Tag Archives: family

#MusicMonday – Week 21

This is the last week of Mental Health Awareness month, but unfortunately, the suffering for those with mental illnesses continues, as does the stigma, which arguably, does the most harm. Did you know 1 in 5 Americans will suffer from a mental illness in any given year? I know, thanks to Nikki’s efforts last year in opening up about her own struggles. The truly heartbreaking thing about this, is the knowledge that those “1 in 5” aren’t getting the help they need, and it’s only partly because the help isn’t there. The other part is the stigma. It stands to reason that, if we reduce the stigma, we might be able to increase the odds of a person getting help, and making that person’s life so much easier. I don’t know about you all, but it’s worth it to me.

Now, onto the main event. The final song for this month is by an Irish singer, Rosie Carney. I had never heard of her before this year, but apparently she is very open with her own struggles. Her calls for reducing the stigma surrounding mental illnesses is also echoed in her song, “Awake Me.”

Week 21

#MusicMonday – Week 20

Week three of Mental Health Awareness month and this is a song that always makes me cry. There are many celebrities who struggle with mental health issues. Some of them keep it to themselves, and some, like musicians Chester Bennington and Justin Furstenfeld, turned their struggles into art. You’ll see plenty of Chester and Linkin Park around here eventually, but for today, here’s “Hate Me” by Blue October.

Week 20

How we doing out there?

So. I’ve had a post sitting, waiting, for the past two weeks, explaining (and apologizing for) the lack of writing logs. I had them on pause while I was back in classes, because, honestly? I just didn’t have the spoons to write with. Now…oof. 

I live in Texas. The schools in our district are shut down and we’re not sure when they’ll reopen. For now, the kiddos are doing online courses. The eldest kiddo has had their first online assignment, but most of their classes won’t start/open until Monday. They were very unhappy with the idea of online schooling until it sunk in that they could do it in their pajamas. Now, they’re like “YES!” There’s still some grumbling because they miss their friends and boyfriend, but I think the prospect of spending all day in comfy clothes is helping to soften the blow a bit. The youngest is in full denial mode. He misses his friends, and he doesn’t want to spend all day staring at a computer screen when it’s not playing games. 

One of my roommates is a distributor, so he’ll be working through this crisis. The other’s workplace has gone to “no contact” operations. She keeps the doors locked, and all business is done online or through drop-offs. She’s also the one who got herself a trip to the ER last week, leaving with a possible (probable) flu diagnosis. That was scary, in itself, because the weekend before, we went to a couple shops and then out to eat at IHOP. The doc said she didn’t have enough symptoms to warrant a COVID test though, and the symptoms she did have weren’t in line with the virus, anyway. Still a scary moment. My cousin posted on Facebook last night that he’s sick. He’s feeling better today, but he’ll be tested on Monday. He lives in Japan, and apparently tests aren’t as hard to come by there, I guess? My sister has imposed some strict quarantine rules for her house. She just turned 50, is asthmatic, and is our mom’s caretaker, as it were. Mom is 71 and diabetic. She’s otherwise fine, health concern-wise, as far as I know of, but sis isn’t taking any chances, and I don’t blame her one bit.

My university has postponed the commencement ceremony until this whole mess is over. My job hunting is at a standstill now, until businesses start opening again. I supposedly still have a job at 7Eleven, but I haven’t even been paid from the last time I worked, so…yeah. I’m not falling for that again. We’re hunkered down and not going out if we can avoid it, but other than that, not much has changed for us. I guess we’re all lucky in the fact that most of us are introverts, and the one extrovert we have is the one driving around to all these stores. He gets all his people time out there, so he’s alright.

I know a lot of people are stressed lately, and I hope for a pleasant end to this soon…for everyone’s sake.

Family.

So, if any of you have ever checked out the “Who I Am” page, you know that I’m a nanny. A live-in one, at that. It’s…an interesting life, I have to say. A lot of the time, it’s just me yelling at the kids now days, but it used to be cuddle time in front of the television, letting them make “chili” out of me (that’s another story), and/or sharing the absolute geekiest videos online I could find with them (seriously, these kids know more about this galaxy and assorted planets than a lot of adults do).

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Something no one told me about this nanny business (probably because I’m the only one any of us know), is that – if you hang around long enough – you are no longer just a glorified babysitter. You become part of the family. You will find yourself adopting certain characteristics from the parents, just as they will with you. And the kids. Oof, the kids.

When I started working for this family, the eldest (Batgirl) was about to turn three, and the mother was pregnant with the youngest (Robin). This year, Batgirl will be turning the big 1-3, and Robin will be turning 10. It has been absolutely mindblowing watching them grow. I grew up with my oldest nephew being more like a younger brother than anything else, but with him – I watched him grow in, I guess what they call “fits and starts.” I saw him all the time, but he still managed to grow a little more every time I saw him. These two kids though…

Anyway, so here’s the thing. I’ve been thinking, and I’ve realized that I have some really strange families.

