Life, Death and Dirges

The Wolf Moon greets us on Friday, the day of Venus, while Mercury is in retrograde. It is a time when deep emotions swirl together and the unspoken needs to be heard, witnessed, and expressed. I struggle in the cold, dark times to release the words clogged in my throat. Superhubs and I had a deep conversation recently about death, afterlife and near death experiences. This is what emerged:

The Twin Jet Nebula, or PN M2-9, is a striking example of a bipolar planetary nebula. Bipolar planetary nebulae are formed when the central object is not a single star, but a binary system, Studies have shown that the nebula’s size increases with time, and measurements of this rate of increase suggest that the stellar outburst that formed the lobes occurred just 1200 years ago. Photo from NASA image library

Life, Death and Dirges

I’m sorry I couldn’t stay
time has come for me to go
that’s OK, I’ll be fine
I’ve just run out of time
when I’m gone just
remember what we had
the good times and the bad
now that my story’s
reached the end
would you smile for me
now and then

I know that you’re sad
I know that you’re blue
but I know you’ll make it through
there’s more to life than we can see
you’ll be fine even without me
I promise you that
the sun will shine again
so smile for me now and then

now that I am gone
remember life goes on
when you keep me in your heart
we’re never far apart
I promise you’ll be happy once again
so smile for me now and then

Til next time ~ Remember to stop and smile ~JP

Thoughtful Thursday – Humbled

The beach near Seal Point Kaikoura, NZ

The older I get, the quieter I become. Life has humbled me so deeply. It has taken me many years to realize how much time I’ve wasted on nonsense. I am only now beginning to find a place for my sparkly star-shaped self in a beige world of square pegs and round holes. To listen to the words of the wind in the trees.

“A perfect blossom in a rare thing. You could spend your life looking for one and it would not be a wasted life.” ~ Katsumoto ~The Last Samurai

~Til next time ~The answer is blowing in the wind ~JP

Memorable Moments

Our Sunday Stills challenge for this week is Making Meaningful Memories. Now I’m not a particular talented or trained photographer, so to me the making of meaningful memories involves using photos to jog the old noggin. I love doing photo challenges for precisely that reason. I dig through old shots (or new ones), edit to improve them a bit and, particularly with Terri’s challenge, I always learn something. I’m also linking this up to John’s Cellpic Sunday. Seems most of my shots these days are taken with my cell phone because I just never seem to have the “good camera” with me when I just HAVE to take a snap of something. 🙂 So without further ado, here are a few samples and why they are so meaningful.

Me building sand castles on Waikiki beach

Superhubs and I have been to Hawaii many times and loved every trip. This particular shot typifies all that I love about the Hawaiian islands. I sit on the beach, I breathe, I relax, and I play. Whether or not the sandcastle is “good enough” never enters my mind. The fact that the waves will wash it away shortly reminds me of the Taoist saying “you have to see the glass as already broken.” Yeah, deep I know, ponder that one for a decade of two. Although the condition of my knees is certainly not the focus of the shot, it also reminds me why I was sitting on the beach. Those knees are swollen and painful and frankly couldn’t walk another step, so I sat on the beach and made sand castles, until I recovered enough to return to the hotel.

A rooftop garden at our hotel in Shenzhen China

This is one of many shots from our travels in China. Taken from my cell phone, I edited the photo in my standard Toshiba photo editor on my laptop. The main alteration was to increase the contrast to make the buildings below more visible. In the original shot, the buildings were very indistinct. The air pollution levels were horrid that day and any kind of photography was nigh impossible. I can manage about three days in any of the major cities before I have to start a round of steroids. On this day, as we were preparing to head into the city to the factory we were working with, I spent a little time in this lovely garden. The air was clearer, the ambience soothing and I am reminded of my own mantra. “There is beauty everywhere. To see it, you have but to open your eyes.”

Bryce Canyon Utah

What can I say, the playful hoodoos (limestone spires) of Bryce Canyon always lift my spirits and remind me just how stunning raw nature can be. Of the many trails descending into the canyon itself that I have hiked, I can only say that I totally agree Ebenezer Bryce (for whom the canyon is named) “it’s a hell of a place to lose a cow.”

Life changing moments

Not a particularly great shot (yes it’s from my cell phone but I didn’t shoot it) but it’s a memorable moment. After 15 years of RV living, international travel and oh so much more, a week after my 65th birthday, we became homeowners. Our precious little townhome is a constant source of solace in a world gone mad. We named her “Castle Serenity” – where there’s always a cup of tea and a friendly smile waiting, leave your troubles outside the door and come sit a spell.

Sending all y’all warm and happy vibes ~JP

Monday Mundanities – Navigating Medicare

with chronic disease, it’s all about the pills

I became enrolled in the US Medicare system late last year. It’s been an interesting journey, this transition to Senior Care. Lots and lots of research, soul searching, and just plain fussing. I read through the “Welcome to Medicare” booklet and all I can think of is “well that’s just maddeningly unhelpful, why are these things never clear?” Eventually I got it sorted out (I think). Of course it was complicated by a 1,500 mile move to a state with some seriously odd laws and requirements regarding everything from prescription drug transfers to property rights.

