The Wild Ones by Ryan Fu (The Hated Ones)

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“Bro, how more of these assholes are we going to see this week? I’m getting tired of these losers,” Angello tells me in his thick Argentine accent.

“Dude, we need a replacement for the other cocksucker we fired last week,” telling Picco as I text the new recruit on our whereabouts.

“Bro, that dude sucked dick and not in a good way.”

“I know. He was too much of a stoner. We need someone dependable and trustworthy. We need a killer on the crew.”

“Yeah, he must have a tight butthole, so I can fuck him I’m the ass.”

“Good point. I’ll ask him during the interview.”

It was late in the afternoon in the last week of October as we wait for new candidate on Robertson Blvd. I stand outside off my truck in front of the Newsroom as Angello edits and uploads pictures, while at the same time watching nugget porn. I look up and down the street trying to spot this fool, then I saw young punk walking my way. This kid was shorter than I was in his Ed Hardy shirt, camouflage cargo shorts and backwards baseball cap. At least, I didn’t have to tell him how to dress like a douchebag cause he already got that down.

“Yo, Angello. Check out the new dude.”

Picco stops watching pornography on his laptop for a sec to check out the kid, “this little piece of chit. No Ryan, don’t hire this weak asshole, he probably doesn’t even have a tight butthole.”

“Let’s give him chance, then if he sucks you can find out if he does have tight butthole or not.”

“Hey, do you know where the Newsroom is?” The new guy asks me as I point to the huge ass sign next to him. “Oh, duh.”

“Andy right?”

“Yeah. How did you know?”

“You got a strong aura around you. The name is Fu, I’ll be training you today to see if you can make the cut.”

“Great. I’m super pumped up for this cause I’ve been a fan of you guys for a while now and I love celebrities.”

“First off, I don’t give a fuck if you love celebrities because they don’t give a fuck about you. Second, what did you do before you decided you wanted to be scumbag?”

“Well, ugh, I was or I’m still in school for photography. I’ve been in school for the last two years learning about photography.”

“Well that’s a waste of time, especially on this job. Listen up, rook, you just need to learn these three settings to work this job, which the rest of it is just instincts and hard work.” I give Andy the 411 immediately about the position telling him straight up that this was not going to be an easy job, which it was portrayed on tv as I hand him the camera for the first time showing him the settings.

Andy picks up on the settings immediately as I show him how to shoot these celebrities on long and short lens. He struggles with it because he’s not used to his subjects not wanting to be shot as he has to learn fast on the fly. I put him through the ring trying to overload as much of information onto him, so I can see if he remembered what I showed him just moments ago. In this business you gotta be quick on your feet because just like in life there are no dress rehearsals, you’re going to have to deal what is coming at you in a moments notice. This was true for me in the military and it still rings true to me now as a paparazzi.

“You ready to get your feet wet rookie?” Telling Andy to get ready as I spot Paris Hilton walking down the street. “Go shoot that girl!”

“Who is she?”

“Just shoot asshole,” Angello screams at Andy as he storms out of the truck with his camera towards Paris.

“It’s Paris Hilton.”

“Oh, I know her.”

“That’s great Andy. Now run over there and shoot the shit out of her and don’t drop my fucking camera,” yelling at Andy as he runs over towards Paris with Angello.

I check out Andy as he crosses the busy street on Robertson Blvd to join Angello with the other paps shooting Paris. I notice that he checks out his settings before shooting her, getting in the perfect position to shoot her as they get into a store. Angello tells Andy to change his settings to shoot her inside the store, which he does without any help from me. Andy shoots Paris changing his position each time for a better angle, which it looked like at this point, the short amount of training actually sunk somewhere in his brain because I was really impressed with this young kid, the way he used all the things that I just showed him just moments ago. He changes his settings again being in the correct position as Paris leaves the store getting into her custom Pink Bentley.

Angello and Andy run back to the truck as Angello slaps Andy’s butt, which I could see Andy was really excited afterwards with his big ass smile.

“How did you do?”

“I think I did alright?”

“He was fucking amazing,” Angello tells me quickly editing and uploading to the network.

I point to Angello on his laptop, “listen Andy, in this business, you’re either first or your last. We must send our images out quickly to be the first dogs to dinner table. If you don’t shoot, then you don’t get fed.” Andy understands what I’m saying as I check out his pictures. “There aren’t that bad but you need to calm down a bit and focus on the shoot because some of these aren’t sharp from sharp malaka, but other than that I think Angello and I are really impressed with you kid.”

