Sittin On A Porch

Sittin On A Porch
Our little back porch

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

This Day

Hey, y'all.

This is Kathleen's friend Mary Moon. I'm typing this on her computer and I suppose you know what that means. Our darling girl died this morning in her own bed with her own beloved man beside her, just as the sun was coming up on the most beautiful day you can imagine here in North Florida. Chilly, clear, gorgeous.
Her husband called me right at eight and I got here as quickly as I could. She was ethereally beautiful in death, just as she was in life. She looked incredibly peaceful and she died peacefully, in her sleep, just as she had hoped to do, in her own bed with her beloved beside her.

She was going to go to Hospice House today, a facility in Tallahassee to finish her journey, but I think she really wanted to die right here in this wonderful house, this comfortable and comforting nest which she and Bug built together with dreams, love, and damn hard work.
It is a HOME, filled with light and art and the dogs and cats. I am so glad she got to take her last breaths here.

I feel like I should say more, I feel like I don't have the words.

Just go back and read her own words that she wrote here.

May we all hold each other in mourning and in celebration. Kathleen's essence is now free and part of this universe. Of course you can't hold and kiss and dance and laugh with essence the way you can with a living person but if anyone could figure that out, it would be Kathleen.
She never wanted to call what she did "battling." She was not about war. She was about love. And I think she loved her life enough to keep on living which is probably why she stayed so long after her diagnosis. Did so much. Loved so much. Lived so much.

She was peace, she was love, she was dancing on the Solstice.
I'm pretty sure she still is.

And she would want me to say that she loved her life, that she was happy, that she was incredibly lucky.

And we are the lucky ones who knew her-  that brilliant, amazing, wickedly funny, busy, wonderful, beautiful, beautiful woman.

Love...Ms. Moon

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Some are Silver and others are Gold

Remember the song we sang in Sunday School?  Make new friends, but keep the is silver and the other is gold....

I looked up to see who was given credit for the song, and apparently no one was given credit.  I always believed in the make new friends and keep the old.  I think that all of my friends throughout my life have also had that same phlosphy in that I have friends from the first months I was born to friends I have made quite recently.  Friends, my favorite way to feel wealthy in your life.  To feel happy and amazing about myself because of the wonderful friends I have in my life.

And even if I do not see my friends, my precious loved ones as often as I would like, they are still my friends.  They are still as amazing as ever, and after a few words to catch up, I feel like I am right there with them like we see each other everyday.

One of these friends is married to a guy, a friend, I graduated from high school.  We were able to catch up at the High School reunion and now on FaceBook.  I just loved this text she sent me the other day and I wanted to share it.  So here it is with approval from Susan (aka Bird) ...........

·         Our paths only crossed briefly, jumping over that dam vaulting box in high school PE, living in the same small town, class reunions...brief in terms of time. I have always been drawn to the light that shines out from you and know that you touch many lives with your humor and joy. Since I can't do as our southern mothers and send a casserole or a homemade cake I'm sending words. You write so beautifully and your post was so moving and honest. This writing is my personal note to my son, nieces and nephews. Sending my love, thoughts and prayers with the words.

People die. Some, for no reason apparent, go out in the boat one evening wrap the anchor line around their waist and slip quietly over the side. Others fight the good fight, armed with chemicals, knives and magic ray guns. Some ride their motorcycles right up to the pearly gates. Everyone dies. Rest assured, the last physical contact your body will have on this planet will be with the undertaker. Life - death. It's everywhere. Adds in the paper today listed under the banner MERCHANDISE: "Crypt. Rare. Desirable location. Asking $7500 or OBO. " Yup, that was the actual add. The next one read. " One rare eye-level crypt." That one was only $5000 so I assume the location was not quite as desirable, even given the fact that you didn't have to bend over or stand on tip-toe to visit with Aunt Betty. So what follows death in the Thursday newspaper? Four tickets to a Queen Latifa concert and two tickets for the Red Sox/Pirates game next Wednesday. That is if you're still alive. Or if your prime location crypt is on eye-level with the stadium. It's all fun and games 'till the ump calls you out. Everyone dies. Some do it a little at a time. Some all at once. Let the air out of the balloon slowly or all at once with the pop of a pin. Either way you have an empty balloon. Like Eyore, Piglet and Pooh you can put it in a clay jar and save it. Place it in a crypt. Either way the balloon is empty. That which made it a "balloon" is gone. All you have left is the shell of a balloon. The memory of a balloon. The memory of Aunt Betty. Everyone dies. Fast or slow. Early or late. We all end up letting the air out of our balloons. We drift away. Blow away. Pop away. We leave. We die. The shell of the balloon is not the balloon. It is not us. The body in the crypt is not us. We all die. But we don't stop being us. The air in the balloon is still air. It is still there. Can't see air. Never could. Never will. The air surrounds us. We breath in and out the air that may once have been in a toy balloon. The miracle escapes us. Souls surround us. They are not gone. Any more than the air is gone when a balloon pops. The air is set free. So too the souls. Everyone dies. Everyone is transformed. Set free. Beautiful. So when I die. (Yes Dear One, I will die. See sentence one.) So when I die please have lots of balloons. Pass them out. Blow them up. Pull the funny rolled necks apart in your hands and make rude farting sounds that make everyone socially uncomfortable at a funeral, that is, until someone laughs. Blow them up and let the air out. Let them fly around the room. That is my sermon. Everyone dies. I died. Someone let the air out of my balloon. I'm free. Don't focus on the left over carcass of a deflated balloon. Open up a window. Blow up a balloon. Life/death. It's just a breath away.

