Friday, November 12, 2010
When my dad died a few weeks ago, I broke my rules and posted his obituary to my wall. Many of his old friends and colleagues live out of state, so I hoped that by word-of-mouth, they would get the word from others or see it on Facebook for themselves. I had no other way of reaching them.
I had no idea how powerful this online tool would actually be.
I have received almost 100 cards via U.S. Mail with condolences about my father -- from my personal friends and others who saw the posting on Facebook. Some people, I barely know. I even had old grade school friends who came to his calling at the mortuary because they saw the obit I posted. Wow. That is powerful. I have officially changed my mind.
Facebook has also brought some unexpected happiness to my life at a time when it's desperately needed. We are having our 30th class reunion next weekend -- which I am so excited about. Some of my old cronies have started corresponding on Facebook, and a few of us got together for lunch today on a whim. It was such complete fun and would never have happened if we had not corresponded electronically. I had not seen these gals for at least 10 or more years.
Looking forward to the reunion. And you know I'll shoot pics and blog about it next Sunday when the festivities are over.
Thank you Facebook!
Sunday, October 17, 2010
Yesterday closed the final chapter of EM2, as we laid him to rest. It was absolutely the saddest day of my entire life. Though he had been ill for two years and death was imminent in the last couple of months, that did not make this any easier. I have never felt such pain and deep sorrow.
Now that all the planning of the calling, the funeral and the burial are over and everyone has gone home, it feels as though the wind has been knocked out of me. Sometimes I can barely breathe.
He was a great and respected man whom everyone loved. His colleagues. Those who worked for him. His friends. The folks at the retirement home. And, most of all his family. He is greatly missed, and I was very proud to be his daughter.
Monday, September 20, 2010
I was supposed to spend the first half of summer running my business as usual, taking a short (and much needed) vacation in L.A., then attending a first summer session class in NYC to try to finish my masters degree. Due to lack of students for the class, it was cancelled. Uh oh, I thought to myself. Is this some type of omen? Is there something else in store for me?
Yes, indeed. Just when I thought the rough year of caregiving for my dad could not get worse, it did. I was about to experience the ultimate summer "stay-cation".
As I was traveling one day to Bloomington, IN for work, my brother called. He was at my mom's apartment and said something was not right with her. To make a long story short, I turned my car around and headed back to town to meet them at the emergency room. Lucky for her my brother was there. This day turned into a month's hospital stay for various reasons, followed by several weeks in a skilled care facility. That turned into moving my mom out of her apartment and into assisted living down the hall from my dad (who has dementia beyond belief). Who would have thought? One day she is somewhat "independent", and the next day her life changed for good.
It gets even better. A couple weeks following after the dust settled, I get a call that my dad is being taken to the emergency room for an intestinal blockage, and that I need to go. A month later, there he still sits in the hospital, unable to eat food and bed-ridden with pneumonia.
I am careful what I hope for. Do I wish for someone who has lots of physical illness and late-stage dementia to get better? What does better really mean? Our healthcare system is so good at treating and keeping people alive, but what about their quality of life?
Someone recently told me that God gives us only what we can handle. Hello, God. Are you there? I am at my "handle" limit now. Please give me no more for awhile...
I think I am destined to work in health care. I feel as though I have become a "lay expert" -- at least in bugging the doctors. I only hope I can take what I've learned and help someone else along the way.
Monday, May 24, 2010
I settled in for the two-hour Grays' Anatomy finale and watched in horror as minor then main characters were shot one-by-one by a crazy patient's husband. Just when you thought there would be no more shooting, someone else got hit. My phone was going crazy with all the texts from fellow Facebookers who were watching and aghast!
I then decided I'd try something a little more subdued the next night by watching the finale of One Tree Hill (yes, I know, get a life). Again, to my dismay, two main characters were shot in the very last scene, this time, by a young and crazy tennis player. Yikes!
