Wednesday, March 12, 2014

600


I had a very different post planned for today.

I wonder how many blogs start out that way? Especially considering the fact that many or us, most of us probably, are not paid do do what we do. Man, that would be grand, wouldn't it? But then, I suppose if I were to be paid to do this, it might not feel the same. I certainly would feel the need to hold back a lot.

But since we are NOT paid, we have no obligation, truthfully, and therefore we can at a whim change our minds about so many things. My intent was to make this post solely about my sister, who recently went through...a pretty radical crisis in her life. But it is such a deep, complex story that I realized the following:

1. Her tale over the course of the past two weeks or so after she had a Ventricular Fibrillation, nearly died, was resuscitated five times, went comatose, came to, then later developed seizures only to finally walk out of the hospital the day of her birthday? That story took so many twists and turns, it became super, duper complex.

2. The intricate nature and complex backstory as to why there is little to ZERO mention of the fact I even have a sister at all in the pages of this blog is also something that has it's own fair share of twists and turns.

3. Which of course leads us to this conclusion...there is no way in Hell's Kitchen that I can tell the story in a single post. Not if I want to tell it the way I want to. And you KNOW how I like to weave them fireside chats. Especially when they involve the past.


So what does that leave us for a 600th post?

Um...I dunno. I didn't want to get all hung up on it, and as the days started to pass I realized...I was. I don't want to WAIT to start that tale, and I don't want to WAIT for something epic for a 600th post either. Can't let a stupid milestone get in the way of wanting to write. It's honestly the dumbest roadblock I've ever found myself facing.

I suppose I could talk about the number 600. It is a composite number, an abundant number, a pronic number and a Harshad number (thanks Wikipedia!). In the US, a credit score of 600 or lower is considered bad, and could affect your ability to buy a car or a home. At least it could affect your interest rate. 600 is also the advertised number of miles that NASCAR runs in the Coca-Cola 600, the longest race any of those good ole' boys drive. That's a long ride.

But why talk about that boring shit when they just announced the new BLACK WIDOW FIGURE OF SCARLETT JOHANSSON FROM HOT TOYS!!!


Is it me? Or did she lose weight? I noticed that in the previews for Captain America: The Winter Soldier. Damn. I am not as much of a fan of the skinner Scarlett. But still, that is one FINE looking figure.

I'm not generally a 1:6th Scale guy. I'm not generally much of a collector of anything anymore. No display space, not right now anyway, and the fundages are super tight. I pick up around 4 1:6th figures a year, if I am lucky. This is going to be one of them. She'll fit in nicely with the OTHER two versions of Scarlett.


Though I must admit, what a LONG way Hot Toys has come from the first time they did Black Widow from way back in the second Iron Man film. They have really learned a thing or two about rooted hair.

And trust me when I tell you...NONE of the production pieces looked as good as their promo shots. It took a ton...TON of work, to get the hair to look right when you pulled her from packaging.


Their follow-up, from Avengers? Home run. This is an out-of-package shot somebody posted on the Interwebthingy. Very nice. Though the likeness? There is a bit too much Nicole Kidman in there. I swear a good customizer could probably whip up a solid Cold Mountain action figure in no time at all. Where's Inman?


And this new one? Looks pretty good, the most like Scarlett to date thus far, though I do admit...the bags under the eyes? Not so good. Hmmm...maybe they are trying to show that she has been working a lot more lately. But I do believe that thus far the nicest LOOKING one is, to date, the Avengers version, despite the Kidman thing, this new one is the most Johanssoney, which may give it a leg up.

And who can say no to Johansson with a leg up, am I right? BaDUMbump.

One drawback though? The expression. The Winter Soldier version looks a little like she just had a Conjuration Spell cast on her.


Oh...for you non-geek types that means she looks a bit like she was raised from the grave. She doesn't nearly have the beauty in her face that she has in the publicity shots from the movie. The one up top is one of those. It's angelic, don't you think? Not like this. Not so...undead.

But then again. BW doesn't smile a whole lot. That's why I dig the character. Very dark and serious. And that's why Scarlett can play Black Widow, it isn't something that requires a huge range, so the undead thing kinda, I dunno...works?

Some of you may ask...'Um, hey, Lilly, if you are bitching about the way it looks, why, oh WHY, would you still buy it?'

SCARLETT.

Hmmm...only I could shift gears from my sister's near-death experience...to an action figure of my favorite actress who can't act.

At least I am consistent. Hope to see you around at 700.

PEACE.

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Meanwhile...


This is post 599, can you believe that? Wild isn't it. I'd be up to over 1,000 had I not taken a year off. Of course, taking the last couple of weeks off doesn't help when you 'Return' to writing a blog. Something terrifying happened a couple of weeks ago in my family that kept me from posting. I owe it some real thought, real consideration and time when it comes to sharing my thoughts about it. I had been writing about it as it was going in, with intent to post, and as the situation kept changing throughout the week I kept revising the post.

When the dust started to settle, I realized that I was coming up on the 600th post of this blog. So I thought...what the Hell, I'll post something else FIRST that I had been tinkering around with, and save that post for that special milestone. I like doing stuff like that. I've always had that streak of sentimentality even though it often causes me to stumble all over my well-oiled plans.

Speaking of which, coming back after a year off has been replete with stumbling blocks as it relates to fixing the damage this blog has suffered. You'll have to pardon the several dozen times I mention the 'Return' over the next several times I post, but I consider it no small feat that I pulled the trigger on the decision. But as I have tweaked and twooked and messed around with the blog mechanics overall, I am stunned by the sheer amount of devastation I have seen left by a year of neglect.


Stuff you may not even be aware of.

First there is the simple stuff, the general falloff of people actually coming to visit. I get it. I would stop too.

You stop handing out candy, I'm not coming to your house for Halloween ever again.

It's funny. I said the other day that a lot of this Internet stuff is lost on me. So is the behind the scene junk on these sites. There is traceable data on sites like Blogger, Google and third-party software like Site Meter. If you scroll WAY down to the bottom of the page, you will see a little logo that says Site Meter on it. That is some Widget or Gadget or whatever you call it that is SUPPOSED to tell me the amount of people who come here and that kind of shit.

But here's the thing that I just never get. The stats in any of the stat-gathering places? Yeah...none of them match-up. So what am I supposed to believe?

And come to think of it...why am I so hung up on it?

