Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Government Sanctioned Mechanical Rape

I don't talk politics a lot. I don't do it publicly especially. This required vaginal ultrasound is really pushing my buttons. My position on abortion is really irrelevant. My position on violating a woman's body….don't touch her if she didn't ask!
There is not a single one of those male senators in Virginia who voted to require a woman to have a vaginal ultrasound before going through with an abortion who would agree to have that probe shoved up his rectum! I think they should write that into the bill. Every lawmaker must receive a rectal probe for each vaginal ultrasound the state requires.
Also, I think the funds to purchase the equipment, pay salaries of technicians, and any other associated costs should come out of said lawmakers' salaries. This complete bullshit excuse for infringement on a woman's right to choose what to do with her body has gone too far. It is nothing more than the equivalent of our government sanctioning the rape of these women with a mechanical penis. These women don't WANT that probe in their vaginas. Isn't that a core component to RAPE?
This is outrageous! This is insulting not only to women, but to humanity. What if this should make it all the way into law? I am lucky I won't be one of the women subjected to this horror, but what if I have a friend who is? There would be a horsewoman of the Apocalypse. Her name would be Karen.


A lot of discussion of my blogs happens on my Facebook wall, which is private.  Tonight, it was lively.  Indeed, the bill that passed today was amended.  It excludes women who had previously reported a rape.  In my opinion, if the authors think there is something insulting, improper, invasive that would add insult to injury for a rape victim, then they know there is something wrong with their literature regardless.  This watered down version does nothing except appease enough people to get it passed and achieve the end result anyway.  

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Orphaned at 32, Adopted at 37

There are parts of my life that seem like fiction.  Let's face it, for those of us who believe in God, why would God let any single, decent human being suffer the magnitude of loss I had by the time I was 34?  I still wonder that on my really bad days and it has nothing to do with being ungrateful for the very good things in my life now.

My parents were divorced.  I never lived with my father in my memory.  My sister and I saw him often until I was about 11.  Now, we didn't have the kind of arrangement that is common today.  We never went to his house to visit over a weekend or even a night.  He came to us on Saturdays.  His visits diminished rapidly, then stopped.  I don't remember what brought about the knowledge that he was sick.  We found out he had ALS, Lou Gherig's disease.  I think I was sheltered from it.  My older sister was in nursing school, so I believe she knew more.  It seems to me that the whole process went so very quickly.  We were able to visit him a few times and then he died.  It was awful.  I feel like I barely knew him.  I had just turned 13 and was never going to know him.

My mom was a pistol!  She was the epitome of the independent, single mother.  She did it when it wasn't the norm.  She was on her own in the mid-70s.  She carpooled an hour to  and from work, then came home and helped on the tobacco farm where we lived.  She had grown up as one of 10 children.  The majority of the brothers kept up the farm.  Their impact is a whole other blog.  She was a very involved member of her church and we were there every time the doors opened.

My mom smoked.  She worked for a major tobacco company for 31 years and smoked for double that.  Five months before she died, she was diagnosed with lung cancer.  It's an ugly thing to watch.  I highly recommend quitting smoking if it's something you do.

Two days after her 75th birthday, just after I turned 32, as my sister and I held her, our mother died.  That early morning, I became an adult orphan.

Fast forward to 2010.  Kelly and I met 23 years ago when his sister and I were friends in high school.  In 2010, we reconnected and the rest is history.  One of the best things about our relationship, for me, is feeling so loved and accepted by his family.  His parents and mother, particularly, treats me like her own.  Maybe I just feel more connected because that's what I know; having a mother.  It's as if the day I married him I was adopted and am no longer an orphan.  October 29, 2011 is very special to me for more than one reason.

Friday, February 24, 2012

This could suck greatly!

