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Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Why yes, I am jumping on the Thanksgiving Bandwagon!

Tis the season to be outwardly thankful for the things in your life.
Personally, I'm thankful every single day for the things in my life - but saying that is exactly the same as the Valentines Day line of "I don't need a day to tell you I love you, I love you everyday."

Meh, truthfully?
I am thankful and I am totally going to jump on the thankful bandwagon!!  Why not?  It's a great thing.

The past few years have been, um...weird.  I've had health issues.  I've made a flaming a'hole of myself in some situations.  I've had wonderful lessons on friendship and loyalty.  I've been given an opportunity to to revive, rekindle & repair true friendships.  I've worked really hard to be healthy - mentally, emotionally, physically, spiritually.  Yeah - It's been a great year!!  I'm thankful!!


Let's start with health:
I am truly thankful for my restored health.  I may never be 100% healthy, and that's OK.  I've got this.  It's been a long, crazy, stupid road.  I've written about it and all of the repercussions my health issues and the accompanying medication issues many times.  I'm so thankful to have been able to find the strength to work beyond all of that and get through the fog, the weirdness and the (manage) pain. I will always have an autoimmune disease (Lupus).  I will never take medication to help me with it again.  No matter how bad it gets, I never again want to be a cartoon character of myself.  I've got this and I'm so incredibly thankful!!


Lessons:
I'm thankful for learning true friendship.  It was a year of standing up to nonsense, in my own way.  I took a stand for my child.  I took a stand for loyalty toward others.  I learned that the old adage, "if everyone else is saying this and you're saying THIS, you must be lying" is not necessarily the truth. Some people are just wonderful liars.  I've learned that people aren't always what they seem to be and some people are easily led.  I've learned that I don't need to care about those things - that the truth always shines through eventually.  I can wait.  I'm thankful that I will always be true to who I am and my true friends will always shine through.


Unexpected Gifts:
I am thankful that after more than 20 years, and more than 7 years after his death - my brother's ex-fiancee has returned my brother's Navy things to me; his jacket, his dog tags, his pictures.  They had a bad break up.  She could have set them on fire, thrown them in the garbage - anything.  She instead chose to give these things back to me.  Even if it's more than 20 years later, I am truly grateful and thankful to have these things given to me.  My brother may be gone - but having such a big part of who he was back truly warms me.  For these gifts, I am thankful.


Core Friendships:
I am thankful for the ability to work on my core friendships that have suffered, or friendships that have fallen by the wayside because life gets in the way.  I've had most of my very close friends for more than 30 years.  As with any relationship, there are ups and downs and time issues.  Over the past year, I've been able to really work on repairing and rekindling friendships that mean something to me.  I'm beyond thankful to have these people back in my life.  People who know me to my core.  People who I will love until the end of time.  People I am truly thankful for.


The man I married:
I am always thankful for my amazing hubby.  I don't often write about my hubby... mostly because I write about the past.  The past is the past.  The present is sort of no one's business.  My hubby has stuck by me through thick and thin.  I'm no piece of cake.  I'm actually a huge pain in the ass and he puts up with my crap.  He loves me for who I am and the giant ball of crap locked in the closet.  I am truly thankful for all of my mistakes and idiocy of my past.  Some good, some bad - whatever it was led me to my husband and helped me to appreciate the amazing human that he is.  I truly relate to the song that says "God blessed the broken road that led me straight to you."  Thankful!

My kids:
Well, this is a no brainer.  I'm always thankful for my kids - even when they're driving me crazy.  Most of my life, I just wanted to be a mom.  I'm incredibly thankful for the gift of being a mom.


YOU!!!
I'm thankful that even through the days that I haven't felt like blogging - that so many of you hung around and offered me words of encouragement or whatever.  I do not personally know many of you.  It truly means the world to me that you continue to support me.  I love you all for being here and I'm truly thankful to each and every one of you.  Thank you!

God:
More than anything, I am thankful to God who gives me everything.

So there it is...
My 2013 Thanksgiving list of thankfulness.  I'm pretty sure I'm grateful for all of these things every day - just like I said in the beginning, but ya know what... It's not so bad to have a day just to say Thank you!!!

Whether you are in the United States, where we celebrate Thanksgiving, or someplace else in the world, I wish each and every one of you a wonderful day of Thanks.

As always, thank you for reading my blog!

~Jenn

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Saturday, November 23, 2013

International Survivors of Suicide Day 2013

One of the lines I clearly remember from the 1984 movie, Gremlins, is:

"While everybody else opens up presents, they're opening up their wrists."

