Monday, January 28, 2013


On this balmy (30 degree) foggy morning...
...the men are working on the roof while it is warm out.
Miss Karma has still been sleeping a lot.
She doesn't even want to play with her string toy yet... 
...but seems to take comfort in lying with her assortment from her toy box.  (I had to pull them out for her.)  
Last night was actually the very first night I slept pretty well since last Tuesday.  (Stress + lack of sleep = fibro flare time again.)  I had only been able to catch a couple naps each day and I don't function well at all on 3-4 total hours of sleep.  Certainly not unexpected, of course, but we're hanging in there.
Some of you pet folk who have had to deal with sick furbabies might know what a headache it is to deal with leaking urine and anal glands--and the antibiotics have given her a touch of diarrhea--awk!  I have towels all over the place.  I am wiping her bottom several times a day, but there is no way I can do all that much more until she stops the dribbling and drabbing.  
I have an apartment inspection this afternoon for Federal Housing.  I thought I might be able to clean the place up more before Bob comes, but--honestly--I am just plain hurting too much to deal with it.  Bob has been my annual inspector for about 13 years, so he knows what it normally looks like.  I'm sure he'll understand.  After all, this just shows exactly why I am housebound and need a cleaning girl, right?
That's why the state gave me Caroline to clean every other week.  Vacuuming is really hard on my lower back...can't get down on my knees without a lot of pain and them swelling afterwards...can't lean my weight on my bum arm or I set it off with what I call "shooters" (knife-like pain shooting up my arm)...damaged the rotor cuff in my "good" arm from overuse...when I have the fibro flares I am hobbling about and semi-to-barely functional...
...but, you just don't like other people to see what truly bad shape you're in sometimes, you know?  Dagan and Leah have really seen me at my after the move here where I spent the first week in bed with boxes all around me.  (They set up my bed and the TV & phone--came over every day to make sure I had something to eat--was in too much pain to even nuke food, let alone deal with unpacking.)  There's been a couple of times when Caroline has come to clean and I have been in my robe because I couldn't even get dressed.
But today--I'm not that bad--have showered and I will be dressed before Bob comes at 1pm.  ;)  But there are spots all over the carpeting in the hallway and the rugs...and kitty litter tracked all over the apartment because Caroline hasn't been here for a month to vacuum.  (Her dad was dying--they had the funeral last week--I feel so badly for her.)  I didn't want them to send anyone else in the meantime--and who knew Karma was going to get so sick, right?  Now I feel badly that Caroline will be coming back on Wednesday to such a mess!  I will not ask her to clean the carpeting, but it needs to be vacuumed thoroughly before I can clean spots.  And Dagan and Leah have a portable spot cleaning machine for carpeting that they'll bring over later on--when Karma has stopped leaking--no point until then...
Confession day, I guess.  
Karma is feeling down because of the embarrassment of having a dirty bottom, she doesn't feel well yet, and doesn't trust me so much because I am shoving pills down her throat twice a day.  She goes from wanting me to stay away from her to climbing up on my chest for long cuddles.  
Me--I'm down because Bob will see (and I have to face) that I can't clean my own carpeting.  Dumb?  Probably.  But I even pick up before Caroline comes.  You know us Scandahoovians.
Anyways, Karma seems to be moving around more this morning.  She asked to go out twice already--the balmy weather, of course.  That's a good sign.  Oh, and she has been drinking lots of water all along, for the people that asked.  I hope that by the time I post on Friday she will have a dry bottom and I will be feeling more functional.  
I have read every comment from all you wonderful people!!  I thank you from the bottom of my heart.  I'll have to just tell you all that here.  I hope I will be able to start reading blogs again this week sometime and that I didn't miss out on too much these past couple weeks.  I'm just not physically able to spend much time on the McLap yet--but Karma and I should both be feeling better soon.   
Have a great week!  
Things always do get better.
I'm patient.  :)
"Dive deeply into the miracle of life and let the tips of your wings be burnt by the flame, let your feet be lacerated by the thorns, let your heart be stirred by human emotion, and let your soul be lifted beyond the earth."
Pir Vilayat Inayat Khan

