Friday, April 30, 2010

"I'm still here," she whispered wearily

Bottom line: L-O-N-G week.

Senior Fitness Games for 3 days. Think Olympics for the Retired....but not athletics of Olympic caliber. Mostly it's fun. Well, unless you were in charge of Shuffleboard and spent half your morning explaining how to "push" the puck with the stick, not smack the living crap out of it. They only broke 2 sticks this year.

Extra work from Sr. Fitness Games. Because the Boss likes what I do with Photo Story, she decided WE would make a presentation for the Awards Banquet. That's Monday night. She brought me "most" of the photos today. She'll be surprised when I "show" her what "we" did....without her help. Why? Because it's just easier and my nerves are stretched a little thin right now.

Why? The Auntie is at it again. But thanks for asking. In the middle of the "Games", I was called to her doctor's appointment. The one I knew about, but was avoiding like the plague so I wouldn't be seen as "interfering". That would be the one her regular doctor set up with a Shrink [Or Psychiatrist for those of you who love medical terms]. I paid, in advance [new policy] for the wheelchair van to take her there. I specifically stayed away, hoping she'd unload on a stranger. No such luck.

After Auntie had been there an HOUR, I was called by the Nursing Home, who apologized profusely for not telling me it was MANDATORY for me to attend. The Receptionist was a kind soul....or perhaps she's just use to dealing with people slightly off their rocker, making me appear almost normal. This was kind of her, considering I looked a little like Gene Wilder given that I'd been outside timing Seniors walking around a track while the wind blew. Turns out the irate woman, built like a toothpick, who crabbed at me about "non-ambulatory patients" needing a support person, wasn't even the doctor. This wasn't a doctor's visit: it was an information intake. The fun part was that SHE wanted me to push Auntie & her wheelchair down the hall and into her office, which was the size of a small closet. Picture, if you will, five foot tall me pushing an extra wide wheelchair, the occupant of which weighs over 250 pounds [113 kilos roughly] and I can't see over her head to know where we're going. And Intake Dictator keeps harping on me to hurry poor Auntie has been sitting in the chair for too long.


Cutting to the chase: Auntie puts on yet another Academy Award winning performance, claiming to no longer be depressed and back to eating. I try to remain invisible, sitting there behind Auntie, but the woman keeps pulling me into the conversation. I don't mind telling the truth but I think there are better ways to increase one's mental health without a relative walking on egg shells while trying to find the PC words for, "She's tired and she just wants to die."

So we go out, set up an appointment with the REAL doctor and I'm once again lectured about the necessity of my presence. "And he probably would like your take on this as well," she says cheerfully as I shudder internally. The receptionist calls for the Wheelchair van and we wait.

And wait.

Not 10 minutes later, Auntie begins her chant of "Help me. Help me God. Why can't I just die?" under her breath. There are 4 men in the room who glance at her, then go back to staring at different points on the wall. Then the oldest one jumps up, runs to a corner of the room and begins an animated conversation with an Invisible Person. The other 3 flee to sit outside, where they can watch from the safety of the floor to ceiling glass front of the building. When the man sits, they return. This happens several times, with the um...animated man giggling louder and louder and the others running out the door faster and faster. I find myself wondering who has the bigger problem: the guy happily giggling with no one or the guys running from him?

The "we'll be there in 5 minutes" van driver adds another 55 minutes to that time. I want his job. They actually charged $52 to transport the end of the damn street! Not even a mile. Then, in the middle of Auntie's pleas for God to come get her, Animated Man goes into high gear and gets so loud and giggly she actually stops for a moment, turns to glare at him and huffs, "What the hell is wrong with that guy? Someone needs to get him some help." Then she returns to her mantra while I try not to burst out laughing for fear I will be the one they come for.

The Receptionist, who has ignored the three ring circus of the Troupe of 4, glances at me and mutters, "Oh no he didn't!" as she reaches to call the van driver. Slamming down the phone she inquires of me the time she originally called; thankfully my reply was the one she wanted, confirming it has been an hour.

Insert Upbeat Ending Here: My article was printed. They only used one photo but didn't cut nearly as much as I imagined. I was thanked. Then encouraged to "be inspired and take more photos too!".

Ah, I put the "free" in "freelance", didn't I?

