Sunday, July 20, 2014

Gulf Coast Art Studio


I'm slowly beginning to take commissions again
in spite of stress, migraines, weakness, etc. etc.


Let me know if there's something you're interested in
and we'll have a chat about it. Even if it's something I
can't do, I know so many artists who probably can.


I'm hoping to display some of my art at one of the
local libraries soon. I'm supposed to call Monday.


I'm overwhelmed with ideas & wish there were a thousand
hours in a day, complete with the necessary muscle power
to accomplish them. For now, they'll have to stay ideas.


But as I've proven many times before,
I don't give up easily. :-)

Thursday, July 17, 2014

"Four" by K.B. Sarge

So happy to finally introduce the world to Felix Valentine!

http://felixvalentine.blogspot.com

Hope you will read and share. Much more to come!

Thanks everyone!


Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Saturday, July 12, 2014

The last two and a half weeks

I have been busy since being discharged from the hospital.


I drove to Bay St. Louis, MS, stayed overnight, applied for public housing, had to go home to get more paperwork, drove back to BSL the next day, had breakfast at an amazing place called Grammy's Donuts & More - best biscuits and gravy I've EVER had - and drove home. Notable restaurant names I saw: Mother Cluckers, and Slap Ya Momma BBQ. Ha!



Made an awesome homemade pizza,
and beans and peas with honey ham.

Put myself on Mobile County's public housing waiting list, which is impossibly long.

Read Paper Towns by John Green. Loving me some John Green lately. I'm a big fan of his wife Sarah's website too.


Had a great Philadelphia roll at Jacks By The Tracks in Pascagoula, MS.

Caught up with Camp NaNoWriMo by putting a large dent in my novella, now called The Children of Mossy Hollow.

Picked up French bread at Jimmy John's in West Mobile, AL and saw a guy there who looked exactly like Vincent Van Gogh. He even had the hat. I can neither confirm nor deny if he was missing an ear. Sorry I couldn't get a photo.


Got my finished color pencil project professionally framed.

Ended up in some crazy traffic on the 4th of July. So crazy that I almost regret leaving the house, but at least I made it home safely.

Met with a social worker (more on that later) and two doctors. Had an upper GI. Still having digestive issues from that. Still waiting on results of the test.





Attended an event at Ohr-O'Keefe Museum in Biloxi, MS.
If you don't know who "The Mad Potter of Biloxi" is,
or the designer of this facility, Frank Gehry,
you've been art-deprived. Google them.

Cooked, cleaned, did some car maintenance, and ran some random errands.

Dealt with several minor episodes of Periodic Paralysis.

Uploaded a new template for Gulf Coast Art Studio (it's still under renovation - I'll keep ya posted).

Whew! I am so exhausted, but thankful to be up and around, albeit, walking with assistance. A big part of my livelihood is in being as independent as possible. Being able to drive, run errands, and take care of myself is a huge priority.

I have other updates to share. Talk to you soon.

Friday, July 11, 2014

Home internet is down

Testing from my phone.

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Ann's HKPP Blog

Ann Latos and I have parallel lives. She has the same form of HKPP that I do, and her mobility came crashing down as quickly as mine did a few years ago. Just as I've experienced for over 20 years now, some of her doctors, family, and friends didn't believe her illness was real.

I hope Ann never stops sharing her journey, because I know how lonely, frustrating, and despairing it is to live with this rare systemic disease. There are others out there suffering more than necessary as Ann and I have because they can't convince people to listen and care. Some patients have even died by the hands and voices of ignorant caregivers. In order to stop these senseless tragedies, all of these people, and their future generations, need us to speak out just as much or more than we need to be heard ourselves.

I don't know about Ann, but those who wish to silence me will be sorely disappointed. I will never stop talking about my life - the good, bad, and ugly. The thanks and positive feedback I have received from around the world triumphs over the false judgment, unsolicited opinions, and criticism that any skeptic has thrown at me. To those people, I simply say "Game Over". You lose. I have no doubt Ann feels the same way now that she has found the physical and emotional support she needs to continue fighting this battle.

