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Friday, February 26, 2016

Haunted

It started very simply. Before heading out with Trent to do the grocery shopping that we needed to get done that day, I was fiddling around on the computer. I decided to take a few minutes to catch up with what my friends had posted on a social network whose name rhymes with "Space Nook." There were the usual types of memes that one expects to find, the updates from friends' lives, and the standard adorable videos. It was a virtual visit much like any other.

Then I saw that a video had been posted by one of my friends. Everything written there was in Spanish, of which I speak a bit but without being proficient. I saw that there was something on the post that mentioned this being considered an "art." "Oh, my gosh," I thought, "something about bullfighting?" I am very much against bullfighting, and thought perhaps it was an anti-bullfighting video that I could understand without listening to narration. I don't know if there was any narration, actually. I didn't use the sound or my headphones because I knew that if it was in Spanish I wouldn't be able to understand very much of what was said.

What I saw ended up being hundreds of times worse than what I was expecting or was prepared for. I will spare you the details of the video. Suffice it to say that it entailed a gory and horrific encounter between two animals of different species. Neither of these animals is a hunter, so there was no hunter/prey instinct involved. What made the situation even more terrible is that the animals were forced together by humans. When things got awful, the "humans" walked away and watched the scene play itself out without any regard to suffering or pain. 

I can't tell you why I was unable to stop the video, other than my ingrained belief in the mercy and goodness of human beings. I was waiting, hoping, for someone to intervene, and nobody did. When the video was over, I was stunned and shaken. I use that word literally because I was trembling from the shock of the barbaric scenes I had just witnessed. I place no blame on the creatures involved, they were just being animals in an unfortunate situation created by humans. I told Trent that I was in shock, sharing the bare bones of the story. I had to say something, anything, to lessen the burden on my mind and to keep myself from falling into a mental pit of shock and sorrow.

After we got home from our shopping, did some chores, and ate dinner, we sat down to relax and watch a bit of television. At an earlier time than usual, Trent said his goodnights and went to bed. I was wide awake and continued reading the book I had at hand. As I progressed through the pages of the book, I kept having mental images of the horrors I had seen earlier. My eyes were reading the well-crafted story but my brain kept replaying the scenes over and over again.

I finally put the book aside and decided to try to find something to clear the recurring images from my mind. I watched numerous videos online, videos that required no deep thought. They were light, entertaining, and fun. But still, I was haunted. Finally, I was too exhausted to keep searching for escape. I turned on an audiobook and after some struggle, finally went to sleep.

This morning, I was having an online chat with two of my dear friends on Rhymes-With-Space-Nook when one of them said something that made me realize what might have been going on in my mind. She mentioned that she suffered from PTSD, something that afflicts me as well. Was this video haunting me because it stirred subconscious memories of my mother's violent death? Was it my psyche crying out againt the terrible acts humans perpetrate on each other and on other, and more innocent, creatures? Or was it just me being overwhelmed by callous behavior that was too much for my mind to understand? I will probably never know the answer. I just hope that over the coming hours and days, I can become less haunted by the horrors I've recently seen. I know that now I will be far more careful with what I choose to view online. Some things are just too heartbreaking to see or share.





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Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Hit The Reset Button

I've spent a great deal of my adulthood training others how to do their jobs. Whether working as a bank teller, selling skin care and cosmetic products, or doing telephone customer service, I've repeatedly slipped into the same role. I've often remarked that Alice wanted me to be a teacher (because that was what she wanted to do but never did) and that, in my own way, that is what I ended up doing. Of course, I didn't do it because of some desire to please her, because I really didn't give a rip about what she thought of any type of work I might be doing. And she didn't want me to be a teacher because that was what I wanted or might be good at; it was because that was what she thought was a fitting job for a female.

I just seem to have a knack for explaining things to people in ways that make sense to them. I've used everything from running out of gravel to refinish a driveway to cutting a pie into a specific number of slices, only three of which could have whipped cream on top, to explain various financial concepts. I've used bedding and mattresses to describe the layers of human skin. Heck, I've even used very "street" language and situations to get trainees to understand different types of loans. I'm just grateful that I was able to come up with ideas on a moment's notice to help people learn things that enabled them to do their jobs, and to advance their skill sets.

