Random Thoughts and Musings From Suburbia....


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In Memoriam, 2008

January 15 - Brad Renfro, actor (Mark Shay in "The Client") age 25

January 17 - Bobby Fischer, world class chess champion, age 64

January 18 - Lois Nettleton, actor (Evelyn in "Crossing Jordan") age 80

January 19 - Suzanne Pleshette,actress ("Bob Newhart Show" and "Rome Adventure"), age 70

January 20 - John Stewart Musician,Songwriter (was a member of the Kingston Trio)

January 22 - Heath Ledger, actor (A Knight's Tale" and "Brokeback Mountain") age 28

January 26 - Christian Brando, son of actor Marlon Brando, age 49

February 1 - Shell Kepler, actress (Amy Vining on "General Hospital" ) age 49

February 2 - Barry Morse, actor (Lt. Philip Gerard on "The Fugitive") age 89

February 5 - Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, taught transcendentalist meditation to the Beatles, age 96

February 10 - Roy Scheider, actor ( Police Chief Brodie in "Jaws") age 75

February 12 - Van Johnson actor (major star at MGM during WWII and after)

February 13 - David Groh, actor (Rhoda's hubby Joe, on "Rhoda") age 68

February 27 - William F. Buckley, author and conservative commentator, age 82

February 28 - Mike Smith Musician (was the lead vovalist for The Dave Clark Five) age 64

March 18 - Arthur C. Clarke, writer ("2001: A Space Odyssey") age 90

March 19 - Paul Scofield, actor ("A Man for All Seasons") age 86

March 24 - Richard Widmark, actor ("How the West Was Won," "Madigan" ) age 93

April 5 - Charlton Heston,actor (Moses in "The Ten Commandments") age 84

April 18 - Joy Page, Actress (appeared in Casablanca as the newlywed) age 83

May 5- Jerry Wallace,1950's Musician (1950's country singer) age 79

May 8- Eddy Arnold, C&W Musician (baritone voice helped to create the Nashville sound) age 89

May 24- Martin,Comedian (developed Rowan & Martin's Laugh In with Dan Rowan) age 86

May 26 - Sidney Pollock,Director (directed The Way We Were and many others) age 73

May 29- Harvey Korman,Actor (best known for his role on the Carol Burnett Show)age 81

June 2- Bo Diddley,musician (one of the founding fathers of "Rock & Roll") age 79

June 7- Jim McKay,sportscaster (anchored ABC Wide World of Sports)

June 13 - Tim Russert, political journalist and host of NBC's "Meet the Press"

June 17 - Cyd Charisse, Dancer - stylized dance on screen (performed with Fred Astaire & Gene Kelly)

June 22 - George Carlin, Comedian (best known for his use of off color language) age 71

July 4 - Sen. Jesse Helms, Politician, (5 term Senator from N Carolina and outspoken conserative) age 86

July 12 - Tony Snow,Reporter, Press Secretary (White House spokesman until cancer forced his retirement) age 53

July 22- Estelle Getty, actress (best known for her role on The Golden Girls) age 85

August 9 - Bernie Mac, Comedian (starred in his own sitcom titled The Bernie Mac Show) age 50

August 10- Isaac Hayes, Musician (famous for writing the musical theme to Shaft) age 65

August 18- Pervis Jackson, Musician (was the bass voice of the Spinners)) age 70

September 2 - Jerry Reed, Musician, Actor (co-starred in Smokey & the Bandit) age 71

September 15 - Richard Wright, Musician,(Pianist played with Pink Floyd) age 65

September 26- Paul Newman, Actor,race car driver, philanthropist (starred in 50 films best known for Butch Cassidy and the Sun Dance Kid) age 83

October 15- Edie Adams,Comedian/Actress ( known as the Pitch-girl for Muriel Cigars) age 81

October 17- Levi Stubbs,Singer ( front man for the Four Tops) age 72

October 19- Richard Blackwell, Fashion Critic (best known for his "Ten Worst Dressed Women" yearly list) age 86

October 24- Merl Saunders, Musician/Keyboardist (played with The Grateful Dead) age 74

October 25 - Estelle Reiner, Actress (Wife of Carl and Mother of Rob Reiner) age 94

December 1 - Paul Benedict, Actor (best known as the quirky neighbor on the Jeffersons), age 70

December 25 - Eartha Kitt, Singer (smooth purrr like voice, sang Santa Baby and many others), age 81


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I apologize for not updating anything on here lately. My grandmother passed away and we have been busy with funeral and calling hours arrangements all week long, so I just now have had a chance to get things back to normal. I'll add some things to my blog later this evening, as I have an appt. later this afternoon at my oncologists's office. Hope everyone had a wonderful and safe New Years'!


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I know that most of you who read and post on Yappi don't also read Glamour magazine, since the majority of posters on Yappi are men. However, Glamour has this feature in their magazine every month called "Glamour Do's and Don'ts", where they show reader submitted photos of regular people out and about across the country wearing various fashion trends. They show some pictures of how to correctly wear the trend and then other pictures of how NOT to wear the trend. And obviously, the "Don't" pictures are always the most entertaining ones.

I was just on Glamour's website, and they have a whole section of the "best" of the Glamour "Don't" pictures! Whee! Anyways, a few of them were just too hilarious NOT to post on my blog, so here you go.


Resistible. Very definitely, absolutely resistible.


Either this lady really needs a tan, or she has taken spandex to a whole other level. Actually, though, I am not even sure that these really are pants, it's like zinc oxide or powder or something. Vacuum sealed zinc oxide, that is.


The caption under this one on Glamour's site said this woman was wearing head to toe Louis Vuitton knockoffs- because no, the real Louis Vuitton company has not begun to manufacture that fetching bib overalls/quilted windbreaker set she has on. Apparently, she also was sporting a matching bag, boots, earrings and rings and these 12 inch talons painted with the Washington Redskins logo. Ghetto Fauxbulous!! And classy.

I don't know...I couldn't even concentrate on counting all the phony Louis items in the picture. I was too busy trying to figure out how the heck this chick umm....wipes herself off after going to the bathroom. I'm betting that underneath her fingernails are giant E-coli virus factories. Disgusting.


"Attention WalMart Shoppers: Ugly butt dude with Man Spanx, a fanny pack and his mother's floral granny panties in Aisle 4!" Seriously, the only reason I can think of for this ensemble is that maybe it really WAS laundry day for this guy, judging from the stuff in the aisle he's shopping in. For his sake, I hope so.


Yeah, thanks Brooke Hogan for starting this particular fashion trend - we're all blaming you that this picture is forever trapped in all of our heads now. Grrr. On the up side- at least this chick's Bedazzler skills were decent.


This gorgeous creature was spotted at a Rascal Flatts concert in West Virginia. (Of course she was.) It's just too bad that her outfit is distracting us from a perfectly good mullet.


Maternity Stripper Wear! And you just know that her best friend behind her in the picture is THE biggest liar ever: "Does this make me look too fat or too slutty?" "No- you look HOT, girl! Wear it!"


"Whew! Only 2 more blocks to the doughnut shop!"


If you ask me, this lady looks like some sort of deranged superhero. "Xtreme Jaundiced Woman to the rescue!!"


Hey everyone! It's "Big Girl Night" at Bondage-A-Go-Go! Bow chicka bow now. Seriously, though, doesn't it look kind of like a Glad garbage bag burst open and spilled her out of the bottom of itself?

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Songs That Don't Mean What You Thought They Meant

This is pretty interesting...read it today on Yahoo Entertainment News. It's a list of sings that don't mean what you probably thought they meant when you first heard them, and songs that are misinterpreted quite frequently.

Because many of us use music as an outlet for our deepest feelings, we are often shocked when the meanings that we have given to certain songs prove false. Just as some literary works are commonly misinterpreted, there are songs with meanings that are consistently misinterpreted. All too often, we find out that the songs we put on mix tapes for our crushes, or those we listen to on repeat in the midst of bad breakups, were written from a completely different view.

1. “Born in the U.S.A.,” Bruce Springsteen
Almost everybody knows the chorus of this song, but fewer know the rest of the lyrics, which is why Springsteen loudly singing, “I was born in the U.S.A.” is often taken as a patriotic proclamation. However, it’s really about veterans returning from the Vietnam War and facing the harsh realities of how they’re treated post-war. The misinterpretation only grew after both Ronald Reagan and Bob Dole used the song on their campaign playlists.

2. “Losing My Religion,” R.E.M.
When Michael Stipe sang about being in a corner and losing his religion, he wasn’t referring to a relationship with a higher power, as many believe. To “lose one’s religion” is actually a Southern phrase that means to run out of patience or to be very frustrated by a person or situation. This song is actually about having a crush on somebody and constantly looking for assurances that the love is not unrequited.

