Tales of Two- thoughts on books….

I love books and words and ideas using that particular medium. Historical fiction fascinates me. It often tells of a time years beyond my ken. This summer, I’ve run across two stories of women being wed at a young age and their experiences. One is set in the early 1800’s and is across Cook Inlet. The other begins in 1892 in Tennessee. ‘Tatiana’ and ‘Maude’.

Maude’s life was tumultuous. The author writes for Maude, ‘I’d already been an orphan, a wife, and a mother. Now I was a widow. I was only three months past my sixteenth birthday.’ She eventually remarries. The two are not entirely compatible, Maude is often unhappy, but things manage to work. They had several children, battled disease, loss, the Depression, and war. She was a survivor and brought strength to her family. I thought this quote was a good synopsis of Maude’s story: ‘I think now God gives each one of us a measure of happiness for our lives, and some are allowed more than others. It’s like the ration stamps that were handed out during the war, so much butter, so much sugar, and then no more. I also think that sometimes the good stretches are so good that it must count for double time…

Tatiana was a child of two different cultures. She runs away from her Russian father to remain a Dena’ina Athabaskan. It was not easy for this beautiful educated girl to adapt to the harsh life of surviving one day at a time. Her only companion was a boy she hardly knew, her father sent bounty hunters after them, and she had to defend herself many times. Yet, Tazdlin loved her, she was cherished, and continued to learn and then to instruct. This beautiful thought is near the end of the story of Tatiana. ‘Regardless of the invisible forces, no single person, couple, or tribe of that day could have accomplished what they did together. Tazdlin’s unmatched skills and physical abilities complimented Tatiana’s unique penchant for higher morals, making them a historically unique force for good in that land.

As different as the two stories are, they are remarkably similar in many ways. The main characters had to leave beloved families in their early teens to join with an older young man. Both women were loved by their parents. They often had to fight the persecution of being a woman in a “male” world. Changes were rapid and often harsh. Items of a monetary value were scarce and both women used their creativity to bring money in. Each woman remembered lessons they had learned from their mothers and taught new generations. The youngest of these women’s children were males with mental difficulties. In each story, faith was an important part of the lives of Tatiana and Maude.

Each story was written by a descendant of the main character. ‘Maude’ was scribed in a typical conversational chapter format from memories Donna had of the stories Maude shared. ‘Tatianta’ is a story told to a modern reader like none other I’ve read, or remember reading. In both, oral tradition brought these adventures thru time to today. Donna’s daughter asked her to write down Maude’s story, Rachel was asked a question by her daughter, which led to the crafting of ‘Tatiana’.

I often caught myself writing down thoughts from these incredible tales of two women. I could relate to facets in each main character. I also found this a comforting reminder: No matter what the differences in time and culture, people are pretty much the same.

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A simple bow-

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Mum’s bad moments are closer together than the good ones. I woke her to get her to the bathroom, let out the dog, got her meds, and waited. I ached to help her, but I stayed my offer. She had tied the bow on her sagging polar fleece jammies and it knotted or something. She spent quite a few minutes, it seemed, getting it back to single ribbons. Then, she had to tie it again. Over and over she tried to tie a simple bow. Finally, she made large loops and got it done. It hurt so much to watch her reach this tiny success. She is so thin, tightening the ribbon did little to hold up her jammies. She keeps insisting she’s got too big of a butt (she is also quick to remind me of my larger shape!) and mum doesn’t…she is wasting away and every time she tries for normalcy, it makes my heart  cry.

Seething, Sweating, Stuffed

I wrote this on the Eve of the 26th–but it is still apt. 

I am so angry. Mum slept badly last night and has been feeling pretty horrid all day. So, around 4pm, she decides she wants me to get some boxes from the basement. Boxes of yarn. Boxes of yarn I had arranged last summer or maybe even longer ago. Boxes and totes of yarn she has not touched since I put them in place on shelves. (those two boxes in the photo)

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I can’t quite recall, but I believe she has over 21 totes and boxes and miscellaneous containers of yarn. I managed to find the two she really really really wanted. She ‘went thru’ them and now the boxes are not quite as full and there are plastic grocery bags on her rocking chair full of yarn to get rid of. I have no clue how long they will stay on the rocker. When I asked if I could take the two boxes back downstairs, she said, ‘No.’ She is going to use them.

