To each his own. To me my own.

Posts tagged “friends

Escaping a Toxic Environment

A loved one in my life has been going through a lot lately. Honestly, so much has come to light the past week that my head is still spinning. Not only was I unaware of just how bad her own situation was, I was also in the dark about the toxicity of the conditions under which she has had to live. The everyday home life that’s supposed to be a safe place… a refuge.

This morning, I ran across an article I can only describe as one of the best published articles I’ve ever read. Not only is it well-written – it delves deep down into the crevices of certain ‘toxic environments’ we sometimes find ourselves in, exposing unspoken facets of unhealthy and even hellish habitats. After reading it (twice), I simply couldn’t continue on with my day without sharing it with all of you.

Escaping a Toxic Environment   – Written by Natalie Thomas

(Published in Huffington Post Healthy Living, 10/27/12)

We’ve all been in them. Situations so dire we lose hope, becoming the very person we pitied, dreaded, swore we’d never become. We talk of an exit like a dream scenario: a child running away with the circus, an adult winning the lotto and immediately quitting their job (not to mention the detailed disbursement of riches: 10 percent to charity, 10 to parents, 10 to splurge, 20 for dream home, 50 in savings). But somehow, we can’t seem to envision a world in which we get there. Capable, otherwise strong, able-bodied beings paralyzed by fear, believing the hype, fearing the backlash.

I’ve been in quite a few dysfunctional situations in my life: bad relationships, unhealthy work environments. And no matter the category, the symptoms are similar: broken-down self-esteem, misery-loves-company companionship, excuses like rain drops.

But while unhealthy intimate unions can wreak havoc on the psyche and may inform the way in which we treat others, it’s usually an insular thing. Group dysfunction, however, is far-reaching and often much more dangerous. They say there’s safety in numbers, but there’s also destruction.

My first experience with toxic circles began like most — in middle school. Her name was “Shannon.” Up until she arrived, we were a blissful, naïve little bunch. Most of us had grown up together, performed in dance recitals, shared many a sleepover and were on track to ride out our middle and high school years together, tight as ever. Then she showed up.

Within weeks, we turned on each other. Shannon decided who was in and who was out. One day you were popular and pretty, the next you were a pariah, with no warning, no bearing on your behavior or actions, simply her whim. She had the power and she abused it. Heavily. If you didn’t agree with her, didn’t laugh at her jokes at the expense of others or talk trash about your friends, you were her next target, and God bless you, because her bad side was everyone else’s backside. You were ostracized. No one would face or acknowledge you despite it having been done to them the week before — how horrific it felt, how they were raised, how much they knew it was wrong. They were just thrilled to be accepted again and did whatever it took to stay there, in her good — albeit evil — graces. Shannon transferred before high school, but it was too late. The damage was done. She came, she terrorized, she left. We were never the same.

It began in middle school. It should have ended there too. But we all know, sadly, that’s often not the case. I had a few more experiences through college and post but, thankfully, I was experienced enough to avoid the drama, speak up for my friends and myself and maintain some shred of dignity. Since Shannon, I’ve made a conscious effort to surround myself with trustworthy, unconditional, loyal and uneasily-influenced friends, so it wasn’t until I entered the working world that the toxicity returned.

Despite the professional setting, those with power and plenty on their plates, those who know better are often caught up in office drama, choosing sides and spewing names. Bullies come in all shapes and sizes. They also manifest in all ages and professions. Just like middle school, in the corporate world there is a cool crowd with a penchant for hazing. And although the behavior is similar, the ability to remove oneself from it is likely harder. After all, beyond your reputation, your paycheck, career and livelihood are also at stake.

As a newbie, you’re tested, humiliated and alienated, but you suck it up and trudge on. Eventually you earn your place as newer souls are indoctrinated. There’s a level of pride and confidence that comes with seniority, being a veteran. You’re finally accepted and, initially, that’s enough for you. But eventually that too wanes, and you realize how silly it all is. You realize who you’ve become and, disgusted with yourself, start to break away from the group and forge your own identity. But it doesn’t come without a price.

As soon as they smell indifference, independence, you’re a target again. To blend in, strike a balance between individual and included, you laugh at the occasional joke, roll the obligatory eye, knowing it’s wrong. With each disparaging remark you champion, a bit of you erodes. This is not who you are, who you want to be. You are better than this. Better than them.

In winemaking, there’s something called bunch rot, in which one bad grape infects the group. Toxic friend and work situations are no different. By definition, toxicity is the degree to which something can damage. Make no mistake, these are damaged people — once smart, free-thinking, well-respected individuals now broken down to think and act like a vicious, rotten herd.

