No Regrets, Kid.

Today would have been my Dad’s 54th birthday.

Sometimes I think birthdays are the hardest days. This day is supposed to be all about him.

In my house, we never celebrated birthdays, as they were ‘just another day,’ and ‘overly marketed by corporations to sell things you don’t really need.’

Since he died, all I want to do is celebrate his birthday.

Go back in time, and give him some great birthday parties to remember.

Go buy him a really awesome laser scope or rain meter or something weird that only he could enjoy. Something to make him feel like he was remembered and special and show him how much he meant to me.

But we never had one of those birthdays for him, and we never will.

I think that’s the saddest part of all.

Even studying grief and death…it doesn’t make it any easier. It just gives you tools to better cope. I still find myself having the instinct and thought to give him a call sometimes and tell him something ridiculous–and then when I remember I can’t…

I lay in bed at night sometimes and all I can see is him laying lifeless and cold in a wooden box.

And the boots on his feet.

The boots he built his dream home with.

He had more plans for those boots.

When I look at my son I sometimes think how proud my Dad would be of him. How much he would absolutely love to get a warm little hug or see him walk and talk and experience new things.

Sometimes I manage to forget for a while, and then it all comes back even more vividly than before. You think you’re okay and that you’ve ‘moved on,’ but you haven’t and you never really will.

When someone you love dies, everything changes. Literally every single aspect of your life and mentality has changed forever. You will never be the same person again.

It’s like when the loved one leaves this world, they leave these little pieces of themselves behind for everyone that loved them. They stick to us and envelop us and help us along our own paths.

Sometimes it’s easy to celebrate life, make him proud, and be the most amazing person I can be.

Sometimes I get weak and sad and angry and don’t see the meaning of it at all.

But then I remember something he said to me when he was dying.

“No regrets, kid. No regrets.”

It’s hard not to live in the past and it’s even harder on days like today to keep your head up and simply move forward.

But that’s what he did. All the time.

I cry sometimes. I get angry sometimes.

I feel guilty for NOT feeling sad or angry enough sometimes.

It will be this way for a long time, this I know.

All I can do is follow the path his death has sent me on and try to be the best person I can be in the time I have here on this Earth. All I can do is try and live with no regrets.

So this year for your birthday, Dad, my present to you is a promise to live with no regrets–NOT reckless abandon, but an honest, good-hearted, kind and compassionate, learning, intelligent, regret-less life.

Instead of regrets, I will have lessons and learning experiences. I promise to take those experiences to heart, and not to waste any time on meaningless emotions and actions.

I promise to appreciate those around me, tell them I love them, earn and give respect.

I promise to make you proud and give the memories I was able to share with you to my son.

I promise to LIVE.

That’s what my Dad taught me.

I understand now, Dad. I understand so much more.

Happy birthday.

"Sundays too my father got up early 
and put his clothes on in the blueblack cold, 
then with cracked hands that ached 
from labor in the weekday weather made 
banked fires blaze. No one ever thanked him. 

I'd wake and hear the cold splintering, breaking. 
When the rooms were warm, he'd call, 
and slowly I would rise and dress, 
fearing the chronic angers of that house, 

Speaking indifferently to him, 
who had driven out the cold 
and polished my good shoes as well. 
What did I know, what did I know 
of love's austere and lonely offices?"  -- Those Winter Sundays
                                           Robert Hayden
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Short Black Ops II Multiplayer Rewiew

Well, since I can’t connect to the Black Ops II servers at this time, I suppose I can write a little something about my overall experience with the game to  this point.

While only able to get to level 24 in online multiplayer so far, I feel, as a long-time Call of Duty player, that I’m able to give my opinion on the online multiplayer of Black Ops II. Aside from some connectivity issues I’ve been experiencing for about 20 hours at this point, it seems like the makers have a done a decent job in changing many different aspects of the game to give it a new,  different feel than the original Black Ops.

The game has added and implemented many new procedures which offer responses to many complaints that people have had over the years. For example, Domination is now a two-round mode in which teams switch sides halfway through–a-la Search and Destroy– in efforts to stop spawn-trapping and camping. With the new perks and “pick ten” system, it feels as if you have more freedom of choice with your weapons and attachments.

