The Things They Carried is a wonderful book.
It is a book about the Vietnam war, especially about a group of American soldiers. I've read a few books about the war, and I've always been fascinated about the treatment of those returning. No ticker tape parades for them. Bad things happened in that police action, I know.
This book was written by Tim O'Brien. He himself is written into the story because he was there, yet it is fiction. And I cannot be positive, but I'm sure much of it is true, though it is fiction. It's an intense book of short stories which are masterfully melded together. Tom O'Brien is a talented writer. This book was nominated for the Pulitzer Prize. His style is clear and the language used is simple. Yet, it is emotional, you cannot, not continue, it is just that powerful.
It is about men. Soldiers. The ugliness of war and their reaction to it was hard to read. So much so, there were times i had to put the book aside for a day.
There are stories, for example, about Tim climbing a tree to pick up the parts of his friend, Curt Lemon that he could retrieve, and dropping them to the ground. Curt had been laughing one minute and then stepped on a mine. Rat Kiley's reaction after Curt's death, when they came across a lone baby water buffalo is difficult to read and imagine. I put the book down for a day at that point.
But i think if you're a man you should read this. If you want to understand what men are capable of in good and bad times, you should read this. I think if you want to see beautiful writing you should read this.
There is one interesting chapter called Good Form:
It's time to be blunt.
I'm forty-three years old, true, and I'm a writer now, and a long time ago I walked through Quang Ngai Province as a foot soldier.
Almost everything else is invented.
But it's not a game. It's a form. Right here, now, as I invent myself, I'm thinking of all I want to tell you about why this book is written as it is. For instance, I want to tell you this: twenty years ago I watched a man die on a trail near the village of My Khe. I did not kill him. But I was present, you see, and my presence was guilt enough. I remember his face, which was not a pretty face, because his jaw was in this throat, and I remember feeling the burden of responsibility and grief. I blamed myself. And rightly so, because I was present.
But listen. Even that story is made up.
I want you to feel what I felt. I want you to know why story-truth is truer sometimes than happening-truth.
Here is the happening-truth. I was once a soldier. There were many bodies, real bodies with real faces, but I was young then and I was afraid to look. And now, twenty years later, I'm left with faceless responsibility and faceless grief.
Here is story-truth. He was a slim, dead, almost dainty young man of about twenty. He lay in the center of a red clay trail near the village of My Khe. His jaw was in his throat. His one eye was shut, the other eye was a star-shaped hole. I killed him
What stories can do, I guess is make things present.
I can look at things i never looked at. I can attach faces to grief and love and pity and God. I can be brave. I can make myself feel again.
"Daddy, tell the truth." Kathleen can say, "did you ever kill anybody?" And I can say, honestly, "Of course not."
Or I can say, honestly, "Yes."
I wrote the above chapter out because to me it is very telling, and i understand it. It is back and forth, yin and yang, it is much like war and Vietnam itself.
The Things They Carried is a beautiful book. It is a book about human grace, horror, humanity, love, guilt and sorrow.
I dare you to read it.
Did you know you can be seized with a lethargy? You can, it's an archaic noun, but you can be.
I have been.
Things had been going along great guns for a while. Started taking Natural Calm. Suddenly i was sleeping ... all night ... What a difference not being tired makes. I felt calm, i felt happy. I went to the shrink for my weekly visit. He was happy. A couple of weeks ago he reduced my meds. He said that likely in the New Year we could reduce my visits a lot.
Then this week happened. Michael and i had issues over treatment of my knee problems. I felt myself sinking until Wednesday i didnt want to go home after work. So i didn't. I went to see my nephew. I was frustrated enough with my Husband and home, that i didn't tell anyone where i was going. I didn't care.
I knew i had to come back. i didn't have my hiv meds with me and i know what messing them up could mean. i knew Michael would be worried. He'd call everyone he knew, call hospitals, call the police pals he has ... He called them all. He called our nephew, who just didn't answer for awhile. He spoke to friends on GA.
One of them i was talking to on Hangouts when Michael emailed him. So, after some talking, i called home.
My Husband, while not perfect, is a good man. He can see his imperfections and mine. He knows usually what battles to pick. He will never abandon me, no matter what.
I needed Him and He got in the Jeep and drove downtown to pick me up. If He was angry, He never showed it.
But that was not the end of my lethargy. It stuck with me. While not suicidal, i wished i could be, i was so sick of me. I do not have the balls for that.
This morning i went to the shrink. I told him all of the above. I showed him my diary.
He said you need to learn to deal with your moods. He said it is not abnormal to feel down, even for a few days.
I told him i don't care about writing. He said i'm not interested in what you don't care about. Tell me what you do care about. i talked awhile about that.
He said, "Go home and think about where you head is. Think about what you want, what you love, and who you love. Sit there and wallow for a few hours but then you get up and go bake something, or cook something. Write something, go back to your roots. You are able now to pull yourself out of the trough."
So i came home. I wallowed ... i wrote a couple of poems. I made coffee and ate two poached eggs.
i decided, as i watched the weather turn to crap, that i can do this thing.
Not perfectly, and not alone; never that. But i can do this thing called life.
Something happened yesterday that tossed me off the rails for the evening and halfway through the day, today. Well, not off completely but it has made me think - a lot.
i have a tendency to just say things. Often i shouldn't, and things that are to me a joke, are not always taken that way. Especially when it is about something relating to my/ our lifestyle. Most of you who read this blog, or my work know i am a submissive. My Sir, Dom, Husband is Michael.
