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By Emerald63 on Aug 30, 2016 at 2:06 PM

First off... It's nice to hear from you, Brain. I've been meaning to message you and see how you're doing. Sadly, this year does seem to be racking up *a lot* of deaths for quite a few people I know, yourself included. Please give my condolences to your oldest friend - if he's a friend of yours, he's got to be a pretty swell guy. ++ Yes, Sylvia was the best. Smart, funny, compassionate, and full of energy. We corresponded at length for some time before her activities became too numerous. She was even better in detail than at a distance, if you know what I mean. ++ I'm so sorry about your kitty... Pretty, indeed. I, too, have buried my pets with toys, and even photos, over the years. I have a very thin fabric "belt" (really more of a waist tie) from one of my late mother's housecoats that's been favorite of several cats. It has metal tips on the ends, like the ends of a shoelace, so it's stayed in pretty good shape. I have it tied around the doorknob of a door that doesn't get opened and closed a lot so they can roll around tugging on it without it getting lost. It's funny, the things they'll "adopt" as toys. ++ The new van is really nice in a lot of ways, with features the old one didn't have. It's also missing a few features the old one did have. Whacha gonna do? C'est la vie. We do like that the sliding doors have operable windows now. Makes it easier to cool off the interior while still being able to start driving it, unlike when we had to have the doors open. We don't have a garage and our only shady spot is under an old and unpredictable tree. When you can put the words "tree" and "unpredictable" together, you know you have what's known colloquially as "a situation." Hence, we don't put the vehicles and the tree together very often. We didn't have a choice on replacing Athena 1 (the old van), but it looks like we're also going to have to replace Mark's 2003 pickup. With almost 250K miles on it, that's kinda not surprising, though its issues have only recently started to become more numerous - and expensive. But he's willing to find a used one, as long as it's red; he's a dyed-in-the-wool KC Chiefs fan. ++ How's your dad's PT going? And you? How are *you* doing? (((Hugs)))

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By Emerald63 on Jul 4, 2016 at 2:10 PM

It's so good to hear from you, Brain! I'm heartened to hear that your doing well. Even more heartened to hear your dad is heartened, too... so to speak. Mark and I picked up our new van last week and are still getting used to it. Um... did you hear about the wreck on Memorial Day weekend? Check my Stuff section for a couple of pics and a text comix for info. But everything here is finally coming back to level, though Mark's dad has been in the hospital for unexplained high blood pressure that's not responding as well as it should to med changes. He's 89 and has been showing his age much more in the last year or so. We're looking forward to seeing him in a couple days. We'll spend the 4th here at home, then head up to the family farm. You tell *your* dad we're cheering for his PT to be a big success! Independence Day, indeed. :)

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By Emerald63 on Jul 1, 2016 at 5:02 PM

Hi Brain. I've been thinking about you, hoping that you're doing OK. Can you let me know? (((Hugs)))

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By Emerald63 on Jun 8, 2016 at 8:46 PM

Happy Friendship Day, Brain. I'm not sure you'll get this on the right day (June 8), but I've been super busy lately. Much to relate at a later time, but for now... http://cheezburger.com/8803703296

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By Emerald63 on May 21, 2016 at 1:30 PM

