Moving on up

Interestingly enough, a day or two after I wrote that last entry I thought about it and said to myself, ‘You know what?  Screw that!  I don’t have to let one person’s warped opinion of me define what kind of person and friend I am.’  I wasn’t able to find the time to write about it then, but that was pretty much that.

A lot has been happening lately.  When I was at the end of feeling the effects of hitting my head, I caught some bug that Steve brought home and pulled a muscle around my rib cage – that, or I may have bruised a rib.  As I was recovering from that, Mom had a meltdown in the dining hall of the independent living facility where she’d been living.  She couldn’t remember my number but did remember my brother’s because it was her number and has been in existence for nearly 50 years.  She had them dial him, and when he came to see about her he didn’t know what to do, so he dropped her off at my house – which, by the way, still has no floor and is still torn apart from all the flood disrepair.  She’s never stepped foot back in that place and has been with us since.

Thankfully, her 2-year contract with the place had just expired, so we were able give notice without penalty.  I had to get over being deeply ashamed of my house, but even with all that, it’s been nice having her here.  I had a guest bedroom all set up that has been her room, and she likes it.  I tried to bring in some of her artwork and switch out some of the furniture, but she said she likes things the way they are.  I did bring her chest of drawers and little oak secretary desk.   She’d been talking about getting her own place and finding someone to live with her, but I told her to give it 3 months with us, to put looking for a place on the back burner.  Just live here.  If she’s unhappy at the end of 3 months, we’ll move forward with her original plans.  If she’s happy like she is now, we can knock out the wall between the 2 smaller bedrooms and make it one room.  It can be a little studio with all her stuff in it.  She would be free to use the common living room like she does now, but if she needs some alone time, she can hole up in a space that’s all her own.

We’ve been able to do little things to make her life a little bit easier, such as put in the tallest toilet available and getting her a new rollator walker that maneuvers easier and has bigger wheels to traverse rougher surfaces and terrain.

Her first couple of days here were a little rough.  She had worked herself into quite a state with how unhappy she’d become at the senior living place.   After a few days, she began to come around and find a brighter outlook.

One beneficial bi-product of her being here is that it’s forced us to both sh** and get off the pot!  We no longer have the luxury of being stymied by not being able to agree on how to go about putting the house back together.  It’s been past time to get’re done for far too long.  We’ve started moving forward with the restoration again.  A very good thing.


A bit of self discovery:

I’ve about decided that I need peace more than I need friends. I suspect it’s always been this way, and it doesn’t seem to work out that both are possible. It would be great for this theory to be disproven, but, so far, it has not.

Friends that aren’t around a lot seem to work out fine, however. Guess I’m just getting to be a crotchety old woman who could give a rat’s ass about getting along.

Everyday a random thought.

Lately, pretty much daily, something will pop into my head, and something in me recognizes it’s worth writing down somewhere, somehow.  A lot of those have gotten by me lately, and it would be kind of nice to have them as a reference, I think.  So maybe I’ll start doing that here.

Today’s random thought is this:

Don’t fuck with my truth.  It’s mine.  And I came by it by the hardest.  So just don’t fuck with it because you don’t know.  You might know jack shit, but that’s about it.

And that truth might change tomorrow, and I mean do a complete 180, and that’s fine.  It’s still mine.

Fuck off.

Head case

If my writing is not up to par, I can blame it on this: On this day of the week, 4 weeks ago, I hit my head so hard on a door frame that I got a concussion.  We have plastic on a doorway separating the back room we’ve had to reconstruct a part of due to flood damage.  On a Thursday night, somewhere around 11pm, I was flitting around the house getting something ready for a home project we were hoping to get started on at the start of Steve’s staycation.  I pulled open the plastic and bent over to duck under it, missed, and hit the top of my head with the door frame.  The hit was so hard, I could feel the imprint of the sharp corner along the whole top of my head.  It hurt as badly as any broken bone I’ve ever had – and for as long as any broken bone had ever hurt.  An ER visit with a CT scan revealed there were no skull cracks or brain bleeds.


Recovery has been slow and painful.  For every decent day when symptoms diminish there follows 2-3 bad days.  When the acuteness of the pain started calming down after the 1st week, I began to wonder if it was normal to feel hungover – even after having not taken anything for pain or used any of the substances that normally bring a hangover on.  I’ve since learned that other people who’ve experienced concussions have described the injury as something like a hangover one can not get over.

