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. www.isurvivedikdg.com

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

Cash

A lavender scented jar candle

Cake

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.

https://www.facebook.com/lubenmag/videos/1479300638759411/

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.

https://youtu.be/T4WAQZmhOVA

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

Updates

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.

https://www.facebook.com/hope.n.hate/videos/10154424855236854/

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.  

Thursday, July 6, 2017

RIP Tiger

Tiger had gotten out again and it had been a while since I'd seen her. I joined a Facebook group for lost and found pets in my general area. I posted her picture, and I described that the way that you could distinguish her from other cats. (She had a weirdly shaped tail). A woman messaged me and told me that she saw Tiger in her front yard. The front door to her house opened, and Tiger saw her dog which caused her to run up a tree. She told me where she lived, and it was right next to my old apartment. So when I got the chance, I drove around the area looking. Then I saw Tiger dead on the side of the road. It was definitely her. I didn't pick her up. I just bowed my head and said, "I'm sorry baby girl."  At least I know that she was happy. She was always happy outside. Once she got a taste of the wild outdoors, she knew that's where she belonged. That's common with cats.

For years, Tiger was strictly Anna's cat, and Alex was strictly my cat. But since our loss, Alex has kind of morphed into being Anna's cat and really doesn't pay me much mind anymore. It made me realize that having an animal by my side is missing from my life. I learned my lesson not to let any more cats out. I went to a shelter and looked at the cats, and one of them named Judy really took to me. I decided I wanted Judy. Then- they gave me a lengthy application to fill out, as if I was adopting a child.

I don't mean to sound like a snowflake, but having worked witch children in the system, I saw too many kids miss out on good homes because of the extreme amount of red tape involved in the vetting process. It was a major trigger to have to apply for a cat. I wouldn't do it. I didn't apply for Tiger and Alex. An elderly cat hoarder gave them to us. I didn't have to apply to get pregnant and have my child.

I starred at the application and instantly, flashbacks of court hearings and kids I worked for getting bounced around every few months to different state facilities flooded into my head. A ton of intrusive thoughts zoomed in and out. I had to reach I my purse, take a Valium, and immediately leave the animal shelter.


Sunday, July 2, 2017

A ring I want

I never heard this parable of King Solomon until it was talked about by one of my favorite YouTube videos. The story is in the link below:



https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/20141021084324-7280985-the-king-and-the-ring-this-too-shall-pass


They sell the rings, and I really want one with the Hebrew letters. Not real gold, though. It's a good reminder

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Back to child advocates

I don't remember if I mentioned it here, but I did return to child advocates. The case that I'm on has nothing to do with child abuse and everything to do with punishing a mom for being poor. She used to use drugs- but has been clean for 3 years. I have 3 years worth of negative drug tests of hers in my possession. She's in close contact with her sponsor. Now, they are telling her to get a bigger place to live. She has a few prospects, but they all involve coming up with a lot of money, like now. Now I've realized that her phone has been cut off. Having to move quickly and come up with a lot more f money quickly, I can see not paying the phone bill. Not to mention I think her place is plenty big enough for her to get both of her children back. But that's me. My advocacy coordinator said, "if she can't keep her phone on, then how can she take care of her kids?"  It's not even about children of abuse anymore. It's classism.

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Menopause

I have not had a period in three months.

It's not what you think- There are no immaculate conceptions in this house.

It's menopause.  I know they told me based on my bloodwork that I was in perimenopause, but I didn't think it would happen this quickly.  I thought it took a couple of years.

An elderly woman I helped once said she didn't experience any symptoms.  "One day, it just stopped", she said.  But she was in her 50's.  I'll be 39 in 3 weeks.

A woman is said to have three phases in life- maiden, mother, and crone.  I don't like the word "crone", and don't feel like one.  For all intents and purpouses, I'm still in the mother phase.

Friday, June 23, 2017

Teacher Gives Fake Spelling Test as April Fools Prank

This 4th grade teacher giving his students a fake spelling test for April Fool's Day had Annalise and me laughing hysterically.  We had to watch it several times.



Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Lately

I usually get seasonal affective depression in the summer months. Most people get it in the winter months, but there are people like me who get it now. We are so strange that they call summer seasonal affective "reverse SAD".   It's been this way since I was about 15, though it's skipped some years. The summer that I had Annalise, 2007, I was euphoric. It also skipped one summer before I got married.

Hot flashes make it more unbearable.


A tropical storm, possibly a hurricane, is headed to east Texas tomorrow. I'm hoping it passes Houston and goes to the TX/LA border where there's a lot of KKK. Not to be blunt, but yeah.

The woman I have been working for 2 hours in the morning and two hours in the evening went into the hospital with a possible stroke. I thought to myself, if it's a stroke, she most likely won't be coming home. I was really upset. I have gotten attached to her. She has so many problems already. But her husband told me that stroke was ruled out, and she'll go home in the next couple days.

I did postmates on 6/18, because that was the 2 year anniversary of when I started with postmates. I scrolled all the way down to my first day and screenshoted it to prove to future employment that it's been two years. Uber eats is much better. I have a mileage recording app that syncs to my ubereats app and knows when I'm logged in. This is for tax purposes, although I'm a little worried about taxes when it comes to the woman I'm caring for- her husband used to write me personal checks, now he just hands me cash.


