Saturday, November 30, 2013

Conspiracy.

I've been fascinated with the JFK assassination for most if not all of my adult life.  I probably should have posted something here on my blog in remembrance of this man and his legacy on November 22nd exactly, but I was much too busy being sick with a fever curled up in the chair watching television special after special focusing on the assassination, the conspiracy, the events of the day, and how it all looked and felt that day in Dallas, Texas.  I was kind of annoyed that most of what is shown and published now seems to agree with Lee Harvey Oswald being a lone gunman.  Only one show that I saw, out of several, seemed to advocate for a massive cover-up.  Could it be that fifty years of frustration with not having a real answer or any true belief that our government then or now has fully cooperated with the investigation - maybe the collective we has simply given up ever finding a different answer so we accept the one shoved down the throats of all who would line up and accept that it was a lone gunman who shot a magic bullet?

Even Lee Oswald said he was a patsy...in the mere 48 hours he had to say anything at all, before he could really tell us what he knew.  

It was also a conspiracy that I didn't finish my 50 thousand words for National Novel Writing Month.  This flu/fever/cold illness has nearly spanned two weeks and sapped the life out of me.  I found myself writing some really dark stuff that made me want to run and hide from it, and I had to take a two day break to go pick up my mother's cremains from the City of Jacksonville Florida - and give them a check for every penny of the money that her lousy insurance company mailed to me.  Of course she lied on the policy questionnaire, however after reviewing the questions I wonder who would actually qualify for one of their policies?  And why did it take seven months to simply return her premium payments?

One thing that I think I've discovered though in this month of November is that I still want to take some creative writing classes, and I may have finally found a way to do that, online via a real university, and without paying them all of my earnings for one year.  The UCLA Extension Writer's program seems to be legit, cool, and offers a certificate program - total cost $6,700!  I can probably figure out a way to pay for that all on my own and work at a pretty reasonable pace to finish some writing courses that might actually teach me how to write the novel that lives inside my head.  

Maybe I'll be a famous writer before I die, or before the dark ass characters in my head pay someone to assassinate me too.  Hopefully someone will bury me in a tricked out coffin with an escape hatch.  Just don't cremate me!

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Excuse me for November.

I'm busy bustin' out a 50,000 word novel.  Or at least I'm trying.  Where's my caffeine?

Monday, September 23, 2013

It's time to give back. Introducing the non-profit.

The C.H.R.I.S. Coalition
“Communities Helping Reintroduce Inmates to Society”

After my mother died in April of a prescription drug overdose, I felt the urge to start a non-profit organization to educate and provide resources to those trying to get help. In the midst of severe emotional pain however, it’s hard to be creative, or to find the drive to figure out all the details as well as the big picture ideas involved in starting a true, game-changing, community enhancing program. Also, I had a lot of things to deal with in cleaning out my mother’s apartment, the final disposition of her body and her estate. Conversations with the funeral home and even checking my own mailbox (where her mail was forwarded) became a chore.

Fast forward to August.

Lying in my bed one night while everyone else was asleep, I decided to surf Netflix for something to occupy my time. I ran across the new Netflix original series “Orange is the New Black.” Within a week I’d watched all 13 episodes, told everyone I knew about the show, and had bought the memoir by Piper Kerman that started the whole thing.

It’s hard to watch the show without having sympathy for people who have to live in prison. I’ve always been able to find deep empathy for people who are walking a hard road in life, and I am probably one of the most non-judgmental people you’ll ever meet, so I spent hours that week and the next worrying about and ruminating on the plight of people in prison. Especially those non-violent offenders whose crimes all go back to a drug addiction. Maybe they stole to support their habit? Maybe they never had anyone to care enough for them to teach them how to act as a responsible member of society who contributes in a meaningful and positive way.

Then I remembered “Chris.”

