Monday, December 31, 2007

2007-The End

Not the end of the blog, the end of the year. Other than a time to reflect, I've always wondered what the signficance was about the turning of a calendar page. I suppose we do need markers to tell us to look back over the paths recently taken.

That is such a human thing-the reflection. Greta is not reflecting over her surgery she had in January, or last minute rescue from a life of puppy mill bondage. She's out barking at the squirrels and defending the manor against maurading mastiffs.

But, I am a human, not a dog, so I will reflect a bit. Just not now, I don't feel particulary reflective. This past year has been a wild ride-in years past I would cheer the passing of such a year. But in my old age, I know know that the turning of a calendar page means nothing more than a marker-change and new hope come from within.

Farewell 2007, you taught me much.

Happy New Year to you all-I'm looking forward to sharing our next round of adventures.

Sunday, December 30, 2007

A link to a link

POIDOGZ: Beam Me Up Scotty: In the beginnng

Posted this on the wrong blog. Even in cyberspace I still get lost sometimes.

The Red Cowgirl Boots

I bought a pair of red cowgirl boots at a thrift store. I was originally going to make a planter out of one, and a wine cooler out of the other. Then I thought, two wine coolers, and use one as a hostess gift for a horsey event I'm attending. THEN, I thought, a very unique western style aroma diffuser.....THEN...needless to say, there are only two boots and so many ideas.

But, I bought some leather belts at the thrift store to make handles for the wine cooler if that's what I decide to do. And some foot tree things to keep the front of the boot shaped no matter what I do with the shaft.

I'm going to let the ideas ferment, and on New Year's Day I will create something with my leather boots. In fact, New Year's day is going to be all about creating, that's how I want to spend it-not avoiding cleaning or chores or whatever, just creating and playing with my dogs. Happy New Year to Me!

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Do I have SAD?

That sounds like a Dr. Suess Book. I have SAD. SAD SAD SAD. It could be bad, oh yes, very bad.

SAD is probably no laughing matter, and I probably have it. But I already take Prozac, and I have a natural light lamp I need to hook up for the prescribed minutes of the day and see if that makes things better. Wouldn't it be great if it worked?

If not, I suppose I'll have to head out to the Caribbean in order to recover my good mood. Hey, maybe SAD aint so bad....

Friday, December 28, 2007

Love Soap

Say it slowly .....Luuuuuuuuuuuuuuuve Soap. A friend sent me some Love Soap for Christmas. I'm supposed to soap myself off daily, saying the affirmation for love while I do. In 60 days, my soul mate will be here.

I can't try the soap just now because I'm going to Florida and I don't really want to carry a used bar of soap with me, and heaven only knows what I'd get with a 10 day interruption in my soaping routine. (Maybe I'd just get laid.....hmmmmm)

No, I must be strong and work the mojo of the love soap according to the instructions. But today, for some reason, I'm having a big old time just saying Luuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuve Soap.

Illustration Friday-Soar

Thursday, December 27, 2007

The open road...

Or at least the road to Muskogee, beckons. I am taking my Mom and my Aunt to see their cousin or niece or aunt who is the same age or a little older than they are. I don't quite get it, but my Grandfather had grown kids when he married my Grandma Effie and had a new batch of kids, so some odd combos have resulted. (uh, including me I guess)

Aunt Rita (as I know this woman) is outspoken, a very talented artist, and dabbles in animal husbandry, including exoitc chickens and parrots. Needless to say I've always liked her. When she lived in OKC, her neighbors had horses, so I spent most of the visits to her in the backyard petting the horses and Rita's Pomeranian. For all I really know, she could be a talented ax murderer, but I liked her dogs, therefore I liked her.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

My First Cosmic Cowgirl Thing!

My Christmas Sister (Carol) sent me a really awesome handpainted vintage train case. Its painted with stars and on the top says Cosmic Cowgirl and in the front "We have more fun than anyone " ...the Sisters on the Fly motto. I am so in love with it.

Inside were many goodies, but my favorite was the potato. (Carol is from Idaho). We are going to have my potato for New Years Eve with the left over ribs from Christmas Eve.

Idaho sounds like a really cool place and I hope to get up there some time. It's the birthplace of the Appaloosa, one of my favorite horses. Ahhh, the road calls.

I'm hitching up the Cowgirl in January for a Sister get together in Broken Bow. It will be "dry camping", the trailer is winterized, but I have my horsey robe, my paddock boots and my train case and I'm going to find a cool martini shaker-so I'll be all set!

I've got some things in various stages for the Cowgirl, but I'm really tickled to have something complete and ready for the trip. The train case makes it seem like a reality-hitching up and off on our maiden voyage!

Dang where did all that snow come from?

On Sunday, the yahoo forecast said sunny and glorious the rest of the week. Apparently the weather does not read yahoo. So, I was pretty surprised at the snow.

I toddled down to my folk's house with a protein drink in hand, wearing pink socks and blue sandals. Why let reality change the dress code for the day? We discussed plans for an April trip-I could tell Mom had cabin fever because she told me she did. I offered that I was mid-range depressed, but felt the first thing that one had to do was just put it out there and not ignore it.