Friday, January 25, 2013

Friday-6pm: Vet results

Well, Miss Karma had impacted anal glands and a urinary tract infection.
She is on antibiotics for the next two weeks and then has to go back on Tuesday the 12th to check the UTI is gone for sure. 
Karma totally, totally shocked Dagan and I.  She barely had anything to say at all about the trip--from being carried out into the zero degree windy weather to riding in the car.  No howling.  No vomiting.  She was well behaved, but nervous.  When we got there they suggested taking her back without me being with her, which was a good call (had even crossed my mind yesterday).  I think she might have acted up a lot more if I was there, you know?  I'm the protector/bonded person in her life and this way I was in the rescuer position afterwards.  :)
Dagan and I were waiting for the hissing and yowling...and it was quiet back there for the longest time. He and I did a lot of shrugging and wide-eyeing and other miming back and forth in our amazement.  Finally we heard her vocal protestations for a short time (was when they were doing her anal glands), but they all said how good she was.  I am still baffled by her excellent behavior--LOL!
They were so nice there!  They even filled out the information online for me to get a Care Credit line where I have six months to pay the bill off without interest--and I qualified!  So, I won't be buying too much for the next six months, but Karma is worth every penny!  :):)
I told the tech that I brought her comb with because she loves to be combed and it might possibly calm her down--and I saw that there was a little fur in the comb afterwards.  Aww!
The vet even called me after I got home tonight because they had Karma's bloodwork done early (was expecting to hear tomorrow) and Karma checked out fine on everything.  No diabetes or any other issues.  Diabetes is always a concern for the overweight cats (yes, she weighed in at 20.56 pounds).  So, they expect her to recover nicely.  She could use her teeth being cleaned, but that is quite expensive.  Maybe down the line now that I have the Care Credit.  And I still have to add on the follow-up visit and the second urine analysis.  But Karma will be okay.  :):)
Almost to prove the point that she would have been worse with me there--after it was all over she hissed at Dagan--ROFL!!  What a silly girl!!
I am happy.
And Karma was happy after she checked all over the apartment to look for strangers. She was looking around like she hadn't seen the place in months--ROFL!!
Oh--and we got to ride in Dagan and Leah's new-to-them 2010 red Prius that they got last night!  Nice!!
Well, I have to go give her the first of her pills.  Twice a day for two weeks.
Thank you from the bottom of my heart for the good wishes and prayers!!!!!  I think I will sleep well tonight.  ;)

Friday-3:45am: Prayers for Karma

We're taking Karma in to the vet today.
Obviously, I can't sleep.
Tuesday I noticed red blood smears on the tile floor where Karma had been sitting to drink her water.  I cleaned her off with a wet paper towel and emailed Dagan and Leah about their vet.  Truth--Miss Karma hasn't been in to a vet since she was spayed and declawed with she was a kitten--Dagan and Leah like their vets so I wanted to bring her there.  Karma hates leaving the apartment, as you know.  She howled at the top of her lungs in the car--the entire trip--every time--usually threw up, too.  She never goes in the real outdoors or is normally around anyone but me so she's not exposed to many dangers in her life.
 Anyways, I had barely sent off the email and Dagan called me, told me the name of the vet clinic, I looked it up online, they were open later till 7pm on Wednesdays (we could be there a little before 6pm) and Dagan has a half day on Friday, has an appointment to bring the car in, but should be free about 3ish.  So, armed with that information, I called.  The receptionist talked to the vet and being as there was blood in urine or bowels (hard to tell with cats) but seemed to have stopped (just pinkish when I wiped to check--and has been since then) they didn't want to see her that late in the day.  So we made an appointment for 3:30pm today.  And I have been keeping a close eye on her in case she needed to go in to emergency.
She's been sleeping a lot, is drinking quite a bit of water, is peeing and pooping--but she's not been herself.  Listless.  
This was last week.  I did a water change in the fish tank and Karma remembers the days when I had a 30 gallon tank and used a Python to clean the tank (where you hook the long tubing right to the sink for emptying and filling).    
Karma was alertly waiting for the water to come surging through the tube.  She loved to follow little pieces of plant all the way along the floor--trying to catch them.  It was funny to watch her jerking her head and "imagining" she saw things moving in this empty tube.  :) 
Well, I don't want Karma to be afraid of her stroller, since it took a long time for her to trust it.  Plus, she used to barf almost every time she was in the car and plastic and a towel are easier to clean.  So I went out to the garage a couple days ago and brought in her old carrier and put an old towel I have used for art stuff inside.  Karma has obviously forgotten all about going to the vet when she was a kitten. 
She went right inside and took a nap.
Dagan will have to come up and carry her down to the car for me.  That is why I got the cat stroller years ago--too hard for me to haul 20 lb Karma down three flights of stairs when the fire alarm goes off.
She's been sleeping a lot--even more than her usual.  
May be another reason why she went off the heating pad again--if she's running a temp, which I think she probably is.  She's been feeling a little warm and laying more on the chilly floor--even asking to go out on the freezing porch a couple times a day.
I am praying it is that cat urinary infection and she'll be fine once she gets antibiotics and such.  I have dropped off the grid, in case anybody wondered where I've been this week.  I promise I'll post and let you know what we found out at the vet later today.
Saying a little prayer for Karma would be greatly appreciated.  I dearly love Miss Crabby Pants.  