That was it. No more stressful shows! I tread-milled over the weekend, and having either music in my ears or a good show on the tube is a must for me to sloth my way through 30 minutes of sweating. So, I thought I'd put in the taped Gossip Girl finale (yes, another reminder of my mindless attention span when not at the office). I mean, how violent could that be? Once again, I was stunned at the ending when a very central character was shot in the last scene. So stunned that I almost fell off my treadmill while it continued to move at a brisk pace.
Three finales out with violent bangs. Is that what the TV ratings war has come to?
Tuesday, May 11, 2010
With the onset of Spring, I've had more energy in the morning and have been getting up and going to the gym at a very ungodly early hour. I love it. It's still mostly dark out. The birds are happily chirping. The air is crisp, and it smells clean. Sometimes you can see your breath. It's quiet and peaceful.
Fast forward 90 minutes. Recently one day I had finished my workout and felt unusually energized and happy. The sun is up, and it's going to be a beautiful day. Until I pull into the gas station that is. I find one empty slot for my car and barely fit it in -- because it's so crowded.
I look in my rear view mirror as I start to get out and notice the guy behind me in a double-long (not to be confused with double-wide) lawn service truck. He is flipping me the bird, jamming on his horn and making all kinds of gestures at me. This should be fun I thought to myself.
Hey, my day is good, so I'm not going to let this crazy guy get to me. I take a deep breath and slowly saunter out of my car and up to his window. Yes, I know. Not a good idea in today's world when people are openly toting guns and not afraid to shoot them.
He immediately starts yelling at me, shaking his fist and tells me he needs both gas pumps so he can fill both of his trucks. I cut him off, he claims. He demanded me to immediately move my car.
Calmly, in a soft voice, I told him that it's very impolite to scream at a woman. "It's bad manners," I say. That honked him off and made him yell even louder curse words. Wow, I could not believe this. The place was packed, and everyone was looking at him. I am surprised the Speedway attendant did not come out.
I asked him how his life could be so bad that he had to angrily scream at a woman at 7:00 am. Then, I told him if he'd asked nicely, I would have gladly moved my car. Instead, I went to the pump, swiped my credit card, and filled my tank -- while he waited.
Bad manners get you nowhere. I hope his day got better.
Wednesday, April 14, 2010
I typically don't tout products on my blog, but I came across two that I wanted to share -- because I am so impressed. And, they have both made my life easier -- which is key when you run a business and are helping to "parent" two parents.
Have you ever had your identity stolen? Well, I have, and it was shortly before the Internet even began to take off! I was not careless or putting my social security number out there where it did not belong, yet some gentleman (that's putting it nicely!) stole my number from a local bank and began opening accounts with it and writing bad checks. Luckily by the grace of God, a banker came upon it by accident one day, and I was able to work with the authorities to get it rectified. And, they caught him.
But, needless to say, I am super cautious (to an extreme) now about everything I do with my personal information.
While I am an aggressive marketer, I still hate getting junk mail. And, I am getting the double whammy of fun receiving the junk mail of my parents as well.
The credit card solicitations especially make my skin crawl. The paper waste from the big, thick catalogs I never even wanted makes me cringe -- especially when they are so large they bust my mailbox. The donation solicitations from the cancer societies and Alzheimer groups make me think that our local hospitals have been sharing my family's protected information with them (it's just too coincidental). Whoever works in my office has had the lovely duty of doing all the shredding of these many annoying items. We have burned through more than two shredding machines.
I came across something called an "ID Guard Stamp". It's a self-stamper that stamps a huge, black, blocky bar code. I can quickly stamp my address on catalogs and postcards, etc. that I don't want, and no one can read my personal information. They just go straight to the trash. It's available on Amazon dot com via a company called Plus Corporation for less than $25. It's been a life-saver and has cut my shredding time by 75%.
I also signed up with Stop and Shred at my business(they are a national franchise). I use this for larger, more comprehensive solicitation packages I get that I don't even care to open as well as on the pre-approved blank checks from credit card companies. They delivered a tall, plastic, heavy-duty trash can with a lock to my office. Once I fill it they come get it for $50. No other charges. No hassles. It will literally take me almost a year to fill it up. And, they are certified.
