Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Poetry Thursday - "An Open Window"

Poetry Thursday has come to an end. I will miss this club and the wonderful poets who have inspired and encouraged me. Poetry has opened a window of creative expression that I had never explored. I see things in completely different ways due to poetry and I love to share them. I've seen my poetry touch Dave's heart and maybe someone who has never liked poetry has been moved. Thank you Liz and Dana for all your hard work and time in creating a safe place to explore and share poetry. This was written by my husband and I as we looked out our window this morning.

Through an Open Window

the morning breeze caresses my body
like a cool sheet on a hot summer’s eve.
The sun emerges over the mountain top
beaming rays of hope awakening slumber.

Crisp clean air fills my lungs as I inhale
like a fresh pot of coffee fueling my day.
The song of the finch fills me with joy
as they splash like children taking a bath.

My eye’s open to nature emblazoned in color
like a comforting quilt made from loving hands.
Thunder heads rising above mountain tops
familiar shapes that beckon to be touched.

The outside will never be kept away from me as
it fuels my creativity like rain nourishes the earth.
Nature spills her beauty over me and poetry flows
from my heart as God speaks to me
through an open window.

Photo by stock.xchnge

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Encyclopedia of Me - "C"

I have only two fears that cause me to pause in my battle against ALS. The first is the decision to go on a breathing machine or not. The second fear is the inability to communicate. My fear is that I will not be able to say something hurts, that I need to use the bathroom or what I'd like to eat. Every decision will be made for me and I will lose control over my daily life.

I've been slurring my speech for at least 12yrs because my tongue muscles are shrinking. When I use the phone to check on bills or repairs many people are rude, thinking I'm drunk or high. My slur has progressed, but if I'm chatting face to face and you know I slur there is no problem. Over the phone it gets more difficult but like I said if you know, it's easier because my friends listen harder. People are not always good listeners because they are thinking more about what they are going to say next. The only time I get irritated is when people pretend they understood what I said when they didn't. I'd rather be asked "say that again?" because it validates that someone cares what I'm saying.

I must confess I get down right pissy if Dave or my girl's pretend or ask "what?" when I know I was clear. They are around me so often they understand me really well and even act as interpreters in public. If I get a "what?" I repeat it loudly with attitude. I know it's not right but I hate "selective hearing" from those who understand me. Some men and children have perfected this technique in families. It's my biggest fear that what if the people closest to me stop understanding me and what will happen to my life. Will I be ignored or will they pretend to understand my body language? Get frustrated and leave my control to a caregiver of their choosing? These are unrealistic fears because I have Dave, but he is human and has limits. Being a caregiver and caregiver coordinator is a daunting task. Dave is my rock and loves me but he can't do it alone.

I'm communicating like crazy, right now, so my body language and preferences are known by heart. I will never give my power away and if I did I would no longer exist. My eye's have been my parenting tool and love speakers for years, so I pray they will continue to communicate for me. We all could listen and communicate better with loved ones, including me, right now. I still can't communicate with my dad or tell my brother I love him. They would get very uncomfortable. If we say what we feel to those we love instead of surface conversations things would get real and hurts healed. TK thinks his real name is "Gramy Loves You TK" because I say it over and over just in case he gets older and never hears the words.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Sunday Scribbling - "I Get That Sinking Feeling"

I get that sinking feeling when I have made a big decision that will change the direction of my life and I have not analyzed it from every angle. I have very good intuition but if my heart overrides my head I get that sinking feeling which manifests into anxiety. I'm not very spontaneous on the big decisions and yet I have recently gambled with our dream.

Buying our dream house was all me. The open lot behind me at my current home was sold and a new house was built, obstructing a small part of my view. I was pissed and felt closed in, yet in hindsight it was not that bad. I told Dave I wanted to move up to the mountains and not feel so surrounded. He went right along since he hated living in a sub-division. We stumbled upon a wonderful area and looked at many homes that were selling for what we thought we could get for our current house. When we drove up to the last house I instantly hated it. It was full of chachkies and every wall was baby blue. Once I saw Dave's face light up at the yard with that "love at first sight look" I wanted it for Dave! We bought it that day and justified the pre-retirement purchase over lunch.

