Monday, May 31, 2010

MANTHAX MANIA

From the time women are little girls, they are poisoned with manthrax. They are led to believe in mystical White Knights and Prince Charmings that never arrive or if they do arrive, they mysteriously turn into an asshole wrapped in tinfoil before Act II. How can anyone who has unrealistic expectations about relationships have a successful relationship? What I learned along the way was that some people aren't meant to be together and that love no matter how intense it may be, sometimes isn't enough to make a relationship last. What I learned as a child who endured years of sexual abuse, is if someone who is supposed to love me will do something that hurtful, what is the rest of the world going to do to me? For such children, all White Knights and Prince Charmings are only a wolves in sheep's clothing!

Strong women walk away from relationships that don't work...they don't settle for something just to escape from being alone. Weak women unfortunately stay put and remain in relationships that are unhealthy and unsatisfying. Woman with unresolved issues always seek out men who are bad for them. They have a self-fulfilling prophesy that lets history repeat itself time and time again. Theirs seems almost like a curse from which there is no escape.

Now, I'm wondering if the reality I see and have lived all these years, will prevent me from ever having a successful relationship. I wonder if I may have a hair trigger on my "fight or flight" mechanism that makes me bail out way too early and if I exhaust all avenues to resolve problems before calling it quits. Many say you just have to go with the one with the least amount of flaws and baggage, but is it wrong to feel that love should be more than just a toss up between the lesser of evils?

Gratitude statement: I feel as though my current journey of sorting through things with the help of my yoyo inspector, will help me find answers to my questions. For that I am thankful!

All gibberish within ©2004-2010 Mildred Ratched Memoirs.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

THE PERFECT MAN

I know there are far worse things in life than being alone.... like being with the wrong person. Maybe at this point in my life while emerging from "the cave" with certain wants and desires after a very long time-out, finding a mate is no more than just a challenge to me and nothing more. Perhaps fate will take care of the problem since I spend very little time actively looking for "the perfect man". I guess he'll just have to find me if he's really out there!

From my extensive chronicles as a single adult, I have found most (not all) men I have met, dated and/or married or lived with fall into one or more of the following categories below:

1. Merv the Perv ---- Merv believes using feathers is great, but using the whole chicken is more erotic. Monogamy to this man is being faithful to each one of the many members of his very large harem. He loves the internet, bars, parties and crowds and can be identified in most internet chatrooms by some clearly exaggerated erotic name like "lovedoctor69" or "muffdiver" or by flitting about a party collecting phone numbers and copping a feel here and there. Check out the size of his "buddy" lists on whichever instant messenger he uses and the extensive list of porn sites saved under his Favorites. That should indicate just how "into" you he really is. He clearly is trying to make up for what he lacks in real life and the size of his buddy list is in direct correlation to how much of a legend he thinks he has become online.

2. Screwy Louie the Psycho Man ---- Louie needs psychiatric counseling and major drug therapy, but thinks he's nothing more than a case study for being well-adjusted and normal. He usually wallows in self-pity, abuses drugs and alcohol and claims he's a loser or an asshole whenever he's confronted about his problems. Do yourself a favor and believe him! On the internet and in real life, Louie is usually the instigator. He loves to fan the flames of controversy and anger and get things stirred up because the words "serenity" and "harmony" are not in his vocabulary. In real life, he's the guy who always has some major crisis happening and of course, none of his problems are ever his own fault.

3. Peter Pan ---- Peter lives in NeverNeverLand and emotionally never advanced past puberty. He still loves cartoons and goes nowhere without his PlayStation or some other favorite toy. When selecting a mate, he chooses the one best suited to take care of him. He has dreams, but is quite content to let them remain just dreams. Peter is the guy who falls in love with every woman who shows him any attention. On the internet, he's the one who'll send a rose to all the ladies in a chatroom in hopes someone will notice him. In real life, his child-like qualities are initially endearing until you figure out that his whole life is spent in "playtime".

4. Dudley Doright ---- Dudley believes all women need to be rescued because they are helpless, weak creatures. He's quick to offer his help, but if you look closer he has control issues disguised as being a nice guy. Look closer and you'll see a chauvinist lurking underneath. He'll fix your car, hang a ceiling fan and give you a crash course on football, just as long as you stay needy and dependent upon him. Never show Dudley you have a brain or opinions contrary to his. Ladies flutter your eyelashes and Dudley will be forever yours! This guy is the "go-to" guy in the chatrooms. Got a computer problem? He's your man!

5. Jim Baker Revisited ---- Jim preaches religion and/or the Golden Rule, but lives by other standards which are self-centered and hedonistic. Look up "morally challenged" in the dictionary and you'll see a picture of this man next to the definition. Jim is an uninhibited party animal on Saturday night, but gets close to God every Sunday morning. This guy is omnipotent, dominates everything especially relationships and is as much a predator as Merv the Perv is. On the internet or in real life, he's usually the "misunderstood" married man or ladies man just looking for a "friend" because he's in a loveless marriage or doesn't want any real involvement. He's a smooth talker and knows how to manipulate people into his way of thinking. Ladies beware!

6. Cinderfella ---- Cinderfella should never be confused with Dudley Doright. This man is the virtual handyman, also and will fix anything for you, but his motivation to do so is entirely different than Dudley's. This guy is a doormat and usually goes after the high maintenance women and plays the martyr role well. He's been used and abused by the best and is more than willing to share his sad story with you. This guy will bend over any stump you put in front of him just as long as you keep him busy and toss him a bone every now and then. He cleans up well, can be taken out in public, but don't expect him to be too stimulating as a mate. He's too busy kissing your ass and being pussy whipped to be anything more than a "yes" man.

