Monday, December 26, 2005

Christmas week here

This was a tumultuous week here in our house.

Preparing for the holiday in itself was a stressful enough time but doing so in a house in this condition had its own challenges.

The house has "defects" which I've alluded to in past posts so I won't go into them here.
Its been a rainy week and when you have leaks from the ceiling its an interesting challenge to deal with the leaks as well as continue a normal life as much as possible.

We have been trying to prepare the house to be put on the market shorly in the midst of trying to live here while we do it.

I haven't had a vehicle available to go shopping so I did just about all my shopping online.It was an interesting experiment and I think succesful.

Online shopping afforded me the experience of having the world as one huge mall!
I discovered the home shopping networks as well as all the websites of the major retailers and some of the ones I never knew existed.
As the saying goes, "the world was my oyster".

Its interesting to see the marketplace from that perspective.
Every price point, activity, interest, hobby can be addressed if you take the time to search.
Christmas shopping for me was actually fun this year.

The added bonus to me was all the boxes everything came in are now stacked along the kitchen wall ready to be used for packing! Even the packing peanuts can be reused so its also a recycling experiment.

We chose not to get a tree this year as it would have created further stress to determine where to put it.
I felt we should have something though so one day I went into the overgrown yard and chopped branches from the fruit trees, clipped some of the evergreen bushes and the rose hips from the overgrown rose bushes that were neglected and gathered recently fallen lemons from the ground and fashioned my very own uniquie holiday centerpeice!
The vase I used was one Bob's Mother had made herself in a ceramic class so we had a sense of history within the decoration.

I had ordered some unique tissue paper that in itself made nice wrapping and draped it over our heater which looks like a woodburning stove and placed the arrangement on it.
That was our focal point for the holiday.

The gifts were displayed in front of the "woodstove".
So you don't have to spend a lot of money to create a holiday atmosphere even in dreary surroundings.

Bob's last day to work was Christmas Eve. He is retired now after 40 years on the same job.
That day was a bittersweet day.
We had the anticipation of the holiday and upcoming retirement along with the finality of the last day to do something he had done for so long.

Throughout the day he would text message to my cell phone as he was completing each task of his workday for the final time.
At times it was so poignant; he loved most of his patrons and never considered it so much a job as an adventure.

At one stop a family actually was waiting at their box for him and as he approached the box they had made a sign congratulating him and then apllauded him.
Many left rememberances in their box to commerate his retirement.

A particualry poignant moment for me was when I received the message "this is it- Home Stretch". I knew he was at the last area of houses coming outof the hills down the mountain out of the subdivision.
I couldn't imagine what he must have been feeling at that moment. To know something you did every work day for 40 years was coming to an end must have been an emotional moment.
I didn't know then, he told me yesterday and probably would prefer Ii didn't reveal this, but after delivering his last stop he got out of his truck and knelt down and said a prayer of gratitude.
I reveal this because it shows the character of this man.

He was grateful he had been given the opportunity to do something that long and make a decent living; he was grateful he had basically good health and he was grateful he had me to ride off into the sunset with him.
He said throughout the day he had flashback after flashback of those 40 years.
After checking back in at the office for the last time and changing out of his uniform he removed his postal regulation shoes and tied them together and threw them over his locker door!
Then, he took a picture from his cell phone and sent it to me and some others who are close to him with the message, "I hung 'em up".
And then he left and began his last trip home from working.

Now, we begin the next stage of our lives.
Its funny in a weird way to think about the coming years.

When you are younger "retirement' is such an intangible thing.Everyone talks about it.Retirement funds, Social Security issues, health insurance, time to do what you always wanted, thinking about those who are no longer here to celebrate this time in your life, the new friends they say you'll make, the old ones who claim will stay in touch but rarely do.

And then one day- there you are. you are walking through the gate, a passage of your life that you didn't get to practice,no dress rehearsal.
You look back one last time and see the things you wished you'd done different and reflect; then you turn in the new direction and take with you all your life experiences into this unknown place and begin the next journey.

It was fitting in a way that for Bob it was in the holiday season where we celebrate the birth of the Christ Child. We are aware each year of the hope and promise this Child brought to the world and the impact His presence on the earth had for all history.
And through His life we have the roadmap to have a successful life in what is meaningful if we choose to utilize it.

So to me, retirement from a job is the freedom to be what this Child meant each of us to be. We are given the gift of time to make a difference and continue the legacy this Child left us.
That is the best Christmas gift of all, I think.

Friday, December 23, 2005

My Aunt Margaret's house

Yesterday, I needed to go to for the Cincinnati area to see if I could find a house style someone was inquiring about on one of the message boards I belonged to.

During my search I came across a listing for my Aunt Margaret's house.
It was like being taken back in time to see it again.

I am named for her and she was a terrific Aunt; she was actually my great-aunt, My Mother's Aunt from her maternal side of the family.

She never had children of her own and she saw to it that we kids were outfitted for Easter and had other things that were a help to my parents while raising 9 kids.

Aunt Margaret died when I was in the second grade but I remember her well. Her loss was profound to my mother and she was a strong influence and was at all the family gatherings of the Mitchell household.

One of the things I remember so well is she was a true German lady and loved her beer! I can picture her at picnic tables in the summer with her longneck bottle of beer and laughing all the time.
To me, as a little girl, she seemed to be tall and large, just as you'd expect a matronly German woman to be. She wore flowered dresses.I don't recall her ever in one that wasn't.

I always joke about being named after her; her name was Margaret Mary Aufderheide. I am so glad they named me Margaret Mary and not Aufderheide!

She had her beloved dog, Trixie with her everywhere. I think Trixie must have been a Jack Russel terrier or close to that breed.

When I saw the picture of Aunt Margaret's house I went back in time and remembered how the house always had a unique odor that I associated with Aunt Margaret. I would later learn that smell was flea powder but I didn't know it at the time.

The layout of the house was odd. As you entered from the porch you were in the upstairs and the front room and bedroom were on that level.
You went down some stairs to the kitchen and bath and it always had a musty smell that I just associated with the house. Now, I know there was probably always standing water somewhere down there maybe leaking from a pipe or the hot water heater.
The downstairs was painted concrete as I recall and was always cold.

Its funny I don't recall a lot of Aunt Margaret's furnishings which tells me it must have been functional and practical, not Better Homes and Gardens.

During the time I lived in Dayton with Dan and Jennie my sister Mary presented me with an envelope;on the outside was written in someone's hand "For Loraine, to be opened upon my death".

It was Aunt Margaret's will, written in her own hand willing all her possesions to my Mother, the largest being this little humble home.

My sister Pat and her husband resided there for awhile at the time my oldest neice Laura was born.
I remember babysitting Laura as a newborn infant and discovering her hands and feet were peeling.
I was barely 9 years old and really knew little about newborn infants at the time.
I was convinced I was killing her and grabbed her up and ran across the street to the backside of the park and up the hill towards my Mother's home.

I was panicked and distraught, crying, apologizing for whatever I had done and just wanted her to live.
My Mother then explained that Laura was way overdue and overdue babies just peeled at the joints.

Babysitting Laura in that house is my last memories of being inside that house.
I don't recall how long it was after that when apparently my parents sold the house; I just remember it not being a long time.

Finding that listing was like receiving a gift. How appropriate at this time of year.
Aunt Margaret played a large part in our early years in seeing we had nice Christmases and other holidays.

I think of her often and always remember her at this time of year.
Maybe she just wanted me to know she was also thinking of me!

Monday, December 12, 2005

Stanley "Tookie" Williams execution

The impending execution or stay thereof from the Govenor today is the big news today.

For anyone who may not know of this case it is whether the life of Tookie Williams should be spared before his scheduled execution at 12:01 tommorow morning.

Tookie was the co-founder of the Crips gang years ago and in that capacity he was accused and convicted of 4 heinous murders that led him to death row at San Quentin.

In that time he has turned his life around and been an advocate of anti-gang activity.

I think its commendable that Tookie has redeemed his life of crime but it doesn't change that he did lead a life of crime that got him into San Quentin.

He claims he is innocent of the crimes of which he was convicted therefore his life should be spared.

He has been on death row for 25 years; in that time I would think given his notariety he would have been able to put together an excellent defense team to reopen his case if this claim were true.

We hear of cases frequently lately that The Innocence Project has taken on and is able to discover new evidence or overlooked evidence to get a case overturned or reopened.

Tookie is a published author and has become the object of much discussion over the years so it isn't as if no one who could help him hasn't heard of him.

I have to assume over the years someone has looked at the facts and decided he was guilty of the charges.
Its true that especially during that time black men were convicted under some questionable circumstances so this was of a concern to me.

He has shown no remorse for the crimes he was convicted of based on his assumption "he didn't do it" so why should he be remorseful.
He has never once attempted to contact any member of a family whose loved one was killed by the crimes in which he was convicted.

I would think if he were savvy enough to get books published from prison he could attempt to get a leter of remorse out to even one family member.

Even a note of symphathy to say he didn't do it but he was sorry for any role he played in the death would have shown me something.

