Thursday, November 25, 2010

So Very Thankful

Today is Thanksgiving.

A day to simply pause, remember and give thanks.

On many other days I find myself suffering the guilt of the almighty "covet." Stressing over the things that I don't have, salivating over the things that I want and dreaming of the things that I hope to one day have.

On days like today, when I stop and let the quiet that surrounds me take hold, free of all the chaotic clutter that often clouds my judgement, I can openly reflect on the things that matter most, the things that I am exceptionally grateful for and how blessed my life truly is.

In my otherwise cynical little world, it is one of the few days where sappy salutations and attention to the lovey dovey are totally acceptable!

I am appreciative for the simple things, my health,  a roof over my head, a car that runs, gainful employment, food in my fridge, a case of Diet Dr. Pepper in my pantry, a roomful of Pottery Barn furniture that I got with my huge employee discount, a ridiculous looking dog and two scrunchy cats; one of which has just celebrated his 18th Thanksgiving dinner of Friskies turkey and byproduct canned cat food by my side.

So I'm a crazy cat lady, don't judge! Besides which, Shadrach is the only man in my life that has stuck with me through thick and thin, loves me for me, rarely gives me any sassy talk back and keeps me warm at night.

That stuff is the icing, but the cake...the delicious innards are what is the most satisfying. I mean, who wants to cut into a beautifully decorated confectionary only to find a worn out, bland brick of nothingness?

I want the red velvet and the opportunity to eat it every day...and I do, thanks in part to the two things that matter most.

Family: Many believe that they "have the best one in the world" and maybe they their own eyes, but from where I stand I could not ask for a better one. We Martins are far from perfection and at times even a little dysfunctional, but we have the roots that keep us strong and fertilizer needed to keep growing.

Our twisted branches tell a story of generations past and a future filled with hope. We are bold and bright; dazzling even.

Mom, Dad, Kelly, Kaylie, Emma and Rachelle, my immediate circle who keep me forever cocooned in affection and the gorgeous outer shell that makes up my extended family, one that spans the country and beyond.

We are an amazing group of individual personalities tied together under the family tree through fate. No matter the miles between us, each of them are with me every step of the way. They are my life, my insides and a cherished gift.

Friends: New and old. Over the years I have thankfully lost fewer than I have made. To those that I have forfeited along the way, I am grateful for what needed to be learned and appreciate the clarity given in return.

The oldies but goodies and the constants...the ones who without, my life would be humorless and empty. The ones who stick with you through the messy parts and the same ones who care enough to cut you down to size without all of the useless fluff; please continue to say the things that I don't always want but need to hear and I promise to always give back in return.

Some would say that there is no way that I could be truly happy, how could you without the companionship of a husband or the comfortable security that comes with a hefty bank account or the selflessness of being a parent?

There may be no logical explanation as to why, but simply put, I just am. The things that I've chosen for my life work for me; the love and laughter that surround me will always carry me through and for that I am so very thankful.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Insert Inappropriate Laughter Here

On paper, I am a grown woman. I have a decent job, I live in a nice apartment, I am a responsible pet owner and look pretty damn good for my age.  At first glance you'd think that I was a pretty together and responsible individual, but get to know me and you will soon realize that I have the mentality of a 13 year old boy; at times you might even question whether or not I was borderline retarded based solely on the things that I find humorous.

I don't remember my parents being such idiots when I was growing up, they always seemed so smart and refined, perhaps they just hid it well. Who knows what they were laughing at when I wasn't around.

As for me, I giggle with inappropriate delight when someone farts, falls down, hurts themselves, vomits, shits themselves, pees their pants, sports a boner or even talks about a sporting a boner.

At times I've even been known to crack up in serious situations like a funeral or in class. Stressful situations can also trigger an unbecoming melt down of hilarity.

During a high school field trip, my best friend Beth and I unsuccessfully tried to stifle our snickering after hearing the word "penis" during a court case. The more we tried to hold it back, the funnier it became until we finally burst into a fit of uncalled for amusement.

Speaking of penis, the only time that I have really questioned whether or not I had a serious problem was when I first started working in the ER. An ambulance brought in a CPR in progress, which by definition is NOT funny in the least bit.

For whatever reason the male patient was brought to us completely naked and every time someone pumped on his chest, his penis would bob up and down in rhythm with the compression cycle. It was tragic watching my colleagues struggling to save this man's life, but even more tragic was my own uncomfortable an epic douche bag, I laughed.