When i made the comment i did, it was a joke. However, a comment later made me realize again, that perception is reality. And because i was not mindful, because i did not pay attention to who was seeing what i wrote, or would see it, well i was reminded again of perception and reality.
i knew i had disappointed. Michael, who keeps an eye on me and what i do online, later saw it. He spoke to me about it. When He was finished, i sighed and said, okay i understood. He said, "There it is boy, even in the sigh. you do not 'get it'. " He put me on my meditation stool where i was to remain for an hour, thinking. "Tomorrow, boy. I will see a blog about this, won't I?"
i replied, "Yes, Sir."
** Here, let me explain, if you are interested in D/s or BDSM as a lifestyle. If you are serious and i get PMs from people who are, who often ask about it. Then know this, you will do a lot of thinking, and self exploration. It is part of it. Learning about yourself is a huge thing, not for the weak. If you are a sub, will likely be on your knees facing a corner or blank wall. You will be silent as will the room you are in. However, your Dom will often check on you. This is a time to learn, not a punishment. A time to meditate and see clearly, the better path. Afterward, you will be rewarded with a talk, and a hug or kiss. Subs are greatly loved, but much is expected in return. As it should be.
Subs should be focused, modest, diligent and trusting of their Doms. None of this is easy and we often fall back, but the one we disappoint, is also the one that holds us up. They are the ones who help us on this journey.**
When Michael released me from my contemplation, He wrapped in a warm blanket, and held me close. We talked about the sigh and what that meant and i do 'get it'.
i am a reflection of Him, of His teaching and badly timed comments reflect on both of us in a negative way. They affect the spirit too in a negative way.
i am human, i make mistakes. i can only promise to try ... and that is all that is wanted.
Thank you for reading. Feel free to ask questions if you have them.
I messed up today. Again. And i spoke to Michael about it, and asked his permission to write this.
For a long time, I'd heard this term: mindfulness. It sounded so much like a catchphrase because everyone was using it. Be mindful.
What the heck does that even mean? Took me a while to figure it out even after I'd looked it up.
Turns out I am pretty bad at it. The Doms in my life tell me so. Sometimes directly, sometimes in other ways. I wasn't mindful when discussing something recently. I had to be reminded again, that being mindful is a good thing for a submissive (like me) to be.
There are other uses for mindfulness, other than learning to be a better boy.
My shrink thinks the same thing.
I wanted to stop taking antidepressants. So he said to me, "I want to try MBCT, or Mindfulness-based cognitive therapy with you." I agreed.
We worked on that for some time while he weaned me off the drugs completely.
MBCT is educates you about depression using CBT (cognitive behavioural therapy), and mindfulness to accept feelings and thoughts, rather than just reacting to them. This is especially hard for me, since I am a very reactive person generally.
The theory is that people like me who become who have been depressed and are distressed will repeat the same cognitive processes that trigger their depression in the first place. So MBCT interrupts that process and the person learns to focus less on what triggers them, and can look at the triggers from a higher level so to speak. Mindfulness helps me notice the trigger, and I can look at it from a more objective place and ask for help, or realize I need to make a change, therefore hopefully stopping a full-fledged depressive episode.
Sadly, it didn't work for me as after a few weeks with no drugs, I began having suicidal thoughts and slipped easily into that slick-sided rabbit hole.
Needless to say I am back on a mild antidepressant and still using MBCT. It, in conjunction with the medication seems to be working for me. I find myself telling someone that my thoughts are in a bad place. I usually know what the trigger was, and often I just need to get up and do something else for a while.
Stepping away from what triggered me and telling Sir, or a friend that I'm struggling, often helps me get through the episode successfully. My doctor said, I need to face the fact I will likely need medication for the rest of my life for depression. I have accepted that now, but I have hope that they can remain this mild option.
Now all I need to do is learn to be a more mindful about other areas in my life. I'm not purposefully unthinking, but I often am.
I believe you should eat when you are hungry, so not necessarily three meals a day. I don't always eat breakfast. So, today my very dear friend said she was hungry. Tra-la-la ... So eat! Ah, but there is the rub. It was breakfast time and she's at work.
I was a bit growly this morning, snappish, so when she showed me a picture of a package of Instant Oatmeal with maple syrup and brown sugar, I was bitter. I said, get some real food.
While it's better than some things, instant oatmeal is chopped up so small, so it will 'cook' when boiling water is poured over it, or it's microwaved.
And because it's so small, your gut has nothing to do, except absorb all the sugar and flavouring in it. You will be hungry again in an hour. The glycemic load of instant oats is higher than large flake, so they offer less sustained energy than do the large flake.
Please, please please, eat REAL FOOD! Please do not say, tim, I do not have time, or tim, this is much too hard. Because neither are true.
My go to muesli is simple, good for you, it tastes good and you can make up a lot of it, keep it in dry form and then just add milk before you go to bed. Or a quick search on the internet will bring up a ton of recipes if you want them. Or use your slow cooker to make oatmeal ... mmmm it's warm, creamy and waiting for you in the morning. I've used this one: https://simple-nourished-living.com/crock-pot-apple-oatmeal/
I have 5 small plastic tubs they each hold about 1.5 cups. What do i do with them? Make muesli, of course! I put in each:
1/3 cup of large flake oats
1 tablespoon (approx, or to your taste) each: seedless raisins and pecans, or dried cranberries and walnuts.
A small sprinkling of saigon cinnamon (or whatever you have)
Put the lids on and add milk to cover each night.
Sometimes i will add a couple of tablespoons of finely grated carrot for a change and sweetness.
Personally do not add sugar or honey, but if you think you need it go ahead. But the dried fruit and carrots if you use them will add sweetness.
Add some seeds if you like, such as sunflower or chia.
Just cover with your preferred milk ... we use skim, but you can use whatever including nut milks. But please make sure you leave it in the fridge overnight! You can warm in the microwave if you don't like really cold foods. Like me ... room temperature. I've been know to heat ice cream slightly.