7. Kevin the Chameleon ---- Kevin is whatever you need him to be and will change his colors to fit into any environment or situation. Of all the categories, this man is the most diverse and omnipotent. His objective is to gain control in any way he can and once he has control, you are his to do as he pleases... a mere puppet. This man is powerful and easily gathers people into his flock. See Hitler, Charles Manson or Jim Jones as an extreme example of being a chameleon.

8. Dr. Jekkyl/Mr. Hyde ---- Initially Dr. Jekkyl seems to be the picture of perfection until Mr. Hyde appears out of nowhere. This dynamic duo is very obvious once set into motion and can be seen as a good cop-bad cop routine, a very complex man of extremes. This roller coaster keeps their partner always guessing and never knowing quite what to expect. Moody and brooding on one hand and then turns playful and elated. The triggers are never apparent and this man, in many instances, can be emotionally and physically abusive. Of all the categories, this man is the most unpredictable and the most likely to be classified as an "emotional vampire".

9. Mr. Mom --- Mr. Mom is that strange fellow who looks and acts very much like a typical soccer mom, yet he's quite masculine. This guys does it all and does it well, except it's virtually impossible to start a relationship with this guy because his children ALWAYS come first even after they've grown up and left the nest. Be ware if he brings one or all of them on your first date! He's getting their feedback before taking it to the next level! If a relationship is established, the children will always be the buffer between you.

10.Billy Badboy --- Billy is sexy as hell, wild and carefree. He makes living on the edge look appealing enough to try it for awhile. Relationships and this type of man just don't mix well (like oil and water). Save this guy as a real treat when you're up for having an affair or just some good old cheap, sleazy sex. He's so good in bed you'll keep going back for more hoping each time he'll tone down the badboy act enough to want a relationship. It takes awhile to catch on that this guy is never going to change! He likes how being a badboy makes him feel. Nothing not even love can take its place.

11.Joe the Jock --- Joe comes in two styles: the actual jock and the wannabe jock (armchair warrior). Both versions are totally obsessed with sports to the point of never having any free time for the women in their lives. Joe is usually married to a "football widow" and occasionally he lucks out and finds his ideal match in Cheryl the Cheerleader or Julie the Jock. Joe has his teams he remains so loyal to that you can always gauge how his team is doing by his daily demeanor and moods. Inside Joe's house is usually a shrine devoted to his teams and a special area for sports equipment and/or other sporting paraphernalia. Ladies, NEVER get sick or die on Superbowl Sunday or else you'll be doing it alone!

From experience, finding the ideal mate indicates to me that Murphy's Laws are alive and well and that the elusive perfect man is like the lush green grass growing on the other side of the fence! If you do happen to find him, just throw some weed and feed down a few times a year and leave the rest up to nature.

Gratitude statement: I'm thankful for always being able to find the humor in any situation.

All gibberish within ©2004-2010 Mildred Ratched Memoirs.

Monday, May 24, 2010

LIFE IS A BATTLEFIELD

Death is an unpopular topic. It's something we spend our entire lives trying to avoid, yet it's something we all must face. I remember my first encounter with the Grim Reaper. He had paid a visit to my family and had decided to choose my great grandfather as a companion. My mother reluctantly agreed to allow me to attend the wake only because Plan B meant I'd be removed quickly if I showed any signs of becoming upset. The vivid memory I carry with me to this day is one of the few truly peaceful moments in my life where I remember my family coming together as one.

No one fought. No voices were raised. People hugged each other warmly as they said good-bye to a man I barely had come to know. At five, I already had discovered how having a healthy curiosity about life had often times gotten me into trouble. Even at that young age, discipline rarely curbed my urge to explore. Instead, it only made me bolder and more aware of my surroundings. As I "explored" the building and observed everyone who was present, I silently maneuvered myself through the crowd until I was standing next to my great grandfather. His eternal sleep was void of the usual snoring all men seemed to make as they slept. He looked peaceful and although I didn't want to disturb his sleep, I instinctively touched his hand and whispered good-bye. As I turned to walk away, I noticed all eyes were on me. The Grim Reaper hadn't been so scary after all!

Death is final. Yes, I had learned that at an early age, but I never was disturbed by death until it was a death of a friend. We all expect our elderly relatives to die. We use logic to soften our grief saying "they lived a long, full life". Those of us who lose loved ones to a long illness sometimes feel a certain type of relief when death finally comes. That person no longer suffers and their pain ceases as their memory lives on in each of us.

The hardest deaths to accept are those of people who die suddenly or unexpectedly. When children or someone who hasn't had a chance to live a long, full life die, we question the fairness of death. At those times, we realize how random and unannounced death can be. For me, the death of a friend was what made me come to terms with my own mortality. Those who live in the fast lane, usually die young. I first started losing friends to their lifestyle choices at the tender age of 18. The first was my closest friend, Charlene who died from a methadone overdose and the last friend I lost 5 years ago was Michael who died from complications from having AIDS.

The day after my daughter's wedding, the friends I had invited who lived out of town decided to stick around. It was nice having a little time to visit with them because it seems as we get older the only time reunions happen are at important events like weddings, graduations and funerals. Although Jill and Sandra had never met, by the time they left Pensacola, they were friends. What started as a simple day of exploring downtown Pensacola turned into a spiritual afternoon of remembrance starting with a trip to The Wall South.

Tears ran down my cheeks as I ran my hand over the black granite panels housing the names of people who had lost their lives in the Viet Nam War. I slowly walked along the Wall South like I have done so many times in the past, but this time was different...this time I was sharing the experience with two people I dearly love. The Viet Nam War like the war in Iraq had claimed the lives of many young Americans. Gazing at their names in their entirety is overwhelming and as I gazed and wept for those who had died, I prayed that the list of names now will never be as long as the ones engraved on The Wall. Being in Pensacola, made Sandra want to visit her brother, Michael. She hadn't returned to Pensacola since his funeral and wanted to put flowers on his grave.


