Thursday, July 24, 2008

Growing Pains

I've been feeling like I've lost my blog focus. I'm enjoying my club's, but when you crank out things on a personal deadline they start to become mediocre. I want to take time to go back over my poetry and edit them. Then I want to choose my favorites and bind them in a decorative book. I also want to get back to my "life story" book while attending online writing classes this fall. If I get that laptop, I'd like to do a "daily thoughts" journal too.

Practicing on my blog has become procrastination and in turn I have become dependent on my favorite commenter's (red flag). It's just a wake up call to take a good thing, blogging, and make it better by slowing it down. I want more balance and growth in my daytime writing hours. I've focused on my personal balance with Dave so now I need to keep moving forward.

I'm now able to swim without a wetsuit and more often, so I am feeling stronger. Dave and I are getting out more, playing with the Wii and gardening together. I no longer feel isolated up here but have adjusted to my surroundings in a productive way. Bloggers have encouraged me to spread my wings and I feel ready. I'll still be blogging and reading up on my friends, just not regularly. I still need that practice and of course my friend's. Please don't take it personally if I don't comment regularly but know I'm reading up on you. I just wanted you to know I'm not progressing physically but mentally.

I'm excited to jump in the deep end so wish me luck. ;)

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Sunday Scribblings - Ghost

As I slipped away I could no longer feel his hand. I rose above the fog of my morphine and out of my body to a place of peaceful transition. I was still in my bedroom and yet they could not see me. I was not walking but I could move at will. There was no pain coming from my spirit and yet my heart ached as I felt their pain fill the room.

Dave held my lifeless hand to his bowed head by my side. Michelle was laying beside me on the opposite side with her arm wrapped over my shoulder. She was sobbing into my neck pleading for me not to leave her. Jessy looked frightened as she sobbed in her husband's arms. So much pain was there that I was being pulled toward them instead of drifting away.

We had a beautiful living funeral a few months back, full of people I loved. We cried and we laughed as each guest was asked to bring a "Tammy" story. Dave had read a poem I had written in gratitude and love to them all. We finished the evening with my favorite foods, music and lots of photo albums to chuckle over. It was a great support for Dave to have his loved ones close but my girl's were uncomfortable. They shared their stories but refused to accept what they had feared for most of their lives, my death. I hate funerals and being at my own living funeral kept it real, light and not drawn out. I only wanted Dave and my girl's at the end.

Dave knew from the day he met me that this day might come. Living with this for so long had eased him from denial to acceptance. The girls had never thought it would happen after the first thirteen years. Their anger at my disease remained after all these years under layers of denial and now regret. I needed to remain to ease their pain.

Michelle had always asked me as a little girl that when I died to send her a sign that I'm still around her. She has continued to remind me of this after all these years. I had not been to heaven yet but somehow I knew of the peace and love that was waiting for me. I knew I would always be with her but not as she had hoped. I found Michelle lying on my bed after they had taken my body away. I stroked her face as I allowed my scent to wash over her. She was startled but instantly knew it was me. "Mom?" she called out a bit unsure of her instincts. I then focused my energy to pop on the TV to the movie "Terms of Endearment." I had it on the scene where the mom was yelling at her son, telling him that no matter how angry he acted she would love him no matter what. She then knew I was ok and she laughed until she cried.

Jessy I found in my den doing what she had always done at my house, going through my photo albums. I wrapped my spirit around her in a protective embrace as I urged TK into the room. He looked into his mother's sad eyes and said don't worry mommy gramy is an angel watching over us. As she looked into his beautiful face she could see me in him and knew I'd always be near. She held him tightly as he looked over her shoulder, straight into my spirit, smiling. I blew him a kiss with a wink.

When Dave took my ashes to Kauai he felt lost, remembering how every visit I calmed him during the travel chaos. I followed him on the journey wrapping him in a calming love. I kept the chaos energy away from him. He hired a helicopter to fly over Bali Hai where we were married and he let my ashes cover the mountains. I wanted to look over "our beach" and the ocean. Knowing his ashes would one day follow mine, Dave felt my happiness. As he stood on the beach, just before sunset, I sent him the biggest double rainbow I could muster. He knew a part of me would always be with him and he smiled. He was grateful for the years we were given.

Once I knew they would be OK I felt my journey pulling me away. I did not feel sadness at leaving my most precious loves but a joy like nothing I've ever felt consumed me. I stood before an angel as he welcomed me. Behind him was my grandparents and mother waiting anxiously. The angel embraced me saying "well you certainly took your sweet time."

