Music and General Transcription

Many of you have been aware that one of my sons died from pancreatic cancer June 9, 2015. It has been a painful, yet incredible learning experience walking hand-in-hand with Grief who will be with me for the rest of my life.


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Busyness was my constant companion, a way to cope with my loss.  I felt the deepest need to rid my life of so much materialism, nothing – no thing – held meaning for me anymore. I did not need nor find knickknacks enjoyable; thus began the journey to unclutter my existence.

Becoming organized was the next step of uncluttering my life. I hoarded old paperwork, bank statements, tax returns, etc.. I had boxes and boxes of dusty, old paperwork which I sorted through and digitized the truly important papers prior to shredding. Shredding took several months to finalize.

When busyness of my self-induced projects was coming to an end, I began to wonder about the purpose of my life, “what’s left to do, what’s my purpose.”  My children were grown. My grandchildren live in different States or countries. I have not held a “regular” job in ten years while concentrating on working from home in various capacities, none of which sufficed as steady, viable income sources.


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Office Politics

I decided to reconstruct my résumé and jump back into the working world again with great apprehension. You see, at 62 yrs. of age, the competition would be staggering. I thought about applying for a State position in a clerical capacity but remembered all the politics and personalities and back-stabbing that went on in past office positions. No. I’m on the other side of the hill of life, I do not need to prove anything nor add senseless worries to my life.  I wanted to work for the sake of working while bringing in a little spending money, tagged for paying my damn health insurance.

Before choosing to freelance from home, ten years ago, I had applied for and was hired to be a Receptionist for a C.P.A. firm. It was a small office, one C.P.A. with a junior C.P.A. as his backup assistant. The people were pleasant enough but my problem was chronic back troubles.


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Secretary Scrubbing Floor

What would back troubles have to do with clerical work? Well… included in my clerical duties, I was to wash the floors every day as well as the restroom and my work station was low to the floor with a most uncomfortable chair. Needless to say, I did not last a week at that job.

The next attempt at working in the real-world was to become a cashier at a CVS drug store. As I mentioned earlier, I wanted a simple job without the stress of my past position as Finance Manager. Anyway, I enjoyed being a cashier, until it was my night to close the store while the Manager reviewed the day’s transactions in his office. “Closing” the store meant that I, or any other cashier who was scheduled for the closing shift, was to vacuum the entire store, wash the main entry floor (mop and bucket) AND scrub down the men’s and women’s restrooms. My back gave out, there was no floor drain to dump the bucket and I had to lift the huge bucket into a utility sink to drain it.  I had to quit that job after a short time.

One more effort was when I was hired by Walmart to work in their bakery as a cake decorator. During the interview, I told the Department Manager that I don’t know how to professionally decorate a cake and she saw that as no problem.


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Carpal Tunnel Syndrom
Cake Decorating

I was happy with my little job as cake decorator until my back began hurting because, after my shift ended, I was to mop up the floor in the entire bakery section (at least I didn’t have to scrub the public restrooms!) But, the kicker came when I woke up on Easter morning, scheduled to work, and I could NOT move my hands. Not AT ALL!! I could not hold my morning cup of coffee, the pain in my hands/wrists were beyond any pain I had ever felt in them before – even when I was first diagnosed with minor carpal tunnel syndrome. 

I asked my husband to dial the phone as I called the store trying to explain my predicament – I could not work that day or in that position due to medical problems. As such, I am now black-listed from ever working at any Walmart because after bag-frosting hundreds of cupcakes and cakes, my hands could not do the job anymore, not to mention my back pain from bucket-scrubbing the floor. Oh well, thanks Walmart, for being so uncaring by not offering me another position which my body could handle.

My conclusion of working any type of position in Oklahoma must always include scrubbing floors, toilets and vacuuming.

So, back to now and finding my purpose in life. With all of my clearing out unneeded material things and organizing our important papers, and realizing the impossibility of finding work outside of home, I decided to give transcription work another shot and am so glad I went in that direction.

