Tuesday, August 23, 2016

A Book Worth $479 (Really???)

So you know how you google your name (don't judge me!) just to see what comes up? On the first page, I found lots of things to embarrass my children with in later years. On the second page, I found THIS:

In case you can't read that, you too can have my little paperback book for only $479 through Mercado Libre. First of all, who the fuck is Mercado Libre and why are they selling my book for $479???

So I went back a little toward sanity, stopped reading my listings under my Googled name and just tried to send you to the appropriate site. That's when I found THIS:

Who is C. Michael Newton and why is he selling my book for $64.04 and $80.33?

I used to think the internet was my friend, but you know what they say? No, I don't know what they say either, but apparently it can be used for good or harm.

If you'd actually like to buy my book and have the proceeds go to St. Baldrick's Foundation to aid the cure for childhood leukemia, here's the correct link: Real Book. I promise you that the $11.99 version is just as good (read exactly the same) and some of your money will really go to charity. I can also promise you that buying it for $479 or anything above $11.99 gets you the same book for a lot more money and none of it goes to charity.

I want to know who these people are and whether they've actually sold any books for those amounts because if they did (a) I want my money and (b) I really want my money. There's a lawsuit here, I think.

Buy the book. But for $11.99. Even though I'm flattered they think someone would actually spend those amounts for my little paperback book.

I've sold a few. I'd like to sell more. I'd like to sell them for $479. I'd like to know who C. Michael Newton is and why he is reselling my book at 10 times the cost. There are a lot of things I'd like to know.

The internet can be a strange and wonderful place or a strange and dangerous place or a strange and weird place where people steal things that aren't theirs. I guess you have to decide who to trust and where to go on the internet. It's like high school, but with people who want a lot more than your lunch money and try to shove your book into a locker.

I'm at a loss.


Thursday, August 18, 2016

Gone to the Beach, Automatically Depression-Less?

Sunrise, Topsail Island, North Carolina

So yes, we are on vacation at the beautiful beach. We took Joey out of school for the first three days of his senior year, hoping there wouldn't be a lot of people here, but that somehow backfired, as the beach is as crowded as I've ever seen it. That's not saying much though, because the island is not built up with a lot of condos and hotels, so it's all people that have rented houses and there aren't a ton of houses where we vacation every year.

It's why we keep coming back and plan to move here.

I mentioned in my last post that I was in a car accident about a year ago. It was a horrific accident in which I lacerated my spleen and my L-1 vertebra exploded, leaving nothing but shrapnel where that part of my spine should have been. I don't remember a lot about it, except that it was a one car accident that was caused by a moment's distraction. Luckily, no one else was in the road and therefore no one else was hurt. Because if I had hurt someone else, I doubt I could have lived with it.

When I woke up from the back surgery, I had the attitude and mood of Oh. My. God. I survived! I'm not paralyzed! I am going to kick this injury in the balls and appreciate every single day I live from that day until my last day (as they say on Game of Thrones)! Of course, with the pain of recovery, that fantastic, happy to be alive, kick ass mood didn't last. I'm still working on recovery, which has been made difficult because my fibromyalgia tends to complicate matters. But I'm walking and not in a wheelchair and I slid between two big trees, so I'm not dead because I didn't slam into one of them. I actually felt my mother's presence in the car with me, protecting me from being taken before I was ready to go. I'll always be grateful for that feeling of her being there and watching out for me, whether it was real or only something going through my head as my car was jumping medians and curbs and sliding down an embankment.

So, we are now on our yearly vacation to Topsail Island, NC and have a beachfront house which is absolutely beautiful. My dad and brother flew in from California to spend the week with us and everyone came except my oldest son, who wants to visit California and couldn't get a second week off to come to the beach. I miss him.

We have done a little house hunting, which has been a lot of fun and we are getting an idea of where we might want to move or build a house down here in about three years. I've enjoyed that immensely.

But the depression has been hanging over me for several months. It didn't go away when the beach week came. It hasn't gone away because I really can't go out on the beach when I want to. I didn't plan the tides right, so low tide is during 90 degree blazing sun and I can't get overheated with the medications I am still on. Overdosing because I was too stubborn to stay inside is not my idea of a good vacation, so I am behaving and staying indoors except at dawn (see above picture) and at dusk, which I get eaten alive by sand fleas. I've only found a few small pieces of sea glass and I'm upset, mad, depressed that I can't go out there and walk the beach. It's really the only exercise I find entertaining. I've been walking on my treadmill at home and doing pretty well, but it's just not the same as beachcombing.

I know depression lies. I know the voices in my head that tell me this was a horrible idea and that my family is having an awful time are lying. I know that this horrific sadness I feel over my mother being gone will pass for awhile. It will all pass. But in the meantime. I'm angry that I'm depressed. I shouldn't be depressed on vacation - not. fair.

Tomorrow should be better, as my son and his beautiful girlfriend are taking me out for a late birthday lunch and shopping for a t-shirt. We will be going to dinner with one of Justin's old friends from high school who lives down here tomorrow night. I don't have time to be depressed tomorrow.

I don't know about you guys, but I feel as if I am so inconsequential right now. I feel like an irritant to my family because I can't stop talking - something I've always had a problem with. I plug in the headphones to keep from interrupting. A habit I just can't seem to break and one that really bothers everyone who is trying to have a conversation around me. So it bothers me and contributes to that feeling of uselessness and self hatred that I know I shouldn't be feeling.

