2018/05/27

Memorial Day Weekend 2018

Da Goddess @ 11:59

I still very much miss the days when Little Dude and I walked Ft. Rosecrans, placing flags before the graves of those who served our country, be they military or military dependents. I miss the sight of all the scouts who were swarming the cemetery doing the same thing. I miss the time LD and I had after everyone else had left, time we used to explore, learn, remember, and revere those who not only answered the call to serve but gave all.

There is nothing as sobering as the sight of waves of headstones upon the sea of grass too vivid for the somber reflection taking place. But, perhaps, the grass really should be that green so there’s no mistaking the pale, bleached bone-white gravemarkers. Azure skies, searing green hills, white-as-bone gardens of stone. It’s haunting and humbling.

One could easily forget Memorial Day is more than a long weekend of BBQ, friends, and relaxation. Many do. I don’t. I know you, dear reader, don’t. Even so, I still need to post a reminder — as much for myself as for others. I need to remember. I WANT to remember. Those who gave themselves for this notion of freedom, of democracy, deserve our attention. It’s the simplest manner of honoring what they did and what we have.

____________

Another reminder of that for which our military fought, two stories of the realities of war. We were fortunate here in the US that our parents and grandparents weren’t evacuated, didn’t have to endure bombings as happened in England and Europe. They did, however, fear it could happen. So, read the two links above and join me in a moment of silence as I thank our military for fighting so hard to keep the war from our shores during WWII.

____________

Memorial Day Ft. Rosecrans, San Diego


ON ROSECRANS HILL
by Jeffrey T. Naas

On Rosecrans hill the grasses grow
Between the headstones row on row
That mark our place as in the sky
The gulls, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard against the surf below

We are the dead. Not long ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunsets glow
We chose for freedom’s cause to die
And now upon this hill we lie
As grasses green above us grow

We knew the price we had to pay
To keep the enemy at bay
We gave our all, we fought the fight
To keep aglow sweet freedom’s light
Remember this, we ask today

One thing we ask of those not slain
Will you fight on for freedom’s reign?
If war returns, as it well might
Will you take up the gallant fight?
Yes, answer us! You who remain

And so we lie here, asking still
If you, our sons, will have the will
To sacrifice as we did then
That your sons, too, may live free men
As we wait still, on Rosecrans hill

2018/05/25

Comfort Found

Da Goddess @ 14:27

In my search for comfort and a sense of peace, I came across a link on Twitter leading to a lovely blog. I’ll include a link to the story that first hooked me later this weekend, but until then, please go visit this lovely woman’s site.

Mom update: she’s resting at hospital, receiving antibiotics and breathing treatments to ease her respiratory effort. The plan is to keep her there a few days and see what happens at that point. If the doctors don’t feel there will be any hope for improvement over time, she’s planned on comfort measures and not much else according to my sister. Understandable, but still makes my heart fall deep in my belly. I’m really not prepared for this at the moment as I’m struggling to keep up with the grief over Dad. We shall see. It’s not in my hands. God will bless us with the right course as He sees fit. That’s pretty much all we need, isn’t it?

2018/05/18

52 — The Full Deck

Da Goddess @ 00:01

I’m 52 years old. Five. Two. A full deck. Or am I the “fool” deck? Sometimes it does seem like I’ve been given that role. But, nah. I think I’m falling into the positive camp this year. Despite all the ups and downs, I’m glad I’m here. Even if I am a bit worse for wear.

Technically, I hit “over-the-hill” a good while back. Emotionally, I think 39 was that year. Physically, ugh. I don’t know when it happened (maybe 2005 when I got hurt?). All I know is that none of it matters because I’m still hanging in here and that needs to be celebrated!

I’m not sure how I’ll celebrate, but it might include cake. It’ll probably include cake. Okay, cake will be involved. Are you happy? Yes, cake. One of the few pleasures you can share with as few or as many people as you’d like and not get side-eye for doing so. Except maybe from your doctor who’s worried about your weight and your blood sugar. But if you don’t tell, I won’t tell, m’kay?

52. If I were a deck of cards I’d be complete. Unless you want to play pinochle or canasta or some game requiring an expanded deck. But if that’s the case, why haven’t you invited me over for a game? Fair warning, I suck at pinochle and kick ass at canasta! You’ve been warned.

Go grab some cake and we can eat at the same time. I’ll be here. Just pull up a chair when you’re ready.

2018/05/16

(bitter) Sweet Sixteen

Da Goddess @ 00:01

As of today, I’ve been blogging for 16 years.

There have always been rough patches during this time, but this year takes the cake with my dad dying. And yet… when I posted about it here I got texts, emails, phone calls, and comments. They’ve been instrumental in helping me get through the grief and helped me see there’s more left to learn from Dad than could be taught during his lifetime. Thank you, my friends. Without this blog, I’d have never met you and you’ve all made my life richer, Fuller, and definitely more interesting.

Thanks for sticking around, for coming back, for just being your unique selves!

16…that’s, like 50 in human years, isn’t it?