His contention is HE didn't do it; does he know who did and why haven't they come forward after all these years? Is it the gang mentality again to keep up the code of silence?

Prison officials have stated he hasn't been the model prisoner that he projects to be.
Precautions have been under way for weeks to thwart expected gang violence at the news of his execution.
Why hasn't he spoken out and worked with prison officials across the country to ward off prison viloence much less at his death?

Today it was reported that people living in the surrounding area near San Quentin cannot even park their cars near their homes until this is over because of expected violence.

So, yes its commendable that Tookie took action to get books published against joining a gang and to help children take a different direction.
I give him kudos for that; but it wasn't enough in my opinion.

I see all the media attention; the prominent entertainment stars coming out to revoke his execution.Do they know something more than I know? If so, speak up.

Maybe the real leagacy of the life of Stanley "Tookie" Williams will be that if you commit crime it doesn't pay.
The message may be that if you belong to a gang it leads to destruction and death.

I, of course, don't know if he isn't innocent or guilty.
I can only look at the facts.
I know the Govenor has looked at them as well.
The issue isn't whether he redeemed his past and therefore his life should be spared.
The issue is, is he guilty of the crimes he was sentenced to death for and therefore execution is a fit punishment.

Only Tookie and God can know the final outcome.

I wish you well on your journey to the other side Tookie, sincerely.
And if you did find redemption you can continue the work on the other side.
God Bless.

Thursday, December 08, 2005

taking time to catch my breath

I haven't posted in awhile; I have very busy, at least for me - busy!

There is a lot going on in my life at this time and its ALL good!
I am so happy to be able to report that.

Bob and I went to his retirement board meeting this week and its official- retirement date is Jan 2nd.
This is a big step in his life.
He started with the USPS almost 40 years ago as a part time job until something better came along!
Of course back then mail delivery was different than it is today.
It has become more automated, less personal service, demands on time, and just generally the bigwigs only see the bottom line.

He was called into the "prinicipals office " last week because he was taking 13 minutes longer on his route than they thought he should. It wasn't taken into consideration the extra catalogs, the cards that have started arriving, the packages that are being sent. He told them he didn't know what more he could do since he already was taking no lunch break.

Its time to go.
He has mixed feelings.He will miss his patrons he has grown close to over the years but he is excited to move on to a different facet of his life.

Yesterday, he had to take off early for an emergency dental appointment.
He had come home in a lot of pain and his jaw was swollen. Obviously, he had an abcess which was confirmed.
He is going to need extensive oral surgery it appears; it will be a process that will take months, not weeks or days.

He knew a few years ago that it was getting bad but he felt loyal to his job and didn't want to take the time off work.
He has accumulated over 2800 hours of sick time.

I suppose that was overlooked when it was noted he was taking 13 minutes longer on his route.

We have decided the house will go on the market around january 15th.
Thanksgiving week we made another trip to Oroville and have decided to live at a senior manufactured home park, if they will have us!

The park sits on 80 wooded acres and has views of the Butte mountains.It is not even 10 minutes to Lake Oroville, which we hear has some real good fishing.
Since Bob loves to fish that is ideal.

We met a coupl;e of residents while we were visiting the park and it seems we will fit in. Thye have a clubhouse and activities every day.

If we don't want to do thast we can go to one of the casinos! Or some of the other venues.
Oroville takes good care of its seniors.

We joked because we got caught in rush hour traffic one evening. Rush hour in Oroville meant it took 20 minutes to get through town instead of 10-15!

I have been and will be busy trying to get the house in as good as shape as possible before we list.

I have discovered internet shopping and have had the best fun shopping for Christmas as well as what I need to help me here.

I can't believe its coming up on 1 year I will have lived in California.
It sure has been a whirlwind!

I haven't experienced the depression I usually have at this time of year. I have experienced the pain I have when its gloomy and damp and colder.

I have spent the last year adjusting to not having chaos and confusion in my life.
I have spent the last year in a lot of isolation yet it has been healthy.

Its enabled me to get a clear picture of what was valuable to me and where the toxicity in my life came from.
I have forgiven and moved forward.

Even with the children of mine who choose for whatever reasons to disassociate with me, I have forgiven.
I questioned, grieved and went through all the emotions one goes through when there is a loss.
I have moved forward.

I can't change them; I can only change how I react to them.

The lesson for me was to learn boundaries and to focus on those who have a positive impact on my life.
The same with siblings and friends.

I knew I made major strides when recently Oscar contacted me through e-mail and I felt nothing towards him.
I didn't feel love or hate; just indifferent.

I no longer live in fear of what may happen. Or fear of what has happened.

I celebrate the joy in my life every day and there is much joy to celebrate.

God is good. Time does heal. There is a season for everything.
I think I have left the winter of my life and am entering into the spring.

The winter was cold, gloomy and a time to be dormant.
The spring is a rebirth, a renewed interest in life and all there is to accomplish.

So even though the calendar and weather patterns say its wintertime, in my personal life its sunny and the new growth is budding!

Maybe this is a bipolar moment but I don't think so.
I think its just a moment and that makes me smile to realize there is a difference.

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Saturday, November 12, 2005

The Leagacy project

In Dear Abby yesterday this site was mentioned and its an awesome project.
I couldn't go without mentioning it here so that others could find this resource.

I, myself need to preserve e-mails to hard copy and archive them so they are saved.

Peruse the letters and be in touch with part of your history.

Blogging--A New Leisure Option

BusinessWeek online points to an AP article about how bloggling has become a new leisure option for senior citizens. Anyone care to comment?

Blogging--A New Leisure Option

Friday, November 11, 2005

Veteran's Day

Today is the day we Americans take to honor our Vetrans, past and present.

I am proud to take part in this celebration.
I have a son who is serving this country on the U.S.S. John F. Kennedy today.
It is with immense pride that I honor him as well as all the Veterans I personally have known and those I haven't.

This country is what is today because of the selfless service all those men and women have given since its inception.
From the Revolutionary War up to todays' War in Iraq many average, everyday people have stepped up to the plate and put on a uniform in defense of our freedoms.

Tonight I sit here and think of the families who have given service by standing alongside their family member and sacrificed peace of mind, time at family gatherings, a hug and kiss at night, a wink at an inside joke, and many more everyday feeling too numerous to mention in support of their loved one.

At this moment I don't know exactly where in the world my own son is. I know he would much rather be home in Texas raiding the refrigerator, playing with his dog, getting ready for a date with his fiancee, talking to his sister, taking a nap, being told to take out the trash, having to report tomorrow for a civilian job.

I remember the first time I saw him in uniform.
I was awestruck. He was my personal hero. I knew what it took for him to wear that uniform.
He had not had it easy those few years previous to enlisting.
We had watched the events of 9/11 and knew the graphic reality of what wearing that uniform meant.

And my next feeling seeing him in that uniform was trepidation. he was my baby; my last born.
His whole life up to that moment flashed before me.
I saw the tiny infant that fought to be grown up even at one day old. I saw the little baby crawling around who chipped his first tooth on the bathtub.
I saw the 2 yr. old who went down in my driveway and his heart stopped and his Dad had to give him CPR.
I saw the little boy who loved his doll, Lester.
I saw the little skinny legged tyke wearing the red boots and making up the most awesome stories.
I saw the little guy that would sneak his finger into the chocoalte cake icing thinking he wasn't caught.
I saw the older boy who was so interested in what everyone else did for a job and curious to know if he could grow up to do the same thing.

I saw the scared 6 yr. old who accidentally set fire to my bedroom playing with a lighter and I later took to the Fire Marshall to put the fear of God in him.

I saw the 8 yr. old boy in a Cub Scout uniform having his first and only birthday party in our humble home.
I saw the 10 yr. old who had an accident on his bike when the handlebar and front wheel came off and we had to rush him to the hospital.

I saw the 12 yr. old trying to tell me a yarn when i found a Playboy magazine hidden in his pillowcase!
I saw the 14 yr. old taken away in handcuffs because he had been accused of something another family did but wouldn't take responsibility for.

I saw the young man who assisted his family through their personal tradegy because of a flood.
I saw the young man who thought I didn't know was drinking and cussing and thought he was all grown up.

I saw the young man who got in trouble because the "friends" he chose were the wrong crowd.
I saw the uninspired, depressed, wandering young male with no sense of direction in his late teens and early 20's.

I saw the compassion he had for others in times of need. the desperation and hopelesness he had when too many school friends died through drunk driving and suicide.

I saw the battles a young man and his mother went through.
I saw the love he had for the first girl he was ever really serious about and watched it unfold.

And that day I saw in him a fear deep inside because he knew in a matter of days he was being sent off to a farawy place without family or friends nearby and the unknown before him. That place was called Afganisistan. We were looking for some lunatic we really didn't know much about named Osama Bin Laden. And his ship was going to support that mission.

I also saw a pride he hadn't known up to that point as neighbors and friends gave him the recognition due him for donning that uniform.

