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State of the Writer

June 30, 2015

Writing Perchance to Dream todayIt is that time again to talk about what I have been doing and what I haven’t been doing this last year as a writer.

As you know by now, I lost the love of my life, Otto Tune, to cancer on September 19, 2014. Leading up to his death, I was very concerned about his medical treatment and caring for him. He went from a strong stout man like you see in the picture to a frail old man in only a few weeks.
As I have been told many times and as I am learning, the shock and pain never leaves, just lessens as I start to remember the many years I had with him, instead of the last few weeks. As one widow said to me, “at least his illness and death were quick. You don’t have to remember years and years of pain.”

It doesn’t lessen the pain, but at least he didn’t suffer as much as others. I console myself with this.

In May I finished a Green Knight Terraforming Short Story– When I go back, I will use my late-hubby as a template. He would have been a great troubleshooter for some nebulous interplanetary council. He was also mischievous and was very good at getting justice through unconventional means. I will use that. If I told these stories as truth, you wouldn’t believe me. He was very good at getting me to laugh at my foibles and especially at my upbringing.

When I would start a routine beaten into my head by my parents, he would laugh and say “your family puts the fun in dysfunctional.” It would make me laugh and divert me from some gloomy horror type thinking. Foxy does her best to divert me as well.

I started on Xandra Peel this month, but I was caught in some VA paperwork. I have already done more than a ream of paper for them including the last ten years worth of medical records. This month I ended up getting another ream’s worth of paper. I need to do more, but I needed a rest from it. When I went back to writing the A/C died. So I have been dealing with triple digits-see last post.

My only excuse is that I have scheduled in other stories to finish for the next three months. I have Moon Curser, Dark Moon, and more GKTC stories to work on. Xandra Peel will be put away for awhile and then I’ll start on her story again.

So this has been the year for interruptions to my writings. The interruptions have been the most emotional pain that I have ever felt. Even the death of my great-grandmother, who I was close to, did not hit me with this much force.

My nerves are raw and every setback is even harder to bear than the last. Tomorrow I will start writing again– Today is labwork, and errands. The labwork is for my chronic illnesses. Tomorrow– Tomorrow–

Here comes the sun

June 29, 2015

DSC00462This last week I have been dealing with triple digit weather and a burned out air conditioning unit. Trust Murphy.

I had to use a lot of the tricks we used to do to keep cool during the hottest summers without an electrical appliance to do the job.

So here are my solutions when I realized that my apartment was only ten degrees cooler than outside:

1. Fans – I have three fans that I placed strategically around the apartment to help with the flow of air.

2. Water – I made sure that there was enough water in the dog bowl and my water glass. I drank every hour so that I stayed hydrated. In such heat you don’t realize that you are sweating because the dryness whisks away the sweat.

3. Closed the curtains– so that the sun wouldn’t heat up the spaces.

4. Computers, TVs, appliances – I turned off all of the appliances except the refrigerator so I didn’t have any heat generators in the house. This also meant that I pulled out any charging units.

Just doing 3 and 4, I was able to drop the heat in the apartment down another twenty degrees. Since the heat outside was between 108 to 113 degrees, these precautions helped me to stay well.

The problem with such heat is that the body wants to shut down and save energy. Heat exhaustion and heat stroke are both real concerns. At this point I was more worried about Foxy than myself. When I gave her water, I drank water, which helped me too. Foxy is a small black dog and too much heat is too much heat for her.

I did the other usual things like call the apartment complex. I found out that they couldn’t repair the unit. The unit had to be ordered and replaced. They were able to send me a small A/C unit a day later. It keeps the bedroom cool so that I can sleep. Another problem with so much heat is that you need to sleep, but you can’t sleep.

Many years ago when the heat was high (not quite in the triple digits), my father would do his work in the early morning and the late evenings. He was a ranch foreman. In the middle of the heat, the entire family would retire to the basement which stayed about 72 degrees and either rested or played quietly.

We didn’t have electrical lines carrying electricity for our refrigerators and gadgets. We listened to the radio one hour every night so that the batteries would last longer. We did have an electrical generator, a small motor that sucked gasoline. But, it was expensive to use. Sometimes we had to conserve the gasoline for the trucks and farm equipment.

We were tougher then.

So I survived last week. I will have a new A/C unit this week. TG. I finished a couple of cross-stitch pieces and soon I will finish the last cross-stitch that my late-hubby was stitching before he died.

