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Monday, November 24, 2014

Thanksgiving

Gratitude is the most amazing thing, it helps us step outside our aches and pains, our rants and fits to maybe look at the things in life that just keep us going.

I neglect to notice.

We all know that I love my husband and children with a white hot passion that never ebbs only flows...

I am grateful for the gift of friendships...I have the best friends in the world. No matter where I go I find new people to love, from my gifted writing friends to the sweet elderly women in the temple I love them all!  I have friends from childhood, friends from my older children's childhood and friends from my younger children's childhood.  They laughed with me, cried with me and hugged me when I thought raising children would do me in!!  And those friends who cried with me when we sent them off to missions and college.  I have friends from casinos, church, catering, neighbors and a wrong number at Christmas time.

I don't have many hobbies, just my books and my plants, but I love them both...if I need a boost in life I go to a bookstore or a nursery.  I am grateful for authors who write amazing books for me to read.  And a big shout out to Heavenly Father for His 4th day antics.  (the fourth day is the day He created plants )

I am grateful for the doctor who operated on my daughter Ashleigh so she can move about without pain. I am grateful to the pilots who will bring my son Mikey home to us on Wednesday.  I am grateful to Kacy for loaning Emma his car so she could drive home safely tomorrow.  I am grateful for interesting topics Trey and I can dissect. And I am grateful to Raymond for never wanting to give up, but to keep striving to achieve his dreams.

I am grateful for my beliefs.  They give me strength, answer my questions, and make me better than I would be.  They have grown over the years, sort of like Aslan in Narnia, he got bigger....

I am grateful for peace.  You know that is the only emotion that cannot be counterfeited?  Peace is what I strive for each day, some days I am good at it, some days not so much.  But I am always searching for peace.

And finally I am grateful for my pillow....it is the greatest pillow, squishy in just the right places.  Every night I thank my heavenly father for a comfortable bed and a squishy pillow.

And now it is time to embrace my squishy pillow and thank my Heavenly Father one more time for the wonderful life He has given to me.  In his words, "I knew where I planted you and it has brought forth much fruit"  I love His garden metaphors..

Goodnight dear friends, thank you for reading!!

Sunday, November 23, 2014

I Didn't Go Alone - A Story about Bill Cosby

Lately there has been a swirl of press around Bill Cosby and his alleged raping of women.  The response from fans have been everything from total bewilderment to shock, outrage and disbelief.  I understand their reactions, after all we watched him as an amazing father on a break through television show in the 80's. He sold jello for heavens sake and in interviews or in his act he always spoke with love and reverence about his wife Camille.  What's not to believe? He was seemingly a family man who prized education and laughter.  To not believe the charges that have been levied against him is understandable.  Maybe even fair...it's all a "he said, she said" kind of thing, right?  And what good does it do to dredge it all up now?

I felt the same way most of you did about Bill Cosby, but that was a long, long time ago.

I have blogged about my early twenties before, it was all dancing and tennis and not much else.  I worked nights at one tennis club and spent most of my days at Caesar's Palace where I hit with guests, picked up balls after lessons and washed courts.  Not very glamorous, but it was when tennis was the thing to do and Caesars was the place to be.  The guests and vip's I played with were captains of industry, athletes, actors, and comedians.  One of those tennis playing guests was Bill Cosby.  He starred at the Hilton and played tennis around town.   We played several times and he took a great interest in me.  I was young and his interest seemed "dad like".  I thought he just enjoyed playing tennis and needed someone to hit with while he was in town.

That's what I thought...I thought he was his public persona.  This was before his actual Cosby show when he was the quintessential dad, but he was still Bill Cosby the funny guy, certainly not dangerous.  He even joined me on the indoor courts at the Tropicana where I played tennis every Mondays with a friend.  To me it was all about tennis, having fun playing tennis.  I certainly didn't think he was dangerous.  Underscore, he never acted dangerous.

Then one night my girlfriend Wendy, Cosby and I went out.  When we got back to the Hilton he asked if I wanted to see his hotel room.  I was interested to see what that particular penthouse looked like, Elvis got married there!  Besides Cosby was harmless.  Thinking she would like to see it also I asked Wendy to go with us.  She was the DJ at the disco of the Hilton and for 20 minutes every hour she would play music and then the live band took over for 40 minutes.  After a brief tour of his penthouse things changed dramatically and quickly.  He made it clear in a very aggressive way what his intentions were.  He chillingly said to me, "I   will   have   you."  Those words are imprinted on my brain along with the evil I felt.  My first thought was immediate, "No you will not."  Then shock took over, and when words wouldn't come a paralyzing feeling did.  Wendy started talking very fast, she was explaining that she had to get back to work, she would surely be missed and how would we all explain that, and I was going with her.  Wendy never left me, for that one instinctive act of love and protection I will never be able to thank her enough.  It is a blur how we left or what force propelled us out of there, but we were safe.  I had no idea that he drugged his victims until I read the stories of late, and I have no way of knowing what would have happened if Wendy had not been there.  What I do know is his words were an assault to me never to be forgotten.  And the betrayal of friendship was staggering.

