Sunday, December 29, 2013

Just Before the End

The old year is quickly coming to a close and I can't say I'm sorry. It has been mostly horrible for me. I had about three months when I felt close to wonderful and thought I might survive. I've been sick since just after Thanksgiving, most of this holiday season in fact, with headaches and severe pains in my neck. I've bought another pillow looking for relief. Too soon to tell. It is a memory foam neck pillow. Last night I used it and woke up this morning without it. So, not sure it's going to work.

I do have less RA related pain. I'm taking the Plaquanil once a day, Metheltrexate once a week, and 8 hour pain relief acetaminophen three times a day. Works better than the Lodine I was taking twice a day without the stomach burn. I still have some pain but it is considerable less. We'll see.

Tomorrow is a work day for me. I only work three days this week so that's a blessing. Next week I'll work four and then head to Arkansas for David's wedding on the Jan 11. I'll come back home on the 12 but I took some extra days off to recover from that horribly long drive.

Tomorrow is my baby boy's birthday. Must remember to call him. He'll be 30 years old. I wish I had a photo scanned of him to post. He was such a wonderful baby.

I've very annoyed with myself. I've been able to do a lot of crochet because it only requires that I sit quietly and there's very little strain on my neck. However, I've had to stay off the computer and no writing. It was simply unbearable to do either for very long. I'm going to have to find some sort of chair that supports my back, neck and head someway. My aunt suggested a recliner but my experience is that reclining while trying to read is one of the most painful things I've done. I have to be sitting upright, with my head perfectly aligned to avoid pain. Looking down at a book is painful. Holding one in a useful position is painful. Turning my head is painful. Any deviation from upright and straight ahead for more than a few minutes and I'm in bad shape.

Regardless of all that, I've set myself a goal for the new year to schedule writing and to write more. It's over on the other blog "Writing My Life Away" if you're interested. The link is above but don't feel obligated. I'll post progress reports there. . . {sigh} if there are any. This neck problem is causing collateral damage I'm displeased about.

All right, I'm off now. I only popped in to update those who are interested. No idea who is out there as there are seldom any comments.

Happy New Year to everyone, in case I don't get back before then.

Friday, December 20, 2013

Christmas Lost

I don't know why this was never posted. I wrote it five days before the holiday. Maybe I thought it was too depressing. That's never been a problem for me. Maybe I didn't want to be a whiner this year. Or maybe I didn't care even about this. But whatever, I'm not trashing it. So, months later, here it is in all is dark glory.

I looked around my house today and realized there wasn't a single sign of Christmas. Nothing. Not one decoration, no tree, no garlands, no lights. Not a sign that there is a holiday anywhere in sight, unless you count the wrapping paper from last year in the closet or the Christmas cards on the back of my front door from the family and the four or five actual friends. I hadn't realized that was a tradition until Sarah mentioned it the other night. "Mawmaw, you have your cards up on the door. You do that every year." She's only seven and for her, they've always been there. There are fewer cards each year. I can remember when it was covered top to bottom. I doubt she'll notice they are fewer since Jerry died. Haven't quite got a reasonable explanation so it is probably good they just are tapering off.

I have scads of Christmas music and considered putting it on the other night but decided on something with no holiday theme. I haven't made one trip to the store to shop. I haven't bought one gift for anyone but Sarah and I told Mike what to get and it is in my trunk. I'll send him for gift cards or get them myself this weekend. David won't be home for Christmas and I'll have to get their's then.

Yes, I know it is five days until Christmas. I really don't care. Each year I've delayed putting up anything until the day before. Last year I decorated on Dec 24th and took it down a day or so later. This year, I suspect, I won't do it at all. I considered buying a new tree but it'd be a waste of money. Mine is 25 years old. Everyone says I should toss it. I figure it will last as long as I do and then they can do what they like.

It is supposed to be a season of joy and celebration. I'll be glad to have my son home for Saturday and Sunday.  Sarah will leave for three weeks to be with him. So, Christmas Day I will get up at some point in the day and spend it sitting in a chair staring out the front window at a warm, sunny day or an overcast cold one. I'll do it alone. I have no desire to cook a holiday meal for one. I'll buy myself something just so I can answer the questions people ask when you come back to work. I've been trying to figure out what to buy. I bought tires for my car so could just go with that. That's hard because the things I want are impossible to obtain.

I remember decorating the tree with Mama when I was Sarah's age. I remember how much fun it was and how exciting to see presents from people and to open them. I remember how the stores smelled wonderful and since we had a live tree, the house did, too. The only people who ever bought me presents was my aunt and uncle and my sister. Jerry always waited until the 24th then ran out to try and find a gift and couldn't. So I usually ended up with gloves, a robe, or a gift card if any thing. No, he didn't buy me gifts, or rarely, not even birthday gifts. Really. I finally started buying my own and putting them under the tree. I remember how disappointed I was when I realized he wasn't going to be that person. Anyway, I feel none of that and wonder if something is wrong. I don't think so. I think I've reached a place where there isn't much to celebrate. Every day is pretty much like the one before, determined by pain levels. If they're fairly low, I can function and actually do something, like laundry or cleaning the bathroom. I might get the last two weeks laundry put away while I wash this week's. If they're not, I have to figure out how to get through one more night and hope that tomorrow it hurts less.

And then there is this sense of vacancy. There is this huge, yawning, black hole that appears on the horizon in November. No light escapes it and everything is sucked into it. NaNo keeps it at bay but ultimately, in December it begins its ascent. It will reach zenith sometime around January 29 and begin to slid into the abyss by the end of February. The days will be long and blacker than the backside of hell.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Slaying Dragons

St. George Slaying the Dragon
by Hans Von Aachen
I'm in that place that I live each year around this time of year. The Dead Zone is a good title for it. It starts mid-November and doesn't end until sometime around the end of February. I hate four months of the year. Isn't that crazy? I never get over the feeling that part of me has disappeared, probably the best part of me.

During these four months, the sensation of being broken in half is stronger, the edges seem sharper and more jagged. Even my personality feels as if part of it is missing. I am a whole person in the mirror. I can see a whole person but there's that gaping hole that I can sense.

I've analyzed this repeatedly and find it is no easier to understand. I was and continue to be very individualistic and independent. I handled international moves, the demands of the military on my family, a disabled child, and finally a disabled spouse. I should be able to handled life now that I'm alone. But I can't seem to function as whole person either.

Five years later life decisions are still nightmare to deal with and just the thought of them can cause severe anxiety. Crises throw me into a panic. Disrupted schedules and clutter send me reeling. They're all dragons before me. The final insult is that I get sick and there is absolutely no one to call. No one will be there to check on me if I need help. I spend time wondering what happens if I can't call for help? It is a question I have late in the night, the very time you don't want such questions. Just another dragon.

What I'm really hoping for is that there is this magic hour, day, week, month, or year when I'll wake up, open my eyes and find that the feeling of something missing won't be there. There won't be the feeling of a gaping wound that never heals. Instead, I'll be strong and competent and able to slay my own dragons.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

A Month of Stuff

It has been a busy and rough couple of weeks. I finished NaNoWriMo four days early. In the past I've finished as early as a couple of days but not four days. It was a nice feeling, in addition to getting the 50k goal. I couldn't have done it, I suspect, without the online write-ins we had over on Mibbit.

We had to move Mike over the course of two Sundays. The only common day off we share is Sunday so it had to be done. One guy showed up to help him on the Sunday before the holiday weekend. They moved everything into my garage. We left the boxes and small items in the old unit until Thanksgiving weekend. Then, they let him start putting things in the unit on Wednesday. It was very good of them and saved us a bundle in truck rental and time.

