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2020…Corona Virus Spreading, and Now Racism


Dearest Readers:

Brace Yourselves, Readers. Yes. I admit it. Barbie Perkins-Cooper is stepping gently on her soap box once again, only this time with compassion, heartache and opinions that all of my regular readers {and those who know me personally} have been curious as to WHEN I would write about the subject at hand. It is true. I’ve been described as “an intense woman…opinionated and head-strong.” Yes, indeed, that is me — only Julia Sugarbaker style! Not a Southern Belle!

I’ve been quiet for a bit too long now due to the circumstances and issues steaming within our country, The United States of America. First, we have the quarantine with the Corona Virus, Covid-19. Now, after staying inside for much too long, tempers are flaring. People are angry. Angrier than I’ve seen them in a long time! Anger brews hatred.

After Memorial Day, 2020, I watched the video of George Floyd of Minnesota and the four police officers. I’m certain you’ve seen it too. Reportedly, the police officer placed his knee on Floyd’s neck for 8 minutes and 46 seconds. Are we certain? Are there videos of the situation during the entire conflict? I saw one video where Floyd was handcuffed – hands behind his back like police officers do during the arresting process. I ask all of you — just WHEN did Mr. Floyd end up on the ground? Were his hands still handcuffed? I don’t believe I’ve seen any video indicating that while the police officer was holding his neck down with his knee Floyd was still handcuffed? When did he hit the ground?

Another question I have is this — why didn’t the three white police officers with the other officer stop this process? They had to know placing a knee on someone’s neck could result in severe injuries, choking or death. I don’t need a medical degree to have common sense.

Here’s another question I have. Yes, I’m full of them and ready to share a few. I will go on record again at this moment to say I am not a racist. Yes, I grew up in the Deep South of Georgia, but I have not, nor shall I ever be – racist.

To those who were recording the videos, I thank you; nevertheless, I cannot understand why someone didn’t approach one of the police officers to ask them not to hurt him, but to arrest him! Believe me, had I been there in Minneapolis, I would’ve walked over to the police officers and ask them to please stop. He’s handcuffed. What harm can he do now?

As a young girl, I lived in a mill village. One Saturday morning while I shopped with my grandmother, I saw two water fountains. One had a sign reading Colored People.

I walked over to it. My grammy called me to come back but I was curious! I wanted to know if the water fountains were different and if it was a colored fountain, why was it the same color as the other one?

Grammy placed her finger on her lips. She whispered, “Sh-hh, child. That’s for colored people. They’re not the same as us.”

“But the woman who cleans the homes in the village is black,” I said. I do not recall ever saying “colored.”

I shook my head. “No, Grammy. God loves all of us. We learn that in church.”

Grammy reached for my hand, turning me away.

I admired Rosa Parks, and Dr. Martin Luther King. I listened to his speech, “I HAVE A DREAM,” and cried. When Rosa Parks refused to give up her front seat on the bus, I applauded her. I didn’t understand why she couldn’t sit next to me if I met her!

To clarify, I’ve seen racism all of my life, and I’ve stood up to say something, even when I was a little girl. When rumors filled a high school declaring no colored people could attend high school there, I ask why. They deserve and need an education too!

My mother described me as a “trouble maker, too curious for your own good.”

My father said I was “quite the chatty child. She loves to be the center of attention and she’s always asking why!” Humph! Even as a toddler I liked to be remembered!

My husband says “I step into other people’s business and I should keep my opinions to myself.”

I laugh. I proudly say — Isn’t this the United States of America?

Mr. Floyd had a criminal record, serving time for pulling a weapon on a pregnant woman when he and other guys with him broke into her home. There were other police records too, including drugs, etc. He was not the martyr the recent riots and political movements are making him out to be. No one is perfect! We’ve had protests/riots here in Charleston. Downtown Charleston was attacked like a warzone — knocking windows out. Breaking into the Apple Store, restaurants, grocery stores and more looting. The anger and hatred was horrifying for a city known as the Holy City. I believe the protests are peaceful now, protesters chanting: “Say his name…George Floyd…Black Lives Matter, Silence is Violence,” over and over again while they walk along the pedestrian sidewalk of Arthur Ravenel, Jr. Bridge, downtown Charleston, North Charleston and other suburbs.

Some of the chanting and demands include the abolishment of the police departments. I pray that WE, THE CITIZENS OF AMERICA, truly have a voice/statement via elections if this does happen. I do not agree that all police officers are good. Some are crooked. Some are probably racists, but I’ve known several police officers. I cannot comprehend how the USA could be a great society if we lost law enforcement. Wouldn’t that be a prime time for terrorists to attack us again?

Yes, I agree the protests are making statements. At first, a statement to spread violence. Hatred. Racism. Now, they appear to be a bit more organized. Less hatred. I do not understand the “Silence is Violence,” signs. I believe when people are silent they do not know a way to communicate what they are feeling. Perhaps they are afraid.

As for me? Afraid to speak up? Never! I’ve ALWAYS vocalized my opinions; however, most of the time I will vocalize with resources to back up what I am saying. I believe “Silence is Fear.” Fear of the unknown.

Racism is not a new emotion/hatred/whatever. Racism is negligence. I’ve always had friends of every color in the world. I’ve always stood up when they needed help of any kind. That is who I am.

I can’t help being a bit curious to this idea I’ve had for a long time. Whenever someone is critically ill and needing a blood transfusion does the family or the patient dare to ask “What color of blood am I getting?”

I’ve given blood before. I’ve never seen the nurse write “white” on the blood. To my knowledge I don’t believe it matters. Blood is blood! Red! It helps keep life going!

According to the Holy Bible: The Bible says “for the life of the flesh is in the blood (Leviticus 17:11); for it is the life of all flesh (Leviticus 17:14); …for the blood is the life (Deuteronomy 12:23).”

There are no descriptions regarding the color of blood in the Bible. While I do not claim to be an expert about religion, I believe God loves all of us, regardless of the color of our skins. We should treat others with respect. Love. Dignity. And now since we cannot give hugs (Yes, I’m definitely a HUGGER, and proud of it!) I send virtual hugs to anyone reading my blog.

I pray all of you will open your hearts and minds to help the United States of America end racism. Racism has been occurring since the 1600’s when slaves were brought to America along the landings and ports of Charleston. There is much history to be shared regarding slavery here in the port city. I’ve attended many events and I always ask why? Why did slavery happen? Why was it necessary to sell people simply because the color of their skin. I’m thankful it ended; however, in many ways, the racism of slavery left emotional scars that may never heal.

I pray our country will unite again soon as a country filled with LOVE AND RESPECT FOR HUMANITY!

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Storms. Lightning. Thunder…


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Dearest Readers:

Did you hear the storms last night? Did the lightning and thunder keep you
awake? Certainly affected me!  I walked around the house, glancing out the windows, only to discover the lightning and sheets of rain. My body jumped with each horrific lightning crash. All I could do was pray for God to keep me, the Bratty Boys,and my hubby safe.

I rushed back to the covers, covering my eyes with my sleep mask and quilt.
Rubbing Little Benjamin’s fur soothed me. He moved a bit closer. I suppose he
could fear the tension at my fingertips.

I turned the TV on and watched recorded episodes of MY LOTTERY DREAM HOME.
Funny. I always enjoy watching David Bromstad along with his Bubbly
personality. He has such a great demeanor. On this episode (an hour edition) he
was quarantined like the rest of the world due to the Corona Virus, so he discussed his fashions, furs, and bling. Oh, how I can relate!

One hour later, I am still unable to sleep or unwind. Finally, my body relaxed and I slept fitfully.

Now that I’ve mentioned MY LOTTERY DREAM HOME, I confess, I was hesitant to
watch it; however, the first episode I watched hooked me! I’ve had some people
say they would never watch his shows because he is “gay.” I say – so what! Some of my dearest friends are gay, and when I was a teenager, one of the guys I dated was gay — behind closed doors. Sad to say, Charles committed suicide when I was 16. I was devastated. I had no idea he was so lost within himself, he chose to end his life.

I suppose the fears I experienced last night during the storms reminded me how we must open our minds and lives to all journeys of life. Storms. Lightning. Thunder! The fears created.

Storms! Why do storms such as the ones in the middle of the night and at early dawn always torment me? Maybe it’s because I hear the words of my mother during my childhood – haunting me. Laughing at me while I shivered with fear.

“You stupid girl. I hope God lets that lightning strike you dead!” My mother said. Never did I tell my father. I was too ashamed and afraid he might laugh at me.

Years later, while he battled terminal esophageal cancer, I stood by his bedside. His eyes stared at me. He reached to touch my face, wiping the tears. Quickly, I turned away. I did not want him to see me crying. What if he thought I was weak and a crybaby when I cried?

“Don’t turn away,” he said. I moved closer, holding his hand. “Don’t think I didn’t notice how your mother treated you. I noticed how she laughed at you. Made fun of you and always called you a cry baby whenever you cried. She tried to turn everyone against you. Oh. The lies. She said. I knew you were different. I was proud of you. You always made a grand entrance. Yes. I noticed. Your mother bullied you!”

I squeezed his hand. “I didn’t know you heard her. Did you hear her when she said she hoped God would strike me dead with lightning?”

Dad shook his head yes. “I heard. God would never strike you dead. God is always there to protect us. I never said anything to her or you, but I heard every word she said to you.” He coughed, inhaled then said: “I’ve always been proud of you. You are my shining star. Don’t allow others to pull you down. Walk tall! Move forward in life. Don’t look back with pain!”

“I’ve never said this to you, until now, Dad but I’m so glad you divorced her.”

“It was the only thing to do.”

That afternoon, leaving the hospital, I thanked God for the discussion my father and I had on that date. After his death, his words remained with me. How I miss him. Now, whenever storms fire inside of my head, I try to remember the conversations with Dad. I can still hear his voice. His words remain tightly
bound within my heart where no one else can threaten me with storms. Thunder.
And. Lightning!

“Hold your head high. Don’t allow others to bring you down. Move forward with life. Don’t look back with pain!”

I am thankful I had such a wise and caring father. He is still inside of me and always shall remain!

 

Featured

Stupid Girl


“Unlovable.” That’s what my mother described. “She said I was a stupid girl. She said I’d never amount to nothing but a hill of beans. Stupid. Stupid. Just stupid.”

