Friday, July 31, 2009

Isn't It Always Like This?

Okay, today is a great time for worn out trite sayings that nevertheless are old sayings because there is an element of truth to them. We all use them, admit it. Okay, so here is how my day has gone. I slept late this morning. That was a good thing, for yesterday was "depression day" when I trotted out every poor mouth memory I could locate in that cluttered space we call a brain. By midnight last night I was exhausted. Today though was a new day, one filled with hope and promise. So every project I begin with leads to another that needs to be done, and everything is running behind schedule. So I call my favorite Significant Other. Just kidding, my ONLY S.O. "Honey, how about tonight we fare for ourselves?" I am the chief cook and bottle washer and I was asking for a day where we could scrounge and I could get back on top of things.

"Sure sweetie, that sounds fine." Great, I've hatched a plan. I can catch up tonight and be right back on schedule.

The phone rings. "Sweetie I was thinking." Even before another word is spoken, I watch my best laid plans flying out the window.
"Why don't we go out this evening, not buy a meal, but get a small dessert somewhere?" Well not what I had in mind, but hey. I can manage. "As long as we are out, let's do something. A movie, play, anything."

Now we have been talking about how we spend too much time at home, and that we needed to go out more together. It's a great idea. But tonight? Why not tomorrow? "Why not tomorrow?" I venture.

"I really do want to do something tonight." I can hear how important it is to her in her voice.

"Tomorrow is not good enough?"

"Not really." Well I will be busy tomorrow, because of my writing class.

"Okay sweetie." My fate is sealed. We are going to go out, and have a great time. My other "stuff" will just have to wait. But who could avoid a moment of deja vu, knowing similar situations have punctuated my life journey. Anytime I start to feel like I've got a handle on things, there life is reminding me just how full of it I really am.

Oh, if my blog entry seems a bit short today? Well now you know why. I hope anyone reading this has a wonderful weekend!

Thursday, July 30, 2009

When the Darkness Comes

"Out of the depths of despair I cry out to you oh G_d." Psalms 130th

Today I woke up. The sun shining outside, it would seem to be the perfect day to sing that song of unrestrained joy. After all only the animals are home right now and they can't tell me to shut up. There's much to be done and what a great day to do it.

That is how it should be. But it's not that way for me today. Amidst the light shining outside, there's a darkness that has descended upon my soul. This is how it is for me. I wonder if others experience this inexorable swing. I'll go for days, happy, joyous, free. Then the darkness comes. A pervasive sadness reminds me of what cannot be or will not be. Acceptance yields one more time to despair. I know that this is selfish, but it doesn't change anything. It just is.

I'm fortunate. Life's been sufficiently long to know that this mood will pass. I make a half hearted effort to change the way it is now, but to no avail. Memories wash over me. Memories of beloved souls who passed even as I held them in my arms. Memories of a daughter who I love more than anything or anyone save perhaps Robin. She does not speak to me anymore. That was the price for me being true to me. It doesn't change anything. The other day, I found a recording I made of her way back in 1981. She was 6 years old and she sang several of our favorite songs. Her voice booming out "Chantilly Lace, had a pretty face, Ponytail hangin' down. Wiggle in her walk, giggle in her talk, made the world go round..."

I turned on the news. More about Michael Jackson's daughter. Health care reform is losing support. Obama is having beer with a cop and the man he arrested. Whatever happened to real news? I turned off the television. Corporations are dominating our lives. That's no reason to celebrate.

I've got friends. Especially on line. But not the close knit sorts who visit on weekends and barbeque in the back yard. I have some friends like that back in Houston, but that is a bit too much a drive. It's not like I'm a hermit. I have tons of acquaintances and some who would no doubt come to help if I asked for something. Just not that more intimate level. I guess lots of folks have their own lifelong friends. That is the price we paid for moving. Again it was what we needed to do, but today I'm allowing myself some sadness for what is not. I guess I miss it a lot. Still there is church to attend, classes to take, that sort of thing. When darkness descends, I need to remember the blessings. Why is that so hard to do during the sad times?

