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Around the time of my uneventful 31st birthday, and months later than I should have, I searched online for testicular cancer symptoms and found I was oh, five-for-six. Increase in size. Check. A feeling of heaviness. Check. No pain early on. Yup. On it went. I had a growth, shall we say, and could no longer ignore it. As I clicked around, my mind recalled some notable testicular cancer cases: Baseball player John Kruk, diminutive figure skater Scott Hamilton, jug-eared comedian/actor Richard Belzer, and of course cyclist Lance Armstrong.

I had yet to even call a doctor, but it seemed that this very well could be testicular cancer. Sure wouldn’t be from overuse if you know what I’m saying. As unpleasant a possibility as …

December 25, 2010

A little more than a year ago as I was preparing to undergo Deep Brain Stimulation surgery for Parkinson’s disease, my daughters Megan, 13, and Molly, 16, planned and hosted a party for me. They called it “Mumsy’s, If I Only Had a Brain Party”. They invited family, and friends, old and new. More than sixty people showed up that cold December night during an unexpected snow storm.

It wasn’t so long ago that I believed I couldn’t have scared up more than a handful of friends and never did I dream there would be so many who would honor me in the beautiful way I am about to describe.

At the party, the girls …

December 28, 2010

It has been said that grandmothers are special people, and mine was no exception. I am a granddaughter of Dorothy Tibbott Keener, who was well known in Ebensburg, PA for her spinning and weaving, as well as for her love of history and antiques. Whether it was the Cambria County Fair, a classroom, or one of Ebensburg’s many community celebrations, Dorothy Keener could be found demonstrating her craft. Surrounded by a display of everything from her homemade lye soap, and handspun wool yarn, to the rag rugs, woven on her four-harness loom, my grandmother kindled a flame of interest in the old-timey crafts for passersby, and for those of us who loved her. My grandmother’s unabashed …

The start of my journey

One of the most important times in my life was when I got married in 1997. I had waited so long! It was like a dream come true. It was therefore very disappointing when five years later and with two children it ended in divorce.

For a year or two I suffered in silence the emotional and then physical abuse, I prayed and hoped that things will change; instead they got worse. I lost my self esteem and confidence. I would not look in a full length mirror as I felt useless, ugly and worthless based on the nasty things that I had allowed one individual to pollute my mind with.

I had a dream
One …

Dr. Albert Prescott Barrow was born into a New England textile manufacturing family with significant new wealth and wise old intelligence. He was so well-to-do and exclusively schooled that he lived well into his middle sixties before he realized, for the first time, that lobster comes in a shell.

I was there the day he found out. He sat at the table on my front porch when an un-husked two pound lobster was set before him on a white plate with a small bowl of golden clarified butter. He peered at the red, steaming carapace with big pincher claws and his perfectly combed and barbered moustache twitched under his long nose. His money-green eyes, almost always a step or two ahead of the …

Dr. Albert Prescott Barrow was born into a New England textile manufacturing family with significant new wealth and wise old intelligence. He was so well-to-do and exclusively schooled that he lived well into his middle sixties before he realized, for the first time, that lobster comes in a shell.

I was there the day he found out. He sat at the table on my front porch when an un-husked two pound lobster was set before him on a white plate with a small bowl of golden clarified butter. He peered at the red, steaming carapace with big pincher claws and his perfectly combed and barbered moustache twitched under his long nose. His money-green eyes, almost always a step or two ahead of the …

I never thought that my younger brother Fred, who sports permanently crooked eyeglasses, speaks with difficult to understand sounds and requires assistance with daily living, would be involved with a significant other: a partner, someone to relieve his not quietly fitting into this world.
In 1957, Mom and Dad authorized New York State to look after Fred at the age of four. He is now 57. He lived in his first institution, the Willowbrook State School for the Mentally Retarded, for sixteen years before it was shut down for ignoring children who were slamming their heads into walls or sitting in their own feces. After a journey through smaller New York City institutions, Fred arrived at a group home. Fred and I became …

Fibromyalgia causes brain fog. Constantly bewildered.

The Transmittal
Three people stood in the dim light of a rickety elevator on 34th street. A petite girl leaned on the wall to one side shuffling her scuffed ballet flats and clutching a large manila envelope to her chest. The envelope was tattered and taped, an address scrawled onto the front in a child-like hand. A crisp sheet of lined paper clung to the underside of the envelope bearing two names and a ten digit alpha numeric code associated with each of them.
The others included an elderly man, white haired and wild looking, hunching over an ancient cane and a tall, thin brunette bearing signs of a deep running sadness. The brunette had her arms folded across herself, she had never liked …

Sometimes (well, most times), I lack the words to adequately say what I want to say. Though I am studying to be a journalist, I have difficulty talking to people and expressing thoughts accurately (perhaps not the best profession, but another thought for another day).
These past few months have been really difficult for me. I've come face-to-face with issues that I never thought I'd have to see: the real possibility of people I love killing themselves. In less than three months, I've had three people really close to me either try to kill themselves or seriously consider killing themselves (thankfully, everyone is in counseling and is getting much needed help). It's an issue I've viewed through my work as …

The dark green Nissan Pathfinder slows as I walk down Indiana Avenue. The man at the wheel revs the engine as though he’s challenging me to a drag race.

