Monday, April 10, 2017

Adieu

Said good-bye to two old friends today.
LiveJournal and Myspace (yes, Tom, bye bye) have been deleted.

Back when I first found out about these social media groups, I was contributing daily and reading and making friends. Myspace was first and I think I was able to advertise my two paperback novels quite well because I accumulated over 400 followers. I enjoyed reading about their lives, seeing photos of their pets and kids.
Only two of them transferred over to Facebook. Leaundra, who at the time was stationed in Germany with her Army husband. It took me a couple of months to locate her. Stephe, you were there through my illnesses. Hugs to you both.

Okay, after that, I got a warning from Karyn daughter that Livejournal was doing something weird, that it wanted us to agree to something new from the new owners from the Russian Federation that seemed a little too fishy for me. I've nothing against the Russian people, but their laws and their screwy governing body have no right to use my words in any way. I had two full novellas on LJ that I copied to paper and I intend to put up on Amazon in my own name. The Russkis have no right to them whatsoever.

Only problem is, when I printed out the many pages, the font is about ant-sized and I will have to retype everything. Since I'll be editing at the same time, it will only be tedious.

These stories I wrote when I was undergoing chemotherapy.
The kids say they're horrible!

I think they're highly imaginative, considering I had some pretty vivid dreams back then. And horrible topics, but I was dying, so one can expect a little ugliness.

There are also pages and pages detailing my problem and the medicines I had to take and the desperation I felt. This I did not copy and it is all gone now, unless the Russkis want to publish the pages as examples of how American doctors torture their cancer patients.

No. I cannot forget what happened to me. I cannot help but remember the pain and the tears and prayers. I will always remember the friends who came to cheer me, bring me flowers and pizza and chocolate that I couldn't taste at the time. I will be eternally grateful to Pauline and Sally, Sandy who called nearly every day, Charity and Lois who called or visited. Patt who brought me lunch I couldn't really eat but Herb enjoyed. Out of the innate goodness of their hearts.
There were others: Chris who brought me stuff I could drink. Jennifer who even visited me in the hospital and assisted the nurse who set up my first chemo drip! The doctors and nurses who cared so much to help out someone they didn't know, yet they were gentle and dear. So many others! Such kindness toward ME! What did I do to deserve it?

And my husband who fed me and held me and made love to me even when I was bald and couldn't feel anything but pain in my body. My daughters who helped me even though they were in college and didn't want to go back.

I'm crying now. Remembering this good stuff almost blots out the bad stuff. Almost, but not quite.

Good bye, LiveJournal. Farewell Myspace. May you both rest in peace.

Sunday, April 2, 2017

Hysterical History

The Horn Book
Back in the day when paper was expensive and little boys had to learn to read somehow other than drawing in the dirt or possessing a slate and stylus, wooden paddles carrying the letters of the alphabet, a catechism and perhaps a few simple drawings were used in place of actual books.
This goes back in history to the 1600s at least, perhaps before that.

These paddles with the letters, etc., were either made of wood or horn...the actual lesson on the front was covered with a thin layer of shaved cattle horn, like a plastic sheet over the lesson, to protect it. Often on the other side was a simple abacus. The child carried this hornbook with him (rarely her) to the teacher's residence. American colonials employed these things and thus our earliest Americans were taught their letters and thus, how to read.

Now, back in my personal history, no, I didn't have a hornbook, but I remember seeing a picture of one in my Jack and Jill magazine. This was far more advanced than just letters, each letter had a small caption in rhyme. The only letter I can remember was for A. The caption read "In Adam's fall, we sinned all." The little picture showed a man, a tree with a serpent in its boughs, a naked woman and an apple. The A might be for Adam, who every young boy must have heard about from his minister or father, and it might stand for Apple. Either way, that poor naked woman, not the snake, was to blame for the downfall of man. The temptress. The whore. The creature with whom Adam would sin and lose paradise.

The woman, founder of Original Sin.

The reason a man must be baptized, to be rid of the sin with which he was marked. To cleanse himself in the Name of God...the good guy in all this.

Why am I bothering with all this history?