Today I am proud of him for his service as an American yet as his Mother I am scared, uneasy and anxious and miss him tremendously.

My story is one of thousands. my story is not unique.
Mothers all across this country have their own story to tell.
Iam proud to be an American and PJ, I am proud of you.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Happy birthday PJ!

Today my "baby" is 25 yrs old.

He has been such a blessing to me; not always were there good times but even when there rough times we learned together what "through thick and thin" meant.

The pregnancy was very difficult; I was in and out of the hospital 28 times to stop labor from week 6 on.

His was the longest pregnancy of the four; he was due the 19th of Novemner and was born the 9th.
The doctors had told me he would be the biggest; more than 6 lbs. All the others were under 5 lbs.
Well, they were wrong. He was the smallest at 5lbs 3 ozs and 17 inches long.

He was so tiny; 5 inches longer than a ruler. I had to cut newborn Pampers in half and use masking tape for diapers until i got hooked up with P&G for preemie Pampers.
His little butt fit into the heel of my hand; newborn sleepers were swimming on him. His feet came to the crotch and I would pin up the legs to the back of the sleepers at the shoulders!

He was the first of mine born in the winter; the first with reddish hair.
I had dreamed of someday having a redheaded, freckle faced little tyke and I guess God knew he would be the last so he gave me PJ as a special gift.

Dan had made me promise if the new baby was another sister we would adopt a "brother" for him; I was happy to call early that Monday morning before school and announce "we have a brother"!

Dan and Steph were at their Dad's and Mandy was at a friend's house. My family was scattered.

I remember the day PJ was born; it was a Sunday. I had been sent home -again- from the hospital with instructions to get to the hospital as fast as i could if I went into labor again.
They discovered the placenta was front and he was in an abnormal breech position.

They instructed me if my water broke I would have 15 minutes to get to the hospital before the placenta would try to come first and the baby and I could hemmorage to death.
This was in the very early days of HMO's and unfortunately they aren't a lot better today.

I pleaded with them to let me stay; we lived 25 minutes away by ambulance.
I was so scared and pissed off.

So the contractions started and I went to my best friend Joyce's house down the street from Dan and Steph's Dad to wait. I was determined this time when Ii finally entered that hospital they weren't going to send me away.
So I endured contractions until they were 2 minutes apart before I left for the hospital.

I was sick of the in and out and sick of my family being interupted and living apart and wanted some semblance of normalcy back to our lives.

So they gave me the epidureal saying it wouldn't be long but then the doc got an emergency C-section which tied him up for awhile.
Meanwhile they were waiting for the water to break; they didn't believe me that it never broke on its own.

By the time the doc came back and examined me I could tell by the look on his face that something was amiss.
The water was now protruding and he had to take by hypodermic needle.

When he completed he looked at the clock as it was past 11:30 PM and asked if I wanted to wait until "tommorow".
I said, " hell no, lets get this show on the road!' And PJ was born at 11:39.

He was sent into the neonatal PICU right away because of his size.
He was an exact replica of his Dad as Dan had been of his Dad.

Right before delivery I was given another epidureal because the first one had worn off.
It took effect in the recovery room. I remeber being so cold and shaking when the pediatrcian came in to tell me " he may be little but he has all his working parts and he's using them".

I told the pediatrician I thought maybe he was born to be a Marine! Ironic, when he grew up he wanted to be a Marine but ended in the Navy instead.

When he was little he would say he and I were gonna get married when he was 37! And he would buy me a Winnebago and we'd go camping all our married time!

He was given red snowboots by his Grandma in Ohio when he was 3. ( we lived in TX).
He loved those boots. Our next door neighbor nicknamed him Rambo Red Boots. here he was this skinny little guy with the heart of a Giant.

He had the most wonderful imagination. He would make up the most interwesting, fascinating stories.
He had been given a doll he named Lester for Christmas. Lester was his responsibility and he took it serious!

Through the years he was the one I would get called to school about; he was the one who had run-ins with the police but he was still my wonderful PJ.

Now, he's all grown up and serving out country; I don't talk to him. His choice.

Family dynamics are such that our family is disjointed now.
The only one of my kids who keeps in touch is Dan.

I just want PJ to know that whereever he is today his Mommy is thinking of him and wishing him nothing but the best.

Maybe someday I will get to bake another cake and he can run his finger through the icing and I will pretend I didn't know it was him.

Sunday, November 06, 2005

trip to Oroville

Last weekend Bob and I took a trip to Oroville, CA to see his cousin and check out the community.

Bob will be retiring after the new year and he wants to retire to Oroville.

Oroville is a community of approximately 12-13ooo people near the foothills of the Sierra Mtns. its about an hour north of Sacramento.

Its big enough to have a Wal-Mart but not large enough for a Target! Actually, it has about anything you could really need and most of what you'd want.

The town gets its name from the early settlers who came for the gold rush.The saying "in them thar hills " would be appropriate.

Lake Oroville is right on the outskirts of town. The dam was created about 35 yrs ago.

There is a lot of historic preservation in town; they still have the Chinese temple used by all the Chinese immigrants who worked there during the gold rush.Those people eventually left and took jobs with the railroads when the gold mining ceased.

The climate is Meditterean and therefore there is a large olive grove near the area.
Another industry is a cannery that is supported by the salmon and other fishes found in the Lake.

It can get as hot as 110 degrees in the summer and has snowed a few times during the 25 years bob's cousin has lived there.
There is more of a season change because its further north than the Bay area.

There are a couple casinos in town; one of which we visited Friday night.That was my first visit to a casino.
We enjoyed a fabulous seafood buffet before we took in a little entertainment and playing the slot machines.I was more of an observer;Bob won enough back from the Wheel Of Fortune slot to recoup our expenses for the evening.

Saturday we toured the city to get a feel for the community starting with one of the restaurants that boast a $1.99 breakfast. We ended up choosing a $3.99 breakfast which was terrific.
It was a nice restaurant with good food and great service and very friendly.
I joked that we could still eat there after retirement even though we both were on fixed incomes!

Oroville is in a valley surrounded by the mtns.Very scenic.
we found a couple over 55 senior mobile home parks to further investigate.One won an award in 2003 for being the best park that was amazingly clean, well organized, and landscaped.
The other, and the one we may choose, was older but equally as nice but more wooded and rustic; just a short distance from the Lake.

Neither of us wants the upkeep of a yard or other related expenses or chores so that is why we are thinking of going in that direction.
It would be hard to find a small lot; most have acreage involved.

His cousin lives on 2 acres and although it was nice to visit there we both know it would be more than we would want to be responsible for at this stage in our lives.

We met a few people while there; one couple lives on the adjoining acreage next to marty and operate a fruit stand on the conjoined driveways.
They leave apples in cartons at the fruit stand and everyone is on the honor system to leave their $2.00 in a box provided. thye have never had a problem with someone not paying or stealing the money.

Another relative, husband of Martys late husbands ex-wife came by to use the telephone to report his phone was out. He was recently out of the hospital with a heart condition and needed his service working so the phone company agreed to get someone to fix it that day. Try that in a big city!

I saw my first wood pellet stove. It seems to be an efficient source of heat and apparantly everyone has them there.

The trip went too fast and I look forward to the possibility of living there soon.

Friday, October 28, 2005

update on Pamela Vitale case

Today in my local paper is a picture of Scott Dyleski who is charged with Pam's murder.

I am so outraged that he is trying to now pass himself off as this clean cut, well rounded, all American kid.

He is so far from that its beyond description.

He is a calculating, evil spirited Monster and animal.

Yes he may be disturbed but I personally know a few people who are disturbed and they aren't the vicious killer this animal is.

He is a classic sociopath in my opinion. He has no conscience, no moral standard, no spiritualness that would or could redeem him.

He is a classic example of an abuser.

He plotted a credit card scheme to faciliate a marijuana operation. He invaded the privacy of neighbors. This was calculated and perperated over a period of time.

Someone got in his way; his "perfect" plan had imperfections.
He manipulated the situation to be in his favor. Aand he manipulated others to hide his imperfections.

He is without fault in his mind because he had a few bad breaks in his life.

Now, his mother is in jail for assisting his escape and not accepting resposnsibility for his actions.

Its reported after this crime he went to his girlfriends house to have sex. And if that isn't sick and demented I don't know what is.

This week even more details were given in this crime against Pam. More details that prove the brutality of this Monster.

It wasn't enough to beat her to death; she was stabbed in her abdomen, a cut 4 inches deep.

That takes force; it wasn't an accident.

The repeated blows to the head that crushed her skull were evidence of someone in a fit of rage.

A big screen TV was moved from its spot in the midst of this struggle.

I am so proud of her to have put up a valiant fight to the end. It will be her words, voice, look in her eyes, her energy that will haunt him the rest of his life.

She was smart. She gathered all the evidence she could in those final moments to help solve this crime. She made sure there were clues left behind.

I believe this Monster led a life of evil and Pam led a life of good and in the end good won out over evil.

She was planning her dream home to every detail; she was planning on attending the ballet later that day.

