Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Reflections on my Mom...

This is a re-post from several years ago.   Mom passed away last night, she was 63.  I will miss her dearly-

My mom has been ill, and is now in the hospital.   For the last 3 years, in addition to caring for our families, my sisters and I have been taking care of the lady who brought us into the world...
She is not well.

Last week as I stood at her kitchen sink and washed her dishes I discovered 2 knives she had bought many years ago in her marriage to my dad.    The knife distributor was a door to door salesman who had "everlasting" blades in his bag, and he was selling top quality cutlery which "would last her a lifetime".   It donned on me, as I stood there, in mom's government subsidized apartment, these knives were all she had to show for her 38 year marriage.   My sister reminded me that "I" was also something to show for all those years.   Sigh.   I felt tears in my eyes.   Somehow, the 6 of us didn't, or couldn't, quite validate the importance of the woman who was sick and dying before our very eyes.

She is better, but things are changing.    Unlike my beloved Foamy, I can't move mom in with us and give her all the physical and medical attention she deserves.   Her needs are great and beyond my skill.   She understands and accepts this fact.

As I move through this period of grief, and it is grief- even though she is still here, I lose a small part of her every day...I want to write about the things she has said and done which imparted wisdom, laughter, and joy to me from my early years until the present.   Even yesterday she made me laugh!

She is allergic to percocet, and she said, "It makes me itch like a monkey with a flea!"
I know you do not KNOW my mom, but that is one of the funniest things she's ever said to me!    And I have seen her itch on maybe that's part of why the phrase is so funny :)

When my Grandmother (mom's mom) saw me for the first time as a baby, Grandma said she saw a halo around MY head.    She told my mom I was special.   Before last night I had NEVER heard that story.     I'm not sure my Grandmother or my mom were/are right- because I have certainly made a TON of mistakes and bad choices...but my mom swears the story is true.    I am NOT an angel.   I am ONLY holy if Jesus has made me so, and I feel very far from all those things these days.

Eternal life has less value to me than this present life, and forgive me if I sound like a doubter...because I am not.   I do believe in God, and I think He has a special place for souls like that of my mother.   I feel certain life exists beyond this dim plane- and people I have loved deeply have made it clear to me their love still exists for me- and is extended to me, despite being in a form I can no longer hug or touch.    LOVE is an ENERGY.    Period.   Figure out what ENERGY is and can do and you will understand what I mean.

My mom used to sing nursery rhymes to us as a was "Sam, Sam, the garbage man- washed his face with a frying pan, brushed his teeth with a monkeys tail, and died with a toothache---in his..heel"

she always paused before saying the word "heel"- knowing full well we'd think that didn't quite rhyme...

???"Died with a toothache- and went to hell...."???

Our Dentists ALWAYS said we had the BEST TEETH!

I so love my mom.

More soon :)

Sunday, November 27, 2011

The surgery went smoothly, and it seems I can type fairly well and with almost no pain now that the bandages are off.   The recovery though, as I feared, has been a bitch.
I am simply a miserable person when I'm "limited".  "Limited" by pain, or a handicap, or being lost in an unfamiliar city- I'm miserable.
Add to the misery of hoping the regular things will be taken care of, like the shopping, and cooking, only to find my "helpers" sitting on the sidelines and waiting for they always do.

I wonder if I died how long it would take before someone realized they'd need to write a grocery list and go to kroger?   I suppose if I actually died family and friends would jump in and handle a multitude of motherly tasks for a period of time, at least until the life insurance kicked in- then they'd order take out until they ran out of money?   I want to get better soon, but I don't want to return to the castle and be the ruling queen just yet.     Unfortunately it is my castle (or hive?) and no one else knows how to run it smoothly.   For now I'm trying to find contentment in the fact I can wash my own hair (with a water proof glove) and dry it with only a little help.

More soon...and hopefully I'll be back to normal...or whatever I was :)

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Left Handed Fun and Fumbles...

With the knowledge my right hand will be of little use to me after the carpel tunnel surgery next week- I've been trying to see what I can and can NOT do with my left hand...I mean, there are people who have lost limbs via accidents and injuries who play basket ball, and play drums, and cook, and make beautiful paintings holding a paint brush in their teeth for heaven sake!  Surely this minor surgery will not be a big deal for me?