As for Father's Day, I had to wish happy Father's Day to three people:

1. My dad. He thinks I know it all. If I give him advice on something, he takes it. He is a great babysitter. I bought him a keyboard cover for his computer that has large print letters. His 75th birthday was the day after what would have been his grandnephew's birthday, whom we lost in August. Because of this he refused to celebrate. He had no problem with Father's Day tho.

2.  My ex husband. Despite whatever went on between us, at the end of the day he still gave me the best thing ever, my daughter. He's very involved with her. 8 years ago, I promised him I'd let him be involved with her. His mother lied to him his whole life and said his real dad wanted nothing to do with him. We disproved that when we were moving and found old letters dated the 1980's from his real dad begging to see him and claiming his life was not complete. I won't stoop to her level.

3. My non boyfriend who raises two kids totally alone. The mother is a deadbeat. His parents claim that they'll die of heart attacks if they babysit. He works hard at a main job, and has two side gigs. We'd be a pretty cool party of 5, but we can't be together. Unfortunately, we can't stop communicating either.

Thursday, June 15, 2017

June- an overview

June 6th- My aunt Diane's birthday. She passed in 2012, and I miss her a lot

June 11th- Annalise turned 10!

June 13th- Evan's first birthday in Heaven. He would have turned 24.

June 14th-  My dad turned 75!

This Sunday- Father's Day!

June 16- will be the 25th anniversary of my grandmother passing away.

June 21- summer solstice, and I get a huge deposit from a huge job.

June 30th- The 10th anniversary of my aunt Mary's passing.

This last week- my 17 year old cousin had a complete thyroidectomy due to suffering from Grave's disease. She is in very good spirits, and her scar looks like she survived a beheadding.


Monday, June 12, 2017

A sad reality.

One of my teenage cousins posted some meme saying "true love waits". I burst out laughing. I'm so old now. I remember when all the teenagers were born. At my age, "true love waits" means waiting until all the kids are 18 so there is no baby mama/baby daddy drama.

Thursday, June 8, 2017

Win win!!

One of my favorite apps is shopkick. It gives you points for walking into stores (you have to enable location services.) and for scanning items without buying them. I collected enough points to cash in a $5 gift card to Walmart. I found Annalise a beautiful new modest swimsuit in size 10 on clearance for $4.97!!!

On Sunday, we are going to the beach on the Bolivar Peninsula. It's a lot less commercialized and more natural than the ones in Galveston. You have to take a ferry boat to get there. The ferry ride is about 25-30 minutes long. They let you get out of your car and stand along the railing. You almost always see dolphins leaping. We can't wait.

Monday, June 5, 2017

Fleas

Alex has fleas. Tiger ran away again. I've done everything. He has a flea collar. He got flea treatment, which I actually got carded for while buying. (Are kids doing something they shouldn't be doing with flea medicine?). I've sprayed, washed all bedding, vacuum a lot. What else can I do?  He also had some matted fur which I could not comb out so I actually shaved it off. It was hilarious! He LOVED being shaved!!! If he had his way, he would have let me make him a meat kitty. Keep in mind I'm scared to take him to the vet. Thanks.

Monday, May 29, 2017

Annalise's 10th birthday slideshow video

http://show-vid.com/view/6894x2x4

The link above is to a video I made for Annalise as she approaches age 10. I hope it works!  I used a free app. And you need sound, because the song I picked makes it more perfect.

Sunday, May 28, 2017

Depression monologue

https://youtu.be/aqu4ezLQEUA


That girl was truly having a full blown panic attack while giving this speech, but still managed to get the point across because she had to.

I'm grateful to have identified the trigger of my own spiraling depression- finishing college.

Saturday, May 27, 2017

Greek, Middle Eastern, and Jewish

I think back to when I was a little girl, before the Ancestry DNA test was invented and when I thought I was 100% Greek.  We used to have world-something day, where everyone wore like ethnic attire.  I wore Greek ethnic attire, of course.  But now that I know I'm only 68% Greek, 14% Middle Eastern, 10% European Jewish, and traces of others, how would I incorporate the three main ones?  I'd be making a statement for sure.  Kids who knew at the time that they had two or more cultures got creative with costume mixing.

My mom used to want to take the test, but she wanted it for the wrong reasons.  She wanted to take it to make sure my Jewish DNA didn't come from her.  When I told my dad about it, he said, "I always knew it.  It came from my father, we always knew he was part Jewish."

My mom left it alone when he said that, but she did not leave it alone every time I told her I got a good deal on something.  I have a lot of rebate apps and gift card earning apps, and I often get stuff for free plus a few cents.  My mother will say, "That's the Jew coming out in you", or "That's because you're a Jew."

Grrrrrrr.  Please stop mom!  I can't tell her that, though!

The actress Mayim Bialik (who used to play "Blossom" in the 90's) does a great job of explaining Jewish culture in layman's terms.  She even has a video about having vegan passover for her kids.  (Whatever animals were slaughtered at the original passover, for example, were represented with stuffed animals as centerpieces at the table)

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Finally reading a book

it's basically about the christianization of Greece. My mother would kill me if she found out. I mostly read it while chilling in the car.

https://www.amazon.com/Passion-Greeks-Christianity-Rape-Hellenes/dp/1593860390

Saturday, May 13, 2017

New blog layout!!!

