Sittin On A Porch

Sittin On A Porch
Our little back porch

Wednesday, March 30, 2011


It has been a gray and rainy day, but not the kind of day that made me feel gloomy.  But rather a day that I welcomed the gift of rain.  We were 6 and a half inches behind for the year, and pollen has coated everything.  I mean everything, inside the house, outside the house, on the car, in the car, coating all of us in a fine yellow dust clogging our sinuses.  Everyone has walked around breathing through their mouths, struggling with headaches and clogged or runny sinuses, or sometimes alternating between the two.  And the dryness has turned our yards and woods into kindling and given an unhealthy jaundice about our dry lizard like skin.  OK, maybe I exaggerate, but honestly, not by much, or maybe I am just describing myself, and there I can tell you that I am not exaggerating.

But today it rained, that slow soaking rain.  We will not make up the deficit this week, but the pollen has been washed down into pools covered in films of yellow and people seemed to walk around the office today looking up and at each other for the first time in what seems weeks.  Weeks of glorious sunshine and infinite blue skies.  And they will be back, but the rain was welcomed today.

And as I ran around the office this morning putting out fire after fire of problems and concerns and deadlines, I thought how can anyone have their hair on fire with all this rain?  But they did.  I scurried here and there completing one task after another that was not on my to do list.    

Tomorrow I will have another full day trying to get to that to do list, but maybe I will make some headway.

Today was also the spaghetti luncheon at our Bureau.  There were half a dozen different types of sauces from traditional style with meatballs to an oddly green colored spinach Alfredo that I chose because it was the only one I knew for sure had no meat in it.  It was actually quiet delicious with a bit of spice from some cayenne pepper that was a surprise, but I did enjoy it despite the richness.....and color.  I can't even come up with something even close to the color it was because I don't believe I have ever seen that green before.  But like I said, I enjoyed the flavor very much.  It was one of the loveliest luncheons I have ever been too.  There were salads and breads and spaghetti with the different sauces and 3 types of cake.  I made a plate for my friend Bob.  It only had cake on it, a slice of each flavor.  I felt guilty not taking him any spaghetti, there was more then plenty for anyone interested, but I was so busy this morning that I came to the luncheon late myself and was not able to reach him before I went down.  I did offer to bring him some spaghetti and salad, but he just smiled and said the cakes were plenty.  And they were tasty.  I had a piece of Ms Paige's almond pound cake.  And I have to say it might be one of the two best pieces of pound cake I ever put in my mouth.  My mother made an amazing pound cake.  It had that lovely crust all around a moist soft rich buttery cake in the middle, but Mother's was a bit heavy, and not by accident, but by intent.  It was a very old fashioned family recipe and was meant to be heavy and substantial.  Sometimes Mother would make a more modern or at least a different version of the pound cake and it was very much like Paige's, and yes, as good.  But Mother preferred the heavier pound cake, tradition and all.   And Mother's pound cake was vanilla flavor not almond and I do enjoy both.  And breaking off that first piece of Ms Paige's today and almost hearing the crunch of the perfect crust and then seeing that gorgeous butter yellow color of the inside made me think of my Mother and how lucky I was to have her.  She was a wonderful cook, and to this day one of my most dearest and favorite friends.  Yes, I am quite lucky.

After work I drove to the travel agent and finished booking the trip to Europe with Dad.  I paid the reservation payment, so it is set.  Bill did a great job booking the trip making sure that we had plenty of time between flights and that we do not to leave at an ungodly hour from anywhere.  We will only be spending 3 - 4 days in any place, but I am happy that Daddy will get to see all of his friends again.  That will be special.  And we will get to go and see Mother's monument outside the park, and then go to the children's library named for Mother and Daddy.  Connections to people and places.  How very special to have the parents I did.  People who traveled around the world making friends that have lasted for decades.  People who have shared births and deaths, who speak languages that neither Dad or I are fluent in.  People who love my father, and because I am his daughter, they love me.  And they will spoil us and fuss over us because Dad is old and I have cancer, and it will be so very good to hug them.  To hug the tall and athletic Sjaak and his sweet and beautiful wife, Karin.  To grab hold of their tall gorgeous three daughters and look up at their sweet faces.  To wrap my arms around Luis and Josafina and hopefully get to meet Ana's boy friend and Luis Jr's wife.  To go out to dinner with Alfonso, the photographer and Pedro, the wine maker, oh and others whose names will be back on my tongue when I see them again.  Then on to Barcarotta where there are just too many people to name.  Warm special people who will celebrate my father as a hero.  It will be a hard trip, but it will be so worth it.  To see how happy my father will be with these people who think so highly of him.  Yes, sometimes it is good to be reminded that our parents are people who other people like and want to see him and toast him.  And Dad is enough of a Copernicus to love every minute, and why not.

So my taxes are done and the trip is booked, and it has rained soaking in to the ground around my plants.  The rain has washed all my flowers off the azealas bushes leaving flowered skirts surrounding a bodice of spring green.  You can hear the plants sigh with relief and the birds playful in soaked feathers showing the soft undercoat of down.  It is as glorious as the blue sunshine filled skies of last week.  Just gentler.

Rehearsal went fine last night, we did not get as much done as we would have if Judy was there, but we had fun and got Scene 4 blocked and rehearsed.  Now the play is blocked.  We will have to make adjustments as rehearsals continue and then when the stage goes down and we start rehearsing on that we will see how realistic our 12X12 stage really is.  The next step is for the actors to get all their lines memorized so that they are "off book".  Then the real fun begins.  Now with their hands free and eyes raised from the page they will start to act more out of character then as an actor and they will interact with each other and their voices will grow stronger and project to the back of the room.  They will dance the dance of those who love to become someone else for a few hours standing up in front of an audience eager to laugh and be challenged to discover "whodoneit".

Peep update.  I am now talking to them in that chirping whisping noise that calms their peeps.  The noise that a mama chicken would say to her babies when it comes time to settle in for the evening.  They move as one stretching out then grouping up as they run from one end of the tub to the other.  They are growing so fast I am not sure that I will be able to keep them in the tub as long as I would like.  This weekend I will have to start prepping their coop.

Larry update.  I have still not heard from the crematorium about when we can pick him up.  But we have set an unofficial date of May 21 for his memorial at Osgood Point in Gulfport.  I will give out more details as they develop.  It is still hard to talk about him being gone.  Sometimes it is easier to just hold the pain in your heart and know that with each beat, hopefully the pain will subside.  Missing him will not.  And that is OK.  

