Tag Archives: Godmother

Re-post of an entry about my Cerebral Palsy

Greetings, readers. As I wrote yesterday, I have a shift at my job today and left the blog to Rebecca. She said she would either write a new post or re-post a little-read-but-worthy one just like she did last week, and it turns out she chose to re-post. She picked one from the end of my second full year of blogging, where I wrote about my Cerebral Palsy and how it worked in my life. Thank you for reading. I’ll be back next week.

CP and me

November 15, 2013

Greetings, readers. This is my one and perhaps only blog entry dealing completely with my affliction from cerebral palsy. I have been looking at blogs and websites about CP for a project, and have connected with a couple of people in the same boat, and I now have my own case on my mind. I have mentioned my CP in this blog here and there, but I have not done a post about it and how it effected my life.

I have had it since birth and will die with it. However, thanks to my well-meaning but over-protective parents, I didn’t know I had it until around the age of 16. Up until that point, I was simply told that I had a weak left side and the whole topic of being different from other people really didn’t come up at the dinner table.

Let’s start from childhood. Vivid memories of Tuesday evening swimming lessons at the Bellefonte, Pennsylvania YMCA conjure up images of cold swimming pools and a little boy trying not to drown. I remember thinking to myself that I should be able to do what all the other kids were doing – swimming. I could just barely tread water. I knew it was time to quit when my favorite part of the evening was when it was time to leave, and I could put my quarter into the vending machine and get my plastic NFL helmet for my collection.

Around the age of 10 or so, I suffered what I still call to this day my klutz year. I was a normal active boy enjoying Nerf football and Whiffle ball, but in the span of twenty-one weeks I suffered three broken fingers, one smashed elbow, and a broken wrist … all on the same arm. The arm that I tended to fall to – the left. I was cast-free for one week before I smashed my elbow, then for one day before I clobbered my wrist. Not deterred from wishing to feel normal, I continued to play outdoor sports.

In my 20s, I remember playing racquet ball, with my friend from high school, which can be a brutal sport. We created our own game and called it Tenaquet. We served overhand and we gave each other two ball bounces rather than one. That aided my bad balance and Jim’s bad knee. What fun we had. When my knees and my back started to go haywire, I had to officially ‘retire’ from sports.

Around this time, it was becoming painfully obvious that attending Penn State University day classes was not for me. I was having a very hard time with taking notes and I was a horrible test taker. Later I figured out why. Even though I can read, my retention isn’t quite up to par. I had to withdraw and never did finish. I think Mom understood, but was in denial that her son couldn’t finish college. Just a couple of years ago, I found out from my Godmother that Mom had the measles when she was pregnant with me. This could explain why my brain didn’t develop correctly. Perhaps in some strange way she felt responsible. Which of course was ridiculous. Things happen.

As I briefly mentioned in other blog posts, things like my balance and fine motor skills are effected; not to mention the fact that I have seizures. But every day I do the best that I can do. I can just give people 100% of all I’ve got on any particular day.

On the positive side of my mild CP: I can walk, I can jog, I can drive a car. I can write. And I can give a fairly proficient air guitar show. Also, with the help of Flight Simulator X, I can even be, in a way, what I always wanted to be growing up as a kid, which was an airline pilot.

Overall I would have to say that my life has been good and I have learned to live with my mild disability as best I can. Having the knowledge as a child that I have CP may or may not have made a difference. Who knows, I might have been worse off. Unless someone invents a reliable time machine, I will never know.

Until next week, have a great weekend, take care, and happy reading.


Top ten list is a work in progress

Greetings, readers. As my title implies, my top ten list for today is not ready. I do apologize for this. I was very busy during my personal days and thought I could get this together for today. Then Rebecca and I sat down and saw how research intensive this was going to be. That threw a monkey wrench into things. We will keep working on the top ten list for you and get it up either Friday or next Wednesday.

