Sittin On A Porch

Sittin On A Porch
Our little back porch

Saturday, October 29, 2011

The Opera House

Well it is the beginning of the season where I start living at the Opera House.  Our season began with a huge success by M&M productions, The Sound of Music.  And this coming Thursday we will perform our "pre-show" for the Altrusia and then opening night is Friday for Sin, Sex and the CIA. 

I got up after posting that last post on my blog.  I swear I was asleep when I wrote it.  I mean asleep.  I remember sitting down and thinking I needed to post so people would not worry about me.  I remember ideas of things to write about floating around in my head, I do not remember writing or anything else.  I have done a lot of things in my sleep.  After all I post on drugs (my chemo) I believe I may have posted after having a tiny tini (very small martini) and I am sure I have written a post while under dire duress in mood or health, but I do not believe I have ever posted in my sleep.  I used to write soap labels and soap recipes in my sleep.  I once figured out a missing piece in a new tea I was trying to come up with for  sleeplessness.  hee hee  It was ginger.  That was what was missing.  It took the tea from bland, but a good sleep aide to delicious, soothing and a good sleep aide. 

I wrote Larry's tie dye tangerine soap label in my sleep.  I came up with Larry's tie dye tangerine in my sleep.  It was one of my all time popular soaps.  I can be pretty amazing when I am asleep.  No wonder I am so tired all the time.  hee hee

I went to bed last Sunday and 90% of my time between Sunday and Thursday morning I stayed in bed.  I slept for 5 - 8 hours at a time.  I ran out of dog food and cat food.  Friends were worried about me.  I was so drugged with pain meds, anti-nausea meds, antibiotics, chemo and a sore jaw.  I was one little wimpy baby.

On Thursday morning after I opened a can of spaghetti sauce and poured it over the dog food thinking I was opening a can of chicken soup, I knew I had to leave the house.  I sprinkled some shredded cheese over their food and told them it was a dog pizza.  I don't think they thought I was as clever as I thought.  So I drug my tired drugged bottom to Wal-mart.  Harry does not like pedigree which is what Costco sells.  I got animal food and I got me some food and then I went to the bank and then to the Halloween store where I finally settled on a handlebar mustache and a middle of the road brown beard.  All in all it looks pretty good.  So with about 30 lines with 2 parts I have to wear a beard, a mustache and a long strawberry blond wavy wig.  I got home and put the food away, talked to my friend Jan in Wakulla and was so exhausted I thought I would lie down and take a nap before rehearsal, when I realized I had to take Bob and Endarose to the Vet.  So I loaded the 2 younger kids in the toy and off we ran up to the vet.  As soon as we got out of the car Edna decided to do this fish impersonation.  Every few seconds she would leap up in the air and struggle with the leash like a tarpon fighting the good fight in Gasparilla Pass.  Then she would walk along for a second or two and then repeat.  She looked like she was having some kind of fit.

I dreaded walking into the vets because part of the reason of being there is because Bob is gaining weight and his leg is not getting better.  I needed some help.  So sure enough, since April he has gained 8 pounds.  A lot for a dog.  Edna had also gained 8 pounds in a month, but as a puppy, that is just fine, not so for a 3 year old.  I met the new vet.  She seemed quite competent and nice, but she kept harping on me about Bob's weight.  I finally stopped her by reminding her that was one of the reasons I was there.  And that Bob was a dog, not a human and yet it was not all up to me on whether or not he lost weight.  The more I put him on a diet the more he counter surfed, so that was not being productive.  She also brought up about a dozen times that instead of giving my dogs carrots, I should give them low sodium canned green beans. 

What?!?!?!?  OK, I can give them green beans, I would prefer fresh. 
But carrots are not bad.
OK, I agree they have sugar
that is one of the reasons the dogs love them
They are also crunchy and and are a good replacement for other choices like, oh, I don't know, say,
raw hide?
milk bones?
snicker bars?
OK, maybe I don't give them snicker bars, but carrots are just not the same thing. 
I will continue to give them a carrot a day.  It is not like I leave an open bin of carrots and they are addicts like crack addicts.  They eat a carrot a day.  It is crunchy, good fiber, sweet, tasty, anti oxidants, etc. 
low sodium canned green beans are not a good substitute for carrots.  They are not crunchy, they are not sweet, they are not........ well you understand.

Then I let this new vet do something that I should never do, and would normally never had allowed, but I was trying to be open and not difficult after not liking her diet ideas and constant nagging on my dogs weight, which as far as I could tell, was not helping Bob loose any weight.

What I did was let them take Bob away from me.  He was not thrilled.  They took him to Dr. Matt, who Bob knows, for a second opinion.  I do respect this new vet for that much.  Well, it scared Bob so bad that he let loose his anal scent glands.  These are glands that many male animals have.  Bob had not apparently released them before based on the amount of fluid he spewed forth 6 feet away on the wall of the big exam room in the back.  He nailed half the people in the room and caused a mass exodus while everyone ran shrieking and holding their breath from the room, which then caused Bob to run through the office looking for me.  Which only meant that "run over in the middle of the road skunk scent" was spread through the entire office.  He then circled back found me calling him at the door and literally jumped his 80 pounds into my arms.  At which point I realized that the horrific reek was coming from Bob.  It took a while for them to get it through my head that this eye watering, throat gagging odor was coming from my special little boy.  All of this turmoil caused Ednarose to start peeing.  And she peed everywhere on everything and everyone.  I kept suggesting that they just keep a roll of paper towels in their hands, but they insisted she must be almost done.  I looked doubtful, and hate to admit it, but I was right.  She kept right on peeing and peeing and well you know.  So I got the two of them out to the car, thanked the gods and goddesses for a convertible and just before I opened the lid, I went to push what I thought was a pine cone off the top so I could open it, but was actually it was cat vomit.  fresh.  very fresh.  I got in the car, I called Ms Moon.  You know your day is not going so great when the high light is a handful of moist cat vomit.  She agreed that did not sound like the best day.

I got home in time to shower, repeat, repeat, washing my hair each time.  I still smelled like Bob's stench and I swear I kept scrubbing cat food out from my finger nails.  I was not a happy camper.  I ended up diluting some bleach and pouring it over me, and that took most of the smell away.  sigh

Rehearsal went well.  We should be ready to do a great show in about 3 weeks. hee hee  we always say that the week before we open when the reality of what is happening starts to become more then real.

Friday I was determined to do something to make myself happier.  I could go shopping, but that meant driving into town, spending money for no reason, I really don't need anything, after having gone grocery shopping the day before and I don't really like leaving my house or dealing with human beings.  No, there is about an 8 foot by 4 foot spot at the end of my flower bed that was really really ugly.  Four of the dreaded cherry bushes were there and weeds had grown up all around and that was the first thing I saw each day when I looked out my door.  So I put on my overalls, which I have not worn for a long time because of my port, but I think I have this figured out.  I have missed my overalls.  I then put air in my lawn tractor tires and drove over to those cherry bushes, dug the big roots lose, and then attached them to the lawn tractors and pulled those suckers right up.  I felt so manly.  So competent.  I prepared the bed and then planted the garden with a small water feature using plants that I had propagated or already had on hand.  I didn't want to put a lot into the plants a month or so before the first frost.  Here is what I see when I walk out my door now:

View from my back door

Here is  a close up.
There is a Panama Pacific water lily in the Mexican pottery bowl.  It is gorgeous.  Deep magenta petals with an almost iridescent golden yellow throat.  I planted day lilies, and butterfly weeds, hydrangea, 2 roses, Artemis and amaryllis.  In the spring I can better make a decision on what to plant there so there is continuity throughout the entire bed.  I cut back some of the dead and fading plants and found this lovely big fat monarch butterfly larvae munching on my milk weed.

 I worked most of the day on my garden.  It felt wonderful and now instead of weeds, I see a new garden. And here are pictures of the babies.  Ednarose is getting so big: 


After doing manly man things with the lawn tractor and gardening I came into the house and baked dark chocolate espresso Carmel pecan brownie cookies and milk chocolate brownie cookies with chunks.  I then made myself up to look like a fortune teller, using clothes, not from my costume closet, but from my clothes closet and headed down to the Opera House.  We had the Poe Readings last night.  Tim, Jack and Mary read and Marcy did an intro.  It was wonderful.  We had about 50 paying customers and everyone loved it.  It was a great success for our first little starter year.  The readers were each so different.  Tim, would become Poe.  I watched him I don't know, it was like he sank into the chair, the angle of his head changed, his voice deepened, was there a touch of an accent?  He just became Poe reading his work satisfied, complete.  Then Jack read one of my favorites where the person telling the story is made and looses their mind by the end of the show.  Jack does a find job loosing his mind.  He becomes quite agitated by the end of the show.   Then Mary came in and sat down in the chair, her hair expertly braided close around her perfect head.  The colors of previous shows and a life well lived hallowed her through the glow of the spot light.  Her Velvet cover a patchwork of bright colors as she read a story that described seven rooms with windows with seven brilliant colors.  Her words painted my mind with Poe's words and I sat back and watched the story of the red death.  I heard so many good things.  Next year I already have ideas. 

