Monday, April 30, 2007

My favorite guy

My favorite guy
Originally uploaded by bbackprple.
Here's my MBSM shot. This week, Tracey asked for dedications. So, here's to my favorite guy, who stole my heart 7 years ago this Wednesday. He's had a tough year: getting a new little sister, moving twice, going to a new school, and not coming to Grammy's house everyday anymore. But he's still a firecracker - sweet and silly, strong and genuine. I miss him everyday, and hope he knows how much of my heart he has. Happy Birthday, buddy! Love, Auntie NTE

Sunday, April 29, 2007


Bethieclaus had a post (a while back) with her autobiography in Google images. I liked it so much, that I decided to do mine. Only with Google & Flickr, because, well, because I wanted to.

Here's what I'm all about, I guess:
My age at my next birthday:

My Favorite Color

purple haze
Originally uploaded by haanii.

My Middle Name

Source - DizzyScorpio

Last Thing I Ate

Blueberry Muffin
Originally uploaded by Joshua David.

My Bad Habit


My Favorite Fruit or Vegetable


My Favorite Animal

Cuddly Dog
Originally uploaded by IndiepoprockJesse.

Town I Live In

Originally uploaded by musicmuse_ca.

My (past)Pet's Name

My Current Crush


My Occupation

... super awesome aunt
Originally uploaded by massdistraction.

My Birth City

Bridge over the Malden River
Originally uploaded by senorton.

My Favorite Song at the Minute


Please play along, if you'd like.

Saturday, April 28, 2007

BADD, to come

On this Tuesday, May 1st, please consider taking part in the 2nd Annual Blogging Against Disablism Day. Hosted by Diary of A Goldfish, the goal is to raise awareness about disability and disablism/ableism (discrimination on the basis of disability). You don't have to be disabled to participate; Here's what it's all about:

"Last year on 1st May, with the invaluable help of Lady Bracknell and with the support of many other bloggers, I hosted the first Blogging Against Disablism Day where almost a hundred and fifty people joined together to write about disability and rail against the discrimination that disabled people continue to face. Both disabled and non-disabled people wrote about all manner of subjects, from discrimination in education and employment, through health care, parenting, family life and relationships, as well as the interaction of disablism with other forms of prejudice.

Everyone is welcome to join in with Blogging Against Disablism day, disabled and non-disabled, as long as you wish to blog against the discrimination that disabled people experience."

You can find out more about it at the link above ~ and be sure to check back Tuesday for my post, and all the other BADD posts: I can promise you, at the very least, you'll have a lot more to think about.

Blogger vs. Me

Hey all:

In the course of trying to label some of my older posts, they're showing up in people's feed-readers as new or updated. Sorry about that!

I am, in fact, flaring; but nowhere near as badly as last March's flare. THANK ALL BENEVOLENT BEINGS, because just reading that makes me want to throw up. Today's flare is much smaller in scope, and caused by trying to do too much earlier in the week. It still sucks, but I only have to read that post to know how much worse it could be.

Awesome Mom - Thanks so much for the well-wishes! I definitely need them today!

Sorry to all, about the mix-up... can't have you thinking I'm worse than I am, since where I am is bad enough. No borrowing trouble!

Thanks again - & if a Halloween post or two pops up, it'll be a nice little look back through my archives, since most of you weren't here then.

Friday, April 27, 2007

So, there's this contest

Over at Adventures in babywearing, about blogging without makeup. Since I can count on one hand the number of times in the past year I've actually worn make-up, I should be a shoo-in. But ... I also don't take pictures of myself. (Hello? That is why I have the camera... duh! Oh, and also? I'm supposed to be mostly anonymous: my picture might give things away a bit)

Since she's so gracious, Stephanie made an allowance for those of us who wouldn't feel comfortable posting our pictures. We only have to talk about it, link y'all back there so you can see the purty ladies. (Seriously? If they look that good without makeup, I'm thinking the whole cosmetics thing is probably a racket.)

So head on over there and check out some brave and beautiful ladies.

Monday, April 23, 2007

My Best Shot Monday

Originally uploaded by bbackprple.
It's Monday again, and that means Tracey, over at, has her best shot up. (I think it must be a double exposure, how about you?)