Susan Hunt

See, what a sweet funny writer she is?  And she is as sweet and funny and wonderful a person in real life as she is a writer.  And she and her honey are as in love today as when they married 30 something years ago.  Just love them to death.
I have started taking the neuropathy drugs again to try and get my left leg to work.  It has helped considerably with my leg, but the jumping in my hands and arms are back, so trying to hand write anything, or to hold a book to read or work on the computer are extremely difficult.  I have chosen to cut back on the meds myself, but I do not notice much improvement yet.  This is also the drug that makes me feel sick, but again, still not feeling any better. 
You know I don't know if I feel sick because of a flu, the drugs, or is this how you feel when you have cancer?  I have never died from cancer before, so maybe this is how you are supposed to feel.  But I just keep trying to do my best.  I am sleeping a bit better in that I have gotten used to sleeping by myself upstairs in the guest room.  Bug sleeps better at night not having to listen to me getting sick, and I sleep better while he cries out in pain in his sleep.  Oh yeah, this is quite a "happy" place, not.  But at least we are still laughing at each other, or with each other.  Well, we are still laughing.
I had the most wonderful treat yesterday.  Ms Moon came by to read to me.  She had asked a couple of days earlier and I knew immediately what I wanted to hear.  Reading is hard lately.  Writing is hard, I don't know if my brain is not working or what, but letters and words and my eyes and mind do not seem to all be working in the right sequence.  I don't know how to describe it.  I have headaches and my eyes, brain, hands, mind seem to be misfiring.  Is this a flu?  Is this cancer invading my brain?  Is this simply being tired?  I have no idea, and honestly what difference does it matter?
When I was a child I loved when the teachers or librarians or travelling performers would do flannel boards, or puppets or play the auto harp or read to us.  When I was still fairly young, Lauri Jo's Mother read us all the classics, Winnie the Pooh, Little Bear, The Cowboy, Mary Poppins, Pollyanna, The Five little Peppers and on and on.  That was my favorite time of day.  I would sit so very quiet and just take it all in.  Ms Moon read an essay by Loren Eiseley, The Flow of the River.  It is my favorite essasy from The Immense Journey a collection of some of his essays.  My friend Sarah introduced me to Loren Eiseley.
We talked for a little while and she did not stay long because I grew tired so quickly, but it was as wonderful as I had imagined over the past few days.  I tried to tell her about another one of my favorite writers.  He is a physicist by the name of Richard Feynman.  I could not remember his name to save me yesterday.  His essays on physics are extraordinary.  His life is overflowing, but that is mostly because he lived it to the fullest.  When he was growing up he and his Dad were stamp collectors.  His Dad had received a stamp from Tuva and it became a sort of crusade to find the country this stamp had come from.  To learn more about Richard Feynman  click on that link.  He was also a beat nick and co wrote the music for a ballet only using bongo drums.  We also talked about chickens and her children and grandchildren, and here I include all her children and grandchildren including to name a few, Billy, Shayla and Waylon.  It was a lovely visit and again reminded me how very very lucky/gifted/blessed I am for all the amazing people in my life.
I was first introduced to Feynman by a PBS show.
My honey does so much for me.  I walk across the room and I am winded.  Will I get better?  I have know idea.  Am I heading downhill?  I don't know.  I sit and crochet, read as I can, talk with friends when I can.  I wake each morning sick to my stomach, out of breath and generally feeling crummy.  But by the time I have gotten some food and meds in my tummy I am ready to live my day.  Forgive myself a little more for the crimes blaring in my mind, celebrate those friends that pop into my mind, sit and try not to be too much for my honey.  I try and crochet so I feel like I accomplish something.  This is not what I would really call what I do living, but it is what I am able to do, so it is as much life as I have to give.  I try and take a nap during the day so that I can spend some time in the evening with my honey before I go back to bed.  As I lay down in my little nest I try and count my blessings.  For a life that fills so little lived, I still have so many blessings/gifts/joy.
I had written a please let me rest, but it came out more as a good by, I am dying.  That was not my intention, but I notice I am not quite in tuned with how everyday people thinking.  I will include it here at some point, or parts of it.  Maybe when I need a good by, but not yet.
This is my life now. 
No complaints, just never what I thought it would be.
But I am still here, and when my time is done, I shall smile and leave with a "no regrets" and with nothing by thank you for a happy life.

Friday, December 5, 2014

We are a team

The Monday before Thanksgiving, my fairy god children came for a visit.

Jim, Pig, Me, Bob and Annie
Aren't they beautiful?  I have loved these two people since they were born.  But when Jim was nine years old they moved to CT, and it has only been the last several years that I have been able to have them back in my arms to hug.  Jim says he really doesn't remember a lot of me, but he remembered he loved me.  Well, if that is the only thing someone remembers you, that is a pretty amazing thing to remember.

They got here late Saturday afternoon and were back on their way to Atlanta the next morning.  Before they left they were able to take a swamp walk with their fairy uncle Bug and I am not sure who had the most fun.  Seriously, these are great people.  Now I would have been grateful for fifteen minutes of a visit, and I received so much more.

The next day my older brother, his wife, JongAe and their daughter Jessica got here after I had laid down to sleep.  I woke to the exuberance of my 11 year old niece.  She is happy, joyful, energetic, sweet and loving.  They brought the first ideas for the coloring book.  The drawings were better than I could have imagined.  I am hoping that she can have the final drawings done by Christmas.  I would really like to see her accomplish this goal for both of us.

