The Power of Play?


These characters were featured on one of the funniest blogs I’ve ever read. I cannot imagine why someone invented such an obscure toy. I think my favorite comment was the one by the woman who said her mom photographs one of these little guys in scenic spots in her yard. You can follow this link to purchase your own. Or not.

In Alaska we have ivory bilikens, which actually didn’t originate in Alaska at all, but Kansas.  I was always told they were a cheerful god made from a particular bone. I am sure I was being taken for a ride!!  I reckon this is a modern version of that happy little character.  Sort of.


Molehills of snow and scattered thoughts



photo from free photo library on WP

I am an idiot. I didn’t realise it fully til I was almost home. I felt like Vizzini from The Princess Bride. It was obvious I shouldn’t do this, and yet it was equally obvious I shouldn’t do that! Let me explain (sum up!) and show you how mountains are made not of vibranium, but just plain snow. After serious thought and sharing those thoughts with a couple of people, I decided to leave mom to her own devices and go see The Black Panther. I did errands before and was planning on house elfing after. Let me start at the end instead of the beginning.

I got to where I elf and actually drove past it, because I didn’t recognize it in the dark! I had been told no one would be there and I am pretty sure no one was. But, it was odd. First, there were no yard lights on at all. I’ve never been to this home when it was dark on the outside. The drive was covered in snow as was the rig in the drive. There were foot prints in the snow leading to the porch, so I assumed someone was there. (In retrospect, someone had been there. To feed the cat) The snow bothered me. It stopped snowing yesterday afternoon and usually, if the owner isn’t there, the persons who feed the lone cat shovel the drive. If the owner is there, it is shoveled promptly. It was as if it was abandoned. I was told a few days back I could evening elf because no one would be there. I hadn’t been told (and really it isn’t my business as an elf!) that no one would be there for two days. It just felt distinctly odd. (I think I said that.) So, I was almost to mum’s and I realized the cat might want company and I should have gone inside to do a few chores. Annoyed, I got home and discovered the front door was open, leaving the screen door the only barrier between outside and in. It was pitch dark and 24 degrees and the door was open. Concerned, I came inside carefully. I should never ever worry about that mom of mine. She moved the full sized dishwasher to wash the dishes (she’s not supposed to lift up to 15 pounds, or do strenuous things. She said just pushed it around.), was talking to people, and I don’t know what all she did. So, basically, I am an idiot. She’s quite fine without anyone around and can do anything she wants. I should have elfed when I had the chance. Plus, I only got two of the five things done I wanted to do today while out and about.

If you haven’t seen The Black Panther, stop reading now. I’m not going to exactly spoil things, but it might.

This was as much of a Marvel movie as Philip Pullman’s Dark Materials trilogy is a kid’s series. It was mostly serious, full to the brim with philosophy and moralistic dilemma, and I cried more than once. I don’t often cry at movies (Les Miserables was an exception. I don’t think I stopped crying more than 10 minutes during that movie!) and I’ve never ever cried in a Marvel movie. It had more than one laughable moment. It had characters who were given clever lines to stretch across the stressful scenes. It had incredible beauty in song and set. Stan Lee showed up as he does. They had the two ‘bits’ that pop up in and after the credits (oh those were GOOD bits!!! I admit I squealed when the last one hit the screen.) But, still, it was not a feel good, silly, fun, super hero wearing cool suits and too much attitude movie. Although, it wouldn’t have made as much sense if I wasn’t familiar with the Marvel universe!

I did enjoy it immensely. I would go to see it again. I enjoyed being one of less than 8 people in the audience and I sat in the back corner with no one to bother me with phones or what not. (I did read on my ipad til the movie screen lit up with information and previews) I was absolutely amused that two men my age and I were by ourselves in the theatre (we walked out at the same time and we all took different rigs away). It would have been nice to have someone’s hand to hold, I gripped mine pretty tightly a couple of times. I sat on the edge of my seat. I worried for the characters.

