Saturday, June 3, 2023

"What was your last day like?"

I talked to my brother 3 days before he died last June, both of us happy like nothing different was about to occur. We spoke about my daughter's upcoming graduation party (which he never made it to) and the future he was planning. All was relaxing. A warm evening filled with sun.

I've been avoiding visiting his memorial spot since he passed away. I finally visited it for the first time this week on a chaotic day when I was driving around. I think it was hearing the recent news of a friend passing away that caused me to feel sadness so I thought, why not just see all I've been avoiding since last year. 

Brought my younger brother a flag to his beautiful silver tomb on the wall by the river. He was a Marine. 

Walking back to my car I felt my some stress I'd been carrying around slowly evaporate a bit. Some weight lifted there and I'm not sure why. Always found cemeteries to be peaceful verses fearful. 

I've woke up super queasy every day since this day. Not sure if there's any connection. 

I had one short dream this morning right before waking up
One question. I asked,

"What was your last day like?" 

I felt a small tilt move me from my back to my side, towards the window, brightness forcing my eyes open, as the sun gazed into my face, waking me up.

Sunday, May 21, 2023

'Progressively Worse' they say...

I still visit and communcate often with my good friend I've known since age 16, who now has Huntingtons Disease. However, he changes a lot in the way he corresponds,- it's never the same anymore. He acts different week to week towards me as a friend now with no consistency. Sometimes he even treats me bad, like im his enemy then comes back a short time later with an apology msg. Its really difficult and sad when that happens but I just roll w/it.  Last week he was was much more thin than the last time. His rapid weight loss scares me so I brought him several milkshakes from steak n shake to enjoy for the week. Six hours ago I messaged him, "Its really nice out, let me know if you want to go for a drive or something." Our read receipts are both on & my message has not even been read. When a text message in this type of situation goes unread like that for 6 or more hours I start fearing the worst, that something may be wrong. I have at times resented him not being the same friend (which is horrible I know.) One particular example that tore me up was in his kitchen last week he said, "I'm gonna have dinner now,  Bye." Not like before when we'd go for Mexican food and have fun & I wasn't being kicked out so he could eat alone in a dark room. So I walk to the door & let myself out, so sad to not see his smiling face peeking out of the door, waving bye like he used to when things were normal. I miss calling him on my evening walks like I used to, to have someone to talk to but now he says he only wants to text & will never speak on the phone again. He is still & totally capable of going places & speaking by phone. His behavior is ever changing & I worry constantly, not just about his physical well being but his emotional & psychological well-being. He's so brittle now, one little fall & I'm just afraid he'll get hurt bad.  I fear every time I see him that 'what if' this is our last visit! His face looks different from what the disease is doing to him. Seeing the gradual change in my friend I'm having to look back at old pics from the past now to really remember what he actually looked like before he got this slow, progressive disease.

Sometimes I wake up early morning hrs after having very unsettling dreams combining both the trauma of my brother's death with whats happening to my friend now,- and its not a good mindset to start the day off in.

When I ask him by text how he's doing these days, I get "Im fine."  In person I can tell he really means that too.. 

It's all seems so -not- fine-at-all. 😞 Yet somehow the disease is making him protected from the reality of knowing this now- which is a big blessing in itself. Although it's tearing me up to lose a very big part of the friend I had,- his good heart is still very much there. 

My friend and I still watch comedy movies and laugh. I try to make those times as fun as possible because other than that, he spends entire days in dark isolation. Hanging out with him is fun, as we have a past history of good times as well.

I know we'll always be grateful for the fact that by a twist of fate, we reconnected many years later, from long ago teenage friends to such good friends as adults. 

(Although it helped to get this out,- I will not be writing any further updates on this sensitive situation.)

Huntington's Disease is an inherited condition in which nerve cells in the brain break down over time.
It typically starts in a person's prime working years, most often in their 30s or 40s.

Huntington's disease usually results in progressive movement (chorea)  thinking (cognitive) and psychiatric symptoms.

Drugs, physical therapy, and talk therapy can help manage some symptoms but cannot stop the progression of the disease. As of now there is no cure.

Saturday, May 20, 2023

The one who gave me the Poetry Award...

The one who gave me the poetry award in 8th grade was my favorite teacher.