There are a lot more attachment options–from different grips and stocks that offer different advantages– to several new scopes and sights for your weapons. My favorite new addition in the sights category would have to be the “target finder” scope. It’s essentially a scope that shows your enemies in a red squares and locks onto them. Imagine the marksman perk from MW3 revamped into an attachment. Amazing.

I also enjoy the new scorestreak system. Instead of being rewarded for getting kills without dying, the player is rewarded for the amount of points he or she gets in one life. So for example, with the old method, if you got a double-kill against an enemy, you would simply get two points toward your killstreak. With the new scoring system, you are rewarded for the points you received for those kills. So, if you got that double kill and one was a headshot, you’ll get those extra 50 points counting toward your scorestreak. Also counted are assist points, capture points, etc., which really helps your streak along nicely.

The new scorestreak rewards are very nice. Some are new altogether, and some are revamped.  The RC-XD is back, just the same as before, and the Death Machine is back as well, except this time, you get the Death Machine until all the ammo runs out, regardless of how many lives that takes. The new scorestreaks include the Warthog—which calls in an A-10 Thunderbolt that provides air support by doing several strafe runs on the map—the Hunter Killer drone, which Deploys a flying drone that seeks out and tries to destroy the nearest enemy player or vehicle, and a few other new welcome additions.

All-in-all, I think the game is a pretty refreshing take on the Call of Duty series. It has a very sci-fi, futuristic feel. The graphics are not as good as Modern Warfare’s, but they are much better than the first installment of Black Ops. The guns feel a little ‘nerfy’ compared to the weaponry in Modern Warfare, but the fresh-and-newness of them, the new attachments and perk options, and rewards in the game makes up for that. If you were a fan of the original Black Ops, I think it’s safe to say you will absolutely love Black Ops II. On the other hand, if you are a previous CoD-hater, I’d still say to give it a try. There are enough new policies and implementations to where it’s really worth giving it a second look-over.

At the moment the only complaints I have myself and am hearing from others in the community are the connectivity issues. The constant dropping of games and different errors people are receiving that’s preventing them from playing online. Here we are, two days after the initial release of one of the most anticipated games of all-time, and a lot of people are unable to play, including myself. That being said, it will not stop me from liking the game. The temporary server issues are just a bump in the road, and Activision states they are “working tirelessly” to resolve them. I’ll be waiting.

Inertia…Sometimes We All Need A Push

Laws of science always apply.

Lots of people ask me for advice. Well, okay, I’ll admit…they don’t ASK all the time. They just sit there, frowning, talking about all the things that are happening in their lives. All the things that are making them sad. All the things they wish they could change.

I admit, I’ve lost a few friends over this. I’m sorry, but if you have all these problems, and I’m a good enough friend to give you insight into what the problem is and how to fix it–and you agree– and you do nothing about it…I can’t associate with you. I can’t associate with weak people. I can look at them from a distance, but I can’t get too close. Weakness is like a disease…it spreads quickly like a wildfire and without bias. 

MOMENTS of weakness are a different story. Everyone has them. Everyone can relate to making a decision that goes against everything you believe in just because it feels right at the time. Everyone’s done it. If you haven’t, I suggest you do it at least once to get an insight into what it feels like to let everything go, and just do what you feel…

Tangent aside, I like to give advice. I can’t stop myself. Ever. It gets me into trouble sometimes. but I don’t care. Don’t come to a bereavement counselling student and discuss your problems and NOT expect advice.

Anyway,

I have these two friends…they are a couple. We’ll call them Sam and Sally. Sam and Sally are “repeat offenders”, as I call them–people who have broken up and gotten back together before. They recently broke up again. Sally is a good friend of mine. She was in my wedding. She came over and was very upset. They had broken up a few days before, and I’d seen her right after it happened, two days later, and then finally, the night before they got back together.

She was a mess. Let’s say the breakup was a mutual thing. Sam acted like an asshole, Sally called him on it, he apologized, but the level of asshole-ness was too extreme at the time, so she had a hard time forgiving him right away. She dwelled on it, which lead to him dwelling on things, which lead to a mutual ‘dwelling’ phase. Until she realized she missed him. A lot.

She was over here, at ‘The Clinic’ as I call it (my couch), and I could tell someone had to do something. So I interfered.

I threw myself right into the middle of their problem. I got myself involved because I saw a need for something to happen.