That tells me something about the gentleneness and spirit of this woman.

No, he is not a clean cut All American young man. And I am so sick of defense teams that attempt to portray their clients in such a way.

If he was proud to be Goth on the outside before he was locked up he should be proud to continue that image. However, isn't it ironic that the manipulater gets manipulated?

Isn't it ironic in this case of ironies that the person who calculated all the details and rebelled against authority now has to succumb to authority?

Isn't it ironic that this evil person will now try to prey upon the symphaty of 12 people whom he
would have felt superior to in the outside world?
And isn't it ironic that because of his age he can't get the death penalty so he will hear and see pam's image for many. many. many years to come?

The only good I can find is that he is off the streets and will not harm anyone else.
Someone capable of this could only get worse. He was most likely capable of being a serial killer in the future.

Each time someone got in his way or couldn't be manipulated they would have been disposable.

There are probably some who will feel sorry for him because of his age. I don't.

I've known people who grew up in dire circumstances but yet chose right from wrong.

This was not someone mentally challenged. He was bright. He had resources available to him.
He used his intelligence the wrong way.

My heart goes out to the family of Pam Vitale. I can only imagine their horror and loss.

My regret that they have had and will continue to have this case confront them for the unforseeable future.

My sorrow for them that they have had to lose such an intregal person in their lives.

My sympathy is for this family; not some conjured symphathy for a display of intended manipulation of a person who is made to look more human.

Friday, October 21, 2005

Murder solved and other news

As many may know a 16 yr old young man was arrested in the Pamela Vitale murder.

It is such a tragic story as all are but the ironies in this case make it stand out.

This boy was a neighbor whose mother had been helped pro bono by Dan Horrowitz, Pamela's husband.

She was beaten and bludgeoned 39 times in the head by a piece of crown moulding and another piece of lumber from the dream house she and her husband were having built.

This dream home was designed by her and every square inch of it was planned in detail by her.
This home would have been completed 4 months ago had the builder not become ill. The home was going to equipped with every conceivable security measure due to the nature of Dan's work.
Had she lived in the dream home the boy would not have gained access to the property.

This young man had become involved with a Goth cult after his sister was killed in a car accident a couple of years ago.
He is apparently a very bright young man.
He took his GED test last year and was attending a local college.
He is a former Boy Scout.

He left her with a Gothic cross he slashed into her back; almost as a signature.
Then, when finished proceeded to go take a long shower and get something to drink before leaving this home.

The motive apparently was involved in a credit card scheme he ans some friends were perpetrating on some neighbors.
They gained access to accounts and it's reported he was expecting a shipment of equipment to be delivered to the property of the Hoorowitz family;a shipment needed to use for the purposes of culivating a marijuana farm.

The crime scene was horrific and Dan has stated "she put up a hell of a fight". I'm quite sure that fight helped solve this crime.

Here is this man who vehemently is a defender of defendants and has had to experience this horrendous crime to the woman he loved.

He knew what he was witnessing when he entered the home and found her.How surreal to have viewed so many crime scene photographs and to see one from your eyes in your own home with your own loved one.

On one hand he was the surviving, grieving husband and the other he was the criminal defense attorney protecting a crime scene.

Anther irony was the case that took him away from his home early that morning was another high profile murder case in the neighboring community.

And because he was considered a suspect all his data from that case was confiscated. So what happens now?
The very department that investigated the other murder now has access to priveleged information.
The coroner that did the other autoposy was the same one who did Pamela's.
One of the defense claims was that the autoposy was botched; so that coroners professional opinions will be brought to light in both murder cases.

How does Susan Polk get a fair trial when the other side now has access to all her priveleged information?

By all accounts both Dan and Pamela were giving, loving, generous people and didn't flaunt their wealth or notoriety but used it to help others.And one of the others was the very one who took her life.

Another news story from the Bay area that has received some attention is the mother who threw her 3 children off Pier 7 in San Fransisco.
She is reported to be a victim of domestic vilence and is mentally ill.
Conflicting reports say she either went off her meds or was taken off.
Now, 3 children are dead in another horrific crime.

The same day a young adult, reportd to again be mentally ill chose to speed in front of a school with children walking home and hit a parked car that was shoved into a crowd of children and a brother and sister were killed and several others critically injured.
One report said he was known to not like young children.

But on a brighter note a young woman was surfboarding in the Bay and was attacked by a shark but has miraculously survived.She was a centimeter of losing her life.Had the shark bit her one centimeter from where it did it would have hit her juggular vein.
She was rescued and is expected to go home today.

And the really bright spot in my news is ---The Astros!

First time in franchise history they are going to the World Series.

Everyone expects the White Sox to win but Iwouldn't rule out the 'stros. tthey got to where they did by holding up in clutch circumstances.

Roger Clemens Mom on the day she died predicted that day that the Astros would win 10-2 and
he was scheduled to pitch that night. He told his sister it would be a miracle because all season they hadn't given him any real run support. they won, 10-2.

She claimed to have seen Shoeless Joe talk to her 4 X's that day and he told her it would be the White sox and the Astros in the series. At that time both teams were struggling and it wasn't a shoe in if they would even be in the playoffs.

I am a lifelong baseball fan; bred into me by my Mother.
I can remeber hearing many games on our little green Westinghouse radio that had the two gold knobs and the melted spot on top.

I see my mother ironing listening to the game as I write this! She was a Reds fan through and through.
We even wondered the year she died if she wasn't hanging on to make sure her Reds and her Pete Rose won the series.

So now we have my Mom and Rogers Mom in heaven and although my Mom might not be an Astros fan shee will be rooting for the National League.

So don't rule out those Astros just yet. the power of prayer between a Mom and the Big guy can be pretty powerful!

From my lips to my Mom's energy to God's ears there can be hope!

Go Astros!

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

In memory of Pamela Vitale

Today, I dedicate this post to the memory of Pamela Vitale; a woman I did not know but wish I had.

As many who have watched the news recently know there has been a high profile murder case here in Contra Costa County.

It is the case of Susan Polk, a woman who is accused of murdering her husband; she claims its was self defense.

Just to refresh, this is the case of the woman who had been her husban's patient and by all accounts an affair strted when she was 15 years old.

The accounts I have read and based on my own personal knowlege of domestic violence , her case appears to be classic.

Her attorney was Daniel Horowitz. He was Pamela Vitale's husband.

In the most bizarre, twisted, unusual, contorted, heart wrenching set of circumstances the two families became more intertwined than anyone could have ever guessed when he took this case.

Mr. Horowitz himself became a statistic of violent crime Saturday.

He came home from an all day session preparing for Susan's trial to find his wife brutally and viciously murdered in their doorway.

By every account this family was epitome of love, support, graciousness, kindness, emphathy, supportive, caring and helpful.

Although they were a high profile family they were also top notch people.

Everything i have read and heard on Pamela Vitale has been nothing but good.
Not that anyone would deserve to die so tragically, but she certainly didn't.

No one can dispute that they were a couple very much in love; supported each other in every way;lived their lives to represent the way they felt towards each other.

They were in the process of building a grand home, their dream home.It may seem ostentatious to those of us who don't live that lifestyle but they had earned it- together.

I see the image of her face in print and in the TV screen and just know she was a warm and kind and fun person.

You see that smile and wish you could have heard the laugh that came with it.

The world was a better place because she was here and will miss something now because she isn't.

The same law enforcement department that has investigated the Polk case is now under way investigating this case. The same coroner that did the autoposy in the Ppolk case had to perform the task of the autoposy in this case. The same courthouse that Mr. Horowitz had walked into as a defender of the defense in the Polk case will someday enter that building as the grieving husband and prosecution witness in another high profile case.

The ironies are too much for words.

Right now, we in this community just think of him as another victim in the ongoing horrendous wave of crime in this country.
He isn't a high profile attorney but a grieving husband who has lost the love of his life.

His life will never be the same with Pamela's loss and the community will never be the same because she is no longer present in this community.

Today, my thoughts and prayers go out to this family and every family who has become a victim of crime in any form.

To Pamela, you are in a better place but you will be sorely missed.

Friday, October 14, 2005

Word Verification for Comments

Hi everyone. I've just stopped by to inform you that I've enabled word verification for comments. I've noticed some comment spam showing up here.

For those that don't like it, I have one thing to ask: hunt down and kill each and every comment spammer!

Comment spam = bad
Good comment from actual human = good

Okay, I'm done. Now back to your regular blogging!

P.S. You can stop by to see what I'm up to at Journey Inside My Mind.

Saturday, October 08, 2005

Dan's podcast on domestic violence walkathon

I am amazed at the talent and expertise my son Dan had in putting this podcast together.

I don't say this because he is my son; it is of similar quality as you would find in a network broadcast.

It is emotional, uplifting, informative and puts a face so to speak on this issue.

What a tribute and testament to Cheryl Dawson and the life she led. And its in celebration of her life that is inspiring and the facts surrounding her murder at the hands of one who professed to love that are poignant.