Of course I had little appreciation for it at the time.  My thoughts at the end of that year were going on to high-school the following & sadly saying goodbye to a good friend who would be attending a private school for high-school. 

The summer of 7th grade I was on my family's back deck doodling in my notebook when I started writing this poem, out of nowhere. It was a bunch of theories pondering life, human existence, questioning the order of things, the passage of time, -timing altogether, pointing out with poetic questioning and rhythmic statements how and why certain occurances were happening with great unfairness, and the meaning of life  altogether. I did not save my first poem into adulthood but did for a long time. I titled it, Why and remember many of the words, what they meant and the day I wrote it that summer. 

I kept the poem in my notebook and in 8th grade decided to pick a writing class as one of my classes to take. One day we were asked to write a poem and the nice thing was I already written one. I read it out out loud, like everyone did theirs. The teacher called me up to her desk when the class was ending and clearing out. She said, "My gosh, Jenny your poem is really adult-like!" I smiled and told her I really wrote it over the summer. She put an A+ on it and said I should keep it because it was my own poem I had written on my spare time. Then we had a short conversation. She encouraged me to try to be less shy with my peers and that she could see that I was a really unique outgoing people person, if I only showed that side more.  Looking back to those  years I don't think I was any of those things. At least not until one single mentor took a few minutes of her time and made me believe in myself. 

The last week of 8th grade in an awards assembly, I was called up by the principal who said "Best Poetry Award" goes to..._ 
I was kind of scared walking up there and accepting the award. I do still have it.

After that year, entering high-school I became more social, someone who had a variety of friends verses one or two close ones,  and discovered a more witty, outgoing me.

I was too young back then to appreciate my 8th grade writing teacher, but I'm sure I must have said "Thanks" while walking out of her classroom that day... I went off to high-school afterwards and never thought of her again.

Until I was a young adult, filling something out with random security questions, etc which were being asked. One of them asked "What was the name of your favorite teacher?" 
My first thought was, I didn't like any of my teachers and don't remember any of their names. When suddenly I remembered, I kind of teared up a minute as I thought, 
"The one who gave me the poetry award..." That was my favorite teacher. 

Friday, May 12, 2023

Dream Record (Clouds & Infinity)

I've always had an interest in dream interpretation and am pretty good at it, even doing so for others. 

I feel that some dreams have purpose and are recalled to try to tell you something, or help you make sense of a situation or various situations in your life which you may need to understand. The kind that you need to record in order to analyze because you know there was a purpose and if you don't say it right then to another person or write it down while it's still fresh, you know you'll forget most of it. That's the kind I'm referring to today.

That being said, before I go on, I do realize that many dreams are simply scrambled up parts of what's happening in your day to day life & mean absolutely nothing at all. Other's aren't recalled at all. Some are slightly recalled but too ridiculous to even reflect on. Others you can't forget, even if you want to, as they may be a  visitation from a departed loved one.  Lucid dreaming is another subject altogether which I won't be writing about- at least not in this entry. Nor will I be writing in this entry about nightmares or night terrors. 

I've decided I'm going to write here,  from time to time mainly about the dreams I have which I feel I'm suppose to remember to help me make sense of something in life or better understand, before I forget them. That way they can be recorded & reflected back on. For anyone reading this blog I understand that may sound extremely boring to you as the reader. And your free to stop reading these particular types of entries. However these will not be the only entries my blog consists of as anyone who may have ever been by here has already seen. And unlike many bloggers I'm not here for the follows, just here to write. So if you enjoy my writings or can relate- read on! :)

I better begin now before I forget last night's. In these random entries I'll try to give my dreams a title of what seemed to stick out most in them.

Clouds & Infinity

I was driving down the main road right next to the side street where my grandparents lived when I was a child. A house & street I practically grew up on in early youth, with so many memories of my grandparents. The best memories of my childhood really. My grandpa lived a long life, just passed away in 2020. My Grandma's life ended tragically when I was 13. They were young grandparents and as a child I felt lucky for that. 

