Archives

It’s been a long time…

2017 was not my best year – and I know others who struggled through it as well. So far, 2018 is much better.

As some of you may know, I am also the primary caregiver for my elderly mother. Mom just turned 83 and is in an assisted living facility nearby. She has her two elderly cats – the vet pointed out that the cats get older with every visit, so while they are old, no one knows exactly what their ages truly are.

Even though she is in a facility, she still has needs. They try to feed her, although they don’t try very hard. She is celiac, so she can’t have any gluten (wheat, rye, barley, malt). And my mother is not very assertive with the staff. She complained that she was getting very small portions and I told her that they are assuming she is a typical old lady who “eats like a bird,” so if she wants more, she will have to ask. Finally this week she had something she liked, so she asked for more and was surprised when they brought it.

Meanwhile, we shop for groceries to keep her microwave and fridge stocked with the things she likes and can eat. We also keep her supplied with cat food and treats and kitty litter. Stop by to maintain the litterboxes. And bust her out on weekends.

Last weekend, I made arrangements with my best friend, Kerri, to drag Mom to the lake. Mom is in a wheelchair, so it gets interesting. (“Interesting” is Minnesota code for “I don’t like it.”) Bless Kerri – she enlisted two younger, strong healthy friends who were willing to try to get Mom out on their pontoon boat. Figured out we could wheel her down to the public dock, and then my hubby and Kerri’s friend lifted the wheelchair over the tie-out bars and onto the deck. Once we got Mom situated, Kerri handed my hubby the sunscreen, which he promptly sprayed directly into Mom’s face and all over her glasses. Kerri stopped him, smoothed the spray over Mom’s face with her hands and cleaned up Mom’s glasses.

The highlight of the trip happened while we were tied with another pontoon at the party cove.  Kerri’s friend, Julie, saw the driver of the other boat, Mike, near the exit gate, so she ran across the deck and grabbed Mike and pulled him off the boat and into the water. The lake was somewhere between 20-30 feet deep where we were moored. And then we found out that Mike could not swim. Mike’s wife, Wendy, went ashen. Julie got behind Mike in the water and pushed him and held him up against the boat. Two other men pulled him back on deck. Julie was mortified. As she said, no one would guess that someone who spends the majority of life on the lake would not know how to swim. All’s well that ends well. His phone and wallet were in his pocket and had to be dried, and Mike is fine.

We went back to Kerri’s glamper for dinner and then took Mom home. When we asked her how her day was she replied, “It’s better than the dining hall.”

NaNoWriMo – TGIO

Thank Goodness/Goddess/God It’s Over for another year. I started two novels and wrote a short story to complete my 50K and now I’ve got material to play with.

It’s a funny process. Writing that many words. Since my day job requires writing, it’s not really a stretch to write that many words in a month. Except that they are not all in one main document and they are not (usually) fiction. So fifty thousand words of fiction, many of them related to other words, written in my spare time, is a pretty good start on something.

The first attempt at a novel went well for a week and a half and then I lost interest in them and left them in the woods. Then I had a short story idea that came in and I sat with it for a week and it moved nicely and resolved. And I still had quite a bit of wordage left to go before the month ended. As I typed continuously waiting for the muse to come back, a second novel started working its way through to my fingers. It expanded to fill my remaining time (and word count). Now, I just need to keep it moving even though there is no longer the pressure of a deadline.

For purists, such attempts would not count, since they are not all part of the same novel. However, writing that many words in a month is not an easy task and the muse is often fickle. The whole point is to write without editing and to let it flow. So if they don’t end up in the same place in the end, who cares? I am happy to have them.

National Novel Writing Month Starts Tonight after Midnight

Excited? Yes. Scared? Yes. Can I do it? Oh, yes! I’ve done it twice before (and won), so I can certainly do it again. I have lots of material and plenty to write about. The hardest part for me is butt-in-chair-time. In November, I have an excuse to ignore that pile of laundry and the dirty kitchen floor.