Ah yes, you can always count on me for some ill-timed guffaws.

I blame my sister because the first incident that I can recall laughing at with great irreverence involved her. As the oldest, it was my job to look out for her. Our mother sent us down to the playground one afternoon, I was eight years old at the time and my sister four. She wanted to slide down the slide, so being the stellar guardian that I was, I stood at the foot of the ladder and watched patiently as she climbed the rungs, one by one. Damn if she didn't make it all the way to the top when her tiny foot missed a step and she came tumbling down like a scene from a Three Stooges skit.

It was like sweet slow-motion as I watched her chin hit each of the rungs coming down, the same ones that she had so painstakingly climbed up just moments earlier. The sound of bone hitting metal made a weird clacking sound, almost like a muffled gong. I didn't erupt until rungs two or three, but the sound in combination with the visual was clearly more than I could take and that is when it happened...I laughed.

The farther she fell, the harder I laughed, until it reached a point of sheer hysteria. I laughed as I dusted her off. I laughed at the sight of the blood spurting from the underside of her mandible. I laughed as I walked her home. I laughed as we entered the front door to our house. I laughed when my mother put hydrogen peroxide on her open wound and I laughed behind closed doors when I got sent to my room for laughing.

It was uncontrollable goodness, like I was going for the world record for longest period spent laughing without a break. Hell, I am laughing right now just thinking about it.

Sadly it was the beginning of a torturous life for my poor sister, but in all fairness she has laughed at my expense as well, so it is a win-win situation.

There really is nothing better in this world than laughing. For that moment, no harm can come my way. There is something so genuine and cleansing about a good laugh. All those silly things that they say about it being the best medicine are dead on.

Sometimes you've just got to find the funny and somehow, regardless of what is falling apart around me, I thankfully find it every day.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Red Velvety Goodness

I was raised by southern parents who instilled the importance of good manners. If someone does something nice for you, then you for damn sure better express a little gratitude!

I had some car troubles this week that took my ride out of commission for three days as it sat lifeless in the parking lot of the hospital that I work at. Through an amazing display of unexpected events and "pay it forward" moments, I got every where I needed to be with a little help from my friends.

So, just how do you thank so many for their kindness? Homemade cupcakes of course!

I spent yesterday afternoon in the kitchen whipping up three dozen red velvet cupcakes, they were so ridiculously good that I'm gonna pay it forward by sharing the recipe.

Cake Ingredients
2 1/4 cup flour
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup unsalted butter, softened
2 1/4 cup sugar
4 eggs
1 cup sour cream
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 (1 oz) bottle red food coloring
4 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

1. Preheat over to 350 degrees. Mix flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt in a medium bowl. Set aside.
2. Beat butter and sugar in a large bowl with an electric mixer on medium speed for 5 minutes or until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs, one at a time. Mix in sour cream, milk, food coloring and vanilla. Gradually beat in flour mixture on low speed until just blended. Do not over beat. Spoon batter into paper-linded muffin cups, filling each cup 2/3 full.
3. Bake 20 to 25 minutes or until toothpick inserted into cupcake comes out clean. Cool in pans on wire rack for 5 minutes. Remove from pans and cool completely.
4. Frost with Vanilla Cream Cheese Frosting. (recipe below)

Frosting Ingredients
1 1/2 (8 oz) package cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup butter, softened
3 tablespoons sour cream
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 (16 oz) box confectioners sugar

1. Beat cream cheese, butter, sour cream and vanilla in a large bowl until light and fluffy.
2. Gradually beat in confectioners sugar until smooth.

Frost cupcakes generously and enjoy! 

Saturday, October 30, 2010

To Sir, With Love

The father of a friend of mine passed away yesterday, he was diagnosed with terminal cancer just a few months back. Her family knew this day would come, but it's always sooner than later isn't it?

I heard someone say that she "was prepared" for his imminent death. How on earth can anyone possibly prepare for the death of their father? The very thought of losing my own dad causes me great anxiety and sadness for a day that I know will eventually come. I pray that it comes much later than sooner.

I see death quite often in my line of work. I see the pain that is left with the families and I can only imagine what picking up the pieces will entail. I understand that death is a part of the poetic circle of life, but rationally I find it hard to process when it pertains to my own flesh and blood.

Years ago my father had a heart attack. While he was lying in a Cardiac Cath Lab in Central Texas, I sat helpless, some 1500 miles away in the back room of the record store that I was managing at the time in Northern Virginia.

