Dog Gone!

There was a recent story in my local newspaper which bemoaned the death of a Pit bull named Star (The New York Daily News, August 14, 2012). Star belonged to a man nick named “Polok”, who was homeless and irresponsible in caring for both himself and the animal. This resulted in Star being fatally shot by the police.

The story was as follows. The police received a 911 call that Polok was lying comatose on the sidewalk and couldn’t be roused. In short, people thought he was dead.

The police were dispatched to assist and found the situation as described. However, during their attempts to determine if Polok was seriously injured, needed medical assistance, etc, a loose pit bull (Star) took off and began chasing a female bystander. One officer pursued Star, placing himself in harms way to divert the animal, which turned on him and chased him. This forced the officer to chose between being bitten by the pit bull or shooting it. The officer shot the animal in the head, killing it.

Afterward there was a hue and cry about the pit bull. Neighborhood denizens claimed that Star was a friendly and faithful animal who was only protecting her master. Why did the officer have to kill it, instead of. . . . .

What can one possibly do to stop a rampaging pit bull? I wonder if people even know what it’s like to be attacked, bitten and or mauled by a pit bull? If they did, they wouldn’t ask such inane question!

I guess to the officer was supposed to allow the creature to rip his throat out, or tear his face off, all for the sake of Star. What of the officers family? Has anyone thought of that?

It turns out that Polok was bombed out of his mind on alcohol and drugs. His faithful canine companion Star, had been taken away from him by the ASPCA a month earlier. Why? Because he had bitten a woman a month previously. The ASPCA had returned the animal to Polok after he’d promised to leash and muzzle it. A month later, Star was both unleashed, unmuzzled, plus chasing a police officer.  Were it me, I would’ve shot Star too.

I love animals just as much as the next person, but I also believe if you own a pet(s), you must be responsible for it’s/their  care. That means both inside and outside of your home and especially if you live in a crowded urban area like New York City. That way you not only show love for your pet(s) but those who are around you.

The sad fact is, if Polok was responsible Star would’ve been alive today.

In a future post, I will decry the Queens resident who possessed 45 hives (which contained one MILLION bees) in his garage. . . . . . . . . .

Ya gotta love New York City. . . . . . . .

Sour Apples

In a landmark decision on 08/24/2012 a California court decided that Samsung had violated Apple’s trademark copyrights and awarded them billions of dollars in damages. 

Why was this? Apple accused Samsung of duplicating their technology in creating the Samsung Galaxy Tab (referring to the tabs rectangular shape – Apple has dibs on the rectangular shape). Samsung also violated Apples trademark copyrights by creating a system (Android or “Droid”) which utilized a touch screen.

This also applied to the line of Samsung’s line of Galaxy cellphones. Apple claimed that when Samsung created these devises, they were aping or imitating I-Phone technology.

What do I have to say about this? A pox upon Apple’s house!

First of all, I used to admire Apple because of Steve Jobs’ drive and innovation, but, because of this nastiness, my respect for the product has plummeted to the bottom with a great a crash. Jobs was never about suing other companies because they made similar products. He was about creating better and more advanced products.  

This whole lawsuit thing makes me sick. It make me sicker when I heard early on Monday morning (08/27/2012) that Samsung’s stock on the Korean market had tanked. Meaning they’d lost billions because of the California court ruling. Of course Samsung is appealing the decision. I hope they win too!

Where does Apple get off suing Samsung in the first place? Ford motors did not sue General Motors because they made cars like them. Nor did Chevy sue Toyota for making cars like them. Each car company strove to manufacture more innovative products that customers would buy, or return and buy if they wanted a second vehicle. Competition spurs invention, innovation, and better products. DUH!

What I see here is Apple is trying to kill the competition in the computer market. I feel if you have a good product, and people imitate it, you should be confident enough in what the product is and leave your competitors alone. Just concentrate on creating better and more updated products which will in turn create a new customer base.

I consider Apple a bunch of whimps for what they did. Number one if they were really concerned about their so called customer base, they would create a more reasonably priced products. I know people who (including me) would love to have I-Products but find them (and their paraphernalia) far too pricy for their tastes. So budget conscious shoppers will comparison shop and buy something cheaper which does the same thing. Android phones and Galaxy Tabs. . . . . . .

Like if you need a car and can’t afford a BMW, you buy a Toyota. It’s still a car. . . . . . . .

I wonder if Apple has ever considered that. Probably not, that’s why they were in court. . . . . .

Then you have folks who just don’t like Apple products. They’ve tried them and . . . . like the woman shopping in Radio Shack, when I was buying my phone. . . . “I don’t see what all the big fuss was about.” she said. She was trading in her I-Phone for a Samsung phone.  

Folks have the right to buy what they want to buy, and what they like. That’s why there are a VARIETY of products on the market in every area! Some are lousy and some are excellent, but they all have the right to be on the market just the same. So get over it Apple!

