To Your 98th, Mother!

There’s not a flower that is seen or a scrappy rooster ornament on display that doesn’t call to mind your presence in our lives and the many remem-brances you’ve left us with, Mother.

Today you missed your 98th birthday here on Earth with us, but no doubt have continued on in Heaven.

We miss you and your gentle ways when you weren’t being onery. We even miss the oppressively loud sound of your “Forensic Files” and “Nancy Grace”. And we have totally lost track of what the National Enquirer and Globe are up to. Things are just not the same without these, and would not be the same without seeing you taking in all the information from the screaming headlines to the heightened decibels you required from the tv – even though you kept insisting you were not going deaf! Can’t say we didn’t worry a bit that we might!

Hoping that you still enjoy the sunshine and the birds you loved so much here. Maybe you’re getting to garden again. That would be a beautiful thing to know. We’ve managed to make it through your passing, and I swear – for certain – we will be having your Celebration of Life in June. It’s been embarrassing to not have had a more timely service but, as you know, things played out a little awkwardly upon your passing.

We’ll be having music and a private ceremony for family only – unless we can find some of your friends still around. Not likely though. Pretty sure you’ve outlasted everyone you knew. I mean if it hadn’t been for Sherry coming to get you, I’m not sure you would’ve even left when you did. Hope you and God have worked things out since then!

Maybe if you were able to do so, you showed a little spirit at Miguel’s in Coronado today. Heather and the kids had lunch there in honor of your birthday. No doubt they were hoping for a sign that you were able to join them. Maybe a butterfly or bird “fly by”, No need for anything as dramatic as the pigeon incident on my birthday appetizer platter this past September. Didn’t take it personally but it was kind of “over the top” if that was you being “present” there.

Anyway, Happy Birthday, Mother! We think of you and speak of you all the time. On the occasions noted above, and the ones each of us quietly recall. Thank you for all your strength and wisdom and a big “high five” for my level of  “onery”! No question where I got it from!

P.S. Happy Easter tomorrow! We’ll be looking up then too.

 

 

 

 

 

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International Womens’ Day – As If There’s Just One!

 

First off, a very belated Happy International Women’s Day to all my female friends, mother and sisters here and beyond! As I pointed out to my granddaughter on that day, pretty much every day is International Women’s Day. It’s just up to each of us to acknowledge and celebrate it and ourselves on a more regular basis than once a  year.

As most of the older generations know, it wasn’t always trendy to be strong, independent and self-actualized. Once upon a time, women looked to men for permission to become such things. I grew up raised by a woman who had no choice but to become those things since marriage to my dad didn’t work out, and she wasn’t content to continue dodging his abusive behavior when her will became more adamant than he wanted to handle.

Segue to the sixties and the endless double standard examples I witnessed around me growing up into adulthood: being “allowed” to play basketball with the boys at sixth grade recess; insisting on equal pay at 15 when my younger fellow male helper at the rec center received a wage and I did not – neither did I continue to work there for free; being considered less than a desirable social connection due to my own single unmarried motherhood. The list could go on but it’s history now, right?

It’s been a long journey through all phases of adulthood, watching all of us sisters become maybe better, more inclusive, more supportive toward each other than we were when the men around us determined our status quo and allowable worth or social value.

Here we stand, leading as we also join the younger generations so we can all now collectively self-actualize and bring a new momentum to the future of our country, and a new perspective to what’s possible for all of us as a nation, regardless of gender, economic status or social history.

Who needs to be queens or princesses when – by virtue of each of us honoring and supporting each other – we can and will all ROCK!

‘Nuff said, ya know?

 

 

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Short of 97

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Ninety-six and counting.

That was a year ago yesterday. Mother, as far as I know, has since escaped this planetary time zone and the warped agendas of those who considered themselves her medical caregivers.

She was an amazingly strong woman who survived a massive stroke that could have been treated properly but wasn’t due to her age. Didn’t matter that, except for knee and leg issues, she was still an engaged and responsive person capable of enjoying life with a little family help. She was written off and then starved for four days to “help us out”, I guess.

I fixed that protocol and got them to feed her again. If she was going to leave, it wasn’t going to be because she was covertly starved to death! Or had a “quality of life” banner used by the medical team to justify it. Especially since Mother’s medical team had chosen not to make available the shot they give younger stroke victims to reverse the damage incurred, and which they had not shared with us as an option!

Instead my daughter and I continued to battle for the next eight months to give and get Mother the care she deserved. Looking back it’s a blur of nursing home and hospital moments of marginal concern and care. Some facilities were more diligent and caring than others as were the individual team members at these facilities. But the only consistency we found in advocating for Mother’s care was that her being 96 was their excuse and permission to do less and be less of an advocate for any potential recovery. No question that this was a financial decision on the part of these facilities.