Today is a fairly decent day.  The 2 days before this were brutal!  The pain doesn’t seem to be isolated to any one spot on my head but tends to move around.  If I try to do anything with the speed at which I’m accustomed, my head will start to pound.  I detest being slowed down like this!  It’s really put a kink in the last days of summer.  Boooooo, concussion!  Boooooo!!!  The Princess Bride – “Boo, Boo, Boo Buttercup’s Nightmare” – (HD) – Scenes from the 80s (1987)

For some good news, Ray Ray the betta is regrowing his fins and doing splendidly!


Even though all other plans for Steve’s vacation time were stolen away by the head injury, I refused to let it stop us from traveling to a location where totality would occur during the recent eclipse.  Trying to capture a decent shot with a cell phone camera covered with the NASA approved eyewear proved challenging, but I did manage this somewhat decent shot.


Trying to capture the totality on a cell phone camera proved futile.  The best I could get was this video:

If this video doesn’t post due to the WordPress gestapo requiring a paid account, here is the next best thing:



We managed to find a small state park in Missouri 75 miles south (give or take) of St. Louis.  We drove through the night and arrived at the state park at around 10:30am and found a perfect spot in the shade.  It looked as though we arrived just before an expected mad rush of humanity crowding in – that never materialized.  Gently, quietly, families and locals pulled in, and throughout the day, all was peaceful.  It never got crowded, the people were all so nice.  There wasn’t even that the one who was acting crazy and annoying everybody around them.  The day was filled with the low murmur of gentle conversation.  All-in-all a remarkable, unforgettable experience!

However many days…

The yearlong facebook hiatus is more than halfway over, and most days I don’t even think about it.

Yesterday, I did think about it.  I’ve isolated myself to some degree as a result of not being on the social media monster, but upon recognizing this came a simultaneous realization that I’ve also lived under the radar of people’s scrutiny and judgments for quite some time.  The trade-off is acceptable.  If people are judging me, I have no way of knowing about it, and that works for me quite well, as it happens.

I’m just doing my thing, being the crazy gardening lady in the neighborhood, hating our still torn apart house from the flood at the beginning of May, and embarking upon various other little projects such as being a betta rescuer.


Yep.  This is Ray Ray, my newly acquired pet betta.  He was Mama’s for a year or two then got sick – so sick, in fact, that twice we thought him a goner.  After the 2nd time of floating on his side at the top of the tank for a whole afternoon then showing signs of life, I took him home and started giving him curative baths and daily medicinal water changes and have basically been watching the miracle of him going from being at death’s door to thriving.

The top pick was him the Tuesday after bringing him home from the weekend, then 5 days later.


He is a fascinating and engaging little fellow!!

Mama had been doing quite well, going to exercise twice a week with a special kind of trainer.  She then suffered a recent setback with a urinary tract infection, and we’re doing all we can to get her through this.

I did finally make a decision about the salon I’d been working out of and gave up my rental booth.  Clients moving, the flood, and what not, it seems, kind of made the decision for me as it became necessary to start devoting all resources into getting the house put back together.  I do still do the once a week haircutting thing at the nursing home.

I’ve also been able to get together with my son here and there.  It’s wonderful.  At the same time, it is a stark reminder of how we do not know each other as well as I would like to.  That part is harder than I imagined it would be.  I continually marvel at the person I see whenever we do get together, and that is a feeling like no other!  He is an amazing person.

The house being torn apart has also taken a toll on our marriage.  There really isn’t anywhere else to go with the stress of it all but at each other’s throats.  We’ve been working on that lately, though, and it seems to be getting better…most days.

The band has been in the recording studio.  It’s taken 3 whole months to complete this project.  Hopefully, this next upcoming session will be the finale of the recording part of the process.  Hopefully, the final mixing will wrap up from there fairly quickly.

We’ve been able to eat from our garden quite a bit lately, so that’s been pretty great.

That’s pretty much all the news there is on us at this time.  If you are reading this, I sincerely hope you are having a wonderful, magical summer!

Flood waters

A flash flood claimed the floor of our house in 4 rooms this past weekend. The water has receded and the house is drying out, but I still feel water-logged in just about every way way possible.

The flooring in the kitchen and living room was some beat up old parquet tiling that I loved. It was the perfect floor for us. It was tough as nails, it looked and sounded warm to walk on, it could be mopped with a rag mop squeezed out from a bucket and could take anything we dished out to it. I realize there are so many people who lost so much more than we did…and sometimes when I think about that it helps…some. It usually doesn’t help at all and does nothing to loosen the knots in my stomach.

