Life and Death

DRIVE

Life and death happens every day.

The reason why I am writing about this today is because it’s the anniversary of my father’s death.  It was quite unexpected and hit the entire family pretty hard.  I have realized it can happen to anyone and that we should treasure every good moment you have with family, friends, co-workers and even people you occasionally talk to in real life and the social media world.

I have seen death come slowly to those who are failing health and that is hard to see someone you know so strong to succumb to being so frail.   I think one can kind of be prepared for that aspect but it’s hard.  That person won’t be with you anymore and that you will miss them.  I saw this happen with both my grandmothers.   I rather think of them as strong women compared to the illness that took them.  One of them had a stroke as the other had Alzheimer’s.  My one uncle had a battle with PKD (kidney disease) and it was tough everyone.     Everyone reacts differently to this.   Some remain hopeful and make the best of it.  Others may change.  Some may not accept the fact their loved one is going to die.  It’s hard and scary.

I grieved for my grandmothers but I felt relieved for them. They were not to in pain any more.  Funerals are tough for some and for others they may give relief.  Each funeral is different.  My one grandmother’s funeral was in August as it was hot as the other was in January as it was freezing.    My uncle funeral was warm because it was in Georgia.  It is always warm there but the funeral was so nice and simple

I’ve realized life is scary at times.   The happy moments are the best though.   Am I being morbid talking about this topic?   Are people afraid of talking about this?   For some it’s too emotional to talk about, others move on and others just talking about it might bring some comfort.

Then there’s the aspect of death when it hits you in the gut.  This means a total unexpected death.  That was with my father.   I had seen this happen to two friends of mine and then it happened to me.   The way my two friend’s parents and my father, there was no way you could predict this. One minute they are here and then the next they are gone.   Whew.  It cuts into you like a knife.

Reacting to the way my father died, it was exhausting. I literally grieved right there and then after I heard the news.  I felt like I had an out of body experience or that it was all a really bad dream.   It took me a moment to realize no it can’t be real and then the sobbing came.   Everyone reacted differently to this.    I did not know the exact details because I was out of town when it happened.  That crushed me.   The rest of my family grieved in their own way.  I knew it had to be tough on them.  Everyone..I mean everyone that my father was in contact with literally could not believe it.    There were tons of people that came, sent flowers and everything.   I think it was over 400 people.   That’s how good of a person my father was.   Overwhelming!

He died in 2002 so today is 2017.   Long time! My life has changed.  I realize life also gives you good things such as my two awesome children that I love.   They have taught me quite a bit and I’m still learning.   I’m also figuring out who I am as a single mom too.  I am going back the whole being of me.   Plus on a path of figuring out myself.   Life can bring you happiness in little ways.

Some things that make me happy in life:
Birth of my children
Being a mom
Falling in love (hopefully again one day)
Going on adventures
Meeting new friends
Connecting with old ones
Family reunions
Finding good deals of clothes
Leaves falling down for autumn.
Nature giving out its beauty
Sound of the ocean
Birthdays
Dancing
Music
Appreciation
Positivity
And the list can go on.

Be thankful and try to find good in everything.   I’ve come to realize life is not a straight clean path.  It’s a crooked messy one.

 

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I spy these books today

I spy……..

IN

Influential Mind

A cutting-edge, research-based inquiry into how we influence those around us and how understanding the brain can help us change minds for the better.

In The Influential Mind, neuroscientist Tali Sharot takes us on a thrilling exploration of the nature of influence. We all have a duty to affect others―from the classroom to the boardroom to social media. But how skilled are we at this role, and can we become better? It turns out that many of our instincts―from relying on facts and figures to shape opinions, to insisting others are wrong or attempting to exert control―are ineffective, because they are incompatible with how people’s minds operate. Sharot shows us how to avoid these pitfalls, and how an attempt to change beliefs and actions is successful when it is well-matched with the core elements that govern the human brain.

Sharot reveals the critical role of emotion in influence, the weakness of data and the power of curiosity. Relying on the latest research in neuroscience, behavioral economics and psychology, the book provides fascinating insight into the complex power of influence, good and bad.

 

IN2

Stick With It

An award-winning psychologist and director of the UCLA Center for Digital Behavior shows everyone how to make real, lasting change in their lives in this exciting work of popular psychology that goes beyond The Power of Habit with science and practical strategies that can alter their problem behaviors—forever.

Whether it’s absent-minded mistakes at work, a weakness for junk food, a smart phone addiction, or a lack of exercise, everyone has some bad habit or behavior that they’d like to change. But wanting to change and actually doing it—and sticking with it—are two very different things.

