Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Reality's A Real Pain

Wow, I sure got a good dose of reality last Friday, the day AFTER my birthday. (Thursday was bad enough!)

Sitting in my office, listening to my boss talk about a major business problem (the possible loss of a customer due to the infantile behavior of one of our drivers), when he suddenly doubled over in pain, clutching his chest! I was momentarily stunned, but then I dialed 911. It took five full minutes of answering questions to this dispatch woman before the ambulance and fire truck were on their way. (why, I now wonder, do they send firetrucks?) (and WHY does it take so long to get the help sent on its way??) SIX men showed up, hooked my boss up to a bunch of gear, and by then he was breathing comfortably again, but very shaken. They stayed and asked a whole lot of questions, and then put him on a stretcher and off to the hospital where he resided for the night and most of the next day getting tests.

Turned out not to be a heart attack, but they aren't sure yet about the cause, so more tests this week. Maybe ulcer or angina related. But nothing definite. The man works out in a gym every day but eats junk food galore, so it's hard to guess. He's 62 years old.



I was shook up, I'll admit it. It's very difficult to be forced to face our mortality with such vivid reminders. It makes you want to turn over a new leaf, wake up and smell the roses, kick the bad habits, and get out there in the world of cliches and LIVE. It also makes the petty nuisance of everyday resentments pale.

***


They wanted to charge me $4500 to seal my roof, in my effort to cool down that big lanai I have which is useless in the summer because it's hot as hades out there. A guy from work, and his buddy, did the cool sealant for $200 plus $234 in materials. They did it really fast and will come back and put on a second coat in a couple of weeks. Paying one tenth the price for the job is a joy. My roof won't be leaking any time soon...



But the lanai was 91 degrees yesterday. It used to be 96 degrees. Woe is me.

***


Got a massage finally for this back of mine. (I took my kneeling chair to work, leaving me a secretarial at home for the computer desk. That regular chair KILLS my back, so got another kneeling chair, but meanwhile the back went out again.) WHAT A RELIEF. My masseuse, Mark Greene, is just the best. Back Pain is no joke, as so many of you know. For me, the massage is the quickest and best cure. Wish I could afford to have bodywork done weekly, truth be told. Another reason to want to be out of the poverty demographic. Today is a new day. Namaste!

Thursday, July 24, 2014

No Numbers Is My Name (poem)

(this is my 76th birthday offering. Ack! )

No numbers is my name
If you ask me where I live
the answer is the same

Don’t call on the telephone
No numbers show for me
Not even one, I am alone.

It often brings a smile
to speak of date and times,
birth years; we have awhile

To ponder how long before
the end. Except nobody
really does until the door
is closed, and the number’s up.


##

Sunday, July 20, 2014

God Exists when all else fails?

I have never been religious, so you can imagine my surprise when I found this entry in one of my many sporadic old journal entries:

February 26,2000

This is the week of my recovery from four months of pain from a ruptured disk. It is like coming out of prison, but the prison cell was my own body.

There is a horror unlike any other when your own trusted vessel--that lifetime companion--your body, betrays you. I asked for antidepressants (they gave me Prozac).

I took over 100 Vicodin for pain. I saw surgeons, imaging doctors, 3 chiropractors, an acupuncturist, an internist, two psychiatrists and a TMS specialist. I had four nerve blocks (needle in the spine) and actually nothing made much of a difference except time.

One wonderful pain specialist in Los Angeles started me on physical therapy and yoga, and that with massage made the biggest impact on my pain.

I can barely believe this saga is finally over.

I have been writing and revising short stories for these four months in bed. There has been a shift in my self-perception. I now believe I'm a slightly better writer than I ever thought before. The Zoetrope writing website has been a gift to me in that regard. Perhaps it took losing everything to get me still enough to write. I am selling the condo to pay bills; my business partner has absorbed all my clients, so my company is kaput; I need to leave L.A. to afford to live.

Perhaps having myself all to myself with no other support system has impacted me even deeper than I can yet express. What is most chilling is the possibility that my world will get even narrower--not broader--in this respect. The fear makes me want to reach out and gather new people to my heart. I am so very alone. It is not bad to be alone, nor to be in my own company....but to be sick and alone is a very different matter. Not my shining moment, but my darkest. I need to remember. Whose life can I brighten when they are at their darkest? Is that the lesson?

I went with people I know to an opening tonight of an art exhibit, the artist being a woman I used to study with. It was joyous to be with people again after such a long time. Thank you, God, for my healing. I am truly grateful.

