Sleep study results, low ferritin levels

I completed a sleep study a few weeks ago due to ongoing fatigue. Even though I’ve felt I am a good sleeper, doc wanted me to do it. Results show I don’t need a CPAC machine. I did have three cycles of REM sleep. We all should have three to four per night. I’m not a big snorer. (Good to know if I ever have a partner again, but don’t really want one). However, the doc said I have a lot of limb movement. She ordered a ferritin test. The test came back very low. Ferritin is what stores iron. This indicates iron deficiency. My hemoglobin levels are fine, which can indicate anemia. From what I’m reading it’s an iron deficiency without anemia. It does explain my fatigue, brain fogginess, shortness of breath and just not on top of my game. Yesterday was a good day. Today, I don’t want to get out of bed. I’m bored though, so thought I would tell all of you about ferritin levels and the like.

I do have an appointment with a hematologist in a little over a week. The doctor mentioned they may want to do an iron transfusion. My thought was, bring it on, shoot me up, give me some energy. Of course, with most medical procedures there are side effects.

Meantime, I have been to a naturopath. She has given me lots of goodies, supplements that should address many of my symptoms. I’ll give it the good ole girl scout try. Getting iron into my diet along with Vitamin C which helps absorb it. Steak, kale, spinach, a good juicy burger, dried apricots, pumpkin seeds, oranges, cream of wheat have been on the menu as of late. Milk products are not good for iron deficiency, so cutting back on cheese. Ok coffee isn’t good either, but I’m in denial about that one. It’s my greatest pleasure in the morning. Those of you who know me, know that! I’ve lost a lot the last few years, some of my greatest loves. It’s a loss that does not have a social acceptable ritual in which to grieve. It’s an isolating, lonely grief. My heart is certainly working overtime to process this grief. It must take a lot of iron to do grief.

I keep taking care of the grief too. It will never go away so I will honor it. This Thursday I begin an eight week online writing class, Love, Grief and Heartache. The instructor has contacted us and asked each of us to reply all to a few questions she asked. Already, I can tell it will be full of connection, heartache and healing.

“Sorrow helps us remember something long intuited by indigenous people across the planet: our lives are intricately commingled with one another, with animals, plants, watersheds and soil.” “Our broken hearts have the potential to open us up to a wider sense of identity, one capable of seeing through the partitions that have segregated self from the world. Through grief, we are initiated into a more inclusive conversation between our singular lives and the soul of the world.” The Wild Edge of Sorrow by Francis Weller

You will hear more of this as the class progresses and writings emerge. Thanks for reading. If you didn’t know about ferritin levels now you do.

On writing, it’s magic and sharing writing

I love Eudora Welty’s One Writer’s Beginnings. It’s the perfect size book to keep by my bed or carry in my purse for a possible wait. Eudora was born and lived in Jackson, MS, my home town. Once we were buying underwear at the same time in McRae’s department store. That’s the closest I ever got to her. I was in awe. The old Sears building in downtown Jackson eventually converted to a library, The Eudora Welty Library.

The first chapter of One Writer’s Beginnings evokes a sense of peace, looking back at simpler times, her growing up in a home where reading was like breathing. Eudora reflects, “I learned from the age of two or three that any room in our house, at any time of the day, was there to read in, or to be read to.” I am green with envy, wondering what would my life have been like if reading was encouraged, even a part of our everyday lives growing up. I don’t have any memories of books, of being read to. My introduction to books came in high school, from my older sisters who read Kathleen Woodiwiss, The Flame and the Flower, The Wolf and the Dove. We referred to her books as crotch burners. But I was reading and that got me going.

I was in heaven working at Lemuria bookstore in my late twenties, surrounded by books, overwhelmed with what to read next, meeting and talking with writers who came for readings and signings. Tom McGuane, Tom Robbins, Willie Morris, John Grisham, Jimmy Buffett, Lorri Moore, Tim O’Brien, Rick Bass, Mark Childress, Kaye Gibbons, and Jim Harrison are just some of the writer’s I was blessed to meet. My daughter was lucky to reap the benefits of my time working at Lemuria. Books were what she sleep with, not stuffed animals. I toted the boxes of children’s’ books I had acquired every where I moved to, so she would always have them and could pass them down to her own children. It was somewhat of a relief to hand off those heavy boxes once my twin grandchildren were born.

