29 August 2015

kenya hear me now?

Repost from October 2011

There's an app for that.

So after drinking a large travel cup of coffee, I was thrilled to see restrooms at a lil scenic overlook in the Smoky Mountains.  I quickly zipped up to the door, where a woman was scowling intently at her phone, while standing in the doorway.  Finally, she moved, heaving a huge sigh.  I flew in and realized that it was just a potty, like those in an outhouse or porta~potty.  No sink.  "That's ok," I thought, as I plunked down on the toilet~lid covered hole.  Right before I realized there was no toilet paper.  None.  There was an empty cardboard roll where toilet paper should be.  But no paper.  I clawed up in the holder, thinking, hoping, that there was some squirreled away.


So when I went back to the car, I passed a woman getting off a motorcycle and I told her that she might want to take some tissue or a napkin with her as there was no paper there.  Then I said that it would have been awesome if the woman before me would have said something to me about it.

Then again, she was scowling at her phone.

Perhaps she was searching for an app for that!

28 August 2015

Tripping down memory lane...

Repost from 2004:  For Mic & Bobbert

My brother is about two and a half years older than I am.  When we were younger, it was not so cool for my brother to have a younger sister.  I did not tag along, so there were very few times past the age of ten that we did stuff together that was fun.
At the time of this story, we lived in a small town in northeastern PA.  The playground was directly across the street from our house.  It was rather small and intended for small children’s play.  Big kids played over there though, taking over the basketball nets and sometimes dominating the entire playground.
For some forgotten reason, quite a few of us kids were playing football.  It was guerilla-style, which meant there were few rules other than getting to your team’s fence on whichever side of the playground was yours.  It was starting to get dark.  Most of us should be getting home, or we’d be catching it from our folks.  But the score was so close and most of us just wanted to cram in as much as we could before we went home.  It was turning into autumn and so it was pretty cool, especially since we were all sweaty.  So we kept moving, ignoring the lateness of the hour as best we could.
This was one of those few times my brother and I were playing, let alone around others!  So, I was pretty happy.  We weren’t on the same team,that was a bit much to ask for.  But, I had the ball and was running hell-bent for my section of fence.  I could hear some kids screaming and yelling behind me.
The harder I ran, the louder they screamed.  I was almost afraid I was running toward the wrong goal.  But I assured myself I was going good.  But they kept yelling, so I whipped my head around fast to look behind me.
Outta the corner of my eye I saw my brother gaining on me.  I knew that it was pretty much over, but I put a bit more burst into my race.  As I turned back to face front, I collided with him and we both went ass over tin-can sprawling.  I ate some dirt and had grass stains sliding down my chest, marking my thighs, and that was the extent of my ahem injuries.
My brother on the other hand had blood rushing down his rather white face.  It was smeared on his fingers, too.  He was warbling, “how bad is it?”  I was apologizing hastily and we (his best friend and I) were pulling him up and under a streetlight.  “Huh?  How bad, huh?”  His best friend was holding my brother’s hands away from his face, saying, “oh it’s not so bad”.  Most of the other kids had already run off towards home.
By the time we got my brother under the light, all I could see was shiny dark purple river running down from the two inch gash under his eye.  When I whipped my head around, I caught him, the corner of my glasses sliced open the taunt skin on his cheekbone, just under his eye.  I looked at his best friend, and he looked at me, and we all knew the fun and games were over, because someone got hurt.
We took him across the street, to mom and dad.  We started to get him all cleaned up.  We were ribbing on him about how his little sister beat him up, without even trying.  He was even starting to get some color back into his face.
That’s when my dad said to my mom, “think it needs stitches?”  Yes, she thought it did.  “Well,” dad says, thoughtfully, “you best get your needle and thread then.  What color do you want?”  he asked my brother.  My brother paled and began to tremble.
Mom and dad assured him that they were just joking, mom was not about to sew him up.  But she did take him to the hospital for stitches.  And when people asked what happened, he told them he was playing football (but not with whom).
Later, after the stitches came out, a thin white scar could be seen.  We tell him it adds to his roguish good looks.  For a couple of years, he told the girls he got the scar in a fight.
Sigh, it’s all fun and games, til someone gets hurt.