Dr. Sean Young, an authoritative new voice in the field of behavioral science, knows a great deal about our habits—how we make them and how we can break them. Stick with It is his fascinating look at the science of behavior, filled with crucial knowledge and practical advice to help everyone successfully alter their actions and improve their lives.

As Dr. Young explains, you don’t change behavior by changing the person, you do it by changing the process. Drawing on his own scientific research and that of other leading experts in the field, he explains why change can be difficult and identifies the crucial forces that combine to make transformation permanent, from the right way to create new habits to how to harness emotional meaning to motivate change. He also helps us understand how the mind often interferes with creating lasting change and how we can outsmart it, including using “neurohacks” to shortcut the brain’s counterproductive instincts. In addition he provides a powerful corrective to the decades old science of habits, offering a next generation discussion of how habits can change behavior with the right approach.

Packed with pragmatic exercises and stories of real people who have used them successfully,Stick with It shows that it is possible to control spending, stick to a diet, become more social, exercise regularly, stop compulsively checking e-mail, and overcome problem behaviors—forever.

 

IN3

Train Your Brain for Success

Train your mind to achieve new levels of success!

Professionals and entrepreneurs do a great job of keeping up appearances. But if they’re honest with themselves, they’re short on living the life they really want. Train Your Brain For Successprovides the perspective to analyze how you got where you are and, more importantly, learn the skills to get where you truly desire to be. Train Your Brain For Success explains specific ways of thinking and acting that will get anyone where they want to go, fast. Learn to condition your mind to move towards success automatically, by discovering greater memory power and fundamental techniques for boosting reading speed and comprehension.

Get a proven strategy for succeeding and becoming a record-breaking performer.

  • Learn to live in the moment
  • Become brilliant with the basics
  • Aggressively take care of your mind

Train your mind for new levels of success by boosting memory power, reading speed and comprehension.

 

IN4

Freedom Trap

In many ways we have never been more ‘free’. We are freer to follow our dreams, set goals and live the life we choose. Yet mental health issues are sky-rocketing. Anxiety and depression are rife and more people feel overwhelmed by daily living. We are more addictive, distracted and pressured. This is a world that increasingly seems to breed discontent. So, is all our so-called freedom nothing more than a trap of our own making? Are we, as the saying goes, simply decorating the cage that keeps us imprisoned? Does everything that flies under the banner of freedom actually promote it? What can we do to change the status quo?

The Freedom Trap is an inspiring call for clear thinking and a fresh appraisal of what our freedoms mean and can become. In this challenging, confronting and eye-opening look at what freedom actually is – examined from philosophical, psychological, political, social, legal, ethical, scientific, historical and neurological perspectives – mindfulness expert Associate Professor Craig Hassed explores how we can alleviate our burdens (our worries, regrets and material desires) and find a life of peace, happiness and harmony – true freedom.

Including practical thinking steps to help further your understanding of what freedom really means, this book is essential reading for anyone who has ever thought ‘there has to be more to life than this’.

Positivity

Everyone needs positivity in their life!

I was thinking about this today.  Everyone needs this. It should be all the good stuff.    I’m sure you are thinking that can be tough at times.  Everyone has their moments of being down.  Heck I have those moments and feel like crap.    Some people can snap out of it and some cannot.

How do I snap out of it?   I always tell myself tomorrow will be a better day.   I even think on the positive things that I have in my life such as family, friends, my children, and my interests that I enjoy doing.     This wasn’t always so back in high school.

Flashback:  I was so shy in high school and I had a hard time trying to connect with people sometimes.   I think some people were afraid of me since I’m deaf.   I just didn’t think I was the greatest person.  I just felt I was there meaning,  I went to school, did my school work and worked part time.   I did not really join any clubs. (Although I did try out for the dance group and didn’t make it…that was so tough).   I did not think I was the most gorgeous girl in high school (I still struggle with this at times to be honest.)    So what got me through was music, dancing, writing, reading and working part time.   Sure I had a few friends but we were all misfits in our own way.     I didn’t have a boyfriend at all but I had a few crushes.  Life went on.

Sometimes doing good things can make you feel better.  Everyone’s different.    You are not alone.   Everyone struggles.  Some people may look awesome but inside they are not. Some may have a hard day with work, their other, kids or health, you never know.

