Thursday, October 19, 2017

A Laugh and a Puppy

I started my day with checking social media, just like everyone else in the world.  This is one of the reasons why I like "I Speak Greeklish" on Facebook.  This meme.  Only Greeks would get it.  The above picture is of a dessert pronounced Mel-o-ma-ka-ro-no.  Underneath, "Mel on my car, oh no!"  (Mel Gibson lol).

Then I had to have routine maintenance on my car which no one likes.  The good thing about it was that this six week old baby was in a box in the back

She gnawed on my fingers like they do.  She was adorbs.  

The rest of my day was full of a million little things and a whole lot of nothing, but I was constantly busy with piddly crap that needed doing.  At the end of the day, I'd used half a tank of gas.  Where did I go?  

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Confirmation from Dad

I had skin allergy testing when I was 11. This was because some of the symptoms of my neurological condition were chalked up to allergies. It was a very painful ordeal. They subcutaneously inject small amounts of the thing you might be allergic to just under your skin to make a bubble. (Like a tuberculosis test). But having so many of these at once is torture for a kid. Then you go back in a few days or so and the skin bubbles that showed reaction to are the things you have allergies to.

I don't remember what came up. My dad, however, told me that yes, coconut did come up. My parents dismissed it, though, because they knew I didn't like it and never ate it. Who knew in some 20 years, there would be a coconut in everything craze?  I'm looking at web links for anomalies and freaks like myself who have this allergy and what to do about it. (What to look for on labels, etc.)

I'm not sure I can get an epi pen if Benadryl helps, but I'd rather not have an epi pen. I'm always loosing my keys. How would I be able to keep up with something like that?

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

All I want for Christmas!

Judy Blume's online master class is only $90, and it will be available in 2018.  Can't believe how good Judy Blume looks for 80 years old.  If my parents ask me what I want, it will be this class.  Although, I am not writing for children, I'm writing about them.

When I was growing up, I read everything Judy Blume.  She's the reason I knew what menstruation was before it actually happened to me.  I just remember reading one of her books and getting out the dusty encyclopedia and looking up "menstruation".  Thanks to her, about two years later, I knew what was happening.  My mom didn't talk about anything with me.

Monday, October 16, 2017

Dreaming about the deceased.

I had a dream last night about my godson/cousin Evan who passed last year at age 23. In the dream, I walked past him and he was leaning against a wall with hands in pockets. He said "whassup?"
I turned around and said, "Evan!"  I immediately asked him if he saw a video his widow posted recently reading to their daughter and their daughter recognizing words. He said, "yes, I did. Don't get angry as she grows up thinking I don't see her milestones, because I do."
Immediately, I felt better.
He started to walk away and I said, "Hey, wait!"
He turned around.
I asked, "What's it like to stand before the judgement throne?"
He shrugged and said "It's no big deal. Really, it's not that serious. It's probably easier than having a rectal exam."
I wrinkled my eyebrows at his analogy and said, "well thanks for the heads up."
I stayed and watched as he walked completely away, then woke myself up.

Saturday, October 14, 2017

How Old is old enough?

My daughter Annalise slept over at friends' house last night, and they all gave each other makeovers. Anna has never had her hair back like this.  She likes the picture, but asked me if she can have her eyebrows waxed.  Her father said it's fine with him if it's fine with her.  She's only ten, but she's already aware of shaving legs and under the arms.  These were my eyebrows when I was 10 years old.  My mom is a compulsive tweezer, and if she just let hers grow out, these would probable be her eyebrows, too.  In fact, my mom gets so carried away with tweezing, that sometimes she ends up with virtually no eyebrows.  She then has to pencil them in, and ends up looking like a Chola.  I would take Annalise to get them waxed, but some people without Greek and Middle Eastern genes may think it's too young.  When you go, they do the bottom first, and then the top.  The bottom hurts more, because there is less skin there.  If I do take her, I might request top first.  I'm on the fence about this.  I don't want to be "that mom", but I don't want to be "that" other mom, either.

Happy Birthday BFF

Yesterday was Kate's birthday.

My BFF since fetushood,
My cousin the shrink,
My sister wife (long story),
My go to person for legit or not medical claims,
And my next of kin for brain donation.

39 is just fine Kate.  I <3 U, even though you complain about every guy I go out with yet you HAVE A TINDER ACCOUNT.  But that's ok, because the biological clock is ticking.  I'm just glad it's ticking a lot slower for you than for me, since you never got to get married or have a child or three.

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Anaphylaxis Again

At a convenience store, I saw a watermelon drink in a can. I bought it, because watermelon juice is hard to find and a mess to make.
I sat in my car for a while sipping on it, taking a break, and when I was almost finished I could hear my breath sounding like a whistle. I was slightly wheezing, and when I looked down at my forearms, there were 5-7 hives on each arm. I looked at the can and realized what I missed- it said "made with coconut water". I'm allergic to coconut oil, but I didn't think "coconut water" would be as strong. Luckily, I keep Benadryl in my car console, and immediately popped three of them. I leaned my head back, because I wasn't about to start driving on three Benadryls. I think I fell asleep for about 20 minutes, and the moment I woke up, the wheezing and hives were gone.
A lot of people have nut allergies, but a coconut allergy is very, very rare. I guess I'm one in a million. It was never discovered in my childhood, because I never really liked the taste and texture of it. Then the coconut oil craze came along, and I fell for the health benefits quickly. Apparently, the world's cure all can actually kill me. (It's not a cure all, but some people think it is).
Danielle, please read labels next time. Sheesh.

Monday, October 9, 2017

Two Suicides

About 20 years ago, I came across a woman online named Laurie who claimed to be an advocate for children.  I followed her website hoping to learn something, but as the years went by, her claims got weirder and weirder and I strayed away.  We had been in contact a few times, including when she adopted an 11 year old boy from the foster care system.  I told her congratulations, and that he looked like her.  He really did.  She responded that they get that a lot.  Laurie went on to be against any kind of psychiatric help, counseling, therapy, or anything of the sort.  Really not a good idea when you adopt an 11 year old from the system.  She wrote a book called Instead of Medicating and Punishing.  I had honestly forgotten about her until I learned that her son had committed suicide.  You can see how vehemently anti "getting help" Laurie was by scrolling her YouTube channel.  There are disturbing videos featuring her with her son while he was still a minor, re-enacting therapy sessions and mocking them.  I was blasted on social media for saying I was sorry he was gone too soon and that he never received the help he needed.  Several people called me out for saying that, but it's how I felt.  He might still be alive today if he was raised differently.  As grief-stricken as Laurie is, part of his blood really is on her head, and that's how I feel.  I see so many elderly people guilting their children about how they won't be alive for long, but when a parent looses a child, sometimes it seems more to be about the parents' loss than the child's loss of their lives and themselves.

Then, a few days later, I read the news that the son of Radio DJ Delilah had committed suicide.  She didn't say how old he was, but he looks to me like a teenager.  Delilah's show is syndicated nationwide, and she takes requests for sappy love songs.  I used to like her, but in the past few years, she's tended to get on my nerves a little (ok, a lot).  I'd often listen to a few words of hers while driving and then angrily punch another button on the dial and say, "Oh shut up, Delilah."  However, I am still sorry she lost her child.  Delilah, unlike Laurie, had gotten her son everything he needed to battle depression, but still lost him in the end.  Then this- in the comment sections, people are blaming her for his death, because she was married 4 times and had a total of 13 kids.  Really?  But no one is allowed to blame Laurie?  Both of my ex-husband's parents are on their third marriages, and he never killed himself.  I had an aunt married 3 times, and her son from the first marriage never killed himself, even when he lost his only son to a heart defect.  Marriage and childbearing/adoption history has nothing to do with the choice a person makes to end their lives.  People in the comments even had the balls to tell Delilah that her son went to hell.