I would love to say that due to this dust up I am officially done with Apple and I would never purchase one of their products. I’ve had Samsung products for the past 18 years and love them!

However, I’m due to update my phone to the latest model next month. Since the recent court order, I may not be able to buy the latest Samsung Galaxy phone. I’m not sure if Samsung has been banned from selling, and supporting, as well as manufacturing Android products. If they are, this means I may have to cross enemy lines, into enemy territory and buy an I-phone.

Ugh! I will be holding my nose when I do.

The Geek Warrior Princess Speaks

What have I been up to lately?  Well, I bought two new laptops to replace my Old Grey Lady.  I really love my old laptop but she had become so old that it would be much more expensive to upgrade her than to just go out and buy another to replace her.  So I did.    

I decided if I’m gonna really do this writing and author thing, I have to do it right.  To do it right, I need the proper equipment to work with.  The Old Grey Lady was too out of date for me to download MicroSoft Office8 and that was a major hinderance to my writing and possible submissions.    

It broke my heart when I found out that most publishers prefer submissions in the MicroSoft Word format.  I had been using Open Office for years and hadn’t a clue till a few months ago.  Yes, I know about the thingy (I know, a GEEK saying *thingy*) on OfficeOffice where you can change the format of the document.  I haven’t tried it yet, in fact I’m sacred to.  

The editor I’d sent my manuscript was very kind and  suggested nicely that I needed to invest in the proper software (because they couldn’t open the doc on their computer).  Yes it was a blow, and it seems like I really couldn’t write properly until I got my new *babies*.  Now, I’m in the starting gate again and champing at the bit.

Of course both computers have to be prepped.  When I first bought Old Grey Lady from Best Buy, The Geek Squad had set up everything for me with spyware and stuff for an additional fee.  However, when I made my recent purchases no such offer was made.  I wouldn’t have accepted anyway because I’m far more computer literate than I was back then and thus know how to customize and set up my own systems.  

Plus I heard from geek friends that when some stores do that, not all of their people are legit.  Meaning for a little extra cash from the Dark Side, they will install malware cookies and spybots on your computer’s hard drive along with the latest version of Windows. . . . .  ID Theft is a really hot business these days, and hackers will grab your info any way they can.  

That’s the last thing I needed.  That’s why I do it myself.  

I am in no way disparaging Best Buy, Staples, or any other big electronics/office outlet that employs in store tech support people.  Not all of them are bad, in fact I’ve met some excellent Geeks who I could’ve chatted with all day, if they didn’t have work to do.  But,  you need to and check what they installed or fixed and make sure they didn’t add anything extra. . . . . .

Like one encounter I recently witnessed.

“Umm, what the heck is this?” he asked the tech, after booting up his laptop and checking the repair.  He was pointing to something on the screen.

 “Oh that’s such and such (I forget the name).  We needed to install that in order to. . .  . . . . ..” the tech replied.

“I didn’t ask for this on my computer and I want it removed. . .”  the outraged customer said cutting the tech off.  

“Whoopsy!”  I thought.  At that time I exited stage left, as I was only there to ask a question, and the place looked like a busy doctor’s office.  People on line with sick laptops  . . . . .

Now you see why I like to do things myself!   Plus I know a lot of great sites to get FREE virus and malware free programs!  That’s right, FREE!  One of them is CNET.com.  

My last  task will be to hook both computers up to an online back up site, which is Mozy.com.  Right now I’m using a 2gb FREE account, but I’m going to step it up to a paid account.  

It pays to have online back up if you have a lot of valuable writing on your computer(s).  With writers ALL of our writing is valuable!  It’s either that or invest in an independent hard drive to store everything.  But with an external hard drive you must remember to back up everything on a regular basis.  With online backup, it’s done automatically every time you sign on.  Or you can customize your backup times.  

Last but not least, did you know that today’s laptops no longer have a built-in disk drive?  When I bought Mini-Me (my netbook) I had to purchase an independent external disk drive if I wanted to install software on her or watch a DVD.  When I bought my laptops, I discovered the same thing!  It’s a good thing I already have an external disk drive, which works like a dream when hooked up by the way.  Saved me from beating a flaming path back to the store to buy one! 

I’m also one of those people who like to pre-shop.  I knew I was buying the laptops so I already bought my laptop covers and mice and whatever do-dads I needed before actually buying the products itself.   I know this great discount place where I can get all kinds of wires and peripherals really cheap and I HOARD.  Why?  Because I knew the standard question after you make your selection is:  Do you need a laptop cover, do you need this or that or the other?  The sales lady was most disappointed when I told her: “I already have that, this and the other.”  I know they’re trying to increase their commission, but I’m trying to save some dollars too.  

Another method of increasing the sales persons commission is ye olde insurance question.  

You should really buy insurance for your computer in case your three year old spills their juice box drink on your keyboard.  I have no children.  Or, You need insurance in case your computer falls out of the 25th floor window.  I don’t live on the 25th floor  They forgot to add, in case your cat or dog piddles on your keyboard.  My cats know better. . . . . .  