My folks were astounded that I was shocked by the snow. "It's been on the local news for days."....but I don't watch the local news. It's just another example of how we live 40 feet apart and completely in different worlds. I'm not saying that as a bad thing, in fact, it's downright interesting.

I know Sol and Sandra's world (they live across the street) has to be different from ours. He's from Guatemala, her parent's are from Mexico, and they have two small children. I enjoy them because they enjoy how different we all are-they have trouble reconciling me as the daughter of Claude and Betty.

6 months into this, I think it would have been easier if I had bought a house even one block over-but this little house presented itself, and I think sometimes easier isn't always the best. Being lazy, it is now easier just to tackle the issues as they present rather than move to avoid them. And dang it, I really like this little house.

When you live this close, worlds don't just overlap, they collide. But I still can shake the belief that this is an unbelievable opportunity that I have here. It's that hope thing again isn't it?

I'd gladly trade off a fraction of hope for a fraction more patience though....

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Looking for the Hopeful Tomorrow

Do you ever struggle just to find something good to say and can't? Yet, you don't want to say nothing at all. I don't want to write about my "black mood"; according to I am having a bad day. No, really? Thank you for your holiday quiz.

There is something ungrateful and taboo about being grumpy on Christmas Day. And yet, I am, and I have every right to be. I also have a lot of good things going on in my life too. Come on, rational mind, kick in and lighten the mood.

Errr, nope, it isn't going to happen. This is just one of them thar days where I can manage to annoy myself. It's like trying to blog right through writer's block, it just doesn't always work.

We were talking about competition today and my Mom said "isn't the point that most people lose?" and I found that so sad. Because I really look at it from the other side-"some people win". It reminded me of that alien race of toys in Small Soldiers-the ones who were designed to never win the game. The leader's name was Archer.

Another Momism from today..."I make do with what I have, isn't that what you are supposed to do?"....well, I've always worked to get what I wanted myself.

And the difference is, hope. I have this undying belief that I can figure it out, make it better and push on. Mom battens down the hatches and survives on what she has.

My parents pretty much live life in a world that is 900 SQF. and life is what they say it is. It's safe for them, and I think for the most part they are happy. At least they are happier on 49th street than "Out there..."

But my little patch of 49th street is just an outpost to a much larger world. And, the fundamental difference, I believe, is hope.

FWD Game

I was on Switchsky's blog and she is playing a pay it forward game. I wanted to play as well.

The rules are simple-the first 3-5 people who want to play will post a comment on this blog entry. I have 365 days to send them a handmade item. They will in turn post the same thing on their blogs. (They will volunteer their own handmade items, not mine....) Handmade could also mean a poem, etc. I think the general idea is you send a piece of yourself. Anyone want a piece of me?

Monday, December 24, 2007

Star Gazer

This is the virtual pony I got for Christmas. I was going to say something to my parents about it, but the realized that that could be taken as criticism of my upbringing. I think the holidays are hard for many of us because we just don't know what to say to keep the peace.

We spent part of today together, my parents and I, and will spend some time together tomorrow as well. In light of the past week's enforced togetherness, I decided and announced we wouldn't be doing any all day "things". We'll eat lunch and go visit Uncle John.

It's a little strange, because in the past Christmas was a three day "event" because I was coming in or they were coming in from out of town. While it doesn't feel quite normal this year, it doesn't feel bad at all. We still get to enjoy each other, but without the pressure of being jolly for 24 hours or making conversation for that long. In fact, I'm actually looking forward to it for a chance.

I really do better with the day to day hanging out stuff than events-even regularly scheduled yearly events.

Sometimes, less really is more.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Why I have a bunch of stuff

These are some quilt blocks I bought called Horses in the Snow. I think they look like Stars as well as snowflakes...and my trailer name is cosmic cowgirl.....but I don't sew and I've never quilted.

I'm guessing I need to buy backing and some sort of cool fabric (maybe cosmic looking) to fill in the holey spots.

My Virtual Pony

Red Mojogave me a pony for Christmas. I've always wanted one-I mean always. And finally, one is mine.

Thanks ever so much!

What Happens When it All Falls Down

Somewhere along the way I made a conscious decision to let my clutter be. Just to see what would happen. My life is in turmoil, I can't work on it all at once. The only caveat was that I couldn't beat myself up about it. (Deb's theory that clutter, messiness is a form of self abuse).

That took some doing. But, with practice, I was able to run up against an obstacle in the hallway, acknowledge it, and step over it without any value judgment on myself.

I did "gain" something I needed from a messy house-my own space. "The house is too messy, don't come down.".

But there are some disturbing elements, I don't use my closets or cabinets-everything is just OUT. What does that tell me? I think it tells me that I don't feel at home in my own home. I tend to do the same thing when I travel, leave the clothes in the suitcase. Ready for a quick get away.

I've pretty much learned all I think I can learn from living in a cesspit. I understand that it is the flip side of compulsive cleaning-the lazy girl's form of environmental control. I understand it needed to be done-this is MY house, I can let it get as messy as I want.

