Wednesday, April 30, 2008

3WW - "Frustration"

While our spring projects are underway I'm left feeling useless and lazy. I know being disabled makes you disagree with me about using the word lazy but it's exactly how it feels while everyone is working so hard. I used to be a very hard worker and always had plenty to do in the old days. When you have been disabled for a long time people stop thinking of you as a productive person. If I add my two cents in the kitchen from years of cooking I get ignored or if I have an opinion on something it's not taken as seriously as before my illness. I'm disabled physically not mentally.

I must fight daily to remain Tammy but since the move I have become more dependent. I don't have a support system in place yet so I'm needing to make some changes. The wetsuit for my new pool will be here next week and I will work to grow stronger. Heating it with sun through the open door, a thermal blanket cover and adding hot water will work. I'm getting my car fixed to venture out into the world again while also forcibly tagging along on some errands with Dave. It's a slow process for Dave to take me on errands but I'm insisting. ;) It's feels good to have a say in plants for the pond or the food I eat.

Many stores are too huge for me but God bless scooters! I remembered my glasses and he didn't so the scooter allowed me to shop WITH Dave at Home Depot. Dave must have rolled his eye's at least three times but he could not read any labels...ha! The crip was leading the blind! He usually forgets what I have added to the list but not this time as he tried to pick up the pace. When I reversed the scooter it made a loud beeping sound that made us cringe but the flashing yellow light kept me from mowing down customers. I even had him take me to lunch afterwards trying to show him slowing down can be nice.

Empty - Highway - Ignored


Life is a busy highway
where speed chases you
off into the ditch
leaving you behind
empty and worn.

My truth will speak
I will not be ignored
into an empty shell
silenced by ignorance
sullen and defeated.

Take a walk in my shoes
feel the you trapped inside
fighting to break free
downward stares
sad and frustrated.

Find your own way
through the thickets
leaving the scars behind
keeping your voice
loud and true.

The waterfall garden pond will be unveiled next week as the last shipment of rocks and plants come in on Sat.

Join us at

Friday, April 25, 2008

Outraged at the Future of Our Planet

It's outrageous
to see our waste
fill the planet
with toxins
killing people

Make a difference
by recycling
or reusing
and refilling
to unburden
our planet.

Save our future
for the children
they will reap
what we sew
we are teachers
of the future.

Did you know?

Three billion units of consumer electronics potentially will become scrap between 2003 and 2010. That's nine gadgets thrown away for every person currently living in the U.S.

As little as 0.014 gram of mercury is enough to contaminate the fish in a 20-acre lake. The 300 million computers that have already been discarded contain enough mercury (about 0.5 gram each) to poison the Great Lakes eight times over.

Nearly every large electronics and semiconductor manufacturer that began operations in the 1970s or earlier has an EPA Superfund site (deemed the worst toxic waste sites) in its history. Forty-one million Americans live within 4 miles of one of these sites.

I've combined my Writer's Island "Outrageous" with Sunday Scribblings "The Future of the Planet."

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Thursday Love - Creating Beauty

My brother and Dave broke ground on a chilly but sunny sunday. The earth was red and easy to move. Warning, a few tulips were harmed in the making of this water feature. Keep your eye on the happy pink tulip on the stump.

Next came the liner made of wetsuit material. It was day 2 and overcast bringing fears that winter would creep back at any moment. My brother had us sign a dollar bill which he placed under the liner for good luck.

Day three came with rain and a delivery of rock. Pammies, skippers, round rock, slate, grey rock and moss rock were all strategically placed to create the shape. Tulip is struggling. :(

Dave was the fetcher and Pat was the placer as they were being rained on. Wet and muddy I was thankful for the workshop bathroom down there. Tulip bowing in defeat.

Day four was to test the flow and check for leaks. They re-arranged a few things and were all set to trim the liner. Are you watching the tulip?

Trimmed and flowing they called it a day as they needed to get back to their paying jobs. It will be completed in two weeks due to other projects.

We will be adding more rock, lighting, timer and plants. It must be drained so we can add rock to the bottom with some fish. The pump just recycles the water and the filter will make it crystal clear. The pump boxes will be covered by rock and plants. It is loud enough to hear throughout the house and yard so we must check in with neighbors.
The guys enjoyed creating this, making Dave's dream a reality. A labor of love for Thursday!

