Friday, March 15, 2019

Never Die Alone #UseYourWords

Welcome to March's Use Your Words challenge. This is how it works: participating bloggers picked four to six words or short phrases for someone else to craft into a post. All words must be used at least once and all the posts will be unique as each writer has received their own set of words. That is the challenge, here is a fun twist; no one who is participating knows who got their words and in what direction the writer will take them. Until now.



My words are:

glory ~ days ~ shark ~ attack ~ surf and turf ~ gender fluid

It was submitted by: https://sarahsbrandcrazy.blogspot.com/ (Thank you for such AWESOME words!! We are a family who LOVES sharks, so these words made me smile!!)

When it comes to Use Your Words posts, I really let the words guide me. I just read my words, and then I somehow form a post. Some posts better than others. This month is different. This month, I knew what I was going to write about. I told myself that no matter what words I was given, I was going to write about the topic I selected. Now, I took one look at my words, and realized that I had made a HUGE mistake. However, I am still going to go with it. So, buckle up, because based on these words, this is going to be one helluva ride, trying to use all these words.

Many years ago, not quite my glory days, but not exactly my worst days, I was battling depression, and most days I was winning the war. I remember I was mad at myself, because I had gone through so much worse, and survived, and here I was barely surviving much less hard times. I guess that was probably when I realized depression makes no sense. At least, not to me. I am sure there are people with big degrees, that probably have a pretty good understanding of depression. I have no big degrees, and I really feel like my only understanding about it, is that I do not understand it.

When someone suffers a shark attack, you can see the injuries and the damage that is done. The wounds with depression are invisible, and they cannot be seen. You can easily be sitting right next to someone fighting depression with every cell of their being, and outwardly, they look amazing and wonderful. I was once told that depression was a silent killer, and it does make sense to me. I know personally, the majority of the times I have battled it, the people around me had no idea. I have a really good poker face, at least where depression is concerned. I think my actual poker face is pretty decent also, but I may be biased.

So, back to many years ago... I had an amazing friend that saved my life. If you ask him, and he knew I was okay with him talking about it, I think he would very humbly tell you that he saved my life once. The reality is that he has actually saved my life numerous times. I do not know if that was his original intention, or if it is just a lucky side effect of what he did for me. 

Somehow, I survived Kateri's death. Actually, I say somehow, as if I do not know how I did it, and that is not entirely true. I survived it, because once I reached absolute rock bottom, and I knew I was going to give up and just kill myself, because the pain of losing my child was just too overwhelming, I walked into the emergency room of the local hospital, and I told them I needed help because I was going to kill myself. My memories are fuzzy after that. I remember being brought into a room, laying down on a hospital gurney. I remember just crying. So. Many. Tears. I remember talking to a nurse. I remember a doctor coming in and being told they were getting me a bed in the psychiatric ward and they would help me. I remember them giving me a shot.

My next memory comes five days later, in the wee hours of the morning, waking up to a phlebotomist drawing my blood. She smiled at me, and said she was shocked to see me awake. I made small talk with her. I think I mostly commented on the fact that I was safe and still alive. She told me that she was glad to see me up, and she would send the nurse right in. The nurse came in, and he brought me up to speed. I had been in the hospital five days at that point. They had kept me pretty heavily medicated, because apparently, any time I was not sleeping, I would wake up and just cry hysterically. So, they decided I needed some rest. Considering I could not remember the last time I had really slept, I think they made a wise choice. 

The first thing I did was shower. As I was showering, I let my thoughts and feeling pour over me. I cried. I scrubbed. I just let it all out, and washed it all away. I spent a few weeks there, getting therapy and creating a plan for my life when I got out. Considering I walked in those emergency room doors unable to even imagine a future, I would say that was a good thing. I spent the next few years living, and creating memories. Some good, some bad. Years of memories I never would have had, had I not went into that emergency room.

Eventually, I met my nemesis Depression again, and that time I did not end up in an emergency room. I ended up in my bed, on the phone with my friend Jay. I told him I was so tired of fighting with depression, especially since it made no sense to me. If I could survive losing Kateri, I should really be able to survive anything. During our conversation, he never judged me. He never told me not to kill myself. He did say that he felt killing myself would be a mistake, but that it was my life, and he really had no right to tell me what to do.

The thing he said that saved my life, that time and various other times, was very simple. He made me promise him that anytime I ever decided I was going to kill myself, I would call him first. He was very adamant that I promise him. He knew that I never break a promise, and will go above and beyond to keep one. He explained to me that he would never judge me, so that I did not need to be worried about telling him. He just needed to know, because he did not want me to die alone. He also did not want my body waiting for days or weeks, to be cared for properly. He told me he also wanted a chance, to just ask me if I was certain that I was doing what I REALLY wanted to do. As long as it was what I REALLY wanted, he would accept my choice, and make sure that I died knowing I was not alone and that I was very much loved.

We talked for hours, until we were both exhausted, and then we went to bed, and picked up the conversation the next day. Some time during that next day, I changed my mind, and I told him that this was not the time. He again made me promise, that whenever the time came, I would absolutely call him. I promised. It is a promise I have kept. It is a promise that saved my life. 

It is a promise I recently made a dear friend of mine make to me. He was going through a rough patch, and he scared the crap out of me, and I remember the conversation I had all those years ago, and I said the same thing to him, that Jay had said to me, and I demanded the same promise. I can only hope, that the promise he made me, helps him as much as the promise I made to Jay helped me.