Well for a long time I was. To be gut-punchingly frank with you, it was one of the reasons I bailed out for that year. I would pour out my shit with heartfelt enthusiasm and then see maybe 3 or 4 comments, then look at other blog sites that in my opinion had far less substance to them getting double digit comments every single day and then be like 'What the ---?' Soon I'd be walking around the house ranting like Jason Mewes going 'What the f--- do I have to do to get these people's attention, pull a Favre and take a picture of my junk or somethin'?'


Let's all pause for a moment and be grateful for my self-control.

Upon reflection, I began to understand why there weren't a lot of comments. The things I write about, and the way I write...and in many instances the overbearing length at which I write? I don't leave people a lot of room for comments.

I do most of the commenting myself. I'd simply forgotten that. I had forgotten the purpose of why I do this, and I had also failed to keep in mind that this is not a message board, or a forum, and it was different than the other blogs I had been a part of previously in my life.

It was interesting to watch those stats over the course of the year though. They maintained fairly evenly the first five, six months, then started to drop like a rock headed for New Jersey in a Michael Bay film with plenty of slow motion walking. Since coming back? I have no idea. I don't sugar coat it, I really haven't checked. Site Meter is configured to send to an old e-mail address and I haven't updated it since my Outlook profile crashed a couple of months ago, and so I don't have the data. Nor do I care.

It is interesting to note what I DO care about though. The aesthetic. That means the way it looks.

I have pulled the entire main column wider, and made the sidebar a single column instead of two. That requires a lot of change to the graphics of other people's site links, their 'buttons', which I will get around to, and it also inspires me to want to create some new buttons. But they have to fit into that spacial requirement now. But rather than go off half-cocked, I will need to make a template.

I only want to do that ONE time. because it will save me time in the long run. And saving time for that kind of thing is crucial for me now in order to keep up posting and maintenance of the 2.Oh Shit version of the blog. I want to do it, I enjoy it, everyone needs a hobby, but I don't want it to be hours every day.

There is also the matter of going back to all the old posts that have lost their photos. And that is something that, while a drag, has to be done. I used to host a lot of my photos off-site, and link to them. It was an old habit, I was worried that I would run out of space on the Blogger hosting, and so I hosted the photos on my own personal FTP site.

Well, then I switched domain names from Creatus Maximus to Blogzilly and all those links were broken. Long story short, I dumped Creatus Maximus as a host site because, for one, the host provider sucked ass and also because that was the name of a business I used to have (which used to be an ACTUAL business and now is just the name I use for tax purposes for freelance stuff). Anyway, not to be over-technical, but I was never able to figure out a way to easily transfer the files to the Blogzilly FTP from the Creatus Maximus FTP without manually rewriting ALL the HTML code that defines each picture.

I would show you what that code looks like here, but if I typed it, it would activate as code and then you would not see the text, you would see either a broken photo link or an actual whatever the HTML code was describing.


It's the Matrix people...the whole Internet is just letters and numbers that tell you what you wanna see. FREAKY. Bottom line is that I'm screwed, because now none of the photos show up in those old blog posts because the HTML code points to photos that NO LONGER EXIST. Look at any post in...oh, the first couple of months of this blog's existence. No photos. And there are a LOT more throughout ALL the years.

All those dead pictures have to be corrected. Essentially, if I want the blog, from start to finish, to look halfway decent in all those old posts that I stupidly put HTML links in I have to to go back and manually fix all the posts.

I'll do it too, don't think I'm not crazy enough.

I might even update the photos with the new border look I'm going for. That sort of ripped out look. I really AM that batshit crazy. I did on the very first post.

Wanna know something weird about that? I read that first post. It is dated February 10, 2009. When I started this blog, I had ZERO intention of it being a Special Needs blog. NONE. I figured I would pick up where I left off with Grey Matters, the last blog I wrote about toys. But then on February 12th, every single thing I knew about my life changed, just like that. What is equally odd is that I didn't write about it until well after the fact. I hadn't grown comfortable enough with being so open I guess.

But look at how much of that has changed. How much life itself has changed.

And then the irony continued, because I came back after a year off, with a new set of intentions, and then suddenly something occurs that was unexpected, took us all off our tracks, and got me thinking about a lot of different things in the life in not just my family, but in so many different aspects of how we live our lives with each other, in the human community overall.


If I were to be totally honest, I think the biggest reason for me to do this again, to come back to it, is the need to remember what things were like as they were happening. I like being able to do that. In the good times and in the bad times. To keep a living, breathing record of what goes on as the world unfolds around me. To be able to take a look back at where we've been, to help us get a better handle on where we might be going. I don't know about you, but all the little details and idiosyncrasies and minor obsessions aside?

I really like the sound of that.

Now I just have to work on making it LOOK as good as it sounds. ;)

PEACE.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

In Light of Recent Events


Unfortunately, the post I wanted to get to today will have to wait for another time.

Time being the key, operative word here. I don't have as much as I'd hoped for. This happens when you have a youngster with multiple disabilities, one of them related to aggressive behaviors, in the public school system, and you get phone calls that suck you into it's vortex away from your job and away from other things you may have going on.

See? I have a LOT to catch you people up on. So many unfinished rants.

Like Tscychovsky or Schubert, with symphonies left un-done, I have pages of un-refined, un-released bitching I have been itching to unleash. Huh? Who are those guys? Aren't you the dude who likes to talk about titties? And while we're at it...waitaminute...didn't you say yesterday that this was going to be a whole new era, a more positive Lilly? That you were tired of being a Negative Nancy?

Yeah.

That was yesterday.

Today? I'm just tired. And I haven't showered since Monday. I feel gross. I meant to shower on Tuesday. Just never got around to it. Carter was home sick, time slipped out of my hands, and by the time I had to watch the kids at night (Jen works some late night shifts now)...well, I never am comfortable in the shower if Bennett is here without other supervision. I'm just not. And he didn't fall asleep until REALLY late. By then I just didn't care.


Then today, I figure I hit the shower mid-afternoon, after I get some make-up work done. Nope, not gonna happen. Phone call. Remember? So shower has to wait along with everything else. Typing this in short, controlled bursts while I manage him.

Getting a chance to finalize it while he is in the tub. I have line of sight and the tub always (scratch that...most of the time) seems to grok with him. He's cantankerous as all get out today too. Hence...the phone call. But I suspect he has a stomach bug. Some extra poopage even with highly constipating medication. That and a heightened aggression level. Slight change in what he is asking for eating-wise. Overall, something is off about him.

Just wish he could FUCKING TELL ME!!!

