It’s a beautiful day.  I’m up, ready to walk my dogs.  My back hurts, my knees are stiff.  Both of these things piss me off. I remind myself that I may be in pain but I am alive.  The alternative is rather bleak.

I head out the door toward the Hudson river when I notice something that makes me stop.  The riverfront is crawling with police.   Whats up? I ask a fellow passerby. “A young woman was found floating in the river” he replied.  This makes me mad.  Not at him mind you, mad in general.

How unfair.  Her life cut short by God knows what.  Suicide?  Murder?  Either way it makes me mad on many levels.  If she was murdered I hope whoever caused her demise is caught.  If she took her own life; I wonder what could cause her to do it.  So lonely, so final, so degrading.  I pray for her soul which takes some of the anger away, some, not all.

I question why this strikes such a nerve.  Then the memory floodgate opens.  It’s because of  Charles.

Charles was my best friend.  He was the funniest, most intelligent, talented man I have ever known.  He was also the unhappiest person I had known.  He was gay and it was a struggle for him. It went against his Southern Baptist upbringing.  He was also an alcoholic who took his own life.

Charles ate a shotgun on his birthday three years ago.  I’m angry at that.  I’m mad he didn’t let me in on how bad it really was.  I’m perturbed he bought the shotgun after leaving my house on my birthday.  We found the receipt for the rifle while looking for a non-existent note.  I’m mad that the sporting goods store allowed him to buy a rifle with no waiting period.  None of it is right.

I knew Charles was depressed.  He had told me he thought about suicide.  I got angry.  “How dare you put that on me.  I don’t want you telling me that” I said.  It really made me mad.  How selfish of me.  I thought he was just overreacting because he was behind on his mortgage.   But really suicidal?   I chose not to acknowledge that could be so.

I am disappointed in myself, that I was not a better friend, did not invite him over more, answer the phone; even if he was drunk. That I didn’t realize he could really “do” it.  I beat myself up over that to this day.  He loved me like a sister and I could not save him.

I did tell our friends.  I did go by his house to check on him when he did not answer the phone.  Was it enough? Could I have done more?  Could I have saved him if I had been more in-tune?

Suicide really does piss me off.  It it has been an unwanted companion to me throughout my adulthood.  Charles is the fourth close friend who has chosen this way out.  All men.  The Brotherhood of the easy way out.

They went out the way they wanted Charles, Brad, Butch and Ron.  They were all just sick and tired of life.

I do not understand suicide.  I am grateful for every day of life I have.   I can’t imagine a despair so bad that I could pull the trigger or hang myself. It is beyond my comprehension.  Death scares me.  Does this mean they were braver than me?  They sought death, faced it and in the end embraced it.

I realize I may never understand why these friends of mine chose this way out.  I am just  a woman who tried to be the best friend I could.  I am imperfect,  selfish in ways and sensitive to a fault.  I am a woman who will never forget any of these men.  A woman whose day can be flooded with sad memories when an unknown persons life comes to an end in my back yard.


Post From Prompt “Our House”

Our house,  apartment really, was on the second floor of the YMCA in Fort Monroe, Virginia.  I was 4.  I remember this particular house from my childhood because it was like living in a playground and haunted house all in one.

My Grandfather was Director of the YMCA.  The Director was given living quarters on the 2nd floor of the Y.  The apartment had 4 bedrooms, 3 bathrooms and a huge storage room just off my bedroom. The building had been built at the turn of the Century and was big, very big.  An olympic pool in the basement, full size basketball court on the 3rd floor, a snack bar, a music room, a library and a large dance room for parties.

Being the Directors granddaughter brought many perks. The school bus would pick me up in front of the Y, for some reason an MP always escorted me to and from the bus.  Lunch was at at the snack bar.  When I got home from school I had many play areas to choose from.  A swim in the pool, a go at basketball or a ride on my bike through the moats that surrounded Fort Monroe.  I loved to read and many afternoons were spent with my nose in a book, any book.  Once I learned to read I was insatiable.  Reading was an escape for me.  From what you ask, sounds like an idyllic, fun place to spend a childhood.  It was for the most part until my mother came for a visit.

My mother was an enigma I didn’t understand.  She was a little off.  My mother was a free spirit, a gypsy who gave birth to 3 children all with different fathers.  We know who your father is, she used to quip, we’re not sure about your mother.  I never understood.

After we were born my grandparents took over the job of raising us.  My brother was 9 years my senior and was away at Military School when I lived at Fort Monroe, I have a younger sister who was born when I was 5.  I might as well have been an only child.  We were never raised together.

My mother came to visit holidays, and my birthday.  It was an exciting and frightening time for me.  When mother came her friend Lance would always show up.  He never leaves, she would say, Lance lives in the storage room off your bedroom.  You see Lance was a ghost.