The results are comical and somewhat humiliating.   I can brush my hair, and my teeth, and put on most items of clothing.  However, a bra is going to be tricky.   For fun I tried on a sports bra one handed and it worked out ok- but it's amazing how much twisting and jiggling, and adjusting is necessary to make it fit properly with TWO working hands- much less one.   I'm sure I would have won a "funniest video" award if it had been on tape...thank GOD it IS NOT on tape!
Buttoning blue jeans is right out.   Blow drying my hair is almost impossible.  Putting on mascara with my left hand is tedious.  Making tea (thankfully) is no problem.  Opening items with a twist off top requires me to sit down and use my legs as vice to hold whatever needs to be opened.  Texting left handed is a hoot!  (if you have free texting, text me- I'll gladly email you my number).   I'm a rabid texter with both hands and I can write paragraphs easily in a matter of seconds, but left handed my answers look like a 2nd grader got my phone and started drinking.
Text from daughter:  Mom, what are we having for dinner?
My answer, left handed: Wwe 3e having trky w greebeans.   Ughhhhhb

Something about the "alt" key makes the letters A and R the number 3.   Don't try to understand it, but trust me, it's a disaster when I text left handed.   A touch screen phone would be a big help- but I'm not sure that's in the budget right now.

Of course I won't be driving for several days after surgery- so I won't be a menace on the road.   Showering is ok, but washing my hair will take extra time.  I'm thinking I just need to go to the beauty college for a cheap wash, dry, and style.  Maybe they will do something jazzy with my barbie hair?   I'm sure by Friday after surgery I'll be happy with anything they want to do.   (the friend who does my hair lives about 20 minutes away, and I'm not going to be up for the drive- but the beauty college is 2 miles from my house).
I am, thankfully, proficient at all other bathroom requirements.  'Nough said about that!

I tried writing the alphabet with my left hand...then a complete paragraph.  It's mind blowing how perfectly well I know how to write letters and form words, and how idiotic and elementary my handwriting looked when I was finished.   I would have guessed it was written by a 7 yr old if I hadn't written it myself.   AND to make matters worse- I couldn't focus on the content of what I was trying to write because I was focusing so hard on HOW I was forming each letter and word.   It was maddening.   I will not be signing any checks, or sending cards with handwritten notes for a while after surgery.   (unless I can sign the card as if it was from my 6 yr old nephew Asher :)

Cooking is a slow and arduous affair with one hand.  Cleaning is too.  Playing Angry birds kind of stinks left handed!  (Poor me- not!).   Using the remote for the TV is a skill I have mastered, as well as opening Dove chocolates, sipping hot tea, reading my Kindle (and other books), and feeding my bunny.   It looks like I have all the important stuff figured out :)

For fun, try not to use your dominate hand for just 15 minutes during your day.   I was going to say try not to  use it all day, but that seems unfair.   Just 15 minutes.  (Hint, open the wine bottle before you start the 15 minute exercise- you will be glad you did- lol!)  

I can not complain.  This will be a temporary set back and will make my life better when it's over.  I'm sure the real adventure will be even more interesting (like putting in and taking out my contact lenses- I haven't tried that one yet), but I probably won't blog about it much---I hate having to hunt and peck!   But who knows- I might! :)

Tuesday, November 08, 2011

Up To Date at Mayden's Voyage

                                     (Mug says, "I love you this BIG".  It's at least 4 cups!)

The Carpel Tunnel:  My surgery is on November 22nd.   Life with one arm (for a few weeks) will be interesting, but I always like a challenge.   I will absolutely enjoy and take advantage of the "down time"...even though I can only sit still for so long :)   I will NOT have to cook or participate in any of the Thanksgiving madness that typically swirls around me during this time of the year.  This holiday will ACTUALLY be a holiday for me...a break, a time out.   However, not being able to write will be hardship for me.  I enjoy the process.   I imagine I will give my left hand a shot at putting words to page, and I wouldn't be surprised if I mastered it.

The Job:  About 2 years ago, via my best friend, I met a friend of hers who owned a vehicle graphics company.   When he asked me, "What do you do?" and I said, "I'm a writer"- he was curious.   I sent him to Mayden's Voyage as well as my Coraspondence blog, and told him of my work as the Public Relations rep for a child who needed a transplant- and I handled all press and media material for her campaign- as well as articles I've written, newsletters I've published (big and small), curriculum material for pre-school, and even an obituary.   Over time he went and read my stuff.   He liked it.

This Spring he approached me about writing web and blog content for his company web site.  I was nervous to accept at first, mostly because I knew NOTHING about vehicle wraps, but I was curious- and I was a good enough friend to be comfortable going with him to visit job sites and LEARN about what his company does.  Thus my "getting paid to write" era began- and as of yesterday I have written 28 blog posts about Capital Wraps ( look for the blog.   I'm also working on a blog for my brothers law firm in California, but would like to add other companies to my writing list and perhaps turn this into a career.   Several years ago Blogs were seen as (and can be) places where people vent or keep an online journal.   However, for a company, a blog on a business website is the VOICE of your company.   It's cheap and informative advertising.   The company already owns the website, why not give customers a place to read and get a feel for what the company does?