I’ve walked in these shoes even before my mother had a stroke and was released from life while her youngest daughter smothered life from her body. Never was she charged with murder, or any crime. I grew up believing I would NEVER be loved by a man. My mother would send me on a walk – to the grocery store — without any money. Her request/order for me was, and I quote: “I need you to walk to the grocery store. See the manager. He really likes you. Flirt with him and tell him he must let you get some things for supper. A loaf of bread. Pork n’ Beans. I ain’t got no money, so I need you to work it well. I know he’ll allow you to get something good for supper. Don’t tell your daddy I ask you to do this. I asked you cause I know you have a way with men. They like looking at you, when you smile those men melt. Get what you can out of them. Men like you.”


Little did I know my good ole Southern mama was training me. Training me to get men to treat me well. She wasn’t training or teaching me LOVE. She thought I could use my looks, personality, charm and sexuality to get what I wanted in life. She said, “Men like you, Barbara Jean. They always have. Now is the time for payback. I produced a pretty girl. Maybe an actress with Southern charm. They’ll pay you lots, just to get what you want. Don’t you forget that you stupid child, Barbara Jean.”

I was 15-years-old at the time. Mama would give me old clothes and hand-me-downs from one of my cousins. The cousin who never wore the same outfit twice. Mama told me to wear the off-shoulder blouses and shorts. “You got some nice-looking shoulders and legs, Barbara Jean, and you’ve got the right amount of boobs. Men like that!”

Funny, I never realized my mother was encouraging me to become a hooker and I cringe, refusing to respond to anyone who calls me Barbara Jean.

When I was 30, my marriage to Garrett was choking me. Depression left me so unhappy I thought my entire world was crumbling. My therapist, a lovely, tiny woman who always wore her hair in a twisted bun with a sparkling comb, and a bright red rose tucked inside her blazer pocket, wanted to know about my childhood.

Looking at her, my mouth quivered. “My childhood? It was awful. Never did I feel loved.”

“What about your mother? Didn’t she embrace you and tell you she loved you?

“No. All she did was tell me to flirt with men. They liked me. I could get anything I wanted from a man, if I ‘worked it.’ She said if I dressed nice and showed my cleavage, men would follow me to the ends of the earth.”

“Interesting.”

“What’s interesting?” I asked.

“Your mother was encouraging you to become a hooker.”

“No. She wouldn’t do that. Good mothers do not teach their daughters to hook.”

Covering my mouth while choking back tears, I realized something I never thought as a young girl. My hands were shaking. “Oh, my God. You’re right. My mother thought I could become a hooker.”

My therapist scribbled on a pad. “I find it interesting you never think of your mother as abusive, cruel, or a bad mother.”

“She said she wanted the best from me. Only her best was not what I wanted to become.”

“It sounds to me like your mother wanted you to dress like a hooker. I always see you dressed as a lady wearing cultured pearl necklaces and earrings. Your hair and makeup immaculate. You don’t show cleavage. When you sit, you keep your legs together. Like a lady, or royalty.”

Glancing at my posture, I realized she was correct. My legs were together, not exposed. Sitting with my ankles crossed, I realized she was right. I’m sitting like a lady. Funny. I’ve never considered myself a lady.

“Can you share more of what your mother taught you?”

Covering my face momentarily with my hands, I mumbled yes, sharing the stories my mother taught me. Sharing how she wanted me to use my sexuality to get what I wanted from men. “She said men would want to be with me, and she said I would never find love from any man. She said Barbara Jean was unlovable and a stupid girl. Nothing more than yesterday’s trash. Never to be loved. Never!”

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The Life of Barbie During Social Distancing


Dearest Readers:

I have a funny Friday experience to share. Are you ready? Here goes:

Friday afternoon, our pedal boat arrived. Excited to finally do something on the pond, we hopped in and started riding around our pond. Such fun seeing the turtles watching us as we glided softly around our beautiful pond. I left my phone inside (thank goodness). You must remember I fractured my back on December 23, wore a back brace for three months and chose to take a spin around the pond. It was easy to slide into the boat. Not so easy getting out!

We docked the boat, wrapping a rope around a tree for me to get out easier. Phil was worried I might hurt myself again. Imagine that! Struggling to get out, the boat decided to move while I’m stepping out. I had one foot on the bank. The other in the boat. The boat continues to move while Phil struggles to keep the boat still. Silly boat – it has a mind of its own! I grabbed the tree, holding on to it while the boat continues moving and Barbie is doing an ungraceful split!

This scenario is definitely a Lucy and Ethel moment, with one exception – I am starring as Lucy!

My back is hurting so I move my right foot off the bank and splash! Now I’m in the water with one leg still in the boat. Moving it as quickly as I can, I discover I’ve had my first initiation in our pond. I am soaking wet, struggling to get on shore. Phil doesn’t think I’ll be able to pull myself out due to my back injury.

“You just watch me,” I said. “Nothing stops me!”

Silly guy. He just doesn’t know me when someone says I cannot do something. You just watch me. No. It wasn’t graceful, but ever so slowly I slid my body out of the pond, doing a graceful low crawl I wasn’t aware I could do! The water wasn’t deep. Only to my waist. When I am finally out of the pond, I am covered with mud!

“Excuse me,” I say to Phil. “I must take a bath and get this mud off of me!”

He’s laughing and so am I. As he struggles to get out of the little pedal boat, he slips and gets a bit of his body into the pond!

Finally, both of us are out, safe, headed straight to the back porch. I peel the muddy clothes off, knowing no one will see me! I live on five acres! I glance at my wrist. I’m missing my activity tracker. Oh well. Maybe the turtles will find it and play with it!

So, what did you do on Friday during this “social distancing” quarantine?
I imagine it wasn’t as exciting as our Friday!

Sorry I can’t provide photographs! My phone was inside – charging!

Just another funny moment during the quarantine. If this quarantine doesn’t end soon, I can only imagine what my next scenario will be. Maybe swimming in the pond to find my activity tracker? I doubt it!

Remember – stay safe and healthy. Covid-19 is out there and I pray soon it will disappear – never to return – just like my athletic tracker!

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Walmart Strikes Again…


Dearest Readers:

With all that is happening within our communities, nation and the world, I had an experience with our local Walmart that really annoyed me!

My husband and I drove to Walmart to get sanitizing items. I stopped one of the managers, and I describe him as a sorry manager at that! I asked him if they had any sanitizing products. His reply, “No. We sold all we had last night when we got them.”

“Do you have any idea when you will get some more?”

He cast me a smug facial expression. “Well, it’s like this. When we get them, we sell out immediately.”

“I suppose you are not limiting the items?”

“Nope. First come first serve and customers can buy all they want.”

“In other words, you permit them to stockpile or hoard?”

“Lady, we can’t tell the customers they can only buy a few.”

I approached him closer. “Oh, yes you can. I worked in advertising and we limited products all the time.”

“Not at this Walmart.”

“Never did I say I worked at Walmart. And now, maybe I’ll shop elsewhere.”

Moral of this story – stay away from the West Ashley Circle of Walmart, Charleston, SC. They only care about the hoarders. NOT THEIR CUSTOMERS! Management only cares about how much they sell – not customers who need these products too!

Perhaps I’ll shop elsewhere! That manager needs to get another job!

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Coronavirus – Let Us All Be Wise


Dearest Readers:

By now, I suppose you’ve heard about the Coronavirus? Believe me, it is a hot topic, especially on social media. Here’s a warning – please do not believe the information/news on social media, or the Internet. Just because a link pulls up for you to read doesn’t mean it is true. Have you heard the expression “Fake News?” Believe me, it does exist! Please check your sources! Visit only reputable sites such as: the Center for Disease Control – https://www.cdc.gov/ or the World Health Organization – https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019 for the latest information regarding this virus. PLEASE – ALWAYS CHECK REPUTABLE SITES TO GET THE LATEST INFORMATION.

I live in the vicinity of Charleston County, SC. You are probably aware of how so many people are freaking out regarding this virus. Yes, I’ll admit it. I’m a bit concerned since I have asthma; nevertheless, I am following the guidelines from the CDC. I wash my hands constantly. I have toiletries available, including tissue, toilet tissue, and handwashing soaps. I’ve overheard people saying, well that information shouldn’t discourage us. We live in Charleston!

Yes. True. Nevertheless, travel, tourism, culinary, hospitality are all a major part of Charleston. SC! My concern is for those the media chooses to address as the “elderly” and for those who could not get the necessary supplies – in the event the virus arrives. No, I did not rush to stockpile any of these items. They are my basic stock items.

Last week, our Governor announced we had two reported cases of coronavirus in South Carolina. One in Charleston. Now, I discover after reading news alerts that Charleston, SC is allowing the cruise ship, Carnival Sunshine to release 3000 guests to our city. Keep in mind, Charleston is known for tourism and hospitality. This news disturbs me just a bit since we’ve had several people who have the virus within our communities. I suppose $$$$$$$ mean more to the City of Charleston, SC than the safety of our citizens. Isn’t this a shame! For more details, read the article below:https://www.live5news.com/…/thousands-arriving-charleston-…/

According to the State Newspaper, there are more cases in South Carolina now. Every morning there appears to be additional updates as the numbers increase. https://www.thestate.com/news/state/south-carolina/article241030266.html

While I am concerned, as a writer, I want to make certain I get the most informative information that isn’t embellished, or — FAKE! People do have the tendency to embellish stories, but not me. I go straight to the sources.

I’m still a bit discouraged that our Ports Authority is permitting the cruise ship to dock here. If I’m correct, Carnival Sunshine does have a home port established here; nevertheless, this contagious disease will decrease tourism and hospitality within our beautiful city. This will impact our economy.

What I found interesting and disappointing in this article is the following comment “City of Charleston officials say they have no say in cruise ship arrivals. The Port of Charleston is a state port and falls under state authority.”

What? The State has the authority? May I ask why?

I suppose I’ll continue following the stories regarding Coronavirus. Stay tuned. To date, I haven’t met anyone who has Coronavirus or an illness, but I’m cautious. As a woman born with asthma, I must be careful. I believe it’s only a matter of time before this outbreak in our beautiful city burns like a wildfire, and that is why I am staying inside. Whenever I get ill with a respiratory illness (acute bronchial asthma) or a severe case of asthma where my oxygen level drops, I stay inside my home using my nebulizer, washing my hands and resting.

I pray this Coronavirus fear will decrease soon, and those who are ill will remain where they should remain — either at a hospital or at home caring for their illness. I pray all of them will survive.

Arthur Ravenel, Jr. Bridge – an Amazing Landmark, Charleston and Mount Pleasant, SC

Meanwhile, I pray. Let us all remain healthy!

Angel Oak located in Johns Island, SC

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WW, WEIGHT WATCHERS AND CHOCOLATE APHRODISIACS


Totally forgot to take a photograph of Better Than Sex Cake. Chocolate is just so tempting!