Our Hospice dinner which had arrived Tuesday was delicious.  We pulled the turkey and all the other goodies out Thursday morning and followed the instructions and the rest of the day was spent eating and watching The Macy's Parade and then football.  I tired easily and laid down as the family started watching my copy of Mr. Peabody (thank you Marty and Shelia).  Rob and JongAe took one of Bug's swamp tours and with all the rain, it was swampy, swampy.  Friday the family went to visit friends in GA, and Bug and I watched football and I napped.  I love having my family around.  My big brother and I continue to be closer each year.  Yet, as they were saying they would try and make it up next month I realized what I needed to do.  I go and go then I drop and my honey pulls me back together.  Then I rest and repeat cycle.  I love my brother, and all the dear and precious friends I have made over this life time, I realized how selfish I was being.  Sure, just go and do whatever I want and let someone else put me back together. 

Let's be honest, I have not recovered since the house warming party the end of October.  My body is wearing out fast.  My breathing is labored more often and a little slower.  I am not the person I was one month ago.

I have had the best Thanksgiving ever, but no dessert.  That was provided, on Saturday, before the UF/FSU.  My best friend since second grade, Jennifer and her precious husband, that she met when we were at UF came for a very short visit.  So very grateful to this man, who had just spent Thanksgiving with his family, and was willing to make this detour off to our place.  Rodney's Mother is fighting liver cancel.  She looks like she may have a very good chance here, and fighting is the word her family uses.  I do not choose to fight, not because the type of cancer I was diagnosed with is not curable, but because it is not me to fight.  Jennifer has my same quirky sense of humor and I love her for that sense of humor.  Most of my humor comes from my Dad.  The apple did not fall far from the tree with Jen also.  She lost her Dad suddenly what seems like forever ago.  She and her Dad were so very close.  She is also close with her Mom and still gets to enjoy time with her today.  Jennifer asked me to give her Dad a hug and she will look forward to seeing us both in heaven.  It took me a minute on how to answer, but then I did promise here that I would certainly give her Dad a big hug and she would be able to find us as we laughed.  Her Dad used to always say, "It is hard to be humble when you are as pretty as I am."  Then he would give you that smile of his.  That pixie smile with sparkling eyes and not what is expected on a banker.

Jennifer cried openly with Rodney supporting her as they left.  They were here such a short time.  Jennifer and I spent so much time as childhood friends who grow into a life long friendship.  But the same as with my fairy god children, I shed no tears.  Is this the last time I may ever see these beloved people in my life?  Probably, but instead of tearing eyes that blur the lines of loss, I smile because I can only remember joy, love and happiness with these people.  This is not the last time I will be thankful for memories and moments that will become memories of so very many people.

Tuesday Hospice came by and wouldn't you know it, I still have a fever over 101.  Okay, that might explain why I have not had any appetite for the last week or so.  Also I can barely keep my eyes open.  I did have a pretty busy month or two.  The difference is that now, I am willing to stay in bed and to keep resting.  Yep, you heard it right.  I am happy to sit back and take it easily.

One of my friends asked what I was doing these days.  I told her that I was reading and crocheting and napping.  She sounded surprise and asked if I was okay with that.  I amazed myself, but yes, truthfully, I am okay.  Will I get my energy back?  I don't know, and I am even okay with that.  I thought I would not change, that I could not change.  Instead I have no idea what will happen, or if anything will happen.  I just know that I am happy with my life.  I am happy with what I have accomplished and who I have become.  I am not perfect.  I have hurt so many people with my selfishness and ignorance of other people's feeling.  But I understand that I am trying to be the best I can, and this is what that life has gifted me.  I am so very grateful.

The weather has been warm for this past week, but I have not been able to go outside and even just sit and enjoy the temperature because my left leg has been so difficult.  It is a little better and now the temperatures are getting to head south again.  Meanwhile my honey has been diagnosed with shingles.  Oh dear.  This is seriously bad.  He is in as much pain as a person can handle with out blowing up.  We are both just us a mess.  But in a funny way, as we each deal with raw nerves, viruses and then each of us have our own very special something, it is helping us to see the strength in the other, and I just love him more for this. 

We are not able to take care of each other like we really need to, but today Jack and Jan picked up my meds and each person I have talked to is begging us to let them help us.  I say, "baby steps"  I am working on it.  I love my friends and their help, but it just might take a little more time for me to be comfortable asking for help.  I am getting better at it.  Really.

And so even our team may have take a big hit, we are still holding tight to each other and ever so grateful for everything, even these diseases that are teaching us both to let go,  Just a little, but let go.  

I am upstairs now.  I can not move back and forth, and it seems right now that I can be less work from up here. 
Thank you all for your sweet words and blessings.
I hope your birthday was wonderful Debbie C.
I am sure that by next week, I might even be ready to take my crocheting outside to the patio.  Maybe.  If not, I am sure that I will be happy wherever I am.  

Friday, November 21, 2014

Thanksgiving is on its way

I have not been up al night sick for three nights in a row.  I have managed for the most part to sleep through the night.  I have to say that Tuesday scared me.  If I ate I could not keep it in my stomach.  If I did not eat I lost weight and got weaker.  My body was in total control.  No matter what I did worked.  My body revolted at sipping water, laying down, sitting up, walking, eating, thinking of eating, it didn't matter.  I felt out of control of my own body.  I don't like that feeling, never have. 

