Friday, September 30, 2016


Our Friday was consumed by cleaning out the pantry.  We have an infestation of those blasted pantry moths, and so, all the opened dry goods had to go.  I hate to waste food, and it was painful to toss so much.  Steve disassembled the shelves, we wiped down everything, and tossed so much food that the pantry now looks positively bare.  I suppose now I'll have to buy some air tight containers to store flour, corn meal, cereals and the like.

The other chore today was cleaning out the hot tub.  I ordered replacement filters and they came yesterday.  Wouldn't you know it, they are the wrong size by about a quarter of an inch.  (Slow burn)
I'll try again, and call the company I bought them from.  In the meantime, by beloved oasis of hot water is no more.

Lucy has been diagnosed with another mast cell tumor, this time on her lip.  We are watching and waiting, as there are so many questions unanswered.  The cancer on her stomach two months ago may be from a cancer that is already spread throughout her body.  That was not indicated by the pathology, but how does one explain a new cancer tumor a mere 2 months later?  So, we think and we wait.

Political news is of course depressing.  And so, I've been looking for inspirational stories on Netflix.  Last night I found a great one:  the story of an artist who has been working her entire adult life is 'discovered' when she is in her 90s.  Wheelchair bound, she now relies on assistants to help her with her giant canvases.  Her work is in major American museums now, and she's tickled that recognition has finally come.  Her energy and enthusiasm is infectious.  I adore her.

So much better than domestic challenges.

Hope you have a wonderful weekend!

Monday, September 26, 2016

Monday Musings


And this.

Might make for an epic night.

Is the entire country going to be glued to their televisions or computers tonight?  Is there anything we don't already know?  A friend said it is like a car wreck that he can't look away from.  Exactly.

My sis is visiting my folks.  They've agreed to watch without making any comments.  Right.  That's not gonna happen.  She'll be retiring to the downstairs, I'm sure.  I would rather have red hot coals applied to my feet than watch the debate with Republican nut bags.

Are you going to watch?  Why?  Why not?  Are you going to require mind altering substances in order to get through it? 

This is a continuing bad dream that just won't end.  I've hopped off the news train for awhile, but did watch a couple of news shows yesterday and came away utterly exhausted.  Then I slept for almost 12  hours.  Go figure.

Monday, September 19, 2016

Monday Musings

I woke up with blood sugars (BS) of 445.  That's very high.  Stress is a bitch when you are diabetic -- it kicks in your fight or flight responses and tells your liver to get ready to release glucose for your muscles in order to, you know, fight or run like hell.  It's a mind/body thing.

I stopped by my parents' house yesterday after breakfast, just to chat with them about additional
He looks harmless enough
health care options to help relieve Dad's stress.  I'm a very tactful gal with the folks, very gently trying to guide them to some healthy choices.  Needless to say, my ideas were not met enthusiastically.  They were met with mom sighing, "Could you please change the subject to something more pleasant?"  Oh. Okay.  Let's do be pleasant, shall we?  I'll just continue to be pleasant as the house falls down around me.  Chin up, eh?  Pip pip cheerio.  The British ancestry is strong in these folks.

They have enough on their plates, they don't need to worry about my worry.  I have already told them I cannot continue to care for mother while dad is away on extended trips.  I wish I could and it was the most painful thing to conclude that my body and brain are simply not up to it.  It feels as if I am failing them.  

I came home yesterday in a fog.  It's a profound frustration to watch them struggle and create some of their own dilemmas.  To have a caregiver there that they won't let do the things she could do to make their lives easier.  Dad cannot give up control of the kitchen and cooking meals.  He is too exacting and too particular about the way food is to be prepared and presented.  He harbors grudges against her lack of attention to certain tasks, but doesn't speak to her about it.  And so it goes.  It's just too painful to watch.

I am fantasizing what it would be like to not see them for weeks on end.  An absolutely selfish dream, but one that I have nevertheless.  Let their next health crisis happen without me.  I'll be on a beach in Costa Rica.  Hiking the Ballycotton Cliffs in Cork, Ireland.  Or just staring at my navel under the cedar tree out front.  In the short term, I'm going to visit my daughter and her family for a little R&R.  Chat with my grandson about the joys of Kindergarten.  Feel L.'s belly to see if her lil' peanut is rolling around inside.  Have a beer with my son-in-law.  Ah. 

Friday, September 16, 2016


 It's been a rough week folks.  Mother's health issues once again and not for the last time .  I've got a thoroughly crispy fried dad on top of that.  He brings on most of his stress because he doesn't allow their caregiver to help because he cannot give up control of the various details of running a household and taking care of his wife.  The details are killing him and everyone  around him .  Does it really matter if the Soup Bowl has a dish underneath it or is placed directly on the placemat?

 This is nothing new in the land of my family.  It has been driving us bonkers all of our lives.  He cannot see that he is creating his own hell,  where nobody wants to help him or be around him because he is extremely difficult .  Bless their caregiver, she has the patience of a saint.

 I pray that when I am 84 years old I am not this picky and unable to accept help. Time will tell.

I needed a nap when I finished having lunch with mom. She is a sweet woman and is growing more mentally confused by the week. It's hard to watch.

I woke up and made coffee because -- thank heavens -- I'm going out to dinner with a group of friends tonight and I need the energy. I'm looking forward to the hilarity that is bound to ensue with this group. They sustain me. And so does my dear husband, with his humor and patience.  A brief respite before I dive back in to the family swamp and attempt to reason (ha!) with dad over the weekend. Wish me luck!

