May 17

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I saw the neurosurgeon yesterday. We only talked,so there isn’t anything I can tell you at this point. He has ordered X-rays and an MRI of my back, so until he sees those, nothing to report.

He is located in El Paso, which is about a 45 minute drive. It is hard for me to sit in the car for a long time, which is why I’ve put off taking a jaunt up to Albuquerque to visit old friends. 45 minutes was not bad, but still, I’m not sure I want to try a longer trip. To Albuq. takes me at least 3 and a half hours, or more because I have to stop often. I was so hoping to visit friends in northern NM this summer, so am hoping for some pain relief before the nice weather ends up there. (They live at 8500 ft. altitude!)

This reflects my thinking on travel right now…………..

TRAVEL

I only travel in my mind,
leaving car and plane trips behind.

How lovely it would be to go
to places I’ve not been before.

But I can always go to play
in exotic places far away

when I join an author in Timbuktu
or learn of the Inca way down in Peru.

I read of the pearl fishing in Bahrain
and traditional celebrations in Spain.

My TV helps me travel too, you know,
to every place I would like to go.

Alas, I’m here in my old armchair
regretting that I cannot go anywhere.

But places I’ve been still beckon me
to revisit them often in memory

Sun. May 7

It’s a beautiful day in the neighborhood ! I go to an 8:15 AM service at my church, so am always up and away early on Sundays. That is not so easy to do in the winter, but in summer it is the time to be out.

Nothing more to tell you about my health condition. Just that I have a lot of pain in my back and legs, and am just trying to deal with that as best I can without any pain medication. I lie down a lot or use the heating pad.

Late spring is a great time for flowering plants here in Las Cruces. Right now the yucca are blooming and the large white blossoms are a glorious sight. Also, the red, white, or pink oleander are blooming in profusion. I’m not a flower or gardening person, but can enjoy the beauty of the flowers.

I’ve thought about commenting on some things going on in the world and in the national news, but I think I should refrain. In other words, as they say……”don’t get me started!!” If nothing else we now have great political cartoons and the late night talk shows have an unlimited source of satire.

Since today is Sunday, here is a faith poem:

QUIET MORNINGS

It is quiet in my neighborhood
early in the morning.
I can rise early and be
alone with God.

When my day is busy and noisy
I cannot hear his voice
but in the quiet I listen and he speaks
in that still, small voice.

First, I offer my worship and
he accepts it graciously.
I admit before him all my
shortcomings and he forgives.

I thank him for blessing me with
the wonderful people in my life.
I tell him that I know he has led me
to the place I am now.

I could never have arranged my life
the way he has
and he laughs because I am amazed
at how he brought me here.

He tells me, “That is what I do for those
who love and trust me.”
I sip my morning coffee and
I feel enveloped in Love.

Friday April 28

Greetings all…..
Well….here’s the update on my health: I saw the nephrologist this past week and he is quite optimistic about my condition. Of all the causes of CKD (chronic kidney disease), mine was likely high blood pressure. Mine is still high, but Dr. says it isn’t too high for my age and condition. I shall continue to watch my diet and keep my weight down, that’s about all I can do right now.
In two months I’ll have another blood test and we’ll see how I’m doing.
My bigger concern is the pain I’m having in my back and hips. I see a Dr. in El Paso about that in a couple of weeks.
So….how about a little levity today?…………..

ENGLISH CONFUSION

at first I do not know this word “tape”
I bought some sticky tape
but it didn’t work when I tried to play it
on the machine called recorder
the yellow band the police put up is
tape, yes? it’s not sticky. Maybe they
use invisible tape to catch the
criminals, eh? I wrapped myself
all over in the stuff but they still saw me.
I wish to see how long is my room so
I get tape, but it has no marks
and sticks to the floor. My friend
told me I have tape inside because I
eat so much. Strange things, but then
I discover the tape called duct !
This tape I love.
I used it to fix my car.

April 22,’17

I hope wherever you live you are having lovely spring weather.  It is getting quite warm here already, so what’s new?

