November 9, 2015

It was a day of merely minor problems, yet somewhat overwhelming in its entirety.

Nothing dramatically bad happened, but enough of the little things went wrong to put a damper on Kevin’s birthday. Spilled coffee with a broken cup, calls from whomever was working at the Hotel, the absence of necessary ingredients for the birthday dinner… One little thing after another, until it was obvious that he was not enjoying his birthday. It didn’t feel like a birthday at all. And to top it all off, my yeast infection even meant no birthday whoopee. We tried to rent a movie, but the download was so slow it was obvious that we wouldn’t be able to watch it last night. What movie could be worth a four or five hour download? I think I will encourage him to take a week off now that business is slowing down. He just seriously needs time to decompress. What a year this has been! Even if he could only wrangle a three day weekend, I think it’s important for him to get away from all of the stress, for a little while. Kevin had started on the birthday cake in the wee hours of his birthday morning, and we decided that mid-afternoon was the time to indulge in cake and ice cream. The unfortunate thing about that was that ice cream in the middle of the day threw Mom completely off schedule. She went to bed after eating it.

It must have been a combination of confusion from the wrong time on her talking clock, and the change in normal routine. Thankfully, Kevin figured out how to change the time, and today we should be able to start getting her back on track with the time. I spoke to my sister yesterday about Mom coming down to Oregon for the Christmas holidays, and she was thrilled. Mom gave an uncertain thumbs up as well, so now its just a matter of working out the logistics. It will be the first time Kevin and I have been alone together at home for nearly a year. Not that it will be all fun and games, I have another surgery to go through during that time. But I will be able to relax and just rest, without having to worry about Mom. Just the thought of it makes me practically giddy with excitement. The luxury of being able to say, “What would like to do today?” is one I can barely remember, at this point. I could take Einie to the beach anytime I want, go shopping with no one in tow, and even visit with friends. We could go out to dinner, or play billiards at the Old Consulate Inn with friends. When this journey is finally over, I will have to get to know people all over again. It will, after all, be the new me. And as it turns out, I may not have to give up my corsets for Steampunk, since I’ll be still sporting some cleavage. Which reminds me…it’s about time to start working on the next outfit.

I’m thinking of taking all of my medical braces and devices, adding leather and embellishments, and attaching various weapons. I’ve been in warrior mode since the beginning of the whole Boobygate…thing, so I may as well reflect that in my costume. Besides, folks have come to expect something new and fabulously strange from me each year. I try to please. I want to start thinking of something for Einstein to wear, too. Maybe I can train him to hold a pipe…I’m thinking something along the lines of Sherlock Holmes. Maybe just a monocle and hat…Steampunk is the one thing all year that I really want to participate in. Six months or so to prepare for three days of congenial madness, sign me up. The thespian in me revels in having a whole, real Victorian town to go and play in with a Neo-Victorian theme. It’s times like these when my gratitude for all who have worked to preserve the unique nature of our town reaches a peak. I don’t mind driving an hour to shop at a big box store, as long as we preserve the character of the Port. It is rare to have a Victorian seaport so well preserved. The courthouse and post office have been in continuous use since they were built in the eighteen hundreds, as a courthouse and post office. Victorian architecture is evident throughout the town, with lovingly restored and maintained homes, some of which are now bed and breakfasts.  It doesn’t seem strange at all to see someone in Victorian attire conversing with a busker, or leading groups of tourists in modern dress. Both seem to exist in the same space with no conflict, and time-along with its laws-is suspended, here.


July 21, 2015


Yesterdays activities led to some very interesting dreams overnight.

Einstein knew that something was up because of the change in routine, and when I took a bath and started putting on makeup, he was certain that something was afoot. He followed me around the house with tail down and ears back, looking at me as if to say, Say it ain’t so, Mom. He saw me gathering up his bed and toys, and his anxiety began to escalate. We always dread leaving him behind, and we had no idea how he would be at the kennel. When we got there, and Einie saw the other dogs, he dropped his angst like a wet blanket. From that moment on, he forgot he had parents. As they led him to the back, we could tell that he wasn’t going to spend much time fussing over missing us. We left fairly confident that he would be OK. When we came to pick him up in the afternoon, the owner told us that  he played like mad for the first two hours before he seemed to notice that we weren’t there. Then he whined a little bit until they let him go swimming, and he was fine. He was a happily exhausted dog, and fell asleep in the car going home. It was so worth the fifteen dollars for day care. The owner suggested that we bring him in a couple of days a week, to help him with the separation anxiety. The experiment went so well, we may consider it. Everyone seems fascinated by the mystery of his heritage. The owner of the kennel even went searching on the Internet. She believes he is from the Northwest Farm Dog breed. Maybe, but I don’t care. He’s perfect.