Invest a little time to eat healthier breakfasts. It's fast and better for you, and also less expensive.
Enjoy and eat healthy!!
I know. I wrote about him last year at this time. He's been gone for nearly two years and frankly I don’t think I'll ever really get over him.
I won't do it again next year.
I didn’t know him as a puppy but Michael did, of course. I’ve seen pictures of him then, more apricot than white. He was a cross breed, yes a mutt, but he was mostly poodle.
I’ve been told he was a cheeky pup, loved to run around, nip (often and hard, my big giant Husband says), and was rather bossy.
Ripley came into my life when I met Michael. I’d never really thought about pets. When I was young, my father had made it clear, there wouldn’t be any.
After my father threw me out, well pets were the least of my worries but I did meet a few street dogs, poor skinny flea-bitten things, which had been starved and beaten, but still responded to a kind word and hand. There is a special kind of look in a dog’s eyes. It’s that love of humans that so many of us just don’t understand.
What do they see in us?
The street took its toll on me, on my spirit, the way I looked at things and it was hard to sort of become normal, once I was off them. When I met Michael, I was still sort of this wary, nervous wild thing. Michael saw past that and so did his dog.
Ripley adopted me, gentled me, and showed me how to behave. He loved me and taught me what real love and acceptance is. He helped me love my husband better.
Ripley was a character, like all dogs I think. But he loved sirens, loved to watch the fire engines and screaming police cars go by, he listened to them from the TV as well. He was a connoisseur, enjoying foreign sirens as well. He wasn’t bothered by thunderstorms or loud noises, but his hearing was fine, he could hear you open the cheese from a dead sleep.
He loved to nap on my knee and could be flat out but if at my bedtime I said, want to go to bed? Ripley would be on the floor and ready to go.
Ripley loved the outdoors. Being a poodle he was a natural retriever and when he was younger would bring you his ball and we’d head out to play catch or chase. He always brought the ball back and dropped it at your feet. We never taught him that, he did it naturally. Another favourite game was pine cone soccer.
There are a lot of pine trees around us here and we often kicked the cones across the grass for him. He'd bring them back. And if he lost it in among the other cones, you couldn't trick him. Nope. He wanted that cone back, not the foreign one you just picked up because obviously you are much too lazy to find the right one! Wait ... why was I looking ...?
We sat up with him the night before his final morning and as we waited the sun came up and I hoped the beautiful bird song brought him some comfort. Michael called the vet who agreed to come in early to put our sweet boy out of his misery.
I couldn’t go, Michael and Peter, our nephew, did. Peter said he just slipped away quietly.
Maybe I'm over emotional, I don't know, but I can barely still bring myself to talk about him, without getting choked up.
I can barely write this…but nothing really seems to help.
I'm not sure I want it to.
Thanks for reading.
I'm back again to talk about diabetes.
Some of you know that a friend of mine just died from sepsis, due to an uncontrolled infection which was a complication of having diabetes. She left a 21 year old son and 25 year old daughter. It's very very sad.
While it sad, it's partly her fault. It hurts me to write that. I don't want to write it.
But she would never try to change her eating habits relying on doses of insulin instead. She refused to stop eating white bread, processed foods or alcohol. She was never much of a person to have sweets however.
It sucks having diabetes. My husband does. Frankly I'd love to be on the HoHo's, Wagon Wheel and McDonald's diet if they said it wouldn't kill me. I love junk food, but I no longer eat it.
And nowadays I don't miss it.
It's funny when you stop eating things like that and start cooking fresh decent meals, that you lose the cravings for crap.
I beg people to eat right. Learn to cook. Think about the future.
I recently read about an 89 year old man, who has had diabetes since he was 12 years old. People with juvenile diabetes back then rarely lived long. He did. But there was no testing at home then, no real belief that humans could control their sugar levels.
He studied and became an engineer and married a doctor. Eventually a portable blood monitor became available to doctors only. He was tired of being at the mercy of this awful disease. So his wife ordered one. He started taking his levels up to 8 times a day carefully recording what he'd eaten. Eventually he understood.
But no one would listen. So at age 45 he went back to school and became a doctor in hopes that someone would hear him. His approach is rather radical, but the proof is in the unsweetened pudding.
As I read it, I felt afraid, seriously afraid of not being able to eat this or that. I wondered what Michael would think. But then I realized that lately food is just food to us. We don't crave things, we eat because we are hungry, and not because we are tempted.
There are a lot of chapters of Dr. Bernstein's books online. I recommend you read them. His story is here:
Diabetes is not just diabetes. Read the online chapters, learn to cook and eat well. You're worth so much more than your next sugary hi-carb snack.
Be well ...
First, i am no expert on diabetes, but i am learning.
During the summer Michael (my Husband) learned he has type2 Diabetes. I'd rather suspected it, and asked a few times that he go to the doctor. He would say, yes later. The symptoms increased (thirst, frequent urination, painful nerve pain in his feet and hands) and i was worried and afraid. i do not raise my voice to Michael, but on this day i did. i was upset and He wasn't hearing me, so i did. He agreed to go and we went together.
Tests showed his blood sugar was 18, where it should be 4 to 7 on waking, and 5 to10, two hours after meals. ***Kitt's comment reminded me these numbers are for Canada. Please check your own country's Diabetes Association or talk to your doctor.***
We walked out of the doctor's office and He said. "We need to make changes."
We did immediately. For us they were not huge changes but we stopped adding sugar to drinks, stopped eating desserts other than fruit or some no-sugar added desserts that we found. We cut down on carbs, stopped eating products made with white flour and other highly processed foods. We greatly increased the vegetables we eat - luckily we both like a huge variety of them - added unsalted nuts, and fruit as snacks. Michael measures condiments He chooses to add. We read labels a lot and often find the carb levels are just not worth it.