Perhaps this is part of what it is to get old. The extra years means additional memories of lives lived, loves gained and lost, of tragedies that sometimes weigh on the soul. I dreamed of Skip last night. It was a pleasant dream. We were at the mall, arguing over carpet. I was smiling as the argument proceeded. Since we never bought a carpet, though we did argue about a curtains once, I thought this strange. "This is too plush. Too hard to clean!"

"I don't think so. Besides I'm the one who will be cleaning it anyway!" I responded.

This was real love, as real as that between me and Robin. IT was Skip who taught me how to really love. Imagine that and I was already 40 something!

I thought of all that this morning. Then suddenly a flood of memories. Skip lying in coma and our time had been so short. That last day his eyes would not leave me though unable to talk. "I love you my beloved. If you could come back, I'd be so happy. But if not, I give my permission to go. I'll be alright," I lied. Skip died a couple hours later. I had repeated I love you at least 20 times, just in case it was not heard the first time.
Or my friend Dee who collapsed only weeks later and in my arms she passed over. The last words either heard were "I love you." Then they were gone. Perhaps this flashback was the trigger, for ever since it happened this morning, I've been shrouded in a sort of lonely sadness. Welcome back darkness.

Fortunately for me, tomorrow is another day. One of the costs of a life well led has to be the occasions of sadness to occasionally well to the surface from a subconscious that carries both joy and despair within the depths of memory. I'll spend some of today remembering what was good with each of those no longer there, remembering the happiness for what I have rather than the despair for what I cannot have, and in the process, walk the lonely road back to happiness once again.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Don't Mess With Mama!

Okay, yesterday I shared a story about my daddy. Only fitting today I should give equal time to momma. Fact is, if I didn't, I can just imagine her coming back from the grave with a choice word or two. So momma, this one's for you.

My mother was a liberated woman when liberated wasn't cool. She grew up in a small farming community near Bearden, Arkansas. I've visited that old homestead, which is still owned by the family. It is well off the beaten path, driving some miles down old dirt roads and then turn into a yard with a house built of old aged planks cut by hand near the tail end of the 19th century. There's a nice size front porch, entering to a living area just feet from the old kitchen, and two bed rooms off to the right. There is no restroom. For that you have to take a hike about 50 feet from the house through the woods. When I was a child, I can remember going out there when we visited the old home site at night. The older folks cautioned us about "rattlers in the outhouse and each journey was made warily with stick in hand. Looking back I know they got a great chuckle about that, and that mom probably heard the same stories when she was a child.

So this was where mom and her seven brothers and sisters grew up. Discipline was strict (spare the rod and spoil the child) and the religion was too. They were Assemblies of God. My momma from what I hear was a real hellion. Beatings didn't seem to phase her. Her brothers and sisters would tease years later about her antics. Mom looked them right in the eye defiantly. "Yeah y'all were just as bad, but I was not going to be a hypocrite about it. I took a lot of whippings you all deserved." They would nod knowingly.

When she was 17, critical mass had been achieved. She had sassed the pastor, and he proceeded in church to "preach her into hell." She got up and walked out and never looked back. Soon she got a job in nearby Camden, and after making some cash, she moved to Little Rock and enrolled in business school. She worked for a fellow there who she would later categorize as the biggest bastard she ever met. "It would kill him to let go of a single penny and wages were far too low to put up with his constant ranting. By now she had cut her hair, which in conservative religious Arkansas was a major no no for women of that time. She had also taken up smoking.

Soon she packed again, this time to Amarillo, Texas where she got a job at American National Life Insurance as a clerical worker. Keep in mind all this was going on during the Great Depression. It was there she worked, and met my dad. Their first date was dancing. She was to learn later he'd canceled a date with someone else to go out with her. Mom loved to tell the story how they drove over to Duncan, Oklahoma to get married. My uncle Hilyard came along as a witness. As they walked towards the Justice of the Peace' office, Daddy had a confession. Turns out he was a couple of years younger than she was. He didn't want to tell her because he was afraid she wouldn't stay with him. Well that made her mad, so she cussed him up and down the rest of the way until they got there, then they got married.

