The Irony of Apple’s Genius Bar (and the insanity of the line at the mall)

Maybe it’s just me. I don’t consider myself technically savvy nor especially ignorant, though when it came to choosing a smartphone, I went with Apple because of it’s user friendliness. At one point, several years ago, in a moment of weakness, I had a momentary lapse in judgement and fell for a Samson Galaxy. It didn’t work out and we broke up within the week. My husband tried to explain that it was just like a little computer… but I don’t want a little computer, I have a regular computer. I want a phone.

I’ve been with Apple since the iPhone 4. It was released in June of 2010 and other than that one dalliance that was out of this world, I mean the Galaxy, it’s been a steady eleven year relationship. I remember tearfully parting with my purple Motorola Razr flip phone with an Eeyore sticker worn away on the back and the T9 texting feature that seemed oh so advanced… the buttons on the outside that allowed me to switch songs on my playlist… I swapped it out for basically a 3×5 flat faced smart phone and have never looked back.

Until a few weeks ago. I started having issues. It started with Siri. She wasn’t listening to me. I guess it could’ve been worse, she could have been arguing with me or worse yet, correcting me. No, she was giving me the silent treatment. It was mildly annoying at first then got more irritating as time went by and I needed directions at an intersection or a familiar faced actor’s name… (Christopher Plummer).

Next I noticed that the volume didn’t sound as loud as usual. Sigh. Maybe I’m just getting older? But then I couldn’t hear people on the phone as well. One morning I had a few calls to make, appointments and insurance calls so I knew I’d be on hold for awhile. I put the phone on speaker and it was like magic. I could HEAR! So, I started using the speaker for all of my calls. That was ok until I was talking with a friend about a something super embarrassing and half the mall heard her hysterical laughter. It’s fine though, I don’t need to go back to that mall anyway.

Then, I started to hear an echo followed by “what?”. People couldn’t hear me.

What was the point of this f-ing phone?

So, fine. I decide to take it to T-Mobile. They suggested I take it to an Apple store where they could try to repair it or replace it, if I got in by the 12th of the month to still be within the warranty period. Super. Half a day in T-Mobile to gain another errand.

I went the their website to make sure the store was even open and learned I had to make an appointment to be seen. In order to get an appointment I had to answer the riddles asked by the Apple Chat. Such head scratchers as: Is the phone powered and turned on? Is there a case on the phone? Is any part of the case covering any of the speakers? What about the Do Not Disturb, is that turned off? Is the volume on? Have you tried restarting the phone? This completes the trouble shooting portion of the chat and I can now offer you an appointment time with someone at the Genius Bar. Great. The closest Apple store is in the Mall Of America. Pppfffff. Ok. Not my fav place to go but I guess…

The next day, the appointment was set for 11:45 am. We left the house in plenty of time and half way there, I realized I forgot the ONLY thing I needed for the appointment. My phone was sitting on the couch cushion waiting for me when we returned.

The next appointment was scheduled for 2:30 pm at another mall. It was getting close to time for me to leave and my husband lost the car keys and my kiddo lost my phone. After a brief freak out, I recovered the two things I needed and flew down the highway.

I walk/ran down to the first floor and just before reaching the Apple doors, was stopped by a security guard.

“Do you have an appointment?”


“Look over all of these symptoms and answer yes or no”

My eyes ran over the now all too familiar Covid-19 symptoms and I shook my head.

He guided me toward a small piece of blue duct tape and radioed my arrival.

A few minutes later, an official looking Apple rep complete with clipboard exits the store, looks around and calls out for Henry.

Now, there were about 12 people in line. There were two lines, one for people like me, needing a Genius and the other line for people without an appointment or picking up items ordered ahead of time.

Both lines were long.

I looked at the time, it was 2:39. Not horrible but not great either. I don’t know why I’m habitually late, like physically incapable of being on time.

The line shuffled up a bit and mall cop hurries over to me and points to the next little blue tape square.

Thanks guy, I know how lines work… tape.

I start scanning the mall. Looking to see what stores are still in business (not many) and try to ignore my grumbling tummy as the popcorn vendor pops a fresh batch. The Caribou coffee isn’t helping either. There appears to be a semblance of order to the line and I don’t dare step away for fear of banishment (even though I’m practically close enough to yell my order to the moose barista and perfectly flick my card into the waiting hands of the cashier).

More time, more names. This time I’m ahead of the game. I stop forward from the blue square to the big, blue circle. I glance at the uniform and give him two thumbs up, ya know, because I did it myself…

Then something out of the corner of my eye caught my attention. It was a woman on the escalator. I immediately thought back to a conversation I’d had with someone about how it bothers them if someone is going down the stars without holding onto the handrail. Me too! Why would you not hold on? Who do you think you are, Evil Knevel? Anyway, I noticed her because not only was she NOT holding onto the railing, she was walking down the moving staircase. While staring at her phone. Was she insane? Did she have a death wish? Nothing good would come of this…inexplicably, nothing bad came of it either. She was fine and I was a combination of stunned, awe struck and a tab bit disappointed.

