Sittin On A Porch

Sittin On A Porch
Our little back porch

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Rainy day Tuesday

I slept last night as the storm blew in.  I saw the lightening flash behind my closed eye lids.  The rumbling of thunder a distant awareness.  I pulled myself out of sleep and somehow managed to walk to the closest under the stairs for Edna.  Piggy is so afraid of lightening and thunder.  She slipped past my legs and into the dark small area.  I could see her bright eyes looking up at me from inside her Harry Potter room.  I turned to stumble back to bed only to have Ednarose like a shadow followed me back to the bedroom and into my closest.  I collapsed back on the bed and searched for my hose.  I am getting better with the hose and the little robot that produces the oxygen.  I did wake up the other night with the hose in one nostril and one blowing on my eye and it dried my eye out and glued it shut.  I still get tied up with the hose but all in all, most nights are just fine.

I have been so tired with all the guests and trips and things going on, that it is time for me to sleep.  It has been wonderful getting to hug so many precious beloved dear friends and family, but it has also been tiring, and today I laid on the bed on my white quilt and slept, but there were times of in between, where a noise or something had almost woke me and my eyes wouldn't open, but my mind felt obligated to wake.  Carole and Jo from Hospice had come for my weekly visit.  We talked about the nurses and anxiety.  They asked if I wanted to switch to another nurse.  My current nurse is very nice, but has her own medical issues which makes her unreliable.  I need reliability.  I like that Carol and I can talk plain and simple.  I said that I liked her fine but that I scare her and wasn't sure that would work.  Carol agreed that was true, and if I would not refer to the comfort box as a death box, she thought it would work.  I said I could do that.  Jo just laughed and pointed out the ridiculous things we would say and laughed with us.  We had a nice visit and after they left, in the rain, Bug and I watched the weather channel until I just had to go to sleep.  And I slept the rest of the day.  That groggy I can't open my eyes state.  There was good sleep, but there was also sleep that wasn't restful. 

Phyllis is coming over tomorrow.  I haven't seen her is so long, but tomorrow we are going to spend a little time together.

I need to sleep more.  I am still exhausted.  I know there is strength behind this exhaustion.  That if I rest, sleep, take the load off me, I will be able to get back up and do some of the things I want to get done.  We have two weeks before more family and friends start coming.  I need to rest to be ready.  I need to be creative and work on these projects.

The storm has passed and the air is crisp and clean from the fine scrubbing it had earlier.  Branches and leaves blown here and there scrubbing down the air, leaving it cool and clean.  Our windows are open and the air blows through the house and the sweet freshness kisses at my eye lashes and reminding me that it is time to sleep.  To lay my head down, still my feet, and to sleep.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Monday morning and a taste of Autumn

From the view of our living room window the sun is bright, the sky is a deep blue and one fat white cloud is moving quickly just above the tree tops.  The trees stand so straight and tall.  Strong sentinels forming the bones of this garden.  I am so physically tired that I should just go back to bed and sleep and rest.  The more I exhaust myself the more I jerk.  Fortunately the jerks make me laugh more than cry.  It is just so weird to just jerk.  Or to wake up and find myself moving my hands in the motion of my dreams.  I don't know why I connect those two things.  I do not know.  And what connection does the view from our living room have anything to do with the others?  Because that view reminds me that it is all good.  That I am so very grateful for everything.  For the trees, for the man who is my partner in life and in this house and land, for the birds, fish and turtles in the pond.  I see so very much from that window.  I see past, present and future out that window.  I watch the seasons come and then slip away from that window.  I see a life's accomplishment.  All I ever wanted was a home with some trees and a garden, a couple of cats and a Labrador.  I wanted a career that I made a difference and a life afterwards that I could then enjoy the rewards.  I was a state employee so I knew it would not be a lot of money.  But my dreams and our money seem to match up just fine. 

I am very aware that while my mind is clearing and my creative side wants to play and make the couch/chair cushion covers, and to plant my plants.  At the same time my body is not as willing.  I even woke up at 4am and took a pain med.  I woke from pain.  My body seems anxious to be done, my soul says 'not yet' .  I think I will walk outside and look at my plants, and then come in and look at the sofa project.  Lets see what adventure I end up with today.

The sweet and beautiful Felicia

Our dear friends, Felicia and Bill

The precious Marty and Shelia

Cypress on St. Marks River

My honey just before he caught a bass

East side of Bellingrath Gardens, looking down onto the estuary.

Hope Marie and I back home where she was created

Bug in front of the east wall with Hope Marie

Blue Angels hanging in the museum

A mermaid fountain graces the end of this pool

Hope Marie

 Monday, a brand new week.  A puzzled and confused person looking forward to all the possibilities I have.  I understand what my limits are, but I don't know what my abilities are, and that will be fun to see what all I can do.  This brand new week.  I feel as old as I am, but with a naïve sense of hope. 

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Another Adveture

I think the increase in the dosage of the neuropathy meds might be helping just a little bit.  My arms are still sore and jerk.  My legs and feet still vibrate and jerk, but either I am adjusting and/or the meds are helping.

