just don’t…

Text, Photography and Artwork: Copyright © 2014 Beth E Peterson. All rights reserved. So… Don’t Be a Thief. Everything on this site is my own personal intellectual property, unless otherwise stated. If you like what I share, please use the share buttons provided. Do NOT copy and paste my work.

Posted in Thoughts (beware!) | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Could you, Would you… Please?!?

I know I’ve been away a long time. I have some serious health problems, and this year it seems all of them have been raging, lol….Raging arthritis throughout my joints; Raging lupus symptoms (a lot like MS) keeping me on the floor (actually, in the bed) and interfering with my ability to think; and then RAGING lymphedema on top of it all.

Can you say “BLECH”!?!

Well, ** finally** I was able to see the lymphedema specialist on Thursday. He was not super encouraging about my condition. Just as I was losing all hope, though, he did give us (Jeannette and Wayne went with me) pointers on what I can do to stimulate the lymph vessels, some ideas for DIY home care, including truss-style wraps we can make ourselves. And scripts for “real”  wraps and a “pod” (think kinda weak boa constrictor meets sleeping bag) which I have a decent chance of –eventually — getting because this is primary lymphedema (been there since preadolescence).

ANYWAY…related in a roundabout sort of way… Lynn and I have been ok’ed and measured for power wheelchairs (which would be SO good for u both!!) BUT…. they will not even begin to build them until all our mobile home’s doorways are enlarged to 42″ or more. Since we barely make our bills as it is, we don’t have the money for this.

With a flourish of grateful trumpets, I do get to tell you some good friends (& former colleagues) of mine have set up a fundraising site for us. Now the big thing is to get the word out. Will you help us do that?? The URL for the site is
https://fundrazr.com/campaigns/1sig2?psid=545748305b964574a872abc69d8f9158   If you could share it with even just 20 people, that would be Golden!!