This morning I got up and worked a little bit around the house, finished the laundry I started yesterday, talked to my friend who always make me smile, and then headed down to where else, but the Opera House.  I finished the tin can necklace and one for his foot.  I painted sets, set blue lights, and did all kinds of odd jobs.  Then I went downstairs and went through the napkins to remove stained ones.  Lisa is working alone in the office right now, so I asked if she needed any help.  She needed things from the WD, so while she finished the last minute things that need to be done before Monster Mash I ran to the Winn Dixie.  After delivering my goods I came home and here I have been since.  I have chatted with friends, watched sappy movies on Hallmark and now, late, and exhausted I shall lay my head down and get some sleep.  Tomorrow is rehearsal and the eve of Samhaim (Halloween).  This Thursday we will do our pre-show for Altrusia.  Here is the first sneak preview of our cast:

Sin, Sex and the CIA
That is my favorite part, the group photo.  A motley looking group, wouldn't you say.  We are having a lot of fun and it is amazing working with so many talented people. 

It is getting cold.  I think I shall go crawl under a quilt and my pendleton wool blanket and a dog or two, and maybe a cat or three.  To sleep and to rest.  To rejuvenate.  To dream of pulling cherry bushes and planting gardens, of baking cookies and rehearsing lines and painting sets and living the life of the luckiest woman in the world alive.  With a smile on my face, and a song in my heart I will count my blessings and sleep the sleep of those happy with their lives.  It may sound cliche, but I am happy.

I am Kathleen Osgood.  I have Stage 4 Lung Cancer, aren't I lucky?  I have a friend with Lou Gehrig's disease.  We chatted tonight.  I enjoy talking to him more these days.  We both have a chronic disease.  We can talk and joke with each other.  We know what the fates could bring us.  We know what science can and can not do.  We accept our lives just as they are.  Maybe that is why I know that tonight I will sleep well.  I know how truly blessed I am.  Just the way I am.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Life in a Fake Believe world

r\T hat is a Jack Williams ism "Fake believe".  that just happens to describe my world way too often, and I believe maybe Ms Moon also.  We both love that saying and make sure to point it out when our world has become fake believe.  Like when we are doing a play.

And between the inability to function on a very basic level because of my tooth, trying to stay mentally involved in a play that is opening in a week, while I put everyone out by missing rehearsals, is very much fake believe.  I am not the sort to make a commitment and then not be more involved.  That is one of my best faults, I am involved in what ever commitment I make.  I participate fully.  So I feel fully guilty for missing all the rehearsals.   But funny about my guilt  I take an anti anxiety pill and pass out from all the combination of meds they have coursing through my body and I sleep for 5 - 8 hours at a time.  I am only able to stay away 1 - 2 before passing out.  Right now I am writing this with my eyes at half mast.  But I feel the need to record some of the most amazing loveliness I am having.  As I read it again, I realize I was actually asleep when I wrote this.  I have gone back through it and corrected the spelling, typos, etc.  I had such a lovely several days, even the sleeping, but now I am trying to wake up and go to the store and take care of my animals as they should be taken care of.

Thursday, Sioux and I did not do much.  We just sat at home and watched Tron Legacy with Jeff Bridges.  I think it is an action adventure movie.  I am not sure, I slept through most of it, then went to bed.  It couldn't have been 8:00pm  maybe earlier.  I slept the entire night.

Friday we made soap with ms Moon.  It was wonderful.  And the soap that is made by friends coming together to laugh and work, well the soap is  happy and works harder.  I know, probably quantum physics for all I know.  Ms Moon tells it better then I ever could here:  Soap

Then we had lunch the three of us, Sioux, Mary Moon and myself at the Rosemary Tree and it was a wonderful day.   Life is good with friends, essential oils, vegetable fats and oils up to your elbows, thermometers, chicken salad, quiche, laughterand then it all comes together at the end of the day, soap.  Orange, Rosemary soap with orange peal and lavender, oatmeal with ground oatmeal, lavender flowers and plum clay for coloring and a little scrub ability. 

That night Sioux and I picked up Carolyn and we headed to Thomasville to see the Poe One Act Plays at TOSAC and it was a lovely time.  We dined at George and Louie's then went to the play, where it was a sparse attended opening night show.  Empty seats enjoying a very fine performance.  I hope everyone has marked their calendar for this well done evening performance.  It was extra special to me because my friend David Null, very talented member of TOSAC performed with his son Samuel and in the audience that night was Samuel's 2 month old son Alezander.  Three generations, and David looked so happy about it.  It was a lovely night, but I wore myself down.

Saturday I was up early with the animals, as normal and got to spend some time talking to friends. on the phone.  It was my 56th birthday.  Sioux slept later then I have ever known her to.  It felt good that she was able to feel comfortable enough to sleep.  That or there has been a sleeping potion put on this house.  We got going around noon towards the Butterfly Festival.  I was tired, so in no rush to go, but still looking forward to this annual migration south with the butterflies before they strike out over the gulf.  I grow milkweed at Labrun.  I grew as much as I could down in Bokeelia also.  It is a pretty plant and has lovely flowers.  Draws ladybugs for the aphids and monarch for the larval stage.  Throw in a few passion vines, a penta, and the myriad of fall blooms and our yards dance and float and twitter and move constantly through the ever changing butterflies, birds and blossoms.  What a quietly glorious time of the year.  Not the big Spring Glorious with loud joyful thanks giving from a long cold winter  And not the glorious of the heavenly hosts.  My favorite part of the bible.  A sky crowded with heavenly hosts all signing in joyful celebration of the birth of a child.  Now, that is glorious.  No, fall up here, is the opposite, the quiet, but glorious none the less.  The light is different, the dark comes sooner and stays longer, the temperatures are wavering from the familiar heat to the promise of a chill, of cold weather.  Subtler changes, tweaks and adjustments really more then anything, Autumn is the adjustment of Spring and Summer from constant growth to harvest and barren and rest, as mother nature gives the last of herself completely, it is our time to work and reap and celebrate the relationship we have through knowledge of making things grow, and making those things into clothes and food.  And this is the time of year where we celebrate those rerwards.

And the weather was the kind of perfect fall day that you would not even know how to ask for, but you it happens, it is the most perfect of all the weathers ever. We ride down the back roads, the highways less often used these days and saw a herd of 8 deer running together on the other side of the fence along the road. As the breeze would get caught up in the car everyone once in a while the clear sound of a red wing black bird floated clearly through. Bird songs, cicadas and amphibians side by side with other insects all singing into the perfect fall afternoon.

The drive to St. Marks did me in from all the other activity I had so blindly considered no big deal. I was not beat down and tired I rested and then made 7 minute icing, in some odd hope that it would stimulate me back into alertness, which it did not. I iced and sprinkled coconut on the cup cakes and off we headed to the Moon's. 

My dearest Jezebel's were there, well, we were missing one, but she will be back soon and we will have a repeat so that she will be there and so I can enjoy myself. Instead, I was so happy to be around my favorite woman, but my jaw was killing me, and was contorting my face and breathing and voice. I am not taking enough pain pills. I repeated that experience again.  Ms Moon made two fabulous pizzas, one with chicken sausage the other veggie.  We laughed and talked and smiled and enjoyed each other's company.  Sweet thoughtful gifts and cards we shared and life was so precious.

I am going through my closets, foggy brained, helter skelter for the last couple of days trying to get my costume ready for Poe.  I have decided to take my crystal ball down and dress as a Palm Reader.   I need to pull out the material I have on that.  It really isn't so hard to do once you are familiar with the basic lines that everyone knows.  After that you can go just about anywhere and have fun with it.  And as our closets change from summer to fall to winter, we move clothes in and out and we dress up in our clothes and pretend to be other things, fairies, witches, superheros, chefs, princesses, anything you want that will make you feel happy for one day.  Fake believe.  I have costumes for just about every situation imaginable, or the materials to put one together.  I may not have been a girl scout, but I still always tried to be prepared. 

I do not have a good handle on scheduling pain management, but I will be better by tomorrow.  I will simply take them as scheduled and then adjust from there    A lesson you would think I would learn, but I am on drugs, so I do not think well.  And for now.  I am going back to bed.  Wonderful moments, that I can focus one and forget this pain.  Yes, lots of happy moments of a life well enjoyed this past week.  Now to rest.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

It is cold

Okay, I am not sure if I have ever mentioned this before, but I do not do well with cold. Yesterday it was gray and windy and Fall blew in bringing with it the cold.  So cold, that Marina, my almost domesticated Manx cat, came into the house, not to eat, but to sleep in the warm. 

