Sunday, April 26, 2015

On the loss of a friend and her new family




This beautiful lady, her husband, and their unborn child were murdered in March. I didn't mention it in March because I didn't know what the hell to say...it has been a challenge mentally and emotionally to process what has happened. 

We were Facebook friends, and she knew some of my relatives, having grown up in South Mississippi and going to school in the same county as I did. She was briefly on Food Network, you may remember, competing to be the next Food Network star. But that was a mere hour of edited television, and not an accurate reflection of who she was. I hope her family and friends who have come to her defense concerning this know that most of us who were watching are aware of that and do not label her based on a TV show.

Cristie was a feisty, intelligent woman with an impressive resume, and more importantly, a tremendous amount of passion. I've followed her journey as a chef, celebrity caterer, newlywed, and expectant mother. She was so happy, and so excited about her future.

There have been a great many tears over this cruel, senseless, unfathomable loss. It's hard to describe the feeling of disbelief, despair, and outright anger that everyone who knew her is experiencing. Nearly six weeks after it happened, I attended her memorial service in a beautiful historic church, but all I could manage to say was "Okay...I'm so sorry." There are really no words for this.




I'm glad I went, in spite of being utterly useless to the family. Her parents greeted everyone at the door and thanked us for coming. Her mother and brother even stood up to speak, as difficult as it was to do so. They are so strong, and I admire them so much.

May Cristie, J.T., and baby Skylar rest in peace.


Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Random Updates

I was given iTunes for Christmas, and downloaded The Librarians. If you're not familiar, think Indiana Jones meets Doctor Who. Fantastic show, and I can't wait for the next season!


Also looking forward to this:



HARRISON FORD FOREVER.

Still working on my Doctor Who season 8 recap. Sorry for the delay. I'll backdate it and publish when it's ready. Could be a while longer. By the way, my participation in WhoClass went down the tubes thanks to moving to a new place and not having internet. Not happy, but I'll try to catch up at my own pace over the summer (assuming I can still access the course...I'll have to wait and see).

I'm also working on goals for the year. If you remember, I never posted resolutions for 2015. I was just too tired. Frankly, I still am, but I've got a few things in mind and I'll share them soon.

My experience with pressurized oxygen is going like this:


Confession: I am known to remove any article on my body in my sleep if it is making me uncomfortable...sock, shirt, whatever (go ahead, laugh. You have my permission). That said, the fact that I keep waking up within two hours with the mask in my hand instead of on my face is not a surprise. It IS a problem, needless to say. I did go to the doctor and have the pressure increased, and I had to reduce the humidity significantly, but I'm not sleeping through the night any better than I was. Dr. H and I are both disappointed, but hoping I'll get used to it over time.

One thing I will also mention is that I had a paralytic episode last night and was having trouble breathing. I put on the cpap and it seemed to help a little. Take that info for what it's worth.

MDA and Renal clinics were rescheduled to June 2nd.

CampNaNoWriMo is going fine, although I will say my goal was an extremely reasonable 10K words. I'm pretty much there, and while I'll definitely use some of what I've written in some way, I'm sure some of it will be edited away in revisions. That's the way the ball bounces in the writing world, so I'm not terribly concerned. Writer's Block is common, but if I can manage to finish my first draft of TCOMH by the end of official NaNoWriMo on November 30th, I will be very happy.

I have not heard back from the owner of Subway in Bayou La Batre. I left a voice mail, so the ball is in their court. It's not ideal to ignore me, for the record. I don't go away easily.

I will begin promoting charities again on If I Had A Million Bucks soon. Feel free to read my latest update there. Believe me, I'm not proud of my mistake in not backing the eBook up in a more accessible extension, so be gentle. And if anyone happens to have a free and legal copy of InDesign they're not going to use, I would be much obliged to take it off your hands.

My short story, Four, has been read by almost 200 people. That's not terrible considering that I don't advertise it anywhere but here. The genre is modern Psychology and it's not for everybody, but I really enjoyed telling Felix Valentine's story. And in case you were wondering: no. He's not me. But his condition is very real, and I hope "Four" reaches someone who needs to read it someday.