But, it was more than those moments. Several times I heard the actors speaking to me. While watching, I was struck by something more important. Yeah, it is cool there is another black superhero. But, are people actually listening to what King T’Challa said in his final speech during the credits????? It was as brilliant a speech as the one made by the President in Independence Day. Let me see if I can find it and add it in. Because that is what I would hope this movie does for our world.

“…Now, more than ever, the illusions of division threaten our very existence. We all know the truth, more connects us than separates us. But in times of crisis the wise build bridges, while the foolish build barriers. We must find a way to look after one another, as if we were one single tribe.”

True Story-Cat Nips

I count it as a certainty that in paradise, everyone naps. ~Tom Hodgkinson


You came in the room on padded feet to jump onto the bed.

I wasn’t quite aware of you, til you landed on my leg.

Eventually you settled above my head, on the shelf.

Ironically near, books about cats.

Tensely, I waited for you to step down to my pillow.

You waited til I was almost asleep and did.

Your kneading paws moved the cushion under my cheek

Until, exasperated, I lift you. Moving you away.

Undaunted, you returned.

Back to the pillow, where the kneading commenced.

Accompanied by purrs.

Not buying it, I moved you again.

And again.

Finally, you kept your distance.

Creeping up with song and stealth, until you could touch my face with your paw.

You sighed and sprawled against me, encouraging me to move to the right.

So far right, I discovered I wasn’t in bed anymore.

I reluctantly rose for a drink of water.

When I returned, you had not only taken my side of the bed, but my pillow as well.

Probably dreaming of mice and birds and dishes of tuna.

You win.

I’ll sleep on the couch.

(Written because of Moses in 2013.)

Metaphors and Meanderings

Is it only the middle of the week? How odd. I feel like I’ve lived a lifetime in a few days. I often say how tired I am. It is true. I’m tired of everything. Thankfully, it is accepted and I’ve not been chastised for my thoughts.

I’m also done with fairy tales. Even printed ones are starting to pall. I’ve had a chance to be a princess or Lady a few times. It is heady and illogical. Like putting pearls on a swine (I have a college friend who has two pet pigs, I know she buys them bling!!). I need to remember my place. I forget when I’m brought up, though, and it is difficult to step back down. I become resentful and angry at myself for wanting more than I’m allowed or might deserve. I paint with a vibrant brush all that I see in my world, it muddies when I put those strokes to my own life, though. I need to be content with what I have, not yearn for fantasy and fiction, to enjoy the moments I get when they arrive. (I tell myself this often, I need to keep saying it!) I have been growing up a lot. I hate it. Growth hurts. I much prefer the small pot I lived in with the crowded roots. I wanted to burst out and did and now I don’t belong anywhere. I need to stop chasing rainbows. If one crosses my path, I can play with it, but they are fleeting ribbons, hard to hold onto. The prisms of color are fragmented when I try. Beautiful and broken.

So, in a more interesting strain, Monday was our trip to the big city. Of course, I had told mom we needed to leave at 8 am. At 745, she told me she needed to have her fitting changed and she was hurting so it would be best if I did it. I managed, but we were close to late. I had to drive carefully because of the roads. We even slid on an icy bit and mum was a bit put out with me. I don’t know how to drive on ice or in snowy conditions. She may be right, but these last years are the only time I’ve ever been allowed to. No one has ever taught me how to handle obscure road conditions. (I wonder if I can ask our neighbor, Sir Wrench, to help me? He is pretty unflappable and has a large truck to pull me from mishaps! Naw, winter is close to over. I think….)

Once at the office, Mum was the focal point of discussion with a team of doctors. All male. I had no idea you could crowd that much professional testosterone into a small examination room. I think there were 4, plus the male assistant recording the discussion. (I believe he finally choose one conversation to follow!) There was Greg, who graduated from High School in 1983 (odd how that sort of thing brings a connection, even when the people are from different places in the United States!), Dr. Luke, the newest doctor at the clinic (who was very nice), and another doctor who was, I think, observing, The most amazing thing, they listened to me, treated me as a human being and not just the person shuttling that older nice lady around, and gave me a chance to express my own concerns. After discussion, they raised the dosage in both her pain pump bolus and the basal amount. I just need to watch her for being too sedated.