I’d heard at a funeral a few years back that a childhood friend of mine was “locked up.” A quick search on the department of corrections website confirmed his incarceration and there staring back at me was his mug shot – a stark contrast to the adorable, fun-loving, helpful kid I knew more than 20 years ago. It was staring into the seemingly hurt gaze on that computer screen that threw the urge for action into the pit of my stomach. You know what I’m talking about…the “knowing” feeling that you have when your life is about to change or take on some new meaning, at least for the foreseeable future.

So I scrawled down his inmate id number and the prison address and wrote him a letter right then, that night.

Five days later I finally got the courage to put it in the mailbox and raise the flag.

Three days after that I realized I’d invested in my old friend emotionally when the sight of the mail truck sent me into hopes that I might actually receive a real, handwritten letter from a guy whom I wondered if he even remembered me! Within a few days more I had my letter. “Chris” was delighted to hear from me, and said he very rarely got mail at all. He also said he was getting out the following month. When he was able to call me on a contraband cell phone floating around the prison shortly after midnight one night, my rapid fire questions about how he was going to arrange all the details of assimilating back into society (i.e. where to live, finding a job, getting back his driver’s license, buying a vehicle, even down to what he’d eat and how he’d clothe himself) he said he’d been working on this planning for the last year. He wanted a job first so he could earn enough money to get his license, then a car, then a place to stay. He told me unequivocally that ten years ago when he lost his mother that he’d lost himself in the process and gotten into things and people that were bad for him. He’d done things he regretted and he knew he had to make some amends. He assured me that he felt changed, wanted to better himself and his life, and never wanted to be locked up again, let alone commit a crime.

When they open the prison doors and let him go, he’ll have all of $35 to his name – the $10 he had to pay when he went in and $25 the state gives a person upon parole. He’ll have a parole officer checking on him periodically to make sure he’s not in trouble, but I can find no other resources readily available for someone who committed a crime, did his or her time, and is now ready and willing and wanting to make a fresh start.

Viola. This was the missing link in my earlier thoughts about a non-profit. “Chris” had a drug problem, which led him to steal in a non-violent way. Millions of people incarcerated today never tried to hurt anyone, but were simply trying to support their own habit. My own mother was never incarcerated, but she did struggle with a drug addiction (illegal and prescription drugs) for nearly 40 years.

Now I can completely envision my non-profit organization designed to provide support and reintegration skills for parolees during their first 3-6 months on the “outside.” Many people fail to think about or realize that if we do not properly equip a person to succeed then we can pretty much expect them to fail. The other thing to remember is not to judge a person before first trying to understand how they got to this point. Most of the time, once you’ve heard their story, the actual crimes they committed don’t become less of a crime, but they do become less relevant in the “big picture” of that person’s life. I’m not talking about big violent crimes here. I’m talking about stealing metal or shoplifting or selling drugs to support a habit. These are all things our society can do without, but how do we expect newly released offenders to become good law abiding citizens when our society gives them virtually no support upon being set free?

I am starting small right now. I want to raise some funds to help “Chris” upon his release, even though he’s not asked for a dime. These are all new concepts for me, but there is a clear and definite need in the here and now. To start, I’ll manage the funds myself and gladly will report back to all who donate on “Chris’s” progress and how the funds are used (in the near future I’ll set up this organization as an official non-profit). If he truly wants to change, and I believe wholeheartedly that he does, then I’d like to be a witness that this can be done. There is a need to fill right here in our community and in our state. As I’ve begun talking to more and more people about my ideas for this non-profit and about simply helping “Chris” I find that most folks know someone who has been in trouble with the law, arrested, locked up, and forgotten about by the penal system. Living conditions in prison are bad. Getting out drives their hopes high, only to feel the most likely fall when there’s no place to go, no job, no car, no health insurance, no food, and no money.

If you have ideas, please share them.
If you have money, please donate a little.
If you have a story, please tell me all about it.
Together we can make a difference.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Fear...life's wrecking ball.

