First Cup of Coffee – May 30, 2022

On balance, dealing with Parkinson’s disease and problematic food additives. Also thoughts on being an intuitive writer and ways of discovering the answers to mysteries in my stories – or not!

Good morning, everyone! This is Jeffe Kennedy author of epic romantic fantasy I’m here with my first cup of coffee.

I’m laughing because I said it wrong didn’t I epic fantasy romance I can’t ever decide what I write. Ah today is Monday may Thirtieth Memorial day here in the Us. Ah, a lot of people asked me if I was taking today off but I took last Monday off I mean granted, it was like a mental health day but um, no, not taking today off almost done with this freaking book. You guys. So yeah I um. Made it through the climactic battle scene. Um, at the I wanted to say at the end the climatic battle scene that happens at the end the culmination of the four book series. Um. Yeah, on Friday and I can’t remember how many I think I just did like my 2000 words. Yeah I did like 2055 I’m at 91.5 k so I have a little. Little bit more to do to tie it up digging bodies out of the rubble as it were that should absolutely be a beat I should do my own set of beat sheets. Now I shouldn’t have said that because now you guys are going to say yeah that be great. We want that who knows if I’ll ever do that and I’m such an intuitive writer that I don’t really think in those terms but I I guess I do know that this is my digging bodies out of the rubble phase. And then my epilogues so somewhere none words to go maybe I could finish those today and tomorrow certainly by Wednesday and finish this revision and then the out loud proofing.

Now. So so yeah, big big denouement as it were but I’m feeling pretty good about it. There is one mystery I haven’t solved. Oops and and I was not going to do it because I thought oh well do we have to have an answer to this and then when I was talking about coming close to finishing I was working with Darynda online and she goes oh I can’t wait to find out x I was like well shit. Guess I need to answer x I don’t really know what the answer is and see for me the way I write the den one of the real downsides of being an intuitive writer is that I can’t just pick a thing and have that be it. Um. I ah I have to discover it. It’s it’s like that. There’s an actual answer out there. There’s a truth out there I want to believe but I have to find it I can’t just assign it a thing. I know that probably sounds silly since it’s my book. But it’s the way it is. Yellow jacket coming into the hummingbird feeder. There. Not a honey bee honey bees would be welcome. Not yellow jackets it went and away again then it was foiled. If you didn’t know this if you have hummingbirds and you have Hummingbird feeders one way to foil the ants and the yellow jackets is to put vaseline like on the landing surfaces. You know you’d like. Don’t put on the holes but you put on the other landing surfaces and the crawling surfaces and. It repels those unwelcome invaders happy home tips here at first cup of coffee.

So so yeah, um, oh oh I was gonna say about that discovering the ending. For example, if you haven’t read The Orchid throne cover your ears for a moment because this spoils the ending. Or or leaf I’m sorry I know it’s only 5 minutes into the podcast. But um, but if you have read the or it’s own or if you don’t care about being spoiled last chance I did not know what Lia’s true nature was until the very end. I knew she had a secret that she was hiding but she was hiding it even from me and and ironically enough I was with Darynda at the rwa convention in Denver we drove up together and we roomed together and we got there a couple days early to do like writing retreat. Which was fun and we would like walk over to the public library and sit over there and write and and and I drove her crazy I drove her mad all week because I couldn’t forget how to finish the freaking book. And I was really trying to finish it before the convention started. But um, so she was trying to help me brainstorm what the answers would be I’ve probably told this story before but I think it’s funny because she um. I mean we kept talking about it and talking about it and I was explaining the things and she’s like well could it be It’s this could it be. It’s that could it be this other thing got something my eye there. We go cat here and. Some of them I really wanted to take because they were like some great ideas I was like oh that’s a great idea I should make it be that but I couldn’t just make it be that during this so good at coming up with ideas and then finally finally. I guess this isn’t all that spoilery because I’m not saying what it is finally I realized what it was what her secret was and and I told Doinda I was like thank you so much you you’re amazing I love you. Thank you for coming up with me and she gives you this look and she’s like Jeffe that is not even close to any of the things that I suggested I’m like that bar doesn’t matter.