“You got a really tight butt,” Angello tells Andy without even looking at him working on pictures.

“You want to shoot some more,” I tell Andy but I could already tell that his kid was already hooked because it was the same look I had when I had with my first experience being a paparazzi. I was a brand new vampire thirsty for more blood, which I was going to give to Andy.

“Fuck yeah! But I had a question. What if they don’t want to be shot? Like they put their head down or cover up, do we still keep shooting?”

Angello stops what he is doing staring at Andy as I take of my sunglasses giving Andy my serious look. “You never stop shooting.”

“You never stop shooting asshole!” Angello shouts out before going back to his work.

“We never stop until the job is complete. If they try to hide or cover up, just keep trying out different angles and keep shooting until they give up and show they’re faces. This is the difference between a good pap and a great pap. What are you willing to do to get that money shot.”

“Money shot?”

“Yeah, Andy the Money Shot. This is the main reason why we are all here. It’s not like we give a fuck about these celebrities, I mean some of them are cool but they don’t pay our bills and I certainly don’t give a fuck about photography. I just want the money motherfucker, lots of money motherfucker, which you can potentially make if you learn your job, be a hard worker and are willing to do what other paps won’t do, then you’ll be making huge money in no time.”

Chuck walks back to the truck from the bathroom missing all the action again.

“What did I miss y’all?”

“Jesus, Charlie did you fall in the toilet. You masturbate too long,” Angello jokingly tells Chuck.

“You missed Paris.”

“Ah, I love Paris. My bad guys, I was taking a shit and it was a lot. You ever take a shit and it doesn’t stop coming. It just came out of me like a brown volcano.”

“You’re butthole must be like a black hole mang.”

“You don’t give a shit about Paris.”

“Yeah, you’re right but it would have been funny video talking to her about my shit. Who’s this?”

“This is the new recruit.”

“Hi, my name is Andy.”

“Hi there, name is Charles. Did you shoot Paris as well?”

“Yeah, he did, which I gotta tell you he did a better job on his first time than you did Chuck.”

“Well, it’s because I don’t give a fuck.”

“I already gathered that, thanks buddy,” I tell Chuck as he gets into the truck with Angello.

“Don’t point that asshole at me mang, it’s still dangerous.” Angells tells Charles as both of them start laughing in the back of the truck.

“Well, you ready to kill more celebrities?”

“Yes, sir.”

“Well, then get into the truck and enjoy the ride.”

Andy gets into the truck with the rest of the animals as I find more celebrities for him to shoot, which he starts to act like a season vet with every set he shoots being more comfortable with himself along with the camera. It’s around dusk before we head into a Halloween shop on Sunset Blvd looking for fun costumes?

“Are we going to a Halloween party?” Andy asks me kinda confused why we were doing here instead of shooting celebrities.

“Well, sometimes when you can’t get the “money shot”, you must be willing to create the “money shot.” I tell Andy as he gives me the confused look. “Listen, people only give you the big time money if there is actually a story behind the pictures we take like Britney going insane or Lindsay crashing her car. People love that shit when something is going crazy with the celebrity, so this is why we are here young padawan.”

“I’m still confused.”

“I found it!” Angello tells me bring the costume towards us.

“This is perfect,” telling Angello as Charles walks over.”

“Fuck no. This shit it too small for my fat ass,” Chuck tells me in anger.

“This is why it’s perfect for you.”

“What?”

“You have to show that fat black ass Charlie,” Angello tells Charles slapping his butt as we head towards the cash register.

“You sure this is going to work?”

“Fuck yeah. It’s going to be hysterical and epic,” telling Charles trying to reassure him that this was a good move as he finally agrees with my plans.

“What are we doing again?” Andy asks me being totally confused on what was going on?

“Don’t worry kid, it’s going to make sense in a sec.”

We purchase the costume and head to the truck driving to our next destination as Angello drives and Charles changes into his costume in the back of the truck.

“You don’t mind sexy black men getting naked in front of you right Andy?” Angello asks Andy as Charles and Angello start laughing.

“This shit is too tight motherfucker.” Charles tells me trying to fit into the costume.