These cultish environments lead you to believe you are fortunate to be where you are, can never do better, there’s another waiting to take your place. Those that leave are ingrates, “depressives” — no matter how many years you gave, how hard you tried, how amicable you think you left, you are the enemy. Others are encouraged to shun you, engage in the shit-talking. The ringleader feels more secure — and less inclined to lash out — the louder the laughs. And so you do it; you laugh at what you know is wrong. You contribute in the ripping apart of your friend, your former colleague. It’s just easier. Knowing, hoping one day you too will be a refugee, doing all you can to better your situation in the meantime, adopting the mantras, lying to others and yourself. You are happy. It’s just temporary. Everyone else is doing it. It’s not that bad.

Until it’s finally your time. You’ve woken up, gathered the strength, gotten a better offer, had a life-changing experience… Whatever it is that is propelling you forward, upward, past the muck, the insipid and incestuous clone-like clique, you do it. You — gasp — leave.

You’re filled with a rush of emotions: elation, paranoia, sadness, relief. You seek shelter with other survivors, celebrate with drinks, commiserating about how bad it had gotten, exchanging war stories, your scars like badges of honor.

Away from the brainwashing and the negative influence, you realize how self-consumed you’d become, how jaded, how bitter. And, little by little, each moment without your toxic crutch, you become you again, realizing just how crippling your situation had been. You start to think like an independent, no longer part of a petty pack. You become kinder, lighter, sunnier. And soon it all starts to feel like a dream. A beautiful, shameful, fucked up dream.

You move on. You work on and better yourself. And you wait. You wait for the next embattled soul to wise up and join your fray. And you welcome them with outstretched arms and a cold beer. No “I told you sos,” no “What took you so long?” not even a “How could you do that to me?” because they know and, with one look, you do too. It wasn’t them. It was the atmosphere, the influence. After all, you once were there too. And you don’t “get it” until you’re gone. And once you are is when you really start living again.

For more by Natalie Thomas, click here.

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Happiness is Homemade

It is to me, at least.

My circle of friends is small, and that’s by choice. Once you’ve been burnt by a select few throughout the course of a lifetime, it becomes pretty easy to build up that old retaining wall – to keep the nicely filtered water safe inside and disastrous tidal waves out. The quality level of my true friends is nothing short of stellar now – that’s what is important to me. I love having a friend I know so well that half the time we actually finish each other’s sentences. With most every subject, Lou and I end up having the same opinion. On the rare occasions we don’t agree on something, we still respect each others opinions. Neither of us have ever tried to change each other, nor persuade the other into doing something we’re uncomfortable with. Because a ‘real’ friend would never do that.

Lou and I have joked for years now about how we would be perfectly content to drive home from work on Friday and not leave out again until Monday rolls around. Once home from work on a weekday, we won’t start our car and go out again until the next workday. Doesn’t matter if we’re in need of something, it has to wait. You’d literally have to light a fire under both our asses to get us back out. Like many others, we both have a dog waiting for us to get home. Fact is, any type of errand after work requires careful prioritizing because of our pets – but I don’t know a pet-lover out there that begrudges this. I wouldn’t trade a thing.

I’m not complaining about any of this – quite the contrary. It makes me happy going straight home and and staying home. I’m not a socially active person by nature, never have been. Once in a while Keith and I will have a family event to attend over the weekend which we enjoy. I just find joy in weekends which have no plans whatsoever – aside from the rare impromptu day trip with him.

Speaking of my husband. He’s a hard-working man who works out of state all week and only comes home on the weekends. After so long it became routine like anything else – I just got used to it. I am not afraid. I’ve got my fearless boy Mojo, a fully loaded S&W and a quite sophisticated home security system. All that said, when the weekend finally does get here I relish my time with him. Since the weekend is all we have, we definitely make the most of every moment together. Hey, I realize it could always be worse – he could be deployed overseas for months or even years. I’m thankful for the time I do have with him and everything else we’ve been blessed with.

I’ve never been a bar person by choice. Ever. There’s something very sad to me about bars. Again, just my personal preference and opinion. We do enjoy having dinner with our parents on occasion. I don’t socialize with friends on a ‘regular’ basis aside from maybe a couple times a year, then it’s usually just for dinner or when someone is moving away or some life-changing event like that. I do not enjoy shopping – while I know this is weird for a woman, trust me when I say I’m totally okay with it. I guess the most social I’ve been in my entire life was last summer while I was busy planning our wedding, which I’ll admit about killed me. Literally had to be somewhere or meet up with someone 3-4 times a week. My stress and anxiety levels were off the charts. It was during this time that my friend Lou even sacrificed her own after-work time (something we both hold sacred, remember?) to plod the hot summer streets with me to help search for a wedding dress. I remember that after the wedding was over, I couldn’t wait to get back to my old ‘rut’. And so I did. I didn’t walk… I literally RAN back to it.

