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Monthly Archives: April 2012

To be or not to be…Afraid

Ever since I was a little girl I’ve been afraid of insects. There was a time when I would play with caterpillars and lightning bugs, but somewhere along the way I became afraid. My mother who was a brave woman and didn’t take any shit off of anyone was deathly afraid of bugs. I’m blaming her for making me afraid of bugs. I was so afraid that I would go to great lengths to avoid them.
In 1985 my sister, Lola and I were cruising in my mother Grand Prix, you know the one with the T-Tops. There we were in Miami cruising in such a cool car. I was driving and Lola was in the passenger seat as we blasted disco music going down the street.
Then a giant spider crawled up the windshield. We both screamed. This was before seatbelt laws and so my first response was to jump out of my window, but Lola pulled me back in my seat, crawled over me and jumped out of my window while the car was still rolling. I was right behind her. We rolled around collecting gravel with our elbows. We watched the car as it rolled into someone’s yard stopping just before their living room window. The homeowners came running out of the house as Lola and I checked out our wounds.
“What happened?” The homeowners asked us. We told them of the giant spider and they were enraged. “You almost ran your car into my house because of a spider?” The man asked us in exasperation. “You jumped out of your car and abandoned it because of a spider? What if the car would have hit someone? What if someone got hurt? How do you just jump out of a rolling car?” The man was angry. “Now get your car out of my yard.” He demanded.
“I’m not getting back in that car.” I told the man. He ran into his house while his wife tried to reason with us. The man came back with a can of insect spray. He sprayed the car until the can was empty. “There, no spider can survive that, now get your car out of my sight.” He demanded.
“If you don’t produce a dead spider I’m not getting back into that car.” I told him calmly. “I want this car out of my yard now!” The man yelled. I grabbed Lola and said to him that he can move the car, but we were walking home. Lola and I walked home and when we told my mother that we had abandoned the car because of a spider she without delay found someone to retrieve the car. It was a “Marielito” named Juan who was a tough refugee from the Mariel boat lift. He wasn’t scared of anything.
Juan brought the car home and we bombed the car for three days straight. No one would get in that car until the dead spider was produced to prove it wouldn’t be there anymore. We would make Juan check the car every day until the dead spider finally appeared. When Juan saw the size of that spider he told us that if he knew the size of the spider was not exaggerated by us, he would never have driven that car.
My mother taught us to be afraid of bugs. She was always plagued by them. It seems I was too, until the day that I lived alone and the only thing that scared me about that was who was going to kill the bugs. I have been known to go spend the night at a friend’s house because of an insect in my house. Then one day I declared my size and advantage over these insects. I started killing them myself and it was empowering. Once I did that, the bugs disappeared. I don’t see them anymore. Not like I used to. They may be crawling all over my house, which I doubt, but I don’t see them. It seems that my fear of them attracted them.
My mother set the hardwiring to be afraid of something that I had total power over. I broke it and live in great harmony with the insects that used to rule my life.
When something plagues you need to investigate it, see it for what it really is and conquer it.

 
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Posted by on April 30, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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Auto Zone

Where is it that we go when we go into the “Auto Zone?” You know the place where we go when we have done something on auto. For example, you leave the house and get a mile away, and then it hits you like a lightning bolt. Did I close the garage door? You turn the car around and go back to find that the door was tightly shut. So my question is this. Who was driving the car in reverse while I was closing the garage door?
People say well, maybe you did it and forgot but my argument is that if we forgot, then why can’t we remember? My theory says that we went into the “Auto Zone.”
Let me explain more. This week the hook on my blow-dryer at work broke. Now I have hung that dryer from that hook for approximately 5 months. The very first customer that I serviced after the hook broke watched me attempt to hang that blow dryer at least three times in course of his haircut. We laughed at how automatic it was for me to do so. This is the zone.
The best way to relate to this is when you pass your exit by a few miles before you realize that you have gone too far. They say it’s because we are so lost in thought that we missed our exit. Again I ask who was in charge of the car when I was lost. What part of me is able to handle the task of aligning the car in its lane and watch for other traffic? Could it be the same one that keeps me breathing, my heart beating and my kidneys cleaning when I don’t think about it?
According to Hypnotist Carl Allen Schoner our subconscious is driving. Not just when we wonder off but all of the time. Driving, like walking or riding a bike becomes a subconscious function so that our conscious is freed up for bigger tasks which is why we come up with so many good ideas when we are driving.
So the next time you go into your Auto Zone know that you are perfectly safe with your subconscious leading you when you are busy elsewhere.
It’s how we are hardwired.

