Haiku Heights – FREE

English: Publicity photo of Andy Williams from...

English: Publicity photo of Andy Williams from his television show. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Cover of "Born Free"

Cover of Born Free

A legend has passed

Born Free by Andy Williams

This is my tribute.

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Harvest Moon glows bright

dripping liquid gold for free

on my swan-like neck.

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Sick, frozen spike, hot

Blood hands, murdering his throat

No more, a free man

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Carry on Tuesday: Wishful Thinking

The Waitress

The Waitress (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It’s one of those dreary, black, rainy nights and I have gone food shopping for what seems to be the eleventh time in a week to buy food for my family. I’m so tired that my legs ache and they sure are swollen. I’ve been on my feet all day working at the coffee shop waiting on customers. I’m so tired I could sleep in this old car, for sure. I load the groceries in the car, rubbing my back the whole time; I stop in the card store to buy a birthday card for my sister. We share one old computer at home, not a fancy one like the orange or the apple, whatever it’s called, but we bought it second-hand and the kids use it for homework. This “e-mail” may be convenient but when it comes to good friends or relatives, I’m old-fashioned, I still buy cards and stamps even though the stamps will soon be the same price as the cards sooner or later.

I go to the register and as I am about to pay for my card when I decide, last second, to buy a lottery ticket, quick pick just for some fun. It’s a guaranteed few hours of playing our favorite game: “what would we do if we won the lottery?” Tonight it gives me some happy time while I soak my bones in a bubble bath. We don’t have much but we do have a tub and some bubbles, heck, even Oprah took bubble baths and she could have gone to a fancy spa. While I am soaking I’m going to imagine me wining all those millions of dollars and then I’m gonna spend that money in my mind. First thing I’d buy would be a new truck for my boys, brand, spanking new. You got to make your own happiness sometimes and since I am blessed with my family and our health, this is sure good enough for me.

My own momma and poppa used to call this “wishful thinking” they never believed in it because they said that” it’s no sense in dreaming if you are never gonna win anything anyways.” They wouldn’t let me dream, I just had to work on the farm but now as a grown-up, I can do what I want. I will NOT deny my children of dreaming, no sir. People have to dream, dream big even, that’s what I tell our children. Work hard, study hard and your dreams will come true. I don’t tell them what their grandparents always said to me, I learned what not to do from my parents so I set it right for my own children. Dream big because I believe in you. I tell them that because no one ever told that to me.

Mellow Yellow Monday – Sunflowers (Painting)

Self-Portrait, Spring 1887, Oil on pasteboard,...

Self-Portrait, Spring 1887, Oil on pasteboard, 42 × 33.7 cm., Art Institute of Chicago (F 345). (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

“Sunflowers”

A classic beauty

Vincent Van Gogh

Vincent van Gogh - Still Life: Vase with twelv...

Vincent van Gogh – Still Life: Vase with twelve sunflowers (Photo credit: Steve Dorrington)brilliant classic, a painting that you have looked at before or studied in class. I present you with the famous painting by Vincent Van Gogh called Sunflowers.

Should We Take A Moment To Mourn Together?

Mourner. Could be Isis mourning Osiris

Mourner. Could be Isis mourning Osiris (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Dear Invisible Illness Sufferers:

I’m conflicted. I want to say that we have lost a part of ourselves, a physical and emotional part, do you think it is a good idea to get together in real or computer time to say good-bye to the people we once were? Have we done it ourselves? Or do we just accept and let it go? There is the before Fibromyalgia or Diabetes or CFS, Virus, Autoimmune OR fill in the blank disease________ and after. Think about it, it would be an acknowledgment of our former selves, our loss and our lives now. We mourn people we loved; I am not the same person I was before my father died, I view my life “before he died” and “after.” Maybe we should have a ceremony together for the people we became after our loss, as simple as being silent for a minute at a designated time?

I guess this begs the question: do we ever really accept it 100 percent? We make do, we understand but it’s a way of life that we have lost, forever. I don’t believe that it will ever get better in my lifetime or that there will be a cure. That’s just my opinion. A wonderful approach is given in a book by  Toni Bernhard called “How To Be Sick” which is a Buddhist inspired way of living with your illness. It will teach you things, no other book will teach you.