I think I've listened to Miley Cyrus' new song Wrecking Ball about fifty times.  No seriously.  It's playing as I type this.  Other than what the radio station plays of hers, I've never been a fan.  But this song speaks to me in a way that no song has in a long time.  Yes there are several songs that remind me of times in my life, make me think of a person or a space in time or a moment that was missed or even fully lived.

But this song has taken me to a point of tears.  Big ones streaming down my face.

This song reminds me of fear.  Yes, fear.  That very deep doubt that permeates every single thing in our lives, causing infinite doubt that we'll never be enough, that we're not right, that we're guilty, that we can't rise above or even stand tall enough to see through the window.

I have lived with that fear for the sum total of my life.  Abandonment and endless critique bestowed upon me this nearly insurmountable gift.  Death, tragedy, and sadness have released me from it.

There are places we come to in life that literally force us to stop and evaluate, regardless of how much we'd love to avoid it, or deny, deny, deny that there's a problem.  The other thing about that soul eating fear is that the very essence of it says we cannot stop to question ourselves or our actions because that makes us even more vulnerable - our bellies are already too soft to even allow a hand on them to soothe us.  The sudden pierce of realization that even though we've tried so hard, have given our every effort to be simply the best, perfect at all and everything, that by god yes we are human and we have screwed up massive amounts of tiny moments in our lives.  That we've made bad decisions.  That we've cheated and lied and hurt others by our own actions, no matter how deeply we regret those things now.

The healing comes when you drag yourself up far enough to feel the sunlight on your face.  That sun and it's warmth tells you that you're still here on Earth.  That you're human and very, very imperfect, and that any other human who ever expected you to be perfect was imperfect as well.  If anyone made you feel that way, then there's a moment they screwed up too.  And hurt you in the process.

But look at you.  Look at me.  You survived and so did I.

Fear will drag you into a dark place so desperate that you will simply find yourself waiting for your godforsaken life to be over.  You'll get to the end sooner and you'll regret not taking chances more, not being who you really were supposed to be in this life, and not being your true, genuine, authentic self.

Do not let fear stand in your way.  And never cover it with substances that alter your consciousness.

You are lovable.  You can love.  You can be a good mother, a good father, a good friend, sister, brother, cousin, lover, wife, husband and every other possible thing you can think of or try to do.  Your limits are set only by you.

Break down your own walls.  Don't let anyone wreck you or your life.
There is always time to change direction.  There is always time to give yourself another chance at love, happiness, enough money, a satisfying career, or the elusive book you want to write.

There is always time to give yourself another chance at the life you want for yourself, whatever that may be.

Don't make the mistake of waiting for someone else to come along and give you the chance.  No one can do that for you.  You must believe in yourself enough to let go of the fear and take your life's bull by the horns.  Pull yourself up by your own efforts and your own faith in yourself.

I thank all that is good in this universe for finally allowing me to think this way, to realize that my life, as crazy and imperfect as it has been...despite all my failures and disappointments...has been right on track from the beginning.  I am good enough just the way I am, because of who I am and all that I know to be.

Guess what?  So. Are. You.

Saturday, July 6, 2013

In remembrance of my mother.

Some might see the space and wonder,
Where is the love?
I see the space and know its there,
Because of the love.

There are things in life we cannot have,
No matter how much we long for them.
In my case, it was you.
It was always you.

There's no strangeness of feeling like being a motherless child.
Where is it that I belong? Who will stand for me today?
A fall, a bruise, a scrape, a tear.  Once in a blue moon -
A broken heart too.

You were somewhere not where I could see.
But that never stopped the longing, nor promises unkept.
Heart's desires can't be contained so easily.
When I sleep I dream. Where are you?

Now I know. You are in that heavenly ethereal place
of love, and peace, and acceptance, and learning.
No more debauchery for you. Nothing to alter your
consciousness but the work your soul must do.

Were you ready to take that leap?

I was not. Could you feel the quickness of my heart?

There's a small unprotected space in me that knows now
that despite the mental toughness, it was you that I wanted all along.

