Monday, May 20, 2019

What is CaringBridge?

Hello family and friends.
I know that I post a ridiculous amount of health-related posts here. I know it gets
old. So, I've decided (and urged by my caregivers) to start a Caring Bridge Webpage.
By doing this, you can decide when you'd like an update. Or, if you wish, you can subscribe to my page for automatic updates. 

It's very useful for anyone suffering from any illness. As you know, I love to journal/write, so this is perfect for me. It's also helpful for my family to update family/friends if I have surgery. I am an open-book kind of girl; I have do have secrets, b
ut I find it very cathartic to write it out. So, onward and upward... Off to find cute puppies to share. Peace...

That is what I posted on Facebook. Like I said, I know my medical posts get on some nerves. I get that. I have friends that are ill and post nothing but medical things. I love them and feel for them... but I too get really tired of reading it. It's fucking depressing, man!  

So, yeah... I'm doing it. Caring Bridge is not just for gravely-ill folk.  It's for anyone that just needs a place to vent about their illness. To get support without feeling like you're bothering people. 

Off to write my story.... and post some cute puppies... yeah, I already said that.


Friday, February 8, 2019

And Just Like That...

I really am superstitious about certain things. I knock on wood so much, my knuckles should be flat!  I am scared to say anything. Here goes...

On the pain scale...

I am a 1!
I want to run! I want to do everything!  I just told my husband my pain level is and he was as thrilled as I am, but also just as cautious. "Do NOT over-do!" I know. But the sun is shining (for a while, it is going to rain soon). The dog wants to play! I want to play! But, baby steps, again. I need that tattooed on my wrist. 
I'm just ecstatic. Maybe a trip to the birdie store, which is just up the road? We do need seed. Or, just a drive? Rob is off, so maybe I can talk him into a little road trip? I just pray that this means that my BURSTdr is finally doing its job and will continue to do so. I would love to stop the opioid meds. That's a whole different issue that I'm not going to even think about right now. In time.  

So, my darling readers, I'm off to enjoy this beautiful, nearly pain-free day. I promise not to go crazy. Maybe a little crazy? 


Thursday, February 7, 2019

Catching Up

I finally made it to my pain-specialist. I got my BURSTdr reprogrammed. This time, we both made sure that it would work in the areas that I need it to; my ENTIRE pelvic region. As of right now, Thursday, 2/7/19 at 2:34pm, I still have pain. I know that reprogramming means that I might have pain for a few days as the impulses reach my brain and begin blocking the pain signals. So, I'm coping. In my mind, I'm optimistic. I kind of have to be. Being negative only fuels the fires. Writing helps. It truly does. 
Rob is off today and tomorrow. I love having him home. He's super-busy in the shop these days. I'm seeing him blossom as an artist. I've always told him that there is something within him that, if he only took the time, it would emerge. It's beautiful to witness, and I love seeing the creativeness in him. It's something that I've never truly seen. I'm falling in love with him all over again. Just goes to show that we are always evolving; ever-changing. 
I just spent a while chatting with my good friend, Ann. We found each other in a Facebook group. We simply clicked; the more we talked, the more we found things in common. And, simply put, she's a good friend. There's that silly meme that goes around...
Yeah, it's sappy. But true.
...whatever.  We had a great time catching up. She let me vent. We just click. It's been way too long since we have talked. Mostly because I simply haven't felt up to doing much. Quite honestly, it's still hard to sit in the PC chair, but I still find that writing more than a Facebook update on my phone or table to be daunting. The PC is in the family room in our basement. From my room to the basement is quite the journey for me, still. I am getting better, but as soon as I feel great and really take those stairs on, I feel it later and my body hates me all over, again. So, baby steps. Thank you, Ann. You are a treasure. I love ya, Doll.

My eldest, Aaron, just came in and announced that Frankie Robinson has just died. Now, I'm not a huge baseball enthusiast, but I do admire him, greatly. Rest peacefully, #20. RIP Frank Robinson

Thursday, January 31, 2019

Good And Cold

Heat. It's supposed to rise, right? Sure. It rises. Unless your bedroom window has a wicked draft. Thank goodness for my ceramic heater. I am using only when I'm awake which is quite late, so by the time I actually go to sleep, it's quite warm and only dark for a few more hours. Then I'm up and out of that room. I don't feel comfortable keeping the heater on, so I keep it off and my parakeet comes downstairs (she lives upstairs in my bedroom). She would die for sure up in there. Too cold.

Once upon a time, I loved the cold. It never really bothered me. Boy, does it bother me, now. These old bones hate it. I will complain about being too hot until my days are over, but now I complain about being cold. I complain about everything. I hate it. I'm complaining about complaining.

Still, I'm good. My pain is at a level that I can handle (Let's say 5 on the scale). As my pain specialist says, my "toolbox" is right next to me. Use whichever tool you need. I've only needed a few, today. It's a good day. Better things are on the way.


