Monday, June 1, 2020

snapshot of a monday

On the verge of what looks to be an intense and turbulent Eclipse Season, the energy brings me back to the blog to share. I thought I would relate a bit more about what life is like outside of our complex, after the usual updates...

The Queen Mother had an obvious descent into the Land of Confusion for a week, then seemed to plateau this past week, pulling herself back together somewhat. The challenge is, she rarely tells me when she gets significantly Confused, partly because she is of the "I don't want to be a bother" mentality, and partly because she picked up the idea somewhere along the line that I was going to get mad at her and yell at her. I will grant you I am not the most copacetic woman in the world sometimes - especially first thing in the morning and perhaps the first day in the Moontime - but I make a significant effort not to fly off the handle, something much easier to accomplish now that my Depression is not actively flitting around in my head. I help her as I can, and especially when I notice something is a little "off."

She has also taken to talking a lot when she sees me. I suspect she is trying to Use Her Words as much as she can before the time comes when the brain-to-mouth connection no longer works for her. Honestly, I have mixed feelings about that possibility. As much as I might not want to her all the talking, what will it will be like when we basically have to play charades? I have thought of taking pictures of various objects around the house and making flash cards out of them, so she can find the picture of what she is wanting and point to it. I will cross that bridge when we get there.

As for Himself: his aunt (mother's sister) passsed on last Monday. We had an opportunity to tune in to the virtual memorial service yesterday, which was good. We got a chance to see family again, some in Connecticut, some in Texas (especially grateful as the suspicion is Covid paid them a recent visit!), some in Chicago, and some in San Francisco. It was good to schmooze, but as Himself pointed out, we need to do more schmoozing on other occasions than memorial services! We will see what germinates from the seeds that were planted yesterday.

He also went down to the VA last week to attend to a pair of appointments. One of them had been canceled without advising him beforehand, but for a very good reason - two of the wings on the fifth floor (ICU and the surgical ward) were literally taped off due to Covid patients being there, and one of his appointments was supposed to take place in the now off-limits area. It was rescheduled without a huge issue, but it was one of those moments that can really give one pause.

Now, in my neck of the woods...we do not have a curfew time. There are curfews in place in other parts of San Diego County. La Mesa, which is about 30-40 minutes to the south and east of us, experienced its own insanity this past Saturday night, because of a (non-fatal) confrontation between a (white) policeman and a (black) citizen last week. The closest area in curfew to us is Poway, which is about 10-15 minutes south and a little east of us. The North Coounty is, so far, incident and curfew free.  On the other front, most everyone is wearing a mask outside, and of the few who don't, most of them have a mask in hand to put on when they come near significant numbers of people. I'm not sure if folks are standing exactly six feet apart in the lines (mainly to get into Trader Joe's, but I have seen other lines), but social distancing is being practiced without complaint.

I continue to stay away from the news and social media as much as I can. I cycle in and out of the zeitgeist, being a Sensitive who picks up on the Collective energies rather easily. I have a pouch with certain crystals and stones in it that I tuck into a pocket when the energies get too intense to keep me from flying off the edge and/or down the nearest rabbit hole. I have Pandora to stream music when I need it, the playlists of videos I am steadily adding to on YouTube, and some sage and Palo Santo to burn as needed. I don't do a lot of aromatherapy witb Essential Oils because a lot of those oils are actually toxic to cats, and it's important to me that the furkids have fresh air to breathe!

Now for the good news: I have a story that is ready for prime time. Once I run it througb the Editor (a new feature on MS Word that I look forwatd to debating with) and give it a final read-through, it. will. be. finished. Holy shit! Then I'm sending it to a friend up north to see if she likes it. I have also been reading exerpts of things I've been working on to another friend over Zoom on Fridays. 

I have found something interesting in the process - I would rather you read something I wrote instead of me reading something aloud that I have written. When in the spotlight, so to speak, I tend to read very fast and stumble over words. I find myself wanting to work on that to get more comfortable in reading my own writing. There's a Judge in there somewhere...

As I can't think of anything else at the moment, I think I will leave off here and paddle back out into the Great Expanse, until the next time. 

Monday, May 18, 2020


As San Diego county proceeds cautiously with emerging from significant shutdown, I have been experiencing bouts of productivity, especially over this past week. The momentum I have been building up with my writing is starting to spill over into other areas of my life. I have helped Himself with cleaning up our bathroom, worked on cleaning the Queen Mother's bathroom, doing some hand-washing of summer dresses (as it promises to be a hot one this year), and sorting through various bills and receipts. Add this to the usual working on dishes and keeping the recycling corner in decent order, and I'm finally starting to feel a bit more like my old self.

