Friday, February 28, 2014

The Nasty Word

I love words, nearly all of them. They're so useful and sometimes they just convey exactly the right thing. In Psalm 19:14 it says, "Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O Lord, my strength, and my redeemer." I find that so confirming that words are tangible things that have tremendous power. So much power, in fact, that David believed they can actually displease God. Wow.

I read something today and the word nasty came to mind and kind of stopped me in my tracks. It was just so fitting in that instance. "That's just nasty." I looked it up and was surprised by the enormous range of the word. It covers just about everything you can imagine. Yes, yes, yes, I know adjectives are nasty creatures and writers are supposed to avoid them like the plague. But this word is just awesome.

nas·ty adjective \ˈnas-tē\
: very unpleasant to see, smell, taste, etc.
: indecent and offensive
: unpleasant and unkind

Full Definition of NASTY

1    a:  disgustingly filthy, b :  physically repugnant
2      :  indecent, obscene
3      :  mean, tawdry
4    a:  extremely hazardous or harmful
     b:  causing severe pain or suffering
     c:  sharply unpleasant :  disagreeable
5   a:  difficult to understand or deal with
     b:  psychologically unsettling :  trying
6     :  lacking in courtesy or sportsmanship
     (From Merrium-Webster - Online)

Think about it. It has a zillion uses! 

Dirty underwear: nasty. Dirty socks that have lain in a locker for two weeks: nasty. The neighbor's cat brought you a rodent: nasty. The customers who shop with the working girl on Maple and Vine: nasty. The leak at Chernobyl: nasty. The burn I got taking a heated pad out of the microwave: nasty. The leftover lasagna you forgot to put away last night: nasty. The day old oatmeal you left in the bowl when you rushed off to work: nasty. The fresh oatmeal in your bowl: nasty. The way the ground looks from the roof: nasty. The rude woman in the billing office when I pointed out her mistake: nasty.

So, nasty is a very cool word that covers a plethora of emotions and opinions. I think it rolls off the tongue rather satisfactorily, too. It takes your whole face to say it. I mean, you crinkle your nose, your brows draw together, and you raise your upper lip just slightly and utter the perfect word. "That's nasty."

Thursday, February 27, 2014

A Letter to the Lost One


Not many people know this about me. I don't talk about it. I have only mentioned it in passing a few times in my whole life, when the subject came up. 

In 1978 Jerry and I were living in Germany. We had been married five years. We'd never managed to get pregnant during that time and since we suddenly had insurance, we went to have tests run. We were thinking about adopting but wanted to be sure first. One of my test was a God-awful biopsy. My doctor was a nice Indian man named Abrol. I liked him. Just as he was about to preform the test. He said, "This will be like a bee sting." 

That was a lie. It hurt so bad that I couldn't even scream. I just gasped. I remember that so clearly.

Shortly after the test was run, within weeks, I actually became pregnant. When I went back to my doctor and he said, "I hope your husband doesn't blame me for this." I cracked up, he blushed when he realize how it sounded, and the nurse gasped and said, "DR. ABROL!" Then we all laughed. I was so happy.

I had the usual sick feeling, no vomiting. I also got clumsy, actually fell a couple of times, and I had vision issues when I tried to read. The text would go blurry. I went for an exam and it didn't reveal anything wrong. Ten weeks later, they put me in the hospital because they thought I was going to miscarry.

I was so scared. Everyday they came to do a test to see if you were still alive. And every day I was frightened they'd come in and say, "No." Finally, about a week after my admission, they came in and said you were dead. 

I was devastated. Five years I'd waited and then, you were snatched away. 

I remember the Catholic chaplain coming into the ward and stopping by my bed. I was staring out the window, with silent tears running down my face. He sat down next to me and put his arm around my shoulders and talked to me. I do not remember what he said to me. I only remember how grateful I was for his presence.

They told me that they had to preform a D & C because you did not leave willingly. Afterward, I remember waking up and seeing your dad and asking, "Is it over?" He caught my hand and said, "Yes." I wept. I see it clear as a picture. Now that he's gone, I see a lot of things clear as day. 

For a long time I wondered if you were really dead at that point. Had they made a mistake?Did I actually have an abortion. And I cringe at the thought. Crazy, huh?

I always thought you were a girl. I don't know why. It just felt right. It still does. I don't know if you had blue eyes or green ones, if you would be left handed like me or right handed like him. For a long time I wondered such things. From time to time, I still do. Would you be a tomboy, like me? Or would you be a fine princess?

After I went home I cried for days and I had nightmares about losing you. In my dreams I'd be looking everywhere for you. For weeks. They gave me pills to help. I ended up flushing them down the toilet one day when I found myself considering taking the whole bottle. I decided if I could't get through it without pills then it wouldn't be worth the effort.

