Wins and losses = PTSD

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It is by the numbers they say, we live our lives in columns of wins and losses. Every day we, the human beings walking this gigantic greenhouse we call earth walk out the door and in the blink of an eye easily break down our existence to nothing more than wins and losses.

From the time we can understand the gibberish coming from our parent’s lips we are told to pick our battles, get along with others, speak only when spoken too, judge not lest ye be judged, and we can be anything we choose to become yet be prepared for the struggle that may lay ahead.

Every one of those tidbits of wisdom revolve around wins and losses.

It further convolutes our mental wellbeing as we grow older. For we no longer look to our parents for sage advice. These challenges be it work, relationships, sports, after hours activities, projects and dreams of our own that must be chased can all be boiled down to wins and losses! We take them on; lumps to the head, body and mind be dammed! We are adults now and can handle our own business.

We hear it all the time! WINNNING!!! Or man you are such a loser. An assumption made upon a moment, movement or emotional situation resulting in an action, deed or punishment.

Therefore our societal needs dictate we win! Nothing brings fame, fortune, happiness or simple satisfaction more than winning! When we are younger and we win at a team sport, that moment of exhilaration is breath taking, amazing, a real high produced by natural endorphins leaving us exhausted upon its retreat from our system.

But when we lose if we are truly driven individuals we strive harder for success, fighting, clawing, learning, adapting, becoming one who grows and develops into that winner or winning individual again. Why? Because we crave that sensation, we lust for that endorphin rush, we yearn to be someone or something special, not just in our own eyes or the eyes of the ones we love but in everyone’s eyes!

So no matter what we chose to do in life, thanks to the imprinting our parents and society have placed upon us (and this not a bad thing mind you, just stay with me) we are left with wins and losses, our whole life can be simplified into easily accessible columns of wins and losses.

It is what makes us as human beings strive for the very best. It is what I believe keeps us getting up every day and moving forward, no matter how difficult life can and does become.

I read a story the other day about a fire captain in southern California who took it upon himself while out driving to stop his vehicle upon a highway overpass, place the vehicle in park, walk to the security fence, scale that fence and jump to the freeway below. He met his untimely end at the front of a semi-truck. It should never have happened.

Last year according to the National Fire Protection Agency or NFPA 132 firefighters took their own lives in this great nation. One Hundred and Thirty Two firefighters woke up one morning and could no longer bear the thought of waking up another day.

We as a firefighting family are not doing a good enough job.

Those 132 human beings who sacrificed their lives for their community on a daily basis were let down by us their firefighting family. 132 lives taken, more than by injury or illness last year. Gone forever.

WE ARE LOSING

Firefighters take the wins and losses columns we are engrained with from childhood and we amplify them, placing them under a magnifying glass within our heads. Those win and loss columns mean more to us than our sports rec league basketball team, or our children’s baseball team. Winning at a football fantasy league or winning by finishing the build on your deck. Everything in life fits into these columns of success or failure and when it comes to our chosen profession they mean so much more because lives are attached within each column.

The way I see it we are failing to recognize that although we will never feel as though it is ok to lose, we do lose and we need to talk about it. We need to talk about those losses and how they affect us emotionally when we pull off the uniform. We need to quit treating these losses as if they are the elephant in the room everyone sees but no one wishes to speak about.

Imagine everyday going to work, trying hard and though you have minor wins here and there the losses over time begin to pile up. In the beginning of your career its ok, you rebound well and pretend to not keep track. But after several years those losses begin to wear you down and after a while you can no longer pretend they don’t exist. You stop waking up each morning thinking like a winner! You begin to dread that first cup of coffee where before you would grab it on the way out the door thinking today is the day for another win!

The wins are there, don’t get me wrong, but soon stopping the spread of fire through a structure quickly or rescuing a family from an overturned vehicle doesn’t equate to the loss of life you have been party too. You feel remorse for not having done the job better, or quicker because in the end people are still injured and some things just can’t be unseen! The feeling of success slowly becomes fewer and father between.

Someone once told me that each incident truly bothering me is like a rock, and I am coping by placing those rocks in an emotional back pack. The problem is no one has taught me how to unload the back pack, so I walk around with more weight than I can bear on a daily basis and someday it will be so heavy the thought of just giving up, no longer wishing to carry this backpack will enter my mind.

We wear the wins on the outside, we carry the losses in our backpack. We are no longer well balanced and what we carry around is just our work, let alone what we load onto ourselves from our personal home life. Like a rat in an unwinnable maze we become emotionally trapped.

The faces from our past begins haunting us, showing up at incidents, during our family time, holidays and worst of all in our sleep, our dreams. We transfer guilt and blame, death and loss onto those we love and we hate ourselves for every minute our psyche allows participation in this pointless mental interaction.

This Christmas when you are with family and friends look around, is there a firefighter, police officer or emergency medical worker with you? Talk with them, show them love, let them know how very grateful you are to have them in your life. They may not be reeling from stagnation within the wins and losses column, their back pack may not be full, but if they have been doing any of these glorious jobs for any amount of time they might not yet recognize its ramifications. They only need an ear, an ability to tell a story, and be allowed to feel everything is ok.

If one of these people you know shows any signs of depression, withdrawal or strange behavior, don’t be afraid to lend a hand. Don’t be afraid to tell them you love them and find the assistance they need. Be that pillar of strength they are looking for.

I don’t have all the answers, but I know this; on this Christmas Eve 2016 it is all I can think about. That somewhere out there a person such as myself is wondering if another is ok. If they need help, and is there anything that can be done to help them. We can’t keep losing, we can’t keep feeling as though we are losing and we can no longer turn a blind eye to Post Traumatic Stress Disorder in the emergency services field.

1 firefighter lost is one to many, 132 is simply unacceptable! I don’t have the numbers for Police or Emergency Services (ER rooms, Ambulances) but we are one large family. Let’s work hard to make 2017 the breakout year for PTSD acceptance. Build programs so our own can reach out to help our own who are struggling.

No firefighter should feel as though the only option they have is to scale a fence and jump. Leaving behind everything they ever loved, everything that fell into the win column on a daily basis.

Be thankful for what you have, for who you love and for who loves you in return. Merry Christmas and a very happy New Year..

Betty….