So, that's been the week so far. Hope yours was more fun. My goal for now is to NOT join Animated Man in the corner when Auntie returns in 2 weeks. Although, to tell you the truth, he had the most joyful laugh I've heard all week.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Microfiction Monday

Welcome to Microfiction Monday, where 140 characters paints a picture...or photo. Make sure you let Susan know you played. But remember, she's busy packing for her voyage to America, so don't expect a reply right now.

Here's this week's photo

Align CenterWhat?
Me, pack?
Since we're going to America,
I'm standing on my magic carpet.
Rather ride it than use crate.
I am going.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

I shot an arrow....

Okay, so I didn't actually shoot an arrow. But I did shoot photos of archers who participated in last week's archery tournament. My article, and accompanying photos, have been sent to the newspaper. I'm now waiting to see how much editing gets done. Knowing me, a lot. I do love words. Too much so, if you're an Editor.

So as I wait to see how many words fell by the wayside, I thought I'd share a few of my many photos. Every time someone says, "I shot an arrow", in my head I hear, "I shot an arrow in the air, it fell to earth, I know not where." Of course, these archers knew EXACTLY where they wanted to place that arrow. Some were more successful than others. See if you can spot which guy's Native American heritage is expressed in a Dad who's Cherokee and Mom who's Mohawk.

So with a nod to Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, I offer you his poem...and my illustrations. Click on them if you want a little more detail.

I shot an arrow into the air,

It fell to earth, I knew not where;

For, so swiftly it flew, the sight

Could not follow it in its flight.

I breathed a song into the air,

It fell to earth, I knew not where;

For who has sight so keen and strong,

That it can follow the flight of song?

Long, long afterward, in an oak

I found the arrow, still unbroke;

And the song, from beginning to end,

I found again in the heart of a friend.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

The flip side of being dependable

Yesterday, I thought of Map. He's lost so many people important to him in the last few months. Seems the Grim Reaper plucks souls without consideration of our feelings…if we even have time to think about it beforehand.

But what do you do when someone WANTS the Grim Reaper to make a house call?

Yesterday, I had a message on my answering machine at work. Four actually, virtually the same. They made me feel sad and frustrated, overwhelmed and helpless.

In a quavering voice came the same words, over and over. "Help me (hope). Please help me (hope). I want to die. Why won't God just come and get me. Why can't I just die?"

The words belonged to my 80 year old aunt in a local nursing home. She's there thanks to a stroke…one which the doctor told me she probably wouldn’t survive until the next morning. That was almost 10 years ago. After a year she pretty much gave in to life in a wheelchair and gave up interest in everything but watching movies and eating chocolate. Sadly, the stroke effected that part of the brain controlling reasoning. To this day she still believes there’s a pill which will make her jump out of bed and go marching home. Except there’s no home any more. We sold her house once she realized she’d never go home again.

So for the past 9 years she’s been virtually bedridden. A former banker, her mind still works, especially when it comes to money. But her ability to reason rationally has left the building. The stroke took out that mental filter which keeps conversation….um….polite. The hardest adjustment for me has been seeing my sweet, little old maid aunt, the Original Goodie Two Shoes who lived at home with Mom and Dad all her life, suddenly have a mouth that would make a sailor blush. And you never know when the sailor will appear.

For the most part, we adjusted together. I learned not to stand on her left because at times her brain forgot things even exist on the left. Except for the belief that the “miracle pill” is being kept from her, Auntie just keeps on keeping on. Life has become one, long endless day of merely existing between naps and meals. And now emotional fatigue has set in.

Auntie is tired of just existing. And she wants to go. Now.

Two weeks ago I got a call from the nursing home. Auntie won’t eat and won’t take her medication. If it continues, they’ll be forced to put her in the hospital because they can’t give her an I.V. for medication and they can’t let her starve. They’d tried everything, could I do something?

I found myself wishing for a magic wand. Or a Fairy Godmother who specialized in stubborn relatives. Taking a deep breath, I went to have the Conversation to Nowhere.

The conversation was… bizarre. I reminded myself it was the “stroke” talking as we did this silly dance. She’d literally moan for her dead mother to come get her while I tried to think of something, ANYTHING, which might make her reasonably comfortable until her wish is granted. No matter what I suggested, she shot it down. After five minutes of telling me she wanted to just die, I calmly explained that the hospital she hates would be her next stop if she continued like this. Without batting an eye, she huffed, “What are you trying to do, kill me?”