Even though I didn’t get as much stuff done in my apartment as I might have liked, I am calling my personal week a total success. I accomplished almost everything I set out to do. I say almost because yesterday I wasn’t feeling up to par, and three days ago my computer was acting very wonky, so I couldn’t work on my notes and start writing.

I’ve given myself a goal to work toward. That goal is to find the time each day to write at least three pages. I’ve given myself the luxury of allowing those writing times to be different on any given day. For instance, Saturday will be in the morning because after gaming in the afternoon I would be too tired. Something tells me my two hot times to write will be about eight in the morning and seven in the evening. During my week off I thought of two story lines and made character sheets for both. It was time well spent. Though no actual pages of dialog or prose were written, I feel at least like I know where I am going now. I’m not going to spoil it for everybody, but it is going to be a paranormal project.

Shifting to another topic, I had a very sombre and melancholy Mother’s Day as I visited Mom and Godmother’s graves at the cemetery. I must say, I was very pleased with the wonderful weather that we had. Many folks were out visiting their family members.

Lastly, our little taste of summer is over and the temperatures are back down to normal. The high today will only be in the lower 60s. I actually feel a little more refreshed.  As I said before, that first taste of hot weather, though I love it, makes me drag.

Until Friday, take care, have a great day, and happy reading.

Things are moving in a positive way

Greetings, readers. I have been energized the last few days with a positive feeling to make changes in my life. I know, I know, I’ve said this a hundred times before. But I think it is time for this procrastinater to just do it. Since last September, I have successfully adjusted my sleep pattern, and I am working on my slight hoarding problem.

My therapy sessions with my psychologist are working so well, that my creativity is returning. It was buried under depression for at least a year. Now, I sit during the evenings thinking of scenarios, plot points, character names, and titles. I also have selected what I call music to write by, which is either classical music or movie soundtracks. I can’t write to music that has words, because I will sing to it.

I’m also very pleased that I am finally breaking out of my shell which had been preventing me from being more social. I’ve been attending the church dinner a little more often, and I hope to make contact with a new person whom I hope to one day call a friend.

In other news, it will be a sombre weekend because Mother’s Day is coming up and I’ll be going to the cemetery to visit Mom and also my Godmother. I’m hoping for nice weather. As soon as this blog entry is posted, I will be reserving the Zipcar.

We had a hard rain storm this morning and my ceiling began leaking again for a few minutes. I’ve already told management and they are going to call the roofers to once again check it out. I don’t know why they can’t find the problem.

Rebecca and I are taking the next two days off for personal days. If I can, I’ll post a short entry on Friday. If things get too hectic with what I’m doing, we’ll get back to normal and have a new entry up next Wednesday. It will be a top ten list on some fun topic as of yet undetermined.

Until then, take care, enjoy your day, and happy reading.

(For my Facebook friend) In the blink of an eye

Greetings, readers. I’m going to have to be careful with today’s blog entry for it deals with a friend of mine, who was a caregiver for my late Godmother. My friend suffered a great tragedy; a devastating house fire and the loss of everything she held dear. Part of her loss was her four beloved dogs. Since hearing about this, I have been greatly affected.

When I read on Facebook about my friend’s loss, I couldn’t help but wonder how I would feel if that happened to me. My apartment has so many sprinklers in it that any fire would be quickly extinguished, but still if anything were to happen to my dear kitty cat Keekee I know I would be destroyed. I’ve found myself unplugging  and turning things off before I leave my apartment and making certain that nothing could catch fire. As the days have gone by, this compulsion has become a little bit less, though I am still keenly aware of it.

After I read over my friend’s Facebook posts, I typed her a private message with the usual, “If there is anything I can do, please call.” Even though my intentions are good, it seems to me to be a lame statement. How could I possibly fix anything for her? I’m not a carpenter, I can’t build her a new house, and I don’t have the money to buy her a new puppy. Actually, I think she would be offended if I did.

