Friday, October 21, 2016

To Whom It May Concern:

You know how at the end of a criminal trial the victim often gets to read a statement to the defendant telling them how their crime has impacted their life?  Well this post is kind of going to be like that.

No, no crime was committed. Not technically. But an injustice, if you will, has been committed against my husband and myself.  By his employer.

No one there has ever asked how any of this affects me and my life. Mostly because they don't care. Hell, they don't care about how this has affected Keith, and he works there.

I don't often talk about what happened to us last July.  Last July when a "friend" at my husband's workplace reported him for having suicidal ideations after he answered "Did you ever have one of those mornings you wish you hadn't woken up?" to a "How are you today?"  What progressed was that the work police (yes he works somewhere that has it's own police force) ended up calling him down to their area because this report had been filed and he had to give his side of the story.  The police seemed to think it was no big deal, just paperwork, apparently a misunderstanding.

Well, my husband being wired the way he is, ruminated about it all night, to the point of making himself sick. So he called, OK technically emailed, off sick the following day.  The email was acknowledged and we didn't think much of it.  I say we, because it happened to fall on my regular day off for the week. I had a dentist appointment scheduled for early that afternoon, and we were spending the morning just surfing the internet on our laptops, sharing interesting things we might see online. Nothing special.

Eventually I needed to take a shower so I could get ready for my appointment. Near the end of my shower I hear Keith on the phone with someone.  I don't think too much of it, I figure it's someone from work checking in to see how he is or something like that.  I was wrong. Oh, so very wrong.

He was on the phone with a hostage negotiator from the SWAT team. Apparently they "were outside and would like him to come out and talk to them." I peeked out the glass in the door and don't see a police car out front, but three officers with shields and assault rifles, wearing body armor walking towards my house.

Mind you I am in my bathrobe, I have just gotten out of the shower and I am FREAKING OUT.  Even now, over a year later, I am shaking as I type this story.  Keith explained to them that I had just gotten out of the shower but he will come out and talk to them.  He proceeds to walk out, hands in the air while they have rifles pointed at him.  I fly to the bedroom, trying to get some clothes on as fast as I can before the police are in my house.  I hear them at the door, telling me they are there.  I come out to my living room to be confronted by two officers with assault rifles and body armor, a detective of some sort standing inside my door.  I lost it at that point.  I started to cry uncontrollably, which was only made worse when I turned around and saw a uniformed officer at my sliding glass door to my backyard.

No my husband wasn't holding me hostage.  No he isn't a danger to himself or to others. No he's never harmed me.  The officers were pretty concerned that I was going to collapse on them and kept encouraging me to please sit down, trying to tell me that everything was OK.  Eventually they let me outside to be with my husband as they realized that what should have been a basic health and welfare check somehow went very very wrong and they were basically on a call that was a huge waste of time and manpower. One of the officers continued to pat my shoulder, trying to reassure me that it was all over and everything was fine.

Except it wasn't over and it wasn't fine.  My husband insists that I haven't been the same since that happened and he may be right.  Trying to convince myself everything was "normal" I still went to my dentist appointment that day, which is when I ended up seeing my street and our "situation" on the noon news. Luckily, at least for me, they had the wrong house on the news, apologies to the neighbor that actually lives there (thank God he's been pretty cool about everything and actually vouched for us being good people to the police when they were here. Oh and yeah, they had three sharpshooters hiding on his deck which faces our house).

But that doesn't really tell you how it has affected me though.  I guess the immediate reaction was it made me physically ill.  To the point that I had to get an emergency appointment at my doctor and left there with an additional medication for high blood pressure, they were seriously concerned about me having a stroke, and an anti-anxiety medication.

To this day I can't stand it if Keith is on the phone without me knowing who he's talking to. I was never like that before.  And maybe we shouldn't talk about how I reacted on the Fourth of July this past year when our neighbor called to ask if we wanted some potato salad.  Unfortunately I was in the shower when she called, and I had no idea who Keith was talking to.  I panicked.  All I could do was stand there and yell "Who are you talking to? Is everything OK? What's wrong? Who's on the phone?" because obviously no good phone calls come while I'm in the shower.

It took me a LONG time before I could see a police car from one of the police cars from the MULTIPLE jurisdictions that were involved that day without thinking, "I wonder if they were at our house? I wonder if they know what happened?" Sometimes I still think that though when I see police cars around the neighborhood.