Jay was really on his A game that day. I think more than he even realized. He kept me talking, which I think really helped. He asked me a million questions, and we had a million mini debates. One that sticks out, what our debate about last meals. He wanted to know what I would want my last meal to be, if I could have ANYTHING. I chose wisely. I wanted a fully stocked salad bar, and I just wanted to eat like five huge salads. If you ask me, it is perfection. He however, chose surf and turf, french fries, and cheesecake. Admittedly, I did not like steaks as much then, as I do now, so I was incredibly unimpressed back then. Also, if you are going to have just one type of potato be part of your meal... How do you choose fries over mashed potatoes?!?! Also, cheesecake?! I can think of at least five desserts better than cheesecake. So, suffice it to say, we spent at least an hour debating last meals, and I spent a good portion of that time laughing.

Laughing is a definite good thing, when you are depressed, especially if it is genuine laughter. Yeah, Jay was so on his A Game that day, and I will forever be grateful.

I have battled depression several times over the years, and I can honestly say, I am grateful to report that the thought of suicide has not come up very often. I guess I am just getting better at battling it. However, anytime it has come to mind, I have immediately remembered my promise to Jay. I can honestly tell you, that promise has saved my life. Every. Single. Time. I know, that before I can end my life, I have to call and talk to Jay. Every time that it has come to that point, I have managed to make myself realize, that is not a call I need to make, nor is it one I want to make. Somehow, some way, I muster up the strength necessary to battle on. 

This past December, I found myself pondering a call to Jay. I ended up calling my doctor instead. I reached out and got the help I needed. I am still sad about my dad being gone, but every day I wake up, and every day I battle the sadness, and every day I get a little bit stronger, and feel a little bit better. I still have these moments, where I forget he is gone, and I think about something I need to call and tell him, and then the realization that I cannot call him crashes over me. Those moments are probably the hardest, but I get through them.

If you are reading this, and you are thinking about suicide, I would love to invite you to reach out to me. I promise you, I will not judge you. I will listen. I will offer any advice I am able to. I will help you get help, if you want it. Most importantly, I will make sure you are not alone. Nobody should be alone, when they are making some of the hardest choices a human being can make.

We are all human beings. I do not care if you are white, black,  Asian, deaf, male, tall, fat, short, skinny, gender fluid, French, female, straight, Catholic, trans, medium height, Baptist, queer, or ANY other type of human being.... You deserve to live. You deserve love. You deserve compassion and empathy. You deserve friendship. You deserve all life has to offer. We are ALL humans, and we are ALL worthy of the goodness life has to offer.

We also deserve to have moments of weakness and doubt. We deserve to be sad. We deserve to struggle to process events that happen to us. We deserve to be human. 

So, if you are struggling with depression, please let me be your Jay. Let me help you to make sure that you are not making the wrong choice. Let me support you. Let me be there for you. Let me listen. 

If you are not comfortable with reaching out to me.... Reach out to the person you are comfortable reaching out to. Reach out to your Jay. 

In the end, I hope you choose to stay. If you don't... I promise I won't judge you. I promise I won't hate you. I promise I will love you fiercely and I promise I will talk to you. I choose to believe the ones we love, who are gone from this Earth, can hear us. So, yes, I will talk to you. Yes, I will love you. Yes, I will let you know that it is okay.

Just, please, do not hesitate to reach out to me. I am here for you, even if I do not know you. Knowing you does not mean anything to me. I know you are a human. I know you are worthy. That is all that matters.

Please, do not forget to check out the rest of this month's Use Your Words posts. I will meet you there, right after I get more coffee. These days, I seem to need all the coffee and then some. 


Links to the other “Use Your Words” posts:






Monday, March 11, 2019

Thawed Out #BlogWithFriends

Welcome to March's Blog with Friends Round-up. This month, we chose the theme Winter Thaw. I live in California, so we don't really have much of a thaw here, but we do have that glorious transition from Winter to Spring. It is one of my favorite times of the year. It always feels so new and full of promise.





Do you enjoy the switch from Winter to Spring? Are you more of a Winter fan? I was as a child, but now as an adult with aches and pains, I tend to love everything but Winter, and I am often so grateful we don't get snow. Nonetheless, the last few days of Winter, and the first weeks of Spring, are some of my favorite of the entire year.

If you know me at all, you know that I am not one with many traditions, and I have been working on creating as many as I can. There has been a lot of trial and error.  We try new things, and stick with the things we like, and call the others tried. I have found a few that we definitely embrace yearly, or at least as often as we can. These are the things that really signal the end of Winter, and the start of Spring for us. 

1. Attend a local Spring festival. I wanted to put this one first, because it is truly my favorite thing, as simple as it is. Whenever the weekend arrives for our Spring Festival, my mood immediately gets a million percent better. I think it is safe to say, that I have moods that are easily impacted by the season, and Spring is like healing medicine for my mood. We do not even have to do anything super exciting at the festival, just being there, it is all I need. So, I highly recommend finding a Spring Festival in your area, and attend it. 

2. Out with the old, in with the new. Nothing says good bye to Winter more than Spring Cleaning, and getting your home refreshed. Normally, I also put up a few Spring decor items. We especially love to decorate the windows, doorway, and the porch flower pot. 

3. Spring crafts. This is something that is going to be new for us this year. Gigi is really into arts and crafts lately, and I have some simple crafts from Target's Dollar Spot to do. I was also thinking about trying a few I saw on Pinterest. I figured this would be a fun and easy way, for Gigi and I, to get ourselves into the spirit of Spring. 

4. Start doing more outside play. This definitely signals the end of Winter for us. When we start doing regular park trips, that means Winter is finally leaving. This year, we have new bikes, and I am hoping to add fun bike rides into the mix. I have this crazy idea, about trips to get ice cream or cookies, and then riding back home in time for Sunset. 

