Category Archives: family

The BRAVE Interview #14 September 2017: Sylvia Wesley

Here is this month’s BRAVE Interview with Sylvia Wesley! Enjoy!

  1. WHO are you? I’m a 61-year-old white woman—wife, mother, nurse, and pseudo-bon vivant!
  2. WHAT is your One Brave Thing? Sometimes I feel like just living every day is a Brave Thing and it is difficult to choose a single event!  As a nurse, it seems like so many of my ‘brave things’ encompass caring for people—my dad and my brother, who both died of cancer; my mom with multiple surgeries; friends with HIV/AIDS.  As a mom I gave birth to twins who were 10 weeks premature and their first 6 months of life was pretty hectic, to put it mildly.  As a wife, still being married after 38 years could be considered brave—but probably the bravest aspect there is that I married a black man in 1979, only 12 years after the Supreme Court ruled interracial marriage was not illegal, and our early years involved some struggles in a very white New England. So, after all that, I decided to choose a joyous adventure as my One Brave Thing—I went to Burning Man!
  3. WHEN did you do it? 8/28-9/1, 2006
  4. WHERE did it occur? Black Rock Desert, NV
  5. HOW did you make it happen? Mostly my daughter made the initial experience happen.  She had been going to Burning Man for a few years and always marveled at how awesome it was and she was sure I would love it.  So for my 50th birthday, I was given a ticket to TTITD (aka ‘that thing in the desert’).  Which meant I would be sharing camping space with 38,000+ other adventuring nomads for a week in rather hostile environmental conditions, and only knowing one other person.  A little scary having to be self-reliant in an unknown situation, camping with my daughter’s friends who only had her assurances that I was ‘fun, non-judgmental, fully capable of taking care of myself, and would not act like everybody’s mother.’  So I packed my bags and flew to LA.  We readied all our camping equipment, some party outfits, food and water for a week, and did a 12 hour ride/drive-share to the event with a heretofore unknown person.  After 12+ hours, in a very small mini-van, we were all fast friends.  Getting to and from is just as much of an adventure as being there!
  6. WHY did you do it? For the adventure!  It was one of the best experiences of my life—the bigger-than-life art, the music, the people, the sense of oneness—all magnificent.  I came away with a whole new sense of self.  And as my daughter predicted, I would want to go every year after that, and did so for the next 7 years.  ‘Life’ has since interrupted my annual trek, and I have not been for the past 3 years, but look forward to resuming visits to my personal Mecca in the near future.

Thank you for sharing your story with us, Sylvia!

If anybody wants to learn more about the culture that is Burning Man, go to https://burningman.org/

Read the other BRAVE interviews here: https://kwrites.com/?s=The+BRAVE+Interview

If you would like to be interviewed for this series about something brave you have done in your life, email me at kmcwrites@gmail.com!

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What goes around

When I graduated from high school, one of the things that I was given was a Lane cedar mini-keepsake box. I know this because, unlike other things I might have been given that day, I still have my Lane cedar mini-keepsake box. One of the reasons that I was so excited to receive it was because my mother had one. It had been on her bureau for as long as I could remember, and she kept who-knew-what in it. I didn’t know, because she kept it locked.

Darn!

Anyway, I keep important keepsakes in mine, like childhood memorabilia (my pet rock!), photos, a scrap of paper with my grandmother’s writing on it. That’s mine on the left. My daughter’s is on the right.

Fast forward to 2017, and my own daughter has graduated from high school. Lane stopped this practice of bestowing the boxes in the 1980’s, I believe, but I thought, wouldn’t it be cool if I got her one? I have seen a few here and there over the years, but they were in abysmal shape. Two days ago, I spotted one at a Flea Market on my way to Boothbay. When they saw my interest, the very nice couple behind the table started to tell me about the history of it. Hey, these were people who loved the story as much as the object! My kind of people!

Alas, the key was missing. In the past, this was a deal breaker for me. This time though, I decided to trust my gut and buy it anyway.

We presented it to my daughter today. My husband told her he would get a key for hers, making it truly a gift from both of her parents that I hope she will tell her own daughter about someday, as she presents her with one of her own.

Spartanized

This podcast by Jodi Flynn (Women Taking the Lead) with Joe DeSena caught my eye because 1. I love Jodi’s Podcasts and 2. My nieces and nephew just completed a Spartan Race (not the first for some of them).

My beautiful niece Megan, rocking her Spartan Race medal!

Much of the conversation really resonated with me! I was shocked, because whenever I hear about the Spartan Races, I move right along. I mean, it’s nice for some people…people who like to get all sweaty and dirty and gross. Not bookish, ‘indoorsy’ type people like me.

😀

I could completely relate to Joe’s talking about the topics of ‘concrete, (something else I can’t remember), and ravioli’ (#itsallabouthefood) in the Italian neighborhood where he grew up. That pulled me in, but when he talked about one of the strategies for success is telling everyone you know what you are going to do (“commit publicly”), that was it! I use that strategy all the time! Like, when I lost weight with Weight Watchers (Hey, everyone! I’m counting points today!) and when I write a novel every year for NaNoWriMo (Hey, everyone! I am writing 50,000 words this month!).

Now here I am, thinking about me and Spartan Races in the same thought.

Which brings to mind another thought that I have used for years to keep myself from having to be athletic: How can I do a Spartan Race? I wear glasses! They might fall off and then what would I do?!

NOTE: I have never pretended to be the ‘outdoor type’. 😀

Who am I? RESULTS!