For those of you who may not know, November is National Novel Writing Month. You can find more information at www.NaNoWriMo.org. The goal is to write 50,000 words between November 1st and November 30th, which is an average of 1,667 words per day.  The best part for me is turning off the internal editor and producing words at a fast pace. The words and grammar and structure can be edited later. The amazing part is what is produced when I free my mind to just let it all hang out.

Join me (and several hundred thousand of your friends around the world) and see what you can make in a month. 🙂

Ever have one of those days…

I know it’s Friday. My brain is fried.

I signed up for two websites this week and forgot to record the passwords. I’ve wracked my brain and no clue or hint has remained behind to lead me back. Normally I record them in a spreadsheet designed specifically to aid my memory. These two aren’t listed. At all.

Yesterday, after getting dressed for work, I stepped out of the bedroom and realized I’d forgotten a critical undergarment. One I never forget in normal circumstances. And one which I cannot remember ever having forgotten before in my life.

I have no excuse for these lapses. Or at least none that I like.

Aging, perimenopause, and lack of sleep are possibilities. And I do not like any of them. I’m not ready to be “old.”

A Tribute to Thomas

It must be the season of loss… So many of our loved ones seem to die in the spring time. My father in March 2010. Delilah April 2010.  Jezebel May 2011. Penny March 2013.

We lost our “baby” in March 2012.  A beautiful black and white tuxedo with soft velvet fur, named Thomas after the main character in The Aristocats – “Abraham Delacey Giuseppe Casey Thomas O’Malley, O’Malley the Alley Cat.”  We were presented with his mother, Lucy, while she was pregnant, so we were there for Thomas’ birth and held him within moments of his arrival. And we held him until his departure.

Thomas was huge by cat standards – bigger than many small dogs, with a laid-back attitude. He was talkative and affectionate. His favorite perch was the raised portion of the kitchen counter that served as his dining area. From that point he could easily reach out with one large paw to grab a passerby and pull them in for a good nose-licking. Because we held him so much and so often, we could do almost anything to him – clip his claws, rub his belly, put in eye drops, give him medicine. He tolerated everything. As you can see in the photo below, he had panda paws – white paws with black pads that were so cute, we were always messing with them.

Thomas_06Nov2010

Samson, our yellow lab mix, was always around, so Thomas had no fear of him. When he was old enough, he often played with Samson, wrestling on the floor. And Samson was delighted to have a playmate.

Thomas loved to lie down and stretch out in the middle of the floor. He wasn’t worried about being stepped on. He was too big and obvious – we always knew where he was.

At bedtime he stretched out full length along my or my husband’s chest, purring. There was no mistaking that kind of weight on top of you.

In a house with pets, you never do anything alone. There is no point in closing the door, because they will either open it or nag until you open it. Thomas had an unusual trick for anyone using the toilet. While they were seated, with their pants around their lower legs, Thomas would crawl in and make a nest between their ankles, purring loudly. Many times I simply abandoned my trousers when I was done and retrieved them later once he had moved on.

Thomas and his mother, Lucy, remained close throughout their lives although he was easily more than twice her size. They also sparred and one time Lucy nearly killed Thomas when she got a claw deep into his side. I came home late on a Friday night  to find him hot and listless on the downstairs couch. Luckily our veterinarian office had emergency services. We took him to the vet and Thomas got a bolus of subcutaneous fluid and an injection of antibiotics. Within a couple days he was himself again, although it took a bit longer for the huge cyst in his side to go away. We started trimming Lucy’s claws more regularly.

Thomas and Lucy_13Mar2011

As of April 2012, Lucy is still with us, although occasionally we still hear her searching for her son, Thomas. And we understand, because we miss him, too.

Crash

I crashed this week. Fibro flare. Precipitated by the death of my 13.5 year old, 80 lb yellow lab, Penny of Perpetual Motion. I barely got out of bed. Everything hurt. My hair hurt. And most of all, my soul was hurting. I finally went back to work today for 4 hours and my office mate barely spoke to me. I must have offended her in some way and I didn’t have the energy to ask her about it or to deal with it.