We left and mum refused a wheelchair transport again. She insisted she was doing great. So, I let her be. At the airport, mum wanted something to eat. Her glucose had been around 200 and she’d had a cookie, but she said she needed to eat something. (Mine was around 102, I had a Glucerna, and knew I didn’t need anything.) I got her a pizza at a place in the airport. It was very good, I had to have a piece! I had taken my insulin, so knew I’d be ok. Mum was too embarrassed to take hers at the airport or even at the hospital where we were waiting for our very nice taxi driver who is always available. She finally took it around 430, when we got back to the house and she had gotten on her jammies. She was upset because it was in the higher 400’s.

Before we headed  home, I needed to drop off a new script for pain pills. I was so tired while waiting that I leaned on a supporting column at the pharmacy and almost fell to sleep! (each time I relaxed, I’d almost drop the things I was holding and that woke me)

One of the interesting things I did when I got home was to call the gal who teaches people how to use the pain pumps. I remembered in the mortuary information that before cremation pacemakers need removed. I wondered what to do with this thing. My question, ‘What do we need to do with the pain pump when mom dies?’ (it wasn’t quite that bald, I might have made the query longer) The lady replied, ‘Your mom’s not going to die!’ (I wondered if she knew mum’s grandkids also believe Nana is immortal and what clued her in!) Anyway, she did say it would need removed and discarded. I could send back the remote and antennae if I wanted or keep them. (MORE medical clutter!!!!!!!!!) On Tuesday afternoon, I called the mortuary. I could hear the man I spoke with blink when I asked my questions. (he had no idea what it was!) He then said they’d take care of it. I just need to make a strong notation on the forms that there is something medical inside mom and about where it might be.

Tuesday also brought a few more things to light. My not brand name syringes are a LOT longer than the ones I have been using. (photo is blurry, so not sure you can see with the shadow how much longer one is than the other.) I need to see if the pharmacy can write down the information from the bag of the ones I ran out of and ask the doctor if I can get a script for those next time. I have to tell you, I uncapped that thing and my tummy cringed!!! I’m not quite sure I have that much subcutaneous tissue. Even the pharmacist was disturbed by the length. We got more snow and as much as I rejoice, it may curtail some of my plans. Mum suggested it was a little bit of snow. It hasn’t stopped yet. Remember that line from the old Winnie the Pooh movie about the ‘gentle spring zephyr’ that was really ‘a very blustery day’? Yup. That is today. I reckon this month is coming in like a lovely snow leopard!  I was going to go to town tomorrow but I may, once again, not get to elf thoroughly because of a couple other things that I really want to do.


My little sister, her daughter, and her spouse are very sick with fevers. She got sent home from work today. Mum doesn’t want to see them, she doesn’t want to be sick. I laughed. She went shopping today and am sure everyone was healthy (eye roll). She got some mini croissants again. I asked her why? I had thought she was going to not eat those anymore because of the fat content. She said it was probably not the croissants that were the problem. In the car, she was in a lot of pain (in spite of the new dosage). I asked if she wanted one of the pain pills I’d just picked up. She said yes and then asked for two. I asked her if she wanted me to get her a shake to wash it down and she said no, those make her glucose run too high. She followed that by telling me she purchased vanilla ice cream. (She had some after her dinner of a bowl of homemade chicken noodle soup and a chicken salad croissant. Her glucose was 214, she was pleased it was so good.) She also purchased Girl Scout mint cookie cereal and I stopped looking after that!

I haven’t spoken to The Craftsman since Friday. He’s sent texts. I’d call but, I’m not going to do anymore chasing. If anyone wants me, they know where to find me. I will send the guys another box tomorrow. Mum is getting rid of never opened movies and Little Bear said he’d not seen The Munsters. (Gotta educate this kid!) I bought a book to pop in the box, too. Earlier, I got a text from my eldest. It looks as if he is going to adopt. Another cat might be joining his family soon. Amber. (my middle name!)