While I am definitely not able to pay the mortgage with my part time writing jobs and my bee keeping skills, I am earning a little to put aside for me.   Not to mention the validation I get from doing something I love- and someone in the world actually paying me to do it.  (and it being legal- lol!)

I've been kept from my personal blogs for a number of reasons.  I've discovered being away from this community is a detriment to myself, and I love it when I'm here.   This place is home.  The friends I've made here have a significance and value that can not be replaced.  Upon re-discovering a printed email (written in 2006) from a blog friend last week, and him being in so many of my thoughts- I realized I was missing out on something important.   I want to return to this community with the same passion I had early on.  I'm tired of facebook, tired of reading the endless dribble from people who have "friended" me because we went to the same high school.   I should delete my facebook page and start one called "Mayden America" and just use it as a marketing tool for my honey and home-made items.   I like the way FB keeps me in contact with distant family, but there is something kind of creepy about the social networking sites in general.   FaceBook is the fast/frozen food version of a BLOG.     Give me the real deal...the grilled steak and baked potato, or the stuffed turkey and all the veggies...keep the hamburger and fries.   Yes, I see where and how there is a place for both, but just as with eating out, it should be the exception and not the rule.   Same with blogging.   If you have something worth saying- sit down and pound it out.   Otherwise, I'm not really interested in anyone's laundry and To-Do lists.   My time is a little more valuable than all that.

Hugs and more soon.   I'm itching to write about our local prison and judicial system, which I've seen a bit of here lately due to the arrest of a childhood friend.   Prior to 2 weeks ago I had never been inside the front doors of our local correction center.   It's been an eye opener to say the least!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Bunnies and things...

A little over a year ago my daughter started asking for a pet bunny.   She found a farmer in a nearby county who sold rabbits...and she and her father went over to pick one out.   They came home with 2.   They were the sweetest, tiny, most precious Holland Lop bunnies I have ever seen.   Fortunately they were both girls- which has it's own set of problems, but at least there won't be tons of baby bunnies running around at my house.  (although, as sweet as this one is- I don't think I'd mind).

My bunny is named "Kitty"- mostly because she liked to snuggle like a kitten when she was a baby.   My daughters bunny was a rambunctious little creature and was always looking for an escape route- which she finally found.   Kitty remains with us and is undoubtedly my bunny.   She still likes to be held and petted and I spend about 30 minutes a day with her on the deck.   She is litter trained and definitely enjoys the freedom
of the closed in deck.  

Yesterday I was diagnosed with Carpel Tunnel in my right arm/wrist- and need to wear a brace for most of the day.  Unfortunately I probably waited to late to see the Dr. because the nerve damage has begun to weaken the muscles in my hand.  On a positive note the surgery is not terribly complicated and will undo most of the damage.   While the condition is painful at times it's mostly irritating, and the way the brace limits my daily function is aggravating.  I feel fortunate to have a good Dr. close by who is taking care of me.   By this time next week I will have had a nerve study and that will determine what we do next.

I need to tell you all about my newest job- and actually getting paid to WRITE :)   More soon, but I hope this post finds you all well.   I send my best to each of you ♥

Sunday, October 02, 2011

The vibrancy of Autumn

It's always hard to write a post like this one...hard because I mostly want to inspire and share light.   Yet, even the darkest moments of life have their purpose, and death is indeed part of life.  

Grady, Paw-paw, passed away just over a month ago on Aug 24th.   His health took a heartbreaking turn for the worse a few days after he returned from the nursing home- and in less than 3 days he died.   The kids and I drove to the coast in a hurry on Tuesday the 23rd and stood around Paw-paws bed to say goodbye.  We cried, we told him we loved him, we re-told funny stories about times he made us laugh or feel special- kind of like a toast...and even though he was unable to speak to us, I am certain he heard every word.
I am also certain he knew how very much he was loved by all of us.

The following day, when he passed, his entire family was standing around his bed.  His son and daughter were holding his hands, the kids their dad and I were at the foot of his bed, Granny was at the head of the bed.   We were all there, surrounding him, and at the same time letting him go.   He took his last breath within a circle of   ones who loved him, and entered a new realm of beauty and peace.   There was no pain in his expression, no fear, no worry...just a peaceful and rested appearance.

The memorial service would be held that Friday.   There were reasons for the hurry, as a hurricane was bearing down on us.   We were 15 minutes south of Morehead City and Ireene was due to make landfall in Morehead the following morning.  When we came home from the service on Friday we literally boarded up the last set of windows on the front of the house, filled up as many water pitchers as we could find, and hunkered down.