3. “Every Breath You Take,” The Police
How many people foolishly chose this song for their first dance as newlyweds? I’m not sure why this song is misinterpreted so universally as a love song. Do people listen to lyrics? If someone says to you, “Every game you play, every night you stay, I’ll be watching you,” wouldn’t you be more than a little creeped out? I guess that’s the power of Sting—even his stalker anthems are considered romantic.

4. “Hollaback Girl,” Gwen Stefani
I’ve gotten into arguments with people over this song. Many believe it means that, by not being a “hollaback girl,” Stefani is saying that she won’t respond to guys who “holla” at her or treat her poorly. Actually, she’s using a cheerleading metaphor—a hollaback girl is one who repeats back the cheers that the head cheerleader yells. With this song, Stefani is stepping away from the pack and proclaiming herself independent. She’s the head cheerleader giving orders, not one of the cheerleaders who simply repeat them back.

5. “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds,” The Beatles
Many assume that this song refers to drug use, especially since the capitalized words in the title start with the same letters used to denote a particular hallucinogenic drug. However, John Lennon stated that the origins of the title come from a drawing that his son did of his friend, Lucy. The title of the picture was “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds,” so John used that for his song. Whether the actual meaning behind the song is about drug use is debatable, but the title itself is not meant to refer to an LSD trip.

6. “Crash into Me,” Dave Matthews Band
I’m pretty sure I put this song on a mix CD I made for a crush my sophomore year of high school. At the time, I thought it was a beautiful love song about longing for someone else. Well, it is … but the person singing is actually a ! These lines give him away: “Oh I watch you there through the window and I stare at you. You wear nothing but you wear it so well.” How did I miss the peeping tom aspect? The part about him wanting to be “tied up and twisted” is a bit off-putting as well …

7. “The One I Love,” R.E.M.
It sounds like the perfect song for a radio dedication when Michael Stipe sings, “This one goes out to the one I love.” Oh, except until he gets to the line about the one he loves being “a simple prop to occupy my time.” Ouch! This song hardly inspires romantic feelings; actually, it makes Stipe seem like kind of a jerk. He’s basically saying the one he “loves” is nothing more than a waste of his time that he’s abandoned. Not exactly an uplifting declaration of true love, but people seem to focus on that first line before listening to the rest of the song, hence the constant misinterpretation.

8. “This Land Is Your Land,” Woody Guthrie
I remember singing this song in elementary school and thinking it sounded so pleasant and positive. It’s actually a critique of the idealistic version of the U.S. that Irving Berlin sang about in “God Bless America.” His displeasure is subtle, but made obvious upon careful examination of lines like “As I was walkin’, I saw a sign there and that sign said—No trespassin’. But on the other side, it didn’t say nothin’! Now that sign was made for you and me!” This song is often grouped with “God Bless America” as patriotic tunes, but Guthrie had the opposite intention.

What music essentially boils down to is not necessarily the meaning songs are meant to convey, but what meanings we actually derive from them. After all, more important than what messages artists intend to get across is their desire for people to connect with the music. However, considering how striking the differences are between what the aforementioned songs mean and how they’re interpreted, it might be wise to stick to the author’s version. I know I’ll think twice before putting “Crash into Me” on my next mix CD.


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How to Decide Who To Marry: by- Little Kids

This is cutie-cute-cute. It's reminded me of that TV show that Bill Cosby used to have where he would ask little kids serious questions about life just to see their take on things and their answers were always SO funny. Loved that show!

Kids contemplate marriage.

How would you make your marriage work?
Tell your wife that she looks pretty, even if she looks like a truck.
Ricky, age 10

How can a stranger tell if two people are married?
You might have to guess, based on whether they seem to be yelling at the same kids.
Derrick, age 8

What do you think your mom and dad have in common?
Both don’t want any more kids.
Lori, age 8

What do most people do on a date?
Dates are for having fun, and people should use them to get to know each other. Even boys have something to say if you listen long enough.
Lynnette, age 8 (isn’t she a treasure?)

On the first date, they just tell each other lies and that usually gets them interested enough to go for a second date.
Martin, age 10

What would you do on a first date that was turning sour?
I’d run home and play dead. The next day I would call all the newspapers and make sure they wrote about me in all the dead columns.
Craig, age 9

When is it okay to kiss someone?
When they’re rich.
Pam, age 7

The law says you have to be eighteen, so I wouldn’t want to mess with that.
Curt, age 7

The rule goes like this: If you kiss someone, then you should marry them and have kids with them. It’s the right thing to do.
Howard, age 8

What is the right age to get married?
Twenty-three is the best age because you know the person FOREVER by then.
Camille, age 10

No age is good to get married at. You got to be a fool to get married.
Freddie, age 6 (very wise for his age)

Is it better to be single or married?
I don’t know which is better, but I’ll tell you one thing. I’m never going to have sex with my wife. I don’t want to be all grossed out.
Theodore, age 8

It’s better for girls to be single but not for boys. Boys need someone to clean up after them.
Anita, age 9 (bless you child)

How do you decide whom to marry?
You got to find somebody who likes the same stuff. Like, if you like sports, she should like it that you like sports, and she should keep the chips and dip coming.
Alan, age 10

No person really decides before they grow up who they’re going to marry. God decides it all way before, and you get to find out later who you’re stuck with.
Kristen, age 10



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Finally! President Obama!

Welcome President Obama! Let the hope and change begin. At last.

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I think my favorite moment from all of the Inauguration celebrations was at the Neighborhood Ball when Beyonce sang Etta James' classic "At Last" to President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama while they danced their first dance as President and First Lady. It was just breathtaking and beautiful, and it moved me to tears. The song choice "At Last" seemed especially fitting as yesterday, we watched Barack Obama become our first African American President. We've come a long way. At last.

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Goatee Saver. Yes, it's a real product. Sad, but true.

Because the only thing sadder than having a poorly trimmed goatee, is having a goatee at all.

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I saw this video on Dlisted and quickly ran to the nearest chrurch to wash my eyes with "holy water"! The only person who would LOVE this video is Micheal Jackson, Catholic Preists and Hanna from "The Reader"! Can someone please tell me whose the target market for this type of sick entertainment? Ewww.

This definitely borders on child abuse if you ask me. Disgusting.

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Bush Derangement Syndrome

Recently, I have seen a lot of people in the media who are trying to rewrite Bush's legacy. My daughter came home from school saying that most everyone was saying they would miss Bush. These of course are Teenagers who have never known another president and whom we all know get their political views from their parents. I wondered what is causing this phenomena? It reminds me of something I saw on a news magazine show or a episode of Cops. So I decided to look it up.

"Battered woman syndrome describes a pattern of psychologicaland behavioral symptoms found in women living in batteringrelationships." - People v. Romero, 13 Cal Rptr 2d 332, 336 (Cal App 2dDist. 1992); See Walker, L., The Battered Woman Syndrome (1984) p.95-97. There are four general characteristics of the syndrome:

1. The woman believes that the violence was her fault.
2. The woman has an inability to place the responsibility for the violence elsewhere.
3. The woman fears for her life and/or her children's lives.
4. The woman has an irrational belief that the abuser is omnipresent and omniscient.

"Battered woman's syndrome is best understood as a subgroup of what the American Psychological Association defines as Post-traumatic Stress Disorder, rather than as a form of mental illness."- IX New York Law School Journal of Human Rights "You've Come a Long Way, Baby: The Battered Woman's Syndrome Revisited" at 117-118; Walker, L., Terrifying Love: Why Battered Women Kill and How Society Responds (1989) at 48.

If we look at the four points we see that:

1.The woman believes that the violence was her fault.

This reminds me of Bush and his cronies telling the public that everything is someone else's fault even to the point of saying the public is a bunch of whiners. Blaming the working poor on the financial crisis, etc...

2. The woman has an inability to place the responsibility for the violence elsewhere.

To me this would most likely fit in the category of one of the above items. We blame ourselves so we cannot blame Bush...

3. The woman fears for her life and/or her children's lives.

This is self explanatory. Most of the right wingers now feel threatened because Bush is gone, they somehow have a deranged and skewed view that Bush single-handedly kept them safe.

4. The woman has an irrational belief that the abuser is omnipresent and omniscient.

With the Patriot Act this one isn't that far fetched- they somehow rationalize the bad things he does and excuse him for the stupid things by somehow thinking he is all knowing or a gift from God.

"Battered woman's syndrome is best understood as a subgroup of what the American Psychological Association defines as Post-traumatic Stress Disorder, rather than as a form of mental illness."

If we examine the above quote, it's very easy to see when this phenomena started. It had to be on Sept 11th,a 2001 when our nation was attacked, and we watched in horror as our own people died. Bush's approval rating shortly after the attacks sky rocketed up to a record 90%. This was clearly a case of mass Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

If you are suffering from this, please understand that it will pass.

If you are dealing with someone who is suffering from Bush Derangement Syndrome, try to be understanding and allow them to work through their anxiety of losing him. They will get better soon. I suggest allowing them to view this video three times a day.

