Wednesday, February 20, 2019

...will it ever be spring again ??

  My beautiful clematis, which, in 2018 did not bloom or grow for the first time in 15 years. We'll see if she shows her face this year or if the dogs have possibly murdered her.  I decided this morning that I am going to WILL away this horrid winter by changing my FB profile picture to my road in the summer...[here]
 And by thinking spring thoughts. So I will start spring cleaning today as well, starting here in this  hellhole of an office, where the desk calendar still says January and the crap is piling up faster than  toilet paper during a colonoscopy cleanse.  There are a million things to do and I just got out of my pj's and into some sweats. Then realized I have to eat something, so heated up some leftover minestrone soup and am back here at the computer again. Eating. lol  Decided I would multi-task and do a little writing that I've been wanting to do but just didn't have the energy. Am feeling better mostly, so today's the day I tackle a few things. 

  The weather here has been atrocious. A few weeks ago we had almost 14 inches of snow that hung around for 2 weeks because it was too cold to melt. And again last night we had a storm sweep through that dropped some snow (not much) and a LOT of ice.  The this morning the temps started climbing and are supposed to hit 45.  60 by Saturday. And this is the roller coaster we've been riding for 2 months.  From 0 to 35 to 27 to 60. And then back to 10. Major suckage. You never know how to dress. So I just stay at home , inside, in my pajamas.  lol

 There have been some gawdawful bugs and viruses going around these parts. Immediately following my tests the 3rd of February, I picked one up that flattened me.  Finally started feeling a little better about 14 days later.  I was sleeping 12-16 hours a day sometimes. Coughing, fever, sore throat... utter and total exhaustion.  Tonight I was supposed to go to a welcome home potluck for a friend, but now she is sick and so everything was cancelled. I'm still going to make the chicken and rice casserole that I had planned and we will have that for supper. It's a lovely one dish meal that bakes at a low temp for a little over 3 hours, so it can cook while I work and warm the house and make things smell good. If that kind of thing interests you, you can find the recipe here: YumYum   (I don't often cook things with store bought soups or mixes, but this one is special. lol)

  I ordered a new wingback chair cover off Amazon this morning. Can't wait.  I have a 15 dollar yard sale find Ethan Allen wingback chair that I've had about 14 years. The cats and kittens over the years have destroyed the beautiful upholstery, but the bones are still good.  I have been covering it with a hodgepodge of covers and blankets that didn't fit it really, and decided it's time for this beauty to have a real slipcover. lol  It will be here Friday. Almost ordered a love seat cover as well, but decided that could wait. Don't need to be spending a lot of money since I'm not working anymore. I resigned from my pt job when the diverticulitis hit and then hit again and again making me unable to keep my commitment. I sent them a letter resigning and they called me and said they had been worried and that if things changed I always had a place on their team. (That was very nice)
 I am used to having a little extra money in my pocket... but I don't know if I want to do that work again.. the standing and sweeping and mopping really hurts me, I can barely do that at home, where I don't have deadlines.  We'll see what happens...

  So I am starting to feel better all around and am hopefully on the mend. My attitude is certainly better.  Getting a no cancer no polyps/clean bill of health (except for the diverticulitis)  certainly relieved a lot of my anxiety.  Who knows ?? I might be back running marathons any day now. (Just kidding. If you see me running ANYWHERE, you'd better run too, because there's probably a bear behind me!)

  TTFN, kids.
See ya on the flip side.


Wednesday, January 9, 2019

Another trip around the sun...

  Well well... another new year. Another holiday season come and gone.  Will all the survivors please raise your hands ? lol

  I celebrated my 66th birthday on Sunday (the 6th--66 on the 6th.  hmmm).  Lots of turbulence in this year 2019.  First off, they are dumping me off SS Disability and into the swarming pot of regular old people Social Security. Not much changing there-- same money, same pay date (the one thing I had hoped would change) same Medicare.  Just the IDEA I guess that I am now a senior citizen. People who AREN'T this old say  "OH, it's just a number!!"  People who ARE say-- moan...welcome to the club. Personally, I'm still astonished to have lived this long, as I do not come from a line of long livers. (snort).  At any rate here I am and there you go.  The good news is that since I rolled into SS at age 66, which is full retirement age, I am allowed to earn a sizable income without penalty.  Yay for me. And since I started working part time last August, there's that. So...