After dropping the puppy off, we headed for the big bad city. Actually, Tacoma has improved greatly over the last twenty years. The pollution used to be so bad there you could identify the city by its smell. It was known as the ‘Aroma of Tacoma’. It’s cleaned up a lot since then. The surgeons office was down close to the water, in a historic building that once hosted a giant smelter. It felt a little odd that it was in a sort of shopping center, but the clinic was very nice. I suppose since they deal in plastic surgery, it’s more of a consumer service than a medical facility. They were very nice and professional, the surgeon took the time to let us ask all of our questions. The appointment wasn’t over until all of our questions had been answered. It was the most patient-oriented consult I’ve ever had. We came home with a small library of information. They take before and after pictures of your breasts, and the nurse took me into what was a fairly decent small studio, with professional lighting, and put me through the paces. Stand facing forward, then slightly turned away, then side shots. With amusement I asked, “So, what do you call these, jug shots?” I figured it would be an old joke, considering, but it was new to her. “Oh, get it!” She exclaimed. “That’s funny!” Hey, you don’t survive in the medical world without a sense of the absurd.

gummy 410_breast _implants

Breast implants have improved a great deal over the years. The newest generation of silicone implants are very natural looking, and shaped more like a real breast, instead of just a round pillow. They are made with a ‘gummy bear’ textured, formed silicone that will not leak if ruptured. That’s one option. Another three options use your own body tissues to rebuild the breasts. These are far more invasive, involving long surgeries and four or five days in the hospital. With implants, you have to plan on having more surgeries in the future, and there are more possible complications. However, it can be started during the mastectomy, and the surgery to put in the implants once the expanders do their job is done on an outpatient basis. The nice thing is that we don’t have to make that decision right away. In fact, once the mastectomies are done, we could wait years before doing the reconstruction. Not that I would be able to stand being deconstructed for that long. The point is that we are not being rushed into anything. We can have the expanders put in, but we can still decide to go the other way afterwards.


I think that Kevin felt a little better about things after talking to the surgeon. One of his concerns was to be absolutely sure that this is necessary, that we are not going to mutilate my body without good reason. The surgeon seemed to feel that the last abnormality they found was justification enough. Nobody has, thus far, suggested a mental evaluation to be sure that I know what I’m doing, so I guess I must appear to be level headed. But since the visit, I have been in that state of calm reserved for the really big decisions. It’s the detached, logical side that becomes active now. I’ll be pondering choices and chances over the next few weeks. I seem to have the innate ability to step back in times like this. The boys in the basement are furiously loading fuel for steam, and I will probably leave much of the grunt work of decision making to them, leaving me to pull ideas out whole and fully formed. Love those guys, my creative peeps. Personally, I can drive myself to utter distraction over small, inconsequential things, but on the big ones…a state of utter calm settles over me. I am good in a crisis. I will be considering all that I have learned, and some of those thoughts will probably spill over onto the page on occasion. So buckle up, Bones, it’s going to be a ride to remember. Suffer vicariously with me now, and share the joy of victory, at the end.

July 15, 2015


Instead of the annoying beep of an alarm, a cold wet nose broke my slumber.

I must have been really tired last night, because I didn’t set my alarm. Einstein decided to wake me a full hour after I should have gotten up. Poor little guy peed for a long time. Yesterday was our second day of walking, and we managed to get farther down the road this time. He’s going to have some good muscles after dragging me along behind. It’s going to take a while before I can work my way up to a fast walk, or to make it the full three miles. Kevin managed to take an extra day off, since he seems to wind up working on his regular days off. It was good because I had a doctor appointment to go to, and any time we don’t have to leave Einie alone is easier. He still has a really hard time if I leave him, but his greeting when I came back was thankfully short-lived. I brought him a new squeaky toy and a half hour of play earned me forgiveness. I really feel it this morning, though. I wish I had Einsteins ability to recover quickly-I used to-but it’s likely to be a long slog before working my muscles feels good from the effort. Starting is the hard part, once you get going, your body protests if you don’t work out. Between the surgeries and stenosis in my spine, there’s really no telling how long my legs will be of any use. I know that I would regret not getting all the use I can, while I can. To heck with leaving a good looking corpse-my theory is why leave a perfectly good body behind?