Wednesday, January 30, 2019

So Long, Wordpress

When you FINALLY repair your original blog... It's a happy day!! So, my WordPress blog is gone. They screwed me over, so it's actually really cool - beyond cool - that MY blog-baby is up and running!  I'm beyond happy, darlings!  Seriously. Now, I feel really good about getting back to writing my musings. My thoughts. My observations. I really am short and sometimes it's hard to see things. But, I do see them. Know that.

I'm back, baby.


I Need Answers... And Maybe An Apology.

Hey friends!

Long time since I even fired up the laptop. Lots of stuff is going on in the Botkin hacienda at the moment. We recently moved into an amazing townhome. After almost a year of looking at numerous homes that made us drool, (thank you SO much John and Jen!!) and after many sleepless nights trying to decide whether we should buy or rent, we finally voted and renting won the debate. I, personally, have been a renter all of my life; it's what I know. I know how to live the renting life. My husband has been a renter since we began living together some twenty-eight years ago, so he now knows the renting life. We are not that young anymore, and dealing with things that could possibly go wrong if we had bought, were the key points that helped us make our decision to rent a home vs. buying one.

When we decided to rent, we began looking immediately. The very first home that we saw, we fell in love with. Turns out, the landlord really liked us, too. A lovely couple, with two young boys. Two days later, we got the news we had been wanting to hear for over twenty-some years: "You got the house!"

A funny thing happened to us; as thrilled as we all were with this news, privately, all four of us were sad. Hours after I heard the news, in a moment of rare privacy, I sobbed. As much as I complained about our apartment, and the lack of space, privacy, the problems with mold/Health Dept/Maintenance, I felt lost. Perhaps I was weeping out tears of joy, tears of relief. I'm sure that was a part of it; most of it. But suddenly, memory after memory began flooding my mind.

Bringing day-old Alex home from the hospital during a wicked thunderstorm.
That same night, to quell a very jealous big-brother, I let Aaron, who was almost two months shy of his fourth birthday, make a pizza. It was a hot mess, but he was having a ball and loved his "PEETZEE"

Aaron getting ready for his first T-ball game. It was so hot!  His little red face wet with sweat as he played. Me, following his little toddling brother all over the outer field.  I despise being hot. But I loved watching Aaron play and getting Alex to settle down with a cool drink.

Getting our first computer. Rob's sister had one that she wasn't using, so she gave it to us. I remember being so nervous when we finally got our dial-up router working. I suddenly felt like the world was going to be able to see me. The joy of downloading AOL (anyone remember Sketti0?) and joining all of the neat chatrooms: Parent Soup! Wav Chat!  I met my first internet friend at Parent Soup. (Hi, gk2t!)  All of the silly wavs!  I spent so many hours playing those things in the chatroom with my new chatroom buddies. Rob would just shake his head as I sat at the computer laughing myself into a tizzy over fart wavs.

You get the picture.

All of my memories with my family lived in the apartment.  How could I leave them? I know, they'll travel with me wherever I go, but I do feel as if I'm leaving part of my heart there.

   And here we are, a month later. We LOVE our new home. I love my front and backyard. I love planting! That's been my connection to inner peace. I think it helped me make my transition to living in a new place easier. I haven't really done any real gardening since I lived in Northwest Park! I'm really not supposed to be doing strenuous stuff, but I find that I get so lost in it. I really do feel great when I'm digging up the soil and making my tiny corner of the world a bit prettier. It sounds hokey, but I do feel like I am drawn to nature. I love getting my hands dirty. I feel like Mother Earth guides me.  I am happy when I am outside. I'm happiest when I am gardening. When I am in pain, I try to go outside and at least watch the birds. There are so many birds here! I even wake to the sound of fledglings yelling at their parents for help.
“So many people throughout my life have told me who I am, what I must do, what I can’t do, what I have to complete, and what I will never be able to accomplish…and then I met the Goddess.”
— Amythyst Raine Hatayama


Well, I found my old blog. Let's see if things work... be right back!

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Weekends Mean Bonaparte Breads!

Is it May or is it November? Hard to tell. It's a cloudy, drizzly day. The only difference is, there is so much GREEN outside! I hear it's supposed to be even colder, tomorrow. I know I'm getting old; I hate being chilly, now. I still absolutely detest being hot; no matter how I dress or what I do with my hair, I'm constantly soaking wet. Still, these days, being cold is very uncool (sorry; had to).

Back in March, Rob and I were looking for something to do. I probably wasn't feeling well. I haven't felt well, really, in years. Still, people with a chronic illness, along with chronic pain do get terribly bored when their choice of activities is limited.