  Sunday morning, in preparation for a breakfast potluck, I had a french toast casserole in the oven and accidentally dumped over a Pyrex measuring cup of butter I was melting onto the floor of said oven, causing a 3 alarm fire (not really) but certainly flames and fire and smoke filling up the house. Luckily the first casserole was finished cooking and turned out to be delicious. Second one never got made. Opened all the windows, put dogs outside, got window fan and sucked all the smoke out.  Sigh... Used salt to put out the flames (took a bit) and so the mess of burned caked on salt was left to clean up later in the day (unless of course I just got in my car and started driving, never to return. Then his next wife could clean it up.)  Had a fun day all in all, because who doesn't like a good fire story ??  Got a card from himself which read "The results are in !" with a little mousie doctor on the front. Inside it said  "YOU'RE OLD !!"  Yup. And 2 gifts from friends, one a lovely wax warmer with Honeysuckle scented wax melts and the other this:
Part of a running joke around these parts. lol  I have a refrigerator magnet that says this as well as a gold sign for my front door which reads "The queen of Quite A Lot lives  HERE."

 Got home that evening and after a bit started having some crazy pains in my lower left abdominal quadrant.  Thought maybe I had pulled a muscle or something. Kept hurting worse, I went to bed and laid on a heating pad, which didn't really help, but was comforting. Later started passing blood and got scared. Not a lot. At first.  Told himself that if it wasn't better in the morning I would go to the dr or the ER.  He wondered if I needed to go now, but ever the optimist I said no,  tomorrow would be fine. He muttered something about, yeah, fine if you're not dead, which I cheerfully ignored and went to bed. I woke up in pain and bleeding more  around 5:30 and he was up and getting ready for work. I called off work and went back to bed. At 9 called doc, who wasn't going to be in that day and they told me to go to ER. So off I went, doubled over in pain and sweating and it was all just so stupid.  6 hours and multiple tests later they concluded that I had Acute Diverticulitis, gave me pain pills and a massive antibiotic and sent me home. They wanted to give me pain stuff there, but I told them I had to drive home so, no. Armed with prescriptions I finally left there after 6 PM. When I came back from the CT scan, himself was there waiting. His boss heard him talking on the phone to me (when I was still in the waiting room, after 1:30) and when he hung up said "Was that your wife?" He said yes and the boss was like--hell man--get out of here.  Go down to the hospital !!  So, there he was. I hadn't had anything to eat all day and no coffee, so I had a terrible headache. He was concerned about me driving and I said we're driving to a restaurant right down the hill, I have to eat and have some coffee. lol  After we ate breakfast (for supper--I had a great spinach mushroom and swiss omelet) I convinced him that he could go home and tend the critters and I would stop at the Walcrap and get the prescriptions filled.   Got there and the girl says, it will be a half hour to an hour if you're going to wait.  I looked around and saw 3 people and said--seriously??  I was hurting and she said yeah, sorry. So I hobbled over to a bench and sat. It took them 45 minutes to fill a prescription for 20 hydrocodones for pain and 20 Augmentin (antibiotic) . The generics for these cost me close to a hundred dollars.  I got home, opened the bag and took out the Augmentin (which I had to start that night) and it was a sealed, pre-filled bottle !!!  They didn't even have to COUNT those pills...Grrr.... This world will make you crazy.

  So, I have been off work all week so far, and I was pondering what would happen at work (will they fire me) when they called and said since I had been off 3 days I needed a dr note to come back. I told them it was going to be next Monday before I come back (I am off Sat/Sun). I sent a text message to the MyChart thingy and they texted me back that they could not send that without seeing me. Yesterday I had sent them a message asking for a follow up appt and they said that I had a "hospital generated" appt and that would be fine. I looked and it wasn't until Feb 1st.  The ER doc had been adamant about my being followed up immediately, so I was surprised by this. Plus-- they didn't tell me they had set one up. I called the actual dr office and they set me up for tomorrow at 11 AM.   I am still hurting. Am very tired and weak.  And cranky. The bleeding has stopped but the pain has not.  I am  wrecked. 