Mama took a tumble a couple of weeks ago and got the worst hematoma I think I’ve ever seen, complete with a bleeding cut on it. 2 weeks later it still hurts her pretty badly. 

It’s fast coming to the point – if it hasn’t arrived there already – where Mama is becoming a dull time job. I’ve had 3 regular clients move out of state, a couple of them color clients, and a couple ofbthem just stopped calling. My income there has taken such a hit it’s actually costing me money to keep the 2nd salon business open. There are a couple of options on what to do about that, run a discount campaigne in the local paper, which gave me some really great clients the last time I did that, or close up shop and focus on Mom. On the one hand, taking on new clients could potentially mean more people to disappoint if something comes up with Mom and I have to reschedule them. On the other hand, Mom just turned 90, which means she’s lived more years than she has remaining living…and I’ll need something to fill my time after she’s gone. I already know my life will not be the same without Mom in it, and I dread that day. I do not want it to come, but the reality is it will. And if I close my business, I’ve already gotten out and come back in once. How many chances does someone get to build the same kind of business after letting people down and forcing them to find someone else to do their hair?

It’s a dilemma I’ve been facing for a couple of years now, and I’m still no closer to reaching a decision one way or the other.

On a brighter note, Mama’s 90th birthday celebration was every kind of wonderful I’d hoped it would be. This picture pretty much tells it all in terms of how the day was for Mama

We drove to this place way up in the mountains a few towns away that I’d been hearing about for years. It’s ladies serving home cooked meals from a cafe that was clearly from a house overlooking one of the most breathtaking sights, right at the top of a mountain. The drive was beautiful, the food was wonderful, and the staff at the cafe couldn’t have made it more special. They let us bring in her birthday cake and light the candles for her to blow out. One of the waitresses even took this video for us
Mama’s Birthday song

All of her immediate family was there – including her one and only grandchild

I set up a shot with my timer to capture this family photo:

That was a great day.

Settling in to a new normal

It feels like I’m finding my footing now that I’ve been out of the social media game a little over 3 months.  I’m starting to feel like myself again – which is startling!  While I was in it, I hadn’t realized what it had done to me.  I just knew that something wasn’t right, it wasn’t working, and it was time to make some changes.

A friend recently told me that she’d announced on facebook that she’d become a Christian.  Now, I choose to no longer identify myself as a Christian and have been through the ringer getting over some of the damage that was done to my inner being as a result of my time in the evangelical community.  I still feel like it’s a bad neighborhood for me, but I respect my friend for having found and embraced her faith, and I respect her faith.  Some people, however, did not pull any punches in letting her know they did not.  I experienced a fair amount of that back when I was walking that road after reconnecting with people I’d known before following Christ.  It stung.  It was hurtful.  It was disheartening.  It was disappointing, every time it happened.  Why do people have to suck??  And why has social media unleashed such a cataclysmic tsunami of people now going through life as if it’s perfectly okay to suck at being human beings?  Okay, so Christianity isn’t your bag.  That doesn’t give you the right to knock people down and upside the head with that which is your bag!

The saddest thing about that is, I did some of that as well.  I came out of my Christianity experience very badly damaged with no idea if I would ever recover.  I spent months expressing on facebook and in blogs all the things I objected to as far as what goes on in the evangelical community and how unlike Jesus it is.  I hurt some people.  I owe some apologies.  It doesn’t mean I don’t have legitimate grievances in terms of what happened to me and what’s being done to people whose only wish in life is to love and follow their Lord and how that’s being twisted and exploited on a pretty widespread basis.   There is a lot of muddying the stream.  That’s wrong.  I know it’s wrong.  It’s very wrong.  It’s right to speak up about it.  But there’s a way to do that, and I didn’t always go about it the right way.

But, as Maya Angelou said, “Do the best you can until you know better.  Then when you know better, do better.”  As far as my conscience has been able to tell thus far, I’ve done that and will do that.  What a gift was given to us in Maya Angelou!!

Spring springing

It feels like it’s been forever since experiencing that feeling of all being right with the world…I suppose that’s because it had been forever.  And I only just realized this because, while sitting on the back porch drinking coffee, I experienced that feeling, realizing it had been a long time.

