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Charlotte K Stewart

Writer, Reader, Knitter, Artist

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Daily Life

We Were Not Going to Decorate for Christmas

      Things have been kind of dark around here this holiday season. The day before Thanksgiving is when it became real that Mom might die, and we felt that was imminent. Ever since, we’ve been up and down, up and down… not wanting to get overly hopeful about how long she might stay alive, preparing for the worst in some ways. Obituary is drafted, burial plot is ready, funeral homes in our current and home states are ready… when the time comes.
      I wanted to put the tree up, but Dad did not. He’s always been a bit of a Grinch, as long as I can remember, anyway. He had said he wasn’t going to bring all that “crap” up from the basement just to turn around and put it away a few weeks later… And, everything has felt strange and dark. I love Christmas, but this past five weeks have been full of doubt, fear, darkness… Today, a small tree arrived via UPS. Thanks to one of my sisters, who lives in Florida. It is less than two feet tall, and it is quite lopsided, until it relaxes a bit. It smells good… it’s a conica spruce. One of the cats has adopted it as her own, already. After a day or two, I’ll throw the included decorations on it and call it good… it’s more than we’d planned to do this year. I’m allergic to real trees, actually. BUT, I don’t even care. I took some Benadryl and I smiled.
       Mom called me tonight, which was a nice surprise. I told her about the tree and sent her a few pics thanks to a smartphone making that simple. Maybe Christmas 2018 won’t be the darkest, ever.
      Thanks, “Patsy Cline.” xo

Doctor Appointment Today

So much has been going on with my mom, with my family, with the way I look at life and situations lately. We’ve been a complete rollercoaster, in terms of expecting that Mom will die, three times for sure over the past five weeks. Yes, tomorrow is FIVE weeks since we called 9-1-1 and since she went into the hospital. It’s been such a scary and tumultuous time, one of planning for the just in case she dies, or bracing for the oh no, she’s really going to die… to the praying that she is actually improving, to having setback and then a half step forward, then another major setback… it’s been exhausting. Plus, on top of it, along with my chronic conditions that will never improve, I’m sick now with a respiratory illness, and I have a dental problem… the hits keep coming, and I’m not handling anything well… that’s putting it mildly.

Last week, along with the ups and downs with Mom, I started feeling quite under the weather. I’d been coughing for more than a week, and over the counter stuff wasn’t making it better. Off to the urgent care I went, hoping they could help me. The doctor I got that day was one of the nicer and more thorough ones. He thought it’s viral, and kindly agreed that antibiotics (which have their place, but they are not my preference since they caused me massive complications a year and a half ago) would not be the ideal route. He gave me some Rx cough med and sent me on my way, as I assured him I already had an appointment with my regular physician today – four days after the urgent care visit.

The good thing is my doctor listened to me today. Some things that needed addressing after my last appointment have improved (shocking, given all that I’ve been dealing with). I told doc that some of my meds aren’t helping, so we’re working on that, too. She refilled some of my drugs, added one that we hope will help an issue with muscle spasms in one of my hands, and… after much going back and forth, she suggested I go back to a place I’ve been to in the past for some counseling. I am not all thrilled about that, for various reasons. But, I agree it’s a smart thing to at least go in and see if they’ll take my insurance (the main reason I stopped going, when my coverage changed and no longer paid for my appointments). I go tomorrow morning, and we’ll see what happens. I have had some times when it worked and others when it didn’t –  it kind of sucks to be told you can’t really be helped. No wonder people stop even trying.

I am going into it with a desire to get support through what’s a difficult time with my own health, my mom’s health, and my family as a whole. I want to believe the side effect will be feeling less overwhelmed and out of control about life in general… I know, it’s all about what I put in as to what I get out of it. The person I used to talk to is still there, and she was nice enough. She also had told me she was mostly a sounding board with no real solutions for me, which rang true… when someone’s health is in a horribly incurable and unchanging space, it’s hard to see how it might change or improve, and that can be frustrating for client and for counselor, I think. Anyway, it’s also good research for my stories which feature strong psychological aspects… odd perk? LOL

I have bronchitis, I have a lump on my arm (we’re keeping an eye on it), I have an appointment in March on what would be my grandmother’s birthday… and I am going to see about curling up with some tea and a book before heading to sleep before my appointment for counseling intake tomorrow.