Greetings, Brain. It's so good to hear that you're not shutting yourself away, that you're engaging with others, especially a trained counselor like Richard. I was referring to lurking here at ICHC, but I'm glad you explained about your version. I don't think it's unhealthy to "sometimes" brood. I think it's natural. What's important is not to let it overtake you. But it sounds like you're doing a good job of not letting that happen. ++ Perhaps you could refer to her as Stormy's wife? Maybe let the word "widow" come in its own time? Or maybe never? Just because society uses a word doesn't mean we all *have* to use it. ++ I know the strange joke concept. My best friend's ex (together 10 years, apart 1) died at 47 because taking blood thinners (he'd already had one dangerous clot) made him feel "old." Bit of poor decision making, there, but at least now he'll never feel old. (O_o) It's been extremely hard for my friend, Lynda, because she never stopped loving him - he broke up with her. Mark and I also lost a dear friend to an accidental OD of pain meds, something she did legitimately need. Trouble is, if you forget you've already taken them and take more, you don't get a second chance not to do it again. The call to tell us was the first we received in 2012, on New Year's Day. I'd been freaking out a bit about "the end of the world" in 2012 (the whole Mayan calendar thing), even though I knew the Mayan part was BS. But so many people were thinking about the end of the world, I feared they might contribute enough negative energy to cause real harm. Boy, am I glad I was wrong. :) ++ I'm glad you're my cheezfriend, too, Brain. The only thing you need to do to thank me is to keep trying to keep trying. It's all any of us can do. I'm beyond grateful to the Powers That Be that they've given me an ability with words that's let me help others on occasion. It's humbling to know I'm allowed to do something meaningful for others. ++ Don't worry about being diligent, unless keeping a schedule is helpful to you. I'll be happy to hear from you whenever. My prayers are with you and your dad for a good outcome and recovery from his surgery. (((Hugs))) ~~tummy rubs~~

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By Emerald63 on May 19, 2016 at 3:26 PM

Hi Brain. Are you still lurking? How are you? I hope you've been talking with loved ones, and maybe even a professional, if you feel the need. I'm thinking of you often. ++ Are you seeing any signs of spring in your area? Having been in the upper 80s here a few times already, we're now back down in the 50s with rain. Rain is good, but the temps feel super cold after the warms. I'm still working on getting my LOLs saved to my hard drive. Going for more than a few pages at a time is just... so... hypnotic....... zzzz. Huh? What? I'm awake! (((Hug-for-you))) ~~~tummy-rubs-fur-Waffles~~~

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By Emerald63 on May 3, 2016 at 5:36 PM

It's very good to hear from you, Brain. Thanks for letting me know you're hanging in there. (((Hugs))) ++ I'm sorry to hear about Stormy's trouble with meds. I've know a couple people for whom it took years, decades in one case, to get them right. I'm so very sad that didn't happen for your friend. But hopefully having a possible answer is of some help to you. It doesn't make things "better," but sometimes an answer, even a clue, keeps the worst at bay. Not knowing can be a Purgatory all its own. ++ I think ICHC will be OK, even if it's on this smaller scale from now on. I'd been meaning to save my own LOLs to my hard drive for a long time and at least I'm finally getting around to that. ++ It's totally understandable that you don't feel like making LOLs now, but it's good to know you're spending some time here, among your cyber friends. You take care, too, and Hi! back to Waffles.

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By Emerald63 on May 3, 2016 at 4:54 PM

Hi Brain. Just wanted to check in with you, see if you're doing OK. I'm still sending good thoughts and healing energy your way. Let me know if they get there, OK? If not, I'll boost the gain, so to speak.

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By Emerald63 on Apr 22, 2016 at 5:32 PM

Blessed Earth Day to you, my friend - http://cheezburger.com/8772995328 ++ And another LOL I thought might be of comfort - http://cheezburger.com/8772905472 ++ Also, there is an amazing album I listen to often when I'm looking for calm and transcendence. It's called The Origin of Fire and is made up of Gregorian type chant but sung by women. The creator of the chants was Hildegard von Bingen who lived in the 1100s. She was an amazingly accomplished woman, and one with a deep spirit.