Long hours passed and thoughts of despair filled my mind as his life passed before my eyes.

Thankfully, my father is a stubborn old goat and it just wasn't "his time to go."

There is a funny story behind all of this, that ultimately opened the door to my medical career, but that is best saved for another time.

I visited my dad in Texas the following month. One afternoon we headed out for lunch, just he and I in the car. I think he planned it that way because he knew that there was no means of escape. It happened between country songs on the radio, it was the moment that I first came to terms with the fact that my dad was not the immortal superhero that I'd always envisioned.

In his slow, southern drawl he said to me, "Sugar, what happened to me was serious and one of these days it might happen again, since you are the oldest, I am leaving you in charge to pull the plug when that time comes."

Needless to say, my first reaction was to burst into tears. I feverishly begged him over and over to "stop talking about it," while waving my hands wilding in front of my face.

I was nowhere near being ready for that talk, he understood that and upheld my wishes. The mere thought of it was unfathomable and there was no way that he or anyone could have convinced me otherwise at the time. I was still blubbering as we walked into the restaurant.

In the years since then, I studied Emergency Medicine and became a Paramedic. I have grown to understand, respect and accept death with a bit more clarity.

I know the time will come one day. From a logical standpoint, I am prepared, but there is no way in hell that I can emotionally get to that same level. It will be one of the worst moments of my life.

For now I choose not to mourn the inevitable, instead I will cherish the time that we do have. In my eyes he is still the greatest superhero to have walked the earth in his nerdy leather Top Siders, shoes that only a true mortal could wear.

I know now and in the hereafter that I am loved with all of his heart and he with mine.

I am quite sure that my friend experienced the same lifetime of love with her own father. I hope that he is in a good place smiling down upon her, waiting with open arms for the next time they meet.

Once again I borrow a quote from my wise friend, my own personal little Buddha...

"Perhaps they are not stars, but rather openings in heaven where the love of our lost ones pours through and shines down upon us to let us know they are happy." - Eskimo Proverb

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

I Miss My Friend

Dear David,

Today marks the anniversary of your passing, it is hard for me to accept that you've been gone for five years. I still miss you every day.

Thank you for looking out for me from above. Even though I can't explain it, I know that you are here with me. Thank you for the feathers. I know, I collection of them is everywhere. In my car console, my wallet, my makeup bag, in envelopes, in coat pockets & in suitcases.

I know that you must be so disgusted by the poor organization of them all, if it were you, I know that they'd all be placed perfectly in that shadowbox that houses a majority of them. You know, no matter how hard I tried, I never had your glorious flair.

When I think of you, my mind goes back to three memories of the weeks before your passing.

1. The late night phone call that you made to me the month before you died. God I wish I could have done more, I wished that I had known all the pain you were feeling inside. I run our conversation over & over in my mind to this very day, analyzing it for clues that I might have missed, but there were none, you covered your tracks too well & put on a brave, happy face, the way you always did.

2. You, me & Christine walking through the mall after lunch. Someone asked that if we could only wear one outfit for the rest of our lives, what would it be? You said an Equestrian riding outfit, complete with the boots & helmet. What made that image even funnier is that you had no interest in horseback riding. I picture you in heaven wearing that outfit, strolling through the clouds, looking ever so fabulous.

3. The Sunday before you left me, we had Cheesecake together. I had the banana cream pie cheesecake, which sadly they don't make anymore & you had had the Adam's peanut butter cheesecake. We laughed that day, as we had done so many times in the past. Little did I know that would be the last time I'd ever see your beautiful face.

Every time that I go into the trauma bay at work I think of you. I wonder what you looked like laying on that stretcher. What did they do to you? I know how a code works, I have participated in many in that very room. How long did the staff perform CPR on you before the Doctor called your time of death?

I still struggle with it as if it were yesterday.

I hope you are up there with your mother having a gay old time (no pun intended).

I miss you & love you from here to the moon & back.


Thursday, October 14, 2010

The Secrets That You Keep

As a Healthcare worker, there is a certain code that I and every one of my colleagues must follow. HIPAA laws require that we keep patient information private and secure.

It would be foolish to say that we don't talk about some of what we encounter on a daily basis, especially the weird stuff, but by not disclosing the names or other personal information of the patients somehow makes it feel alright.

Talking it out helps to diffuse difficult situations, make sense of the tragic cases and at times just plain makes for good comedy.