You know that moment when you see something happening, and you feel like you could help? Like if you were to see a lost little boy wandering around in the city…or an old woman hobbling across a busy street?

Is that wrong? Even though I helped the situation and they got back together with better ideals, and a more concrete idea of what they BOTH want out of their relationship, and a deeper understanding of each other, should I have gotten involved? I think the answer is yes.

Well, the answer is Inertia.

Inertia is  is the resistance of any physical object to a change in its state of motion or rest, or the tendency of an object to resist any change in its motion. And object at rest stays at rest, until an external force acts upon it, giving it motion. And then once in motion, will not stop until another external force comes along and…well, you know the rest.

I am the external force. 

I think everyone needs an external force at one time or another in their lives. You need someone, an unbiased outsider, to give you the low-down, down-low on your situation. Someone that can see both sides, and see where the problem is, and give it just a little push in the right direction.

In Sam and Sally’s case, they are just a young couple with nothing holding them together. No kids, they don’t share an apartment, they have nothing keeping them together besides their genuine desire to be together. True beauty. in it’s simplest form.

Sam and Sally needed some inertia.

Sometimes, all someone needs is a little push in the right direction. Some people don’t like to be the external force, but I don’t mind. There’s something gratifying about noticing that someone needs help, and them offering them your assistance.

Whatever the case may be.

Sam and Sally aside, there have been many times in my life that I, myself , have been given an external force. And I appreciate it. Whether good or bad, external forces bring you to new understandings, and new perspectives on life.

Giving birth to a child without any pain medications was a huge ‘external force’ for myself. It really gives you a new perspective of what pain really is, what strength really is, and what really matters in life. I guarantee if you speak to a first-time mom who had an epidural, versus a first-time mom who went all-natural, you’d have a Venn diagram with almost NOTHING in the middle. Besides the baby.

Death would have to be the ultimate external force.

The unexpected death of a loved one has been one of the biggest changing factors in my life, to date. Although the death was extremely painful to watch and deal with at the time, it has brought be to higher levels of appreciation and understanding for the life I have been given. It gave me purpose and direction,  and a desire to excel. It gave me a better perspective on what to appreciate and what to hold dear to my heart.

We all need these external forces, regardless of how they come into our lives. Whether it’s a friend helping your situation (that’s what friends are for, right?), a huge life event, or the death of a loved one, we need all of these things to happen sometimes.

We all need something that rattles us to the core, something that wakes us up like a smelling salt. Something that reminds us that we are alive, and ever changing. Something that reminds us that while, yes, there are other people in the world, it is US, personally that need to take a stand in our own worlds, and make something happen for ourselves.

We all need something to live for, and sometimes we forget what those things are, until we receive our external forces.

Last Night I Had A Dream

You can learn a lot about things from your dreams. Some people think that’s not true, but I know otherwise.

I dream a lot. And I remember them a lot.

Sometimes I travel roads and highways–they are always familiar. I travel the same roads and highways in my dreams so often, that I could draw you a map, and maybe you could find them in your dreams, too.

I vacation, I hike, I travel, I meander, all in my dreams.

I panic, relax, find peace, and solve problems…all in my dreams.

I feel guilty, lighter than air, overwhelmed, and devastated…all in my dreams.

I’ve been held captive, and set free… all in my dreams.

I remember dreams I had years ago…still as vivid and awkward as they were when I first woke up from them.

They say people who were raised with black and white TV dream in black and white.

They say it’s impossible to read in a dream. It isn’t.

I don’t completely believe in lucid dreaming. I believe something happens when you go to sleep that allows you to have some control, but not all. There is no such thing as control.

Our eyes see in three dimensions.

Scientists have discovered that there are, in fact at least eleven dimensions.

I believe sleep and the things we see and experience while sleeping can be extremely helpful to waking life. Think about it–when you’re sleeping, you’re concentrating. On sleep. On yourself. On Calm. Without your eyes. All day long, our eyes interfere with what our brain is sending us. Because our eyes can only see in three dimensions. Our eyes cannot feel.

I believe our brains can sense and feel the other dimensions. Psychics, mediums, clairvoyance, being in the ‘right place at the right time’ or the ‘wrong place at the wrong time’–it’s all relevant. It’s all connected. Somehow. It has to be, right?

Out of all involuntary human behaviors and actions, sleep and dreaming has been the least-studied, least-explained phenomenon. Why?