  I have never had digestive issues.  My first thought when they told me what was happening was-- OH HELL NO !!  I eat way too much brown rice and kale for this to be going on ! lol  SO who knows?   They (the medical world)  have changed their ideas about what the causes and treatments are for this and  the old stories of seeds and nuts are no longer holding water.  So everything I thought I knew, which admittedly wasn't much,  is incorrect. And so begins a journey of  dealing with what could be a life long learning experience about something I really never wanted to know about.

  I cleaned up a little and laid down a little a few times, and got the Xmas decorations all taken down and put away. Thankfully I didn't get very elaborate with that stuff this year. We had our usual guests for Xmas Eve supper, had a good time and that was about the extent of Christmas here. I'm going to lay down again and then get up and try to run the vacuum after I put a meatloaf in the oven. A basic lightly seasoned meatloaf with some mashed potatoes and gravy  and some stir fried cabbage I think. Himself will be home in a couple of hours. The weather went from high 60's on Monday to high 50's yesterday to mid 30's today.  Might be looking at snow by the weekend. Crazy  weather.  

  Well, there's the 2019 early report from Honeysuckle Hill...a little out of the way place on the prairie where life keeps chugging along and the folks keep trying to move forward and be kind.  as much as they can. lol

Sunday, October 28, 2018

There's a visitor here...

A little dog that had to be pulled from the clutches of  Cruella de Vil to avoid being taken to the pound. A very unfortunate situation that I am peripherally involved in and could not just stay out of it. He's a little MinPin/Doxie mix, small, 3 years old.  It will most likely be an extended temporary situation. I am probably a fool for doing this, but it is what it is, and I couldn't just let it get killed.  He wants so badly to play with the other dogs, lol, and he and the Meemonster are doing okay, but the bigger dogs scare me. Molly is known to be a little snarky and Bella is so big that I don't trust her for a few days.  The other dogs are outside right now  and he is in here with me, whining to go back outside in the sunshine.
Myma keeps staring at him like she thinks it's her. lol  The big dogs are a little befuddled too because they do look a lot alike. lol He's about  2/3  Myma's size though, and every bit as annoying. lol

  Life has been a crazy whirlwind lately. I've been working  [too much], busy with other things, trying to keep my house clean [and failing]. Called off today because I haven't slept hardly at all last night and felt really crummy. I'm off tomorrow, so should be able to get myself back on track. Ran over around 8 AM and picked up this dog. Laying low for the rest of the day.

   Here's Myma:

  Here they are. laying together on a pillow by the computer..

And now it's days later. The little guy was rehomed to some very nice people, the proverbial shit has hit the fan at Cruella's house (it needed to) and lots of stuff in the air.    I have to leave for work in about 40 minutes, a young woman just came to the door and asked if it was my cows that were out at the bottom of the hill, and the dogs went bonkers when she came to the door. lol  There's never a dull moment around here.

  Yesterday there was a horrific shooting in a synagogue in Boston. There have been bombs being sent to Democratic leaders and outspoken critics of this current administration. There is so much hate in this country and unspeakable acts being perpetrated every day. This practice of hate and fear mongering is going to be the death of this democracy. The elections are coming up next week and I hope to God that we can shift the balance of power of this tyranny we live under.  I almost threw up yesterday when tRump said We must unify America...he is the one that has been stirring up all this hate in his base and in my opinion is the one responsible for anything that happens as a result of it. He has outspokenly blamed Democrats for everything under the sun. Even the caravan of migrants coming from Central America. Blaming the  media for anything they say about him or his policies as being fake news, even when it direct quotes ON FILM of things he has said. My guess is that he thought this was all very funny until it got so out of hand. Watch clips of him at his rallies. Listen to the words coming out of his mouth. Never in the history of America (except possibly Andrew Jackson) has there been a leader of this country with less dignity and integrity. The reputation of America has been ground into the mud in the past 2 years and I don't know if we will ever recover from it.

