Taking Care

20170603_175357 - Copy

Coming up to my Alaskan home to care for my mum has been an education. I have so many people tell me how lucky I am that my spouse lets me do this. If he said I couldn’t, I’d have been VERY upset. I do try to do some of the things he likes, staying away from home wouldn’t have been acceptable.  We moved from the Or coast to take care of his family, it is only right I can take care of mine. Granted, I didn’t expect it to last for months (one of my friends thought it might….).

I’ve learned so much. Lots of nursing sorts of things, of course, but also patience. From my rants on here, that might seem ludicrous, but it is true. I thought my youngest taught me patience, mum has taught me more (On second thought, my son taught me not to be surprised at anything. ‘Mom, the blow dart broke a window on the little house door, bounced off, and stuck in the hose….’). I honestly think my marriage gave me skills I have needed while here, too.

I have needed to stop depending on someone else all the time (helping mom is something my boys have always done!) and at the same time, I’ve learned to ask for help on big things. I have learned how to do math…somewhat,  I have always been good at being invisible while in plain sight, and I am better at keeping my mouth closed (except on WP!).

I often thought I was alone before. These last months, in the wheel of mum, I am truly alone. Most of my existence surrounds her. I get away some, but by and large, mum is what my whole life has lessoned me for. Few face time friends seek me out. If I want someone, I need to go to them.  I am learning to adapt to this. I only hope as I get back to a real life, I don’t decide to be a recluse. It is an easy pattern to stay in.

I have always careful with finances, now I am super very careful. If I had not learned that previously, it might be harder to do. I can manage mum’s appointments, her bills, her medicines, her choices (she says she wants to do something, I attempt to make it happen), I took her way delayed taxes in, and have put things back on track. A year ago, when I was here, I wasn’t a POA and things were a MESS!!!!! I drove her car for more than a month last summer without insurance because it had lapsed. She often tells me she wants to be back in charge of her life and I inwardly shudder.

The life motto I’ve adopted ‘Que sera, sera’ has been so important. To know things will happen as they will no matter what. Good advice, Doris! I am glad I am home, but this is something I never imagined.

And I have a pretty good imagination!

Thigh Wear

ladies sitting

One of those other things women just have to deal with in their lives. You know, like unexpected flashes of heat or having super sexy legs as long as you are standing or that belly bulge from having babies and eating assorted pints of ice cream or visits from Aunt Flo or stray hairs around the nipple/chin/other or  …Should I continue??? This latest isn’t something sexy you put on your legs or an accessory you might purchase to make them lovelier. It is what happens to your very favorite clothing with legs, the ones which show not a sign of being worn in any place other than the inner thigh. I have mended a bazillion pairs of pants for the males in my family. They are often torn near the pockets (multi tool/wallet wear), or knees, and rarely in other places (where sharp things might snag).

My own pants? Thigh wear. Every time.

A post of worms

gummy_worms__07982 This seems to be a season of retrospection. Many bloggers or Facebookians have shared about themselves with lists of things they haven’t done, things they have done, and other assorted commentary. There are a lot of things I want to do, I don’t plan on ever getting to do them, so I don’t consider them something to chronicle. Dreams or goals don’t really exist in my world. I’m a huge fan of Doris Day’s advice of ‘Que sera, sera.’ I reckon I am a jelly fish. There were several things I decided I wanted to do before I turned 50. The summer of 2014, I did most of them. I learned to eat and appreciate onion rings. Cold pizza…how I managed to live so long without that, I’ll never know. My single, small tattoo is very precious. So glad it can’t be lost! I think I completed them all before I reached that half century mark of the next Feb.

At the moment, I do NOT want to go out and finish weed trimming mum’s yard. The neighbor kids have said they will mow for me, but I need to mark out the places they should leave! Sort of trim a perimeter around the spot needing cut. I did a bunch already, but, at the moment, my arms remind me of fresh gummy worms. Sort of limp and boneless! Mum has an electric weeder and the battery died. I was rather thankful. I am not sure how long it takes for one to charge, I figure maybe by 9pm I can go out and see how it is doing. By then, perhaps, my arms will feel better! And even if it is raining, it can still be trimmed.

