Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Carry on

I had a nice conversation yesterday and that, combined with a mission accomplished, wrapped up my day.

I did a lot of sleeping yesterday/last night. I learned today the moon is full. No wonder.

I started S on the path to PH education. She came to chat, kept up and ask millions of questions. I hope I have done the right thing. I also friended S, the girlie you wanted me to help with her PH. We have exchanged preliminary inbox messages. Though not that educated about CF, I can carry on for you by helping CFers with PH too. That honors me and I hope you.

D and I talked yesterday too. He told me about the progress of the CD, the party, etc. He works so hard to make sure you get recognition. I appreciate that he thinks of me and keeps me in the loop.

How do you know if you are the subject of a FB post, a blog post? Good question.

Do people carry baggage for years? Whether through misunderstanding or out and out hurtful behavior, this baggage only weighs US down, not the offending party.

Talking with the offending party helps clear the air. I am chicken. I would rather wall the problem off in a corner of my mind than bring up unpleasantness. I have learned that often the way I see a problem differs greatly from another.

Time also has taught me that life is too precious and short to allow problems to fester. Try talking it out, then drop it.

I guess the hole in my heart is permanent.


Tuesday, March 30, 2010

It's ping-pong; I'm the ball

My lung/PH doc and my heart doc disagree; the heart doc won this round since apparently my latest problem lies in his bailiwick. So rather than send me to a heart doc who specializes in electrical problems, I will wear a heart monitor for two weeks. My lung doc wanted to skip that step and go directly to the electrician. Heart doc, who overbooks and sees you for 30 seconds, seems all about the money. He owns a great reputation, however.

My lung doc pretty well laid things on the line yesterday. He worries. I could just not wake up. He wants me in the hospital next time. Needless to say that man earns hero status. And so easy on the eyes, too. I am so blessed to have him help me.

Nothing but blue skies

The turnout for Bruce at Blue Sky shows what everyone thinks of him. He got a round of applause when he came in. I hope it boosted him. When Betty and I got there, the line doubled back on itself. Many of the people were former newspaper colleagues. I did well and had fun. No closed-in feeling. Thanks Betty for thinking of picking me up. Thanks all for the hugs and happy to see yous. I know it boosted me. I especially enjoyed seeing Brittani and Alex.

* * *
Got a sweet note from Kim yesterday. We seem to keep missing each other.

* * *
Your CD fast becomes a reality. I hope this pleases you. I miss you, dude.


Monday, March 29, 2010


I question the wisdom of going to Blue Sky tonight. I am a little apprehensive about the crowd thing. I do not fear visiting with the people but the closed in, loudness of it all. Sensory overload aptly describes the feeling. I will not let Bruce down.
* * *
I met another CFer yesterday. I went off on S about taking control and her secondary disease. How do you know that treating the secondary disease will not make a difference in the way you feel unless you have tried or at least talked to a specialist in that field? I realize many docs spend all day treating patients and may not see a link between their specialty and another. Docs do need openmindedness, though.

S remarked about my usual bluntness (she was nice enough to call it something else). I guess I no longer have the patience for games. Never did really. But I need to remember tact as well.

This & that

Observations about FB: people spell and type horribly; most posts fit into the mundane category; posted pictures express better than words, mostly; some use the opportunity to expound on world views, some on their faith; my view is narrow, but expands continually; I do not regret any new contacts; I am grateful.

Signs of spring: you see through a layer of snow that the grass needs mowing; you see a white plastic lawn chair blowing down the street; you take a heavy friend with you to the downtown bank; your theme song switches from Winter Wonderland to I'll Fly Away; that smog you see is dirt; you mourn daffodil blooms encased in ice.

More signs of spring: skateboarders out in flocks; cats in windows sunning; baby birds joining in the morning chat; neighbors sitting outside in their salvaged from the Dumpster chairs; crops of baby soccer players running randomly on the pitch; the sound of wood on horsehide; lily white shirtless men doing yardwork; Cadbury eggs.

I miss you so much, dude.


Sunday, March 28, 2010


Life's path twists and turns. We face a crossroad every day. Life fascinates me. Though some great someone said coincidence is only that, looking back, I wonder. The six degrees of separation thing.

I learn from the internet that people are people. I know some on the internet fake everything for various reasons. Others bare their souls. Same in the real world. Life=crapshoot. You learn to deal with it or not.

I know you cannot live your life totally on the net. Humans require flesh and blood contact. I see that now. That shaped your final year. I see now in so many ways I did not before. I see now why you took the risks you did. I see now, too late for me to help you, but not for you to help me. See, I owe you another one.