Thanks a billion!!!

~~~Birch (aka Beth)

P.S.  The following was written by another of my friends, Nancy Parode, and it made me so thankful that I have friends like her, um, including her:

“Sometimes all it takes to get by is a little help from our friends…

“I met Beth online when we worked together, and got to know Lynn when Dancing Daughter and I visited them in their now-needs-to-be-modified home. They are lovely, creative, intelligent ladies whose health issues have created mobility issues. They have funding for new wheelchairs, but can’t get the wheelchairs until their home is modified.

“I can’t begin to express to you how much having the motorized wheelchairs would help Lynn and Beth. They wouldn’t be trapped in their bedrooms any longer. They could do more for themselves at home, and they would be able to get to medical appointments without exhausting themselves. And that’s just the beginning.

“I know you are bombarded with fundraising requests – I am, too – but I am making a special effort to share Beth and Lynn’s story not only because they are my friends, but because they have so much to offer the people they meet. This isn’t just about giving them better quality of life, although that’s the #1 goal. It’s also, in my mind, about giving more people the chance to meet them, share in their journeys and hear their sage advice (Beth isn’t just a skilled potter and writer, for example – she also paints and has made her own musical instruments.)

“Please consider contributing to this fundraising effort. If you’re on the fence, contact me so we can talk by telephone or Skype about Beth and Lynn’s house, the potential impact (all positive) on their lives having motorized wheelchairs will have and why micro-funding can change the world, two sisters at a time.

“Thanks for reading, and, especially, thanks for considering.”   ~~~~ Nancy Parode

Posted in Health (& Ill-Health), My Journey | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Life as I Know It — at least for this morning

This morning I was totally, muscle-deep, exhausted within an hour of waking up. No, I didn’t go running. No, I didn’t hope on a stationary bike. I didn’t do hiking or swimming or even do chores around the house. No… for me, the struggle that left me panting and in an amazing amount of pain was simply getting out of my bed, using a cane and a staff to help me shuffle the ten or o feet to the bathroom, take care of business there, then struggle back to my room and movement by slow movement, get myself back into my bed and positioned correctly.

I rarely tell folk, especially my friends, what I deal with on a daily basis. They can’t do anything about the physical aspects, and I really, really hate bringing other people down. And let’s be honest: debilitating and painful chronic illness is a downer.

Having said that, though, I have written elsewhere about the medical issues I face and have gotten comments back telling me ‘thank you for sharing this — I/my family member/my friend no longer feels so alone in what they are going through, too’.  So… since I am thinking more clearly today and have even regained energy faster than I have in  quite a while, I am writing this as an introduction to a series I have planned out discussing, from a purely layman’s perspective, the ways in which my body (doesn’t) work.

I’ve got to stop and rest again…. I hope to begin the next post later today, Wish me luck!!

Posted in Health (& Ill-Health), My Journey | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment

Rainier: A Caring Soul

Beth and Raini 3-31-14

To the end, even in her dementia, she still was trying to take care of me. If you look, you’ll see her mouth is open a bit. She and I were warbling to each other when this shot was taken.

On April 1, 2014 I had to say good-bye and good journey to one of the most caring souls I have ever met. It did not matter that she was not human; Rainier cared.

I first met Rainier (pronounced like the explorer and the mountain, rah-Near) when I was car shopping. I wanted to go look for a dog, too, but later… after I had replaced the deathtrap that my fun red V-6 sports car had become.

I was at one local dealership talking about what I wanted in a vehicle, when the salesperson and I began talking dogs. I told him about the lovely husky I had the privilege of living with for 16 years, and said I really would love to get another one, or perhaps a husky cross. He laughed.

It turned out that his basset hound had been unexpectedly ‘caught’ by a husky and he had one puppy to still find a home for. As he told me a bit about her, I really wanted to meet this pup. She sounded just like my kind of dog: independent, curious, and with a happy, sunny personality.

We met at a local business a few days later, and I fell in love! This little girl with the long back, the short legs, the happy face and floppy ears was darling! She even had a perfect husky widow’s peak! She was three months old when she came to live with Lynn and I.

Rainier at 9 months old

Rainier at 6 months old

Naming an animal in my household always takes some time until the personality of the critter tells me their name. With Rainier, it didn’t take too long. She was such a mountain goat, I immediately thought of the mountain ranges I’ve been through and the individual mountains I’ve seen. Mt. Rainier, in the Cascades (Pacific NW of the US), jumped into my mind and wouldn’t let go. Especially as I watched this stubby legged beastie climbing to the backs of the furniture to the tippy top. 😀

Throughout her life, she quite often had one or the other of her ears flung back, For what ever reason, it just happened a lot. And she was even more adorable than usual when it did. web-Raini-3-31-2014-b

Raini ended up bruising one of the growth plates in her leg (you can see how the one leg is so crooked in the photo above).  This came about because she was determined that she could fly. She would climb to the back of the loveseat we had in the den, then jump as far as she could…. over and over again. Silly goose bruised her growth plate so badly her leg quit growing months before it should have. So, even though it was hard financially, I got her the surgery she needed to lengthen and straighten her leg and bone.

The vet students at the teaching vet hospital adored Raini and completely doted on her for the week she was there. They even nicknamed her; she became “The Dog Who Perpetually Runs Downhill.” *chuckle* You see, Rain had inherited her mom’s short, thick front legs, and her dad’s longer, thinner back legs. With her long back, it was very evident that her hind end was about two inches higher than her shoulders.

In terms of climbing, it was a very good thing she never learned to climb wire fences the way my Siberian princess, Shanza, had. As it was, Raini would stand on her hind legs at our four foot fence, with her front paws being just able to rest on the top rail. She’d jump up and down when there was a person, cat, other dog, or birds to see, talk to and/or bark at. It was hilarious. She could never get more than six inches off the ground.

And her bark!! Her basset-given deep chest could give out such enormous barks that one feels the need of a different word to describe them! She literally could make the windows shake in half the house when she thought bad guys were outside.