It is a waltz that is an endless circle to nowhere. We danced it again yesterday. Her stomach hurt. I named every food she ever loved. She wasn’t hungry. She now detests sweets. When I was a child, this was the woman who drank diet soda….and put whip cream on every dessert. This was the woman who’d brought the niece or nephew NOT having a birthday a bag of M&M candy now suddenly declaring a hatred of chocolate.

The end is near.

Auntie the Chocoholic angrily denouncing her life long favorite food group sent me reeling back to childhood. In that instant, I realized how I’ve managed to hold on as Auntie pushes me toward the edge of my fragile patience . I remembered who she was, not who she’s become.

As a bride's maid

60s era Fashion Plate

Queen of Chocolate and her Court
Yep, the one with the bad perm on the
right is me.

And so, as she eagerly awaits that date when the Grim Reaper accepts her invitation to visit, I’ll find solace in the memories of how she made my childhood special.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Microfiction Monday

Welcome to Microfiction Monday, where a picture paints 140 characters... or even fewer. Make sure you let Susan know you played. But remember, she's busy packing for her voyage to America, so don't expect a reply right now.

Here's this week's picture.

Here we are
celebrating our womanly curves
while Violet lounges
in that wasp waist corset again.
Your harp has a fuller figure than her.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

For my Moonkin

A while back, I wrote here about Hubby's adventures with an Alligator. Of course in the South, we refer to them as just Gators. If you're a card carrying member of PETA or think wildlife should stay in the wild, you might want to stop reading now.

Besides, this is really a "rest of the story" moment for my Moonkin and his Brother in Scotland.

Boys are impressed by things that stink, make funny noises, are just plain weird or have the ability to make adults shudder. Which is why a tooth from an alligator in South Carolina arrived in Scotland and made two little boys smile. I can just see them taking it to school and wish I could've been a fly on the wall to hear the stories they told about this prehistoric water lizard.

While out and about covering the archery tournament, I ducked inside Hubby's shop for a moment to get out of a suddenly fierce and howling wind. I had the camera with me, so I took a couple of shots of the gator, which belonged to that tooth, which went to live with my favorite Scottish twins. So here is the rest of what I couldn't mail you in that small box.

The hide of the over 12 foot gator is on the ceiling of the shop.

If you stand at the tail and look forward...
well, it chills my blood to think of
coming across that critter on its own turf.
If you click on the photo to enlarge it
you can see the
prehistoric texture of the hide.

The skull itself weighs about 15 pounds
(or for my Moonkin, 4.5 kilos).

The "holes" you can see are for
nerve endings and blood vessels.

The song may say, "never smile at a crocodile"
but I don't think seeing these teeth
on a living gator would've made me smile either.
The teeth are yellow both with age
and due to the gator's diet.
As for those broken front teeth?
That happened when the gator expressed
his displeasure with encountering Hubby.
By grabbing the front of the boat
with his teeth to bite down hard.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

For steven

A while back, steven at the Golden Fish had a picture of a beautiful blue goblet. I remarked that I had a couple of plant "watering bulbs" which looked similar. And I promised to share.

Okay, better late than never.

I've taken a moment from covering the Archery Tournament for the new local newspaper to share the photos I took of my little blue water orbs this morning. Then I hope to begin reading Friday 55s. Have a great weekend folks! I have one more day of tournament to cover.

I have two of these which nest in my violets.
This one is my favorite.
As for the little old man "Gardner" in the corner,
he holds a fertilizer stick down his back.

My kitchen window is the perfect place to grow violets.
And they ALL bloom at the same time.
Quite the team spirit!

The first one, up close.
Blue, with dots of milky white.
I'd just filled them with water
so you may see a few bubbles.

This is the second one.
They have long stems which go into the dirt
to allow the plants' roots
to draw water when needed.

In case I forget to water because I'm blogging.

So, hope that makes us even, steven.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Friday 55

It's time to play "Write a story in 55 words ". When you do, be sure to let the G-Man know, then visit as many contributors as you can. I'll be neighborly and stop by to say Howdy! but it may take me a while this weekend. Why? Read below and you'll see.

Impressed, I contacted our new local newspaper.

I praised their "real" reporting.
The lack of "MURDER!" headlines.
My Representative's article concerning pending legislation
AND its effect on our community.