Reuniting with my son was proving more difficult than I had anticipated.  I expected that familial familiarity to be much more prevalent than it actually was in the beginning.  Perhaps it was guilt at having given him up to people I barely knew.  Perhaps it was grief triggered by all that I’d lost and missed out on standing before my very eyes in flesh and blood.  Perhaps I felt completely unworthy of the right to have him in my life because what I did in giving him up for adoption was…it’s one of those things where one questions oneself, ‘What kind of mother does that???’  Perhaps it’s all of the above and a few dynamics that have not occurred to me yet.  I also was uneasy with the parents who raised him, wondering if they were okay with all this.  He’s living under their roof still, so I worried that it could cause tension in the family.

Well, recently, that was all put to rest.  I’d run into his dad back in 2012 when Mama was in the hospital beginning her journey that led to a real brush with death.  He was coming out of the main entrance as we were going in.  I stopped him, and he greeted me warmly and said he would like for us to get together and talk and gave me his cell phone number to exchange texts on the when and where (hospital cafeteria, later that afternoon).  He told me that our son had showed them my facebook page (before we’d become friends on facebook) andsaid that it was nothing against them but that he would like to meet me.  They assured him that they wanted him to connect with me.  It wouldn’t be until October of last year, 2016, until making that actually happen.  Once it did happen, I wondered how his mom was with it, was she okay?  I didn’t know – until 2 days ago when I ran into her at a sandwich shop.  They live 2 towns away, so that was quite a surprise.  Mom had a CT scan procedure going on that took all day because low kidney function had prevented her from drinking the dye solution to get a picture the week or two before, so she had to do the slow drip, CT, followed by 5 hours of fluid IV to slowly flush it out of her system.  After the imaging, I went to a nearby bakery/sandwich shop, and in walked my son’s mom and his sister (also adopted), who was home for Spring Break.  It was a warm meeting, and she was clearly genuinely glad to see me.  We talked about my son and I getting together and related things, and it came very easily to her, much to my surprise and relief.

So a week ago marks a milestone in my son’s life.  He turned 25.  I got to give him a birthday present for the first time.  Last year I sent an online gift certificate because we had not yet met in person, but that’s not the same as handing one’s child a package.  The gift was from me and Mom.  It was a handmade cigar box guitar and some accessories (glass bottle slide, a lightweight adjustable cord for plugging into an amp (it’s both acoustic and electric) and some replacement strings.  It was amazing to see his face as he opened it!!  It was clear that he really liked it, and that was one of the most satisfied feelings I’ve experienced in a very long time.  The birthday lunch with my son, Mom, and me was the most at ease I had felt being present with him.  It was really quite lovely.

So yeah…all is indeed right with the world.

And a month goes by…

Okay!  Exactly 1 month to the day since the last entry – which means that I was actually out living life…a good thing, methinks.  Since last we “spoke” I have planted things, wrestled with the city, painted some (house-painting, that is), picked up large pieces of roofing during a storm then fretted over Steve being on the roof making repairs, and so much more.

As far as the planting goes, last year I decided to start a butterfly garden and started planting flowers and shrubs to attract them.  Early last summer, some swallowtail butterflies were born on my parsley – and who knew that the butterflies like to lay their eggs in parsley?  I certainly didn’t before last year.  They also like to eat it – and eat, and eat, and eat!  I had to go out and buy more organic parsley plants to satisfy the demand on those very hungry, very beautiful caterpillars.  So, needless to say, there will be parsley aplenty this coming growing season.  Additionally, 1 of 2 veggie garden plots is now prepared for plants and seeds.

Wrestling with the city…hoo-wee!  For the 3rd year in a row, notices have been taped to our door saying we were in violation of city codes.  The 1st 2 years it was for grass that was too tall – even though I told the officer going around inspecting that I was letting the grass that I liked go to seed, letting the seed mature, then scattering the seed with the lawn mower.  I had already checked with both next door and across the street neighbors to see if they had any objections, and, as I told the officer, once the initial growing for seed occurred in the early summer, the yard would be kept up in terms of mowing for the remainder of the season.  But notices were taped to the door anyway.