 

 

My Mom is Dying

I’m having a hard time. This has been the worst Thanksgiving of my life.

Three of my sisters arrived today. Two drove from Florida with my 4-month-old nephew, the youngest sister flew in from North Dakota. There is too much to put here. My head and my heart can’t take what’s going on.

She’s ready to go, in a way. She’s 67. It seems so young. I’m not ready for my mom to leave. I still need her. I wish I could write more but I just can’t. Not yet.

I need prayers, good thoughts, superhuman energy and fortitude not just through her passing, but for the next several months. Losing her means Dad and I will need to move, which sounds okay.

It’s not. Because I need a new knee. Because I have extreme medical care of my own, and can’t lose the crummy excuse for insurance and yucky doctors I need to see regularly to keep existing, myself… I can be of little use to him with cleaning out the house, selling it, etc.

Please I need rest and focus and better health and… I need my mom to be okay but she’s not going to be.

Here’s a pic of the flowers my sisters sent before they knew they’d be coming to town:

Triple Play

This is my first page in a planning notebook for nanowrimo. It may or may not become a bullet journal, but it will serve as my hands-on, analog talisman between the digital writing sessions when I need to jot things down.

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Halloween aka Last Day of Preptober

Last day of October may be when most people are focused on dressing up, dressing their kids up, getting organized or playfully disorganized trick-or-treat/trunk-or-treat events, taking the work and family photos and putting them online on every social media channel, handing out goodies from their homes, playing spooky music, watching scary movies…

I don’t have a workplace, so no office contest, party, etc. No significant other, and no kids… so no costume couple or kid/family pics here. We usually barely get kids at our door, due to the events planned for this past weekend, and we live in an odd area, rural but not far from some towns with actual community gatherings. They have parties and the trunk-or-treating things at set times, and very few families go door-to-door anymore, especially in a dead-end or cul-de-sac community. We get candy to hand out just in case, but it’s rare we get more than three knocks on our door. More candy for us, when it’s said and done, usually. Which brings me to the next thing- preptober.

It’s THE LAST DAY BEFORE NANOWRIMO, aka NANOEVE! Are you ready? Are you nervous? Excited? Have you been planning? Or, planfully not planning? Whatever your jam is, I hope you are looking forward to November, full of great isolated but communal creativity exploding into the universe from notebooks, computers, smartphones, and scrap paper all over the globe. It’s kind of a neat thing, when you really stop to think about it. I don’t always have a few extra funds laying around this time of year, due to multiple important family birthdays in November (thanks to growing up in a snowy area, with lots of uh-huh going on in those early winter months, apparently!)… and of course, the holidays approaching. I don’t usually buy gifts and knit things to give for Christmas, but, as many of them now either have what they’ll use from me already or have moved to warmer climates where they simply don’t need hats, scarves, a pile of cozy blankets… it’s a little tougher for me financially, and I end up sending gifts or gift cards (less postage on those)… because of the changes and some important budgeting around it, I was able to free a small bit to make a once every few years type of donation to the cause of nanowrimo, specifically to fund one writing package for one student. I figured, I became inspired and interested in writing thanks to a few great teachers while I was in elementary school, and rejuvenated again my freshman year of high school. If I can help possibly stoke the creative flame of just one kid somewhere, that’s pretty great, really.