Our need for sweetness quickly disappeared. Though Michael does like dessert, but He is content with no-sugar jello and some fresh or canned fruit packed in water. For Thanksgiving, i made a baked pumpkin custard (pie with no crust basically) and He loved it.
One product we have found and indulge in from time to time is something Michael got for Christmas. Russell Stover's no-sugar candy. Hard fruit flavoured boiled candy, pecan caramel chocolates and mint patties. These are made with stevia and are very nice, not super sweet either, but they taste good.
You can live with diabetes. You can eat well and have treats. There is still a world of food out there just waiting for you to try it, but you need to change how you think about food, and be open to changing yourself.
Stay healthy and thanks for reading.
Many of you suffer from depression, like i do.
it's a daily fight, a life filled with cycles of sadness, blackness, like carrying sandbags when it is at it's worst. usually i shut down, don't talk, don't work, the real me is flattened under the living darkness. Michael, my husband, said, as does my shrink, to try writing about it, speaking out, though writing is the last thing i really want to do.
sleep. sleep is what i want to do, only that. But i can't, there is work, right? and Michael and home. shit still needs doing no matter how you feel, right? that's what drugs are for!! a nice anti depressant for breakfast!
i take it, the pill. along with my regular meds. i resent them you know.. i really do. the small handful of pills i am given daily.
Michael doles them out like a nurse on the psych ward.
That sounds mean. i mean He does it for me, cuz he loves me, he cares and he knows ignoring the pills is how i cope with the medical issues i have.
i take them. but i still hate them. maybe that's a good thing. the hate. means i'm still alive and fighting, right?
somewhere in this long, dark, tunnel i am still fighting
Hi all. It's been awhile since i wrote a blog.
I wrote a blog about Christmas last year on Dec. 26th, i was supposed to plan and do and not be stressed this year. How am i doing? Abysmally i think covers it, though i don't feel stressed particularly.
This year the tree is up, so are some other bits and pieces scattered around and even a poinsettia, a traditional red one. However, there are zero presents bought. There is no baking because Michael found out during the summer He is diabetic. He's been doing so well with managing it, He doesn't want a houseful of goodies. I'll make the annual batches of fudge because most of it we give away. I can make Him a diabetic friendly cheesecake, egg nog and the English Trifle he loves so well. That'll make Him happy.
Presents i think will be done tomorrow. For adults some little thing, gift cards and fudge. This year i just want to have a good time. Also i'm working Christmas Eve day so stuff needs to be done by Saturday the 23rd!
I want to be with people i love on the Day, that's all i want.
It's my wish that each of you have a wonderful Holiday Season and a Happy New Year. Thanks to all of you who read my work, who supported me. I love you all.
This contains some descriptions of animal abuse. If you're sensitive you may not want to read on.
I’m reading a book called, Saving Simon by Jon Katz. Simon is a donkey and Jon Katz is a writer. He writes often about dogs.
This is the first thing of his I’ve read. It is sad and horrible, yet uplifting and wondrous.
Simon was abandoned on the farm where he lived. Left in what they thing was a hog pen, with no water or food except for what the small boy who lived there could sneak to him. Rescuers found Simon nearly dead, covered with maggots, horrible sores and hooves he could not walk on. They figured he’d had to walk on his ankles they were in such horrible shape. His teeth were rotting and he was in pain. They found lying down where they believe he had been for some time. As they treated him, they discovered that donkeys can scream.
They rescued the poor thing, and took him Mr. Katz’ small farm. Katz and his wife Maria had had three other donkeys by that time and took Simon in. They nursed him back to health, well as healthy as he could be.
While all that is lovely, the full title of this book is Saving Simon - How a Rescue Donkey Taught Me the Meaning of Compassion.
What is compassion? What does it mean to you?
1. Merriam-Webster says Compassion is: sympathetic consciousness of others' distress together with a desire to alleviate it
As I read this book and what Mr. Katz talks about I have to agree that with regard to animal abuse and neglect, the majority of us think it’s wrong. In fact we think it’s so wrong that we often say the perpetrators should be strung up, jailed, beaten or sometimes killed.
Where is the compassion there?
Why is it we can care so much for animals, yet have difficulty showing that compassion for the poor, the wronged, or even the farmer that left Simon alone, starving and sick?
I know from my own personal experience there is little compassion to our fellow man. When I was on the street, I was yelled at, spit on, beaten, robbed, and unseen. No one saw a fifteen year old boy who needed help. I often wondered what they thought exactly. Did they think I wanted to be there?
Mr. Katz, wanted to understand from the farmer, what had happened that would allow him to leave Simon in such a state. He went to talk with the man. However, the farmer was empty inside. He’d been through a lot; he couldn’t feed Simon any longer. He was losing his farm, couldn’t feed his family, things had gotten out of hand and it was easier to forget Simon. Katz asked why the farmer hadn’t just shot the donkey. The farmer replied he just couldn’t bring himself to go back there. He thought Simon was dead.
Why is it, knowing how Simon was left to suffer, and what the farmer was suffering, that we have no compassion for him?
All life on earth is connected. The only way to be truly compassionate is to free yourself from judging others. Only in doing that can we learn what compassion really is. However to do this, is a huge task and we are programmed to worry about our immediate world, for good reason. I judge, I read all of what was wrong with Simon and I hated the farmer.
But as I let myself feel for him, I hated him less and less. If someone had shown him compassion, perhaps Simon may have suffered less.
It’s a lot to think over but I’ll leave you with this:
“Compassion is not religious business, it is human business, it is not luxury, it is essential for our own peace and mental stability, it is essential for human survival. – Dalai Lama XIV
We all need it. We all buy it or grow it. This blog is a few of my pet peeves.