My daughter, Lara, was here with me over the Easter weekend and we had a great visit. We enjoyed a dinner on Easter Sunday at the home of one of my friends.

I have an appointment next month with the neurosurgeon who did my back fusion two years ago.  Have to drive to El Paso to see him, but I decided that would be the best way to find out exactly from where my back pain is coming. It is increasingly uncomfortable.

“….language is better than reality…”  Billy Collins                          

To sink gratefully into a book,

and leave realities behind

is the ultimate escape.

I have no need to buy

the things I admire

for I will have

their mem’ries

always

here.

 

April 6th

It’s a beautiful day in the neighborhood! Sunny and warm and not too windy today.
I’m not expert on this blog thing. I cannot figure out how to have what I write appear on the page as I want it to. When I hit “publish” it runs all my paragraphs together and shoves all the lines of poetry off to the left margin. I need help! If I take the time to ask for help I’m sure I could get it….one of these days I will. In the mean time, just know that not all my poetry is written flush to the left margin !!
I’m doing OK this week…..not super great, just OK. Smile. I need to see a doctor about the pains in my back, but I’m waffling as to which one to go to. Worst pain is in the SI joint.
I’ll not have any more information about my kidney function for several weeks yet. I have an appt. with the specialist on the 25th, but he didn’t order a blood test this time. Don’t know why.
I do want to wish you all a Blessed Easter. Next week, Holy Week, will be busy and I probably won’t have time to add to the blog, so Easter greetings are coming early.
I know everyone has their problems and aches and pains, so I wish God’s blessings of peace and guidance for you all, whatever your situation may be.

EASTER
Are you surprised, then, that his tomb
was empty?
Why would you want him to be there?
Do you want your very self to disappear
into the oblivion
of death?
Your existence to mean nothing
in the end?

It is folly to deny the power of life,

for no matter how you try, humanity,
you cannot seal up a soul
in the grave
of mere earth.

EASTER IN ALBUQUERQUE

The sky was blue today
Blue, blue, blue
blue, blue
blue……..blue !
and on the tops of the mountains
God spread his white lace tablecloth.
Below in the park he decorated the trees for Easter
in pinks and reds and
blossom white,
and blew gently upon the scene he painted
to set the colors.

At last.

I shall try to put something on this blog much more often than I have been. I promise ! It won’t be all poetry. I started out wanting it to be a way to share my writings with my friends, but I think very few of them are really interested.
I want to do more sharing of my heart, my situation, where I am in my thought life, as well as my poetic life. I confess that the ravages of old age are getting me down and I have not been feeling well at all lately. I was told in January of this year that I have kidney disease and it is quite far along. I have managed to improve my kidney function by strictly changing my diet, but still, it is a worry.
My liver disease is well controlled, but now it is arthritis in my hips as well as back, and so I am in almost constant pain. I want to walk and do some minimal exercise, but I find it only causes extreme breathlessness. I tell you this not to whine, but just to set the scene, so to speak.
I had a friend who died last year of a brain tumor. While being treated for that, over the course of a few years, she kept up a blog to let her friends know how she was doing. I think I’ll do the same. Instead of feeling guilty for not communicating with friends, I shall direct them to my blog and thus tell everyone at once. Not that I suffer anything life threatening, not at all ! At least not yet.
For the last 2 or 3 years, for some reason which I cannot explain, a lot of the poetry I’ve written has to do with old age, death, or dying. At first I didn’t even realize I was writing in that vein, and so I wonder why. Perhaps because at my age you lose friends to death and death seems to creep closer.
For example:

LOSS

Older people learn that very soon
dear friends depart for unknown lands
while they remain behind.

Youth feel the pain of loss
but it is not the same.
When you grow old
you see them falling,
one by one as in a
terrible dream—the war of bodies
making their last stands against
the encroachment of the years.

There is no hope of winning,
no possibility of a truce with death.
Only loss after loss after loss.
And it is what it is what it is.

And, what it is is almost the end of March, 2017. Unbelievable, no?