It isn’t long before there are people behind me. I mean, RIGHT behind me. No regard for the tape. Where are the cops when you need them? I finally spot him, my eyes wide as I jerk my head back. I sent him a mental message “Hey, they aren’t obeying the rules. There isn’t six inches between us, let alone six feet. Are you gonna get on this?”

He nods. Or nod. Just once down and heads over. Thank you.

Well, maybe not. It turns out the people behind me are friends of his. After a BORING conversation about life, kids, the weather, whatever, he wishes them luck AND LEAVES.

I’m irritated. What makes it worse is that aside from alternating lines (which I understand) they’re now calling people who have been behind me.

I get it. I was late. How long am I going to be punished?

I look at the time again and it’s 3:05.

The couple behind me has inched up so close, I can feel their 8 year old daughter’s breath on my arm hair.

My eye starts to twitch.

She then proceeds to gulp down mouthfuls of air and burp them back out. Over and over again. Did I mention that I was nauseous before this started? As you can imagine, it didn’t help.

After about the tenth burp, I started to fantasize about grabbing the security guards baton (they have those, right?) and using it as a pool cue. Boom, left side, corner store, super sonic burp to accompany.

After my triumphant shot, I’d swing the baton in one hand over my head like a ceiling fan before becoming a baseball player and knocking mom and dad outta the park.

A satisfied smile settled on my lips as I was momentarily distracted from this quasi hell.

Then, I suppose, instant karma happened as they were called in next.

I had been at the head of the line for at least 15 minutes. As I debated on whether to leave, knowing I’d have to reschedule another appointment and come back or just lay on the floor and have a full blown toddler tantrum, I decided to ask in my nicest voice “sir? Do you have any idea how much longer it will be?”

“You’re next” he said without looking at me or asking my name.

FINALLY, my name was called.

Matt apologized for the wait and led me to a long table and told me to have a seat. “Because of Covid, you’ll sit here and I’ll be down at that end of the table” he said.

Great. I thought I might need binoculars and a bull horn to communicate. It’ll be just like I’m on the phone. My hope started to dwindle.

He pulled out a tiny piece of equipment and plugged it in.

“I’m just going to run some diagnostics” he told me.

After a minute or so, he said my phone failed.

I was relieved. I wasn’t crazy or deaf! Then I wondered how do you fail a diagnostic test? It’s to diagnose, right? I’m used to personality diagnostics and imagined my therapist just looking over the results and telling me I failed…

Not wanting to say anything stupid, I asked “so, do you actually have to be a genius to work here?” Smooth.

He laughed, as I would have, had I not been so embarrassed.

“They give us pretty intense training… it’s more about knowing where to find the answers than actually having the answers. It’s way to much to remember.”

Great. So I probably could’ve just googled this.

Matt took out a chisel and a can of pressurized air. I couldn’t look.

I minute later, he handed my the phone back and asked me to make a call.

I dialed the number I knew by heart. One that was answered by a machine that would EVENTUALLY route my call but I didn’t need to stay on that long.

Keep in mind, the volume has been on high for weeks. I’m in a crowded store and am pressing the phone into my ear hole.


“Holy shit” I yelled as I nearly threw the phone at the guy.

He smiled and I said “I mean… it’s fixed! Thanks!” as I ran out of there.

What happens at the Apple store… ends up on the internet.


Six Feet Under & Still Over My Head

I was a late bloomer. A couple of months ago, I started and binged the HBO TV series Six Feet Under. It was created and produced by Alan Ball who was inspired to write the show after the loss of his sister.

Six Feet Under centers on the Fisher family and their privately owned and operated funeral home, Fisher and Sons.

The pilot episode opens with an ad for a hearse. Unusual, to me as I’ve never seen a commercial for any funeral product aside from the The Cremation Society of MN, but I suppose people in the industry are wondering what’s out there.

It camera then moves to Nathanial Fisher Sr. He’s in his brand new hearse, singing “I’ll Be Home for Christmas” and smoking a cigarette. His wife, Ruth, calls to ask him if he’s taken his blood pressure medication, run the errands for Christmas Eve dinner etc. and IS HE SMOKING in the new hearse?!?!

“We never should’ve bought that hearse” says their son David, who is sitting in the background at the kitchen table.

Nathanial tosses the smoke out the window and tells Ruth he’s quitting right now.

They hang up, Nathanial is momentarily distracted and is hit and killed by a bus.

Bing Crosby continues the song and my heart jumps into my throat and sits there. My grandma passed away unexpectedly on Christmas Eve and just thinking about all the lives that are about to be shattered… has me choked up. I’m not five minutes into this show and already I want to cry. This is my kind of show!

Next we see a two young, attractive people exiting an airplane (one is Nate Jr.) and spilling out into the airport with the rest of the passengers of their flight. The two prepare to part ways, as they’ve just met but take an (unexpected?) detour into a supply closet and get freaky. It’s a cool camera shot that focuses on the pair but also their reflection in a mirror that hangs and the images is cloudy/dirty/doesn’t reflect the exact image of what is happening. It adds mystery or at least a second thought.

