Category Archives: NaBloPoMo

You’re Messing With My Sneeze…


My 21 year old daughter was sharing the story of her day with me tonight, while I mixed myself a cup of dandelion coffee in my Texas Starbucks mug.

I’ve found dandelion coffee to be quite enjoyable as an evening time hot drink. Sometimes at night you just want something hot to drink. And with dandelion coffee, there’s no caffeine to worry about. And plenty of health benefits to consuming dandelion.

If you’re curious, Dandy Blend is my favorite. It’s a blend of roasted barley, rye, chicory root, beets and dandelion and it tastes very nice to me.

I’m a coffee snob too, but not in the way most people are. I like good coffee, but I cannot handle dark roasts. They kill my stomach with the extra dietary histamine inherent. Many artsy coffee places are really into dark roasts, but I simply can’t be. But it doesn’t mean I’ll drink crap coffee if I don’t have to. I’d rather drink Finnish coffee over Folgers any day.

So the fact that I enjoy the dandelion coffee is kind of a feat in itself. I add milk or cream to it, just like my coffee. No sugar. Although, I do enjoy adding a dash of dehydrated marshmallows to the drink at the end. It’s like a healthier version of grownup hot cocoa. Sort of. There’s no chocolate in it, but it almost has a cocoa flavor to it. I’m guessing its the chicory that lends to it.

As I reach for the makings, my daughter’s filling me in on the deets of the afternoon.

It was an interactive conversation, though I don’t remember all the parts. But to be honest, it doesn’t really matter. We were communing and sharing and that is what was important.

When my daughter is animated, she tends to speak very quickly.

Multiple times I heard her say something about people messing with her sneeze.

Like this is something undesirable.

It’s an expression I just haven’t heard before.

However, I get it. I mean having your sneeze interrupted is incredibly annoying.

In some cases, maybe even torture.

Like worse than a shop-block.

Makes sense.

But with her words running together so quickly, while I’m rummaging with the coffee bag, I ask her to repeat herself.

“And so I’m telling them, you’re messing with my STEEZE!”

Steeze? What the heck is that?

It’s a combo of the words style and ease. So if someone’s messing with it, it’s like someone’s messing with your mojo.

Have you ever needed to sneeze and someone tickled you or did something to block your sneeze?

I’d say your mojo would be pretty messed up.

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If Wishes Were Fishes…


I believe the only way to get through crisis is to focus on the right now, and the just next.

That and healthy boundaries.

Obviously there are some things that could have long-term impact on your family if they don’t get done, but…

I wish I’d spent less time handling paperwork while John was sick, less time letting people tell me what I needed to do with said paperwork, and spent more time just holding my love’s hand, giving him every kiss I could and snuggling every chance.

I wish I took more naps with John. Sat on the couch and watched TV with him more.

It’s not that we didn’t have those moments. We did. But we could have had more before he died.

I did a lot, yes, and in a weird way, it was our trips to Houston for cancer treatment that gave us more time together, than at home when all the stuff had to be done. When the mailbox screamed at us.

But even so, I still wish I’d forgone some of the papers and phone calls and spent more of that time/energy with John.

In the end, maybe it helped some that I was on top of papers, but it didn’t prevent issues completely, I’m still in paperwork hell. The mailbox is just as loud and off-key.

And right now, I don’t care. I just want those moments with John. Once more his arms around me.

Don’t take it for granted. Don’t let the world tell you to focus on anything else.

The little moments matter so much more than you know.

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Glioblastoma: Facts, Notes and Ponderings…


Fact: John was diagnosed with primary, unmethylated wildtype glioblastoma multiforme, a grade 4 brain cancer. Aka: GBM.

Fact: GBM is always grade 4. They do not use stages in brain cancer, much less “stage 4.” Primary GBM originates in the brain as GBM. Secondary GBM brain cancer is when you start out with a different kind of cancer and it mutates to GBM. All GBM, primary and secondary, is grade 4.

Fact: GBM is specifically a series of DNA errors that involves nearly every foundational cell of the brain, including stem cells. Cells which by their very nature are very “fertile” and good at replicating quickly. It’s not just one error or even 2, but a complex series.

Theory: They think that for some reason, perhaps due to some sort of crisis, some part of the regular system of the human body slips up and doesn’t do its job. Like a gear missing a beat or a tire spinning out. And something does not happen in the order it’s supposed to. Suddenly multiple DNA errors are created.

Theory: In the case of secondary GBM, the argument can be made that it’s the first type of cancer that wasn’t GBM that creates the crisis that allows the GBM DNA error series to be created.

Fact: Fighting all other brain cancers grade 1-3 is not only easier and more successful, but the survivability of the patients are also vastly different on the whole. GBM is a different kind of brain cancer from all others. And there is usually more time to treat grades 1-3. Average mean life span of grade 3 brain cancer is 10 years or so.

Fact: Dietary treatments that extend the life of patients with lesser grades of brain cancer will shorten the life of a grade 4 brain cancer patient. Studies have proven that GBM is biologically a very different kind of cancer.

Opinion: People joke that calling GBM cancer might be a disservice. And that if we looked at it as a disease from space, or an engineered computer virus, we might be better off so we stop comparing it to “average” cancer.

Fact: The problem is, once that particular series of DNA errors that is known as GBM is created, it does not die. In fact, it could be considered immortal. And the error exists on the micro-cellular level. Unmethylated GBM knows how to repair its own DNA, making it not only immortal, but nigh indestructible.

Theory: Some argue that it’s like a program or a blue-print that once your body has created it, it can’t forget and stop creating. That maybe it’s not that there are cells still there to fight, but that your body can’t forget and stop creating the error in the cells.

Fact: With the blood-brain barrier intact, it is nearly impossible for treatment to affect GBM cells. Especially because there’s so little time to get ahead of its aggressive growth.

Opinion: If there was a way to harness GBM’s immortality, it might have medical significance. But for now, it just simply follows a program and kills the patient before anyone can figure out why it even exists.

Comparison: Like a computer getting hit with a backdoor trojan. By the time you know it’s there, it’s too late. Except you can rebuild a computer.

Fact: Without treatment, the current mean survivability of a GBM patient is 3 months without treatment and 12-15 with surgery/chemo/radiation combined. A GBM tumor can double in size every 2-4 weeks.

Fact: Less than 20% of primary GBM patients survive past 2 years. Less than 5% survive past 5 years. Of those who survive longer, no one fully understands why.

Fact: the words “remission” and “cure” are never used in the GBM medical world. Medically there is no cure for GBM. No one is ever “cured.” There is no remission. There are long-term survivors. But even outliers who magically survive more than a decade later still undergo ongoing treatment and monitoring and are not considered cured. You have to have the right genetics to survive longterm with GBM and no one understands why yet.