5. Makeover. This is something new I have planned for this year, and if it goes how I think it will, I will probably make it a tradition. We always focus on changing and cleaning our home at Spring. Well, this year, I plan on doing a mini makeover on myself. Now, I have not finalized my plans, but I will definitely be getting a pastel pedicure, and my hair is getting changed. I just do not know exactly what I am going to do to my hair yet. I originally thought about cutting it short, but then I decided I definitely want to keep the length. I had decided on getting a perm, and now I am on the fence on that as well, since I spent so many years of my life getting my curls removed. So, I am thinking a change in color, but my mind is blank. I have been doing red since my Dad passed away, and I LOVE it, but again, why just change the house decor? So, I will let you know on my Facebook page, what I decide on, but my look is definitely getting refreshed for Spring. Honestly, I don't know why I had not thought of this before, and I think it will be a tradition. I will even add Gigi into it, once she is a bit older.

6. Menu Refresh. This is something I just recently decided. I was sitting down, thinking of ideas for dinner, and I realized I was tired of everything. I then realized it is because we do the same meals over and over. I do have a few meals, that are Summer only meals, but usually just the same meals on rotation. Well, I have started compiling a list of meals to add into the mix. A few will probably be year round, but many are meals that scream Spring to me. I know many folks already cater their menus to the seasonal foods, but this will be a first for me. I am pretty excited.

7. New batteries, new towels, new pot holders, new scents. With the change of the season, I like to change the batteries in the smoke alarms and remotes. I also do a update on kitchen towels and pot holders. Plus, I bring more floral scents into our plug-ins, candles, and car scents. Spring means floral and soft to me. I like things to be fresh and fun. 

8. New books. Every few months, I like to pick out some books to read, and then I spend the next few months reading them. I tend to cater the choices to the season and my mood. For some reason, whenever Winter is coming to an end, and Spring is arriving, I like to read inspirational books, funny books, cookbooks, and historical fiction. I will be picking new books soon. I already have "Girl Wash Your Face" ready to go. I also want to do a re-read of "The Power of Broke". I just need a few others, and I will be set. Please, feel free to recommend any you think I should read. I am always open to book suggestions.

9. Love Manteca. Here in our town, we have a citywide volunteer day, that is focused on members of the community completing various projects around the city, and improving our city, and welcoming Spring. I hear that these are pretty popular all over, so if you check, you probably have something in your area. If not, maybe you could start it? Maybe you could get your neighborhood together, and do a project that improves your neighborhood. Doing good deeds is never a bad idea. The Love Manteca is usually a busy weekend for us, because it tends to be very close to the same time as our yearly 5k, but this year, we have some time between the two, and I am extra excited for both events.

10. Goal. This is something I just read about. Seasonal goals. I am definitely going to make this a thing. It was suggested to make two goals per season. A goal of something you want to change and a goal of something you want to improve. It was also suggested to try a goal you want to accomplish. I am going to try for the first two, and if I can work in the third, yay. Do you do this? Have you heard of it? I am interested to try it. I always hear about New Year's goals, and often mostly about failure of them. So, I like this idea of doing something which each season.

Tell me about your favorite signals of Winter's end. Are you happy about it or sad?! I feel like most people tend to get happy about it. I really think it is just the freshness that Spring seems to add to life.

Make sure you check out the rest of this month's Blog With Friends Winter Thaw posts!


Karen of Baking In A Tornado
Hash Brown Crusted Shrimp Quiche

Dawn of Spatulas On Parade
Fiesta Biscuit Bake

Lydia of Cluttered Genius
Warm up with a 5k (Tips from a Not-So-Athletic Runner)


Here are a few links, to craft projects I found on Pinterest, and plan on attempting with Gigi.






Friday, March 8, 2019

Ten Years Later #SecretSubjectSwap

Welcome to a March's Secret Subject Swap. This week nine brave bloggers created a secret subject for someone else and were assigned a secret subject to interpret in their own style. Today we are all simultaneously divulging our topics and submitting our posts.




My “Secret Subject” is:

#10YearChallenge – your way

It was submitted by: Tamara of  (Thank you, T!!!)

I immediately thought of three ways to use this prompt. It was very hard to decide which to do. My immediate thought, was to post a picture of me from 2009 and one of me from today. Voila! Challenge met. However, I felt like that was too easy. Plus, it says "your way", and that means I can choose to do anything I want. Endless possibilities. Well, not really. I could only think of two.

After careful consideration, I have decided to tell you ten HOPES I have for my life in ten years. I like the thought of hopes over goals. I feel like a goal needs to be realistic. Something that can be able to be achieved. Hope leads to more possibilities. Some realistic and maybe some reaching for the stars. So, none of these things may be true of my life in ten years, possibly some of them will be true of my life, and most likely not all of them will be. Hey, I had to reach for the stars a little.

So, in no particular order, here are ten things I hope are true about my life in ten years.

1. Gigi and I are very close. We are not just mother and daughter, but friends. She does well in school, has a great group of close friends, she is a hard worker, and she is rarely in trouble; not to mention the trouble she gets into is very minor.

2. I won the lottery. It was the largest win in lottery history. I invested a large amount of the money wisely, and receive a large monthly profit from each investment, and plan on doing as much good as possible with my money, as well as laying the foundation for my ancestors to do the same, while maintaining steady profits.

3. I have fully funded over fifty no-kill animal rescues around the United States of America, and animals needing emergency shelter, are no longer out of luck.

4. I designed a state of the art, fully loaded, ten bedroom suite home. It includes all the amenities a person could want their home to include. It has a very warm, cozy home feeling to it, despite being a modern, fully smart home.

5. I have a solid following on my blog, and have written some blogs that I am incredibly proud of. I not only have improved my writing skills, but my photography skills as well, and my blog has become a lovely, virtual memory book of our exciting life. I have become even closer with my blogger friends, and host blogger retreats every six months.

6. Since we no longer needed to have income coming in from any source, other than my investments, Chad retired. We spend our days volunteering, exploring the world around us, creating memories with friends and each other, and leaving a positive mark on this world.