Ah, yes. For you see, as happy and friendly as she normally was even with strangers, she had had some nasty experiences with some of the kids and teens in the neighborhood (years ago). She was determined they know that she’d (figuratively) eat them if ever they gave her an opportunity. Her protectiveness only increased when first Lynn, then myself, slipped into the genetically-induced sucking mire of autoimmune disorder flares.

Days when Lynn was in such pain, or just feeling plain out-and-out unwell, Raini would lay with her and comfort her. When Lynn’s skin broke down and lymph fluid began to leak out, Raini would gently wash the area (until I could get there to clean and wrap it). Later, Rainier would do the same for me.

Raini also became attuned to Lynn’s  bio-electric fields. Although it had been years since Lynn’s last seizure, as her health declined the seizures returned. Raini quickly came to recognize when migraines and seizures were imminent and would come get me.

Ah, I could tell you Raini stories for a long time. But, unfortunately, my arthritic hands are beginning to get pretty painful typing this.

Raini lived well. She lived each day with an openness and joy of spirit, and she extended that to nearly everyone she met. I love her and know I will meet up with her again, when it is time for me to take my own journey from this world.

Raini's Beautiful Spirit

Having gotten to know Raini’s beautiful spirit will enrich the rest of my life.

Posted in Animals, My Journey | Tagged , , , , , | 1 Comment

What’s that you’re feeding yourself??

Over the past several years as my health has crashed into severe disability, I’ve been struggled off and on with depression. Although it begins as situational depression, it can ever so easily tip over into clinical depression…the kind that stops you in your tracks.

The good thing is, I know how to work to keep myself as positive as possible. It is hard, and there are certainly days I don’t handle it as well as I could, but overall, I keep my spirits up pretty decently with the help of family and friends.

Today, two different friends talked about the news, and the hype and tragedies that are slammed into our faces (and brains) over and over again. To one of them, I wrote the following: If you feed yourself tragedies, you will become a tragedy. If you feed yourself things that uplift you, make you happy, or even open the doors to joy, then you will become an uplifted AND uplifting person. Word.

Lobo - ink painting by Beth E Peterson, All Rights Reserved.

“Lobo” — not my best drawing or painting of a wolf by any stretch, but I had this ink painting I’d done years ago handy. So it’s the one that got used. *chuckle*

Or to illustrate it a different way (which I like ’cause I like to tell stories)…. As I told one of my nephews some years back, imagine that there are two wolves under your table. One is a wolf that values beauty, balance, loyalty, and respect. The other wolf thrives on dissent, anger, fear, hatred, paranoia and ugliness.

You *must* feed one of the wolves. Your only choice is which one you choose to feed. And eventually, that wolf will be out from under the table, where everyone can see it and know your choice.

Or, of course, there is also the old programmer saying of “Garbage In; Garbage Out.” Or, I’ve also heard it as “You are what you read.” … which is a little limited for a what I really am getting at, which is more about attitudes, mental health, and coping with this tragedy overload that the media, especially, perpetuates. (And yes, I include the internet media including social media in this.)

I want to be a happy person. That really is one of my main goals in life. Another is to experience as much joy as possible. In order to do this, however, I have found I must monitor and limit what I listen to (including music), what I read, what I watch.

Now, I often am researching distressing subjects, which goes against my happiness but is needful in order for me to be an informed individual about the things I care about. So, yes…angst enters my life. But knowing this, I can make sure to give my favorite, happy and life-loving wolf extra treats and snacks, while I also limit how much time I spend with the downer wolf at any one session.

Ah…. I think I’m up for a treat! Someone pass the chocolate-covered hazelnuts, please!! 😀

Posted in My Journey, Thoughts (beware!) | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

I Used To

I used to sing and dance
I climbed mountains
I trained horses, dogs, and even rats
I helped people cope with the problems they faced in their own lives.

I used to help the developmentally disabled
to eat
to dress
to bath
to move from place to place without falling.

I used to paint and draw
There was skill in my hands
I used to throw pottery and create sculpture
My body was strong.

I used to write
Clear-headed, organized
I used to be able to explain to others using nothing but words.
(I used to pretend I was a poet, but that was long ago
I’m really not, so I quit pretending.)

I used to…oh, I used to.

And then there is now.

Now, I am shackled by a body that cannot do
All I used to do.

I guess that means it is time
for me to learn, not what I can do,
but what I can be.

Posted in My Journey | Tagged , , , , | 1 Comment

Survey Says… Well okay. It just asked…

I just completed a survey about what news-type topics I think are the most important to focus on at the present time. I thought I’d share my responses with you.

A stack of surveys. Attribution: The Bees (flickr)

A stack of surveys. Attribution: The Bees

Now, just to be clear, my answers here are the tips of some very vast icebergs about what I think on these topics. Health permitting, I’m sure that eventually you’ll see me write more on each of the below. Be warned!! 😉

You chose 3 topics you feel are of vital importance. Please tell us why you chose these 3 topics.

Food, Farming, and GMOs: Because without healthful food, we destroy ourselves at the most basic level.

Climate Change & Clean Energy: Because the first thing we need to do for our future is recognize we must adjust to a world that is changing, and to stop contributing to that change.

Income Inequality: Because without the truth of how the 1% is using its wealth to cause rifts within the 99% (divide and conquer) stress on individuals, families, communities and even globally will escalate.

Did we leave any topic out that you’re really passionate about?

How **deeply** (and dangerously) our civilization is tied to petrochemicals, from fuel, to food production and distribution, to plastics (which are everywhere, including our healthcare equipment and even medicines), to clothing, to the technology we enjoy today, usually without a second thought.

That we need to remove the possibility (and reality) of “the government for the people BY the people” becoming nothing more than a facade for a plutocracy.

That real education is not about tests and test scores. It is not about Core Curriculums.It is about teaching our children critical thinking skills and teaching them how to LEARN on their own, not memorize arbitrary factoids to please a system.

Posted in Thoughts (beware!) | Tagged , | Leave a comment