These two things are great enough to write about!
Tuesday, March 2, 2010
My friend and colleague, Sheri Riley, is joining me again as a guest blogger. We wish to discuss hazing. A practice I despise, but one I feel needs addressing due to a recent local incident.
One of the largest and most prominent high schools in our town continues to be in the news recently for a hazing incident that occurred with the basketball team. Most of the details have been extremely hush-hush, but we know it involved some senior players who were disciplined for "bullying". A fourth has been disciplined for another incident taking place in the locker room.
I know hazing and initiation practices have been going on since the beginning of time. There were probably clubs on Noah's Ark and animals had to be scolded. But somewhere in all of the madness, there has to be a voice of reason. We've seen the results when the fun goes awry: alcohol poisoning, hazing, self-hatred, suicide, emergency room visits, etc.
We are only just learning about how young people's brains don't fully develop until they are in their mid 20s. I'm 46 and still make stupid decisions. I do believe there is some serious fault to be found when young people -- boy scouts, girl clubs, fraternities, whatever -- are finding time to put younger and weaker members of the club through barbaric rituals without any adults having a clue.
The whole concept makes me sad and it makes me feel old.
Because details have not been published to protect names, rumors are a plenty, and there is mass speculation about what the hazing involved and who did what to whom. If true, the whisperings are despicable. Yes, I feel very strongly about this!
I was a competitive AAU swimmer all through grade school and high school and then swam for Indiana University. Never once in my 13-year swimming career was I bullied, beaten up, forced to participate in something that compromised me or my values, or otherwise hazed. And I don't think anyone else on the teams I swam for was either. Our team members were all very different people from various walks of life with different income levels, yet we all found a way to get along and do the team thing. While there were the proverbial "haves" and the "have nots", no one cared. We were focused on training, competing and winning -- not making our team members feel inferior. And, we did not have the time to haze.
The worst thing I remember happening is that a few kids got locked in the Greyhound bus bathroom (for maybe 30 seconds) as we traveled many hours to the Indianapolis/Scarborough Peace Games in Canada. It was not hazing, it was just someones idea of being funny. It happened, then it ended. No harm done. No one got hurt.
Shame on athletes today (especially young athletes) who think they are above the fray and feel the need to bully others who may not be as talented or strong as they are. Being a better athlete does not make you a better person than someone else. I often find that "bullies" lack self-worth and self-confidence, and they use their bully tactics to make up for their short-comings. I thought athletes were supposed to be role models. At the end of the day, no matter who we are or what we do, we all put our pants on the same way.
Here's my message to Carmel High School's (and any other school's) athlete bullies: Grow the heck up, and understand that being an athlete is not the most important thing in life. It does not entitle you. To anything.
And, one day, you won't be an athlete. You'll just be a plain old person like the rest of us.
Shame on the coaches if they say they (wink, wink) did not know these things were going on.
Friday, February 19, 2010
Today, Sheri Riley is joining me as a blogger guest -- she used to be the "other half" of Candid Girl Chat. We both worked together for a long time in marketing and media relations, so we have definite opinions of the Tiger Woods press conference. "Grrrr" is all I have to say. Yes, that is supposed to be a growl of disapproval.
I haven't walked in his shoes and had access to all the things money and fame will buy and tempt you with, so I won't judge his life and his activities. Everyone else has done a fine enough job of it. But, in my opinion, his press conference didn't seem sincere. I guess I was hoping for something less formally scripted and more from the heart. After all, he was supposedly talking to a room full of family and friends. It seemed that he was reading the whole time, so I give him a 2 out of 10. In my opinion, it was lame with a capital "L". The material was on track but didn't sound much like he meant it. So, maybe he has a good speech writer but bad advisers. Maybe he was nervous. Maybe he's a narcissist. Maybe this, maybe that.
I guess my big question is whether he "gets it" about what he's done -- and how he hurt so much more than just his golfing future. Is he forever tainted by money and fame, or can he make a sincere effort to turn his life around and think about someone other than himself?
