Everything Stops

A migraine that started yesterday is worse today.  They, the migraines, come on a regular basis.   I try to keep going, but sometimes have to give in.  This is going to be a ‘give in’ day.  I can tell by how it’s progressing.

The day started with a breakfast of leftovers–1/2 pimento cheese sandwich, spinach, an orange and a cup of green tea.  Had it for supper last night, all but the orange, and it’s just as good this morning.

Took a nap after breakfast–the dogs got me up really early.  Sister Elizabeth called & woke me, said she was visiting someone at Cox Hospital in the neighborhood and she’d be by to see me.

She gave me communion and I sent her home with about 5 or 6 books from my donation pile.  Sorted through a few more books but the headache put me back in my recliner.

Had lunch from Zio’s.  Didn’t feel like cooking.  Ken picked it up.  Now I’m going to watch a Bob Newhart marathon on TV and probably fall asleep, which is a good thing.  I’m always sleep deprived and the sleep may help the headache.  At the very least, it will keep the pain from my consciousness.

I’m so appreciative and grateful to those who have visited, are following and have made comments on my posts and I want you to know you’ll be getting a response from me.   I look forward to visiting your sites after this headache lets go.  Another thing that’s been interfering is that I have carpal tunnel syndrome in both hands, making my typing tedious and slow.  Things can only get better.

Blessings and peace to all!

The Stone Angel

I found a new author, new to me that is, Canadian Margaret Laurence, a novelist.  I don’t usually read fiction but was drawn to “The Stone Angel” because it’s about a 90 year old woman who’s not ready to ‘pack it in yet.  It’s about her process of coming to terms with her decline and mortality.  It’s an accurate picture of what it’s like to grow old and lose your independence.   I relate to and sympathize with not only Hagar Shipley, the old woman, but also with her daughter-in-law who is her caretaker until she is moved into a nursing home.

I was formerly the one and now I’m the other.  But not quite.  I have no one to care for me, should I ever need a caretaker.  If I want to die at home, I’ll need enough funds to hire caretakers.  It’s a difficult position to be in.  One wants to live, but one also wants to die before the funds run out.  I pray for good health and a fast death, when the time comes.

A morbid subject?  Yes, but at my age, you think about those things.

On a much more pleasant note, I spent the day posting some poems on my poem page.  And sorting through more books.  I’m afraid the ‘keeper’ box is filling up much faster than the ‘donate’ box.  I find books I’ve misplaced and ones I’d forgotten I had.  I want to stop and read so many of them, but if I do, I’ll never get this job done.  It’s a good feeling to know that they’re there waiting to be read when I have the time.

Letting Go

It’s hard to let go of books. But I must. I just don’t have shelves enough for all of them. I had boxes and boxes of books in my auction after Forrest died. Broke my heart, but I was downsizing and there was no place for them. At least 10 boxes, but still not enough.

Now my three bedroom one story house with no basement is overflowing with “stuff.” I’m going to go through every room and eliminate everything that isn’t useful or special to me in some way. I’m starting with the books. I guess I’m a pack rat at heart, though in my other house there was room for everything.

Books are so special. They’re my second indulgence, food being the first. I don’t mark them up; I don’t bend pages; I treat them with great respect. I’m always uncomfortable when they are in others’ hands. When Forrest read one or another of them from time to time, I knew I’d get it back worn and tattered. I felt like I’d thrown one of my children into the garbage. Books are my friends. It’s not as pathetic as it sounds. I have human friends, but I’d be lost without my books.

I started reading early. In first grade I got my first library card and spent many happy hours there, leafing through the stacks, smelling leather and paper, checking a pile out to take home to read. I was sick as a child; had scarlet fever and rheumatic fever before antibiotics were available. And I had pneumonia, tonsillitis and strep throats. I spent many hours alone–reading!

Stories, thoughts, ideas, words are so very precious. And many of the authors are exceptional. I learn a lot from them; they inspire me to be the best I can be. They give me hope, faith in creation, love for nature and all creatures. They give me confidence in myself. People can do this too, but it’s tricky sometimes. Personal feelings and emotions get in the way. Some truths may be avoided for fear of offending. Besides, it’s fantastic to be able to have great minds available to you, even if on paper. And, of course, the older one gets, the less voices that are not on a page are available.

No matter where I am, I must have at least one book with me. There are books in every room of my house, except for the bathrooms and the laundry room. When I go out, which now isn’t very often, I carry one with me. If I forget to take one, I feel lost, insecure. That doesn’t happen very often.

