Friday, May 31, 2013

Letting Go

Recently, I was at a gathering with some people I haven't seen in over 18 years.  One of the women there, a lovely, elderly, soft-spoken soul was there, sitting on a sofa.  I purposely avoided making eye contact with her and busied myself at the buffet.

As the afternoon passed it was inevitable she would notice me and finally she did.  She started by telling me how good it was to see me after all this time.  She spoke of the time I took a leave of absence to take care of my mother when she was dying.  This woman was all lightness and joy, telling me about her retirement and her grandchildren.

I hesitated to bring up the thing that was bothering me so much, but I mustered up some guts and did.  I had known, after a merger the company we had worked for was going through, that this kind lady's job was getting axed.  I was in a position of knowing a lot of top-level information and also being obligated to secrecy.  When the merger was first announced, my co-worker was over joyed and had many plans on how to integrate her department with the other company's sister department and the like.  My boss, the department vice-president, had me working on org charts, salary reports, and other data driven mapping for the future, with little regard for the human casualties.

Day after day, my doomed friend would stop and ask me about my day, invite me out with her group for happy hour, or simply chat over a cup of tea.  I felt like the underside of a shoe that had been afflicted with the lowest levels of whale shit.

At the party, I said to her, "I am sorry I never said anything about your job being in jeopardy after the merger.  This is no excuse but I was young and hadn't developed the sense of when to employ discretion and when to listen to loyalty."

She looked at me and took my hand and said, "No, no, no. You did me a favor.  I took some time off, started a company, had grandchildren, closed my company, traveled.  Every experience in life is an opportunity."

I felt like a six ton weight of guilt I held on to for 18 years being lifted.  I was free.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Lost in the Supermarket

WordNerdGirl gives us a prompt after our long holiday weekend: "After-a-long-weekend prompt: Write 3-5 lines that start with, 'Right now, I would much rather be...'"

I took the spirit of the prompt and got what I got, below.

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With military-like precision, the collectors stood in row after unwavering row.  Patiently (mostly) waiting to pay tribute to the one who could release them from their detainment and send them on their way home.  Muzak, tunes from their former days, turned into ceaseless, tuneless monotone jingles playing as the waiting continued.  Some of the collectors had brought their young with them.  These collectors were perhaps the most miserable of all.  Their mission had been punctuated with unnecessary items added to the bounty, some added by subterfuge, some added after protracted bargaining.

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That is all I could come up with for today.  I am suffering a terrible head cold (yea Spring).  I know when I am at the supermarket I always think of places and things I would much rather be...

Monday, May 27, 2013

Beauty Crowds Me Till I Die

Prompt from Creative Writing Prompts:  "Wax some poetics and take your cue from Emily Dickinson.  Start your poem with the line 'beauty crowds me till I die'". (prompt #335)

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Beauty crowds me till I die
upon entering the palace of marble floors, mirrored walls and glass cases.


Proffering their wares to the masses
in an unholy cathedral.


A heady swirl of fragrances
dispensed by painted ladies
in medical attire wrap me in their cloak of jasmine, vanilla and desperation.

The dazzling lights reflect upon their whitened enamel
and their soulless eyes.

Beauty crowds me until I die
gasping for relief.

- Jenn Mossholder, 31 and 3 Productions


Thursday, May 23, 2013

Labradoodle, Labor Doula

From WordNerdGirl: "Today's Prompt: Write 3-5 lines about a small thing someone did that was meaningful to you. Who did it? What'd they do? Why'd it matter?"

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My first client as a labor doula was a pro bono situation.  In order to become a Certified Labor Doula from Childbirth and Postpartum Professional Association (CAPPA)  I had to attend three births and get three references from each birth (the doctor/midwife, a nurse and the client).

"E" was an interesting mom-to-be. She was a first timer; young, funny, whip smart and about 6 feet tall.  (For mental illustrative purposes, I am five feet, two inches; we were an odd couple.)  I first met "E" through a "crisis pregnancy center", ie: a place where they talk you out of abortions.  A lot of new doulas advertise their services everywhere to "get" those three births.  While I am pro-choice, I am also pro-getting-employed.  Her boyfriend was "S"; short, stout, white, looked like Barney Rubble.  We were an odd trio at the local hospital where "E" was giving birth.