I love the new blog template. You can see stuff on the sidebar!

Annalise had field day yesterday. She won a ribbon for sack racing. Only when she came home, she referred to it as "jumping in the sack". My mom is almost 72, and in her day "jumping in the sack" was a slang term for having sex. So my mother bursts out laughing. Soon, I am too. Annalise got genuinely mad because she didn't get why we were laughing. She also hates it when you tell her that a certain joke is "only for grown ups". Luckily we concealed laughter enough for her to forget about it and move on to something else.

Friday, May 12, 2017

The helpful hymn


This parody religious hymn went viral.  It's hilarious.  The funny thing is is that I have started singing it to myself, and it actually gives me a boost.  I don't know all the words yet, but I may actually eventually get there.  

Monday, May 8, 2017

Milestone!!!

My daughter Annalise Joy is 9 years, 11 months old, and this past week, I taught her how to shave under her arms. She was overjoyed at the sight of the hair that came off the razor onto the towel. "That's so cool!"  She explained. Yes I know she's young, but some ethnicities are harrier than others. I was 10 when I started shaving everything. Anna exclaimed that she can't wait to tell her stepsister, but her stepmother and stepsiblings don't have the same genes, and I totally told her not to.  Her dad wouldn't mind, but his wife has an opinion on everything.

Saturday, May 6, 2017

A great Halloween idea

Everyone is all abuzz about the new adaptation on HULU of "The Handmaid's Tale". I'm so not going to watch it, because I know what it's about. It's a feminist dystopian story where women called handmaids are forced to have babies.  I just can't stand the whole feminist idea that having kids is somehow bad. The whole story reeks of paranoia. But I got an idea!!! I could totally be a handmaid for Halloween. I already have a hooded red cape and the hat can just be made from a white poster board. (The hats the handmaids wear look like the cones the veterinarian puts on an animal).

Thursday, May 4, 2017

Cut out sugar

i have made the decision to cut out sugar gradually. My dad will be 75 next month, and he is in the end stages of diabetes.  He's lost a toe, and also has retinopathy and nerve pain.
I don't want all of that for myself.
When I was going through some weird mental health crap at the end of 2016, I lost my appetite completely. It resulted in loosing 17 pounds. I also cut off my extremely long hair and then went to the salon to have it "fixed". Finally, I can do a ponytail again.
My appetite came back, and it was all for crappy junk food. For the pst week or two, I've been cutting out the sugary stuff. I go for walks with just socks on the pavement. I think I gained back about ten of the 17 lbs I lost. Idk, bc I don't get on the scale.
If anyone else has any ideas for lowering sugar, I'd love to hear them. Is there anything that does not have sugar?

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Jimmy Kimmel's newborn son

please watch this video until the end:

https://youtu.be/MmWWoMcGmo0


In 2007, I could not get my newborn daughter on a better plan unless she "passed" her 2 month check up- which baby Kimmel would not have.

Healthcare reform IS PROLIFE. If it was a few months ago, you'd have been marching for his life.

Saturday, April 29, 2017

Missed by an inch.

I'm having a lot of anxiety panic flare ups from almost getting killed by the train yesterday. It's not a traditional train, it's the metro rail, and it's silent. A bar is supposed to go down and lights are supposed to flash so You can stop when it goes by, but these weren't working and I didn't see it. It honked at me bc it can't stop and I sped up like a bat out of hell and missed it barely.  I called 311 to report it.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

My dad, lol

My dad calls the entire internet "the website". Then I said my cousin texted me and he said "oh I'm so glad he sent you a text message on the website".

Monday, April 17, 2017

Easter Sucks

Did you know that my parents' denomination, Eastern Orthodox, usually go by a different calendar and therefore celebrate Easter on a different day most years?  However, this year, it happened to fall on the same day.  It was horrible.  I always used to like it when it was on the same day.  But this year, it was just an annoyance.  It was so commercialized.
My parents' church has all kinds of crazy rules.  One of them is that they do Easter service at midnight.  At midnight!  My parents are in their 70's and can't handle that!  I woke up at 1:30 and waited up for them,  I was worried about them driving.  Ever since they got home, their sleep has been off and they have been massive bitches.  I told them no more midnight easter for them.  If they want to go again, go to an Episcopal church or something, at a decent freakin hour.

Thursday, April 13, 2017

I have great news!!!

I actually got the referral bonus from uber eats!!!  Wooooo!  It's $250, and I'll get it on Wednesday. I tell everyone about Postmates and uber eats whenever anyone complains about money. But, no one ever does it. I referred 4 friends to uber eats with a referral code and because one of them just completed his 30th delivery, I get the bonus.

Saturday, April 8, 2017

Easter egg hunt

here's a video of my daughter going nuts at an Easter egg hunt.

https://youtu.be/x2d_ARPwnM4

Friday, March 31, 2017

Upsetting news

I had an exam last week with a blood test that confirmed that, just like my mother, I was diagnosed with premature menopause.
It's not that big of a deal. There is a vitamin I have to take now. But it's very sad for me. I feel like I'm being punished.