A lot of mornings I still pause before I open the garage door to leave for work.  It took me a while to figure out why I did that. I didn't leave the house via the garage when that happened.  But it is how I left the next morning to go to work, when I was waiting to see if there would be a news crew in the driveway waiting for me.  I have to remind myself that I don't have to worry about being ambushed about that at this point.

I ended up finding a new dentist.  That wasn't the sole reason, but it was part of it. After that appointment I never went back. I tried. I went with Keith once when he had an appointment. But all I could think of was sitting in that waiting room, watching the noon news and seeing this nightmare on the news.

My doctor thinks that all of this has given me PTSD. Ironic that the actions of an organization that is supposed to TREAT people with PTSD managed to give it to me.

Of course, just when I thought things were getting back to normal, more shit hit the proverbial fan. Three days before CHRISTMAS the work police force once again showed up to visit my husband. Except this time they were suspending him because he QUOTED A MOVIE during a conversation with someone he thought was a work friend.  Apparently this was taken as an actual threat against people that no longer work there, and don't even live in this state anymore.

Yep, three days before Christmas.  Suspended, with pay at least, but not knowing for how long or what will happen.  This was then followed by a petition that was full of vague comments and innuendo that was signed by many of his co-workers. At least one of these co-workers is someone that has been in my house, called my husband "his brother from another mother." Of course this was three years ago, and even though Keith is the one who advised him when HIS job was on the line for running a personal business on work time, I guess things change.

I'm still embarrassed to go to the prepared foods counter at the local grocery store.  All of this caused a massive meltdown, we're talking ugly crying and sobbing because they messed up the dinner I had ordered for Christmas.  I literally could not handle even that going wrong at that point. It was much more than I could take. I think Keith will agree with me that with all of this hanging over us, it may not have been the best Christmas we ever had.

Eventually things went back to "normal" and Keith was called back to work. He had a new supervisor, it seemed like people were going to be willing to let things go, his relationships with his co-workers seemed to be on an upswing.

And then the inquisitions started. Not one, not two, but THREE different ones.  What should have been innocent remarks or an innocent venting session were suddenly turned into an investigation.  I used to be able to count on the fact that a text or message from my husband before I went to work was something simple. A note about traffic, the weather, a reminder about something we needed to get from the store .... not so much anymore.  Not when you find out that AGAIN, just when you think all of this is behind you, they are calling your husband into human resources for an interview. About the movie quote, about an innocent remark about something stupid done when he was FOUR, about venting about something to people he thought were work friends.

That leads to a drive to work when you sob the entire way. When you spend your time literally SCREAMING and YELLING at God, for letting all of this continue to happen. When you're thankful for once in your life that you have allergies, because if anyone at work says anything about your face being all puffy, you can blame the allergies.

Thanks to everything that his employer has put us through since July 2015, I guess I'm not the person I used to be. I used to be more optimistic than I am now, they have robbed me of that. I used to not need anti-anxiety medication to handle simple things like phone calls that happen when I'm showering. I used to not have major meltdowns in the middle of grocery stores, not caring about making a spectacle of myself. I used to not worry when I saw an early morning call or message from my husband.

Hopefully an upcoming meeting with the director at his work will allow us to but this behind us.  For now. The new me waits for this or something else to rear up again and bite like a snake. The old me would have thought that over meant over.

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

The post in which I ask you for money

Not for me. Well not directly for me, but for an organization and cause that effects my life on a daily basis.  I don't talk about it much, but I am a type 2 diabetic, diagnosed in 2010.  The past 10 years have been a constant struggle and battle to keep my blood sugar in control.

Sometimes it goes well, sometimes it doesn't go well.  But every day I think about it and how what I do, what I eat, what I don't do, what I don't eat, what effects things like stress, hormones, illness, and everything else will have on my blood sugar.

My morning starts every day with pricking my fingers to get my first blood sugar reading of the day.  Sometimes it is frustrating as hell.  To know that you ate "well" and followed "the rules" the day before and wake up with a number that is way above where it should be.  Sometimes it's great, when all of the numbers fall in line seemingly regardless of what you did the day before.

Have there been times over the past ten years when I just want to ignore the fact that this disease is a part of my life? Oh hell yes. And sometimes I don't eat what I should out of frustration from dealing with it.

Let me tell you, it's hard and it sucks donkey balls through a bendy straw most days. But I know that I'm lucky.  I have good insurance, I have a support network of medical professionals, friends, and family that are there for me.  Not everyone is that lucky.

