Bobbi Kristina Brown Is In God’s Hands Now

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Since January 31, 2015, Bobbi Kristina Brown, daughter of legendary singers, Whitney Houston and Bobby Brown, has been in a coma and not come out of it.

Bobbi K. had been moved from hospital to a rehab centre and has now been transferred to a hospice where family reports have somewhat varied with little information but, the crux of the story is that there is no recovery for the young woman.  Irreversible brain damage has been cited.

Bobbi Kristina was found eerily similarly to her famous mom on January 31, 2015 in her home near Atlanta Georgia.  It had been nearly 3 years since her mother’s death in a bathtub, said to be caused by drugs, alcohol and a heart attack when Brown was found in her own bathtub, where boyfriend/friend, Nick Gordon and his friend allegedly found her and started CPR.  It is said that Brown had a pulse and was breathing but, was placed in a medically induced coma as brain damage was thought to have deteriorated her brain function and recovery would be considered “a miracle”.

Though Brown is reportedly, no longer in a medically induced coma nor in a ventilator, she remains un-responsive and is deteriorating in brain status. Some sources from the family and friends of the family have stated that Brown is considered to be near death. This seems to have prompted both sides of Brown’s family to move her to a hospice on June 24, 2015 where rumour has it that she will likely not live much longer.

Father, Bobby Brown and she had been estranged for many years, their relationship strained at best but, it’s said that they were attempting to work things out after Houston’s death in February 2012, having drowned in a hotel bathtub after a night of partying, drugs and booze.

Questions surround Nick Gordon as conflicting reports swirl around Brown and him and their relationship.  Gordon was said to have been taken in by Houston and raised as Bobbi’s sister but, the gossip sent out by Brown, herself, led people to believe that she and Gordon were married.  That rumour has since been quashed by her family and friends.

Gordon and Brown had allegedly fought, loudly prior to Brown being found face down, without vital signs.  Gordon became a suspect in possible foul play.

With not much in the way of actual facts to go by, other than what little family has released to the public, it’s hard to say what the reality of the situation with Brown is, other than she is likely not to make it as her brain suffered damage so greatly that she’s been unresponsive in spite of no longer being in a medically induced coma, not having made any progress and in fact, has deteriorated in brain function.

Given that it’s hard to judge what is truth and what is fiction or media fabricated for sensationalized stories, it’s better to reserve judgement on all involved at this time but, it appears that one thing is certain.  Bobbi Kristina, no matter how long her body lingers, is no longer with us and the likelihood of any type of recovery whatsoever has gone and has been gone since January 31, 2015.  The only thing left for family to cling to now is her body.  Anything that was or could be the Bobbi Kristina people loved and knew, stopped existing that fateful day in January and for her body to go on living now, is likely, simply torture for her family and friends to be around.

From all reports, all that could have been done, has been done.  Allegedly, Brown was devoid of vital signs when found but, resuscitated by Gordon before paramedics then, by some of the top medical specialists money can buy.  It seems as though resuscitation may have been one of the perhaps, worst things that could have been done, given the outcome of this situation.

One can only hope that there is a life after death and that Bobbi Kristina has already been re-united with her famous mother whom she missed so much after her passing.  If one can believe that there is a life after this one, it is possible that Brown is no longer in that body that lays, clinging to biological life by a thread, held by the most primitive of brain functions.  It would seem to be a blessing, given what is reported, for Brown to be set free finally of these earthly chains.

When there is no hope of a meaningful recovery, alive or barely clinging to life without consciousness is a “limbo” where bodily death would be the kindest thing for that person. One can only hope that though she appears to be in no pain or discomfort of any kind, un-knowing of her situation from within her body, that she is comfortable and will pass on soon for her sake and those who love her.  Seeing her body linger on, without any higher level of brain functioning and no real hope of a recovery, would make death seem like a blessing.

Move on Bobbi Kristina.  Go to The Light and be with your family and especially, your mom.

At least, from experience in this type of situation, that’s how I see things from my little corner of life.

Canada’s Pet Food Industry Needs To Step Up To The Plate

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Canada’s pet food industry needs a giant overhaul and nobody is willing to deal with the issues including the CFIA (Canadian Food Inspections Agency, Animal Divison).  

My cat was recently diagnosed with diabetes at nearly 10 years of age.  In doing a lot of research, it’s been made clear that the foods that our cats and dogs eat nowadays, are largely a culprit in this disease as well as in chronic kidney disease.  Yet, we have little choice in our pet food selections in Canada to choose from short of veterinarian prescribed and over-priced “prescription foods” sold by them, produced by Hills, Purina and Royal Canin.

In wanting to start off my kitten’s life properly, I intently listened to her vets from the day that I got her and started feeding her the usual recommended foods produced by Hills and Royal Canin.  After all, what does a lay person know when it comes to pet nutrition by comparison to the pet’s vet?

Hills Science Diet prescription formulations were tooted as “the best” on the market and I was told that anything commercially made, would result in big troubles down the road.  So, with that in mind, I set out to feed my kitten (as well as my dogs), Hills Science Diet formulations, made by Hills.

Later, rather than sooner, every single pet I’ve had, has ended up with some sort of a disorder or health issue by comparison to those I’ve had who have been fed nothing but, “supermarket level” canned foods or kibbles. Two of my cats were diagnosed with diabetes, while all 4 of my dogs had dull coats and were eventually all diagnosed with either pancreatitis or cancers.

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Can I say with 100% certainty that it was Hills foods that caused these issues?  No…at least not with anything other than circumstantial evidence.  There is no proof and I am waiving all liabilities by saying so here and now. However, I was told that my cat’s fur was “lacking in something” by 2 vets and was cautioned most harshly to feed her Hills Science Diet with a bag swiftly plucked from the vets’ shelves in almost commercial like motions on several different occasions.  When I told each of the vets that she had been on it since Day 1, their faces turned a few lovely shades of red and even some wile pretty purples.

