Sunday, December 31, 2006

Happy New Year

Gateway ... in Cornwall, England, © Joan Z. Rough, 2004

Here we are about to leave the old year 2006, to enter into the New Year, 2007. What will it hold for us? Where will we be one year from now? Will the world be at peace? Will I be able to live each day to its fullest? Will I be able to recognize a ray of light even in the darkest hour?

It's been a tough year here at my house. My mom's health has been a big factor as well as the health of the planet and that of our country. I've felt very gloomy at times ... hopeless ... helpless ... unable to see the light. But with the changing of the year and the lengthening days, I am feeling a bit optimist for a change.

I'm suffering from a bit of "empty nest" syndrome at the moment. My kids left home years ago ... my son will turn 40 in a few months and my daughter will be 37 in May. It's not them I miss so much, it's my mom. She's been living with us for over 5 years. I miss her "good morning"s, her sneaking cigarettes out behind the house and her fiesty good humor.

She is now safe and happy in a nearby nursing home/rehab facility, where hopefully she will learn to walk again and to continue to be an inspiration to everyone around her. She has a tough road ahead. On top of emphysema, lung cancer and osteoporosis, she has bones that need healing and muscles that need strengthening. It's a "one day at a time" challenge filled with acceptance, acceptance and more acceptance.

I was recently reminded of the words of Thomas Merton: "This day will not come again." And so it is with humbleness that I carry these words with me into the new year and hope that I will remember them each morning as I open my eyes to greet the great unknown that fills each day. I would like to hold every moment as special and recognize in each day, great learning and clear light.

I wish all of you, my friends and family, a bright year ahead, filled with the joy of living! Happy New Year!!

See more writings on "Destination" at Sunday Scribblings!

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Happy Christmas Eve!

Nandina, © Joan Z. Rough, 2006

When mom arrived back in her room this morning after her surgery, she told us to "get out and do some shopping or something! I need to sleep!" So I asked myself why I worry so much and am pleased to know she will be fine! The doctors said there were no problems during the surgery and anticipate none in the coming days. She'll be sitting up tomorrow and I've been instructed to bring in some decent pjs for her next round of adventures ... walking again!!

Thanks for everyone's prayers and kind messages ... may blessings be heaped upon you in the coming days!

Saturday, December 23, 2006

My Mom At Christmas

frosty leaves at the river's edge, © Joan Z. Rough, 2006

Dear Friends and Family,

I want to update you all on my mom's health and the most recent events effecting her health. This past June, after 6 months of remission, her cancer showed up again, in exactly the same spot ... very small but back. She has gone through another 5 months of chemo, to find that the cancer is still there, but smaller.

She has "chemo brain fog," which plagues most people who go through extended treatment. She is very tired, forgetful, loses her balance often and tends to be confused alot of the time. She is currently taking a break from chemo and checks in with the doctor every 6 weeks. She'll probably have another scan sometime in February to see what is happening with the cancer in her lung.

Just before Thanksgiving we asked her to give up driving and after one last car trip to the supermarket on a very rainy, windy day, she said okay, enough!

This past Sunday, the phone rang at 7 AM. It was Mom, saying she had gotten tangled in her oxygen line and had just fallen. We called 911 and she was whisked away to the ER where she was diagnosed with a fractured shoulder. She was put on pain killers and told to take it easy and not use the arm ... there was only a sling to hold the arm, as the bone was lined up nicely and there was nothing else to do. She experienced a great deal of pain and was very shaky on her feet. She needed lots of help moving around.

Yesterday, we began preparations to have her admitted to an assisted living facility for a short stay of 3 weeks, where she could have around the clock nursing care and expert pain management. At about 3 pm we heard her calling from her apartment downstairs. She had again gotten tangled in her O2 line and once more had fallen. This time she suffered a spiral fracture of the femur just below the hip. Both the shoulder and leg fractures are on the left side of her body.

She is now at Martha Jefferson Hospital, here in C'ville, where her doctors are trying to get her blood thickened up so that she can have surgery on the leg. They will place a rod down the center of the femur to hold the bone in place so that she will be able to walk again.

She has a dynamic set of doctors and is getting blood transfusions and Vitamin K to reverse the affects of the blood thinner she has been taking. If they can get it to acceptable levels she could go into surgery tomorrow, but most likely it will be Sunday, Christmas Eve.

After her surgery she will be in the hospital for 2 or 3 more days before being transferred to a rehab/nursing home facility where she will undergo physical therapy to get her back on her feet ... probably for about a month.