I’ve read the comments that people have left for her and I’m seeing tons of love and support from everybody. I’m hoping that makes her long journey back a little shorter and a little easier. To you my friend, and you know who you are, my heart goes out to you. Get a hold of me for anything you need day or night. My Godmother knew three of the dogs lost, and I know in my heart that she is caring for them right now in Heaven.

Yes, readers, your life can change in the blink of an eye. I’m sure a lot of us don’t think about that every day. In time the wounds and scars on my friend with heal and I will become less sensitive to my current anxieties.

Next week, look forward to a top ten list and possibly a From Rebecca post. Until then, have a good weekend, stay out of the snow, take care, and happy reading.

Christmas Eve 2014

Greetings, readers. I am very excited that tonight I get to do my Christmas Eve Light Ride. I have a Zipcar on reserve that I will pick up, and then use to drive through the neighboring communities to see what beautiful decorations people have put up for Christmas. I will use most of the same route that I have enjoyed since childhood when my parents started this tradition.

There were some years when, due to circumstances, I wasn’t able to do my light ride, and I missed it a lot. A couple of years I had to do it by bus, which was not the same at all. It wasn’t the same route, and one time a bus driver actually asked me if I had missed my stop because he thought I had been on the bus too long. That was embarrassing. The next year I told the bus driver when I got on what I was doing, and that worked better. But I still prefer to have my own wheels.

The weather has been cloudy for almost two straight weeks, and mist and precipitation are in the forecast for this evening. However, the temperature is supposed to be above freezing. As long as it isn’t icy, I don’t care what the weather is doing tonight – I am taking part in my tradition.

I am all ready to go for Christmas. Decorations are up, I have purchased for everyone, and I have been filled with Christmas music. Yesterday, I heard Eartha Kitt’s version of “Santa Baby” for the first time this season. I can’t believe it took this long. Thank you, Music Unlimited.

Keekee has extra special treats bought for her as her gift. Everyone knows I spoil her rotten. She and I will spend a nice day together tomorrow and at 6:00 I shall be off to a local church dinner. I, of course, will be thinking of the family, especially Godmother. It is the first Christmas without her.

I’m off to Pittsburgh on Monday for an overnight trip to see the Penn State men’s basketball team play a couple of games. Poor Keekee will have to keep herself company until I get back late on Tuesday. Then, I am looking forward to the parades and big bowl games on New Year’s Day. My favorite is the Rose Bowl.

Rebecca and I will have work next week Wednesday and Friday. So readers, have a wonderful holiday season, Merry Christmas to those who celebrate it, and we’ll see you next week. Take care and happy reading.

A bittersweet final visit to Godmother’s

Greetings, readers. This past Friday evening I drove over to my Godmother’s house one final time. Two of her three children were there in the midst of cleaning out the house, and I had asked if I could pick up a few things that I had given Godmother over the years; mostly pictures of my dad. We agreed that I should come over around 7:00 and that is exactly what I did. On the drive over though, a melancholy feeling came over me, because I knew it would be the last time in that house.

For years, I would be invited over for Sunday supper and holiday meals, and those memories would always be dear. In her final few years, however, Sunday visits became shorter and holiday meals were sometimes cancelled due to her illness. We of course understood. Even though she wasn’t always able to say it, you could tell that she appreciated any visit.

After parking in the driveway and closing the car door I stopped and took a deep breath. I then proceeded in through the garage and knocked on the kitchen door. Her son, Stanton, invited me in, and he, her daughter Rosalie, and I talked briefly about how all the packing and last minute chores were coming along. Even though there was still a lot of belongings in the house, it looked empty. That was weird. The first thing I noticed was the kitchen table was gone. One of the caregivers got that, for which I am happy.

After a few minutes of pleasantries and hugs, Stanton showed me a small box that they had put together for me, which I thought was a nice gesture. It contained all the pictures of my dad that I had given Godmother over the years, including two passports with pictures of him when he was very young, photographs used for the back covers of his books, and copies of his obituary. I was also told that a picture of me when I was a very small boy was being held for me by one of the caregivers. I’ll get that at a later date. I couldn’t have been more than four years old in that shot. It was one of a set of black and white pictures, that you used to get at a photo booth. Godmother loved that picture. She knew that both Mom and Dad loved me to pieces; so over the years I had given her snapshots of not only Dad but of me as well.