Today, I called the vet to help my mom’s ancient three-legged Siamese leave this world. I was horrified to find he was still alive last night and hadn’t eaten in three days and she had twice asked someone else to take him out for burial only to be told “He’s still breathing.”

Mickey was her last mental/emotional barrier to leaving her home. She felt no one would adopt him. Even though I’ve already promised her that my hubby and I will take all three of her cats if something happens. At any rate, it wasn’t right that Mickey should suffer. I told her last night that she should give him permission to go and that if he was still alive in the morning she needed to call the vet. I called the vet. I didn’t give her an option. And I asked the vet to meet me at Mom’s at 2:15 after I got off work.  The vet asked me if there was any possibility she would be saving the cat. I told her I was pretty sure he was too far gone. He hadn’t moved in four days and he’d had nothing to eat or drink in three days.

I called Mom on my way to her house and told her the vet was on the way. She was still in bed so I told her she had half an hour before the vet got there to get her act together. Mom acquiesced and was up and in the living room by the time I got there. The vet called to ask if we still needed her and I told her that Mom said he was still breathing earlier. So she headed in our direction. And I went out to check on Mickey. When I touched him he was hard as a rock so I knew he was gone. When the vet got there, she said “Let’s make sure.” She picked him up and he was stiff as a brick. She said “I’m good, but I’m not that good.” Meaning there was no help she could give him. She got out a heavy duty body bag and I moved him outside where the snowy landscape would keep him until someone could bury him.

I know what she’s lost. I had so much pain from losing Penny I couldn’t cope. Yes, I know she’s in a better place where she can chase the ball again. And I miss her. As one of my friend’s put it, “I can’t even imagine trying to fill that big hole.” Penny was a very big presence in my life, as Mickey was in my mom’s life. Farewell faithful friends!

Penny and Thomas_12Sep2008

Overwhelmed

It can’t be just me… Life seems to catch up and then overtake me and like a tsunami I wash up on the shore wondering what the hell happened… All my good intentions lie strewn about like so much flotsam… swallowed and vomited up… still recognizable but now I need to gather them back together. Dust them off. Clean them up. Straighten them out. Sort them into categories. Restore some semblance of order.

I struggle. I want to take better care of my senior mother, my senior pets, my neglected husband and myself. And I want to write. And then fibromyalgia confines me to my bed unable to think for a week. And my mother has weekly appointments with physical therapy and the chiropractor and the ophthalmologist and the dentist and the radiation oncologist. And my dog, Penny, needs weekly vet visits. And my husband hates his job and wants to quit. And the house needs cleaning. And I want to be there for my friends as they cry for lost loved ones and rejoice at the end of cancer treatment. And my body craves sleep. And then I can’t sleep until it’s almost time for the alarm to go off. And I go to work because I need health care and money to pay for food and shelter and vet bills….

A Charmed Life

It’s easy to forget to be grateful. Although I try not to, it just happens sometimes. I start ranting and raving and then the reason becomes clear and I stop.  And say thank you. So recently I was reminded again that I lead a charmed life. And I am grateful.

I travel for work. I stay in hotels. Often, the hotel rooms have residual energies. Those energies seem to be attracted to me, especially while I am sleeping or attempting to sleep. I tend to talk to them and tell them exactly what I think of having my sleep interrupted.

In December, I was in San Antonio at one of the newer hotels. I gave up the Emily Morgan after the elevator trapped me for half an hour when I talked back to it. And anyone can feel the ghosts in the Crockett and Menger without even entering them. So I wasn’t expecting any encounters. Monday and Tuesday passed without incident. On Wednesday night I returned to my room about 11pm. I  noticed the note from the housekeeper thanking me for leaving a tip and realized I needed to get change. So I thought about getting a drink in the hotel lobby. When I was unable to convince anyone to join me, I turned on the television. Noting that one of my favorite programs,  NCIS, was just starting, I decided to run down to the lobby and get change and come back and enjoy some guilt-free tv watching. So I got the change, came back, changed into my nightgown and propped myself on the pillows to enjoy the show. At midnight, House came on, so I stayed up to watch. At 1am another episode of House came on and I watched most of it. When I started drifting off shortly before 2am, I turned off the tv and the lights and turned over.