Greetings to all from the sunny southwest.  And I do mean sunny!  The weatherperson tells us that in a day or two we may expect temperatures to reach into the 80s. (But only for a few days, then back to more seasonal norms.  You never know anymore, do you?  Best just look out the window for a forecast.

Well…here’s my February poem: (this is not supposed to be double spaced, but I can’t seem to change it so…….)

                February

oh look!

it’s the month of my birth.

and I cannot decide if I should

celebrate and call my friends in

for a party

or cry copious tears of rage

because of age.

 

but, seriously, I know that

tears are wasted on what I cannot change

and the years will pass

without my permission.

 

and so, I will put on the smiley face.

I will claim sageness and sagacity

and pretend I am so much wiser

than the young.

 

I do, however, avoid mirrors,

especially in changing rooms at the mall,

and try not to stare in envy

at my friends who have managed to keep

their youthful figures by

indulging in hopeless exercise.

 

For even though the sun is shining

to cheer up a winter day,

I can just as cheerfully sit

and exercise my mind,

losing myself and my cares

in other places, other concerns,

other months that may arrive

and offer hope.

2017

Happy New Year ! That’s what one is expected to say on the first of January. It may not be happy for you, so if not, then I would wish you joy and peace instead, along with God’s best blessings.
It is already the 10th of Jan. today, and I need to put something on this blog. Lately, I’ve felt without anything worthwhile to say. I need to make a resolution to do better with my blog in ’17, although I never make resolutions, so I’m not sure how that would work out.
To start with , here is a little ditty that came to my mind the other day:

My sweet tooth sent me to the kitchen,
where temptation was strong, I confess.
I was drawn right away to the chocolate,
for I’ve simply no will power, I guess.

I glanced at the carrots and celery,
the yogurt looked good I must say.
But there sat the gooey fudge cake.
Ignore it? Ha ha ! No way.

the New Year

My thoughts at the end of 2016:
I listen to a radio program called the Commonwealth Club every Saturday morning. Today the guest was a journalist and author who has a new book out which is all about the pace of change in our world.
His name is Thomas Friedman and the book is “Thank You For Being Late: an optimist’s guide to thriving in the Age of Accelerations.” (You can see who Friedman is by just googling his name.)
After listening to his lecture this morning, I felt compelled to write down the following thoughts, and share them on my blog.
If you haven’t stopped to think about it, ponder this: it is only in the last 9 or 10 years that we have had Google, Facebook, etc. and the “cloud”. I know, it seems longer, but not so. Those of us who are older, like myself, look at the lightning speed of change and feel like we cannot keep up. Only that short time ago we did not have Wi-Fi, hand-held devices that double as telephones and internet connections, or people in undeveloped economies with the same telephone connections as we in the Western world.
Because of things like Twitter, whole populations can be swayed in an election year into voting for an inexperienced demagog. Truth is being buried under fake news and people scarcely know any more what to believe or believe in.
As I listened to the lecture on the radio this morning, I began to think of what it is that we CAN cling to in times like these. What never changes, no matter new technology, new governments, or new standards of human behavior? God, of course !
God is love, yes, but also peace, joy, generosity, and hope—always hope for the future, no matter what happens. A belief in and trust in the eternal spirit that lives in all of us humans and that we call God allows us to deal with change, and even with despair and pain.
There is an old hymn that is still sung in Protestant churches, “The Solid Rock”. This is our God, solid, but unlike a rock in that He is never eroded or changed by wind, rain, water, or the faithlessness of His creation.
This is what we can cling to and believe in now, in the days of lightning fast change.
I wish you a blessed and hopeful New Year.

Merry Christmas !

This is my annual Christmas letter to friends and family. I wanted to include a couple of pictures, but since I can’t figure out how to transfer them from my photo gallery to this site, I finally gave up. I do waste a lot of time trying to figure out how to do things. The aging brain does not take easily to all the new technology.
I will also include a poem that I scribbled just this morning as I sat and admired the few decorations that I managed to drag out of my closet a couple of days ago.