Needless to say, attending my first birth was a heady mix of wonder, awe, and excitement.  I was up for 2 days straight with little sleep and loads of coffee but remained "in the zone".  I, at times, felt like there was a lot of doing nothing and then a lot of supporting.  Labor is an ebb and flow situation as it is.  I was slightly nervous about the hospital staff; in training you would hear horror stories of nurses and doctors versus doulas, thinking we're all nosy, interfering, bored housewife, birth junkie, vegetarians.  While I am, to this day, a leg shaving, meat eating, medicine is a good tool used properly in birth kind of doula, I tried very hard to tiptoe around the hospital staff.  I even brought Dunkin' Donuts to the Nurses' Station on the maternity floor.

When all was said and done, "E" and "S" had a new daughter, "J".  Perfect and round, completely healthy.  I received the following "endorsement" from "E" for my certification packet:

"Jennifer Mossholder is a wonderful, caring, sincere doula coach.  I am more than happy that I got in contact with her.  I don't know what I would have done if Jennifer was not at my labor to support my partner and I.  She spent hours on hours at the hospital with me.  Took my hand and held me through every contraction.  Any expecting mother who gets Jennifer as a doula is getting more than a coach, they are getting a friend."

I was bowled over.  I use this reference to this day; not only for new clients looking for a reference, but a reference for myself, my own self esteem when I think I am doing everything wrong.  Validation is as necessary as air.

EDIT:

Here is the doctor's review of me from that same birth:

"I initially thought she was a knowledgeable family member because she had such a good rapport with the patient and her husband.  This patient in particular benefited greatly from her presence."



Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Rhymes With Orange




Saw the above photo on a tumblr site and it inspired the following:



Arms glistening with sweat of labor
Rolling the ball from fingertips into hoop
Its descent echoing the star,
Shining,
Setting,
Over Barnegat Bay


- Jenn Mossholder, 31 and 3 Productions

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Help Miranda Kick It To Cancer

This is a total cut and paste post today, folks.  A local teenanger has been battling bone cancer for four years now.  Miranda and her family are strong, resilient people but they need our help.  Below is a cut and paste from an IndieGoGo Campaign to raise funds to assist this family through their journey.  Thank you for reading!

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MIRANDA'S STORY

Seventeen-year-old Miranda has been battling Osteosarcoma, a rare and aggressive bone cancer, since she was 12 years old. She is truly one of the strongest and most courageous individuals I have ever met.   

I was blessed to meet Miranda through a wonderful actress, Tara Strong, who had worked with her on a movie through the Make-a-Wish Foundation.  After hearing about Miranda's passion for singing and voiceover work, I cast her in an animated movie that I was producing.  I was completely taken with her incredible spirit.  Miranda is wise beyond her years and has a wicked sense of humor despite everything she’s been through. 

Recently, Miranda learned that her cancer has recurred -- in her spine, chest and kidney. Her doctors at her local hospital in Wilmington said there was nothing more they could do except relieve some of the pain. Miranda told them that if that's the best they can do, she would go somewhere else that offered hope. 

Miranda and her family decided to go to M.D. Anderson Cancer Clinic in Houston where the doctors have not only offered her a treatment plan, but also... HOPE.

Miranda just completed the first phase of her treatment, which involved surgery to remove the majority of the tumor from her spine. With her typical indomitable spirit, Miranda was soon up and walking, and convinced her doctor to discharge her for a week so that she can attend her high school prom. Miranda will return to Houston May 20th to undergo chemotherapy, radiation and additional surgery. 

I love Miranda and pray everyday that she will live a full life and realize all of her dreams. She is my hero.

Faith is beautiful...

 

THE GOAL

Our goal is to raise $50,000 to help cover the many treatment expenses not covered by insurance. 

Although money doesn't cure cancer, your donations will give Miranda and her family the support and encouragement to pursue the best possible treatment. It will also give them a break from the constant financial stress they have been under. (Miranda’s Mom, Diane, is attending nursing school so that she will be able to help support the family.)

Every donation helps. Every single dollar counts. Please share this story so that it reaches as many people as possible. 

With deep gratitude for your support, generosity and caring...

Elizabeth Daro and the “Cancer Doesn't Rule Miranda” team!

 

A LITTLE BIT MORE ABOUT MIRANDA....