Never, in all these years have I stopped thinking about you. Oh, not like I did at first. But you come to my mind now and then and I wonder all over again, what kind of person you would have become. A doctor? A teacher? A famous author? Who would you have married? How many children would you have had? So many questions I would love to have answers to but you never had the chance to even form them.

Recently it occurred to me that at last he got to meet you. He knows the color of your hair, your eyes, and if you have dimples. I had no doubt that that would have been a joyous reunion. And I was jealous. Jealous that I never had the chance to hold you and rock you and sing to you. Jealous that I didn't get to see his face when you met for the first time. 

I hope they have photos in heaven and someone remembered to take that one.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Wendesday Weather - 02/26/14

I firmly believe God  has a great sense of humor. This morning when I got up I kind of thought the big guy was having one on me. I woke up to snow... again. Admittedly, it was just a dusting of snow but it was snow just the same. We're pretty sick of it around here. The only plus was that the sun was shining.

I'm astounded at how a bit of sunlight seems to make the day a little less harsh, a little less painful. I crawled out of bed reluctantly but after looking out the window, I felt slightly less depressed. Only slightly.

Frankly, I'd have been a lot happier if it had been warm. The high reached 34, I think, sometime in the middle of the day so warm wasn't an option. I hate cold weather and this winter had been like a frozen hell. At least, for me.

I've never had as much pain in my life as I have from November through February. I'm talking pain that effects your thinking and mobility to a point you think you're about to die. Tonight, I have pain in my lower back, both knees, my thighs, calves, and my right ankle. No, just the right one. My neck hurts but the left side of my neck I think is affecting my balance. I get dizzy spells. No, I'n not having much fun. The winter wonderland isn't.

So, I'm ready for sunshine and hot days. I pray that God smiles on me and my winter aches are blown away by March winds.

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Tea Leaves

Another weekend has started and I sincerely hope it is better than my last one. My poor Sarah was here last weekend and was vomiting and running a fever from Sunday afternoon until Monday morning. Some sort of stomach bug I suspect and I am eternally thankful to God that I seemed to have bypassed it. I suspect the medicine I take on Saturday for RA probably killed everything in my stomach. A positive for a med that is working no better than the other one was before this last flare, which I'm still experiencing.

On Thursday I woke up with a storm migraine. The pressure must have been very low because I woke up with a slight headache and horrible pain in my neck. I put an ice pack around my neck and headed for work. I've never done that before and I was very stressed about the towel it was wrapped in, a purple and white stripe that did not match my outfit. I was sure other drivers were staring at me. I kept the thing on till it melted, around 9 a.m. and wished for the other one at home in the freezer.

Sometime around mid-morning I took an Imitrix and waited for it to work. By then, I was not doing well. I felt horrible and I knew when the pill kicked in it would get worse before it got better. And it did. I left work at 1 p.m. and came home, sat down in the recliner and wrapped up in a blanket and covered my eyes. Even the gray light filtering in between the curtains, through the sheers from the windows was not nice.

The storm worsened but it was mostly wind until later that evening when I think it rained. Not sure because I didn't go out. Once I heard things blowing around on the porch like marbles in a can. It was the lawn chairs. They're plastic but it still takes a bit of wind to blow one over. These were blowing all over the porch. I cracked the storm door thinking I'd check on the. When the wind threatened to toss me around, I quickly shut it and went back inside. The chairs could fend for themselves.

The headache hung on for a bit, if slightly less horrible, but as a result I had a pretty miserable night. I simply could not get comfortable and slept badly. I had bought some new pillows on Tuesday thinking that maybe that would help my neck. They felt really comfortable but with this neck I never know. 

Anyway, Thursday night, for some reason the neck was not happy with my choices. When I woke up I was in pain and had a new and different headache. This wasn't a migraine but caused by the problem in my neck. 

Let me stop here and explain. I don't have "simple" headaches, ever. The migraines are nearly blinding at times and nauseating. My version of an "average" headache is often accompanied by dizziness and pressure. I also have visual issues with both the serious migraine and my average headache. My eye doctor said the visual problem is also a migraine but they don't generally hurt. They don't, they just terrify you. You may see flashing lights, gray blobs, or you may be very dizzy. Friday morning I had pain over my right eye and my neck was killing me. That's a "simple" headache.

But I forgot about the migraine hangover. 

I was exhausted and I felt terrible but I got dressed for work and tried to tell myself I was ok and could work. Just before I stared out of the house I remembered I had not brushed my teeth. In the bathroom I looked in the mirror and realized my teeth weren't the only thing I forgot. My hair, while sexily mussed, was not brushed but remained in the french braid I'd put in it the night before. I'd slept badly, tossing and turning. I looked at myself and I think that's when I started to cry. 