* I'm not planning on dying anytime soon but if I were to die this is what I see happening and what I've planned for. This was not written in sadness because I have been given a gift of 17years to think about it. We all should let our loved ones know what we want in the end. We are all dying at some point.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Rockin' Chair Writer's Club

What's really on your mind?

I'm happy the sunsets are no longer filtered by smoke, like in this picture. The smoke has stolen my smell and taste, so back to an ENT doctor.

Excited that I'm allowed back in the pool and feeling stronger, wanting to get out more.

Pride that Jolene has raised three happy boys while getting her degree and has just graduated.

Little E, our grandson just turned 7.

Thrilled our grandson's will be here for Christmas from WA. :)

Wishing I could comfort and pamper:
Linda, who is being given a nasty drug that is making her very ill to try and cure CFS.
Pam, who's ALS is being hampered by the humidity in Vermont, affecting her lungs.
Guatami, who is down.
Robbin, who is bravely fighting cancer while grieving the loss of her son.
Gemma, who is caring for her husband the best she can.
Brian, who suffers from CFS.
TJ, who is recovering from surgery.
Bella & Eileen, who both have chronic, debilitating headaches.
Sadly there are many others saddened by loss this summer. Thinking of you all!

Wishing I could blink and meet my blog buddies in San Francisco (there is a convention thingy). It's so close and yet so far.

Our new Wii is allowing me to golf again and play tennis in my living room. Dave holds my hips and I swing away. What a gift technology is to the disabled, not to mention exercise. A video will be coming soon.

Dave and I will be planting more flowers this weekend and found a movement sprinkler to keep the deer from trampling our plants.. They hang out at our waterfall pond. More blooms and color always makes us happy.

Thankful that I'm happy, safe and relatively healthy.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

3WW - A Poem


What life could I want to be a part of

more than my own,

waking up to a clean breeze,

serenaded by a choir of birds,

pine scent filling every corner,

flowers blooming,

a good man by my side.

It makes me remember my history

of rushing through the day,

walking past suffering,

dragging baggage, energy spent,

"things" becoming my worth.

But seeing past all that

I am rich,

not even the lottery can compare,

or a sexy little black dress

with strappy high heels.

I have all I need,

our house in the pines,

a blog with friends, a book of poetry,

along with grandsons covering

empty spaces on every wall,

and the way my waterfall-

runs over rocks-

roaring like a lion.

Don't mind me,

I'll stop pondering my old narrow ways,

to enjoy natures symphony as I sway along

while my body

heals in the cool water-

my dog lays on the deck-

and my mind floats away

carrying all my cares to the big blue sky

and gets lost in the clouds. History, Narrow, Spent

Write on Wednesday

So, how about you? How does writing fit into your daily life? What’s your ideal time to write, and why? Do you “write on schedule” or “when the spirit moves you”?

I must preface this answer with a brief description of my personality. After all isn't that what truly dictates how our writing is incorporated into our lives? My family and husband think I'm quite odd and I probably am but my life works for me. I'm very organized, everything has its place and I schedule each day. This is very productive behavior for a single working mother of two. But how do I explain it now when I've got nothing but time? I justify organizing my boredom to maintain control over my life.

I awake after a good 9-10hr sleep and since I'm not strong enough to make the bed Dave makes it before he leaves. He walks me to the bathroom with my eye's half closed at 6am so he can go make the bed. He gently opens up my side of the bed and puts me back in. He is so good about my need for order.

I turn on the coffee, put the dog out to pee and add milk to my laid out breakfast. I straighten the kitchen and head to the blog room for the day. Just writing a few short email responses and commenting on my blogline blogs fills most of my morning. I then take my pills and brush my teeth (notice I don't get dressed). lol With only one finger I can chose whether to write or read/comment on any given day. My finger and body cannot do both in my allotted time of 10am to 3pm. Dave leaves my lunch in the fridge so I stop and eat, maybe get dressed and put the dog out. Once Dave gets home I take off my writing hat and slip into my wife hat.

I blog as practice for writing my life story, but being the queen of procrastination I just keep using up most of my time with prompts. I also think it's a must that I read and comment to my friends and every person who stops by to cheer me on. My blog friend's are very real to me. Some of my 10am to 3pm is chatting with my friend's and family on the phone. I think it's very important to balance my blog friends with my life long friends. I have always been very social and now living in the mountains, blogging is my social life. I should take a week long break to work on my writing every now and again. That freaks me out just a little and as I type this I see how that's not a good sign.

Weekends are always up in the air and I don't always focus on order, neatness and writing. I learned order doesn't work with Dave around because he leaves things lying around, always has a project and likes to go play. Weekends are for being married for us and everything else comes after. I'm not fond of the mess but he does support my weekday anal behavior. He even has order restored by Sunday night.