I still saw Cosby in passing after that although we never played tennis again.  He acted as though nothing had occurred.  A case can easily be made that I was foolish and starstruck, and I never should have gone to his room, agreed...But nothing I was foolish of warranted the treatment I received.

As I saw him on television so broadly loved and so completely opposite of that one horrible night, I thought there must have been something wrong with me.   I have learned over the years that is a typical reaction to abusive behavior.  If you wonder why no one came forward before now, I imagine that is why.  Who would have ever believed he was like that?  Think about it, how many of us can say that about a boss?  A date?  A teacher?  A coach?  We have to provide our sisters a safe place to fall.  A place where they will be believed and protected....no shame and no guilt.  Maybe the more we shine a light on abusive behavior the less it will occur.  In the mean time we must teach as much protection as possible.

Never go alone.....casual dating, parties or walking home.

Please, don't go alone.

And one more time, thank you Wendy...



Saturday, November 22, 2014

Coyote Beautiful



Our neighborhood is changing...lots of new homes being built.  And while I am happy for the new folks who will be joining us I am going to miss the things that have made this neighborhood so interesting.  We have coveys of quail and an Owl, roadrunners that come and go, but always checking in when they come back, once coming right in the house!  Since we have lived here we have seen foxes and bighorn sheep, snakes and tarantulas.

Out of all the animals I have seen here the coyote is still my favorite.  I feel like they are a real representation of the wild west...and up to now our neighborhood has felt that way.

Imagine our surprise when we saw a coyote running down Egan Crest....

He stopped at the stop sign, looked both ways, and then turned right on Tropical. He was really moving fast, but well under the speed limit.

We are happy to report that the coyotes in our area are law abiding, upstanding citizens.

Friday, November 21, 2014

My Life From the Bleachers

I accepted a challenge to blog everyday in November, I did that because I usually have to be forced to do anything.  Except eat...eating seems to be the one thing I never forget to do.  I don't even have to be hungry.  Back to blogging every day.  Well, I missed a day, but a dear fellow blogger told me not to worry, keep going and remember this is just for us.  Made sense and was strangely liberating.  Then this week my daughter had surgery and I missed 3 days.  I couldn't get my iPad to work in the hospital so I thought, wait this is for me.  Pressure disappeared and I resurfaced today.

But I have nothing to say....

What do writers do when they have nothing to write about?

Well they reminiscence.  Trying to find anything to write about

They argue with anyone....trying to find anything to write about

They stare into space

They wish they had a better writing room

They read things they have written before and realize they have written crap before so writing crap now is not so bad.

They think about Wayne Dyer who creates a book jacket before he creates the book, props it up, lights a candle and starts to write.  Could someone create a book jacket for me?

This is what is next to my computer.  A solar generated queen who waves when she has been sufficiently shined on.




I like the Queen, there aren't enough people like her in the world.  Regal, focused, loyal, and protective.  I also loved Helen Mirren as the queen....


as a matter of fact I love Helen Mirren.



So this is what writers write about when they have nothing to write about....a statue on their desk.

No worries, no pressure, the muse will return.  Tomorrow is another day.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Unless you need Demerol

So tomorrow is the big day we have been waiting for.  My daughter is having back surgery and we can't wait.  That seems counterintuitive except for the fact she has been in horrible pain for over 2 months.  She has a herniated disk and they have said it is the easiest back surgery there is.  Today the PA said she was a surgeons dream because she is thin and in great shape.  Part of that great shape is why she is having back surgery.  She is a runner, a cross-fitter, and an ex gymnast.  It all comes together for an injury.  When the doctor told her that the lifestyle she led caused the problems she just shrugged...she wouldn't have changed anything.  So now she won't be able to do certain things, but full activity is actually 6 weeks away.

I think that is a miracle.  Someone with this injury or problem 100 years ago would have just stayed in bed.  or 75 years ago.  50 years ago they had surgery but it was dicey...now, she has a 98% chance of being just like she was before.

Unless she needs demerol.  The PA said there is a shortage of demerol so she has to have percoset.  That's not much of a problem, percoset is stronger, higher chance of addiction....but why a shortage of demerol?  I asked the PA was happened.  Did a pharmaceutical company stop making it, or didn't make enough?  Have we, as a country, been in more pain lately?

Obamacare.  That was his answer.  The government thinks we use too much demerol so they put limits on how much pharmaceutical companies could make.   I don't know how you feel but I know some government workers...lots of them, and I do not want them, or anyone else in government cubicles making drug decisions for me.  Because if they do, I will be in pain.

They are taking our demerol!!

So with all the stuff about Jonathan Gruber and his claim we are too stupid and now less demerol...our lives are simply in shambles.   When I first heard the Gruber thing I realized he got it wrong.  They knew the American people were too smart, not too stupid....lets be clear.  They knew if they told the truth about it we would howl more than we did.  It's all a mess....

