12 by the Numbers

My 12th anniversary of blogging happened recently, WordPress let me know.

Also, recently, a young woman known to me, had a stroke. I listened to the highlights of her story.

Sigh – stroke, abusive relationships, healing, tools to recover, running a small biz on what she did before, and can still do, though slower, and supplies to create her cottage industry wares, more costly?

Yes, I have experience of my road, I can share with her, to see if any of it is useful to her…

She used to work as a volunteer EMS provider, too – so sometimes? I can revert to long ago learned worldview & lingo and she still ‘hears’ what I’m trying to convey in words of encouragement – 😀

How to get disability from a system you’ve worked your entire life in to pay into? How to get court orders enforced, after leaving a life partner? Nope, I can’t tell her – Most times, I’ve found, it’s less time, money and emotional resources spent, if I just focus on what I can do, where I can, as I can, for folks who believe I have something they want…

And so, dearheart? My Blogiversary post, is for you….

There is life on the other side of stroke, like you and me have had – not debilitating forever, but leaves ya rather laid up for awhile or maybe a long while…., Life will wax and wane, like it always has, just seems like more highs and lows to deal with, now…

All ya gotta do is hang on, some days, push forth as tolerated on days ya can – and don’t lose hope, ever, even if it’s only exists in microscopic size.

But, okay – from the outside looking at me, ya think I beat it, I’m ‘back’ and life is a cake walk – so, here’s the truth – for you and others – no life is ever sans any challenges, ever.

Ya just gotta choose, do I show up best as I can today? Or do I give up?

And everyday, you make that choice, over and over again.

The Years Go By –


12 years of blogging,
Seems like just yesterday.
Takes me back to an office window
In the city above the clouds
With close up view of Pikes Peak.
A marriage, where one no longer loves,
Instead, stays out late most nights.
A house filled still, with no longer spoken grief,
A friend that stuck around, after my son died,
Attends some “Positive Thinking” seminar,
And alerts me to a book by Jill Bolte Taylor,
“My Stroke of Insight”
Interesting read, and teaches me some more,
About my brain and soul.
The thoughts, chemicals and neural connections,
That take place while I navigate Life in all its emotions.
But most of all, to recognize more quickly,
When lying to myself, or asking of damaged parts,
To do what they cannot do, just now, maybe never again,
But to focus instead, on building a new roadway,
To circumvent the now dead portions of my
Internal landscape.


11 years ago, a separation,
A hurried move, two part-time jobs and one,
Side hustle of database building, content writing and tutoring others to use tech and software.
All while trying to build a huge veggie garden,
Followed by a stroke in the late fall.
Then, websites built on WorPress CMS and hosting for site biz started,
Only thing I can afford or think I can just now do,
Is budget an extra $16/month,
To upgrade personal account,
On shared hosting,
To buy room to host others –
Unlimited they say, if I stay below bandwidth and space levels.
I can try to do, just now
Something for local friends willing to pay modest costs,
For help in getting a website online, they have tried,
But are confused.
I can earn some money,
Perhaps with time, build out a modest living.
All now I am unable to do what I once did without a thought.

I can’t talk well at all,
Though if I whisper or sing,
Others can more easily bear to listen and hear, what I’m saying,
Unless I utter to them words different, from what my brain had chosen.
My right foot turns inward, way past mere pigeon-toed form,
Yet I don’t notice it, until my knee, hip
And back hurt mightily,
I must walk in way my brain shouts at me,
That I’m walking wall-footed,
But visual check confirms,
My right foot is pointed, straight forward.
No food or drink tastes as expected.
Except tuna salad on saltine crackers.
The doctor prescribes one glass of dark red wine per day;
I have to water it down 31 parts to 1, and sip on,
Throughout the day, for I’ve never liked wine
But I’m forbidden from drinking beer, ever again
Visiting with others wears me out,
For if many talk or make noises, all at once,
My brain saves itself the energy,
Through white-noise buzzing instead of
Trying to separate all the incoming strands,
And waste the energy to make sense,
Of the all the incoming noise
I must rest every 20 minutes,
Otherwise, the only sound I hear,
Is my racing heart pounding in my left ear,
And the only world I view is blurry.
I no longer can multi-task,
And even a simple meal,
Will burn or get ruined,
If anything more than box Mac & Cheese,
I stand or sit by the stove, and continually focus on
Until done, with timer set for each step.
Thus I return to the crockpot meals
5-15 minutes prep, put on low,
And it will cook just like it used to, while I used to go to work.
Put supper on the table.
For my mom and my son,
It’s the least I can do.
When they return back home,
From the world in which,
I no longer belong.