This & that

I hope with the change of seasons I will try to get out more (see above). D works hard. Blues musicians capture my soul in sound. Sometimes I want things to be perfect but I am incapable; I hope others know this. Remember, situations are not always as they seem. You had some terrific friends, in fact everyone I have "talked" to has been gracious, helpful and sincere. P, B, T, B, K, D, and S, thanks. A big thanks to MM or J.
* * *
Later, dude.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Saturday musings

I am eating crackers. Connie would yell if she knew. Crackers do not breakfast make.
* * *
I look forward still to a chat with Kim. Our timing has been off. Soon, maybe.
* * *
Got a lesson from Tamaryn this morning on animals AIDS and the TB problem in South Africa. I am so lucky to get a local viewpoint. She represents the next generation of leaders in SA.
* * *
Doc and I did not connect yesterday. I assume the heart folks did not do their job. I will have to check Monday.
* * *
I am itching to cook or bake. Chocolate chip cookies call my name. So does fried chicken and all the fattening side dishes.
* * *
* * *
Baseball time (for real) draws near. I cannot wait. This year I will keep tabs on the Red Sox, too.
* * *
Feeling bad about talking so much about my woes. Connie must tire of the yammering, though she says not. Sometimes everything seems to crush me.
* * *
"Good morning, Pooh Bear," said Eeyore gloomily. "If it is a good morning,"
he said, "which I doubt," he said.
"Why, what's the matter?"
"Nothing, Pool Bear, nothing. We can't all, and some of us don't. That's
all there is to it."
"Can't all what?" said Pooh, rubbing his nose.
"Gaiety. Song-and-dance. Here we go round the mulberry bush."

* * *
Dude, I will always miss you.


Friday, March 26, 2010

Gloom, dispair and agony on me

I am helping a soon-to-be friend, I hope, with a project. One small problem though. This project makes me overwhelmingly sad. So why, do you ask, am I still helping? Complicated answer.

In many ways, I want this project to turn out as perfect as possible. I volunteered to help; then I volunteered some more. The constant living with the sadness and pain, however, causes more sadness, pain and weariness. I try very hard to keep my word. I hate failing others.

My health right now also factors in. These blackout spells puzzle even the doc. We work together to find a solution soon. In the meantime, I carry the possibility of blacking out in the back of my mind all the time. What if it happens when I am driving? My life cannot come to a screeching halt. I will not allow that.

So as a temporary solution, I am taking a breather from the project. Fortunately, the deadline does not press hard right now. That way I can concentrate on my health, at least until we know something. I also must consider the answer might not turn up.

I mentally punish myself for not devoting as much time to my friends as I usually do. I know I cannot fix the problems of the world, but I offer my ear because I know it does good. I do this freely, but now it takes a toll. I need to rejuvenate, rebalance the scales.
* * *

Johnny and Joni say it all, dude.


Thursday, March 25, 2010

Drawing blanks

I am at square one again. Tests and signs indicate PH did not cause my blackout. Arrhythmia? Blood sugar issues? Low blood pressure?

Doc said he will see what Holter reveals and go from there. I have not had the slightest hint of a symptom that I am aware of. Figures.
* * *
I am thankful this day for my friends. Each adds something special to my life.
* * *
I have been awake for three hours and have spoken to two friends in South Africa and one in Louisiana. Still boggles my mind.
* * *
The thoughts fail to flow today.

I miss you still the same.


Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Another voice

Another voice and picture connected yesterday when Liz called. We talked with ease immediately.

Liz and I share similar PH numbers and take the same PH meds. Our personalities, on the other hand, seem polar opposites. She reaches out, grabs you and gives you a big loving hug; she laughs easily.

I am more reserved, shy. I would prefer others to do all the talking with prompts from me. I love people, but I take my time. I ease, not dive, into the swimming pool. But I can, and do, put on my journalism persona if necessary.

Liz lives in Tulsa. She tells me if I need a road trip to head their way, they have plenty of room.

I enjoyed talking with Liz. Connecting faces with voices fascinates me. Sometimes what you imagine turns out totally opposite. Liz, however, was just as I imagined.
* * *
I hate how Americans warehouse their elderly. The "old country's" way of taking grandma into the home benefits all. The activity in a younger generation's home helps keep grandma sharp and gives her purpose. The younger generation benefits from the wisdom of years.

We offer all kinds of excuses, but really, none are valid.