I do want another book to read. I might read again the wonderful series about the elemental vampires who hunt down books thru the centuries. If I could live forever, I think I’d want to search out literature. I mentioned to my family they could get me an Amazon gift card for a late mom’s day/birthday  present. (I think they were amused) I did get a book for the eldest for his birthday. I hadn’t checked the addresses and I chose the 3-7 business days route. It suggested it would arrive where I am by the 12th. I changed the address to my son’s in VA and it said it would reach him by Tuesday..which is the 4th of July. Not a business day! It will be a little late for his birthday, but that just extends the day, right?

I do NOT want to go to mum’s oncologist tomorrow. He’ll say the same things. “You are getting better slowly. You are a lot stronger than you were in December. You need lots of time to heal. Your weight is remaining steady and you should keep doing what you are doing. The tumor marker is higher (as of this week it is up in the 1500’s again), but it will go up and down. It is high, but we’ll keep an eye on it. Let’s have you come in about this time next month.” He will say this to mum and ignore me until I remind her to tell him about the possible UTI and then when I hand him the business card from her dentist. The dentist wants to chat to the oncologist about the removal of 12 of mum’s teeth. (I LIKE her dentist!)

I do need to focus on the opposite of this phrase (It is from a Diabetes blog I follow…not sure which one): “We look for what’s not working instead of what is.” I do this often in my health and in mum’s and in well lots of things! I also need to remember to refrain from the tasty things which are bad for my not so delicate waistline and blood glucose.

So, there you are. A few of my wants and not wants and what will be, will be!

Woman

Being afraid of sex and my sexuality is one of the things which has crippled me the most as a woman.

I grew up with Playboy magazines (they were a coffee table book next to the National Geographics in most of the houses I babysat in), Barbie dolls, Daisy Duke, and Raquel Welch. My friends had brothers who plastered their walls with pages from Playboy. I knew boys preferred slim, busty, hippy, tall girls. All of which I would never be. I also had the idea boys only liked girls for one reason. Sexual gratification. My first intimate sexual experience was hilarious. That dear collegiate was also my first kiss when I was almost 16, which was also hilarious. We have often commented we should get together again and erase that last silly fiasco from our memories!

I liked sex, once I figured out what it was, but didn’t know how to experience it. After college, I moved near my spouse and Strider was conceived. I honestly think it would have been better to have gotten to know each other better before kids, but I’d never ever ever ever not want my eldest.

After our first son, sex was hit or miss, but we were young and doing our best. Our second son was born a few years later and this is when I started to realise something was missing. We both grew really busy. The boys being 5 years apart kept me bouncing from parenting to volunteering and back. I got involved in a myriad of activities and so did he. Our intimacy waned a great deal, which isn’t saying much. It was already fading! I began to read erotica, write it badly, and sext flirt with dear friends. I didn’t have any time for any sort of serious adulterous relationship, but I imagined them!

As time went on, nothing much changed and I grew more and more unhappy and alone. I was positive it was my weight. I was 98 pounds when I was first married and got much heavier after Bear was born. I was self-conscious and felt ugly. I was a Boston fern on a shelf. I provided comfort, existed for needs, and was pretty much left alone except for an occasional watering or turning towards sunshine. I rarely worked outside the home, my spouse’s mom was stay at home and he wished me to do the same. I admit, it was wonderful to be the mom who was always available for activities or projects or scouts or whatever. If we had lived nearer towns, kids would have been at our house all the time instead of often! But, trying to get off the shelf into the working world later was hard. Very hard. Everyone was used to me being around and hated it when I wasn’t available. I had spoiled my family and my spouse had neglected me.

I know this was partly my fault. I could have gotten even more outside interests. I could have taken the initiative and asked my spouse to take me to a movie or even a dinner. I know he is a busy person, but I could have asked. I knew sexual things I desired were ‘wrong’ and could keep suppressing them. I could have stopped reading and writing things my spouse didn’t approve of. I could have kept to myself and stayed unhappy and angry and depressed inside, showing a brave front to the world. I’d done the latter for years, I could have kept doing it.