So Ken is helping me. Earlier, he emptied three shelves above my desk and placed three boxes on the floor, one for keepers, one for donations, one for selling. I will not throw any away. I’ve started going through them, and just as I knew it would be, I’m having a hard time letting them go, some for what’s in them, others for memories they bring up. Every time I place a book in the donation or sell box, it feels like a mini funeral. But there is some consolation; the words in the books are very much alive and someone else will benefit from the wisdom between their pages. It’s nice to know that the knowledge and inspiration will be spreading.

Exhausting Day

This morning I saw Dr T about my numb fingers.  Every one of them are numb, some worse than others, and a few hurt.  It appears I have carpal tunnel syndrome and need to change how I use my computer.  And I have some exercises to do. The numbness interferes with my typing, cooking, dressing, just about everything.  If I’m slow or my posts are short for a while, I hope you’ll forgive me.

This afternoon someone from Life Line came and installed a box.  He explained how to use the button and how it works.  So now I’m covered when Ken isn’t home.

I’m usually good for only one extra activity a day.  More than that taxes me and I feel pretty exhausted by the end of the day.  So it HAS been a busy day and I’m tired but just want to stay in touch.  I’ve not been here very long and already it feels like home.  I’ve never experienced such warmth and friendliness in one place as I have here.  I’m stunned by the number of beautiful people!  When I signed up for Word Press, I just wanted a place to journal.  I expected I’d have some readers but I didn’t know there would be this level of communication.  I’m so grateful!

Hello World!

Sat on the deck again today taking pleasure in the sights and sounds & enjoying the rhythms of spring.  So good to be outside, feeling connected to the earth.  Betsy found a shady spot near my wheelchair and Muffy relaxed in the sunshine.   All worries set aside.  The joy of belonging!  I must do this every possible day.  What inertia, what fear holds me back?  Such a simple, natural thing to do but extraordinary for me.  I feel the keys turning and the door to my self-made prison slowly opening.

An Honor, and a Message

First, I want to thank lovely Gina for nominating me for the Beautiful Blogger award.  I am overwhelmed and honored by such a generous invitation.  My son was good enough to paste the image onto my site but I am still working on doing the rest of what needs to be done.  The image looks naked there by itself and I hope you, Gina, and my readers will forgive me for not having it all together, but I hope to have the rest up soon.   I accepted Ken’s help when he could give it and that’s why it isn’t all together.  You’re a kind and beautiful soul, Gina.

I got a call from my doctor’s office this morning with the news that my Vitamin D level is quite low.  Normal is 30 to 74 nanograms and mine is 21.  He prescribed 2000 IU once a day.  Being deficient in Vitamin D can cause heart and blood pressure problems and be quite dangerous.

I wonder if at least some of my physical problems are related to this deficiency.  I’m a little scared about how low the reading is, but hopeful that the vitamin capsule will put me on the road to health again.

I sat on the deck in the sun this afternoon for 10 minutes and enjoyed watching the birds and my dogs.  The sun was warm, the breeze cool, and I was so happy to be outside.  I plan to make this a daily ritual.  And I’m hoping for the best.

Miss Muffet

The rat terrier I rescued from the humane society was so scared and such a bundle of nerves, I HAD to name her Miss Muffet–Muffie for short.  I went there to look at a poodle.  The poodle was young, feisty and friendly.  Beautiful too!  But then I saw this poor little shivering rat terrier curled up in a ball and my heart went out to her.  I wanted to take her home and love her into a happy face.   She was malnourished, her ribs quite visible.  She had only six teeth, two bottom front which parked on the outside of her mouth.  And she had visible cataracts.  She shook and shivered and wouldn’t make eye contact all the way home.

When I put her in her bed, she stayed there immobile except to eat; and she ate as if the food would disappear before she got a chance to finish it.  But she wouldn’t drink water, which worried me because all creatures need water to survive.  I know that food contains some water, but certainly not enough.   I had her seen by a vet.  I wanted to know if she was dehydrated.  Well, maybe she was, a little, but not enough for an infusion.  So I started adding water to her canned dog food and she began to look better than a dog who had given up and was on her last legs.  But the fear and the shaking persisted, and her lack of desire to know anything that was going on around her.  When people came to the house and walked by her, she lay still, eyes closed, head tucked under.  She never made a sound.    As far as she was concerned, the little nest she made for herself with her body was the only safe place.  After the first time I took her out to pee, she knew what to do and never had an accident in the house.  The only times she got up or opened her eyes were to go out or to eat.