“Just try to not rip it, so I can bring it back you bastard.”

“I still don’t know the plan, bro?” Andy asks me.

“Listen, see these stupid milkshake flyers. Well, we are getting $50 dollars every time the celebrity or any pictures with this flyer is shown. So, this is why we got a costume for Chuck to make it even a bigger story, so we can make more money. You get now?”

“Yeah. If the money shot isn’t there, then you create the money shot.”

“Bingo, young Jedi. We must all embrace the darkside,” I tell Andy as he gives me his big ass schoolboy smile again.

“We’re here assholes,” Angello tells us parking close to the spot, which was Madeo, a very popular eatery on Melrose Ave close to Paparazzi Alley, where celebrities like to eat and paparazzi like to congregate waiting for celebrities. We got a tip from the valet that there were a couple of stars having dinner there, so we get ready in the truck before the shit goes down.

“Listen, Chuck. The only way that this will work, if you get into fucking character. You must believe that you are the super hero inside that tight ass red and blue costume. You must believe that you are saving the celebrities from the evil paparazzi. You must the Black Captain America. You must save everyone and make us lots of money. You ready?”

“Fuck yeah,” Chuck screams at us grabbing his Captain America shield along with the very valuable flyers as we bust out of the truck, charging towards Madeos acting like a bunch of wild animals hungry to get paid, which we could see the paparazzi are shooting a celebrity coming out of restaurant.

It was Susan Lucci, she was a soap opera star but at the moment she was on Dancing with the Stars, but we didn’t give a fuck because she was about meet the Wild Bunch. We storm on the busy street of Melrose already making our presences felt shooting our cameras in the air like a bunch of insane cowboys as the Black Captain America tries to save Miss Lucci from the savages with the cameras.

Charles was first on the scene pushing through the crowd of the photographers getting into the front with his tight blue Captain America costume. At first, Miss Lucci didn’t notice him but it didn’t take long before she saw this huge black man in a Captain America costume in front of here taking pictures of her. Everyone started laughing, including me as I was trying to film the insanity but I was too busy laughing at Charles because he looked so funny in a tight as Captain America costume, which you could see his back fat coming out of his costume because he was so fat. But this didn’t deter Chuck at all because he knew what we all knew that night, which was this was the “money shot.” A crazy ass fan with a funny Halloween costume next to America’s sweetheart, which Angello and I knew that this was going to sell as I could see in the corner of my eye, Angello shooting the shit of Charles and Miss Lucci, laughing his ass of but still getting the job, which to my surprise I see Andy right in the middle of the pack with his big ass smile shooting having a great time.

“Chuck show her the flyer!”

Charles spaces out for a bit, which he sometimes does before shoving the flyer in the face of Miss Lucci as she is a bit surprise and maybe a little bit threatened but it did get the job done as she grabs the flyer standing right next to the black Captain America.

BOOM! The Money Shot.

We keep on shooting until we mercifully let her walk into her car as Chuck gracefully puts a milkshake flyer on her car window as Angello takes the last shot of her with the flyer. Ca-Ching! Mission accomplished I thought still filming the chaos as I could see Angello chasing Charles around trying to put the rest of the flyers down his costume pants as we all started saying,

“The Wild Bunch! The Wild Bunch! The Wild Bunch!”

I turn to Andy with his big ass smile on his face, “So, what do you think? Do you want the job?”

“Are you kidding me? Fuck yeah I do!” Andy excitingly tells me shaking my hand in an agreement.

“Welcome to the Wild Bunch kid.”

Captain America Pluggin Millions of Milkshakes to Susan Lucci

RYAN FU

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Real drugs by innocent bastards (BLW Contributor)

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we drink tv
smoke porn
sniff sex
inhale adverts
that makes us lazier and weaker 
but what's inside you?

Ona

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I’m here for the Shavasana by Lady Dickson (BLW Contributor)

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I have been doing yoga on and off for about 5 years. In September, I joined an actual studio, Sattva School of Yoga, instead of going to the yoga classes at the gym. Which I quit. Who needs a gym membership when your own condominium has a free gym! The yoga studio I joined is warm and friendly and insanely popular. Good, I like to fall on my face in front of an audience. From September to mid-November, I was going a lot. Mid-November hits and I couldn’t go anymore due to some health reasons. But now that that’s all cleared up, I’m back.