But the American Diabetes Association is there for all diabetics. They work to support all diabetics with legislation, research, even sending kids to diabetic camp. But that support takes money. And that's why this posts exists.

I am asking you for your support while I participate in their Step Out for Diabetes walk this year.  Please consider making a contribution of any amount to support me while I walk to support this organization that supports me.

This link will take you to my page, where I hope you will be able to support me.  Thank you from the bottom of my heart.

Friday, July 8, 2016


Violence against the police is NOT the answer, either. These were innocent people doing nothing other than their jobs.

CNN is reporting that at least one person who was at the protest is stating that they are alive today because a police officer shoved them out of the way of gunfire. Think about that, while someone is shooting AT police, trying to pick them off and kill them for whatever reason, this officer's instinct was still to get the civilian out of harm's way.

I have family that are first responders. I have friends that are first responders.  I have had a grade school classmate killed senselessly in the line of duty as a police officer. All of them are good, decent people that I have no doubt put others before themselves every single day.  And I am sure that 99.99% of all other first responders are the same.

Violence against other human beings does not end violence.  Enough already.

Thursday, July 7, 2016

It needs to stop

What needs to stop? The killing of innocent people of color by the police. Last night an African American male was pulled over for a broken tail light, soon after he was dead at the hands of the office that pulled him over.

Why? He was carrying a gun. A gun that he had a permit for. A gun that was legally obtained. A gun that was his right under the second amendment to carry. A gun that he disclosed to the officer he was carrying.

Still, when he went to comply with the officer's instructions to produce his license and registration, he was death.

Ironically, I just read this on facebook yesterday. Probably hours before Philando Castile would be killed in the same situation. Please click on the link and read it, I'll wait while you do. I've seen this post a couple of times over the past year when it was written.  Usually it's followed by something along the lines of "See, if you treat the police with respect they will treat you with respect."  Often times it's followed by something along the lines of "see, if Tamir Rice, Amadou Diallo had just followed instructions they wouldn't have died."

Well guess what? Philando Castile DID comply with the orders he was given.  There has yet to be any indication that he was doing anything other than following directions in a respectful manner.

By all accounts Philando Castile was the kind of man that knew the names of every child that came through the school cafeteria in which he worked.  The kind of man that would put an extra snack in the lunch bag of a child he thought might need a little encouragement, was having a bad day, or just having a rough time with things.

So why is this man dead?  Because he was a black man carrying a gun. The fact that he was legally allowed to carry the gun and disclosed the fact that he was armed to the police officer made no difference.  Even the governor of Minnesota has come out saying that he feels that if Philando Castile was white, he would still be alive.  Yes, even the governor of Minnesota admits in a round about way that white privilege would have probably saved this man's life.


Sunday, July 3, 2016

Gotta Get You Into My Life

In an effort to eat more vegetables, I did something this year that I've toyed with the idea of in the past.  I joined a CSA.  What's a CSA you ask?  CSA stands for Community Supported Agriculture, which means you basically pay to get shares of fruits and vegetables from local farms.  Some CSA's also offer eggs (mine does not, which makes me sad) and many offer shares of meats and cheeses at additional costs.

Since this is a new adventure for me, I've been photographing what I get in my share each week and also taking pictures of some of the things I've been making with it.

The first week was the beginning of June, and that share consisted of  green kale, green meat radishes, zucchini, arugula, rhubarb, and romaine lettuce.  The cat was not included in the share. She does seem to think that CSA really stands for Cats Sampling Agriculture though.

Some of the kale, arugula, and romaine made salad for Keith.  Green meat radishes ended up just being eaten plain, although I considered pickling them but as usual, didn't get a "round tuit."

I've never worked with rhubarb before, so I searched the internet and finally settled on a recipe for strawberry rhubarb jam that you make in the crockpot. 

I really found it to be more of a sauce or compote than what I would consider a true jam. It was pretty good on vanilla ice cream and I imagine it would also be good over angel food cake.

I ended up going "trendy" with the zucchini and got a cheap spiralizer to make zucchini "noodles." I think the cheapness of the spiralizer I purchased is evident by the shape of the finished product, but it was tasty!

Monday, June 20, 2016

A Whole New World

I have to admit, I'm still in a bit of a haze over this one and it still doesn't feel entirely real. Remember that last post where I was talking about Cleveland never winning a sports championship? In my entire life? Actually in longer than I've been alive?