Since then, she and another cat I previously had, has been diagnosed with diabetes and, in wanting help my pet to the best of my abilities, I’ve taken a far more pro-active role in her health by doing a lot of research, talking, question asking and searching.

What my travels in education have revealed is that cats are “obligate carnivores” and do not drink much water, even if we see them at the water bowls we leave around our homes for them.  Kibble is not a good food for any cat as the moisture content is far too low and can create issues for other reasons, within their urinary tracts.  Most of all, most kibble is above and beyond the carbohydrate needs and the ability of the feline body to deal with it.  Eventually, there is a good likelihood that cats will develop either diabetes, urinary tract issues or chronic kidney failure.  Yet, vets are very quick to hand over bags of the stuff as long as it’s produced by Hills, Purina or Royal Canin.

Once a pet has been diagnosed with a health condition such as one of the above, the prescription formulas from the very same manufacturers are then prescribed.  It feels almost as though the companies producing these expensive foods, sold solely by vets, are the ones that create the health issues then, the prescription formulas from the very same companies are the ones that are supposed to help it.  What’s wrong with this picture?

In the past 2 months of researching, I’ve seen that the U.S. has a great number of pet foods on the market that Canadians just cannot get in this country.  Low carbohydrate foods with higher non-plant based proteins can only be gotten in canned or prescription formulas here.  Yet, the U.S. has access to not only more than double the amount of choices in canned foods but, also to several low carb kibbles for cats who are considered, “Kibble Addicts”.  These foods are not sold by vets and can be bought commercially however, even were one willing to drive to the U.S. to stock up on these foods for their diabetic cats, Canada will not allow them to be carried across the border.

The producers of Young Again Zero, the ultra low carb kibble, can only be bought online only but, with a shipping fee to Canada of $32 U.S., a 6 lb bag being $54 U.S., duty and HST (Canada’s sales tax at 13%), who can afford to do it on top of insulin, testing materials, vet fees and other things needed to save a special needs cat?

Innova EVO kibble is said to be second best behind Young Again however, in a call to Mars, the manufacturers of EVO, customer service has said that Mars had made the decision to “discontinue shipments to Canada” as the profit margins are too slim.

Where does that leave us as consumers with pets with health issues who require these types of low carb foods?  Squarely back into the grips of the companies that we started off with and possibly, though not provable, may have been the cause of the issue in the first place.

One can gather a conspiracy theory that Canada has somehow been “bribed” by these big U.S. based companies so that it’s nearly impossible for other manufacturers to produce foods that would compete against the 3 big vet endorsed manufacturers of Hills, Purina and Royal Canin.  One might also conclude that the lack of ability for commercial pet food manufacturers to label their foods so that consumers might have a chance of deciding between commercial products or vet prescribed products from “the big 3″, has been limited greatly.  It’s ironic that Hills, Purina and Royal Canin can label their foods as foods for diabetes or kidney diets but, there’s no chance for other companies to be allowed to make the same claims in their marketing.

There is nothing prescription worthy in corn, corn gluten, corn meal, chicken by-products, brewers yeast or brewers rice nor, is it healthy for cats as carnivores.  Yet, The Big 3 companies have somehow managed to grab the prescription labels and market these foods as desirable for these health issues.  Hard to believe but, true.

In a large study, it was proven that cats put onto what one would consider the lowest grade foods such as Fancy Feast, 9 Lives, Friskies and a few others that can be bought at any supermarket or corner store, diabetic cats have actually lowered their blood glucose levels with some requiring no insulin or just short terms of it.  Others have gone into complete remission on them as long as they are continually fed.  What is that saying?  It’s telling lay persons that they needn’t spend the huge bucks on the prescription formulas that their vets will push and to feel good about what the alleged lower quality foods are doing for their diabetic pets.

In belonging to a group that follows a vet who devoted her life’s work towards helping diabetic cats, called Feline Diabetesit’s been clear that Canada has fallen behind the 8-ball in its pet food industries and that the Canadian governments have been lax in helping Canadian pet food manufacturers not only produce quality and suitable foods but, it’s helped STOP the production and marketing of quality foods that meet the same criteria as the prescription formulas and even causing U.S. producers to pull out of the Canadian Pet Food Market, leaving pet owners and lovers with quite the quandary, expense and upset over their beloved pet’s health conditions which may have been produced by improper foods.

Much like the big pharmaceutical companies that court our physicians towards their prescriptive medications, it appears that the pet food industry in Canada may have also become tainted by the Big 3 companies with brainwashing veterinarians into believing that their foods are the only foods that can be fed to pets healthfully.  Nothing could be further from the truth as some research shows.

In wanting to help my pets, it seems that something is amiss in the Canadian Pet Food Industry that needs to be looked at in-depth as well as the government agencies that oversee this issue.

It is a lot of pet owners who wish that vets would take the time to educate themselves beyond what they were taught in vet college or through the big 3 pet food companies and realize that what they are being sold to sell their patients, may also be the very same foods that are making these pets ill.  It’s time for vets to stand up and recognize that their pockets needn’t be lined by the big 3.  If they want to sell us foods, there should be other companies allowed that chance as well. These vets can still sell from their shelves but, it needn’t be prescription only foods nor, need it come from Hills, Purina or Royal Canin just because they have the best marketing skills with vets.

From my little corner of life right now, I see vets as needing to learn more about nutrition beyond the Big 3’s sales pitches, quit worrying about their wallets and stop pushing the prescription formulas.  I also see that vets need to step up to the plate, become involved in what is manufactured and help develop more nutritious as well as cost effective foods for pets and pet owners.  More than anything, it’s high time that the Canadian governments encouraged pet food manufacturers to come up with commercially similar and available foods that can be used by special needs pets.

I may be dreaming but, the dollar isn’t the only important thing in Life.  Love is strong and the want to keep that love in our lives is by far, much more valuable than the money the Big 3 make off of their prey.