Thanksgiving I spent alone. Mike and my sister worked. Mike and I spent Friday cleaning and moving stuff from his old place. My aunt and uncle drove up from Atlanta on Friday. That's a very long trip for them. They're in their mid-70's. I'm not that old and driving down to visit is rough on me.

Saturday, my aunt and I finished the cleaning up the old place while Mike finished moving the boxes and other small items to the new one. On Sunday we rented the UHaul pickup again and started moving stuff from the garage to his new place. My uncle took care of Sarah on Saturday and Sunday for us to move Mike. So, here we are, my sister, my aunt, my ex-daughter-in-law, me, and Mike. We left my aunt and sister at his new place putting away the stuff Mike had moved on the car while me, Becca, and Mike used the U-Haul to move furniture. My sister and aunt were neither able to do that lifting. I had no choice but at least Becca came to help.

Sunday night I had to pay the piper. I had severe leg cramps in both legs and sciatica in my lower back, probably causing the cramps. I didn't sleep much, if any. I got up on Monday barely able to move. My aunt and uncle left around 7:30 and I took Sarah to school. I could barely walk I hurt so bad and although I was dressed for work, I called in sick and went back to bed. I spent most of the day lying on the sofa sleeping. My back was moderately better Tuesday morning.

As a result of all my efforts, I've been slammed with swollen hands, knees, and feet resulting from severe inflammation. RA at its worst crept up on me on Sunday night. My hands and feet felt as if they were stinging (the same feeling you get when you run water that is too hot on your hands) and painful to flex my fingers. . That's inflammation. I'm tired. I want to just curl up and go to sleep. I've been having an escalation of these issues for a few months now.

Instead, I went to work every day. Today I had an appointment with my RA doctor. She's going to give me a steroid pack and start me on metheltrixate. I see no alternative. I've tried to avoid it but I'm in such pain right now that it is just too much.

Today, I just want to come home and close my eyes. For several hours.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Day 26: Reaching the Summit

November has only days to live and NaNoWriMo is winding down for another year. We're at day 26 and if all goes well, I will finish tonight, the earliest that I've ever finished a NaNo. At least I think so. I don't have that great a story but there are bits and pieces in the debris that I can see have potential in something else. In writing, nothing is wasted. You learn from the junk and you gloat over the gems.

This year's WriMo group has been a lively one and that's made it a lot more interesting. I'm feeling a bit down knowing that in just days it will all be over and everyone will go back to their daily lives. Part of you is always relieved when NaNo ends but there is this other part that hates to see it stop, to lose your writing buddies for another year, to not feel the exhilaration of trying to meet that daily goal, the excitement of write-ins, and just talking over your story. Even if you win NaNo, you lose something.

We do NaNo for all kinds of reason. You always hope to end up with a great story. Most are probably not so great. The more serious among us will wrestle with that story like Jacob with the Angel of the Lord and they'll throw out more than their hip to accomplish it. For me it has always been a personal challenge.

When I did my first NaNo in 2006 it was all about seeing if I could write 50,000 words of a story. I probably had several times that in boxes of handwritten and typed stories. I really had no idea exactly how many words that was. It's a lot of words. I made it to just over 30K that first year. I was disappointed but when I finished, I knew that the next year, I was going to try again. I won that time. From that point on, every year, I've set myself the goal of writing 50,000 words, with mixed results.

For me, the exhilaration of hitting the flow and the words pouring from your brain through your fingertips and onto the computer screen is about the greatest high you can get. Of course, there are days when you would kill for the next flow fix, when the words are dragged from you like a 19th century dentist pulling bad teeth. It's hard and it hurts. You don't stop, though. You keep going because, after you've done this a few times, you know that the next fix is just a matter of the right word, the right phrase, the right sentence.

There are unexpected side effects to participating in NaNo. You meet some really nice people from all over the world, online and in person. Many writers are pure introverts. We don't mix well with people. In fact, if asked, we'd rather not. I've noticed that once you get them out of the shadows, NaNo has a way of socializing introverts. They become much more talkative and excited about things, if by things you mean stories. They almost become extroverts. Almost.

I think the most radical side effect is what you learn about yourself and your writing. I've become less of an introvert. I'm a lot more confident in my ability as a writer. NaNo has honed my skills to a finer edge and so I write better. No, I'm not published. That has never been a goal for me, a dream maybe, not a real goal.

More than once I've been asked, "Why do NaNoWriMo?" Why do people climb Mt. Everest? I'll let George Mallory tell you.

“People ask me, 'What is the use of climbing Mount Everest?' and my answer must at once be, 'It is of no use.' There is not the slightest prospect of any gain whatsoever. Oh, we may learn a little about the behaviour of the human body at high altitudes, and possibly medical men may turn our observation to some account for the purposes of aviation. But otherwise nothing will come of it. We shall not bring back a single bit of gold or silver, not a gem, nor any coal or iron... If you cannot understand that there is something in man which responds to the challenge of this mountain and goes out to meet it, that the struggle is the struggle of life itself upward and forever upward, then you won't see why we go. What we get from this adventure is just sheer joy. And joy is, after all, the end of life. We do not live to eat and make money. We eat and make money to be able to live. That is what life means and what life is for.” 

― George Mallory, Climbing Everest: The Complete Writings of George Mallory

I guess you could say that NaNoWriMo is my Mt. Everest.

Friday, November 15, 2013

Telling Horror Stories

I did this months ago with Sarah, my angle and my heart. I watched it again tonight and ended grinning from ear to ear. This is what happens when two storytellers compete.

 We have such fun when we're together.

Day 15: Halfway to Glory

Muffy just reached the halfway point
two days early in her online write-in!
I can't believe we're already at the halfway point in NaNoWriMo. It has been an amazing two weeks filled with write-ins both physical and virtual. Seems the virtual write-ins are a hit with those bent on hitting the goals ahead of time. I've been astound by the way my and the participants' word counts have skyrocketed at these virtual write-ins.

Participation is higher as well. Will we someday see only virtual write-ins? I hope not. We all need the contact, visual, auditory, and physical to really give us a new energy to move on to the next writing session. While the virtual write-in is well suited to facilitate a more focused and more intense writing session that gives you high word counts, there is something to be said for actually meeting and putting real faces, real voices, and real names to the people on the boards.  I like my NaNo Peeps even more after meeting them.

So here we are, half way. I'm two whole days ahead! I can believe that. Honestly, it is totally due to the virtual write-ins. I am averaging 1900 words at every online write-in. I've done very little writing outside of that since I started them over a week ago, except at the physical write-ins, and word counts were lower at those. So, this week I made it a point that when I'm going to write, I log into the chat site and stay there. Gradually, more and more of the group is dropping in and they're racking up the numbers. Word is getting out that if you want your count to climb, you need to do the online write-in as well. I know it works for me.

If I can continue this pace, I'll be done by Thanksgiving. Well, I'm hoping. I'm not very vested in this story yet. I hated it after it was started, got two days behind and then when I caught up, things began to look better for the story. I don't hate it, it just hasn't jelled yet. There's a good idea that needs a lot of work. For now, just get the words down.

One big problem has been my rheumatoid arthritis. I've had horrible pain in my hands, neck, and feet. The hand issue has made it very hard to type at times. When you think about it, I'm on the computer nearly 12 hours a day, typing in some way. The meds don't seem to work well anymore and I'm resistant to trying anything else if it is only going to cause me other physical problems, like going bald. Yes, bald. At the moment, my hearing is taking a beating with the nsaids. I've got constant ringing in my ears, sometimes so bad I can't sleep. I have to use sound blockers, e.g. ocean wave sounds, soft music, etc. But it is only a patch. I don't know how much loss I've got but I suspect it is considerable. But I'm not stopping writing until I can't write anymore.