I am also intrigued by the way the human mind behaves in response to various types of pressure. Sometimes our brains are very much like the computing devices we use on a daily basis. When we overwhelm our computers or tablets or cell phones by asking them to do too many things too quickly, they can sometimes freeze up. (I realize that this is not a proper technical term, but I'd like to remind you that the care and feeding of computing devices is not my area of expertise.) At these times, these various computing devices are often brought back to full working order by a simple action, the equivalent of hitting a reset button. You can call it a reboot or powering down the device or whatever other description is appropriate, but it's often a simple solution that sets things to rights.

One day I was working one-on-one with a woman in a new hire class who needed some extra help. She and I were going over some information while the rest of the class was away for lunch. She had told me that she was confused about something, and we began to work on it when her mind hit a stumbling block. She became frustrated and told me that she had the same problem sometimes when we had written tests on the material taught in class. She would have a moment when she drew a blank, and then sort of freak out about drawing that blank. Her mind would freeze up like a computer in the hands of someone typing way too much and way too fast.

I knew that she was of Native American heritage, and had the idea that she had been raised speaking both English and her Native American dialect. Out of nowhere, when she got frustrated and her mind froze up, I asked her a question that had nothing to do with the material we were studying. "Do you speak a language other than English?" I asked her. She looked a bit surprised and told me that she did speak a mixture of Navajo with a few words from other dialects. I asked her to say something, anything, in the language her family had taught her. She thought for a moment and spoke a sentence or two in her beautiful native tongue.

When she finished, I didn't ask her what she had just said. Instead, I asked her what the answer was to the banking question we had been discussing. Without a bit of hesitation, she gave me the correct answer. She was surprised to find that she knew the answer, but I wasn't. I had simply hit her brain's reset button. I explained to her that when she got frustrated by not having the answer right away, she was stopping her brain from finding the answer by getting upset or nervous about it. I told her the simple trick I had used on her. When she got stuck, I had her switch gears by doing or thinking something that she was comfortable with, something that was natural for her.

She had a pleased little smile on her face when I suggested that she use the simple trick when she got stuck with what might be called a brain stutter. I advised her to quit thinking about the test question or whatever the problem might be for a moment. "Think of some words in Navajo, or maybe even whisper a few of them to yourself, and then go back to the question or problem. Try it and see how it works for you." After that day, she passed all of her tests with no problems and did well with her everyday work. She had found her reset button.

By the way, if you're wondering how I came up with this marvelous idea, it's all because I love to read. A character in a book that I had read many years before had been a teacher and was tutoring a teenage student. When the young man got frustrated and said that he was stupid and hopeless, the teacher/tutor asked him a question about an unrelated subject, relaxing the student's brain. When he went back to the subject at hand, the student realized that he had actually learned and understood what he thought he was too stupid to get. After all those years, I remembered the trick and tried it, and found out that it really worked!




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Thursday, February 18, 2016

Giving It Up

Trent and I went to our favorite Chinese restaurant for lunch the other day. I will freely admit that the dish I chose is not traditionally Chinese, but I like it a great deal. And in my own defense, I am the only non-Chinese person I know that has had the owner of said restaurant give her chicken feet, and actually had the guts to try them. The dish I often eat is full of vegetables and delicious chicken. I know that if I had the self-discipline to sharpen my knife skills (see what I did there?) and spend a bit more time cutting and chopping and such, I could prepare something like this in my own kitchen. If I did that, though, I'd miss the occasional treat of going to this restaurant and being treated wonderfully, eating delicious food, and feeding the giant koi swimming in the entry area. 

As our server brought us our soup and placed a dish of deep-fried wide noodles on the table, something I am sure is done because of American tastes and traditions, I was transported to the memory of a dinner in another Chinese restaurant. A friend had taken me out to dinner for my birthday, and we ordered one of those specials that included soup and egg rolls and such. While we were eating our soup, a young couple came in and were seated a few tables away. 

I'll never know whether it was because of youth or experience, but the young lady seemed determined to make certain that she was treated with the best of service and respect that the restaurant had to offer. Actually, that really doesn't describe the vibe that I received from her, even though she was across the room. It was almost as if she had decided before entering the restaurant that she would not be treated as well as the other diners, so she was looking for things to prove that this was the case. When she found these proofs of poor treatment, she was going to triumph by forcing the staff to treat her as well as they did everyone else.