Original sin, the Garden of Eden, the denigration of womankind...all lay at the feet of the other sex, the opposite sex. Females. The ruination of GOOD MEN, simply by caring enough for one somehow would lead to eternal damnation.

Women. Soulless creatures. Why, in the early days of the church, women were regarded as not having souls! Women were instruments of the devil, not allowed in church or at religious services during certain times of the month, separated from the righteous males in different areas completely, covered with eternal shame because of Eve's perfidy!

No, wait. I am not sure when women finally obtained souls, or who it was who decided to give them back to women...some kindly old dude, probably, who was convinced by a good woman to change his mind. Hmm. Maybe his saintly mother who never did anything bad made him stop and think that perhaps this soulless theory was wrong. Who can say? I'm sure there's some treatise moldering on a shelf somewhere with the answer. Right now, I can't find it.

But, hey, this idea of women being temptresses, destined to lead good men astray with their wiles and wishes, is not dead. Far from it.

Two major religions still adhere to the idea.
Several minor ones think it is gospel.  Women have always been creatures of the devil, put on Earth to bring their evil to men and destroy their souls, leading them to eternal damnation.

Good idea.

Makes great sense. This is the very reason the Equal Rights Amendment was never passed. This belief, this total misconception, is behind Sharia Law and whatever it is called for the Orthodox Jews...that separate the women, the mothers, daughters, women without male protectors...from men.

The reason our vice president won't eat a meal with any woman other than his wife.
The reason doctors of certain beliefs will not touch a woman to examine her, but rather depend on her husband to tell him what is wrong with her, what her physical complaints are.

Let's take this even further back in time, although it is also practiced to this day--female circumcision. The reasoning behind this primitive practice goes back to women being instruments of the devil. If they cannot experience pleasure during the sex act, they can only procreate, which is the sole reason for their existence on this planet. Hopefully, they will produce more men to be subservient to.

Yes, this is a rant. In Adam's fall, we sinned all.

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

New fake relative

At last, the Hollywood connection!!

Remember the scene in King Kong, the original, not this latest or the one before that or the one before that, but the first, the 1933 version? Okay, the party from the ship lands on Skull Island...Armstrong, the captain (so he can talk to the natives), the hero and Fay Wray. They creep up the beach to see what's going on. The natives are dancing around in front of this giant wall.
The crew from the ship hides behind a clump of weeds to watch.

They witness the natives bowing and scraping while six guys wearing fur on their arms and head shuck and jive in a circle on a dance platform in front of the chief and his buddies.

They get caught. The natives are pissed and that's where the real story begins.

Well, my Hollywood connection comes with the dancer who, in a closer up shot, dips his arms, then raises them...the only one with a full shot where you see the costume.

Yep, that's ol' Uncle Boris. On my mother's side, I think, but who can really say? He's legend in the family.

Moved to the West Coast right after landing on Ellis Island, made his way painfully west doing odd jobs like ditch digging and waiting on tables...inching his way to Hollywoodland. He'd been fascinated by moving pictures in the Old Country and was determined to be a movie star.

Only one problem. He was kinda funny looking. No leading man roles for him, but he was Rondo Hatton's stand-in in several movies after this one time shot in King Kong.

I think, out of all my fake relatives, I like this one the best. He was determined to be in the movies and well, he made it.
Dreams do come true for those who try.
 

Monday, March 20, 2017

The bad thing about thinking

This morning I remembered what it was like to undergo treatment for lymphoma with chemotherapy.
I sat in a comfortable reclining chair. The nurse pushed aside my sweater to gain access to the port that is still in my body a few inches away from my heart. There is a tube of some kind that extends to my neck and some vein I don't remember there. A big one. Sometimes after all this time, the nurses that flush this port can't get any blood from it, which makes me wonder if it has sealed up. I'd like it out, but that would require surgery and I do not want to go under anesthesia again.