Ah, so um I did have a good weekend I did have a very relaxing weekend. Ah I was very grateful to past Jeffe. Because I realized on Saturday morning that I had made an appointment like a month ago for Sunday morning to go up and get a massage treatment from my favorite therapist up at Ten Thousand Waves and so I went up yesterday morning and did that and it was. Delightful. It was really good. I was really tense was comes a shock to all of you I’m sure. Um, and now I’ve got my ah laundry list of things that I need to do to ah improve my. Flexibility, especially this upper back and my hip flexers he is like I said what they’re really tight and he says you need to do the work to keep them flexible I was like damn it I need to get back into yoga. My favorite yoga teacher has finally opened up a brick and mortar studio again. All of these great. Um I know people get mad if you say post pandemic because pandemic’s still going. But at least it’s um, opening up again, right? What can we call it call it. Um I don’t even know. Um, anyway it and it’s funny I think I told you guys when I got that body scrub like a month ago. Yeah, maybe almost 2 ah, you know she said I took a lot of dead skin off of your arms I’m like I know. Oh. That’s why I needed a body scrub and the the treatment I had yesterday is called a nose to toes and it’s it’s amazing if you’re in Santa Fe and can get up to Ten Thousand Waves which I recommend um, get this nosetoose treatment but it’s exfoliating and. Body work and hot oil nirvana so so he showed me the exfoliating gloves and he said look this is all the dead skin that came off even though because I soaked for an hour first even though your skin was wet was like so my skin is dry. It’s like I feel like. During the pandemic. It’s like I totally fell apart in ways that I didn’t mean to and so but that was wonderful and then I stopped by Megan’s house and got vases.

Getting ready to do flowers for the wedding next weekend very much looking forward to those festivities and I got out my spring clothes which I feel like well it is way too late I need to get better about doing that sooner. April felt so busy April of may. Maybe it’s just like having the conference done is making all the difference in the world but it didn’t take me all that long. It just took me a couple of hours um put away my winter clothes get out the spring close but I’ve made myself a reminder to do it at the beginning of April next year because Hello Hummingbird I have all of these really great spring clothes that are made that are springy looking but made for cooler weather and if you’re on video you’ll see I’m wearing my one of my sweaters that I got out. Because it is cool this morning so I’ll still have a chance to wear those things I’m sure that’s why I get for living at high altitude. But I wish I’d gotten them out sooner. So ah I need to. Be more Johnny on the spot with that. Ah, that first year of pandemic it was like I never I didn’t do one of them. It’s like I never got out my winter clothes or something but they noticed a thing so I know like there’s the whole Marie Kondo deal where you’re supposed to get rid of anything that doesn’t spark joy. Ah, one of the things I do when I change over my closet is to get rid of stuff that I won’t worn and another rule I heard a long time ago I think my mother told me this one but I don’t know where she got it. It’s like if you haven’t worn anything in a year you should get rid of it um aside for like for you know like special occasion clothes and that doesn’t really work either. But I noticed this time that I do have like ah a mental expiration date. On some of my clothes because I had several things in there that I’ve been keeping for admittedly a very long time I mean a long time people I am not a ah person who gets rid of things easily. And there was this one dress that’s probably at least twenty years old I’m I’m not sure exactly what you’re but I’ve loved love love loved it and I’ve kept it all this time and this time when I got it out I looked at it and I was like ooh I had that instant o response.

Like why would I why am I keeping this stress. Um, so I did get rid of a few things like that. So several things that I have loved and kept for a very long time. So I don’t know what what changed there I certainly noticed and I think I’ve mentioned this before that I had a. A lot more warm weather clothes and I have cold weather clothes and I’m not exactly sure why that is although I fixed that this year and then I bought a whole bunch of stuff but I cut out this dress. My little dolphins I desired was a summer dress. So that’s. Now so it was nice. It was really fun to rediscover all of these things. It’s um, the getting out of the summer clothes is you know, not only a space saver thing to you know like put away the stuff that’s not appropriate for the season. But it’s also a rediscovering of the wardrobe because i. Had all these things I was like I forgot I owned this I totally forgot about this thing. So so yeah, that was really really great and I baked a blueberry pie I know one of the things we’re discovering. With David having Parkinson’s is that the neurophysiology because of course parkinson’s is where you’re not making enough of the transmitter you’re not making enough of the dopamine and he has to supplement. With external sources right? That’s the medication but he’s incredibly sensitive to any kind of food additives. Um, which are in just everything like even if you get the organic stuff. It’s like. We don’t even know what it is and you know and interesting in the us they don’t have to list what those things are because it’s considered to be proprietary and if it’s not regulated by the Fda. They can just do it so like colors or flavors that they do to enhance the product. Ah, they have an effect and I’ve heard you know parents of children who are on the spectrum or who have other kinds of it. It does seem to be you know, like neurological stuff that’s affected. You know they have to get really incredibly careful about those kinds of additives you know and I’ve heard you know like there was a whole thing about red dye number 3 being bad but there’s also all of these hidden things that end up making you feel bad and you don’t know why.