As a child, momma made one thing clear. "I see parents that wait on their children right and left. Don't you expect that with me. When you grow up, you'll not be one of those helpless souls unable to take care of yourself." So it was by age 8 I was learning to cook, and we were expected to clean up for ourselves. I did most of the grocery shopping, riding my bike making several trips each week. When she took me along, she always made sure we talked about the price of things and how to shop for values.

She was a fiery woman, and frankly, I had inherited some of that temper myself. Now I know I'm not the only one who ever had to go cut their own switch when I did something wrong. Gracious I would go out and pick one that looked pretty flimsy, then try to break it where she wouldn't be able to tell. Of course she could tell, and I'd be sent back to get another with the assurance the punishment now would be worse.

Momma's humor could be absolutely wicked sometimes. One year my brother came home with his report card, perhaps second grade? "Momma? There is a note on my report card. I'm not sure what it means." He clearly was afraid he had done something wrong.

The note read, M-- is a tonic to the class.

Mom looked at him seriously. "It means you've been a little pill." Just that fast my brother tuned up to cry. She laughed out loud, assuring him it was a good thing.

Over many years we fought... a lot. She did not believe in praise thinking it would give us the "big head." Her expectations were high. But if she felt we were under attack, she could be fiercely protective. After we were grown, my brother and I were visiting her home in Southern Lousiana. She had moved there from Tyler to work for her brothers after dad passed away. My brother had really long hair hanging down his back, and a couple of employees in a local grocery, feeling safe behind their counter were making fun of him. Then momma realized what was going on. Her eyes clouded and she was furious. Her face turned red and she started stomping her foot. You know that stomping like a horse does before it rears up to trample someone? That was my momma in that moment. They stopped laughing and started to turn away. Seething momma said,

"You do NOT treat my son that way. I'll squash you like a bug!"

Okay, I got a bit tickled by that. "Shhhh momma, they are just a coupe of redneck crackers."

But of course she was not done. Fortunately she did not storm over the counter, but she did speak with the manager, with assurances between her and her brothers they were set to lose a lot of business. There was never any more trouble there again.

During the last four years of her life, she and I had a chance to move beyond our parent/child roles and become real friends. She shared so many stories, some of them likely to appear here. The only thing we couldn't talk about was my gayness, but just about everything else was fair game. We made peace where there'd been misunderstanding. I'll never forget the day she died. Family were everywhere. But she held on. After a time, most of the family drifted off to get something to eat. True to her nature, it was not to be a big spectacle. Only me, my brother, and my ex were there. My brother and I had laid down to take a nap just outside on some padded seating in the hospital. My ex came and awakened us. "She's ready," she whispered. Together we formed a circle holding hands, and she took her last breath. Now people will say it is impossible, or that I was fooling myself. But whatever it was, I felt her soul depart from her physical body. It was important to me to experience that, delusion or not. We sang two songs, songs customarily performed at all funerals on her side of the family since at least the forties, and they were performed at her funeral and will at mine. Her preacher sister did the sermon. She said even in death she did it her way and on her terms.

"There will be peace in the valley for me, some day.
There will be peace in the valley for me, some day I pray.
No sadness, no sorrow, not worry I see.
There will be peace in the valley for me."
"May the circle, be unbroken,
Bye and bye Lord bye and by.
There's a better, day awaiting Lord,
In the sky Lord in the Sky.

Theology can be debated, but family tradition? That's another thing entirely.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Tales of a Father

How do you become a writer or a storyteller? In my case how could I not. My family was filled with storytellers. In conversations we did not just hear what happened. There had to be a cast of characters, and the story would dance from one to the other, drawing a word picture that would hold this child in rapt attention. My dad was a champion with such stories. Often they would be woven around actual events, but on occasion, imagination would reign supreme. Who needed television when he was around. Those stories are as crystal clear today as they were then. I can't say the same for most of the programs on the boob tube we watched back then.

Ever so often I think I will visit one of his stories, for aren't tales made to be retold? Not all memories of childhood are great, but my memories from the tapestry formed in each tale became a critical part of the person I am today.

Daddy (that's what we called him) got home Friday night. He was a surveyor for the oil industry, and would leave home Monday morning and often not get back home till Friday evening. Mom would have a big meal prepared. This particular evening it was round steak properly beaten with a meat hammer, mashed potatoes and white gravy, green beans picked from the garden, and later we would fill those tummies with home made peach cobbler. Round steak was a common fare, since money doesn't grow on trees and frugality was a mitzvah. Mom and dad were true children of the depression.