10 years ago, I stand before the judge,
And stutter-lisp my replies,
In voice that brings pity into my loved ones’ eyes,
But only brings that look of,
To the face of my ex, sitting across the aisle.
The judge proclaims my freedom,
To start my life anew, best as I can.
With a kindly added “Miss, you take care of yourself”
To me, before the final gavel rap.
Child support only, no alimony did I ask.
He offered payout, from 401(k) often raided,
And it’s enough, after penalty taxes,
To pay off the medical bills, the remnants of simple funeral bill
For son back in 2008, payments skipped by ex.
That I didn’t know about, till I tried to pre-pay for my own,
Just in case….
Back rent due to family, kindly carried on the books,
Paid and now have nest egg of $3,906, to start over.
My gums erupt blood, from stress of the day,
He still scares me, and I fast walk away.
But I breathe a sigh of relief,
Deliver name change info to the bank,
The DMV and County Clerk,
And drive home, feeling blessed,
I am now able to drive myself.


9 years ago, the first spring arrives,
At the place I still call home,
But felt as if I had arrived,
Where I was always supposed to belong,
First time I set first left foot,
Then dragging along the other,
Onto this land.
A very tiny home, on very tiny budget,
But space for son and I,
To be ourselves, heal
And grow in.


8 years ago, tiny biz
Slow but sort of growing
I brave applying,
For two hours a day
Library aide job.
I lisp through my answers,
To interview questions.
Sound more like Elmer Fudd now,
Then first generation computer voice.
The branch manager is kind,
And doesn’t insist I answer quick or fast.
My foot barely drags anymore,
Only when I’m tired.
And no one cares, how I talk
While I’m shelving books.


7 years ago, I’m getting stronger
Tiny biz numbers grow, all by referral,
I move from shared hosting,
To better, containerized server.
Business investment and increased cost shared,
Between me, and still affordable for my six clients.
No website of my own, too busy,
Building for others and working part-time,
Trying to improve the homeplace,
After massive storm and roof damage.
I work on the roof, that feels like hell on earth,
But don’t pass out, and glad I’m not a full-time roofer,
I once more count my blessings,
While treating sunburn and fatigue,
And can’t waste the energy to talk
That evening.


6 years ago, son graduates,
Mother retires and moves
Just me and Oakley, the wonder dawg, left,
With all this free-time, and no budget for travel,
Just what will I do?
More customers taken on,
More hours at library,
I’m now a tech, no longer an aide,
My voice only lisps or stutters,
When I overdo and get extremely tired.
More income, less grocery budget needed,
My century plus three years old home now fully rewired,
By my high school teacher with a little help
From me, and my brain now knows,
What each color of wires and screws,
Really means.


5 years ago, another interview,
I’m recovered enough to talk too much.
For more hours and increased responsibility,
At library day job.
Tiny biz now at full-service client list of 10,
But bills for what’s left over,
After scholarships, grants and work study,
At son’s college, hit my inbox.
Nothing to do but apply for Lead,
For my part-time hours will be cut,
From my little job, to pay for newly formed position.
And I am encouraged to apply,
By same boss that hired me when I couldn’t talk well or much.
I want my son to have what I was unable to do for myself,
Life got in the way. Amazingly, I am hired,
Start new position and the year marches on,
A spring day of brush and trash clearing,
And hauling back in, shredded mulch,
By the side of the homesteaders group formed,
I started as monthly program at library,
But we now work together,
For each homestead’s needs.
I am offered an ice-cold beer,
As I arrive with one leg bleeding,
From a fall and scrapes from brush,
That had nothing to do with balance,
Only me getting tired and losing my temper over my strength.
My mind remembers with longing,
The taste of ice cold beer, after working under hot day sun,
Long ago….
I take a hesitant sip,
It tastes like it should!
One goes down after another,
Though some turn warm half-empty,
And never are finished.
While I luxuriate in just visiting with folks,
I worked physically hard alongside today,
And didn’t fail in doing my part.
I walk home from host of the afterwork potluck BBQ,
Just three blocks back home, but I surely wouldn’t dare drive!
I’ve been drinking and feel rather sloshed….
The morning after 5 beers consumed,
Hangover and dehydration reign,
I realize, it might taste right – but no longer worth it.
I chafe over the day of misery and missed
Work to be done, cuz I’m miserable and can’t work well,
On what’s mine to do, on any streamlined front…
Not like I did often in my youth.
But it didn’t instantly kill me,
Just a reminder I’m no longer young,
Though another work day meant,
I discovered I could buck straw bales,
Onto a trailer, once more.
Again, after that hot day of work in the sun,
I’m reminded,
Stick with my well-watered down wine,
Sometimes poured in ratio of 8 or 10:1,
When hard day or many days, under my belt,
As I sit listening to music or,
Dancing in the living room,
With Oakley and she plays,
Her game fully, without fearing she’ll trip me.
Then? I don’t always pay attention,
When refilling the water mug.
I’m hydrated, everyday, and well,
Sometimes imbibe enough,
The ache in my joints and once in awhile,
My heart,
Eases off.
Beer doesn’t kill me, true,
But I no longer yearn for days gone by,
Or even want,
I’m often high of life, and the aches are bearable without,
More I can do, than I cannot
So there is much overall,
This year, To Celebrate.


