Sittin On A Porch

Sittin On A Porch
Our little back porch

Thursday, September 26, 2013

So many loved ones

Maybe it is my age, or maybe the time of year, but this week has been one filled with the death of way too many deaths.  I am sorry, I can not say that someone was "lost", even "passed away" which sounds gentler, but does not fit the sorrow and loss of those left here when someone dies. 

My dear precious friend Jeanie sent me a message, her son, Jason had been killed in a car accident.  She did not mince words with me.  She laid it out plain and simple.  The loss of a child, the most brutal of all deaths.  This child was 40 when he died, but he will always be  Jeanie's sweet precious boy.  He had come home not long before and had spent 2 weeks with his family.  Jeanie was in heaven to have him back in her arms.  He brought joy and laughter and then headed back to where he lived.  Shortly after he was gone.  Jeanie has the sweetest heart.  She has lived many years, quietly graciously living with the death of loved ones who went too early.  She is a person filled with joy, love and such sweetness, and she loves people fiercely, with the heart of a lion.  My heart breaks with hers.

Dear sweet friends here in Monticello are also dealing with the death of a child.  A young woman, mother of two young children, loved by so many who knew here.  I only knew her through her father and his wife.  Two of the loveliest sweet people on the planet and as they deal with this loss, they must also carry the burden of worrying about their son in law and their grandchildren.  They must carry on, and be strong for those around them.  It is who they are, and I know their hearts will mend as they hold on to others and help them through this time.

I also received notice on FB this week that one of my dear friends from high school died this past week.  She, Susan and I were in gym class together.  Debbie didn't have a nick name.  Susan was tiny and when she flew over the vaulting box she was like a little bird, hence her nick name. I was nick named frog in that I have a very small body with very loooooooong arms and legs and as I hit the box and went over it I guess everyone thought I looked like a tree frog.  I really can't disagree, I still do.  Deb, Susan and I were in the band.  They had too many flutes and clarinets so they took volunteers to join in the percussion section.  Deb played tenor drum, I played the cymbals.  She was a year younger then I am. 

Do you know how odd it is to watch my friends children, my younger friends from high school dying?  I mean I experience the loss like anyone who loved these people, or loved the people who loved them and they died.  But I was suppose to die so many times before, and here I live.  Living with Stage 4 lung cancer, basically a death sentence, and yet, here  I sit, very much alive.  When I finish here I will go out and work in the gardens.  I am alive.  And I am living my life.  I try not to be maniac about life and do everything.  No, I found that living my life, my life, the life I make up at each moment's choice.  I want to experience peace, not just death.  I know what it takes to find this peace, all I have to do is do it.  Get back in the habit of taking time to do yoga rather then only in tense or physically hard times to stretch, watch my weight placement, balance, and breathe with the movements.  Yes, I did learn that yoga is not something you do once a week, it is something you use throughout your day.  Unlike algebra, which really I do not use everyday, being respectful of my body as I learned in yoga does help.  Imagine how wonderful I would feel if I actually gifted myself with time set aside for just me to do yoga.  Yes, I am alive and I do know how to live my life.  Deb is gone.  I understand from her page that she had a wonderful life, that her son grew up and married.  Their is a photo of that wedding day with Deb smiling, glowing with love, joy and happiness.

I called Ms Moon yesterday, it was all just too much, to many people dealing with death.  I read Ms Moon's blog, blessourhearts, I know she too has been dealing with the death of loved ones.  I started off talking to her about henopause, a term used for chickens when a hen ages past her egg laying production days.  Henopause usually starts about 2 years after a hen has her first full production year.  Higher egg producing hens usually go into henopause earlier then breeds that are not as egg productive.  They are learning about certain types of ovarian cancer with these chickens.  Human beings and chickens both get a related type of cancer that no other animal gets that has been found.  Because in 5 years they are able to see an entire humans reproductive years in a chicken, they have been able to learn so much and test new chemicals to see if they can effect it in chickens,  and maybe relate that to help for humans.  Chickens, our friends, our food, our fertilizer.  The article also discussed euthanasia for chickens.  By allowing hens to grow old and take on the role of teachers and calmers of a flock, you gain so much more for the mere loss of eggs.  They still provide entertainment and fertilizer, trust me.  But you much be even more observant of your hens as they age to ensure that they do not get ovarian cancer, or one of the other reproductive problems common to hens.  Really, did I need to read that yesterday?  Yes, because I do not eat the meat of my chickens.  I have tried it.  Mr. Moon, bless his heart killed and butchered three roosters for me.  I ended up with 4 roosters, because two were very late in realizing they were roosters, not hens, or maybe they transgendered, something that certain breed reportedly do.  I appreciate what Mr. Moon did, trust me I know how hard that was, even for a hunter.  And I don't think I can eat anymore of my chickens.  Unknown clean and cut up chicken?  Yes, I can do that.  Years ago I could not, but I have learned to again, but no my babies.  Now that I know what I need to watch for I will be able to be more humane to my wicked chickens.  And yes, I will probably pick up half a dozen in  the spring to blend into the flock.  I am getting as many as three eggs a day once or twice a week, and most days get one egg.  But a month ago it was 6 - 9 eggs a day.  But it is natural for the chickens to stop laying and molt.  All but three have completed their molting.  Two of those are laying the eggs.  The others look gorgeous, plump, shiny, beautiful new feathers. 