Right on schedule, daddy arrived right at dinner time. He unpacked his survey instrument and maps, then his suitcase. Rather than come right to eat though, he beckoned momma to the restroom. Curious, my brother and I went as well. As he removed his shirt, there were four angry bloody lines down his back. The blood had clotted, but from my perspective, I could not escape a shutter. "How'd you do that daddy?" Momma washed his wounds, then applied rubbing alcohol as we all winced, him from the pain, us because we knew that had to hurt.

"Wait till we get to the dinner table. We can talk about it then."

Momma taped a gauze over the now cleaned scratches. She said, "Cmon now y'all. I'm hungry." Together we all headed for the kitchen. The kitchen. IN a time before families ate in front of the television, the kitchen was where everyone gathered. Often friends would come over to play dominos on the kitchen table. Family would meet and tales were woven over. There were two parts to the kitchen. Towards the back was the sink, refrigerator, stove, Here is where the work was done, food prepared, hands were washed, dishes cleaned and inspected. Forming a natural divide was an island with porcelain tile cover, with storage built in below. In front of it was the natural gateway to the true living area for this house. There was a door out the side to the drive. This was before air conditioning, so in the warmer months the door was always open, a screen door letting in fresh air pulled by an attic fan in the hallway. Our real friends never came to the front door, but to the side where the kitchen table was waiting. Here plans were made, stories told, homework completed, bread broken... when I speak of home, I mean the kitchen.

The table was not that large, but we did have a leaf to insert as needed. It was one of those retro dining tables common in the fifties steel and aluminum like you found in diners with matching chairs and seat covers to match the design of the table, a white with a brown design imbedded. It had to be durable, ready to handle the slamming of dominos, to buffer the pushes and shoves of hundreds of guests over many years. We had a dining room which was also the back half of the living room in the front, but we only used that when we had a large crowd. The kitchen was the true home.

Around the table we sat, and each dish was passed around and we filled our plates. Daddy began with small talk, about the week. Momma recited the litany of our sins of the week, an act we dreaded because it often meant more punishment. She got him up to date about the calls for new work. She served as his secretary, receptionist, and whatever else he needed in the office which was a converted bedroom adjacent to the kitchen. My brother and I sat eating and squirming, dying to hear the story of those scratches on his back.

Finally I asked, "daddy, you going to talk about those scratches?"

He smiled. "I guess I'm lucky to be here you know. It could have ended very differently." Our eyes widened."I was working in Cherokee county, west of here. We were staking a location in some pretty thick timber. Was watching the ground close. You know how those snakes are and between the rattlers and the copperheads, a fellow just needs to step careful. We were maybe a mile or so from the car in the middle of this forest. We'd been cutting a survey line and I'm guessing I'd sweated a good ten pounds out of me. Seems I recall, what I really wanted that moment was a nice cool drink of water. I was thinking about heading back to the water can that we dragged along with us. The rodman was back maybe a hundred yards or so further cleaning out the survey line. Then I heard a rustling of branches above and behind me."

"What was it?" I was holding my own breath.

"Frankly I thought it was just a bird or something. But it seemed kind of loud for a bird thrashing about. Well I glanced over my shoulder just in time to see something that made my heart stop" He paused for dramatic effect. "I thought it was over for me that moment." He paused again.

This time my brother and I cried out in unison! "What was it!"

He leaned back to enjoy more fully the story. In barely a whisper, he said, "Wildcat."

"What?" This time it was me, my brother and my mother."

"When I glanced back, that cat was making a leap for me. Way out there I think both of us were startled. Everything slowed down in my mind's eye, though I'm sure in real life it didn't. I moved to the side, one paw with claws bared left the scratches you saw. What saved me was my instrument box which was strapped over my shoulder. As that cat hit the ground, I swung that box at the cat with every bit of strength I had. That wildcat let out a crying howl like I never heard before. Think of an alley cat when it's fighting, times ten. Then it ran off into the brush."