4 years ago, foot traffic,
Customer engagement grows,
At full-time job of books, programs & community,
While referrals for tiny biz,
Are handled best I can via free advice given,
Or passed on to other providers, locally.
Existing client requests handled,
Late at night and wee hours of morning.
I hardly ever lisp or stutter anymore,
Though often drained from interaction,
After nine hours of multi-tasking.
Sometimes 150 people taken care of in just one day.
I discover I can balance on just my right foot,
To reach, stretch in tight space, without falling over,
To get an odd job done.
When did that heal and now I can once more do?
I don’t know,
I was too busy to test and log,
My monthly ‘gains’ stuff I used to do.
Son, with 3 semesters under his belt,
Takes the summer session off,
Moves to live with Dad and stepmom,
He’s burnt out from non-stop schooling and working.
I understand that feeling.
But a month after he moves,
Ex stops sending,
The extended by 2-years of monthly support,
In lieu of long term alimony or asset buyout,
To cover portion of schooling costs,
Which his half of estimated 4 years,
Already racked up,
Only recourse is contempt of court filing,
And I will not do, not while my son
Lives in his household,
For He will take it out on my beloved,
In sneaky, heart felt ways,
Rather than facing me.
As he always has done.
And nothing to do, but soldier on.
I am able, and I well enough now,
To take upon my own shoulders.
I rejoice in my recovery.


3 years ago, more changes arrive,
First seasonal flu, then pneumonia,
As I blindly repeat past cycles I should have learned,
Not to do,
Of working/serving others first, taking care of myself last…
If at all.
Most likely caught at job, as sick folks
Cough, hack and sneeze while traipsing through,
Choosing books and movies,
To keep them entertained while they stay ‘home’ sick…
I can’t breathe well, for awhile,
The lisp and stutter return.
I’m nearly down to the size jeans I wore,
When I was 20 years younger.
Come spring, new board of directors,
New company organization,
What I love at my job, duties once more changing,
And hours will be reduced.
What’s asked of me now, not focused on,
Direct customer service.
Resignation tendered and small, but paying its way biz,
Once more sole focus of my attention.
Son who moved in with schoolmate, months ago,
And working full-time steady, loses congenial roommate,
To upcoming ‘marriage’, and though invited,
To join the new couple in their new home,
He, instead, close to lease expiration,
Comes home, until he can,
Show year’s worth of pay-stubs for his ‘career possible’ job,
And perhaps? Put a down on a small place of his own.
Our household now numbers 3 once more.
And we are working and getting ‘er done,
To pay the bills, nip away at college debt lingering,
Together we invest in side of beef and hog,
To stock the freezer to keep him well fed.
Young men who work manual labor jobs,
Require more animal protein per day, than I do.
what? I can do this,
I’m healed up from last winter’s illness,
And folks figure I’m smartest crayon in the box,
On anything they need help with,
That deals with tech.
Because my voice no longer ever hints,
That I may be brain-damaged.
And I don’t offer up the info/possibility of it,
I only list out what I do/do not think I know,
Offer what I may be able to help with,
At this bargain price,
Those in my area can afford.
I have no wish to serve those,
Promising higher pay, benefits or steady checks,
For while I forget some things,
I remember well who stuck around and hired me,
When I held no value for anyone else.


2 years ago, son and I both get sick,
Early January it was, bad respiratory flu,
We recover, slowly but surely,
I stutter and lisp some in the weeks following,
I lose one recent new customer; a missed deadline.
Turned out okay, and they got elsewhere,
What they wanted, in less grand fashion than I envisioned building.
Refused my offer of entire refund,
But still,
Humiliating and no excuse, no matter what info I didn’t get,
I’m better than that, and it was, after all, only the flu.
By March I’m better, and mom has surgery,
I push her wheelchair out from hospital,
As newly hired security officers, set up screening
At the entry/exit points, because of first case
Of the new virus scaring many.
By June I’m very grateful, son is home with me.
Were it not for splitting home & utility costs,
I would fall behind, given requests from clients to keep
Their bill as low as possible, and only hold the line.
It’s not the stroke after effects, or being ill this past winter,
It’s the cares and burdens,
To carry – I’ll get back on my feet, here soon
I need only not tarry on fronts where I can do,
And rest whenever I can.
I start to suspect, as the year goes by,
And others around my locale, fall ill,
Or die…
Perhaps my son and I,
Had the dreaded virus, before
Ever it was newsworthy or labeled as a hoax by many.


