Monday, October 27, 2014

Forgotten Holidays: Halloween (Part 1)

Christmas trees, holiday lights, winter yard decorations, wreaths, poinsettias, and ornaments are all over stores. Christmas hits stores at the same time as Halloween. But there is a limited amount of space. That means only a small section is set aside for Halloween. As for Thanksgiving, most places only offer generic fall decorations. There are hardly any Turkeys around! Halloween and Thanksgiving are ignored by manufacturers!

This is a pet peeve of mine. I like being able to focus on each holiday separately. I have always been like this. I have always been obsessed with Monthly and Seasonal things. Halloween and Thanksgivings are fantastic holidays! They should take center stage in their respective months!

But that's hard to do when you are surrounded by Christmas while looking at Halloween costumes. No wonder winter seems to last forever! Manufactures have robbed us of FALL! It's easy to see why. Christmas is a big money making time of  year. The sooner it starts, the more opportunities they have to make money!

Greed really does rob you of common sense! It makes you selfish enough to make your employees work on Thanksgiving while you enjoy dinner with your family! When I was a kid, I thought it was illegal for stores to be open on Thanksgiving. Just like it is for Christmas Day. After the last few years, I am convinced that it SHOULD be illegal! There shouldn't have to be a law about it, but apparently the only way to make greedy people reasonable is by making it illegal to be unreasonable!

I have been wondering how Jewish people must feel about this aggressive assault! December must be an annoying month for those who don't celebrate Christmas. It's outright harassment to make them suffer for as long as they have to now! Actually, it's harassing to all of us to have to look at Christmas before Halloween!

No surprise here, I like to walk around the neighborhood and look at the decorations. Zach and I both have Jack-o-Lanterns in our gardens now. Even just a few years ago there used to be a lot of people who decorated their yards for Halloween. I see a lot of Mums and Pumpkins, but I hardly see any Halloween decorations. I always understood the lack of decorations for Thanksgiving. That adorable blow up turkey won't be up for long. I still get child-like excited when I see them though!

Zach's Garden

My Garden

I think a lot of people are as annoyed by all of this as I am. It's hard to wrap yourself in a holiday if it's being drowned out by a very different holiday. This is the first of two posts. This post, will focus on Halloween. Later, I will do something for Thanksgiving. I hope to get us all in the CURRENT holiday spirit!

It's time. The day is finally here! He takes his costume out of the closet, and puts in on. Then, he grabs his trick or treat bucket. It's green with a Jack-o-Lantern face. As he walks through the house, he notices all of the Halloween decorations. Mommy's dresser has a witch on it. There is a spider theme for the kitchen table. But clearly Mommy's favorite Halloween thing is Jack-o-Lanterns. She has one on the kitchen shelf, hand towels in the bathroom, and five on the coffee table!

While Mommy locks the door, he goes into the gardens. He sees the fading Mums and Cabbage but can't take his eyes off of the decorations! They make him smile. So do all of the pumpkins scattered around. He has collected them. At least one a week since they arrived in the nursery! But now that it's Halloween, he won't get any more this year. Instead, he appreciates what he has.

As he goes door to door trick or treating, he sees neighbors and friends he likes. They all comment on his adorable costume! Next, Mommy drives him to Grandma and Grandpa's house. They have nice decorations in the yard too! He rings the bell and they are happy to see him. He's happy to see them and shows off his costume! After visiting, Mommy takes him trick or treating in their neighborhood. He notices the costumes the other kids are wearing. Some are homemade, others were bought in the store like his. But they look great!

On the drive to Grandma and Pop's house, he talks with Mommy about Halloween things. Witches, Ghosts, Goblins, Black Cats, Spiders, Skeletons, Zombies, Vampires, Mummies, Ware Wolves, Frankenstein, and Jack-o-Lanterns. When he gets there, he sees the Jack-o-Lantern he and Pop made earlier in the week. Remembering how much fun it was to make it makes him smile He loves Jack-o-Lanterns too.

After he trick or treats in Grandma and Pop's neighborhood, the thinks about what Mommy says. She says there are two types of Halloweens. There is the scary Halloween and the cute Halloween. He looks at how different people have decorated and realizes that Mommy is right! Mommy likes the cute Halloween things. Daddy likes the scary Halloween things. But, he likes both!

Later, he goes through his green Jack-o-Lantern. He has a lot of candy! But he also likes the stickers, pencils, and toys some people gave out. He helps Mommy and Grandma hand out candy, stickers, and toys to the trick or treaters that come to Grandma and Pop's house. He LOVES doing that! Halloween is a special holiday!

First Halloween

Second Halloween

Last Year

In 2011, he was a leaf pile again. In 2012, he was a squirrel and wasn't cooperative for pictures. This year he's going to be the Flash. When we were in the store buying the Superman costume last year, he said "This year I'm Superman. Next year, I'm going to be the Flash, and the year after that I'm going to be Batman". As October got closer, I asked what he wanted to be. He still wanted to be the Flash. After trying it on, he said "Next year I'm going to be Batman"!

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Everybody Belongs Somewhere

A few weeks ago, CBS introduced the show Scorpion (Mondays 9pm EST on CBS). It's loosely based on the life of Walter O'Brien. The premise is that it's a team of super intelligent people. They refer to themselves as being "enabled". They use their skills to help the government solve problems. But one message has been carried throughout the series so far..............everybody belongs somewhere.

episode 1:

In the first episode, they introduce a waitress named Paige with an enabled son. He's like a young Walter. Paige helps them save lives and Walter adds her to the team when the Government Agent handling them offers them jobs. She helps them understand regular people and proper behavior, they help her understand her son.

Her son hates school, as they all did. But he belongs with this group. They all belong together. It's the only place they all feel comfortable as themselves. They understand each other better then anyone else. Walter has chosen his team well. Because this is where they all belong.

episode 3: "A Cyclone" They all belong

That's true for all of us. We all belong somewhere. Yesterday, I was at my parent's house in the front yard. A police officer drove by and waved. The same police officer who gave me my first ticket when I was 17. He is very nice but strict. I respect him. He very well may have literally waved to me from the same place one of his co-workers did. When I was learning to drive, a Police Officer in town lived up the street. It was a different street but his house was at the cross section of the T between his street and mine. He saw my Dad teaching me how to parallel park and joked that he was "putting the pressure on". I got my license on my 17th Birthday. My car was parked yesterday in the same spot I had been practicing parallel parking in all of those years ago.

I talk a lot about this town. It's where I belong. It's where I feel whole. I spent two years in college in South Carolina and the other two and a half in Pennsylvania. I liked both places, but I didn't belong in either. I need that comfort of those most important 13 years of my life to cope with the stress that comes along with adulthood. I need these memories and familiar people and places to help control my anxiety.