As the visit continued, I asked if I could take a walk around the place one more time, and of course the answer was yes. I slowly moved through every room of the downstairs and it reminded me of the time I left my parents house for the last time. I began to get a little bit emotional but I kept myself in control. While peeking in every bedroom, little memories of Godmother seemed to be in every corner. Old photos, a painting on the wall, the scent of the house which I had come to know so well.

The hardest room to go into was her back bedroom. Not only was the bed taken apart, but everything that the kids wanted to take was being stored there. For some strange reason that’s when it hit me. Godmother’s truly gone and I’m never coming back into this house. This is it.

I saw a radio that belonged to my father packed into one of the boxes. It crossed my mind to claim it, but it was already packed and I don’t have room in my apartment for it anyway, so I decided to let one of them enjoy it. I did take a photograph of my dad and his family when he was child that I had framed and had given Godmother. Soon it was time for me to leave. As I pulled out of the driveway, I said a little goodbye.

Goodbye dear Godmother. You will always be alive in my heart.

Until Friday, take care, enjoy life, and happy reading.

Pride goeth before a fall

Greetings, readers. What a beautiful day it is in State College. I’m enjoying the sunshine and was out and about early, before a 10:30 meeting. It was with a social worker who is extremely caring and took plenty of time to answer all of my questions. It must be made plain right now, I am a proud man. But as I said in my play Kimberly, the time to be proud is over. I need help.

I’m dealing with quite a few things that have been snowballing over the last few years. The two biggest are my monetary status change and the recent loss of family members. Having lost my Godmother last month, I am now on my own in State College, except for good friends. My family is with the angels.

For years I tried to help myself, deluded into thinking things will turn out okay. I ignored most of my problems by watching Netflix or playing PS3 games. After talking with Jan, I’ve set some goals for the next few months and will be taking the appropriate steps to meet those goals. I’m not afraid to ask for help anymore. As a matter of fact, I might go overboard the other way for a while. I am certain though, as I get more confident, I will be able to do the things I need to do and ask for help when I need it. Being proud at this time, for me anyway, is silly.

Two major changes in my daily routine will affect my mental status right away. As of tomorrow, I shall be waking up early and having coffee at home. The other major change will be doing my writing from approximately 8 or 9 until almost noon. Rebecca’s husband has told me that even if you write crap every day, go ahead and write everyday. I am going to heed that advice.

Now that I am open to assistance and suggestions, please feel free to drop a reply if you have any helpful tips about depression or general well-being. This ends this rare Thursday blog entry. Take care and happy reading.

Of grief, family, friends, and work

Greetings, readers. The tough last few days of Godmother’s viewing and funeral are behind me but the grieving process will continue for some time. I am still not over my parents’ deaths, and probably never will be completely. We always hold our loved ones in our hearts and keep them alive that way. Just the other day, though, I had a minor setback. I had some good news, picked up the cell phone, and was going to share it with Godmother. I’m still learning that I can’t do that anymore. With any luck, when it comes my time, I’ll see all my family in heaven.

I am looking at the beautiful yellow flowers that my cousin Wino and his family sent to me. They are magnificent tulips and carnations. So many people came up to me at the viewing and funeral to give me their condolences, as I gave condolences to Godmother’s family. It was nice to see everyone, of course. But I wish the circumstances were different. When we get to our age, however, occasions like this begin to happen more frequently. Again, thank you to all.

On to news of the day. Rebecca and I are off to our usual slow Wednesday start. We had our meeting with my accountant, which ran a bit late, and subsequently got to a slow start to writing today. It seems that Wednesdays are our let’s-get-caught-up, check-email-and-Twitter days. It is a good day to get back in the grove. Tomorrow, we are planning either working on a new short story or on writing exercises. My depression about recent life events is still hampering my creativity.