I appreciate the MDA for sponsoring her blog. Familial Periodic Paralysis is still a widely unknown and misunderstood disease - one of the rarest forms of Muscular Dystrophy in existence. The only way to save lives and give patients a better, more independent future is if we make it known and understood, and that requires awareness. Go Ann!

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

We are no better than Hobby Lobby

I used to teach at Hobby Lobby, and I also used to be a Paralegal, so those who know me probably aren't surprised that I weighed in on the current drama.

We are no better than Hobby Lobby

As always, I am brutally honest on Thoughts & Theories. Read at your own risk.


Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Unexpected Hospital Stay

I went to the ER on Friday. You know if I do that, it must be bad because I hate ERs with a passion. I was hospitalized until Tuesday evening. It went much better than usual with the exception of a few medication errors that resulted in an HKPP decline. They handled it as well as they knew how, and I'm doing fine other than the usual pain that they have no solution for.

I met with a social worker while there. She signed me up for grief counseling, and they said they would try to help me find public housing.

I have a couple of doc appointments coming up - July 1 with the counselor and July 3 with a Gastro specialist. I'm already anticipating an upper GI, and I don't know how this is going to be handled with my HKPP being as bad as it is these days. So risky. Incredibly risky.

Guess we'll see what happens.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

What's Next

I have been having severe abdominal pain and breathing problems for quite some time, but it has gotten a lot worse lately. I tested negative for endocrine infection, so something else is going on.

I have been having so much trouble breathing at times, I feel like I'm smothering. I've burst into tears more than once from the pain of simply trying to take a breath, and I often can't finish a sentence or phrase without losing air altogether and feeling faint.

I finally noticed that it is a lot worse after eating or drinking, and I put two and two together. I've had a hiatal hernia for over a decade, and it has most likely become obstructive.

What makes this so difficult is that I cannot safely have surgery. With my HKPP weakness being so severe, and my diaphragm/esophagus/lungs already compromised, the risk of death under anesthesia is very high. I have no idea what's about to happen to me.

Now waiting for a GI referral. I'll keep you posted.

Edit Note 6/18: Physical activity makes my breathing a lot worse, too. I almost passed out in Target today. I'm headed to the ER if this gets any worse.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Sweet Retreat


"Sweet Retreat"
15" x 15" Colored Pencil

I purchased all of the candy from Cracker Barrel. Part of the bag made it into the still life, so I decided it would be a tribute to the restaurant. That was four years ago. Serious illness and crappy motor skills kept me from it for a long time. I started having significant breathing issues recently, and I told myself I would finish this thing if it was the last thing I did. So it's done. It was my first (and currently only) color pencil project. I've received some nice feedback from friends, family, and even a couple of gallery owners, which was very encouraging. I hope that I can beat this disease somehow so I can fully return to my art. I still have so much to learn, and so much to do.

Friday, June 6, 2014

Trying

Even though I don't want to. What I want to do right now is give up.

A great deal is going on with my health, both physically and otherwise. None of it good. I don't feel like talking about any of it at the moment, but I will eventually. For now, I am trying to stay busy. Trying to keep breathing. Trying to convince myself to wake up each day and continue on.

It's not what I feel like doing, but I know it's what I have to do.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Butterfly in the sky...

Reading Rainbow Kickstarter



Less than one day later...



I am so happy that I could contribute a small amount to this wonderful campaign. I look forward to seeing the future of Reading Rainbow in every home, school, and library. Congratulations LeVar and team on one of the most successful Kickstarters in history.

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Mother's Day


A blessed day to all Moms of living children, children in heaven, fostered/mentored children, those trying to have children, those who cannot have children, and those who have lost their mothers by death or other circumstances.

You are in my thoughts today.

Saturday, May 3, 2014

I sincerely hope your April was better.















In Summary:
This has been one of the worst months, and years, of my life.
I appreciate everyone's thoughts and prayers at this time.

My dear friends the McLain family honored my mom at their annual American Cancer Society Relay For Life. Thank you.

My stepfather wrote a love letter and put it in the newspaper.
Pray for him. He's lost without her.
(My memoriam will be published in a couple weeks.)