Today while getting my kids from school, I noted the golden leaves falling from the trees as it made me smile.  Nature has its way with beauty.   The sunshine was beaming as the weather was perfect.   I took that in as a positive thing.   Hearing how my children’s day go from school is the best.  I have found positivity in my children and there are some days where I’m like stressed out from them too.   (Parenthood is a tough gig!! Especially as a single mom!)  Other ways that I get positivity is from what I used to do in high school is dancing, music, writing and seeing how others create so many awesome things (art, dancing, modeling, being an inspiration to others).

Everyone is different.  I think people should find positivity in their life every day.  It could be from anything that’s good.     Coffee, chocolate, my children, sleep, adventures with my children, art, rainbows, dancing, music, sound of the rain,  laughter and love can all be positive.   The list can go on and on.    So think of positivity each day.  Strive for the best.  Keep trying (I’m working on this).   Keep going (I am doing this!) .    Bring positivity to your family.    Keep those around you that are amazing and that support you and that love you.   Spread the positivity to all.   Say a kind a word.  Open the door for someone.  Positive!

What are things you do that are positive?  Or what things make you feel good?   What makes you smile?  What makes you feel amazing?

(Sorry if I repeat myself in this post..I am tired.  I had a long day today…it’s a Monday.)

Finished Reading

Okay I know I’m behind posts and reading…Life calls.  I”m a mom who is working and doing one million things.  Even tackled cleaning some the areas of my house that needed to be done.  So at the end of the day, I am tired and I need sleep to keep going.  So sleep rules.

I  just posted three other entries and decided to do one more before I go to sleep.

I just finished reading this book. It is such a cute story!!!   I forgot how much I love reading these style books.  I think this would fall into chick lit with humor and romance.   Laney and Noah are quite interesting and you can see the journey they go on.  It hits a bit of home of one trying to find yourself.  (I’m still working on that aspect..who isn’t?)  Oh I do have to say that the cover caught my eye!  It awesome. I want the hair color!  Check it out:

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Dictatorship of the Dress (“Much “”I Do”” About Nothing”)

By Jessica Topper

As the dress-bearer for her mother’s wedding, comic book artist Laney Hudson has a lot more baggage than the bulky garment bag she’s lugging from New York to Hawaii. Laney is determined to prove she’s capable of doing something right, but running chores for her mom’s fairytale nuptials is proving to be a painfully constant reminder of her own lost love.

So when she’s mistaken for the bride and bumped up to first class, Laney figures some stress-free luxury is worth a harmless white lie. Until the flight crew thinks that the man sitting next to her is Laney’s groom, and her little fib turns into a hot mess.

The last thing Noah Ridgewood needs is some dress-obsessed diva landing in his first-class row. En route to his Vegas bachelor party, the straight-laced software designer knows his cold feet have nothing to do with the winter weather.

When a severe storm leaves them grounded in Chicago and they find themselves booked into the last available honeymoon suite, Laney and her in-flight neighbor have little choice but to get better acquainted. Now, as her bridal mission hangs in the balance, perhaps the thing Laney gets right is a second chance at love.

Parenthood Adventure 1

Becoming a parent does change your life.

When I was younger I never really thought about marriage and having kids. I was not one of those girls who thought marriage was something to do.  Did I think of Prince Charming and fairytales?  Oh yeah!!

Well I got married and then eventually had kids and then got divorced.   I decided to share a little bit about parenthood and challenges that I have gone through or will be going through! Perhaps my adventures will help out another parent who is going through this.

First off I am going to share this moment that happened about 10 years ago.

Long ago in a little house tucked away in Iowa, I was up one night with my first born.  My husband at the time was away for work so I was home alone.  The reason I was up was because my son was hungry.  I believe it was between midnight to 2 a.m.  It was dark and quiet in the house.  While feeding my son, I felt awful and broke down crying quietly.  I remember being worried about my son not getting enough milk because he would fall asleep during the process of breast feeding.  It felt hard.  Then about a few minutes later I thought to myself, “Women have been doing this for centuries!”  I thought about the women in the past giving childbirth in the fields.  I even thought about my own  mother and grandmothers.  If they could do it, so could I!   I snapped myself out of it telling myself I can do it.  I then took my son back to his crib and then I went back to sleep at the same time.  (I learned the trick was to sleep when my son was sleeping.)

Eventually the breastfeeding lasted for 6 months because I was done. It was taking a toll on me and I made the decision to stop.   Once he was on the bottle, it was a breeze!

I wanted to share this moment because it was a simple moment.  Maybe it was the lack of sleep or the hormones kicking in at the time but I remember this moment.  As a first time parent, you get to go on many adventures that teach you many things.

