Archive for August, 2012


Ode To My Baxter

It’s kind of hard to say ode to “my” Baxter because if you ever met him, you loved him, he loved you and you felt like he was your dog too.  It would be a tough chore to find a dog that was more playful, loving, cuddling and kissey than The Big Man.  You’d also find it difficult to find a dog who was as hungry as Baxter.  Every holiday found him planted firmly between my father and I (the soft touches), drooling and giving you “the eyes”  The end result would be us sneaking him turkey and gravy, macaroni and cheese, sparerib bones, cake whatever we happened to be eating too.  And it was particularly amusing to watch him go at a plate of ice cream or mashed potatoes and gravy.  Who knew where it would end up.  Then, like any guy, he’d need a nap unless one of the kids wanted to play.

There are too many stories to share to explain what a missing piece of our hearts his absence will leave.  A 5 year old puppy, he played with the best of them.  There was no chewy that wasn’t going to be pounced on and gnawed into a sloppy mess before being devoured.  No chance for a ride, a run or game of chase would go past him.  No tuggie toy would go untugged and none of our of kids would call him without running over to receive a thorough inspection and Baxter Bath.  God help you if he’d just had a drink of water, you were getting wet.  But you wouldn’t care.  It was Baxter love.

If you showed up at my brother’s house and he saw you coming, no screen door would stand in his way and I swear Boxers aren’t supposed to be able to jump that high.  Then once he got to you, his nub of a tail would shake so hard you’d think his whole butt would have to fall off.  He was also very fond of a good nap.  The more cuddling and petting, the better.

I firmly believe in the Rainbow Bridge in Heaven where our beloved pets wait for us to come home.  I think he’s waiting now, owning the food and water bowls, playing with new dog friends and wondering when the heck are we going to get there.  He needs some people food, some good petting and maybe a nap in a puppy pile of his family who miss him.  And he’ll be just as happy as each of us come home to him one by one.  I love my Bax and I’ll be just as happy to see him.

Guest Blog by Linda Brendle

Good morning my darklings.  Today you’ll be treated to a post by the very talented and kind Linda Brendle.  I would never call her a darkling.  She’s one of those lights in the world as a caregiver.  And that’s great because I’m sick and she’s taking care of my blog for me today.  Read on and leave comments about how great she is. 🙂  Also, my computer was acting up so I had to print and retype this.  Any mistakes are mine alone.

The Horror of Alzheimer’s by Guest Blogger Linda Brendle

When Krista invited me to be a guest on her blog, I was excited but a little worried about how to write about my usual subjects of caregiving, faith and family in a way that would fit into the aura of KompletelyKrista.  At first I thought I might write a tragicomic piece about how gremlins stold Mom’s memory, but just to be on the safe side, I checked out the little fellows on Wikipedia.  It seems the imaginary creatures are closelyrlated to imps of ol English foklore, but the more modern version is inclined to damage or dismantle machinery, specifically aircrafts.  That didn’t fit, so I checked ot afew of the other critters that populate Krista’s world.  I found pookas, goblins, brownies, gnomes, fairies and more, each with their own characteristics and inclinations, but none of them fit either.  It’s not the first time I’e had to re-think a writing project so I went back to the mental drawing board.  I mulled it over and thought of how Krista describes what she writes:  drk fantasy, paranormal, horror.  That sounds like a perfect description of Alzheimer’s.

Once again I did an Internet search to be sure of my terms.  The first definition I found of paranormal was “an adjective denoting events of phenomena such as telekinesis or clairvoyance that are beyond the scope of normal scientific understanding.”  As fas a I know there are no cases of Alheimer’s involving telekineses or clairvoyance, but the disease is certainly beyond the current scientific understanding.  Alzheimer’s causes plaque-encrusted nerve tangls to form in the brain, but the cause has not been pin-pointed.  Strides have been made in slowing the progress of the disease, but so far there is no known cure.

I didn’t have to look up dark fantasy to see how it related to Alzheimer’s.  Mom started having delusions before she and Dad moved in with me.  One evening David was suposed to pick her up and brink her to the church where I would meet them for dinner. Shortly after I arrived, I got a phone call from my frustrated husband.

“Would you please call your mother and tell her to open the door.  She won’t let me in.”

I called and asked Mom what was going on.  She spun a wild tale that doesn’t bear repeating and calmed down only after I went to her house and let myself in with my key.