Cancer update.  I took my first new chemo pill.  This is 100 mg instead of 150 mg.  Today was not a bad day for the side effects.  I actually ate lunch and dinner without having to run for porcelain.  That is how it is some days.  Some days, I feel normal.  Other days, the reality of cancer never leaves me.  But I am learning each day to be more focused on life and living then on dying.  I talked to someone else today that has lung cancer.  They are just starting this journey.  His attitude is wonderful and I so wish that I could do or say something to him that would make everything ok.  But I have to tell you of all the people I have met with cancer, he is doing it right.  He is thinking things through.  His loving wife and partner is 100% behind him and she is focused on being there for him.  I hope they both realize that as hard as it is for him to have cancer.  I think it will actually be harder on her because she has to watch him have cancer.  He has to live with it, but that gives him power over this disease, the ability and desire to live.  She can only be supportive, she has no power to take this away from her love.  And that is so hard.  But they are a good team, and they will be fine.  And they have friends, and he has it more together then I think I have after a year, and he has just begun this journey.  He has already taught me so much.   I hope I can do as much for him sometime.  

And that is all for now.  it is late.  And I have a long day tomorrow with work and rehearsals.  I can take a nap when I get home from work.  And then it will be Friday and a weekend with no commitments except rehearsal.  I can sew or garden, or well, I suppose I could clean the house, hmm, or maybe paint a bee skip on the side of the barn.  Or I could just sit on the porch and read a book.  I do have the perfect life, and I do appreciate all the gifts I have been given, and yes, that still includes this cancer.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

A Free Day

Thursday night I met with Thugbert and his lovely wife Linda at the Woman's Club for their spaghetti and Gospel dinner.  We had a lovely time.  Thugbert has a PhD in mathematics and has written a lovely book, "Hermit Arithmetic."  Then Thugbert and I headed to rehearsal.  This is a great group, so much fun, and even with all the fun, they work very hard.

Friday was a lovely day.  After work I met Ms Carolyn for lunch at the Brickyard.  After a lovely lunch we walked around the antique stores downtown.  I found a silk Liz Clayborn skirt for less then $5.  Oh yeah!  Carolyn is one of the first friends I made here in Monticello when I moved up 4 plus years ago.  For dinner I made a frozen pizza. Ms Moon can make a pizza from scratch almost as fast as I can make a frozen one.  Hers tastes amazing.  Mine?  Like a fancied up frozen pizza.  I spread pesto all over the pizza and then covered it with sauteed garlic, onions and portobella mushrooms.  Let me tell you for frozen pizza that was good.  So good the dogs who usually get a slice a piece, got much smaller slices.  It was a quiet lovely evening with the kids at home and getting to bed early.

Saturday I was up early and weeding in the garden.  Then I started working on the sprinkler system for the back garden.  I will have to get a new timer system.  The old faucet was damaged and I will have to fix that.  But then Ms Judy and Denise called and we headed into town in the toy with the top down for lunch at Harry's, a Cajun restaurant downtown.  We had a lovely meal and relaxed and enjoyed ourselves.  Then to JoAnn's to pick up material for Thuggee's robe.  A few more errands to the Tallahassee mall and we were able to pick up a few "artifacts" for the play.  By this time it was raining cats and dogs, so after walking around to let the rain pass we headed home.  

For me another quiet evening at home with the kids.  Sunday was lovely and I did the usual chores around the house and got out a little to pull a few more weeds.  It has been so very long since I have spent any real time in the garden, so there is so much to do.  I also got to make a few calls to friends and family.  Sunday morning with Charles Osgood and calling friends, nice way to start the day.

Sunday we had a wonderful rehearsal.  We have now gotten scenes 1 - 3 blocked.  We have rehearsed the bows.  Yes, we rehearse our bows.  We are putting this play on down stairs, where each scene is separated by a different course of dinner.  And so to get as many people into see the play as possible, we are putting this play on a 12X12 floor space with an additional 2 foot buffer around the stage.  That is a very small area.  Now the actors run through the audience, enter in and out through the audience and interact with the audience, so it is not like they spend the entire time on that small space, and it will be worth the small place it if we can pull it off.  But even with my quiet evenings, it is not enough, and the stress between work and co-directing a play, let alone dealing with normal life, well it is taking a toll on me.  

I am not interested in stopping the play, but it is pushing me to my limit.  Maybe a little beyond.  Sometimes I feel like I need that push.  But this stress and worry over things like getting my taxes done, getting myself set up on the right strength chemo, finalizing the trip plans for Dad and I to go to Europe, retiring and doing all the paperwork at the right time, getting my insurance coverage set up for after my retirement,  getting my retirement set up to live on.  Lots of things, all with their own time frames, all that must be dealt with in their own time.  So even though I am tackling one item at a time, the pressure of all the things on the list still over take me and overwhelm me at times.  And with my liver still off, I am an extremely unpleasant person.  I am bitchy, moody, weepy and terse.  Not someone I like being around.  So I do try and limit who all I interact with.  And  then I feel as if I need to apologize to them.  It will pass, I know.  But in the meantime it is not pretty.  I keep warning the cast in the play that I have Stage 4 lung cancer and that the drugs are messing with my liver, my bone marrow, my head.  They laugh it off, or tell me to quit talking about dying.  But they give me a wide berth and a great deal of patience.  Thank you.

And I think that things will start to get better when I can start my new meds. 

Monday I went to work and physically felt OK, but mentally, it was a weepy day.  A day I was not able to make decisions.  A day where I was completely overwhelmed.  Bad day, bad bad day.  I worked until 2 trying to help my Section to get caught up.  Physically it felt like a piece of cake.  Especially knowing that I had no commitment that evening, so I could go to bed early.  I ran errands and got the things I needed to fix my sprinkler system in the back yard.  This is not a professional system.  Oh no, this is simply a system I have put together and keep adjusting as the gardens grow and change.  And the antique red rose has grown up and engulfed the first sprinkler head.  

When I got home there was a message from Caremark about my chemo pills.  They are delivering them on Tuesday.  I tried to talk to them about the difference between customer service and selling drugs.  They are selling drugs, not dealing with Customer Service.  The voice over the phone "corrected" me that she was a Customer Service Representative.  I said, then provide me service and help me to get my pills without loosing a days worth of work.

So I took the day off today.  I was not willing to deal with the drama that I had to deal with last time.  She was unable to assist me to do anything by take the day off.  So here I sit.

But I have used it to my best advantage.  I did my taxes online this morning.  Check off one pressure off the list.  I have done laundry that I did not get finished this weekend.  I have started working on Thugee's robe.  I have been safe.  No one around for me to hurt or upset or for me to freak out with.  Quiet day.  I have taken it easy, and I plan on going to take a nap in a minute.  I have rehearsal tonight so I want to be rested, calm, pleasant, focused.  

The UPS guy got here around noon and gave me my new prescription.  So tomorrow I will start the new dose, and hopefully it will be enough of a reduction in the strength that my body will be able to tolerate it.  And hopefully this will mean that my body can recover from the first dosage.  It will take a while, and this does not mean that the side effects will go away, just hopefully they will continue to be bearable and that my liver will recover.  Livers are amazing like that.  The last few days have been rough.  But nothing that bad, but it is hard to watch yourself through your own eyes and see yourself behaving in a way that you are not proud of.  And to not be able to stop it soon enough.  As soon as I realize it, it does help me to try and control the inappropriate behavior, but it does not mean that I can completely control it.  And it does not mean that I always recognize when I am acting inappropriate.  