A friend of mine has Obamacare.  It works, they have health insurance but its not very good insurance.  They have a HMO type plan which was all they could afford and as you know with HMO's, they are very limited in where they can go and what doctors they can see.  When she wanted a second opinion on a surgery that was recommended there was no place to go.  The first doctor wanted to do a full knee replacement on her torn meniscus.  Who would do a full knee replacement without a second opinion for a torn meniscus?  He told her he had done 50.  50?  You want to go to someone who has done 5000...with a small amount of investigation she found out he wasn't even an orthopedic doctor, he is a bone cancer doctor.  Since her plan only has one orthopedic group the chances the second doctor will disagree with the first doctor are pretty low.  My friend only pays $136 a month, and that includes her husband.  They have a very low income so they qualify for a subsidy.  The subsidy is $900.  A subsidy is another word for government assistance.  If they had a higher income they would be paying $1036.....she was very embarrassed to tell me how much the government assistance is.  Before Obamacare they were paying $1100 which was about to bankrupt them.  So this is a perfect example of something had to happen to fix health insurance....but this solution seems horribly flawed.  They have health insurance but not much health care.  She hasn't gotten her knee fixed because she doesn't feel she needs a full knew replacement.  And she doesn't trust the doctor to do it anyway.

And to top it all off, we are running out of Demerol.



Sunday, November 16, 2014

James Taylor, Stevie Nicks and Me

I am a child of the 70's....We were all over the place the children of the 60's were too serious for us.  It was clear we cared, but we didn't blow things up.  And one other thing we didn't really know what kind of music we liked.......We were musically schizophrenic, there was hard rock, odd rock, slow music, loud music, but all of it was wonderful music.....my early 70's taste was devoted to Jethro Tull, Rare Earth and James Taylor. My parents had lived through the Monkees, the Beach Boys and of course the Rolling Stones...and there were others....and all of the music had a story.




The summer before I graduated from high school I visited lots of colleges trying to decide which one could reject me first.  I heard "Maggie May" by Rod Stewart every ten minutes on the radio.  Today every time I hear Maggie May I go right back to that summer when everything was in front of me.  













During the race to become homecoming Queen my senior year, the local radio station dedicated a song to me for luck ...so every time I hear the song called "Sweet City Woman" by the Stampeders, I remember a wonderful Saturday afternoon at a great football game, and my yellow dress with shoes dyed to match. I didn't win, but it didn't really matter. I go back to that afternoon every time I hear...
"I can see your face, I can hear your voice, I can almost touch you
Swee-ee-eet, sweet city woman
Oh, my banjo and me, we got a feel for singin', yeah, yeah,"

And then of course that catchy refrain....sung about a thousand times, it doesn't matter how corny it is, I love it, I am 17 again....with yellow shoes dyed to match.
"Bon c'est bon, bon bon c'est bon, bon,"  
(That is awful..but I still love
it.)


And then of course there was Fleetwood Mac...I imagined I was Stevie Nicks and sang Landslide, my favorite song...The fact I couldn't sing and didn't have a drug problem seemed to be deal breakers. One concert I attended was at the Aladdin she came out on stage in this amazing long black dress that she simply floated in, she was beautiful....and her voice was perfect. She went through some hard, hard times...but today that seems to be behind her.







I thought for sure Glen Frey from the Eagles was going to ask me out. And he would have if only our paths crossed. But they didn't and he didn't.... Witchy Woman was my favorite song and I sang along at the top of my lungs...but when I got older and really listened to the words I was a little surprised.....I do remember having no idea why "she drove herself to madness with a silver spoon...".  I recently saw the Eagles with some friends and no one could get the smiles off our faces. We all were in a time machine...

"Mama told me not to come" by Three Dog Night was my anthem.  Patti and I climbed on a table to sing along with War. Didn't they sing Cisco Kid too?  I knew all the words to "American Pie" by Don McClean, and I stun friends with my ability to sing the whole...long...song..so many years later.  High School graduation was a Rare Earth concert..."I just want to celebrate!" Remember that?  

But do you know what makes me the happiest today is that Carole King and James Taylor have decided to get old.  Just look at this picture...two old friends, still with a lot of talent....being who they are. This picture makes me feel good...I know James Taylor had a lot of things to over come, but he did it, and I am so glad he did.  There are lots of stars of music who died young, some tragically, many sacrificed marriages and were estranged from their children.  Their very glamorous lives were not quite as amazing as I thought.

I am glad my life worked out the way they did. I wouldn't change a thing. Every bad decision I made helped me be stronger, and wiser. Every sad thing that happened every bumbling dumb thing I did......All of it made me better. All of our experiences are for our good, if we chose to look at them that way. And I do. I get to walk through life with the same person I started out with. That's the greatest miracle of my life. Thanks Ray-Ray. Congrats on 35 great years.

There is a great quote that says, "It is at the end of a man's life that he realizes how important the decisions were that he made at the beginning of his life."

I was never going to be a singer, or an actress, a great tennis player or Barbara Walters......I have a very small life, but it is an important one. So I don't look with envy at Stevie, or wonder if Glen is going to call...I think of that young girl looking at colleges listening to Maggie May and I know she would be happy for how things have worked out. Small lives are important lives...

