2017/09/18

This Much I Know is True

Da Goddess @ 10:41

Chronic pain, chronic illness, depression, isolation… All of these things can make life unbearable. It happens to many people. For some, medication helps. For others, medication only barely gets them from one moment to the next. There’s no ONE answer for everyone collectively.

For one man, he found hope in a Broadway musical based on a hit movie. Groundhog Day the Musical. I happened upon his post and it not only touched me, it spoke deeply to the broken parts of me and the life in which I find myself.

Life is difficult for me these days. I’ve been without ads here, which means I have absolutely ZERO income. True, the revenue generated by the ads I did have was miniscule, but it was just enough to help with 1) paying a bill or two, 2) help buy the kids a gift for birthdays/Christmas, and 3) gave me a sense of security that at least there was *that*.

Aside from the ads, my back and neck have grown even more painful, leaving me wondering how that’s even possible. It weighs on me more each passing day, each passing year. I find myself asking, “is this really how I want to spend my life? Is this who I really want to be?”

Because this was an injury that occurred on the job, I’ve been at the mercy of a system that favors the insurance company, not the patient. I’m stuck in an endless cycle of praying an adjuster will approve my medications or a treatment the doctors feel will help me get control of the pain. Time after time, though, my hopes are dashed and it takes a toll on every part of my being.

Twelve and a half years of living this way has left me more cynical and dejected than I’ve ever been in my life. Despite the medications, my pain has become what identifies me, what defines me. I don’t like it: I don’t want to this person!

Because of the treatment I’ve received from the insurance company, my life has become a roller coaster without a safety bar or seatbelt…that goes underwater and I have no air tank.

I’ve spent the last month without the majority of my meds. Where some patients simply pay for them out of pocket and then submit receipts for reimbursement, I don’t have that luxury. With a VERY deep discount the pharmacist gave me, my monthly tab for my meds would be over $700. That’s WITH the discount! King Arthur and I just can’t afford to pay it. I don’t know anyone who could. So I’ve tried to make do with the bare minimum, which doesn’t do much of anything other than keep me from crying 24/7. I cry, but not ALL DAY LONG.

My attorney drove up here Friday and handed me $500 to help pay for the medications. I was gobsmacked. What lawyer does that? Yes, it’ll need to be repaid, but still, what lawyer does that, I ask you. I’m as grateful as I am stunned. And even with his generous loan, I’ve had to adjust my prescription order so that I get the most bang for the buck. I won’t be getting full prescriptions of several drugs, though I will be able to get the meds that are vital for me to function as your basic bitch.

While my lawyer was here, I signed a new retainer agreement because he’s filing a lawsuit against the insurance company. This is not the norm for a work comp case. However, because they’ve continually played fast and loose with my care it’s our only real option. My brilliant attorney has also filed a formal complaint against the insurance company with the state.

We’re in uncharted waters here. In my attorney’s almost 50 years of practice, he’s never had to do this. He’s never come up against a company that’s so reckless with a claimant.

I doubt there will be a big payout from the lawsuit. I doubt they’ll be run out of the state. But at least we’re DOING SOMETHING! It’s my little glimmer of hope. My only glimmer of hope.

And this is why a total stranger’s post about a musical has given me pause. I’m lucky enough to see a new day, to still be breathing, to fight for my rights to adequate healthcare as the law dictates for injured workers. Maybe my case will save someone else from my nightmare. That thought is enough to make me keep looking at the horizon, hoping to see the first rays of sunshine each day.

All of this… all of it comes down to a Broadway musical I haven’t seen, but whose very message has had a ripple effect on the lives of enough people that its message has been spread far and wide.

I’m off to look for my sun today and tomorrow and the next day and the next and on and on.

2017/09/11

September 11 Remembered

Da Goddess @ 00:01

From September 11, 2014

There is an unease in my heart today. I cannot forget the morning of September 11, 2001. I cannot forget waking up and watching the world fall apart. I cannot forget the confusion on the face of my children. I cannot forget the pain on the faces of those who lost loved ones. I cannot forget the way neighbors came together in sadness and shock to offer comfort to one another, whether or not they knew them. I cannot forget. There is unease in my heart today as I remember how strong we rose from the ashes of tragedy and how easy it has been for some to forget, for them to contort reality into something other than what it was and is. There is unease in my heart today.