Yeah, I know not everyone catches those kind of lines in movies and commits them to memory.  Not everyone thinks like I do now.  I also know that's not all happy go lucky, welcome to the holidays and it sounds really unpleasant, but ya know what - it's not supposed to sound pleasant!  Suicide is not pleasant!

While most of us are all caught up in the joy of the season, others just don't feel joy - no matter how hard they try.  Their closest friends and family may not even know their pain.  The inside turmoil that tells them every single day that no matter how much happiness they SHOULD feel - they don't want to be alive anymore.

I, personally, don't know that inner turmoil.  I'm not one of those who looks for the joy that they can't seem to find.  I'm not one of those who open their eyes in the morning and still see darkness.  Those who are depressed and suicidal.  For that, I'm incredibly thankful.

Sadly both my dad and brother suffered - and succumbed to their pain.  They left this earth, at their own hand, because they couldn't go on.  No one could stop them.  No one's love was enough for them.  Neither of them reached out to say, "Help."  I wonder if they knew they could.  They never said.  Neither of them left behind a note, an explanation - anything for the rest of us to make sense of the pain.

Suicide is very prevalent during times like these.  No, I'm not going to quote facts and figures - I'm not that smart.  I'm not a researcher.  I'm a survivor.  I'm someone who knows that when things are hard and you feel badly, you don't feel the need to carry on.  I know people who don't suffer from anxiety or depression, clinically, who feel defeated.  It just is.  Times are tough.  People are out of work.  Money is an issue that causes stress.  Stress breaks up families and causes more stress.  It's not rocket science.  I'm not someone who knows the details - I'm someone who's felt the loss and pain of losing someone to suicide.  I'm someone who strongly believes that no matter how bad things are -

No one needs to die.

Today, I both write for those struggling with their pain - and for those trying to make sense of their loss.  The survivors.

Today, November 23, 2013 is International Survivors of Suicide day.

There is always someone to turn to, no matter how bad things are, even for those left behind.

If you are new to the loss by suicide, or have been through it time and time again - this post is for you.  Don't suffer alone.  Reach out.  You are loved and you are not alone.  You are never alone.  There IS someone else who knows what you are going through.  There WILL be someone who can give you a comforting hug who GETS IT.  There are others, just like us.

We all know that there are some among us that will NOT have a happy holiday, no matter how hard they try.  They may put on a happy face, or not, and go through the motions.  Both my brother & dad put on the happy face.  My brother threw himself a "going away party."  No one knew.  My dad, always laughed, always smiled, always tried to help someone else who was down.  No one knew what was REALLY going on.

If you are suffering in silence, please reach out...
Someone DOES love you. Someone WILL miss you.  Someone WILL ask themselves every single day of their lives... WHY?  I know this for sure, for fact - because I am a survivor of suicide times 2.

My dad has been gone almost 30 years.  My brother has been gone 6 years.  I've never stopped questioning why.

Today, is International Survivors of Suicide Day.
If you are struggling with the loss of someone close to you, 
you are not alone.
Please click the link below to find a resource near you.


If you are feeling hopeless, please don't give up!
Someone DOES love you!  Someone WILL miss you!
Someone will ask themselves every day, WHY?

Please reach out!
1-800-273-TALK (8255)

Or visit their website:  http://www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org/

In Loving Memory of my Dad,
William R. Cooper ~ August 8, 1942 - March 28, 1984
and my brother
W. Eric Cooper ~ September 9, 1968 - August 27, 2007

Rest comfortably in the arms of angels.
May you find the peace you so desperately sought here.

Thank you for reading my blog!

~Jenn

Even if this blog post saves just one...  it's all worth it.


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Wednesday, November 20, 2013

City Mouse, Country Mouse...

You can take the girl out of the city, but you can't take the city out of the girl.

Mmmm, partially true.  I grew up in and and around the city most of my life.

Not NYC...  If you're from North Jersey and you say "The City" most people automatically think you mean NEW YORK CITY... Manhattan.  No, I lived in the Paterson & Clifton area of New Jersey most of my life, living in the nicer towns in the outskirts before and after my teens.

Throughout most of my childhood, it was normal to think that if I didn't lock my doors someone would break in and rob us.  We locked our house, we locked our car - we locked everything.  We kept things out of plain sight so that no one would smash a window to take whatever it was that looked tempting, even if it was just some change in the ashtray.

It was normal thinking to look over your shoulder, to be aware of your surroundings.

At night, I didn't walk alone because there were creepy people lurking the streets.