I've had a bag of mixed feeling on this decision weighing me down for two years now. We had no idea the housing market would take a dive. Now retirement is here we can't seem to give our current house away. We have two mortgages and Dave must find a job. No more decisions from the heart but instead I'll stick to being anal. We are not in danger of losing anything except a little savings but I realized my heart should never drive money decisions. We are still very blessed because Dave is young, healthy and does not hold At least we have a roof (actually two roofs) over our head and food in our bellies. Blessed indeed!

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Poetry Thursday- "Peach Pie"

I attempted a Villanelle poem and it gave me a major headache!


Five tercets and one quatrain plus the Villanelle has two rhymes. The rhyme scheme is aba, with the same end-rhyme for every first and last line of each tercet and the final two lines of the quatrain. I added a rhyme to the second line of every tercet as in the example given...I need my head checked!
Two of the lines are repeated:
The first line of the first stanza is repeated as the last line of the second and the fourth stanzas, and as the second-to-last line in the concluding quatrain. The third line of the first stanza is repeated as the last line of the third and the fifth stanzas, and as the last line in the concluding quatrain. They also suggested I can play with my repeating lines...ha!

I just should have done an "Ode" but I ran out of time messing with rhyme schemes. So here is my feeble attempt at a Villanelle poem for Dave. He has become a constant source of entertainment lately. He was tasting our green apples and white peaches and decided they were probably only good for pies. Dave made, on a whim, his first pie. He was so proud he made a second one a day later. He is so funny! He made a peach/pecan pie with a crumble topping and a apple/pecan pie with vanilla. He made the best pies I'd ever tried and served them warm with ice cream. This from a man that hates to cook. :) I was SO proud! Cut me some slack on repute (it said it could be a noun) and you find words that rhyme with fruit. :)

Repute was used unusually but I got desperate!
noun: the state of being held in high esteem and honor
verb: look on as or consider


In the shade of the peach tree
resting among the fallen fruit.
Wondrous ideas came to greet me.

I shall make a pie I shouted with glee
as I picked my fruit I thought, what a hoot.
In the shade of the peach tree.

I know peeling and washing are key
but that’s all I knew, leaving me mute.
Wondrous ideas came to greet me.

A cookbook lay across my knee,
if I pull this off there will be a repute.
I’ll bask in the shade of the peach tree.

With a pinch of this and that it shall be
a masterpiece that needed no recruit.
Wondrous ideas came to tempt me.

It looks delicious I must agree
as I eat with gusto enjoying my loot.
In the shade of the peach tree.

wondrous ideas came to greet me.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Encyclopedia of Me - "B"

Balance is a big part of my life, both physically and mentally. Physically the only reason I need a walker is because I have very little balance. I can't lift one foot without support and if you turn out the lights on me I'll go down like a sack of potatoes. I use the walls in my house instead of my walker for balance. When I first wake up I groggily become a human pin ball, bouncing from one wall to the next while heading to the restroom. Once in awhile I fall straight backwards without warning. I've learned how to fall over the years but I don't need these skills but once or twice a year. My little dog Nikki used to stand behind me in the kitchen until I landed on her head with my butt! You will never find Nikki behind me and Dave swears I caused her to be brain damaged.

Mentally I need balance in my relationships, responsibilities and my time. I have learned that if I'm not getting back what I put into a relationship I'll back away. I match the effort that the other puts out because I am a reformed people pleaser. I was that person to make most of the phone calls, loved gift giving opportunities and was a good "Dear Abby." I really thought the number of friends I had mattered or my long history with them. It's the quality and give and take in a friend that counts. Now that I'm a little difficult to understand over the phone, shopping is limited and I live 3hrs away from my friends. Those who continue to make an effort are treasured friends.