1 year ago, after taking on odd jobs,
And meeting obligations,
While sitting in front of computer,
My muscle tone is gone, weight creeps
Back on, and blood pressure spikes here and there.
I no longer can work 18 hours a day,
Even just in front of the computer.
I’m thankful for final round of stimulus,
To keep it all going.
Income slowly improving,
Client requests and concerns over potential billing,
I fear the quiet and various signs that show up,
Those I associate with
What happened in the time before my stroke,
Physical, Mental and financial stress,
But for $5.99 monthly HerbMentor subscription,
And $243 spent on herbs to use in tea, that will grow here,
Herbal Medica books, and seeds for herbs that work,
Plus lots of hours ‘wasted’ (?) in non-paid work,
Reading digitized versions,
Of pharmacopia and treatment pamphlets,
Published in 1880-early 1900s,
From Western doctors, using local plants,
Two online mini-courses virtually taken,
From one Herbalist and one Qigong Master,
I beat back the fears, and find what works
Well enough, just now, for me.

Zero or Lift-Off

This passing year, so far,
Has been another doozy,
A variant, most likely caught in May,
Son was just starting with symptoms,
The day we saw each other, for only the second time,
Since he got his own place January.
I treat the discomfort at home,
And make it through, without ER or Doctor visit.
Learn the results of son’s required for work testing,
One positive out of 10 taken, since 2020,
And he has been vaccinated.
Not a hoax and I did nothing special or drastic or experimental,
Nor believe I have any answers for others,
On pandemic fears front,
But it arrived at busiest time of year for 4 of my now 13 clients.
And still, three non-profits, waiting patiently in the wings,
For me to donate hours, to build & launch their dreams,
With what they and I together, can do.
Clients requested to double check my work sent,
I’m all but begging them to,
I’m not at they consider, my established & proven before, best.
Clients are nice about it, patient and sometimes leave,
Homemade soup or other gifts, at my front gate.
I remember to rest when needed,
Put learned options to treat myself,
On various health needs at home,
As I can stumble into kitchen and fix.
I’m stroke survivor, that’s true
But really, I’m just getting older,
Though, I guess, in better shape than I thought,
Seeing as how I survived this latest health encounter.

The road walked,
While WordPress marked,
My days of blogging history,
The stats, the pals made here,
Their shared journey and many others known to me,
Have been a part of my own path.
I guess, as I write this out today,
For one just starting her stroke recovery?

I can’t tell you what your journey will look like,
But know this….
You had a tiny biz before, and you’re still able to do,
You are back home in a community,
Of those who love and support you.
Don’t give up, I’ll help where I can,
Others will too.
Do not ever depend upon
Court documents or systems far from you,
To provide resources or cheerfully meet your needs.
And never, ever, give up your will,
To hold on, for just one more day,
If even you wake up struggling to breathe.
Seize any opportunity, to survive or take onestep forward,
Whenever you can.
You’ll be amazed, on what shows up,
And what fades away,
As your coming years,
Wash over you in waves.
But every day you live,
You’ll fear less,
And witness your true strength,
Better gauge your real value,
In ways you never imagined possible.
In the end?
That is worth showing up for.

Cycles and Stories

This story brought to you courtesy the idiot hunter-gatherer’s who wanted to know when herds would be migrating or the Shamans who either lusted for power and wanted to appear to predict when certain events would occur or truly just wanted to better understand the universe and use said knowledge to help their fellow man

Whatever the case, someone, somewhere, invented the calendar and it’s all been downhill since…

Sometimes,  the natural cycles of the Universal rotation and our forefathers’  ingenious ways of keeping us organized and controlled (clocks and calendars…and expectations of punctuality) converge to ensure I not only have a crappy day – but that I also spend all day arguing with myself about why or why not to obsess over the obvious patterns and  what those patterns may or may not mean…

About 2 weeks ago, I was going along, minding my own business, looking forward to the conference I had received a scholarship to – said conference was on Friday, May 23rd –

A week prior to the conference, something kept nagging at me – a little niggle I was forgetting something – –

I checked my Desk Calendar, my purse organizer and email calendars –

(yes, I took the Franklin Covey course and learned the 1st rule of keeping only one calendar – it didn’t stick)

As the week progressed, the quiet whisper became louder by increments, until it was nearly shouting at me that I was, in fact, forgetting something – and it just had to be huge – I rechecked my accounting software and bill pay – logged in to make sure all the websites I host are duly backed-up and no domains are due for renewal…

Everything is as it should be….