Every night, I heard sirens - police, ambulance - whatever.

Even thought it wasn't totally awful,
It was really a piss poor way to live, as far as I was concerned.
I hated it!

On weekends, my dad used to take us to Greenwood Lake, NY to visit his friends.  On the drive up, I was always in awe of all of the lakes and trees - the beauty and the quiet.  It was pretty desolate.  I loved it, and swore that some day I would live there.

In my late 20's I made that a reality.  I moved to Greenwood Lake AND then I moved out of Greenwood Lake.


It's funny how you get used to certain things.  Even if they're things you hate, it's your "normal."

I can clearly remember my first night sleeping in my house in Greenwood Lake.  It was SO QUIET. Too quiet.  All I heard was the babbling brook. Doesn't that sound lovely??  Well, I couldn't sleep.  The quiet actually kept me awake.  I could hear EVERYTHING - creaking floor boards, the house settling, an animal walking through the yard.  I didn't hear one siren.  Instead of loving the peace and quiet, it became absolutely jarring.
The culture shock totally freaked me out!

Funny, isn't it?  Thing things you want so desperately you can't handle all at once.

Inevitably, life took a few turns and as I said, I moved out of Greenwood Lake.
I didn't move completely out of the area, mostly because I didn't want to keep switching my son's schools, but out of Greenwood Lake.  It was a good move.

There is nothing in the area that was close to being in the city - and really, I was OK with that.  I always wanted my children to grow up where there were lots of trees and roaming animals.  Someplace safe, where if I left my door open - no one was coming to rob us.  Besides, it's really pretty up here and I always loved that.

Yes, it's safer here.  Maybe I've created a false sense of security, who knows.

Due to my upbringing, YES - I always lock my doors.  You never quite get over the fear that someone may violate your space, but I think absolutely nothing of pulling into my driveway if I've forgotten something, leaving the car running with my purse inside and the doors open to go into the house which I leave wide open as I search for what I'd forgotten.  I would NEVER have done this growing up.  NEVER.  My car would very possibly have been gone.

I've become very accustomed to the area we now live.

I love the quiet, the roaming beasts - even the bear.  I love the feeling of safety and the non-city environment.  Deep down, I will always have that built in caution button.

Every so often, I need to drive down to the "old neighborhood".  Nothing looks the same.  Even my OK area seems so much darker now and extra busy.  Maybe it's always been that way.  Maybe I'm just so accustomed to the area which I now live.  A place that's quiet.  Traffic is only on the highway heading to work.  Crime is limited to stupid stuff and not muggings and regular burglaries.

I don't miss living in the city.

Things may have been much more conveniently located, but I'm OK with the little drive I need to make.  I'm OK with knowing if I forget to lock my car door at night - my GPS will still be in the dashboard in the morning.

Many things from my previous life have sunken into my soul.  The watch outs, the lock ups - better safe than sorry.

I don't miss trading in city life for being someone who lives "in the sticks."

I made the right decision.  Guess I'm a country mouse now.  I wouldn't change a thing!

Thank you for reading my blog!

~Jenn

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Monday, November 18, 2013

NOT a Bandwagon fan! ...OK - well, maybe sometimes

I am a Broncos fan!

Not a Peyton kicks ass and they're winning, Broncos fan.
A REAL Broncos fan!

I have been a Broncos fan since 1986.  Seeing the Broncos vs. the NY Giants in 1987 at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, CA sealed the deal. This was a historic Super Bowl, as the first recorded Gatorade dump was initiated by L.T. over Bill Parcels... memorable, for sure!

I'm a Jersey girl.  Why the Broncos??  John Elway.  Plain and simple.  Yep, I even still have (and wear for luck) my John Elway jersey.

Let's go back... wayyyyy  back.  While I was young - it was a Jets household.  We bled green.  If you're a Jets fan, you already know that being a Jets fan can be painful.  Very, very, painful... but there is no truer fan.

A few years later, as I grew into pre-teen dom and the boys in my neighborhood were watching football - it was a Giant's world.  Not for me... No, no, no.... NOT for me!  Me, I'm a pain in the ass...  Ohhhh  you like the Giants??  Well I will absolutely LOVE whomever they are playing against.  As a young female protesting football taking up my life, that became my stance.

In time, I learned to actually like football.  In high school, I attended games.  I sort of knew what was going on.  Then I joined the "if you can't beat 'em, join 'em" club.  If you're going to be dating boys / men - they will, most likely, watch football.  You can piss and moan about the 75 games going on every Sunday (and Monday) or you could shut up and watch.  I chose the latter.