This year, we were cited for limbs in our backyard.  The letter sent via certified mail contained pictures of the offending items, and the angle that it was photographed from meant that the code enforcement officer had to enter through a latched gate and stand in the middle of the fenced backyard to get the pictures – which we had a BIG problem with!!  This resulted in a very scathing letter to the editor and an equally scathing conversation with the powers that be at the city council meeting, passing the pictures to the council members and explaining how they were obtained followed by my reading the 4th Amendment to the US Constitution and the statement that our 4th Amendment rights had been violated and I take issue with that.  I started out with 11 points that I wanted to make about the whole code enforcement thing but decided at the last minute to just pack a quick and powerful punch with the violation of our Constitutional rights.  A number of residents got up and spoke, and we got results.  It was announced by the director of Public Works that the backyard searches were no longer going to take place, that they would only take written notice from neighbors with legal access about troublesome backyard debris, etc., to be followed up with the city attorney and a determination made as to whether or not there is probable cause to obtain a warrant to further inspect the property.  Yay, citizens!!  A few other changes were announced regarding code enforcement, but that was the biggie.

Here is what the city cited us for in our backyard:


What’s on the tarp and in the wheelbarrow is mulch.  That little pile of sticks beside the mulch is what they took a picture of and cited us for.  The sticks were all that was left after a couple of our very large, mature trees dropped huge limbs last year.

Here is what the backyard looks like now:


Part of the bare spots are due to big pieces of the fallen limbs being piled up last summer after the huge branch fell from that tall wild cherry tree by the shed, and part of it is where Steve dug up the roots of a massive yucca plant that had been problematic for years.  Another bare spot is where we burned some of the branches after obtaining a burn permit.  We spent the whole summer dealing with that as well as the humongous limb that fell from a large tree in the front yard: cutting firewood, finding people to haul off big portions of what couldn’t be used as firewood, hiring people to help us with burning part of it…a whole slew of problems to solve.

The little grey roundish thing toward the lower left corner of the cleanup picture is a little gnome and his teapot hut in the butterfly garden:

This is the snow that just happened this past weekend:20170311_175247.jpg

House-painting is by no means completed, but a color for the living room has been chosen, and work on the ceiling is what must come first.  The goal throughout the house is to do away with ceiling popcorn for a smoother surface that takes less paint and looks far more attractive.

So, yeah.  Storm.  Roof.  We had the bright idea of going grocery shopping late at night with a storm moving in.  It ended up being a good thing, though, because when we got back, I caught a glimpse of something on the way into the house and decided to move in closer to see what it was.  It was a piece of roofing about 9 square feet in size.  While picking that up in the pouring rain, I noticed another piece about the same size, then another, and another.  For 3 days after that stormy night, Steve spent many hours a day repairing the roof it came off of, which was on an enclosed back porch, not original to the house, built rather cheaply around an outdoor patio slab.  The roof over it is almost flat, which made it very easy for the wind to catch underneath the roofing material and and rip it right off as if it was paper.  Thankfully, Steve and a friend had installed new roofing material over the original roofing to fix a leak last year, and the original roof was still in place, so we only had a small amount of water leaking into the back porch room.  We have talked for years about taking out the shottily-built porch room and making it a screened-in porch.  We both love the idea and get excited talking about it, so maybe that can happen in the next few years.

In other news, I am considering discontinuing my booth rental salon job while keeping the once a week on Monday veterans’ retirement home haircutting job to devote more time to tending to Mom.  I had 3 clients move out of state recently, and that seriously cut into the cost of renting a station, making it kind of not worth trying to maintain it.  I’ve been wrestling with this for a while, and it may be the right call.  Mom goes to a senior-focused exercise program twice a week with a personal coach.  One session is spent doing exercises in a pool, and I’m pretty much the only person who can help her get into her swimwear as well as help get her into dry clothes afterward.  She also has a lot of other medical doctors that she has to see regularly, and it’s getting so that other things such as having her eyes checked keep getting pushed back.  She needs a lot more of my time and attention now, and she deserves that.

Maybe life will stop coming at us so fast and there will be more time for blogging.  That would be nice.

What travel is like now

We left Steve’s oldest brother’s house this afternoon and drove to his mom’s new home.  The drive was beautiful!!  As we moved further south, we started noticing jillions of daffodil blooms and bushes in bloom, and the drive was breathtaking!  I didn’t take a single picture, which is a little unlike me now that I have such easy camera access thanks to smart phones.  Normally, I’d have been chomping at the bit to get stuff up on facebook.  I did think about that a little, so I haven’t gotten all of that completely out of my system, but it’s no longer front and center.  I did take a few pictures once we got to his mom’s.  This is the favorite thus far:


It’s Steve’s mom at 5 months and 5 days of age.  Isn’t she delightful?  And she’s just as delightful to this very day.

I’m sure I’ll get more pictures of this beautiful place, but today was about visiting with family that we don’t get to see that often and taking in the beauty of the world around us.