If you sense someone is in trouble:

Call 911

The National Suicide Prevention Line: 1-800-273-8255

Contact the 10-33 foundation for more information

www.1033foundation.org

Betty’s AKA:

Fire Engineer James Franceschi

22 years of service to the citizens of Dixon California

 

 

 

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The Christmas Blah’s

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The spirit of Christmas is the spirit of love and of generosity and of goodness. It illuminates the picture window of the soul, and we look out upon the world’s busy life and become more interested in people than in things.

Thomas S Monson

Christmas this year has become about time, days, hours and minutes. There has been no Christmas joy in my heart. Each day a beating reminder there are only X-amount of days until Christmas morning. Only so much time allowed for visiting my wife in between hours away from the family at work and minutes of normalcy squeezed into moments with my children.

Christmas time, a time for years I looked forward too as an adult like that of a bewildered child. Its majesty and deep spiritual meaning associated with family, myth and fun. But it just hasn’t been the same. My inner soul has been empty. Deprived of some vison or fantasy of what Christmas means to so many. I just can’t seem to rise from this holiday funk.

Blaming our retailers is of course the easy way out. Black Friday, Cyber Monday or all cyber flipping week, whatever the case may be. Watching our countries citizens crash through Wal-Mart doors crushing others to rip a trinket or cheaply made object from another’s hand with greed and animosity does not sound very Christmas like at all. People purchasing things; things that just add up with more things to become either re-gifted things or things that sit in a corner or in a closet or on a garage shelf.

But it’s not the retailers I blame. In reality I hardly watch any TV so the commercial onslaught doesn’t really affect me personally.

The reality is it has been a very hard year, heck a very difficult two years and I know it sounds like I am whining but I feel we have been blessed surrounded by family during these many trying times. This year for Christmas I just haven’t felt as lucky. Not because of anything family related, it just hasn’t felt right. Oh we have put up a tree, played Christmas music, gone Christmas shopping, and even wrapped a few presents. But it feels like our family is simply going through the motions; add to that my responsibility to work Christmas Eve and its breaking my heart. It is what I must do, it is my job, and the kids will be fine but inside it feels as though our family is being robbed emotionally once again. There has never been a Christmas that one or both of us hasn’t been home. The bond of family broken by circumstances beyond our control.

Thanksgiving we gathered and quickly I found my way down the hill to Jacy’s room. But selfishly for me it was too short a visit, although no amount of time would have been enough I am sure. Christmas feels as though it will be much of the same; just be another blip on the horizon. Like a shooting star, there for one brilliant moment and then gone before anyone really had a chance to gaze upon its beauty. Sad…

Then, as I was riding my very own Debbie Downer red sleigh of despair I stumbled upon the quote above. Quickly realizing my own sorrow had in fact clouded these eyes. A Christmas spirit shined bright and soon the realization it had been shining every day for the last two years hit me like a gallon of egg nog! Stuck within my own bubble I had forgotten Christmas is a symbol that brings out the good in people as they unify over family, spirit, religion and love. If you are lucky and I mean very lucky you get to see that kind of love and devotion throughout the year as Christmas’ regenerating powers overflow beyond 25 days of December. It’s like a check in point for your soul.

The spirit of Christmas is the spirit of love and of generosity and of goodness.

How blind and pitiful could I be? Never in my life had I been surrounded by more love, generosity and goodness than right here, right now. Without the gift of love shown to myself and my family I couldn’t even comprehend how much harder this journey would become. To love and be loved, to be thought of, cared for and held deep in someone’s prayers, the most intimate sign of love, is indeed breathtaking. My selfish sorrow for what I wasn’t going to have within a Christmas parameter had blinded me to what I have had all along.

Family, friends and community.

At Christmas time, who could really ask for more? So starting tomorrow, I am going to give it another shot! Wipe away my dreariness, put on my best holiday spirit and pray. Just like I should have been doing all along. Pray for those who have nothing, pray for those who are in pain or suffering. Pray for those who cannot make it home, are separated or are alone either by choice or because of circumstances beyond their control. Pray for those alone because they are all they have left. I am going to pray for everyone who has given so much time and love to our family and pray for my family as we work through a Christmas without our girl. I am just going to pray and be thankful for all we have.

In my prayers I will also keep praying for my wife. It is tough being in the hospital this long. Her room is decorated but it is not the same. There is a tree with lights, bows, garland, and ornaments. But it will be her first and hopefully her last Christmas away from home and her children. We will visit her Christmas day and smother her in love so she doesn’t lose her Christmas spirit. We will pray.

Thank you everyone for reminding me what matters most.

Update: Jacy is holding her own. Her numbers are getting better and she is finally able to eat some solid food!!! Yesterday she had sausage and pancakes! That is incredibly huge! Her gastrointestinal tract seems for the moment to be working just fine. No bleeding. Her lungs have switched from viral infections in the upper respiratory to the lower respiratory. She is still having trouble breathing and needs a few breathing treatments a day but overall she is starting to sound better when she speaks. Her bladder is still bleeding and there is future treatment options on the horizon. She is growing hair and it is coming in quickly! When you put it all together it appears she IS getting better!! We are still on a wait and see plan but overall it feels different this time.

So please if everyone can continue to pray, I believe we may just see a turn around here real soon and that would lead to a very happy New Year!

Merry Christmas everyone!

 

 

 

 

Time for a holiday drink?

Black Friday has come and gone leaving those of us who remember Christmas of old wondering why, and how we as a society ever allowed ourselves to believe this consumer orgy was ever ok. Every blogger under the sun has pounced upon Black Friday so don’t worry there will be none of that today. It was merely a blip on my mind leading to another topic dear to my heart.

My entire blog for the last two years has been devoted to my lovely awesome wife Ms. Jacy. When I started this blog it was about family, fatherhood and the joy associated with raising children. Instead much like a Sunday goulash (only older people remember our parents making that little tasty number) it’s combined many facets of our life. I am thankful for all of you who faithfully follow my writings and the kindness you have shown is flattering to say the least. But today, if you will allow me, I am going to step away from Ms. Jacy (please keep reading) and return to why I began this writing exercise in the first place. Fatherhood.

As I stated, Black Friday has come and gone which leads us officially (Wal-Mart be damned) into the holidays. Friends, family, co-workers, festivities and wonderful Christmas parties await us around every corner. It really is the most wonderful time of year and for many it is anticipated all year long.

Including our kids.

Over the last few weeks several conversations have arisen between myself and other parents in regards to underage drinking. With the holidays approaching and school soon to be out it appears to be an even hotter topic. Don’t be fooled our children are participating whenever and wherever they can. It is disturbing how easily it has become regardless of rules, laws and such for our children to actually obtain alcohol. Thus a serious problem lies and the temptation is no less for my child as it is for yours.