OH! The young neighbors from across the lake just came to plow the drive since the snow stopped. I’m so thankful for those caring people.

A Lull?

Mum decided she wanted to attend church today. She feels strong enough to be a part of the world and told me that sometimes long weeks happen, she’d manage. (Eye roll) I was not as thrilled as she was for many reasons. I know how much the piper is paid when the act is over, I hadn’t slept well again (this time it was because my tooth was hurting. Such an unusual thing to experience, but it did keep me awake.), and because I didn’t want to walk thru those doors myself (I was and am angry). It turned out she did well and I ended up being buffered by care.

I had gotten an email from one of those friends who, although you don’t hear from them in years, ends up wrinkling time. He gave me some up front and excellent advice. (That, in addition to the help I gained here, made me feel much more at peace with what needs done.) I had received a phone call from a person who has, in a short time, become a life cornerstone (he and his lovely wife with one of those accents like butter and syrup on blueberry pancakes called me later, too!), and then two women met me as I walked in to find mum. One of those held me briefly with a hug full of strength and eyes filled with compassion. Another friend walked past me, quietly dropping the words, ‘I’ll be home tonight.’ Which I interpreted to mean, I could call later. (it was sort of a cloak and dagger kind of exchange and made me smile)

When we got home, mum was worn out and thought she might rest, but the pain wasn’t too bad. The pharmacist had suggested an alternative over the counter option for that, he said it wasn’t going to be as effective, but it was the only choice. (a lot of Ibuprofen). I know the doctor wanted to see her and I was surprised with something mum said earlier today. Mum told me I could cancel the appointment if I wanted. She said she did feel much better. I’m glad there were plane tickets involved, I don’t think I should cancel it.

She’s not taking her meds properly anyway. The pump has a remote she says she has used. She has written down she used it, but it wasn’t attached to the antennae when I looked at it a bit ago. (I don’t use it with the antennae) I opted to try the pump before she was supposed to have the bolus and it worked. She is at that extreme annoying stage where she needs help, should have help, and won’t let us help. (I think she’s been there for about two years) When we visit on Monday, I hope the doctor can look in the remote and machine to see how many times it has been used or tried. I’ll let you know!

Anyway, we got home and I dropped onto my basement couch in exhaustion. (I made sure I didn’t sleep for very long in one go, those 20 minute intervals in succession are handy!) Oddly, this was the first time I’ve slept in ages where I held a breast. (Remember I had mentioned they were like little security blankets?) I don’t know how long this lull will last, but I am so thankful for it!

I was going to add a photo of me holding a breast, but it is too much work. I would need to take the picture, make sure it was ok, load it on the laptop, and resize it for the internet (talk about humbling, resizing my breasts!). Yes, much too much work. I have an idea! If you have an 8 year old handy, place an orange (the small kind sold in nets) in their little hand. Those are pretty much the right dimensions!

I’ll use this peaceful picture instead (taken by a friend on the East Coast a while back).


Mucked it.


Last Thursday I noticed mum’s meds were low. The Oxycontin. She had two of the 10 and a few of the .5 left. I knew we were heading to her doctor on Monday and I knew she had the pain pump and I knew they’d fix the pump to cover more of the pain. I know the doctor we got the original script from is not available on Friday.  So, I opted to wait. Now? She’s got one of each left. I had no idea she was that close to out. I think she’s been using more than she has previously.

I have no idea what to do. It is almost Sunday.  I’ll call her health care team when it is daylight and I can google it tonight. What do you use to replace a narcotic? Sheesh. I also was privileged to change her fitting again. I’m glad she let me, but it appears she’s gotten into something greasy. Probably the whipped topping on her sugar free chocolate pudding.