So, I don’t feel ready for nano this year. I have announced my novel. It has a title, a cover, and an obscure and not-quite-right blurb which I’ll update as the month goes on. I have gathered the troops – nano buddies, my local writing wrimo group– via nano site, facebook, and discord. I feel like life around me in general and specifically things like my not officially designated home writing spot (hard to explain, but… it’s a mess and is not really ideal or distraction-free) are anything but ready. I know what nano is like and that things are likely NOT to get super organized, relaxing, or better over the next month. I would *like* life to calm down and Mary Poppins itself into some semblance of order. I can dream, right?

I will charge forth, words blazing, hoping to not only slay my word count goals, but to actually find my way back to my writing routine. It’s suffered greatly this calendar year, as I have, and *we* need a reboot. That’s truly what nano is for me this year… a personal overhaul, of sorts.

Less than 12 hours to kickoff. Ready, set… almost ready… one more trip to get water, snacks, another round of  Words With Friends…

If I don’t see you at midnight, or for the next 30 days, have a successful nanowrimo, fellow writers. You can DO it!

 

Is it Only Thursday?

This feels like the fifteenth Thursday, or maybe Monday… of a week. I’d like to say I am doing better, feeling better, in less pain. That would be a lie.

What I can say is I spent fifteen minutes cleaning today. I wish it could’ve been more. I need to *just* do these small bites as I feel up to them, or the bigger projects will never transpire. I have to feel like even the small steps are something forward and not me remaining stuck.

Progress is slow, and my struggles are still large and ever-present. A few little steps today felt like big ones, so it’s a start.

I Should Be…

Fill in the blank with sleeping, writing, cleaning, improving, or any number of other things that I’m not doing. My brain isn’t having any of it. My body is fighting me every step of every task. I should be doing about a million things I’m not.

Unwanted

I’d like to write a poem or essay about how this word “unwanted” makes me feel. I’m too close to it to convey those things with perspective tonight.

What I can say is I am physically ailing. Emotionally, I’m drained. I’m slow to ask for support. I tried, and I was criticized and put down. I learned from early in life to internalize and stuff those feelings inside. Then, I get accused of not reaching out again, or of holding onto things (feelings, experiences); I wonder why.

Stuck goes along with unwanted now. Stuck in a sick, failing body. Stuck in a location/situation due to a long list of valid reasons. Stuck in suffocation. Stuck in isolation. Stuck and silenced. Stuck screaming only into an imaginary black hole.

 

Emotionally Drained, Physically Pained

No one really wants to hear what seems a long list of complaints, ailments, or what’s seen as whining. I get that. So, I’m not going to do that in this post. I just need to write and vent a little. Today was hard. It was not far off the usual, lately, as I was in unbearable physical pain. It’s standard when you have chronic illness and some major old injuries that never go away mixed with newer things occurring thanks to a combination of factors. Along with that nightmare, the pain that prevented me from moving around much early in the day, I had another batch of messes which were a lovely combo of my family members’ BS plus some things that came into play later in the afternoon.

I am opening up, exposing something I seldom do, even with other family members, and trying to work through what happened today. See, I’ve been raw the past few days already. And, today there was a reappearance of an old topic… an impasse between my father and me. I can’t get into the details. I can say, I made some confessions to my mom about things I’ve felt for years, due directly to things my father said (or yelled) at me. I don’t let those things go. I might, if they were things that didn’t continue to be repeated, or echoed, or hammered into my brain and my heart for the past 45 years. There are big fears I have which are NOT unfounded. They are real, based on things he has uttered or shown over time. I had the courage… finally… to tell her two major things today. I kind of really didn’t mean to… I’ve held onto them for quite some time.

What I don’t know is how this is going to play out. Things aren’t great with either of them, in terms of their health. There is a ton I wish I could be open about and I just can’t do it, at least not for now. I have so many issues and concerns.

On the outside, I try to be strong and bold, but there is part of me always timid and apprehensive, about some things. Again, not without solid reasons. My heart hurts, my soul is crushed, my brain is in overdrive. I can’t write, can’t relax or unwind, and can’t think of truly restful sleep. I wish my body wasn’t sick and broken so I could go for a walk, a run, a bike ride… I need some big changes that I am not able to even think of making. I had to get some of this out of my head so I can lie down and try to rest, as I have medical junk tomorrow (my own, and going to an appointment with my mother). I don’t know if I should be afraid or more comforted by some things she said to me this evening. It’s a true amalgamation of both, for the moment.