Theory: Survivors seem to have 3 main things in common. 1) Religious faith or will to live. 2) Their youth and good health otherwise. 3) And their support network. Patients with the most support seem to be the ones who survive longer.

Personal Fact: While they do not think it causes cancer, John’s doctors say that a relationship has been found between a cancer patient’s survival and a positive attitude and focus on enjoying life and reducing stress in their lives. Negative attitudes, outlooks and fear all seem to create an environment that tend to support the spread of cancer. By far, the long-term survivors seem to be the ones that deal with their diagnosis and live/love/thrive anyway. His doctors truly mean it when they say – go LIVE, make HAPPY MEMORIES and ENJOY your life!

Fact: Nothing natural acts fast enough to fight GBM alone. By the very nature of natural approaches, they work best slowly. Combined with the standard surgery/chemo/radiation protocol, natural methods may help, but there’s no replicable proof. They can’t always prove when a trial is the reason someone lives longer.

Fact: GBM is *a* brain cancer, but it is not like other brain cancers. Other brain cancers allow more time to explore more options and try natural methods. GBM is voracious and fast. It is the fastest cancer known.

Fact: No one has yet survived primary glioblastoma long-term (2 years) on natural methods alone.

Personal Fact: John and I were already on the paleo diet for a few years prior to John’s diagnosis. John’s oncologist was actually very pleased that we use the paleo diet already. One of the biggest reasons it’s good is because it’s an anti-inflammation diet. And fighting inflammation is a helpful part of fighting cancer.

Opinion: Or is it that inflammation gets in the way of healing cancer. Remove inflammation as a possible barrier and you have a better environment to work within and better success because it’s not there to f* things up.

Fact: Researchers more recently found that while ketogenic shows promise, and is helpful to GBM patients who suffer from seizures, many GBM patients also fail to thrive because the diet is so restrictive and their bodies are overwhelmed while they undergo treatment. So they instead looked at modifying the keto diet into what is essentially paleo, but they did not focus on organic sources or some of the other philosophies on food sources that are hallmarks of paleo thought. Just the low carb, low/no grain, high fat, high vegetable diet with an emphasis on using cold-pressed coconut oil. And they found it not only worked much better but the patients could thrive. And that coconut oil in particular was key in that success.

Theory: Some people believe that blood-sugar is the problem.

Fact: Researchers discovered that diabetic patients are less likely to get GBM.

Opinion: For other cancers, it seems sugar very much so is an issue. However, the paleo/keto diet likely helps some GBM patients not because of blood sugar levels, but because of the anti-inflammation.

Fact: GBM patients have to be careful and balance their sleep and blood sugar levels to keep them from dropping too low. A drop in blood sugar or lack of deep rest can trigger seizures and stroke. Which creates more brain damage and struggle in the fight against GBM.

Personal Fact: In John’s case, they noted that his blood sugar was actually borderline low. Even while he was on steroids, which would normally cause someone’s blood sugar to be unnaturally high, John’s blood sugar was low. Low enough they cautioned us not to let his calories drop while he underwent chemo and radiation. If our regular primal/paleo diet had John’s blood sugar levels already at a low state, then there’s no way his GBM was caused by blood sugar as some would try to assert.

Reflection and Frustration: Even before officially going paleo, we had always been incredibly health conscious, eating organic as much as possible, picky about our foods and food sources and I have a literal apothecary of herbs, vitamins, minerals and natural supplements. John was a focused athlete since before joining the Guard. He never did drugs, didn’t smoke and everyone commented on the incredible health of the rest of his body. We didn’t live near mines, power stations or anything else considered to be hazardous. I’m allergic to many modern medicines and have been on the path of natural healing for most of my life because of it. And yet, in spite of John’s low blood sugar, our organic living, and all of this… we’ve found it depressing that none of this protected John from getting GBM.

Opinion: If all of this stuff about being able to treat GBM naturally or via diet were fact, this should never have happened to John.

It’s just one more proof in what we’ve been told by the researchers at MDA. GBM is a unique demon that discriminates against no one. Sadly even new babies have been victims. 😦

Personal Fact: John and I chose to pursue medical treatment, combined with natural efforts at home. Doing everything in our power that we could to uplift his/our spirits, support his liver and kidneys and overall health in general while he processed so much medicine. We added several things we’ve found genuine research on that seem to show promise in supporting regular treatment in fighting glioblastoma. And John’s oncology team allowed us nearly everything we wanted to try, even though they didn’t think it would help.

Opinion: GBM is a complex DNA issue that requires an equally complex approach to treat. And no one thing, medical or natural, is going to conquer it. It will take a hybrid approach from all fronts. If it takes a multi-pronged approach to successfully fight GBM, then regular medicine alone is not likely enough either.

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Family Update – November 2018


Our family update for those following along.

As John’s birthday just passed (he would have turned 50) and now our anniversary and the holidays approach, the kids and I are working on some brain cancer awareness and charity projects in honor of John and his courageous fight.  And also in compassion for those patients and families in the thick of fighting the hard fight, who are in desperate need of assistance.

Orphan diseases receive the least amount of financial and donation support, including glioblastoma. And while support systems and charities are in place for many more common cancers, glioblastoma is so rare, aggressive and terminal that there is almost no assistance available for the families of GBM patients. Many of us GBM widows want to change that, one step at a time.

Towards that end, here’s what the kids and I are working on.

1) We’re asking friends who shop at Amazon to enroll in the Amazon Smiles program and to select the Dr. Marnie Rose Foundation, or Greg’s Mission, as beneficiary of the program to help raise awareness and funds for brain cancer research, patients and families. The Dr. Marnie Rose Foundation supports child and adult brain cancer research. Greg’s Mission was founded by long-term glioblastoma survivor Greg Cantwell. His foundation provides critical and free 1-on-1 coaching and support to brain tumor patients and families around the US, and even internationally. Many hospitals refer their patients to Greg for much-needed help, but donations are crucial to make travel possible and keep this mission going.

When you use https://smile.amazon.com to buy from Amazon, it costs you nothing, but Amazon will give 0.5% of your purchase to the charity you choose. It’s a very easy, no extra cost, way to support the charity of your choice. For more information visit: https://smile.amazon.com/about.

Moody Shroom Enamel Pin - Pink Version - designed by Jack Chambers - November 2018 - Cure Glioblastoma2) Our daughter Jack has designed and released some cute mushrooms, collectible gold-plated enamel pins (her drawings turned into pins) to help raise awareness and donations for brain cancer this holiday season. The first release of gold-plated pins is already in her Etsy store named Squash Rabbit, and another design release is on the way, including some roses. 20% of proceeds will be donated to brain cancer charities.  You can find 3 color variations of her little shroom pins to choose from – there’s even a grey option, since it’s the color of brain cancer awareness. Find them in her new Etsy store here: https://www.etsy.com/listing/637121368/moody-shroom-enamel-pin.