In an effort to have more and more, we have left behind so many valuable practices. I know the genie will not go back into the bottle, but we can learn to tame him.
* * *
I read that we need more than $1 million to retire comfortably these days.
* * *
I am checking in with the doc today. I am taking a list of questions with me. I hope to tell him all the things going on with me in the last month, including how I felt physically and mentally. I hope to find some answers. I grow weary traveling this road.
* * *


Tuesday, March 23, 2010


Well it happened.

Connie and I went to the store to get some walnuts yesterday. I also wanted to look at the tomato soup. I had some great tomato soup for lunch.

Without warning, I became dizzy. I reached out for the shelf in front of me and told Connie I was dizzy. The next thing I know, I am on the floor and I hear someone say, "Stay there, the floor is nice and cool."

I have passed out like that three or four times, but never in such a public place. Once I sat up, I felt fine. No dizzy, no nausea, nothing -- except a headache, which went away on its own, and a few bruises.

Yes, I called the doc. I told the nurse what happened. I hope to see the doc, who has been out of town, today or soon.
* * *
Through the generosity of a kind man, I have new music to warm my soul -- and it does, oh how it does!
* * *
Reconnecting with friends blesses me. Each of you feeds my inner self.
* * *
Connecting with new people satisfys the cravings.
* * *
Without the Net I would not know Tamaryn, who lives in South Africa. Or Bug (Aaron) who lives in New Zealand or Ben who is from Liverpool and lives in Vietnam. Amazing, huh?
* * *
Regina haunts me and makes me cry.


Monday, March 22, 2010

Your turn

I will be the first to admit I know nothing about healthcare reform. I never watch newscasts.

The flurry of posts on FB about the bill's passage makes it seem like armageddon, a tsunami and every other natural disaster rolled into one. A few of the posters, who like me have serious, chronic illnesses, rave about the good the bill will do. I have no opinion other than I think neither will happen in my lifetime.

I believe career politicians of both parties fall prey to a drug called power. A little taste of it leads to an insatiable, gnawing hunger. Few, if any, can stave off the cravings. When lobbyists and special interests of all ilk start tossing out the freebies, the fresh faced innocents from Podunk, Texas, cannot say no. An emaciated dog that guards raw steak sooner or later will eat.

Congress passes bills every day that no one reads and many do not understand. These bills do not draw the hue and cry that healthcare has. These laws change lives, too, and in insidious ways. Where are the protesters and propaganda machines then?

Big business, which drives all the news organizations, has gained control. Journalists play at being the watchdog for the people. But in reality, the muckrakers have died and new ones are killed at birth.

That scares me. Think about it. Controlled news. Gain control of the press and gain control of the public mind.

We all can speak freely -- still.

I have had my say. Your turn.
* * *
I would love to know what you think.


Sunday, March 21, 2010

People who need people

Today may prove tough. I sang with Martha and the Vandellas and shed tears over a memory and perhaps had a realization. I may never unravel the mystery. Is that a good thing?

I so love probing into people's psyches. Curiosity is a trait I share with my feline friends. I would rather learn than teach, though I am able to do both.

I slept 12 hours yesterday/last night. Not good. I did not overtax my body. I had not done a bunch of errands. I talked with six people on the Net. Some for just a few minutes. Much of the talk was emotional. I gladly listened. I love/like those people. The accumulation, much like snowfall on a flat roof, finally caused the crash.

I think the word factory shut down, too. Many thoughts fill my mind, but none I want to put down. Those thoughts float around like asteroids on one of the first video games. Remember Atari? The thoughts keep drifting down, but I cannot seem to dispatch any.
* * *
I think of you often.


Saturday, March 20, 2010

Venus vs. Mars

Ah, Mother Nature, you cruel bitch, you slapped us in the face. Snow for the first day of spring.

Heard through the grapevine that Bruce fulfilled his fatherly duties. Go Brucie.

Cheryl's docs say she is healed completely. What a woman.

Pogo has a bad case of the needys. Whaza matter with my boy?

ESPN suddenly increases the number of female on-air personalities. Huh?

Hang in Pete. Sickness forces your body to get the rest it craves.

Season, my neighbor, constantly hammers on the walls. I wonder what she builds.

Whoever named it men-opause knew what he was doing. I know at least one middle-aged man who does too.

Wonder if Kim has introduced herself to Kinky yet. I think they will get along.

My neighbor upstairs wears boots. He stomps alot.

My other neighbor, don't know her name, howls with her dog every morning.

Thoughtful men earn gold stars from me. One or two kind words work wonders (you know who you are).

Connie runs on one speed: fast. I worry about her pace.

Hearing your voice warms me inside. Hearing your voice brings me to tears.