After we discussed our chickens, hers are still suffering from the attack earlier this week.  Bless their hearts, I do hope that Mr/Ms Moon, Owen and Gibson are able to soothe them and bring them back out share the yard with everyone.  We discussed her grandbabies.  I love to see the photos and read and hear about these two precious boys.  We talked about death, and just as it was getting overwhelming we both stopped and said, that maybe this is one of the joys in life.  To meet so many wonderful people.  It is also a punishment in life to live long enough to watch them die.  I am still here because I have a strong healthy body and a vibrant mind, given to me by my parents and both of those parts of me nurtured into who I am right now. 
Alive and well. 
Heart sick for loved ones who
are missing their loved ones


Thursday, September 19, 2013

Woven Fences

started 9/18/2013, last night before I went to bed:

Life, there is always so much to be done.  I can not even imagine a day when there isn't something that should be done.  I like that actually.  All of my life as a worker bee there was always more things that needed to be done than time.  I liked that life.  I loved my job.  I didn't always like my job, but I always loved it.  Being a regulator was never my idea of what I wanted to do while I was growing up.  Judging people.  I am terrible about that.  I didn't want to do that.  I preferred that to pest control.  I am not a pest control kind of person.  I am an agriculture person.  I understood the authority given to me by state and federal law and precedent and I never took advantage of it.  Instead, my whole career was about being fair.  Not having a scape goat.  Even, reasonable agreed upon, legally adopted regulations.  I could do it.  Especially since I was always involved in the education aspect of the job.  Especially when I managed the certification program.  I really loved my job then.  The best year of my entire life was my last year of work for the department.  The year that Tamara, the young woman who replaced me did my job and her job.  I did as much as my brain was capable of during chemo.  I threw up in the garbage can and showed up more then I was helpful.  But I could see a change.  A young energetic, intelligent woman took the initiative to ask how to do the reports.  She was promoted.  Other young woman working hard, working very hard and being treated as equals.  Judged on their KSAs, not on their sex or color or anything but who was the better person for the job.  That is a long way from when I started there.  I was only one of the many woman who chipped away at the glass ceiling.  I was lucky because I was there as the changes started to happen. 

I guess I am reminiscing about what I have been a part of because the woman who made the biggest impact on  the women's rights movement when I was a young and impressionable woman  were on the morning news.  And so I was busy this morning.  I made fruit salad and then cheese eggs.  The chickens are not laying many eggs, but enough for us to have eggs a couple of times a week.  I went outside and worked on small projects.  I planted my sacrificial garden.  This is a lovely garden next to the main door of the barn right in front of the Brazilian flame vine.  I have planted it faithfully every three months or so.  It is always beautiful and just as it hits its prime the chickens would come up and scratch it all up.  They would strip the leaves of whatever plant I had planted and then they would pull up whatever plant was left.  They would scratch up anything green and tear it apart.  That garden just brings out the aggressiveness in my wicked chickens.  I would give up, they would finish it off and then we would start all over with me planting it again.  Each time I put in a heavier arsenal of protection.  the last one involved horse fencing and green plastic chicken wire.  The plastic chicken wire is nice because it is not strong enough to hold a chicken which usually slows the chickens down.  They like to flap up to the top of the fence and then jump down into the sacrificial garden.  That way they can look before they leap.  Chickens are not stupid.  Well, the mower hit the fence and ripped it down, so the chickens took full advantage of the opening.  Before I got home from England the chickens wiped out all of my hard work.  All the plants I had planted, all the seeds I had planted and had come up wiped out. I never even got to see it.  I know it bloomed.  I know it was probably beautiful because of the residue of ripped apart plants dried and strew across the container. 

So I planted cellousea and chrysanthemums with the two remaining rubeckias and the lemon basil that had some how survived the wicked chicken attack and had come back thick and lovely although deformed.  The cellousia has red variegation on the leaves and then  magenta flowers.  The mums are a rosy pink with a yellow center.  Very pretty compact and full of open flowers.  I planted the same plants in the garden on the west side of the trailer.  That garden that is still coming together  it is in a bad spot in that it doesn't get watered.  I have to go and take care of it, so when I am gone, it really suffers.  So I have replanted it, mulched and watered it in real well.  Then I went to the sacrificial garden, added in compost, another bucket of garden soil and the plants, then mulched.  I had bought the mums, but I had grown from seeds the celousias.  Isabelle had given me a couple of plants a few years ago and I am still enjoying them each September.  The perfect end of summer flower, like the despicable Mexican sunflower.  The only time this plant is worth anything is this time of year as they bloom.  The rest of the time they are leggy, invasive weeds.  I had barely mulched and turned around but their was a wicked chicken scratching in that garden.  Aaaargh!!!!!  So I cleaned some of my bamboo and stuck it in the ground around the sides and front of the sacrificial planter.  Then I trimmed the grapes off the chicken coop.  I had needed to do it, now I had something to use the vines with .  I cut all the excess vines, grapes still hanging sweet and deep purple off the older canes, I used these cut canes to weave a fence around the sacrificial garden.  At the top I put a loopy pattern and tomorrow I will finish the bottom and the try to weave a heart into the front of the garden.  You can still see the plants and they have yet to start growing.  I love mums in the fall.  I have to have mums in my gardens in the fall.  I love pansies in the winter, veggies in the spring, and impatiens in the summer.

I am reading on face book about how so many of my friends have started decorating for fall.  They are decorating their mantels, doors, bathrooms.  It sounds lovely.  Spiced candles and fall colors, everyone is ready for the change of season.  I am not.  I love this time of year.  The time at the end of summer where the weather wants to change, but hasn't.  It acts some days like it is fall, but summer jumps right back in.  Today was one of those days  As morning dawned the temperatures stalled and may even dropped for a short time as the front first started to move through  The blue skies clouded over and silver clouds moving quickly over head.  Around 4:00 pm we had a lovely sun shower  The sun was shining but the sky was filled with rain as delicate as mist.  I stood in the door of the barn and looked out into the yard with the sun shining and the air glimmered with the rain.  sigh.

