Monday, January 28, 2013

8 Questions with......Michelle Mindt Myers

Welcome to another edition of "8 Questions with....." an ongoing series of interviews with some of the most interesting people I have run across.

 When I think of the term "time flying by",its hard for me to realize that I have known Michelle Myers for over 15 years. We met when I lived in San Jose and she lived in Reno,Nevada. We became good friends because of our love of family and good music. When a job offer suddenly came open for Michelle to move to San Jose,we finally met for the first time and a life long friendship was born.
  What makes her so cool is that she is unafraid to try something new and exciting yet stay true to her morals and convictions. We could sit over coffee (or Coke) and talk about anything and everything. She was one of the voices encouraging to take the next step and move to Michigan. While I was getting ready for the move,she herself,made a big move and headed home to Minot,North Dakota. Its where her family is at and they were all so happy to have Michelle back home.
  Especially one Brad Myers who after meeting the lovely lady,dined and wined her into surrendering her heart to him and becoming his wife,thus adding one more great chapter in Michelle's life.

 Brad and Michelle have seen quite a lot in the past couple of years,to have one's home almost destroyed from a huge flood to the fight to restore that same house,they have really proved to be a excellent example of what a true married and loving couple are like and in my eyes,they really are heroes. Its why I asked for this interview so many of you can see what I have known for 15 years,Michelle is a real angel....and I can't wait to meet her husband either!

And now.....8 Questions with......Michelle Mindt Myers.

1. What is like to live in Minot, North Dakota?
Minot is a small town that had about 30,000 people before the big oil boom and the flood.  You used to be able to leave your doors unlocked & keys hanging in the ignition.  Now since the oil boom and then the flood happened it’s so much different. There are more than 60,000+ people living here. It’s not the safe small town I grew up in, but it is still home.  You just have to be more aware of what is going on around you. We’ve had more murders, thefts, auto accidents, etc. It’s seems like the wild wild west.  There has been such an increase of people from other places that did not grow up with our hometown values that it is sad most people now carry concealed weapons for protection.

2. How did you come to live there? 
I was born and raised in Minot, ND.  I’ve also lived in Reno, NV & San Jose, CA before moving back home to Minot.

3. You lived through the Mouse River flood, how were you affected by it? 
We were evacuated the first time in May for 2 weeks. We were allowed to go home again for about 3 weeks before we were evacuated again on June 22nd 2011.  The flood waters released from Canada brought down 30,000 CFS down on us.  Our area was only built up to with stand 11,000 CFS.  Our home had over 8 feet of water in it.  We have a split level home and the only floor not flooded was the upper floor where the floor joists were 10 feet above ground level.  Out of a house that has about 3200 Square Feet, 2500 SF of it was damaged.  We lived at the farm in our camper for over a month then we were able to park it in our driveway.  We spent 5 months total living in our camper until the weather got bad and we had to move into a FEMA trailer for 4 months.  I was so happy that we finished our kitchen first, because once it was done we moved back home to plywood floors and walls with just insulation on them, but at least we were HOME.

4. How does one cope during such a crisis? 
You take it one day at a time.  Brad and I are very lucky that we had each other, our kids (Dakota & Smokey), our families, friends, co-workers and God to help us thru when we thought the light at the end of the tunnel was so far away.  We would work so hard at tearing the house apart, but we knew that together we could overcome anything thrown our way.  It’s help make a strong marriage even stronger.  Plus there is nothing like kicking a wall down because you are pissed off that your home was ruined by something that could have & should have been prevented!

5. Did you receive any federal aid and was it enough to help you and your town recover?  
We personally received the allotted amount that you could get from FEMA.  I don’t know anyone who can rebuild a home with over 2500 square feet of damage for just a little over $30,000 dollars that we received from FEMA.  The state, city & county have gotten what is called CDGB dollars to help rebuild Minot, the county & the other areas in the state that were affected.  It is supposed to help people rebuild their homes too, but unfortunately most of us who own our own homes make too much money to qualify.  So far they have started with the low income families, but they just opened it up to where is you are a family of 4 and make under $56,000.00 a year you can get money to rebuild your home.  But if you do qualify and have completed the rebuilding of your home by having to take loans out from the State Bank of North Dakota and the SBA (Small Business Administration) so sorry you are out of luck.  You can only get the money if you qualify and if you have a need of funding to get your house complete.  So in other words if you waited until now to rebuild your home, you can get some of the CDGB money (if you qualify) and you don’t have to pay it back.  Unlike like my family our neighbors, we have 2 – 30 year loans (plus our original mortgage) we have to pay back for busting our asses to get our home rebuilt so we could move back in.  Sadly unfair but what can you do?

6. How did the people of Minot react compared to New Orleans?
Well the people of Minot opened their homes to family members & strangers who need a place to stay when they were forced to evacuate. We had over 11,000 people displaced from their homes and only 500 at the most ended up in a shelter.  It’s how we were raised, in a disaster your help your fellow man, even if you hate them, you still help them.  It’s the Christian thing to do! Once the flood waters receded and people were able to get into their homes to see the extent of the
damage.  The cleanup began. The first time we walked into our home my husband (Brad) had mad the wise crack of “Well Honey you get your new kitchen now!”  We actually laughed verses letting it get us down!  That day we began the process of gutting out our home!  Everyone in ND whose home got flooded - as soon as they could get to their home they started gutting and rebuilding it.  Friends, family & strangers chipped in to help.  In ND our philosophy is “We don’t have time to sit around and wait for help, we just roll up our sleeves & get to work…Winter is coming you know!”