They requested ideas.
I shared.
My kind words impressed them.
They assigned me a story.

"Bravo!" I yelled.

"Gratis," they whispered.

A new story.
Same ending.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Microfiction Monday

Welcome to Microfiction Monday, where a picture paints 140 characters... or even fewer. Make sure you let Susan know you played.

This week's photo.

Swim or wait?

Oh, I look GOOD!
Water’s pretty.
Looks warm.

What if it’s cold?

Not like I'm a member of the Polar Bear Club.


Saturday, April 10, 2010

A Friday 55 challenge by Mojo

Okay, if you're hooked on writing a Friday 55, you know the joy of finding other like minded souls. Our Friday Fairy Godfather, the G-man, got us going. Now Mojo has thrown in a twist...with a challenge.

After reading his 55, you're invited to keep it going with ANOTHER 55 words which you contribute. This week, as I'm inside hiding from the pollen while looking online for Haz Mats suits, I decided to play along. The first is what Mojo wrote...the next 55 words are mine. Go on. Give it a try. You know you want to. :)

UPDATE: To be fair, I goofed. I was suppose to use the story from the week BEFORE this one. But Mojo has been kind and isn't making me take it back. So if you play, make sure you pick the RIGHT story. Sigh. It's the pollen. Honest. Cross my heart.


"The ones we love hurt us worst. Only they get close enough to do real damage. I know this -- it's why I don't fall in love.

Until I do.

Then it turns to shit. And I fix that hole in the wall because dammit, nobody's getting in again.

Until they do.

Lather. Rinse. Repeat."

Should I keep on trying…

… or just get a job as a hair dresser?

I’d have a bigger pool to choose from.
And I’d know all about her.
Hopes. Dreams. Desires.
A need for anger management.
Because she’d told me first.
Me, her trusted hair dresser.

Try again?
Or let love circle the drain?

Friday, April 9, 2010

Friday 55

It's time to play "Write a story in 55 words ". When you do, be sure to let the G-Man know, then visit as many contributors as you can. Think of it as being a good neighbor.

When the hooded figure in the Haz Mat suit
entered the office,
all conversation ceased.

Without awaiting an explanation,
the office gossip fled from the room, screaming.
Terrified, the secretary clutched her purse
as the figure stopped at the last desk.

"New take on Casual Friday?" Dean asked calmly.

"Naw. Finally found something pollen proof."

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

It's Snowing.....YELLOW!

It's like some sort of science fiction movie from hell. And at first glance, Yellow seems like such a lovely color. Warm. Inviting. Life affirming.

Not so when it becomes so dense that a haze of yellow fills the air, ironically sucking the air out of those of us who walk upright....and have a gene which finds pollen barely tolerable.

I had to work in pollen so thick Saturday that it covered my black sneakers and turned them yellow. My pants (or trousers for those of you across the pond) were yellow up to my knees. I took all the appropriate medications and my eyes are still watering, I'm sneezing and I'd like to scratch most of the skin off my body.

I'm currently trying to figure out how to remove my eyeballs, scratch behind them, then replace them without damaging anything.

Titus said she couldn't image a yellow plague...I mean dust....covering everything. Well, when I dare do more than dash between door to car and car to office, I'll take some pictures. Until then, these are close up shots of the little aliens currently probing my body for new places to irritate.

Meet my mortal enemy: Pine Pollen!

Dang, even blown up they're colorful....and yellow!

Geez Mr. Scott, can't you find SOME PLACE ELSE to beam these critters to?
I'm sure the Tribbles would love the company.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Microfiction Monday

Welcome to Microfiction Monday, where a picture paints 140 characters... or even fewer. Make sure you let Susan know you played.

This Week's Picture

Once he conquered jack rabbit starts,
Tom was pleased with his new green ride,
which fertilized the garden…
when it wasn’t trying to eat it.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Friday 55

It's time to play "Can you write a story in 55 words?". When you do, be sure to let the G-Man know, then visit as many contributors as you can. Think of it as an adult Easter Egg Hunt.

She stood before the mirror, trying on hats.

There was the Greta Garbo look

The Ode to the 50s

The Cowgirl

Beach Bunny

Birthday Girl

Southern Alaskan

The Witch

The Halo

But when she found the photo of her
last Easter Bonnet,
which resembled a flying saucer...

...she decided to give up hats all together!