As I began to turn  onto their street in the dream, my car was suddenly driving up a thin wire, towards the sky. For a minute I got scared & took my foot off the gas pedal. I let the car move up the wire on it's own, although holding the steering wheel straight so the car wouldn't fall off the wire. It kept going higher and higher up there & I had a full view of the clouds. They looked beautiful. I slightly released my grip on the steering wheel as it felt so difficult gripping onto it to keep the car straight, I thought with comfort, "my brother died a year ago this June so it will be okay if I go too, at least I'll be with him again." In that thought the car without me holding on to the wheel the pedal or anything took me forward and dropped me off someplace. I was in some woman's house who I had never met before. She had spiritual elements all around her home, but she didn't say anything & neither did I. I just enjoyed the tranquil peace and there was the most beautiful smell coming from her window which was covered in flowers and lilacs & bringing peace into my soul. The next thing I know I'm in my grandparents old home. My aunt, uncle & grandfather were in there. (Aunt & Uncle who are siblings & alive & my grandpa who's home it was but died in 2020.) I started telling my story with excitement about how I had to get up this wire to get there & my uncle laughed & said "Oh you got stuck on the wire huh, that happened to me before too, did you take a pill up there?" I said "no, I would have fallen asleep then the car definitely would have gone off the wire." Then my grandpa started talking to me. (Strange he died June 17th 2020 and my brother, weirdly & unexpectedly died June 17th 2022) My grandpa looked the most clear to me in the dream & told me the wire caught him before too, shrugged his shoulders & said "What are we gonna do about it? We have to be careful." Then we all started laughing, talking,- just a few family members having a good time together. 

I understand my dream now after blogging it here & some of what it meant. Having hope for tomorrow. Me, my beloved grandfather, brother & uncle's similar struggle with depression & the strength it takes to hold on sometimes. How important family is. Faith & trust in the unknown. 

I'm not afraid to die anymore after losing my brother last year. All we can do is have trust in the timing of life, as tomorrow is promised to no one. Ive always feared losing my loved one's to death much more than dying myself. My brother & I helped each other with everything,  including our depression battles. One year ago this month I have a text from him out of nowhere asking "are you ok?" Less than a month later my younger brother who once looked up to me as kids & grew up to be my best friend because we understood each other & our dynamics, family and lives more than anyone- who I had a million inside jokes with that only we understood, was gone. I have yet to bring myself to visit his grave site, start to shake & sob everytime I have drive by that cemetery thinking omg he cant be there. And it becomes a struggle like holding on to the wheel going up the wire, before releasing it and trusting faith in the unknown of what exists beyond our earthly presence. After the loss of my brother & the initial horrible, fresh grieving process, a part of me lost a sort of regular, everyday, usual, almost naive part of my old self that I know I'll never get back in this lifetime again. 

Tuesday, February 7, 2023

Long-time Friends, two Brothers, share same Kind Heart, same Fate

I was sixteen when I met Jason and Adam. Brother's, two years apart in age. Jason sixteen like me,  Adam two years younger, just fourteen at the time. They lived a city or so over and didn't go to my highschool.  A friend I had been hanging out with at the time met them and their friends at the mall and began dating one of the two brother's friends.  

I had an on and off boyfriend at the time, from 8th grade until about a year after we graduated highschool, but since we were so young, etc,  we often broke up and dated others in between these breakups,- which sometimes lasted a couple months or more. I had been hanging out with my friends, and Jason, & Adam's friends a lot by that point and they were all good guys and a lot of fun. We started going to this pool hall/ arcade room on Friday night's that had a jukebox and was a nice place for teenagers to have fun. I'd often have them over with their friends and mine. Since my parents remodeled our basement we turned it into the party place of the house, with a pool table, ping pong table, air hocky and big stereo. I remember playing pool with Adam a lot and neither of us were very good at it but we had fun playing it while listening to music. I found out Jason had a crush on me. It eventually became an off period for my boyfriend and I, and I ended up going to an Aerosmith concert with several of my friends, Jason, Adam and several of their friends. Jason and I sat next to each other at the concert and got kind of cozy. I decided to invite him to my winter formal school dance which was approaching. He went with me. I remember exactly my dress that night and what he wore too. Could be because I still have my photographs from that night. My friend also took one of their friends as her date. I ended up getting a couple extra tickets for some reason and we brought Adam too, who went everywhere with Jason- so it didn't seem right not to bring him. 