Those who read my blog and have known me since childhood also know for me to speak out about underage drinking is akin to the pot calling the kettle black. So let’s set up a little history.

I began drinking at 13. It was easy to acquire, just hit the old man’s Black Velvet stash and replace with water. (Yeah I know the kids think they invented that trick but it’s been happening for generations) As I became older it of course was a rite of passage for many parents who condoned drinking and had done so feverishly as kids to pass that legacy on to their children and friends, so obtaining alcohol was no big deal. Of course the “rule” was you don’t leave whatever property you are on while imbibing, but that rule was never followed.

Everyone has an argument as to why they drink/drank. Either to be cool, fit in, hide from something or someone in their lives or just because. I drank to fit in, I also drank because I was very unhappy, drinking allowed me to open up, act the fool with no repercussion and pretend to be something I was not. As we grew older the alcohol grew in quantities and the locations in size as more and more young people like myself congregated to our little gatherings. Whether up on the mountain, cruising in the next town over, down in the sloughs or the backyard of some approving parents’ home we partied and we partied hard. Laws be damned!

It all sounds glamorous doesn’t it? Fun, fun and more fun! We were young, we pretended to be adults as the image of alcohol portrays and we survived or at least most of us so what’s the big deal? Right?

Somewhere between my sixteenth and seventeenth year at a party my consumption reached the limits of my body. To this day some 32 years later I do not remember the event I am about to describe. What I know came from friends who witnessed it and the parties involved. I have carried great guilt over this for many years and as a fireman it is what keeps me trying my hardest to keep teen drinking in the spotlight.

Having consumed way too much for some reason I decided to climb into my father’s 1963 GMC and drive home. Now once again I remember none of this, what I do remember was waking up the next morning to my father feverishly wanting know why his truck was missing a mirror and had damage to the hood, door and cab. I didn’t know. Of course being an outraged man further fueled by the stench of alcohol within my room that answer didn’t sit well. What I later learned was while driving away from the party, I struck another truck parked on the side of the road and drug it for a bit. There were people outside and it is amazing no one was hurt. Terrified of what I had done, I did what any other immature young moron would do, I lied.

It wasn’t me, how could I have done this? But it was all true and the sad thing is, instead of curbing my drinking it only pushed me further into a bottle.

By today’s standards that would have resulted in my life being irreversibly ruined. An arrest, a court date, a law suit from not only the involved but those who witnessed the incident claiming mental stress. My parents who had nothing would have lost everything! Why? Because of my ignorance, because of the ignorance of those around me, because at that age making adult decisions is not an option, let alone alcohol fueled decisions.

But it was 1983/84. A different time for sure. My father owned a restaurant in town very popular with local law enforcement and I cannot tell you how many times an officer would say; You’re Bobs kid aren’t you? I would nod yes, use my best level headed Eddie Haskell and with license back in hand head to the nearest friend’s house with a promise my 64 Chevy or my 81 Chevy would no longer be seen on the streets of town. That would never happen today!

Jump forward ten years and beyond. I am at the sight of my very first vehicle fatality. I remember it like yesterday. The car was an 84 Buick, it sat roughly 18-24 inches off the ground wrapped around a tree. A 18 year old male and 17 year old female still strapped into their seats compressed into a space of no more than 4 feet wide. I watched as life drained from their faces. Their eyes once glistening upon our arrival now flat almost sandy looking with a distant far off gaze. They say you never forget your first on scene death, the ones you just couldn’t rescue and “they” are right. Many have come and gone, some have stuck with me more than most, but your first, Yep that will be with me till the day I die.

They were drinking. They came from a party. They promised to not go anywhere but I imagine when you are in love and the car is right outside there are plenty of reasons to head off under a moonlit sky to find solace in an orchard. They were probably just working their way through that “rite of passage” we all talk about.

How about a car load of senior girls from the next town over headed home from a party? They too had all been drinking but the funny part is they didn’t cause the accident! 70 mph in the fast lane when two others jostled for position causing an accident that collected them in the process. Their car hit the medium and rolled several times. Funny thing about drinking and driving, sometimes you forget the simplest of things, your house keys, your phone, oh yeah; your seatbelt. Young ladies strewn everywhere! 3 on the ground. My patient, she received an on scene tracheotomy. It was to no avail. Her friends? All gone. Why? Seatbelts…….

Arrive at a house where the parents have been away for no more than an hour. What do they find upon entering their residence? Their underage son, angry he could not attend a party with some friends for New Year’s Eve has decided on his own to polish off the family bottle of Tequila. Yup he is a genius. When we arrive he is nothing short of the devil himself. Fighting, spitting, swearing and rapidly disintegrating as Tequila takes over his body. He was safely transported and survived, but what we learned later, just barely. He had consumed enough alcohol to quite literally walk the line of death. Why? Because News Years parties are a rite of passage! His parents made the right choice but it didn’t stop him from continuing down a very dangerous path.

I don’t want my child drinking. I know it makes me unpopular with many, but I don’t care. Drinking and screwing off cost me ten years of my working life. Drinking and screwing off almost cost me a future. Our children all have bright futures if we show them the way! The right way! Not some antiquated thinking that results in time and again others being hurt or dying! You can sit there all you want and claim you have it under control, it won’t happen to your child BUT YOU ARE WRONG!!!

Have you ever had to tell someone their child, friend or even adult friend or child is dead? I HAVE!!! There is nothing honorable, fun or even remotely great about that moment! It stays with you, eats at you, and gnaws at your soul! We walk around with our heads in the sand thinking everything will be ok, but guess what? It won’t! Not one adult parent I have ever spoken with has said; well I expected this to happen! Nope it usually begins with why? Then leads into; he/she was supposed to be at so and so’s house! Followed by I didn’t even know they were doing that! Yep that’s how it is!

This has to end. We as adults need to break this awful chain. We can keep going around year after year counting our blessing, being thankful it isn’t our child but then when we let them drink are we really acknowledging that we understand the consequences? I think not.

Every year at this time I usually post some little paragraph about holiday drinking, driver safety and hoping everyone I care for stays safe. But this year I hope by opening up about myself, my past, the future that lays before all of us with teenage children you can see, it is not up to them! Oh they bare some of the responsibility, but really it starts with us as parents. If we preach no drinking, hold them accountable for their drinking habits and hopefully do a good enough job of showing the possibilities before them without making a critical mistake we can stop or break this chain once for all.