  I know a few people who truly believe in and defend this presidency, and I do not understand it.  If a lie is repeated enough times, it still is not the truth.   If America becomes a country that refuses to live by all it's basic tenets, then who are we ?  There is so much fear. This hatred, this living in fear...this is not who we are.  This is not who I am. 

Monday, October 1, 2018

Not feeling elegant or blessed...

Feeling angry. Enraged. Furious. 

One in 5 women will be raped at some point in their lives. 1 in 71 men will be. 81% of women who experienced sexual assault suffer from post traumatic stress syndrome and other  short and long term impacts. 
  • The prevalence of false reporting is low between 2% and 10%. For example, a study of eight U.S. communities, which included 2,059 cases of sexual assault, found a 7.1% rate of false reports (i). A study of 136 sexual assault cases in Boston found a 5.9% rate of false reports (h). Researchers studied 812 reports of sexual assault from 2000-2003 and found a 2.1% rate of false reports (g).
  • Rape is the most under-reported crime; 63% of sexual assaults are not reported to police (m)

  I am walking around like a time bomb. I'm not the only one. Every time I hear one more stupid thing come out of Washington DC I want to scream.  And now with the investigation into Brett Kavanaugh and the accusations of rape by 3 different women (so far)... I can barely control myself.  In case you don't understand what is happening, let me clue you in.  When you have been the victim of sexual assault, it sears into your psyche like you've been branded. With a burn that never heals. And sometimes you can walk around in your life for a long time, pushing it down, ignoring it and distracting yourself enough that it isn't in the front of your brain. But all it takes is a little ignorant remark, a smell, a sound... and you are right back in it like it happened this morning. And the nature of post traumatic stress is that it consumes you. It takes you over.  It disconnects you from the present and sends you right back down to the hell that you found yourself in when you were assaulted. 

  I am in that hell now. And I  cannot seem to shake it off this time.  And it is dressing itself up as rage. I am so everyone. At everything.  I am screaming and crying and generally losing my shit. And it's scaring me to death. 

  I have always prided myself on not playing a victim. Of anything... of fate, of circumstance.  But lately I am feeling like a victim. The word HATE keeps spewing out of my mouth.  I am swearing and  screaming in the car. I am getting so angry at inconsequential things that I am shaking. And I'm not sure what to do.

  I am afraid. 

  I am afraid that everything we have accomplished in the realm of women's rights is being lost. I am afraid that all has been for nothing. I am afraid that violent men are being encouraged and rewarded for their abhorrent behavior by the fact that we have a serial sexual assaulter in the highest government of this country who thinks he can do anything he likes to women because he is a [rich] man.  And in all the levels of government as well. And when these men and the things they say are in the most public arena and it is declared that "Boys will be boys"  the vile acts of predators and rapists are considered acceptable.  Well, it is NOT acceptable. Not to me and not to the millions of women in this country who have been raped and assaulted. 

  I am afraid that I do not matter, in the end. Because when these acts are trivialized and ignored, you are telling me that I don't matter. And it triggers the rage that I am experiencing right now. In case you don't know it, rage and anger save me from my fear. They empower me and lift me up. And they exhaust me. Because like drinking those energy drinks or using cocaine, at some point you have to crash. The anger and rage are not sustainable and the crash is inevitable. And that's when the real trouble begins.

  The deck is stacked.  And we are on the losing side. And it scares the hell out of me, because we are playing for keeps here.  I need to speak my truth. I need to face my fears head on. I need to stop telling myself that I was responsible for the things that happened to me.  I need to stop believing the giant lie that this culture perpetuates when it makes it too hard to report and prosecute these events.  When it marginalizes the victims of sexual assault.  I was 9  the first time, molested for a couple of years.  There is no way that it could have remotely been my fault, yet everything was swept under the rug and I was told I was exaggerating or making it up.  I was 14 the next time. At a party drinking. And I believed that it was my fault then too... I shouldn't have been at the party. I shouldn't have been drinking. Me Me Me. And in my early 20's I was violently assaulted and raped by a complete stranger.  Again,  I somehow believed that my behavior was partly responsible because I have heard this shit all my life.. "She shouldn't have been THERE.  She shouldn't have been doing That. Look at how she dresses--she's asking for it. " And a million other inane ridiculous things people say. Like so many wrong things I have heard all my life, I internalized them, and after my experiences at 9 years old, I NEVER TOLD ANYONE AGAIN. I never asked anyone for help.  And now, at almost 66 years old, I am about to implode.

