Enough is Enough with the Stones!

During my many years of blogging, I write about life and a path and how they relate to each other.  The paths (a metaphor for aging).  The further down the path the older you are.  Stones, some large, some small and some tiny are thrown on the path.  The stones are a metaphor representing all the events in your life.  Some you haven’t experienced, others are the ones that you have in memory.   There are two categories:  Good things and not so good.  In a post, I  always hope that the reader understands what is in between the lines.  I feel it is wrong to force feed the bad to a reader.  If they don’t see the subject, then they are better off. 

Humans have the ability to solve the stone’s mystery, although, when you see a stone it must have a tale about you.  If it were about someone else you would not feel anything. But if it is about yourself you will know immediately that it represents a true event, present or in the future.  When I saw a stone recently, I knew what it was immediately, but I preferred not to think or deal with the feeling I had.  Afterward, I went into a frump!!  

My frump (my word for depression, anxiety and unwillingness to look at the problem head-on) made me think and realize I needed to buck up and face it.

I already had a knee replacement last year done by a lovely man MY AGE.  It was not a pleasant experience.  After a year of pain,  I saw a new, younger man,  over six-foot tall, an orthopedic surgeon who knew immediately what the problem was.  The prostatic was not rotated properly to align with the angle of my leg.

Old surgeon(improper rotation of prosthesis)= PAIN PAIN

New, Young surgeon(new parts + ability for success)=ahhhhhhh!!!

All of this is about remembering that if I ever want to be ambulatory like I was before, then I need the surgery.  Once this surgery has had time to heal, then the other knee will be operated on for its own knee replacement.  I only hope my left knee can wait till the right knee has healed.  No sweat, finally I have learned the fine art of waiting……..but

There better not be many more stones in my path.

Enough is enough!



To Prowl and Rule


This is a story, one that can be enjoyed by any age, although, two types of readers will definitely like it.  Even though it may read like fiction, most of the story is true and is about one of our cats that is devoted to M.  She believes our home is her castle and all her attention is for him alone!  She isn’t very fond of me and tolerates my existenence!  She has an incredible vocabulary and when she wants something there is little to question what it is.  Her eyes are also very expressive and you feel what she thinks.  She is “Blackie” and as long as she lives our house will be her empire!.

During the long night, I prowl through the house repeatedly by first looking out the windowed door, then sometimes resting on the stairs or climbing up to the bedroom and stretching out on the corner of the bed or a laying on my chair by the door to the room.  Boredom gets to me so instead of yawning I get up and go down the hall and stop at the big scratchboard for a minute before I go back to the glass door.  Peering out,  I see the moon and beyond the landscape of the yard.  It is what lures me;  there are fresh odors to sniff as I find them outside, wire fences to climb over and pals to join as they wait for me across the street.  Ah, we had such happy plans for tonight.  Hopefully, I will be lucky and join the troop.

Last week, one very early morning, Mr. F. came down the stairway,  turned on the light in the little bathroom, got the ground coffee out of the pantry and moved to the corner of the kitchen where the coffee pot is.  I sat tall on my haunches and coyly tipped my head a bit;  looking at him with my big beckoning eyes.   I am always thinking up a new technique to have him notice that I  want out, I thought,  “Put on your sweet look and open your big green eyes wide, tilt your head and he may melt.”  It worked, he moved toward me and then his hand grabbed the doorknob while the other hand reached for the door lock.  I tip my head back, while touching his leg, to make sure he will turn the knob; he turns the knob and I dash out past him.

As I hurtled across the threshold I suddenly thought, “Slow down, keep a little energy because you have to climb up the link fence if you want to meet everyone.  A bit of a pant and I made it to the top of the fence.  Now I only need to walk on the rail for a couple of feet and I can jump down and run over to my pals.  The three of them are characters, one older than me that loves being grumpy, the second one is my age and picky and the third is so young with so much energy, yet he has a lack of brain power!

At the intersection, it is best to be cautious when crossing the street (the cars race fast in both directions and they wouldn’t mind running over me).  I look both ways, take a deep breath and run as fast (or as M would say waddle as fast as I can).  Once across I breathe easier and the four of us are together.  First, we want to go down 15th street to 13th and make a quick stop at the Alchemist to see if they have some goodies we can snatch at the back door.  Then, there’s Valero.  Maybe a bit of empanada will be there.  Every time my wonderful, compassionate, sweet owner, “M”  worries that I am gaining weight and wonders how I gain  I say, “Well it’s these little escapades that do me in.”  The truth is, fat or thin I enjoy every little treat I find.