And what really burns me is that people think posting the national suicide hotline number will magically solve everything.  No, it's way more complicated than that.  The answer is different for every person.  Share the hotline all you want, but never think it ends there.  It's more complicated than that, and you have to know the person over and above your own ideals to really get them their own unique help.

Friday, October 6, 2017


This has become a trend lately- proposing at someone else's wedding.  At first, I thought it was tacky, but I love how Joy-Anna did it while throwing the bouquet.  The young man who is proposing is Joy-Anna's (the bride's) brother.  I would do this if I ever got married again, which I probably won't.  I'd only do it for family, though.

I still often daydream about marrying my long distance--- "male friend"?  I don't know what to call him at this point.  We can't seem to loose each other for some reason.

I often envision a family picture with him and I next to each other, my step daughter in my lap, my stepson in his lap, and Annalise in the middle with her arms around each of us giving her huge smile which makes me happy I chose Joy as her middle name.

I often daydream, too about posting that pic with "Danielle is engaged" with the saying "If anyone has any reason why this party of five should not be together, then be blocked and forever hold your peace, because we won't be saying that silly line during our vows."

It's a nice daydream.  We would have been married last year and I would have adopted his kids if not for distance.  He is tied there, and I am tied here.  That's life, though.

Monday, October 2, 2017

Ketchup win

My daughter's favorite breakfast is scrambled eggs with ketchup. I made it for her one morning, and reached for what I thought was the bottle of ketchup. But it came out too thin, and I thought, what's wrong with this ?

Turned out I accidentally got the bottle of rosemary vinegarrette. I'm loosing my mind. So I got to the ketchup bottle, poured it over the rosemary, and mixed it with a fork.

Later on, my daughter said she had no idea why, but that was the BEST ketchup EVER.

Brain fog for the win.

Friday, September 29, 2017

Memory Jogged

When I was a kid, there was this "mean girl" named Kristen who constantly tainted me and my entire group of friends. One day on the bus, she was picking on my friend Nikki for being overweight. I had whined to my mom a few times about Kristen, but I went home that day slightly perturbed saying, "Kristen called Nicki fat!"  My mother responded, "Listen. The next time Kristen ever says anything to you girls again, you tell her that your mother sees her mother going out jogging every morning wearing nothing but a bra, panties, and pantyhose."

I was like... what?  How did she know this? Now I know. Moms get up before anyone else does. That must have been how my mother witnessed this while no one else did. 

I kept it in the back of my mind for the next incident. It was inevitable. So I stood up on the bus, faced Kristen with boldness and said, "Well my mom says that she sees your mom jogs outside every morning wearing only a bra and panties and pantyhose!"  Immediately, she started crying like a baby. Her toughness went away quickly, and she sobbed and sobbed. I didn't know whether to feel bad or not. Obviously, Kristen knew her mom did this and was humiliated. Good news is that she was never mean to anyone again. 

Lesson learned: Don't make it a habit of going outdoors in your underwear. You'll humiliate your kids. 

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

This had me in tears

A 5th grade class in Hawaii wrote this beautiful song for the people of Texas. It literally had me in tears. The verses are in English, and the chorus is in native Hawaiian language. At the bottom of the article is an English translation of the chorus.

My old home

Someone posted this picture on Facebook in the middle of Hurricane Harvey.  I found it when I facebook searched the name of the complex.

All first floor units had waist deep water.  I was on the second floor, but in time, you know mold will creep up to that floor.

In the 6 years that I lived there, management flipped some 5 or 6 times.  The most recent management was pretty unscrupulous.  The first ones were wonderful.  It used to be a very nice place.  I remember sometime around New Years, either the very end of 2016 or the very beginning of 2017, I was standing in the courtyard in the freezing cold with a blanket around my head and torso, just looking around me and intuitively knowing that it was time to go.  My lease was to be up on February 28th.  It was just this overwhelming knowingness that I should, even though I didn't want to.  So I went upstairs, drafted a 60 day notice with a check for February rent, since I had already paid for January.

It has not been easy.  My parents are aging, and I'm realizing what it's like to have 3 kids.  If one of them died, the other couldn't handle being alone.  I think it was April when a friend and I found this cute little pink house that we wanted to rent together as roommates.  She has two girls, and since I only have one, we agreed that I would only pay 2/5 of the rent and utilities.  But my ex-husband didn't approve of the location.  He said it was too far for him.  My friend didn't qualify for it without me, so the whole plan fell through.  My ex has the suburban naivety that the closer into town you get, the more dangerous it is.  Then, he had the nerve to want my daughter to walk home from school alone, from her new middle school to my parents' house, so he wouldn't have to wait in the pick up lines on the days that are his days to get her (every Friday and most Thursdays).  It's 0.9 miles and all through residential streets.  But I totally put my foot down on that one.  She is not walking home alone unless it's over my dead body.  He told me to show her the google image of the route she'd take.  No, and no.  If I choose to walk that route to pick her up one day, she'll walk with me.  My ex insisted, and I lashed out at him to start making missing child posters and saving money for a private investigator.  He retorted that the houses behind my parents' house on the way to the school "look nice".  I insisted that "looking like nice houses" doesn't mean A THING.  Jaycee Dugard  lived in beautiful Lake Tahoe when she was abducted.  I'm not sure he knows who Jaycee Dugard is, but if he really wanted to, he'd have googled her.  Elizabeth Smart lived in a very wealthy part of Salt Lake when she was abducted.  Then he called me paranoid.   I said, who's the paranoid one, the one that believes bad things only happen in urban areas, or the one that has learned by now that good and evil are everywhere?

Technically, I am the custodial parent, and it's in the divorce decree that I can live where I want.  But keeping him happy is what's best for Anna in the long run.  Nonetheless, it would be so much more convenient for me and Anna to live closer into town, not just because of my work, but because when she starts high school in 4 years, she wants to attend a magnet high school for kids who want to be doctors.
Living in the city, however, would not be convenient as my parents really, really age, which is inevitable.

But back to my old apartment complex which was home for 6 years.

All first floor units became unlivable.  I drove there for the first time on about the 4th or 5th of September.  The place was totally and completely trashed from people throwing out their damaged belongings.  It looked like a landfill.  I found a guy just sitting outside of his first floor apartment.  I think he was smoking a joint, but I wasn't sure.  I told him that I used to live here, and we struck up conversation.  I asked how management was treating them.  He replied that they're giving people problems.  I asked if they were still expecting rent to be paid for September.  He said, "Yes, with late fees piling up every day."  I asked him if there was anything I could do for him.  He said no.  I told him about some places that I knew were offering temporary shelter and told him good luck. Then I found a second guy who said the exact same thing.  Rent still expected, and late fees started on the third as they always have.  I went home, and on the news was an attorney being interviewed about renters' rights.  He stated that if your home is unlivable, then you have the right to break your lease immediately.  I went back to my old complex about 3 days later and talked to someone else who said they were now giving people until the 15th to pay September rent.  This was several days before the 15th.  I thought to myself, if they are extending it until then, and it's legal to break your lease, then break your lease and run away.  Where would they go, you may ask?  I don't know.  If they didn't have any family or any money, there were a lot of temporary shelters set up.   I would have done it, even if it meant living in a temporary shelter.  

This past week, I drove by again, and it looked like even more of a massive landfill.  Only this time, it was not people's old belongings that were scattered everywhere.  It was all wooden wall beams and wall insulation, most likely because they are gutting the apartments for mold removal.  I almost started crying.  I flashed back to the night I stood in the cold at 3 am knowing it was time to leave, even though I didn't want to.  I told my parents' priest about it when he sat with us for a while.  He told me that was the Holy Spirit.  I nodded.  Others with other beliefs would have called it something else, but Holy Spirit works for me.