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Great Moments in Presidential Speeches

Oh, Bushie. I already kind of miss you.
(no, not really)

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Go Banana!

Watch a guy dressed as a freaking banana run through Prospect Park (in NYC) at 7:50 AM on a Sunday morning when it's 18 degrees.

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KANYE WEST: [thinks] What the f is going on here?

MISCHA BARTON: Boom! Fierce! Yes! Pose! Work it! Broken down doll! Yes! More! Bring it! I'm AWESOME.

KANYE: Should I say something to her? She seems....busy.

MISCHA: Where's Miss J? Miss J would appreciate my awesome model moves here. Maybe someone will see me and put me in the show today!

KANYE: How do I interrupt all this posing? Do I just grab her arm and go, "Stop working it for a second, so I can make polite conversation with you about The OC"? That seems weird. Maybe I'll just sit here and think about sunglasses.

MISCHA: Also, my dress is AWESOME.

KANYE: At least her dress is kind of good.


KANYE: Even if it does only have one sleeve.


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So...Jessica Simpson has been very busy of late: (a) she's been romancing Tony Romo, which has probably been fun, (b) she performed this weekend at a chili cook-off (...I know. I feel kind of depressed now, too), and (c) she very kindly took one for the team and illustrated for us all that high-waisted jeans are really not flattering on everyone. Especially not these:


Here is the thing about these jeans: they might look great on you if you have abs that could grate cheese and little-to-no body fat. On the rest of us, they just emphasize Inner-Thighs-Through-Belly-Including-Hips, which is something I want in my pants about as much as I want Tony Romo to come over and throw a boiling vat of chili in my face. I mean, if you just mentally move the waist band of these jeans down about two inches, girlfriend looks 100% better, am I right? The sad thing is, I'm sure the tabloids are going to jump on this with a replay of Star's infamous "IT'S NOT A FAT SUIT" headline, when really, J Simp's probably gained a pound here or there because she's not working out 8 hours a day anymore and who can blame her? She's in love! She's WORKING A CHILI COOK-OFF. She's not made of stone, people, and I suspect she's naturally a curvaceous girl. The fact of the matter is that we all know she'd probably look freaking great if she would just burn those pants and salt the ground. See, this is why I always vote for flattering jeans. Forgiving pants = more sandwiches and far less agita from people squawking about the remainder of your minor holiday weight gain. Also, more sandwiches = much greater happiness. It's like one of the fundamental rules of basic math.

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The WTF Blanket

Never embarrass yourself by wearing an ordinary blanket in public again.

Damn you snuggie!

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Are Reality Shows Setting Unrealistic Standards For Skanks?

If the skanks don't like it, they can change the channel.

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So last weekend, my two daughters had their Winter Formal dance at school. My oldest daughter, who is a senior, got ready at her friend's house and left from there, so I sent my mom to go take pics, but my other daughter got ready here at my house, and I was able to get some shots of her and her friends before the dance. I thought she looked gorgeous ,and I was happy that she finally decided to let me do her hair and makeup for the dance. (We had quite a few ummm...."discussions" about that beforehand. She's been into this whole black eyeliner phase lately, and I hate it, so I had to argue my point several times before she finally gave in and went with what I thought was going to look better. :D )

Anyways, my daughter and three of her girlfriends got ready here and then they picked up their dates with my Dad. Then, after the dance, everyone came back to my house for an after party, and the girls all spent the night here. Everyone had a great time at the dance, and I ahd a blast with all the kids when they came back to the house. I don't think anyone went to bed before 4:00 AM, but we were all able to sleep in a bit the next morning, so it was all good.

The strangest thing to me as a parent though, is that my kids are already so OLD! I mean, to me, it seems like they should all still be little toddlers, or still in grade school, but I currently have two in high school (a senior and a sophomore), one in junior high and then my youngest is just 2 years old. It's amazing how fast the time goes when you're raising children, and how little time you really have to get to know them before it's their time to go out into the world and find their own way, and become the adults they will become.

In my opinion, 18 years just isn't enough time to have them at home with you. I would keep mine with me forever if I could- I love them all that much. They're my entire world and my entire happiness. I love 'em!




In the pic above, that's me (yes, I know I look pale and tired- I'm going through my third round of IMRT radiation treatments for cancer and I was kind of sick that day- blah), and next to me is my Daddy, who I love more than almost anyone in the world, and then my daughter and my older son. I talked my Dad into being the kids' taxi service for the night. Sucka!!! :laugh:

Actually, he was happy to do it, and he said he had fun with all of the kids who he picked up and took to the dance.....all 8 of them! I'm just glad that I was too sick to drive them myself- I think 8 high school kids would have been more than I could have handled that night since I was feeling so bad.


Let's Go Bears!
Singers Who Can't Sing

I read this article the other day on Yahoo Music and really thought it was decent. I agree with the writer about all the singers he listed as well. If there's one thing I can't stand, it's people who either can't sing or who "over sing" a song and ruin it. Blah....just annoying as all get out, imo.

Everyone is still having a fit about Kanye West's SNL performance of "Heartless" the other week. Did he lip-synch? Didn't he? The debate misses the bigger issue: Kanye can't sing.

Truth be told, ability is not always the most important thing when it comes to singing. The proper amount of attitude, charm, and self-deprecation go a long way to replace actual vocal chops. Ask David Lee Roth and Bob Dylan, two dudes who can't sing a note but make up for it with sheer chutzpah (and in Dylan's case, an ungodly amount of lyrical prowess). Singers who know they can't sing are always forgiven.

Kanye, however, broke the cardinal rule of bad singing. He stepped outside of his preapproved vocal zone.

No one expects Kanye to sing. In fact, no one wants Kanye to sing, because we know he can't. Write an insanely catchy melody? Yes. Continue to be the biggest ego on the planet? Yes. These are the things we want from our Kanye. But when he begins to think he can pull off a ballad by actually singing it? That's when he's gone too far.

There are two kinds of bad singers in the world: the ones who kid themselves into thinking they're good (Kanye) and the ones who try too hard — all the time. These are the Mariahs, Beyonces, and Christinas (although Ms. Aguilera is learning; her Nina Simone tribute on the Grammy nomination show this month was remarkably restrained). These performers wring the last bit of life out of every note. Just because you can sing every octave perceptible to the human ear doesn't mean you have to. These singers don't know when to hold back. They are perpetual vocal grandstanders, sucking all of the oxygen out of the room.

Here are some other legendary bad singers. I'll avoid easy targets, like Yoko Ono and Michael Bolton. Yes, she inspired the B-52s. Who cares? And Bolton has received his punishment for butchering so many songs by being relegated to "Where are they now?" status. Time has passed him by, and we won't be hearing from him again.

These folks are ones who won't go away and, worse yet, won't learn to sing. Know your enemy, my friends. Protect yourselves.


She's the grande dame of song killers, insisting on suffocating every song with sincerity. Oh, Celine is so sincere. She demands that you love her and her songs. She forces herself on a song like a bad date.

The problem with Madonna (or, I should say, one of the many problems) is that she’s built a career on being a diva, and divas need to sing. No amount of line dancing, costume changes, or bodybuilding can hide the fact that she can't sing.

The Red Hot Chili Peppers is one of the most musical bands around. Flea, Frusciante, and Chad are the some of the most talented dudes to ever groove together. If only they had a better singer. I could deal with Anthony until "Under the Bridge.” A great tune but way outside of his approved vocal zone. He’s much better when he's doing his "Give It Away" mumble-rap thing.

Here's another one of these "I think I'll sing a ballad 'cause I can rap" dudes. And to add insult to injury, he tried out his vocal chops on the Who's epic "Behind Blue Eyes.” Aside from the fact that he has no inherent sensitivity to the song, HE CAN'T SING! It makes me mad to this day.

There was a time when a certain type of entertainer was called a "song-and-dance man.” The description assumed that the entertainer actually knew how to sing and how to dance. Michael Jackson, Cab Calloway, Jackie Wilson, James Brown? All song-and-dance men. I'll even give you Justin Timberlake. Chris Brown? Dance man. Definitely a dance man. Keep dancing, Chris.



Let's Go Bears!
This past Saturday, February 21, 2009, my father passed away.

I was at his house on Saturday morning, and was talking to him while he lay in bed, and he had his oxygen on, but he didn't look very well. His fingertips were blue. he had been diagnosed with COPD about 2 years ago, and he was a heavy smoker most of his life. he had quit smoking years ago, but the damage had already been done. So he started wearing oxygen around the house and sometimes at the office and on business trips when he felt light-headed or when his fingertips were gray or blue in color- which is a sign that you're not getting enough oxygen to your system.

Anyway, I made him sit up on the edge of the bed, and held his hands in mine and was checking them out and told him that he really needed to go to the Hospital to get help, since his oxygen at home obviously wasn't doing enough for him. he didn't want to go, and kept arguing that he was just tired and wanted to go to sleep.