I was so annoyed, I went out to mow. I didn’t really WANT to mow, it needed done, though.  I was nervous, due to the ghost frog haunting the yard, but it appears it was ok. Although, there was that much larger frog who hopped slowly away from the mower and sat on the edge of the sward and looked at me. I shuddered and gamely went on my way. The no-see-ums were horrible, those things are always awful. When I was a YiCC, we were at Skilak Lake and I was attacked so badly, my neck was enflamed. I had also scratched it, which made that side look terrible! I had people asking if I had hickeys. Hickeys would have been fun, itty bitty practically invisible bug bites are not. Perhaps the bugs in the yard today were conjured up by the frog as payback???

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Sweaty and Successful. 

Mum, because she isn’t feeling well, wanted something ‘good’ for dinner. I screwed up and didn’t get the pork things in the fridge cooked, but asked if she wanted me to get bread sticks from the local pizza place. She said yes. I was there for almost 40 minutes watching the sole front desk lady answer call after call. I finally got the order andI must admit, now, I am stuffed full of sticks!! I ordered two orders because they never last very long. I reckon I should get something else, like chicken, to augment the delicious Parmesan bread carbs. I’ve been trying to eat less, but the warm sticks smell so gooooood!

Right when I got back, mum showed me the bags she had separated out. Then, she asked me to get the tote of brownish yarn pictured in the first photo. You can barely see it in back of the other boxes and totes in the second photo….it is on the top. Those front ones are full of fabric.

And when I told her it would take a while, because there were lots of boxes and totes in the way. Well, she was angry. ‘That is not how I had it arranged!’ I quietly bit a huge hole in my tongue. SHE did not arrange them, I did. And the reason the other boxes and totes are now there is because I took them from the family room. The family room where I now have a place to live in somewhat less clutter than usual.

And I just realized, I did all that exercising and forgot my counter thingy. (Not a fit bit, I wear a watch and sometimes a bracelet and don’t need more things on my wrists!) It probably doesn’t matter. My glucose levels have been over 200 almost all day today, so maybe I should just ditch the bread and get chocolate. They were around 190 when I went out to mow, a couple hours later it was back in the high 200’s. I reckon I shouldn’t have had those sips of diet pepsi between mowing and my dinner test…Bother!

up too long…

Mum likes sweets. This is not a new wrinkle for her. Anyone who knows her is aware she really likes sweet things. So do I, but I’m actually much more careful than it appears.

These photos are a loaf of zucchini bread mum was given on Monday afternoon. Before I went out in the kayak Tuesday night, I took the first photo. When I got back 30 min later, the second picture is of what  was left of the loaf. Mum told me I should eat the remainder, as she ate most of it. Ummmmm, she ate ALL of it! I think she wanted me to have the last ‘slice’ so she could say ‘we’ ate it. Not happening, mum!

I’m also pretty tired right now. I have messed up my sleep patterns due to wanting to be online! Crazy, but true. However, I think I’m caught up on everything for a while, so I am going to sleep and try to get back on schedule. Whatever that might be!!! Mum starts her radiation treatments next Wednesday. Or the 30th, whatever day that is! Read a well written article about life with Diabetes (see link). Now, I am off!

Eye roll

at self! Let me explain:

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Mum uses her toaster all the time. She manages to put in it things which don’t exactly fit, so they need manhandled out. I generally unplug the thing and gently extract the contents with the end of a wooden spoon. Mum is less patient. One evening, I heard uncertain sounds from the kitchen and came upon mum shoving a wooden spoon deep into the recesses of her toaster. The next night, I returned because I  heard some other strange toaster noises. I’m not sure what she had done, but when you depress the lever, blue sparks could be seen behind and inside. I told her I would get her a new one. I wasn’t fast enough. After a kayak ride last evening, I caught her outside with the toaster and a scent of warmth inside the house. I reminded her it was not working and she said she wanted to clean it before throwing it away. I remain skeptical, but took it from her and put it in the garage for removal to the dump.

I posted a comment on FB and my sister called me this afternoon to say she had one for mum. She hadn’t used it since her spouse’s boys had tried putting pizza slices in it, but she was sure it worked. I made arrangements to pop by her work and pick it up. It was FILTHY!! She also said there might be dead spiders in it. In my annoyance, I shot a text off to a dear friend. ‘who in their right mind puts things away without cleaning them and bagging them?’ I soon repented. Not everyone is as anal as I am about how to put things into storage. Also, I’m also certain sure not everyone has such tenuous relationships with spiders who may reside in said containers in storage. I must remember to be more charitable towards others who are not like myself.