2018/05/13

First a Word From Your Host(ess)

Da Goddess @ 01:47

I took a break from posting about Dad’s death because I needed to. I have lots more to say, you can bet on it, but between being exhausted (physically and emotionally) and feeling like maybe this was becoming all Dad all the time, it’s a necessity.

I’ll be back to talk more about the grieving process I’m going through, how I see others coping, etc. I’m just going to keep a little of this to myself for now.

Thanks for all the kind words in comments, emails, and texts. You’ve warmed my heart and helped ease my soul.

2018/05/03

Insert Witty Title Here

Da Goddess @ 09:06

Compose compelling, funny, insightful post here.

Let me know when you’re done, m’kay? Thanks. Byyyye!

2018/02/04

Gold Medal Head Jumping

Da Goddess @ 05:36

If head jumping were an Olympic sport, Fletch would have a bazillion gold medals.

He loves to jump up next to me at around 04:15 every morning, sniff at my face, and then leap over my head, running away furiously after.

This is his way of saying he’s ready for breakfast. Breakfast isn’t served until 06:00.

When he doesn’t get the response he wants, he’ll repeat this routine until he realizes I’m not budging, at which point he climbs to the top of his cat tree and meows pitifully. When that fails to get a response, he paces around me. Then he tries head jumping again. Or head butting me. Or purring.

Sometimes, only sometimes, he’ll begin this song and dance at 03:30. When he does this…grrr… when he does this, I do my level best not to yell at him. For one thing, it wouldn’t do much good. For another, it would wake King Arthur, which would not bode well for anyone. And, lastly, it would kind of be like reinforcing his bad behavior.

It takes great patience and willpower to ignore begging kitty behavior. Mostly because some of it is rather adorable. Like the meowing. It’s so girly! And a little pathetic. But mostly girly. And he’s not at all girly. Plus, the leaping is really athletic. Irritating, but wildly athletic.

Sigh.

I love Fletch. He’s a nut. He’s a crazy, relentless, furry, adorable nut and I’m glad I’m his guardian.

(But he really deserves some Olympic level medals.)

2018/02/01

t(Hair)sday — It Doesn’t Work

Da Goddess @ 16:02

Please don’t waste your hard earned cash on two-in-one shampoos. You know, shampoo and conditioner in one. It doesn’t work.

Think of what shampoo does: it cleans your scalp and hair of oils, dead skin, and the dirt you pick up throughout the day. It opens the hair cuticle to do so. Conditioner is used to (hopefully) detangle and smooth your hair, add shine, and close the cuticle.

Now, based on the description of those actions, does it sound reasonable that one product could adequately do both? No. It’s not possible. I don’t care what any ad claims, it shampoo and conditioner just don’t work in a way that allows both to happen simultaneously.

Save your money and buy separate shampoo and conditioner.

P.S. I survived the plague!

2018/01/18

(t)HAIRsday – Money Money Money

Da Goddess @ 16:47

Note: I get nothing from the companies that make the products I mention below. I only mention them because I have used them for years and trust the results.

To keep your hair looking and feeling great you don’t need to spend a lot of money.

For the most part, everything you need in a shampoo and conditioner can be purchased for under $10. In 99% of shampoos and conditioners on the market, you get all you need in the same basic ingredients. High priced products may add all sorts of fancy ingredients, but there is absolutely nothing to back their claims that they’re better than less expensive options. In many cases, they’re selling you a solution to a problem you likely never knew you had (and probably never will have).

Stick with the basics when it comes to the products you purchase. Something as simple as Tresemmé or even Suave can keep your hair clean and conditioned.

If you want to up your hair game a bit, try Queen Helene’s Cholesterol or Alberto VO5′s conditioning oil treatment. Use those once every few months and your hair will be just as lovely as you’d like.

That is, if you remember to follow the instructions I gave you last week: clean, dry towel to dry (which you press gently on your hair — NEVER RUBBING!). A clean brush free of hair. Oh! I forgot an important step last week. When attempting to get through tangled hair, never try to strong-arm your way through! Instead, start at the bottom/ends of the hair and gently brush a little at a time. By using this method you’re freeing the ends, preventing excessive breakage, and saving yourself from absolute devastation. It takes a while to get used to brushing this way, but it absolutely works!

If you try any of these tips, let me know how they worked for you.

2018/01/11

(t)HAIRsday – Basics

Da Goddess @ 11:11

I may be a beauty school dropout, but I learned a lot during my time there. So, here are a few basic tips for my friends:

