Month: April 2012

I have this dratted problem – Ménière’s disease – and it has taken a good deal of my hearing and left me with impaired balance. I hope everyone reads this and shares it because inexplicable dizzy spells can mean trouble for hearing. Please share – the person you help may be someone you love.

Lipreading Mom

DJ EvansI met DJ Evans online several months ago through our shared interest in hearing loss awareness and advocacy. Like me, she is a mom with hearing loss. Unlike me, she also lives with Meniere’s Disease.

Those of us who don’t live with Meniere’s likely have a vague idea of what it is. Before interviewing DJ, I thought Meniere’s was simply a hearing disorder that affects balance. But is that all it affects?

Lipreading Mom: What is Meniere’s Disease, and how has it impacted your life?

DJ: I grew up hard of hearing only my parents didn’t know and neither did I. They never had my hearing tested and just thought I was talking loud and not listening because I was a hyper kind of kid and the doctor agreed. When I was 16 I decided to get my hearing checked because I was tired of people saying I was loud and I…

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I found this so meaningful that I decided it was worth a reblog. 🙂

The Possibility Magazine

A few years ago, a friend of mine asked me the question, “If you could have two wishes granted by an all-powerful, all good, all knowing genie, what would they be?”

I thought for a few seconds and then answered, “I don’t need two wishes. I only need one.”

My friend argued with me briefly that, based on a complex logical analysis, I really did need two wishes, the first of which was to set up the conditions for the second one.

I repeated, “I don’t need two wishes. I only need one.”

He replied, “Okay, what is it?”

“I would wish for what is best.”

He continued to try to find reasons why his analysis was superior to mine. To each of these I replied, “Would the results of your wish be better than the results of mine?”

“Yes. And here’s why…”

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Lies, damned lies, and fact checking

In my life, in addition to being a licensed member of the bar in Massachusetts, I act as a Brehon (fact-finder, mediator, negotiator, judge) in an ecclesiastical “court” setting.

Everyone sees things differently.  I know this.  I use the bowl of flowers analogy (place a large, mixed bouquet on a table and no one sees exactly the same arrangement)  I’m happy to work with that since we all have our own version of reality.  However, when I run into someone who blatantly lies to me with no reason – in fact, introduces the lie into the conversation – and then I find out it is a manipulation of the truth, I find I have little tolerance.

I’m not interested in what the definition of “is” is and I’m not into hair-splitting.  I am not looking for Bill Clintonesque soft shoe maneuvers in my life. There is little that will get my dander up and someone’s ears boxed faster than this sort of behavior.  Don’t offer me lies. I’m just too old fashioned to put up with them.  Don’t tell me anything.  Tell me it is none of my business.  But don’t walk up to me and initiate a bald-faced lie, have me defend you, and then think I’m not going get confrontational about it when the truth outs – as it always well.  Gods know, it is easy enough to deal with me without the use of overt lies since I’m of the mind that people do what they do for whatever motivations they have and they usually feel justified in doing what they do.

I probably should have kept my lips tightly sealed until I cooled off, but I didn’t.  And I can’t say I regret saying, “Don’t ever lie to me like that again.”  At my age I’ve a right to be curmudgeonly if I want to.  I don’t take sides, but I do take umbrage.

So what have I learned?  Never trust anyone completely.  If it walks like a duck, quacks like a duck and looks like a duck, it’s a duck. Always fact-check.  And then forgive, while never forgetting.  I’m not hauling this around with me, but I’m keeping the lesson.

I need an organizer

I need motivation. I need… I’m not sure what I need.

I have this room, you see. And in it are most of my worldly possessions.  My bedroom furniture, clothing, computer(s) and pretty much everything that doesn’t stay at my office. Except for the stuff in the attic.  And yet, despite my best efforts, things keep accumulating and I have gotten to the point that it has reached almost the stage of a teenagers room.  I’m on terminal overload.

And instead of fixing it – I’m ignoring it.  I crawl into bed at night, grab a book on criminal profiling or some other distracting topic, or blog for awhile and  pretend the chaos does not exist. This is not a fly-lady sort of 15 minute process.  It is more like a version of Hoarders that is going to require a dump truck.  Well, that’s not actually possible, but it feels that way.

All I need are a few sets of fresh eyes and ideas.  I wonder who I can get?  Not my kid who is a spacial genius and wunderkind with organization. She’s off the grid for the next six months recovering from “falling down a mountain” and getting her body pinned back together. Not my friend JP, who is getting ready to move to NH.  I can’t afford to pay a real organizer.  They’re great, but expensive.

Oh, what the heck, I’m going to walk the dog.  Maybe the elven folks will figure out what to do while I am gone.  And did I mention I also need to rearrange it? And get the AC in the window? And… I’m going to go walk the dog now.


There is disaster in the air.  Miscommunications. Anger. Blame. Recriminations.  It is so incredibly difficult when we find ourselves in the middle of a firestorm of emotions and conclusions when relationships fall into disrepair.