I find it interesting that pain, as well as the loneliness and desperation I felt then, is later all but forgotten. And so is any faith in a higher power. I believe in hope, it seems to come naturally to the species. But finding God takes a little more work for me. If I'm entirely honest, I have to say I'm not comfortable carrying the label of "atheist." It leaves no room for the unknowable, of which I am a strong believer. But organized religion is a farce, in my opinion. Still, when all else fails, I do implore....something...for help and I guess, reading this, I am grateful for it.

The Sufis got it right, I think.

##

Saturday, July 19, 2014

The Linnet's Wings

What a beautiful ezine! Elizabeth Glixman, guest editor and poet, (visit her website "A Writer in the Moment") accepted three of my poems for the Summer 2014 edition, and I'm thrilled!

Click Here!

  • Page 70 - River Poem
  • Page 71 - Seasoned
  • Page 72 - Feeding Frenzy


  • And don't miss the rest of the issue, much poetry, art, short fiction, micro fiction, classic fiction, on and on. It's glorious!

    Monday, July 14, 2014

    Hooray & Hallaluijia!

    I have an amply air conditioned house! The under-the-house-duct-repairs worked!!!!!! It gets so cold in here, I have to turn it up! And even the back bedroom which is always hell fire and 10 degrees warmer than anywhere else is sitting at a cool 77 degrees without coaxing. I'm thrilled! And my neato handyman did it all and did it reasonably! NOT the thousands predicted by the last under-the-house specialist.

    Soooo, (still working on the budget from selling my car in order to have cold air and a trading fund) the next step was to call a professional outfit to see what the heck can be done with the wonderful big lanai that is enclosed in plastic windows and registers about 98 degrees day or night. Super nice engineer came out from Conditioned Air, and said they could make it heaven out there for $3500. and a mini-split system. (hahahahhhahhhahhhaaahhhhh)

    But doubting that I could/would do that, he suggested a portable air conditioner purchased from Lowes or Home Depot. Which is exactly what my nifty handyman had suggested and this was only more confirmation. So I've ordered one to be sent to the house. (Let's see if it gets lost en route again?). And Mike said he can install it very easily. THEN I can have my art studio and my dining room again!




    But much better news entirely is that two of my beloved friends have come through surgeries with flying colors, and the more serious one was told today that chemo will not be necessary. That tops air conditioning any day!!!!!!!!!!! I was so worried on both counts, and feel like the world is right again.

    Saturday, July 12, 2014

    Friday, July 11, 2014

    Compromise

    Well, I gave notice at the job, had another big blow out with my boss, but agreed to stay and train a replacement. Then I changed my hours (to afternoon) at the time he's usually out of the office, so less confrontational time for me! He's a micro manager, with a bad temper and an acute sense of righteousness, so a very bad fit for me.

    However, the new hours are working! He's almost never there, and when he is, he's friendly and jovial. He needs the help and has taken the time to train me in his business already, so it's not a win for him to lose me. (I just happen to be very good at what I do, but won't be treated badly by an employer, no matter his ego.) Besides I think his wife sees me as a godsend, and I've taken a lot of the work and pressure off her, so she is likely in his ear to keep me.

    No raise yet. But hey! We've been fighting like hyenas over a bit of autonomy, so give it some time.

    Heh!

    Meanwhile I'm enjoying getting back into the accounting game. I was always good at it, and there's much satisfaction in taking on a mess and making it work. I'm not 100% complete in the transformation of those books and procedures, but I'm getting there. It's purring, and my employer knows it.



    The extra salary has made me able to just begin to dig out of some of the most pressing debt/problems/etc. And the boys (dogs and cat) and I are eating better!

    And the best news of all is that my handyman has made two trips beneath my house to check out duct work, and yesterday found a 2nd big hole where air was escaping. I think this might be the final fix to a major, major problem in summertime Florida!

    Monday, July 7, 2014

    In the Wake of the Walker (poem)

    This is a first draft of a poem that got pulled apart and put into many poems, some published, some not. I just ran across this, and it was a surprise to me to find it in this form. NOT that it's good, but that it's so..eh...specific. Caregiving was a source of much poetry.