Dearest Readers:

To those of you who do not know, Weight Watchers is now called “WW.” If you are a regular reader of my blog, you must know, I am a Weight Watcher, or “WW.” I’m proud to say that!

Today was my weekly weigh-in. Like everyone, I dreaded it. I knew it was time to face the music…to be accountable…responsible, …and so on!

My goal for this meeting was to lose one more pound. Yes. One. More. Pound. If I accomplished that, I would be able to say “I’ve lost forty pounds.” Ten pounds of sugar, since sugar comes in four-pound bags now, not five! Or, I could say, I’ve lost forty sticks of butter. Eight five-pound bags of potatoes!

Perhaps you get the picture now. Last night was another lack of sleep night for me. Awakening at 10 pm… Midnight 2 am. 4 am. 6 am. Ah to heck with it. I’m getting up I can’t sleep – AGAIN! I’ve watched so many Hallmark Christmas movies; lately I think I’m running out of the good ones!

So, this morning I’ve decided I needed to get to the meeting. No, I did not anticipate a loss. Not. After. Thanksgiving!

On that holiday, I cooked dinner for my husband, Phil. The pups got to eat a bit of turkey. As for me. Yes. I. Ate. TOO MUCH. That is – I ate too much chocolate!

I’m convinced – chocolate IS an aphrodisiac! This Thanksgiving, I served my infamous Better Than Sex Cake. A thin layer of crust. A layer of cream cheese mixed with Cool Whip Light. A beautiful, plump layer of sugar-free chocolate pudding, topped with a thick layer of Cool Whip Light. I will share my recipe below!

On Friday, my husband returned to work. I stayed home with the dogs. Since we are moving soon, I chose not to fight the Black Friday sales. I brewed a fresh pot of coffee, opened the fridge to get my Coffeemate French Vanilla creamer, only to cast my eyes at a dish covered with aluminum foil.

Better Than Sex Cake. Oops. Look Away! Close the fridge. Ah. Go. Ahead. Just one piece won’t kill you or make you gain weight.

I grabbed a bowl and a spoon. Quickly, I scooped up a BIG piece of this delicate. Delicious. Aphrodisiac. To say it was delicious is an understatement, especially for me. I LOVE chocolate!

Throughout the day, that dessert called for me. Each time, I listened and weakened. Before the evening was over, I ate almost all of it while wondering why am I doing this? I’m sabotaging Weight Watchers and my goal to lose one more pound.

Just before bedtime, I finished off the dessert. The next morning, angry with myself for not tracking and eating only what I should, I chewed myself out.

I started tracking again while imagining that dessert one more time. Sure wish I had one more piece of Better than Sex Cake. No…Nothing is better than ___!

This morning, I got on my scales at home, anticipating a significant weight gain.

Dressing to go to Weight Watchers, I decided to weigh all of my clothing. The black tights. My short gray skirt. My black turtleneck and my Christmas vest of high heels, and my black knee boots! I wanted to feel good about myself, even IF I gained a pound or two.

Yes, I LOVE HIGH HEELS. Anyone who knows me recognizes my walk. How I swag. One foot in front of the other. My heels were clicking against the pavement, as if to say, “Barbie’s here!”

Arriving at WW, there was a long line. Slowly we moved, and when I counted only three ladies ahead of me, I started to remove a bit of clothing and boots.

Unzipping the boots, I kicked them off, placing them near my handbag. I removed the Christmas vest, still anticipating a weight gain – all to the credit of my weakness for delectable aphrodisiacs of chocolate dancing in my brain. Still furious with myself while recognizing I had no one else to blame, I was convinced I had gained.

Moving slowly on the scales, I stretched over to see if I could read a loss. Since WW has “confidential weigh-ins,” I could not. Mindi calculated my weight.

Did I lose anything?

“You’ve lost 40.6 pounds now!”

I squealed. All the ladies at our Thursday morning meetings know I’m not shy. They heard me say: “I did it? I LOST 40 POUNDS?!”

So, for me, today was a celebration! When I joined Weight Watchers, I told only myself I wanted to lose 40 pounds. Now accomplishing that goal, I’ve decided to make another goal – lose another five pounds. And another. And another! This I can do for me. Only for me! After all, I am woman. I can eat something delectable and still convince myself I can lose. After all, This I Do For Me!

Here’s the recipe!

Bon Apetit!

BETTER THAN SEX CAKE (SO SIMILAR TO MISSISSIPPI MUD PIE, BUT SUGAR FREE!)

2 cups flour

2 sticks of margarine (room temp)

½ cup chopped pecans

8 ounces of whipped cream cheese (fat free) (room temp)

whipped topping (Cool Whip Lite)

2 large boxes of Sugar Free Instant Chocolate Pudding (Jello Sugar Free works well)

4 cups milk

Hershey Bar (rarely do I use this)

Chopped pecans for garnish

Make a crust from flour, butter and the chopped pecans. Mix well and press into a 9 x 12 inch pan or a baking dish. Bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes, or until lightly browned. Allow this to cool.

Mix cream cheese, 1 cup of the whipped topping.

When crust is cool to touch, spread the creamed cheese mixture lightly on the crust.

Prepare sugar free, instant pudding with 4 cups of milk, as directed on carton of box. Layer this on the dessert. Top with more whipped topping and decorate with chocolate curls from the candy bar (if used). I prefer to garnish with chopped pecans. Refrigerate at least two hours before serving.

Submitted by: Barbie Perkins-Cooper

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Hurricane Dorian – Day Two


Dearest Readers:

Today is Day Two of Hurricane Dorian anticipation. Are we ready? Of course!

We’ve been on this roller coaster before, and I confess, I do not care for roller coasters! During Hurricane Hugo, I stayed with 60 students at the college where I was employed. Yes. 60 students! Most of them I knew. Believe me, during the hurricane, I got to know many of them! What I discovered is the stronger the students acted, the weaker they were, and the most horrified.

Today, I have the Weather Channel on, listening to when the prediction of Hurricane Dorian is predicted to arrive. Although I haven’t confirmed the news, I’ve been told that Charleston is basically a ghost town. No traffic to fight! Also, reportedly, a few of the Cracker Barrels are closed. It will be interesting to see if and when Waffle House closes. I’m certain you’ve probably seen the signs posted on highways previously saying “Waffle House is open,” on Christmas Day.

Perhaps later today, I’ll hop in the car and drive around, just to see how Mount Pleasant is preparing for Dorian – a feisty female hurricane with a strong breath of wind.

We have water. Food. Fruit. Doggie treats. We’ve been on this roller coaster before. We will survive. Reportedly, Dorian will be a category two when she dances into Charleston. We have been home since Saturday. Today is Tuesday. I think I’m ready to get out of this house and tour Mount Pleasant without traffic.

Perhaps I do need a break. There’s much too MUCH stress in my life now. Perhaps I’ll share a bit of that news when the stress breaks and all decisions are finalized. As for now, I need another cup of coffee, in preparation of Dorian.

Have I said I detested “hurricane season?” Looks like additional storms are brewing in the Atlantic too. Hurricane Juliette is brewing somewhere.

Someone yesterday stated they always name hurricanes after women. I set him straight on Facebook rather quickly, letting him know that during the Feminist movement, which I was a part of, it was decided that hurricanes should rotate the names between men and women. Isn’t it about time? Men are just as unpredictable as women. Hugo is a male name and he pounded into the Charleston Harbor as a Category Four!

As for Dorian, I think she needs to simply fade away! More later, readers!

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Weight Watchers…Or Is It “WW?”


Dearest Readers:

I suppose most of you are aware Weight Watchers is now called ‘W-W!” A new branding for a wonderful organization. Still, I refer to it as Weight Watchers, and “WW” since my friends and I have referred the lifestyle organization as WW since we joined.

I confess, I believe I joined in 2011. I still remember my first meeting. If I could’ve found a brown grocery bag, I am convinced I would’ve entered the meeting with it over my head. Why? Simple. I have a web presence as a writer, and I still wasn’t convinced the weigh-in meetings were confidential. Still, I remember the meetings I attended for only a short time years ago. A beige curtain covered the scales. These scales were the antiquated scales we still see occasionally in doctor’s offices. I was convinced that every time I weighed someone, probably the next person in line, would see my weight and tell others how much I weighed.

For those of you who’ve never had a weight problem – how blessed you are. For those of us who constantly dread weighing, we simply cannot understand how great it must be to never have to be concerned about weight.

The day I joined Weight Watchers — this time — was when Jennifer Hudson was the spokesperson. She claimed she lost 80 pounds with them, and I must say, she looked gorgeous. So, I checked the Weight Watchers website, hoping to learn new information. I read about “confidential weigh-ins, Confidential weigh-ins, I whispered, Just how confidential is a beige curtain?

I knew I needed to lose weight. After I lost my father, I was so devastated, I gained weight. I detested shopping for new clothes – in a larger size. I despised looking in the mirror. Let’s don’t even discuss posing for a photograph, or wearing a swimsuit. Disgusting! I kept telling myself I would lose weight, but the scales refused to move to a lower number.

Entering the meeting, I completed the necessary forms, staying after the meeting to discuss the program.

Carefully, I ate. The challenge was eating out with my husband and friends. I did not tell anyone I joined Weight Watchers. It was my secret! I was ashamed to share!

Silly, foolish me. The next week, I stepped on the scales, convinced I’d lost at least three pounds. Surprise! I looked at the card the receptionist returned to me, and I screamed — Six-tenths of a pound. Six-tenths of a pound?

On that date, I became the founder of the Six-tenths Club! Today, I lost eight-tenths! Guess what? I’ll take it!

I grabbed my handbag and headed towards the exit. Fortunately, the leader of the meeting came after me. “You know, any loss is a loss. Please don’t get discouraged. Give us a chance, and yourself a chance!”

Almost in tears, I strolled to a chair and sat down. I stayed for this meeting too and discussed what I might’ve done wrong.

I have to consider: 1) I was a Type 2 Diabetic. 2) I kept to myself, not letting my husband or anyone know I joined WW. 3) I failed to believe in myself. 4) As an asthmatic, there are times my doctors prescribe Prednisone – a steroid…Steroids do not like me! Each time I take them, I gain weight! Did you know, after taking steroids, it takes about eight weeks to get them out of your system! It’s no wonder I jump on a roller coaster at these times, and I do not like roller coasters!

Ever. So. Slowly. My weight is dropping. Even when I have gains, I tell myself to get back on the wagon and continue this journey. Don’t. Give. Up!