  No More.  I know there are decent men. I know not every man is a sexual predator. But when I am in the middle of a melt down of this proportion, you all look alike to me. It isn't fair I guess. But you will never understand that you have been making the rules regarding me and my body and my psyche my whole life, and that makes you guilty. I can no longer sit here on my hands and not speak. This society of ours constantly tells women that we are not enough (look at national advertising). That we are not worth as much as men (look at pay scales). That we do not have anything to say in the way laws are made and this country is run  (look at the disproportionate numbers of men vs women in our government offices). Yes, I am angry. And I can't tell you how many times I have been told growing up that it...isn't very ladylike to be so get angry... and I have pictures of me as a child where I looked so enraged that it scared the adult me. This anger is not new. And I have been very angry and very scared for the past 2 years, as I have watched and heard unbelievable shit come out of the mouth of that man  that sits in the White House (and seemingly decent people just laughed it off, or looked a tad embarrassed and averted their eyes. But still endorsed him). As I have watched  again and again as men in the government are being charged with sex crimes of one kind or another. Ministers, Priests... when does it stop ?  When do you stop looking the other way?  When it's YOUR daughter ?? YOUR sister ?  YOUR mother ?  When ??

  Yes, I am angry.  And I am old.  And that is a very dangerous combination. 

Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Thunderstorms and Hummingbirds

  Well well well...

  Been a little crazy around here. A few days after my last post, I had some kind of an "episode" and wound up in the ER.  Came out of the blue and knocked me on my ass. Severe pain, left side of my chest, through my breast and chest wall.  They gave me nitro(x 2) to no avail. They gave me morphine (x 2) to no avail.  They ran tests... I was afraid it was a pulmonary embolism (I couldn't breathe without crying). Himself thought I was having a heart attack (I didn't). Doctors can't figure out what it was. Not GERD.  The CT scan (with dye) showed no clots, but did show some weirdness in my lungs, so yesterday I saw a pulmonologist. He is ordering more tests to be done in the next couple of weeks. They kept me overnight for observation  finally around 3-4 AM the pain started abating.  Nothing since then, except a little shortness of breath, but nothing serious. Who knows ??   I was finally discharged and came home and packed and headed off to a conference up north. lol  Been on the run ever since. Helped someone move last weekend which wore me out.  Working short hours this week for a couple of reasons. (If only they paid you better to be retired. I like it best). lol   I have a visit tomorrow with my new doctor ( primary care) and we'll see what she has to say about all this.  Everyone is very proud of me for following directions and actually following up with drs after the hospital visit. Pfffttt...  lol

  Things seem much more quiet around here without my big old boy cat. Down to only one cat now. 3 dogs. One fish. This is an extremely small menagerie for us here on Honeysuckle Hill. Still... I really don't want any more critters at this point. My heart is bruised still from the loss of my Caylee and my Keiko.  Molly McGee the Jack Russell Terrorist will probably be next,a s she's about 13 years old and starting to act like it. Unless this stupid puppy runs away and gets run over out there (not the smartest knife in the drawer, that one) and I question her ability to pay attention enough to not get  killed.  She likes to streak out the front door while himself is trying to get the other dogs on leads. She will stay gone for hours and no matter how hard you try you cannot get her in. It's a glorious game for her (if you DO find her) to let you get within about 4 feet of her, she wags her tail, grins and shoots off in the other direction at about 50 mph. Sigh...

  It's a rainy day here. We've had a past week of stupid high temps again, with heat indexes in the triple digits. You can't breathe when it's like that.  Today's high is supposed to be 79. Then back into the low to mid 80's again. The corn is drying, the leaves are starting to turn (slowly) and it feels like the end of September today. But it's not.  Goofy worldwide, I know. 

 Anybody know how to disable that stupid reCaptcha thing on my comments section ? It's driving me nuts. I fooled around with it a bit last night but gave up.  Grrr... I hate when they put stuff on my internet without my express permission to do so.  