Ah… the aroma of sweet familiarity. Mmmm – smells SO so good. Just. Breathe. It. In. And Relax.

So what’s the point of all this, Bon? This is getting a little monotonous.

Apparently there are some out there bearing a false impression that I have a moral obligation to restructure my time to deligate more of my after-work hours to socialize. This has even included pressured attempts during the weekend when Keith comes home from working out of town all week. Needless to say, my patience level has bottomed out on this.

It’s not like I’ve been silent about my stand on the subject. It’s not a hidden secret on a game show being held for a big reveal later to floor everyone. I’ve expressly stated on several occasions that I’m a homebody and choose to spend my time after work at home, and my weekend time with my husband – but it’s all been blatently ignored.

My question is this… having made this a wide-open fact, why on earth would someone push the envelope, again and again? And if you do find yourself attempting to change or reroute how a person thinks – what kind of friend does that make you? And why would a person want to spend more time with you if you’re trying so hard to inflict your preferred method of thinking on them? Why would any real friend do that?

My reasoning is, a real friend wouldn’t.

I will not change the way I choose to spend my time, and I refuse to be bullied into it. Of course I realize there are exceptions to every rule. But if dire circumstances ever did warrant a change, my family and close friends would be those who took precedence. This 46 year-old broad has worked 40+ hours a week my entire adult life (attending several years of college during that), and traveled from one side of hell to the other in an attempt to start a new life. I have earned my right to spend my time after work however I damn well please. So I’m gonna clear something up real quick-like, once and for all. If you have a problem with how I spend MY time –  weeknights or weekends – I strongly suggest that you start keeping it to yourself.

I will not apologize to anyone for being a homebody. It’s who I am, and I won’t apologize for being me. So quit right now trying to change me.

That is all.

Now if you’ll excuse me – I’m home for the evening. So I’m gonna fix myself something to eat and watch Dr. Phil.

The ache for home lives in all of us, the safe place where we can go as we are and not be questioned. ~Maya Angelou


Okie-dokie, Doggy Daddy…

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And guess what… WE DID IT!!

What started out as any other beautiful sunny September day slowly and surely graduated to rain as the evening fell. Ah, well. Thank goodness for that glorious Plan B, which is one big reason we chose this particular venue. Besides, a little rain never hurt nothin’.

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The original plan was to be married by the lake in front of a beautifully draped alter adorned with hanging crystals to reflect the sun and water. As it turns out, we wed indoors in front of the fireplace – nonetheless very beautiful in it’s own unique way. (And believe me, I’ll find a fanciful DIY project with which to use the hanging crystals and reams of unused alter material!)

In addition, I’ll always have the memory of that beautiful sunset night at rehearsal.

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While our real pictures are pending final edits from the photog, we’re currently depending on the ones our friends and family have so graciously supplied.

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This man has made my dreams come true. Speaking of which, after the ceremony we danced back down the aisle to our chosen recessional “You Make My Dreams Come True” by Hall & Oates, with everyone behind us following suit. I consider it my very own True Romance. Hey, Tarantino… can ya top that one?


The Times They Are a-Changin’

I didn’t use to think so, but life is packed full of second chances. And thirds, and fourths. As far as an individual goes, there are usually varying opinions as to whether someone is even worthy of another chance. When it involves you personally – it’s ultimately up to you to make that judgement, hopefully weighing everything carefully in order to make the right decision.

A couple of weekends ago, Keith proposed. I said yes.

It’s not something that happened overnight. Over the past month, there has been much take place in the area of damage control and his attempts to fix things. This much I know… he’s a good man. Is he guilty of sitting on his hands for a year? Sure. Is he guilty of cheating on me, hitting me or any type of emotional abuse? No. Have I considered that he may have done this out of desperation and/or a last ditch effort to keep me? Yes, I’ve considered it very well – and  no, he did not. Why do I feel the need for any explanation on my decision? Because I care about what others think – especially so with my family. It also doesn’t escape me that the views my family and friends have of him are largely a result of what they’ve heard from me regarding his commitment issues.

A good friend told me last week, ‘the breakup sucked, but it served a greater purpose for you both’. That’s quite possibly the most insightful statement I’ve heard so far. I’ve said here before that I do regret moving in with a man without being married. I don’t regret moving out a few months ago.

The bare-bones of it all is this… my decision will directly affect my life and my happiness. We, as the natural makers of our own destiny, must hopefully choose the right path which leads to that happiness. Can we ever be 100% sure in making a decision of this magnitude? Of course not – none of us can. All we can do is take time to carefully weigh all the ins, outs, and everything in between… along with lots and lots of prayer.

Of that much I’m sure.


