Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Would you like discrimination with that?

My friend, Karen, recently experienced something I know all too well: Discrimination against the deaf. Unlike me, however, she experienced this discrimnation at a fast food drive-thru window!

Read all about it here:http://www.deafmomworld.com/

Just reading that -- even reading it again -- boils my blood. Ooh! It makes me SO MAD!

Of course I am angry over YET ANOTHER episode of discrimination against the deaf happening, but what angers me even more is how juvenile and insensitive that man was. And, to add insult to injury, this man was the MANAGER of that particular location!

How very, very sad. If people like that are made managers of fast food outlets, I don't want to ever eat at one again.

On the other hand, you have to wonder about what kind of training these people receive at these jobs. Aren't employees taught the customer is always right?

Or, in this case, IN THE RIGHT.

Karen was within her rights as a deaf customer and this man was violating her rights, as a disabled person, to receive the same service and customer care afforded to everybody else. It's too bad he didn't follow through on his threat to call the police because she could've reported him for violating federal law.

Karen has since taken her experience to the media, with appearances on Fox News and ABC News, and I can only hope some good will come out of it. She is entitled to the same privileges all of the other customers receive -- AND a public apology from that man, who should be ashamed of himself for being so insensitive, unprofessional and WAY out of line!

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Dangerous thinking

I had a REALLY bad day yesterday. It was just one of those days where my husband was in a real bitchy mood, I had to carry the bulk of the workload and I was REALLY missing my family. Add to this that I received news that a girl at my church who was going to sign for me at services had to move away. (Sigh! This is the THIRD ASL interpreter to leave the church. ARGH!!)

The writing was good, though. I was actually on a roll! I edited an essay for one manuscript and edited 4 chapters for another. I also FINALLY figured out how to write a chapter for the haunted houses book. Yay!

Still, everything else was just downhill. And by day's end, I was so tense and depressed (VERY depressed!!), that I had one thought: "I picked a bad year to stop drinking alcohol."

That's right. As of this very month, and actually, as of January 20th, I have made a new rule for my life: Absolutely, positively NO ALCOHOL. At all.

Recently, I have had the occasional drink or two. I NEVER got drunk, just one episode of getting tipsy. But I never got drunk and NEVER DRANK when I was alone caring for the children or during the day. It was always controlled. Still, drinking ANY alcohol, even a glass of wine, bothered me. For one thing, it made me remember the days of when I really drank bad. And I mean BAD! My drinking problems started up in my early 20's and went on ever since. It got so out of hand at times, though. To the point where I was drinking EVERY NIGHT.

For another thing, it's just NOT healthy. Of course I have heard stories of alcohol saving someone's life or actually bringing someone back to life! (True story!) And I know doctors say that red wine is good for the heart. But the fact is, alcohol just isn't healthy.

And you know what? There are reasons why I was drinking. These were actually dangerous thoughts that just blinded me to the fact that I had some REAL problems to take care of. Drinking does not solve problems. It only puts them off for a while. But I used drinking to escape.

Now I don't escape from things anymore.

There are just so many changes my life is experiencing right now, and this is one of the changes. Through all of these changes, I am gaining more insights about myself and about leading a happier, healthier and positive lifestyle. I feel so enriched with this new insight I am gaining. And stronger.

Last night, I was thinking that thought because of another thought I had. One of those "dangerous thoughts" that just made me drink more: "I need to relax." But I remembered my rule and I told myself, "You don't need a drink to relax!"

And, honestly, I couldn't think of any other way TOO relax! And since I was alone with the children and not chatting with anyone, there was no one to ask for ideas. So I thought on that for a while. I thought maybe I could relax on the couch with a good book, surf the Internet, fill out surveys for MySpace bulletins, read poetry on deviantART, read old emails or watch a favorite movie. It was late, so I couldn't call anyone. And I couldn't leave my sleeping children alone to go to my neighbor's house for a visit. Still, I tried a couple of those ideas, and they REALLY helped me to relax. A lot.
There are other dangerous thoughts I need to watch out for that I've used in the past to just drink it all away. Thoughts like:

"My marriage is having problems."

"My husband doesn't WANT me."

"No one could ever love me."

"I can't calm myself down!"

"I'm too angry!"

"I'm too hyper/wound up."

"It's Friday night."

"I deserve it."

"I want to have some fun."

"I need to loosen up.'

"One little drink won't hurt."

"I'm a writer. Writers drink!"

"I'm so lonely."