At 2am I was pulled awake by the sound of something sliding down the louvers on the inside of first one closet door and popping it open and then the other door – brrrrrrpppp POP

I started ranting out loud. “All I want is to get some sleep and you can’t leave me alone long enough…” and got up out of bed, walked around the corner and checked the mirror over the sink to make sure there wasn’t anyone in the closet before going over and closing them again. Still ranting aloud, I went back to bed and laid down. And then I smelled it. The aroma of flatulence. And my rant went on “I can’t believe you farted in my room. How could you?!”

Seemingly inspired, I decided I needed to go to the bathroom and went in to use the facilities. I did not bother closing the door, since I had the room to myself. And while I was peeing, I heard it. Someone let a fart rip from the bedroom.

OK, I am NOT alone. Did I freak out? Not in the manner you would expect. I yelled “Really?! Ok that does it now I’m mad” and I flushed the toilet, washed my hands, went over and turned on all the lights and stomped over to the desk chair and sat down arms crossed.

“What was the plan? I don’t think it was a very good one. I’m guessing you think I am rich and you would be right but not in a money way. I have friends and family who love me, a job I love, a warm home and a devoted husband…” I went on in this vein for a few minutes as I mulled my options. I was not about to look under the bed – that’s the last thing you do in the horror movies for a good reason. If I called the front desk, I could panic him and I did not know if he had a weapon. He had to be fairly small to fit under my bed and I was guessing he was young, male and probably Hispanic.

At some point, I heard a rustle from that side of the bed as if he was considering coming out, and I made my decision. I grabbed my wallet and my phone and still talking I headed to the closet and pulled on my jeans, my shoes and a jacket.

“You know what. We’re all human and humans make mistakes. I think you’ve made a mistake. I am going to take a walk and when I get back, you better be gone… for both our sakes.

I unlocked the door and stepped into the hallway. Noting the close quarters at this end of the floor, I headed toward the elevator still debating what to do.  In front of the elevator bank I hesitated until I heard the service elevator activate, so I pushed the button and headed for the lobby. Once in the lobby there were people around. Staff at the front desk. Other guests. I plopped in a chair and put my feet up to think.

As I sat there pondering my next move, a gentleman in a suit came over. “Ma’am? Are you all right ma’am?”

I didn’t respond trying to pull my thoughts together.

“Ma’am? Ma’am? Are you all right?”

Finally, I said, “I’m trying to wrap my head around what just happened to me.”

He sat down in the chair next to me and waited. “What happened?”

I started… “I’m used to having visitors who aren’t human disrupt my sleep. I stopped staying at the Emily Morgan because they wouldn’t let me sleep.”

He replied, “Oh yeah! We get about 15 people a year who come over from the Menger in the middle of the night saying ‘I can’t spend another night there’.”

So I told the story about the closet doors and then smelling the flatulence, because they can manifest smells. But, they can’t fart. They don’t have bodies. They don’t need to fart.

He offered to send someone up to check the room. I accepted.  He gave the instruction and continued to sit and talk with me. He told me a story of a quilt on a plantation in Louisiana that kept pulling up when he pushed it down. He finally kicked it off the bed only to find it neatly folded over a chair the next morning. I knew he understood there are some things that can’t be explained by what we know of physics.

We continued to talk. He offered to have the lock checked for key access. I agreed knowing they wouldn’t find any one other than housekeeping and me. We continued to talk. Finally, he offered to give me a new room for the third time telling me if I didn’t move now it would take 45 minutes because the books were closing. So I took him up on the offer and he went with me to the room with a bellhop’s cart and stepped out while I threw everything on it. Then moved me up to the 37th floor on another tower. By the time I slipped between the sheets again I was stone cold sober and still too keyed to sleep at 4am.

