Repost Oct 18, 2017: Living in the high desert

Willow Creek Cyn 1975

Shot by Stan Anderson in 1975. I’m on the mustang and I was 14 that year.

This weekend my nephew and my brother were cooking buffalo meat and I was invited for Sunday dinner. My nephew is half-Ute so he has connections with the Ute Tribe in northeastern Utah. It was a surprise when he told me that the area I lived in in the mid 70s was where they had seeded a herd of mountain buffalo.

Even more interesting, that dirt road you see in the picture is now paved. When I lived there we were sixty miles from the nearest town. We grew all of our vegetables and fought the raccoons and coyotes from our plants and animals.

We brought our drinking water in because the wells in the area bubbled up sulfur and smelled like rotten eggs. The place had been hunted so much that the only predators were black bears. We even had hunters come in several times a year to clear the place from bears too. There hadn’t been a wolf seen in decades by that time.

Now they have buffalo, mountain goats, and wolves. They even have wild turkeys. We brought in the turkeys when we moved there. When we left, we left them there.

The reason we were there is that my father had gotten a job as a foreman to run the ranch for the Ute Tribe. We left when they decided to hire one of their own. So yes, I have lived on the reservation even though I am a white woman.

At the time I was there, we washed our clothes in ditches. We boiled our water to take bathes in tubs. We didn’t have electricity although we did haul in propane for our stoves. When the summer days got to hot we would go into the basement to cool off. We slept down there. We didn’t have AC or a lot of the modern conveniences of our neighbors.

I do remember those days with some fondness. Still I won’t do that again. It was too much work and too hard. I had a lot of responsibility for the care and tending of my brothers and sisters. I wanted to be free and run wild.

Still I am quite amused that someone decided to turn that place into a buffalo refuge. Then they paved the road. I can’t get my mind around how someplace so isolated has a paved road. Every spring the road still washes out even with the pavement. I remember times in the spring where I could collect 4-6 inches of mud on my boots when I went out to do the chores.

So I know the reason why farm families have so many kids. I also know why many farm kids want to escape this life. It is tough–tougher than you can imagine.

When I write about the “high desert” I am writing of what I know. The people who come from that environment are hardy and able because they can’t depend on anyone else to save them. It is an unforgiving environment. It is a deadly beauty.

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Relief and chugging along

action cold dark dawn

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

It was a huge relief yesterday when the nephrologist decided that I had gotten a slight bit better and was firmly in Stage IV kidney disease.

If I slide into Stage V then it is time for dialysis. So I dodged the dialysis train again.

It looks like it was dehydration that got me this summer. When I started to drink more, my kidneys started to work better again. It was a dry summer. I do have a limit on how much liquid I can take in because of the insufficient kidney function. So we learned, both the doctor and I, that I need more water when it is very hot and very dry.

On my writing, I finished “Hero of Corsindor” and it is now at the beta readers. Once I get it back and do edits, I will start the publishing part of the book. For now I am going over what I have already written on “Unlicensed Sorceress.” After my writing session with Dean W. Smith (he does writing classes on line for any writer who wants to write great fiction), I realized that I was shorting the descriptions of places and people.

So everything I wrote on “Unlicensed Sorceress” needs some more description, better words, etc. etc. I’ve got a goal to write every day. Sometimes when there is a day like yesterday, I am too tired to do it. I’ve learned that driving to an appointment (30 to 45 minutes), then listening to the doctor can wear me out faster than when I work at home.

Plus the relief– I was a rag doll by the time I got home yesterday.

So I am back to writing, listening to music, cleaning my house, and cuddling the dog.

Repost October 3, 2016: Knitting and Storytelling

dogsweater111815I tried the sweater on Foxy before I did the finishing touches (i.e. tuck the ends into the sweater. I should have sewn the sweater to the neck, but I was more worried that it would fit too snugly.

I was wrong. It fits just right except she can wiggle out of it and turn it into an off-shoulder sweater.

But for some reason she wants a sweater. I have an old one that I bought at PetSmart. Unfortunately it hasn’t lasted that long. I have knitted sweaters for myself and others that have lasted years. The one I bought is falling apart after one winter of use.

Since the world is falling apart right now, I find that knitting is relaxing. I have a dog that sits on my lap as I knit and watch “Closer” or some other TV episode on Amazon or Netflix. I am still unhappy that most of my favorite shows “Constantine” and others have been canceled. NETFLIX for the love of the fans– Please get those shows and make new episodes. I would watch.