 
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Posted by on April 26, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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What the Universe Said

This was my message from the universe @ TUT.com

A main “Criterion of Consciousness” for the human experience, Ramona, is never having all you want. For as one dream comes true, another swiftly takes its place. Not having all you want is one of life’s constants.

And learning to be happy while not yet having all you want is the first “Criterion of Joy.” Nail it, and for the rest of your life people will be asking what it is about you.

Desire, Ramona, is a beautiful thing.

The Universe

Yeah, Ramona, as if they weren’t already asking.

Actually, dreaming has always been my gateway to fulfilling any desire.

 
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Posted by on April 25, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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Eye,Eye,Eye

I was listening to some office drama. You know the usual scene where someone helps you with something and then when you have the chance to help them and you tell them hell no. My sister asked me why people do that, and while it was quite easy to answer, I had to really peel back my judgment sensor and dig deep. Why would anyone do that? My only answer was because they forgot. They forgot who they were and who the people around them were.
We are so busy with our everyday lives that we tend to forget how much we love each other. We forget to honor one another. We have our i-pads, i-pods, IUD’s, ikea, and our imdb’s. We don’t need anything. We report to the IRS. We fight the IRA. We watch “I am legend”, “i- Robot” and” We are Marshal.” How are we expected to know who we are if we keep using “I” in front of words that we are not?
If I learned anything at all from the “course in miracles,” it was to be careful of what you direct “I am” to. We behave in certain ways and say “I am” that way. I am rich, or I am poor, or I am sick. Get a grip on this casual usage because it will cause you to forget.
My point is that we need to take the “I” out of the places that it doesn’t belong. Then we need to be careful to make sure we do place “I” with words that compliment us and those around us. We can never forget who we are. Most important we can never forget to honor everyone, including ourselves.
So if you find yourself suffering from this eye disease, the cure is easy. Just remember who you really are. Don’t ever forget to honor others as they are you, living a different experience.

 
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Posted by on April 21, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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The Westonites

The city of Weston sits just west of Ft.Lauderdale and has been recently named the most boring city in the U.S. I don’t know who named it such, or if it is such a recent prize that I was not able to find that fact anywhere on the internet. With a population just over 60,000, it sits on 27 square miles of housing, golf courses, bike paths and hiking trails.
The first time I ever visited Weston I had not noticed much about it. It was an oversized subdivision with little to the imagination. The typical cookie cutter homes that sat on perfectly manicured lawns didn’t really stimulate any of my senses. More recently I had the opportunity to get a closer look. My daughter has since moved to Weston and it gave me the opportunity to get a personal taste of a neighborhood which is so well-known as “the place” to live.
Upon my first driving in, as I said before, it was very boring, well landscaped and difficult to tell where you were at any given time. It all looked the same to me. One street was the same as any other. It is miles away from any shopping and my daughter has to drive eight minutes just to get out of her subdivision and to a strip plaza to buy anything of convenience. Actually, I don’t think the word convenience is used at all around there. I spent some time going out to eat, shopping and with their new law on the books we couldn’t go to a club or a skating ring. Yes clubs and skating rings are considered places that promote crime, according to the city who has decided that they don’t want that kind in their hood.
The suffix “ize” means to render or make. For example Louis Pasteur, known for inventing a method for stopping wine and milk from causing sickness, which came to be called pasteurized. Homogenized is another term for what we do to milk in order for it to become an emulsion. John the Baptist cleansed people of their sins in water, which came to be known as baptized. To make crystal would be to crystallize. To make familiar is familiarize. To make sterile is to sterilize. To incite terror would be to terrorize.
Why the language lesson? Well as I walked around Weston I felt like there had been a “Westonized” process or method that made them all the same. I realized that everyone had glowing white teeth, perfect bodies, straight hair, very expensive cars and of course, designer clothes. Now don’t get me wrong, walking around a city where everyone is perfectly beautiful couldn’t be all bad. It’s just that it made me feel like a toothless hillbilly from a mountainous region. Here I was with my flat chest, curly hair and a slight pouch for abs. I was probably wearing a pair of shorts bought at Walmart and my flip flops from Payless. I had no jewelry on and my Chevy Cobalt was not getting any attention. Is it possible that this community attracts only the beautiful? I asked myself how all the perfect people could live in the same 27 mile radius. Then it dawned on me. Once I discovered the many offices that perform plastic surgery in Weston. God didn’t make them perfect so they went to the plastic surgeon.
At first I wished that I had the money to get the surgery that made them so beautiful, but then I suddenly felt okay with the way that I am. I’m not looking for a mate and I’m especially not looking for a mate that needs my boobs to be a different size.
I have watched as my daughter has evolved and now fits in with this crowd. I have come to call this “Westonized.” Everyone in Weston must look the same. The houses do, the streets do and the people do. It’s the “Stepford” of our time. I am of course very proud of my daughter for setting her standard so high, but for me, I like my “anyville.” I’ll stay here, where everyone fits in, even the misfits.