Neither here nor there

It took me a month to pack and less than a week to unpack. For some reason, I’ve always struggled with packing. Not just with moving, but with packing for a trip or vacation as well. It’s always easy for me to unpack and stick the stuff back in it’s respectful places – but gathering items and organizing them in boxes is hard for me. I think it’s largely due to my ocd about categorizing things. I also tend to want to clean out when I’m packing… I’ll abandon a box and go in search of other ‘like’ items to combine with it. Before I know it, an hour has passed and I’m still on the same box.

This got me thinking about life in general. I don’t necessarily have issues with making a change – I am a Pisces, after all. If a Pisces isn’t comfortable with the direction their life is headed, it’s a well-known fact that they will simply disappear or swim away in the other direction. That’s not to say that finding the courage to actually make that change is easy. Once the change is made however, my organizational skills are unmatched. If I can say one positive thing about myself, it’s my ability to organize – once the deed is done, so to speak.

It’s slowly beginning to dawn on me how much of myself I put into a relationship. It would also seem that I’m easily replaceable. Over the past several years I’ve lost a huge chunk of me that I’m now struggling to find again, and it’s frustrating. I must give myself time and patience in this endeavor, in as much as time passed through which I allowed that loss.

But guess what? I’ve already started.


Man’s Best Friend

This picture was taken after a harrowing storm in the Philippines over the summer. The image packed a big punch with me, so I thought I’d update the wording and share with all of you.

The original was posted via Twitter back in August by this fine gentleman/rescuer – God bless him. 🙂


Phantom Deliverance

It’s always worried me when a fellow blogger disappears suddenly and never comes back to let you know they’re okay. In these albeit rare instances, it serves to feed a pit of never-ending questions and scenarios in my head. Did they have an accident, did they die, are they sick, the list goes on – and believe me, I can create some scenarios. It’s for this reason that I wanted to let you guys know I’ll be taking a blogging break. Heck I as much as have already, anyway.

When I started posting back in 2009 it was something I needed to do, and it ended up being very therapeutic. It was also something I enjoyed doing. The past few months, maybe more actually, it’s become (can I be frank?) more of a chore. All of you should be able to relate to this honest admittance, since we’ve all likely had an occurrence of being burnt out on some thing at some point in our lives. To be honest, I’m dealing with a lot of ‘stuff’ right now, and a blog isn’t always the best place to, ahem… bare it all. Sometimes it is, just not all the time. So I also consider it ‘removing the cell phone from the drunk’. Yeah. That’s a good analogy.

I’ll try to visit in here and there, and may even be back again in good time. I value all of your friendships through the years more than I can tell you. I’ve met some truly wonderful and inspirational people who, I like to think, have influenced me in very positive ways. For this I feel so blessed, and I’m thankful for each and every one of you.

With that I’ll bid you all adieu for a while, and in typical bon-fashion will leave behind a couple of renegade thoughts.

  • As much as I prefer routine, it seems as if my life is always changing.
  • Never take communication for granted. It’s such an integral part of life.
  • A promise is a promise – it’s not made to be ignored or left to dry up, as if never mentioning it again will make it disappear. That’s simply not the way it works.

Hugs and Kisses


Me love you LONG time.

An extra-long ‘think’ occurred this morning (uh-oh) during my drive in to work. I quickly pulled out my phone and tapped a quick note so as not to forget the subject – this just goes to show how simple my thought process really is. Wanna see what the note said?

I had gone back and added the word loyalty afterwards, because boy that sure could’ve been taken out of context. Shenanigans.

In all seriousness, I really do last a long time. I was married for 21 years (well married 23, together 21). I must say that I stuck that one out until the very end, my friends. I’ve been at my current job going on 8 years, and was at my job prior to that for 12 years. During an interview for my current job, I remember telling my boss that if there was one thing I could say about myself, it was that I was loyal. I didn’t say it to promote myself, at least not intentionally – at the time I just felt it was the most honest contribution I had to offer (okay, maybe it was a selling point). By now, I think he knows I meant it.

I’ve developed what I feel is a personal relationship understanding with my car. She comprehends and responds well to my heavy foot and I sometimes even praise her for it. My little ’04 Mercury has been the best car I’ve ever had, and I really do love her (hold the straightjacket ’til the end please). I can’t even comprehend trading her for another, though I know that day will inevitably come. *sniff*

Next month, I’ll have been in a relationship with Keith for 3 years. While I know that’s not that terribly long, it’s a damn good start. And I personally envision it being many more.

My best friend Angie and I date back to the 5th grade. What does that even add up to in years? I don’t think I want to know. Anyway, I can’t imagine my life without her being part of it.

I guess some would label all this as me being ‘anti-change’ – but I don’t see it that way. I’ve been known to actually embrace change, though I admit said change is sometimes a result of my hand being forced. When all is said and done and you’re in an ‘it is what it is’ situation, sometimes you’ve just gotta ‘do what you gotta do’.