Easter Sunday started off with my car breaking down on the interstate. Someone picked me up and brought me home. I tried to make lunch. The pot caught on fire, burning me, and falling to the floor which also caught on fire. 911 called. Thank God it was out quickly. One of my biggest nightmares was for my MawMaw's house to burn. I'm sad, but more than anything, I am so grateful that it wasn't worse. A floor and a stove can be replaced. Lives and body parts can't. My eyes are a little fuzzy, but fine. My hands are healing like a champ. I am so lucky it wasn't worse. So lucky, so blessed, so thankful.

The painting was done impromptu after Mom's phone call. It's called A Thousand Tears, after a poem I wrote when I was a kid:

"Though I have cried a thousand tears,
I know they are not in vain
For my Savior and Lord is returning soon
To take away this pain."

She was in so much pain, she was screaming and crying. I will never be able to erase that from my mind. Freddy said she talked to God all night long every night until she became too ill to speak anymore. It happened fast. I'm devastated, but relieved that she's not suffering now.

I thought I could get through this, but I've wept for half an hour just trying to write the last ten sentences. This is the best I can do. Talk to you soon.


Monday, April 14, 2014

The Rest of the Story

I received a call on March 1st.

It was my mother, and she was in the hospital.

She's anti-medical, so I knew it had to be bad.

It was.

A diagnosis of terminal cancer.

That was six weeks ago.

Today, she is gone.

I didn't even get to see her or say goodbye.

I'm glad she is no longer suffering.

But I'm so sad that she suffered at all.

And I am devastated over what could have been.

My mom and I had a rocky relationship.

But we were too close-knit to give up on each other.

This happened so fast, I can't put it into words.

Shock and sorrow to the point of physical pain.

I can't believe this chapter is closed.

My parents are gone.

I can't even wrap my brain around that.

They died too damn young.

My mama was funny.

She was feisty as hell.

She was the most stubborn person I've ever met.

And she will be missed beyond belief.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

More Happenings

Uncle Steve found this awesome Cecropia Silkmoth in a parking lot on our way to Jackson last week.
It was the size of my hand.



I sent Zoey her first Sock Monkey.
I'm a Bama fan, but my brother is an Auburn fan.
Thankfully, I love my family more than a football team.
Here's my Boo Boo reading Monkey a book. :-)


Tuesday, April 8, 2014

MDA Appointment 4/08/14

I met with the MDA and the Neurology team about what to do next. Discussed my swallowing issues, shortness of breath, migraines and nausea, the horrible year with paralysis I've had so far, and the level of pain that makes me want to be shot in the head. Told them about the mood swings and meltdowns caused by the acetazolamide. Nothing to be done about it as anti-anxiety meds cause paralysis (already tried them). Also can't get off the acetazolamide without falling back into a nearly constant state of paralysis (tried that too). The only pain med that I am aware of that I can safely take is ibuprofen (which my renal doc forbids, but I'm taking it anyway).

The new doc who spoke with me first was very interested in my genealogy, so I want to dive into my mother's family history and see if I can pinpoint their origin in the UK and France. New doc also mentioned albuterol for the breathing and swallowing issues, and that was shot down because it is a dangerous paralytic trigger. Steroids are potentially deadly with Familial HypoKPP, as are many other medications. It would make things worse instead of better.

I remained a lot more calm than I thought I would. I struggled not to curse and cry, but I managed not to. I have never acted like that in my life before recently (not even my ex-husband heard me say a cuss word - ever) but I am a freaking disaster on these anti-paralytic meds. They cause some pretty harsh chemical changes in the body, but I unfortunately have no choice but to stay on them if I want to survive and have any quality of life.

HKPP is a no-win situation, and everybody knows that. Angie with Mississippi MDA is wonderful, and she is recruiting Alabama MDA to help me obtain pulmonary/sleep testing as well as a power chair at some point. I have to contact Shae in Birmingham to follow up in a few weeks. In one week, I'll see my local primary physician to bring him up to date, then back to Jackson for Renal Clinic in June.

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Happenings

Hello From Bandit.
Got Breakfast?


Meanwhile, In Lower Alabama...


