Wild parties and crazy nights

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If you think that you young’uns are party animals, then you haven’t partied with the 60-80 year old crowd. This group is not your grandparents. They were at the bar to enjoy themselves and listen to Chuck Rawlings.

I’ve been in the 55+ senior apartments now since November. I had just turned that age and I was not breathing too well in my last apartment.

Plus I am getting crotchety. It has a lot to do with joints starting to hurt, thyroid going wonky, and an insufficient kidney. Let’s just say that they make me tired and cranky. When I moved here, I was told about Bingo two times a week. If you want my personal opinion, (yes, you do cause you are here) Bingo is boring. I have more fun watching the participants than playing. So I passed on the Bingo.

There was supposed to be a craft group, but apparently when no one came, it was canceled. Anyway, I was hearing some good comments on Chuck’s music. I am not really into the old CW style. I grew up listening to the 60s and 70s music with classical and jazz mixed in. My mother really liked Frank Sinatra and his group of friends. When I listen to Sinatra now, I am still amazed at what he was doing with his voice.

So this resident was playing on Saturday at one of our lounge rooms. I decided to check it out. Here is where I found that decorum had left the building– with Elvis by the way. It was a riot. We had seniors swooning, dancing, and singing along with the music. I got called “baby” a lot.

I was invited to hear Chuck play at a local bar. The seniors had the entire bar singing along and also dancing. We just had a great time. It’s been so long since I’ve had so much fun. It was a wild party.

So if you think that getting old slows you down, well, you are right. But does it stop you from having fun and being the life of the party? Actually no– Of course everything has a price tag.

All those lovely residents at the bar weren’t moving too well the next morning.

The Blood Of Our Dead

My memorial day was busy so I was unable to write. This post does reflect what I think and believe. Plus it is written so beautifully.

According To Hoyt

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It might not be immediately obvious, but I was raised in a family that revered military service, at least in times of war.

It was a different type of military honor than in the US though, because it went all the way to Rome and it was the idea of tribal defense, and also the idea of manly deportment (which weirdly never excluded me in my family.)  Legionaries shouldn’t cry, you were never a craven coward, even when you were a girl child and trembling inside.  When battle was offered, you joined battle with all seeming appearance of outward glee.  At any rate, you were supposed to fight to defend those smaller and weaker than you because that’s what humans did.  And yeah, sure, you could get hurt, but who cares about that?

“To every man upon this earth

Death cometh soon or late.

And how can man die better

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Jukebox Hero

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On the matter of gifts.

Some of us have been given a wide variety of gifts. You might say we are blessed. In my case I was singing since I was a young child. I had sisters who were better performers, but I had one of the highest sweetest voices in my elementary school.

Still my parents told me at a young age that my talent was music appreciation rather than singing. I believed them. Even when I went to college and worked hard to get a degree in music, in the back of my mind there was a voice saying that I wasn’t good enough. I just wasn’t quite good enough. So I turned my back on music and used other gifts of intelligence and memory.

What I have learned in a very hard way is that if you don’t use a gift, then you will eventually lose it. I might lose my voice or at least my singing voice. But, I would rather live than die, which seems to be the way all my decisions go lately. So I will have the surgery and I will let my throat and voice heal.

A year or so ago I decided to join a choir. Because I could read music, I was put in the alto section as a high alto. My voice was rusty because it had been so long since I had reached the high notes. Starting as an alto was fun and reminded my voice that it could soar. I didn’t understand why my partner was so excited. She kept telling the choir manager, who was two seats away from me that they needed to keep me. Then before I started this search into why I was feeling so ill, my voice began to croak at inconvenient times.

What I didn’t know was the croaking was a symptom of a thyroid problem.

Believe me I had no idea that my voice was had that clear quality that pleased other ears. I am over fifty and I could still hear my father say that my voice would never amount to anything so I needed to be grateful that I had an ear for music.

I have other gifts I have developed. I used to be quite intelligent. I am not bragging. It is just another gift like being able to draw or write. I do envy people who have the talent of organization or leadership. It has been quite a shock to find out that my native intelligence is contingent on the healthiness of my body. When I am on certain chemicals to keep my body from relapsing, I lose much of that intelligence. The body is quite a marvelous piece of engineering.