This week, Bug and I ran away to Pensacola.  It was just for a couple of days, but it was nice to get away.  We stayed in Pensacola and the first afternoon we drove down to the water and saw the city and the historic district, the Seville District then headed back to the hotel to rest.  The next morning we headed for the water front.  To gaze out at the Gulf from yet another angle.  The Gulf I have lived near my entire life.  We watched a man fish and talked another holding his cast net set to spin out over the water and maybe bring back fall mullet.  Mullet that on cue will swim in great schools.  Darker colored skin, more fat and the dark streak in the fillets.  Fine eating. 

We made our way to the Historic District bought our tickets and prepared to wait for the tour.  A younger man came in and explained he would be the Guide because they were short handed because of a horde of 4th graders.  Actually from what I saw the kids behaved much more respectfully then some of the people on the tour.  The tour started a little early and was interesting.  Bug and I have both spent a lot of time in our lives going through these museums.  Hearing the same information each time, with a few exceptions shining more brightly on their particular home.  I made it through the entire walking trip, but did not walk up any of the stairs, missing the second floors.  I would sit outside and rest so that I was ready to go for the next home or church.  The Historic District is small, so we drove over to the Air Museum and thought to have lunch somewhere on the way.

We made it to the Museum before settling for fast food and yes, the museum had a CUBI Club.  That has something to do with the Philippines when the Navy and Marines had a base there.  When they closed down the base they took all the carved mascots and hung them from the ceiling and on the walls.  How much fun to see each mascot trying to outdo the last.  The crews names and their call signs painted on these sculptors.  History of a time gone by.  Of a world I never knew.  Torpedoes, bulldogs, devils, mermaids and lots of eagles.  Bright, bold colors.  These were symbols that helped these men do what had to be done.  Half way around the world, and many of these warriors still just kids.  Bug took time to walk all the way around the museum, I chose not to be pushed in a wheel chair, but instead to be some place comfortable and happy so he could take his time.  After going through the museum, Bug returned so we could have lunch in the CUBI and he told me of the things he thought I might be interested in going to see.  That helped to cut down on my walking and I did enjoy the part of the museum we went to see together.  And the Cubi club would have been worth while just on itself.

After the Museum we went to the Shrimp Festival in Gulf Shores, Alabama.  It is huge, like 350,000 people over the weekend.  We got there about 4:30pm and a lot of the people who had been there all afternoon were heading home and the people after work were not there yet.  We walked through it, a typical seafood festival.  On one side were the seafood booths and on the other were tie dye clothes, artist showing their paintings, advertising people and everything in between.  We had to walk almost to the end of the food booth line to find a local booth.  All the rest were professional booths, many advertising "Maryland Crab Cakes"  We wanted local seafood, not Maryland.  The local booth only sold steamed head on large shrimp in OldBay Seasoning.  We bought one to eat there, and they were gooooood.  We bought another one to take home.  We were too exhausted, ok, I was too exhausted to go out to eat, so we ate at Denny's which was about 500 feet from our door.

I was so excited the next morning, a garden!  I was going to a garden!  I was so tired, but I was going.  Somehow I was going to see this garden.  It was a lovey morning and we tried to get to the garden before the afternoon warm.  We had our Hope Marie.  The entire reason for this trip.  To take the painting back to where it was painted to see if we could learn anything else.  At first the people thought it strange to take a painting on vacation.  But when we would turn the painting around their jaws would drop.  They would look at us and then back to the painting.  Some would tell us that it was the east side of the house.  Some asked us where we got it.  I think everyone employed there had an opportunity to see the painting.  We learned the painting had to be painted after 1980.  The windows in the painting were put in after hurricane Fredrick.  It seemed to give each of them a smile.  It brought a little mystery into their life, and they had clues.  It was fun.  Bug got a wheel chair and pushed me around.  I could not have even thought of going through the garden.  What a sweetheart I have.  He gave me the opportunity to experience this beautifully planted garden.  It overflowed with plants.  Flowers burst out from the foliage.  Lovely, just lovely.  And thanks to my honey, I was able to be there.  Concerning the wheel chair.  It is a total loss of control.  You are completely dependent on someone else.  ummmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm......I am not comfortable with that.  It is hard to have these opposite feelings.  One of gratefulness, one of extreme discomfort totally dependent on someone else.  So much to learn yet in this time.

Again as we drove home I was too tired to even consider trying any of the wonderful local seafood restaurants.  We had shrimp from the festival and there were other leftovers so we once again stayed in the room and I fell asleep early.  Waking up Saturday morning I realized just how far I had pushed myself belong the final line in the sand.  Bug still thought we should have driven home the day before, but I had to have a break, a time to just lay still.  We were up fairly early Saturday.  Just in time to share the breakfast area with a couple of teams of over 40s softball players.  Who are they kidding there wasn't a man under 60, I might even venture over 70 for the ones we saw.  But they were up and happy and excited about the games played and those yet to come.  We slipped out and left them to their exuberance. 

We were home in time to watch most of the college games.  I would like to note that Bug and I watched the first half of the Florida game, but exhaustion took me just before halftime and so neither of us saw any of the second half.  We can not be held responsible for the loss of the Gators by me being a jinx and watching them.  I believe we call all agree that that period of my life, fortunately, is over.