It was a wild and stormy night.   Having never endured a Cat 2 hurricane before I was both excited and nervous.   Had the circumstances been different I would have been a little more jovial, but as it was, there was a pall over the house- a heavy sadness, a grief which hung about each of us like a heavy cloak.   At times it was easy to even forget the storm was brewing outside because something bigger was going on inside.  However, when the 90 mph winds whipped around the house, and threw debris, and drove the rain sideways...and then the power went out...Ireene had our full attention.   In a way, when the electricity was cut, it was kind of a relief.  We had to look up from our individual sadness and focus on something else.   Unfortunately we were shaking off the stupor of heartache only to deal with the terror of a large and powerful hurricane.  

As it goes we were, thankfully, unscathed by the storm.   We may have lost a shingle?  All in all we were blessed and protected.   Most of the food in the fridge had to go, but the stuff in the freezer was still frozen after 24 hours.

The next 4 weeks are mostly a blur.   Mr. Mayden and I took turns being with his mom at the coast, but we were both finally home by the 3rd week of September.   The one month mark of Grady's passing was last weekend.   This weekend was my son's 18th birthday party.    I'm still in something of a blur.  

I look forward to brighter days.   The oppressive heat of the summer was broken this weekend.   I'm ready to feel the vibrancy of  Autumn, both with my eyes, and with my heart.  

Thursday, July 21, 2011

A Sweeter Moment~

(Pawpaw is in a rehab place near his home and seems to be on the mend ♥.   This blog post has been in the works since late June, but obviously I had other pressing things to attend to.   I hope you enjoy the following...I know I did!)

In late June it was time to begin the honey harvest.  My Bee Man, now 82, called me on a Sunday afternoon to say he would be taking hives apart on Wednesday or Thursday and inquired as to what day worked best for me.   Thursday suited me best and when the said day rolled around I packed my things, drove to his house in Oxford, and prepared to make over a half million bees very unhappy.   We had over 26 hives to take apart and no idea how many gallons of honey to process.

As with most summer days in the south, it was hot.   However, heat is an important element in harvesting honey, and while I wore light cotton clothing there was no getting around the fact that we would be hot and sweaty and tired by days end.   Bee keeping is not for the faint of heart, nor is it for those who need to be constantly comfortable.

We started off at a farm down the road from my Bee Man's home.   I was happy to see the complete process again for the 3rd year in a row.  This year, however, I saw for the first time what a "failed" hive looks like.   Mostly barren, with cobwebs and webworms in the frames, as well as indications that a mouse had moved in.   There were no bees in this hive.   It was like a haunted house- spooky, dirty, cobwebby, and deserted.   Creatures that aren't meant to exist in a bee hive had moved in and taken up residence, only to destroy a once beautiful and functioning home of a queen.

It's not unusual for a hive to perish, just as death is a normal end in all life cycles, yet I felt a profound moment of sadness.    My Uncle assured me he would clean up the hive and destroy the webworms (2 days in a deep freezer kills all pests in a hive)- and he'd have the hive ready for another colony.    The hive ghosts would be vanquished and that made me feel better.   The point of bee keeping is not entirely about the honey, although it's wonderful and worth every penny, the real purpose is managing a natural resource which is vital to our crops and has been failing for the last several years.   It's a hobby which benefits everyone in the community.  I can't say the same about my knitting projects!

The sweetest moment of the day soon followed.   After smoking each hive and using a product called "bee go" to clear out the bees, we took the hives apart and separated the supers from each other  (the bees return in less than 30 minutes so we have to work quickly).  We carefully looked at each frame inside to see if the honey was capped.  Sometimes the bees build up honey comb in between the top and bottom of the super, so when you pry one away from the other some of the comb breaks in half and a beautiful little puddle of honey will appear.   It is simply not possible to refrain from taking your hive tool (looks a lot like a paint scraper) and scrape up the honey puddle and freshly broken honey comb and pop it into your mouth.   It is heavenly.   Words can't describe how sweet and precious that first taste of the season is.   As I stood there, sticky, covered in sweat, hot beyond words, and with hours to go before we would be finished- all I could think was every single second I invest in this hobby- every sting- every dollar I spent, was absolutely worth the first taste of the honey of the season.   I can only imagine what manna tasted like, but I would be willing to bet it was sweetened with honey :)

Finally, at the end of the day, we had at least 20 supers full of honey.  Each frame in a super (there are 9) has to be uncapped with a hot blade and then placed in a centrifuge, but we saved that for another day.   Every super has to be bagged tightly and stored in a cool dark building until we can process it out.   We processed it out later the next week and within 2 weeks my Bee Man had sold all 40 gallons of honey his bees had produced!

The photos below are all images taken of my hive, the one in my back yard, while I was taking it apart and harvesting my own honey.   My hive alone had a gallon and a half!

About 35, 000 bees unhappy with the "Bee go"

     One frame of capped honey.  Properly capped honey NEVER spoils.