It has taken me years to truly accept Fibromyalgia, chronic pain and an autoimmune disease called Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis, my activities are now severely limited. Part of my energy used to be used defending myself to people who thought I was out of my mind or a pill popping junkie. Sigh. I can reassure you I am neither of those. Realistically, who would WANT to be like us? Does it sound glamorous to have no energy and to be in pain constantly? It’s not like we take magic pills to make us feel great, there are no pills that take away the pain. In fact, we don’t even remember what pain-free feels like. Of course there’s Fibro Fog but that’s a whole other blog post.

After the imaginary designated time where we mourn our former selves, we give our thanks,  grateful for the life we DO have, for the cyber friends that are in the same situation that UNDERSTAND and for the body that still exists and for the many blessings we hold in our hearts.

Tell me what you think, I’d love to hear from you.

Plinky Prompt: Skydiving: Would you do it?

  • Falling in the Sky
  • Seriously?
    Skydive Skåne I am a 55 (soon to be 56) year old woman with Fibromyalgia, a chronic pain disorder, I have an Auto-Immune disease and if I even look at my wrist or ankle the wrong way, it breaks. The answer is LOL, no I would not do it. I have a hard enough time making it through the day as it is. But, I admit it is a funny thought to imagine.
    When I was young I considered doing it but I never followed through. It wasn’t a very serious thought. I regret many things but this is not one of them. My son went skydiving when he was 18, I just about had a heart attack until he was safe on the ground. I hope my daughter doesn’t copy him but I am afraid she will….maybe she will have more sense?

I Blame My Dog 100 Percent

Dog sunny Day Afternoon

Dog sunny Day Afternoon (Photo credit: allert)

It’s not my fault that I fell yesterday, really. It’s HER fault. My dog, (mega-puppy) pulled me so hard that she knocked me down on the driveway to greet our neighbors across the street. Granted, I am not strong. I have Fibromyalgia and NO balance so that is my “fault.” She left me lying down on the pavement. Twice. What happened to dogs being loyal? Not this one. I tried to get up and what does she do? She yanks the leash again and down I stay with another set of bruised knees (on top of the last set.)

I didn’t have time to drop the leash, this girl is fast and strong.  Not to mention that she made me drop my Fribble! To those of you who don’t know (and I am a recent convert) a Fribble is a milkshake that Friendly’s makes from soft serve (my friend Mark said it was from ice-milk so I’m not 100 percent sure if either or both are correct.) It’s cold, thick, creamy and utterly ( those of you who really know me, I was tempted to say udderly) delicious. Lexi made me drop my coveted vanilla Fribble all over the driveway and the rest of the day went downhill after that. Thank you Lexi.

So, with bumps and bruises all over, I limped into the house with super-puppy in the hands of our neighbor and my husband helping me up and inside. It’s time for the big guns to be called. I know I have a balance issue and yes, I know I am not strong but this is getting ridiculous. My husband is threatening to call the canine police trainer and have him come out and train Lexi to behave. He was here once before and always said she was a willful pup; I hate to break her spirit but she needs to learn to behave before I break my spine. Before he comes, I am trying to train her myself, with a very short leash and many clicking sounds.

I can always go back and get another Fribble but I can’t afford to be falling anymore. I love my dog, returning her is NOT an option. (You know who you are who suggested this) She is now sleeping on my bed, keeping me company but I do need to train her so she doesn’t pull so much. I have tried every leash in the universe. Lexi, you’re a cute puppy, but I have never met a stronger, more willful puppy anywhere. Even my friends agree that you are incredibly strong for one so young. I’m hoping you will mellow and I know you will be a great dog. You are now seven months and yes, still a puppy. When exactly do you become an adult dog and calm down? For my part, I will try to do some strength building exercise slowly, I promise. We’re in this together.

Plinky Prompt: Reality TV: Trash or Treasure?

  • Reality TV
  • It’s Not One, It’s Both
    Survivor Finale Why pick one?
    It’s TRASHY TREASURE to me!
    I admit it, I’ve watched Survivor with my husband, America’s Next Top Model when my daughter was younger, and Top Chef and Hell’s Kitchen all by myself. It’s entertaining, I’m sure it is scripted and if you look at it as a way to get away from your own reality, it’s truly a much-needed, relaxing break. If you enjoy it, go for it.

Carry on Tuesday – Life isn’t about what happens to you, it’s about how you handle what happens.

