May 21, 2018

A ~ Not the A to Z Challenge 2018

Ayahuasca!

How is that for a word?

From the jungles of the Amazon, the shamans bring us our first 'spiritual' subject in our (NOT) A to Z Challenge.

There is a consensus on most websites about the Ayahuasa vine, the Ayahuasca tea and the Ayahuasca trip. They say 'Ayahuasca takes you, you don't take it!"

The tea itself is a mixture of the vine and Chacruna, a shrub that contains a strong (to put it lightly) hallucinogenic. Ayahuasca is called the 'Wisdom' or 'Teacher' plant and surely, it is not consumed for a recreational high. The physical consequences are gut wrenching, if you know what I mean.

So why take it? Why participate in this shaman-led ritual?

Some declare it is a successful treatment for PTSD. Some say they have met with the great Jaguar spirit and gone on spiritually enriching journeys without leaving their mattress or the campfire. Others report sleeping, dreaming of wonderful memories of childhood, or finding lost parts of their soul.

The ability to understand the meaning and richness of those experiences is agreed by most to be a huge part of consuming the concoction.

Ayahuasca is also said to be the doorway to the Divine Feminine, often referred to as Mother Ayahuasca.

Researching, asking questions, diving into the shaman writings, I've discovered the profound truth is that partaking in Ayahuasca does not change you, does not cause you to be happy. The Wisdom tea gives you hints, shows you flashes of what you are and what you could be. It helps you to see, if you look close, to what is real about you and what is not.

As Always, it is up to us to make the choice to be authentic, to be true to our own values, to be honest. Ayahuasca just nudges our conscience and our consciousness with glimpses into our soul.

Art Courtesy of http://www.thesacredvoyage.com


Would I try it? Could be! Truthfully though, the Amazon has never been even remotely close to my Bucket List. I really, really, really don't like bugs that bite or snakes that drop onto unsuspecting hikers from a canopy of trees. As for Ayahuasca, I'm truly opposed to projectile vomiting, but the Jaguar is my spirit animal...hmm!

Uh, no, unless, of course, a really enticing spiritual practice comes up in the next 25 letters,
I'll stick to my Sandalwood incense  and meditation.


A to Z Challenge...uh, did I miss it?


Apparently, I missed the A to Z Challenge this year, as Susan so clearly states, Plan B took over and the Challenge went on without me! Can you imagine?  

I was several preparatory-posts into the challenge when all hell broke loose. I thought I would post anyway. I could save posts for next year...but what if there isn't a next year?

So, here goes.


In the name of Truth, Transparency and Trust, I confess that I am writing this on February 13!

Yes, I did just read Marquessa's post on "How To Do The A to Z Challenge"! Ignoring my habitual tendencies to reject or rebel against authority figures, I'm applying a couple of her suggestions.

She advises to choose a theme that readers would be interested in, especially if the goal is to attract readers to your blog. I'm not sure that is my primary goal. My intention is to challenge myself to keep up and post every day, to write about what interests me (and possibly a couple of people who already visit my blog) and to have fun.

Sidenote: The word "fun" seems juvenile but I refuse to change it to merry, amusing, enjoyable or entertaining just to prove that I am a mature adult!  

What interests me that I can write on every day for a month?
 
Wine? No, I only know about eight days worth about wine!
Cooking? No, I like to cook, not to write about it so much!
Politics? Hell, no!

Today is Fat Tuesday, tomorrow is Ash Wednesday; both cultural and spiritual practices. Now those subjects sound fun stimulating and interesting!

My theme for the 2018 A to Z Challenge is The A to Z of Cultural and Spiritual Practices of the World.  Hmm, too long. (flow of consciousness happening here), what if I just delete Cultural from the theme title but if the spiritual subject of the day crosses over to cultural traditions, I might include it. Yeah, okay, that works for me.

My theme is The A to Z of Spiritual Practices!

What better than to start with than Ash Wednesday...or Astrology...or Ayahuasca!




May 20, 2018

And now...

We had a short, private service for Mom at the Veteran's Cemetery. Dad fell in love with the place and was very happy that Mom was in such a beautiful area with mountain views and Mt. Lassen plainly in view. The inscription on the niche place will be "Forever Young" since that is their last name.