Ahh...that feels so much better. Like putting on a nice worn-in old coat and finding a crisp $50 bill in it from the winter before. I can already see I am going to feel much more relaxed this year But yeah...we still have major communication delays and stuff like that out the wazoo. In fact, even though a lot of stuff has changed in a year? A lot hasn't. Just like the rest of ya.

Let's see...I've covered being smelly and unwashed, boobs, feces, classical music, hulking out, hinted at how I am starting to see just how monumentally difficult is with having a disabled child in our public educational system...aren't you glad I decided to come back?

PEACE.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Pardon Me While I Check This Blog for a Pulse


There is so much going on with the Internet that I don't know anything about. Or I have a vague awareness of it, but not enough knowledge about it to feel comfortable enough to dive in and become an active participant. I'm sort of a jerk of some trades, master of a few when it comes to all the shit that everybody else is into. It is a bit lost on me to be totally honest.

I guess it is a reflection of who I am OFF of the Internet as well, since I am technologically non-savvy also. The car I currently drive is from 2004. Hey...how about that? Ten years old. Of course, it only has 74,000 miles on it. That's awesome, right? I love a short, teeny commute if not at all. Been lucky. I usually have computers that stretch the boundary of modern acceptability ('Hey wow man...is that a zip drive?') and we still own some televisions that have the gigantic curved backsides. You know, the kind that you can sort of hear when they are turned on even though the sound is off. You just kinda 'feel' it in the air.

I'm not ashamed to admit that, until this past year, I didn't even own a Smart Phone. Can I confess something though? After the newness wore off, I now don't know why I got it.

I guess it is kind of cool, and I shoot some nifty videos of Bennett and Carter sometimes, and I shoot bad, out of focus photos with it.


Though, WAY too many of those photos include me in them. What is that all about? I HATE photos of me, and yet now with the Smart Phone suddenly I am taking pictures of myself and I don't care. Is there a word for that? But that isn't the only problem, because since I got the iPhone? I haven't taken my digital camera out ONCE. I already barely knew how to use it.

Now I have forgotten what little knowledge I had of it at all.

I don't need the sophistication of a Smart Phone because of the simplicity of our lifestyle. We are tethered to our house for the most part, a stay-at-home type of family. I rarely see other humans than the three primary units who I talk about here. I don't have much of a need to send e-mails from my phone. I use a laptop for that. Hell, there is NOTHING I want to do on my phone I wouldn't rather do on my laptop, unless you are talking about actually SPEAKING on the telephone. Then you got me...I'm all up for that. Otherwise, I get all freaky about the possibility of overusing my Data Plan allotment. I obsess over it. I dwell on it. I dream about it if I've had to use the phone for some task on the Internet when the cable goes out.

And I'm WAY too conscientious about how much SOME stuff costs...I'm not going to spend a couple of hundred bucks a month for some maximum data plan when I know I'll never really USE it. It just isn't me. Because let's go back to that vague awareness thing I started this whole dog and pony show with. What ELSE do I really need to have 24/7 access to the Internet for? I mean, for real? Yeah I started a Pinterest, Instagram and Twitter account, but I haven't really DONE anything with them. And Facebook? I hardly ever use it. Not effectively like some people.


I have NO idea how keep it short, so Twitter? Yeah, like you can see me making it work on TWITTER!?!? Not likely. The most fun thing for me to do on Twitter was create my banner. Yeah that's it with the girl from Star Trek. Cool right? RIGHT? Yeah me and my fellow geeks thought so.

After that? I got bored, posted a couple of times and then I haven't really posted much since. Went back to listening to PSY on YouTube. Instagram? I take really bad photos, and I just don't get what Instagram actually IS...it's pictures right? Well, I take pictures here and post them, and I have pictures on Facebook, so why do I need to put pictures in ANOTHER location? See? This is why I am behind the times, I just don't understand. I just don't get some shit the way other people do.

Same with Pinterest. I mean, I understand the CONCEPT of Pinterest, and I tried it a while, and when I am super DUPER bored I go and then.....I look.....and then.....O....K......THERE! I pinned something. Feeling of accomplishment complete. But is that all? Seems like when I go on there 68 people have all pinned the same stupid shit. Then I think...why am I wasting my time? I can just as easily waste it here. I am sort of pinning stuff I like here when I write a post, aren't I?

But it isn't clean and neat and organized. It's random and scattered and HOLY SHIT LILLY YOU GO ON AND ON AND ON!!!!

Then there is Google +. I am in it. I still don't GET it. No idea what benefit it gives me. I know it is connected somehow to my YouTube channel, which I kind of understand, I store my videos there, though I have NO idea how to link the videos and integrate everything together. Bottom line? I could and probably should figure out how to maximize how I use social media, but I feel like it is this gigantic mountain of shit that I will never be able to understand.

Social media makes me feel like the old man in the room who has dusty farts.


I'm just being honest.

I was looking at this blog the other day, giving it a very hard, critical look, trying to figure out what I was going to do with it, as far as the changes I have planned for it, what I wanted to write about after having spent a year away, the length of the posts so I could actually sustain content, shit like that (yes I do think about that kinda stuff) and I was looking at the blogroll at the right. I started scrolling down and was floored at the frequency of the posting of some of the blogs I follow and read. Amazed by some. Puzzled by some others. 6 hours ago. 2 days ago. 1 week ago. 3 weeks ago. 3 months ago. 7 months ago. 1 year ago. 2 years ago. 4 years ago.

Guess my year off wasn't that uncommon. A LOT of blogs, I noticed, are like that.

Just so happens that a blogger who had not posted in a while, though she does with some frequency, posted recently, and I asked her if she thought that a lot of these other Internet sites like Facebook, Twitter, etc., were sounding the death knell of the blog. She wondered the same thing, and added that in some cases these blogs start because many of us come on here with one story to tell, and once the main story has reached a conclusion of sorts we don't continue to write in the blog.


I can see that to a degree. I can wrap my head around it as one possible theory. Doesn't always apply, but I see the logic of it. Why did I just say the same thought three times differently? No wonder these blogs are so damn LONG.

I look at the post count in my blog, and even though I love to write, clearly 2009 I was a FIEND, and that was when Bennett's main story was at the very peak. The onset of Infantile Spasms. The Tumor. The Surgery. The Recovery. 224 posts that year. After that? It was a fairly even spread of 136, then 131, then 104.

Then 0.


Now it is 2. I wish it would SHOW 2013, and give the count of (0) on there.

I WANT IT.