We all stared in amazement. I could see momma searching his eyes to see if he was telling a story or not.

"Did that really happen?" I asked. Another pause.

He smiled. "Well it could have. Or maybe it was that thick brush that did it." I loved that he gave us a choice of what to believe.

Monday, July 27, 2009

About a Garden

What is it about a garden that soothes the soul and lifts the spirit? Yesterday was such a day. It had been a horrible day when everything seemed to go wrong. It started when I slept much later than I had planned. My back hurt and muscles were stiff. So I am thinking, what will I have for breakfast? That was a rhetorical question because I knew the answer. Cook some toast and eggs, and spread some spicy nacho cheese on them for a kicker. It doesn't take much you know, just a spoonful or two. Well heck, it's Sunday, so why not a slice of turkey ham on the side. Like Pavlov's dog, I was already salivating.

So I open the fridge and my heart skipped a beat. Where was the nacho cheese sauce? "Oh honey, I took that into the office last week for a gathering we held."


"You what?"

"Sorry. I didn't mention it to you?"

"Um no."

Ah well, eggs and toast sound fine. Where is that bread? ::pause:: Where IS that bread? I was out of bread! Arrrrghhhhhhh! Not just any argh, but ARGHHHHHHH! So it was oatmeal again. ::mumble mumble::

Okay, that was the beginning. The computer was taking a holiday, loading very slowly as I sat not so patiently watching the little circular arrow go and go and go ad nauseum. My list was growing, my temper was shortening, and my impatience and restlessness were reaching new heights.

Oh crap, I haven't taken out the garbage yet. They come tomorrow. Who knew those words would be the instruments of my salvation? Why not since I'm going down anyway go ahead and water the garden? Those sunflowers were out in full bloom, so I decided to take my camera.

I walked into the back yard grabbing the hose and turned on the water. Standing there as I soaked my little space in the corner of the back yard next to the garage, I felt a peace descend over me. When I was done, I just sat down for a bit and watched everything growing. The greens and yellows from the squash with towering sunflowers overlooking and the dark purple eggplants beginning to form just behind them. There is a scent and feel to a garden, and the sun was shining warming upon my skin and in spite of myself, a smile formed on these old lips.

One of the things I love about photography is that in looking for better shots, I'm required to pay attention to light, perspective, framing etc. What all that means is that I'm moved to deeper levels of observation that perhaps I might normally engage. At one point I was even on the ground, elbows holding me up while I took my shot. That in turn evoked childhood memories, lying in the grass, seeing the world from a very different angle. How interesting I thought that some of those scenes dating back over 50 years were there ready to be replayed in this moment with such clarity and detail that it seemed only yesterday.

My neighbor walked up, and we talked quietly over the fence. She's a lovely older woman with a beautiful heart, perhaps in her late seventies or early eighties. We talked about our gardens. She mentioned a hummingbird she sighted the other day, and her efforts to keep her cat away from that bird. We talked about the sunflowers, which began in her yard and migrated to mine by way of bird transport no doubt. "Look behind that garage," she says. "There's a raspberry bush back there and the birds are going to get them all!"

"Thanks, I will! Didn't even know there was one there! I was out picking gooseberries the other day." I pointed to the gooseberry bush over in the corner. She recalled picking gooseberries as a child. How they seemed tasteless now, but back then they were so rich in flavor. Then it was time for her to get ready for evening church services, and I had to go back upstairs where lots of work was waiting.

Isn't it amazing really how the simplest things in life can bring such happiness? No more than a garden, a friendly neighbor, a touch or a smile. Nothing we said was especially noteworthy or new. Nothing could have been said at all really. But on this Sunday we had communion. The church has a litany of Eucharist, but that is not what I mean though metaphors there can be found. I'm talking about communion with nature and with my neighbor. From the garden will come the fruits of the earth. Fruits available because of the gifts of nature, but also because of the offerings of my labor. This is my body. From my neighbor, came the sharing of her soul, and I mine. Each of us offering up a piece of ourselves. This is my blood.

All of this came from a visit to the garden. Yesterday was such a lovely day!