No matter how we dissect it with our laymen friends and family, they will never truly know the sum of all the parts. There are some visions and emotions that can't be seen or felt unless you were there.

Standing in the trauma bay over a body who you've preformed countless cycles of CPR on when the time of death has been called by the physician, holding your tongue around the mother and father who have brought their child in, knowing all along that it was them that caused the physical harm, talking with a patient just moments before they "crash," watching the pain in a loved ones eyes as they uphold the patient's "Do Not Resuscitate" wishes, watching helplessly as blood pours from a self inflicted gunshot wound to the head of an adolescent.

Every day brings a new experience and every day I am witness to privileged information. Images and feelings that will stay with me forever.

These are the secrets that we keep.

It is easy for me to understand how many in the profession become jaded and detached from the emotional aspect of the job. In a way I am almost envious.

I lack that ability.

There are mornings that I get into my car after a 12 hour night shift and cry all the way home. There are times that I can't sleep because of the emotional beat down I have taken. There are times when a traumatic event randomly pops into my mind, usually at the most inconvenient of times.

It is painful and messy and dysfunctional, but in the end I wouldn't want it any other way. We feel the bad times in order to truly appreciate the good ones, at least that is how things work in my mind.

Some say that people get into healthcare because they have an inherent need to fix others because we lack something inside to fix ourselves.

It is like giving out great advice without actually taking it.

Lord knows I ain't perfect. I could easily define myself as a real fixer-upper, but knowing that I can contribute to the healing process of someone else is a true gift.

I knew what I was getting myself in to when I signed up, it can be brutal. I can't tell you how many times people have said to me, "It takes a special person to do what you do" or  "There is no way I could do your job."

It reminds me that I am one of those "special" people who can.

So I will continue to keep those secrets, revealing only tiny bits and pieces of them in an effort to maintain my own piece of mind. I will continue to hope for the best while accepting the worst, knowing that reward is out there in the smile of those I have helped along the way.

Thursday, October 7, 2010


There are few things better in this world then breakfast at IHOP at 3:00 in the morning with friends.

Good conversation, lots of laughs (because everything is funny at 3 am) and strawberry covered pancakes.

A tiny slice of perfection.

That being said, I can't help but to dumb it down a little and take dining out to an adolescent level. Every time I eat at IHOP I automatically think of something that I heard long ago on "The Don & Mike Show."

In a bit where listeners called in and tried to make the duo laugh, I recall one of the few times that it actually worked. Don & Mike both cracked up and the caller won some fabulous prize.

How did he do it? By simply asking the pair to spell out IHOP followed by the word "ness" three times.

Go on, try it. You know you want to!


It makes me giggle with delight and proves, without a doubt, that I have the mentality of a 13 year old boy.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Feathery Goodness

I received a package for my birthday from my mother in the mail the other day.

When I opened it I found a variety of gift cards, a bright pink envelope that held the perfect "Mother to Daughter" birthday greeting and a plain white envelope with my mom's handwriting on it that read, "I found this right outside the Hallmark store as I was leaving from buying your card."

I instantly knew exactly what was inside.

Instead of opening it, I held it up to the sun so that I could see the silhouette of it's contents.

There it was... a feather.

I burst into bittersweet tears right there on the sidewalk.

David remembered my birthday and as I wrote about on September 3rd, "Perching The Soul," he had found a way to send me some love on my special day.

As I have previously stated, I find feathers in the oddest places at points in my life that I need a bit of inspiration, but other than that first feather that Trish gave to me that sad day of David's funeral, no one else had ever "found" one for me.

I love that my mother was used as a vessel and that she remembered and cared enough to stop and pick it up for me.

The feather thing is something quirky that I thought I only understood, but David added a new dynamic to it all by hitching a ride with my mother's birthday greeting that originated some 200 miles away.

It has been almost five years since his death, but our relationship continues to thrive through alternate means of communication.

Through David's feathery messages,  I am reminded of good and helped through the bad.

At the end of the day, I am filled with hope.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Happy Birthday To Me

My birthday was on Sunday. It snuck in quietly, that is how its done in our adult life I suppose.

I got the obligatory presents from the family which are always nice, but what I took away from the day was the gift of love.

Love from the people in my life.

It might sound hokey, but I am truly blessed to be surrounded by the beautiful people in my little place in this world.

It was a day filled with wonderful sentiments, each taking a moment out of their day to wish me well.

I could not ask for better friends and family.

My family is my heart.

Good Lord, where would I be without them? Even though we are miles apart physically, they are with me every step of the way. They are my insides, my life, my greatest love.