7. Thanks to medical advancements, I live a healthy, pain-free life. I am able to be as active as I want, and I am well on my way to completing a marathon and triathlon in each of the United States and its territories.

8. I have developed a deep friendship with Matt Damon, and our families regularly get together for holidays and vacations.

9. With the help of several other philanthropic friends, I have helped to develop a stable renewable energy infrastructure throughout all of North America, along with efficient water treatment facilities. We are hoping to one day supply the entire world with affordable, environmentally conscious energy and clean drinking water. We have made leaps and bounds in the efforts to permanently reverse the effects of global warming, as well as repairing the most badly damaged areas of our ecosystem.

10. Oh and I almost forgot... I really hate being called Madam President, but I respect the fact people wish to address me in a way, that shows respect for my newly elected position. 

If you are going to hope, you may as well go big!

I have also decided to include ten predictions for how my life will actually be in ten years. If I am still blogging then, it will be fun to compare the reality with my predictions.

1. I will still be unmarried.
2. I will have at least a Bachelor's degree.
3. I will have a very close relationship with Gigi, and will be in full-blown panic mode, over her impending leaving of the nest.
4. I will own a cat.
5. We will finally be living in a home larger than the tiny one we are in now, but still be renting.
6. I will still be volunteering with the local Food Bank, and still doing random acts of volunteering and kindness every chance I get.
7. I will be one hundred pounds lighter than I am now.
8. I will still have long hair, but it will be mostly all gray.
9. I will still be living in chronic pain, but I will still have a positive attitude. Due to my pure stubbornness, I will still only be using a wheel chair part of the time, but I imagine my bone issues will have progressed significantly by then.
10. I will still be praying to meet Matt Damon in person one day.

How do you think I did with my predictions? I feel fairly confident about them. Do you have a prediction about the me ten years from now? How about one about the you ten years from now?

Here are links to all the sites now featuring March's Secret Subject Swap posts.  Sit back, grab a drink, and check them all out. See you there:

Baking In A Tornado                           https://www.BakingInATornado.com
Cognitive Script                           https://cognitivescript.blogspot.com   
My Brand of Crazy                          https://sarahsbrandcrazy.blogspot.com/      
Climaxed                                 https://climaxedtheblog.blogspot.com

Friday, February 22, 2019

Shocker #FunnyFriday

Welcome to February’s Funny Friday, a regular feature published on the last Friday of every month. Funny Friday is a collaborative project. Each month one of the participants submits a picture, then we all write five captions or thoughts inspired by that month’s picture. Links to the other bloggers’ posts are below, click on them and see what they’ve come up with. I hope we bring a smile to your face as you start your weekend.





Here’s today’s picture. It was submitted by Me!!!






1. What a shocking good time!


2. Does my hair make my butt look big?


3. The higher the hair, the closer to God.


4. I have an idea! It just came to me, like a lightning bolt!


5. This was taken at the Second Harvest Food Bank's Trunk or Treat. We volunteered, and Gigi had tons of FUN! All the kids were able to write letters for soldiers stationed abroad, and they received pumpkins, and more candy than any kid could need. It was such a fun time. I dressed up as a Mombie, and served as guard for the forklift, as well as helped people know which way to go next. Such a fun event. We LOVE volunteering with our Food Bank, and I really love seeing all the amazing things they do for our community.




I hope you guys enjoyed this picture, as much as I enjoyed taking it. Gigi is so fun, and experiencing things with her, makes those things so much fun, even on my worst days. She is awesome. I am a blessed mama. 



Click on the links below and let some other bloggers make you smile:




Friday, February 15, 2019

What?! #FlyOnTheWall

Welcome to February's Fly on the Wall Round-Up. This is a blogging challenge, hosted by Karen of Baking in a Tornado, where bloggers get together and give readers a glimpse into our homes. We talk about things you would have seen or heard, had you been a fly on the wall in our homes.

So, here we go....

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

Gigi, while pointing to a bump on her cheek: Look, Mama, I got my first pimple.
Me: Cool.
Gigi, while rubbing the bump: Isn't it cute. Do you have any?
Me: Have you looked at my face?! I have tons. The steroids give me huge ones. LOOK *points to like three*
Gigi: I filled mine with love, because I love it. You should wish love into yours.
Me: Come talk to me in ten years.
Gigi: Why? I am talking to you now.

*three minutes later*

Gigi: Do you name your pimples?
Me: No. I try to not get too attached.
Gigi: Oh. Well, I decided to name this one Taylor Swift.
Me: Lovely. Great name. I am sure its namesake would be flattered.
Gigi: Huh?
Me: We will revisit this in ten years.

Gigi: Are you obsessed with ten years?!

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

Some background.... Since my pregnancy with Kateri, I have been unable to drink/eat dairy. Gigi has been unable to have dairy since birth. Chad, really should NOT have dairy. It really messes with his tummy, and makes him smell horrendous. However, he will have dairy all the time. He apparently does not mind the pain, bad trips to the bathroom, and the horrendous smell. I think he is crazy, and almond milk is yummy. He recently found out his cholesterol is high, and has made some changes to what he brings to work for breakfast and lunch. One change was he switched from bagels to Cheerios. 

I received a letter in the mail about truancy. Gigi had to  miss some days after my dad passed away, and then she missed other days due to some health issues. However, I went into the office the next day, and cleared it all up. I did use the letter as a teaching moment. I explained to Gigi about truancy, and how important attendance is. She has hit her second half of the school year funk, and mornings are rough. She does not want to get up, and does not want to go to school. It is a struggle. On the days I am not feeling my best, the struggle is almost too much. So, I explained how if she was decided to be guilty of truancy, one of her parents could end up in jail, or we would have to pay more money than we could afford. Now, whenever she is struggling in the morning, I remind her about the importance of attendance, and if needed, I tell her I am too pretty for jail.

