Loss of voice

Distraction, stress, work, travel, change and worry get in my way of late. Get in my way of thought, expression, creativity and writing. Sometimes it’s hard to clear my head, focus and write. Therefore my posts of late have suffered and are frankly lacking. My reading, interaction and commenting of fellow bloggers is even more lacking.

But I must post. I must post even if it’s just a picture. I must I must I must.

Thanks for sticking with me. This too shall pass. Until then step 1.

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Somebody Else’s Guy

Jocelyn Brown’s famous grove from 1984…

And she won’t no ‘no talent’ studio enhanced 1984 diva ‘cause honey she is still got it sum 30 years later…

Back in 1984 Fearsome was but a big fat dark brown porn star ‘stache and I a handsome lean blonde haired aerobics instructor. This tune in it’s original version was a staple for a killer abdominal workout grove. Honey her tune worked us and we worked her tune.

Today?

Well today we wonder if perhaps He’s Somebody Else’s Beard.

Blogging Benefits

A benefit of blogging that I enjoy is that of friendship.

Yesterday I received a surprise package in the mail from Meanwhile Over in Cali.

Thanks R.J. !

Next week I will have the pleasure of meeting Travel Penguin for a morning meal.

Our banter, comments, humor, insight, advice, empathy, respect and understanding make for a wonderful community. We come from all places and all walks of life. I love being part of this here blogging community and I wish to express my gratitude to all those in my blogging circle.

Hug!

Where have we been?

Absent.

Elsewhere.

Distracted.

Missing.

The time has come. Mom is ready to move out of my childhood home. She’s lived there since 1957 and raised 3 boys there. Dad passed more than 2 years ago. She finally retired in December. Her last dog passed at the new year. The house is too much work for a little 86 year old lady.

It’s her decision. She is ready. She has decided that she wants to live with us in San Diego rather than with my brother in our hometown. She hates winter and loves dogs.

I’ve spent the last two weeks back east helping her sort, clean, decide, pack, throw out and donate. Her ticket has been purchased. I fly back Mother’s day weekend. We spend the week finalizing. She flys back with me, first class, to her new home in San Diego on May 18, 2018. Her new home is the first floor bedroom of our house.

Fearsome has been a big part of it all. From getting stuck on packing tape to literally getting himself caught in the recycle bin when the lid fell shut. He’s there all the way.

So now you know. We’ve been beyond work distraction to major life changes. We need to reflect on this more. We will post more about aging, emotions, family, changes, life, blessings and gratitude.

Gratitude for the opportunity and ability to support the one who once supported me into her final phase.

I’ll call it what it is.

A blessing.

Belonging

Does a need to belong keep me from living life?

I live my life out there yet to some degree or another I’ve always had a yearning for acceptance at some level. I’ve found that a desire for acceptance will sometimes inhibit me. Inhibit my expression in order to conform.

I have a hunch that others around might on occasion have a similar feeling.

What I’ve learned, that I don’t always practice, is to just get out there. I must remind myself to go out and live. Express without hesitation. Look for similarities. Share and enjoy love, life and laughter.

Naysayers may shake their head. I say let them. Who knows, maybe I’ll inspire them.

Don’t conform.

Find a tribe.

Resonate.

Be accepted.

Belong.

Best. Music. Video. Ever.

Blind Melon – No Rain

I can.

I can listen.

I can feel.

I can empathize.

I can forgive.

I can love.

I can better.

I can support.

I can speak.

I can share.

I can march.

I can serve.

I can donate.

I can understand.

I can be honest.

I can value.

I can cry.

I can change.

I can make a difference.

I can laugh.

I can hold.

I can stand.

I can challenge.

I can question.

I can grow.

I can learn.

I can vote.

I can improve.

I can volunteer.

I can protect.

I can hope.

I can believe.

I can teach.

I can lead.

I can follow.

I can act.

I can be.

I can.

Can I?

Can I make the world a better place?

Can I improve things around me?

Can I help others?

Can I do better?

Can I find faith?

Can I positively impact my Community?

Can I facilitate improvement?

Can I understand?

Can I listen?

Can I speak kindly?

Can I communicate effectively?

Can I change?

Can I have compassion?

Can I support?

Can I be of service?

Can I accept?

