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Tuesday, March 12, 2019

Blooming Surprise!

Years ago, and I mean years ago, Chris gave me a Christmas Cactus and also bought one for herself.

Her's died, shortly afterward, but mine kept on going.

She'd often comment on it, (i.e. "That thing is still alive?") and it bloomed every single year between Thanksgiving and Christmas.

Until Bob died. Then Chris died. And it hasn't bloomed since, until -- wow, this week!

Two blooms, just two, but that's good enough for me. One for Chris and one for Bob.

Sorry, this blog has been so quiet, believe me I have a lot stories to tell and have been meaning to blog, but my book seems to be taking up most all of my free time....

The other day, I went to lunch with a widow friend, and we happened to have lunch next door to an antique mall where Bob & I used to have a booth, and I mentioned that to my friend, and wistfully said, "I still miss him."

And she said, "Wouldn't Bob want you to be happy?"

Which caught me off-guard, I mean, I didn't say I was unhappy. I wasn't crying or sobbing, just said that I "miss him." And you know, I'm writing now, and happier than I've been in a long time, because writing makes me happy, it's been my lifelong dream to be a full-time writer, and especially "happy" on a good day when the writing just seems to flow.

What is this "happy" I'm supposed to be? Jumping for joy? Dancing the night away? Laughing like a maniac? Drinking wine in bars? Dating? I don't get it, I really don't know....

I tell you, this blooming cactus makes me very happy. Two blooms, just two, but that's all I need.

Wednesday, February 20, 2019

Getting Back to "Normal"

Had a great long weekend with my dear friend Shirley, her daughter, Nicole, and the two girls, Emma and Jenna, who enjoyed the pool! While we (the adults) sat on the deck with our adult beverages.
Emma and Jenna
Then went to the Clearwater Marine Aquarium and saw Winter, the famous dolphin with the prosthetic tail from the movie "A Dolphin's Tale" and also had a "Behind the Scenes" tour of the rescue group's facility.  Interesting, but a lot of steps, up and down. A lot hallways, a lot of walking.

We also went on a rather bumpy catamaran boat ride in the Gulf.  

All in all a fun visit!

 Now I am exhausted and my nose is rather sunburnt.... add: a week of cleaning getting ready for the visit, preparing "guest cottage" etc. and then mix, all that site seeing, walking, late nights, etc.,  and afterwards, laundry, putting things away, etc..... I am beat: legs hurt, feet hurt and not to mention the sunburnt nose!  Jeepers, must be getting old here.  Spent nearly all of Tuesday sleeping....   

But worth it.  It was so nice to catch up with my friend Shirley, we go back 20 + years.  Nice to have company.  And I know they all enjoyed escaping the cold Wisconsin winter.

And time to "get back to normal" (whatever that is).

This is "Hope" not "Winter", as Hope got closer to us, she is
Winter's companion.  Love that dolphin smile!

Thursday, February 14, 2019

Valentine's Memories....

Doesn't seem like so long ago, Feb. 14th, 2015:  We moved into this house, and here is Bob driving up the ramp to our new home, first time, ever.  I remember telling him that his Valentine's Day present this year was a new  house....   Doesn't seem so long ago.....

 Then on Valentine's Day in 2017, these two love birds showed up in our pool:  Doesn't seem that long ago...

Which resulted in:

This year, not much excitement. Been cleaning all week as my friend Shirley and family are coming to visit, arriving tomorrow ....  I am exhausted, can't believe how dirty the house has gotten -- but looking forward to the company.

So, Happy Valentines...  so hard without Bob, or ducks, but keeping busy and looking forward to company does help...  and --

I keep looking for ducks! But none yet....  How time flies, as do ducks....

Wednesday, February 6, 2019


OK, you all heard about me getting kicked out the writer's group. Since then, 3 people in that group still want to keep in touch with me. One is also writing a memoir about her son's death, so I felt an immediate connection with her. She contacted me and we met on Monday, shared a few chapters, talked, read, critiqued each other and honestly, it was a nice time. So, a new friend and we made another "date" to get back together -- she is a retired doctor (pediatrics) and asked me a lot of medical questions -- and told me that they should have never performed the surgery if they had done certain blood tests on Bob --- as I told her that after the stroke, a hematologist said Bob had "thick" blood, a genetic issue that he had his whole life...  She said they should've checked for that before performing the surgery...

And that bothered me -- because I have often wondered if Bob ever really needed that endarterectomy surgery, because he had a small stroke 2003 and was on a blood thinner, then had hernia repair surgery (for which they took him off the warfarin-- blood thinner) and then he had these TIA's when he was NOT on a blood thinner in recovery after hernia surgery, and they did an ultrasound when he was NOT on a blood thinner and diagnosed him with occluded carotid arteries -- and well, thinking back, was it really "occluded carotid arteries" or just this "genetic thick blood"? and maybe all he really needed was to be on a blood thinner for the rest of his life.... but, I didn't know, nor did Bob, about this genetic thick blood thing until after the BIG stroke in 2010, which happened after the endarterectomy surgery when he was not on a blood thinner and his carotid artery re-blocked that night quite quickly --  and a few weeks later, a hematologist was brought in to check his blood and found this abnormal genetically thick blood...

(Though the damn nurses should have done something when his symptoms appeared, I'm certainly not condoning their actions at all.)

Anyway, I guess I can wonder and wonder, and beat myself up, and think he should've never had that surgery at all --- but nothing changes anything now.