Can't explain why. Well, I can. 2013, as years go? It was a shitty year. Not as bad as 2009, but it was lousy. It is the primary reason I was not writing. Not really because of the distraction of other more organized websites, or because our story had come to a close. Nah...I was tired of being a Negative Nancy all the time, and I absolutely needed to push back from the table and take a fuckin' break from it.

Don't get me wrong...I still wrote this blog when I HAD TO, I just did it differently. Privately. Covertly. My poor, poor family and friends. The lengthy, rant-filled e-mails, Facebook messages or phone calls they did receive. Hey, I couldn't always maintain my complete composure and grace.

Like I said, it was a difficult year.  

No I believe the word he used was SHITTY.

Yeah...that was what I said, wasn't it. In the end, I suppose, you have to be true to who you are, no matter how much energy you spend trying to run away from yourself.

Not sure if that's a good thing? Or bad. Guess we'll be finding out.

PEACE.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Five


This doesn't mean I'm coming back to doing this again.

At least...I don't think so.

At one time, I had planned to, as anyone who used to swing by here might be able to tell by some of the subtle graphical changes. but I changed my mind. Decided it wasn't the right time. I often find that I struggle to find anything worth writing about.

But as the weeks turned into days, the days turned into hours, and the hours now counting down to minutes, I kind of figured I would not be able to let THIS anniversary pass without some kind of acknowledgment. Not this one.


I've let many milestone announcements slip by in the year plus that I have taken my...hiatus. If that's what you call it. Birthdays. Anniversaries. Holidays. Multiple clean MRI. Five years smoke free. Changes in schools. Changes in domiciles. Changes in employment status. Holy shit on a shingle, the list becomes endless when you are talking about a time frame spanning over 13 months.

To be honest, I nearly forgot about this one.

I would not have, you just get caught up in Life. But something was happening to me, to my insides, over the past several days. Panic attacks, for one. When I hadn't been having full-blown ones for a long time. Why all of a sudden am I having them daily, and in some cases multiple times in a day? So I sat and tried to think it through, and then it occured to me.

February 12th. Approximately 7:16 PM. I only can approximate the time because it happens to be on the recording I took of Bennett while he was doing it, and I grabbed the recorder about 1-2 minutes in.


It's interesting how life turns on it's ear. February didn't use to feel like this. So...somber.

Don't get me wrong, this time of year used to be incredibly stressful for me, but it also held a lot of fantastic memories, because the world revolved around the American International Toy Fair, which is held in New York City around this time in Mid-February. Since I worked in the toy business for so long, Toy Fair (as we called it, we didn't use the official name, are you kidding?) was a milestone part of our year.

Stress was a huge part of it, but so was the opportunity to GO to Toy Fair, and those times when I did actually go, once the stress factor dissipated, it was hard work but it was also fun to see the people who I usually only got to e-mail or talk to on the phone, or to see the line-up of what the other companies had to offer. And since I was usually working so much I never made it up to New York as often as I did when I was younger (I used lived in Baltimore, remember), I got to chill in New York, which can be in and of itself a fun time, with the right people.


And at Toy Fair there was always an opportunity to hang with the right people. I didn't go often. I was usually too bogged down with work since the show prep was so intense I had to catch up on actual production or design work while the show was going on, but mid-February was all about Toy Fair, just like July-August was always about San Diego Comic-Con.

But these days? Even though I have returned to working in the toy business in some capacity? This is how nutty life is when you cease to be a Dad, and morph into a Special Needs Dad. You can't go back. Ever.

Mid-February is not about Toy Fair. In fact, I had to look up when it was taking place this year. I won't be attending. Mainly because the company I am working for doesn't set up at the show. But still...I hadn't really given it much thought until I sat here to write this.

No, for me, now, Mid-February is all about remembering how our lives changed on February 12th at 7:16 PM while Jen was at the church doing aerobics and I was watching the boys. This was a time when Carter and Bennett actually played together, like brothers normally do. Not like now, with Carter finding a place of solitude as far away from Bennett as he can possibly be.

That's not entirely fair. Occasionally you find the two of them together. And I do take the time to note those moments, wrap them up and treasure them.


But the here and right now is about remembering that first time Bennett stood there with a slight look of amusement mixed with terror on his face, having a seizure while standing up, and I couldn't do a single solitary thing to help him. I just stood there like an idiot...not knowing what the Hell it really was and at the time not even knowing just what we were in for or what Infantile Spasms actually were. I'd never seen them before.

They look like this. Lest ye EVER forget...


Awful to watch, aren't they?

Sometimes better than that, sometimes worse.

I was thinking of linking to another set, one that, I shit you not, has something like 40,000 views. Why I have no idea. It isn't nearly as brutal. But for some reason a ton of people looked at it. He was so chubby in that one because he was on a course of the drug called Acthar Gel, or ACTH, a medication that is often used to treat these kinds of seizures.


At the time, it was around $26,000.00 per vial or some other ridiculous amount, and that is a supply for a little more than a week. Going into the evils of the company Questcor is an insanity I want to avoid right now. Prices are higher today I would expect, not lower the way medication is supposed to work. And...he didn't even NEED it, that's the real tragedy. Because there was a tumor in that brain of his.

We didn't know about the tumor of course. The hospital here had missed it, so everyone was trying to treat him medically, not surgically. And when these spasms stopped (they occurred in clusters every few hours) he still had a seizure pattern you could see on an EEG running 24/7.

All day.

All night.

Brutal damage to a developing brain. All that time it could have been possibly stopped sooner if we'd only known about the tumor and removed it. Because once we did, the seizures were gone. We were one of the lucky ones in that regard. So many of my brothers and sisters I know of? Their kids go in for surgery and seizures still kick the shit out of the kids they love. Talk about tragedy.

Sorry. I guess today is generally a tougher day than usual and why February will always suck, no matter what kind of cool new shit Hallmark rolls out for Valentine's Day, and no matter how many great new action figures are unleashed at Toy Fair. And the weird thing is that when July-August rolls around? It will be much like it was this past year, though the company I work for might set up at San Diego Comic-Con, and I might even go out there, though I am not sure. But I'm certain my mind and my heart won't be far from thinking about how it felt finding out Bennett had a brain tumor and the remembrance of the anniversary of his surgery date, when those seizures finally stopped happening.

It will take effort to focus on product and people. I can do it, but that's why they call it a job I suppose. I look at the amount of time that passed between the 12th of February and I can't remember when in August it happened that we were on our third opinion and we got the actual diagnosis on him.