I hate this. She said earlier tonight that she didn’t feel good. Her glucose levels have been normal for her, in the 3-400 range and she’s not having nausea. Her pain is in both the pump area of the surgical site and some in the tumor area. She said she felt things were moving faster. I’m assuming she means the carcinomas. She said she needs a miracle. She forgets she IS a miracle. I do not know many people who have battled cancer for over 30 years and lived through 4 or 5 different kinds. I don’t know many people with a pancreatic carcinoma who are still alive after 7 years. I’ve lost so many friends to cancers mom has survived. She thinks she still should be able to brush it off and go on.

It is so hard to be strong all alone. I know I’m not the only one, but right now,  in my basement in Alaska, it is pretty scary. My heart goes out to my Garfield friend and Michelle and Rhapsody and Monster (who has a completely different sort of game to play). I’m so thankful I’ve met you! And the support in here. I have tears dripping down my cheek as my gratefulness overflows.

I wish one of you could hold me as I cried, though.

Why I don’t plan

Why I don’t plan. Yeah, this is all my own fault. I could have risen above myself and done what I’d hoped. I’m just lazy.

I didn’t sleep well at all last night. I actually woke at 7 with dark circles around my eyes. (this was rather curious. I’ve read about this phenomena, but I’ve never experienced it or seen it. The dark circles not caused by black eyes, I mean. It does look horrible! Rather like I belonged in a 50’s horror bite.) Mum woke me because she was staggering around upstairs. I called up to see how she was (she’s been frustrated with me lately, so I didn’t want to bug her. I really hate bugging people!) and she said she felt terrible because her blood was 413 and she’d not had anything to eat. She didn’t know what to do. I told her to take her insulin and then she’d be able to have breakfast in an hour. Mum responded she didn’t think she should eat with her glucose so high.  I was listening to this thinking how stupid she was being.  I thought, at least once a day you have a glucose in the 400’s, you always eat no matter what your glucose is, and I am not betting you were carb free since 11 pm last night.

At this point, I was still planning on going in to elf and perhaps something else. Nothing I was doing needed someone who looked presentable. I didn’t think I’d get to see anyone I knew. My own glucose was in the 200’s, but I’d had some chex mix very late (mine is so much better, but obviously, I’ve not been able to make any, so store bought is ok. I do the original flavor when I purchase it). At 8, I got up and decided to make sure mum had breakfast and got her morning Lantus. And this is where I found a problem. Mum keeps her insulin pens in the fridge in separate boxes. But, when I got into the Lantus box, I discovered the pen was a brand new Humalog pen. (Lantus is long acting insulin and Humalog is short). I opened up the box she keeps the Humalog in and that also held a Humalog pen. She’d taken the wrong insulin last night! I got the right one out of the fridge, loaded the pen with the dose, and went to confront her. She didn’t believe me! I just gave her the right amount and asked her if she wanted oatmeal for breakfast. I made it for her, she was going to do it herself, but I’d already done it. I made my own breakfast, took the garbage out (I’d forgotten to do that yesterday and I just remembered I need to run the dishes), and went back to my basement abode.

I was so tired. I answered two phone calls from the store to pick up meds and set my alarm on my phone for 20 min. Several times. I finally woke up at 130. I completely missed her noon rising, I’m sure she’s ok. She always is. I didn’t get up to eat, my glucose was still in the 200s. I went back to sleep!!!!

Her dog woke me at 3. I wanted to let him out, he didn’t want to go. He rarely listens to me. I had to use the cereal bait to get him outside. (a little empty pill bottle full of stale cheerios gets shaken and often I give him a single cheerio when he goes out the door.)

I didn’t elf, I didn’t pay attention to mum for the rest of the day, her dog doesn’t like me, I’m not hungry, and the brand new snow didn’t thrill me as much as usual. I wish I could crawl in a hole and bring it in behind me to hide me forever. Maybe someday.

I did discover something cool the other day. My point and shoot has debris in the lens from an incident while cutting wood a few years back. It always has junk in the photos which needs edited out. However, if I turn the camera upside down, I change where the debris is in the photo. Except, then I have photos I am not entirely sure which direction they are supposed to be. I believe the one below has the proper orientation…..Maybe.