We got Dad moved from the boonies to town. He now lives across the street from my sister and we see him everyday without the 45 minute drive to and from.

We had a Memorial Service for Mom on Mother's Day. It was beautiful. (Thank you Robin and Diane, for your incredible help and eye for beauty). Dad loved seeing everyone, had a couple of good cries (who didn't) and went home feeling sad but that the 'business' of death was complete. Time to get on with grieving.

We still have to prepare his house on the river for sale. Paint the kitchen cabinets, paint some trim on the exterior and trim up some of the trees to clear the view to the river.  Of course, our summer heat is barreling down on us, so we need to get a move on it.

It's incredible how consuming the business of death is. Of course, there is a lot of second guessing because how does one decide on the big stuff when you're too confused to make a decision on what you want in the McDonald's drive-thru!  One afternoon after and especially grueling couple of days, The Guy pulls into McD's and asks me what I want.

"I don't know! I can't make another decision!" I whined back to him.

When the loudspeaker voice asked what they should get started he requested "two McDoubles-no cheese and a large diet coke with two inches of rum!"

The morning after the Memorial I woke up completely relaxed BUT every muscle in my body was screaming in pain! Apparently, I must have unconsciously been carrying myself as rigid as I could due to the stress. The same for Sister and The Guy.

We got Dad to see a doctor and the doctor gave my dad some hope about his fatigue and lethargy. It's been difficult convincing an 89 year old hard working man that lethargy and weakness are a part of grieving.

I woke up this morning with the desire to read some of your blogs, post more than a sentence or two and I might even (might) take a shower before 2 p.m.!

I think it's going to be a good day!

Thank you all for the support! You're the best!

May 12, 2018

Squirrel!

 
This meme describes our lives right now. I feel like we've all been walking through a thick gel.

There is light at the end of the tunnel. I can almost see it. I miss you all!

April 24, 2018

New Perspective

My mother died at home in the most gentle, loving manner. My sister, my father and I were holding her hands, stroking her face, telling her how loved she was. Her surviving sisters, brother and sister-in-law all called at one time or another to tell her they loved her.

Dad told her many times that he loved her and that she was beautiful.

We had decided to bring her home. Hospice ordered a hospital bed and all the supplies we needed to make her comfortable.

Many nights my 89 year old father would sit with her for hours, holding her hand.

Mom and Dad were the absolute best dancers I've ever seen. They could Swing Dance like nobody's business, always gathering a crowd around them as they boogied!

They collected albums (remember those) of all the Old Standards. With Mom's hospital bed in the living room, we would play Frankie Lane, Ella Fitzgerald, Keely Smith and Louie Prima. With each record that played, Dad would share a memory of their early days, dancing, concerts, picnics, camping in the Rockies. Sixty-eight years of marriage and lots and lots of precious memories.

There were also a tremendous number of epiphanies as we sat vigil with Mom.  It broke my heart to see her so vulnerable. Never in my life had I ever thought of her as helpless or indefensible. In those moments, I discovered that I had only thought of her as "Mom" never as a "Woman". I'm not sure I know how to explain it to anyone in a way they can understand, or if we all suddenly "get it" as our mothers pass from this world to the next.

As we have been sorting through her letters, memoirs, stories, we have uncovered incredible things about her. She saved every Mother's Day card, Birthday card or just card-card we ever gave her, sometimes not the whole card, just the part where we wrote, "Happy Birthday Mom, I love you".

We discovered that she wrote letters to congressmen, NASA, Historical Societies, and various VIP's. She kept copies (typewrite carbon copies) of all her letters, inquiries and thank you's. My sister and I were both awarded scholarships when we graduated from high school; Mom wrote thank you letters to the organizations and schools that awarded the scholarships. She fought hard to keep my brother from going to Vietnam and to get him out of Vietnam once he was sent there. At the time, he was in the Air Force and the only son of an only son. No descendants to pass on the Young surname.

She clipped every San Francisco Giants newspaper article for the past 50 years, as well as every article of historical significance. She clipped notes to many articles, explaining the mood of the country or what our family was up to at the time, what her thoughts were.