You know what’s not “like riding a bike”? Yoga. For the most part anyways. Before the monthish hiatus, I was bending and doing yoga-y things with somewhat ease. My first class back to yoga at the beginning of January was a fucking nightmare. The practice changes every month so there’s variety, which is awesome. But apparently they decided January should be Hey You’re Fat From Christmas, Let’s Get Goddamn Real Up In Here month. Which, fair.

My ability to flow through the freaking 5 sun salutations we do at the beginning of class, was lost. I can still get through them, but instead of looking like a graceful swan, I am now a drunk flamingo with spaghetti for arms.

I praise the lord every time the instructor ends this portion of the class. After this, we do the basic warrior poses, which are my favourite poses. Hello legs, feel the goddamn BURN. Warrior poses are never taken out of the monthly practices. They are constant because they murder and sculpt your legs into things of beauty.

We move on through the class and I turn into a sweaty monster. I have all the leg strength in the world and can hold poses for a long ass time, but if my spaghetti bullshit arms are involved at all when holding a pose, it’s basically a joke.

Which brings us to the new move that was inserted into January’s class.
Motherfucking Peacock.

Peacockyeah I’ll just file this under Nope.

To be fair, a lot of people couldn’t do it. Which, thank god. I didn’t want to be the only one sitting on my mat, laughing like an idiot. I mean, I was able to put my arms down on the mat like that. But….no. That’s it. That’s all I attempted round one.

The second class, my arms are all backwards and I managed to put my forehead on the ground in front of me. Lifting the legs is a major LOL. Maybe by the end of this month, I will be able to…..um…..watch everyone else…succeed. Yeah. That’ll do.

I know there’s always one pose I cannot do in this class. They always put in an advanced pose, which is cool because GOALS. But instead of just putting the one advanced pose in this month, they decided two would be ideal as hell.

Half Lotus Son of a Bitch Crow.

Half Lotus Crowwhy is your foot…up there.

I like crow pose. It’s fun and tough. But THIS. This is also…fun and tough. The first class, I sucked a bag of dicks. I was able to get Lotus all up in my grill, bending over was fine, but that’s as far as girlfriend got.

The second class, I tried to put my knee on my forearm and lean forward but Spaghetti Arm was like “WAT R U DOING” and I promptly fell to the ground. Life is great and not at all embarrassing.

Here’s the best part about this yoga studio, my yoga studio: Ain’t nobody there to laugh at you falling on your face. The class is filled with beginners, intermediates, and advanced homies. And everyone at some point has probably fallen on their faces in front of people. And no one cares. Everyone is too focused on their own shit to probably even notice you falling over.

Even though I shit on myself for not being able to do these poses yet, I’ve only done them twice. For 5 years, I could not do a headstand. Well the time has come, everyone. I can do one now. I can finally stand on my fucking head without the support of a wall.

I WILL MAKE CROW AND PEACOCK AND ALL THE OTHER BIRDS MY BITCH.

To the people out there who think yoga is bullshit and not a real work out, I would love to see you take a class and not break out into a serious sweat and feel the burn the next day. It’s such a good way to learn about your body and see what needs work. It’s not about getting to the final stage of an epic pose (even though that is an awesome feeling), it’s what you learned on the way to it. Which muscles you need to use, discovering new muscles you didn’t know you had, how to balance perfectly, how to breathe properly. It’s something I will never give up ~~aNd NeItHeR sHoUlD yOu~~

GO TRY IT NOW.

Check out other great articles from Lady Dickson

We love Bad Relationships by Dane Cook (Relationship Philosophy)

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Happy Homemade Soup Day!!! – Feijoada, Brazilian black bean stew recipe

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FEIJOADA, BRAZILIAN BLACK BEAN STEW RECEIPE

INGREDIENTS

1 pound (450 grams) dry black beans

4 Tbsp olive oil

1 pound (450 grams) pork shoulder, cut into chunks

2 large onions, sliced

1 head of garlic, peeled and chopped

1 pound (450 grams) carne seca or corned beef, cut into chunks 

1/2 pound (225 grams) fresh sausages, such as chorizo or Italianvsausage

1 pound (450 grams) smoked sausage, such as linguica or kielbasa

1 smoked ham hock or shank

3-4 bay leaves

Water

1 14.5 ounce can (411 grams) of crushed tomatoes

Salt

DIRECTIONS

1 Pour boiling water over the black beans and let them sit while you prepare the rest of the stew.

2 Heat the olive oil in a large pot over medium-high heat and brown the pork shoulder. When it has browned, remove the meat from the pot, set aside and add the onions to the pot. Brown them, stirring occasionally, scraping up any browned bits from the bottom of the pot. Sprinkle a little salt over the onions and add the garlic. Stir well and sauté 2 more minutes.