Living in a tiny apartment; we have hardly the space for new stuff, but while I love to shop for new stuff, Rob detests it. It's not really because money is tight, but because we simply don't have room for any more stuff. However, he does love to do one thing with me as far as "shopping" goes;


Every once in a while, years back, he and I would venture over to Savage Mill, a historic cotton mill that has been turned into a very sweet, artsy home to all kinds of shops. Bead Soup. All kinds of beads! All kinds of wire! Tools! And the great people! I have a friend that works there. Another reason I need to learn to drive... I want to hang with her and bead.

The antique area... wow. All kinds of vendors selling cool stuff. There is even a record seller. Found a copy of Prince's first LP.  $9.00. I should have bought it. It's gone, now.

I have a thing for spoons. Not the collectables from different places. Just spoons. I'm very particular about the spoon I use with each thing I eat. OCD? Perhaps. I mean, I won't throw a tizzy fit if I can't find it, but my eating experience won't be as nice as it would if I had it. Sill, yes. I have a favorite soup spoon. I mean, just the way it scoops it up. I also have a spoon for thicker soups. I have a spoon that I use for ice cream. Sadly, that spoon, my beloved stainless-steel spoon with no maker's mark, was destroyed by the garbage disposal blade. Heartbroken. So, I'm on the hunt for a new ice cream spoon.  There is a vendor that has two cases of nothing but spoons. All are $25 each. I haven't found one that I like, yet, but I keep checking.  Maybe it'll be there on Sunday.

Anyway, I'm rambling on.
It also houses a nicely-sized antique "mall."  It would get me out of the apartment and we could walk a bit, letting all of the great stores get my mind off of my pain. It also houses one of my very favorite shops:

One day, after a bit of antiquing,  we found ourselves a bit hungry. Not for a huge meal, but for something sweet. Enter

The raspberry palmiers are to DIE for.
Raspberry Palmier
The aroma of baking suddenly enveloped us and led us toward the entrance. The first thing you notice is how small it is. It can probably sit 15 people. If it's nice out, they do have the outdoor area near the entrance to the mill. The second thing you notice is the display of so many amazing baked treats. Chocolate/almond croissants.  Raspberry palmier, which is a very buttery yet light shortbread cookie,

luscious raspberry (Seedless, YAY) jam, and topped with another cookie. The jam is the sweetener, here, which makes me love these so much; not too sweet.

Rob's favorite is the chocolate/almond croissant.  I have to say that it is amazing.  What makes them so amazing is the crackling pastry on the outside, that is tempered by decadent, sweet chocolate. To make them perfect, you must dunk it into their amazing coffee. They have their own brand (sorry, I forget the name), and it is just the perfect partner to these treats.

They also serve lunch. Quiches, sandwiches, and soups. Next time, I would love to try the baked brie with walnuts.  Or, maybe the salmon quiche. Decisions... sheesh.

They have a really cool playlist. A large speaker emits french disco, and other clubbish type tunes, with some baroque classical thrown in.  We found ourselves "Shazamming" many tunes. I now have a great French playlist on my Spotify.

We have decided to make this "Our place" to go at least once a month. It was our little hangout.  Our kids - who are now grown - found out about it, and now we take them with us. We still sneak away without them. Do I feel guilty? No.  They know they'll go again.

The service is great. Lots of "help yourself", but you are served, too. They also bake bread. Lots of bread.  I have yet to taste/purchase one.  Next time, a French loaf. I would really like a multi-grain, too. Maybe I'll bet both.

I'm looking forward to Sunday. Rob and I are going to go.  Might have a kid or two with us. Either way, it'll be delightful.

Until next time,

Merci et bon appetite!


Friday, May 5, 2017

I'm Back!

I thought I'd lost my blog forever! I'm not going to bore you all with the details. Onto more important stuff!

Been recovering from yet another surgery. Yeah, yeah... I know. Anyway, this is a good one.
But, I'll get into that later. I'd like to share my doctors and the entire staff that I have treating me, but I would like to get permission, first.

So for now, I will simply say that I'm back, and I'm thrilled that my blog is back up and running after I thought it was gone forever.

Take care of each other. Our POTUS sure as shit won't.
*Had to*


Wednesday, August 24, 2016


Reliving. Hmm. What a title. However, it is just that - for me.

All day today, I have been doing just that. Reliving. Reliving a day eight years ago. There are so many mental flashes of this time. In some ways, it comforts me.

In others, it brings me to my knees.

I keep seeing my cousin and I gathering up things we would need to have a sort of sleep-over.
Pajamas. Toiletries. A deck of cards. Wine. This was no ordinary sleep-over, though. The two of us would be camping out with my father.  Camping out; hmm. Maybe that's not quite the right term. We would be sleeping on sofas and cots next to my father's bed.

His death bed.