Sunday, September 24, 2017

Mom and Dad (kind of) get married again

I had no idea there was a scripted "anniversary prayer".  The priest called up my mom and dad during Agape hour to do this.  My dad thought he was being excommunicated, and I think my mom was hoping for a divorce.

I'm dead serious.

Golden Anniversary

Today, my parents celebrate 50 years of marriage.  Yes, they waited 11 years to have me.  I don't know why.  My mother often talks about an old woman who asked her why she didn't have children yet.  The old woman asked her if she "has a problem".  My mother responded, "My problem is nosy old women like you."  If anyone told my mother something like that today in reference to being old, she'd have a cow.

They got married on Sunday, September 24th, 1967 at Sts. Constantine and Helen Greek Orthodox church in Chicago.  The church still exists, but the building that my parents were married in was eventually sold to the nation of Islam to be turned into a mosque.  So many from the church were so riled up.  It was actually kind of funny to me.  Guys- that's what happens when you stop going to church because it has become a "bad neighborhood".

My mom and dad don't know how to live with each other, and they don't know how to live without each other.  They made several plans and canceled all of them out of indecision.  All we're doing now is just going to church.  I asked snarkily, "Do you want to renew your vows?"  My mom said, "NO!"  Then after a few minutes, she said in the Orthodox wedding, you don't take vows.  The vows are assumed when you get engaged.  You are just "told" to honor and obey and given "the sacrament of marriage" as if it was communion or some kind of last rights.  I said, oh.  Well then, I wouldn't know that, since I didn't get married in the church.  My ex husband was raised in a Christian denomination (Pentecostal) that's on the shit list of Christian denominations you aren't allowed to marry.

I'm starting to wonder how mad they'll be if I stay home, or at least ask to be dropped off at the beach.

Friday, September 22, 2017

Loosing a friend to MLM

This isn't the first time this has happened. But it's the first time it's happened with a female friend that I felt very close to  

She and I met through an online class and chat all the time about everything. She's about a year and a week younger than me. She's really been a godsend. 

However, recently she bought into a multi level marketing, or pyramid scheme. Seems like now, it's just about trying to get me to join and not anything else. 

We used to talk all the time, and now that's all she can talk about. It feels like a loss to me. I hope that's normal. 

Monday, September 18, 2017

Book scrapbook

If I sound disjointed in this video, it's because I was trying to talk and read/skim at the same time.

Another new baby

No secret that I have an extremely large family, most of which are very fertile lately.  But, we just learned of this peanut's coming arrival in March.  This baby ^ marks a milestone for us- it means that both of my parents are officially the last of all of their siblings to become great-grandparents.  My mom is by far the youngest of 9, and my dad is the middle child.  This peanut will be my dad's younger brother's first great grandchild.  I made a huge deal about announcing Melissa's pregnancy to my father.  I think for a minute he thought I was going to tell him I was pregnant (It's a miracle!).  But I went through the whole family tree, and yeah- all of my parents' siblings are officially great-grandparents now.  I'd say that's a good Golden Anniversary treat, to know you are the last on both sides.

Sunday, September 17, 2017


I love this song and the video.  It's the perfect song for the Sandwich Generation.  I'm not lying.

Saturday, September 16, 2017

Viola Goals

Annalise wants to be this good at the viola.  For now, it's just screech, screech, but I believe in my daughter.

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Meeting cousins for the first time

My cousin Ray, who lives in New Port Richie, Florida, came here several weeks ago to help people file claims.  He arrived before we knew Irma would hit Florida, and when it became obvious that Irma would hit Florida, he flew his wife of 4 years and his grandchildren from his first marriage here to be with him.  Chase is 11 (14 months older than Annalise) and Mackenzie is 13.  Their mother had to stay in Florida, because she is a nurse and probable working around the clock.  I have kept in touch with their mom through social media through the years.  She's only a few days short of 1 year older than me and just turned 40.  We grew up together.
Mackenzie looks like her clone.  She also has that teenager "eye rolling" problem.  I just hope my child doesn't get that.  My mother kept calling her by her mother's name, and every time she did, major eye roll.  I kind of laughed.  It's not my mom's fault, she's old and Mackenzie looks just like her mother!

The good news is that Chase and Annalise were really hitting it off socializing. They play some of the same games and added each other on the games.  I checked Anna's phone this morning, and found Chase's profile.  One of the waitresses apparently had her own child with her at the restaurant and she sat with Anna and Chase, talking and laughing.  Me and my cousin and his wife and my mom looked up and Ray said, "Did we gain another kid?" Lol.

He also told me about an incident regarding his niece who is also my second cousin.  Her name is Elyse.  She apparently had a job training Dolphins for the Navy (I don't know what dolphins do for the navy, but my dad told me later that they send them out with bombs to bomb other ships.)   Elyse had been this dolphin's trainer since he was a baby, so he trusts her.  Then one day, dolphin jabs Elyse so hard in the side that she broke a few ribs.  Everyone was baffled as to why he'd do that.  Then they saw that there was a giant alligator in the water.  The dolphin was trying to save Elyse by pushing her out of the way of the alligator.

Poor thing.  He saved her life, and now he's about to go be bombed to death.  There is light and dark in the world, no matter how you spin it.

Meeting the kids for the first time was awesome.  This is why I want a road trip so badly, just to drive everywhere and see everyone.

My mother was very close with Ray's first wife, the kids' grandmother.  When we were saying our goodbyes, my mom hugged Ray's new wife and told her, "If he's not good to you, I'll cut his balls off".  That's just how my mom is, being from inner city Chicago.  She doesn't exactly have "nice girl" traits.  And you can't teach an old dog.

Ray's wife responded, "You have nothing to worry about."  My mom told me later that Ray has definitely changed for the better and his new wife probably had a lot to do with that.  She's a sweet lady.

I really want a huge road trip.  

Monday, September 11, 2017

Second first day of school

Annalise went back to school today after the schools being closed for hurricane Harvey. The school basically has to start completely over. I don't know what they'll do with the holidays, but I doubt it'll be good.

Now, we deal with hurricane Irma. I say "we, because I have an aunt and uncle and 10 cousins in Florida. I also have an aunt and 6 cousins and a childhood bff with 8 children of her own in Georgia.  I've heard from all of them, and they're all safe.

I paypaled some of them has money to get out. My advice would not be to donate to the Red Cross, but to find a direct source to help out. The Red Cross is receiving a ton of monetary donations, but we just heard today that the mayor proposed a property tax hike to pay for storm damage. The Red Cross needs to make their financials available to the public right now.

Thursday, September 7, 2017

Complete and Utter Disappointment

I gave the biological mother of my child advocate kids the benefit of the doubt the entire time I have been working with her children. I believed with my whole heart that she had been clean for 3 years. But, she was drug tested in July at the court hearing. Her urine sample and hair follicle showed more than enough levels of meth to show that she's been using both short term and long term, including within 3 days of the court hearing. She let me down, and she let her children down. I should have believed my mother when she said drug addicts always lie. Her oldest son will have to be removed from her care again, and I know this kid well enough to know he'll run away when that happens. I'm thankful, however, that her younger child is in a good foster home that wants him long term. I visited them both immediately after the storm, as soon as the roads were clear. This is because some lobbyists for children in Austin were pressuring CPS in Houston to check on all kids under their watch to "make sure" there was no damage. What?  The storm affected everyone in Houston. It's not fair to disrupt any family or foster family for being victims of a hurricane. CPS would not word it that way, though. They'd word it "safety hazard" or "neglect".