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By Emerald63 on Apr 22, 2016 at 4:57 PM

Hello, friend. It is so good to hear from you, to know you're hanging in there. I did find one video of your friend at YouTube, of his conversation with a woman in New Orleans. Stormy seems to have been a deep thinker, someone looking for profundity - and finding it. It seems to me he did not waste a single moment of his life, which is something very few people can say. Even when he was out fishing, as I saw in his Facebook photos, I think he was probably musing on something, open to whatever lessons he could absorb at any moment. It also sounds as though he was able to project his intense search for meaning to others and - more profound still - able to inspire them to do the same. I am not at all surprised to hear you say that his children and his students are better people for having known him. ++ As much as it may surprise us, even disillusion us, even great human beings are not perfect. No human can claim that. I'm so sorry the surprising things you've learned about Stormy were revealed under such horrible circumstances. But if they help explain, even in part, why he took his life, I hope they provide some comfort to you, as well. Remember, comfort doesn't always feel good; sometimes it just helps the situation seem a little bit less of a maelstrom. ++ I had the same painful duty to inform in 2006. My aunt by marriage wasn't sure about my mom's mental state (which was OK), so she called me from a few hundred miles away and asked me to tell my mother that her brother had died. We'd always lived far away from him, so I didn't know him that well, but I had to tell my mother that this person she'd known since the day he was born, with whom she'd shared a huge portion of her life that I would never fully understand, was gone. His death left her the last person in her nuclear family. My uncle was younger than she, but he died quickly from an ill-placed malignant brain tumor that was undiagnosed until it was too late. Telling her was a heavy burden, but also something I was glad I could do for her in person. I'm not constrained about losing it in front of others, so I didn't have that worry. But I know that's much harder for many men, so I definitely do not think less of you for informing your family by phone. However it's done, it is one of the hardest things to ever have to do. ++ Stormy's daughter is right to ask you, "Are YOU all right?" not only for your sake, but for hers, too. She needs to share what's going on with those closest to her. That includes

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By Emerald63 on Apr 16, 2016 at 1:18 PM

My friend, may all the Lords and Ladies be with you... Brain, there is nothing to forgive. Nor are you selfish. You are in a "moment" of shock, horror, and profound grief. There is no rule book. There is no protocol for how you should act - or feel. I am so very very sorry for you, your friend, and his wife. Please don't blame yourself! Some people never show any signs of their inner turmoil... until it is too late. It's how some people are, despite our deepest desire to comfort them and lead them back into the light of wanting to live. And please don't feel bad for feeling angry, either. This is a very common reaction. Your natural way of thinking of your friend is of him alive, able to respond to you, explain to you why he did some boneheaded thing you cannot figure out. But now... just when you need more than ever to ask him, he's not there to tell you. That doesn't stop you from needing to ask and to know. Whatever pain a suicidal person is in, whatever peace they find, there is so much confusion and pain left behind. That's not to blame them, but only to point out what is: your feelings - whatever they are - are just as valid as his were. Don't short change them - and yourself - by thinking you shouldn't have them. But also don't feel you have to endure them on your own. Talk to people - your wife, other friends, a pastor, a therapist, a support group - and let them know where you're at. If you're not sure where you're at, tell them that. Just don't get lost inside your own head. Right now that is a dark and scary place. So help others help you. And do the same for his other friends and his wife. There's a saying - Sharing doubles our joy and halves our grief. That means, by the way, that you are not burdening me. You've more than doubled my joy on many occasions and I am absolutely OK with helping you halve your grief, even if I really don't come close to halving it. ++ A small side note... it's my father-in-law who was in the hospital. But he's doing well now, considering he's 90. I lost my own father over 9 years ago, as well as my mother. It wasn't the sort of shock you're feeling, but it still took a long time to feel a sense of normalcy return. Give yourself that time, too. Just, please... don't spend it alone with only your grief for company. I'm here, electronically, and I'll help as much as that allows. But again, seek out those who are physically present to help you cope. My prayers - for both you and your friend - are ongoing. (((HUG)))

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By Emerald63 on Apr 14, 2016 at 6:02 PM

Hi AB. It's great that your dad is continuing to improve. I hadn't told you, but on Easter Sunday my now 90 year old father-in-law collapsed after dinner. He finally got to go home yesterday. :) He'd had a few small strokes before, but this time they didn't believe that caused his collapse. They think he had a seizure. They did find a small clot on the scan, but could tell it had to be at least 2 days old at the time, maybe 2 months or more. They had a heck of a time getting his blood pressure to stabilize in the morning and late at night. I kinda wonder if getting up after eating, with an attendant BP drop, is the real reason behind his collapse. But he's learned to use a walker very well and was even able to go up the 3 stairs into their house when he got home. :) ++ Hmm... still under the fridge, eh? Here's a thought - you might want to whip up a batch of waffles (lower case, the kind you eat) and hold them hostage until Waffles (upper case) gives you back your heart. Otherwise... well... I'd definitely like to keep chatting with you. Good Luck...