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

3WW - A Pantoum

Picture - Reflected - Stop

The Queen of Tulips

Open to the suns command
unfurl your stately beauty
allowing your colors to expand
oh queen of tulips do your duty

Unfurl your stately beauty
your power reflected in light
oh queen of tulips do your duty
to be a picture perfect sight

Your power reflected in light
brings my heart to a stop
to be a picture perfect sight
you must fight not to drop

Brings my heart to a stop
to see your yellow heart
you must fight not to drop
you are a delicate work of art

To see your yellow heart
allowing your colors to expand
you are a delicate work of art
open to the suns command

The picture is mine. ;)
A Pantoum has four quatrains in a abab rhyme scheme.
The Pantoum says everything twice:
For all quatrains except the first, the first line of the current quatrain repeats the second line in the preceding quatrain; and the third line of the current quatrain repeats the fourth line of the preceding quatrain. In addition, for the final quatrain, its second line repeats the (so-far unrepeated) third line in the first quatrain; and its last line repeats the (so-far unrepeated) first line of the first quatrain.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Sunday Scribbling - Compose

She laid there in that hospital bed knowing her time had finally come. As she came in and out of the morphine fog she always felt him by her side, holding her hand, willing her to stay with him. They had been together for some fifty odd years, had two children and three grandchildren, all moved away. They had not shared a bedroom in years and since his retirement they seldom did anything fun. She had such dreams for they're retirement but his heart surgery, years ago, had changed the man she once knew. Once strong, fearless and fun was now unmotivated, fearful and a homebody.

She had never been sick, except a rare cold, her whole life. It had always been about taking care of her family and once they were grown she had felt alone. He spent his time in his recliner as he bobbed in and out of sleep in front of the TV, while she sat alone in her room reading and watching her game shows. She wondered why she just sat there watching her life drift by in the fast current of her twilight years.

She could hear his soothing words that seemed to echo in the room. She felt paralyzed because she could not comfort him with her words or through her eye's. Who will take care of him? What had she done by keeping his secret? She tried to tell her family about him but all that came out was a single tear. She loved this man and cherished the memories of a shared lifetime. She never thought she would go so fast. They had no will, she paid the bills, yet his fear never allowed him to accept her cancer so he remained in denial. She had pleaded to let the family know and put their affairs in order but he refused.

She knew when it was her time but in her drug haze she could not say goodbye. Her one last gift to him was of pure love as she composed herself to wait until he had left the room. He was never the same after that day but convinced his family he would be OK. They did their best to check in but he was a proud man and grew combative. He convinced them all.

He called 911 a year later after feeling ill. The paramedics found him on the floor of his kitchen. He was living in his home, as if homeless, dying of dehydration. He was malnourished and his house was in a shambles. His dementia was finally discovered as he passed in the ER with the depth of his secret kept.

This is my first piece of fiction and even though it is a sad tale, I'm stepping out of my comfort zone. It's a baby step due to the fact it is loosely based on my grandparents.

Photo by StockXpert/ Read other SS here

Writer's Island - Triumph

An Ordinary Day

The morning sun is so bright and calming,

as I watch tiny particles dancing in the rays

performing in rhythm before me,

a ballet, of tiny faeries

filling the room with life,

beckoning me to get up

and create a new day.

But the morning sun is only the first word

on the page of this day-

a triumphant day-

the beginning of a long journey,

that pleads to be written.

At the start of my familiure day

I will stare out the window,

listening to the sounds in my flannel pj's,

leaning into the breeze,

ideas filling my mind I begin to write,

quiet as a opening tulip,

reflective as an aging mind,

anxious to write the words

this bright, breezy day

has to show me,

here through this window to the world

with it's dirty glass panes,

and sunny inspiration.

Come to the island!

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Love Thursday - Bleeding Heart Haiku

Dave recently planted a bleeding heart plant and I had never seen one before. The flowers are just so darn cute I'm sharing it for Love Thursday.

Nature has a heart
bleeding hope to the landscape
remember her love

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

3WW - Apple Blossoms

Touching - Visible - Stage

A Rothko - Three lines, three words in each, a color in each line in a tic tac toe formation.

White sets stage

Touching pink blush

Spotting visible greens Photo by Dave

Monday, April 14, 2008

What Were We Thinking?

Have you ever came up with a brilliant idea that you were so excited about yet you never thought it through? I'm really good at this and my husband frustratingly agrees.

Idea: Get a workout pool (dough boy) and stick it in the garage so I can stay ahead of muscle loss and be warm. It must be 48" deep to work.