If Netflix won’t listen to me, then AMAZON I don’t want to see a middle-aged (almost late aged) transgender. I want to see more Marvel with superheroes and great story lines. Heck, I’d even watch some of Neil Gaiman’s old graphic story lines on TV.

One of the reasons (I have a lot of reasons for writing including that if I don’t write, I’ll act out in my dreams), is that I am tired of the story lines on national TV. The mystery detective shows that I have enjoyed for a long time have been co-opted with message fiction. It seems that global warming, gamergate, or bad corporations mixed with evil returning soldiers has taken over the entertainment. Seriously I am tired of messages… since I was in the Navy from 1988-1994, I am tired of messages that denigrate our returnees, whether combat soldiers or support personnel.

It became fashionable to spit on our returnees after Vietnam. A completely alienated generation is bad for us all.

But back to what I want to see in entertainment. I want to see stories. Something that will help me escape. Something that will make me laugh and cry. Something that will make my life a little more hopeful and a little more worthwhile.

Don’t tell me I am a bad person. I know that I am the hero in my own story. And you are the hero in yours.

One of the reasons I have a problem with dystopia is because many of these stories are– it was bad, it was your fault, and now you’ll die. Huh?

So this is why I like Marvel– as bad as it gets, the hero wins. Not always big… and not always apparent. I can relate. I have small wins every day. I take a pill and my disease is pushed back another day. I walk and my muscles move another day. These small wins have added up from 2003 to the present day. I am still living.

I want to write this way, too.

 

In the diner – an excerpt

red booth-1239002_1280

The bright chatter from nearby tables, the clanking of pans, and the sometimes crash of a plate swirled around me as I sank into a red-faux upholstered seat in the retro fifties diner.

The red and chrome jukebox in the corner playing, “Shar-reee, Shar-ar-ar-ree ba-aa-by. Sherry, baby” evoked my memories of sitting in this same seat and listening to this same song. I settled into the booth, my elbows on the table, as I breathed in the smells of sizzling bacon, eggs, and ham.

If I closed my eyes I would be home with my mother swaying in front of the stove to this very song. Her eyes bright and her lips curled into a smile as she flipped golden-brown pancakes onto a chipped china plate.

I’d hand it over to my greedy man, who would stuff cold butter between the pancakes and slather the tops with thick maple syrup. He would hum as he ate them.

One sniff and I was home.

A waitress swayed down aisle, tapping her feet to the beat of the music on the linoleum floor. A distinct chink and the music changed. The noise level surged and I drowned in it. I almost stood up and bolted from my seat, forgetting why I came here. There were too much noise and too many memories here for me.

The waitress in a ruffled apron was too young to read my panic. Her lip might have curled a bit at my torn jeans, too-large flannel shirt, and unbrushed dishwater hair.

“What are you ordering?” Her pen was posed over the order pad. The menu was next to my elbow. “Or should I come back?” Her voice was neutral as if she’d asked this question a hundred times that day.

“Give me a few,” I said after taking a deep breath. I hadn’t noticed until now that my hands were clamped onto the table and I was so, so cold. My knuckles went from white to light pink as I carefully relaxed my hands.

The waitress swayed to the next table. She asked the same questions of the small family sitting behind me.

My greedy man. I placed my phone on the metal table in front of me so that I looked busy. Then I closed my eyes and extended my awareness outward. The build-up of the energy of so many lives in this diner surged through me.

The images in my mind swirled and eddied until I could focus on one memory. It was of my greedy man when he pulled me into his arms and held me tightly at my mother’s funeral. I cried that day.

I sank into his memory once more, and smelled the fresh bread scent that seemed to come from him and only him. I needed no comfort food when he was here.

The noise, the smells, and the people faded from my awareness. I heard the deep rolling sounds of his voice, “Betty. Betty.”

I scrunched my eyes as tightly as I could. On the backs of my eyelids I saw his deep dark eyes, the same eyes that could see into my very essence. His brown silvered hair was longer than he used to wear it. I could smell him.

I opened my eyes hoping against hope that he would be sitting in front of me. Just one more time. The pain was as fresh as the day he left me, three years ago.

“Why?” I said aloud. My eyes were red and dry. The empty upholstered seat in front of me gave no answers.

He was gone. He would never come back.

He could never come back.

Reading as a writer

coffee-2670190_1920

From Pixabay

Before I turned my hand to stories, I was a reader. The first writers that grabbed my imagination and took me to other worlds were in the sci-fi and fantasy field. I think then they may have called it speculative fiction. Don’t mind me– my mind comes up with odd facts and sometimes it is right.

