photo by Sheri Dixon

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Campaign Reform

WAIT! Don't doze off just yet! This is me!

First of all, I'd like to point out the complete idiocy of a bunch of politicians all spending billions of dollars in advertising to tell us how fiscally responsible they are and how they'll slash the wasteful spending in Washington.

I have a better idea.

Dear Hopeful Candidate-

We're doing things just a little differently this election so please pay careful attention to the new guidelines for campaign funding-

Collect campaign funds from wherever you can, but not a freaking penny is allowed to be spent on advertising, or security, or travel, or any of that falderol.

Yanno all those pretty speeches you give, saying where you'll cut spending and what departments or programs you'll put more effort into? Those things that bring a tear to your eye and a catch to your words? All those things that make America great but that are threatened by (fill in the blank with whoever you're running against's nefarious plans)?

We require more than the patriotic music, the eagle with the feathers blowing like Fabio's golden locks and the background infused with red, white and blue.

Give us your speech. Make your promises.

Then fucking do it.

All that campaign money? Spend it on what you're promising us. Show us how you'll follow through. Why wait? A True American would leap at the opportunity to make all those great changes whether or not they hold office...because it's the right thing to do.

Build hospitals, schools, roads, bridges, industrial parks, manufacturing plants, vocational training facilities, research labs...

All your pet and favorite projects? DONE.

Call the media. Stand there smiling with the ribbon-cutting shears and it'll be all over all the stations FOR FREE- showing what you have done to improve our country NOW.

Because honestly?

Once you get elected, it's a hard row to hoe to get anything done in DC. Some of you will fall prey to lobbyists and some will just fall from exhaustion and depression.

But all that stuff you built during the campaign?

Still there.

No matter what happens once you get sworn in (or go home in defeat), the Good Stuff is already working to help YOUR people, YOUR country, YOUR causes.

You want our vote?

Smooth words are easy. Any lounge lizard or car salesman knows that.

Show us what you got.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Hope In Unexpected Places

So we spent a few hours in our local emergency room this past week.

Nothing life-changing, but scary at the time- Edna got literally flattened by a urinary tract infection, and now we're all aware that symptoms for stuff in the elderly are sometimes wildly different (and seemingly unrelated to the problem) than in other age groups.

She got tired and confused to the point of not being able to walk, but after a few hours in the ER was able to come home, walk back into her house and is now recovering nicely.

So that's a very good thing.

Because we love Edna.

The smaller yet still sweet incident occurred in the emergency room waiting room.

We walked in (Edna wheeled in), checked her in at the front and turned around to find seats. Fortunately it was a Tuesday night in a small-town hospital so there were 4 other people there- 2 middle aged black women there each on their own, and a young white couple.

The young couple was what anyone would classify as "most likely to live in a trailer park". Now, I can say that, since I spent my first 4 years as a Texan living in the worst trailer in the worst trailer park in Texas. The trailer was infested with roaches and the trailer park was month-to-month renters- people who are literally here today and gone tomorrow. There was alcoholism. There was drug abuse. There was domestic violence to spare.

I made mountains of peanut butter sammiches and served up oceans of Cheerios and milk for children whose parents' minds were otherwise occupied and who couldn't focus on their hungry offspring. Now, these weren't beggers by any stretch. They'd knock on my door and ask if they could pet the dogs in the yard. That was my cue to say, "Of course. Have you eaten today?" and the answer was always a softly whispered, "No ma'am."

They never failed to say Thank You.

...back to the ER this past week.

The young man was mumbling at the TV and his companion was shushing him.

The TV was turned to FOX News.

Generally, if FOX News is on a public TV I turn around and walk out, but Edna was sick and this was the only game in town, so I seated us behind a big pillar where we couldn't see the devil-spawned-gnome-like countenance of Bill O'Reilly smirking down on us.

I listened curiously and surreptitiously.

