entertainment, health, life, news

Chris Cornell

Before I begin, please, if you’re feeling suicidal or just need someone to talk to, you can call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 or text 741741 in the US.  Here is a list of crisis lines by country.  Or fucking send me a message, my sleep is garbage anyway.

I wanted to take a break from my usual and talk about Chris Cornell, and I’m writing this so that maybe I’ll stop thinking about him.  I’m not writing this to debate or speculate if he intended to commit suicide or if his prescription medication altered his state of mind.  The ultimate fact is that he is gone painfully too soon.

I would never say I was his biggest fan by far, but I enjoyed his work and loved how talented and versatile he was.  His voice resonated with me from my youth to my current old bitterness.  And his passing pains me more than I ever thought it would.  I don’t know if it’s the shock and the suddenness.  I’m being quite selfish here, because the tragedy of a stranger is making me talk about myself, but so be it.  As a person that has fought with depression and suicide there are days where I feel like I’m barely hanging on.  And I’m angry about that because my life is good right now.  So good I want to freeze time.  I want to seal this moment forever because I’m terrified of the future.  I am under a doctor’s care, I take medication, I am not suicidal.  Right now.  That’s the terrifying part–once you’ve been there, you never really leave, at least not for me.

You remember these slides, right?  This is how I feel like my life is.  Maybe I started at the top like everyone else.  In the sun, happy.  But I found myself sliding down into the dark and I try to stop.  You have to use both hands, both feet.  And you get so fucking tired.  So you try to climb back up to the top, where everyone else is, where the sunshine and air is.  If you have people at the top, maybe they can lend a hand.  Maybe medicine will make you strong and you can climb back up.  But over time, you get so tired, and you feel things pulling at you, weighing you down.

I don’t know if I’ll ever get back up there.  I’m not sliding down, but I feel like I’m very consciously holding on.   And some days even with all the help you just get so damn tired and you know it would be so easy to let go and just slide down.  It would be a relief.  Even if the slide had no end or even a horrible end at least you wouldn’t be struggling so hard or hanging on to other people so heavily.  That’s how I feel with depression.  It feels like it’s always looming and it makes me a fraud.  Because I can function and talk and make jokes and take care of my kids and my family and enjoy things and all the while I’m screaming inside because maybe it’s all fake and I’m lying to myself.  Maybe I’ve learned how to put on a pretty good show.

To be clear, I feel firmly held right now, but I’m always aware and always afraid.  Maybe it’s just how my life is and will have to be.

So when I hear about Chris Cornell, who by all accounts should be happy, like I should be happy…how could he slide down?  How the hell can I hold on while someone who outwardly has everything cannot hold himself up or have the strength to hang on to someone else’s hand.  What hope is there for me, when someone like him has lost all?  I used to think that suicide was so selfish and it made me angry.  It is selfish, but the weight that some people have, the demons that pull them down, are just too much.  I feel robbed, as the whole world does, as his family and friends do.  But I’m also selfishly afraid.

That’s really all.  I just wanted to vent.  Here are some videos.

“One” lyrics by Metallica, music by U2  Note:  The lyrics have been slightly altered to fit with the music, so the lyrics below are not exact.  You can hear “One” by Metallica here and “One” by U2 (original music video) here.  Both amazing and haunting songs on their own.  The video for Metallica’s video comes from the book and subsequent movie “Johnny Got His Gun” which is a whole other level of surreal.

I can’t remember anything
Can’t tell if this is true or dream
Deep down inside I feel to scream
This terrible silence stops me

Now that the war is through with me
I’m waking up, I cannot see
That there’s not much left of me
Nothing is real but pain now

Hold my breath as I wish for death
Oh please, God, wake me

Back in the womb it’s much too real
In pumps life that I must feel
But can’t look forward to reveal
Look to the time when I’ll live

Fed through the tube that sticks in me
Just like a wartime novelty
Tied to machines that make me be
Cut this life off from me

Hold my breath as I wish for death
Oh please, God, wake me

Now the world is gone, I’m just one
Oh God, help me
Hold my breath as I wish for death
Oh please, God, help me

Darkness
Imprisoning me
All that I see
Absolute horror
I cannot live
I cannot die
Trapped in myself
Body my holding cell

Landmine
Has taken my sight
Taken my speech
Taken my hearing
Taken my arms
Taken my legs
Taken my soul
Left me with life in hell

“One” lyrics by U2, for reference.

