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nostalgia

Shingles

There is no other title I can give to today’s post. I am in my early fifties, and I have the Zoster Virus, which gives us Shingles. I knew I was at risk; I had Chicken Pox as a kid, the Virus lays dormant, I think at the base of the spine, waiting until it can find the most inconvenient time to emerge. It’s a virus which attacks the nervous system, so the pain is a real deep, nerve pain. The lovely part of it is the awesome rash which appears; It can show up on your torso or your face, usually only on one side, or the other. Mine is on my left torso, down to my hip and butt.

Pain, we’re no stranger to pain down here at The Rusty Prose. The pain is intense, exquisite and all encompassing. Yes, Shingles is inclusive, pain everywhere for everybody. I can’t get comfortable; I can’t sit, I can’t lay down, I can’t stand, and I manage to sleep in chunks of time. I have nerve blockers, which are different than opioids, but they have side effects, for me, I am now flat out tired all the time. I am used to having an underlying fatigue and constant discomfort from my Cancer ordeal, but this is a horse of another colour, a different animal all together. Pain, oh pain. Odes have been written about pain, I think I have another blog post devoted to it, either posted or in a rough draft somewhere.

I’m having a hard time focusing on my tasks at hand, such as writing, blogging, and general upkeep around the place. I am on social media; I think some of my posts were misleading, and some people misunderstood some things I posted or my intent and so some drama ensued, not at all how I like to roll. But, such is life. I had to go about town yesterday for a Dr. Appointment then do a blood test; later I was talking to someone in the parking lot and soon I realized I was almost incoherent. Not quite but getting close to it. This is not a good place to be, unable to focus, unable to communicate properly and besmirching my own reputation online all because my health and my meds have me distracted.

I’ve been off work for one week and today is the first day I’ve had to myself, I don’t need to leave the house so I am devoting some time to my ignored blog. So sorry bloggy woggy, I’ve been neglecting you. I did a thirty day blog challenge which ended two weeks ago, then I took an intentional few days off, was about to get back into it when I got the Shingles. I think it comes on for a week or two before the virus starts to do the nasty on your nervous system; I was noticing something was not quite right, but I was so focus on my thirty day blog challenge that I though I was just over working myself.

I think I have a couple more weeks of this, but now that I’m home, and I am getting used to the pain et al, it’s time to put my focus back to my blog, and to my writing in general. As well as maybe get some housework done and get started or at least prep for a new hobby. I posted something earlier about how writing was a hobby, but now that I am aiming to make writing my side hustle I need a hobby, so I’m looking into model rail. Bu first and foremost, I really need to focus on my health and well being.

Like that old saying goes, if you don’t have your health…

One Lost haiku

I wrote a Haiku this morning, I wrote it on my Iphone, then posted it on Twitter, and yet there is no trace of it on my phone or in my Twitter feed. It is gone, vanished.

Here, for a moment.
Eroded from memory;
winter snow, or love.

My Old Dog

She is actually my ex-wife’s dog, but hey, I was there too. They’d both established, right away, that I was not the boss and proceeded to enact this philosophy of theirs whenever possible. At the time she wanted to get a puppy, I wanted one as well, but I really didn’t have the time to rear a pup and it would’ve just ended up being ‘hers’ anyway. She’s very pretty, and she is obstinate, insistent, and entirely focused on food, food and my ex. She would pester my ex constantly, follow her around, bark at her. After I left, our dog decided I wasn’t so bad after all and really missed me; I come back to dog sit on occasion.

My wife got her from a breeder, as she was picking out her puppy, the son of the breeder said, “oh, no, not that one.”. His mom shushed him, my wife took that pup anyway. She asked the boy why, he said, she’s bossy and piggish. Ha, well, that was one astute boy. She came home and it a was all about the food; food, food, food. Immediately she decided I was not pack leader, and she did not have to do as I said. I quickly cured her off that, although, really on her own terms, so she would begrudgingly do as I told her.