Monday, January 21, 2013


Good Morning!
11 degrees below zero this morning.  Even the cars in the parking lot have that crispy look. 
We've had from 18-22 below for lows yesterday and today.  They predict we will be lucky to get above zero for a few days.  The balmy 20s and 30s left us this weekend.
Karma is not concerned.  She just quits asking to go out on the porch--LOL!  She's been enjoying the heating pad.  It does get quite hot for a while after you first plug it in and then it cools off to the low setting.  Not exactly consistent heat, but it wasn't expensive.  Most of the time Karma sits up and hangs her legs out of the bed while it's too hot...and waits.  
I caught her licking her lips... 
...waiting until it is... 
...just right. 
Okay.  The Kindle is working.
Confession (you are allowed to laugh loudly--guffaw--and tearful laughter is even quite acceptable)...I had the right password, but I was using the wrong email address!!  DUH!!
I have an old yahoo address that I don't use much anymore (been using gmail for several years now), but--it was many years ago I opened my Amazon account.  Really!  I know this.  Talk about a senior moment.  A brain fart.  Fibro fog.  ROFL!  I have been chuckling about this for days.  I just knew it was some simple thing I was overlooking...for days--LOL!  And it was.  Part of my problems with figuring out techie stuff is that sometimes I think the issue at hand is way more complicated than it actually is.  ;)  
Silly, silly me.
The Kindle is working perfectly and all my Amazon Cloud books were there instantly.  Awesome!  I already have picked out a holder for it on Amazon that flips back like a steno notebook so that you can prop it up for reading and it would protect it in my bag.  Even found another one that reminds me of a simple folding plate holder that will probably become a permanent fixture over by the craft table.  Both those should work for me with my bum arm and I plan to order them in February--whoohoo!  :)  
Happy, happy me.
Thanks to you guys I have links for free and cheap ebooks.
Free is awesome--LOL!
I spent the weekend catching up just on comments and emails.  I do get some blog posts via email, of course, but most of mine show up on the blogger reader.  Sadly, I am over a week behind on reading posts and I honestly don't see me catching up with reading every one of them (over 400 now!).  So--I apologize, but I am going to have to slap back my OCD side that wants to read them all--in order of posting--and just kind of go from here...and hope I haven't missed anything of major importance.  If there's something you really want me to read from the last 7-8 days or so, please email me, okay?
  There are times where my health just sets me back or life just plain gets too busy--and I get so much farther behind than I normally am so quickly.  How do you guys keep up?  I seems like I just really can't anymore.  Even when I am feeling okay I am always so far behind.  Something has got to give...and I think it's going to have to be that OCD side of me.  Not easy for me to let go of...especially when I so enjoy hearing what everybody is up to, you know?  Love my blog family and appreciate every single comment I receive.  :):)
But really--what do you do?  I would love to have more time to play with art and, now this year, to make videos.  So I have to make some changes, I guess.  How do you manage your online time?  Do you not respond to comments?  Do you limit your computer time?  Do you not read blogs that often?  Do you just read the blogs of the people who leave comments?  I am so curious.     
Anyways, I am off to change loads of clothes.  Karma's crying for the crinkly-candy-wrapper-on-the-string toy.  I have letters to respond to (snail mail!).  And the day is already flying by with ease.  The sun is shining on this frigid day and I am grateful to be inside with warm fresh clothes to hang and fold.
It's going to be a good week!!  
Keep smiling!!  :)
"Kindness does wonderful things to a face."
Dixie Doyle