7. This flood was mainly ignored by the mainstream media and even the President, do you feel the lack of coverage hurt your town in it recovery?  
We got a week or two of coverage while the water was still flowing thru our homes.  And sadly the destruction of my town and my home was man made by the mismanagement of the US Corp of Engineers, the US Govt, and the Canadian Govt. Those 3 groups control the DAM between the US & Canadian borders.  I have nothing good to say about the man who claims to be president.  He would not even come to ND to see the destruction for himself yet he can go visit all the other disasters after ours. Yes it hurt our recovery efforts, but you know what we are North Dakotans and we are stronger than anyone will every truly know.  We will make our cities, counties & state great again!  We have that determination! 

8. How did your pets cope with being uprooted?
Our little kitty Smokey didn’t have it too bad, she went to Grandma’s house and thank god my mom loves cats.  I would stop by every chance I could so that she knew momma didn’t forget about her.  Towards the end of August we had to go get her & let her live in the camper with us, because she missed Daddy, Dakota and I so much she would just meow all the time.  
Our Siberian Husky Dakota Blue was a real trooper.  She must have thought she won the lottery because she finally got to ride in Momma’s pickup (2008 Ford F150 King Ranch).  And boy did she get to ride in my Pickup.  She went back and forth to work with me from the farm about 45 minutes from town (on a good day where there isn’t a flood to reroute traffic & cause backups).  She was always with us & slept in the camper with us too.
We all moved into the FEMA trailer together and Dakota went with while we worked on the house.  She had a subtle way of letting us know that it was time to move home. (She tore up a whole pack of TP in a matter of the 4 hours she was alone with Smokey) She saw the progress we were making and she just wanted to go home too!  So the weekend after she let us know it was time to go home, we moved home!


9. How long did it take to recover your house?  
We have been working on our house since we were able to get back in July of 2011.  As of 1/11/13 we are still rebuilding our house.  It’s going to be a 2 or 3 year project to get it back to how it was.  We might get everything done by 12/31/14, God willing and no other disasters strike!

10. Can this disaster be avoided again in the future? 
Yes both sides of the border need to put the citizen’s property ahead of them making money on Recreational Activities.  Keeping the Damn’s full just so people can fish, water ski, jet-ski, etc. is still a recipe for disaster when you keep the water levels above normal all year round.
11. What was the best that you and your family gained by living though this?  
It’s made us a stronger family. A lot of our family and friends are surprised when they find out that Brad and I have yet to disagree on how we want our home to look.  Some are even surprised when they find out just how in tune we have become with each other’s likes & dislikes.  We also decided that when we were able to get out of the FEMA trailer in March 2012 and live in our home on plywood floors, staring at walls with just insulation and some with sheetrock, that it was time to add to our family.  We added another Siberian Husky and her name is Shadow Blue.  We knew Dakota needed a friend/sister after everything this flood put her thru, plus we needed another ray of sunshine in our lives!

Friday, January 25, 2013

Medical Update plus some Love and Compassion x 2!

Its 8:51 am

   Looking outside at a cold day here at the U of M's infusion clinic. We're here for another blood transfusion and awaiting the blood to be delievered from the blood bank in Ann Arbor.
Its a little late as we are starting to get snow here,the forecast is calling for 1-3 inches but Ann Arbor is getting walloped early so it might be a heavier total then expected.
  Lori is asleep and I am at the infusion's public computer dropping this entry. Patients are slowly coming in and heading to various doctors and departments.
   We had to wait two hours for the blood courier to drop off the first pint from U of Michigan Hospital. He was delayed because of the nasty weather. Its a 20 mile one trip to our local infusion clinic and he is only allowed to bring one pint at a time! Its only when the first pint is delivered and running can Mel,Lori's RN,can call to Ann Arbor and request the second pint!

 This means yet another driver will have to put one pint of blood in his car/van and make the 40 mile round trip. You can't help but feel rather peeved that the system isn't more streamlined but since the infusion clinic does only an average of one or two transfusion a week because they don't have the proper equipment to house whole blood,its the only way they can do do transfusions.
 But again,Mel made it so easy....she came in early just so Lori could get started. She has really taken quite a shine to us for some reason and she insists on being Lori's RN. So that is why we were able to check in at 7 am instead of the normal 8 am. Very grateful to say the least...feel very blessed!
  The snow is still falling very lightly,its looking like we're going to get a little more then a inch this afternoon. Makes for slippery roads so I'll be leaving for work 45 minutes earlier then my 30 minutes. In this kind of weather slow is the way to go...
  Pretty excited to say I'm posting the new interview tomorrow afternoon. That is a shame since my interview with designer Evon Cassier has brought the most traffic of any post I have printed so far. That "8 Questions with...." has been looked at over 360 times so far and its still being hit! To put it in perspective,the last entry drew only 27 page views....but a writer on Twitter has pointed out a new site to help move this blog along which I hope it does. I do have to give a shout out to a person on FB,Yvette Brooks,who has a blog promotion page in which she encourages people to promote their writing. Its one of the places I do post updates as well as a few friend's pages.

   I realized only after I posted that I had totally fumbled the ball and forgot to post Elaine Hendrix's new video blogs about animal rescue. I'm going to fix that right now and you're going to watch and then do something to help a it donate a buck the next time you buy pet food,report an animal that has been left in the elements or if you're a blood thirsty NRA gun owner looking to shoot a bad bust a cap in a animal abuser that you may see in action. Okay,maybe not but you get the drift....