And as much as I need to be at work.  For one thing we just have so much going on.  There is always too much going on.  But as long as I am employed there as the Manager I am going to try and do my best to get the work done.  To assist the applicators, the trainers, the Extension Agents, the companies and the general public.  Once I retire, on June 9, I had to change the date to match time periods, it will not be my responsibility anymore.  

I turned in my resignation letter.  They graciously told me that they wished I would stay.  I said I would like to, but I don't have the leave, and I am not able to work a full day.  And I know that for my health, I need to quit.  I need to take some time to get my strength back.  I need to take my Dad to Europe.  OK, I have already started looking into getting a part time job after I get back with Dad, but something with less stress and only part time.  And I have to meet with the travel guy tomorrow to finalize our trip plan.  So step by step I am checking things off my list.  And I know that the majority of the stress is less about what I need to do and more about not well enough to handle the pressure.  I am not sick.  But with the side effects it is hard to tell at times.  And more then feeling "sick", it is the emotional over load.

My life is changing, and as always, even with a little side effects, things are going well.  I am so lucky all in all.  And now I have my new chemo and I have completed my taxes, I am getting things done, I am trying harder to get enough rest, and drink enough water.  And now to nap.  Tonight rehearsal.  Tomorrow a quiet night at home with the kids.  And hopefully soon I will feel up to talking to my friends again, being around them and interacting.  But for now, a few more days away from people to get my emotions under control.  

Peep update.  They are not working as a very cohesive group.  You can tell who are the alphas and who will not be alphas, but they are so young, they are not pecking at each other yet.  They all have multiple feathers on their little wings.  they are eating eating eating and growing from all the food they are taking in.  And pooping, lord they are pooping.  You can't help but love them.  Life is wonderful, especially when you can sit next to Bob and stare down into those 17 little faces and watch them change each day.  

Thursday, March 24, 2011

working at home

I woke up this morning about 3:00 am and my left ankle hurt.  Yes, this is the same ankle that I broke like 10 years ago.  Yes, the same one that I wore the brace on for 5 years.  And yes, it is the same one that when I was on the chemo with the first oncologist that swelled up, turned red and hurt...a lot.  So when I woke up this morning and my ankle hurt, it was just one too many side effects.  I have been having stomach issues, and of course the rash, which is much better, and the bruising.  Even my finger are bruised.  I have lot of bruises, but most of them I know where they came from, but I am not sure where any of the finger bruises came from.  Bruises means blood problems, maybe platelet.  

But the ankle has not swelled nor has it turned colors, but it does feel weak and quite uncomfortable.  So I stayed home and worked on the renewals instead of going into the office.  I have been able to work, but at a more relaxed pace and to keep my foot up.  I will pick up some ace bandages on my way to rehearsal tonight.  Even though it has not gotten as bad as it did before, my goal is to make sure that it does not.  It is no better now mid afternoon then this morning.  Sigh, hopefully this is it.  You never know with side effects exactly what will happen next.  But since none of my side effects have been that bad, this will not be either.

So I am busy stuffing the renewals for work and I will have them done today to mail tomorrow at work.  I also was able to order props on line for the play.  I have ordered a shrunken head, one that looks like a balding old white man.  And I ordered Virginia Jones' whip and satchel.  This weekend we will go to JoAnne Fabrics to get the material to make Thugee's cloak and Virginia's scarf.  Step by step the play is coming together.  We need to solidify our ideas for costumes.  We are close, very close.  There are 11 characters in the play, and I think we have 9 of the characters set.  We have ideas for the other 2.

Last night Ms Judy and I met at Ms Moon's and met Mr. K.  He is a dear friend of Ms Moon's from her high school days, and it is clear that they adore each other.  Not to be confused on how Mr and Ms Moon adore each other.  They adore each other as lovers and spouses as well as friends and parents and grandparents.  No, Ms Moon and Mr. K, who is also very happily married, adore each other like Vicki and I do.  As friends who have known each other for 30 plus years.  They have watched the other fall in love, get married, raise children, become grandparents and their friendship has grown and grown.  Their spouses get along, and the bottom line these are amazing people who you just can't help but adore.

I do adore Mr. Moon.  He is perfect with Ms Moon, and their love just glows.  And Mr. K, well, he was just adorable, and I can see why Ms Moon and he have stayed friends for all this time.  And I can see how Mr. Moon and Mr. K can be friends, because they both love and adore Ms Moon, and each is quite happy for their part in her life.  And I am sure that Mr. K's, Mrs. K is just as wonderful.  I hope to meet her one of these days.  

The chicks are wonderful, happy, eating, peeping, growing.  There are 2 that are already standing out as a little different then the other peeps.  Maybe they are roosters, maybe they are alpha hens.  One is a barred rock, the other might be a Plymouth.  I really don't know about the Plymouth, oh, but I do hope so.  I would love to have a great big white rooster.  But time will tell who are the roosters and I will pick out the one that I think will be the best protector of the hens and still be gentle to people.  

Another glorious day.  Sunny, blue sky, yada, yada, yada.  How lucky we are all that it is just another boring, glorious day in paradise.  

I am dealing with quite a few side effects, but really they have all been so minor.  And I like to get  side effects.  Yes, I know that seems weird, but if I am getting the side effects as describe on the pages of warnings, then that must mean that the chemical is working.  And the fact that I am not getting bad side effects means that it is a good match for me.  I have no idea if a doctor would agree with my assessment at all, but it is how I cope with what is happening.  So back to stuffing envelopes, and then up to the Spaghetti dinner/Gospel sing at the Woman's club tonight before rehearsal.  Tonight we will finish blocking Scene 2 and hopefully get Scene 3 blocked, and then Sunday we will run straight through Scenes 1 & 2 & maybe 3.  We would really like to get the play blocked, and then spend the rest of our rehearsals developing the characters and clean up any blocking.  But the rest will be mostly to just keep building in humor.  A glorious day, rehearsal, and then tomorrow lunch with my friend Carolyn and Saturday pick up what we need at JoAnn's and then Ms Judy and Ms Denise and I will have dinner at Harry's, a Cajun restaurant downtown Tallahassee.  Sunday rehearsal.  And plants to put in the ground and sunshine to twirl and dance in.  And dogs and cats and chickens to keep me company as I play in the yard.  Sigh I do have such a perfect life.  