Never forget! Never forget the lives lost. Never forget how we turned toward one another instead of away from one another.

Never forget! Never forget that freedom is not easily won, nor is it easily kept. Those who have it must protect and nurture it. Those who don’t have it will always try to rip it away from those who do.

Never forget! We cannot pretend events were anything but what they were. Lives were lost. Hearts were broken. Never forget!

There is an unease in my heart today because I cannot forget. Because I will never forget.

A few posts from the past, with videos and important links:

Remembering 9/11

Never Forget

September 11 – We Never Forget

11 Years Later

Count To 3,000 and Keep Going – September 11 Remembered

Even while we continue to heal, we must never forget.

2017/09/10

The Lump in My Throat

Da Goddess @ 23:50

Tomorrow is a difficult day for me. For many of us. I always feel a tightness in my throat and my chest this time of year. But this year we have so much happening that makes everything more… agitated and frantic feeling.

I’m talking about these damned hurricanes!

Harvey sucked big donkey balls and put dear Joni in danger. She assured me she was okay and that made my heart stop racing so much. But then that bitch, Irma, had to get in the game. Now Pam and her hubby, as well as other friends, are in harm’s way.

WHY?!!? Isn’t it enough to have a few million people in dire straits? We have to have more? I’m talking to you, weather gods! I’m pointing my finger at you!

And there are the wildfires across the western part of the United States. And an earthquake in Mexico.

I think we’ve had it. The very fabric of our souls have creases from all the worry and frowning.

Those in the midst of these horrifying events needs a break. A really big break.

I’m not asking for a miracle, but I am asking for a respite from disaster for those who’ve been slammed, battered, sizzled, and shaken.

Please.

My prayers and thoughts are with everyone stuck in the middle of all this mess (these messes).

2017/09/07

Random Facts: The Echidna

Da Goddess @ 16:31

Today’s random fact is meant to distract you from the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey and the currently destructive Hurricane Irma, as well as the many fires burning across the western part of the U.S. Also a reason to NOT think about politics (because I have reached my absolute).

I say with great confidence that this lil bit of information WILL distract because HOW CAN IT NOT? You’ll see what I mean.

The echidna is one of the most extraordinary creatures on the planet. A monotreme, this mammal lays eggs and then nurses its young. There are only two (if you’re not counting TYPES of echidnae) monotremes: the platypus and the echidna (of which there are four kinds). Monotremes are, of course, found in Australia and New Guinea, because where else would one find such odd and fascinating animals?

So, without further ado, here’s the random fact: echidnae have a four-pronged penis. Let that sink in for a moment: four…prongs. FOUR. Three more than humans. However, the female echidna only accommodates two. This, when mating, only two of these prongs are engaged, with the other two retracted.

Still not distracted enough? Think about the research that went into discovering this knowledge!

Just follow the link above and get back to me afterwards.

I got your mind off all the worries of the day for a couple minutes, didn’t I? Don’t thank me. I knew you needed that. It’s just one of the things I’m happy to do for you.

Now, to cleanse the palate, I direct you to view this adorable puggle (which is what you call a baby echidna). I promise you’ll feel better after the video.

NOW you may thank me. And you’re welcome.

2017/09/03

Don’t Dismiss the Miss and Her Pain

Da Goddess @ 08:47

As you all know, chronic pain has been my constant companion for the past 12 years. As far as getting treated for it, I’ve been fortunate enough to be taken seriously. (We’ll leave the discussion about the insurance company and their shoddy treatment of me for another time, m’kay?)

But, the fact of the matter is that many women find their pain is minimized by the very people they turn to for help.

I read an exceptional article this morning to which I will now direct your attention. You can come back with your thoughts and we can discuss afterwards, if you’d like. I’ll be here.

2017/07/04

Happy Independence Day!

Da Goddess @ 10:26

Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness…

Celebrate our hard won rights and remember those who fought for those rights.

Be safe and have yourselves a beautiful day!

