Friday, December 31, 2010


This is it! The last day of 2010. AMEN for that! What a year! There were good things and bad but it will absolutely go down in my memories as one of the toughest years our family has gone through. Personal loss, financial stress.... it's just been tough.

But the bottom line is we made it to another year. The losses we have experienced are losses that are expected in life... burying your parents. I don't care how "expected" it is that you bury your parents, I don't care how old they are... it's so damned painful! It leaves a hole in your heart that every once in a while bleeds out and leaves you weak and helpless.

But I can't keep thinking about that... I can't keep dwelling on how much I miss my dad... That is just something I will have to learn to live with.

My word of intent for 2011 is BREATHE and that is exactly what I plan to do. Breathe through the good times and the bad. As long as you breathe, as long as you take one breath after another, then you will survive whatever God throws your way. It's when you stop breathing... when you feel like there is no oxygen left in your life that you essentially give up. I don't think it's a sign of weakness to feel overwhelmed at times. I don't think it's necessarily a bad thing to go through some tough experiences. Every little thing that happens in your life, good or bad, makes you who you are and gives you a place in this crazy world.

Resolutions? I don't really believe in them. Goals? Those I have lots of. Let's see, my goals for 2011 are....

- Divest myself of unnecessary expenses that only boggle me down.
- Learn that I do not have to have every single new "gadget" or art supply that comes out!
- Spend more time with my mom. She lives a good distance from me but I really could spend more time with her than I do. She is not well and I've already experienced losing a parent, I don't want to feel guilty about anything the day she leaves me.
- Lose some weight. Not for vanity, but for health!
- Exercise more - not daily - that is just not realistic for me and my lifestyle - but a few times a week at least!
- Eat healthier so that my diabetes gets under control again!
- Do more appellate work and less trial work - I love doing trials but the stress is just too much at times.

That's it. That's my bucket list for 2011. How about you?

Thursday, November 18, 2010


When you are a child, the holidays are so exciting... you can't wait! Even Thanksgiving is full of anticipation and fun because you know that the family is getting together for fun and food. AND you had days off from school!

As we become adults we get to the point where the holidays are so incredibly stressful. You really can't enjoy them any more. Think about it.

When you were a kid the anticipation was simple - fun, food, friends and family. Christmas was time off from school, looking forward to your "surprises"... a new bike, a new Nintendo game.

As an adult, especially in the last couple of years when we are all going through so much financial difficulty, the holidays bring stress - so much stress. You can't wait for it to be "over". I think that is so sad.

You try to figure out ways to buy gifts you know you can't afford - to entertain your family with food and drink that you will buy by not paying some of your bills this month and hoping you can figure out a way to pay two months in January.

You make list after list of those that you HAVE to buy for. You add only the children at first, chastising yourself that you really can't do much more than that. But then you start thinking "What if so-and-so shows up with a present for me?" So now you add so-and-so to your list. You struggle and stress over this list over and over - adding people - removing people.... Why can't we just feel comfortable saying "thank you" for that gift without feeling like crap because we didn't give them one? Who are these people that are giving you gifts? Don't they love you? Don't they KNOW you love them? Don't you think enough of them and of yourself to accept a gift without having to give one in return because you simply can't do it?

And then of course you go into the "what do I get them" question that keeps you up at night! God forbid you buy them something cheaper than what they bought you!

I love Xmas. I always have. It's such a pretty time... people are usually nicer... I have time off from the stress of my office... I love Christmas music! But I hate the stress that we have created around the holidays. I HATE to feel that I HAVE to do something that I really can't do! I would not want a present from someone who has had to struggle and stress to get it for me!!!

Why do we do that? Why have we created such stress for ourselves at a time of the year when we should be stress free!!! The year is over, we have time off to relax... we have beautiful decorations, music.... For Christians, its the time to celebrate Jesus' birth... for everyone, it's the time to celebrate the end of a year - good or bad - and the beginning of new one.

CHRISTMAS IS NOT ABOUT PRESENTS!!! Not really. It's about saying "I love you"! You do not need to spend money to do that! A simple card, a handmade gift, a thoughtful gesture.... doesn't that mean anything any more? Is it more important to buy a present for someone than to do little things that show that person you love them?

What we all should be doing is sitting down to dine together with our families. Have fun with a karaoke machine! Dance to some great or goofy music. Take lots of pictures. Create memories! That would be the IDEAL Christmas celebration. Whether or not there are boxes under the tree.

Over the past few years I have strived to give gifts that mean something - regardless of their monetary value. Over the past 3 years I have made a memory book for my brothers - a book of our family during the previous year. I do it through Apple using the pictures I take during the year. My brothers treasure these books. My children, nieces and nephews who are now adults have asked that I make one for them as well for Xmas. We sit around with the books on Xmas day and relive the past year in our family. Lots of laughter and tears. It's a wonderful thing to do and everyone really looks forward to it. THAT is Xmas.