Later, after they moved in with us, I frequently came home from work to her tales of phone cals Dad had received from old girlffriends.  More than once I was awakened by a knock on my bedroom door and a tearful revelation that Dad had run off with some unknown hussy when inf fact he had gone to the bathroom.  Thankfully the dark fantasies came to an end when the neurologist prescribed the proper medication.

Mom’s disease came on slowlu, taking tiny bits  of her memory over a 15-year span.  First she began to ask the same question three times in five minutes, or she came home from the grocery store with two cantaloupes when therer were three in the refiderator.  her mother died from the mind-wasting disease after eight yearsof lying in a bed, unaward of her surrundings, and Mom was aware enough for many years to know that she faced the same fate.  There were times when the horror of her future was too much, and she broke down and sobbed that she would rather than live like her mother.

The one good side of Alzheimer’sis that as the memory fades, so do the fears.  Once she no longer remembered that she was ill, she became sweet and childlike, enjoing the moment and delighting in the attention she received from her caregivers.  But those of us she left behind in the rel world still knew.  I suffered the agony of watching the mother I knew become dependent on me for everything from medications to baths and even clean underwear.  After she moved into assisted living and I didn’t see her for weeks on end, the changes between visits were heartbreaking.  I watched in horror as she slowly lost the ability to walk, to feed herself, to communicate much beyond a sile, a hug and a few jumbled words.

But Alzheimer’s didn’t win.  My last visit with her was a month before she died.  Most of the time I was with her, she was asleep or vacant, but one morning, her eyes cleared and she looked at me and said, “You look pretty today.”  She still lit up when my brother ame to visit, and she clapped when he played his guitar for her.  Her faith was strong and up to the end the nurses said she hummed along to the old gospel hyns she heard on TV.  The day she died was a good day.  She smiled and giggled at the therapy dog one of the nurses brought to see her, and she ate everything the hospice nurse fed her.  Shortly after dinner, an orderly put hr to bed and two hours later, when the charge nurse made her nrmal rounds, Mom was lying there with a smile on her face, and she was gone.

I like to think that, as she slept, she fet a gentle hand on her shoulder.  She opened he eyes and saw Jesus on one side of her bed and Dad on the other.  Then she heard a soft voice.

“Helen, wake up.  You’ve had nough of thi horror.  Let’s go home.”

Blessings,

Linda

**

Linda Brdle is retired from the busines world and caregiving and lives just outside a small town in East Texas with her husband David.  Her memoir, A Long and Winding Road:  RVing with Mom and Dad is in the hands of her wonderful agent, Terrie Wolf of AKA Literary Literary, LLC

She can be found on:

Word Press  (www.LifeAfterCargiving.WordPress.com)

Twitter  (www.Twitter.com@LindaBrendle)

Facebook(www.facebook.com/linda.brendle)

Red Letter Christians(http://redletterchristians.org/author/linda-brendle 

BurnsideWriters Collective   (http://www.burnsidewriters.com/?=linda+brendle)

Soul Sitters       (www.soulsitters.com)

Don’t Lose Heart        (www.dontloseheart.org)

The Love Aspects of a Good Book

Jessica Gralbreth’s painting of The Virtue of Love

Good  morning my lovelies.  I know a post on the love aspects of a book is not very dark or gothy but for those of us who are readers, or writers or both, they are important.  They can make or break a book or a book deal depending how much a publisher wants love to play a part in the book.  If it’s romance then obviously it’s major point but in some fantasy or horror, there needs to be an underlying theme of love but it can’t be the most important part of the plot.  That’s just one part and not really the one I want to write about but it’s definitely worth mentioning.

What I’m talking about is how a book lets you fall in love over and over again.  First if it’s a book you can’t put down, no matter the genre, you love it.  You come back to it to read again when you need to escape and you know that story will take you out of the now.  One of mine is The Witching hour by Anne Rice.  I read it when I was 17.  It was a paperback and I read it so many time, read it so often, that the pages turned the color of parchment paper.  The front and back covers fell off and finally when the pages started the fall out, I had to give that one up and buy another one.  I’d have to say that was love of the book and some serious dedication to the characters.

Then there are the ones that you either love or like but come to love the male and female protagonists.  You learn to really dislike the antagonist for putting such perils and stumbling blocks in their way.  You remember when you fell in love and you get a chance to do it all over again through the eyes of someone else.  I think that’s part of what gets you hooked on a series.  Of course you want to know what happens or you wouldn’t bother, but you also get to revisit that usually new love between the hero and heroine

And for those of us that write, there’s no doubt of love.  We wouldn’t go through the writing process if we didn’t love our characters or want you to love them as much as we do.  When I write horror it’s more about just the story I want people to love but when I’m doing the YA dark fantasy, it’s the story and the people in them.  I want you to route for the hero in both genres but I always let me YA’s fall in love.  That deep, forever kind of love.  Even if t has to be a subplot, their love is what drives the pair through the book and I want you to feel them falling in love or the moment they realize it.  Because despite my weirdness or darkness, whatever you want to call it, I am a sucker for love and that sought after happily ever after.