Back at the house/funeral home, Ruth is making dinner when the phone rings. She answers, pauses and responds “yes, this is his WIFE…” She gets the news about her husband’s death and throws the phone as if it is poison. She hyperventilates and screams. She pulls out all the kitchen drawers and pushes everything off the countertops. Their house is their living space and also contains the funeral home. Unfortunately, there is a memorial service going on during Ruth’s hysterics. David, who has been overseeing the service, rushes upstairs to see what the commotion is about. He finds his mom on the floor in the corner.

“There’s been an accident. The new hearse is totaled. Your father is dead. My pot roast is ruined.”

I admire the way she started out with the less shocking things, mentioned the death and then finished up with the pot roast. I think that’s probably how my brain would’ve handled it too. Don’t leave the worst news just hanging out there…

David has a shocked look on his face but it seems set in stone. Frozen in a way.

Back at the airport, in the afterglow of a supply room romp, Nate gets the call from David that their father is dead.

Finally, we meet Claire. The youngest Fisher. She drives the old hearse and is considered somewhat of a freak because of her car and the fact that she lives in a funeral home. Like she has a choice. Kids are cruel. Anyway… she’s on her way to a party and tries crystal meth for the first time. Of course, right after she exhales, David calls Claire.

“I have to go” she states to the group.

“You’re coming back though, right?” someone asks

“Uh, I don’t think so. See my dad was just hit by a bus. It broke his neck and he’s dead. And now I’m high on CRACK.” She starts to giggle, as do her friends.

“It’s crystal…”

“Whatever. FUCK!”

Given the circumstances, Brenda (girl from the airport) drives Nate to the hospital to be with his family as she’s in no hurry to get home to her own dysfunctional family.

Nate tells Brenda how his old man really “rode his ass” when he was in high school. He was so careful. How could a man so cautious, die in an ACCIDENT? I remember thinking something along these lines when my grandma died. Her heart gave out. She was one of the kindest, gentlest people I knew and it could not have been a defect of her heart that took her from us… like there is any logic to death, loss, tragedy.

David remains at home, tending to the mourners while his adrenaline is pumping through him and he envisions himself screaming at the top of his lungs. He also creates an internal monologue of the things people will think of him and his life now that he’s fatherless.

Nate meets Claire and Ruth at the hospital. Ruth tells Nate she can’t go in and see her husband like that. Dead bodies are work and she refuses to see him. Nate has to identify the body.

In the morgue, the attendant pulls back the sheet and Nate sees his fathers body. A voice catches his attention and he looks toward the medical staff. He has transformed into his father who, despite having left home as soon as he could, running away from the business and from death, welcomes home his prodigal son.

Back in the waiting room, Ruth asks Nate how his dad looked.

“Will he need a lot of work? Restoration? You don’t think we’ll have to have a closed casket do you? I’d hate to send that kind of message, that we aren’t equipped to handle difficult cases…”

Nate looks at her, bewildered. Unaware of the business side of death.

David is waiting for them and is confused as to why they didn’t bring dad home with them. He is focused on work. He leaves to pick up the body.

Claire, likely still high, is staring at a tv with cartoons playing and picking split ends out of her hair. Ruth enters with a sandwich and chips. Claire tells her she’s “so not hungry”.

“You have to eat, Claire. WE didn’t die!”

I love the opposite ends of the spectrum here. Claire is so detached, mentally, emotionally and Ruth is so on edge. I can feel her pain and her anger. She’s trying to feed her child. The fact that Claire doesn’t want to eat, destroys her ability to help and she feels powerless.

The camera starts down a staircase and we can see tubing that is draining blood and replacing it with embalming fluid. The frosted glass on the closed door says Private and a young Nate enters. He’s confused by what’s going on and terrified, he runs back out.

Now in the present, Nate is looking at his father who is being embalmed by a long time employee, Rico. Nathanial is the reason Rico wanted to work in restoration, Nathanial made Rico’s dad look like he did while he was alive.

Rico greets Nate exuberantly, before realizing it’s his dad that he’s working on.

I know this sounds like a dark show, at times it is and yet… it is so fucking funny.

Nate and Rico are shooting the shit until David appears and reprimands them for using foul language. His phone rings and he steps into the hall, closing the door behind him. On the phone is his boyfriend, Keith. David cancels plans with Keith and is unable to take in any consoling words.

All under the same roof again (Nate lives in Seattle) tensions are high. Nate pokes his head into Claire’s room and asks how mom is.

“She’s on top of the world!” She says sarcastically.

Nate goes down into the kitchen and sees a grocery list stuck to the fridge. He and Claire go to the store where Claire finally breaks down and cries. She collapses into Nate.

David is putting on the finishing touches to his dad and hears Nathanial’s voice:

“Oh no. Not you. You’re the worst one we’ve got” he complains.

David argues back that if it were for the fact that he wanted to please his father so much, he might have become a lawyer instead of wasting his life here.

I appreciate the these scenes where the character projects their thoughts, feelings and fears onto the spirit that is visiting. It makes it more real.

The service has started and as funerals have a way of doing, Nate and Claire are reflecting on their lives and what they’ve accomplished.

David panics when he sees Keith at the service.