    At this point I've removed the super and closed the hive back up-  many bees had already found their way home, or just hung around on the side and front of the hive.

                           Uncapping the honey from my hive-
                                Spinning the honey out and watching it flow ♥

              My Pixie and I at Owens Family Restaurant in the Outer Banks ♥

For more info about the bee deaths and what they think is causing it~

Friday, July 15, 2011

"Be like a duck. Calm on the surface, but always paddling like the dickens underneath." 

 -- Michael Caine

It's been 11 days since the fall.   
I feel raw.  As if I've been stretched one to many times like pulled taffy.   There isn't a single thing I do, or a quiet place to go where I don't think of, or worse- feel, an important life is being drained away from us.   There have been several terrible days and only a few which have glimmered with hope.  We presently float in the murky place of wait-and-see...

The difficult process of watching an injured, or sick, loved one who neither leans towards recovery or towards death is simply awful.  There is no resolution.  Ahh, well, yes, there is resolution at some point- History always proves this to be true, but when painful moments stretch in to hours, and those hours stretch into days, and then into certainly feels as if there is no end in sight.

Trying to be "Sunny"- trying to look at each step in this process as a gift of sorts is a great challenge, but not without reward.   Every minute "Pawpaw" lives and is awake is another moment to cherish him in his presence.   Yet our hope for recovery is tainted by our fear of losing him.  We will lose him at some point.  The time we have now as we wait to see how he responds to the treatment sort of gives us space to "get prepared"- but anyone who has ever lost a loved one will tell you this isn't really true.   Death still takes one's breath away no matter how far ahead you see him coming. 

Everyday I do find something to be thankful for.  I continually see my mother in law gaining confidence in her role as a hands-on caregiver.   Her resolve to ask questions and expect answers from Dr's shows a new form of courage I have never seen in her.   She is well known for quickly surrendering any and all authority when a bigger (or more vibrant) person walks in the room- which has always bothered me.  She is learning how to be a protector.  

I'm learning how to take a step back and let other people in her network provide her with the extra support she needs.   A friend of mine was pointing out my "Savior" complex (he and I both suffer with this) and how important it was for me not to jump in take over simply because I was more capable.  It would be wrong of me to carry every baby bird around as it was learning to fly!   Simply because I CAN do a thing doesn't mean I SHOULD.    

It's always about finding balance with me, isn't it?  

A friend of the family has invited my daughter and I to go to the Outer Banks with them.  The condo is paid for and the occupants who were supposed to go had to back out.  At this moment I am leaning towards taking the generous offer and leaving on Monday for the unspoiled island coastline near Virginia.   I feel a little guilty for leaving (mom in law is staying with us, but is at the hospital every day)- but everyone says I should go.   In the event Pawpaw takes a turn for 
the worse I can drive home immediately.  

I can be a little duck on the water- and paddle back if the need arises.  



Monday, July 11, 2011

Another One O'Clock in the morning post...

But all I have is good news!  We rode through the terrible storm, had been warned to expect the worst, and Pawpaw came through the surgery with no problems at all.  Yes, his liver is still on the decline, and tomorrow he takes his first step with the new hip- but over all I am encouraged and blessed.   We are all ready for life to go back to normal :)    Love and hugs to all of you ♥

Thursday, July 07, 2011

It's One O'clock in the morning...Damn-it- listen to me good~ (Elton John)

I can't sleep.
I wander around in my old blog (and others) looking, reading, remembering- and mostly I am trying to be (mentally) somewhere other than where I am physically.   Except I'm in one of my favorite places in the world, but under extreme duress.   Life is hard at the moment.

My father in law, at the coast, fell on July 4th and broke his hip.   He's in liver failure, has A-fib, and a large pleural effusion- along with pneumonia.   The hip replacement is a walk in the park on it's own...but nothing short of a nightmare with all the other ailments.   We were here with him when he fell.  T had gotten the boat in the water and Mom in law had the steaks in the fridge for dinner that night.   My father in law was excited to get on the pontoon boat and was on his way to the dock in the marina when he lost his balance and just wrong move and everything has come to a grinding halt.

The local hospital was not equipped to do surgery.  It took us 24 hours to get him stabilized.   Another hospital was alerted, and they accepted him, but they had no open beds.   After another 24 hour wait and still no beds- I started getting fussy.   In 11 hours his hip will have been broken for 3 DAYS.    3 DAYS of waiting, watching blood tests, listening to him rattle with pneumonia and fluid on his lungs.   3 DAYS of morphine and adult diapers...and beep, beep, beep- blood draws, vitals being recorded, PAIN, no sleep, worry, agony, nausea (mine), phone calls, aughhhhhhhh :(

And yet I have found things to be grateful for in almost every set back.   His nurses were amazing and wonderful.  The ER is a dreadful place to be anytime of year, but especially on July 4th weekend.    He was treated with such good care and respect.    I have friends at Duke in key places, as well as a sister who works at UNC- and "Pawpaw" is being transported there NOW- even as I write this.   In 2 hours he will be in place and hopefully being seen by the Ortho team and being prepped for surgery within the NEXT 24 hours.