Moms’ nocturnal wanderings have increased greatly over the last couple of days. The trips back and forth from her bedroom and bath have been continuous once she retires for the night, and she is up and at her table often. Her light was on this morning at five, so I know she’s been up drinking coffee and eating cookies. Maybe it’s just the disruption of having had company recently. For the last couple of days her habit has been to turn on her audible book and sleep most of the day at her table. She has set her internal alarm, even when she looks completely out, every two hours that little white head will pick up, eyes shining brightly at the prospect of a snack-easily the most interesting event of her day. She isn’t up yet this morning at six am, but I know she has been. She may be quite topsy-turvy on her sleep patterns for a bit. She is really in need of a shampoo-I skipped her hair appointment this week because she was acting a bit peaked. She had gone back to bed after breakfast, which is very unusual for her, and didn’t get up until after lunchtime. It has done us both good to have me and the dog out of the house during the day, Mom seems to enjoy the stillness. The hard part will be when winter returns, and getting outdoors is not so pleasant. it’s difficult not to get on each other’s nerves during a long winter. The dog will be a little older and not so rambunctious by then, but it will still be a challenge.

I still haven’t been able to post any entries online. (UPDATE-success) I think that the server is slowly turning down the juice, to force us out. They never have been able to deliver promised speed, and no longer even offer service on the Island because of it. I think they would like the rest of us to go away, so they will slowly choke us off. Several ideas have been floated to improve cell and internet service for Islanders. The most promising one so far may come through ham radio, but you have to have direct line of sight for it to work. It would require networking with other hams to create a loop. Luckily, we have a large number of ham radio operators here, so it could work. I hope that something is done soon…it seems so much more isolated when you don’t have communication with the outside world. And the entries are piling up. I will really hate it if I have to go to the library every week just to get these online. One way or another, though…why, after all, bother shouting into the void if no one will ever hear it? So that we can get it out before we explode, of course. When you are all alone and talking to yourself, do you speak out loud? I do, and why? Because I can’t just keep it all inside my own head, it gets too crowded. Writing takes care of that for me now, leaving more room in my head to solve problems and create new dreams. I cannot thank you enough either, reader. It is still pretty astonishing to me that someone would like to hear my ramblings. And because of that honor, along with my own need, I feel a responsibility to keep going, keep trying. Thanks for listening.

July 1, 2015


We’ve just had the hottest June on record, let’s see what fireworks July will bring.

The wildfires are already bad, one fast moving fire destroyed nearly thirty homes in Wenatchee, in eastern Washington. I have a bad feeling about this fire season, because it has started so early. I think we need to reevaluate our fire policies, given the drought conditions and the tremendous cost of fighting wildfires. There is almost no snowpack left on the Olympic Mountains, summer is just getting started, and the forecast is for another warm winter. As bad as the weather has been throughout the country, this must be an exciting time for meteorologists. Texas is drowning and California is burning. Storms are becoming behemoths, and the entire landscape is changing. Islands and coastlines are surrendering to the ocean, while volcanic activity and earthquakes change the topography of the land. The entire planet is in the grip of change, and not in our favor. There has even begun speculation of another mass extinction, Now. As momentous as the occasion might be, I don’t really care to be around for that. I’m  sure I will bear witness to many things I never would have dreamed of. I just hope that the good things triumph. I don’t have much faith that our politicians will do anything significant, they’re all too busy fiddling while Rome burns. And we are not without fault ourselves, we have stood idly by while greed and need have raped the only planet we call home. Someone, probably long ago, figured out that there were too many of us for the planets’ resources to support. They must have figured that, say, one percent might come out of this alive…and they’ve been grabbing resources ever since. The morning music outside my window sounds especially lovely this morning, reminding me that for now, the world is yet a beautiful, vibrant place. And while darkness looms, we have not yet surrendered to it.