This was 11th grade and for some reason, when looking back at those teenage years, I can honestly say without a doubt, this was definitely the most special school dance I had ever gone too. What made it significant, memorable and special? A beautiful song by Journey came on while I was slow dancing with Jason. He looked at me with sparkling eyes on the dance floor and said, "You're the prettiest girl here." I didn't respond but I didn't believe he was being sincere at first either. I looked around at all the other girls and there pretty dresses. Then I looked back at Jason. I realized his eyes never left mine despite my lack of response and me looking around at all the other girls. His sincerity was beyond obvious. 

Needless to say, Jason and I ended up just being friends in the end. But that was great, actually because  we stayed not just friends, but very good friends. The next year Adam and Jason attended my graduation party. They were the only friends from their group of guy friends who did. I have pictures of us on that day. Happy, fun, silly, young pics.  

For some reason these two guys just stuck around in my life,- like we were always just meant to stay friends for some reason. So, moving on into early adulthood, my good friend ended up dating Adam for a very short time but that didn't work out, and neither of us stay in touch with her anymore. Jason had a pretty serious girlfriend which did work out long term. She was really nice and would hang out with us too. My other friends and I would go up to this country line dancing bar that also had a rap bar on the other side, and there they were, on the rap side jammin away. I ran up to Jason once who I saw dancing alone to some pop music and started fast dancing with him randomly while perfectly lipping the song and he laughed so hard and said "Oh my god you seriously know all the words to this!" We both laughed so hard we had to walk off the dance floor. They seemed to have drifted away from their old friend group from highschool and liked hanging out with me, and vise versa. One of them would usually call towards the weekend and ask what's going on this weekend,- what are we doing? Everyone I associated with liked them,- they were always welcome and always the life of the party. And never seperate - where there was one brother you'd always see the other. 

We rang in the New Year, 2000 at my friend's New Years Eve party. It was a really fun night. I have pictures of all of us from that night, smiling and holding up our drinks cheering. One taken of us all,- a caught in the moment kind of picture, taken by someone there. We were unaware the pic was being taken, and every one in it was smiling. Jason must have gotten a copy because many years later I saw it in his old room. That new years eve was the last time I ever saw Jason and Adam together. 

I sent them an invite to my wedding and was really surprised neither of them showed. I hadn't heard from either in a little awhile which was also kind of surprising. I had kept meaning to call them but had gotten a little busy with wedding plans. 

Cell phones were just beginning to come out and I remember I had Adam's for some reason and not Jason's. So finally I did reach out, by text. He replied that Jason had gotten something called Huntington's disease. I asked what that that was. All he said was that it's something fatal and that Jason was  starting to have trouble walking and was falling down a lot and that they didn't know what to do. I attempted to call Adam but he did not answer the phone. By text he said no phone calls because he's too stressed dealing with all this. I asked him if I could have Jason's cell phone number then or if he could give him mine and he didn't reply. For about the next six months or so, I texted Adam periodically to ask how Jason was and to let them know their whole family is in my prayers. I expressed how much I cared, always valued their friendship, had and would always consider them close friends to me.  Still, no response so I figured by that point he had passed my message on to Jason and that Jason did not want to talk either. I resigned myself to the obvious fact that privacy was wished for both my friends during an unbelievably horrible illness. Reluctantly, I went into my contact list and removed Adam's phone number. I decided our friendships were now a memory and a good one. I stayed with Jason through thought and prayers that God wouldn't let him suffer. Sometimes I'd listen to the music we all used to listen to together as teenagers then and having fun. I felt at times that I could catch Jason in thought when listening to that music and praying. Sometimes, I would listen to that Journey song I danced with him to all those years ago when he gave me the best compliment of my life and wondered why I never thanked him for saying the nicest thing anyone in the world had ever said to me. I never forgot my old, best buddies. 

Many years later, in 2020, I got a text from Adam. Apparently he didn't delete me from his contact list. Two words, "Jason died." I knew right away who it was. I said "Adam,- would you like me to call you, so we don't have to talk about something like this via text" It was kinda late at night. He immediatly called me. 

Okay, so he had needed way more years of privicy, than I could even count - but I had researched Huntington's disease thoroughly by that point so I can't say I didn't understand why. And I do believe that friends are friends forever despite any passage of time.  