Michael my poor dessert-deprived husband needed some pie. So, rather than ask me to bake him one, he bought one. It cost him $2.50. It came in a box. The list of ingredients did include pumpkin, but it also included 20 other ingredients, several i can't spell or pronounce.
This pie tasted disgusting and very chemically. One bite was enough for me. Mike on the other hand ate his piece and eventually the remaining pie. He paid for that, details not required, but it sure wasn’t worth the money he would have wasted if he didn’t eat it.
I have trouble understanding the resources we waste on ‘food’ like this horrible processed pie and other things that are full of chemicals and additives.
Do we do it because they are cheap to purchase? As a poor person I didn’t waste the little money I had on crap like that pie. Not that I ate well, because I really couldn’t afford to. The best meals I got then were from the missions. But had I had some place to cook, I’m sure I could have eaten better than I did.
Another big problem with our food is looks. How food looks has cost us flavour and nutrition.
Think: Big tasteless strawberries. Sure they are pretty, but have no flavour. So why bother eating them???
I asked the produce manager why we only get these and not local strawberries (in season, of course). He said we have to buy the USA’s strawberries in order to get their lettuce in the winter. Huh!
Imperfect fruit and veg, is a thing now.
You can buy it in many stores for a cheaper price than the perfect option. It’s silly not to sell it or buy it. That curved potato tastes no different than does the smooth round option. Often those go to animal food, or to rot. What a waste.
Last fall Mike and I were in a No-Frills grocery. They had farm fresh cauliflower. They were beautiful, huge examples but they would have been rejected by most stores because of their size and colour. They were on the yellowish side, not pure white. But it was delicious, tasted no different that the white version. They also came with a lot of green. There was a staff member there to cut away the leaves, but I said no thank you. The green helps to keep the head fresh.
Just like tomatoes on the vine. I shake my head when people pluck them off their vines because they don’t want to pay for whatever that vine may cost when weighed. Leave them on, pay the extra 1cent. The fruit will continue to ripen. Mine last for a week or two on their vines while sitting on the counter.
I don’t have the answers for everything.
But we can teach about food. How to buy it, store it and cook it. Sadly few schools do that anymore. Maybe it’s time to bring that back.
But you don’t have to be a kid to learn. And there is nothing as satisfying as baking your own bread, or serving your family a healthy and tasty meal. It’s not hard, you just have to make an investment of time and some effort.
Now… I have a dark sweet cherry coffee cake baking… smells done to me.
It’s nearly a year since the first animal I ever shared my life and heart with passed. Michael took him to the vet and our sweet dog was released from his pain. I feel some guilt for not having gone, but I couldn’t … not that day.
Ripley was Mike’s dog. His mom gave him Ripley when Michael lived on his own. It was hard for Mike because he was a young constable then, single, and looking after a puppy in addition to a busy life was hard. Luckily he had a good friend that helped.
I guess Ripley was about 5 when I met him. I’d never had a pet. When I was a kid my father didn’t believe in keeping animals. They were a waste of money and time according to him. My brother Joe and I often asked but eventually we just stopped.
Ripley was a poodle mostly, not a purebred but you’d never have known. I remember Mike telling me he had a miniature poodle. That surprised me because he is such a big man and Ripley was such a small dog at 17lbs. But in his heart, that dog was a giant.
Once I started spending a lot time at Mike’s, Ripley sort of adopted me. He’d sit with me, follow me, and he’d sit and watch me. He showed me what living was, he greeted each day with a sense of joy and he loved everyone. Ripley just accepted me as part of his pack.
I’d see dogs when I was on the streets but they weren’t pets. People mostly abused them, poor things.
Maybe it’s weird that I miss Ripley like I do, that I love him like I do. But he was a big part of my life for nearly seven years. He knew I was a mess when I came into Mike’s life; we kinda fell in love with each other. I could tell him things I’d never uttered aloud before and he didn’t hate me for it, or judge me.
We’ve been talking about adopting a dog. I think Ripley would like that. Mike’s been to see a couple at the Humane Society, but he doesn’t take me. He said, “It’s because I know you’ll look at them with your heart and some of these dogs need more help than we can give them and it wouldn’t be good for them or us.”
He’s right. I would bring them all home.
The house is quiet and it’s times like this when I’m alone that I look for Ripley. He was my friend, and a comfort, and he made me smile.
And I miss him.
I wrote a lot about this difficult time during the NoPoWriMo 2016. This poem was one of them. It makes me cry, but I smile too.
A Prayer for Ripley
Lord listen to my weeping heart
The time had come for us to part
Keep him safe in heaven above
Lots of bones and plenty of love
Pure and simple is the love of a dog
Ours deserves a special epilogue
He taught me love, acceptance and joy
Ripley was our very best boy.
I miss his spirit, his was great
In his world, there was no hate
He lived now and loved his people
Ripley will be a terrific angel.
Please ignore his naughty moments
And don’t forget the fire hydrants
Give him lots of jobs and things
So he can earn his angel wings.
So my lovely darling pup
Our time here isn’t yet up
Your spirit now is beyond our ken
But I know that we’ll meet again.
R.I.P. July 2005 – April 16, 2016
Some of you may know of my recent passion. Well Michael, writing, poetry- those are given, but this is about food and my latest and possibly most favourite gadget. Not sure if that is a fair name for this machine because it's amazed me from day one. Frankly it's a pressure cooker, a good one, and very safe one, invented or maybe reinvented by a Canadian. I like that, so i put it in here. I am talking about the Instant Pot.