How can I be on a beautiful vacation and be depressed? Sad? Missing my mother like crazy? Crying too much, so it bothers Justin enough to tell me to stop? I want to go out and stroll on the beach alone and think everything through that I'm feeling, but it's too damned hot - how could I pick the hottest August in years for our beach vacation? What's wrong with me? I feel like I should have known, but how could I have known? Depression is a lying bitch.

I know it will get better. I know I'll go home to my animals and my routine and I start pool therapy on Monday, so that should help with my flexibility and pain levels. I did the whole regular physical therapy, but it was over before my body had completely recovered and if I face it, I probably won't ever completely recover. I have eight screws and two rods in my back and a ten inch scar that won't ever go away. And mentally, I still run through the accident and being in the hospital over and over in my mind, where the dilaudid they gave me for pain made me a different person and I hallucinated very strange things while I was outside the ICU nurses' station. I hope to never have dilaudid again because it makes my brain do very strange thing and I made up soap operas that never happened while I was on it. It's good to know which medications you really shouldn't take.

So I know I will regret this depression, because I can't even run to the beach to get away from it for a week. It's like that cloud on the commercial, where the depression follows the person around like a black cloud and then they try to get you to ask for dangerous mood stabilizing drugs. I know this depression is situational and will get better, but I'm so far down the rabbit hole right now, that I can hear the sad and awful feelings laughing at the idea that it will go away.

It's a beautiful beach. It's a beautiful place to think about living. Thank God Justin is here to provide me with some perspective, but I know my moods and my craziness get him to the point where he feels kind of stabby and then I feel depressed because of that.

We have a 6-7 hour drive home on Saturday and I spent most of the ride down asleep. I have to lay the seat back and lie on a pillow to keep the pain low enough to tolerate the ride. But I will be glad to be home and get back into my normal routine. I miss my comfortable bed and my animals. This seems to happen every year where by the end of the week, I am very ready to go home. In a few years, this will be home, but I will be able to walk the beach in cooler weather and live close enough to it that my back doesn't flip out from the drive.

Hope you all are having a good week.


Wednesday, August 3, 2016

A Pink Dress Moment in 2012

Hey guys,

It's been a long time since I took to writing on my blog and I have spent the last three+ years kind of wandering around in a fog, wondering what to do with my life. About a year ago, I got into a really bad car accident and broke my back, but I'll write about that another day, if I can keep the momentum of this writing thing going.

You'll have to bear with me, as it's been so long since I did a post that I keep forgetting to save my work before exiting to retrieve something I want to use and this might be fairly jumbled.

Today, I wanted to write about hope and what I tried to do for my best friend during her ferocious fight with terminal breast cancer. If you read Jenny Lawson's blog (The Bloggess), you might remember the Traveling Red Dress Project. It was a way to drag yourself out of whatever mental illness you might be fighting at the time and feel beautiful for a day. Or empower yourself if you were feeling particularly unempowered. Or help with horrifying anxiety that makes you want to hide under your desk at home because your mind has convinced you that under your desk is the only place you feel somewhat safe You can read about that in my post here: Our Red Dress Moment.

The day before the shoot, I went to a local bridal store to try on dresses and send photos to Malea, since she was unable to come out and try them on for herself due to being sick as a dog. She and her mother planned on coming out the next day and picking one of a few dresses that I had brought along and we would have a wonderful shoot that for just one day would make her (hopefully) forget about the cancer and once again celebrate what a wonderful friendship we had. Malea is the only woman who I ever was as close to as a a sister. I wanted to have one more of those moments of feeling that close.

The evening before the shoot, I got a call from her saying that she had been taken to the hospital by ambulance because she couldn't breathe. There would be no photo shoot. No sister moment. No feeling beautiful for a day. We had even set up my hairdresser to do makeup and my hair (she was without hair at that point, but we hoped to find a pretty headband or something to complement her beautiful baldness). I had tried to cover every base I possibly could. Unfortunately, it wasn't meant to be.

On October 21, 2012, Malea passed away. It was the end of a beautiful friendship, but not the end of my memories of our wonderful friendship over the past ten years, when we met at the bus stop when our sons were heading off to kindergarten. Those kids are now 19 years old and adults. It's hard to believe so much time has passed.

As some time went on, I had an idea. I was going to go ahead with the shoot. But it would be me and it would be pink. I was changing up the color to honor the fight Malea had put up against breast cancer. It took a little planning, but here are a few shots of that photo shoot:

Photo Credit: Misty Higgins (Moments by Misty - Winchester, VA)

 In the last photo, You can see a round sphere of light. Misty actually changed this picture to black and white to try to remove the sphere. The minute I saw it, I thought of the belief that orbs and spheres that show up in photos but don't show through the viewfinder are actually the spirit of someone who has passed away. I like to think that sphere represented Malea's spirit and that she knew what I was doing to honor her memory.

I don't have a good way to wrap this up, mostly because I didn't get any sleep last night, but I had an impulse to get back onto my blog and catch you up on everything that's happened since 2013. There's so much in those three+ years that it's hard to know where to start, so I thought I'd put this one out there. I hope that I can somehow show Jenny Lawson what I did and let her know that it was a direct result of her Red Dress Shoot that she did so many years ago. I just finished reading her new book Furiously Happy, and I needed to tell her that she has had so much influence on my life. I got to the last page (again) and since I didn't have anything in my nightstand I wanted to read, I turned back to the first page and started over. No pressure, Jenny, but I read everything you write. Ok, I want to read everything you write - I've had a couple of bad years, but I've read both of your books many times and I have your third on preorder. I think your third book is going to be my favorite.

Jenny, I am your number 25. I know you have a lot of them, but I am one of them.

Thanks for reading and if you have any connection to Jenny, please let her know this is dedicated to her.