Is it getting better
Or do you feel the same
Will it make it easier on you now
You got someone to blame
You say…

One love
One life
When it’s one need
In the night
One love
We get to share it
Leaves you baby if you
Don’t care for it

Did I disappoint you
Or leave a bad taste in your mouth
You act like you never had love
And you want me to go without
Well it’s…

Too late
Tonight
To drag the past out into the light
We’re one, but we’re not the same
We get to
Carry each other
Carry each other
One…

Have you come here for forgiveness
Have you come to raise the dead
Have you come here to play Jesus
To the lepers in your head

Did I ask too much
More than a lot
You gave me nothing
Now it’s all I got
We’re one
But we’re not the same
Well we
Hurt each other
Then we do it again
You say
Love is a temple
Love a higher law
Love is a temple
Love the higher law
You ask me to enter
But then you make me crawl
And I can’t be holding on
To what you got
When all you got is hurt

One love
One blood
One life
You got to do what you should
One life
With each other
Sisters
Brothers
One life
But we’re not the same
We get to
Carry each other
Carry each other

One…life

One

children, health, home, life, web

Something to Talk About

3 Months!

Everything has happened, so let’s have a photo dump:

1. Halloween happened and it was awesome.

Ghost Bride and Harry Potter
Ghost Bride and Harry Potter

Moaning Myrtle married Harry Potter?  Nah.  I asked Robin what her back story was and she said her father murdered her right before she got married.  What the fuck, kid.

My BABY in a WEDDING DRESS.
My BABY in a WEDDING DRESS.

Her dress is a Cheapos Thrift find for either $5 or $10.  I can’t remember now.  I believe it’s a size 4, so lots of alterations.  I appreciate how the kids seem to be taking turns wanting homemade vs. store bought costumes which makes me very grateful.  My wrists are 99% now and I can do things.  Without pain, even!

Now I have TWO strong hands.
Now I have TWO strong hands.

2.  Joshua became a Cobra Kai.

Serious kid is serious.
Serious kid is serious.

Okay, maybe not.  His uniform has sleeves, so he can’t be Cobra Kai.  Yet.  He joined the intermediate black belt training, tested for his second level brown belt (red is next!) and started weapons training.

I’m particularly proud of how dedicated he is.  $200 of his own money went to paying for gear (weapons, bag, pads).  He is getting $25 a month back from Mom and Dad, but he made the initial investment.  He’s more mature and responsible than I am.

3.  There was an election of some sort which I deem completely unnecessary for discussion here.

Regardless of which side, your vote didn't matter.
Regardless of which side, your vote didn’t matter.

4.  Robin started with a new violin teacher.  She’s also now in a 1/4 size violin.  She also had a birthday and it was all good.

“hair crayons” are exactly what they sound like.

5.  Christmas!  I honestly don’t have any good pictures of the kids from Christmas because I’m an asshole I guess.  But I have the next best thing:

Santa is shorter in person.
Santa is shorter in person.
His elves are adorable jerks, though.
His elves are adorable jerks, though.
It has a HOOD!
It has a HOOD!
He couldn't care less that is has a hood.
He couldn’t care less that is has a hood.

6.  We had a blizzard and it was horrifying.

Behold the wrath of Mother Nature!
Behold the wrath of Mother Nature!

In case I didn’t feel crazy enough, I’ve decided to do ChÜberlist 2017 – The Year of the Slug.  It’s already a couple of weeks late so I’m off to a great start.

I'm getting ready, 2017.  Time to get serious.
I’m getting ready, 2017. Time to get serious.
entertainment

Goodnight, Demonslayer

There’s a monster that lives ‘neath your bed
Oh for crying out loud it’s a futon on the floor
He must be flat as a boardThere’s a creature that lurks behind the door
Though I’ve checked there 15 times
When I leave then he arrives
Every night

Tell the monster that lives ‘neath your bed
To go somewhere else instead
Or you’ll kick him in the head

Tell the creature that lurks behind the door
If he knows what’s good he won’t come here anymore
Cause you’ll kick in his butt at the count of four

Goodnight demon slayer, goodnight
Now it’s time to close your tired eyes
There are devils to slay and dragons to ride
If they see you coming, hell they better hide