I'm lucky. Not everyone feels like they belong in the place they grew up. Some don't even feel like they belong with their families. But we all belong somewhere. You just have to find the place that's just right. You have to find that place where you belong. Even if that's with your group of best friends at a favorite hang out.

Because THAT'S the place where you can handle stress best. THAT'S the place with the people you love. THAT'S that place where you feel safe. THAT'S the place where you think the clearest. THAT'S the place where you are the most relaxed. THAT'S the place with the people who care about you most. And THAT'S the place with the people who understand you.

There are so many people from this town that find their way back here. It's a special place. It's the kind of place they try to create in TV shows and movies. But you can't duplicate it. It's not perfect here. Bad things do happen here. Just not as much. So many of us come back because this is where we belong. The property taxes are high here. It's only worth the expense if your heart belong here. If your heart belongs, you belong.

While waiting for the door to open this morning Zach was chatting with every other Kindergartener also waiting for the doors to open at 8:15 (school starts at 8:30). As new Kindergarteners arrived, they joined the group. Of course that amount to five kids total. Some are in the other Kindergarten class. Josh and I smiled at each other. Zach loves this town. It has all of his grandparents and his home. It has most of his friends too. It has a fantastic park where he regularly runs into friends from Kindergarten and Preschool. And it has familiar faces on a family walk.

That includes the only other kid in his Preschool class from Verona. On Sunday we were taking a walk and saw him and his siblings playing in their front yard. We have passed that house many times. We didn't know that's where he lives. They had an impromptu play date while we talked with his Dad. This town is where Zach belongs too.

If you know where you belong, I am happy for you. It makes life a lot easier. Where you belong might not be where you live. But it's somewhere. I hope those who don't feel like they belong anywhere find the place where they do belong. Because everybody belongs somewhere.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Josh's New Career

Three weeks ago Josh got laid off. His old company is a good company and his old boss' were very respectful when they let him go. They ran out of work for him. I understand why they needed to downsize again. They make expensive Italian cheese. This goes back to what the Economists have been trying to drill into the heads of the 1%.

Income has been stagnant for a really long time. The cost of living has skyrocketed during that time. The end result doesn't take someone with a doctorate to figure out. When people make less money they find ways to cut back. This means they are buying the cheaper and usually equivalent quality versions of products. If you make expensive products, there is less demand for them then there used to be. Simply because it's not in the budget.

He worked with the owner of his old company. That man was rich but unlike most of the 1% he understands what life is really like for his employees. One example is that everyone got a raise in January. When Josh was let go, they made it very clear that it was a layoff and told him to use them as a reference. Josh still talks very positively about them and his time working for them.

So what did Josh do? He did a lot of things but his primary job was "Quality Control Manager". He inspected the cheese to make sure no one will get sick from it. He had some interesting stories through the eight years he worked there. But no one got sick from anything he inspected! 100% success rate!

They must have been positive references. He was only unemployed for three weeks. During this past week there were three jobs in which he made it to the top candidates. We talked a lot about those jobs during his time interviewing. We talked about the responsibilities, the salary, and how he felt about them. We talked about this for hours!

We agreed early that this is God putting his plan in action. Everything about it from the moment Josh brought the news of the layoff home just felt like it's God's plan. So we agreed the day he was laid off, He'd take the first reasonable offer. God knew our plan before the search began.

Josh was careful when sending out resumes. He only applied to a job if the description fit his experience. I think that contributed to his success at drawing interviews in the first place! He's always been lucky with job searching. I have talked about my unsuccessful 18 month job search that led me to follow God's plan to my current job. But, I haven't talked about Josh's.

When we were engaged we were working for the same company. A retail store that sold teaching supplies. We had worked there for years. Close to the wedding, the company started the process of closing all of the stores. By the end of January, I was about to start working at Sylvan. Two weeks later, Josh got a job. When that ended, he worked at an Outback Steak House for two months before starting as a Temp in the warehouse of an electronics company. While working, he was head hunted by the sister of a company owner. That company is the one he was just laid off from.

His resume boosts the following:

Assistant Store Manager
Store Manager (the one that closed)
Assistant Manager (major chain)
Host Manager (Outback Steak House)
Customer Service Rep (temp job)
Quality Control Manager (last job)

Skills (highlights):
Had TSA clearance at his last job
Fork lift operator certification
BA in Business
Strong Leadership, Teamwork, and Supervisory skills
Shipping and Receiving

We weren't expecting this:

Assistant Marketing Manager

Josh isn't a strong creative thinker. When I first heard he got this interview, I asked the obvious question. Are you going to be the boss of the people creating advertisements? No, he isn't. Most of his job is going to be on the road. He'll be communicating with customers about what they are looking for then passing that along to the person who is ACTUALLY the boss of the creative people. He'll be making sure that their ideas match what the customers said they wanted.

I think this career will be an excellent match for Josh. He has a lot of experience with customers. He started in retail in April of 1999! He likes people. He is a strong Manager. When the company we worked for closed, Josh was the manager of a different store. I was the Assistant Manager of the location we both had worked in. For a long time, he was above me. When he worked in Quality, a major part of his job was to make sure the product was what the customers want. They had to be labeled right, packaged right, and be kept at the right temperature in addition to safe to eat. Part of that, required trips to different store location for their biggest customer. He liked those trips a lot. Now, that will be the biggest part of his job! He also had to take very careful and complete notes. That will be critical to success in this new career!

It's a new career. It has a path. If he succeeds, there are jobs above this that he can be promoted to. His immediate boss will be the owner of this company. It's a mid-sized company like the last one. They have some impressive customers. Josh's assignment is a large company that both my Mom and his Dad worked for. It's not a funny coincidence, it's God's plan. Josh didn't expect to get this company starting off.

With new careers the Employee and the family are usually nervous. I LOVE how this company handled the interview processes. Before making Josh an offer he had to do the training. He was doing the job with the supervision of another Marketing Manager who was part of the hiring team. They saw how he did the job before making the offer. It means he is much more likely to succeed in this job. If he couldn't handle it, that would have come out in the training part of the interview process. With my anxiety I needed that comfort of knowing how thorough they were before the offer was made.

He got the first interview on Tuesday. He trained on Wednesday and Thursday. On Thursday, he came home with the offer. We talked about it a lot that day. When he woke up on Friday morning, he KNEW without a doubt that THIS was the job he wants! That THIS was the CAREER he wants!