When she got old enough, we would send her to puppy day camp; she loved it there, she ruled the roost, as they say, queen of the hill, she was. Then she got attacked while at the camp, tore open the skin on her belly, so she was real skittish around dogs after that. Not too long after that incident, while out for a walk with other dogs, and dog owners, another dog, and its owner, walked past their group but then the dog turned and ripped open her stitches and caused even more damage.

During my Cancer ordeal, the poor dog had to go in for surgery, can’t remember now, possible cruciate surgery, and they discovered she had major dental problems that we were unaware of. We are good owners, but I never brushed her teeth, and I had been in her mouth a few times for one reason or another when she was younger. So, two surgeries, one after another, while I was on Chemo. Then, not too long after, her spleen burst.

After that healed up, her hind end started to give out. That was a few years ago, she’s been to the vet on a monthly basis for three years now, getting one treatment or another for her hind end. It was during this time that they discovered she has a blood cancer, it livable and treatable. It’s also just a pricey as the rest of the stuff. I regret not getting pet insurance. We have it for us, but we didn’t for the dog. To this day, my ex won’t tell me the total vet bill tally. I have a feeling she hasn’t added it all up.

We love our Monster, the cash isn’t an issue, but I do recommend pet insurance.

Ensconced in Nature

I am renting a small cabin, situated on a large property which borders two lakes, I can’t see the lakes from my cabin, but once I get out onto the property itself, I get a partial view of one of the lakes. My little cabin is plonked in the centre of a large stand of cedar and fir trees. It is rather bucolic, however, like a lot of things in life, there are two side to every coin. I like to see it as three sides to every coin, there are good, bad, and ugly, in most things. It is gorgeous, but I don’t own it and so I am at the whim of a stubborn, money hungry, land lady who, in turns can be nice, then be very not so nice to be around.

I have families of deer surrounding me, in my little cabin, I watch them graze their way around the woods, mostly I see two, or three females and two, or more offspring. They tend to have twins. The bucks show up once in a while but I mostly see the does and fawns on their own. One fine morning, as I was heading out for my nature walk along the lake side trail, I walked upon a group. They stood and watched me approach, but didn’t bound off as is their usual wont to do. They stood and let me walk into the group, I kept my eyes lowered, slowed my walk and tried to be as quiet as possible, I stopped for a second or a brief moment to absorb my situation. I was surrounded by a group of deer.

Don’t try this at home folks, they are a wild animal, they’re a whole lot stronger than I, and I am lucky I didn’t get attacked. Lucky indeed, but it was quite the exhilarating experience for us out here at The Rusty Prose.

The same goes for wild rabbits, I live in bunny central. Eastern cotton tail, these ones are called, and there are a lot of them. These are wild, not at all the store bought bunnies for Easter which then get released into the wild to fend for themselves after they’ve developed a taste for fresh lettuce and carrots. These wild ones have a different diet, so they’re not after a the farmers gardens, they tend to graze around my cabin much the same as the deer.

Birds, the birds. Many different types, although I’m sure the bird population, as a whole, isn’t what it used to be, but I am blessed with a having so many different types; I have Raptors, song birds, water fowl, mourning doves, Stellar’s Jays, woodpeckers, ravens, crows and hummingbirds. I don’t have any feeders out, they don’t seem to need any, even my hummingbirds hang around without a feeder. At night I get the eagles chittering away to themselves, I have screech owls letting their presence be known and felt, and I have barred owls flying over head, calling out as I go for walks. I have my ducks and geese to welcome me, then the ravens lead me back home. Back to my little cabin ensconced in nature.

Fears

Phobias, oh I have a few, I’ve had them since I was a child. The four main phobias that I can think of right off the top of my head are, in no particular order: Nyctophobia, Acrophobia, Arachnophobia, Trypophobia, Agoraphobia and Achievemephobia. Oh, I said four, and there are six. I wonder if I have others that I haven’t discovered, or realized, yet. I’ve often wondered if it’s all just one big phobia, but science tells me they’re all separate. I had anxiety growing up, and so I’ve thought it was all related to that. I think Cancer and Chemo have cured me of my anxiety, or it manifests itself different now.