My plans for yesterday were pretty simple, clean the house.  But between the gray and the wind and the cold starting to seep into my world, my jaw hurt.  I found my pain meds and started taking them along with the anitbiotics.  Not a good mixture, but I really had no choice.  I managed to talk to Mary and  Dad and then I went to bed.  Yes, I laid down and slept for hours.  I only got up to be sick.  I tired to eat, it took me almost 2 hours to eat a pear with yogurt.  I tried to eat a bowl of my veggie soup later, but after a couple of bites I got sick, so gave up on food.  This is exactly why Dr. M wants me to put on weight.  Because when I can't eat, I have very little reserve. 

I did get up later in the evening to take a pill, but before I could take it, I was sick, so I tried to watch a little bit of the game one of the world series.  The warning label says not to lay down for at least 10 minutes after taking the pill.  And I do find that I am less nausous sitting up, but only slightly.  The best choice in minimizing being sick is minimizing my food intake.  It is not fool proof, but better.

And I did have moments where I felt ok.  About an hour after the antibiotic I am better, and I am trying to minimize the pain meds.  Not that I don't need them, but nothing is doing much good if it does not stay with me.  I was able to video chat with a friend, and he makes me laugh.  And that helped a lot.  In fact while I was laughing with him, I forgot all about my tooth and my stomach.  But we all know that laughter is the best medicine. 

I talked to Sioux, who had planned on coming down last night.  She lives in Ft. Myers and they have had some very rough weather.  She had not slept well, so she thought it wise not to work all day and then try and drive 6 hours here.  I agreed completely.  She said she would leave at 5 this morning.  I said, just come when you have a chance, and don't push yourself.  Just talked to her.  She did not sleep well again last night, but is on her way and should be here early afternoon. 

I am still moving a little slow and I am not sure what to do about the nauseau.  It is bad enough to feel sick, but we are getting close to our play opening and I can't be missing reherasals.  I still need to vacuum and make Sioux's bed, but I am having a hard time getting up.  I know she would not want me to push myself.  But I am not sure I can tolerate the floor if I do not vacuum. 

Well, I am closing this post because I need to go find a blue bag and see if I can get figure out how to feel better.  It is sunny and beautiful looking outside the window.  But it is cold outside and I am not doing well here inside.  excuse me.  

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Baby Steps and Flattery

It was a glorious morning and I got up ready to get some things done.  Just baby steps.  Then I was emailing someone on the Internet that I met through the dating site, that I keep going on and off of.  He asked me to send him a sexy picture of myself.  I said I didn't have any.  He said that the pictures I had posted were nice, and he couldn't believe I didn't have a couple of more flattering picture. 

And that has been a problem.  Not just that I don't have any flattering pictures, but that I have such a negative sense of my body.  I am working out at the Y, trying to get my walks in and doing yoga at home.  But it does not matter, I look at the mirror and I do not see an attractive woman, instead of I see a skinny woman with cancer.  An alien with Borg parts sticking out of my chests.  I didn't work to loose this weight and I think sometimes I feel guilty that I am thin.  Most everyone else seems to have to work so hard at loosing weight, and I don't.  My face looks older as women's faces tend to look when you are very thin.  A little healthy fat on a body ads curves, smooth the skin, gives us a healthy woman like body.  When I look at my body it looks more like a 12 year old boy then a 55, almost 56 year old woman. 

So, I thought, you have a nice camera, try and take some pictures and look at yourself and feel better about yourself.  I put on my form fitting dress that I bought in Apalachicola.  I tried to strike a sexy pose.  There was no one around to give me directions other then Harry, Bob and Ednarose who thought that I would look better if I was holding them, playing with them or feeding them treats.  But I managed to get a few photos taken.  One of them is my new blog photo.  Here are another couple:

 OK, looking at them, I am trying to think positive, but of course, I see all the faults.  The wrinkles, the age, and yet, I feel better just because I did it.  I took some photos of myself, and I think this is really what I look like.  We all struggle with aging, I am no different.  And I have cancer and maybe as much as I want to act like I openly accept the cancer, it is funny how I don't like any photos of myself since I started getting sick.  I still think at times I am mad at my body for doing this to me.  How silly is that?  My body didn't do anything to me.  we are the same entity, my mind and my body.  And they have not been working well together for a long time.  With the stress I dealt with over the last five plus years, no wonder my immune system didn't notice when a few cells started to get carried away.  I am trying to be better about the stress, choosing what I want to do, and trying to keep a perspective of what I might not need to do, no matter how much it feels like I am not doing my obligations. 

Baby steps.  I took photos of myself.  I posted them on this blog.  I have put them on my dating page on the evil Internet dating site that I keep leaving and then drawn back to like a beaten dog to its abusive master.  OK, maybe not that dramatic.  But now that I have added a couple of these photos to my site.  The number of people who are "interested" in me has tripled.  Adding photos of myself looking self assured, rather then like some one caught the picture when I wasn't looking.  You can just look at those photos before and I look sick.  I mean, I look like I am carrying my cancer around like a scarlet letter.  I think these pictures are just me.  All of me  But since the cancer is not that big a thing in my life, it only shows in these pictures as a thin woman with short hair.  A little older, but self assured enough to take a photo.

So the other day, Barbie offered me another very small part in the play.  I am playing the role of Sir Percival Cedric Buckthorn.  I need to learn a high brow British Accent.  I am having more and more fun with this play as we get closer to  the show date. Baby steps towards memorizing lines, remembering blocking, starting to act rather then to play a part.  To react to each other, listen.  I don't mean to pretend to listen, I mean listen like you do in real life.  Talk to them like you would really talk to them.  This is the part where the play starts to pull together and moves from a bunch of actors acting on a stage, to a group of people telling a story.  Interacting in the world of Fake believe.  Where different rules are in place, and are as natural to the audience as they are to us. 

If someone is standing further up the stage away from the audience they are not as important as the people down stage in the brighter lights.  Anyone standing behind you stage, you can not see them.  You can do just about anything in that position because they can not see you.  And that is so much fun.

I only needed to do a couple of things with rehearsal like show the Director  my boots and rain jacket.  She approved of them, and as I was walking down the stairs from the balcony area, my boots are a bit slippery on the bottom, and my feet just came out from under me and I bumped by way down a dozen or more steps.  Scared everyone to death.  But me.  I kept looking at the them trying to remind them that I was a clown, I can take a pretty good fall.  I have a bruise on my left arm and a small one on my left hip, but other then that, I am right as rain.  They sent me home after that though.  I was kind of glad to go home and rest.

And I caught up on a few emails and I messaged some people I have met through this dating site, and finally instead of everyone just ending up to be a scammer, some of these people contacting me are really nice.  And each quite unique and different.  Before, I seemed to be attracting the same type of person, over and over.  No one local has seemed to be particularly interested, but I am gaining courage in this dating world.  I actually think that I might be able to meet someone out in the real world now, and not be as weirded out.

Some of the men I have messaged seem so sweet and so hopeful to find the love of their life.  I am not comfortable with that for the most part.  I tried to believe and have an open and willing heart.  I loved the poetry and love songs that one sent.  He also sent flowers and candy and a teddy bear.  He did everything right, and I allowed myself to believe that someone people can fall in love through words and photos.  But then he turned out to be one of the most patient and talented scam artist of the bunch.  And when I would not give him my credit card number, I didn't hear from him again.  I wasn't surprised.

But last night I was messaging a couple of people and although I am not good at juggling friends or men or human beings in general, these 2 that the time sort of overlapped, were so different.   One wants to fall in love now.  The other, I am not sure what he is looking for, but he is fun and funny and we video chatted and he said I was attractive, and I felt attractive.  I still feel a little better about myself.  These people do not live close to me.  Some live several states away.  But I don't mind.  I still don't know what I want, and to get to laugh and joke and do silly video calling.  Well, this is all new to me, and I had fun.  I pushed beyond my normal self and allowed myself to take a few chances and to laugh and tease and flirt and just have fun.  I am not counting on any of this materializing into a real relationship anymore then my adorable helicopter friend landing his ship in my yard and sweeping me away.  But he and I are still friends, and I still adore him.  There are just some people I meet, over the phone, in person, at a play, at the store, wherever and I just adore them.  Ms Moon, my Vicki, Rich, Bob, my helicopter pilot, all of my dear Jezebel friends and the other people in the Stage Company.  I just adore each and every one of them.  And do many more.  How lucky is that to be surrounded by people you absolutely adore!

I had my conference call with the financial people yesterday, and considering that I live for 10 more years, which could be possible, I am going to be OK. Not well off, by any stretch of the imagination, but OK. And well, for having to change my retirement goals twice now in these past many years, first with Larry loosing his mind and the divorce, then the cancer. Well, I am feeling a little more confident that I will not be leaving in my airstream hidden back of one of my friends properties eating eggs and weeds and trying to work as my health slowly deteriorates with this disease. It was a hard phone call to make, and I had to stop a couple of times and take some more ativan to get through the call. It was a bit stressful. But with my sweet precious Camille helping me, we got it all taken care of. She is a saint that woman! Thank you Camille
It looks like rain.  I need to get up to the Y so I can do my exercises and yoga class and then get back in time for a dental appointment.  I was having to cancel one appointment for an earlier one with a different dentist, that some friends had recommended I use, when the receptionist asked me if I blogged.  I said, yes that I did.  She seemed a little uncertain as to what to say, but she obviously wanted to say something to me.  She asked if I had gone to the Mullet dinner and had (By the way, I am making coconut cup cakes for the birthday I am not planning on celebrating. ) She told me she had enjoyed the blog.  That someone had read it and were passing on the link to others at the church so they could read it.  I was so flattered. 