Now, a few years later, I am devoted to my Thursday morning meetings, and I attend every week, unless I have a doctor’s appointment, have a migraine headache, or simply do not want to face the music, or scales!

What have I learned?

*I’ve learned to like myself.

*I’ve learned to focus on the positive, not the negative. Years ago, I thrived on the negative and it came close to destroying me. I grew up in a family filled with hatred, fights and negative thoughts. I was told not to love myself. Fortunately, I broke away from the toxic family environment and chose to make myself a better person.

*I’ve learned food is not our enemy, but our friend. After all, we all have to eat food to live!

*Another important lesson I’ve learned is – we must be accountable for our actions and behaviors. Weight Watchers, aka ‘WW’ teaches us how to become stronger individuals and we focus on how we can become better people by working towards our goals in life. Whatever those goals might become. Also, we learn to treat ourselves well. Years ago, I would practically beat my head against a brick wall while telling myself what a horrible person I was. I focused on the negative from my childhood. Now, I’m proud to say, I’ve discovered I am a nice person and a great friend. Imagine that!

Just look how far I’ve come! All to the growth, (and the loss) I am living as I adventure into a wonderful life with Weight Watchers…the friends I’ve made, and the life I am living now.

Today, while at the meeting two ladies thanked me for all of the experiences in my life that I share. I am more open-minded now, not dwelling in the clouds of darkness I lived for much of my youth and early adulthood. These two lovely ladies said I inspire them!

Now, when my friends ask me If I am STILL DOING WEIGHT WATCHERS, I correct them, saying: Actually, I am still doing WW, and I will never quit! WW is a part of me. A proud part of me!

I still need to lose about 30 pounds. At least, that is the goal I’ve chosen for myself. Will I achieve it? Of course I will! Since April, I’ve lost six pounds! And so, the story goes, along with my journey. Weight Watchers, aka “WW” — This I do for me!

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Here’s to the “Good Ole Boys!”


Sunset Party Key WestIt’s All About the “Good Ole Boys”

Dearest Readers:

Today, I am writing to you to share a few isolated, heartbreaking experiences I’ve endured while standing up for my rights and the rights of all women.

While I will not name the organization specifically I’ve fought with and lost, I will say, this organization is nothing but a group of “Good Ole Boys,” who will do nothing but stand tall for the “good of the order…” Whatever that means! The phrase “for the good of the order,” relates to parliamentary procedures, or “Robert’s Rule of Order.” Even the women who have been ‘allowed’ or should I say, “permitted to join” these organizations as a member do believe in the “good of the order.” In the beginning, these women had to make a lot of noise, including a lawsuit, just to join these organizations. Yes, for the “good of the order!”

But? What is a good ole boy? Simple. Perhaps some of you have never heard the expression, “Oh, he’s a good ole boy!” We hear it lots in the South! When I was a child, I didn’t understand the terminology, until we moved in with our grandparents and I could see, my grandfather was most definitely a “good ole boy!” Papa, as we called him, was extremely protective and supportive of his male friends and relatives. After all, “good ole boys” are birds of a feather, and they flock together. Women aren’t appreciated or respected by the “good ole boys!”

Good ole boys believe that women are ‘second-class.’ Women belong in the home. Having them babies and taking care of the house. We were supposed to cook and clean and be quiet!

Although Papa tried to train me in the belief of the “Good Ole Boys,” I chose to be my own woman! I had big dreams. After all, I’m a feminist and so proud of it! Lots of Southerners still believe in the terminology of “Good Ole Boys.” As for this household, we do not practice “Good Ole Boy” terminology.

I should share, I’ve dealt with “good ole boys” all of my life. When I was 15, a “good ole boy” a maternal Uncle, wanted to get a bit friendly with me. He was a Deacon in the Pentecostal Church. He thought it would be fun to go down a dirt road with me and pick blackberries. This road was deserted. No houses. No farms. No one around. How convenient for my uncle. He stopped his truck, moving his hands all over me. I screamed. I cried. No one heard me. Then, I hit him hard right between his legs. He screamed. Cussed. Is this the behavior of a “good ole boy” or a deacon in the church?”

Suddenly his strength was gone. He grabbed himself and moaned. He was hurting.

Good. If you touch me again. I’ll hurt you again!

I jumped out of his truck and ran down the red clay roads. My asthma got the best of me due to the dust flying in my face as I ran. My uncle caught up with me and pushed me into the truck.

“If you touch me again, I’ll hit you harder, exactly where I did before.”

He kept his hands on the steering wheel.

That day, I suppose you can say, a 15-year-old, innocent girl won! My uncle agreed to drive me home, and he said he would not touch me again.

Before I jumped out of his truck to run into the apartment, he said: “If you tell anybody I touched you, they won’t believe you. After all – I’m a deacon in the church!”

If you ever try to touch me again, I’ll hurt you. I wear high heels to church now and I’ll kick you with my high heels! No one’s ever gonna touch me like that again! One day you’ll be gone. I hope you burn in Hell!

Those were the last words I ever spoke to that uncle. Never did I share with my family what he did to me until the day he died. When he died, my mother phoned me, letting me know he was dead and I should come home.

“Home? I’m already at home. I’m not coming to his funeral. I hope he burns in Hell,” I said to her, “And if you are asking me to send flowers, I’ll send black roses!”

I must say, when a woman is touched or groped in a certain way, she never forgets it.

I’ve remained on guard. Never wanting to make a scene.

 

GOOD. OLE. BOYS?

I must say, these organizations organized and managed by a bunch of men, or shall I say, “good ole Southern boys,” probably know I am a writer, well-seasoned and professional. I speak my mind, and I research passionately to know what I communicate. On three occasions I’ve been asked if I would consider writing and editing their newsletters. I laughed. Shook my head and said: “I will not consider doing it as a volunteer, nor will I join “the good of the order,” to be “permitted to write your newsletter. I will only consider it for $600 — monthly, payable in advance.”

Of course, those “good ole boys” laughed. They’d never pay anyone $600 just to write a newsletter! Such are the actions of these antiquated, good ole boys organizations. A woman writing a newsletter? Scandalous isn’t it!

For eight years I’d written newsletters for “good ole boys” organizations. Those newsletters won many awards. I never received anything, with exception of knowing those publications shared important information, keeping the non-profit ‘good ole boys’ clubs well informed. After one decided to censor my newsletter, I resigned. I saw one of their newsletters recently and I laughed. Only two pages, filled with too many typos and grammatical errors. Yes, they needed me to write for them, but I refused to share my talents for free.

I should mention I am a freelance writer and editor, but the “free” in freelance does not mean I am free! While I guarantee I can improve newsletters, especially grammatically, I would not consider ever writing for free again. Not even as a volunteer.

On one occasion I had an experience where one of the men at this “Good ole boys” fraternity wanted to get just a little too close. He spoke to me while running his hand down my right side, just a little too close for comfort. How I regret not making a scene on that night. What I should’ve done is to push him away from my body, and I should’ve screamed so everyone in attendance could see and hear what he was doing. Regretfully, I did not. I conducted myself as a lady. May I never do this again. The next time some drunken man approaches me to get a little close, I plan to hit him exactly where it hurts! This action will no doubt drop him to the floor! And then, he will never attempt to touch me again.

While I’ve had these incidents happen before, my husband has always jumped up and knocked the guy to the ground. While he might be short, when he is angry and sees me threatened, he becomes The Incredible Hulk. He’s knocked many guys down. After this incident, I asked Phil to let me handle it. How I wish I hadn’t! Deciding to file a grievance – a sexual harassment complaint. The good ole boys were not exactly happy with this complaint. Oh well! What I really regret not doing is calling 911 for the police to arrest the culprit on sexual assault! Then, I could file a lawsuit! Sometimes, it just doesn’t pay to conduct myself like Julia Sugarbaker! If this scenario ever happens again – WARNING – I will hit him exactly where it hurts!

Meanwhile, when I was in attendance for different events, each time with my husband, suddenly everyone wanted to know who I was. I smiled, introduced myself to all of those gossipy women and, dare I say it again – “good ole boys,” and I exchanged pleasantries with them. Yes, I noticed people whispering into each other’s ears, and I saw fingers pointed at me. I simply smiled and waved. It was obvious I would get nowhere with my complaint. After all, the “good ole boys” seem to laugh it off and cover their butts. I had nothing to be ashamed of, and I was determined to stand my ground.

Unfortunately, no one would come forward as a witness to what happened. No one wanted to get involved. You probably know the type. My philosophy is – if You see something, you say something, but there are many women who allow their husbands to make those decisions for them. Thank God I am a woman who stands her ground, refusing to allow my husband to make my decisions! My husband supported my complaints 100%, BUT – in the “good ole boys” world, since there were no OTHER witnesses, it is just a He said…She said…and in the ‘good ole boys’ antiquated world, I was treated as second-class!

On another occasion, the same ‘good ole boy’ – drunker and nastier, not to mention obnoxiously LOUD, attempted to humiliate me and a few of my friends. Yes, I filed another complaint!

I was told he would be suspended for a year. He wasn’t. I was told I had to meet with him personally to ‘hash this out.’ I did. All he did was deny. DENY…AND DENY AGAIN! He called me a crybaby.  And he screamed at me so much, verbally abusing me. I crumbled. Yes, I cried. How I wish I hadn’t. I lived with verbal abuse as a child. Anytime someone verbally abuses me, I crumble.

I was told if we did not settle the matter on that night, then I would have to file another complaint with the same committee I filed the ORIGINAL complaint. A vicious cycle! Regretfully, I agreed to disagree.

If I heard it once, I probably heard it about a million times. You are not a member. You do not have the right to file a complaint!

Gee! I was under the impression this was the United States of America.

Not where the “Good ole boys” reside. Yes, the “Good ole boys,” won, only because they are an archaic fraternity who will not step into the 21-First Century. After all, they’re “good ole boys!”

Perhaps I’ll share more about these incidents later, in my blog, or maybe I’ll pitch a few ideas to national women’s magazines! Now, that’s an idea I should consider!

While it is true, I agreed to move forward, I did not agree to stay quiet or to shut my mouth. That is not my style! I shall continue standing up to share my story with others. After all, I am a feminist and a proud woman who will always voice her opinions.

As for the “good ole boys?” Let’s just say; they’re still stuck in the 19th Century!

 

 

 

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LEARN TO CONTROL YOUR DIABETES, BEFORE IT CONTROLS YOU


Late one evening while watching TV with my husband Phil, I reminded him to check his glucose level. His reply was the usual, ‘I’ll do it later.’ Knowing him as I do, I was frustrated. He has the tendency to procrastinate, so I chose a different approach. “Why don’t you check mine and let’s compare.”