A bit of Everything

As I sit at my laptop, contemplating this week. The last months. The last year. Next week. I feel an ache in my chest and tummy from not being loving enough toward friends. Toward my family. I should have been a better friend to so many of those I know. When those friends extended an invitation or some other form of friendship (communication or whatever), I should not have ignored them. Passed it off because I may be needed with mom. So many opportunities lost because I was trying to be responsible to one and dropped it with others. With my family, I need to remember to not mind when someone is busy. I need to remember their lives are just as convoluted as mine. I need to remember to give more to those I adore, admire, and care about so much. I ran across this video on FB. I love the video blogger (is that the right term?). Once again, he hits the nail on the head. I’m too busy with mum and forget to take care of the others who are important to me. And then, they are gone in one way or another!

In the previous post, I asked for help. I didn’t clarify I have some things in order. Sort of. Mum does have a will. That was finalized just before she was put in the hospital in 11-2016. (If you have parents, try to slip them towards the sharing information stage a bit before a critical medical situation!) She did ask to have money set aside for her cremation (I should probably talk to her financial advisor). There are several venues for a memorial service, I just don’t know if I should go big or not. People may not go because they went to the baseball game last summer (in fact, mum’s pastor mentioned in a roundabout way that the baseball game was a sort memorial for her.), but not all her friends attended that. As I look at the service, it seems like I’m getting ready for the closing ceremonies at a Cub Scout day camp. (I was program director for many years with such programs) Mum is always the most important person and once she is gone, this is going to be her last hurrah. I had better make it important. She wasn’t a vet, dad was. I also want to put a sidewalk square for her in a busy, favored park in town. However, she’s got this silly idea that it was illogical to put up a park for someone who died while drinking.(—He was one of the cutest kids in my class, it is a very pretty park, and he was screwing around drinking.) There are a lot of memorial stones in it for educators. Mum would be right at home!

I did find out about her house mortgage today. It is almost done, but I had no idea just making a last payment wouldn’t end it. Next month will finish it and I’ll visit a banker and hope it gets sorted. I could do it this month, but am not sure how the next weeks will pan out. (I may need those dollars!) I had a statement thoroughly explained to me today and need to take another thing to Sir Wrench to see if it is important (an informative letter about the rig). I also found out that mom had signed up to have Fed Ex or UPS things dropped at the post office. (I learned from SSC that the addresses out here are absolutely bonkers. Even though mum lives in one city, her physical house address is a different one! Don’t ask me how this works, it apparently does. The post out here is for the city mum lives in, they help the drivers who drop off things by giving them a localized spot. Granted, most of them know where mum is, but wow!)

Next week is going to be a bit of a pull for mum. She told me she was too tired to get her hair cut this week, so she’ll do it next. She walked to the paper box this morning, it was 20 degrees, but she said it wasn’t bad except for the wind. (she wore her down coat and was pretty panting when she came inside. She decided to go because I forgot it wasn’t Saturday. The paper doesn’t come on Saturdays) The other day, when the nurses were here, I was holding her so they could examine her back. She is so frail!!! I know not having teeth makes her look more feeble overall, but damn, she almost looked better when she was going thru chemotherapy. Almost. Monday we fly to the city and back to have her pump checked over. Tuesday she has labs done in a nearby town. Wednesday the nurse comes to see her. Thursday she gets her hair done in the morning and meets her new oncologist in the afternoon. Friday she gets to talk to the oncologist counselor. (thankfully, they won’t talk to me! I’d take reams of paper if they took notes!) She said it would be a bit much, but she could do it. After another week of healing from the surgery and getting it recalibrated, she’ll be ready to go.

Not so myself. I am so damn tired. I look at photos from a couple of summers ago and I was prettier then. Today, I have an almost perpetual crease between my eyes, a fairly constant headache that vanishes only when I manage to forget I’m the responsible one, I drink too much diet pepsi because I need to be alert, and my tummy aches cuz I’ve been too busy for those special people in my life. I find myself getting on my boots and just looking at them half on and thinking it is too much work. I eat too many spoonful’s of ice cream or snack on Kit Kats and Jr Mints. (the latter are on sale again!!)