Because this young man's demographic are the Young Hope of FOX. The ones who are being told that they don't have a job because the goddamn Mexicans took 'em, that they don't have any money because that goddamn Obama gave it all to companies to build solar panels, and that if we don't get capital G God back into our government in a very literally fundamental way we're all going to hell in a handbasket...after the gays rape our sons and the illegals rape our daughters, and the fucking liberals take all our guns.

FOX want's 'em poor, and hungry, and angry as hornets so they can be brainwashed into "knowing the enemy, because we're Fair and Balanced and the only network BRAVE enough to tell you the truth."

Imagine my surprise when my ears verified that he was making unhappy noises not in agreement with O'Reilly, but AT O'Reilly.

"Goddamn prick. What does he know about being poor. Buncha bullshit."


"This isn't news, how stupid do they think we are?"


I walked over to him and said, "Well? Change the channel. WE don't wanna listen to it either". And I smiled my best grandma hippiechick smile.

He said, "I tried- can't reach it, and the girl behind the desk said it has to stay where it's been put."

I sighed and told him that's why WE were seated behind the piller and he laughed.

I glanced up at the TV where O'Reilly was still spewing hate-infused gibberish, shook my head, looked back at the couple and said, "Wow. Talk about State TV propaganda."

He grinned at me, made an upraised fist and said, "Fuckin' A".

One moment, one brief moment of hope. A glitter of light in the darkness of East Texas.

I'll take it.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Slippery Slope, Part Two...

I've been trying for several days to figure out a way to word what I'm going to say so my meaning is crystal, absolutely clear.

It worries and disturbs me that for many people, the easy and quick first response to a mass murder in a darkened theater is not grief and compassion to the families.

It worries and disturbs me that this awful thing, this terrible event is seen not in the light of, "We're so sorry- how can we help THEM?"

but an immediate and almost violent defense of, "Yes- terrible tragedy- now the anti-gun liberals are coming for MY guns".

And one of the most often heard 'truths' is that, "One single armed citizen could've stopped this from being so awful, or stopped it altogether- THIS is what gun control really does...PS the cops/government/authorities won't protect you- everyone needs a gun to carry in their pocket".

And here's the difficult part for me to write.

Seriously, actually difficult for me to type the words, for fear of being misconstrued.

Several of the victims were IN the armed forces. Not retired, not National Guard- active duty armed forces.

And that's what I want people to consider.

There were men in that theater who have had been trained in combat. More than armed combat, unarmed personal up close 'man to man fighting for your life even if the other man is armed and you're' not combat.

One had completed two tours in Afghanistan.

I'm pretty sure if the murderer had been able to have been stopped, one of these men would've done it.

I'm pretty sure that they died trying.

If THEY had been armed, could THEY have stopped him? I don't know and here's the important part- neither does anyone else-

especially a whole country of fucking armchair snipers.

To blithely yet adamantly insist that if ONE person- no matter how inept with their weapon (since purchasing a gun at Walmart is as easy as walking into Old Navy to buy socks)had been armed that night it never would've been the horror it ended up being is a slap in the face of every person in that theater- everyone who shielded someone else with their own body as well as our fallen soldiers.

To insist if EVERYONE there had had a weapon- trained or not, in a dark theater full of panicked people, it never would've happened, is outright blatant bullshit of the highest order.

I understand that the 2nd Amendment crowd is crying foul because the anti-gun crowd is taking this 'opportunity' to call for more restrictions on THEIR rights.

And they're right. This should NOT be a soap box event.

But it's natural when something awful happens to ask, "What can we do to prevent this from happening again?" MOST people are NOT calling for the banning of ALL guns anymore than people whose loved ones have been killed by drunk drivers call for the banning of all cars.

They want restrictions on who can drive when. Period.

But there's no political lobby for that- no hugely moneyed entity "fighting for the God-given American right to drive a car as fucking messed up as we wanna be".

