January 29, 2010

Death, Divorce & Disease

I talked to a woman recently that stopped going to her church because after her husband died she felt abandoned. Hardly anyone would talk to her and she felt like she was being avoided.

People don’t know how to act around surviving families after the death of a loved one. Knowing the right thing to say isn’t always easy. There really aren’t any “right” words.

It made me think about other times that make us feel uncomfortable.

Divorce is a tough one because people always feel like they should take sides. Which person am I friends with now? Should I hide the fact that I’m still talking to John when I see Mary? I’ve had a couple of really close friends divorce and this one is tough. I’m still friends with both of them but unfortunately no longer as close to either of them as we once were.

Any kind of drama or loss that goes on is hard to deal with and we want to keep it at a distance as if it might be contagious. If I stay over here I won’t be involved. If I don’t get too close I won’t have to deal with it.

I'm just as guilty of this as anyone else. I look back and friends and family that needed me and I should have been there more. We get busy and overlook people in their greatest time of need.

Certain illnesses make us uncomfortable like cancer and AIDS. It’s much easier to avoid the issue.

But what does that say to the people that are involved? They don’t have a choice but to be in the thick of it.

I thought about the most popular phrase people say, “I’m sorry.” This one works but almost implies we are somehow at fault and apologizing. Then what do you say to that one? “Thank you.” It does have another meaning of, “I feel sorry for you.” This makes more since but no one ever says that because it doesn’t sound too great either even though that’s what we mean when we say, “I’m sorry.”

“You’re in my thoughts and prayers,” is a good one if the person is a Christian but what if they’re an atheist?
If the person is a close friend or relative you can hug them but even then some people don’t like hugs. I know a few. You don’t want to step over a person’s line of comfort even in times of sorrow.

Another popular saying is, “let me know if you need anything.” Most people never actually takes you up on this one even though they do need our help. It can be awkward to call someone and tell them, “I’m too depressed to clean my own house.”

Here are the seven stages of grief. You don’t have to have a death in the family to go through them. The loss of a marriage or our health can also trigger them.

1. Shock and denial
2. Pain and guilt
3. Anger and bargaining
4. Depression, reflection and loneliness
5. The upward turn
6. Reconstruction and working through
7. Acceptance and hope

There is no particular schedule in which people go through these steps. Some hurry through them in a matter of short months while others take years. If the loved one had a terminal illness some of these steps happen before the funeral.

I know a man whose wife was dying of cancer for several months. By the time she passed away he had already gone through most of the stages of grief and a few months later remarried. A lot of people felt he wasn’t very considerate of his wife but he was an older man and not used to taking care of himself. He had eight months to grieve before she died. Did he love his first wife? Of course he did. Did he forget her when he took another spouse? No.

Here’s what we should do:

1. Don’t forget your friendship. Treat them the same way you always have. If you and your spouse did things with them as a couple change it up a bit. Instead of a couples outing make it a one on one outing between the same gender spouse and the bereaved person.

2. If they have children offer to do things with their kids especially if you have any the same age. If you are taking your kids to the park ask if their children would like to come along.

3. We inundate them with casseroles in the beginning then tend to back off forgetting them. If you look at the signs of grief, depression comes later on. When you start noticing the blues show up with food. Here’s my favorite line that works for me, “I always make too much food and thought I’d share with you.” Don’t call first just show up. When people are depressed they will make excuses for you to not come over because the house may not look great and they aren’t really in the mood for company. You don’t have to stick around, just drop off the food and go.

4. Listen. This one is hard especially if it includes complaints about the estranged spouse or ailments. Part of being a good friend is being there for them even when it’s just nodding your head and saying, “Uh-huh” on occasion.

5. If you are a close friend or relative show up during the blues phase and clean something. Dishes, vacuum or laundry. Bring along some upbeat music or a comedy video for them to listen to while you clean.

6. One of my friends that went through a divorce was depressed so a few of us chipped in and paid for a massage. We all went so it was a fun day out and lifted her spirits.

One of my sisters suffered post partum depression pretty bad after her second child. I ran her a bath, took care of her baby and did some laundry. A few times I showed up with food.

People need each other, even the ones that seem completely content alone. Don’t forget to reach out to them, it will make you feel better too.

James Taylor knows all about depression.

January 25, 2010

Earthquakes in Oklahoma, Tornadoes in California

Most of y’all may not have heard about the earthquakes we’ve had in Oklahoma lately because there has been much bigger news like the huge one in Haiti so I thought I’d let you know about the excitement going on in my little world.

It started about a couple of months or so a go as a loud boom similar to the sound of a trash truck dropping one of those large receptacles. I looked outside, couldn’t see anything unusual so figured perhaps it was one of those pilots from Tinker AFB breaking the sound barrier again although I didn’t hear a jet going overhead.