On a brighter, more encouraging note, I am reading a very good book. Yes, you may need to read that sentence again. I, the non-reader who wrote, am reading a book. For those of you old enough to remember The Waltons TV show, middle child Erin Walton was played by Mary McDonough. Her book, Lessons from the Mountain: What I Learned from Erin Walton, is keeping my interest and attention much more than previous books I’ve tried to read. Perhaps because this is a memoir, which is the genre that I write, it is most appealing. Although I am only on page ten, I have promised myself that I am going to finish this book and then drop her a note on Facebook telling her just how much I loved it.

Now before you all think I am some important person, no I don’t know Mary McDonough personally. But she does have a Facebook page and has actually responded to something I wrote to her. A very friendly person.

Lastly, most sincere and deep prayers go out to the families and friends of the passengers of Malaysia flight 370. I can only imagine what you are going through. I obviously will keep my fingers crossed for a favorable outcome, but I think any kind of closure would be welcome after nearly two weeks.

Until next time, take care, have a great day, and happy reading. P.S. Rebecca, I am glad you are feeling better 🙂

News about my Godmother Katherine Young

Greetings, readers. Monday afternoon my Godmother, Katherine Young, passed away in her sleep after a long illness. She was in her late 80s. I will miss her very much. She was a wonderful woman, who enjoyed giving and going to parties.

Rebecca, as well as many other of my friends have been wonderful helping me get through this trying time. This is going to be an unusual week for me. With other family members coming in over the next several days, I will have to be available at a moment’s notice to lend support. Rebecca and I will work tomorrow and Friday, but possibly for shorter sessions.

The working plan for this week is as follows: with my kitty cat’s birthday coming up, Rebecca and I intend to write a very short blog entry tomorrow to try out the post-at-a-later-date feature in this blog, which we have never done before. Hopefully it all works out so that we will have something for Friday. On Friday, I have an appointment in the afternoon which was unavoidable and had to be scheduled for work time hours. Rebecca will be here for that shift. Next week Wednesday we will get back to work as usual.

Take care and be well. Please pray for us if you would. And happy reading.

Thanksgiving is a comin’

Greetings, readers. Tomorrow begins my favorite time of the year; the holiday season. Rebecca and I were talking earlier and she got a chuckle that I have my whole day planned already. I’ll be watching the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade from 9:00 until noon, dinner at 1:00, and football after that. At exactly noon, when Santa Claus turns right at 34th street, it will be time for me to think about decorating the apartment and getting into that Christmas frame of mind.

I know it is not politically correct to say Merry Christmas, but when I was a youth in the early 70s, the generic “happy holidays” was just starting and had not caught on yet. More times than not, I will say happy holidays to people just to be safe and not offend anyone. But, being Roman Catholic, Merry Christmas was what I heard as a child; it is what I knew. As a lot of my regular blog readers know, I am a very sentimental person; I had a very wonderful childhood, and enjoy looking back on it.

On to some other news, my two writing projects are going well … finally. Yay to that. When I see Darren next on December 12th, I’m certain I shall have lots to give him to work on. I imagine that Rebecca will be happy, because she will have more to edit. Right now working feels good.

Let me get you up to date on some family members. This past Friday I saw my cousins Ed and Maria, and we had a lovely dinner at the Tavern restaurant. They came down for the day so that Maria could check out Penn State. My Godmother is doing better, thank goodness, but not quite well enough to have company. Best friend Dave and clan will be home for Thanksgiving, and will be enjoying the day at a relative’s house nearby.

Yes, I expect in a week or so, this apartment will look lively with lights, and Christmas Carols will be playing on my computer or on one of the local radio stations. And on December 24th, the Christmas light ride will be renewed, thanks to something called Zipcar. I will explain that service in my next blog entry.

So, until Friday, I hope everyone will have a wonderful Thanksgiving and stay safe if you are traveling; keep an eye out for the weather. Take care and happy reading.