To not only push back against anyone wanting ANY restrictions on gun ownership of ANY gun, but to keep going over the cliff of "and if EVERYONE had a deadly weapon we'd all be perfectly safe" is disturbing.

There's something very wrong with that.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Slippery Slope Into Bullshit

I'm sick and tired of the "slippery slope" argument.

If Universal Health Care becomes law, it's a slippery slope into complete Nanny State socialism/communism/fascism (since those are used interchangeably, oh- and wrongly). Never mind that it'll help everyone, including myself. We just can't take that chance.

If Gay Marriage becomes accepted, it's a slippery slope into marrying your dog, or your Dolly Parton blow-up doll, or your toaster. I love toast.

If we enact ANY sort of gun control of ANY sort of weapon to anyone, it's a slippery slope to the government coming in and taking all my guns.

Right. You're right. If EVERYONE in that theater had been armed, the lone gunman wouldn't have stood a chance. Because a dark theater full of panicking people at midnight is an excellent place for a buncha ya-hoos with guns to practice their target skills.

I hear a lot of, "Well. Auto wrecks kill WAY more people than guns- why don't we outlaw cars?" and, "Guns don't kill people. PEOPLE kill people".

(smug look like the argument is over)


Great. Using the above 'if everyone had been armed' analogy, lets apply it to cars. So because SOME people can't drive well, the obvious fix is to let ANYONE drive at all- 8 year olds, blind people, anyone. It should be up to the individual to make the decision that they are capable of driving a huge chunk of metal that could kill people. Brilliant. Lets not require driver's licenses. Or any rules of the road like speed limits or road-worthiness of any vehicle. People have been required to have driver's licenses for a good long time- when do they come confiscate all the cars?



...tired of waiting and moving on.

Here's what I don't understand. And these aren't generalizations or random 'facts' pulled out of the internet's ass. I'm speaking of people I know, people I love, people I talk to- from family to casual acquaintances.

The same people who want MORE restrictions on who gets government aid- who are A-OK with a lot of people being denied who really need it as long as it keeps ONE person from cheating the system and costing THEM PERSONALLY like...a nickel a year, have an absolute apoplexy if I say, "Yanno, handguns and hunting guns are fine, but no one really needs an AK-47".

The same people who want MORE restrictions on what a woman can do (legally, I might add)regarding very personal health and life decisions get all purple in the face and blustery and all the veins stick out on their heads if I say, "Yanno, maybe it's not a good idea to be able to walk around a gun show and sell an assault rifle to any person who has cash- no background check required for a personal sale".

The same people who have not a problem in the world with new Voter ID requirements- requirements that exclude from voting a large population that is elderly, poor, rural, to make sure there's no VOTER FRAUD (actual verified voter fraud in Texas last year- FIVE) snarl and walk away muttering that I'm a goddamn hippie commie peacenik treehugger if I point out that

The first sentence of the 2nd Amendment states a WELL REGULATED MILITIA- that their weapons back then consisted of FUCKING MUSKETS and that everyone DID own guns- because they were going out and shooting their dinner. Even the upper class kids who went off to boarding school learned how to handle dueling pistols- guns were TOOLS and in every house, and people goddamn knew how to use them.

They also knew that they were dangerous and would probably have a huge panicked incredulous cow if they saw who can legally own and carry today- anyone without a police record (actually anyone with cash at a gun show) can own and use a gun. Whether or not they've ever held one or seen one used other than on TV.

That's bullshit.

To say that military-type weapons should only be in the hands of the military or police is NOT out of line and NOT a slippery slope. It's common damn sense.

WELL REGULATED MILITIA. Yes. It was the common people who made up our revolutionary army. As it is today- we have a volunteer armed forces. If you sign up to be a soldier, you are issued a weapon and then FUCKING TAUGHT HOW TO USE IT. You don't just sign up and get handed a gun and told, "OK- have fun now".

To summarize.