Mother would go into that room and have conversations with Lance.  She would invite me in to talk with him on occasion and on every occasion I declined.  Lance was real to her and very real to me.  At bedtime I could not have any body part protruding from under covers, Lance might touch me.  I would sleep in one spot on the bed not moving all night, I would wake up in the same position I had started in the night prior, this way I would not feel Lance if he happened to leave his room and try my bed out for size.  Was this cruel on my mothers part? Maybe.  I knew, at a young age, that my mother was different.  My grandmother said “don’t let your mother scare you, she has a sickness in her head”.

So even though our house was the most fun and my friends loved to come visit, my childhood memories of this home are a mixture; love from my grandparents, fear of my mother and her friend Lance.  That, coupled with the knowledge that not all my friends had a ghost who lived off their bedroom, made it rather lonely.  You see Lance was a secret I could not share.

Procedure Day or why they say changing our mind is a woman’s prerogative

Its procedure day. I arrived at Strimling Dermatology, Laser & Vein Institute here in Las Vegas at 10:00 am with a few more questions for Dawnelle my Licensed Aesthetician & Laser Specialist.  My pre-procedure research had produced a slight hiccup in my initial plan of the Ultherapy procedure.

I am in the process of a 30lb weight loss program and Ultherapy works best when you are within 10lbs of your goal. Uh oh.  After discussing this with Dawnelle we decided to reverse my initial plan of attack in my fight against the ravages of time on my much loved (by me) face.

Instead of Ultherapy then Fractional Resurfacing we reversed the course of action.  Fractional resurfacing it was.

Fractional Resurfacing (Fraxel) is a quick, not so comfortable, laser procedure with about a week of down time.  This procedure is used for improving the overall appearance of your skin.  Fraxel uses a tiny laser beam to treat thousands of pinpoint areas of your skin.  The skin’s wound healing response creates new collagen which adds firmness and resilience to the skin.  Done in conjunction with Phototherapy, which addresses brown spots and spider veins, your skin looks like new.image

After taking the Valium that Dawnelle provided we got down to business.  Step one, a numbing cream to lessen the burning sensation. Next I was provided with safety shields for my eyes.  Dawnelle then took the laser hand piece and positioned it on my skin.  When the laser energy was applied, I heard a rapid succession of snapping sounds as she moved the laser around the treatment area.

Dawnelle is proficient at what she does and a perfectionist at heart.  She wants to get the full effect while making sure  you are comfortable.  We found I tolerated faster movement with the Laser set between 75 and 100, 150 is the maximum setting.  As I stated previously, this is not the most comfortable of procedures especially since you are awake.  It felt, to me, like a sewing machine was sewing my face with a hot needle.  Tolerable but not pleasant.  Immediately after the 45 minutes it took to finish I felt a burning sensation.  A fan was offered but I did not find it necessary.

Over the next few days my skin will look like I have been burned in the sun. I was given  Aquaphor healing ointment for this stage.  Some swelling is also to be expected.  My skin will start to peel in approximately 3-4 days at which time I switch to a healing restorative cream.

I will notice a general tightening effect during the healing process and will have full results in 4 to 6 months following treatment.

Fraxel is used once a year to ward off the signs of aging.  This treatment will most like likely diminish or completely negate the need for Retin-A. In conjunction with my upcoming Botox, and Filler treatment in 2 weeks, followed by my  Ultherapy procedure in a few months I think I have found the secret that those in the know, who look decades younger, use.

The discomfort was bearable.  As I had a chemical peel years ago, which was much more painful, I know the results I can expect.  For someone like me who does not want to look her age and does not want to go under the knife, I think I have found my own personal “Fountain of Youth”.

I will publish  photos of my transformation over the next few days so we can go thru this together. I will be your personal guinea pig as you decide if laser therapy is for you.

Postscript: this is in no way, shape or form a paid advertisement for any of these procedures. This is one woman, who is more than semi-madly obsessed with the aging process’ personal journey.

What to do before your high school reunion, Ultherapy of course!

Today I am announcing to my world that tomorrow I will be having Ulthera laser therapy (Ultherapy) on my neck and face. This is one of those Marlene are you mad? moments.  With a major high school reunion coming up I decided it was time for a little “lift”. I already do maintenance on a regular basis; Botox and fillers. I am a believer that if God wanted me to look my age I would have been born in prehistoric times, before mirrors.

I have been researching this FDA approved, non surgical facelift every since I saw that Courtney Cox and Ellen Barkin admit to using this treatment. Both women look amazing.  We have all seen actors and actresses who say they have had no work done.  They are in their 60’s looking 30. We know something had to have been done. Now I know what, Ulthera Laser therapy.