No I'm not a food blogger (okay, i am today) and I bought and paid for my Instant Pot with my own credit card. But I love the darned thing. It has helped me in the kitchen more than most other things i've tried. Rice is a miracle in there. Seriously. Unbelievable. Pasta al dente in 3 to 4 minutes. Lemon chicken thighs with potatoes in 15 minutes. I'd swoon if it wasn't so unmanly.
Right now i am cooking beans, simple red kidney beans. I love them and I know dry beans are less expensive and healthier than canned. I have prepped them the usual way on other occasions. That means, soaking and then cooking on the stove, but I've never gotten them to be how i like them. My preference is buttery soft beans. Crunchy and under done is not my cup of tea.
Other bean issues are the bloating and gas they can cause. But they are so good for you. You can de-gas them. Why not do that when they are cheap, healthy, fill your belly, help with cholesterol and are full of good things?
Why am i writing this? Well, i wanted to make chili. The recipe i found said you can just throw the beans in dry. When I related this information to a fellow food loving friend, he said, "Hmmm. Well let me know how that works for you." I could tell he was chuckling.
Beans don't really affect me in that way, but my sleeping partner, well that's another story. I said to my friend, "Well, if I'm sleeping on the sofa, you'll know why." He replied, "Yes. Yes I will." He has his own husband, and they enjoy beans, too.
This chat led me to do some research. There are lots of opinions out there, such as, yes, it's fine to put them in dry. Others said, soak and then pressure cook first. Other said, when you cook beans from dry don't cook them in acidic things - um, tomatoes are kinda acidic (sarcasm isn't attractive, i know).
I thought, I have to rethink this. I don't want Mike taking chili for lunch and killing the rest of the squad an hour later. So I soaked the beans overnight. This morning, I put them in my Instant Pot with a clove of garlic and some bay leaves, covered them with water and cooked them for the recommended time, on high pressure, for 25 minutes.
They are done now and I am letting the Pot cool and release pressure naturally. There is a quick release option which vents the steam. It looks like something out of a video game!! But the slower method is still part of the cooking process and in this case slower is good. I'm going to pause writing here. And wait until the beans have cooled, so i can tell you what they are like!! Can't wait. See you soon!!
Back .. well the beans are buttery soft and delicious. I think I may reduce the cooking time by 5 minutes next time but I am very happy.
Time to go and put the chili together and then let The Pot do its thing.
I never really thought about pressure cooking but it is terrific. Now, the Instant Pot isn't a one trick pony. It has multiple settings including Soup, Meat/Stew, Rice, Beans/Chili, Yogurt (on my list to try), Mulitgrain, Porridge, Poultry and it is a Slow Cooker and Steamer, too. So, some bang for your buck. We bought one for our nephew when he moved and he tried it here before he moved .. he likes it but I fell in love.
Thanks for reading and happy Potting!!
AFTER CHILI UPDATE: Okay, i like this. I've eaten two bowls .. well one must try it right? This is not the chili from the chili mix package. It is not super thick and gloopy. It is fresh tasting, mildly spicy and not full of that chili mix/spice flavour i'm not so fond of. But it is moreish and I really have to NOT go back to the kitchen to get more of it. However some will be coming with me tomorrow when I start work.
Some of you know I have health issues. I haven't spelt them out because frankly it's boring to hear about people's complaints, especially from people who aren't in your immediate family or circle of friends.
But my doctors have given me a time frame of my life expectancy. I guess I was surprised, but I wasn't either. I've faced death on a few occasions but wow, a time frame is kind of unnerving. It's scary. Michael is .. I don't know what he is .. sad, afraid.. mourning me already? He vows I'll live longer.
I have sort of vowed the same .. but who knows if the doctors are right. I'll go on living until I die, until I'm stopped in my tracks.
When they said those words, it made me think of skinnydragon's diagnosis and what doctors told him. I just have to wait a lot longer. I have the benefit of those last years, that he didn't but he so deserved.
I've made all my postings here 'complete'. I don't know how much more I'll post here. I don't know. I have much to consider.
A little while ago, Cole Matthews offered the following on a status update: This weekend will be slated for reading anthology stories. For the New Year, support your fellow writers.
That really struck a chord with me - For the New Year, support your fellow writers.
What a great resolution. So how many of us do it?
I'm busy, full-time job, full-time husband, part-time writer. I've beta-read for people and invest a lot of time in that - as do many others here. That's part of my responsibility, as i see it, as part of this writing community. I know that not everyone is comfortable as a beta-reader and editor. I get that.
I'm not trying to sound holier-than-thou. I know people have lives. People have different levels of involvement. But I also know authors are here to be read. But the only reward we get here, are peoples likes and reviews - so shouldn't we do that for each other?
Maybe i have a skewed vision, I don't know, but and this is my opinion, i think we, as authors, have a responsibilty to each other. To read each other and in that way support each other. Often our readers don't leave comments, because many of them aren't members. Should they join? Yes, but that's for another blog. And we have some great readers on GA, who are active wonderful members.
I can't read everyone and there is content that just doesn't interest me and it's the same for others. I get that. We all have our favourite authors and types of story. But I make time to read. I think I can do a bit better.
But if you do read something, say so. Likes are great and now unlimited so use them! If you have an opinion about what you read, write a review. Think of likes more as an acknowlegement, rather than, I like that. It can be both.
Or just say thanks or that's not my cup of tea. I don't like to get negative feedback, but a least that person cared enough to leave some. And though it's not the greatest feeling, it helps you learn, makes you stronger, strengthens your resolve to get better.
That is support. Reading, writing, enjoying!
And isn't that what we're here for?
I do the same thing every year but I think this one was the worst. Zero Christmas spirit, the tree never really finished, not a card sent and the ones we received never opened, because of this lack of spirit and preparedness, Christmas Eve Day I spent in the kitchen ... baking, cutting, wrapping, until Michael said, 'Enough!' That was at about 10pm or later, I think.