Ruth asks David to escort her to the casket so she can say goodbye. When she sees Nathanial, she begins to cry and David ushers her into a private room. Nate is incredulous. Just because she’s showing emotion they have to hide her away?

Nate follows his mom and brother into the curtained off area where Ruth confesses to her sons that she had an affair and now Nathanial knows all about it. David tries to stop the confession while Nate thinks it’s healthier to express her emotions.

“Fuck propriety” Nate says

“WE DON’T USE THAT WORD” Ruth screams.

Now at the cemetery for the burial, we see Nathanial sitting on top of a hearse in shorts, a Hawaiian shirt and fishing hat watching his own service.

Someone presses a button and the coffin slowly starts to lower. The host of the ceremony shakes some salt on the casket and passes it to David. David shakes the salt and passes it to Claire who does the same and passes it to Ruth. Ruth shakes out the salt and Nate refuses to take it. He goes to the freshly turned soil and gets his hands dirty. He doesn’t want any part in the sanitation of death. “The only father we’ve ever had is gone and I intend to honor the old bastard by showing everyone how shitty I feel!” He tosses his handful of dirt onto the casket. The pastor says “Amen”.

Ruth also digs into the dirt, David tries to intervene and Nate keeps him at bay. He also offers Ruth support with one hand on her back so she also has space and knows he’s there for her.

After the service, Nate and David fight about Nate trying to save the day when he’s been gone all this time… he should just go back to Seattle.

As if David isn’t having a bad enough day, he is approached by another company that wants to buy out Fisher and Sons.

Brenda shows up at the funeral and she and Nate talk.

David shows up at Keith’s to drown his sorrow in sex.

There is a flashback of the boys as young children, running through the spray of the garden hose that dad is holding while mom watches from the cement stairs.

Later, in the kitchen, Ruth asks Nate if he can stay for a few extra days. He agrees and then goes for a run.

Out of breath, he sees his dad sitting on a bench, waiting for a bus.

The song Waiting by The Devlins plays and Nate watches his father board the bus. As he sits, he sees Nate, smiles and waves until out of sight.

Nate, still on the sidewalk, notices all of the people. The strangers. Every one of them will die. No one will get out of life alive. The camera pans back and we see a “No Loitering” sign behind Nate.

The episode ends.

I am hooked.

Continue reading “Six Feet Under & Still Over My Head”

The Tale of Two Wolves (and which one is winning)…

All of us have our good qualities and um, qualities we’d rather we didn’t have. I am a very kind, compassionate, loving person. Not just to friends and family, to strangers as well.

There is a person I used to be friends with. He and I are on the complete opposites of the political spectrum. But this isn’t about politics…

Not completely. That’s where the difficulty started but it went far beyond.

I hesitate to even say that I’m a democrat, yet here we are. I am a good person, looking for a good person to represent our Nation. Trump is the LAST person capable of the job.

So this person, is very pro-Trump. Pro voting conspiracy. Pro Corona virus is a hoax.

He has posted many clips, videos and opinions. Many I have reacted to. Usually with an angry emoticon or “are you serious”?

We both stand strong in our convictions. He believes he is kind and loving person who wants nothing more than to more than to bring people to Jesus.

Ok, cool. I do believe that he believes he is this person.

Yet, how can he support a “man” who is so clearly incapable of truth, democracy, and human decency?

I’m not going to get to deep into politics, I promise.

Alright. I was going back through FB posts and it looks like this person has taken down every post I have commented on. I was looking for something to give you context but I guess you’ll just have to take my word for it.

It started out with him telling me I don’t know what I’m talking about because “I’ve ADMITTED I don’t read the bible”. Ok, that’s true AND, I still got the message.

He continued on, telling me I was a disappointment to him and he failed me as a spiritual “mentor” because of the life I’m leading. He said he checked out my page and was disgusted.

In one post, I disagreed with a video he added of doctor who was fired for not believing in the Corona virus and the reasons. I don’t remember what I said, it was probably one of those “are you kidding me” beginnings followed by the fact that ONE doc didn’t believe and was fired was NOT proof of a government conspiracy. I really wish I could remember what he’d replied with because one of his own friends told him to lay off of me. That he wasn’t being very christian in the way he was responding to me! So, I’m sure he paid lip service with his half-assed apology.

In another controversial post, I disagreed with president Trump. He responded with a comment that I didn’t immediately respond to. He assumed I realized I was wrong.


So, the two wolves within me fight as I resist the urge to post my very unkind reply.

He followed with the fact he would not unfriend me (Wtf, why not?) I could do that myself and ps. Trump is the best president we’ve had since Reagan. The sooner I see that, the better.

Wait, I just realized something. If he’s trying to “save” as many people as he can, that must be why he’s supporting a president who has encouraged people to DRINK BLEACH. He wants to make sure that go quick, to meet God.

Why don’t I just unfriend him?