We got together a few times in 2020. I ended up not just helping him through (well, as much as one can in this type of situation) but sharing some of his grief with him as I knew Jason after spending years with them and had missed him too. We reminisced about the 'good ole days' a lot and seemed very much a like as adults. I did ask him once if he passed my number on to Jason those years ago as I asked, or told him I said hi and was thinking of him. He said he's really sorry but he did not do either. He said Jason likely would have wanted to see me but that he didn't  want me to see or remember his brother that way, so felt it best to disconnect from friends for awhile.  

Adam and I have since reconnected as better, more supportive friends as adults than we ever were when we were younger. Both considering ourselves as a bit of social phobs who suffer from depression and anxiety. We have been texting the last couple years kind of venting our complaints about life and just being each other's friend. We've both expressed how grateful we are that we reconnected after all those years.  After 2020 Adam never wanted to get together in person which was fine, we texted a couple times a week about pretty much everything that was going on and have stayed really good friends. I accepted that he had gotten more anti-social since we met up a couple years ago, for his own reasons. 

Then this past August he texted me the nightmare that changed absolutely everything:

"I think I have Huntington's disease."

I didn't believe him, as he had been texting me coherently  all the time, helping me when I was in  predicaments, caring for an ill, elderly relative by himself and we had so much in common. The only thing different was that we were so close but he had avoided actually getting together since 2020. Apparently I now knew why.  To his initial text I didn't want to believe it. I told him he was probably just having a panic attack or something. He asked me to come over and see if I thought he might look like he had it. When he answered the door he was rigid. His neck was over to one side. I hugged him and he was all skin and bone. I said, "Oh my God is this what's been happening to you?" With tears in his eyes he shook his head yes and told me his older brother, the only one of the three children who apparently did not get Huntington's disease, was moving over there soon to start helping him. He said that brother was the one who told him he had this  and that he wasn't sure he believed him so he wanted to get a second opinion as to whether he looked symptomatic. He looked unrecognizable. 

I was pretty involved with his care plan at first, got him quick to a doctor's who referred him straight to a neurologist. The neurologist gave him medication that really does seem to be helping the symptoms. He has declined a little bit since that day in August. Sometimes he'll revert into sort of an anti-social shell and won't be as talkative as he was before he knew he had this, but I think that's part of the disease progression. 

We still text every few days regularly. I often worry about when/if the time comes that the textes stop coming through from him and hope it's not anytime soon.  He lives at home and is safe and on a routine. 

My friend invites me over more frequently since this diagnoses, and we enjoy each other's company usually staying in the moment and not talking to much about Huntington's disease, unless he wants to. He has allowed me to be there for him, as I wasn't permitted to for Jason. Last week we watched two comedy movies in a row and had some good laughs. It's still odd at times, being around him without Jason being right there. 

Like his brother, Adam has got the same kind heart and genuine sincere words he says that I've never heard anyone say to me before. Each time I ask how he's doing  I get the same reply, -"I'm always happy- when I'm talking to you."  

Huntington's Disease is an inherited condition in which nerve cells in the brain break down over time.
It typically starts in a person's prime working years, most often in their 30s or 40s.

Huntington's disease usually results in progressive movement (chorea)  thinking (cognitive) and psychiatric symptoms.

Drugs, physical therapy, and talk therapy can help manage some symptoms but cannot stop the progression of the disease. As of now there is no cure.

Thursday, February 2, 2023

Small Internet Forum Goes From High- Profile Case Debates- To Timeless, Life-Long Friendships

Hi! My name is Jenny. 

I plan to write many blogs on many topics here but the very first one I thought should be on the History of News, Tunes & Spoons and what in the world that name might mean? 😊 

Going a bit back in time to about 2003, I had an infant daughter and became a bit of a trial junkie so to speak. Was working part time and at home while caring for her, I'd sit glued to these cases on court tv, always having my own outcome in my head, never missing a moment of the live high profile case trials I was so interested in. I had a particular interest in the Scott Peterson Case. Something didn't settle with me in that case. Why was it a death penalty case? Should it be? He has an affair, he lied but did that necessarily make him a murderer? And if it did,- it was circumstantial at best because there was actually never any physical evidence linking him to the crime. The ending verdict as the jury recommended death, bothered me in a way I cannot really explain. It's seemed a fifty fifty chance he did this. He was away for the day, his pregnant wife on a walk in the neighborhood, a burglary taking place right near the time she went missing- yet Scott Peterson seemed the only suspect from the beginning with no other suspects even looked into, because he was having an affair and lying, with no history of violence. So, if convicted on circumstantial evidence it should be a life sentence at best. 

