Sunday, August 21, 2005


As I reach the age when I should be slowing down at work, or at least, thinking of slowing down and doing less for work and more for Mitzi, work is getting more and more stressful.

At 58 my body and my brain are different than they were at 38. But I seem to have more responsibility – for myself and sometimes for others. Is that right? Is that they way it’s supposed to be?

I can no longer do physical work for several hours a day without paying for it for several days afterwards. I can no longer multitask without losing my concentration. Oh, I don’t fear the Big A (Alzheimer’s – but it would be nice to live in my own little world) – it’s not confusion – I just need to focus on one thing at a time, finish it to the end and do not try to talk around me, over me and through me while I’m trying to do it. I will lose it.

Retire?Uh – like . . .CAN’T.
I’m alone. I’m a notch baby – Social Security (if it’s viable) won’t kick in until I’m 67. And even if I did have enough to live on to retire and live my dream (writing fulltime), I wouldn’t have enough to pay for health insurance.

Get a less stressful job with benefits?

Uh – like . . .CAN’T.
I’m trying to save for my dotage and that savings would go quickly if I had any job less than 35K a year (still a big cut in pay from what I’m earning now). I’ve also been know to assist family members financially – yes, I would have to stop that.

So I can have my sanity now and no money for my old age.
Or I can work my ass off now and have money and health insurance through Medicare (if it’s there) later in my old age.

Hmmm? An old age that may never come given my history of two bouts of cancer and one bout of congestive heart failure.

What to do. What to do.

Muddle on.

Friday, August 12, 2005


Not necessarily THAT kind of passion.

I'm thinking about the kind of passion that makes it a joy for you to get out of bed in the morning - or even difficult for you to go to bed at night. You're so "into" what you're doing that time means nothing to you. You become your passion.

I find that when I'm writing and the words seem to be coming from the "girls in the attic" (paraphrasing Stephen King and Jennie Crusie - now there's a duo!), I become my passion. The Girls in the Attic play dress-up with my imagination. They try on different costumes - different hats - different personas - even different genders. And then they prance around through my psyche, making up stories that go on and on . . .

And then The Girls make me write those stories down. It could be Elizabeth Peacock who's best friend owns a funeral home and lends Elizabeth an old hearse. It could be Ruby Kincaide who, at the age of 45, finds herself hopelessly enamored of her much younger pastor. Sometimes it's a Lenape woman who had been left to die as a babe - left along the side of a frozen river and rescued by a female wolf.

Sometimes The Girl in the Attic is Mitzi - Mitzi writing the circuitous journey of her own life as I do on this blog or on

My Passion is Writing . . . and Her sister, Reading.

I'm happiest sitting at my computer, Murray lying behind me on the big wrap aorund desk, purring in my ear.
I'm happiest sitting curled up on my sofa with Huusker nestled next to me and a good book in my hands.

I have found my passion.

Sunday, August 07, 2005

Musikfest - Alone

Musikfest - "America's Music Festival" - Well, maybe.
But it is a very large musical event taking place yearly in downtown Bethlehem, PA where one can listen to music free. The free part may be for a limited amount of time as ArtsQuest, Musikfest's mother-company, ponders putting all the venues in a gated site. But be that as it may - for now, this year, most of the performances are free.

I usually take the entire week off so I can walk through the venues peacefully during the day and listen to new groups and new music. I discovered Bill Miller this way years ago. But this year is different. Work intrudes upon vacation time and Musikfest for me will be after work and weekends. I started last night with one of my favorite groups: The Arrogant Worms - a funny, satirical singing group that always raises my spirits - and my spirits needed raising.

I was doing Musikfest alone . . .
Not that I haven't done it alone before - well, most of the time I've been going, I've been going alone. The woman sitting by herself reading a book in between acts. The woman trying to juggle purse, drink, food and tickets because there's no one to save her seat. The woman whose been asked (and sometimes not politely) to move from her seat (the one she got to early in order to have a good view of the act) so that a group could please, please, please sit together. BTW: I've lately taken to saying, "No. I came here early just to sit here."

Oh, there were a couple of years that I had a gentlemen joining me - but none of them were as interested in the music as Mark. For many years Mark was my companion - as many days as he was able - at the festival. Mark loved folk music and we were always able to find something that we both enjoyed.

Musikfest will be difficult this year - not only because I can't take the week off, not only because I'll be alone, not only because Mark and I are no longer together. Musikfest will be hard this year because it holds one of my fondest memories:

Mark and I were sitting outside the large and very crowded Volksplatz tent and storm clouds were boiling in the sky. I was worried about getting caught outside in a downpour. Mark put his arm around me and said, "Don't worry. I'll take care of you." No one had ever said that to me. Ever. I was usually the one who said that to others.

"Don't worry. I'll take care of you." Will I ever hear that again?

Musikfest will be hard this year.

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

The other side of beauty

Click on the title of this post and read an article about how women view or "dis-view" themselves.

I wanted to share this because I've written so often of my own sense of worthlessness because I didn't look like what my parents, my husband, my boyfriend or my society thought I should look like. That feeling has colored - and sadly continues to color - my perceptions, not only of myself, but of the world. I am trying hard to work against those perceptions - and it is a daily, sometimes hourly, battle. For, no matter how we want to think we are an egalitarian society, we are not - "we" put so much stock in physical beauty. How society responds to a person's physical features shapes that person's view of themselves and the world.
These feelings - albeit not as strong as they were thirty years ago - are still on the surface of my psyche - still pervade my world, rightly or wrongly. They are just something I live with daily.

And maybe those feelings are the cause of my longing to be in little house in the middle of woods - surrounded by nature. Birds, squirrels, rabbits, deer, trees and flowers care not for one's physical appearance - just that you are a part of life's web.

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Good Bye, July!

Good Riddance!

Oh, the month started out great: I was in Gettysburg.
But then I came home.

I came home to an email from one of my regional nurses; she was resigning.
Another regional nurse was in and out of the hospital and finally diagnosed.
My ex-husband had quadruple bypass surgery.
I worked hard to get round trip ticket to Seattle for me and at the same time one-way tickets back to Seattle for Heather and cat, Figaro.
And my back pain returned off and on. Hmmm? Can you say stress?
That was my July.
So I'm gald to see it retreat into the background of 2005, even though it's the title of one of my favorite Dave Fry songs.

And speaking of Dave Fry: I can't even take Musikfest week off this year.
Ahhhhhh - August!

Maybe I can take most of October off - maybe, if I get a replacement for the Director of Nursing at Twin Oaks since the present one will be the new regional nurse and I can't have her until we get her replacement . . . and . . .

At my age my mother was sitting in the middle of West Virginia woods and had less than ten years to live. Maybe early retirement added to her life.

I wonder if it would add to mine.
But I can't retire - need an income, need health benefits . . .

So must get dressed and go to Easton Nursing Center to look into the problem of three residents who are alert, oriented and competent but don't want to bathe.

Ahhhh . . .glamorous job.

To all my friends - online and face to face. The above is why you haven't heard from me in a while. Thanks for your understanding.