Friday, August 28, 2015

Current Status

Here I sit in the very room I described yesterday.  The joy I felt has plummeted into the depths of stress.  Like I said on facebook, my emotions are all over the chart.  This week has been a trial due to the beginning of school and Madelle having a number of panic attacks.  I actually read the first scene of my novel.  I have thoughts on the next scene.  I might try to write it later today or next week.  In the mean time, here are my non-fiction words about the current developments of living with mental illness.

Saturday we won two battles.  I came home from a mini-retreat and she actually wanted to go shopping for school supplies.  Yay!!!  The girl hates shopping, which in all fairness to her, she gets it from me.  We went to Kmart because no one shops at Kmart.  I thought we did really well though I did annoy her with grabbing a couple of pair of jeans.  She hates clothes.  But, we made with no arguments, shakey hands, or irruptions.  After that, she also agreed to attend Mass.  Yes, going to church has been difficult.  The time before, she had a panic attack.  She didn't this time. 

Monday, we lost the battle.  We went to the school in the morning to go through her classes.  She wanted to walk her schedule.  Her stress mounted as we climbed stairs and wandered through hallways.  She spoke harshly to me about doubting her.  After the last class we found, she bolted out the closest door and we walked around the school to get to the car.  My nice daughter turned into the angry daughter.  I suggested going home, but she was trying and said we could still go to Home Depot, though she stayed in the car.  Still trying, she suggested going to lunch.  We pulled into the parking lot of Applebee's and the belligerent attitude kept creeping out.  We went home instead.  Later she came out of her room to apologize.  Her attack was so bad she scratched her arm until the first layer of skin came off. 

Yesterday, I was anxious the entire day.  The puppy and I met Madelle at the bus stop.  She was smiling and chatting to the neighbor girl.  We discussed her day and everything sounded good, minus her being shushed by a girl and having to put up with a boy she doesn't like.  I thought we had another win.  She saw her therapist at five and still she was good.  I asked if I should skip a meeting.  She assured me she was good.  When I came home, she was stressing.  She didn't want to go to school.  The negativity in the house poured down on us.  I got in my pajamas and we laid down in the living room.  The puppy snuggled with her.  I handed her a Rosary, though she didn't want it.  Together we prayed a decade and I finished on my own.  She finally went to bed.

This morning I worried.  How was I going to get her to school?  It felt just like the end of the year when she refused to go back the last couple of days.  I prayed.  I was/am angry.  We seem to be doing everything right.  Why are we still struggling?  When I woke her up, it took longer than usual.  Twice she mentioned not wanting to go to school.  I ignored the comments.  She was a bit snarky about breakfast, but when we walked to the bus stop, she acted normal.  She got on the bus. 

I am left drained.  I am uncertain.  I am stressed.  I don't know how much longer I can carry on with the mess.  A kind friend said I was the perfect Mom for Madelle.  I am trying, but it isn't with a gracious heart.  I would love to run away.  I want to explode and shake some sense into Madelle.  Get over it already.  With these thoughts, I don't think I am a good mom.  Hopefully, I will be good enough.

Thursday, August 27, 2015


The window, open wide, lets in the fresh moist air.  Yes, I see the haze of smoke and I hear the sound of traffic interrupting my music, but the joy of being back in my writing room is overwhelming.  I look out my window to see the beginnings of my steampunk garden.  I can envision high bush cranberries next to the fence with flowers in front of them.  I already have a copper colored yard ornament in the grass clippings that is mulching the area to be planted next year.  A black tarp lies on the ground where I hope to put a small patio of rocks that will have the shape of a gear on the floor.  On top of the tarp rests a huge round ball (a composter in reality) that I am painting a metallic rust color.  I will embellish it with some fun cabinet knobs to make it a piece of yard art.  In reality, I also see my pathetic, nonexistent vegetable garden, dead strawberry bed, and a pile of yard debris.  My joy, though, fills me with hope.  I have made progress in the yard again this year.  I still have the fall to continue my work.  Next year, I will continue my vision.

Through the turmoil of Madelle being sick, I gave up my special room.  I allowed Madelle to spend her days in solitude.  I am sure many people would disagree with my decision.  They might think I gave up too much or she needed more time with others.  I felt she needed rest.  I used my husband's computer in our bedroom instead.  I didn't mind.  But, I also didn't realize how much my room suits me. 