See, this guilt is a full-circle kind of thing, and today just marks the start of it. Today is the day where it all BEGINS, you see what I'm sayin'? All that time wasted, how much damage could we have avoided had we gone to the right doctor the first time?

I guess the truth is that here, at the five year point, I've realized that thinking about that doesn't get any easier with each anniversary. I always think it will.

Doesn't.

But what do I know?

I do know that six months of non-stop seizures and having a third of your brain taken out does take a massive toll on a kid's ability to learn and function. If I've learned anything over five years? I've at least learned that much.

Is that all I've learned? No. I hope I've learned a great deal more. Some good. Some not so good. But there is a lot of opportunity to talk about that in some other post, on some other day.

Today is just about making sure I acknowledge the 5-Year Milestone...because even though it is still so hard to think about it all and the guilt is still so difficult to overcome, it is worth noting that as a unit we've come a long way.


And while we may not have conquered, we aren't divided. While we might not have thrived, we have survived. While we may take a few steps backward now and again, there is another forward step waiting to be taken at the dawn of each new day.

I'd say that's worth writing about.

PEACE.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

YESvember is Over


This past week got away from me. Two appointments for the kids. Bennett's IEP. A very unexpected car accident. Prior to that, a relapse with my pelvis and hips that has upped the pain ante in me all week long and seriously is making me reconsider my originally thanking Chiropractic Care on my BLOAT list earlier on and also making me wonder if I should be going down this path.

Where does that leave BLOAT?

I dunno. Not sure I even care. I have some of the rest of the list finished, and I might continue BLOAT into December. Might. Based on the response, I may just let it die.

Maybe not.

If there is one thing I have had some epiphany over it is that as I move forward with this blog I want more focus and clear intent regarding the fact that I am writing this thing with very specific goals, goals that matters most to me on a personal level. And the exercise of losing a lot of my readership this past year because of my lack of posting has made me think a lot about the directions I want to go. I have become clearer in my head about what purpose this blog serves to me. So in a way that is a good thing.

Having said that, I'll just see where it takes me going into December. For those expecting more BLOAT this week? Sorry, shit it do happen! :)

OUT.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

YESvember - BLOAT 2012 #35 - #31

I'm losing a little steam with this. Though I can't tell if it is because over the past few nights I've only managed 5-6 hours of sleep (long story), if it is because the Ravens are playing like ass in San Diego today, or because my back is KILLING me after spending most of the day stringing lights on our Christmas Tree.


#35 - Christmas Trees With Lights Already Embedded In
Used to have that, and it was GLORIOUS. But alas, after a few years, one of the levels of lights went out, and we could not figure out how to get the lights working again. Since money was tight, we could not really afford to trash the tree and get a new one with embedded lights, so we de-boned the tree and stripped it naked of all the lights and decided we'd have to put our own on as long as the tree held up.

It's held up too FREAKIN' long.

My lower back, but most particular my SI joint, is on fire right now. Oy. But waddya gonna do? Shit has to be done. Of course, I have a sinking feeling that Bennett is going to trash the thing. While some of his behaviors have improved, some of his destructive ones, particularly of things he knows I have a direct hand in, are up a little.

Today in particular he was challenging me with the tree. Once the ornaments are on? Fuggedaboudit. I pre-warned Jen to put nothing on that is fragile.

I remember a great issue during the John Byrne (artist/writer) run of The Fantastic Four (that's a comic book, by the way). He had Reed Richards/Mister Fantastic invent a tree that had everything...lights, ornaments, and even tinsel...all on it. And it all just collapsed like an umbrella when you were done by the push o a done.

Of course his wife Sue/Invisible Woman hated it, thought it totally missed the whole idea behind Christmas and the spirit of it all. EFF THAT SHIT! IT WAS BRILLIANT! Reed Richards, you really ARE Fantastic!!!


#34 - Chiropractors
Speaking of aching backs, I was skeptical at first, and might still be, but I can't deny two very important things about getting Chiropractic care for the back/pelvic issues that have been plaguing me since February. One, they have been the first group of specialists I have seen that have actually identified the true source of the pain.

That source is two-fold as I expected. The compression in my discs affecting my feet and legs and all that, and my sacroiliac joint affecting the rotation in my pelvis and pain in my hips. The sacroiliac joint or SI joint is the joint in the bony pelvis between the sacrum and the ilium of the pelvis, which are joined by strong ligaments. Just in case you didn't know.

Second, they are the first group of specialists that have provided any real relief. Thus far, it has not been total, but it has been some. Not sure if I CAN achieve total, because I can't change some of the things that are causing some of the problems, like driving for two hours a day. But I can certainly work on a lot of the surrounding factors.

Anyway, it is nice to have a path at least. Even if it is a slow one. And nice to be able to be taking less pain medication. I still need it, sadly, but I need it a LOT less. And that's fine by me.


#33 - The Right Medication
I often bitch about how many medications I have been on from time to time. Sometimes I say too many. I also talk about how strongly I resist placing Bennett on any, or Carter, because of how scared I am about potential side effects. And I feel completely justified about those feelings.

Watching Bennett nearly come apart several times over taking medicines that just were not right for him was tragic, and just this past week a new medication was tried on me for depression, and like almost all anti-depressant medications the results were not good at all. I stopped after only two doses.

But when medication works and works well, I can't deny how thankful I am for it.

Take Chantix for example. We're coming up on the FOUR YEAR anniversary of the first time I took that medication and it helped me to stop smoking. Can you imagine that? Smoke free for FOUR YEARS after smoking for over 20. That's something else.

And now Bennett. We've recently tried a drug with him called Intuniv. While it hasn't fully knocked back all of his aggression, it has certainly helped him a great deal with his focus. And it is our hope that this will help him with his learning, which will help him with his communication, which might help eliminate a lot of the frustrations that lead to a lot of his aggression.

And in just a week of his taking it? Everyone who knows him has seen huge, HUGE improvements in a lot of his ability to stay on task, to stay engaged, and especially in his efforts to communicate. That is huge, and as you can imagine, a pretty big step in his development.


#32 - Colorado and Washington
Of course, Colorado and Washington got it right recently when it passed laws legalizing marijuana possession. Well, not really. That's just wishful thinking on my part. I started looking into homes in both states. The truth is more like this.

From the Washington Post:
Voters in those states approved ballot measures permitting possession of up to an ounce of pot. But the federal government has not changed its policy, which labels the drug an illegal substance. Members of Congress introduced legislation Nov. 16 that would allow state marijuana rules to preempt federal ones. But that, in effect, would resemble federal legalization, and it’s unlikely to pass anytime soon.