2017/06/16

This Is How You Do It: Body Positive Message

Da Goddess @ 02:57

A mom on Instagram had this discussion with her kids after her daughter called her fat:

My daughter called me fat today. She was upset I made them get out of the pool and she told her brother that mama is fat. I told her to meet me upstairs so we could chat. Me: “what did you say about me?” Her: “I said you were fat, mama, im sorry” Me: “let’s talk about it. The truth is, I am not fat. No one IS fat. It’s not something you can BE. But I do HAVE fat. We ALL have fat. It protects our muscles and our bones and keeps our bodies going by providing us energy. Do you have fat?” Her: “yes! I have some here on my tummy” Me: “that’s right! So do I and so does your brother!” Her brother: “I don’t have any fat, I’m the skinniest, I just have muscles” Me: “actually everyone, every single person in the world has fat. But each of us has different amounts.” Her brother: “oh right! I have some to protect my big muscles! But you have more than me” Me: “Yes, that’s true. Some people have a lot, and others don’t have very much. But that doesn’t mean that one person is better than the other, do you both understand? Both: “yes, mama” Me: “so can you repeat what I said” Them: “yes! I shouldn’t say someone is fat because you can’t be just fat, but everyone HAS fat and it’s okay to have different fat” Me: “exactly right!” Them: “can we go back to the pool now?” Me: no.

Each moment these topics come up I have to choose how I’m going to handle them. Fat is not a bad word in our house. If I shame my children for saying it then I am proving that it is an insulting word and I continue the stigma that being fat is unworthy, gross, comical and undesirable. Since we don’t call people fat as an insult in my household, I have to assume she internalized this idea from somewhere or someone else. Our children are fed ideas from every angle, you have to understand that that WILL happen: at a friends house whose parents have different values, watching a tv show or movie, overhearing someone at school — ideas about body image are already filtering through their minds. It is our job to continue to be the loudest, most accepting, positive and CONSISTENT voice they hear. So that it can rise above the rest. Give me a (high five) if this resonated w u! Just do you! Xoxo Allie

When we stop allowing media or other people define beauty for ourselves, when we consistently teach and remind our children that true beauty comes from within, we will have stronger, more well-developed kids who’ll spread that message, who’ll grow up avoiding fad diets and unhealthy practices, who’ll grow up with stronger, healthier senses of self, and who will be advocates for body positivity.

God created each of us to be unique and that’s what we are. Beauty comes in all shapes, sizes, and colors. Beauty comes from within. It’s something we all have innately. But we forget. We allow media to dictate the definition of beauty and that must stop. We don’t need to have people who have long forgotten that beauty is about the light and love we have within us rather than some airbrushed image they paste on the cover of their magazines. We are more than what someone who’s never met us tells us we are or should be!

YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL! WE ARE BEAUTIFUL. Just as we are. Remember that. And help others believe that.

2017/05/28

Memorial Day 2017

Da Goddess @ 17:52

I miss those weekends with Little Dude. The weekends we spent at Ft. Rosecrans, planting flags before graves of those who served. I still get misty as I think of how seriously L.D. took his duties, how we’d stick around after everyone else left, walking amongst the tombstones. It was a sacred practice for us and precious, too.

Gardens of Stone - Fort Rosecrans

Gardens of Stone sit in stillness
The lives of those buried here are mostly forgotten
They whisper to us, but rarely do we listen
And yet they speak volumes

In Gardens of Stone there reside
Those who served, at home and on the front
The wind scatters leaves and secrets
Speaking volumes of those who can no longer speak for themselves

In Gardens of Stone names are carefully etched
For family and friends to visit for a while
After many years, the visits taper off
Speaking volumes of our commitment to those who have died

In Gardens of Stone some of us wander
Searching for clues
Honoring the dead
Praying for their souls

In Gardens of Stone on this weekend
Everywhere you turn
You will see flags and flowers
Speaking volumes that we still care

In Gardens of Stone we pray
For those who continue the tradition
The sacred honor of protecting our way of life
We pray their service speaks volumes that war may
Someday be unnecessary

Until that time, we walk in Gardens of Stone
We gather to remember for those who cannot
For those who will not
Because the next to lie here will someday be just
Another name etched carefully in granite

In Gardens of Stone we are never alone
In Gardens of Stone we must continue
To pray and remember and learn
So that someday there may be smaller Gardens of Stone

__________________________________

For every name upon a stone that might ring familiar, there thousands more which we may not recognize nor find in any book. Their names, if we look long enough, become familiar to us, become part of our extended family. For they are the ones who secured our freedoms and allowed us the rights we enjoy today. The protesters on the street can do so because of these men and women. Those who cry out for freedom from religion (we’re guaranteed freedom of religion — to worship [or not] as we so choose) can do so because of these men and women. Those who demand this and demand that are able to do so because of these men and women. We can stand up and publicly deride our leaders because of these men and women. We are free to speak in English or any other language we chose because of those who lie in the Gardens of Stone.