Preparing For A New Chapter, Ready Or Not
I'm Much Closer To Not, For The Record

I'm finally spending a little more time out of bed. I'm still having paralysis, but some days are better than others (some hours are better than others, too). I've been very busy cleaning, sorting, and packing for quite some time. My back thinks it is absolutely dying and it doesn't allow me to do much, but I'm doing what I can when I can.

I don't have a place to live yet. I'm still fighting with Social Security to the point of meltdown, but I am hopeful that things are going to improve soon. They are trying their best to kill me off so they don't have to pay me, even though they were so quick to declare me disabled. I am not allowed to work, go to college...nothing at all thanks to Muscular Dystrophy, but they sure don't want to have to help me survive (let's not forget that I was a working, honest, tax-paying citizen prior to April 2011, thanks). But they literally don't care. It's a shame and an unnecessary stress that the disabled have to force the government to follow their own laws.

At any rate, we're getting the boot. Everyone who lives here will be moving asap, and the property will be sold. My grandparents built this house over 50 years ago while raising 4 kids. There is a great deal of history here, and while I am beyond tired of sharing space with others, I know how lucky I've been to have lived at MawMaw and PawPaw's house. I just wish they could have been here too. Being in their home has made me miss them more than ever.

So anyway, this is partly what's going on with me lately. I can't talk about the rest yet, just know that I need and appreciate any and all thoughts and prayers. I'm broke and sick with no way out, and I really don't know how on Earth I'll survive in this society with so little to speak of. I am extremely stressed and sleep-deprived, in terrible pain, still very weak, walking with assistance, and randomly flat on my back throughout the day. This has been a tough year so far, but I'm going to keep hoping that things will get much better.

Talk to you soon, and thanks again for the well wishes.

Monday, March 31, 2014

Camp NaNoWriMo

As I mentioned in the previous couple of blog entries (yes, the "Let It Go" post wasn't just a random rant), things have been very stressful lately. My absence in not blogging as often as usual will eventually be explained. Until then, I am just trying to keep things going (but more importantly, keep me going...preferably with my sanity intact).



In the midst of all that's going on, I decided to dive head first into a NaNoWriMo event called Camp NaNoWriMo. It's not exactly like November's National Novel Writing Month - it's a lot more lenient. At Camp, you call the shots. Set your own word count goal, and meet that goal in 30 days or less, writing in any genre you choose (including non-fiction). At Camp, you are assigned to a "cabin" with a handful of writers who have similar goals. You and your cabin mates have your own "corkboard" where you can post notes to the group. It's kind of a neat way to interact without having to dig through endless forums.

It begins April 1st. I've set a goal of 15,000 words, an average of 500 words a day, and I am going to work on the novella I began last November. The Lost Children chronicles a family tragedy and the separation that results from it. It is inspired by something that happened in my own extended family a few generations ago. I learned of the story during my genealogy research, and I was moved so deeply, I knew I had to write a manuscript based around it. I intend to spark every emotion under the sun...The Lost Children will make you laugh, cry, cheer, and become absolutely, positively enraged. Both justice and injustice will abound. I have cried through the entire story so far, and I hope my readers love Cecily, Annette, Odessa, Benjamin, Joseph, and Tilly as much as I do.

I think Camp will be a temporary escape from life - at least for an hour or so each day. I figured it might do me some good.

I'll check in and let you know how it's going!

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Long Overdue Health Update - 3/22/14

I'm having a hard time blogging, if that wasn't obvious. Things are extremely stressful at the moment, and I'm still trying to recover from the 2014 body infection and paralysis of doom. At any rate, I'm here with a boring update.

Three weeks of fevers, three infections, three antibiotics, loads of cough and cold meds, an ER visit, major paralysis including my digestive tract (lost around 7 pounds), a trip to the docs in Jackson, increased HKPP meds, and I am finally...FINALLY...beginning to snap out of this nightmare. I am back on a walker and even driving a little bit. I managed to attend a Doctor Who meeting today in a nearby city, before coming back home and crashing into bed with a migraine and weakness. I'm going to have to take my recovery a little easier I guess, but it's hard when I have so much to do. I have been down for literally seven weeks. I was bedbound nearly the entire time, and my aunt has come over each day to help me. She still is, because I'm still unable to do things like laundry or cook a real meal other than using the microwave or toaster oven (which is better than nothing, I realize). She has been a lifesaver, as usual.

