Monday, December 17, 2012

Fuck you Dementia.

*My apologies if this post sounds bleak. I don't mean for it to. I'm actually in good spirits considering. It helps just to be able to write about my dad and dying without hearing a bunch of useless though well-meaning platitudes. There are no words to console me. There just aren't. And I have to learn be ok with that.


I've heard so many people say, "when I get old, I don't want to be hooked up to machines. Just let me die." But rare is the case where an elderly person is wholly sustained via machines. What is more likely to happen is death in a more odious manner, whereby the body dies, cell by cell. There's no machine keeping you alive, rather some parts of your body dies and other parts don't. At least not right away, not for years. Such is my view of dementia, as my maternal grandfather died from it and my paternal grandmother likely did too. No one knows exactly what she died from, just that she was senile and in a mental facility and died at age 55.

He's stage six with vascular dementia. It's not pretty. Think of descending a ladder. Lowering a foot is like losing a cognitive ability, but once the foot is on a rung, everything is stable. For a while. Then something happens like a mini-stroke, or a fall or a hiccup or the next day, and it's down another rung. My dad's in a decline right now. He sees things that aren't there, he thinks things that aren't real. But in between there are flashes of normality. Don't blink because they are real easy to miss.

Yesterday we were watching the Cleveland Browns play football. Sometimes he can follow the game, and other times, he just stares at the tv. Most of the time, he nods off, and lately he's taken to leaning so far out of his wheelchair he almost falls out. Leaning back is uncomfortable he says. In mid-doze, he proclaims if the Browns had any kind of backfield, they wouldn't lose so much.

He's always so excited to see me. He was like that most of the time before dementia. Most of the time he wasn't drinking that is. When he was drinking, he hated everyone and everything. He wasn't very nice. Now he's so happy I took time to visit him, and maybe he could go with me when I leave unless they scheduled him to do more work, which they usually do. When is my mother coming for a visit he wants to know. I'd rather he was still drinking.

My dad doesn't sleep at night. At all. Dementia doesn't give a fuck about a bedtime. Dementia doesn't give a fuck about anything. Dementia roots out all control you ever thought you had about your bladder, your appetite, your ability to recognize a sock as a sock and not call it a door. Dementia kidnaps your dignity and hangs it upside down off the balcony. It doesn't want anything in return for it, because you're never getting it back. Dementia makes you shit yourself, but it doesn't stop there. It will make you unable to recognize shit for what it is; you think it's paint and wonder about that weird odor while strangers try to clean you up and you think they're the ones who threw paint on you so you fight them but you're so weak and frail you just end up making yourself tired and pissed off.

Dementia is a slow, tedious evil bitch. Dementia strips away your independence and does it without a machine. My dad could live for years still in this condition. I really hope he doesn't.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

50 Questions, #2: Never trying, definitely worse.

Question 2 of 50 questions that will free your mind is, "Which is worse, failing or never trying?" I think the answer is never trying. I think about how much time I've spent daydreaming and fantasizing about how I wish things were and what I would do if I had this or that. What did that get me? A big fat pile of nothing.

But when I fail at stuff, I can say I actually did something. Of course it might bring up all kinds of other issues, but what I'm left with is the fact I tried. Since I've reactivated this blog, I definitely feel better about it. Having it sit dormant was really irking me. It felt like unfinished business.

Never trying is definitely the worst. As I'm drafting this post, I'm thinking about all the things I've tried and failed at. Most of them are funny. A few are heartbreaking, but also comforting in a way. I recognize those failings as mine and mine alone. The things I want to do that I've never tried, which isn't very many, just feel like dead weight. I got nothing for them. And that's a worse recall absolutely nothing.

Samuel Beckett

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Recap My Life 2012

This is a list of my favorite/interesting/intriguing things I came across in 2012. I did this before in 2009.  And again in 2010. Apparently I found nothing interesting or intriguing in 2011.

1. Moral Combat: Black Atheists, Gender Politics and The Values Wars by Sikivu Hutchinson. I don't subscribe to identity politics any more, but that doesn't mean the politics of identity aren't real. This book is so dense I read and re-read and learn something new each and every time. I would love to take a class or hear a lecture from her.
2. Letters to a Young Contrarian by Christopher Hitchens. 
3. Politics of Respectability by Rae Lewis-Thornton. She can't spell for shit, but that doesn't minimize her truth. She tells the truth.

