snowfall in Texas, second episode this season

Blades of grass and snowflakes
Blades of grass and snowflakes
Snow on the green grass Photo on Visualhunt

I feel like I should begin this posting with an apology. There are so many people, just in the US, that are facing real issues with winter weather. A couple of friends used to live in Alaska. They are doubtless laughing at how people in the Texas Gulf region react when three snowflakes managed to fall from the sky and hang around for more than 30 seconds. The weather was 60°F yesterday when they started announcing school closings.

I’m not entirely sure that that is an overreaction, though. We really have absolutely NO idea how to drive in cold weather. (Apologies to Michigan and New York, for example. For US, 20° is downright beastly cold. You probably faced this in November, you probably were wearing flip-flops and shorts, but we RARELY get below 40°. Laugh all you want!)

Ice on the sidewalk and road.
Ice on the sidewalk and road.

Of course, children are excited. There are 3 inch tall snowmen all over the city. Even adults are finding ways to have fun. They try to claim that slipping down a sidewalk is just like ice skating in the Galleria, except for being difficult to control. I’d be willing to bet that lots of minor medical clinics are full of people who didn’t figure out that the same stuff that we put into glasses of iced tea can make falls and bruises likely. Until they landed on their southern exposure…

I remember one Christmas that was in the mid-80s. I think they opened the subdivision pool. Kids were riding bikes and wearing rollerskates, using skateboards and doing all sorts of fun things. There were concerts at the beaches in Galveston.

This is the second time this season that actually felt like winter. Three weeks ago, give or take a week or two, we had another snowpocalypse. Like today and tomorrow, homeless people refused to go into shelters. Several died. I don’t know what we can do to help that kind of situation. People do have the freedom to decide where to sleep, but the cost can be so high. How do families and friends find those that they love who are out of the street? What if the folks on the street want nothing to do with the friends and family who might be searching for them.

All my training is not prepared me to give an answer to that. I’ll keep looking for answers and I will keep praying. Something that we are overlooking is probably part of the answer. I just don’t know what it is yet…

Cooper is pondering how to convince his people that a little ice and snow will make walking a lot of fun.
Cooper is pondering how to convince his people that a little ice and snow will make walking a lot of fun.

This is even affecting four-legged furry family members. I’m not sure what Cooper thinks of this, but he has been growling at the door and barking at the windows today. I don’t know if he is hearing something in the wind, or hears other creatures trying to stay warm. He has been very restless. Part of it is that he has been trying to convince his people to take them for a walk most of the day. My nephew did take him, and I think they enjoyed themselves, but it didn’t seem to be quite as long a walk as usual.

This weekend, it is supposed to be in the 70s again. We will be able to get back to living a normal winter life in this area.

2018 Goal Setting

This is a screenshot of my writing goals for the year. The background shows open books all piled together. The first box shows RESOLUTIONS.

Goal setting terrifies me. It feels like I’m getting locked into something that I don’t necessarily want to do, all because I think I’m supposed to do it. Sometimes, it feels like setting a goal guarantees that that is the last thing I will ever do.

So… I’m trying a different route. I’m doing the scary thing first. I am ANYTHING but finished, here is my progress so far.

This is a screenshot of my writing goals for the year. The background shows open books all piled together. The first box shows RESOLUTIONS.
Beginning My Goal Setting

I am keeping my goals on Trello.com. That way they will be accessible to me in more places and with more devices. It’s not like paper and pencil is an option!

I think I have three lists.
1. My TO-DO list. This is where most of the work will be done. This is where building my habits will be  https://habitica.com/  is too annoying for words!
2. My “main” goal setting for various areas of my life.
3. Writing (and reading)

I don’t know why goal-setting is usually problematic for me. I get these BIG OLD DAYDREAMS, castles in the sky, etc. I just don’t always know how to build a good foundation. Others have said something similar to what is in this blog post http://stunningmotivation.com/how-to-make-your-goals-work-3-ultimate-keys-to-making-it-all-work/ I think I just wasn’t really listening. (ESPECIALLY to the part about setting small and consisted steps…)

My daily “To-Dos” are already in Trello so I’m looking for other goalsetting tools there.  https://trello.com/b/kDbe13wI  looks interesting…

https://trello.com/b/o8HpHfSy  is a totally different approach.

