Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Bye Mom.

Peggy Lewis Page
December 29, 1942 - April 25, 2014

My loving mother
I'm at work typing this now. I can't be sad, at least not yet because looking at that picture always has and continues to make me smile. She really was awesome, in the truest sense of that word.
I think I was seven and I wanted my hair like that!

Baby Peggy
Her death was brought on by advanced COPD. She had bacterial pneumonia and ARDS (acute respiratory distress syndrome). She was on a ventilator and within a few days the doctor said that it was basically doing all her breathing for her, that she was unable to breathe on her own. As her healthcare power of attorney, I was given an option to subject her to a tracheostomy and peg tube. She's had those before, when she was fourteen years younger and the COPD was less advanced. She was able to get off of both within a three-week time frame. But this time around, ARDS was now present, and both the trach and the peg tube would have been permanent. She would have been unable to talk or eat. Walking had become laborious, and without a second carpal tunnel surgery, she was facing the loss of the use of her dominant hand. She would have been placed in a nursing facility that was equipped to care for trach patients, as she would not have been able to live in a residential environment any longer. She was already on four liters of oxygen. 
Crowned Miss Junior at Bluefield State College

As her daughter, I knew the choice I was going to make before the doctor finished explaining everything. My mother and I had this conversation many times. She also spoke about this with her sisters, so I had the full support of my family when I told them to take her off the ventilator. I'd be lying if I said that was a hard decision; it wasn't. I was simply doing what my mother told me to do. Once I made the decision, the doctor, who had been extremely objective throughout the consult, breathed a sigh of relief. He said he felt that was the best decision and that he would not have subjected his own mother to that type of existence, with her myriad conditions. Besides, I've always been slightly afraid of my diminutive mother. She never raised a hand to me, but I know she would have tried everything she could have to kick my ass if I subjected her to that treatment. 
Hot Momma!

She never really regained consciousness. She was mildly sedated due to the ventilator, so every now and then, she'd wake up and try to talk and gesture. She made faces and shook her head. Before we knew the full extent of her condition, my aunt told her she was getting better, mostly we knew aside from the respiratory condition, that nothing else was life threatening. My mother shook her head no. She tried to say my daughter's name, or at least that's what we've decided she was trying to say. She mouthed the word home to me. I repeated it back to her and she shook her head yes. I don't know if she's home, but I do believe she is at peace. Love you Momma.

She loved teaching.
Peggy was born on December 29, 1942 in Blacksburg, VA, to John and Lucille Page, the youngest of three girls. Peggy graduated from Park Central High School in 1960. She moved to Baltimore, Maryland, where she attended Apex Beauty School. She worked there for a year before deciding to return to her hometown of Bluefield, West Virginia, where she enrolled at Bluefield State College. During her college years she was very active in civil rights and public service. She was initiated into the Beta Pi Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority in 1964. Upon receiving her degree in 1966, she moved to Cleveland, Ohio, where she began teaching elementary school with the Cleveland Metropolitan School District. She married Valmore Samuel Jr. in 1967 and welcomed their daughter that following year.
Mom & Dad in happier times.

Peggy spent many years working in public service. She actively supported the civil rights movement by participating in sit-ins and boycotts as a college student and as a member of the local NAACP chapter of Bluefield, WVA. She was a member and officer in the Cleveland Chapter of the Junior Women’s Civic League. She also served in many positions as a member of Mt. Nebo Baptist Church, including children’s choir co-director.
My 31st Birthday. She rarely took photos after that.

Peggy retired from the Cleveland Metropolitan School District in 1997, where she taught as a first grade teacher for 30 years. She had a passion for the creative arts and was a talented painter and crocheter. She was an avid bowler and a voracious reader and loved crossword puzzles. 
My first birthday.