Her collection of Genealogy articles is overwhelming. She has copies of Land Grants, grant deeds, birth certificates, baptismal certificates, wedding certificates, honorable discharges. We had ancestors who have been state congressmen, sheriffs and sheriffs deputies in the wild, wild west. One great-great uncle had a run-in with Jack Black Ketchum and lost, she's got the hard evidence of that sad event.

Mom never, ever let the sun cook her the way most of us did. At the beach, in the garden, sitting on the patio, she wore a wide brimmed sunhat. Everyone who took care of this tiny 89 year old woman came in expecting someone with at least a bit of age to her skin. Every last one of them were visibly amazed at her beauty and skin. One of the visiting hospice nurses actually slapped both hands to her cheeks and exclaimed, "Oh my god, she is beautiful!"  When the mortuary people came to take her away, the woman also exclaimed the same exact words! 

Well, I didn't mean to go on and on. I just wanted to say that it was an honor and incredible gift to be able to take care of my mother in her last weeks of life. I discovered that she loved me (who knew?) and that I sincerely loved her.


April 09, 2018

Thank You All

I can't tell you all how much your comments and caring mean to me. Thank you with all my heart.

Mom is at home and in hospice care. Comfort measures only. The hospice nurses have been wonderful. They are tender and gentle, not only with Mom, but also with our Father.

This has been extremely hard on Dad. When going to reposition her in the night, I find him asleep in a chair next to her hospital bed, both of them asleep and holding hands.

One day I will share the nightmare of healthcare in Shasta and Tehama Counties. It truly feels as if my sister and I have been at war to protect our mother's health, safety and welfare.  Our fear is overwhelming for the older people who don't have family to protect them.

For now, all is going as smooth as can be expected...will fill you in on details, but going back to bed!

I miss you all. Thank you again for your thoughtfulness and caring.

March 24, 2018

What To Say...


Mom is in hospice.

Dad is at her side, as one would only expect him to be.

I'll catch up with you all on the flip side.

March 13, 2018

Update

Three weeks ago, my mother fell at home, twice within a couple of days. She complained of severe groin, hip and leg pain. My sister took her to her doctor. Mom walked into doctor's office, in severe pain but she walked.

She asked if she could have x-rays. Her physician (using this title lightly) told her xrays weren't necessary because she walked in. "You wouldn't be able to walk if your hip was broken." He told her to go home and take Ibuprofen.

Her pain has been out of this world. Saturday as she was walking through the house, her legs just gave out and she fell again. Dad called about 10:00 PM and said Mom fell, he can't get her up. He has Parkinson's and doesn't have body strength to pick her up.

We hauled ass to get to them. We got her in bed, she refused to let us take her to hospital because she said her doctor says its just some sore ligaments. We spent the night with them but Mom did not sleep, screamed out most of night. Early Sunday morning I took her to hospital.

Mom is in excruciating pain with any movement, transferring, walking or laying down but sitting down she is more comfortable. The doctor comes in, moves her legs, asks her a couple of questions. I tell him her feet are extremely swollen, purple and edema 6+. She had her socks on because she is always freezing. He glances at her socks and answers, "yeah, there's a little swelling." He doesn't take off her socks, he doesn't actually see her feet and not one nurse or dr checks her lower extremities for edema. When I was in nursing that was always a routine part of vitals, especially with elderly patients with hip and leg pain.

Doctor says he doesn't think she has a broken hip because of the way he could move her legs. They take x-rays and he comes back with diagnosis of hairline fx (fracture) of superior pubis bone. Nothing can be done, he said but just wait for it to heal. I ask if she can have Rx for pain. He refuses. States that at her age any pain pills would make falling more risky and may cause some confusion or dementia. Again, she is advised to take Ibuprofen. They ship her out in spite of BP of 189/102 and swollen purple feet and extreme pain.

She cries out in pain as they are getting her into my car. She cries out in pain as we get her out. She doesn't sleep for another 24 hours, crying out in pain at every move. Yesterday we call ambulance. Pain is just over the top. 

They take additional x-rays, this time of the pelvis and spine. She has three additional Fx. Two in right pelvic bone and one in back.

What is wrong with physicians? What is this need to shuffle our elderly around without listening to them or looking at all the details.

She is in hospital on a morphine drip. She is emotionally relieved that the pain wasn't in her head and that she was not being a 'pansy' for hurting so much from some bruised or strained ligaments.