My Mom said she would take him to Akron General, and I stayed at the house for about an hour and a half, and kept making him promise that he would definitely go to the hospital, even though he didn't want to. My son had been at their house, so I took him home with me, so Mom was free to get Dad to Akron. Right before I left, I hugged Dad and kissed his cheek and told him to make sure that he went to Akron to get looked at. I told him that I loved him and I didn't want anything to happen to him. He said OK and told me he loved me too. I asked Mom to call me from the hospital and tell me what the doctors said about Dad's condition, and she said she would.

So I left and went to run errands with the kids- banking, car wash, grocery store, etc.

I then went back home and my daughter had a friend over for dinner and to spend the night, and one of my friends came over with their 2 year old son for dinner as well. I was trying some new recipes out and was making Indian food that night, since the kids all wanted to try it.

Right when we were almost finished eating, my cell phone rang. A man identified himself to me as Sergeant Richetr from the Jackson Fire Dept. And then he just said, "I'm here at your parents' house, and your father has passed away."

I had been standing by a wall in my kitchen area, and just screamed "NO!" and dropped the phone and slid down the wall and sat on the floor. I didn't get back on the phone, so my daughter, Jordan, got on the phone and asked him what was wrong. He just told her not to let me drive my car, and to get me over to my parents' house right away because they needed me there.

I stood back up and sprang into action. I just knew that there was some type of mistake. That they had the wrong house, or called me by mistake, or maybe just didn't try to revive him long enough or SOMETHING. I thought that if I could get to him, that I would be able to help him, and that I could fix whatever was wrong with him. So I told everyone to hop in my Jeep and I grabbed the keys and took off for my parents' house, a mile away. I ran both red lights on the way there and passed three cars. I think I was doing about 85 down their street, so I could get there faster and help Dad.

When I got there, there were cars parked all over the lawn. There were two ambulances there, and 6 police cruisers. I had to park in the side yard. My Dad was a former police officer for Jackson Twp. I later learned that some of them were off duty that night, but had heard the name and address come in on the police/fire scanner and raced over the house anyways, to see if they could help. So there were about 12 police officers crowded into the living/dining room area and about 7 paramedics. There was also some pastor whom I didn't know that the fire department called to come over.

My cousin Jared had been on his way to the Jackson/Hoover basketball game at the Canton Civic Center and was going down my parents' street when he saw all the police/fire vehicles pulling into their driveway, so he pulled in after them and ran inside, so he was there with my Mom before anyone else. When I got there, he ran over to me, because I had started walking up the hallway to go into Dad's bedroom to see my Dad and make sure he was OK. I just didn't believe he was gone. I told Jared I was going to check on my Dad.

He just said, "Lisa, sweetie, he's gone. There's nothing you can do. You don't want to go in there. You don't want to see him like that."

I started crying again and Jared just held onto me and told me everything would be OK. But I just kept thinking that nothing would ever be OK again. Ever.

All of these police officers kept telling me how sorry they were, and asking me if I was OK. They were saying how much they all liked my Dad and that he wasn't in any pain when he died. How did they know? They weren't there. No one was. He was all alone.

I then noticed my Mom crying at the dining room table. Her legs were shaking and I went over and sat on the floor next to her and laid my head in her lap. She said, "He's gone, honey. He's gone." I just kept saying, "No, no, no, no, no..." and crying in her lap. I didn't want to believe her.

Soon after that, a bunch of our family members and friends of my Dad's all started showing up from all over- Cuyahoga Falls, Stow, Massillon, Canton, Green. The house was packed with people. They all kept hugging me and telling me how sorry they were, and asking if I was OK.

After a while, this pastor who I didn't know asked all of us to go into the family room (which is the room farthest from Dad and Mom's bedroom) to pray. But I knew that he was just trying to distract all of us so the paramedics could bring my Dad out of his bedroom and put him in one of the ambulances.

We all went in the family room, and when the pastor started praying, I started to cry again really hard. And then I couldn't breathe and started to hyperventilate. It was weird, My hands cramped all up and started shaking. And then my legs did too. Some paramedic ran over to me and was telling me to breathe in through my nose and out through my mouth really slow. He said that if I did, my hands would stop cramping up like that and I would feel better. But I just couldn't do it. I was trying, but it didn't work. Then, another paramedic came over and gave me a shot of Ativan in my arm, which is some type of anti-anxiety stuff. I started to be able to breathe slower and my hands uncurled. I felt more relaxed, but I still kept crying.

People kept coming over to me and my Mom to tell us how they loved us and how much they loved Dad and that he was in a better place and wasn't feeling bad anymore. I didn't care. I wanted him there with us.

Everyone was making phone calls to various people. My sister and her husband were in New York skiing for the weekend and weren't coming back till Sunday night, so people kept trying to get her on the phone to tell them to come back home right away, but no one could reach her.

I asked Mom what happened. She said she was trying to get him to get dressed to go to the hospital. he was dragging his feet and didn't want to go, so she finally told him she was going to run to Discount Drug mart to pick up a prescription for her Mom, who is 91 and doesn't drive much anymore. She told him she would be back soon to get him and go to the hospital.

When she came back two hours later, she went to their room and saw him laying across the bed instead of in it. His lamp on his nightstand was knocked over and he wasn't wearing his oxygen. So ran to him ,and saw that he wasn't breathing, so she called 911 and tried to do CPR on him. But then she noticed that he was pretty cold. The paramedics got there in about 3 minutes, since they are only about 1/2 mile up the street. They came into the bedroom and checked him out and told my Mom that he had died a couple hours previously and there was nothing they could do. He was gone.

I stayed with everyone at my Mom's until about midnight. I called my best friend Terry and asked him if my daughter and I could come over, because I didn't want to go back to my house and be alone. he said to come over, so we went there and sat up till about 4:00 AM and talked. And drank lots of wine. And cried. And finally fell asleep.

The next day, we got up early and went with everyone to the funeral home to pick out his casket and make funeral arrangements. It was strange. I hated it.

This is all just so surreal. I find myself getting distracted by things around the house or on TV or whatever, and then I remember again that he died, and I start crying. That's how it's been since Saturday. I just want to rewind everything and go back to Saturday morning when he was alive still and I was at his house with him. I want to call the paramedics THEN and have them come and take him to the hospital, regardless of whether he wanted to go or not. I want to go with him to the hospital and stay there until they tell me that everything is OK and that he will be fine. I hate that that will never happen, and that everything is so....final. I feel like screaming all the time for God to give him back to us. And it hurts. More than anything I've ever felt.

I love you, Daddy, and I miss you already so much. Thank you for everything you ever did for me. You were always on my side and you always looked out for me, and I can't imagine what my life is going to be like without you here. I want you to come back to us so badly that you couldn't possibly imagine. I hope you can hear me and that you know how much I loved you. I think you do. The one thing that makes me feel better is that I know you were a Christian and that you were saved and I know that you're in Heaven now with your Mom and Dad. That is the only way I'm getting through all of this. And I know that because I'm a Christian, I'll get to see you again someday. I'm glad that you and I had that talk last month and that I re-dedicated my life to God. I'm glad that you cared enough about me to talk to me that day about living my life the best way possible and staying true to God's word and what He wants us to do. And I promise you that I always will, so I can be with you again when I die.

I love you, Dad. More than anything. I'm glad I had you here for as long as I did, and thank you for being so good to me. I miss you.

Below is the link to the obituary I wrote for Dad. It's long, but I wanted it to represent who he was, what he loved and who he cared most about. I think it says all of those things. I hope he knows what it says somehow and that he likes it. I think he would.

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Let's Go Bears!

Well, it's about 12:30 Am on Tuesday night/Wednesday morning, and I'm still awake. I'm working on putting songs together for the slide show that we're going to have playing tomorrow at my Dad's calling hours.

Man, this is going to be SO hard tomorrow. I just keep thinking about walking into the room in the funeral home where he's going to be, and seeing him laying there in his casket, and it's tearing me up. It's killing me, and I just don't know how in the world I'm supposed to stand there next to my Mom and greet people and thank them for coming with him there just a few feet from us. I just don't want to see him like that.

It's just that I always felt like Dad was invincible somehow. He was like Superman to me- he could fix everything, talk anyone into anything, get any problem taken care of, and he always looked out for me. he was always on my side, even when no one else was, and he always told me how much he loved me. He always took such excellent care of my mom, my sister and me, and all of my kids, and we all feel so lost without him.

Anyways, one of the songs I'm going to have playing with his slide show is "Dance With My Father"- by Luther Vandross. It's been one of my favorite songs ever since the first time I heard it, and I played it for my Dad a few times, and he also loved that song. It's just going to be really hard to listen to it tomorrow. But I hope he can hear it, and I hope he knows how much I love him. I also bought him a card today while i was running errands, and I wrote him some things that I want him to always know and I got a copy of a really nice picture of me and my four children to put in the card and I'm going to put that in his casket with him so he'll always have us with him, and so he'll always know how much we love and miss him.