Having been trained to play the piano beginning at six years of age through my 16th birthday, my piano teacher said there was nothing more she could teach me. I could read and play the most complicated classical music upon first glance.  Problem was, I never memorized the music. Pull the sheet music away and I was lucky to play chopsticks. I think that was some kind of mental-block.  However, playing piano developed my brain/fingers’ coordination and my short, stubby fingers were blazing fast and accurate which carried over to when I aced high school typing courses.

My first job as Private Secretary (a very dated term) were heavy with typing and transcribing audio. I enjoyed being a secretary because I was good at it and did not have to scrub floors, toilets or vacuum the offices and back in those days, I was not aware of office politics, people seemed to work as a team and developed true friendships.

Today, I feel as though I have found a purpose for my daily life, i.e., working in some fashion for pay, my spirit has been lifted. And, subconsciously, I have found my way back to enjoying the simple things of life, one of which is having the radio – music –  on all day.

Music has always been a part of my life. My father was a professional musician. My children were raised with music playing in the background of their lives. They still have music playing in the background of their lives.


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Music in Heaven

Mikey’s wife told me that one of the first things he did when he came home from work was turn on the radio. Wherever his spirit is now, I hope it is filled with background music, for I believe music is the language of the soul and can transcend any language barriers. Music touches the heart and soul of all of us.



A Conversation With Grief

Daily Post: Worst Case Scenario – Of all the awful possibilities, what’s the worst possible thing that could happen to you today? Now, what about the best?

Simple and sweet, my response to this prompt is:

The worst possible thing that could happen today would be to learn that another of my sons was diagnosed with cancer. The best possible thing that could happen today would be that I awakened and it would be March 17, 2015 again and I never received notification that one of my sons was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, that these past seven months have only been an horrific nightmare and all of my children were healthy and would live to see their own children grow to adulthood.

Beyond that, I shall move onward to a conversation I had with Grief this morning, January 9, 2016, the seven month anniversary of my son’s death.

Dawn slipped between the slats of closed window blinds, casting a vague illumination throughout my bedroom and danced upon my closed eyes, beckoning me to awaken. Drowsily, my heavy eyelids opened, glancing at the clock which displayed 7:00 a.m. ‘Looks like it’s gonna be a cloudy day, the sunlight isn’t as bright as it should be by now,’ was my first thought of the day.

Sleepwalk1I made the bed, dressed, fed the cat, fed the dog, administered the dog’s morning insulin while coffee was brewing and my mind slowly worked toward full consciousness (you see, my morning rituals are performed while still in a state of semi-conscious robotic habit.)

With the cat and dog tended to, it was my turn to purge the remaining sleepiness from my brain with a steaming cup of coffee. Two sips later, I realized I was not alone. I felt a familiar gloominess, the one I have learned to control and live with since my son’s death, its name is Grief.

‘What are you doing here?’ I asked.

‘You know why I am here. Think about it.’

9_We had survived Christmas, I wondered what was so special about today for Grief to envelope me as soon as my mind was fully conscious. And then it dawned on me, today was the ninth, the number nine, the numeric day of my son’s death. My subconscious reminds me of this particular day every month now.

‘It’s the ninth. It’s the seventh month since Mikey has been gone, dead.’

‘Yes, that’s right.’

‘How bad are you going to haunt me today? Will I be useless or useful?’

‘I do not haunt you, you call upon me and I answer your call.’

‘What the hell are you talking about? I don’t call upon you! I don’t want you. I hate you!’

‘You do call upon me with every memory of your son. You reach into your heart, the place where profound love lives, it’s a habit of every human when they reminisce good and bad times; that’s where you go to recall memories. That’s where I live, beside Joy, we are borne within Love.

‘When your son was living, your heart nourished memories, made new ones. That’s when you called upon Joy whenever you visited the place called memories. When your son died, there would be no more building of memories with him. Time was up.’

‘I like Joy better than you. I wish there was no such thing as you.’