Whilst losing sleep...

Repost:  August 2006

Occupying my time

whilst losing sleep.

Georgee Porgee puzzles me.

I'm gonna just assume that the story we've hear is true.  Georgee Porgee did kiss the girls.  They did cry.  Georgee did run away when the boys came out to play.

But, dudes, why?

Why did the girls cry?  Was Georgee's breath really that bad?  Perhaps the girls' tears were joyous.  It could be that Georgee's technique was THAT good.  We don't know.

Why did Georee run?  Was he afraid of the competition?  Or was he running to kiss the next group of girls before the rest of the boys caught onto his prowess?

What's the damn deal about the pudding and pie anyway?  I mean, what does that have to do with anything?  The pudding and pie are not referred to again, later.  Was it pudding and pie as in sweets?  Perhaps the girls cried because his teeth were decayed from the high sugar content.  But, maybe the pudding and pie were of the entry variety.  I know meat pies, shepard's pie, chicken pot pie, and other sorts of "pie" that are certainly not dessert oriented.  But, what does it matter in the grand scheme of Georgee's kissing spree?

I wish I knew.   Cuz maybe it'd help me sleep.  But that there Georgee, he doesn't kiss and tell.

27 August 2015

A Mad, Mad World

What follows is an entry that I had written in the original Debra's Daily Dose, in AOL's J~Land.  September 2004  That's when I decided to begin blogging, online, in a public forum.

Do you think I'm mental (paraphrasing KDLang) 

ok, it's like this...i have no intention of writing my complete memoirs in one sitting.  but there are some things past that help us to understand the present and prepare us for the future.  so, i cannot tell you when exactly my madness began, but i sure fooled a lot of people for a long time.  I was always a tad different and special, gifted, in some way or another, in almost all contexts in my childhood.  As a teen, I did not go through the typical angst period, but i did not really fit in anywhere.  Most of the kids my age thought I was strange.  Most adults thought i was mature.  Then in my twenties and on, as an adult, i was just a tad eccentric.  Sometimes, i would be too far out there, inappropriate in behavior.  But since i moved so often, very few folks got to know me well enough to know that may be there was more going on then what meets the eye.  
Leaving aside most of the details, in sum, early last year, i accepted the diagnoses that classified me as having mental illnesses.  THAT was quite slippery, i had the hardest time wrapping my mind around being MI.  I mean, at the time, I was a graduate student, working on my PhD, with a master's in sociology, and three bachelor's.  I was teaching undergraduate students, doing research, working in a computer lab for the department, and maintaining a very full social life as well.  Being mentally ill was not part of the plan for the big picture.
Now, I had already dealt with having learning disability.  I have dealt with poor health most of my  life.  I had dealt with abuse, surviving, coping, and (I thought) moving on.  What I did not recognize was that much of this was not dealt with at all, rather it was squashed down until I simply lost my resiliency, losing my ability to continue to cope, losing my mind it seemed.
Currently, I am affected by bipolar disorder (rapid cycling), borderline personality disorder (THAT is misunderstood even by psych-peeps), PTSD, panic/anxiety disorder, depression, and compulsive overeating disorder.  No two people handle their diagnoses in the same way, because no two people are affected in exactly the same way.  So, for instance, I do not self-mutilate.  I am not an impulsive spender/shopper/etc.  I hate the mania more so than the depression.  I do not "look" like I have an eating disorder.  I despise whining, abhorring it in myself.
SO, I am learning to go a bit lighter on myself.  I am learning that it is not ok to push myself beyond my limits.  I am learning just where those limits are and how to pull back when I need to.  I am learning that I might not have developed a great sense of self, so now I am doing just that.
I tire easily.  I am not always chipper.  I am not always quick with wit.  Sometimes, I am irritable beyond belief.  Sometimes I cannot comprehend a sentence, let alone a paragraph, let alone an article.  Sometimes, I feel so utterly defeated that I am sure isolation has merits.  Sometimes, I cannot explain myself very clearly.  Sometimes, knowing me, can be pure unadulterated hell.  I try to know myself enough to be able to recognize the warnings, the shifts, the need to be still and quiet, the need to rest, the need to withdraw from social circumstances.  sometimes I am sure that my toxicity spills over, tainting relationships.  sometimes, though, i go too far with my self-monitoring.
and most of the time, people enjoy being around me.  they are glad to know me.  and that's when i know that i am worth all the fuss.  i deserve to be healthy, happy, to know love. 
i hope this has been clear, as i am entering a manic period, not having slept for quite some time. racing thoughts, speed....so, i am off to see if i can't rest before i get much worse.  thanks for listening, it ain't easy, to read some of this, i am sure.  but i am not always maudlin, so serious, so intense.
have a good day.  til next post.