I believe Sheri and Tiger might share some common geography...?? Her deceased in-laws lived in Hattiesburg, Mississippi -- where Tiger is supposedly undergoing therapy. I think two years ago Sheri traveled there twice in 6 months for in-law funerals. Prior to that, I had not heard of the town.
Let's bring up the sex addiction therapy issue. I am sure this is a legitimate illness/condition and I honestly mean no criticism. But, I've been around a lot of "cheaters", and the only people I've ever heard of with "sex addict" problems are pro athletes and Hollywooders. Hmm. It seems as though any time someone famous strays from a spouse, they end up going in for sex addiction therapy. I wonder what Drew have to say? Food for thought.
I am sure (now more than ever) that Tiger is a control freak. Maybe during his stints in rehab for sexual addiction they can also address this feature of narcissistic behavior. The media stunt -- and let's be honest, it was not a press conference -- was a perfect example.
A well-polished and rehearsed statement, complete with woeful looks as carefully crafted as the language. A sad confession of bad behavior coupled with an almost defiant demand that the media leave his wife and children alone. Only a couple of wire service reporters were allowed in the room. Only two cameras were allowed in. And, Tiger took no questions. This was another example of using his power and position for HIS benefit, no one else's.
Elin wasn't there which didn't surprise me. His repeated statement that whatever truths that come out need to be between him and his wife rubbed me the wrong way. For someone who chose to gallivant with oodles of women, reminding us all of the sanctity of marriage and their right to privacy seemed ridiculous and out of place in an apology speech.
All in all, I think it was too little, too late. He's a cad. But he's a helluva golfer and ultimately, that will make or break his redemption story.
And sadly, it's also a fact of the breakdown of media. This was not breaking news. It was not news at all. It did not need to be covered live by all the networks and it certainly did not need to be the lead story on the local news. There were (and are) a lot of sad things about Tiger's apology and the "press conference." The fact that it commands such media attention may be the saddest part.
Monday, February 15, 2010
I have two very fond memories of those Olympics. We all bunked on the campus of USC -- I think I stayed at the Sigma Phi Epsilon house (minus the cute frat boys). When I was carrying my luggage to my room upon arrival, I noticed an older woman by herself who needed help with her stuff. So, I stopped to carry her suitcases. Little did I know this was my soon-to-be Olympic boss' mother. She later knocked on my door to thank me and asked if I'd be her guest at the Opening Ceremonies that night. Wow, of course I would! We didn't have just any old ordinary seats either -- which would have been great as well. Rather, we were right above the opening where the world's athletes marched out into Memorial Coliseum. We were almost close enough to touch them. It was so overwhelming I could hardly breathe. The roar of the crowd. The music. The camaraderie. The dancing. The singing. And finally, the lighting of the torch by Rafer Johnson.
Thursday, February 11, 2010
No wonder there are so many viruses constantly circulating. I normally don't stop to think about this, but I recently ended up getting pretty sick after being on an airplane with lots of coughers, sneezers and sick kids wiping their noses on who only knows what (not to mention the gentleman across the aisle from me who took his shoes off. Isn't it bad etiquette to have smelly feet on a plane?).
No amount of Airborne I took could have killed all the nasty germs that were floating around the recirculated air in that plane. Eleven days later, I still have a raging sinus infection, and I'm officially a germy cougher. The good news is the doctor said I'm not contagious.
I thought about my typical day at the office and where I can get germs. It sort of stunned me to compile this list.
* Opening the front door to our office building (we have lots of sick kids rolling through the doctor's offices)
* Accepting the cup of coffee from the barista at Starbucks
* Touching the coffee creamer carafe at Starbucks
* Touching the menu at the coffee shop during lunch
* Touching the salt, pepper and ketchup bottles at the coffee shop during lunch
* Touching the door knobs to the various doors I walk through at my appointments
* Touching the handle of the shopping cart at the drug or grocery store
* Exchanging money with the cashier at the drug store or grocery
* Touching the workout equipment at the gym
* Touching the hot and cold water handles in a public restroom
* Touching the paper towel handle in a public restroom
The list goes on. I am pretty avid about taking vitamins and using the hand sanitizer (I keep it in my car), but short of wearing a mask and carrying disinfecting wipes around in public, it's nearly impossible to avoid icky germs. My sister swears by grapefruit seed oil and takes it religiously. I may try it.