Unfortunately, Cheryl was one of many. I didn't know her personally but I know her. In listening to the comments by those who did know her personally I got a glimpse of who she really was.

Cheryl was more than a domestic violence statistic.
She was a wife, Mom, daughter, friend, employee, church member. she lived in a community that was like any other community.

She was educated. In many ways she was abnormally normal.

Inside her day to day life she lived a horrible existence. She lived in fear, desperation, isolation; she attempted to change her circumstances and for that she was murdered in broad daylight on a busy downtown street.

Her story is too often repeated.

The most dangerous time for a woman who is a domestic violence situation is when she has taken action to leave those circumstances.

Unless and until we all rise up to educate ourselves about the Cycle of Violence her story and those of too many will be repeated.

The victims of domestic violence are not just the statistic who has a name and face and life.
We are all victims.
We are robbed of living in a society where families live harmoniously. Children grow up witnessing not only unspeakable acts but the loss of dignity and serenity.

Not every case of domestic violence is as dramatic as Cheryl's.

Some just live with the day to day barage of verbal assualt.Some live with financial restrictions.
Some live with loss of freedom, independance and control. Some live with educational restriction. some live with the the just the threat of these things.

What is common throughout is the powerlessness. Domestic Violence is insidious.
It hardly ever starts out to be as big as it ends up.

A rude comment said in jest; a comment about how long it took to return from the store said with a sense of love that the person just missed your presence.

A conversation that your friends don't have your best interest at heart but the person who claims to love does.And those comments become convincing until you doubt your own judgement.
An isolation from family convincing you that your people just don't like this person and you took a vow to cleave unto him.

The way you dress or wear makeup or style your hair is brought into question and to please you transform yourself into the person he wants you to be.

Comments are made that question your sexuality and your ability to mother; your femininity is devalued.

Often, these are the same comments you heard as a child made to your mother. Although unpleasant they seem normal.

If you were brought up in a home that abuse was normal abuse will look normal in your home.

Being a nurturing female you want to please so you are the one who accomodates. You feel responsible because the males in your life told you that you are.

These things happen long before the first slap.

And often the its some time before the first slap turns into a punch, a kick, a shove.

And he is always sorry and you choose to believe it because by then you are not only beaten up, you are also beaten down.

The promises are made that it will never happen again and it doesn't, ---until the next time.
And the next time happens more frequent until its an everyday occurence and in its insanity it also begins to appear "normal".

Meanwhile you have retreated into a place inside yourself that no one knows exists trying to hang on.

Its always your fault.Its the if only's, the you should or shouiln't haves, the I wishes.

Its always I love you, but....

And one day you through the grace of God Almighty decide to end it.

It may be because of your children; it may be because someone got through to you. it may be for a reason you don't even know how to articulate.

The human spirit is fragile yet resourceful.

There is fear and trepidation along with exhilaration and excitement.

Get in touch with a women's center, have a safety plan.
Help is available.
There can be life away from abuse. I know.I'm living it.

Its a journey. its a struggle. Its difficult.

Yet its the life free from condemnation that is the rainbow waiting for you.

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Hello from Dan, Jennie, and Keisha

Hi, this is Dan, momentarily hi-jacking this blog to encourage you to check out my blog, where I've talked (literally, if you listen to the podcast) about Domestic Violence Awareness Month. The picture you see above is of me and my family at the YWCA in Cincinnati this past Saturday.

I'm going to hand control of this blog back to my Mom now. Bye!

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Pedophiles- we are after you

Watching the Oprah Winfrey show was such a moving, powerful experience.

She has called for this nation to rise up and say enough is enough when it comes to pedophiles being allowed to walk our streets, steal and rape and murder our children.I, for one, intend to stand and be counted.

go to this link for all the information.

As I have said most of my life and hearing Oprah say it today just furthers the validity there is no such thing as a recovering pedohile.

They are not rehabilitated; they are warehoused and let out, assuming they are even caught, only to victimize over and over and over again.

She gave an example of one of these animals who has spent his time in jail writing journals in explicit detail as to how with precision he will reoffend.

As a nation we all need to be so sick of this that we rise up in the streets and demand an end to this.
Its not someone else's child.They are our children. We each are responsible.It takes a village.

And until this country decides it doesn't matter if its your son, husband, father, uncle, cousin, nephew or brother that is the pedohile and they need to be stopped it will continue and it will become even more heinous.

A few years ago we were shocked and appalled that a child would be abducted from her home from her own bed; raped and killed and left like last weeks trash waiting to be found .

We tolerate it still today because we have not risen up and said "NO MORE".

We need a national policy that one crime and you are improsined for the rest of you natural life in these cases.

And personally to me thats getting off easy.

These predators are no more than diabolical anim,als stalking prey.

One recent case the predator watched the family inside their home with night vision goggles to learn their movements.
This literally sickens me.My stomach turns when I think of it.

I was a victim of a pedohile within my own family.And it went on and on and on.

Why did it happen to me?
Only because I was available and weaker did it happen to me.It happened to other family members. Later another family member victimized me in a different way.

A nephew assaulted a boy that was like a grandson to me in my home. I had him arrested.Since then he has reoffended again, more than once.
We found out that time in my home wasn't his first offense.And, that he was a victim of his brother and who victimized the brother?

Its enough. It has to stop. its become a national epidemic.If this were a killer virus we would all be up in arms.

Right now. over 100,000 sex offenders are roaming the streets unaccounted for because they violated their parole.

Each one of the crimes we have heard and read about in recent years it wasn't the first time this person committed this type of act.
Some have repeat histories of 25 years or more. And they get more heinous each time they act.

Think about that the next time you look into a childs face. Look them into the eye and say out loud "I couldn't care about you because I am too busy with my own life".

If we had to do that each and every time we saw a child anywhere, it would stop.

So all pedophiles everywhere across this country- tag your it now.
We are coming after you. Now, you will be hunted down for the animal you are.
You can't find a place that someone in this country won't recognize you.
You are outed as of now.

You want to play dirty; well ,we will match you at your own game.

However devious you may be we will know.We will be watching. We will know your sick, deviant behavior and you can be locked up with other animals just like you.
Maybe if you are lucky you will be in solitary confinement because the most hated criminal is prison is a pedohile.
Even the worst criminals despise you.

Your face will be plastered on TV, billboards and any other medium we can find.
Just like an exterminator spraying a fog for roaches you will be found; you will be hunted down; you will be snuffed out.

America is pissed off and is fighting back. And its about damn time.

Thursday, September 29, 2005

Domestic Violence

October is National Domestic Violence Awareness month -

As many who know me I am a survivor of domestic violence myself.
Some of my experiences have been chronicled here in past postings.

I am away from the perpetrator who committed the last acts of violence on me that drove me from my home into a shelter for more than a year now yet the effects are still with me.

And the effects of all the abuse I suffered over my lifetime that allowed me to be in that situation stay with me today.

Domestic Violence is insiduous.
It does not discriminate against age, sex, religion, economic background, history, ethnic origin or educational level.

It permeates throughout our lives each and every day.

We work with, live next door to, go to church with, shop with, bank with, attend sporting events, gossip with, hire out for skills, and eat at resturants with all kinds of abusers on a daily basis.

An abuser doesn't look like anyone else but yourself.There is no identyfying mark on his/her forehead to distiguish them from another more civil person.

That person more than likely has told the victim a thousand times how much they are loved.
That person more likely than not has voted in elections. That person has attended church at some point in their life if not regularly.
That person may have served in the armed forces of our country or someone country they share allegiance.
That person often has a mortgage, pays for credit card debt and braces for their child teeth.
That person often has a degree from an institution of higher learning or a skill learned from a trade in which they are employed.

You wouldn't necessarily know an abuser just by looking at them.

However, there are traits that are classic. Once one is educated as to what they are they are flags that need to be noted.
I learned these flags while I was lodged in a domestic violence shelter.

I consider myself an educated person; I read more than one newspaper a day, Ii read all kinds of information online, I watch the news and some talk shows, I listen to broadcasts on major news networks and cable.
I thought I was informed.
Yet, I didn't know all that there was to know.I was ignorant of many facts.

And when it is what you knew from your earliest memories you are clouded to reality.
It appears as normal although unpleasant.
It appears as there is always an explanation absolving the abuser of his guilt.

I hope to provide information this month coming up in thiss forum to help educate those who may be as ignorant as I was. To personalize it in some way to reach those who may still be living with it on a daily basis.To assist those who want to change their destiny as it is today in showing there is another way.

I am one of many who are living proof it can stop; there is another way to live.

My son Dan is addressing this issue also on his blog-

You may not be able to change your abuser.I couldn't. However, you can change your environment.

One of the classic symptoms of an abuser is not to be recognized as one so they will convince you its you, not them who has a problem.

You do have problems if you are living with abuse but you aren't the perpetrator.

If you suspect someone is a victim of domestic violence or if you yourself are a victim I urge you to contact someone.Clergy, United Way, the YWCA, a crisis hotline, look in the phone book under womens center or some type of listing such as that or call your local law enforcement are places that can provide assistance to help.