I typed Michael's name into the grave locator at Barrancas National Cemetery, then printed out a map for Sandra to keep. The uniformity of the landscape at first made our search seem difficult until we realized the grave markers were numbered. Our aimless wandering almost seemed like some dumb blonde joke in the making. How many blondes does it take to find Michael? Of course, the answer was three and I felt somewhere Michael was chuckling as we finally figured out the schematic of the cemetery. There he was resting between two older World War II veterans in a picture perfect impeccably manicured cemetery. We scattered red rose pedals overs his grave and placed the fresh cut flowers in a vase. Instinctively, we all sat by Michael and began talk, laugh and cry. We introduced Jill to Michael, but I think she felt like she already knew him by listening to the various stories we had told her as we drove to NAS Pensacola where the cemetery was located. The whole afternoon had seemed veiled in a surreal peacefulness and my thoughts kept dancing back and forth between the past and the present until they became one. Sandra wept for the brother she loves and misses and I wept for the friend who still remains with me.

Life is a battlefield and death is its victor.

Gratitude statement: I am thankful for not fearing death, but seeing it as the final stage of life. If there is an afterlife, I will be grateful to be reunited with people who have filled my heart with love and joy.

All gibberish within ©2004-2010 Mildred Ratched Memoirs.

REMEMBERING MICHAEL - PART II

Christina, my daughter, accompanied me to Michael's funeral. She knew what an emotional wreck I was and wanted to be there to support me. Many of Michael's family hadn't seen her since she was a little girl and all remarked what a beautiful woman she had grown into being. It was so good seeing all of them...like a long overdue family reunion, but the dark feeling of why we were all there hung heavy in our hearts.

As I hugged each one of them, I held myself together. Each one felt good to hold and my thoughts overflowed with so many memories of better days and laughter filled moments. My history with each of them seemed so interwoven with who I am as a person.  I felt I was truly among not only friends, but family as well. We all managed to laugh as we reminisced about the good old days before the graveside service.  Johnny teased me like he used to do and I remembered back to when he and I first got involved many, many years ago. Oh, what a handful he could be and oh, how I once loved him!  Everyone seemed instantly amused as Johnny and I fell back into the witty banter that was part of our relationship long ago.

I was okay until I saw the coffin being removed from the hearse. At that moment the reality hit me...Michael was gone! Oh my God, he was really gone and all I had left were these memories clouding my mind. The family had the coffin reopened so I could say goodbye to Michael. That scene and Michael's lifeless body will be forever etched into my brain. Theresa hugged me and told me Michael had always loved me and all I could do is say "I know" as the tears burned my face.

As Randy stepped into the preacher role he knew so well, he began to officiate Michael's memorial service. The Blue Angels were practicing for an upcoming airshow so they kept making flyovers which made the full military funeral more spectacular. With each word Randy spoke, his love for Michael showered over all of us. Finally, he read a poem Michael had written years ago for his mother and as the guns were fired and the last notes of Taps were being played, my mind flashed back to a time when Michael brushed my long hair. Just for a moment I could feel him with me as I whispered goodbye.

Gratitude statement: I'm actually thankful for still being able to shed tears for the people who I have loved and who are no longer with me.

All gibberish within ©2004-2010 Mildred Ratched Memoirs.

REMEMBERING MICHAEL - PART I

Each year at this time my thoughts seem to drift towards remembering Michael. Those thoughts were particularly strong this past weekend when I spent the weekend with Michael's oldest sister, Sandra. All around me were reminders of Michael. Even at night, I couldn't escape him because there next to me on the nightstand was a picture of him.

I met Michael when I was 18. He was tall and tanned with long dark hair. He told me I was the most beautiful woman he had ever seen. A lie no doubt, but one coming from him that I always thought he might have meant since he never had an agenda with me. Ours was a relationship that never transcended platonic boundaries except for an occasional stolen kiss here and there.

His whole family became close to me for various reasons and on many occasions I was caught up in the weird dynamics that governed their relationships with each other. When Michael joined the Marines, we wrote to each other and saw each other whenever he would come home on leave. We always seemed to drift in and out of each other's lives. Whenever I thought of him, I always did so with a smile. He was the sunshine that warmed so many people's lives.

In our wild youth, his sister and I used to accompany him sometimes to the gay bars. What stories I could tell about those times, but what I remember most is the love I always carried with me for him. We danced those nights away pretending that I was a drag queen, so I wouldn't ruin his reputation! What a goofy pair of friends we were!

As we got older and moved away from each other, like many friends we didn't keep in touch. He remained in my thoughts as I'm sure I did with him. As Michael's health failed and the end was imminent, I finally called Michael to ask him to forgive me for not being a good friend. In his weak, barely audible voice he said he forgave me. Michael died on Mother's Day 2005 and while I watched them bury my friend, I knew another piece of me was gone forever.

Gratitude statement: Although death is an inevitable, I'm truly thankful for the time all my friends have been a part of my life.

All gibberish within ©2004-2010 Mildred Ratched Memoirs.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

REMEMBER WHAT THE DORMOUSE SAID!

The number of people taking antidepressants is already overwhelming and those numbers keep increasing each year. Why? Could it be that somehow we get smothered by the everyday humdrums of living? Does the fast pace and stress in which we work have us drowning in a corporate cesspool? As we grow older, do we slowly forget how to have fun? Does laughter and adventure always have to come with a such a high pricetag?

It's imperative to broaden our horizons in whatever way we feel best suits us instead of becoming imprisoned in a life where we feel void of being who we really are. We owe it to ourselves to stretch our wings, to go for the gusto and to pass along the secret of remaining forever young...do not compromise! Stay true to yourself and walk towards happiness instead of being completely blinded by obligation and by society's morals. Be fearless... be yourself!

Do whatever it takes to "FEED YOUR HEAD"!!!