I write on schedule because that's what works for me. ;)

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Sunday Scribblings - My Oldest Friend

I have three women in my life that I have known for thirty plus years. Each one has shared a pivotal piece of my history that has bonded us for life. Renee' I've known for 36yrs, Lisa for 34yrs and Terri for 30yrs. They are my oldest friends and yet do not know each other. Weird? These women are beautifully unique and have each brought something special to my life. They have all been there on my journey but impacted my life at different times and in different ways.

Renee' and I went through junior high together. She lived around the corner and I met her through her mom, my piano teacher. We each shared our first kiss, first dance and first make out party. She was shy and I wasn't but we balanced each other out during the tough years of puberty. We took our 10 speed bikes all over town on many adventures. Had sleep overs, loved being cheerleaders and playing football with the boys in the park (my idea ;)). We both got in to the same private high school that we did not want to attend. Our mother's forced it on us. I ended up finding my way but Renee' was quiet and hated it. She faded slowly away into some trouble and an older man. Early into high school our families had both moved away, losing touch.

After I left my husband I ran into Renee' by accident, ten years later. She was getting ready to leave her hubby also so we joined forces like we had never been apart. We shared a home, kids, dating and new careers. She taught me how to act in a club and to adult date. She insisted on being treated like a lady and was confidant in her beauty. I never did catch on but loved the experience. It was a hard time being single moms but we got through those three years together. She always makes my childhood favorite swiss steak if she thinks I need some comfort food. Renee' is married now, has two kids 15 & 20, owns a day spa and is very happy. She is still quiet, but full of love and generosity.

Lisa was my high school pal. I was the spunky cheerleader with a Pinto and she was the smart beauty with the Vega. Our car's were Simon and Garfunkel. My family tried to get her to snow ski and failed but we succeeded with water skiing on our family vacations. We double dated together, held each others hair if we drank too much at parties and our first loves were best friends. She had a older brother with cute friends, need I say more? We spent a week in Hawaii for graduation with our closest buddies and had a blast. We went off to college together but I left and she stayed. I was in her wedding and she was in mine (1st one). We were right there for each other when we each lost a parent, with love and understanding. She is so supportive of my illness and writing, which means so much. Lisa is happily married to a guy she met in college, has two kids 17 & 21 and runs her own business. She is a loving, sensible, generous spirit and is still a beauty.

Terri was my boss just before I got married (1st time). She taught me my work ethic and was an amazing working mom. We became very close as she helped me through a hard marriage, two pregnancies, tough financial times and low self-esteem. She did this while going through a hard divorce of her own. We hung out with our kids and she even got me to sing in her church's choir. We worked side by side, everyday, until she encouraged me to move on in my career. Her whole family treated me and my girl's like one of their own. She has been so supportive in my life. Terri is happily married with her girls and his three kids. She is a grandma and now a big wig at that same company. Another loving, smart, strong, generous spirit.

These women have so much in common. They are humble, quiet, sensible and spiritual women. Great moms, good kids and all successful in their lives. They watched me get out of control and yet each one has played a part in reigning me in. They all have inspired me to do better and be better just by loving me. Their support has never wavered.

We email and talk on the phone but we rarely get to see each other due to distance. They all have stressful jobs, husbands and kids, which adds miles to the distance. I can still pick up that phone and it's like time has not passed. This is the blessing of having old friends.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Rockin' Chair Writer's Club - Prose

Brian has stepped up for Ron of "Writer's Island" who is taking a break until September. Brian's prompt for "Rockin' Writer's Club" is "What's really on your mind?"

Join us at

Eight thousand dry lightning strikes has set California on fire. The erratic winds sending embers in flight, the heat wave fueling the fires, the smoke stealing the sun, the daisies curling into a fist, are a hell we cannot escape. The smoke permeates inside and out, making us prisoners in our home's, filling our lung's with second hand smoke, summer has become silent. Most importantly the brave firefighters risking their lives, while the people valiantly try to save their dreams, all these moments show the power of nature, of those who will chose to survive, the patience to endure or to simply pray.

At one time California has had 1043 fires that were active. I am not in a fire danger zone but how can the smoke not effect my lungs after more than a week. It's very hard to think about much else when you have evacuated family members, simply waiting. The National Guard is here to help but the visibility is making it tough to fight the fire from the air. Keep California in your thoughts and prayers.

Photo from

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

3WW - Write on Wednesday

3WW - Prompt words were: Inappropriate - Order - Shortcut.