Her parents preceded her in death. Peggy is survived by her daughter Valerie Rebecca Samuel (Beckie); granddaughter Hailey Carter and grandson Zachary Brooks; sisters Lois Page Roberts (LeRoy-deceased) and Betty Page Miller (Moreno); niece Monica Reese (William); nephews Carl Bradford, Mark Bradford and Scott Salaam; grandniece Lauren Reese. She is fondly remembered by a host of friends and extended family.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Recap My Life 2013

I spent most of my time reading easy readers.  I wanted to complete my goal of reading 50 books this year. I didn't though.  If I read good books, I never want to finish them.
Sex, Drugs, Gambling and Chocolate.
The Artist's Way
The Walking Dead Compendiums
Notes from a Writer's Book of Cures and Spells

Bangerz by Miley Cyrus. Wrecking Ball wins psycho-listen track of the year, according to my iTunes.
Unorthodox Jukebox by Bruno Mars
Yeezus by Kanye West
Les Claypool
Stick Up Kids by Bad Rabbits. Came out in 2009 but my daughter introduced me to the group this year. BR led me to...
Alone Together. Daley and Marsha Ambrosius

The Beginner's Guide to Endings. Highly recommend this.
Pacific Rim. I loved this movie, but I'd only recommend this to nine year old boys who like robots and dinosaurs.

Shame-Inducing Guilty Pleasure.
Virtual relationships
Secret Social Media
Fetish lifestyle. Unlike E. L. James, I'm conducting research. Yes, that's what I call it.
Rihanna's Instagram

No more black in 2014. I wear black everyday but if you ask me my favorite color I'd run down a list that could fill a crayola box - 16 count. So why am I wearing so much black?

Water. Oh you do me better than that sexy bitch Chardonnay. I never thought I could, but I quit all alcohol. Best decision ever, once I understood why I needed to do it.
SanPellegrino. When I want a nice drink after a long day, the blood orange takes the edge off.

I don't often go to movies. But when I do, I resent the hell out of the ticket price I have to pay. Which is why I don't often go to movies.
Pacific Rim. Yes, again!

TV Shows.
Scandal...Escandalo!!! Tony Goldwyn as President could get it.
Dexter. You were just fucking awful this season.True Blood, get it together.
Orange is the new Black

Wish List.
Last year I wished for iWeightloss, iMoney, and iMan. Well, two out of three ain't bad.

Fun Fitness
Living la vida sober
Life as a local assistant director
45 by 45
Back to the pad again. Meditation.
New and renewed connections with friends - virtual and local.

Travels. New Category!
Long Beach, CA

Create. All things hobby related.
Stage Manager

Gall bladder
My suit of armor
Lee Thompson Young. Bipolar Disorder.
Martin Manley. Suicide.
Elmore Leonard
Jim Kelly
Bobby "Blue" Bland
Roger Ebert
Chinua Achebe
Mindy McCready
Valmore Samuel Jr.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Bye Daddy

VALMORE (Big Val) SAMUEL JR., age 78, passed away peacefully on October 22, 2013. He was born on October 25, 1934 in Huntington, WV. He was also known as Valmore (Junior) Hill. His mother, Rebecca Robinson, preceded him in death. Val graduated in 1954 from Douglass High School. While there he lettered in basketball and football. He received an athletic scholarship to Marshall University. After a year of college, he enlisted in the 178th Ordinance of the Army at Fort Bragg, NC.

He moved to Cleveland, Ohio in the early 1960’s in search for a better life. He joined Mt. Nebo Baptist Church and served as a Sunday school superintendent and usher. He married in 1967 and had one child. During this time, Val completed additional studies to earn credentials as a machinist. He was employed with Osborn Manufacturing Company, where he was subsequently elected union president. He was later employed by Fisher Body and ultimately retired from General Motors at Parma in 2004 after 19 years of service.

He was actively engaged in his community. He attended local civic and street club meetings.  He coached boys’ basketball and girls’ softball, and also served as booster club president at Christ the King Elementary School.

Val’s favorite pastimes included softball and basketball. He was also an avid weightlifter and bowler. He enjoyed attending cabarets and taking casino trips. He was a very proud grandfather and loved spending time with his grandkids barbecuing in the backyard. He was often seen in the neighborhood sitting on his porch eager to chat with anyone who stopped by. He enjoyed listening to blues, gospel and soul music.

Survivors include his only child Valerie Rebecca (Beckie); a granddaughter, Hailey; and a grandson, Zachary. The family would like to thank the caring and able staff at Wyant Woods Care Center in Akron OH.

Friday, October 11, 2013

No More Gall Bladder!