This morning we watched Charles Osgood.  I was exhausted, but not more than that, I am having moments of shortness of breath.  I only have enough energy to walk through a room.  I did have a short time of strength this afternoon and actually made cinnamon rolls and soup with dumplings.  Other than that.  I have done nothing.  Well, I did talk to a couple of friends to let them know I was not going to be able to go to the garden circle.  I could have guilted myself into going, but I was afraid I might have a moment of short of breath, and it could be more dramatic then I am interested in.  So instead I stayed home.  I miss my circle.  I love these woman.  But not today.  Maybe next month.  Dottie said she would take me.  But still I knew I shouldn't go.

Bug and I watched football.  The view from our living room window is a serene landscape.  Oaks and pines stand green against the first blush of autumn.  While one of our crepe myrtles' leaves glow orange and red center stage in the frame of the window. I feel good.  I made mistakes and there were some interesting challenges in my life, but right now as I look out the window.  It took the two of us coming together at this very moment to be able to bring back a home so that you could enjoy that glorious view.  Inside of the windows are our art collection.  We have no idea if or how much any of them might be.  We have looked up the various artist, sometimes it is a dead end, sometimes they make outrageous claims of the values.  We bought them because we liked them.  We found this place and made it our own. Today as we watch football on more then one TV screen (we like football) we just look around.  We look at each other, and our dogs and cats and chickens and ducks and we are happy.  We feel good.  We went away, and saw new things, new places to us.  But then we came home.  To this home we love so very much.  This land and pond, the trees and the birds, it is home.  It is our home.  I just can't help saying it over and over.  I am so happy. 

I have not felt so great about myself.  I admit that sometimes why I do not blog, I feel bad about myself.  It has been a year since I got a haircut and dye.  I think it is time to face it and get a haircut.  I need to do something to feel better about myself.  When I look in the mirror all I see are the faults and all the things that are wrong with me.  I can feel swollen areas that were not before.  Cancer?  I don't know.  Maybe that is part of the problem.  When I look in the mirror I can't see good and bad right now. 

I am happy in my day to day life.
But as happy as I am with the beauty and joy around me. 
I feel bad about myself.
The outward physical only part of me......
large joints and bone skinny arms and legs

I am a tired I have never been before.
How many times have I said that?
Why do I continue to push myself beyond the most tired tired????
I guess that is just part of who I am and how I have someone continued to live.
And I am alive
And now it is time to rest. 
I need to rest so I will be ready for the next adventure.

Sunday, October 5, 2014

A beautiful Sunday Morning

I am sitting on my little back porch.  The air is cool, coming up from a low of 49 last night to a high in the upper 70s or low 80s today.  A perfect day to don overalls and do some gardening.  I need to move half of the hydrangeas I planted.  I started out so well, and then in my usual style I just started filling in holes with more hydrangeas.  These shrubs will be too big for the beds, and it will crowd out the more delicate and special plants I have in front.  There is re potting and moving plants up that is needed, and then I also need to go back to the trailer and get more of the plants I want to plant in these beds.  It is a glorious morning.  The air still clear and bright with one of those deep blue skies.  The air cool and the breeze makes it nippy.  I am wearing a sweater, long pants, Nancy socks and an afghan I made a life time ago thrown over me.  The lap top sits on my lap and warms me further.  My arms ache to keep writing and the Hospice doctor is upping my meds for the neuropathy by three fold.  I am currently on the lowest possible dosage and I understand some patients take 15 - 20 times as much as I do, so there is wiggle room to see if we can make me more comfortable.  To be able to write a thank you note, to type on this computer, to not throw drinks on myself or others and to stop kicking inanimate objects, that is what I am hoping they can do for me.  Especially the kicking thing.  My right leg is by far the twitchiest and I have buzzing and bruising and burning from the bottom of my foot to about my knees.  This is not a big deal most of the time, I really can't even remember what it felt like before. 

On Sunday morning with Charles Osgood, as I sipped my tea that my Honey made for me, Earl Grey with a splash of milk and a drip of Montana honey (thank you Mr and Dr. Lay for you very generous gift!) and watched a show on computer games.  I ate the scrambled eggs that Bug cooked for me piling the golden deliciousness that our chickens gift to us on top of a thick slab of Ms Moon's bread toasted to a golden brown.  All prepared by my husband for me.  He also cleaned up the kitchen while I finished watching Charles Osgood. 

The show on gaming gave me a little glimmer of hope for the future of humans and technology.  Up to this point it seemed to me that these games, although some can be played in a group, it still did not seem to encourage human connection by quite the opposite.  Many of the games seemed to suck you in to their world and keep you there as you challenge yourself to continue moving up another level.  The news on Charles Osgood was about Amazon paying $1 billion for Twitch, a game network.  This is where people watch other people play computer games.  At first this sounds as boring to me as watching paint dry, but as someone who spent most of yesterday watching college football, and with plans to spend most of today with my honey watching NFL games, maybe some NASCAR at Dover during commercials or halftimes, and might throw in a few holes of golf.  So as bizarre as it sounded at first, okay, just down right boring, I could see how people might watch other people's games to learn how to be better players.  I can also how they fill coliseums in Japan with fans cheering on their favorite players while big screens show each of the players games.  There did not appear to be more than two players for the events they showed, and I do not know if they were competing against each other in the game, or if they were each playing their own game and the person with the higher score won.  I don't know, but these venues of thousands and thousands of people are selling out.  This is a huge phenomena occurring around the world.  Other then they are computer gamers it doesn't seem to be any different then how we watch most of the games and sporting events around the world.  I had always feared that these games would send children to their rooms and take them out of the real world and to contact with other humans.  But someone figured out how to make money and bam!  people are back crowding together in giant stadiums.  There are still a lot of kids and grown ups who have disappeared from the world into games, and they may never come back out with the rest of us, but they would have found some way to slip into their own world with something else.