Before it gets any later I have to get back to the yard.   If I stay out too long Mr. F. will not let me out again.  Just before I get to the glass door I start calling out so he knows I am in the yard.  He has good ears and can hear me.  Yep, I see movement and it’s him.  The door opens and quickly I run past him and up the stairway to the corner of the bed.    I’ll stay down at the foot of the bed til “M” gets up.   The mattress feels so good and I quickly close my eyes.

The ritual for the morning following breakfast is:  When “M”  heads for the stairway I run before him so I am in his office before he can get there.  If he doesn’t head toward the stairway and lingers I must go to the 2nd floor,  jump up and sit on the banister and call out loudly until he comes.  No matter what, I have him trained and he will come soon enough!!

As M. arrives in his office I quickly jump to the top of his desk.  Every once in a while papers fly.  It’s more important for me to be on the desktop, centered and sprawled so I have his undivided attention to comb me, rather than have him worrying about any mess I make.  The problem is that he needs to keep his desk organized so he can remember what to do.  Pity he doesn’t think to ask for my help!  I have often used the keyboard at night and am very adept at turning on the computer.  After my combing, until later afternoon,  is my nap time.  I have a few corners of the house I go into so that I am not found nor have my sleep interrupted.  If I didn’t sleep then my night prowling would not be as much fun if I were tired.

Each day I believe I should have a treat around three o’clock.  The other one that is similar to me (well she is cute, younger but certainly not as smart as me),  seems to think she is equal to me and always follows me for our treat.   “M” is very slow at getting out the snack, so I prod him a little with a few loud calls.  If he doesn’t snap to it then it’s time to do two things:  We stare at him, sitting on our haunches and I let out a very tuff call.  Gets him to move every time.   Usually, there is so little food he gives us for the treat,  and because it is a tiny amount I feel the routine must be repeated around five p.m.  I hear him questioning why we think we should need a treat in another two hours.  The answer is simple, “We deserve it, we are very beautiful to look at and above all if he doesn’t give us a little nibble we have the ability to become quite a bother to him.

It’s that time of day to rest, watch a bit of television, and be ready for another short escapade with my friends.  Hey, you want to come along??

The Destined Path

Heat transformed Nylon     1999

In my old blog, Within Crepusculum, my main objective was to understand the path that all life takes to reach its final destination.  Crepusculum (the ancient word for twilight) is the word I use during the time in life when changes occur leaving you less capable maintaining your life and it becomes necessary for someone else to help you with decisions and care.  This need, even though warranted, takes much of your independence and leaves you unsettled.

Even though I am not at that place, I often think about it and know a timeless journey begins one day and it will lead me through the twilight of life and on to the last darkness.  Many years ago I made a sculpture (the one above) that I named “Threshold” which metaphorically if the place where, without awareness, you cross and a journey begins.  The path may have unstable inclines and uncontrollable downward slides, its surface littered with stones along representing each physical or mental problem you have or will have before you take the last breath.  It is a season, one that can never be ignored, refused not changed and leaves no choice of day or time.

Sometimes the stone’s represent what becomes to difficult to handle in life.  Once M. said to me that the difference in aging between people is how ambulatory each is.  Hindered movements offer far less freedom and it impedes how your muscles continue to work.  A second major difference is the “mind”.  There are many forms of dementia other than Alzheimer’s and many find that their ability to process is less as they age and find that it is simply a part of growing older.  Regardless of the cause, it becomes worrisome to yourself and your family when you tell them it is difficult to deal with your finances or health issues.  When this happens the differences of how we age shows remarkably.

Every day I stand at the top of the stairs and hesitate.  I know if I am careless I will invite an accident.  Any misguided step can bring more pain to my knees and back.  These problems, including my lungs, are the many stones strewn on my path.  A “newer stone”, one that comes to me when in thought is a comparison of my life and my parent’s life at the same age.  My father retired farming a one hundred sixty acre farm when he was my current age.  Similarly, my mother moved to Arizona with me, lived on her own and enjoyed every day while living in an active retirement village.  No matter what, each year I become less tolerant of dealing with what was, what is and what will be.   

I rue the day that my next surgery will be.  The surgery is usually tolerable.  It is the therapy that follows.  I realize, now, that I must decide how long and how intense the therapy will be.  I have paid a dear price doing more than I should during the extensive required sessions.