Friday, March 19, 2010

Friday postscript

I finally faced the music today.

After I got the new CDs in the mail, I decided it was time.

Two or three of the tunes on "The Postman Delivers" grabbed my attention initially. After a second and third hearing, some feel like a comfortable pair of shoes: well-broken in and loved. I find irony in the order of the songs on the CD. Or maybe it is another message. Who knows. "Illegal Smile" is No. 13. A number special to me.

Afterward, I made myself listen to others I have. I could not face them before. The MP3s sat on my desktop waiting for me. Some days begging, some days silent.

The music and your voice brought me joy and tears.

You would be proud of your brothers. Just sayin'.

Later, dude.

Let him eat cake

Bruce and I shared a wonderful couple of hours yesterday.

Poor Tanya ran around town outfitting her future son-in-law for a wedding that started out as a simple ceremony at the justice of peace and morphed into a church, new clothes, flowers and a cake. The original plan offered more formal nuptials sometime in the future. Tanya had two days to perform magic. Somehow she did. My respect for her grows.

Before Tanya left, she emphasized that Bruce needed to get up at 10, eat and take his medicines.

When I awakened him, I asked what he wanted to eat, thinking maybe some of the lasagna Sean brought. Nope. Bruce hankered for red velvet cake, which happened to be sitting on the cabinet in the kitchen untouched. He's allowed. Real men eat cake for breakfast.

A little less than two hours later, she returned with her purchases and Rudy, the next companion for Bruce, in tow. She had more errands to do.

I relished my time with Bruce. I always do. Each time I visit him adds another memory to my cache, for which I am grateful.

Today, Bruce is father of the bride. Enjoy.
* * *
* * *
Why do we start "getting it" about the time it nears the end? Never mind. Got it.
* * *
Forgive my banality. I strive for better but do not always hit the mark.
* * *
Thoughts of you drift across my consciousness like clouds on a summer's day.


Thursday, March 18, 2010

Pan ick

I awakened sometime during the night, the covers a tangled mess. I made a trip to the bathroom where nausea, cold sweats and woozieness came over me like gangbusters.

Panic attack. In the middle of the night. At least now it has a name.

Yesterday I felt the uneasiness creeping slowly like a cloud blocking the sun. Connie and I were heading toward the restaurant when I told her I could not do it. She brought me home. How I love Connie for understanding. She has witnessed more than one of my attacks, though the symptoms ebbed this time when I got home.

The first episode I remember clearly was at Connie's duplex in the early 1970s. She, her boyfriend and I were talking. I got up, went into the kitchen, and boom! I remember wondering if I were having a heart attack. Truly.

Panic attacks display similar symptoms. They wash over me. I feel like I am suffocating. My heart races. Usually I stumble to bed and lie there until I can get my breathing under control. Then I am a soggy mess.

I am unsure of the duration of these attacks. I am too busy being woozy. At the time, they seem to go on and on.
* * *
Observation: I made a hamburger for supper last night. It took four knives to do so: one for the onion, one for the mayonnaise, one for the cheese and one for the tomato.
* * *
This morning I am going to visit Bruce while Tanya runs some errands. Perhaps I will get a chance to read another chapter in the Woodward book. And of course receive a good dose of Al. Al does not know decorum.
* * *
I hope your Irish eyes smiled.


Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Bits and pieces

Today I think about my friend Colleen and her aching heart. I am here for her like she was for me. Right now, she probably cannot find solace.
* * *
Sounds like the project moves right along.

* * *
I hope Friday outdoes itself to honor a special woman.

* * *
My sports teams suck.

* * *
You make my heart sing!


Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Raindrops on roses

Spring represents a new beginning. What better season to follow one so depressing? No wonder the ancients placed such emphasis on spring. If they lived through the winter, they indeed had reason to thank the gods and celebrate.

Though spring here means mostly days of flying dirt and allergies, some days near perfection. I hope I can remember to savor each one to the fullest. On those days, rejuvenation is palpable. I need a dose of sunshine. The rays heal me inside and out.

Nature's music calms like no other. Birds, bugs, a slight breeze combing the treetops. Rain gently coaxing the early bloomers from the ground. Nature shares its best this time of year.

* * *
Yesterday I cleaned another closet. This time I tackled the one in the bedroom.

Of the clothes in the closet, I no longer can wear three-fourths. My weight loss decimated my wardrobe. Some of the clothes I pulled from the closet showed their lack of use with dusty stripes where they were folded over the hanger.

Dressy dresses, business clothes gone. Now stacks of clothes line the bedroom wall waiting for disposal -- some to the trash, some to a friend, some to a women's shelter.