Later during the weather report I found out it was an earthquake just a couple of miles north of me in a town called Jones. At the time I didn’t think too much about it but they have been getting more and more frequent and more intense. You folks in California won’t think it’s a big deal but around here a 4 point earthquake is something for everyone to talk about.

One time I was on the treadmill when two happened ten minutes apart. I stumbled a little and grabbed the rails because the house jerked. It felt and sounded like a big truck hit the side of my house. That one startled me pretty good.

I guess all those people that moved here from California due to the economy will feel more at home. And speaking of them, I saw on the weather last night that San Francisco had a tornado. It was a small one and never touched ground but I’m sure there were people that were just as frightened as I was over my little ground movement.

It’s funny the things you get used to and don’t think much about it. Around here we are used to tornadoes. We still get scared, don’t get me wrong, but if they tell me there is one in the town north of me in the spring I will carry on with whatever I’m doing because all Okies know that twisters almost always head northeast. Now if you told me it was in Moore I’d take notice.

Am I alarmed that we are having earthquakes in Oklahoma? Do I think it’s the end of the world? Heavens no. The earth moves all over we just don’t know about it most of the time. Anyone that has studied any geology knows this. It’s not the first event of this kind nor will it be the last.

Here’s a website with information on Oklahoma’s earthquake history. As you can see it can get worse and probably will that’s why I now have earthquake insurance.


And here’s a website giving a list of tornado activity in California since they have had the technology to keep track.


And here’s a video of a tornado a man took in California. The woman’s questions are kind of funny. No there doesn’t have to be any wind to have a tornado and yes it makes a sound. Usually they sound like a train rumbling down the tracks or a roaring sound. Unfortunately if you can hear it you are probably too close. If that tornado had been a bigger one she could have been carried off but most of the ones on the west coast are pretty small.

Some people think Oklahoma has the worst tornadoes but according to this website it's not as bad here as it is in other areas.


January 22, 2010

Less Salt, Less Sugar Costs You More

I’m going to gripe a little bit today about the foods we buy.

I saw on the news last night that if we cut out 3% of the salt we ingest it would greatly reduce our risk for heart attack.

My husband has high blood pressure and high cholesterol so we have to watch the amount of salt and fat I allow in the foods I prepare. Recently I discovered that sugar can also increase a person’s blood pressure so now I also keep a close eye on this one.

I spend half my grocery shopping time reading labels. I knew some foods were very salty and we expect some like chips to taste that way but I was really shocked at the amounts in some box entrees and soups. Some have as much as 40%. That means almost half of what you are buying is salt. That’s ridiculous.

Some companies like Campbell’s have come out with reduced salt and low fat alternatives but you have to pay a lot more for them.

Why do they charge more when they put less of an ingredient in? It should cost them less to produce this item. I can kind of understand charging more for a low fat alternative because they have to take extra measures to drain it off or use another product all together that may cost more but charging more for less sugar and less salt products is a conundrum to me.

You have to watch these guys too. I’ve noticed if they put in less salt they add more fat. Don’t they realize if a person has high blood pressure their cholesterol reading are more than likely also an issue?

I think the FDA needs to make stronger guidelines for the food industry. My husband is an unusual case. He’s had high numbers since he was in his early 30’s and has always ate right and been thin or at the right weight. People typically assume if you have these health conditions you must be big and don’t exercise. That’s not always true.

My biggest concern is for senior citizens on fixed incomes. Many of them have to watch these levels as well and can’t afford to buy the healthier products they need. It’s all they can do to buy their prescriptions much less high dollar food.

It shouldn’t cost us more to eat healthy.

January 18, 2010

Games I Like To Play

These are a few games I like to play around my house. They only require one player but you can add people if you want to make it a whole party.

Hide and go seek:
This is when you put something in a safe place and forget where that secure location is. You can spend hours playing this one depending on how good your memory is and how good you are at hiding things from yourself. The older you get the more fun it is because it takes less time to forget the location of the treasure. It’s most exciting when you are trying to find your car keys and have an appointment.

Name that person:
You see a face and you are pretty sure you know them but can’t place who they are or from where you know them. This can kill many hours while you rack your brain trying to remember. What’s really fun is when you forget a few important items on your shopping list because you were trying to recall a name. Which brings us to our next game…

Retrack your steps:
In this game you go back to where you were earlier to retrieve the items you forgot. It could be a grocery item from the store, your mislaid cup or your cell phone from Penney’s dressing room way across town. Always a lot of fun when you have time to kill.