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Punishment by bladder

I don't know what's wrong with me.
I have to go to the bathroom at least 20 times after I decide to go to bed at night.  I took an at home UTI test, and it came back negative.
It's not like this all day, just at night.  Just as I am drifting off, I feel the urge.  Then I go, and it's like two drops of pee.

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Life in perspective

I've been going every morning for 2 hours to my under-the-table client from care dot com. I get her ready and get her out of bed into the motorized wheelchair. Then I make her breakfast.
Her daughter, son in law, and grandkids came from Chicago. Her husband was going to take them to the rodeo. This was on one of her dialysis days, so I was helping the dialysis guy get get hooked up in bed. She was crying about the rodeo. There is literally no way she can go. I highly doubt she can get into a car. Her husband said, "Do you want me to not go?" And she was like no, go, just go. She's not even that old, probably younger than my mom. I just hope it made her happy to see the grandkids.

Monday, March 20, 2017

What I want in a new place to live

Annalise and I lived in a one bedroom apartment for 6 and a half years. Now we live with my parents. I am already planning on what I want for my next home. I want 4 bedrooms. My reasons for this are because Annalise is older now, and she needs her own room. I have also changed my mind about adopting.  I wasn't going to do it when I realized how brutal the process was. But since I'm most likely taking after my mom, who was completely done with menopause by age 40 or 41, and everyone gets their panties in a bunch when I am dating, I'll probably not have anymore children. I'm getting hot flashes already. They aren't fun. I always joke that if I get married again, I'll probably get shot standing at the altar. I joke, but it's a legit fear. I wouldn't be able to enjoy taking my vows. I'd be looking out the side of my eye- that's how upset people get when I have a man in my life. 20 years I've dealt with it. I had my first boyfriend at age 18, and I'm 38 now. When it comes to adoption, yes it's brutal, but I've been through brutality before. One child was not enough for me. 
My other reason is that when my parents are elderly (well they are elderly, but I mean like more elderly), I want them living with me. Whichever one dies first, I'm insisting that the remaining one live with me. Having cared for elderly in their homes, the ones who have already lost their spouse do way worse if they live alone than if they live with family or in a facility. 

I want all IKEA furniture, and I'm going to pay a friend to assemble it all for me. Annalise's room will have a bunk bed with drawers. Adopted children's room will have a bunk with a pull out trundle. My mom will have a big comfy bed, preferably a memory foam mattress. I don't care much about what kind of bed I sleep on. 

I also want a book case full of rocks. I know that sounds weird, but I'm saving up for all of this, and for the Houston gen and mineral show in November. 

Sunday, March 19, 2017

I guess I should be in jail

I have walked my daughter to school many times:


http://thefreethoughtproject.com/texas-parents-told-will-arrested-walk-children-school/

Spring Equinox



The Spring Equinox is tomorrow, March 20th. I have always loved this holiday.  If you've ever wondered what bunnies and eggs have to do with Easter, it's because they were symbols of fertility for the vernal equinox celebrations before Christianity.  People complain about bunnies and eggs every year, but still use them.  So much comes from our pagan roots, much more than you realize.  






Thursday, March 16, 2017

Almost hit

Today, some jerk ran a red light and missed me by, seriously, inches.  I was shaking afterwards.
When I told my dad, he said I should have let him hit me so I could sue and get a ton of money.  Hello?  I don't want to die, either.  He almost was going to T-Bone me.  I wonder if he was drunk or texting.  Jerk!

Double standard.

I just wanted to say this:

It was totally fine for my ex husband to marry a woman who already had two kids. Now I have a boyfriend with two kids and people have a problem with that. I wish he was my husband, and I wash K&R were my kids. I'm almost 39. Am I supposed to end up with the 40 year old virgin? Or a young man who could be my son, age wise?

Karl raises his two kids all by himself. Their mother was only granted one 15 minute
Phone call per week by the court. She has not called in 6 months. Yet I had someone tell me I should talk to her about what their marriage was like and what kind of husband he was. Oh, right!  My daughter's step mom would NEVER have me telling her anything negative about my ex, but I'm expected to listen to a deadbeat mother?

It's such a double standard.

Monday, March 13, 2017

Uber Eats Tips (and postmates)

So there are people criticizing Uber.  My cousin is one of them.  They want to be considered employees and not independent contractors.  I disagree with this.  If we become employees, then all we'll make is minimum wage.  Our hours will also be dictated, and that messes up the opportunity for extra money for those of us who have regular jobs.  No other job lets you just clock in and out whenever you want.  One guy said because of becoming an Uber driver, he is out $90,000.  What?  What did he do, by four brand new cars?  One woman said you have to buy a new car every two years.  No, you don't.  Who does that?  I bought my car from my mechanic and paid cash for it cheap.  He rebuilt the transmission on it.  If I wear it out, I wear it out and I'll go get another one from him.  And I'll take Uber in the mean time!
People who do postmates also claim that they drive around while waiting for dispatches.  Don't do that!  Park somewhere and chill in the car until you get dispatched.  If you drive around while not on a delivery, you are wasting gas.  Some people are stupid.  I don't want these opportunities to be lost.  They are the reason I was able to bring my student loans from $26K (when I graduated in 2013) to $9999 last month.  I'm super lucky to only have four digits.  Lot of ppl in deep doo doo over student loans.  Our paernts' generation sold us a lie.  I'm also able to give my mom new carpeting in the whole house for her 72nd birthday in May.  The carpet here is nasty.