26 August 2015

Repost from Tuesday 17 May 2005

Madame Marie Curie
**In the post ten plus years, I've grown and changed, lots.  Who hasn't?  Sometimes, especially when I feel discouraged about feeling off, tired, or just being too critical; it helps to remember how far I have come, in oh so many ways.  The disorder I refer to here is Generalized Anxiety Disorder.  It can be a paralyzing disorder that can affect a person's daily functioning to such a degree that they are unable to cope well with what others might consider mundane and trivial stuff...such as the phone ringing.  So this excerpt below is from ten years ago, I've come a long way, baby.

Yesterday, I felt myself sinking into a funk.  I called one of my friends and we chatted for a few minutes.  Then she asked how I was.  All of a sudden, a wave crashed over me, sucking me under and I choked on my tears.

It was awful.  I managed to eek out that I was not ok.  I wanted to get off the phone as fast as I could.  Not because I did not trust my friend to see inside me, but because the utter despair left me bewildered and I had no real reason to pin-point as the cause.

Guess what?  The beauty of this disorder is that sometimes, you don't need a specific trigger.  Sometimes chemical levels change, sometimes receptors work, sometimes synapses misfire, and sometimes, just sometimes, there doesn't have to be A REASON.  If you feel like crap, you still feel like crap even if you can determine the cause.  The good part about finding the underlying root for that specific episode, is so that you might be able to counter it more effectively.

I have an appointment to see my doctor tomorrow.  Maybe she can help.  This is too exhausting for me to handle anymore.

24 August 2015

Breathe In

After mom died, for several months, one of the oddest things happened to me~~repeatedly.  I'd forget to breathe.  More specifically, I'd forget to breathe in.  I wasn't holding my breath, I wasn't waiting to exhale; I was not inhaling.

That's a significant part of breathing.  I'd say it's just as important as exhaling.  In with the good, out with the bad.  It wasn't that I was afraid I'd burst into tears, I did that often and sometimes still do, and so there was no fear left of embarrassing myself or making others uncomfortable.  I got past that, way past that point.  Way fast.

After I noticed that I was not breathing in, involuntarily on a regular basis, I wondered why that was.  Let's face it, inhaling is not usually something you need to remind yourself to do.  Your body generally craves oxygen, your lungs need that deep cleansing breath, your brain needs that oxygenated blood, your entire body does.  So why was I forgetting to complete the breathing cycle?  Especially so often?

Then I remembered that while under the influence of anesthesia, coming out of it in the recovery room after surgery, I usually had problems breathing...I wouldn't get panicked, that was the problem, I just didn't breathe...IN.  The medical staff would poke me, prod me, and try to get me to wake up; keep breathing, they would say, and in my head, I would be thinking, "that's silly, of course I'm breathing"; but I wasn't.  I'd have to put the effort into it.

Who does that?  Who forgets to inhale breath?  Who is too tired to breathe?  That's like the epitome of the laziest being ever.  It's such a basic necessity, that most folks do it without prompting, without thinking about it, without effort.