  • She is the beloved (and occasionally tormenting) big sister to Rebecca and Matthew.
  • She sang practically from the moment she was born.
  • She’s like super smart.
  • She’s a chocoholic.
  • She has a brown belt in Tae Kwon Do.
  • One of her goals is to teach self-defense to battered women.
  • When getting her driver’s license (and still bald) she wondered if she should put “clear” for hair color.
  • She’s had voiceover roles in two animated movies, Twinkle Toes and Barbie: Princess Charm School.
  • She has a mega metal prosthesis where the doctors removed part of her leg bone.
  • She named her IV pole, Lindsay.
  • Cancer doesn’t rule her! 
 

From Miranda's Mother's (Diane) Journal...

Miranda has grown into a person that I admire. She has developed character, grace and strength. Of course, she has caused me more worry than one parent should ever have, but I would not change a thing.

I have learned a lot from Miranda. Every day when I think about what she has gone through and what she has accomplished, I think to myself that she is an amazing young woman. Few of us could walk her walk with such grace!

Fighting cancer is hard, emotionally and physically.  I don't know why cancer has decided to get ahold of my daughter again, and I certainly don't know why it had to grab her this hard.  This is her last chance, her last effort to have a life.  And she wants this life, here on earth for a while longer with her friends, and family.  She would like to do normal things, like have a boyfriend, and someday have a family.  She wants to go to college and go to a prom. She'd love to take a trip for fun.  She wants to look cool in her clothes.  She wants to feel whole and not sick.  She wants to know what God's plan is for her and what he has left for her to do.  She wants to hang out, go to movies, shop, and laugh. So many things that are taken for granted that Miranda has not experienced.

I want to help my daughter have the chance to live, because she wants to try.  I will need help with this, so I am very grateful for every person that has offered.  

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CLICK HERE TO HELP!

Friday, May 17, 2013

Ubercrummie

I am sure by now most of you have been tuned into the drama that is Abercrombie & Fitch.  Their CEO, a darling of man named Michael Jeffries, when questioned about not offering sizes larger than "Large" offered this public relations nightmare of a reason: "We go after the attractive all-American kid with a great attitude and a lot of friends.  A lot of people don't belong [in our clothes], and they can't belong. Are we exclusionary? Absolutely."

Does Mr. Jeffries have the right to offer the sizes he wants in his store?  Is this all not a public relations gaffe but one that is brilliant in its offense?  Who doesn't want exclusivity?  When you're in high school and Jenny who is a size "0" (what the hell is a "0" anyway?) and Mary who is a size "14" come in wearing the same $38 t-shirt emblazoned with a company logo who would you rather emulate?

I am not in the business of thin bashing (although my previous remarks on a size "0" say otherwise) or fat shaming.  We are the size we are.  I am bashing the Machiavellian Marketing of Jeffries and the Stupidity of the average teenaged shopper.  Paying $38 for the privilege of advertising a clothing company across your boobs is insanity.

I was a teenager once, despite what my daughters believe.  Our Summer fashion crisis were shirts from Banana Republic that had their logo and an exotic animal sketched on the back.  Each month a new animal shirt was "released" for purchase.  Girls would flock to the then tiny store at the local mall and compare who had what animal.  If my weary mind serves me correctly the shirts sold for about $10.  Needless to say I did not own one.  My mother offered the same argument I am laying out here:  why are you paying to advertise for a company?  This is not a sour grapes essay, by the by, did I envy those girls?  Sure.  Then it wasn't a "size-ism" issue, it was a financial divide the clothing company was creating.

A&F does both and does both brilliantly.  Most sane parents would look at a blue t-shirt, whatever the saying or logo, and scoff at paying $38.  The fact these items now don't go beyond a "large" (I am guessing an approximate size of 8/10) creates a new layer of divisiveness.

Some interesting things have been born of this story, namely a college student, Greg Karper, made hay of Jeffries 2006 interview (weird how this is coming to light 7 years later) and created a YouTube video gone viral.  Karper's campaign against A&F includes donating all of the brands' items to the homeless.  On the surface, donating gently used clothing to the homeless is an Awesome Thing To Do.  One could make the argument the cool kids only get to wear A&F but now also do dirty, grimy, underfed homeless people do too.