My aunt and uncle took me back to Jackson for an appointment last week. I was in a wheelchair, and we decided that in order to bring me out of my prolonged paralytic state, the meds needed to be increased. Dr. F is hoping they can eventually be decreased again, but I don't see that happening. It appears as though I need the increased meds just to be able to function for a couple hours a day. The rest of the time, I'm here in bed trying not to lose my mind. Next week, I'll go to the local clinic to check my potassium level, then it's back to Jackson in April.

My birthday is tomorrow, and I hope I'll at least be able to get up and do something. I don't know what it will be, I'll just have to play it by ear.

There is a lot more going on in my life, but I am not ready to go there yet. I'll explain when I am at liberty to do so. I appreciate the prayers, thoughts, well wishes, gifts in the mail...I have such thoughtful friends. Thank you for hanging in there with me. Hope everybody has had a much better 2014 than this. I'll eventually get back on track with things around here, I promise.

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Let It Go



This damn Disney song makes me ugly-cry like a two year old.

Frozen is much better than it appeared in the trailer. In fact, the trailer showed nothing but funny and intriguing elements while completely hiding the fact that the storyline is a boohoo fest. It rivals Mulan, which in my opinion is one of Disney's very best non-Pixar animations. In spite of a magic power being involved, the plot is believable and not overplayed like a lot of "Disney Princess" movies are. It's heavy in metaphors that people of all ages can apply to their own lives, to the point of psychological impact. The Oscars for best animated feature and best song are well deserved. Had Let It Go not won, no doubt there would have been a riot.

The story represents so much to so many people. For me personally, it has been a struggle to let go of the injustice, oppression, and criticism I've received most of my life for being who I am and for some of the life decisions I've made. A lot of people don't understand me, and unfortunately we humans are notorious for knocking what we don't understand. As a result, some think I'm weak and wrong and wish I would conform to their version of "normal".

Newsflash: it is never happening. I am a Southern white Creole-Cajun, hetero-non-sexual, non-partisan humanitarian, culture-embracing, gay ally, anti-racist, non-denominational Christian woman with crippling, life-threatening systemic disease who survives on government assistance. Deal with it - every bit of it - or promptly pick up your toys and go home. This is not a game, so don't think for a second that I am a challenge to be conquered. You will lose. Miserably.

As the song says, I'm not going to be held down by someone else's ideal, and I don't care what they have to say about it anymore. Those who truly love me respect me, my feelings, and my life decisions, just as I do for them. And even if I am Queen Elsa - the "different" one with the freak genetic condition that makes me appear weak - isolated by the cold around me, I will continue to stand my ground and be content in knowing that I'm free of the control of mental hijackers.

As for wrong - I'm not. Not anymore. Thank God, the past is in the past and I'm never going back. Beyond a shadow of a doubt I've finally done right by myself, and I will never regret it. I'm sure I will continue to be misunderstood, judged, and criticized, but I strive to let go of the fear and pain that accompanies these things. I am not a prisoner. I will be me whether people like it or not.

Here I stand, and here I'll stay. Let the storm rage on.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Okay, I'm Here...Sort Of.

I haven't felt like blogging. I'm still stuck in bed with hurting ears and partial paralysis, and I'm just SO over it. There are no words for how sick I am of this BS. I need to be up and around, I have things to do. Especially now, as I received heartbreaking family news the other day. The clock is ticking on life as I know it, and there is much to be done. I will have to explain later...I am not at liberty to do so at this time.

My aunts have been saints throughout my illness. One of them brings me something to eat every day, and picks up snacks and medications when I need it. Life has come to a complete halt, needless to say, and I would not make it without their help. I'm thankful they care.

My nieces have both had birthdays. I am missing their parties, which sucks. I'll send them gifts when I finally get out of bed. I hope and pray it'll be soon.


Such a hilarious child. So animated.


My boo boo is such a big girl now.

Love them so much.

My birthday is around the corner, and I would appreciate feeling human by then. Fingers crossed that I'm out of this bed in the next week or so.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Quick Update

Things have been bad here, and I still have a long way to go, but I'm finally starting to see a light in this tunnel of hell.