I never thought about my stance on the death penalty until that point but right then and there I had made up my mind that when applied in the United States it's not applied properly. I began researching all the innocent people who had been sentenced to death, especially in Texas, only later to get their conviction overturned due to later DNA testing proving their innocence and it being another perpetrator. I realized only one false execution is one too many! And time held behind bars for wrongly convicted individuals can never be gotten back. I began to get involved with certain organizations such as   

Now, don't get me wrong, if someone is guilty beyond a reasonable doubt of a heinous crime they need to pay the price. I feel that life without the possibility of parole is a suitable punishment, as I have found the death penalty targets those based on race, gender and flimsy evidence at best. The point is jury's often make mistakes. The death penalty when used, in not issued properly nor is it a healing process, for the victims families anyway. It's really based on initial vengeance.

Conclusion of initial Case discussed:

18 years or so later, Scott Peterson's death sentence was overturned due to juror misconduct. He now serves a life sentence and hopes for a new trial.

So, on to the actual events of what brought on News, Tunes & Spoons,- a small Forum I put up in 2010, to continue discussing these high profile cases, and ended with years worth of timeless friendships long distance connections, and heartbreaking devastations. 

In 2006, I reluctantly joined an anti-death penalty forum I had been reading thread discussions on. I had no intention of staying but just wanted to make one comment to this poster who I felt was wrong about some case I was reading. I then kept reading and observed a huge thread by this poster called 'Anna'- a topic she had going about how the death penalty deterred potential murder. I wasn't sure about it, pretty certain I disagreed, but to me, debate was what made the forums thrive & I found her posts were very interesting and entertaining. She had another link on her profile to a forum called Crime Debate. Then suddenly I noticed Anna had been banned from the forum, for voicing her opinions about the death penalty being a deterrence. I didn't that was right at all, to get rid of a poster, over opposing views, so I followed the link in her profile to the forum called Crime Debate, which seemed to allow more debate and joined there. I messaged Anna after I joined and told her that I noticed she had gotten kicked off the last forum and that I thought that was weird. She replied, in appreciation and I decided to stay there with Anna where all views were welcome. Anna and I began to chat fairly regularly in between posting on Crime Debate. She lived in Germany and seemed super nice, was friendly with a humorous personality. Then, this other poster, under another the aliases "Iamjumbo" began to debate me over there in what seemed to be pretty much every area I posted. It was kind of annoying actually. One day he messaged and introduced himself as Jim and said that he hoped I wasn't taking him personally in debate. Jim was from Tennessee and on the forum seemed like a real jerk but via message he was the nicest guy ever. He was an older man close to 70 at the time, a retiree. One day the word got out that this Crime Debate forum was closing, so Anna, Jim and I exchanged emails as we had all become regular chat buddies who had been messaging as friends. 

I knew my 2 online friends and I would miss our debating these cases, the d.p, and such- and after posting awhile on them, had learned my way around the proboards forums a bit. It costed nothing to start one. So I started one, one night- basically on a whim. I wasn't even sure if I could figure it out to be honest. But crazy enough I did! I told Jim first, the next morning by email. Not sure why I told him first. But when he joined, I gave him the title, "1st Member Here" in his profile. Then obviously I told Anna. Jim and Anna interacted with others from forums who they had been posting with for years so the word got out and half of Crime Debate showed up at my new, - "News, Tunes, & Spoons. "

Why News, Tunes & Spoons as a name for a forum for High Profile Cases, Debate, Crime Debate, General News, and Politics? Because I also wanted a nice large music section and something with sentimental meaning attached. Something that would draw people to relaxing areas if they didn't feel like talking News, etc. Which in itself also attracted many members. We would post and listen to music there as well. Jim and I started a Country Music Thread the first week or so the forum existed and it lasted basically the whole forum's run--which was 11 years in total. It was a special thread to me. The Spoons Section consisted of some Inspiration, prayers, Encouraging Quotes and such. Anna started a couple special threads, one titled, "Post Anything Nice and Kind Here," and another titled, "Heavenly Beauty and Positivity"- which has the most beautiful pictures and quotes of all things that looked like Heaven. Another poster who called himself "Les" posted daily Devotions in a prayer section there every day. So, my forum became so much more than a 'crime debate.' 