Another comment made on Charles Osgood this morning was by the commentator who was covering the game story.  He said at one point that game makers are trying to make each new version more real and life like.  Then some comment about putting the game down and walking outside.  There the world is already 3D.  I would add and HD.  Especially as I sit here on this cold Sunday morning.  I know it is going to warm up this week, but today it is less than 70 and I never complain about the weather unless it is less than 70, so I could complain, but instead I put on a sweater and a throw across my legs just so I could sit on my little porch.  Outside, surrounded by plants and trees, my Bob laying at my feet, ball at the ready and the world crisp, cool and bright. 

The chickens and ducks are enjoying their morning rituals.  The ducks dancing up to their bucket as I filled it to the top with water, then their dance and splashing as they swoop down into the bottom of the small bucket.  I think we may need to get them a bigger bucket.  One that is big enough for them to be real ducks swimming.  Wait, they have a pond.  Well, it is a thought for the future of my Willie and Lily.  I think we have finally figured out their sex.  Lily is the one with barely any crest, Willie has the bigger crest.  Not that it matters anymore, they are happy, and so are we.

I did crash as I was writing my last post and am still in crash mode.  I spend most of Friday sleeping, yesterday I slept in between watching football, and today I am still shaking and know that I need to spend more time sleeping.  Kim came yesterday and I hope I did not chase her away.  I knew she had an 8 hour drive and that she wasn't in a rush and wanted to just take the trip home easy.  Bug, Kim and I had breakfast at Tupelo's.  Here at the house I had taken her out to the pond and we had sat on my bench that Bug moved over from our other place.  It was wonderful to have that woman here.  This place feels so comfortable.  My Farmboy place had one spot that felt magical, the little front porch.  As I added gardens I felt more and more a part of the place.  Here Bug and I felt at home at once.  The house was a wreck.  Honestly the photo I posted here was the best I had out of dozens.  The house was a wreck, but as we stood in front of and looked 360, we felt at home.

Now the house is livable, far from "done", but for me, I couldn't be happier, and there isn't a spot where I do not feel a part.  And to be here as I disappear is peaceful and welcoming.  We have quite a variety of wind chimes and with the picture of a sunset that plays ocean sounds, and the breeze finding endless melodies with the chimes and the leaves and branches.  The native birds are very active these past few days.  The giant pileated scream out like monkeys before swooping out and into a new group of trees.  Back and forth the male and female laugh and scream at each other, searching through the forest in a swooping grid as they search for food and good nesting areas.  Maybe they are also checking out the competition in the swamp we now have responsibility.  The cardinals and blue jays have been more visible.  The woods are a never ending source of bird and insect song.  The chorus of frogs in the evening out by the pond compete with the toads around the house and the frogs in the swamp. 

I have crashed again and I am down to 102 pounds.  My heaviest was in the low 140s.  My average 125.  My low, far.  I am a walking skeleton where my left hips juts out so that it looks like two different hips on one body.  Just think if my skeleton should be preserved and studied by people unfamiliar with our species would probably guess that I was a curious specimen, unlike the normal.  They would probably wonder at the age I obtained from such a severe handicap. 

Here and now I am not handicapped, at least by my hip.  I feel as if I have come to some understanding that I do no know what the cancer is doing, I am feeling better with the meds I am on, and the drugs that are finally past, and that is a pretty good MO for right now.  The worry over the spreading cancer just shouldn't make one bit of difference to me because we always knew it had moved beyond the stopping stage.  We had only hoped for quality of life. Both the incredible and amazing handsome Dr. McCutie and Dr. M both succeeded.  And with the quality of life came the quantity.  Right now I am eating.  Not perfect, but I am eating.  I have been able to do so much and for quite a few weeks.  So if I need to take these next few days resting, so that I can enjoy my life a little more, not so bad.

I admit that I do feel the pain of the cancer.  I can adjust my meds so that I don't feel anything, but I prefer a touch of reality in my life, including pain.  I go a little too far at times, like lately and then I really have to feel the pain until I can get ahead of it again.  It is a good reminder that I am sick.  That I am going to leave this glorious place behind and my actions should reflect that, even if my dealings with other people, it should not interfere.  If life was easy there would be an instruction books.  Oh wait, there are a lot of them out there.  I think I shall just put the technology away for a moment and enjoy the sun and shade and trees, and animals and the wind and............