It is our job to make the hard, unpopular decisions. It sucks! Make no mistake, there are times I would much rather be my child’s friend, but I am not! I am something much more important than any friend will ever be, I am their father.

Listen I am a realist, I know my little blog isn’t going to do a thing towards stopping this generational fueled epidemic, but please, this holiday season take the time to know where your kids are, what they are doing and help me try to break this chain of alcohol abuse. Nothing would make me happier than to never hear or witness another young life lost way too soon.

Thanks for making it all the way to the bottom of this page, I promise a cheerier post tomorrow.

 

 

2015- I cant wait to meet you.

AND NOW A TRIP DOWN MEMORY LANE…

On January 1, 2014 I wrote this piece, posting it on the 2nd. My 2015 post is at the bottom of the page..

The Face of Leukemia 2014

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2014 Day 1……..

364 days to live.

364 days to wake up every morning, count our blessing and live. 364 days to write a new and exciting story! You see my dearies pontificating New Years resolutions involving the standard fare of weight loss, higher education, finding love, spending more time with our children, adding onto the house, finding a better job, saving more money, vacationing more, visiting family and friends and so on and so on is just not my style this year. But watching my wife live is.

364 days, until I can count 365 more days of life lived, 365 days written into the history books of our family. Cancer has this funny way of cheating you from a reality lived by so many others, changing the way your life story is told.  Cancer also has a way of sticking in your craw like an annoying persons laugh or an itch you just cant scratch.  It’s there, no one else can see it, no one else can feel it, only those who have it, or love someone burdened by it understand, yet the rest of the world just goes on with its business of worrying about resolutions for which a majority will sadly never achieve.

A new year a new fear.

We are winning this battle! Jacys superwoman body has done incredibly well! The last bone marrow draw showed no signs of Leukemia swimming in her blood, lurking in the darkness like an evil monster. Consolidation therapy starts on Monday and she will begrudgingly return to the hospital for 5 days of chemotherapy.  Her strength is back, she is feisty as ever, feeding horses in the morning and an occasional walk in the afternoon! (rumor has it she was spotted jogging on a levee, but its only a rumor) The next round of therapy will knock her down again and from what we understand recovery gets harder each time she finishes a session. She will come home weaker and a little sicker. Chemotherapy is not for the light-hearted, these patients (my wife included) are my heroes as I have witnessed the strain it places on the human body.  Yet Super Jacy has never deterred from her mission. Kicking cancers ass one cell at a time!

A fear still remains though. What if it (Leukemia) comes back? What if her white blood cell count doesn’t recover? What if she catches a common cold during these periods, (something that could kill her) what if?????? These are fears we will live with for the rest of our lives.  Every cough that arises, every sniffly nose, every fever, every-time she feels run down, for the rest of her life she will need to go have blood drawn and see the doctor. 3 more times to go, 3 more week-long sessions, three more weeks of hell.  In the end, a small price to pay to live. Jacy promised me she loved me enough to beat this, she is keeping her word.

Day 1…. Today began our 2014 journey and Jacy spent it the only way she knew how.

It was a day filled with visiting friends, making her children laugh, planning a birthday party for her son and wondering whether or not to shave the small patches of hair fighting against the laws of chemistry. Little strands hanging on for dear life, trying their very best to make my wife look like a chia pet. Biggest decision of the day? Shave the head or let those little hairs grow only to meet an untimely death in 4 days.

With the beginning of a new year I wonder about the thousands of other spouses, significant others, and children all living and loving someone close to them with Leukemia. I worry about the ones who struggle to support their loved ones without the means of expression such as writing brings to me.  Do they lay in bed at night afraid of the darkness, wondering how long, why them, all while scooting a little closer to the one they love just to feel their body heat. Are they ok, do they know its ok to feel the way they feel, can they find peace? I am sure they do and I am just rambling, but its in my nature to worry about everyone and everything.

So welcome 2014! I welcome you with open arms (and Betty’s arms are plenty big enough) for the hug of a lifetime! 2014 we hope you are filled with many misadventures, happiness and love! But most of all 2014, we pray you don’t leave us reeling like your bastard predecessor 2013 did! But if you do, not to worry, the story you tell will be interesting none the less…

364 days… The story begins right now…

images-18And what a story the year 2014 became.

2014 was indeed a year of highs and lows and yes I embraced it all with open arms.

Leukemia, sickness, emergency rooms, a torn up knee, a hurt back, a bum shoulder, my horse injured yet again.  An old friend lost while other old friends struggled to understand why?

A senior headed off to college, a Freshman headed to Nationals for rodeo, a daughter no longer scared of horses and trying her hardest to train them herself. A littlest son, discovering his love for art, painting, drawing, and creating.

Hundreds of new friends, family members united, a wife who Kicked Cancers Ass and cheated death!

2014 was indeed a challenge; it has left myself feeling many years older than my earthly age. I am tired, worn, raw, broken and quite frankly even though there were scattered good times, very glad to see it go!.  This year found me working hard at remaining mentally strong throughout the first half while floundering physically during the second half. It was indeed a struggle to keep a positive attitude at times, but thankfully I had an entire village of people supporting me, something I will never forget.

Highs and lows, isn’t that what its all about? Highs and lows?  We travel this pathway of life learning, absorbing, growing and hoping one day we understand what it all means. Changing, evolving, sculpting our little piece or niche that we can point to and claim as our own, our destiny, our end game.

I don’t know what’s in store for this year 2015. So many things swimming in my head about life, the future and what it may or may not hold for myself and our family. What direction our lives should take, both personally and professionally. What lays around the corner, hiding in the darkness? Are more demons waiting to rear their ugly heads, further terrify our souls or is this family finally going to see a silver lining surrounding us for some time to come? My fingers remain crossed…

Either way there is one thing I know for sure, I am and always have been a believer in new beginnings; that each day you arise from slumber a fresh day awaits you like a clean chalkboard, an empty etch a sketch, or a blank canvas just waiting for your creation.  No matter the pain felt inside, no matter the physical or mental limitations holding you down, and no matter the baggage carried by others in your name. A new day awaits. But one must remember, with a new day comes a responsibility to create, otherwise it is just that and nothing more. Only your vision achieved through hard work and positive thinking can mold an unforgettable day, a brighter week and eventually with time and practice a spectacular year.