I'm also pleased to say that I managed to make some phone calls today that I've been needing to make for a while. I am going to touch base with my case manager at the Southern Caregiver Resource Center to see if he can think of any transportaion options Himself and I haven't found yet for the Queen Mother. I also got some details on arranging a food donation to Jewish Family Services. They were a huge help to us in the lean days, and now we can start paying them back. I plan to send a couple of bags of food from our "pantry" with Himself sometime this week for him to drop off.

Our eye doctor has recently said they are resuming more normal business hours and appointments. I last saw them in March, just as the pandemic craziness was getting off the ground, and subsequently received my first pair of "Mature Woman's Glasses," aka bifocals, at the start of April. I love the lenses, but the glasses themselves don't fit quite right. Now I can go in and get them adjusted, which I will be doing on

I have noticed that it's much easier to me to stay reasonably sane by staying away from all Social Media and turning my phone on only when I need to, like when Himself leaves to take care of Club business. (He takes all appropriate precautions when he goies out, so no worries there.) If you've been missing me, it's nothing personal. I just prefer to save the drama for the Dalai Lama's mama. ;)

One random thing before I sign off: the volume of mail has gone way down during the pandemic. There have even been days when there hasn't been any mail in our box at all. I must say, even though it's felt a little weird, I haven't missed the half ton of gratuitious ads clogging the mailbox one bit.

That will do it for the moment. Remember, may the odds be ever in your favor!

Friday, May 8, 2020

words, worms, & worries

Peeking out from behind the Looking Glass once more...

I have not had a whole lot to say over the past month or so, as my days have a comfortable sameness to them. Enough different things have unfolded, though, that I can now provide an update. In reverse order, then:

The worries first, and most of them are around the Queen Mother. Her mental state continues to deteriorate. She forgets more and more as the days flow around us. She had a significant stomach issue about a month ago, and recovered from that. (No more takeout for her, period.) She mixed up her astringent and her mouthwash a couple of weeks ago, which put me on edge for a few days.

Most recently her cataract consultation was rescheduled, but we didn't reschedule it until we were at the office for the original appointment. (Yes, you have the right number; no, we never got a message on the answering machine.) En route to and from said trip, it became very apparent that 1) mom needed a wheelchair to transport her out of the house, and 2) she was super challenged getting into our car to go home. She is truly Homebound now, and I am making alternate arrangements. Her follow up appointment with her doctor is now going to be via teleconference, and I'm still considering the options for her cataract consult, which she might not even want in another month or two. She's definitely keeping me on my toes!

A much smaller worry is Himself. He is taking care of himself, and had his latest scan and appointment with Oncology this past week. The frenemy desmoid has grown a bit more, but not too much. Everyone has agreed to take a Wait and See approach for any possible future action.

The worms are from the cats. Apparently, Flea Season is going to be extra nasty this year, because the fleas gave the cats a case of tapeworms. They are now de-flead and de-wormed, and seem to be fine - aside from when they coordinate and hork up hairballs on the same day. I will be adding a cat brush to my list.

Most of my energy these days goes to playing with the words of the stories I am putting on the computer. I am in the middle of my third project now, and I recently re-read all of the short stories I wrote some twenty years ago. Some are just about ready for Prime Time, and others need some more work yet. I found the personalized rejection letter I received all those years ago, and after reading the story I thought was ready to be submitted, I can see why. No, it wasn't quite ready at the time. I even cringed a couple of times as I re-read it! 

My dream is to publish these stories, and with Self-Publishing, that dream will soon be a reality. My Big Dream is to find an artist who can put pictures to my words and really bring my stories to life. The one thing that has frustrated me over the years is my inability to illustrate my own stories beyond primitive cartoons. What this envisioning will look like, I don't know; it could be anything from a graphic novel to a filmed project. I would just be thrilled for other people to see these characters as I see them, and see them outside of the "confines" of my Imagination.

So, my days are filled with keeping an eye on the Queen Mother, and feeding cats, and writing, and stepping out with Himself one or two days per week to grab the necessary groceries, and reading. I am rarely on any social media platform these days and I'm reading fewer screens and more actual books! I started by revisting some old friends, then switched to read new-to-me adventures. I'm currently working through the Hunger Games trilogy of books, as the phrase, "May the Odds Be Ever in Your Favor" seems to be entirely too appropriate to describe our current state of affairs. I will add that working on my emotional eating issues has paid off very well, as I am down another ten pounds since this Shift started. Portion Control is a wonderful thing.