Thursday, March 9, 2017

The Office CPR







This was us yesterday.  At least I don't have to go through that for two more years.  I always start CPR class with Michael Jackson's "Annie are you OK" stuck in my head and leave with "Stayin Alive" stuck in my head.

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Volunteering for kids

At an animal shelter here locally, kids can volunteer as long as they have a parent volunteering with them. So I signed Annalise up to be a cat socializing volunteer. My daughter is very passionate about cats, and she will be 10 in June. It's very important to me that she has access to experience outside of schooling in the areas she's interested in. I think parents of my generation know first hand that it's not educatio that gets you anywhere, it's experience. Annalise is so excited, and so am I. I just hope our cats don't get jealous when they smell the shelter cats on us!

Friday, March 3, 2017

AncestryDNA should be more accessible

I've gotten hooked into the YouTube videos of people who had the ancestry DNA test done and reading their results. Many people have really blown me away with what they have found. It not only breaks down your ancestry, but it gives you profiles of people you are genetically related to. . Here are some examples:

An African American woman received her results on her 49th birthday, and learned that most of her African ancestry came from Cameroon/Congo. She said it was the best birthday present, to have that identity instead of just being broadly African. She was crying, and I cried with her.

A young woman was the result of rape and found her biological paternal family, even though they denied that he had raped her mother. (DNA doesn't lie).

A young man had the test done with his whole family, and it was confirmed that his grandmother had been switched at birth. Great-grandmother had always said that she tried to tell the hospital that they gave her the wrong baby, but they didn't listen. His grandmother tested as not biologically related to her siblings. She was already elderly when this was confirmed, and great grandma had already passed away.

A woman said that her mother was adopted, and that the adoption was extremely closed and secretive. She was able to discover her ethnic background (mostly British and Scandinavian) and found some maternal biological relatives.

A TON of people, both black and white, said they always thought they had some Native American ancestry, but all of them tested with 0% Native American. I guess everyone wants to be one!

A husband and wife both too know the test and found out that they are fourth cousins. Oops!!!  Luckily, it's distant enough to not be a big deal.


Depression- 3 and a half years

I've really been struggling with depression since childhood, but it was never as bad as it has been since I graduated with my Bachelor's degree in August of 2013.


It's about time I realized that- that college was the cause of this downward spiral, and that since then I've kind of just been freefalling with no direction.  

It's a start to finally getting some normalcy back and getting back up after realizing that life after finishing college is not at all what "they" say it is.  

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

permaculture garden day 2



The sun has to dry out the compost a lot more before I can spread it out over the straw layer.  The compost is the only item I don't believe I got enough of.  

Monday, February 27, 2017

Permaculture "No Dig" Garden




This is the plan I have for the garden at my parents' house this year.  It's a basic no dig garden.  For more on why digging is discouraged in permaculture, read here.  


This is our corner of the yard before we started working.  Annalise took up the tomato stakes and some twige.  A couple hours earlier, I poured two bottles of white vinegar over an ant mount.  
Then, we laid down newspaper.  It was windy, so we put Lucerne (also called alfalfa) down right away before we spread it out.  I didn't want newspapers blowing away.  





I am definitely going to be updating my permaculture garden more on this blog as I get more done.  I actually feel like going out right now and doing some.  

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Tragedy so close to home

Early yesterday morning, I saw a breaking news story.

http://www.nydailynews.com/amp/news/crime/houston-girl-8-shot-death-car-crash-article-1.2982293

8 year old girl shot to death in an apparent road rage incident. The news listed the intersection as Fuqua St. at Sam Houston Pkway. My daughter's school is at the intersection of Sabo and Sam Houston Parkway, and the intersection of Fuqua and Sabo is a mile north. All day Saturday, I had gotten the street names confused and assumed that this happened right at the intersection where my daughter's school is.

My daughter was at her dad's house, and I planned on picking her up around 4:00 pm. I quickly texted my ex husband, "If you could please not turn on the news this morning- an 8 year old girl was shot and killed just a block or two away from Stuchbery in a road rage incident this morning. If the news identifies the girl, and Anna knows her, I'd rather she not find out that way."

As the day went on, I dreaded telling my daughter. Because this had happened in our neighborhood and the victim was so close in age to Annalise, a part of me knew the high probability that it was a friend of Annalise's. I didn't know what I was going to do, dealing with this with my child. I also lost a classmate when I was in elementary school. It's so hard for a kid. I did decide that no matter what, I would take Anna to the service if she wanted to go. When I was a kid and my classmate died, my mother didn't let me go to his service.

Then I got in the car to go get her. I purposely drove past the intersection by her school, mistakenly thinking that was the scene, but I quickly realized it wasn't. I had thought Sabo was Fuqua. I then remembered that Fuqua was a mile north. Then, I wondered, where did Fuqua intersect with Sam Houston? I entered it into my GPs, and it was 15 miles west. "Oh" I thought. That must be why they were saying "southwest side" on the news. I kept correcting them in my head, 'it's the southeast side 😡'.

I had no idea Fuqua wound all the way over there.

I texted the friends and family members that I had been telling about this and told them that I had made a mix up. The little girl did not die in my neighborhood, she died about 15 miles away.