Sure, certain extenuating circumstances can change the paths in your life. I was fortunate to have some things last as long as they did – other paths, well they should have ended much sooner. It took a while to realize that the hand we’re dealt sometimes determines that path.

As for me, I’ll continue enjoying my rut routine. Creature of habit? Maybe. I just like to find me a good spot – pull up a chair, swish my butt around in it and get comfortable. Because that’s just how I roll.


Go… and be Happy.


A treasure chest

I’ve always been concerned with how people perceive me, more than I ever should be. I’m not talking about outer appearances – mostly I mean seeking approval from others which is impossible half the time anyway. I continually watch what I say, how it may be taken, and a truckload of other crap that I shouldn’t even bother with. I’m well aware this trait is a complete waste of time and energy, but it’s a curse that I’ve never been able to completely harness. Maybe someday.

Acts of kindness, compassion and generosity which are shown at ‘less than favorable’ times in your life can and should be seen as a huge blessing. Things such as receiving a sympathy card when a loved one has passed away, being brought a prepared dish that someone made just for you – even a personal phone call can be equally as significant. In this day and age, if someone thinks enough of you to pick up the phone and call you – you’re special. Know that you actually have meaning and worth to them.

Each and every act of kindness and concern I was shown during the past few weeks humbled me. It was, in fact, overwhelmingly humbling. If knowing that people are thinking kind thoughts about you isn’t humbling to us as an individual, then I’d be stumped as to what is. It’s just that black and white to me.

My dear mother called me a couple times each day, so worried. Even now, I so wish I could have kept that worry from her. My dad and daughter were very concerned. Keith’s sweet sister called me every day, too. Keith was, of course, an invaluable help with everything. I received many phone calls, visits, texts and emails from various friends, family, neighbors, coworkers and blogging buddies. Another coworker had chocolate strawberries shipped to my house. The day I came back to work, three pressmen in our shop had bought flowers and had a sign sitting on my desk welcoming me back.

Humbling, I tell you. Looking back on it brings tears to my eyes just writing about it. So I got to thinking… maybe I really should try harder not to worry about what people think of me. I feel the love.


Tick tock

It’s been a while since I’ve written a complete BS post, so I figure I’m about due. Forgive me in advance for my rambling.

My new boy Mojo has been keeping me busy. When I get home in the afternoon, my time belongs to him – I often don’t start dinner until Keith gets home (sometimes not even then). I’m completely okay with this. There’s always an adjustment period for any new member of your family, as well as for you. The time he mandates is so worth it and he’s such a sweet boy. I’m ever so glad he found me. 🙂

In a little over a week I’ll be having surgery (a word I don’t much care for). Anyway, I made the decision to have a hysterectomy. I’m not one who feels the need to keep female ‘things’ hush, so I’m not embarrassed to talk about the type of surgery it is. What I will say is I’m silently terrified at the concept. I hate that it’s turning into this, and I’m trying real hard to hide it from most people. The closer it gets, the more I’m thinking about it – my stomach is torn up and burning and I’m a nervous wreck. I know everything will be okay and my doctor is great, but this old mind just won’t let it go and it’s just consuming my thought process. Wish I could just fast-forward to recovery and all these pre-op worries would be gone. I have several friends who have gone through it and they tell me it’s nothing. I trust when they tell me this, and can only hope I am as strong as they are. I guess I don’t have any choice – I’ll just have to be.

My big beef is having to be out of work for a couple of weeks – and I would never have agreed to it if it were the formerly mandated six weeks. Now it’s actually four, but in my line of work I’m told I should be able to return in two. Apart from family, my job is everything to me. It’s the reason I eat, drive, and have a warm bed to sleep in. Additionally, it’s something I respect and will never take for granted. If you’ve ever been screwed over by an employer of long tenure and are lucky enough to find something a hundredfold better, a place that actually appreciates you back – you won’t wish to be out. To me it’s about surrendering this huge part of my life, of my familiarity. Might sound corny, but that’s just how it is. Even contemplating being out of work gets me emotional and I’m not a big fan of emotional. Maybe I need to try some yoga.


Stand For Change Day

This Friday, May 4th, is the inagural “Stand for Change” day – a day in which participating schools across the US will attempt to raise awareness of bullying in our youth.

I wasn’t a stranger to bullying as a child. I remember a boy named Randy decided to make me his target in 5th grade. For virtually half the school year he threatened me with his fists and chased me. When I finally told my mother and grandmother about it, my grandmother happened to get off early so she came by the school to pick me up. I felt so brave with her there that I walked right up to Randy with my head held high and planted myself about a foot in front of him. He gripped the front of my t-shirt all the way up to my chin (I still can feel the embarrassment of having my bare chest exposed to everyone) then rared back the other fist to punch me. Lo and behold, here comes my Savior disguised as a white haired lady – belting out of a yellow Ford Pinto and hauling ass across the parking lot. Once Randy saw her, he ran away as fast as he could. He was almost laughed out of class the next day for the incident. Nothing like your family’s love! Incidentally, Randy never bothered me again, and we even ended up becoming close friends in Junior High School.