The local group has some folks interested in forming a critique group. Its still in the talking stages but something will be eventually posted on the Facebook Group page.

I'm on my way now to Panera Bread for a Write-In. I'm hoping that I can get another couple of days ahead and get some interesting things going on in the story. They're talking me to death at the moment. It is a killer to try and get word count with dialogue.

To all my fellow WriMos, hang on. You're halfway to Glory. The purple bar awaits you it you just keep writing!

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Nano Day 7: The Rocky Road

So, here we are, at day 7. What to say.... I've had a rough couple of NaNo days. From Saturday until last night I was consistently behind 400+ words. That doesn't sound like much but it is about two pages of typed text, so you try it. Without a plan or anyone telling you what to write.

The problem with getting behind in NaNo is that it is cumulative. Today you're 400 hundred behind. Tomorrow you have to do the daily count + the 400 missing words. If you miss the daily count of 1667 by say, 100 words, now you're behind 500 words. You see how this can get out of control very fast. It only takes a couple of days at that rate to be 1000 words behind and that, my friends, is roughly five typed pages. That's a lot and very hard to overcome unless you are prolific.

So, last night, I caught up and passed the daily count by a couple of hundred words. Yay! But joy such as this is short lived. When I woke up this morning I realized this. During NaNo you may go to bed caught up. You will wake up behind, 1667 words behind. And you must catch up by midnight.

Depressing? Well, for a moment. But you know that you'll do it. If you want to win, you'll do it. You'll sit in the chair, turn up the music, get in an online write-in, and you'll do it. That's what I did. I did an online write-in with a couple of my NaNo buddies. I put some music on my media player, and we all did some writing together. In one hour I had my words. You kind of want to do a happy dance. But I was sitting Indian style, wrapped in a cozy, warm blanket. I just did a happy bounce and a shout or two. Today, I'm feeling a bit better about the whole thing.

NaNo tends to suck you dry a good bit of the time. Unless your story is blazing and the muse is screaming at you, you can run out of steam pretty fast. You find yourself at stop lights thinking about a plot twist or what makes the character tick while the character behind you is blowing his horn and flipping you off. You go to bed wondering what you'll come up with the next day since you just used your last idea but you fall asleep from exhaustion before you come up with anything. Or you lie awake from the caffeine buzz from all the coffee you've been drinking to stay awake so you can just catch up.

You brush your teeth and think about the look in your characters eye as he/she demands you do what they tell you but you have other ideas. You're not sure about the ax he has in his hands. You argue with people who are not there and the people who are there look at you strangely and start searching for the number to your shrink. You have one, don't you?

In thirty days, you'll begin to sport bloodshot eyes, a scraggly beard (males... well maybe), hairy legs (women....well maybe), uncombed hair, and you're wearing your pajamas every second you're home. The dishes are stacked on every surface and there's a mouse dead behind the fridge. You think the trap got him but maybe it was food poisoning. If you're over 30, you may gain twenty pounds. If you under 30, you may develop zits from the excessive chocolate.

This is the road to glory. Thirty days of alien lands, rugged terrain, dangerous conflicts, and sneaking, conniving, lying, backstabbing characters all bent on destruction. Thirty days of shining cities, searing heat, freezing cold, and a holocaust. Thirty days of silent, stagnant, boring characters refusing to do a darn thing but stare at you in the bathroom mirror as you brush your teeth.

This is the Rocky Road to NaNoWriMo Victory!


Monday, November 4, 2013

NaNo Day 3: Another NaNo Monday

I know that it is actually the first NaNo Monday but I needed a snappy title and that one worked.

It is, indeed, day 3 of NaNoWriMo and as of last night was 100 words short. Of course, that means today I have to write 1766 words. But that's doable... if I can get this stupid story moving.

I really don't have a story. It is almost laughable. I'm struggling with it already and that's a bad sign. It means I didn't' have a story to start with. I had a good opening idea that didn't translate well when I finally wrote it.

To top all that off, I feel utterly terrible. I'm hurting in several places, most notably my neck. When the neck hurts, everything else is bad. I am tired because I stayed up too late on Saturday and then I didn't sleep well that night. The time shift sort of backfired on me. I  got up late and spent Sunday sitting around watching television... I think. Maybe not.

Today, I'm sort of blurry, if that makes any sense at all. My head, neck and shoulder hurt. I'm still sleepy. I'm guessing fibro attack. There is some joint pain but it is mild compared to the neck.

Now, back to the grindstone to polish this nose. We'll see how the writing goes when I get home.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

NaNo Day 2

As day two comes to a close, NaNoWriMo is well underway in my region. I've got a lively and involved group this year. Several lurkers have come into the light and we have several first timers. It is always a lot of fun the met these two group. They're eager, excited, and scared to death. It makes them a lot of fun to be around.

I'm on target for the word count but I got to say, the story I thought I had seems to have evaporated as soon as I touched the keyboard. That's not unusual either but it is so frustrating. I had a good grasp of where I wanted to start and when I began to type it simply didn't sound the same. Still, one must just Keep Calm and Keep Typing. 

I'm tired tonight and I've had a rough afternoon for some reason. Well, actually... I know the reasons but it can't be helped and whining about it here won't serve any purpose. Outside of NaNo, I'm fairly isolated and it become very trying at times. I don't always like coming home to a vacant house. My world has shrunk to 1200 square feet and that gets very frightening at times. You begin to wonder exactly what's the point.

Today, I think I just want to go home. Really home. I want to see Mama and I want to see Jerry and I don't want to have to worry about anyone else's problems. I suppose everyone feels that way now and then. I've spent a lot of time lately asking God for a map. He has me on hold.

Moving on. I've been cleaning off my list of contacts in Facebook and G+. Amazing how you can accumulate people that don't actually give a flip about you. How does that happen? I'm sure they're very nice people but there is no relationship. So, poof. 

I have to admit that I'm rather tired of the social network scene. The publishers and agents are saying "You have to have a platform." Yes, a platform. You have to be on Twitter. You have to have a blog and be blogging. You have to have a brand. More social networking, not less. Eek, it is enough to make me  run screaming. I was overwhelmed by the conference. So much information and a lot of it discouraging to a writer who is not yet published. Over 1.5 million books published each year and the average published author sells 500 books. Say what? Yep. 

So, the question becomes "Why would I waste my time?"

Because writing is something I have to do. Published or not.

NaNo Day 1

Only two days until NaNoWriMo begins. I have an idea and I'm going to run with it but I have several characters who have suddenly decided they want to be heard. So, I'm swamped with all these voices in my head yelling, "Pick me! Pick me!"

Look it's only figuratively. I know they aren't real. That's what it's like when I am eager to write. So many stories and characters that spend an inordinate amount of time trying to distract me.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Messages From Water

I've talked briefly about my recent experience at the Austin Re: Write conference in previous posts. There was so much I learned and some of it was so profound that it has taken a week to begin to separate the wheat from the chaff. I still want to compile my notes and share those. However, one speaker's message stands out. I doubt I'll ever forget it. Peter Strople talked about writing what someone needs to hear and he used the video below to illustrate the power of words.

I found a copy of this video on YouTube. It shows the results of the work of Dr. Masaru Emoto, a Japanese researcher, who tested the effect of sound and words on water. Youtube contains an excellent documentary on this as well, and it is in my play list. However, if you do nothing else but watch this short video you will understand why I can't forget it.

Although the video is not religious, as I watched this again, I recalled scriptures in the Bible that speak about chemical changes that happened in water as a result of the prophets action or words. Several people in the Bible are told to "wash" to obtain their healing. Jesus' first miracle was changing water to wine. There are springs and fountains around the world where for centuries it is believe healing disease was possible. So, there are many reference that document the changeable state water by words.

