Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Zac and Laura

When my son is doing well I do not blog about it.  I should.  I should be bragging to the world.  I should be celebrating.  The thing about Schizophrenia is it is still there.  I guess when he is well it could be compared to a remission.  Unfortunately, there is no cure.  I know he will get bad again.  I just don't know when.  I look for signs.  Was he talking to himself or the TV?  Is he eating enough?  Is he taking his medicine?  He is staying awake most of the night.  Is that a sign or is it because he is a night owl like his father.  It never goes away.
I worry but I enjoy my time with Joel.  When Joel is in his remission, we spend more time together.  He likes to watch TV with me.  He really likes it if I let him watch what he wants on my TV.  He likes to talk.  He goes to watch The Kid play basketball.  He tries to wrestle with The Kid when he is here.  What it meant at Christmas was a great family celebration.  He did not get sad.  He did not start a fight because he was sad.  He enjoyed the day.  When he is happy, everyone can have more fun.
Last night someone posted on Facebook about Zac and Laura Pogliano.  Zac suffered from schizophrenia.  Laura is his Mother.  They lived in Morris but relocated to Maryland.  Last year USA Today did an article on Laura and Zac.  She is an advocate for the mentally ill.  She has started a petition on We the People calling on reforms to change the mental health system.  One of the things is to consider it a medical illness.  I say that all the time.  It is medical, not mental.  I read the article in USA Today.  I signed the petition.
Sadly, Zac passed away in his sleep last week.  They do not know the cause of death at this time.  The death certificate will not say schizophrenia.  It is not something a person can die from.  The medications for schizophrenia can cause damage to major organs and cause death.  In some cases the schizophrenia or the fact a person cannot live with it any longer causes suicide to happen.  It is still death by schizophrenia.  I read Laura's message.  She talks about Zac being at peace.  That is a relief.  I know what it is like to pray for peace for my son.  Not to have him taken away.  I want to be honest.  There have been times when Joel is so sick he does not know who he is, I have prayed for God to take him.  It is so painful to watch.  Imagine watching your child writhing in pain from a terrible illness that will never be cured.  Imagine that same child is in such a state of confusion they cannot be calmed.  Imagine them having such an anger they cannot be hugged.  That is a tragedy of mental illness.
Laura talked in her USA Today interview that schizophrenia is a disease that does not get casseroles.  She said if Zac had cancer and was in the hospital, her friends and neighbors would be there to offer help and bring meals.  Zac had been hospitalized 13 times in 6 years.  She never received a casserole. I am sure there are people who will be shocked and upset about the comparison.  It is a great way to help people understand the stigma and pain.
Zac was once a healthy child.  He was 17 when the schizophrenia showed itself.  He went from being an athletic, good looking, popular teen-ager to someone that suffered from delusions, paranoia. He turned to drugs.  His behavior was erratic.  Reading that made me feel better.  I understand bad parenting did not cause Joel's illness.  I know we did everything we could do at the time to try to get him help.  That said, there is always the feeling inside that I failed as his Mother.  When I read a story so similar to ours, I can tell myself, it was not me.
One other thing Laura mentioned in the article is that each time Zac got sick, "his brain loses something."   It is not something that is written about.  Here is a haunting description by Laura of the illness:
"Despite her relative good fortune, Laura says she can never move forward because her son never stops dying.  "Twice a year right in front of me, he disappears into psychosis, and there is very little left of who he is.  Then medicine resurrects him for a few months, I have much of my child back, then he dies again.
She mourns the life Zac has lost - sports, pals, girlfriend, college, she also wonders, What happened to my life."
I know from experience Laura has been mourning the loss of her son for years.  Now she can mourn and know his pain and suffering are over.  Rest in Peace Zac!!  To Laura, May Peace Be With You.

Monday, January 5, 2015

Reading Challenge for 2015 (Is that even a real number?)