But, I didn’t. I decided to try an experiment and stop fighting myself. It was amazing! I recall one day I went grocery shopping. I had skyped one of my good friends and he told me to act like I wanted to behave. I stood taller and smiled more and it was wonderful! I felt pretty and that inside feeling crept outside and I think I was! That friend sent me a lovely toy after I purchased my first one and someone very special gave me another. I had no idea toys could be so much fun! I didn’t know things I wanted were ok to desire. I have learned a great deal about sex and my body and the male body. Not lots, but more than I knew before.

I have no idea where this road in my journey will lead. I am enjoying it and will let things happen as they will. And, I am not going to be afraid. Sing it, Ladies!

Bricks

walljeremy I get Mum is stubborn. It is why she’s still alive. But, I wish she’d let up on my sister. Yes, my sister drives me nuts and is not someone I’d want to spend more than a couple of hours with at a time. Yes, she knows everything and has to take care of everyone and is bossy and the list goes on! I get mum has ill treated my sister since she was born, but I can still hate it.

Today,  my sister came to visit. She was here for a little more than a half hour and spent most of the time talking to me. Because mum sat and ignored her. Mum was crocheting, she hasn’t been able to do this in ages, so I get she was paying attention to her project. But, she could have put it down for a bit. She is always bitching about how she never gets to see her granddaughter or my sister, but she bitches when they arrive, too. She snipes at my sister for having a different faith, she snipes at her for homeschooling her daughter, she insists they won’t let my niece grow up and then refuses to let the youngster have chances in her house, she tap dances around my sister and her family and then blasts them from the water in the next move. I totally get why my sister doesn’t want to visit.

Then, I get home from shopping and find out she is going to sell the kayak to her physical therapist this fall. She will NOT let my sister have it because she does  not want my niece in the kayak. It is too dangerous. My niece can’t swim well enough to use a kayak. She has watched my niece swim and it is not good enough for a kayak.  Note: My niece has been taking lessons since about the time she could walk. She swims in chlorine pools and lakes and she has also used a kayak before. But, mum has this idea my niece can’t and thus, she is not ever going to be allowed to.

Mum is a brick wall who throws bricks. Today has been a good day. Her therapists are going to cut her loose. She is not needing anything more from them. She can walk fine and shower on her own (I was in the other room listening to her breathe way too hard, but she did it all by herself) and is good to go. She still can’t take the stairs to the basement, thank God! So, since her therapists say she is fine and yesterday her nurse said her color was better, Mum is going to be in charge again. She can’t wait to drive next month and send me away.

And I sit here pole axed. Her tumor marker is up in the 1500s again, she has ‘crackles’ in both lungs, and she gets cold quickly. Her reaction time is nil, she is often confused (she carefully wrote on a legal document it was 207. I was glad there was enough room for me to later add a ‘1’), and she does simple tasks badly (she can’t open containers, she washed the bathroom floor last week and spilled cleaning solution everywhere. I wasn’t home…). I’d run away and leave her alone, but she’d bitch she didn’t have a car, because I had it. I’m getting to the point where she makes me so mad I want to be really mean.

I am so very glad my ice cream melted and I had to eat it. It was one of the two lovely interludes in an afternoon full of bricks..

Moving up!

Brave.jpg

This past year, in particular, I’ve noticed I’m beginning to grow up. How crazy is this? I’m over a half century old (not by much, but still) and I’m not grown up yet? It isn’t the adult part, I’ve been an adult since I was about 5. It is the maturing part I’m learning. So many aspects of me have become stronger and better. I still stumble and it hurts, I’m still a cynic in many spots, and I’m more at peace. This, to me, is the best part.

I used to fight with myself all the time and was convinced I was horrible and evil and didn’t deserve to live. I didn’t fit in the mold I was cast. Depression is one of the most awful things on earth. It is caused by so many things and so hard to combat. People who tell you to suck it up or tell you other people have it much worse than you do or say there is no reason for you to be depressed are well meaning, but wrong.