I love you, Dad. I hope God is taking good care of you, and I can't wait to see you again someday in Heaven.

And, another thing that he always said that I thought was sweet- he would never, ever tell me "Goodbye" on the phone at night when I talked to him. And we talked just about every night. He would always just tell me " 'Night, honey." He said that saying goodbye sounded like you weren't ever going to talk again, and it sounded too final. So he never told me goodbye- just goodnight. I loved that.

So.....Good Night, Dad. I love you.

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"Dance With My Father"

Back when I was a child, before life removed all the innocence,
My father would lift me high and dance with my mother and me and then,
Spin me around ‘til I fell asleep.
Then up the stairs he would carry me
And I knew for sure I was loved.

If I could get another chance, another walk, another dance with him,
I’d play a song that would never, ever end.
How I’d love, love, love
To dance with my father again.

When I and my mother would disagree,
To get my way, I would run from her to him.
He’d make me laugh just to comfort me,
Then finally make me do just what my mama said.
Later that night when I was asleep,
He left a dollar under my sheet.
Never dreamed that he would be gone from me.

If I could steal one final glance, one final step, one final dance with him,
I’d play a song that would never, ever end.
‘Cause I’d love, love, love
To dance with my father again.

Sometimes I’d listen outside her door,
And I’d hear how my mother cried for him.
I pray for her even more than me.
I pray for her even more than me.

I know I’m praying for much too much,
But could you send back the only man she loved?
I know you don’t do it usually,
But dear Lord she’s dying...
To dance with my father again.
Every night I fall asleep and this is all I ever dream...




Let's Go Bears!

Well, we made it through my Dad's calling hours and funeral last week on Wednesday and Thursday. It was so incredibly sad for all of us. It just all seemed surreal to me. Like a terrible dream. It was something I never thought I'd have to go through because to me, Daddy was invincible- he was like Superman to me when I was little, and I thought nothing could ever hurt him. I thought he would be there for all of us forever.

I was amazed at how many people showed up at the calling hours to pay their respects to him. We had people come from all over- Pennsylvania, Indiana, Illinois, Canada, New York, New Jersey, Kentucky, Tennessee, Michigan, South Carolina, Florida....everywhere. He had a large amount of friends and close business associates, and so many of them went out of their way to fly or drive here to be able to say goodbye to him. It made us feel really good that so many people had so much respect for him, and
thought so highly of him.

There were even some of his Amish friends who he did business with and who owned some of the sawmills that built pallets for my Dad's pallet business who showed up. Since they don't drive because of their religious beliefs, they must hire drivers to take them on trips, and that's what they all did. They even brought their wives and children along with them, which I'm sure was no easy task logistically, and I thought it was so sweet of them to make such an effort so they could be there for my Dad.

Not only did we have people come from far away, there were people who came who knew Dad as far back as grade school. There were also a lot of his high school friends there, and others from his graduating class at Green High School sent a bunch of floral arrangements for him. Not only did Dad's school friends come, people who my sister and I were friends with in grade school and high school came to pay their respects, too- and their parents came with them as well.

My children's friends and their parents also showed up. My kids stay at my Mom and Dad's house all the time, and so all of my kids' friends knew Dad, and I saw many of them just overcome with tears at the funeral home. It was so touching and sad. But my Dad had a great relationship with each of my kids, and he was always nice to their friends and joked around with all of them, took them for rides in his convertible, and his restored '40 Ford in the summer, went camping with them, played video games with them, took them out to eat, went bike riding with them, and so many other things, so he was very close with a lot of the kids who showed up at his calling hours. Kind of like a second grandpa to most of them.

My oldest daughter, Caitlin, told me something about her best friend Jessica, that really touched me a lot. Jessica and her mother, Xiamara (she's from Nicaragua, and her name is pronounced "Zee-a-mar-a") also came to the funeral on Thursday. Jessica had never, ever missed even one day of school in her entire life, and she had a perfect attendance record. Because of that, Jessica was to receive a special award this June when she and Caitlin graduate from Jackson. But Jessica insisted on taking off school on Thursday for Dad's funeral service and so she could be there to be supportive of Caitlin, me and my Mom. That just blew my mind. Especially being as she and Xiamara had already gone to his calling hours and stayed there with us for almost two hours the night before. I thought it was so thoughtful and unselfish of her, and it showed such class.

Another person who really impressed me was my ex-husband, Frank. Her and his girlfriend, Brandy. My ex-in-laws own a resort in Kentucky on Dale Hollow Lake with luxury houseboats and cabins which they rent out to vacationers, and they were currently in Indianapolis at a sport and outdoor show like they have at the IX Center in Cleveland. They do sport shows to advertise for the resort from December-April. Since my ex-husband is now running things at the resort for his parents, he has to do the sport shows now.

But when my daughter, Jordan, called him to tell him about my Dad, he dropped everything, got his parents to come to fill in for him at the sport show, and left immediately on Saturday night right after Dad died so he could get back to Ohio early Sunday morning for the kids. My two middle children are with him, but he raised my oldest daughter as well, and he wanted to be here to help all three children with their grief and he an d Brandy stayed here in Ohio all week long. They came to my parents' house several days this past week, took the children out for dinner three times or so, and attended both calling hours, the final viewing/funeral service and the service at the cemetery as well as the luncheon after the cemetery, before heading back to Indianapolis.

His parents also sent a beautiful flower arrangement, as well as a gorgeous large throw that was imprinted with the 23rd Psalm, which they knew was a favorite of my Dad's. I know that Mom will think of their kindness every time she uses it. I was so impressed at Frank's love and caring for our children and that he put them first before everything else last week because he knew how devastated they all were. My Dad would have been very proud of him. I was.

Caitlin's Dad also stopped by the calling hours to pay his respects to my Dad as well. He has known my father for over 20 years, and he has grown to have a really good relationship with both of my parents. I believe that Caitlin said that her Dad's mother, who lives in Alabama, sent flowers up to the calling hours since she wasn't able to travel here for everything. I thought that was very sweet of her.

All in all, it was a beautiful calling hours. The only ting that was really tiring was standing in the receiving line for so long. We were supposed to have them from 2-4 and again at 7-9. However, so many people showed up that we didn't get out of the afternoon hours until 5:30. Then, we all raced a couple miles back to Mom and Dad's house, grabbed a quick bite to eat, and raced back the funeral home, where people were already lining up for the evening viewing hours. My Mom's entire side of the family was with us, and I think we must have had about 50 people crammed into her kitchen/dining room area trying to eat. Yikes!

We were at the evening viewing until 10:30, when everyone had finally gone through the lines. My feet were SO swollen and tired form standing all day and evening. The funeral home did provide the immediate family (Mom, me, my sister and her husband, my sister's daughter, Beth, and my kids) with these pub height chairs so we didn't have to stand up to shake people's hands. However, I didn't feel it was in good taste to be sitting down in the receiving line. I felt like if all of those people could wait in line for literally hours to talk to me and see Dad, then I should be able to be standing to greet and thank them for coming. The funeral home also provided us with a room to ourselves where they had little appetizer type snacks, sandwich makings, brownies, veggie trays and stuff to nibble on whenever one of us were ready for a break. I thought that it was very nice of them to do that.

We also had REALLY, REALLY beautiful slide show playing in the viewing room to the right of Dad's casket. My sister, Jennifer, did it on the computer, and it had tons of pics of Dad as a baby/child/teen/young adult and so on. There were pics of him and Mom when they were first married, and me and Jen as babies and children. Dad on the police force for Jackson Twp., and the Stark Co. Sheriff's departments, Dad plowing the field he owns across the street from their house on his huge John Deere, Dad on his snowmobiles, in Florida at his parents' house, on business trips, on vacations with us, camping, riding his mountain bike on the towpath trail, in the Cessna he used to fly when we were little kids, doing various activities with the grandchildren, etc.

I also downloaded a bunch of music to play on my iPod/iHome set which went along with the slide show while it played on a loop. I had songs like "Wind Beneath My Wings", which Dad and I danced the father/daughter dance to at my wedding to Frank, "Sweet Life" by Paul Davis, which was a favorite of my Dad's, "Dance With My Father" by Luther Vandross, "Love, Me" by Collin Raye, "Where You Are" by Josh Groban, "Through the Years" by Kenny Rogers, which Mom and Dad danced to at Jen's wedding, (they both really love that song) I also played "Because You Loved Me" by Celine Dion, since Jen did the father/daughter dance to that song with Dad at her wedding four years ago. I just picked songs that had special meanings for our family, and that fit well with the circumstances. Everyone who was standing around watching the slide show was in tears, and then sometimes laughing at the funnier pictures. It was very moving, and there was no way you could watch it without crying.