So, the results are in! No big surprises to be found here. I am happy to know what I am made of, so to speak. I am grateful to my husband for giving me this gift. No Atlantean heritage in this mix. No Lilliputian. Just about a 50/50 split between Southern Europe (Italian) and Northwestern European (Irish/Scottish/Welsh) and a few other things thrown in.

 

Here’s what I didn’t expect: today I got an email informing me of relatives of mine that they have found. About a dozen fourth cousins. If they are fourth cousins (otherwise known as first cousins twice removed, per the email), are they really related to me?

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Like, my coworkers might be more closely related to me.

Or, the crows outside my window.

Just a thought.

The BRAVE Interview #11 June 2017: Chris Ann

Here is this month’s BRAVE Interview with Chris Ann:

The concept of being brave has never been a foreign one to me. Bravery is what I have embodied through out my life. I was brave when I become very ill as a child and had to suffer painful stomach problems when the doctors could not figure the issues until I was an adult. Bravery is what I had to channel when I was a young woman going to the big city of Boston to be an intern. I was so scared to take the train in by myself and navigate the streets of Boston to later become the youngest, degreed Sign Language Interpreter in the State of Massachusetts. I was brave when I was no longer able to work due to a life altering work injury. I was brave when I suffered miscarriage after miscarriage in my pursuit of being a Mom. Brave was all that I could be!

Throughout my life, I was the one with the brave face. I was brave when I finally become pregnant and the local hospital did not believe me and proceed to give me 8 abdominal x-Rays and 2 abdominal CT scans. I was very brave when they later told me that I was in fact pregnant but not to expect my baby to survive. I was brave and defiant in the face of extreme adversity but my tenacity, stubbornness and inner sense of knowing kept me going for the next 8 months and my baby was born!

I was brave when I knew he had extreme health issues and I went from doctor to doctor looking for a knowledgeable and friendly soul who would listen. I suffered tremendous disappointment in the medical system as they ignored my son’s suffering. I never revealed that I was an internationally renowned Psychic because it would not have made a difference. If they could not listen to me as a mom then they were not able to hear! I was used to working with the deaf population but the medical field was truly full of individuals who refused to listen!

There were days that I was so discouraged but my son was more than worth any of the insulting comments, strange looks and a general sense of disbelief! It look 8 years before a doctor came into our lives who suspected my son had a rare disease. He was in fact diagnosed with Ehlers-Dalos Syndrome. A rare disease that causes extreme hypermobility, subluxations, dislocations, fractures, digestive issues, headaches, falling, exhaustion and more! We had some answers!

But we were not done yet! He had started to vomit more and more. Of course everyone dismissed it as nerves, etc. I insisted that vomiting 8-9 times a day every day for months was not nerves! He has lost 20 pounds in less than 1 month when I finally begged the gastrointestinal to do a colonoscopy. I was brave to even want that test for my now 9-year-old. Every adult knows the unpleasant nature of such a test but I felt it was the answer we were needing.

So glad I’m a Psychic because I was right! He was covered in open sores throughout his entire gastrointestinal tract. He had Crohn’s Disease from mouth to anus. I was incensed that my son had suffered for so long when I clearly told them what was going on! I needed to brave as we focused on the journey to health. The doctors reassured us that chemotherapy was the answer for both diseases and it would put him in remission. I had such a bad feeling and was reluctant but I knew we needed something. The plan was chemotherapy for life but we were assured that remission was within months.

A year later, here we sit. In as much pain as ever. Vomiting lessened but is still a regular part of life. Mobility is a daily challenge. He has lost all his friends and is unable to attend school. My now 10-year-old has never had the promised remission and the assurances of a quick turn to good health has passed us by. Life is full of doctor appointments, trips to the bathroom, and laying in bed with profound sadness. My daily hope and wish is to hear laughter and see a smile. Some days I get my wish and other days I don’t.

When I think of what it means to be brave, my struggles are so minuscule compared the bravery that my son exemplifies minute to minute. He has carved out a new path for his life with connections on Xbox and YouTube. He is trying to reach out to a global community through touching souls while they have no idea of his constant struggle and pain. He has taught me the real definition for BRAVERY! I’m so proud to be his Mom because he is the greatest teacher I have ever met and ever will meet. He is my joy and it’s my honor to hold his hand through live as we brave it together!

If you wish to connect with my son on YouTube and watch his channel, it is gamingwithconnor1

Connect on Xbox 1 at R56COOPERSLCI

He is always looking for friends!  Thanks for your bravery in our story!

Thank you for sharing your brave story, Chris Ann!

Read the other BRAVE interviews here: https://kwrites.com/?s=The+BRAVE+Interview

If you would like to be interviewed for this series about something brave you have done in your life, email me at kmcwrites.com, or message me on my Facebook author page: https://www.facebook.com/k.m.creamer.author/

My birthday

 

I hope you all had fun with me this week. In addition to the week of cakes, my daughter gifted me with a cake today, bringing my total to eight for the week, and this is the one with which we celebrated with singing and candles.

Here is today’s cake from Wells IGA: Caramel Sea Salt Cake!

Here is a slideshow of all seven cakes in the BirthdayCakeWalk2017.

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For my actual birthday today, I did more than just eat cake, if you can believe it! I ate whatever I wanted. A chocolate bread from Boulangerie in Kennebunk for breakfast. Sausage Flatbread with a salad from Pizza Napoli in Ogunquit for lunch. So far, that’s all. Oh, and the Salted Caramel Cake from my daughter!

And I tried to include things I love (besides food!) in my day. Connecting with my family and friends! Lilacs! The ocean! Reading! Writing! And of course, a visit to a bookstore!!

Now, for the point: It is my birthday wish that all of YOU have a day like this, too. Why wait for your birthday to be kind to  yourself? Do it now. Today.

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