1. Blunderbuss by Jack White. A most complete CD from beginning to end. 
2. Molotov Jukebox. I'm a huge Natalie Tena fanTrying is still my favorite. I would rock that duck hat.

Shame-Inducing Guilty Pleasure:
1. Basketball Wives: LA. TeamDraya!
2. Love and Hip Hop: ATL

1. Grey
2. Off-white
3. Cobalt blue

1. still my sexy bitch.

I don't often go to the movie theatre, but when I do, I bring my own candy. 
1. Finding Nemo in 3D
2. Snow On Tha Bluff...not for the faint of heart. Very compelling.

TV Shows:
Need I say...The Walking Muthafuckin' Dead! RIP T-Dog! TeamMichonne FTW!

Wish List:
I got the iPad and the iPhone this year. Now all I need the iWeightloss, iMoney and the iMan and I'm set.

1. Gained custody of my father. He's now in a safe place with professional workers who can help him. People generally look down on nursing homes and on those of us whose parents are in nursing homes, but I know my father is being cared for by professionals who have come to know and understand his needs. 

2. My son moved out. This is a triumph because I was completely against it at first. I thought it was unfair and that my ex was taking away my son. I realized that I was the one being unfair to my son and to my ex. We talked through this process a great deal, involving my ex's gf as well. I will always be my son's mother; that was never in question. I realized what I really want is for my son to thrive and I had no reason to think it could only happen in my house. 

3. I quit Effexor.Ironically, I quit before all the above happened. Which makes me even more awesome than I realized!

1. My spec. I'll never know why you did what you did. And I'll never have another friend like you. You were truly one of a kind and I miss you everyday. I'm still mad at you though. Asshole.

2. Christopher Hitchens. Although he died in 2011, the one-year anniversary of his death approaches as I write this. I am in awe of all that he did during his lifetime. I will continue to be a student and a fan of his writings. 

3. Stephen Covey. In another career, I was a certified facilitator of 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. I remember listening to one of Mr. Covey's videos where he interviews a soccer player discussing how an opponent intentionally injured him. I don't remember his exactly words, but it was to the effect of, "people are motivated to do what's in their own best interest at the time of action." My takeaway from that is that when someone acts out against you, it really doesn't matter if it was personal or not. It's what that individual felt compelled to do; rightly or wrongly. In another words, it just is. I think about that when someone does something that I can't understand or agree with. I realize I don't need to worry about their motivation. They did what they felt they had do. Knowing that, at least for me, helps me make sense of the world. It helps me to let go.

See the 45 by 45 page. And stay tuned for the 30 Things in 30 Days.

I am one bad-ass knitter!

Autumn Lace Afghan

Friday, December 7, 2012

#1 of 50 Questions: How old would I be if I didn't know how old I was?

If I didn’t know how old I was, I would say I was in my mid 30s. I don’t feel old enough or maybe a better expression is mature enough to say I’m 44. I think I’m still too silly to be in my 40s. I definitely know I’m an adult and not a teen; nor would I want to be that young ever again. It was miserable and I wouldn't trade places ever. Unfortunately, my body is saying it’s in it’s late 40s. I feel sore in places for no reason. Bending over can sometimes be a dangerous experience for lots of different reasons; are my panties showing? Why can’t I breathe? Ouch, my brain! WTF?

Sometimes I think with all my grey hair I’m older than 44. For about 5 minutes every month, I consider dying my hair. Then I remember I’m cosmetically lazy and would never be able to commit to maintaining a dye job. I pretend the grey is really an alternative radical color like blue or green and I’m really rocking out a shocking white streaks that few chicks can pull off.
I’m content with that delusion.

I spent my 30s lost in failing relationships, and my early 40s in recovery. Now is time to write a new chapter with a focus on myself and my true North. It is my hope to stay vital and vibrant for as long as I can.

Question source: 50 Questions that will free your mind

New Series: 50 Questions that will free your mind

Marc and Angel Hacklife is an inspiring and unique blog. First of all, they write lists! Not just surface junk; but stuff that really causes my mind to stretch. I could spend an entire evening contemplating my answers to their questions. I imagine attending a really chill and mellow dinner party with everyone sitting on over-sized cushions after a great meal discussing the their 5 Simple Truths or something like that. Of course these would have to be interesting people. Really really interesting people. 

