July 17,’17

Hi everyone.
I have been to an osteopath and I am going to like him. He tried manual manipulation on my back last week, but said he couldn’t do me much good because my sternum is “frozen”. Doesn’t turn in all directions as it is supposed to.
So now I will be going to therapy for about 5 weeks. I am in hopes they can help. At least the cause of my hip and leg pain has been diagnosed properly (I hope!). I always said I hurt more when I have to walk or stand; turns out there was a reason for that.
Anyway, life goes on and I’m still getting around. Can’t do all the things I would like, but I’m trying not to complain. Others are much worse off. Last week 3 of my friends had surgery on the same day……one was for cancer, one for kidney stones, and the other for a broken hip. So when I feel sorry for myself I think of them.

My Self

My self is a mindless bird that sees
in the window glass another bird.

I fly to that other, but rather than
a joyful meeting
I smash my self against the reality of my ego

and lie broken and breathless on the ground.

I Cannot Abide Cold

cold feet, cold hands,
cold days, or
cold eyes

keep me cozy please
wrapped in sweaters and throws
happily snuggling a day away

banish ice cream, ice cubes
and ice cold beer

I wish to be far from icebergs
ski trails
and snowmen.

but even farther away
from iced people

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July 2nd

A belated Happy Canada Day to my Canadian friends and relatives! Most of you know that I have never given up my Canadian citizenship. I said something the other day to a friend who didn’t know that…I said I wished I could return to live in Canada. She said it might not be that easy to move up there, and I said, Oh they have to let me in. I’m a citizen of the Great Country to the North. And proud of it.
There are reasons why I never became a citizen of the USA. After all these years, (57), why bother. Besides, I have always been appalled, from the time I first arrived in Indiana to go to college, at the arrogance of the American people. They think everyone in the world wants to be an American citizen and that they are the best at everything.
PBS is running a series of shows about the history of China. It is very interesting to think that China has thousands of years of history, culture and tradition while the USA is a comparative baby. And yet it seems to me that Americans look at China as somehow less intelligent, somehow less advanced. Strange.
These things are in my thoughts as this weekend is the 4th of July holiday. I confess that I tire of the rampant patriotism on display every year on the 4th. Everyone loves the country of their birth and every country has a unique culture and perspective. We should respect that.

Here is a poem I wrote 11 years ago and it is still relevant.
AMERICAN ECONOMICS
What do you do in 30,000 square feet?
there must be rooms
you never use,
Ceilings so high, with heat rising
and rising and rising
using massive quantities of fuel
To feed an ego bolstered by
a six-figure income
and some economic power.
Why do you need to impress?
who is there who in the end
will count you righteous for your greed?

What do you do in 600 square feet?
there must be a window somewhere
for you to feel the sun,
And old chair where you could put your feet up
to count the pennies
left from you social security check
And find a way to pay for
the little bit of heat you need
to make it through the winter.
Who do you have to live for?
who is there who in the end
will give you pity for your poverty?

June 20

Apparently I have hips that are, to quote the doctor, “totally out of whack”. So on Thursday of this week I will get a steroid shot in my SI joint which should help with my pain, which seems to me to get worse every day.
It will be a little while until I know for sure that the shot has helped and then the doctor will send me to therapist, who, he assures me, is excellent and will target the therapy to what I need.
I feel better just knowing there is a little help in sight.

Too bad that the world is feeling so much pain too. There are so many reasons for the state the world finds itself in, but one of things that is most dismaying to me is the billions spent on war and armaments. What a waste of resources. What if parents spent most of their money stockpiling weapons and said they had no money left over to feed and clothe and give health care to their children?
Anyway, here is a poem that came out of my reflecting on the huge military base near me called the White Sands Missile Range where weapons of destruction are tested.

WHITE SANDS

I am sitting under a bowl of perfect blue sky
on a hillside east of the Organs.
I see a line of distant hills and a green plain,
a vista that stretches for miles, and, over all,
a blanket of blowing dust.

There is a white ribbon near the horizon,
which I know to be a mystery of shifting sands.

A cooling breeze blows over me,
trying in vain to blow away
my thoughts of what is really below.
for it is a valley of death,
a place accepted because its jobs bless the economy
while it curses mankind with weapons.

There must always be new weapons,
new ways to kill,
new ways to be top dog,
to rule the world,
to smother love and mercy.

And so the dusty mist tries to conceal reality
just as clouds of unconcern blur our minds

and the wind blows on,
moving the sands tiny grain by tiny grain,
toward oblivion.

June 17

Well, the plague of Southwest June is here. Today it will get up to 107 degrees F. I’m staying home.

And the news goes on, if you can dignify it as news. It is like a terrible accident, you are appalled, but somehow you can’t look away. Sometimes I listen to TV news and sometimes I get my news from political cartoons or clips from late night TV. You can find them on YouTube. Way more satisfying. At least one can laugh. I just finished reading a great book titled, “Dark Money”. Every American should read it. Although it is very scary it explains a lot.

I see a orthopedic doctor on Monday. Hoping for some answers. I’m trying to put it all in perspective……….

THE PEA IN MY SLIPPER

I was enjoying a relaxing evening
with a plate of colorful, delicious
vegetables upon my lap
and then a pea fell into my slipper.

Life was, in general, good
and placid until into my family
strode a killer with a capital C
and then a pea fell into my slipper.

I had a dear and special friend
who was my alter ego, but
one day she suddenly was gone
and a pea fell into my slipper.

My body stayed healthy for many years
my strength a source of pride,
but then aging took over, my body slowed,
while a pea fell into my slipper.

None of these problems belonged in my life !
I struggled to understand why, until
my pain appeared in proper perspective
as only a pea in my slipper.

June 3

Well, I got the test results from the neurosurgeon on Wednesday. The good news is I don’t require another surgery. The bad news is that I got no information other than that from him. Once a surgeon decided that he isn’t going to get to do a surgery on you, he loses interest. He seemed in a big hurry and I didn’t get to question him further.
He gave me referrals to an orthopedic Dr. and to pain management. I’ll have to see the orthopedist first. What I really want is answers as to where the pain is coming from and what is causing it. I suppose I’ll have to wait more weeks to see that Dr. It is a circle of pain and despair, trying to get the help you need from the medical system. I just thank God I have good insurance. If it wasn’t for that, I’d be unable to afford all these tests and appointments.
So I don’t have more to say than that. The pain in my upper back gets worse….pain in the SI joint and hip lessen if I rest a lot.
Just trying to keep going and not get down and discouraged.
The poem today kind of says how I feel about my body….I’d be glad to leave it behind.

MESSAGE TO MY BODY

You have been so long a part of me,
but now you draw away.

You refuse to do the things I enjoy,
sulking like a dying love.

I feel I’m losing you.
Soon we shall part—oh yes!

You see, I can live without you,
but you cannot live without me.

I shall be set free from
the prison of your limitations.

For many years you served me well, but
now you offer restrictions and excuses.

So you must be less important now.
My spirit will take me the rest of the way.

May 17

.
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.