Cardiac ICU

Cardiac ICU (Photo credit: Sam Blackman)

It was Father’s Day, our baby was nine months old and my husband and I had driven from Massachusetts to my parents’ condo in upstate New York. It was our first Father’s Day with our son and after two and a half years of infertility treatment, nothing made us happier than spending time with our boy. I felt blessed that I had finally gotten pregnant and every night I thanked God for this beautiful boy. I had been dealing with shots and blood tests and sonograms and depression every single day and night for over two years.

We had eaten brunch altogether, my sister and her husband and kids had arrived as well, my father seemed unusually quiet. I felt something was wrong; all those times my mom had complained I was “over-sensitive” I was just good at picking up vibrations. My mother looked concerned. Finally, my dad admitted he wasn’t feeling well but refused to go to the doctor. He did not fall over with stabbing pains, he felt bad, his chest hurt but his skin color was not right, it was almost gray and that upset me the most.

We had always had a special bond and he wasn’t listening to my mother or anyone else. I knew, in my heart, in my gut, that something was very wrong. He said that he would drive to the hospital and my mother agreed but there was no way that was going to happen. He refused an ambulance. Finally, I was so upset that I burst into tears and begged, I begged him to let me drive him and my mom to the Emergency Room in Danbury. I sobbed, “Daddy, do it for me” and he said okay.

When we arrived his blood , an EKG administered and a very superior and obnoxious young resident came in and in clipped tones told him, “You are a very, very sick man.” My father was in complete denial and refused to believe him. Apparently he had suffered a major heart attack and was admitted to the hospital. We stayed until we were literally thrown out of the hospital and heard an announcement that my car was just about to be towed. We drove back to their condo not knowing what to do. I remember my mother saying “you saved his life.”

Life isn’t about what happens to YOU, not always, it’s about how you handle what happens when situations arise. It was very late, Sunday night. My husband had to go back to work in Massachusetts, my son was nine months old and we had never been separated. There was no offer from my sister and her husband and I knew my mother could not handle this alone. We had a family history of that. In my heart, I knew what needed to happen. It turned out that my in-laws took my son back to their house, my husband went back to our house and I stayed with my mother to help with my dad. At the time there seemed like there was no other choice. The next morning we found out that he had 90 percent blockage in five arteries. He was indeed, a very sick man.

They moved him to Columbia Presbyterian Hospital and in a few days he had open heart surgery. I visited with my dad and had to say good-bye before they wheeled him to surgery and it’s probably one of the hardest things I have ever done. I cried, I couldn’t stop myself and my father knew me too well, a tear slid down his cheek as well. My dad and I are so alike. My mom and I waited the entire day in the hospital, over six or seven hours, pacing the halls, waiting for his doctor to tell us the news. I couldn’t eat a bite of food all day. Seven hours later the surgeon came out and the news was great, he had gotten through the surgery and we could see him the next day. Imagine my shock, when the next day in ICU he was sitting up, shaved and wearing his glasses!

I never thought I could leave my son, my beloved first-born but sometimes, deep inside you, you know the right thing to do. I have never been sorry that I made that decision. My father lived through the operation and I remember he came home on July 4th, Independence Day.

That night I drove home in the dark, yelled “Hi “to my dear husband, dashed up the stairs and took my sleeping baby, now home, in my arms. I stood there, rocking him back and forth for a very long time.

Women experience different symptoms from men: check out this wonderful website: http://www.myheartsisters.org by Carolyn Thomas

Playing “Punch Buggy” Alone Really Isn’t That Much Fun

Volkswagen Beetle

Volkswagen Beetle (Photo credit: stephenhanafin)

On the way to Target by pure instinct alone, I call out “Punch Buggy” when I see a Volkswagon Beetle. I KNOW it’s stupid, I KNOW no one else is in the car but still, I do it. While I get a teeny tiny bit of pleasure, it isn’t as much fun as when my husband is there and we both call it and then childishly say “but we are not playing.” You have to like us if not love us, it’s the little things that matter; we’ve been married almost 24 years, so we must be doing something right. You have to reinvent yourselves with silly, childish games and you know what, it seems to work.

While at Target, I still go to the first two discount aisles where they have little kids things on sale for a dollar each. My children are eighteen years old and twenty. Come on, don’t I know that by now? I am certainly not buying beer magnets or obnoxious T-shits (okay, I did that once) but generally I have good judgment. However, according to my kids I am ridiculously old-fashioned and the fact that I dislike every type of alcohol known to humanity (except for the occasional mimosa when my in-laws are in town) is beyond uncool, it’s just plain wrong. Why am I still looking at the dollar aisle, do I think they need little presents for their “goodie bags?” My children are allowed to vote. Move on, mom.