Those have some really useful approaches, and I probably will use them in setting up my resolutions and goals for the year. Still, I think that this may be the winner!
https://trello.com/b/uGcMEnGt

There is a whole different train of thought, though. Now that my goals list is three pages long… I find out that I shouldn’t be telling you all about them…  https://www.ted.com/talks/derek_sivers_keep_your_goals_to_yourself  This really resonates with me. It seems like… If I set a goal, that is the one thing I am guaranteed to NOT do.

Today, I found this. It is far more comprehensive than some of the others, and includes “looking back.”  https://liveyourlegend.net/our-free-2018-planner-and-goal-setting-workbook-is-here/

And Now I Need to Remember What I Read…  https://medium.com/@skooloflife/how-to-remember-and-take-action-on-what-you-read-c43b309edfbc

Yup, I’m starting to think about next year: goal settings and what might work for me. How about you? Let me know at lmstapp.com

Birth of a Vampire

 

I say that I “woke up” again, although what passes for sleep in a rehabilitation hospital isn’t very restful. Again, I tried to speak, even though I knew that the tracheostomy tube was still cuffed and that audible speech was still not an option. Occasional flickers of pain below my neck signaled possible reawakening of damaged nerves, but I was still “a talking head” unable to communicate with anyone who didn’t have the patience to work with me using the “Tapping Code” that Vietnam POWs used. In other words, nobody working here would bother listening to me.

I was on my left side, facing the darkened window. My inner chronometers said that it was close to midnight. No point in trying to go to sleep now. I was fully awake, and they turned me every two hours to prevent pneumonia and bedsores. I entertained myself by practicing controlling my heart rate, breathing, blood oxygen saturation, and sensation. Once, I managed to really spook someone who was watching the monitors. Unfortunately, they medicated me so much that it was three days before I was coherent again.

I now practiced precise control over numbers within a minute range. Nobody else would know what I’m up to, just me. I preferred it that way. I always said that the only privacy anyone really has is behind the eyes and between the ears.

I heard that odious aide, Neale Hooley, chattering incessantly to his trainee. (He couldn’t be bothered even listening to someone who COULD use their vocal cords, and he liked hurting people weaker than him. He’s the one that cracked my knee bone.) “… No, we don’t need to talk to the nursing staff, they are useless and I am no more than all of them put together… Old people and sick people have accidents and sometimes die. It isn’t our fault… Besides, everybody likes me. Everybody would trade places with me in a minute. They can’t help it!”

I felt my rage as it left the top of my head and entered the hallway. It sniffed the air for changes. Yes, now it tasted fear in the third room to the right across the hall, the one inhabited by the fragile 90-year-old woman that reminds me of my mother.

She has a new bruise on her face and doesn’t understand why.

“ENOUGH!” Nobody else could hear my rage or me. “Enough, it is payback time.”

I showed my rage how to manipulate her vital signs on the equipment without harming her. Nothing resembling a heart attack, or anything… It just looked like the accident in her blood suddenly dropped to 80% immediately after Mr. Hooley left her presence.

A nice little puzzle for the nursing staff and doctors.

My rage and I followed that odious aide for the next 20 minutes. For some mysterious reason, every time he entered a patient’s room, a minor crisis followed. The head nurse began composing an email to the owner and HR of the company.

I smiled when I considered the narrowing career options for Mr. Neale Hooley.

Finally, Mr. Hooley and his trainee entered my room, followed by a nurse.

I showed my rage how to paralyze his vocal cords, then I forced him to trade husks. I, wearing his husk, whispered to him in my place, “Watch this! Payback is hell…”

His husk functions rather well. I used it to punch the trainee and nurse, then grab the scissors out of his pocket.

Don’t worry, I didn’t kill him or anyone else. I forced Neale Hooley to switch husks again just as security came and subdued him.