As we sat eating our soup, I noticed that the young woman kept looking over at us. She said something to her date and gestured over to our table. She was obviously upset and had an angry, resigned look on her face that said that she knew she was being mistreated, and she was not going to put up with it. Furthermore, she was going to make sure that the server knew that she wouldn't. When he came to her table, I heard her say loudly, "Why do those people have chips and dip, and we don't?" The server looked over to our table, a bit confused because technically there aren't any chips and dip on the menu. When he realized what she was asking about, he politely told her that we had the fried noodles because it was included in what we had ordered, but that what she and her companion had ordered didn't include them.

The young lady was undeterred. If someone else was having chips and dip, by golly she was going to have them too, no matter what lies the waiter told her. She raised a fuss, and to keep the dinner peaceful, the noodles and plum sauce and hot mustard were delivered to her table. Her expression was one of supreme satisfaction at having delivered a blow to anyone who might think that she didn't deserve the noodles just as much as, or more than, anyone else.

Now, the whole scene, as well as my memories of it, passed far more quickly than it just took me to write about it, but the memory of how she became so angry and offended has obviously found its little niche in my memories. It started me thinking about how we as humans sometimes seem to look for things to be upset about. How different would her evening have been if she chose to look at the situation entirely differently? How much more would she have enjoyed the meal if she had glanced over and become intrigued by what was on our table rather than becoming angry? What if she said, "That looks interesting, is there any way we could get some of that before our dinner comes to the table?" At that point, there could have been a polite exchange resulting in the couple having their own plate of noodles and dish of sauce. No ill will would have been experienced and the memory of the dinner would have been one of finding something that she liked to nibble on before her meal, rather than a memory along the lines of "that restaurant where they treated me like I wasn't good enough to eat there."

This made me think of some things related to the season of the year in which we find ourselves. Many Christian religions are currently observing Lent. This period of roughly six weeks commemorates the Biblical account of Jesus wandering for forty days and nights before beginning his religious ministry. The story is that He endured hunger and thirst, so oftentimes Christians use this time leading up to Easter to honor His sacrifices by making some of their own. Growing up, we used to find something we really liked to "give up for Lent." This was often something like candy or chocolate or ice cream. For adults, it might mean trying to give up something that they considered a bad habit, like smoking or cursing, for example. Naturally, as soon as Easter arrived, all of those good intentions flew right out the window.

I started to wonder what it would be like if we all thought of something that we could give up. Not necessarily for religious reasons, mind you, but just because it would be a good thing to do. What if we gave up looking for the negative in our lives and tried to look at things more positively? What if we called customer service at our bank or pharmacy or cable provider and began the call with a positive attitude? What if we began assuming the best about others instead of expecting the worst? How about treating others with the courtesy and kindness that we hope that we will receive? Maybe we spend entirely too much time worrying that the other person has more than we have or is being treated better than we are. Maybe we also assume that a person in a certain job is in their field because they aren't smart enough or good enough to work somewhere better. Maybe, just maybe, they are in that position because they are really dedicated to trying to improve the lives of others. I don't know about you, but a smile and a kind word have proven again and again to be the best medicine I could possibly receive. Maybe there is a lot to be said for finding something that doesn't improve our lives and like old, worn-out underwear, giving it up. Maybe.




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Sunday, February 14, 2016

Nuns And Orphans

I'm not sure of the exact dates, but we are at about the time of the year that is the anniversary of the day that my sister Liz and I escaped from one of the prisons in which our father's crime placed us. When my father killed my mother, Liz and I ended up being placed in an orphanage. Liz was thirteen and I was seven. I hear that there aren't any more orphanages in the United States. Nowadays children are placed in foster care. I guess there are good and bad things about both. 

The children at Angel Guardian Orphanage in Chicago were carefully separated by gender. In some cases, brothers and sisters never had a chance to speak with one another. There were very tall fences separating the girls' side from the boys' side, and there were lines painted a few feet from the fences that one was not allowed to cross. After all, if boys and girls spoke with one another through the fence, that might lead to some terrible sinning. Because of these buffer zones, siblings of a different gender might only be briefly glimpsed outdoors or in the hallways at school.

The orphanage had some beauty in its grounds as I recall, with lovely tall trees and a wide walkway lined with park benches. Not that we got to stay out there all day, mind you. Every child was assigned to the care of a specific nun who presided over her "cottage." It in no way resembled a cottage; it was a section of a floor in one of a number of large brick buildings. Each cottage had a large common room for activities, a dormitory room in which all of the girls slept, and an office (and most likely a bedroom) for the nun. Liz and I were assigned to Cottage 43. Every child was assigned a number. This number was written on the label of every article of their clothing. This ensured that when the clothes went to and from the laundry they were returned to the proper child. Liz's number was 43-19 and mine was 43-10. 