I’m fortunate not to have experienced any bullying from other females. The same sex can be so competitive, especially in this day and age. Add to that all the social networking sites and internet that we didn’t have back then… well you get my point.

It’s true that today, over 160,000 kids stayed home from school from fear of bullying. FEAR. A word I so despise… especially when paired with intimidation. That type of fear is gut-wrenching, especially when you feel like you’re in it alone. It’s a fear that can escalate into suicidal thoughts, and actions. If that’s not enough to grab our attention, I don’t know what is.

I’m sad to learn only certain states or even lone cities here in the US are participating in this classroom awareness event on Friday – Florida seems to be the largest participant and I applaud them for that. Remember that even if you don’t have young children – bullying has probably affected your life in some way, shape or form. Perhaps you remember how it felt to be bullied as a child – maybe you have grandkids to worry about. Promoting awareness and just plain getting it out in the open is crucial.

There’s no place for hate. We have more than enough hate to deal with as adults – we need to do everything we can to protect our children.

Stand for Change.  http://stand4change.org/

No Place for Hate.  http://www.adl.org/npfh/


Blogger Buddy Awareness Day

One of my New Year’s resolutions was to read more of what my fellow bloggers have to say – even if it meant me writing less. I figured if I didn’t have anything interesting to post (which often I don’t) I’d just utilize the time to enjoy the intellect of others. This has been one of the few resolutions that I’ve actually kept, and turns out to be the most beneficial one.

Most of us have heard the saying ‘listen more, speak less’. I’ve never taken that in the literal sense perhaps like I should. In carrying out my resolution, I discovered an invaluable treasure when I chose to ‘read more, write less’.

The extra effort I’ve put into reading more has opened up a whole new world. The depth of talent out there amazes me, and I’ve learned much from each of you. All this compels me to search and read even more. I have a deep appreciation for all the thoughts, music, ideas, art, poems and pictures you guys give so freely for the rest of us to enjoy.

I just wanted to take a moment to give a shout-out to all you gifted souls out there… and thank you for sharing a piece of your world with the rest of us.


New Year, New Beginnings… Part III

Once again, a New Year is upon us. Time for me to choose a new header/banner, for the year 2012. Just as I choose a single word that best describes the prior year that passed, I also pick a new banner to use for the coming year. I enjoy reflecting back on the prior years’ words and banners, specifically for their powerful meaning to me.

In 2008 I wasn’t blogging yet, so no banner – but my word for that year was Monumental.

It’s not by accident that my first banner below included so many mountains.
2009 Banner:

My word of 2009 was Colorful.

The next piece below is made up of five of my most favorite things.
2010 Banner:

My word of 2010 was Serene.

The below shot is a panoram I took while staying at the beach last New Years.
2011 Banner:

My new word for 2011… drum roll please…

My word of 2011 is Transitional.

It was hard to find a word for 2011. When I finally ran across transitional, I knew I didn’t need to look any further.

I’m finding the end of 2011 to be this huge reflection pool, of this year as well as years prior. In late Spring I moved from my humble abode of three years, the place where I started my new life in 2008. It took some adapting to learn to live with someone again, since Keith and I had both been living alone for so long.

It didn’t take long at all. Where I live now is home in every sense of the word. Hard to explain, except that I feel like I’ve always lived there. Whenever Keith and I are together, everything just seems so easy. Of course life will always have it’s trials and tribulations – but it just seems easy. If that makes any sense.

So on to a brand new year. Nearly four years later, I can finally breathe that long-awaited sigh and say… this butterfly has completed her journey. And what a journey it’s been.


Merry Christmas To You

It’s early, barely past twilight, and it’s Christmas. I’ve been awake for a couple hours now even though bedtime came late last night.

Christmas is here, the celebration of our Savior’s birth. The little baby whose bed was a manger on that cold star-filled night. Little did he know what was to lie ahead for him. Then again, maybe he did.

This has been the most amazing Christmas ever. Our girls are here and still snuggled tight under the covers fast asleep. I’d love to get a picture of them, but I don’t feel like getting killed today. 🙂 Stockings are filled, and I’m simply biding time with this little post before I start cooking breakfast and have to wake everyone.

I wish every one of you the merriest of Christmases, spent with good friends and family.

And Happy Birthday, Jesus.