Never did I expect my little psychological game to backfire. Pricking my finger, I waited in anticipation. When the meter flashed 468 on the screen, I laughed. “Something’s wrong with your machine. I do not have Diabetes. I do not have any symptoms. I’m fine.”

“You’re always tired,” my husband said.

“Isn’t everyone? If someone else walked in my shoes, they would be tired too.”

While it was true I was always tired, I suffered from insomnia and never felt rested. I worked ten-hour days at work and at home, working as a professional and moonlighting at night pursuing my writing career. My fingers were not numb, I didn’t suffer from increased thirst, and I certainly did not have unexplained weight loss. My mother had Diabetes so it does run in the family. Unexplained weight gain? Could that be a symptom?

The next morning I visited the doctor’s office, confirming the diagnosis of Type II Diabetes. My glucose level at Dr. Knepper’s office was 362. When he opened the door to discuss my condition, I was in tears. How could this happen to me? I ate properly, at least I thought I did. I did not exercise, and fast food was a part of my weekly meals, due to my crazy work schedule. Dr. Knepper reassured me I could recover and he encouraged me to learn all I could about Diabetes.

“I’m a writer,” I said. “I can become an advocate, if needed.”

Soft spoken and kind, Dr. Knepper nodded. “Let’s take it slow for now. We can get this under control. I want you to focus on your food intake, and what you are eating. Watch carbohydrates, increase your water intake and exercise. Check your glucose level at least three times daily and keep a record of it. I want to see you in three months. We’ll do blood work to see what your A1C level is.”

I had a lot to learn about Type II Diabetes. Leaving his office armed with a handful of prescriptions, a meter, booklets, and a fearful look on my face, I chose to learn all I could about Type II Diabetes.

That afternoon, I performed a Google search, typing in the key word of Diabetes. The wealth of information was informative, especially the web site of the American Diabetes Association, http://www.diabetes.org/home.jsp. I was able to click on information about Type II Diabetes, condition and treatment, a listing of resources, and so much more. Recognizing it was time for me to make a lifestyle change; I started building a plan of attack.

My New Years resolution for 2005 was to join a gym and lose weight. After the diagnosis of Diabetes, I was motivated and determined to change my life. I stopped visiting fast food joints for lunch, choosing to eat fresh vegetables and healthy snacks, instead of chocolate, or desserts. After work, I drove to the gym, worked out, and learned more about proper nutrition. I attended a nutrition class with a Diabetes nutritionist, asked lots of questions, and changed my diet, discovering the art of portion control.

Much to my surprise, I learned that sugar was not necessarily the enemy for people with Diabetes. Portion control, monitoring glucose levels, and limiting carbohydrates were the keys to success for Diabetes management.

Checking my glucose levels three times daily encouraged my husband to monitor his levels. He was diagnosed with Diabetes in 1992 and he rarely monitored or practiced portion control. My determination to get my Diabetes under control encouraged him; however, when his levels were higher than mine were, he was defiant.

“I don’t understand. You had the same thing for dinner that I did, and your levels are lower. It’s not fair,” he said, shaking his hands.

“Portion control,” I teased. “You had seconds. I never clean my plate. You go back for seconds, and you always snack late at night.”

“Whatever,” he grumbled.

Our competitive game of Diabetes management was underway and this time, I was the winner!

Three months later, my doctor was amazed how quickly my A1C level had dropped from 8.5 to 5.4. His goal was ‘6.5, but that could take a year,’ he said to me in February 2005. ‘Now, you’re my new poster child for Diabetes.’

Pleased with how quickly my eating and Diabetes management habits changed, I was still a bit annoyed that I was not losing weight. Inches were falling off of me. In three months I dropped two inches from my chest, four inches from my waistline, and two inches from my hips. My weight failed to drop at all.

“It’s hard for a Diabetic to lose weight, especially if you have insulin resistance,” Dr. Knepper said. “Don’t get discouraged. Your A1C level is great. I’m amazed how quickly you got it under control.”

“Insulin resistance,” I moaned. “Is that why my glucose level is so much higher in the morning?”

“Probably. Keep doing what you are doing, and don’t get discouraged. I’ll see you in three months.”

In June 2005 my position at the university ended when the campus relocated. With the closing of that door, I chose to open a window to my writing career. Now I had a bit of freedom to do what I wanted to do. I walked my dogs every day, worked out three to five times a week, and my weight decreased. By August 2006, I had lost a total of 26 pounds, and many inches. A1C levels were averaging 5.9, cholesterol levels were decreased to a healthier level, and I had more energy and self-confidence. Dr. Knepper was amazed and so proud of me. He had no idea how proud I was. Meanwhile, Phil’s A1C levels continued on a dangerous roller coaster ride. His doctors prescribed additional prescriptions and insulin injections. His reluctance to change his eating habits with portion control inspired me to continue monitoring my eating habits and glucose levels. Horrified of needles, I was determined not to join him. Each time he reached for his injection, I left the room.

Controlling Diabetes is now a lifetime commitment for me. My daily routine is a personal allegiance to educate myself and the public about the proper steps to Control Diabetes. My doctor is pleased with how quickly I was able to get my Diabetes under control. As for myself, I am proud of my new willpower. Before Diabetes, I procrastinated about life, my health, and my writing career. I made excuses for everything. Now, as a Diabetic, I want to do all I can to educate others, while educating myself. Diabetes is not a death sentence, but a way of life. A condition that can be monitored and managed through exercise, proper eating habits, portion control, and modern medicine. I plan to live my life as a healthy diabetic. So can you.

Daily Rituals to Monitor Type 2 Diabetes

  1. Seek professional care. Follow your doctor’s advice and learn all that you can about Type 2 Diabetes.
  2. Monitor glucose levels. I check my levels every morning, afternoon and evening.
  3. Exercise. Take daily walks. You will learn to appreciate the little things in life again – like hearing a chirping bird, saying hello to neighbors, and enjoying the freshness of morning air.
  4. Change your eating habits. Instead of going back for seconds, do not. Learn to eat slower, while enjoying the taste of food.
  5. Get regular physicalGulf Shores, AL 2008 082s. I confess, I did not, until Type 2 Diabetes knocked on my door. Now, I follow the advice of my doctor, and myself.
  6. Do not get discouraged if you have difficulty losing weight. Keep active and have a daily exercise routine.
  7. Visit the web site http://www.diabetes.org/home.jsp and learn all that you can about Diabetes. Knowledge is power.
  8. Diabetes is a lifestyle change, not a restriction of distasteful meals and social restraint.
  9. Think of portion control. Working as a professional photojournalist, there are times when my willpower is put to the test, especially during luncheons or special dinners. When dessert is placed before me, I eat one or two bites and leave the rest. Portion control is the key, not a constraint.
  10. Monitor. Your food intake. Your glucose levels, and your weight. Even a small reduction in weight is better than an increase.

Hurricane Isaias


Dearest Readers:

This will be a short post, due to getting the house ready, in the event the hurricane strengthens. So many people freak out when a hurricane targets their area. As for me, I survived Hurricane Hugo. Hurricanes are lots of rain, wind and destruction. I’m certain I can survive this one. My fear is worrying about the wildlife that come to eat dinner in our pasture. Will they be AOK?

At the moment, we have 12 geese in the front yard. TWELVE! The most we’ve had before was nine. Then seven. A few days ago, only six. Today, I suppose they shared hey, follow us. We know where there is food and we are always welcomed.

Silly geese. Yes, their feathers are always left behind, and they can make a mess. I feel God provided us this new home in the country with five acres of land, including a large pond, for a reason. Maybe it’s to help the wildlife. All of the geese. WE had baby raccoons, although I haven’t seen them in over three weeks. Every afternoon, we see the deer. Fawns. So far, we’ve counted four fawns! We must not forget the fish in our pond. Catfish. BIG catfish! Brem. Baby fish. Bass. And of course, those precious turtles. We have several baby turtles too. They are so funny. They will not come near me until they hear me singing. All of the wildlife on our property LOVE to hear me sing! Isn’t that funny!

Did I mention I found a baby frog in the trash can inside earlier. When I tried to catch him, he jumped away. Now, he’s inside. Just where inside is the question? A baby frog inside my home? What’s next? Deer or fawns ringing the doorbell?

That philosophy definitely proves to me that animals, including wildlife, love doorbells and music. Years ago, when my precious Sir Shakespeare Hemingway (my beautiful schnauzer) was alive, he loved to hear me sing! Every time I rehearsed a song, he would sit nearby and look up to me — to watch and hear me singing. When I stopped singing, he tapped my leg with his paw, as if to say don’t stop. I love to hear you sing! How I loved when he watched me. I certainly miss him.

Now, with Corona virus, Covid-19, I no longer sing. There are bars that provide live music and karaoke, however, I am not willing to use anyone else’s microphone. Now, I sing at home, or in the car. Still, I’ve quarantined myself.

I suppose I should end this post for today to see what is the latest with Hurricane Isaias.

Here’s the latest. https://weather.com/storms/hurricane/news/2020-08-03-hurricane-warning-tropical-storm-isaias-forecast-east-coast

We are definitely staying. Perhaps I’ll cook crab legs for dinner. Yummm. Can’t wait for them! And so, the waiting begins! Reportedly, Hurricane Isaias will arrive in the night. Oh well. I have several books to read!

Weight Watchers — My Latest Dilemma


Dearest Readers (and WW too):

While I know and understand about social distancing, quarantine and the lack of being able to attend my weekly workshops at Weight Watchers, aka – “WW,” I am getting more than perplexed about losing weight.

Why?

Simple! I miss the ability to see others and share our stories. Unless you’ve ever had the issue of weight gain, you probably cannot understand how much Weight Watchers has helped me — that is — until now!

I suppose I am getting accustomed to doing WW online, not at meetings; nevertheless, I’m beginning to feel as if I am wasting the monthly fee to attend meetings. Plus, online is cheaper!

Yes, I know – those of you reading this who are WW members will say – “you can do a studio meeting online now, thanks to Zoom. I’ve done that. Twice! Although a bit inspired, I’ve continued to gain weight. Starting this week, I’ve decided to weigh every day. While it’s true Weight Watchers only wants us to weigh-in once a week, during this Coronavirus mess this week – I’ve lost 1.8 pounds, instead of gaining!

Perhaps I will call WW later today to discuss switching my membership to online only. I’ve had to tighten my budget significantly since this pandemic. I must say, I’ve never been as sick from hearing the infamous subject at hand (Coronavirus — Covid-19 — as I am now.