I am so excited to be back within the plumb and grey walls.  I am surrounded by family pictures and literature.  I have my favorite novels and writing books in the case next to my desk.  On the walls, I have "Gone With the Wind", "Star Trek", James Dean, old 45's, "Doctor Who", and "Firefly."  I have two pictures waiting to be framed of Grandma Hedahl and Great Aunt Erma that I found in my mom's old pictures.  I think the old black and whites were taken in the 1940's or 50's.   I also have a ton of trinkets that my muse loves.  A candle flickers.  I still have to dust and vacuum.  I also have to get two televisions out of the corner.  One is waiting for my son to move into his new apartment.  The other will be sent to the Good Samaritan next month.  The puppy sleeps at my feet.  A folding table is clutter but will be used for a new scrapbook project.  Life is beautiful!!!

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Fiction Writing

With the days getting shorter and school starting, I feel the pull to work in my gardens 24/7 while the weather is still good.  Like Vilenok, I am sore everywhere from the work.  I do envy her though because she doesn’t have arthritis adding to the joint pain.  My work is also taking forever!  Hopefully she will get enough done to satisfy the board, as I hope I get enough to satisfy my board of one, ME.


Argora and Vilenok

Walking into Vilenok’s kitchen the day after her friend’s mother left for the orc caverns, Argora sucked in her breath.  Her friend sat at the table with her head on the flat surface.  The dwarf rushed over and shook the thin shoulder.  Vilenok lifted her head as if it took all her energy to do the task.  Black circles lined her eyes and sadness filled the depths.  Argora reached out to feel the orc’s forehead with the back of her hand.  The skin felt normal.

“Are you sick?”  She picked up the cup next on the table and refilled it with coffee from the stove.  Grabbing a second cup from the cabinet, she poured herself a cup and doctored the liquid up with honey.

Vilenok rubbed her elbow.  “No, I don’t think so.  I am exhausted.  After my mother left yesterday, I started working on the backyard.  The neighborhood board will be here to inspect in five days.  For hours I clipped.  My knees, back, hands, shoulders, and elbows ache.  How do you do all this work daily without falling over dead.”

“Dwarves are made for such work.  I would feel just like you if I were forced to run for long stretches like I see you do as the sun comes up.”

“You have seen me run?”

“Yes, and I could never do that.”  Argora took a sip of coffee and shuddered.  She should have added some water.  “How about we go look at what you did yesterday.  I hope you didn’t kill everything in the backyard.  I wanted to move some of those plants to the front.”

Vilenok grinned with her fangs popping out from under her upper lip.  “I thought you might want to do that.  I only cut the weeds and flowers.  I left anything that had some sort of fruit or vegetable.  I only want productive plants that serve a purpose, not frilly pretty pests.”

“Well, the problem with that is most fruits and vegetables flower before the crop begins to grow.”

A frown crossed Vilenok’s face.  “Oh, I didn’t know.”

“Don’t worry.  I am sure that I can spare seeds or plants from my gardens with anything you might have unwittingly lopped off.”  Argora stood.  “Shall we get started?”

They walked out the back door.  The brittle air of an early fall pinched at Argora’s nose.  She wasn’t ready to put her gardens to bed.  Winter in the human world kept her inside.  Homesickness cloaked her spirits, until she noticed that back corner of the garden.  With quick choppy steps, she reached the pile of debris.  Sifting through the leaves, she groaned.

“You cut up all the strawberries.”  Argora shook a velvety green leaf at Vilenok.  “I would think you know what strawberry plants are.  They grow wild in the hills.”

“My sister did the foraging while I battled with the boys.  In my clan, I was the best of the females, so I wasn’t given the task.  I ate them on the march, but I didn’t pay attention.”

Argora looked at the patch.  The previous owners of the property failed to use fertilizer and neglected the weeds even before they sold to Vilenok.  The dry ground left the stubble that remained look brittle.

“I guess I will let my strawberry runners take root the rest of the season.  If we are lucky, I can have ten to twenty baby plants for you by mid spring.” Argora pulled to small shovels from the bag she brought from her house and handed one to Vilenok.  “We need to get to work.”