Saturday, November 15, 2014

The funniest thing.....

A man who lived in Cleveland Ohio was a true Browns fan.  He wrote his own obituary and when he died his family had it published in the paper.

"As part of my funeral I would like 6 Cleveland Brown football players to be my pallbearers, that way the Browns can let me down one last time."

Now that's funny......

While we are on the subject I would like my tombstone to read,

"I told you I was sick."

And in lieu of a barbaric funeral just put me in a hefty bag for Tuesday pick up.

I think that takes care of my will......

So funny.....

A man who lived in Cleveland Ohio was a true Browns fan.  He wrote his obituary and when he died it was published in the paper.

"As part of my funeral I would like 6 Cleveland Brown football players to be my pallbearers, that way the Browns can let me down one last time."

Now that's funny......

While we are on the subject I would like my tombstone to read,

"I told you I was sick."

And in lieu of a barbaric funeral just put me in a hefty bag for Tuesday pick up.

I think that takes care of my will......

Thursday, November 13, 2014

The Rapper and the MRI



From Earlier this year......



Ain't life a kick?  It astounds me the twists and turns it takes.

For instance my rapper friend.

What?

It was last christmas and I received a text...just a simple greeting, "Merry Christmas"  I didn't recognize the number but I responded back, "Merry Christmas, I hope Santa was good to you."  The texter sounded a bit sad and wrote
something like his music was going better not great, and hoped 2014 would be a better year.  Money was bad, no gigs.....So I told him to expect miracles and they would happen and didn't think another thing about it.  He sent another text on New Years, just sweet "gangsta" love.  A month later a new text telling me all the places he performed in, the record contract he signed and when his record would "drop".

Then he said, "Thank you Yoshi, you have been such a good friend.  Everything you said would happen did...thank you, I believe in miracles!"

uh oh......

I felt so guilty I came clean immediately.  I explained I wasn't Yoshi but was very excited for his success and that I meant everything I said about miracles.  I told him I loved hearing about his career and music (how else would I ever know about rappers?)  He was so confused, but then he just said,

"It's all good, who is this anyway?"

I told him I was just a random wrong number that must have been put in his life to remind him miracles occur.  Since then he has sent the link to his concert, showed me the jacket cover for his record and shared his girlfriend problems.  He believes in miracles....and all I did was wish someone a Merry Christmas.....

Which brings me to last Friday when I finally went in for my MRI.  Did I tell you I hurt my knee?  How could you miss that information, I suffer by committee.  If I am in pain everyone is in pain with me.  My threshold for pain is right about here......want to guess how high my hand is above the ground?

The most adorable woman is my MRI master.  Her name is Carla and I liked her immediately.  She explained the procedure and gave me some great earphones.  I requested Billy Joel, she didn't even blink and said she would do her best.  The next 20 minutes sailed by as I rocked out to Billy Joel, Three Dog Night, James Taylor and Fleetwood Mac in my MRI machine!  Fabulous.
When it was over I asked her a million questions about MRI's and  how she came to be the Jedi Master of the radiology department.  Evidently the machine costs 3 million dollars and it takes a long time to learn everything.  The MRI I received was a level 3 so they will be able to tell all my secrets from that scan.  I so hope whatever is wrong with my knee will be easy to fix.  Carla asked me how I hurt my knee and I am embarrassed that I do not have a fun story.  It just hurt, and then it hurt a little more and then a little more and when it got to "Oh s**t" I decided to go to the doctor...she said that was probable a good barometer for seeking medical help.  When you get to "oh s**t" you should go the doctor.


The best part of the whole adventure was after I changed and came back to get a picture with Carla and her magical machine.  We traded some life stories and she told me about a business she had recently started in her spare time.  The total purpose was to make as much money as she could to help her family...especially her mother.  They were financially struggling and she just wanted to help them.  This woman, this adorable woman, was doing everything she could to help other people all the time.  Carla said her favorite thing was buying pancakes at McDonald's in the morning and then buying breakfast for the car behind her!  We found out tons about each other in about 5 minutes, chatted as though we were long lost friends and exchanged phone numbers.  

I left there a better person for having spent time with her.  Inspired to live life better, and grateful to have met her.  

Thanks, life...that one is on you.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Not a lot of words, Wednesday....

I live in the desert, it is a hard place to make things beautiful....being from Texas I don't like not having flowers...so years ago we made a deal with our yard.....actually we made a deal with the University that they could use our front yard and we would basically do what they told us to do. We had put in a Wetlands.......the first residential constructed wetlands in Nevada....and so our yard was a great fit for wild experiments. They simply wanted us to not use pesticides, and not to augment the soil. We had to see what would really grow here. So they brought in experimental plants and we dug the holes, Sometimes having to jackhammer to make the holes big enough. This ground is hard and rocky.....a true challenge. My front porch.....
And so now the flower show starts.....all of these pictures are of the front yard. I just wanted you to see the colors, and the possibilities of drought tolerant plants.