Can I challenge?

Can I find and share gratitude?

Can I improve myself?

Can I love?

Can I empathize?

Can I learn?

Can I grow?

Can I lead?

Can I be a good example?

Can I inspire?

Can I believe?

Can I instill hope?

Can I share peace?

Can I be better?

Can I?

Can I?

Rhythm of Life

There is a rhythm to life. A rhythm that moves, changes, comes, goes, returns and revolves. Whatever rhythm we are in, we must never forget that “This too shall pass”.

This too shall pass, whether it’s bad or good. That’s the rub. Good things pass as well.

We choose to which it is we focus our attention.

Sammy Davis Jr. in Sweet Charity. Bob Fosse is genius.

Gaslighting

Having survived an abuser in a physical,  mental, substance and emotionally abusing relationship I can relate to every point in the article below:

 

Psychology Today

Stephanie A. Sarkis Ph.D. Stephanie A. Sarkis Ph.D.

11 Warning Signs of Gaslighting in Relationships
Gaslighting is a manipulation tactic used to gain power. And it works too well.
Posted Jan 22, 2017  (original article at this LINK )

Gaslighting is a tactic in which a person or entity, in order to gain more power, makes a victim question their reality. It works much better than you may think. Anyone is susceptible to gaslighting, and it is a common technique of abusers, dictators, narcissists, and cult leaders. It is done slowly, so the victim doesn’t realize how much they’ve been brainwashed. For example, in the movie Gaslight (1944), a man manipulates his wife to the point where she thinks she is losing her mind.

People who gaslight typically use the following techniques:

1. They tell blatant lies.

You know it’s an outright lie. Yet they are telling you this lie with a straight face. Why are they so blatant? Because they’re setting up a precedent. Once they tell you a huge lie, you’re not sure if anything they say is true. Keeping you unsteady and off-kilter is the goal.

2. They deny they ever said something, even though you have proof.

You know they said they would do something; you know you heard it. But they out and out deny it. It makes you start questioning your reality—maybe they never said that thing. And the more they do this, the more you question your reality and start accepting theirs.

3. They use what is near and dear to you as ammunition.

They know how important your kids are to you, and they know how important your identity is to you. So those may be one of the first things they attack. If you have kids, they tell you that you should not have had those children. They will tell you’d be a worthy person if only you didn’t have a long list of negative traits. They attack the foundation of your being.

4. They wear you down over time.

This is one of the insidious things about gaslighting—it is done gradually, over time. A lie here, a lie there, a snide comment every so often…and then it starts ramping up. Even the brightest, most self-aware people can be sucked into gaslighting—it is that effective. It’s the “frog in the frying pan” analogy: The heat is turned up slowly, so the frog never realizes what’s happening to it.

5. Their actions do not match their words.

When dealing with a person or entity that gaslights, look at what they are doing rather than what they are saying. What they are saying means nothing; it is just talk. What they are doing is the issue.

6. They throw in positive reinforcement to confuse you.

This person or entity that is cutting you down, telling you that you don’t have value, is now praising you for something you did. This adds an additional sense of uneasiness. You think, “Well maybe they aren’t so bad.” Yes, they are. This is a calculated attempt to keep you off-kilter—and again, to question your reality. Also look at what you were praised for; it is probably something that served the gaslighter.

7. They know confusion weakens people.

Gaslighters know that people like having a sense of stability and normalcy. Their goal is to uproot this and make you constantly question everything. And humans’ natural tendency is to look to the person or entity that will help you feel more stable—and that happens to be the gaslighter.

8. They project.

They are a drug user or a cheater, yet they are constantly accusing you of that. This is done so often that you start trying to defend yourself, and are distracted from the gaslighter’s own behavior.

9. They try to align people against you.

Gaslighters are masters at manipulating and finding the people they know will stand by them no matter what—and they use these people against you. They will make comments such as, “This person knows that you’re not right,” or “This person knows you’re useless too.” Keep in mind it does not mean that these people actually said these things. A gaslighter is a constant liar. When the gaslighter uses this tactic it makes you feel like you don’t know who to trust or turn to—and that leads you right back to the gaslighter. And that’s exactly what they want: Isolation gives them more control.