I nixed insurance, because I know that with most of these stores, that whole insurance thing is just a scam to jack the price up.  To date the only store insurance that worked for me was SEARS.  All others I’d bought and tried were sadly lacking and a waste of money.  I’d rather take my chances on getting it fixed independently by the computers manufacturer or a good friend.  However, this is just my scathing opinion because I was burned too many times in the past.  For further information I suggest you check with your local consumer affairs website and see how they compare and rate in-store insurance(s).

It’s probably gonna take me a few more days to get back on track, but I am writing.  I have several things on the stove at once and Rhu has decided I should spend a little time on each until I finish them all.  Not like I was doing before.  Writing one story and dreaming about the other three. . . . . . .   

I know, that doesn’t make sense at all.  That’s a writer for you. . . . .  :+)

The Right To Write

This just keeps going and going and going like the Ever Ready Bunny.  Like that stupid commercial I used to hear that has a lady scream “Oh my God, what a nightmare!”  Every time I think I’ve officially closed the last chapter on it, the darned thing raises it’s ugly multi-colored head once again to cause yet more grief.

  All I can say is some people don’t know how to leave well enough alone, until they wind up with a written complaint against them or in court.  Perhaps both.  So be it, I say.

This is the continuing story of ZaZa.  Ever since the past incidents I have not been writing and or editing at work.  I have been taking my netbook, but I only use it when I’m on break.  Why?  Because I don’t trust a certain person and don’t feel safe doing it.   

When it was quiet, meaning no work left to do, I would take out  Mini Me (my netbook) and work on my current project.  However, since the whole “Fake Website Incident”, I noticed ZaZa hovering around when I was writing,  and quite obviously trying to see what I was penning. In short, the woman has very poor trade craft.  If you are going to spy on me, you’re gonna have to do a much better job, okay, lady?  I’m the one who writes the detective and spy stuff so I kinda know. … . . . 

Now the bad part is, if you are a typical writer like me (very sensitive to ones surroundings when writing ), this type of behavior is disturbing enough to kill your muse.  Yes, Rhu was righteously ticked because she was SHAKEN AND STIRRED. . . . . .

So, I stopped writing in the office, only charged up Mini Me and took her upstairs to the break room to write when I was on break. Again, Rhu was intruded upon, as ZaZa would come flouncing upstairs to supposedly get something from her locker and chat.  Huh?  Why do I want to chat with you while I am on MY break?  The reason I’m on break is to GET AWAY FROM YOU LADY! Of course I knew better, she was checking on me and wanted to see what I was writing.  

So,  I was relegated to just taking Mini Me upstairs because I just didn’t trust leaving her around ZaZa when I’m not there.  Yes, I admit, I have not edited or written or edited a thing in about a month.  When The Olympics were on I just watched what ever sport was being telecast at 0400 hours in the morning.  Sports Eye Candy.

Last week Sunday I was asked by a church member to pen a dedication for our beloved pastor’s birthday.  So, on the way to work I stopped at Walgreens , bought a 99 cent legal pad, took it to work and began to write.  As soon as I got settled and put pen to paper Rhu began to flow.  However, like bees drawn to honey, guess who came over to hang over my shoulder?  Yep. . . . . . .

Now, I recognize that she is my supervisor (sorry, I had neglected to mention this earlier) and thus has control over what happens in the office.  However, if all of the work is done, and it is quiet, we have the freedom to either read, write, or check our texts and stuff. The only other alternative is to fall asleep at ones desk, which is frowned upon, as you well know.  So, I decided to write.  She had previously mentioned something about a ban on using netbooks because another worker and I both use one and there were negative comments made by the Upper Echelon. 

IMPORTANT NOTE:  We used to have internet access on our work computers, right up until the time the Upper Echelon found out the guys were surfing the web for porn. . . . . . So, now it’s all INTRA-NET (internal network – no outside stuff ).  This is the reason some of us carry netbooks, laptops and i-pads to work. . . . . .  

BACK TO THE STORY . . . . . .

 So, I can understand that ZaZa might not want me use my computer in the office, though I am well within my rights to do so.  However, I wonder if she is now going to ban me from writing on paper, or is she so jealous (that’s right JEALOUS) that she is trying to intimidate me from doing s0?  

If so, this is now a Constitutional Rights issue.  I have the First Amendment right to free speech (which includes writing) and I also have the right to privacy (freedom from the intimidation of one hanging over my shoulder to see what I’m writing).  I have not put the question to ZaZa yet, but I will the next time I detect this behavior.  

I understand we had a prior disagreement (pure JEALOUSY that. . ), however this nonsense has gone to darned far and I must squash it permanently.  This not only affects my writing, but it is affecting my ability to perform my job.  After all, how can I work when we are both watching each other like the King Cobra and the Mongoose?

It is most unfortunate that I might have to take it to the next level. Which is filing a formal harassment complaint.   Who would’ve thought things would become so nasty?  