At times, it's glorious disfunction, but I wouldn't want it any other way, because no matter what, the love and respect will always, always see us through.

My friendships fill my soul.

I have many that have spanned decades, they are made of incredible bonds that have withstood the test of time and serve as the blueprints of future unions to come.

Each one of them present in different lights to me and each hold different meaning, but I adore and cherish every one of them until the bitter end.

I am ridiculously lucky to love and be loved by you.

Happy Birthday to me!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Seriously? Seriously! What Were You Thinking?

A couple days ago I made a "break-up" mix CD to help get over the pain of being a jilted lover.

I thought that I'd feel all empowered by the messages sung along to those catchy beats.

For the most part I guess I did, for I had made a pretty solid list of tracks that would become the soundtrack to my grieving process, with the exception of one misplaced tune.

Sandwiched between "Don't tell me you love me" by Night Ranger and "I hate myself for loving you" By Joan Jett, I foolishly put "I'm all out of love" by Air Supply.

It was a fatal error. Seriously, what was I thinking?!

On the surface that song could not be more benign, it seems like a perfect choice, right?

Boo Hoo, poor me, I'm all out of love, blah, blah, blah...

Forget the fact that the lyrics are all wrong for a break-up CD, unless you are the one that fucked up in the first place, which for the record I did not AND could they be a little more candy assed?!


I'm lying alone with my head on the phone
Thinking of you til it hurts
I know you hurt too but what else can we do
Tormented and torn apart

I wish I could carry your smile in my heart
For times when my life feels so low
It would make me believe what tomorrow could bring
When today doesn't really know, doesn't really know

I'm all out of love, I'm so lost without you
I know you were right, believing for so long
I'm all out of love, what am I without you
It can't be to late to say that I was so wrong

These lyrics aren't me AT ALL!

Am I tormented and torn apart? Yes, I'll give you that, but I would never lay my head down on the phone, not only is it uncomfortable, it's just stupid!

I'm not really all about carrying that smile around in my heart either, granted it was a nice one, but the mouth that housed those pearly whites said a slew of hurtful things.

As far as "being right," you weren't, but it is never too late to continuously tell me how "so wrong" you were, but we both already know this, so why bother.

No, this song is better suited for someone else, you maybe, but certainly not me.

Ugh, the very sight of those smiling, soft-rocking balladeers makes me angry, what could they possibly know about love?

Next time I'll go with something more along the lines of "I will survive" by Gloria Gaynor.

It may be the most over played, cliche break-up song to have ever been recorded, but damn if it isn't right on.

I apologize Ms. Gaynor, by choosing an Air Supply song over yours, I not only disrespected you, I have disrespected myself.

Required Listening:Volume Two

Love Stinks - The Break-Up CD Vol. Two

Cruel Summer - Bananarama
Love Stinks -J. Geils Band
Someone Saved My Life Tonight - Elton John
Love Is a Battlefield - Pat Benetar
Your So Vain - Carly Simon
Go Your Own Way - Fleetwood Mac
Good Riddance - Green Day
Breath Me - Sia
Say Hello, Wave Goodbye - David Gray
Piece of My Heart - Janis Joplin
Died In Your Arms Tonight - Cutting Crew
It's Not Right, But It's OK - Whitney Houston
Goodbye To You - Scandal
All By Myself - Eric Carmen
Build Me Up Buttercup - The Foundations
Barracuda - Heart

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Whatever Gets You Through The Night

Last night at work felt like a lifetime.

It was busy and chaotic, add to that the fact that I was running on minimal sleep and it was a recipe for disaster.

Nocturnal living isn't always what it is cracked up to be.

It was one of those nights when you look in the mirror and the reflection staring back actually looks like it feels sorry for you.

All the coffee in the world couldn't have saved me, but one thing did get me through.

I heard one of the most ridiculous phrases ever uttered, it made no sense at all, but it made me laugh every time it was said.

It was a response to a question delivered by a sweet old Grandma when asked when she would be coming for a visit that went something like this...

Keri: "Hey Granny, when are you going to come visit me already, it's been a while."
Granny: "I have an idea, why don't you sit back on your fist and rev back on your thumb."

What the hell does that even mean?! It doesn't even make any sense!

Who cares really because it was hilarious, even just thinking about it right now makes me laugh.

Of course, the delivery of that line had something to do with it, thank God my friend Keri is funny...REALLY funny!