The truth? I don’t know. Childishly, I guess if he won’t unfriend me, why should I unfriend him? He’s certainly NOT my friend and the fact that he won’t unfriend me suggests to me, that he wants to stalk my page. What other reason is there? It’s not christian? He’s not been very Christian to me these past couple of months… I know he’d be quick to point out that I’ve left some “nasty” comments on his page. Yes. Because I’m standing up for what I believe in. If you’re putting it out there, I can comment on it. I know the same is true for what I post. There are people who don’t agree with me and fight with me on the page. According to this person, he’s being persecuted, just like JESUS,

He has accused me of being pompous and a hypocrite (because I wouldn’t read a story published by the Republican Party. Why would I? I know what their agenda is. Yet, he has compared his suffering to the suffering of Christ.

I guess I don’t know his pain but…

Ugh. I’m so riled up and the better, kinder part of myself tells me to unfriend him, avoid all of his self serving religious crap and live peacefully. Unfortunately, the angrier, meaner part of me wants to keep on seeing his posts and leave comments that are “against the truth”.

Insert eye roll here.

No, this is not one of my better moments. I don’t know what I am going to do, which wolf will win or if there will be anything left.

Unsolved Mystery * Update * My Medical Condition

Some of you know that in August of 2019 I lost some vision in my left eye. It was like a sheer, black veil just lowered and I was looking through a dark screen, seeing only bits and pieces of what was around me. I waited a few days to see if it would get better on its own but it only got worse. In addition to the vision loss, now there was a sever pain and my eye wouldn’t stop watering. I went to urgent care. The doctor there took a quick look and told me I needed to go to the ER. It was just right across the street, so that part didn’t take too long. I don’t remember the actual visit taking that long either. They told me I needed to go the the ER at the U of M. I needed a specialist. It was a long day. I think it ended up being about 15 hours total that we waited, did testing, drops, MRI’s etc. Finally, there was a diagnosis. Optic Neuritis, a condition in which the optic nerve is damaged temporarily by inflammation. They don’t know what causes it or triggers it but I worked with an optic neurologist for several months, improving briefly while on IV steroids in the hospital. Finally the doctor said it could take up to a year for it to go away.

At the year mark, there was no improvement. There was no more testing, suggestions only apologies. Until I went in for a new pair of glasses. The optometrist referred me to a closer optic neurologist who did a CT scan of my brain. The was a lesion. One lesion didn’t exactly mean anything, she suggested I see an even more specific type of doctor (don’t remember what kind now).

During this time, I was also experiencing a lot of nerve pain. Whenever I brought it up at appointments, it was chalked up to diabetic neuropathy. I guess it kinda felt the same. I also became fatigued easily. I was moody, so very moody. We’re in a pandemic though! I was also having motor trouble. Not remembering words, asking for a hamburger with “red & yellow” instead of ketchup and mustard but for a lot of things. This was by far the scariest symptom for me. I’m a writer. I WILL NOT forget words.

My first appointment with Dr. Jewell, he ordered an MRI of my cervical and thoracic vertebrae. He also ordered a lumbar puncture (spinal tap) and we’d meet again when he had the results.

The results that explained everything.

There was another lesion on my spine where the thoracic meets the cervical vertebrae.

I have Multiple sclerosis (MS).

But doesn’t MS mean multiple scars I asked?

“You’re forgetting the one on your brain. That’s two, technically multiple scars.”

I don’t remember much of the appointment after that, I don’t know why I would tune out at the moment… I guess it was shock. All of this started over a year and a half ago. I had no idea they were connected.

I’ve had a couple of weeks to sit with this and I started treatment today.

The treatment option with the least amount of risk is a daily injection. Not a big deal, I take four shots of insulin a day already. My arthritis medication is a shot. It’s only once a month but guess what? It was today. I gave myself six shots today and it was miserable.

I’m scared.

I want to be informed but not overwhelmed. It’s hard to know what to trust on the internet. I did join a Facebook MS group and have read that several people have recovered their sight and that gives me hope.

I will remember when I started insulin, 17 years ago. I didn’t think I’d ever be able to myself myself a shot! Now I do it multiple times a day and most of the time, I don’t even feel it. It’s a minor inconvenience with a huge payoff.

Today I put in a call to my doctor about what specific type of MS I have because I guess there are three or four different kinds? I will take the days as the come. I will go in for repeat MRI’s in three months to see how the treatment Copaxone is working.

I will see multiple accomplishments instead of multiple scars.

Before I Forget…

I am grateful. For many things and right now, it’s important for me to remember them.

A couple of weeks ago I played with my dog, Marah. I play with her on a daily basis but this day was exceptional. I adopted her 12/5/20. She is two years old and has been given up twice. (In fairness, the last time was the foster family but she doesn’t understand that concept.) She has followed me everywhere. All the time. She sleeps in bed with me (under the covers even), goes to the bathroom with me, she walks from the living room to the kitchen and back again. She is 13 pounds and when I’ve been gone longer than a few minutes, she can nearly knock me over with her excited kisses. I’m used to playing tug-of-war with her and even fetch but this game of fetch was different. I’d throw the ball, she’d grab it and then run around in circles from the living room, through the kitchen and back again before dropping the ball in my lap and waiting expectantly for me to throw it again. Around and around she ran in circles and that in itself brought joy but it also drug up memories of Tasha, our family dog when I was growing up. We’d sit and pound the carpet with flat hands, “go girl, go!” we’d shout and she was eager to please. Marah and I played for about 20 minutes before she took a few long laps at her water bowl and collapsed on me in a contented exhaustion and we watched “Judge Judy” like a couple of couch potatoes.