Not necessarily the straight A's or perfect hair or perfect curves
Or eye lined baby blues to bat away a mans attention.
I didn't need anything to complete me but you.
There was always something missing, and I've been chasing it
for thirty eight years.

Turns out it was just you.
You I tried so hard to run from when you finally came around.
What I wanted was gone. Could not be had.

But then again could we?
What if you had actually tried?
Could you have given up all you thought you had
for a minutes more time with me?
Could you have stopped and wondered just a bit more often,
"What is she doing today?"

Did you care?

In your way I know that you cared as much as you could.
And I have accepted my fate as the best laid plans for my life.
There were others who gave me rivers of love.  Rivers.

I didn't know that I was worth any of it though, until you were gone.
There was some destiny in your leaving the first time,
and some magic in your leaving the last time.
When you crossed over to that land-of-endless-mild-and-honey-everything-
is-better-here-place, something happened to me too.

I grew up hard and fast and strong with my teeth gritted and eyes dry
because  you left me.
Now that you're gone again I realize that I'm enough.
Just as I am.
You took that black cloud of self doubt with you.
I can only hope you tore it up and threw it away.
We don't need it anymore.
Let there be some light now.
Light - in knowing everything happens for a reason.
Even the things we believe will wear us to bits
and tear us to shreds.

I am here today - my own woman - no longer in the shadow of your leaving.
No more fear of being  unloved.

I am stronger because you left.  No more empty holes.
I forgive you your lack of presence and love.
I know we will meet again.  I will show you the strength of my heart.

Perhaps there will be a day up there when you get bored
doing whatever it is that souls do in the afterlife.

I'll be here.  When I sleep, I dream.
Come for a visit then, and I'll see you in my dreams.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

New Kids on the Block 6/20/13








VIP on a 5* ticket. Met the guys again (for the 3rd time) and had a freaking BLAST at the concert.  I snapped nearly a thousand pics between Boyz II Men, 98 degrees, and NKOTB. We had 3rd row seats and were so incredibly close to the guys I barely had to use my zoom lens.  The VIP experience left much to be desired, but the pic with the guys, even though it goes by so fast, and the 3rd row seat more than makes up for the lack of a gift bag (this year only a bag and a mini-speaker - the cholo socks were missing).  I'd love to go VIP on a cruise next!  Got dollar signs bouncing around in my head!  :)

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Talking about the problem.

Gina Kyle Jackson
After only 4 hours of sleep I spent A LONG time on the phone with the funeral home in Jacksonville, then the Social Security office, and then with my uncle Randy who is helping me manage things.  Turns out I will be able to get my mothers "cremains" and will not be forced to pay $920 for them after all.  Social Security didn't know she was dead so I had to "report" this to them, and there's no "death benefit" unless I'm a minor or a disabled adult. I still don't have a death certificate, and the manner and cause of death are still officially pending, even though I know exactly what happened. One look at the medication list is all it takes. Not to mention my conversation with the cop who worked her death scene.  I actually felt sorry for her too.  She is a 23 year veteran on the Jacksonville police force and said she goes from overdose case to overdose case all the time but my mother's situation made her choke back tears all day that day.  She said she went home and wrote her own mother a letter that very day.

This whole thing, in its entirety, is one very sad story. All I know to do is what I tell our patients families to do when they're going through a death...take it one hour, one day, one week at a time until you begin to feel some peace.  And let the tears come when they will because that's healing too.

If there is anyone in your life that you love who has a problem with prescription pills, no matter how distant you may be at the moment, please encourage them to seek help, or at the very least tell them you love them no matter what.  In my mother's case it was a mental health issue & a physical addiction she battled for more than 30 years.  After she left my side as an 18 month old, that life took her over.  She was beautiful and very intelligent and could have been anything she wanted to be. She could sew like nobody's business, she loved British literature, and she was a neat freak wherever she went.  I loved her as much as I could considering the circumstances, and I know she loved me as much as she could muster.  I know she's in a better place now, but I regret she couldn't see how good this place could have been for her and for everyone else who loved her in spite of her.

