Monday, September 24, 2018

I'm moving on...

In a way...

Starting on Wednesday, Sept. 26, I'll be doing most of my blogging at ClassicCountryMusicMemories. This is a branch of my Classic Country Memories page and I'll be talking about all kinds of memories, as well as today's news occasionally.

Friday, August 17, 2018

I kept my promise...

I really didn't keep my promise. I mean, I promised a second post today but I'm not really ready yet, and it's bedtime now.  But I'll be back sooner this time with some country music history!

Go on and roll the dice, you only live twice, do it or die.

A couple years ago, I subscribed to Newspapers.com, which is really entertaining and wonderful for a trivia and history buff such as myself.  Maybe we aren't supposed to remember all the people who died in the past, but there were lots of characters who have gotten lost in all the information out there these days. I wrote about some of them back in March and there are many others I could write about.

So, starting today (this is post 1 of 2 today), my blog is getting a new life.  It's slow time at work now, the time of year when I have to look for work to get enough to pay the bills.  Off the clock, my life is changing slowly, but changing none the less, and it may result in my having more time to devote to my already-existing side jobs of CPR instruction and writing non-fiction with a few fictional stories here and there.

Our 26-year-old daughter is moving home at some point in the next few months, and as I'm cleaning out our son's old bedroom to let her bring in her stuff, I'm moving things around and getting rid of things that mean nothing to me.  There's plenty of that. I'm a packrat, not really to hoarder status because I have paths through all the rooms (LOL) but... just getting rid of things that I'm not attached to is working pretty well for now.  A new storage unit business has been opened just down the road from us, and after the "bug man" comes, I'm going to rent one for her extra stuff and my CPR business storage.  Since it's right down the road, it'll be easy to grab things as I go, kind of like I do from my garage now.  But when the garage gets cleaned out... that'll give us more room too.

When we moved in here, we never dreamed we'd still be here 25 years later.  Heck, we only had one baby and she was a toddler! We didn't even know there'd be a boy joining us in about 18 months!  Things have changed a lot, mostly in the amount of crap we've managed to cram into this place. It became too small the day I moved the crib into the "storage room" so that boy would have a room of his own.  I was never a great housekeeper, but when we got a dog who destroyed carpet and furniture, I was overwhelmed. I got depressed.  Then we got computers that opened us up to all kinds of information and entertainment, so I became an even worse housekeeper.  The kids weren't much help. We got more animals, then gradually they died out.  By this time I wasn't working 40 hours a week or driving and working, I was teaching and driving so I never had any free time whatsoever to work on the house. When I went back to nucs and the kids were in college or on their own, I was physically just barely able to work and function, and I was scared of mice coming out of cabinets and closets that needed cleaning. I got two more cats, but physically I'm still not doing that great.  I'm gradually getting better by making some changes that I won't go into here, but I'm looking forward to having more energy and if I can get the house cleaned up a little more (and I am getting there), writing will be easier because I won't feel like I should be doing something else instead!

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

One of these nights...

One of these nights I'm gonna write something absolutely amazing and powerful and I'm really looking forward to it.

So far, I haven't figured out what that is, exactly... but I'm okay with that.  I'll keep on writing until I do.

I'd love to write more, and really, I DO write more than I post on this blog because I prefer not to just throw everything I think onto a blog like a diary for everyone in the universe to read.  I work a lot, and I love what I do 99.44% of the time but I would love to have more time to write.  I spend too much time trying to make money. Well, I might as well while I'm able and my kids aren't little anymore so that I can retire before I die.  I tell people I write every chance I get but it's really not true.  If it were true, I'd have a lot more material to read.  I have many, many stories in my head that I really should put into writing, because I know I'm not going to live forever (at least not in this realm, and I'm not sure how much of my brain will make it through the life I'm living now) and I don't want the stories and characters to die with me. After I'm gone my kids can pass this stuff on to other people, or just give them away, but hopefully, I'll get some of them out into the world and let the universe decide whether they're worth keeping.