“It has been startling and disappointing to me to find out that story books had been written by people, that books were not natural wonders, coming up of themselves like grass.” Eudora Welty

This morning I read Chris LaTray’s newsletter, reflecting on the past four years of Presidential office and the new office we are entering. I find him gifted, able to put into words what I am feeling sometimes, a natural wonder. Read and find out for yourself.

Honoring Barry Lopez

Many of you know we lost the legendary Barry Lopez on Christmas Day after his struggle with terminal cancer. For lovers of language, this world and it’s people it is a great loss. My heart hurts for those close to him, his wife and daughters. They have endured much loss this sorrowful year. The Oregon fires up the McKenzie River, left their property charred and them unmoored. They received the midnight knock on the door demanding they leave within minutes. They grabbed the cat and left. The house is damaged but fixable.
On Christmas Eve, this piece was published in LitHub, An Era of Emergencies is Upon Us and We Cannot Look Away. A gift to have Barry’s viewpoint that day.
In an All Things Considered interview, March, 2019, Barry shares some of how his cancer diagnosis changed him and created more empathy, “I imagined in everybody I passed there was some story that they carried with them that would break your heart. So how could you have the temerity to approach that person and say, here’s what’s wrong with you?”
A few days ago, Literary Arts: The Archive Project re-aired an interview with Barry. It’s worth a listen, more than once, to glean all he has for us to contemplate. A grown up is someone who no longer needs supervision, “meaning they know immediately how to act in a way that harms no one and takes care of everybody in so far that is possible. We are in a time where we are desperate for grown-ups, people who have gotten over themselves, to come together and using the power of imagination that each of us has, create a landscape that no one has ever seen before.” Barry Lopez
In Barry’s honor donations may be made to McKenzie River Trust.

A note for you: If you are looking for a way to seek connection, inspiration and a consistent practice of journaling, The Isolation Journals is offering journaling prompts free for ten days beginning January 1st. Click here: https://www.theisolationjournals.com/10-day-challenge

I am off to buy black-eyed peas to cook and serve on New Year’s Day in order to bring good luck for this new year.

Yellow lilies for solstice

For the shortest, darkest day of the year I share with you beautiful writing from a friend who also moved West from the South.

On The Solstice: Deep Winter Dreams of the Spring to Come by Rick Bass

“I believe they dream of beauty: of the yellow lilies of Easter, and the wild violets and rank mushrooms and pink flesh of trout; of berries, of stones, of antlers, feathers, moss, fire. And fire’s warmth.”

It was a gift to have this be my first read of the day. Hope it is for you as well.

Woke up, a poem

The family was gathered in the kitchen, cooking, laughing, dancing
then I woke up
Some of us moved away to make new lives for ourselves, we called each other to check in
then I woke up
I call my Mama every Sunday for a chat
then I woke up
My sisters, brother and our children, along with grandchildren are planning our next family vacation
then I woke up
We are listening to each other with empathy
then I woke up
I hear a little voice calling “mama”
then I woke up

A Question Was Posed

A friend on social media posed a question: “Tell me how the past year has irreparably broken your spirit?” The responses were many, varied and poignant.
Here’s my response:
The injustice that has reared it’s ugly head this year has broken my heart, caused me to reflect, go into action and accept some of what is. In research I’ve discovered shameful acts of my Southern family, my grandfather declared a black man insane for trying to enter a white southern university and had him committed. My family of origin’s dysfunction has created a chasm that may be irreparable. Tribalism is creating a divide. We are forgetting we are all connected. It breaks my heart everyday, especially this past year.

I’d love to hear your response.