And I don't want to celebrate this birthday with a party or anything like that.  Sioux will be here, maybe Ms Moon will make us pizza and a few of my girlfriends who are in town can have a girl's night out.  But just that, a girl's night out.  Not a birthday party.  Just spending time with my friends and not being forced, by myself to have a great time on this day.  The day I was never supposed to be alive to see.  Ha!  Ha HA!!!  Fooled that doctor!  I am still here and filling a little sassy this morning.  Oh yeah.

hmmmm, maybe I should rename this post, flattery rather then baby steps.  There, I fixed it, and now I am going to head up to Thomasville to the Y and then to the dentist and oh, I hope they can find something to take away this pain. 

Today I am feeling happy and sort of sexy and confident this morning.  Something I haven't felt in well, have I ever really felt that way?  Hmmm, I am not sure.  But I like the way it feels.  Reality will come shortly as I am trying to balance in yoga and may not do as well as I would like.  But that is OK, I don't want to become vain, I just want to like all of me.  Every single cell and hair follicle,  every wrinkle and sagging skin.  I have lived and worked hard for them.  Now is the time to enjoy them. 

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Life in a small community

I love living here.  I love the Spring with life pushing back up through the dirt out of the branches bare and cramped from the Winter.  The winters are cold here.  I don't do well with the cold. 

I love the Fall.  The light no longer harsh and demanding.  grow, Grow, GROW!!!!  All Summer long the sun burns down on us.  Fall the sun shifts and reflects light across the yard.  Flashing on new colors in the landscape, red, copper, gold, bronze, yellow, orange.  I love the change of temperatures as much as I dread the coming cold.  As much as I love the heat, it is nice to have a little variety.  Just a little. 

And here at the edge of the world of seasons as people up north see them, it is autumn.  On Pine Island we had changes in the season, but they were too subtle for most of the outside world.  To us they were as obvious as the fish and shellfish we caught and when we ate them, when the mangoes were ready to be picked and when strawberries were fresh grown in Plant City; when people were living in their winter homes and when they had gone back up north to their summer homes.  Snow birds.

Thursday night Judy came by and we drove to the Waukeenah Methodist Church's Mullet Dinner.  We drove down the empty Highway 19, south to another State Road Highway with the only cars on it either coming home from work or on their way to the Mullet Dinner. Judy looked over at me and said, I see why you enjoy this car.  Nora Jones crooned from the stereo.

The toy slipped along the roads, the wind blowing past us the sun setting, the air cooling, the light reflecting early autumn.  Friday, the end of the week.  The weekend beginning.  Two friends in the moment, participating in the ritual of fall in this little community.  The timing was perfect.  The politicians were smiling and looking people in their eyes as they talked about the weather as the line moved swiftly from the area to pay through the food to the drinks and to the tables or out the door.  Friends from all over the county driving to this little church each fall for the ritual of fried mullet.  The same menu I have eaten this time of year my entire life.  First at the fireman fish fries as a child then frying the mullet that Larry netted off the dock from the canal behind our house; now as a woman who is about to turn 56, I eat mullet in this landlocked little town north of the Gulf, not west.  But the ever present Gulf still giving its bounty each fall, mullet.  Smoked, fried, fish spread, mullet.

And the Waukeenah Methodist Church Fall Mullet Dinner does not disappoint.  There are huge paper plates, not styrofoam, loaded with fillets of fried mullet, a back bone snapped in two if you ask for it, yum mm, good eats.  Then hush puppies, baked beans, cheese grits, home made pickles, cole slaw and your choice of so many choices of luscious decadent desserts.  I chose the coconut cake. 

Judy and I parked and walked passed all the other parked cars, up the steps to the rec hall and paid our $10 a plate, such a deal.  Then waited in line smiling and yelling hellos to friends and neighbors.  We smiled and commented on the competence of our elected officers, making short compliments about our friends present.  "She has such a talent for growing things", "Have you seen the quilt she is working on?  Lovely, and her corners, so sharp", "Look at those two, they have been married forever", "Oh, don't they look good?" and so on as we wait for our turn in line.  Then you walk along on one side of the counter, the servers smiling and waiting for direction on the other.  "To go please" "Yes, May I have a backbone?"  "Yes, on both plates"  "Grits?  YES: Beans?  Please;  Cole Slaw?  Yes Mam"; "pickles?  The sweet ones, please (they are the ones that are homemade)."   Then it is time to stare down at the small plates of cupcakes and slices of cake, pie, cookies, brownies, oh my!  The choices made, the drinks filled and we head back to the car.  Stopping to chat and "Bless your heart" as we go along.  We decide to move the car with us because I know I am bringing home a pumpkin and I am not going to want to carry it.  So we drive up to the pumpkins and hop out.  For a small time patch there is a lot of variety here.  Smooth ones, bumpy ones, blue, white, every color of yellow/orange/red imaginable.  From the most giant to the tiniest sugar pumpkins, sitting up on palates and piled in the grass.  Boxes of gourds that resemble shells and space ships.  Sugar pumpkins small and round, perfect for baking.

I say life is pretty fine on a clear cool autumn evening, walking through a pumpkin patch with a friend I have known for so long.  And yet this is the first pumpkin patch we have walked together.  She picked out 2 smaller ones with beautiful bent stems.  I picked out a middle/large one that is cream with spider webs of red, yellow, orange and green giving the pumpkin a psychedelic look to it.  It is self pay and we stuff our money into the pay box nailed to the pine tree.  Then we carry our autumn bounty back to the toy where our mullet dinners await. 

We drove home in the darkening evening.  A beautiful fall evening in a small town in north Florida.  A small community that still waits in lines for mullet dinners, that has a self pay pumpkin patch.   We laughed on the drive as we commented on how lucky we are to live in this beautiful place.  Beauty in nature and in human beings.  A bounty of riches, mullet, deer, turkeys, pumpkins, vegetables of all kinds.  Kindness and compassion, traditions.  And I thought, how lucky am I that Judy and I should both end up retiring to this community, separately each seeking out this place to settle and assimilate back into a culture that feels as deep as our DNA.

This morning I woke to another glorious day of fall sun shining through the trees in my front yard.  A perfect day for a motorcycle ride or a drive in a convertible.  I drove up to Golden Acres Ranch with the top down and met Isabelle who already had the booth set up for our Garden Circle.  We are selling the Atlas Gloves to raise money to send kids to the 4 H camp.  It is the Annual Farm Tour in Leon, Jefferson and Gadsend Counties.  It is a wonderful day.  People can drive from farm to farm and learn all about the wineries, organic growers, lamb and sheep farmers, and all the diverse agriculture industries we have here in these north Florida counties.  Golden Acres owned by Fred and Bobbie Golden is one of the best to go to, and if you are local, you might want to consider taking in this free tour.  10:00am - 4:00pm today and again tomorrow. 

At Golden Acres you will be able to take a ride sitting on a bale of hay on a trailer pulled by a tractor as they circle around and through the farm looking at all the varieties of goats and sheep.  Back at the house chickens wander through the crowds watching for any stray tidbit to be carelessly discarded.  There are areas where you can see how wool is taken from the sheep to a blanket, buy meats locally grown like goat and lamb, eat a hot dog and buy organic produce and persimmons.  There are artist and musicians, and of course, our Garden Circle. 

It is always fun to watch and listen to the local "city folk" as they call themselves.  They are amazed by the chicken coop and living surrounded by animals.  Laughing at themselves as they are starlted by a peck of a hen or a crow of a rooster.  "Doesn't he know what time it is?"  "Yes mam, he does.  Rooster crow all day long, and some during the night, not just in the morning."  "Oh, that is noisy"  "yes mam, nice huh?"

I ran into an old friend who also now lives up here.  He is a persimmon grower and gave me a bag of his golden treasures when he found out I liked persimmons and that I had Stage 4 Lung Cancer.  Now, I did not know he grew persimmons until after I had already told him about my cancer.  So I had no way of knowing that he would be so generous to give me a bag of persimmons.  But it was very sweet and generous of him and his significant other to give such a precious gift.  I had brought bars of the soap we had made the week before at Garden Circle.  The ladies were pretty excited.  And when the next shift came to replace those of us from the morning, I looked around me again and felt so thankful to have been a part of this celebration of agriculture and Autumn.  I always wanted to be a farmer, and now to live in this place so centered around agriculture and movinng throughout the year as the seasons shift and the Autumn full moons float over the cooling earth.  A season for everything a time and a place for all things. 

And people seem happier and calmer who participate in these rituals of the seasons.  To take time to gather and share the bounty of this beautiful place.  Both from the land, the water and the sky above us.  A time to prepare for the cold long winter.  Not unbearable here, but the landscape goes stark as energy builds up in the roots, preparing for the Spring and the push to reach out and up and uncramp the long hibernation out of our bones and branches. 