You know all that shit earlier in the week about my vacuum? Well, it was kind of about my vacuum and kind of a metaphor. My friend Stacy is the only one who publicly acknowledged the metaphorical side, so unless you want to go there, I'm going back to the vacuum.
I have entered Kelly and myself in this Bed Bath and Beyond Contest. It's called the How We Met contest. It's on Facebook™, so you'll be clicking on the BBB Facebook™ page. Please vote for us whether you know us at all, like us, or think we're a good couple or the shittiest couple in the universe. Why, you ask? There are two answers to that. 1) Our story is pretty cool. We met at ages 12 and 15, didn't date, re-met at 32 and 35, fell in love and got married at the home where we first met 2) Because there are very cool prizes to be had. Even if we don't win the top one, the next level down includes a rockin' Dyson vacuum!
Let's be honest. Kelly and I didn't do a wedding registry. There were several people who gave us Lowe's Hardware gift cards. I am still working on Thank Yous by the way. Some of you will never get one since there weren't names attached to the gifts. However, it would be awesome to get a new Dyson or kitchen goodies or other odds and ends or a year's supply of K-Cups!!!!
So, please PLEASE click on this link once a day until the contest is over to vote for us. I'll be honest. I don't know when it ends. I'll keep harassing you until it's over. You won't forget. I promise.
Vote= Vacuum= Vote= Vacuum
Tell yo neighbors, tell yo friends…
You get the idea….

**Updated** This contest started 2/15 so we are WAY BEHIND in votes!  It ends 3-15! Click that link and pass it on!  Pretty please (batting lashes)

Love yas,

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Choose wisely, or things suck, or they don't when you want them to

I picked a vacuum I liked a couple of years ago.  I have been pretty hard on it.  I thought I royally screwed it up a couple of times and considered tossing it.  Once, my friend helped me figure out how to take it apart and clean it, put it back together and start fresh.  Well, it wasn't exactly fresh because once you use something and mess it up a little, it's never fresh again.

It handles all the dirt and trash I put in its path mostly.  I have to clean out that crap often, because it builds up.  But, really, it's not all my trash.  That damn thing doesn't do its job picking up the trash in the first place.  I have to go over the same spot a dozen times!  It leaves trash and then I have to go back to do more work.  If it had just done what it was supposed to do in the beginning, I'd be a lot happier with it and I wouldn't bang its canister when I cleaned it.

I have had a few vacuums since I became an adult and started having my own home.  I thought I needed a big fancy one.  Then, I had a much cheaper model.  With this one, I thought I'd settled on a good fit for me.  It just seemed like a good balance.  Not too many attachments to deal with, but it had enough to deal with the dirt I had.  Maybe I should have read the fine print.  Maybe I should have compared more models.  I feel like I got screwed with this sucker.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Not DaVinci's, but my own code

A long time ago, well, just a few years ago, I had a term for something that just a friend and I knew.  It was Code Nicodemus.  Whenever I said that, she knew exactly what was happening.  Now, I need a new code.  There are things I need to yell some days without actually saying them.  I need to scream just to get it out of my system and not face any repercussions five minutes later.

It should go something like this :

Tooooaaasstttt!!!!!!!!!!!! Which really means "for the love of God, get the hell out of my face!"
Oatmeal Sock Monkey!!!!!!  i.e.,  "go fuck yourself and the high horse you rode in on!"

Tire tread wirrrrrrrreeeeee!!!!!!!!!!!!!!   >>>>>>  "Do you have any GDMF idea what I am saying at all?"

Now, as for Nicodemus, I'd have to explain all that and it would just get me in a slightly warmer than tepid bird bath without the satisfaction of the code itself.

Jellyfish Jellyfish Jellyfish!

Do you have a better one?  Give me your best shot!

Monday, February 13, 2012

Heart Day

I almost went out with a man who called Valentine's Day "steak and BJ" day once.  We were set to go out the week before.  The night he told me that was the last night I ever spoke to him.  The only thing good to come out of the acquaintance was my learning about high thread count sheets.  (That was from discussion, NOT sleeping on them.)

I am not a woman who thinks the Holy Day of Cupid is about spending a $100 on roses and another $100 on high dollar chocolate.  Although, I would never, ever turn down even a single Godiva truffle.  I think it is about honoring the love we share with another.  Or, if we are seeking to win another's heart, it's the day to stalk them more heavily.

I'm going on the traditional premise of man seeking woman/husband and wife.  I think you can insert your gender of choice and it will apply closely.  I think most men go wrong with the assumption that they have to spend a lot of money or show up with the corny heart shaped box of chocolates.  I think, too, women believe we need to be wearing a lace teddy with stiletto heels or we won't impress our man.

If those things are all it takes to impress your heart's desire, then it isn't your heart they desire.  Sex and lust are good.  Valentine's Day is about that, too.  I think if you look at that chubby little naked boy and all of the hoopla, then it goes back to LOVE.  If my husband wants me in stilettos, then he'll have to immediately take me to the ER.  I'll fall down and break at least 6 bones.