Because it’s different for everyone. But the emotions are the same. Deciphering your dreams is not concentrating on the things in your dreams, but the feelings those things give you…

Enjoy your journey. And be aware. Take from it what you can.

You can learn a lot about things from your dreams. Some people think that’s not true, but I know otherwise.

You HAVE to Guess!

All women want is a man who can read their mind! That would be nice if even WE knew what we were thinking half the time. This video is genius!

Anyone who’s ever been in a relationship can relate to this completely. This is hysterical, so I thought I’d share. This was on Tosh.0 a few weeks ago, and my husband and I watched it, laughing at all the times I’ve dome something similar. Perhaps I didn’t go on a cabinet rampage, but everyone in a relationship should be able to relate to this. And then laugh hysterically.

GUESS!!!! YOU HAVE TO GUESSSSSSSSS IT!

Your relationship didn’t work? Again? Try This.

I suppose I’ll never really understand why people break up, and then get back together. Any insight on this would be greatly appreciated. As I do my morning Facebook troll, I yet again see a long list of people who have been ‘frequent offenders.’ People who’s relationship status keeps bouncing back and forth…with the same person.

“Stacy is single.”– Good, I think to myself. That guy was an asshole, anyway (from what I’ve read on her previous statuses).

Two days later,  she’s right back to ‘in a relationship’ status…with the same douchebag. I don’t get it.

I’ve seen several of my ‘friends’ do this. And I am dumbfounded. I just can’t figure out why two people who obviously can’t decide if they like each other enough to stay together keep going through the motions of trying to ‘work things out’, or whatever women tell themselves they are doing.

Isn’t the definition of crazy doing the same thing, over and over, and expecting a different outcome? If it didn’t work the first five hundred times, it’s probably not meant to be. I can’t tell you how many people I have de-friended just because I can’t bear to see another relationship change, or I’ll blow. I’ll explode all over their page, in a sea of opinion. Offering advice (good advice, at that), asking questions…well, let’s just say, these people get a little ‘defensive’ when you question their ridiculous relationships.

It never ceases to amaze me how naive women can be, and how dumb some men are. All women want is someone who will change–just for them. All men want is to be left alone, and to not have to change much. They want someone to take them they way they are, and be their friend. So when two dumb, naive people get together, I believe this is where the problem lies.

Some things in relationships are deal-breakers. Cheating. Lying. Being disgusting. Being overly, inexcusably mean to the other person all the time. Those are all deal-breakers. Well, to ME anyway, they are. Why do ‘deal-breakers’ change between people? How is my idea of a ‘deal-breaker’ different from yours? How can you take someone back after they’ve cheated on you, or any of those things? I really just don’t get it.

From what I’ve seen of people I know, age is a big factor in this. The younger the person, the more waffling. I like to think we get smarter as we get older, and maybe we’re willing to take less shit. Maybe that’s why. Hopefully some of these people get smarter. Hopefully.

I overheard a neighbor drunkily talking about her relationship the other day. They are younger, probably my age–late 20’s, maybe early 30’s. In her slurry speech, she proclaimed, “Oh, yeah. Josh (name changed) and I have been together three years, now. Well, really it’s six, but we broke up, like, a BUNCHA times before we got back together again. And it was all because of this girl I used to hang out with…” The story went on, but I couldn’t bear to listen. I knew this one. This was the one where she broke up with the guy because her friend said that HE said all these things about her, but–lo and behold– he would never do such a thing. Does everyone think like this?

Which lead me to this post.

Let me just say, that after being with the same person for almost ten years–if you break up with someone, it’s for a reason. Don’t suck yourself into thinking that they’ll change, or that things will be different. Or that you’re secretly meant to be, and this time it’s gonna be awesome…’cause it won’t. It’ll suck, and most likely be even worse than the last go-round. The only way things will be different, is if you try again with a different person. 

Relationships shouldn’t take that much work. They should just be. Just the way they are. You should be mad sometimes, and happy others. You should look forward to the future together. You should have personal goals, and goals for the relationship. You need personal space, and together-space. Personal interests, and things you love doing together.

It’s not rocket science, people. If you have a feeling that it might not work–YOU’RE RIGHT. Go put energy into finding something else to fill the space in your heart until you find someone that can help you complete it.