I feel a sense of belonging when I stand in line to get my mullet dinner.  When I make change for someone  buying a pair of gloves that I actually use and believe in myself.  Humans reaching out to each other coming together.  As animals have their natural instincts and know when to fatten up and when to hibernate.  Our DNA also seems to remind us of a time when we had to prepare for the change of season.  And even though now we can run to the store for anything anytime of the year.  It just seems that those who participate in the change of the seasons, who change their diet to match what is locally available at different times of years, and to meld into the traditions, cultures and instincts of the seasons, just seem to be healthier and happier.  I know I am.
I picked this community to retire and grow old in
And when I was sick
and now that I still have cancer
So many people are so generous here
I feel right
I feel like I am in the right place for the right season of my life
The fall years of my life.
I may not have many years in the winter of my life
but that is yet to be seen
for now, I am happy to enjoy this time of the year
and this time of my life

Thursday, October 13, 2011

The skies are clearing

The sky is finally clearing and I see a pale blue sky.  There are shadows again as the sun plays hide and seek in the trees instead of a grayness filling the sky and floating down from the treetops, misting and sprinkling, spreading the gray through my world.  Everyone I have talked to lately has been depressed or a little off.  It is like as the season turns and the stores fill up with Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas it is throwing all of us a little off kilter. 

Autumn is hard like that.  When Autumn turns to winter we are already well into the holiday madness.  When Winter turns to spring it is so welcome after being cooped up, cramped into our homes breathing the same stale heated air for months that spring is welcome.  The holidays are not as demanding either.  Then Spring and Summer merge, again, the holidays at this time of year are about family and picnics, vacations and days at the beach, relaxed and laid back. Just throw a few sandwiches into a bag, some drinks and off you go.  Make it real easy and stop at a fast food place for a chicken dinner and you have instant picnic.  Then Summer turns to fall and school has already started, the biggest fall holiday other then the equinox has already happened, and then BAM!  Out of the blue we are to buy candy, expensive costumes, the biggest turkey with all the fixings and presents, lots and lots of presents. 

And we need to do this to be good Americans.  To spend that money and get our economy booming.  Yet this year, it already feels different.  We are getting worn down.  The economy is still struggling and slipping, not able to get a foot hold.  Money is tight, and even for those who are doing OK, they too are starting to wonder if maybe they should be a little more prudent.  And the fact that they have crowded three holidays, not to mention both fall and winter decorations all together, overwhelms many of us and sends us running back to our homes, the needed loaf of bread lost in the fray of ghosts, turkeys and Santa's. 

I love the holidays.  But I love to celebrate each one, separately, one at a time.  I want to go to the Waukeenah fish fry on Friday night and buy my mullet dinner and then head out to the pumpkin patch and pick out a pumpkin or two.  I love pumpkins.  All colors and shapes and sizes.  I do not butcher mine, but rather put then out to display and keep them there until they have started to spot with age and then they go out into the chickens.  I love dressing up for Samhein (Halloween) and passing out candy.  One year Larry had to actually go down the street and pay a couple of kids to come and trick or treat at our house.  I thought that was very sweet of him.  That was back in the days when he was very considerate and sweet.  Nice memories.

I haven't managed to get much done this week.  I did go to the Y on Tuesday.  Wednesday I was tired and still dealing with my stomach issues, which was now a week, and I was starting to reconsider my ban on Imodium and Pepto Bismol.  I don't like to take Imodium because it causes my body to quit functioning normally for longer then most people.  And yes, my body is not functioning as well as would be hoped for in the first place, but since it usually only lasts for a day or two, I hate to then have to spend a week dealing with the other problem.  And well, Pepto Bismol looks pretty gross when it revisits you, and it does not seem to fix my problems, but just intensifies the colors, so no thank you there.  But I was getting close to doing to the store and giving something a try.  I was really getting worn down.  So Wednesday I thought I would take a nap.  No rehearsal.  I had planned to go to Judy and Denise;s to pick up some things for the play, but the rain made that impossible, so I had the entire afternoon to myself.  

I laid my head down and as tired and worn out as I was, my mind instantly went to wide awake, and after 30 minutes of trying every thing I could think of, I got up, got dressed and decided to go to the sewing group that meets at the library on Wednesdays.  Several of the ladies in this group are also in our garden circle, and I am quite fond of them, so it is nice to get to spend an extra time sitting around and talking while most of them work on their sewing projects.  I just sit there and knit.  I am not ready to join in on the sewing yet. 

Today I again went up to the Y and got there in time for the chair/AA Meeting portion of the HOPE group.  After that I went downstairs to do my workout and it was empty, so I really liked that.  No waiting for a machine, no crowd to distract.  I could just do my workout and then head to yoga.  I have been wanting to take a zumba course, and the zumba gold, for the old people, is the same time as my HOPE classes.  I have considered taking a zumba class and see how that goes and then do my workout and then go to yoga.  That would be a better balance to my program.  We will see how it goes.  I am still feeling better doing these exercises and have not had a weepy week in a while.  Oh, I am so loving that.  I hate those weepy, dramatic, sobbing weeks.  It is so hard on my physically, but nothing compared to how it impacts those around me.  If for no other reason, not having to deal with that side effect of the meds makes the drive to Thomasville worth every minute and drop of gas.  I suppose I could get where I can do some of the exercises and yoga here at the house, but getting out and spending time with the other survivors, I think also helps.  And we had a good class today. 

Now I am heading up to the Opera House to buy a chicken and rice dinner from the 4H club, and then on to rehearsal.   We have switched Luke's in the play.  I have to say as much as I love Mike, Tim is doing an amazing job and is much bigger and funnier then Mike.  Mike is a great actor, but he does not have the experience Tim has in these big over the top comedies.  And it has really given the play a real boost having him come on to this part.  Mike is still a part of the production and I am sure that we will see him during the play.  But he has some personal things he needs to deal with that have come up, and I think he is relieved not to have to come to rehearsals 4 days a week.

Big fun coming up.  Tomorrow night is the Waukeenah Mullet Fry, and you know how much I love their mullet fries.  Then this weekend is the Farm Tours and I will be working the morning shift at Golden Acres Ranch.   Saturday afternoon will be a working day for the play and then Sunday we will have rehearsal.  Next week Sioux will be up on Wednesday night.  I am really looking forward to seeing her.  She is coming up for my birthday on Saturday.  We will go to see the Poe One Act Plays at TOSAC on Friday night with Caroline.  Saturday will be the Monarch Butterfly Festival and then she will leave Sunday before I have rehearsal.  She will get to see the play in rehearsal on Thursday evening.  I also thought I would take Sioux with me to Thomasville on Thursday and we could go to my yoga class. 

So lots of fun coming up.  I am feeling better.  Still a little worn out after a week of stomach issues.   That is a long time to keep having everything in your system evacuate from the closest orifice as quickly as possible.  I did not however loose any weight over this time.  I have no idea how.  But I am not complaining.  Maybe something I ate stayed with me long enough to give me some nutrition.

I did take a moment today to call a friend I haven't spoken to in 25 years.  He sounded just the same and so happy.  I was glad I had touched base with him.   His daughter is getting married next month and he sounds like a good dad, happy for her, but dreading loosing his baby girl.  His life has gone well it sounded like, and I was so happy to have stopped and taken the moment to say hello.

Well off to rehearsal.  Maybe one of these days I will have something of importance to say here.  But for now I am happy and feeling good.  Life is wonderful.  The weather is glorious, Ednarose is growing up getting bigger and more civilized with each passing day.  Although she still likes to throw something at me each day that makes me learn patience.  Got to love her, or I would ......, OK, I can't think of anything I could do, but I do love that little thing.  And both of her brothers and the rest of the crew here at Labrun.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Rainy Monday

For the last two days it has been rainy.  Drizzly, sprinkling.  No really big hard rains, just drib and drab, dregs and drags, sun showers, a low cloud.  Slow, gray and relaxing  The kind of days you would love to just crawl back into bed with a mug of hot cocoa and a good book.  We need rain and although in the long run we are not getting enough water to make up the 26 inch deficit, this slow steady mist cleans the leaves, and lifts the blades of grass back upright.  The air shimmers with the moisture and I stretch in my chair as I write and watch Martha Stewart's dollar store costume show.  I will put on my new yoga tapes and try them out.  Rehearse my lines and maybe take a walk.  I love to plan.  Good thing I am flexible.  I will accomplish what I accomplish today.  A day where my only obligation is for play rehearsal, which includes being prepared for rehearsal.

Saturday morning I woke up with stomach issues.  They had started Thursday night and usually only last 24 - 48 hours at the most.....usually.  Stomach issues can involve many things, cramps, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and general malaise.  Sometimes it is only one or two, this time seemed to involve the entire spectrum.  I had missed rehearsal on Thursday because of this, I was not going to miss the work day on Saturday. 