Feeling like I'm seen as the most beautiful, desirable woman on earth makes the ultimate Valentine's Day for me.  I hope you get whatever makes yours.

Friday, February 10, 2012

The Day My World Ended

I know technically my world is still rotating.  I am still breathing.  But, my axis, my center is gone.  Four years ago today - at 4:58pm to be exact - Olivia left this world cradled in my arms.

If you read my earlier post about her entry into this world, you might see something familiar.  Olivia was born at 4:58 am and died at 4:58pm.  She was born on February 5th and died on February 10th.  She died in 2008 at the age of 8.  My diva was all about symmetry, apparently.  She was amazing in every way.

I know I grew her.  I know I birthed her.  I know she looked like me.  I know she was mine.  BUT, I have heard for years, from many people that she was special.  There was just something about her.  She grabbed people.  There were people from around the world praying for her (thanks to the blog and list-serve in which I was involved at that time).  Each day, I could log onto my email and there would be digests or individual emails from Israel or China or Australia.  Some were worded in ways that were unusual to me.  That didn't matter.  It was the true love and caring that came through.  When she died, there were hundreds that poured into the church over two days to pay respects, some driving for hours to get there.  I was shocked and amazed and so proud of the way my tiny, wise, loving daughter had touched so many lives.

I know it may surprise you to hear that I did things differently.  Many are too personal for public consumption.  The easy parts to share are that I tried to keep some part of her life normal.  Olivia didn't die in a hospital.  She was home.  We enlisted hospice services.  There had been too many surgeries.  There were too many brushes with death.  There was nothing else to do to stop the demon that was the seizure monster.  So, we stayed home where she was happiest.  She was with her cats that she loved and who loved her.  Albert and Snooks stayed on her person or by her side as if they were fierce protectors.

She stayed on her Mommy as much as possible until my friends, or the Posse as they became known, forced me to shower and eat.  Although, toward the last weeks, people even fed me so I didn't have to put her down.  I didn't want to miss a single minute.  I cherished every second.  My God, there could never be enough of them!

From January 2 until February 10th, it was a waiting game.  It was gut wrenching.  I felt like my heart was ripped out, shredded and put back in a million times.  The last time, four years ago today, only part of it was put back in.  I haven't been whole since.  I am thankful for the love and devotion of those Posse members who have held on to me and kept me from tipping over the edge.  I am thankful for new ones who have come into my life to strengthen the rope.  Kelly is doing his part to be patient and tolerant of my lashing out.  I can only imagine what it's like to experience it when you didn't experience the event.

I lie here covered in my quilt made from her clothes.  It's been washed many times, but they still covered her at some point.  It's my way of holding her today.  There is nothing I wouldn't give to have Olivia Nicole in my arms again.  The only solace is knowing she doesn't have those damnable seizures anymore.

Thanks to one of the original Posse members, there is an actual star named Princess Olivia.  I've never taken the coordinates to a planetarium and looked, so I just look at the night sky and assume the brightest thing I see is it.  When you look up tonight, wave and say "Happy Angelversary, Princess O".  It's happy because there is no more pain and there are no more tubes.  That is how I keep breathing and standing on solid ground.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Meet Olivia

I try to start on this and something deters me or I get distracted.  As I sit here waiting for THE basketball game, it seems the appropriate time.  My love was a tiny Tarheel.  When I'd yell "Go Heels", she'd get all excited and the first word she said was GO.  Coincidence?  I think not.

Condensed version of the beginning....uneventful pregnancy except that it was wonderful.  If I could be pregnant every day and not give birth, I'd do it.  I loved it.  Labor was 10 hours almost exactly.  I received an epidural that was not effective.  It hurt horrifically!  I had minimal relief for about 90 minutes.  I pushed completely naturally for an hour and 20 minutes and gave birth to this beautiful baby doll.

I don't have a digital image.  Were there digital images in 2000?

Olivia had enough hair that I needed one of those monogrammed bows immediately, but I didn't know about them yet.  She weighed 6 lb 11.5 oz.  She seemed so tiny...she did after she came out.  Prior to that, she seemed like a sumo wrestler.  When I saw her, held her for the first time, I truly felt like my heart would burst.  I can't explain it any other way.  There is no other feeling; no other love like the love I felt as a mother.