When my mom died, she exhaled.  Things were so silent, except me, I was chanting an ongoing reassurance for her, me, and my father.  "I love you, mommy.  Mommy, I love you.  I love you, mommy.  Mommy, I love you."  I knew she died when I no longer heard her struggle to breathe, to inhale, to suck the air into her lungs.

Perhaps that's why I find it peaceful when I am not breathing.  There is no tension, I'm not holding myself rigid.  It is a complete relaxation that allows me to deflate myself and be still.

But when you live, you are in motion, you must breathe, you must feed your self the rich air in order for your lungs, your heart, you body to do all the things that it does.  You must sustain some momentum, even if it is the slightest, smallest thing, like breathing...In.  and Out.  In, again.

It seems so simple.  But it's the most important thing you do.  And you do it, all the time.  Even at rest, fifteen to twenty times per minute, you complete the breathing cycle.

So I've been teaching myself to breathe again.  Start small, right?

Eighteen Hundred, and counting

I've been blogging for about ten years now, online, publicly.  When I first started, it was with AOL Journals {jLand}.  Journalling was certainly not new to me, but doing so online was a rather novel move for me.  I made the decision from the start that it would be open to the public.

There are several reasons for that.  I think transparency, honesty, sincerity are good things and very much preferred.  One thing that I noticed has worked well for me, in life, not just online, is that when I am open and not secretive, I have empowered myself and robbed others with harsh intentions of the ability to discover something hidden about me and then wield that knowledge over me.  So in many ways, my life is an open book.

In maintaining a public blog, from time to time, I would prune entries.  Not because I thought that I wanted to keep this to myself or because I thought better of posting this or that.  But because perhaps the pictures were no longer available when I'd changed format from AOL/ftp to Blogger/blogspot, and the picture might have been the point of that particular post.  Or because I felt that a post no longer added to the body of my blog, but was a fluffy inconsequential piece that didn't really carry the weight of who I am, at any given time.  Most of those trimmed posts are from the very early years, when I'd made a commitment to blog daily; in fact the original journal over in AOL was "Debra's Daily Dose".

Over the years, I've left gaps where I've written nothing; mostly because life was tremendously hectic during those times.  Last year, I'd not blogged very often at all; my mother was dying and we did not realize it at the time.  I was eeking every minute I could with her, because I knew something was not right, even if I didn't know how very short time was.  Things were changing so rapidly, that I was exhausted with the idea of trying to summarize anything, to update my blog was one of the furthest things from my mind of what I must do, what I wanted to do.

Now that I've 1,800 entries, I'm thinking it might be time for me to revisit some of my old posts.  Prune out the trite, reacquaint myself with whom I was, how I've changed over the years, and reaffirm who I am now, who I might be tomorrow.  I expect there will be minimal trimming required, as I've been fairly authentic I think.

Within these pages, I've been tentative, ecstatic, confused, confident, angry, loving, celebratory, grief wracked, witty, silly, sharp, dull, manic, deadened, and oh so much more.  I've railed against injustice, advised, shared, coasted, and whined.  I've shown great joy and heartrending plunges.  I've spouted and sputtered.  I've known great love, horrible betrayal, waxed and waned about these ideas and those.  I think it would be accurate to say that I've not shied from very much of anything in the last ten years.

I've maintained others' confidences and attempted to keep a few guiding principles in mind, such as to only share what is mine to share; to realize that once it's out there, it is out there; and to write as I think, for writing is a form of thinking, for me.

While I'm reviewing my own writing over the years, I will probably repost certain entries, or excerpts with current commentary.  I hope that you'll  find some of the material worthy of your interest and consideration.  And I'm pretty sure you might chuckle a time or two.  At least, I hope so.  For life is full of surprises, humor, pain, joy, doubt, sadness, and lessons.  Feel free to comment, or not, up to you!