I had to pick up chicken and rabbit feed.  Yes, I buy rabbit feed for my wild rabbits who live in my barn and under my house.  Then stop by the waste management, mail a letter and run by Wag the Dog BBQ fund raiser.  I love this small town where you can do all of those things within a couple of blocks of each other.  And shop and eat at some of the most perfect little spots. 

I had awaken early and started laundry, upset with the gray threatening day.  I always hope for rain, but it looked like one of those days whose bark will be worse then its bite.  But I did not want to take the chance of hanging blankets and sheets and towels to have them blown off the line while I was gone, so I was using the dryer, which I don't like to do.  It fluffs the towels, but the clothes dried in a dryer, do not smell like sunshine. 

I put the animals in the pasture, headed up town and by the time I got to the Opera House, I was feeling pretty confident in myself and that the stomach issues were back under control.  There was plenty of activity and I joined right in.  The colors were determined for the walls, the trim and the doors and then we discussed the fireplace, so I came back home to pick up my little electric fireplace that my dad gave me.  It will be the innards of the fireplace and through the magic of electric lights, hopefully it will look like a flickering fireplace. 

I started painting with the roller and was moving right along, when I leaned over one time too many to load the roller and realized, that I needed to get a hurry.  So I stood up and excused myself and just made it home before all the symptoms hit at once.  I needed to finish cleaning the house, and I had not gotten my essential oils and lye, so I was not sure how I was going to demonstrate soap making on Sunday.

I rested for awhile until my system settled down.  I think it is just the same ole, same ole.  I have pushed myself too hard, too far for too long.  And now it was saying STOP!  When my body says that I listen.  OK, I listen, but I don't really stop until my body stops me.  I have gotten better about that lately, but between Dad and the play and the Garden Circle, I have just pushed a little too hard again. 

I did not clean the house, or pick up the yard, I drove into town and bought some soap molds, scents, dyes and melt and pour soap.  So even if I can't make the cold process soap, I can talk about the oils and scents, dyes and other additives and then everyone could make a bar of melt and pour glycerin, or olive oil or Shea butter soap that they can customize to their own taste.

I stopped to see the Moon's on my way home, and yes, just as you can imagine, wrapping your arms around Ms Moon as she gives you one of her hugs is to just feel like hugging the mother of love.  I swear that woman.  And then to get a kiss on my cheek by Mr. Moon, oh be still my heart.  Those two should be in one of those pictures of the farmer and his wife.  Only both of these people would be in overalls and instead of looking stern and hard, they would have those big grins and a twinkle in their eye and a look about them, that says come on over, you hear?  Mr. Moon might have a piece of farm equipment, or maybe something used for hunting.  Ms Moon would have a plate of angel biscuits.  You know what I mean.  It was a short visit because I just didn't feel right, and turned down dinner, but it soothed my soul and sent me home surrounded in a cloud of love.

I wanted to go to bed early, but instead I was able to talk to friends, and actually that did me more good then an extra hour of sleep.  I have a diverse group of friends and even though I am not great about calling all of them as often as I think of them, I always enjoy catching up with them.  I woke early anxious to get busy on the house and pull out what supplies I have to make soap.  I grabbed my scale, wood mold, a liner, some older essential oils that would be OK, and what should I find but a full bottle of lye and a partial bottle.  I have no idea where this came from.  I thought I had given Ms Moon all the lye I had last Christmas to make soap.  No wonder she ran short.  Somehow I missed a bottle.  But now I could make real cold process soap and the melt and pour kind.  It wasn't the ideal I had planned, but it was working out better then I had feared.  

I got most of the house cleaned.  Most of the smell of dog out of the house, mostly.  I baked brownie cookies and a quiche.  I made Ice tea, set the table, organized my soap supplies, and printed off some notes about the soap.  There ended up being six of us and we had a lot of fun.  I made one batch of peppermint/eucalyptus soap and each of us got to make a mold with an embossed top with the olive oil soap.  Some used dye, some used loofah, others worked with the scents.  Everyone had a good time and we all learned something new.  We had wonderful food to eat, Georgie led the meeting while Jane was out of town and all in all it was a good meeting  I really like these woman.  They are so precious and even though we are different in so many ways, we all come together and enjoy our time and work spent for the Garden Circle and the bigger club.  This is always one of my most favorite Sundays, Garden Circle Sunday, the second Sunday of the month.  I first enjoyed meeting woman about my age who enjoyed gardens, gardening, farming, plants, the outdoors.  Each of us there with our different interests and skill sets, but a group that enjoys sharing  and spending a few hours together each month and supporting each other in our various projects.  And we drink.  Not hard liquor, just wine.  And not everyone drinks wine.  But I used to really  like having an excuse to have a glass of wine with friends on a Sunday afternoon.  Now I just enjoy getting to be with these ladies.  And I loved sharing soap making with them. 

After the ladies left, I was left mixing the soap.  I use an old hand mixer that hangs on the side of the pot and I can just turn it on and walk away, within reason and let it mix.  I had over fatted the soap, and it was humid and the lye was older, so it was taking a little longer to move to tracing.  When it traces, it can be poured into the mold(s).  About 6 I was able to mix in the essential oils and the ground mints (peppermint, spearmint, lemon balm and catnip).  I mixed until these were thoroughly incorporated and then I poured the batch into my lined wooden mold and covered it up and set it side.  It feels good to pour a batch of soap into the mold.  I make each batch by hand, adjusting each to make it the creamiest, thick lathering, moisturizing soap I can.  Each time is different.  The ingredients are organic and vary with age, season, humidity, and my mood.  I have never made a peppermint/eucalyptus soap before, but I did not have spearmint essential oil, with my order having not come in, and peppermint by itself is a little flat.  By adding in the eucalyptus I add additional layers to the scent as well as the medicinal qualities.  The ground mints add scent, color and texture.  I hope that it brightens up my shower and adds a tingle to the lather.  I use a large variety of oils to increase lather, moisturizing effects and hardness.  I don't want my soap too hard.  But I don't want it to melt away in the shower.  I want quick moisturizing qualities and others that will last longer then the shower.  I want lots of lather, small thick bubbles and large popping bubbles.  Lather to help remove the dirt and grime, eliminate odors absorbed during the day, and leave the skin clean, scented and moisturized.  That is why I make soap.  I like my Egyptian cotton towels, my bamboo sheets, my flavorful olive oils, my dark chocolate, cloth napkins and homemade soap. 

I started my annual Hallmark movie watching.  I love all of those sappy movies with happy endings.  They all seem cut from the same pattern, just different colors of cloth, but I love them.  I love to knit or crochet or work on other projects while I watch these movies.  A couple of years ago Vicki and I melted into the couch as we made beaded earrings while doing movie marathons on Hallmark.  I just bring out a box of Kleenexes and just sit happy as a little domestic clam working on projects and watching movies with happy endings.

The day has stayed the same color gray, the light reflected off of the wet surfaces giving the world a relaxed peaceful feel.  I have on yoga pants and a big cotton sweater.  I have my quorks (kind of like crocs) with socks and a rain jacket and I am heading out to take a walk.  I think I will practice my lines as I move along the streets darkened with moisture.  Slug through the red clay and walk past the geese and turkeys.  Just an hour or so.  Just a walk in the rainy day.  Then home to my yoga, maybe a nice pot of chili and then a plateful of brownie cookies in hand as I head to rehearsal.  What a wonderful day.  Just what was needed after a hectic week. 

Friday, October 7, 2011

ssshhhhhh, it is quiet

Good Morning,  It is a quiet morning here at Labrun.  The dogs and cats have been fed, the chickens are pacing but I will go out and give them their treats a little later this morning.  It is cool here, in the low 50s, the light, clear and reflective through the trees.  Thoughtful light like it is also taking the time to enjoy this glorious morning.  This quiet, precious morning. 

The dogs are sitting on the little magical porch.  They have enjoyed the porch even more then I have.  It is especially nice for Ednarose who as a puppy loves to be like a big dog and watch the yard, but needs the security of the porch where she can run quickly to safety of the house when she is startled or scared.  Harry loves to sit inside the house, on the carpet and rest his giant head on his front legs as they hang out the front door.  His back and hips, old and sore have a bit of padding from the carpet, but otherwise he can feel the cool breeze on his face, smell all the smells of the front yard, sleep with the reflected light brushing gently across his face now more white then brown.  The cats lounge on the chairs and railing, also drawn to this little magical place.

I sit and write and look out at the world around me.  The light shifts through the trees as my mind wanders from a leaf to a flower, a bird, a butterfly to the Bob and Ednarose wrestling in a spot of sunshine that has warmed the grass in this early dew moist morning.