The short tubby woman lowered herself down.  She plunged the plant weapon into the ground loosening the roots of weeds and strawberries alike.  Vilenok watched her for a moment.

“Why can’t we just leave it?  The height is all uniform with the grass.”

“The board is going to frown with our plan to turn this all into lawn.  If it is a lawn with weeds, they will really be upset.  We need to get all this out of here and then seed it with grass for a uniform green and height.”

“This is going to take forever.”

Monday, August 24, 2015

Mental Illness - Depths of Despair

Parenting, though more often than not, a joy, runs a sword through your heart at different points in life.  This year I felt the sword plunge into my chest a number of times.  My body racked with sobs or numbed in helplessness or believe it or not, both at the same time.

The first time I took Madelle to the hospital was just three days after we lost a dear family friend, 16 years old, to cancer.  The week was so surreal.  A sweet angel left this earth and we were fighting to keep our angel with us.  Madelle went to see her therapist.  Before the session finished, I was directed to take Madelle to the emergency room due to suicidal thoughts.  The day was beautiful and bright, but darkness seeped through everything.  My baby wanted to die and my friend’s baby was dead.  How do you wrap your head around all of that?  I called my husband to meet us.  While we waited, I cried.  I prayed.  I asked for all types of intercessory (from saints and angels) support, even from our newly deceased friend.  I asked all of heaven to pray for Madelle, our family, and our friends.

Somehow we made it through that first visit.  We were given options of sending her to a long term hospital or seeing a psychiatrist.  We opted for the latter, but we feared more might be needed.  Our days were filled with fear.  We constantly lived in a state of worry, fear, and vigilance.

One night a huge panic attack swept Madelle to the brink.  We were terrified.  The weather was frigid cold and she laid out in the side yard.  Her dad placed a blanket over her and we waited.  For thirty some minutes, we prayed.  I went through her entire room for the millionth time, looking for objects that would hurt her.  As we were about to take her to the hospital via our car or an ambulance, she came back inside.  I thanked God that day for text.  One short message and many people were praying for her.

The second and last trip to the hospital was at night.  As a family, we drove through town to the emergency room.  I remember Madelle wanting to feel good.  She really wanted to be admitted to Shodair.  We didn’t want that.  The therapist on call informed us of no beds.  We could take her out of town.  In the end, we took our baby back home.  I don’t remember sleeping much that night.  In fact, it might have been one of my nights sleeping in the living room by her bedroom.

With this last visit, we found out Madelle was hearing voices and seeing shadows.  I feared the worst diagnosis.  When he told me that she needed to go on an anti-psychotic, the fear on my face must have been glaring.  He said that all of this was normal for complicated depression.  His reassurance helped, but I didn’t breathe normally for another month or two.  For the last couple of months, Madelle’s meds have been working.  There are no more voices and shadows.  We are still dealing with panic attacks and her disdain of social activities.  She doesn’t like to leave the house.  I worry about school, but as the song says, “One day at a time, Sweet Jesus.”

Friday, August 21, 2015

Pursuing Knowledge

Last week I failed to post because I was in the North Country sawing down trees and attending a car show.  I was putting on my redneck boots and enjoying some away time.  This week I have been working on a lot of non-fiction, short story fiction, and poetry writing.  Or should I say playing? 

I read a blog post yesterday that talked about how to get started with writing after taking a break.  The writer said that many people make the mistake of saying they have to get back to work which makes the task very daunting.  I have been doing and feeling just that, daunted.  He said instead we must play.

Hum, that leads me to another problem.  I have lost my play.  This summer has been emotionally draining for a number of reasons.  One of the reasons I have written about is the struggles with my daughter and her mental illness.  Playing is not in my vocabulary all that much.  Instead, I work with her and try to make life a little easier which tends to zap my whimsical side of life.  Of course, the fear of what the school year has in store for us is also causing me to struggle.  My poor muse has run for the hills because life is a little too difficult for her.  In fact, she ran away last February which is why my novel is nowhere near being completed.

This week I haven’t even opened the file of my novel.  I am hoping next Thursday, when the daughter goes back to school, that I will be able to open the file and play.  In the meantime, I will continue to write my morning pages, play with paint, garden, write a poem (maybe), and relax the rest of the summer.