Being on meth, though, is a different story.

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Well this is ironic

Someone posted this on Facebook.  I had to think for a minute.  Actually, the job I had at age 21 really was 21 babies.  It was the child abuse shelter in Arizona.  So I couldn't really answer. Of course, I got to go home at the end of the day, but 8 hours seemed like 24.  Having kids is a blessing, but anyone with 21 of them has got to have a lot of problems.  So, I'd say the job, but only if I could know then what I know now.

DACA- My uncle would have been a dreamer

My grandparents' first child was 1 year old when they brought him here to the USA from Greece.  Three years later, he died from an unknown cause.  He would have been about 19 or 20 when my mother was born, which would make him in his 90's now.  He would have been a dreamer, and I reminded my mom of that.  If my grandfather saw this country now, he'd roll in his grave.  He thought it was the best country in the world.
My mom used to be one to say, "This is America, speak English" until it became news that people speaking Greek in public and were harassed and told the same thing.  My mother speaks Greek in public all the time.  She has not made such a comment since.  We are all from somewhere else, unless you spit in that ancestry DNA tube and it comes back 100% Native American.

Monday, September 4, 2017

Annalise's newest favorite song

Do your kids ever play the same song over and over again until it gets old?  In fact, do you ever do that?  I think we all do.

I don't know how my daughter discovered this song, but it's beautiful.  It jogs memories for me.  When I was in high school, we did Peter Pan in the theater department, and I played a lost boy.  (Girls were boys, too).  In fact, Peter Pan was played by a girl.  In live performances, he almost always is. I told Annalise all these stories, and she was quite intreagued.

The girl who played Peter Pan had very long blonde hair.  She brushed it into a pony tail to have the ponytail cut off on stage in front of the whole cast, who was sitting in the theater seats before she went to the salon to have it done "boy style".  When that ponytail came off, let me tell you almost every girl in there screamed.  When I told the story to my daughter, she shrieked too.  I guess to a young girl, it really is terrifying.  Annalise asked me since my role was of a "lost boy", did I have to cut my hair too?  I said, no, the lost boys who were played by girls just pinned it up into hats.  Lost boys were considered "extras", while Peter Pan is the main character, which is why Peter Pan had to actually cut hers.

We sang a song, too in our main scene.  It wasn't a sad one like this one, and although I remember some of the lyrics being sad, the song itself was upbeat and happy.

Another memory- the flying contraptions.  Peter Pan, Wendy, Michael, and John fly in the play.  At my high school, they were attached to these flying contraptions that they didn't even try to not make obvious.  During breaks during practice, other non-flying cast members took turns getting on them and doing weird maneuvers.  I never did that, though.  I was too scared!

Sunday, September 3, 2017

Houston smells like dirty mop water and other happenings

I've been able to get out yesterday morning and this morning to do Uber eats- only 5 deliveries each day.  There are still some high water spots where the bayous overflowed, but they are easily avoidable.  Uber Eats is busy, because people are still afraid to leave their homes.  The restaurants are open, but most are very slow.
Annalise was supposed to go back to school on Tuesday after Labor Day, but they postponed it until 9/11.  A lot of the schools were used as shelters, and are probable trashed.  Other schools had flood damage.  There go most of the holidays.

Annalise and I both have our days and nights mixed up.  I have been doing uber eats for only a couple hours in the mornings, then she and I will both fall asleep about noon, wake up at 8, and be up most of the night.  Something needs to be done about this before she goes back to school.  I have no idea what.

Some things in the news piqued my interest lately.  First of all, there was the police brutality against the head nurse of a burn unit in Salt Lake City.  Wow, that was insane!  Really, how hard would it have been to obtain a search and seizure warrant?  It was never hard for CPS workers, and cops have a lot more authority.  Was it because the patient was not the cause of the accident, but the victim?  The person who caused the crash died on impact.  He had been fleeing police and driving on the wrong side of the road.  Were the cops trying to get a blood sample from this unconscious man to see if he had illicit substances so they could charge him with the death?  I hope not, since the dead guy was on the wrong side of the road!  And of course, this time it had to be a white woman as the victim of police brutality so that people can make "tables turned" snarky comments.  Just in time for Pumpkin Spice Latte season.

Then there was Feminist Author Germaine Greer calling Princess Diana a profane name on the 20th anniversary of her death.  Does she have no shame?  I should have known better.  No second wave feminist does.  Then Germaine has the balls to say that Diana was not a good roll model for young girls because she had relationships with men.  That's why I believe my lifelong relationship shaming had much to do with feminism.  Excuse me Germaine, but when I was a child in the 80's, I saw Diana on TV doing so much humanitarian work.  She even visited orphanages and held babies who had AIDS.  Back then, that was unheard of.  No one touched babies and young children in orphanages with AIDS, not even their own caregivers.  Having worked with children half of my life, I believe I have stared the devil down more than once.  Buddhists call it "Inviting your own Mara in for tea".  Diana was a role model for me as a young girl, but in Germaine's eyes, I'm probably not a "real" woman anyway.  I knew even then that I would be called to do something of the sort, but didn't know really until I was about 19.

Friday, September 1, 2017

Who remembers?

When I was a teenager, I couldn't wait for this newer version of "A Little Princess" to come out, since I had loved the book as a child.  I also loved the older film versions of it.  I can remember "rewinding" (hahaha) this scene so many times.  Each time, I could very much feel myself receiving his blessing.

Thursday, August 31, 2017

Bored Survivor

I call this one the "Mother/Daughter Bored Survivor Selfie"

Houston's Spirit

This woman has been going viral- breaking out into song in one of the temporary shelters at a convention center I've never heard of.  Her voice is beautiful.  She was on the news, and my dad said, "Hey let her stay with us" lol.

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

20 years

I can't believe that today marks 20 years since "The People's Princess" was taken from this world.  It seems like yesterday.  I also don't know why I didn't realize that she was so young, only 36 when she passed away.  Possibly because I was still a teenager at the time, 36 seemed old, and she had to mature quickly with her many roles.

One thing that I'll also never forget- and this is silly- To watch her funeral was the last time in my life that I ever put bunny ears on the TV.

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Houston is in trouble

I'm trying to stay positive, and I am glad to be at home in a mostly non-flooded area.  Those pictures above are not of rivers- those are highways, and they are downtown highways that I take almost every day.  I have a love/hate relationship with driving by that overpass with the graffiti that says "Be someone".  On one hand, it's encouraging, but  on another hand, everyone is someone no matter what.  But seeing the water almost all the way up to it was almost unbearable.  Here at home, the neighborhood streets are not flooded, nor is the main street outside of the subdivision, but the entrance of that main street onto the freeway is, and it's barricaded with a patrol car making sure no one tries.  

The death toll is only in the teens, but it's going to get so difficult as the waters recede and that number climbs.  The current death toll includes a police officer who drowned in his police car and a family of 6 (4 siblings and their grandparents) who are presumed dead after their uncle escaped the van and could not get them out.  

One great thing today was that I got to talk on the phone to one of my favorite blogging and vlogging buddies.  She was so positive and so refreshing to talk to.  She really cheered me up.   Her three oldest children all got married recently within a short period of time, and she kept referring to her daughter-in-law and two sons-in law as their "boyfriend-I mean-husband" and "girlfriend-I mean, wife" lol.  Connection started to fade and we started texting.  At the end of our conversation, she asked if she could do anything for me.  I said, pray for all of Houston.  Houston is big, resilient and strong, but we could still use it.  She responded that she would make mention of not only our city, but my cousin Evan's widow and daughter and me and my daughter in family time with her remaining children at home.  