Gratitude statement: I'm grateful that I'm taking my own advice. I'm going away for the weekend!

All gibberish within ©2004-2010 Mildred Ratched Memoirs.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

THE CHANGING OF THE GUARD

Originally written 12/28/2006 and posted on Abnormally Normal People

Nothing is constant, but change yet the older we get the harder it is to accept change or to welcome it as one of life's many journeys. As we grow older we look for a certain type of stability. That stability is similar to the feeling of comfort our feet feel when we wear our favorite old pair of well broken in shoes or when we slip on that pair of jeans that fits just right. We seek a calm...a type of peace that comes from learning those lessons in life that are meant to strengthen us and make us feel confident in times of trouble. Change? Doesn't change mean stress? Doesn't change bring an upheaval? A transition? A new lesson to be learned? Change means both a beginning and an end.

Just recently I have begun a metamorphosis that is meant to ready me for what is termed "the golden years"... not mine, but those years when parents start to decline. As I step into the position of watching the woman who raised me become needy and frail, I have started to witness just how strong I am even when I really don't want to be strong. As much as I would like to change fate or turn back the hands of time, I know I can't. All I can do is offer my help and be there for her as our roles reverse. I offer my guidance, strength and stability as she declines. I hide my fears and try to deal with the frustration I feel. This frustration isn't from feeling resentful for my new role, but from feeling that I am so limited in the comfort I can offer to make this transition easier for all involved.

I see the toll this past year has taken on her. My mother once could bounce back from anything. She was a fighter and now I see an old woman who is weak and scared. I see a woman who has some health problems and I wonder just how long she has minimized how poorly she feels. The denial she has so successfully integrated into her world is now just flimsy facade. Her "act" was for the sake of her family and friends as well as for her own sake. Now, I see someone whose words of optimism are hollow and whose acceptance of fate echoes from emptiness. The positive attitude she clung to while battling cancer has been replaced with a cloud of confusion and physical weakness.

So here I am beginning my journey as my mother's caregiver. As we change roles, I remember all the things I've learned from being her hard-headed daughter. At times, I smile and at other times when I'm alone, I allow myself to cry, but regardless of how I feel, I can and will deal with whatever happens as it happens. This I do, not because I have to, but as a way to show my gratitude and love to her for always believing in me.

Gratitude statement: I'm thankful I wrote this at the beginning of my journey so I can reflect upon it now when I feel despair and anger.

All gibberish within ©2004-2010 Mildred Ratched Memoirs.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

THE DRIVING DEBACLE

Not all old people decline in the same way. The lucky ones stay healthy and active right up to the end. The ones who have life threatening illnesses usually suffer from depression on top of everything else. And then we have the "empty pods"... These pods have varying degrees of emptiness for various reasons. Some reasons are not organic in nature, but are due to having poor coping skills centered around accepting their own morality. At 20, we all are immortal, but at 82, we can see the light at the end of the tunnel.

One of my mother's doctor's is also a family friend. He would always inquire about her whenever I would run into him. One such time, when asked how she was doing I answered him by asking him a question. "Dr. Feelgood, would you rather be told you could never drive again or would you rather be told you had cancer?" He had trouble concealing his reaction, but finally understood her state of mind. The "pod" accepted having breast cancer much easier than when it came time to stop driving. My step father fought it right up until the bitter end when his driver's license was just about ripped out of his stubborn Sicilian hands.

Okay, there comes a time in every person's life when certain things like driving become a safety issue. I certainly can appreciate the fact that when this happens it means becoming less independent and who really wants that? But on the other hand, who wants to be responsible for maiming or killing innocent people?

When my stepfather was still alive, his biological daughter would come once a year to visit her father and usually create problems while she was visiting. How the family had decided to handle the issue of him driving was to just let his driver's licence expire knowing that he would never be able to pass a road test again. HOWEVER, little Miss Control Freak, took him and got his licensed renewed without asking anyone if that would be okay. At that time, all he had to do was pass the vision part of the test to have it renewed. Okay, so his macular degeneration hadn't progressed to the point of not being able to see, but his vision had declined to the point where he accepted that some day he would be blind.

We (the people who took care of him on a daily basis) all knew his driving skills were horrible. In fact, he hadn't driven in almost 2 years when MCF (Miss Control Freak) did her "good deed" and then went back to Colorado to pat herself on the back. She left the aftermath for the rest of us to handle. (Good job, Betty!) Because he got his license renewed he also thought that meant he should drive again. We all begged him not to because he was also a dialysis patient with episodes of low blood pressure. Many times, while driving him home from dialysis, he would start bleeding out in the car. You can imagine the mess that made and how dangerous it would be if it happened while he was driving. Finally, my angel of a daughter took it upon herself to go to the DMV to see what could be done.

The outcome was a simple form anyone could fill out and submit it back to the DMV to request a person's driving license be revoked due to health issues. This process could be done anonymously. What happened next was that the person would receive notification asking for medical proof from their doctor saying it was safe for them to drive. If such a letter was obtained, then the person would have to take a full driver's test to keep their current licence. Needless to say, when he received the letter from the DMV, he voluntarily turned in his license and stopped driving.

My mother's issue was entirely different. My mother has ALWAYS been a horrible driver! In fact, her driving skills were so bad that for the last 30 years whenever she and I would go anywhere together, I would drive. After a hospitalization about 4 years ago, it was obvious something was going on with her, but no one could quite pinpoint the problem. I took her to a neurologist who suggested that she be evaluated at one of the local hospitals. The 3-hour evaluation tested her eyesight, motor skills and then they would take her out driving for 1 hour to evaluate her driving skills. (Now, there's a job I would never want to have! That's worse than being a school bus driver.)