But the big thing that happens when it all falls down is-nothing happens. Not a damn thing. I've known compulsive cleaners who clean as if the devil himself is going to show up with a white glove. But what would happen if he did?

The Big What If gets us every time, doesn't it?

So, I bought a new planner for 2008 and I'm going to begin the tedious process of tidying up. I still have hopes for some insight-maybe the insight happens when you pick up the aftermath.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Snow and Ice-Not the same thing

What is falling outside now is snow, real live flakey snow. When shopping last night at the Health Food Store (pre snow storm shopping) I had a funny feeling in the pit of my stomach. A few weeks ago I stocked up pre storm and lost a lot of savory goodies to a power failure.

But it doesn't make sense to let one bad event just keep replaying over and over. Yes, bad things happen, but so do good things. The wind is making the snow look a lot fiercer than it probably really is, but it is keeping the cat and I amused nonetheless.

If each snowflake is different, so is each individual moment in our lives. Together they make up the accumulation of experience and wisdom (hah) that make each of us our own unique being. Yes, I've had some tense moments, some scared moments, moments of saddness and bitterness and anger. But that is also mixed in with lots of time spent watching snowflakes with the cat, floating in the warm ocean or reaching a goal.

Remember to celebrate your own accumulation!

Wind Revisited

Beam Me Up Scotty: Learning to Love the Wind

With many of the limbs gone from the trees, the wind at 40 miles an hour no longer sounds like the ocean waves. It is shrieking through the wires that have survived the ice storm. I can easily see how native Americans felt the wind had its own spirit. It's a noisy spirit at that!

The squirrel aborted his highwire act this morning and opted to cling to the pole instead. The only bird that appeared was way up high and looked to be caught in a whirlwind.

The howling wind both isolates and comforts me at the same time. It also concerns me because there are a few branches left on the sycamore tree that could be a challenge. Right now the cat is curled around my neck and the dogs are sleeping off their breakfast. I can't be concerned about the snow predicted for later today, tomorrow is supposed to top out at 50 degrees and the wind at 20 miles an hour.

Today I just want to pull the wind around me like a cloak and nest.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Illustration Friday Horizon

Somewhere worlds collide
Horizon's subtle layers
Gateway's open stream

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Birth of the Virtual Bike Club-Reach Out

On another forum I started the Virtual Bike Club-a marathon ride in January for members of the forum worldwide (it's a lap band forum so no one else here is probably a member). No, I didn't want to tell you all this so I could say nah nah, you can't play, you aren't fat...or whatever.

What I wanted to do was challenge everyone here to reach out in some way today. For me, biking is such a feel good, kumbahya thing, that I even offered to send a Target bike to the first person on the forum who wanted to ride but didn't have one. I am also meeting with a local bike shop to set something up for people on the Southside of OKC, we have trails that no one uses because all the clubs in the area are elitist-not everyone can ride 50 miles or afford $3000 bikes. The owner is a "native" southsider who wants to improve his business and his community. I just want to get a new group of folks to ride with.

For our first ride, I offered to do graphics for 10, 20, 50 and 100 miles (in a month) rides-they can toss them, print up their own t-shirts, whatever. I just wanted the chubby masses to feel like it was a real bike ride, and maybe, just maybe, they'll sign up for the real thing in the spring (I know I will....).

I'm not suggesting we all start virtual bike clubs. I am suggesting we all figure out something we really enjoy and find a way to share that with a group of people. And, in keeping with the brave thing motto, make it be people you don't already KNOW..........

I set the ride to begin January 1st to give people time to get their bikes out of the garage, etc. Post back here if you decide to share something with a group of people and let us know what you did. Remember-sharing doesn't have to mean giving-it doesn't have to cost a thing.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Birds on a Wire

When I open my eyes in the morning I am usually looking out at the sky, part of my pear tree, a part of a neighbor's tree and the phone/power wires. It's become a regular feature of my day to lie there quietly and watch the sun (if it's around) brighten up the the little patch of sky and the various wires that make up modern society.

Often there is a squirrel doing his high wire act, flicking his tail and chattering. Today I saw a cardninal-there aren't as many in OKC as there were in Dallas. A crow landed on the top of the pole with a piece of a bagel and had himself quite a feast. A flock of really fat doves landed on the wires and made it bow with their weight.

Today is a day that will call for patience. I'm taking my Mom to John's old place to "help me" pack some of his stuff, which means I'll run around, do what I'm told until she's read to quit and then we'll leave and I'll go back later. No, it's not the most efficient way of doing things, but it lets her feel like she's a part of what is going on. And she needs to feel that way more than I need a single trip packing session.

This afternoon is the much anticipated water aerobics Christmas Party, so I will shave my legs and go. My plan is to float in the water as much as possible and let Mom socialize-there's a lot for her to tell people about-I'm not eating sweets, all my snakes died, my tree fell down, etc...