Friday, January 18, 2013


Good Morning!
I was up early enough to catch a hint of the sunrise, but I can't remember which day that was--LOL!  Basically all I have done since Monday is chat with you.  I have been pretty useless for anything else this week...but I did manage to figure out the Karma and the heating pad puzzle.  ;)
I know she loves the heat so it made no sense that the heating pad was freaking her out.  It occurred to me that maybe it was the entire bed suddenly and magically heating up that freaked her out.  Kind of like the ground going out from under her feet type of thing.  No logical sense to it, right?
You know how she loves to lean against things and put her head on stuff...well, I put it only on the back edge of her favorite blue bed so she could avoid it if she wanted to.  You know cats--make the magical heat her choice.
And...She likes it!  Hey, Mikey!   
Do you remember that Life commercial?
Well, Karma has changed her mind...
...about the heating pad.
And she even seems to know that when I click the plastic button on the cord that it is going to get hot again (2 hour automatic shut-off).  So now we share the heating pad.  ;)
Monday, while I was still functional, I took the giant can of Hoisin Sauce (that we never knew existed until the clerk got it out of the back room for me at Tochi's and I couldn't resist at only $8.95)... 
...and my bottles of Tamari Sauce and made up jars of my favorite stir fry sauce recipe.  All those small jars I have saved from how I usually buy Hoisin Sauce from CashWise.
It's really simple.  
2 tablespoons each of Hoisin Sauce, Tamari Sauce, and water--plus one teaspoon of sugar.  Or as I usually make it: 1/4 cup each and 2 teaspoons of sugar.  But this time I was using cups and 8 teaspoons--in batches!  I filled all of these and still had another big jar of plain Hoisin and over a bottle of Tamari Sauce left.  My frig door is full--LOL!  
But the highlights of the week for me was mail!  I got a few wonderful letters...and this gorgeous hand painted card from lovely Laura (looks like part of it is blown with air).

I am amazed at the control Laura has with that technique that I haven't been able to master yet--and love the random red dots!!  Thanks, Laura!!
And last, but certainly not least--drum roll, please... 
...the Kindle (and even a spare holder and light) arrived from the most generous Jeannie!!!

Okay--now don't laugh (even though you probably will, just as Dagan and Leah do when it comes to me and this new digital world)--but I haven't been able to figure out how to register it yet.  I have been watching instructional videos online (Amazon has a lot of them) and the Kindle has been wiped by Jeannie and put back to the factory set up (and I think by me, too) but it just says I am "not registered" when I put in my Amazon information? 
On the videos I saw them download books from a computer into the Kindle using a USB cord (since I thought maybe the wireless aspect is not working with my modem and I'd try direct) but I looked all over and didn't have a micro USB cable--all of mine were too fat.
So the next day I went snooping online to buy one at Amazon--and discovered that the charger cable comes apart and is also a micro USB cable!  But I was too wiped yesterday to do anything else with it--LOL!    
I have no doubts that there is probably some very simple explanation that I am missing.  People sell or give away their Kindles all the time and other normal people manage to figure this out--LOL!  I will take another stab at it today.  I still have more videos to watch on Amazon.  There are two Customer Service numbers I can call but I'd rather wait and see if Dagan and Leah can maybe try to help me first if I can't figure it out on my own because--well--the marginally computer literate folks like myself don't always understand what those kind people are trying to explain over the phone.  
Just ask Dagan.  ;)
Anyways, it will all work out.  I am patient.  :)
And Jeannie sent such a cute hand-made card with the Kindle!  

Look at that owl!   
Thanks so very, very much, Jeannie!!  This whole situation has given me some giggles this week and I know it won't be long and I will be reading away.  I can already tell I am going to love it!  :):) 
I shall rest up this weekend and hopefully be back on track by next week.  I hope to at least do some catching up online.  I want to get around to see what you all have been up to!  
Take care!  
See you Monday!  :):)
"I am not afraid of storms, for I am learning how to sail my ship."
Louisa May Alcott

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

My Stories: Part Two

Back to the story of my stories.  
(You just have to chuckle, don't you?)


The dream of going on to graduate school to get my Masters in Creative Writing also went up in smoke.  At Concordia I had professors who were convinced I could get into the University of Iowa's writer's program and were willing to help me apply.  Their idea.  I was too poor to move in the first place and my health was already enough of an issue that I knew I couldn't also be a teaching assistant to help me with finances--but it was mind-boggling encouragement, right?

