharmacist and say:

          “Can I at least have toast?  Or Jell-O?”  

And when she got very ill from (1) being stupid and (2) not eating for 30 days, did she feel embarrassed?  Did she pack for Manitoba?  No.  She sued the pharmacy and the drug manufacturer for millions of dollars for pain, suffering, and lost wages.  She won.

So Mona goes first.

And the woman who fell into the shopping mall fountain while texting and then sued the shopping mall?  You saw her.  She went onto local and national news shows to tell the story and to complain that no one helped her after she fell.  She said repeatedly that she was embarrassed that everyone she knew had seen her fall into the fountain on YouTube.  She was upset at being called “Fountain Lady.”  She appeared on television voluntarily, where they replayed the video three times for people like me who hadn’t yet enjoyed it.  She made absolutely sure that “Fountain Lady” was unmasked, because this caption appeared at the bottom left of the TV screen:

CATHY CRUZ MARRERO

“FOUNTAIN LADY” FIGHTS BACK

Her ticket is printing now.

 

 

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