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Another glorious day

OK, it is another glorious day.  Sunshine, warm temperatures, lower humidity then we will see this summer.  I am telling you I don't know how much more glorious I can take.  Just kidding, I am loving this weather.  My friend Kim told me once that there are like 2 or 3 months that it is just spectacular here.  She was smart enough to put her house on the market during that time so that people would see the best of your yard.  Well, this year, this is one of those months!  The weather people say more of the same.  

There are 2 draw backs to all this gloriousness, one is that we are drying up and if we don't get any rain before the end of the month, which at this moment rain is not in the forecast anytime soon, we will be 4 inches in the hole.  That is making for some very nice kindling in our yards and woods.  I have started watering my landscape.  Just the front yard really.   My camellias disappeared so fast this year between the heat and the dryness and my azaleas were looking like they were going to open and close in the same day from dryness.  So I turned on my big movable gun style sprinkler, since I have not put any irrigation on this property.....yet.  In all fairness it is on my to do list, but that was before I knew about the cancer.  So now, I have put it on the short list of possible things to accomplish while I am still here.  And so I continue to shoot water in the air above my plants, knowing that this is one of the most inefficient ways to water.  I do try and water later in the day, usually after 5 so that the heat of the day doesn't evaporate any more then necessary.  But tonight I have rehearsal so I am watering earlier because the plants were whispering, "please, please give us some water” And I hated to walk past them another day pretending I did not hear them.  I usually water for several hours in one place.   And then I don't water there again for at least a week, usually 2 weeks or longer.  I am not trying to help my plants flourish at this moment, but rather, just to keep them alive.  And I can already hear the plants laughing and soaking in the precious substance.  And the birds are frolicking in the spray and mist.  And frolicking is the right word as they dance and shake and preen at their feathers, chirping and laughing like human children playing in the sprinkler.

The other drawback is the pollen.  Everything is blooming at once.  It does make for sheer gloriousness having every kind of flower, tree and bush blooming, but oh lord the pollen.  Everything is yellow with it.  And everyone is walking around with sinus infections.  It is a good thing that it is beautiful outside, because we don’t look so hot, breathing through our mouths, futilely blowing our noses, bleary eyed with antihistamines, some with blood tissues stuck up their noses.  Yep, we are quite the attractive group.  We could sure use a break from all this gloriousness just long enough to wash the pollen off of our cars, calm the dusty pollen covering the plants, and wash it into the soil. 

But for now, I am more then willing to suffer a few more days of these sheer gloriousness.
The peeps are doing just fine.  Just fine.  There are some that are a little small and only have the beginning of one feather pricking out, but most are a couple of days older and have 3-4 feathers pricking out.  They are all eating, scratching, peeping, and growing.  They have a box that they run into whenever they feel danger, like me walking in on them.  They scurry away to their box and huddle together.  They are good chickens and are learning so much.  And they are growing and growing.  Right now, they are adorable little balls of fluff; pretty soon, they will grow feathers and get tall and gangly and look like human teenagers.  The roosters will start to act like roosters, strutting around, showing off in front of the other chicks, trying to be tough.  The hens will also start vying for the alpha hen.  After all pecking order comes from our chickens.  I already know that any Buff Orpington that makes it to adulthood will not be the alpha.  Buffs are just too darn sweet.  And it is so wonderful watching this microcosmos of society grow and develop. 

I have a little better control over my skin rash.  I have quit using any girlie stuff on my face.  I am washing with my homemade soap and then using cocoa butter moisturizer to try and cut back on the dryness of my face.  It is helping.  I still itch all over at times, no big deal.  I still have discomfort at the end of the day.  The redness is mostly gone and the bumps although widely spread across my face and ears, they are not that bad.  And after getting a little rest, my liver is not screaming at me anymore.  So all in all life is pretty good.

I am doing better at work.  I am finding all kinds of detail mistakes I made last week while I was a little sort of out of my mind.  But fortunately, my staff has caught most of the mistakes, I hope and have brought them to me to fix.  I really appreciate that we have such a positive working relationship that they are not worried about coming to the “boss” and saying, did you see this?  There is no ego here on my part, I made mistakes, we need to fix them.  They know I feel that way, and I really appreciate them coming and showing me.  I really don’t want these mistakes to go any further.  I really hope we are finding all of the mistakes.  I did my best and reviewed and reviewed again, but my mind was no clearer the second or third review, so I just read over all the mistakes and missed them completely over and over and over.  Fortunately, I only did a limited number of tasks, so we know where I might have made mistakes.

The latest news is that I called the Travel agent to make an appointment to go in and talk to him.  He took the information I had over the phone and then called me back with a draft agenda and first price.  Everything was within our projected cost.  We will be staying at friends homes in Holland and both Badajoz and Barrcarotta Spain, and then at the Wellington in Madrid for 2 nights.  This is probably going to be the last time dad and I go to Spain together, and I wanted the end of our trip to be at the Wellington, he and Mother’s favorite hotel in Madrid.  It will also give us time to go to Mother’s favorite store, and have dinner one last time at Botine’s, a 400 year old restaurant.  And no, I did not mistype the number of years.  Botine’s is on the Square Mayor and has been in the same location for 400 years and owned by the same family.  And actually, I may be cutting them short.  Their speciality is suckling pig, ooooooh yuck.  Sorry to all your pork eaters.  But dad and I love their garlic soup, which I do have to pick out the sausage, but it is so worth it.  And hopefully the way the trip is set up, we do not have to stressful travelling, so Dad should be OK through the trip and make it home, even though, bless his heart, he can barely walk.  And hopefully I will not be overly stressed either, and Dad and I can have a wonderful time and lots of lovely memories.  We will be staying with some of the most dearest special people in the entire world, so that in itself should be just so lovely.

And that is all that is new in my world.  Rehearsal tonight, and if I can get back on line I will order some of the props we need.  I have been fighting with the internet and trying to get on and stay on.  Not much to say, but I really wanted to remember how glorious this spring has been, even though we are dealing with summer temperatures and I have even put the air conditioning on at night so that I can sleep better.  

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Glorious weekend

What a busy week I had.  Rehearsals on Monday and Tuesday, then the chicken run on Wednesday, rehearsal on Thursday and then Friday I did a marathon cleaning job on the house.  Well I had not cleaned the house in like 6 weeks and I was afraid that the health department was going to come in and condemn my house.  

Sioux got here about 11, I had barely been asleep so I gave her a hug and went back to bed.  Saturday we got up and ate an amazing breakfast that Sioux had made.  In fact Sioux brought a cornucopia of food.  Fried chicken, potato salad, corn pudding, crab cakes, spinach salad with blueberries and almonds, herb muffins, corn bread, blue berry muffins, pear/apricot tart, grape olive oil cake, caviar with all the fixings, and oh, I am not sure what else, I know I am missing something.  She wanted to make sure that we had plenty of food while she was here, but she also wanted to leave me with food.