Goodnight, goodnight, goodnight
Goodnight my little slayer goodnight

Tell the monster that eats children, that you taste bad
And you’re sure you’d be the worst that he’s ever had
If he eats you, don’t you fret, just cut him open with an axe
Don’t regret it, he deserved it, he’s a cad

Tell the harpies that land on your bed post
That at the count of five you’ll roast them alive
Tell the devil its time you gave him his due
He should go back to hell, he should shake in his shoes
Cause the mightiest, scariest, creature is you

Goodnight demon slayer, goodnight
Now it’s time to close your tired eyes
There are devils to slay and dragons to ride
If they see you coming, hell they better hide

Goodnight, goodnight, goodnight
Goodnight my little slayer goodnight

I won’t tell you, there’s nothing ‘neath your bed
I won’t tell you, that it’s all in your head
This world of ours is not as it seems
The monsters are real but not in your dreams
Learn what you can from the beasts you defeat,
you’ll need it for some of the people you meet

Goodnight demon slayer, goodnight
Now it’s time to close your tired eyes
There are devils to slay and dragons to ride
If they see you coming, hell they better hide

Goodnight, goodnight, goodnight
Goodnight my little slayer goodnight

Goodnight, goodnight, goodnight
Goodnight

This is easily one of my favorite songs, let alone a Halloween standard.  It’s beautiful and I say that completely without sarcasm.  The violin.  The violin!
entertainment, life, web

What were we talking about?

Oh yeah.

Coulrophobia:  [kool-ruhfoh-bee-uh] n. 1. An abnormal fear of clowns.

Kindergarten, 5 years old: Color and cut out the pieces of the clowns face and glue them onto this other piece of paper to make a happy clown!

sinister

I colored and cut it out and then I used too much glue.  I cried and cried because I had ruined it.  Spoiler:  it was not ruined because Elmer’s School Glue dries clear.  I was inconsolable.  Literally, my kindergarten teacher was holding me and rocking me back and forth to try to get me to calm down.  Thank you, Mrs. Garavaglia.  You were the best.

Pierrot clowns

spooky

They fall into the umbrella category of dolls.  I hate porcelain dolls.  Some are strikingly beautiful, but there is something sinister to me about dolls.  Dolls have been used in ritual magic from the dawn of time and are believed to be able to house the souls of the dead.

vintage

The movie Dolls, even with its terrible acting and special effects pretty much ruined me for life.  I rented that movie for a sleepover and again, no adult ever thought a thing about it.  Also, I rented that VHS movie because I’m old as hell.

Zeebo the Clown, and anything from Are You Afraid of the Dark?

ded

The intro says more than I ever could:

The clown from Poltergeist.

nightmare

It’s not chair scene, but still terrifying.  That chair scene kills me every time.

Ronald McDonald.  My sister told me that he raped kids.

life destroying

Jack in the Boxes

terrifying

Okay, not all of them are scary.  Look at this cute thing:

adorable

You know who wasn’t scary to me, though?  Bozo the Clown.  Thanks to WGN Chicago I watched him and his sidekick Cooky  and dreamed of throwing the ping pong balls in the numbered buckets.

endearing

I would never have been on the show but I still had that stage fright anxiety that I wouldn’t get a ping pong ball even in the first bucket.  I did not need to fail spectacularly in an ultra embarrassing way on national television.

Enough about clowns already!  Back to other pointless programming.

entertainment, life

It

I have mixed feelings about the new reboot of Stephen King’s novel It as a full feature movie vs. the classic TV mini-series movie.  I grew up on the fear of Pennywise the Dancing Clown.  I read It when I was in grade school which should tell you that I was totally unsupervised as a child.  No, that’s not true.  I borrowed that book from one of my mom’s friends.  My mom was bringing me these books.  She worked nights and would come home in the morning with a grocery bag full of books.  Mary Higgins Clark, Stephen King, Dean Koontz.  Why at least two moderately reasonable adults thought it was okay for me to be reading these I’ll never know and yet here we are.

New Pennywise is so familiar…

So many things made the TV movie terrifying other than Pennywise.  As if he wasn’t fucking scary enough.  Seriously.