This is the most beautiful plant, the flowers look like wisteria, but of course, it isn't....it does freeze, but all four of mine came back, after a lot of time.....most everything starts greening up in April, this one and the bougainvilleas didn't really start going until June. It does pay to be patient.
Verbena is always a must
You can't see this very well, but this is an African Sumac that volunteered in this place, so my husband bent it way over and tied it down to train it to watch over the wetlands....
the Cannas are what we have in the wetlands right now, we took out all the cattails and the curly willow. Too invasive. I which we had hundreds of different kinds and colors of cannas, but maybe some time.
Another African Sumac, they volunteer everywhere because we mulch the entire front of our yard. In fact so much volunteers that I plant and replant all the time.

The original African Sumac....love the trunks on these treesSee the purple? It is called purple heart and I got it out of a woman's yard I had admired. She just handed it to me and now I have it all over. In the bottom of my pots, in the yard, in water, in the wetlands, everywhere.
This is my favorite bougainvillea, it grows up around the mailbox, the mail man hates it, but I don't have the heart to cut it. It comes back every year.
And here it is again....
I love it....
purple heart and creeping myrtle.....I got the creeping myrtle from a friend, and now it is also everywhere.
Russian sage (smells heavenly) and purple ruella growing inside of it. They were both volunteers.....
Next to the purple buddies is California fuchsia, which absolutely takes over......and the start of the pumpkin story...

Last year we went to Sacramento with the Holley's and we went o every farmers market there was. my husband got several gourds and pumpkins and harvested the seeds......here is what he did with them.......
They are everywhere
all across the front of the yard.....


Is this wild? It goes right across the steps in front of our house.....and there are so many pumpkins and gourds.....just crazy....I wanted to share the fall in the desert....our imagination and a shovel....

Monday, November 10, 2014

Special Investgator Stuff



A blog from an earlier time....

I  missed a call yesterday because I was face-timing my daughter (talk about looking old, I cannot find a place in my house where the lighting is good enough to keep from looking like Strega Nona) so I just sent one of those throw away lines that our new phones let us do.  You know, sorry I missed your call, call back, something like that.  The missed call sent a text right back...OK.
This morning I was returning calls and I sent a text to the missed cell number asking if 10am was Ok to talk.  I didn't know if it was a Planning Commission thing, a catering thing or directions to the end of the rainbow.

This is the text I received....

"I would like to speak in person at a location of your choosing and talk for ten to fifteen minutes.  Thank you, John Henderson, Special Investigator."

Holy Cats....

To which I replied, "You have the wrong person"

"Is this Donna Tagliaferri?"

Oh crap.

What have we done to warrant a visit from a special investigator?  I am about as subversive as Donald Duck but that doesn't mean I wasn't sleep walking, or someone has my identity, or an evil twin....Suddenly I am in a Robert Ludlum novel.  To make it worse the voice mail he left cut off just as he was saying what he needed from me, so I was stumped...but intrigued, I have to admit, I was intrigued.

So I called right back, screw waiting for 10am.

"Mr. Henderson?  This is Donna Tagliaferri, you called me about a matter that requires a special investigator?"

Then he went on to tell me a friend had put me down as a reference.  Mr. Henderson works for the government, the federal government and the security branch of the federal government at that.  The security branch of the government that decides who gets to know all the best secrets.  He was trying to find out if I thought she was fit for that kind of responsibility.


I am drunk with power.

My friend was being investigated because she had recently been given a promotion and a new security clearance.  I knew she had just been given a promotion, but I didn't know she was replacing Eric Snowden. Well, she isn't replacing Eric Snowden actually, but it kind of felt like it  We agreed to meet at my house (seemed less scary) at 10am.

At exactly 10am Mr. Henderson appeared at my house, badge in hand.  I scrutinized it carefully (when would I get this chance again?) and let him in.

My very first question for him was, "Tell the truth, how much fun do you have scaring the crap out of people with that special investigator stuff"

He laughed and it turns out Mr Henderson is a really nice, very interesting man.  He told me all about his days as an interrogator in the military.  Seems he was very big in body language.  I told him I had recently listened very closely to an expert in body language (Jack@Bodylanguagesuccess.com)  for an entire hour.   I now consider myself an expert and I pointed out to him that he was steepling his fingers...




....which all the best body language experts will tell you means he is confident and honest (what great qualities for an ex-interrogator and a present day special investigator!)

Guess what?  Mr. Henderson knew that....seems he studied body language for a long, long time.  I asked him if he played poker, he could tell in a second what kind of hand everyone had.  He assured me he never gambles.  He told me how he would get people to confess...first they have to have something to drink.  Evidently guilty people have dry mouths and it makes it hard for them to talk.  Water or a soda is necessary to cut the dryness in their mouths caused by, well, guilt.  But isn't that true?  On every police show the first thing they offer the about-to-be-grilled-person is something to drink, right?  Now we are all on to them.  The next time you are arrested and the police offers you a beverage, fahgettaboudit!!!  

