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text 2017-12-24 14:55
My Turning Point(s)


Tasks for Penance Day: Tell us – what has recently made you stop in your tracks and think?  What was a big turning point in your life? 


I had two major turning points in my life recently.  The first was the most significant for this. It was when I got fired from my job as a loan processor at a local bank.  The reason for the firing is a long story and I´m not going into that here but I was so shocked and hurt and thought my life was over.  Then I spent a lot of time thinking and remembered a personality test I took for a college class.  It said I would be good in a medical field.  I went to the hospital and talked to someone in HR.  I told them I wanted to work there but before I decided on what classes to take I wanted to volunteer in different areas to see where I wanted to work and what specific job I wanted to do.  They set me up to volunteer in different areas on different days and also gave me some recommendations based on what types of techs or nurses they hire and which they don´t hire or where those positions would be available for jobs ie nursing home vs main hospital area.  I decided to get a CNA certification to start and take the 1 month class where the whole semester long class is crammed into one month with full 8 hour classes 5 days a week and some Saturdays.  It was a lot of work but I did it.  The HR person I talked to was kept in the loop as to how I was doing and put in a good word for me to different departments.  My references ended up being other hospital staff or volunteers I had worked with when I volunteered.  The HR person was able to set me up with 2 job interviews before I even had my certificate in hand which is usually not allowed.  I was hired 10 days after my class ended.  I LOVED that job and it was so much better for me than the other job I was fired from.  If I hadn´t been fired I would have never had that wonderful experience working at the hospital.  


My 2nd turning point was when I started having pain.  I ended up only working as a CNA for 3 years and then had to quit.  Now I am on disability but I will never forget that 3 years I worked at the hospital.  Now when I look back I realized my time working at that bank was wasted time.  It was like I was just spinning my wheels and not really learning anything to advance myself.  I tried so hard and I finally got a promotion but I realized I was doomed to fail and they were just waiting for the right time to move me out.  I started out as a receptionist in that same department and was really good at that job but I didn´t want to do that forever.  Whenever I tried for other jobs in the bank I never got them and then one time they flat out told me I was just too good at my job and it was a hard job to find someone for so they didn´t want me to go somewhere else.  I am so stubborn though that I just kept trying.  I took classes, went to seminars etc. I would ask them, ¨what do I need to do to get this job?¨ I applied for the loan processor job 7 times and got turned down every time but the last time the person who got the job was arrested for felony shoplifting and after that the just gave me the job.  I was so happy until I realized I was only getting a small pay raise and wasn´t even making half of what the other processors were making.  I still dug in my heels and thought I would show them I could do the job and I tried so hard.  They were taking advantage of me though and I was never going to be able to please them and stay sane.  It took me a while to realize that after I got fired but when I did I wrote this poem and posted it in the local newspaper in the poetry section.  I think they changed a word at the end though but the message was still there.  I don´t even care if no one from that place saw it, writing it helped me. 


Thank you,
For not believing in me,
For not giving me the chance
To show what I can be.

Thank you,
For giving me false hope
And for giving me a vision
With such a narrow scope.

Thank you, 
For always letting me down.
Time after time you gave
Counsel to a clown.

Thank you,
For now I know,
There is so much more to life
Beyond this damn plateau.

Thank you,
For now I think I'll do
All the things I would have missed
If I didn't bid to you...




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review 2016-05-21 12:11
The Still Point Of The Turning World by Emily Rapp
The Still Point of the Turning World - Emily Rapp

What does it mean to be a success? To be a good parent? To live a meaningful life? Emily Rapp thought she knew the answers when she was pregnant with her first child. But everything changed when nine-month-old Ronan was diagnosed with Tay-Sachs disease, a rare and always-fatal degenerative disorder.  He was not expected to live beyond the age of three. Rapp and her husband were forced to re-evaluate everything they thought they knew about parenting and to learn to parent without a future.