Taking clothing discards as part of a social/political campaign and giving them to the discards of society, well that doesn't sit too well in my stomach.  Why?  It is the intent behind the action.  It turns, what could be a feel good action of donating to the less fortunate into a sideshow of sorts.  Remember the story early last year about the South by Southwest Festival using the homeless as WiFi hotspots?  Oh, well the homeless are sitting there doing nothing anyway, why not use a human, a human being, as an inanimate object useful to the not unfortunate masses?

In the end, Jeffries and Karper come out winners for their causes.

"There is no such thing as bad publicity" - P.T. Barnum

Monday, May 13, 2013

Horoscope for May 13

Today's WNG writing prompt: Rewrite your horoscope for opposite day. If you have time when you're done, work that up into a poem or use it to jump into another 3-5 line paragraph. No pressure.


From Horoscope.com:

You generally enjoy your dreams, Cancer, both the dreaming process and analyzing them later. But tonight you might have too many to keep track of. While you will probably recall the most significant ones, it may be frustrating if you forget any of them. This might be the day to start a dream diary, if you don't have one. Have fun!

Me:

Your life is an unending series of nightmares.  There are too many to remember and record but they are there haunting your subconscious night after night without end.  Today may be the day you call up a therapist.


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From The California Astrology Association:

This is an excellent time to begin a new business enterprise or any new venture. You have the drive and courage to make your vision a reality. You feel great physically, and your confidence and optimism are high, so whatever you attempt now is likely to succeed.

Me:

Keep your head down at work this week and your nose to the grindstone.  Your continued fear and lack of imagination will ensure your employment in middle management for years to come.  Expect your ulcer to act up but do not expect to get a doctor's appointment for at least two weeks.  Everything you touch turns to shit.


###


From Cafe` Astrology:

Today, you may be playing a supportive role to someone, but you could be feeling taken advantage of. Unwittingly today, you might reveal a secret or too much information. Otherwise, it's a good day for all things creative and for imaginative undertakings. You may be a tad withdrawn now, and possibly quite sensitive, so try not to schedule activities that require competitive or demanding energies. The Moon does enter your sign this morning, and this brings emotions to the surface as well as more visibility (others take note).

Me:

Today, others will be lifting you up and cheering you on.  People place their faith and trust in your discretion.  Today will be a good day to utilize your logic and practicality.  Go out for Happy Hour with your co-workers and have a carousing good time.  You will party into the wee hours with little repercussions.  The Sun is shining on you today.


Thursday, May 9, 2013

Monster in the Room

The creature slowly turned its thick, green neck from side to side, its scales scraping against one another making a terrifyingly musical sound.  The child cowered behind the water heater, not daring to breathe, blink or cry.  The boy's shoulders were barely broad enough to fill out the shirt he wore, much less broad enough to have the fate of humanity rest so heavily upon them.

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Our friend Julie over at Word Nerd Girl has provided a quick prompt for us today.  She writes, " A monster walks into the room where you’re reading this right now. Write 3-5 lines of a poem or paragraph about what happens next."

Above is my less than three minute paragraph.  Writing, even a tiny bit, a rough paragraph, everyday keeps your creative chi flowing.  Is it a perfect 3 sentences?  No, but it can be improved and expanded as I wish.

Happy writing!

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Writing Prompts!

I have been looking for things to inspire me to write more frequently.  Not just participating in NaPoWriMo or sharing snippets of my life, but a chance to stretch my writing skills a little.

There are a ton of sites out there offering prompts and projects; the one that spoke to me the most was this tumblr site, http://writingprompts.tumblr.com/.  Check it out!

Hopefully I will have time this week to try my hand at one of them.

Read, write, share, enjoy!

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Crack

Today is my mom's birthday.

Today was my mom's birthday.

Past tense, present tense, when do we stop using the present tense to speak of those who have passed?

My mom died from lung cancer five days after I turned 24.  Those five months from diagnosis to death were agonizingly long and brief.  Anyone who has had a loved one go through the special hell that cancer is knows of what I speak.

May is always a hard month for me:  my wedding anniversary is the first, my mom's birthday is the fifth, and Mothers' Day, the worst holiday ever conceived, follows shortly thereafter.

You would think after 16 years I would be getting Better At This.  I have in many ways, in others I have not.