Here's my best shot from this past week: something that I spent entirely too much time tinkering with in Photoshop. The picture itself is as it was (OnlyNiece in the foreground, her parents in the back), I just played with the effects a bit. I thought it came out pretty good.

Play along, if you want... it's always something I look forward to.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

A few, much needed laughs...

Went searching through my CDs yesterday, for this song. It's one of those songs that just fits a certain mood. With all the terrible things that are going on, with the whole world feeling heavy & restless, this song just fits. I haven't ever heard it on the radio, so I thought I'd share the lyrics here.

Live at Five and CNN
keep us all abreast
of breaking stories that can tend
to make us anxious and depressed.
Problems with no answers
hang on like some chronic cough.
And every day some brand new issue
rears it's head to piss you off.

Bad guys win.
Optimism's wearing thin.
Things are spinning out of control.
Cynicism's all the fad.
World events could make us mad
as hatters.
Almost every day
some underpinning slips away.
These aren't laughing matters.

Time bombs tick.
People keep on getting sick.
And a nickel's not worth a cent.
Widckedness and greed abound.
Just as peace is gaining ground
it shatters.
Hate is here to stay,
and justince goes to those who pay.
Friend, these aren't laughing matters.

The truth is scarrier by far
than anything that Stephen King could write.
The stories in the paper are
the daily small decline and fall
spelled out in black and white.

Oh, what to do, what to do?
how to take a brighter view
when your noodle's totally fried.
Human spriits need to be
leavened by a little levity.
So take those blues
and bounce them off the wall.
Keep your humor please,
'cause don't you know it times like these that
laughing matters most of all.

The song is sung by Bette Midler on her Bathhouse Betty CD. (You can listen to an exerpt at that link. I don't know how to add a mpg or else I'd put it up here).

And if you need a little cheering up let me suggest -

Some Monday Morning Muppets

Last night's episode of House (maybe you taped it, saving it for later? Lucky you, it was excellent!)

Busy Mom's list of things you can't keep in stock once you're a parent

Just trying to make the air a little bit more breathable.

Monday, April 16, 2007


Originally uploaded by bbackprple.
Here's my Best Shot Monday pick... it's SisterJ, circa 1983. She always did love a mess.

How's your week going? It's still gray and gloomy aqui, and I'm having a bit of a flare (small, thank God), so I'm just keeping it very low key (Ha! as if I have a different speed.).

Thursday, April 12, 2007

One simple moment

So, let me tell you about how I met my best friend.

My (eventual) college roommate and I lived in the same dorm our first semester freshman year, but never really connected. Might never have connected, if it weren't for one simple, life changing moment.

My first semester in college was abysmal: I was hideously uncomfortable with my roommate, who cried in Korean to her mother in California, skipped classes, smoked pot, & bathed in perfume. (This is not an exaggeration: I lived with her for 4 months, 10 years ago, and I still have things that smell like her. Her perfume of choice was very old-lady-ish - a combination of dying roses and overripe fruit. The whole dorm complained about the smell, and here I was, hypersensitive to smells and stuck with someone whose nose had obviously stopped working years prior.) I knew a few of the girls in my dorm, had talked to some of them in/after classes, but I hadn't really connected with anybody - I was the sick girl, the girl in the wheelchair, who went home every Friday morning after her 10:00 class & took naps during the day. I was not ignored, but I was still, very much alone.
My illness was in a different stage than it is now, but still, it overwhelmed me - I could only walk a few steps on my own, and the wheelchair went from being an occasional help to an everyday necessity. Adding that awkwardness to my (real life) shyness and an inability to 'blend,' as I plowed through that first hellish semester, I was pretty sure college wasn't going to be for me.
It was too hard - not the work per se, but the effort of getting to class, of trying to compensate for my illness, of putting up with my roommate. It was just too much. Even though my grades were good (OK, stellar), I had decided that over Christmas break I would tell my parents that I couldn't come back in the spring. I would disappoint them - and myself - because I just couldn't manage.

Then one December night, in the midst of finals and all the partying that accompanies the end of any semester, I came back from the bathroom to find that my roommate had doused herself with so much perfume that I couldn't go back into our room. I mean, I couldn't even open the door to the room.

With my keys inside, and my energy on empty, I knew the dorm lounge (downstairs & an elevator ride away), was out of the question. So I folded up the chair, and sat myself down in the slim hallway outside our room. I was supposed to be studying, but I had no books. I had nothing except my toothbrush, and I didn't really care.