Sunday, July 26, 2009

A Day at the Opera

It does not happen very often. But on a rare occasion there will be a spark of creative humor that rises up from within. The story I wish to weave is one such moment, and it is made even better by being a true story.

Let's turn back the clock just a bit. I was living in Houston at the time, and this was before I had begun transition from male to female. A dear friend had two season tickets to the Houston Grand Opera and I was her gay male friend to take as a date since I loved opera so. Skip, my husband until he passed away in 1997, thought it was a grand idea.

(There is a whole story about how I made the change from gay guy to lesbian woman, but that'll have to wait.)

So she came by to pick me up, each of us dressed suitably for the occasion. We had our obligatory soda, then a trip to the rest room before going in to sit down in our designated seats. Here we were, first act of two, and the music was lovely. I settled back into my chair to allow the music sweep over me. About midway through the first act, I felt my friend squirming in her seat a bit. Glancing at her I saw her face, appearing a bit irritated and uncomfortable. I'm thinking, how could she not be enjoying this opera? It really was quite good. We would certainly discuss this at the break I thought and my attention turned back to the music.

Soon we got to the break, and my friend seemed most anxious to get out. I couldn't help notice her steal a bit of a hateful glance towards the man sitting next to her as he and his wife rose also to leave.

My friend and I sat at a table near the entrance. "Girlfriend, what on earth is going on?"

"That man sitting next to me? The lecherous bastard can't keep his hands to himself. I didn't know what to do!"

In that moment, the Great Muse In the Sky whispered in my ear. "Time for theater," she said. She was right as rain.

Looking into my friend's eyes, I tell her, "I know just what to do."

Back inside we go, immediately after the man and his wife have themselves taken their seat. Per instructions, I tromp down the aisle first, dressed in my best high queen. It's show time girls! I'm flitty and my voice goes into the worst possible gay stereotype, limp wrist and a swish to the step. As we go to take our seats, me next to the lecher in question, before sitting I turn to my friend. "Darling, you should have seen the men there last night. Oh so adorable and one had the cutest little butt you ever did see!"

Next to the offender I plop down. I turn leaning towards him, "Oh hello there now."

He gives me a stare of disgust, of anger, of irritation. I also detected a bit of nervousness. Now it was came my part!

The orchestra warmed up, and the second act began. I placed my arm on the rest, nudging him as I did so. I let my leg lean into his. He pulled away. Boldly I wink at him. Whenever he moved away, I occupied more of his space. He was squirming now, leaning into his wife not sure what to do. He sat there uncomfortable and confused and seething. Then there were five minutes left before final curtain. He couldn't stand it anymore. Up from his seat he rose, motioning for his wife to come as well, grumbling "Let's go. I've seen enough." Someone behind us goes Shhhhh. As his wife moved past me, she looked me right in the eye, smiled and mouthed the words, "thank you."

Clearly he'd done this sort of thing before. She'd enjoyed this performance play out as much as my friend. After the opera we laughed about what had just happened. Those moments of clarity are rare, and the visits of that particular Muse more so. I could only be thankful, for it was the perfect response and a good laugh and memory were icing on the cake. In the truest sense of the word, this man experienced justice.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Living with Sleep Disorder

A couple of years ago, I went in to have a knee replacement. When I went in, I had always been a night owl, but could get enough sleep to get by on. When I came out however, I had a sleep disorder of major magnitude. Extra work on that knee because of an old accident may have resulted in altered blood flow which led to the condition. Who knows?

Whatever it was, when I came off the meds, I entered virtual hell. Finally, into my fifth day with absolutely no sleep, restless leg twitches that literally ripped the covers off our bed as I thrashed violently, experiencing waking dreams and mild psychosis like symptoms, we explored a medication regime that would work.

Let me describe how it felt. No sleep the night before. The sun is up and it hurts my eyes. I lie down, but then a creepy tingling begins in my leg. I try to ignore it, but ultimately my leg ignores my brain. The feeling intensifies and releases an involuntary shutter. Focus I think. But now it's the other leg. I sort of relax a few minutes, hoping and praying this will work. But then a feeling comes over me and I turn this way and that, and then the inevitable thrashing of legs. The entire bed shakes. I get up and sit at the couch uttering gibberish. That night I come to bed. The process continues. Poor Robin is not getting any sleep, so I get up, pacing the floor, then sitting at the couch, tv on but without meaning and another day passes.