‘Without me, without Grief, you would not know Joy.’

‘Like hell I wouldn’t! I know Joy! I love Joy! I wish there were only Joy!’

‘If there were only Joy, you would not be aware of it because that would be all that you knew of love. Without darkness, you would not know light. Humans think that Joy is the quantum of love – the deeper the love, the more Joy you experience. You know this is not true. You – know- this – is – not – true.’

My mind quieted, seemed empty for a time.

‘You also know,’ Grief spoke after giving time for me to digest what I instinctively knew was truth, ‘that I am the sovereign essence of your love. You said that I dug a huge hole in your heart where Mikey lived. What you were feeling was the expansion of love growing your heart to depths and widths of which you were not aware nor could imagine.

‘There are no gouges in your heart. Your heart is not broken. Your son still lives within your heart, he is a part of both, Joy and I, and forever shall be, as long as you live – and beyond, for love does not die.’

‘But I miss him. I miss his quiet demeanor, his patience, his voice, his laughter, his smile, his gorgeous eyes, his handsome face, his sense of humor. I think of him with every breath I take. I see him when I take a piece of bread from my breadbox, the same, exact style of breadbox he had, or when I cook on the stove, we had the exact same stove! We lived thousands of miles apart yet had so many familiar objects which we used every day of our lives, even the stupid lawnmower! There were so many things that we had, separately, which were the exact same in our different homes!

‘I still have hundreds of photographs of his childhood, the hockey cassette which he used to play for his teammates in the dressing room to hype up the team before a game! It’s more than memories, it’s physical memories too. It’s physically painful.

‘I loved the life we were able to give our children, they loved their childhoods and each have warm, happy memories of growing up.

‘My biggest fear is that I don’t know where Mikey is now, what he is now. I believe life continues after death and used to believe in some sort of spirit existence where loved ones watch over those of us who still live in this earth plane. But, I don’t know these things as authentic truth.

‘I want to hear from him! I want a dream of him, letting me know that he exists, that the love we shared still exists, that his pain is gone, that he is doing his job in the spirit world and that he will welcome me when it is my turn to cross over.

‘It sounds so stupid, I want to know that my dead son is alright. What an oxymoron, but it’s how I feel!

‘I want to know why I haven’t had any dream-visits from him! For years, I had dream-visits after his dad died! Dream-visits from friends and past family members, vivid, lucid, visitations, but, it’s going on seven months and nothing from Mikey. I worry that he may be lost. I worry that he doesn’t know what he’s supposed to do. Why won’t he visit me?’

‘You know why, but I will remind you. Remember when Elizabeth visited you? Remember the room you were in and when she had to leave, you wanted to follow her. She told you that you could not go with her, it was not your time.

‘The last dream-visit with your late-husband was similar, a vast boundary was set and you could not cross it. When your conversation ended, he smiled, and was able to move on. If that barrier were not there, you would have tried to follow him too. You know you would have. But, you still had work to do here, the most important of which was to raise your children.

‘With Mikey gone now, if he were to visit you, you would cross any boundary to be with him, even though it is not your time. Your connection with him is so intense, perhaps he cannot visit you until you accept that you must continue with your life’s work, no matter how insignificant you view your life-purpose. You are not finished yet.’

‘You mean it’s kind of like how I wanted to die when I got his diagnosis, his death-sentence?’

‘Yes, and you remember that feeling, you wailed into the pillow and fell to the floor. For a brief millisecond, you were between worlds and you knew it, you felt it. You thought you had died but something brought you back. That was a taste of death, you nearly willed yourself to die.

‘You remember some of the last words he spoke to you, that you (and his siblings) “…have to do what you have to do.” And you have been doing, living in his honor, trying not to waste whatever time you have left, regardless of how much you’d rather be where he is, with him. You are honoring his life through living yours.’

‘So, I just have to wait until my life is finished before I can see him again, can know that he is fine, can feel him and be near him.’