I have always been a poet, but I didn’t start developing my gifts in writing until I went to college the second time. This time I went into English Literature with a minor in German History. Every semester I would end up writing two term papers for each class and various writing projects. It was academic writing. The sheer volume of writing made me grow and learn.

I admit that Creative Writing is a different beast altogether. When I decided to move from poetry to short stories and novels, I didn’t realize that I was going through a new apprenticeship. I have to admit it has been fun and continues to be a learning experience.

If you don’t use it, you’ll lose it.

Singing is the one talent that I haven’t been able to use. Now I am facing the end of it. As a teenager, I desired to sing. It was a burning in my chest and throat. Everything around me was sound and I loved it. Even with the crippling stage fright that now I know was generated by my parents, I wanted to sing.

In my mind I see myself in a long red dress in front of a small intimate jazz band. I sing the blues. Maybe in another dimension and another time–another me sings.

Foxy and I

IMG_0393Every morning Foxy and I get dressed. She watches me put on my shoes. Sometimes I will stop and look at my feet.

She will bump my hand until I continue with the chore. By the time I am ready, she twirls around twice to show her happiness. Her tail starts to wag. We are going for a walk.

After we walk out the front door, I have to tell her to sit because she wants to run to the elevator. She knows that is the way to the outside. I have to tell her to quit pulling so I can lock the door. This little dog with little legs walks faster than I do. She pulls me into a fast walk.

I’ve watched other seniors in my community walk their dogs. It is a slow meandering pace from one patch of grass to another. They keep to the slow pace of their owners. Some of these folks walk with canes and others have the black walkers with wheels. I want one of those when I need support. It gives the senior enough stability that she can walk around the complex by herself.

My dog thinks that to enjoy a walk, we need to walk fast enough that I am just at the point of running. In fact if I didn’t pull just a little I would be running. No wonder I am tired after twenty minutes of this.

Foxy has found friends here. When I first rescued her in 2014, she was not socialized to other dogs. It took a long time before she trusted me and before she listened to me. It took a lot of treats and a lot of discipline.

I am happy that she has found friends. It means she trusts me enough to keep her safe.

When I first got her, she was an accomplished escape artist. Now I can keep the door open and she will sit on my recliner and watch the outside.

Today, I let her run to another Chihuahua mix named Chance. They raced toward each other and played. It was a lot of jumping, sniffing, and running. That little girl is a runner. I wouldn’t be able to keep up with her if she ran away, but she comes back.

When I am tired, we power walk back to the apartment. She sniffs for bunnies and I wait for the elevator.

So this is how my morning starts when I am feeling well.

 

Last night I dreamt of Manderley again

Last night I dreamed of sitting at a table in a dining area. We were sitting close together once again and I felt him beside me. His presence is huge and undeniable. I could close my eyes and feel him when he was alive.

We sat like we have done for so many years. My shoulder against his. We were one again.

I can’t describe that feeling. It is safety, love, and loyalty. It is comfort. We had the ability to communicate without talking. He saw me. I think I was there for hours and then he said, “It’s time to go.”

I had to check out in this hotel lobby. No one would check me out and the line kept moving. Just when I was getting frustrated, a guide came for me–an older woman that reminded me of my great grandmother Jane. She was very business like and expected me to follow her as we rushed through several rooms and hallways. “You don’t want to be late.”

Of course the dream degenerated to looking for a bathroom. That need was the reason I woke up.

Since I started on this new journey of thyroid cancer, I’ve been dreaming of him and even seeing him in my daily life. Sometimes the people around me will use one of his mannerisms. I will do a double-take and realize it is not him.

The last time I was really sick, I quit dreaming. I think the dreams are a good sign. To me it means that it will be hard, but I will survive.

I have been on the brink of death before. The last time it was a slow descent into sleep. I clawed out of that hole until some doctor could help me to survive. I did it for Otto then. I do it for him now. On his deathbed he needed to hear the promise that I would stay alive until my natural end.

So I accept his comfort in my dreams. It is a precious gift that I dreamt of Otto again.