Why Are The People I’ve Done The Most For Not Around Anymore?

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We all need to feel as though we matter.  As humans, we inherit a need to feel that we have some meaning, some purpose and most of all, others around us who truly appreciate us for who we are and not just what we can do for them.  Yet, all too often, we find ourselves, sitting back, alone and wondering where all of the people are who we have helped over our lifetimes.

In recent years, I have looked back at my life and recognized that the people I have done the most for or with, are no longer part of my life.  It’s not because we’ve fought and parted ways but, it appears to be more the idea that they were around me for whatever purpose I served for them during times of need and once that need no longer existed or, they’d found others to fill those needs, I was no longer of any value to them.  How sad is that, for both them and myself?

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Was it my fault?  Had I done far more than I should have done and they came to not have respect for me?  Did I do too much and they felt indebted in ways that they knew that they could never pay back?  Perhaps, it was more the idea that they felt somehow “less than” when they came out the other side of their problems and I reminded them of their weaker times?  And, why weren’t they around to share the good times?  Why were they only contacting me during the bad times but, were only too happy to be with others to celebrate the good in their lives?  Had I set it up for them and made it easy for them to take from me and not give back?  Had I become associated with only their problems and nothing more than that?  Did I set up those dynamics where they associated me with the problem times and nothing more?  

Is it their faults?  Were they only ever around me for what I could do for them and once they no longer had a need, I was no longer of any use to them?  Are they selfish users who took people for what they could get out of them and I was simply a sitting duck for those types of people?  Were they that shallow that they could take and use me, tossing me away like a used paper towel?  How could so many people be this selfish and inconsiderate, taking only what they need, when they needed it from me and not look back?

I don’t have the answers to all of these questions but, in hindsight, it’s likely been a combination of both me and them.  It takes two to tango, as the saying goes.  I provided the welcome mat for them to walk in on, invited them and their troubles into my world and life, treated them with total and complete empathy and concern, doing all that I could to alleviate their pain and, who could blame them for taking me up on it all?  I opened the door for them to walk right in and have someone to lean on when they needed it, not expecting anything in return.  That was my fault.  I set up those dynamics.  They took me up on it like people in trouble would naturally do and, they did it without worry or stress because I gave no indication that I expected any sort of repayment in any way.  No hooks or strings attached.

Tens of thousands of dollars given out that will never be paid back, thousands of hours spent listening, thinking, researching, helping, caregiving, planning and helping later, none of these people are still in my life.  They won’t ever be and frankly, I don’t want them back at this point but, I have no one to blame except myself for being in this situation in the first place.

There are a few cardinal rules in Life that we should remember if we don’t want to be in these types of situations.

Don’t Set Up Dynamics You Don’t Want To Continue

Once you set up a balance between yourself and someone else, you’ve set a pattern that will become entrenched. If people come to know you as someone who will always be there for them, they will continue expecting that from you.  Once you’ve done that, it is nearly impossible to turn the tables around and start over again.  They will have learned to lean on you and count on you.  STOP there.  You’ve established yourself as their go-to person in times of trouble and that’s exactly when and how they will come to you.  If you don’t want to continue with a pattern like that, don’t start it and keep it up for long.  Help but, don’t become a doormat for their problems.

Respect Yourself, Your Time, Your Energy And, They Will Too

Other people need to be taught how to treat you.  If you’re leading by example by not giving them time limits, pushing aside all of your own needs or wants and being at their beckon call constantly, you are showing them that your time, your energy and you as a person have limitless boundaries, devoted solely to them and their needs.  However, should you show them that you have a life too, (even if you’re going to sit and watch paint dry) and that your time and energy are respected by you and others, they will get the hint that they are getting something special from you…a favour, not a job.  By not setting those boundaries, you are offering yourself up on a silver platter to be used and abused.  You are essentially teaching them that you have no life beyond their needs and, heaven knows, people can tend to feel that their problems/issues are the most important thing in the world to them so, they must be to you as well since you are always there for them.

Offer Them Help…Not A Handout And Expect Something In Return

So many people in today’s world are stressed, distressed, harried and in trouble.  It’s ok to help someone out but, it’s not ok to take care of their problems for them.  Each and every one of us will have problems.  No one is without them but, the moment that we think that we can take them all over and solve them all for others, we are not only fooling ourselves but, we are robbing people of the experience and lessons of learning to solve their own problems.  If we continue to do that, they will never learn to deal with their own issues.  Give a man a fish and he’ll eat for a day.  Teach a man to fish and he’ll eat for the rest of his life.

We wouldn’t expect our professionals or other people who solve problems to do it for free all of the time, would we?  We therefore, come to respect their ability to help us because we have to pay for it in some way.  The same holds true for people that we help.  When something is done consistently for free, it’s no longer a helping hand and we are no longer looked upon as kind and generous to have done it.  Instead, our help is looked upon as our job, not a kind-hearted favour.  Ask for something in return.  It may be a small thing. It may be something that they can do for you or, it might be that you will ask them to water your lawn while you’re on holidays or perhaps, they have a talent for something that can be asked for in return.  You need not make it a barter system but, when you’ve helped someone out, ask them for something as a form of payment.  Let them know that it’s a two-way street and that they should help you out in some way or another too or, receive some sort of payment in return as it is a favour not your job to help them.  You are not responsible for everyone else and their problems.  Unless of course, someone made you a god or a martyr.

When They Are Not Trying To Really Help Themselves, Back Up And Stop!

Sadly, there are far too many people in this world who expect a free ride and truly have no real intention of ever solving their problems even if you give them solutions right up front and start it for them.  You may even find them angry and wonder why you’re being shunned or yelled at for offering them what you might consider extremely helpful, reasonable and great advice/solutions.  There’s a reason why you’re in this mess and left befuddled.  These people never actually wanted to solve their problems in the first place.