Bug has been fighting this flu-ish thing, but felt better Tuesday afternoon and drove up to the commissary.  I stayed home, resting, reading, sleeping, simply existing.  Panic was rising in my already nervous stomach.  What was I going to do?  Hospice was here on Tuesday and they could see that I had lost weight and was not doing well.  They took their time and tried hard to find anyway they could to help me get through this stupid stomach bug.  They also offered to bring Thanksgiving dinner to us.  My older brother and his family and I have celebrated Thanksgiving together I think almost since my Mother died.  We had always gone camping on Thanksgiving but as we got married and families got busier traditions changed.  After Mother, Daddy, Rob and I blended our families and friends still retaining the traditional turkey menu.  I appreciate that Rob still makes that drive up here.  This year he had volunteered that instead of the traditional turkey dinner, the important part was being together, not all the stress of buying, thawing and cooking a giant meal.  Bug and I talked about it, and appreciated their offer, but we wanted the turkey.  I mean this is a huge football weekend.  Nothing goes better with a long football weekend than left over turkey.  I do love a good turkey sandwich, with cranberry sauce on top giving you that sweet, salty, savoring, oh, I am drooling.

I thanked the sweet precious ladies from Hospice, but explained family coming, etc.  They reminded me that Hospice is here for the entire family.  They also said that they would deliver the dinner on Tuesday.  How perfect.  Those of you who have known me for so long know I am not good at accepting help.  I always worry about those people who have it harder than I do.  After they left as I wallowed in my misery I thought about how with me denying the assistance I was not just affecting me, but Bug and my family.  I will not be able to sit back and let them do everything.  I will be difficult to deal with, and will wear myself out so much that if I get over this stupid bug thing I will already be weaker and this could really affect me.  I thought about how letting others do for you sometimes is the greater gift you can give back to them.  I know I love to do things for other people, how selfish to only think that I am the giver.  So I called Hospice and told them that I had changed my mind, and how much I appreciated this gift, and what did I have to do.  They said they had the information they needed and a nurse would be delivering the turkeys with some sides and a pie on Tuesday.  Perfect, that gives me time to know what else needs to be added to give us our traditional dishes.  I am humbled by all the gifts I have been given in this life.  Ms Moon and Jessie just went to Apalachicola and Ms Moon brought me back the most beautiful blue crystal earrings from River lily.  They look like fairy earrings.  Like a drop of dew sparkling off a pale blue bell.  Gifts, so many gifts.  I am awed by the kindness of so many people.  I am proud of myself for trying to receive better. 

Bug got home from the commissary Tuesday evening.  He was exhausted, and had not eaten since that morning, same as me.  But where I expended very little energy, he pushed a giant cart overflowing through all the aisles.  Bless his heart he looked as bad as I felt when he finally got home.  I was too weak to make either of us anything to eat, but he heated up soup and made me a bowl of cornflakes with banana.  I have no idea why I wanted to eat that, but it seemed like a simple thing to make and at that point, it really didn't seem to matter what I did, nothing was working.  I have to say that first bite of banana and cornflake tasted like heaven.  I ate slowly, enjoying every bite.  And it stayed down.  It stayed with me.  I nibbled at a digestive biscuit and a few slices of apple.  It all stayed down!!

Wednesday I woke feeling better than I had for over a week.  I got up and ate a healthy breakfast prepared by my honey.  I ate small amounts a couple of times a day.  It was working.  I did not get up and go.  I did not start doing everything.  I kept my bottom in bed or a chair the entire day.  Thursday, I can not say that I felt as well as Wednesday, but the food was staying with me.  I had made it again.  This drama of a life I have is wearing on me.  It is hard to constantly think, ok, this is it.  It is hard to pretend I don't feel that way.  This is my life, and honestly the dramatic scary moments are much fewer than the happy moments.  The moments laughing with a friend, sitting on my honey's lap falling asleep.  Moments like looking outside and seeing the beautiful blue sky, a perfect background for the layers of trees expanding out from the house in all directions. 

I know my friends are tired of hearing me whine, "this is it!", "I don't know how much longer I have".....  I am sorry, that is what my life feels like.  Waiting for the other shoe to drop.  Do I want to die?  No, that is not the question.  The question is more how much longer can I live with this roller coaster ride of joy and despair.  Not despair about dying, but about feeling sick.  I have had to hold my sweetie so many times reminding him that we only have now.  No tears, no anger or frustration.  Let us enjoy this time we have and let us celebrate it.  Easier said by the person who will not be left behind.  I hurt having to remind him that if I need extra attention, call Hospice, not 911.  The despair in his deep brown eyes almost make me want to look away. 

I am sorry for all the complaints of how hard my life is.  It is not.  It is a gift to wake up to my sweetie's face, my dogs joy at seeing me for the first thing in the morning.  To look out over this beautiful land.  I have so much.

So today is Friday, and I am still sticking to my keep your self seated.  I can crochet, I can read.  I can do a couple of things, but the point is, not over do it.  Yes, this is still me.  The queen of too much, yes, and please understand that I am not claiming to be a changed woman.  Monday my fairy god children are coming for almost 24 hours.  Wednesday, my brother and his family will be there for almost four days.  Yes, I understand that this does not seem fair to my friends here who have been very patient about not getting to spend as much time with me that they would like.  But I have thought through what this can do to my health, and all I can say, is as much as I love you all.  I need this time with my fairy god children and my brother and family.  I need all of you also, but this is important enough for me to spend days resting, sleeping, trying to build up.  I know after this I will be worn out, and I will try as best I can to stop and rest again so that I can see those of you that I have not seen lately.  I can not feel guilty because I want to spend time with my family.