I had an unexpected side effect. He left just enough of his life essence within my husk to speed the healing of my central nervous system. I walked out of the hospital, against all predictions, a week later.

Unfortunately, I have a new hunger…

Bowser’s Repose

“Go get it, boy!”

The gangly, young hound dog chased the tossed toy with glee. He heard the door slam and the engine race and tried to follow his people.

Panting, he sat down by the roadside. He waited. He laid down. He waited, and he whined. He sniffed the air for a familiar scent. Only the memory of his people lingered in the air. He waited, and he whined.

The sun moved higher overhead.

He was thirsty and hungry. His people were gone, and he was lonely.

He smelled water. He moved into the shady trees, lawns, parked cars, and families of an older subdivision. He found a birdbath and drank. An older woman saw him and started yelling. She threw a rolled up newspaper towards him and missed.

He moved on. He nibbled on grass and a few leaves. He found a little water in the gutter and drank again.

People chased him away and yelled at him.

He hung his head down, then sniffed the ground. He whined.

The sun went down. It came back up. He found water, sometimes. He nibbled on grass. He tested the air for a familiar scent. It was never there.

Several days were like that. His feet hurt. His ribs were showing.

One day, some people spoke together near him. They did not seem to be yelling at him. They seemed young, like him. He wagged his tail tentatively and lowered his head submissively.

One of them laughed. That one picked up a stone and stretched it in a slingshot. The stone hit his shoulder!

He yelped and tried to get away from these people.

They followed, hooping and hollering, enjoying their supremacy over him. Eventually, a black and white vehicle drove nearby. The noisy group disappeared, leaving him alone again.

He laid down near a dumpster. At least it had interesting smells and might hide him from noise people.

Before sunset, he sniffed the air. Another person was nearby. He was carrying water and singing to himself. This person saw him and said, “Hello there, fella.”

He wagged his tail tentatively and lowered his head.

Moving slowly, the man slowly moved his hands towards his nose. “Are you thirsty, fella?”

The man pulled a bottle of water from one of his pockets and unscrewed the lid. He looked around, and shook his head. He cupped his other hand and poured a little into it.

It tasted good. He sniffed the man. He wasn’t his people, but he smelled… Right. He also smelled like he carried something edible.

The man patted another pocket, and unwrapped crackers and cheese. “It isn’t really dog food, but…”

They tasted good.

The man turned to leave, but changed his mind. “I don’t need a pet. Ophelia, our old dog has only been down a few months. My wife likes smaller dogs. Maybe we can just keep you until we find your owners. Come on, fella!”

They walked a little while, then entered the driveway of the house. A woman and four children were watering the lawn and plants with those.

She saw the two of them, smiled and shook her head. “He is going to the vet tomorrow. And yes… If nobody claims him, we will keep this one, too…”

The little ones took turns tossing dry kibble to him. He never missed a bite. They found a large bowl for water for him. He finally fell asleep in the backyard, supporting four small heads.

He found his people.

She is back!

I have been gone a while. I am back.

While I was gone, I’ve been working on learning to write. I started innumerable projects. I never finished most of them. (I finished one, tonight. It was supposed to be a 500 word Flash Fiction story. It kept bloating because I wasn’t sticking to the plans. It is over 4000 words.)

So… Over the next three weeks, I want to start AND FINISH 10 short stories. I intend on planning them, and sticking to the plan. Feel free to leave messages encouraging or poking at me if it looks like I’m stuck.

Galloping Along in 1 Corinthians

I guess I will never be able to claim that I am a Luddite. I took a selfie on the way to church and in Bible class.

IMG_0218IMG_0215 (1)I look so ridiculously stern in the one on the left, but I was trying to figure out how to make my phone work. I always look like that when I use the phone. And no, I do not talk on the phone. I will text and I will take pictures, I will not talk. And no, you can’t have my number.

Here’s what we covered this Sunday in 1 Corinthians. Yes, we really and truly are in chapter 2! We finished verse two and started on verse three. We are galloping along at a breakneck speed, aren’t we?

IMG_0150