 
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Posted by on April 19, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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Three days

Three days
What if your doctor told you today that in three days you will expire? Strong as that statement can sound, would you want to know that you had three days? Would it take you three days to process the statement or could you quickly adapt to the fact that you had three days to accomplish everything that you ever thought was important?
You have three days. You can do anything you like; you have no symptoms such as weakness or pain. What you have is fatal, so it can’t be treated; therefore there would be no side effects, no doctors to see and no hospital rooms to be visited. Three days of feeling good, but it is your last three days. What would you do? Who would you see? What would you say to people?
I thought about these questions myself. I am approaching fifty and I have witnessed people my age and younger pass away before their lives were half lived. It made me wonder the obvious questions like why the good die young and evil prevails. I asked myself what I would do, who I would see, what I would say and where I would go.
I know for a fact that I would go sailing for at least a couple of hours. It didn’t take me long to realize that I would be exactly where I am, saying what I am saying now, see the people who I visit with today and doing exactly what I do right now.
I examined my answer because it seems like such a cop-out that I wouldn’t change anything. It’s not. I can honestly say that I am enjoying the processes of my life. I don’t waste a moment wishing I knew an hour ago what I know now. I am here and my endeavor is so clear, because that is what showing up.

 
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Posted by on April 15, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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Dementia vs Alzheimer’s

I wanted to expand yesterday’s blog on Alzheimer’s. I feel like I touched on the subject and after a comment made by Joe Rivera, I realized that there was more. His father Oscar has Dementia and if you ask the average person what the difference is between Dementia and Alzheimer’s, they won’t have a clue. We hear these terms thrown around and I would like to elaborate on them.
According to Dr. Bob DeMarco in his blog http://www.alzheimersreadingroom.com/ dementia is a symptom of Alzheimer’s like a fever is a symptom of something wrong with your body, dementia is a symptom of something wrong with your brain.
Dr. DeMarco is careful to say that not all dementia turns into Alzheimer’s, but most of it does. There are different kinds of dementia and as Joe Rivera describes his father, it can be just as heartbreaking to loved ones as Alzheimer’s disease. Both allow you to witness the progressive decline of your loved ones mentality. It is as if you don’t know this person and they don’t know you. I know Joe, and have met his father. I know that Joe and his brother have done everything in their power to assist their father as his health declines.
My ideas about the disease have evolved enormously. At first I thought that I could trigger memory by making her do things that she used to do before slowly slipping away from us. I was trying everything to jog her memory. I have come to realize that this is very much like handling a baby, only the opposite. A baby improves motor and cognitive skills, my mother won’t. The baby will eventually walk, talk, and eat on his own. My mother will decline in her abilities. The baby is prepared to live; my mother is preparing to die.
I acknowledge that it is a bold statement regarding the process difference of coming into life and leaving life. I feel fortunate that I get to participate in this event, because I would hate to miss it only to regret it later because I didn’t know how much time we had. I don’t know how much time we have now, but I do know that it will happen with great certainty. We can all make this claim and that is why I say to care for your loved ones right now. None of us know when this thing called life will end, but we know that it will. Live life to the fullest each day that you are given.
Dealing with either disease is challenging. It challenges everything that you know for sure. At times I think we could have it all wrong. It’s hard to tell sometimes if my mother is forgetting who she was, or remembering who she is. I’m not sure anymore.