Your welcome...

After a bit more chit chat we got to the questions...I was holding my friends career in my hands...

Drunk with power...

He asked me some typical questions...honesty, trustworthiness...then he asked me if I knew of any subversive groups she belonged to.  "You mean outside the bowling alley?"

Any foreign countries she may be particularly loyal to?  "That country from the Princess Diaries."

And then the big one, does she exhibit any behavior that might be suspicious?  I stopped him, leaned in real close and said...

"Yes"

"She scrapbooks"

At this point Mr. Henderson was pretty much finished.  So I told him all the things the body language expert had revealed in our class.

On 60 minutes Eric Snowden was telling the truth in his interview.  I don't know what he said, but it was true.

The police in the Oscar Pistorious case are lying.

Hillary is definitely going to run.  He showed different body language movements she made that gave it away to him.

Jack, the body language guy, showed a clip of Bill Clinton being asked if Hillary would rather be a grandmother or the President.  From the movements he made Jack said, "I knew at that moment that Chelsea was pregnant because of how Bill reacted to the question.  Every part of his body language was, "I have a secret, I can't tell...oh no..." they were classic non-verbal communications.

But the best part was analyzing the hug.  A sincere hug is "heart to heart".  Think about it, when you hug someone your heart is situated over the heart of the hugee.   That is a sincere, caring and authentic hug.  So if you get one of those counterfeit kind of awkward hugs, it means nothing.

According to our body expert, who had a gazillion-bazillion degrees, we are all a little transparent.

A little?

As for me, I  have been practicing steepling my hands.











Sunday, November 9, 2014

Coventry Health, Coventry Health Are You Listening?

Last May my son graduated from college with a job.  He was thrilled, it wasn't his dream job, not even a job in the area he eventually wants to work, but a job.  Since our health care insurance did not cover him or my daughter, even though they are under 26 (see me about this later) he needed  health insurance until his new coverage began.

No worries...easy to do.  We called an outfit named InsureMonkey and they found the best policy for him with a group called Coventry Health. Again, it was all handled over the phone, easy to do.  His policy would be 117.19 a month taken out of my account since he didn't have checks, and then he would transfer that payment to me every month, which he did.  Again, no worries, easy to do.

The first month they took out 117.19 on the specified day.  Two days later they took out 534.68

Now the account they sabotauged is set aside just for bills.  The account I keep my inheritance, lottery wins and ransom demands are in another account.  So this debit caused a domino effect of epic proportions.  Bank fees in one day were astronomical.  Luckily for me Wells Fargo immediately reversed everything.  InsureMonkey helped with Coventry and the money was reimbursed 2 weeks later.

The next month Coventry took out 117.19 on the specified day.  Two days later they took out 330.00

See the above paragraph for the triage we went through yet again.

The third month Coventry took out 117.19   And that was it!  They finally got it, all is well

The fourth month my son's new insurance began so Coventry needed to be cancelled.

For the next three months they took out 117.19.  Each month specifying to me a new paper that needed to be filled out, or a date not met, paperwork from the new employer that he indeed had insurance (still don't know why they needed that) and each time we would have to have a 3 way conversation because of course they couldn't speak with me about him.  Why didn't he do it?  He was working in a retail environment for sometimes 15 hours a day and couldn't be holding on the phone for 45 minutes. (average wait time)  They were open 9-5 Monday through Friday he was off only on Sunday
so I helped him...

At the end of the four months they finally reimbursed him the three months they took after he had cancelled and our relationship with Coventry Health was over.  They did not chose to reimburse the fees from my overdraft that I felt they should have, but I counted it all good that we were finally free from this experience.

So imagine my surprise on Friday when Coventry Health out of nowhere deposited 117.19 in my account twice!

I may take my time informing them of the mistake they made.  Perhaps they will have to wait on the phone for 45 minutes while I form an enormous hoop for them to jump through.  And then I will tell them they missed the deadline.

Coventry Health are you listening?  You overpaid me...I think you did, let me check my records....I will get back to you.


Saturday, November 8, 2014

Memory Fail and My Personal Cure

I sat down at my computer and saw my debit card.  I have seen my debit card before so that wasn't unusual.  But I don't see it at my computer unless I have paid a bill with it.

What bill did I pay?

If I paid a bill, did I note it somewhere?

Why can't I remember?

Why is my memory so bad that the only thing I never forget to do is eat?  Somehow that memory never fades.  But I am forgetting so many things that I frighten myself.  You know that fear...it creeps up behind you and scares the crap out of you when you least expect it.  It's the fear you face when you are late and you cannot find the keys.  And you forgot to get new ones made so you only have one set.  And running there is not an option.

It's that fear when you forget a very important appointment....I mean totally forget.  And when you remember the blood drains from your body in seconds, breathing is no longer an option and your brain says, "sorry baby can't help you here, you are on your own."