God knows me best and knew I would be obsessively anxious, worried, and frightened with a new career without the training coming first. I did rough budget calculations using that income tax calculator from my "Budgeting on the Average Household Income" blog post, my health care exchange research, and our expenses. If my math is right, there are a few big things we used to have to rely on tax refunds for that we can now plan on as part of our regular budget! Hopefully, I can finalize that on Monday when Josh meets with Human Resources.

Marketing was my strongest non-Dance subject in college. I thrived in that environment. I am excited about hearing how his day was each day. He's excited to tell me. One thing I have been enjoying over the last two days is that he's my Ken doll. He has to wear a suit to work! I have had a BLAST getting him ready for this job! It's a good thing JC Penny is having a great sale on Stafford suits and dress shirts! He LOOKS GREAT!!! Don't worry, I called the dry cleaners we use. They are next to that store we both worked in before we were married. I Budgeted in each week the cost of dry cleaning.

I talk a lot about putting my trust in God. We did that with Zach's pregnancy. We did that with this job search. We will continue to do that in every area of our lives. I pray for everyone looking for a job. I hope you find something that is the right match for your skills, experience, and personality.

Thursday, October 09, 2014

10 Years Of Marriage

Next week is our 10th Wedding Anniversary!

July 1998 - Boyfriend/Girlfriend
August 1999 - got Engaged
October 2004 - got Married

A lot has happened throughout our relationship.

I feel like I belong in Josh's arms.
He knows me better then anyone else.
He supports me more then anyone else.
I feel safe when I am with him.
I trust him.
We still fit together perfectly even after years of body changes. (hugs)
His kisses are still magical.
I still know in my heart, he's my soul mate.

Our hobbies have changed but not our core values. They are still the same. We still have most things in common but respect each other's individual interests and allow time for that. We both enjoy making the other person happy. We always have. Our marriage is full of laughter, hugs, cuddles, kisses, smiles and love. We still miss each other when apart all day. We both find comfort in each other's arms. Sometimes just hearing the other person's voice makes us both feel better.

There is a lot that goes into a good marriage. Through a recent rough patch, we realized that there is only one topic we actually ever argue about. Once we realized that, we have both been working to get closer. We have been past that rough patch for a while now. When a rough patch hits, both people have to make the decision about if they want to work on it or not. We both know the other wants to work it out too. We have been extremely close and happy since we worked thing through. We don't argue that often but, it's still good to find a way to work through issues without arguing.

It was an unusual solution but it will work for the future. Josh needs to be moving when we are disagreeing. It doesn't become an argument when we talk about a stressful topic while walking. He used to walk away if we started disagreeing at home. I felt like he wasn't listening to me. So we decided to get his weights when tensions started to rise. He could lift as needed. In the one almost-argument since then they worked perfectly. The second they hit his hands voices relaxed and we were focused and listening to each other. The problem was calmly and quickly solved. You have to know your partner really well in order to find an unusual solution like that. Sometimes it's the unusual solutions that work.

There is so much about marriage that revolves around routine. I make the lunches each day. Josh takes out the garbage and recycling. Laundry gets done, bills get paid, dinner gets cooked, Zach gets cared for, and the apartment gets cleaned. But we find away to connect while doing these necessary tasks. We find humor in the routine. You find ways to positively bond through the routine. So many couples don't connect while doing the routines and their marriages fall apart. But through working together and finding laughter through the routines, you can make your marriage stronger.

One example, last night Zach did "The Macarena" positions in his order. That included rolling over. It was a shared parenting joke as we checked on him often to sure enough find the next position. Zach has never done "The Macarena".

I don't think there is a secret to marriage. I've posted the below advice before. Since then, professionals have read and approved of it. We naturally do all of these things. It's why we can work through the few rough patches we've had in 16 years. That's the funny thing about this advice. If you are with the right person, these things are reflexive for both of you. In a healthy relationship, BOTH people naturally do these things. That's why there isn't a secret to a good marriage. If you are in a good marriage, you are naturally doing these things. You naturally feel safe, loved, and happy.

Here is what I can offer in terms of advice:

1. BOTH PEOPLE HAVE TO GIVE AND TAKE!!! If something is important to the other person but not that important to you, let them have their way but they need to return the favor.

2. COMPROMISE!!! The best way to resolve differences is to compromise so that both people feel satisfied with the end results.

3. COMMUNICATE!!! No one is a mind reader. The other person can't know what you want or need if you aren't telling them clearly. Sometimes one person THINKS they are communicating their wants or needs but are trying to be subtle then they get mad when their partner doesn't understand. Unless the communication is clear, it probably won't be understood. Communication also needs to be complete, you can't make assumptions about something, ask about anything you might be thinking that you haven't talked about yet.

4. PERSONAL TIME!!! It's important to have your own interests and spend time apart. If you never miss each other, you'll get sick of each other. By having your own interests it keeps you as an individual and that means your more likely to be satisfied in your relationship. Too many people feel like there must be something wrong if you like spending time apart but the truth is, that individual time and individual interests are great to talk about with each other and a great way to still feel like you are your own person.

5. LET HIM/HER CHANGE!!! A common comment "you're not the (man/woman) I married" of COURSE not! People change through time. A common mistake when you get married is envisioning that your spouse will always be that person you love right now. They will change. Their thoughts and interests will change as will yours. Let your partner have those changes and let yourself have those changes. As you both change, you will need to use the other tools like communication and compromise to understand your partner's new interests and thoughts but by communicating and compromising you can remain happy with your partner because you'll still UNDERSTAND them.

6. MEET EACH OTHER'S NEEDS!!! When you make sure their needs get met, you are taking care of them and if your partner feels you are meeting their needs, they won't look elsewhere for those needs to get meet.

7. FLIRT: OFTEN!!! Especially if you have differing sex drives flirting is a way to let your partner know you still desire them. If they feel desired by you, they won't look for someone else who desires them. There are things other then sex that you can do to keep that spark alive.


Friday, October 03, 2014

Comparing Troy Davis and Mike Brown

Gotta get one thing out first:

If Wilson was protecting himself, why were there six shots? Brown was unarmed and running away when shot first in the back. Once he was down with his hands up, why didn't Wilson cuff him? He wasn't a danger anymore. Mike Brown didn't have to die even if Wilson was defending himself.

A lot of things about the Mike Brown case bother me but there is one issue that angers me above the others. EVERY witness for Mike Brown saw him with his hands in the air in surrender. NONE saw him reaching for Officer Darren Wilson's gun. Wilson claims he was reaching for the gun. He wouldn't be the first cop to lie to cover his own ass. There isn't any PROOF Mike Brown was reaching for his gun. Below are quotes from the NY Times article in the link below. The article is from the autopsy.

