Anyone up yet? The New Year is almost over, so get moving.
Yesterday, I watched a good show about Boris Pasternak, the author of Dr. Zhivago.
It took him 20 years to write the book. The story is incrdible. Life in Russia during his lifetime, was precarious, at best, especially if you were a writer or artist. You wrote what please the party, or you padi the price. Russia, and so many other countries, have had many terrible leaders. Brutal. It still goes on. It has always been a question of mine, why so many leaders of countries, are crazy, and I mean horrifyingly, murdering maniacs.
Dr. Zhivago was quite a bit Pasternak’s life. The Lara character in the book was based on a real person. His lover, mistress and stoic love of his life.
To get at Pasternak, the party went after his lover, tortured her and put her in prison for 4 years. At the time she arrived and was interrogated with brutal tactics, his lover was pregnant. When she was 6 months pregnant, the party told her that she would get to meet with Pasternak.
It was a lie. They took her to a morgue where there were noxious fumes, and made her stay and stand for hours and hours. She believed the took her there because Pasternak was dead, in the morgue.
The day after that, at 6 months pregnant, she miscarried.
Word o the prgnancy had gotten to Pasternak.
But his lover was by then, doing hard labor. It wasn’t until a new upheaval in government forces took place, that Pasternak’s lover, was released from prison.
Pasternak thought that he would greet his loer and their child.
That was one of the points when Pasternak decided that in the novel he was working on, he would have to tell the story, the truth, about what went on in that country.
And through it all, Passternak loved his mother country. Earlier on, he could have emigrated to England, with his parents, but he had to stay … for the love of Mother Russia.
The road to publication for Dr. Zhivago, was treacherous. It is a testament to the strong will of many people, that it saw the light of day Government forces worked with all of hteir power, to stop it.
WEll, that is more than I intended to write.
But it might have to do with my mindset this moring when I woke up with a rap in my mind. Not Lin-Manuel Miranda, but it heped me get some juices going this morning, this first day of 2019.
So, don’t laugh. Or, do. That is good, too. But here it is.
Resolution, revolution, dissolution
Young folks dying, old folks crying
What’s the game? You know my name?
Guns a-blazing, life’s amazing
Where’s the hope? It’s dead from dope.
On the corner, another mourner
Flags have staff, That’s no laugh
Deep pockets rule, Man, I’m no fool
Yes, life a mass, y’all kiss my ass
Truth don’t matter, amongst the chatter
Words abused and missed
Used as arrows to kill the sparrows
Truth is dead, killed with lead
Taken from my head
I’m going to go to bed
To dream the dream I used to dream
Where life was fair and grass was green
Illusion, delusion, wishful thinking
Is the world really man’s for the making
Losers weepers finders keepers
Including countries fraught with war
Is this what we’re living for?
We are not enemies, we are not friends
Will this be where this story ends?
Depends, depends it’s time to choose
For there is so much for us to lose
We blame, we shame, we do all we can
My God, my God we diminish man
Can we change this? We can. We can.
A movement can start across this land
Just slow our tongues, thy will be done
To raise civility above liability
And share the love instead of hate
and span hope to the Golden Gate
Resolution, revolution, dissolution
This morning, I had a false start. I wrote one of my stupid posts about groins. Groan.
While on my rest period, I have thought about many things … food,being one of them. Thinking of how I eat, where I eat, what I eat and why I eat.
Why did I do that? Because I believe that part of the way to improving my health, is to be conscious of what I eat.
As you know, food is a love of mine, but it acan also be a nemesis. Many people have a similar situation and may others, don’t.
So, as I have said, I am good at gaining and losing, but not maintaining.
But I will not give up on trying to do better.
I have learned that to go no or very low carb, gets the weight off, helps my joints and other things, but it is difficult to do forever.
So, I have begun another eating path. Eating less, eating few processed foods, and leaning towards a Mediterranean version. Also, I will still have treats, but small amounts and not as often. I will find other things that are healthy and satisfying.
I will be selective. Thoughtful. And live my life while making the changes.
My heart needs my help. It has come to that.
I have to remember that.
I approach this with optimism and hope, faith and patience. I also hope I know how to forgive myself if necessary.
So … that is my real message for today. The struggles of life continue to mix with the joys, successes and laughter. The groin will heal. I want to help my heart heal. Sometimes, you just have to face facts. And that is what I am doing.
So … I will be trying new recipes and making things up and I will share them. I might even try to remember how I made something if it is good.
Actually, this all makes me smile. Change is a huge part of life. I need to make some changes.
Little changes … big results.
My motto for the coming time.
Our Mediterranean dinner. Marinated grape tomatoes, fresh mozzarella, olives, and hard boiled eggs in olive oil, herbs and balsamic.
And aren’t there Brussel sprouts beautiful?