3 Add back the pork shoulder, and the other meats and add enough water to cover. Add the bay leaves, cover and bring to a simmer. Cook gently for 1 hour. Drain the black beans from their soaking liquid and add them to the stew. Simmer gently, covered, until the beans are tender, about an hour and a half.

4 Add the tomatoes, stir well and taste for salt, adding if it’s needed. Simmer this, uncovered, until the meat begins to fall off the ham hock, which will probably take 2-3 hours.

Serve with white rice and hot sauce. A classic side dish would be sautéed collard greens.

receita-feijoada

Chapter 1 by Sleepless Temples (BLW Contributor)

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Show me your beautiful mind
Open this book for me
and let me in.
I can’t help but read.
I want to get the feel
of the pages torn
written all over
and soaked in moments.
Let me hear
all the rumor of mistakes
joys and little victories
silences of deep thought
the all alone You.

Check out other great articles from Sleepless Temples

 

Photography: Reflections by Impavid Thought (BLW Contributor)

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I wasn’t originally planning a second photography session today. However, tomorrow’s classes got cancelled so procrastination was inevitable. I didn’t think that there was going to be much of a sunset tonight, but I am definitely glad I was wrong.

Here is the work of my procrastination:

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Today was warm enough for some of the snow on the road to melt, which left wonderful puddles for beautiful photos.

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I hate my pain by Seachy Waffles (BLW Contributor)

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I’ve thought about blogging this several times and every time I have stopped myself as I hate to be negative, or moaning, and the last thing I want is pity but some days I just want to scream and shout ‘I fu@king hate my pain’

We live in a world of social media and everything is played out on it like we live in some sort of eternal soap. I don’t watch the soaps as they are all negative anyway. I understand the irony of this comment as this is about to go on social media so I guess I am leaving myself open for a load of trolling but c’est la vie.

I hate seeing comments like woe is me I’m single, or my days ruined it’s raining, or even worse the people who say to me you are so lucky being at home in this weather. Lucky is scooping the jackpot on the lottery, lucky would have been to drive an alternative way home that night in 2002 when some @rsehole changed my life so I am now unrecognisable to the person I once was. Lucky is not living in constant pain, and when I say constant pain I mean real chronic constant pain not the people who say to me oh I know how you feel I spent Saturday in the Garden and at the end of the day I was stiff so had a warm bath.

From the minute I get up everything I do causes pain and aggravates my condition. My nerve endings are so on fire that even the touch of clothing is like a thousand needles prickling me all over. I have a rail to use to get me out of bed and it’s a short stroll using my walking sticks to the bathroom each step feeling like I’m walking on daggers. I use my toilet frame to be able to go to the toilet even a piss, yes standing is impossible, my legs would go numb my body would spasm and I’d be pissing all over the bathroom! The shower takes forever sitting on a stool and olnly being able to reach certain areas on my body, and needing help to wash some of the most intimate areas (degrading at any age but at 37 makes me feel so useless). Getting dressed has to be done sitting down, again with help. I love the summer as flip flops mean my wife doesn’t have to put socks on each day. Then its morning meds just the 10 a mixture of opiates, pregabalin, diazepam, paracetemol and an anti inflammatory.

The day drags on and on and on, each hour made up of sitting in a number of different positions, laying, walking, doing some stretches and generally doing anything to try and limit the pain that is coursing through every fibre. A cough is like a hammer to my spine, a sneeze like shotgun, even a yawn hurts. Sitting and pooing takes an age, trying to use my sphincter muscles feels like a boa constrictor squeezing my spine and making my arms and legs go numb.