Some of you have watched her grow up drawing, so you can imagine how excited she is now to have these special enamel pins of her artwork to share! 🙂

3) I have begun a crochet related charity project that I will be announcing soon! And a neat little bakery in Idaho is helping me. Stay tuned!

It’s been 2 years, 7 months and 30 days since the shift in our family’s journey began. When my John was diagnosed with glioblastoma. And 8 months ago when our son was diagnosed with a rare kidney cancer. Your prayers and support as we keep pushing through are greatly appreciated. To everyone who has followed along and simply made a point of witnessing, of reaching out and holding our hands through everything – our utmost gratitude.

– ♡♡ –

#RaiseAwareness  #Glioblastoma  #CureGBM
#IncreaseOrphanDiseaseResearch #CureCHRCC

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In Seeking Signs… Part 2


I’m one of those people who have experienced miracles. I walked away from a car accident I shouldn’t have 13 years ago. Maybe for the 2nd time, though I’m unsure how bad the car accident really was or not, when I was 6 . The Cougar was totaled though. I remember falling into the wheel well with the jugs of water we had in the car.

There was the time I was drowning in a lake. My mom’s best friend was supposed to be watching me, but she was chasing her own son (my best friend back then) who’d headed over to the diving board on the dock. I knew better than to go over to the deep area, so I waded in from the shore and got swept off my feet. I remember bobbing up and down in the water, panicking, watching the big kids play ball and paddle board around me. I couldn’t swim. I couldn’t float. My body sank. I held my hands up, but all I could see was the green water around me and the surface reflecting above. And a great sense of calm fell over me as I floated there. It was beautiful, and I let go. Everything faded dark and I heard voices as someone wrapped their arms around me. I woke up on a picnic table with a horrible sore throat, pain in my head and shivering. My mom’s friend Jean just wrapped me in a towel.

There was the night I nearly miscarried my son. Bleeding heavily and knowing I was about to lose him. Bracing myself to be ready to experience what millions of women before me have experienced. And then I heard a voice in the darkness that I could not explain, that simply said, “Mommy, don’t give up on me.” And I knew he was alive. For 9 weeks we didn’t know if our baby would live or die because scar tissue from my endometriosis had torn a hole in my uterus. He was only 20 weeks along and too young to be delivered. The doctors and nurses were concerned that I wasn’t facing reality, as I was told over and over again that I was going to lose this baby. But I was calm – I knew he was alive. And while I bled throughout the rest of the pregnancy, I didn’t lose him.

And there was the whole not knowing I couldn’t even have kids in the first place. But if I hadn’t ignored the naysayers and met the right people, who led me to the right specialist out of New Orleans, he wouldn’t have discovered that my tubes were closed. Something they told me was a birth defect and that at the time couldn’t be identified with just a scope. And they fixed me when I had that laparotomy for endometriosis. I would have tried to have kids my entire life. And instead I later gave birth to two miracles. The surgery was not 100% successful, but I was able to live a much more normal life afterward, because the damage caused by my endometriosis had been off the charts for someone just 23.

And let’s also not forget that my mother and I were run off the road into a ditch on the way to New Orleans to get that surgery. It was the strangest set of circumstances and I remember Mom sitting on the curb of the mechanic shop after we were towed in, asking me if maybe this was a sign from God that I was not supposed to have that surgery. The car was completely undriveable and would take days to fix, but I was supposed to be at the hospital the next day. We were stuck in nowhere LA. But somehow Mr. Havir, a minister I knew and called, knew someone who called someone and somehow 2 airline tickets were bought, someone showed up to give us a ride to catch a plane from the nearest big airport in some town not where we were. I had no luggage with me, I’d just thrown things into Mom’s car. Not only did the airline hold the plane for us, they helped us throw my stuff into boxes so it could be checked. I remember running through the airport with my mom and a minister and an airline employee I didn’t know with these awkward cardboard boxes of my clothes and things. I can’t remember the plane flight, but I made it to my surgery. And a family I met a few years prior when my college choir toured through their area, opened their home to us and gave us a place to stay. To this day, I always pack my clothes in suitcases now, no matter how short or local the trip or stay.

And there’s the night the remnants of hurricane Harvey came through, soon after John was in ICU. The night torrential rain poured down the walls of his hospital room in the dark and began flooding his room. Our son was staying with John that night, but our daughter and I were late to leave, because John had a seizure. After things seemed to settle down, we headed down to the lobby to go home, only to discover that the rain and trees were literally horizontal outside, while the lights in the parking lot sputtered and sparked like a fireworks show. We headed back up to John’s room, all the lights dimmed for the “night,” only to look at the floor and think it didn’t look right. And then I realized that half the floor was covered in water and it was moving. And worse, there were electronics units in contact with the floor, including John’s Optune unit. I immediately unhooked everything I could reach and screamed for personnel to help. If John had not had that seizure, and I had not tried to leave too late, making it unsafe for my daughter and I to go home in the weather outside, someone stepping into that water might have been electrocuted in that room that night, a nurse or most likely our sock-footed son. And who knows what could have happened to John, his life support, several things could have gone very badly and horrifically. It was terrifying to be thankful that John had that awful seizure.

There’s the time our son was diagnosed with 6 different medical issues that negatively affected his eyesight, requiring therapy that we didn’t have the money to pay for and that insurance didn’t want to cover, even though it meant the difference between being legally blind and able to drive. After the doctor presented all their findings, we found out how much the treatment would be. How? How do we make this happen? We have an answer and this can be treated. I remember praying to God please help. I’ve looked over the finances every way I can think of. I can’t see how this will work out. Please, please show me. Please provide the means for our son to have this treatment now that we finally know what’s wrong. Please provide it in a way we cannot deny. I don’t know how to pay for this, but if we don’t, our son will be essentially blind. And it’s preventable! I cried and prayed my heart out. And 3 weeks later one of the credit cards I closed during John’s deployment sent me a letter. It stated that they’d recently audited their system and discovered that they owed me money. It was a couple thousand dollars. Enough to start our son’s treatment. Since when does a credit card company refund thousands of dollars? I didn’t question. I knew what it was for. A few months later a fellow crocheter also sent us some money to help our son out. How is that not God in action?

I could go on with personal stories of magical moments of hope bestowed to me and through me. The people John helped rescue. I’m no stranger to miracles. Nor kindness. Nor love and service, both given and received.