Tomorrow is going to be a very early day, and a big test for Einstein and his separation anxiety. I have to be in Silverdale at nine am, to meet with the breast surgeon. I think it’s safe to say that I won’t be writing tomorrow. If I do, it will be late in the day. There’s going to be a lot of information to process, and a long day, to boot. Since we will already be in Silverdale, Mom and I will do a much needed shopping trip to Walmart, for essentials. It will probably be mid-afternoon before we get home. Then an hour of soothing and playing with puppy, before I can rest.  I got him a soccer ball, and is the hit I had hoped it would be. It’s too big for him to bite, but he pushes it around with his nose, and has a wonderful time. It’s a lot easier on us old folks if he does most of the work of wearing himself out. He’s teething right now, and his goofy grin includes only one canine tooth. Einie got his first bath from me yesterday, and he was very good. I’ve noticed that he has some anxiety when I fill Moms’ tub, or mine. Since he has to be every place that I am, he has gotten used to seeing me in the tub, and that it’s not so bad. I put him in the tub when there was only a couple of inches of water in it, and let him slowly adjust. Although he did start whining towards the end, he didn’t freak out-and now I think we’ve cured his anxiety on that score. Not that he loves it, but at least he doesn’t fear it. He was adorably fluffy for the rest of the day. And he smells good, although I can still smell him around and inside his ears…he has a good doggy smell.

Mom really seemed to enjoy listening to the sermons from her Church online. Kevin assures me that we can put them on a thumb drive for her to listen to on her audible book. She had a little difficulty hearing it on the computer, but once I put earphones on her, she did fine. Her audible book will crank the sound up much higher, and I get my laptop back. She’s definitely tired of listening to her current selection of books. Yesterday she said, “I keep thinking this book is going to end, but it just goes on and on…” Tell me about it, Mom. Her vision has gotten bad enough that she rarely comes into the living room to actually try and watch TV. She prefers to sit at her table, and just listen. Which of course means the TV has to be even louder, so that she can hear it from there. Ruh roh. I just heard Kevin’s alarm and remembered he’s going in early today. So I suppose I should wrap this up. Theo is announcing at the door that Mom is up, and he’s not happy about it. I have radio checks to do this morning, and I’m going to do my best to get everyone fed and bedded down early tonight. Stop laughing up there, I can hear you.

June 26, 2015


I gave in to the physical imperative of sleep, and slumbered until the glorious hour of six am.

Even though I had been up for about twenty hours, sleep was a long time coming last night. I would have slept even longer, and given up writing this morning, but muscle cramps and hungry cats intervened. I only wish the cats were as amenable to sleeping in as Einstein is. He did wonderfully at the Vet yesterday. I tried the Thundershirt for the first time, and it did seem to help keep him calm. He’s all current now on his shots, the Vet says he looks good and healthy, and the only big thing left is to have him neutered. Hopefully before he starts humping…everything. He was frustrated, seeing dogs that he couldn’t play with at the Vet, and I kept promising him that he could play with the two dogs my brother and sister-in-law were bringing. I had forgotten just how small their dogs were. They were…terrified. I spent the afternoon trying to keep Einstein from stepping on them. It did wear him (and me) out, and by bedtime, he was done. He’s still pretty limp this morning, right now he’s sleeping with his muzzle resting on my leg as I write. He’s the perfect writers’ dog. I wish that Mom hadn’t set her heart against having any more pets. I feel somewhat responsible for that. She had a cat, Dinky, a tiny but amazing siamese, who managed to not only survive the island wildlife, but lived a good twenty years. We had a myriad of animals growing up, the more exotic of which we tried to pass off as ‘science projects’ for school. In all those years, we never had a pet that she had chosen. I remember her once telling me that if she had a choice, she would have liked a pug nosed Persian cat. When Dinky finally died, we waited a bit, and then presented her with a grey Persian, that she named Chrissy. I worried about Mom being all alone out here, with no companionship. I know from my own experiences that pets are there for you, even when no one else is. They are the worlds finest example of unconditional love. But, alas, Chrissy did not posses the survival skills of her predecessor, and she soon disappeared. It was then that Mom decided to never giver her heart to another animal. I’ve known other people who, after losing a beloved pet, decide that they just can’t take the heartbreak of losing another. But by eliminating the possibility of pain, you also deny yourself the joy of companionship. It’s just a fact that love is always balanced by loss. But to deny yourself love for fear of loss, is to deny life itself. We are born knowing that we will someday die. Should we then not live, or love, or share the life we do have? For me, the beginning and the end may be fixed, but the story of your life is in those pages in between…and we have a choice in how that is written.