Olivia was a good eater at first.  She had a good suck reflex and nursed in the delivery room.  She had been practicing.  She had a sucking blister on her lip when she came out!

Those couple of days in the hospital were calm.  There weren't any problems.  She barely cried except when she was hungry or wet.  She slept....all the things a newborn does.  We went home to start a life of pure joy.  I was joyful.  All I had ever wanted was to be a mother.

Little did I know that our world would change just 11 days into this.  There aren't pictures or other major items to document.  It sneaked up on us.  There are pros and cons to that.  There was no preparation, but there's no guilt associated with it either.  I went home and loved my baby.  She loved me, too.  Her favorite place was attached to me.


Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Stormy weather...why didn't Al Roker mention this???

There's a neurological term called storming.  I'm not a doctor.  I used to play one on tv opposite Dr. Drake Ramoray (just kidding).  I'm not a nurse.  Anyway, I know it has to do with your heart rate rising like crazy and sweating a lot and I'm sure many other things.  I probably should have called my neuro ICU nurse friend for a hot second before I started writing....I digress.

About a year after Olivia died, I was diagnosed with PTSD .  Most people think of it associated with military people/veterans or survivors of natural disasters.  I was told I had survived kind of the same things watching Olivia's massive seizures for so many years, coding, resuscitation, resuscitating her myself once and then her dying in my arms.  I had vivid, horrid nightmares, which turned out to be flashbacks.  I rarely slept.  I developed a heightened startle reflex.  I cried all the time.  Sad didn't even begin to describe it.

It was very much like storm in my brain when I tried to visualize it.  Picture the streaky lighting flashing across the sky, bolt after bolt.  Clouds of varying shades of pale to silver to gray to charcoal and they are monstrous.  Some of them may seem to be reaching down for the ground around you.  The wind is blowing as if you're Dorothy and your house is about to be transported to Oz...this is how it felt and feels in my brain sometimes.

It has been like that many times the past few weeks.  I was not expecting it.  It has taken me by surprise kind of like the honey badger snatches a cobra.   I wonder if it is the fact that I experienced happiness this past year and my guard was let down?

Regardless of the reasons, it happened.  I've been a woman on the edge for weeks.  Add in the God awful steroids coursing through my system courtesy of my damn asthma and I'm sure there are some who'd call me a raging bitch.

I was able to get Olivia's birthday flowers placed.  That took away some of the anxiety.  I swear, one of the afternoons or sleepless nights, I'm going to tell her story.  I just have to be able to keep steady fingers to type.  

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Angel Birthday

Happy birthday in Heaven to my beautiful Olivia.

12 years ago, I was bringing the most loving, precious, beautiful girl there would ever be into this world.  Her huge blue eyes took my breath away.  It could have also been the excruciating pain of natural childbirth, but I'm going with the eyes.

I labored with Olivia for 10 hours.  I pushed for an hour and 20 minutes.  She looked perfect.  She nursed in the delivery room.  She never slept in that plastic bassinet in the hospital.  She was always on me or her dad, mostly me.  There was no hint of any problem or the nightmares to come. 

February 5, 2000, is the best day I ever lived. 

Friday, February 3, 2012

Ratel is back

There comes a point when anger overrides hurt.  My heart has hurt all week.  I am a softie.  I let my feelings get hurt very easily.  I have expectations that people will treat me the way they want to be treated.  No, I do not do that all day, every day, but it is something I inherently believe.  There are those near and dear to me who have heard the concept and that is all.  I am sick to death of excuses.  I want to vomit every time mouths open because I know it is a load of shit about to be dumped.  I excused myself from a situation yesterday that may temporarily cause some inconvenience for these folks.  I'd much rather that happen than my baggage cause them emotional damage next week.  My Olivia emotional baggage can fill the car of an Amtrak train.  And hell yes I'm dealing with it today even though it's not her actual birthday or anniversary day!  What an idiotic thing to say! (different situation yesterday)

Sometimes, I feel like I am either completely losing my ability to communicate with people or some people simply cannot fathom how horrendous and difficult even the smallest task can be right now and over the next few days.  **NEWS FLASH**  I am struggling to get out of bed, shower and make it to work.  If it weren't for The Bloggess and Jon Stewart  (mocking all political news-especially Mitt Romney's idiotic blunders) to entertain me, I'm not sure I would make it through the next 7 days.

                 My spines are up.  I am Ratel.  I don't care.  I don't give a shit.  I am a badass.