After breakfast we bought chick food and then drove to McClay Gardens in the toy with the top down.  It was a glorious day, clear blue skies, perfect temperature, a gorgeous garden at the peak of the blooming of the azaleas.  We walked and oohed and aahed and looked up and down.  Everywhere we looked it was glorious, absolutely glorious.  It felt invigorating to get outside and walk and stretch out my arms and legs.  To stretch out like the plants around us.  Stretching out cold tired limbs that have spent a winter stagnant, and now with the warmth and sunshine reach up and out.  

We came home and rested for the afternoon, talking and watching movies.  In the evening we drove over to Casa Luna and had cocktails with Ms Judy who was house sitting while the Moon's were at Gatorbone.  On the drive back the super moon, big and round and orange danced back and forth across the interstate, playing hide and seek through the trees.  Then the final curve and there sat Mr. Moon right over the interstate close enough you could pick it out of the sky and pop it in your mouth like a butterscotch candy.  

This morning Sioux left after a breakfast of caviar and headed south.  I slipped around the house and yard doing this and that until time to go down to the Opera House.  We had a wonderful rehearsal and now I am home and soon to bed.

Chick update.  This is hard raising peeps.  I don't have to do it every year, but last year between the foxes and opossums, and possibly a rogue Jack Russell Terrier (just kidding) I had lost my rooster and all but 3 of my hens.  Dealing with the circle of life can be hard, very hard at times, but oh so worth it.  Do I need a dozen hens for egg production?  Heavens no, my three hens produce more eggs then I can consume now.  No, I love a flock of chickens, scratching and pecking around the yard.  Weeding, little Entomologist fertilizer makers, that is what chickens are, and they produce eggs, and of course people eat chickens.  I have eaten 3 of my roosters, but I have never eaten any of my hens.  My roosters were possibly the best chicken I have ever eaten.  I knew everything they had eaten because I fed them.  I knew everywhere they had been and what a wonderful happy life they had lived and how much they were loved.  But four roosters in my coops is way too many.  

And with this batch of baby peeps hopefully there were be a rooster.  Chances are that there will be several roosters in the group.  I like having a rooster.  I have had ferocious chickens before that would just as soon kill you as well, that was all they wanted to do.  And I have had roosters that have been very protective of their hens, and yet be so gentle to people.  I like it if something gets into the coop the rooster will scream for help and then do his best to protect his harem.  And if I am able to get out in time I can help the rooster to keep everyone safe.  

I like having a flock of chickens because not only do they make me fertilizer and give me eggs, but they are wonderful pets.  Some let you pet them like a cat, others follow you around like a dog, some are aloof and air headed as most people think of chickens.  Each has their own personality and each flock has a personality.  And they make me smile.  They are a lot of work, I guess.  When you love your family, whether human, plant or other animals, you don't think of it as work, you just take care of them.  And I do love my chickens.  I guess that is why I got peeps.  I know it would be easier to adopt older birds, maybe teenagers or so.  But I like to bond with them when they are tiny.  I like to watch them to see who is a hen and who is a rooster, and who are the alphas of the group.

Some don't make it.  For whatever reason they do not grow as fast as the other peeps and you loose them.  Not many, but there can always be a few.  It is  a long commitment you make to take a peep up to being able to be put out in the coop and make it outside like that.  Now they are in the tub in the guest bath room.  Easy to clean up after, easy to keep warm and easy to keep them safe.  For now.  But soon they will be hopping and jumping and the tub will no longer hold them.  So I will have to get the cage out into the one side of the coop to put them in to keep them safe until they are big enough to be in the coop all night with out an extra cage.  

I am in a place where I can take on this commitment to these tiny balls of fluffs.  Whose wings are stretching out longer each day and the first hints of feathers are starting to prick out.  They peep and eat and scratch and sleep in a big pile, the light replacing the warmth of a mother's down.  They huddle together for that warmth and for companionship.  They rely on each other, not their mothers.  Domestic birds, bred to live with humans.  A flock of friends, sisters mostly, a few brothers, who will become one brother.  The others?  No, I am not going to eat them.  The people will take them back and trade for hens.  And this flock will have a pecking order and the rooster will have favorites, and their will be an alpha hen, who at the moment is Zora Neal, and she will probably be the mother and alpha of this flock as they blend in with the 3 older hens, and there will be never be another flock like this one, and its personality will shift and change through out the years as the older ones die, or predators feed their family with them.  They are in a strong coop, but things can still happen, no matter how hard you try and keep your babies safe.  At some point you have to let them grow up and love them for who they are.

Final item to report is that my liver is giving me trouble.  Like confusion, getting turned around easily, pain in my side, nausea, headache, terseness and exhaustion.  The rash on my face is quite uncomfortable.  it is not hideous, in fact when I say that it is uncomfortable, people look at me and say, "I don't see any rash."  Well, I guess I am glad that it is not obvious and disgusting, but it feels like what I think is psoriasis.   It is dry, red, itchy, burning, with bumps.  Tomorrow I go to the doctor for blood letting so I can talk to Bobbie, his wonderful and adorable nurse and tell her that I have the rash and can I get some of the cream for it.  And I will tell her about my liver situation.  She will tell Dr. M, and he will know what to do.  The lab results will also help guide him on what to do for me.

And now to bed, it always takes longer to write this then I anticipate.  But I do not write this as much as try and search for things I need to record.  What do I want to remember, what do I need to get off of my chest, what insists on being recorded.  It was a glorious weekend.  I got to spend time with a dear friend, and still get some rest.  And then to play with friends at the Opera House, and talk to family, and stretch in the warmth and sunshine, and walk through glorious gardens on one of the most glorious days of the year, and then to be driving up the Interstate with the top down on the toy, a sky filled with stars and a moon as big and round as anything you have ever seen, and to share that with a friend.  Sigh, what a wonderful life I have.  

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Its Spring

Yesterday I finally was able to get a handle on my grief.  I knew I would miss him, but I never thought I would feel such a depth of grief.  The process will take much more time, and there will be moments.  Good and bad.  

Today I had a bad moment.  I was in Wal-mart for a last minute baby shower gift and I walked by a Tie dye Tshirt with a peace sign on the front.  That was Larry's signature for years and years, tie dye shirts.  It caught me off guard.  It was the first time I had seen something so Larry in the real world.  I actually recovered quicker then I thought I was capable of, but I tried to be grateful for the little happy memories scattered here and there.  To take the shock, the stab of pain, the catch of your breath and move past it to the smile.  To appreciate the smile, and know it could happen anytime, anywhere.  So far it actually is helping a lot.

Yesterday after work, Judy and I took the toy to Trenton to buy chickens.  "Gone to the Birds" is the name of the place we went to.  I found them in the Florida Market Bulletin.  It was a gorgeous deep sunny spring day and the ride was lovely.

We called to tell them we were almost there, only to find out I had written down the wrong number.  But wait, there is more, that is the number I called on Tuesday to let them know I would be there to get my babies on Wednesday.  Ooops.

