WHAT MATTERS IN LIFE

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Woke up to find the sky overcast and dreary, felt blue until I though about my friend. He’s in Respite care, fading fast from this life. He is drudged so he sleeps a lot. My husband has known this man for sixty years, I have known him for about fifteen. We paid a visit to him yesterday, we have been visiting him in care for a while now, but not while in respite, he just went in two days ago and is fading fast. That visit got me to thinking. WHAT IS LIFE ABOUT? Do we simply go through the motions as the years pass and then end up in the confines of a hospital bed to fade out under heavy sedation?
I recall the room he was in, five family members in attendance and more on the way. We were the only friends at that time, but we know one was turning back from a road trip, three days drive away to return to visit a passing friend, another would be by later in the day. So that made one in my count of what was important- FAMILY and FRIENDS.
Oddly the man passing away never married, yet his family circle was large. People in our community who know him and know of my husband’s nearly life long friendship have often asked how our friend is faring. This happens a lot. Our friend was a big part of the community. In his younger years he was a milk man who delivered milk to homes the old school way, then a Fire Chief, an auxiliary police man, a Cadet leader, as well as working in the local grocery. He goes a long way back in the community, and is well respected and liked. So that brings me to the second in my count- COMMUNITY INVOLVEMENT. Our friend’s work in his community will live well after he has gone. Even the local Museum has proof of it, in the form of countless photos where he is prominent.
Our friend never harmed another, was kind and generous and helpful. He supported youth even if it meant in the form of encouragement, sometimes financial. He lived his life well, thinking of the possible consequences of his actions, thinking of others often before himself. He had a quick sense of humor, and up until a year and a half or so ago, visited the local A&W early, at six, to have coffee with the old timers from town, including my husband. They had a lot of laughs together often telling stories about the old days. This brings me to number three in my count- A LIFE WELL LIVED- volunteer, be involved, make a history with the place you call home and do no harm.
As we sat by his bed side I understood clearly that he could take nothing with him when he went, nothing that is, but the love of the people who were in the room with him and the love of those he touched in his life. His car, parked nearby at his assisted living place, was useless to him now. He had not driven it for nearly seven months. His bank account was doing him no good, nor were the awards for service he kept in his room. These are only things, tangible of course, and evidence that he had done well. But the more powerful evidence, from my point of view were the people in the room with him and the ones on their way, evidence far less tanglible. This man will be greatly missed, he touched many lives.
Life is about love and those we love. Take a moment each day, actually take lots of them, to appreciated those you love, after all, in the end it’s all that truly matters.

Pelicans In Flight

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Last week we saw something we have never seen before. As we drove along the highway a large flock of circling birds came into view. I studied them for some moments, white bodies flashed in the sunlight, framed by black tipped wings. The birds turned abruptly, circled then wings went still, they had caught a thermal. They were almost overhead and not too high up, that’s when I reconsigned them, pelicans!
Now inland pelicans are rare to see, we spot them once or twice in the spring, if we are lucky, usually huddled together in a large congenial grouping near the shoreline. Their bulky white bodies and thick elongated beaks make then easy to spot if you know what to look for. Of course their snowy white plumage also helps, and they are distinct from the swans in shape. Even from a distance.
Never before though had we seen such a grouping in flight. There were at least thirty individuals above us, turning almost in unison as they sought to keep the thermal. Their boomerang shaped silhouettes were bold against the blue of the sky, their flight distinctive. It was a true delight to witness them as they soared and circled.
We pulled over and watched them for a moment or two until they disappeared from view behind a hillside.

At Last, The Anticipated Royalties!

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Woke up early today so I switched on my computer to check my e-mail. I got all excited because there it was, the long awaited notification for book royalties. I still have dial up so it too a few minutes to open the two files. During that time I began to fantasize about the payment, would it be fifty dollars, a hundred…more? Once open I read down to the total, fifteen cents Euro! That’s about thirty cents or so…really? Then I read the invoice more thoroughly. I had sold one copy of ESCAPE FROM CHICKAMAUGA in digital form. One copy in a whole entire year. TURNING POINTS sold zero copies of anything.
I am so discouraged. Now to be clear I do not write for fame or fortune, my books were written years ago when I was well. Two years ago I took them out dusted them off did some editing and sent them to publishers. I want them to be read. I have been told by publishers that they are good. They are from the heart and in some ways a part of me.
So the big question now is, how do I get people to read my books? As of yesterday I have seven published and one in the works. Will they all go out into cyber space and be overlooked?
I suspect there are millions of books out there, millions of souls just like me longing for their readers. I know it may take some time, but one reader in one year for two publications? Seems pitiful!
Now we have 17,000 subscribers to our Immature Senior Blog, I have a Face Book Page and am on Twitter which raises that number. I am hoping that some of my fans buy one…only one of my works from Amazon or Kindle. That way my books could get read.
My health has no been good recently. It gets harder each day to do my posts and edit the works I have left that need it. I need a reasons to continue, having an audience would do that.
Summer will soon be here…great time for summer reading. If any of you are looking for a good read, check out my books, I am sure you will find something there to suit you. I write paranormal, fantasy, science fiction, and general fiction. Pick one, just one, read it and let me know if you enjoyed it. I want to be read now that I am published, after all, why bother if not?