I have frequently told people and I've said it in some of my posts, that I believe much of our disease is caused by something in the water. After viewing the results of Dr. Emoto's experiments, I now believe that more than anything else, we are poisoning ourselves and our world by our thoughts, words, and actions. If speaking one word to water changes it in such a radical way, what happens when we speak to those around us? We drink water every day. We bathe in it regularly. We absorb it through our skin. Our form is mostly water. Perhaps the phrase "you are what you eat" would be more accurate stated as "you are what you drink".

** References: for those interested in the Biblical references to water.

Ezekiel 47:8-9
Then said he unto me, These waters issue out toward the east country, and go down into the desert, and go into the sea: which being brought forth into the sea, the waters shall be healed.

And it shall come to pass, that every thing that liveth, which moveth, whithersoever the rivers shall come, shall live: and there shall be a very great multitude of fish, because these waters shall come thither: for they shall be healed; and every thing shall live whither the river cometh.

ELISHA » Purifies the waters of Jericho by casting salt into the fountain (2 Kings 2:19-22)
GOD » Purifying the waters of Marah (Exodus 15:25)
JERICHO » Waters of (Joshua 16:1)
MARAH » The first station of the Israelites, where Moses made the bitter waters sweet (Exodus 15:22-25; Numbers 33:8,9)
MIRACLES »  Sweetening the waters of Marah (Exodus 15:25)
MIRACLES »  Sweetens the waters of Jericho (2 Kings 2:19-22)

Saturday, October 26, 2013

The Week after A Vacation


It arrived as usual and I greeted it with the same excitement that I feel when I go to the dentist. Yes, really. The bonus is that I've been pain free for days. The climate . . . or maybe the atmosphere of Texas agreed with me. I have a niggling of a headache but I think I'm just tired.

I did sit up rather late Tuesday, despite getting up at 4 a.m. to wander the backroads of the Texas plains, the highways of Dallas-Ft Worth, and the parking lots of the airport. I had a pleasant day and on Wednesday, I sort of repeated myself. It was true vacation.

From the 16th of October until the 20th I was so involved with lectures of authors, publishers, marketers, and researchers that it felt like school. I was depleted by bedtime and slept like a log, despite being in a strange bed. The actual act of relaxing started only after I reached my friend's home.

I didn't mention my drive from Austin to Ft. Worth on the 20th, did I? Maybe I shouldn't. It wasn't fun. Still, I think one must learn to look at events that occur in one's day as entertainment. Yes, I know that's ridiculous, even insane, but really, it is true. One must look back and say, "Oh wasn't that amusing?" Don't forget to chuckle. I mean, what else can you do with a nasty bathroom somewhere between Austin and Ft Worth that I wouldn't have taken a dog into but which I had no choice but to use. It reeked and the toilet looked as if something had blown up in there and they'd tried to hide the evidence by flushing only. It didn't work well. My flushing didn't either. There were very few places that I could stop and besides, how was I to know that it was really slaughterhouse and not a convenience store. It looked like a convenience store. And I really had to go.

Then, there was the heavy construction along my route that made it nearly impossible to get off the interstate. I really wanted a drink in the worst way. I'd finished the one I'd gotten in Austin and after that dreadful stop I was bone dry. Fortunately, I had a bottle of water from the hotel. Traffic moved at 25 miles per hour for about 2 hours. I don't remember what I did during that time, besides drink water. I believe I listened to some 30's Jazz somewhere in there and it was quite good before I lost the signal. In fact, I don't remember anything about the trip but piles of very odd white rock along each side of the road. Not something I would expect but I'm not very familiar with Texas geology at this point.

Once I reached my friend's I was the one about to explode.. It is very embarrassing when the first thing out of your mouth is "May I use your potty?" Really. But when ya gotta go, ya gotta go. I don't think I actually said that but something close. One thing I've noticed as I've gotten older is that self control is not what it once was and you can push the limits only so far before ugly things start to happen.

Oh, let me just say if you need a job I suspect the highway department of the great state of Texas would be a good place to start. I've never seen the like of road construction anywhere in all my life. They were building roads from Austin to Dallas-Ft Worth and on the west of Ft Worth, they were building roads to somewhere else. So, pick up that phone.

Friday was swift and uneventful. Thank God for those days.

Saturday was hectic as I had to get motivated to get out of my warm jammies and get some running done. Sarah is with me this weekend and she and I headed to Walmart to get her a gift for an amazing report card. She above her grade level and we were so happy about that.

At 2 pm I was at Washington Square Mall for the National Novel Writing Month Kickoff. A kickoff is just an informal get together to connect with other participants before the madness of NaNo. It went well and it was nice to reconnect with my co-participants. There were a couple of folks who decided this is the year they stop lurking.

And now... chocolate ice cream.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

A Summary of a Quest

10:00 a.m. Thursday, October 17, 2013

I'm sitting at the airport in the “free Wi-Fi” section which doesn't let me log on to post this directly. So, it will be a running commentary of my trip... boring. 

I was going to go to the gate but the guard nicely checked his watch and said, “Just to let you know, you're a bit early and there's nothing back there but vending machines and seats. If you want you have plenty of time to wait out here where there's a place to get coffee and relax.” Wasn't that nice? So, I got a diet Coke and an almond Snickers bar and am sitting here listing to Good Morning America and typing up this post. 

I had a restless night. Dreamed a lot of dreams that kept waking me up but at least I got a lot of sleep and I feel a lot less pain today, even though it rained during the night. In fact, I woke up to the sound of rain. I forgot and left the heat on and sometime around 5 a.m. I got up to turn it off. Once I cooled off I slept better. 

The skies are heavy with clouds but I thought for a moment that there was a break and the sun peeked through. I could be wrong. I was antsy getting everything packed because you know you're going to forget something. You don't want to forget something important when you're several states away from home. I packed all my meds in my bag and hope to goodness they don't open it. Of course I put a lock on it... which, it they cut it, I'll know they opened it. 

I hate flying in overcast weather and I think it is even rainy in Dallas and Austin. One can hope it clears by the time I get there. I am to sit around in Dallas Airport for three hours! I may try and write a bit there. I don't know if I'll bother with internet if it as much trouble as it was here. No one seems to know how to use the free wi-fi. Typical.

This is a small airport and I know the plane will be small too. Ugh. On top of turbulence there will be shoulder to shoulder people. As it is approaching the time TSA told me to come back to the gate, I'm going to save this now. My neck is beginning to ache. Obviously, using the computer on certain surfaces is a problem. I've noticed this all week as I dealt with the pain and resulting headache. 

October 19, 2013

The rest of my trip was so hectic I didn't even post. Fortunately, there were no flight delays or screw-ups. Once I landed in Dallas, I took the Skyline to my next departure gate but got off one stop too soon. When I ask directions, the “not information guy” said, “It won't take you more than 10 minutes to reach the gate or you can catch the Skyline.” Since I'd have to wait for the train, I opted to walk... with my heavy laptop and carry on. I'm going to have another rolling bag that will fit under the seat next time or a new, lighter laptop for travel. 

I walked a bit until I reached Chili's Restaurant where I promptly ordered lunch and waited until it was closer to departure time. I was running out of steam. Lunch at Chili's is delicious but stupidly expensive. Lots of food, too much, in fact, for one person. 

I walked down to the gate after that and watched people until time to board, maybe 30 minutes. This airport actually has comfortable chairs at the gates. If the back had been just a bit higher I'd have been able to really relax and take the pressure off my neck.

The flight to Austin was fast. It took longer to board the plane and take off than it did to get there. The flight attendant was a 16 yr veteran and very nice. She informed me that airlines are hiring for flight attendants, at least American Airlines is, because a lot of them are retiring. So, if you're interested...