As hard as it is to believe, there are those who love to be in trouble because they love the drama and attention that it brings them.  As fast as you can solve one problem for them, if they’ll let you, they’ll be off creating another one while you’re still wiping the sweat from your brow and cleaning up the shambles your own life has been left in while doing their work for them.  These people are the “Drama Queens/Kings” of the world who thrive on having problems and the sympathy they draw from others.  They see “SUCKER” written right across your forehead and they will stick to you like Crazy Glue has stuck them to your side.  They’ve found their audience to act out their stories of pain and suffering while you lap it up and applaud them with your empathy and sympathy, blood, sweat and tears.  They adore that from you and you’re giving it to them.

When They Walk From Your Life…Don’t Chase Them

Like me, you may be sitting back, thinking….”what have I done wrong?  Why am I alone like this when I’ve helped so many people?  I must be doing something wrong to not have people want to be around me like this.  Maybe, I need to try harder?”  If you are, stop right there.  The truth is, you have simply allowed yourself to be abused.  That’s the thing that you’ve done wrong.  If those that you’ve always been there for, have walked out of your life, there’s only really 2 reasons.  Firstly, they have solved their problems or, they have found someone else to solve them now that suits them better.  Either way, they have shown you that you were only part of their lives to do for them and help. It was never you that they loved or cared about, in spite of their many proclamations of “you are the only person I can count on…you’re such a wonderful person and I don’t know what I’d do without you” to things like “you’re more family to me than my family and I love you!”  If they ave walked from your life, they don’t truly feel those things that they’ve said.  They used it all as bait to get what they wanted from you.  They are not sincere and you don’t want them back in your life, unless of course, you enjoy being used and abused.  Don’t go looking for them.  Let them ride off into the sunset where they will likely use someone else or perhaps, many others.

What Now?  I’m Alone and Lonely!

You may be so used to helping others by now that you truly feel like you’re alone and lonely when the blood sucking users have left your life or hopefully, you’ve dumped them but, the truth is, all that you’ve really lost are people who loved what you could do for them, not you.  As sad as that may sound and feel, you haven’t lost anything good from your life in these people.  You’ve gotten rid of the energy drainers.  You may be temporarily feeling alone and lost but that’s because you have the time on your hands that you didn’t have before while helping them.  You may feel alone because these types of people will constantly be around, writing or phoning you with their problems and be so invasive in your life that you were never truly alone and it can suddenly feel lonely because you were in a pattern of having someone constantly needing and wanting to be around you.  You have to ask yourself if you’re truly missing that person themselves or whether you were stuck in the companionship of someone who was simply there to get what they could get from you.  I can guarantee you that is more likely the latter scenario.

While no one is truly and completely “bad” and therefore, brings some sort of “good” into your life, even if it’s only in feeling that you have a purpose of some kind while taking care of their needs, all that you’ve lost is an abuser/user.  You haven’t lost a friend because friends would never just take then, walk on you when you no longer served that purpose for them.  All that you’ve lost is the abuse and user relationship and while you may feel empty, lost, alone and lonely for a bit, it’s also been a learning curve for you as well.  You’ve learned to curb your helping habits, balance out your relationships to ones of not just giving but, also learning to ask and accepting receiving in return.  You’ve also learned that your time, energy and thoughts should be divided to include helping yourself to better your own life as well as to demand respect for that and yourself.

Now is the time to use those energies, time and thought and put them to use in your own life and towards your own needs.  Figure out what you would like to have happen in your own life and how to get those things. Look into things that you’d like to do and do them.  When you do things that you like to do, you’ll often find others of similar interests and thinking who can often become a true friend.  Do that enough time and you’ll find yourself surrounded by more people than you thought possible and with the right reasons behind them as well as the proper balance.

More than anything, as one final word of caution, never set up a friendship or relationship based on solving someone else’s problems or being a constant shoulder or ear for them.  It’s ok for someone to tell you that they have a problem and you not attempt to solve it for them.  If the first thing out of their mouths are problems, see that as a warning beacon that they’re going to try to sucker you into their issues and get you to help in some way.  Walk away.  People need other people in times of trouble no doubt and that’s what friends are for but, when your entire friendship or relationship is based on feeling sorry for them and their problems, you’re already heading down a slippery slope.  If they can’t make you laugh and have fun too and only want to whine on your shoulder, you’re already setting off a dynamic that will turn into resentment on your part and them walking in the end unless you keep on giving until you’re burned out in many, if not all ways.  Not worth it.

Take this for what it’s worth but, that’s the way that I’m seeing things from experiences in my little corner of life.

How To Tell The Difference Between A Person In Need And A Psychic Vampire

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I admit it.  I am a “Helpaholic”.  I cannot stand knowing that someone is in trouble therefore, I put on my heroine cape and go leaping in to try to rescue them from the perils of pain.  The smallest whiff of someone being in trouble is enough to turn me into a wonder woman who will turn the world on its side if I think that it might help someone.  Oftentimes, that makes me easy prey for what is referred to as a “Psychic Vampire”, not a friend.

Why I do this, I don’t know.  Perhaps, it dates back to a dysfunctional childhood where trouble and pain were a daily occurrence?  Or, maybe, it was too much empathy built into me on an instinctive level and magnified a thousand times over?  It may simply be the idea that I’m somehow warped/flawed into believing that by helping others, somehow I’m buying love?  A therapist would likely have a field day with this one but, suffice it to say that if someone is in trouble and I so much as get a whiff of it, I’d be there.

Either I’m noble, kind and generous to a fault or, I’m stupid.

There is a line between helping and being a sucker.  I’ve been the sucker for far too long and for far too many people.  When your friends admit that they know that all that they have to do is to tell you about their problem or give you a sob story and they know that you’ll be there, you’ve gone too far and you’ve become a sucker.

If you’ve never encountered friends, bosses, co-workders and especially family, tell you that, there are signs that will tell you who is using you and who genuinely needs your help.