There were also people who once walked this earth and not just through my brain whose stories shouldn't be forgotten either.  Those who passed after about 2005 will have more information about them on the Internet for future generations than those who passed before that, and there are stories in the old newspapers and databases for those who wish to look for those folks.  Still there are people who lived quiet and simple lives, whose stories weren't compelling Nicholas Sparks novel fodder (or even Lifetime movie fodder), who've left serious marks on the manuscript of my own life.  My grandmother was one... one of her father's seventeen children as well as one of her mother's eleven.  Her oldest sister Lorene was evidently unable to bear children of her own, but I never, ever heard her complain about that, or talk about it at all.  I never asked her why she didn't have children, maybe because I was afraid to bring it up.  Her husband had lost two children in the Christmas Eve crash that claimed his first wife and left him with only his son. Maybe she figured it might've been better to have had no children at all.  His son gave her four step-grandchildren that she dearly loved in her own quiet way.  She wasn't the kind of grandmother who took the kids to Opryland (actually they didn't have that on either side, but all their grandparents cared for them very much) but she baked them goodies and visited them and kept an eye on them and probably went to graduations and things like that, I don't remember.  She also kept a lot of other relatives, like me. 

She, like Granny, had a portrait of a handsome young man I never had the privilege to know, my uncle Olie.  His death at age 18 was one of those events you see in movies, where a local teenager gets really sick (or has an accident or gets shot or... you get the picture) and dies young and the whole town shuts down for the funeral.  But before I knew all that about the town's reaction, I knew that my grandmother and all her family lost a dear brother, son, grandson, and uncle.  I guess because he didn't live long enough to have children and grandchildren of his own, I felt sort of obligated to keep his memory alive.  I think others in my family might've felt that way too.  For example, my uncle Lanny put a new headstone on Olie's grave.  Lanny was just a little fella when Olie died; I think he was about 3.

These are just a few of the stories I'd like to share, as well as some of the fictional characters I've created over the years.  Some of my characters are loosely based on real people and real events, but in general most are purely made up.  Here's an example of that:  I used to wonder what it would've been like if Lorene and her first husband had adopted a child, or had a baby late in life. Everette was only in his early 40s when he died, so he would've died very early in this baby's life.  I came up with a lot of good stories and characters from that "what if" story. Many of my stories are "what ifs" or at least they start out that way.  I do a lot of research into the past to find details and ideas.  Like looking at Olie's death certificate and obituary. 

I need to be looking at the inside of my eyelids.  Gotta go make that money while it's there.

Sunday, January 21, 2018

Let me tell ya that it... HURTS SO BAD

I've written about my health and constant, chronic pain before.  Today, it is reaching new heights.  I slept about 3 hours, then I woke up to go to the bathroom and then I was hitting that period of the morning where different alarms go off every so often, my attempt at keeping my body waking up at around 5 AM when I go back to work tomorrow.  So I was in serious pain when it was time to get ready for church, and I decided not to go.  I didn't really want to miss church, but I sure didn't want to stand in the choir loft (or in the congregation) or sit in the pews while my feet were aching like sore teeth.

If you want to think I'm Miss Cheerful and never complain about anything... stop reading now, because it's gonna get hateful in here.  I hate dealing with chronic pain.  When I was in 3rd grade, I got to know a girl who was diabetic and I wanted to learn all about her.  I was a little jealous because she had a mid-morning break when she went to the teachers' lounge and my suspicion was that she had a snack (I was usually hungry before lunch so this seemed positive) and had to test her sugar... which was all by urine at the time, no sticking.  I thought it was a built-in diet trick to always drink diet sodas, I thought that would keep her from being a fat adult. (It didn't. She's not huge, but has never been thin.)  That was very important to me at the time. She did have to get insulin shots, but they didn't seem to bother her like shots bothered me. I thought, the worst thing that can happen is that old people with diabetes sometimes lost toes, and I wasn't sure why that happened, but her 11-year-old toes seemed to be in decent shape.  I also thought if shots were the worst thing... well, let me assure you, they are not.

The neuropathy started sometime around November, 2008.  I'd been diabetic for at least 2 years before that, and it wasn't too long after my diagnosis.  I was insulin resistant for many years, since at least 1985 and probably a few years before.  I thought it was just a genetic thing, most of my mom's family dealt with it.  I didn't realize what that was doing to my body, and I didn't realize that the way I ate was making it worse.  I had gestational diabetes in my first pregnancy, and though I didn't the second time, I did have a nine pound baby that time - both risk factors for developing diabetes later in life.  Even that didn't scare me.  I thought because I had low blood sugar that I wouldn't become diabetic, just like I couldn't starve myself because my sugar would dip too low.  Honestly, if my blood sugars hadn't been so wild, I probably would've been anorexic because food was always the enemy.  But I'd let them drop too low and then stuff some carbs down to get me through.  Carbs couldn't be too bad, right?  After all, they were low in fat and fat was the problem, right?  I ate more complex carbs, like pasta and potatoes, because they weren't simple sugars like candy that would run through me quickly.  I began to realize that I could eat sugars IF i ate something with protein first, so I did.