Sunday at the Opera House the Flamingo's will be playing.  I would so love to go see them.  But if it wears me out just to have a friend stop by for half an hour, how do I think I can spend a couple hours out in public.  To have taken all this time to rest, only to possibly throw it away by going out to an event.  No, I am going to try and be smart here.  maybe

Less than a week to Thanksgiving, just a weekend away from my kids.  Oh joy, oh happiness, oh wonderful life.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Artic Vortex and the stupid stomach bug

Thank you Kim, you are right, it is a stupid stomach bug.  And it just keeps hanging on and hanging on and.........  No one likes getting the stomach bug, but this is not the full all out flu.  I am really only dealing with digestive issues.  My sweet honey has somehow ended up with the rest of the symptoms.  I think that is so sweet that he would do this for me.  Of course he didn't volunteer for this anymore than I did.  He has the hurt all over, headache, fever, just feels crumby.  I get the night sweats, which should be referred to as the sleep sweats.  Anytime I go to sleep I sweat like a horse.  But honestly I have been sweating like this since started the pain med.  On the positive side, it does do wonders with the pain, helps my breathing and overall make life as close to normal as possible.  But besides the sleep sweats, it is also responsible for a lot of my digestive issues.  Oh well, it is all about balance, moderation.  And no, I still have plenty of room for improvement there.  I have also noticed that each day that I think I am feeling better and get up and do something, the night doesn't go well.  I don't sleep, my digestive issues flare up and the cycle spins around again. 

It is hard on your system every day or two to vomit past the bile into dry heaves or have cramps until you clear your system in the other direction.  How do people with crones and other digestive issues do this?  Bless their hearts.  Honestly, when I am dealing with one of those issues, that is how I get through it.  I think of friends and family with these serious issues and count my blessings.  My last great idea which kicked my stomach bug back in full gear was instantly to go to JoAnn's to use my coupon to buy even more yarn.  I bought enough to make 5 more afghans and some skeins to finish a couple other projects.  It was the day when the rain came through.

It was still "warm" and the line ahead of the latest vortex ran through here.  West of here Holmes County got hit pretty bad with a tornado in that same line.  The weather people were so excited to have footage of up turned trucks and cars and trees/telephone poles fallen over.  The weather people do seem very concerned for those hurt by the storms, but still excited to have something almost as important as football this time of year.

We did not have any power outages at our place rain.  Beautiful nectar from the gray sky.  The trees danced, the branches waving in time with the song of raindrops as they quenched their thirst from the short dry spell.  Normally we don't drive into Tallahassee in the rain.  We are retired so we can pretty much pick and choose our days in the big city.  But I needed to get the rest of the yarn and I had a coupon.  Plus we knew that behind that beautiful rain was cold weather.  Rain, I love.  Have I ever mentioned how much I do not like the cold?  When we got into craft store I stayed focused.  Bug kept looking down the aisles and calling out projects he knows I love, but I knew better than to let my mind wander.  I needed to focus on the yarn.  I was thrilled to see the particular yarn I wanted was almost half off, before the coupon.  I might have gone a little crazy on the yarn, but I really do enjoy crocheting, and it is a wonderful hobby when you are locked inside with an artic vortex.  Hey!  It was down to 22 in Monticello this morning.  Our high is the low 40s.  That is below 70.  I am not tempted at all to do more than look out the window.  It only took me about 15 minutes to get my yarn and head up to the cash registers.  They still had the barriers to line customers up with a minimal of problems.  You would not believe how aggressive crafters can get with a good sale and coupons!.  It took about 20 minutes to get through the line.  There were 3 of us.  I have to say that the young man working the register was very patient and helpful, but for those waiting there was a lot of foot stamping and hrmmmpphing.  Well until it was their turn.  Just that much wore my sorry but out.  Bug asked me if I wanted to go to lunch and I was not hungry and didn't really feel well.  He was worried that I was not eating enough so finally suggested some soup at Panera.  That didn't go well, and another night of digestive issues followed and you could literally watch the weight disappear from me.  Maybe I could offer myself for skin graphs.  Heaven knows I have plenty of extra these days.  Sorry, TMI.

When we left to head into town we tried to drop a package into the FedEx box.  The plastic envelope got wet from the rain, the FedEx box was wet and I could not get the package to slide down into the drop area.  Even with my orangutan arms I could not reach down far enough to show it in.  I was getting frustrated, and coming off a bad grumpy period and so I slammed my finger in the box.  My cancer is in my pulmonary system, lymph nodes and bone, but my nerves are so very super sensitive.  They have taken it personal and anything affecting my nerves in anyway is magnified out of reasonableness.  My finger throbbed and sent nasty messages to my brain all the way into town.  I feel so silly, but life on your last nerve can be a challenge.  Sound, smells, light were all intensified by this simple little hit on my finger.  Oh, and of course, my digestive system did not care for that either. 