So that means when we got to Gone to the Birds, they didn't know we were coming.  Oh!  and they were not home.  Judy, restless after the long drive got out to check the gate and that is when she saw the business card, so we were saved and gave them a call.  They were on their way to the house, they had a gentleman following them.  He lives in Monticello.  The owners were laughing, normally people call and make an appointment (like I thought I had) and then within an hour they had 2 different customers, from Jefferson County with out appointments.  

The man from Monticello bought a lovely white duck.

Ms Nice Chicken lady walked Judy and I around the operation.  They had lots of different varieties of chickens, turkeys, duck, geese, rabbits, goats, horses and dogs.  It was a beautiful operation.  Very clean business and the animals well taken care of.  I said I wanted about 12 - 15.  I came home with 20.  I think I got at least 2 of each, Plymouth, Buff Orpinton, Brown leg horn, Barred Rock and Americana.  It should give me rainbow colored eggs, from white to every shade of brown and green.  

You can't be sad when you have baby peeps.

They are so happy and sweet and peep.

I love my baby chickens, they are helping to fill in a part of my broken heart.  And raising peeps is hard.  Right now they are in my guest bath tub.  I can keep that room warmer, and there is a lot of space for 20 chicks to hop, skip, grow and run flapping little tips of wings just barely stretching out from their little puffs of bodies.  They nestle together and sleep in one pile of fuzz in shades of ivory, yellow, golden, brown and black.  Some have marks like chipmunks and quail.  Lots of different varieties and hopefully not too many roosters.  Although I wouldn't mind a Plymouth Rooster.  They are huge, I mean huge!  and white and look like the cartoon character Foghorn Leghorn, much more then the chickens referred to as leghorns.  But I have some of both.  

Babies are a lot of work, but so worth it.  My heart aches less, there is music in the house again. Sweet gentle peep-peep-peep swelling as they all join in, then all of a sudden cut to silence.  Then the soft scratching as they go through the bowl of food..  This weekend I will have to get with Christopher to help me come up with names.

But for this moment, I am exhausted.  It was a long day yesterday and I did not get to bed until late.  So a quick nap before rehearsal tonight.  Yes, I can barely keep my eyes open.
to sleep.

Monday, March 14, 2011


Yesterday I felt numb.  Tired and numb.  That is not to say that I have cried out.  No, I keep thinking that surely I must run out of tears soon, but no.  My skin is drying out and flaking off.  I am sure that I am not drinking enough, but with the stomach issues between the meds/stress/loss and then constant tears, I am drying out.  I am trying to force myself to drink more water, but I just don't think of it.  It is that simple.  My mind is numb one minute, racing the next.  The emotion is exhausting, but it is out of my control.  

I tried to go to work this morning.  I thought I could just sit in my office and data enter.  But I couldn't focus.  I felt trapped and needed to get out.  To come back home and sit in my red chair and not worry about emotions.  To just let things happen as they are going to.  As much as I am better about that, I am still not completely comfortable with this expression of sorrow in public.  

I have cried over Colin at work and I have cried because of chemical imbalances, but this sorrow is too close, too intimate.  I don't want to share this grief.  I want it for myself.  I am used to dealing with sorrow when it comes to being with Larry.  But there was also great joy at times.  One thing for sure there was always a lot of emotion involved in our relationship.  So here I sit, trying to talk myself into going outside and pulling weeds, or take a walk, or lay in the pasture.  But I just don't want to leave my little chair.  My place of security, where I can experience my grief, and hopefully not lose myself.  To just let the numbness wash over me.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Loss and Goodbyes

Larry died at 1:34 pm yesterday.  Richard, Colleen and I were with him.  His cousins Calvin and Bonnie had been able to call and say good bye to him before he was gone.  I am so proud of him.  He died well.  His head had 5 large knots of swelling encompassing the back of it.  I pointed that out to the nurse.  That and he was struggling to breath, so they got the doctor's approval and started him on morphine.  They were able to give him a dose every hour under the tongue.  You could see a huge change come over him once he started the morphine.  I had not realized how much he was struggling to live and communicate with the world he had known for 60 years.  He was trapped inside a body that had turned against him.  

Once she gave him the morphine, he quit fighting and struggling and you could actually see him turn and face death.  He had been drugged when I got there Friday night with hydrocodone injections every 4 hours.  Even though he looked like a zombie, when you looked into those bleary half mast eyes, you could still see him in there.  He knew I was there, and he knew who I was.  

Everyone at the facility, along with his friends and family who were also taking this journey with Larry all said the same thing, "He was waiting for you."  And I could see that my self.  He changed completely when I came in and picked up his hand and smiled into his face.  A face that within a few short weeks had changed drastically.  He had obviously lost a significant amount of weight.  He was not eating, and he could only swallow things like milk shakes.  Pudding was getting to be more then he could consume.  His life was extremes just like it had always been.  His brain was shutting down and his physical changes were obvious.  The mental state, not so.  If you really looked at him and watched him you could see the subtle expressions and emotions hidden deep inside.  Even through the drugs I could see that he recognized me, and was happy to see me.  My heart aches.  I wish it were as simple as we had a "normal" marriage.  It was complicated, and the last 3 years we were together we were divorced.  But none of that matters to my heart right now.  My heart understands that for the first time in 25 years I could not rely on Larry being a part of my life.  My mind reminds me of the terrible times, my heart has forgiven those already.  My mine still holds those memories as walls and shields for protection.  My heart remembers the wonderful times and it aches for the loss.  I felt as if I was loosing my husband, not my Ex.  I know that I am legally divorced, a divorcee, not a widow.  I feel as if I am his widow.  We each looked around after the divorce searching for that closeness we had shared for many years.  Legal or otherwise, the loss is so real.

I have never sat next to someone as they died.  When they unplugged my Mother I could not take it.  I left.  Larry took me away, he did not want me to remember her that way.  I sat next to Larry and sang our lullaby to him.  On Friday night he reacted strongly to it, making distress noises and putting his hand up to his face.  My first reaction was that I knew I am not a great singer, but come on.  I teased about that, and then picked up the song for him.  After that we mostly sat there and simply held hands.  

I spent Saturday morning together, and again we just sat and I held his hand and rubbed his head, which is how I first realized the change in the shape of his head.  He still seemed to relax and enjoy the feel of me running my hand over his head.  Simple little basic needs.

Everyone at the Hospice facility were amazing, kind, helpful, knowledgeable and so comfortable to work with.  They made Larry so comfortable.  Several of the staff made comments about how they had come to like him.  He was much more lively then the average person passing through the facility.  He was also at the facility longer then many of their patients.  And no matter what else you can say about Larry, he was charming.