I didn’t expect there to be silence now, when I need hope more than ever.

While my faith has been challenged in every way I couldn’t imagine, I do still believe in a God. Even though I don’t understand why so many terrible things have happened. If God is the comforter of widows, then please dear God, comfort me.

So I’ve been asking for help, with all of the pieces that have to be resolved, all the work that has to be done, all the things I don’t know how to do, all the things that keep breaking, like my car, the lawnmower and the fence.

And I suppose if broken things were a sign that my husband’s spirit was still around, then all the things that keep breaking down must be John screaming at me. But it just doesn’t make any sense. Because all these broken things are causing harm to our family, and are hurting me. And there’s no way John would ever do that. If being in contact with me meant harm to me, there is no way the man I knew would ever contact me then. Because he would sooner disappear and exit my life than cause me any harm at all. And I just don’t believe that’s how it works.

So that doesn’t make sense to me either. That’s not the kind of language John would use to try to comfort the kids and I.

And yet this pattern of adversity persists, with a safety net following behind. The yin and yang of whatever this new reality is.

A lot of that surrounds the car. Like the shifter cable breaking Friday afternoon. Or when my car up unexpectedly broke down after visiting family in another state over the summer. A starter coil went bad after I replaced the spark plugs on my car. The first happened a month before my trip. The second happened in another state during the middle of that really bad heat wave, but I managed to limp over to a nearby Love’s where there was food and air conditioning. And I just happened to be within 30 miles of grandma’s house where my uncle lives. I was stranded in OK for 5 unplanned days, but it wasn’t bad. Just an expensive repair. It could have been way worse.

Or recently when a lady hit my daughter while she was driving John’s truck. Thankfully nobody was hurt, and everything happened under 10 mph. But the lady hit the back wheel of John’s truck with the front corner of her car hard enough that it broke something in the wheel assembly. Now she’s trying to claim that my daughter somehow hit her while she was parked on the side of the road; this after she tried to get my daughter not to file with insurance. Our insurance company says they have no idea how she can possibly make such a claim with all the evidence laid out. Everything is still in arbitration. It was in discussing all these things with our rep that it came out that when he was 17 his father died from glioblastoma.

Glioblastoma is an orphan disease, affecting less than 200,000 people in the US. And it just happened that the claims rep I got, when I called after my daughter’s frantic phone call to me from the scene, lost his father the same way she did, at close to the same age.

TO BE CONTINUED…

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High Contrast Stress…


Yesterday ended on a weird note. One that unfortunately is no longer a surprise to me.

Living on the edge of a twist.

I had a financial meeting. A stressful one, but one that is helping to solve some things. In the midst of legalities and papers and all the insurance stuff that still isn’t settled from John’s care, and my son’s care and the rest of us.

I left the meeting feeling like, ok, we have a direction at least. There’s a plan.

It’s not a perfect place yet, as there are several pieces of data to sort out still, but having a plan is always better than not knowing what the hell you’re doing.

On the way home, it dawned on me that I hadn’t eaten all day. Just wasn’t time. And I was about to pass this little hole-in-the-wall taco place I know of, where the shredded beef tacos are good and the queso even better.

Did I tell you I love tacos?

Literally just about to pass the place. But instead I flip on my signal and turn into the tiny parking lot.

Everything slows down and flows perfectly. I turn, pull into the parking lot and slide right into a perfect parking space that I noted would be easy enough for me to pull out of. Because nothing is more annoying than to park in a too tight spot, in a hole-in-the-wall little parking lot, and not be able to pull back out of either easily.

And the parking spot was waiting for me. Ample room on either side.

I shift into park and then <bonk>. My front wheels slide forward, bounce off the parking barrier and my car rolls backward.

Whut? Hello. Wait…

Did I not put it into park like I thought?

I slam my foot to the brake. I check the dash and see that I’m actually in neutral, though when I look at my shifter, it’s in park.

I’m confused, but braking hard, I rework my shifter and it slides around the center console like butter.

Something is definitely broken. And as usual, everything happens to me on a Friday, around 5pm. W.t.h.

As it turns out, in the instant that I was parking, the shifter cable broke in the neutral position, right as I shifted from drive to park.

In that instant.

Which means it was quite suddenly and permanently stuck in neutral.

Did I tell you my car has nearly 200,000 miles of experience?

When a shifter cable goes, it’s really a matter of luck when/where/how it will happen and in what gear. It can get stuck in drive, park or neutral if the cable breaks.

And I just happened to want a taco. And with a working emergency brake, just happened to park in the perfect spot for a tow truck to back into the parking lot and load my car up. A tow truck they told me would take an hour to get there, but was in fact there in 15 minutes.

Did I tell you I’ve poured over $6000 into keeping my car running since John died?

Yeah. I don’t qualify for loans yet. I gotta keep this baby going. Thankfully a friend thinks they can do the work for me.

But weird stuff keeps happening to it.

And yet, I just happen to be in the right place, safe and at the right time.

Even got a taco.

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NaBloPoMo Tribal Resources – Find Your People People!


If you are looking for ways to participate in NaBloPoMo (National Blog Posting Month) this November and meet others as crazy as you for considering this challenge in the midst of Thanksgiving, or if you’re a NaBloPoMo wannabe-supportive-I-eat-blogs-for-breakfast-groupie, here are a few places where people and information are pooling this year:

2018 NanoPoblano Badge for NaBloPoMoThe challenge known as Nano Poblano has been around a while, hosted by the Cheer Peppers. If you want to join their ranks as a Cheer Pepper and share November posts, that’s done in their Facebook Group and on their website here. I joined them last year, so you’ll see me in the group if you join too. Check out the 2018 NaNoPoblano Team for some great reads from bloggers ranging from seasoned (spicy!) and new. You can find the badge here on the left and a list of blogging resources from the Cheer Peppers here.  Official Hashtags/blogtags: #NaBloPoMo #NanoPoblano2018 #TeamTinyPepper. You can even find an active team Instagram page: @teamtinypeppers

Aimie Clouse over at Blissful Lemon hosted a NaBloPoMo challenge list last year. For 2018 she’s proposing a #Create30 challenge, where you create something every day for 30 days, but the form is more flexible. It’s not just geared towards writers. If you found the pressure of NaBloPoMo to be a bit much, but you want to keep your creative juices flowing, then you might want to check out her challenge for November.

A NaBloPoMo Revival Group has been established on Facebook just in time for this year’s challenge as well. As their tag line suggests, it’s a group “for all of us dealing with the withdrawal.” Think I joined? Duh, yup. They’re singing my song. Well, I’ve asked to join anyway. I’m sure they’ll approve my request soon, right? You can join too -> here. There are some other groups listed on Facebook for NaBloPoMo, but some are expired BlogHer groups and honestly this is the only related public FB group that looks like it’s active or cares.