When more interesting things happen, I will be back to share them. In the meantime, watch those odds. ;)  

Friday, March 27, 2020

life in the time of corona (virus)

A tip of the hat to Gabriel Garcia Marquez, who wrote Love in the Time of Cholera and provided the inspiration for the title...

In truth, the overall structure of my life hasn't really changed that much, to be honest. I left my job four years ago after Himself's initial cancer diagnosis, because trying to help him, keep an eye on the Queen Mother, and hold down a full time job to boot felt like too much. I have been practicing Staying Home pretty much the whole time.

I will say the timing of the Queen Mother getting back on "deluxe" Medi-Cal could not have been better. (I received my first paycheck today. I found that I need to restart direct deposit into my account, since I didn't realized the check had been mailed to me until I called to see where it was!) She was re-evaluated by In Home Supportive Services just before all hell broke loose, and will actually be getting more hours as of April First. In this way, I am very blessed. Once I get a few bills taken care of, I will see about paying some of my blessings forward.

The fact that casual trips out of the home are all but verboten is a bit of a challenge. Fortunately we live in a gated condo complex, so our exposure to the "outside world" is at a minimum. I joke that we were practicing Social Distancing before it came into vogue. I'm able to step out and take a lap around the complex when I feel like getting some fresh air and sunshine. I'm not the only one who does, as the hour right before dinner recently looked like "social hour," with family units keeping to themselves as they walked. I can adjust my timing accordingly, depending on whether or not I feel like talking to anyone.

The biggest adjustment I've had to make is to runs to the grocery store. I am working on consolidating runs to only once a week, and making do if I run short on something before the "official" day. I'm also rotating the stores I go to, to minimize my exposure at any one location. I wear gloves when I go get the groceries, as the Queen Mother will be 78 on Sunday, and Himself is still somewhat immuno-compromised due to his cancer adventures. So far, though, so good. I've been lucky to get what we've most needed more often than not. Once I had to improvise with cereal, as the options were sparse; another time I've had to wait on getting rice because the rice we normally get was right out. Still, I've managed to keep everyone's belly full.

I have felt challenged with doing anything around the house, or looking at mail, or scheduling tasks...unless it has to do with writing. I have found myself writing consistently more often than not; in fact, I am almost done getting the novel I started with onto the computer. I've done some revising as I've gone along, with notes on further revisions once I review this particular draft. I also have the next few projects lined up to continue writing. Now if only I could channel this ambition into some of the other areas of my life! Perhaps it will come in time.

Most of the time, I feel rather decent. I do have spells of anxiety, but I find myself cycling through them instead of getting stuck within them. I remind myself now and again that I am emerging from a gnarly bout of depression that visited on and off for two and a half years, which followed Himself's cancer adventures, which followed a miscarriage, which followed a high-stress work situation! So there is absolutely no rush, nor reason to rush, getting into deep cleaning the house or aligning with the world as it is now. All things in the fullness of time.

So this is my snapshot of how life is behind the looking glass. I will update as things continue to unfold.

Monday, March 23, 2020

a frenemy called "desmoid"

Before I address the current state of affairs, I wanted to update everyone with Himself's test results...

Best news: it's NOT malignant cancer. It's benign. He is still technically In Remission! We both heaved huge sighs of relief at that news.

What it is: a Desmoid Tumor. It is associated with his specific genetic condition, which gave him a gazillion polyps in his GI system. They don't metastasize per se, but they can grow and become obnoxious if they come to block any key bodily processes.

At the moment, Himself only has the one desmoid in his mesentary, which means it can move/be moved about. We will see if the CBD oil has any effect upon it, now that we can afford to get CBD oil again in timely fashion. Everyone agreed just to keep an eye upon it for now, and do surgery to remove it only if it becomes obnoxious. This is because they tend to grow back; how likely they are to return depends upon who you ask.

Glad that we don't have to worry about that in our current situation. More about that to come in the next post. Stay tuned!

Friday, March 13, 2020

hello from bizarro-land

With visions of Coronavirus skewing the worldview, it seems appropriate to pop in with an update. I did not intend for February to slide completely down the rabbit hole, but it did, and now we have ended up behind the looking-glass. So without further ado, let me bring y'all up to speed...

Regarding Himself: the Mystery Spot turned out to be a lymph node gone rogue. It might, or might not, be related to the genetic condition that gave him a gazillion polyps in his GI tract. He had the biopsy last week, and we have an appointment at the VA this coming Monday to discuss results and next moves. Said appointment might be changed to a phone consult; we shall see.