Write on Wednesday had asked "What drains the energy from your “writing mind”? What do you do when your creative battery dies?

Heart so heavy it weighs down my finger tips, thoughts losing order.

Inappropriate retribution begins to fade with the sun.

Rising in forgiveness, weekly prompts take a shortcut to my mind.

*Sijo is either narrative or thematic, this lyric verse introduces a situation or problem in line 1, development (called a turn) in line 2, and a strong conclusion beginning with a surprise (a twist) in line 3, which resolves tensions or questions raised by the other lines and provides a memorable ending. 3 lines of 14-16 syllables.

When I'm feeling sad or hurt I find it very hard to be creative. It's only after the negativity has stopped dominating every thought in my head, that I can write again. Forgiveness opens up the flood gates of feelings, but it's the prompts of my writing club's that pushes me forward. I take the residue of pain and use that prompt to write, heal and move on. I find that when a piece is close to my heart the readers can feel my writing. I once had my daughter get angry at me when she became a new mother. She did not return my calls for a month of my TK's life. That pain came out in a powerful poem thats emotion even surprised me. When I have written a piece close to my heart, good or bad, they are my favorites. That poem to my daughter. I was just learning poetry and someday I might edit but not yet.
Photo from Dave's rose garden, taken by him.

Saturday, July 05, 2008

Sunday Scribblings - Hanging with Celebrities

It was the summer of 1975 when I was 14 and boy crazy. My family was finishing up our three week RV vacation from hell. We had driven from CA to NJ straight across the good ole USA. Traveling home by way of Florida and the southern states. I missed most of the majestic views with my nose stuck in romance novels, bored to tears. My mom kept me well supplied with books throughout the trip to keep the peace between my younger brother and I. What do you get when you stick a bored 12yr old boy with his 14yr old sister couped up in a hot RV? Big trouble!

My mom decided she wanted to visit her aunt Booge in Newhall, CA on our way home. She owned a gun club in the boonies of southern CA. It was actually not very far from Hollywood but it looked like we were in the middle of nowhere at the time. Booge was an older woman that loved her gin, smoked and talked like a sailor. She didn't like kids and never had any of her own. She said what she thought and didn't care about tact. She didn't hesitate to ask my parents to leave me with her for the summer before we left. She said "just leave that one here and I'll put her to work" and mom mentioned my younger brother and she said "he's too young." I knew that with two working parents I'd be stuck at home all summer with my little brother. I begged to be left with this intimidating character called Booge and they reluctantly agreed.

The Oak Tree Gun Club was full of cute high school boys hired to pull skeet and trap for the summer. I was the only girl besides my aunt and felt as if I'd died and gone to heaven. Did I mention Magic Mountain was 3 miles away? We pulled skeet and trap for hunters and the very rich. Actors, brain surgeons and producers. They would tip us if we carried their caviar and champagne ice chests to the range. If we did not hit the button fast enough they would complain and get a new trap kid or a free round. I could not stand these stuck up men but I liked the tournament guys that were considered the good ole boys. They also liked having a sweet young thing like me at the range. I learned to shoot 12 gauge shot guns, but sported a bruised cheek for a week until I learned to keep my head down.

Do you recognise this regular? In 1975 he was know as Mr. Universe, who knew he'd be my Governor one day. Without the oiled skin he looked somewhat normal in shorts and a tank. I was ready to go on a date with the cutest trap boy at the range when my aunt called me into her office. Rolling my eye's I rushed into the office and there was this guy with her. My aunt said "Tammy I'd like you to meet a friend of mine" and she continued "Arnold this is my niece Tammy." He put his hand out so I did the same, but instead of shaking it he kissed it saying "Taaamy I'm very pleeeased to met you." I looked at him strangely and then looked at my aunt with eyes that begged to be excused. I responded with good manners and hurried off to my date. I pulled trap for Arnold later that week and because his muscles were so big, he could not bend them to pull the trigger. He could hit 17 out of 25 targets from the hip. Now that impressed me but Mr. Universe, not so much. He was a genuinely nice guy without an ego.

This guy was not just a regular but a family friend. He'd hang out after hours with his wife and stay for a BBQ. One day he asked me who my favorite movie star was and I swooned in my baked beans replying "Jan Michael Vincent." He chuckled and said he was making a movie with him called "Big Wednesday" and would try and get him to the range. I never got the chance to meet him that summer after all. Funny how these guys made it and my poor Jan Michael ended up a drug addict. Steven was also down to earth but probably doesn't remember that trap girl of 75.