Well, crap.

I don't get it, to be honest with you. Beer, wine and Jack Daniels are everywhere. But pot is illegal. And there is so much tax money to be made from it. People are gonna smoke it. Just like people are gonna drink. They really are the same type of deal. It's just a sad truth. Both are drugs. Period.

And besides, if I could just make myself some cookies I wouldn't HAVE to take the freakin' high-powered pain medication. Why is THAT legal?


#31 - YouTube
Well, while I clack away and ponder the fact that it makes more sense to me to eat pot cookies for pain than take a chemically produced Vicodin, what are my son's doing? Carter is playing with some toys and waiting to decorate the Christmas tree, while Bennett switches between watching the football game and shouting 'YEAH!!!' no matter who scores and no matter what play happens and when he tires of that and jumping up and down he goes back to the iPad and watched videos on YouTube.

Lately it has been a great tool for him. He likes to watch the ones of he and Carter interacting a lot, the ones I have loaded into my account, some public, many private.

But he also watched a lot of other stuff. He likes to watch kids sing, especially some girl on Britain's Got Talent and of course that Katy Perry kid.

What I like the most is that he IMITATES what he sees now more than ever. So I am constantly seeking as much as I can, and loading as much as I can that might help him.

And of course making sure all my porn is OUTTA THERE! :)

OUT.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

YESvember - BLOAT 2012 #40 - #36

Even though the actual holiday is behind us, I intend to keep going through the rest of YESvember with the list of Things I'm Thankful For in 2012, or what I now like to call BLOAT 2012, though in 2010 I called it LOFTY. Hope everyone had a filling and fun-filled Turkey Day. We did. It was fun. Bennett and Carter have both seemed to enjoy the time with family too, and I certainly can't complain about that. Bennett has had some minor behavioral instances, but only minor.

These aren't in any order as far as importance, I just wrote them as they came to me.


#40 - Sports Rivalries
I know, I know...this is the post that will probably be skimmed or entirely skipped by many, including Elizabeth and Claire and others. Though perhaps that should be reconsidered, since this does go slightly beyond sport and beyond football if you stick with it.

But then again, that is a reflection of me and how I tend to view many things or how I tend to absorb many things, in a very personal and emotional way. For me, my love of football is based on much more than the fact that it is a terrific sport. It is based on a lot of its history, its character, its emotional components and many of its intangibles that transcend the actual sport itself.

And nothing helps to define that transcendence than the classic 'rivalry' that often springs forth in many sports across our cultures and across our different sports.

Whether we are talking about Muhammad Ali vs. Joe Frazier, Red Sox vs. Yankees, Redskins vs. Cowboys, Auburn vs. Alabama or the 80's Celtics vs. Lakers, there is an intensity and passion to the sports rivalry that ups the ante for both sides that makes that game or games something very, very special.

I picked this subject because as I write this I am watching The Game, as it is called here in Columbus, Ohio. Always the last game of the season, it is one of the top five sports rivalries of all time...Michigan vs. Ohio State.

This town changes this week. There is just something in the air. I can't explain it. It is crazy. But it is a helluva lot of fun. It is NOT fun, though, if Ohio State loses.

But hey, that is the nature of a true rivalry. Ohio State could go 0-11, but as long as they beat Michigan this town will consider the season a salvaged one. However, if the Buckeyes go 11-0, as they have done this year, and they lose this game, the season will NOT be considered a success. PERIOD.

By some. Not by me. But I am less invested in college football than I am in the NFL. And I have only lived here since 2006. Well I did live here from 1997 to 2000, so I guess cumulatively I have lived in Columbus around 9-10 years total.

Perhaps after a while I will feel differently? Ya never know.


#39 - 30 for 30
I learned just how warped the passions of a fan could get in a sports rivalry a couple of nights ago when I watched an episode of the ESPN documentary series called 30 for 30 on Netflix. The episode was called Roll Tide/War Eagle and was all about the rivalry between Auburn University Tigers and the University of Alabama Crimson Tide. Here's a quick summary of the episode from the ESPN website.

There are many great rivalries in sports: Yankees-Red Sox, Michigan-Ohio State, North Carolina-Duke. But they don't compare to the venomous and consuming in-state college football rivalry that is Alabama-Auburn. With no pro sports, the state of Alabama centers around one game in the year: The annual meeting between the two universities called the 'Iron Bowl'. And you could not script what has transpired in the state in the past two years.

30 for 30 is great documentary television, not just great sports documentary television. Some fantastic renowned directors tackle subjects they are passionate about. And what is extra-special about that is the fact that where there are sports, there is passion.

The show currently airs on ESPN, and of course you can catch older episodes on Netflix. One of my favorite episodes, if not my absolute favorite, is The Band That Wouldn't Die, directed by Baltimore native Barry Levinson, about the Baltimore Colts marching band, that never broke up after the Colts left town in the middle of the night in 1984 and how their unbridled passion was, no pun intended, instrumental in Baltimore getting a new NFL franchise.


#38 - Steve Sabol and NFL Films
Speaking of sports documentaries, I would be remiss if I didn't express my ultimate gratitude to NFL Films and most especially to Steve Sabol, who took over as president of NFL films after his father Ed passed away but was also one of its founders. Tragically, Steve Sabol passed away this year. On September 18th he lost his battle with, of all things, a brain tumor. Sucks.

It is hard to put into words just how much of an impact NFL Films had on me, especially as a kid, shaping how I felt about the sport. In those days there was no real source of back data like there is today. There was no internet. No blogs. There were books of course. But the only real media access of things from days gone by was to be found by watching documentary television that you could find on a very few select channels.

I remember how great it was on Super Bowl Sunday to watch all the 30 minute specials showing all the previous Super Bowls, shot on film, many with the deep baritone voice of John Facenda (often nicknamed 'the Voice of God') and scored with actual orchestral music (that I actually still listen to today).

It's sort of a chicken and egg thing. I don't know if it was the Sabols and NFL Films that shaped my perceptions of sport as dramatic presentation, or if it actually IS that and NFL Films was keyed into it as many of us are and that is why it is such a successful entity. Who know? Who cares?

All I do know is that I still watch a TON of stuff that NFL Films makes, and always will. They are THE kings of the sports documentary.