But the voice was not satisfied – next, I frantically cleaned my desk and read every sticky note there, checked the ones stuck to the wall behind my monitor and even went so far as to check my trash can, for the elusive neon orange note that would tell me what else I had scheduled for Friday, May 23rd that I had somehow forgotten – –

No luck.

Being the crazed woman I am, I called all the friends and neighbors I do chores for when they’re off having fun and I’m stuck home because of work and/or am too broke to go on vacation – – Brought them along my path of insanity while I grilled them,

“You’re sure you didn’t need me on Friday?   Maybe you thought you’d be gone Friday, but then changed your schedule and forgot to tell me?”

No, No, they assure me – you’re fine – you haven’t forgotten anything…

In desperation, I begged the Universe for help in remembering what I had forgotten that I’m supposed to do on May 23rd  –


My inner-historian –

who looks rather like the stereotypical librarian of 1940’s fame, complete with tweed skirt, constrictive jacket, wire-rimmed glasses over pointy nose and thin, gray hair tied so tightly up in a bun, the bags under her eyes become wrinkles at the side of her eyebrows – – (No, she is not sexy librarian of pop-culture fame) –

came to my rescue.

“Shh!  Quit fussing and making noise.   You didn’t forget anything – Morgan graduates on the 23rd.  You have to be done at the job you gave notice at in February by Friday morning, at the latest – you just need to be firm and let them know you’ve stretched your month’s notice way, way too far.”

Gulp – she’s right – I hurriedly bring up my computer calendar and scroll back to May 23rd 2008 – sure enough, it was a Friday…

And suddenly, healing and time go by the wayside and here I sit- reliving May, six years ago –

Friday – 23rd – he graduates and is home by midnight though I stretched his curfew to 2am,  because he’s tired and stuffy from allergies – I tell him how proud I am of him graduating when I know he really just wanted to be done, two years ago! with the institution he believed, “brainwashes you into loving cubicle 9-5 world” –

Friday the 30th, when we went to the doctor because seasonal allergies seemed to have morphed into a cold, virus or sinus infection…

And Saturday the 31st, when his fever broke and he was feeling better…

Sunday, the 1st, when he was once again so miserable and fighting me about going to the ER…

Monday, the 2nd, when he came home from the doctors, pain free after getting a shot and ready to rest, as the doctor said he should – laid down and quit breathing 2 short hours later – – The sirens, the wild ambulance ride – the quarantined ICU room – with friends and family decked out in blue near-hazmat suits, because no one knows what, exactly, is going on –

Which brings us to Tuesday, June 3rd – when the specialists still know nothing about the why, only that he will never be off life support or breathe on his own again…

The calendar, one of man’s greatest inventions, has become my enemy this year –


Why do I tell you this?   To remind myself and you that as we heal there are still lurking neurons and cellular memories that remind us we’re forgetting – – or burying — or there’s something left to be brought to the light and healed – –

It really is dealer’s choice – – it’s your inner world and you can durn well tell whatever story you wish about it!

To point out we can feel appalled to find we are starting to forget – to acknowledge the quiet whisper that says forgetting diminishes our loved one – a review of the the fine line between remembering without pain, forgetting through repression and revisiting memories because we finally can do so without disintegrating –

– the moments that come along in bits and pieces when we are surprised by the little imp of memory/grief that  jumps from hiding in the bushes and bites us soundly in the arse –

I tell you because I’ve spent days thinking about how a silly alignment of the calendar days/dates – that will undoubtedly occur again and again in the future – set me down the path of making up stories that are on par with those concocted by the Pyramidiots – stories that try to make sense of just why my inner world was so insistent I pay attention to the exact eeriness of this year’s calendar – stories made up to explain, understand, give higher meaning to events or just comfort myself -all swirling around my inner sanctum:

“Hmm – interesting – – My sons were born 8 years and 3 days apart – Nathan will graduate 8 years after Morgan died – that must, simply must, mean something – why is there never a numerologist around when you need one?”

“My back hurts – is it because I’m trying to hold on to memories I should let go, or is the heat lamp therapy tearing down brick-by-brick the huge walls I’ve built in my system?   Am I unwinding the ball of ill health or simply adding more imbalance to that which already exists?”

