Monday, January 9, 2012

The Journey Continues

For those of you who care to follow me on my year of writing and agonizing, of wondering if I am doing the right thing and, debating if I am wasting my time, only to have a moment of inspiration that carries me through several more weeks of writing, then to have the Muse abandon me (the fickle wench!), then you are invited to check out my progress here

Sunday, November 6, 2011


I wanted to let you know, I have NOT fallen off the face of the earth.  I have not been kidnapped masked marauders, nor have I ran off with some dashing Doctor in a little blue box.  No, I am working on a book.  My book.  I am taking a sabbatical to get all of the characters in my head down on paper.

I will be checking in, and posting updates.  I might even share snippets of scenes now and then.

But for those who have followed so faithfully...I did not want to leave you in limbo.  I kept meaning to post an update, but it just never seemed to happen.  First there was some emotional drama, then some health issues, then a sickly computer...and we DID have some earthquakes round my parts this weekend.  Both those are not "reasons" just excuses.  The actual "reason" is that my Muse has been gracious enough to visit and, like any good Hostess, I must entertain her while she graces me with her presence.

So, wish me luck, and check in when the feeling hits you.  I will be around...I promise!

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Healing Atlas

My arms are outstretched in supplication and my legs bent at strange angles. My back is bowed from the strain of trying to hold up things that seem intent on crumbling down. I yearn to shrug it all off. Strange then, when the burden is lifted, even momentarily.

Unspoken needs mysteriously met by those who could not possibly know the concerns that I hold in my heart. The three stray kittens and their mama cat who adopted us a few months back were given a bag of kitten food...just as their food bin contained little more than crumbs. A "new-to-me" shirt was wordlessly offered...just as my own clothes grew too frayed to be considered "work clothes" any longer. A stack of extra coupons was handed over to me the day before I planned to go to the store to see just how far I could make the food budget stretch.

Little things, to be sure...but things that strengthen my resolve, that make me carry on. Because I am a strong believer in carrying on.

Juno a/k/a "June Bug"
I sat on the porch last night and watched the kittens stalk one another amidst the blowing leaves, pouncing on one another and learning the life skills necessary for a cat. Whenever things got too loud and scary, they ran under the shrubs or up onto the porch...they went to the places they call home. Suddenly, I felt so lonely. Loneliness looms around me like a sickness.

I remember as a child being sick at times and being promptly tucked into bed, the television on low, a cold drink nearby, and a pile of books...oh, the pile of books!. Sometimes, I might be treated to a mug of hot lemonade with honey to help soothe a sore throat, or a heating pad to ward of the chills. Every few hours the door would open, and a cool hand would gently feel my forehead for fever. It was enough to make me want to prolong the malady a bit longer...if only for the respite...the ability to make things stop for a few have time to heal.

I need some time to heal now. But there is no one to bring me hot lemonade or to smooth my hair away from my face. Or rather, no on thinks to do it. Perhaps this is an "adult" is presumed that once you are an adult you no longer need to be tended to or cared for in the same way you were as a child. Rubbish.

I need it. Too often I tuck my needs away. Too often I push them down and carry bravely on. But today I will confess, I do not feel brave. I do not want to carry on bravely. Instead, I want to curl up in my reading chair, with a warm blanket and a good book. I want to drink hot lemonade with honey, and I want to lose myself for a while.

And if someone thought to smooth my hair or place a cool hand against my face...well, that might help with the healing.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011


There are days when everything shifts.  Your world spins on its axis, and you hang on…unsure when it will stop or how long you can defy the centrifugal force and remain standing.  Sometimes it is a phone call, a letter, or an email.  It might be a knock at the door late at night.  Perhaps a left turn when you so clearly should have chosen right. 

It doesn’t really matter what the thing is; the point is that it is sufficient to take your breath away.  The point is that you have to keep breathing. 

Life does not stop after we are dealt such a blow; bills still have to be paid, children need to be fed; kittens still mew at your feet; laundry does not wash itself…

You still have to eat, try to sleep…and retain your strength; because you will need it.  It is hard work holding together a shattered world.  It is hard work sorting through thoughts.  It is hard work maintaining some normalcy while finding your footing. 

And breathe.  For the sake of all that is good in this world, remember to breathe.  Deep breaths, nausea quelling breaths, tear allaying breaths.  Definitely breathe.