‘He is with you. He is your memories. He is in your heart. He is your Joy. He is your Grief. He knows your Love. He knows and is doing what he has to do. Now, answer this, will you be useless or useful today?’

‘I choose to be useful. I choose to do what I have to do today. I choose to live at peace with all the residents of my heart, especially those who are contained in the realm of Love.’


More magnesium may lower risk of pancreatic cancer

I found this article and links very, very interesting. Thanks to Joseph A. Pinto for posting it.

Purple Hope

Magnesium intake may be an effective way to prevent pancreatic cancer, a new study suggests.

Pancreatic cancer is the fourth leading cause of cancer-related death in both men and women in the United States. The overall occurrence of pancreatic cancer has not significantly changed since 2002, but the mortality rate has increased annually from 2002 to 2011, according to the National Cancer Institute.

“Pancreatic cancer is really unique and different from other cancers,” says Ka He, chair of the epidemiology and biostatistics department at Indiana University. “The five-year survival rate is really low, so that makes prevention and identifying risk factors or predictors associated with pancreatic cancer very important.”

Previous studies have found that magnesium is inversely associated with the risk of diabetes, which is a risk factor of pancreatic cancer. But few studies have explored the direct association of magnesium with pancreatic cancer and those that did had…

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I Resolved



The New Year holiday has never held special importance to me. Its significance seemed merely to be a particular date when a four-digit number increased by one; remembering to write the new year’s digit on checks or correspondence would finally sink in, through repetition, by the end of the first month.

Resolutions seemed silly to me. If I needed to make a change in my life, I would make that change at the time of realization, not wait for a particular calendar day.

There was, however, and I admit this without contradiction, a short time when my late husband and I would drink wine and nibble on hors d’oeuvres several New Year’s Eves. With the children sleeping soundly in bed, we would sit together and flip through the soon-to-be-retired calendar, reminiscing all the events in ours and our children’s lives through scribbled appointments, hockey, soccer, lacrosse games and practices and more. When our reminiscing was complete, we opened the envelope which had been stapled to the month of December of the outgoing calendar. The envelope was labeled, “Do Not Open Until December 31, XXXX (the outgoing year.)

Inside the envelope was a sheet of notebook paper upon which we had written our predictions and goals for the upcoming year (the year that just passed.) More often than not, our predictions and goals caused great laughter as we realized we had forgotten many of the goals which we had set for ourselves and our predictions were always, hysterically wrong.

After all the reminiscing and laughter, it was time to fill out another notebook sheet with our new goals and predictions for the upcoming year, label it and staple it onto December’s page of the new calendar.

Those traditions ended the year my husband died. I still have the calendar of our last year together though. I do not know why. I simply want to save it.

This year, the clock struck Time’s final midnight for me when I learned that my son was dying from pancreatic cancer. Time stopped. Goals, predictions, wants, desires, hopes and dreams fell to a place of great unimportance. I cried, I grieved, I will miss him for the remainder of my life on this plane and hurt for the joys of life which were stolen from him, especially the joys of raising his two young children.

In my grief, I concluded that “Time” is an illusion restricted to our plane of existence and understanding. I live in moments now. I live for purpose and found new motivation by accepting my personal obligation to live life with meaning, no matter how small and insignificant I may think my actions are. It is akin to the “butterfly effect.” I do matter. My actions matter. It is not important that I am ever made aware of how I may have changed someone’s life through a simple act of kindness or warm smile. What is important is that I “did it.”

Grief has dug deep into my heart and soul, uncovering a deeper understanding of life. We are each here for a reason, we are in this together.
My final “resolution” on that fateful day of learning my son would soon die, was to “live” each and every day with purpose for others, no matter how limited my ability may be, there is always a way, there is always something I can give.

MotherTheresa1And, with that thought, I leave you with a quote from Mother Teresa:  “Not all of us can do great things, but, we can do small things with great love.”


This post in in response to today’s Daily Post. Here is another post in reference to the Daily Prompt, The Moon is Beautiful, Isn’t It?