Apparently, we must MORE heavily regulate

-who gets to vote, because our elections are important and not bought by corporations or fixed voting booths anyway.

-what women can and can't decide for themselves, because, well...they're women.

-who gets 'the welfare' because someone will cheat and may get something they don't deserve

-who can marry who because YOU think gay marriage is icky.

But we have to back completely off of guns. Even though the one single thing they are designed to do is kill things. That's it. There's not a damn gun in the world that's not designed to specifically put a hole in something/someone with the intended result being death.

I own guns. They're tools. I use them to cause death when necessary here on the farm and I hate it.

If the 2nd Amendment "You can have my gun when you pry it from my cold dead hands" crowd really wants to help themselves?

Get behind this sort of regulation. No one needs that type of weapon.

If someone really wants one will they still get one? Probably.

But making sure anyone can get one legally and easily with no oversight or training is not the way to fix that.

It's a guarandamntee that it'll happen more often.

The US has the largest population of armed citizens in the world.

Why do we also have the highest percentage of our population in prison, the highest violent crime rates and outstandingly dangerous cities?

Seriously, being a armed nation is NOT making us a safer nation. Yanno why?

Because there's no goddamned oversight or responsibility taken.

You don't want the Big Bad Government to do it?

Fine. Do it your own damn selves.

Man up. Take responsibility.

Being Free does NOT mean that you can do whatever you damn want to whoever gets in your way and defending your right to do so without regard for anyone else. That's being a sociopathic asshole.

Being in a Free SOCIETY means that IF you choose to own or do something potentially dangerous, you make damn sure you're safe, and extra-damn sure that everyone else who has the same dangerous toys is also TRAINED and CAPABLE.

See? Subtle but important difference.

Now, go hug your family and tell them you love them. Because there's a shitload of people who can't do that today. As there were yesterday. And will be tomorrow.

Guns DON'T kill people.

People who shouldn't be allowed to carry a pointy stick and who walk into a gun show with money and out with an assault rifle kill people.

With guns.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

The Lesser of Two Weevils

"Voting for the lesser of 2 evils is still voting for evil".

I'm not a Republican anymore.

My family is still mostly Republican, at least my parents are, and I think my brother. My elder children swing conservative with a very obvious leaning towards social liberalism- like libertarians but with a conscience and heart.

Alec is still a work in progress- HIS work and HIS progress, not our indoctrination.

The men I voted for in my youth were clearly Republican candidates, but not a one of them could get on the GOP ballot today for so much as dog catcher. They'd all be labeled "Too Damn Liberal".

That's how far to the Right everything has pitched. Regardless of all the squawking about the "liberal agenda" in the media, the government, society...anything even close to Center now is seen as "Far Left Extremism".

Specifically, anything that calls for any sort of compromise.

So I can't get behind the GOP anymore.

Conversely, there are issues that I can't get behind our current President on. I understand that every damn thing he's attempted to do has been obstructed by the Right- the Right has made it very clear that their one main top most important goal is to make Obama a one term president. I understand that the key to working in DC is compromise (even though the Right has completely forgotten that). But there are things that he's said and done that should never have been said or done, especially by a Democratic president.

Citizens United has been integral in the Taming of America- the hogtying and trussing up of the citizens and the now-legal purchase of our government by the guys and gals on Wall St. has pretty much made the whole shebang a pointless exercise.

So why do it?

Why vote?

After all, if you're playing the game, part of the system, you're part of the problem not part of the solution.

The entire house of cards needs to come down and be re-shuffled once the jokers are taken out.

It 'could' happen if a 3rd party candidate actually won.

That ain't gonna happen. It SHOULD happen, and it COULD happen, but most Americans are too wore out from working themselves to literal death just to keep out of the poorhouse or too scared from staring at their liberal/fundamental/black/white/gun freak/treehugging neighbors waiting for them to do something dangerously traitorously unpatriotic so they can...what? Shoot 'em? Report 'em? Shun 'em at the grocery store?

