Thursday, September 22, 2016

Heroes: The Carver Brothers

Since I wrote the very first book in this series all those years ago, This family has become my measure of love. True, no one will ever live up to them, but one can hope. :)

Get all our books in this series in one collection. 

Sunday, September 4, 2016

Summer 2016 -- WARNING! Not for the faint of heart.

It took me several days to write this post. Even now as I'm reading over it, my chest is tight and I'm blinking back tears...

To say the summer of 2016 will be one summer I will endeavor to forget is an understatement, Yes there have been some very positive things, but there have been some life altering, heart rending events as well. Whether they turn out to be for good or ill remains to be seen, but I am not fond of change.

It all started in May. While the event was hands down THE BEST convention I've ever been too -- topping even last year -- it marked the beginning of the end of partnership and a friendship. I shouldn't say the begging of the end but rather the ending of the end. There are always two sides to everything and the actuality is probably somewhere in the middle, but all I know is how I feel about specific instances. The more I think about them, going back and reading past e-mails and IM conversations, the more accepting I am of what I see now as an inevitable outcome. It didn't start out that way which is what is so sad about the whole thing. For years things were fine. When things got tough was when... well, when things got tough. Being me, the non-confrontational person I am, I tend to let things build and build, blowing up at the wrong thing. I also tend to second guess myself afterward. Did I blow up because I was upset at something completely unrelated? Was whomever I lashed out at collateral damage? Did I have PMS? In this instance I was so upset, I called a friend. I turned over the password to my e-mail, said "search for this" and let her have free run of every single message over YEARS. (Folders and tags were extremely helpful here.) Several weeks later, she got  back to me, telling me that, yes, I blew up at the wrong thing but she could see it building as far back as three years before. There were mini meltdowns, resolves not to get lured back into the fray, but I always went back. (Kinda reminded me of my first boyfriend whom I stayed with for two and a half years. Even after he told me that, at 125lbs, I was too fat to be attractive to him. On my birthday.) While I grieve and miss both the partnership and the friendship, I realize that we're both better off. Yes. It fucked with me. Still fucks with me. But then something else happens and I think, at least now there isn't supposed to be loyalty. When it happened before, it was your "bestie." Jury is still out, but I'm not holding out hope.

Vacation, while not a complete disaster, wasn't at all what I expected. Or hoped. But hey. It was vacation. My family had a wonderful time and so did I. After the events above, I SO needed to soak up the sun! Which is exactly what I did. Soaked up quite a bit of alcohol as well, but that's another story. :D

After vacation came the disappointing -- and frustrating end of June. Won't go into specific detail, but suffice it to say I learned that, I'm insensitive to everyone's feelings but my own. I'm stubborn, hard headed, concerned only about myself, am unable to understand when things are difficult for others, and am only concerned about things I think I am owed. That was in response to me being upset about being expected to work for free. No one asked me to work for free. No one said I had to work for free or was going to work for free. But I wasn't getting paid for the previous pay period and there was work lined up to be done immediately. So yeah. I found out what a user I was, that I take advantage of my friends but those friends were too nice to say anything to me about it because they are my friends and there was no since making a big deal about it. I was championed, defended, and pushed to be better. But I never saw anything other than what I thought I was owed. Yes. I sound bitter. The conversation was only one of many of this nature and I realized that, the reason those conversations happened in the first place was because I allowed them to happen more than once. Just like with that first boyfriend.

June turned into July and I found out my Dad would not be eligible for any of the clinical trials we'd applied for because his cancer is too advanced or because his heart wouldn't stand up to the treatment. That wasn't a huge blow, but after all the drama I'd just been through, it was a blow. I wanted something positive to come out of this summer! It's all I really wanted at this point! His doctor was still very supportive. Not only for Dad, but for Mom and me as well. They set my mother up with counselors for her to talk to if she had questions or fears, helping Dad's support system have a support system. Every time I go with him to the doctor, Dr Villano asks how my mother is. Asks how I'm doing. It makes me feel like they all really do care about us. That we're not alone. And every single time I've called, the doctor himself has called me back. He talks to me, gives me the means to help myself and my Dad through information. By pointing me to websites where I can get the knowledge myself to help Dad find a treatment plan that he can live with. Even though brain cancer sucks, having healthcare providers who listen and truly care about their patients makes getting through it a little easier. Or, at least, not as miserable.

The positive came from the garden. Vegetables EVERYWHERE! We canned and froze our asses off! Corn and peas in the freezer, Beans, potatoes, and tomatoes canned. Bumper crop of potatoes! My only fear is that we won't be able to keep the potatoes through the winter, but I have hope.

Then August came. Yeah. August. My work place is being sold. To the company I left from to go there in the first place. Fortunately, I hadn't completely quit the old job a year and a half ago, so I was able to go back and keep all my seniority, benefits, and basically pick up where I left off. It does mean giving up a lot to keep a moderate amount. But hey. At least I have a place to go without having to start all over.

I also found homes for a few books where rights had been returned to me. I reacquainted myself with old friends I hadn't really lost touch with, but who were waiting for me to get my head out of my ass and realize I had people who cared about me. Oh, I was reminded that "I told you so" is a perfectly acceptable response to "I'm sorry," but I can't say I didn't deserve it.

So, as August turns to September and Autumn is truly on the way, I'm reminded of all I've lost. All I have. My husband's birthday is in a few days and I'm so very blessed he's in my life. I'm blessed with a relationship that has lasted twenty years and I hope it last twenty more. I have a son who will turn thirteen in October and he still stops by my chair for random hugs and kisses. He never goes to bed without kissing me goodnight. And when he's hurting, troubled, scared, or just in need of feeling loved, he still takes my hand and says, "Mom, I need to cuddle a minute." We lay down, I hold him, and he tells me what's bothering him. I think he does it so he doesn't have to look at me when he's taking. He has the comfort of my arms around him without having to see my expression and that's OK. I know those days are numbered, but I treasure them now. With my dad being sick, I'm having to relearn to love my mother. Our past isn't as loving as my tight family unit, In fact, it's been quite contentious at times. It's been hard to drop everything and go running when she needs help with Dad. There have been times I've really wanted to tell her she's going to have to do the best she can. I have my own life to live. But I can't. I have helped people as a healthcare provider for twenty years. The very, very least I can do is help my own parents out. Besides, the thought of my seventy year old mother sleeping on the floor of the Emergency room because she has no one to stay with Dad while he's there and, even if she did, has no ride to a hotel makes my heart ache and my blood boil. I don't want my own son to have to relearn how to love me. I never want him to stop loving me. Not just deep down inside. I think that love always stays there. But the love on the surface of your emotions can... fade. Grow numb. I want his love for me to be as raw and necessary as it is now when he gets to be my age. I want to know that, no matter where he goes, or who he's with, he'll always come back home.

So, while I am not a fan of cold weather or snow, I say bring on the winter. I want to turn this shit around and be a positive person. I'm not a depressed or sullen person by nature. I love to laugh and make others laugh. I'm hoping that, by writing all this down, I've released it. That was the point anyway. To release negativity and realize everything good in life I still have. I have so much to be thankful for. So much a AM thankful for! I just want to be the best person I can be. The best wife and mother I can be. The best daughter I can be. If I can accomplish those things, then I will be the best writer I can be because I will be happy.