Really appreciate my aunts and my uncle bringing me food and meds while I'm stuck in bed. I've lost 6 lbs from being so ill, but I'm thankfully keeping a little bit of food down now. Still bedbound, partially paralyzed, and have the other symptoms going on, but hopefully it will all pass soon. I've been sick in bed 50% of 2014 so far, and that statistic sucks.

Thanks to those who sent messages and checked on me.

Better days ahead...I'm sure of it.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

I am very, very ill. Thoughts and prayers appreciated.

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Sick...again.


Now in bed with either the flu or a respiratory infection.
Fever, chills, coughing, the whole miserable nine yards.
Winter can kiss my aching butt.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

NaNoWriMo 2013 Writing Project(s) Update


Currently awaiting a cover illustration for "Four", a short story about a sports phenomenon whose success is fueled by a dark secret.

Stories that I hope to complete by 2015:

The Lost Children - Tragedy separates a large Gulf Coast family during the Great Depression. Inspired by a true story.

The Kate Letters - A troubled high school senior is given a handcrafted box that contains letters from another era.

Once Upon A Night - A timid boy encounters the town legend, who happens to be a lake monster in need of a hero.

I'll keep interested readers posted.

Monday, February 3, 2014

2014 Goal: New Design and Post on Thoughts & Theories

I'll be working on new templates for my blogs this year. If you recall, it is one of my 2014 resolutions. I decided to start with Thoughts & Theories, and I look forward to catching up on content as well...I'm pretty far behind there.

I wrote about the outrage concerning Coca-Cola's Super Bowl commercial. As always, feel free to read it at your own risk.

I have a lot going on, but I'll be back soon with a proper update.

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Many Thanks To My Readers

I was talking with a friend today about the history of my website. I've been "ugottafriend" for many years. I started out on Yahoo Geocities, and eventually Yahoo Webhosting. In spite of the upgrade and the fact that I had a few pretty cool pages back then (the biggest one being a baby name listing), I only achieved about 8500 hits over a period of 5 years. Then the entire site crashed, and I had to start all over. I decided to do so a few years later, in 2008, via Google Blogger. I set up a few generic pages, and I eventually registered the domain ugottafriend.com.

Fast-forward another five years, and the number of hits on my site is more than 10 times what it once was. I reached 100,000 this week. For someone who has no giveaways, paid reviews, or other endorsements, no kids or pets to dote over, absolutely no advertisements or salesmanship, a complete lack of organization, little HTML knowledge and basic templates, I find it pretty remarkable that people from all over the world even bother to give me a minute or two of their time. I'm just another face in the crowd, but this outlet gives me the voice that I've been searching for all my life, and I am humbled that anyone cares enough to hear it.

I'm not worthy, but I am grateful. Thanks.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Wacky Weather Update


Snow & Rain, Clouds, Sun, Sun, Rain, Thunderstorms

Welcome to the Gulf Coast!


Sunday, January 26, 2014

Wacky Weather


Sun, Rain, Snow & Rain, Sun, Sun, Rain

Do the Hokey Pokey and you turn yourself around...



Edit Note 12:00PM

Less than 5 hours later,
they changed Wednesday from sun to snow.

I can hear the weather forecaster now:

"The sun will be shining on Wednesday.
Actually, let me double-check that."
*consults Magic 8 Ball* "No wait...SNOW!"

Friday, January 24, 2014

Nothing important, just a couple of pics.

I ordered some geek specs from Zenni. I am a freak who has a large head but a child-sized bridge. This was the only pair they had that fit the criteria. Not too shabby, I guess.


My potassium script now comes in a bottle as big as my head.
It could be worse.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

I'm here. I guess I'm going to talk television and silly crushes and health and nieces today.

Greetings, people of Earth. I'm still sick in bed. Just weak, mostly. Finally getting around on the rolling walker, but not terribly well so I see the outside of my bedroom once or twice a day at best. I've been doing a lot of online movie and TV watching...not something I do often, but it's passing the time. It's been a fantastic distraction, actually. One that has been much-needed, as if that wasn't obvious by how 2014 has gone thus far.