The word for today is peristalsis. That came to mind about 4:30 this morning. I decided that I like the movement of the word, which is similar to its function.
Our internal glory, our place of joy, enlightenment and growth sometimes gets lost in the whiskers of life, changes and problems.
There are times when reassessment is in order … when things shift and what was … now, isn’t.
One of the interesting things about life, that I have found, is that not once in our lives, does time stop. Oh, yes, it seems to stand still, of we wish we could hold a moment in time, but we can’t. Time moves.
Our lives move, too. From birth until death.
Some humans work at planning their lives. One of our earliest forays into conversation is when someone asked us, as a child, “What do you want to BE when you grow up?
Another version of the question is “What do you want to DO when you grow up?
To a young mind, those questions seem the same. As children, I didn’t distinguish the two questions.
But now, I see them as very different. One is occupational and the other is our soul, beliefs, values and, well, who we are.
After having a lifetime of professions and titles for what I “do”, the stage I am in and on, is an extension of the question “What do you want to be?”
It has morphed into who I have become.
Many of the things I have done, occupation-wise, study-wise, experience-wise ,by choice or demand, has evolved into who I have become.
An interesting thought to me is that one of my occupations, took hold so much and gelled so deeply into me, that it actually has braided over to be part of who I have become.
There have been times when I have struggled. Just being, and being who I am, I felt, wasn’t enough. Simply being myself, without “doing” wasn’t enough.
I should do this. I should do that. Perpetual motion of the mind, placing more value on the what I do, versus who I am. Maybe it is or was an earning my keep thing. Perhaps it is societal rumblings and expectations. I have often felt that I needed to earn my right to life.
I look at the walls of my house, the art, the things that are around me and I see many things I have done.
In a way, they are me. But in a way, I can separate myself from them and not really recall making them.
When I think back to my occupations, the days I was in the workplace, I was never any of those occupations. They were skills. I did them to the best of my abilities for you I was at the time, but none of the occupations was me. Marketing director, sculptor, real estate broker, software company CEO, workshop teacher, etc … I did them all, but they weren’t me. With each, there came a point when I said, no more.
But in each one, I learned and what I learned, I put through a sieve, and brought onboard the parts that I would build into who I have become.
Why do these thought matter to me, now?
Because once again, the last four months or so, my life has taken unexpected turns.
Years ago, when I was in real estate, a friend who had gotten into the business because I had, dais, in a very distressed and exasperated way, “Why are there always so many problems?”
I laughed, looked at her and said … “That is wat we are paid to do … solve problems.”
She said that from that moment on, she got it.
And then, she quit.
That knowledge, that nugget, that life is often about solving problems, and releasing those you can’t solve, to a higher power, is something that plays out over and over. And I have to remember that when my blueberry basket gets tipped over.
There are times, such as recently, when I have had to dive under water with my eyes open, and do the breast stroke. I might not see clearly, but I must do it.
As humans, we often have to swim through uncharted emotional, fearful, uncertain waters. But in doing so, our muscles get stronger. We become stronger than we knew we could become.
After initial shock and a bit of flailing, I find that I get in a rhythm. The opposing currents subside andI get in a flow of the new and strange. And for a while, I have a new normal.
The new normal rarely lasts. Even life doesn’t last. But the ride, this wonderful ride, with its twists and turns and earthquakes and whirlwinds, when there are days that we wonder how we will get through, and times we wish would last for ever, is a real trip.
And for that, I say, Rejoice! Hallelujah!
You think about it, but try to get such thoughts out of your mind. Middle of the night calls or emergencies.
On Friday morning at 3:30 a.m., Nick had to use the restroom. but he couldn’t. He couldn’t lift his body up off of the bed. He had no strength, was dazed, yet needed to go. He asked me to help him. I tried to lift him and finally, got him to sort of sit up. But it took all of my might. He couldn’t stand for a moment, but then leaned on me to get up, took a few really wonky steps … he didn’t make it to the restroom, and I could barely get him back on the bed.
“I’m going to call 911, I said.”
“No,wait a bit,” which meant, no, don’t do that.
I looked at him and listened to him for about 30 seconds and said, “I’m calling.”
Winston was on the bed sleeping.
I unlocked the front door, threw some clothes on ad stayed with Nick. He just couldn’t move and was getting worse.
After the ambulance arrived, I grabbed his medicine. I forgot about his medical cards.
Winston was excited to see the EMTs.
The EMTs and I talked about which ER to take him. In Cincinnati, I would have known. Down here, no.
They mentioned one that was close. Not an in-patient hospital, but the said he would be transferred to a hospital from there, if necessary.
I had to make decisions of whether to call the kids or someone. I called my son who lives in town. I had to have someone to stop me from feeling that I had been sling spotted into an orbit of no return.
I watched Nick be wheeled out on the gurney, unable to control his muscles and with no strength. Was it the Parkinson’s, a stroke, what?