I was that nerdy girl that would carry a book bag that always had at least one fiction book. I would have gone into withdrawal if I didn’t read something. I was that girl who read on the bus to school and home. I was that girl who read in the bathroom. I do remember hiding in the bathroom with a Witch World novel by Andre Norton. By the time I finished reading, my bare butt was cold from sitting on the toilet so long. I think there may have even been a red ring around my butt. So I am that girl.

When I started writing, my goal was to write entertaining stories that I would like to read. I wanted to be able to write such an interesting story that some one some where would have to admit that they were caught in the bathroom with their pants down, reading my stories. An odd goal for an odd girl.

So now I am older and hopefully not wiser. This last writing class gave me some good ideas and tips about dragging you guys– yes, you!!!– down into the depths of my character and my stories. So be warned.

Here be dragons.

Living in the high desert

Willow Creek Cyn 1975

Shot by Stan Anderson in 1975. I’m on the mustang and I was 14 that year.

This weekend my nephew and my brother were cooking buffalo meat and I was invited for Sunday dinner. My nephew is half-Ute so he has connections with the Ute Tribe in northeastern Utah. It was a surprise when he told me that the area I lived in in the mid 70s was where they had seeded a herd of mountain buffalo.

Even more interesting, that dirt road you see in the picture is now paved. When I lived there we were sixty miles from the nearest town. We grew all of our vegetables and fought the raccoons and coyotes from our plants and animals.

We brought our drinking water in because the wells in the area bubbled up sulfur and smelled like rotten eggs. The place had been hunted so much that the only predators were black bears. We even had hunters come in several times a year to clear the place from bears too. There hadn’t been a wolf seen in decades by that time.

Now they have buffalo, mountain goats, and wolves. They even have wild turkeys. We brought in the turkeys when we moved there. When we left, we left them there.

The reason we were there is that my father had gotten a job as a foreman to run the ranch for the Ute Tribe. We left when they decided to hire one of their own. So yes, I have lived on the reservation even though I am a white woman.

At the time I was there, we washed our clothes in ditches. We boiled our water to take bathes in tubs. We didn’t have electricity although we did haul in propane for our stoves. When the summer days got to hot we would go into the basement to cool off. We slept down there. We didn’t have AC or a lot of the modern conveniences of our neighbors.

I do remember those days with some fondness. Still I won’t do that again. It was too much work and too hard. I had a lot of responsibility for the care and tending of my brothers and sisters. I wanted to be free and run wild.

Still I am quite amused that someone decided to turn that place into a buffalo refuge. Then they paved the road. I can’t get my mind around how someplace so isolated has a paved road. Every spring the road still washes out even with the pavement. I remember times in the spring where I could collect 4-6 inches of mud on my boots when I went out to do the chores.

So I know the reason why farm families have so many kids. I also know why many farm kids want to escape this life. It is tough–tougher than you can imagine.

When I write about the “high desert” I am writing of what I know. The people who come from that environment are hardy and able because they can’t depend on anyone else to save them. It is an unforgiving environment. It is a deadly beauty.

And, it’s Labor Day

beach-164288_640

From Pixabay

Happy Labor Day!

Instead of dangling my toes in the water, I am here in my little room writing on my computer.

I could try to say something meaningful– blah, blah, blah–but I am more excited about getting back to EJ Hunter and her pack of werewolves.

Don’t worry about me. I finally got a bracelet activity tracker that beeps at me if I am staying in one place longer than 45 minutes. So yes, it forces me to get off the chair and take a break. Technology sure rules my life anymore. I am now an input device into the ones and zeros storage unit.

As for listening to the news about North Korea and the marching gangs on both sides, I have turned off all news outlets. I am blissfully ignorant that NK has tested a nuclear bomb. All I will say about that piece of news is that I am so glad I am not President of the US. Plus some former presidents should be getting savaged by the press for believing the NK tyrants had dismantled their nuclear program. But then the news would have to change their Alzheimer’s way of news reporting and actually remember what happened in the past. It won’t happen.

Now about the changing season. I am so happy we are going into autumn. It has been too terribly hot in Nevada. 100 degree temperatures were the norm. We even saw 120 degree temps. I want cooler temps and more clouds. I want to walk the dog in the middle of the day.

So overall my health is okay. I still have issues, but who doesn’t?

I am here and I am writing. This was what I asked for so many years ago when I wanted to be a writer.