Early lights

close up photo of stringlights

Photo by Natasha Fernandez on Pexels.com

I know it is still November and it is time to prepare for Thanksgiving, but this year I want to see lights.

It has been over four years since I lost my late-hubby, Otto Tune, and for the first time in four years colors came back into my life. To be fair when a person goes through grief, depression is part of the process. In my case I couldn’t see colors. It was like the world was shades of gray.

Oh I saw color– I just didn’t see it, if you can make the distinction. That first six months to a year I would look at the birds and wonder why they still sang. The world had ended.

This year I have been noticing how the sun casts pink and orange across the clouds as it says good night. I’ve noticed the different greens in the trees, bushes, and grasses.

It was the same with music. For the first few years every song was a song of loss. Now every song wraps me in sound. I now know depression intimately.

I tend toward anxiety than to depression.

So this year I want lights. The apartment building where I live decided to paint the outside of our building. This has been a great inconvenience because my patio furniture (I gave that to myself as a present last year) had to stay in my house. I promised myself that as soon as painting was done and the patio furniture was outside, then I would set up my tree.

I found a cheap tree on Ebay. When I pulled it out of the box I was a little disappointed. It did look scraggly. When I pulled the branches apart– wire and pvc– I began to see a much fuller tree. So this dark green artificial tree is in the living room where the patio furniture had been.

Even though it is more than two weeks from Thanksgiving, I am going to cover the tree in lights. Each light is a wish and a prayer. I hope that this year will be brighter than the last. I hope that I can pay my bills. I hope even more that I can be happy and maybe experience joy.

***

Now for a  little promotion

Hero of Corsindor 2018-2

Hero of Corsindor is now on Amazon kindle for pre-order.

In the kingdom of Corsindor, the prince is lost, the king is dead, and the queen is holding the reins of government against disloyal nobles. They want a puppet to consolidate their power over the land. The queen has only one ally, who is not human.

There are rumors that the borders have been closed. Plus the long-lost prince, who knows nothing of ruling, is returning. Corsindor is being attacked from within and without by nightstalkers.

Shira, a foundling, trained by the Ahrah, Corsindor’s neighbors, is sent find out the conditions in Corsindor. Warrior and child of another world – her job is to confront the demons and reduce the chaos in the world. Will she survive?

Will she be tempted to take it all?

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I’m in my pajamas

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CC0 Public Domain from Pixabay

I did get up early with the express intention of writing on my current “work in progress.” My WIP is still in bit-land waiting for me to write. I did my daily Facebook socializing and then realized that I hadn’t written a post for a long time.

If anyone is interested I am still in a holding pattern with my thyroid. I finally have an endocrinologist who will see me next week. Coincidentally the surgeon will see me two days later. Since I have been getting exhausted in the middle of the day, I have been staying closer to home, hence the pajamas. Foxy is tired as well. She is lying next to my feet and watching me type. I wonder if this is meditation time for her. We do have play time and walk time and eat time. Coincidentally she is the one who makes the schedule. If I deviate, she gives me the licking I deserve. It really tickles when she licks under the chin.

I am turning into my grandparents. Many years ago, I would take my grandmother shopping. She was in her sixties and we would go from bench to bench, while I shopped for T-shirts and other summer clothes. I was into wild colors then –yep the 80s. My grandmother had that dry wit that most people didn’t appreciate. She could make me laugh. My grandmother had what they called then “hardening of the arteries.” Maybe now she would have been diagnosed with mini-strokes in the brain. Her personality slowly through many years disintegrated. She lost her short-term memory and then later near the time she died she began to lose her long-term memory. Even so she never forgot her husband. He died two years before she did. She did forget that he had died.

Even so it was a slow thing so I didn’t realize how much she had lost until I went to see her after my grandfather’s death. She was sitting on the porch wrapped in a light cotton house coat. Her legs were crossed and she was enjoying the sunshine. I talked to her for a few hours and she was coherent. Later I saw my aunt who told me that grandmother had seen a niece of a friend of the family that morning. She forget me, but she remembered that they had a good time. I told my aunt it was me. My aunt wasn’t surprised. My grandmother was forgetting to groom herself, she was forgetting to eat, and she was forgetting people. But she was still kind. I hope to be kind when I eventually lose my mind.

Plus she would wander looking for grandfather. She would yell, “Earl. Earl.” She would walk through the pathways and through the streets looking for her lost husband and never find him. They had been married for over fifty years.

She is gone now. I hope she is with her husband, Earl walking in the sunshine. She was a little thing, not quite five feet tall, but packed full of dynamite. She kept her husband, over six feet, and her sons also over six feet in line. She loved her grandchildren. She gave us all afghans when we graduated. This woman would sit in front of the TV and crochet. She knitted me a poncho when I was a eight years old. I wore it until I grew out of it.