Some responded, "whew!"

That response was well-meaning and all, but others responded with a more appropriate response, "it's still a tragedy."  Yes it is.

A gofundme for the family was started here.

https://www.gofundme.com/in-memory-of-demaree-adkins

Humanitarian Designer

Any woman who goes from fashion designer to SJW is a hero in my book.

www.adiff.com

Saturday, February 25, 2017

HOW does this happen?

I had another sleepless night getting sucked into YouTube documentaries.

https://youtu.be/-eeAF-dEuww

That woman^.

Holy cow!  She lied about being a 9/11 survivor, became the president of the survivors' network, and kept the lie going for SIX WHOLE YEARS through media interviews and everything.

Watching that, a lot of people say, "how come people didn't question this" and "how come people didn't question that", etc.  Someone in the comments mentioned what I think we all know- most people did question it, but put those feelings aside as being politically incorrect. If you remember how the American psyche was in the first 5 or 6 years after 9/11, to question a survivor probably would have been unthinkable. Everyone was so shell shocked, that I believe it really did take the media (and everyone else) 6 years to go, "hey wait a minute".

I don't believe her story to be uncommon. She got caught, because she was so prominent.

Friday, February 24, 2017

So many errands!!!

I have been putting off an insane amount of things that really need to be done, mostly because of resurfacing depression. Yesterday and today, I took personal days to get it all done. I can't even list it all here, because it's so much. A lot of it was miscellaneous work done on the car that I knew would take forever and a day for them to work on. Thank God for uber!  Because it's so easy to request a ride in minutes, I didn't have to sit in these places to wait, nor did I have to wait on someone I know to give me a ride or take the 😫 Bus 😫
The bus is convenient, but you almost always have to walk a great distance to get to a stop and you have to deposit $1.25 every time you change lines. My uber rides have been running $7-$9 each, and they pick you up right where you want and when you want.
Something that felt really really good was that I gave my couch bed to a family in need. A man from their church location came with his truck to pick it up and drop it off at their home. It actually felt better to give it than it would have to sell it, and that is surprising. That brown couch bed has several uses and is very comfortable (at least in couch form), but when I get a new place I want all new furniture. I'm not going to settle with furniture either. I'm definitely going to take my time and be willing to spend more for the right stuff.

Monday, February 20, 2017

My first uber ride

i got service on my brakes, and I did not have a way to get to the shop when the car was ready to pick up. So I decided to request an uber driver. I stood outside of my parents' house with Annalise while we waited for the driver to show up. While they are en route to your location, you can see their car on the map. Annalise got super excited when we saw the car making a turn. I did as I would want someone to do to me and gave the driver a 5 star rating.

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Can of worms

This is one of the reasons why I think the ancestry DNA test is so important. This young woman was the product of rape, and because she took the test, she was able to track down her father and his family.

https://youtu.be/sljgWxvrBCY

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Step Up 4 Revolution - Moose Dance Official Scene





I have never heard of this movie series called "Step Up" in my life.  Looks like something I would have been into when I was a teen.  I learned about them when I found out that my cousin Bobby was the stunt man for the character "Moose".  OMG my cousin even has an IMDb page!

Controversial Beauty

I finally got around to watching Beyonce's performance at the Grammys. I think she was beautiful dressed as Oshun. She made a controversial choice, but she did it wonderfully.

https://youtu.be/A_Y5g-0kQx8

4th grade party


I got to join Annalise's class Valentine's Day party with her friends, teacher, some friends' parents, and room mothers.  While I was checking in at the office, a mom was in front of me with her 2 year old son.  I knew who she was, as her older child is in Anna's class.  The school turned her away because she had the little one with her.  I had forgotten all the crazy rules when you work with children.  I thought that was stupid.  When I got to the class, I told the little boy what happened with his mother, because he was expecting her.  I didn't want him to think his mother ditched him.  

While sitting at my child's desk, I started going through all the papers inside of it.  Annalise kept trying to stop me.  I don't think she has anything in there to hide, I think she inherited her father's organized chaos and didn't want me moving things around.  She knows about the time I was in 5th grade and found a black banana in my desk.  The teacher humiliated me with it in front of the whole class.  

I applied for a respite care position with a man who is caring for his elderly and disabled wife.  He wants me to stay with her for 48 hours straight from a Saturday morning to a Monday morning.  I met with them last night, and they are a lovely couple.  I found them through the app "care.com".  I also got on urban sitter, even though I had a traumatizing experience with urban sitter.  Four days before my cousin Evan was killed, I saw that Urban Sitter allows you to text your contacts and ask for a review.  So I sent Evan the link with a text message that said, "I used to babysit you, and you're still alive". 
He submitted a review of me and called me immediately after for the very last conversation we would have.  Four days later, he was killed, and it wasn't until I was in the car with my parents going to his funeral that I realized I had said the words, "And you're still alive".  When I made that connection, I started sobbing.  My mom was tsk-ing and comforting me with, "You didn't know".  When Evan's mother-in-law had the pre-funeral luncheon at her home, I sat on the steps to her back door and talked with my cousin Mercedes.  I started sobbing again at what I had said to Evan 4 days before he was killed.  My head was bent over into my hands, and Mercedes said, "Look!  Look up!"  She pulled my hand so I could get my face out of my hand.  At that moment, a purple butterfly went right past my face.  I took it as Evan saying don't worry about it, its ok.  I never felt bad about it again.  
So that was my experience on the urban sitter app, but this elderly couple I found on care.com.  
My parents want to know why he's going away for the weekend.  They both joke that he's probably committing infidelity.  I was like, no.  I don't think so.  Caregiver fatigue is real, and it's huge.  Because he's a man caregiver for his wife, he gets the "must be cheating" label.  I'll be going over there this evening to work with her before the weekend starts.  They have three lovely cats and the room that they declared "my room" has a king sized bed with the most beautiful quilt.  That was the first thing I noticed.  I said, "Wow nice quilt!" He looked twice and said, "Yeah I guess it is."
I will be making great money for this only being 2 days.  This is why I wish people would give the app=based "gig economy" chances.  It's really a good thing for more income!