I had never weaved a fence before and it was pretty easy to keep figuring out better ways to weave and before long I had reached a height I thought was adequate so I made a looping pattern  on the top.  It was easy enough to figure out how to do it and it finished off the top nicely.  I was so proud of myself.  My brain handled it with little anxiety and enjoyed the stretching of my brain as I figured out each step.  I will take a picture tomorrow when I finish the bottom to show you.  It is small and simple, but for a first attempt I am proud of my effort. 

I enjoyed it so much.  I weeded and trimmed and dug and planted and worked in the garden.  I wore out the battery on the weed whacker taking down the absolute worst of the grass.  Tomorrow I need to cut the old pear tree down and let the sucker that is doing so much better and has more branches and is the healthier  become the main tree.  I need to get my apples and roses planted and the final garden plan drawn up.  So much to do, but I am trying to do each thing one step at a time.  And then I just stop during the day, like during the sun shower and just look around me.  I realize I am right where I need to be, right where I want to be. Whatever I do today is enough.  I loved the weaving, back and forth around the bamboo standing upright.  Simple. 

I came in and made a dish with rice and chicken, chicken sausage, peppers, onions, mushrooms, garlic and olive oil.   Mostly leftovers with a few new surprises thrown together.  yum.  A simple life with things to do, and things got done.  Maybe the same, maybe not always.  But I was happy with what I had learned and had accomplished.  All of it needed to be done.  Yet there is so much more on the to do list.  Another day, another day.  Bug worked on the boat getting it ready to take to the marina to store.  It will be nice to be able to ride one of the Harley's down to take the boat out.  It will also be nice to have the carport  back.  Our lives quietly busy on things that important to each of us............his boat, my garden.  happy happy happy. 
I love working in the garden and I love using resources grown here on the property.  The bamboo, the grape vines, herbs, sweet potatoes, grapes, all kinds of vegetation that manages to survive and be harvested when I am actually here.  I love travelling, but I also love gardening, crocheting/knitting, reading books, cooking and taking care of my family and noticing it  Is that normal?  Is it normal at my age to be thinking so much about death and learning to live for the moment.  A very dear and precious one has stage one lung cancer, or had stage one lung cancer.  I am not sure.  I know she has had surgery, and is not responding well after it and I know that they have talked about chemo.  I also know that as tiny and frail this dear one appears she loves her husband with a fierceness that will carry her through.  She is tiny in size but her heart and kindness is huge, sometimes that is most important, I have found. 

It is so odd to have been told I would die years ago now, what two?  three? four?  and to have been open about it and to not die.  And now another dear precious one dealing with this challenge it just shakes me.  I don't know how else to put it.  I want to run to her and see her.  I want to know that she is okay.  I know she is struggling with being in a hospital, and I am anxious to see her, because I do not want to see her smaller.  I think we will go to see her in the next day or so.  I need to see her.  I need for her to remember she will feel better once she gets past this.  I want her to feel confident that she can do this.  I feel so out of control.  In some ways that is good, but in other ways it is disconcerting.   I am trying to enjoy the feeling of peace and freedom not having the weight of responsibility wearing down on me.  To just be where I need to be.  I am still not good about calling or returning calls.  I am trying, but I am quiet now. 

To be able to walk around the property and find little projects that once completed looks so nice.  To have the time to look around.  To watch the caterpillars grow fat and crawl off to change our world, to see the clusters of butterflies of all shapes, sizes and colors as they fly up from their old world into the sky.  Each day is filled with new butterflies, some familiar, others not noticed before because they probably feed on the weeds I have left this year while I was travelling.  It really is magical.  I bought two more passion vines, lavender lady, one of my very favorites.  A smaller variety with lovely purple flowers, more red then blue, fine petals leaning backwards.  Beautiful in a small area or a pot.  I also bought on the two for one sale a Purple Passion passion vine.  I think I have also had this one, but I will have to wait until it blooms to see which one it is.  I love passion vines.  When I lived on Pine Island I had 20 different varieties in the yard.  I had curtains of passion vines, sometimes vines intermingling so that when they bloomed it was beautiful.  Hanging across between Australian pines intermixed with bougainvillea.  It was pretty breath taking a couple of times a year.  I was happy then too.  So I am happy to have passion vines again for this new garden.

I think we are going out in the boat tomorrow, weather permitting, hopefully the next day I can finish turning over the garden, seeing if there are any more potatoes hidden there and putting in the first of the fall plantings.  woo hoo.  Saturday is Bug's birthday.  I got nothing.  I need to run out to the store and pick up a few things, but so far the time has not come up.  it will have to tomorrow or Friday.   If we stay home I am thinking of mahi and then running by the new seafood market look into shrimp and what else looks wonderful.  I can at least make him a wonderful dinner.  maybe.

Sending good wishes and lots of love to my precious one in TMH.  I am thinking of my friends a lot lately.  Sending love and good wishes.  Give me a call.  I have actually been catching some calls today.  I am happy here behind the fence, in my yard, in my gardens.  with Bug and the dogs, cats, chickens and fish. 
All of us intertwining with the plants to make this place that shimmers on a summer afternoon.

Today I finished the woven fence.  I put a woven heart on the front and it was so much fun learning how to do all of this.  I worked around the yard this morning finishing projects I had started yesterday and enjoyed the coolness in the air.  It was fall.  I am not saying that it will not  continue to be hot and act like summer again.  But today, it was amazing.  I stepped out the back door and it was cold.  Well, anything below 70 is cold to me. 

We took a ride on the red Harley and the weather was amazing.  We rode past a place we were looking at, but a bid has been put down on it, and the house was bigger then we really want.  So there was no decision to make.  We rode down to the St. Mark's River and sat and watched the full moon tide start its run out.  We have never seen the tide this high, it was pretty cool.

Here is the little woven fence I made around the sacrificial garden.  Tomorrow we will take the boat down to Shield's marina and hopefully leave it there.  Then Saturday is Bug's birthday. 