Of the stories on my other blog, I wrote seven of them in college that are considered polished up and finished.  

At Concordia: Mommy and That Baby (won freshman writing award-$25), Moxi Java Sunday, God On the Bus (published in Afterworks-Concordia student lit magazine), and Soft Breaths (won Concordia writing award-$60, published in three literary magazines: Inkwell-NY, Troubadours Lantern-IL, and later in MSUM's Red Weather-MN).  Note--Flower Child was written for a class on writing about place, but I don't consider it finished.

At MSUM in a poetry class (had to see if I could still write poetry, right?): The Corner Cubby, I Mourn My Body Past (first place in the Fargo Forum's over 50 writing contest-local newspaper), and Baby Girl (more on that one later).  The rest of the entries are from my blog chatting when I got to explaining things people asked about or reminded of something that happened.  This series will be entered over there when I'm done, too. 


Okay.  After I landed on my feet here in Fargo (almost homeless again), it took me over a year--maybe even closer to two--for me to reach the fine physical condition I am in today--LOL!  As you know, I am extremely grateful to be here, to have retained my independence, and to have accidentally ended up where I was allowed to have a cat.  :)  I count my blessings every day.


I have also felt guilty.  (Hey!  I'm Scandinavian.)  All that "promise" people talked about.  Seeing a secret fantasy come true--being published.  And then I haven't written-written (polished and publishable) anything since I left college in 2004.



Well, several reasons.  First of all I only have those few hours dibbied out over the day.  The manner in which I have always written is diametrically opposed to being cut off in an hour and having to wait 1-3 hours before I can go back and then limiting myself to maybe 3 sessions a day max because I can't use up all my good hours in a single activity where I am in the same position all day, either.  It's a physical feat issue.

When I wrote those stories--well, I go back there.  I wrote in the first person present tense--and I went back there.  Hard to explain, but it took me sometimes an hour or two just to be there with some stories.  And this was every time I sat down to write.  I don't know how many times I tried to write the rape story--but I never could.  I couldn't go back there and re-experience it.  I tried.  But I have blocked out things and details are fuzzed over.  And it's not because of time, it happened right afterwards.  Kind of like childbirth.  You remember what happened, but the go-back-there-physical-memory details get fuzzy right away.  You can't help it.  It's a survival thing, I think.

I couldn't spend the hours I needed to immerse myself (tried to learn to be faster, but to no avail) and reliving many of my stories is stressful.  My body is literally a stress barometer these days.  And I didn't need or want to add any more pain to my days.

Plus, I didn't know what to write about.  Which stories should I tell with my limited writing time?  And if I am talking about other people and going back in time--well, I didn't want anyone reading to have bad feelings about them, you know?  I have forgiven everybody.  Sure, maybe not totally, totally in every molecule of my being--but I have released the vast majority of negative feelings about other people in my life.  Even the rapists.  I don't want to hurt people.  People can judge me, but I don't want other people being upset with me telling about things that they did or said, you know?  And I could remember some details wrongly, of course.  I can only tell my life as I remember it to the best of my ability, right?    

So--how do I write differently?  How do I incorporate what I know now with a first person narrative memory and going back there?  How do I change the way I write and learn how to write in short bursts?  And--am I willing to pretty much give up everything else I love to write?  I have been wondering about this for eight years.


Those of you who have been following me for some time know that back in 2009 a lady I had met online when I was in college but hadn't heard from in years contacted me out of the blue.  She remembered my poem Baby Girl and thought I should enter it in this online writing contest--the Tom Howard/John H. Reid Poetry Contest.  I didn't have the money and she even offered to pay the entry fee herself because she had never forgotten the poem.

And Baby Girl won!  $2,000.00!  Which I basically used to buy my MacBookPro--thinking that if I could learn how to use a laptop that maybe I could figure out how to get some writing-writing hours into my days.  

Never happened.  But I probably get an additional hour online.  I used to get maybe two hours and now I can get about three without pushing myself over that physical brink.  Not enough of a change.  But it added to that not writing guilt, of course.  Not that I haven't been blogging since 2006, writing letters, and journaling, of course.  Not everything on my stories blog is even polished or finished properly...and that has always kind of bothered me, too.  


