Monday, February 27, 2006

a light at the end of the tunnel...

There was a country song that said something like "There's a light at the end of the tunnel, I hope it ain't no train." It always made me laugh when I heard it (yes, yes, I had a "country phase"). It is such a good mix of humorous and serious, don't you think? You won't find out what that light is without confronting it.

So the confrontation about the life insurance I've been dreading happened. Marla's brother called Saturday and the topic came up. I have to say that I was thankful Mr. Average took the call and dealt with Brother. In no uncertain terms, Mr. A made it clear that we'd not be giving any of the money to the family - but Brother continued to appeal - asking us not to make a "rash" decision based on emotion.

He also made some great comments about how we need to "understand how hard it was for his mother - having come here during the Civil Rights Movement."

A.D.D. Moment: I was sharing this info with a co-worker of mine - telling her the story. And she said "Wow, that's reverse-racism!" Ummm, what the hell is "reverse racism"? Does that even make sense? Racism is racism - and just because you're black doesn't make it any less atrocious.

I think Brother thinks that he has my balls in a vice grip (so to speak) because the family has the death certificate (needed to get the paperwork filed)... well, my boss was extremely kind in letting me have a few personal hours to deal with everything Friday afternoon, and that included getting the death certificate from the county clerk. Turns out I was able to get that myself - simply by having the paperwork from the insurance company (and giving them a copy) - which made me a "legal representative".

I have to break here a moment and say that I think the hardest time I've had through this whole thing was when I was on the train, and read the death certificate and saw the reasons for Marla's Death:
  1. Liver Failure (days)
  2. Liver Cirrhosis (years)
  3. Something unreadable
  4. inflammatory Bowel Syndrome
All I could think of was how sick she must have been - and she'd been living with us over a year - how could I not know? Shana and I talked a bit - and she thought the same as I did. She was so sick, but always had a smile on her face - always up for doing something. *shakes head*

So, anyhow - I got the certificate and FedEx'ed the paperwork to the insurance company. Brother called Saturday... He said something about how his father wanted to help with funeral expenses and if I would send some of the money, that'd be one way he could help. That I could think about it and send her father "whatever I thought fair."

That's a GREAT idea except when I found out that Marla's truck (mentioned in a previous post) - that I thought the father had - well, he DONATED it to the church. Told Marla's other friend here to give it to the church.

I'm sorry, but if it were so important to put money toward the funeral expenses, shouldn't he have kept the truck, sold it, paid off the rest of the loan Marla had (it wasn't a large loan), and then used that money for the funeral?

And if the funeral expenses were such a burden for her (well-off) mother, then why couldn't she have talked to me about that money 6 weeks ago? Why wait 6 weeks when, I figure, if it were such a burden, she'd want that money to offset the charges anyhow? Brother claimed that he hadn't even looked at the paperwork before Saturday.


So, I said no. I'm not going to give them anything. Besides, I *KNOW* that the funeral was not what Marla would have wanted. Why should the money be spent on that? And, let's not forget, they already hate me.

Brother asked, at the end, that we think about it some more. I have. No is my final answer.

I can now see the light at the end of the tunnel: Never having to deal with that family, that church or her other "friends" ever again.
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Tuesday, February 21, 2006

don't hold your breath....

People aren't inherently good. They're just not. So, don't hold your breath - thinking they'll do the right thing.

On January 10 of this year, my best friend passed away from liver failure due to untreated Crohn's disease. I have been having a really hard time dealing with her death. She lived with me, and we'd been through a lot. The closest thing to a sister either of us had was each other. She had no family here in Dallas - and only two really good friends here.

Up to Marla's getting sick, I'd say the hardest thing I ever had to do in my life was calling my folks and telling them I was in a cult and I needed help to get out. But that didn't even compare to making phone calls to Marla's friends, co-workers, boss and those dear to her, telling them she was dying and if they wanted to see her, this was the last chance. Nothing prepares you to do that.