Miss your exit:
This is especially fun if you are on a turn pike with limited exits because it could be miles before you are able to get off and you just never know where you might end up. Plus, and this is the bonus, it costs more to get back on and the people in those little huts don’t care that you missed your stop and look as if to say, “pay more attention next time.” What? And miss all this fun, I think not.

So what games do you enjoy playing?

January 15, 2010

The Sister in the Kitchen

I’m the oldest of seven kids and that’s just from my mom. My dad remarried and had some more but for this story we’ll just focus on the ones my mother gave birth to.

There are five girls and two boys. Looking at old pictures it became clear that I’m always in the kitchen or taking care of kids and they aren’t always my children either. We hardly have any pictures of me posing and actually looking at the camera. In one I’m grabbing one of my sister’s baby’s arm before she tumbles off the couch while her mother smiles for the photo. I won’t say which one but if you were in my family I wouldn’t have to tell much more than that for you to figure out exactly which sister.

You have a poser in every family. I don’t mean the modern definition of that word, which is a fake person. I’m talking about the ones always smiling and hamming it up when a camera is present. My oldest son is one of them. I can remember him running over if someone was taking a picture of me, “I don’t want you to be lonely in the picture, Mama.” He’s such a thoughtful child.

Then you have the one that doesn’t want their picture taken and they try to hide. I didn’t purposely hide I was just busy. Someone had to feed the kids and make sure the little one didn’t take a nosedive off the sofa.

Some of y’all may remember the story about the two sisters in the Bible; one was in the kitchen cooking while the other one was sitting on the floor listening to Jesus tell stories. I’m pretty sure I’d be the sister in the kitchen. I couldn’t let Jesus go hungry after all. Telling stories is thirsty work so he’d need his wine glass kept full.

It always amazed me how some of them wouldn’t even think about food until the kids started whining about being hungry. I had it figured out hours before the dinner hour.

I wonder how much I’ve missed being in the kitchen? One time the family was telling a story and I asked, "When did that happen?” One of my sisters said, “You were probably in the kitchen. That’s where you always are.”

I was worried my house might smell like my Boston Terrier during a family gathering and asked one of my sisters about it. She said my house always smells like food and she didn’t smell anything else. I guess I don’t need to burn any incense then, I’ll just whip up a batch of cookies.

Oddly enough, most of my sisters are terrible cooks and don’t enjoy it. One of my sisters tries but just never got the hang of it but at least they know what’s going on.

I come from a long line of good cooks it just seemed to miss my mother and sisters. If you’ve ever read an Oklahoma newspaper and seen a column by Melba Lovelace, she’s my cousin.

When my great Aunt Ollie passed a way an in law grabbed several of her cookbooks thinking to find her secret recipes hidden between the covers. I just laughed. Most of her recipes weren’t written down but were in her head. I was lucky enough to learn many of them.

For years I didn’t think cooking was any big deal and thought anyone could do it. I just thought people were lazy if they didn’t cook but apparently there is more to it than that. There really are people who just can’t get the hang of it no matter how many lessons they have. This became evident when I’d give people a recipe and it didn’t turn out. One of my sisters thought I purposely changed the recipe so she couldn’t copy it. I went over it step by step over the phone and it turns out she used tub margarine instead of the stick kind to make chocolate chip cookies. She didn’t know there was a difference. It was still my fault because I didn’t specify stick margarine was required. I shook my head and told her you always use stick margarine in recipes. All she said was, “Oh.”

For some reason this is the only song that came to mind for this blog. lol

January 11, 2010

Weird Stuff to Waste Your Time

While strolling through cyber land I ran across some fun sites I thought I’d share with you.

This poor guy can’t get a break.


Here are some crazy pictures of people on roller coasters.


This site is pretty cool. You draw lines and make a little ball do all sorts of fun things. At one point I had several of them caged in.


These are really neat. I’m impressed with the talent that went into each of them.


Here’s a fun test that tells about your personality using colors.


This one is kind of creepy. There are no instructions but put your cursor anywhere on the screen and the box creatures will follow it.


This one has an Edgar Allen Poe feel to it.


And last and most important here are some Albert Einstein quotes. I like the second one, “Imagination is more important than knowledge.” That is good to know.


Keep an eye on these guys they are really good and I expect great things from them.

January 8, 2010

Nonsense and Stuffing That Fell Out of My Head

Welcome to the forest, sit down on a mushroom, drink from a tulip and listen to the ripples of sunshine dripping from the leaves.

Walk a mile in my mittens because I’m using my moccasins.

It’s like this where I come from.

Diaries are for writing your innermost thoughts and getting you in trouble.

We ate those tomorrow so we should have them again today.

They aren’t leftovers, they are fix aheads.

