Writing is a Journey, not a Destination

Writing is a Journey, not a Destination

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Sunday, October 16, 2016

God's Answers

Have you been praying? I have.

Second Dad's appointment in Texas was cancelled because it was with the wrong department, and scheduled for next month. One of my prayers was that God would make the path obvious, close the wrong doors and open the right ones.

As we prepared for next month by scheduling other tests and biopsies here, Second Dad went into the ER with a severe kidney infection that would have incapacitated him while they driving to Texas. He was in the hospital with his regular doctors for all his tests, and one of them was able to perform plastic surgery during the biopsy to repair the head damage from the removal of the melanoma.

While they were there, MD Anderson rescheduled them for next week, so the travel plans are back on, and God remains in control.

Toffee started eating again, although she's off again thanks to her vet visit. I'm waiting for her test results now.

I spoke with the city code officer, and believe I have solved the issue to everyone's satisfaction. I will find that out tomorrow, too. On a side note, I'm used to The Swamp hating me, but it's never gone so far as to try to get me jailed. I may have to reconsider my plans and turn the front yard back into stupid, unsightly lawn because that's all stupid, unimaginative people can understand. I do not speak of the code officer, but of the person I believe turned in the code violation.

The cough abates slowly. I fear I've damaged myself permanently, but it's a bit early to beat that drum.

The work problem is with God. I have no solution.

In short, God is listening, and He is acting. I will continue to pray, and I hope you will, too. Jen S., I'd love to know how things are going with you.

How can I pray for you this week?

Applaud the jellyfish.

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

The Prayer Cat

This is Toffee. She's 16 (or so). She was a bully in her younger days, although she's become the victim as she has aged in a house with five other cats. She chews her food, and her jaw makes startlingly loud grinding noises while she does. She loves to be petted, her meow sounds like nails on chalkboard, and she wets outside the litter box when she's upset. I try very hard not to upset her.

She is wired wrong in the head. Her eyes don't work quite right, although that doesn't stop her from climbing The Heights. She's the cat who fell on me and my burrito one lunch hour last year. The scars are still visible on my right hand.

Like all animals that aren't wired quite right in the head, she has enjoyed remarkable health. No tartar, no diseases. She even missed out on the flea epidemic of 2007.

A week ago, she stopped eating.

Well, not stopped, exactly, but her volume fell to maybe 20 nuggets a day, 5 per meal. Cats, unlike dogs, will not eat when they get hungry enough. If they stop eating, they don't start again, their livers shut down, and they die. It's a mess.

I had a can of wet food left over from someone else's momentary freak out, and she ate it. I had that conversation with myself that no one thinks I have: the "am I willing to do X or is X too crazy/not worth it?" argument usually had between spouses.  I drew my line and got more wet food. Being a cat, she stopped eating it as soon as I got a two-week supply.

I learned she will eat it - as long as I sit right beside her and pet her the entire time. This morning was 40 minutes to eat a third of a can. To maintain her weight, she needs a can and a half a day.

This is ridiculous. I cannot spend an hour and a half each day coaxing a 16 year old, ashamed-to-admit-not-my-favorite-cat to eat. I have been less than patient the last couple of days while I again had that "am I willing to do X?" argument with myself with new parameters. It's not like I just have to be in the room (the separate room closed off from the five other protesters living in this house who also want the new food stuff). I literally have to sit quietly next to her while she licks the bowl clean, petting her when she slows or gets restless.

However, the one other thing I can do during those times is pray. I can pet while I pray, and I certainly have an hour and a half's worth of things to pray about lately.

We go to see the vet Saturday to make sure there isn't a medical reason for this. I suspect it's the stress of too many houseguests too close together that threw her off, and I should be grateful she's not wetting outside the litter box.

I can't do this forever, but I can do it for a while. Long enough to see if she'll pull out on her own or is just ready to take The Long Step.

Just call her The Prayer Cat.

Push button. Receive bacon.

Monday, October 10, 2016

My Week in Prayer Requests

Been one of those weeks when the hits keep coming. I'm asking for prayer. Let me know how I can pray for you while I'm closeted with the Big Guy.

The hard stuff:

Second Dad was diagnosed with melanoma. He and Mom are on their way to MD Anderson for additional tests, prognosis and possible treatment.

I was served with a city code violation for -get this- "weeds, annual grasses and vegetation more than 12" tall." Since 95% of my yards are spring-blooming perennials more than 12" tall, I can only assume the code officer doesn't know what those look like. I have until Sunday to appeal, "correct" the problem, or face $499 fine and 179 days in jail for non-compliance. I'll be calling today for more details on the situation.

I have a problem at work that I am both responsible for and completely unable to control that has made my eyes numb from stress for the first time in three years. It won't kill me, but it's trying.

I now have two cats turned finicky eaters: Simon and Toffee. I am about ready to kiss them both good-bye and let them starve to death.

The cough is back. I believe this is week eight, but, frankly, I'm too tired to count.