Every Christmas and my Birthday my forum friend Jim sent me cute little animated E-cards. My daughter would sit on my lap smiling at their animation. I told Jim this, so then for Christmas he didn't forget her anymore and we both got e-cards. Eventually after such trust had been gained, at some point I began to occasionally talk to both Jim and Anna by phone. With Jim it was only for a little while a few times because his girlfriend was overly jealous even though we were just friends. It was funny because he was such a toughie in debates on the forums, often driving posters off,- but on the phone he was this soft spoken, kind man with the most gentle voice, I'll never forget. With Anna and I- it was another story! Once we starting talking on the phone we had more in common than meets the eye. I realized pretty fast however that calls from Germany to the USA and vise versa were not cheap and I added a small international monthly calling plan to my phone. I think she already had one, as she was born and raised in Illinois and most of her family was still there. She never really went into why she left Illinois to relocate to Germany, and I never pushed to ask. But every time we did talk by phone it was hrs. We eventually became very trusting friends. If I was struggling with anything and needed to talk, she'd call me back faster than any local friend. I felt an acceptance from her that I had felt from very few people in my life. She had this quirky, original personality and always made me laugh. Often times, I'd go log into the forum before I went to sleep during those years and we'd catch each other on there. She'd be struggling with insomnia after working weird hrs as a taxi cab driver and we'd wish each other goodnight. I knew at one point that I wouldn't want to have News, Tunes & Spoons without Anna. She never went more than a few days or so and if not a full message she'd send me these thoughtful, kind images,- one in particular that put tears in my eyes, which I saved says,  "Good Morning Friend! God Bless your Life Today and Always! Happy Wednesday!"

I don't really want to go into every detail, but will say, Anna was my rock and I was hers. We were both kind of lonely, feeling misunderstood in life, in our own way, I think. From Germany to the USA- we got each other through a lot and had so many fun conversations. 

Through out the forum's journey, I also by chance ended up making a great local friend I got to meet-  in person who coincidentally joined News, Tunes & Spoons and just happened to be from the Cleveland area like me.

Jim ended up getting lung cancer. I guess you can figure out the rest. He hadn't been on the forum in about six months or so at the ending point and I was aware of his illness. He sent me one last email a week or so before he died- (his passing I learned about on his facebook page.) His last words in the email read "The chemo's not working anymore. Gonna try to start a new kind. Miss ya hon." He wasn't online much anymore at that point, and don't think he ever got to read my reply. 

During his cancer battle and all that, unfortunately, Anna had developed a tumor on her kidney. We were hoping it was benign, but it ended up being malignant. It was removed. I called her in a Germany Hospital after surgery and she was so surprised and happy I called the hospital directly, and with joy I remember her saying to the hospital staff, " WOW, THIS IS MY FRIEND JENNY, FROM OHIO, USA!" 

When the cancer spread further, Anna chose quality of life over chemo. She continued to work, be happy and enjoy every moment of her life, had pure faith and no fear of death. She went on about two years, living happy, worked as long as she could, kept contributing to that beautiful Heavenly Beauty thread on our forum... I tried to talk her into chemo at times because obviously I didn't want to lose my dear friend. She was adamant to live out her life in joy until the end, looked forward to entering a new phase of eternal life. She will always be my inspiration. I miss her advice and that quirky laugh. She always had an answer for everything. Sometimes I still wonder, hmm, what would Anna say, if she were here and I could tell her 'about this or that.' 

The original News, Tunes and Spoons Forum is closed to the public & for posting today, but I have saved it,- always will,- can still open it and look back whenever I want to. And when I do, it's definitely not the debates or high profile cases that I look back on...

I did eventually keep the News, Tunes & Spoons name going over the last couple years or so, after taking a break for awhile & putting the original forum away as a memorial. I started a different, more modernized, interpersonal News_Tunes_Spoons Instagram Page with some of my photography, writing, general inspiration, music related news content, now adding this blog to the page. I'm no longer a 'trial junkie' 😁  don't even follow news headlines like I did let alone have time to keep up with high profile cases. And no longer post on internet forums. 


"What was your last day like?"

I talked to my brother 3 days before he died last June, both of us happy like nothing different was about to occur. We spoke about my daught...