 

First, A Moment of Silence

Good morning darklings.  Last night my car officially died.  It could have been repaired but it would have been crazy expensive and we were only going to keep it for another month anyway.  The mechanic was even happy when I went up there and told him not to do any work..  He did one of those both arms in the air, the field goal is good things and didn’t charge me for all the looking and diagnostic tests they did.  So now I have to remove all my stuff and the little things I did to make it mine.  No more red-eyed skulls on the buttons.  No more gothic fairy stickers, day of the dead skulls or Tripple Goddess stickers on the back.  Now I freaking out because we are going to get a new car.  And my husband wants/needs a truck.  So it’s likely that later this morning my husband will leave and come home with a major purchase.  And being the good luck magnet that I am (a little sarcasm there) that is exactly the time the refrigerator will stop working or the roof will come off the house.  So everyone say a little prayer to whichever God or Goddess is yours that nothing else goes wrong for me.

Now back to the book.  The writing went on hold yesterday but I should be back on schedule today.  My characters were patient with me when I stopped writing and put them on hold when the mechanic called.  I’ll feel better if I immerse myself in writing instead of walking around giving myself panic attacks.  At least I’m in control of their world. 🙂

Good morning my gothlings.  My thought today is whether or not it’s normal to dream of your characters?  I do.  Maybe it’s because I’m usually thinking about what they’ll be doing next and how that fits in with my story to get to the ending.  I’ve said before that I don’t know if it’s how other fiction writers write, but I can come up with the beginning and as I start writing I figure out how I want it to end, then I try to fill in the middle with what will lead to the ending I want.

Anyway, as I’ve said, I have frequent nightmares but there’s one that I’ve had so often that when I have it, I know what’s going on.  For years it’s been the same place and the same actions even though I know how it will end.  It’s familiar and that’s what gave me the idea for the title and part of the plot for this book that I’m calling A Familiar Nightmare because as I was making coffee and trying to get rid of the feeling of the dream I told myself not to worry.  It’s a familiar nightmare and then it hit me.  The title, the base, the nightmare and all.  Then I had to get to the computer to start.

After yesterday’s post, you all know I still have nightmares, though that one was minor in comparison, but my characters are invading my sleep as if I’m writing in my subconscious.  Maybe they’re telling me what they want or what I need to be doing with them.  Then I spend the rest of the day trying to get stuff done so I can get back to them and be a part of their world again because no matter what I’m doing, I’m thinking about them.  And this book is giving me that good feeling, that “maybe this won’t suck” feeling that is like a drug to a writer.  When the words come out through your fingertips and you know they feel right.  As if the story is just there and we’re just putting it into words and scenes and feelings.  So I’m not missing the nights that I would have a bad dream being replaced with the characters I’ve fallen in love with.  I just wish there was more time in the day for their world and less of mine. 🙂

Good morning my darklings.  This pretty dark winged fairy is called Enigma.  I thought it would ease what I’m about to write about because it freaked me out.  I had a nightmare.  That, in itself, is not unusual but their usually to disturbing to write about or I try to make myself forget them.  This one is disturbing to me and thankfully my husband woke me up from it when he came home from work this morning. Cigarettes and coffee are flowing like water now and just as a note for those that know, I’m still weening off the cigarettes.  I should be out by tomorrow.

Back to the point at hand, I was going to tell you about the nightmare or let’s just call it a bed dream.  And dreams are enigmas and then there were some in the dream, thus the fairy.  Plus she’d make an awesome tattoo.

Anyway I was back in high school, which was like 16 years ago for me, and I was late for a class.  I hated being late and having everyone stare at me while I tried to disappear into the floor so I could slink into my seat.  For some reason we were all seated in bleachers in the class and I walked up to the chalkboard and stepped on my teacher’s feet. The teacher happened to be Aaron Tate, another writer for AKA literary who really is a teacher and has a blog of his own you should have a look at.  “You’re already late Ms. Krueger,” her said but my last name obviously wasn’t the same then.  “Get off my feet, get your packet from the desk and try to catch up.”