Only one of the many witnesses, Tiffany Mitchell, said she saw them fighting through an open car window. A shot went off from inside the car but no one saw who. In this case, a lot of people are taking Officer Wilson's word on what happened. But no witness saw Brown reach for the gun. To me, the biggest red flag is because there was no gun powder on his body. He wasn't wearing gloves. If he shot the gun inside the car, there would be gunpowder on his hands. That lack of gunpowder shows he wasn't shot at close range. Whoever shot inside that car missed. Wilson hasn't been punished for this at all. The local authorities aren't treating this like a murder. But witnesses say differently. The autopsy says differently. Why is this time different then Troy Davis?

In 1989 off duty police officer Mark MacPhail was killed in Savannah, Georgia. Troy Davis was executed in September of 2011 for it. Quotes and the article link below. There are a few flaws to his conviction:

1. Ballistics tests were flawed
2. 7 of 9 witnesses changed or recanted their stories
3. No physical evidence linked him to the crime

So for Troy Davis there was nothing solid to prove he did it and he was executed anyway. Witness testimony was considered strong enough for them not even to let him appeal. He was with Sylvester Coles. Coles went to the police the next day and claimed it was Troy. Coles is one of the two people who didn't recant. Troy steadily claimed he didn't have a gun. The weapon was never found. Coles is most likely the actual shooter. Witnesses even said that in a sworn affidavit. One witness said Coles admitted to the crime and made Troy take the fall. But Coles lives and Troy Davis is dead.

For Mike Brown, the police claim a few different stories. But Brown's friend, Johnson, hasn't changed his. Why aren't they showing PROOF if their story is true? Lack of proof in Mike Brown's case has led to a lack of convictions.

But lack of proof in Troy Davis' case was strong enough for execution. I'm not saying Mike Brown DIDN'T reach for the gun. But I don't see any proof that he did. The only proof I see is a lot of witness testimony saying he had his hands up in surrender. There is not proof to why Tiffany Mitchell said about the police car fight. Johnson says Brown was pulled into that car

"When the officer opened his door, it hit Mr. Brown. With his left hand, Officer Wilson reached out and grabbed Mr. Brown by the neck, Mr. Johnson said. “It’s like tug-of-war,” Mr. Johnson said. “He’s trying to pull him in. He’s pulling away, that’s when I heard, ‘I’m gonna shoot you.’ ”

In fact, not all of Wilson's stories include the car. If the car part really happened, it would be in ALL of his versions of the story. She could have been influenced by the police. Just like some of Troy Davis' witnesses confessed. Their stories are below.

Witness testimony isn't strong enough to convict Wilson. But it was strong enough to convict Troy Davis. Brown's witnesses are a lot more reliable then Davis' were too. I'm not saying Troy Davis was innocent. But there isn't any solid proof that he committed the very sad crime. Why didn't they ever let him appeal? All his appeals were denied. If you are going to kill someone on weak evidence, you really should give them an appeal. The point was to get the killer executed. But there is no way to know for certain Davis was the killer. He may have been, but, what if it was Coles instead? If Coles did it, justice wasn't served.

The difference is who committed the crime. It's okay to execute a black man for killing a white police officer EVEN WITHOUT solid proof. It's NOT okay to put a white police officer in jail BECAUSE there isn't enough proof. Why didn't Troy Davis get the same treatment Darren Wilson is getting? It's racism.

Wilson should be in jail awaiting trial. If he was defending himself, there will be proof. Troy Davis had to prove his innocence instead of being considered "innocent until proven guilty". Why doesn't Wilson have to do that? Mike Brown isn't getting a fair trial and neither did Troy Davis.

I respect law enforcement officers. I think they are all very brave. In most cases there is solid evidence. The real issue with both of these cases is that the best evidence they both had were on witness testimony. Why are they being handled differently? Most law enforcement officers are respectful and honorable. They deserve thanks for their bravery, hard work and respect. If Wilson was defending himself, I can support that. But there are racist cops. If there was solid evidence proving his story, we would know about it by now. I can't support this racist-fueled murder.

A racist cop sees a black teen as a potential threat and their protective instincts heighten. That's why George Zimmerman got a "get out of jail free" card for killing Trayvon Martin. He was practically celebrated for the outright murder. To a racist cop, they assume a black kid has a gun. Sometimes, that's true. But sometimes it's not. When your protective instincts are heightened, you act on reflex. It's unclear what really happened with Wilson and Brown.

I suspect Wilson shot assuming Brown had a gun. He THOUGHT he had to defend himself. Upon discovering there was no gun, I suspect he came up with a story to cover his own butt and not make him look like a racist jackass. The police department is covering their tushies too. If the truth came out, they'd have a lot of issues.

Don't assume all white police officers are racist. They are there to serve and protect. Most do exactly that. However, it can't be ignored that it happens. I doubt it's really this common for most places. If racism was really that common, it wouldn't be news. Even if they don't put Wilson in jail they need to suspend him without pay until the trial is over. You can't undo death. A split-second reflexive decision can end a life. He let racist views get in the way of his ability to do his job.

Mike Brown

"The bullets did not appear to have been shot from very close range because no gunpowder was present on his body. "

“The sheer number of bullets and the way they were scattered all over his body showed this police officer had a brazen disregard for the very people he was supposed to protect in that community,” Mr. Crump said. “We want to make sure people understand what this case is about: This case is about a police officer executing a young unarmed man in broad daylight.”

Mr. Johnson, who declined to be interviewed, has described the events differently in television interviews. While he and Mr. Brown walked, he said, Officer Wilson stopped his vehicle and told them to get on the sidewalk. When they refused, Officer Wilson slammed on his brakes and drove in reverse to get closer.
When the officer opened his door, it hit Mr. Brown. With his left hand, Officer Wilson reached out and grabbed Mr. Brown by the neck, Mr. Johnson said. “It’s like tug-of-war,” Mr. Johnson said. “He’s trying to pull him in. He’s pulling away, that’s when I heard, ‘I’m gonna shoot you.’ ”
A witness, Tiffany Mitchell, said in an interview with MSNBC that she heard tires squeal, then saw Mr. Brown and Officer Wilson “wrestling” through the open car window. A shot went off from within the car, Mr. Johnson said, and the two began to run away from the officer.
Mr. Johnson said that he hid behind a parked car and that Mr. Brown was struck by a bullet in his back as he ran away, an account that Dr. Baden’s autopsy appears to contradict.
“Michael’s body jerks as if he was hit,” Ms. Mitchell said, “and then he put his hands up.” Mr. Brown turned, Mr. Johnson said, raised his hands, and said, “I don’t have a gun, stop shooting!”
Officer Wilson continued to fire and Mr. Brown crumpled to the ground, Mr. Johnson said. Within seconds, confusion and horror swept through Canfield Drive. On that Saturday afternoon, dozens of neighbors were at home and rushed out of their apartments when they heard gunshots.
One person who claimed to witness the shooting began posting frantic messages on Twitter, written hastily with shorthand and grammatical errors, only two minutes after Officer Wilson approached Mr. Brown. At 12:03 p.m., the person, identified as @TheePharoah, a St. Louis-area rapper, wrote on Twitter that he had just seen someone die.
That same minute, he wrote, “Im about to hyperventilate.”
At 12:23 p.m., he wrote, “dude was running and the cops just saw him. I saw him die bruh.”
A 10-minute video posted on YouTube appeared to be taken on a cellphone by someone who identified himself as a neighbor. The video, which has collected more than 225,000 views, captures Mr. Brown’s body, the yellow police tape that marked off the crime scene and the residents standing behind it.
“They shot that boy ’cause they wanted to,” said one woman who can be heard on the video.
“They said he had his hands up and everything,” said the man taking the video, speaking to a neighbor.