I was Done - Capital D - Done. I just sat there on the floor, closed my eyes and rested my forehead to my knees. And I stayed that way for hours, just sitting.

People in the dorm passed me, asking if I was OK or wondering if I'd locked myself out.

"Fine," I said, "just thinking."

Somewhere in the second hour of my thinking, one of the few tentative friends I'd made, came bombing down the stairs and spied me on her way out the door. When she asked, I told her I was thinking, then waited for her to continue on her way. Instead, she took off her coat, and slid down the wall to sit next to me: "I've been thinking too," she said, "And I've got an idea for you."

She told me that a lot of the girls would be switching roommates after the break: this one was moving in with that one, some were transferring to live with friends they had made in other halls.

"And there's this girl," she said, "on my floor? She's in our English Comp class - Ms.S? Well, she's the absolutely the nicest person here, besides you. I think you should talk to her about moving in with her next semester."

And, in that one conversation, she changed my life.

Even though it was totally out of character, the next day, I went up to Ms. S's room, and introduced myself: She knew who I was (wheelchair girl on a small campus, everybody at least knew my name) & we talked about our crazy English Comp teacher, who rang little chimes at random moments during class. She said how she had a boyfriend at home who she talked to every night before bed, and would that be a problem? I said I could sleep through just about anything, so no, it wouldn't matter to me. She was usually gone on the weekends too, to be with her boyfriend, so she didn't think it was odd that I'd go home just to rest.

I told her about my smell issues, and she told me that she thought my roommate smelled so bad it made her want to throw up even though she lived two flights up.

She told me that her then-roommate would just take things - her drinks, her printer paper, her shoes - without asking, and that she couldn't stand it. I told her I had four sisters, so I knew how it felt.

We didn't really talk too much, but we both decided to try it out when we came back in January.

It was, without a doubt, one of the smartest decisions I've ever made.

Without Ms. S, I would not have graduated from college. Hell, I wouldn't have even made it through a whole year. By the end of our first semester together, we were friends. By the end of our college years, we were best friends. We've been there for each other through finals and projects, funerals and weddings and her daughter's birth. Her miscarriage, my hospitalizations. I typed papers for her, while she made sure that I ate. She lectured our friends when they stopped including me in things, I reassured her boyfriend when she went a little wedding-wild.

Our friendship is different now, since we're at different stages in our lives, but one phone call is enough to get her here, enough to make me pack a bag. (She totally agreed with all of you, btw, about my Sister-in-law's stupid comments: she suggested I might want to run her over and then tell she if she felt like "getting over it.")

I was sitting here today, stuck in the gloomy weather, mired in my gloomy mood, trying to snap out of it. Trying to force myself to think of some of the blessings in my life, and this story came back to me:

Me, sitting there on the floor, knowing that I would have to give up on yet another dream. Preparing myself for the conversation with my parents. That feeling of "I just can't do this anymore" was a physical weight in that moment. The loss and the confusion and the "What now"s just swirling in my head.

And then my friend came down the stairs.

Her sitting down next to me, just then, saved me.

It was exactly the right thing, at exactly the right moment.

And I'm glad I remembered it, glad that I had it in my heart to pull out today, just when I needed it.

The exact right thing, at the exact right moment: Again.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Hey, Jealousy

I seem, for the moment, to be stuck in a little bit of a low cycle. I'm feeling every one of my losses very keenly.

And there's no real reason except that everybody else is having a life. Is living their lives.

And I am not.

(Which, I know is not technically true and all. Just let me wallow for a minute, won't you?)

My youngest sister (SisterK) is making her first transatlantic journey, spending her spring break with a friend in Germany.

I have never really left New England.

One of my closest college friends, who I've grown apart from because time keeps seeping in between us, has just safely delivered her second baby. The baby is beautiful and healthy and my friend is fine and well. But I haven't even been able to meet her older boy - who will be three this year.

And my brother's baby reaches for me first, lights up when I come in the room, has learned how to sign "more" and "eat" because I've taught her. But then she goes home, far away now, with her older brother who I've loved and taught to read, and taught him his manners, and played in the mud with.

And I am here, still. Alone.