First, everyone has problems, including you.  None of us on this planet don’t have some sort of problem or another in our lives so, these people whining on your shoulder with their tales of woes, do not hold a monopoly on having trouble in their lives.  Everyone has something that they can whine about.

Secondly, not every whiner wants to fix their problems, surprisingly enough.  Some simply want the empathy, sympathy and attention that it gets them so, all of your energy will be going into allowing these people to suck you dry of your time, thought, energy and emotions while they move onto the next person who will grant them time to hear their problems.  Yes, these people don’t stop at just one person to vent or cry to.  There’s usually a plethora of others they will try with, in spite of their proclamations of “you’re the only person I have to talk to and I can’t tell anyone else.”  Yeah, right.  Try talking to some of their other friends or family members and you can pretty much be guaranteed that at least a few know the same things that you do, with perhaps, a bit of a twist to the details, depending upon that person’s levels of tolerance to drivel.

Thirdly, not everything you hear coming from their mouths or see happening in their lives is real.  Some of it is half-truths, fabricated, self-produced, self-inflicted, or purposely slanted and embellished to garner your attention.  Don’t make the mistake of thinking that they are telling you the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth.  Even if they, themselves are delusional about their issues, you are not hearing the entire truth from them in all likelihood.  Serial troubled souls as I call those who seem to never be out of trouble, are rarely ever victims of never-ending and total bad luck.  A lot of the troubles that they allegedly getting into are usually caused or created by or in their own minds then, magnified further in their stories recounted to you.

That’s not to say that people are never in trouble and never need help in some way or another but, if you’re finding yourself faced with someone who appears to constantly be in one problem situation after another, crying on your shoulder by phone, in person or email and you find yourself constantly saying to yourself, “poor so-and-so…they can’t catch a break,” think twice.  There may be more to these people’s problems than you know.

Veronica, a friend of mine, was constantly in seeming bad financial trouble.  She claimed that she couldn’t even put food on her table and was going to lose her house.  Veronica also seemed to get into one bad relationship after another where she was always the one left behind in pain and sorrow.  Her family were all “no good” and wouldn’t help her.  Every friend she ever had (except me of course) had deserted her and weren’t caring people (like I was, of course).  Her children were horrid to her and didn’t care if she dropped dead with all of her health issues and, she never left the house because she had nowhere to go without money, friends, family or help.  She spent every holiday on her own.  She had nothing and no one and proclaimed to want “to die”.

For over two decades, I kept swooping in like a masked and caped crusader, to save her from what appeared to be excrutiating misery, debt, loneliness and even told others in her life off for being so insensitive to her and her needs, giving her money that has yet to ever be able to be paid back as…there was no money coming in.

I took flack from others for “meddling” into their lives when I’d try to talk to them about Veronica and her horrific situations.  I was shunned, talked about and hated by others for what I saw as simply a “duty” to a friend.

As time went by and my own life was fraught with problems, family and other friend’s deaths, financial issues myself and my own set of headaches, I became somewhat crippled within my own life and could no longer do what I used to do for Veronica.  As a matter of fact, Veronica was pretty perturbed that I wasn’t able to be there for her and considered it a “slight” by me, not even giving me the time of day to hear out my problems.  To add insult to injury, just as I could have used a friend, even just to have a coffee with to take my mind off of my own issues, Veronica was off with other people she knew and I didn’t see or hear from her at all.

The separation did me good though.  I eventually started to come out the other side of a really difficult rough patch in my life and had room to think and breathe again before Veronica heard that I was doing better and began to resurface.  At this point though, I had been through enough of Life’s issues to have learned a thing or two about how to deal with those times, issues and most of all, figure out what made people like Veronica tick.  This time, I was prepared to deal with her on both a higher and more solid ground versus jumping into her own, self-created quicksand with her.

One of the things that I learned through my own troubled time experiences is that when you are truly down financially, you do whatever you can or need to do in order to get yourself afloat again.  If that means scrubbing toilets or washing dishes, you do it until something better comes along or until your finances are straightened out.  When I offered information and contacts to Veronica for work to get her some sort of income, she chose not to take any of those opportunities as they “weren’t right for her”.

When I had suffered from panic and depressive episodes, I sought out counselling and offered her the name and phone numbers to several free counsellors and received the answer, “nah…they’re more screwed up than we are.”

In suggesting that her son, living with her, in a beautiful basement apartment in the house that she lived in, either move upstairs into his bedroom again or pay the full rent the apartment could have garnered, she “didn’t want to talk about it” in spite of the bank threatening to take her house for lack of mortgage payments which also meant that her son’s roof would be gone as well.

The romantic relationship she was in was neglectful, bordering on abusive and he was an alcoholic and drug user with no money of his own, often waiting for her to feed him.  She’d constantly cry that there was nothing there, how hurt and angry she was at it all and him.  I obviously, suggested that she end that one and put her energy into her own life first, then look for someone better suited to her.  She pshawed that suggestion by saying, “but, he fixes things around my house for me.”

The list is endless but, by these examples, it’s likely plain to anyone reading this that Veronica didn’t want to help herself in any way.  She also wasn’t telling me the truth or at the least, not the entire truth about everything as I’d catch her in her own lies where she’d try to back-peddle and cover it up with excuses or more lies.

The plain and simple bottom line to Veronica and others like her are that at best, they are stuck and until or unless they truly want to make a change, your help isn’t going to make even the smallest of dents in anything.  At worst, these types of people are out for what they can get out of you in whatever ways that you will allow and for as long as you will continue doing it for them.  They will suck you dry in every conceivable way if you let them because they have no intentions of doing what could or would help them.  In essence, they don’t really want to be helped.  They love living in the drama and getting the attention that it creates for them in suckers like those who will fall for it.