It came as no surprise when the lady told me how poorly my mother did, yet my mother was not willing to admit at that time she shouldn't drive. She blamed the car, she blamed the lady, she blamed everything, but herself for crossing over the center line more than 20 times and for almost pulling out into oncoming traffic twice. The evaluation was turned into the DMV and from there her drivers license was revoked. However, she still has physical possession of her license and still claims it's valid, but she no longer possesses a set of car keys.

Gratitude statement: I'm thankful for the services available to help caregivers like myself through these trying times and for my 3 wonderful children who are always there for me when I need it most.

All gibberish within ©2004-2010 Mildred Ratched Memoirs.

Monday, May 17, 2010

THE GOLDEN YEARS

The last ten years of my life I've spent being caregiver to my elderly parents. My stepfather passed away almost two years ago, but due to the circumstances of his death, I have yet to begin the closure process. In a past blog entry, I mentioned the "empty pod" that calls itself my mother who lives in the house with me and how she has an intimate relationship with her rocking chair.

What I haven't emphasized is how her general health is better than mine, yet she chooses to do nothing and gets highly offended any time I try to address the problem. This woman, my mother was an talented artist up until about 5 years ago, a talented seamstress who in past years made all her own clothes and a talented cook. She loved to read, do crossword puzzles and run the roads. Now she does NOTHING, but sit and rock all day everyday. She neglects her personal hygiene and has to be shamed into taking a shower. She became deficient in Vitamin D because she won't drink milk or go out into the sunlight. As a result she was given 50,000 units of Vitamin D to take once weekly for 3 months. When asked if she's depressed, she always looks surprised that anyone would ask her that question and denies feeling depressed. She does take an antidepressant. In fact, she has tried many antidepressants over the past 5 years. Her doctors are at their wits ends because they can't determine if she's actually depressed or not. We have weaned her off the antidepressants at various times to see if her behavior changes without them and she acts exactly the same with or without them.

The straw that broke the camel's back happened a couple weeks ago. I purposely stay out of her bedroom because I don't need to have one more thing added to the list of things that upset me. About a year ago I had my daughter cleaned my mother's bedroom from top to bottom because it looked like a Turkish bizarre. What a traumatic ordeal that was! You couldn't see the floor due to all that she had stuffed into her room. My mother has always been a pack rat, but I don't think the actual hoarding has gotten any worse as she's gotten older. I think it just looks worse because she doesn't clean anything anymore.

I walked into her room to find shorts that she claimed she didn't have and found them in the second dresser drawer I opened. I also found the bag of summer shirts I had put on her bed several months before set on the floor in front of her dresser. I picked up the bag and turned to put it on her bed so she would get the hint to put them away and not just set the bag back on the floor and then it happened! I blew my top! What I stood looking at almost made me vomit. By this time my mother had scurried into her bedroom because she doesn't like anyone in there "poking around".

I didn't even try to bite my tongue because I had taken all I could. As I gazed at her bed which was coated with about an inch of cat fur and had cat vomit all over it, I asked her who in their right mind would sleep in something like that. I asked her when she planned to change her sheets. I told her that her hands were not broken and that if she needed help all she had to do was ask. All I could do was shake my head as I tore off the sheets that I wanted to burn instead of trying to wash. What can you say to someone who would do that and who obviously sees nothing wrong in it?

I don't want to spend the rest of whatever time we have left together being angry at her. I would like to think I am here to add to her quality of life, but she bucks me every chance she gets. She makes everything seem like getting my teeth drilled without Novocaine. I was so upset by this incident, I even talked it over with my yoyo inspector. She told me to take the reins and confront her with the fact that there is something wrong and that we needed to address the issue. I told her that her living like she does has gotten out of hand and that if adult protective services were ever notified, I would get in trouble for allowing her to live like she's been living and that most likely they would be removed her from the house and placed her somewhere else.

I then set her up a schedule of things she has to do each week and I took her to be screened at a memory disorder clinic as recommended by my yoyo inspector. Their findings indicated that she might have a problem and that she should have their comprehensive evaluation. When I approached her with all of this, she accused me of wanting to put her away someplace. That felt like a slap in the face and was as far from the truth as anything could be. I promised both my stepfather and her that I would keep them at home as long as I could. If the decision was up to my siblings, they would have put her away long ago just because they don't want to have to deal with any issues they think are unnecessary. I guess to them aging is unnecessary. They never participate in anything, but readily give their criticism and they never offer any help not even any moral support. I don't happen to share their views on the elderly and feel a person should stay in their own home as long as they possible can.

I have tried to reason with my mother by saying I would think she would want to stay as healthy as she could for as long as she could and this includes staying mentally healthy. I told her that if she had some physical ailment, we would go to the doctor to seek treatment and this problem needs to be treated in the same way so she can have better quality to her life. I told her that being old is no excuse for giving up doing all the things she used to love to do. I told her that just saying she isn't depressed isn't enough. Actions speak louder than words and that her actions tell me that there is something wrong. So far things are strained at best. I think she believes I'm trying to get rid of her and that hurts. I can only hope she'll process all this over time and see I'm just trying to help her and not hurt her.

Gratitude statement: I'm thankful for people like my yoyo inspector who give me guidance and help keep me grounded.

All gibberish within ©2004-2010 Mildred Ratched Memoirs.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

MEDICATION TIME

The end of the story is actually a new beginning. Each time I go "home" I always try to see all my old friends. Five years ago, a bunch of us talked about having a reunion, but that's all it turned out to be. And you know what they say about talk? Talk is cheap! And if you're gonna talk the talk, then walk the walk! And let us not forget the best of all...actions speak louder than words!