Drink tea.  Lots of tea…whatever kind you prefer, it does not matter.  A good Doctor once said, “Tea!  That's all I needed!  Good cup of tea!  Super-heated infusion of free-radicals and tannin, just the thing for healing the synapses.”  Whether it is true or not, it made me smile, so I am including here, in case it makes someone else smile.  And I do like a nice cuppa.

There are days when words seem to have no meaning anymore, or perhaps their meanings have simply shifted beyond recognition, and you no longer know what to think, how to interpret.  Days when the words seem to jumble and shout and echo long after they were actually spoken.  Words that haunt.

Everyone has at least one of these days, at some time or another.  Today is my day.  Today is my day to muddle through somehow.  Today is my day to curl up with a cuppa.  Soon, it will be my night to lie in bed and stare into the dark. 

Thursday, September 8, 2011

The Big Questions

The past few weeks have been exhausting.  Among the questions my kids (ages 6, 7, and 9) have decided to inflict on me ask are:

  1. Who made God?
  2. But if God didn't die, how did He get to heaven?
  3. Why are you putting on make-up?  It's's not like you're going to work where they care if you are pretty...
  4. What's vaginal discharge?
  5. Can we talk more about puberty?
Let me warn you, for some reason my oldest is very interested in the concept of puberty.  She had asked when it started, and I told her that it was probably starting about now, but that it was a process, blah, blah.  We talked about all of the different change that take place with your body.  I tried to be relaxed, and approachable, and really, really cool about it all.  I was rather proud of myself for how well I handled it all.

The next morning, she went up to her younger brother, raised her arm high, stuck her arm pit in his face and exclaim, "Hey, smell me...I'm going through puberty.

Um, right.

This got my youngest asking me when HE would go through puberty.  (Mind you, he has not even lost a baby tooth yet...another source of angst for him...and another recurring question.)

     6.  Mom, how come I never lose any teeth?  Does the Tooth Fairy hate me or something?

Yes, these are the big questions that have been tormenting me lately.  Actually, there is one more...

     7.  Mama, you cry every time you watch the planes hit the buildings on T.V., so why do you keep       watching it?

I pull them close around me, (while my middle child runs to get me a box of Kleenex) and we talk again about the fact that life can be uncertain, and people can be cruel...but that people can also be amazing, and brave, and strong, and so very, very WORTH remembering.

Department of Defense photo

We talk about the people who died, both those caught unaware and those who saw Death coming and stared it down until the end.  We talk about the brave first responders who ran INTO the building...when everyone else tried to valiantly to get out.

Inevitably, this leads to one more question...

     8.  Mama, if something like that happened here, would Daddy have to run in?  Would Uncle Boo have to run in?

The answer is yes.  And maybe that is part of the reason for the tears...

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Time to Fill the Cupboards!

Fall is coming.  Despite the 100+ degrees outside, I know this to be true, because suddenly I want to hoard large amounts of food in my cupboards and my deep freeze.  My pantry mocks me with its barrenness.  I feel the overwhelming need to tidy and organize.  I want to stockpile food for the animals and cat litter.  For some reason, I have to use every bit of self control I have to avoid digging out the pumpkin shaped soup tureen and the tapestry "autumn leaf design" place mats.  I want to track down bales of hay (which are not yet available around here) to decorate the yard.  I want to stuff scare crows.  (Not like this however...

this Doctor Who creeped me out!)

I feel the undeniable need to purchase large quantities of pumpkins and squash and dried corn.  I want to make (vegan) fudge, and pop popcorn, and watch It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown, because that is what we do in the fall.

The only problem isn't fall.  It isn't time yet.

And yet...I feel it so strongly.  So let me make my prediction now, on the record, and come Spring we will see if there was any truth to the instinct:  I predict a bad winter.  I believe the snow and ice and cold will take us by surprise.  I predict that you should stockpile your toilet paper now, to avoid a last minute convergence at the nearly-barren stores once "they" decide that perhaps the storm is a bit stronger than they originally anticipated. I suggest that, perhaps, if you have a few extra dollars in your budget, you  might consider getting a few more canned goods, or dried beans, or rice...

As for me, I will endeavor to hold off another week or two before I start breaking out the carefully packed boxes of autumnal glory.  And I will try not to complain TOO much about the 100+ degree temperatures, because I think that once the snow starts to fall we might actually miss it...just a we thaw our toes before the fire.