But since I am now slightly behind,this is the third entry and one of the most powerful...

Please feel free to repost the videos on your own social media outlets but more importantly,drop by Elaine's page and drop her comment on her new series. It is critically important we do what we can to have save an animal's life. Love and compassion has to start with us,doesn't it? Pity that we don't have the same desire to save lives,human or animal,as much as we fight for the right to take that same life.


Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Medical Update,fallout of doing the right thing and why cat sitting is fun...

Its 5: 27 pm

   Its the coldest day of the year so degrees and a wind chill of -15. Pretty much says it all...its damn cold and we aren't expecting a warm up until next week.

 After a promising start to the 5th chemo,it has taken a fast nose dive. Lori is pretty weak and can't keep anything down this week. We are scheduled for a hydration therapy this Thursday but that can't come fast enough. Despite sleeping for the past 2 days she still has little or no energy and she came home early yesterday because she was feeling so crappy.
  Really just trying to grind this through but I have to be honest,its really rugged now...seeing her in so much discomfort and so scared is a heavy load to handle...just have to keep putting one step in front of the other,one day at a time.
We still managed to get out and go a couple of places,to the local Macy's to exchange a pair of slippers I received on Christmas,return a towel we bought that was just too thin for our tastes and use a 10.00 coupon that Macy's sent us.
   I was trying to get Lori to use the coupon on a new ice scream scoop she has been looking for a while now...

But it turned out she ended up getting me another sweater I really don't need except it was on such a good sale that even I had to admit it was too good to pass up.

The clerk at Macy's was a real saint,she took care of our towel return as well despite that her department was Men's. Normally they want you to return to the department you made your purchases at but with Lori not feeling her best,she went ahead and did the return herself.
  Next we ventured to Randazzo's where we picked up a fresh fruits and veggies plus a couple of pantry items. We decided some homemade soup was just what the doctor ordered so that is what we did. Randazzo's was packed,we have never seen the place so busy and we have shopping there for over 4 years now.

We even had to wait in a line that was 8 to 10 people deep which was actually sorta cool. Most of the cashiers are very fast and so we were through before you knew it.
I unloaded the veggies and pointed the car towards the grocery store where they had a nice sale going on. Picked up a few items and then Lori's energy meter hit empty and we went home.

Once there I got Lori on the couch,warm and comfortable while I unloaded the car and put away the stuff we had gathered. I opened the box of the new heater that her dad has thoughtfully bought us,we had returned the small heater we had tried from one place that didn't really work very well and went ahead and bought a Eden Pure heater.

Talk about a nice heater! This is what we needed for the cold nights in our family room. Once on,this heater can really get a room quite cozy very quickly.Between this heater and the Mary Tyler Moore DVDs that my brother got her for Christmas,it really has help keep her morale up. That is such a key this for a cancer patient,as a caretaker,you have to keep your chin up at all times when you're around a loved one who is sick...if you show any weakness,discouragement or gloom,you can really affect the mood of the patient in a negative way.

   Thank you so much for the kind comments from the last post,Renee,your words meant so much to me. I hope that your daughter wakes up one day and realizes just how lucky she is to have you as a momma. To stand behind her while she battles her drug addiction and mental health issues takes a lot of courage as well. I only pray that you don't let this consume your life,there is a limit on how far you should go before you put yourself in danger. Keep your chin up,both you and your husband!

So the first step of Obama's healthcare reform hit today.

  My job told me today that after next week,no part-time worker will be allowed to work more then 25 hours a week.We won't be allowed to trade for a full shift with a full-time employee. Now mind you,my company prides itself on taking care of its employees. It prides itself on its "core values" and the fact that if we can drive sales,we get a share of the profits twice a year. It values loyalty and honesty.
  But all that was swept away today,they have completely stabbed us in the back and using healthcare reform as the knife. Its complete bullshit what companies are doing,instead of blaming the President of trying to bring affordable healthcare to the American people that the drug,insurance and medical industries refused to do,the companies should practice the free market system shop around and see who have the best and most affordable coverage for their employees. Image if a company of 200,000 workers suddenly told Blue Cross or Humana that they were pulling out because their fees were too high and they were taking their business elsewhere,just how fast they would they react to offer the same price? Or if an insurance company told a hospital system that they were no longer covering any patients going there because they think a CT test that cost 12,000 is a obscene amount of money,that the hospital would think twice about its pricing?
  The facts are this,no one is going to willingly stop making money no matter the moral cost,as long as its legal,what doctor,drug maker,insurance company is going to lower costs?
Yes,I am impacted by this reform but I'm not blaming Obama....the pure greed of the healthcare system is beyond appalling and it needs to be checked. For companies not willing to admit that and punish their own employees ...we just took our step towards being a Wal-Mart nation which encourages its workers through low wages,no benefits and hostile work environments to make the social safety net stretch even more.
  Its going to turn this nation into the land of the part-time worker...

   I got to cat sit again last Saturday as our neighbor had a birthday and a funeral to go to. So her cat Crash and I got to chill for a while. We had got him a new food bowl for Christmas as his as was too small and he was scooping the catfood on the floor. Seems that the new bowl is a hit with nary a piece of cat food on the floor...we checked out the new basement layout Marlene had laid out for her son and while I emptied the litter box,Crash meowed and attacked his scratch pad with gusto.
  While I feel I should pay her for letting me cat sit,she disagrees and tonight she dropped off two Slurpees

despite the fact its zero degrees out here!! Talk about a good neighbor!