Photo by Leah Kelley @ Pexels.com

Yes, plural, and no I’m not complaining.

They’re different in many ways, and they’re perfect for me. The thing is, I want to share them a little bit. So I’m going to. They’re such a big part of my life, it doesn’t seem right not to. I won’t ever share real images of the kids, and it’s highly unlikely you’ll ever see such images of the adults, either, but over the next couple weeks, I’m going to introduce you to the strange cast of characters I call “family.”

This should be fun…

Announcement for May:

This is just a heads up to everyone. Posting in May might end up being a bit…spotty.

May 8th:

Season 4 of Lucifer premiers on Netflix, and you can bet I’ll be livetweeting the shit out of that. Join me over on Twitter if you’re watching, too!

May 15th:

Ravi from VIXX will be performing in Dallas, and guess who has tickets~ I will obviously not be livetweeting that one, but you can expect massive amounts of spamming on Twitter afterwards.

May 24th:

I have an appointment with a cornea specialist who will, hopefully, be telling the other doctors “Oh, no, that’s fine. It’s just scar tissue, you’re free to go.”

And somewhere in all of this, I’m supposed to go out and visit my family in Arkansas before the kids get out of school on May 31st.

Yeah. This is going to be fun…

2018…Meh.

So. It occurs to me, that I did not do an “end of year” review type post. Honestly though, I don’t really have anything to write about for this year. It was 2017 when all the “important” crap happened. The tumor behind my eye was discovered and removed. Sis’ skin cancer was discovered and removed. The first full year without my brother-in-law. Everything and anything happened that year.

Sis ♥

This past year…the only thing of any note was that my vision has improved. Oh, and I finally received my first rejection letter (which, considering the publishing house in question, I expected). I got to visit my family in Arkansas, and introduced my sister to filters. We found a graveyard from the 1800s, and it turns out, most of the people in it are related to us. I introduced my niece to Doctor Who, and she binge-watched it within about two months? Something like that. She completely devoured the show, and is now a dedicated Whovian. I rediscovered my love for VIXX, and decided to give learning Korean a try (spoiler alert: the alphabet is like, a million times easier than Japanese, but pronouncing it is a bitch).

I found my writing tribe, participated in Twitter author events. Made it through an entire summer without a single tornado warning (!!!), and missed out on Trick or Treating with the kids because they both decided to act like first-rate jerks. Added a minor to my degree (I am now minoring in Social Sciences), and am starting my senior year of college. Had two scary instances with our doggo (see the skunk incident and the brownie thief incident), and two with two of my aunts (and they say bad things come in threes…).

Dragons, Faeries, and Time Lords, oh my!

I won the award for favorite aunt this Christmas, when I gave my niece a laptop, and my roommates got me gifts very fitting for a writer of sci-fi and fantasy.

One of my roommates is now working at the same place as me, and the other is annoyed with me for buying her stuff for Christmas and her birthday (her birthday’s the 28th).  

Funny story there, actually. Our family is a Batman family. We have Batman; his wife, Alfred; I’m Nightwing; and the kids are Batgirl and Robin. Well, everyone had to work on Alfred’s birthday. Batman was working 6am-4pm, I was working 5pm-9pm, and Alfred was working 9am-6pm. Since there wasn’t going to be a time where we would all be together (the kids go to bed before 9), we decided to give Alfred her presents the night before. I knew she was going to be mad at me for one of the presents I had for her, so I gave her the two I knew she wouldn’t mind too much, and then waited. On her birthday, I left her last present on her desk before I left for work (remember, there was an hour gap between when I went to work, and when would be getting off). I got to work…and waited for her reaction.

She did not disappoint.

So yeah, it’s been an interesting year, but not one to really look back on and go “oh yeah, that was crazy…”

I’m honestly not sure if I’m hoping for an eventful 2019 or not…

Eye can see clearly now…well, damn…

Hey, 1. You can’t say I didn’t warn you people about the eye puns, and 2. Just be glad I haven’t decided to be extra rude, and change all of my “I”s into “Eye”s. I am that much of an ass, I am not even going to pretend otherwise. 3. Dammit, I should’ve used this eye pun for the post about my glasses!

I said before that I would eventually talk about the accident that left me functionally blind in one eye, and I even went over in briefly in another post, but those of you who want the full scoop, here you are.

 

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“Stubborn as a mule” doesn’t even come CLOSE to covering it.            

First off, let me explain: I’ve always had a stubborn streak – and, perhaps, even more importantly a contrary one. Tell me to go left, I’ll go right. Tell me to stop, and I’m gonna run right up and over you. It’s a running joke that I am so contrary, I couldn’t even be born on the day the doctor said I would be. I ended up being born two weeks late. Contrary. And it was the contrariness that ultimately caused me to be in the wrong place at the wrong time.