At any rate, I'm a bit behind so let me start with Doctor Who. Matt Smith's finale was outstanding, as I knew it would be. I was discouraged by how many people disliked the episode, and I could not disagree more with their complaints. It was amazing, and Matt will be missed terribly. He will always be my first Doctor, and has a special place in my Whovian heart in spite of being head over heels over the magnificent tenth Doctor, David Tennant. Eleven was equally amazing in his own way, and many of his episodes are the best Sci-Fi television I've ever seen. If you have never watched (it's not for everybody, but I say give it a try), and I was only allowed to suggest one episode, it would be "Vincent and the Doctor" hands down.

Watch it with a box of Kleenex.


Now allow me to switch gears to another BBC masterpiece:

SHERLOCK!

Holy Epic Win, Batman, I cannot express how mind-blowing this series is. Where do I even begin? This was my introduction to both Martin Freeman and Ben Cumberbatch, and I could not be more impressed. If you know or care anything at all about The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes or even if you don't, do yourself a favor and watch a few episodes. They are long...an hour and a half...but this show is so very worth the time. Every actor does a stellar job in their roles. Sherlock is a whirlwind of brilliance, confusion, emotion, and just plain awesomeness. If you have any interest in Mystery or Literary Fiction, it is a must-see. The most recent episode, Season 3 Episode 3 ("His Last Vow") is quite possibly the most phenomenal 90 minutes of television I have ever seen in 35+ years on this planet. No joke. It is absolute perfection.
I mean it. These two are glorious.

I recommend starting from the beginning with S1 E1. There are only 3 episodes per season, so you can catch up quickly. Feel free to tweet me to discuss the show, if you like.

I'm going to just go ahead and say it - John Watson is my dreamboat. Ha! People who know me know I'm usually hooked on non-fiction. I don't go silly over many fictional characters, or men in general for that matter, but this one...oh yes, most definitely. I've tried to make the best of my bedbound state of health and have inundated myself with all things Martin Freeman. He has talent for sure, easily one of my favorite actors now. I'm considering sending a letter of appreciation across the pond. I've never done that before, but I just might for him.

Yes, he's my laptop wallpaper. No, I'm not ashamed.

If you haven't been living under a rock, you know he's also Bilbo Baggins, aka The Hobbit. I watched the first movie last week, but have yet to see the second. It's still in theaters, and I'm, well, stuck in bed unable to function. It would have been nice to see Martin's beautiful face on the big screen (oops, did I say that out loud?), but I'll have to wait until it's available to rent...which is okay.

I'll stop gushing now. :) Just felt like sharing.

In health news, it was confirmed that pneumonia is not the cause of my screwed up lung. So, that means it's something else, which isn't good news. Since the paralytic episodes became severe a few years ago, I've been having trouble breathing and swallowing, sleeping, and at times staying fully conscious. I made the mistake of mentioning this to my mother, and now she's not speaking to me again. She withdraws when she doesn't want to face something, so as I always have, I am dealing with this situation solo. When I am up and around again, hopefully soon, I'll be pursuing a Specialist in Pulmonology. I am truly exhausted. I've decided if I make it to 40, I'm going to have the biggest freaking birthday party in history. Everybody's invited.


In much happier news, Josephine and Zoey are growing like weeds. Jo is talking up a storm now, and she is absolutely hilarious. Zoey Boo Boo finally figured out how to crawl forwards...ha...and she is the sweetest, happiest baby. I fear that I won't see them grow up and that they will never really know me. I wish so much that they didn't live two states away. I figure they'll probably think of me as the "weird" aunt, if anything. I suppose I could live with that, though. After all, they would be right. :)

I hope 2014 is being kind to you all. Be well, my friends.

Friday, January 10, 2014

2014, I Surrender


Missing my sweet friend Brandi. Still can't believe she's gone.

A local friend's husband was killed in a car accident Tuesday.

Wednesday, I melted down with a fever of 102, chills, and of course HKPP. Haven't been able to walk since. I was taken to the local clinic today. Ear infection and a bad lung. Bedbound.

2014 has absolutely bodyslammed me. Waving my white flag.

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Video Tribute to Brandi



She sure loved The Beatles. This slideshow by Jackson Crowley is well-done and appreciated.