But the truth of my day is the best part was watching the birds on a wire, snuggling with my dogs. And I've got some projects in the works, a biking club for middle aged women (even got myself a sponsor) and some other things that are stirring. I'm learning to be a little selfish and keep some of those things back just for me, like the part about waking up and enjoying the sunshine on the wires.

It's the little things that keep us sane.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Happiness is a Strange Bird

Sometimes I get happy at the strangest moments. Today at lunch, my aunt's eyes were filled with tears because behind me someone on the Alz. Unit had messed in the dining room floor. Shortly thereafter, another elderly gentleman decided to streak around the unit.

My mother tried to understand the meaning of the word haiku and she thought Uncle John was babbling when in fact he made perfect sense and was doing wordplay off the word thank you....

But, I was holding my Uncle's hand, and the three siblings were together, despite the rather absurd circumstances. And I got a big dose of energy and a "well done" feeling from the Universe because my brave little band of old folks did not let old age or dementia keep us from this gathering.

And, I also really got it that I don't have to "shelter" Mom and my Aunt from John's dementia-they can go visit or not, but my job is to facilitate, hug when one of them needs it, and that is it. I cannot save them from old age and death. Which is, believe it or not, what I've been trying to do.

This was the testing of an idea I had a few days ago-that maybe the best way to relate to older folks is with energy and few words...much like I do with the dogs. Because-with the elderly, words get a little jumbled and cause frustration. I may be on to something.

And equally exciting, is how that makes me feel-happy, connected, like after a good dog training session. I'm really looking forward to bringing the dogs to the unit-because I understand now how/why they connect and what true good it does for those people. And my hope is, the little old people and the dogs will teach me to speak the same language they do.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Gas Bubbles

I am so touched

Forever Young has put up a tribute to dear Bette (later identified as Bob). One of the things that was hardest about last week was having to "keep it all inside" to keep the peace. And yet my snakes did not go unmourned or unrecognized. FY had her own sadness to deal with, and she chose to reach out instead to someone else. Maybe she has the key to true healing.

Sun Arise, Oh Oh Oh, Sunrise....

That (Sunrise) was probably Alice Cooper's only upbeat song, at least the only one I can remember.

I came home, watched Dexter, drank some Melatonin and crashed. I tried really hard not to think about anything, and for the most part I succeeded. There is much to process, much to clean up and some revisions to make. The snakes departure has given me another room to work with, so I will spend a bit more time (hah) rethinking things. I'll probably leave the original hardwoods down and at long last will have my studio.

(The theory behind not replacing the floors in that room was that I could do as I pleased, and if I sell the house I'll put down laminate to match the rest of the house at that time....clever girl.)

Yesterday I pulled my calendar out and asked Mom to pick a day that she wanted to go help clean out John's old place. "Any day but today-think about YOUR schedule"....and she picked Wednesday. Brilliant, because that buys me two days of whatever I want to do....except of course for Water Aerobics today....ok, I don't get whole days right now, but it's a start and a good one.

Back when John could remember things like days, we used the calendar to map out plans-but they only work if you can remember them. When he began to forget, so did I.

I also have new words in my arsenal..."Don't worry about it"...this is apparently old people's code for "It's taken care of" and it will help silence them.

Back in my own nest I can lick my wounds, mourn the dead, and process what I've learned for a better future for all of us. Tenacious. That's me.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

The Orange OG&E truck is here

Power is on it's way. We are all agitated, jubiliant, apprehensive. I may get to watch Dexter's season finale yet!

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Art Trade

Here is the concept-fill a one price $8:00 fixed postage box with your surplus art supplies-pencils, cigar boxes, beads, old post cards, other ephemera....etc. and put yourself on a list to recieve one as well.

Mim (at Auntie Mim) has offered to coordinate addresses. Our legal minds have determined that this is NOT buying new goodies it is recycling old goodies. (Ok, I made that up).

What would also be fun is to have a "showing" at some point of what we made with our treasure boxes.

I am Iron Man....

Michele and I once went to Canton for a bit of flea marketry. Michele was into wood those days-and she kept telling people "no metal legs" and somehow that morphed into I am NOT Iron Man. But today I AM Iron Man-because I have plastered 4 biomagnets to various parts of my body (foot and legs thank you very much) to see if they do anything at all.

It seems like an easy quasi scientific, low effort thing to do on a snowed in Saturday. Mildly interesting at best. I tried to get Mom and Dad to let me plaster bio magnets to them but they politely refused.

Strangely, the site that I put the firt magnet on, roughly where they wedged a piece of cadaver bone in my ankle, has ceased to ache. Strange stuff afoot in Oklahoma?

Two of our treasures from that day were Red Legs (table) and Mr. Red Mirror-you guessed it, a red mirror, all crackled and worn. I marked it up like three times and put it in our antique booth (Boothie) sure that no one would actually BUY Mr. Red Mirror.

One Saturday we walked in and Mr. Red Mirror was gone. Michele and I groaned aloud. I was devastated. Now I'm not, I doubt I would have Mr. Red anyway. So many years, so much water under the bridge, so many design phases.