 
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Posted by on April 11, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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Life with Alzheimer’s, Heaven or Hell

I could go into an entire scientific explanation of Alzheimer’s, but it would never help you to understand what it is like to watch a family member go down that road. I would like to share my experience with the disease and hopefully bring you closer to understanding that there is much more that can be done to make life bearable under these circumstances.
When I found out that my mother was officially diagnosed with the disease I’m not sure I knew what it meant, other than she was going to forget everything. I left North Carolina to come back to Florida so that I could assist. I had no idea what was in store for me. My parents were living in filth and an infestation of cockroaches. They had a couple of jack Russell terriers that were neglected at best. The house smelled so bad that you could smell their house on their clothing. I was appalled. I had no way of being able to determine what was needed, what to do, or how to help.
I was close enough to them to feed them daily, but I couldn’t do anything about the behavior that resulted in their current living condition. I began by calling the county, asking them to visit the home and my hope was that they would find my parents living in inhabitable conditions. The goal was to open the door to assistance. That got me nowhere. The county inspector, case worker didn’t see any cockroaches, nor did he find them living in filthy conditions. I called agency after agency and while these are great organizations, I was looking for a life-preserver in the middle of a desert.
The next route I took was to call my mother’s doctor. Instead I just showed up at the doctor’s office and asked the receptionist if I could sneak in to see her. The doctor asked me to come back at lunch and I did. I told the doctor how they were living, that I was concerned about their ability to take care of themselves. That is when the ball really began to roll. More like a snowball. It got bigger and faster and more destructive as it went along.
Long story short, I had them get rid of everything and move in with me. I thought that I was prepared to care for them but I was sadly mistaken. Displacing my mother by taking everything she knew away and moving her to a new environment would prove to be disastrous. It was a daily dose of “I want my dogs, I want to go home, I want my stuff.” I thought that I would go out of my mind. She was violent at times and would break my things. She would be confrontational and want to duke it out with me.
I stayed close to the doctors. I attended all physician appointments. We tweaked meds until we found the perfect cocktail of anti seizure and anti psychotic. The first six or seven months were hell. I was angry all the time. I would wake up and my first thought was shit, I have so much to do before I go to work. They are like kids. I had to have their breakfast on the table and lunch in the fridge before I could eat and prepare myself. My resentment grew with my mother’s resistance to a normal life. It seemed like she would never be happy ever again. Not that she was a happy woman in her youth, but she never ever laughed anymore. It was just a constant torturing of my stepfather and me. I was pissed that my siblings would not, could not help me. I hated that my parents never did enough for me; on the contrary, they hindered my financial growth and ability to love others securely.
I found myself hoping for an early death.
Then one day I discovered that I was doing this out of love. Why am I so angry? I’m a great caretaker and mother. I just needed to add that one component, love. I’ve always wanted to make things better, but I was too focused on how f’d up it all was.
All I wanted was a happy mom. Everyone wants a happy mom. How do I achieve this? I must be happy myself. Every day I adjusted my attitude a little more to reflect what I wanted the outcome to be instead of how I was seeing it.
I began to focus on their nutrition, cleanliness, exercise, and giving lots and lots of love. I had to be affectionate even when she was resistant. I had to act loving toward her even though she was offending me. I just kept on keeping on. Then it started to get easier. I would wake up in the morning and jump to my feet to do all the things that make her life better. I was grateful for this opportunity to see my mother through these days. I found the shower to be a place where she would soften up. She was so resistant to taking a shower in the beginning. Getting her in the shower once a week was quite the task. Then she began to ask for one every other day. Today, when I see her getting into a negative space, I give her a shower and it changes everything. I think of God when we are in the shower. I thank him for giving me this time with her. Most times she doesn’t know who I am. She asks me if I’m a volunteer or if I get paid to care for her. Once in a while, she knows who I am for a few minutes and that’s enough for me because in those few minutes, I am the daughter that she loves.
They say when you get to heaven, and you see your loved ones, you will understand who and what you really are to one another. I feel like I’m in heaven.

 
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Posted by on April 10, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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My Panic Room

When I was a little girl I spent a great deal of time in a panic. Mostly the panic was about my death. I was afraid that I would die. There didn’t seem to be any logic to the theory that I should die. I just worried about it constantly until it became routine to obsess about it.  My near death experiences would keep me in a space that separated me from everyone else. There wasn’t anyone that I felt I could tell about this feeling. I would tell my parents that I was afraid that I was going to die and they would reinforce that fact.