I didn’t even remember getting to the ER, but on the way, I did think, geese, what are all of these people doing on the road.
At the ER, I got in to see Nick right away. He was scared. HIs blood pressure very high He really couldn’t talk. At that point, my son came. I called one of my daughters in Ohio and my son in Ohio. I didn’t call our youngest daughter because because I wanted to know what we were detailing with and it was the middle of the night, and I feared she would go to pieces. Even in an emergency, you have to think, think, think of how this will play out with your family.
A woman came into the ER. I said, “Do you know if the doctor has seen him?”
“I am the doctor,” she said.
I felt like an ass assuming it would be a man. Middle of the night thinking.
She said that she noticed what she thought was cellulitis on his lover leg. She bowed me how large of an area it was, how red and how hot. I had not seen it and Nick had not mentioned anything.
The last couple of days he said that he didn’t feel well, and he laid down to rest more. He also didn’t eat much. I told him he probably had the bug I had earlier in the week.
Me and my “bugs’. That is what I call an everything I get that is just a malaise, nausea, sleepiness, whatever.
They drew lots of blood and hooked him up to an IV with fluids. The doctor said he might have beginning sepsis.
Now, I am pretty knowledgeable on medical things. I have always had an interest and read lots of medical material. But I really didn’t know much about cellulitis, except it was a inflammation of the skin. Sepsis, was never on my horizon.
They arranged to send NIck to a hospital. The one that was closest was full. The next was Downton.
Let me backtrack. When I told my son that dad was sick and I had called ER, I asked if he could call his neighbor and friend who is a doctor. I hated being unconnected down here. I wanted and needed a point person for Nick so that he wouldn’t get lost in the system.
While they were assessing Nick,my son was on the phone with his friend who was working at a downtown hospital. He told Benhe would arrange a bed and that if we wanted, he would oversee Nick’s care and bring in the specialists, if necessary. My relief was great.
Nick was transported to the hospital, which was towards Uptown and a 40 minute drive.
As I drove, I felt scared and as if my life was collapsing. Nick and my family are my life, as they are many of us.
My daughter called and said she would be on a 1 o’clock flight.
Soon after we got to the hospital, my son’s doctor friend was in Nick’s room, examining him.
Although weaker from Parkinson’s, Nick has always sustained a certain degree of strength, fortitude and determination. Even through cancer and radiation and heavy duty chemo, he was strong.
The doctor suspected it was the cellulitis that might be beginning stage of sepsis, but the blood test results took 48 hours. But he was going to treat him as if he had it, anyway, because the signs were there.
Nick was put on two very strong antibiotics. He moaned and couldn’t get comfortable and was restless and filled with anxiety.
He was hot. The only thing that soothed him was if I rubbed his head and arms with a cool rag. So that is what I did.
A neurologist came and examined Nick and said he didn’t see signs of a stroke. He thought, as did the other doctor, that the infection had been brewing for a while and had taken over Nick’s system and caused the Parkinson’s to really go to town. They also believed that after the infection was taken care of, there was a good chance that Nick would return pretty close to his Parkinso’s level as before. Hopefully.
That is when I called my youngest daughter. Although upset and scared, she handled the news because we had information.
Our daughter who arrived and came to the hospital, saw Nick and passed what she saw onto her brother in Ohio. He decided that he should come down.
It is hard not to pretend not to be a basket case. I was very worried about NIck. I was in turmoil because I wasn’t sure how much I was going to have to handle. Worst case scenarios went through my mind that hadn’t had good sleep. I saw the cup as half empty and cracking.
Sleep that night was pretty much nonexistent as the cot they had was brought in from the Tower of London Department of Torture.
But I didn’t want to leave Nick. And it is good I didn’t. He needed my reassurance and cool rag rubs. My word, every hour the were drawing bloodd and taking vitals and things beeped and were just a mess.
I was officially loopy from lack of sleep.
When I have sleep, I can deal, am not a wimp and can’t make decisions. But I was glad my kids were here to help figure things out and to reassure me. I felt weak and I hate that. It is so hard to see Nick in such shape. But my kids? They stepped up. There was nothing but love in that hospital room.
It really bothered me that they saw me so wimpy and scared. And, I was a mess. I was going to wash my hair the morning Nick got sick. I looked like hell.
The amazing thing is, the antibiotics worked fast. Nick’s numbers returned to normal, quickly, including his blood pressure. He still felt awful, but he began to understand what he had and that treatment was being done.
The next night, even Nick told me to go get sleep. Our son said he would stay all night. He also said he could sleep anywhere, so I thought that cot wouldn’t bother him.
My daughter and I went home. She was exhausted and stressed and wonderful. Her life is busy, yet, she dropped everything to be here to help. She got pizza and I took a much needed shower and went to bed.