“Think I’ll map out how many more times I’ll endure Friday May 23rd  – 3 times?  6?   If I eat healthy, exercise, meditate and journal, will it make those years easier to handle or just ensure I must travel through more of these cycles?   Wouldn’t it make more sense to sit on my couch watching reality TV while eating Cheetos, guzzling beer and chain-smoking?  Why keep the torture alive for decades on end?”

“Which is better?  A. Map out every year May 23rd falls on a Friday – so I can be prepared and take reasonable preventative action or B. Try to forget that May 23rd means anything – surely after all the tapping, journaling, meditation I’ve done, I should be able to think of this without going loopy – what’s wrong with me?”

“Nothing – you just haven’t completely healed yet – quit fighting it and hang on – soon, it will be July and it will all be better – you know you always have an awesome July!”

“If Morgan were here, he’d tell you Drama class is over – – “


Did I ever tell you the first 3 years after he died I had to look at the calendar to remember if he died on the 3rd or the 4th?   Because he was ill, because I couldn’t or wouldn’t sleep, at home or in the hospital – because I took a nap during the day to avoid all the friends and family I didn’t have answers for and stayed awake at night when there was no one who needed me to make a decision or give them comfort – I lost track of the days – – I tasked others with reminding when I had to be somewhere –

Maybe this year’s angst is all payback for shunning the gift of forgetting that Mother Nature gave me at the time – did I bless her and thank her?

Nope, I dutifully double-checked the calendar in subsequent years to see what date Tuesday fell on that spring – until finally, June 3rd was burned on my brain and I was no longer being gently (or irritatingly) corrected by family members because I mis-remembered what date it was…those who couldn’t stand the pain of me asking, “Was it the 3rd or 4th?  What date was that Tuesday?”


There are stories and games we play with ourselves as we navigate the world – some are inherited – some we make up –

Some serve us – Some confound us – Some merely keep us entertained until such time as we create a new one –

Life may be hard at times and fragile at others, but always, we have the gift of stories to navigate whatever comes our way.




Catching 400

After my little Housecleaning venture, I realized what a fool I’d been – Though I follow many, I do have favorites and it occurred to me that it’s very simple to go to my “Blogs I follow” list, clicky-click and work my way back through those I love and hold dear – –

Meaning, some of you have already had to log in and see umpteen Likes/Comments waiting approval from TamrahJo – I imagine a scene of sighing and eye-rolling, “Why can’t she just keep caught up?” you exclaim in frustration!   My bad, yet you all are so talented, you trigger memories, quotes and such that I, in my childlike state, simply must share about!

This is a blanket apology, I guess…. If you haven’t logged in to find me cluttering up your notifications box yet, count your lucky stars and know your day is coming – – 🙂


I started sweating what to blog about earlier last week, when I found life quiet enough to once again take frequent sojourns here in WordPress land and discovered I was nearing my 400th post mark – – for those of you who are frequent posters, you are free to laugh  – – for those just starting, truly, it’s no big deal since this coming August, I’ll have been blogging for 4 years – – or, more accurately, I’ve had a WordPress account for 4 years – – which breaks down to less than 10 posts per month and is by no means anything to brag about – since I quite frequently do 60 posts on one day and go deep undercover for months at a time – –

Here’s the Highlights:

Apparently, if I ever want to take blogging seriously and establish a niche, I really should limit myself to reviews and How-to’s as they are my most consistently popular posts – I”ve decided against taking this seriously because reviews and how-to’s require remembering to take pictures before/after – hours spent in Photoshop labeling parts and different stages of construction step-by-step lists and really, just what could I say I was an expert in, given my God-given nature of flitting from one brilliant idea to another with no time spent learning the fine art of mastery on any of them….

Since first starting my blog here I’ve moved from writing about self-help/healing and social/political causes to nattering on about all the different perspectives, observations and silly nonsense that is catching my attention this week, day, nanosecond.   A friend once laughingly said to me:

“You know, in various circumstances, it’s appropriate to say, “That’s so last year” or “So last season” – For you, you’re safe in saying, “That’s so one minute ago”

Since BallyBin’s inception, I’ve moved 4 times (only once due to my own planning and volition) navigated a divorce and recovered from a stroke.    I’ve gone from a workaholic to someone who celebrates when I can work 4 hours at a time without needing to rest.    I’ve shared the heartbreak and distress over the loss of my son/dad which precipitated the 7 years of massive changes and challenges (I started blogging mid-way in the journey).