I'm all about the funny, if you can genuinely make me laugh then you've got my respect. It is the one thing in this world that I cherish above all other things.

Laughter brings joy and love and comfort and all the goodness in people.

Keri is effortless when it comes to making people laugh, she was born naturally funny and I appreciate that oh so much.

It makes a stressful work environment more tolerable.

I thank my lucky stars that I have been given the gift of my co-workers. Every one of them holds a special place in my heart for different reasons. I could not ask for better people to get me through the night.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Required Listening: Volume One

A "Mix Tape" is a beautiful thing. Each one serves a purpose, some merely entertain while others help to heal. No matter the reason each and every one of them is a personal gift from the mind to the heart of the listener.

I take great pride in making a mix, I guess because I am old enough to remember just how painstaking the process was of making an actual mix tape. It wasn't the quick process of being able to pull up your i-Tunes play list, drag & drop a handful of songs, then burn them onto a disc.

The time invested into making a mix tape meant pure love. A 90-minute tape took a minimum of two hours to make.

Each of the songs had to be played in full as they recorded. You had to ensure exactly what order you wanted them to be in and the timing had to be spot on!

I would have rather died than to have the last song on Side A cut off by seconds just because I didn't time it properly. It was a process that was often started over & over again in my perfection driven world of mix tapes.

But here we are in a different world, I burned four mix CDs today in less than 15 minutes. It is a beautiful thing.

The first three were for a couple of people that I work with, they know my mix CDs rule & asked me to make them some to which I happily obliged.

The fourth was just for me, required listening I suppose.

I Kinda Always Knew I'd End Up Your Ex-Girlfriend - Break-Up CD Vol. 1

Gives You Hell - All-American Rejects
You Better, You Bet - The Who
Ex-Girlfriend - No Doubt
You Got Lucky - Tom Petty
Anything But Down - Sheryl Crow
Don't Tell Me You Love Me - Night Ranger
I'm All Out Of Love - Air Supply
I Hate Myself For Loving You - Joan Jett
Since You're Gone - The Cars
Two Out Of Three Ain't Bad - Meatloaf
Tubthumping - Chumbawumba
Here I Go Again - Whitesnake
Separate Ways _ Journey
She's A Beauty - The Tubes
Take It On The Run - REO Speedwagon
Last Call Casualty - Bowling For Soup
Shadows Of The Night - Pat Benetar
Is She Really Going Out With Him? - Joe Jackson
The Break-up Song - The Greg Kihn Band

There will no doubt be more in this series.

While I relish the chance to listen to it over and over on my commute to and from work to help release the pain, what I really long for is finding that CD under my car seat in a year or two, popping it into the player and wax nostalgic, by then I won't even remember what today feels like.

Do You Swear To Tell The Truth and Nothing But The Truth, So Help You God?

There comes a moment when you realize that the hunch you had about a certain topic or someone was dead on.

It's the "I knew it!" moment.

Depending on the situation, it can be sweet satisfaction or sheer heartbreak.

Don't lie to me. Don't ever lie to me, because the truth will always come out!

While you sit there sending those sincere sounding messages of "I think about you all the time, I fucked up, I want you back, let me prove it to you," I can clearly see through you.

Make a mental note for yourself, in the future when you are trying to get back someone that you lost, don't openly pursue other women in plain sight, it really doesn't help your cause.

You say to me, "I've been thinking about you a lot, I screwed up, could there still be a possibility for us?"

But yet at the same time I see you saying the same things to another.

You say that I don't have all my facts straight but yet you refuse to lay them out for me.

Why have you done this to me? I never asked for this and I most certainly didn't deserve it.

Everything they say about the truth is correct. It will set you free, but at the same time it hurts like hell.

You broke me, but rest assured, a little super glue and some time and I'll be good as new.

If only you could have known all the beauty that could have been, it was right there for the taking and you chose to overlook it.

I saw it, why couldn't you?

Live well and be happy with the choices that you've made for they will forever cement your path.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

A Time To Say Goodbye


Good morning,

After much soul searching and weighing my options, I have come to the conclusion that it is my time to step down as Community Leader of the NASCAR page and as a Featured Columnist. Trust me when I say that this was not an easy decision for me to make and that I have thought tirelessly about my choice. 

I addressed some of my concerns last week via e-mail to all of you and through our discussion during last week's conference call, but there are still issues that I fear are unsolvable at this point. 

When I began writing for Bleacher Report two years ago, I produced quality work that got an immediate positive response from readers. 