No one can hand you these skills, no one can will you an outcome, steal success for you or force you into making changes you need to succeed. Just you, only you, and only through an ability to let go of the past and look forward to a brighter future.

So even though I am tired, worn, raw and broken, a new year is on the horizon and with it, anticipation for 364 more days of creation…

Betty thanks you for following me in 2014 and wishes you all the very happiest of New Years…. 2015 here we come!

 

A journey begins

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Thursday June 6th 4pm- Jacy and I arrive at church where Pastor Kathy hands us our traveling funds, afterwards we move very quickly to the dentist office where everyone is anxiously waiting to go! Excitement is high, some have nerves jittering away but all are ready to get this mission trip underway.

Our group developed laminated cards for placement on our luggage to more easily count and identify these 22 bags throughout the trip. These laminated cards are bright yellow and create a bit of visibility in a sea of American Touristers, OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAmaking ours easily recoverable while rotating around the turnstile at baggage claims. Tags and zippers zip tied in place, money obtained, smiling faces and photographs taken in front of Kristina’s Tea Room/Dentist office, and it’s time to load up and depart. More hugs, a hands shake here and there, along with one heavenly prayer delivered from our pastor. Everyone chips in as bags are tossed into our vans and just like that hallelujah we were off!!OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Heading out of town Kristina was rolling through her mental list of supplies, it was then she quickly realized some very important instruments had been forgotten. We quickly grabbed the first exit, turned back towards town and notified the lead van of our intentions. With the lead van continuing on, one of Kristina’s employees met us at the first off-ramp into town for a hand off of Olympic proportion! We now had tools in hand, anxiety squashed and were headed in the right direction!

The ride into the city was relatively uneventful until we approached the bay bridge, then all of that changed! Kristina received a phone call that Ruben (Alisa’s husband) was broken down on the side of the OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAfreeway in the lead van. We were given the exit name and luckily we were within a mile of their location. The van was located on the shoulder of an off ramp and pulling in behind them a tow truck was already present. It appeared as though the vans radiator had split, leaving no water for cooling. Alisa arranged a tow back to Dixon as the state funded tow company would only accept AAA. As I surveyed the damage many alternatives were being thrown about and you could sense frustration building as the thought of possibly missing our flight was more than anyone wanted to deal with. While examining our surroundings it dawned on me that I knew exactly where we were, and without hesitation my phone was abuzz as I reached out to someone who may have been able to help!

My sister lives only an exit away!

The phone rang only twice and with a hearty hello, my sister was on the other end of the line. I asked where she was and amazingly she was only ten minutes from our location! When I explained our need for assistance she quickly hung up the phone, gathered up her husband and his vehicle then headed our direction! Two vehicles to the rescue! While waiting, staring into the back of both vans, I started doing the math and quickly realized that even with both of her vehicles coming we wouldn’t have enough room or at the very least it would be very, very close! Before panic could set in a taxi pulled up offering assistance! We loaded it with three people and their luggage, sending Brent with some traveling cash for payment. (Brent is our international man of mystery) Perfect! After a quick recount of all baggage remaining the numbers work, the luggage will fit and we will all hopefully make it on time! Thank you God for showing us the way!

My sister and her husband arrived, hugs of thanksgiving were had, we loaded up and in a jiffy our caravan was together again at San Francisco International Airport with just enough time to spare as we would later find out while checking our baggage! Hallelujah! My sister and her husband wished us well, we all thanked them and our gratitude hopefully showed! Once they were gone we headed inside and just OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAlike that we were a mission group ready for departure! American Airlines as in years past was fantastic! I cannot say enough wonderful things about this Airline! They waived our extra baggage fees, they waived our overweight luggage and they treated us with respect. In today’s fast paced world that kind service filled with understanding and a good listening ear is hard to find. Once Jacy had finished taking care of baggage check in the American Airlines personnel wished a safe and fruitful journey.

After a quick bite to eat we gathered at the terminal gate, many were texting, Facebooking, or reading, but all were excited and ready to go.

Our flight was uneventful (thank goodness) and landing in Miami left us a little disoriented as the world there was abuzz with 5am travelers. Unfortunately we moped around still stuck in a 2am thought process. Coffee for some, a nap for others and then a few of us walked the concourse repeatedly, OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAknowing another two hour flight was in store. Yeah the thought of sitting any longer was not a pleasant one for many of us. As we wander about the airport killing time, a strange thing begins to occur where ever we go. People seem to know Brent? Not by name mind you, but for some reason people wave at him or acknowledge his presence! It’s kind of odd (in a good way) and we all notice this little social experiment in the making. Now Bent is the father to one Nick Watney, a golfer on the PGA pro circuit. This of course is wonderful in itself but we have decided it is because he looks a little like an older more stoic James Bond! From this point forward it becomes a running gag! Do you know Brent Watney? Do you?

The flight into Port au Prince was uneventful as well (double thank goodness), touching down it felt good to be back. My heart filled with joy as we dipped over the coastline coming in for a landing. I felt as though I could pick out the small town of Leveque as we flew along. I know that’s not true but it sure felt nice thinking I could. Unloading off the plane the first thing I noticed was just how much the airport had changed. It looked new and clean, organized and almost regal, compared to last year. Inside it only got better, painted walls, light air conditioning and clean floors. Customs was a breeze and getting to our luggage was much easier!

Yes we were back! It felt right! Now if only we (Jacy, Heather and I) can help others to experience why we feel this way before the week is done.

Once at the baggage turnstile it became quickly apparent some things hadn’t changed. The usual players were present, red shirts, blue shirts all of them, leaning in trying to earn your business by grabbing your bags and “handling” them for you. After further inspection we realized there to be one more bag than claim tickets which meant we were going nowhere! That was until a fin, a fiver the old Abraham Lincoln made its presence, and then through a terse quip and a short wave of the hand from our newest “best” friend Cliff, the airport inspectors were gone. Cliff, hustled us quickly over to a final check out point where another airport employee asked me if we had “medical” OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAsupplies, to which I stated yes! Thinking this might lead us to a free pass, my hopes were squashed when she waved us into another room where all 22 of our bags were to be flopped onto a table, opened and inspected! (Sarcastic “YAY” entered here)Thankfully after staring blankly at about the sixth bag our inspector become frustrated and waved us through!