It has been a good week.  Monday night when I went up to rehearsal a little after 8.  They were only half way through the first act.  It was just one of those rehearsals where nothing was going right.  It took until after 9 until we finally finished up with the Act 1.  The Director called for Act 2 Scene 2.  It is only about 10 pages or so, but it was just one of those nights, and it seemed to take forever to get through those few pages.  It is common at this point in rehearsal to have nights like this.  The set is mostly up so it changes the blocking, and then everyone is trying so hard to be off book, so that causes line and blocking errors.  Everything will work itself out.  When they finally got to my part, I waited at the door, listening for my cue.  I heard it, "Watch out Mr........." and I step onto the set and start my lines, all 3 of them, walk down the steps to deliver my final line and I finish and the Director and Stage Manager both broke out into what sounded like hysterical laughter.  Now I have no funny lines.  I have no prat falls.  I have the least funny part.  So I was a bit confused, until I realized that everyone was joining in.  Then I realized that it was simple release.  Everything had gone so wrong through the night, that when I finally had my time on stage, and did my tiny part right, the relief just burst out.  That may be the biggest laugh I get for the entire show.  But at least for that moment, something was right, and we all needed it at that moment.

Tuesday, Dad and I drove down to Gainesville to meet Rob for lunch at Cracker Barrel.  We had a nice visit and got all of Dad's things transferred from the toy into Rob's car.  Well, almost everything.  We did forget Dad's handicap sign that hangs over his mirror, but I called and Rob turned around at the exit he was just coming up to, so they were back in just minutes.

Wednesday I woke up to find that during the night my glasses had been knocked onto the floor and were now a chewed up puppy toy.  It is hard to get mad at her, when if I had been better about putting them in a place the cat could not knock them on the floor.  I went through my old glasses found a pair that made me sick, but I could see well enough to drive without fear.  So in town I went with my favorite pair that had broke across the nose piece to see if they could simply replace the frames.  It was hard explaining that to the glasses people.  They kept trying to explain to me that I would have to pay for the frames.  I said I realized that, it had been several years since I had bought these glasses.  They didn't understand.  I guess not to many people walk in and want to just replace the frames.  But these were broken beyond repair.  I didn't ask for repair, I didn't ask for any deal.  I just needed to get some glasses.  Finally so nauseous I thought I was going to have to vomit on someones shoes, one of the woman trying to help, grabbed the two pieces disappeared and came back with my lenses in new frames.  She asked me why I wasn't getting an eye exam and new lenses.  I explained about the chemo and how it affects my eye site, but each day I never know how dry my eyes will be, how clear my vision, etc.  So these lenses worked just fine, so until things settled down, I was willing to wait to try and get an eye exam and new lenses.  I walked out being able to see again, without feeling sick.  And I love these glasses.  I had forgotten how much I love them.  Now that I have them back, I am pretty happy, and they are frameless, so will work fine for my part in the play.  I tried to get to bed early, but that was not to be, and then I didn't sleep well. 

Thursday morning I got up at 5am and made 5 dozen biscuits.  I only needed to make 4 dozen, but I had the dough, so I baked them all off.  I got to the Opera House around 7:30 am and started helping to get breakfast out.  I had made arrangements to have someone who knows how to use the coffee maker, she wasn't there.  I don't drink coffee.  And there are going to be almost 100 people there, and I would be willing to bet that almost all of them drink coffee.  And they got there wanting a cup of coffee.  I had given up after trying to call several times to the person who normally uses that machine and made coffee according to the directions on the coffee can.  After the coffee had perked for about 15 minutes, I realized that there were instructions on the coffee pot.  I had only put in about half the coffee.  So I threw in another cup of coffee or so into the top.  The coffee got done, I moved it out to the breakfast buffet, and wouldn't you know it, the coffee was too strong.

I spent the entire morning making coffee, using the percolator for the regular coffee instant for the decaf.  Boiling pots of water, heating the caraffes mixing the powder into the water.  I watched plates and kept them full of food.  I kept the pitchers of juice and water filled.  I ran back and forth between the kitchen until my feet were worn out.  Then I looked around me.  The place was filled with people, mostly woman.  Lots and lots of people.  I turned and headed for the kitchen again.  I think I understand now why my Mother always was a worker, it was to avoid the room full of people. 

As we got closer to lunch, I came in to tell them that we were about 10 minutes until lunch.  We did not have any food plated at that moment.  So about 5 of us plated all of the food as quickly as we could.  A couple of the ladies had done a great job prepping, so it was easy to plate, but it still takes time to plate almost 100 dinners.  And the amount of food was unbelievable.  There was chicken salad, a molded jello salad, canned peaches and a sweet bread.  Maybe zucchini, banana or pineapple nut.  I am not sure exactly what it was, but it was a lovely bread and went well with the salad.  For dessert, a beautiful white sheet cake with lemon filling was served.  It had been decorated with fresh flowers and it was lovely.  Everyone working in the kitchen was on our feet for hours and we worked and worked to try and make everything perfect for the meeting. 

From my perspective running in and out of the kitchen, it seemed that the entire meeting was introducing people.  They must have introduced at least half the people in the room.  The rest of the woman sitting at the tables clustered around the room politely applauded.  Most of the woman gave a report on something or other.  It seemed to be a very successful meeting. 

As soon as we had gotten all the meals out, I went to sit with my group when the president of the Monticello Garden Club came up and gave me drink orders for 2 tables.  I was exhausted.  I was dead on my feet.  I had been up since 5 baking biscuits and had not slowed down yet.  I looked at her and said, I don't do drinks and walked past her and sat down to eat the mound of food on my plate.  I ate what I could, but honestly at that point, I was just too tired to eat.  I picked up my plate, walked into the kitchen put my plate to go and walked out the back kitchen door and drove home.

It is such a foreign world to me to be a part of these type of things.  I remember this world from my Mother when I would be allowed to go with her to help or to be a part of her world with her.  Rooms full of woman.  Some are there to be important.  Others are there because of shared interests and passions, others to belong to a group.  I get a laugh out of those who want to be important.  One lady walked up to me and said, "I don't know you, who are you."  I was born in the south, and all I can say, is how rude is that?!??!!!!  Of course, rising above that and being gracious was not in the cards today.  I was just too tired and had just done too much work for this meeting to be gracious.  And don't get me wrong, there were dozens of woman who had done way more work then I had to get this meeting ready.  It takes a lot of work to put on a District meeting.  Almost all of the work I had done had started at 5 and now at noon, only a few hours, I was tired and in no mood to deal with rudeness.  So I said, "Well, who are you?"  She stood up straight and tall, and she was very tall, and then proceeded to list her titles and importance.  I then said, with a very big smile, "I am Kathleen Osgood, nice to meet you."  She stood there a little uncomfortable because I obviously did not know the proper etiquette.  I did not list my titles.  I have never been comfortable with titles.  I never put up all my degrees and awards and pieces of paper that told everyone about how accomplished I am on my walls in my office.  No, I chose to be respected for my desire and effort to work hard and do my best to be my best.  The woman walked off, leaving me standing there watching her leave.  She was quite impressive.  A bright dress that fit her well.  The hat, the shoes, the bag, she was put together just as someone of her importance should be.  I looked over at the other lady at the check in table and smiled at her.  She looked amused by the goings on.  I looked apologetic and said I was not aware that I was to list titles.  We both giggled a little and then went back to work.  We are workers.  That is where we both obviously want to be.

At one point when I was filling plates, I heard someone from the microphone invite those who had not already been upstairs to see our theater, to feel free to go up.  I finished my job and then walked up the steps and turned on lights so the ladies could see the theater.  I explained the set and gave a very short talk about the history of the theater.  Then I headed back down to the kitchen and to work. 

I came home and I was so tired.  Too tired to write, to read, to do anything but sit in my red chair and stair.  I went to bed about 7:30 and I think I fell asleep almost immediately.

It had been a long and interesting day.  From dealing with someone I have not known very long to a room full of woman celebrating their love of the garden club.  Knowing people, trusting people, having faith, taking chances, believing in someone when your past fears say, "be careful".  Loving the attention and world of a romance novel, but it is obviously not meant for me I guess.  I just can't seem to let go of the real world.  A world filled with good and bad people.  People who want to be important, and people who will take advantage of you.  People who love you deeply and completely, and those who want to, or think they want to, or want you to think they do.  It is complicated world.  It is a beautiful world, and although my fantasy world of love songs and poetry seems to have dissolved into the magic that it appeared in, I have sat here for several hours writing, staring into space, looking at the magic of my little front porch.   Sitting here petting my children, gathering treats for my chickens.  Putting off leaving my little world here and going out into the big world.  I need to run into Tallahassee and get some ingredients for my soap.  I need to get in my toy and drive through this fall sunshine and enlarge my world, just a bit.  I enlarged my world yesterday with the District meeting.  It was an interesting experience, and I was glad to be there with some of my dear friends who shared the table with me, when I was sitting that is. 

I learned that my world will not come to an end when someone I was willing to let go and fall into their arms and share a life with, turns out to be something else. I am not sure that it has completely settled in and I do feel a bit numb.  But I was aware of everything that I put into the relationship.  I am aware of what I lost.  I am aware that some of what I lost will be hard to loose, but reality is, I have been through worst, and somehow, for whatever reason I just don't seem to be able to create a universe with someone in my life to hold and love.  To send love songs to and read love poems together.  I don't know how to meet a man that wants that life with me.  I have had it before.  I have had great love.  So I know what it feels like.  I know that relationship where you can be whole and loved and wooed and cared for, and liked.  Maybe I will find it again who is also a lover, but then again, maybe I won't. 