You don't have to live like that one more day. Not even one more hour. It can stop.

Friday, September 23, 2005

Hurricane Rita and memories of Galveston

I am watching the news coverage of impending Hurricane Rita expected to hit the Texas coast within the next 24 hrs.

I remember my first visit to Galveston Island.

Christmas Day, 1981.

Paul and Ii and the kids had moved to Houston that previous July. Having no family in TX with us and not having the usual tradition of the "Mitchell's" gathering at my house for the holiday I decided to do something different and unusual.

This was predicated on the unusual Thanksgiving we just had.We ate our Thanksgiving dinner outside at the picnic table.
To keep the theme going I decided we should go to the beach for Christmas Day.

Keep in mind we were transplants from Ohio.
The previous Christmas was spent in temperatures of 20+ below zero degrees with wind chill factor of over 60 below.

It was a beautiful TX winter day that day.Sunshine, virtually no wind and 76 degrees.
There were pictures taken of all the kids playing on the beach and out in the Gulf. Paul and I even went out to knee deep water just to say we were in the ocean on Christmas Day.We joked with friends and family back in Ohio "what were you doing Christmas Day"? "We spent the day at the beach"!

The drive there was an awesome experience for us. Yes, we were the typical tourists!

We saw for the first time the huge palm trees, some you could tell had been bent and damaged by previous tropical storms which only added to the awe.
We saw for the first time the houses built on stilts as you went through the Texas coastal cities leading up to the causeway.
We were astounded that most had boat slips instead of garages.
We saw a Kip's big boy restaurant. We decided to stop. We were used to our Frisch's big boy restaurants back in Cincinnati and longed for a Big Boy hamburger that was defined by its own tartar sauce; the precursor to the Big Mac. The Big Boy was an institution.

Imagine our disappointment when the sandwiches were delivered with a thousand island like dressing instead of the famous Big Boy tartar sauce we were used to.
They thought we were crazy.A hamburger with tartar sauce?! And, we used a side of it for our french fries! OOOH how icky!

We learned on subsequent stops there to ask for them dry and a side of tartar sauce.And whenever someone visited from Ohio they were enlisted to bring along a couple pints of tartar sauce with them.

So we arrived on the Island and were just amazed at the sights.
The shops that displayed the beach type souveneirs; the restaurants; the Strand and the historical buildings that had survived the 1900 devasting hurricane.

The building I was always most impressed with on each visit to Galveston was "The Bishop's House".

We made a few more trips over the years to Galveston but none were as memorable as the first.
There was the time a crab attached itself to mandy's butt which was sort of appropriate since she is a Cancer.

The few times we took the ferry over to Bolivar Penisula and Crystal Beach because it wasn't as touristy.

After Paul and I were divorced Galveston and Bolivar continued to give me memories with other men I dated.

Jerry and I went fishing a couple of times.Gary took me for a weekend to his sister's beach house on Crystal beach for a weekend.

I regret I didn't get to spend more time there.
As happens anywhere you live you get into a groove of everyday life and those places become less important.

I never spent Mardi Gras on the Island; I didn't take just one day and ignore the beach and spend it just on the Strand.
I never went at the holidays and appreciated " Dickens on the Strand".
I always meant to; there was always another time I could in the back of my mind.

Now, I no longer live there and may never get back to that place at those times.
Galveston may not even exist as I knew it after this weekend.

She wasn't the grand lady she had been before the 1900 hurricane but she was splendid in her own unique way.

I no longer have pictures because another storm robbed me of those but I do have the vision, scent, sound,feel inside my head.

We don't know where this storm may land but we do know the Texas coast and inland for many miles will be altered.

As they say in TX and its worth saying here, God bless Texas.

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

SSD update

Yesterday,I received in the mail my notice from Social Security explaining my benefits.

They have determined they are declaring me disabled from June 1, 2002 but because of the requirement that once declared the claimant still has to wait 5 months for benefits to start my benefits will be backdated to November, 2002.

Here is the real kicker.
They have determined that my benefits will be $247.00 starting the month of November this year.I will get a partial payment of $168.80 on or about the second Wednesday of the month.

$247.00 a month until I reach retirement age and then I would fall into regular Social Security.

I had been told early on that i could expect a minum of $850.00 so i do not understand what the discrepancy is.The attorney even filed papers to be payed 25%of the amount of the estimated $850.00 month so I know I did not just make this up or dream it.

How does one live on less than $250.00 a month?

I can be very frugal and reduce my needs to next to nothing but there is still the rent, utilities, transportation, medical costs.
I will have to wash my clothes, brush my teeth, wipe my a--, wash my dishes.

Is this how disabled people are treated in this country?

Even if I were to find a way to have free housing and utility assistance the needs are still there.
My actual benefit is would be $325.00 a month but they deduct for the Medicare benefit.
Then to have better coverage I have to get medicare B which still doesn't pay completely for doctor visits or total prescriptions.

I feel like I have been sentenced to a remainder of my lifetime to be at the mercy of the kindness and genorosity of other people.

Where is the margin for dignity to care for oneself or to be self-sufficient?

My present situation is that I don't have worry about a roof over my head or food to eat.
However, the reality of my situation is that there are needs I have that this person can't and shouldn't have to provide.

I am now in a position that I have to have in the back of my mind constantly what will I do if this situation changes here?
I have been in too many situations that at the drop of a hat my life changes because the person I am with changes.

I do not know security.I have never known security.I have only known what I could provide for myself.
When I was able to work I worked 2 sometimes 3 jobs to help take care of my kids or myself.

I am no longer able to do that and its very frightening.

Is this sometimes the cause why you see people living on the streets or under bridges?
is this why some choose prostitution or illegal activity to be engaged in?

Social Security was concerned because of my past victimization yet they have victimized me also.

I may be physically impaired and have mental illness but I am still a feeling, thinking member of this country.
I am angry. I am in shock and actually in a state of numbness. I am confused. I am scared.
I feel hopeless and am struggling to find the joy in my life.

I started the day in search of my new purpose in life.
I have spent the last 4 years so focused on this and what the difference it would make to me personally.

The " me, persoanlly" has been removed from the equation because all things concerning me now are predicated by someone else.

There are no options.No decisions to be made by me.

So now, I am one of the poorest of the poor.
Not by choice; not because I didn't try to make a better life.
I lived my life productively. I made mistakes throughout the living of my life but little of those mistakes would change the outcome of the situation I am in today.

The mental illness was passed to me genetically. We still don't know the cause of fibromyalgia.
The arthritis and degenarative disc disease I don't think were caused by my parents or siblings, ex-husbands or partners or friends I chose or children I had.

I still believe in my God and I know He hasn't forsaken me.He promised me that.He has been the constant in my life.

I will survive.
I just don't know how.

Friday, September 02, 2005

Happy Birthday

Today is my 53 rd birthday and I am glad to still be around to celebrate.

I have received greetings from my online friends as wells as family.I am amazed am humbled by the kind thoughts and wishes.
Dan's Nanacast at is very touching that he would put so much thought and planning from a simple phone conversation with Keisha.

The song he chose " has anyone seen my gal" was so appropriate for my life.

I have received calls from a couple of new friends as well which was so thoughtful.

I never have made a big deal of my birthday; growing up it wasn't always a pleasant day.After I was married it was never a special day.
So this attention being called to myself is somewhat uncomfortable yet appreciated.

Bob had cards placed around the house with gifts attached that I have discovered throughout the day. He too, was so thoughtful.

The day is overshadowed however by the tragedy unfolding this week in the Gulf Coast and New Orleans in particular.
There are images that we will take to our graves as we do every disaster we witness.
I am traumatized in some ways by reliving my own experience when I flooded and lost everything.
And what I went through was nothing compared to what some of these people suffered this week.

What you don't get from TV is the smell of polluted water, the stench of rotting everything, the smell of death that you can't escape from.The feel of the slimy, oily water filled with human and animal feces rubbing against your skin, the snakes and fire ants balled up floating toward anything they can attach to and if its you -beware.The feel of the force of water straining against you as you try to wade through it when its chest deep and its crushing your lungs.
To try to hold on to a family member because if you let go they will be swept away and die and the dread and guilt that accompanies it.The psche is affected because as a parent you should have prevented your child somehow from being in this peril and you are powerless to change the moment.
You don't hear the eerie silence as death of the area is slowly enveloping the area you once called home. You can't hear the silence of no birds in the air, no dogs barking, no children laughing, no traffic moving.
The silence is deafening.

You don't see, hear, know the thoughts of someone as they are in that desperate situation.You only think you know what they might be thinking.

The TV cannot capture the range of emotions one goes through but the reporters try.
As you are first entering into that situation there is the adreneline rush just to survive it.
In my case leading my family to where I just knew help would be available to find no one was there.
What do you do? You are soaked, you are exhausted,you are shocked but yet you have to plod on.
The desperation and despair kicks in and as a parent you attempt to stay strong, to put on a front you are in control when all around you is out of control.
No, TV does not show you these images because it can't.
I thought I knew before i myself was a victim and my lesson was to learhn i didn't know anything.I could only imagine it until then.