Monday, September 5, 2016

Monday Musings

Letter from a Freedman to his Old Master was shared on Facebook by a friend, and I was absolutely
delighted to read a letter than got a lot of press back in it's day.  Freed during the civil war, along with his wife and children, this man was asked to return to the farm by his old master, who was losing said farm due to NO FREE LABOR.  What strikes me about the letter is the measured and highly reasoned response that Jordan Anderson wrote to a man who had enslaved him and his family, and raped two of his daughters.  Now, I would have just thrown my former master's letter away, or written back something utterly vitriolic.  Perhaps gone back to try and kill the fellow.  So, I recommend you read the letter, and I am assured that you will be impressed as well.  Compare his words to the common discourse today over race relations, politics or religion.  No comparison. Someone gets angry at your words today and they are likely to shoot you.  

The topic got me thinking about Frederick Douglass, one of our nations great writers and orators.  When I was in 5th grade I did my biography report on him, and I still remember much about his life because he profoundly impressed my 10 year old mind.  I was probably just coming to the realization that people were enslaved, here and throughout the world.  When younger, I think I equated 'slavery' with domestic service or hired farm hands.  Little did I know.  Time, education and reflection have increased my horror at what was done to Africans brought to our shores.  Here's a quote by Douglass, and it resonates today but also makes my head hurt with impatience.

“We shall look over the world, and survey the history of any other oppressed and enslaved people in vain, to find one which has made more progress within the same length as the colored people of the United States. These, and many other considerations which I might name, give brightness and fervor to my hopes that that better day for which that thoughtful amongst us have long labored, and the millions of our people have sighed for centuries, is near at hand.”

I wonder what he would say about the conditions that still exist today for millions of African Americans.  I tend to think he would be outraged.  He came so far in so short a time, due to his learning to read (illegally) when a child, and because of the individual circumstances of his life as a Freeman.   Many who live with the direct legacy to slavery have also done well, and it always feels so dangerous to generalize, BUT the statistics don't lie and there are plenty of them to verify that "people of color" are still not on a level playing field in this country.

Sure, now we have a President of the United States who is of mixed race, African father and European American mother, Ann Stanley.   Our racial strife is crazy bad, and I know we are living through a time in history when, perhaps finally and permanently, white people are learning to give up their fears and notions about 'the other.'  Until we, as a collective of white skinned people from myriad parts of the world, get our priorities straight (freedom and justice for all), the strife will continue.  We've been watching the demographic shift for decades now, and at some point soon, white European Americans will be the minority.  What we are seeing now is scared bigots in their death throes.  Adios, amigos, welcome to the new age.  As for me, it can't come soon enough.  I want a country where everyone really can do well, really can achieve their highest desires, aspirations and dreams.  Not a country that gives lip service to our creed.

And don't get me started on American Indians.  The confrontation over the proposed oil pipeline has got my blood boiling and I have half a mind to drive on over and join the protest. 

Friday, September 2, 2016


A hodgepodge of my week:

Tara Crowley, 2016
September is here with its promise of cooler temperatures and bursts of yellow and orange in the trees.  We got a taste of fall weather while traveling on the Monterey Peninsula last weekend.  Chill and fog enveloped us and I loved it.  Just shirt sleeves.  No jacket, no bundling up for me.

The kids are back in school, and so we hear the school bell signalling recess, followed by the shouts and laughter of many many exuberant children.  Yes, our dogs continue to bark at them.  This fall, however, we have had no repeat of the kids gathering at the fence to see the dogs or taunt them.  The school put up an arboretum of sorts just outside the fence, and the kids are instructed not to run there.  Brilliant problem solving.

Tomorrow we have our second session with our Personal Trainer at the gym.  He's a young man, maybe 30, well muscled but no overly so, cleared eyed and energetic.  A good role model.  He's given us a routine to begin, and begin we have.  Warm up on bikes, followed by strength training, and then back to bike for cool down.  Not wanting to overdo, I have a lot of room to grow the number of reps I do on the strength training.  I really was not up for it on Wednesday, but Steve insisted and I'm so glad he did.  I always feel clear and energized after a round of exercise.  It's a great feeling, and my lungs fill easily with air from being well used.

I watched a compelling movie on the life of film critic Roger Ebert, called "Life itself."  
I highly recommend it, especially for those of you who enjoyed his critiques.  I always did, and he was my go-to guy when it came to guiding me to good movies.  There are things I discovered about his life that I won't share here in case you haven't seen it.  Suffice it to say it's a candid portrait of an imperfect man.  Watching it, I was reminded time and time again that he was a great humanitarian, an egalitarian of the highest order.  I miss him more, now, after seeing this movie.  More often than not, now, when I see people who have died, or who live with great impairment of various sorts, I am reminded that life is short and I've got an actual living, working body and I'd better use it now because now is all I've got.

Speaking of impairments, when I saw Mom this week she was moving more easily and less stiffly than she has in months!  Her neurologist put her on a new med called Requip which was developed for PD to ease muscle stiffness and tremors.  I don't know why this wasn't prescribed years ago, as it's been on the market for a long time and was made into generic form in 2008!  Anyway, time will tell if her recent improvement is the medicine or a freak occurrence.  I hope it's the Requip because her improvement just knocked my socks off.  Hers, too.

Perhaps the highlight of my week was when my photographer friend, Ted, called on the phone from Canada to exclaim over the black and white photograph above.  I took it at Asilomar last weekend.  I wasn't sure if it was a strong enough image to post on the two photo group pages I belong to, but I went with it anyway.  The response on both groups has been very positive.  I just never know.  Or rarely know.  The Artist's Way is confusing more often than not. 

Happy Friday.

You Can Go Home Again

 I took a vacation in the first week of May.  I went back to my high school and college stomping grounds, still populated by many friends of...