My sister and I are fuming!

I called her regular doctor and let him know that he let Mom suffer for three weeks by refusing to order x-rays when she first complained.

There is no way to explain the emotional trauma of these past couple of on everyone but especially Mom and Dad. It is hard enough being frail and 89 but to have your own physician dismiss you is unacceptable.

UNACCEPTABLE!


March 12, 2018

A Little Help From Our Friends

Roller coaster weekend. Some ups and some extreme lows.

A time when love becomes tough love, tests every ounce of patience and pushes every emotional button.

Scary! When life's circumstances are spiraling at warp speed, there is a strong pull to jump out of the whirlpool, to find peace at any cost.

As I have mentioned often lately, the universe is listening, always listening. So this morning, first thing on my FB thread is link to "10 Ways To Reach Out When You're Struggling With Your Mental Health."


I'm sharing this link, just in case the universe wants this excellent article to reach someone else who needs a reminder to reach out.


Sparkle

Oh My God! It's Monday!

How did that happen!

What happened to Saturday and Sunday...woooosh! Is it only one hour we spring forward or was it 47 and a half?

Never-the-less, it is Monday and time for a Sparkle.



In her own words, McGuffy's Reader writes, "I believe we are meant to be lights in this world. If we allow our light to shine, we can see where we are going. It is then that we can begin to truly see each other clearly. There is hope. Together, we can light up the entire world!

So, on Monday, she posts a Sparkle, a bit of wisdom to light the path.  She invites us to participate. 

 I chose to accept her invitation.

Sparkle, my friend, Sparkle.

Courtesy of Manager Foundation

Plant a seed today!


March 09, 2018

Friday! Celebrate & Fill-in!



Friday is Celebrate the Little Things originally from Lexa Cain's blog. Today is an extremely sad day at Lexa's. Her husband died this week. He was only 50. Here one day, gone the next.  My heart aches for her. I can't imagine the pain of losing a spouse, especially so suddenly. Love and hugs to you Lexa.

The news this morning of his passing has a profound affect on Friday Fill-ins (Feelings).

The four prompts are:

1. Before you_________________, you need to_________________.

2.After ___________________________.

3.Winter__________________________.

4. Spring_________________________.


1. Before you leave the house or go to sleep at night or hang up the phone, you need to say I love you.

2. After having a disagreement with your honey, give them a kiss and tell them you love them.

3. Winter is just another season, not really important in the grand scheme of things.

4. Spring up right now and call someone you love and tell them how important they are to you.

March 08, 2018

Tomorrow!

This morning I jumped out of bed, totally excited about my self-proclaimed To Do list. Totally!

I posted my plans for the day on Wondering and Wandering, got dressed and left the bedroom.

Holy Cow! 


Can a man be too good?

Wednesday afternoon, while The Guy was at my folks' house, I climbed up on a chair, and pulled a couple of things down from above my kitchen cabinets. Icky! Dusty and tacky.

I scrubbed them, tossed two things into the PURGE box, put a plant, a vase and a pitcher up. I looked at the rest of the cabinet tops and decided that soon, very soon, I was going to have to take everything down, clean and maybe update it all. Very soon came sooner than I expected.

The Guy walked in just as I was climbing off the counter. As I was taking the chair back to the dining room I commented that the other cabinets really needed cleaning.

"I'll need to get to it soon!" I said.

Wednesday is Survivor night. I watch it in the bedroom because we don't have cable or satellite tv. We have Apple TV, Netflix and Amazon in the living room. The bedroom television has an antenna.

The Guy doesn't get involved with Survivor until the last 5 or 6 people are left. So last night, he stayed in the living room to watch a show with lots of explosions, shooting and aliens. My thoughts were that he was probably snoozing in his chair.

Wrong!

While I was snuggled in bed, he was taking everything above the cabinets down. Everything but the dust, cob webs and ick.

Rex, Lily and I walked into the kitchen this morning and were shocked by all the baskets and teapots and oil lamps covering the counters, all the counters.  Kitchen looks good! I purged some really old things while wondering why I liked them enough to display. Scrubbed the cabinet tops, walls and ceiling.

Guess what I didn't do today!

Sometimes a guy can be too helpful!