Giving Thanks, Part II

Reasons why I am blessed: 

    • My one and only child, my daughter, is amazing. I have absolutely no doubt she was heaven-sent. She’s smart, beautiful, kind and God-fearing – and she loves me as much as I love her. Well… almost. 🙂
    • My mother and my father are alive and well, and are each amazing in their own right. Our individual relationships are more precious and meaningful than I’ll ever be able to convey in words.
    • I’m fortunate enough to have found an honest, genuine, beautiful man who possesses the rare ability to love me unconditionally (and I love him more). His awesome family members are added gems.
    • A warm, comfortable, quiet house to come home to every day is my refuge, my peace, my tranquility.
    • My job affords me the ability to live. It’s a good job with good people at a reputable company – something I’ll never take for granted.
    • I own the most reliable vehicle in the history of reliable vehicles. I really do have the ‘little engine that could’. My little sedan has proven herself for many years now and still performs like a champ.
    • As of current I have no known debilitating disease or other affliction that would affect my daily life. I say this while I watch so many around me suffer – including children.
    • I count the small circle of genuine friends I have as part of my life’s riches. Because true friends are indeed a treasure.
    • I’ve never gone hungry. We always always have more food than we need.
    • My little furbaby Camille has brought more joy to my life than I could ever repay her with. It astounds me just how much love God has bestowed into these little hearts.
    • Never will I take my individual freedom to come and go and do as I want for granted. As a law-abiding citizen, I may travel at whim and make my own decisions – all benefits of free will.
    • My most beloved blessing… the most glorious gift from God for anyone who is willing to accept it – the promise of eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Every Rose has it’s Thorn

Since it’s nearing Halloween, I thought I’d share a little non-fiction story with you about the horrors that can occur when you decide to pool resources and get a roommate. Muah-ha-ha-ha…

Seriously though, a person I know is going through one of the hardest times in her life because of this very thing. I’ll call this person Rose.

Rose and her roommate (who I’ll call Thorn) have been friends since they were kids. Having been offered a sweet deal on a townhome from Thorn’s father’s girlfriend, they decided to save a little money and become roommates. It’s a nice enough place, a townhouse condo in a nice area that’s close to both of their workplaces. Each of them brought a cat to the mix, both of which get along fine and play all day. They agreed to split the rent as roommates usually do, even though Rose has brought slightly more to the table as far as furnishings. Rose supplied all the living room furniture, the washer/dryer, barstools, vacuum, most of the kitchen furnishings and much more.

It all started when Rose came home one day from work to find Thorn’s cat had pissed on her bed. In an attempt to nail down the problem, Thorn gets her cat spayed – which didn’t help. For the past week Rose has been shutting the door to her room so Thorn’s cat won’t get in there, now the cat is tearing up the carpet at her door. Just yesterday, she reached the top of the stairs and found where Thorn’s cat had pissed on the carpet there. This has continued to happen even though Rose confronted Thorn on it. You all know what happens if this is allowed to continue… the entire place now reeks of urine.

From the very beginning, Thorn refuses to clean anything. At all. Now cleaning for two, Rose has also discovered that apparently she’s responsible for the costs associated with the cleaning solutions of the house. Bathroom, floor, kitchen, detergents, soaps, you get it. Just yesterday, Rose came home and went to her bathroom where she saw her toilet paper dispenser roll lying empty on the seat where Thorn had seen fit to remove the roll and take to her own bathroom.

I have never. And neither has Rose.

Come to find out, Thorn’s cat is pissing everywhere because Thorn doesn’t see fit to clean it’s litterbox (each cat has it’s own). Even worse… Thorn doesn’t feed her cat, so the cat eats the food that Rose buys for her own cat.

Thorn is not only evasive on any of these issues, but combative in her responses when she does see fit to respond. She answers all questions with another question and has anger management issues. Rose signed a two-year lease on this place (I didn’t know two-year leases even existed?) and now is just sick about doing so.

There should be a code of ethics or something when it comes to co-habitating with a roommate. It doesn’t matter if you’ve known someone all your life or not. I tell myself some things just don’t come to light until the sun comes up and shines on it. Unfortunately by then, it’s too late.


Makin’ Waves

At long last, we’re making a little trip down to the coast. Sure it’s no 7-day caribbean cruise like my daughter just came back from, but it totally works for me. It’ll be nice to get away, even for a few nights! Forecast is calling for cooler temps with possible showers, but it’s all good since we’re not currently in the path of a hurricane. Hoo – wahh.

Last night Keith mentioned taking a couple of rods with us so we could go pier fishing – something I’ve wanted to do for years. Being a fishie myself, I’ll of course throw back any fishies that I’m lucky enough to snag. ‘Cause that’s how I roll.

All this led me to some serious thinking.