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Motorcycles, chickens, ducks, arms, precious friends and such happiness

Bug has been taking me for motorcycle rides.  I am not clinging onto the back or sitting up in the air with my legs tucked up under me.  No it is like sitting in a lovely arm chair.  Bug right in front of me to hold on to if I should feel the need,  Or if I just want to wrap my arms around him and rest my head on his back and just fly.  Oak tree branches covered with resurrection fern reach across the road, newly asphalted.  The light plays hide and seek with the leaves and branches splashing and reflecting across the ground.  The gentle vibration of the bike relaxes my muscles, the canopied roads relaxing my soul.  My nerves seem to all line up instead of screaming from all directions.  It is like my whole body sighs a mantra hhhaaarrrrrllllleeeeeyyyyy.  Yes, I may have to pay for these trips by resting or taking more pain meds, or whatever.  It is worth it.

The other day we road around the newly paved road that circles Mays Pond.  It seemed for sometime that we were riding more then once a week.  Life is so very HD for me at those moments.  Crisp and bright as the change of season kicks into high gear.  One of my huge crepe myrtles is changing from the thick dark green to reds and oranges leaves.  I can't wait to see what color the bark will peal back to reveal. 

And is anyone else getting tired of watching all the cancer commercials.  I am sorry, I know that the more we talk about things the more money, research and progress you can make.  But they are more numerous then feminine product commercials.  Okay, I know that was small of me, and probably brought on by my situation and how uncomfortable and sad it makes my honey and other precious loved ones.  I feel better pointing out that yes, you can turn the channel.  But it is always hard for the care takers.  There has to be away to get the information out to the masses with a little more consideration to those who are barely holding it together.

My right arm is much better.  maybe.  It is also possible that it isn't that much better but I am just growing accustomed to it.  I have the jerks more prominent these days.   I can tell when I have not taken the anti-anxiety drugs because it takes a lot of energy to control your body.  It is an automatic reflex to tense up and try to keep the jerks down.  I need to just let them go, and I am trying to learn to do it.  It is best when I do not have a cup of tea or a glass of water in my hands when I am trying to just let go.  Because it causes such a mess.  But it also makes me laugh at times, so it is not all bad.  There are much bigger issues to think about.  Both arms are affected, but being right handed it is more noticeable.  Hand writing something on paper is frustrating, uncomfortable more than painful and exhausting.  The writing is legible, but that takes even longer to ensure that.  Even just typing on the computer affects my arms.  That is when it is most noticeable with my left arm.  It is a basic fact that our bodies wear out.  I have physically pushed my body, running and then jogging when I was young.  I started walking as I got older, but now I do not do that as much as I would love.  But the drugs, all of them, pain, anti-anxiety, chemo, more chemo, different chemo all making their individual mark on my body.  The bottom line is my body is worn out and giving out.  Some parts faster than others, but all systems have been compromised, and some are still taking hits with all the drugs I take now.  And honestly I take very few drugs for someone in this situation.  The pain drug I am on now, the lovely and wonderful Big D seems to be the least difficult on me.  Although I am not pain free, I probably have less pain then the average person my age.  And it is funny that the Big D does seem to have some impact on those pains, none of the previous pain meds they gave me seemed to work on those little everyday pains.  I was told to take your normal over the counter drug along with whatever narcotic they had me on to deal with that.  Wow!  now if that doesn't say something about the pain we get not from disease, but just life.  I am not sure what it is saying, but it seems to be interesting to me.  But the Big D seems to be helping me the most and I am quite satisfied staying on this as long as it works.

I have been so busy and there has been so very many reasons to blog, but the dread of dealing with my hands.  I had tried to write some posts, which is why this post is already so long.  I have mentioned being kidnapped and abducted to St. George by my sister Vicki and her accomplice Nancy.  They had driven down from Indiana to our favorite meeting spot, SGI, and had rented a two bedroom, two bath beach house, right on the beach.  It was a stilt house and the huge glass window that faced south looked over the gulf and framed the view so that when you were indoors you could still feel the gentle pull of the gulf.  Vick and Nanc would walk up and down the beach collecting shells for various projects.  All kinds of shells, some for other teacher, some for their own collection.  I walked to the beach and then would sit down and look for shells.  I chose half a dozen small shells all in a vivid orange color.  Just the walk through the gauntlet of sandspurs and twisting sand paths was enough to put my butt on the sand and look for shells.  We ate seafood everyday.  Grouper sandwiches, fat succulent oyster po boys, crab cakes and platters of all fried seafood of every type you can imagine here on the gulf coast.  Every meal was accompanied by hush puppies, cheese grits, cole slaw, sliced tomatoes and even though we were always too full to eat it, Key Lime Pie lured us with its pale lemon lime color.  We finally ordered a slice to go and it was consumed an hour after our meal with great enthusiasm.  Bug found me and rescued and returned me home.  That is how I explained it to Hospice when I returned all of their messages.  They laughed and retold the story to others in that program.  I smile and think about the last look my sister and I.  I was in the car, she on the stairs.  We looked deep into each others eyes and fought the screaming, "This is the last time you will ever see each other."  That could be true, but it may no be true and each day I fight that little voice that insists that each event is the last.  That is not necessarily true.  It is good to keep that in mind so that you will remember to pay attention to each moment.  But I need to be careful to not allow this to miss the moment.  Life each moment like it is the best thing ever.  That is a better way to look at it.  Because as my sister and I looked at each other, my heart was breaking.  But as soon as I got there the dolphins that were spotted each morning and evening as they made their rounds on their fishing grounds, starting playing.  Splashing tails and great leaps of water and streamline animal shooting up and twisting and spinning landing with great joy back in the water, only to shoot up and out again.  It was like watching a show at SeaWorld, but here the animals did it of their own accord at the moments they felt joy, or maybe it was sexual rituals and they were flirting and showing off.  Right in front of our house was a favorite spot for this cavorting, and from the deck at the back of the house I could sit and watch.  A golden eagle flew over the house one morning.  Slow enough to be identified, Osprey whistled and swept up and down looking for the biggest tastiest fish.  They would hold themselves high above the water, twisting their wings so that they hovered in the same place looking down, shadow cast out of the way of the fish.  Then they would pull in their wings and shoot down and either pull back up as the fish scattered, or they would sink their talons into their prey and pull themselves up before completely submerging into the water.  Young pelicans, duller in color then their grown counterparts who sport patterns of brown, black, white and yellow, flew every morning east into the rising sun.  A perfect line of young ones learning the ways of their kind.  Each lined up behind the one in front, the line floating up and down just inches above the water as it welcomed the pinks and oranges of the morning sky.  Seagulls with their screams and clacking bills.  Crabs as big as my fist and as small as a little finger sitting in their hole homes waiting for the cooler evening to scurry out to find their dinner and to remind each other who was bigger.  Life of the beach.  Life when my sister, and now our Nancy and myself find our souls soothed, our laughter more easy.  I left, they still had a few days.  They had graciously given up one bedroom for me and then Bug to stay with them.  This part of my life, may be the best part that Vicki and I share.  And each of us share memories and portions of our lives with so many others. 