Then I got to talk on the phone with my coordinator from child advocates.  She was also positive and refreshing to talk to, and expressed concern for me and my family as well as asked for updates on the children I am working with.  The one in foster care is doing well.  The one back with his mother, I am not so sure about.  I have a hunch that she is getting drunk through all of this.  I can sense it in her texts, but I can not make that accusation to my coordinator.  I simply told my coordinator that she seemed unwilling to speak to me and screenshotted the texts for her to make her own conclusions.  

We have it good except for the fact that we are stranded at home, but at least we are safe.  No one is open, not even Walmart.  Our biggest problem is that we're on the last package of toilet paper.  I'm serious.  

We watched on the news as the President took off in Air Force One to come here to Texas and wear a rain jacket for decoration.  As we watched the plane take off from DC, my dad cracked a joke.  He said, "If the President comes, tell him we need toilet paper".  I burst out laughing, and ended up with this song stuck in my head literally all day.    All these retro 90's songs are re-emerging.  

All in all, I just want things to get back to normal.  Some people are saying recovery might take a month.  I personally can't fathom that.  Hurricane Ike in 2008 was catastrophic, and Houston bounced back in the blink of an eye.  We weren't like the Katrina survivors who lingered on it for years.  We are the 4th largest city, a major economic force, and home to dozens of fortune 500 companies and every culture on Earth.  Do I need to get Air Force One out of my head and perhaps start singing.... "Wake Me Up When September Ends"?????

Monday, August 28, 2017

New Vlog

Below is a new vlog I made about a documentary being made in Canada about people with Tourette's.  Also pictured is my friend and former coworker right before getting dispatched to duty as a first responder.

Sunday, August 27, 2017

Hurricane update

To my surprise, Houston is completely flooded. I am still with my disabled client in League City. Annalise will not have school for a whole week, in fact the schools are being used for shelters. She is still with her dad and stepmom in Pearland, and I've been talking to her regularly. The apartment complex where I lived until December/January is completely destroyed. It is located right off of the Beltway and Beamer south. My apartment was on the second floor, but I can imagine the first floor ones are all ruined. I literally just saw people rowing boats down Beamer Rd, and there was the same places right across the street I used to walk to. I'm grateful for the Facebook feature that lets people check in as safe during a disaster. I know everyone I love is safe. My parents are fine, but when I called my dad said mom was asleep. I imagine he probably took all his anxiety out on her, so she went to bed to get away from him. He wouldn't do that if Annalise and I were there. Oh well, I'm getting paid pretty nicely. He's 75 years old and needs to learn to control his anxiety.

Friday, August 25, 2017

Hurricane Harvey

We are experiencing a category 3 hurricane here in the Texas gulf coast. We do not have a mandatory evacuation here in Houston, though- the mandatory evacuations are for Corpus Christi and Port LaVaca. I got into an argument with my ex, because our divorce decree contains an addendum that states if he has her during a mandatory evacuation, I have the right to take her and evacuate.  But since our area has no mandate, I don't get to take her. My under the table client then called last minute
To come over for a few days. I think the news is overrreacting.

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Good News

I am so, so, so excited that for fifth grade, my daughter chose to join orchestra.  She will be playing the Viola!  I tried suggesting the violin, because it might be easier, but she insisted that the viola sounds better.  I ordered it this evening to rent, and it will be delivered to her at her school.  Hooray!  I'm so excited, because I never learned an instrument, nor have I even learned to read music. My child is a superstar.

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

First Day of School

Annalise started 5th grade yesterday, which here in Texas means starting Middle School.  She was SUPER EXCITED.  Her teacher has been teaching for about 40 years and seems like such a cool old lady.  (Homeroom Teacher).  She has other teachers for other subjects, but her homeroom teacher is also her math teacher.  This is because Annalise placed advanced in math, and her homeroom teacher teaches that one math class for kids who tested the way she did.  It's a mix of 5th and 6th grade math.

I'm starting to realize that homeschooling might never happen for us.  I love the idea of homeschooling, but for one thing, Annalise thinks it's the worst thing that can ever happen to a kid.  Secondly, she has her heart set on entering 9th grade at the magnet high school for kids who want to be doctors.  I said I would love to put her there, but it's up to her dad to allow us to move closer into town, when he's already called the location of that school "The Hood".  Living in midtown Houston would be a godsend for me.

Here in Houston, we were supposed to get 67% view of the solar eclipse.  I didn't have to work, and Monday is slow for food delivery apps anyway (a lot of restaurants close Mondays), so I stayed home with my dad who is a hardcore Jerry Lewis fan.  Jerry Lewis passed away recently, and my dad was busy going back and forth from the movie marathon to the eclipse.  He made all kinds of contraptions to see it, but honestly, I didn't see anything.  At 1:45, which was peak time, the sky got slightly dimmer, but the sun looked no different.

Monday, August 21, 2017

I have a new baby cousin!!!

My favorite aunt Diane passed in 2012. Last year, she got her first great grandchild Michael who was named for both his father and maternal grandfather. Today, Aunt Diane's granddaughter had her second baby and not only is it a girl (yay)! But they named her Dia Marie. I love that. Partially named after my favorite aunt. I wish she was around to see all of this.

Sunday, August 20, 2017

Social media break

First, one of my friends posted that tomorrow's solar eclipse was a sign of the end of America. How did she know this? Because her pastor told her that the last solar eclipse that went clear across the USA was in 1776, the year the USA "began".  She named other reasons why her pastor said it was a sign of end times- but here's a fun fact. The last time a solar eclipse went across the USA was in 1979, not 1776. Because her pastor said it, she feels like she has to believe it and can't fact check. I hate that.

Then, with all of the bringing down of confederate statues, someone posted that some liberal protesters actually knocked down and desecrated the tomb of the unknown soldier. This is also not true. After that, I'd had enough and just deleted the Facebook app from my phone.

Friday, August 18, 2017

I wish I had those skills

My old pediatrician, Dr. Kholenbrenner, was brought up in conversation the other day.  Throughout the years, my mother would bring up his advice for different ailments that ultimately nothing could be done for.  He was my doctor from my birth, probably until my family left Chicago when I was 14.
The other day, it hit me- Dr. Kholenbrenner just pulled random things out of thin air to tell my mother just because she didn't know better, and he wanted to shut her up.  To this day, she still believes that if you de-fizz a soda, it will settle an upset stomach.  (An upset stomach just has to resolve itself unless it's been too long).  I'm surprised he didn't prescribe skittles, although maybe he did and I just don't remember.

I laughed at my mom the other day and said, "Mom.  Dr. Kholenbrenner pulled things out of his rear end just to shut you up."

She retorted, "He saved your life!"  This is true- I had appendicitis at age 6, and the surgeon described it as "red hot and ready to go".

But, still.  Now that I am a grown up with some 20 years experience, I know what he was doing.  I just wish I had those skills.  His skills of strait-lacedly telling parents to do xyz even though there's really nothing to be done is something I definitely could use.  He was 78 when he died in 2001, which I guess would make him 94 now?  If he were still around, I'd ask his secret.  

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

50th anniversary woes

My mom and dad got married on 9/24/67, and that means their 50th anniversary is coming up.  Their plans were to do the one thing they love best- to take this senior citizens' bus to a casino in Louisiana.  However, with all the KKK stuff now in the news, my dad doesn't want to go.  The towns along the TX/LA border are infiltrated with KKK.  I reassured him- it's not that serious.  They'll just be on a big bus passing through.

My dad gets triggered easily with white supremacy, because of being born and raised in the south side of Chicago and being stationed with the Navy in 1960 in the deep south of Mississippi.  He has a million and one stories of the culture shock regarding segregation that was the norm in Mississippi but definitely not in Chicago.