So I go get the manilla folder labeled:  Krista and headed to the top of the bleachers where I could be alone.  The envelope was heavy and I wondered what in the Hell was in there.  I opened it and dumped it out on my bleacher.  There were 5 separated packages with a book, some clues and a math question.  Math is my dreaded subject, so I guess I was in some mathematical/literature class.  A look to the chalkboard told me I was supposed to read the books, use the clues and solve the problem in each mathematically with those things.  I looked at the books.  I’ll change the name of  the one book I knew just for the books sake.  It was called Broken Poems and the clues were a needle, I can’t sew, and a spool of dark gray thread.  But the math was graphing.  As I was fumbling around with this work, that no one else seemed to be having any trouble with, the T.A. shows up and it’s Prof. Snape.  He hollers at me to get going with the work but I don’t know what to do because I can’t figure out the graph or the math on the one book I thought would be the easiest.  My panic starts to really kick in and I’m wondering how much time is left in that class before I could escape or if it needed to be finished before class was done.  That’s when my husband woke me up.

That might not seem like a nightmare, or bad dream, to you but to me it brought high school right back.  I was gothy but I was super shy.  I took all the advanced courses and went to a hard high school where you could get college credit for some of the courses.  My first semester at college was like taking my freshman year at high school again.  The college wanted to give me tests so I could completely skip classes if I passed the test, so it isn’t as if I’m stupid but this dream made me feel that way and math has always been my Achiles heel.  Thanks for letting me get that out.  I feel a little better now.  🙂

 

A Jessica Galbreth painting called Moonstone.

Good morning gothlings.  You may be wondering about the picture that a chose to use today to help represent my post.  But it’s a pretty picture of a charm I’ve created to help me write.  Normally it’s a stone of love or tender passion, but I’ve also been told some use it for inspirational purposes and wishing.  And most of those things have something to do with my writing.  I love to write, am passionate about, need inspiration and of course I wish for publication.  In the charm bag is also a clear crystal quartz which is used to magnify the power of any spell or charm.  Also in the charm bag are some herbs, shaved pieces of High John the Conqueror for money, cinnamon for success, five-finger grass to enhance what I want and lastly, a strand of my hair.  These are in a green charm bag, green is a color for success, that I keep on me when I’m writing.  There is also a little saucer of water to help invite my Muse and I’m considering adding a yellow candle to this mix because that’s supposed to draw out the Muses as well.

To most people, I guess this doesn’t sound like it has anything to do with writing.  But it does.  The Muse can’t help with inspiration if there’s no creativity going on and I’m the one doing the writing.  The charm bag is jut essentially something to help me and my book be successful.  Yes, I may be a little weird, but we knew that.  And these are things that I believe true.  I’ve also said a prayer or two to St. Jude.  So in all the work that goes into writing a book, which I’m doing, and hoping that some publisher will love it, which I’m also doing, I think it’s a smart thing to use what I know to my advantage.  Isn’t success of our dreams to be a writer what we all want?

So Close

Good morning my darklings.  The end of my car may be at hand.  I’ve been having a run of bad luck.  I won’t go through the whole list but the last couple.  I’m starting to wonder if someone has hexed me or something.  Friday, my car broke down, like not going anywhere, in the middle of Howard Street during rush hour.  It is a very good thing that I’m good with vulgar comebacks because everyone was hating me.  I managed to get it started long enough during a red light while no one was coming to get it into a parking lot.  Then once my mom got there I bought some of the fluid it was leaking (I can at least get the hood up and check fluids and stuff), overfilled it so as it ran out there would be extra and drove like a bat out Hell to get my car to at least get it in front of my mother’s.

Then yesterday the guy who came to tow it to my mechanic,  me and the mechanic are both about a half hour away, rode me to my mechanic.  But I had to listen to rap and that kind of music the whole way.  Thankfully, my ears were intact when we finally got there by going through the inner streets of Baltimore.  Like where HBO filmed The Corner.  Luckily there were no shootings and the rest of me made it to the mechanics intact too. lol

I was running errands, in my husband’s car, and stopped at the puppy store to try and cheer myself up.  I know I can’t have another dog because my psycho Jack Russel won’t let other dogs in the house.  But I did see a beautiful blackish reddish Finch in a cage with a lovely white with blue tipped wings Parakeet.  The owner won’t let them be separated because their in love but would be willing to give me a deal on them and the cage and stuff if I promised not to separate them when I got home.  My husband won’t let me have to birds but I plan to keep working on that.