I’ve rid myself of two phobias; the Nyctophobia, I think just by simply growing up; age and wisdom. The other phobia, the Arachnophobia, I don’t have that anymore. We had a friend, in high school, who had it real bad, which made me realize that mine wasn’t anywhere near what her level of fear was. I think I was finally cured one day at a friends house, after school, we sat on the couch together watching a Nat Geo special on spiders; my friend said she thought they looked awesome, I was soon mesmerized by the beauty and complexity of these spiders. Not to mention, my friend smelled real nice, was warm sitting next to me, and well, you know, soon I was loving spiders more than I thought I ever would.

I have Trypophobia real bad, I don’t like to talk about it or describe it. Okay, its a fear of clusters, or irregular patterns of holes or bumps. Oh yuck, I said it. Yep, that’s a weird one I know, but there it is. It is a phobia, but I think there’s a leaning towards calling it a biological revulsion.

I knew a girl who had such a deep seeded fear of clowns, she could not stand to hear that word spoken out loud. Not even the word, Assclown.

I am working towards pushing myself through the Achievemephobia, that is a tough one, as they all are. But it is a very important one that I need to get through, or at the very least learn how to cope. I am going to meet this one head on any day now.

I still have the acrophobia, and yet I go wall climbing. Yay me! We’re quite proud of ourselves out here at The Rusty Prose for that one. I still have the phobia, but I am able to work through it. My climbing partner is quite patient and understanding. It’s a real phobia, it’s the first one that I recall having. In a northern part of the city, where I grew up, there was a mountain pass, well, it was an extremely high span at the mouth of a large river. I dreaded having to drive over it. My father ridiculed me for asking if they could lower the bridge so it wasn’t so high up.

I still have the Agoraphobia, I think it’s getting worse as I am get older, my Cancer ordeal  didn’t help matters in that regard, it left me feeling quite vulnerable; the pain, the weight loss, the act of dying but not actually dying, and the intense chemo brain left me feeling that I’d rather be alone, more so than ever in my life. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t cower in fear while I’m out in public. Not at all. I’m actually an extroverted introvert and can be quite out going when I need to be, however, I really don’t like crowds of people.

For myself, I am all about self improvement. I have over come a couple fears, and learned to live, well enough, with a couple more.

Procrastination

Never put off until tomorrow something that can be done right now, or some such thing. I’m good at paraphrasing, I tend to forget the entire adage, or quote, or what have you. These are good words to live by and it’s taken me decades to turn that into practice. Not all of it is my own fault, there are numerous external factors involved, life, other people, well, life in general gets in the way of life. Of course, one must take ones health, and various other factors, into consideration, but it really is best to make the attempt to not put things off for another day.

I had procrastination tendencies as a child; early memories of not wanting to do my homework for one reason or another, then getting it piled up with no end in sight took me by surprise, not to mention the incredible amount of ‘music’ coming from all manner of adults who surrounded me during my education system sentence. I didn’t understand, nor did I care, what the repercussions would be. Going to school, keeping myself and my room clean, then all the household chores, were all I had to do, but I didn’t want anything to do with any of it, for all kinds of reasons. Reasons.

During puberty, and then teen years, meant all new levels of procrastination. There were many problems in my life, which I am not discussing here, right now, that contributed to procrastination, spite against my parents and authority in general, were the two strong factors. So, really, what ended up happening is that over the years I developed it as a habit, a bad habit, one of many that I carried through my teen years and well into adult hood.

As a young adult I seemed to be in a state of shock for the first few years, then as I got through into my late twenties I came to an incredible realization of what I had been doing, or, in the case of procrastination, what I had been not doing. I was sabotaging my own life by procrastinating out of spite against people who had sabotaged my life. I was cutting off my own nose to spite my face. I was seeing things in a different light, as well as having different job experiences soon made me do the opposite of procrastinating, I was getting to things as soon as I could.