Thursday, August 20, 2015


Joints grind in irritation
like dry gears 
of a rusted Model T,
smoldering muscles
pouring out energy
on the sand, wasted.
Empty shadows drift
along the bleak walls
of past memories,
echoing silence
crashes through
the dimly lit days, abandoned.
The world dances
while in this stockade
whining rumbles,
the negativity of rejection
paints the sky black
closing the doors, stifled.
Through the tree branches
an orange sun frowns,
smoke disturbs the glory,
even nature
closes her gates
on the joy of the day, rejected.
The bars break
as a new step forces
movement towards tomorrow.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Fiction Writing

Wow, I haven’t written fiction for quite a while.  Such is the story of my life during the summer.  I am going to quickly upload this little snippet of the ongoing lives of Argora and Vilenok.  As is typical, I have a bunch of items on my to do list for the day: gardening, library run, school shopping, zucchini processing and one appointment.


Argora and Vilenok

Walking up the sidewalk to Vilenok’s front door, Argora stopped in shock.  Holes filled the front garden where someone tried to dig out bushes.  Exposed roots for a foot down showed with cut marks near the bottom of the openings.  Whatever would possess her friend to do such damage to the plants?  Weeds and flowers littered the front lawn.  She shook her head in amazement and continued to the door.

Knocking on the door, she opened it and called out.

“We are in the kitchen,” Vilenok said.  Her voice sounded strained like she might have hit her thumb with a hammer and still wanted to appear happy.

Argora took a deep breath.  Nerves plagued her.  Meeting an orc matriarch intimidated her.  She wanted to make a good impression with her friend’s mother, but she doubted her ability to do so with the older woman.  As she walked into the room, she surveyed the scene once her eyesight grew accustomed to the dark. 

A single candle flickered by the sink as Vilenok washed morning dishes.  At the table, a thin woman lounged with long spidery legs.  Her gaunt features made her look almost young with no wrinkles do to her skin stretched taunt.  Her voice sounded brittle as she spoke.

“My daughter expects me to wear these ridiculous eye shields so she can open the shades for light to filter into the room.  She said it is good manners when hosting a dwarf.”  The old woman looked ready to pounce if Argora disagreed.  “You wouldn’t want a mother to suffer would you?”

Argora smiled, her lips trembling.  “Heavens no.  I don’t mind if it is a little dark.”  She placed the baking dish she carried on the counter. 

Turning around, Vilenok’s shoulders relaxed as she mouthed the words thank you to Argora.  She wiped her slim hands on a towel and moved a stack of three plates next to the dish.  A serving spatula and three forks lay on the top, clattering a bit as she set them down.

“Mother, this is my neighbor and friend, Argora.”

Before Argora could respond the old woman shook her head in regret.  “I can’t believe the world has come to this.  Orc and dwarf sitting down to coffee, it is an abomination to our fighting spirit.”

“My mother would agree with you.”  Argora took the lid off of her dish and began to scoop rhubarb crisp onto each plate.  “She fears our peaceful nature will change being around the orcs.  I think it will enable us dwarves to express our frustrations better.”

Vilenok took a plate to her mother.  She poked her fork at the plate she sat down with.  “I thought chocolate was a dark brown.”

“Oh, it is.  I realized I needed to use up my rhubarb and made a crisp instead.  I hope you aren’t too disappointed.”

A spluttering sound turned their attention back to Vilenok’s mother who looked at Argora with surprise. 

“This isn’t sweet.”  She took a second bit.  “I like the tartness with the rich crunchy toping.”  A bigger bit went into her mouth and she talked with her mouth full.  “I have never understood why dwarves were so fat, but this is delicious.  I thought you drank honey and ate horrible sweet desserts.”

“Well, we drink mead which is a honey wine and I did cut back on the sugar to not overwhelm your sensitive palate.”

Before the old woman could object to being called sensitive, Vilenok jumped into the conversation.  “What is this rhubarb?  Could I grow it in the front yard?”

“Speaking of your yard, what are you doing to those poor potentilla bushes?”

Vilenok growled.  “I received a notice that my yard does not meet the standards for the neighborhood.  I have a week to comply.  I tried to dig up the weeds, but I got mad.  I thought I would turn it all into grass.  But I like this rhubarb.  Could I plant that instead?”

“Growing anything is beneath an orc.”

“Yes, mother, but I need to live by the ordinances.”