I’ve spent countless hours in front of my computer, discovering other bloggers and chatting at all hours of the night because I wasn’t well enough to work or confident enough with my stroke Elmer Fudd voice to socialize in person – those of you who were my only social contact during this time kindly refrained from pointing out all the typos my right hand made during my stroke recovery process, offered your support and ideas when I struggled with an obstacle and made me feel not so alone and despairing as I watched many of you deal with your own struggles and come up with some really awesome solutions –

Over the past 4 years and 400 posts, I’ve made friends in countries I didn’t even know existed – I’ve learned to be very grateful for where I live and to understand even more fully the strength of the human spirit –

I’ve virtually visited and seen sights I may never get to in person, through your talent with a camera and willingness to share.

I’ve learned that my story, as rocky and unsophisticated/un-enlightened as it is, seems to hold value for some – that what I get excited about is a shared passion by others and reminds me there are always, always some birds to flock with when you’re feeling alone and out of sync with the rest of the world.

So I guess, instead of attempting to write some in-depth analysis of our current economic system, or plumb the depths of the human soul, or tell you once again about building a Garden of Eden in my backyard, I’ll simply make my 400th post about you –

Thank you from the bottom of my heart – I may have made it to this point intact, anyways, but not as inspired, comforted and joyful as I did by being allowed to share in your journey.

Happy 400th to all of us.


I missed spring cleaning this year due to furiously whipping out websites for launch – I’m now into summer activities that result in lots of dirt, mulch and other wonderful things being carried thoughtfully into my domicile by both the dog and me.

Dishes are rinsed and stacked in the sink until 3 meals have passed, at which time, I must do them in order to serve the next meal.

(Ain’t I clever?  I have just 6 of each: plates, glasses, bowls, saucers, cups – my own way of controlling how messy my kitchen counter gets… Only problem with this is it limits how many people you can invite over for a dinner party…)

But this morning, another kind of housecleaning is on my mind – I’ve been down and cranky lately – tis the time of year for anniversaries I’d rather forget and I’m trying to cut myself some slack over the whole deal, but once again, I find myself trying to grind out the season from mid-May to mid-June.


As I scrolled through my WordPress reader this a.m., I realized that my reader reflects my journey these past few years – in it I find the bloggers who chatted with me when I was recovering from my stroke and didn’t have much in-person social interaction –

There are those in the community who have also survived the loss of a child and I watch as both they and I overcome stumbling blocks to our healing.

A good handful of energy healers, astrologers, comedians & philosophers for when life hurts so bad you must simply immerse yourself in works that promise there is hope, Saturn will quit retro-grading at some point and you have the power to make it all better – and if you don’t know how right now, they’ll at least tell you a joke, share a quote or warm your heart with a story.

Sprinkled throughout are those creative artists and photographers who sometimes grace their artwork with snippets of poetry – a quick journey to the world of beauty and a reminder that I really ought to ‘point and shoot’ my camera more carefully –

The published, self-published and getting-ready to publish writers who share their tips, tricks and challenges so the rest of us don’t have to reinvent the wheel, should we ever decide to write for a living.  From these folks I also learn about new software and technical how-to.

When I’m feeling snarky about things I don’t like, I have a whole cadre of folks who keep me informed about why the economy is like it is, what social justice arguments are taking place in their neck of the woods and how to survive a zombie apocalypse or build my own fortress should I ever take the next step in becoming a hermit…

Right next to them are the folks who know how to grow their own food and how to turn some barren, sandy soil into a work of art with a shovel, some garden soil and xeriscape plants.  They show me how beautiful I can make my recycled tires with just some power tools and paint as well as a 1001 uses for discarded wood pallets and plastic 2 liter bottles.

My reader is actually my life story – it’s a tale of where I’ve been and what interested me at the time – it’s a indicator of how I’m doing today (jokes, inspiration and gardening ideas, please, I’m too depressed to save the world or care what a government across the sea is doing, at least for today – – )

And it’s a story of letting go, too.

I noticed this morning that subjects I used to follow avidly, I now skip over – that conversations that used to amuse me no longer do and some grass-root movements no longer seem as viable as they once did.

So I did some housecleaning on my follow list – and sat here pondering how much I’ve changed these past few years – which was rather cheering, since I awoke to pain and longing for my son this morning and railed against the fact that I still take a nose-dive every year around this time.

Once again, the WordPress community is owed my thanks – whether we journeyed together via the reader for a short or long while, you did make a difference for me.

Thank You.



Another Hurdle Jumped…

Occasionally I share when I’ve gotten past a challenge that appeared in the wake of grief and/or stroke.   I think it’s important for those of us who have walked down the road to yell encouragement to those behind us  –

So I must share with you two personal challenges I dealt with this past week.