We did not see any hatching turtles this year.  We have seen them two previous years.  Even Owen was there for the first time.  He got to touch them before we put them in the gulf so that they could start their lives.  Owen was around one years old.  He no more remembers touching the turtles than they remember him.  But hopefully he remembers that we tell him the story of touching the turtles.  Sometimes our memories are shared and it takes all of us together to remember those moments.  Just like our ancestors together, it takes all of us to remember the day to day events and the special moments.

By the way, I just found out that Hospice refers to a death as an "event".  I asked if I would someday be an event.  My nurse assured me, yes, it would be an event.  I like that, I do not think that I have ever thought of anything in my life that I referred to as an event.  

Shortly after my adventure on SGI our dear precious friends Marty and Shelia came for a visit, arms over flowing with presents for both of us.  They had been travelling for two weeks having driven to Niagara Falls, both sides, and then heading south to us.  They looked a little travel worn, but made it all the more special to me that they would make sure to come and visit us, even though their travels really did not come anywhere close to our place.  I continued eating seafood but now we had cheesecake.  I had ordered a strawberry cheese cake from Tennessee Cheesecake Company.  This is a small family business and I chose it over the big names because they were the only one to say they used fresh strawberries in their swirl.  All the other companies simply said a strawberry swirl.  I also found by calling the company that their prices were comparable with the others, but in this case the strawberry cheesecake was on special and was much less expensive than the others.  I also ordered some turtle cheesecakes but they were out, so substituted boxes of mixed cheesecakes for the same cost, so we ended up with more cheese cakes then I had planned.  They were all consumed in record time and I noticed that people had a hard time not going back for a third helping.  I highly recommend this small family business.  The cheese cakes were creamy and sweet, but with that touch of sour cream on the top that cuts through the richness leaving your mouth and tummy both happy.

We took Marty and Sheila to Mission San Luis in Tallahassee.  It is a state park and shows life at a time when the Spanish and the Apalachee Indians lived together in on mission.  The Spanish lived on one side, the Native Americans on the other, but together they made up one community.  It is a very cool place and I highly recommend you visit it, but I would suggest that this time of year is much nicer than the summer time, because it does get hot.  After the Mission M&S took us out for Bug's birthday dinner at Outback.  We all ate until we were miserable.  Bug was as happy eating as I have ever seen him.  He had the surf and turf, filet with garlic sautéed shrimp, all he could eat.  Happy, happy, happy.  We were going out on the boat the next day, but Shelia got sick from her allergies to animals.  She was probably a little worn down from all the travelling and then to come into Dr. Doolittle's really hit her hard.  We knew she was allergic to cats, so had down our best to get rid of any cat dander where she might be, but we didn't realize she also had trouble with dogs.  They have shitz poos so she is not affected, I had not thought of the poo part to realize that was how she could have pets.  The visit was cut short.  But even if they had stayed it would not have been long enough.  I know Marty would have loved to go out on the boat, the weather was perfect, but Shelia was too sick to go on the boat, and obviously could not be in the house, so instead they headed home. 

Bug had gotten his crossbow that was his birthday present.  He sited it in, and Marty got to shoot it.  My cousin Lori and I also were able to shoot it.  Well, with Bug loading it, and giving us a chair and table to steady it, we just shot off the bulls eye.  I had tried my right arm first, naturally, but it had hit my port, and I have been scared by all the medical people about not doing things like that.  This port is connected to some pretty important veins going into my heart.  Not only that it hurt.  So I simply switched to my left side, and actually seemed to do better on that arm.  Just not worrying about hitting my port helped tremendously.  I have no interest at all in shooting anything.  Bug has planted a food crop for the deer and turkey and has his blind set back into the trees, and it is hard to see it.  I wouldn't mind sitting in there with my Honey as he hunts and I read a book.  Ah, quality family time.  Of course if he kills anything, I am out of there.  I prefer my corn flakes.  I don't know how they got from the seed to the box, and I don't really care.  That is probably one reason I have never been a big meat eater, if I was left to my own accord I would be forced into a veggie life style, so I might as well be honest about it.