And when I clean this ‘new’ toaster, I am going to wear plastic gloves and use lots of cleaning wipes!!!

Wisdom

night

One of the most interesting things I noticed from yesterday reminded me of a poem by Shel Silverstein. I wasn’t online until this morning. I, myself had a stellar day, but it looks as if almost everyone else did, too. All across FB people were sharing and had been sharing their experiences from the eclipse. It was absolutely refreshing. Something not related to technology captivated a world for quite a while! What a concept-

I guess Shel was right. There is ‘No Difference‘.

Small as a peanut,
Big as a giant,
We’re all the same size
When we turn off the light.

Rich as a sultan,
Poor as a mite,
We’re all worth the same
When we turn off the light.

Red, black or orange,
Yellow or white,
We all look the same
When we turn off the light.

So maybe the way
To make everything right
Is for God to just reach out
And turn off the light!

Curbing time…

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I’ve obviously been online more than I had thought this last month. I still have 20 days in this ‘period’ and I reckon I’d better curb my premium time. I’ll have to go back to popping online after I get mum up at 4am and NOT read and respond to blogs on my ipad! I type a ton slower on the ipad, which uses up a great deal of time. In a single word:

Piffle.

Hey Good Lookin’

Tom Hiddleston in ‘I saw the light’ (Sigh!!!)

An old song, but fun. I love to cook. I bake and mail cookies across the world (authors and college kids are the best people to send them to. My eldest has decided he’s on a diet and to please not send many cookies or breads or muffins to him). I often dance in the kitchen when I’m cooking (about the only time I get to. At least, since HS Prom my Senior year! ABBA is a great band to cook to as is Phil Collins.)  I’m fairly good with fish and fowl and deer burger. Roasts annoy me, they shrink. Shrinking food is not cool when you have a household with three hungry men to feed. We don’t eat a lot of store bought meats, the men are also hunters. We don’t get fish often, I’m a snob. If it isn’t from Alaska, I let the youngest cook it. I mentioned in a previous post, I’d love to have a house where I could board people and feed them.

So, when we got fresh caught halibut and I was going to prepare a filet for dinner, I was not happy. Mum told me she needed to cook it, she said I over cook fish and I can’t ruin fresh halibut. I asked her to tell me what to do. She then replied I shouldn’t bother her and she’d eat it no matter what it was like. Eventually, she said 325 degrees F for 25 min. She told me to put lemon pepper on it and I asked if I could add dried chives (I was not going outside to pick any, I was too grumpy and it is raining). So, I did this and proceeded to cut up strawberries for shortcake while the fish was cooking. Then, she asked if I was going to cook the broccoli. Now, I admit, this is not something I’ve ever done. She told me how. Boil water, add broccoli, cook til tender. (tender is such a vague term!) My family prefers fresh vegetables raw or cooked if they are from a can (or in stews). So, I did learn how to boil the heck out of a veggie tonight.

The fish? The timer dinged, mum came in the kitchen and proceeded to get some for her plate (she also had part of a baked potato, some of the broccoli, and ate all of the shortcake I’d prepared for her). I didn’t like the look of the fish. It was really wet (photo 1). I cook mine til it is flakey. Juicy and wet is for steak or sex or peaches and watermelon. Anyway, I got some and cooked it in the microwave for a while. I felt like I was committing a felony, but it was much firmer when I ate it (photo 2). Absolutely delicious. Although, I like the mayo and cheese and lemon juice topping I put on my halibut when I bake it in Oregon. The next filet I’ll fry  up in panko, mum likes that and I do know how to do it properly.

Catch Up.

Much has happened since my last post. It’s a bit overwhelming, but I’ll catch you up and then, I’ll catch up with you!