Troy Davis

According to court documents, the conviction was based on the testimony of nine witnesses who identified Davis as the man who shot MacPhail in 1989. There was no physical evidence introduced in the trial and the murder weapon was never found.
Now, 19 years later, most of those witnesses are recanting their testimony, including four who appeared in court Wednesday.
"I was so scared I told them anything they wanted to hear," Jeffrey Sapp, a witness who fingered Davis as the shooter in the 1991 trail, said Wednesday in released testimony.
Sapp said in court Wednesday the police told him, "Just say Troy told you. Just say Troy told you." Other witnesses told similar stories Wednesday, as Davis fights for his life after sitting on death row for close to 20 years.
Kevin McQueen had testified in 1991 that Davis admitted killing MacPhail, yet now McQueen says there is simply "no truth" to his original testimony.
"He never told me nothing like this. ... He never confessed to shooting anybody to me," McQueen testified Wednesday.
Last year the Supreme Court, for the first time in 50 years, granted a writ of habeas corpus for a case filed directly to its docket rather than hearing an appeal from a lower court ruling.
The prosecution argued in 1991 that Davis was involved in an argument with several men near a Savannah bus station, and witnesses testified that Davis struck a man on the head with a handgun before fleeing the scene with another man, Sylvester Coles.
MacPhail, off-duty at the time, was working security at the bus station and witnessed the incident before giving chase to Coles and Davis. During the pursuit Davis allegedly shot MacPhail, and as MacPhail, 27, lay wounded on the ground Davis "stood over him, smiled and fired the final shot," court documents say.
During the trial, Davis maintained it was Coles who shot and killed MacPhail.
Coles, however, went to the police shortly after the shooting and according to court records implicated Davis as the shooter, while Davis fled the Savannah area and went to Atlanta.
Coles went on to be one of the prosecution's witnesses against Davis in the trial. Coles and one other man, Steve Sanders are the only two people who have not recanted testimony against Davis. Sanders' testimony identified Davis as the shooter, despite telling police originally he "would not recognize the shooter," court documents say.
Davis' defense argued during his trial that the Savannah police were given an immediate suspect in Davis, by Coles, and only pursued that angle, in part the defense argued because the police were motivated by "anger" with the death of an officer to have a quick trial.
In the years that followed, seven of those nine witnesses have recanted their testimony and some have allegedly claimed they were coerced by police to finger Davis as the shooter. Some even said in sworn affidavits that it was in fact Coles who shot MacPhail.
I told them what they wanted to hear," Darrell Collins said in recanting his originaly testimony Wednesday.
Collins was 16 at the time of the shooting, and according to court documents he was with Davis the night of the shooting. Collins told the court Wednesday that he was threatened by investigators to identify Davis as the shooter.
A similar story was told by Dorothy Farrel in 2000 affidavit. During the 1991 trial, Farrel told the court that she was "real sure" it was Davis she saw shoot the police officer.
In the sworn affidavit recanting her testimony, Farrel said, "From the way the officer was talking, he gave me the impression that I should say that Troy Davis was the one who shot the officer like the other witness [sic] had and I felt like I was just following the rest of the witnesses. I also felt like I had to cooperate with the officer because of my being on parole and I told the detective that Troy Davis was the shooter, even though the truth was that I didn't see who shot the officer."
Others who testified Wednesday included Charles Hargrove and Benjamin Gordon.
Hargrove told the court that Coles admitted to him that he let Davis take the fall for the crime, but Hargrove said he did not come forward out of fear due to outstanding arrest warrants.
Gordon said he witnessed Coles pull the trigger, but did not come forward because Coles was married to his cousin. However the prosecution cast doubt on their testimony and according to court transcripts their testimony was regarded as "hearsay" by the judge.
Davis' advocates realize that he still faces an uphill battle to prove he is not a cop killer.
"The bar has been set high. Troy Davis was asked to prove his innocence. Usually it's innocent untill proven guilty," Wendy Gozan Brown, of Amnesty International told ABC News.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

PA State Police: Hunting Evil! (GOT 'EM EDIT! 10/31/2014)

Eric Frein is a coward. He shot two Pennsylvania State Troopers. Cpl. Bryon Dickson is dead. The other, Alex Douglass was seriously injured. They were between shifts. On Sunday, an AK-47 style assault rifle and several magazines were found. He had been planning this attack for months or even years.

He has been spotted, but from too far away to actually catch him.

Those police officers weren't chasing him down for a crime when he aimed that gun. He wasn't defending himself. They were in uniform. Dickson was leaving the Barracks and Douglass was entering. He wanted to kill police officers.

He is a survivalist who has no real military experience. He's part of a military simulation unit in Pennsylvania. He is also a military re-enactor. His father is retired from the military. When someone is this obsessed with the military, they enlist themselves. I haven't seen anything published about it yet but I would guess that he tried to enlist but was rejected for some reason.

He has a traffic citation for driving a car without an inspection and was arrested for stealing things from a WWII re-enactment in New York. Why would he be so against Pennsylvania State Police if his big arrest was in New York? Perhaps that traffic citation effected his ability to enlist in the military. I doubt that though. There is more to his past then published. Why does he hate the Pennsylvania State Police? No one knows yet.

Why do I call him a coward? Because instead of solving his problems, he became a murderer. Instead of turning himself in, he is running and hiding. He spent his time planning to murder someone who is there to protect and serve the citizens of the state instead of using that time to work through his issues. Worst of all, he pointed that gun at two Police Officers that weren't aware a gun was being pointed at them.