Dutchman's Pipe

Confederate Rose just opened up.  It will turn deep rose pink by the afternoon. 
See the Katydid inside the flower

Life is busy
and happy
and so very full

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Ribbon Cutting, Fried Mullet and Flea Marketing across Florida

Summer is passing, not that the heat is moderating much, but the light in the morning is enough to notice.  The leaves are fat and full, deep green with all the summer sunshine and rain this year.  Now as I walk around the yard, I am not looking for flowers, but for caterpillars.  Woolly bears, orange and black stripped, this year they seem to be equal colored.  Folk tales take that to mean a "normal" winter.  I think maybe moderate would be a better way to put it.  The colors are balanced.  Hopefully no extremes.  I also see ones that I know who they will be come, but can no longer remember their names.  I know I still have the knowledge on how to ID with my books.  I can almost see the pages with the information in order.  Not the words or numbers, the patterns are familiar.  Words are proving more and more elusive to me.  But the sting of the green caterpillars with the red and white stripe with green bristles tipped with black.  Yellow fuzzy ones that look like a Pekingese.  Green, white and black stripped monarch caterpillars as big as my pinkie finger.  The garden is lacy and weepy, with spots of color and delicate like lace.  But closer examination shows caterpillars munching away, plants completely stripped of any foliage.  I watch them from tiny clusters of identical tiny worms to fat thick bodies.  As they grow fatter and rounder they  chew all the leaves in a very methodical pattern.  Only the toughest stems and veins remain.  As one plant is stripped they move to the next plant closest, a little bigger and fatter.  As different species move around the garden each on their own progressive dinner new plants in the garden appear.  Plants forgotten now seem to pop into view as the other plants disappear into the background with no leaves.  Then the clusters start to disappear.  I am sure that some have been meals, but those that have survived have vanished in plain view.  With careful observation, sometimes I can find them hiding in their little sleeping bags as they morph into their full jeweled glory.  I did get to see one black swallow tail as it stretched its wings out for the first time.  Pumping up the hydraulic pressure that will be used to fly.

A wonderful gift this summer has been the Zebra Long wing butterfly, the State of Florida butterfly, Heliconius charitonius  has returned to my garden.  I see two and three at a time, all dancing around the cardinal flowers in a spot of sunshine in the front yard.  We have had a beautiful variety of flutterbys this year.  And I have let them pretty much have the garden this year.  Soon the air should begin to dance.  The monarchs move south through this area around mid to the end of October, normally around my birthday. Some people grow flowers that bloom September and October.  I had tried, but not being here for August means that instead of having fall flowers, we will have butterflies.  I am good with that. 

This has been a pretty wonderful week all in all.  We went out on the boat Monday, oh, and saw the manatee that swam past us.  Tuesday was doctor day, and of course any day I do not have to take chemo is a good day.  This does not mean that the cancer is better.  It means that I am healthier.  That as the rogue cells over achieve their way through my lymph system and push the barriers.  Everyone who sees me tells me how wonderful I look.  How I am radiating happiness and have never looked better.  I appreciate all the sweet words, they make me smile and give me a little chuckle.  I know all the compliments are real, in the "Oh my goodness you are still alive...........You look fabulous for someone who wasn't supposed to live this long............. Girl, if you can look that good dying, there is hope for all of us"  Okay, that is not what they say, but it is written on the surprised happiness that appears on all the faces. 

Do you know how happy that makes me?  That the reason people think I look good is because I am still very much alive.  Remember I am one of those people who actually listened to the lessons taught by the movies and stories of my childhood.  One of the hardest moments as a young girl, still very much a child, was when I realized how deep the wizard of Oz really was.  He says to the Tin man, something like, it is not how much you love, but how much you are loved.  Now, as I see the smiles, the warmth and happiness in my friends eyes.  I understand.  It is there love that makes it all worth while 

Wednesday we went to the magic store so I could buy some clown white and other theatrical makeup.  I do not buy most of the makeup at the Halloween stores because it is disgusting.  Really I have no word to describe it accurately.  But do not buy it.  It is worth driving all the way across Tallahassee, after school is in session, and dealing with the people in the shop.  They sell Ben Nye makeup.  Very good makeup.  But they only had the colors I needed to age Dan's face in expensive packages in very small containers.  The guy who works there makes these puns and jokes constantly.  Instead of calming people down, t it sort of creeps them out.  He is just a magic geek, and I am sure people who are really into theatrical makeup, magic and costumes loves that store.  It is always trying for me to deal with it.  As soon as you get to the door is the lists of No's, ironically right next to the sign, "Fun shop".  hmmmmmmmmm.  As I was cashing out, he makes a joke about smoking and cancer after I coughed a little.  I was shocked and simply said, "No, stage 4 lung cancer, not from smoking."  He made some further jokes one after the other with the last one ending about not wanting to end up an ash.  I know he does not realized who or what I am.  I wasn't hurt by his jokes, but it was a real reality shift.  It was like being in a dream you know its a dream, but just can't seem to wake up.  I looked over at Bug and he was stunned,  thankfully stunned.  I scurried him out of the shop before he got his feet back under his jaw and explained how hurtful this man's joke tirade was.  Every time I go there something bizarre happens.  It is like a place that once you enter the parking lot you enter another dimension, maybe Oz or a bar in Star Wars or even Star Trek, or even Diaycon Alley in Harry Potter.  A trip to Wally World to pick up the rest of the needed makeup and a dose of a different reality.

I taught Becca and Olivia how to do Dan's makeup.  I gave them the tools they would need and they let them experience it for themselves.  I can't wait to see the show to see how well they have become.  It was lovely to pop into a rehearsal and then pop out.  No memorization, no exhausting hours, just hugs with precious ones, a few encouraging words and then I am gone. 