If you are one of the lucky ones that can buy gifts for everyone you love - good for you!!! There is nothing wrong with that! But if you are like most in this country during Christmas 2010, do yourself a favor. Love yourself enough to just say I love you. That really is the greatest gift you can give anyway!

Monday, November 15, 2010

Take a Deep Breath my Friends

So many people - both men and women - I speak to lately are so completely and totally overwhelmed. Life, finances, children, work - it seems like their lives - and mine - are in total chaos right now. It's no surprise that the holidays will make everything seem worse for those that are, or feel they are, in chaos.

I came across this video today and at first it seemed silly, but then when you really really listen to it, it is pretty inspirational. So for all of you whose lives are in chaos or who feel that they are totally overwhelmed and out of control.... this video is for you.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

On Death and Dying

My father in law passed away on Saturday, November 6th. He had a stroke on October 5th and had been suffering for the past month so his death was a relief.

I remember when my father was dying I was shocked by the pure agony he had to go through before he died. The sense of total helplessness I felt to make his leaving easier for him. The desperate prayers that God would take him - would release him from the cancer that was so incredibly devastating.

If we had an animal in the condition that my father or my father in law were in we would put him to sleep. We would end the suffering humanely. Not only WOULD we do it, we would be EXPECTED to do it. We would be considered "humane" and "kind".

Yet we have to sit by the bedside of a human being and just let them linger in their pain, in their desperation to die. The fact that humane treatment is expected and demanded for an animal yet "unacceptable" for a human being just blows my mind.

Euthanasia is criticized as "murder" or "suicide". I have to believe that those who feel this way - who believe that euthanasia is wrong - have never held the hand of their father while he fought for a breath; while the pain was so all consuming he almost loses consciousness. I have to believe that those opposed to euthanasia have never sat in a dark room for days on end listening to the "rattling" of death - the unforgettable horror of listening to someone die.

Euthanasia should be a choice made by those that are dying; respected by those that are living and promoted by those that are alive today - because one day it may be you who lays in that bed asking someone - anyone - to end your pain.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010


A few days ago I told you about my client, "Martha", and her scumbag husband. Well, Martha was buried yesterday. She passed away peacefully on Saturday morning surrounded by her siblings, her father and her two oldest sons. The little one was not there and as of 20 minutes ago, nobody knows if he even knows his mother is gone. His father has not returned any telephone calls. This man did not go to the service nor let this family take this child to say goodbye to his mother. As feared, he is making it clear that this family has lost both this wonderful woman AND her youngest child.

I have been doing this for 17 years now and I STILL don't get it. I don't understand the reason for this type of cruelty. My heart goes out to this family and mostly to this little boy who has lost so much.

Monday, November 1, 2010


Halloween is meant to be a fun day for children. I remember when I was growing up there were so many kids on the streets that the traffic would be stopped at certain streets in fear of hitting someone!!! We all did stupid things. I remember one memorable Halloween when my brothers and I uprooted rose trees from a neighbors yard and threw them in the front seat of their car!!! They weren't very nice neighbors to start with and when they didn't have any candy.... well! That was the last straw!!!

Yes, many Octobers were spent stealing eggs from my grandmother so we can bury them in the backyard until Halloween day when we would throw them at the houses of those that in our warped little minds deserved it!!! Sounds bad - but hey, it was just once a year. Now, the fear is not rotten eggs or "tricks"... now we fear guns, and violence and being robbed by someone in a Halloween costume. Now we are afraid to let our children out of our sight.

Last night I went to "trick or treat" with my grand daughters and my nieces. There were very few children on the street and those that were were being closely monitored and chaperoned by adults. Every time my nieces or my grand daughter Kaitlynn knocked on someone's door I felt a tug of fear at who would open the door to them and what they would give them. Over protective? Maybe, but I really don't think so. There have been so many instances where drugs have been given to these children. I remember years ago there were people who gave apples for Halloween and put razor blades in them!

And sex offenders? There are so many out there (literally tens of thousands). How can you let your children go out on Halloween without you? I don't know why this realization made me so sad. It just did.

In the same way that our grand children or great grand children will not be able to see so much beauty on this planet, will never be able to appreciate all the animals that will be extinct... the demise of Halloween is just one more stab at innocence.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Amazing Strength

It was just as bad as I thought it would be. "Martha" looks so awful. Yet she was making JOKES! Everyone in the room was crying and she was admonishing them that she was "not dead yet"!!! She made fun of her boss - a huge man - police chief for one of our cities - who broke down while I was reading her Living Will to her - she turned around and looked at me and said "big for nothing!!". She was talking to me about how she had not been able to finish a scrapbook she wanted to leave for her son who is 8 years old. I told her I would come to her house and help her finish it if she wanted me to.