 

I was sixteen months old when the accident happened. My sister was fourteen at the time, and my brother was eleven. My father was at work, and my mother had been sick all day, so mom put me to bed, and then went to lay down, herself. My siblings were in the kitchen unloading the dishwasher.

Now, here’s where the contrariness comes into play. My mother put me in my crib, and told me to stay thereThree guesses what I did not do. (I’ll give you a hint: it starts with “stay” and ends with “there.”)

The minute they left the room, I was up and running. Climbed out of the crib, and ran right out of my bedroom, into the kitchen. My brother had just taken a glass mug out of the dishwasher, and seeing that a few drops of water remained inside, he did what any 

Image result for old glass mug
The cups were like these, but instead of alcohol, we used them for rootbeer floats.

one of us has probably done in our life times, and tried to shake the water out. He was holding it by the handle, he didn’t swing it wildly, he didn’t smash it against anything, he just gave it one good shake. The cup part of it detached from the handle and shattered…just as I came running around the corner. A piece of the glass cut through the eyelid of my right eye, and went into the eye itself.

 

 

My mom was a huge fan of the old show, Rescue 9-1-1. If it was on, the television was on, and the family was watching it. I’m not a fan of television, in general, but I can’t complain too much about mom’s obsession with that show. The last episode the family had watched happened to feature an eye injury, and thanks to this, my sister knew to grab a cup and place it over my eye, while someone else called for an ambulance.

Obviously, I was too young to remember all of this, and I’ve heard conflicting reports. One person told me I was flown from one hospital to another, and another person said that they drove me. From what my sister says, the paramedics who arrived on the scene wasn’t going to take me to the hospital, but one of them changed their mind, and I was originally taken to Franklin Square Hospital. I was then taken to John Hopkins Hospital (not sure whether it was flown or driven), where the doctors worked to save my eye.

When all was said and done, I had stitches on my eyelid and the eye itself. It’s been over thirty years, so my family doesn’t remember how many, but they believe it was at least seven or eight (maybe up to seventeen, total), and I wore an eyepatch for a while. Later, I visited the same doctor who treated me after the initial accident, and I found out that the reason I can’t really see anything on my right side, is because of a “trauma cataract.”

A cataract, for those of you who don’t know, is basically a cloud on the lens of your eye. 

Retina scans of my left eye (undamaged) and right eye (with trauma cataract). 

You can see it in the image above. The greenish mass that covers the right side of the lens is the cataract. I also have scar tissue, which complicates things a lot. I’ve been told that, even with cataract surgery, I  wouldn’t be able to regain complete vision in that eye, and I am okay with that. I’ve lived with my vision the way it is now for as long as I can remember. Honestly, if I had the surgery done, I think I would be worse off because the constant movement where none had been seen before would just drive my brain up the wall. Besides, the glasses I wear now bring what little vision I have in  that eye, from 20/80 to 20/30, I believe the doctor said, and that’s more than I’ve ever had. I put on these glasses, and I can actually read the clock from across the room with that eye alone. I’ve never been able to do that before. The only thing these glasses haven’t improved is my peripheral vision. Even if I look completely to my right side, I can’t see the edge part of my glasses. Meanwhile, on my left side, I can be staring straight ahead, and see the full rim and the left arm/leg of the frames.

Image result for peripheral vision

On the right side, everything past the Center of Gaze is pretty much gone. At  best, I can see to just before the “N” in “Near-Peripheral” is at. At best.            

Another side effect of the accident is a strong light sensitivity. My right pupil is permanently dilated. Have you ever had your eyes dilated? If you’re over 20, chances are, you have (or at least, you should have – eye health is important, folks!). Now, try imagining walking around like that all the time. That’s how it is for my right eye. Bright flashes of light on that side are physically painful. They’re also mentally painful.

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Left eye.
Normal pupil.

It’s not all bad though, I have excellent night vision. Unless the room I’m in is pitch black, I can easily read a book in a dark room, while everyone else is stuck stumbling around, trying not to trip over their own feet. Also, because I’m so used to the extra flood of light coming in on that side, if there’s a bright light on my left side, I can pretty much just brush right through it. It’s still annoying, but I can manage. On the downside, does the sun really have to be so flippin’ bright? (Kidding, guys, kidding. I science, I promise.)

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Right eye. Deformed pupil.