I will drive home in a few hours and wait with the kids who are dealing with all the feelings that come with a Grandparent whose life is in danger.   We all love him.  He served in the Korean war.  He was a fire fighter at Pope Air-force base for 25 years.  He was the deputy fire Marshall with the town of Cary for almost 20 years.
He's a good man, a hero, a father of 2, a step father of 1, and a Grandfather to 5, with one on the way.   We have a long road ahead of us, but my hope is that in a few weeks we'll all be back here again...with the boat in the water, and Pawpaw on board, and steaks in the fridge for dinner- and we will celebrate the 4th of August- and our independence- and I won't have to look hard to find something to be grateful for.

I guess I should go to bed now?  

Friday, June 24, 2011

Foamy in person - better than you can imagine, but all I knew would be true :)

I've  been blogging for several years.   I'd like to say it's been a long time (almost 6 years now?) but I have good friends who've been at it longer- so I'll refrain from using words like "long", or "ages", or "forever".   You can read the index and see for yourself how long it's been- through "thick and thinner"- pudgy is now the season I think I'm in :)  

A few weeks ago I had the extreme pleasure of meeting a blogger who I've been friends with almost since the beginning of my blog life, who shares many of the same blog friends as I do, and has a heart tender enough to actually use my phone number and call when things are difficult in my life.    Foamy, or Diana, has seen me through some difficult moments, and when things in her life were less than easy she has been in many of my thoughts and prayers and sometimes even cards in the mail.   What a precious heart she has- and IS.

She arrived at the coast a few days before I did.   But when I arrived she was a mere hop away from where I would be staying.   Our original plans were to meet the following day after I arrived, but I couldn't wait for such!   I drove over to see her the night I got to the beach...there was no way I was going to wait!

Foamy has been a dear friend.   More beautiful and precious in person than on-line, which would be hard for me to imagine.   She is genuine, down to earth, sweet, and as good natured as I could have hope for- and then some.   When she speaks I hear the slightest hint of her German upbringing- which I consistently questioned (internally) if it was real, or if I just knew her to well :)   I imagine both are true.   I felt like, when I met her, I had known her for many years--- which was absolutely true! e

I can't put into words what a treasure it was to meet her- but I hope it won't be out last encounter!   If she returns to the NC coast this summer- I would like to drive wherever she is to see her again and meet her family- and I hope vice versa.   I know some of you know what a gift it is to meet your fellow blog friends- but for those of you who haven't- do so when you can.     It's an experience like none other :)

Hugs Foamy :)   and thank you!

Friday, June 03, 2011

If you have good helpers...the hospital might not kill you

All the best medicine in the world is of no avail if a patient is not understood, or overlooked, or gets lost  between shift changes.   World class health care is useless without consistent input and feedback between Dr. and patient; and I mean more than the Dr. reading off test results and the patient grunting "Uh-huh" in the 3 minutes they spend in dialog every morning at O'dark 30.

My mom developed a very serious complication during a rather routine surgery last week and almost bled to death.   The surgery, a gastric bypass, would help her shed many extra pounds- which would reduce the strain on her kidneys, lessen her need for insulin, and hopefully extend her life.   Instead the Dr. uncovered a failing liver, mom bled out when a key incision was made, and the bypass had to be abandoned.   Next, my mom went into renal failure and was on the verge of dialysis.  She required a blood transfusion.   Once the kidneys began to  slowly function again a strange thing mom's mental status went completely down hill.

Now I know that people become easily disoriented in a hospital.  I know some patients wake up in a panic because they don't know where they are, or are so exhausted from the sheer unrest which exists in a hospital environment they can barely remember their own name.   All of these things I could have understood if my mom had slipped into the gray area of being merely disoriented, but alas- she seemed to have fallen into a deep black hole and for a while I was truly afraid I had lost her in a way I had never imagined.    She was out of her mind.

Her mother, my grandmother, has been dead for almost 30 years.   In the middle of the night I heard my mom "talking" to her mother.   Several times my mom tried to get up (thankfully she was to weak to do so) because she told me she was in my sisters bed.   She thought my other sister was a white hissing cat who jumped out of the wall.   Mom said there were 2 men in the room over in the corner behind her and they were watching my sister.   The worst part was when the sun finally arose and I saw my mom's face- her eyes specifically, glazed over, unable to focus, she knew who I was, but had lost all hand eye coordination.   And worse than that, was trying to explain the Dr. who was an intern and had never met my mom before that something was very very wrong.   All he saw was a groggy patient who'd had an unsuccessful surgery and her wounds were healing nicely.   He completely dismissed my fears about her hallucinations and talking out of her head.  