Then you start to think this is just the beginning.  Soon you will be wearing your underwear on the outside of your clothes, talking to imaginary friends and eating food with a spoon.  The circle of life is coming together and a senior rendition of the terrible two's is on the horizon.  Although I don't remember my terrible two's and there is no one presently living who can fill me in on that particular stage of my life, I do remember my children's terrible two's.  Personally, I didn't find it to be an inspiring time, but  they seemed to enjoy the hell out of it.

Positive parts of terrible two's...
1.) the entire world was at their feet.  I did everything I could to make them happy.  If they ever fell asleep I simply put a blanket over them and called it good.  If none of us had slept the night before and they wanted pop tarts and cheerios for breakfast, great idea, oatmeal tomorrow.  If they wanted to watch the same disney show 70 times in a row, it happened.  I was experiencing Stockholm Syndrome...I did as I was told,

2.) They wore whatever they wanted.  If I spent hours matching things up at Gymboree so they would be the cutest things at the playground but they wouldn't budge until I let them wear the same thing one more day or else, well, Gymboree on the floor and plaid jumper with green shirt and cowboy boots it is.

3.) Shopping was rarely an option.  I grew tired of comforting old women my 2 year old son scared the crap out of.  He thought it was so funny to be very quiet and then raise up from the shopping cart and  roar at the top of his lungs when unsuspecting people walked by.  And that's why we ate pop tarts and cheerios as much as we did.

4.) We never made it out of the church foyer on Sunday mornings.  One very bad day my son crawled the entire length of the chapel, pew by pew....folks looked like bobble head dolls as he made his way to the front.  I sprinted to where I thought he would emerge, waited, scooped him up and ran to the foyer....where I remained for about 7 years.

So my memory fail is starting to look like a new stage in my life.  I can eat what I want when I want, cry at the drop of a hat for no reason,  maybe for attention, maybe because I am hungry, maybe I don't like what I am eating....maybe I just don't like you, I don't need a reason.  I can sleep anywhere, at anytime.  I can scare people, roaring may not be effective but perhaps a fake heart attack?  Just to keep everyone honest about their feelings for me.  If it looks like I'm dying and one of my children whispers in my ear, "where's the key to the safety deposit box?" instead of dialing 911 we will know the new direction of the will.  Oh, and don't forget this one...I don't have to pick up my toys and I never have to share.

This is shaping up to be a great time of life...for the memory fail I will add a couple of calendars and a few more alarms reminding me of things I really better get done.  As for the rest?  Why not embrace the horror?  Make lemonade out of the whole thing?

Now what did I come in here for?



Friday, November 7, 2014

Who Said So???



I have been formally trained in so few areas that a good fortune cookie is probably more effective than what I could offer.  Except for one thing, at this point in my life I have learned a great deal about wisdom.  Wisdom occurs through trial and error, it isn't really learned as much as it is absorbed.  Sort of like osmosis.   And I am a student of life, just living life teaches me so much of what I really need to know.  For instance, my husband gave me the greatest gift yesterday...he fixed the sink.   We have been living with this broken sink for a long time.  That broken sink was a metaphor for so much. From our health to broken sinks to that "funny sound" the car makes, we put things off until we reach a place of "no return".  So many things were wrong with the sink, but it was still useable.  The faucet was broken, but if you did this and bent that way and were careful with this part, it still worked.  The air gap thing was plugged for some reason so the water from the dishwasher spurted out into the sink.  So three times during a dishwasher cycle it sounded like a pipe was broken.  And from an earlier flood the shelf underneath the sink was warped.  But we walked around it, used it broken because we didn't have the money to fix it, didn't have the time to fix it and besides it still worked.  Looking at that broken sink made me feel poor, and that is a negative feeling.  But looking at the fixed sink makes me feel so good.

Sound familiar?  There is a great scripture that talks about the "natural man being an enemy to God"  What that means to me is God is good, patient, kind, loving and every other positive quality you can think of, and well, man isn't.  But that's not a bad thing.  We have weaknesses so we can overcome them....which makes us strong.  Case in point, a tiny bird pecks its way out of an egg, what happens if you try to help that baby bird?  It dies because the act of pecking its way out of the egg gives it the strength to live.  This earth life can be a hard one, there is sickness, and wars, and poverty and problems galore.  We have to be strong enough to handle them, so we are given weakness to overcome so that we are strong.  For instance a weakness is anger, the natural man gives in to anger, but as we progress and learn to control it our lives improve.  The worst story I ever about anger occurred near my home.  A driver cut another driver off on the freeway.  Instead of ignoring a mistake, the 'cut off' driver reacted very badly.  He aggressively followed the first driver honking his horn, getting right up on the bumper and scaring the first driver so much she called her boyfriend for help.  He told her to get off the freeway and he would meet her at a nearby carwash.  With the 'cut off' driver in pursuit they all arrived at the car wash with tempers flaring, a fight started.  One man pushed the other man who tripped and fell backwards, in a freakish accident he hit his head on a concrete planter and died.  If the cut off driver had simply accepted a mistake and used some forgiveness tragedy would have been avoided.