I can't imagine the pain family, friends, and brothers in blue must feel right now. I am rooting for this coward to be caught. Let the good guys beat the bad guy! This hasn't left my mind since the shooting happened. I can't think of any encouraging words that seem strong enough. Maybe I don't need motivational words. Maybe all I can say is:

PA State Police: Hunt Evil............Catch Evil!!!


Evil turned himself in! Maybe now he can get the help he needs. Now top notch interrogators can get some answers! But there are two questions I have that I will probably never know the answers to.

1. Why didn't he get into the military?

2. What does he have against the PA State Police?

There must be a lot of relief in Pennsylvania right now! He was caught in an abandoned Pocono Airpark. He was surprised he was found but admitted who he was. He was taken away in the handcuffs of the trooper he killed! To me, that's PERFECT!!!

Friday, September 19, 2014

Unplanned September Garden

When I look at my Garden Layouts blog post I laugh. They are mostly different now. When I created them, I wanted the same thing each year. What I have discovered is that I like the surprises my garden has is store. There are certain flowers I always want around, but there are other things I have moved around.

I plant a lot of Mums in September. Mums only bloom for 4 - 6 weeks depending on how bloomed they are when you get them. If you buy them in full bloom you might only get two weeks from them. Because of that I tend to have a September Garden and an October Garden for my main garden. The October Garden will feature dark orange and dark red Mums. The September Garden features yellow Mums and Asters.

This Year

Last Year
I switched the Asters and Mums because the Asters don't last that long. Yellow is my favorite color and it's nice to have yellow Mums in the front on my birthday. The light purple Asters are 'Daydream' Asters and my favorite. Last year's 'Magic' Asters were pretty but I am still drawn to the 'Daydream'.

The decorations light up. They are in the front this year thanks to an extension cord I got last year for the Halloween decoration. That comes out in mid-October on our Anniversary. Not long after that, I get the cabbage. But for now, I start collecting Mums.

This year I have had a lot of unplanned things happen in the garden since the beginning. At first, it was frustrating. As I look around now, I smile at the unplanned. I am leaving space in my garden for these unplanned flowers in the future. It's not that I will plan to get something for this space. I'm just going to leave it open in case I get any more surprises.

Like the peppers. We get peppers for my parent's each year for their anniversary. But I have never gotten them before. The purple beaconed and when Zach asked for one, I couldn't resist. The Mums behind are the First Day of School Mums. They look like they will bloom pink based on the buds. I had no idea what the color would be when planted. I did the same thing last year and got pink too. Ironic how I didn't plan on the same color each year but it just happened.

I didn't plan on getting an extra Mum for myself on my birthday but I had gotten yellow earlier in the day when I couldn't find a mostly unbloomed dark red at one nursery. I ended up getting it later when Zach got his Mums. I like the Dark Red because it will go pretty far into October and the dark red looks great with the yellow Mums and orange and red Mums. It's a good thing I had a place for the yellow Mums from that morning!

It's one of the beautiful things about annuals, your garden changes each year. Perennials look the same each year. I have planted some of them this year too. Including "Walker's Low" Catmint and "Autumn Joy" Sedum. Articles in Fine Gardening inspired them. I thought September would be predictable for my garden. Apparently, I was wrong. GOOD!

Sedum 'Autumn Joy' It's a little darker pink now. It will get bigger. It's an excellent Fall blooming Perennial

Monday, September 08, 2014


Zach started school this past Thursday. Josh worked from home and the three of us walked to school. On the way there, we talked about what to expect. He arrived early enough to play on the playground. When it was close to the doors opening, we went over. They open the doors 15 minutes before school starts. For Thursday and Friday we met in the Cafeteria/Auditorium. There are a lot of parents we knew from High School. Zach knew a few kids from Tot Lot. He never cried and cheered up the one kid who was crying. As usual, he's great at making friends.

Today was the third day. He arrived early enough to play on the playground before school again. He got dressed quickly and quickly walked up the hill to get to school. I think the playground relaxes him before school. I'm not looking forward to the cold weather when he can't play first. Today, the kids entered the school alone. In a sea of taller kids I watched my big boy wave goodbye and smile while saying "Bye, Mom, I'll see you later."

I have planted a bunch of flowers in the first three days of school. I have enjoyed being able to walk to get a bunch of errands done. I miss him, but I appreciate the four hours I get for myself. He misses me but is enjoying making friends. I have made some parent friends too.

Last week Zach and I both felt anxious but excited about Kindergarten. That's typical. He's a great student so far. His "About Me" wheel is due by Wednesday's open house but was turned in on Friday. He brought in a donated tissue box. All of the paperwork required from the parents have been handed in. He had everything he needed for the first day neatly organized and easy to find in his backpack.

Today provided the memory that very well might stick with me forever. It was finally cool enough to walk home from school. He ended up walking with N home. N was the friend I talked about in the post "We Will Still Be, Friends Forever". Watching them walk home was wonderful! I like all of the kids Zach has made friends with. I hope he remains friends with ALL of them through High School and beyond!

Today Zach has a little Math homework. When he's done with lunch, we will go do it. I want to teach him good work habits. If they become a reflex now, it's how he'll work best when he's older. He looks like a big kid now. I offer him more freedom as he shows he is responsible enough for it.

Tuesday, September 02, 2014

Eating Habits Of The Poor

I have read a lot of articles lately about the poor eating habits of the poor. The most common recommendation seems to be "grow your own veggies". I think the following when I see that:

1. Fire escapes are to save lives in a fire. They need to be clear enough for everyone to move around on as they wait to climb down the ladder. You can't do that with pots of veggies out there. Most veggies get really big like tomatoes or peppers. They can't fit out there. While I did have a friend grow tomatoes in her trunk when she was living in her car, that's not a reasonable option for most people. They simply need that space.

2. There is a limited growing season for veggies. What are they supposed to do in the off season?

Soup Kitchens and Food Pantries help but they rely on food donations. They are also less likely to get fresh foods because of how quickly they go bad. The donated food is more likely to be the same canned and boxed stuff we are told to stay away from.