Cliff moved us like a pod of fish, yelling at any other red shirts vying for a piece of the action to stay away! About this time we found our old friend Jackson (the one arm man) just inside the exit door. Jackson is hired by the United Methodist Church to ensure the mission teams make it to their pick up point and driver with little hassle from the “red shirts”. Jackson swiftly moved our group outside where more red shirts clamored upon our belongings until JacksonOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA yelled at them, at one point a man not happy with Jackson walked up and hit him! A little shocking, but the way of the world in a place where every dollar earned puts food upon your table. Cliff mentioned he could not leave the building and even though I wasn’t supposed to tip anyone but Jackson this man did helped us to no end. Yes I realized he was doing his job, but he blessed us for the work our group UMVIM had done in his country and went above and beyond getting us through the chaos that can become Haiti International Airport. I broke the rules and as I would find out soon enough, we would break that rule many times.

Once loaded into our vehicles (Haitian version of the Toyota mini Van) we headed out into the wild, scary, old west style, garbage filled, smelly, latrine water covered streets of Haiti! Ahhh to be back, filled with hope and optimism for the poor downtrodden people of Ha——– WHAT???????

Hold the boat! Stop the car! Slap your grandma! The, the, streets are CLEAN! (Well ok CLEANER!)Nary a piece of trash, nor mobs of people, not one child is rushing the van screaming “CHICKLET, CHICKLET MISTER” or “WATER PLEASE” or my personal favorite “MISTER YOU GOT A DOLLAR”? What the holy heck! The wrecked cars are no longer lining the streets! Instead they are gathered in a local junk yard we just passed, no one is stripping them down where they lay! Oh my goodness it looks, dare I say it? So much better! In fact we have now crossed two estuaries and I haven’t seen one man living in a van down by the river!!!!down by the river

We come to our first of many traffic lights (yes operational traffic lights) and I also notice for the most part people are obeying the traffic laws! Its pure insanity I tell you! People also seem to be traveling from one place to another with purpose! Not like a cast member from The Living Dead! Its, its,-well it’s just plain beautiful. My heart swells with OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAjoy as our group travels through province after province with nothing but wonderful signs of recovery! No country should have to endure what these people have endured and no people should have to decide on a daily basis whether to feed the dog, beat the dog or eat the dog because the dog needs food just as much as they do. (That was just a reference, they are not eating dogs here)!

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The guest house looms on the horizon and pulling inside the gates (no guard present anymore) felt like being home! The group formed up, we unloaded our gear and set to introductions with the staff! Sarah met us first, she was warm and welcoming. Some met Tom for theOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA first time while three of us just took a moment to reminisce with the leader of the guest house. A meeting was called out by the pool which was perfect for our hot and tired bodies. We swam while Sarah gave us the low down on our trip, progress made in Haiti and some of the more serious issues we may face. The island of La Gonave was our final destination! A four hour boat trip lay ahead and we would be departing at 6am with breakfast at 5am. We were to drink plenty of water and layer ourselves in sunscreen.

We settled in, chatted amongst ourselves and mentally prepared for the last leg of our journey.

Dinner time was upon us quickly and it was AMAZING!! I had waited patiently all year for this style of cooking! Oh you can recreate it in the states but it isn’t the same! The fried chicken was awesome, the black beans and rice was awesome, and the plantains were OFF THEOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA HOOK!!!! Oh yeah some very happy bellies wandered off to bed after an extremely long day of travel. (16 hours in all)

I personally was out cold by 8pm after struggling to stay awake through a meeting with the onsite doctor. I retained most of the information but my brain could handle no more!

Oh well a new day and a new adventure was waiting for us all! As one by one we all laid our heads to rest, little did we know just what an adventure it would become!OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

A sailing we shall go!

Well darlings as much as Betty has tried to blog it’s been busy since we have arrived. We are leaving at this very moment to the island of La Gonave and there is no cell service. So for the next 8 days Betty will be silent. But when I return be prepared for a slurry of wonderful stories!
Bon voyage

Easter=A pony?

 

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Ah Easter, a morning filled with love, thanks, celebration, the lord Jesus Christ has risen from the dead, eggs, candy, the Easter Bunny and; a pony????

Oh yes you heard right, its hard enough explaining year after year the significance of the fabled Easter bunny in conjunction with Jesus. But now a pony tossed in for total scalp scratching confusion? A bonified four-legged, pudgy bellied, mane and tail swishing Verne Troyer (that’s Mini-me from Austin Powers) of the horse world!

Eggs hidden by a sadistic Hallmark Holiday bunny hell-bent on total chaos, confusion and holiday candy domination is one thing! But a pony? How does that fall into the swirling contradictions that is Easter? Eggs=Bunny, Candy=Baskets, Jesus rising from the dead=salvation, yeah see those all make sense! What does a pony equate too in all this and will said pony need to make a reappearance every year? I have questions damn it, there is nothing in the “dad” rule book that states at some point, during some Easter a pony will arise for a chosen one within the family unit!

This morning started out like every Easter from years gone by. The wife and I awoke to the sounds of scampering feet around 0530! Now mind you it is an act of GOD to awaken these children on a school day, or for church, or an earthquake, tsunami or any other natural-manmade disaster known to plague the human race! Yet on one of the two days a year their little nuclear clocks seem to keep perfect time (the other one being Christmas of course-Jesus’s birth) they are up, bright-eyed and bushy-tailed as though doing so is a daily occurence and our looks of astonishment are a bit degrading! But up they are, like a treasure hunter, looking, digging, scavenging for candy! All was going swell, baskets recovered children were gorging, the wife and I were sipping coffee from our newly acquired Keurig (another story) when lo and behold the littlest one Parker finds a note in the bottom of his basket that reads; Parker, Happy Easter look outside! Now being one who lives for intrigue and loves surprises, I bolted straight up moving the little bugger aside to see what could possibly be outside our backyard picture window!

Could it be a new car, I pondered? No ridiculous, the lad is only 8! Could it be a new bike? No, No he just got a new bike at Christmas. As we moved closer to the back room, anticipation rose! Parker says excitedly; I know what it is! A UFO filled with candy from another planet! Man that is a good one, I reply! Finally we make it to the window, and just as Parker is about to look outside, his brother Jake grabs him, shielding his eyes while opening the back door! Jake asks Parker very calmly, are you ready?  A solid YES is blurted out and Parkers eyes are uncovered. Standing there amongst a backyard ripe for egg plucking is a reddish/white, hay burning pooping pony!