That summer I was free to discover myself, learn a good work ethic, how to shoot and meet people that were really cool. Fourteen year old girls don't go gaw gaw for 30yr old actors and directors. Now if the guys from Teen Beat magazine were there shooting I would never have gone home. I wish I would have gone back every summer but high school and boyfriends became a priority. The summer of 75 rocked!

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Write on Wednesday

Write on Wednesday asks:

Are you ever assailed with self doubt about your writing ability, or about the reasons for writing at all? Do you “follow yourself around nagging and suggesting and complaining”? What are some of the negative things your Editor tells you? What could your Editor say to be more encouraging? How do you encourage yourself to keep practicing the craft of writing?

My reasons for writing came from boredom. When you can't drive alone, have poor balance and hubby's at work, you need more than a boob tube for entertainment. I love to read but that comes in waves. The fact that I won't put a good book down unless I have to pee maybe the reason for the waves. My family also prefers I eat and talk with them when their at home. Go figure? lol

Reading helped me to tell a good story with the addition of facial expressions and Italian hands. It also expanded my everyday vocabulary to new heights. Between reading, my humor and life experiences, writing on my computer was like telling a story with just a finger. Bloggers liked my voice encouraging me to step out of my safety zone into poetry and fiction. I was very nervous to tell a story I hadn't lived or in a foreign format, like poetry. But I tried it and really liked it. I now saw stories and poetry everywhere I went.

I look at every post as a conversation or story I'm telling a friend. I don't think about if it's a good story or not. I just worry that my finger won't translate fast enough from my brain to the screen. I write just like I talk except with poetry. That is a translation of feelings. It is a little tricky so if I'm stuck I turn to Dave, my editor. I know by his reaction if it needs tweaking, he never has to say a word. I don't pre-write, I edit twice, spell check and hit post. It takes about an hour after the idea comes to me for the process. I don't take it too seriously, I just sit back and enjoy watching where it takes me. It helps your confidence when your editor is your biggest fan. ;)

I don't need to encourage myself to write because my blog buddies and Dave do it for me. Of course, if I get into a good book, a rut, or go away for a few days it's hard to get back to the keyboard. That editor of mine never fails to notice my absence as he slyly asks " What's your prompt today?" or "did you blog today?" The more I write the more I enjoy it and when I go back to 2005 I see improvement. I still need some classes in grammar and composition but that will be icing on the cake. PHOTO

3WW ~ Fiction

She lay in the dark unable to sleep. The bed seemed cold as the other side remained empty, untouched. She turned on her side watching the clock change into meaningless minutes. How many nights had she lost sleep, terrified he was dead in a ditch or in the arms of another. Sadly she no longer cared where he was or even if he was hurt. The love she once felt had poured from her body with her tears of hopelessness. She was empty, moving through each day giving to everyone but herself.

The questions that rattled around in her head in these quiet moments had answers. In the light of day the answers became blurred as she dressed the kids for daycare. He had slithered home before day break, into another room, hiding his leftover high. Indifferent to a new day of family and job responsibilities he ignored the lives living around him. She would drown out her cries for help by pushing it aside with work.

He had emotionally beat her down with his addiction. Sucking her in deeper by telling her no one would want her, she was ugly and fat. She thought she could save him from self destruction despite his cruelty. When she had thought he had changed she became hopeful. In those months she had seen the reasons she had fallen for him and naively became pregnant each time. Thinking the love of a family could be stronger than addiction. Her shame kept her down as she looked into her babies eye's. What had she done.

It was a beautiful soul that saw her pain and convinced her of her worth. He was a married man that she could never have and yet he taught her that she deserved love. He reached out out to her despite his own pain. It was not about physical closeness but about two hurting people being there for each other. He helped her see herself as he saw her and she grew stronger. It was an affair that was brief and could never be more. There was not an ounce of regret but instead a grateful clear heart. She finally had the courage to leave her husband and begin a new life.

Telling her husband she was leaving him was easy once she had made up her mind. When he saw her eye's he knew all feeling for him was gone but he could not accept it. In desperation he tried everything he could think of to keep his family together. Promises, more counseling and even flowers did not come close to erasing the scars. He just wanted one good reason why she would tear their family apart. She had left him in her heart long ago and she was done with explanations falling on deaf ears.

It was a long hard road to becoming a liberated woman. What amazed her was how easy it was to lose herself so completely in a relationship. It was not just about her youth or immaturity but about needing to be loved. She saw a pattern of dependency in her search. If it was not a man, it was as a mother and even her job. Forever watchful, she remains true to herself. Allowing relationships to enhance her life not consume it like an addiction. Photo Indifferent - Pour - Reason (Fiction)