I'm voting.

I'm voting because women before me fought, were jailed and beaten and mocked and shamed for the right to vote and I won't disrespect them.

Doesn't mean my vote will count against all the corporate money making the real decisions, that the outcome hasn't already been cast- but I'll vote all the same.

Because I'm not voting and going home and forgetting everything else.

I'm voting because I'm an American and it's my duty and my privilege to do so.

But the ballot is just part of it. Our system is broken and needs fixing, and that needs to be addressed through peaceful protest, through boycott, through physically showing up in masses to express displeasure at how OUR dollars are being spent, how OUR elected officials are voting against our interests.

Anyone who says, "That will never work" isn't paying attention to the rest of the world where it IS working...right now.

Masses of people who are tired, and sick, and generally fed up are standing up and yelling, "We're mad as hell and we're NOT going to take it anymore!"

Europe. Mexico. Middle East. Japan. Iceland. Mad as hell and not going to take it anymore.

So I'm voting not to abdicate responsibility for the way things are.

I'm voting as a gesture to what it is supposed to stand for...and then working like hell to get us back there.

Friday, July 13, 2012

It's Not a Cake...Take Two

I was baking a cake last week and remembered a conversation I'd had with my banker almost 10 years ago. He was asking about our dairy goats.

His question was, "So, what does it take to milk a goat?"

I described the steps, from gathering the implements, to securing the goat and cleaning her udder, then milking, then straining the milk and putting it into containers in the fridge, being sure to wash all the equipment right away to avoid milk scale building up.

He listened intently, then cleared his throat and said, "You know, they sell milk at Walmart".

I was thinking back on that exchange because I was baking a carrot cake. While most things made from scratch are ridiculously easy- most of the time every bit as easy as starting with a "box mix"- such is not the case with carrot cake.

It's a veritable pain in the ass.

But the end result is so much better than any mix from a box slathered with goo from a can that it's worth it.

Just like milk from an animal you know and feed- so that you know exactly what you and your children are drinking- is far superior to the enticing gallons at Walmart.

Remember back a few weeks ago now, my heartwarming yet embarrassing story about Erika and Dave and their dad's surprise birthday cake?

And my punchline was..."Whatever it is, it's not a cake" in reference to Ward's...thing on his eyelid- his one remaining eyelid on his one remaining eye?

Well, the news is very good- it's not cancer. It's some sort of blocked gland thingy and we're headed back down to Houston Sunday, meeting with the ophthalmology surgeon on Monday and coming home Tuesday (we'll repeat that 3 day dance step twice more- once when she does "the procedure" and once for a recheck...I think- actual schedule may vary).

It's a veritable pain in the ass.

We don't WANT to make more trips down yonder.

But it's ok. Because "It's not a cake".

However, this IS a cake- enjoy...

Pain in the Ass Carrot Cake and Cream Cheese Icing

1/4 c orange juice
1/4c raisins
2c baking mix (I like Pioneer)
1 1/4c olive oil
1c packed brown sugar
1/2c sugar
2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp vanilla
1/4 tsp ground cloves
4 eggs
3 or 4 carrots, grated (2 1/2 cups)
1 c chopped pecans

Place the orange juice and raisins in a small saucepan and heat to boiling. Turn heat down and simmer for 5 minutes. Remove from heat.

Mix all the dry ingredients, then add wet ingredients, stirring well after each addition, then mixing with an electric mixer for 3 minutes.

Stir in the carrots and pecans and pour into a greased/floured 13 X 9 baking pan.

Bake for 30 minutes at 350 or till a knife inserted into the center comes away clean.

Cool on a rack.

Meanwhile- make the icing-

With mixer at medium speed, mix 1 8oz package of softened cream cheese with 1/8c evaporated milk, 1 tsp vanilla extract and enough powdered sugar to make frosting.