The nun charged with our care, whose name I don't remember, often called the girls in our cottage by our numbers rather than our names. Instead of asking, "What are you doing, Liz?" she would ask, "What are you doing, 19?" She wasn't the only one to do this. It was one of the many ways in which we were depersonalized and stripped of our individuality and humanity. Some of the nuns were dear sweet women who genuinely wanted to serve God and truly loved children. The Sister in Cottage 43 was not one of those people. On more than one occasion we were invited to activities courtesy of her family. I seem to recall that her family had a pool in their yard, so I suspect that they were fairly well off. I remember thinking, even at that very young age, that she didn't really want to be a nun, but was pushed into it by her parents. The children in her cottage bore the brunt of her unhappiness. Every night as we fell asleep, she sat in her chair in the corner with a lamp on a table next to her. She would lecture us about what horrible sinners we were, that Jesus died because of our horrible sins, that if we so much as looked at anyone's flesh we would burn in hell. My first bath after that lecture was a doozy. I looked at my arm and thought it meant I was going to hell. I was too young at the time to realize that she was obsessed with the idea that we constantly had thoughts of a sexual nature.

Most of the nuns in the orphanage seemed to think that their charges were in there because they were terrible sinners. In the world according to AGO nuns, if something bad happened to you, it was because you were a sinner and were being punished by God. In other words, my father bludgeoned my mother to death and Liz and I ended up in the orphanage and it was ALL OUR FAULT. Yep. And they generally seemed to consider all of us to be liars and ingrates. 

I remember being outside one day and speaking with two nuns from other cottages. I don't remember how the subject came up, but as I sat in one of their laps, I said that I could speak German. I was born into a family that spoke three languages at home - Hungarian, German, and English. The nun looked at me and said, "You're a liar. You can't speak German." She then proceeded to say a few things in German and gave me a smug look. "If you think you can speak German, then what did I say?" I repeated everything that she had said, but in English. "You do speak German!" she exclaimed. But of course, no apologies or saying that I wasn't a liar. After all, I must at the very least be a liar if God sent me to an orphanage.

As for being an ingrate - the nuns all seemed to have the opinion that we were lucky for anything and everything they gave us, whether it was a piece of chocolate or a lecture and a beating. The fact that they allowed us to live was more than most of them thought that we deserved. One of my worst memories has to do with a dinner that we were served. I ate heartily of everything on my plate on this particular evening, except for one thing. The smell of the slimy canned spinach on my plate turned my stomach. I simply couldn't eat it. That wasn't good enough for the nuns, though. I should be grateful for whatever was on my plate, even if it made me vomit.

After being told more than once to eat the spinach, and me telling the nuns that I couldn't because it made me sick, they decided to teach this sinner a lesson. Now, in those days, I was so skinny that Gram would have said I needed to turn around twice to make a shadow. In spite of this, three nuns came together to teach me my much-needed lesson about being grateful and eating everything that their good Christian charity provided to me in spite of my unworthiness. One nun held me down in my chair. Another held my jaws open while the third shoveled the spinach into me with a spoon. And she didn't put it in my mouth and force me to chew and swallow. Nope, she shoved the spinach and the spoon quite far down my throat. It was a horrible experience, to say the least.

To this day, I cannot and will not eat canned spinach. I can eat and enjoy a spinach salad, and will eat foods that have a small amount of fresh spinach mixed in them. If Trent were to feel a craving for canned spinach, I wouldn't object to buying some for his enjoyment. He knows that if he wants it, there are two things he has to be prepared for. One is that I will not prepare it for his consumption, and the other is that I will not be in the same room where it is being prepared or eaten or washed up afterward. Just thinking about it makes me feel nervous and queasy. I felt very fortunate when living with Gram, that she did not believe in forcing us to eat something that turned our stomachs. She encouraged me to try new things but never forced me to do so. I guess that in the battle between the nuns and the orphans, she would have come in on the side of the orphans. I was glad to live with that.






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The Tip Jar:

As always, I am happy and honored to write for you. It brings me great joy, and I hope that it gives you joy and/or food for thought. If you'd like to support the cause, please visit:

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Thank you for reading! 