“Most dwarves plant their fruits and vegetables in the backyard, but there are no rules about that.  It would give your yard a distinct look.”  Argora thought of how appalled some of the snooty dwarf woman.  “I will help you.”

Monday, August 17, 2015

Mental Illness - Discovery

How and when did our journey into mental illness with my daughter start?  That really is a hard question.  I have no idea.  We still speculate about when Madelle became sick.  When she was two, her dad left for Iraq leaving her with an emotional mom and two brothers.  When her dad came home, he fought his own sickness in the form of PTSD.  Our lives stayed in a state of chaos for another couple of years.  Second grade was an entire year of dealing with two extreme bullies.  Her first memories of panic attacks come from third grade.  She is now going into the seventh grade. 

Yes, as a two year old she threw horrible fits, but a lot of kids do.  She cried and complained a lot in second grade, but who wouldn’t.  I remember her panicking in third grade, but we really thought she had overcome that through changing schools with great success.  The girl continuously amazed us with her good grades, amazing musical talent on the sax, and enjoyment of softball.  Sure, she had her emotional moments, but she is a sensitive kid.  I didn’t realize it wasn’t normal.

I felt like the worst mother in the world.  I had been feeling our family was in a state of crisis, but I hadn’t acted on it.  In December and the first part of January, she was acting out, but I kept thinking it might be the teen years hitting.  She just started middle school.  I secretly hoped it was just typical behavior.  I was wrong.

Another question we have is how did we not see our daughter’s pain?  I really don’t have an answer for that either.  Though over the months of talking, I think she partially hid what was going on.  A while back she told me that she didn’t know her thoughts weren’t normal.  Since they started at such a young age, she has never known healthy.  That breaks my heart.  A rock song about death and suicide helped her to realize her thoughts were not normal or healthy.  She finally knew she was miserable.  This is when she started acting out in December.  She finally identified she was messed up.  She wanted to be happy, but she had no words to express this rationally.  In frustration she lashed out at me and at herself.  Luckily, God sent her an angel. 

Madelle finally told her friend that she had thoughts of death.  Her friend told her she had to see the counselor if she didn’t tell us.  Madelle didn’t want us to know and didn’t want to tell the counselor.  Her young friend told her she didn’t have a choice and she walked Madelle to the counselor’s office.  If I were to look back at my morning pages (journal), I probably have the date written down when the school counselor called me.  The counselor told me that my baby girl was depressed and hating life.  I have since thanked that friend of Madelle’s and have thanked her mother.  I think our story might have been very different otherwise.

Through this entire process, I have shed many tears.  My self-esteem as a mother plummeted considerably.  How did I not just take her to a counselor her entire life?  Instead I thought I was handling it all so well.  I have been taught about all the signs in my education degree and while being a soldier.  How did I miss it?  The reality is that I just did.  We all missed it.  Her school counselor thought Madelle would be fine in a month or two.  We were too close to the situation.  Madelle was so strong and worked so hard to be normal that she convinced us all.  I wonder how many others suffer in silence because they are fighting it or have no words to express their pain.

Monday, August 10, 2015

Mental Illness - A Diagnosis

Throughout my life, I have had bouts of depression.  I have only been diagnosed once.  The other times I battled through the dark times in silence.  The journey each time was filled with loneliness.  I wonder how many people do the same.  I wonder why we remain silent.  I watch the news about this political agenda and that agenda.  Yes, I see a little bit about depression, anxiety, PTSD, and all the other illnesses, but people still remain silent.  How do we get past this fear of talking about our illnesses?  For the past seven months, I have remained silent. 

My dear daughter has been to hell and back.  Short of a few close friends and family members, I have remained in silence.  Days of loneliness, anger, and fear have engulfed me.  Of course, this is nothing compared to her struggles, but as a people, we should be able to alleviate the heartache.  Or can we?

The other day I asked her if I could write about our story on my blog.  She didn’t even hesitate.  “Yes, people need to be aware.  Let me show you something.”  Grabbing my kindle, she pulled up a video from YouTube that was done by “Jacksgap” out of London.  This young man with his British accent talked about opening dialog about mental illness and wanting to campaign.  I was amazed by my twelve-year-old daughter’s commitment, along with his.