Parker jumps up and down! The kids jump up and down, the dogs jump up and down! I slowly retreat back into the kitchen, pour myself another cup of coffee and sit down.  images-5How does a pony equal Easter?  And further more how did that evil rabbit get a pony here without any kids finding it? The mysteries of the universe stand unbroken! My Elmer Fudd cap and shotgun are coming out of the closet.

The morning moves along just fine! I have steadied my nerves, accepting the newest member of our very large family! The wife and I are preparing everything, so we can start cooking Easter dinner on time for our guests. Its mid morning, the kids have all come down from their Easter candy high, some are lying in the hallway like crack addicts looking for the next fix while other are outside, using playtime and excercise to help combat the sugar hangover.  I sit down at my computer for a little “me” time when through the upstairs window I hear the very distinguishable sound of a sack of potatoes hitting the ground in conjunction with my daughter’s voice screaming; “run and get dad!” (this can’t be good)

images-3Walking out the back door I am met by Jake who proceeds to tell me Parker was thrown from his pony! Apparently when mom says: hey honey why don’t you go outside and make friends with your new pony. That means to a country kid who has been riding since he was 5; go out, saddle your horse, but don’t tighten up the cinch all the way and for heaven’s sake try to ride without a bit using only a halter! (you other country folk got this, for those who don’t I am sorry) Long story short, saddle slides down the ponies side during a lope, pony steps up to bucking, Parker land on its neck because he has no reins to hold, pony bucks and shakes, Parker hits the ground! Like P-90X- Easter just became EasterX!

Parker is last seen kicking dirt, walking towards the house, telling everyone he hurts and can’t move his head, all while looking every direction while yelling that he is never, ever, ever going to ride that dumb ole pony again! Yep score one for the Easter Bunny! Hurray! Loving the Easter vibe so far! whoo hoo, thank you lord may I have another!

Later in the afternoon, said pony is outfitted properly, mom takes a go on the little guyimages-2 and sure enough the pony is tame as tame can be.  Grandpa has a long talk with the young lad about getting right back up after falling off! Grandpa has a way of turning a stubborn boy around so we all mount up riding our own horses so Parker doesn’t feel alone. Then slowly, carefully he puts his keester back in the saddle, settles in and the two of them ride off into the sunset! After several turns in the arena he is last over heard proclaiming: I love you pony, you and I are gonna be best friends.

Ahhh Easter restored, my faith in Easter happiness renewed, my Elmer Fudd cap put away as now I wont have to hunt down that rascally rabbit and make him pay for ruining Easter Sunday.

Now, I still havent figured out how a pony fits into the grand scheme of Easter but at this point I don’t care, watching my son lope his new buddy around an arena smiling ear to ear warms even the coldest of Hallmark holiday hearts…

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Happy Easter Everyone

Resolutions…….

 

2013

Well I wasn’t going to do it! I promised myself and screamed to all who would listen! No way in hell was there any chance of me writing about New Year’s resolutions.  Everyone does it; the blogosphere is loaded with rambling and grumblings about new promises, kept promises from years past and flat out lies.  Nope, no way! It just wasn’t going to happen!

Then it dawned on me.  We; as in the human race aren’t supposed to be here! The world according to the Mayan culture along with several mayanthousand overly educated individuals was to have met its fiery demise on December 21st! Yet here we are, 7 full days after the end of the world and a mere 3 days from the beginning of a new recording of time (2013).

So what does this all mean for me and the loathing I hold towards New Year’s resolutions?

It’s a new age, a new beginning, it’s the first day of the rest of my life, and therefore I should put aside my personal feelings and be celebrating not commiserating. The very thought of making resolutions once a year to solidify the minor changes one should make accordingly throughout the year long cycle is absurd at best! Yet for some reason my heart feels obliged to give it a shot.  2013 New beginning, first days and all, it just makes plain good old sporting sense..

So here it goes!

I Betty resolve in 2013 too…

Not be so damn sarcastic! Shit I have already failed…. I TOLD YOU THIS WOULDN’T WORK!!!

Ok I’ll try again…

I Betty do solemnly resolve in 2013 too…

Quit being so angry: unless of course the situation warrants it, or it’s needed to purposely expound a point! Or my Irish becomes inflamed, or even if I am trapped in a situation where tolerance over ignorance shown towards stay at home fathers and dads inscreamer general becomes more than I can take, thusly leaving me no choice but to rage against a proponent with my expert use of the English language in an obscure tirade upon my blog. Yeah passive aggressive attack, that’s the ticket! See it’s easy to put aside blood boiling rage and quit being so angry! Maybe this isn’t so bad! Let’s try another one!

Laugh more with my children: A child’s laughter is a gift from god and should be enjoyed every chance we get. Plus by sharing in the laughter you are helping teach your children to laugh and relax, thereby allowing them to share the very same learned expressions with friends, ultimately leading to your children being able to laugh at themselves; a good quality by the way.  Of course there is the exception to the rule; you know when they are laughing 9-11-2011 011and you are not due to them having done something so erroneous there can be no alternative emotion than to become irritated.  Such as finding pee all over the bathroom floor and dripping down the sides of the toilet!  Recognizing the difference between light dirt and poo smeared across the shower curtain! Oh yes, because apparently our little angels eyeballs haven’t developed to the point of recognizing the need for toilet paper BEFORE sitting down to do their business! Yet the pea sized brain has acquired a MacGyver like reflex allowing them the ability to think quickly and improvise in sticky situations leading to the shower curtain being used as Charmin!  Yeah the laughter is real hearty while donning latex gloves and decontaminating the old levorotary! Laughter has a tendency to fall off the charts after I have told them several  times to clean their rooms and all they’ve done is throw a sheet on theirpoop beds after shoving everything that was on the floor under the bed and into the closet! Or after begging them to feed their animals before dark only to be ignored! Now that it’s dark outside no one is going to go out to the barn and feed, so instead of having just done it the first time they were asked they throw a crying screaming fit about how scared they are in the dark and they really shouldn’t have to go out and feed now cause it’s just too damn scary! Yep more laughing is coming right up in 2013!