When I compare the future to how I am today and then compare it to the recent past I am poignantly aware I am not the same as I was.  Regardless, I will not let go of the sparkle of iridescent colors of life until I must.  There will be a day I realize that medically there is nothing left that a Doctor can do   Then, I will be ready to move on down the destined path.

Today I Sing To You


I now sing softly to myself as I did when I knelt by your bed leaning forward into your ear so that you could hear.  More often than not you responded to me when you heard my own lyrics to “You Are My Sunshine.”  The words were intended just for you and carried the love I felt for you and to say that you were special to me.  At times you squeezed my hand and I knew you understood.

My mother died today at about the same time that it is now.  The memory of that day and night still ring clearly and makes we question how the past nine years have passed so quickly.  I think of her often and wish that I was as strong as she was in her life and even stronger during her final journey.  I held her closely to me.  It was difficult for each of us to let go.  And then the moment came and everything was so quiet.

Today, right now I softly sing, “You are My Sunshine.”

My Own Rubicon–11 July 2017

Julius Caesar’s crossing the Rubicon River in Italy was an event in 49 BC that precipitated the Roman Civil War, which ultimately led to Caesar’s becoming dictator for life and the rise of the imperial era of Rome.

Caesar’s Rubicon was life changing.

My own Rubicon (the meaning used as a metaphor for change) does not carry the unknown good fortune that Caesar experienced although mine has been an unforgettable escapade, one that is not known for kindness.

The morning of July eleventh I had my right knee replaced. I welcomed a better future, one that allowed me to return to my pleasures after the surgery! I had visions of bicycling, gardening, walking once again taking care of what I used to do.

Since that date I ain’t done much!

My surgeon said I could have major pain, but many people are with little pain. I focused on that group wrongfully and when the pain began I was not happy. I don’t mind usual pain but what I had was the opposite. And so, I took the Oxycodone line up for the first week. I reacted badly and found I had developed Serotonin Syndrome. My own medication with Serotonin combined with the Serotonin in the pain medication. Unfortunately it takes  hallucinations, shaking and tremors to a particularly high pitch.

After the Oxy medication I tried Delaudid which is a morphine based pain-killer. The doctor gave me a very low dose and if the dose were higher it would have just added more Serotonin in my little brain. I only had ice and raising my leg far above my head to reduce swelling and pain. The next step was therapy and I cringed at the idea.

Therapy lasted for a few weeks. Every time my therapist put weights on my leg the following days were more painful. Finally, Hurricane Irma arrived. Our house is old and we worried about how it would hold up. The night she was to come ashore we stayed in a hotel. Two days later we came home. The old house was great. The big beautiful tree out front wasn’t.  Half of its major branches were laying on the lawn.

After much ado, I had my gardener come, but he has had problems with us because his ADHD gets in the way of his understanding what is said.  He arrived and thirty minutes later he drove off. He said he couldn’t handle the bad karma in his head! M. already had carried big limbs out for city pick up but there was much more debris to deal with.

For other a month I lived only on our second floor. M. brought everything I needed. I did this to heal the knee by not using the stairway. This also was instrumental in keeping me out of the refrigerator!

Standing in the middle of the yard, dismayed at the gardener and the yard I decided I had to chance working and that it would not harm the knee. Soon, my sweet, tiny housekeeper flew through the front door, picked up a big rake and started gathering up the mess. Without further thought I worked with her. After she left my knees felt ok. I decided to mow the back yard and told myself that if pain overwhelmed me then I was the one to blame.

OVERWHELMED! Oh that is an understatement. The first few days weren’t bad. Then I found that to walk up or downstairs when it was necessary produced incredible pain in both knees. Once again I am staying on the second floor. I find that I am very stubborn. I still cheat and go to the third floor, or go to the kitchen to cook or into the garage to launder the clothes;.

Each time a pain hits I know my Rubicon is reminding me of this change in my life and is telling me to let things heal!

Back at the Farm


A painting I gave to my sister of the old Farm House in Iowa.

It seems like yesterday when my sister and I lived on a farm in Iowa.  She was much more the farmer than I was.  I could do without the chores and the endless summer’s tending of the field’s grains and corn, baling of hay for the cattle’s tummies and gathering of strawberries, blackberries, vegetables, peaches and cherries.  Yet, as I look back it gave strength to our character and we carry a farming ethic, easily understood:  Get up and do!