"There's nothing else to do."

"I can't sleep."

"It's the TASTE I'm after, not the buzz."

"I can handle it."

"It's okay, I'm not going to be driving or stuck alone with the kids."

"I have someone around to tell me when I've had enough."

"It's a PARTY!"

"Everybody else is doing it."

"People will think I'm a snob or a lightweight if I don't drink."

"I won't drink anymore tomorrow. I promise."

I know that these are just excuses to drink alcohol, not reasons. My decision to drink NO ALCOHOL isn't because I don't trust myself to stay sober. More than anything, it's a choice I am making for myself to be a better person all around.

And, for the heck of it, I'm going to RESPOND to those excuses.

"My marriage is having problems." -- What marriage DOESN'T??

"My husband doesn't WANT me." -- Sex is overrated.

"No one could ever love me." -- Oh, boo hoo. Here's a violin to play.

"I can't calm myself down!" -- Walk it off.

"I'm too angry!" -- Ditto. Or go outside and scream.

"I'm too hyper/wound up." -- Two words: Cleaning spree!

"It's Friday night." -- And...?

"I deserve it." -- Fook that. I deserve a freaking CRUISE if you wanna talk about DESERVING something!

"I want to have some fun." -- And getting tipsy/drunk is YOUR idea of having fun?....

"I need to loosen up.' -- All the more reason to turn off the lights, light some candles and lie down.

"One little drink won't hurt." -- Now THIS is true. Thanks to my Irish blood. LOL! But the rule is NO ALCOHOL. Not even ONE drop. So, yes, it WILL hurt, because I'll regret breaking my rule. (Regret hurts, too.)

"I'm a writer. Writers drink!" -- Not THIS writer.

"I'm so lonely." -- Then GO somewhere where there are people!

"There's nothing else to do." -- Um...write?

"I can't sleep." -- The Internet is open 24/7. Or just watch some TV.

"It's the TASTE I'm after, not the buzz." -- Yeah, right. LOL

"I can handle it." -- Yes, that may be. But the rule says NONE.

"It's okay, I'm not going to be driving or stuck alone with the kids." -- All the more reason to hide away to read a book! (Or WRITE one, in my case. LOL)

"I have someone around to tell me when I've had enough." -- Suuuuure.

"It's a PARTY!" -- Then do something fun besides drinking.

"Everybody else is doing it." -- If everybody else was picking their nose....

"People will think I'm a snob or a lightweight if I don't drink." -- WHY even worry about what "people" think?? Get over it.

"I won't drink anymore tomorrow. I promise." -- I've heard THAT one before.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Busy, busy

Lately, my life has just been SO FREAKING BUSY.

I am working my new writing job at night now and I'm also returning to my old ways of being a "nocturnal housekeeper" and cleaning up at night. Well, OF COURSE I clean during the daytime, but also at night. (I'm just the kind of person who likes to wake up to a clean house.) Plus, I'm super busy taking care of the kids and making sure they get fed and safely tucked in at night.

Also, I'm so busy during the daytime. I'm spending at least two hours of my mornings (from 5-7 a.m.) working on ONE book project. (Sometimes I'll work on more. One day, I worked on THREE!) Then I do the housework and running errands. I take care of the kids, help older child with homework, do MORE housework and just try to get EVERYTHING done. I usually don't get to bed until midnight. After the kids are asleep, I have just a small space of free time for myself to enjoy doing whatever. Then I go to bed at midnight, wake up at 4:30 a.m., then do it all over again.

At least staying busy is keeping me preoccupied, but the lack of sleep is insane. I know I'll get used to only getting 4 1/2 hours at night and a 30-minute nap in the daytime, but it's still crazy to do that long-term.

I once promised myself that after I finished a certain amount of books, I'd take a vacation. Now, living off of 5 hours of sleep a day, I'm changing my mind. Forget the vacation. After I finish those books, I'm going to sleep for 2 weeks!!

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Conference call

Today I participated in my very first conference call. This was for the new writing job. When I was told I'd have to participate in this before the training, I was nervous. I have NEVER had anything at all to do with a conference call, only an ACTUAL conference! I had no idea what to expect.

I emailed one of the editors in charge to ask about it, explaining that I am profoundly deaf and didn't know if that would be a problem, but she never replied. So I emailed a friend, who has the same job (and was the one to actually refer me when they started hiring). She is hard-of-hearing (wears a hearing aid) so I asked her about it, though I failed to mention I'm deaf as a post and can't even use hearing aids! (I think she's already figured that out by now.) She said, "All you have to do is announce your name at the start of the call and then sit back and let relay do the rest."