Be elderly, be gone. Period. An FYI for those of you who are seniors and/or caregivers to seniors.

At the last hospitalization, Mother was held in ICU for three days where she contracted multiple bed sores. Yes, in ICU! This after we had successfully healed her previous bed sores from her prior hospital stay. Those new bed sores, along with her borderline pneumonia upon admission, had weakened her ability to fight all the infection going on inside her. Still she fought to live in spite of everything.

But by this point my mother was talking to the other side.

My older sister Sherry had passed a few months before. We hadn’t told Mother because we didn’t want to negatively affect her potential to recover, and figured she would stabilize at some point when we could tell her. But in the last evening – a year ago last night – Mother kept talking to Sherry and calling her by name. Mother was angry at me, probably for not telling her about Sherry, but then her breathing and vitals started to fail according to the nurse in the room monitoring her.

Mother, whose bed sores had started to heal, was judged to be in crisis. The nurse had Mother in a standing position, holding her upright. She said Mother’s monitors were not registering even though I was looking at Mother and she was still conscious and aware. She was not properly hooked up but this seemed to be due to the failure of Mother’s lungs and irregular heartbeat per the nurse. The other nurse in the room said nothing contradictory.

The nurse walked Mother closer to me and asked if she should pull the plug since the oxygen wasn’t working. We had opted out of using CPR, our only remaining option. This was due to the damage it causes elderly bones.

In a complicated, angst-laden instant, I said “yes”. I didn’t want to. Mother was still fighting to live one fading breath at a time. But all I could think of was what she’d already been through and how little support she’d be given by the hospital for any kind of recovery and care. And how cruel it would be to prolong her battle. So I said “yes”.

Within a heartbeat or two, Mother was gone. I had facilitated her passing.

Being my mother’s daughter, this was against my inclination to persevere and overcome whatever hardship Life brought our way. It was against my nature – and upbringing – to give up under any circumstance, especially when I sensed the nurse might be playing me in that moment. But ultimately, it was about the quality of life I knew would not be forthcoming for Mother from any of the medical staff we’d encountered, and especially now that her pneumonia diagnosis had become complicated by other bodily infections.

To be at peace with Mother’s passing, we had her autopsied in case something medically undocumented or preventable had occurred. We were not entirely convinced that Mother’s condition was the cause of her demise at that particular moment, and wanted to have definitive medical proof in case we needed to take any kind of legal action. Sepsis had shown up in the autopsy but not in the hospital’s final report. We were advised that it was a complicating factor that may have contributed to her heart and lungs failing, but ultimately she would have passed away if not then, during a future hospital stay.

We had also received a letter from her pharmacy advising us that one of Mother’s prescriptions had been issued with the wrong pills inside, which meant she was taking an elevated amount of statins. This may have also been a contributing factor but no definitive proof from any current studies existed at the time of her death.

Mother was cremated according to her wishes. We have not yet scattered the ashes but have plans to do so soon. It will be by the beach but away from the ocean. She was very adamant there be no water where her ashes are scattered. Her wish was to be blown “where the four winds go” and, in her honor, I’m hoping the winds on that chosen day will oblige.

Rest in peace, Mother. We love and miss you. Your strength and indomitable spirit will always remain in our hearts and memories. You are legend.

A legend not only to us, but to the medical staffs who could not conquer, subdue or dismiss your will.

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Reassessing Your Own Backyard

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Fall came and went – or so I thought.

I had envisioned myself surrounded by just one amazing afternoon among all the golds and reds of autumn.  It would have to be somewhere close to Phoenix due to schedule and financial commitments.

As far as I knew the closest fall colors were at least an hour and a half away. Capturing all that beauty at the golden hour of pre-twilight seemed nearly impossible. I angsted about it but vowed somehow, some way I’d make it happen. Even a couple of failed road trip attempts didn’t dissuade me.

However, it became obvious on my road trip to California and back that the most glorious flushes of foliage were behind me, and I had gone philosophical about missing autumn just so I could feel better and move on.

So there was a little “bah, humbug” in driving to and through Verrado, a highway-adjacent neighborhood of Buckeye during the weeks leading up to Christmas. What would normally have been a visit to the spectacular and fun holiday decorations became a “no zone” because why bother? Autumn had been a bust.

Then came New Year’s Day and the weekend that followed. My granddaughter and great grandson came for a visit. My daughter, grandson and I wanted to give them a tour of the pretty neighborhoods there. And hey, we hadn’t been there for a while.