I will never remember reentering my house after 5 days of it being under water and the destruction was unbelievable.
The first words I spoke was " we are one of them now"'.
Thats when the gravity and seriousness hit and the denial was over.We had no home to go home to at that point. We were homeless.
Life as we knew it was over.Everything was gone.
All we were left with was memories.

How blessed was I that I could rebuild and had resources available to me that in a relatively short time I was able to rebuild our lives.Not the one we had but a different one.

There were complications and we ended up in a class action law suit.Out of 10 families we went through the experience together only one couple is still together today and they separated for a year.

But I didn't end up clawing my way out of the attic and waiting on a rooftop for 5 days waiting to be rescued.
I had water to drink and food to eat by the end of the day.
I had the ability to obtain dry clothes.
I did not have family members missing and no way to know if they survived.I was able to use a telephone.
I was white and I lived in suburban America.

If anyone wants to believe there isn't a connection to the poorest of the poor and racism and a political lethargy involved in what happened to those left behind in New Orleans they are badly mistaken.

Was it intentional?/ I don't think so.I think it was white America not being in tune with the horrendous ramifications of the presence and futility of what the majority of impoverished, black America deals with daily.
We turn our heads when something is unpleasant.It takes time for us to warm up to the idea that there is ugliness around us.

History will show that the ones who escaped early had means to do so.Those that were left behind were expendable.
They most likely weren't registered voters; They took from society instead of contiributed and did it for generations.
They may have been socially irresponsible. They may have been fiscally irresponsible.
They were human beings though and that fact wasn't important enough to those who made decisions along the way.

For years New Orleans was known to be in danger of this catastrophe.Less and less money was given for the projects needed to avoid this tragedy.
How many bombs did it take dropped on Iraq that could have paid for a better levee system?

How much more do the troops from that region have to suffer? They are defending their homeland as they wonder about their homes back home and their families.

Had they been on friendly soil doing their everyday jobs they would have been available to call up on short notice to keep order and perform search and rescue.

The human toll is priceless; the dollar toll will be astronomical.

If you think this will go away easily I am here 11 years later reliving my persoanl experience.What about the children from this disaster? What toll is on them that won't surface for years?

I hope everyone contributes in every way possible to the relief effort and beyond.
If there was a cake available for me to blow out candles today my wish would be we learn all the lessons this disaster gives the opportunity to teach.

But for the grace of God there goes I.
My mother used to teach that and I think its very appropriate that I honor her today with the words that were ingrained into me at an early age.
But for the grace of God, there goes I.

Happy Birthday!

This is Margie's son, Dan, temporarily taking over this blog to inform you that Friday, September 2, 2005, is her birthday.

To celebrate, I've posted a podcast at my blog that contains a phone interview between my Mom and my daughter Keisha. Keisha calls my Mom "Nana". Thus the name "NanaCast".

I've included show notes describing the more specific details of what we did during the show. There are a couple of surprises that I didn't mention, however.

In addition to the phone interview, you'll find some great music from independent artists.

Why not head over to hear Mom's birthday present for yourself?

Thursday, September 01, 2005

ABC News: Anti-rape condom aims to stop attacks

A South African inventor unveiled a new anti-rape female condom on Wednesday that hooks onto an attacker's penis and aims to cut one of the highest rates of sexual assault in the world.

"Nothing has ever been done to help a woman so that she does not get raped and I thought it was high time," Sonette Ehlers, 57, said of the "rapex," a device worn like a tampon that has sparked controversy in a country used to daily reports of violent crime.

Police statistics show more than 50,000 rapes are reported every year, while experts say the real figure could be four times that as they say most rapes of acquaintances or children are never reported.

Ehlers said the "rapex" hooks onto the rapist's skin, allowing the victim time to escape and helping to identify perpetrators.

"He will obviously be too pre-occupied at this stage," she told reporters in Kleinmond, a small holiday village about 100km (60 miles) east of Cape Town. "I promise you he is going to be too sore. He will go straight to hospital."

The device, made of latex and held firm by shafts of sharp barbs, can only be removed from the man through surgery which will alert hospital staff, and ultimately, the police, she said.

[Some] critics say the condom is medieval and barbaric — an accusation Ehlers says should be directed rather at the act of rape.

"This is not about vengeance … but the deed, that is what I hate," she said.

Source: ABC News: Anti-rape condom aims to stop attacks

Sunday, August 28, 2005

Hell and High Water

We are awaiting the impending arrival of Hurricane Katrina to hit land early tommorow morning and it will ulimately affect a large portion of the country.

The destruction this storm will cause is almost beyond comprehension.

My thoughts and prayers are with all those affected and especially my family members and friends who live in those regions and will be affected.

Thursday, August 25, 2005

Divine Intervention?

A few weeks ago I read the most fascinating article about a family that lives in my area. I wanted to wait to see how the story unfolded before I commented.
Today there was a followup.
After reading the unlikely chances that these sisters would ever find each other you have to believe in Divine Intervention.
Lets keep this family in our prayers that this comes to an uncomplicated and quick resolution.

todays followup

Monday, August 22, 2005

Dan's new adventure

Shamelessly, I, as the official Mom of Dan's blog, Journey Inside My Mind, I encourage everyone to take a peek and listen to his broadcasts.

Dan has aspired to being a radio deejay and now he has this opportunity.

Its hard for me to keep up with the technology but this is really creative.

Actually, I listened to it while reading e-mail and it was like listening to the radio.

He invites all comments from all of you to further improve or add content to his broadcasts.

Nice going Dan.And take the time to listen to the audio blogs with Keisha.When you hear about baby Hannah and baby Kitty they are so cute and entertaining.

Dan's 1st Official Podcast

For those of you who may be interesting in this kind of thing, I've posted the first official podcast of my blog, Journey Inside My Mind. Head on over and check it out! Or not.

Saturday, August 20, 2005

scare in San Fransico

Yesterday morning breaking news cut into local programming.

There were substantiated reports of an explosion in the financial district which is also where some of the higher end shopping is located.

Needless to say it was a tense few hours in this area.

People were out on the streets and reporting they felt the buildings shake from as high as the 21st floor in some buildings.
One woman ( a pedestrian) had her clothes catch fire and was rushed off to a local burn center in serious condition.

What struck me as we were able to see footage the news crews could feed us was that although there was great concern everyone was relatively calm.

Apparently, businesses in the area have spent many hours training employees for a situation such as this and everyone responded as they should.Many reported it was frightening and were afarid to walk the stairs in the high rise office buildings but knew this is what they must do in order to reach safety.

Huge kudos to all those companies to put forth the effort the last few years to train their employees to be prepared.

At the same time there was an unsubstantiated claim a suspicios box had been found near or in the Federal Bldg in downtown San Fransisco not far from the explosion.

As it turned out there was an explosion of an electric transformer underground and its impact was so powerful it blew a concete lid many feet into the air and sent up a huge fireball and windows of buildings nearby were blown out.

We are grateful this is all it was and are grateful to know should the worse ever happen here all parties have a plan in place and it works.

One man reported once he heard the explosion he got on the phone to his office in NYC immediately and transferred all calls and work to that office.It took less than a minute and he was evacuating.

I am encouraged that scenes such as this would most likely be played out across the country.
We are a different nation now than we were the morning of 9/11.

Just as the Brits went on about their business after the recent bombings we would go on with the bussiness of operating our country as normally as could be expected.

That is the best way to win over evil.To continue to live your life and not be stopped.

During this time yesterday I was comforted because what i kept hearing in my head was " I am with you and I will not forsake you".

What better reassurance could one have?

Friday, August 19, 2005

domestic violence offender roundup

I read this article in my online version of the Houston chronicle this morning.

I applaud the efforts of all the agencies involved.
These offenders need to be off the streets so the victims can begin the road to healing.The offenders need to be held accountable in every aspect of society; society needs to develop a large intolerance to this issue.

Every one says they hate it; should get the offenders off the street etc.But what happens when it hits your family?
Often, its a different attitude when it hits close to home.Its OK when its someone else's problem; there is such a stigma attached to being a victim of domestic violence issues that its still misunderstood by the general public.

This article states they have been involved in PSA's to educate the population.Long overdue and it needs to become a national effort.

Until there is zero tolerance for domestic violence issues in any form starting in each individual family and reaching out to the communities it is allowed to continue to perpetuate.

Due to the generational components the time is now. Stastically, children growing up witnessing this behavior will become offenders themselves or allow themselves to be victimized.

Society needs to be educated what all forms of abuse are.

Education,information,intervention and incarceration are key components in stopping this.

Sunday, August 14, 2005

SSD decision

Yesterday, I went to the mailbox to get the obligatory usual junk mail and was shocked to find a fat envelope from the Social Security Administration.
I wouldn't even open it for awhile because i was so afraid what would be inside it. I just didn't think I could handle bad news.