We get a 15ft, 48" deep pool for a 18ft wide garage, can you say HUGE! Nothing smaller came 48"deep. We thought we could fill it with hot water from the water heater but with a 50gal water heater 12,000gals has taken forever. Two days and it's half full! I don't even want to see the propane and water bill for April...shoot me now! We looked into a pool heater and that would be outrageously high in propane or electricity due to the fact they are mainly made for built in pools. ALS patients must have very warm water so I'm thinking of squeezing my butt into a wet suit...argh!

The last and most important obstacle is how do I get in this thing. My arms are too weak for the ladder and I'm a whopping 5' 1" but Dave found a camper shell hoist, with a crank, on the ceiling of the garage. He's thinking of making a seat with cables and hoisting me down into the water. Picture a woman in a wet suit sitting high in the air, over a pool, in a garage. My neighbors will think the circus has moved to the mountains.

Dave is so embarrassed he did it all with the main door closed. He knows it's going to keep me mobile but the neighbors don't know I'm disabled, so he thinks they will label us "the crazy people up the street." I reminded him that with candles and music we can take late night skinny dips with complete privacy like a hot tub. We both have great ideas for our new pool but I'm stressing over the how to's. It was a good idea I swear! lol

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Sunday Scribbling - "Fearless"

I agonized over this prompt because some of the bravest people I know have fears. I also have seen fear rear its ugly head in anger causing pain and self destruction. Fear of differences, loss and our own mortality can make people act out or hide from the world. Just look at politics and you will find the bottom line of many choices are made out of fear. Being fearless can be looked at in two ways according to my dictionary, literally living without fear or calmly resolute in facing fear. I don't believe humans can live without fear so I'll write about what I have learned about fear on my own journey.

When I was a single, working mom I was given the "put your affairs in order" speech. As a parent how can leaving a 7 and 5 year old behind not scare the hell out of you? I was the stable parent and had a job that sustained us, I could not leave them! I went into survivor mode and had no time for self pity or anger. I became a stay at home mom that focused on preparing the girls to be independent. Growing up with the fear of me leaving them affected who they are today. Each person has a choice in how they handle fear and I can't expect my girl's to deal with fear in the same ways I do. Once they were out of the house I had time to face my fears of the disease.

I'm certainly not afraid to die but I'm terrified of suffocation, which is how this disease ends. Morphine will apparently help with that, but instead of dwelling on it I asked a dying ALS patient. He had his wife call me one week before his death just to tell me that dying of suffocation was not as bad as we had imagined in our support group. What a gift this man gave me in such precious moments. I think facing my greatest fear head on empowered me to face the smaller fears.

My latest fear in my "happily ever after life" is that my husband will stop thinking of me as a woman when I get to the intimate needs of living with ALS. I'm doing good on my own right now but I'm researching in-home care and respite care before I need it. You can give your spouse a vacation by checking into a hospice for a short stay and he can be worry free. I will only chose a ventilator if my loved ones are not overwhelmed and we can afford it. This was a fear that needed to be discussed at length in our marriage for me to move on.

Fear can be toxic to my well being and those I love so I must keep it in check with positive action. Brave? No, I'm just happy that I'm still alive and enjoy living.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Thursday Love - Shutter Sisters

Brotherly Love

My grandson Ethan is six and in big boy school much to the chagrin of his three year old brother Dimitri. When Ethan gets home he looks forward to being an attentive big brother and hanging with his bro's. He loves holding his baby brother Warrick and hanging out with Dima. I thought his body language in these shots were oozing with Thursday love!
Pictures by mom, Jolene, toyed with by grandma Tammy. ;)

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

3WW - Nonet

Funny - Remember - Theatre

In music, a nonet is a composition which requires nine musicians for a performance.
In poetry, a nonet is a nine line poem, with the first line containing nine syllables, the next eight, so on until the last line has one syllable. Nonets can be written about any subject, and rhyming is optional.

Music speaks to the heart in rhythms
of swaying grass and bouncing balls
a theatre of sounds play
a funny little tune
or a symphony
to remember
just listen
to your

I watch many movies but this little "sleeper" touched my heart and made me weep with joy. I hear music everyday after seeing this movie. ;)

Monday, April 07, 2008

Spring Projects Have Begun!

We will have two major projects done by summer. My 15' round 48" deep above ground pool is here and will be installed inside our garage by Dave. With help from the water heater out there and a thermal blanket, I'll be doing my pool workouts very soon.