I called in sick and dragged myself to the living room. Once again I took a blanket, stretched out in the recliner with an ice pack, took two 8 hour pain killers. After that, I don't remember much until noon. 

I stayed in my chair all day except to eat. I got up and walked around now and then, went to the bathroom, or got something to drink. But I basically stayed there. I felt better. The hangover and headache were gone and I wasn't as exhausted as I had been when I got up. 

Which brings us to today. I am about to get ready for lunch. Mike and I are going to eat Mexican. Then, I have a writer's meeting at 2 p.m. Not sure who'll be there but I'm taking my laptop and I'm going to write some. 

I'm beginning to feel as if I'm looking at tea leaves in the bottom of a cup. There has to be something here that means something, that is trying to send me a message. I sat and pondered that off and on yesterday. Alas, my gifts do not run to the psychic, despite my creating an adept psychic spy. I don't read tea leaves, or runes, or bones. I rely on my gut, intuition, instinct, whatever you want to call it. Generally, this has always worked. Lately, not so much. 

For now, I'll just try and decipher the menu at the Mexican restaurant.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Wednesday Weather - 02/20/14

 Today the sun shone all day and it wasn't nearly as cold. I am so ready for spring. I was tempted to just wear my fleece shawl but went with my coat since it was still rather cold. When I went home for lunch around noon, the weather was bright sunny and had warmed considerably. So, when I returned to work I took the shawl and it was just right. By the time I got off at 4 p.m. I was tempted, very tempted to go to the cemetery and walk but decided it was still too chilly for me to handle. Instead I went and bought mouse traps.

Why mouse traps? This morning I was sitting enjoying my coffee and simply meditating before work. I had fixed a toaster pastry for breakfast and put the paper in the trash. As I sat there I heard something in the trash shifting. I was just feet from the kitchen door and could clearly hear it. I got up and eased around the door. A big, fat mouse was just climbing over the edge of the can. It disappeared just as I danced back into the living room with a squeal. I guess it was having breakfast, too. 

I'm near a nature preserve and field mice are prevalent when you have such places. I've lived here for over 22 years but never had a problem until a neighbor's garage was torn down over 10 years ago. Since then, I'm constantly battling the little furry demons. They thought my house was Noah's Ark. I tried all manner of poison and fancy traps. The most effective trap is the old one you remember from your childhood. Victory traps, built the same way they've always been made, with the little curled metal piece where you put the bait.

I had one mouse trap left and so I set it before I left for work. When I got home at lunch, I had a mouse. I disposed of it but realized I had to go buy another more traps. 

It was a busy day but I was so tired that it took a lot for me to keep going. By the time I got off all I wanted to do was sit in my chair, which I did.

Now, at 8 p.m. I'm seriously thinking about bed. I hope tomorrow will be another sunny day.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Wednesday Weather - 02/12/14

Oh my goodness! I woke up with sunshine in my face. It was such a wonderful experience that I just lay there for a minute. When I got up I sat on the bed and stared at everything. It all looked so ... different in sunlight. The best thing was that the whole day was filled with sunshine, even it it was terribly cold. I don't think it got over 29 degrees all day. Getting out to go to lunch was a positive experience, even if it was freezing. I'm a coastal girl and sunshine is like food for me.

My neck is better but is still hurting at certain angles. I have no solution for this. I sneezed once today and my neck had this horrible pain begin where my neck and the top of my shoulder meet and it shot up the side of my neck to my jawbone. I almost screamed but trying to sneeze at the same time made that impossible. It hurt so bad. It has hurt a bit more ever since. It really feels as if the ligaments are sore.

I've been playing hookie from writing. The neck simply made me a zombie and I'm now annoyed by it. I want it to stop so I can get something done. I need to clean house too and we won't even talk about the piles of laundry that are in the spare room. I just hope now one comes to spend the night. Of course, if they do... they could help me fold sheets and towels.

On top of the neck pain and slacking, I think I've caught a cold. I've been sneezing like mad all day and I've had a runny nose, more so than my allergy nose, for days now. I hate this as it takes me so long to get over stuff. I'm fortunate in some ways. Two co-workers were very sick with something when I was off for David's wedding. They missed a couple of days work. When I got back, they were on the mend, if still sick, and I stayed in my end of the building for two weeks to avoid them. This week, a third co-worker came down with a cold. She elected to come to work, warning everyone she was sick. No, I don't know why she came in. She said she had work to do. Anyway, she's been batting around for two days, standing in my space and handling equipment. I don't think I got this from her but I don't need two strains of cold on top of one another.