My kids are under the assumption that I must call them on a regular basis only to listen to their trials and tribulations. What I have been up to seems to slip their mind's. I get called out by my oldest because I talked with my youngest more than her that month...please! I'm calling TK , it just so happens my youngest has to answer the phone...dah! So I let them call me and I call TK. I will not see them together due to their consistent fighting and I prefer mother and daughter visits. Dave and I don't do family gatherings with my family and we like it that way. This is balance for sanity.

Marriage in my case is harder to balance. I hired a housekeeper, pick up, make the bed and manage the finances. Dave does yard, garage, cars, handyman, laundry, cooking, dishes, laundry and works. No balance there! In my head the balance comes in keeping my mouth shut by eating whatever he puts in front of me, wearing blue panties (once white) with a smile, and allowing him remote control power. He respects my alone time, friendships and kid visits. We hope that we will add even more balance once he retires with a few couple friends. We have been married for such a short time we have not made any yet. Dave is not a big socializer but a little balance won't kill him.

There is not a whole lot I can control in my life, no matter how hard I try. Keeping things balanced keeps me positive and sane.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Sunday Scribbling - "Dear Diary"

Dear Diary,

I never allowed my self to plan a future as an able bodied adult. I have always planned my future around my illness, but my progression has been so slow that I now feel I will be here for a cure. My friend Sharon sent me stem cell procedures being done in other countries, for a hefty price, at This is not something I'm not comfortable with at this stage of my illness. If I had only a few years, I'd probably be on a plane next week.

I wish I knew diary why I have been so blessed in my survival because I know the norm is 3-5yrs. I feel guilty as I see people lose an ability every month, while I sit here planning to move toward a dream retirement. When that "hands on healer" put her hand's on me years ago she said "I cannot heal you because you have become your illness." I remember feeling pissed that I had wasted my time. She continued by saying "until you let go of your illness you cannot be healed." Her words haunted me for months as I tried to deny their truth. She healed me in a way that day, but not my ALS, my mind. Along with my faith, love and a different attitude, I've made it to see a shot for a cure in my lifetime.

I'm dreaming of the possibilities of a future now. I'm thinking of the young people living with chronic illness in their families. The little soldiers who lose a part of their carefree childhood. I'd love to do a mountain summer camp, where these kids can hang with other kids that understand how life and death stress can change you. I'd get counselors, pastors, speakers and stress free FUN. I would love if Dave and my children could be apart of it, sharing their own stories of caregiving. A family business of healing with fun and no stress. So many people are getting sick in families. With so many two income families, single families and crap health insurance, the children get lost in the frey.

I'm not sure my family and friend's ever think that far into the future with me. I've been keeping my eye on the research and have been secretly planning an alternate future. I'm keeping this dream locked up in my beautiful diary with a tiny golden key, but not for long. Dave, get out your dancing shoes because you're in for some crazy fun!

Friday, August 17, 2007

Friday Update

Dave had a quiet 50th birthday with a traditional banana split and dinner out. He's a weather nut so I got him a wireless weather station that he played with for hours. Can you say happy camper?
This is Dave's retirement bash but he extended his last day of work due to paperwork snafu. Sept. 14th is his last day and he has had a few job interviews in case the house is not sold. A few lookers have come by but no offers yet.

We are very anxious to get the real party started. ;)

*Michelle is not pregnant! We are all relieved because she is not ready.
*My biopsy came back negative but it add weird cells that would have gone to cancer if left undetected. Ladies get those mammograms!
*Spending lots of time with TK and my girls before move and I'm starting to see the terrible two's setting in.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Poetry Thursday - "To Capture a Hummingbird"

To Capture a Hummingbird

He steps gently into morning light
stealthy footsteps, camera in hand
standing like a garden gnome
waiting for that elusive shot.