But Michele-I still have little pink table and Mr. Oak table still from those days. The only black panther I have is my Mom's original one. And I bet that that crazy friend of Jay and Sue's still has Wee Boy.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Illustration Friday-Backwards

What if we got it backwards? What if the fossil evidence for evolution appeared in our DNA, not in the rocks? Should we look inward rather than outward? Towards the future rather than the past? I have no idea.

Where the F is IF???

That was going to be my treat for the day-total immersion. Poxy pox pox on it all. How DARE the world stop turning when I need it to run smoothly?

I've procrastinated posting this, because I'm torturing myself with the idea of staying on for the weekend. Mom fears abandonment above all things, cranky folk often do. So, rather than go stick my head up my ass in a hotel, I will slog it out here facing what needs to be faced.

We've fallen in to an uneasy rhythm. I "sleep" during breakfast-food prep times are the worst here. Then I get up and try to suck down some soy milk with my coffee. I leave for "lunch" although today was nice-it's Friday and they eat out, so I got the whole house to myself. When they come back, I'll go do a few errands even if I have to make some up. I drink soup for dinner.

There is wisdom in running out when you need to, when enough is enough. But stretching yourself means learning when you can do more and doing it. Why move back to Oklahoma to face the truths about yourself and your family only to run off again?

Sometimes, you avoid a longer misery by taking on the short term misery. But MOST times, I supsect we really don't have internal wisdom or guidance, we just make a decision and stick with it. So, for now, I'm holding.

(You got to know when to hold em, know when to fold em........DAMN YOU KENNY ROGERS!!!!!!!!!!)

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Elvis LIVES!!!! and other gallows humor

Elvis, Andy Warhol and Scarlett, my three native snakes, have bruminated and will most likely survive. I moved them into a warmer place by the water heater (gas) just to help them along.

Andy annouced his state of non-death by hissing loudly and baring his teeth when I picked him up. Since I thought he was dead, it startled me a bit. Elvis was equally preturbed at being rescued.

The others were dead and beginning to bloat. Apparently you can decay even in frigid temps. I never knew that. When a male snake dies, its hemipenis (they have two wonkers) is extruded during rigor mortis. Turns out Bette was a Bob. Who knew?

Alfred was removed from his resting place at the bottom of the rat freezer. He ended up on the top of the pile being hauled out to the curb, at least he was on top till he slid off and under the wheels of the trash bin. THUD. 12 pounds of frozen snake makes a frightful sounds. "Goddammit Alfred" I cussed, then cracked up laughing. Alfred always was a trouble maker.

I was systematic, removing the dead and then the previously frozen and then cleaned out my freezer/fridge-anything that was a stink potential was tossed. I sang negro spirituals and then made up my own as I worked. "Sometimes I feel like a motherless child" morphed into "Bring out your dead and start new life"....

I was glad I made it clear that I didn't want/need any help because I was able to go about my tasks in my own head space. Singing, crying, doing what I needed to do. I bought a smudge stick and will smudge the house tomorrow. Mom annoyed me by going from not knowing what a smudge stick was to lecturing me on how to use it in one breath.

Mom is sort of in high snit because I won't let her help. It's a safety precaution for us all-she has no fear of spoiled food but is terrified of waste. I really need to lay off Mom-she is moving into the land of the lost. I mourn her, I respect her, but I cannot cater to every disordered thought. It won't do anyone any good.

And, I also respect me. This was my time to mourn my departed friends and even my departed can of sheep's yogurt and the cauliflower that would never be made into soup. It was not a time to defend why I purchased it or why the cauliflower was two days down on the list of things to save and therefore went unsaved.

Tomorrow, if the power is not restored I will give us all a break and go to a motel for a few days. The more invisible I try to make myself the more agitated Mom gets. "WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU???" There really isn't a good answer for that one.

Dementia is not only a mind killer, it can kill the souls of those around, if you let it. I will not let it it. My task is to keep my eyes open, show respect and take care of what I can. It isn't to throw myself on someone else's crazed pyre.

And that's the rub-cause I would if I could, and if it would do any good.

Bringing out the dead

I am going to visit Uncle John after lunch, then go to my house and haul out the dead. One could be buried, 20 something just isn't feasible and the sheer numbers are a bit overwhelming.

Each one had a name and a personality and a history. Many I've raised from babies. Some were fairly valuable, some had value only to me. Some of them were wild caught, coming from Africa a place I've always wanted to see. Many were the current pinnacles of other people's breeding program-they best they had produced so far.

Death is such a strange thing. One minute, a being has all this potential, the next it's gone forever. Just gone. Where does it go?

Entire religions and societies have been built around what a group believes happens to us after we die. Wars, atrocities all because of what we think will happen after we die.

Maybe we should spend more time thinking on what we'll do while we are alive.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

More more more

I took all the dogs to the kennel and came back here to my folks. If I can't hack it I will go to a motel. It's insane to freeze to death to save "face"-anyone's face. And, on a practical note, it would probably be less embarrassing to my folks to explain that I was at a motel than to have to haul my frozen ass out of the house.

I am nothing if not pragmatic.