 So, in a nutshell, it's been pretty boring here. I am not canning. I am working about 22 hours a week, mostly.  I got my first paycheck. Blah.  lol  The world keeps surprising me in good and sad ways.  I am growing old. Hell, my SON is growing old. lol I am off to work in about an hour where I will do some light housekeeping and probably play a few hands of gin rummy with a woman who's been on the planet about 20 years longer than I have and has lots of funny stories.  It's a short shift, so I'll have plenty of time to get home and do some cleaning of my own. In the meantime I'm opening a few strategic windows and turning on some fans to blow out the dog stink. That's always a good thing...

 I love the feel of the negative ions in a rainstorm... 

Columbia University’s ion researcher, Michael Terman, said, “The action of the pounding surf creates negative air ions and we also see it immediately after spring thunderstorms when people report lightened moods.”
Columbia University also conducted a study using negative ion generators to see their effect on people with winter and chronic depression. The study showed that these generators helped relieve depression as much as antidepressants.
“The best part is that there are relatively no side effects, but we still need to figure out appropriate doses and which people it works best on,” Terman said.
Felix Sulman, head of the applied pharmacology department at Jerusalem University, conducted experiments with negative and positive ions using a cross-section of men and women between the ages of 20 and 65. When they were put in a room that contained primarily positive ions, they became irritable and fatigued.
However, when they were confined to a room containing primarily negative ions, their brainwaves suggested increased alertness and relaxation. Their alertness and work capacity were tested by various means.
What is significant is that they all scored higher during and immediately after their exposure to increased levels of negative ions.

  Have a good Wednesday, everyone... 

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

My world is spinning out of control...

In the great cosmic scheme of things...

    6 planets in retrograde, eclipses, alignments... the heavens are crazy.  Here on planet earth, I am crazy. Crazy things are happening.  Birth, death, and all the time in between.  I am at an age where the people who are my peers are starting to die and it's got me freaking out a little.  I found out this morning that my high school pal that I reconnected with a couple of years ago has died.  She was going in to the hospital for one last surgery, and was found unresponsive after she got home.  We had just talked and were planning another of our famous "lunches"  as soon as she was back on her feet.  I will never get to hug her or laugh with her again.  She had such a zest and joy for life. In my memory, that light will never be dimmed. Off to her next adventure... peace be with you, my darling girl.

  I have been weepy all evening.  I have been very angry the past few days.  Angry at my husbandman and the dogs and everything that makes me work harder and more than I care to.  Angry at myself for being so angry.  Been sitting in meditation and praying and doing any and every thing I can think of to quell these emotions.  Everything, that is, except trying to figure out what's triggering all this.  It's a fact that I am tired.  I am in the middle of my second week of being back at work after a 17 year hiatus.  I haven't settled into a routine yet.  My  householding chores need organizing so I don't have to feel like I'm working 24/7.  (I'm not- but it feels like it).  Some days I am better than others. And it isn't work-- that is proving to be a good thing for the most part. I haven't gotten a paycheck yet, but will on the 24th. I only have to see my toughest client once this week, as I am going to a state conference for AA this coming weekend, and asked for Fri-Sun off.  So, there's that.  I have a friend who works in a bank which was robbed today. She is  going through what anyone would after having been in that kind of traumatizing situation.  My heart hurts for her... and then I realize that in 5 days (8/20) it will be the 33rd anniversary of my father's death.  The year I became an orphan. Lots of  cell memory there. I always react on a psychic emotional level to this every year when it comes around, and it is always a surprise when I realize that's what's going on.  I will probably never understand it.     I find a small comfort in knowing that it's the reason for my  over reacting and my (sort of) misplaced grief.  I seem to have a lot of people in my life right now with cancer. My father died of cancer.  Another friend of mine just underwent surgery on Monday for cancer.  Am waiting for her call... the daughter called and said it went well, and that her mom would call me in a few days. I am getting antsy, but trying not to call her because I have no idea what's going on over there. Her family is with her...I am not her family. I feel like I am in limbo... and that doesn't help things.  So I try to just... breathe.  And cry. And rail at death and all it's injustice. And sit in the quiet a little more. And try to make sense of my life and this world and all the stuff that goes with it. 