She Called It, Wolf Excerpt

She called it wolf cover 2017 I wrote this particular book quite early during my training phase with NANOWRIMO. It gave me the momentum to actually finish a novel. Last year I finished the first draft in the second of this series. When I went back to find names of characters and remember the story line, I came to a sad conclusion. I needed to redraft. The plot was sound, but the actual writing needed trimming in places and additions in others. The big change was from third person to first person.

So editing this book has turned into a real bear. I thought I could zip through it in a week. I am now about two weeks into it.

On the health front, I am having the normal reaction to having a misbehaving thyroid. I am going crazy.

So without further ado, here is an excerpt:

Chapter Thirteen

Felony Flats, EJ’s trailer
Sheriff Adam

The dark was more than vision, it was velvet across his skin. I could hear the owls and coyotes in the distance. It was my turn to watch Harry’s trailer. Owen was sound asleep in his own bed or someone else’s. I was in my truck and sore as hell. The green of the radio’s light lit up the inner cab. I stretched and felt my spine pop, one vertebrae at a time. It had been a long day. I should be home, drinking a beer.

I was here because I had had feeling in the pit of his stomach, the one that felt like leather and fur. I listened to that feeling. I was alpha and that feeling meant a new transformation. If I didn’t listen a new werewolf could get into trouble. The moon wasn’t out. For the older werewolves or the ones with more power, moon-time wasn’t the only time they could change. The moon did pull them. That part of the lore was true. It was probably why the goddess Diana was associated with lunar wolves.

My disquiet intensified around 2 a.m., when I saw the trailer door open and close. EJ stood naked in the night air. Her black braid hung to her waist, her skin soft and pearly in the moonlight. I felt the call and groaned. She was the personification of Diana: monochromatic in the night. Then she burst into static light and fur. It was so bright that I had to close my eyes.

When the light disappeared, there was a wolf by the trailer. Damn. She really is a werewolf. Her wolf sable coat shimmered with silver highlights. He wanted even more.
I felt the fur ruffle under my skin. I got out of my truck, folded my clothes on the front seat, and started the process of turning from man to wolf. My transformation was much slower and more painful. I didn’t have the moon to help me.

My wolf crept closer and closer with the promise of meeting this new female. As Alpha I had a better connection to the power. I could shift in five minutes. Most of the pack went through a slow painful process that could take up to fifteen minutes to change.

I endured as the muscles popped and the skin stretched. I felt my ears lengthen and my hair turn to fur.

As soon as I felt my four feet, I ran. The wolf came to the forefront of my mind as I stepped back. As always it was an uneasy truce between wolf and man. The wolf had the present, but his five senses – taste, touch, smell, sight, hearing – were more acute. The female wolf was running. My wolf smelled her, leaped, and then followed.

Felony Flats
EJ Hunter

At 2 a.m. I woke up with my wolf whining in the back of my mind. Run, run, run, taste, smell. My wolf wanted to run, mark, and make the place her own. I got out of bed, stripped, and started for the door. Barkley lifted his head up, sniffed, and settled back into the bed. The dog snored.

I looked up at the stars. As I stepped into the back of my mind, my wolf took over. A blast of light. I turned from woman to wolf. My wolf lifted up her nose and chuffed. She smelled a metallic scent and then an intriguing smell of man-wolf. She walked to the bush where Owen had stayed for a night. It was not the smell that enticed her.

She lifted her tail and ran down a small dust trail that lead from the trailer. The Alpha grew stronger. If he wanted her, he would have to catch her. She ran like the wind down the path. In the dry dust, she could smell the life around her– rabbits, mice, and a couple of coyotes. She stopped to catch a mouse. Crunch and it was gone. Her attention went to the coyotes. They shouldn’t be here. I twas her territory.

Then she could smell him. The Alpha ran down the trail, running toward her. She looked back at him, teeth glinting. He was chasing her and she could smell pheromones reach and catch her attention.

But, she wasn’t ready for an Alpha. This was her territory. He came to a full stop when she snarled at him. He batted at her with his fore paws. She rolled. Then sat down, with her tongue out. He came up to sniff her.

She rolled away from him and ran away. He ran beside her. Her heart was beating and she jumped. She could feel EJ beating against her mind. Go back to the trailer. She didn’t want to go back to the silver can. She wanted to play.

She went from a run to a dead stop, and then hissed and growled. Instead of playing that game, the Alpha howled.