The virus bit me this time.
Monday, February 1, 2010
Sunday, January 31, 2010
Like I said. There's always excitement that lies ahead when we go to Cave Creek, AZ to Camp Big Sal.
Thursday, January 28, 2010
Monday, January 25, 2010
When I was really young and then into my college years, my friends and I loved to make prank phone calls. While we thought it was hilarious to disturb others or wake people up in the wee hours of the night (probably scaring them half to death), now it's time for the "what goes around comes around" theory to materialize.
We had some doozies. "Is your refrigerator running? Ha ha, then you better go catch it!" (personally I still think this is funny). Or, "Do you have Sir Arthur in a can? You better let him out!"
When I was a freshman in at IU, we won the NCAA basketball tournament. I was in hog heaven. Pandemonium and craziness on campus. Staying out all night whooping it up. We decided to play a joke on my parents. My friend called and disguised his voice and said that I was in terrible trouble and that they needed to come to the Bloomington police station right away. Uh, not funny! It almost turned on us when my mom actually believed him and started to cry!
At any rate, the tables have turned. Because of my dad's dementia, he does wacky things. Many times they are funny, and he and I can go back and laugh about them after the fact. But, he's taken to making prank phone calls. Lots of them. To me. Often times in the middle of the night when I am sound asleep -- obviously scaring me half to death.
Some of his best are that he is stuck at the fairgrounds and needs a ride home. (I am not sure he has ever been to the fairgrounds.) Or, he is standing at the corner of such and such and needs a ride. Or, so and so is plotting against him and he needs help. Or, can I go find mom.
Luckily I am able to laugh. Did this possibly come full circle due to my prankster antics as a youngster?
Monday, January 18, 2010
This past weekend, the tables were somewhat turned.
I had just come from the gym and looked pretty ratty with sweat. As I approached the drug store an older man in a car that was in very poor shape said, "Mam, can you help me?" I thought ok, here we go again. But, he told me he could not get out of his car because he had trouble walking and handed me a $20 bill -- asking if I could go in and buy him a couple bottles of pop.
Wow, this was a first. Someone handing me money in a parking lot! Of course I would. I went in and purchased his 7-Up, put it in his back seat then gave him his change and receipt. He handed me a ten dollar bill for my trouble. "No way!" I replied. "I am happy to help you out any time," I said.
He smiled, thanked me and drove off.
It made me sad. And, a bit scared. That could be me in a few years. I just hope he has family or friends somewhere that can help him around some of the time.
Monday, January 11, 2010
I'm not a New Year's resolutions kind of girl. I'm hard enough on myself without them, and making a bunch of promises that will never come to fruition is pointless. It sets me up for failure (which I clearly don't need!).
So, I'm looking at life in 2010 differently every day with this in mind: It's a Good Day When...
* You actually wake up.
* You wake up and all your fingers, toes and limbs work properly.
* You're not a family member of the poor pedestrian who was killed in the Indy snow storm by two cars (one of them a hit and run) last week.
* You were not taken out by the idiot who ran the stoplight over the weekend. (Yes, it was such a close call that I had to pull my car over and take a deep breath. This would have been a terrible wreck, and I might not be here today had it happened.)
* You're not living on the streets.
* Your have shelter with working heat.
* You are able to have 3 meals each day.
* You can learn to take bad things and make something good out of them (i.e., lessons learned from my dad's experience have already benefited others).
* You have a close knit group of good friends -- no matter how small the group or where they reside.
* You have faith in some higher being -- no matter what it is or your religious preference.
* You are able to help someone -- no matter how small the deed.
Yes, I am back to the very basics and very thankful I have these simple things. Don't get me wrong. I still love "stuff" and love to have fun, but at the end of the day it's all so very insignificant.