#37 - A Football Life/America's Game
Arguably the crown jewels of the modern era of NFL Films are two programs. One is America's Game, the other is A Football Life. I could have listed both as separate things on the list, but they are both similar in nature and so I am putting them both together.

Both are NFL documentary shows, with America's Game focusing on Super Bowl Championship Teams, and A Football Life focusing on an individual and their life and impact both inside and outside the NFL.

America's Game started with two seasons, since Super Bowl Championship Teams were obviously a limited resource to draw from. They then added a third, smaller season called America's Game: The Missing Rings, which showcased fantastic teams that came DAMN close to winning the Super Bowl but did not. That was a great little series, because it was fascinating to see that particular perspective. And of course every season they add an episode to the overall series with the latest Super Bowl Championship Team.

The format is great. They have a narrator who does standard documentary style presentation of the information you are watching, interspersed with interviews with 3-4 key people from the team. For example, and I am picking this simply because it is the episode I have watched the most, in the episode of the 2000 Baltimore Ravens the credits say 'as told by' Brian Billick, Trent Dilfer and Ray Lewis. That's the Head Coach, the Quarterback and the future hall-of-fame Middle Linebacker.

A Football Life is much more of a traditional documentary format, and focuses on a single individual, in MOST cases. I say MOST because they have deviated from that and done a couple of fascinating episodes like Cleveland '95, about the year Art Modell moved the Cleveland Browns to Baltimore, or The Fearsome Foursome, about the lives of Rosey Grier, Lamar Lundy, Merlin Olsen and Deacon Jones of the Los Angeles Rams.

The best episodes, though, focus on individuals and their lives, especially how their lives go beyond the gridiron. Like the episode about Kurt Warner that showcased his relationship with his disabled stepson, or the more recent episode about Ohio State alumni Chris Spielman and his wife's battle with breast cancer and how he had to make the transition from linebacker to national spokesman for her foundation.

Both series are spectacular, because both show that behind the hits, behind the frivolity that you often see focused on each Sunday, these are human beings with real lives that are often more interesting than the game itself.

Well...at least AS interesting. :)


#36 - The Baltimore Raven's Continued Excellence
Living so close to Cleveland makes you learn how to appreciate a team that keeps winning. And to hopefully not take it for granted. EVER.

I always feel bad for the city of Cleveland.

The Indians and their struggles. That whole LeBron James thing. And then there's the fact that the Ravens are the Browns reshaped and reforged.

I have seen what that does to people first-hand. In 1984 I was only a junior in high school, and I cared way more about how in the world I was going to use what God gave me to make out with a girl than the NFL. I did see around me how people who were already getting some got totally destroyed when the Mayflower trucks pulled out of Owings Mills, MD in the middle of the night.

They were devastated. For YEARS. Had the Colts gone to Indiana and then won a Super Bowl right after that? It probably would have just been that much worse.

Baltimore's wounds have healed up a lot now since the Ravens have put a consistent winner on the field, especially lately. Hopefully, with the Brown's new owner, Cleveland will get a chance to get a whole lot better too. I don't mind. I like competition. The Ravens vs. Steelers rivalry is blossoming into one of the best of the modern day sports rivalries, and I've already gone into how much I like rivalries. I certainly would not mind seeing another AFC North rivalry brew up.

In the meantime, I'll just be grateful that I get to root for a team again this year that is right in the thick of it, despite being decimated by injuries by some of our key defensive players. Here's to hoping we get all the way to the Super Bowl this year. That'd be SWEET.

OUT.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

YESvember - BLOAT 2012 #45 - #41


Continuing with the list of Things I'm Thankful For in 2012, or what I now like to call BLOAT 2012, though in 2010 I called it LOFTY. Times change, huh? Well, certainly since we all feel a little stuffed after such a full meal, BLOAT feels a bit more appropriate, yeah?

These aren't in any order as far as importance, I just wrote them as they came to me.


#45 - Thanks to England for All That Tax Crap
See, because if the King George III hadn't been such a control freak about the colonies, you wouldn't be stuffing your face with...um, that stuffing you are stuffing it with right now. And because all the men and women living over here fighting the natives and the giant grizzlies and the diseases and shit didn't really feel like sending a ton of their hard-earned back across the seas to a bunch of wealthy bureaucrats who weren't plugged in, a lot of people got super pissed.

So when they finally had enough, they decided to take the ultimate gamble and revolt. In the end we were successful, but can you imagine how scary those times might have been to the people involved? The uncertainty? Still, you can't argue with the courage to fight for what you believe in, and their boldness resulted in our ability to enjoy unprecedented freedom to this very day. UNPRECEDENTED. I think that passion to action is something that our nation's population is losing as each generation passes.

And Yeah, England may have lost, and I thank them for that, but I'll tell you this much, I'm certainly no England hater, like some of my good friends. In fact I look at England a bit like a parent or an older sibling. And certainly if I could not live here England would probably be my second choice.

Well, that or the Moon. Once they get some domes up there.


#44 - Oh Captain, My Captain
Speaking of domes, and all the good things that the British have provided to us over the years, for some reason one of the things that pops into my mind right away, even before The Beatles, is Patrick Stewart.

Maybe that's just because I was thinking about the above-mentioned friend who has never actually gotten over the American Revolution (even though we won), and his love of Star Trek, but it was the first great English actor who, in my mind, radically altered my perception of a childhood franchise that I grew up loving.

Now when I think of Star Trek, I honestly do NOT think of Captain James T. Kirk doing a flying leg kick into the chest of a Gorn, or making a booty call to a green-skinned Orion slave girl. Instead I think of Captain Jean-Luc Picard suggesting that everyone 'Make it so.'

To me? HE is now THE captain of the USS Enterprise, and probably always will be, no matter what JJ Abrams tries to push on me. Besides that, he is bald. Can't beat that any day of the week. At least from my seat on the bridge.


#43 - Tea Time
Yet another thing to be thankful about to the country from which we originally sprang...the tradition of afternoon tea. Of course, you don't have to drink it in the afternoon, but I'm trying to string together some things that relate to each other, so give me a little leeway here, will'ya?

Picard likes his very simply...'Early Grey...HOT.' I am partial to a little spice Organic Chai tea or some Chinese Black Tea. Also been working in a lot more Greet Tea lately for the health benefit of it.

Been drinking a lot more tea instead of Espresso ever since the Bug Incident in my Nespresso Machine. I still use the machine, but the thought of those little fuggers in that spout has never, to this day, left my head. So tea is much more on the menu.