I was driving today, and had to stop at a stoplight on an intersection near our old "Pink House On The Corner" and I could see our former house, a block and a half a way, and it still looks the same, I mean it's still pink, though the new owner put up a (rather ugly) fence. But I could see the old Pink House and I just broke down... and started sobbing. Remembering the "good old days" and when we bought that house and all was well, etc. etc.  And I don't even know how I got home, crying as I was and driving, but I did manage to get home and park in our driveway and sat and cried and cried and cried, and then yelled, "Why did you leave me, Bob?" and yelled at the universe and basically had a major breakdown....

I really wanted to call someone, to talk to someone, but I didn't know who to call, as no one really understands, and no one wants to hear me whine, and sometimes I feel like I don't have a friend in the world...  So I just jumped in the pool and swam laps until I was exhausted....

Tuesday, January 29, 2019

Kicked Out of the Writers' Group

Yes, you read that right.

After the last "workshop" meeting, January 19th, which all in all, I thought went pretty well, I received an e-mail from the group's facilitator telling me that I was officially "removed" from the group.

The reason for this, she wrote, was because the daughter of the golf club manager (where this meeting was held) is allergic to dogs. And of course, I had Kona with me.

She went on to say that some of my comments on the public forum were "rude" and "complaining" and perhaps I should find a "more suitable" group.

I'm reading this, shocked. I have no idea what she is talking about "rude" comments and "complaining" as I don't remember doing anything like that.  I had actually, in total, only been to three meetings and that includes the one I fled. And remember only leaving two comments, the first one thanking everyone for their support and encouragement, and the last one, I did mention that the room "was noisy" but that I enjoyed meeting some new folks (there were 3 new members there) and was looking forward to our next meeting.  But other than that the room was noisy (it was), I don't recall saying anything that could be considered rude or complaining.

None of this made sense to me, until I starting to think about it.  First of all, this group meets at a different location every time (or at least every time I've attended), so it shouldn't matter one bit if this so-called "daughter" was allergic to dogs, as chances would be, we wouldn't meet there again, anyway.

Also, when I first got to the last meeting, I went to my "usual" spot, as my dog trainer told me to do when I have Kona with me, and this is to find a seat at the end of the table, preferably in a corner, so that Kona isn't left out in the aisle where people have to step over or around her and I can keep her in my sightline.  But as I was setting down my things, a woman I'd never met before, came and sat down next to me and asked me to "move" because she was allergic to dogs.  Mind you, there were 9 empty chairs at this table, and I began to explain that I'd rather have the corner chair, but someone called to me and said, "You can sit by me, I don't mind Kona." And so I moved over, which of course left Kona stuck in the aisle. Not the best scenario.

And then, during our readings, this same woman (allergic to dogs) who described herself as a "retired physician" really ripped apart my writing, saying she wanted "more facts" and wanted to know "what the doctors were thinking and doing" and I tried to explain that this is a memoir, and I can't mind-read what doctors "are thinking" and I can only report what I know at the time that this scene is taking place.

So I think that woman was the one who complained, not this mysterious "daughter" who by the way I never saw....

BTW, this same woman who ripped my pages apart, also ripped apart another woman's story about how she met her husband at a sock hop in the 1950s. This same woman actually took the copy of the sock hop story and threw it on the table, saying "I can't even relate to this!!!! I was in Bosnia in the 50's, dodging bullets and hiding in cellars, and here you are at a dance. It's just ridiculous!"

I do think that woman has some issues. Anyway...

Of course, I shot the facilitator an email back, telling her how shocked I was at being "removed", and also sent her a link regarding ADA laws and regulations regarding Service Dogs and access to public places (the golf club is a public place), and telling her what she did was illegal, but I would not be pursuing it because I don't want to belong to a group that doesn't want me there.

All of this was quite upsetting for me, actually VERY upsetting, as you all know how difficult it was for me to just "get the nerve up" to go to these meetings, read my writing aloud amidst strangers, so frightening, I fled mid-way through the first meeting, never did read that first chapter but pulled myself together and went to the next meeting and read the first part of Chapter 2 and was proud to have done it --  and both my therapist and shrink were very proud of the fact that I did get the courage to go -- and then this happens.... aargh.

There is an upside, though, to this story. I did have some of the personal e-mail addresses of some of the members and so I sent a group message, telling them what happened and how much I would miss them, and thanking them for their encouragement, critiques, comments, suggestions and support. And wished them the best of luck with their writing. And ended that if anyone wanted to keep in touch, to feel to contact me.

And since then, two members wrote back that they definitely wanted to keep in touch, exchange writings via e-mail and providing feedback with each other. And then a third woman, who is also writing memoir, asked if I wanted to "get together" every other week or so and work on our writing together. And actually, this sounds much better than that stupid group!

A couple people who responded were pissed, to the point of one who said he was personally going to confront the facilitator because this was "just not right".  One member said he would miss me "tremendously" because my readings were "the highlight" of the meetings. And another said, "don't take it personally, you are a terrific writer!"  But even so, even if I'm told I can re-join the group, I don't think I want to ---

PS: My therapist thinks I got kicked out because the facilitator is jealous because I'm a better writer than she is....which maybe true -- but who knows, I've never read any of her writing -- all I know I was deeply hurt, and now even more anxious about taking Kona out in public to new places or to another writers group, someone else might complain or "be allergic", and I don't know ---  perhaps it's all for the best... the universe works in strange ways...

PSS: Everyone at the grocery store loves Kona!  So I don't get it. She is a well mannered, trained service dog....

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Happy Birthday, Darling

Today is Bob's 60th birthday..... this one's for you sweetheart:

Love you, miss you, Happy Birthday.