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Canceled

Alice, my legal guardian (who also farmed me out to Gram because I was too much trouble) had a lot of personality quirks. She was a lover of all dogs and cats and picked up and gave a home to lots of "strays," many of whom I think she took from their own front yards and porches. She had someone erect buildings on her property of over 100 acres to house these critters after they were cleared by veterinarians and neutered. These little buildings were heated and cooled, and she would cook huge stockpots full of food for them twice a day. They all had names and she loved every one of them. 

In contrast, her treatment of children was horrific. Trent has told me on more than one occasion that I should write a book about the tortures (and I am not using that word lightly) I suffered at her hands during the time I lived with her. Since she still has living children, one of whom is an attorney, I am hesitant to do so. After all is said and done, I can certainly do without being sued for libel, although how I could defame a dead woman and ruin her reputation is beyond me. On numerous occasions, I was beaten and dragged around, as well as subjected to humiliating punishments including being forced to clean the yard while wearing nothing but an improvised diaper. When I finished the back yard and moved to the front, she quickly ended the punishment - after all, if the neighbors saw how she treated me it would make her look bad.

She usually accompanied her abuse with a familiar soundtrack. As she threw me around the bathroom, my head bouncing off of the walls until I had a fist-sized lump on my forehead and a gushing nosebleed so bad that it scared her, she shouted the insults. When she had me bent over the kitchen table while beating me with the switch she made one of her daughters cut from a tree in the back yard, she again shouted the insults. Just like any soundtrack, there were a few different versions of these tirades. One was about how I was crazy like my father. Then there was the oldie about how I was an idiot who didn't have enough sense to come in out of the rain. Her greatest work was the one about how she wanted to adopt two girls from a reservation but ended up with me and my sister instead.

When I escaped her beatings because I was living with Gram, I was able to look at her behavior with the eyes of an informed former insider. I saw that it wasn't just children that she verbally abused. She was pure hell for the staff at any department store. Alice expected a store clerk to arrive the moment she took her intended purchases to a cash register, even if they were helping another customer. She was one of those people who would either yell for help or start to walk behind the cash register and begin fooling around with it, making the staff come running.

One of her abusive tactics was to tell the staffers that because of the lack of clerks on the floor, she would be closing her charge account with the store. She did this with one department store after another. She never stopped shopping at these stores, however. She simply took over Gram's charge plates and used them regularly. She was very good about paying the bills, but Gram had no use of her own charge accounts. On one occasion when she attempted to use the card at one of the local department stores, the transaction was rejected due to the payment being past due. She left and came to our house to use our phone to call the store and begin screaming and cursing at the person she spoke with from the credit department.

She made liberal use of insults like jackass and idiot, words that I had frequently heard used on me. She argued front, back, and sideways that the payment had been made. Despite her threats to close the account (Gram's account, mind you), the lady on the phone remained firm; the payment had not been made. Alice delivered her intended death blow. "I know the payment was made and that you have my money. The canceled check came back with my bank statement!"

When I realized what the frazzled person on the phone had said to Alice, I decided that I really needed to do something in my bedroom. With the tone of someone who is talking to a person who is clearly not bright, she told Alice that everybody knows that a canceled check means that you told your bank not to pay it when it was presented (totally wrong, it means the check was paid). Despite Alice's opinion to the contrary, I wasn't stupid enough to stick around and see the human equivalent of a nuclear explosion. To this day, I'm not really sure how the situation played out. I figured that it was a really good idea to leave the scene before I, like the check, became canceled!





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The Tip Jar:

As always, I am happy and honored to write for you. It brings me great joy, and I hope that it gives you joy and/or food for thought. If you'd like to support the cause, please visit:

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Thank you for reading! 

Monday, February 8, 2016

Loving The Game

Where in the world does the time go? I began February convinced that I would be ambitious, writing at least twice a week. Then it seemed as if every evening that I planned to write, something would come up. Apparently, going forward, I need to write a few extra posts just for those days. Lesson learned, I hope. When Thursday came and went and I hadn't yet written, I decided that I absolutely must write on Friday. Well, something came up on Friday, so I decided on Saturday.