And like the Brits, I tend to like a cup in the afternoon, especially as the weather gets cooler.


#42 - Who's On First?
If you haven't checked recently, you also may not be aware that England produces some damn good TV. They have for a lot of years, but the bar is continually raised. Of course, American television networks rape the hell out of what they do and try to act as if we do it better, with shows like American Idol (which started in Great Britain) and The Office and so forth. But the English originals are usually superior.

There is one show that has never been attempted here, and I am so thankful for that. Because there is just no way it COULD be. That show is Doctor Who, and the main character, known simply as The Doctor, is entirely the type of hero that could only be conceived by an English writer.

He carries no gun, he carries a Sonic Screwdriver. I should probably write a very long, very thorough blog about why this character is one of the very best on the planet (explaining why it has endured for what is now the 50th anniversary), and the rebooted series which began in 2005 is some of the best television I have watched, rivaling to me shows like LOST, The Walking Dead and others that I always go back to as being absolute must-watch TV.

It is not for everybody, but if you let it grab you, it is something so special and so unique that once you 'get it', you will never want to let it go.

That guy in the picture is the 9th man to play The Doctor, though he is not The Doctor right now. That requires a LOT of explanation I won't go into now, but needless to say if you were to decide to start watching the show that relaunched in 2005 his would be the first face you would see, and that is why I picked it.


#41 - Netflix
If you did decide to give a show like Doctor Who a try, or other really good British TV like Sherlock or Torchwood or Doc Martin, or if you wanted to watch the entire series of LOST over again from start to finish and you do not want to buy the entire DVD set, then Netflix is 100% designed for you.

It is a service that you pay $8.00 a month for, and unlike some other services like Zune and others, you can watch an unlimited amount of stuff as often as you want. It's AWESOME. Especially for people who like serialized TV, because they have a helluva lot of shows on there.

Is it perfect? Nope. But it's only eight bucks a month. Plus it has a TON of kids shows, which for us is an enormous plus. Being able to access Super Why for Bennett whenever I need to, especially on any computer, is HUGE, and for that I am super grateful.

With the ability to get a few other series by purchasing Season Passes, I may just give up DirecTV altogether after this football season and go to just a digital antenna or something. Food for thought. Be nice to save all that money from the satellite bill.

OUT.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

YESvember - BLOAT 2012 #50 - #46


Sorry for the time lag. Yeah I do that a lot. I'm having an off, um...year.

OK, so you know how it goes. Here's my Ultimate List. No real order of importance, although it might feel like a countdown, I only do that because it is a little easier that way, and more drama for your mamma is always cool.

SO...what am I really, TRULY thankful for? Let's find out, cause I know you are falling over yourselves in anticipation. Hell, I'm curious myself.


#50 - The Election is OVER
Yes, I AM very thankful for this. And not necessarily because of the outcome. I don't really have that huge of a preference either way, despite the photo, and despite the fact that I cast my vote against Bane Romney. But I was ready to vote Republican, I will tell you that much. SO ready.

But the GOP just did not give me a viable alternative. Having said all that, I am just glad I can start answering the phone again. No wait, I can't...too many other people calling I am trying to avoid right now. OOPS!


#49 - Caller ID
What would I do without it? Now that I think about it, what DID I do without it? Oh yeah, now I remember, I just never answered the phone and there was a lot of mystery in my life. 'Who WAS that!?!' Now those questions no longer go unanswered, but the phone calls still do.

Well, except for Private Caller and Out of Area. Dammit.

Anyway, the unwanted phone calls are still WAY out of control, and I thought there was supposed to be a list that stopped these asshats from calling us? Got SUPER bad during this election season. Holy crap. To be honest? I think I ended up just voting for the candidate who annoyed me less with pre-recorded phone messages from celebrities I don't give a crap about during dinner time.


#48 - Peter Jackson...Again?!?
Or should that be there and back again? I thanked Mr. Jackson the LAST time I did a list like this, but I figured there were going to be some repeats on this go-round, but I never dreamed there would be repeats this...specific.

Who'dathunkit? Another round of Hobbity goodness ready to launch its hairy feetness right around the corner? It's astounding. It really takes me back to a time that was, well, different than now. Back before life was the Stress-Mess it is today, Jen and I had a tradition for three years back around the time of our nuptials of going to those movies when we would drive from Maryland to Ohio for the annual holiday visit to stay with family.

Times are SO different now. So different. I expect that the movies will be too. Will we even get to watch them in the theaters? Who knows. I still have not seen The Avengers or The Dark Knight Rises. It's not easy for the two of us to go on a date these days.

Still...The Hobbit on film? Unreal. What's next? The Silmarillion Trilogy?


#47 - Gearbox Does It Again
Got a nice birthday gift this year from my old pal Richard. Borderlands 2, the open-world game from Gearbox. IN a word? Awesome. Has everything I loved about the original, just more of it and done better. And so far, the DLC that has been coming at us is all living up to expectations. This is probably my Game of the Year for 2012.

All I gotta do now is figure out how to get some better guns. I foolishly lost almost all my weapons for my highest level character. Hard to explain. I was an idiot.

Now I know that I play the thing a WEE bit too much...so there is that. But hey, it really isn't my fault. I didn't buy it for myself. I wasn't GOING to buy it for myself either. So all the blame has to go to the person who, like a dealer, pushed the evil across the table at me.

How could I possibly say no? :)


#46 - The Infinite Patience of Anyone Who Still Reads This Crap
I get seriously amazed that many of you still read this blog. Not that I have any issues with my ability to write or anything of the sort. I can be entertaining if I need to be. It's more like I have a problem with the amount of commitment I have been giving this thing lately.

And it's like any relationship. The less love and attention you give, it is only natural that the relationship suffers. That make any sense?

It's no secret I have been waffling too. Hemming and hawing about the future of what I want to do with this space. Do I want to keep writing? DO I want to continue to express myself? Does it matter anymore? Considering the amount of things of late that I can't discuss, I have felt very constricted, that is part of why I haven't as easily been able to write.

When I have limits, it is very hard for me. Can't explain it. Just happens to be true.

But the doubts have been lingering in here, for a long time.

Those doubts were washed away in an instant the other day when I got a message from one of you that was, as I mentioned before...very special. Originally I was going to try to quote some stuff from it but in the end I'm not going to. Let's just say that a Special Needs family was affected in a potent and positive way because of what they stumbled upon here and one of the parents took the time to write and tell me so. Simple as that really.

Stuff like that means a lot. I suppose it always will.

OUT.