I understood that we as "writers" voluntarily joined the site for the love of sport and chose to let it be known to the world through our individual voices.

Each of us came to the table with out exclusive observations and writing styles. B/R provided each of us with an even playing field, not a one of us was any better than the next. It was up to each of us to choose how we expressed ourselves through words.

Every one of us had a unique writing style that readers responded to. We started from the ground up, made a respected community and worked hard as a team while maintaining our own individuality as writers.

We were chosen to be Featured Columnists based on our accomplishments. We took pride in the quality of work we were producing. Our articles were well researched, thought provoking and fact based, simply put,  the original seven of us who were asked to become FCs knew our stuff inside & out. 
I know that I seem to be tooting my own horn, but I was incredibly proud of the work that I was putting out. It was original & from the heart.

We began losing Featured Columnists over the last couple of weeks because everything that they had worked do hard to achieve, began to feel as if it were being taken away. We were asked to take on assignments, which is acceptable to a point, but when practically every article on the NASCAR page is a variation of a top 10 slideshow, it really "dumbed us down," in the NASCAR journalism world.

I am not opposed to producing slideshows, but they have to be on my own terms. Slideshows are going to get hits based on the pictures, not the commentary that accompanies them. They are nothing but electronic picture books at this point. Let's face it, how many men really buy Playboy for their stellar articles?

On paper I am sure that B/Rs numbers are phenomenal, based on slideshows alone, but behind the scenes it is all very shallow. What was all hearsay to me up until this point, became very real this weekend when I attended the Richmond race on B/R's behalf. 

The reaction that I got from respected members of the media in both the mainstream and Citizens Journalist circles was less than flattering. We are no longer the credible representative for the NASCAR Citizens Journalist Media Corps that we were when originally asked to join last year.

People are "writing" about topics that they know nothing about & are relying on search engines for their answers. I can't speak for the other pages on the site, but being that the NASCAR page is a part of the NCJM, sub-par articles are unacceptable, top-10 slideshows don't make for respected journalism and poor research on a writer's part leads to demise. 

For example, the same gentleman who wrote "The Ten Worst Drivers in the Sprint Cup Circuit" put out a NASCAR WAG article that generated 4000 reads in it's first day, but just like in his prior NASCAR article, the facts regarding some of his slides were wrong. So that is 4000 people who were given wrong information & once again this writer was given an award based on false information & that makes me sad. 

While I am not in favor of personal attacks on the writers, I fully stand behind the right to correct the author when the information they have produced is blatantly wrong. 

By serving up repercussions and/or suspending writers for leaving comments on these poorly researched articles you are censoring an attempt at accuracy and supporting inaccurate "journalism."

We are only as good as our worst writer.

I have given it my all & refuse to have my reputation as a writer discounted based on what the industry thinks of our NASCAR section. It is disheartening for me to scroll through one of my articles only to find a link to a "Guilty Pleasure" "T&A" slideshow under the "More Articles You''ll Like" footnote. It devalues my integrity & it immediately discredits the respect that the reader might have gained for my personal journalism when they originally chose to click on the link.

There was a time when I was so proud of what we had accomplished, the people in our community were true talent, with incredible stories to tell. I personally write from the heart, I find no satisfaction in doing it any other way & I was successful doing just that. 

112 articles, 53 awards, an average read count of 760 per article and six articles of the day.

It was never about the numbers for me, it was all about the passion & the effort I put into each & every article. Each of them exposed a piece of who I was & my love of NASCAR. They were expressions of what the sport meant to me & that was always my driving force. When they managed to touch the lives of others along the way, well that was the icing.

As some of you know, I have a demanding full time job as a Paramedic in the ER, I simply do not have the time to scour the internet or Getty images to find images for a subjective slideshow, that in the end leaves me feeling empty. I have to do things the best way I know how or not at all. 

My heart literally aches over this decision, I wish that it had never come to this point, I would have been content to stay with Bleacher Report for as long as I continued to write. 

I appreciate the opportunity that you have given to me, I am by all accounts a better writer for the experience and for that I can't thank you enough. I wish all of you and the site nothing but the best.


Kara Martin

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Do These Ears Make My Face Look Small?

It always freaks me out a little when the dog hears something that I don't and reacts to it. I'm never really sure if I should jump up and lock the door because trouble lurks on the other side or if he is hearing something in the next county.

I was walking Chachi recently and passed through a group of kids, one of them yelled out, "Yo, your dog gots some big-assed ears!"