The Best Christmas Letter Ever

ChristmasLetterMany of us receive “Christmas Letters” from family and friends along with or separate from greeting cards. Letters of this sort leave me with a sour taste for one particular reason – they are written by persons who are too busy to include/remember you in their everyday lives, whether it be a quick phone call, text or email during the year to exchange events of all of your lives.

No, the people who write these letters are, in my opinion, narcissists who have accumulated a “following” of friends who, in the narcissist’s mind, must be kept up to date with all the important events of their life which you missed out on during the course of the year. Oh, how the forgotten followers must be gratified and fulfilled to receive that once-a-year contact from the Christmas-Letter-Narcissist.

I have never written a Christmas Letter, ever. I send Christmas cards with hand-written notes wishing good cheer and specific messages pertaining to their lives, but, now, I will share with you what an honest Christmas Letter might truly be saying:

Dear John and Missy,
I hope your year was as successful and thrilling as ours! Translation: that is a lie and you will never know what I really think of you losers. I can be certain that your year was not successful nor thrilling. You can’t even afford a new car every year like we can, you have no class, aren’t worldly and without any clue as to what is chic nor are you educated in proper etiquette. Yet, I send you this letter every year because I know how much you look forward to hearing from your only upper-class friend’s adventures of which you will never experience nor have the ability to imagine.

Our year began with terrific news as Alastair tripled profits from our investment portfolios.  Translation: I know that you don’t know what that means, and if I were to put it into plain English, we have three times more money than we did last year, basically more money than you will ever make in your lifetimes. 

Alastair promised to take me on a special expedition for our 40th anniversary, so we spent it on an European Castle Tour, visiting Germany, France and Switzerland. Translation: An expedition is a sort of vacation to exotic places around the world, like when you go camping in tents and sleep in sleeping bags in nearby camp grounds, except, for us, we slept in exclusive hotels where dignitaries stay (dignitaries are important people.)


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The castles in Germany and France were surrounded by charming towns and we cruised on the Rhine River. Translation: A cruise is a vacation on a luxurious, floating hotel with every entertainment and amenity imaginable.

The Germanic and French architecture and culture intrigued us.  Translation: That means there were differences in the designs of buildings in the different countries.


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We went  sightseeing in Strasbourg and Colmar, and followed the Alsatian Wine Route. We purchased some very expensive French wines to ship home and I know exactly where they will be stored in our wine cellar. I can hardly wait to throw Alastair’s annual celebration for the Board of Directors this coming summer where we will pop open those wines and feast on farm-raised Osetra Golden Imperial Russian Caviar!  Translation: The closest you could come to imagine what I am describing is to envision a night by your algae-filled pond, drinking Boone’s Farm Apple Wine and chewing on your own home-grown, bonfire-grilled catfish.  
Our next stop was at the Rhine Falls at the German corner of Switzerland, we also explored gorgeous Lucerne, and enjoyed breathtaking views from the top of Mount Pilatus.  Translation: Too bad you have no idea of the places I’m talking about, not even sure you would know how to find them on a world map or even leave your State for a day trip.

Andres and Addison, you remember, our twins, they graduated from Princeton and we are so proud of them! They are off to becoming successful entrepreneurs!  Translation: We spent a shitload of money to send those two spoiled brats to an ivy-league school and they are still living at home with us, without jobs.

All in all, it was a very good year!  We must chat some time soon, perhaps over coffee and napoleons! Translation:  The year sucked! I caught Alastair having an affair with his slutty assistant and rather than file for divorce, he settled for meeting the material needs our class culture should provide me and I look forward to world travel every year along with jewels and new cars. By the way, there is no way in hell that I want to bore myself with your company whether it be over coffee or champagne.  

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year from your friends, Alastair and Gabriela Translation: I have met my obligation for staying in contact with my fan club.

So, there you have it, my reason for despising Christmas Letters. I find them insulting, hypocritical and a significant reminder of how little importance the recipient is to the sender.