I spent a little time with Richard and then slipped into my Toy with the top down and aimed north. I needed the open road, the blue sky the solitude.  I had just experienced something so hard that I needed to give myself time to process it.  It was almost intoxicating to watch the end of Larry's life as he gave himself to the process and freed himself from the pain and prison his body had become.  There was a joy, a fleeting joy, and then the reality that he was gone.  Relief that he will no longer go through what he has been through these past several years.  Relief that I will not get a call in the middle of the night where he has broken down south of Perry, has no money, no gas and has not eaten for several days.  But relief does not compare to the grief I am feeling.  The deep sense of loss.  Twenty five years of joy and laughter and tears and frustration.

And all of those emotions tumbled round in my head and heart and started coming out in weeping and mewing noises.  They flew out of the car as I drove north for 3 hours, flying in the wind releasing the pain as my heart broke open.  The mewing grew louder and more primal until I felt as if I would hyperventilate and started questing myself if I were going into shock.  I would pull over before I had reached those moments.  And so I drove and pulled over and wept for years of loss, past and future.  And then back on the road mind spinning away with a million details that need to be taken care of.  Then stop to call a friend for support.  Then back on the road.  It made for a long journey.

I allowed my heart to crack and break, to wallow in my grief and loss.  I had no control over the noises being emitted from my very deepest darkest self.  But I gave into my most primal feelings and as I wept and grieved I could feel that it was for all the loss Larry and I had shared over more then 25 years together.  I just gave in and did not try and hold back on any of it.  I was alone in my car, and in my solitude I was able to completely let go and release so much pain and hurt.  Such intimate moments, that it is even hard to write them down here.  To be able to admit that I was able to let go so completely, as well as express such deep searing pain is hard even here now.  But I need to release that, and hope that it is respected as my own personal experience of loss and not to be commented on.

When I got home, I sat and wept more.  I made a few phones calls when I was able to distract myself away long enough to be able talk.  And the entire week has been hard.

Monday I went to work and had my blood drawn and then went to auditions, so a very long day.  Tuesday Tamara picked me up before 7 at the McD's around from my house.  We got home around 4, so a very long day.  Wednesday I met with the nurse and then Dr. M.  He told a medical student that he wanted her to meet because I was such an interesting case.  I said, "Am I really?"  he seemed geniunely surprised and responded that yes, I was a very interesting case. I told him that it was just my life, so I had no idea that it was interesting.

Then he discussed the lab results with me.  Not really the best news.  My white blood cell count is down and my liver enzymes elevated.  Dr. M asked me how long had I been on the Tarceva.  He thought it had been a month.  It had only been 5 days.  That changed everything.  He is going to move me down from 100 mg to 150 mg.  Sigh, the drug does seem to be working, but too good.  Dr. M gave me a shot of growth hormone and sent me home.  I was a bit depressed, I admit it.  For the most part I feel as if I keep a positive attitude most of the time.  I feel hopeful and lucky and gifted most of the time, but I am only human, sometimes I get depressed.  And Wednesday into Thursday, I was depressed.  I could feel things coming to a close with Larry.  I was nervous about my body handling the Tarceva.  According to the blood work, my body had not come back enough for me to have a normal IV chemo, so it felt like my options were disappearing, just as I was starting to forget that I am dying.  I was starting to look forward to life, and was managing to get the morbid sense of humor under control so that I could focus more on the present instead of constantly worrying that I will not die well.

I tried retail therapy Thursday after having lunch with Geeta.  It was wonderful getting to sit and talk and be with someone I enjoy spending time with, that was great.  But the shopping did not help.  I found a shirt I liked, but none of the pants fit.  They were all a little big in an 8, and were 6 inches too short.  Ms Denise asked me if I was trying clothes on in the petite section.  I told her that I had taken the clothes off of the rack in my area of the store and had roughly measured them by holding them up for comparison.  I had to use the fitting room in the petite section, and by the time I got to the fitting area the pants had shrunk up to peddle pushers, or is the correct term, clam diggers?  Regardless they were a length unsuitable for my taste and I left with only my shirt.  Sigh.

Friday we celebrated Eric's 60th birthday at the office.  I brought in pizzas and chocolate cake with sodas.  I left right after work and headed down to Brooksville to be with Larry.

I have missed blogging this past week.  There was so much I wanted to take off my chest and out of my heart and release into the dance of the words.  One night a beautiful thunder storm interrupted my blogging opportunity.  Working on Nergal with Judy took another night, depression and plays and work, and life at home as well as trying to step up and get things prepared for Larry.  It has been a busy, stressful several weeks.  Now the worry and concern I have been dealing with are now replaced with grief and loss and sorrow.  But these are emotions that will give way as I find places in my heart and memory to keep the good times Larry and I shared.  The bad continues to fade away.  I want it to fade away.  I want to be careful not to loose the lesson, but to loose to pain.  And these past many weeks with Larry have taught me so much about myself and my ability to forgive and forget and to forgive myself for fault I had always put onto him, that I now understand my part in them. Remove the guilt and hate and anger and pain.  Emotions that I did not even know I was holding on to. 

Today was the Garden Circle.  I didn't go.  My sorrow is still too close to the surface.  I can not predict when I might start to weep, or worse, openly sobbing.  It is uncomfortable sharing that grief.  I didin't want to be the center of attention.  I didn't want to be around people, even these dearest friends of the garden circle.  I just couldn't leave the house.  

I have been outside for a short time working in the garden.  Too short of time to accomplish anything, but still outside in the hot winter/spring sun.  And so beautiful.  But the need to record this week and take what my mind remembers and my heart still hangs on to.  Now it is recorded, shared reluctantly out to the ether, but the need to record it so much more important to heal then to hold on to it and continue hurting.

Now to sit back in the sun, maybe pull weeds, maybe just go back out to the middle of the pasture and lay down with my face in the sun.  That is the place Larry and I went to when we found out they had completely removed our little house and all the plants around it on our property on Pine Island.  Together we lay on our backs side by side and held hands and remembered all the joy we had in that little house.  We sat up and watched the sunset as it painted the western sky.  The colors blurring through tears as our past felt as if it had been obliterated from the face of the earth.  We loved that little place, nestled into a forest of tropical and subtropical plants filling the air with color and scents intermingled as butterflies floated from flower to flower filling the entire world with an Oz sort of feel.  A tiny little home nestled up in the tree tops  hidden from the outside world.  With a canal weaving in and out of mangroves always flowing out to the warm gulf.  Gone.  