It got worse when I taught my father the story of Emmett Till.  Emmett was only 14 when he was murdered, but he was a year older than my dad.  He lived in Chicago with his mother and wanted to visit Mississippi to see his cousins.  His mother let him, but she knew that he was not accustomed on how to act in the south.  She was from Mississippi and before he went, she taught him how to act and how not to act.  Nonetheless, Emmett chose to whistle at a white woman working in a shop and was brutally murdered for it.  His mother chose open casket to show the world what was done to her son.  It triggered my dad immensely.  He often tells of getting off the bus and walking with a black woman and two small children, helping her with shopping bags and getting spat in the face and roughhoused because they thought she was her husband.

I would say it isn't like that anymore, but- it is.  We just push it under the rug.  I hope my parents find a way to celebrate 50 years of not knowing how to live with and not knowing how to live without each other.    

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

A Father and a Mother

Today is the feast day of the virgin Mary in my parents' denomination.  If your name is Mary or Maria, it's also your namesday.  I view Mary a little differently.  Watch the clip as young Morgaine Le Fey explains to her younger half brother, the future King Arthur.

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Back to school woes

i can't believe summer is almost over. The first day of school is August 21st. Here in Texas, things are done differently. Elementary school is only Pre-K - 4th grade. Middle school is 5th and 6th. Junior high is 7th and 8th. By then, I'm hoping we can convince Anna's dad to move closer into town so she can go to a magnet high school for kids who want to be doctors.

But back to the present. The school district is so disorganized that I was told a million different things about what I need to do and what I need to come up with for the new school for 5th grade. As a former CPS investigator, I know how teachers and principals call for every little thing, so I was pounding pavement to make sure there were no snafus. It made me so tired. I thought, how do people with more than one child do it?  Well from my lips to God's ears, because I quickly found out that my younger child advocates kid's foster parents have nothing on him. There is supposed to be an educational folder, and it's supposed to be green (for kids in state care). What the foster parents got was this Manila folder with two sheets of paper that hardly say anything. He was satisfactory in music, he behaves, etc. oh my goodness!!!  So I email the caseworker and her response was literally,

"The foster parents has the educational folder."

Parents has.

Ok now I get Texas ghetto slang, and I do use it, but I'm not about to use it in a professional email. Did you not take English, girlfriend? So I did some digging, found shot records, two forms of identity, and so on. What a mess!!!

Monday, August 7, 2017

R.E.M. - Losing my religion (The story behind the song)

We all grew up hearing the song "Loosing My Religion" by REM.  I loved it as a kid.  It's also spoken to me through a thousand different situations through the years.

The lead singer of REM (When did he get so old, by the way?) not only tells so eloquently about how it's not all really about religion, but about "unrequited love", but he explains PERFECTLY the struggle to write something genuine.

I can relate to that!  Writing "The Child Advocate" needs to be genuine as he says.  I can relate to throwing everyone out of a room and getting naked to do it, although it's never come to that.

Thanks REM for such a classic.   I hope I can leave mine behind as well.

Saturday, August 5, 2017

I survived ikdg

Great news!  The kickstarter campaign for the 20 year follow up for the 1997 book "I Kissed Dating Goodbye" has been fully funded, and will be made!

Please see the updated trailer at.

I like the new trailer better, mainly because it cuts off the statement from the woman that says "my only purpose in life was to someday be married". I'm so glad they cut her off. In the 90's the study groups around this book emphasized that your only purpose is "not" to be married. 

I also like it because it tells more of Jessica Van Der Wyngaard's story. One of the articles has a nice pic of her and her mom on a porch swing. I can't wait until it comes out. I want to watch it alone first and then show my daughter. My ex husband wants to see it, too, as well as some people from that church I'm still Facebook friends with (except, of course, the only one that actually got married)

Thursday, August 3, 2017

Out of the mouths of babes

Annalise's favorite book series is Wings of Fire.  Book number 10 FINALLY came out on July 24th.  It arrived at our house on the 29th.

Anna was so excited to finally get it.  She said to me, "Mama, do you know how OLD this series is?"

"How old?" I asked.

"She started writing it in 2011!"

Oh, well that is quite ancient when you are 10 years old in 2017, isn't it?

Annalise also likes to draw dragons.  Each has minor different features and colors, and they are all related.  She wants to make them into a book such as these.  A few weeks ago, she came to me with a pretty extensive family tree of all of the dragons she created.  They were lovely, and I told her so, but I also told her, "When you are writing, you don't want to create too many characters, because it will confuse the reader."

She gave me the same exact look her father gives when he comes up with a comeback immediately.  "Mama?" she retorted.  "How far have you gotten in your book?"

Oh, Touche, kid.  Touche.  I was on a writing spurt a few months back, but the muses have left again.

We've also been planning Halloween already.  We didn't celebrate last year because of Evan's death and how the death representations everywhere were triggering.  This year, I'm over that, and we're having a great one.  When Annalise and I both took our ancestry DNA tests, she came back part Scandinavian and I did not (so it came from her dad).  She told me that she wants to honor the Viking side of her ancestry and be a Valkyrie for Halloween.  I was really excited and impressed, and we picked out this hat together.  I didn't order it yet, because we all know how kids change their minds.

Sunday, July 30, 2017

One year memorial

Published on Jul 30, 2017
My parents' denomination, Eastern Orthodox, does memorial services 40 days after death and annually there is a five minute prayer called Trisagion. On Wednesday it will be 1 year since my cousin/godson Evan was killed. The Greek words "Ionia E Mneme" mean memory eternal. But I'm 39 years old and I still have no idea what the "repose of the soul" is. Prayers for the forgiveness of sins "voluntarily and involuntary" are always said. The priest calls him Evangelos, because that's his Greek name.I had my phone on the bible on the pew in front of me the whole time so not to make it obvious that I was filming in church.  The memorial service was great closure, and I sincerely mean that, but I doubt I'll ever go to church again.  Not there or Lakewood or anywhere.  I believe we have to go way back to our roots as human beings.  As soon as we developed the ability to be religious and spiritual animals, we did not have buildings.  We saw it in all things.  I have also been taking up issue lately with the enormity of wealth of local churches and the enormous disparity among the general population, including the rapid increase in homelessness. I'll post another video I took soon, and address that issue and how the very strictest of Christians respond when I post that the megachurches should help those in need.  It's not good.  They sound like Pharisees, and I am deeply uncomfortable.  I am also saddened by the fact that people's religious disagreements have gotten violent and threatening.  

But that's besides the point of today's memorial service. When the priest was giving people communion, I had this very vivid flashback of when I was 15 and Evan had his first communion in my arms after he was baptized.  I had forgotten that moment until then.  When it came to his baptism, all I could remember were all the recitations I did wrong.  Fr. Stelios' words were comforting in the prayer, but you have to understand English and Greek to get the full Jist.   

It was a day of closure in many ways.  

Monday, July 24, 2017

They go in threes

First, there was the news that the lead singer of the band Linkin Park, Chester Bennington, had taken his own life.  I've been a fan of Linkin Park for years.  I went through a phase a few years back when I constantly listened to the song "What I've Done".  Now that he's gone, the phase is back.

My daughter and I had been following a 10 year old girl with brain cancer on social media (also named Anna).  She lost her battle with her inoperable tumor on the same day.  She was an enormous fighter.  Anna Ortega was at Phoenix Children's Hospital and her wish for this Christmas was to send gift baskets to all of the children there.  She thought she'd be well again.  To help with that endeavor see here.  Also, consider helping the Ortega family in general.  They have 6 other children and most likely a ton of medical bills.