If my parents went out-of-town for a day or a weekend, my sister and I were left to take care of everything.  My sister didn’t mind at all feeding the cattle, even though, one day they were so hungry and used to my father that they moved in to nudge her along.  I don’t think they meant    to harm, yet it is easy to get alarmed when six or so huge cattle come to you so you can’t move.   She knew to bounce a head  or two which would get their attention and when she proceeded they obeyed, although, I wonder would have been if they didn’t!  This was a job I stayed  far away.  So, I still had the pesky chickens to feed, water and collect their eggs.  Some hens would not move off their nest.  To gain access to their eggs I had to get my hand under them and let them know I was the boss.  I hated them because each one made me understand that they were the boss.

When winter came Iowa’s weather is a variety of condidiont:  cold and white, damp and grey, wet or dry.  Often when there was massive amounts of snow that fell, the quarter-mile journey to the main road from our house (sad the house sat dead center in a one hundred and sixty acre farm) made the trip to the road sometimes very ardurous.  If there was a blizzard with high banks of snow my father still expected my sister and I to attend school.  We had walk to the road, have our uncle pick us up and we would stay with him and my aunt.  In my young days I wasn’t too tall and with short legs.  My father was nearly six feet tall and had a wide gait.  My sister could follow his steps in the snow with great difficulty.   The snow was a foot or two high and as  I followed her I couldn’t move to well.  I got one foot up and into a deep boot print but  I couldn’t get the other leg up over the snow bank to go forward.  My father never thought about this and kept on going.  My sister, thank god looked back and saw my dilemma.  She yelled caustically for my father.  He returned to me and yanked me out of the snow drift.  He dragged me behind him and finally the road was insight.

In February and March that same path became soggy, deep ruts with mud and weeds.  The truck could barely make it to the road.  Sometimes it had difficulty.  Finally my father left   the truck at the road and walked back so that when it was necessary he could transport all of us with the tractor with a wagon behind.  One night we were all to be at the school.  We were to be well dressed and hope to stay that way in all the mud.

The wagon and tractor awaited my mother and I.  Momma had been having a lot of abdominal pains but she said she was going.  I felt so badly for her.  The wagon ride was rough and she asked me to place both of my fists in front of her and  then push her forward into the wagon to lessen the bounces.   We made it to the road and my took a few deep breaths and put on a smile as she walked into the school.

This scenario repeated itself every year.  On my seventeenth  year I left to go to a school in New Haven, Connecticut.    My sister had married and lived in Illinois.  Momma continue to endure until my father retired and sold the farm

Finally, we were all away from the farm.  My sister missed the farm.  My mother praised the day it was gone and I never looked back to a place that was never a happy place to me.

P.S.  Even though I never went back to Iowa to see the farm, the youthful time there  built a treasurer trove of fond memories..  My sister and I now reminiscence–two old farts sitting and jabbering about what tickled us back on the farm.

The Quiet Peace at Dusk

The guest room is quiet. I barely hear the cars on the street. The sun has moved so that it barely is above the horizon making the room dull and most would turn on a light. Yet, sometimes it is nice to look around and see some of my paintings, including one I have just finished. I am sure I will start another painting in a couple of days but I wonder what will I do with them.

I look at them and remember the time and the thoughts I had to begin painting each of them. So many people paint stilllifes and are happy, but my paintings must have a story, a message to hopefully relay to the viewer. These stories and messages are about life, mine in particular are how I see something affects me. Most carry messages about growing older because I am at that age. I am at a place where the time left is questionable. The length is certainly unknown.

Many years ago, my first worthy blog had the name “Within Crepusculum” .In Medieval use man believed it was a particular period of evening lasting from sunset to vespers, the darker period of twilight when Venus and the stars began to appear. In contemporary usage, the Medieval  has been changed to “crepuscular” an adjective used in thought of the twilight. Now, I feel I have begun the journey into Crepusculum, where you find that you are not as you once were. No one can escape the changes you have as you grow older which then makes you think about your final journey..

Often people do not want to leave this world. It may frighten them. I am not one of them. I have always questioned this thing called “life” and how, we have no choice in getting it or leaving it. I may have been quite testy if I could have been asked  if I would like to be conceived particularly when they explained how the end is also predetermined! I have had an enjoyable life, but if I chose not to have one then nothing more would need to be determined.

It is this darkened room that allows my thoughts to move my fingers across the keyboard to record what is in my mind. Possibly you think I should turn on the light. I know I never will. The room as it is comforts me where the light will not.