Today I will share with you a heartbreakingly funny story from her last day at the hospital.  I was getting her discharged so she could die at home, with as much dignity as death allows.  Her husband and my brother had gone to fetch the car from the lot and I was helping her use the bathroom and get dressed.

This was June.  I had yet to cry a single tear over this situation; my stoic self would like to attribute it to there was so use in expending tears over a terminal situation.  Maybe my emotional self was in shock.  At 23 (2 weeks before her death and my birthday) we, as many mothers and daughters, had just started to get along again after those long, dark, dramatic teen-aged years.

My mother, barely five feet tall and barely eighty pounds at this juncture, is perched atop the toilet.  I am crouched between her knees, making sure she doesn't fall over or have another stroke.  She is silent, as the most recent series of strokes have robbed her of her speech.  I look up into her eyes and I waver.

"Mom", I say, "When I was little and very angry with you I would go out front on the pavement and stomp on all the cracks hoping to hurt you.  Ma, I am so, so sorry for trying to hurt you."

She cautiously reached out and stroked my hair and I cried for us both.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

All's quiet on the poetry front...

Aside from NaPoWriMo concluding and the gorgeous Spring Pennsylvania is (finally) having I have not been blogging.  I also started a book club (in my spare time) ;)

I started taking kickboxing.  (This is not about to turn into a weight loss/health blog - I hate them.)  I do want to share my story a little though.

I was always always always the underweight skinny kid.  I barely broke 100 pounds in High School even with all the Aqua Net.  I am 5'2" and have a fairly small frame.

Fast forward to 2013, I have had two pregnancies resulting in four daughters, my eating habits never changed from my 20's and, well, now you have a woman who is wearing a size she never thought she would.  Seeing a reflection that is alien.  That is purely aesthetics, I guess.

My daughters are really rather precious to me and I don't want them to be without me or get the wrong message about diet and exercise.  I am changing my language to "healthy" versus "thin".

I never exercised when I was younger because I didn't have to.  Working out was to lose weight, not stay/become healthy.  Well, now I am overweight and becoming unhealthy.  I have 5 bulging discs in my spine, fibromyalgia, and today I received the gift of a blood pressure medication.

I need to get serious.

I have, in the past two weeks, started to take, of all things, kickboxing.  If you knew me, this is quite a hilarious picture.  I am sore.  I am sweaty.  I am unhappy.

However, I am unhappier that I weigh too much, which is causing my hypertension and the joint pain to be worse.  I am becoming motivated.  It is tough work and the class is so intense I pretty much don't care I am dripping sweat, huffing and puffing and beating the crap out of a canvas target.

I have been going back.  I have poor follow through when it comes to "exercise".  I hate to say, for fear of jinxing myself, but I think I may like the class.  I have a brain that never shuts off.  I have no choice in this class BUT to think about breathing and punching.  That is all I am able to keep in my noggin.  There is no room in there for anything else when I am there.

I hope I stay with it or find another activity to guide me to health and the body I want.

Led Zep I

When I was 13 I went through a pretty heavy Led Zeppelin phase.  Bought all the vinyl I could and when I was out of funds, I would rent the records from the local library.  With the nice weather lately, I have been out getting my vegetable garden ready for Spring and Summer and have been listening to some tunes.  One of the selections has been "Led Zeppelin I".  I no longer own a turntable and all of the vinyl I do have are my mother's old 45s collection.  I could blather on how I miss the scratchy record sounds and skips, but this is poetry entry, of sorts.

I noticed that all the first lines in "LZI" are a type of love/hate/lust poem when combined into one grouping.  So, mostly from my memory, I compiled them here, below, and present them to you as a poem, even though we are done with NaPoWriMo for the year.



Led Zeppelin I -

In the days of my youth, I was told what it means to be a man.
Babe, baby, baby, I'm gonna leave you.
You know you shook me, you shook me all night long.
Been dazed and confused for so long it's not true.
Lyin', cheatin', hurtin, That's all you seem to do.
Hey, girl, stop what you're doin'!
I, I can't quit you, baby
So I'm gonna put you down for a while
How many more times, treat me the way you wanna do?
How many more times, treat me the way you wanna do?
When I give you all my love, please, please be true.

First Lines Poem (all materials are attributed to the band and are not my original work)


Wednesday, May 1, 2013