Complicated grief is...well, complicated. Tears, anger, frustration, resentment, sadness and all through a sprinkling of, "Is this really happening to me right now in my life?"

I want to start a dialogue about this, to honor my mother's struggle and my lifelong loss of her, and for the millions who need an outlet or who may be struggling with the same addiction (and therefore are systematically losing everything they hold dear in this life).

Use the comments section to discuss.  I'll be checking in and writing more frequently because now the ever elusive story seems to be making itself known.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Sitting with the sad.

I'm sitting down to write just now because I'm not sure what else to do with these hours awake and alone so late at night.  I received a call from the funeral home today in Jacksonville about my mother.  Her body is still at the Medical Examiner's office.  Because I am extremely unsure about this life insurance policy that she purchased last year I cannot give her the funeral that would have been my first choice: that I think all people should have when they die.  Just a clean, respectful end to things.  My father, God love him, despite all the craziness and hurt she caused him - basically forcing him to raise me on his own and without contributing one dime to that process - actually offered to allow me to bury her in his section of grave plots right in our hometown.  So if I had an extra $12K lying around I'd do just that, but I don't.  Instead, I referred her to the indigent burial program the city of Jacksonville has for people of limited means.  Apparently though that won't work either because my very lower middle class salary at the hospital disqualifies her.  What this means is I have to pony up the $920 or "abandon the body" and allow Jacksonville to cremate her and spread the ashes, after a whole year passes, in their memory gardens after they ring a bell and say her name.

Is a box of ashes worth $920?

Right now, I'm in total self-preservation mode and I think no.  I think this woman did not raise me and she let me down over and over and over again in my life.  I can remember days where I sat and waited for the phone to ring because she said she would call.  Sometimes it would ring, but mostly it wouldn't.  I remember the wretched smell of cigarette smoke every time I got near her, usually on the one visit a year that started around age 8, but wasn't every year.  I wanted her to love me, to see me, to hold me in some important spot in her life and she just couldn't.

The drugs got her through it.

Two years ago I had her in my home for two entire weeks at Christmas.  She nearly drove me bananas with the television being on ALL THE TIME. Watching her and Hal fight over the remote was kind of funny, but all in all, I was very uncomfortable with her here even though on some kind of level in my head I knew I needed to do it.  Even when Christmas morning arrived she was too sleepy to watch Sarah open her presents.  But at one point during her visit I asked her why she did the drugs - and she flat out admitted that it was because she was trying her best to forget me.

I believe her.  Because I very much felt forgotten.  I very much felt different from all the other kids at school because I had no mother, because my mother had (gasp) left me - like bad penny.  She'd just disappeared.

Last night I found in one of her albums a picture of me taken the day after I was born.  Oh the serious look on my newborn face.  It's like my soul knew I was in for a wild, complicated, sad to the bones kind of roller coaster ride and my face reflected that from day one.  Here we go.  Next to that was  picture of a very young Gina holding a baby.  My heart leapt at the thought that it might actually be the first photo I'd ever seen of her holding me as a baby.  But then I realized the baby wasn't me.  And my Dad looked at it today and said "nope it's not you."  There's not one single picture of her holding me as an infant.  Of her owning me as her child, her baby, her responsibility.  It was simply never meant to be that way.

The summer I was fourteen I moved down to Jacksonville to LIVE with her.  Three weeks into my visit, she'd raided my savings account and then overdosed on drugs.  She couldn't handle being my mother. There was just no way in hell she could actually contribute to my life in any meaningful way beyond giving birth to me.  I remember vividly sitting in her hospital room and watching the EKG machine flatline a couple of times.  Obviously she survived, and did some time in a mental facility. Then a few weeks later when the rest of my family figured out what happened, one of my aunts took me on the long ride back to Georgia -- with all my stuff -- and with a very empty feeling inside. 