Then I fell, head first, into an unhealthy relationship which lasted far longer than it should have, and my procrastination came back with a vengeance. You want spite? Well you got it. Man, I look back on that time and I feel real stupid for staying in for so long. But, it happens, as they tell me. Life gets in the way of life. I soon fell into a whirl pool effect of procrastinating on life, which really bummed me out, which, in turn, made me procrastinate even more, which bummed me out even more. You see where this is going? Yes, folks, we do love a good run on sentence down here at The Rusty Prose.

I am so much better now. I still put things off, but that really bugs me so I try my best to get things done. Don’t get me wrong, I, by no means, am an over achiever, I just do my best to accomplish my tasks on hand.

Some Haiku

Here are a couple Haiku I found, I wrote them a few moths after my final Chemo treatments.

 

Wet, Lush, Green field;
Geese flying North, honking loud;
A warm breeze blowing.

A lone frozen oak;
A strong cold wind, one limb breaks;
The pain is silent.

Interaction

I am an extroverted introvert, I love how that sounds, and what that means is, I am outgoing, can be quite gregarious, can address a crowd, even perform live in one capacity or another, but for a limited time only. I turn into a pumpkin quite early, I need to be away from people. Maybe not all people, the company of one or two more suits me just fine, any more than three can get under my skin. Even three other people is pushing it; I need to be alone for a while to recharge my batteries, or with someone who is patient enough to understand.

I have always been that way, since I was a child, I remember being in large groups of kids and not wanting to be the focus of attention, especially when it came to girls. My parents didn’t want to hear about it, my grandmother, a nurse, picked up on it. One fine day, as a seven year old, I asked her why everybody stares at me, people in cars all look at me as I would walk down the street, she told me to ignore them and to look the other way. I think she picked up on the fact that I’m also agoraphobic, which is another story all together.

I’m so old, I’m from a time when us children would got outside and play on our own or would walk for a mile to get to a friends house. Mostly I would just walk for a mile to nowhere, too many times I’d get to a friends house and there would already be half a dozen people there.

I like conversing with people on a higher level than simple small talk, i.e., the weather, sports scores etc. I find, if I try to go even just a touch deeper than the weather, say politics, business, or finance, most people don’t want to hear about it, so I am left making small talk with a large group of people in most of my day to day interactions either at work, or at school. It’s easy enough to find people with whom I can have a more meaningful connection with, but they don’t all understand the hidden introvert.

I guess that’s the key right there, the introversion is mostly hidden and disguised, and so people are quickly blindsided by an extroverted person shutting down in an instant for seemingly no reason whatsoever. It took me several years for me to realize I was doing that to people, I’m sure I’ve hurt a lot of my friends, acquaintances, and lovers that way. Conversely I’ve been hurt by introverts who don’t understand my extroversion.

It’s not that I don’t like people, though I may have uttered that phrase a number of times in my life, its more that I need to be alone for certain periods of time. I feel, post cancer and chemo, that it’s getting worse. There are other factors involved, those, and the cancer, will be further expanded upon in future blog posts, which you can always read here, at The Rusty Prose. So don’t be offended if one minute, I’m acting like your best friend in the whole wide world and the next minute, I’m contemplating being alone, reading, writing or watching a film or listening to music; you’re more than welcome to come along, just don’t ask me to go out to play with you and all your friends.

My Pet Insomnia

I am a life long insomniac, always have been, always will be. Started as a child; I would lay awake all night, tossing and turning, I did not know it was insomnia, I would complain to my parents but, to no avail. Ironically, if and when I would fall asleep I would inadvertently wet the bed. Hmm, I just went from talking about my insomnia to outing myself as a bed wetter. I loved Sarah Silverman long before she outed herself as a bed wetter. I wonder if she’s also an insomniac.