Caught Scorpion's newest blog and this time he was asking his readers for their Bucket Lists of 2013,as in which celebrity will kick the bucket in 2013. The landslide winner was Lindsay Lohan (I also added the NHL and Lady Gaga's career but those were disqualified...prompting me to attack Ural from India)
George Bush the First was also a popular choice being he has been so ill as of late....but Satan might be pushing for a delay while he still building that special wing for Karl Rove and Dick Cheney. I think George might eek it out til 2014....

I finally got my newest "8 Questions with....." interview back and hopefully I'll be posting that next week....I think it will be a great read and will help kick start me into sending my questions to singer Cat Beach.

Alright,that is all I have for now....

Kerri- thanks!!!!!!
Scorpion - I maybe should have listed the Red Wings on my list
Adrian C- Holy crow! If the Niners win,will you get a Super Bowl Ring??
Jill- thanks for the posting tip....hope it works!
Cliff- Thanks for starting the new group....and I already see you had to put in conduct rules. Not so easy is it? *LOL*

Monday, January 14, 2013

Operation Repair,a ray of hope in the "D" and a medical update.

Its 11:50 am

    Looking outside at a grey,gloomy,dreary day. It rained pretty good last night into the early AM and the snow on the ground is almost all washed away.
  I go to work in about 90 minutes....and Lori will be making another trip to Ann Arbor for her 3rd hydration therapy trip since her last chemo. The recovery time between chemo sessions is shrinking rapidly,it used to be the first 4-5 days were hell,then the 2nd week slowly getting better and the 3rd week....almost back to full strength.
  Not so much anymore...its taken all 3 weeks this time to even start to feel better. The sinus infection/cold may have had some part in this but enough to warrant 3 hydrations? On top of this,Dr. Johnston is now on her own medical leave as she is pretty ill according to her nurse. We'll be handed off to Dr. Reynolds,who was present for Lori's operation at the U of M,he knows Lori's case very well. I don't feel we'll lose a step with Dr. J out of action. We just hope that she recovers quickly and will feel better.
  We're trying to keep a even keel fact we had a contractor that I have met through my job over last night to give us a estimate of our lighting project. We have 4 minor projects that we need done,two new light fixtures in the bathrooms.....

A complete rewiring job in a kitchen cabinets so our puck lights will work again,we bought new lights after the old ones burned out. But now the new ones really don't work the best and I think its the wiring so that will be looked at as well....

Lastly,we need a new thermostat controller,ours is very outdated and is at least 10 years old. I bought a new Honeywell model that be easy to program so we aren't facing high electrical bills. We have to keep the heat up a little higher because Lori gets cold so easy....
  It feels good to be able to tackle a little project like this,we'll get this done and then aim to get the upstairs bathroom painted and some drywall work has to be addressed as well. Still have zero money saved up for a landscape/deck overhaul....even though both need it so very badly. But that is happens when a serious illness  combined with a very long unemployment happens. Pennies are hard to come by....
  Not complaining,we are very blessed,so many more have it much rougher then we do....

Read in the paper that the homelessness rate in Detroit is getting close to 20,000 people! That is out of a city of slightly over 700,000. These are not your typical warm city lazy asses like the kids in Los Angeles or the Haight-Ashbury section of San Francisco,the folks here are just in a wickedly awful way.
 With Detroit facing a 327 million dollar hole,vital public safety dollars being cut to ribbons,public servants padding their own corrupt pockets,its so hard to see the bright lights that are attempting to shine through....but one small move might start the process,the feds are going to help start a Light Rail system here at last. Now I was living in San Jose when the Santa Clara County Transit started the Light Rail there. It too,started off slowly with a small 3.1 stretch from downtown San Jose to Great America. It ran a very limited time and only til 9 pm. It was free to ride at first as long as you had a ticket. As the Light Route expanded towards Los Gatos and Milpitas (where you could connect with the BART trains) ridership increased greatly as did the number of Light Rail cars.

It had its growing pains as well as accidents including a drunk man who fell between two cars and had his legs cut off,his body wasn't discovered until the next morning. Several auto-Light Rail collisions also happened but Santa County worked very hard at making safety the top goal and when I left for Michigan in '99,the Light Rail was booming and talks were undergoing on where the Light Rail would go next.

   We are seeing the same thing here,a 3.1 mile stretch down historic Woodward Ave in downtown Detroit would be the first step. The same growing pains would be and will be experienced to be sure but the blueprint and footprint of earlier Light Rail systems can be studied in order to limit the same mistakes that hampered San Jose's Light Rail. It could the start of a real exciting time for downtown Detroit,a real game changer. I just hope for its own sake,they start a new transit authority as DDOT (Detroit Department of Transportation ) is one of the most poorly run city services. The new project would be D.O.A even for it gets off the ground if DDOT has anything to do with it.
  But that still doesn't begin to cover the rising homelessness here...squatting here is running rampant and its only getting worse,seems like every week we are seeing/reading/hearing about a new strange squatting story on the local news. People renting out abandoned houses they don't own by running ads on Craigslist,people who own homes and lock them up until they decide what to do with them and coming across whole families who have moved in and are running illegal power to the you know these are very poor people is the fact they CAN'T leave Detroit even if they wanted too...they just don't have the resources to do so.