In my mid twenties I spent $99 on a plane ticket to have her come visit.  She stayed with me for all of two days, and was mostly drugged during that time too.  She was too out of it to even meet my friends.  After the second day she had me take her out to the country so she could spend time with her cousins and that's where she stayed for the rest of her time in Georgia.  It's like she broke my heart all over again and took advantage of my kindness.  Every single time I let her in, I got squashed like a bug.  There was my heart.

The night of her birthday this year I got home around 7 and fully intended to call her but my dad called first.  She beeped in and left a message and I called her back immediately.  Our conversations in my adult life were 85% about her.  Once again she dominated the talking and was going on and on about this PBS program she was watching.  She wanted the companion book for her birthday.  I agreed to get it for her.  After about a half hour of her talking I told her I had to get Sarah taken care of and in bed and that I'd call her back after I did.  Sure enough, 2 hours later when Sarah was asleep I felt that pulse in my chest - call her it said.  But I did not want to.  I mean, I really didn't.  I don't necessarily know why I didn't, and I feel guilty for it now, but I didn't want to talk to her any more that night.  But again I felt that tug at my heart and I called her just long enough to let it ring once before I hit "end" and hung up.  Thankfully, she called me back.  And we did talk, for almost another hour.  I love you was the last thing I said to her.  From what I can tell now, she was dead a mere 48 hours later.  That damn book she wanted was in my barnes and noble shopping cart on my phone.  I'd planned to call her back to ask what other book I could add to it so we'd get free shipping.  And there it sits.  I'll delete it out of the cart at some point.

Step by step I'm dismantling her earthly existence.  We packed up her apartment, and we gave lots of stuff away.  Her cat lies here under my feet, happily purring, free of cigarette smoke for the rest of his days.  One by one I'll cancel her credit accounts.  One by one I'll call her doctors and let them know.  I've already started it because this is what she left me with.  A great big mess.  One by one, erase, erase, erase.  Clear up, take away, write off, and delete all the earthly accounting of the mother who could never really be. 

But then there's this furniture here in my house, and the not-so-faint smell of cigarettes that go with it, now a constant reminder that she's gone but yet here still.  Kind of like when I was a child.  Always a part of me but never really there.  Something I wanted but couldn't ever have.

What do I do with all of this?  For a while I think I need to sit with the final stage of my grief.  Final because all my life I've grieved her in some way or another.  Even as she lived I never really had her.  Now that she's gone I'm the only one who's here to take all the things she left behind.

For now I'll sit with the sad.  Then hopefully I can take the sad and turn it into something useful for myself, and for others.  It's the only way I can right her wrongs to me.  Live my life and make it mean something to me and to others even if it didn't mean enough to her.

Friday, April 12, 2013

There are no opiates in heaven mom.

My mother was found dead on Monday morning.  She'd probably been sitting in the floor there like that for up to 3 days before her caretaker found her.  Even though we don't have the autopsy report back yet, I feel in my heart that it was a prescription drug overdose.  Earlier this year CNN did a piece on the epidemic of narcotic and benzo abuse and cited it to be the number one cause of accidental death in this country this year.  I always hated the fact that my mother used narcotics so much and felt that those pills played a large part in her continued absence in my life.  My wheels are turning now about perhaps creating a non-profit organization to educate the public about prescription drug abuse.  Not necessarily in "honor" of my mother, but because of this: I didn't just lose my mother on Monday, I lost her every single day that she was too high to have a normal life, normal feelings, and a normal conversation with me on the phone. 

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Get this album now.

NKOTB's new album 10 is out.  You owe it to yourself to buy it now.  Or you can come over to my house and we'll listen to it together.  Let your ears feel the joy! Get it on iTunes or buy at Target!  I love these guys for more reasons than one.  This music just makes me happy, and definitely makes me burn more calories on my exercise bike! 