I know much of this is cryptic. Maybe one day I can explain it better, but… I am hoping it helps so tomorrow I can focus my brain enough to work on some writing as well as some preptober tasks.

Yarn Day & NASCAR

Some would say NASCAR and yarn are a weird combination. That might be true. However, for me it’s a fairly usual blend of two of my favorite things. I dig racing a LOT. And, I’m a knitter. October 13th is Yarn Day, and I’d had every intention of setting aside a good hour or so to work on a project I have underway. I had thought I might also happen to knit while watching a NASCAR truck race… no, that did not come to pass. I watched the race, but continued to get interrupted by various real life matters. And, after the race, I thought THIS IS IT, MY TIME TO SIT AND KNIT! Guess what – nope, no knitting. Zero.

It was not the calm, relaxing, soul-filling day or hour I needed badly, not just because it was yarn day…. for so many reasons. I actually did not do a thing I wanted to do in a way I wanted to, all day… yes, the race was on. And, the driver/crew chief team I’ve been rooting for will survive to the next round of the playoffs (the #16, if you’re wondering). I chatted with my bestie off and on most of the afternoon and some of tonight, as we could. We talk most every day, even if it’s “I’m sick, talk to you tomorrow.” It’s the best friendship I’ve ever had in my life, and I’ve been blessed to have some awesome ones. Anyway… I need some self care and some quiet, relaxing time. I don’t know when or how I’ll have that, because life has been too hectic, too unpredictable, too out of anyone’s control… everyone needs SOME down time. I will get back to posting on here more regularly, too. I’m working on it.

 

Nanowrimo 2018

I wasn’t sure about committing to this November’s National Novel Writing Month (nano). I have so much going on. I’ll get into that another day.

Last year I signed up and didn’t actively try to “win;” I had too much going on and didn’t feel like spending energy on one more thing. No matter how much I liked the idea of the story I’d wanted to write. December hit and I felt like a failure.

This year, I’m caving to peer pressure, at least somewhat. The writing group I’ve been most active in this year has members fired up about nano. And, I do feel connected to both the nano process and my writing group.

I logged in, created my novel project, and even designed a book cover. To my surprise, my bestie (who hadn’t done nano before, that I know of, but who is a member of my writing group)- joined and set up her novel project, too! We even worked together on a cover design for it.

Whether or not I win (of course, this year I’ll try!), it’s going to be more fun to do than it will be “work.” At least, that’s the plan.

I’m Sick

I have bronchitis. It’s never any fun, but it’s especially not pleasant this time of year. I have so many things I need to get done and want to do that being sick on top of my chronic conditions really drags me down. I am not on antibiotics, which I’m glad about for many reasons. We’re hoping a few types of inhalers, combined with the little round “perles” and over the counter cough syrup will help me enough until I can get the rest of the buggies out of my system. If I’m not much better in about two weeks, I’ll get checked again. And, my stomach had to start acting up on top of it all. I have so many problems, on any given day. I’d love a day or a week when it’s “only” my usual with nothing extra tacked on.

Writing has been hit-or-miss. I was on a roll with a new story for a few days. I had no energy to add to it for the past few. I’ve been working on it today, as I felt up to it. I would like to get anything near completed this year… so far, that’s not happening. I have had zero energy to knit at all. Tomorrow is knitting group at the library, which I missed last month due to illness and too much pain in my knee (because of where I need to get to inside the building, after how far I need to get from the car to the front door is pure hell on my bad knee)… I want to go so badly. There is a conflict of transportation, on top of the illness and injury matters. I’m bummed and I need to talk to the girl who runs it about another way to try to get this to happen, or about changing the location inside the building, maybe.

 

 

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