Mom’s talking watch/pendant came yesterday, and it’s really nice. She seemed to like it, it looks pretty and stylish. She got lots of compliments on it, so I think it will be fine once she gets used to it. She came out last night to find out the time, though, and I reminded her about the watch. “I don’t need it now,” she said, “I just wanted to know what time it is!” She stomped into the kitchen to get some coffee, and I retrieved the pendant from her room, placing it around her neck with a kiss. “Keep this on, Mom, and you’ll always have the time.” She gave me her best ‘what do you know’ look, and for the first time since she’s been here, took her coffee into her room. For some reason, I think she got the impression I was trying to keep her from coming out of her room at all, instead of coming all the way out at night, to check the time. So this morning, I found the watch hidden inside her night cap. We didn’t exactly get off on the right foot this morning, either. She actually slept in until seven thirty, and seemed to feel this was a bad thing. Einstein was playing, and stepped on her foot, and she kicked him. Of all things in this world, I cannot stand unnecessary cruelty towards animals. It distresses me more than I can say to see my mother behave this way. I told her, once again, that it wasn’t necessary to kick the animals whenever they come near. “Am I going to have to worry that you’re a danger to my animals?” I asked, frustrated. “Maybe you should worry about you.” She said. My glance at her said, bullshit. “They’re no threat to me, Mom.” I said. “I didn’t say they were.” She said, with that old defiance. If you murder a grown child, is it still infanticide? She’s jealous of the attention the pets get, and annoyed by the fact that I feed them before anyone else. Hopefully she will light back up when my brother and sister-in-law come back out today. She sure lit up yesterday, sitting next to my brother-in-law and playing with his leg, flirting up a storm. And I need to work on my attitude today, and not let her push my buttons. You can’t always control what gets served to you, only how you deal with it, and I know I can do better. I’m going to stick a pork loin in the slow cooker, and concentrate on catching up with family news.

June 25, 2015


I’ve tossed and turned since one am, and now at three, I’m up.

There are a few things, I suppose, that cause one to reluctantly rise at the hour usually reserved for nightmares. As a child, nightmares woke me often, until I learned to control them. And still there is a nameless fear lurking in the shadows at that hour, keeping us huddled under the covers, unwilling to test the darkness for what may be waiting there. It is the hour when we are most likely to question ourselves, our lives, our longings, our fears… It is sometimes when we make hard decisions, and face difficult truths. However, it was not bad dreams or a guilty conscience that robbed me of my sleep, but unrelenting pain. Most times I can push the pain to the back of my mind, and go about my business. This past week, though, it has been…insistent. Of course, since I am up, questioning myself seems the thing to do. It’s the same old problem-how to keep Mom entertained so that she’s not so lonely. My guilt over this is so pervasive that I avoid spending time with her at all, sometimes. When I have a million other things to do, (not to mention the things I would like to do) it annoys me to have to sit and watch her nap. She really just wants someone to be there with her, talking at her without requiring replies, so that she knows she’s not alone. No longer satisfied to simply be among what’s happening, she wants to be firmly at the center of all the attention. And honestly, I can’t blame her. She has always taken a supporting role, it’s her last chance to play the lead. After so many years of sacrifice she’s earned a little selfishness. I realize, too, that being a little selfish myself now and then is not just OK, but necessary. I believe that all of these things will ease in the future, I am going to take full advantage of the services we can get through Medicaid for Mom. I’m not sure how else I will be able to handle things after surgery.

I’ve managed to fritter away my time again this morning, with dark musings and mindless wandering through the internet. I’ll admit I spent some time nuzzling the soft spot behind Einsteins’ ear, as well. He groans, and resettles himself when I do it, but I think he likes it. He’s gained weight and is finally grown into his feet. I take him in for a booster shot today, and it will be interesting to see how much he has gained since the last visit. And it will be a good test of the Thundershirt, even though this time I will be with him. Then, sometime today, our visitors will arrive. The excitement of two other dogs to play with will make Einie forget the Vet entirely. Now, I could sleep. I think my muse has already departed for the land of nod. I believe I’ll follow.