No more.

The Cleveland Cavaliers won the NBA championship last night. (I'm sure the trophy they won has a name but I have no idea what it is).  Being the native Clevelander that I am, I was sure that they were going to lose, especially when LeBron James was writhing around on the court with about 10 seconds left in the game because he smacked his wrist on the rim while being fouled.

Ahead by 3 points with only 10 seconds left? Doesn't matter. I'm sure that this is the beginning of the end.  I mean, the way he was writhing on the floor I was sure his whole hand was going to be hanging off by a tendon or something! I figured this was the basketball version of Elway coming back 90 yards to win.

But you know what? I was WRONG!!!! Amazingly and gloriously WRONG!  LeBron made a free throw, and the Golden State Warriors would keep missing and before you knew it, the clock went to zero and history was made.

Now I am going to be the first person to admit that there would be many people that might call me a bandwagon fan.  I'm going to say not exactly, I've always had the Cavs on the radar, but off to the side of the radar.  As we've already covered, hockey is my true love when it comes to sports, and I don't have time to be totally obsessed by two sports playing REALLY long seasons at the same time. That being said, unless you've lived it you have no idea what it means to have this team bring home the first championship in 52 years.

Of course, now I don't know what to do. I'm so used to saying "wait til next year," I'm not sure what to say. So I guess I will just say this:

Thank you to this team for giving Cleveland something it's wanted for such a long time.

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Not in Cleveland Anymore

Toto, I'm pretty sure we're not in Cleveland anymore.  Yesterday I got to do something that I've never had the chance to do in my entire life - attend a parade to celebrate a home team winning a sports championship.

Hockey is my favorite sport.  It has been for, well for a long time. Let's just say I celebrated my 25 year reunion for college, and I've liked hockey longer than I've been an alum.  So understandably the fact that we were moving to an NHL city 6 years ago was a pretty big deal. During those 6 years the Penguins have been good. They've made it into the playoffs each year, but then they've kind of fizzled.

But hey, I'm a native Clevelander! A team that CONSISTENTLY makes the playoffs each year, even if they don't go very far?  I can sort of live with that.  But still it's sad when the season moves on and your team isn't in it, even if you did go farther than other teams.  Eventually you begin to wonder if maybe you brought "the curse" or "the jinx" with you and somehow this is as good as it will get.

This year really wasn't looking so great though. By mid December the team wasn't really doing so well, 15-10-3, isn't going to get you very far.  A coaching change was made and it was like there was a new team on the ice!  Granted there kind of was, with injuries and bringing up baby Pens from the farm team to fill their spots, but the baby Pens stepped up and by March they went 12-4-0 for the month.

And that is when the glimmer of hope starts. The glimmer that you're afraid to mention out loud, because if you say it out loud or even think it too hard, it will slip away.  But secretly you wonder, "Will this be THE year? The year MY team hoists Lord Stanley's cup overhead?"  And with each game, each round of the playoffs, you begin to hope just a little more.

But still, you brace yourself for whatever the hockey equivalent of "Red Right 88" is (no comments from anyone about a certain collegiate team that blew a 2 goal lead with one minute to go to lose the NCAA championship).  And before long, there are only two games left in the Stanley Cup final!!! Two stinking games and your team only needs to win ONE of them to win the Cup!

And guess what??? THEY DO IT!!!! No jinx, no curse, no surprise loss after a comfortable lead, nothing.  Just a win.  A win that is so amazing, so awesome that you sit in your living room watching this team that you love take their turns skating around with the Cup overhead and you are crying. Real tears, crying.  Because you're now part of a city that has a championship team, in a sport that you love above all other sports.

And there's going to be a PARADE! A parade that will allow you, your husband,  and 399,998 of your closest friends, (because lets face it for that moment we're all friends), to thank this team for all of their hard, hard work, for bringing home what is arguably the toughest trophy to win in major league sports.

Thank you Penguins ...  can we do this again next year?

Sunday, June 5, 2016

Welcome to my world

Well I've tried this blogging thing before and like most people it kind of just fizzled and died. For some reason I have an urge to blog again, so I thought a new blog was in order.

This one will be full of the adventures, I may be using that term in a generous fashion, of a person born and raised in Cleveland now living in Pittsburgh for nearly 6 years.  And enjoying it more than she ever expected.