Slowly I am making my way through the burden of stuff. I actually feel the weight lifting. Why do we wait until stuff suffocates us to do something about it?

Sing it, George!

* * *
Need to visit the vampire, but probably will procrastinate a bit more. Don't really want to go out today, either.

* * *
I still miss someone.


Monday, March 15, 2010

Essayez un peu de bonte

I face the equivalent of a blank sheet of paper and a pen. Powerful, wondrous words and poetic prose escape me this morning. Hmmm, brain drain or brick wall?

* * *
Another milestone marked yesterday. Nine months.

* * *
Can anyone give me a spare purpose? I could use another. Mine disappeared.

* * *
Who's to bless and who's to blame?

* * *
I would like to be friends with Kinky Friedman, Stephen King and Dave Barry. And someday Hunter S. Thompson.

* * *
Count all your riches. The most valuable have no price tag.

* * *
If we do not try, we miss great rewards. The same applies to people.

* * *
Follow your gut feeling. More often than not it will lead you along the right path.

* * *
Friends know your flaws and accept them as part of you.

* * *
Sunshine almost always makes me high.

* * *
I still miss someone.


Sunday, March 14, 2010

Time well spent

Tanya asked me to stay with Bruce yesterday while she ran some errands.

Bruce and I talked for a bit, but my faulty hearing (mom was right about rock'n'roll) and his quiet mumbles soon grew taxing for us. Tanya had suggested I read a chapter of his book to him, so I picked up the book.

I would not choose "The War Within: Secret White House History 2006-2008" to read for pleasure. Bruce, on the other hand, prefers history. So I began. I promptly read Bruce to sleep.

Sitting there in the glider rocker (I really must have one) watching Bruce sleep, I thought about him and his feline friends.

Al, the lone long-haired sib, loves me. His sweetness and adoration gushes. The minute I enter his house, Al follows me. Gracie, the formerly shy lone female of the litter, suddenly decided to be social. She begged for affection though she did not venture onto my lap. Teddy, the long sleek male, does not stray far from Bruce. Teddy fulfills his role as protector, and does it well. Tiger, the fourth sib, had many health problems and waits at the rainbow bridge.

I glided. One of the windows was open and the morning sun flooded the sill. A slight breeze moved the white curtains rhythmically. I could hear a fan in the distance click its cadence. A sensual feast for the taking.

Bruce slept and I received all the blessings.

* * *

I miss you something fierce.


Saturday, March 13, 2010

The big hurt

Today, sadness lurks on the periphery of my consciousness like a vulture circling carrion. Some days a glimpse of its destructiveness suffices to keep it at bay; other times it swoops in and smothers me with its wings.

I let go of many connections to the outside world after I lost my job. I doubt if I watched a dozen newscasts since; the newspaper subscription lapsed. Blame 30 years of lies and mistruths. Blame 30 years of observing man's inhumanity. Blame 30 years of loyalty discarded like so much rotten garbage.

The good in that 30 years I continue to carry with me. Bruce, Jim, Karen, Vivian, Marty, Rick and countless others who have slipped away over the years. I care for each in a way you care for someone you work with elbow to elbow and then commiserate afterward. We proved strong as a team when we were given the trust to do our jobs. We rose to the occasion many times. Compatriots.

Now inertia clutches my being. Though a job helped to define me, it is not me. Nor am I a house or a defective body. A suit of protective armor hides me well.

Each of us wears armor; and though it deflects, it also diminishes. The process of shucking the armor can leave us vulnerable, so most of us choose to remain hidden safely inside the shine.

We require trust to drop our defenses. Each time we offer trust and it is abused, we lose a part of ourselves. The experience hones our being.

Perspective means much. Looking back on struggles, I am grateful. Now, pain seems to have free rein.

Later, dude.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Ah! Spring!

Signs of spring:

Satchmo paces during the night. He goes from the bedroom window, to the kitchen window to the living room window. Every now and again he emits a howlmeow. He would love to answer the call of the outdoors. During the day he sits in front of the open window and inhales the scents on the wind. He itches in a way he cannot scratch. The young adult in him wants to walk the streets and rebel.

Pogo spends much of his time sleeping. He moves from his cube to the back of the chair to the wicker rocker. He does find time to indulge in his share of snorting at the window. Occasionally Pogo shoots up and takes off like a giant Schnauzer chases him. He whirls with his tail bristly and ears laid back, ready to obliterate the enemy. He darts by the fake mouse, pauses long enough to kill it with his lightning-fast, razor-sharp claws, and takes off. To cover the indiscretions, he finds an out-of -place-hair on his back to smooth. Then he slips into his dignified, older self and hunkers down to watch.