And when you have somebody who is reliant on a very delicate balance to feel good like David is it just it. It’s become just too much of a risk because it can throw off his medication for days if he gets something wonky so we are. Really try and get good about making everything from scratch at home. Um, which means not eating out so much not so much takeout although if we can get him really solid if we can get him really balanced then we can do some of these things. Um. Because it it but it has to be a single excursion. Our problem is is that we tend to do one excursion and then we go on a rampage so he had got this pie for me. I think I mentioned this before last Sunday when I was eating my feelings and it was a no sugar added pie which I you know because I’m trying not to do added sugars right? and but it had other shit in there and it threw him off for like three days so yes so I’d said you know what I should just. Bake a pie if we really want to have a pie I should bake one. It’s not that difficult actually baking pies is quite easy. So he reminded me about it yesterday afternoon and yeah so I baked a blueberry pie and oh my god you guys. It’s so good. It was delicious and it does have sugar in it. But I figured out. It’s twenty five grams of sugar in a slice of pie and I’m trying to stay below one hundred grams of sugar a day additional sugar. So so actually that was fine and I think I could decrease the sugar I think I could make that recipe with less sugar because it. Blueberries were sweet and yeah, so so yeah, that was great. Um Saturday I did a lot of hanging out and reading and weeding of the garden if you could see it I think it looks a lot better. You might not be able to tell. But. Yeah, got a lot stuff done in the garden and some like light chores done around the house that sort of thing so it was very relaxing weekend. So um, so yeah, I’m it’s nice to be back on a more even keel I very much appreciate all of you sending me nice notes and Megan Ciana Doidge

Bought me something at the farmer’s market email task for my mailing address a couple other people have sent me nice things and I I appreciate you guys. It’s it’s good to know that the support is out there. Um. You know I had a number of people invite me to to dump a rant or vent and I didn’t take advantage a whole lot of that mostly because if I didn’t want if I didn’t have to be dealing with stuff if I didn’t want to be thinking about it or if I didn’t have to be. Talking about it not putting this well am I you understand what I mean right? if I didn’t have to be directly dealing with it I didn’t want to think about it is what I am trying to say ah but you all are you all are wonderful I appreciate the the community that I have. Um, yeah, so I’m going to get to work and get this book finished and so on and so forth I hope that you guys all have a wonderful week. Many of you in the us anyway are on holiday today. So I hope it’s full of the holiday ish things that you would like it to be and I will talk to you all tomorrow you all take care bye bye. Or goodbye. It doesn’t want to go.

Memory Bin

Our garbage collection here is once a week, on Monday mornings. The trucks come quite early, usually before 7 am, lumbering down the street, seizing the standardized bins with the automatic claws.

We go running early, so we usually drag our bin out on Monday morning. But many of our neighbors do this on Sunday, often early in the afternoon. It’s an unmistakable rumble, the sound of the two-wheeled plastic bin being dragged up a long gravel driveway. Sound carries here. Despite the distances between houses, we can hear the grinding drag from the next street over. Some people even put their bins out on Saturday, just to be sure.

Our immediate next-door neighbor puts his out on Sunday before noon. He’s a vague kind of guy who may have done a little bit too much acid in his younger days. It might be a big remembering thing for him, to get that bin out there. So, much so, that he put his bin out yesterday. So did our neighbor on the other side.

“There won’t be garbage collection tomorrow, will there?” I asked David.

“I wouldn’t think so since it’s a national holiday.”

And yet, there were the sprinkles of garbage bins dutifully drug out to the road. This morning I peeked in one to ascertain that, indeed, it had not been emptied.

“For some of these people,” David said, “I think garbage collection day is the only thing that distinguishes Monday from the rest of the week.”

I can see that. Our neighborhood is full of artists and retirees. Week days, weekends, holidays – there’s no real distinction if you’re not working a typical corporate work week. Remembering something like when to put out the garbage can take on great significance.

I’ll probably hit 20,000 hits on my blog today. I’m at 19,989 right now. It’s kind of like watching for the car odometer to roll over to a round number. You watch for days and even weeks, reminding yourself to look. I almost always forget at the pertinent time. I’m sure that will happen with this. The next time I look, the numbers will have rolled over. It’s just kind of nifty, though, nothing very important.