Gone are the days of socializing with friends, including our date night. Lately, I’ve cooked dinner on Fridays. Yes, my friends, those of you who know me truly know why since 1977 I refused to cook on Friday. What would you do if your husband came home from work and you’d rushed to have dinner ready. Only to hear him ask, “What’s for dinner?”

When I replied beef pot roast, he responded, and I quote: “Oh, Hell no. I ain’t eating that ##$# tonight!”

I grabbed the pot, opened the trash and poured dinner into the trash can. How dare him. Who does he think he is?

He opened the trash can. “What did you do?”

“You’re right! We’re not eating dinner here tonight. Maybe never!” If I recall correctly, we ate at Burger King that night!

And thus I became a feminist after that evening! I chose to stand up to him, and the next Friday when he came home, I shared that I would NEVER cook on Fridays again!

Regarding Weight Watchers, how I wish they would open our workshop meetings again. But — I’m only one! I’ve lost 40 pounds, gaining seven pounds since WW closed workshop meetings.

After fracturing my back, I wasn’t able to workout; however, thanks to Physical Therapy, and core exercises, I’m happy to say I am active again. I was walking daily. We’re having such high heat indexes in the low country, I am hesitant to walk until the early evening hours so now I am riding my standard exercise bike twice daily, inside where it is cool!

I have no confidence that I can lose weight alone, but I’m very tempted to either stop paying WW monthly fees. Quitting, or maybe just using etools. After all, that’s what I’m using now, and if I continue my practice of weighing daily — then, maybe — just maybe the strong, feminist I’ve become can continue this pursuit.

Maybe I’ll go phone WW to discuss. More details later! Wish me Luck!!!

In Memory of Walter W. Perkins, My Father — Mr. Sandpiper 1998


Dearest Readers:

Exactly 21 years ago today, Tuesday, July 6, 1999, I lost my father. Rushing to Sandpiper Convalescent Center in the late afternoon, I was pleased to show him his checkbook. He will be so proud of me to know he did not have to ask for his checkbook. Today, I have it balanced and ready for him.

Parking at the side entrance, I grabbed my bag and rushed inside. It was dinner time at the center so I knew Dad and Dudley would be in their room eating dinner. Dudley was weak. He could not move his arms properly due to Multiple Sclerosis, so a nurse would be feeding him. As for Dad, he would be sitting on the side of his bed, eating. The umbilical cord feeding tube still attached to his body, although not in use. Dad insisted on eating food, not something dripping into his stomach for nutrition. His doctors had told him if he eats food, he will aspirate it and choke to death. “I’ll take that chance,” he said. “After all, most of my independence is gone. I want to eat, and I WILL EAT!”

Walking carefully along the path to my dad’s room, I knew it was only a matter of time before Dad would breathe his last breath. Medical professionals told me to ‘be prepared.’ To which I responded: Just how can I be prepared? I’ve done everything I’m supposed to do. I don’t want to lose him, but I know soon this nasty, horrifying esophageal cancer will take him away.

Dad was 84 years old. Once a tall, dignified man who sang gospel songs and quoted scriptures from the Holy Bible, no one would suspect during his marriage to my mother, he was an angry man. He and my mother spat words of hatred daily from their lips. Never did I ever hear them share any love for one another, or for me. In the public eye, no one saw the hatred they shared. The volatile fist fights. Shaking. Screaming. I cringe each time I think about the Domestic Abuse I saw so much within my family. At times, I wanted to run away, but where would I go? I stood as the referee — stretching my arms wide to stop their fights. Fortunately, after their divorce, Dad change his demeanor. He hugged me, and once I heard him say: “I love you.” I looked around. Shocked to hear him say those words of affection directly at me.

Never did I see his anger after their divorce. Now, my Dad was a calm, loving man. So welcoming and kind! As for my mother. She changed — for the worse!

Strolling along the corridor of the nursing home, I saw residents in wheel chairs, walkers and canes. One wrinkled gently woman with gray hair held a doll baby wrapped in a pink blanket in her lap. I had been warned if her baby slipped from her lap do not assist her. Let a nurse or a CNA (certified nursing assistant) help her. The woman suffered from Alzheimer’s Disease. She remembered a baby girl she had lost years ago. Now, she was caring for her.

Such a heart breaking scenario just to walk inside a nursing home. The lonely, isolated residents are trapped inside what once was a productive and perhaps happy lifetime. Working hard to build a good life for their families, suddenly left to either be alone, or unable to care for themselves. Now, alone — many never receive family or familiar visitors. I made certain my father was not one of them. I visited daily, even when Dad would shout at me to “leave. I don’t want you here.” The only dates I missed was whenever my acute bronchial asthma left me weak and ill.

Regardless how cruel he could be as he shouted for me to leave him, I stood firm. Dudley struggled to tell me he was ‘mean’ to me. I laughed. “Dudley, it’s ok. I can take it. He’s my father.”

I loved him. I wanted to visit with him, to embrace him and his love for one of his four daughters. I was only one. My sister, Dolores, and her family, came to visit regularly from Georgia. The other two sisters were “Too busy. They had lives to live.” How I wish they could see what I saw after we moved him to Charleston. Gone was the hatred. Violence. Shouting, and anger. Replaced by a man who smiled, laughed and told me He loved me. How I cherished hearing those words.

He welcomed my oldest sister, Dolores, giving her a hug. This was our father. A new man who was struggling to live as esophageal cancer threatened his body.

Today Dad will be so proud of me. He won’t ask for his checkbook. I’ll give it to him quickly so he can see, his money is safe. I’ve paid the nursing home. I’m not like my mother. I’ll not spend his money.

Headed towards his door, I met one of the nurses. She was pushing an oxygen tank in the direction of Dad’s room. “Uh-oh.” I said. “That isn’t good for someone.”

She didn’t answer me. Placing my hand on Dad’s closed door, I noticed her hand met mine. She shook her head no.

Oh no. Not today. Please God. Not today. I screamed. Someone placed an arm around my waist forcing me to turn away, leading me to a chair.

Where’s my phone? Oh. I left it in the car. I need to call Phil. He’s on his way home from New York.

I placed my face in my hands, to cover the heartbreak of my tears. I knew without a shadow of doubt, my father was dying. I could do nothing to stop it. I prayed. Please God. Give me strength to let him go with dignity. I cannot and will not disobey his wishes. Years ago while we dined at a restaurant, Dad looked at an elderly man walking with a walker, struggling to remain upright.

Dad told me when the time comes, please let me go with dignity. Do not allow them to resuscitate me. Promise me, you’ll let me go with my dignity.

I looked at the man. His son helped him to move. A tear danced in my eyes. “Dad, I promise.” I touched his hand, squeezing it with loving gestures.

Moments seemed like hours as I listened to the nurses begging my father to come back. “Mr. Perkins. Mr. Perkins. Breathe. Your daughter is here. Breathe…”

Someone touched my shoulder. “Barbie, if you say the words, we can bring him back.”

“No.” I said. “I promised him. He’s a DNR. I cannot let you resuscitate him. Just let him go. He’s at peace. Let him go!”

“Your husband just landed. He’s on his way here.”

When Phil arrived, I fell into his arms. A nurse wanted to know if I wanted to say goodbye to my father.

“Yes,” I muttered.

I remember walking into the room. Dudley mumbled, “I’m so sorry.” Dudley and I had developed a way to communicate. I walked over to him. Dad’s curtain was pulled so his body would not be seen.

I patted Dudley’s bare head. “Thank you,” I said, tears pouring from my face. “You were such a great roommate and friend. Truly the odd couple. Thank you.” I kissed him on the forehead. He laughed.

Dad’s body felt like dry ice. Clammy. Cold, almost frozen to the touch. I kissed his bald head and his cheek. I love you, Dad. I will never forget you. Go in peace to see your family and your identical twin brother Lewis. I love you. I love you and I will miss you, but you will always be in my heart. Always.

Exactly 21 years ago to the date, July 6, 1999, I recall everything on that date as if it was yesterday. Words cannot describe how much I miss him. His laughter. His Shakespearean, boisterous voice. His singing, and trying to teach me to harmonize and yodel. The compliments he gave me during the holidays. He enjoyed our “fancy dinners” and fun. I focus on the good times. The times he and I traveled to Georgia to see family. The moments he shared with me about how much he missed his identical twin brother, Lewis. Until Lewis’ death, both of them were inseparable.

Such good memories. Yes, I could focus on the domestic abuse I listened to in fear, serving as the referee, telling both of my parents If you want to hit someone, or hurt someone, just do it to me. Not each other.

Years ago, Dad and I talked about those times. He hoped I would forgive him. And forgive him, I did. After all, I loved my father. He was the one who gave me strength. He taught me courage, and he always said for me to stand tall and voice my concerns about the world. “Don’t look back on life,” he said. “Move forward!”

One thing I will always remember is the day he was on TV, being interviewed after he was elected Mr. Sandpiper. The TV announcer asked him if he was a writer. Yes, he was. He was a poet and biographer. He laughed. “No. I’m not the writer in our family. My daughter, Barbara…now she’s the writer!”

Walter W. Perkins, my father, although today is the 21st year of you leaving this earth, I want you to know, you are still in my heart, even with the tears pouring down my face. I love you and miss you terribly.

In memory of my father, Walter W. Perkins, December 19, 1914 – July 6, 1999.

Early Happy Independence Day


Dearest Readers:

Happy Independence Day.

Tomorrow, Saturday July 4, 2020, is Independence Day for the USA. For those who are not aware, Independence Day – The Fourth of July—”has been a federal holiday in the United States since 1941. The tradition of Independence Day celebrations goes back to the 18th century and the American Revolution. On July 2nd, 1776, the Continental Congress voted in favor of independence…”

For many people July 4th is the day for them to raise Hell. Get drunk, and make total fools of themselves, especially during firework displays. My dogs do not like the sounds of popping, noisy, frightening fireworks. My husband, a Vietnam Veteran, doesn’t like them either since they remind him of war. As for myself, I cuddle close to my dogs, sharing love and soft voices to soothe them, and my husband. Normally, in the evening when fireworks begin, lasting until the early morning hours, I recognize I’ll not sleep much. I suppose the sounds of fireworks reminds me of lightning. Those of you who read my blog regularly know how I practically jump out of my skin whenever I see lightning!

This year, Independence Day will be a bit different for all of us in the United States as the Coronavirus, Covid-19, continues to peak. In South Carolina, according to a press release via The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control [DHEC] we have 1,629 new confirmed cases and 3 probable cases, and 19 additional deaths. In South Carolina, the total number of cases is 39,587. Ouch. Not exactly something happy to hear if you are visiting South Carolina, especially Charleston!