My beautiful daughter has been diagnosed with social anxiety and complicated depression.  During the week, she sees her therapist.  A psychiatrist monitors her progress once a month.  She takes two different types of medication.  At the moment, she only has a panic attack maybe once a week.  Her thoughts of suicide are gone.  Going to different social activities, even church, is a struggle.  Sometimes we have to cancel.  In the next week or two, we will be working with the school counselor to modify her schedule.  The summer has been good, but we don’t know what the school year holds for us.

Her illness has caused many tears.  For myself, my fear of losing her has lessened; however, I still worry.  I marvel at her strength.  I get tired of all the drama and appointments.  There are days I am depressed.  I went back to my therapist for a short time.  I felt like the worst mother in the world, but I am controlling those negative thoughts a bit easier as we rest during the lazy days of sunlight.  I dread this fall.

Throughout the next couple of weeks, I will share our story and thoughts I have had.  I will also update on our progress.  I am sure this fall will be a challenge.  Mental illness should not be shunned or hidden in the closet.  However, if I find it hard to talk about as a writer, how will we ever get past the stigma?  Hopefully, our story will help others tell their story and not live in seclusion any longer.

Friday, August 7, 2015

Pursuing Knowledge

This week I avoided my novel as I suspected I would when I wrote about my new blog format.  Well, today is Friday and the format is telling me to report my progress.  SLOW.  I put in 34 minutes this afternoon looking through my spreadsheet of scenes.  I also took five scenes I played with in June and added them to my master file.  I now have 87,833 words in my novel.  I have an estimated 30,000 more words to write. 

I feel that I might as well have 1,000,000 words to write.  Many days, I wonder why I like writing.  I struggle with editing.  I struggle with getting it finished.  Listening to these words as I type, I realize I am whining.  I need to just get to work.  So, I think I have a plan for the next five days.  This weekend I am going to read the first 100 pages or so of the book.  I will look at the different viewpoints I want to write and start taking notes.  By Monday, hopefully, my muse and I will be popping with ideas and we can get to work.  We will see.

On another note, I had a couple of artist dates this week.  I started a new afghan project, I created two mosaics, and I scrapbooked about eight pages of the 50th anniversary album for my parents.  The rest of my idle time has been spent with the daughter and gardening.  I am almost to the point of looking forward to the snow flying so I can spend a good 30+ hours writing.  But, off I go to read or crochet or garden or hum, you get the idea.

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Fiction Writing

I actually wrote this last month.  Looking at my spreadsheet, I am facing another slow start of fiction writing at the beginning of the month.  I haven’t written a word.  I struggle so much in the summer.  I decided this past week that I needed to work on curb appeal outside.  I have been busy trimming, weeding, planting, and other gardening tasks.  I really want the yard to look better this fall then it did at the beginning of the season. 

I am also itching to be artistic.  I am working on the last pages of my parents’ 50th anniversary scrapbook.  I started a new crocheted blanket for a family member.  Today, I really want to work on a new piece of garden art.  I haven’t done a thing this year and I love adding to my collection.  I feel like a bumble bee flitting from one thing to another.  Maybe I will work on a blog post on Friday showing pictures of some of my work.  It won’t be fiction, but it will be art.  At any rate, here is the next installment of my orc and dwarf.


Argora and Vilenok

Piles of boxes littered half of the carriage house with fragments of household items and clothing strewn throughout.  Nothing of the mess belonged to Argora.  The other half, where she liked to keep her carriage in the winter or work on her projects in the summer, was cluttered with two unfinished projects surrounded by more items that had been thrown in the empty space instead of nicely put away.

“They drive me crazy,” Argora muttered as she scanned the area, trying to decide where to start in the mess.

When she and Fimbar, her husband of thirty-five years, moved to the neighborhood, she chose a smaller house because the children were grown.  She didn’t foresee Dwinbar, her son, storing half his family’s things in their dwelling when he had to move to a small home in the village down the lane.  Adding to the chaos, Thorthira thought nothing of dumping her extra items in her area even though she lived practically next door.  Argora constantly traveled between the two homes taking things back to their home.  The entire family treated her like domestic help for all three households.

“They wouldn’t survive a week if I were to die tomorrow.”  She grabbed Thorthira’s picnic items.  Gasping, she dropped the basket when she turned to see Vilenok watching the scene.