And I was grateful. Gratitude for the spirit guides that protect me and who woke me from a sound sleep to keep me safe. Grateful for the seemingly one-sided conversations I have with those guardian angels that probably unnerved a would-be thief enough to deter him from his task. Grateful to the night manager who talked me through my thought process and moved me to a new room.

I lead a charmed life.

Living with fibromyalgia and osteoarthritis for the last 15+ years….

Fighting Fibromyalgia

Reblogged from Creating Chronic Pain Awareness (You can help!).


September is Chronic Pain Awareness Month!  Some of us (and/or our loved ones) are dealing with Chronic Pain on a daily basis.  Sadly, our pain does not end come October 1.I would like readers to share this post (if you don’t mind) and, if you would like your story included, please answer the questions below.  Be sure to link it back to Tracy Rydzy at http://ohwhatapain.wordpress.com or post it as a comment.  Also, please feel free to include the Chronic Pain Awareness logo above on your blog to let others know that you support Chronic Pain Awareness Month and the “Oh What a Pain Chronic Pain Awareness Forum!”  My hope is that by sharing our personal stories, we can create awareness of what it isactually like to live with Chronic Pain and how best to cope with it!

I have created a…

View original post 1,123 more words

Time

Time does not exist. It is an illusion. We are all eternal beings having a temporal experience. Time catches us and folds us in, deluding us into thinking that we will never accomplish all we set out to do. Quantum physics is better at explaining it. And occasionally I have those moments where I am in two bodies, two places and I understand.

She is nothing like me, so when I step into her body, into her life for a moment, I am surprised at how it feels. I wonder where she goes when I am there. Does she know I am there? Does she blank out and later wonder what happened? Does she swap with me somehow and borrow my moments? It is disconcerting to realize the body I inhabit in those moments is not the one to which I am accustomed. She is darker, slim and glamorous, and high maintenance. And yet, we both shop for groceries and travel through airports. I wonder if we have ever encountered each other in person. Did we both step through the same airport in the same moment? Or would that violate some portion of the physics? So I go on, through the illusion of moments thinking about the next point in the space-time continuum where the lines cross and I will step into her again.

Voodoo Doll

Last night it happened again. Every nerve in my body fired at a different time and for a different reason. An itch here. A pang there. A cramp. A twinge. A poke. After four hours I swore someone had a voodoo doll of me and just kept poking it and twisting it so there was no way I could get comfortable.

I could blame the invisible aliens like they had in Star Trek Voyager where only 7 of 9 could see them torturing and experimenting on her crew mates.

It may be ghosts or otherworldly beings trying to get my attention. Problem is, I’m much more receptive to them when I get at least halfway toward a sleeping state.

And it always stops at dawn. As soon as the light comes I can sleep easily and then the alarm goes off and I drag my weary self into the day.

Mom says it’s because she worked nights while she was pregnant with me. So I am programmed to be awake at night and sleep during the day.

It doesn’t help. I can be dog tired and still unable to sleep. Some nights even sleeping pills don’t work. And I rotisserize and dream about sleeping.

I wonder what it would be like to sleep undisturbed from night until morning. Actually, lately I wonder what it would be like to just sleep undisturbed for more than two hours.

The Golden Bubble

Recently a friend of mine was talking about her six children, all of whom are homeschooled. She worries for them, because they have a more limited exposure to the world, that others may try to take advantage of them. And I was reminded of a tool given to me by one of my teachers, the Golden Bubble. Also called the Golden Egg, this tool is a kind of forcefield that helps to protect the energy of the one enclosed and also helps those around them.

The principle is, by completely surrounding oneself with a golden mesh that allows only love to pass through in either direction, the wearer protects her/his energy from psychic attack. In addition, because the mesh works both ways, the wearer cannot issue an attack on others.

It is important to ensure that the bubble or egg is a complete form with no gaps under the feet and no areas that are scrunched or wrinkled. The sphere or ovoid should be whole and should completely and smoothly enclose the wearer. The form is infinitely flexible and can be visualized in any way that helps to convey the concept. Some children may find the idea of a forcefield to be easier to understand. Others may find a soap bubble like the ones they’ve blown to be a better way to see it. Some may think of it in terms of golden light or an aura. And still others will relate more closely to the eggshell. It doesn’t matter how the concept is taught as long as they get the idea of a golden glow that protects the wearer and spreads light and love.