A couple of days later, it was a Wednesday, I was miserable. In physical pain and mental… ment-hell? Tired, run down, burnt out. I texted a couple of people, received positive responses and was. DONE. I cried. And cried. And cried some more. I didn’t want happy, positivity. I guess maybe it felt like a brush off? I was feeling disconnected from people, wanted closeness but it wasn’t/couldn’t happen. It’s hard to remember that no feeling lasts forever, especially when you’re in the middle of it. Olivia was starting to crumble. We’re trying not to let her nap anymore so she’ll sleep through the night. It sucks. But now it was around 4:00pm. Too late for a nap anyway. I don’t know how but believe me when I tell you, I gathered Herculean strength and got out of bed. I dragged Olivia and her little red circular sled and trudged out to the small hill right outside our door. We’d had the sled for a little while but it’d never been used. This was her first time going down the hill. The snow wasn’t slick which helped her take it slow and steady. She’d slide a bit and get hung up, I’d follow and push again. We did this three or four times before she’d finally reached the bottom. I was starting to dread having to heft the both of them back up again and then I saw the black lining of his winter coat flapping in the lazily in the slight wind. I cautiously raised my gaze, searching for the hero I needed and deserved. Yes, it was my oldest. My 17 year old who took the seemingly 1000 pound disc and the toddler I’d failed to even see the face of as she came to a stop at the bottom of the slope. With a relieved expression and a whispered “thank you”, I backed up to the side of the building to rest and watch. Over and over I got to see and hear gleeful squeals and proud smiles as my babies played together. The cherry saucer slipped down the hill faster now, with a worn path and when her nose turned the color of the sled, we called it a day. I don’t know how much time we spent outside, not more than 30 minutes but it felt like it cured me of the hours beforehand. I felt like I would make it through the day with my sanity in tact and I couldn’t have asked for a better way to turn things around.

Finally, a trip to the grocery store. Not the height of excitement I’m usually looking for but hey, now days, it’ll get the job done. From the front of the store, through the middle and to the check out lane, Olivia and I had run into this older couple. Mid-late 80’s I’d guess. Olivia, with her 1000 watt smile gave them no choice other than to smile back. Then she’d play coy and hid her face in mama’s sweatshirt. A couple of isles later, we saw them again. They waved. She covered her eyes briefly before moving them away and yelling “peek”! The woman’s hand went to her chest and her husband’s mouth formed the letter “o” as he let out an “awe”. When it was time to check out, I wasn’t surprised to see them in line behind us. The woman came up to me and said “You have the most beautiful little girl… she made our day, no, made our entire month!” I smiled and thanked her for the kind words. As we’d packed up our groceries and were about to head outside, the man said “bye” and Liv blew a kiss. He came up to her and grabbed her little hand to shake it, unaware that during our trip she’d been eating a peanut butter sandwich and it had left its mark. A slimy, sticky coat covered her hands and one of his fingers. Luckily, I don’t go far without hand wipes and all was good. It was a sweet thing and kinda funny too!

Since I started this post, there have been things everyday to be grateful for- I just have to remember to open my eyes.


Do we have to do this again? I mean, “we get to do this again!” That’s my pseudo adult “change is inevitable, growth is optional” part of my personality is telling me.

At the soft, squishy core of me though is dread.

Another 9/11. Another birthday without Natalie. Another milestone passing by the sides of the car windows that I try to hang on to in the rear view mirror of these mashed together days.

I was fortunate this year in that I was so preoccupied with Olivia’s birthday party that I didn’t spend the entire month of August dreading the 11th of September.

Now it feels as if I’m playing catch up in some sick game.

“Feel bad that she’s gone. Feel bad that you didn’t feel bad for as long as you usually do. Berate yourself for letting full days pass without feeling the misery that accompanies the consciousness of thinking about life without your sister. Damn you.”

I know she wouldn’t want me to feel like this, I’m sure she’s laughing at my ridiculousness. I will, when I feel better.

I miss her. I miss her so much my eye have a stabbing sensation that lingers long after the tears have fallen. My nose is prickly, my throat is sore, scratchy, closing up and my chest hurts. Like my rib cage is made of quicksand and caving in on me. Fast and slow. Eternal.

I am part of a grief group on FB and everyday I see a post that basically says “I lost my (so and so) (x amount of days/months/years), when does the pain go away?”


Never. It will never go away.

Fortunately, neither will the memories or the love.

That’s what I will try to focus on this week-weekend while I try to be more gentle with myself and my grief.

I Guess I’ll Go Worship Satan

I mean, being a good human isn’t good enough?

I’ve got people with no eyes telling me I’m blind.

I’m done.

There is no reasoning with people when it comes to politics anymore.

It’s no secret, in fact, it’s a source of morality that I DO NOT SUPPORT trump. When I see political memes, stories, facts, jokes that either support Biden or condemn trump, I share them. I feel it is part of my responsibility to stand up for what is right, fight against the bullies and give a VOICE of reason to the chaos.