Families and roots are important. I learned this from Otto. I was the one who walked away into the Navy, looking for some freedom. He was a foster boy with no family. He loved his daughters so much and looked for so many years for the people who had birthed him.

The stories we tell each other and the stories we tell ourselves make us into the people we are and who we become. I know better than most that there is darkness in every story, but there is also hope and love. I wish for a better life. I wish to tell the stories that bring hope whether they are stories of life or stories of fiction.

Even in the midst of suffering, there is goodness.

Here is my last book, Dragon Boy. It is the second in the series of Hilda’s Inn.

On the borderlands

Lately I have been tired. I mean that tired that goes deep in the bone and interferes with thinking. There are reasons for this. My kidneys are border Stage V (meaning the GFR is 33). GFR is a test that shows how good the kidneys are working. GFR 35 is officially Stage V kidney disease.

I do a lot of things to keep my kidneys stable. I eat fresh food, distill my own water, and walk twice a day. Plus I watch my blood pressure and take pills to keep my blood pressure low. Low blood pressure can also cause tiredness and so can the pills.

Another part of my problem is my disease… I found the government is now calling it a condition… which considering calling it a condition is not accurate. It is a disease. At this point I am in stable condition, but only because I take chemo, rest when I need to, avoid viruses and colds, and large crowds. If there is an infectious disease in a crowd, it will find me. So all of these things are vital to keeping me stable. If I don’t do them, I find myself either on higher chemo like cychlophosphamide or in the hospital, which is even more dangerous for me.

The pills for keeping my immune system suppressed also cause this tiredness. Think of taking oral chemo for the rest of your life. Every time I take a pill, my stomach gets nauseous for an hour or two. It slows my walk. If I don’t take a pill the inflammation in my body can go unchecked. I have been to the point where every joint and muscle in my body hurt. Since I was not allowed to take a pain pill, I would put the pain way above ten.

So I am careful of all these things. I am walking a knife’s edge. Just the other day I was told that I should get a job like my last one. The last time I was stable I had a job as a Loan Officer over ten years ago. I was stable. My kidneys went to Stage V. My disease flared and I was on cychlophosphamide for six months. It took five years to get stable again. I was on prednisone for over ten years.

I have been off prednisone for almost two years. To be on prednisone that long causes damage to the muscles, how your body uses fat, and joints. Because of the medication, I now have fibromyalgia, gout, and other conditions. Because of the medication, I am losing teeth.

I took a long look in the mirror today. I could see why others think I am in perfectly good health. I really look good for a 54 year old woman. I even look younger than most. My signs of disease are not obvious. But they are there — the tiredness in the eyes and the bags under the same eyes.

I have dropped from exhaustion, like having my puppet strings cut. I didn’t know I was that tired.

I was reading that Flannery O’Connor also had a chronic illness, lupus. I had wondered where she got her inspiration when I read her in college. It was hard for me to get into her writings. Since I now have chronic systemic illness, I read her work differently.

She walked on the borderlands before me. I am walking them now.

 

It’s been an emergency week here

IMG_0055Foxy my little chihuahua-terrier mix was sick on Wednesday. She was vomiting yellow foam and then couldn’t keep anything down–food or water.

I called my vet, wrapped her up, and took her down to be looked at. After x-rays and blood tests, the doc told me that my poor doggy had pancreatitis.

Then came the questions – What did I feed her? Did I feed her human food? Did she get into anything poisonous. Since the answers were all no, the nurse asked me the same questions two hours later. Finally I told her that I checked the house and anything dangerous to the doggy was above her reach–even jumping reach.

Then I explained that Foxy was a rescue dog and had been living on the street when she was found. When I got her I had to have her washed a couple of times to get that black oil out of her fur. She had found a way to keep her smell from attracting the coyotes in the area.

So they gave her a shot to stop the vomiting, they started her on an IV to flush the toxins out, and they gave me a prescription on food she could eat. It is a liver diet.

I picked her up in the evening and took her back the next day.

Needless to say, the entire thing screwed up my writing and my mind. Thankfully, Foxy is getting her energy back. I have to give her a daily pill and also some type of liquid to put in her mouth.

Two days I have used guile to get the liquid in her mouth (a treat). It didn’t work this morning. I actually had to open her mouth. So I have a genius dog– go figure.

Anyway I have been doing a lot of cuddling with her for my health and hers.

I couldn’t lose her this month. September 19th will be the day I lost my late hubby –one year ago.

Here comes the sun

DSC00462This last week I have been dealing with triple digit weather and a burned out air conditioning unit. Trust Murphy.

I had to use a lot of the tricks we used to do to keep cool during the hottest summers without an electrical appliance to do the job.

So here are my solutions when I realized that my apartment was only ten degrees cooler than outside:

1. Fans – I have three fans that I placed strategically around the apartment to help with the flow of air.

2. Water – I made sure that there was enough water in the dog bowl and my water glass. I drank every hour so that I stayed hydrated. In such heat you don’t realize that you are sweating because the dryness whisks away the sweat.