We were on the go all week, running errands and enjoying this beautiful area at this time of year.  We registered vehicles since Bug's birthday is a week from today and we went ahead and registered the toy at the same time. 

Friday was the busiest day, and one of the most enjoyable.  We made it up to MADCo. for their ribbon cutting.  They had light hoers devours and a lovely cake.  The new studio for this non-profit dance, music, art and theater group is to provide the community, mostly the children the skills needed to put on the most amazing musical theater.  They know what they are doing.  It is amazing how many gifted and talented kids have come through this group.  It was the official Chamber ribbon cutting for the new business and we tried to work our way to the back of the photo.  I think we ended up more on the side, but it was a good turn out, and the people there are part of the reason I love this community.  I love these people.  I love these children I have only known for 6 years, but who have grown up in that time into beautiful, healthy, talented, intelligent people. 
It was the first day of Flea Across Florida where there are continuous yard sales and fleas from Jacksonville to Pensacola along Hwy 90.  There are a lot of gaps, like the eastern side of Leon county.  But from Monticello east almost to Madison there are lots of nice clusters of yard sales and garage sales.  We picked up some amazing things and then stopped at the courtyard Flea market.  This is our very own flea market here in Jefferson county and it is growing.  Since we had headed towards Tallahassee looking for yard sales we ran a few more errands and then  had lunch at La Fiesta.  I have not eaten there in forever.  I used to eat about once a month on a payday Friday there with my friends Debbie and Steve.  It was lovely to have lunch there again and think of them as I devoured a Mahi mahi fish taco.

Oh, but it was to be a complete day of fish.  After all it was the September Waukeenah Methodist Fish Fry.  We had been up to Pioneer Awning picking up some panels Bug had left there so we were able to take the Waukeenah south to 27 and to the smell of frying mullet, home made desserts and all the fixin's.  Before you open the door to the smell of church and neighbors, familiar food and the song of voices and laughter with the slight rise so common in the accent around here, there is a sign that read, "next fish fry, Oct 4. Oh Joy!!!  Hopefully the pumpkins will be here for the patch.  I love to go to the October fish fry and pick up my fall pumpkins at the same time.  It just seems right to me.

So a full week, a full life.  A life going in two directions.  One living to the fullest, the other, slowly taking over.  It is good that I am healthy, it means I get to continue to live but each month I will let them stab me in the chest to draw the blood that will tell them what will happen for the next month  I really am more of a sprinter instead of a long hauler, so I guess this really is a perfect way for me live. 

Bursts of life measured in small increments of days.
Stay healthy
balance that out with excess to make sure there is plenty of spice
rest and appreciate the quiet
be happy
maybe not a bad way to live any life

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Just another Thursday

I was making lunch when I realized that I had spent the whole day taking care of my man.  Don't get me wrong, I am sure that I have spent many days focused on taking care others, I am very comfortable care taking.  But as I was making a chicken gyro for lunch for us, I realized that almost everything I had done that day I was thinking of Bug.  I was thinking what wonderful care he takes of us.  He spoils me, he throws the ball for Bob, talks to Edna, gives them cookies and beggin' strips.  He is sweet to the cats and gives treats to the chickens and the fish.  And I wanted to make sure that he was taken care of today.  I did laundry as soon as I got up.  We both did some cleaning around the house and I took him Gatorade while he was mowing.  I scrubbed out his sun tea pitcher and started a new batch.  I kept watch over him to try and slow him down when he was doing too much on his foot and leg.  And sometime during the day I realized how very happy I was focusing this time on my Man, my husband, my Hoser, my Sweetie, My Bug.  I enjoyed the sensation of the responsibility of being a wife.  I have always been a career woman.  I have been a manager at home and at work.  I have been a wife, but I was a working wife, not a stay home wife.  I have never been a stay at home wife.  I admire those spouses who choose to stay home and nurture a family.  I just came from a generation when you went to college, started your career, got married, then started thinking about family.  I was unable to have children and had not been one who had wanted to pass on my genetics, so I was happy with my life.  But this was new, and I loved it.

I loved really feeling free.  That I was doing exactly what I was supposed to be doing.  I had woke up so tired this morning.  It is like all the exhaustion of worry about treatments caught up with me and I woke tired.  My mind was ready to get going.  I have been given this gift of feeling well and not having any treatments to think about for another month or so.  That is my new normal.  Live maniac for 4 weeks and then try and cram the last week or so to get ready for treatments.  But I was just too tired today.  I sat on the couch and after a while I just needed to get up, get out.  So while Bug cleaned the boat I worked on pillow cases in my little spot in the barn.  I have about 30 new ones cut out.  I am enjoying having such a brainless project to work on that stretches my imagination in combining the materials. 

I had dug a few more potatoes this morning, but I had a wave of nausea flow over me that sent me out of the garden and into the house for water and to cool off.  It was not hot.  In fact the temps look like upper 60 and lower 90s to upper 80s for highs this week.  The humidity is less than 50% and that is absolutely perfect weather.  So I worked on a few things in the house and then sewed.  Getting things accomplished without stressing myself.  And so many times during the day and I was happy what I had got accomplished.  I was happy to have gotten up and went out to the barn.  There is so much that needs to be done, weeding, watering, replanting, cleaning, stripping bamboo, just on and on and on.  But you know what?  I am fine with that.  I will get done what I get done.  And I do no not feel guilt.  My main go to emotion, guilt.  Hmmm, nope, I did not feel guilty once today.  I can not say that very often.  But I felt the contentment, the feeling of peace being and doing exactly as I should be.  I can't say that I have that many days where I can say I felt that. 