Some people just don’t get it. . . . . . . . .  

Some people REALLY need to get a life. . . . . .

What’s Wrong With My Hair?

I must apologize, I have been in remiss.  I meant to address this issue since earlier this week, but as usual, I got distracted.  What is this most pressing issue?  Hair!  That’s right, hair!

http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2012/08/06/gabrielle-douglas-responds-to-hair-criticism-what-s-wrong-with-my-hair.html

I’m officially making my two cents known.   Why?  Because I was thoroughly disgusted to hear and read that Gabrialle Douglas, after she had won an Olympic Gold Medal was excoriated on social networks because of her hair.  Because of what?  You ask.  Her HAIR!

Being a Black woman myself, I know all about this stuff.  It is a cultural thing for Black women to have good looking hair.  This was drilled into me from since I was a little girl.  My mom made sure my hair was nicely combed, greased, styled or braided.  As I got older mom went out and bought a hot comb to straighten my nappy hair, and rollers to roll it up.  When I got even older, I went to the hairdresser and she did it.  But, when ever a special occasion came up, Mom made sure my hair was “did”.  That’s right, I said, DID!

Point being:  It was deeply ingrained in us as children, that a Black woman should never appear in public without having her hair properly done.  Forget about being on television!  To do that would be a disgrace to the race!  You didn’t see Oprah ever do that, did you?

I don’t know about any other city or country but in New York City, one of the boroughs is Brooklyn.  Two of the nicknames for Brooklyn are:  The borough of CHURCHES and the borough of HAIR DRESSERS.  Seemingly there are churches and HAIRDRESSERS on every block in certain sections of Brooklyn.    Why?  Because Black women believe in getting their hair done!  Not only in  perms, but weaves and braids.  It doesn’t matter if they get charged by the foot for “hair extensions”.  As far as they are concerned, they bought “the hair”, and it’s theirs!

I recently went to a hairdresser to get a shape up.  During the course of my wait, I witnessed a woman having a weave SEWN into her hair, with COAT THREAD!  She looked like a million dollars after, but,  I couldn’t help but wonder, “OMG! is this what we (Black Women ) have to go through in order to have great hair?”   Yes, apparently so.

As for Gabby, I feel it was childish and ridiculous to make fun of her hairstyle.  Number one everyone should remember that she was competing in a championship sport.  A sport where she needed to concentrate on every single move and didn’t need the distraction of hair flying into her face. Or wonder, “How does my hair look?” 

  Number two, when you compete in sports like this, unless you are swimming, you are going to sweat!   I’m not talking a light film of perspiration,   I’m talking  a flood of sweat running down your face.  Loose hair or a ” frew-frew” hairstyle would make it even worse.  

Plus,  in world class Gymnastics only certain hairstyles and dress are permitted.  The Olympic committee promotes uniformity, not uniqueness.   Which means gymnasts get points taken deducted  for not conforming.   In other words, if the Olympic standard is that everyone must wear a ponytail, or bun,  Gabby toed the line and wore one.  Period!  

I can say I feel her pain because I went through the same thing in my lifetime as a Black woman.  Back in 2001 I made a decision to go dread, or grow dreadlocks.  I immediately felt like people took a frying pan and hit me upside the head!  Folks were in two camps.  Either they kept asking me why I did THAT to my hair, or they told me I needed to take those THINGS out and have my nappy hair straightened (My Mom was a member of the 2nd camp ) .  Here I am a 50 plus year old woman and grown people were telling me this nonsense!  So you can imagine a poor little 16 year old girl . . . . . . .  

I also caught flack after I cut my locks off!   The first question was, why?  My Mom had passed away and what I did (cutting my locks off) was a sign of mourning.   People backed off when I said that.  Again, I say, I can imagine poor Gabby and how she felt.   Words like these can be truly devastating.  It probably seemed like all of  her  hard work, training and sacrifice was for naught.    

All I ask is, can we forget the stupid cultural strictures for once?  Forget the hair issue and recognize that Gabby Douglas is the first Black American gymnast to win Gold,  and boost her up!  Period!    Okay? 

 I shut up now. . . . . . .

Keeping Things Close to the Vest

It is the desire of every human being, to be liked and to fit in.  We expect everyone to share in the joy of our accomplishments, so like little kids we run, show and tell them.  Friends, co-workers, associates, we tell them all the same thing.  “Oh, lookie what I did!”  

You always expect them to applaud and give you compliments and perhaps some encouragement.  But, what do you do when the exact opposite happens, and when jealousy raises it’s ugly head?   Poor innocent writer,  you  tell someone and instead of encouragement, or being happy, they engage in a systematic program to not only stop you, but to destroy you.  

This brings me back to my old nemesis, ZaZa.   Yes, I thought I was done with her after I scrammed her so-called website.  Personally I thought so too.  I was glad she never came back and asked me why I did what I did.  I would’ve told her up front that I did not trust her motives and no longer wanted to be part of her so-called plot.  But, as I said before, she never came to me.  