Ultherapy is a type of non-invasive treatment used to lift and tighten loose skin on areas such as the eyebrows, jawline and jowls, as well as improve wrinkles on the chest.  Ultherapy uses ultrasound energy to heat targeted tissue under the surface of the skin triggering the production of collagen. Ultherapy is not a quick fix, the results take three to six months, but you do notice the improvement as it happens.  They say there is minimal pain.  I will be the judge of that. I have no tolerance for pain so I am going in expecting to have some discomfort. They do numb the face and give you pain medication before treatment. We will see.

This treatment is appealing in more ways than the skin rejuvenating and tightening that I am looking for. The price! Under $2000 for the neck and face areas, as opposed to $15,000 to $35,000 for a surgical facelift that requires 3-6 weeks of down time. With Ultherapy there is no down time; a few days of swelling and minimal bruising. The results can last up to five years.

I am hoping that this treatment will give me the results I am looking for before my reunion.  A refreshed, rested, younger looking version of me, keep your fingers crossed.

I will post before and after treatment photos tomorrow; as well as monthly progress photos. We can judge this treatment together.

If you have experienced Ultherapy please leave a comment. I am interested in results others may have achieved with this treatment.

Wish me luck.


Picking a Theme

I spent pretty much all weekend picking a theme, exporting, importing and emailing for help.  I must be computer illiterate but I found, and am still finding, this whole process daunting to say the least.

Exporting my domains, its now girl and postcards from a semi-mad woman, from where they were (don’t ask) and importing to WordPress was relatively easy.  With the help of Lizthefair I got through this unscathed.  On to mapping my domain (don’t ask) after an hour of staring at the map domain page I had “postcards” in the que.  Whether to hit purchase or wait, well I still have my finger on the trigger.  Poor Lizthefair.

I thought to myself move on, leave this mapping thing for a while, pick a theme.  I picked “Blogy”.  I purchased this theme as I thought it looked to be an easy beginner blog site.  It may be.  I have yet to figure out why when I look at it I see pretty panels and color and a header of bubble looking things.  When I leave and go to my site it is solid coral with just my writing. Blah.

Yes I’m mad.  Mad at myself for being such a dumbass that I can’t set up what is supposed to be an easy blog site.  Mad at myself for spending this much time on it.  Mad that after spending this much time on it I am still only one quarter of the way to where I want to be.  Is this the fun part of blogging?  So far for me it is not.

I hope my fellow BloggingU bloggers had more fun and were more successful at finding their theme.  For me I am waiting for another email from Lizthefair and one from the developers of Blogy.

I’m getting ready to have a cocktail it is finally 5:00pm, watch some football and close this laptop down until tomorrow.

Hugs, Marlene

whats up with the weather?

Anyone have the answer to this?  It is crazy out there.  I remember, as a child, there were four distinct seasons; summer, fall, winter and spring.  Where did they go?  Now we have hot, hotter, hottest, cold, colder, coldest.  Now I don’t really want to get political here but if I must.  Climate change.  This seems to me to be the elephant on the page.  Speaking of elephants, please sign the petition on Change.org regarding the treatment of elephants by the Ringling Brothers Circus.  If you are an animal lover and protector like me your head will spin too.  But wait, what do elephants have to do with weather?  A lot my friend.  Elephants or an incarnation thereof have survived many natural climate changes intact.  Their secret? Adapt and leave no carbon footprint other than your bones. This crazy weather is due in part, I believe, to natural climate change that our planet goes thru every millennia or so. What is going on now is that with a little help from earths most selfish inhabitant, us, it has sped up a bit.  A bit is all it takes to throw the delicate balance of this planet that we are in charge of off.  Naysayers, nay.  How can you look out the window if you live on the east coast this morning where in some locations it is negative some huge number while I can look out the window at sunshine, throw my flip flops on and run out the door knowing that in four months it will be so incredibly hot here that my flip flops will melt to the sidewalk and my dogs will have to wear shoes to protect their paws.  I don’t have the answer to stopping climate change but I do have a few common sense ideas.  Recycle, go green, stop fracking and just plain refall in love with this beautiful blue planet that we live on called Earth.

Just me

its just me wanting to write. I have always loved to write. I started my blog “Postcards of a semi-mad woman” with the intent of writing daily. Instead I got hung up on trying for perfection and totally understanding the workings of WordPress and codes and tags and all the other add ons that make for a great blog. So I didn’t write. Purpose defeated. Ridiculous.  So here I am again.  Hoping that Blog U will give me the understanding to get on with it and just write. Postcards is meant to be a meeting place where questions can be ask about any topic and answers can come from me and others reading the blog who may have a comment.  From political to whimsical I love to comment on anything that strikes my fancy and in Postcards I hopefully will find a home for my ramblings