And tomorrow is Friday.  MAD Co is having its ribbon cutting and I hear the cake is supposed to be wonderful.  Tomorrow night is the Waukeenah Methodist Mullet Fry.  Oh yeah, I am ready.  And the last big thing on my calendar for tomorrow is opening night of Little Shop of Horror.  I have trained the girls, they know what to do when it comes to the makeup.  I have faith in them.  I can't wait to go see it.  I have never actually seen the entire production, so I am looking forward to that.  Plus I absolutely adore most of the cast and crew doing this show. 

Nothing important today.  No big epiphanies, just a small realization how happy I am.  Feeling fine, other then being tired.  Still feeling things, but not getting chemo doesn't mean I am better.  It just means that my health is holding and there is no reason to take a chance affecting that for a treatment that will not cure anything.  My best cure?  Just being happy.  Throwing the ball for Bob.  Making sun tea for Bug.  The smell of onions, mushrooms and garlic as I made sauce for dinner tonight.  Hugging Edna and seeing how much she has grown up this last year.  Scratching Henry's head.  Throwing grapes to the chickens.  Spending a day completely satisfied with the life I have.  Petting Stella and Luna as they take turns sitting on my lap.

Right here and now
I am happy
and I am well
right here and now
and that is all that matters

Tuesday, September 10, 2013


It started to cloud up just as we were getting on the Black and Silver Harley.  We looked at the weather, no rain in site.  We looked at the clouds, fat and graying, we changed clothes quickly, hopped in the toy and rode up.  When you have a premonition to do something or not to do something, it doesn't hurt to pay attention.  As we rode up I felt a change in me.  I don't know, maybe it is what I do every time.  Become hopeful.  Yes, foolish enough each time I foolishly get hopeful that I will walk in and it will be a totally different reality.  I don't even know what I would prefer, but just some good news, hopeful news.  I had Bug just drop me off for the lab work and he would come back in an hour or so and join me for the visit with the doctor. 

When they drew my blood, I looked at her and said, "Okay, give me so good numbers.  I need some good numbers today."  She laughed and said she would do her best.  Bug got there and we were called back to see Ms Geraldine, Dr. May's nurse.  She is no Bobbi and she is no Ashley, but she is loosening up and showing her humor.  She is a funny lady.  I like her.  I admitted that I am having the minor pain, level 1 I would say, in my armpits and ribcage area.  Muscle pain?  Maybe, I did just come back from dragging a suitcase behind me everywhere.  But it doesn't feel like muscles.  I haven't said anything before because I am not sure if I really feel it or not. Every once in a while for more than a month there is no doubt that something is uncomfortable.  It does seem to be in the same place each time, but it is not something I live with everyday.  Really I think most of the discomfort is not knowing what is causing it.  But Bug was sitting there and I wanted to be simple and honest.  Actually I have been feeling better in many other ways.  I have had less stomach issues, less general nausea, generally more energy and drive.  I drove myself and Vick past any idea of reason or sense on our 2 week vacation.  I have no regrets, but I did flat wear myself out.  But............


My numbers were all improved again!!!  Okay, not the cancer marker, it was elevated again now around 220, where 6 months ago it was around 40, but it is a general marker.  It is one of those pieces of information that cause you to look for other symptoms, but everything else is good.  And because the treatments I have been trying to prepare for will not cure this, only hopefully maybe knock the rogue cancer back down a bit.  The Tarceva seems to still be doing a great job holding back most of the original cancer, it is now about how to deal with the rogue ones.  So at this point because I am healthy and there are no other physical signs of the cancer like coughing up blood and some other lovely thing to talk about, we are not going to start treatments.  Oh yeah!!!!  In another 4-6 weeks Dr. May wants me to have another PT scan and see what is going on then.  So that means I will have hair for my birthday.  I realize what I have and what my prognosis is, but if you can't celebrate something like not having to have sweet nurses stab you in the chest with sharp objects and drain IVs of WMDs into your system, then I do not know what there is to celebrate. 

We went to lunch at George and Louie's.  Mary, Judy and I used to eat there a lot after my early treatments and visits with the amazing and wonderful Dr. McCuttie Pie.  To return again more then a year later and celebrate being well enough to dodge the bullet for another how many weeks seemed pretty remarkable and I was happy to "celebrate" with some mullet and cheese grits. 

We came home so I could rest and prepare for heading up to rehearsal to see about getting Dan made up.  This will not change my mind about training someone else.  I still do not feel that I am healthy enough to be relied on to do 9 shows over 3 weeks.  But I can make sure that it is taken care, and taken care of well. 

Good news coming after our 6 month anniversary. 
I think we might head over to Pensacola Beach later this month. 
It is Bug's birthday later this month. 
And because I am going to feel well. 
I am going to feel up to going somewhere.
Back to the old normal again.  
Back to waiting.
but waiting


3 am Epiphanies

This morning during my 3am musings I had a epiphany.  I realized the main reason I am so focused on the end of this disease can be inferred from the Personality Quiz I took for my CPM classes.  Maybe it was the Briggs and Stranton, wait, isn't that a lawn mower company?  Anyway it was the where it labels you with four categories.  I can never two of them, but the two I remember was extrovert versus introvert.  I came up 49/51, that actually makes sense to me in that I hate to leave the house but when I do, I enjoy myself.  

The other category was how you make decisions.  I was a "J".  Translated it means I look at the available data, review and then make a decision.  If more information comes in, then review and make a new decision.  Done.  finished.  I like that.  I am not an "I".  This is a person who is more thorough about making a decision.  Their biggest success is that when they make a decision it is usually excellent.  Their biggest weakness is how long it takes them to make a decision, and sometimes they never do.  The strength of the "J" is that we make timely decisions.  The biggest weakness, sometimes we rush, or miss important  information in our confidence of a decision. 