October 23, 2013

I came home on Tuesday. I was up at 4:30 and drove to Dallas-Ft Worth Airport, not a fun trip. I got lost in the woods in the dark, turned around on the highway, off at the wrong places three times, and went in circles at the airport trying to find the rental car return site. It was dark and I was still tired. I barely got to check in an hour ahead of my flight. Not an experience I want to repeat. 

I had every intention of blogging everyday but honestly, it would have been impossible. I was in sessions from 9 in the morning until 9 at night. There was so much information that I was truly overloaded. I took a lot of notes that I'm going to compile and share with my writing group. It was an amazing experience and I gained a lot of insight from it. I don't know how that will help me but there are some adjustments I have to make, I think, to point me in the right direction. 

I came away from this conference with more than just information on writing. I was blessed to see a +100 writers who want to do the same thing I do and some of them are doing it. I was blessed by people who shared their story with me and encouraged me. There was this room packed with Christian authors and publishers and agents sharing their experiences and expertise. It was mind boggling but I have to say that what overwhelmed me were the stories of how these people got to where they are and the stories of their faith. The likes of George Barna, head of The Barna Group and three executives from WaterBrook Multnomah, a division of Penguin Random House Publishing all shared information and insight on publishing and marketing. 

So, all together, this was a really nice trip. I enjoyed the conference far more than even I expected. My visit with my friend, Phyllis, not just a pleasure but relaxing. It was nice to visit with her and her family. I got to make the acquaintance of several farm animals and drive Nancy's Jag. 

I have spent today also relaxing and doing absolutely nothing of merit. I've read a lot for the last two days, finished two books. I'm about to start work on organizing my notes over the conference and refreshing my memory about what I learned... before I forget completely. I'd like to share it with my writer friends, those who are interested, via a hangout but if that doesn't fly, I may just do a video blog.

Now, I'm going to bed so I can get back to work tomorrow. It is not something I look forward to but there aren't no options for me. 

Monday, October 14, 2013

A Little Blonde Moment

Saturday I did some cleaning around the house and found an old planner that belonged to Jerry. It was in really great shape and I had planned to use it instead of my old one, although my planner was more expensive, this one was hardly ever used. Instead, I gave it to Sarah. It is just the kind of thing I remember liking as a kid. I wasn't disappointed either. She loved it.

She opened the binder and took out pages and began writing and playing like she was writing a prescription. I believe she wrote one for Tylenol, acetaminophen, and something else. I was impressed.

I left her in the living room and went to the kitchen where I began washing dishes. She called out and said, "Mawmaw, I have to punch holes in this paper so it will go back in."

I told her she didn't have to do that because it had holes already in it. I left the sink to see what she was talking about.

She stood, pushing the page down onto the binder rings to make holes. She said, "They're on the wrong side and I have to to put them back in."

I started laughing and walked over. "Sweetie, you just have to turn the page over and the holes are right there."

She gave a gasp and shook her head, "You should have taken a video of me, Mawmaw."

I lost it then.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Courtesy, Caution, & Congress

Don't we all hate the morning drive? I mean, a lot people who have just rolled out of bed 20 minutes before are not the kind of people you want to see at 7:30 a.m., behind the wheel of a deadly weapon. . . I mean car. And people who are going to or just got off a job they hate are also not the kind of people you want roll with on the expressway.

I live in a town that, in the last 25 years, has expanded much faster than the mentality of town. I don't mean that in a negative way. It is one of the things I like about it. A mid-sized town with a small town flavor. The problem is not in the front yards, or shops, or restaurants. It is on the Expressway. Resident drivers in this town still think this is a small town and they must drive just as they have all their lives... and as their grandparents drove - before expressways and interstates arrived.

I'm a small town girl. I grew up in rural Alabama. At 13 I learned to drive in a potato field, on the access roads that were rutted, pot-holed, and dusty on hot summer days, and muddy on rainy ones. The joke was that if you learn to drive in those conditions, you can handle a lot of less bumpy ones. And learning in that field won't result in fatalities... well not to people. There were those times I got stuck in a mud hole and had to walk home to get Daddy to come pull me out. But that's another post.

I've traveled extensively as a military dependant. I also learned to drive on the interstates around Atlanta, Georgia; Montgomery, Alabama; and Birmingham, Alabama. So driving in strange places isn't unusual for me. When I say the potato field is not Atlanta, Georgia you must believe me. Potatoes fields are nothing like driving in Atlanta.

During my drive to work today, I decided to discus big city driving and the use of courtesy, caution, and congress. Now, I know you're thinking, "Oh Lord, another political rant" but that isn't the case at all. Bear with me.

First, courtesy is a must. You don't have to smile, or wave, or even like the other drivers but if you expect to receive courtesy, you have to give it. Be nice, people. You could smile. Pretend for the length of the drive that you're a happy driver. The give and take of courtesy is worth the effort you'll expend. When you get home you can kick your dog. I hope he bites you.

There are many ways to get from point A to point B; generally, a straight line is considered the best and most efficient. But the people who created interstates and expressways didn't excel at basic geometry so such highways are not laid out according to this rule. One must follow the flow of hundreds of speeding bullets, some weighing thousands of pounds and loaded with cargoes that shift violently in the event of a sudden stop. You must navigate these pathways smoothly and without hesitation. Where I live, this would be a miracle.

So, caution is vital when driving on busy interstates and expressways. Knowing how to navigate the merging traffic on these roads is tricky and the secret is - you have to KEEP MOVING. You can't stop in the middle of the lane waiting for your shot. If you stop, it creates a nightmare behind you for the next driver(s), who probably knows how to drive on such roadways. It also creates a nightmare and potentially disastrous accident to everyone else.

Here is an example. Driver A wants to merge into the flow of traffic. First, DO NOT STOP IN THE MIDDLE OF THE EXPRESSWAY OR THE ON/OFF RAMP. This is stupid. No... this is lunacy. Merge means to join the flow of traffic in a safe and efficient way. You actually should be speeding up to get into the traffic that is flying by you. And for the love of God and Country, turn on your blinkin' blinker. That's why they put them in a vehicle as standard equipment. It is a sign!

Please remember, that traffic coming in from a merging lane has the right of way. If you're in the right lane you should merge into the left to allow ease of access to that traffic. This never happens and this is what starts a vicious cycle.

Consider. Driver A is in a lane merging into the flow of traffic. He has reach an indecisive state. Driver B is approaching Driver A's at around 55 mph. This is very fast when you're sitting still. She is watching the merging traffic because she wants to to get off at this exit while allowing them to merge. She sees A and is looking for a blinker to tell her where A going. Ah, no blinker. They're not getting on here. Are they going to continue in that lane and drive off into the trees or buildings?  Or, are they taking the secondary road that also exits here? No, wait, they're going to just sit there, dead in the lane, creating a backlog of fifty vehicles waiting for them to figure out where they are and if they actually want to drive today. Driver B begins to pray, swear, and scream, "GET OUT OF THE WAY, YOU MORON!"

The traffic behind Driver B begins to pray and swear, and scream at her as she is forced to a halt in high speed traffic. Racing vehicles hit their brakes as they realize Driver B is stopped. Oncoming cars swerve around her, nearly slamming into the side of big rigs who also swerve. It can become a scene straight out of the Keystone Cops movies of the 30's, or Final Destination 2.

Let me say here that all religions are likely to fail at this point unless you are a Pentecostal, at which point you begin to rebuke the devil for trying to kill you. We may even close our eyes and begin to pray for an outpouring of the Holy Ghost on us and God's wrath on you. This is usually ineffective, by the way, and God views it as a fail. My advice is, keep your eyes open and pray for a parting of the traffic. I find this often works.