The creative mind is dead. I mumble to myself. Then there is a nightmare. But my eyes are open. Will the rest of my life be like this? I go for a long walk, even though I just had knee surgery. Then lying down, everything repeats. At times panic sweeps over me. This just cannot be happening. The greatest hell I have ever experienced was the death of my creative mind. Without it, life seemed not only painful, but a complete waste. Finally on the fifth day, the doctor gave me a scrip for 3 hydrocodone tablets to hold me over until I could come in. I took one and slept 14 hours without waking. What a blessed relief. The creative mind did not return at once. But I was aware that it was still there.

Fast forward to today. I now take .25 mg of mirapex, normally a drug for Parkinsons to control the restless leg syndrome. In addition, I have to take 200 mg of Trazodone each night just to get to sleep. Even with this, some nights I wake up at 3 or 4 AM, while other days I crash out until 10 or 11 AM.

So Jessica, quite whining about your ailments. But this is all to explain what I find incredibly frustrating. Some days I get up, but my brain remains in a fog for much of the day. I become unproductive and might I mention it can be so frustrating! Well this is where this blog comes in. I'm finding if I can exercise my brain when I do get up, often the fog goes away.

Actually that is what happened this morning. For the second day in a row I'm up around 8 AM, allowing something like a full day before me. Good thing too, because today is my queer fiction class plus I'm on a roll in my novel and want to get some more writing done. The next two weeks I will be immersed in the Church History project, so I want to get some more done before that becomes my focus. Reflecting on this, my logical side says, of course, exercise is always good for waking up the body. How much truer it can be for the brain as well.

I'm writing now around 10 AM. the sun is shining and it is a beautiful day. I feel a quiet peace. Serenity really is such an awesome thing. I have today, and with some luck and a prayer, it will be a good day.

Blessings be.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Retire to rest?

So what the heck happened? I retired 9 years ago at the end of August. Oh how sweet! Rest, relaxation mmm mmm. So where am I today?

Okay, I do get to sleep plenty, and that's nice. But I'm looking at a deadline for my novel, a deadline for the history project I'm involved in, a garden that must be kept up, my various discussion groups, time for photography jaunts, homework for a class I'm taking. Of course there is the housework, cooking and cleaning. Phew! Maybe I should go back to work so I can get some rest!

Oh and add to that my politics. So much is happening now, between the Hate Crimes legislation, health care, and racism run rampant in an ongoing national whine from defeated republicans. I'm too much a political junkie to ignore such tumult. So I must get my daily fix of CNN, MSNBC, Maddow and Olbermann, and finish it off with a bit of Stewart and Colbert.

Life really is pretty busy. So why am I complaining? Actually I'm not. Today I chase my passions, and that's a good thing. It's from such that a full life is built. As a child I used to think you learned a certain amount and then you taught. Now I know that learning is a life time experience, as much so as instructing. Often in sharing from my experience, I learn just as much from the experience of another.

Through all that fills my days, there is but one enemy, and that is time. Increasingly I know that life truly is finite. There is so much I hope to accomplish, and too much time has been wasted. Perhaps it's this thought that should be foremost in my heart as I face each new day. After all I never know which day will be my last. What stories I still have to share, and adventures still to be lived. All I have is today, so time to get to work!

Thursday, July 23, 2009

The Muse Has Returned

So now after delays for illness, a new hobby, every excuse one can imagine, I am now writing again. Hence this blog, designed to stir the creative juices before working on any of my various projects.

Life these days seems a bit tricky. At 62, I've been experiencing bouts of illness on a very regular basis, It is extremely frustrating, but regular enough that I realize I need to work through such periods or my novel will never be completed. The deadline on that novel self imposed is the end of this year, at least on first draft. It's August so I need to get kicking.

Therefore this blog will be about all sorts of things. The idea is to write about life, about ideas, not unlike a journal, allowing some semblance of a regimen from which to stir the inner creative soul (which will be expressed through my novel and other creative pieces. So fasten your seatbelt. Here goes!