My insomnia was hard for me to understand as a kid, I would be flat out exhausted, but did not want to go to bed, then, as I would go to bed and snuggle under the covers, I would warm up and, … wait for it, I would wake up. Wide awake, so, I would read until I couldn’t see any more then I would toss and turn until just before dawn, then I’d fall asleep, and promptly wet the bed. Soon enough, everyone in the household would get up, after having a full nights sleep and expect I was the same. Nope. I was unable to get up in the morning, cold, soaking wet, and flat out asleep.

This went on until just before puberty hit, when I finally stopped wetting the bed. I was staying up later I’d watch TV then I’d read a book until late night and sometimes until early early morning. Back then, **old man voice**, we only had a few TV channels to choose from, no VCR yet, and the stations would shut off around Three AM. So I would be tired when I went to bed, I don’t remember having insomnia going through puberty, aside from staying up until Four in the morning.

Insomnia was still there for me as as a young adult entering the blue collar work force, perfect, just perfect. I was staying up too late, usually having beers with buddy, watching the hockey games, then laying awake all night until I would fall asleep, just before my alarm would ring. Not very healthy, but then I started getting jobs which required working graveyard shifts, I did that for many, many a year. Insomnia also works well during the day, especially with lawn mowers, city noises and people. Yep, insomnia was here to stay.

Over the years I would learn different coping methods. A few little changes can help, avoid looking at the clock, or even turning the light on. I know the tendency is to do exactly those two things, then start reading, going on-line or TV time. I’ve read, in a few areas, that it’s best to act as though you’re asleep, keep still, eyes closed, and do your best to not ‘think’. It’s hard to do, but with a little practice one can accomplish these little things.

Then along a came Cancer, Surgery, Chemo, and the whole kerfuffle that came along with them. I would sleep in fifteen-minute chunks, awake for four, then more chunky sleep for four. Those might not be accurate numbers, I’ll have to go through my notes, I may have written that info down.

Now, these days, my insomnia is different, I fall asleep as soon as my head hits the pillow, but then I’m awake after a few hours. I have no problem sleeping during the day but I prefer to be a day person right now, it’s working for me, although lately I’ve been wondering if I’d like to go back to being a night person.

The Forest inside the Trees

From where I sit, I see the forest inside the trees. There is life in there, I see life, I see love. It rolls, it moves, it tells a story. A green pulsing orb, breathing at me, towards me, into me. There is rot, there is litter, there is debris. Only now the trees look back at me, what do they see? Why have I only noticed just now? Are they replying to my love letters? Do they know I sit, and look inside them to see the forest?

I realize, I am only here for but one minute of their lives, oh how they can savour that one minute though. When they let me in, when they’ve invited me in for tea. When I have my invite of dusty bark, and mossy knots. I will accept with honour and grace, I will be so flattered as to be accepted into their ferny realm. I would give them my time, all my time, all but a mere fraction of their day, I would be theirs, I would give them my time.

What is my worth to them? Is my devotion enough? I am, without a doubt, not the only being to pay respect. I am flesh and bone, barely enough to fertilize one of their saplings. Why me, why now? They are looking at me, as though waiting for an answer? What answer can I give to them but to say yes? But, yes to what? What is the answer they are waiting for? They look upon me still, as though they’ve always been aware of my presence, but choose now to show.

I’ll pretend to know what they mean, much like, as a child, I could communicate with animals, they could read my thoughts, and were merely empathizing with me. The forest, inside the trees, is waiting for me, awaiting my arrival. I don’t need to think about it, they’ve sent the invite, I’d be a fool not to go. I can rest, rest and sleep along the grande cedars, their rotted ancestors covered in moss. I could sleep, and be nourished, in my nursery of greens and browns. I will communicate, I will talk, I will be, I will be one of them.

I will no longer sit and watch the love inside the forest, or watch the life in the trees, I will be there. I will be the forest, I will be the trees. I can be one of them, they see that in me, they know, now, I am one of them. I will go, I will be one of the trees, I will be the forest. I will pull the blanket over myself, I will wish and pine, for one, or two to disappear with me, but I will pull the blankets over myself alone.