The problem with letting her out, if I tried to get her to come back in, she’d run.  Being in a wheelchair, I had a hard time going after her.  Sometimes she’d go to the far end of the yard, lie down facing the fence and make a nest there for herself.  I’d finally have to ask my son to go out and get her.

This behavior continued for weeks.  I just knew she was going to die if I didn’t do something.  I decided to get another dog in the hopes that she might respond to a canine companion better than to a human.  She’d obviously been terribly mistreated by a two legged.

After Betsy, a toy poodle, arrived, Muffie gradually began to come to life, until today it’s hard to believe she’s the same scared little thing I brought home two months ago.  She’s gained weight, drinks water, still has a great appetite, runs in the grass, has made friends with not only Betsy, but with the two cats, has shown us she knows how to bark (wow! can SHE bark!).  She and Betsy are competitive about my lap.  When one jumps up, the other follows.  They all get along beautifully, even nap together sometimes.   Muffie likes to be petted and goes in and out of the house without fear.

She still has cataracts of course and I believe they’re a little worse but we’re keeping an eye on them.  Betsy has had hip surgery for hip dysplasia but she gets around just fine.  They’re both old ladies like me.  Muffie is 7 and Betsy is 10.  We can sympathize with one another.  I’m so grateful for my beautiful companions!

This Time of Evening

7:30 PM and the sun has not set, though it’s weaker and covers only parts of trees, a spot on the redwood fence and a bit of grass.  Shadows gradually overtake the yard and soon it will be completely dark.

I have always loved this time of evening when the day is winding down, people go inside and the streets are almost empty.  But the last thirteen years (it’ll be 13 in August), this time of day fills me with sadness.

Thirteen years ago, Scott, my youngest son, shot himself in his apartment in K.C.  He was my best friend, and, for some reason I don’t understand, it’s this time of evening I miss him most.  His death was sudden, a shock and he left no note of explanation.

He’d been hospitalized for suicidal thoughts weeks before but was discharged and seemed to be okay.  Two days before he died, on the phone, he talked of future plans.  My husband and I wanted him to come back to Springfield to live.  He found a house he liked but said he needed to return to KC to keep a dental appointment.  He never came back.

I felt, and still feel, I let him down.  I should have known, I could have done something to save him.  I vowed to myself I’d pay more attention in the future, to be alert, and to relate to everyone as if I would never see them again.   People I loved and cared about, even strangers, became more precious to me.  I thought about how precious life is, and what a gift and how we must make the most of it while we’re here.   But as the years have gone by and I’ve become involved with other matters–death of another son, my husband’s death, my illnesses, even everyday mundane matters–that foresight has been dulled.  Appreciation and joy for the beauty of life mostly eludes me.  I take my loved ones for granted.  Only nature touches me so that I really feel it in my soul.  A sad state of affairs.

I want to change before it’s too late; I even know some ways to begin; I’m so focused on my physical problems and my fear of dying, I’m distracted from my resolve.  But I’ll keep trying.  I so want to open the door to my heart.

A Surprise

A rough morning but a better afternoon.  Felt weak & fragile early on, better this afternoon but never really completely regained my strength–what strength I have.

Spent the morning in my recliner in the sun room.  A lot of looking out the wall of windows I had installed so I could watch the animals and the seasons.  A nice way for me to relax and feel connected to the outside world.  Squirrels, rabbits, many species of birds, and my dogs when they go out.  I love watching them all.  They are an inspiration to me; They teach me lessons on how to live.  I love the sun too.  If I’m depressed and then the sun comes out, my mood changes drastically.  It’s amazing how fast that happens.   I’ve written many a poem looking out those windows.

Karen, my sweet niece, surprised me with a call around noon.  She’s in town and wanted to come by and see me before she took her mother to a doctor’s appointment.  Liz, my sister-in-law, had by-pass surgery a few weeks ago and has had a few complications.  Karen, being an M.D. likes to talk to the doctors so that she understands completely what her mother is facing.  Because of her concern for her mother, she has decided she’ll leave her job in Arizona and move back here to be near Liz.  She’s looking at a hospital here in Springfield and is back for her second interview.

I hope she does move back.  For Liz’s sake, but also for my own selfish reasons.   She and I have a special bond and I feel so good in her energy.

So what I’m most grateful for today is Karen, my sweet niece and my joy.