What to my wondering eyes should appear but latent fall colors everywhere! My daughter said “There you go, Mom!” I couldn’t believe that, with all the angst I went through and feeling like the universe and my schedule had conspired against me, there I was in the middle of fall colors without going much more than five miles from home! “This is great!” I enthused “but I’d really hoped to see some red leaves. At least a few.”

Our family took a walk through the latent change in the leaves, visited a playground for my great grandson, then headed back to the car parked a few blocks away.

Then came the gift.

On top of my car had dropped a small group of leaves. Yellow, gold and RED!!!

Who says the Universe doesn’t listen?

 

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Serendipity – The Feather’s Flip Side

Who knew it would be another trip to the Scottsdale library to jump start a new post here on my blog?

Showed up for what was supposed to be a SCORE marketing meeting for us social media magnet wannabes. Meeting presenters were a “No show”. Go figure!

Gonna keep on keeping on anyway! In the process of making it to the meeting, I discovered I had outsmarted myself at being on time. Wrote down the meeting start time for an hour earlier than it actually was. Result: I was 15 minutes early! I was so impressed with myself! Of course, the same scenario didn’t work as well when I was younger because I’d remember the built-in time cushion and give myself extra time to get there which would usually cause me to be late!

I’m definitely committed to better time and project management skills this year. Don’t want to go “boring” here so I’ll just leave it at that.

Glad to be getting a clearer head on some things and looking forward to more keto-ish eating, maybe a Zumba class. Still love to dance!

New Year’s resolution? Drama is being dealt out. Long live fun and positive people in my life!

Happy New Year, everybody!!

 

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On the Way to Serendipity

Okay. So, finally I’m losing the “sludge factor” on my road to wherever.

Not in any fast track turbo kind of way, just in a gradual “Oh, that crap’s not here in my way anymore. Huh, cool!”

Not saying it’s a clean and polished road, but I think I’m finally getting a handle on how to get out of my own way. Of course, this is just an experiment. Isn’t life always just that? But it’s good to see things getting simpler instead of harder, solvable instead of insurmountable. Not sure what this post is about except to acknowledge my change in perception about how to move ahead in my life and accomplish the things I feel important to do.

As grateful as I am for this, there’s still the current sludge factor in the general populace with elections coming due. Still my wish that we all can be on the same team of honoring humanity, and acknowledging that we are just inhabitants here. The hierarchy of Creation is not our job, just our mission to make it all work synergistically, unconditionally to the greater good of all ‘cuz that’s what was decided when it all came into being many, many millions of millenia ago.

Glad to be a part of it. Will not stand down from the right of everyone on the planet to exist as they were born to be. Not my place or anyone else’s to diminish others or exalt myself or anyone else as more entitled and/or worthy.

Wishing everyone the peace and prosperity of discovering how we’re all the same – until the Lord comes back or we all get a clue it’s about the frat house mentality running the planet that keeps making life less than it could be for everyone.

My thoughts for today! Later.


 

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Aging As A Work In Progress

It’s just a hat to some. But on a birthday – the big 7-0 – it’s a lifestyle reminder that age is way more than just a number!

It’s the collective accumulation of how you embrace your life and your days and share them with others or maybe not so much. Depends, ya know?

I’ve spent the first half of my birthday in my car writing posts across the street from my granddaughter’s place.  Sometimes one must improvise a reclusive space for creativity.

We’ll be sharing me shortly, but I’ve not been on my best writing behavior for most of this year, and I’m in the process of committing to better, more regular posts and other content in the short term.

So, anyway, improvising in adversity or just random circumstances has always been my strong suit. So much so that I’m not sure I can ever turn it off. Not in a PTSD kind of way, necessarily. But in a “ready when needed, no big deal” kind of way. A “life as improv” kind of way – which we all do. But I guess I feel more in the flow with that mindset than most. It’s been brought to my attention before.

And that is definitely part of successful aging. Regardless of resources, living situation, job or no job, level of engagement with others, if you can manage to embrace your moments in spite of your own or other’s attitudes, and seize at least part of every day, you’ll someday behold your own self-made work of art that is now you.

The beauty of art? It’s in the eye of the beholder. Critics don’t make art. Well, maybe the internal one but again, you wouldn’t be here in all your artful glory if you weren’t doing something amazing within.

So, celebrate your age! It’s a gift that you’ve worked for and gotten to in spite of EVERY force and adversary you’ve survived, thrived and come up against!

So, yay, you and WAAAY yay, me!

And whew!

P.S. Just as I’m posting this at sunset by the Coronado Bay, “Bridge Over Troubled Water” came on a nearby shop’s speaker. Pivotal, serendipitous moment in time getting a replayed reminder in the now. Wow! It HAS been a long and arduous journey to artistic realization – so far.