Okay, I have always gotten information as I am waking up.  In the middle of December, out of the blue (hadn't even been thinking about writing lately), I got--they do not have to be polished short stories--you have never written to be published.  (It was a GA thing for those of you who are familiar with my guardian angel.)


What a relief!  Then my more casual blog tellings are okay--even on the stories blog.  I didn't have to worry about "writing-writing" anymore!  Was like a weight lifted off my shoulders.


A couple mornings later I got a scattering of story-telling memories--me telling this person and then that person, one-on-one...the rape story...Dagan's story...conversations over coffee...soul connections.  Now, GA has done the memory-flashing thing numerous times over my lifetime to make a point.  I wasn't quite sure what this point was, but I know those soul-touching moments.  When you share what you have been through to help lift another through a hard time.  We are all in this together.  It is hard for everybody, you know?  There's nothing more precious to me than when someone has come to me in tears and has left smiling, even laughing, with that growing confidence that they will be okay.    


Geez!  Now I am crying over here just talking about it.  
I've always said--it is the food for my soul.


I was puzzling over that--and a couple days later I went to read Teresa's blog and saw that she had an audio embedded in her post--something that she had written and recorded herself!  (Beautiful, BTW!)

Well, the light bulb went off.  Talking!  I could "tell" my stories!  (Got zapped to beat the band!)  I used to do "talking letters" to people on cassettes back in the days before cell phones when I moved to Green Bay and couldn't afford long distance calls.  I did get more used to it as I did it...

So, I checked out the place Teresa used, but to have unlimited time (which, face it, I would absolutely need) it was $59 a month!  Ouch!  So I started investigating online about making audio recordings.  You'd need a host (which costs money as far as I could find) so that your audios would be stored there in cyberspace.  Then you could copy and embed them into your blog.  Kind of the same thing as YouTube, I thought to myself---and another light bulb went off!  (Got violently zapped!)


I already know how to use youtube...(well, the basics, anyways)...and it's free.  I did get comfortable with talking and showing my hands for crafting videos...but I haven't even done those for a long time.  I do not know how to edit.  I just turn the camera on and off...

But--maybe I actually could just tell the I would over coffee at my craft table...pretend I was talking privately to just one person.  ??

NOTE: Remember this is a huge panicky fear of mine--even had somebody else read Soft Breaths for me when I was asked to read it at the Red Weather annual public gathering.  I just couldn't do it myself because of fear of public speaking in the first place and plus I can get all choked up and teary, to boot, when it is something close to my heart.  So be prepared.  It happens to me one-on-one, too, the closer I let the story in.  

That is what I was asking about with the cards on New Year's Eve.  Is this YouTube thing what I am supposed to be doing?  And I got that I am definitely on the right path...that it will unfold as it is meant to.


First, I can get back into the swing of things by doing a few hand-demo type videos I have been meaning to do.  And then I can practice on the story-telling videos.  Honestly, I "got" that I am supposed to show myself talking and that gives me fits of anxiety--but I can practice until I get more comfortable.  I do have three questions that I got from readers quite a while back but have not forgotten.  I can never tell the short version, right?  So, I can begin by answering those questions I already have.  It really helps me to have questions to answer.  I think probably every one of the additional stories I have written--even the series pieces--have been to answer an inquiry by a reader.  Except this one, of course--LOL!  Nobody asked for this.  ;)

Anyways, that is the goal for 2013.  To make talking videos.  (Do they call them Vlogs?)  I'm not sure if I will just post them on the stories blog or on both blogs, but I promise the first one, should there be one, will definitely be on both blogs and I would let you know.  Honestly, I'm not sure if you'll see it sooner or much later in the year--or if I will totally fail and you won't ever see one.  I can only promise that I will give it my very best effort and that I won't trust my own opinion (which tends to be negative and I would probably delete everything).  I'll have my closest people give me their honest opinions first.  Whew!  I think I'm having a panic attack!  

Maybe I could start out by showing out the window or Karma sleeping...?  Or Leah suggested maybe I could be doing something else at the same time to make me feel more comfortable?

Regardless, this would be quite the answer to me telling my stories.  They wouldn't be in writing, but doing it this way wouldn't interfere as much with my "good" hours!  Not as physically taxing, you know?  I wouldn't have to give up or cut back severely with my card making, zendalas, art journaling, letter writing, bookbinding, blogging, the new wall art...all the variety of things I love.  :):)  I may have to cut back someplace--probably will--but I won't have to give it all up, you know?