Then while running errands a woman in line ahead of me had to pay $7.42.  Then mine came up to $7.42.  I don’t play pick 3 in the lottery but I figured it had to be a sign.  I went to the tobacco store, I needed cigarettes anyway, and get a pick 3 right then.   I thought maybe I’ll win something to add to the mechanic bill.  So I got up this morning to see what the numbers were.  Yeah.  842.  One freaking number!

We’re going to my mom’s today.  My husband is an excellent cook.  I like to blame my extra weight on his cooking and having his 3 kids. lol  But he’s going to cook dinner for them since having my mother in the car meant we could use the towing feature and not have to pay for the tow.  But when we get up there, if I get any chance to get away, I’m going to the occult store if I can.  The lady who owns it is very sweet and very gifted.  She knew I was going to have surgery before I knew I even had a problem.  She said, “You have this blackness right here.”  And pointed to the upper part of my belly and 2 months later, my gallbladder was coming out, I had pancreatitis and they were both so bad I’d infected my liver as well.  So I’m going to have her check me out.

So that’s my very long, for me, blog about being so close to winning some money and the quick story about why I wanted it.   Does anyone else ever have days, I mean it’s been almost a week now, that bad or let’s say obstacles plague them?  Okay, I’m really done complaining now. 🙂

Tear Training

Hey darklings.  This is a sad post.  I found out yesterday that my brother’s dog has cancer and there’s nothing they can do about it.  He’s already not eating and having other problems.  The cancer is attached to his spleen and spread out to his other organs.  How long he has left depends on how well he responds to the steroids they’re going to give him.

I am one of those people who most of the time can’t cry, even if I need to.  I’ve gone my whole life that crying is a weakness.  I’ll be okay, I don’t need to cry.  I’m German that makes me tough and we don’t cry.  Or don’t upset anyone else by crying just suck it up and keep it in.  But I’m a dog person.  Put on a dog movie where something bad happens to the dog or a kid can’t keep it and I’m done.  All the tear training through all of these years goes right out the window.  The tears are going to come.  So here is the life and times of an awesome Boxer named Baxter.

My brother had just lost another dog, so my husband and I decided to buy him a boxer.  I went to the puppy store and picked him out.  I cuddled his little puppy self, got puppy breath kisses and said to the lady, “This is the one.  I want to take him home today.”  Baxter has been like a puppy his whole life, always happy to see you, always full of love and kisses.  We’d puppysit him sometimes and even my hard, manly man husband would get out sleeping bags and pillows and sleep on the floor with him because Baxter didn’t like our bed and he might get lonely.  He was the healthiest dog ever.  He would go running with my sister-in-law just about every day for three miles.  He’s also a pig.  At family dinners he’d plant himself between me and my dad (the two soft touches) and eat like no one ever fed him and drool and give you the big brown I love you eyes.  Then he’d go eat the dog food in his bowl, but he would spit out the pieces he didn’t like.  Now, within a week of acting funny, his been to the vets, had ultrasounds and confirmations that there is no chance.

So last night my tear training failed me.  I thought I could keep it together until Baxter flashes, as few that I’ve shared here, started popping through my head and then it was like I’d never tried to keep myself from crying in my life.  Love gets you like that sometimes, I guess.

Sleepless Sucks

This is not a good morning my darklings.  Two of my daughters got up last night and stayed up all night.  Then the little creatures fell asleep when the sun was coming up.  Two hours of sleep is not fun.  The coffee is not helping.  Could I have built up that much of a caffeine tolerance?  And since we know I prefer and cloudy or rainy, preferably stormy, day, the sun this morning is extra bright.  Brightness really does hurt my eyes so I’m telling you this by glancing at the windows with the corner of my eye.  Sometime today I’ll be expected to go out there and clean the pool so the kids, even the ones who are starting to wake up now refreshed and demanding breakfast, can go swimming.  I only have two more school supplies and I’ll be done and I just want to get that overwith.  And so much more.

The only part I’m looking forward to is writing and just a little bit ago I was doubtful I’d be able to form a sentence but it seems to be working here.  Maybe I have chance.  That’s if I get off my butt and start doing all of the other crap.  I’m a little grumpy today gothlings but good ol’ Krista usually pulls through.  And tonight the kids are going in that pool whether they want to or not and swimming around until their exhausted so I can go to sleep because sleepless sucks.  There should be bumper stickers for that to warn other drivers that “hey I have boughts of insomnia” or “my kid is sick so I was up all night cleaning up gross stuff and pinning them down to take their medicine” or in my case they were just… I don’t know what last night.

So, I guess I’ll have to end now and force myself out of this chair and away from this computer.  Yay.  😛