We now come to the most important aspect of driving on American highways - congress. This is not a body of elected officials who are trying to work for the good of the American people. No such body exist. What we are talking about here is a more primitive meaning: coming together. Long ago, the word was used to describe an intimate relationship, basically, sexual intercourse, and the United States Congress still practices screwing the American people. However, for our driving lesson, we're using a much nicer version of the word. It means "a formal meeting to make decisions". Something unheard of in American politics since the Revolution.

Driver A and Driver B both need to make decisions. Driver A has caused enormous problems by his decision to stop in a lane intended to move things along by merging moving vehicles into a much bigger, faster moving lane of traffic. He also has failed to use his blinker to signal his intent, probably because he doesn't really know what he intends or that the car contains such a device.  Driver B has been forced to comply with Driver A's negotiating skills and things have devolved to the same state as our country. Everything has come to a screeching halt. Except for the people around them. As you may have discerned by now, in both government and traffic, this is not good.

What is required here is the two parties must work together without saying a single word to one another, must come to a mutual agreement on where they are going and how they get there. This borders on the miraculous. This is where congress comes in.

Decisions must be made in quickly and whatever else you do, you can't afford to stop. If anything, Driver A should apply acceleration, turn on the blinker, and MERGE. Believe me, the scenario between Driver A  and B proves that all other traffic, upon seeing a hurtling object headed their way, will generally move out of the way when possible.

Really, it comes down to dollars and cents. How much damage are you willing to incur to hold your position? Totalled vehicle? Astronomical medical bills? Funeral expenses? It isn't hard for me. Merging traffic has the right of way and I no longer stop for anyone. Move on, move over, or get off the road.

Too bad Congress hasn't figure this out.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

The Sovereignty of God

Because I missed church his morning I decided to get back to a book of Bible studies my aunt gave me. I've started it a couple of times. I never get beyond a couple of pages before something would happen to distract me and I'd never get back to it.Today, I actually got to the fourth day's lesson. They're short lessons and I could have finished the whole thing but as usual something else got in the way. But I think it was a good thing.

The study is called Women of the Bible. The first lesson is about Eve. I found it really interesting but about half way into the second part, I noticed that I was getting something important and I figured I better get a pen and paper. Anytime this happens, I know to just let the writing flow and see what comes out of the pen. My notes initially are brief.

Defining God's purpose for Mankind, Creation, and Eve. The second chapter of Genesis clearly define it in three verses. 

God's Purpose for Mankind: be in God's image
2. to be fruitful and multiply
3 to have dominion over the earth and subdue it

God's Purpose for Creation:
1. To serve mankind
2. To provide sustenance for all life

God's Purpose for Eve:
1. Companionship - to combat loneliness and isolation
2. to share the burdens of life and help in the work of life

At this point I noted an interesting idea that never occurred to me but which I found critical in my own mind. God presented Eve to Adam. She didn't introduce herself. Adam didn't go looking for her. And they didn't need a dating site. God created her and respectfully introduced her to Adam who immediately fell in love with God's choice for him. He trusted God knew this person. Eve must have trusted that God would not introduce her to anyone that would treat her badly. They did nothing to find one another. God did it all. A match made in Heaven, indeed. 

I'm aware that you internet dating type will consider this erroneous and point out that God didn't have internet and the difficulties of a huge population of losers. This is true. That's why trusting God is more important than ever. Moving on.....

At this point in my study something changed. I became aware of another aspect to the story. Eve is more than just the story of the fall. It is the start to a battle that has never ended. Temptation rears it's ugly head and Adam and Eve end up homeless. Sounds like a plot for a really good NaNo novel. I won't use it this time but let me share what I learned.

As I wrote, I remembered the time in my life when I had my own conflict over God's sovereignty. 

The serpent was the most cunning creature on the planet. Once taken over by Lucifer he was literally the most intelligent being on the planet. He was and still is able to twist truth and create confusion with an unmatched finesse. He corrupts the mind and confuses thought. He transformed himself in the garden and based on both old and new testaments he has transformed himself as each age required. As knowledge of man increases, Satan must further transform himself into images that are easily acceptable to humans. 

Why? Because humans have an intrinsic ability to find God and an innate desire to do so. Their initial state was to walk with him every day. Buried deep in our psyche is the desire, no, the craving to return to that state. To walk with the Creator in the cool of the day is the ultimate human longing. Satan must constantly alter his tactics to overcome changing cultures and intellects to keep ahead of man's constant search for meaning, which is actually the search for God. Satan's ultimate goal is misdirection to alter man's course. He does this by challenging God's word on intellectual levels. If he can capture our minds, he can capture our souls.

Man is incapable of understanding the mind of God in its full scope. Satan plays on this by using our own intellect as a measure of God's. We are incapable of comprehending how much we don't know and therefore, we can't possibly be a valid measure of God's intelligence.

He creates doubt in what we hear and know. "Did God really say, "You must not eat from any tree in the garden?" Then, he restates the truth with minute changed to alter its meaning. "You will not certainly die."

Our vanity does the rest, convincing us "we've become as God". We open the door to false information, altered data & outright lies to be inserted into the mind. And we allow someone else to interpret it and tell us that what we heard is not what was meant or that it is a fallacy, or even that we didn't hear it at all. Satan uses misdirection, rephrasing God's statements. Eve was easily duped. Within moments he caused her to think differently about God and his instructions. 

He has caused her to:
1. Doubt God's word
2. Doubt God's motives
3. Suggested that God is keeping good things from her. (By following her God she was actually hurting herself and missing out on something. The suggestion is that everything she needs she can find in herself.)

He never touches her but he immediately altered her thinking. Eve is no longer in control of her thoughts but is listening to a stranger rather than the being that she has been walking and talking with all her life. She never questions what the serpent is saying. She embraced it. 

Once we began to question God's sovereignty and power we are already at risk. Only a strong faith, secure grounding in the Word, and an ability to recognize these deceptions will sustain us. You almost have to be versed in the tactics of a CIA agent to navigate the maze that Satan creates.

The more we measure God by our own intellect, the more our minds will become susceptible to false information. Again, constant vigilance and grounding in the Word and persistent prayer for light and truth is the only defense. These are more powerful than any deception. I can't emphasize enough the need for light and truth. If you pray for nothing else, pray for spiritual light and all truth. 

At all times, even in the most doubt-filled, confused mind one must continue to acknowledge God as sovereign and holy. Regardless of any arguments that come to mind from any source. This must be the paramount response. God is Sovereign. God is Holy. To accept anything other than God's sovereignty will close the trap. We will be forced to chose. There is no middle of the road. Either God is God or he is not. Once we put our own or another's intellect above God's we will be assailed with doubt, confusion, and conflict. 

This internal conflict is the actual battle for the soul. In essence the soul is being ripped apart. When we make any attempt to reconcile our faith and re-install God as King and Priest the conflict will be physically felt. There's a war going on and it hurts.

Once we being to worship our intelligence, the trend it to drift further from God and His Word. The trend will be to accept the wisdom of the world over the wisdom of God. When intellect is brought into subjection, the trend is reversed and the soul is brought back to center. The conflict eases, but may never be resolved. These forces, once they've made inroads, will always be waiting to storm the gates. Anytime anything usurps God as sovereign we can't remain stable. This is the sin of Lucifer. He brought division and imbalance to the universe. The only thing that can give him peace is the total obliteration of any knowledge of God. 

Make no mistake, intellectual study is not a sin. We must be educated and we must examine things with which we do not agree. But we can't fear the things that challenge our faith. We also can't defend ourselves by running away. But we must never, ever put anything above God's sovereignty and his Word. In all things we must acknowledge God as King and Lord. 