I have many of his finished pieces. Last September, a few days after his death, I took his daughters to the apartment to give the cross-stitch pieces to them. When I looked at the back, I saw the message in his handwriting: Given to my darling wife, Cynthia. I love you, forever.

I love you forever too.

Dancing with my Dog

June 9, 2015

0e711-takemypicture5b15dTo the tune of Dancing with Myself (Billy Idol) or whatever the du jour band who sings it now.

Dancing with my do-og

yea, yea, dancing with my do-og


Well there’s nothing to prove

and nothing to lose

Dancing with my do-og

So the little Foxy puts her paws up and jumps on her hind legs. I tap her front paws every once in awhile.  Doggy picture: IMG_0055 The little girl is half chihuahua and half something else–probably terrier. She likes to jump.

Dancing with my dog

*Warning: Don’t expect coherent thought for the next hour. Overloading on endorphins.


While she is jumping and mangling lyrics in the corner, the editor (evil split brain of the blog owner) has a book for you: erikatredd2dcover

Erika T Red, Amazon Kindle, 3.99

Description: In the time of myths, the gods were dying and being replaced with the Christian God. One god, the one who hung on the tree nine days, gathered his people together so that he could manifest into the world through their worship. He lasted a thousand years until his followers scattered to the four corners of the earth. Still he needed a new life. So he used all of his resources to find the last Sybil, prophetess of the Norse people.

In another world of freedom and independence, Erika has dreams of career and travel. She lives in a small city in the Northern Nevada desert, where she has spent her entire life. She feels constrained and suffocated there. Inside she feels she is doomed to wither and die in this small city. Fate called through a wolf and raven. At first she refused to answer. Still her destiny grabbed her by the throat for it could not be denied.

Someone had to travel to supernatural realms. Someone had to face a dying god. Someone had to fight the witch. As Erika is forced into adulthood, she finds that the old gods don’t play fair and that allies don’t give their help for free.


Dancing with my dog–


Good let’s leave the mad creator in the corner. We have the whip ready for more writing… Stay tuned.

A step into the light

June 3, 2015


The sun’s rays peeped through my bedroom window. I stretched and limped into the kitchen for a cup of coffee. The normal routine is comforting. I don’t strain to hear him say “get up sleepy head” or any of the morning jokes.

I start the morning chores without crying into his shirts and pants. I have already given away most of his clothes, although I do wear his Pendleton shirts. They feel like a hug from him. Still I am a little apprehensive about the door, where I put a lot of his things. It opens sometimes by itself. Inside his his tools, his grave flag, and some of his coats. He was into Emergency preparedness. Soon I will go through his go-bag, but not yet.

I start a grocery list for me. I am still trying to figure out ways to make food for only one person. After his death, I couldn’t even look at food. It meant that we would sit down for dinner and talk. Afterwards we would watch the news and I would lean against him with his arm around me. Yes, when we fed each other, it meant more than when we said, “I love you.” Still live goes on and I must eat.

I don’t get that quick shock when I see his picture anymore. It still hurts that he is gone, but the stabs are not as intense and the heart is not as raw.

Many years ago I learned a truth. If I ignore this grief, it will hurt for far longer. I get these sudden urges to send him a joke to his email address or to tell him the newest outrage. He is gone.

There is a little light though. I am writing. I finally finished a rough draft of a story. Plus I enjoy my walks with my dog. I am not affronted by life. When I get a little stronger, I will take photos again.

He wanted me to be happy and to enjoy my life. Not today. Not tomorrow and maybe not this year. When the memories become sweet again, then I will have stepped fully into the light.

When the lines in our head crash

May 27, 2015

Are we golems? Do we following the coding in our heads (or the genetic codes in our bodies) exactly? What happens when the lines crash in our heads and we have to rewrite?

Sarah Hoyt has compared us with Terry Pratchett’s golems in that we have certain lines in our heads and in our bodies that we “must not cross.” Plus when we go through extreme physical, mental, and/or spiritual trauma, we have the chance to rewrite our lines, whether for good or ill.

It is a rare person who doesn’t go through some trauma. But, I had a small epiphany– To completely change my life track in my twenties, I had to be broken and then I had to pick up the pieces and glue myself together. It wasn’t easy. I needed help. My life view completely changed. I knew that if I wanted any bit of happiness in my life, I would have to take charge of it. I would have to be so independent that I didn’t need anyone. Glad to say that when I met my late-hubby, he caught me before the “I don’t need anyone” had completely solidified. We needed each other, but we were a complete unit.