Eat healthier foods: last year was a real life changer for me in this department! Eating was not just a means for sustenance it was an event! Big breakfast, big lunch and even bigger dinners! The only exercise my body partook in was getting a beer from the fridge along with the subsequent 12 ounce curls that followed! But I made images (7)a change and lost 20 pounds this year alone! So I promise to keep up the good work with a solid diet and exercise to match!  Holidays will be the exception of course. Where I shall continue to stuff my face with all the greatest holiday creations one can muster! Cookies, chocolate, mince pies, cupcakes, more chocolate, apple pies, pumpkin pies, candies of all sizes and did I mention chocolate? Other than that all healthy foods, in small portions; oops I need to also include dinners at the firehouse as an exemption, I mean I really have no control over what someone else cooks, and I wouldn’t want  to be perceived as rude so firehouse dinners are definitely out! But for every other meal, Yes! Better, healthier foods coming right up!

Go green in 2013! Our family is a huge believer in replenishing our resources by reusing and recycling! Nothing brings us a greater sense of good than helping out our environment! We placed windmills on the roof of our shop to produce electricity and are looking forward to possibly placing solar panels on the property generating more electricity for ourselves and others who may benefit! But we have one larger issue. We need to purchase a fuel efficient “green” truck, yet the last time I checked they don’t make a fuel efficient “green” vehicle to replace my 3/4 ton diesel truck cowcarthat is connected to a horse trailer pretty much all week long and in today’s economy it really isn’t feasible to purchase a “green” car and a new “lesser carbon footprint” truck to replace my tattered old truck! So to go green it’s going to cost us well over $100,000 dollars! Who the hell has that kind of cash lying around? Cold day in hell before a loan for $100,000.00 is taken out under my name for anything other than a house! Maybe I should just stay focused on recycling materials? Smokey truck, recycling cans, see one offsets the other, I am already ahead for 2013!

Drink less alcohol: Social drinking has always been a big part of my life! Nothing beats having a brew with your buds or a glass of wine with your lovely wife! At three in the morning when you have had to much, just get up, hover over the toilet and purge away!  Good times and weight loss rolled into one! Yet having cut back dramatically in 2012 I have recognized the need to do more! 

barfingDrinking can definitely become a health concern and at my age I really need to be focusing more attention on life longevity.  Speaking of life longevity on the Dr. Oz show I saw red wine is actually good for you! Seriously, a couple of glasses a night are supposedly good for your heart! Man that’s like almost a bottle a night! Yee Ha!  Maybe I’ll have to re-think the whole drinking even less theory and look into the redeeming factors associated with Jack Daniels too? Anyone?

There you have it! Betty has gone against his better judgment and laid out five resolutions for 2013! Funny though, I feel as if they are destined for failure and I am not sure why?  Maybe it’s that whole sarcasm resolution I failed in the beginning.  Hmmmmmm…..

 peanuts

 

A snowball effect….

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The other night after a long day of he said, she said, don’t touch me, and leave me alone along with all the other phrases (both appropriate and inappropriate) reverberating through an active family household.  I found myself stressed beyond belief.  My chest hurt, the lungs yearned for air, a mildly cold sweat lay across my brow and my stomach hurt.  The only thing I could ponder was how much longer until they all were grown.

Of course I have no room to complain because there are the 48 hours straight I am at work, holed up in my firehouse the last bastion of supposed sanity from the trials and tribulations of being a full-time parent! My poor wife does not enjoy such luxury.  But then again aren’t all us firefighters really just kids with badges and super cool toys we use to help the public?  Anyways that night had taken quite the toll on both my wife and I.  All we could think about was the peace and quiet that came with bedtime.  Then something wonderful happened that brought me back to reality.

We baked cookies…

Yep that’s right its Christmas time and nothing says “I care about you” more than fresh-baked cookies! It really is the best Christmas present ever! I would personally take 20 tins of delicious cookies from loved ones over someone spending money on something they hope I will like!  Cookies, chocolate, brownies, mince pies they all say “hey buddy its Christmas and I was baked just for you” enjoy! But these cookies, oh these cookies are super special! Every year we bake these little doughy droplets of gold and place them in specially purchased Christmas tins then set out across town “ to snowball”.

Definition: To Snowball; During Christmas time only, place a tin of cookies with an anonymous uplifting note on the front porch of an unsuspecting family.  Ring doorbell, knock loudly on door and run!!!

Snowball has become a very special part of our Christmas traditions! The children look forward to it every year almost as much as Christmas morning itself!  Snowball is treated like a covert mission, complete with blacked out car, dark clothing and squealing tires. Giggling is inevitable as mishaps are also a part of the fun.  Falling over hedges, tripping before reaching the car, only to beimages (29) grabbed by an older brother and pulled in as the car rips away from the scene! No man left behind is our motto! On one occasion one of the boys had to hide under a hedge just feet from the front door as it was opened by the homeowner before a full retreat was completed! It’s just plain, good old-fashioned Christmas fun! We hand out yummy goodies; hopefully make someone’s night with no expectation of reciprocation.  Then hope it leaves a snowball effect on its recipients, passing good cheer forward for the holidays. This is the way we enjoy observing Christmas, it truly feels better to give than receive!!

As we are preparing for our night of Christmas ninja stealth, the children all do something unheard of lately.  They begin to get along, working together as one to complete this monumental task.  My wife and I step back out of the kitchen and even though the urge to take over and correct small mistakes is astronomical we don’t.  She moves into the family room to watch TV, and I hover around the front room images (28)tending the fire and staring in awe.  My oldest works like a baker, carefully tossing out flour, and rolling the dough out to perfection while the others take turns cutting out cookies made of angels, snowmen, stars and mistletoe.  The middle boy handles placing them carefully on cookie sheets and transfers them back and forth from the oven only asking that I place them inside while removing the cooked ones.  It was seriously the happiest, stress less, most magical moment I’ve had around our children in a while.  It truly made our night.  My wife iced them with green and white frosting then placed them carefully into round Christmas covered containers.  She wrote another fantastic letter and we all called it a night with smiles upon our egg-nog covered faces.

One simple act of doing for others as a family can erase hours of selfish bickering.  I am often reminded of a very simple saying; you only have one childhood with your children. Enjoy it!

When things get stressful, bake some cookies together and let them be children.  All will look better in the end and your stress will subside. I promise…..

Merry Christmas!

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My Words of Wisdom for the Day

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Mamma always said life was like a box of chocolates; you never know what you gonna get……

Bullshit!

Because once you open it all your friends will pounce on it and then you damn sure know what you gonna get! That little Peanut Brittle nugget, cause in a box of chocolates no one wants the god damn Peanut Brittle!!

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So unless you are willing to eat peanut brittle all Christmas long, keep your box of chocolate to yourself.  Just saying..

Carry on that is all…