Christmas morning was more of the same. I had boxes to pack, meringues to paint, and we were both stressed before we left to go over Mike's parents for the afternoon and evening. We were snippy with each other and Mike was ready just to stay home.
However we didn't.
We ended up having a lovely time, lots of laughs, great food and drinks. We came home, then after a cup of tea and some talking, we went to bed. Oh Happy New Year!!
Boxing Day found us, making cranberry sauce, stuffing, and roasting a nice turkey. Things are so calm today, we headed back to bed this afternoon for an hour or so and then we napped. I got up and basted the turkey, Mike's done the sprouts and me the potatoes. I'm hungry even though we had waffles (again) for brunch.
My heart's desire is to feel how I feel right now, before Christmas Eve next year! I think I need a plan. NO! I know I need one. I need a gift list; I need to plan when to make things I do each year ... fudge, cookies. I will go and buy gift wrap, bags etc. THIS week when it's all on sale. I will put up the tree on a day I note on the nice journal Mike gave me!
I want that peaceful, mostly ready for Christmas, Christmas next year. I do not want the anger and stress I felt this year. I want to look forward to the season.
Okay, that's my idea ... Now i need a calendar and a plan!!!
Some people have asked me why I refer to myself as tim - not Tim. Some have been mightly upset that i do (i have trouble writing I rather than i as well).
Many people accept my choice of lowercase, others not so much. Some refuse to write my name that way, saying i shouldn't do it. Well, i figure it's up to me.
There are reasons i do it, most them have to do with how i see myself, how i see the world and how i fit into it. It also has a lot to do with my lifestyle. I live with a very alpha male, a very dominant top, which is more than fine with me, as i am his opposite. Marriage and Michael are two of the best things to happen to me. I'm genuinely very happy most of the time. Nothing and no one is perfect and i know that.
But i am happy. And i am tim.
Sooooo, went for my pre-op appointment on Thursday. Nurse is concened about my blood pressure. "You need to see your GP, Mr. Landon." Really?
"This likely won't stop your surgery but you need to go." Okay.
So I go home and make an appointment for Friday morning.
Friday. Yes, it's still high, but not as bad as I was at the hospital. "I'd like to get you started on meds, Tim, but you were a walk-in patient and we don't have any history. I need to do some tests before I can do anything more." Sure, doc, I understand that.
(We did have a GP, but she left town and her patients behind. There were no doctors taking patients around here. I did go to a walk-in clinic but they were beyond uninterested. I went once with an issue I'd need surgery for and the doc said, "What do you want me to do?
I swear to God, that's what he said. Michael was ready to blow a gasket.
I said, "I don't know, maybe some tests? Or a referral?"
I had no faith in that horrible man. I'm sure he hated gay people.)
So back to Friday, I had some blood work done. Went home and called the surgeon's office. They called back saying it should be okay, but you need to be on meds asap. I left a message with my GP, nothing back from them as of yet.
So.. your guess is as good as mine if I will have surgery on Tuesday. I hope I'll hear something back from my GP before that.
In the meantime, I'm watching my salt intake, walking, eating the low fat DASH Diet, and waiting.
Not that kinda 'fixed'!
The last couple of months have been trying, personally, but things seem to be coming together. Let me tell you self-diagnosis can be a wonderful thing, if you're honest and like to research things.
So after three horribly painful attacks that involved my upper chest front and back, plenty of nausea and some vomiting, Google and I figured I had an issue with my gallbladder.
I put myself on a very low fat diet immediately. No more horrific painful 4 hour bouts in the middle of the night, and no more heartburn which I've had for years. A most excellent side effect!
After the third bout, I went to the doctor and ultrasound confirmed it is my gallbladder. Turns out it was a bit worse than first thought as one stone in there seemed bent on taking a tour toward my bile duct. The doc explained that as soooo not a good thing.
My doctor sent an urgent request to a local general surgeon, who gave me an appointment 1.5 months away (yes, that is our excellent health care coveted by so many). My doc said, in the meantime, if you develop a fever, turn yellow, vomit and feel very ill, go to the hospital.
I saw the surgeon Nov. 2. After an appointment was made for surgery, for Nov. 15. We rushed around to get blood work and an ECG done.
Then, I got a call that afternoon saying, 'oops the hospital bumped you, we'll try for January 5th'. Damn.
The surgeon had just finished telling me, the sooner the better because, things will be getting worse. And they could get much worse, the pancreas could be affected and well death was involved in there somewhere too. I know death is inevitable but, I'd like to avoid it a bit longer if I can.
They called me on Nov. 3 at 8:00pm to say the hospital has sorted things and I can have Nov 15 back. Be at the hospital by 7am for 9am surgery. Yay .. but I wont be surprised if they call me to change it. The receptionist put in a long day, not just for me, but I'm taking her flowers when I go back for my after surgery check.
Currently I have constant pain and nausea. The lovely women I work with tell me, as I run by them to barf in the mornings, on the days when I've made it to work, that's what morning sickness is like. I said to them, 'And you volunteer for that?' They are made of tough stuff.
As I write this I wonder if that slice of bread and strawberry jam I just ate, will remain where I put it ... I also decided to do more research. On the After surgery diet.
Clear liquids, broth and gelatin, then start to add back real food and fibre slowly. But the low-fat diet is likely here to stay. I've managed okay with it, and Michael has lost weight and looks amazing.
He said, make what you can eat and I'll eat it. You're not doing this alone. My wonderful man.
I have found that potatoes mashed with skim milk only, taste just fine, that 3 oz of eye of round is the right amount for me. I can live without pizza, cheese, cream, and skinless/boneless chicken thighs cooked with onion, garlic, a bit of soy sauce and touch of olive oil are delicious. Stir fries can be done with water only or a tiny bit of oil. I can eat a vegetarian sub from Subway (no cheese) on whole wheat, with a touch of lite mayo without fear of a painful attack.