Seldom does the mood strike the boys at the same time. When it does, play usually evolves into semi-serious hair losing fights. I end up yelling at them to behave and one or both leaves the room.

* * *
The last snowfall and the warmer temperatures combine to awaken my grass. Won't be long before it will need its first mowing.

I feel the need to grow something this year. Not a garden by any means, though I have a fairly decent size yard for an apartment. I do not have the umph for a garden. A pot or two of tomatoes I could handle. The back porch gets good sun.

* * *
Why do I exude energy some days and other days I can barely lift a finger?
* * *

Thursday, March 11, 2010

No secret

Kim went into the hospital yesterday to undergo IV antibiotic therapy. Kim, a CFer, was almost nonchalant telling me about going in. (More on that later.) She expects the stay to last between 10 and 14 days. She suffers from a cold she cannot get rid of. IV antibiotics work best for her. This hospitalization follows similar ones.

She told me this therapy could be done at home, but insurance pays 100% of the cost only if it is done in the hospital. Do you see what I see?

Drug and insurance companies do wonders for the modern world. If not for research and development, most of my PH friends, and others who have chronic diseases, would be dead. Insurance helps pay for the thousands of dollars a month maintenance drugs cost.

Somewhere along the way though, the work of people like Jonas Salk crossed to the drug companies. When medicine and big business merged, patients suffered. Big business is much like cancer. It consumes all in its path and has a take no prisoners mentality.

I am not sure we can ever right the balance. The whole situation reminds me of Pandora. All that was left in her jar was hope. Someone needs to nudge the momentum back the other way. Stop pointing fingers, stop hurling accusations. Us peasants can rise up and effect change.

I read an article which posed the question: what would LBJ do? I find that ironic since we discussed that very thing several months ago.

In Kim's situation, it would cost much less if she were at home, but insurance insists on the hospital. Huh? Make sense to you? Seems to me that drives up the demand for hospital beds and, as a consequence, costs. The drug companies make their money back fairly quickly, even on those specialty drugs. Look at profit statements, those come nearer to revealing the real picture.

Maybe an emplosion will cure the ailing industry.
* * *
I cannot imagine having two-week hospital stays as a regular part of my life. Many CFers face that often. So Kim and S and other CFers, you have my admiration. Kim, you are in my thoughts. I will try to send off the book soon.
* * *
Sometimes I feel like the little kid whose mom pulls him across the yard and he has his heels dug in. Nooooooooooo.

I miss you, dude.


Wednesday, March 10, 2010

And ..... a-c-t-i-o-n

The maintenance man installed new guts in my toilet yesterday. In less than 10 minutes, he had fixed what I had agonized over for weeks. I almost expected a scolding for wearing it out. Instead, I got a pleasant few minutes discussing his tool "purse."

As an extra bonus, he carried out the ugly brown worn out platform rocker. I did not realize how much space it took up in my living room, nor how removing one major piece of furniture would change my mental outlook. Now I may have to rearrange things, though I cannot do it by myself. Right now though, I am enjoying the spaciousness -- all a part of the minimalist me.
* * *
I wimped out yesterday. Now I owe double. I keep tabs on me, you see. Sometimes people disappoint me. Do my expectations exceed reality? You bet. Remember, I hold you to a lesser standard than I do myself. I guess we all do that, though. No wonder the world reels.
* * *
I will celebrate when this eating jag subsides. Seems as though nothing satisfies. For supper last night, I roasted a yellow squash, a quarter of a large onion and three carrots. I seasoned them with Emeril's Italian and garlic powder. I ate it all and had ice cream for dessert. I finally went to bed rather than eat more.
* * *
Talked to Karen yesterday. Nice reconnecting.
* * *
I still mourn what might have been.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

You make my heart sing

I have an Illegal Smile. My heart sings. Thanks, Dave.
* * *
Yesterday the temperature allowed me to open the kitchen window for most of the day. The smells kept the boys busy, ecstasy written on their furry faces. Today it's back to winter. The heater has kicked on numerous times.

The weather has a Dr. Jekyll/Mr. Hyde thing going this time of year. The season does its best to keep us unwell. And budding daffodils and the fruit trees never have a chance. All this signals spring's arrival -- and, oh yes, the wind. Relentless, day in and day out, 40-50 mph wind. With the wind comes Lubbock dirt and pollen.
* * *
Cheryl's lung transplant was the first in Louisiana since the hurricane. The Times-Picayune had a front page story on her and the program. She continues to amaze me with her grit.