He was receiving inpatient hospice care. He was at the very end of his life. At times he was lucid. Mostly not. When the two of us went to see him, he kept trying to get out of bed. My father was frail, thin. Being an amputee, because he was so ill, we did not bother to include his prosthetic leg upon his admission items. Thus, trying to get out of bed was dangerous. Even sedated (end-stage lung cancer), he would be hell-bent on getting out of bed.  But it was only because he was close to the end. He didn't know he was doing this. So, upon seeing this, and learning that this was happening quite often, my cousin and I decided to spend the night at his side.

Hospice care is a wonderful thing. When I asked if we could both stay with him overnight, the nurse caring for my father encouraged that. They would make sure that we were comfortable. The only things we would need to bring would be toiletries, clothing, something to do (cards, books, etc), and perhaps a bottle of wine.  We left to pack, stopping by my cousin's place. She had a wine tote. I thought that was awesome.

We returned to dad and unpacked. We changed into our pajamas. My cousin probably went to the kitchen to chill our wine. I was closet-smoking at the time.  I even hid it from my cousin, although she probably already knew. I felt like a kid trying to hide from a teacher.  Guilty. Very guilty. After 'getting some air,' we settled in.

Every little move my father made, made us stop talking. We watched him. Then, back to talking. A few times he would suddenly sit up. This terrified me. I had been told by his nurse that when the end is near, sometimes patients suddenly sit up. But, then he would look for his leg and get extremely agitated. We would gently coax him back down, reassuring him. He was on heavy pain medication. Morphine. It didn't seem to do much. Later, he was given something to try to relax him more.

My cousin and I talked a lot. Even laughed some. I couldn't tell you what we talked about. I don't remember. I do recall how much I loved having her stay with me. I didn't want to be alone.  I mean, I had dad, but ... I'm glad she was there.

After we turned in, a few times dad tried to get out of bed. And again, we both eased him back into bed. It was a long night. I don't think anyone slept well.

I recall getting up around 3 am and going into the kitchen to make coffee. I took my cup and my crumpled pack of cigarettes outside. Family members could come and go 24/7, but after a certain hour, you had to be let out for security purposes. I went into the garden. I sat on a lovely bench donated by a family of a loved one that passed away. In the middle of Arlington, VA, was this lovely, ornate garden. I'd say that most of the plants, flowerbeds, and shrubbery were donations from patients' families. I sat and drank my coffee - really good coffee - and smoked.  And cried. I cried because I was smoking while my father lay dying of stage-4 lung cancer. I cried because I felt like I was contributing to what was killing him. I cried because I wanted to stop smoking, but felt that I couldn't. I cried because I was missing my husband. I missed him so much. I cried because I could not kiss my children good-night. I cried because my father was dying.

I don't remember much after that. I knew that time was short. I called my husband and told him to get to VA (from our home in Columbia, MD) as soon as he could. My father died that morning, before my husband and my children made it there. I truly believe that he did not want his grandsons to watch him pass. They were already having such a hard time. Dad knew this. I believe it was his gift to them. And his gift to me was to allow me to be there with him when he did pass. It was peaceful. He died with love all around him. His great-nieces were with me, holding his hands. His sister and her husband were present. His nurse. Again, I have memories that I'll keep for myself, but as peaceful as his passing was, it was still very traumatic for me. This was my daddy. My hero. My silly, smart, cool, handsome daddy. I was now an orphan. What was I going to do without him?

I would live. I would live with him. His grandsons would have great memories of their Poppy. They recall things about him all the time. My husband reminds me of things he said. He lives on within all of us.

Still, August 24th is a difficult day for me.  And for all that knew and loved him. It's hard not to be sad. I try to recall and focus on all of the good that 24 hours gave me. It does make me smile. But if I seem a bit distracted, just know it's not you. I'm reliving.


Thursday, June 30, 2016


I'm not going to get into why I haven't written for nearly a year. If you are a friend of mine on Facebook, you probably know that it's been a rough one for me.  I've wanted to write - really.  I miss it!  I just didn't feel like it.  It's dumb.  I would have all of these really great things going through my head that I could write about.

I just didn't do it.

I was wandering around the WWW and stumbled upon something I found rather interesting.  A thirty day writing challenge.  Why not?  It will be an easy coast back into writing.  I've always liked doing writing prompts, so this will be fun.  I'll just crack my knuckles and ... begin Day One.

DAY ONE:  Five Problems With Social Media

  1. The first thing that comes to mind is bullying.
  2. People take things way out of context too often.
  3. It's so easy to just go online and socialize in your living room.  What happened to just walking over to your neighbor's when you run out of sugar or just want to talk?
  4. Some folks post things that shouldn't be posted.  I am guilty of this.  I need to reel myself in.
  5. It's so addictive! People flip out they can't have their phones.  

What is CaringBridge?

Hello family and friends. I know that I post a ridiculous amount of health-related posts here. I know it gets old. So, I've decid...