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By Emerald63 on Apr 9, 2016 at 2:26 PM

Hey AB, Happy Caturday. I'm so glad to hear your dad is doing OK. I know what you mean about the "There, there's the last stitch - now get out" phenomenon. I admit it's amazing that humans can be mobile so soon after surgery, but even if it *is* good for some folks I still question the wisdom of it for others. Stressing anyone too much after they've undergone the trauma of open-body surgery seems like a recipe for *causing* problems. I wish I still believed medical practitioners always know what they're doing, rather than bowing down to the almighty power of $$$, but that hospital ship sailed a long time ago. That's why I'm always happy to hear that it actually docked again when folks I know (or know of) are aboard. Yea! ++ Your zombie soccer star bit already had me laughing when you brought Waffles into it! Even more laughter because our Joonyer is a bell ball fanatic. He'll play fetch with us sometimes for 20 minutes at a stretch. But he also plays with them on his own. The first time we went on a hunt for lost ones that we *knew* were somewhere in the house, we thought we'd find maybe half a dozen. Nooo... FOURTEEN. We found *fourteen* bell balls, all under the portable dishwasher. (It's never worked in the 20 years I've been here, but it makes a *great* pots & pans rack.) I've also fished eight or more from out behind the gas range a couple times, too. That's always fun, having to be careful of the gas line. We have an extra hanging plant rod with hooks at each end. Joonyer likes the balls with the long linear slots in them (rather than the gridded ones) and the end of the hanger hooks into them really nicely. It's balancing the flash light while trying to do that that's tricky, but at least we can get them out. What I don't get is that they never seem at all melted, even though we use the broiler fairly regularly. That's *some* plastic. ++ Anywho... Yea for your dad doing OK and yea for you *not* being a zombie soccer star and yea for Waffles just because - Hey! Waffles!! >^..^< :D

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By Emerald63 on Mar 26, 2016 at 1:06 PM

ARGH! You're havin too mush hoomin problems! SOOO glad your tumor was benign. Whew! I hope since you sent this note that your wife has recovered from her cold. A friend of mine had a head cold that dragged on for over a week, while living with and taking care of his 90 year old mother with dementia. Yeah, like either isn't bad enough... I'll keep your dad in my prayers. Keep in mind, docs have been fixing faulty valves for quite some time now, and quite successfully at that. Nope... not fun, but also not as bad as it could be. While I was on my trip (to a retreat we've been attending for over 20 years), I found out a woman I'd visited with numerous times, who was always bouncy and laughing, passed away just after Christmas. Her only complaint - for several years - was of bad back pain. She did put off seeing a doctor for a while. I don't know if it was a lack of insurance issue, lack of time, or just not wanting to hassle with MDs. Once she did go, at least a couple of docs missed what was really going on. She finally went to a chiropractor for the pain. I'm not sure how she eventually learned the truth - it was small cell carcinoma... and it was *everywhere.* She left behind 3 children, ages 4-14, but also a loving husband and good father for them. As bad as things seem for us at any one time, there is always someone who is having it much, much worse. Let me know how your dad did/does, OK? And, of course, more snuzzles from me to Waffles. And hugs for you. :)

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By Emerald63 on Mar 3, 2016 at 10:47 PM