And my babies, the ones I've dreamed of my whole life? They're on hold - just like most everything else I dreamed of.

And SisterJ has found a new job, and is really, honestly in love with her fiance, a man of substance and honor and great kindness.

And SisterC is in a horrible relationship, but she's decided to make it work. Because it means so much to her to be on her own.

And I am on my own, in ways that none of them would understand. And it hurts.

So, I'm wallowing a bit. And hating myself for it - for turning all these blessings in my life into pinpricks in my heart. (Because I do know just how lucky I am to have all these wonderful people & experiences in my life... just not so much, today.)

But I never said I was perfect, so I guess we'll all just deal.

Monday, April 09, 2007

There's some rockin' going on

Big Brothers Rock!
Originally uploaded by bbackprple.
Over at my Flickr account. Here's today's "MBSM" shot. As always, check out Tracey over at Picture This for more entries!

Friday, April 06, 2007


Originally uploaded by bbackprple.
I made it! I told you about Tracey's themes... I'm squeaking in here at the end of the week with the "Sweet" theme. Although she went with the candy-kind of sweetness, I'm sticking more towards the cuddly side.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007


I keep starting and getting stuck on a post about the People UpStairs, or PUS< as I like to call them. I can't make it more than a line or two without getting angry. And when I get angry about them, my brain seems to lose function. So, instead I'm going to try this --->

This is a letter I wrote to the PUS (technically, my maternal uncle, aunt and their 2 oldest children)- & got convinced by my family/chickened out of sending - about a year ago. It gives all the details except for this - tonight my grandmother asked me if I had an extra birthday card that I could give her, for Mr.PUS.

I am the font of extra cards... if your parakeet dies on a Thursday, I can mail you a "sorry about your dead bird" card by Friday. But I got her angry with me by refusing. By saying the only piece of paper I could give her to give to him would have the word EVICTION on it. (Although it could say "Happy EVICTION!" I'd be fine with that; or even "Happy Birthday, You're Evicted!!").
So, she's pissed at me again. But I know I did the right thing, because of this letter that I still regret not sending...

Mr. & Mrs. Pus -
This letter serves two purposes. The first is to present evidence on what I consider to be an increasingly dangerous situation. You do what you want with what I’ve said, because the second purpose is to tell you what I choose to do about it.
The things that I have included here aren’t the only issues that I am aware of, or the only things that I’m worried about. No, I have plenty of additional concerns that come to me through other people, through Nana herself, but what I’ve mentioned in this letter are only the things I know to be true. These are the things I can’t doubt, that I can’t say, “well, there’s another side or another way this could be taken,” because I heard them. Whether you believe them or not, it doesn’t really matter to me. I know they are true, and I know they can’t be allowed to continue.

The following are some examples of behaviors that I feel contribute to a stressful, and frighteningly dangerous living situation. These are things I have overheard, not because I have somehow snuck upstairs in an invisible cloak, but because they’ve been yelled, screamed, shouted at top volumes, for anyone to hear. I’ve been listening. I’ve been biting my own tongue because Nana assured me – all of us really – that she would make changes, that certain behaviors wouldn’t be allowed to continue. Not only have they been allowed to continue, they’ve escalated. So here’s what I know:
In the past few months, the range of names I have heard Nana herself been called – all to her face, mind you – are:
Bitch. Asshole. Dyke. Stupid. Useless. Friggin lunatic.

Names I’ve heard shouted - at Nana - about other members of this family include :

Crack whore, Junkie, Alchoholics, Sluts, Assholes, Bitches and Freaks.

I’ve heard Nana be told – on more than one occasion, and by more than one person - these things:

“Go Fuck Yourself!”

“Go Downstairs where you belong and leave us the fuck alone!”

“You have ruined my life, and I’ll ruin yours.”

“It’s none of your fucking business what I do!”

In response to Nana’s: “Shut your mouth! I won’t be spoken to like that!” a litany of fucks, one right after the other

“I don’t have to listen to you!”

In response to Nana’s shouting that this is her house: “I don’t give a shit whose house it is… Mind your fucking business!”

Threats I’ve heard made against Nana, or to Nana (against other people) include:

“If you keep spreading rumors about me, I’ll do it again.” (This was during a conversation that was about bleach and included the admission that “I only did it that once, when I was younger.”)