I really wanted to share what that place is like. What it is like to be so afraid that nothing else in the world is going on. The anxiety would usually begin with me noticing a change in my skin. I would find a new freckle or mole and off I would go to my panic room. I would spend days obsessing about it. How it would turn into cancer or something else that would end my life. I just knew that this little mark on my body would have all of my attention. I became known to many in my family as “the nun” because I would dress from head to toe covering as much of my skin as I could. I would wear long sleeves, pants and a high collar. My face and hands were all that I could bare.

As I got older the panic was still with me, probably even more so because I was armed with so much more information about disease. I remember on one occasion when I was breaking out of my shell a bit, and I was getting more comfortable with showing skin that I decided to go to the beach with my sister and the kids. I drove all the way to Tampa to find that my sister had invited a friend of hers. Her friend was married to a Dermatologist. I went straight into my panic.  I told my sister that I couldn’t go because she had invited someone who could look at my skin. Even though my sister tried to explain that her friend was only married to a Dermatologist, I kept insisting that I was sure her husband told her things about his work, and if she saw something on my skin she could probably tell that it was bad. So I didn’t go to the beach that day. I didn’t go for many days. I had to ride this out for a while.

Nothing seemed to make me feel better about it ever. If everyone around me got sick, and I didn’t, then I suspected that something had to be wrong with me. I should be getting sick like everyone else. What is wrong? I was constantly asking about myself.If I happened to get sick, well, then I knew I would die of a cold.

I spent way too much of my life in this room. I couldn’t concentrate on anything else when I was in there. I couldn’t watch any movies that dealt with illness because I would be forced to that room and the only thing that I knew about treating this condition was to stay away from things that stimulated the panic. Like a real panic room, I sat separated from everyone in the house. No one knew that I was there, except for me.

Things are different today; I’ve since then had quite a bit of therapy regarding this ailment. It turns out that I was afraid of me. I didn’t want the world to see me, so I made myself invisible by slipping into this room. I didn’t want the world to see just how flawed I was. It wasn’t for the reasons that you may think. You see if the world saw me, they would comment on what they saw and then if I heard it, it would become true. As long as no one said a thing, I would be fine. I spent a couple of decades of my life trying to escape it, only to find I was a hostage to it all along.

 
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Posted by on April 9, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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Remember when?

Before cell phones, pagers and caller I.D.

March 10, 1876, Alexander Bell would say the words “come here Watson, I want to see you.”

That was the beginning of the telephone. The race was on to get everyone talking. I’d like for you to join me on a journey of what it was like when we all a phone, but the restricted uses it had made us all innovative.

This is an informal list of what it was like.

You dialed zero and talked to someone.

When you called an operator for a number, she could find it.

People in the store would say hello to a stranger instead of talking into a Bluetooth.

Everyone in the house used the same phone, usually located in the hall, on a small table.

You could go hours, even days without talking to someone.

If a phone you were calling was constantly busy, you could call the operator to interrupt the call.

It was when long distance was so expensive, that a couple of long conversations a week could cost you as much as your mortgage.

You never had to dial an area code, unless it was long distance.

You could be stuck in the middle of nowhere, and still get help.

You couldn’t reject a call, you had to answer it and take a chance on whether or not you really wanted to talk to the caller.

You had a special code, like let the phone ring once, hang up for a minute and call back to identify you as the only caller who did that.

You could make a new friend just by answering a payphone.

Call boxes on the free way.

Your parents could lock the phone, so you could receive calls but not make them.

You had at least a dozen phone numbers memorized.

You had a book of numbers in your purse, and a bigger book at home.

You could call the operator from a payphone, tell her you lost your dime and she could return it to you over the phone. You could do this at six phones and buy a pack of cigarettes.

When you called in sick at work, you had to talk to someone.

You couldn’t video tape a fight on the school bus.

Most young people can’t appreciate the simplicity that some of us older folks did. I can say that it is part of the evolutionary process. Every time one of us said, “it would be great if I could call that person right now.”

I can remember when I was fifteen, my parents needed to take an extra car to Maryland. They let my brother drive one. So my brother, my sister and I followed my parents. Somehow, we lost each other on I-95. We didn’t make any back up plan in case this could happen. We had no money, and no idea of how to get there.  We remembered that my parents always stop at South of the Border so we drove there and looked for them. We found them. It would have been nice to have been able to call them, but we made it.

I believe that every thought is a spark. “I wish I could call that person right now,” Sparked where we are today.

So keep thinking good things. Every thought counts.

 
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Posted by on April 6, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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