The funeral was a terrible experience... unfortunately it wasn't about celebrating Marla's life, it was all about the church she attended (Fellowship Church, Grapevine, Texas) and her life in that church. Every story, every comment, everything was about that church... and if you would have gone to the memorial service and not known her, you'd have thought her life ended 5 years ago when she took a trip with 2 friends from church. Her family wasn't a part of that church, her best friend Julie from High School wasn't a part of that church, and though I met Marla at Fellowship, I wasn't a part of that church any longer - Those of us who weren't members of Fellowship may as well have not existed.

I kept telling myself I didn't need anyone to validate my friendship with Marla. That's a lie, though. As she lay in the hospital (nearly 3 weeks), I kept dealing with being called "the roommate". Being asked to pack up her stuff. Being asked to do this or that errand for her or the family. I talked to her just about every day - visited her when I could - and was appalled that the first time one of the dozen pastors from Fellowship Church came to the hospital was an hour before she passed away (he couldn't get there when the call came in that she had only hours remaining, he had to finish some speaking engagement). Worse was that her family didn't even arrive until the last week she was alive. Her father left the day before she passed away, her mother and brother didn't arrive until after she'd died.

Her last hours - in that hospital bed, in a coma, the room filled with people who didn't respect her when she was awake, alive, full of joy - I held her hand tightly as those church folks talked about their record numbers from the day before... as one of them talked on the cell phone and made comments about how Marla wasn't a regular attender of the church and no one knew what to expect. There as they swooped in, and pushed me aside. Acting as if, all along, they were there to hold her when she cried after being kicked out of ministry after ministry, after a job fell through, after a boyfriend didn't work out, after sleeping in her truck - as if they were there.


And her family, they hate me. The main strike against me? I'm white. You read that right. I'm white. Her family doesn't trust or like white people.

But that didn't stop the family from putting me in the awkward position of helping them to commit fraud with the company that had lien on her truck (they told the company that she died in the truck and it was totalled). Didn't stop them from asking for favor after favor after Marla died.

It didn't stop them from neglecting to tell me that I was the sole beneficiary on her life insurance. They have known this for well over a month, and didn't tell me. The insurance company had to find me and tell me. It didn't stop them from making a comment to the insurance woman that Marla may have been under duress when she filled out the insurance forms (being that she lived with me, etc)

I don't even care about the fucking money. I don't. I just care that the one thing that Marla clearly spelled out she wanted happens. God help anyone who gets in the way of my making sure that at least one thing through this horrible event goes the way Marla would have wanted it to go.

But this, this insurance thing - in a fucked up way - I see this as validation. From Marla to me, to her family, to anyone who knows. Validation.

People have told me not to misdirect my anger. That her family is grieving too. That I shouldn't be angry with them.

But I am. They are bad people. They are crazy, bad, selfish people.

If they're expecting anything else from me - they shouldn't be holding their breath.
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Friday, February 17, 2006

variety show

So much has been going on lately. So, this will be a variety show type post... no A.D.D. Moment, persay, because I expect this post to be mostly A.D.D.

The Cheney "Shooting": Ugh. No, really, UGH.

I grew up in Wisconsin - where hunting was a major part of life. Our Thanksgiving revolved around the men coming home from deer hunting. Fresh venison, rabbit, pheasant... god, so good (mini A.D.D. Moment - how anyone can be a vegetarian baffles me). I can tell you that accidents happen, even in situations where "gun safety" is being adhered to. Shit happens.

It's absolutely ridiculous that this non-news story has become (just about) bigger than when the Hmong guy in Wisconsin killed other hunters (ref).

The real news story here? The fact that the media is so narcissistic - angry because they weren't told first (last I checked I didn't think the news media had some type of contract with the White House for breaking news).


Music, etc: I signed up for SongU. It's an online "school" for songwriting. They also have some basic theory classes, guitar and home recording stuff. I put an ad out that I was willing to do demos and cowrite. This weekend, I just need to get some stuff recorded. Should be easier once I get my beloved guitar out of pawn. Until then, I'll have to settle for Band In a Box and my digital piano.

If anyone's interested in hearing my stuff, just comment here and I'll post links.