Mothers, fathers, or other caretakers can create a bubble around the ones they love and wish to protect before sending them out to face the day. And anyone can learn to put one on for themselves. A child who knows how to create the bubble for herself will recover more quickly if she feels the one her mother made has worn off. And anyone who suddenly finds herself or himself in a fearful situation can put on the bubble to gain courage to do what’s right.

Yesterday, my friend reported back to me that she had taught her children to put on the Golden Egg at my suggestion. And one day when they had company, her daughter Annie, who was usually so good, was acting up, so my friend grabbed her daughter and took her upstairs and demanded to know what was going on.  Her daughter blurted out “I’m sorry, Mommy. I forgot to put on my egg.” Relieved, my friend helped Annie put on her golden egg, and they both returned to the family room in a better frame of mind.

So my reminder to myself is to put on the Golden Bubble.  It’s not about me (most of the time) and I can be more helpful to others (and myself) if I am able to Spread the Light. 🙂

********

This link from ROFLCat.com may bring a smile:

http://www.roflcat.com/images/cats/I_Has_A_Force_Field.jpg

With gratitude

To everyone who has read a post here or liked a post or commented, my sincere thanks.

This blog is an experiment for me. A way to start having my name out in the world attached to my writing. So anyone who helps me as I grow and change and still manages to follow my meandering posts is my hero, and I am grateful to you.

My parents found me challenging, my siblings probably more so. It’s not that I’m trying to be difficult, it’s just that I see things differently than most people and I will point it out. Probably when you least expect it. And you will think long and hard about whether the things I ask you to consider are worth the difficulty of thinking about them. Some of you will give up and leave. And I am still grateful that you gave me what you could.

That thought…

I’ve never had that thought before… I’ve always been able to rise above, to consider that “this too shall pass” and, yet,  it came, unbidden, as I was sitting at the dining room table one day not long ago – “I don’t think I can live like this.”

That thought hasn’t appeared again. It never occurred to me before. What has changed? Maybe it’s perimenopause. Maybe it’s something else. Maybe it’s true?  No, I don’t think so… at least not today.

I’ve lived with diagnoses of fibromyalgia and osteoarthritis (and a few other things) for more than 10 years. I’ve worked 40+ hours per week. I haven’t asked for or really considered disability. So why did I have that thought? My marriage is basically happy. My life is pretty good. And yet, on that day, in that moment, I considered another option.

And then I felt guilty. I am not dying of an incurable disease like ALS or cancer. I do not have a progressively worsening diagnosis such as MS. And yet the pain can be so debilitating that in a moment of weakness that thought occurred to me.

The strange weather this season has taken a toll on everyone I know with chronic pain such as  migraines or arthritis or anything else. Here in tropical Minnesota  it was 80 degrees F (or maybe it’s 80 F* degrees?) on March 15th!!  Not normal weather for this part of the country.  Of course, within two weeks there were severe frosts that took out a lot of budding fruit trees.  On April 19, 2011, I documented a snowfall on my digital camera. And the weather has bounced around from Summer to Winter then briefly to Spring. Those kinds of atmospheric changes wreak havoc on anyone with chronic pain.

And the thunderstorms these last few nights kept me awake… which adds to the cycle – lack of sleep, increase in stress, increase in pain.

One of my favorite speakers, Dr Edward Creagan of Mayo Clinic, gave a presentation this week and said the basics to reduce stress  include: walk 30 minutes a day; strength training; restorative sleep (and he added “which most of us never get”); plant-based diet.  When a woman asked him about insomnia, he suggested winding down for 30-45 minutes before bed.  I wanted to ask him “What about when the hot flashes wake me up?”  “What about when the pain wakes me up?” “What about when the I-just-can’t-get-comfortable rotisserizing starts?” And I know the answer is “Go back to the basics.”

It’s that simple — if only it were that easy…