No shit kid, Stevie Wonder could have told you that, but thanks for the heads up just in case I hadn't noticed.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Laugh Hard, Laugh Often

My nieces.
I love people who make me laugh. I honesty think it's the thing I like most, to laugh. It cures a multitude of ills. It's probably the most important thing in a person. 

- Audrey Hepburn

Sick It Up

I have spent the better part of my morning tending to a cat with a stomach ache.

I can always tell because she (Lulu) gets very clingy and taps on me with her paw hoping that in some magical way my emergency medical training can cure her of her ills. 

She is an obsessive cleaner, so I know that there is a gigantic hairball just waiting to be expelled. She lets out a very unladylike "MOW" right before she is going to hurl, that is my cue to get a magazine.

She wanders around making that gagging sound, preparing for the upchuck. I patiently follow her until she is good and ready before I slide the magazine in front of her in hopes to catch the vomit before it soils my carpet. 

She always barfs in twos, the first one is a small precursor of what's to come. So I wait again, it's a process I tell ya!

Cat owners know that this is just a normal part of life. In a weird way, I am almost envious.

The moment after a good puke, Lulu is right back to her old self again. Playing, eating, sleeping without a care in the world.

I wish that I had the ability to evacuate all that ails me. Just "sick it up" and go about my day.

But mine is an emotional hangover that requires a much longer refractory period.

Que Sera, Sera.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Perching The Soul

I can vividly recall all of the events that transpired on October 20, 2005. I remember the phone call from my friend Trish and exactly where I was standing and what I was looking at when she told me "to sit down."

Up until that time, I never understood the complexity of that statement, I felt fully capable of accepting bad news regardless of my body position.

She then told me that David had died from an overdose.

My legs went numb and my knees buckled from underneath me. Yes, there is good reason to sit when someone tells you to do so.

How could this be true, I just saw him. We had weekly cheesecake together just four days earlier. There were no evident signs that he was planning on taking his life.

David and I worked together at the Pottery Barn. We started at the same time three years earlier and became fast friends. He was the most fantastically, flamboyant gay man that I had ever met. He made no apologies for who he was, he was perfect as is.

Prior to David's death, I had lost three other friends to suicide.

The first was a Paramedic classmate who started an IV of anti-freeze on himself. The second a Nurse Practitioner who slit his femoral artery and the third put a gun in his mouth and pulled the trigger in his mother's home.

Every one of those is almost unimaginable, unreal even. I went to all three of their funerals and mourned the loss of each of them, but it would be David's quiet passing that would affect me the most.

In life, David was a star. Beautiful in every way. He'd greet you every time with a hug and would be the first to cheer you up when you were down. He was brilliant and hilarious.

He was outlandish in life, death didn't become him.

I sat with Trish at his funeral and openly wept. It was uncontrollable. There more I tried to stifle my sobs, the worse it became.

Trish did all the things a good friend should to to try to comfort me but nothing worked until she noticed a tiny white feather on the sleeve of her black sweater. Without even thinking, she picked it off and handed it to me.

For whatever reason I held on to that feather for the rest of the service. It gave me some sense of focus and calmed me down.

I put it into my wallet as we filed out of the funeral home and didn't think of it again for the next few days.

When I returned to work, I was alone one morning in the store, opening up the cash registers and doing some quick straightening before my associates arrived.

I was in the Design Studio, the area where David had worked when I saw it...a feather.

A random feather sitting at his work station.

Now, I am not an overly religious person by any means and never really thought of myself as "spiritual," but this was more than coincidence. 

I realized at that moment that while David was gone in the physical sense, he would be with me always, we just had to find a new "language" in which to communicate. 

In the nearly five years since his passing, I have found countless feathers in the most unexpected and unusual places. I have collected each one and saved them in a glass-faced shadow box.

There are probably close to 200 in there at this time. 

Every time David "speaks" to me, I look high into the sky and say hello.

The feathers serve as a reminder to "hang in there" when the going gets tough, to celebrate the good times, cherish family and friends and accept the unexpected no matter how it presents itself. 

"Hope is the thing with feathers."


Hope is the thing with feathers
That perches in the soul,
And sings the tune--without the words,
And never stops at all,

And sweetest in the gale is heard;
And sore must be the storm
That could abash the little bird
That kept so many warm.

I've heard it in the chillest land,
And on the strangest sea;
Yet, never, in extremity,
It asked a crumb of me.

-Emily Dickinson