Remember you can do it!

Chicago Comic Con Wizard World 2017

Today’s blog is off the topic.   I wanted to share this experience.  Thursday I went to Chicago Comic Con.  I wanted to do another adventure for myself.   Just something for me.  I felt inspired to go.  Before I headed off to the comic con, I had to do things around the house and tend to mom duties. (Clean house, shopping and dropping off school supplies)  Once I completed the tasks (most of them), I threw two granola bars in my purse got into my van and off I went.

Well of course while driving towards Rosemont Convention Center, the  lovely Chicago land area had to have traffic.  This was from construction!   I wasn’t mad or rushed.  I took my time.  It was such a beautiful day out and I was in a good mood.  I had the music blasting.  After driving under the one overpass, and a bit further down, I saw the sign for parking!  Butterflies were hitting my stomach.

I entered the parking lot as I drove around in circles.  Luckily there were volunteers guiding the cars.   I found a great spot to park on a hill.  I did wonder if my van was going to flip over.   Yes I did think that!!  I got out and walked towards the Rosemont Convention.  The last time I was at Chicago Comic Con was about 5-6 years ago.

Anyways I walked up to the doors but  they had security scans before you could go inside.  Being safe is important!  The staff was great great.   Once inside the main doors, I found my way to the check in area.  After that was all down, I headed off to the autograph section but Christian Kane wasn’t there!  The first though that came to my head is that he got stuck in traffic!    I just hoped he was okay.    There were a bunch of other lovely ladies there that told me I needed  necklace thing and I was so confused.   I went back to the main area and asked the staff there about the autograph print out I had.  They said what I had was fine.  I thanked them and then headed back as no one was to be found at all.  Well I had time to kill.  The next signing was at 630 pm.  (Later I realized the necklace thing was for VIP people…sadly I cannot afford that…maybe one day!)

I decided to walk around.  I saw Kevin Sorbo from a distance.  The guy looks the same from his day of Hercules.  Yes I did watch Xena and Hercules back in the day.  Who isn’t fascinated by mythology, magic and adventure?      I managed to catch some lipreading about his kids and wife and then work.   He did some interviews  which was pretty cool.   I then saw Nicholas Brendan from afar.  That made my day too!   Yup totally Buffy and Angel fan here.   I took a moment thinking all these amazing people took time out from their schedules to do this event for their fans.  That is awesome.  I must point out they all look amazing.   Has all of them found a natural fountain of youth somewhere?   I wonder.

I saw lots of interesting things while waiting for 630 pm to come around.  What I saw upstairs was that they had a lot of cars.  Some cars were: Back to the Future, Supernatural  (I wanted this car),  and Knight Rider.   There were some others.

Top Notch by Design which had these amazing bags!  I wanted like three of them but I had to be good.

TeeTurtle which had some cute shirts.

Moonglow Jewlery!  It was so cool. I was torn between the owl and the cross necklace.  Very cool pieces.   (I took a peek at the website:  there’s a cool fairy one too!!)

I also saw Ultra Sabers .  I wanted to get one for me.  Sadly they were too high priced for I but they were so amazing.  It would be fun to own one of those.  I know my boys would love this.

Deviant Apple Illustrations was amazing.  You need to check his art out.  He had some amazing pieces there.

Carlations:  Carla Wyzgala Illustrations had some pretty amazing artwork too.  She had a She-Ra small mini art print that I wanted to get….maybe next time!

Levi Craig does these amazing watercolors!  Check him out on instagram at levicraig75!    I think he’s in the process of getting a website up.    I wanted the Wonder Woman and Tardis print.  I was soooo tempted to get it.

I did attend an event of storytelling in songwriting which was fun. Very talented guy! Check out musican/Songwriter:  James Morris Band

Saw this amazing author in the artist Gallery.  Please check her out.  I will be reading one of her books soon.   Check out the author  S.A. McClure

And now back to my adventure after mentioning all those awesome creative people that I saw!

Before I went back to the autograph side, I found a seat and pulled out a granola bar I threw in my bag.  I knew I was going to have to eat something.  Smart move huh?  Plus in a way I’m saving money.   After devouring the granola bar, I threw the wrapper in the trash and off I went back inside.  I saw the sign up and it said that “Autograph tickets must be purchased at the table.”  Well that threw me for a loop!   Inside I was freaking out because I knew I did not have that much cash on me.  I had already paid for the autograph online.   So I walked back on over to the autograph booth that was nearby and talked to Faith Miller (Yup I remembered her name!!!)   She said what I had was fine.   Whew!