Friday, October 4, 2013

Lost & Found

Last night I pulled out my pill minder and poured my Thursday night pills in to my palm. I do this every night, refilling the minder once a week. I have a method to this. I take the numerous supplements and the five prescriptions I have and I sit down with the minder. I take all the lids off and one by one, bottle by bottle, and I put the pills in their appropriate day and time - morning, evening, and bed. I recap each bottle, put it in the storage box I use. Cap all the minder slots and put it back in my nightstand drawer.

The pills last night were the last for this week. Meaning, I refilled it last Thursday. As I poured out the pills, something fell into my hand. I looked and screamed, not once but several times. My blue topaz ring lay on my palm. I'm surprised that I didn't drop the pills but apparently, I don't do stupid things all the time. I put them in the small dish I use so I can take them one at a time. My lost ring was found.

I was beside myself, both overjoyed and confused. How was that possible? I have a method to putting the pills in the minder.  I'm left handed so I hold the bottle in my right hand, pour out pills into my left hand, switch them to my right hand, and then, with my left hand put a pill in the tiny boxes with my left. I have to be careful because I've put double doses in at times. Some of the pills are similar. You don't want to take a double dose of those because they cause blindness. So, I'm careful.

I tell you this because I wear the blue ring on my right hand. I have no idea how it could possible get into the pill minder. I would have had to take it off with my left hand and drop it into the Thursday bedtime slot. Why? It wasn't in a bottle. It was on my finger.

Alternatively, I could have held my hand over that slot and let the ring slide off my finger and into it, put the pills in, and then close the cap. Really?

Or, did I, at some point that night or the next, open the minder and drop the ring in and say, I'll just store my ring here for now? Why?

I have no idea. There is no logical scenario to account for the ring being just there. I'm only glad that it has returned. And I'm  thankful to all those friends who have been praying sincerely for its return.

Just before I took my pills I was drying off from my shower. It's been a rough week with negative things happening. In my frustration, I happened to say a prayer that included this statement. "Lord, my ring is gone and I'm heartbroken over it. I need you to help me accept that and help me get over it."

Moments, later my ring lay in my palm.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Too Deep to Plumb

There are depths of despair that I would not wish anyone to ever plumb. I've been to depths I never thought it possible to descend and had I considered it, I'd have thought it impossible to return alive. And yet, I'm still here.

You think, during the grief process, that it will never end. In a sense, it never does. You do resurface but you don't ever really reach land. At least, I haven't. You learn to tread water. You must or you drown. You know what lies beneath and you never want to try that descent again. So, you just keep paddling. You get tired but you never stop.

I've gotten better in many ways at treading water. In fact, sometimes I can actually swim. There's no land in sight but I dare not stop.

This summer has been lighter, as if someone opened a window. The weather was beautiful for moths. Since June, I've felt better for much of that time. I was sick from a virus for the six month prior to that. I began walking in July, something I thought would be impossible with my joint problems and pain. I started with 10 minutes and managed to work up to half an hour in which I knock out a just over a mile and a half.

Last week, I messed up. On Wednesday I lost a ring that Jerry bought me when I graduated from college in 1995. It was a blue topaz in a filigree band. It was so pretty, not very expensive but just so lovely. It was $99 when he bought it. It was the most special gift he'd ever bought me. And I lost it. It fell off my hand. I can't figure out how it happened.

I'm pretty sure it was in CVS on First Ave. They won't let me put up a flyer offering a reward. I remember something falling near my foot but I was so distracted and tired I looked around and when I didn't see anything, I just moved on. It took four days to figure out what I'd done. Now, I've sunk to such dark depths and I can't figure out what to do.

It's just a ring. It means nothing to anyone but me. It has no intrinsic value other than the price of gold. You might be able to pawn it for $50. I'd pay twice that to get it back. But it has reopened a crevasse that has taken me years to escape. And as before, I can't do a thing about it. I can only struggle for the surface.  I want my ring back. I want to be able to sit and look at it and remember the day we bought it. I want to pass it to Sarah and watch her try it on, knowing it will be her's someday. I want to tell her the story of looking down in the jewelry case and picking it out and how it felt when he brought it home sized for me. I want to tell her why it is so special and hand it to her they way Jerry handed it to me.

I lost it. And the revelation I had was that life is just one series of losses after another. We're all losers most of the time. Winning at anything pales in comparison to what you have to lose. Ultimately, I think, what you lose is a reflection of who you really are, deep down. Had I lost the ring my mother bought me when I was 15 I'd have been sad. I wouldn't have been devastated. Had I lost even the necklace Jerry bought me for Christmas when we were dating, I would not have been so desolate. What I've lost is more than a simple ring. I've lost dreams. You can't replace that.

The depths to which they fall can't be plumbed.

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Cathartic Thoughts

There never seems to be enough hours in my Saturdays to do all that I have to do. My day started early. I was up at 7:30 and at the cemetery for my walk at 8 a.m. I grabbed breakfast on my way to a meeting.

I had a meeting at the mall with my NaNo co-ML to review some plans for the kickoff. We nailed down the location, got some ideas and encouragement about the goodie bags and write-ins. From there I headed to Hobby Lobby again to try and pick up some things. They didn't have the items but I picked up some other things... books for Sarah. I went from there to Office Depot to get ink in a couple of forms.

My next stop was home where I stayed long enough to talk to Dave about lunch before we went searching for it.

I ran out of steam around 2 p.m. and came home for a few hours. For some reason the day came crashing down and I was plunged into the abyss. You know the one. Every once in awhile it opens its maw and I am sucked into the dark. I had to get out of the house and the only thing I could think of was the solitude of the cemetery. At 6 p.m. I took second walk in the cemetery.

I suppose if I had met anyone they would have been concerned for my mental state. I walked and cried. Yes, I know. But I did. And I prayed and cried some more. It didn't help. The overwhelming desire to go home again is one that can't ever be resolved for me. I've lost a whole family in more ways than one. It doesn't end. There is no solution, no fix, no relief from the desire to go home. There is no home left to go to.

I do not like these disturbances when they come. The walk was more or less a fugue. I walked but as to what I saw or heard I don't recall much but the pavement at my feet.

Once I left the cemetery it was nearly 7 p.m. and was dusk. I needed headlights to drive. I'll have to be doing the walks by 5:30 before much longer. At least the days are still comfortable. I dread the thought of walking in the cold.

I didn't go home immediately. I was still far to upset so I went to Sonic to collect my free drink and eat onion rings. I pretty much sat my usual stall at the back, facing the darkened hearing aid store and cried. Believe me when I tell you that eating and crying is near impossible. Once I finished with both I sat for a while and just tried to regain some sense of control. Once home I simply sat around doing nothing.

Sarah came over around 8:00 for the night. We read the new books and started watching The Indian in the Cupboard. She fell asleep about halfway through but I watched the whole thing. It is still a great movie.

I don't know why I stopped to write this blog. Maybe because these days it is my only real source of conversation. I've become a fair recluse I think. I'm fine with it most of the time. Except when I'm not: i.e. when I see a family having a good time, or a couple laughing with one another, anything that remotely resembles my old life robs me of light.

I may have mentioned this before but I've taken to avoiding all manner of situations. I still don't watch a whole genera of movies and don't read quite a lot of a certain type of book. Suspense, thrillers, or British mysteries, all minus the homey scenes of other movies. I also don't do death scenes or love scenes. Those are potty or food breaks. In fact, in real life I avoid experiences that revive memories. Holidays, such as the upcoming Thanksgiving, are still not things I want to do. I'm obligated to do them but they no longer hold much appeal for me.

Still the blog is my catharsis. And now, I suspect sleep will be one also.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Aching Calves & Brain Tweeks

Is is only Tuesday night? Really?