“The world breaks everyone, and afterward, some are strong at the broken places.” Ernest Hemingway

Love you all, Frances

Toddlers, goats, chickens and a puppy!

Before the pandemic, I was part time nannying for twin two year boys. One with straight hair and cowlick, other one all curls. I am going to starting helping out with them again. Yesterday was good medicine taking care of these energetic, curious, precious boys, playing in their garden, chasing them around their property to pick blackberries, grapes and tomatoes, hanging out in the pen with the goats and chickens. Then back inside to throw some legos around, then back out for water play. All the while making sure no one needed to sit on the potty, doling out snacks and assuring they were safe at all times. They didn’t want to stay in any one place for too long.

One thing is clear, I need to start doing pilates and other forms of strength building exercises. By the end of my time with them, it was hard to get up and down. I’ve been on the heating pad, alternating with ice packs since yesterday afternoon. Today is probably all about rest, some stretching, and an acupuncture appointment. I did get to go by a friend’s yesterday evening to meet a new female corgi puppy. I can not wait to pet sit for her! So glad I meet her, I almost turned around while driving over to get back on the heating pad, it was painful. I’m new to back pain. Thank you friends who loaned out your heating pad and gave me arnica gel. We get by with a little help from our friends. Keep your core strong.

Burn some things

Oh how I wish I didn’t care that my oldest sister just came west to visit my other sister (we live in the same town) and didn’t contact me.
I wish I didn’t care that she also went to see my daughter and grandchildren.
I wish I didn’t care that there have been trips planned that excluded me.
I wish I didn’t care that we don’t talk or text ever, not on birthdays or holidays, never.
If I didn’t care, maybe the hurt would go away.

I wish I didn’t care that they think my ex-husband is the greatest thing since slice bread.  That they think I’m terrible for breaking up our marriage and put my daughter through a divorce. I stayed with him much longer than I should have, because I didn’t want to break up our family. They don’t know what went on behind closed doors. They don’t want to hear ugly stories, try to understand, it’s easier to just pretend I don’t exist.

Tonight I listened to Moth Radio, rooted in the past. Inspired by Craig Mangnum
and his story of breaking away from the Morman church, I thinks it’s time to burn some things.

Thanks for reading. It’s not always flowers and butterflies.

Writing in lists

Getting ready to meet virtually with my writing group. We are writing lists. Each week has a series of lists to complete. I’ve been so surprised by this process. Our group has really gotten close because we have learned so much about each other from our lists. Some lists have served as prompts for essay writing. As we say, “anyone can make a list”.

A couple of lists for this week:

Things you’d tell your 21 year old self:
1. Don’t get married, at least not for many years. Make sure he is a good man.
2. Don’t drink.
3. Study, follow your interest, your passions.
4. Learn the craft of writing.
5. Recognize what you and Tayloe (high school, college sweetheart) had was remarkable. Pregnancy and abortion were too painful for our young hearts.
6. Don’t try so hard to fit into the family, find your own way.

Things that scare you less as you get older:
1. Dying
2. Speaking up
3. Driving alone to Baja, having a flat tire in the middle of nowhere.
4. Problems
5. Mice, just a little less scared of them.
6. Anger
7. Emotions
8. What others think of me.

You get the idea.

Thanks for reading.

Redemption

Wendy’s daughter was getting married. We were all invited, all three of us plus the new one. We had all touched her daughter’s life and she wanted us gathered around, outside in beautiful Montana, along with her fun loving friends.

Since we had all been married to her father at different times, he would witness our connection. Three good choices, that ended due to his soon to follow bad choices.

The ceremony was beautiful. We all got to hear her father go on too long about his beautiful, bright daughter, making it all about himself.

Guests dispersed to sitting tables, bathrooms, food and drink tables. The brides grandmother, my ex mother in-law spotted me, grabbed me and insisted I find the other two for a photo opp. Forget that she has once sided with her son (I was the first) during our divorce. The two who followed me  became similar characters in the story of the cheating husband. His mother, then saw her son for the playwright that he was.

Dedicated to my sisters, Wendy and Suzy.