Hospice came by for their weekly visit and were a bit taken back how much I had physically gone downhill.  I would have to say in the last say 10 days I have probably eaten five of them.  Most of that was toast from Ms Moon's wonderful blue potato whole grain bread.  It is so good.  Bug knows if I haven't eaten he can always tempt me with a piece of Moon toast.  I was able to eat one piece of toast after the finger incident that evening.   We brought my lunch home and Bug enjoyed it for dinner.  The toast did not make it through the night, but at least I had something in my stomach.  Finally around noon yesterday I was able to eat some biscuit with cheese.  I sipped water all day.  I do not want to dehydrate, and at this point I really can't afford to get any weaker.  This is just the end of fall, not even winter yet, and the cold wears on me.  I don't need to get so weak that it is a simply stomach issues that takes me out. 

Bug had pulled on his boots and headed up to Valdosta to the commissary at Moody AFB.  We try and buy most of our canned and dried goods there because they are often 50% off a normal grocery, sometimes more.  Fresh food really isn't any cheaper or better, so we buy local for those, but it is a great help to be able every couple of months to load up on cans and dried products.  By the time he got home he looked pretty pooped out and beaten down.  I was in no better shape having not eaten, neither had he.  He had some of Ms Moon's soup.  I had a bowl of cornflakes with banana.  Not what I normally would ask for, but it just sounded good.  Oh, and it was delicious.  The best bowl of corn flakes I think I have ever tasted.  Then I ate a few slices of apple, then a digestive biscuit, which is simply a not very sweet cookie common in Europe.  Pretty bland, but perfect for my tummy.  But that was a lot of food and I was miserable, but I could tell that it was exactly what I needed to stop the cycle of decline.  I was starting to get nervous.  But this morning I woke up this morning with a cup of decaffeinated Earl Grey and cinnamon buns.  All compliments of my sweetie.  I feel better than him now.  He is sleeping on the couch.  The trip had taken a big toll on him.  Not falling for my normal routine, I am sitting right here on my slider and spending the day crocheting.  Maybe I can feel up to fixing us something to eat later.  Like heat up some more of Ms Moon's soup.  We freeze it 2 serving sizes so we have it at a moment's heating.  Her love just keeps on giving and giving.

The raccoons have struck our chickens.  We lost John C and Rose.  I feel like the worst mother in the entire world.  Ms Moon has her original rooster.  Elvis is doing just fine and is a wonderful rooster.  I am not able to seem to build a secure enough coop.  We know it was not Edna because the chickens were outside of her fenced area.  Also my honey's camera showed us the culprits.  So he will get a trap and rethink this coop before we get our spring flock.  If I have the heart to once again.  I can't imagine my life without chickens.  Our ducks are wonderful, and I love them dearly, but they are not chickens.  That must be why they call them ducks, not chickens.  hee hee

To try and wrap this up on a positive note.  I spilt my bottle of the gabapentin that I take for the neuropathy.  I was getting so bad that typing on the computer was hard, but hand writing was almost impossible.  We had tried increasing the dosage and it just seemed to get worst not better.  I was off it a couple of days because of spilling them and then being sick and not wanting to take any medicine when I was having my digestive issues.  I finally got my new bottle, but I had noticed that a lot of my neuropathy issues were not so bad.  I have been like 2 weeks now off the med, and I can not feel my feet, my hands still fall asleep and I have some minor twitching, but it is like a million times better.  I looked at the side effects.  Jerking is the second most common side effect.  This med is for nerve issues.  It is just crazy.  I have since gone back and relooked at all my meds and I am adjusting back to see really how much I need.  It is so easy to just take the meds and not really think about it.  There can be so many, and the nurses and doctors are trying as hard as they can, but ultimately it is up to me to figure out what works and what doesn't.

The sun is shining, the sky if that deep blue of fall.  Most of the beautiful autumn leaves are gone with the rain and the freeze.  From my perch upstairs the world is gorgeous.  The heater is slowly humming keeping the house a toasty 70 degrees.  Even wrapping up in warm clothes and blankets, keeping the temperature any lower seems to effect me in a negative way.  So, 70 degrees during the day, 68 at night.  My little r2d2 air shushing machine keeps the bedroom more than warm enough for me with my sleep sweats.

So a lazy group here today.  Lunch will be bananas and strawberries with yogurt.  Hopefully that will help my tummy as much as it will make my taste bugs happy.  So very sorry for all of you north of us dealing with those crazy temps and snow.  We suffer with you, not nearly a much, but for us, this is quite unpleasant.  A little early for this kind of cold, but no one asked us.  Here's hoping you are safe and warm. 

Saturday, November 15, 2014

words, weather and war

Syd, is was so good to hear from you.  You have been on my mind lately.  To lose a loved one is hard.  To lose a dear friend who has been with you through so very much in your lives.  Important moments, moments filled with small breaths that touch our hearts, and then to no longer have them at the end of the pone line.  Even though we know that the choices others make about their lives is for them to make, it seems to just make it that much harder on those left behind in the same world, but without them.  You know I appreciate your comments, but more, I appreciate you, and if I should never hear from you again, I would still think of you the same, and just wish you love.  But you do comment at times, and they are small gifts to receive.  Unexpected but loved.

And while I am referring to comments.  Thank you all.  I do not write for comments.  But to have fellow writers respond makes such a difference.  The person who was familiar with PEI, thank you for your comment.  PEI and the Canadian Maritimes are some of my most very favorite place in the world.  In the summer of course.  A couple of my most favorite meals ever, lobster longer than the length of a Coleman double burner camp stove bought in the fist house just under the bridge at PEI, and our only meal out we ate steamed mussels for an appetizer and a mussels marinara and a seafood stew overflowing with mussels.  I don't remember where we where, but I am pretty sure it was in Nova Scotia. 