While I detest having to wear a mask, I make certain I have masks in my car and my handbag. Every time I step in to public areas I put that cumbersome mask on and keep it on, unless I’m eating dinner in a restaurant.

To say I’m horrified of this deadly disease is an understatement. Lots of people appear to be convinced they will not get it. “After all, I’m young. Young people are immune.”

I hope those who believe that statement have done their homework, although they appear to be — shall I say “Clueless!”

It will be interesting to see how many people celebrate July 4th without social distancing, or wearing a mask. As for my hubby and I? We will celebrate at home. Grilling burgers. I plan to make my infamous baked beans and perhaps today when I shop, I will get a July 4th dessert. I have wine chilling in the fridge so I can celebrate at home.

For me, this July 4th will be a calm celebration due to the fact that my back is getting stronger every day. I broke my back on December 23, while we were moving! The pain I’ve tolerated for almost seven months has been excruciating, to say the least. When we were quarantined, due to Coronavirus, I didn’t have a problem staying at home. I’ve been in isolation, it appears, since breaking my back. Wearing a cumbersome back brace was not exactly a fashion statement! Sometimes the pain felt as if it was taking my breath away! Now that it is better, I’ll exercise, riding my stationary exercise back and work on core exercises. So exciting, isn’t it! Yes, I will enjoy a quiet July 4th – with my pups, hubby and our new home. Yes. This will be a fourth of July to celebrate — quietly! I’ll sit on the front porch to admire our pond. The fish. Turtles. Deer. Perhaps I’ll find some decent Hallmark or Lifetime movies to watch in the late afternoon. How about you? Stay safe America. Wear your masks. Social distance, and try not to get so intoxicated you lose track of taking care of You! Happy Fourth of July! Independence Day!

I’m Angry Now


UPDATE — CORRECTION – Perhaps I allowed my emotions to kick in when this was originally published. The correct date of the Charleston Sofa Superstore fire was June 18, 2007 – not June 18, 2013. My apologies. The damages and vandalism was Thursday, June 25, 2020.

Dearest Readers:

About an hour ago, I arrived home ready to tidy up the house a bit, and to unpack more of the boxes that seem to grow, instead of decrease after our move.

Now, I’m angry! Anger is something I do my best to control, but I suppose today I’ve reached my limit! Yesterday while listening to the news, I heard a black guy say something to this effect – “If we don’t get our demands, then we’re going to attack and burn cities down!”

This guy should be arrested for threatening all of us. His words have echoed in my brain since yesterday. Yes. I believe “Black Lives Matter;” nevertheless, I say – ALL LIVES MATTER! Who is this guy to go on national TV and threaten America???

Today, I check Facebook while I have a bit of lunch, only to discover the Charleston Nine Memorial was damaged early today. To those of you not informed about the Charleston Nine, you might remember the story where the Sofa Super Store in Charleston burned to the ground on June 18, 2007, killing nine firefighters. Our city mourned.

We’ve had protests that should be called riots after the death of George Floyd, a black man in Minnesota. Monuments damaged,  painted, profanity written on them, and to add insult to injury, our Mayor announced the John C. Calhoun monument would be coming down. Well, it’s down now!

I suppose these rioters would say I’m a racist now. I say not. I believe in speaking your mind, standing up, not turning away when things go wrong. No. I will not protest by walking along with these angry rioters, throwing things at people, cursing, and damaging our city or other cities. However, these riots are getting out of hand!

While I understand the blacks are angry. Who can blame them? Well. I’m just a bit perplexed. I keep asking Why? Why? Why? My heritage says I’m white, so I suppose I should just keep my mouth shut because these scenarios do not affect me. I laugh. Oh, yes, indeed. These riots are changing America for the worst. We appear to be a weakened society now where domestic terrorists are doing all they can to destroy America.

What can be done?

I feel helpless. If I go somewhere and say something, then I’m part of the problem.

I’m beginning to think we are in a civil war now. Suddenly I’m thankful I moved from the suburbs to the country. I keep asking to myself – just WHAT are these rioters teaching the children with them? Will the future of America be filled with people who believe the only way to change things is to destroy things?

Yes. I’m. Angry. So angry my hands are shaking. Think I’ll sit on the porch and listen to nature, just so I can calm down.

Equality – Not Racism!


Dearest Readers:

I imagine a few of my friends will be totally unhappy with what I might say here, but here goes — I have many opinions I will not share here on social medias regarding the racism issues. I’ve read about the riots in downtown Charleston and many of those rioters were arrested for destroying property, burning police cars, etc. Good! If you destroy property, burn it just because you are angry about the racial issues in America, well you are not alone. I was so pleased when the Confederate flag was removed. I’ve always believed the Confederacy stands for racism. But — there have been Too many situations to share and discuss over and over again. One thing I will say to my friends who have said to me, “well if you ain’t happy with Confederacy, then why don’t you move?”

I laugh! Let me just say, this is the United States of America. Lately, we are the divided States of America. I believe we need equality, hopefully to end the racism angers.

To those of you who are not aware, the South, especially Georgia and South Carolina, are managed by a system called the “Good ole Boys!”

Those Good ole Boys do not like it whenever someone disagrees. They want us to agree with them. Recently I saw the Good ole boys system in the works when I filed a complaint of sexual harassment and threats to my life at one of those ‘private good ole boys’ organizations. After doing all I could to get the situation resolved, I was told to have a ‘mediation’. Agreeing to this was my mistake.

At the mediation, I was belittled, degraded, and made to feel weak, especially after the person who touched me where he shouldn’t, was allowed to verbally abuse me during the ‘mediation.’ Never did anyone with any authority reprimand him! I was told to let this end tonight. After all, “ending this is good for the order….”

To those of you who’ve never been treated this way, you are fortunate! Seeing how the ‘good ole boys’ are allowed to do things for the ‘good of the order,’ is such an antiquated way to operate. I lost respect for this ‘good ole boys club’ that night!

I’ve held my head high. No, I didn’t fight it anymore. I was exhausted. I had the bulk of gossip because the issues were shared. I was told it would be confidential. It wasn’t! Many times, I had women approach me, asking my name. Then, quickly they walked away! No doubt, they were only a portion of the gossip clique. I refused to allow them to intimidate me. Trust me, if this situation ever happens to me again, I will call law enforcement. I will not go quietly into the night!

This is only one example of the ‘good ole boys’ club operation! They cover each other and don’t care when someone files a complaint that could embarrass them.

And now, here in Charleston, we have protests. Demands to ‘take it down,’ including the John Calhoun statue. I’m certain others will be removed too. Where will they go? Personally, I don’t care. I think it’s time for us to move forward — not look back.

Many historical issues are embarrassing. Yes, I’m from the South, but I’ve never been proud of the Civil War. Slavery. How women were treated. We were told we couldn’t vote. What women should do is – and I’ve heard this TOO MANY TIMES – “Women should stay at home. That’s where decent women belong. They shouldn’t complain. After all, men will take care of us, IF we OBEY them. We must keep the house. Have the babies, and keep our mouths shut!”

Once, I heard my husband actually say of those statements to me. Believe me, the Julia Sugarbaker and the Women’s Suffrage Movement kicked in to change his tune. I thank God I wasn’t born during the 1900’s time. I’m certain some ‘good ole boy’ would have done something to ‘shut me up!’

Incidentally, if you do not know about the women’s suffrage movement I would like to share a bit about the women’s suffrage movement, ‘a decades-long fight to win the right to vote for women in the United States. It took activists and reformers nearly 100 years to win that right!’

Yes, 100 years! The 19th Amendment to the United States Constitution granted women in America the right to vote, a right known as women’s suffrage, and was ratified on August 18, 1920, ending almost a century of protest.’

Nevertheless, women still have to stand up and ask why when we see the lack of equality we still have. I’ve had friends ask me why I’m “still a feminist.”

Trust me. I will never stand down or shut my mouth! My father encouraged me to stand up and voice my concerns. Yes. I. Am. A. Woman! And damned proud of it!

And now, I shall get off of my soapbox and get busy with a few things I must do — for me!

The Time is Now — Equality For All!


Dearest Readers:

Lately, every time I open a newspaper to read the local and world news, EVERY PAGE has something pertaining to the recent movements in the USA. For example — events for blacks. Events and discussions regarding abolishing law enforcement. Events. Subjects….While I understand the black community is finally having a voice regarding their recent movements, actions from law enforcement, protests and riots, I am curious. Maybe a bit angry too, but it isn’t an anger where I will go to the property or event and shoot into the audience. I’m not angry at the black communities. My anger is the type of emotion where I ask why. Why? WHY?

Why has it taken so long for the black communities to be heard? Why has the USA (especially the South) always chosen to sweep these issues under the rug? Why is it always an issue of: “he was black. She was black.” And so on???

Why? Isn’t it past the time to roll up the rug where these subjects of racism have been swept. I say it is too little too late.

Understand, I am not a racist. I am the one who stood tall when, as a teenager, I could not dance with ‘black soldiers.’ I didn’t understand. I was ridiculed and told if I returned to the USO, I must tell the ‘black soldiers’ no!

WHAT??? I questioned the President of the USO organization. After dancing with an amazingly courteous ‘black soldier’ the President tapped me on the shoulder. He requested that I meet him in his office. So, being the courteous young lady I was (and still am — up to a point) I knocked on his door. He sat behind his desk. I sat in a chair.

Clearing his throat he said: “It’s come to my attention that you were dancing with a ‘black soldier.’ ” He coughed.

I sat up taller. Perplexed.

“I danced with a soldier. He asked me to dance. I’ve been told black girls are not permitted to join the USO. I’ve never seen a black girl here. He wanted to dance. What’s the problem here?”

He cleared his throat. “He’s black. White girls in the South never dance with a black.”

I exhaled a deep breath. “Well. I did. I don’t see a problem. This gentleman who is a soldier is black. He wanted to dance. He conducted himself as a gentleman soldier. Let me get this straight? It is OK for him to fight for our country. And it’s OK for him to pay the five dollar fee to attend the dance; however, if he wants to dance, just who should he ask?”

“We do not allow white girls to dance with a black soldier. This is the deep South. We don’t allow this. Not while I’m the President here. You’ve disgraced us.”

I sat quietly for a moment. “Disgraced you? I disgraced No One! All I did was dance! And the dance wasn’t a dirty dance, nor did he get fresh with me.”

I did not like the descriptions of ‘black soldier’ or ‘white girl,’ but I was alone in his office defending my actions which shouldn’t need defending. By now, I was shaking.