But squatters live a dangerous game,in the city hit hard by a slow,decaying fire department and the highest arson rate in the country,a house that may appear to be empty and abandoned and ripe for a arsonist may be in fact,housing a person or family just looking for a place to lay their heads.
  One good thing about our past two winters,they have been incredibly mild compared to other years,just one decent snowstorm and maybe a few artic nights but otherwise the weather reminds me of California.
  This helps reduce the risk of having people dying due to exposure and cold.  How long this miracle will last is anyone's guess...hopefully long enough for the city to get a handle on its money woes and perhaps restore some services.

   Its now Sunday night,11:43 pm

Gearing up mentally for the 5th chemo....we are getting worn down here,Lori is having problems keeping her food down and often is either throwing it back up or suffering from dry heaves. Pretty helpless feeling watching this and not being able to do a single thing but rub her back and make sure she can breathe.
  I'm stress eating badly these days,I'm so nervous at night....I'm listening for every single cough or vomiting sound. I'm pretty worn out at the end of most days but still in this until we beat this once and for all.
  Monday is labs and the doctor visit in Ann Arbor,I will be at work,Tuesday is chemo day,I'll be there until 3:30 pm then head to work,then off the next two days for Nulasta and hydration.
 Lori has made me promise once we get past the 6th treatment that I take her out for a fun outing once her energy gets built back up...that is a promise I fully intend to keep.

Operation Repair went smoothly,we now have pretty new lighting in both bathrooms and a new thermostat that we can program. The local contractor we hired was such a lovely spirit and underbid the job by so much we didn't feel good about it. We gladly paid him more and when the lights we had bought for the upstairs were too big,he agreed to come back tonight and hang the replacements. He even did more then that,his wife baked us some fresh cranberries muffins! Just a great guy and I can't wait to refer him to some of our friends.
   Next up is getting a better portal heater that we need in the living room....the one that I bought a few weeks ago turned out to be woefully underpowered by a long way.

This is NOT a good heater to get!

Okay,that is all I have for now....thank you all for dropping and reading my blog. And thanks for all the feedback from the last entry,I am glad folks took the time to actually read and comment.
I can't get over this blog has had over 5,107 hits so far....but I would love to see some new followers,so please take a few seconds and add yourself!

See you soon!

Just had to show this picture that Lisa Ann Walters posted,what a great shot! And if you get a chance to read her book,I highly recommend doing so....

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

21st Century Battlefield: Shawty Lo,Steve Burke and Bob Greenblatt

Its 3:25 pm

     Its a bright beautiful chilly day here in SE Michigan. I have a day off which means I can throw down a quick entry. While I did sort of ramble on a bit,I was glad to finally be able to write something down...its such a great stress release to be able to blog and get my thoughts on the page.
  Thanks to Dayle,Renee and Alexis among others for dropping by and taking the time to read my latest entry.
    As I posted before,we finally have a winner of one of the 3 FREE CDs that Carl Henry graciously allowed to be given away during his "8 Questions with...." interview with me. And now the winner is getting her CD....I still have TWO free CDs to be had merely by leaving a comment below...leave me a email addy so I can contact you for your information.

   I was on Twitter last night when I caught a tweet from local journalist Alexis Wiley of Fox 2 talking about a new series called "All My Babies' Mama" which is being produced for Oxygen (which is owned by Comcast/NBC/Universal/General Electric). The premise of this "reality" show is showcasing a rapper named Shawty Lo who has 11 kids by 10 different women and all the "drama" that goes with it.
  The show has been instantly blasted for the damaging stereotyping that shows how careless and reckless blacks are in regarding bringing kids into this world.
  There are far too many black families that suffer from a single parent which is almost always the momma that once they get pregnant,the father skips town and pays little or no support. The concept of what a true family is in the black community is a rare event. So many times you'll read about a sports star or entertainer like Shawty himself who was raised by a single parent or maybe a grandparent. The structure of raising a family is forever broken for far too many kids.
   Shawty,or Carlos Walker,knows first hand what this is like....he was raised by his grandmother but was having his first child at the age of 15.
  He spent 10 years selling poison in his projects before deciding to get in the "game" by using the profits of his drug dealing to fund a record. He later was arrested and spent time in jail for assault and selling cocaine.
 Between having kids by the 10 different women,he still made music,had a hot feud with another rapper which caused an awards show to be shut down when both rival posses clashed and had to separated.
In other words,if Carlos didn't have his music career,who knows where he would be and what he would be doing.

Alexis asked what her Twitter followers what we thought of this upcoming show. I commented its just another way that the media continues to keep the black race down by promoting shows like this as the new slavery. Because face it....its a racist concept,the black man as an uneducated,sex on the mind,gots to get mine that the media keeps force feeding us.
  So whose idea was it for this show and to "green light" it? How about the friendly folks from General Electric,Comcast and Universal? Steve Burke,a fine white Irish Catholic gentleman who is also a director at JP MorganChase.

 Steve Burke

Bob Greenblatt

Bob,who is the only openly gay Jewish broadcast TV president,are the slave owners of this unholy mess.