I long for even the postman or woman to knock on my door (they know to wait a little while as it takes time to get to the door) so I have someone even briefly to talk to. My meds make it impossible for me to drive with the new laws that came in to effect in June, I’m not capable of looking after my daughter as I can fall asleep at any point so she goes to my parents and I sit home alone. If I’m lucky a friend or family member will pop over (but most are working themselves so can’t very often) to see me or to put together my scooter or wheelchair and take the “cripple” out for a walk and some fresh air. Where we have to plan where to go because so many places remain inaccessible to disabled people. Any trip out entails more medication and results in increased pain having a fun day trip relieves the boredom but by the end of it I am so spaced out and had so many tablets that I don’t know my own name let alone what day of the week it is, thank goodness for digital cameras and photos to be able to look back at the day out.

I constantly spill my drinks as holding them is agony, and typing this takes days to keep going back and typing a few more words each day. I constantly forget what I’m meant to do each day, we’ve nearly run out of insurance on both the house and car as I forget to call and pay or arrange.

I rely on others cooking my tea and have to eat as quickly as possible as sitting on a dining chair is yet another every day task that kills. Others load my washing machine, dishwasher and generally care for me or unpaid. It’s no wonder I feel like a burden to sooo many people.

My specialists have all told me to give up working (I am a mentor for 16-19 year olds and I love it), however I have now missed more days off work than I have worked in the last 13 years, and whilst my work are being supportive I think the reality is this latest deterioration has resulted in this becoming impossible. I don’t however want to be branded as a good for nothing scrounger as disabled people are all too often portrayed in the press and who time and time have money cut. Ideally if I was unable to work I would volunteer locally to help people when I can maybe being a phone befriender for age uk calling people a couple of times a week that I can do from home and not let people down.

Evening comes and it is lovely to have my wife and two kids at home, even though playing with them is painful and difficult seeing their faces, hearing their laughter and screams and having bedtime cuddles (gently of course as it hurts) gives me a bright few hours then. Then if we are lucky my wife and I watch a film from different sofas as it hurts cuddling up as we once did, and that I loved. I hope she knows I love her and despite the lack of physical contact I love her more every day. Bedtime and it’s the painful toothbrushing as I cannot stand at the sink with the slight bend everyone else takes for granted. Laying in bed is painful, I move and fidget and keep my wife awake unfairly as she works 60 hours+ each week just to keep the roof over my head. Eventually as sleep evades me I take my last lot of meds taking the daily total to over 30 tablets and I move back to the lounge to repeat my sit, shuffle, move, lay and go mad at the cr@p on TV. I long to try and control my pain again, I didn’t ask for it, I didn’t ask for some arse to cause a RTA and I certainly didn’t ask to suffer for the rest of my life. I am fed up of long periods of my pain controlling me and putting on the fake smile and yes I’m not too bad that most people hear because let’s be honest who really wants to know how painful pooing is!

The next time I am told how lucky I am to be at home I want to scream all this at them, but the reality is the reply will be, actually I miss not working, and not being able to look after my child on my own. I long to just get the pain under control so I am controlling my life again, and can control the pain as opposed to pain controlling me so that at the very least some of my tablets can be reduced and I can ride my mobility scooter taking my girl to school safely in the future and without the funny stares.

Of course this is a reflection of my worse days, when those darkest feelings are all absorbing and consuming. The pain never goes but I do have days where I feel a little happier in myself and a bit more positive but on these days don’t be fooled into thinking the pain has gone. I have finally accepted that this will never happen, now begins the long journey into sorting out life, my emotions, accepting help from others, not being embarrassed by my various mobility aids and to make the most of the precious time I have with family and friends.

Check out other great articles from Seachy Waffles

Don’t worry, be happy. By Bare Naked in Public (BLW Contributor)

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I have never been one to worry about my age or complain about growing older. While my body sometimes feels the years, and my face shows the truth of my life experience, my heart and soul, young and vibrant, still view the world with fresh eyes, hopeful and forgiving. I’ve been naïve at times, hurt and pushed to cynicism, but it never lasts for very long. Angry words and harboring bad feelings cannot fool my heart, eventually I let go and give the world another try. At least . . . that’s what I think I do.

Even now as I am closer to sixty than fifty, it’s not age that concerns me, nope. I think more often about the years that remain in my life . . . a number I cannot predict or control. More than ever, I want the years, the days, and every moment to count, to be big, important, and worthwhile. I don’t mean to say that every experience must be beautifully crafted and perfectly planned, complete with inspirational soundtrack, not at all. Instead, I find beauty and perfection in the most unlikely places, in the moments of my mostly ordinary life.