As some one who likes things wrapped up and done, this waiting to die has been hard on that side of me.  I realized that last night.  Why am I always looking forward to this be over?  The only way for it to be over is when I die.  I am not rushing to die, I am not giving up, I am holding the other shoe.  And now that I realize that this is what the professor was trying to explain about the strengths and weaknesses of a "J".  That may seem obvious, but I had never tried to understand myself through these tools.  I really think I was more honest then I knew I could be, because it still seems to be able to explain some of my personality quirks.  So, big deal, I actually went back and used my education to figure something out.  I have not figured out how to stop waiting for the time to drop the other show.  But now that I have finally found the "ah ha! moment" maybe I can figure out another way to look at things.  maybe.

Actually my 3am musings were peaceful and reflective instead of frustrating and exhausting.  Just the fact that I am up at 3, then 3:30, then 4 and sometimes 5 and six.  It was different last night.  I realized I was awake, but my brain says, "Look at some things I have been trying to get you to understand."  I love it when my brain stretches.  There are so many times when I can not think of words, I can not remember things or moments.  So when my brain actually works it is such a joy.

Yesterday was Bug's and my 6 month wedding anniversary.  Did you know that 6 the gift for 6 months is chocolate?  Okay, I made that up, but that is what I gave Bug, well, us.  I love this time of year when Godiva is switching seasons and all the spring and summer products were on sale 50% or greater, with free shipping.  Once, maybe twice a year I am drawn into the Godiva site and order an amazing amount of chocolate for an amazing little money.  And Bug and I love good chocolate.  He buys a Polish chocolate at the Dollar Tree that is very good.  I like a lot of different chocolates.  Good chocolate is my favorite kind. 

The weather here has been pretty amazing.  The temperatures don't have that same heat.  It is still in the 90s, but it is more comfortable.  The humidity is a big part of that in that it has moderated a bit, but the season has started its process of labor.  Up north they are already having frost warnings.  Here the green is no longer the frantic green of growth, no, it is hardening off to the deeper green of winter.  The trees that will change the color of their leaves are getting ready.  You can see the first touch of color on the early trees.  Just a few leaves, more like sticking your toes in the water to check out the temperature.  Fall is not here, but nature all around me is getting ready.  So are people.  My, I have never seen so many people rushing into fall this year.  I am too much of a summer person to rush into autumn.  I am not crazy about winter, so rushing through summer to fall will find me digging my heels in.  I love sweaters, in the winter.  I love the change of leaves and college football, but not the cold.  That is way I have been a Floridian my whole life.  Just can't do that cold. 

Bug and I have been making the most of the weather.  We took another long bike ride on Saturday.  We drove over to Toreya State Park, near Bristol.  It was a gorgeous day.  The sky was that deep blue with a few white clouds.  Not fat heavy clouds of rain, just wispy ones.  The temperature was perfect for riding and we drove I10 over to Capital Harley which has been sold and will be Tallahassee Harley at the end of the month.  They had all the Capital Tshirts 50% off, so we each picked up one.  We have more then enough Tshirts, but we like to collect ones from places we actually go.  We then took off on the back roads and enjoyed the ride through the mostly open empty country side.  The hills became bigger and more bluffs, a sure sign we were getting close to Toreya.  The state park is on the Toreya bluff and has a species of tree that does not occur anywhere else in the world.  There are 3 other species of the Toreya, but these individual species are located in China, Japan and California.  Each rare, each prehistoric and protected.  We rode up to the house and then walked up to the breezeway.  As you step on to the porch the vista opens up and you can't help but gasp quietly.  The land behind the house drops away through thick hardwoods all the way down to the river.  Way, way, way down to the river.  I hear that in another month the view will be as spectacular as the Blue Ridge with the fall foliage.  We may have to try and take another ride over then.  We also did not walk any of the trails because of Bug's foot.  That was fine with me.  We will hike the trails next time. 

While we were at Toreya, Amanda and Falcon were there.  We did not see them, but they saw us.  I wish I had known they were there, I would have loved wrapping my arms around those two precious people.  But we were just there to drive through to get any idea of places to go back to when the weather and our bodies are better.  Instead we drove on down to the coast and had lunch at Ootzes in Newport.  Our favorite bike bar.  We had steamed oysters and smoked mullet.  Oh yeah!!!  and speaking of mullet, this Friday is the September Mullet Fry at the Waukeenah Methodist church.  I love their fish fries, fried mullet, backbone and all, grits, baked beans, pickles and home made desserts. 

We rode about 200 miles on Saturday and had a wonderful time.  Sunday was the garden circle, but I just was not able to make it.  Sometimes I just can't be social.  Bug tries to get me to go, and I know that some people may blame him for not seeing me anymore.  I want to be perfectly clear, that is my choice, not his.  Maybe the introvert is taking back over.  I was very shy and introverted when I was very little and my Dad worked with me to make me more like him.  Outgoing, public, an extrovert.  I can do it.  I have been "doing" it for 55 years now, but it will never be all of me.  Maybe one of the reasons that I married Bug is because I wanted to step out of the hectic world I always make for myself and instead find the quiet and peace in his strong arms.  To spend more time at home, safe and protected quietly living behind the closed fence.  Maybe I am nesting.  That term does keep coming to me.  I am still have years, who knows, and I love my sweet precious friends more then I could ever say or show, but it is harder all the time to interact with people.

Sunday Melanie called and asked if I could help with the bald wig and makeup for a character in the Little Shop of Horrors.  I said of course, but when I found out she needed me then, the gates came crashing down around me.  No.  No, I had not been able to go to garden circle because being around people was too hard.  Now to go down to my beloved Opera House and do makeup, what joy!!!  To interact with people I love?  I need more time to prepare.  I agreed to go last night.  Monday Bug and I took the boat to St. Marks.  We had hoped to drop it off at Shields Marina for storage.  It is not open on Mondays.  Who would have guessed.  We didn't.  But we put the boat in and the gulf was smooth and the weather perfect and tide was out, and the birds weren't fishing and it did not look like the fish were biting, but the boat ran better then ever with the new prop and we had a wonderful day.