The snakes are gone. In order that no one feel any misplaced guilt I told my parents that they were gone yesterday but they actually died more slowly, although not painfully. I kept checking on them and would have ended it immediately if there had been any pain. Only one who hurt at all was me, and I've tried to keep my crying to a minimum and carefully out of sight.

No, I'm not crawling up on a cross here. My grief would create tension for my parents who would then feel the need to attack ME for being sad-so it's pure survival at this point. And I say that without any rancor or with very little. My parents don't like snakes, hate them in fact, and I do. I can no more expect them to like them than they can expect me not to. So, snake grief is just something I keep to myself-I just never expected to get hit with such a load of it.

What's mildly annoying is that with all the news coverage of all the people in bad situations right now (this is a big time disaster), I get jumped on for any display of self pity on my part. Big time. The good news is, staying with my parents has freed me from the need for any form of self abuse-they are so good at it that I've decided to lighten up on myself for the duration.

Families suck sometimes. Because these people are not, I repeat, truly not, monsters. But they have no empathy whatsoever, the empathy button is just completely missing. Or maybe, they disconnected it to keep themselves sane a long time ago. Or, more likely, time and progressive dementia has disconnected it for them. Shit shit shit.

Sometimes it sucks to call a thing what it is. Denial is a warm tropical river, I'd like to go there now please.


Found a kennel with power. I'll take the little ones there, move back into the house with the bigger dogs and hunker down.

Trying to be as low key about it as possible, not assigning blame, but I can't keep any food down today and this can't continue. Distance is required.

Ice Ice Baby

I did get through to OG&E. I'm on the list now but since I'm an isolated pocket of outage I will be way down on the list.

I call every few hours to see if the kennel is online and with power. If I can get the little ones to a warm kennel I will go find a motel or stay in my house (it's not really THAT cold outside).

There have been some good moments-seeing Bitty curled up in Daddy's lap. Watching TV with Mom. But they aren't enough to keep me going. I can't eat I'm so tense-not knowing what will set Mom off. It takes her a couple of hours to calm down and she makes sure everyone knows she is displeased by slamming doors, frowning, sighing etc.

Worse than displeasing her is making her somehow go after Daddy. Last night I was explaining (as I washed out my protein shaker) that I am just used to being self reliant and didn't want to be a bother. That started a whole diatribe about how everyone should be that way-she was getting ready to make EVERYONE self sufficient.

It's like every thing I do can be used against me or someone I love. With an agressive dog, you just hold them until theys settle down. Parent's are more lethal in what they say.

Yes, my Mom is really out of control, but with services down all over the city, now is not the time to insist she get help. I have to keep my wits about me and make sure everyone is safe and as least agitated as possible. I am truly here now only for the little dogs, I'd be bundled up safe at home if it weren't for them. But the two old ones wouldn't survive it.

So, right now I'm bundled up in the spare room trying to stay out of the way. It seems to work better if I just stay out of the living room and let Mom have her regular schedule.

I have to get some distance and get calm enough to go see John. I don't want him to pick up on my distress it just makes him more uneasy. This really is my childhood nightmare relived, trying to control what happens around me by ME doing the right thing....if I can figure out what to do/say how to act everything will be ok.

Piss on that. Everything is NOT OK. In fact it sucks big time. My only consolation is that I am choosing this purgatory right now for the benefit of my dogs. Power will be restored and it will get better. But these past few days have shattered any illusion that I had remaining about a nice, quiet life in OKC.

I've jumped out of the frying pan into the fire.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Power Outage

1/3 of the state is without power, including me. Luckily, mine is an isolated wire snap so the little dogs and I are bunking at Mom's. There is some house damage from limbs, I will lose all my snakes most likely. Temps are around freezing, but the tropical snakes won't make it and there is no place for them to go.

Uncle John is in transit to the new place (over here)and basically I am dazed and confused but unhurt.

More insights to come, but the most amazing thing to me is how scarey it was to have trees crash down on your house. I couldn't believe I was actually scared, frightened, etc. I haven't even told anyone I was scared because the likely response would be "WHY were you scared, you were inside...."

Mom is really agitated. Every time the lights flicker she starts howling NO NO NO and I have had to distance myself from that. If the power goes off, we'll move into a motel and eat *gasp* store bought food for a few days. It won't kill any of us.

Sunday, December 9, 2007


May or December-cold air smacking up against warm gulf air produces-thunder. Lots of loud, crackling thunder. Temps aloft below 32 produce ice or snow. Mix the two, and you have the Okie phenom-Thundersnow! Or to be entirely accurate, Thunderslush.

I've heard the odd clap of thunder durng a Texas snowstorm-but it's like a bit of gas escaping-just every so often. We've had consistent Thundersnow (or slush) since early this morning.

Why this amuses me so I have no idea....but remember the theme from Underdog? Duh duh duh duh duh duh duh duh (switch to baritone voice) UNDERDOG? WEll, for some reason I've been humming that and substituting "THUNDERSNOW" for quite some time now. Not constantly, just every time the mood strikes which is frequently right after a thunder clap....or THUNDERCLAP.

It is my sign from above, stay in, stay warm.