This was a challenge that the Dream Maker put on Facebook.  Taken from a blog called, The Modern Mrs. Darcy.  You read one book at month starting at the top of the list.  It is a year of reading.  For discussion sake, let's try to at least stay within the first three on the list.  I will blog what I am going to read and where it is on the list.  I am starting with #1, a book I've been meaning to read.  I am going to go with a Diary of Anne Frank.  It could fit in a couple of places on this list.  But it was the first book that came to my mind when I read #1. 
The other book I am reading that fits #1 is the Bible.  A big thing on my bucket list.  I am working on it through a bible study class.  Starting at Genesis and working our way through.  I am also going to do a self-study.  Waiting on a book for that.
If you are joining in this challenge, just leave a comment.  Say what you are reading and what it falls under on the list.  When you finish it, leave a comment.  Each month I will write a blog on what my book for the month is.  That way we can start a new discussion every month.  This will also get me back to blogging on a regular basis.
Happy New Year!  So many books, so little time. 
The 2015 Reading Challenge. I'm starting now!

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Final Count From 2014

I do not know why but 2014 ended up being a low reading year for me.  It felt like I was reading all the time.  Not sure how this happened.  My book journal shows I read 68 books.  I think there are more.  I do not always remember to journal immediately.  I was so busy at the end of the year with my volunteer work, kept me from reading and remembering to journal when I did read.  The last couple of books I read were good ones.
For our December book club we read, A Christmas Memory by Truman Capote.  This is a short story.  We wanted something light for December.  It was a short story.  Almost too short.  I read it during the boring parts of a school band concert.  No reading took place while The Kid was playing.  Obviously, if he was playing, it was not boring.  It was a nice story.  A little boy lived in a house with many adult Aunts.  One Aunt was a bit off.  She and the boy became close friends.  They were like lost souls that found each other.  Once a year they made fruit cakes.  It was a story that I saw in my mind in black and white.  It was not a bleak story.  It was sweet. 
The last book of the year was,Hello From The Gillespies by Monica McInerney.  It was on a list somewhere as a must read.  Maybe an Oprah list.  This is a unique story.  It would be a good book club read.  I would rate it a 3.  It seems like I read too many 3's this year.  It would be wonderful to find a 5.  For 33 years Angela Gillespie has sent an end of year letter about the family.  It is always cheery and positive.  Until this year.  Angela went to write the letter and could not fake it.  She started writing about what was really going on in her family.  She never meant for her too honest letter to be sent.  As she started writing it felt good to get all the negative out of her system.  A sudden accident causes her to have to leave her house.  When her husband sees the letter he thinks he is doing Angela a favor by sending the letter out.  Everyone on Angela's list receives the letter describing how horrible her life has become.  The fall out trickles in slowly.  The letter causes the family to be confronted by the truth of where their lives are.  At least through Angela's eyes.  As they all deal with their realities there is another twist in the story.  It is a surprise and keeps the story from being predictable.  Good read if you want something unique.
My reading goals for next year are about the same.  Not trying to hit high numbers.  Would like to find more quality books.  One of the man books on my list is the Bible.  I am attending a Bible Study Class.  I am using a Bible version called The Message.  It is good for study purposes.  The first session was eye opening.  We looked at several versions of the Bible.  We read the same passages from each book.  So interesting to read the interpretation from each Bible.  I will not be rating the Bible.  It was arrogant enough to rate The Great Gatsby!!!
The Jersey Girl brought her family into the shop for a visit the other day.  The Dream Maker was in before Christmas.  I stay in continuous contact with Old Lady.  I think we are going to need to get together for a club meeting soon.  Maybe we need to go to quarterly meetings.  I miss our group getting together.  Course it will not be the same without Easy Rider.  She was the reason I started the club.  Maybe Skype?  Ladies, start thinking about something for us to read.....
Hubby and I attended the moving, Unbroken.  I was not excited about seeing this movie.  The book was great.  I was worried about the abuse.  When Louie was a POW the abuse was horrific.  I had to close my eyes a few times in the movie.  It was not as graphic as the book.  Thankfully!  It was a good movie.  Too long for the tiny theatre we were in.  No leg room for me.  It was miserable for Hubby.  Too many commercials before the movie.  I do not love watching movies in a theatre anymore.  I think it was over 10 years since Hubby and I had a movie date.  He said he can go 10 more without seeing a movie.  If we need to go again, we will find stadium seating.  Normally, I do not like movies at all after I read the book.  This movie was still good even after reading the book. 
I would like to go to the theatre to see the movie, Wild.  I loved the book.  I think the movie will be beautiful and good.  I have more patience for movies than Hubby.  I try to go at least once every two years.  I might get out to see Wild.
Anyone have any suggestions on great books from 2014?  Let me know.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