Inside the SUV are three other young men. Out of the corner of my eye, I see them high-fiving. My stomach churns. All I can think about is that home is so close. “Faggot!”

“You think you’re so cool, don’t you, faggot!”

“Nigger, give my sister her pants back!”

I’ve just wrapped up my Tuesday morning classes and am headed back to my house to make lunch. The Pathfinder creeps beside me, spewing insults.

I feel like I’m about to burst into flames.

Ignore them, I tell myself.
Read more »

Things were a lot different back when I was a kid.

Back when cameras required flash cubes, before everything was recorded on video.

Somehow the snow seemed lighter—fluffier.

The anticipation seemed greater.

Commercialism was still there, but they were just starting to figure it out. They hadn’t quite reduced it to the methodical onslaught we’re now presented with from the day before Halloween until two weeks after the new year—before cable TV’s constant repetition of programming began turning us against the classic movies we’ve loved our entire life.

There were simpler, warmer times, when the only thing I saw was the wonder of it all. When I believed in Santa Claus and held tight the warm embraces of the season.Read more »
It's 24 degrees out, and it has been snowing nonstop since early yesterday, December 5th. Let's not start here.
It might have been a Monday, but it could have been a Thursday or Saturday. It was most likely a Friday. I was spending one of the last few days with my Father. He was a troublemaker, and he did a lot of drugs. I don't think that he knew the difference between right and wrong. I didn't either, I was only four years old.
I have flashbacks- vivid ones- about the memories of that side of the family. I remember my Father smashing the beer bottle. The things I shouldn't have seen, the things he never should have said. I refuse to become …

The leaves on our red Japanese Maple tree rustled as my cousin swung from branch-to-branch. He was dangerously close to smashing against the concrete wall beside him. Kyle’s feet groped for the next branch, raising himself to a higher elevation. His pupils darted from place-to-place, carefully planning his next move. Never in my life had I seen a six-year-old so determined and serious. But his task wasn’t far from it. My neck craned, my eyes watching him grab the rusting aluminum gutter. I didn’t realize how anxious I was going to be when I actually dared my poor cousin to climb the garage roof. But that seemed so long ago, nearly lost in my mind. I followed Kyle with my eyes as he leaped from …

I was four years old and playing in my Flintstone car at my Grandma Sue's house when I heard a knock at the door; a man came in and Grandma introduced him as my father. I was happy and he picked me up and played with me but he left sooner than I wanted... I watched him leave, my dad rode a motor cycle... he was so cool. I never saw or heard from him again but it was on the top of my "things to do list." I even went as far as to be bad so that mom would send me away to live with him... it was a constant verbal "threat." When I was 14 my mother came in and told …

It's a long narrow road right now.

Even Though It's better then,having two, three, or more roads to choose from, It's still hard to follow.

My life right is okay. It's so much better then a year ago. And I love it. But I never thought I would be so hard to be a follower in Christ.

There are so many more choices and "rules".
I never thought that this! Would be the hardest thing I have been through. At least I have people by my side. to help me.

But sometimes they all just feel so far away...

Cajun French born and bred, this story is about my uncle, T-Fred. I don't even know how he met, Noonie, my mother's sister. But I always felt the blood running through my veins was the same as his. He loved me from my beginning and my first recollection was I adored him.

He wasn't stikingly handsome. He was cute--eyes that twinkled with mischief. His hair was thick--thick to the day he died. It grew straight up into a crew cut. I drew great pleasure in never making it lie down.

We played a game he named "Meech a Color." One would choose a colored object, the other would guess it. One day …

Cajun French born and bred, this story is about my uncle, T-Fred. I don't even know how he met, Noonie, my mother's sister. But I always felt the blood running through my veins was the same as his. He loved me from my beginning and my first recollection was I adored him.

He wasn't stikingly handsome. He was cute--eyes that twinkled with mischief. His hair was thick--thick to the day he died. It grew straight up into a crew cut. I drew great pleasure in never making it lie down.

We played a game he named "Meech a Color." One would choose a colored object, the other would guess it. One day …

I look in the mirror every morning and think what would it have been like if I made one different choice? Where would I be? Now with four children from all different fathers and feeling the pain from my past, as it brushes my side in attempt to take me apart. The days still go on. I do know that everyday a part of me accepts all that is done, but the other part still cries. I can picture myself hiding in a corner trying to wash the pain and hurt away with my tears. Only to realize its still there. I comfort my children every night to show them they will not feel pain the way I did when I …

I'm sorry that there's no interesting intro to this story. There's no background information as to who the people are or what the situations that lead up to this were. This will probably be the most poorly written story you will read on here. But, honestly, I just think that you won't care either way if you bother to read this at all.
This past week has been an amazing one for me. I've hung out with my friends at school, experienced the great thrill of being chased by "zombies", and just enjoyed being alive this week. Unfortunately, I found out yesterday that this has been one of the worst weeks for two of the people I hold closest to my …
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