I look outside the big bright windows and see a glory of color.  I do not walk outside and photograph it.  Any temperature below 70 is more uncomfortable each year.  My friend Kim lives in a cabin with her honey and kitty in NC just a spit from TN.  She said it was 17 degrees.  Bless her heart.  People are always trying to explain to me that you can feel the difference between say 20 and -20.  They don't seem to understand that when you grew up someplace that rarely has ever been 20, that no, I can not truly feel the difference.  Once you get below freezing, but to be totally clear, the only way it feels colder is if I should spend more than a few seconds in the cold.  This is all silly for me to even argue.  I have no more intention of going anywhere near freezing in the winter.  I don't like the cold.  I can get an idea of the beauty of the winter in the north from TV.  I have a very vivid imagination and I assure I understand that beauty.  I realize that up in north in the mountains the vistas of the change of leaves was breathtaking.  I have seen the change in probably half a dozen states before I wised up and realized that you can travel in the warm weather and still see beauty, just a different beauty.

But this, our first year in our new home has revealed so many glorious surprises.  The oak tree at the corner of our parking lot has Virginia creeper growing up along the trunk and out throughout some of the branches.  We didn't notice it before, but now there is a slash of red leaves snuggled up in that oak.  Just behind it are a couple of maples of red, wine, and gold.  Their leaves continue to hang on tight without loss of brilliance or leaf drop from freezes.  Everywhere I look on our property and the trees surrounding it are blazes of color against the deep dark green of the pine, oak and magnolia.  Each crepe myrtle took their turn from green to orange to deep red before dropping their leaves and the next in line trying to over due the last tree.  Now here is a secret, please do not share this with people up north, but y'all are getting ready to have lots of dead looking trees scattered through the conifers.  Here in Florida?  Once our showing leaves have dropped and are working their way into leaf mulch, we will still have lots and lots of green.  Oh, and no white to speak of.  I am so happy for the Maniacs and the Canadians and Mid westerners, the Plains, North westerners, and well, everyone who lives north of Florida for loving winter and the north.  It is crowded here, there are lots of insects, the size of VWs, humidity and people who talk funny, so just stay there.  We will handle the gators and the swamps, you try and hold off these Artic Vortexes.

Oh and Weather Channel, could you quit naming winter storms after actual names of places.  With the meds I take it is so confusing to hear that "Bozeman is on the move".  It does catch my ear, but so confusing.  Thank you for your consideration, and please ask the committee coming up with these names to be a little more considerate of us who might be a little challenged.

I had said that I respect each person for their individual beliefs.  I can't say that I don't believe in war.  That is like saying I don't like cold, so I refuse to believe in it.  But as a tree hugging, bleeding heart liberal, I have made a commitment to respect to each and every person's beliefs.  I have always found it hard to swallow when an extreme liberal turns on an extreme conservative.  I have never ever been convinced that war is right.  Hatred of any kind is simply wrong to me.  And of course I can see how it would be easy to say that war is wrong therefore I can be closed minded and look down on those who consider it an option.  No, I will not do that.  How am I any better than they are?  Well, first off I am not promoting to kill them, but it seems like to end war, is to teach love and understanding.  To listen, and hear what they say.  Not to agree or condone, but to give them the respect to listen to them.  No one has ever changed my mind about any war.  But protecting your loved ones is a natural instinct to most.  Someone slapping me, I can turn and walk away.  Someone slapping or threatening to slap my loved one, does come with more extreme emotions.  But to hate, kill, force my beliefs on others, are wrong, and it seems to me, that all of those things are found in war.  And to repeat a common phrase from my youth, "War, what is it good for?  Absolutely nothing!"  But maybe one way to maybe some day end war, would be to listen to all of the opinions.  Maybe that way we can find a way to show them that War, what is it good for?  Absolutely nothing!    Thank you all for your opinions.  It is nice to hear people think like me about war.  It helps me to try and be tolerant of those with different opinions.

I finished Animal Dreams by Barbara Kingsolver.  This is only the third one of her books I have read.  I am still looking forward to the Poisonwood Bible and the Bean Tree.  Although I feel like I have read the Bean Tree, I am not sure, and her writing is worth reading more than once.  Her research and story lines are quite enjoyable, but it is her ability to take letters from the alphabet, turn them into sentences and thoughts.  I am feeling a little better each day.  Not big better, just little better, and I have to say I wept through so much of it.  My eyes eagerly ate up the medical talk.  My Dad loved anatomy and had wanted to be a doctor.  I bought him a Gray's Anatomy and he loved to read it and then show me what he had been reading and we would discuss it.  There was also a fascinating story line about driving trains.  Some writers, like Loren Eisley just connect with me.  I found myself when reading Animal Dreams stopping and rereading sentences.  Touching the words like they were objects.  There are probably a dozen writers that I related like this. 

It is the same with plays.  Some plays you can be very flexible with the dialogue.  Others, the language is so beautiful that it is criminal not to speak it like it is written.    Words, can soothe the soul or challenge you.  They can insight violence or bring understanding.  Some languages words sound like song.  So many books and authors that I have stopped and reread passages, not out of lack of understanding, but out of sheer beauty.  Some of my most precious beloved friends are masters of words.  Many of you read Ms Moon's blog so you know her ability to cause someone to throw their head back laughing, brwwwwhahahahaha.  Or words to brighten our eyes with tears.  My friend Kim (the one in 17 degrees) writes for her local newspaper.  Her research is impeccable, but it is her writing that got the paper to find her and offer her a position.  