Oh, you know what else work with that song....duh duh duh duh duh duh duh duh HIBERNATE!!!!

Saturday, December 8, 2007

Today I just don't feel Like Cryin

Today I just don't feel like cryin
Can't say why
Don't know why
Does it matter?

There are enough tears in the world already
And more surely to come
But today I just don't feel like cryin
So today, I won't.

Friday, December 7, 2007

Illustration Friday-Little Things

From out of the mists little things emerge
Though small in stature
A pure heart shines through

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Dehuman ! Dehuman!

I was talking with Mom about what I should say to the residents where John used to live. I knew some of them, had T-giving dinner with them. She wondered why I needed to say anything.

I could see the walls she had thrown up shutting "those people" out. It's what people do to avoid things that are unpleasant. It's also what serial killers do to their victims-they are no longer human.

But I will go visit with a few of them, let them know John is moving, etc. They've seen it all before. But I feel like I want to say goodbye and wish them well. I would not be a very good serial killer.

Mom was also peeved cause I refered to her as a little old okie. Age is such a touchy thing around our houses these days.

For some reason I have my own walls-Mom's darts no longer sting. But I still see her as a human being, because I built myself up rather than dehumanized her. A fortress can keep you warm or it can keep you a prisoner, it's all in how you build it.

Sometimes You just Gotta Get You Some Joy

Sometmes the sun doesn't shine the way you want it to
And the wind won't stop blowing
The world keeps turning and turning and turning
Wait it out wait it out wait it out
But if your patience fails
Sometimes you just gotta get yourself some joy

Yeah, I'm still here

Just skipped the mammogram alltogether. Woke up fretting about it in the middle of the night and decided now just wasn't the time. Oh, I'll go, I'm never more than a month or so late, but picking and choosing your times is something I do best.

Today I am keeping the animals close and indulging myself this morning in a bit of solitude.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Under Pulsing Pink Sky

Saw a nice sunrise. If one has to be awake at such a dreadful hour, a really good sunrise is helpful. Lots of those flat lumpy clouds that form big puddles in the sky (not cumulus, the only cloud I know by name, nor cirrus, the other one I know). The rising sun turned them a deep red pink, with turquoise blue borders. Focal point was the horizon where the sun was rising-off to screen right.

From that bit of info, I can infer I was not heading due east. The Purina factory is still in business in Edmond (my destination) and I had the odd pleasure of sniffing an odor that is disturbing only when you realize you are enjoying the smell of slowly baking dog food kibbles.

The meeting sucked until I just shut up and let the Dr. proceed with what he wanted to tell me, most of which I had already been told. He just needed to go over it in order, so that he could document it had all been told to me, by him, and that I understood it all. He was very compliance minded. As a former compliance officer, I was ok with that, or at least I understood.

Never mind that I had already made arrangements based on what the nurses had already told me and what I already knew. What I didn't know was just how final into the final stages Uncle John is. There really isn't a timeline, but the orders are to make him comfortable and quit trying to "fight the disease".

John is no longer able to disguise the dementia or the anger. I told him it was probably understandable to be angry, however my "job" was to keep him safe, and if possible happy. Maybe that's too much to tell someone in his condition, but someone who is struggling with paranoia could smell a lie. Or maybe just his paranoia would resound against my own conscience.

At any rate, I have to keep custody of my own actions and thoughts so that his dementia doesn't loop both of us into a corner. I told him I couldn't fight Parkinson's, but I could make sure he doesn't go through it alone. And, when asked, I told him that it was no longer his choice-he was stuck with me.

The urge to lie and make nice was oh so strong. I don't get to be the good, devoted savior niece, I have to be the prison guard nazi niece. But if I don't, I'll be the weeping niece on the 6 o'clock news thanking all the searchers who helped located the body of the man who "wandered off....".

John asked me if I was just going to pitch him out into the graveyard and I laughed and said "No, I am pitching you about 4 blocks from my house, where I will come and see you frequently". I didn't say that I understood no matter how frequently it was, it would never be enough because I couldn't give him what he wanted-the ability just to wander off and be done with it all.

So this is what it feels like to be in control of another person's destiny. With kids, you shape the destiny, then send them out into the world. With old people, you know where it's going to end, and you try to make it as pleasant as possible. I am sure John thinks I'm in "control", but in truth I'm not. The disease is ravaging his mind and his body in ways I wouldn't wish on my worst enemy. If I were really "in control" that would not happen-not to anyone.

Nope, no control here. Just trying to stay on top of the wave and prevent as many people from being crushed by it as I can.

Speaking of crushed people, my aunt and my Mom are out shopping on their weekly rounds today while I control their brother's destiny. Yes, it IS a gender/generational thing. They are not equipped to make those decisions and they have expressed gratitude that I can. I'm not feeling any ill will towards them for not being able to make the decisions, nor any guilt at feeling put out because I am the one who has to make them.

Yes, I am one big old blob of "let it be" today. Things are as they are. The sky was pink and blue. I am sad, but strong. The sky will be there again tomorrow and so will I.