December 2016

This year has sped by, as it does, but I think I’ve aged about 5 years at least. (smile)
The worse part of my year was, of course, the death of my dear sister Lona. It was a huge shock to everyone as it was so sudden. She insisted that there be no service of any kind and so her family honored that although it wasn’t what we would have preferred. We talked on the phone often and also by e mail, but I had not seen her since summer of 2015 when she came to Colorado. I am thankful that I had seen her so recently.
In March the Toths asked me to move out of their apartment as Barb wanted it back to use for a music studio. I was quite surprised, as I had always had the impression that this was a long-term arrangement. So, at first I couldn’t imagine how I would ever find a decent apartment elsewhere. Rents are not high here compared to other places, but to someone on a small fixed income it seemed I would have to live in a less than desirable part of town.
As usual, God led me to just the right place. It is rent-subsidized senior only building. It is not old, and is very nice both in and out. It took me awhile to get used to having someone living above me, and walking farther to my car. But I usually can feel at home wherever I land
Lara came down for a few days to help me move the small things, and a group of men from my church came and moved the furniture. What a blessing that was !
As everywhere else, I suspect, our weather is not as it used to be.
Our hottest month is usually June, and we get our
“monsoon” rains in July and August. This year was hotter in July and most of the rains came not until Sept. It is finally cooling off, but has been mostly sunny and nice up to now.
I’m feeling my age more and more as I‘ve had several annoying health problems this year; nothing life threatening, but things that have sapped my patience and my energy. In July I had heart tests, including a heart catheter. All year I have struggled with wax build-up in my ears, sometimes blocking my hearing completely. Several times I had to go back to the doctor to have them cleaned out, including one time when he had to send me to the hospital and knock me out in order to get the wax out without causing excessive pain.
I am experiencing also more back and leg pain and find it harder to walk any distance or be on my feet for long. Not sure what that bodes, but I try to take it one pain at a time. (smile)
The end of Sept. was the most exciting time of 2016 for me. Lou’s family decided that since we were denied a chance to gather and grieve after she died, that we would get together anyway. Since we all had planned to go to New Orleans on the 29th to celebrate her 80th birthday with her, we went anyway, even though she was only with us in spirit. Her oldest son, Mike, his wife and 2 children came, as did her youngest son, Doug, with his wife and two children. So, Lara and I made 10 and we had a lovely family reunion.
Lara and I decided to drive, but it was a fast trip as she had only a week left of vacation this year. We managed to cram a whole lot into our short time, however. We made a short stop in Little Rock, AR at the Clinton Presidential Library. Neither of us had been to a presidential library before. It was quite impressive.
Next, we stayed over in Vicksburg, MS and spent a morning touring the Veteran’s Memorial Park, which is a huge place stretching over several miles of the site where the famous Civil War Battle of Vicksburg took place. It was a long siege which resulted in victory for the northern army and their regaining control of the Mississippi, a key supply route.
The next day we arrived in the New Orleans area, but as the rest of the family had not come yet, we decided to tour a Civil War era plantation, which was fascinating.
We only had a couple of full days with the rest of the family, but we enjoyed each other and shared memories. At dinner on the 29th we toasted our mother, grandmother, sister and aunt with an appropriate Irish toast.

CHRISTMAS (2016)

they’ve all come to the party
as they do every year
to climb dutifully up on the tree

a crystal dove of peace settles
on a branch next to a Santa
who is kneeling at a manger

wondering why he is there along with
balls of native design, sporting bear claws
and kokopelli in nambe

stylized clay bears hang along side bells
ringing Feliz Navidad near tiny white
lights and red chiles

we all gaze fondly across the room
to the table by the window where
another group of regulars has gathered

they find their places, knowing
that of all those at the party
they are the most important guests

Mary and Joseph look down once again
on the tiny baby, beside well-dressed kings and
a rough shepherd who brought a cow

and a sheep along, staying a safe
distance from the kneeling camel.
the month of lights and good cheer

will soon be over. Then they will all go
back into their boxes while I
make them promise to come again next year.