Friday, March 29, 2013

10 Happy things, in no particular order.

1. My life is now on a bit of a different track, and as scary as that is, I hope this slightly altered path will be full of new love and challenges, while still tipping my hat with respect to where I've been so far.
2. New friends. New things that interest me. New thoughts about old things in my world.
3. Dude, the New Kids on the Block just released a new CD, and its very awesome!
4. I have a 5 star VIP ticket to see them in concert in June! Squeeeee!
5. Since I will be meeting the guys in person, this provides much needed inspiration to lose this nagging tire around my belly.  Already did 2 hour long workouts on my bike this week!
6. I'm writing more.
7. I sold my 4th and 5th Disney trips all in one day yesterday!  Rockstar!
8. The Supreme Court is examining the issue of gay marriage.  About freaking time.  This is a good thing for all of you who believe in the ideals of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, as well as equality and justice for all.  I am impressed by the Facebook campaigns as well.
9. My 2nd grade child is now reading at a 6th grade level.  She's freaking brilliant and I take at least half the credit for that.  Screw my ancestors.  This winner is all mine!
10. Putting a bit more effort into being a girl isn't as hard as I thought.  I am still plucking eyebrows.  I purchased eyeshadow for dummies, and I bought some new jewelry.  Still haven't figured out eye liner yet...but these days I celebrate the little things.  :)

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Um. What was I saying?

I don't know why I've waited so long to blog.  I had every intention of writing something every week at a minimum, but I got so busy with my life that I just didn't.  Sorry excuse I know. 

I have sold another Disney trip!  I've been writing everyday in my Happiness Journal!  And I've almost filled up the red leather bound Italian made journal I bought in 2003.  Three more entries and I can go buy a new one to start all over in.  I can't believe I kept up with that journal for 10 years and continued to write in it.  Problem is, that's not where all of the writing I've done is located so I'm not sure how to sort all of it out.  Perhaps I'll just hope to be moderately famous when I die so someone else can take on that task and make some money while they're at it.  My daughter recently told me in the shower that she wanted to be famous and wind up in a Social Studies book when she died.  Perhaps I can hope for a footnote, "oh and Sarah's mom wrote a lot of journal entries - read those here."

The New Kids on the Block are releasing a new album soon!  Yay!  They've already dropped 2 songs and scheduled the tour.  So of course I'm going 5* to the Atlanta show.  That gives me something to look forward to for sure, and perhaps motivation to drop 20 pounds?  I'm going to be in another photo with them and I want to look not-fat!  I might even wear make-up.  Hell, I spent a full 20 minutes tonight plucking my eyebrows.  I'm new at it.  And of course my genetic code gave me 487,000 eyebrow hairs.  Ugh.  So I'm kind of glad I resisted plucking for so long.  Imagine how much of my life would have been wasted on sitting on the toilet (lid down), holding a 10x mirror, and plucking away at my face?  By now, months!  Good thing I found other worthwhile tasks to do instead. 

I even bought a pair of bling-bling jeans to wear to the skating rink.  I'm trying to rebuild my image.  Living on the edge.  Not so bland and nerdy.  But somehow I find it hard to be sexy.  Just doesn't work for me.  No one ever said that a random quote from the news or research inserted into just about any type of conversation was sexy.  Did they?  Cause if they did I haven't read about that yet.

Ah well.  I bought a little book called 642 Things to Write About to inspire me to write more.  I still have this desire, almost now a guttural urge, to write and publish a book before I die.  It's almost like now my entire life might be deemed one giant failure if I don't do it simply because I've felt like I had to do it since the age of 13.  Was this some sort of soul agreement?  Am I supposed to impose some type of knowledge on the population or just tell my own story?  I have a hard time with fiction.  I like research, but not the amount I'd have to do for a book.  What in the heck am I supposed to write this book about?  If I could figure that out, I could write the thing pretty quickly.  Really, I know I could.

Perhaps once I figure out my life, I'll figure out my book.