My slow progress on the painting I'm working on for the Child Advocacy Center can be found here.

I also have more photos to share from recent events. Stay tuned.

Much to do still, and little to no strength to do it. I'm trying.

Talk to you soon.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

April 14th


It was flash flooding on April 14th last year, just like it is today. I remember because it's the day my mother died.

She loved stormy weather so much, she often fussed about sunny days. She could not only tell you about every hurricane she ever went through in detail, but every American hurricane in modern history as well as record breaking tornadoes across the U.S. She owned countless weather videos and recorded footage from local and national weather stations on her VCR for over 20 years. I told her she missed her calling as a storm chaser. We used to discuss our tornado dreams...we both had them frequently...it was an odd bond we shared. I haven't had one since she died.

Phone calls were like a box of chocolates (never knew what I was going to get), but there was no doubt that we could always talk like old pals about the weather. I'm sure thunderstorms will remind me of her for the rest of my life. She not only loved them, she was the very personification of them. And I know she would agree with that.

She died too young. In spite of her rocky health, I truly believed she would live at least another 20 years. I worried about how she would cope if Freddy passed away first. He took care of her at home till the day she died, almost losing his job of 41 years in the process. He doesn't regret one minute. He was meant to outlive her so she could die on her terms with him by her side. She wouldn't have had it any other way, I can tell you that. Nobody told Lynn Prosser what to do. Not even death.

As much as I hate that she's gone, I'm relieved that she didn't have to bury a child. Losing an estranged stepson was devastating enough, and she grieved over Max (who died 19 years ago this June) and he wasn't even her kid.

There were a lot of incredibly turbulent moments with her that I would never choose to relive, but we had some good times too, and that is what I want to hold onto. My ridiculous dancing, bad karaoke, animated reactions, fake threats of punches in the face, and goofy voice impressions came straight from her. I've held several careers in my life, including paralegal, medical administration, nanny, and teacher, but my pursuit of painting happy trees is what made her most proud. I always thought that was funny, but I was very grateful for her support and I did the best I could. Even on days when I struggle greatly with what our relationship was verses what it should have been, I miss her and seek her approval. That will probably never go away. Nor should it, I guess.

I worry about Freddy. He feels lost without her, but he refuses to accept any credit for how loyal and strong he is. One of the first things he said to me was that he hoped I would stay in his life. I don't know why the hell he thought I wouldn't be his daughter anymore, but I put him in his place quickly. The man raised me. He's my dad, forever, and that's that. He's stuck with me till one of us croaks. I hope and pray that day is decades away. My heart is heavy for him and I pray he finds grace and peace on this day, and every day.

Thanks for sharing your beloved rain, Mom. Try not to flood my apartment, okay? :)

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Whovians at Infinity Science Center at NASA Stennis

I was happy to be able to attend an event at NASA's Stennis Space Center's Infinity Science Center in Pearlington, Mississippi. My condition declined quickly and I ended up becoming ill and needing to medicate for an HKPP episode, but I don't regret going. It was great to see my Who friends, and the place is really cool. I look forward to visiting again sometime. Here are a few pics.













Sunday, April 5, 2015

An open letter to Subway, who bullied me and kicked me out of their restaurant

Greetings,

My name is Kelli, and I am a freelance food reviewer of 10+ years on the central Gulf Coast. I experienced an incident at a Subway in Bayou La Batre, Alabama that I would like to tell you about.

I've been a frequent customer since I moved to the region, most recently spending approximately $38 in a three week span.

In mid-March, I went into the restaurant and ordered a meal as usual. I had my computer with me that day and set it up on a corner table. I was greeted by a young gentleman who took my order and answered a couple of questions, including whether or not Wifi was available. He said it was, and gave me the password "efresh". The password did not work, but it didn't matter because I was automatically connected via the shopping center's free and open Wifi. I did my work, ate my meal, got back up and ordered cookies, refilled my drink once, and left.

I returned again on March 24th and did the same thing, minus the cookies. I ordered a meal and ate it while working on my computer on the same free and open Wifi available in the shopping center. I refilled my drink one time in the hour and 45 minutes I was there. There was only one other customer present, and he was sitting on the other side of the restaurant.