I put in 3 1/2 hours total yesterday and 4 hours today writing these blog entries.  Now I am 4 or 5 days behind on blogs but am too sore to comment (type) even if I manage to read some or to answer emails or to do any art or letter writing...see why I don't want to dedicate my whole life to writing?  ROFL!  

But GA is right.  I have never written to be published.  And, in my 61 years, 90% of my storytelling has been in those personal, one-on-one conversations.  He says it's the sharing that is the important thing, not the method.  

Thanks so much for letting me share with you all these years.  Keep smiling and see you Friday!  :):)

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

My Stories: Part One

Note: Please feel free to skip these if you are not interested in my life stories and the writing side of my life.  :)


I have always shared my stories--or am just a "motor-mouth", depending on who you talk to.  I prefer to think I am a born communicator--LOL!  Over the course of my life, people have told me more times than I can remember--you should write a book!  The standing joke has been--nobody would believe all these things happened to one person and they'd put it in fiction.

I have always struggled with trying to be a loving person and doing the right thing...with judgement and forgiveness.  My life's quest has been to figure out how to survive down here and be the best person I could be with what I had to work with.  I am slow to get things through my hard head...or my selfish heart...but I have always shared my journey with the people I was close to.

And I have always written.  Started when I was about nine.  I wrote to try to figure out other people and best to handle a situation...what was the best decision...and what was really the deeper cause of why I was upset or hurt.  I wrangled mightily with myself on paper.  With "my conscience" over my shoulder, I would write and write...circling around and around the emotion or the issue...peeling away the layers...until I was finally calm and clearer...and could see things more objectively--even if I didn't want to.  Holding a mirror up to yourself can be an ugly shock, let me tell you.


I got my first pen pal when I was about ten.  That is when my love affair with letters began.  Talking on paper to someone so far away that I needed special paper and envelopes (Italy)...waiting for that return letter to arrive--ahhh!  But meanwhile I continued to use paper and pencil and loose leaf paper to dig into my soul and to contemplate the wonder and joy of living...which I destroyed afterwards.  Oh, and I read a lot, too.

When I was eleven in seventh grade English class we got an assignment to write a 2-page Christmas story.  Fiction!  OMG!  Well, I wrote this obvious combination Bambi/Rudolph rip-off about a white reindeer who was shunned by the other reindeer, but his mother loved him and protected him.  Hunting season came and he saw his father shot and thrown into the back of a pickup truck and his mother was wounded.  They ran and ran, but she was getting weaker and weaker--leaving a trail of blood in the white snow.  She died next to the frozen creek (giving him advice) and, as the snow started to fall again, the white reindeer had to leave his mother's body there and make his way along the creek bank--alone--but he knew he'd be okay.  

The jolting part for me was when the teacher announced that we were going to read these aloud to the class!!  To this day, one of my worst fears is getting up in front of people.  I was sure I could talk my way out of it because our story was supposed to be 2 pages and mine ended up being 11 pages--and mine wasn't about my favorite present or Santa or elves--but she didn't let me off the hook.

Feeling like I was going to barf, hands shaking, I started reading...and fell into the story.  When I finished to spontaneous applause and looked up, I saw three people were crying...and one was a boy!  That was when I first realized the power of words.  But also, oddly, that I was absolutely not comfortable with fiction.    

(No, there are no copies of this melodrama--LOL!)  


Now that I was in junior high we had to use pens and, after such an ego-stroking reaction to The White Reindeer, I started to write in spiral notebooks instead of loose-leaf paper--in pen--and I didn't destroy them.  I hid them.  

I wrote some angst-filled poetry, as teenagers are wont to do, and began to tentatively share them with my two closest friends at school.  Encouraged by those girls, I had a few poems published under a pseudonym in the school paper.  I filled spiral notebooks with thoughts and observations and my life.  Even got brave enough to sign up for the brand new Writing Class when I was a senior and was asked to be on the committee for our first Fridley High literary journal.

To make a long story short---a couple years after high school my then suitcase full of spiral notebooks was destroyed by a jealous boyfriend--reduced to ashes in a driveway bonfire.  I hadn't realized how attached to their own words a person can become until mine all went up in smoke.  