Now I am back under the blood sun and my lines need to be re-written again. I know that I am broken because I can feel where I cracked the first time. I went to one grief group and found that the break is pretty common with those folks who have lost a vital portion of their life. (I lost a vital portion from disease and now from losing him.)

Every one knows the five stages of grief. What they don’t tell you is that you cycle through it over and over – sometimes several times a day. And that when the grief becomes easier to bear, you wonder why you were left without him. Then comes the despair.

Words are inadequate to explain how there is a real hole in your being in the center of your chest, how the pain radiates out and taints your perspective, and how the blood sun sits in your head and asks you “why are you still here? Why haven’t you committed Sati?”

Otto wouldn’t leave until I promised him that I wouldn’t follow him. I am holding on with all ten fingers–scratched, bleeding, and fighting. Without that promise, I would not have my Foxy. Without that promise, I might have walked into the blood sun.

One of the lines in my head is that I am loyal and that I would follow him and stand with him forever. That line has been obliterated.

One of the lines in my head was that I would do anything to save him and heal him. That line is obliterated.

One line that is thin and fraying is that I am a protector. I keep that one by caring for Foxy. She has saved me when the blood sun’s voice was strong.

There are other lines that are so deep that they can’t be broken even though I have done my best to bend them. Always care for your family was beaten in my head. I was able to change the meaning of family to mean those that were made-family.

There are only two roads for me… Despair and die, or live and one day be happy. Foxy makes me happy.



Memorial Day Weekend

May 23, 2015

Today I took a shower and walked Foxy, the little chihuahua. I am only mentioning these two things because I usually need an hour rest between these two actions. Even so I am a little out of breath and my heart is beating faster than usual.

It is hard to be alone. I envy the chronic illness patients who are able to survive without a companion. Part of the reasons I need someone is that much of my mind is occupied with other things. I am not happy unless I am creating. It has been hard to create when I am grieving, which brings me to my real post of honor, duty, and promises.

My late-hubby did not die on the battlefield of Vietnam. Plus he was very aware of the capriciousness of life. Even though I know in my heart that Agent Orange from his tours in Vietnam caused his early death (67), I have been unable to get anyone else to agree. In his own words he said that “we drank it, ate it, and bathed in it. Agent Orange was in everything.” He didn’t die on the battlefield, but he and many Vietnam Vets are dying from the battlefield.

I honor those who fought and gave the ultimate sacrifice. I honor those who fought and gave their health. I honor all those who now pay the price everyday in cancers, fatigue, and chronic illnesses. They gave all.

Every generation my family gives one or two family members to the military. My great uncle died in WWII and is buried in Belgium. My grandfather lost a lot of friends in WWII when his ship sunk in Leyte Gulf. He is gone now.

If I go back far enough, we have family members who fought in the Revolutionary War. My late-hubby’s family had a patriarch that died in the Civil War. Some families gave more than others.

I remember. I hope to instill this pride to my nieces and nephews and now my great-nieces and nephews.

There are no guarantees in life and war. There are no guarantees in death. Remember our dead and know that this sacrifice was to allow the Great Experiment to continue– freedom and justice.

Gods and Geeks

May 21, 2015
Featured Image -- 1686

Cyn Bagley:

I enjoyed this article. There are a lot of beliefs and I am of the opinion that religion is the human way to make sense of the world around us and whatever is beyond this life.

Originally posted on Otherwhere Gazette:

Coexist-GeekGeekdom has the widest range of religious beliefs of any group in the world I think. I’m somewhere on the agnostic/atheist scale, depending on exactly how you define the words. My friends in Fandom include at least the following: Wiccans, Pagans, Neo-Pagans, Asatru, Atheists, Agnostics, Muslims, Christians, Jews, Buddhists, Mormons, and a host of others maybe. I don’t know mostly because I don’t generally care. If your belief works for you that is all that matters to me in general.

I do know I have an unusually large percentage of Mormons in my group, I have no idea why. I have a couple of very hard core Christians, one or two militant Atheists but, for the most part, most of them are very laid back about their beliefs. Even the ones who aren’t laid back are also not in your face most of the time. What I am going to…

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