    IN THE WAKE OF THE WALKER

    My mother, broken hip repaired, returns
    home on a walker: pushes at it, wheels slosh
    through rising tides of age and death.
    I travel in her wake, clutch her gown,

    my passion’s been spent—
    pink poker chips for politics
    bright red for art
    yellow for hordes of rippled bodies
    closing in
    to start me, like an engine,
    breathing hard, space time and universe
    rolled onto tongues against my skin,
    a fevered slick of yesterdreams.
    They left carrying their shoes
    while I idled on sheets soon washed and dried,
    and washed once more
    to lose the scent of tourist.
    Diesel oil drying in my hair.

    My mother’s needs: food and meds,
    clean sheets and towels against the wetness,
    small lights against the darkness and a hand held tight,
    both reluctant to remember dry land.
    Submerged in a hot tub, I imagine my brain
    as cooked cabbage, and I am body with leafy
    vegetable atop, gone mute--eyes shut
    yet with a willingness to try to grow,
    to cultivate within some tiny seed
    that might disperse itself into the untilled
    soil of some as yet unseen, fertile,
    unknown garden without weeds,
    out there.

    In the wake of the walker, I clutch my mother’s gown
    at the waist, keeping her upright, feeling like she's a child in tow.
    She might fall on her shuffle--or crumble in a vertiginous swoon.
    Thou shalt honor thy source. Her force ekes down the drain
    of the bathtub when I bathe her skinny yellow feet—a flood, a loss
    of anima, the very same poured into me at birth.

    I want to be outside, pick tomatoes, eat red berries---only three
    that I can see from this window—before the Southern Blight.
    When I first shook our lemon tree, I did not know the heavy limbs
    were spiked with thorns. Nothing sweet there but my own blood.

    Waves will drown her, sweep her tiny bones asea—her voice—a wail;
    and I shall flounder: no siren’s call. I am in the wake, holding my breath.
    Calypso sits in the Mimosa tree outside, pinching the prickly blooms.
    They fall before their time, still pink with bristling hope.

    Friday, July 4, 2014

    4th of July 2014

    We're well into the hot days of summer. This morning the temp outside was 81 degrees!

    The two 15000 BTU air conditioners I bought from WalMart got lost on a FedEx truck (I figure someone sold them alongside the road) and so my air conditioning problem is STILL not resolved. My handyman, Mike Smith, thinks that it's a shame to waste a perfectly good, running, central A/C unit, just because the delivery system beneath the house is shot, so he's going to crawl under there and have a look. Maybe some kind of alternative duct system could be put in place instead of rebuilding the original system. My Google searches, however, do not support that idea. It looks like a new replacement duct system plus insulation needs doing. And will be costly. But I'm willing to see what he says.

    Since I gave notice at my job, things are very peaceful and pleasant. I don't think my employer really wants me to go, so perhpas he'll stop yelling at me now and let me do my job. We shall see. At any rate, it's very nice to have this break from the confrontational norm. I've been getting a lot of catchup work done and his company's all the better for it. My peace of mind is worth the price of any job.

    I am not a fan of weekends and holidays as the stock market closes. My trading is coming along better than expected. I have goals set and so far, I'm exceeding them. It takes money to make money, of course, but it also takes time if you don't have much money~! I've increased my fund by 18% in one week, so I figure I'm doing okay.

    Dogs and I went to Riverside Park this morning. People were gathering for a 5K run, hundreds of locals in their running clothes in this HEAT. I would rather put pins in my eyes. Dogs and I sauntered around the park at a nice slow pace and were happy to get back in the air conditioned van~! Too bad Sugar & Spice are not allowed in our park pool, like these lucky pups! My kitty, Henry, seems to love the heat and sleeps on the sweltering lanai all day.

    Two new editing jobs this week, so that will keep me busy this weekend. Summertime and the living is easy. At last.

    Tuesday, July 1, 2014

    Time Capsule (poem)





    Her flesh melted long before she died.
    She clattered on dry bones
    until one day they found her
    collapsed, tepee-d like firewood.
    She was buried in a capsule
    along with a vial of her regrets.
    They added snapdragons, and
    a pansy face from her grandmother's
    garden; a blue satin prom dress,
    menstrual ruin on the rear,
    dead orchid pinned to the front.
    Thrown in was a silver wedding band
    set with three lapis stones and another,
    plain gold. Tiny ivory elephants,
    trunks locked to tails, sat beside
    a Purple Heart wrapped
    in her mother's woolen socks.
    Over this they tossed handfuls
    of raucous laughter, a cup
    of insecurity and her hot blood
    long ago dried to pink confetti.
    A jazz ballad and a trumpet solo eked
    from under the jittering cover
    so it couldn't be nailed shut.


    ##