3. Closed the curtains– so that the sun wouldn’t heat up the spaces.

4. Computers, TVs, appliances – I turned off all of the appliances except the refrigerator so I didn’t have any heat generators in the house. This also meant that I pulled out any charging units.

Just doing 3 and 4, I was able to drop the heat in the apartment down another twenty degrees. Since the heat outside was between 108 to 113 degrees, these precautions helped me to stay well.

The problem with such heat is that the body wants to shut down and save energy. Heat exhaustion and heat stroke are both real concerns. At this point I was more worried about Foxy than myself. When I gave her water, I drank water, which helped me too. Foxy is a small black dog and too much heat is too much heat for her.

I did the other usual things like call the apartment complex. I found out that they couldn’t repair the unit. The unit had to be ordered and replaced. They were able to send me a small A/C unit a day later. It keeps the bedroom cool so that I can sleep. Another problem with so much heat is that you need to sleep, but you can’t sleep.

Many years ago when the heat was high (not quite in the triple digits), my father would do his work in the early morning and the late evenings. He was a ranch foreman. In the middle of the heat, the entire family would retire to the basement which stayed about 72 degrees and either rested or played quietly.

We didn’t have electrical lines carrying electricity for our refrigerators and gadgets. We listened to the radio one hour every night so that the batteries would last longer. We did have an electrical generator, a small motor that sucked gasoline. But, it was expensive to use. Sometimes we had to conserve the gasoline for the trucks and farm equipment.

We were tougher then.

So I survived last week. I will have a new A/C unit this week. TG. I finished a couple of cross-stitch pieces and soon I will finish the last cross-stitch that my late-hubby was stitching before he died.

I have many of his finished pieces. Last September, a few days after his death, I took his daughters to the apartment to give the cross-stitch pieces to them. When I looked at the back, I saw the message in his handwriting: Given to my darling wife, Cynthia. I love you, forever.

I love you forever too.

A step into the light

lsgate

The sun’s rays peeped through my bedroom window. I stretched and limped into the kitchen for a cup of coffee. The normal routine is comforting. I don’t strain to hear him say “get up sleepy head” or any of the morning jokes.

I start the morning chores without crying into his shirts and pants. I have already given away most of his clothes, although I do wear his Pendleton shirts. They feel like a hug from him. Still I am a little apprehensive about the door, where I put a lot of his things. It opens sometimes by itself. Inside his his tools, his grave flag, and some of his coats. He was into Emergency preparedness. Soon I will go through his go-bag, but not yet.

I start a grocery list for me. I am still trying to figure out ways to make food for only one person. After his death, I couldn’t even look at food. It meant that we would sit down for dinner and talk. Afterwards we would watch the news and I would lean against him with his arm around me. Yes, when we fed each other, it meant more than when we said, “I love you.” Still live goes on and I must eat.

I don’t get that quick shock when I see his picture anymore. It still hurts that he is gone, but the stabs are not as intense and the heart is not as raw.

Many years ago I learned a truth. If I ignore this grief, it will hurt for far longer. I get these sudden urges to send him a joke to his email address or to tell him the newest outrage. He is gone.

There is a little light though. I am writing. I finally finished a rough draft of a story. Plus I enjoy my walks with my dog. I am not affronted by life. When I get a little stronger, I will take photos again.

He wanted me to be happy and to enjoy my life. Not today. Not tomorrow and maybe not this year. When the memories become sweet again, then I will have stepped fully into the light.

Physical Therapy and ooooooo dog pictures

So I am learning that I can make my body move pretty well given the exercises the physical therapist is giving me to do. I also learned that emotional pain is stored up in the body. If that is true, (it could be), then I have pain that is stored in the right side of my body from some things that my parents did to me. Excessive punishment is all I’ll say about it here.

Also when I was in my early twenties, I was paralyzed for a few hours on my left side. The doctor in the early 80s said it was “just” a migraine. Let me tell you that was quite a scary situation.

So emotional pain – check, physical soreness – check, and now for the dog pictures.

IMG_0055Foxy! lady!

This is the little girl that is making my life so much better by just being in it. A 12 pound chihuahua mixed dog about five years old. She was found wandering around Carson City.

It took awhile before she decided that I was a safe person to trust. I have been around rescued dogs before and when they finally trust you, they are the greatest dogs.

Foxy is modeling an emergency management  coat that I found on the sale rack at one of the pet stores.

IMG_0063I don’t normally dress dogs, but in this case, it is in honor of my late-hubby, died Sept 2014, who worked in NV Division of Emergency Management. He would have found this outfit amusing and then would have told me to take it off this pretty girl.

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No, I am not finishing with a dog picture, but with my favorite fast food place–A&W. In my opinion, they make the best rootbeer. There is one in Boulder City, Nevada.