If you truly want to know if your friend or family member really wants help, try offering them up solutions to their problems as a test.  If they constantly have reasons why they can’t or won’t take them or use them, you not only know that you are dealing with someone who cannot be helped until they want out of their issues but, you also know that they’re going to continue being psychic vampires on your time, energy, thoughts and emotions.  Give it up.  You cannot win.  You can only lose.

Go have yourself a coffee and enjoy something in your day because the energy that you’ve spent on these types of people are wasted.  May as well enjoy your own life and solve your own Life Problems as we all must do.

At least, that’s the way that I see things from my little corner of life right now.

Apple, MAC or Anything “i” And Why It Can Be Your Worst Nightmare

As in my post below, I finally steeled myself and bought a MAC laptop.  Against every fibre of my being and, everything that goes against my grain, I finally got talked into buying a MAC computer after the breakdown of my beloved HP laptop which had served me well for over 7 years.  I had been assured that I was making the right decision as Apple (the company that produces MAC computers…just in case you’ve been in a coma or a cave for the past decade or more), was a highly reputable company.  How wrong that was in my case.

The first 10 days that I had my brand new MAC laptop, I had gotten sick and couldn’t spend any time on it.  That meant that 10 of the 14 days that the store would take it back, was already gone and I had 4 days to learn MAC and its operations as well as evaluate the computer itself.  With so many rave reviews by both Apple enthusiasts and sales people’s assurances, I should have no problems, no issues, no viruses, no way to not love this computer in spite of its undoubtedly hefty price tag (which was much more than I had expected or wanted to pay for a computer that would likely only last me 3 or 4 years maximum.)

Sending Error Reports In The First Week

Within the first week I was using it, a program would suddenly “need to close” and I’d have to send out an error report.  Do we really know where the hell these things actually go or whether anyone really ever sees them?  Like good little girls and boys, we send them out into cyber space, hoping that someone, somewhere, somehow, pays attention to them.  I’ve often wondered if these error reports are just something that they have us do so that in the midst of cursing and swearing at the sudden shut-down and loss of any information that we’d written or found, we’d have something that might make us feel that we’ve done something about it and someone will fix that problem so that it doesn’t happen again.

Apple Tech Support For Days

By the second day of more usage, I was soon tired of sending off error reports and gave up sending them, resorting to cursing and swearing and having to take deep breaths.  That was it.  I needed Apple’s Tech Support Line.

All of the Apple Tech Support Technicians were highly friendly.  It was as though they knew that you’d over spent your budget and were soaked by the pricing so, yes…of course…they’re going to be nice.  They also all spoke of the computer as though it were a pet, a child, a human being and anthropomorphized the machine in front of you to the point where you felt as though you should give it a personal name and feed it.  I had no issue with them.  They were highly eager to help me with my problem and did so in a fun-loving, personable way, making the long tech support sessions feel almost a bit fun at first.

Three calls and 6 hours later, including a remote session where a technician was actually remotely inside my brand new baby, looking at its inner software workings, I was still no further ahead as the thing kept crashing both programs and itself into a downed state.  This is where I began to lose my temper but, tried to recognize that they didn’t produce the machine nor charge me the money and were only doing their jobs.  They were far more patient than I was.

By the 4th call to Apple, I was fuming and ready to throw the computer through the window in spite of being escalated to Senior Advisors with Apple’s Tech Support System.  Of course, they understood my upset and frustration and that I wasn’t taking it out on them but, even when confronted with the question of whether they would be happy with how much they’d paid to get a lemon, all that they could do was read off of some company policy card that read, “you’re screwed” (in different wording than that of course).

“You’re screwed!”

The final Senior Advisor relented that the problem wasn’t a software issue but, a hardware issue from the factory and I’d need to send it in to be serviced.  SERVICED?  I needed a brand new computer “serviced”? That wasn’t the worst part though.  I now had a brand new piece of JUNK that I’d paid a small fortune for and would be without a computer for at least 10 days.  More than that, worse became worst when I was told that even to get it seen at an Apple Store, I’d have to make an appointment, leave it for the 10 days and the earliest appointment that they could get me was 2 weeks away!

I’m sure you can hear the mutterings in my mind that weren’t exactly pretty at this point.  I’m equally certain that each Apple Technician must have to go through a “how to keep your cool while the customer implodes” course before they’re put onto the phones as it didn’t seem to phase them one bit that I was explaining how I used my computers for work and 2 to 3 weeks more after paying the price for a brand new computer to wait to have what I considered a “refurbished” model (in the light form of the definition) was not exactly music to my ears.  And, yes..this was all still under warranty.

I wasn’t accepting this answer and he knew it as I explained it (without hesitation in how I said it).  He didn’t even try to make a return call the following day to see what I had decided to do,..send it in or wait for the 2 weeks and take it into a repair centre.  Either way, it would be the same time frame and wait.  Neither desirable nor, acceptable given that I had already spent over 7 hours of tech support in 2 days already and had a mound of work to get caught up on with NO computer now.

Thankfully, the shop that I bought it from had been one that I had spent several thousand dollars in over the past couple of years with 2 computers, 4 printers, all the ink cartridges (another fortune) and office supplies.  That gave me a bit of leverage and I had to rely upon that to talk my way into accepting the now, 4 days past their 14 day return policy.  I sweet talked the manager into hearing me out and he did.  The only caveat was that I had to pay an extra $149.00 + tax to get them to set it up and put on an un-needed anti-virus program to get them to give me a brand new computer.  They did.

The SHOP to the rescue…NOT APPLE!

I am now writing this on this brand new MAC computer, having been set up by their tech support team which gives me a 30 day store guarantee that should anything go wrong in the next 30 days with this thing, they have incurred the responsibility of having to either repair it or, handing me yet another computer of my choice.

If something goes wrong with this one (knock on wood not), I will NOT be going with another MAC computer and will go back to swearing off of anything Apple completely as I had done for years.