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Those Lesser Christian Moments

Ever have one of those lesser Christian moments?

You know the ones.

Like when you thank God you’re not yet the homeless persons asleep on the sidewalk or steps in front of your church on Sunday morning? And you join the other parishioners heading inside, averting direct engagement or even acknowledgement of their presence – or the missed opportunity to be a resource of kindness, concern and maybe an item or two of food if not cash or clothing? You know, like Jesus would do if he had been there.

Maybe there’s some brief discussion among yourselves to say what an unfortunate situation the homeless guys are in as everyone finds their pew, and settles in for the sermon that will deliver them from the past week’s trials and shortcomings. And reinforce your gratitude or sense of entitlement that at least you’re not living on the streets like the ones you dismissed on the way in to refuel your higher selves.

Maybe you and others wonder silently or aloud what is up with all these seemingly lazy, disenfranchised people who’d rather live on the street at the mercy of circumstance and lean means rather than work and support the profiteers who are decimating our humanity, one financial carrot at a time, here and anywhere else where financial carrots are honored.

Hey, nothing wrong with wanting your share of “carrots”. I mean, everyone loves and wants and, most of the time, works to have abundance – and carrots! Maybe your Man or Woman of God is one of those who embrace the God-given right to own and expect abundance, even at the  unfortunate expense to others.

And spiritually, this is okay – until you stop walking your faith, and settle for talking a good game of Christianity instead of delivering and acting and demonstrating your beliefs that humanity and kindness come before “carrots” and climbing social, economic and political ladders instead.

So, quick recap: You saw some homeless guys asleep on the sidewalk or steps of your church. They saw yet another example of a church full of people who cared more about social correctness than what Jesus would do – or would hope they might do. C’mon, people! It’s Sunday, after all. What’s to figure out?

Just sayin’.

P.S. Forgot to mention the nearby 7-11 where a passerby knew what Jesus would do and just went and did it. Like breathing, ya know?

 

 

 

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The Optioneer

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Settled in for the short haul.

Contemplating the content of this, my next post. No feathers flying, no wings in motion, just pure concentration on what’s to be next.

It’s good to be focused even if it is more boring than deciding which action to take and taking it. Which might still be boring but it’s more exciting than sitting still deciding.

So, I’m not winging out just yet, but . . .

Anybody see the lunar eclipse that won’t happen again for millenia? Forgot and slept through it. Actually, I was intermittently awake throughout the night so I might’ve been able to see it if I’d remembered. Maybe it’s on YouTube.

Yup. Two hours if I had watched it in person. Saved about an hour and 45 minutes. Would’ve been fun being able to say I watched it in person though

I was so wound up earlier in the week about several things in the news. Now not so much.

And I was all ready to launch a cool Instagram of my “Great Falls, Virginia!” book but I got advised against it since protocol is to have a few other pieces of marketing in place first – like an actual, not random, marketing plan. SIGGGHHHH! For what it’s worth, here it is anyway:

It. won’t. download! AAGGGHHHH!! “Great Falls, Virginia!” The true fiction account of  my 20’s back in the 70’s. Only $4 for the Kindle version on Amazon.

Back to my pigeon pic, I guess!

So, that’s the update for now. But please stay tuned.

As we know, I. don’t. quit. I just have trouble sitting still.

Later!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Been A While

Well, who knew it’d be a little more than a year for this post from April 2017 to become a factual reality and not just my seemingly surreal, unprovable document sighting from two decades ago?

I am not gloating or dancing by any means. I prayed it would not come true and was just some alt-right or fringe group’s hoax. Now here we are and we’ve been played BIG TIME!

Please read this post not as an invitation to capitulation or aggression but as a call to take decisive action to reclaim our country and hold accountable all representatives who stood pat and/or facilitated Trump, Putin and all those who thought Americans would just keep turning the channel instead of taking a stand.

Believe in us – ALL of us – in saving our country!

kristiswords

Been a little busy phasing out of my Texas mode, gearing up for California.

Yep, we’re leaving the land of Trumpsters and alt-gender oppression; headed back to the land of political incorrectness and proud of it. No apologies, no piety pretense, and believing for as few Trumpsters as Democratically possible.

Been interesting living in a red state. I totally loved Anne Richards before I’d lived in Texas, but now – however did she manage to win and govern Texas? I’m even more inspired and in awe of her now than before.

This is not to write off Texas as all negative. It is not. But in the realm of using politics and religion as an excuse for social and economic coercion and suppression, those more inclusively inclined Texans have their work more than cut out for them. As does the entire nation with Trump and others in charge.

As the pendulum of…

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