In return, I get called names and told to read my bible.

I don’t know what makes people assume I have a bible (I do, I got it when I was confirmed) but as far as right wing people think of me- I can’t image they think I own a bible.

Yesterday I was in the car with my oldest and we were listening to “Someday We’ll Know” by the New Radicals.

“Someday we’ll know why Samson loved Delilah…”

Do you know the story of Samson and Delilah? I asked


I begin to tell the story, at least I try.

“Samson was a guy, given enormous powers of physical strength. It was tied to his hair”

“He had magic hair?”

“Um, well, God told him that if his hair were cut, he would lose all of his strength. It’s been a long time since I’ve read/heard the story… his wife, Delilah, betrayed him by cutting his hair while he slept. This allowed him to be captured. He was shackled to pillars, beaten and mocked. He prayed to God and was given strength one last time. He pushed the pillars until they cracked and crumbled, ultimately killing himself and all the people in the arena.”

The car was silent.

This is the stuff Christians believe happened? Literally? Magic hair? Someone, quick! Grab trumps rug and run!

I believe in Jesus and God. I am a decent human being. I will no longer tolerate people telling me how stupid and blind I am and that I need to read my bible.

I don’t believe in the bible.

Have you ever heard of the game telephone?

I’m sure I’m blaspheming but, I don’t care.

YOU (trump supporters) are no longer worth my mental health.

I wish you luck, love and happiness in your life.

Please don’t bother to “show me the light” as I am apparently blind and it will do no good.

Relax. It’s a joke!


Yes, breathe I tell myself even now as I write this.

There are so many hot button issues right now and one in particular is burning my ass.

Lately I’ve seen a ton of posts about people not wearing masks, their right to do what they want etc.

“My opinion is valid!” They all scream.

Guess what? So is mine.

The curse of DBT, I’m sure I’ve mentioned is that I can see both side of a situation.

I understand that masks are uncomfortable. They make it hard to breathe. We shouldn’t have to wear them. There are valid reasons for not wearing one. Do you know who likes wear a mask? No one.

This is a post that I saw three times on my FB timeline yesterday:

“That woman you shamed in the grocery store, because she wasn’t wearing a mask? She already feels enough shame because she was raped. Having something over her nose & mouth triggers her PTSD, and causes her to relive that trauma.
That man at the Quickee Mart who you called selfish? He’s a volunteer firefighter, and just came from the ER, after being treated for smoke inhalation. He removed his air mask, in order to help a child breathe fresh air, instead of thick smoke.
That elderly lady who you screamed at to put a mask on, or shop when it’s her turn? Her husband of 60 years just passed away. She’s doing her best to learn to live alone. Every breath is physically painful, due to her grief.
That little boy you lectured about removing his mask? He’s autistic. He doesn’t understand. He simply wants it off of his face.
That little girl who screams when somebody tries to mask her? She’s claustrophobic. She came from an abusive home, where she was confined to a closet.
There are all sorts of reasons for not wearing a mask. Not all are lung, or immune system related.
How many of you are among those shaming, name calling, and berating complete strangers, or worse, family members? How many of you are against bullying?
If you are among the first group, and align with the second, you may want to pump the brakes, and check yourself… you have become the bully you claim to be against.
Wearing a mask does not make you a kind person. You are either a kind person, or you aren’t. A piece of cloth does not determine that trait.
On the flipside, not wearing a mask does not make a person selfish, or inconsiderate. It simply means that, there may be an unseen reason why they cannot wear one. You don’t know their story, and, to be quite honest, it’s none of your business.
You have my permission to copy/paste/share.”
If any of these reasons apply to you, I have some good news.
No one NEEDS to be milling around at Walmart or Home Depot, feeling victimized because they don’t care to wear a mask.
Groceries can be delivered. Doctor appointments are virtual. There is no need to run around without a mask, if that makes you uncomfortable.
And especially don’t bring your kids, are you nuts?
And another post:
Except, there are so many cases of people accidentally shooting themselves or kids getting a hold of the gun.
You can’t sneeze on someone and expect a bullet to save you.
This argument is stupid. Very judgy of me, I know. Guess what? It’s MY opinion.
Here’s another thing that pisses me off.
When people post political/controversial stuff and then say, “if you disagree, just keep scrolling”. In other words, don’t disagree with me. I’m right.
Ok, cool. I guess this is how shit will get solved.
I am not Jewish, though I attended a Jewish service last Saturday. It was moving, beautiful and enlightening,
The Rabbi told a story he’d heard that highlights the whole mask controversy.
Two men are in a boat. The one man starts to drill a hole in the bottom of the boat.
“What are you doing” asks the first man.
“None of your business. This is my life, it’s my choice if I want to drill a hole here!”
“But if you drill a hole in your side of the boat, we will both still drown.”
Make sense now?



If anyone is wondering why I have trust issues, here’s an example.

My daughter’s second birthday is coming up and she is very into two things: baby dolls and shoes. I’m with her 100% on dolls but shoes, I don’t cate for. I prefer to feet the grass under my feet, thank you.