Well, I was still a bit confused over this but decided to just go ahead and see what it was all about. I'd already told them before that I'm deaf and must use relay to make phone calls. I figured they already had that heads up.

When I called, I gave the operator the code to enter. From there, the person giving the conference started talking and, apparently, my friend was right. I just sat back and read the whole thing as the person giving the conference spoke on and on about the job and the hiring manual I'd downloaded earlier in the day. She went over everything the job involves. Sometimes she paused to take questions and that right there was where I couldn't really participate. I couldn't ask the operator to punch in the button for a question because she was still relaying that end of the call (I have to be told "go ahead" before I'm allowed to have my turn to speak). Still, my friend had told me to email her if I had any questions, and that's what I did! I also emailed that other editor for the required information yet to be sent prior to the training period.

It was an interesting experience. I'd always wondered what a teleconference or teleseminar was all about. Or whatever you call them! I have asked about them before, but I've never actually participated. I was so pleasantly surprised and relieved that it was so easy to participate despite my deafness. The next time I get an email about attending one, I'm gonna think twice before hitting the delete button!

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Go time!

As of tomorrow, my husband is getting a shift change with his job. Instead of working during the day, he'll be working at night. This will also mean that the "morning routine" will change, as well. Since he won't be getting to bed until 2:30-3 a.m., it will now become my job to get our daughter up for school at 7 and drive her there. He'll take on the task of caring for the baby in the mornings. (I know they say that couples shouldn't "divide" jobs in their marriage, but, you know what? So far, that approach has worked out pretty well for us. Of course, it's not set in stone. That kinda thing changes if one of us is busy with the kids, gets sick, isn't home, etc.)

Part of me is NOT happy about this, because I've enjoyed being a night owl. But now I will HAVE to become a morning person, on account of the school thing.

Another part sees one thing: Opportunity. Just as I reveled in the peacefulness of the late evening hours to write, read, whatever, I can also do the same in the early morning hours. That is, before it's time to shower and get Jen up, etc.

Not only that, but now I can FINALLY do something I've been wanting to do for so long: Go for a run. It's been a loooong time since I have done any running, and that desire to run again has just been burning within me SOOO bad! I WANT to run again! I really want to. And with this shift change, some part of me is saying, "Now I CAN run again!" Of course, I know I can't jump into a running program whole hog. I have to plan my route, start small and figure out the best time to do it. And with hubby at home, it's the perfect opportunity to start it up again. I wouldn't run in the evenings, because it's not safe to be out at night by myself, but now I can do this since he's with the baby in the daytime.

It's also an even bigger opportunity to write a story I've had planned for a long time. The character in my story is a 13-year-old boy who is a runner. Maybe I'll be able to relate to the struggles he faces in the story, even though there's a huge age and gender difference. (Hah!) But the story has a religious theme and that is how I think we can relate to each other in our quest to succeed as a runner. Both I and my character are Christians. (I'm not giving away the details of the story here, but I will just say that the character and I will BOTH have a physical struggle to overcome.)

So with something bad comes something good. It's still interesting how this change just happened, just like that. I'm so grateful that my desire to run again has finally been answered. (Praise God! He's been answering so many of my prayers!!) But more important, I'm grateful for that little nudge within telling me, "It's go time!"

Bring it on!!

Friday, January 11, 2008

On a mission from God?

One of my favorite movie lines comes from The Blues Brothers, in which Elwood often repeats, "We're on a mission from God." Last night, we watched the movie Evan Almighty. Jen and I LOVED it! I thought it was a good, wholesome movie the whole family can enjoy. But I also thought of how Evan saying that God "told" him to build an ark ranked right up there with hearing voices and believing they are someone else. In other words, the whole thing screamed, "Insanity!" (Another movie, Frailty, highlights that very same downside of receiving messages from the Man upstairs.)

This reminds me of a joke I always get a good chuckle over.

One night at the asylum, a man exclaimed from his cell, "I am Napoleon!"

"Who told you you are Napoleon?" a cellmate asked.

"God told me."

Another man from a cell down the hall replied, "I did not!"