The howl rose and vibrated through his throat and body. It gave her a longing to be a part of a him. He howled again and there was an answering howl. She sat and howled with them. Their howls twined together. The sound burst from her body in waves of sound. She turned tail and ran back to the trailer. EJ urged her on. He ran behind her.
Then he leaped and landed on her back. They rolled together. She snapped at his paws, but he held her down. She could feel his body’s strength against her own. As soon as her let her up, she ran again only this time she jumped and rolled him. There was a chuff that sounded almost like a laugh. They rolled and marked each other until they were lying together. Then he mounted her.

Afterward, he licked her muzzle and she cuddled against him. But, her heart didn’t crack until he left for a moment and returned with a rabbit in his jaws. He laid it near her paws. She sniffed it and then bit. The crunching of the bones was satisfying. They were mates. She could feel EJ frantically trying to get her to get up and go back to the silver box.

The taste of bone, meat, and blood stayed in her mouth. She fell asleep cuddled against the Alpha. They would have beautiful pups together.

***

I woke with the sun in my eyes. I must have left the curtains open. I rubbed my eyes. That was an interesting dream last night. I was a wolf and I met an Alpha. I was not in my bed. I was not in the trailer. I sat up.

Naked. check. On the ground, not on a bed. check. A nude man next to her. check.

“How could you,” I slapped Adam awake. Of course it was Adam. I could feel a blush cover my entire body.

I went outside naked. Did I turn into a wolf? My mind burned with memories. All my wolf had to say was, yum.

I ate a raw rabbit. My wolf asked sleepily, “Why are you so mad?”

I tried to spit out the last of the fragments of that meal, but it was already digested. I remembered falling asleep curled around the Alpha.

Mate and pups corrected my sleeping wolf.

“No,” I said firmly. I didn’t need a mate and I certainly didn’t need pups.

Is it a choice?

I have a depressive turn of mind. I am willing to admit this finally because of another writer, Sarah A. Hoyt,  who admits the same. Yesterday I was looking out at the courtyard, and wondering why the sun was shining and the birds were singing.

I know why I am turning downward. It has a lot to do with the stress in my life. I used to think if two out of three areas of my life were going good than I was doing well. I broke these parts of my life into money, social, and health. I’ve had times in my life that only one of these areas was working properly, usually health. I would chalk it up to life isn’t perfect and be optimistic that nothing stays the same.

To be honest life was glorious because I left home to become something entirely new. I won’t get into the circumstances of my childhood. A lot of it rolls into one long memory of pain and sadness. I used reading as an escape. One of my favorite writers during that time was Andre Norton and particularly her Witch World series. Her heroes, who escaped terrible circumstances, gave me hope that I could escape too. I did.

I’ve wondered if I inherited the glass half-empty attitude. When I look back, I really think my dad was depressed most of the time. I even remember when he went through a “nervous” breakdown and stayed in bed for several weeks.

So lately, I am dealing with problems in those three areas. The stress has been building and it has zapped much of my energy. I’ve been pushing on my writing again and yesterday, life went gray.

I sat on the recliner in my small living room, looked out the door and watched the clouds float across the sky. I was still watching the sky when the winds whipped around the trees.   My little dog warmed my lap and we watched together.

One question kept floating up? Why am I here again?

Normally I have enough energy to rage and to change. I didn’t even have enough energy for that reaction.

I know continued stress is the trigger for me. I haven’t had a break from it since September of last year. When I think one thing is over, I am wrong and another problem which is as bad as the first shows up. So then I am dealing with two problems that need to be resolved … now.

While I was sitting there and not-thinking, feeling empty, I remembered something my late-husband used to say. “Find that one memory that makes you happy. Look at it. Be grateful for it.”

So my good memories are all about him. We used to walk on Pensacola beach, barefoot, hand in hand. We would walk into the water. He was my safety net as we got into deep water. You see– I can’t swim, but with him I went to places that I couldn’t go alone.

I am so grateful for this one memory. If I hadn’t had him in my life, I wouldn’t have known that feeling of safety even in the depths of the ocean.

I don’t think that a depressive turn of mind is a choice. I do know I have a choice of gratitude. So I am grateful for my friends, for my readers, and for my family. I am grateful for Foxy. I choose to be grateful and hope it is enough.