Last night I went and looked at the bald kit.  It is nice and I think we will be able to do some good work here.  Olivia, Becca and Abby all volunteered to learn how to do the makeup.  I think after the play is over I will talk to Mel about doing some makeup classes for MAD Co.  We are weak on makeup and I would like to pass on as much as I know and maybe some of these kids will fall in love and we can end up with some new makeup people.  There are sound people and light people.  There is a new Foley for the stage company, and I would like to pass along the last of my experiences like makeup and clowning.  If I am well enough.

Bug and I will leave in a few minutes to go to Thomasville.  They will run the blood work.  They will look to see if the numbers support treatment.  Is it time?  Will it work?  We will start to know more today.  If all is well I should be back up there tomorrow to start my weekly treatments.  No illusions.  This is not going to fix anything.  This is an effort to extend quality, not quantity.  I am ready this time.  I know what the side effects will be.  I know that I might be sick.  But I am not convinced of anything, not until we try and then we will see.

I better go get my boots on so we can head out. 
Another beautiful day. 
Another day of crossroads on life.
My Bug with his big strong arms and sweet eyes will be there with me.

Friday, September 6, 2013

getting back to life at home

I am not rushing.  I am just taking it easy as I try to slip back into life.  I am a morning person.  I am not a night person.  Things seem to fall into place and I seem to be waking up about the same time each morning, between 6am and 8am.  Around 7am seems to be a natural time.  It is nice to get back to the familiar.  To get my feet back under me after two weeks in a fairy world.  Well, I did wear myself completely down to the bone, so leaving a place that the highs were in the 70s to return to the peak of rain forest weather, mid to upper 90s and humidity so thick it looks like fog in the distance. I am actually taking the time to recover.  My body hurt in places I don't want to think about.  We walked until blisters covered our feet, and on our second day we put bandaids on the blisters and changed shoes and headed out to see all there was to see.  I still want to go to sleep around 9pm, that is just my time and I also find that if I read for a half hour or so before I go to sleep, I have a much easier me falling asleep.  Trying to go to sleep right after watching TV does take me longer to get to sleep.  I have read about it, but I can say from personal experience that computer or TV screens does seem to affect my ability to shut down.  See, I am normal in something.

We rode the bike up to the Huddle House for breakfast and then went for a wonderful long ride.  We visited some favorite antique stores in Madison and made it home before the rain.  We could use a little more rain actually, but on the garden, not on our motorcycle ride.  It was nice to get out and ride. I have started digging my potatoes and no surprise, not a huge harvest yet.  I have dug about 1/4 of potatoes and have about a dozen or so and quite as pound.  I was late by 3 months in getting them in the ground and have been asked more then one person if the potatoes would even grow.  Yes, they grew like gangbusters, really beautiful plants, but just not enough time to produce much of a harvest.  The vines died probably the week we had no rain and the power was off so no irrigation.  I am happy so far with whatever harvest I get. 

I am getting anxious again about my back garden.  I called the Landscape designer that I have paid for a plan.  I have not heard from him since.  He said he was busy and it would be a few weeks, but this has been months, and I have called again and left messages and still have not heard back.  I think I have been lost, but I wrote a check, so I will be happy to get things back on track or, they can reimburse me the money.  I just may not be a garden they want to deal with.  I just know I want to get geared back up and get this garden from paper to reality  I would like to have it done for my birthday next month.  Maybe.  I am becoming obsessed again about the dreams of this garden space.

I did not loose weight over my three weeks away from home.  Most people gain weight on vacation, not me.  But I came back and have even put a couple pounds on top of what I had managed to hold on to.  This is all good news.  I am eating healthy and getting plenty of rest and have projects I can work on around the house depending on my energy level.  I am ready.  Well, as ready as I can be.  I am whined out about my hair and treatments.  Apparently it really bothered people that I was having a tough time dealing with the hair loss.  I was still cracking jokes, but I was putting any anxieties into focusing on hair loss.  It is what it is.  I will loose my hair, maybe just a little, maybe a lot, only time will tell.  But there is no question about the fact that I am going to try treatments again.  It is my decision, and even though after the last treatment I had no plans of doing this again, each time I have to make a decision it will be based on previous experience as well as what is happening in the moment.  Right now I feel strong and healthy, so I am ready.  I had wanted to get with a few friends who have been through so much with me, and are big parts to me still being here.  I didn't want anything from them, but a little of their time.  A little of their love and joy and laughter is what I was hoping to share. But I have already asked so much of them from the past, I do not want to impose on them now. 

As I travelled through England and Scotland I had the eyes of someone seeing things for the last time.  I met people that most I will never see again and I hoped that they would see Vicki and I as two alive happy crazy American woman who still see life through rainbow glasses.  We have both been through some very difficult challenges, but I hope that people saw two woman who have lived happy lives and hope that everyone we meet can say the same thing.  No regrets,  a happy life and it is Friday.  I have the entire weekend to enjoy.  I have Monday.  Then Tuesday I will go to see Dr. May and hear whether or not we will start treatments the next day.  After that we will just have to see day by day.  Hmmm, that sounds like normal life.  Yes, this is just going to be my new normal. 

I am ready and happy to see what is around the next corner.  I know that there are a lot of challenges coming my way. I understand that changes are occurring and that options will become harder .  Okay, I am not giving up.  There is nothing to give up on.  I will just keep trying to be the best I can be.  I am not being my best all the time, but each day, I will just have to try again. 
go.................  here we go again