How sad that, these days, receiving a message from God is akin to having a psychotic episode or mental illness. I could see how people going around killing certain races or religions all in the name of the Almighty could have something wrong with them in the head, but when God tells someone to do a certain task (like build an ark -- hey, it's a free country, ain't it??) or make a change for the better in their lifestyle (stop drinking, stop smoking, pray more often, etc.), what's the harm? Why is it so bad? As long as they're doing something that doesn't hurt anyone or something that's really quite innocent, who cares if they got the "message" to do so from Donald Duck??

As I watched that movie, I also thought about something else. The fact that the story included a remake of Noah's Ark. I remember another movie, Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure, and of how, when asked, "Who was Joan of Arc?" Ted replied, "Noah's wife?" Ah, yes. Joan of Arc. Yet another recipient of a message from the Man upstairs. And look at what happened to her. Maybe that right there made God rethink this whole "giving people messages" thing. Maybe He decided it was better to be a little more subtle on the whole giving part and also a little more heavy on that "proving I mean business" part. (Though I think the whole "Genesis 6:14" thing in the movie was a bit overdone.)

With the kind of world we live in today, people are not so accepting of the idea that God is giving people messages. Our first impression is that they are crazy or...having some kind of midlife crisis. But I think what's important is that, despite society's reluctance to accept the fact that God speaks to His people, His people never lose faith. That's what most important. That we don't lose faith in what God has planned. Evan never lost faith in God that a flood was going to happen, even though he had a little doubt. He never lost faith. His wife learned of the importance in having faith in her husband. (At first I was mad that she just left him like that. You don't just drop someone if you love them! You stick by them and try to HELP them!) These people were not perfect. They were not religious fanatics. But they learned of just how important it is to "keep the faith" despite EVERYBODY thinking they were crazy, and of how strong that faith will make them when God rewards their faith in the end.

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Back to school, back to work

Yesterday, my daughter returned to school. We had a lot of fun during her winter break. I went easy on all the rules and allowed her to watch a little more TV than she's usually allowed and I also allowed her to stay up late. I just threw her bedtime right out the window -- but just for a little while, of course. As her vacation drew to a close, we had to reinforce that bedtime AND that limited TV time, just to get her used to her "school schedule" again.

Still, we had fun during her break. We didn't go to the park or PlayLand as often as I wanted to (I AM still busy with a young baby), but we still did things together and spent lots of quality time together. It got to where she started wishing she'd never have to go back to school again (hah! I'm not letting her go without a bedtime for THAT long!), but I assured her that we'd still have the weekends to do fun things together.

Now she has gone back to school and I have gone back to "work," as well. During her winter break, I eased up on the writing (AND computer) in order to spend more time with her and the baby. But when she went back to school yesterday, I was back to running errands and getting "writing work" done. I have yet to start my new writing job (still doing the paperwork -- ugh!! -- and I still have to go through the training), but I got "back to work" on my book projects.

I know they say writers never take a vacation, but I think it's a good idea to "create" a vacation, of sorts. If only for a little while.

Sunday, January 06, 2008

Broken heart

Sometimes I wish there was no such thing as "love." Or that, at least, I couldn't feel it. That I could just close my heart up and NEVER feel love for anyone. The romantic kind of love, anyway. Life would be so much more simpler....

There are some things I need to fix, as far as my heart is concerned.

I need to start trusting my heart to the man I've remarried. I DO feel love for him (of course! he's the father of my children), but...I just can't trust him with all of my heart. A fact he has recently discovered. Some part of me is afraid. Afraid that he will hurt me again. And my heart is just so....guarded with him. Like it has all of these walls around it. I never saw this coming. Seriously! I never saw something like THIS happening. But, there it is. And as far as trying to fix THAT problem is concerned....well, I really think counseling would help. At first I thought "time" was the answer. But there are issues we need to work past. That I need to work past. It's not easy when someone ELSE in the past was abusive to me. And in some regard, I think that right there influences my relationship with my husband. So I think that, in this case, counseling is the answer.

I need to forget about someone in my past. When I say someone had hurt me, boy, do I mean it. Yes, someone had hurt me very badly. Someone playing a mean trick. And sometimes...I'll catch myself remembering it. Remembering things this person said to me. And wishing it had been true. That's when my heart starts to ache for that person...who wasn't really that person at all. Just someone playing head games with me. That's when I'll reign in my heart and say, "No. Don't be sad. Don't feel any kind of love for him. That wasn't even him. You want to love an impostor!" Those are the moments when I just have to tell my heart, "Stop." I have no idea how to fix THAT problem. I don't know, maybe with time? Maybe if I met/knew the REAL person and was friends with him, that would help me to just GRASP that it was all just a charade? I don't know. I want to understand how I can fix that problem my heart struggles with. That is something I need to work on.