The next day, at the funeral, though, the one thing that touched me more than almost anything during those two days was something my youngest child, Jackson, did. It was when we first got to the church for the hour long viewing we held for those who couldn't come to calling hours.

Jackson wasn't going to be in the sanctuary for the service, as I had my cousin Mike's two daughters babysit him in the church nursery during the actual funeral service, since Jackson is only 2 years old and I doubted he would be quiet and sit still for the service.

Anyways, once everyone was in the sanctuary except for our extended family (Mom and Dad's siblings, their kids, and such) and everyone was going up to the casket to tell Dad goodbye one last time, my Mom wanted all of the grandchildren to gather by the casket to put their letters and pictures in there with Dad that they had all written to him. My kids all wanted to write Daddy a letter to tell him how much they loved him and other little private things they needed to say to him. They also each had a picture of themselves with Grandpa to put in his casket with him so they would always be with him.

I was holding Jackson while I was helping my other son Logan with his picture for Grandpa. Dad had taught Jack how to blow kisses back and forth to him with both hands and the two of them always did that to each other as soon as they saw each other for visits. It was really cute and we all loved it when Jack did it- especially as Dad taught Jack to do sounds effects with it- "MWAH!" "MWAH!" "MWAH!"

I kept telling Jack that Grandpa was sleeping so Jack wouldn't get worried/scared, but I don't think he even realized anything was wrong. Jack just kept telling Dad "Hi!" and smiling at him. So finally, after Grandpa doesn't answer Jack when he kept saying "Hi!", Jack starts blowing him kisses with both hands and says "MWAH! MWAH! MWAH!" All of us still standing near the casket start laughing/crying just because it was so incredibly sweet and sad at the same time. My Mom took Jack from me, and hugged him and told him how much Grandpa loved him, and how sweet he was to give Grandpa kisses and such. Jack kept smiling and blew Dad more kisses and told him "Hi!" a few more times and then patted Dad's hand. It was so sweet and totally heartbreaking at the same time.

I wasn't supposed to have Jack that day, since it was my husband's day to keep him, but he was kind enough to let me have Jack for 4 days and nights in a row, so that Jack could be with our family for the funeral and then spend the weekend with us. It was so sweet of him to let us keep Jack, and I appreciated it so much. Jack really cheered everyone up with his cute little sayings and the funny things he does. Also, I was SO grateful to have all four of my children with me at Dad's funeral. Dad loved all of those little kids SO much and I know he was happy that we were all there together that day for him.

Another thing I was really grateful about was for my best friend Terry. he and I have been friends since I was 18. Terry and my Dad had a strange "relationship". See, the thing is this- Terry is gay. And my Dad is not really big on people that are gay, because my Dad was molested/fondled by a gay neighbor of his family's when he was a really little boy of about 5 years old. My Dad's mother told me about it a long time ago- Dad would never, ever discuss it, because I think it still bothered him. In any case, when I was younger, Dad never wanted me to hang out with Terry. I know it didn't really make sense, but I had to sneak around in order to see Terry back then.


Let's Go Bears!

When I was 19, I was in a bad car accident, and Terry came by during the day when Dad was at the office and not home, to see how I was feeling and to bring me magazines to read and some roses he bought at the florist. Of course, Dad decided to come home early that day and got into an argument with terry for being at our house w=once he got inside. The argument escalated and Dad ended up punching Terry right in the face/eye. Terry didn't press charges, but I wasn't allowed to hang out with Terry after that, but I snuck around and did anyways.

So fast forward to a few months ago, when I had a hearing for my divorce from my husband. My Dad was going to be one of my witnesses, as was Terry. They hadn't seen each other in almost twenty years, after that day of the fight. I re-introduced Terry to Dad, and dad ended up apologizing to Terry about hitting him years ago. Terry accepted the apology, and they sat down and began talking. Terry's father owns a business similar to my Dad's family's tool and die business, so they talked mainly about work stuff.

However, over the next couple months, whenever there was a divorce hearing or issue, Terry went with me for support and talked to dad at each hearing. They also saw each other frequently at my house for dinner and various things. Mom even became friends with Terry, too, and she took him, me, and my sister all to lunch at this fancy tea room she likes after our last divorce hearing.

Anyways, the night dad died, my daughter Jordan and I spent the night at Terry's. I was at my parents' house till about one in the morning (Dad passed away around 5:00 PM or so, and they took him out of the house around 8:30 PM, and I stayed there with Mom until all of her family arrived from Cuyahoga Falls/Stow), and then Terry told us to come to his place because he didn't want us to be alone and sad, and he wanted to sit up and talk with us. We stayed up talking till about 4:00 AM.

When we had calling hours, Terry went with me early, as the immediate family was supposed to be there at 1:00 PM, so we could see Dad first so we didn't see him for the first time with a bunch of other people around, and could spend time with him alone. Terry held my hand and walked with me and Mom up to the casket and held my Mom up, since her legs were shaking and her knees kept giving out. He stayed with me the entire day long and all evening as well. He kept checking on me in the receiving line and seeing if I needed a glass of water, Kleenex, or anything. He waited patiently for me after the calling hours were over with and stayed by my side and walked me to my car. The next day, he met me there at 10:00, and helped me with Jack and my coat and anything and everything I needed. He sat with me during the service and held my hand, and put his arm around me. he held me up when I felt shaky as the pallbearers were loading Dad's casket into the hearse. He rode up to Oakwood Cemetery in Cuyahoga Falls in the limo behind the hearse with me, Mom, and my four children. (My sister, her husband, my dad's two siblings and their spouses rode in the second limo behind ours). He carried my son Jackson when we got to the cemetery and throughout the graveside service. He escorted me and Jack back to the limo and helped us back out of the limo once we all arrived back in Green at our church. And he sat sat with me during the luncheon, made a plate up for jack and sat on Jack's other side during lunch.

Basically, Terry was the best and most attentive person I could have asked for to be with me on the most difficult day ever in my life so far. He saw to my every need, as well as anything Mom or my kids needed and he was there to listen if I wanted to talk, or give me a shoulder to cry on or whatever else I needed during those two days. I could not have asked for more or better than Terry. I can never repay him for all that he did for me last week and I'm so lucky to have someone like him in my life. Although, he knows that if the tables were turned, I would do absolutely do the very same things for him. I'm just so honored to have him for my best friend and I have no idea what I'd do without him in my life.

All in all, the calling hours and funeral service were beautiful. They were the two saddest and worst days of my life, but after hearing so many people say so many wonderful and kind things about Dad, it made me feel somewhat comforted and I know that Dad is in Heaven right now and that he's being taken care of and that I will see him again some day. I just wish that I was able to stop thinking about the fact that I will never talk to him again, or see him again, or hug him again. It's killing me and it hurts like you wouldn't believe. There have already been like fifty times when I saw something on TV I know he would like that I wanted to call and tell him to tune into, or something I read online that I know he would find interesting, etc.

I talked to Dad several times each day back when I was still working before I got sick. And even after I had to stop working last August, I still would talk to him at least 5 times every day. And we'd always talk at night

He was really looking forward to seeing Caitlin graduate this June from high school, and go off to college at Ohio State this fall. Caitlin has plans to become an anesthesiologist and Dad was constantly bragging about how smart Caitlin is and how she is going to graduate 11th in her senior class- with honors. Caitlin is really having a hard time now that Dad is gone. as are all of my kids, knowing that Dad will never see them graduate high school and college, get married, have children of their own, etc. All of my kids had great relationships with Dad and they told em that now they just feel "lost" without him. I know exactly how they feel.

Every morning when I wake up since my Dad died last week, the first thing I think about is how Dad is no longer with us and how I can never hug him or kiss his cheek, and it just seems so unreal. I wish that were truly the case. I want him back so much, and the pain caused by his death is intolerable for everyone in our family. Even little Jackson keeps toddling over to a picture of Grandpa that I have in my living room, pointing to it, blowing the picture a kiss, saying "Mwah!", and then saying "Bye-bye..." It just makes me want to cry.

I know this is really long. I also know that it more than likely wasn't interesting to many of you. However, I wasn't writing it for anyone else besides me and my father. I wanted to put my feelings down on "paper" while everything was still fresh in my mind about him and the calling hours and such. I wanted it for my memories, and for Dad to know how much I will always love him, that I miss him, and that I could not have asked for a better father.

I love you, Daddy. Thank you for everything.



Let's Go Bears!
...and after too many sleepless nights lately watching bad infomercials...

My new favorite infomercial product is the Snuggie. It's a blanket with sleeves!!!! Anyone else seen this thing? I want one just for the fun of it. OR I want to give my Mom and sister matching ones for Christmas as a joke gift.