Saturday we began a movie marathon and the opportunity to write slipped through my careless fingers. Sunday? Impossible! How could I write on Sunday? There would be so many people (okay, me) watching the Super Bowl that there was no sense in writing. Yes, I was one of the people who spent a good bit of Sunday following the game. Trent doesn't care for football, and furthermore, seems to be a curse to the Broncos. On the rare occasions that he looks at the telly when they are playing, they invariably lose. When he decided to take a nap half an hour before kickoff, I knew what I would be doing instead of snoozing. Yep, watching football.

Here's the funny thing, though. This is the only football game I have watched during this entire football season. I am definitely not one of those fair-weather fans that only care about their team when they make it to the championship. In fact, it's quite the opposite. Way back when I was in junior high school (that's what it was called in the Dark Ages when I was young, not middle school) my legal guardian, Bill, had season tickets for the Broncos. When I went to my first game, I really didn't know much about what was going on, to tell you the truth. In fact, perhaps a year earlier, my cousin Hal was at our house and turned on a football game. When I asked him why the team playing hadn't scored when the ball was thrown into the end zone (after all, it had crossed the line!) he was kind enough to hide his undoubted shock and disgust at my ignorance.

When I was starting high school, I went to a game that changed my feelings about football forever. As I sat in the stadium on a sunny afternoon, a young player by the name of Rick Upchurch caught a ball (I don't remember whether it was a kickoff or a punt) and ran it back, dodging tackles and gaining easily forty yards or more. I wasn't educated about what was going on, but I knew that it was exciting to see. I made it clear to Bill that if he ever needed someone to fill one of his four season ticket seats, I would be ready to go at a moment's notice.

Within a short time, I knew most of the rules of the game. I could spot an infraction clear across the field, and often surprised the others in our group by calling the infraction and the lost or gained yardage before the refs announced them. At times when the line judges halted the game to measure whether the play had resulted in a first down, it seemed that I always knew whether it was 4th and short, or a first down by inches. For those of you who are not devotees of the game, I apologize for boring you to death right now, but please trust me when I say that those around me were impressed by these skills. And I was calmly confident about it rather than being a braggart.

The year that the Broncos went to their first Super Bowl, I was in attendance at every home game, including playoffs. I think Bill may have stopped inviting his daughters and opted to ask me instead because I loved the game so much. When our team won the conference championship and the fans stormed the field, we ran in the opposite direction so as not to get caught in the crazed throng. They tore down the goalposts, and that's pretty scary. We lost the big game, but I was still devoted to my Broncos. In the next few years, my love of the game grew. I had to watch the game on Sunday, whether I was there or not. If I was home, I'd make some popcorn and sit in front of the tv, yelling at the refs and getting incredibly wound up about the game. Gram usually didn't watch, but she got a chuckle out of hearing me during the game.

It got to the point where I felt lost without a game to watch. This, my friends, could be called an addiction. Once I was in such need of a fix that I turned on a college game. Neither one of the teams was from our state, and I had never watched college football before, but I really needed some football. The game was almost over, but as I watched the last few minutes I was incredibly impressed by one of the young men on the field. I remember telling Gram that there was a young man playing who was going to become a big star in professional football. I told her his name and said to remember it. That young college player was Joe Montana. 

Over the years, I became known for what people described as watching football like a guy. I guess what they meant was that all of my ladylike manners flew out the window when the game began. I would yell and jump out of my seat and other such madness. It was about the time that I met Trent that I realized I had a habit that had gotten a bit out of hand. I knew that for my sanity and the sake of others around me, I had to cut back on the game-watching. 

So I don't follow the game like I used to. I can't tell you the names and numbers of all of the players like I could in the old days. I'm always silently supporting my still-loved local team, and I keep on top of how they're doing in the standings. And sometimes I catch a bit of a game here and there. In order not to bother Trent, I watched the Super Bowl on my computer. The excitement was strong, and I could feel my breathing becoming more shallow. When I agreed or disagreed with the calls the refs made, I did so mentally or in a whisper. Thank goodness Trent woke up in time for the third quarter because I might have had a coronary event from holding back so much. I did have a few minor outbursts after he was awake, but I did a fair job of controlling myself. And my favorite team won! I guess I still love the game, but usually from a distance. If not, I might end up attending meetings and saying that my name is Katrina and I'm a football addict!



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The Tip Jar:

As always, I am happy and honored to write for you. It brings me great joy, and I hope that it gives you joy and/or food for thought. If you'd like to support the cause, please visit:

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Thank you for reading!