What’s interesting about this whole thing, by the way, is how the emotional/mental impact caused the accident overshadows my life far more than the loss of vision. Besides my own slight PTSD over the whole ordeal, my family also has suffered. I don’t speak to my brother much, but from what I’ve been told, he still wrestles with feeling guilty over the accident, even though he did nothing wrong. My sister was the one holding me during the call to 9-1-1 and keeping the cup over my eye, so she had my bloody hand prints all over her. She was also the one who cleaned up all of my blood off the floor and calmed my brother down, who was, of course, freaking out. I tried asking her about it, but she can’t put the feelings into words – and considering she’s a writer as well, that’s saying something. I do know she also has a strong reaction to the sound of breaking glass, and she gets jumpy when children are near things that are out of a person’s direct control (people throwing balls, slamming stuff around, etc.).

My mother…her version of the story completely contradicts what my sister and I both were told by our father, so whether she has it right, or due to the trauma of the accident on top of the very recent (at the time) death of my baby sister, she has gotten it all mixed up, I have no idea. Either way, the whole accident had a massive impact on my family that still affects them today.

Eye can’t even…

Yeah, I’m not letting go of eye puns anytime soon.

Anyway, it occurred to me that I hadn’t updated you guys on my eye problems lately. I had my six month check up back in November. So far, I’m still okay. My left eye still isn’t tearing up right, but it seems to be getting a little better? I (FINALLY) watched Justice League the other day, and at one part of it, both of my eyes stung like the tears would come. Only one eye actually teared up, but the stinging is still new, so fingers crossed it keeps improving.

My next appointment isn’t until May, but I need to talk to them before then to see about getting new glasses. It’s getting kinda hard to stare at my computer screen without squinting (which is weird because the last time I had my vision checked, my good eye had went from 20/40 to 20/20…I thought age was supposed to make your vision worse?), and it’s past time for a new pair anyway.

At any rate, life is getting kinda exciting. “Say ‘No!’ to Zombies” is finally finished, and “Blood Runs Black” is….well, not off and running. More like limping. I’m not liking it at all, to be honest, but it’s going.

I have two vacations coming up, one at home, and one with my family. Can’t wait, but there might be a bit of radio silence for a while. You can always find me on twitter, especially now that I’m hanging with the #WriteFightGifClub tweeps. This group is insane, but in all the best ways.  It’s always nice when you can find your people.

The things we realize…

It’s interesting how a random thought can turn into a realization about your entire childhood. A couple weeks ago, someone on Facebook posted about how they liked horseradish, and it got me thinking about my grandfather.

In the entire time that I knew him, and I’ll grant you, it wasn’t very long, but in that time, he never asked me to bring him anything. He would ask my cousins, or my aunts and uncles, but never me, and I think I finally figured out why.

To borrow the good ol’ sports analogy, I was born with two strikes against me. Let me explain…

First, my mother.

My mother is easily the most kind hearted person I know. Sometime early in my parent’s relationship, my mom was helping make sandwiches for lunch. My grandfather asked for horseradish on his. Mom, never having horseradish before, proceeded to slather it on to the bread like it was mayonnaise, and gave it to him. Grandpa took one bite, and spat it back out, yelling, “You trying to kill me, woman?!”

That was strike one.

Then, my sister.

My brother and sister are both 9+ years older than I am, and grew up when my family was especially church orientated. When I say “church orientated”, I mean, my father was a deacon, and my mother was a Sunday School teacher. So it was church every Wednesday, twice on Sunday, and every single day during Revival. This might not seem relevant, but bear with me.

Now, my grandfather liked to drink beer. He also liked to sit in his comfy chair, which left him with a problem: how to get a nice cold beer from the fridge…without getting out of his comfy chair. His solution was to ask my sister to bring him a beer.

Remember the thing about the church? Here is where it comes into play, because, you see, the church taught two major things: respecting your elders…and alcohol is bad. So, grandpa’s solution…became my sister’s problem. Alcohol was bad, but so was refusing to do what he asked her to. Fortunately, my sister has always been smart and came up with a solution to grandpa’s “solution.” She brought him a beer from the fridge, alright. But first, she gave it a good shake.

He made it through the unexpected beer shower the first time. And the second. And maybe even the third, I don’t remember how many times she did this to him before his cogs started turning, but eventually, he stopped asking her, and turned to my brother instead.

I love my sister, let me just get that out of the way now. She is the usually the sweetest little thing. However, she has her moments. And when grandpa asked our brother to bring him a beer? Well, she had a moment. She got our brother, three years younger than her, in on Operation Respect Our Elders/Beer is Bad. It eventually got to the point where grandpa would look around, realize that they were the only two there…and get up out of his chair to go get his beer, rather than risk another shower.

That was strike two.

By the time I came around, grandpa decided it was better to change sports than to worry about any curve balls I might’ve thrown him, and – just to be safe – he also wrote my name on all of the benches…with permanent marker. Now that I’ve had time to think about it, of course, I’m surprised he didn’t take a knife and carve my name into the wood.

At any rate, it’s a childhood mystery solved.

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