In the infomercial, they make wearing a blanket look as cumbersome as wearing a minivan while you're doing your knitting. The woman trying to read under "a conventional blanket" looks like a frustrated bear trapped in a net in some old timey western flick. I want one so bad. I can't believe I've lived as long as I have with only blankets with no sleeves. It's a miracle I'm even here to see the error of my ways...lol



Let's Go Bears!
Bad Thing #1,846,693,801 to happen to me in the past year

As if I haven't had enough bad things happen to me lately, I now have yet ANOTHER bad experience to try and make it through- Radial Nerve Palsy. (I'll explain what it is in a sec...)

For those of you keeping score at home, in the past six months, I've had the following bad things I've had to deal with:

1. I got cancer in my parotid (salivary) gland, and had to go through radiation treatments.

2. My husband and I are getting divorced.

3. Due to Bad Thing #2, we're involved in custody issues with our son, and he has to spend his time being shuffled back and forth between our two homes.

4. I lost my job due to downsizing at the company due to the poor economy.

5. Due to Bad Things #2 and #4, my house went into foreclosure, because I didn't have enough money to pay my house payment. However, I've since completed a loan modification on my mortgage and got a reduced payment each month, so that Bad Thing went away. But it was pretty scary there for a while.

6. My grandmother passed away in January.

7. My Dad passed away two weeks ago.

Which brings me to my current Bad Thing- Radial Nerve Palsy.

So last week, I was sitting at my computer and was typing a letter up to thank the Pastoral Care department at my church for sending me and also my mother both these really nice, huge fruit baskets filled with fruit, cheese, chocolates, muffins,etc. from Fisher Foods after my Dad died. I had been typing and writing thank you letters all evening after my two kids went to bed and I was super tired, but really wanted to get the letters in the mail the next morning, so I was trying to finish them.

However, I fell asleep at my desk, with my head resting on my right arm. I woke up several hours later when my daughter came downstairs for breakfast and woke me up- still in the same position at my desk. When I got up, my arm was numb and felt like it had fallen asleep. But I couldn't extend my wrist and fingers out straight.

I thought the felling in my arm and hand would come back over a few hours, and waited. By night time,when it was still unable to move and was numb, I went to Akron General to have it looked at. Turns out that I got Radial Nerve Palsy from falling asleep on my arm at my desk. It happens when your radial Nerve in your arm becomes compressed. Sometimes, the movement and feeling comes back in days or weeks. Sometimes it never comes back ever. And sometimes, it can be repaired through surgery or physical therapy. GEEZ- bad stuff has been happening to me so much lately, that it has even started happening to me when I'm asleep!!

They put my right arm in a brace until I go see my orthopedic surgeon tomorrow, so the muscles in my arm won't atrophy, and I can't do ANYTHING. I can barely use my right hand at all, and am typing this all funky, since I can only use my index finger on my right hand to type. My other fingers stay permanately curled under,and I can't get them to move on my own. My wrist is the same way without the brace- if I am not wearing it, my right hand hangs down bent at the wrist pointing towards the floor and I can't lift it up so it is parallel to the rest of my arm.

This is SO annoying. I can barely get dressed, or do my hair, and can't even put it in a ponytail by myself, since that requires two hands. I can't use a fork or spoon, since I am right handed and haven't yet mastered the art of eating while holding the utensil in my left hand. I can barely write, and when I do, it resembles something that a 5 year old scribbled when they have just learned how to write their name.

I also can't button things on my clothing, or use zippers very well, and can't do dishes, put on makeup, or pick up anything with my right hand. Not only that,but I have constant pain in my right hand and arm and the whole thing tingles as if it were asleep,and it's totally numb- except that I keep feeling shooting pain going through my hand and lower and upper arm sections.It's pretty painful- so much that it even wakes me up in the middle of the night.

I REALLY hope the surgeon I see tomorrow- Dr. Seth at Spectrum Orthopedics in Canton- can fix this through surgery. Because I don't want to wait to see if it repairs itself and I don't have the patience for physical therapy. I just want to be able to use my arm and hand again!! This is just too much to deal with after everything else I've been through lately, and I just want my normal life back.

Here's a couple links about Radial Nerve Palsy:



And if you're reading this, please keep me in your thoughts and good wishes tomorrow that after viewing my arm X-rays, Dr. Seth thinks my arm will be repairable with surgery. If not, I will be permanately disabled for the rest of my life, and am going to have to re-learn how to do almost everything- like riding a bike, cook, get dressed, clean my house, etc. I can do some things fairly well, but re-learning everything else using just my left hand and arm is going to probably be pretty hard.

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Let's Go Bears!
The Eulogy I Did for My Dad's Funeral Service

Below is a copy of the eulogy I wrote for my Dad, and read at his funeral service a few weeks ago. I know it might be odd to add it to my blog, but I wanted a copy of it somewhere where I knew it wouldn't be deleted or accidentally erased.

Albert Einstein once said: "Nothing is so strong as gentleness. Nothing is so gentle as real strength."

Many people who knew my father thought of him as someone who was a man of strength- physically, intellectually and emotionally. But the Gordon Gentzler I knew was one who was caring, gentle and compassionate, especially in any matters that involved his family.

Dad could be quite an intimidating and a commanding presence. However, the man I loved most was the one who was always so sweet and loving towards my Mom, and who always showed so much tenderness towards myself, my sister, Jennifer and my children- Gordon's beloved grandchildren.

My Dad always seemed to be larger than life to me. Standing over 6'4" with his broad shoulders and his deep voice, he was more like a father-themed Superman to me than just a normal Dad. He just always seemed smarter, faster, and stronger than most men, and I was in awe of him as a child.

But what I loved most about my Dad was his caring and tender heart, and his vulnerability. For as big of a man as he was, he had an even bigger heart. He has been known to cry during the movie "Brian's Song" at the part where Gale Sayers make the speech about praying for Brian Piccolo when he won the Rookie of the Year Award, although whenever I caught him crying during that movie, he claimed that he wasn't crying, but rather had "something in his eye".

Dad would also get emotional over favorite songs of his, such as Bette Midler's "Wind Beneath My Wings", which he and I danced to at my wedding, or when he talks about touching stories in the news he had heard about, such as just last week, when he and my Mom were watching a news story about a little boy from Appalachia who wanted to play football, but couldn't afford it, and who was collecting pieces of coal to sell in order to pay for his football uniform and equipment. Mom said Dad got all choked up and had tears in his eyes while watching this story, and this was typical of my Dad. He had such a caring and kind heart, and he always was a champion of the little guy and the underdogs of the world.

He didn't like to cry in front of people, but I always felt that the fact that he was able to show such a vulnerable emotion to others made Dad a stronger and bigger man than those who were embarrassed of letting their feelings show.

One thing that I feel I must mention, since my Mom and I were just talking about it this morning, is how Dad had some of the largest hands I have ever seen on a man- and I always felt so safe when he and I would hold hands when I was little and we were out walking somewhere in public. And just this morning, my Mom was telling me about the time she first met my Dad's father, Paul Gentzler.

He and my grandmother, Gerry, were playing cards at someone's house and my Mom noticed when she shook Grampy's hands how large they were. She said she also noticed how Grampy looked after my grandmother and how protective and loving he was towards her. Mom said that was one of the deciding factors for her when she was thinking about marrying Dad- she wanted a man just like Grampy- who took such excellent care of his wife and family and who was such a strong person for his family. And Dad was very much like his father in that respect- he always was so strong for Mom and
for the rest of us in his family and protected and looked out for everyone to the best of his ability.

My mother has said that she whenever they were going through anything that made her nervous or scared her, all she needed in order to feel better about things was to have Dad envelope her hand in his, and she felt safe and secure.

He always went out of his way to make sure that all of us were taken care of in the best way he knew possible. What always amazed me about Dad more than anything was his ability to always right any wrong in our lives, and fix any problem we may have. No matter what type of issues or problems my sister and I might run into when we were growing up, he always knew exactly how to make them better and gave us both sound and responsible advice on how to get our situation back on track. Dad never let us down when it came to him looking out for our best interests. He wanted nothing less than for his family to live a safe, happy and trouble free life, and he did everything he could to make that possible.

As for myself, I know that I gave my parents more than their fair share of problems when I was growing up. However, my Dad was always so supportive towards me, even when no one else was. He would always say to me, "Who's always on your side, and who always looks out for you?" And when I'd reply, "You", he'd say, "That's right. You know your 'ole
Dad always has your back, and I'm never going to let anything happen to you or let you down, right?" And he never did.

So many times, when I was having tough times in my life, such as when I was going through my divorce from my kids' father, Dad was there for me.
I remember how he would come up to my house in Green almost every night during that difficult time, sit on the porch with me, drink iced tea and talk to me, and encourage me. He would tell me that no matter what, he and Mom would always be there for me, and that we would get through this together. he always was there for me during times of trouble to reassure me, comfort me and help me decide on what was the best way to handle problematic situations.