I've had severe pain in both calves for three days and I have no idea why. I have not walked in at least a week because I've either been exhausted, it rained, or I've been so busy I didn't get time. Sunday I had trouble walking. I could hardly walk yesterday and today, for most of the day, it was horrible. I see my primary doctor on Thursday and will address it with her. The weekend was rushed, as you should have read in a previous post. So, here we are at Tuesday. The only positive is Friday is two days away and vacation a few weeks.

Mike's birthday was Sunday and we all went to church and then to lunch together. Both my sister and I had diarrhea afterward. We both had clams. We eat at this restaurant a lot and never had this issue. Very odd... and unpleasant. I still had a problem on Monday.

I bought Mike a new smart t.v. for his birthday and he bought himself a stand for it. Dave and I went over to help him set up.I wish I had not. I don't want to go into detail but let me just say that the people on Hoarders are real people. They exist. I went back to Mike's tonight to help him get started cleaning up. This is going to take awhile. It is very stressful.

I'm tired and about to go to bed but I have spent some time tweaking my writing blog tonight. It is an old blog that started life as something else.  I like what I'm doing with these writing challenges the group has done. I'm writing more these days than I have in a long time. My efforts to limit my time on less productive pursuits has allowed me time to walk and the walking has stimulated my brain. I have to tell you that the cemetery walks have begun to feed me ideas and that's always a fun prospect. I feel more ready for NaNo than I've felt in several years. Now if I can just get the kick-off set up!

So, with that, I'll say good night.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

A Busy Saturday

What a busy day I had today. I didn't get up as early as I wanted and so did not get to go walk. However, Sarah and I got up around 9 and we went to Willard Library to explore the "haunted" library. 

Early last week she went on a field trip and her reading buddy told her about the grey lady who is said to haunt the library. Sarah was terrified and went on and on about it. I assured her it was all just a story and not true and that Daddy and Uncle Mike had loved to go to Willard Library when they were small. 

After extensive discussion it was decided that another trip was in order just to prove there were no ghost and I suspect to see if I was brave. 

The trip went well with Sarah showing me around. Never mind I'd made numerous trip years ago. And it does have a lot of charm and lots of creaking wood floors and steps with displays already for Halloween.

 I quite enjoyed revisiting it, but the stairs, despite being wide and a relatively gentle slope, are simply a bit much for bad knees and bifocals. I forgot there was an elevator but after all the whole trip was to experience the extremely creaky floors and stairs. 

After the library we came home. I had a writer's meeting at 2 p.m. I had to get ready for and David was taking Sarah to the park. I left around 1 and picked up lunch to take with me to Washington Square Mall. Today was literacy day and there was a lot going on in the mall. Music, drums, and stories being read on one of the raised platforms that are scattered throughout the cafe court. I never realized they could remove the railing from these to make a kind of stage. 

The meeting was really a lot of fun. DeWayne brought photos this time and we each selected one and wrote a story from it. When I saw my photo I was a bit daunted and wondered what in the world I was going to do with it. It was just too weird. He told us we could select another if we didn't like the one we got but I decided to tough it out and go with it. We wrote for 20 minutes, despite the cacophony of the story telling and music blaring over the  loud speakers. And in the end, my photos was a good choice. I needed the challenge. In fact, I think everyone did a good job. I liked each of them. 

After the meeting, I cruised the remaining booths and got a free children's book from an elderly lady who'd written it. She's self published and she was very sweet. She indicated she had been unable to go the traditional route and had used a local publisher. I know the group she used. We talked about publishing a bit and the pros and cons. She felt traditional publishing was the best way to go. I told her I write because I have to. She was surprised and said she never had that sense that she was supposed to write or had to write. She never told me why she felt like writing several children's books! She was giving away copies of her first one and I read it to Sarah tonight. It was o.k. but I don't think I'd use the local publisher. 

I got home around 4:30 and was suddenly exhausted. I had planned to go walk since I'd missed my morning walk but it didn't happen. I simply found that all my steam was gone and this little engine couldn't. I've sat on the sofa watched movies. I've taken breaks to do laundry. I did a couple of items for the NaNo goodie bags but that's it. 

Now, I'm going to bed. I had planned on doing something else but I see how late it is and won't do that. I've posted the story if you're interested. Running Out of Time

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

The Hamster Wheel

It has been over a week since I could post a thing. I've been so busy I didn't know if I was coming or going. Work simply became this insane hamster wheel of work after we sent out the notice that if you aren't reporting you should withdraw from the program. People came in in droves and were reporting things they already reported. We're still catching people who never reported. The end result was that we were buried under mounds of interim changes and this in turned brought processing of annual recertifications to a screeching halt.

I had a rotten week last week because of the overload, got mad and had a set to with the boss which earned me a dressing down on Monday morning. I had to deal with some family issues... again. It probably helped with the boss because I was so emotional after the previous week and weekend that he was probably easier on me than he intended. And in one sense I probably deserved the lecture.

The week before was a mini-hell and I kept coming home to deal with things that I shouldn't have to deal with. I'm tied of people who think I owe them something. I'm not a maid, nanny, or personal banker. I shouldn't have to clean up anyone's mess or rescue anyone because they were irresponsible in their choices of friends, homes, jobs, relationships, and spending.

I grew up with no money, few friends, had people I relied on die early, and had to learn all these life lessons before I was 20. If I tell you something is a bad idea, I know what I'm talking about. I offer advice free of charge but if you elect to ignore it, deal with the results alone, please. I'm generous. If you don't believe me, let me show you my bank register and what I spend my money on. I'm happy to run the expense reports on various people and items and let you see it. It isn't me. So if I feel put upon when people are just to busy, tired, annoyed, or simply don't want to do things for me, I'm going to say so. If they tell me you don't won't to hear. I'm good with that. I have a blog. Those who don't like what I post, you should have listened when I tried to talk. It is my blog, my rant, and my I can say what I want, whether you like it or not is irrelevant. You can leave.

So, in those three paragraphs you have seven days of stress. The good news is that physically, I'm better than I've been in a long time. Almost no pain except the feet and legs and it is related to the walking. My hip is hurting tonight. I woke up with it hurting. I think I over taxed it walking yesterday. I didn't go tonight to give it a rest. I'll have to take something tonight to help. My lower back hurts as well. The two are probably connected.

I look forward to the walks. I discovered that a cemetery is a really good place to pray when you walk. Really. There's no one there when I'm there. I may run into a couple of people if I'm really close to 5 p.m. but for the most part, I have the place to myself. Some sections are so remote that you almost feel isolated. Traffic is far away, no people, you can't see houses. More and more I've found myself having conversations with God. Sometimes it is just a prayer of gratitude that I'm able to walk as much as I'm doing. I'm thankful for how little pain I've had since July and for finding a place where I feel removed from all the stress and chaos that surrounds me much of the time. There are times I'm reluctant to leave because the quiet is so addicting. I come home feeling much better that when I left, even if my feet are hurting.

I booked my rooms tonight in Austin for the conference I'm going to attend. Just have to book the flight next. I've never done anything like this for myself and it is very hard to do. I booked the conference a month ago but kept putting off the hotel and flight. It is so expensive, although I've got discounts all the way around. I'll book the flights this weekend.

NaNo is upon me, too. I have to get prepared for that. I'm working on the kickoff party. I think we'll have it at the mall where we have our writing meetings. There's plenty of room and there's pizza available as well as a cookie shop. Everyone can visit and have food if they want it. I have to order some things from the NaNo store like now. It is all moving a bit faster than usual I think. The kickoff will be the weekend after I get back from Texas.

Suddenly, I'm exhausted and have to go to bed. Probably from running on that hamster wheel.

Tomorrow is Thursday! Yay.