All right all ready

If late night is not optimal prozac time, neither is first thing in the AM. I'm sitting here trying to either swallow or puke the damn things down before I have to drive out for a meeting with the social worker about Uncle John. My old bones are just not equipped to rising at 6 ish and functioning well.

Damn her for only having an 8 am appointment. What about ME, huh? What about MY needs? Why does the world insist that I do mornings when I am quite sure that no, thankyou, I really DON'T.

It's hard for me to be optimistic and grateful at 6 a.m. Hell, it's hard for me to get properly dressed at 6 am. And oh joys, tomorrow MORNING I get to go have a mammogram. I can't do this, I can't I can't I can't.

Yet, somehow, I will.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Sometimes the most efficient thing...

Isn't the best thing. I am taking Mom with me to look at an nursing faciity for John. It's actually easier to go alone, but she really wants to help and to support me. I can't protect her from old age, or having elderly, ill siblings. But I can walk in with confidence, support her if she needs it, and show her how "it's done".

The irony of it all is that I don't know how it's done. Never did, probably never will. Sometimes you just have to walk into the unknown and hope for the best. These are the little loving lies we tell those who depend on us, because they need to believe that someone knows what they are doing.

Monday, December 3, 2007


I thought this looked hopeful. It's a horned shark egg pod. New life. Renewal. I took the shot a couple of years ago in Long Beach.

Waiting on the Phone to Ring....

I hate waiting on the phone to ring. Working from home seems to make it worse-can't leave, can't focus....wwwaaaaaaaaaaaah. Based on the calls I will need to spring into action, make decisions, etc. in a fairly quick manner. Until I get the calls, I can do little to research, etc. because, well, I need to know exactly where we, or rather, Uncle John, is at.

Now, I pretty much KNOW where he is at, but I need the medical profession to tell me. That's what they are getting paid to do-so why don't they do it?

This is the limbo that I've remained in limbo for the past few months. And I am glad that I'm not a a new job somewhere trying to focus when all this is going on. It wouldn't be pretty. Well, none of this is pretty.

The thing about waiting is that each hour chips away at my existing veneer of bullshit and calm. By the end of the day, I'm borderline distraught.

Around noon today it hit me this is likely how it's going to be for awhile and I just need to make peace with that. Parkinson's and dementia has its own timeline and now some of th worse things that can happen are happening.

I'm over the "I can beat this if I just think harder/try harder" mindset. How arrogant, as if I could achieve what medical science, Michael J. Fox and Mohammed Ali could not. But you know what-we DID beat it for awhile and got Uncle John a couple more years that he wouldn't have had.

I actually said today "it's like he's rushing headlong into madness...." like it was his fault. And it's not, not his, not mine, not anyone's. It just is.

From a caregiver's standpoint, it's a lot easier to do the job when progress is being made. When the tide turns, and it's a losing battle, it's a lot harder and a lot less gratifying. But this isn't about self gratification. It's about making a loved one's time here as easy as possible.

We westerners are sooooo anti-death. It really offends us. And decline is in many ways worse. Death is final....decline is ongoing.

Two houses down from my parents (both older than Uncle John) I have to be very careful to share in ways that don't agitate their own fear of decline. Never in my life have I had to consider the impact of my own words and actions like I do at the moment.

But maybe that's how it should have been all along. So much to learn...

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Learning to Love the Wind

While undergoing sleep therapy yesterday, I decided to take the time to really listen to and enjoy the rain on the leaves outside. It's a sound I love, and in lives past I would have taken a nap just BECAUSE it was raining so I could listen to it and fall asleep.

After enjoying the rain for a bit, I focused on the wind. I noticed that the sound itself was not unpleasant. It was actually very similar to the sound of crashing waves in Mexico, one of my favorite sounds on earth. For a few moments I pretended I was in Mexico, but then I brought myself back to Oklahoma and the wind-and enjoyed not the waves on the beach but the wind outside my window.

Today the wind is still there, and I have finally learned to enjoy it. Yes, I believe that joy can become a habit just like anything else.

Mish mash

Yesterday I slept like there was no tomorrow. Maybe I should NOT take Prozac in the evening. Maybe Forever Young is a pyshic medical genius. Last night I slept as well (no P for me...).

Today I had lunch with Mom and Dad-or rather I ate half a porkchop because Mom sprayed butter spray on everything else. The porkchop was what I wanted most anyway. Then Mom and I drove up to see John, who was asleep for the first time since being moved to the Autumn Lifestyles place. So, we let him be.

I tried to interest Mom in sightseeing, a trip to the farmer's market, but just gave up and let HER be. Dropped her off, visited a bit longer and came home. I'll call in a few minutes to see if John is awake for evening hours, and if he is, well, I'll drive up there. If not, I'll let him sleep.

Somewhere early on I decided just to go with the flow. Today I may feel great, but apparently no one else does-and that is OK too. I mean, I feel sorry that they don't, but I don't need anyone to amuse me-I can do that myself. Schedules do not seem to apply today either, nor do plans.

But who can stop us from celebrating? (Thank you Lao Tse)