However, I noticed a subtle change in the workplace.  People who were formally friendly with me, suddenly stopped speaking to me.  Oh they were polite but they made doubly sure they weren’t around me too long.  My so-called graphic designer co-worker/friend who had agreed to make a cover for me, suddenly decided to make himself scarce.  When I saw him the first thing he’d  declare was, “Oh, I’m so sorry I haven’t been able to get to your cover, I’ve been busy. . . .”  I’m afraid I’m never going to get water from that hole.   . . . . . . .

I know what that is.  ZaZa has much influence in the workplace told/manipulated people into staying away from me and not to help me.    The truly sad thing is, they haven’t a clue that  I have affiliations OUTSIDE of the workplace.  So, if my so-called friend and co-worker won’t do it, I know others who will.

The most outrageous of all is another co-worker out of the blue came to me and said:  “I hear you need an editor for your manuscript, and I am the guy to do it!”  It sounded like a used car salesman saying “This little baby over here was only driven on Sundays by a little granny who only drove to and from church.”   The statement shocked the heck outta me because I NEVER told this guy that I needed an editor!  After what I’ve been through with ZaZa,  I’d have to be NUTS to give my unpublished manuscript to him!  Of course I couldn’t tell him that, so I told him that the only way he was going to read my story, if he truly wanted to read it so badly, is when it’s posted on Amazon.    

Then he went on to tell me, “Oh, ZaZa is writing a book so there’s gonna be some big competition in this office, eh?”  I went on to say, “There will be no competition.  If she wants to write and publish a book she is more than welcome to do so.”  

I didn’t add writing, publishing, and selling a book is not as easy as ZaZa may think it is. First of all, you have to know how to write.  Next if you write crap, no one is going to publish it.  Lastly, if they do publish it, no one will buy or read it, even if it is for free.  The reading public can be very fickle.  I guess ZaZa figured since I’m writing a book, she’s going to do the Anything You Can Do I Can Do Better, thing.  Well, go ahead.  Last time I looked around, this is a free country. . . . .      

By the way, I can already see the storm clouds on the horizon and I’m NOT going to help her!  After what I suffered because the “site” incident, I’m NEVER going in that direction again.   From now on, if ZaZa wants help she will have to find it somewhere else.  

Why?  Because she has proven herself to be untrustworthy.  She is also the type of person who doesn’t just want help, she wants to suck you dry like a Vampire!  You know what?  I don’t feel like being sucked dry today, or any day. . . . . . .     

So, from now on I’m keeping my actions and plans close to my vest. 

 Of course you know, I have my enemy targeted. . . . . . . . . . . .

The Interview

Have you ever interviewed yourself? They say there is a first time for everything, and this is officially a first time experience for me. This interview has literally lain dormant in my computer for years.

I hesitated to publish this as it was a small part of a real life blog I used to keep on Writing .com.  Now it resides safely tucked away in a zipfile on my laptop.  I’d promised one day I would publish the whole thing as a book.  However, I was inspired to clean this tiny segment up and post it.    It still hurts to read what I’ve written, though it’s been years ago. But, I’ll gladly endure the pain if this will help someone. . . . . . . 

For this post I created an interview,  an interviewer and I’ve become the interviewee. You are welcome to come in and listen/read.   I must issue words of caution, the subject matter is very deep and not for the faint at heart.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

The interview is held in a living room like television studio, while the live audience sits in the background.  Both women are sitting opposite one another in comfortable looking chairs. They are:  Doctor Rhu Two Wolves is a famous Cherokee psychiatrist.  She has taken her practice to the airwaves in order to help the masses who may not have access to conventional mental health care.   Across from her sits her somewhat apprehensive and  nervous guest, Nanci Maynard. Of course she is nervous. For one, she’s never been on television before. Two, she is going to be discussing what some would call, “distressing subject matter” with the good doctor.

The theme music strikes up, then lowers, as the cameras focus on the two women. Then Doctor Two Wolves for a close up.

Doctor Two Wolves: Good Afternoon and welcome everyone to Our Eye On Mental Health. My Name is Doctor Rhu Two Wolves and my guest today is Nanci Maynard.   She is a writer and aspiring author with a personal dark side. A nemesis which has plagued her for many years. She has some very profound, personal, revealing, but important facts to relay to us about mental illness and how it affected her personal life. Welcome to Our Eye On Mental Health, Nanci.  The cameras focus on Nanci, then pan out so that the two women can be seen on stage.

Nanci: Thank you for having me, Doctor Two Wolves.

Rhu: Please just call me Doctor Rhu. Let’s get started, Nanci. When did you first notice that you had a mental and emotional problem?

Nanci: It started with bouts of insomnia. I would sleep okay for weeks, then all of a sudden I would have days on end where I couldn’t sleep more than two or three hours.

Rhu: Nanci, When exactly was that?