Once cake is cool, frost, cover and refrigerate.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

...And They Were Sore Afraid

Remember that line from the Bible? I do.

When the poor shepherds were just minding their own business in the middle of the night and without warning BAM the skies lit up and the stars were replaced by an entire shitload multitude of heavenly angels all announcing the birth of the Baby Jesus.

Considering they weren't accustomed to such displays of ostentatiousness (this being before the Pope and all) they stared up at that mess...

...and they were sore afraid.

'Course it was all cool, because the head angel told 'em to "Fear not. For born this day in a manger, a Savior. That he who believes shall NOT perish, but have eternal Life".

(Strange that I can remember that, but can't find my car in the grocery store parking lot half the time.)


I know a lot of really Good Christians. Those who follow the teachings of Christ- caring for the poor, feeding the hungry, turning the other cheek, judging not lest...all that stuff. I personally think Jesus was a terrific role model, a good man and an excellent teacher.

So this isn't a Christian-bashing session.

This isn't even where I go off about those Poser Christians who justify terrible things in the name of Jesus.

This is just a question about being afraid.

Because many of today's Survivalists and Preppers are also devout Christians.

And that's OK.

And it's also OK to be frugal, and learn how to care for yourself and your family if you are suddenly poor, or without electricity for whatever reason. It's OK to stock up on food and paper goods and first aid sundries whether you foresee a collapse of civilization from zombies or politicians or banks or terrorists or zombies (I know, but I think that's hilarious, so I repeated it).

My question is- Why are so many of the Christian Survivalist/Preppers so darn afraid?

So clannish and suspicious and scurrying and running away without even knowing where they're going? Just "away". From the cities filled with crime and evil, the non-believers, the (for lack of a better word) Infidels.

They're terrified blind to everyone and everything around them- 99% of all of it a Gift and Wondrous.

God made a beautiful place- this Mother Earth.

Jesus called all humans his Brothers and Sisters and was kind, gentle and respectful towards everyone, not just "his" people.

I understand that they believe their rewards and peace and reunions will be in Heaven, and that's cool.

But THIS life and THIS place is also pretty cool, and it makes me sad- seriously "hurts my heart and makes me cry" sad- to see them so unhappy, so frantic, so worried.

Are bad things going to happen to the economy, to everyone's family? Is our future filled with uncertainty and change?


Because that's part of this life. Always has been, always is, always will be.

Knowing that makes me want to see and do MORE- travel more, meet more people who are different than we are, see and absorb it all- as much as one tiny speck here for one tiny blink of Father Time can take in. It also makes me treasure those around me more- I MAKE time now- for each precious person I love- because I DON'T believe we'll have "plenty of time to catch up on things once we're all dead and in Heaven".

I left the Church behind, which was right for ME. It doesn't make me a bad person, an immoral person, an evil person. I'm not worried about getting into Heaven or being tossed into a fiery Hell, but that doesn't mean I just go out and do bad shit because I have no fear of punishment.

Respect for others makes me do good. Love for my family makes me do good. Reverence for our planet makes me do good.

I care about everyone. No matter their race, gender, social status, religion, sexual orientation, or even their truly unfortunately misguided political leanings.

Everyone is my Family and Earth is my Home.

I'd like to sit all the poor harried Christian Survivalists down and make them see that they ARE running out of time, but not the way they are terrified of.

God says he'll provide for His Children.

He sees every sparrow that falls, remember?

Have Faith.

Slow down. Enjoy this life and this world and the people around you. All are precious. All are fragile.

Take a deep breath and embrace who you are with and the place you are now- because all will change whether you DO something about it or not. Where you are supposed to be and who you are supposed to be with will show itself to you when the time is right- but you'll never see it through your worry and agitation.

Be not afraid.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Coming Up For Air...

It's done and up and coming.

When I started posting to about our family's travails with Ward's medical issues, it was just to let people we love and who love us what was going on- maybe why I wasn't there as often as before.