The studies all state the obvious...............poor people eat a lot of fast food. Well, duh! We feed all three of us at Burger King for between $13 and $14. It's one of our Friday night take out options. Here is the average cost of a cooked meal:

Pasta Salad: $4.06

Roasted Peppers - 2 nights $3.69 or $1.85 a night
Artichokes - 2 nights $1.89 or $0.95 a night
Small Container olives - 2 nights $0.99 or $0.50 a night
Oil - $3.79 a container or about $0.04 a night
Vinegar - $2.99 a container about or $0.15 for the one night
Garlic Powder - $8.99 a container or about $0.22 for the pasta for one night
Pasta - $1.39 a box or $0.35 a night


London Broil - $7.98 (sale price just enough for one meal, no leftovers)
Oil - $0.04
Garlic Powder - $0.22
Total: $8.24


Chicken - $12.92 for 2 nights $6.46 a night
Oil - $0.04
Bread Crumbs - $2.39 a container about $0.80 a night
Eggs - $2.29 a carton or $0.76 a night
Flour - about $3.50 about 10 nights is $0.35 a night
Salsa - $2.49 a container or $1.25 a night
*It's been a while since we've needed flour. I have been using receipts for the other prices but this is an estimate. I dip the chicken in the flour, egg, and bread crumbs. It's hard to estimate how much I actually use. We also use lemon juice but it's possible to use just salsa OR lemon juice. Lemon's won't be that much cheaper since you need about 2 lemons for the one meal. It's probably close in cost.
Total: $9.66


Lettuce - $1.29

We have a few veggies with lunch so we only have lettuce at dinner. Most of the time I don't bother making veggies with dinner. It doesn't matter WHEN the veggies get eaten, only that they are eaten. I'll use the lettuce for a veggie reference but the cost of veggies vary significantly. The Red Leaf lettuce is $1.29 a pound. I'll use that for an estimated cost.

Total Cost of Dinner:

London Broil: $13.59
Chicken: $15

It costs the same for us to cook as it is to eat at Burger King. This didn't include the cost of electricity. We assume everyone can afford electricity but that's not the case. Some people don't have power to use to cook. You can't cook these meals if you live in your car or on the street. If you add the cost of electricity and dish soap, they cost MORE then Burger King.

Too often we focus on the meals themselves and forget about the other expenses that go into making the meals. Power for the stove, power for the lights to see when cooking, and dish soap to clean up afterwards, these are all things that are automatic for most people. But when every penny counts, those are pennies you think about when making decisions.

A lot of poor people skip meals too. The extra calories from unhealthy meals might help with the missed calories from a skipped breakfast. Especially since most poor people have labor-intensive jobs! This is why there is such a big push to raise the minimum wage. It's not about being able to afford more or better STUFF. It's about being able to afford to live healthier. When you don't have to worry about if you can pay the electric bill, you ARE more likely to cook meals like this at home. It might be a small difference when ALL expenses are considered, BUT you save a lot more in health expenses.

To me it seems that some people just want poor people to die. It doesn't matter to them if it's from a curable disease or hunger. Poor people aren't "too lazy to work". They are the ones not getting paid enough to live off of. They are the first to get laid off and in the fields that are less likely to need employees. Don't make assumptions about someone just from what you see.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Life With OCD, GAD, and PMDD

I have OCD, GAD, PMDD, and sometimes Depression. All have been diagnosed by my Psychologist.

I find when I tell people I have OCD I get the following responses:

1. EVERYONE has that.
2. I have that too.
3. No, you don't.

When I tell people I have GAD (General Anxiety Disorder) I get the following responses:

1. Get over it.
2. You're not anxious and scared; you're just lazy.
3. Everyone is scared of something

I don't tell people I have PMDD (Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder). If I did, I suspect there would be a lot of comments along the lines of:

No, you don't you're just using that as an excuse for your mood swings.

As I have mentioned before, I get Depression sometimes. It's not feeling sad and calling it Depression. It's actual Depression. This goes back to that one comment "Everyone has that". Yes, a lot of people have each of these four things. But not everyone. For those of us that actually have these disorders, it's offensive when someone who clearly doesn't have that disorder either says they do or that you don't. Actual Psychologists and Psychiatrists don't say these things. Actual Psychologists and Psychiatrists say:

1. We'll work together to make it easier to manage.
2. Do you have a strong support system?
3. How does it effect your life?

With OCD most people think two things:

1. If you like things really clean, you must have OCD
2. OCD is turning the lights off and on 50 times before entering and leaving a room

The second one is closer to reality but the actions involved vary for everyone with the actual problem. In my case, there are a lot of things that have to be a certain way or it gets me too frazzled to do a lot of things the right way. Routine keeps me sane. I can't function properly if the routine is thrown off too much. These compulsions are too important to my life. My biggest obsessions include: Gardening, Season Themes, Month Themes, Decorations, Zach, and Cooking. If a decoration is even an inch out of place, I literally can't think of anything else until it's been moved back to a nice and neat pattern. I physically shake until it's fixed. That is OCD.

What is Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD)?

Everyone double checks things sometimes. For example, you might double check to make sure the stove or iron is turned off before leaving the house. But people with obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) feel the need to check things repeatedly, or have certain thoughts or perform routines and rituals over and over. The thoughts and rituals associated with OCD cause distress and get in the way of daily life.

The frequent upsetting thoughts are called obsessions. To try to control them, a person will feel an overwhelming urge to repeat certain rituals or behaviors called compulsions. People with OCD can't control these obsessions and compulsions. Most of the time, the rituals end up controlling them.
For example, if people are obsessed with germs or dirt, they may develop a compulsion to wash their hands over and over again. If they develop an obsession with intruders, they may lock and relock their doors many times before going to bed. Being afraid of social embarrassment may prompt people with OCD to comb their hair compulsively in front of a mirror-sometimes they get “caught” in the mirror and can’t move away from it. Performing such rituals is not pleasurable. At best, it produces temporary relief from the anxiety created by obsessive thoughts.

Other common rituals are a need to repeatedly check things, touch things (especially in a particular sequence), or count things. Some common obsessions include having frequent thoughts of violence and harming loved ones, persistently thinking about performing sexual acts the person dislikes, or having thoughts that are prohibited by religious beliefs. People with OCD may also be preoccupied with order and symmetry, have difficulty throwing things out (so they accumulate), or hoard unneeded items.

Healthy people also have rituals, such as checking to see if the stove is off several times before leaving the house. The difference is that people with OCD perform their rituals even though doing so interferes with daily life and they find the repetition distressing. Although most adults with OCD recognize that what they are doing is senseless, some adults and most children may not realize that their behavior is out of the ordinary.

Signs & Symptoms

People with OCD generally:
  • Have repeated thoughts or images about many different things, such as fear of germs, dirt, or intruders; acts of violence; hurting loved ones; sexual acts; conflicts with religious beliefs; or being overly tidy
  • Do the same rituals over and over such as washing hands, locking and unlocking doors, counting, keeping unneeded items, or repeating the same steps again and again
  • Can't control the unwanted thoughts and behaviors
  • Don't get pleasure when performing the behaviors or rituals, but get brief relief from the anxiety the thoughts cause. Actually, for most of my obsessions I DO get pleasure when performing them or thinking about my obsessions. But that's because of what my obsessions are mostly about. The obsessions that are about violence I file under "GAD"
  • Spend at least 1 hour a day on the thoughts and rituals, which cause distress and get in the way of daily life.

