Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Dream Baby

Got me dreaming sweet dreams
The whole day, through

My father-in-law has been moved into Hospice care which also means he has also been moved to the second floor of his care facility. The building is shaped like a gigantic X with the nursing stations and the dinning area set in the center and the patients rooms lining both sides of the four hallways that extend from the middle of the X. The second floor also includes the Alzheimer/dementia wing so that walking into that section of the building is, in some ways, like walking into zombie land. I've been there in the morning, at lunch time, in the afternoon, and at night. Each time I walked though the second floor doors I mentally prepare myself for what I may see or hear.

The majority of the mobile patients are in wheelchairs and some of them are always parked near the nurses stations or in the dinning area. There are four armchairs set against the wall on either side of the main doors (2 per side) and most afternoons there is a woman sitting in one of the chairs, hands covering her face, wrapped in some kind of misery that has her crying and moaning. Others patients are parked in the doorways of their rooms or near the portable nursing stations set up in the hallways. Most are either zonked out mentally or sleeping.

At first I was disturbed by the way the nurses seemed to ignore some patients but after few visits I understood that the women who called out, "Help, help, help," did so almost constantly, that the women who kept telling the nurses she was going to report them for what amounted to dereliction of duty always said that when the nurses did not do something she wanted them to do (Once when I walked past her she looked at me angrily and said she was reporting me.) and that the woman slumped in the wheelchair in the doorway of her room was there because she preferred sitting where see could see everything and everyone over lying in her own bed away from the action.

Most of the time I can keep my fears and/or empathy under control but the other day as I walked to my father-in-law's room I saw a women sitting in a wheelchair in the middle of the hall. She was facing away from me and as I got closer I could hear her talking to herself. As I passed her I looked down and saw she had her hands up near her heart and left shoulder as if she was holding a baby. Then I heard her say, "There, there, just snuggle in, everything will be alright." As she soothed a child that wasn't there, the look and smile on her face was beatific.

I love you and I’m dreaming of you
But that won’t do,
How long must I dream?

I felt my heart and resolve shatter and I hurried down the hall past my father-in-law's room to the Family Lounge and quickly sat down. I put my hands to my face trying to hold back the tears I felt welling up in my eyes. I did not want to cry because I knew once I started I would not be able to stop. After a few minutes I got up, walked over to the doorway, paused, took a deep breath, and then turned and walked into my father-in-law's room.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Guru Gumpy

-Be not afraid of growing slowly, be afraid only of standing still.

-Everyone and everything around you is your teacher.

-Life can only take place in the present moment. If we lose the present moment, we lose life.

-Never limit your view of life by any past experience.

Friday, November 19, 2010

The Universe Speaks

My horoscope today:

Gemini (May 21-June20) *** You don't need to let others know how you feel today. Your general demeanor expresses your feeling.

Which explains why my sister walked away from me yesterday after that lady spun the jewelry case out of my hand-she did not want to be there when she thought the fireworks were going to go off. I've never been good at hiding what I am thinking or feeling.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

To Be Or Not To Be?

Rude, I mean. I was in the thrift store and walked up to the counter to look at the jewelry in the spinning case they keep there. There was a women already at the counter paying for some items she had picked out and when she saw me turning the case she reached out and spun it in the other direction saying there was something she wanted to look at. I stared at her in shock as she told the women behind the counter that she want to look at the gold leave pin. The saleslady gave her the pin, the rude woman paid her 75 cents for it, pick up all her purchases and walked out of the store.

Now, some things you should know; first, I have never seen this woman before, second, she had a foreign accent, and, third, she seemed to know some of the ladies behind the counter. These three things are the only reasons why I did not say to her, "Excuse me, are you always this rude?," and instead walked away. In a small town you can make enemies out of whole family depending on how you treat one member.

Later I went back and asked the women behind the counter , "You know that lady with the foreign accent who rudely spun the case out of my hand? Do you know her?"  She looked surprised and said she did not realize the women had done that but she was Russian. I'm not sure if that answer was a non sequitur or her way of explaining the woman's behavior but I left it alone.

You might think my reaction was passive but my first instinct was to slam the case to a halt and demand to know just what the hell she thought she was doing. The fact that I did not know who she was and how she was related to the other people standing around is the only reason why I did not. Later I thought that maybe she had glanced over and seen the pin as the saleslady was bagging her other purchases and before she could say anything about wanting to look at it I had walked up and turned the case. She may have thought I was being rude, it does not excuses her rudeness, it just explains it.

What would you have done?

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

It's Raining, It's Pouring

All night the sound had
come back again,
and again falls
this quite, persistent rain.

-Robert Creeley

The rain and the wind, the wind and the rain --
They are with us like a disease:
They worry the heart, they work the brain,
As they shoulder and clutch at the shrieking pane,
And savage the helpless trees.

-William Ernest Henley

The rain drums down like red ants,
each bouncing off my window.
The ants are in great pain
and they cry out as they hit
as if their little legs were only
stitched on and their heads pasted.
And oh they bring to mind the grave,
so humble, so willing to be beat upon
with its awful lettering and
the body lying underneath
without an umbrella.
Depression is boring, I think
and I would do better to make
some soup and light up the cave.