Needless to say, it's been a difficult time for all of us, but Mom continues to joke around and be as fiesty as ever. Please keep her in your prayers over the holidays and into the New Year. She joins Bill and I in wishing you all a Happy Holiday Season and a New Year filled with peace on earth, good will toward all beings and lots of belly laughs ... probably the best medicine of all!


Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Storms ... for One Deep Breath

This weeks prompt on One Deep Breath is "storms." It is a stormy time of year. It is a stormy time of life.

angry tears
like sudden summer rain
thunder and lightning, too

hot tempered heart
autumnal gusts of leaves
chilled by rimey nights

in winter’s hand
wind carries frozen crystals
the field a drift of snow

April’s greening pasture
early birds sing at dawn
a sudden flood of mirth


Tuesday, December 12, 2006

December Extremes

With day time temperatures reaching into the 60 degrees F range, one would think that the ice on the river that began developing several days ago would melt away. It does look a bit slushy by 4 PM, but then the temperatures drop quickly into the low 30s and the river presents us with new ice patterns by morning. Canada geese flap back and forth trying to pick a spot to land and Big Blue, huddles on the dock in the morning sun, looking somewhat like the grim reaper. This morning a huge bald eagle flew low over the river ... probably looking for a meal through the thin scrim of ice.

The summers here are filled with the music of colorful songbirds, cicadas and crickets. Flowers and trees provide abundant food. But it's during the colder months that we really get down to the basics of life here on the river. The birds that remain throughout the winter must work harder for their meals. Without leaves on the trees and flowers in the garden they become more visable to my eye ... the Cardinal's red can cheer up the gloomiest days. With the bird
feeders full of black oil sunflower seeds, safflower seeds and chunks of peanuts, we have joyous entertainment right outside the window.

a cardinal in the weeping cherry tree outside my kitchen window

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Ice On The River!

7 AM, December 9, 2006

This morning we had ice on the river for the first time this fall. It won't last long. Tomorrow and the beginning of the week will be near 60 degrees F again. Boo!! Hiss!! We have way too much warm weather here. I want a bit of winter at least in December for the holidays!!

The meadow still hasn't been mowed but it's just gorgeous in the early morning sun with frost on the grasses and blackberry canes. I'll post more photos in the coming days of this morning's spectacular ice show!!

Thursday, December 07, 2006

My Movie Mogul

That's my husband, Bill, holding the box, as he plays the butcher in a new film, entitled Disconnected, which hopefully will open in neighborhood theatres across the country in 2007. That is if he doesn't end up on the cutting room floor!

His last film appearance and also his first, was in Disappearances, which opened last year and is now out on DVD. In that film he plays a bartender and offers Kris Kristofferson a drink! He has one spoken line in both films. If he's not careful, his next film role will be as a baker ... in a film called, Discovered!! Maybe he'll have more lines by then!!

Because he's always been a film buff and has now gotten involved as an investor in independent film production, I call him my "movie mogul." Watch out Hollywood!!

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Close Up ... for One Deep Breath

Lotus Seed Pod, Joan Z. Rough © 2006

This weeks prompt for One Deep Breath is "close up."

asleep within
swollen spheres
seeds of life

slender roots expand
in water’s fecund flow
goldfish spawning

in summer sun
lotus blossoms flourish
cycle unbroken


Sunday, December 03, 2006

Winter Garden

The garden, December 1, 2006

It's winter in the garden. The beds have been put to sleep for the coldest months. We've trimmed back, added mulch and watch as new color schemes echo the season. Winter berry, holly and nandena with their red berries and green leaves, impose a holiday spirit on the landscape. They stand out against a backdrop of winter browns and tans.

But the star of the show for the last month has been this Baby Blessed Iris, which friend Maria, gave me. She never told me that it would bloom in December, leaving it as a surprise I suppose. It has been blooming for well over a month through the crazy weather we've been having ... from killing frosts to mid 70 degree weather days. Today it feels like snow, yet this yellow beauty just keeps on going and more buds grow evident every day. She will bloom again in the spring along with the other irises, be dormant through the heat of the summer and come back to life once again in late October.

Baby Blessed Iris

Then there is this plant which I bought as an annual and have forgotten the name of. I planted it in the spring. It bloomed vigorously all summer, through 100 degree days, and now still flourishes just before the winter solstice. This plant is obviously not an annual. I will definately plant more of this next spring if I can find it again.

The mystery plant, December, 2006

These two flowering plants with their "don't ever give up attitudes" are making the garden a real delight this year. There have been days of late when I've felt like walking off the job, but these two winners along with my mom, keep reminding me that every day is a gift and we must fill each one with as much grace as we can muster.