08 August 2015

College freshman, now, then, and yet to come

Seven or eight years ago, I joined a Yahoo! group that focused on crochet primarily.  There may be changes over the years, but the same core group of five or eight women have been posting, following each others' lives, expressing their own thoughts, sharing pictures of projects and weblinks, and keeping things light with laughter, so none of us get too bogged down in life's curves.  I've sometimes followed things closely, offered advice, expressed concern, shared a snicker, and vented more than once or twice.  Other times, months go by without a word from me.  Yahoo! has changed their format a few times and we've all moaned and groaned about those changes, the weather, and other things we don't really have control over.  For the most part, it's a friendly group of folks, who are authentic in their interests and concern for each other.

Shelly & me, March 2015, in our jammies
So earlier this year, when the opportunity arose for me to actually meet one of the core group, I was very excited and did not hesitate to offer my home as hospitality.  I've watched this woman's three kids grow up and go to college, get jobs, meet loves, have their hearts break and then heal.  I've seen this woman work tirelessly thru the years, make the huge decision to return to school, and then whup some course~ass {maintaining great grades}.

Shelly's youngest is now entering college, right here at Mississippi State University.  Tiana's a freshman and I've met her several times over these last few months.  She's a great kid, good head on her shoulders, fun, witty, kind, caring, and I have no doubt she'll do well with her studies, her decision to come here, choosing a sorority, and dealing with all the challenges this new phase of her life will present.

In large part this is because her parents have taught her well and also in large part because she is a strong confident young woman who knows where she stands, and is also open to having new experiences so that she doesn't stand still for long.  I wish Tiana well, as she begins this new journey.

While I was chatting with Tiana and Shelly last night, I thought of how some things are so very different than when I was an undergraduate 25 yrs ago.  And how very different other things are.  There are probably way more differences than I know!

When I was in college, computer labs were a new thing on campus.  The internet was not even available for wide spread usage.  The program I used the most often was SPSS {statistics for social sciences}, which entailed writing a program, running it thru the mainframe, and then accessing the data bank to run thru the program before even dreaming of seeing the results.  Now these things are unheard of, and the user simply uses shortcuts or pull~down menu options.

No one at that time had cell phones, and pagers were only used by surgeons and drug dealers.  Some students owned their own IBMs, Macs, or other PCs; but no one had ever heard of "laptops".  Notes were taken in class, in three ring note book binders with loose leaf paper or spiral bound notebooks whose covers would be falling off by the end of the term, the wire all snaggled.  I preferred the yellow legal pad, but was always in search of the right one for this or that course; finding my bio notes mixed in with my english comp notes after the bio midterm caused me to cry because I knew that I'd selected the wrong answers for several questions on my Scantron form.

We pawed thru the newspaper of that next semester's courses, filling out request forms in triplicate, trying to get our advisers to sign off so that we could then go stand in line at the gym or in the union, at a designated time on a designated day, and wait for our turn to plead with the registar's workers who were using the computers to access course and class openings~~because we were so cutting edge.

Now, I look back and wonder what changes lie ahead.  When the college freshmen of these days have their own grandchildren, what will be so different in their lives?  How will technology change the face of the college experience in the future?

Stranger things are yet to come than I can imagine, I am sure.

04 August 2015


JaJa's dance.

Dianna Reeves
"Endangered Species"

I am an endangered species
But I sing no victim's song
I am a woman I am an artist
And I know where my voice belongs
I know where my soul belongs
I know where I belong

03 August 2015

Ears what's happenin'

It is unfrickinbelievable how a tiny feature can do so much for the whole.  Take for example the Eustachian Tube.  It's that canal that funnels the moisture away from your inner ear, behind your eardrum, extending behind your jaw hinge, and emptying into your throat.  It regulated and equalizes the air pressure so that your eardrum can vibrate and you can hear the things you do.  That's a pretty big damn deal.  If something goes wrong with the Eustachian Tube, like it gets clogged up and can't drain effectively, you might not be able to hear as well; you might get really dizzy because the air pressure has changed.  You might even say that your sense of equilibrium is impacted.  nodding solemnly. 'tis true.

So just how big is that Eustachian Tube?  Well in an average full grown adult, that very important yet simple devise {it's a TUBE} is shorter than the word "eustachion".  The tube itself is about an inch and a half long.