Snow is a beard for the grass and a cap for mountains.

If life is a bed of roses why doesn’t it smell better?

Light fills all the dark corners of reality but sometimes you need a flashlight to find it.

Look for it and it won’t come,

Wait for it and it takes forever,

Listen for it and you hear everything else.

If I knew I was going to be a leader I’d have been a better person. Maybe.

Women were put on earth to wipe away the tears but sometimes it’s on our own faces.

Wake me when it gets better.

It’s much easier to see the fault of others.

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder but he charges rent.

If you don’t like the music it’s only noise.

We are all perfect: convincing others is the hard part.

Come ride my train to Neverland. Sorry, I can’t promise you’ll see Peter. Wendy, however, is always there.

Weekends go by very quickly but the weekdays crawl.

Absence makes the heart grow fonder but Holidays makes you wonder why.

I don’t want a spot of tea I want the whole pot.

Kids can only be as good as their ancestors.

Anyone can write but convincing someone to read it is the tricky part.

I’ve looked at all sides and still can’t make heads or tails of it.

It only makes sense in the other person’s head.

When you find an alternative to the problem somebody changes the equation.

Gravity is only good when you want to stay on the ground.

We are all the same really: we just see things differently.

Eyes are the windows to the soul and mouths are the doors that let all our thoughts escape.

Weeds are flowers in their own garden.

Coasters only work if people use them.

We already have time in a bottle, we just spell it differently: thyme.

The word “up” is used an awful lot but people’s spirits have not followed.

January 4, 2010

I Want To Live In A Tree House And Swing From My Tail

I know there is that little discrepancy of a missing tail but I have always thought it would be cool to live in a tree.

When I was a little girl a friend and I took boards and nails and made a platform in a tree and we would sit up there looking across the neighborhood watching the world go by.

Climbing trees was one of my favorite things to do. Oddly enough, one of my brothers fell off the house and one of my sisters fell off the monkey bars at school, both breaking collarbones but I never fell out of a tree even though my mother swore up and down I would.

I was born in southern California and many of the trees were of the palm variety but I still managed to climb them. You have to take your shoes off and use your toes.

Here is a cool website that shows some awesome tree houses. The one in Viet Nam is really cool looking.


I have never been there but Eureka Springs has tree house cabins you can stay in. It’s on my list of things to do.


I love this one. Did you see the birds having sex? Too funny.

They kept messing up this song so here it is untarnished.

January 1, 2010

Happy New Year

It’s time once again for them to drag that poor old man out of his recliner, prop him up and poke him once in a while when he falls asleep. Yes, boys and girls it’s time for Dick Clark’s Rocking New Year.

I mean no disrespect to Mr. Clark, but does anyone else have trouble understanding him? Being an icon is cool, I get it, really I do but there comes a time when a person needs to retire.

That was tacky. I apologize. Lord, forgive me for being disrespectful of my elders. Granny, don’t come back and haunt me I know how much you love Dick Clark.

Some of y’all will be making resolutions and that’s great. I don’t do one as a rule but this year I have a list. I goofed off this year taking a much needed break from the submission and nail biting rat race but really need to get back into the game.

1) I’m going to start making lists. I’ve done this in the past and it does make me more productive but what often happens is that I under estimate the amount of time it will take me to do a project or task and it throws my whole schedule off. So to help with this problem I will allow more time than I think it will take and hopefully it will work out.

2) I am going to finish editing my novel I wrote during NaNoWriMo. I didn’t plan to start revision until the beginning of the year but I found a bit of extra time after taking a break from a certain forum and began the rewrite last week.

3) I am creating another blog. I realize I already have two but I have decided to make one based on my non-fiction book I wrote and rewrote a couple of times already. I’m going to polish it up once again and during that process I will add tidbits to my new blog which if you are interested in homemaking or cutting corners you can find here:


It will be different than what I usually blog about being of a more informative and serious nature however there will be some humor from time to time.

It won’t be officially up until January 5, 2010. I am planning to post a blog at Hubpages on Tuesdays but we will see how it goes. Depending on how busy I get with my other projects I might go twice a week posting one on Thursdays as well.

For now I will continue to blog here three times a week and also on MySpace but if traffic doesn’t pick up on my Wednesday blog I may eliminate it. I quit my sex blog a few months back and had requests that I bring it back. If you have any suggestions for ways to improve it and increase readership I would appreciate any input. I don’t want to waste my time and yours. Many of the Humpday blogs consist of links to other sites but I have written my own missives from time to time. Give me your opinion on what you prefer to see. All ideas will be welcome.

I hope you all have a great New Year and all your goals are successful.

Peace, Love and Hugs.