“I never want to watch you dancing with a ‘black soldier’ again. Do you understand?”

I exhaled a long breath. “Then don’t watch me,” I said. “I will not say no to dancing with anyone.”

I excused myself. My hands were shaking like a leaf. Still, I didn’t understand what I did wrong. Little did I know what was happening outside of his office.

When I left, I went to get my handbag. I was leaving. Three soldiers (all white) followed me. They saw everything, they said. The dancing with the soldier. How he held me gently and respectfully. And they watched me being called into the President’s office after the music ended.

Without a doubt, they knew what happened. Larry, a soldier from Louisiana, spoke up: “What was the problem?” He asked. “Are you in trouble?”

I burst into tears, rushing out of the dance I said, “I’m all right.”

Larry knew me better! He and the other soldiers standing next to him followed me outside. “Did he reprimand you for dancing with Scott?”

Wiping tears from my eyes, I said Yes. “How did you know?”

“Don’t you worry. You’ve got lots of friends here who respect you. We know you will not go out with us. We’ll take care of this.”

The next afternoon, Larry phoned me, letting me know I would be getting a phone call from the President of the USO. Four soldiers met with him after I left. All of them were white, not that it mattered to me.

“Let’s just say, we demanded the President to make a few changes!”

I was shocked. Never have I had someone stand up for me after I asked why. I suppose I’ve always had the courage to stand up, never anticipating someone else would back my beliefs. Most people simply walk away. They ‘don’t want to get involved.’

I lost respect for the USO and their dances after that issue. The President phoned me, wanting me to return. He said I had lots of friends there. Little did he know I heard about the soldiers meeting with him. I attended a few more dances and at one of the dances, I met my husband. Shameful, aren’t I!

Over the years, I’ve stood tall for other issues regarding racism. While I do not understand why the protests happening on a daily basis become violent riots, I do believe in the freedom we in America have to voice our opinions. To those who’ve told me to simply walk away, I refuse. I find a way for my voice to be heard. I’ve written letters to my Congress, Mayors and the President. Happy to say, all of those letters received a reply. Not that it did anything to help the situations, but my voice was heard.

Whenever I’ve seen a man and woman in a domestic situation, I do not turn my head to look away. I speak up! This drives my husband a bit nuts, wondering just when I’ll ‘learn to keep my mouth shut.’

I suppose the answer to that comment is a simple – when I die!

I’ve seen changes happen, and I’ve held my head high while knowing we in America should be equal. During the feminist movement, I worked to vocalize my beliefs and when I asked a former employer why a guy doing the same job as I was performing was being paid more, the employer said: “He has a family to care for.”

My fingers tightened along with my body. “And so do I!”

Equality, that is truly what these movements are about. We want equality.

Incidentally, if you’re wondering if I’ve been a part of the protests, I will answer a big NO. For me, I find my strength in writing what I believe. I still remember what I felt like on the evening when I ‘disgraced the USO while dancing with a ‘black soldier.’

Never did I imagine a group of soldiers watched in awe what was happening after I was called into the President’s office. Never did I expect anyone to back me. I simply did not see an issue. I was dancing gracefully with a soldier, not disgracing ANYONE!

Sometimes I am curious if the guy I danced with ever thinks about that night in Columbus, Georgia. The night I recognized racism is not about the color of skin. Racism is about people. Beliefs. And most of all, equality.

I was hopeful all of these issues would be put to rest; nevertheless, it is now the year of 2020. The year of anger. The year of Corona virus quarantine. The year of fear that we are losing our rights if we don’t fight. The year of change. 2020 is a year of burning buildings. Shootings. Police brutality. Demolishing restaurants, and so much more. I pray nightly 2020 will become a year where we are all able to stand tall and see change in ourselves and our communities. Like the cliche says: “We are all in this together,” referring to the Corona Virus. I say: “Really? Are we all in this together?”

The subjects I read about in the newspaper shares stories of Black Lives Matter. Yes. That is true; however, I truly believe ALL LIVES MATTER. Yes, it is time to change some things within law enforcement. It is time to acknowledge our history records reveal too much about leaders who really did not deserve to become leaders, or monuments. It is time for all of us to pray and to learn we must improve our beliefs. Our lives. We must change what we learned in church and our communities. We need to love one another. We need EQUALITY!

The time is now. Equality. Respect. Dignity. Pride. And most of all to believe not only do BLACK LIVES MATTER. ALL LIVES MATTER!

Compression Fracture – The Worst Pain — EVER!


Dearest Readers:

Good morning, or perhaps I should also say, Good afternoon! If you are a regular fan of my blog, you might remember during the morning of our move from suburbia to the country — December 23, 2019 — I fell off a three step ladder, fracturing my back. The pain I’ve endured is truly indescribable! At times, my back pain felt as if a train was rushing along the left side of my spine in such a hurry I could scream. Another description would be imagine an electrical fire inside your body, storms of electricity firing away, creating the most excruciating burning pain you could ever imagine. Labor pain is just a cramp compared to back fractures. Finally, on December 27, I asked Phil to please take me to ER or Doctor’s Care.

At Doctor’s Care, x-rays were taken. The x-ray tech wanted me to twist and turn into positions I felt were almost impossible to tolerate. I moaned and groaned, and prayed. Somehow I knew my back was seriously injured. When the physicians assistant entered the exam room, she informed me I had a compression fracture of the Lumbar, L-1. She encouraged me to rest and not lift anything heavy. (She was too late. While moving, I carried heavy boxes while screaming in pain.) She referred me to a spine specialist.

For a couple of weeks, I rested on the couch. Lumbar pillows tucked beside the aching back helped a bit. Still, the pain was so unbearable, when Phil was at work, I cried. Sometimes like a baby. I tried to unpack, attempting to bend down. Every time, I screamed in pain. I still have many boxes to unpack. All. In. Time.

In January, 2020, I went to a spinal surgeon. All he wanted to discuss was spinal surgery. I had researched spinal surgery of L-1. The information I read on Web MD, and Mayo Clinic horrified me. I refused to discuss or schedule spinal surgery. The surgeon referred me to a back brace specialist.

Later that afternoon, I was fitted for a back brace. Tightly hugging my broken spine, the pain decreased just a bit. I was prescribed Ibuprofen, when needed. The specialist said I would need to wear the back brace every day for at least three months.

Today is June 18, 2020. In five days, my compression fracture will be a six-month recovery period. On that date, I have scheduled a bone density test. Still, I am having pain; however, I am getting physical therapy now. I must say, it appears to be working!

Yesterday at PT, I decided to put my back to the test. I rode a stationary exercise bike for 10 minutes as fast as my legs would allow. Yes, it hurt. I’m determined to work this pain away! For one hour, my back was massaged, twisted into exercises including legs, sides and back. Over this time frame my back felt better. The knots located by L-1 disappeared!

Moments ago, I made an appointment for my bone density test. I remember having a bone density test in 2016. Much to my surprise, the hospitals, imaging specialists have no records of such a test. I remember going to Roper St. Francis for this test, although it appears my records have disappeared. If you are reading this, please note – when and if you have any medical tests, please get a copy of it for your records! A big mistake on my part.

Today, the back feels better. Later, I shall get on my stationary exercise bike for at least ten minutes! I must keep this compression fracture exercised so I will not ‘need surgery.’

Due to this injury, I am ever-so-slowly learning to ask others to help me. I’ve always been stubborn. Head strong. Hard headed. INDEPENDENT. All of those describe me! It hurts my dignity to ask for help, but —!

More later, Readers. Have a great day and please stay safe. As for me, I shall NEVER step onto a ladder again. EVER! When I need something I cannot reach, I will call my husband to get it. Yes, he is short too, although he knows how to stay balanced on a step ladder. Obviously, I do not. Silly. Dangerous. Clumsy. Accident Prone. Yes. That is Me!

Please stay safe. Healthy. And remember to wash your hands ALL THE TIME. When in public wear a mask. I have two masks now. Still looking for a mask that is stylish and has a bit of bling!

https://www.webmd.com/osteoporosis/guide/spinal-compression-fractures-symptoms

Violence. Protests, Amongst the George Floyd Controversy


Dearest Readers:

What’s happening to the Holy City? This morning, I awaken with news alerts on my Iphone. “Charleston Police chief expects more arrests, charges after last nights riots…” WCSC TV5.

Last night was a violent night of unrest, protests, hatred and the “Black Lives Matter,” chants. I get the message. Loud and clear. My question to those who decided violence and looting was the way to go is this — why are you destroying what the USA has worked so hard to keep going during Corona Virus and now the George Floyd situation. Does your violence, anger and hatred really help the cause for Black Lives Matter and racism?

I don’t think so! Yes, I believe you have the right to protest and the first protest in Charleston was peaceful; nevertheless, it turned violent. Destructive. What are you thinking? Did you even know George Floyd?

Now, Charleston is under a 11-7 curfew. Isn’t a curfew so late at night just a bit too late?
Those who looted, threw items and fought are disgraceful. This is the Holy City of Charleston, SC. Not a city filled with hatred and violence. When disturbing things happen to our city we unite. We do not fight. All fighting does is cause more anger, hatred, violence and destruction. Reportedly, several stores downtown were damaged. Broken windows and doors. Looting. And more violence.

I confess, I’ve never attended a protest. I don’t see the significance of crowds gathering to destroy or damage others, including buildings, churches and shops. I don’t understand how protesters can block the Interstate while screaming their chants. Fighting. Shouting. Attacking. What has happened to America? Why can’t we stand up with dignity, not anger?

Regarding the death of George Floyd – while I do believe the police officer should not have placed his knee on his neck, I’ve seen video showing how they had George Floyd handcuffed – with handcuffs behind him. Is there a video showing what happened prior to when he landed on the ground and the police officer chose to place his knee on his neck? Was that necessary? I think not; however, I wasn’t there. I’ve only seen a video, and in case you do not know, video footage can be edited to show a totally different story.

I’m not advocating police cruelty. I feel extreme pain for George Floyd and his family. While they grieve, maybe someone should share with the protesters how violence only creates more anger and hatred. While the chanting of “Black Lives Matter,” is understandable, I would like to say — ALL LIVES MATTER, BLUE LIVES MATTER, and so on, regardless of the color of skin.

I believe the City of Minneapolis, Minnesota will get to the bottom of the story, arrest all who are involved and see that justice is served. American cities are on fire because of the death of George Floyd. I can only imagine what it is like to live in Minneapolis now.

As for George Floyd, it is a sad state of affairs when his death makes him famous. Rest in peace, George Floyd.

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