10. They tell you or others that you are crazy.

This is one of the most effective tools of the gaslighter, because it’s dismissive. The gaslighter knows if they question your sanity, people will not believe you when you tell them the gaslighter is abusive or out-of-control. It’s a master technique.

11. They tell you everyone else is a liar.

By telling you that everyone else (your family, the media) is a liar, it again makes you question your reality. You’ve never known someone with the audacity to do this, so they must be telling the truth, right? No. It’s a manipulation technique. It makes people turn to the gaslighter for the “correct” information—which isn’t correct information at all.

Could a country, a people, a society be gaslighted? 

Nightmare

One of my issues with nightmares is that I cannot scream. I’m left defenseless in alerting anyone within hearing distance that I’m in distress. It is impossible for me to call for help as I’m only able to muster an almost inaudible whine or moan. All the while the terror continues and I’m trapped unable to vocalize or alert anyone.

Last night was another one of those moments. I was laying on my back with my hands clasp across my abdomen in a wonderful slumber when I was awakened, in my dream, by an alien the size of my hand landing on the back of it. It was the right hand as it was clasp on top of the left. The alien immediately started injecting venom into the back of my hand through quills extending out of its small body. The alien had control of my hand and I could not move it. The pain was minimal the paralysis frightening.

Once again I couldn’t scream but only make a faint moan while trying to yell for help. I tried and tried to squirm away and finally from my struggle I was able to make a slight movement as I woke up with a slightly audible whimper. Needless to say getting back to sleep, once I realized that my recent vivid experience was but another nightmare, was not an easy task. My adrenaline was flowing and even though there was nothing on the back of my hand, fear was present.

Fear that next time I need help I will not be able to vocalize my need. Fear that I’ll be paralyzed. Fear that what I had just experienced was actually real.

Blessings

The Christmas tree is down and already in the alley for pick up.

Our tree this morning

All the decorations are boxed and in the attic. Most everything is back in its place. It’s been a great holiday season. The 7 dogs are snuggled in their places on the couch and in dog beds.

Mitzi (our oldest at 16) and Gilda (13)

We just had a wonderful New Year’s Eve dinner out at one of our favorite Italian spots in Hillcrest. Times Square plays on the tv as we enjoy the wonderful place we call home.

Blessed.

We have two wonderful god sons who have grown into young men.

Joshua (21), Fearsome, Markus (17) and The Better Half

We were there for each of their births and have been their god parents since each of those wonerdful days. Joshua is a senior at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo and Markus is a senior in the International Baccalaureate program of San Diego High. Both speak three languages fluently. Their dad and The Better Half have been friends since high school, he and his wife are two of the best friends anyone could ever begin to wish for.

Blessed.

The two youngest dogs, our rescued Yorkies, have recovered extremely well from their double knee surgeries and are no longer confined to a nursery area but are living out with us and the rest of the pack.

Phoebe and Betty napping together in my lap, both are just 3 pounds each full grown.

Our home is full of love. We enjoy our community. Our careers are both fulfilling and lucrative.

Blessed.

With overwhelming gratitude, Fearsome and I wish each and every one of of you a very Happy New Year!

🎉🎈🍾🎊🎩

Angels

I know that this isn’t all there is. Even if Sandra Bernhard sings her rendition of Is That All There Is? so incredibly one could almost believe her…

Yes Dear Fearsome fans I have posted that one before, to good reviews I must add.

I believe that there is another dimension beyond that which I experience at this moment. I understand that I am limited to the five senses that to which my current body experiences this life that I am blessed to live. I know that there are other experiences that I am not able to comprehend while living within the confines of my earthy body.

There are many writings of those who have passed and returned to their bodies only to continue living the life that they were. A name for this phenomenon is near death experience.

I worked for many years in intensive care units and emergency rooms. I’ve witnessed death many times and I’ve witnessed near death as well. I’ve worked in delivery rooms and witnessed not only 100s of live vaginal births but c-sections, stillborn and multiple births. I’ve even resuscitated conjoined twins, or Siamese twins if you choose to call them that. I’ve watched the breath of life reach the depths of lungs for the first moment out of the womb, watched that life leave the infant and then resuscitate life back into that infant just as I’ve resuscitated life back into an adult heart attack victim under my earthly body’s hands.