Whether it is friends who part with acrimony or parents who find themselves fighting over children and property in a failed marriage, it results in truly being unable to see the other person in an rational manner.

Sometimes I find myself attempting to bridge a chasm of communication between various warring parties and find both feet on fire. Tact and discretion is strained.

Having “been there” and “done that” a few years ago I understand how emotions can run rampant when friends find relationships have reached a rupturing point and when long-term families sunder.  What begins in such hope, joy, and promise is laid waste by time, miscommunication, and an inability to forgive and move forward.

There is finger pointing, harsh words are exchanged, mistrust developed, and for the married folks, lawyers and legal point/counter-point. Sometimes parents lose track of what is really important (the children) during attempts to achieve a particular goal – custody, a house, who gets the dog, and so on and so forth.  Former friends may divvy up friends in common, forcing them to take sides (never a good thing).

Sometimes there are true crisis points and when the warring parties are unable or unwilling to look beyond their own pain, their own mistrust, then even greater harm happens.  All situations pass in time. All pain lessens in the long run.

It is difficult to forgive in the middle of a firestorm. It is not impossible, though, but difficult as the firestorm itself whips up emotions time and time again.  Just as things calm down another raging bout of inferno sweeps through triggered by some life event.

Sometimes, only through reaching forgiveness and acceptance can we survive emotionally.  Sometimes only forgiveness allows us to see how we are harming others – and ultimately, ourselves.  Failing to forgive is like drinking poison and then expecting it to kill the person we’re refusing to forgive.  It ain’t easy, merely necessary lest we die on our own sword of anger.

Usually, forgiveness comes pretty easily to me. The worst case for me was three years of agony attempting to let go of what I could not change and accept that I have no control over another person, since the only person I have any control over is myself. It was probably the worst period in my life, bar none.

If, today, you find yourself at a juncture at which you can rage or at which you can step back and
consider forgiveness as a tool to helping yourself, I hope you travel the path less chosen.  The one of forgiveness.

Sincere forgiveness isn’t colored with expectations that the other person apologize or change. Don’t worry whether or not they finally understand you. Love them and release them. Life feeds back truth to people in its own way and time—just like it does for you and me.  ~ Sara Paddison

Banana meatloaf

Yea, verily, I say unto you than in the land of Idaho there was a housewife of German extraction who made the best German food.  We are talking dumpings so light they had to be held down lest they drift off.  (Yes, I still have the recipe.)  However, her husband did not care for German food so she toiled day and night learning American cuisine with some remarkable results.  We shall, for the nonce, pass by the over-cooked soggy spaghetti made with cream of tomato soup (shudder). This trip down memory lane is more along the line of the (for the time) weird.

Said Germanic extraction housewife loved getting recipes from ladies’ magazines.  Lady’s Home Journal.  Redbook.  You know the drill.  And there came a day when she proudly presented: Banana meatloaf.

At the best of times meatloaf has always given me an Alka-Seltzer moment.  I had the same relationship with any meat mixed with bread or breadcrumbs until I had stomach surgery.  It wasn’t that it tasted bad, simply that I was really good friends with Tums, Mylanta, and old plop-plop fizz-fizz until it passed through my miserable stomach (thanks for the lousy stomach, Dad.)   So I was ready to endure the pain on a more or less weekly basis – that is, until the meatloaf with the banana down the middle with mustard glaze on top.  

The crazy thing is that there is now an actual recipe for something akin to it, merely involving mashed banana meatloaf.  But in days of yore the husband decided to eat out with friends that night and the daughter of the household begged off saying she was not hungry.

It was not until years later that I realized the recipe likely called for plantain – of which we probably had none in rural Idaho. What I do remember is said housewife doggedly eating her way through an entire meatloaf one week so as not to have it go to waste.  It was really doomed from the beginning since a sweet mustard sauce (gag) added just one more layer of shudder to the concoction – at least for the teenage daughter in the family.

Odd what we remember.  If she were alive I wonder if it would even be a blip on her radar screen?  Or if it would rank right up there with the time my brother threw a handful of dried hot peppers in the chicken soup, fishing them out before we noticed, and it was so hot that he was the only one who could eat it.  In fact, our intrepid cook thought the soup had rat poison added to it. I think my brother had a gallon of soup to eat and that time the cook and the little kid went out to eat.

Mystery Bush

I wish I knew what type of flowering bush this is. I tried to find it on the web, but there are so many flowering bushes with grape-like clusters of flowers that I could spend hours on looking. I’m not from New England so the names of all these plants, shrubs, and trees are largely a mystery to me.

So here we have two shots – again by iPhone 4S, modified by Snapseed and framed and matted by photobucket.

The shot above is a regular shot of the bush – not a shoot through, but a nice close-up.

The shot above is my attempt at a shoot through. Different sort of bush so different type of photo result.