Old Dogs Can Learn New Tricks!

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Finally at age fifty seven I had my first fiction published. This was not an overnight thing. I have been writing all of my life. In my early years it was poetry, then as a teacher I began to write short stories. I did nothing much with them until I became disabled and could no longer work. I went through my old things, examining my life and identity as teacher. A great deal of it was tossed out, but I couldn’t toss away my stories. So I sat on them. At first I was too weak and ill to care much, but as the years passed and I got used to my limitations I began to wonder about my work and what I would do with the rest of my life. I can no longer work, I experience pain in my muscles weakness and lack of energy. I have been diagnosed with connective tissue disease and sever osteoporosis. I also have chronic pancreatitis as well as an inner ear disorder that leaves me dizzy. I am limited in what I can do, and when I can do it right down to what I can and can not eat. It is a challenge.
But I still have my imagination and a relatively good mind. I can’t sit at my computer long, but I can get to it several times through the dayin short segments. I do everything in parts. Twenty minutes here, twenty minutes there. So just a bit over a year ago I got out the old floppy disks and revisited my stories. Some were beyond help…but many were good, they just needed editing. Several were perfectly ready for publication, so I sent those off. That’s how I got ESACAPE FROM CHICKAMAUGA published. It was the first. It was soon followed by others; TURNING POINTS, ZOPIKAN CONJUNCTION, SALT OF MY TEARS, SPITITS STILL STANDING, WHAT COMES IN THE NIGHT.
As of today I am waiting for another work to be set up in e-book format. It has been accepted for publishing by Double Dragon. When it is published it will make a total of seven works out there. (SHADOW MAGIC)
I am delighted by this. I no longer call myself a retired teacher…or disabled. I am an author. Each day I wake up and set aside twenty minutes or so to do editing on the works that are waiting in the wings. Sometimes I will do a bit more editing in the afternoon, if I feel up to it. Not too often, so its slow going, but thankfully my works have good bones and need only minor tweaking. I hope to have maybe on or two more stories published this year. I still have about a dozen in my files, each written when I was whole and hale and still had the identity of teacher. Its nice to know that they are waiting for me to rediscover them, edit them and get them out. I have a new reason to get up on the morning. I am a writer now and even my illness can’t take that from me! So now I know for sure that old dogs, even sick ones can learn new tricks!

The Spring Return

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Well its official, spring is back. Two nights ago the frogs began their nightly songs, our frog pond being in a small hollow fairly rings with chirps and croaks. The Swallows showed up yesterday, ready to take last years nest and begin a new brood. A humming bird buzzed by me three days ago and again today, the nectar feeder will be out by tomorrow! Three days ago we noticed the Turkey Vultures sunning themselves in the tops of several ancient cottonwoods a few blocks down the road. On a drive to Kamloops two days ago we spotted a flock of Pelicans at the waterway just outside of town. Just outside of town near the river bend I spotted the Osprey carrying twigs to rebuild last years nest. They have been back two days now.
All the out of town birds and natural life have come back to begin their summer residency. It was a wonderful coincidence that they all seemed to return within the last week, heralding full spring. Most of them will now be constant until the weather turns back towards fall and winter. This year they beat the cherry blossoms and full budding of leaf on the trees. We look forwards to these gentle visitors as they delight the days of our summer!

Hubby Turns Seventy!

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When you are a child you can hardly wait to turn twenty. Then as the years go by, thirty starts to look pretty good. When you turn fifty you start to wonder where the years went. At sixty you know they have gone for ever and they seemed to go far too quickly. Old age seems forever at youth. Youth seems far too distance at retirement. Its a peculiar paradox. This week, April 15, 2015 my hubby turns seventy, quite a milestone. Some forty years ago his doctors said he wouldn’t make forty. He had severe asthma. Today even thought the wrinkles have multiplied he seems younger than ever. He can walk ten miles, watches what he eats and works out on his elliptical trainer 30-40 minutes every day. He may be seventy, but he doesn’t act, look or feel it. I only hope I get as lucky when my turn comes!