The Losers Club, circa 1960

First, these were kids.  I was a kid.  That could have been me being murdered by a paranormal clown monster thing!  Who did I identify with?  The girl?  Bev?  No, no, no.  Okay, a little bit.  Tomboy-ish, friends with boys, ridiculously awful home life.  But I think I identified more with the fat boy.  Ben.  Ben Hanscom.  Overweight but nice.  Good writer.  Crush on someone way out of his league.  Borderline stalker.  This brings me to the next big fear:  bullies.

Henry, oh, Henry.  That kid was a nightmare in himself.  Not just kid Henry, but adult Henry.  His shade of fear is very real—sadistic, violent, and as an adult, mentally unfit.  Granted,  he went crazy after seeing the dead lights and his false confession of all the kid murders, but looking at it from a rational adult point of view he was a violent schizophrenic murderer with serious delusions.  And then he escapes?  And tries to kill everyone again?!  Mental illness.  Scary stuff.

Next: showering at school.  I can’t remember ever having taken a shower at school.  Fuck that nonsense.  I don’t like people looking at me with my clothes on, let alone horrifying the world with my naked form.  This scene with Eddie Spaghetti.

NOPE NOPE NOPE  Like a fucking bug.  Bugs out of the drain are a nightmare in itself.  Then being naked.  Then a bloodthirsty fucking awful clown.  No thank you.  NO THANK YOU.

The shower scene from Carrie may have also contributed to my fear of public showers in addition to my completely puritanical views on nudity.  For myself, mind you.  I don’t judge, go on and be your fabulous naked self.  The clip is NSFW so don’t be a big baby about it:

The balloons.  Thank you, Stephen King, for being such an amazing writer that an errant helium balloon can be wet-your-pants terrifying.  I have gotten scared by my own fucking hair.  MY OWN FUCKING HAIR.  Out of the corner of my eye, a big black amorphous shadow crosses the room!  Or, my own fucking hair.  While normal people probably didn’t think the balloons were so terrifying, I thought they were scary as shit.

Finally, can we talk about childhood crushes?  This whole group was a weird incestuous group of crushes and cross crushes and unrequited crushes.  And they never let those crushes go.

They came back as adults and had the same fucking feelings.

Oh damn, Stan is not in this picture. :(

This was terrifying to my younger, constantly crushing on someone, self.  What if I grew up and never stopped liking that one guy from 6th grade?  I have probably had a childhood crush on every boy in my class since kindergarten through senior year of high school, whether it was for a week or a month or two long agonizing years where I made a fool of myself every day but never would dare say anything and then he starts dating a girl and everyone I know tries to console me by saying “she’s not even pretty” like that is going to make me feel any better because if he is dating her and she’s not even pretty then what the fuck does that make me some kind of fucking bridge troll I should just kill myself and I don’t need to hear about how they were making out at a party and how it was totally gross because why can’t it be me making out with him at a party and being totally gross fuck off and shut up.

Ahem.

Like I was saying, I have mixed feelings about a new feature film reboot of It.  Because I don’t think anything could strike that nightmare chord in my soul like the combination of reading the actual book and seeing the TV movie.  Fears that are ingrained at a young age stick with you so hard and for me, there’s a strange part of me that doesn’t want to let that fear go.  In a strange way, it’s a connection to my younger self.  What can I say, I’m weird like that.

entertainment

LEGIONLEGIONLEGION!

Lots of things have been happening since I last posted but I’ll get to that in a minute.  Priorities:  Legion has been so amazing.  Amazing as in a great new class, excellent story line and immersive lore.  All of that aside, it has been utterly heartbreaking.  I am not in the least ashamed to admit that I am very emotionally invested in this game.  It’s no different than a book series or a TV show that you’ve watched for 10 years–at some point it will tear out your heart and leave you there to mourn.

Me.

If you haven’t played Legion yet, then don’t watch this.  Or do, whatever, I’m not a cop.  I always worry about spoilers for people who are late to the game.  The clip shows the ending of the cinematic and what I would assume is a generally appropriate response.  If it had been me, all you’d see is tears and snot and general embarrassment.

This is worse than Admiral Commander Taylor.

Of course, after witnessing the horrible demise of our great King, I am tasked with bringing his final words to his son, Prince King Anduin.

Look at how depressed he is.

I mean, he’s sunken into the steps of the dais.  He loses his mother as a baby and now this!?  He’s a priest, not a warrior!  What now?

We all stood there and stared, no knowing what to say or do.