Getting to this place has not been easy. Therapy, yoga, meditation, soul searching and writing, lots and lots of writing, have all played a part in my journey. But the most important ingredient has been the people, my teachers, the supportive and gifted women in my life, and my family. And then there is my grandson, Luca, who helps me see the world through his eyes, brand new and beautiful.

Last week Luca visited and wanted to play Cops and Robbers. I chuckled to myself as this seemed so old- fashioned.  I’m not sure at all where he learned the term. He definitely knows all of the critical elements for a successful game, a cop, a robber, a jail and an excellent imagination. Running through the house he squeals as I chase him, no easy task to run and laugh simultaneously. Anticipating capture, he stops in his tracks, catches his breath, puts his hands behind his back and boldly states; put the handcuffs on me Nonna, just pretend. I lock the fake cuffs, making a clicking sound. I walk him toward the mirrored wardrobe, the space we have designated as the jail, and put him inside. In my best tough guy voice I gruffly warn, Stay inside, I’m watching you, and I walk away. Within seconds, he emerges, running as fast as his little legs will carry him, and I chase closely behind. He screams and laughs; his happiness so pure.

We repeat this scenario several times before I add a new element. I manage to quickly hide before Luca escapes the wardrobe. As he flees to freedom I jump into his path, and scare the daylights out of him. Each time I leap from a new hiding place, he shrieks and between the giggling says, let’s do it again Nonna.The next time, we have a long chase. I let him believe I cannot catch him.  He runs and runs and I grab at his little shoulders but never quite grab him. He screeches and laughs, and then he slows just enough to look over his shoulder and say, I love you Nonna.  I respond, and I love you my Boo.

Still running, out of breath and laughing, we stop short of smacking right into the mirrored wardrobe. I find myself face to face with my reflection, and I am completely surprised by what I see. It’s me . . . but I look younger, happier, and lighter. I actually look more closely and wonder if it’s the lighting in the room. And I then I think . . . so that’s what happiness looks like, that is love’s light shining from the inside out. Looking into the mirror, Luca smiles exposing his jagged little overbite and asks, why are you smiling Nonna?  I smile some more, and say because I’m happy.

So . . . these days I do my best to not worry about my remaining years on the planet. It’s a huge waste of time. Instead, I happily exchange  my worry for a good game of Cops and Robbers, time with my family and my best girlfriends,  and walks on the beach.

Seems my best lessons, come from Luca. Completely unaware of the years that lay ahead, and certainly not concerned about the time that has passed, he only knows to enjoy every minute of each day.

I love that.

Check out other great articles from Bare Naked in Public

Affluenza: Money Spoils! by Gina’s blog (BLW Contributor)

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It has been said that the richer people get, the less emphatic or compassionate they become.

What Is Affluenza:

Affluenza, according to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, is “the unhealthy and unwelcome psychological and social effects of affluence regarded especially as a widespread societal problem.” The Oxford English Dictionary defines affluenza as “a psychological malaise supposedly affecting wealthy young people, symptoms of which include a lack of motivation, feelings of guilt and a sense of isolation.”

It is thought to have been first used in 1954 but it gained legs as a concept with a 1997 PBS documentary of the same name and the subsequent book, Affluenza: The All-Consuming Epidemic (2001, revised in 2005, 2014). These works define affluenza as “a painful, contagious, socially transmitted condition of overload, debt, anxiety, and waste resulting from the dogged pursuit of more.” It’s since been used to describe a condition in which children, generally from rich families, have a sense of entitlement, are irresponsible, make excuses for poor behavior, and sometimes dabble into drugs and alcohol. The term “affluenza” has also been used to refer to an inability to understand the consequences of one’s actions because of financial privilege.

My Thoughts On All These:

“A parent’s primary job, apart from providing for their kids, is to prepare them for how the world really works. When parents are overprotective, unrealistic, give their kids everything they ask for, rather than their needs, or leave them unchecked, they are simply spoiling them or ruining their future. Spoiling a child is as dangerous as neglecting his needs and both actions have severe psychological effects on the development of his personality.

When a child finds that all of his demands are being met by others, he never bothers to develop the necessary life skills he might need later on. Spoiled children become ill-equipped to face life problems.”

Check out the whote article @ https://ginauche.wordpress.com/2016/01/19/affluenza-money-spoils/