As I got older & started going to clubs, local bars and eateries - the Giants players were everywhere.  Sean Landetta, A.J. Green, Mark Collins, O.J. Anderson, Harry Carson (just to name a few) - these guys were just nice, regular guys.  Hanging out.  Heck, I even got invited to L.T.'s New Years Eve party one year.  No, I did not go :)

I dabbled in Giant waters for a while, but found the fans to be annoying.  (not all of you)  Especially as they became my exes.  I still loved the Jets as my home team, but as I said...it can be painful.  It wasn't until I watched John Elway in action, and THEN learned how fun Broncos fans are to hang out with that I signed my loyalty over to be a Bronco fan for life.


Yes, I hung tight during the sad days after Johnny boy's retirement...  but I still remember the sound of angels singing from above "Aaaaaaaaaaah" (think majestic angelic voices from above) Please all rise as we welcome John Elway to the field...  Oooh, I mean while we sing the national anthem.  Yeah... that was it for me.

No judgement, people!

Now, we have Peyton.  While I do - almost always wear my Elway jersey for luck... I may actually get a Peyton jersey.  Just because.

All this said...  I am a loyal fan and he is a Bronco.

My loyalty IS true...
That is, unless Green Bay is playing Chicago.  THEN - I become a Green Bay fan.  This, all brought on by my pain in the ass nature - and the fun little rivalry I have with my friend, Heather, who is from Chi-town.  She is a die hard Bears fan - and when she has Chicago Bears Football parties... I show up with a bear in a noose, a variety of green & yellow food and my finest, created Green Bay garb. Come on.. it's funny!  Even she thinks so... While I've learned to love Big Mike (Ditka), a little something rises to my throat when the Bears hit the field, and sorry, but Jim McMahon and the Superbowl shuffle ruined me for life.  No can do, Bear fans, sorry.

My Broncos will always be my heart, and I will always show loyal patronage.  I will also switch in a heart beat to ANYONE who is playing against the Giants, Patriots or 49'ers as well.

And that's where my "band wagon" mentality kicks in.

Thank you for reading my blog!

~Jenn

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Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Give a damn's busted.


It's funny.  I started writing this sometime last year and it's been sitting in my "drafts" file waiting to be completed (along with about 45 other pending blog posts).
I browsed it over and I started laughing - because it's so true about where I am in my life right now.


Finally after years of trying to keep everyone happy, I've finally reached the "I don't give a crap" phase in my life.

'bout damn time!

I can hear that song blaring in my head... "I don't care... I LOVE IT."  (Are you listening with a British accent?)

I'm not quite sure when it happened, it sort of just snuck up on me.

One moment I was all about self redemption and trying to save face - caring all about what people though - the next minute, meh - *#%% 'em!  I've done all I can to keep things good, it is what it is.

...just like that.


No, really people, this is a big deal for me!

I've always been the person who just wants everyone to be happy and sing Kumbaya and to LIKE ME.  I didn't want to make people feel uncomfortable or be mad at me.  I just wanted complete serenity.  I let people walk all over me and did all I could, in my very over the top way to keep everyone happy, whatever.  Like it or not - real or not.


True - I've always been pretty blunt in my little life.  If I think it, I speak it.  I sometimes have a tendency to ask questions or say something that may be deemed inappropriate, without thinking.  Then I feel stupid for doing so.

The old me would overly apologize 75 different ways....  Now it's more "hey, how did you enjoy the show?"

I'm working on it.  I am who I am.  I'm not someone who seeks to harm.  I just want to have fun.  I know I act dumb sometimes.  OK....
If I embarrass anyone, it's usually myself.  As far as I can tell, that would be my problem, no one else's...

Same goes with others.  If they want to be foolish and act dumb - I don't care.  I don't need to care.  I don't want to care.  None of my business.

Where the heck was this I don't give a crap gene 20 years ago... I really could have used it!


Could it be that life has jaded me further??  That life's crap has finally piled up so high that I really just don't care anymore?  Partially true.
Hard to know for sure.

I'd rather just wash my hands of it all and stay the hell away.  I can't be bothered.  I have my own silliness I don't need anyone else's.  I'm too old for this crap!

In truth - I love my family, I love my friends & I still want everyone to be happy.  That's a given...

I know when a true apology is necessary and when I've actually done something that I NEED to be sorry for.  Silly stuff?  Get over it.  Be an adult.  If I have a problem with you, I'll tell ya - I expect the same.