You Are Not Alone by Verediane Mukagatanazi

This book was written by a resident of our village.  She grew up in Rwandan.  The book is about growing up and surviving the civil war.  It is a short book.  I think she could have made it much more interesting if she would have written more.  She started writing as a journal.  It was suggested by her counselor to help her heal.  Someone who knew her story eventually convinced her to have it published.  She self-published so it can only be purchased locally.  I am currently selling it in my shop. 
I read it yesterday.  It is a quick read.  It is written the way she speaks.  Not grammatically correct.  If she were going to have it published, it would be more important.  I have not read any of the books about Rwandan.  I really stay away from books that are so tragic.  Does that mean I put my head in the sand?  Yes, I do.  Too much sadness. 
Interesting story about how I got the book.  I read an article in our local paper about Verediane and her book.  A few days ago I sent a text to my friend at the paper and asked her if they were selling any copies.  She said, no.  She did not where the book was being sold.  I was at the library on Monday night and asked if they had it.  They did not.  Tuesday a friend came in my shop.  She said, would you be interested in selling Verediane's book?  I said, yes.  Did you know I was trying to find a copy?  She said, no.  I was just thinking it is a good place for her to sell it.  So odd how these things happen!!!  Verediane brought me a few books that afternoon.  I can help her get the story out there.  I gave her money for my copy.  She said she did not want me to pay for it.  I said, no, I would have bought the book. 
The book was not filled with all the details of the horrific events.  She tells the story as if it happened to someone else.  It is first person but she takes emotion out of the story.  If that makes sense?  Reading it still leaves an impression of so many obstacles she had to overcome. 
I had never met her before she brought the books.  Today she stopped in with more books.  I wanted to hug her after reading her story.  Held back because I did not know how she would take it. It was an odd experience to read that story and just have a normal conversation.  We did not discuss the book.  There were people in the shop.  Next time I will discuss it.  She is a tiny lady.  One of those times I am reminded that we never know the story behind the face.  Could never imagine what she lived through.  Now I want the story of how she ended up in our little town!!  From Rwandan to here!  Unreal!! 
If you want to read it, come and pay me a visit.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Happy Birthday Tink!!

 I love these pictures.  They show the two sides of Tink.  She has a serious side.  Look at that beautiful face.  She just finished walking in the kiddie parade.  She must have been in a great mood, she has her arm around Coco!
Tink is a big goof.  Notice how Coco does not trust Tink coming at her.  She is a funny girl!  The sarcastic funny we love. 
Happy Birthday my sweet Tink!  I hope there is at least one more year of cuddling and loving to spend time with your Grammy left in you.  Well really I hope there is a lifetime of spending time with your Grammy left in you!!!  I love to spend an evening with Tink cuddled next to me.  She does not mind staying in jammies all day, being a zombie in front of the TV, reading a book or being read to, playing a video game over and over.  Like her Grammy, Tink can become quite obsessed with video games.  One evening she was helping me with a PicWords clue.  She said, Grammy you know why it is so hard, you are on level 103.  You need to start over and it will be easier.  She was able to find a few words at the higher level.  Another smart child!   I know you will have a great day Tink!  Happy 8th Birthday, Love You More