And now Larry's body is gone, although he still lives in many hearts.  And death is back sitting next to me reminding me that it is a fairy tale to believe I will live forever.  Or that I will even have the same time as someone else my age without cancer and hepetitus C.  Two diseases that make my life, this journey "interesting".  And I welcome the healing that comes from driving in my new toy with the top down and the radio on and just releasing the deep sorrow and loss I was experiencing.  And it felt like Larry was picking the songs on the radio.  At first they all seemed to be about death.  No, I don't mean that I was in the mood that everything sounded like death.  I mean the songs for 30 minutes all had death in them.  Like Stairway to Heaven, Eric Clapton's tears in heaven, and every song in a row focused on loss and death.  Then the next many songs were sung about not forgetting someone.  Of people leaving, I'm leaving on a jet plane, for example.  Finally I realized that I was laughing, not wailing.  And I was laughing over the irony of the music choices.  I doubt if other people noticed.  No, that is not true, they were having a contest where all the songs for 30 minutes had a related topic.  I don't know if it was death, but in a bizarre, sick way, it was just what I needed to have a break.  To allow my body to rest even just for a moment from the physical and emotional grief.  

And my rash has finally shown on my cheeks.  Just a couple of red spots, not much to brag about.  But it did make me feel better that I had gotten it.  I have started having some of the other symptoms, but very mild.  I have loss several pounds, but I think that is as much stress as it is the medication.

Rest Larry, you died well and good.  You were all mine.  I used to always say that when he was doing something silly or crazy to show off.   And here is the lullaby.  It is not the same writing it down as it is, rubbing his head and quietly singing to him as he would go to sleep at night, or sometimes for naps.  His feet scraping back and forth on each other.

Lay your head down, go to sleep
close your eyes and still your feet
lay your head down, dreams will come
lay your head down now

Sounds of song birds sweetly sung
gentle breathing of loved ones
soft purrs of fat white cats
warm sunshine, bright moonlight and nap

Lay your head down, go to sleep
close your eyes and still your feet
lay your head down, dreams will come
lay your head down now

Touch your hair and kiss your face
smooth the covers into place
turn the lights down, whisper low
now to sleep
pleasant dreams
my love

Lay your head down, go to sleep
close your eyes and still your feet
lay your head down, dreams will come
lay your head down........ now

Sweet dreams Larry, I will miss you

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Let's start all over again

And the play is done.  We did 2 performances yesterday.  We are all exhausted, completely, thoroughly and totally exhausted.  And our audiences got their monies worth.  Every penny.  I can't tell you how many tissues were strewn on the floor, sad little pieces of paper that were used to weep into or at the least dry the eyes.  I know I have said it before, but these woman were amazing and every night stepped on that stage and threw open their hearts and shared deepest despair one minute, raucous laughter the next.  

Last night I slipped from my dark little corner and snuck  down where I could peep through a curtain to watch both the ladies on the boards and the audience.  I was able to peek during the scene where M'Lynne has her melt down.  I didn't see anyone in the audience who did not have red eyes. I saw a few openly weeping and then I focused on the stage and tears flowed opening down each face.  They clung to each other.  I know it was acting, but the emotion was real.  The friendship and support were real.  That is why the audience was able to weep, because it was real.  I am still in awe of all of those woman.  To do this for months at rehearsals, and then for 9 shows over 3 weekends.  To not only go through this, but to do it in front of hundreds of people.  

One of the best parts of this play is that we have brought in new actors to add to our Stage Company.  Talented ladies.  Anita Miller, no relation to the Miller Sister Foley team played our M'Lynne and she was amazing.  And then our Michelle.  She played the part of Shelby, and now she is known to the Stage Company as Michelleby.  Ms Moon came up with that.  The most amazing thing about this young woman was her ability to save our butts.  When a gun misfired, she would jump in and say something that kept the play going and got the play back on track.  If a line got forgotten or missed, she could pull things back into line.  That is the most fun for me with plays is that it is different every night.  The performance weaving into a giant tapestry over the run of the production that covered the gauntlet of emotions, incidents that went wrong and lines adjusted to fit the moment.  And all 6 of those ladies worked together as one, supporting each other in such intimate ways, in front of hundreds of people.

But the lights are off, the props sitting in boxes, the set in darkness waits to be taken apart for the next production.  The cast and crew are spent with lines that will pop up in conversations for years and memories and friendships that are the final reward.  We gave Jack and Jan a Star Magnolia, Judy and Denise a Japanese Magnolia.  The cast gave me a native azalea.  Jack and Jan gave each of us a silk magnolia.  And flowers for our Directors.  And then sitting together around one big table sipping wine, beer and sodas.  Laughing and reminiscing, little puddles of weariness, not wanting to leave the magic of the circle, exhausted and longing for bed.  I had a few sips of red wine, mmmm, no, not on these pills.  I don't drink that much, but I used to enjoy a glass of red wine after the show.  It didn't taste very good last night.  Oh well, as our journey twists and turns our taste changes.

The last time I looked at a clock it was 1:00 am.  I told myself as I drifted off that I could sleep as long as I wanted.  It would be Sunday, sleep late, rest, dream, recharge.  I was up at 7:00 am.  Exhausted, yes, but just not able to sleep.  So I got up and fed the kids and myself.  And put eggs on to boil to make deviled eggs for the cast party tonight.  I have also started making zen cookies.  Zen cookies, as named by Herb, are all in one.  Semi-sweet chocolate chips, white chocolate chips, cranberries, sunflowers, pecans, Irish rolled oats, flax seed, all in one.  I want to have enough for the cast party and then to take to the Oncology Department tomorrow.  I may have to make 2 batches so I can make big cookies.  I like big, chewy cookies filled with healthy, tasty treats.

This afternoon we get to start all over again.  Yep, Steele closed yesterday, Curse auditions today.  One production ends, another one opens.  Judy and I will co-direct.  We have been working on it off and on for a while.  And now here we are.  A new beginning.  

And when I sit, Marina, my scary black Manx girl slips on to my lap and curls into a tight little ball and snores.  I have had lots of cats that purred, but Marina is my first cat to that snores.  She is so sweet sometimes and it is special to have her curled up on my lap.  And as long as she is snoring she is not going to loose her mind and suddenly rip me into pieces.  Maggie sits next to me.  She is feeling frisky today in the little bit of cooler temps this morning and the light misting showers.  It is a good morning.  I have my kids gathered around me, the house smells of cookies, the washing machine is whirring and sloshing my sheets, and Sunday morning is on TV.  A party this evening, and then to sleep and dream and finally rest.

Next week will see more auditions, blood letting on Monday for a doctor appointment on Wednesday.  Training in Gainesville on Tuesday.  Read through of Curse by the end of the week.  Lots on my plate.  And the Terceva?  Seems to be OK.  I had some stomach problems, but nothing too difficult to deal with.  The gray skies are brightening, the temps pleasant on the cooler side, a nice day to bake cookies, to go to the Opera House and work with Judy and the actors who come along for the auditions.  A good day to gather together at Fred and Marcy's and celebrate Steele, to again tell stories of previous plays and future plays, and Colin.  Yes, we will tell Colin stories.  And we will laugh and hug, and then when it is time to leave, it will start to hit us that it is done and that we will not be getting together again for this show.  But we will work together again.  In different parts, but we will come together again and do it all over.  And aren't we so very lucky that they are letting us do it again.