Later that evening, my childhood friend lost her grandfather.  I texted her that morning to see how she was and she said she was simply not ok.  It was her turn to sit with him, and he had been "cursing" at her all morning.  I asked, "Is he on Morphine?"  She replied, "Yes".  I explained that it does that to some and to tell his hospice nurse.  She and I attended the same Baptist Christian school that constantly made you question your own salvation.  You'd go on this roller coaster- Now I'm a Christian, now I'm not.  I'm over it, but she isn't.  She's also inadvertently passing the identity crisis to her children.  I texted her a loving message saying how sorry I was for her loss, how thankful I was that God granted him a long life (95 years), quoted scripture about God satisfying us with long life, and reassured her that when he was "cursing" at her, that it was not him speaking.  It was dementia and/or morphine.  She said thank you and we exchanged I love yous.  I didn't want her thinking that his foul language was proof that he "wasn't really Christian" and went to hell, because that is what we were raised to beleive.  

Thursday, July 20, 2017

My favorite money making apps

1. Ibotta.

Ibotta is by far the best rebate app. There are a lot
Of items to choose from including
Fresh produce and "any" brand items. The fresh produce and any brand items are often worth only 25 cents, and they do not count  towards bonuses. However, it's nice to buy just over 25 cents worth of whatever's on there from the produce department and get it nearly free. You need $20 to cash out to PayPal or get a gift cards.
Many other specific items are worth way more in rebates and count towards bonuses.

2.  Mobi Save

Another rebate app. They don't give you as much as Ibotta does, but you can cash out to PayPal instantly with no minimum amount. They also don't have as much of a selection and don't update items as often.

3.  Achievemint

This app gives you points for walking. Seriously- just walking. It counts your steps. Once you reach 10,000 points, you can cash out $10. This is the reason I hold my phone in my hand during walks. I'm hoping to cash out $50 soon.

4. Shopkick

You get points for walking into stores and scanning select items in the stores without having to buy them. You can also get more points for buying those items, but I can never get them to capture my receipt. 500 points gets you a $2 gift card, 1250 points gets
You a $5 gift card, and 6250 points a $25 gift card. I've gotten many go t cards from that app.

5. Surveys on the go.

This is the only survey app I'll do, because even if you don't qualify for a survey, you still get 10 cents. You need $10 to cash out to PayPal. I recently did two surveys worth $25 each. I wonder sometimes if I'll ever get to cash out $10 for literally not qualifying for 100 surveys, but it hasn't happened yet.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

39th birthday

for my birthday, I got:

3 naps


A lavender scented jar candle


Lots of Facebook messages

A lot of self reflection.

Rented "The Mists of Avalon" on demand with Julianna Marguilles and Angelica Huston.

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Going to church has turned into this

Tomorrow is my birthday, and I thought I would start 39 off "right" by going to church at Lakewood.  I haven't been for a while.  I do know that there have been many disturbances inside and outside of the church (mainly very angry street preachers) who will yell at you that you're going to hell as you walk in.  There are videos of this all over YouTube.  So you can imagine how much reality hit me when I walked in and saw this:

That's hate crime prevention.  A lot of evangelicals here don't believe Lakewood is "really Christian".  (It's really Christian).  In fact, I think most Christians think a lot of other people are not "really" Christians who actually are.  There were also cops walking around inside.  

I sat through five minutes of the service and then left.  That just got me so down.  I sat in my car and cried.  The same ones who will stand there with big ugly, demeaning sandwich boards and shout insults about going to hell as you walk into your church are the same ones who want freedom of religion.  But they want it for themselves only, and no one else.  

Never saw a song with so many parodies

One of the hits right now is "Despacito" with Justin Bieber. I really like that song, but I understand why people make fun of it. It's because it's Justin Bieber trying to be Hispanic. I get it. So many parodies because of that going viral.  My favorite, however, is this one, because the first 10 seconds contains people doing Greek ethnic dancing to it, led by a priest. That's just hilarious to me.

Saturday, July 15, 2017

Garage sale score

I bought two very large black shantung curtains with these beads hanging from all edges.  I paid $3 for both.  The beads (and there are a lot of them) are great for upcycle jewelry, and the black shantung is great for basic skirts for me and my daughter.  The fabric is large enough that each of us could probably get two calf length skirts from it.

I also got myself a T-shirt that said "Zumba".  I just liked the shape of it.  Maybe some people will think I do Zoomba.  That's ok.

Friday, July 14, 2017

My YouTube video

neurologist appointment and child advocates.

Thursday, July 13, 2017

I took a selfie with my neurologist (oh yes I did)

Cheesy, odd, whatever.  When I had bronchitis for 5 months about two years ago, I even took a respiratory therapy selfie.  Apparently, Dr. Boyle has a 3 month old baby now.  What?  Must have been well over a year since I've seen her then.  But, I'll be back on Zonisamide.  I'll make a youtube video about it later.  

Dr. Boyle has been my help for 7 and a half years now.  When Dr. Gage Van Horn (now retired) finally diagnosed me with Tourette's, he had med students following him, and she was one of them.  I was 31 years old.  I will never forget that day.  The problem without a name that I'd struggled with for 24 years since I was 7 now had a name. It was January of 2010, and I left that appointment at the Quentin Mease hospital and went to the Eleanor Tinsley Park to lean my back up against a tree and let it sink in.  

Dr. Boyle is very smart and is an expert at neuromuscular movement disorders.  She explained that tics will wax and wane throughout your lifetime.  I had been symptom free for over a year, but they recently started re-emerging.  She very non-chalantly told me that that was normal.  I know it is.  It's still hard.  I talked to a student before Dr. Boyle came in, and started crying between him and her.  Dr. Boyle gave me a kleenex and off went all the eye makeup.  

People with my condition used to be burned at the stake.  It's recorded in the Malleus Mallefecarum.  (A guide from the church from about 500-600 years ago on how to recognize if someone is possessed by demons).  A priest is described in this book as possessed.  When we read the Malleus now, we know that he must have had Tourette's.  But back then- he was executed, of course.  I can't imagine his pain.  He was a priest.  He obviously had faith.  

This picture is also my statement that I am an American with a pre-existing condition.  The "repeal now, replace later" think has me steaming.  My condition is not fatal, but in my opinions, when people die between repeal and replace, their bodies need to be strewn out all over the white house lawn and someone needs to release the vultures.  Then let the vultures shit the carnage all over DC.  I know I'm being morbid, but I feel so strongly about this.  I'm an American with a pre-existing condition.  

Testify To Love

This morning, I'm testifying in court as a child advocate for the first time in three years.  This has been my calling for 20 years.  Mid life crises often get in the way, but at least I got mine overwith before age 39 (which will only be a few days now).

I feel much happier about it now that the younger child is away from that horrible shelter.  I texted his foster mom last night just to see how he's getting along with her other children, and she said wonderfully.  They play that guitar game a lot.  I forgot what it's called.  It's from about 10 years ago.

I am going to ask that family reunification remain the goal and that he stay where he is until that happens.  He has moved 10 times in under 3 years.

There's another song that reminds me of this whole situation.  It's called "Unfinished" by Mandisa, and Mandisa tells the story behind the song here.  It's a follow up from her hit "Overcomer".  I just love that interview with Mandisa in the second link.  Makes you want to just sit with her for a few hours and just talk.

Tuesday, July 11, 2017


I went to see my younger child advocate kid in his new foster home, and his foster mom is amazing!  She teaches sewing in her dining room. It's all set up with fancy machines. I want a class!  This kid has moved at least ten times and really wants to go home to his mom and brother. I said, that's not happening this week (court is Thursday), but at least you are in a much better place now than where you were before- until you can go back to your mom. He agreed with me. I didn't get to meet foster dad- he was still at work. But since I'm a classic Facebook stalker, I saw his pic and he looks like a decent guy.