To help with the enabling, I’ve created a NaBloPoMo Roster event listing over on my Aberrant Crochet Facebook page where everyone can share their NaBloPoMo posts. I’ll monitor it, but please feel free to share and chat there if you like. Being on Facebook should make it easy for people to share their posts without crashing anyone’s website. You can find that event page here: https://www.facebook.com/events/305018210336226

See Jane Write is also hosting a November blogging challenge called #BlogLikeCrazy. By all descriptions it seems identical to NaBloPoMo, just much younger and perhaps hosted differently. You can check out that November challenge and any connected communities here: https://seejanewritebham.com/bloglikecrazy.

Several bloggers are taking to social media to share their challenge posts on their own.

You can find all sorts of goodness from them at the following links:

https://twitter.com/hashtag/nablopomo

https://plus.google.com/s/nablopomo/top

https://www.instagram.com/explore/tags/nablopomo

https://www.instagram.com/explore/tags/nablopomo2018

Know More Places?

If you know of more communities and places where the collective heart of NaBloPoMo can be found this year, do share in the comments below! Help our fellow writers and creatives find each other and commune again.

Should make for some really interesting and wonderful food for thought during this month of Thanksgiving. Good luck to all!

Talk to you tomorrow!

 

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NaBloPoMo – Tribal Call!


Welcome to November y’all!

It’s that time of year when I terrorize myself, my readers, or both with NaBloPoMo. Thirty posts during the traditional 30 days of November each year. To learn more about NaBloPoMo, you can refer to a previous post on it here.

Ever since BlogHer became SheKnows, the official hosting of NaBloPoMo has simply disappeared. No announcement, no death note. And there’s still no sign of acknowledgement, much less renewal of the idea.

It’s as if NaBloPoMo’s been kicked out of it’s home and no one’s admitting it happened.

It’s unfortunately not news. You might remember my anarchist rant about it a bit last year. After you read last year’s post, you’ll understand when I say – I haven’t designed my NaBloPoMo #NoMoNoBlo badge for this year, but I will! 😉

It’s easy to say geez, no one’s officially supporting it and it’s really too hard to do it right now anyway. Give it up. But how can I let a decade of obsession just die without even a eulogy? Especially when it’s not dead yet. In fact, it’s feeling a little better. Might even go for a walk.

I’m not alone. There are a few of us diehard NaBlo nerds out there, along with some newbies who just caught wind and think we’re cool.

Well, we are. I mean. Ya know.

In the last decade of participating, I’ve lost the challenge only once. That one time was last year and for the obvious reason of my husband’s death, if you’ve followed my blog at all, then you know. And I’m grateful if you’ve stuck with me along the way. I can’t promise that I won’t talk about deep things, sad things or even haunting things. I mean, my teenage son was diagnosed with cancer this year, so things definitely still suck, very much. But my soul is not keening with the same rage it was a year ago.

I’m not ok. I’m not. I never will be. Of that I’m certain. I was forced to be reborn and I’m still angry about it. But I’m putting one foot in front of the other, I’m learning and in new ways I’m living John’s favorite teaching motto: Embracing The Suck.

This year will be a challenge to see how NaBloPoMo goes, with an upcoming surgical procedure and a few other irons in the raging fire. But transmutation is never a process of ease, is it? If a caterpillar has to completely dissolve to become a butterfly, then… well…

:: shudder ::
Actually let’s hope it doesn’t come to that.

Look for a list of NaBloPoMo resources in the next post.

On to it!

 

 

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Dark Side Of The Moon…


For me the storm is not over.

Merely changing its color.

Noise still deafens.

Wind still rages.

My head still tucked,

Bracing against the force and hanging on.

Bleeding wounds still unattended,

My furious storm shifts gears.

Black Hole devoured my Trees,

Swallowed my Sun

And gave black ice.

Dark, blinding, cold.

Vacant spot beside.

I am no longer a shield.

I am solitaire.

Written 11-30-2017, 01:30am
Copyright © 2017 by Julia Meek Chambers, all rights reserved.

Alone in the Dark Side of the Storm

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Filed under Glioblastoma, NaBloPoMo, Poetry, Writing

Silence Is Broken…


I finally dreamed about John 3 nights ago.

I was at an old drive in movie place, but instead of parking for cars, there was a collection of remodeled vans, cargo trucks and buses in the movie lot – tiny house style.

Where the guts of the original vehicle are removed and the inside is remodeled like an apartment.

Only these were basically just rooms to hang out in.

All the wheels had been removed from the vehicles and they just sat on the ground.

I walk up to the back of a long, converted cargo van and open the doors.

All the seats and stuff inside had been cleared out of it, save a single white bench seat/couch positioned in the middle, facing the back doors where I stood.

A custom couch made to look like it belongs in an old car, but obviously way more comfortable.

The van definitely seems bigger to me on the inside.

And there was John sitting on the couch, in his jeans, t-shirt and ball cap.

He tells me, hey baby – why don’t you come in and spend some time with me?

I look around, noting the absence of anything else inside this van.

And I quip, “Well now… I guess you did clean everything up quite a bit!”

Cocking my head, I smile coyly and start to close the door and come sit with him.

And then I freeze, staring at him – suddenly realizing, dear god I’m dreaming about him.

Nine weeks since he died and I’m finally seeing him.

But as soon as I realized he was there, the vision broke and I woke up. 😦

I tried to go back to sleep and revisit that dream, but it didn’t work.

Still, it’s remarkably comforting.

After weeks of complete vacuum, without a good or even a bad dream about John or our fight again GBM, I finally saw my love.

I just hope I see him more.

dream-van

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Filed under Glioblastoma, NaBloPoMo, Random Thoughts

Anarchy In Writing…


NaBloPoMo is the blogger’s answer to NanoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month). It stands for National Blog Posting Month. I refer to it sometimes as November NaBloPoMo, because after NaBloPoMo was taken over by BlogHer, it became used there as a monthly exercise throughout the year too. Bloggers could participate in a NaBloPoMo challenge any month, with a different theme to boot. However, the main traditional November Challenge was still supported and observed. And by far, it’s remained the most active time of the year for blogging challenges.

I mentioned to you yesterday that I would try to catch you up on the unofficial nature of official November NaBloPoMo this year. I don’t know much, but here’s what I do know.

It unfortunately appears that BlogHer.com may have forgotten or simply abandoned the annual project. My guess is this is related to their acquisition by SheKnows.com in 2014. No one from either identity is responding to inquiries about NaBloPoMo, which is disappointing. And a little confusing. I can find no official announcements about it one way or another either. The last couple years of “official” November NaBloPoMo coordination since the acquisition have seemed odd. Rumors of lots of changes at BlogHer were murmured. And last year November NaBloPoMo was definitely put together at the last minute.