So after a wonderful visit with these two very special friends, my cousin Lori came and as always we had a wonderful time just being together.  I love that woman, and remember not that long ago I was 50 and uprooting my family and moving to a totally new place.  It can be a challenge.  She has a son and a nephew that lives with them that are just at the age where they are trying to decide between college or tech or just get out there and get a job for now, and figure out life a little later, so that does add complications my labs did not bring.

Yesterday, Bob from work and Kim from NC came by for a visit.  I felt terrible.  I had missed Bob's birthday last month, but he brought us asaigo cheese bagels from Panera.  Oh my goodness, I have missed those.  Bob looked at a picture on our wall and asked where it had been painted.  We only knew that Hope Marie painted in Pensacola.  Bob didn't say more, but he studied the painting.  Kim loved my Grandfather's painting of the trees.  They both have excellent taste and were oohing and aaahing over our very small art collected.  It made us very happy.  Today I received this photo from Bob.  It is a picture of Bellingrath Gardens

Photo from Bob probably from the website

This is the painting by Hope Marie

 Bug and I would like to take a trip there soon with the future owners Hope Marie.  Wouldn't it be fun to take a photo of us with the Hope Marie and then slip it into a zip lock bag attached to the frame.  It will help owners of the future to know a little more about this picture and those who have loved it before.  We bought this is a Thrift Store.  But I am sure that earlier in time, someone loved this painting.
I had such a delightful visit with these two very special people.  Bob and I worked together for 26 years.  He is one of the name sakes for Bob, my lab.  Yes, he was named for my dad, and even though my brother goes by Rob, he is still a Bob, and Bob at work, and then it turned out to be my husband's name.  Bob's have been important in my life.  He is still a very special person to me.  One of those friends you keep your whole life.
Kim and I met because of the job.  I worked in Agriculture and she worked in Pest Control, but we both did the same job for our bureaus.  It was an instant connection and we have been close ever since.  We have been there for each other for some of the most challenging moments of our lives.  The loss of parents, dementia, the loss of a sibling, marriages, grand kids not to mention the changes in our bodies and minds as we age.  Kim like so many of my women friends are resigned to these changes and have decided to celebrate that process, to find joy, love and happiness whenever we can, and to share those moments.  I will get to see Kim for one more quick visit as she heads home to her Honey and their cabin on the side of a mountain.  A beautiful place, bountiful with native plants and wildlife.  Kim and Jim have made their place a protected native habitat.  Kim retired from the Department several years back.  She has found something else she would like to do when she grows up.  She has become a reporter for the local newspaper.  She went from a small gardening article to becoming a reporter.  They would love for her to become a full timer at the newspaper, but she is happy being a reporter.  I love it when friends find something else they want to do when they retire.  I always wanted to be a gardener.  I have been a gardener all my life, but that has always been what I wanted to do when I grew up, a gardener.  Isn't great when life works out so well?!  My visit with these two loved ones couldn't have been more special.  Just a few hours talking, smiling, and enjoying our friendship and time together.  
Geeta has been a steadfast friend.  I laugh, which one of my precious dear beloved friends and family are not steadfast.  She tries to take a few hours off each week from her job and make food for me and then drives out here to visit me.  I miss going to visit her and seeing Janak and Ba.  I love that here Geeta and I have our time.  Maybe I should send Ba a photo and tell her how much I love her.  It would not be the same as being there, but for now, that might be the best I have.  Geeta's last visit she brought Nalu with her.  I had not seen here forever.  She has cancer and has gone through her chemo and radiation and her hair is growing back beautifully.
After treatments that first time your body tries to shake off the WMDs your hair comes in, or not.  Nalu's is soft and wavy to the point of almost curly.  It is a lovely shad of deep gray with the combination of white and darker hair, soft and new.  She also has that glow.  I remember people talking to me about a glow.  I can see it in Nalu.  She is lovely.  I mean she has always been a beautiful woman, but now as she survives the onslaught of malignant cells and doctors with WMDs that shines out of her.  That strength and inner beauty, wow.
Ms Moon also has continued to be our dinner fairy.  This sweet beautiful woman, who is as delightful as her name, brought over yesterday a pot of split pea soup.  Of course Ms Moon made it even healthier by slipping in lots of veggies of all kinds.  She also included a loaf of hearty wheat bread that she had made herself.  Finally the most glorious of all things, a pineapple upside down cake.  An entire meal hearty, healthy, and delicious while nurturing your soul, not just your body.  I mean a bowl of soup and thick slices of bread to swab up the final bit from the bowl, and then a huge slice of cake, what more could anyone ask for.  She brings the food in with such joy and love.  She is the best nurturer I have ever met.  And being one myself, she blows me away by her acceptance of people and how they love her for the rest of her life. 
She had given me the number of one of her friends from nursing school.  Her friend is a hospice nurse in Colorado.  I gave her a call and she has that smart, funny, no bars hold way of talking as Mary.  I loved talking to her because she just cut to the point and gave me more information about the part of life I am living than anyone with me.  Knowledge is power.  A power that comes out in confidence.  It is okay to say to me, yep, your body has been through a lot and it is worn out.  Things just aren't ever going to get better.  It is the same for everyone, I am just in a speeded up process. 