I don’t want to get up in the morning. I notice tears are on the edge of my eyelids and almost anything will send them spilling over onto my wrinkled faded cheeks and freckles. I’m a pathetic mess. I would say I don’t care about anything except getting mum sorted, but that isn’t true. I do have things I want to do and attempt to make time for. (I was totally bummed.  I was going to elf on Friday and due to one thing and another, never managed to get there. Hoping I will this Saturday. Thankfully, the owner of the home is staying elsewhere for most of the weekend again, giving me the go ahead for a different time. House elves to the fore!!) I did get some more books and am enjoying an absolutely awesome read I’ll post about later. (except I forgot to take notes!!!! Grrrr) Maybe I just need hugged and kissed and….

No matter, I am going to leave you with this photo that made me cringe, even as I took it. (or is that WHY I took it!!!???!!) The local Safeway is going through extreme renovations, moved the eggs, and scrambled their grammar.


Piffle and caught short


I feel like a pawn. I’m trapped…..and too short! At the moment, I’m at the library. I was in the kids room, where I can sit in chairs and touch the floor. However, I can’t get online in there. I had no idea you could protect rooms from WiFi signals! I knew you couldn’t log on from the parking lot, but I had hoped to sit somewhere comfy. This is a beautiful library, but not made for short adults.

Anyway, was driving in to town and was struck with something.  Thursday, I was touching mum with the nurses and she is damn frail. Her skin feels odd, like old soft flower petals. She is so thin. I am not sure she’s going to live as long as we think she will. So, I have some questions. I don’t know who to talk to, please help me. 😁

I’ve got most of mum’s stuff organized while she’s alive, but what do I do when she eventually dies? I know to contact the home healthcare people, but then what? I have information set aside for the mortuary, but nothing is paid for. How do I manage the bills after? I know there is a grace period, but then will the bills be higher when I do get to them? How do I put the house on the market? How do I clean it? Besides one box at a time! 😂😂🤣😂😂

My sister freaked out in November 2016, when it looked like mum was dying. She said we needed to do all kinds of things. I put her off gently. But, now I’m curious. What do I do? Is there a book or website or somewhere I can find a plan of action? I hate being disorganized. I recall doing a lot when dad died, but it wasn’t all in my pocket. Jake will want to help. How do I let her do something without it get mucked up? Her spouse sort of sang the national anthem at the baseball game we had for her. It was awful!!! He’s a musician and teaches music and the anthem was close to terrible. Mum doesn’t want him to do anything at her service.

Mum has a service sort of planned, but how do I pay for it? Where do I choose to have it? How do I not offend people who she has said may or may not do things? Can I be the main speaking person in a Methodist service?

I feel very Dr. Seuss like today. (It is his birthday!) All topsy turvy and upside down. What do I do?

No Simple Answer

This post may get some people upset. I didn’t put anything on FB for that exact reason. No reasoning equals absolute anger and fracturing friendships. I’m not advocating, just talking.

I have a family who most of the world would call ‘gun crazy’ or ‘unbalanced’ because of their love of sharp or shooting things. They grew up hunting, the boys went on their first trips out around age 6. All three took classes before getting a hunting license, the youngest knows firearm history (seriously fascinating stuff) and knows more about them than anyone I know, and the eldest was a Cav Scout in the US Army. Oddly, the younger son and his dad are the ones who are ardent about their rights to carry. The eldest is just as insistent, but more thoughtful. Each of them has had multiple background checks, I’ve had background checks, and we are all cleared to purchase weapons. I rarely get to go out target practicing, but Little Bear is a damn good instructor when he gets me under his wing.