However, this year, the entire site, login and everything is different. You can still find archives from previous years of NaBloPoMo, but there’s nothing new. You can find posts from bloggers asking about the challenge, and no responses. No responses on Twitter either. In fact, no real interaction at all. And the entire site has been redone and restructured. I even have a brand new writer’s page at SheKnows now, along with an invitation to be a social influencer. With no details.

I’m not sure what to make of it yet, but one thing is clear – they have not invested time or attention into NaBloPoMo this year. Which makes me yearn for days of yore when we were just a bunch of creative bloggers who wanted to make writing more approachable and fun. And we did it by teaming up in November to blog our hearts out, cheer each other on, and even donate drawings prizes for those who completed the challenge.

I joined BlogHer because of NaBloPoMo. But never really participated in any of the other challenges other than the November one. Old enthusiasm for a good thing dies hard. November is where it’s at.

I’m not alone. Seeing they didn’t start the annual event in the first place, people are self-organizing for this year’s challenge. Which is to write and publish a blog post every day for the month of November (no writing ahead or banking posts more than 24 hours ahead). At least, if you follow the original rules.  To learn more about NaBloPoMo, you can refer to my previous post on it here.

So… that’s the news. No one seems to be officially organizing NaBloPoMo for 2017. And who knows what kind of legalities surround any official organization, since BlogHer took over NaBloPoMo in 2011 when it became too big for the founder to run by herself.

Personally, I find this year’s abandonment sad, because the point is to help inspire writers (especially new writers) to take a dive and write. Or blog as it were. And find their sea legs in the exercise of crushing it with a daily deadline. Not to mention to help foster community. To me, it’s one of those worthy can’t-help-but-make-the-world-better exercises.

Does anyone legally own NaBloPoMo? Um, actually yes, a paper trail exists.

However, in exercise and concept, no one can prevent bloggers from keeping the November daily blogging tradition alive. Even if the free world ended and they took our internet away, I’m sure we could find a way to keep it going. Like some sort of cult. If we wanted. We could secretly meet every November at a retreat to share each other’s scripts. Maybe create some rights and rituals to make it really rebellious. Add chips, salsa and margaritas and I’m there.

So I suppose for now, there’s a little bit of NaBloPoMo anarchy about. Though two online entities I know of are sponsoring November blogging link up parties where you can share your posts. And I have joined them both for now.

NanoPoblano November 2017The group known as Nano Poblano is one that’s been around a little while. If you want to join their ranks as a Cheer Pepper and share November posts, that’s done in their Facebook Group. While I’ve been aware of their existence for awhile, I only just joined them this year.
.

Blissfullemon NaBloPoMo Link Up PartyFor the 2017 challenge, Blissful Lemon has also offered a way to not only register your blog in one public place, but also share your November posts with fellow participants. After all, reading posts from others and supporting each other in the challenge is also part of the tradition.

Above are the respective badges for each group.

I’m glad these entities are providing a community for NaBloPoMo orphans around the world. And I did join them both this year.

But I’m feeling a little anarchist about it all. Like a sudden urge to find something to graffiti. My little tantrum over the NoMoNoBlo (No More November Blogging) that seems to have replaced such a nice community exercise.

As the world of internet blogging becomes more and more sleek, corporate and “official” and less individual and organic, I suppose it’s bound to happen.

If I had the bandwidth, I’d provide a rogue gathering spot myself. Though I’d be a poor leader for it this year with everything John and I just went through.

Still, creative rebel that I am, I couldn’t resist feeling like a message should be splattered somewhere. A little freedom of speech exercise. Mainly because no one has responded to queries. Like really, who does that? Or doesn’t do that, as it were. There’s so little interaction, it’s like the new site is run by robots.

Maybe “official” entities don’t care about NaBloPoMo anymore, or fail to see its value. Or maybe they tried to turn it into something else and failed to inform the masses who side with an annual November tradition.

But there’s a core of us out here who do care about a November Blogging Challenge and see its value. And we still love the creative individuality that was inherent in the original organic evolution of it. Maybe it’s a sign of the times and we’ll find ourselves having to move on.

But we were cool once.

NaBloPoMo #NoMoNoBlo 2017 Anarchy Badge - designed by Aberrant Crochet

And way back when, in the days of yore, many of us created and shared a variety of NaBloPoMo badges for people to pick from.

So I decided to get creative with a little rebel Aberrant protest of my own.

My expression of angst in a sea of other emotions I dine on these days.

Here’s the badge I created for this year.

#NoMoNoBlo anarchy begins.

 

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Filed under Editorial, NaBloPoMo, Writing

NaBloPoMo Roll Call…


It’s that time of year. If you can’t tell already, I’m participating in NaBloPoMo (National Blog Posting Month) again. Anyone else? If I’ve calculated correctly, it’ll be my 10th year. As I recall, my first NaBlo was the first year I did Maker Faire Austin in 2007.

There is some question as to whether NaBloPoMo is going to continue officially. I’ll fill you in on that story in a separate post. Regardless, in the mean time, I’m going to get on with it for my own benefit.

Writing is something I love, but also something that helps me filter through adversity. The annual challenge is one of the few difficult creative things I really enjoy. And I’ve only lost the challenge once, due to lack of internet access one Thanksgiving.

John didn’t want me skipping out on the challenge just because of him. Not last year, not this year. He’s been urging me to write my books for the last few years. And we were working on some ideas together. (He’s a writer too.)

OK, so… I’m doing NaBloPoMo this year. This time will be by far the hardest yet. This week in particular. Only 4 days in and it’s definitely a worthy challenge already, because everything’s raw and my motivation isn’t really there. John’s not here to collaborate with like usual. But… I’m going to try. A tag-a-long of the efforts John and I took together – to transmute the negative into a different experience.

Writing isn’t a bad way to work on that. I know it’ll be a worthy exercise in writing practice regardless. It always is. And if I can use some of what we’ve learned from glioblastoma to help others, well… that’s a win too and part of what John wanted. Though by far, I cannot bring myself to write about brain cancer too often. And this blog is not the place for all of that. Like last year, I’ve registered my brain cancer blog as well. But I’ve already missed some days writing for that one. So I’ll just do what I can there and focus on my writing home here for the challenge. No matter how many blogs I end up managing or writing for, this is always the home I return to. My “me” place I guess.

This week is the hardest to make NaBloPoMo work, with John’s funeral approaching, but thankfully I sketched some thoughts ahead. And one thing the last 18 months taught me to do, since digital advertising is my “day job,” is to trust the process, stay disciplined about time, write and edit quickly and get back to the grind. My goal this year is simpler – just keep going and don’t quit. Even if I do miss a day.