I wanted to beat the man within an inch of his arrogant life.

It really wasn't until the respiratory therapist  came in to see mom that we got the attention we were looking for.   Thankfully it was the same therapist who had seen her the day before while my mom was in her normal state.   On this day she was alarmed to find my mom was "not the same patient" that she had been a day earlier.   Dr's were paged, more blood work was done, and they soon discovered her CO2 levels were very high.   Add to this the morphine she'd had earlier was still trapped in her body because of the decline of her kidney function.   To much carbon dioxide in the blood causes a patient to act drunk and out of their head.

Within 48 hours mom returned from her abyss and was clear-headed once more.   All the care she received in the hospital was top notch, her nurses and medical staff (aside from the one intern) were caring, patient, attentive, and helpful.   I felt she was given the best care possible, except for the fact they didn't really know her (and how could they?)- and the key signs of her mental decline could not have been perceived by anyone other than a close family member.    This is the 2nd time I've witnessed a patient's dire need for a caregiver in order to receive proper support.    Had my sister and the respiratory therapist not insisted something was wrong I don't know how long it would have taken for her blood chemistry levels to be checked, if they would have been checked at all.    A fragile diabetic patient with liver failure and on the verge of dialysis could be easily considered unstable in any number of ways.

It was a tough week being with mom in the hospital.   Thankfully we have a big family who were willing to help in any way they could.  My sisters and I took shifts, with the 3rd sister Robin taking the lions share of managing her care.   My heart aches when I think of patients going to the hospital alone with no one to look over them.   Hospitals, as good as they can be, are not places to linger alone.   Good helpers make a big difference.

Mom is recovering at home and being well tended to with lots of visits, phone calls, and home cooked meals. Those of you who knew she was ill- I appreciate your thoughts, calls, and prayers.   I imagine the road ahead will not be an easy one, but with every step I learn something new.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011


What is it about WRITING that bleeds your soul into mine?
Why do your whispered words end up written on the tablet of my heart?
Why do I care about your mom, or your lover, or your cat- as if they were my own?

Because- you MUST know- I DO care.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

MaydenAmerica Chicka-- Haiku

Golden tiny fluff of love
one tooth glossy eyes scattered shell emerge
cocks head fluffs wings perfection

Sunday, March 13, 2011

For the people of Japan~

We, Bloggers in particular, are part of a global community.   It's an interesting bond we have here...a place where we are connected primarily through words and ideas.   Friendships are created which can have as much, or as little impact, as we choose.  It's been surprising to me over the years how many people I have come to care for and even love via this medium.    

A blog friend I've known for several years lives in Japan and is close to the area affected by the earthquake.   Thankfully he wasn't in the heart of the devastation, but he's close enough to be enduring shortages of basics we take for granted.   As of this morning one  news report said as many as 10,000 people are missing from one town alone.    My heart breaks for the people of Japan.

Here's some info about how to make donations.   Please help if you can.   For me the earthquake is personal, as is any event that happens where my blog friends are.   

I hope it's a beautiful day where you are today~ 
Hugs and love to each of you.

Several relief agencies have ways people can contribute to disaster relief in Japan following the devastating earthquake and tsunami.

Call 1-800-RED-CROSS for English or 1-800 257 7575 for Spanish. Or call the Knoxville Red Cross office at 865-584-2999.

Text donations

Red Cross: You can text "Red Cross" to 90999. This will add a $10 donation to your cell phone bill.

Salvation Army: Text "Japan" to 80888 to make a $10 donation. A one-time donation will appear on your cell phone bill. Please respond "YES" to the thank you message you receive.

Online donations

The Red Cross accepts donations online on its website or by mail with a form you can print and include with your check. Information on matching gift donations is also available.

Save the Children is also taking donations to help. has launched a Japan Earthquake and Tsunami Relief Fund. It works with other organizations such as the International Medical Corps.

You can donate online to the non-profit Convoy of Hope.

Checking people's status

The Red Cross is one agency that hosts a website where people can register themselves as "safe and well" after a disaster. Family members can check this site as well to see who has registered.

The State Department also has contacts for U.S. citizens in Japan who need help, or people concerned about U.S. citizens there. Email or call 1-888-407-4747 or 202-647-5225.

Monday, February 28, 2011

Some molds are meant to be broken~

In the dark and early hours of this morning I had a terrible nightmare.   A dream so real and frightening I awoke soaking wet and in a wicked place of half rage and half panic.   In the dream I was the perpetrator, I was angry, and I was the one causing the anguish.   My daughter, whom I love and treasure more than my own soul, was the victim.   After lashing out at her both verbally and physically, she turned to look me in the eye and I saw that I had killed the most important thing in my life...her love, and it was then the panic set in.