So much has happened in the last few weeks.  I am feeling better and stronger.  I am able to do more before I have to rest, and for the most part I am able to do more things.  I know this may surprise you, but I have not gone crazy and do too much.  I am tired because of all the visits.  But I wouldn't trade those moments for anything.  I am still getting tired, but it is not as hard a crash.  I am able to do more with out getting to that point.  Today I felt a stab of crash after the Hospice nurse and was ready to lay down and sleep, but I started working on this post about 11:00 am.  I have not gone back and looked, but it is probably getting to be a little novel.  I have had to stop and do other things because of my arms.  I talked to my nurse about my neuropathy and we are going to try upping the dose.  I am at the very lowest rate, so maybe there is something that might fix a lot of problems.  It would be nice to feel my feet and the carpet and bamboo flooring, grass and the warm water in the pond instead of buzzing, pinching and burning.  I feel so good.
Maybe they will be able to help my feet and hands and as a gardener that is so very important and come spring watch out.  See, a month ago I would never have planned anything for next spring.  I really feel that well.  But we must not forget I am on a couple of anxiety drugs and a really good pain drug.  I feel the pain, and without the meds, I would have already begged morphine.  But that is not what is happening.  The pain and anxiety meds along with the WMDs, their pre-meds and after meds that are diminishing in my system are all working just fine right now.  I do not overdue as much as I want to do.  I have not learned any lessons, I am simply tired and sit down for a minute, and well, depending on how tired I was is when I will get back.
I think I might have confused some.  I am not in a Hospice facility.  I live at home with my Honey and my animals and our woods and pond with our fish.  Some people live in Hospice facilities, but at this point we have no plans in me not staying home.  Our home is set up so that it would not be hard for me to stay down stairs if I should not be able to go up and down.  Of course, I could also have a hospital bed to be put in the guest room.  But I would rather stay down stairs.  If I need a view of our property and trees, I can sit in the Florida room.  Shoot I could have my hospital bed in there.  But now, I don't need any of those things. I have the first basics, walker, shooter chair (ok that is not necessary), wheel chair, potty chair, shower chair.  But these are all put away until I need them.  I walk again, I eat.  In fact I have had a couple of cravings.  I have done some cooking.  A very small amount of cooking, and Bug usually has to help with the final and then serving it.  But I am growing stronger and I am enjoying.  I am reading again.  And I have picked up some of my crochet projects.  I work pretty slow with this because of my arms.  But I am excited to look forward to eating some times and I want to create.  So many projects already started to chose from.
I think another thing I think I have mislead people.  Of course this was purely accidental and anytime I hear about these confusions, I try to discuss the issues with people.  Hospice is not about dead people.  It is about the whole, the family, the person's life and helping them all with the transitions one of them is going through.  It is about helping to minimize pain and anxiety.  They provide meds for that, but they also have other ways to deal with the pain and or anxiety.  They have a counselor, they have a music therapist, they have all kinds of options to help the patient as comfortable and mobile for as long as possible.  I have had nothing but the utmost professional service.  They have spent time to talk to me, to go over things again to make sure that I take my drugs and that I have my drugs.  They will do more as I need more, and they are real people and patient and kind.  I could not live this life if I didn't have them.  I need the meds they allow me, the nursing care, and so much more as we move down this path.
Shelia kept saying to me, "Be Happy"  I can quietly, whisper "I am"  I can also shout it out, "I'm happy".  And I love you for wanting that for me.  I am happy.  Happier then I could have known.  I worry about my Honey, but I have to let him be him, and worrying only causes both of us anxiety.  He loves me so much.  I known because I love him.  But he can not make this go away, and all he wants to do is take care of me.  So I have this amazing man in my life. I have dogs and cats, chickens, ducks and fish.  I have garden beds begging to be planted.  I have plants I have started to go into these beds.  Bug is building my fish pond for my birthday.  I can't wait to get the Bubba's here with us.  I only have four left of the original 12 I bought 6 years ago.  I love my Bubba's.  All have the same name, except for the big one with the fancy tail, we call that one Queen Bubba.  All my animals will be here then.  Then I can focus on plants. 
Bug brought home in the bucket of the John Deere our cement bench.  It is more than 300 pounds.  He placed at the spot where we feed the fish and gaze at the pond.  I have planted two more clumps of Panama Pacific water lilies in the pond.  They are all doing well and love the pond.  Happy little plants.
I am getting tired by the minute, so I will close this.  I am sorry if I missed mentioning anyone who has come for a visit.  I love visits.  Yes, I do wear myself out, but only because I want to be with you, and I want to have a real life.  So, thank you again for coming to all of those who have been able to,  and to those still scheduling and planning, I look forward to those visits.  And to those who call or write a note, or leave me a message, thank you.  Thank you to all for your prayers and good wishes.  It is a miracle, I woke up this morning.  It was a beautiful morning, sunny and comfortable.   I moved around the house as I have been writing.  I have took breaks and wandered outside.
Now, to sleep