I have mostly blindly stumbled through the changes with some advice from Superhubs and my granddaughter (who works in the medical industry) and a whole lotta googling. Yeah, and when exactly did “google” become a verb? OK, back to the whole medicare thing. Anyway, I opted into what’s known as a “Medicare Advantage” plan. Basically, your medicare insurance is administrated by a private insurance company and it combines parts A, B and D. There were a LOT of provider choices to work through and ultimately I selected an HMO in my area. The decision was mostly based on copays. I just worked up a spread sheet and determined which plan offered the least copays for drugs, doctors, and my annual tests (CT scans, blood work, echos, etc.). I have to say, thus far, it’s going pretty well.

I’ve had my “annual wellness visit” where they make sure you’re up to date on all of your preventive tests and such. I said a whole lotta “Yep, did that”, “uh huh, thattun too.” I also had a “living will” thrust upon me along with a short speech on the necessity of laying my end of life wishes out in black and white. OK … thanks for that reminder of my imminent demise. Don’t misunderstand me, I have a medical POA on file like everywhere so I’m covered. I kick, it’s Superhubs problem, because honestly, at that point it’s not about me or what I want; it’s about the people I leave behind and what makes it easier for them. ;-p.

OK, moving on. I’ve seen my PCP (Primary Care Physician) gotten an actual honest to goodness diagnosis for my on-going foot problem. The “burning, freezing, painful but numb, blisters on my toes, holy mackerel it hurts to walk” disease that has been considered just another stage of neuropathy with dyshidrotic eczema thrown in for fun. Turns out it’s Secondary Raynaud’s Phenomenon. I take a tiny does of a calcium channel blocker to dialate the blood vessels and, pop WOW, it’s better! I’m now moving on to a number of specialist referrals (because I’m new to the area) to get the rest of my care established. So far I’ve checked the referred specialists out and they’re all on my insurance plan (yeah!) so just a minor co-pay.

Stay tuned, more on this grueling subject later.

Til next time ~Stay Happy Hippies ~JP

Welcome January

“And now let us welcome the New Year full of things that have never been”
~Rainer Maria Rilke

Welcome January, don your grandest gown of grey and white. Come weave your wonderous spell of sparkling cold, sweater and mitten days and savory supper nights. Winter beckons me hearthside for steaming tea, lively conversations and solitary joys. Outside, the world is quiet and still. Nature is at peace. Let us be also.

Happy New Year

One Liner Wednesday – Small things/great things


From Linda’s one liner wednesday All difficult things in the world are sure to arise from a previous state in which they were easy, and all great things from one in which they were small.” ― Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching
“The first half of this quote is becoming all too obvious in the world we live in. But the second half remains a challenge. Think about it. What small things in your life do you now have time to make great?”

Funny you should ask Linda, at my age time is a constant companion. No matter what I have to do, or how much leisure I have, there’s never, ever enough time. So, every day I try to do small things with great love. Perhaps that’s the real lesson to be learned from the current crisis (no I’m not naming it, could be like Betelguese 😉 tomorrow is never promised, don’t wait.

3.15.20 sunrise

“Saruman believes that it is only great power that can hold evil in check, but that is not what I have found. I have found it is the small everyday deeds of ordinary folk that keep the darkness at bay. Small acts of kindness and love.”
~ Galdalf the Grey

I hope you dance ~ Lee Ann Womack

Til next time – practice random acts of kindness and senseless beauty ~JPP

Working on Us – Addiction and Obsession

mental health

Week #21 Topic: Addiction and Obsession:

I would first like to say a big, Thank You! to Melanie C., of “Sparks From a Combustible Mind”, for suggesting this week’s topic. This particular topic is one I can relate to on so many levels.

One thing, I couldn’t quite decide to either ask questions pertaining to addiction/obsession or continue with the format that I’ve been using for the last few weeks, which has been writing a narrative of one’s experience.

With much consideration, I did lean towards either a narrative and/or a creative piece with regards to the following topic. I leave that choice up to you the blogger to decide which route you’d like to take.

Beckie, over at Beckiesmentalmess has a fabulous series going on right now “Working on Us” this is week 21, – Addiction and Obsession. Now I’ve been lurking around these posts for weeks/months but I don’t generally join in the discussion. Mostly because my own mental illness is full of triggers and I am very, very careful not to let myself get triggered. Why? Because a trigger episode leads to an obsession episode. That’s nasty downward thought spiral that leads nowhere good. Continue reading “Working on Us – Addiction and Obsession”

Spoonie Saturday My Life Tool Box

tool-box-2124616__340 pixabay

Chris posted a few days ago something that really got me thinking. OK, OK, a LOT of what Chris posts gets me thinking but this one in particular got me thinking about spoonies and coping and life tools and well, the Life Tool Box. It is such a cool concept, click on over to Chris’ site and give the original a read, you won’t regret it.

To me, a Life Tool Box, is comprised of all those “tools” that we use when life starts to go wonky, and in all honesty, as a Spoonie, life goes wonky pretty darned often. I have lots and lots of life tools. Continue reading “Spoonie Saturday My Life Tool Box”

The Terrible Privilege of Life

photo via pixabay

The world lost a warrior this week. A brave young man who fought the good fight his entire life. Blake was 14 years old. I have no words for his family to help ease the burden of this tragic loss. Blake bravely battled leukemia for most of his life, he was a warrior in every sense of the word. I don’t know why life works this way, I only know that sometimes bad things happen to good people. Continue reading “The Terrible Privilege of Life”