But they are merely following the course that the media has laid out for us regarding blacks and other minorities. While you won't see a black driven character show on TV,you can get your fill of "Basketball Wives","Real Housewives of Atlanta","Lock-Up" or any other stereotypical crap you see on the TV or big screen. There are so little positive role models for the black community outside sports and music. How can there be when people like Burke and Greenblatt are doing their best to prevent that? They rather keep fostering the shuck and jive and hustle of the black man instead of putting on more shows that promote positive role models.
  Carlos is merely being played for a fool,a pawn in the bigger scheme. NBC wants to appear like a liberal "brother" to America,using its MSNBC Newschannel to support President Obama,but take a deeper look down the rabbit hole,they are no better then other media outlet who continues to show different minorities in an overwhelming negative light.
   There is no easy answer to this problem....but rising up and demanding such filth not be shown on TV is a good start. And shame on NBC for once again taking the cheap tawdry way instead of truly being daring and showcasing a postive family who is trying to do the right in bringing up a family.


Tuesday, January 8, 2013

All over the place....

Its 4:00 pm

   Just got home from work....was invited to a class given by my work for a new position. Another co-worker and I drove to Novi and underwent the training involved. Its not a hard job but when the regional director explained how its supposed to function,it suddenly occurred to all 16 employees who were there how vital the class was.
  I thought I was picked for the class just because I happened to be at work and they needed a warm body but I was pleasantly surprised to know some thought had gone into it and I was selected out of a pool of about 12 people. Made me feel good to know that my hard work and drive had been noticed and that despite what is going on here as far as Lori's illness has not spilled over into my work. When my ASM mentioned that he wouldn't have known anything was wrong by on my work demeanor,I felt good about that. While I won't lie and say its all cream and roses,I do forget our battle when I come to work. I'm there to do a job,not wallow or dwell in what is happening.
  And to my work's credit,they are very quick and gracious to honor any request I have in regards to Lori and her treatment. I have not missed a single day since I have started and have no plans to do is too important to even think about missing at this point.
  To have a job...very grateful to have one.

Random act of kindness....

    Lori comes home last week and while I was rubbing her feet to help relieve the neuropathy brought about by the chemotherapy,she told me about one of her associates who has been having just a brutal time as of late. The young lady who once had two jobs and was going to class while living with a friend all of a sudden had the wheels come off...she was laid off from her main job,had a sudden medical emergency that left her unable to complete her classes and work. Because of the sudden loss of income,she was unable to stay with her friend and had to move out to another person's smaller place.
  While she recovered from her medical issues,she used every cent she had to pay rent and gas in her car..she couldn't apply for state aid because students now can rarely get benefits...this truly was the perfect storm for this young lady. It got so bad that even another employee who also is trying to improve herself by going to school,shared what food she could with this woman.
  Soon it became apparent to everyone what was happening and my wife's team has stepped up...we donated a box of food,another manager delivered some home cooked meals and yet another co-worker bought her some basic grocery items. We also gave her a list of known resources that we know about and hopefully this will help her while she recovers.

  The founder of the Sanctuary of Style,Tiffany Hendra,wrote a blog entry called "Speak Life Not Death" on her website. After I read this and seeing just how truly ugly some brain-washed Americans really are,I thought long and hard about closing my own group on FB. Just watching the blind ignorance,hatred and foolishness being posted about having a right to own a gun to defend themselves from "criminals" is just sickening. The gun loving teapublicans who rather murder and maim each other then realize that they themselves are the problem as really left me rather sad.
 I am going to give the group a last effort,I made my friend Michelle a admin with the hope she can keep the one day where I asked for peace,which is bitterly ironic. The one day and the one basic request,to not post anything negative or political and what happens? My rights and feelings are trampled in the name of people expressing their own rights and everyone else be damned. I wonder if they even realize what they are doing...and by the traffic here,very few of them even bother to see how Lori is doing,which was the basis for the group in the first place.
   But as I posted before,I am looking for more gentleness this the gun lovers who are jealous of the fact they haven't yet gathered enough courage to slaughter 27 people in the name of the NRA and the 2nd Amendment can go have their negative and narrow POV on their own page....

Another random act of kindness....

  Working at my store and waiting on some was pretty busy at our work and we had a few people in line. As I was ringing the two workers,a woman in the other line was finishing up her order and paid with a gift card. After she was done,she leaned over and handed me the card saying the two men could have what was left. I scanned the card and while the total was only 2.71,it was the gesture that was touching. I thanked the customer and as she was leaving,one of the young men also reached out and thanked her. (the other one was paying me). People behind were touched by such a small gesture...

  One of the best things that has happened as of late is my friend Scorpion has resumed his blog,"As My Stomach Turns". Who knew that Jackson,Michigan could be so zany and Jimmy Buffett like? But what do I know....other then Aaron is a prince of a guy and a very funny writer.
  I'm posting in his own words what happened to him after our recent snow storm...