“Who won’t survive?”

“My family.”  Argora picked up the overturned basket and lugged it to the yard.  “I am constantly fixing, cleaning, and the like for all of them.  I thought when I became old I would be able to rest and do more of my gardening.”

“You seem to do just fine with your gardening.”  Vilenok shrugged her shoulders.

“Oh, please.  Look at that mess over there.”  She jabbed her finger in the direction of a side garden.

“Those white flowers seemed to be quite healthy and growing tall.”

“They are weeds that I haven’t been able to get to because I am constantly helping the family.”  Argora’s words came out clipped.

“I am confused.  I thought dwarves lived to help and be with family.”

“That doesn’t make it easy.”

Vilenok nodded as she sat in a chair that Argora offered to her after clearing it of children’s toys.

“There are worse things.”  The orc looked down at her lean fingers.  “I have two sons.  “I have spoken of Zodsnik of course since I live with him.  I don’t speak of Zodslag though.  He died to my family years ago before my husband died.”

“You mentioned him the other day after the funeral.”  Argora was surprised Vilenok spoke of him.

“When a son doesn’t do his duty of fighting for the orc people, he is dead to us.  We never speak his name.  This is our way.  Many days my anger at him keeps me from thinking about him.  If my anger subsides, my heart aches.  It is not easy.”

Guilt flooded Argora.  She shouldn’t complain about her children.  Other parents held greater sorrows.

“I am so sorry Vilenok.  I shouldn’t complain.  I should know better as a dwarf.  We are to be cheerful.”

“I don’t mind if you talk openly with me.”  Vilenok’s lips spread across her face in her fang filled smile.  “You sounded like an orc.  I don’t like to be the only grumpy one in our friendship.”

Argora laughed.  “I have been feeling more orcish of late.  You may be a bad influence.  That or it is the coffee.  I don’t know if I told you, but I have been drinking a cup every morning.”

“Hum, maybe I need to try your tea.  You said it can be calming.  Do you think it might make me more cheerful like a dwarf?”

“Oh, I don’t know if that would be a good idea.  It might just scare the neighbors even more.”  Argora stood.  “I will go make some though.”

Vilenok shook her head no.  “I just came by for a minute.  My mother is coming in two days.  I wanted to invite you and Fimbar over for dinner.”

“He won’t be able to attend.  He is still at the mines, but I would love to come over.  Can I bring something?”

“You talked about how the bitterness of chocolate reminds you of coffee.  Can you make something with that?”

“I have just the idea.  I will cut a lot of the sugar out as well.”

“I won’t be able to come tomorrow for our regular morning meeting.  I have many things to prepare for mother.”  Vilenok unfolded her long body from her sitting position in the short dwarf chair.  “In fact, I need to get back to work.”

Monday, August 3, 2015

Informal Ramblings

For the last part of July, I was determined to get my writing back on track.  I chose to write a fun little story about the day to day life of two females becoming friends with a huge disadvantage of one being a dwarf and one being an orc.  I had a great time and want to continue with that but not as often.  I will try to make Wednesday as my story telling day.  Of course, warning, I tend to be very spontaneous and may get out of order.  Besides, friends, family, life, church, and puppy tend to want tons of my time and I like to be there for all of them.  But I will try for once a week.

What I really want is to be working on my second novel.  I have 80,000 words already finished and only have 30,000 words left.  My plan was to have it done by February…2015.  Now I will be happy to get it done by next February…2016.  Life keeps throwing me curve balls.  But I will try to write a blog post every Friday about my work on the novel.  It will just be short and to the point.

When I first started the blog about four years ago (with a yearlong break), my goal was to write about my journey to holiness.  I loved the process.  I still love the idea of the blog topics, but I want more.  Part of my journey in life encompasses my writing fiction work as well as anything theological.  So, I am going to go back to the roots of my blog and on Monday write a post about other things nonfiction.  One of the topics I have wanted to write about is mental illness.  It is a very scary topic, but also very near to my heart.

So, my followers, the new schedule of my blog will be as follows: Monday is nonfiction, the world according to Lisa during her journey; Wednesday is the further adventures of Argora and Vilenok; and Friday is updates on “Pursuing Knowledge.”  Please, feel free to hold me accountable to getting it done.  Also, I would love your comments on this post and all postsJ