Monday, August 1, 2011

What Do We Say When the God of Death Comes for Us?

No, I am not dead...although I did have a close call last week.  I was at work, and realized I was getting hungry around 3:30.  So I decided to run to the break room and make a quick peanut butter sandwich on a vegan sandwich round.  Someone had left a sandwich baggie and knife out, so i cleared it away before making my sandwich.  I was so hungry that I had my sandwich eaten before I had even made it back to my desk.

And this is when things started to go horribly wrong.

I sat at my desk and tried to finish some work, but the tickle in the back of my throat was starting to feel rather itchy.  I kept clearing my throat.  I got up and went to the ladies' room.  There is a chair in there, and I promptly sat in it and tried to decide what the heck was going on.

One of my co-workers came in and asked if I was ok.  I am afraid I may have been a bit terse when I assured her I was.  Clearly my being rude was some sort of code to Send in Someone Else--namely, one of my best friends, Angela.

Angela came barrelling into the bathroom, her eyes full of panic.  After quickly assessing the situation, Angela went and got my Benadryl (which I was loathe to take, since taking it meant that my allergy testing would have to be postponed).  While Angela asked how much I should take, I swigged a mouthful, and felt my throat continue to tighten.

Angela ran and got my purse, which had my EpiPen.  Now, back when I first filled my prescription for the EpiPen, Angela and I had had the "EpiPenTalk."  She knew how to use it, but that did NOT mean that she was ready for it.  Hell, I wasn't ready for it.

But, once I actually had it in my hand and felt air becoming harder and harder to come by, I removed the endcap and looked Angela in the eyes as I jabbed it into my thigh.  She looked away.

At first, I thought something had gone wrong.  I did not feel the injection at all.  No pain, no prick, no...nothing.  Finally, after about ten seconds, I felt my hands go cold--like someone poured ice water under the skin.  I felt relieved, because I knew that "something" was working for me.

Then I grew shakier.

And shakier.

Angela went to go tell the office administrator that she was taking me to the hospital.  When she was gone, I was struck by the feeling that there was lightening trapped in my hands.  It felt like electricity was blowing through my fingertips.  (For all your Doctor Who fans out there, think of those regeneration scenes...

personally, I adore Doctor 10).  Sigh.  Sorry...where was I?

Oh, right!  Angela came back to tell me she was going for the car.  I tried to ask her to have someone sit with me.  I was suddenly worried about being left alone.  When I tried to talk, I became aware that my words were slow to come...halting...I felt like...William Shatner.  Then I realized that it was not my words that were slow to was my thoughts...the cadence of my thoughts sounded like William Shatner's speak pattern.

This alarmed me more than the lightning hands, which was actually kind of cool in a geeky sort of way.

I remember calling my husband.  I do not remember what I said.  I do, however, remember shaking a lot.

Apparently, I somehow half-walked and half-staggered with assistance until I reached Angela's car.

In case you wondered, Angela drives like shit when she is nervous/scared/worried.  I remember asking her not to kill me while trying to save my life.  She stared ahead, hands clenched around the steering wheel and said, "I know, right?"

We made it to the hospital (and Angela parked illegally over several "bicycle" parking spots).  She never mentioned having gotten a ticket, so I am assuming she didn't.  Which is good, because I feel guilty enough as it is.

The good news is that, apparently, if you have anaphylactic shock, they make a point to get you RIGHT BACK into the ER--no waiting.  The bad news is that we were asked to follow some unnaturally spry older gentleman who took no notice of my staggering and proceeded to sprint ahead of us as we tried to navigate the twisty turns of the "Fast Track Triage."  We did not even bother trying to keep up.  By this point, I felt fairly certain that we had kept Death at bay, so why run down corridors now?

My husband met us at the hospital, and I actually ended up getting home about the same time I would have if I had not decided to make a dramatic exit.

For those that have actually read this far, we do not know for certain what I reacted to.  I suspect that the mess I had cleaned up in the kitchen had one of my allergens on it.  (Thanks, Office Slob, for nearly killing me!)

And, having been deep in my reading of "A Dance With Dragons" (which, I lamented to Angela, I had left at work in all the allergy madness), I will end with the line that kept trickling through my brain as this all transpired:

"What do we say when the god of death comes for us?"  "Not today!"