The poison dripped through me. Sometimes I could feel it burning. Sometimes, like the very first time, I could feel it tingling in my pubic region. It was unpleasant, but I stuck it out.
After that very first time, I got terribly sick and vomited into the toilet at home. Herb wouldn't let me stay in the hospital after undergoing a poison drip for 13 hours because he was afraid I'd catch some OTHER disease. So I came home and puked my brains out.
The next day, I got some medicine that relieved the nausea and vomiting. I got it every month because we had good insurance coverage. I doubt I could get it again as it cost about $900 a dose.

I met some nice people every 15 days when I got my treatments. I would just start regaining my sense of taste when I'd lose it all over again. Some nice people came to visit me and brought me flowers and chocolates which I could not eat.
I lost 70 lbs. I have since found most of it again.

People, family, friends, acquaintances, the ladies at the pharmacy...my doctors and nurses...all were wonderful to me. I can never thank them enough for all the kindnesses they bestowed on me.

But I cried this morning as I remembered the pain. Your bones ache. Your insides ache. You have little normal senses...things stink or they taste like straw or your body stinks or heats up and burns or freezes, sometimes all at once. You fight. You cry more. You lose your hair, your flesh hangs from your body, you get a tan, you can barely move some days.
And nobody, nobody who has not undergone chemotherapy the exact same way you have--nobody bloody understands what you are going through.

So I cried at memories.
I didn't want to cry, nor did I want to remember.

I do know what I would not wish this on my worst enemy. Ever.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

The next list

A few days ago, while feeling particularly sorry for myself, I jotted down all the things wrong with me, physically, that is. Every single little twitch and pain and unnormal thing that's been bothering me.
The list is quite long, and I didn't even mention those biggies that I've been dragging along with me that probably are the causes of these little pains in the butt.

I won't list them here.
There are FIFTEEN things.

Probably, they can be written off with reference to my advancing age and the chemotherapy that saved my life but knocked me for a loop.

But they're all there, annoying me, holding me back, causing me pain and preventing me from living a happy life.

SHIT

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Conference next weekend

Next Friday, St. Patrick's Day, is the first day of the Liberty States Fiction Writers' conference.
 
I don't do much there...but I did get my hair done so I wouldn't look like a bag lady. The way I figure it, bag ladies are too poor to have their hair done, using whatever funds they may have to sustain themselves with food, etc.
 
So, I got it done by my friend Debbie. She pulls strands of hair through holes in a little tight fitting cap on my head and bleaches the hell out of it.
 
 
 
Yes, this is the best selfie I have ever taken. Karyn said it is terrible. I think it's rather complimentary!

Monday, March 6, 2017

That day

There comes a time when every single bit of energy and patience--mostly patience--is drained from one's body.
There's a scene in an old movie, Jason and the Argonauts, when on the island of Talos, the giant awakens when someone takes a javelin (actually a pin from a broach) from a tomb/temple. Talos is one of the Titans, only he is a giant bronze statue on top of the tomb.
The men from the Argos have been warned not to take anything but food and water from the island.  So, when one of the dudes, I believe it is Herakles, walks off with this pin he thinks to use as a javelin, the mighty giant comes to some sort of bronze life and goes after the guys from the ship.
Jason--mind you, he's a sort of hero in charge of the search for the Golden Fleece--realizes he can't fight the statue which towers over everyone and everything. But he's clever. He's been told by Hera to look to the giant's ankles. No, this isn't about Achilles, though we all know what was wrong with his ankles. This is about Jason and his need to defeat the bronze Ray Harryheusen Titan.
He scrambles between Talos's bronze sandals and sees a round screw-in plug. After great grunting and exertion, Jason opens up the plug and out pours a river of reddish goo. This stuff is what has powered the living statue and eventually, once it is drained sufficiently, the statue crashes and becomes immobile. The remaining crew of the Argos get back on the ship, except for one young fellow.
Herakles, feeling bad that it was his fault the giant awakened and the rampage happens and this one young guy is missing, decides to remain on the island and search for the kid, thus leaving the crew to carry on to Colcos for the fleece.
Down one hero.
But what I'm referring to mostly is how the huge, mighty bronze colossus gets all the goo drained from it and becomes immobile.
That's me. I am Talos.
I think I need some alone time.
Now.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SNg4KZKG96o