Nanci: It was in late June 2008. I went away with my church to a week long convention. I noticed that at nights I didn’t sleep that much. During the day, I may have napped about two hours or so. It was a good thing I’d brought along my laptop, or I would’ve been bored to death during the wee hours of the morning. It was a good thing my roommate was a really heavy sleeper!

Rhu: What did you think about this?

Nanci: I thought I was just excited about the trip. I have a tendency to get very excited about traveling. I literally don’t sleep the night before I travel, because I’m usually packing and battening down the hatches until I come back. But, when I get where I’m supposed to be going, I usually crash and go back to my normal sleep schedule. But, I never did this time, and I didn’t think anything of it.

Rhu: When was the next time this happened?

Nanci: It was July 2008 when I went to a Star Trek convention, named Shore Leave, with a friend. I’d sleep for perhaps about two hours, even though I was dead tired. I’d wake up about one in the morning and stayed awake until it was time to get up. Again, it was a good thing that my friend was a heavy sleeper! This time I did not bring my laptop, I thought the hotel didn’t have an internet hook up so I didn’t bother to bring it (actually they did – a fie upon me). So, I just laid in bed and must have made a hundred trips to the bathroom. I thought it was just nerves.

Rhu: When did you notice you were REALLY having a problem?

Nanci: I believe it was in September 2008 when I finally noticed something was drastically wrong. By then I was starting to have “stretches”. Days at a time when I could not sleep. One day wasn’t bad. Two days was annoying. But, three days, four days? Houston, we have a problem. . . .

Rhu: What did you do?

Nanci: I spoke to my psychiatrist about it and he pushed up the dosage of my psych medication. I was formally taking 3mg of Invega (time-released Rispiredal) and he pushed it up to 6mg. That sort of helped for a while, but soon I was back in the same boat, and even worse.

Rhu: What happened?

Nanci: I was not sleeping again, plus I was agitated and nervous. For the first time in my life the holidays (Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year’s Day) were a horror for me. I lived alone, and had to work, so I spent the holidays alone, in severe depression and fear, which probably compounded the insomnia. Several times I seriously contemplated signing myself into a hospital.

Rhu:  This is a serious issue and I must add for this audience sake.  Medical statistics show that during The Big Three Holiday season,  Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Years, there are higher rates of  hospitalizations due to breakdowns, suicide attempts.  There is also a higher suicide rate during the same period.    Nanci, what really stopped you from “signing yourself in.”?

Nanci: I didn’t want to lose my freedom. I have two cats, an apartment, bills, a job, I’m an active member of my church, my Mom was in a nursing home. What would happen to these responsibilities while I was languishing in some locked ward, and zoned out on meds? I didn’t have the luxury of people who could step in and take over while I was gone.

Rhu: What did you do?

Nanci: I did a lot of fasting and praying. I believe that was the only thing I did right back then. I truly believe I was not in my right mind. One wrong thing and I would’ve snapped and lost it. If I was married or if I’d live with a roommate, they would’ve put me in the hospital for sure.

Rhu: Why do you say that?

Nanci: I did a some really crazy things.

Rhu: What kind of crazy things?

Nanci: I got the idea that since I could not sleep in my bed, perhaps I would do better if I had a lounge chair. So I went to a furniture place in my neighborhood and paid over $500.00 for a Lazy Boy chair.   Since my internet was out and I couldn’t seem to get Verizon to come and fix it, I called up the cable company to come and install Triple Play (phone, internet, cable tv). Two days later, I called the cable company to cancel all of the services except the internet. Of course they thought I was a loony tune. They had no idea how on target they were.   After I canceled the cable service, I went out and plunked down nearly $100.00 for an HDTV conversion box and antenna. After installing them, I got disgusted with the reception and refused to watch my TV. To this day I have not watched television, and I have not sat in my lounge chair. My cat Spiral uses it more than I do.

Rhu: Did you tell anyone else about these wild spending episodes?

Nanci: No.  I mean, who would believe me without thinking I’ve totally lost it?

Rhu: Not even medical professionals?

Nanci: No.

Rhu: Why not?  They could have helped you, Nanci.

Nanci: Because I didn’t want them to think that I was out of control and needed to be hospitalized.

Rhu: Being hospitalized seemed to be a real issue for you, wasn’t it?

Nanci: Yes it was. Sometimes I wanted to go, but most of the times I didn’t want to. I was afraid of what they are going to do to me once I’m in there. I didn’t want to come back home a zombie from all of the medication they gave me. I saw what my Mom went through when she was sick, and I don’t want to go through the same thing.

Rhu: Let’s talk about your mom. Did she also suffer from mental and emotional illness?

Nanci: Yes, she did. She was officially diagnosed as paranoid schizophrenic. I went through the hospitalization phase with her numerous times before I finally had to place her in a nursing home.

Rhu: People who are paranoid schizophrenic are sometimes very aggressive and at times violent. Was your mother ever aggressive or violent towards you?