As I look at this photo of myself from a May afternoon in 2010, I am struck by a couple of things. First, I have worn this jacket for a lot more years than I had thought! (I bought it in 2007 or so and it is the one I have in AK, polar fleece wears well!). Second, my hair is not the same color anymore (it is due to all the aging I’ve done in the last few years). Third, guns are not scary unless you make them so. (I can’t tell you how many times I vacuum or dust around weaponry–the photo of the boys is from 2014, also May. Strider is the older thin one. Little Bear-Pinky-is the younger, more hefty kid)

When Strider was in his last year of HS, one of the just graduated teens from our church was being tried for manslaughter. He had dropped off his girlfriend and was on a long drive back home. He had not consumed anything illegal or smoked anything bad or done anything wrong. He was not speeding. He was just changing the radio station. His F3 or 250 got out of control in the brief second he took his eyes off the twisty busy tourist road and a couple of persons were killed, with more injured. This young man was a straight A student. At the trial (several students went to support him) he was convicted for manslaughter with a deadly weapon. On the way home, we talked about how no one realizes how dangerous a vehicle is. None of us had ever thought a Ford pickup could be a deadly weapon! Even though, two of Strider’s classmates lost their dad’s in driving accidents, it was still a shocking idea. (One driver was older and drunk, killing the family dad. The second dad was on a motorcycle and was killed by  a teen who was not supposed to be driving and was.) Almost everyone drives and you don’t need to take several weeks of classes. You practice for so many hours, read a book, and pass a couple of tests (at least here in the US).

The town where Strider graduated had alumni who used to keep bird rifles in their trucks to go duck hunting off the football field after practice (several kids in his class stashed them under seats), he used his pocket knife in shop class (you ever try to sharpen one of those flat pencils??? Those are the silliest things in the world!), and anyone who had been in Boy Scouts had a card in their wallet stating they were allowed to carry a knife. (Little Bear was always the dubious one. The knife blade couldn’t be longer than the palm of your hand and his hands are HUGE! When we moved to EOregon, he went to Scout camp and managed to cut his pinky. His new troop thought it was hilarious and to this day he is still known as ‘Pinky’) Guns and knives are a way of life in our family. They are used as tools, collected as historical items, and carried for enjoyment.

I hate what is happening in our society today. I honestly don’t believe it is a gun problem. Strider shared this blog post with me and I had to agree with the author. Another post I read recently talked about how the norm for kids today is entitlement (they are not the only ones!). They want it their way or else. I do not think it is right for teachers to need to be armed (Mum asked me if I knew of any of my previous teachers who could have handled a gun. I just looked at her. I think the majority could have. Except for my French teacher. Most of us were pretty sure he was part Jedi and related to Yoda…). I do know there are schools with security doors (the first time Strider went through one of those in Portland, he was very impressed!) and even those can be tricked. (there is a movie, ‘Pay it Forward,’ that used that sort of incident to set up the story—GOOD movie) The thing about my teachers in the 80’s though, students respected them to the point that if they screwed around, they knew they would face consequences. (even the star football players who jumped in the school pool while in uniform–and added cheerleaders–when we won a certain game in 1982.)

There appears to be a lack of respect out there. Teachers are often afraid of what a parent will say if their child is not doing well. Many kids are catered to in order to pass tests or classes. (this is not just an opinion, I’ve seen this inaction.) When Strider was in school, he got bullied a lot. He ended up attending classes to help him deal with the bullies. Kids who were in their regular classes, continuing to be jerks. In Elementary school a boy had to write him one of those ‘I’m sorry’ notes. The other boy did, but laughed later. In High School a teacher left her grade book out. A student found it, saw his grade and forced her to change it. No one got into trouble, but my son was appalled.

I wrote all that to say this. Violence in our society is much deeper than needing new laws or taking something away. I know this is an opinion of a gal from the PNW (that includes AK). I don’t have an answer, but I can contact lawmakers to express my concerns. I also have two sons who were raised to be first responders and strong citizens. They may be on opposite sides of this terrible problem, but I trust them to do what is right and needed because they will be on the front lines of whatever happens next, picking up the pieces. (God, protect them.)