Even before the book’s publication, Rapp set the Internet ablaze with her New York Times op-ed piece about parenting a terminally ill child. An immediate bestseller, The Still Point of the Turning World is Rapp’s memorial to her lost son and an inspiring and exquisitely moving reminder to love and live in the moment.






At 9 months old, author Emily Rapp's first son, Ronan, was diagnosed with terminal Tay-Sachs disease, a rare, always fatal condition that has no known cure or treatment and has a typical life expectancy of three years or less. On top of not expecting to live past the age of 3, Rapp was also informed that her son would likely not mentally develop beyond 6 months old. In this memoir, Rapp shares how her grief process unfolded, how she came to terms with the news that she would outlive her son and there was nothing she was able to do about it. 


No one is immune to disease or sickness or any other catastrophic event, and we are all just a disease, a decade, an accident away from disability. So we're afraid. Confronted suddenly with an experience interpreted as tragic and world-ending, people feel helpless and stumble over their words. The death of a baby seems to go against nature, against the advertisements on television about the miracle of birth and the unadulterated joys of parenting, against or hopeful delusion that being good people might keep chaos at bay. But chaos finds everyone, or as the philosopher Ziusudra mourned in 2700 BCE: "Fate is a wet bank, my friends. Sooner or later it will make you slip."


Rapp describes her daily thought processes as she considered how to give her son the best quality of life with the brief time he had on this earth -- the painful acceptance of life milestones she would never be able to witness him reaching, having to navigate through end-of-life choices for him, the brutal meetings with doctors who were unable to give her much hope for a better outcome. She's honest about the highs and lows of her grief process, the times she felt at peace with things, other times she found herself trying to make spiritual bargains for her son's life, attempts at alternative medicine healing such as acupuncture & Reiki treatments or taking him to the village of Chimayo in Santa Fe, New Mexico to try the "healing mud".


When I sat writing with Ronan on the couch, there existed inside this helpless, frantic sadness exquisite moments of pristine happiness and an almost-perfect peace. I propped him against my chest and circled my arms around him to get to the keyboard on my laptop. I stared at him and tickled him and kissed him and wished that my words, anything, could save him. But no, writing would not save Ronan. But, I thought, it might save me


Being a writer and literature professor, she also describes wanting to find escape and healing in books, but feeling guilty for wanting to read when her son was dying and would not live enough to find a love of books himself. Still, she tried, and does mention books she did find helpful. Not of the self-help variety, as you might think, but instead finding solace in various classics and ancient myths collections. The ancient myths she said she especially found perfect when she couldn't get her mind on anything else, because they didn't illustrate real-life situations like most modern literature, but were written hundreds of years ago by others wanting to develop answers to difficult life questions. Rapp also talks about re-reading Frankenstein by Mary Shelley and finding a renewed connection with the monster, between his disfigurement and her own struggles as a child amputee after a congenital birth defect required the amputation of her left foot. 


Having answered the question, "What's wrong with you?" for much of my life, I could scarcely imagine such acceptance, but I wished it for my son, and although I could not heal him, I could insist that he be accepted for who and how he was. Ronan lived in the world held by people who loved him and fed him and talked with him and met him on his own terms. When he died, he will have been fully loved from his first breath to his last and then after. That full uncompromising love, powerful and sometimes painful, was perhaps the only miracle worth believing in. 


Even not being a parent myself, I did find Rapp's writing engaging and honest. As you might expect, this one is a pretty heavy read. How can it not be, right? There was part of me that kept hoping for Rapp to put more focus on the little bit of good she was able to take from the tragedy. She does mention these moments but much of this memoir does put emphasis on her pain and anger at the unfairness of life. There was also a bit I found a little offensive where she mentions teaching a Gifted and Talented course but adds "I don't believe in that terminology because it almost always meant rich kids. Nothing more." Having been in a G & T program during my own school years, this definitely wasn't my experience. In fact, in our program, I only remember maybe 2-3 kids out of 20 or so who could claim to come from privileged families. Shame for her her experience with gifted kids wasn't better. But that was the one thing that did grate on me a bit throughout the whole book -- no doubt Rapp can write, but man, her bitterness (while understandable under the circumstances) made for a draining reading experience. 