Making a person who already see their worth as ‘less than’ believe their thoughts are skewed, this just makes it worse. (I hope you can read that sentence!) Drugs are not always friendly. Sometimes they are necessary, for me they were not a good fit. I finally decided I couldn’t live the way I was and opened myself up to new experiences and ideas. It was a wonderful awakening and not one made up of religion. For me, faith wasn’t the whole answer. I had gone to the dark side, so to speak. A non-traditional path.

I could write a dissertation on my thoughts of God. I won’t. I do have a blog where I share devotions, I do believe in God and He is important to me. My faith is a large part of what makes me the person I am, I believe in the Bible, and one of my best friends in the world is an atheist. In my discovery of me, my God is bigger than the boxes man puts Him in. In one of my favorite scenes in Pullman’s ‘The Amber Spyglass’ (I am pretty sure it was that book and I am pretty sure this is how it was written!), the kids find a sealed chariot like box being pulled away from earth by the bad angel like creatures. In an ensuing fight, the box falls and the two kids break it open. Inside they find an aged emaciated being. They pull him from the cage and discover they’ve released God. Who suddenly becomes whole and huge and powerful and thanks them for letting Him back into His world.  This is the God I believe in. The One who refuses to remain boxed.

At any rate, as I look into a world of new ideas, I’m thankful for all of those around me who have assisted me on my route to find myself. I’m not done yet, but I believe I’m on the right path. Or at least a path leading to a place where I accept Kris. It is funny, those people who have helped me grow. Many of them are no longer huge parts of my life. They seem to have moved away after adding to me. When I search them out, they respond, but it isn’t the same. While I travel, other lovely persons have moved in. I reckon that is best. Static friendships are boring. Friendships need to be crystal and moving with hidden depths and shallows. This is knowledge from my new growth. Not being afraid to allow myself friendships because I know they won’t last the way I want. Not being afraid.

Three little words which blow an entire world into tomorrow.

How cool is that? Very!!!

 

Thoughts on today—

I’ve been thinking about the past and the future of our world. This song sort of encapsulates some of that.

“We didn’t start the fire
It was always burning since the world’s been turning
We didn’t start the fire
No, we didn’t light it, but we tried to fight it

We didn’t start the fire
It was always burning
Since the world’s been turning
We didn’t start the fire
But when we are gone
It will still burn on and on and on and on
And on and on and on and on…

We didn’t start the fire
It was always burning
Since the world’s been turning
We didn’t start the fire
No, we didn’t light it
But we tried to fight it”
Billy Joel

Melted Mountains

IMG_4726 - Copy

Well, it appears Mum is doing well. The weight loss she had must have been a mistake on the scales of that dr. She is now 112 again, or still, or whatever. The doctor she saw today surmised the bulge in her tummy (which he said was small) is most likely scar tissue and he would not recommend a surgery on her stoma (hole in abdomen) unless it was a local sort of anesthesia. He suggested we continue with giving her foods she can process and the nutritional drinks. (the one she had tonight is making her sick, she should have had it earlier. She is about ready to throw up.)  Basically, another doctor reminding us mum is doing well. When I said a different doctor said she’d be well by the end of summer, he sort of wasn’t as sure on that. He hedged on the word ‘well’. Will she be healthier? yes. Will she be up to the things she could do two years ago? Probably not. Mum opted to not hear that part.

I had to wake her this morning to give her shots. I woke her for the first one and then again for the second one. She got lost today at the medical building. I dropped her off and parked the car and when I got to the office area, she wasn’t there. She had gone to a different one. She knew where we were going today, we had discussed it for several days. At breakfast I reminded her when she was sure nothing was going on today. I had even mentioned I had dropped her off on the wrong side of the building and she agreed. But, it appears memory lapses can also be caused by an UTI (urinary tract infection). She’s had one already and been treated, but it may be chronic. No one is taking those seriously, except a couple of her friends and I.