Back around '09 I read through that thread- all 200+ pages of it.

And I thought, "That's not a's a journal."

Then I thought, "I don't even remember half of this stuff happening, it was so stressful at the time and we just went from frying pan to fire and back again like literally damned jumping beans.

Then I thought, "I need to make this into a book."

Not because it's "good", because it's horrifying, mostly. But because this little missive is different from most of the other gabazillions of cancer books out there.

It does NOT end with a dead main character. I hate those. Those "And in the end, he died but he taught us so much about life." Those are bullshit.

It does NOT give all the credit for any good outcome to God. IF there's a god out there, I need to get to heaven just long enough to ask him where the hell he is most of the time- not just because of the physical and mental insults that were piled on my good, gentle husband, but all those other little things- sickness, starvation, wars, pestilence of all manner. Don't give me that crap about "Those are the Devil's doing." God is supposed to be bigger than the Devil- DO SOMETHING, DAMMIT.

So I wrote it and it got read by a number of people who all said the same thing- they couldn't put it down once they started it and they loved the book while hating the subject matter. Some of those people don't even know us and they all said the same things.

But here's the "funny" part.

The book's entries end in 2009. And it ended on sort of a non-ending note. Which was fine, because it elucidates that there really ISN'T and 'end' to this mess- and by 'mess' I mean, of course Life. Till you die. Whatever. You know what I'm trying to say.

The FUNNY part is that as awful as the things that happened in the book were...we hadn't seen nuthin' yet. 2010 was WAY worse, and by WAY worse I mean that we came damn close to losing Ward...several times.

I gave myself a year to detach from the stranglehold a year of terror impose on a brain and heart and then decided

to rework the book.

Since it hadn't started out as a book, there was no preface, no history given, just started when it started and that's cool, but I know was confusing for anyone who doesn't know us personally.

So up front I added glimpses into our life together- the things that make Ward and I who we are as a couple, and Ward, Alec and I who we are as a family.

And then I added the rest of 2009 and up through 2011.

I cried through a lot of it.

My editor had to jump ahead to be sure it had a happy ending, even though she'd read the first one and KNEW Ward is still here.

Do I wanna make money? Shit, yeah. A decade of disease has left us pretty dry and with a credit score of -26.

More importantly

I want people to know that shit happens and sometimes God has nothing to do with it- the shit OR the good stuff.

I want people to know that they should NEVER be afraid of asking questions, expecting understandable answers and that they should DEMAND proper care- not just the medical stuff but human compassionly care- for their loved ones.

I want people to know that they are not alone. They have a voice. They need to use it and never be ashamed or embarrassed to do so.

The other day Ward's brother told me, "Sheri, I firmly believe your bitchiness and bullheadedness are the only reasons Ward is still alive."

Well, I appreciate that he acknowledges how much time, effort, energy and tears were shed on keeping his brother out of harm's way.

Personally, I believe that Ward stuck around to watch his only child grow up.

And he did have some help from the medical staff *wink*

But what we learned, over and over again is that the medical industry is just that- an industry, and it's expected to make money- meaning a lot of the human-ness goes out the window sacrificed for expediency.

People need to know that they can say, "STOP! Stop hurting him. WHY are you doing it this way and is there another way that's just as quick but more humane?" Most of the time, there is.


Speak up. If they don't listen, yell. And that's not speaking metaphorically. I've done it.

Do I look like a banshee fishwife sometimes? You betcha.

I don't care. I need my loved ones cared for, cared for well and cared for kindly and I really don't give a good goddamn how silly or unseemly I look to achieve that goal.

Medicine is great. Prayers are fab. But nothing gives a patient strength like knowing someone is in your corner who is not afraid to fight for you with anyone, anywhere and at anytime. Just because they love you.

Please pass it on.

*Coming to "real book" form in the next few weeks- I'll let ya'll know, or you can pre-order here-