When I was diagnosed, I thought if I took my meds, I could still eat what I wanted, within limits.  I didn't really want as much sweet stuff, but I did still like it.  I thought I would never be able to cut carbs out completely, and I was eating so much less sugar than I used to, but eventually, they had to stop one of my medicines because of the liver function tests going haywire, so I just gave up and threw all caution to the wind.  For a year or so I ate whatever I wanted, whenever I wanted it.  Eventually I did attempt to cut out carbs, and I'm still pretty good at that, but I do eat some.  Like I had a hot dog, and instead of carb-laden side dishes, I had - sit down - a BUN!  Oops. Flag on the play.  The touchdown will not count.

I've been thoroughly disappointed with the inability of modern medicine to cure my pain.  Doctors say, "You've got to have better control of your sugar."  I'm like, it's 3:00 pm and all I've had all day was a protein shake that says it contains 25 carbs.  How could my sugars be high because of that?  So why are they hurting? Well, lots of things can make them hurt... but only keeping my sugars low is the only relief I can get???

I would try medical marijuana, but I live in a non-legal state.  I'm told my state representatives share the Attorney General's belief that marijuana leads to harder drugs.  I went to college.  I tried "weed" back in the day.  I never did any stronger drugs, and I was offered cocaine more than once.  For the record, I didn't try marijuana the first few times it was offered either.  I guess I did do "harder" drugs at times... I had morphine after surgery.  Once in awhile I'd have a prescription for an opiate, when I had broken bones and migraines and toothaches.  The medicine would help with whatever pain I was in at the time, but that wasn't because I smoked pot in college.  I could understand how people got hooked on opiates, because after surgery, it was a little scary to think about the pain without the drugs, but I was able to go longer and longer without them and substitute Tylenol for doses during the day until I could easily wean off the "hard stuff."  Nowadays I can't even get the doctors to write me a prescription for pain medicine, because it's taboo to prescribe opioids.  Oh, and by the way, I live in the number one opiate-prescribing state according to this study.  Not surprising, considering we are a long way from a medically-legal marijuana state.  I think in a few years our neighbor Arkansas will have it.  That's only three hours from me... certainly not convenient for moving.  Oh, if Kentucky would allow it, I'd probably move the 13 miles due north for that.

So i am left to my own devices to drown out the pain.  I'm gonna try turmeric.  Hell, what do I have to lose?  I go to bed terrified of what the next day is going to bring.  I have no guarantee that a night's sleep will allow me to wake up feeling energetic and pain-free.  (Occasionally, it happens.)  If I have to work, will I be miserable all day?  Maybe I'll have a good day and it'll feel better.  But after I stand a lot, what will my night be like?  If I can't sleep, I'm guaranteed a day of intense pain.  I have to check all the boxes:  a good night of rest, all medications taken on time, all meals at the correct time (which doesn't happen often in my work), no carbs (even on Christmas! Diabetes doesn't take a holiday), a good balance of sitting and standing and walking (something else I can't always control in my job).  Now, who among us can check all those boxes every.single.day?  Maybe I am a loser because I screw up on that list on a pretty regular basis.  Then there are the matters none of us can control, such as weather.  Did we get a cold front?  Count on extra pain.  Rain?  Probably.  But it's the way I eat that's the problem.  RIGHT.  Too cold in the room?  Better cover those feet, but socks are usually too tight, exacerbating the pain.

It's a vicious cycle.  Sleep late and take meds late?  Ouch.  Work to make money and, let's face it, to keep me on my feet... and pay for it later with sleepless nights.  It's driving me insane.  I've tried B-6, B-12, biotin, evening primrose oil, alpha-lipoic acid, multi-vitamins, Metanx, and using a TENS unit... ice, heating pad, more water, liquor, prayer (begging), and acupuncture.  While the latter can be helpful, it can also be useless. I've experienced more movement after a treatment, but also experienced more pain after one too.

If I get a lot of negative comments on today's post, I'll just shut down the comments on it.  So, if you have a suggestion (like the many who say, just eat less, just exercise more... ha, let me put you into my day and see how YOU do), let your words be nice and sweet, for later they may be words you'll have to eat.