I had just talked to the attorney's office the day before to see if they had an update. She said Omar (my attorney) had filed his brief to the judge as had been discussed at my hearing, and in fact filed it ahead of scedule and they had even checked on my case a few days before and there was no news.

She said it could take another 60 days to hear back as it went through the review process.I asked what percentage of cases were rejected by the review committe once the judge had approved it. She said all their cases were always approved as far as she knew.
She said not to worry and if they heard anything they would call. She also said "most likely you will hear when we do as they mail each of us the decision at the same time".

So that is why I was confused and worried that I had received something in the mail so quickly and I couldn't call the attorney's office as they were closed. It was Satirday. I in fact did hear before they did which seems a little appropriate to me.

I finally decided to open and read it because even if it was bad news I had to know.

Right there is bold print at the top- Favorable Finding
I couldn't believe it. I mean I really couldn't believe it.
I had waited so lonmg to see those words.

It was one thing to know inside me I had waited 3 years and to tell people - 3 years - but when I saw the date of initial filing it really hit me how long it had been.
June, 2001.

So much has happened since then:

  • Historically, it was 3 months before 9/11. That is what grabbed me and put it in context.
  • My son was not in the Navy yet. That wouldn't happen until the following January. I don't even think he had talked to the recruiter yet at that point.
  • I was not yet 50 years old.
  • I was trying yet another reconcilliation with Paul.
  • I was working still although it was hard.
  • I had what I believed to be "so many friends".
  • All my children were speaking to me.
  • Going back to Ohio wasn't even a blip on the map.
  • I knew nothing about being on the internet; that was for the kids, not me! A blog? Never heard of it.
To think someday my life would have so many twists and turns that I'd end up in a battered women's shelter and eventually Northern CA and see the Golden Gate bridge, Pier 39, Lombard St., the wine country, a major league baseball game 3x's was unthinkable.
Wouldn't even have dreamed it.

I was back then A divorced wife trying one more time to salvage a dead marrige, a devoted Mom and nana to 2 young grandgirls and one granddog named Duke and a grand cat named Anna.

I ws a loyal friend, empoloyee and community activist. I was involved on a volunteer fire department.

I was still trying to rebuild my life from a major flood years before that wiped us out.

I was still searching for answers to my medical situation. I was still believing there would be a magic drug that would be the answer.

I was believing the doctors had my best interests at heart. I was believing I'd always have insurance.

I believed my little part of the world was insulated.

Things sure changed over those 3 years.

Paul continued his wily ways to the point of alienating the entire family for his transgressions. Who would have ever fathomed that He would break up his own son's marriage through an affair with his daughter-in-law?

I had to leave the fire department and they then left my life.

All the so called friends vanished one by one and several even took up with my ex after we were really finally over and relished letting me know.

Others, once I wasn't working and couldn't finance the " good times' vanished as well. Many just didn't want to know or be reminded on a continuing basis I was no longer the active person they once knew.

I became increasingly more isolated as was able to be seduced by the so called caring attitude of a man who would later abuse me to the point I literally had to flee for my life with only the clothes on my back.

Family members abandoned me.

Maybe it was the bubble bursting that I wasn't perfect. What a burden that was to carry around all my life.

Maybe it was the chronic pain they couldn't deal with.

And all the moments of such excruciating, mind altering, life changing pain it has been. I tried to remember my last pain free day and I can no longer remember it.

The times I would be truly bipolar meaning the chemicals were imbalanced, medicine wasn't working or eventually none to take anymore because that option was no longer available to me.

The slippery slope downward and you know its happening but are powerless to change it; you try but you can't. But those around believe you can.

The hauntingly frightening moments that you grab ahold of any part of sanity you can find to get you through telling yourself "this will pass". And pray it does. The times you read your Bible and earnestly pray for forgiveness because you are who you are. The fervent prayers of healing that you claim and never materialize and you wonder if even God has abandoned you.

The times you struggle to make life work for yourself, but there is something in the way that trips you up. The times you wish you could just get a break so you could enjoy the reprieve even if was shortlived.

Then along the way the most miraculous things happened. There would be a someone somewhere who would perform a random act of kindness, and I'd take it as my creator showing me He hadn't forgotten me there was a different plan than the one I had.

The true caring people I have met online who have become such good friends in the truest sense of the word. I'd never had met them had I not been sick.

I've been able to share my knowledge and teach others when they were willing to be educated. And I've encountered those who have shared what they know with me. Don't ever think one person can't make a difference because each one of those "one" persons made a difference to me.

How can I ever communicate what my son Dan and my sister Mary have meant to my life in those 3 years? They were always there accepting me as I was, flawed. Their love and support and encouragement never wavered - not once.

I have 7 other siblings besides Mary; yet the rest for their own reasons have chosen to leave not just my life but my sister's also. It's their loss.

My other children, although I know they love me, do not accept me. They are entitled to feel what they wish. I still love them. They will be so quick to point out, "you always single Dan out as so special". You are damn right I do.

Not because I love him any differently or with more passion than I do the others, but because his qualities about himself shine so brightly they need to be acknowledged. And should any of the other kids ever read this there is a lesson there. You don't have to always agree or approve of me or my actions. You other 3 just forgot the significance of the word "Mother ".

I am truly grateful to God for all my experiences. I have led a terrific and interesting life. I only recently looked back at my life from its begining up to this point, and only then could I appreciate the life God has allowed me to live.

Not all of it was good; in fact a lot of it was horrendous. I've seen more than my share of ruthlessness, backbiting, condemnation, evil, turmoil and strife. However, along the way I have seen some of the most incredible courage, never-failing human spirit, kindnesses that were so silent they were deafening and undying love.

I've seen my country tested through unimaginable horrors. I've seen patriotism restored. I've seen the evidence of insatiable curiosity and wonder. I've been priveleged to see some of the beauty of God's world He created through travel and in meeting people who lived elsewhere, and I was blessed to meet them.

I have known some of the funniest senses of humors and engaged in many interesting and fascinating discussions.

All of it has brought me to this day. This day that I can still say, "guess what, I landed on my feet."

Sunday, August 07, 2005


The saying I picked today is a cute one.
Compost- a rind is a terrible thing to waste!

I think we all could do a little better about recycling efforts if we think about it.
There are the obvious and usual ways we are now used to like the recycling bins in our homes or workplaces but what about nother ways?
There is a discussion in the message boards i read that is adressing the drought affecting a large part of the country.
An interesting suggestion that a lady made i would never have thought of and unfortunately most of us would say"I'm not doing that" was to put a 5 gal bucket in the tub and save the water that is usually going down the drain until the temperature is where we want it and use it to water houseplants or gardens.
Another was if you use dishwater to use it to dump over a compost pile.

Last week there was an e-cyvle drive here in my town that was accepting all old electronics for free.Normally there would be a $25.00 fee attached to eachitem dropped off.I am proud of Bob.Without any help from me he took the initiative to take ALL the old electronics he still had here and dropped them off.We calculated he would have spent $250.00 if he did it the usual way.Thje company collected more than 250000 pounds of recyclable material through this drive.You may not be aware that a computer has approximately 8 lbs of lead in it so if that goes to the dump that lead is leached out into the environment.
You may want to look into having your locale have one of these drives.

Other ways to recycle.There is an organization called and they are pretty much around the country.Its a way for people to recycle and repurpose items that would go to a dump or maybe a charitable organization that you would then pay money to have it.Another is craigslist.

We accumulate stuff to the point of obession now in this country.If we would live more organized lives we could avoid having our lives cluttered up.
There is an online newsletter I subscribe to called www.getorganized now that gives tips each Sunday to help with organization.In fact, Maria just recently started a blog herself to address this concern.
If we don't accumulate we ultimately don't have to worry about recycling it.How many of us may be guilty of not being able to find something so we just go buy another?

The subject in the saying for today- composting is a terrific recycling method for those who can apply it.Each time I have diligently committed to this I am amazed at how much stuff isn't going into the garbage or down the disposal but is in fact serving another purpose eventually.
In TX I used to save grass clippings and pine straw for mulching my was free and effective.In fact neighbors learned to check with me before they put their umpteen bags out for trash pickup.

The rile of thumb in your closets is if you haven't worn it in a year get rid of it.Donate to charity.Have a garage sale.Give to a family member or friend but get rid of it.

Paperwork.If it can be found online you don't need to keep it in paper form.the only exception is income tax records for 7 years. Look at the paperwork clutter that eliminates.
Shred and recycle the paper and eliminate it coming in if possible.

And volunteering is a form of recycling.We are recycling our energies and talents into another arena to be used for a purpose that either goes unfilled or would have to be paid for.Give someone the benefit of your experience and energy and amke a difference.

Meditate or give yourself some kind of spiritual connection on a daily basis to renew yourself.

Give advice to someone as in mentoring whether its just life experiences or in a professional forum.Recycle your talent and education to be used for the benefit of someone else.
We al know something about something and we know if we don't know the answer how to reference the person in a way they can find it.

Just some thoughts I wanted to share.