After her appointment, she was nauseous, but visited a friend and then before dinner she wanted to go to town for dinner and then a baseball game! Thankfully, I remembered King Felix was pitching tonight for Seattle and she opted to stay home and see how he did. We ordered pizza for dinner and ate too much (I love pizza, but not what it does to my diabetes!!!) and then she had that beverage. And for a snack, a mini bagel with whipped mixed berry cream cheese. Yeah, not good for her already high blood sugar. But, she’ll be down to the 100’s by breakfast. Unless the shot she did on her own was messed up. Not gonna even think about it.

So, mountains have been melted. I’m going to go with the flow of snow melt and ride it down the slope. See ya at the bottom!!

Under the rose colored glasses

20170622_204756-1

This carefully edited stark shot with a tear is in response to Amanda and others. You are right. I do often need help, mothered, cared for. Today I was trying too hard to be ok and fell apart when I went to dad’s bench in the park. My falling apart is often contained, I rarely fold completely. It isn’t appropriate. I sat there today and realised how often I hold on to others around me for help. How often I reach out and cling. How often I whine and bitch and moan. And how, in reality, I am alone.  I was sure it was cuz I am so fat and unlikable and boring and well, no one wants to be around a clinging vine!  It was the loneliness which really shook me today.

Last night, when we were changing mum’s waste bag, we found a knot. A lump. It is about the size of a smaller English walnut. You only feel it when mum is prone. The imagination goes wild when you discover something like this in a person who has a strong history of cancers. Having to be the strong responsible one truly sucks. I know my imagination is probably inaccurate, thankfully we see a Dr tomorrow. The surgeon who removed mum’s cancerous spleen more than a year ago. It is just that damn cha cha dance and mum? Tonight she seems to be a little more tired of this dance of death. She says she hurts tonight where the lump is. It has never hurt before, but she might have poked the area today.

As I sat there with tears drying in the wind, I felt lost. I got back home and sat despondent and completely unmotivated to do anything. I thought about staying away from the internet for a while (cutting off my nose to spite my face, so to speak). Then, I remembered this. It was in the book I read last night.

Don’t be so proud you can’t receive from others. If you don’t let them give to you, then you cheat them of the good luck they could receive by giving to you.”

I need to roll with the good moments and be happy when they happen. The Craftsman texts me a couple of times a week now and calls at least twice. My kid in VA calls often. I have good friends who encourage me in many different ways through the giving of themselves. There are beautiful stories in the world I can enjoy, blogs which make me smile, and friends who write those blogs who also give. I have running warm water in the house. I love those around me who give to me and I’ll continue to let them. It isn’t my place to reject their goodness when I am feeling like I should get rid of it. The loneliness I am experiencing is not because of what I look like or what I do. It is made up of fragments of sharp life bits cutting into moments of joy.

Those rose colored glasses are ok to wear for a while. They are just glasses which help one see differently. Different is good.

Backwards

In one of my favorite musicals, there is a song called, ‘Sunrise, Sunset’. It talks about how quickly the passage of time in children and those seasons of happiness and tears. I chased the sun during 2017’s summer solstice. But, I started with the sunset and ended with the sunrise. My photos in between didn’t turn out quite as photogenic as I’d hoped. I am sure I could come up with some philosophical wonderful thoughts about the beauty I was surrounded by. Probably later, though! I’m sort of tired. The first photo was about midnight and the second one was around 445 am. The hours in between had twilight and predawn and daylight, each part was gorgeous…and wet! Yup, our summer solstice had several spots of rain. I did scribble some thoughts as I watched (and read, I’ll review that later!). I didn’t stay on the beach past 330AM, I needed to get mum up at 4.

Midnight: Cook Inlet. Mascara on eyelashes reaching down to touch and edge of gold.

1 Am: Cook Inlet. Behind me is twilight, ahead are muted colors fading into tomorrow.

145 Am: Cook Inlet. Skies are starting to lighten above me, at the head of the Inlet there is a stain of pale peach.

3 AM: Cook Inlet. A predawn creamsicle edges the blue gray sky. It is light enough to read and write. The tide is coming in, I wasn’t sure when I was out earlier. The thunder of the surf accompanies the pitter of rain drops hitting the car.