I'm going to do this as a series of 50 posts each over the next couple of weeks. I think answering these questions will help my writing and help my focus. Although I'm typing this at work right now, so I guess it's not really helping with focusing on work. Yep, there's that.

I'm going to keep a running link list here as the series home post.

  1. How old would I be if I didn’t know how old I was?
  2. Which is worse, failing or never trying?
  3. 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?
  4. When it’s all said and done, will I have said more than I've done?
  5. What is the one thing I'd most like to change about the world?
  6. If happiness was the national currency, what kind of work would make me rich?
  7. Am I doing what I believe in, or am I settling for what I am doing?
  8. If the average human life span was 40 years, how would I live my life differently?
  9. To what degree have I actually controlled the course your life has taken?
  10. Am I more worried about doing things right, or doing the right things?
  11. I'm having lunch with three people I respect and admire.  They all start criticizing a close friend of mine, not knowing she is my friend.  The criticism is distasteful and unjustified.  What do I do?
  12. If I could offer a newborn child only one piece of advice, what would it be?
  13. Would I break the law to save a loved one?
  14. Have I ever seen insanity where I later saw creativity?
  15. What’s something I know I do differently than most people?
  16. How come the things that make me happy don’t make everyone happy?
  17. What one thing have I not done that I really want to do?  What’s holding me back?
  18. Am I holding onto something I need to let go of?
  19. If I had to move to a state or country besides the one I currently live in, where would I move and why?
  20. Do I push the elevator button more than once?  Do I really believe it makes the elevator faster?
  21. Would I rather be a worried genius or a joyful simpleton?
  22. Why am I, me?
  23. Have I been the kind of friend I want as a friend?
  24. Which is worse, when a good friend moves away, or losing touch with a good friend who lives right near me?
  25. What am I most grateful for?
  26. Would I rather lose all of my old memories, or never be able to make new ones?
  27. Is is possible to know the truth without challenging it first?
  28. Has my greatest fear ever come true?
  29. Do I remember that time 5 years ago when I were extremely upset?  Does it really matter now?
  30. What is ny happiest childhood memory?  What makes it so special?
  31. At what time in my recent past have Ifelt most passionate and alive?
  32. If not now, then when?
  33. If I haven’t achieved it yet, what do I have to lose?
  34. Have I ever been with someone, said nothing, and walked away feeling like I just had the best conversation ever?
  35. Why do religions that support love cause so many wars?
  36. Is it possible to know, without a doubt, what is good and what is evil?
  37. If I just won a million dollars, would I quit your job?
  38. Would I rather have less work to do, or more work I actually enjoy doing?
  39. Do I feel like I've lived this day a hundred times before?
  40. When was the last time I marched into the dark with only the soft glow of an idea I strongly believed in?
  41. If I knew that everyone I know was going to die tomorrow, who would I visit today?
  42. Would you be willing to reduce your life expectancy by 10 years to become extremely attractive or famous?
  43. What is the difference between being alive and truly living?
  44. When is it time to stop calculating risk and rewards, and just go ahead and do what I know is right?
  45. If I learn from my mistakes, why am I always so afraid to make a mistake?
  46. What would I do differently if I knew nobody would judge me?
  47. When was the last time I noticed the sound of my own breathing?
  48. What do I love?  Have any of my recent actions openly expressed this love?
  49. In 5 years from now, will I remember what I did yesterday?  What about the day before that?  Or the day before that?
  50. Decisions are being made right now.  The question is:  Am I  making them for myself, or am I  letting others make them for me?

Thursday, December 6, 2012

What's your favorite Christmas Song?

I'm doing an Instagram December Photo Challenge. You take a photo of whatever is on the list for that day. Day 3 was Favorite Christmas Song. I posted a screen shot of Prince's Another Lonely Christmas. It's a great song and it's a favorite, but not the favorite. I love all kinds of Christmas music, yes, even religious songs. No matter what I know to be true for me now, good memories are good memories and they're not to be discounted just because I've evolved in my beliefs.

One thing I like about Christmas songs is there are so many different versions of so many great songs. And sometimes it isn't the song itself that's so great, but the emotion and sentiment attached to the song. So watching the Roots, Jimmy Fallon, Mariah Carey and 4 cute kids sing All I Want For Christmas, made me all giggly and happy. Aww, snap...I feel a list coming on! LIST TIME! 