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Life In The Slow Lane

When people think of life in a small town I think they imagine it is slow paced, boring way to live.  The truth is living in a small town is exhausting!!  Seriously, exhausting.  When I lived in a big town, I did not stay busy.  I think I could fill every hour of my life if I wanted to.  In a small town, there is more ownership.  If a person has any sense of community, they understand volunteering is essential.  The problem is only a small percentage of people take their responsibility seriously.  So a handful of people work for the entire town. 
Small towns do not have never ending budgets to get things done.  If all the bushes downtown look shabby, people take it upon themselves to trim them.  Our village workers do not have the time for constant upkeep.  Clean-up days are held in the warm weather.  People walk around pulling weeds, picking up garbage.  Don't complain about the town looking shabby if you do not want to help change it.
Mondays are the only day I do not go into Coco's.  Last year I would spend an hour a week in Tink's classroom.  This year I am helping in Coco's class.  I spend three hours on Monday mornings volunteering.  The Kindergarten classes are very crowded.  There are 30 students in Coco's class.  Sounds like chaos, it really is not.  Coco has an amazing teacher.  She keeps her class very organized.  She does not scream at the kids.  She will take any help from volunteers that she can get.  There are teachers who do not want parents helping.  I had a great time yesterday!!  I helped kids who needed to finish papers.  I worked one of the stations where the students were working on new things.  I went with the class to their Redbird store.  They collect Redbird bucks for good behavior.  That was fun!!  I was exhausted when I left the class.  I really enjoyed it. I am always happily exhausted when I leave.
After school I force myself to go straight to the grocery store.  I am trying to cook more.  Went home started laundry, cooked up a bunch of hamburger.  I freeze the cooked meat.  Pull out small packages when I want to throw something together.  So useful!!  Started laundry.  Took a much needed nap.  At 4:00 I attended a meeting for the group that works to improve the town.  I am on the committee the plans all the events.  We are planning our Christmas activities now.  The only major event I do not work on is July 4th.  I do not want to touch that!!  I enjoy July 4th picnics.  That meeting took about 90 minutes.  I went home ate dinner and went to the Village Meeting.  I do not always attend the village meeting.  This was important because it was regarding road projects downtown.  I need to be aware how long roads will be torn up and how it will affect businesses on our side of the block.  Did not receive any good news at that meeting!
Tonight I have a church meeting.  I am part of the group that is doing the search for a new Pastor.  This is an important committee to be a part of.  Finding the right Pastor for our little church is very important!!! 
My point to this is not to say look at me, I am so important.  It is to show how small town life sucks a person in.  One person can make a difference in our town.  One idea can have an impact.  There are people that do much more than I do.  There are people that are not involved in any of the organizations but on their own will spend hours picking up litter.  They will pick a street and clean it up. 
There are also too many people that complain about how things are done but never help.  They use the excuse, nothing ever changes.  No sense wasting our time.  All the negative stuff people say when they are just too lazy or self-absorbed to get involved.
I love my town.  I want it to thrive and grow.  I want our Christmas activities to be so awesome people drive here to see what we do.  We are building something special.  A few people sit in a meeting and come up with amazing ideas.  Then we make it happen.  Hard not to want to get involved with that!!!

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Honey In Your Heart

I have not been reading lately.  It has been over a month since I read a book.  No reason.  One of those times I cannot concentrate on a book.  My friend gave me this book over a month ago.  I tried to read it a couple of times and could not get into it.  Yesterday, I finally got into it.  This is one of the most beautiful books I have ever read.  Without the illustrations, I would not have enjoyed the book as much as I did.  It is an inspirational book.  Has soon great suggestions, wonderful sayings.  Still, it is the illustrations I love!!!!
 The muted colors are great.  I will put in some of my favorite sayings in the book.
Be happy - it's the taste that lingers longest on your tongue.
Live in the fully occupied moments of each day.
This saying is so true!!  Early in the morning it is easy to feel positive.  Keeping that feeling is tough.  Here is the saying:  In the freshness of the dawn we see the truth, everything is possible.
Build your world one good, grateful word at a time.
What footprints will you leave in the soil of this day?
Live then or now.  It's impossible to be two places at once.
This one is important:  Be good to yourself: it's the way to teach others how to treat you.
Choose flexibility over impatience.
Recognize a kindred spirit in a new friendship.

I would not have bought the book for myself.  Glad I have a friend that knew I would enjoy it.  Nice uplifting read.  Not a book to rate.