The good news:

The weather is supposed to be nice until Sunday. I have a handy friend with a chainsaw and a chipper who is helping me tidy up (since I doubt the garden awareness of the code officer, we're trying to make it look more like what people expect to see in a garden instead of my "prettyish little wilderness").

I have super, supportive bosses who are ultimately in charge and act like it.

I've lost 5 lbs and the desire to eat, so the cats and I can starve to death together in a final bonding ritual.

All the house guests are gone home. I'm hoping this will solve some of the not-eating issues.

The cough mostly shows up morning and evening, so it doesn't keep me awake and doesn't interfere with work.

Thank you for your prayers. Let me know how I can pray for you.

Monday, October 3, 2016

The Power by Frank M. Robinson

I haven't coughed in 3 days. Last night, I start coughing again. Back to hot honey and lemon juice, which are not doing my teeth any favors, let me tell you.

I watched The Power with George Hamilton and Suzanne Pleshette as a child. IMDB says it came out in 1968 (before I was born) so I probably saw it on HBO sometime in the early 80s in my preteen years. I have a vague memory of writing fanfic about it, although that might be mixing it up with Scanners, another telekinetic thriller that left an impression and an obsession with movies starring Michael Ironside. I was young enough not to notice the movie was based on a book.

Amazon now sells The Power as a DVD, so in my very recent rewatch, I learned about the book. Amazon also provided a dealer of the unrevised 1957 version so I didn't have to cope with the "updated" 90s version that has come out since. The reviews were disappointed in that one, and preferred the original.

I hate revised books, btw, even when its the author's idea. You published; it's out there. Cope by writing another book if you're that unhappy.

Normally, I like the version I encounter first. If it's the book, I like the book better. If it's the movie, I like the movie better. I'm torn on this one.

I liked the book a lot. It was tense, dark, logical and tightly written. I didn't mind where the movie varied. Some made a lot of sense - the removal of Marge as a companion, for one, which added to the tension. Even knowing how I expected it to end didn't make it boring, because there were enough differences I wasn't sure it would end the same.

It didn't. It ended as most early scifi ends, on a sour note.

I like the movie ending better. I suspect, in the future, I will treat it as William Goldman treated the end of The Princess Bride as read by his father. Don't know what that means? Read the book. It's good, and the movie makes a lot more sense after.

I have two other gripes. First, the protagonist is "Jim" in the movie and "Bill" in the book. I have no idea why, and it annoys me when names get changed for no obvious reason. Maybe George didn't want to play a "Bill." Second, a tendency to run-on sentences. Should I read it again, I may just add a few semicolons in my copy.

Those are small, very personal gripes about what was otherwise an interesting adventure, so I give the book 5 stars.

Applaud the jellyfish.

Spoiler: A dog is killed in this book. Normally, that would make me close the cover, pitch it in the trash and never think on it again, but, frankly, I could see it coming, it wasn't dwelt on, and it didn't seem to be thrown in just to get me upset. I've moved on with my life, but I'll understand if that's too much for you.

Monday, September 19, 2016

The Layers of Friendship

Growing up, I was a one friend per year kind of person. I had one specific friend in school, and one specific friend outside of school (only because she attended a different school). I ignored most other people, and tended to ignore my friends except during those specific "school" or "play" times.

I was not a nice child.

In college, I learned about variety in relationships, specifically proximal friendships, meaning you're friends because you're in proximity to each other. Most friendships fall into this category, btw. Close when physically close, and separate when separated. These can be intense relationships, but they rarely outlast a change in distance.

I've made deals with several friends since learning this. We will never recriminate on why we've fallen out of touch. Each meeting will begin with the enthusiasm of a dog greeting an owner, no matter how much time has passed. It works great, as long as you really mean it. Which I do.

When I think the word friendship, though, I think of something more. That C.S. Lewis definition of "What! You, too? I thought that no one but myself..." A similarity that goes beyond working in the same office, or attending the same Sunday School class. A similarity of worldview.

I have tried to expand my friendship base as an adult. To be friendly with those not like myself and enjoy our differences. It is useful to measure life against a different viewpoint, and one of the benefits of a true friend is enough difference in perspective to keep conversation interesting.

However, some perspectives are just too different. I may love, admire, respect a person, but if the differences in our worldviews are too pronounced, they move out of the friendship circle into the proximal friendship circle. This may be a sudden shift or a gradual decline.

I have heard friendship likened to a well (although maybe a money jar is more accurate). A friend must contribute to the well before drawing out. If more is drawn out than put in, the friendship cannot last.

In a perfect world, I could be friends with everyone. I could handle all differences and never find opposing viewpoints toxic. I do not live in a perfect world, and I am far from perfect. I do not find comfort in contention. I will do my best to minister daily to the world around me, but my friends enjoy a special, peaceful, pleasant place in my heart, and I will seek them out for that reason.

Push button. Receive bacon.