I still go to the teen boy aisle where they have the obnoxious boy T-shirts that my son used to live for, when he was about ten. Why do I still go there? HE wouldn’t be could dead wearing something stupid now. He has even passed the entire T-shirt phase altogether. He wears button downed shirts, with his sleeves rolled up, maybe a plain, white T-shirt underneath. He likes to look nicer now. Where happened to my son? Who did he learn his new style from or for whom did he learn his new style?

My daughter has had her own sense of style since she was just about born. As soon as she was old enough to dress herself, she did. What I put out for her was replaced by whatever color/ stripe combination or completely purple outfit that she wanted. I never fought with her, except for one school picture and after that traumatic experience and glum expression I let her choose what she wanted to wear any and every day. I lovingly remember her wearing her sky blue, long, Cinderella dress to her nursery school graduation, with my parents and husband in attendance. She felt like a princess (always) and dressed accordingly. To this day, she gives me advice and when she asks me my opinion on something I feel honored. A friend of the family went over to our daughter, when she was 3 or 3 1/2 and said “You look so pretty in that dress” and our daughter’s response was “I know dat.” Meet our girl.

There were times when both kids were living at home and my husband was here all the time that I would long for a day of alone time, peace and harmony. Today was that day. My husband was visiting his parents and both kids are now in college. I could do whatever I wanted to do and you know what? For the first time, I missed my husband. I hate to admit it but I didn’t like eating my crummy slice of tasteless pizza by myself. It was a chore and it wasn’t relaxing. The entire day seemed lonely when before I craved the quiet like a crystal meth addict craves her drug. Times change, people change, be open to it, new things will always happen and surprise you. In time, you will always adjust. You have no other choice.

A Bright Star In The Dark Night

Dark Moon Tree on Night Sky / Magic Fantasy Space

Dark Moon Tree on Night Sky / Magic Fantasy Space (Photo credit: epSos.de)

After hearing ‘Good Morning America’s’ Robin Roberts’ story about breast cancer and subsequently MDS and after reading the amazingly talented Suleika Jahoud’s journey as a young adult with cancer (“Acute Myeloid Leukemia) (I am in awe of this incredibly beautiful and amazingly talented young woman) in the Science Times (Tuesdays of The New York Times) I wanted to do more than write a check for cancer research. I wanted to give something of myself; I ordered the free bone marrow kit and received the four swabs that came in the mail. I thought I would get the swabs and swab my cheeks that night but I found myself not doing that. Was I procrastinating or just thinking? Actually, I was just taking it all in. I did the swabs last night, with my husband overseeing it, and the envelope now sits in our bright red mailbox, flag raised, waiting to be picked up.

I’ve always wanted to do this and for years thought it was expensive, painful and really didn’t know how to go about getting the information for the bone marrow donation kit. Because of the Robin Roberts’ story, it was advertised and thus readily available. Sure, I give money, when I can, to cancer research, but this was personal. If I could help someone live, my G-d, I would do it. Imagine the feeling of giving someone the opportunity to live out their life, so they can marry or live to see their children grow up or have a new life because you are helping them. I can’t imagine NOT doing it, can you?

I’ve always been an organ donor, especially since my father-in-law had a liver transplant before I even dated my husband. If it wasn’t for his liver transplant he would never have seen us date and get married, meet his grandchildren and watch them graduate from high school and go off to college. This November we will all be here together celebrating Thanksgiving; how could I not be an organ donor?

My goal in life was to be a good mother and I think I achieved that. My two children are grown now, at 18 and almost 20. I am so proud of them, of the people they have become. But, this is one more chance to help a person in the world. If we are a match, dear stranger, I will step up and do you proud. I will put aside all my fear of pain and discomfort and I will try to make your dreams come true. I will donate my bone marrow. If it doesn’t work, yes, I will be sad, but at least I will know that I tried to help.

I watched the shiny red mailbox on and off all day and only when the flag of the mailbox was lowered, when the mail had been picked-up, did I sigh with relief and smile, knowing, at least, I had followed through and given someone, somewhere, like a bright star in a dark night, a tiny speck of hope.

DEDICATED TO ROBIN ROBERTS AND SULEIKA JAHOUD