American Idol: I'm just not excited this year by AI. Maybe it's because I'm jaded (see earlier posts) due to my own failed AI experience. I'm just baffled that they let through to the top 24 a few people who really don't have "hitmaker" voices. Out of the 24 moving on, I can only remember 4 that strike me as potential winners. 4. That's sad.

I could go on for at least 2 paragraphs about the Brittnum twins (I don't care how it's spelled, if you watch, you know who I mean). All that talk about how they were exemplifying the American Idol personae turned out to be lies upon their lies upon their lies. I'm glad they're gone from the show, and even more glad that they're getting caught up with when it comes to the shenanigans in their past.

That's it for now. 3-day weekend and a wootoff - god bless the U.S.A!
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Tuesday, February 14, 2006


A poem I penned is highlighted today on inBubbleWrap (link at right).

I am quite proud of myself.

*pats self on back*

I hope to present everyone with a fantastic full-length blog entry later today or tomorrow. Real life takes front seat to the blog, unfortunately.
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Monday, February 13, 2006

extreme makeover... groan edition

[Extreme Makeover: Home Edition plays on TV]

About an hour and fifteen minutes in, I blink a few times and say:
"I'm bored with your philanthropy."
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Wednesday, February 08, 2006

...on account of our obstacles

There are times when I look at my life and all I see are obstacles. Walls I can't get over, hills I can't climb, minefields I'm not even going to try to get through.

We all have them - and some of us even have the *same* ones.

For example, I was (sorta) part of a discussion the other day - it happened to be realted to weight (beginning of the year still, so that tends to be a hot topic). A woman had 15 pounds to lose and she is obsessing about it - to the point of making others around her worry if she is too obsessive. I immediately tune out the nonsense - because, honestly, I cannot (AT ALL) relate to someone who has 15 "vanity" pounds to lose .

During this conversation, another girl chimed in that this woman's 15 pounds is just as big of a deal to this person as 150lbs is to someone who's truly obese (hi, I'm sitting right here, thanks). This is where I tuned back in and got a little upset.

I don't think that's a fair comparison. The person who is obsessing over 15 pounds has more going on with them than body image, IMHO. If you truly obsess (to haunt or excessively preoccupy the mind) over 15 pounds, then I think there's obviously something going on there that doesn't really involve weight. Honestly, obsession is bad, no matter who you are. But 15 pounds?

ADD Moment: Every year, the American Idol judges say that "This year's idol will be the biggest ever. The contestants this year will blow you away." It may be possible they've shown very few of the actual good people up to this point - but there have been very few "standout" people this year. I can't even name 5 people that I've seen in the audition process that struck me as measuring up to what I'd expect to come out of the competition. Worse yet, the obvious advancement of people who have no business singing on that stage in Hollywood. Maybe I'm just jaded because I didn't make the cut (and I am, I admit it), but I believe that there are too many people who don't really want it taking the places of people who have the passion, desire and talent - but may lack an element or two that the competition could give them.

And the girl who spoke up is beautiful - thin, pretty, fairly smart... has a lot going for her - she's 26, and cares a lot about her appearance - so I guess I can see where she thinks that there's no difference between the 15lb and 150lb person.

As someone who's 150lbs overweight, I can tell you that I don't obsess. There is NO correlation between someone who is wanting to lose 15 vanity pounds in comparison to me. The motivation to fit into that dress, or those jeans, or be pretty for this or that event - is no where in comparison to wanting to live for 5 more years, wanting to to be able to walk a decent distance without getting tired, and wanting people to judge me based on me, not my size.

I came to the realization a few weeks ago that, even at my size, even with my health issues and the related stresses of being fat, I don't think I want to be thin bad enough. Truly. It's not even about willpower here, it's more about

I don't know what it will take to get me to take my health seriously. I don't know what it will take to convince me that I can overcome this. I just watched one of my best friends die from not taking care of her health issues... but I see her issues very differently from my own. She just needed to go to the doctor, take some pills... I have a monumental task in front of me - losing half of my body weight. That's major. While I know those around me love and want me to be happy and healty - I feel as though I'm not supported. Or rather, not supported in the way I feel I need to be to succeed. So if my best friend dying in front of me doesn't shake me into the reality of the gravity of my lifestyle - what will?