Obviously this all brought back awful memories and feelings from my father's fight with cancer. And yet, in an odd sort of way it was cathartic for me. My father was 74 years old - lived to enjoy his grand children, to meet some great grandchildren. Yet here is this woman who is 44 years old - who should be making plans for the next 30 years.... and she is dying not only with dignity and acceptance, but with an unbridled sense of humor. Honestly? It made me feel guilty to still be mourning my father as deeply as I am.

When you really sit down and think about all the things that bother us... weight, not enough money.... and you weigh that against what Martha is going through. Wow... talk about perspective!

I read her her Will and her Living Will. She and I had spoken about it before and I had taken the liberty of writing in them what I thought she would want. When I was done, her brother, her boss, her father, her sister.... all crying. She just took my hand put it against her cheek and said "thank you mama. That was perfect. God sent you to be my angel." Well, that did it. I was DONE.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010


I have a client - let's just call her Martha - who is in stage 4 cancer. She started with breast cancer and just when she thought she had that battle won the insidious disease had spread throughout her body. A few weeks after a radical double mastectomy her husband of 12 years - a man who does not deserve to breath as far as I am concerned - walked out on her and their 8 year old child stating that she "disgusted" him physically and he just could not deal with her illness. Sweet huh? He left and did not provide her with any kind of financial assistance. She continued to work until a few weeks ago.

Martha is such a wonderfully sweet and strong person. She has struggled to survive this disease for the sake of her children (she has older children from a previous marriage) and now that she has realized that this is just one mountain she can not climb, has accepted her fate with dignity and grace and the sweetest acceptance I have ever seen. It makes me cry as I write this to know that she has lost the battle with cancer.

I filed divorced papers for her asking, among other things, that the Court force her deadbeat husband to assist her financially. Recently she called to tell me that she was "not doing well" and that she did not have the energy to fight with him. (Apparently unbeknown to me, he had been harassing her about the divorce). She asked that I hold off on the divorce until she was strong enough to handle it.

Today her sister called me to tell me that she was hospitalized and was not expected to overcome this last attack on her system. They asked that I come to the hospital to prepare a Will for her. Their fear? Under Florida law, grandparents, aunts, uncles .... nobody has any rights to a child but the mother and father. Apparently Mr. Wonderful has advised the family that once Martha dies he will no longer allow them to have any contact with the child. Mind you, over the past weeks while Martha has been in the hospital the child has been with the aunt because the father did not want to care for him.

Sadly, there is nothing I can do for them. The impotence of it makes me insane. This little boy will lose his entire family because of this man who has never been a father to him anyway. They are not only losing this wonderful lady, but also this little boy who is the light of their eyes.

I will be at the hospital tomorrow. But I can't lie to her - not even to make her feel better. Days like this make me feel so angry. To sit back and see this kind of cruelness - this kind of disgusting behavior - and not be able to do anything about it makes me so frustrated. God has to have a special place in Hell for men like these don't you think?


I have always loved the idea of "dancing in the rain". Life can be full of rainstorms at times. Hell, we may feel we are going through hurricanes! We will never be totally "stress free" or free from these storms but if we learn how to dance in the rain, wouldn't that be just amazing? If we truly internalize the idea of dancing through the difficult times in our life - if we can truly internalize the old adage of "if life gives you lemons - make lemonade!" wouldn't life be so much easier?

Having lost my father this past December so suddenly and so unexpectedly has made me value life so much more. Every single day we have is a gift. It may not always feel that way - but it really is.

Think about it... if there are things in your life - unpleasant, stressful or horrible - that you can't change- why stress it? I say DANCE!!! How could it possibly hurt? Turn on your radio nice and loud and dance like no one is looking.... like you are 3 years old again and think you are just amazing! Because isn't that the way it is? I have two grand daughters. One is 3 1/2 and just amazing. My daughter and I laugh all the time saying she will never have self esteem issues!! She thinks she is one cool chick! Somewhere along the way we lose that. We forget how really incredible we are! When you were 4, 5, 6... did you CARE whether or not you were a good dancer? Hell no!! You just danced and thought you were the best dancer in the world!

Kenny Rogers has this wonderful song whose title I can't remember right now. It's about a little boy who goes out to play baseball by himself saying "I am the greatest batter in the world!". He pitches to himself and misses the ball 3 times and then says "Wow!!! I am the greatest pitcher in the world!!!:. Don't you just love that? We all believe that at some point in our lives. Where did we lose it?

I have no idea what compels me to open yet another blog except that sometimes I want a place to just sit back and talk about things that are not necessarily art related. There are so many things going on in this crazy world of ours right now. So many ideas to share and so much to learn from others.

This blog is intended to just chat. About life, issues and anything else. So sit back, grab a cup of coffee or your favorite tea, take your shoes off and enjoy your visit. Dance with me my friends! We only get one chance to live our lives... let's dance through the rain.