I didn’t actually give that life back, or give that life in the first place. A power much greater than me did that. My hands were but tools present at the moment. Tools hired by the hospital to do what hospitals do which is aid people in their own journey into life, through life and out of life. My experience was but a blessing to sculpt me into the man I am today.

I don’t know what the other side is. I haven’t been there. I believe there is another side there. I know because I’ve had several experiences where the other side reached to this side to give me a message I needed at that moment. These experiences were both inside and outside my hospital environment. Maybe the energy that reached out to me did so because of my experience and my open mind from those experiences.

I will not write about those in detail at this moment in time. Maybe one day I will, and again maybe I never will. Those experiences were as real as I am and as real as the words in this post. They are burned into my memory. One even happened in the very room in which I sit writing this post.

I do choose to commit to calling the energies that contacted me and energies that brought life into and out of being in front of my eyes, angels. I believe that angels do exist. My definition of them is that thy are a positive energy from the other dimension that I cannot yet experience, but one day will. Unlike Sandra’s lyrics, I do not think that experience will be yet another disappointment.

In many of the writings I’ve read about out of body or near death experiences is that each and every one of them has noted that their pets were there to greet them. Not just special human loved ones, but the very pets they loved and cared for during their life. It’s a consistent story line. I believe them.

Earlier today when I looked in the corner only to find it empty I cried. Then I smiled. I know Nina was looking down on me. She is but one of many angels waiting for and watching over me. I know one day she will be there to greet me as well as Cephas, Nikky, Tess, Matty and Diva. God willing that I have many more years here there will be many more than the few names I just mentioned.

I believe that my previously lost human loved ones are also with me.

Angels.

I Believe.

Responsibilities of pet ownership

Last October marked the 3 year anniversary of our adoption of Nina. Nina’s owner had passed away and she had been left outside for a year behind an empty house. Her story starts HERE.

That was the day I discovered her. She was an older dog but full of energy, happy and playful. I wrote more about our decision to formally adopt her in this follow up POST.

We never really knew how old Nina was, but she has become a very old dog. In the past 6 months there has been a rapid deterioration. If you look back at her previous post there was a spark, a happiness and energy. Unfortunately due to age this is Nina today:

Nina on December 27, 2017. Official age unknown, estimated age 14-15 years.

Nina has a warm comfortable home that she has loved for the past three years. She has had regular medical care, dental care and grooming. She grew all her hair back after adoption and never had a flea again. She gained weight, ate well, played, walked and rarely ever barked. She had a short but happy life here.

I write because the time has come. We must make that decision that every loving pet owner never wishes to make.

She is confused. She’s not able to walk well. She can’t see nor hear. When she is able to walk, it is in circles as she has developed vestibular disease. She is often incontinent. She eats, but needs assistance. She appears uncomfortable.

We may not have to do it today, but we may. I just got the number for an in-home euthanisia Vet. I’m about to make the call to ask the questions and possibly schedule.

With tears I write. With written words I gain strength.

UPDATE: The in home appointment has been made for Friday 12/29 at 5 pm.

Right shoulder report

My surgeon found no tear in the right rotator cuff once in there with his scope. No tear had showed on MRI, but then again no tear showed on the MRI of the left a year and a half ago when they found one once inside with the scope. Therefore this surgery was much less involved. My surgeon simply removed the bone spur, cleaned up the impingement and drilled the bone to stimulate my stem cell release to reduce any arthritic inflammation.

Last time I couldn’t shower for a week and was completely immobilized for 5 weeks before starting physical therapy at 6 weeks. Today at two days post op I am out of the sling and already had a shower. I return Friday to have the stitches removed and start physical therapy. I am already using my arm for easy light tasks. Movements are limited but improving already. Pain meds are at a minimum.

I was prepared for the worst and I am relieved. Compared to the last surgery this one has been a walk in the park thus far. Fingers crossed I’ll be baking my coconut cake for Christmas dinner!

Surgery day

At 7:15 this morning I check in at my assigned outpatient surgery center. The Acromioplasty will begin about 8:45. I actually look forward to getting through this and into recovery. Shoulder pain isn’t fun.

Fearsome will be tied up into a tight pony tail as he has a tendency to get into everything. We don’t want the surgeon saying he needs a trim before they can start.