Another thing I loved about my Dad was how sweet he always was to my children- his beloved grandchildren. When my first child, Caitlin, was born, Dad was up at Akron City Hospital, pacing the hallways in the maternity ward, eagerly awaiting her arrival. After her birth, Dad came bounding into my hospital room, and picked her up, grinning from ear to ear. I noticed at the time how Dad's hands were almost as big as she was, and took a picture of him with her, just because it was comical to me how big he was compared to Caitlin. But when it came to his grandchildren, Dad was a "gentle giant".

My Dad loved my four children, Caitlin, Jordan, Logan and Jackson, more than almost anything in the world. He also had recently gotten to know Jennifer's daughter, Beth (whom Jen had given up for adoption back when she was younger, and whom just recently looked up Jen and met her) and immediately loved her as well. Dad's biggest pride and joy in life were his grandchildren, and he talked about them to anyone who would listen.

He was really looking forward to seeing Caitlin graduate this June from high school, and go off to college at Ohio State this fall. Caitlin has plans to become an anesthesiologist and Dad was so excited about that. He was constantly telling others how smart she was, and how she was going to take care of him in his old age. I think he was only partially joking about that.

Dad also loved spending time with Jordan. Just a few weeks ago, when Jordan was getting ready for a dance at her school and was running late, and didn't have time to paint her nails. So while Caitlin helped her with her makeup, Dad jumped right in and and offered to paint her nails for her. Jordan was skeptical at first, but let him help her, and he actually did a good job. Later I joked to him that he may have missed his calling as a manicurist, and might want to re-think that whole pallet sales thing. He laughed, but little incidents like that were just some of the type of things that Dad was willing to do to help everyone in his family. He spent time teaching Logan things that guys should know- about cars, home repair and such, and he spent every Saturday running errands to places like the hardware store and barber shop with Logan. Since my kids' dad lives out of state, my Dad has always stepped in to be a father figure to all of them. As for my youngest child, Jackson, Dad was constantly working with Jack to learn the word "Grandpa" and had already taught him to blow kisses back and forth to him.

He showed my children love, compassion and caring, and he made them a priority in his life. And they weren't the only ones he did this for. My cousin Jared had lost his father when he was an infant, and my Dad was always there for Jared, to give him advice, spend time with him and love him as a father would.

I think what I'm going to miss most about my Dad, though, is just spending time talking to him. He had vast knowledge of so many varied subjects, and he never failed to amaze me regarding how much he knew about so many different things. I loved to just sit and chat with him, asking him about his life and experiences. he and I had just been talking last Thursday about how this summer we were going to start fishing together at my house and have monthly fish frys with whatever we were able to catch. We had always loved hanging out together, riding our mountain bikes on the tow path trail together, going out on my boat, or heading off to Amish country in his restored 1940 Ford, which he loved so much.

But even though we'll never be able to do those things together, I know that I will see my Dad again one dayin Heaven, and I know that he is looking down on us, and that he will always be looking out for us, and watching out for us. I know that he would want nothing but the best for his family, and that he would be here protecting all of us if he could. It's what he did best, and why I loved him so much.

And since Dad never wanted to tell me "Goodbye" when we talked every night on the phone, but rather "Goodnight", since he felt that "Goodbye" was too final, in closing, I'll just say "Goodnight, my sweet Daddy. I love you so very much."












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Let's Go Bears!
Spring Break!

Well, it's Spring Break time, and my kids are in Orlando, Florida for the week with my Dad's younger sister and my Mom for a vacation.

My aunt thought it would be nice to take my Mom and the kids away for some relaxation and rest after having to deal with my father's death and funeral and such, so she paid for all of them to fly down to a gorgeous 4 star resort for the week. They're going to go to Disney World, Epcot Center, Busch Gardens, etc., and the waterfront resort they're staying at is right near the ocean, and my Mom said it's absolutely stunning.

I spoke with all of them the day they landed down there and they all said it's beautiful and super nice,and I'm so happy for them, that they all got to go to such a lovely place for a break and to relax a bit after everything we've all had to deal with and go through over the past month since losing Dad. I hope they have a fantastic time!

I had to stay here since I have a divorce hearing this week, an appointment for my Radial Nerve hand issue, and also so I can spend time with Jack. I would have liked to go, but when you have kids, you have to take care of the things that are a priority with them first, and I couldn't miss the hearing we have, or my appointment, so...

However, I've got to see the place they're staying once on "Great Hotels with Samantha Brown" on the Travel Channel. It's Disney's Beach Club Resort, and it's just amazingly beautiful. They have all kinds of cool things to do there for adults and kids, and my aunt even set up a bunch of cool spa treatments for Mom to have done while she's there. She certainly deserves it after all she's had to deal with lately.

One thing she had to take are of was at Oakwood Cemetery where Dad is buried. The man who sells the plots there sold my parents' plots to another couple AFTER my parents bought them, and he had Dad put in another person's grave.

When we arrived at the cemetery, the hearse went the wrong way, towards a plot that wasn't one of the ones that Mom and Dad picked out together last summer. She was all upset in the limo as we were following the hearse, and mentioned it to me that they stopped at the wrong grave, but didn't want to cause a scene at the graveside service, so she said nothing at the time of the funeral. But afterward, she had to contact an attorney and the police, as the cemetery guy was trying to double sell plots at Oakwood, and pocket the extra money for himself.

We finally got the right plot back and they had to exhume my Dad's vault and casket with him inside, and have him moved to the plot that he and Mom had picked out and purchased just last year. Mom and my Dad's two siblings went to the cemetery last week when they moved Dad, just to ensure that he was put into the correct grave site, It was just horrible that Mom had to basically go through his burial all over again just because of someone's greed and dishonesty. I felt awful for her.

So I really hope that she's having a relaxing and really nice stress free time in Florida this week. If anyone I know deserves something good in their life right now, it's definitely my Mom. :)



As for new things in my life, I recently have joined a new group at my church, Rivertree Christian in Jackson, and I'm super excited about it! Growing up, I was raised in a Christian home,and attended Christian school, and everything, but later as a young adult, I grew away from the Christian morals and values that I had always been told were right. I went through some pretty terrible things, and behaved awful for a large portion of my adult life. I drank too much, swore a lot, didn't go to church, lied all the time, and basically turned into someone who wasn;t a very good - or nice- person. Looking back, I'm amazed that my family is still even talking to me after the way I treated them at times.

However, since my husband moved out last fall, I began taking a look at the person I had become,and realized that I didn't like myself much. I realized that I needed to change who I had become if I ever wanted to have a good relationship with my family- especially my parents and my kids. So I have been doing just that over the past few months. I have given up doing anything that I feel isn't good or Christ-like, and I have been reading and studying my Bible every day, and I feel like I am finally turning the corner as far as turning into the person I should have always been.

Although I have had a lot of terrible things happen in my life recently, I think that God was letting those things happen in order to get my attention, and get me to see that I needed to change my behavior and change my way of thinking and what I believed. I am actually very happy now at everything I have been working on, and the changes I have already made for my life. I think that now, I am finally turning into the mother, daughter, sister and friend that my parents raised me to be,and that God would want me to be. It's a wonderful feeling to wake up in the morning knowing that I no longer need to worry about a lie I told someone, or something bad I had done to a friend. I just want to be the best person I can be, and to live my life as God would want me to live it- with conviction, honesty, love, honor, and selflessness towards others in my life.

I also have some new friends I have met through my church whom I like a lot, and I am finally understanding what it really means to be a good friend to others. The Sunday School class I attend is really great, and I am learning so much from it. I am just really thankful that God has allowed for me to see that what I was doing with my life was wrong, and that I needed to change, and that He is helping me to do just that. It's really freeing, and I'm so much happier with myself for doing the necessary work on my life that I needed! I'm still- and probably always will be- a work in progress, but at least I'm headed in the right direction now.
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Let's Go Bears!
A Few Thoughts About Forgiving Someone Who Has Hurt You...

I had something happen to me yesterday that got me thinking about forgiveness. I was thinking about how hurt I was and wondering to myself how I could ever forgive, and move on. Later on, I was reading a religious site online that had thoughts on forgiveness, and came across a really cool way of looking at the art of forgiving someone who has deeply hurt you.

Forgiving starts with giving up the right to punish the offender.

If someone has done something to harm you, you'll most likely take a "recriminating" position -- some form of "they shouldn't have done that and I want to make them pay for it". To forgive, you have to recognize this desire for "payback" and choose to give it up.

There's a generosity in that: as far as you're concerned, you have a RIGHT to payback -- they "owe you". To simply surrender your right to that revenge seems illogical to the ego: "why would I give that up!? They owe me!" So it's an act of generosity to give it up, just like it's an act of generosity to give money to charity -- you have a right to that money, and you're just giving it away.

So when you forgive, you move from being vengeful to being generous. Coming up with the willingness to do that takes courage, but it's not complicated.

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