above: the inspiration for Rapp's title



Note To Readers: In this book, Rapp does drop a spoiler for the short story "A Perfect Day For Bananafish" by J.D. Salinger. Just a heads up ;-)

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review SPOILER ALERT! 2015-07-21 00:00
Turning Point
Turning Point - Lara Zielinsky Man, this one is all over the map, feels like 400 pages. This one has it all, the MC's are actresses in some sci-fi original, there's a psychotic ex-husband, a boring as hell present-day husband (who should have sued the author about his dialogue), little kids, older kids, family drama, some unfriendly christian family who are also psychos, names and then character names which left me puzzled and going back to find out who the hell someone was in the story and there's me, taking it all in. The book could've been chopped up some, like axe the boring politician, psychotic family and ex-husband, the dialogue from the tv show and just focused on kids. There was an age range there where a lot of emotion could have been explored.

What red-neck baptist couple in St Louis names their daughter "Cassidy"? And Mount Clemens Michigan? There is no draw to go there. Don't get ideas and think it a possible vacation site. Has the author been there? Why would ANYONE, even somebody with confidence issues, EVER give up acting in LA and move to Mt Clemens?

I gave this three stars as I had so much invested in the book and the characters, memorizing actor names and character names and somehow, it kept my attention.
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review 2014-08-27 00:00
Turning Point
Turning Point - Tiffany Snow Repito: Es bastante sosa la trama (muuuuchas cosas ridículas... muchas ... ademas de varias ofensivas) pero ---eh, que se yo, tiene algo , capaz sea la trama; capaz el a veces tedioso a veces entretenido triángulo amoroso; o quizá el hecho de que Kat sea una de esas mal llamadas "girlie-girls" que suelen caerme bastante bien; es diferente como protagonista : no es dura ni agresiva, ni se las sabe todas ... es fanática de Britney Spears! (algo que, lo crean o no , le suma bastante puntos ----en mi opinión, claro está... yo fui fan de Britney cuando tenía once años ) y , además , me hace acordar a esas cuasi manic-pixie-dream-girls que no son ofensivas porque , a fin de cuentas, la historia que se cuenta es desde su punto de vista , así que... la mente y la personalidad no son en base a la mirada masculina.

En fin, tiene muchisimos errores y alguna que otra cosa machista (sobre todo en los primeros dos libros) PEEEEERO mejora de a poco. Ayer me tuvo hasta las dos de la madrugada hasta que logré terminar esta tercera entrega.
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review 2014-01-26 23:04
Turning Point by Tiffany Snow
Turning Point - Tiffany Snow

I am still reeling from this book. I like to write my reviews when I am still fresh in the book. 

The title is very apt for this one. 


First off there is a lot of stuff happening in this one. I think this is my favorite installment yet of the series. Its just non stop stuff happening. Some nasty dark stuff too and lots of bullets. And Kathleen gets whipped around more than some french mousse in this one. Ouch.


As much as I can get annoyed at times with her to sticking her nose, or face into things, knowing she is going to get hurt, I respect her as she always does it with this noble need to want the best for everyone. She isn't wired to just walk away, even if it gets her into some really bad situations. Honorable I would call her. All involved though have one thing in common, stubbornness. The constant need to want to protect the other makes all of them not be open about everything, which of course we all know leads to disaster.


It also opens up the way to distrust.


This installment is also where cases and personal lives are intertwining and going on a collision course. I could see it coming, but couldn't look away like a bad crash. Or couldn't stop turning the pages in this case. 


I am still a bit stunned to be honest and instead of going to a different romance sub-genre, as I usually do, I am going to buy and read the 4th in this series right away. I am just not ready to go yet. I can't let go. 


Whats also crazy is that the book is 444 pages. I flew through this so fast it didn't seem enough. I wanted more, that is how much I love this series. 

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