Seniors Being Sent Home Too Early

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In the last month I have noticed an alarming trend. I know of three seniors who have recently been sent home from the hospital with intestinal super bugs. In all three cases the individuals could barely walk. Two had been kept in isolation, visitors having to gown, mask and glove up right up to the very moment of discharge! The super bugs had not been cured, the patients were still weak and unable to fully care for themselves. One lady was in the line up in front of me at Costco waiting for a prescription fill. She still had a hospital Id band on her wrist and could barely stand. She leaned heavily on a shopping cart and shook like a leaf in a storm. I let her in front of me worried she wouldn’t make it. That’s when she told me her story. She had JUST been released after weeks in isolation, told me she had an intestinal super bug and was contagious…but only to children she added. I took a step or two back. If it was contagious to children would it not also be contagious to me? She also looked too ill to be out and about, let alone shopping!
Then there are the two cases I know of where a senior was sent home too soon. One involved a well known local, he happened to be in emergency when we took a friend of our in who was experiencing breathlessness and dizziness, he was waiting for a heart valve replacement. I overheard the doctor in the next stall tell the old fellow he had pneumonia. I could easily hear his labored breathing. To my astonishment he was sent home with the orders to take meals in his room. He lived in an assisted living complex and the doctor did not want him exposing others to his illness. The next day this poor fellow was dead!
The man we had taken in has fared a bit better. He was sent for the valve replacement surgery. In his mid seventies, recovery was not swift. He was weak and could not walk, but…was sent home anyways! He lasted a few days before ending up back in the hospital. His legs were ballooned with edema, he could barely walk. As I write this he remains in hospital but we worry that he soon will be discharged before he is well enough.
What is going on here? Why are the elderly being sent home before fully recovered? It risks them for further harm and if sent home with a super bug, which by the way they contracted while in the hospital, are they not risking their fellow residents, in all the cases we know of, each person lived in assisted housing.
Our Senior’s deserve better care. They have paid taxes and been productive members of society for years and in their twilight years are being neglected. This is just so wrong. We all need to speak out about this, for the next person sent home ill may well be you or someone you love!

The Perfect Picture

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In our family my husband and son are the photographers. Most of the images I post are taken by my husband. Last year we went on a family outing. Our son had come home from school for a few weeks in mid spring. We knew of a lovely back road drive to Douglas Lake, so off we went. My son and hubby each with their digital SLR cameras and big telephoto lenses. They were hoping to get some great bird shots. They got pictures of eagles and hawks, but each was hoping to get a great picture of a blue bird. But the little feathered characters were elusive, flitting out of camera view whenever we got near. The guys gave up. After a bit I asked if I could try. Both men snickered and a camera was handed my way. I could take pictures of still life and scenic shots, but birds, never had any luck, they were always blurs. So I waited for one of the bird to alight on a nearby post. Both men said it was too far. I held my breath tweaked the focus and took one single shot. When we looked at the preview we we all amazed, I had caught the perfect image of a blue bird! Both men were impressed, me more than they. It was purely fluke, but a very lucky one!

bluebird

The Truth About Oil Companies

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Per barrel oil prices have plummeted, yet the price of gas at the pump has gone back up. I dimly recall that the last time oil prices were this low, gas was almost half the cost it is now. I ask myself why? After much deliberation and contemplation I have arrived at a reason, divined in part from media campaigns and oil company replies to accusations of gouging. Her it is…the truth about oil companies. They are our friends. They care about us, the environment and the earth. Their high budget glitzy commercials tell us so. They have kept gas prices high to help us deal with the environment. Their self sacrificing goal to get us to walk more, ride bikes, car pool or use transit. They want to lead us into becoming more responsible consumers. So to that end they raise their prices in hopes that we do. NOT LIKLEY! They have in fact achieved the ancient secret to Alchemy, they have managed to turn bull shit into gold.

16,000 Users Can’t Be Wrong

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We have just topped 16,000 users on our blog! We are very happy that so many of you out there find our little posts worthy of visiting. It is often a challenge to find inspiration for posts. Daily life is busy and often mundane. But we try to see the special things around us.
Just this week the Red-Wing blackbirds returned. There are countless number that visit our pond and fill the air with their song like trills. The Robins have also returned and fill our hours with their antics and hunting skills, heads cocked ,ears to the ground as they search for tasty earthworms. A plump bee flew by me yesterday.
Calves are being born as are lambs, we have seen several in the past few days.
There are plump buds on the lilac and maple trees, and the winter grass is beginning to transform to that brilliant green of new growth. It’s official….Spring is here!