Monday, February 13, 2017

Nublet

I just want to brag on my 9 year old. She has a birth defect on her ear which is not medically harmful. Usually, her hair covers it. Today, a kid in her class made a comment about it. I told my daughter that she can have it surgically repaired at any time. It won't hurt, and I already have a doctor lined up for it. She said no, that it makes her unique, and the girl is probably just jealous of it. 😛

Saturday, February 11, 2017

Flea Market Day

I usually go to Cole's flea market to sell my jewelry, but this time it was more of a moving sale. I did sell 8 jewelry pieces, though.
When I go there, I have to speak Spanish a lot. It doesn't help that there's a random Greek guy who knows I'm Greek and tries to speak it to me. When I'm dealing with the crowds there, and the foreign language part of my brain is turned to Spanish, it will be a huge mind fuck if I have to switch over to Greek.

There's also this really old white guy. Every time I see him there- every time- he tells me that he used to know my father at the 7 mile fair in Wisconsin. When I was a kid in Chicago, we'd take a weekend to go up there and buy/sell. My father has no recollection of him, though.

Altogether, I made $185. Minus $13 for the table. Minus $6 for tacos, but I would have had to eat lunch whether I was there or not.

Annalise comes with me tomorrow. I definitely need her merchandising skills.

Friday, February 10, 2017

Danielle is in a relationship, and it's complicated

That's my official Facebook relationship status now.

Me and my friend Karl from high school can't stop talking to each other. We tried, but staying apart didn't work. We are still physically apart by over 1,000 miles, but that doesn't seem to matter. I am going back to Arizona on March 10th to see him for another 4 day visit.

I'm also going to see my aunt, because I don't think it's right that my mom has been avoiding her since she lost her grandson. My aunt needs to be in touch with people.

I raised some eyebrows by changing my Facebook relationship status to "it's complicated". Being in different states doesn't complicate things enough. We both have to be nearly 40, each of us single parent who are pressured not to date other single parents, etc.

I have not decided yet if I want to introduce him to my aunt.

Postmates Vlogger

I recently came across a vlogger naed Heather Ramirez. Some of her blogs are about being a postmates courier, and they are very helpful for someone who is new at it. Here are the links:

https://youtu.be/YMPmMRDdabQ


https://youtu.be/qUajWN8SZS4



https://youtu.be/GJN_ojPCfr8



Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Strange experience

This morning on my way to work, I was listening to the radio and singing along to the song that was playing. Out of the blue, I felt a warm tingly feeling start at the crown of my head and move slowly down my body all the way down to the tips of my toes. It's almost exactly what people who claim to have been miraculously healed of an ailment claim their healing felt like.

This is a link to the song that was playing:

https://youtu.be/JGYjKR69M6U

It took at least 30 seconds to go from head to toe. It came out of nowhere. I am not sick, nor have I been praying for healing in any way. I do have my neurological condition,  but it's completely under control with medication and therapy techniques.

There is a woman in my office who is married to an AME preacher. She's really the only person I feel comfortable talking to about this, because of my interpretation of what it felt like. However, she doesn't know about my neurological condition. I shy away from telling a lot of religious people about it, because some still believe it means you are possessed.

I doubt she personally would think that, though. I know her well enough at this point to tell her if the topic comes up.

I just wonder what that was. It was not hot or cold in my car. The temperature was just right.

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

No Monopoly

This might be the one and only thing about the Trump presidency that doesn't upset me, but I don't think anything is wrong with Betsy DeVos.  Maybe that's my Texas coming out, who knows.  So, she's in favor of school choice?  Me, too!  The public school system can't have a monopoly on things.  Ms. DeVos isn't perfect.  Neither is anyone else, but the education system needs a major overhaul.  Appointing someone who supports choice is a good start.  That's all!

Exploring the Arctic's Global Seed Vault

Monday, February 6, 2017

Queen Victoria on Masterpiece Theater

Last night, I got to watch the PBS Masterpiece Theater about Queen Victoria. It was amazing!

I loved the wedding scene, and I'm so glad I found it here:

https://youtu.be/qFG6K2wnqq4

I had a fascination with Queen Victoria when I was a teenager.  This series has really brought me back to that. I had forgotten the feeling of beauty I used to feel when looking at the fashion and customs of her era.