As for my GAD, I'm not just scared of one or two things. I'm scared of many things. It becomes severe enough to be General Anxiety Disorder if you have a lot of fears and they interfere with your life. My biggest fear is a fear of heights. I can't get to most second floors. It prevents me from doing a lot of things. At one point, during my first episode of Depression, I couldn't even leave the house because of my fear of dogs.

I have a lot of fears. I worked on that fear of heights for 21 years. Zach was born on the 3rd floor. But I had limitations there too. Like I couldn't have the bed by the window and the windows always had to be closed. The hospital was very accommodating with that. After Zach was born, I told my fantastic Psychologist that I give up on that one. I'm mostly not scared of dogs anymore but at a certain point some fears are not going away.

I wake up every night at least twice. My mind never shuts off. There are times I have panic attacks even if I'm not doing anything. I mean that literally. Once, I took a walk and then laid down. I didn't encounter anything unusual or scary on the walk. Yet a panic attack hit.

What Is Generalized Anxiety Disorder?

“I always thought I was just a worrier. I’d feel keyed up and unable to relax. At times it would come and go, and at times it would be constant. It could go on for days. I’d worry about what I was going to fix for a dinner party, or what would be a great present for somebody. I just couldn’t let something go.”
“I’d have terrible sleeping problems. There were times I’d wake up wired in the middle of the night. I had trouble concentrating, even reading the newspaper or a novel. Sometimes I’d feel a little lightheaded. My heart would race or pound. And that would make me worry more. I was always imagining things were worse than they really were. When I got a stomachache, I’d think it was an ulcer.”
“I was worried all the time about everything. It didn't matter that there were no signs of problems, I just got upset. I was having trouble falling asleep at night, and I couldn't keep my mind focused at work. I felt angry at my family all the time.”

All of us worry about things like health, money, or family problems. But people with generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) are extremely worried about these and many other things, even when there is little or no reason to worry about them. They are very anxious about just getting through the day. They think things will always go badly. At times, worrying keeps people with GAD from doing everyday tasks.

Signs & Symptoms

People with GAD can’t seem to get rid of their concerns, even though they usually realize that their anxiety is more intense than the situation warrants. They can’t relax, startle easily, and have difficulty concentrating. Often they have trouble falling asleep or staying asleep. Physical symptoms that often accompany the anxiety include fatigue, headaches, muscle tension, muscle aches, difficulty swallowing, trembling, twitching, irritability, sweating, nausea, lightheadedness, having to go to the bathroom frequently, feeling out of breath, and hot flashes.

GAD develops slowly. It often starts during the teen years or young adulthood. Symptoms may get better or worse at different times, and often are worse during times of stress.

When their anxiety level is mild, people with GAD can function socially and hold down a job. Although they don’t avoid certain situations as a result of their disorder, people with GAD can have difficulty carrying out the simplest daily activities if their anxiety is severe.

And there it is "people with GAD can have difficulty carrying out the simplest daily activities if their anxiety is severe." People don't believe me when I say I am a Stay At Home Mom to control my anxiety. Because it's not visible, they think I'm just too lazy to work. But it's very real that this anxiety is severe. I am home for a medical reason. Keeping stress low means I can function properly. THAT'S why I'm a SAHM. I'm tired of telling people I am home to control my anxiety and having them ask when I will be going back to work. I won't be. I have a lot of reasons why I won't be. But the biggest reason why I won't be is because of my health. They need to start listening to me and taking me seriously. Because this is very real. I know the people who actually love me based on how they act about my being a SAHM to manage my anxiety. Fears and worries need to be taken more seriously. It makes things worse for the person with it when it's not.

There's PMS and then there's PMDD. How do you know which one you have? Take this quiz:

I got 99 out of 100. But my PMDD was diagnosed by my OBGYN and Psychologist.

It's basically ultra PMS. I suspect it's like menopause for most women in severity. Oddly, my mood swings mostly calmed down when I was pregnant. Usually, it gets worse during pregnancy. Josh knows that I mean what I am saying just not as strongly as I am saying it. It's easier to manage on a regular month but when I have an unusual week it's very severe.

Premenstrual dysphoric disorder

PMDD; Severe PMS
Last reviewed: November 8, 2012.
Premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD) is a condition in which a woman has severe depression symptoms, irritability, and tension before menstruation. The symptoms of PMDD are more severe than those seen with premenstrual syndrome (PMS).
PMS refers to a wide range of physical or emotional symptoms that typically occur about 5-11 days before a woman starts her monthly menstrual cycle. The symptoms usually stop when, or shortly after, her period begins.


The symptoms of PMDD are similar to those of PMS. However, they are generally more severe and debilitating and include a least one mood-related symptom. Symptoms occur during the week just before menstrual bleeding and usually improve within a few days after the period starts.
Five or more of the following symptoms must be present to diagnose PMDD, including one mood-related symptom:
  • No interest in daily activities and relationships
  • Fatigue or low energy
  • Feeling of sadness or hopelessness, possible suicidal thoughts
  • Feelings of tension or anxiety
  • Feeling out of control
  • Food cravings or binge eating
  • Mood swings with periods of crying
  • Panic attacks
  • Irritability or anger that affects other people
  • Physical symptoms, such as bloating, breast tenderness, headaches, and joint or muscle pain
  • Problems sleeping
  • Trouble concentrating

These are all related to hormonal imbalances. Basically, my mental hormones aren't balanced and that means a lot of things. I'm not a danger to myself or others. Most people with one of these four things have at least one more.

I have had severe enough problems when life seemed too difficult to manage. My Mom had considered taking me for emergency care but never has. But my parents and Josh do provide the support I need.

I had a rough week last week and couldn't handle the stress. With Friday's breakdown, that meant my parents took Zach overnight even though I never asked for help. I heavily expressed my gratitude for that. That's the support I really needed. Josh was able to take care of me and help me through my rough patch. I'm still recovering, but because I had the right support, I am recovering quickly from the worst of it.

But it will always be there. It's just a matter of severity level at any given time. My parents and Josh don't say those things I listed in the beginning. They talk like the Psychologists. They understand what I am experiencing and love me enough to help me where I need it. It's rare that I need that kind of care. Most of the time, I can manage my needs on my own. But there are times when I need help. That's true for anyone with these disorders.