Unfortunately the dream was actually a flash back of a similar encounter I had with my father when I was 16.   While the circumstances were a little different, the outcome was the same.  He destroyed every ounce of love I had for him because of his ego and pride about a sad choice I made.   I can recall the event with clarity, even though it took me a few hours to realize that encounter was the deeply buried source of the nightmare.    I was so angry upon waking that if I'd had a weapon close by I think I would have used it to harm  myself.   I was absolutely horrified by what I had done in my dream.  

Later in the morning I sent my daughter a text and told her how much I loved her.   She thought it was just a moment of  "mom being mom", which is a precious indicator of our relationship.   My expressions of love and gratitude for my kids is something I try to show on a daily basis.    Yes, I lose my temper.  Yes, sometimes I yell at them.  No, I do not throw things, or bring bodily harm to them- ever.    If I wanted to hurt myself from just dreaming about inflicting pain I can't imagine how I could live with myself if I actually did such a thing.  

It's been 25 years since the heartbreaking incident with my father (but obviously there were other problems brewing for a long time).   We've had moments of both healing, and of new destruction.   Presently there is simple acknowledgement of our blood relationship and a striving for peace when we're in the same room.   I think he regrets his actions.   I look at my 15 yr old daughter and could never blame her for the things he blamed me for.   I look at her and I understand the delicate balance beam she walks upon as she transitions from girl to woman.   I treasure her innocence, yet I also embrace and support her as she feels and thinks the things a new woman feels.   I have been her mother, protector, teacher, and mentor, and as she spreads her wings I want her to have confidence that I will always be here for her.    She will make mistakes.  I will help her pick up pieces.   We will disagree on how best to do something, but I will honor her choices in the end.

It's been a weird day.   Things from the past have wiggled up to the surface and brought tears to my eyes more than once.   I honestly thought all of this was behind me, but part of me still throbs with an ache that simply hasn't gone away.   Perhaps it's the realization that for so many years I took full responsibility for what I did at 16 and the anger and grief it caused the people around me, only to have my own daughter (who will be 16 this year) and wonder how anyone could put such a load on her tiny shoulders.   Why would anyone lash out, or blame, or damage someone so important?    I don't know.

 I do know that experience shaped me as a mother.   I do know that some molds (moulds?) should be broken.   I know that if my own sad experiences have made me a better parent for this beautiful girl (and my dear son) - then they were experiences worth having regardless of how painful they were.   I can't go back and change anything in my past, but I can make better choices in my future and theirs...and I definitely have.

Tonight I'm grateful for broken molds and hopeful for a peaceful night of sleep.  

I wish the same for you ♥

Friday, January 07, 2011


The garden of the Sanctuary had been ill tended.  Though it was important and suitably guarded- I had neglected it's upkeep.

The exterior seemed normal enough until I walked int the actual garden itself.  I was astonished by all the broken and splintered wood, as if great limbs from trees had been cast down and scattered among the plants, shrubs, and flowers I held dear.   The shrubs, while a few were almost split in two from the fallen timber, at least revealed smooth green branches in their broken places and reassured me of life.   The tender plants, like my petunias and herbs, had been smothered and would not be revived.  

What pained me most though was the well/fountain at the heart of my garden.  It was surrounded by a low circular stone wall in the center and was now covered with weeds and brambles.   There seems to be nothing sacred in nature.  No headstone a weed will not cling to and deface, no grave site to precious for dandelions, and no body of water to holy for bacteria or debris.   Sacred is the invention of men, and of gods, and of mothers.   Nature pays no heed to any.  

I, foolishly, dared to hope the order I had brought to my garden, the structure, the symmetry, would endure a season or two of my absence.  That nature would follow the guidelines I had set forth in neat rows of marigolds, precisely staked and tied tomato plants, and an herb garden sectioned off by stones I had dug from the ground to create a natural border.  Yes, it is true there was a evidence the hand of a gardener had been at work, but all boundaries were blurred and only a slight blueprint remained.

I was grieved and resolved at the same time.  I understood what I need to do.  I know labor and discipline will bring order and structure, but in the end it will be time, water, and nature which will bring new life.  

My only real concern is for the well at the center.  It is the object I have danced around with my words in this medium.  It alone is the reason for the garden.  The well is the actual Sanctuary.  I suspect it is not broken or ruined.  I dearly hope it is not dry, but I am not positive.   I don't have the fortitude to inspect if now, but I will work my way towards it as I cut the weeds back, dig up what is no longer thriving, and haul away debris.    

Surely the well is working...