I came home and Annalise had said that the cat knocked over all of my jewelry making supplies. I was waiting for some kind of sign that I should start again. It was a jumbled mess before the cat knocked it down, but Annalise fixed it all super organized. Oh wow. She really put effort into organizing it. I guess that's my sign.

On Thursday, I'm testifying in court at 9 am and I also have an appointment with my neurologist at 3 pm. I plan on taking the metro rail from the courthouse to the medical center, so I don't have to pay for two parking garages. (Parking garages have gotten insane in the medical center, and the valet guys think they have some kind of authority that they actually don't have). That's a bit of a face your fear kind of thing for me too, seeing that the metro rail almost killed me once.

I hope to film my neurologist appointment, if I have her permission. It's very hard to call people out on the word "involuntary" when the movement is not involuntary- the premonitory urge is. I'm hoping that she as a neurologist and movement disorder specialist can explain it better, but I'll ask her first.

One of my kids got moved!

The younger child on my Child Advocates case got moved from a very horrible emergency shelter in a bad part of town where he was the only white kid, got bullied and beat up, and cared for by staff that just seemed like they were there for a paycheck. They threatened him every day to throw him out, and wrote him up for stupid things. Ugh that place. They weren't actually going to throw him out. They can't. It was an empty threat.

This morning I was notified that he was moved to a foster family. I was really glad. Court is Thursday, so I have to see him there this evening. I talked to the foster mom and she is sooooo nice. Then I Facebook stalked her. We have one mutual friend, she's Mormon, married several years, lives in the north side, and is a stay at home mom. I still very much want him to go back to his biological mother, but this is so much more of a peaceful place for him at this time. I'm glad it's summer, too, so he can just chill in a peaceful environment and be taken care of right. I can't wait to see him and meet his foster parents tonight.

Monday, July 10, 2017

This is part of where my story began.

It's been 20 years now since the Christian book "I Kissed Dating Goodbye" was published.  At that time, it had become a craze in evangelical circles, including the college-age ministry I was attending at the time.  I had my first boyfriend at age 18.  My wedding date was set for Saturday, September 30th, 2000.  At church, we saw people breaking up all around us as study groups formed around this book.  I did not think that my boyfriend would go along with the crowd, and when he broke up with me, I felt like the rug was pulled out from under my feet.  It was shocking, even though it shouldn't have been.  It wasn't the year 2000 yet, and we did not get married.  In a nutshell, the creation of this book and its craze in evangelical churches began 20 years of relationship shaming in my life. It was such a slow downward spiral that this past November, it made me feel like I was not allowed to be a woman.  It was like a couple-day long gender identity crisis.  I felt like I was not male, not female, because I was not allowed to love or be attracted to, or even start that process.  So 8 months ago, I cut almost 20 inches off of my hair and went to a salon to "fix it".  I'm happy to say that it's growing out now, and I no longer look like a lesbian.

When I did get married to my daughter's father in 2004, I always felt like I was doing something wrong.  In fact, we did not tell anyone we had gotten married for a whole month.  That was my insistence.  While working our divorce arrangements out at the dining room table in 2009, my husband told me, "You could never 'just be' with me."   I knew what he meant, and he was right.  I had guilt and shame the whole five years.  I thought God would punish me, and once I had my daughter, I thought God would punish me by doing something to her.  So I would beg God just to punish me instead.  Luckily, God did neither.

One week from today is my 39th birthday, and while I used to hate Joshua Harris, I love what he's doing here.  I totally believe in this documentary.  Facebook encourages you to post a link to "your favorite charity" for your birthday, and of course my favorite charity is Child Advocates.  But, I really want to put the link to this kickstarter campaign as my birthday cause of choice.  It was a bad thing that happened 20 years ago, but it created something good in me.  The thought at the time that I'd never marry or have children if I wanted to please God sprung me into devoting my life to helping children.

Kickstarter Campaign link.

Saturday, July 8, 2017

How You Change People

My grandparents on my mom's side were from the Greek island of Zakynthos.  They got married and had their first child there.  They then immigrated to America through Ellis Island when their son was 1 year old.  He died when he was 4, and would have been 20 when my mother was born.

My mom always says her "soul was born" in Zakynthos.  (She was bodily born in Chicago lol).

A couple days ago, an African American man from Austin, TX was beaten and stabbed to death on my grandparents' island.  A link to the story is here.

My mom is shocked and ashamed.  For the past few years, she has asked herself "WHAT is happening to Greece?"  (Their economy is in the mud).  She said this couldn't have possibly happened on this island, which is so beautiful and peaceful. I don't remember it being to peaceful, though.  I remember an old uncle who wanted to kill my mother because she inherited her father's land there.  (The uncle did not believe a woman should have inherited property and wanted it for himself).  I also remember trash everywhere.  And a lot of homophobia.  In fact, the Greek word for homosexuality is "Anomaly"

In one of my facebook groups, "I speak Greeklish", they are all saying it was not "Greeks" who did this.  Of course, it was all those damn Syrians!  The refugees we are "supposed" to hate.  I think for a lot of Greeks, ignorance is bliss, because most of us have middle eastern mix, including Syria.  All they were doing in that group was more race baiting.  And the young man probably was targeted because he was black, whether or not it was Greeks or Syrians who did it.

When my mom posted the link expressing her sadness and shame, I simply commented with a link to this video.  It's about seeing the good in EVERYONE.  We all have the darkness in us, but we also have the light.  The light in me calls out to the light in you- whomever you are, wherever you are from, no matter what color your skin is or what religion or nationality you are.

Great short video

Things like this are rare, but I love when they show up. Finding out that I'm 14% Middle Eastern and 10% European Jewish rocked my world a bit. The only thing is that I practice neither of these faiths, and I love my bacon.

Friday, July 7, 2017

My resilient little cousin

My little cousin Helena walked to receive her high school diploma just days after undergoing a complete thyroidectomy.  Her mom (next to her) is my first cousin and lived with me and my parents for a little while when I was a kid, giving me my only glimpse of having a "big sister".  Also pictured are Helena's brothers who are aged 20 and 10.  My cousin and I were pregnant at the same time, but due only a month apart.  Helena and her older brother fought like cats and dogs over whether it would be a boy or a girl.  

Right after Helena's surgery, one of her father's relatives comments, "I have been on synthroid for 30 years and I'm fine, and you'll be fine too."

I was a little angry that none of this was discussed until Helena posted a pre-op selfie.  In my family, the things that are huge deals are pushed under the rug and ignored while minor things are made into huge tragedies.  

About 10 years ago, another little cousin from my mom's side was 17 or 18 and said to have mono.  Ok, so kids get mono.  Then my mom said, "But he'll be ok, because he's going to have a bone marrow transplant."

Hold on, what?  No, you don't treat mono with a bone marrow transplant.  I asked my mom strait up, "Does he have leukemia?"
My mom said, "Don't say that!!!"
I said, "Well, if it's true, then we need to say it."

His brother ended up giving him life saving bone marrow, and today he is happy and healthy in his late 20's.  

An example of the other extreme:  We got a phone call from my 86 year old aunt that my 81 year old aunt was extremely ill and had days to live.  My mom was frantic and upset, and I was dealing with her while trying to make travel arrangements.  I texted my cousin who is her daughter, and my mother's phone rang right away.  Luckily, my cousin set the record straight- Aunt Gloria just had her gallbladder removed and is at home recovering and is completely fine.  Don't most people eventually end up with their gallbladder removed?  How did gall stones turn into sudden death while leukemia and Grave's disease were pushed under the rug.  

This is why when I burst out laughing when the shrink asked if I had any history of mental illness in my family.