The manager approached me and informed me that she was "cutting off my internet, shutting me down, and kicking me out". I looked at her and asked her what she was talking about. She asked "It hasn't cut you off yet?" I answered "No, it sure hasn't", and continued my work. She remained next to my table and stated that I had been there too long and that I had to leave. I told her that nobody had ever said anything about a time limit for customers. She said "Well I'm the manager and I'm telling you to get out."

Let me add a side note right here, if you don't mind. My friends the Codd family had been murdered a few days prior, so my nerves were shot as it is. Also add the fact that I have adrenaline-induced paralysis thanks to Muscular Dystrophy. I'm not supposed to be under any stress, and I wasn't bothering anyone. But by golly, she was "shutting me down and kicking me out" as if I was an intruder stealing her internet. A regular paying customer, who was not even using her internet connection and never had.

So at that point, I stood up and snapped at her that I was not even using her stupid internet and that I was going to contact the corporate office. She laughed and said she would be happily awaiting that call, and that she would be happy to tell them that I had been there taking up space and using their private Wifi since 10 A.M. - which is a lie, and she knew it. She said it with so much snark "Oh let's see…you've been here since 10, right? Heh heh". She was having the time of her life bullying me, and her employees were standing behind the counter snickering.



I've attached a photo of the Wifi air port on my laptop for your convenience. Their connections, if I'm not mistaken, are called OFFICE and EMPLOYEE and are locked (they used to say something else, but I don't remember what because I never used them, thanks). My laptop, as I stated, connects me only to the FREE and OPEN public Wifi available in the shopping center. Also to recap, there was only one customer besides me in the building, yet I was being treated like I was stealing their time, space, and air. Unbelievable. For full, honest disclosure, I am letting you know that I called her an ass in frustration as I walked out the door.

In all of my years reviewing restaurants on the Gulf Coast and even large cities such as Atlanta and Alexandria, I have never had such an appalling and angering experience. For your establishment to take a customer's money, give them the Wifi password (which was never used, thanks), and then bully and banish them from the place is absolutely insane. If this is how Subway really treats their customers, you should be beyond ashamed, and I nor my family or friends will return. Someone I know who works for Subway stated that the manager's behavior was "way wrong" and suggested I contact local news. If I don't, it will be for the sole reason that I need to avoid further stress.

A final note - on April 2nd, I was two doors down about to walk into the grocery store when I heard a ruckus in the direction of Subway. I turned to see what was happening, and the same manager was standing outside the door yelling at an intellectually challenged gentleman to "shut up". It echoed through the entire parking lot, so don't be surprised if I'm not the only person who reports this one. Her incredible incompetence, lack of integrity (planning to exaggerate to corporate), and disgusting superiority complex leads me to believe that your staff is in serious need of overhaul, if not tremendous mental help. I'm so glad I was there to see that, painful and disgraceful as it was. I feel sorry for the man she mistreated, but it only strengthens my case against you. I'm afraid this is not over.

I have no intention of giving this Subway restaurant or any other another dime, but I do hope you plan to take my account seriously. Being the largest and most popular fast food establishment in the country, you should be so much better than this trash.

Thank you for your time and consideration.

Thursday, April 2, 2015

From the novella TCOMH

Mama shuffled to the front of the crowd, where she stood with the pastor. He put his hands on her shoulders and looked deep into her eyes. In all his years behind the pulpit, he had never seen such fear and despair.

“Just hang on to the Lord, Sister. It’s going to be all right,” he said.

She didn’t believe him. There was nothing right about this.

- Excerpt from Chapter 1 - The Children of Mossy Hollow

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

April's Camp NaNoWriMo Begins


It's time! I'm in a private cabin with half a dozen other writers from my area. My goal during camp is to catch up on all of my blogs, then resume my historical fiction novel, The Children of Mossy Hollow. My group and I will be meeting on Sunday afternoons to write together.

You'll see a couple of backdated entries here on ugottafriend.com, so don't let that confuse you. Some of what I'll be blogging about happened days or weeks ago, and I felt it best to put the post in its proper place.

I'll share my progress soon!