Jokes aside, it’s been awesome to play.  Demon hunters, demon invasions, new things to do in old places–all great.  Of course I made a demon hunter on the first day.  I put a lot of thought into what I was going to name him.  Just kidding, there was absolutely no other name possible:

Flame Warden is as close to Warden as I could get. Maybe Love Fool would be a better title?

I opted out of horns because everyone has horns and I couldn’t find a leather duster to transmog him into.  I did give him some scraggly hair that needs to be cut and facial hair.  If only, IF ONLY demon hunters could wield staves I’d be so dorkily happy.

We always need a little help from our friends.

I mean, you knew he needed a companion, right?

This makes me want to create a whole other imaginary Dresden Files world inside of Warcraft.  Karrin Murphy as a warrior?  Michael Carpenter as a paladin?  Molly Carpenter as a warlock?  Waldo is a gnome.  He just has to be.  William and Georgia as worgen, of course.  Who could be a priest?  Charity?  Don’t mind me, just rambling on and on.

tl;dr:  Legion is fun, go play it now.

entertainment, life

Guster!

Every once in a while, a song pops in my head unbidden and then I have to listen to the album a million times.

Fa fa fa fa fa fa fa fa

Lost and Gone Forever was such a 90’s album.  Even that album cover is perfect.

Either Way is a killer.  That whole album was a gem.

You were almost kind, you were almost true
Don’t let me see that other side of you
You have learned in time that you must be cruel
I’ll have to wait to get the best of you

Poison in everything you say
Don’t you, don’t you
Wonder what difference does it make
Either way

You were almost kind, you were almost true
Why give away that other side of you
Happens every time, so it must be true
Step on a kid, he’ll grow up hating you

Poison in everything you say
Don’t you, don’t you
Wonder what difference does it make
Either way

Were you ever kind, were you always cruel?
Who’s ever seen that other side of you? (either way)
Happened every time, so it must be true
Where did you learn it’s either him or you?

You were almost kind, you were almost true
Don’t let me see that other side of you
You have learned in time that you must be cruel
I’ll have to wait to get the best of you

Poison in everything you say
Don’t you, don’t you
Wonder what difference does it make
Either way, either way

I don’t have any specific attachments or memories of this album other than laying in the first bed I bought for myself, in my second apartment in Texas, just listening.  I am sure I listened to in in my first apartment, but for whatever reason, there is a very vivid memory of my second and final apartment, my bedroom, two night stands, white curtains and white walls.  Old 97s-Fight Songs and The Refreshments-The Bottle & Fresh Horses.

Damn.

 

entertainment

Do It Anyway

Because I always need this kind of motivation but other people do, too.  BF5 just kills me.  With laughter or with tears.  (still my favorite)  I actually blogged this before, but it’s never not applicable.

Ben Folds Five – “Do It Anyway”

You might put your love and trust on the line
It’s risky, people love to tear that down
Let ’em try
Do it anyway
Risk it anyway

And if you’re paralyzed by a voice in your head
It’s the standing still that should be scaring you instead
Go on and
Do it anyway
Do it anyway

There will be times you might leap before you look
There’ll be times you’ll like the cover and that’s precisely why you’ll love the book
Do it anyway
Do it anyway

Tell me what I said I’d never do
Tell me what I said I’d never say
Read me off a list of the things I used to not like but now I think are ok

Sometimes it’s not subjective: wrong and right
Deep down you know it’s downright wrong but you’re invincible tonight
So you
Do it anyway
It’s done
You did it

Despite your grand attempts the chips are set to fall
And all the stories you might weave cannot negotiate them all
Do it anyway
Be honest, anyway

So tell me what I said I’d never do
Tell me what I said I’d never say
Read me off a list of the things I used to not like but now I think are OK
Yeah yeah yeah yeah
Woah woah woah woah

It’s gonna be so very hard to say
And watch the trust and joy all drain from her innocent face
But you must
Do it anyway
It sucks but
Do it anyway

Call it surrender but you know that that’s a joke
And the punchline is you were actually never in control
But still, surrender anyway

Tell me what you said you’d never do
Tell me what you said you’d never say
Read me off that list of things ’cause I used to not like you
But now I think you’re OK
Yeah yeah yeah yeah
Woah woah woah woah

Everybody knows that you just gotta do it anyway

Do it anyway [x8]

Cause you don’t do nothing to avoid self punishment
You won’t do nothing
You won’t feel nothing
Gotta
Do it, do it, do it anyway
Ah
Do it anyway

entertainment, life

Like, Jr. High

Do you ever have those moments that not only make you feel like such a worthless piece of shit, but also reminds you of all of these other times in your life that you were reminded that you are in fact, a worthless piece of shit?  No?  Really?  Okay, yeah, me neither.