I see her face and her name on Facebook and Twitter and I subconsciously await her usual updates. Then I snap out of it and remember that this nightmare is real. I can't believe it.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Angels Are Everywhere


I brought in the new year in the most unexpected way imaginable...attending an online memorial chat to remember a sweet friend who left us much too soon. Only two weeks ago she was sending me messages calming me down over something that had upset me. She had a wonderful way of doing that. She was never angry. She was always kind. She always gave everybody the benefit of the doubt. She was a peacemaker and the devil's advocate all at the same time. Her name is Brandi, her username is angelsReverywhere, and she was truly an angel on Earth. Loyal, hard-working, collected, hilarious, passionate, real, and a friend to all she knew. Not one person I've encountered over the past twelve hours could think of a negative word to say about her. She was a great person who was doing life right. Everyone is in shock and grief over this tremendous loss.

I've known her nearly six years. We chatted sometimes, and tried to keep up with each other on the bottomless pits known as Facebook and Twitter. I can't believe just two weeks ago she was concerned about me and wishing me well, now here I am still here and she is gone. I cannot wrap my brain around it. This is unfair beyond belief.

Dear Brandi, you taught me so much...more than you ever realized...and I hope you know how much your thoughtfulness and encouragement meant to me. I'll never forget our overnight chats. I'll never forget our daydreams about tiny homes and RVs and building cabins and being nomads on the road. I'll never forget your enthusiasm about angels and Airstreams and Volkswagen vans, and how much you adored your niece and your late father. I will never forget your smile, your positivity, and your sweet nature. Thank you for genuinely caring about me. I will miss you always.

Love,
Kelli

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Goodbye 2013, Greetings 2014

I can't believe we're at the end of 2013 already! What a crazy year this has been.

As always, I review my annual resolutions to see how well I accomplished them. I'm not going to beat around the bush here. Without further ado, here goes nothing...

1. Scoff all you want at me for following the crowd, but I need to lose weight.

I lost 13 of my goal of 20 lbs, then gained 3 back. New goal is to lose that last stubborn 10 lbs. From now own, this will be included in my "mainstays" section.

2. Overhaul my computer, including but not limited to better organization of all files and folders.

I made a ton progress on this, but I still have so much to do that it will now be a 2014 goal as well.

3. Sort through all belongings and get rid of anything not needed or used regularly.

I also made a lot of progress here, but I'm only half way done at best. It will also carry over to 2014.

4. Exhaust all possibilities with the government concerning SSI, college, etc.

Almost complete. College is not possible. SSI will be slightly increased in 2014, and I am in the process of qualifying for my own apartment.

5. Utilize the textbooks, DVDs, and other tutorials I have obtained over the past year.

FAIL with a capital F! In fact, this might be the failingest fail in ugottafriend.com history. Ha!

6. Complete, or at least put a massive dent in all unfinished art and writing projects.

She shoots, she scores!!!!! I feel like I redeemed myself a little here. Thanks to NaNoWriMo, I put a ginormous dent in my writing projects. I am so happy that I did this, and I'll be writing more in 2014! I've also completed a couple of art projects for family, and I'm almost done with one big one from college that's been on the back burner for a few years (yes, you read that right). I'll be sure to finish it next year, and I'll share the pic here!



The changes aren't drastic, but here are my new goals!

Drum roll please...

* Get settled in a new place of my own, or at least be on a reliable waiting list.

* Either utilize my possessions, or sell/give away. This of course does not include anything of sentimental value, just stuff with a useful purpose.

* Take updated photos of all art, complete everything in progress, and market my work.

* Have at least one short story from NaNoWriMo published, even if I have to publish it myself.

* Clean, backup, and reorganize my computer hard drives.

* Build or renovate all blogs and webpages until they are what I want them to be.

The Mainstays:

~ Get my health under control (aka DON'T CROAK)!

~ Stay involved in one or more charities/ministries.

~ Read more, write more, and learn more.

~ Strive to be a better person each and every day.

I greatly appreciate all who take the time to read my blog. I look forward to seeing you again in 2014, and I hope it is a most successful year for you! Take care and God bless always.