Back in line I went and waited.  After five minutes of waiting, a staff person of Wizard World comes along as she told us to wait on this side as the VIP peeps go first.  While waiting I met some other ladies who talked about why they liked Christian Kane.  It was pretty interesting to hear.    One of them said that they liked him better with the long hair.  I replied he looks good either way.   We all chuckled.

Then the guy behind me was a fan of him from his ‘Leverage’ days.   I asked him if he had seen Christian in ‘The Librarians’ yet. He said he is on Season 1.  I told him it’s awesome and he had to watch all of it.  I was so glad to be able to unnderstand everything that was being said!  For me to be in a huge area that echoes can be a challenged because it I have to focus and sometimes figure out what they are saying since I’m deaf.

Then around the corner he appears!  Yay!! I was glad he made it.  He looked very dreamy and amazing as he does.  I wonder how does he stay in fit?  Maybe from all that golf he plays.  I should get back into that game although I wonder if my curse is broken.   Short version: too many bad things happened to me on the golf course.   Anyways, he came around and said something as I missed it.  Drats!  He sat down as we all cheered and clapped.   I could not take my eyes off of him.

Then there’s body guard guy (I don’t know his real name and what his job was but I assumed he’s a bodyguard/PR guy. I”m just going to call him the body guard guy) pulls out the photographs for autograph, setting it up.  Then Christian comes back out from the table and gave this beautiful lady a hug who’s in a wheelchair.  It was such an amazing moment to see.  I was glad to be there to witness that.

The lady who was in the wheelchair did post a picture on Twitter Friday night (Wolife M Nobles)  and she looked amazing!  She wrote a quote “I have NEVER been held that tight in my life.  LuvedIt.”   Hope she doesn’t mind me posting this but it was such an amazing moment.

Then autographs begin. I lost count of time and was trying to think of what to say to him.  I was a bit nervous thinking I’m not going to be able to understand in him the echoing area.  Yeah I do think about these things at times.  Having people repeat themselves always feels a bit awkward.   I do not want people to get frustrated either.  Some people are cool with it as other sometimes immediately change how they talk to a deaf person.

The line keeps going and going. I finally get up there and ask the lady to put my name on the sticky note.  She did and was totally cool with it!  I found out her grandmother had the same name as I!   That was awesome.   I really wanted the one with the guitar and blue background but I could only choose from the ‘The Librarians’  which was okay.  You go with the flow!   I get up there and hand him the picture to sign as he said hi and wrote my name.  I didn’t really say much.   I should’ve said something else…I dunno like “Hope your trip to Chicago was good.  Have you gotten any golf games in?   What are you going to do with your time off?”

What I did was that I handed him a gift.  I spoke, “This is for you.”  I had gotten him a journal.  I believe he said, “You didn’t wrap it?”   I think he was joking in a way.  I couldn’t tell.  I replied with, “I didn’t have the time.”  I really wanted to hear the southern accent but sadly with how loud it was I couldn’t.   I really hope he liked the journal and will use it!   I’m such a geek with a big heart sometimes, I think.   Oh! He did shake my hand.  I should’ve asked for a hug but nope I chickened out.  You think someone with an aries sign would be bold!!

While walking away, I looked at the picture and felt this smile across my face as I was glad that I came.   Just seeing and meeting someone that is so creative and kind is amazing.  He’s talented.   I hope he continues to do so.  I wish him all the best.    I then glanced back watching mingle with his fans.

While walking away, I decide to mingle a bit more in the artist gallery.   I saw many amazing people that were about and chatted with strangers about the things we like.  I saw children having a great time.  Adventures are everywhere.    While walking outside in the night sky, I was in high spirits.  I almost wanted to dance across the street but I did not.  I got to my van as it was still there.  While getting in my van, the car that was parked next to me was about to depart too.  Funny thing that car arrived the same time I did.  That was a cool moment.  Down the ramp I go and try to find my way back on River Road.

Driving in the dark is not always my favorite thing to do but I knew where I was and how to get home.  I listened to some music in the car and just had the windows down which was amazing.   Although having the windows down does affect how you listen to music.

I was tired when I got home but it was worth it.  Maybe I’ll go again next year.  I followed people on Twitter who got to hang out with Christian.   Gotta keep up with the adventures of #Kaniacs  #KaniacsStealChicago  on Twitter!

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The top threw me for a loop thinking we had to pay cash. On the website it said Cash Only and then it switched to where you could pay ahead of time. It all worked out in the end.

 

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Autograph!