Pain

Short, sweet and to the point.

The trip back east last month when I met up with Anne Marie and Mistress Maddie before I met up with my family in Philly to train into NYC was fabulous!

What wasn’t fabulous is that during boarding for my flight home I didn’t think. I neglected to remember that being post operative (18 months ago) for a Left Rotator Cuff Repair/Bicep Tenodesis/Acromioplasty that I should never ever lift heavy weight above my head. Well that and having a history of Right shoulder impingement which also contraindicates lifting above the head.

I usually always check bags, this trip I used a roll aboard. The overhead was full and getting the rollaboard in wasn’t easy. Before I sat down I decided, not my best thinking, that I should make sure the full bin would close. I lifted it without success and it didn’t close. Rather than leaving it alone for a flight attendant to close I immediately tried again and harder.

It didn’t close. However both shoulders had a quick poppping sensation and I sat down with the immediate intense pain being in my post operative shoulder. I reached into my backpack under the seat in front of me and grabbed four ibuprofen (800 mg) and two extra strength Tylenol. I know my pain and what it was going to take to manage it.

During the first half hour of my 6 hour flight home, the pain in the left subsided as the pain in the right shoulder grew increasingly intense. My right shoulder had a history of impingement and had already had it’s limit of 3 cortisone injections. A previous MRI had confirmed that issue.

Right now I sit at my surgeon’s  office awaiting my pre-operative appointment. Surgery is scheduled for next Monday 12/18 to correct the Acromium impingement of my right shoulder. Topping it all off is the fact that during my Florida trip I pulled my back.

Bilateral shoulder pain, low back spasms and a topsy-turvy whackadoodle political environment of recent has made Shawn moody. Fearsome isn’t happy with my moodiness but I have to say that he’s a bit moody himself. The dry Southern California Santa-Ana weather conditions have made him a flyaway dry mess.

Pain. Yes we have it. Pain we are doing something about it. Pain sure doesn’t make life easier. Pain isn’t as bad as many others have it.

We are thankful for an incredibly good health plan, good doctors, a loving spouse, good friends, healthy finances, eight wonderful dogs and an amazing home.

Freedom

Thought provoking:

True freedom carries with it respect of differences. In public accommodation I must respect the freedom of others to live a different life than my own.

I practiced as a Respiratory Therapist in public medical accommodation for 20 years. In that practice I not only was required to respect different cultures, customs, politics and  religions but wished to appreciate what made us human. What makes us human is differences, as well as commonalities. Humanity is empathy. Humanity is understanding. Humanity is having different experiences. Humanity is having different beliefs. Humanity is enriching each other.

I currently sell real estate. Selling real estate is a public accommodation. In this field I am required by law to respect all races, religions, beliefs, politics, sexes, sexualities, colors, practices, disabilities, abilities, politics and professions. I, by law, cannot discriminate. I also do not wish to discriminate nor exclude. I sell property to all and I relish all.

Understanding begins with me. Respect begins with me. Empathy begins with me.

I don’t have to live the life of the one I don’t agree with. I live the life I choose. I let others live their life and respect that they believe differently. I respect they have a different life experience than I do. In public accommodation I serve them.

Join me. Be human. Start right where you are.

In public accommodation enrich the canvas that is the art of humanity.

Presidential

LBJ

LBJ led this country through a turbulent time helping us to become a higher, better society. May we find inspiration in those who strive for justice, compassion and equality. May our society again soon recognize the value of true leaders, leaders who challenge us to grow, improve, serve, understand and respect.

The Iconic Boeing 747

First released in 1968, Boeing’s 747 was, and still is, an engineering marvel.

United is retiring their 747 fleet for more fuel efficient 777 & 787 aircraft and fuel efficiency is a definately valid reason. Other airlines will continue to fly them so the iconic look will still be seen in larger international ports. However their numbers may continue to dwindle as technology changes.

I’ve only flown the 747 six times in all of my travels on these routes:  Miami to Aruba, San Diego to London, Los Angeles to Sydney. Thus far it is my favorite airliner. The adjectives roomy and majestic come to mind. I even know the layout well enough that I have a favorite seat. I’ll miss this mighty bird for she gave me many wonderful memories.