Just after Xmas, we got a pretty good snow fall here.  Thursday afterwards, I ran some errands including a trip to Ann Arbor to drop off the Mac for some repairs.  On the way back, I stopped back at the house, before heading off to take care of some things.  As I turned on to Elm Street from the park, I got behind an old beat up full-size van.  I’m guessing he just got out and about recently, because the snow was just coming off the top of his van and landing square on my windshield.
I figured maybe he would turn onto I-94, but he continued straight down Elm… the same way I was going.  Great.  Well, I figured when it went to 4-lanes, I could at least get around him.  However, when I got into the left lane, he also sped up just enough to keep in front of me and keep the blowing snow hitting my car.  I darted just about 52, but knowing how close we were to the state police post (and seriously doubting Elf was on duty at this time of the day), I didn’t dare go much faster.  However I was betting on him slowing down for the left turn onto Parnall Road, by the prison.
Sure as shit, he slowed way down to negotiate the curve, and being smaller (as well as quite familiar with that curve at ‘higher’ speeds), I was able to dart right by him.  There was traffic in the left hand lane up ahead, and I darted back into the right lane in front of him.  He immediately changed over to the left lane, and I knew right away he was going to try to make the mad dash around me before we caught up to the traffic.  I was hoping that my beloved little civic could out-accelerate him, and sure as shit I was able to fend him off.  It helped that the light was red up ahead at Cooper, and I toyed with him a little as we approached: slowing down just enough that he couldn’t get around me before the light changed, so that he’d have to slow down himself and get behind me.  For some reason, I thought of Tom Cleveland’s ‘Zebra Salad’ story from last issue, and figured Tom Cat would be getting his ya-ya’s if he was riding shotgun with me at this time.
I figured the van driver was probably pretty irritated by now, but I wasn’t done yet.  Light turned green and I gunned it through the intersection before he even had stepped on the gas pedal.  I watched as he changed to the left lane just past the intersection and floored it, snow still a blowing off the top of his van.  Where in the fuck did he have that thing parked at to have that much fucking snow?!?  Are you kidding me?!?
Ahead of me was a semi-truck in the right lane, so I changed over to the left lane.  I watched as he immediately changed to the right lane, and seeing the semi in front of him, gunned it to once again get in the position to ‘snow-blow’ me, even though by now it appeared he’d FINALLY lost just about all of the snow on the roof of his van.  I was doing about 60, and he was gaining on me, but I could sense his frustration as we approached the traffic ahead and he had to slow down.  Nope, he wasn’t going to get around me for one last bombardment, and by the time he got to where I was at, I was already turning left onto Lansing Ave.  But not before rolling down the window and offering a defiant One Finger Holiday Gesture to the fuck-wad.

After reading the above story,I think we'll have to count this as a random act of kindness simply for the fact neither one of these guys busted out a AR-15 or AK-47 and started busting caps at each other.
And Aaron,thanks for letting me post this....*LOL*

   Its been two weeks and still no action from Derek or Snacks on the new cat bed. I had to give back Derek his old batcave in which he instantly jumped back into while Snacks continued to sleep on her pillow.

In other words,my Christmas present was a epic failure....but I did try...
But someone who didn't fail is the lovely Elaine Hendrix. She has started a videoblog on YouTube bringing to light the needs of animals who need our love and compassion every single day. Elaine has been working tirelessly on the behalf of neglected dogs and cats for many years now and her grassroots efforts are really starting to take off.
   Because I'm all for "doing my part"*,I'll be reposting her videos on my blog when she posts them online. I hope that you will drop by and pay her page a visit and leave a comment or better yet,volunteer in some way at a shelter or a donate a dollar the next time you buy some catfood at PetSmart or PetCo.

   Cleaned out my coupon book this had been six weeks since I had the energy to clean it out,we just haven't been shopping very much as of late due to the fickle nature of Lori's chemo. I make small runs here and there but as for a "big shop"I haven't had much time.

But this week,I zipped over to and went to town downloading fresh coupons and then spending 2 hours emptying my book. The pantry took a bit of a hit with our donation to Lori's co-worker,we  actually were out of a lot of items,including soup,tuna and cereal. With that in mind,we cut and gathered some new coupons and headed out.
  Wow....I knew some items were going up but really??? Talk about sticker shock! We poked around and shopped our list the best we could. Is it just me or is the price of toilet paper just insane these days? I can't get over how high it has shot up so quickly...
  The store was busy and we were only able to shop 40 minutes before Lori's energy gave way and we headed up to the check out...we saved 10.40 on coupons which was a real blessing. Our regular cashier says we are one of the dedicated coupon shoppers she sees. That was nice to hear and reinforces what we have come to embrace....being smart shoppers does pay off.

Hockey is back!!!!

Who cares?

Well.....that is all for me this round,I know I rambled on a fair bit but those who come read me have come to expect that I believe! I post again soon!

* - my inner "Starship Troopers" in me coming out

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Catching Up....

Its 9:50 am

    Looking outside at a snow covered ground. About 9 days ago or so we got our first snowstorm of the season here in SE Michigan. Sort of repeating the pattern of last year,we got ONE good snow storm and after that,just flurries. 
  The reason its still on the ground is because its very,very cold and at 7-24 degrees,its too cold for the snow to melt of its own. People use a lot of salt to melt/clear their driveways but I don't really do that since the ice can really destroy concrete rather quickly.I use a hand shovel and shovel the snow away. I find it as soothing as mowing my grass,its a peaceful chore and I actually enjoy shoveling the snow.
  Its the best when its still snowing and you can hear it falling while you're outside. Its beautiful to me and yes,that includes those rare storms where we get 6-8 inches on the ground.
  This storm only dropped about 4-5 inches which was easy to clear. 

Of course Lori wanted me to break out Rusty the 40 year snowthrower that we got off of eBay when we moved here. Rusty has trouble handling a 2 inch snowfall so there is no way I risking Rusty in a much heavier storm. 

That isn't Rusty but now you can get a idea of what we have.....just add some rust to the sides and there you go!

   The second round of chemo is still underway,we finished our 4th treatment on the 27th. I can't lie,this has been so much worse then the first round. Between the chemo,c-dif and fistula-in-ano,its been a perfect storm of misery. 
  Where as last round we had a 4 day recovery period at home,this time its taking 6 days and even then its really rough. The fistula is the major problem and we can't do anything until the chemo is over and we wait for our 3 and 6 month check-ups. Its sort of pointless to stitch it up unless you are absolutely certain you are not in a position to risk at reopening the fistula because you risk making the fissure much bigger. Then you're looking at a colostomy bag and that brings on a whole new set of challenges.