The cat takes her repose in the shade
tail slowly sweeping the patio
watching him as she spy's his prey
knowing of his frustration.

She knows all eyes are on her dance
as morning light creates a glow.
With fairy wings she zips in flight
draining flowers through her wand.

The man darts quietly in his chase
as she delights in his pursuit.
He waits patiently for his shot
as the heat begins to take its toll.

He leaves her to her dance undefeated
because tomorrow is another day.
Happiest in his garden, labored in love
her attraction fills him with joy.

For Dave
By Tammy
Shots by Dave

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Encyclopedia of Me - "A"

Becca at has joined a 26 day meme from where You write something about yourself using a different letter of the alphabet. You can start when ever you want and do it once a day or once a week. I'm going to do it on Tuesdays. Summer time has made me a lazy blogger and I need to keep up my journal. I see my grandchildren reading every post some day and I don't want to leave anything out.

I have not been feeling myself lately because I have been swallowing a whole lot of anger. Our house situation and Dave's pending retirement is not even part of my anger. I'm angry at how self-absorbed, selfish and rude people have been lately. I know there are very sincere, good people out there but I don't have enough of them in my little world. I thought the main problem was the younger generation due to immaturity and entitlement issues but I've been seeing it in all ages. Is life so bad that some people can't see past their own agenda's. What is happening out there?

I'm purging it here and now, but not rudely, manipulatively or selfishly. I'm disappointed in myself because my solution was wanting to hide away inside my happy, cosy life with Dave. Shutting out all other possibilities as armor. That truly would be the very definition of selfish living. When I move I'm going to embrace my new community and live in the world again. My world is too small and unbalanced lately. I will hit the delete button on the toxic and try to surround myself with only good vibes (I can try). My world is really in my hands and I can change it. I'm not ever going to be a social butterfly but I need to have good people in my life to balance out what I can't control. I'm feeling my world growing just in my blog with much more to come. I don't want to leave this world as part of the problem nor will I shut out the world because it has run adrift.

I'll try and be more upbeat on "B." ;)

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Sunday Scribbling - "Goosebumps"

I get goosebumps when I'm cold, touched by a performance, worship at church and my husband Dave. I met Dave online and after our first date I never thought it would lead to a second date. That first real kiss after thirteen years of being a single mom gave me memorable goosebumps. After our first date I sent him home to look up everything he could on ALS thinking there would not be a second date once he read up on ALS. I won't even read that scary information! He took a whole Saturday reading up on ALS and still wanted that second date. He is turning 50 tomorrow and after knowing him for 4 years he still gives me goosebumps.

One Touch

You hold my hand unconsciously
stretching my curled fingers
flat to your chest

You wrap my hands around my cup
as we watch the sunrise
give us one more day

You hold my walker as my hand
holding me protectively
so I can keep going

You whisper morning goodbyes of love
kissing my neck and face
pulling up the covers

You know how to touch my body
an unspoken language
gentle passion flares

Happy Birthday Dave!

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Thankful Thursday!

Surgery was a piece of cake! I recommend no anesthesia, if possible, to everyone. Dave was not allowed to be with me and since they treated it like a regular surgery it was intimidating and scary at first. IV, oxygen, monitors, operating room, masks, bright lights and 4 people. Overkill, in my uneducated opinion, for what actually took 20min. I'm sure alot of it was procedure and the rest was uncertainty of my ALS. The "happy shot" was just to relax me and I was given a small amount. I didn't want to be groggy and be kept in the recovery room long. I refused the screen between the surgery and my face because it was just too suffocating. I saw smoke rising over my breast and did need a couple extra shots of the local due to feeling some of it. We chatted and joked through it all due to no pain. They don't use bandages anymore but instead use Durabond (superglue) which protects the stitches from rubbing against clothes and is waterproof. Very cool! I got dressed and walked out the minute I was unhooked. Why can't a root canal be this easy? I didn't even have after pain and it's an inch long incision. :)