To those of you who have nothing but good experiences with Apple products, my hat is off to you.  Perhaps, I am just laden with rotten luck but, I seemed to have gotten the alleged “one lemon” of a Mac computer ever made, according to the store and Apple itself.  I’m sure though that I’m not.  I’m sure that there’s many more unsatisfied customers out there and I’d love to hear your stories.

In the meanwhile, my fingers are crossed that I’ve suffered The Apple Curse long enough and it’s been broken.  My hope is to finally love this machine, given what I’ve been through for it as well as the cost of it.  If not…my front door will have a laptop come hurtling through it onto the street where I will watch with delight as the next vehicle to come up the street will crush it into a few thousand tiny pieces.  That sounds nasty, does it?  But, it’s where Apple tends to leave its customers believe it or not.

We live and we learn but from my little corner of life, Apple is not the god it wants us to believe.

Computer Shopping Can Be A Nightmare

I’ve been in what can only be considered by anyone who relies upon their computers as “Computer Hell” for the past month when my trusty HP laptop finally gave out its last legs and died on me.  I felt as though I was going through a mourning period but, had to replace it.  The question was, where to start?

If you talk to any nerd, geek or I.T. person, you’ll quickly be told that the days of anything computerized, electronic or otherwise, is now being built to last a couple of years at best.  It leaves one wondering how much they should spend on a computer given that it might only last 2 to 3 years if that long but, still meet your needs.

With that in mind, I contemplated getting the lowest priced computer available and consider its cost spread out over 2 or 3 years.  What could I live with, not only within my own mind, but also my wallet and budget?  I had a figure in mind and set out to grab anything that was on sale, seemed like a good brand name and would get me through a couple of more computing years.

That’s not, of course, how this quest turned out.

Think “being talked up”.  Not only was I talked to by sales people until I couldn’t think straight anymore but, they talked me “up” from one model, one brand to the next, assuring me that I’d be unhappy with anything less.  If that wasn’t enough, they spent an equal amount of time, trying to sell me software, extended store warranties that you know your computer will either not need because it will crash in the first few months while it is still under manufacturer’s warranty or, your computer will outlive the warranty and die 2 days after the warranty expires.

If you’ve done any computer shopping at all recently, you know that there’s the window’s based computers, tablets and off in a section of their own, the Apple computers.  Simply the name, “Apple” has you cringing and gritting your teeth because if you know anything about computers at all, you know that anything “i” or “Apple” screams out, “BIG BUCKS HERE!”  I truly believe that they should have neon signs with that logo lighting up the aisles for all Apple/Mac computers as I tried to avoid it like the Black Plague.

“I love my Mac”, many friends have said.  “I couldn’t be without it and I’ll never go back to Windows based anything!”

This seems to be a case of “once you’ve had a Mac, you’ll never go back” for these Apple loving friends.

In spite of my best efforts to avoid a Mac, I was led to them by every sales person I encountered in all of the stores I went into.

“They’re more money but, they last longer, come with software for basic tasks and…they never get viruses so, you’ll save on antivirus software. ”

I fell.  I fell hard for the Macs and purchased one after reasoning out that even were I to buy the software for a Windows’ version computer, by the time I required a new computer in 2 to 3 years (if I was that lucky), I would also need to upgrade the software so, the Macs made sense in my already muddled mind.

What ensued was a total nightmare as my brand new Mac began stopping programs, crashing and screwing up just after the 14 day refund/exchange policy with the store ran out.  Onto Apple’s Tech Support.  There had to be some simple explanation and fix.  After all, Macs are made out to be infallible by everyone who’s ever had one and every sales person in every computer store or electronic department.

Not so quick.  Apple is NOT what it makes itself out to be.  There’s an entire saga that goes with this story, best left to a separate piece but, suffice it to say that if you’re going to spend the money on a Mac, Apple or “i” anything….know that they are not the pure and honourable company they make themselves out to be or have sales persons try to convince you that they are.

Forewarned is forearmed…or…at least, that’s the way I see things from my little corner of life…wait for an explanation in my next entry.

Never Doubt That You Do Make A Difference In Other People’s Lives

A friend of mine passed away on Monday of this week.  He wasn’t really a peer but, rather 94 years old, my first chiropractor and a neighbour on my street.  Yet, despite the nearly 40 years in age differences, he and I had become friends and I mourned his passing though he had long since moved into assisted living with his partner of about 15 years or so.

I hadn’t seen him much since he had moved away as his life with his new companion had taken up most of his time and, my life had also changed quite a bit with a father-in-law, younger than him, who required almost full time care until more recently when, he too, passed away and his estate required settling.  There was much going on for both of us to keep up with.

This man had become a pseudo father and even a grandfather figure to me in spite of him having 9 children of his own.  He had called me his “10th child” as a place of honour in his heart and though I had that title, I also held the much heralded title of “friend” to him as well.

When his first wife passed away as he turned 80 years old, he was still doing chiropractic sessions for close relatives and friends, such as myself.  He no longer charged for his services.  Payment came in the form of your company with him and a tea while he talked about his days in the war, his family that he missed, his departed wife, his children and grandchildren.  It was fascinating for me to hear his stories, though often repeated, not out of forgetfulness but more out of intrigue for detail that he’d left out and later added to the retold versions.  Nothing was ever boring to listen to with him…at least, not for me.

There were days when I was busy with my own life, working from home with a self-created business, taking care of a household and being a mom.  Yet, the moment he picked up the phone, calling me to come “sit with him” as he “needed to talk”, I’d unhesitatingly leave what I was doing and go to sit with him.  In my mind, there should be no such thing as “too busy” when someone is lonely and in emotional pain.  Nothing is that important, unless of course, one has someone else more in need.

There came times when he became so depressed that despite his many children and grandchildren, he felt alone.  Perhaps, there’s something less inhibiting about talking to “a friend” than family members but, he shared his thoughts with me as well as his heartaches more freely than he seemed to do with others and, I felt honoured to be that sounding board for him.