Gigi asked if she could have cereal. Chad made her a bowl, and she was happily eating, and we were just sorta talking about random stuff.

Chad: By the way, I bought Costco milk. 
Me: Oh okay.
Chad: Yeah, 2%.
Me: Wait. What?! Chad, you should not do that. It is going to kill your stomach, and you will stink your coworkers out of the building.
Chad: I don't smell THAT bad. (He totally does smell THAT bad. I think anyone in those circumstances smells THAT bad.)
Me, realizing Gigi is having the Costco milk in her cereal: Wait! You did not get 2%!
Chad: I did. It isn't that bad. It is better than whole milk.
Me: No! It isn't about which is best! Gigi cannot have dairy!!!
Chad: Yeah, so?
Me: 2% is dairy!
Chad: No, 2% lactose free.
Me: Oh. Costco has lactose free? I have never seen it.
Chad: Yeah. It is with the other milk.
Gigi: So this isn't dairy?! 
Chad: No, not dairy.
Gigi, wiping her brow: Phew. That is good. If I had dairy I would have to be in the hospital, and I would miss school, and mom would go to jail. We don't want that.
Chad: Real dairy milk coming right up.
Me: Hey, don't tempt me. I will keep her home tomorrow and just go to jail.
*Chad and I look at each other, and just get wide eyed and grin, because we both realize Gigi does not even have school the next day, and she does not know she does not have to go to school, since I did not tell her, so we could just maintain our normal routine, and have things go smoothly*
Gigi: Mom, I would protect you. I would tell the cop that he cannot take my mom.
Me: Then you would be in jail with me. 
Gigi: Okay. That sounds okay.
Me: Or I could just make Dad go to jail. It does not have to be ME.

So, yes. I was the terrible mom. I made this big deal. We woke up as usual, since I wanted to keep our normal routine. I made a big deal about saying.... Ehhhh... It feels like a good day to just stay in bed and watch movies. She was the one who did the truancy speech. I just told her to let me worry about the cops. She honestly took it so well. She was saying things like... Well, mom, when the cops come, I will explain to them that I really need you, so then they will just leave you with me... Mom, will the cops put you in handcuffs? Can I touch the handcuffs? Will you ride in the police car? Can I ride in it?.... Twice, when there were sounds like someone knocked, she literally ran to open the door. At those times, I said that she should not be so eager to get rid of me. She explained she just wanted to be the first to the door, so she could explain why they cannot take me.

Overall, she was really very okay with it all. I think it hurt my feelings a tiny bit, that she was not more upset. Though,  I honestly think she believed she would be able to convince the cop to let me stay with her. When she grew impatient about waiting for the cops, I finally told her that she had the day off (President Lincoln's birthday). I explained to her that I had fixed the truancy problem, but that she still needed to have really good attendance for the rest of the year. I had hoped for some funny reactions or some drama. Overall, my prank of a lifetime was mostly a dud. Though, hearing her lecture me about truancy, the same as I lecture her, did show me that at least she does listen.

We ended the day with a discussion about President Lincoln, slavery, and The Emancipation Proclamation. I was so proud of her reactions. She was outraged at the thought of slavery. She did not like the idea of owning people at all, and she really hated the idea that any human is better than another human. She made it very clear that every skin color is beautiful to her, and that she would never own a slave. I was grateful to not have to teach her equality. She is five and just knows by instinct, that we are all equal, and everyone deserves to be treated well. It also helped back up my long held belief, that hate and prejudice are taught, we are not born with it.

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

Gigi: Mom, how did you have me, if you and Daddy aren't married?
Me: We just did.
Gigi: I don't understand. How can you have a baby when you aren't married?
Me: You do not have to be married to have a baby.
Gigi: Oh. What do you have to be?
Me: An adult.
Gigi: So any adult can have a kid?
Me: Pretty much. It is complicated, as are so many things, but pretty much anyone can be a parent.
Gigi: Well, I am so happy you are my parent.
Me: I am so happy too!!
Gigi: So getting married does not teach you how to have a baby?
Me: Nope.
Gigi: Your body just knows how to have a baby.
Me: Yep. It is an instinct.
Gigi: What is an I stinked? Is it a bad smell?
Me: No. It is just something that you are born with, that is ingrained in you.... Look, this is way too complicated for a five year old. I will explain it when you are a bit older.
Gigi: Okay. Like when I am forty seventeen?
Me: Yes, that sounds like the perfect time.
Gigi: So, are you ever going to marry my daddy?
Me: Maybe one day. That is complicated.
Gigi: Life has so much complicated.
Me: True story, Kid. True story.

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

Gigi has this new thing she does, that I LOVE! I really want to try to capture it on video. Whenever she does something super cute, or says something wise beyond her years, or anything in general, that causes her dad and I to look at her in awe or amusement... she will shrug and do this cute smile and says "What?!". It is something I hope I never forget. It is beyond adorable. I wish she could see herself through my eyes, so she could know just how amazing she is. 

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

Gigi: Don't worry, Mother. I can do this.
Me: I am your mom. It is my job to worry.
Gigi: Well, don't worry.
Me: I am going to worry, deal with it.
Gigi: You worry too much. It makes me worry about you.
Me: You're worried that I am worried?
Gigi: Yes.
Me: I am worried, that you are worried, that I am worried.
Gigi: *facepalms*
Me: Yes, I am definitely worried that you are worried that I am worried that you are worried about me worrying about worrisome things.
Gigi: Mom, please just do not worry.
Me: I told you, I am your mother, and it is my job to worry.
Gigi: You need a new job.

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

Gigi, while holding her stuffed fox: Look at her tail. It looks just like fire.
Me: It does.
Gigi: I think I am going to change her name to Fire. Fire Fox. 
Me: Cool.
Gigi: Fire Fox. Is that a good name?
Me: Yep, it is pretty good.
Gigi: I think so too. I am so good at picking out names.
Me: You are.
Gigi: I bet nobody has ever even heard the name Fire Fox before.
Me, laughs.
Gigi: What?!
Me: Oh, nothing.