Aside from that...I will always be my happy, friendly little self and I will always be me.
Like it or not...

Just sometimes - ya know - when I'm making an ass of myself - or maybe you...  the show will just go on, without apology.

'cuz my real friends know who I am.  They know I'm not out to hurt anyone.  I'm just here for the good time an then I'm moving along....

My give a damn's busted.  And ya know what???  I'm OK with that now.

Thank you for reading my blog!

~Jenn


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Monday, November 11, 2013

Thank you to all the Veterans! I love you all!! ~ism Re-Run from 2012

Re-run post from Veteran's Day 2012...  Shortly after power was restored here in Jersey after Super Storm Sandy

Good Morning from my, now illuminated, little corner of the planet.


It's Sunday morning as I type this.  It's just me & the girlies today since hubby went to DC to meet up with some old Marine Corps buddies for the Marine Corps birthday and Veteran's Day.

I'm feeling all warm and gushy this morning.
Ever have those days where you just feel like wow, everything really IS great?

I'm feeling that today.

I was doing so good on my little happy train letting go of all the ick & then this flippin' Hurricane / Super Storm whatever the hell it was Sandy came along and kicked my state in the face, right along with my happy, peppy mood.

As bad as things were here, we are really lucky and one of the things I feel most lucky for is that the US Navy gave my first born permission to call and check on his momma while they were out to sea.  I haven't seen my son in a what feels like forever.  Yes, I know that I should really just get the hell over since he's a "big boy" now - but ya know, I'm a momma - he's my "baby boy" and that's that!  Hearing his voice just made me feel so over joyed in the face of crap.  I'm so grateful for that call.
Thank you, US Navy.

Now, even though I've been alone with the girls (yeah, I know I shouldn't say this out loud on line, but hubs is back now) for what seems like an eternity, I'm sitting here sipping my coffee and listening to Toby Keith Radio with a big ol smile on my face.

I'm blessed.

I'm such an incredibly spoiled brat sometimes and I really needed perspective.  Our home was not damaged in the storm.  Yes, we were without power for a good long while and it sucked, but some of my friends, only a few miles away are, still without power!  Other friends down the shore & in New York lost their homes.  People I don't even know lost their lives.


...And then I think of our Veterans.
Those giving themselves, daily to protect our freedom.  I am so incredibly and amazingly grateful to our military; Our men and women who are or were living in tents, cramped quarters or worse - away from home - putting their lives on the line so that spoiled people like me can blog about how crappy it is to be without power.  Wow!  How's THAT for perspective?
To those who are currently serving, to those who have served 
& those who plan to serve - I love you all!


I have a HUGE amount of respect to all of the individuals and families who give themselves over to defend this amazing country of ours.

I have always gravitated to those who've served.  Mostly because of the awe I feel to think that they've given themselves over to something bigger.
That's amazing to me.


Today Veteran's Day is observed here in the United States.

Don't just let this day pass without saying thanking a veteran.  No matter how you may feel about this or any other war, the fact is that they put themselves on the line for YOU.

To all the Veterans & their families - THANK YOU!

God Bless you all and God Bless the USA!

~Jenn

"American Girls and American Guys 
We'll always stand up and salute 
We'll always recognize 
When we see Old Glory Flying 
There's a lot of men dead 
So we can sleep in peace at night 
When we lay down our head"
~Toby Keith - Courtesy of the Red, White and Blue (a.k.a. The Angry American)



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Thursday, November 7, 2013

For those who do... Thank you!

I love my friends...  Truly!

So when my friends are hurt, I hurt too.

Over and over I see the same thing.
A true, good person steps up to help out someone in need- when no one else would.


This person opens themselves up to do all they can for another person, only to be hurt and taken advantage of.  Then when they address the issue - they become the a'hole.  The people who SHOULD have stepped up to begin with, tear them down and then they suddenly become a pariah.

What the heck??

It always amazes me the way people use and take advantage of kindness, as if it's owed to them. When the world doesn't rotate around them in their way - it's a problem.

Instead of being thankful they're vengeful.

People need to get their heads out of their arses and step up or shut up!

In a world where people don't step up, don't help, don't want to get involved - shouldn't we just be thankful for the small kindnesses people DO show us?

We should be thankful every day for the things in our lives - but during the month of November - where Thanksgiving is celebrated in the United States - it's a reminder.  Be thankful.

Be thankful for the good.  Be thankful for the small kindnesses.  Just say thank you!

...Even if things don't go your way.


Thank YOU for reading my blog!!

~Jenn


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