At first I didn't think I'd ever write again.  But, of course, I did.  I went back to thinking things out on paper and then destroying it.  I still wrote letters, though...and then there were the occasional epiphany moments (in poetry or prose) that I gave away to just about everybody I knew.     

Having my words burned away from me was a freeing thing in the long run.  I am still not overly attached to what I write, you know?  And that's a darn good thing, as I discovered years later that nobody kept the writings I gave them, anyways--LOL!  Never think that what you have to say is that important.  My words float away on the wind.  And there's constant wind up here in Fargo.  ;)

Of course, everybody I am close to has heard my life stories (often as they were happening--LOL!) and they have little interest in listening to a repeat.  I can never tell anything via the short route, as you have probably gathered.  When you're an open book--well, after a few years everybody has read the book--LOL!


Through a combination of injury and health issues, I ended up moving up here to Fargo-Moorhead and starting college at 48 years old in 1999.  I thought I'd probably go for being a Social Worker as I love helping people and that had been an illegally demanded part of my last job so I had a good idea what was involved.  I had secretly always wanted to go to college.  I love school!!!

Anyways, right off the bat my English teachers were all excited about my stories.  Okay, to be perfectly honest--I figured it was because I was going to Concordia college where there were extremely few "older" students (I was always assumed to be a teacher everywhere I went on campus and even sitting in a desk in the classroom before the professor arrived the first day) so the English teachers were just delighted to hear something from somebody with some life experience, shall we say.  Not really fair.  I had 30 years and The 60s on these kids, right?

For example, for the first "story" I was assigned in college, we were asked to write a personal memory.  I went up to her after class, laughed and said--OMG!  What do I pick?!  She suggested--how about your very first memories.  So I went home and wrote "Mommy and That Baby".  I'd have no clue what to pick for these life story assignments.  I had so much to choose from, but so many needed backstory, you know?  Another time a professor suggested---how about an epiphany moment.  I've had several, but I chose the one about Dagan and wrote "Soft Breaths".

I tried fiction again in college--and it is just not me.  Ends up being 90% true and I feel like a liar.  At the very least, deceptive--like I am hiding behind the "fiction".  And when this kid in class said my story about the high school honor student and the bad boy who'd been in reform school and smoked grass sounded just way too trite--well, I bit my lip and decided I may as well to stick to non-fiction--ROFL!!  Because then I could tell it all and it would have that ring of truth.  (Right, Alan?)


My health never recovered and continued the downhill spiral.  I even transferred to the public college (MSUM) after three years at Concordia so that I could attend part-time, but still couldn't finish my degree.  And I still got all kinds of positives for my writing at the public school.  There was no longer my "life experience" excuse for enthusiasm over my stories at MSUM because there were lots of older students in my writing classes.

I really had so much encouragement from students and professors to can still bring me to tears right now.  For five years in college I heard that I was a writer and I had to share my stories...even that I had a gift--whew!  I changed my major to English Writing.  Had been encouraged to enter a few contests, submit to literary magazines...and won a few local contests...and have had stories published in literary magazines...

But my body was in agony.  I'd be crying before I was fully awake in the morning.  I was missing more and more classes, couldn't finish the work, and ended up getting so far behind that I had to drop.  The entire last year, with only two classes a semester, I never made it past halfway in any class.  I couldn't sit at the computer for endless hours anymore.  And I am a very slow writer.  Even my blogs usually take me a couple of hours to write and we're certainly not even talking polished or publication ready type of writing. (Just this has taken me three of my hour sessions so far--geez!)  


Long story short, I ended up over here in Fargo--housebound--with only 3-5 good (productive) hours scattered throughout the day to my name.  I have timers all over the apartment to keep me from going over an hour at a time doing anything--and that includes typing on this keypad--and I've been a bit of a bad girl this morning.  ;)  

This is old news to many of you--but I can never tell a really short story, right?  And it's taking longer than I thought to tell this one--LOL!  I can't use up all my good hours today (as I have other tasks waiting)--or overdo so that I can't do anything for a couple days--so I shall have to write this in sections, I guess, until I am done.  But obviously, this shift in 2013 has to do with me telling my stories.  More to come soon.   :) 

Many of you don't even know I have another "stories" blog.  You can go here and visit, if you like.