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

Gigi: I am going to change my name.
Me: You can't.
Gigi: Why not? 
Me: You are not an adult. You are stuck with your name for eighteen years. Once you turn eighteen, you can go and change it.
Gigi: Well, I am changing it.
Me: Why? Your name is pretty, and it suits you. It wasn't the name I wanted for you, but I honestly think it is a good name.
Gigi: Well, I think it is not the best. I think I can name myself better.
Me: Oh yeah?! Well, what would you name yourself?
Gigi: Elizabeth.
Me: No.
Gigi: Why not?
Me: I am your mother, and I said no.
Gigi: Well, one day, when I am an adult, I won't have to listen to you.
Me: You already don't listen to me.
Gigi: Well, I really won't listen to you, when I am a grown up adult.
Me: Okay, Elizabeth.
Gigi: That is not my name.
Me: I was practicing for the future.
Gigi: Well, I changed my mind. I am not going to name my name Elizabeth.
Me: What will your new name be?
Gigi: Princess Bridgette Rose Flower Glitter.
Me: That is quite the name.
Gigi: I cannot wait until I am a grown up adult. I won't have to listen to you or dad and I will have the most beautiful name ever.


~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

During a political discussion, Chad said that he hasn't be paying attention to the political news lately, and mentioned that he isn't worried about the election right now, it is too early yet. 

Me: You should be worried. As a human you should be worried, and most importantly as a father you should be worried. You have two daughters!
Gigi: Three. He has three daughters.
Chad: I have two daughters.
Me: He has two.
Gigi: He has me. That's one. He has Kateri and he has Embee. Embee is his daughter. He has three.
Me: No. He has two. 
Gigi: How?
Me: He isn't Kateri's Daddy.
*Chad and I give each other that look, like oh boy here comes a complicated conversation*
Chad: I have two. You and Embee.
Gigi: Just two.
Me: Kateri's Dad's name is Maurice.
Gigi: Oh cool.
Me: Yeah, it is a pretty cool name.
*Gigi goes back to playing. I am yet again amazed at how she can just keep things simple, and accept things as they are. She doesn't judge. So often she approaches a topic, and I get all tense, getting ready for a difficult chat, and she just really processes things maturely, and doesn't complicate things more than necessary. I swear she is already more like a mature adult, than I am at times.*

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

I try to teach Gigi to be a good person. I teach her the golden rules and the basic life lessons, I feel we all need to know. She has really gotten a great grasp on "Two wrongs do not make a right" lately, and hearing her say it, really warms my heart. She has been working hard on how she reacts to things. I think we could all learn some great lessons from her.

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

As I had spoken about before, I am working hard on not yelling. I HATE to yell. Well, I have been doing really well. I am still a work in progress, but I have honestly done so well. It is so rare I yell lately. Maybe once a week. Gigi has asked me several times when I was going to start yelling again. Apparently, she misses it. Yelling made me feel like an absolute failure as a mom, and this is her reaction to me no longer yelling.

I decided to start a new tradition for Valentine's Day. I want us to each tell each other one thing we LOVE about them.

Me to Gigi: I love your ability to make people laugh so genuinely.
Me to Chad: I love your smile.

Gigi to me: I love your yelling.
Gigi to Chad: I love your smile too.

Chad to Gigi: I love your eyelashes.
Chad to me: I love your heart... That you put others first before yourself, though sometimes that is not a good thing.

*Saying we should each include Lil Bit*
Me to Bit: I love your loyalty to my blanket.
Gigi to Bit: I love your ability to scare the cats away.
Chad to Bit: I love your spunk and feisty-ness. 

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

We do not have the funniest of households, nor the most interesting or eventful of households, but we do have love. Lots and lots of love.

I hope you enjoyed your glimpse into our house. Hopefully you all have a fabulous week, and I hope your weekend is AMAZING. I am just hoping our weekend is dry. It has been raining a lot here. I do love the rain, and know we need the water, but raining means no doing laundry for us. Our washer and dryer are outside, and the enclosure for them has not been built yet, so they are covered with a lot of tarps. We cannot use them on rainy days, and there has been so much rain, laundry is piling up. I would love a dry weekend, so we can get our laundry done. That or for a laundry enclosure to magically appear.

Do not forget to go check out what is happening in the other houses!! I will meet you there, after I get some more coffee!!

Links to the other blogs featuring a Fly on the Wall post: 




Friday, February 8, 2019

Story in Pictures #UseYourWords

Welcome to February's Use Your Words writing challenge. This is how it works: participating bloggers submitted four to six words or short phrases, for a randomly chosen fellow blogger to craft into a post. All words must be used at least once and all the posts will be unique as each writer has received their own unique set of words. The fun twist; no one who is participating knows who received the words they submitted, or in which direction the writer will take them.





My words are:
picture ~ blue ~ jammed ~ rock ~ harried

It was submitted by: https://dlt-lifeontheranch.blogspot.com/ (Thank you, Diane, for such a cool list of words!)

Many years ago, while living in Buffalo, New York, on a whim, I walked into a tattoo shop, and I got my first tattoo. It was a purple heart with a tribal band behind it. It was on my chest, up near my collarbone. I almost hate myself as I type this, but I chose purple for two reasons. Yes, it was my favorite color at the time, but also because of the Purple Heart military awards. Now, listen, I in no way deserve a Purple Heart. However, at the time, I felt like I had survived some terrible things, and I did not give up, and so the heart being purple felt fitting. I had a small V put on the heart. My ex-boyfriend Von, will tell you that the V was for Von. However, it was really for victorious. I wanted to remind myself that I could be victorious, no matter what life throws at me, if I just do not give up.