There are just too many things between me and the treasure I seek - and I don't think that I care enough to even try to get there. Worse yet, I know no one else can care for me.
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fucking shit!

As of this AM, I am $500 away from owning a piece of shit car.

Transmission has been replaced once already - and now it won't go into drive after I get onto the road from the driveway.

Fucking. Shit.

Update: thank you to the all-knowing Bucky... it seems the only issue is low transmission fluid. We shall test this theory this evening.

There will be a real blog update later today, my fans.
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Thursday, February 02, 2006

yawn... food

I don't expect all of you to understand. I mean, not unless you're a real, true fat-ass (or have been). Not talking about twiggy or pseudo-fatties either... you won't get it unless you're fat. So just skip this if you are not fat or never have been.

And, no, being a "Foodie" isn't enough to understand.

You know you're fat when you give directions based on restaurants as landmarks. "Go up to the Bennigan's, and then take a left. You'll pass 2 Pizza places, and a Mexican restaurant. I'm on the left about 4 blocks from the Subway."

Or when you judge distance by how many soft tacos you could eat on the way.

You have change in your pocket and within seconds you know how many $1 menu items you could get (+ tax) with the change you have.

Even worse, laying in bed deciding which McDonald's you're going to stop at for breakfast on the way to work. You finally decide, and then realize you left one out that's even more convenient.

Today, however, I have a dilemma that, as a fat person, makes me more ashamed than sharing with the public my jeans size.

Yep, bored. It kinda started last night. What to have for dinner - meh. My list of what I wasn't hungry for was bigger than what I was hungry for. And everything I considered I then dismissed. Finally, after getting to the restaurant, I ordered something I didn't really want - or that I didn't want any more or less than anything else.

So it's lunchtime. I realized, just now, that I neglected to even have breakfast. And it's lunch. I'm hungry-hungry-hippos here... and I've got a bevy of restaurants in range. But nothing sounds good. Nothing.

Maybe it's that fucking depressingly blah pot pie I got at Boston Market for lunch yesterday. Talk about let down. I was so craving one - and decided to go there instead of KFC (a lady at work was raving about how Boston Market's pot pie is so much better than KFC), and let me tell you, Swanson is better. Hell, store-brand generic is better. Bleh.

A.D.D. MOMENT: It's like Coldplay and U2. Coldplay is Boston Market's Pot Pie, U2 is KFC's. U2 was around first, a staple of the entertainment world. They're well known, their music is great. When you buy a u2 album you're never disappointed. Then Coldplay comes along and someone's like -"Nooo, Coldplay is the best, better than U2!" They're new, and they are younger and hipper... but they're not that different really. I mean Coldplay has some good songs and great melodies, but they're obviously ripping off some of U2's stuff. u2 will always be known for setting the standard that Coldplay will have to live up to and be compared to. Yeah. Coldplay is a Boston Market Pot Pie and U2 is a KFC Pot Pie. Stick with the sure bet - go with U2.

And for a moment, the thought came to mind that I should try to overwrite that bad pot pie memory. But it just doesn't sound good.

Nothing does.

How did I become this?

How did this horrible thing ever happen?!
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Wednesday, February 01, 2006

how do you spell a primal scream?

I just watched the Austin American Idol auditions - I just want to SCREAM right now! I guess it wouldn't piss me off nearly to the point of a brain aneurysm if it wasn't on the tails of Las Vegas = worst fucking audition city EVER.


Ok, so now that that's out of my system... AAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!

Why has God forsaken me? Why was I not good enough to even get to Randy, Paula and Simon? Whywhywhywhywhy.

I *know* I'm good. I fucking know it. And it fucking pisses me off.

I am *this* close to not watching the rest of the season. *scowl*

you may now commence with the uplifting comments. thank you.
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d'american d'idol [drool]

So next time someone goes "NO WAY! You auditioned for American Idol?" I can just show them the picture of me that's on the AI website.

I mean, I *can*, but I won't. I look retarded. Not just "highly functioning" either, more like "Should be wearing a helmet and a bib" retarded.

So the only proof I have also lends people to think I am missing a chromosome. blargh.
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