I've read and found, that a mostly fruit and veg diet is the way to go. I eat very little meat but add lots of legumes and pulses. Eggs are a major no-no, but the whites are fine. Angel food cake I can have! Low fat replacements for fat, such as prune puree and applesauce work well.
You just have to admit that those low-fat brownies will not be the same, but they are a terrific option.
And for the foreseeable and maybe the unforeseeable future, that's what needs to happen to keep yourself healthy.
Everyday, I am grateful for Google and all those wonderful people who share their recipes and ideas online. It has made dealing with this health issue so much easier, than the doctor's diet sheet.
Thanks for reading and remember to take care of yourselves and don't ignore that pain.
Okay. People who know me, will usually say I'm a pretty nice guy.
At work, where I am in a customer service team-lead role, I'm a pretty nice guy. I put my customer's first, I listen well. I try to make things right for them while following the boundries set out by my employer.
I also cover our Click-to-Chat service. I'm sure people think their anonymity gives them right to talk to us like sub-humans, but mostly I ignore that. Usually. Most of the time.
However today, when a woman said to me, where can she call so she can talk to a human, well that kinda pissed me off.
Why am I talking about this? Well, just to say that if you're one of those people who thinks it's okay to treat people in a service role like crap, I'm telling you, it's not. They are people, often dedicated with a desire to help you. I am one of those. I love to help our customers. Love to send them off with a smile or some hope. If I can't help I try to guide them the best way I can to someone who is able to.
And yes, I know people have bad days, but you know what, those people usually realize halfway through what shits they're being and say so. And I tell them, no worries, let's try and sort out your problem.
So please next time you're pissed off, say so and then let us help you. Don't take it out on the rep.
Treating my customers as human is not my job. It's part of who I am.
Try and remember that the service person has feelings too.
Something happened the other day, the details of which I prefer not to share.
Something that threw me out of whack far enough that I decided that GA was not the place for my poetry. I was sure I was making the right choice about that.
However, I've had to rethink it. I've had lots of PMs, lots of comments and one PM from a reader who said she never has contacted an Author before, but she did me and she told me what she thought of my choice. That was very humbling. All the replies and comments were humbling to be honest. Most of them were full of love and dismay.
And I feel awful.
I let one person put me in this place mentally, and I feel like I've hurt or let down so many people that I care about.
Do I apologize? I feel like I should.
So to all of you, who commented, liked Adieu, PM'd or e-mailed me. I'm sorry if I let you down, or upset you, or whatever it is. I truly am.
I love GA. Have no intentions of leaving. I'll still write and blog and maybe some poetry will find it's way here again. I'm pretty certain it will.
And I'll try to be stronger in the face of hate, in the future.
Do you ever stop to think about what you’re leaving behind?
I mean beyond money, jewels, your house, and yacht. What are you leaving that marked your place in the world that people can see and talk about?
My mum died when I was fifteen. Then I’d mostly written in school, mainly because I had to, but when she was gone, I searched the house with some feeling of desperation hoping to find a note, or letter or story. But I found very little beyond some cards with her signature.
I know a lot of writers on GA, don’t share their work with family or friends. I don’t much, it’s just not what people want to read I suppose. My husband has seen some of my poetry. So will my family see my writing here, probably not, except maybe my Gay nephew.
We don’t have any children and have no plans for them. There are reasons for that I won’t go into here. But I do have a brother with kids and Michael’s brother has them too, so we do have nieces and nephews. And while they aren’t ours, they stay with us and we see them fairly often and they ask questions. I find myself wanting them to know who I am, I mean beyond their Uncle tim who is easy to ‘drown’ in the pool!
I have for a number of years written a journal about my life, my life on the street, my escape from that life, the people that helped me—a history of me I guess.
And I think that it’s important to do that, so people will know you. I put in doodles and pictures and magazine articles, recipes of things I, and they love. Really then it’s more of a scrapbook, a memory book.
I encourage people to do that because I remember the feeling I had when my mum was gone, when I wanted her. Not rings, or gold or money—but what made her, her. And that was her words and thoughts. And in this digital world, it’s easy to type things up, but as you do, think about saving it, but also making something physical, something they can hold onto.
Then you’ll always be within arm’s reach.
Well I never thought I'd be here, with a blog, but I found out today that I'm very tired. So I figured a small rant was in order.
Our young Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, said recently that poverty is sexist. There is a large movement to lift women and children out of poverty. Which, while good, still divides us as a race. In that I mean the human race, all people on this earth belong to a single race, the human one.
I’ve been poor. I’ve been very poor. I’ve spent days hungry. I know what poor means. I’ve seen poor men and poor women, I've survived living in a shelter with them. I've been desperate and done some evil things to get money and some very debased things as well, when I had to. Life on the street nearly killed me. But I got very very lucky.
And as one who's been there and got out, I’m tired. Tired of the constant divisions, the constant shutting out of people based on gender or colour or who they love. Because I don't see people like that, to me they aren't black, white, asian or whatever, they are what they are - people.
So let's say we get women out of poverty, that still leaves another group in it. So when women are free of it, what should we do next? Get all men out? Or should we just get straight ones out, or further just straight black ones? How far should we go?
Yes, dividing things like that is stupid. Breast cancer affects women more, but if affects men as well. Wage inequality affects women more, but men are affected as well. Yes, black lives matter, but everyone's does.
We need to stop this.
The effort to fix all of these things for women is great. But instead of focusing only on one sex, why not just fix it all for all of us? It is time to become one family and one race. It's time to unite and finally work together.