Not long after that, I went back into the tattoo shop, and got my second tattoo. It was immediately below my first tattoo. It was of roses, a butterfly, and my ex-boyfriend Von's name, in his exact handwriting. It was awful. Honestly, if I saw a picture of it, while browsing those articles of world's worst tattoos, I would not have even been shocked. I know you first thought, is that it was terrible because of the fact my ex-boyfriend's name was in it. No. That was actually the best part of it. The artist did the name perfectly. It really looked just like Von's name he wrote down. The rest of the tattoo was horrendous. 

Actually, if I am going to be honest, I should tell you that it is not as bad as it could have been. I actually stopped the session before the artist finished, because I knew it could only get worse. I want to first tell you, before I forget, the portfolio of his work, that the artist showed me, before I agreed to let him be my artist that day, could NOT have been his actual portfolio. The reason I ended up leaving before it was done, is because he stopped a short while in, because he needed a bathroom break, and I got up and looked at the tattoo progress in the mirror. Once the shock of what I was seeing wore off. I politely paid, thanked him for his work, and left. Yes, I paid the full cost of the original tattoo quote, plus a twenty dollar tip, and left.

Now, thirty-six year old Jules, probably would have handled that situation quite differently, but twenty-one year old Jules wasn't as bold as I am now. Just so you get the full gravity of the entire situation, I actually did not want the tattoo below my first tattoo on my chest, but Von was with me, during the beginning of the tattoo session, and once the outline had been placed on my ankle, where I wanted the tattoo, he got upset. He did not want his name anywhere near my feet, as if I were walking on him, or placing his name near the dirty ground. So, it was decided by the artist, that for the size it was going to be, my chest would be a good spot. So, since he was the expert with the awesome portfolio, and Von seemed happy with the idea of his name being near my heart, I went with it. 

During the discussion with the artist about the colors, I decided I wanted the roses to be purple, because I am not a huge fan of the color red. I had originally considered having them be blue, but I wanted there to be blue in the butterfly, and I did not want there to be too much of any one color. So, we decided on purple roses, and a butterfly with different shades of blue and some pink, and the leaves would be a dark green with some lighter green areas. One of the first issues I noticed, when I looked into the mirror, after he had left the room, was that the roses were red. I was upset, because we had specifically discussed that I did not want red roses. The next issue I noticed, was the fact the butterfly looked nothing like the picture he had been using to draw up the outline. The butterfly in my tattoo, was not even symmetrical, and that is one of the most amazing things about butterflies, their symmetry. I was scared and confused, as I stood looking into that mirror, and I was unsure how I could make it better, but I knew I was definitely leaving immediately, so at least it would not get any worse.

Over these last fifteen years, I have spent more than enough time brooding over that tattoo. I can honestly say, that I do not think a single day has gone by, where I did not at least once think about how much I hated that tattoo. Due to its location, it is nearly always visible, at least partially, and since I wear tank tops a lot, it is nearly always fully visible most days. I knew from the very day that I got it, I wanted it covered. It took me years, to even go back into a tattoo shop. I was so scared of ending up with another bad tattoo. However, tattoos have always been meaningful for me, even back when I was a kid and did not have any tattoos. To me, tattoos are a way for us to tell the world a story with pictures (and yes, even words). I knew at a young age, that I would be getting at least one tattoo. I figured whether or not I got more than one, would depend on how badly the first one hurt. The tattoo, that finally got me to go back into a tattoo shop, was my neck tattoo.

My neck tattoo is a beautiful K with a halo. If you now me well, you probably already figured out that the K stands for Kateri. I got it after I got sick in 2009, and I was not sure how much longer I would be alive. I did not want to die, without Kateri being represented on my body, as part of my story in pictures. Since then, I have added to my story a bit more. I have the word hope, combined with an infinity symbol, on one of my feet, to always remind myself that there is always infinite hope, even during the most difficult times. I have the word live on my other foot, but the i is a semicolon. That one is to remind me to live each and every day, and to just keep going, because one day my story will end, but God will decide when that is, not me. That is a lesson that I had to learn over many years, but I did learn it well, and I was grateful when I discovered Project Semicolon, and it gave me the perfect way to add a reminder to my story in pictures.

That is what I consider my tattoos. My story in pictures. The story of Jules, but told in pictures, and a few words. I recently got an owl dream catcher on my arm. It represents my maternal grandmother, my mom, and my sisters. I chose the colors carefully. They all add depth to the meaning. When my girlfriend Andrea was visiting, from Michigan, a few weeks ago, I added another bird tattoo. It is on my right arm. It is an adorable purple bird (Andrea's favorite color), and it is sitting on a swing. Andrea got a green bird (my favorite color) sitting on a swing, on her arm. When we hold our arms together, it completes the scene of the two birds sitting on a swing. I really love it. 

For years I have felt harried, by friends and family, to get my disastrous chest tattoo covered, and I don't think they even realized how their nudges felt almost like harassment. Obviously, I hated the tattoo and knew it needed to be covered. There were even a few times, I thought about just cutting that pieces of skin off, and getting it gone completely. (Disclaimer: I never would have actually done that. I do not condone self-harm, nor do I take the subject lightly. I am just trying to convey to you, how much I seriously hated the tattoo, and how deeply my desire for it to just be gone would get, at times over the years.) I was just so scared of making it worse, if that was even possible, so I knew I needed to find the perfect artist, and the perfect cover tattoo idea. Sadly, I never could quite find the right artist, and could never really come up with any ideas for the cover.