I love music and all types of expression of art.  I admire those with the gift to share these.  Beautiful writing gives me the same joy.  I am back on a short Western novel by an author I have never read.  It is another one of the books that Dad gave me when he and Mom moved back to CA.  I just found my copy of Inkdeath by CC Funke.  A set of three books about words.  Such a fun series.

Half time is over and UF is tied with SC.  Time to get back to crocheting and watching football.  Oh, our hot water heater went out last night while I was washing my hair.  Bug has turned on the power and hot water heater in the 5th wheel so we have a back up.  He is so smart my honey.  I am finally over the weepiness of the stomach flu, and yesterday I was grumpy.  I was the queen of grump.  But after eating Ms Moon's soup, bread and pineapple upside cake I am no longer grumpy.  I still feel weak and my stomach is being very difficult, but the love Ms Moon put into the food has helped.  That woman can cook.  And she does it with such love and care that a sip of her soup, or a bite of her bread warm with melted butter, maybe some Montana honey, and all grumpiness just melts away.

Tonight is the FSU game with U of Miami.  We will be watching at home, where it is warm, the beer is cold and close at hand and Ms Moon's food is even better today.  Especially the French toast my honey made for me this morning.  I think I am going to warm the rest of my serving and enjoy.  Go Gators   

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Feeling so much better, or maybe not

I slept better last night, but by midday I was so weak and worn out I just wanted to lay down.  So I did.  I can be very practical at times.  Not often, but sometimes.   Even laying down was taking way too much energy.  I know I had not been well for a couple of days before I figured out that I was sick, but really I was only sick sick for 24 hours.  I haven't eaten that much for the last few days, but the only reason I could be this weak and exhausted is that I am not well yet.

I slept for most of the night but around 4 am I woke and the smell of the bed was starting to make me sick.  It had that gross sweaty, sweet, dirty smell.  I had been so tired last night I just fell in bed and was instantly asleep.  With the little c my nerves play terrible tricks on me.  Loud noises can be painful, smells can be so strong, so loud that it will make me sick.  And this morning the smell was so very loud.  Around 7am I had stood in the shower and soaped up with  my lovely new calendula soap.  I let the soap sit on me then rinsed and sniffed.  I was in the shower for almost 20 minutes before I could get the smell off me.  As soon as I walked in the bedroom I was assaulted again by the smell of the bed.  I wrapped up in the most neutral smelling sheet and managed to get about another hour sleep.  As soon as Bug woke we stripped the bed and I washed everything down to the mattress.  Anything that could be washed.  Anything that could be bleached was.  I even put a little baking soda in the water that had colored clothes in it also to try and neutralize the stench I had sweated out of my body. 

Bug took me out to breakfast and I ate like a starving woman.  Of course I ate more than my stomach was happy.  But I felt so much better than the last couple of days.  That didn't last any longer than the drive home, but it was delicious as I ate it.

Today was George's visitation.  Ms Moon called to see if I was going.  I could do this visitation with Ms Moon by my side, but the last thing I wanted to do was spread this whatever, especially to his wife.  They did have 7 hours of visitation but I knew Linda would only be there for the first hour or so.  It is just too much for her.  It is such a hard thing to lose a best friend, lover, spouse.  I know I spend a lot of time thinking about this, and really, what can be done.  I worry about my sweet honey and how he will handle things when I am gone, but I keep coming up with the same answer.  Nothing, just love him now, and know that he will have to take it from there.

Normally when I hear about a death my first reaction is what to bake.  Fortunately I was not well enough to make anything.  So at least I am not spreading this to more people.  The Opera House Board has stepped up and helping to organize food and letting everyone know to take food, and schedules.  Once again, everyone is so very busy with all the things going on in their lives, but who someone else is in need, they rally together and make sure that everything is taken care of.

The weather has been off and on cold lately, but this week it is going to get seriously cold.  Have I ever mentioned how much I loathe cold weather?  I have moved in hopefully the most important plants into the Florida room.  It is wonderful to move your plants into a bright light filled room that I would love to spend time in this winter when I can't tolerate going outside.  I really don't have anything much to comment on the weather, I just wanted to get in how much I don't like the cold.

I came up with a sure money maker.  I could join a freak show.  Maybe they would sit me between the bearded lady and the mermaid.  I can be called skeleton woman.  For a quarter teenage boys could get a peep at a naked female body.  Trust me the boys will be so relieved when they finally get to see a real breast and understand that they are normally larger, just about any girl will look like a goddess to them.  I could be used for anatomy classes.  Who needs a skinless skeleton when you have one walking around with skin and muscle.  Maybe an art class could use me as a model.  I don't know, but it just seems a waste to be so horrifically skinny and not use it for good somewhere.  Maybe I could be a visual aid for girls/women with eating disorders.  All I can say is that between the lack of any fat and very little muscle tissue I have skin that just hangs on me like an old elephant.  You know how as elephants get old they have that dry skin hanging in layers.  And I itch.  I think that is from my meds, but I don't know.

So there you go, TMI.  Another insight into a happy, grateful, lucky, blessed woman.  I may be physically unattractive, and my sense of humor may be getting darker and crazier by the day, but I am just doing my best.

That is all we can do.
Just do our best.