The summer before my freshman year of high school I went to nerd camp for a week.  Random fact: I am still friends with one of my suite mates.  In preparation for all the fun, I got a couple of new tape singles that were awesome.

Yeah.

Cassette tape singles.  To listen to in my Walkman.  One song on each side.  For those unfamiliar, this is how you listened to a cassette tape single:

  • Listen to popular song on side A
  • Song ends, fast forward to end of tape
  • Take out tape, flip over, listen to song on side B
  • Song ends, fast forward to end of tape
  • Repeat until you hate the songs

The one single I remember was Radiohead’s Creep.  The edited for radio version because fuck saying ‘you’re so fucking special’ because I could be fucking traumatized for life.  But the B-side of that single has always been one of my favorites and it’s been my earworm all day so here it is:

Faithless the Wonder Boy

I’ve had these jeans since I was born
And now they’re ripped and now they’re torn
And all my friends have skateboards

I want the toys of other boys
I want a knife and a gun and things
But mom and dad will not give in

And I can’t put the needle in
Can’t put the needle in
I can’t put the needle in
No I can’t put the needle in
Can’t put the needle in
Can’t put the needle in

And now I know just what it is
It’s called disease and it’s got my head
It always runs where I hide

Too scared too talk, too scared to try
Too scared to know the reasons why
And all my friends say bye bye

And I can’t put the needle in
Can’t put the needle in
Can’t put the needle in
No I can’t put the needle in
Can’t put the needle in
Can’t put the needle in

entertainment, news

Train Wreck

What are the odds that while I’m vacationing in Savannah, the whole Paula Deen brouhaha blows up?  Crazy pants.  We even ended up driving by Uncle Bubba’s while on our way to make out with dolphins.  I was in my hotel room, searching #paulasbestdishes on Twitter and howling with laughter.  Just in serious fucking tears.  People, I tip my hat to you–you are all hilarious.

I’ve heard a lot about the hypocrisy of her fall from grace–why is it okay for a black person (omg should I say African-American?!) to say nigger but not for a white person to say it?  If black people say then white people should say it!

“Everybody has different words that offend them, different things that they hear that they get offended by… To me, the thing that offends me the most, is every time that I hear “the N-word.” Not “nigger” by the way. I mean “the N-word.” Literally, whenever a white lady on CNN with nice hair says, “The N-word,” that’s just white people getting away with saying “nigger,” that’s all that is. They found a way to say “nigger.” “N-word!” It’s bullshit ’cause when you say “the N-word” you put the word “nigger” in the listeners head. That’s what saying a word is. You say “the N-word” and I go “Oh, she means ‘nigger’.” Your making me say it in my head! Why don’t you fuckin’ say it instead and take responsibility, with the shitty words you wanna say. Just say it, don’t hide behind the first letter like a faggot just say it. Say “nigger” you stupid cunt!”

Not really.  I don’t think it’s necessarily appropriate for anyone to say it.  Just because someone makes millions using that word doesn’t make it okay.  Look at the plethora of people who make millions for being incendiary.  What bothers me even more than the fact that she has used that word, is the rest of the deposition regarding her views on business and what was appropriate for a work environment.   Is she racist?  Maybe.  Everyone, to some degree, has preconceived notions of other people.  She allowed her business, her livelihood, to take a backseat to some sort of do-no-wrong-owner mindset.  Pornography in the workplace?  Since when is this okay?  Here is the full (if not hard to read) deposition.

I used to really love Paula Deen.  Well before she was trying to sell salt/pepper/garlic powder for  $1.13 per ounce, when the recipe is readily available online and in her cookbooks.   Before she became a Southern caricature.  Compare the very early episodes of her cooking show to what it turned into–it became unbearable to watch and was so very over the top.  Her life story is very inspirational and is quite amazing.  I have no doubt she is a hard worker and had to overcome pretty difficult circumstances.  But somewhere between then and now, I think she lost herself.  To me, that is the most disappointing.