  • I love the setting; a living room of a working class household with cheap decorations literally everywhere
  • I love how they're all cramped together but totally fine with it
  • I love the look of anticipation of the "xylophone stylist" at the beginning of the video
  • I love Quest playing his hairbrush
  • I love the ugly sweaters 
  • I fucking love Mariah's shoes
  • I love big girl's hat
  • I love all the kids' expressions
  • I love Fallon "turning off" the camera/tv at the end

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

December NaBloPoMo 2012

via tequilastar
This month's NaBloPoMo theme is WORK. Or as RuPaul says WERK. What is the difference?

Werk is defined by Urban Dictionary as,
1) To do something to an exceedingly excellent capacity.
2) A congratulatory declaration of support, praise or approval, for an outstanding achievement in any area of life.

Work is "Activity involving mental or physical effort done in order to achieve a purpose or result."

Hmm... I think I'd rather WERK than work. Easy choice right? But the hard part is figuring out how to apply werking principles to work; I WANT what I do to be exceedingly excellent. But everything I do isn't exceedingly excellent. Sometimes you just need the grunt WORK done to make way for the excellence WERK. More WERK and less WORK.

Writing all this gives me the idea to conduct what I'm now calling micro-interviews. I got the idea from this. I plan to contact via the innerwebs various celebrities, bloggers, et. al., and ask for their advice about whatever subject I'm interested in. I've done this before when I took a course titled Women in Comedy. I reached out to a few female comedians I follow on Twitter and FB. I only asked a couple of questions and just about everyone responded. That's actually another one of my unfinished projects; writing about women in comedy, particularly black women in stand-up comedy. I wrote a part 1 of a series that doesn't yet exist. I got replies from Erin Jackson, Marsha Warfield and Leighann Lord. The trick with micro-interviews is to keep the questions short and simple. Most people to love to give advice about what they do, especially if they're on social media. That's sort of what it's for, right?

So in my quest to insert more WERK in my WORK, I'm going to MI some fabulous folks for advice and see where that gets me. I'm curious who will respond and tell me something I can really use.

via Chad Sell


Sunday, December 2, 2012

When I'm Bored. Or Habits of a Narcissist.

I'm a doodler. I doodle. Lately I've been doodling eyebrows. I'm trying to create my own caricature. Why? Because I don't have one, that's why. What, like when you doodle you solve the world's great mysteries? I bet what you doodle isn't even a thing.

I also like to make up new last names for myself. My last name is very simple, but sometimes people make it more complicated than what it really is. I have one of those last names that can also be a first name. For a boy. And often, people want to add an 's' to the end of it. That irritates me to no end. So I think if I had an even more simpler name, the world would be a better place.

So what kind of name? I think your last name should reflect who you are, not whose family you're from. And why do names have to be names? Why can't they be other things? So I started thinking about things I like, things I do, traits, talents and habits I have. I started with tv, movies...

Beckie Makeitwork

Beckie Dontburnnochicken
the Help was out and everybody was Facebook-ing about it

Beckie Fangbanger
I lust for Eric Northman!

Beckie Dontcry
Think The Other Guys

Then I started thinking of nicknames...singsongy names people call you when they're bored...

Beckie O'Beckie

Beckie Beck

Beckie Weckie


Beckie Rockstar
My dog's last name is Rockstar. 

Then I started thinking what if I was a cartoon character in old Bugs Bunny cartoons...AND was a rapper...from the 80s...

Beckie Isonfire

Beckie Weighsaton

Beckie Bustacap

Beckie Boogiedown

Beckie Blowyourmind

If you could make up your own last name, what would it be?

Turkey Trot 2012

I ran this year's 5K on Thanksgiving. Well, by ran I mean I walked, jogged, trotted, and almost crawled for 3.2 miles. I did it though and I beat mostly all the walkers and all the really fat people. They posted the official times this week. Technically, I came in next to last. But that's just the benchmark. Next year my record will be much better.

It was a great day for a race too. The weather was just right; not too cold or too warm and the sun was bright. I wished I had taken photos. We ran right along the banks of the Cuyahoga River and with the multi-colored foliage and crisp air, the sights were picturesque. I'm not a bird watcher, but I will admit it was mildly interesting to see bluebirds and cardinals and a bunch of other birds around the riverbed. There were lots of families and groups of people running together. I should have expected it, but it caught me off guard. I think it's a great idea as a family tradition to do on Thanksgiving. I would love to do that with my family.