I don’t do funerals unless it’s my responsibility to send the loved one off in style – I never really have, unless I intimately know the deceased’s family/friends.  Why?  Well, because I’ve always chosen to grieve in my own way and to me, showing up to the funeral is a way to show support to those left behind and let them know how well loved their special person was, rather than a part of my personal grieving process.


I’ll share my warts and intolerances now- it really chaps my bum for speakers at a funeral to be so torn up they can’t get through their portion of the services without loud outbursts and incoherent sobbing….

I know, I know – I’m a HardArse – but really – we only have one chance to do a funeral right, and over the years, the funerals I regretted attending the most were the ones who paraded a litany of ‘speakers’ past the podium who could barely squeak out two coherent words – To me, this does not honor the one that’s gone – My Own Opinion and you’re welcome to disagree with it if you want.

I commented on this once and a family member informed me that it’s “healing for others to experience the raw grief” – Maybe so, but for me, Raw Grief is dealt with in the privacy of one’s own home or in the loving circle of supportive friends- when you’re publicly honoring your loved one, you’d best have your act together or hire someone who does.

The family will remember the funeral – they may have videotaped it – this is not Comedy Central or Reality TV – it is their reminder of how they said goodbye to their loved one – it is not the time or place for Amateur Night

Okay – I’m done ranting – – Back to the original story….


After my period of losses in a short time frame happened, I was even LESS enthused about funerals.   There were ones where I genuinely wanted to love & support the family – but I chose to do so through cooking, cash gifts and behind the scenes help.  When asked, I wholeheartedly offered whatever I could, but begged for understanding that I just couldn’t attend the actual services…just not yet…

Funerals triggered too many unhealed portions of my soul….


Since my stroke drastically affected my speech pattern, AND since I still descend into Elmer Fuddism (yes, it’s a word, look it up) when overtired, ill or stressed, I have not done any public speaking since October of 2011.

Before my Chatty-Kathy ways were hobbled by Elmer Fudd, I eagerly offered to present training sessions, low/no cost classes and spoke at a variety of work and volunteer functions.  I like public speaking – I once had the dream of earning my living that way.   But when the stroke affected my speech, I dutifully put that all behind me and looked forward to a future that did not include me speaking in front of crowds.

I mourned the loss of this part of myself – stuffed those dreams into the memory box of my soul and moved on.


This past week, a friend of the family’s passed away – – at a young age- – – leaving behind three children.

This friend and his family have been there for me and mine in countless ways over the years, especially when my dad and son died, as well as when the rest of my world fell apart.

I hurried over as soon as I found out to see how I could serve.

The family asked if I would share the memories folks have of their loved one at the funeral, for those who couldn’t be there and those too torn up by grief or too introverted to do so themselves.

GULP – –

 I said, “Yes – whatever you need – I’m here.”

But I came home and wondered if I should have said no…


When I was 9 or so, I was awakened in the middle of the night by my Dad’s voice.   I crept out to the kitchen to see what was going on, as my Dad was leaving the next day for a distant state to perform the Masonic Funeral services for a Brother who had passed.  He was often called upon to do this and I’d never really given any thought to why he was asked, or why he did so.

When I tiptoed in and asked who he was talking to, he told me he was practicing for the next day.

I wanted to know why and I’ve never forgotten what he told me:

“Sis, a funeral is the number one place where you can have the best intentions and motivations but still manage to put your foot in your mouth and wound those who are already hurt.  If you’re to speak, it’s best to practice before you do so.”

After my own adult experiences with what folks say and do when trying to help you after the loss of a loved one, I know that not only was his observation correct, but a whole lot of people in this world didn’t have a Dad who shared this valuable information with them.


So this week, I attended a funeral for the first time in 5 years and made it out in pretty good shape.

For the first time in 2 1/2 years, I spoke before a large audience – no one thought me the village idiot and more importantly, I managed to do my part in a way that that was satisfactory to the family and other members of the community.

I personally think I escaped Elmer Fuddism, because I Ordered the Universe to make it all turn out right.

Ordering the Universe around is a dangerous thing, and I suggest you only do so when the stakes are high and in service to others – otherwise, it often backfires…

The Universe is kind enough to immediately respond when I deem something High Priority – I’ve always been grateful for that.


In reflecting upon this past week, I realized I had to tell you –

No matter what wounds you carry or what disabilities you’ve encountered – there is always a way to be the person you wish to be.  It may take awhile or some ingenuity, but I believe it can always happen.

I may not know first-hand what you’re dealing with…

It may happen sooner or later than the 5 years it took me…

But if You Desire to do what you’ve deemed as Important, I have no doubt you’ll find the way –

Grace descends and blesses you when there’s work to be done and you know, in your heart, it’s your job to take care of.

Keep the Faith and Never Give Up Hope.

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