So at the beginning of October, I had my gall bladder removed. Back in August, I went to my general practitioner for a routine yearly exam. My last exam had been two years prior, and then she thought my liver enzyme count was high. I reasoned that was due to my intimate relationship with Chardonnay. I decided to stop drinking earlier this year, and I was curious as to how this would impact those test results. My doctor called the very next day and said I needed to have an ultrasound. My enzyme levels were now even higher than they were two years ago, despite me quitting all forms of alcohol months prior to the exam. After the ultrasound, she called and asked me to do a HYDA scan. You're injected with some kind of gorp and you lie in a, well a scanner and they take liver selfies.

I will never not hope for an alien abduction to happen at a time like this. 

The bottom-line results? A Cholecystectomy...stat. Or within the next four weeks if I wanted to avoid a gall bladder attack. Which I did want to avoid. Not only did I have at least one stone, my gall bladder just quit working; it was non-functioning. Petulant bastard.

The thing is, when my doctor first suggested there was a problem with my gall bladder, I was in disbelief. I didn't think I had any symptoms. But when I really though about it, I had; I just didn't know the cause. I've spent most of 2013 year cleaning up my diet, eating primarily plant based, whole food meals. I've also upped my workout game. But the weight loss was slow and I still felt rundown all the time. Not to mention the weird and awful noises that came from my belly. You can imagine the rest. I just figured it was typical getting older and being fat, although I was really working hard to change that. Apparently I have an awfully high tolerance for discomfort. Which is not a good thing.

So I went in on September 30 and came out October 1 minus my gall bladder. And now eleven days later, I feel so amazingly better it's damn ridiculous I didn't seek help for my symptoms sooner. I have three teeny weeny cuts on my abdomen where there were ports and one inside my navel (eww), but you can barely see them. I can now sleep on my right side (I couldn't do this without getting naseous), I don't have a horrible taste in my mouth anymore, and my back doesn't hurt.

Everything I've read about life sans gall bladder says to stay away from fried foods, even though my surgeon said I could eat whatever I wanted. Whatevs dood, I'm never seeing you again unless we run into each other at the gas station. I'm so glad I made changes to my diet already, so this is no big deal for me. I haven't had a fried anything since forever. Seafood is still on my menu, but I just generally don't like meat. I mean I can do without it. So I do. I eat greens, beans, onions mushrooms, berries & seeds...GBOMBS baby!

I feel like I can concentrate better and longer and I think my general disposition is much better. I'd gotten to the point where I made choices about what I did socially based on how far away from a bathroom I would be. 

That's no bueno for a hot MILF like me.

50 Questions, #3: Whose life is it anyway?

"If life is so short, why do I do so many things I don’t like and like so many things I don’t do?" 
I've written about my petulant attitude before. I really think society does more harm than good to children by not letting them mess up enough. Part of what I hate doing as an adult has to do with the fact that somehow I inherently think I shouldn't have to do these things simply because I don't want to. That may be an oversimplification, but I can't say it better than that. I don't think someone else should do these things, I just think they shouldn't exist. Like taxes, beginning of the school year paperwork and mail-in rebates.

There is some real clarity in thinking about not doing something, and coming to terms with the consequences of not doing that thing. Conversely, there are things that I  want to do but I realize some people might question the relevancy or meaning of that thing. And they might have a valid point. But I may still want that thing whatever it is.
Being an adult means dealing with consequences of the choices you make. All of them, good and bad, intentional and unintentional. And I'm saying I want to own all the things. Can you copyright decisions?

Anyway, I'm choosing to participate in life again and make things happen instead of waiting or letting them happen to me. And if I get burned because of it, so be it. It's my party and I can do what I want.

Life has a way of overwhelming you when you're not really paying attention. Or if you're paying attention. Life doesn't care. It's happening anyway. You can join in or take a pass.The beauty of it all is that's your choice. Even when you do nothing. Own your inaction as well as your decisions. They belongs to no one else.

Source: Marc and Angel Hack Life

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

What I'm psycho-listening to these days.

So yeah. I like this song by Miley. In fact, I like most of the songs on her new album. So what? I may be the only one person who thought her performance on the VMAs was simply hilarious. I was entertained. That girl was twerkn' the hell outta those lil' chicken cutlets. I mean, how else do follow up Madonna kissing Britney & Xtina or Diana Ross' Fondlegate of Lil' Kim? You twerk. You make people learn what that is whether they want to or not.