So, now your turn. Are you participating in the NaBloPoMo challenge?

If you are, please be sure to post your blog in the comments below so I can follow you and share support!

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I don’t have to agree with you to find value in what you have to say


You know, a common (perhaps even fear based) block occurred to me this morning.

It’s a prevalent misnomer to think we have to embrace or commit to another point of view in order to gain from it or find value in it – we don’t.

Listening, learning, considering other points of view does not somehow lock us down.

It does not place chains on us. If anything, it makes us free.

The value is in the exchange, testing and even the voicing of ideas.

The keeping of ideas is not as laudable as reasoning and consideration.

We don’t have to agree in order to both be right.

And when you are fearless enough to accept that truth, the value that cracks open from that geode is breathtaking really.

We are amazing, intelligent and creative creatures.

Even when we don’t agree.

 

 

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Filed under NaBloPoMo, Random Thoughts, Writing

Sweater of Shame…


Todd in the Sweater of Shame

Meet Todd.

He’s the baby.

Even though he’s not the youngest kitty baby in the house anymore.

He’s always had a most expressive face.

And he’s in trouble for squatting over in the corner by the window, and taking a whiz.

He hopes the kittens get the message that the window is his and he doesn’t want them near it.

He might have gotten away with it, except he did it right in front of us.

Todd is a happy pee-er. And a jealous pee-er. It’s not always a problem, but when he’s in the mood, he’ll pee on something just because he’s so happy, or because he’s so competitive.

That’s when out trots the Sweater of Shame. This isn’t the original sweater, but it’s just as effective.

For whatever reason, Todd is always thoroughly embarrassed by the Sweater.

None of my other cats ever cared enough. But the punishment is perfect for Todd.

Instead of showing off his tail, he slinks around with the sweater on as if to say, don’t look at me!

He won’t run or jump or misbehave if the sweater is on.

And he won’t pee on anything.

But he will sit and search your face for pity.

 

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Why We Pray For Others…


monk-prayerNapoleon Hill, widely regarded as one of America’s most successful (and most spiritual) business leaders, believed that a negative state of mind could undo the power of prayer.

He saw that it was important we always keep our minds in the right place when we pray, but also when we go about our daily routines. That a positive mindset was critical to our success and well-being, as well as the manifestation of our prayers and dreams.

Prayer is known in many forms all around the world, regardless of religion, culture, philosophy or spiritual belief. Even my atheist friends believe there is something to prayer and what it does for the human psyche, even if only as a form of collective consciousness.

As a student of world religions, the idea that a negative frame of mind can undo the power of prayer is definitely striking to me.

My belief in the power of prayer is strong, even though most people don’t think of me as religious. It’s saved my life too many times to doubt it. And I believe in a Creator behind that power. Even now, with everything John and I face, I still believe.

But why pray for others?

Depending on how tough things are, it can be hard to stay encouraged. And stay positive.

Frankly, many of my prayers in recent months have even been angry. If the outcome of my prayers had to rely entirely upon my personal attitude, I wouldn’t get far.

The prayers of others help lift us when we struggle on our own.

Herein lies the secret I think.

I especially understand this with everything my husband is going through today. Staying positive about a terminal illness is incredibly difficult. So if a negative outlook can undo the power of Prayer, then what are we to do when we become discouraged? How do we manage “mind over matter” when our brain has been damaged? What are we to do in the face of great adversity?

Why bother to pray if what’s supposed to give us comfort and connect us to the Divine will simply be erased should our emotions get the better of us?

This is where the prayers of others are so important. We’re not attached to the trials we don’t experience. When we pray for each other, our faith that our prayers matter is not darkened by our own trials and discouragement.

The act of prayer is an exchange of energy. Collective prayer adds to the energy given.

When we are down, when were discouraged, when we’re afraid, when our faith falters – the love, encouragement and prayers of others can help bridge the gap and keep our batteries going.

No man is an island.

Humanity has always been social by nature and has never thrived on solitude.

We’re always better when we share our burdens and come together.

A single candle lights and even rekindles many others.

Thanks everyone for keeping mine lit.

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Phone Slaves…


old corded phoneRemember growing up with the old corded phones? The ones that were perfectly shaped to wedge between your shoulder and your ear?

Yeah those were the days. I wasn’t allowed to monopolize our home phone as a kid. But we did have one of those really long cords that could stretch all the way across the kitchen. My mom wasn’t really one to talk on the phone too often either, but when she did have a long conversation, she always paced the floor.  Sometimes doing things around the kitchen while she talked, but always moving.

I inherited her tendency to walk, pace and do things while I’m on the phone. One thing about the corded phones: you could always count on there being a tether. You couldn’t walk too far away from the phone, even if you had a super long cord like ours. Which also meant, whenever my mom was on the phone, I could count on the fact that she would not be walking into my bedroom before she got off the phone first. 😉

I kind of miss the days of those corded phones. (Besides the fact that the hand receivers wedged so nicely between your ear and shoulder.)  If you weren’t home, no one expected you to answer the phone. People were more likely to leave messages. And people were less demanding of your time.

Everything is so instant today. Google and Amazon can give you almost anything at your fingertips. As a result, often people think you should be at their fingertips too. Some have the audacity to think that the instant they message you or call you or show up on your doorstep, that it’s your duty to drop everything and give them your attention.

Time is my most precious commodity. It always has been. (Concentration is a close second.) But especially now. If I haven’t planned for you to interrupt my day, then the consequences can be devastating. I can’t afford to lose too much time, there are too many things that I must do. And frankly some of them really are a matter of life and death. But even before, I didn’t believe in being a slave to the phone. If I’m in the middle of something important to my life, then it’s best if I call back when it’s a better time for me.

Still, way back when, we had a tendency to answer the phone anytime it rang. Because you never knew if it might be important. Of course this was another reason I wasn’t allowed to monopolize the phone. You never know if somebody might be trying to call, and can’t get through because the phone is busy! And we didn’t have caller ID back then. Remember when call waiting was a cutting edge service?

Some people are so obligated to their phones and I really don’t understand it. Personally, I don’t believe in being a slave to my phone. Just because the phone rings doesn’t mean I have to answer it. Just like as if somebody knocks on my front door and I’m not expecting them and don’t recognize them out the window, I don’t have to answer it. If I’m using the restroom, I will not answer my phone. If I’m driving, I’m not answering my phone. If I’m eating dinner with my family, I’ll not answer my phone. If I’m at the doctor’s office, I’m not answering the phone. If I’m busy with something else that really needs my attention, I’m not answering my phone.