So, I’m looking at all kinds of baby dolls for her. On one of the websites, there was a pop up ad for BuyMyBestItem. They had beautiful, intricately designed and gorgeously painted dolls. I was in love! Here is a sample of what they offer:

Adorable, right? At 17” and nearly 3 pounds, how could I go wrong?


So many choices! They all look amazing.

But, time passes so quickly, I had to make a decision. I bought the baby in the first picture and anxiously awaited her homecoming.

I don’t think the shipping took too long… but I was surprised by what came in the mail.

It was a small, gray envelope. I order a fair amount of stuff these days and I couldn’t tell or possibly remember what I was holding.

Once inside, I opened the package and tears lids down my cheeks as I laughed so hard.

This is what came in the mail:

Not 17”.
Not 2+ pounds.
Not what I ordered!

I immediately (after I stop laughing) email the company to alert them of my problem.

The respond quickly with an apology and offer a 10% refund. I paid almost $40, so no, $4 was not going to cut it when I still had to buy an actual doll.

Four emails later, they tell me the best they can do is 20%, how does that sound?

Like a bunch of BS.

I filed a dispute with my bank and they promptly reimbursed me for the full amount. Alls well that ends well, right?

I wish…

Several weeks later, I’m talking to my mom on the phone about what Olivia might lime for her birthday. She starts to giggle and says I bought her a doll- it’s a really cool Avatar one!

This is what I’m imagining, because I have also seen them:

How fantastic is this

“But I have to show you what it looks like…”

No. Oh no. I think I know it looks like. When she brings the doll up to the camera for FaceTime, it’s a mirror image to the one I’m holding up.

We both laugh and then get incredulous. How can they? What the? Huh?

I told her that my bank fixed it and most likely, the credit card company would as well.

I think back to the teachings of Judge Judy and hear her say “if it looks too good to be true, it is”. $40 really would have been a steal if I actually got what I ordered.

I did have a baby reborn in 2016. He was much more than $40. He was beautiful. I loved him and named him after the late miscarriage I had. He was good and healing. He served his purpose. Then, I knew it was time for him to find another home when I’d look at him and feel sadness for what I thought I’d never have again. He went to a woman who also experienced a loss and less than a year later, I was pregnant with Olivia.

So it almost came full circle.

I guess I just have one more question.

I don’t know what to do with this thing… mom, what are you doing with yours?

I Won, I Think.

In my last blog post, I talked about a Christian whom I didn’t agree with and my childish struggle to unfriend him as opposed to wanting him to unfriend me as he was the one so offended by me and my lifestyle, beliefs, everything. Every time he posted, I seethed, silently. I could feel it coming. This was stupid. I was only upsetting myself. I would unfriend him. Before I did that though, I scrolled through my page feed and saw something that I strongly agreed with and tagged this person, soon to be ex friend, to see. I had no idea he was so sensitive! The response he sent was certainly NOT that of a christian and he promptly unfriended and blocked me. Yay, I won, right? Why don’t I feel better?

Here is the picture I “liked”…

Maybe not inhumane people but people who are more concerned with money and every word in the Bible as it was written so long ago there is no room for interpretation or growth or the fact that it was a starting point that were supposed to grow from as the world and people evolved!

I added the caption and tagged this person. Here was his response:

“Congratulations, you will now be unfriended and blocked. You got your wish. I’m so sorry that you let the world make you as evil as you are and as horrible of a person as you are. You are blind, ignorant, not paying attention to anything important. Stupid, a hater, downplaying and ignorant to your own hate. You hate Donald Trump who is the best president we’ve had in a very long time, and you know nothing about Christianity. You follow Satan rather than you follow God. I don’t want to have anything to do with the likes of you, or anybody like you. It’s people like you who make the world a horrible place to live in Melanie. I’m so sorry that you’re such an idiot so damn stupid and so much of a freaking hater that you’re willing to sacrifice people that actually care about you and people that have put their lives on the line for you. You’re damn right that I follow the Bible and I always will! Good riddance you terribly evil person”

I was astounded. Dumbstruck. Incredulous. When I told my therapist about it, he laughed. He was sure this person was kidding me. I assured him, he was not.

I do not care one bit what this guy thinks of me. I don’t take it in, I’m not taking it personally and yet… I felt a hollowness. An emptiness. What was this all about?

I wasn’t going to miss him. I didn’t care for his holier than thou posts of FB. I hadn’t seen him in years.

Upon further reflection, I think it’s that he attitude is widespread. That a lot of people do not agree with the above post. Since I started DBT (Dialectic Behavioral Therapy) 10 years ago, I have always been able to see the other person’s side of the things. Generally, both sides are valid. There can be a kernel of truth in the opposing view point. But this, this isn’t even anything I can wrap my head around.

His view is I’m evil and stupid. I believe he believes that. Trump is a good President. Just trying to think about the position of a supporter makes me twitchy. I blank out.

Black Lives Matter vs nope.

Trump is really getting us through this pandemic vs nope.

I can’t even do it.

I’m just going to leave this here and try to wash off the pathetic attempts to demean me while staying nice and tidy white with his champion, Christ behind him.

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