I'm now thinking about taking a short vacation. I have to get away. I really need the ocean and sand but I don't know what to do. Money is not tighter than ever with the cut in hours and so I have to conserve where I can. I so want to go to England. It feels like I'll never be able to do it. I know if I take a trip somewhere alone I won't really enjoy it. Carolyn suggested another writer's conference and I could go back to Austin this year. That was so expensive and I don't think I can afford it. Besides, there is one in October, Muse Online is free. You know, I considered going somewhere then and staying in a hotel and doing that conference online. Sounded crazy when I reconsidered it but for just a moment, it sounded totally fun. Why pay to stay when I could do it here for nothing. So, I may do it but I won't leave home. I will tell everyone to stay away and not call me.

I came home and have been vegetating on the sofa all afternoon. It is now 8 p.m. and I don't know how it got that late. So, I'll end here. The weather was lovely, despite the chill. Now, I want more and warmer. Can't wait to get outside again.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Tuesday Tirade

The sun finally managed to keep his head above water for a couple of days. Good boy! We'll see how long it lasts. I'm so ready for long days of sunshine. I'm ready to move to a warm climate and live a bit simpler. I don't think I can take many more winters like this one... like the past five.

It occurred to me sometime this week that Jerry has been dead five years. It feels like last week. I lived in a dark place for a long time. I still live there but I've managed to punch a few holes in the top to let in the light when there is light. Generally, it isn't dark, more of a foggy gray. But it still is not a happy place. Yes, I know they make pills to take you there but I don't do pills well.

I've been struggling with horrible intense pain and I won't detail it here as I believe I've whined about it in a couple of four places. For those who've deigned to pray for me, thank you. Is too a word! For those who rolled their eyes and thought, "not again." I believe what goes around, comes around. You'll relive it in living color.

Anyway, suffice it to say that agony doesn't touch what I've been feeling. I can't tell you I haven't considered death as an alternative. I don't actually want to die and hurting myself scares me. I mean, if something goes wrong and I end up with a serious injury rather than dead, I'm not better off than if I just deal with it. So, I do not act on these things but I have to be honest and say when you are dealing with this much pain, it crosses your mind. If you don't believe that, you've never been in pain.

I bought a recliner, at my sweet aunt's repeated suggestions. It is nice. I do like it. And it is comfy... if you have no back and neck problems. If you do, save your money. It nearly kills me to sit for very long in it. There is no real support. Usually within 30 minutes I have to get up and get on the sofa, which is much firmer and not nearly so comfortable. And I think what I could have done with that money. She meant well.

I am enjoying these shorter work days, despite the critical shortage of money. We also get one furlough day a month, no pay. We went from 40 hours per week to an average of 32 hours a week.  If they thought I'd cry about it... they were wrong. If they thought I'd quit... they were wrong. I'm thrilled to work less. Yes, it bites at the bank. The money I'm losing I was using to add extra to my house payment and other bills. But I'll take the time.

Had to stop before I was done and probably for the best. What a depressing post!

Friday, February 7, 2014


Sometimes I hear them. Seriously. They're not loud, almost echos, really. Since I live in an isolated area, I know it isn't out there, in the real world. No one really comes here so I know what it isn't.

When I get home I don't turn on anything. Not the television. Not the radio. Not the stereo. I leave the house as quiet as it was before I get there. So I can hear. In the winter, I don't even turn on the lights. They're louder in the dark. 

After I've put everything away and changed into my comfortable clothes, I sit down in my chair and close my eyes. And I wait. 

I never know what will come first. Sometimes, I'm certain it is his step down the hallway. Once in awhile it will be the opening of a door.. or the closing of one. A few times, I was sure I heard a cough. Once, long ago, as I sat alone in the dark I heard him come down the hallway and I looked up, called his name and stared at the doorway. I would not have been surprised to see him standing there. 

But he wasn't. 

I don't think.

Sometimes I hear giggles and running feet, but softly, as if from a great distance, across a vast and hazy plain. And I'm certain, at times, I hear someone jump off a bed. Someone is in the kitchen, sneaking the cookies. I am sure I hear the sound of the jar.

I hear music that isn't really there and if I focus, very hard, I can feel arms slip around my waist. There's a sensation of floating as I'm whisked across the floor to dance. I can smile at that for a minute before it drifts away to be replaced by a sad silence.

There are ghost children running across the backyard. Can you hear them squealing? From the kitchen window I see a small, fuzzy, hazy shape of a dog that runs yapping after them. 

There's running water, flushing toilets, and rustles. Rarely, I smell a certain cologne. The bottle is still in the medicine cabinet.

For a short time I almost think I can will them into solid forms and time will simply stop and they'll be there, forever and ever and everything outside these walls will become the ghosts. We'll laugh, and hug, and talk all night about everything and anything. The world, the one out there, will disappear. I won't care.

Never in my life have I seen a ghost and I never believed much in them. 

Not until now. 

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Wednesday Weather - 02/05/2014

I haven't done a read video blog in a while and this seemed like a good time to do it. No fancy editing, just me.