A lot of people stress the importance of remembering. Today is a day for remembering, the memorial. I’ve seen a number of messages on the social networks reminding people that today is to honor those fallen in service, not active duty personnel, because there’s other days for them. Keep to the correct day for the correct observance seems to be the message.

So today is the day I’m instructed to remember my father, the man who died in the fiery wreckage of his F-4 fighter jet when I was three years old.

I’ve written about this before, so forgive me those of you who might grow tired of it. My father’s death is one of the watershed events of my life, of my mother’s life. It changed the course of what happened after, of who we grew up to be. We observe the quiet anniversaries of his life throughout the year, his birthday, their wedding anniversary, the day he died. We don’t do anything; we just remember.

We can’t not remember him.

So, though I’m writing about it on this day, Memorial Day isn’t special for me. I don’t care at all who gets thanked or remembered today. I’m not shuffling my memories and my grief out to the curb, so it can be collected on time.

I plan to spend some time in the sun, enjoying the life I know my dad would have wanted me to have.

In Memoriam, Ad Infinitum

It seems like most of the pundits like to spend a moment on Memorial Day talking about returning meaning to the day.

Actually, it seems like EVERY holiday there has to be someone talking about returning meaning to the day. As if there’s something wrong with enjoying a day off and spending it in hedonistic ways.

I’m thinking this is an American thing. Since I’m so international now. But last Monday was Victoria Day in, well, Victoria, British Columbia, Canada. (I have to specify this now because you WOULD NOT believe how many people hear “Columbia” and right away think of South America.) However, if you’re thinking that Victoria Day is to Victoria what Bailey Days is to Bailey, Colorado, you’re not thinking British enough. They’re celebrating the queen. Which seems to involve having a parade and hanging out. There were no articles in the paper musing over the true meaning of the day, or asking people to devote thought at an arranged time:

As Memorial Day approaches, it is time to pause and consider the true meaning of this holiday. Memorial Day represents one day of national awareness and reverence, honoring those Americans who died while defending our Nation and its values. While we should honor these heroes every day for the profound contribution they have made to securing our Nation’s freedom, we should honor them especially on Memorial Day.

That was from an end-of-days executive order from President Clinton. It’s a patriotic thing. Everyone agrees that it’s wonderful to salute and revere our soldiers. Everyone can feel good about saying nice words, giving a toast, devoting a thought. On this one day. Well besides Veterans Day. And Independance Day. And Flag Day. Actually, there are fully seven military holidays.

Memorial Day means nothing to me. My dad was a US Air Force fighter pilot who died in the line of duty when I was three years old. I went through a brief spell when I was a teenager, when I was swept up in the holiday. I suggested to my mom that we drive down to the cemetary at the academy in Colorado Springs to decorate his grave on Memorial Day.

“Why?” she asked me. “Do you think he’s there?”

No. No, I didn’t. She said we could go, but that she didn’t think he was there either, amidst those rows of stark white identical stones. It wouldn’t be for him that we were going. It’s something to think about, how much the dead care about their graves and what the living do with them. Restoring the “meaning” of a holiday like Memorial Day is generating a particular show for the living.

It’s interesting to me that Memorial Day is the modern version of Decoration Day, which was the day that graves were decorated. Official versions of this day were acknowledged by various states following the Civil War. Unofficially, this puts me in mind of rituals like the Day of the Dead. These are less patriotic and sanitized and speak more towards the pagan connection to visitations from the dead. The Day of the Dead is ascribed to Mexican and Latino practices, but this kind of ritual has been prevalent for ages in the Celtic and Roman cultures also. For example:

On Palm Sunday, in several villages in South Wales, a custom prevails of cleaning the grave-stones of departed friends and acquaintances, andornamenting them with flowers, &c. On the Saturday preceding, a troop ofservant girls go to the churchyard with pails and brushes, to renovatethe various mementos of affection, clean the letters, and take awaythe weeds. The next morning their young mistresses attend,with thegracefulness of innocence in their countenances, and the roses of healthand beauty blooming on their cheeks. According to their fancy, and according to the state of the season, they place on the stonessnow-drops, crocuses, lilies of the valley, and roses.

Nothing about the military dead there.

I don’t mind so much the effort to restore meaning. What I mind is the modification of meaning to serve political ends. So, if you pause today, at the recommended time or no, to reflect upon the meaning of this day, make it your own.