So Mildred Ratched, the anal retentive organizer decided to take it to the next step. On August 8th from noon until 9pm, there will be the 1st Walter Street Gang reunion for all the people who grew up and/or lived in my old neighborhood plus a few others who I felt like inviting (a true hodgepodge of people). Food, drinks and music will be provided plus a swimming pool and a large pavilion in case it rains on my parade. So far about 50 people have RSVP'd and will be attending. Everyone involved is eager for August 8th to arrive. My attitude about the reunion is what doesn't kill us, only makes us stronger!

Gratitude statement: I'm thankful for being a resourceful person and for being enough anal retentive to get the job done!

All gibberish within ©2004-2010 Mildred Ratched Memoirs.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

FROM THE OUTSIDE LOOKING IN - PART IV

The Story Of Lynne Continued --

Over the years I've thought of Lynne. How could I not think of her? Many times I just wanted to let her know I was okay and that life had turned out okay for me, but then I realized it wasn't so much that I had a need to let her know that I was okay, but that I needed to know she was okay. Over the years, I had heard stories about her, but I know how stories go. Most stories get filtered through so many people that who knows where the truth begins and the lies end? I know I had been the brunt of many such stories and each time any juicy tidbits had gotten back to me, I had always embellished them and sent them back out into the grapevine for another go around or two. I never really cared what people said about me and thought it was funny that they wasted so much time gossiping.

About five years ago, I was able to actually locate Lynne. My first love indicated to me that he knew where she was. You probably are thinking...Karen's first love? Yes, as weird as it may seem I stay in contact with my first love from time to time and that's another story for another day! The awkward part of the whole process of locating Lynne was that he didn't really want to tell me where she was. I suppose it stemmed from all the pain associated with my involvement with her years ago. Maybe he felt protective or maybe it was in some way revenge towards me for hurting him years ago when I ran away. I'd prefer think he felt protective and didn't want to see me get hurt again than to imagine him as being vindictive. After playing cat and mouse with him about Lynne for a few months and getting absolutely nowhere, I finally just asked him to tell me where she was. I was surprised when he refused to give me any information. I guess his reluctance and refusal only made me more determined to find her.

What I finally did was to do a “people search” on the internet for her parents. I remembered where they lived, so finding their address was relatively easy. After that, I wrote a letter asking them to let Lynne know I was trying to locate her. I left it up to her to contact me. I waited what seemed like an eternity and had gotten to the point of accepting that a response was never going to come. Then one day the phone did ring and we talked for hours catching up and making plans. I had already scheduled a summer visit to Maine, so we planned to have a "reunion" when I got there. She also told me about several other old friends I hadn't seen in many years that she wanted to include in the reunion. I don't know who was more excited, but my homecoming certainly was going to be anything, but boring.

One of my close friends from that turbulent era of my life was a guy who lived on the next street over from me. He was several years older than I was, but we hung out together and were inseparable most of the time. Lynne wanted to surprise him, so his sister and Lynne told him an old friend wanted to see him. As many times as he quizzed them about the identity of the old friend, no one would tell him who the old friend was. It remained a well-kept secret!

When I arrived in Maine, I stayed at my oldest brother's house. I gave Lynne directions to his house and I waited patiently for her arrival. When she drove up into his driveway, I rushed out the front door. We both just stood there looking at each other for a moment and then gave each other a long, heartfelt hug. In my arms, was a woman who I once emulated and now as I looked at her, I saw traces of what most likely had been a hard life. I suddenly realized that although we were both were many years older, the person I was looking at was the same person who I had so wanted to be like many years ago. The realization that it wasn't she who had changed made me feel instantly empowered and as if all that I had learned and all the pain I had felt had been worth it. It was a moment I had needed desperately and now I could savor it silently and wear it as an internal badge of honor.

As we drove off towards Carol's house she filled me in on the plans for Jimmy. He would be arriving soon and had no idea who wanted to see him. All he knew was that it was someone who he hadn't seen in a long time and it was a female. Carol was so excited to see me that she kept hugging me and telling me how good I looked. Did I? Or did I just look different being older and not strung out? Did my silent confidence show? Did she sense my sudden burst of equality?

When Jimmy arrived, I was ushered into the bathroom as a hiding spot. He was to talk to me through the closed door and figure out who I was. The “20 questions” became hilarious when I gave him a clue by telling him we never had sex. Of course, he didn't recognize my voice because he hadn't heard it in many years. My Maine accent had faded into one of a strange blend of my former "you guys" combined with a southern drawled "ya'll" to form a funky new sound of "ya'll guys". We bantered back and forth humorously for several minutes. With each question or clue, he stepped further back into the past. I finally revealed he used to play my piano and perhaps 20 Walter Street meant something to him. There was silence and when he finally did speak, he almost whispered "Karen"..."Is that you, Karen?" I burst into laughter as I opened the door. OMG...he hadn't changed. His eyes still sparkled and he hugged me...and then hugged me again.


We all sat around laughing and talking and things fell into an old familiar feeling. I was with people who knew me when... I was finally home! Slowly, the room seemed to fill with people and before I knew it a joint was being passed around. I waved it on silently declining it without drawing attention to myself. As we all told a brief " what I've done in the past century since the last time I saw you" monologue, each person gave me a brief synopsis of the highlights of their life and what they did for work now. I was the last person to tell my life story in 5 minutes or less. It seemed strange because out of the group I was the only one who had gone to college...yes, me the high school drop out! I had 3 great children and I was the only person who had left Maine and who had stayed gone. The more I spoke the more I could see how different my life would have been if I had stayed...that is, if I had stayed and lived. Finally, one of them asked me what I do for a living and without any hesitation I said, "I'm a DEA agent". There was an awkward silence for a moment until I started laughing at the expression on their faces. It was definitely a Kodak moment and a great GOTCHA...

Gratitude statement: I'm thankful for not only being able to make friends but having the abilty to have friendships that span my lifetime.

All gibberish within ©2004-2010 Mildred Ratched Memoirs.