In addition, his personal injury case (from the car accident in July 2018!) FINALLY settled. All accounting has been squared away, and we received enough to pay the property taxes (done), get new eyeglasses for Himself and Myself (next week), and to buy a new set of tires for the car (in about 2-3 months). Still waiting to see what happens in DC, but the squaring away of this has brought some profound relief.

Regarding the Queen Mother: she has continued to decline, then plateau, with her mental processes slipping a few more gears along the way. I am now documenting when she has her Episodes, and I find that she slips a little more each time. Since we found the cause - her incredible shrinking brain - I am finding that Patience is easier to come by.

Now for the bonus round...there is something called the Pickle Amendment (I kid you not, that's really what it's called) that has apparently opened the door for mom to be back on the Deluxe version of Medi-Cal! In true Mercury Retrograde/Bureaucratic fashion, I received the notifications from Social Security and Health & Human Services before I received the notice from the County office of this miracle. Earlier this week, she was re-evaluated for In-Home Suppportive Services, and I confirmed that I'm still an active Provider on her roster, so guess who is submitting a timesheet on Monday to be PAID to take care of mom! She is also getting more hours per month starting in April, and she is good to go for at least the rest of this year.

Regarding Moi: Besides all of the above good financial news which has really brought a considerable peace of mind, I have gotten back into Writing again, with my first love (Science-Fiction) and the first novel I ever wrote, which has undergone two or three major revisions and will doubtless undergo two or three more before I am satisfied. An unofficial inventory revealed two complete full-length novels, two in-progress full-length novels, a handful of intermediate-length works, a dozen short stories, and several notebooks/notepads full of ideas and snippets.

I was bound and determined to be an Author and Writer in the 90's. The closest I got to actual publication was receiving a personalized rejection letter. I jumped headlong into Metaphysics with the new millennium, but have usually had pen and paper handy to jot something down in the interim. Going back to my original manuscripts has "Sparked Joy" in my spirit, and I have a motivation to get me through the days that I didn't have previously, or even recently. With the advent of Self-Publication, I have the advantage today of not needing to submit to magazines or publishing houses before seeing my work in print out in the world. I won't however, put out garbage stories just so I can see my name in lights. This will be high-quality stuff, if Science-Fiction is your cup of tea. (If anyone is interested in seeing excerpts, holler back. I have come to appreciate the wisdom of a second set of eyes seeing what I might miss.)

So yes, I am alive and feeling better than I have for quite a while - just in time to combat apocalyptic cooties! I will definitely try to post here more often, and might even do a bit of vlogging as well, provided I can figure out the technical aspects. If not, there's always Instagram, though I'm going to be stepping back from that for a few days while people lose their minds. Huh boy...

Sunday, January 26, 2020

mystery spot

Here's another one of those damn curveballs Life is infamous for throwing at us...

Himself's oncology follow up brought some unexpected news: there is a "mystery spot" next to his liver that was found on the latest CT scan. It's about an inch in diameter and wasn't present three months ago. It's not a coincidence that Himself hasn't been able to have his CBD oil consistently over these past three months, thanks to our ongoing financial challenges. From that persepective, it's not a total surprise that something would come up.

I guess it wasn't alarming enough in and of itself to call about, but I would have appreciated a heads-up about the spot, and I'm willing to bet Himself would have as well.

The immediate course of action is to have a PET scan, which is scheduled for tomorrow, to see how significantly said mystery spot is glowing. (The brighter the glow, the more likely it's cancerous.) Then there will be a discussion about those results this Thursday, followed most likely by a biopsy. Treatment options, if needed, will be discussed after that.

Hellfire and damnation.

Though Himself is understandably unsettled by the prospect of more cancer and more treatment, that's not my top concern. My concern is returning to the role of caring for two people at the same time, with very little, if any, available help.

The Queen Mother is not the same as she was in 2016. Her body has definitely picked up the pace to catch up with her mind. True, she's not nose-diving into the ground, but she has not been the same since her dual appointments at the start of this month. This past Friday she went to bed super early, claiming not to be hungry and declining dinner, which just about triggered a full blown panic attack in me. She turned out to be fine - even getting up at midnight to take out her dentures - and is back to complaining about silly things, but I am very much aware that she is going to need Supervision sooner rather than later. She's also continuing to drop words and finding it harder to keep track of conversations, so her mind continues to lead the way Homeward.

I am trying to take each day as it comes and not "future trip," as a good friend of mine put it. My first priority is to stay Sane. I will work on Positivity later. For the record, the cats are taking turns in snoozing on me/beside me. (Inkblot is snoring beside me as I type this.) I would have lost it long ago if it hadn't been for their presence in my life.

Will return later with an update, when I have it. Prayers appreciated in the meantime.