We went north on Tuesday to get mum radiated. (Mum and I went up with a good friend from mum’s church) The clinic is a really pretty building with an info screen about the physicians who worked there. I was a tad annoyed to discover there was only ONE female doctor on staff. Although, she was in the breast health category.  As I sat there gazing hither and yon, I noticed a reflection. I tried to get a photo, but it did not turn out. It was a sign in the parking lot. The reflected words were backwards and read, ‘Do Not Enter.’ I thought it was rather prophetic, but was easily distracted by a magazine next to me. THAT was highlighting the new Black Panther movie!!!! Mum left with a nurse, our friend and I went to lunch, returning to pick her up. It was rather anticlimactic. She didn’t glow and she was hungry. So, we fed her. God bless The Village Inn!!!

The next day had lots of good moments. I forgot how to make the hotel shower work and had a bit of a bath (haven’t had one of those in years!). Then, as I was basking in the warm water, I remembered and ended with a short shower rinse. I purchased some stunning healing stone earrings (learned malachite is toxic!!!). We visited some friends who had moved to the big city, mum bought some expensive cinnamon bread (it is really good), then we went to mum’s appointment and learned she is gaining some weight back! (112 again!)

The doctor came in and we learned some not so good news. Her doctor was matter of fact and as he talked, someone knocked on the door. It was another doctor mum knew really well. (She really does know everyone) They told us the PET scan didn’t show any other visible cancers growing. However, they determined mum was not a candidate for surgery as she is too frail. They wanted her to do radiation.  Palliative, not curative. They are certain more cancer cells are hiding and will show eventually. She was told she had survived longer than many and she still had a good chance to live quite a while yet. I learned a great deal, there are truly some amazing physicians in the world!

Mum was mad. She really just wants it to all go away and be completely well again. She hasn’t been well in many years, so am sort of curious as to how far back mum wants to go to be well. I know I can see changes every day. On Tuesday, I noticed her jeans were dirty. I had wanted to wash them, but couldn’t find them. She said she got them from her stack of clean clothes. Her sweater had food on it. She had not showered or washed her hair in a very long time. (Granted, the drain was messed up again, but I had washed several loads of laundry and myself on Monday with the drains only flooding after all those had been done and it was almost midnight) Mum has always been well-dressed and used to wear a different color for every day of the week when she taught. Mum often sounds good. It is the not good times which make my heart ache so much. I hate she is a walking time bomb and only He knows when the clock is going to be done ticking.

So, that is mum. As for me, I have absolutely AMAZING friends, purchased a yummy Thai dish when I got home, bought strawberries, and a new skirt. Granted, I have not worn skirts much this last year, but oh…I do love them!!!!!! Almost as much as strawberries. (Gracious, I post a lot of  me eating food photos. You would think I was on FB!!! I wasn’t going to share this one, I thought it might be too much…..what do you think?)

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3 weeks, one Monday

This has been the very longest Monday I’ve ever had. It has kept going and going. There have been good things in the last 3 weeks, today had some rather awesome things in it, but all in all, I’m so over Mondays. Seriously, the last 3 weeks have been a straight run of Monday.

Today Mum had to prep for her pet scan. The oncologist department said they didn’t think she needed to prep. I called the imaging department. Yes, she had several things she could not eat today. Alas, she had already consumed breakfast. Oatmeal, toast, and a fruit cup. I was told that was ok, but to make sure she had no more carbs sorts of foods. I left her alone for a bit (in spite of all my various errands, I had definite bright moments in between the WTF ones), hoping she behaved!!!! I did make her shrimp for dinner.  I have had better pan fried shrimp, but mine wasn’t bad at all!!!

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Alaskan girl savoring shrimp not from Alaska…..

Later, I discovered  a horrible awful thing. Like the damn drain in the laundry room flooded again. Greasy liquid. After mum flushed the toilet upstairs. I almost cried. I honestly wonder if mum’s inability to process greases is why her drains look like bad arteries in a sedentary eater of greasy spoon cafes. 254452drain

I do know, I need to ask a rather dear knight I know to stop by and pour some toxic melting stuff in the drain while we are gone. Damsels tend to bother knights a great deal. Thankfully, knights don’t seem to mind too much. I would have bothered another damsel, but it is fishing season and she’s running nets.

After I got most of the basement floor tidy, I was chatting online and had to stop. Mum’s waste bag had leaked. I had JUST changed it. However, she has had a lot of liquid today and water and all the glue on skin in the world can’t stop leaks like that. I literally had to wait til she was ’empty’ and put on a new fitting. I pray the thing holds til tomorrow afternoon!

I think I’ll go to sleep and see how much Tuesday will be like another Monday…..