Nanci: Yes, she was very aggressive at times. When she turned aggressive I would immediately call 911. Even though she was my mom and I loved her dearly, I’d learned very early on that she was way out of my league when she was in that condition.  Many times she either didn’t know who I was, nor did she care.  She was sick and needed professional help.

Rhu: Did she ever give you flack for putting her in the hospital?

Nanci: No, strangely she did not. She was happy because she got the care she needed. She got regular meals because she hadn’t been eating. She was properly medicated, well groomed, and she socialized. I was especially concerned about socialization because she had totally isolated herself in the house, refusing to go out unless it was to the doctor.

However, her social workers always got on my case about hospitalizing her. They always wondered why I had to call 911 on my mother, claiming it was too traumatizing to her! Hey, it was traumatizing to me to have her go off in an enclosed space, which was our apartment! The last thing I needed is for her to seriously injure me or totally wreck the place! I felt I made the right decision, despite what the social workers said.

Rhu: Were you afraid of your mother because of this?

Nanci: When I was much younger, I was. As I grew older and learned more about her condition I wasn’t. There was still an underlying fear that she might hurt myself, herself or others. That’s why I kept a close watch on her.

Rhu: You just made two important statements. One, as you learned more about her condition you became less fearful. How did you learn more about her condition. Two, how did you keep a close watch on her?

Nanci: I made it my point to go with Mom to her doctors and talk to them about her condition. Some were very helpful and informative, while others treated me like an enemy invasion. One of her psychiatrists gave me information about an organization which used to be called FAMI back then. It’s now NAMI (The National Alliance On Mental Illness) at http://www.nami.org/ They were very helpful, informative, and had a chapter close enough to for me to attend family sessions weekly. At those sessions I learned that I wasn’t the only one out there suffering along with a mentally ill family member(s).

I also kept a close watch on my Mom by watching her trends. Often the mentally ill can’t communicate with words, but they do so certain by behaviors or acting out. I watched to see if she was eating, sleeping, her grooming habits and dress. The most important sign to watch was if she taking her meds. If she refused to take or was ditching her medication, I knew a break was on the horizon.

Rhu: As a medical professional I’m well acquainted with the term “break”,  but please describe what it means to you, for the audience. 

Nanci: In psych terms a “break” means a total meltdown or nervous breakdown. Mom never had quiet breakdowns where she just sat in the corner and cried. She was always the drama queen by shrieking at the top of her lungs, cursing,  and throwing things. Now you see why I had to call the cops. The neighbors might have mistakenly thought I was beating her. . . . . . 

Rhu: Amazing, you did all of this when you had your own issues to contend with.

Nanci: Funny, I didn’t really know I had issues until after I’d placed Mom in a nursing home.

Rhu: Tell us about that, Nanci. What prompted your final decision to put your Mom in a nursing home?  

Nanci: One of her old and long since retired doctors warned me back in the late 1980’s that Mom’s condition would progressively worsen to the point where I would be forced to make a placement for both of our safety. That she would eventually become far too much to handle. It happened back in December 2000.

Rhu: How did your Mom feel about you putting her in a nursing home?

Nanci: She hated me for years, and I don’t think she ever forgave me before she died.  But, at the time it was where she needed to be and I had to roll with the punches. This is not saying I didn’t miss her terribly, she was after all my Mom. But, she needed to be in a structured environment where medical personnel and care was available twenty-four hours a day.  To quote her old doctor,  “She was not a pet.” to be left alone, to her own devises all day long while I worked.  I would’ve  been seriously remiss in my duties as her daughter to ignore that.  After all, she did not abandon me when I was a child.

Rhu: Nanci, we touched briefly on it a little earlier, but what do you suffer from?

Nanci: I was first diagnosed with Bi Polar Disorder, then with ADHD ( Adult Hyper Active Disorder ). In essence I’m an adult and human version of Tigger from Winnie The Pooh. The same way he bounces around, I do at times because I’m too hyper. I believe my insomnia may be a byproduct of this illness, because when I’m too hyper I can’t sleep. I’ve also learned that insomnia often is a byproduct of depression. They haven’t really got me pinned down yet, as I think kinda suffer from both.

Rhu: Bipolar Disorder is often characterized by “highs and lows”.  Sufferers swing back and forth from being euphoric to utterly down in the dumps like a pendulum. Some swing or “cycle” faster than others and some stay in one phase for months. Which phase did you experience the most?

Nanci: Mostly the lows. I cried a lot.

Rhu: About what?

Nanci: I didn’t like what I saw in myself.

Rhu: What do you mean by that?

Nanci: I didn’t like the fact that I had the “shakes”, which I believed were caused by the medication I was taking. I didn’t like the fact that I’d lost so much weight that nothing fit. Clothing just hung off of me and people kept telling me “My God! You’ve lost so much weight!” I knew in their minds they were wondering if I had AIDS, or cancer, or something.

Rhu: How much weight did you lose?

Nanci: 41 pounds.