I came to love this man as though he were my father or grandfather and felt that though I didn’t truly know his children in actuality, I knew them through him and his accounts of his life.  While I didn’t have 9 other brothers and sisters, I felt as much one of his children as I could possibly feel given that I wasn’t born into the family.  He made me feel that way.

I tried my best to keep his spirits up by simply being there, listening and talking.  In return, I felt that I had also been given the gift of his friendship.  As much as I gave, I received from him in return in a different way.  I learned that giving of yourself and your time is not a waste of time.

“I’m sure you have better things to do than listen to an old man’s stories,” he’d say with assurance that he recognized that most younger people didn’t have time for stories from an older person of days gone by “but, damn it, I am lonely and I need a friend.”

He confided in me and I tried my best to respond in the best way that I could and, he’d often tell me that it was me who “saved his life” by being there as his friend.

At 81 years of age, he met his companion and sold the house that he’d built for his family to one of his children and moved into her condo to be with her, a woman a year older than him.  Still, he’d drive over to my home at least once a week, plunking himself down on my couch, talking away whenever he needed my ear and “his friend” as he’d say.

At 92 years of age, he and his companion decided to move into an assisted living facility where their meals and other chores were taken care of.  He didn’t like it much but, felt that with his declining abilities to care for these types of things for both of them, it was the best choice.

We lost contact for several months as he’d forgotten to give me his new phone number but, I got a call from him, angry at me for “not phoning him,” as that’s “not what friends do to each other.”  I had to remind him that he hadn’t given me his new number.  He calmed down and laughed.

Just before Christmas of 2014, he had turned 94 years old and I called him to wish him both a happy birthday and a merry christmas.  His building had been locked down with a flu outbreak as a lot of elder care facilities have happen each year.  For 3 weeks, he was miserably ill and totally unhappy that he couldn’t do as he pleased.  I promised to visit him in the new year.

I never got that chance to see him one last time.  I got sick myself and knew I wouldn’t be allowed in as it wasn’t good for anyone in the building.  I was waiting to get well again to go see him when an accidental meeting of a mutual friend to one of his daughters, alerted me to the news that he had passed away a few days before-hand this past week.  It was purely by accident that I bumped into this mutual friend and I felt my knees buckle beneath me as I heard the sad news.  I blamed myself for not having called him during the nearly 3 weeks that I had been sick.  Yet, I came out, knowing that the bump-in that I’d just had with that mutual family friend, hadn’t been just a coincidence.  We never had seen one another prior to this and, I rarely entered the store that we were in nor, did she.  Something bigger than coincidence was at play and, I knew somehow that he was orchestrating it all no matter how corny that all may have sounded to anyone listening to me say it.

I attended his funeral yesterday and though most people were dry eyed as he was, after all, 94 years old and couldn’t live forever, I wasn’t one of them.  Even his children took it better than I did and I met every last one of them, finally.

The entire time that I was there, I kept feeling guilty for not having been able to see him or called him more than I had called him in his remaining time on this planet.  I wondered if I had been a “bad friend” or, whether I had made more out of our friendship than it really was.  It was hard for me to be there and I stood by his casket, trying not to cry, apologizing to him quietly on my own and patting his arm, placing a kiss on his cold cheek one last time, tears wanting to tumble down my cheeks in spite of the many who had not shed a tear and went on chattering about other things around me.  I was thankful to go unnoticed at that time or, at least, I thought I was unseen.

As I was about to leave, feeling that I had done what I came to do, one of his children grabbed me by the arm, then another and another.

“You were Dad’s one true friend,” one said to me, giving me a hug that broke me down into tears.  “Dad told us all that you were his real and only friend.”

Another, spun me around to face her at this point.

“Dad told me about how you saved his life and made him love himself and want to go on again,” she said, taking my hand in hers.  “He told us all about how you were the one who got him through the hardest time in his life, were there for him during it all and how much he loved you.”

“I can’t thank you enough for what you did for our dad,” said another, rubbing my shoulder  as they surrounded me.  “He treasured your friendship and all that we heard was how much of a friend…his ONLY friend…you were to him.”

I was so deeply touched by their words that I couldn’t hold back the tears.  It was them, consoling me that had me so touched when it should have been the other way around.

“We are so grateful that you were in our dad’s life,” said another.  “We can’t thank you enough.  It’s like he became a new man because of you and went on to live until now.”

Another apologized for not having thought to have let me know that he had passed away.

“How could I have forgotten you when you were such a big part of Dad’s life?” she said, shaking her head at herself.  “I’m glad that you found out through my friend.  And by the way, that was not accidental or a coincidence that you bumped into her that day.  I’m sure Dad made sure that you knew because I’m a bone-head.”

“I lost my own father in 1999,” I said, dabbing my cheeks with tissues I got handed by one of the daughters.  “I want to thank all of you for sharing your dad with me.”

I left the funeral in tears.  They weren’t tears of grief as I knew that he had to leave at some point and had been ailing for a number of years.  They were tears because I really never knew how much I had meant to this man all of those years.  HIs children let me know that it was more than I could have imagined.  I had mattered.  I had made a difference in his life, just as he had made a difference in mine.  His words in telling me that much, weren’t platitudes.  He had sincerely meant them and his children, though not having to do it, validated that for me and likely, moreso for him as he could no longer speak for himself.

We may not feel as though we make a difference in people’s lives.  It may even be unspoken but, we do play a part in other’s lives no matter how small or how big.  Never doubt that about the time and care that you give to other people.

Be yourself and care about other people.  Give your time to those in need, no matter how small it may seem to you, it may mean the world to someone else.  Don’t ever think that just by talking to someone, you aren’t making a difference.  Simply being there can make a world of difference for them and you.

Today, while I’m missing my friend and still tearing up over the simplicity and beauty of caring for others..that’s how I’m seeing things from my little corner of life.