This is our side yard, taken high up, from the dining room deck. It is sloped and leads to the basement and orchard. We are adding a water feature (thanks IRS) from the right side, down through the trees, to the bench. We have already used azaleas on both sides of the path to give that area color (must click to really see). We will surround our pond with more color and water grasses after it's in.

This is my baby brother Pat, guess what he does for a living? Water features! This is a sample of his artistic work. He is an artist with pencil and charcoal also but you can see his talent in his water features. We will be doing a similar looking one for us and Dave is thrilled. The labor is food and beer. ;) I'll try and get a few shots as they create this because it's a lot more complicated than you would think. Did you know rocks are 12 cents/lb. :0

I can see the poetry forming in my head already. I'm VERY grateful for my brother and this amazing addition to our mountain abode. Dave's already wanting fish but mosquito fish are first on my list.

Saturday, April 05, 2008

Sunday Scribbling - "Picture"

When I look at this happy little girl with bruised shins from running and playing, I smile. I want to hold her tightly and tell her I love her. I would assure her that I will be there to pick her up when she falls and although I may let her stumble, she will grow into a happy, loved woman.

Knowing there was a deadly gene inside this precious little body waiting to be triggered made me pause. I can't go back in time and make different choices but I can look at the journey and embrace it. I see now that all the hard times I went through, before the ALS was triggered, was my training ground for what was to come. My mom's early death, a toxic divorce and being a single working mom, toughened me up. There is a component that also made my journey easier and that is what I see in this picture. A positive, funny and happy spirit that God gave me, as my shield, when I was born.

I've been given time to adjust to my progressions and I don't take that lightly. Many have no time to adjust to this life. It may take me four times to get into bed, I may only get half my food actually in my mouth and I may need a walker for balance but I'm able to do it. Many cannot do much on their own and they have to deal with that in months, not years. They are the true warriors! I have had time to adjust, grieve, find solutions and stay positive. My disease is just another bump in the road because with the gift of time it has given me more than it has taken away.

I do need to tell this little girl to not always be so strong, that vulnerable is a good thing. People closest to me, even Dave, forget I have a disease and get annoyed at my needing help at inconvenient times (even the best of people have their moments and Dave is the BEST!). Others are eager to help but tug on my fragile arms before I'm ready or slam my head into things while lifting me. I'm always a good sport because they want to help and I've learned how to receive. lol Then there is my oldest daughter who has pushed me away because she feels unappreciated and tossed aside after my 4yr marriage and 2hr move. There is no pass on feeling like you are a bad parent or a bad wife when you are disabled. I do the best I can but I'm definitely not perfect.

This little girl all in all is going to get her fairytale life and be happy until the very end. I had to add this picture of me with my first walker. A full circle moment! Hehehe, I crack myself up!

Thursday, April 03, 2008

Thursday Love - "Mom"

This is Ruth, Dave's mom, who just turned 84 on Monday. She has two sons, shown here, four daughters with a multitude of grandchildren and great grandchildren. She has lived in a rural home, by herself, after losing her husband seven years ago. She is smart, independent, social, caring and a tough cookie. She remembers all birthdays and anniversaries never forgetting anyone at Christmas, even spouses. She gardens, loves watching sports and CNN, her garden club and not having to cook for a big family anymore. Dave and I took her to Kauai a few years ago and she took the helicopter tour. Very cool lady!

Ruth never gets sick but this Easter the flu attacked Ruth. She has smoked for most of her life so her already weakened lungs made her weaker. She never called anyone or answered her phone because she was sick and had assumed it would soon pass. She had no neighbors to check on her and one daughter living an hour away but she was out of town. The grandchildren checked on her and she ended up in the hospital with pneumonia for her 84th birthday. She had to block calls so she could recover as the nurses station became an answering service. Most of her family live in different states and were concerned. True to her nature she is already home and doing well. I admire, love and respect this fellow warrior.

The love in this woman's eyes at having her boy's in her arms this Christmas was priceless.

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

3WW - "The Mist"

The Mist

Floating through the trees

a mysterious mist filled the air

breathing a heavy sigh

clinging in silence.

I stand there alone listening,

letting it stroke my face.

Feeling the calm of a

parallel universe.

Through veiled eyes I see

only beauty and peace

but I must bounce

back to reality.

I wrote this with a migraine but I really loved my first mountain mist. My husband happened to have rented "The Mist" by Stephen King that day. ;)

My thought's and prayer's go to Bone our moderator. Thank you Pia for stepping up!