  Dr. Johnston says a person can live with a unsealed fistula and that may be true,but no one and I mean no one could deal having a fistula and c-dif...this is the worst thing by far of what Lori has to deal with. That and now the having to deal with the other side effects of chemo,the eating and drinking is still getting harder to handle,we are heading off to Ann Arbor for hydration later today and trying to find anything remotely good to eat is a real challenge. 
   Its a challenge in the sense that I can't get her to follow the advice of the doctor and restrict herself to a bland diet of rice,applesauce,soft foods. Cashew chicken is NOT a wise choice for a cancer patient with a fistula and c-dif! But we're taking it day by day and getting through...
  We're doing that by enjoying the Christmas gifts that my brother sent Lori,the 3-5th seasons of the Mary Tyler Moore show. I tuck her in a heated blanket on the couch with some water or cranberry juice and then que up the Blu-Ray player. We can watch 1-2 'sodes of a season before she falls asleep. We talk about our day and I putter around the house doing small chores. 
  We had a delightful Christmas this year...on Christmas Eve I went to pay our water bill at city hall and saw that the Red Cross was having blood drive. 

Well being that someone donated at least 2 pints of blood for Lori's transfusion before Christmas,it was the very least that I could do by donating back and that is what I did after I paid our bill. It was being held downstairs and when I walked in,3 of the tables had other donors on them. 
  I went through a pre-screening with a RN named Kerri which made me think of my artist friend in Los Angeles,Kerri Appleton. I was surprised when Kerri told me that I wasn't eating enough red meat,I was thinking I was eating too much of it as of late as I have gained about 7 pounds or so the past 10 days and I feel totally gross.

45 minutes later,I was munching on Keebler cookies and drinking fruit punch while the Red Cross staff kept a eye on us. They gave each donor a t-shirt and thanked us for giving. I felt good and headed on home.

Two days before Christmas  saw us taking our friends Marlene and her son Dylan on our 2nd annual light show tour.
We did it last year and it was a big hit. We made thermos of hot chocolate and they brought over small bags of kettlecorn and away we went.

Our plan was to work our way through Canton,then Plymouth and end up in downtown Northville. Last year we went by the famous Ellen Street in Livonia and its light show...except that they had pulled the plug on it and no one was doing it anymore. We debated taking a chance this year but decided to stay a bit more local. 
We laid out our planned tour and headed out at 7 pm.

What was great this year compared to last year was we had SNOW on the ground which always makes the lights that more beautiful to look at. We drove around for 2 hours and to our amazement,we never left our neighborhood! It seemed that just about everyone had a light display up this year! So much more this year then anyone could remember. Lori said that she read that more people were making Christmas even more smaller and focusing on more family and friends gatherings,making their homes that more festive.
  Guess they were right as the holiday shopping season only grew by .07 compared to last year's numbers.
Christmas Eve was quiet as we stayed home and Lori rested,we had a light dinner and watched a little TV before heading to bed.
  Christmas was very mellow this year. What was funny was that we didn't even get to the tree until almost 11 o'clock as we were puttering around making a light breakfast and enjoying some coffee. We decided to go to Mass at noon at St. Thomas and started prepping for dinner.
 Finally we opened gifts and to say we were blessed would be a understatement. Lori got her iPad that we shopped for on Black Friday and I got a camcorder which was totally unexpected! I already talked to Derek and we're going to be filming "Laundry Load,Part Two" very if I can only find where the director's car is parked at. 
  Lori also surprised me by finding a gently used DVD boxed set of "Person of Interest" off of

Needless to say,I have been watching that and was very happy to do so as I find this show to be the best thing on TV these days hands down.
 As friends and family started calling,Lori reached out and invited Marlene over for Christmas dinner. We decided to change things up and ditch the traditional turkey or ham and instead had Rachel Ray chicken. 
We had a great dinner and company. We gave her cat Crash his new food bowl which we don't know if he is using it for not. The new cat bed we got Derek was not a big hit,he is very content sleeping in his old bed.

  The 27th saw Lori in chemo,I had to work but was able to get there for that last hour of chemo. One of the two angels we had as nurses,Mel,was taking care of Lori as usual. For some reason,the staff there has really taken to us and I don't say that lightly. I have watched two different nurses change their schedules just to be able to take care of her,its extremely touching to see such care.
  But it extends even to me....I was trying to bring ESPN up on the TV as San Jose State was playing Bowling Green in the Military Bowl. But they didn't have ESPN so I was going to outside to check the score on the computer in the waiting room.
  Mel instead signed me on to a computer that they use to input medical data and had a internet connection just so I could follow the game and not leave Lori's side. I was very thankful for it turns out,I didn't see very much of the game as I had to watch Lori afterwards. All I know is that San Jose State pounded the Falcons,29-20 and most likely will earn a Top 20 finish heading into next year. 
  Lori's brother,his wife and Aunt Jo came by the house on the 29th and we had a little Christmas celebration again which was very nice and sweet. Her brother has really taken a 360 change in how he talks to Lori,he has woken up and realized how important his sister really is to him. Sad it took cancer to bring him to his senses but some miracles work that way,don't they?
 I guess I'll wrap this up now,I have chores to do and banking to do as well....
Hope all is well with each of you...

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