As you may remember, early last year, I got a large tattoo on my upper left arm. It is of two coffee cups, one with "#1 Mom" on it, and the other with a W, for Gigi's birth name. The steam coming from the cups combine to form a heart above the cups, and there are some beautiful flowers below the cups. It is a very colorful tattoo, and that is because Gigi colored it. My artist (Chino from Lucky You Tattoo in Manteca, CA) did the outline work of the cups, steam, and flowers. Once that was healed, Gigi colored on my arm with markers and we took pictures. Once I have several to choose from, she and I sat down and picked the one she liked most. I brought that to Chino, and he inked her coloring onto my arm. He did it so perfectly. It looks exactly like her work. It was that day, that I knew he would be the artist to cover up my chest tattoo. I still did not know with what, but I knew the who finally. 

For all these past years, anytime I see a picture of myself, no matter how good I may look, I hate it. Unless I am lucky, and none of the tattoo is showing, and then there is actually a chance I like the picture. Since I practically live in tank tops and rounded neck shirts, it is safe to say that I dislike nearly every picture of me, at least a little bit. So, when I approached Chino about doing the cover up for me, he was more than happy to help. He understood how much I hated the tattoo. When he asked me what I wanted to cover it up with, I told him my mind was jammed full of ideas, but none of them felt any more right than any of the others. I told him, I had reached this point, where I did not know what, and I actually did not really care what. I told him I just wanted it to be pretty. I wanted to be able to look at a picture of myself, and if part of the tattoo was showing, to just simply think of it as pretty. So, we discussed it, and we decided on flowers. Simple and beautiful. I picked the flowers and the colors, and finally I had a plan.

So many people thought I must be so happy to finally have the name of my ex-boyfriend gone from my body. They are wrong. The name was never why I hated the tattoo. I hated it because it was ugly, and it did not even look like the picture I had picked out to have inked onto my body. Like I have said, my tattoos are my story. Von will always be a huge part of my story, and I was not bothered that his name was there, because he was a huge chapter in my story. That being said, I strongly encourage people from thinking twice, before you put a name on your body, that is not your child or a beloved relative. Despite the fact that I did not mind that his name was there, if I had it to do over with, I would have never gotten his name.

The day Andrea and I went to get our cute love birds, swinging on their swing together, I finally got my chest tattoo covered. We spent the whole day in the tattoo shop, but it was worth it. He did the most amazing job. I told him I just wanted it to be pretty, and he really made it beautiful. It is definitely a tattoo, that I will have no problem with it showing in pictures. I will say, that this was the first tattoo that actually hurt. I had to ask him to stop a few times, so I could breathe for a few minutes. The inner side, closest to the center of my chest just really hurt. My skin must be extra sensitive there. I have had so much anxiety over the years, thinking about getting it covered, and worried about it somehow ending up worse, so I was grateful Andrea and Chad went with me, and gave me the support I needed. I am also grateful that Chino was willing to take his time, and make the tattoo a beautiful addition to my story. 

I will be going back soon, to get the tattoo on my upper right arm done. I already paid for it, and we already know what it is going to be. I just need to figure out the right day to go get it done. I won't tell you what it is going to be, because I want it to be a surprise. I will say that it is my official Chad tattoo. I will be adding his chapter to my story in pictures. It is absolutely crazy, which makes it perfect, because our ride together in life has been a crazy one.

Once I get my Chad tattoo finished, I am going to go back, and get my tattoo for my Dad. I almost got it twice already, but I had to stop. I am just not emotionally ready yet. I don't want to have any breakdowns in the chair, or have any anxiety attacks, or to just cause myself any more sadness than necessary. My heart is still healing, and I can wait. I will know what the time is right. I had several ideas of what to get to honor my dad, but in the end, I decided to go very simple. I have his guitar, his main guitar, and many years ago, he wrote his name on it. I am going to have Chino trace his name, and ink that onto me. Growing up, my dad would always draw these ducks for me. He would draw them onto my balls, so people would know the balls were mine. He would draw them on cards he gave me. He would sometimes just draw them on scraps of paper. I loved those ducks. I have a rock he drew a duck on, and I am going to have Chino trace that duck, and then ink it beneath my dad's name. I am also going to have Chino trace "Love you, Dad", from one of the birthday cards my dad gave me, and ink that beneath the duck. Simple and perfect. 

I was going to add a ton of pictures to this post, particularly of the cover up piece, but it is actually still new and not completely healed. I promise I will come back and add some pictures to this post, once it is fully healed. I will also share pictures on my Facebook page, so if you follow me there, you will see them. I will add a picture of the original tattoos and a picture of the cover up immediately after it was finished. Once I get my Chad tattoo and my Dad tattoo, I may just do a blog post with pictures of my tattoos and the meaning behind them, an explanation of my story in pictures. I know that my first two tattoos are now covered, but they are still there, and they will always be part of my story, and I am okay with that. I am just grateful that they are much more beautiful now. Which is poetic, because my life is also so much more beautiful now. 




I would love to hear any stories behind any tattoos you have, if you want to talk about them. Do any of you have any terrible tattoos you want covered, or beautiful cover up tattoos you are grateful for? Well, I am sure when you read my words, you probably were not expecting such a long discussion about my tattoos, and I doubt tattoos even crossed Diane's mind, as she compiled this awesome list of words. I guess that is why I really love this Use Your Word challenge. You never know what words you will get, or where they will take your mind as you write. Just like we have no idea who will end up with the words we submit, or where they will take the recipient as they write. 

Now, that you know way more than you ever wanted to know about my tattoos, please do not forget to go check out the rest of this month's Use Your Words posts, and see which words everyone else received, and where their words took them, on their writing journey. I will meet you there, but first I need more coffee and a snack. I hope you all have a fabulous weekend!!

On a quick side note: Thank you, Karen of Baking in a Tornado, for helping me with my sentence debacle, enabling me to turn this post into one I can fully be excited to share with others.

Links to the other “Use Your Words” posts:


Never Die Alone #UseYourWords

Welcome to March's Use Your Words challenge. This is how it works: participating bloggers picked four to six words or short phrases for ...