  It's nearing midnight and I need sleep. Have to get up at 6 to begin a long split workday tomorrow.  Then I am off to the conference, where I will talk and be with like minded people, many of whom are probably going through their own brand of tragedies and fears and  happinesses and successes.  And I will just keep walking, trying to make sense of things that are truly beyond my ken and probably none of my business.  I will keep trudging, and learning with each new day little life lessons that will prepare me for the days ahead.  And even through my tears...through my anger... through my fear... I will try to be grateful for this life that's been given me.  The grief I am experiencing will abate. (Until probably this time next year).  My weeping will stop. And I will wake up to a new day...a little stronger and maybe even a little wiser. 

  (Hey-- it could happen.)

Thursday, August 9, 2018

Why do I write ?

  I think the only thing missing from this picture is the clumps of hair that you pull out, as you gnash your teeth and beat your breast.  And spilled coffee, or coffee rings on all the papers where you don't need them to be.

  I recently finished a short story.  One that I started a few years back and then tossed aside thinking it wasn't going anywhere.  I ran across it again recently and read through it, thinking it wasn't too bad. Some parts of it are marvelous.  Then I couldn't stop thinking about it.  Now, having a few more years of life happen to me since starting it, I have finished it.  I think.  Not sure what to do with it, but I'm sure the answer will come.

  Yesterday my dear old Paco the cat died. He was considerate enough to wait until I got home to say goodbye. At the very end, I walked him out into the sunshine in the backyard, one of his favorite hunting and sunning places. We walked around, him wrapped in a towel and me crying like a baby. Looked at the mess of a yard, the daisies, the overgrown garden beds, the butterflies. Told him how much better my life had been with him in it. Asked him if he remembered when he first walked into my life, up from the direction of the pond, and waited until the older male cat had passed before he would come in the house. My heart is breaking even as I write this, but it's important for me to write it down. To get it out of me and let the healing begin. He had a good spoiled happy life here on Honeysuckle Hill, and I will be forever grateful for his presence in my world. Here's one of my favorite pictures of him:

 The vet thought he was probably at least 14 or 15 when he came to us. Which makes him 19 or so now I guess. Which is a good long life for a big cat. RIP my darling.

  So, I have written on my social media page about the loss and about a hundred people offered condolences. Some phone calls (although last night I really didn't want to talk to anyone).  And it helps to know that people care about you when you're hurting. But for me, nothing helps as much as writing.  I started journaling as a young girl, probably about 10 or 11.  A teacher had suggested I try it. A way to chronicle my emotions and my frustrations, and empty out my head.  It was great advice. I grew up in a crazy house with too many kids (I'm the oldest, so you know how that goes) and a mother who drank and a father who was always at work. I was smart, but angry.  I was rebellious. And this teacher suggested that I try channeling the anger especially into putting words to paper, and so... there you go.  I have been writing in one form or another ever since. I have written poetry, short stories, technical stuff, blogs (thank you God for the internet age !!)  and even have had a thing or two published.  And I write lots of crap, that is just puking on paper. (That's pretty poetic, isn't it ? lol)  But more than once it has saved me in ways I didn't know I needed saving. And so I am grateful. 

  I cannot imagine people that do this for a living. Some days I would rather clean toilets in a big city bus station than write. But I do it because I need to. Because I have to. And I wouldn't change it for anything. (But I'm still working doing something else. )  Sigh...

  Okay. Enough of this dithering. I have a few things to do before I leave for work. Today's shift is from 12:45 to 4:45.  Even I can do that. But here on the hill there are floors to sweep and porches to clean up and a load of laundry to dry and fold because yesterday I bought a new package of socks for me and underwear for himself and I need the socks today. lol I may even get this desk cleared off so I can get back to knowing what I'm doing from one day to the next. (Can't see the desk calendar, and even if I could, it's probably still on May...).  

  Once again, I get to choose gratefulness over grief, and pull up my big girl panties and soldier on.  The sun rose once again, there are dogs to be fed and householding to be done. And in the end, love conquers all.

  Doesn't it ?