Common Sense Beach Thoughts, by Bon:

  • It’s September, so don’t wade too far out in the ocean if you favor the concept of a complete pair of legs.
  • While enjoying a leisurely stroll on the beach, keep a sharp eye out for those huge wooden structures called piers. Avoid any and all contact between them and the top of your head.
  • Relish the memories of previous parasailing events and resist the urge, however strong, to do it again. Your luck on not having yet become just another accident statistic is bound to run out sometime.
  • Do not opt to eat at Taco Bell immediately prior to taking a dolphin watch cruise on the ocean.
  • Never wait until mid-September to decide you’d like to add ‘just one more bathing suit’ to your collection. All that’s left in that area of the store is chirping crickets.

Now… if I can just figure out where to score one of these fins and an invisible push-up bra
I’ll be set. The hair extension part is easy.

😀


A Day of Remembrance

This ten-year mark of the September eleventh attacks will be a little different than the prior nine.

What’s sure to be an emotional unveiling of the 9/11 Memorial and Museum will happen this Sunday morning of September 11 2011. It has been a long-awaited and intricately planned project to say the least. Granted, these are my words. I realize there are no ‘appropriate’ words to use to describe the attack itself, it’s Memorial nor the intense emotions that run so deep when one thinks back to that fateful day ten years ago.

This past weekend I watched a 2-hour special on the years of work leading up to the completion of the 9/11 Memorial Site and Museum. All the time, effort and respect shown by everyone involved was nothing short of an amazing story. It had it all – love, grief, courage, oneness. Such an important word in the continued endeavor to heal – ONENESS. I believe the generations that went through these attacks will be working to heal for the rest of their lives.

To me, there could be no more appropriate memorial than this beautiful one that took so long to conceptualize and create. Two seemingly ‘endless’ pools sit on the area where the Twin Towers once stood. They are each nearly an acre in size and feature the largest man-made waterfalls in North America. The large pool of the initial waterfall spawns a second small one in the center which appears to cascade infinitely into the earth. The surrounding bronze panels edging the pools are carefully inscribed with the names of every person who perished in both the 2001 and 1993 attacks. I can’t imagine there being many dry eyes for those citizens witnessing the unveiling of this Memorial, whether in person or on television.

I’ve been told more than once that I ‘dwell’ too much on the most horrific terror attack in modern history. My answer to that is and always will be, so be it. One time when I brought it up to a close friend, I was dismissed with I never want to think about it again – it’s too horrible. It’s something that’s already happened and in the past now. As much as I still love this person, I’ll never forget the impact of hearing those words. Just mere days after the attack, when airplanes had yet to be given clearance to fly in our skies again – my ex husband told me I can’t watch any more of this, I’ve had it. From then on, just about everything else I watched had to be on my own time – adjusted around other shows which seemed to take precedence over 9/11. Again, so be it. I can report with much confidence that I did continue seeking information, and by the grace of God, I got it.

I’ve said this before but feel it bears repeating – I’d rather have nightmares about 9/11 every night for the rest of my life than to ever to forget about it. It’s true each of us are different, and we all have our own ways of dealing with tragedy. I realize this post is only one person’s views of the lasting effects from the largest loss of life from a foreign attack in the US so far. But let us not confuse the term ‘morbid dwelling’ with somber respect and remembrance. The act of remembering September 11th isn’t just black or white – equally as important are the shades of grey in between.

Official 9/11 Memorial Site     9/11 Memorial Webcam


Der Geier

A vulture is described as: a large bird of prey, characteristically having dark plumage and a featherless head and neck, feeding chiefly on carrion (carcasses of dead animals). Ironically enough, a second definition is listed below the initial one: A person of a rapacious, predatory, or profiteering nature.

Why would someone not want to be around a person in life – but choose to circle overhead after they’re dead and gone?

A couple of days ago a dear relative of mine lost a courageous battle with a terminal illness. This person died alone, without their children. This person cried about their children and continually asked ‘what could I have done so horrible that they wouldn’t want to see me or even speak to me?’. I saw the tears.  I saw the hurt. I saw the raw pain.

I saw it. My mother saw it. They did not.

They were immediately made aware of the situation as it began last August, when the first surgery occurred. Since then there have been multiple hospital stays, tests, scans, and more tests. I relayed information to them as I had it. The unresponsiveness forced me to type an email to inform of the finality of the illness. I had to send a freaking email to say the word terminal.

But it was all in vain.

The very evening of this person’s death, we were told to get there quickly – the heart is failing. I called and left word with the children, who of course are grown. It’s bad, I said. If you want to see him, you’d better get there quick. I left the room number.

All in vain.

Keep your sorry excuses. Continue to justify abandoning your parent at a time when they needed you the most – as they lay there dying. I hope you sleep well at night. Instead of counting sheep, maybe you can count all those tears your father shed for both of you.