Sunday, February 5, 2017

Seed Vault

I didn't know this existed until yesterday when I saw it on a documentary. This is what I believe the most genius storage unit in the world. Personally, I feel so much better about my grandchildren's and great-grandchildrens'future knowing that it's there!!
https://www.regjeringen.no/en/topics/food-fisheries-and-agriculture/jordbruk/svalbard-global-seed-vault/id462220/

Saturday, February 4, 2017

Wow!

I remember my 6th grade teacher trying to explain the three branches of government to us. She insisted that if the founding fathers had not set it up this way, it would be easy to slip into a dictatorship. Of course, I did not fully understand at the time.
I don't thing I completely understood until last night when I literally watched what my 6th grade teacher described. In my eyes, the judicial branch literally stopped President Trump in his tracks. That attorney general said it himself, "No one is above the law, not even the president."

http://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/u-s-judge-temporarily-blocks-trump-immigration-order-nationwide-n716706

I highly encourage watching the video of the Washington attorney general who announced the decision. ^  He is obviously very passionate about this, and it is encouraging to see passion.

I'm thinking of my 6th grade teacher. She is probably no longer with us. She was very old, even then. But for some reason, my mind took me back there, and I imagined raising my hand and telling her about this, citing it as an example.

Thursday, February 2, 2017

Anti-bullying principal

https://youtu.be/515NMacJLHA

I saw a video of this on social media, and I completely started sobbing. I don't know why. It's the simplest thing in the world.

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

No Super Bowl weekend for me

The Super Bowl is being held here in my hometown!!!  I'm actually going to be glad when it's over. We were all pumped up about postmates and uber eats being really busy with tourists. Then as big game day approached, I started dreading the traffic. And the street closures. And the parking. And the people going insane over *a game*.
I started hearing through the grapevine that uber recruited drivers from other cities to fill the demand here this weekend. Therefore, it wasn't going to be as busy for each individual as we thought.
Here comes the complaining in the Facebook group!
I found out today that for my main job, I am going to have to spend 3 days and 2 nights in a rural part of Texas with some families there. Actually, I volunteered for this. It's the only thing that would financially justify choosing not to do postmates or uber this weekend

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

What to blog about?

I'm sitting here at my dad's desk, and I have the itch to blog.  I do not have a specific subject, though.  I guess I'll just do tidbits.

Tonight was math game night at Annalise's school.  It was a whole lot of school after school, but Annalise had a blast.  The best thing was that she got a homework pass for going.

I decided that Annalise and I should move to a specific area of Houston that I've always liked.  It will be super nice to be more conveniently located.  I need to brace myself, though- looking for a place in Houston now is going to be a LOT different than it was 15 years ago.  There has been a ton of gentrification here.

I bought this Accura about 7 weeks ago now.  I am realizing how annoying it is to have a white car.  I never worried about car washes before.  I had maybe one a year, if that.  Now, because I'm in a white car, I notice how dirty it is right away.  I cringe.  It would be cheaper to go to the do it yourself ones, but I have no idea how to work those.  Is that sad? I did see a sign that said "Car Wash $5", but I didn't have time to stop in, and now I have completely forgotten where that sign was.

Annalise and I had a garage sale this past weekend.  Super fun!  She took it extremely seriously.  She had the task of arranging items, and she did so very meticulously.  Whenever someone bought something, she'd start completely over to make up for the space that was left.

I decided also that we will drive to Arizona for a road trip the last weekend of July.  That will be the weekend before the 1 year anniversary of my cousin Evan's death.  The Greek Orthodox memorial prayers called "Trisagion" are often held at one year marks, and I am sure my aunt and uncle will have one at the church I attended with my parents when we lived in Phoenix.  I am not so angry at my parents' denomination anymore.  Their actions after Evan was killed are water under the bridge now.  I also have an on again/off again old flame from high school.  It's such a long story with him.  He has been a very very good friend for a very very long time, and we want to see each other again.  He'll also go with me to church.  I don't care what anyone says.


The day after tomorrow, Evan will be gone 6 months.  It does not get easier.  It is getting harder and harder to deal with.  His little girl, now 3 and a half, has decided to morph into a mini clone of him.  She used to look more like her mother, but you know how kids change looks and kind of switch which parent to look like.  Her mom put pics from some pecan picking adventure, and wow.  Same face.  I found an old pic of me as a high school senior holding Evan at age 3.  It's like the same kid, without the ponytails!

We will never know why some things happen.



Monday, January 30, 2017

Standing ground

In the past, I have raised some eyebrows and gotten "comments" about my upcycled jewelry items having religious significance for people of a few different faiths.
I briefly considered avoiding making religious jewelry items, but decided in the end not to stop.
The purpose of my jewelry business is not to promote any religion by making jewelry with their symbols, nor is it to denounce any religion by not making items with their symbols. The purpose is simply to salvage good pieces from any broken item and making a new item out of it.
If the salvaged pieces have religious significance, then someone of that faith will buy it if they like it. I'd be untrue to myself if I discarded a loose crucifix or a Star of David or anything else religious in order to not instigate controversy. People need to be aware that I also may not even know if something I made means something in a specific religion. I was told that one of my pieces had a symbol for jehova's witnesses. That was news to me. I didn't even know jehovas witnesses had symbols. I don't know much about them at all except for the fact that they like to leave their publications in laundromats.