Nick’s numbers had improved so much that he was going to be released on Sunday. I was still not sure how this would play out. What if Nick couldn’t walk or make it to the bathroom? Over a couple of nights, things had changed. Was I strong enough? Where would I get help? What if I had to lift him, which I can’t do?
Fortunately, on Saturday afternoon, the physical therapist came. Nick could get up. He walked with a walker, down the hall. He went to the restroom. WEak and he needed some assistance. But he did it.
My stomach and heart felt relief.The what ifs left my head when I was told that the doctor had ordered home health assistance. People would come and check on Nick and his progress and provide physical therapy.
It turned everything around. The kids from Ohio rearranged their flights to go home Sunday evening, after we got Nick released, home and settled.
Nick had started bossing me around, so I knew things might return to close next to normal, or at least, doable.
As soon as we got home, the three kids and and my daughter-in-law and tewo of our grandkids came to the house. One had bought barbecue. Nick ate a bit but was weak, tired and sick. He went to bed but said visitors were welcome.
You know, there was a time during this when I thought, God, what have we done? I knew it was stupid, but as I said, I was exhausted.
The word had gotten out that Nick was sick. I heard from some friends and wonderful neighbors. Actually, I forgot to mention that Winston was well taken care of by my neighbor and friend, next door, who has a dog that Winston likes. Nick and I were so worried about The Boy, too.
By 3:30, yesterday, my two Ohio children left for the airport. They were on the same airplane. They had to go back to their lives. I couldn’t get the words out to say goodby. My eyes did that mother thing, you know, throwing tears. As hard as this time had been, and with our future still uncertain, good came out of this. To see how good my family is, how strong they are, and how much they have our backs, was the good that come out of this. That, in itself, made me stronger.
We missed our youngest daughter, but she was on the phone with us and with her dad in spirit. She told me that Friday was the first night that she didn’t have her dad tell her he loved her.
I am emotionally a physically wiped,but boy, am I counting my blessings. This morning, I took NIck with me to drop Winston off to get groomed, and then I took him with me to the dump. I certainly know how to show Nick a good time.
I allow steamed and scrubbed the bathroom and kitchen this morning. Though pooped, I have nervous energy.
But I am once again on the screened porch, looking at things differently. It is weird. Right now the garden doesn’t matter. The two cracked tiles in the bathroom I found this morning suck, but are not to be dealt with right now.
All that matters is Nick’s health, love and knowing that Nick and I planted the seeds for some really fine people. Not bad, huh?
And how was your weekend?
I don’t drive at night, but I did then. My mind was
I can be harsh. I can look at a diseased or dying plant and have it affect me much more deeply than it should.
I can hone in on the problems of the garden and life.
Instead of seeing the whole picture, the beautiful flowers and plants and the birds that arrive with bravado, I look at what needs to be done, size up what needs work.
That is what hit me in the face, yesterday, as I looked at a zinnia whose leaves had gotten some sort of black spot. Yep, I took it personally.
Abut after watching “A Gardener’s World” a lovely show about gardens in England, I walked to my garden and thought, wow, I have done a lot of work and smiled … right before I dug in, and made a new path and began sweating like Shrek in the weather with a 77% dew point.
The mind shift and excitement came back to me as I saw possibility, and put away my stink-eye.
Sixty-six years old, and still have to work on my attitude.
In my life, I have met people who couldn’t figure out how to live. Life was always a problem. Nothing added up. Why can’t I have this, do that, look like …
Accepting things as they were or are, and not going down the path of self-doubt, or feeling angst and defeat is a big part of how one lives a peasant life in a day.
I am slow, but I am learning. I am seeing so much of life, and myself, in my garden.
Dirt that is rampant with fungus. It is there. The world will not end.
The plant that had glorious flowers yesterday, is dragging, today. There is no need to fret.
Weeds are coming up, again, where I thought I had gotten rid of them. Relax.
The hostas don’t like where they are. Move them and get on with your life.
You get the point. It is the same as in so many other areas of my life.
The dough I made didn’t rise properly. That need not be the benchmark for your day.
The 5 gallon pail with all of the birdseed fell over and spilled all over the patio. Shit happens. Smile anyway and laugh. The birds will still come, tomorrow.
Monte, the gardener from England, whose show I watch, made me realize I was being a tad anal about all of this, and that the garden (and life) will have its day, or most likely, a moment, when the flower is perfect, the plant is robust, the dough rose beautifully, and my hair looks pretty decent.
These are but moments in time. You take your mental snapshot and know that it is all going to change because that is how life is.
But to only see the diseased plant or the flower with the gimpy pedals or to think you are a failure because your dough didn’t rise? That is like living in a no-outlet.
And that isn’t how I want to live. I shall, each day, marvel at the flowers and plants and events that make me feel that sense of marvel, wonder, and fulfillment.
This moment is temporary.
And so is life.