And I am torn.  Who does not want to have that romance novel love?  Who does not want to trust someone and have that trust returned and rewarded with a deeper relationship.  But I also need my time alone.  So anytime I consider what a universe I could create that would share someone special to me in it, I am not sure how to balance all of my worlds.  Maybe that is why I can't seem to create that universe, or find the right person to fit into it. But I am fine.  And now that the news is over, and the outside world is calling, I am going to get in my toy and head into town.  Tonight, well, I have no plans.  No demands, no requirements, no have to's.  Maybe I will go to bed early.  Maybe I will sit up late reading.  Maybe I will stay up too late watching a movie.  Tomorrow is a work day at the Opera House for the play.  Hopefully my soap supplies will be in today or tomorrow.  If not, then I will have to figure out a different program for the garden club.  I really wanted to make soap with them.  But it takes a bit to get all the supplies. 

Life is like that at times.  Sometimes life is full of love and happiness.  OK, that is how my life is always like.  Full of love and friends and family.  Is there room for more love?  There is always room for more love in this world.  But hopefully my world can slow down a bit after this weekend.  Maybe I can get back on my schedule at the Y.  Get back to my walks.  Maybe I will take one this evening and enjoy the beginning of a beautiful autumn. 
A beautiful life, filled with so much and room for more.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Buffalo Bill meets Buffalo Bill

I have been enjoying my early morning walks up to the convenience stores. A two mile round trip with this crisp autumn weather and the light clear and bright, the green softening as the leaves prepare to release their grip, to melt into yellows, reds, oranges and browns.  Then blow with the northerly wind across our yards and roads filling the air with the very colors of fall.  My walk takes me down Ebeneezer Church road to the creek and then the road rises up to meet with all the activity at the exit and Hwy 19.  I step into the hustle and bustle and slip my quarters into the newspaper machine and then head back home, the paper firmly held between my arm and body as I walk briskly back to the house. 

The weather is beautiful.  A little chilly for me, but I know it is a welcome change for most people who have been suffering through this record breaking summer.  I thought the summer was wonderful.  The chemo is a great appetite suppressant and it makes me intolerant to cold.  So for a hot summer, I didn't eat much but I was never miserable like most of the rest of the world.  Maybe they should put this drug in the water here in North Florida.  It would kill the restaurant business for 3 months, but it would help everyone trying to loose weight.  It would also mean that people would have a higher tolerance to the heat, so they could get more physical activity.  Just an idea. 

Yesterday, after breakfast, Dad and I drove into Tallahassee so I could get my oil changed.  Then we just came back home and took it easy for the rest of the day.  We took naps, well, I tried to, but Dad was more successful.  Then we got dressed, picked up Caroline and headed to Quincy.  I have been to this theater, the Leaf, several times before, but I have never driven, so I was not sure how long it would take.  It took much less time then I thought it would.  But that gave us plenty of time to find the West End Grill and have a delightful dinner.  Caroline and I split appetizers and Dad had a grilled pork chop that you could tell he enjoyed.  We were able to take our time and since the West End Grill is at the west end of Quincy we got to see the small agriculture town.  A town with a Massey Ferguson Tractor store just a block or two from down town.  Where the Agriculture Experiments stations are on the main drag in the middle of the business district. 

Quincy has a historic district with a large square with a courthouse, slightly resembling the same lovely one we have here in Monticello with stores new and old filling the old historic businesses surrounding the town square.  The Leaf, a movie theater built in the 1940s, now transformed into a beautiful live performing theater is located just a block off of the square, right behind the hardware store.  It is a lovely theater, very different then our Opera House here in Monticello, but with wide comfortable seats, wide wings in front of the stage and a nice size orchestra pit. 

I had thought the curtain went up at 8:00 pm, so we left the restaurant about 25 after 7 and drove to the theater to find that no, the show started at 7:30pm.  So we were escorted into the dark theater, fortunately to aisle seats that I had reserved about midway down, by an attendant with a flashlight.  The orchestra was playing the overture, but we had not missed any of the play.  I felt terrible.  It is so rude to walk in like we did, but fortunately, we did not interrupt anything, so all was well.

The curtain rose and the show took off, full of song and dance, words my father had said 40 years ago on different boards in a different production, but I saw him transported back to that time in his bright eyes.  And when Buffalo Bill came out and the actors started singing, "There's no business like Show Business"  Dad's foot started tapping, his finger clicking, he was singing the words in his head and his eyes became moist.  My eyes leaked the joy in my heart for getting to peak at this moment with my father.  To see how alive he felt, how happy he was seeing this play.  Remembering the play as if he were up there playing the part of Buffalo Bill.

There is just so much talent in this North Florida area.  I mean we had just seen a wonderful production of Sound of Music at the Opera House, and now when Annie opened her mouth and that big beautiful voice came out of that tiny woman, and then the sweetness of her singing with Frank Butler, it was truly magical.  And Daddy just ate the whole thing up.

After the show I ran to bring the car up to the door and when I got out, there was Dad and the actor who played Buffalo Bill bonding.  It is something closer then blood and family, this acting.  And meeting someone who has played "your" part, and getting to talk about that part with someone who truly knows what it is like, is a very special connection.  And this kind man looked as happy to talk to Dad about the part as Dad was to talk to him.  Two gracious men discussing a passion shared between them.  That club of a few lucky men who have had the opportunity to play the part of Buffalo Bill. 

This morning, it was a bit too cold to take my morning walk before Dad got up, so I slept until almost 8 after getting to bed after midnight.  The dogs were as tired as we were and let me sleep to this decedent hour.  I fixed French toast with fried pears and a fresh fruit salad.  After breakfast I walked up for the newspaper and to pick up another stick of butter to make butterscotch oatmeal cookies.  I took the picture of Dad and Bob (named after Dad) on the porch and then headed out to rehearsal where I am now.  The set is 3/4 of the way up, and what a difference this will make for rehearsal.  I showed the director my wig, and she was happy. 

I have ordered a couple of Christmas presents, yes, Christmas presents, so Dad would not be worried that I did not get things that we are doing together for the holiday.  And I am getting this post on the blog before I get home after rehearsal.  I need to wrap up so that I can rehearse my lines. 

Dad and I will have a big dinner at home.  The first dinner at home I can remember having in almost a week, and I am ready to eat my own food in my own home.  Not that I haven't enjoyed eating out with Dad, but everyday is just too much for me.  Tonight Dad will eat his steak, I will have asparagus and chicken with yellow rice.  And of course we will have the cookies for desert.  Tomorrow Dad will get to meet Dr. M and then we will have lunch out, maybe Ms Judy will be able to meet us.  She has been trying to get an opportunity to see Dad before he leaves.  We might even try and stop by to see Ms Moon.  Dad got to see Mr. Moon, but he wants to see Ms Mary.  He appreciates everything that Mary and Judy have done for me over these past two years.  He loves these two women because I do, and because how kind and patient, nurturing and loving they have been for me during this journey of cancer. 

Cancer.  Every time I say I have cancer, there is a little catch in my throat.  Oh, this is not a catch of fear or sadness, but of disbelief.  I almost feel like I am telling an untruth.  Cancer just seems so far removed from me these days.  And always takes me back when I run into people who have not seen me for several months.  They are always so happy to see that I am alive.  They are amazed at how well I am doing.  They can't get over the fact, that other then being thinner, I just look like me, healthy, alive, busy, moving and going.  I saw our Assistant Director of the Division I retired from at Annie Get Your Gun.  His daughter was one of the actors in the play.  A beautiful girl who did a wonderful job with her part.  Her parents, were rightly very proud of her, and was just another magical moment that made up last night.

So now I will run to go over my lines again and try to get off book by tomorrow so I can focus on my blocking and acting.  I need to watch the men and see if I can make my movements and gestures more manly.  It is a great group and they are rehearsing and eating cookies and laughing and I am so happy to be a part of this.  To follow in my Dad's footsteps as I also dance across the boards as he did many times.  He loved the big parts and being a head liner.  I prefer the behind the scene, but still we share the passion of the stage.  Not a bad thing to share with your dad. 

And football, we both enjoy watching football.  And when I get home we will watch a game together.  And then I will grill his steak and we will eat, and then go to bed and prepare for our last full day together tomorrow.  It has been a good visit.  I have enjoyed having him with me.  Yes, it does physically drain me, but I would not give it up for a million years.  I am happy to have the time I have in this life, with the people I love.  Doing things that make me happy.  And it is another busy week coming up.  But one of these days.  One of these days soon, I am going to slip into bed and take a long decadent nap, sit on my porch and read a book, sip my tea and just enjoy my life.  A wonderful life filled with so much love and joy and happiness.  A life filled with poetry and plays, books, gardening and friends and family.