“I will stab him in the fucking face. Give me the phone. Tell that bitch that I will stab him in the fucking face if he goes near my father. You don’t think I will do it, but I will.”

“Those people downstairs so much as look at me and I’m going to punch them until they bleed. I won’t be able to stop myself.”

“You can’t stop me, bitch. I’d like to see you just try.”

“Nobody cares if this is your house. Now get the fuck out of my face or I’ll make you.”

We talked once, years ago, about why you stayed: your children were obviously unhappy, Nana was unhappy, and (even then) you felt you were being treated unfairly. You told me then that you had made a promise to your father – to take care of Nana. Looking back, not just at the things I’ve included here, but at everything else you know to be true, do you feel you’ve kept that promise?

By isolating Nana, ignoring her, threatening her?

By allowing a home to become a hostile, tension-filled environment?

By refusing to acknowledge where things have gone horrifically wrong?

In making this decision to go against Nana’s wishes, in making the decision to write this letter and in order to reassure myself that it was the right choice, I asked myself what I would do if the people upstairs were just neighbors, random people with no relationship to me at all.

What would I do if I heard another woman being threatened and screamed at in an increasingly vile way, on an increasingly frequent basis? It’s what I would have done if Nana hadn’t kept asking, pleading for the opportunity to make things better; to let us let her take care of it.

It’s what I should have been doing all along.

Of course, the only answer is I would have called someone; the cops, DCFS, whoever it is that handles these kinds of abuses. I can do no less for Nana then I would for a stranger, no matter what she wishes were otherwise.

And don’t think that I’m exaggerating my concerns because of whatever grudge you think the rest of the family is supposed to have against you.

Don’t underestimate what has happened so far…what continues to happen everyday.

Regardless of the names you give it, the reasoning you’ve built up behind it.


Whatever wrongs you feel you have suffered, whatever injustices you perceive in how you all have been treated, those aren’t important to me. There can be NO justification for such behaviors. No justifications – not the age of the offender, or the attitude of the victim. There are NO excuses for this kind of behavior – not for those who said and did these things, and not for those who allowed them to occur and reoccur. And I am no longer willing to hide behind Nana’s excuses and allow it to continue.

The fear of ‘what’s next?’ is not something I am willing to live with. If no one else is able - or willing - to recognize the dangers in this situation, to see that things are getting progressively worse, then I will make it my responsibility. Because it already is my responsibility. Nana is my responsibility. And I am not living with what happens the next time someone’s temper gets out of control.
Be assured that the very next threat, the very next diatribe of cursing and screaming, and the police will be called. No threats, it’s just my choice. To finally do what I know is right.
I’ve kept quiet because Nana wanted me to. Because I hate to have to do something I know she disagrees with, but I can’t let that be why anymore. I’ve kept quiet because I didn’t want to make a bad situation worse, because I didn’t want to become yet another thing for people to yell about, because I was afraid of making things worse for her. I’m not sure how much worse things can actually get, and that’s horrible. But I know that I am doing what I can – the only thing I can think of - to make them better.

I doubt you can say the same.

In place of sending this letter, my family had (yet another) big meeting. As usual, it descended into name calling and screaming. Nana assured us all that an eviction notice would be forthcoming, but here we are: More than a year - and numerous more such encounters - later, and no notice.

Just this past Sunday, it happened again. I missed the yelling and screaming, but Nana came down crying and shaky, then said she was "getting them the hell out!" the very next day. It's Thursday, and they are still here.

So, she can be as pissed at me as she wants - Cuz I'm pretty pissed at her, come to think of it.

UroStream: Grand Rounds Vol. 3, No. 28

By the way, I'm included in this week's Grand Rounds! Grand Rounds is a collection of medical-based posts from all around the blogosphere. Check it out.

Monday, April 02, 2007

Tatoos - of a sort

Tracey over at Picture This, has a whole week of theme-photos planned. I'm hoping to play along, but I'm not counting my chickens, either.

(BTW: Update on the paving: it's raining. Raining = not tarring. Could work out for me, at least for this little while.)

So, here's My Best Shot for this Monday... it's SisterJ and Only Niece, looking out at the world (back a few days ago when it was nice out). Too cute...

Tatoos - of a sort
Originally uploaded by bbackprple.