Writing is a journey, not a destination.

Search This Blog

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Prayer Updates

Toffee has resumed eating. In typical cat fashion, she doesn't want the wet food the vet specifically recommended but the dry food she has eaten for most of her life. It is certainly cheaper and easier to feed her dry food so I'm not complaining. I'm also hoping she doesn't read this blog and change her mind.

(She's on the table while I type, so I'm good for now. I don't think she knows my computer password.)

Simon has decided he likes the wet food. I do not believe he will ever go back to dry. I have accepted this and open can after can because at least he's eating and not throwing up.

Second Dad's situation is not good. It will take an honest-to-God miracle for his physical healing, not a thank-you-God-for-medical-breakthroughs miracle, which are amazing in their own right, don't get me wrong. I believe in supernatural miracles, so I have no doubt such healing can come. Second Dad is optimistic as ever and determined to do what he can to help with nutrition and vigilance.

I've already reported on Swamp progress.

The work situation is entirely in God's hands, and I pray for serenity, courage and wisdom. I thank God for his daily grace and provision.

I am grateful for your prayers, and for God's mercies. I don't know if I can say I'm at peace, but I have found a place of calm acceptance for the time being. I am taking one day at a time with the knowledge God is already in the future and I'm just walking toward him.

Can I pray for you this week?

Happy Thursday, dear readers. God will meet you where you are.

Wednesday, October 26, 2016


I tried to write this last night, but I was too tired to make my fingers move. Don't believe me? I went to bed at 6:15 and mostly stayed there. Each time I did wake up, I applied pain relieving oils, so this morning was easier than expected.

Getting a code violation for weeds is not only frightening; it's insulting. There were weeds, yes, but not enough for a code violation, and the "brush pile" was a compost pile. Years of work completely failing to look like years of work grates on my artistic sensibilities. Of course, a sense of betrayal and paranoia creeps in as the time passes. Who is watching? Who am I trying to convince? Should I cave and conform, plow it under and settle for hated grass?

A week without another violation letter or fine has helped a bit, although knowing that such a letter could come produces a sense of dread with each approach to the mailbox. My trauma is a small-scale version of Second Dad's battle with melanoma. When will the next bout begin? Should I fight? Do I have a chance of winning? I have screwed my courage to the sticking place and decided to see the violation as a wake-up call. I have been slack this year. I do love my yard, and spending time in it, even if Hippy Neighbor Down the Street stares at me while he smokes.

(He's the one who sound-proofed his house within a week of moving in because he "plays the drums." Should I ever vanish, check out the house three to the south and the long-haired dude living there. My parts may be in his basement. My soul will be with God.)

My birthday happened this week. Forty-five. Close to paying off the mortgage. Wondering what the future will hold. If I had a husband and kids, I'd be ready for a mid-life crisis, but, really, how many of those can one person have?

In continuation of my birthday tradition, and with some need since my Leaf Hog died last year, I bought a Predator 6.5 hp gas-powered chipper-shredder. It was on sale; what could I do? I will no longer have compost piles that can be confused with brush piles. I can once again steal other people's yard waste with impunity. I doubt the 3 hours of break-in time was supposed to happen on the same day, but it did. There is something cathartic about turning dead things into life-giving things, and I could use a little catharsis.

A big Thank You to Younger Sis for helping with assembly, which turned out to be a two-person job when one person not only doesn't have the right tools, but has the finger-strength of the average chicken (Chickens don't have fingers? Yes, that's the point). Also, many thanks to Big Brother and Little Sis for getting it out of the van. Elder Brother was at his day job, or I'm certain he would have come, too.

I need to purchase additional tools for maintenance purposes, again proving that every major purchase leads to minor purchases. I also need to watch a few more YouTube videos of men using this machine. I do not test limits, but men seem to live on the principle of "what exactly can I shove into this before it breaks?" My horizons expanded, I can tell you. Had I watched some of those before assembly, it wouldn't have taken three hours to put the kickstand on.

In all, a good vacation, full of physical activity and very little mental effort - the exact opposite of my day job.

Happy Wednesday, dear readers. Hope you put your trash out.

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.