Most will never have monuments. Most will never have books written about them. We can, however, take the time to remember, even if in general terms.

___________________________________

Memorial Day is not just about hot dogs and hamburgers on the grill, the gatherings of friends and family, the drinks passed around the campfire. We’re free to do so, yes, but it is due to the sacrifices made by people whose names we’ll likely never know.

Please take a moment this weekend to give thanks to those who have served, to those who continue to serve, and honor them with a moment of silence. That’s the least we can do for them.

Gardens of Stone - Fort Rosecrans

2017/05/05

Another Day, Another Thin Skinned Whine

Da Goddess @ 20:20

Trump: “Mommy, Colbert said mean things about me again!”

Mom (a.k.a lawyers, natch): “and did you provoke him again?”

Trump: “Um, no??”

Mom: “you did, didn’t you?”

Trump: “I’m gonna sue!”

Mom: “Of course, you are.”

Trump: “Will you come to court with me?”

Mom: “You’re on your own, kid. Your maid made your bed, you shit it, there’s only so many times someone will clean up after you.”

2017/04/16

Christos Anesti!

Da Goddess @ 08:52

Christos Anesti! He is Risen!

Christ is risen from the dead, trampling down death by death, and upon those in the tombs bestowing life!

Before the dawn, Mary and the women came and found the stone rolled away from the tomb. They heard the angelic voice: “Why do you seek among the dead as a man the One who is everlasting light? Behold the clothes in the grave! Go and proclaim to the world: The Lord is risen! He has slain death, as He is the Son of God, saving the race of men.”

Thou didst decend into the tomb, O Immortal, Thou didst destory the power of death! In victory didst Thou arise, O Christ God, proclaiming “Rejoice” to the myrrhbearing women, granting peace to Thy apostles, and bestowing resurrection to the fallen.

The angel cried to the Lady Full of Grace: Rejoice, O Pure Virgin! Again I say: Rejoice! Your Son is risen from His three days in the tomb! With Himself He has raised all the dead! Rejoice, all you people! Shine! Shine! O New Jerusalem! The Glory of the Lord has shone on you! Exalt now and be glad, O Zion! Be radiant, O Pure Theotokos, in the Resurrection of your Son!

Happy Easter, my friends!

2017/03/02

Happy World Book Day!

Da Goddess @ 15:06

If you know me, you know I absolutely adore books. I love the written word. I love getting lost in the written word. I love the feeling I get from reading, even if that feeling is of frustration or anger at the writer (if I’m involved enough in a story to get upset, then the author’s done something right — they made me CARE!).

My mom gave me the second greatest gift of all when she taught me to read. The first gift, obvs, was love. But even if she hadn’t loved me, I’d still have reading. And reading is power.

A good story will draw you in. It will make you FEEL. It will make you forget the real world for a while. It will open your mind. A good story will open your heart. It will take you to places that only exist in the imagination. It will help develop your imagination. And, dare I say, a good story will inspire you to reach for the stars, and beyond.

There are no goals without imagination, without dreams or dreaming. How do you learn to dream, to believe something is possible if not for the stories other people tell?

I often ask kids about their favorite books. I ask them what they like about the story and the characters. Many kids tell me how they’re inspired by the ideas set forth in the books they read. They tell me how the story could continue, what adventures the characters might find in a new chapter (or seven!). When a kid can tell you what they’d like to have happen next? Well, my friends, that’s magic! That’s imagination. That’s the sign of a child whose brain has been engaged. And that’s a big win in my (pardon/no pardon the pun) book.