Vickie also thrives as does Kirsop. What miracles!!
* * *
Some days you seem so close. I miss you so much, dude.


Monday, March 8, 2010

The wonderer

I wonder . . .

. . . where spring hides its pretty pastel face.

. . . why treats appeal to cats more than regular food.

. . . why people cannot say what they mean.

. . . what happened to the Mrs. Grahams.

. . . who will enter my life today.

. . . when I will cease to wonder.

. . . where the yellow went.

. . . who wrote the book of love.

. . . why the sea rushes to shore.

. . . who I am.

Peace, dude.


Sunday, March 7, 2010

A couple of fighters

I met Bruce at work; Tanya, too. My first memories of Tanya are of her in the library at the paper. She might have had another job beforehand, but our schedules and my location in the newsroom kept us pretty well separated.

My first awareness of them as a couple was when he paid for her meal at one of our features department lunches. I knew things were serious when an ambulance had to take her from work to the ER and he went along carrying her purse over his arm.

Bruce and Tanya came to the relationship with baggage. This time the combination jelled for both. Bruce put Tanya through school and she became a teacher. They adopted a kitty family.

Bruce was never much one for animals. But The Fearsome Feline Foursome became the subject of many of Bruce's columns. Amarilloans loved them and followed their antics through Bruce. When times got rough, readers contributed money, food and litter so that the four could remain together. A vet contributed lifetime care for the cats, anonymously.

Bruce spiritually adopted Tanya's children. He often wrote about his daughter and how proud of her he is. He is a wonderful father.

Life for them was good when doctors found cancer.

Tanya rose up like the mighty woman she is and took charge. Bruce's co-workers and friends, readers and Tanya's colleagues joined forces to help Tanya manage the many trips to the doctor, not just here, but to Houston as well; meals; and chores around the house.

Over the months, and in fact more than a year, the help gradually subsided. I am guilty of thinking, "I will call tomorrow," etc. I get so involved in the day-to-day. I do not forget them, I just assume others fill in the needs. Tanya is not one to ask, either. There really are no valid excuses.

My friend Bruce suffered a seizure early, early Saturday morning and cut his eye and broke his wrist. He was hospitalized and may go home either today or tomorrow.

Bruce and Tanya continue to fight fiercely.
* * *
Tonight Chicago will rock. My thoughts will be at The Hideout 'bout 8.
* * *
I dreamed about little boys last night. I seldom remember my dreams, but this one was pretty vivid.
The boys were trying to get enough together to play some sort of sport. Whichever one it was, they needed more than nine or 10 to play. I did not know any of the boys, but whenever one talked to me, I felt I knew him. No names, however. Dreams are strange that way.
* * *
I miss you, dude.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Yet again

Racheal left us yesterday.

Rach, as we affectionately called her, reached out to me when I went to PHA chat for the first time. She gave me her number and told me to call if I had questions or just wanted to talk privately.

Her chat login name was Mableseal. I often wondered why and never got around to asking.

Someone gave a kitten to Rach. She always had dogs and was unsure about the whole thing. The PH chatters helped Rach decide on a name -- Onyx. Onyx exhibited orneryness from the start. She climbed curtains and legs. She bit toes and Rach's flolan line. Gradually Onyx worked her way into the family.

Rach sported one of the kindess hearts I know. She quickly extended a hand to everyone. PH greatly taxed her, but she often made light of her pain, worried instead about someone else.

Rach and Shannon recently had moved into their own house. The house needed some work and Rach tackled those projects with love and joy. She took in her father-in-law, who has medical issues of his own.

Positive describes Rach to a T. Oh, she could vent with the best of us, but most often she was upbeat.

Rach had a strong faith in God and that carried her across the rough times. She gave her two children a good foundation. When her son became overly worried about her health and dying, she had him log into PH chat so he could see many of us living with PH and carrying on with our lives. I had a couple of good chats with her son.

Last night, Shannon came to chat. He said Rach would expect him there then more than ever. We told Shannon how much Rach meant to us. I hope he found some comfort. We welcome him always. He is a member of our family.

Rach, you set the standard high.
Tell Mason hello.

I miss you too, dude.


Friday, March 5, 2010

It's about me

Many times I am torn between what I want to do to help someone and promises I made to someone else. No matter what I do, I worry over the decision. That represents the fixer in me, and, to a certain extent, the mother. The hard part is accepting some problems cannot be fixed.