When we give in to anger, addictions, procrastination and a million other things that weigh us down we are just going to a default state.  We are naturally a mess....but we can work at overcoming our weaknesses thereby becoming strong.  Very few people are naturally disciplined. There isn't a magic spell, or a pill you can take....you just do it.  I remember Oprah doing this whole show on discipline.  She could not figure out why she was still heavy when she had everything at her disposal to be thin.   In the end she concluded, "disciplined people are disciplined because they do it".

Addictions can be conquered, positive outlooks can claim the day, anger can be conquered, books can be written and problems can be solved.  When we stop the self loathing and realize our weaknesses have been given to us to make us strong.  When our perception changes we want to conquer.  Have you ever heard anyone explain away bad behavior by saying, "That's just the way I am."?  Nonsense!! That is just an excuse. And not a very good one.   I have been so tempted to give up because the mountain seems to high to climb. Inertia taps me on the shoulder and whispers, "just give up and give in, this is too hard." It is up to me to listen to that voice or to my "better angels".  My better angels encourage, while inertia discourages.  My better angels sing with the voice of positive songs, inertia is negative.  A positive outlook is simply your mind mastering negative energy and thoughts.  It is your choice.

Ted talks are not given about the folks who give up, they are given about the ones who refused to take no for an answer.  Who refuse to give in the "Natural man".

There is a great Ted talk about the Wright Brothers (Simon Sinek - Start with Why) and a man named Simon Pierpont Langley.  I am taking it directly from the transcript.  

"Samuel Pierpont Langley was given $50,000 by the War Department to figure out this flying machine.  Money was no problem.  He held a seat at Harvard and worked at the Smithsonian and was extremely well connected.  He knew all the big minds of the day.  He hired the best minds money could find and the market conditions were fantastic.  The New York Times followed him around everywhere and everyone was rooting for Langley.   Then how come we have never heard of Samuel Pierpont Langley?  A few hundred miles away in Dayton, Ohio lived Orville and Wilbur Wright.  They had none of what we consider to be the recipe for success.  
They had no money, they paid for their dream with the proceeds from their bicycle shop.  Not a single person the Wright Brothers' team had a college education.  Not even Orville or Wilbur.  And the New York Times followed them around nowhere.  The difference was that Orville and Wilbur were driven by a cause, a purpose, a belief.  They believed that if they could figure out this flying machine, it will change the course of the world.
Samuel Pierpont Langley was different.  He wanted to be rich and he wanted to be famous.  He was in pursuit of the result, he was in pursuit of the riches and lo and behold look what happened.  The people who believed in the Wright Brothers' dream worked with them with blood, sweat and tears.  The others worked for the paycheck.  And they tell stories about how every time the Wright Brothers's went out, they would have to take five sets of parts because that's how many times they would crash before they came in for supper.  And eventually on December 17, 1903 the Wright brothers took flight and no one was there to even experience it.  We found out about it a few days later.  

And further proof that Langley was motivated by the wrong thing - the day the Wright Brothers took flight, he quit.  He could have said, "That's an amazing discovery guys and I will improve upon your technology." But he didn't.  He wasn't first, he didn't get rich, he didn't get famous, so he quit.  people don't buy what you do, they buy why you do it.  And if you talk about what you believe, you will attract those who believe what you believe."

Orville and Wilbur weren't listening to the natural man, they were listening to something bigger and better and look what they accomplished!  I know I am facing an enormous challenge.  Starting over in life when popular beliefs are telling us we should be done, we should retire, we are too old...give up, is not easy.  The natural man whispers things to me about how much easier my life would be if I would just quit.  Thankfully just as I am about to, just when I think I don't have one more step something happens to give me hope.  Something as small as the sink getting fixed.  God wants me to succeed.  And if you don't believe in God then believe that nature wants you to succeed.  Look at the bird pecking its way out of the egg, the salmon swimming upstream, whales migrating to warmer waters...the evidence is clear, the earth is here for you to be happy, safe, warm and secure.  And the preferred path God or nature has prepared for you is a great one.

You find it when you believe you can.








Thursday, November 6, 2014

Flowers For Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays....the colors are warm, the times are sweet, the food is good, and we stop just briefly.....just for a moment......for gratitude.
















This is my husband's work, he used all my favorite colors....











If you would like to order any of these arrangements, let me know.









As my grandmother would say in the deepest of drawls, "She seems like a nice girl, but does she set a good table?"











Happy Thanksgiving!!!





Wednesday, November 5, 2014

A Tribute to the Family

My Girls at Thanksgiving

After a football game 
 Wordless Wednesday is a treat.  I never thought my life would include such incredible people.  I love them so much...so very, very much.
Football and Cheer

worlds silliest dog - Hudson

Trey and Ashleigh - I love my kids

Christmas Dinner

Trey in Costa Rica on his mission

Raymond and Emma after a football game

The infamous Shrimp and pesto Pizza

Some of Ray Ray's Work



Raymond and Mikey

High School Emma as the Queen!!


After the temple

My beautiful friends!!

Love these women

Peaches!!!


High School Emma 


Sadie and Hudson