Dave's retirement was really nice and he even made a speech. Oct 1st would have been twenty five years at the national lab. We died my hair the night before and due to advancing grey I looked like Ronald McDonald...oh well! I got to experience his 4hr commute...yuck! It was neat however to see his office and pictures spread out on his desk. The people there were so nice and said Dave talks about me all the time...awww! I have pictures but they are not here yet. I stayed out of the sun so my hair wouldn't glow. No cameras allowed on site but they had a lab camera. Dave turns big 50 on Monday, his retirement date, but he pushed his retirement up to Sep. 14th. He has a job interview the morning of his birthday here in town and if it's a fit he can leave the lab earlier. My surgeon's father-in-law is coming in two weeks to see the house...yay!

Pam is having her 65th birthday on Friday! HAPPY BIRTHDAY PAM! See you in October! We both have headsets and use Yahoo PC to PC chat, allowing us to really talk, conserve energy and have no long distance charges. Who knew? .

Sunday, August 05, 2007

Beauty and the Beast

Dave's begonias are so bright I need shades to look at them. :)

When I met Dave I had this very cool "alternating pressure mattress pad." It had diamonds that would alternately fill with air during sleep. This allowed me to remain a side sleeper and not awaken to sore pressure points. Dave said it felt like there was something creepy under the covers, not to mention the mattress sighs and raised me above my husband in bed.

When we married he bought a fancy Sleepnumber bed that made the pad obsolete...yayy! It has massage and the head and feet can be raised. After 3 good years it's no longer enough, so we are back to sleeping with the sighing creeper. I'm loving it, but Dave and my animals have some adjusting to do. A week ago it was the mattress and slippery bubbles that caused me to fall out of bed. I hit the nightstand with my head and my thigh hit a make-shift step. Here is the beast that resulted in my own adjustment period. The butt of my Ebay joke from previous post. What do you see Joyce? LOL (7 days old)

Thanks for the prayers and good thoughts for my "awake" surgery. I had a fibroid taken out awake in 1983 while pregnant with my first baby and no "happy shot." I'm alot tougher now and know what to expect, not to mention I have no smell for the cauterizing part. I'll be fine!

Saturday, August 04, 2007

Sunday Scribbling - "Decisions"

With all our balls up in the air, my recent fall, a suspect mass in my breast and a two day migraine, I find myself unusually calm. I decided we have made some great decisions but our timing was just off and it will right itself. My decision to go on a trip in the middle of our chaos is pulling me through it all. Dave is now wishing he was going after seeing the pictures of New England but he would not be able to relax with so many changes coming.

I made another big decision for myself this week at my surgeon's appointment. I was sent to a new surgeon in our county and I liked her immediately. My first question was had she bought a house yet? I explained my unusual outburst and she laughed saying "I did, but my retired father n law from Texas is looking to re-locate here." I said "boy, have I got a deal for you." She saw my huge black/blue bruise and I said "if you look closely you can see the face of Jesus" and she quickly replied "we need to get you up on Ebay." My kinda gal!

She explained that my mass is not a fibroid but instead it's a cluster of cysts attached to a suspect lining. It needed to be surgically removed and biopsied. I told her that I get really sick with anesthesia and I asked if she would remove it with me awake. I also asked if she could do it before Dave retires. She asked me if I was sure and then agreed, scheduling me in for this Wednesday...yikes! She offered me a "happy shot" and to drain my other numerous cysts while I'm there. Again, my kind of woman! It would be really cool if she sold my house too. ;)

Yes, I'm nervous but the decision was mine and I know I can do it. Dave said he will come hold my hand but he refuses to look. lol I told him to get a picture for my blog and you should have seen his face. lol She said the mass was so small that if it is cancer it will be gone after surgery. Everything is back in working order but I got a headset for PC to PC chatting on Yahoo. Tuesday is Dave's retirement bash and Wednesday is surgery so I'll be baacck!

Photo is from stockxpert