-Anne Sexton

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Instant Karma's Gonna To Get You

I am sure you have heard of the Westboro Baptist Church, a small religious cult formed by Fred Phelps  whose membership consists of mostly his children and grandchildren. Mr. Phelps message is a message of hatred against Gays, Jews, Catholics, and any organizations, secular or nonsecular, that support the above groups.

When not protesting against organizations that support Gays his group is protesting at the funerals of soldiers who have died fighting in Iraq or Afghanistan. In Mr. Phelps twisted mind our military men are being killed by God because HE is angry at a sinful America for tolerating homosexuality. On Saturday Mr. Phelp's and his family were in McAlester, Oklahoma protesting the funeral of Army Sgt. Jason James McCluskey. When they were finished with their hate filled demonstration a little karmic payback occurred. Read the story here.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Commence Advancin'

(Laural and Hardy dance from  Way Out West (1937).  Original song, At The Ball, That's All, replaced with Santana's Oye Como Va.)

Sent to me by my sister, she knows what I like.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Things I Saw On My Morning Walks The Last Two Months

-The prairie grass glowing pinkish/red in the predawn light and the sky doing the same thing.

-A dead baby mole with human looking hands and perfectly formed fingers.

-A live baby rattlesnake with a head too large for its body. I guess all babies are born with large heads. It also had a tongue that seemed to be too big for its mouth. Maybe rattlesnakes are born with full size tongues, I don't know.

-A line of birds winging across the sky from north to south. They were spread out in a band 5 to 15 birds wide and formed a line about a half a mile long.

-A flash mob of birds that wheeled around the sky above me for three mornings. Each succeeding morning the mob got larger, morphing between the shape of a Catherine wheel and a fat comma. On the fourth morning they were gone.

-Little Sally Pumpkinhead chasing a jack rabbit right across the road in front me while yipping in glee. That rabbit was so huge it could have turned around and mugged her if it had the inclination to do so.

-The sound of a coyote howling somewhere ahead of me one morning and the sight of one moving quickly down a dry creek bed the next.

-Duke stalking a large group of feeding geese in a wheat field outside Fort Collins and then running as fast as he could at them just to watch them fly away. He did it three times and when we left each bird in the group watched him very carefully. This was amusing since feeding geese usually have only one or two birds on guard while the rest eat but Duke's behavior had them all checking to see if he was really leaving.

-Two Sunday mornings in Fort Collins a hot air balloon appeared in the sky to the south of us and drifted silently and slowly above us in a northeasterly direction.

Sail away, sail away, sail away.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da

Two months ago this day my father-in-law was rushed to the emergency room of a local hospital suffering from excruciating leg pains. X-rays uncovered a mass at the base of his spine and a spot on one of his lungs. After testing he was diagnosed with stage four cancer which had metastasized from his lung and down his spine. Radiation treatment shrunk and killed the tumor relieving some of his pain but it also left a hole in his spine where the L5 vertebrae is which created other difficulties. He is in a rehabilitation facility now where they are trying to counteract the affect of the radiation treatment and the damage to his spine.

Under the unwritten rule that everything happens in threes, the week my father-in-law was diagnosed with cancer was also the week my sister, who lived in Ohio, moved to my town. That same week I got a call from my brother from somewhere outside of Tuscon, Arizona saying that he was on his way to my house from his home in San Diego, California. A couple of days earlier he had received news about his health which frightened him so much he got into his car and start driving. I was not too surprised when he called me since he has always found long distance driving relaxing and, as another one of my sisters pointed out, the drive gave him time to processing the information his doctor had given him.

It took a couple of weeks for the things concerning my brother and sister to work out. My sister  settled into the house I found for her and got a job.  She is extremely happy with both. My brother saw another doctor when he got back to San Diego and although he still has serious heath issues they are not as dire as the first doctor presented them.  He is doing a lot better emotionally.

My husband has spent six of the last eight weeks in Fort Collins with his father and I've spent three weeks up there myself. Balancing home live with trips up to Fort Collins has been tiring but it is extraordinary how fast the mind (at least mine) adapts to change. Taking things day by day helps. Life goes on.

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Family Resemblance By My Sister Tara

Clockwise from top left- My sister Tara, my niece, me, my other sister and my niece's mother, my brother.

Friday, November 05, 2010

Say Goodbye To Truth, Justice, And The American Way.

Below you will find a video clip from last night's  Rachel Maddow's show that debunks the "Obama's trip to India will cost 200 million dollars a day" story and then goes on to discuss the disturbing trend of what Maddow calls the "alternate, self contained, right-wing media universe" willingness to repeat and disseminate what they know are lies. Maddow goes on to explain why this crazy stuff is so dangerous:
..."this is not just gullible people believing untrue things. There is a closed circuit super-funded conservative machine that not only funds this stuff but they reinforce it and fend off any ability to debunk this stuff. Things that would have been disprovable myths in times past, become conservative truths. They can't be dis-proven if you live in their closed circuit world. The other thing that's true is what happened Tuesday night. Politicians, a part of this media culture, the undebunkable faith-based fact horde is going to Washington and, as they get there, that becomes itself another means of validating these political convenient made-up things. They put the prestige of the U.S. government behind all this made-up stuff. Their new positions of power help to validate all of these otherwise totally disprovable things."

This segment is almost 20 minutes long but it is worth watching just to see some poor deluded man "prove" that Rachel Maddow is a lesbian vampire.

Although there is some humor in this craziness, it also shows just how despicable some people, politicians, and political parties really are at this point.