And, finally, the other problem that I need to fix with my heart is learning to let go. Let go of my dream man. I now know why those dreams came back: Because I wanted them to. After the first dream, I was so riddled with sadness and guilt. Jonathan had killed himself in my dream because he thought I didn't love him. But I HAD! In the dream, I HAD felt that love for him! He thought he had NO ONE but he was wrong. And I wanted to set things right. That's why the dream came back. And it lasted for so long because I WANTED them to. There were times in my life when it was I who had no one. No friends, no one to love, and I had such a troubled atmosphere at home.... So it's natural that the dreams continued. My mind was giving me what my subconscious wanted. The kind of love I had in those dreams was REAL. It was TRUE LOVE. It was the kind of love that lasted over the years, the kind of love that was blind to how I looked, the kind of love that was NEVER destroyed no matter what. And I wanted that kind of love so bad. Even if it was only in my dreams. But now I know....it was not real. It was what my mind created for me, especially during the troubled times in my life. Those dreams were my therapy. And, sometimes, it was the love in those dreams, HIS love for me, that gave me strength to go on. And it was that kind of love that inspired me, too, in its own ways. But now I must let that love go....because the fact that it's NOT REAL and...not here in my life is just too painful for me to bear. I can't explain how I dreamed about someone who ended up looking like a real person, before I even KNEW about him. I can't explain that. It's just one of those...."common face" situations, I guess. But, in any event, I know I must forget all of that now. I must let it go and STOP my heart from keeping that love alive, because that love is not real and it never will be. As much as I want it to be. I can live with not knowing, but I can't live with not having....

These are the issues that I struggle with. Which my heart is struggling with. They are issues which no heart surgeon in the world could ever fix. Only me. And I may not have all the answers, I may not know who to talk to about these things, but I will do what I must to try to fix them. My heart is broken and it needs to be fixed. So I will fix it.

Thursday, January 03, 2008

No secrets

It seems like we can never keep something a secret. We try our hardest and sometimes, we'll even do things we wouldn't normally do just to protect that secret. But sooner or later, that secret comes out. The person we don't want to know the truth finds out the truth.

Or, somebody else finds out and tells the people we don't want to know.

It has so many ways of happening. The person a secret is kept from does some detective work or they act on a funny feeling. Or, they'll ask the question the person hiding the secret hopes they won't ask. And the...secretive person tells them the secret, because they won't lie to them.

That last part recently happened to me. Something I was trying to keep a secret about is out, and the person who asked was the person I did not want to know. But he asked and...well, there it was. Now other people know. My secret is out!

I know this kinda thing is good material for a story, but it really makes me wonder about why it happens. Does Fate WANT that person to know? Are they supposed to find out? And how is it some secrets are successfully kept, but not others?

Something to think about....

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Goodbye to all that!

Happy New Year!

2007 has finally come and gone. It definitely had some major life changes for me, and its fair share of ups and downs. I'm optimistic about the new year and I look forward to what new adventures it will bring.

There are some things I had in 2007 that I won't have in 2008. I atarted 2007 as a divorcee and start 2008 as a remarried woman. I started 2007 as the mother of one child and started 2008 as the mother of two. I started 2007 continuing with my E-zine and, just last month, sent out the final issue. There will be no E-zine for me in 2008.

Aside from that, I'm looking forward to taking on new writing projects and trying to work out my financial issues. Mainly, I haven't been able to save any money. There was ALWAYS something coming up that required the money I was trying to save! So this year I'm definitely going to make saving money a priority. I'm also going to make EVERY EFFORT to send EVERYONE in my family a birthday gift AND Christmas gifts. There were some people I missed last year, so I'm hoping I can get everyone this year!

Aside from that, I have the usual resolutions: Try to get into shape, eat a healthier diet, do more charity work. I'm hoping those things can be a reality this year.

I was not able to celebrate New Year's Eve with my friends (as I'd hoped/planned to!) but my immediate family was with me, and they are the people most important to me. I DID get invited to a party, but I didn't want to be away from my children so I stayed home. Next year, however, I'm planning a BIG New Year's Eve bash! I now know that I'll have to plan/arrange it and invite everyone a whole heck of a lot sooner than just 2 days before then. ;) But at least the most important people in my life were still here to enjoy it with me.