Just for work, in my line of business as an entrepreneur, I wear every hat in the business. If I’m talking on the phone, I’m not writing ads. If I’m writing ads, I’m not making graphics. If I’m making graphics, I’m not answering emails.

I can’t do everything all at once and still be professional and effective. And I have a finite amount of time.

So I have to establish a budget for my schedule, just to get everything done.

It may be a difference of philosophy, but my phone is not my god.

I don’t let it boss me around.

The telephone is a wonderful invention and tool of communication.

But that’s just it. It’s a great tool.

That means it works for me.

And not the other way around.

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Octopi Crochet…


octopus-bookDid you see the article about crochet octopi for preemies?

Seems the soft structures with curly arms are perfect for little hands to hang on to.

I checked in with some friends of mine who are respiratory therapists for the NICU, just to confirm whether this story was true here in the US or not.

They tell me that yes! They see that the little preemies do seem to relax more and their vitals seem to be more stable, with the exception of the preemies who are on ventilators. But they suspect it’s probably because the ventilator is already overwhelming to their sense of touch.

Anyway, so if you do charity crochet for preemies, check it out!

If you are new to crochet for preemies and need some guidance on materials to use, hospital policies, etc., check out my previous article on Crochet For Preemies.

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Worcestershire and vanilla do not taste alike…


Appearances aren’t everything…

I’m just sayin’, my cinnamon hot cocoa never stood a chance.

They may have similar bottles.

Their liquids might be the same color.

They’re kept in the same cabinet.

And in the dark they seem very much alike.

But they are by far NOT similar in taste.

Pays to be more awake when you are getting creative in the kitchen.

Or turn on the @*&#! light.

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November is coming to an end…


November is coming to an end this next week, as will NaBloPoMo.

NaBloPoMo has been a different animal for me this year.

I tried to write for two blogs at the same time for this year’s challenge, registering my Frell Cancer blog for the challenge along with Aberrant Crochet.

Frell Cancer made it daily for 2 weeks. And then I just couldn’t. So I decided to focus on Aberrant Crochet for the rest of the challenge alone. I haven’t lost the challenge in years. I don’t want to lose this year. And I want to get writing regularly again. I know I need it.

But with just Aberrant Crochet, it’s still been a challenge. And it’s not for lack of ideas of what to write, or a lack of wanting to write.

It’s simply been a lack of energy and bandwidth to bring those ideas to fruition. The difference between a good idea and great writing.

FC fell by the wayside in part because it’s so emotional to write about something cancer related every day. I have so much good information to write about and share, to help other glioblastoma families. I really want to do that. But it takes time to do it right and it also takes all the energy from your emotions every time you relive something.

With AC, I want to write about crochet and fun things. And experiment with various fiction and writing styles, like always.

But… I’m just so wrung out all the time. Life is so much different this year than last year or any other year.

I spend hours on the phone talking to insurance and billing departments, trying to get our bills sorted out. With weekly and bi-weekly medical visits, it’s a constant job by itself.

Don’t get me wrong, our insurance people have been great. Some are even working overtime to help us get things sorted out.

But there are always errors from one side or another. And it always takes a lot of time and energy.

And while I often seem like an extrovert to people, I’m really not. I’m an introvert with leadership skills. I derive my energy and reboot my batteries through quiet alone time. Which I get so very little of anymore.

It’s a constant influx of people. Constantly having to talk with and reason with people I normally wouldn’t have to. Constantly driving all the time. And at some of the doctors offices, the staff are not always friendly, which also wears me out. Natural diplomat that I am. I expend a lot of energy sorting out what’s going on, why are appointments running late, what’s the problem with insurance this time, why didn’t anyone tell us we needed abc before xyz…..

Doing all this for work is one thing. But the stress of handling your family’s personal health is so much more.  And the stress of brain cancer means more than just the fear of John dying and whatnot. It’s all the other stuff it brings into your life.  Including new rules we didn’t use to have to live with.

And then there’s all the management of daily life. Cooking, cleaning, taking over tasks that John cannot do. Groceries, budgeting, rides for the kids, what can I sell, don’t forget work.

With the holiday weekend, I’ve finally had a space where I can focus solely on working on the house. Which needs help.

Come Monday, I’ve a list of phone calls I must make before we deal with MRI, eval and “report card” week for John.

And one more item just got added to my list today. Local lab (new to us) told me our insurance company said we owed the cost for last week’s lab work. I know that there hasn’t been enough time for the lab work to have been filed with our insurance properly. But the technician wanted me to make a payment for something we don’t owe. We’ve already met our maximum for the year. So frustrating. And especially because I think she was reading the notes from her billing department wrong.

So come Monday I will have to call both my insurance company and their billing department, on top of the other calls I already have to settle, because Monday is the only day next week I can really make these calls. (Oh yeah, and work ahead so I can camp out at the hospital all week.) With the NO team wanting weekly blood work, we have to do it asap so they don’t refuse to do the tests. And it’s so close to the end of the year.

Why is the system always so difficult?

Anyway, once I’ve been through a day of all that, it’s like I’ve used up all my energy to write words. I still have my ideas, but the power behind my words is gone. Like running out of color ink on my printer. I can print a pie chart in black/white, but it’s not as useful or interesting.

I don’t like ranting for a post. But this is what’s eating my soul today. I’m trying to pull myself together, finish my coffee and then get busy reorganizing things in my pantry so I can function and figure out a good meal plan.

And, now my post is done for the day. I’ve been mostly writing at night, when I’m the most tired.

Maybe I’ll actually go to bed on time today.

Yeah that might help.

graph-bw

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Dogs Teach You Love – Cats Teach You Manners…


It’s no mistake that dogs are great teachers when it comes to unconditional love.

You can make mistakes and they still show love and affection.

They forgive. They forget.

Pull their tail, and they’ll forgive you.

Eat their dog food when your mom says you have to wait for dinner, and they’ll share.

Take their toy when they’re playing with it and they’ll include you in the game.

Not so with cats.

If you forget to dip the litter box, they’ll let you know how rude you are to leave their toilet so dirty.

If you don’t get up to feed them, they’ll make sure you’re aware of the fact that you are not attending to the dietary needs of your guests.

If their water dish is empty, they will get the water for themselves after destroying your kitchen.

If you go on a trip, they will not forgive you right away. They will turn their backs and let you know when you are being rightfully shunned.

Accuse them wrongfully, and they will hold it against you.

Crowd their space too much, or touch them in the wrong way, they’ll let you know – painfully.

Rude human behavior can always be repaid with a hairball or worse.

They make you earn their respect.

Cats won’t let you get away with bad manners.

One way or another – you’ll learn!

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