AIMLESSLY WANDERING - PART III



The Story Of Lynne Continued --

When Lynn suggested we go to Florida, it didn't surprise me. It was cold and winter was far from being over. In New England, people could always count on winter dragging on into April. We packed what we could put in our backpacks and the rest we gave away. Then off we went. By the time we made our way to the Turnpike, we were giddy with anticipation and already planning what we would do with all that Florida sunshine. We didn't have to wait long before we got a ride. Females seemed to always have it easy hitchhiking.

The guy that picked us up looked like a Scandinavian God...blonde, blue eyes and a killer smile. Lynne and I got in the car and immediately we fell into a 3-way conversation. Naturally, he asked where we were headed. In unison, we boastfully said,"Florida". He told us he was heading home after checking out the college that he was going to attend in the fall. He had gone to Boston just to explore and kill some time before heading home again. For him, home was in the Midwest. I could tell he had piqued Lynne's interest when he told us he was going to attend Brown University. She immediately started working her womanly wiles on him, but he seemed immuned. I was amazed because I was witnessing a new event! I enjoyed sitting back watching how he reacted to her advances. He seemed oblivious and kept smiling at me and asking me questions. When he jokingly told her that we didn't need to go to Florida, but should come to Wisconsin with him, she didn't hesitate to take him up on his offer. So off we went headed towards Milwaukee instead of towards the palm trees and sandy beaches of Florida. The harder she tried to capture his undivided attention, the more he seemed to talk to me. When he revealed he played the flute, he insisted on giving me lessons while he drove. Lynn looked annoyed, became silent and finally fell asleep.

By the time we got to Ohio, things had gotten pretty icy inside the car and Lynne had very little to say to either one of us. When we stopped at a rest area, she opted to stay behind claiming she didn't need a bathroom break nor did she need to stretch her legs. When we returned to the car, Lynne was gone. I immediately panicked, but then saw what she had done. While we went inside, she got out of the car, made her way across the interstate to the Eastbound lanes and stuck out her thumb. We caught a glimpse of her just as a car stopped and she ran to get inside of it. She never even looked back. I just stood there in disbelief. I had been abandoned and for what? I stood there in the cold trying to think what my options were. I kept saying over and over again, “I can’t believe she did that to me!” Finally, he gently placed both hands on my face and made sure I was looking at him when he said "come with me". As we drove off heading towards Wisconsin, he carefully laid out a plan for the next few months until it was time for him to head back East to Rhode Island to start college. His plan seemed to include everything...even reassurance that everything would be okay. His plan sounded good to me...afterall, I was, but 15 years old. What did I know about anything?


Unfortunately, his plan had a mind of its own and didn't follow the path that had been mapped out, but that's another story for another day. As fate would have it my interlude with the young man named George Daggett from Wisconsin was brief, yet very memorable. Over the years I wondered if he attended Brown University, how his life turned out after our encounter and if he ever wondered what became of me. I often think of people who made impressions on me and wish I could get a glimpse of them now...just a peek to see that they’re okay and if life has treated them well.

Gratitude statement: I'm thankful for each wrong turn I made because without them, I would have never met some of the people who helped make me who I am today.

All gibberish within ©2004-2010 Mildred Ratched Memoirs.

BOSTON AND BEYOND - PART II



The Story Of Lynne Continued --

It was funny how before I ran away from home, Lynne and I spent most of our free time together, yet when we both had nothing, but free time, we did our own thing and the need to be together lessened. I found endless adventures as I spread my wings and went off on tangents here and there. I viewed exploring as a rite of passage that was like stepping through a portal into Wonderland. I became Alice over and over again!

One of my more memorable adventures which I have mentioned on occasion was going to Washington D.C. for MayDay 1971 and becoming part of the "MayDay Tribe". What started out as a peaceful demonstration against the Viet Nam "War" turned into a riot. The slogan for Mayday explained its purpose... "If the government won't stop the war, the people will stop the government." What became the largest and boldest civil disobedience action in American history is also the least remembered by historians.

The people I went with were arrested along with thousands of others who were housed in a make-shift jail at RFK Stadium aptly named "State Concentration Camp No. 1". I finally hitchhiked back to Boston and slept for what seemed like 20 years waking just in time for the festive demonstration there. I felt like Rip Van Winkle with my "Catskill Mountains" being The Boston Commons/Public Gardens and Beacon Hill area. When I awoke my battered body was still in one piece and my tear gas burnt eyes could see clearly again.


I was "home" again and safety seemed to once again surround me. I don't really know what made Lynne decide it was time to move on, but I wasn't surprised when she suggested we go to Florida. Spending another winter in the North seemed to pale in comparison to the images I envisioned of what Florida would bring...new adventures! I was ready to go in a flash! In my mind I would always carry with me the hours I spent along Charles Street watching the world go by or in the Boston Commons mingling with the street people...they were my true brothers and sisters and Boston would always be that "special" place - a place to one day return and walk the streets again as an older, wiser person.

Gratitude statement: I'm thankful that I lived to be an older person even though I haven't been back to Boston to revisit those spots from my past yet.

All gibberish within ©2004-2010 Mildred Ratched Memoirs.

Thursday, May 06, 2010

THE 14K GOLDEN RULE

In life there are few true absolutes. Absolutes are supposed to be keys to open the locked doors to happiness and tranquility and serve as basic guidelines for people to live by so they can have what is deemed a good life. A great example of an absolute is The Golden Rule. This concept is a crucial point in many of the world's major religions (Christianity, Confucianism, Buddhism, Hinduism, Islam, Judaism and Taoism). The simplicity of The Golden Rule is what makes it so complex and often times misused or misunderstood. When properly implemented, a person might find a certain joy in treating other people the way they themselves want to be treated. I often wonder how something that appears so easy to execute is so difficult to accomplish in reality. I often wonder what it is in man's nature that prevents us from expressing brotherly love on a consistent basis and obtaining a peaceful co-existence. What makes us skeptical, selfish, arrogant, hostile and greedy? Why do we tend to find it easier to fight than to walk away and find peaceful solutions?