And since I never miss a season of SNL (someday I want to be in the audience and hopefully been seen as part of an audience sketch), I watched this past week's show where Ms. Cyrus was the musical guest and the host. Doing both jobs is really really hard, so I definitely appreciate when an artist can pull that off. Bruno Mars did a great job last year as host/musical guest. So did Justin Timberlake. Considering Miley's epic Disney career, I knew she would do well; but since this is virtually a brand new cast, I was doubtful it would all come together. Alas my doubts were for naught. It wasn't outstanding, but again, it doesn't take a whole lot to entertain me. 

All this to say, j'aime la chanson intitul√©e Wrecking Ball. The lyrics address my last relationship. I was absolutely the wrecking ball in that one. And that was new for me. I suppose I took pride in always being the rational one in relationships. But it was different with my spec; not better though.  I have no delusions it was somehow better or more passionate. Honestly, it was a “hot mess” situation. 

It’s been almost two years since he died. In that time I've done a lot of mourning, a lot of crying, a lot of feeling sorry for myself. Mostly I spent a lot of time being scared and being scarred. I have learned quite a bit about myself though, and now I have a much better outlook about myself and life in general. Listening to this song doesn't make me sad, it shows me how far I've come and how much I've learned about myself. I've been afraid for a long time to be passionate and enthusiastic about anything; I’m not anymore. I've cleaned away a lot of the debris that crumbled around me. Instead of feeling razed and crushed I feel empowered and resilient. I know better why I wrecked and I now know how to better deal with my own emotions. 
E ne veux pas avoir peur d'aimer à nouveau et je ne veux pas avoir peur de l'amour.
For me, Wrecking Ball is the denouement of the mixtape (Gawd I miss cassettes) on that relationship. I'm good.

I came in like a wrecking ball
I never hit so hard in love
All I wanted was to break your walls
All you ever did was wreck me
Yeah, you, you wreck me.

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Everyday in July: Day 4 - If you could be any punctuation mark, whatwould you be?

Normally questions like this piss off my inner cranky old man. But in keeping with today's blog theme: Favorite quote (from a person, from a book, etc) and why you love it.

Is your life on a brief pause like a comma, or are you living vicariously through other people, like quotations? My favorite quote comes from a novel about my latest fascination. Essentially it's a love story about a zombie who falls in love with a human. He tries to remember what his life was like before he died, and in the process he becomes less zombie-like and begins to regain some of his humanity.
"I want to change my punctuation. I long for exclamation marks, but I'm drowning in ellipses."

I love this quote because it exemplifies where I am in life. Actually, I'm at least head above water. Working on some exclamation points.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Everyday in July: Day 3 - Things that make me uncomfortable.

I've been trying to write this post for three days now. I wanted to write more than just a laundry list of annoyances. I read through other people's posts on the same prompt, hoping to find inspiration. Instead I found that alot of people are creeped out about things that don't bother me at all. Like "all things bathroom related", "profanity" and "being late". Clearly not my issues, although I'm happy to say I have greatly improved in the category of tardiness. In fact, I could list each one of those items as Things I'm completely comfortable with.

I noticed there were alot of items having to do with social anxiety. Crowds, hand hygiene, public speaking were mentioned quite often. I found one other person who hates making phones like I do. She also happens to be the originator of this blog meme. Confrontation was also frequently listed. As far as public speaking goes, I don't have a problem with it. In fact, sometimes I prefer speaking with strangers than speaking in a setting with people I already know. And as far as confrontation goes,  I've learned you can do more damage to relationships by not talking about something important. I'm ok with confrontation.

I've taken huge strides in an effort to step outside my comfort zone and I like to think I've been successful at it. I won't say nothing makes me uncomfortable, but really not much does. Those things I am uncomfortable with are things I'm very comfortable with being uncomfortable with them.

The thought of being sandwiched among thousands of people really creeps me out. I get antsy and nervous when I have to be in large capacity situations. I don't remember this ever bothering me before and I'm not sure why it does now, but I know I don't like it and I'm ok with it.

Assholes. And Ass-isms.
I'm real intolerant of people who don't like people like me. I'm also intolerant of any belief system (real, imagined or both) that devalues gender, ethnicity, sexuality, music & dance or tattoos. Ain't nobody got time for chopping people up in little categories and judging them.