Every now and then, I decide I know my role in life. Conclusion today: a sort of bench/utility/sub. I come in to give the stars a hand, then go back to the bench.

I am detailed oriented and organized. This serves me well. And did I mention I am the proud owner of a pretty darn good memory? I like people: talking with them, observing them. It's the reporter/copy editor, yin/yang of my personality.

I have spent a majority of my life not seeing myself somehow. Maybe because I have been so busy trying to fix others, I failed to see I need to fix me. I am not totally broken, I just need some TLC. I often forget I am a worthy person. Maybe I need to put reminders on the calendar.

Thanks, dude.


Thursday, March 4, 2010

Modern medical marvels

A call yesterday from Cheryl considerably brightened my day. She sounded full of energy despite the long day she had put in. She had had a bronch the day before, so her voice sounded raspy. Gayle posted this picture. Doesn't she look great?

The Times-Picayune interviewed her and took pictures for a feature story. My friend will become a stah.

Today marks a month since Cheryl got new lungs. Kirsop got his just a week before she did. Fellow Texan Vickie received her new lungs yesterday. From what her sister posts, Vickie thrives too.

I marvel at medical science. Michael Crichton took a look at the near future in his medical thrillers. Some procedures that were products of the author's imagination benefit patients today. Scary, huh? Wonder what the ancients would think?

Cancer confounds science. Researchers have made inroads, but the disease continues to claim lives. Bruce's war has shifted from skirmishes to all out fighting. The enemy prepares to make its final assault, all the while, Bruce fights. The docs have brought in the big guns. I wish I were half the person Bruce is. I love you, dude.

Make this a day of joy. Find the good. Make someone else's life a little easier or better. The kindness will return twofold. Stranger or loved one, everybody needs a boost. Try it.

I grin when I think of you.


Wednesday, March 3, 2010

One at a time

The cleaning progresses. The coat closet in the living room: done. The vacuum actually goes in and out of the closet without a fight now.

I gradually work my way toward the tornado closet in the bathroom. That closet easily holds me and two cats during bad weather. Right now it contains all the stuff that really has no home. When I reach the tornado closet, most of the work will be done.

Of course, that one will prove the most difficult. That closet represents the line in the sand for those things I hold onto for reasons I am not sure of anymore. My ViewMaster sits on one of the shelves, also a custom pool cue. My camera, which requires film, an antique now. Scrapbooks collect dust and tiny bug bodies. A large box on the floor contains Christmas paper, some yellow with age. That closet holds a lifetime.

Do we need to purge ourselves to let more in, or are we a limitless vessel?

I miss you muchly.


Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Life's rewards

Today I feel the urge to count blessings. We all need to do this occasionally, otherwise we get mired in the negative. I learned over the years we all have positives, even in the darkest hours of our lives. Sometimes it takes lots of digging to find the good, but in digging, we turn up some gems.

The biggest and best gems of my life come under the heading of friend.

Connie stands by me when I am stupid. She lends a hand more often than I can count. She listens when I am hurting. Words really cannot describe her. She is a lifetime friend; everyone needs a Connie in their lives.

I have found many, many friends on the Pulmonary Hypertension Association website. Each of them shows me how to have grace under the worse of circumstances. People who don't have the disease, or something similar, have no idea what my friends go through on a daily basis, but still have such positive outlooks. Here's to you, examples all.

Then there are the friends of my journalism world. We grew up together, partied together and became disillusioned together. Such idealists, but I would not have it any other way. Some of you went on to star in your profession. Others made the decision to try new paths. FB allows us to keep in touch. I am blessed.

I am blessed by having enough for necessities and some to share. For selfish reasons, I enjoy surprising others in need. Try it sometime. Pay it forward in the fast food line and see how great it makes you feel. One small kindness might start an avalanche that cannot be stopped.

Pogo and Satchmo bless me. For a minimal amount of effort and coin, I have entertainment 24/7, plus willing, nonjudgmental ears.

Dude, you were a blessing to me.


Monday, March 1, 2010

That about covers it

I do not mind getting older.

The mental of it does not present an issue for me. And so far, the physical has not either. Oh sure, I do not run marathons (though I never did), and I have made adjustments to compensate for infirmities.

Changes in my skin concern me the most. From my elbows to the first knuckle of my fingers looks like I have some awful disease. Any scrape or hit causes purple-red spots on my skin. I look like the victim of abuse.

Bruises cover various spots from my knees to my ankles and from my elbows to my shoulders. At least they represent a wide range of hues.

The slightest bump causes these marks of aging. Being careful does not help; lay most of the blame on medications. So I wear my badges with pride, or least without shame.