We all have theories about the true nature of man. Some say we are products of our environments. Others claim genetic make-up holds the answers to why and who we are. Many people believe God or some higher power creates each of us and leaves us with free will to stumble and learn as we travel the path that leads to positive growth and righteousness. A pragmatic or secular person believes experience is what molds us into the very unique people each of us are.

One only has to look at any family in which each child is raised the same way, with the same set of rules and circumstances to see how individual and unique each of those children become. Somehow I think we are a product of many factors with no one factor outweighing another. Certainly one can see how environment plays a crucial role in our general outlook on life and development. Genetics may predispose us to certain things, but our free will allows us to decide whether we will succumb to some genetic trait or not. For many people religion or some major philosophical ideology is a strong factor influencing the choices they make throughout their lives. But what exactly is it that makes one person suffer, withdraw and become bitter while the same incident might make another person stronger, more compassionate and more determined to overcome obstacles? Carlos Castenada once wrote "We either make ourselves miserable or we make ourselves strong. The amount of work is the same." I believe Carlos Castenada was a wise man.

Gratitude statement: Socrates once said, "An unexamined life is not worth living." I'm thankful for having a life worth living for my life has been nothing, but an ongoing self-examination since I was a child.

All gibberish within ©2004-2010 Mildred Ratched Memoirs.

Tuesday, May 04, 2010

BLOGGER'S ANONYMOUS

Somewhere huddled in small conference rooms sitting in a circles sipping Irish tea and nervously fondling their well-guarded electronic device of choice are small groups of bloggers. Each meeting starts and ends with the Senility Prayer and each meeting includes an indepth discussion of one of the topics included in the Bloggers Anonymous 12-step program.

God grant me the senility to forget the people I have never liked,

the good fortune to run into the ones I do,

and the eyesight to tell the difference.


Hi, my name is Mildred Ratched and I'm a blogoholic. May addiction took root 6 years ago in blogspot. Shortly thereafter I moved to MSN Spaces where I stayed for the next several years. Now, I'm back to blogspot again. I've been used, abused, restricted, conflicted and just plain stifled along my journey! It's been almost 24 hours since I've blogged and I've got the shakes. I snuck into my office last night after waking from some bizarre dream with the intention of posting a blog only to find a post-it note stuck to laptop. OMG...it was The Senility Prayer! I immediately called my sponsor and was able to get alittle sleep after revealing my weakness to another human being. And to think technology used to be fun and useful! Now, I find myself daydreaming about new words and witty catch phrases. Tonight, we can work on any the step of your choice. Just pick your poison and run with it and remember "we are all just prisoners here of our own device". Now, let's hear from all you blog junkies stuck out here in the blogosphere!



The 12 Steps of Blogger's Anonymous:

1) We admit we are powerless over the need to blog and that our life often times has revolved around our blogs.

2) We believe that a power greater than ourselves exists, and its name is whatever website you use to host your blog.

3) We have made the decision to turn our lives and what skill we have over to the care of a word processing program, that it may help us create that which we cannot do on our own.

4) We have made, and continue to make, a searching and fearless inventory of other blogs to find humor, wit and wisdom wherever we can.

5) We admit that we cannot create insightful entries without the help of our life’s experiences.

6) We are entirely ready to let the blogging police try to find all inappropriate material on our blogs.

7) We humbly ask that our blogs are not deleted due to the inappropriate material contained within.

8) We have made a list of all the persons who own better blogs than we do and are willing to try and outdo them.

9) We admit our jealousy of those who create better blogs than we do and appeal to them whenever possible to show us the way to blogging glory.

10) We continue to edit our entries and promptly update to be read more often and to inspire and lure people to leave comments.

11) We crave the secrets of having a successful, well-traveled blog.

12) We have had a spiritual awakening as to why we try to lure others into this blogging lunacy and to spread the addiction to whomever we can.


Gratitude statement: I am truly thankful for the ability to express myself via written words and to connect with others as a result of the things I write. This is Mildred Ratched signing off as I recite The Senility Prayer! (3 times because I'm OCD) LOL

All gibberish within ©2004-2010 Mildred Ratched Memoirs.

Monday, May 03, 2010

IGNORANCE & THE INTERNET


Okay, I've gotten lazy! I'll admit it! I thought I'd change my mp3 player to one that has a playlist on it and that randomizes the songs as people click on my blog. What I found out as I started creating the playlist is that there are no Pink Floyd songs in their database. And when I tried to locate Working Class Hero by John Lennon, I got an ooops, who's John Lennon? I did, however find Imagine by John Lenon...IMAGINE THAT! Come on people, typos are cool, but not on something like that. Typos like that make a person look completely ignorant and insult the artist. I guess the moral of this little rant is that the grass is not always greener on the other side of cyberspace. In fact, I'm beginning to think that's where all the dillholes reside with their dial-up connections.

So flog me for wanting to add a few Pink Floyd songs to my playlist! I like Pink Floyd and have been a fan ever since I heard "Careful With That Axe, Eugene" many, many moons ago somewhere in Providence, Rhode Island on a ferry boat that had been converted into a hang-out for hippies...another story for another time! I sure wish I knew the name of that ferry boat or could find someone who lived in Rhode Island and knows what the hell I'm remembering. For all I know, the whole memory is just a figment of my imagination. NAH! The memory of those giant speakers blasting music straight into my soul is far too real to be a hallucination and the blood curdling scream...it was real! Wasn't it?

Gratitude statement: I'm grateful I can remember anything that happened almost 40 years ago.

All gibberish within ©2004-2010 Mildred Ratched Memoirs.