Whether our children are reading physical books or on an electronic device, WE ARE WINNING! They’re learning. If their minds are engaged in reading, they’re developing tools they’ll need to become whoever they dream they can be. Because, and here’s the secret, when they read, they can become the characters in the stories, if only for a while. And if they can do that for a while, they begin to believe it’s possible more and more often…in real life. That astronaut in the book? That could be me! That brave knight/princess in the story? That could be me! The character who just discovered a new tribe or animal? Me! Even when the author includes a physical description of a character, while you’re reading, that description falls away and you begin to inhabit the character. If you were to close your eyes in the middle of the tale, your face is the one you’d see if the character looked in the mirror. That’s the power of reading, of imagination. That’s how you start teaching kids to dream.

When I was little, I loved stories that inhabited colorful lands full of colorful characters. Dr. Seuss knew what he was doing. Sneeches, with or without stars upon thars, were fun playmates on days I was kept inside. Or maybe one of the twenty-twenty Daves would come by to save…the day from absolute boredom while stuck in my cave. Chances are, the Cat in the Hat would also stop by, if only to help me find trouble to squeeze out of by the lash of an eye.

As I got a bit older, Trixie Belden became my muse. With her and the Bobwhites, I solved neighborhood mysteries that no one else could have solved. I traveled with her, laughed with her, cried with her. When I felt lonely, Trixie was there for me.

Always, always have a book. When you’re watching TV, have a book to read during commercials. Going to the doctor? Take a book. Got a lot of books and spend a lot of time at the doctor’s like I do? Ask if you can bring in a few to start a lending library. Old magazines will only last so long.

As soon as possible, get a child their own library card. Make the library or bookstore a regular part of your week. Investing in a child’s mind is investing in the possibilities of their future. Let them become invested, too, as they tell you what they’ve read and what it means to them.

I know I’ve told the story many times of how Mojo would walk into walls because her nose was stuck in a book. And how LD was potty trained with the help of book on dolphins, porpoises, and whales. He was so proud the day he was allowed to take that book everywhere he wanted because he was finally out of diapers. And let’s not forget how my kids would do their chores or finish dinner because their reward was a trip to the library or bookstore!

As my kids grew up, people would give them gift cards for Borders or Barnes & Noble so they could choose their own gifts. Instead of ONE present, they ended up with many. And they were the kind of gifts that kept giving because they turned out to be creative, thoughtful, and funny people. Had they only had TV or video games, I doubt I’d be saying the same (or I’d be lying about them).

I don’t know where I’d be if not for the books I read as a kid. I don’t know where I’d be if not for the books I read as an adult. I do know I’d never have dared to dream of becoming a nurse if I hadn’t read books about candy stripers and nurses. I’d have never dreamed of being a photographer, either. I wouldn’t be passionate about wildlife if not for reading “Born Free” or even “Misty of Chincoteague”. That’s how powerful the written word can be.

I wish you a very happy World Book Day today — and every day! May the book be with you.

* Inspired by Definitely Dreaming

2017/02/14

Happy Valentine’s Day, My Lovelies!

Da Goddess @ 10:46

Happy Valentine's Day or whatever

Here’s hoping you have a Sam and Molly* moment or, perhaps, a Nickie and Terry° moment (but only the part where they’re reunited, but without the need of a wheelchair) today.

Or better still, go listen to this. (Still don’t know how to do embeds from my phone.)

What I mean is: Happy Valentine’s Day!

* Ghost (1990) — the pottery wheel scene, not the whole Patrick Swayze dying and returning as a ghost part.

° An Affair to Remember (1957) — Cary Grant & Deborah Kerr version because #CaryGrant, obviously.

2016/12/25

Merry Christmas!

Da Goddess @ 00:29

May the light shine upon you and those you hold dear.

And now I bring you my favorite Christmas song of all. It’s my favorite version and it wouldn’t be Christmas for me if I didn’t post it.

2016/12/24

Christmas Eve is Here

Da Goddess @ 15:17

Justin Hines, y’all. Please, pray for a Christmas miracle for him. Give him his breath and song again.

2016/11/25

Death Comes to Castro

Da Goddess @ 23:03

Millions are rejoicing over the news of Fidel Castro’s death.

Cubans who vowed to never return to their home country until the dictator’s blood was still may now realize their dreams.

For all my Cuban friends, I say to you: ¡el monstruo está muerto!

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