  1. When you’re shampooing your hair, try using about half the amount you think you need. This serves two purposes: you use less shampoo, obviously. And you are being kinder to your hair. You see, when you’re shampooing, you’re actually cleaning the dead skin and dirt from your scalp (unless your hair is full of awful debris, you don’t need to scrub your hair into a dry, lifeless mess).
  2. When conditioning your hair, use about 3/4 of what you think you need. Again, you’ll save some money, but, more importantly, you only need to condition your hair, not your scalp. Plus, too much conditioner can be hard to rinse out and weigh down your hair.
  3. Never leave conditioner on for longer than two minutes. Some conditioners have ingredients that can cause more damage than they’re supposed to repair.
  4. Rinsing your hair with cool water does two good things: it actually helps remove more of the conditioner than warmer water. And it helps to close the cuticle, thereby reducing the frizz and protecting the hair itself from other damage.
  5. When it’s time to get dried off, use a separate DRY towel for your hair. A damp or wet towel can catch hair in its loops, causing breakage.
  6. Once your hair is in that towel, DO NOT rub it vigorously! This can cause more breakage. Instead, blot your hair or press it gently between towel folds.
  7. Finally, before you brush your hair, make sure your brush is clean. Get rid of the hair from the bristles. Wash it if it looks a even a little grungy. I tend to clean my brush after every use. This way, I know it’s done and don’t have to think about it as I’m (generally) rushing around trying to get ready. Anyway, when your brush is dirty you end up negating all the effort you just put into getting your hair clean. Also, if your brush is full of hair it’ll pull at the hair on your head causing (repeat after me!) breakage.

If you’re interested in more tips, I have lots more! tHAIRsday may end up being a semi-regular thing.

2018/01/06

Drunken Choir

Da Goddess @ 19:09

I’m sitting out on the front porch, soaking in the cool evening air. In the distance I can hear the cars zipping down roads both near and not so near. I hear crickets and tree frogs. The occasional bat or owl. The neighbors’ TVs, hard to miss since they are elderly and hard if hearing. And then there’s the drunken chorus of a song I don’t know, in a language I don’t much understand unless it’s spoken slowly and contains most of the words I DO understand.

Behind the house, across the street, someone’s celebrating. I don’t know what occasion is. It doesn’t really matter. What I hear are voices raised in song, communally rejoicing. There are plenty of voices off-key. Some are a bit behind the others. But then there are moments of absolute beauty, in which everyone has hit the right notes. It’s in those moments that I feel my heart swell a bit and smile.

I’ve been thinking about us. The collective us. As a neighborhood, a community, a city, state, country, and a planet. We don’t always know the same songs or speak the same language. We don’t always hit notes perfectly. But we’re all part of the choir. We often sound drunk and uncoordinated. But sometimes we all hit the perfect note at the same time. When we do, it’s not always easy to hear because we’re too busy worrying about what we’re doing and singing to truly appreciate the moment.

I’m doing my best to listen for those moments these days because they’re so rare and precious. I need to get in there and appreciate more often how beautiful it is when we are in harmony and work toward making sure I develop a voice that hits those perfect notes more frequently. If I don’t, I’m part of the reason we sound like a drunken choir.

2017/11/10

TJH: Inspire — People Matching Art

Da Goddess @ 06:01

My favorite of the photos posted to this site would be Starry Night.

Go, get lost in the beauty.

2017/11/09

Hours of Laughter and Tears with Spacegoats and a Moose

Da Goddess @ 20:29

I killed my phone battery TWICE trying to get through all the replies to this tweet.

After the past few months of absolute frustration and pathos, this is just what I needed. You need it, too. I know you do.

2017/09/19

I Can’t Keep Track: Scratch That Itch!

Da Goddess @ 10:10

On my legs I have at least three different skin issues. There’s the dry skin that just doesn’t want to soak up the moisture from even the hardiest of lotions. There are the splotches of a fungal infection I developed while on antibiotics for the spinal cord stimulator trial. And there are the areas that quite recently bubbled up when I developed serious edema two or three months ago. Yes, my skin bubbled. Then it hardened. Then it began a low level ooze. The edema is gone (the only benefit of being off most of my medications), but my skin remains in healing mode.

My arms have a minimum of two things going on. I have areas that are rough and itchy. There are cat scratches that don’t want to heal. Then there’s this ongoing itching that springs up on my hands and wrists.

Shall I even dare tell you about the rawness under and between my breasts? The itching, the erosion of skin, the persistent need for barrier cream (read: diaper cream), or the spreading of this… I’m guessing… fungal infection that threatens to become bacterial due to the diffuse, raw skin in delicate areas. It’s enough to drive one over the edge.

I almost took some quick pics because WORDS are not adequate to describe what’s happening to me and my skin. I didn’t do it, though. At least, not yet. I spared you the horrors of this creeping crud.

Oh, and while I was attending to my skin issues, I noticed a spot on my underboob. It had been a teensy weensy mole a couple years ago. It was measurable in millimeters. Now? It’s almost two inches in length and almost an inch in width. It looks a bit like one of those trilobite fossils found in most natural history museums. It’s quite rough and has the oddest quality to it. I am not pleased. I’m not even in the same state as “pleased”! Being without any health insurance, I can’t just run to a doctor to decide if it’s something I should worry about.

I’ll never be remembered as a one hit wonder. I have far too many complaints and needs for my legacy to be that I was boring. The facts don’t add up at all.

Until such time that I’m no longer using diaper cream and medicated powder to try to keep this body from becoming a much bigger problem than it is.

I think this is the part of the movie where some stunt woman would take my place and throw herself from the tallest window or ledge in utter frustration and as a means of ending the itch.

I’m so very over this bullshit. I’m keeping my fingers crossed that something good, something NOT irritating, happens to alleviate all the bad feels in my body.

But enough about me, let’s talk about you. Have you ever heard such things? Could you tell how any of this is necessary?

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.

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