Rhu: Why do you think you lost so much weight?

Nanci: I blame it on the prescription medication I was taking.   Because of it, I didn’t have an appetite like I used to. Things didn’t taste right, therefore I get disgusted with food, and didn’t eat.

Rhu: What did you think of the newer, trimmer you?

Nanci: I didn’t know what to think. I had to go shopping for new clothing because everything bagged off me. I bought two pair of sized 10 pants and they were too big. I can’t believe that I had to go back and buy size 8. I had to buy a whole new wardrobe. I haven’t a clue what to do with my old clothing.

Rhu: You could given it away to charity.

Nanci: Yes, that is a great suggestion.

Rhu: When you visited your mother in the nursing home, did she notice these changes?

Nanci: No. Thank God she did not. She was suffering from dementia, was wheelchair bound and had her own problems. If she did notice there’s nothing she could do about it. So, I was on my own. . . . .

Rhu: Did that disturb you, that you were on your own?

Nanci: At times yes it did. I wish I had someone to share my life with. But, then again I wouldn’t want to drag someone else along in this with me. It’s almost too much for me to stand, let alone another. It will be a sin to inflict this upon another person like that. Especially someone who is ill informed about mental and emotional illness.

Rhu: So, essentially, you were alone in this battle.

Nanci: Not totally. I may not have a physical companion, but I walk with God and He is very aware of me when others are not. I also had a harrowing incident where I thought I was all alone but I was not.

Rhu: Tell us about it.

Nanci: About three years ago I had one of my worst “stretches” where I didn’t sleep for five days straight. Stupid me, I went to bible class and spent the whole class hiding and shaking like a junkie. I thought no one saw me, but after class one of the sisters came over to me and asked me if there was the problem. I broke down and  told her.  She asked me, “Nanci, you’re going to work in this condition?”  I told her I was, and she wouldn’t let me leave. She and her husband drove me to the emergency ward and signed me in. I spent the whole night and early morning there until I saw the emergency room psychiatrist and told her my symptoms. She told me the whole problem stemmed the fact that I was taking way too much Ambien. It’s a regime drug that is supposed to be taken one week on and one week off, to encourage your body to fall into a normal sleep pattern. But, my stupid shrink (the audience laughs at the words “stupid shrink”) had me taking it every day for nine months straight, and you know what happened.

Rhu: Your body built up a tolerance to it, and medication became useless.

Nanci: I was also addicted to it, even though it didn’t help me to sleep anymore.

Rhu: So what did the Emergency Room Psychiatrist do?

Nanci: She prescribed 5mg of Clonopin (Khlonopin) for two days. She warned me that I must take it when I was home and  in the bed, and that it would probably knock me out for hours. I slept for 18 hours straight.   She also advised me to go to my psychiatrist and tell him off. What he did was incorrectly medicate me which caused the whole problem in the first place.

Rhu: Did you tell your doctor off?

Nanci: Yes I did, but my shrink was a stubborn old  coot (more laughter), who refused to listen. So, I quit him and found another clinic. It took me a over a year to find another clinic that I liked.

Rhu: Heavens! What did you do in the meantime?

Nanci: I went totally cold turkey from all of my medications.   I was tired of being addicted to meds which didn’t help me.  In fact, they were making me worse.

Rhu: Cold turkey! Did you suffer from any symptoms of withdrawal? 

Nanci: None other than the fact that I couldn’t sleep. That was par for the course with me.

Rhu: Are you still medication free?

Nanci: Yes I am!  I guess ya’ll can call me an unmedicated nut (more laughter from the audience).

Rhu: You obviously had help, Nanci.  What do you attribute this victory to?

Nanci: My faith and trust in The One And True Almighty God.

Rhu: Faith is a very important factor to you, isn’t it?

Nanci: Yes it certainly is! Without my faith I would not be sitting here with you today.

Rhu:  Our time is nearly up so this is my last question. What advise would you like to give others if they are in the same or similar condition?  

Nanci: Please, get help! Don’t suffer alone! Forget about the stigma, go to a doctor, sign up to see a therapist. Consistently go your appointments and take your meds, communicate with your doctor if you have strange symptoms. Join a support group, church or synagog. Don’t let your illness isolate you from society, stay in touch with the outside world. Stay in touch with friends and family. Don’t ever spend the holiday season  (Thanksgiving, and Christmas) alone! If you gotta spend them serving meals to the homeless, volunteer! Get out of the house and be around people!  Last but not least, stay away from the naysayers and negative people!  You need encouragement, not to be kicked and stuffed back in a corner or in a box, and hidden from the world. You were born for a purpose, and it’s not to be cast aside. You have the right to shine just like everyone else. 

Rhu: Excellent advise, Nanci! Thank you so much for such a revealing and inspiring interview (audience stands and claps as cameras pull away).  

Male announcer with deep voice:    That’s all for Our Eye On Mental Health this week. Tune in the same time next week when we will feature Supplements For A Sound Mind and Body.