Whoa! Lil Furry Dood ain't furry no more! =:O But it sure is great to hear he's doing so much better so soon. Hopefully his Chester imitation won't be permanent. I can't believe he let you take out his stitches. Waffles has got to be the mellowest kitteh on the planet! Your WTF description reminded me a lot of an Animal Planet show called "Monsters Inside Me." It's about people who've picked up any manner of parasites, mostly internal. They cover a few other medical things, like infections, but it's totally amazing to see "stringy things coming out" of someone's body. (O_o) Usually takes multiple docs (or at least several tries by one doc) to even figure out what's wrong. At least there seem to be some good anti-parasitic drugs out there. Of course, Waffles didn't have parasites. But considering what he did/does have, would parasites really be that bad in comparison? Ergh... let's go with him having *neither* shall we? ++ Fang-Q so mush fur gibbin' him teh snuzzles from me! I nebber reelized I wuz gonna be Auntie Em frum... Kansas. Hmmm....

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By Emerald63 on Feb 22, 2016 at 4:33 PM

YEA! Waffles is on the mend! Fang-Q so muchly fur gibbin himz teh tummy snuzzlez fur me. :D

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By Emerald63 on Feb 17, 2016 at 3:57 PM

That is great news! Thanks for letting me know. Best of luck keeping him relatively inactive during his recuperation. >^..^<

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By Emerald63 on Feb 16, 2016 at 9:30 PM

O Noez! O poor baby! You give Waffles a special, gentle pat for me and tell him I hope he feels better real soon. ++ We've been through something similar. One of our kittehs became an inside cat when I saw her limping for a couple days in a row. We have "porch cats," cats who hang out a lot on/near our front porch and whom we feed daily. (But of course there's no connection between those two facts...) Back in 2010 one of the very young kittens was limping. I finally took her to the vet and she had a horribly broken femur. They didn't realize just how bad it was till they got in there to fix it, though. (I couldn't bring myself to put down such a young creature simply because she'd had an unlucky accident.) The femur was broken straight across instead of at an angle, which meant healing would be more difficult because the bone halves are more likely to slip laterally. Not only that, the bone was split along its length! Between two titanium rods and lots of extra wiring to hold things in place during healing, Brit, as we eventually named her, recovered brilliantly. She's almost 6 years old now! ++ Even though Waffles is hurting right now, he'll be alright in due time. You'll just need to love him up even more than usual. But I'm sure you can handle that. ;)

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By Emerald63 on Jan 15, 2016 at 10:37 PM

HiHo, Brain! I thought of you the second I saw this. Enjoy - http://cheezburger.com/8587574528

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By Emerald63 on Jan 5, 2016 at 10:05 PM

Ohai, Atomicbrain! It was good to hear from you on Yule - thank you for thinking of me. :) Yeah, it totally sucks to have too little time to do justice to MY holiday because I'm so busy getting ready for THEIR holiday. If I didn't, I'd never hear the end of it. But do they ever send me a card or even acknowledge Yule? Nope. Doesn't matter that they can't claim ignorance, as I've explained it's significance. Sigh... ++ One of my favorite things about Easter is that the name is taken from a Pagan goddess! Also, bunnies and eggs are Pagan symbols. But my favorite thing is asking the supposedly devout believers if they know how the date for Easter is set. It's the last great movable feast day in the Christian calendar, but 99% of them have no clue how the date is chosen. When I tell tell them it's the first Sunday after the first full moon after the spring equinox, quite a few look very confused about the Nature connections and some even look rather horrified, as though such talk sounds akin to devil worship. HA!! No clue at all that the calendar practices date from their faith's Jewish origins and the lunar calendar Judaism follows. Someone definitely wasn't considering K.I.S.S. ++ I hope you had a nice holiday(s) of your own, whichever of them you may follow. At the very least, I hope airing your Festivus grievances was therapeutic. Didja do anything for New Years? Mark and I remembered to pause whatever we were watching and check in with the Times Square ball drop. A hug, some kissing... then we went back to our show. Yup, we're officially not young anymore. So... the New Years LOL I made is a total fabrication, hehehe!! Had fun with it anyway. Happy 2016 to you and yours!!!

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