Fall Musings

Fall always makes me melancholy. I appreciate the cooler temps after roasting in the August heat (which this year extended into late September), but falling leaves remind me of the impending dark cold winter months.

They also remind me of all the times my dad would be in the hospital, the wind and mold infesting his deteriorating lungs with irritated inflammation that usually progressed into pneumonia. That is, until the year that it never went away. 1996.

I was pregnant with our second daughter, and after losing two previous pregnancies, I was struggling with the thought of losing yet another child. I was on bed rest for much of the first trimester, with our oldest at three and a half years not understanding why mom was laying on the couch all day. She would bounce on me trying to get me to get up. Well, the spotting/bleeding stopped, and baby and I both survived that tsunami of emotion in November.

Dad went into the hospital 10 days before Christmas, having various issues. Pneumonia and bowel problems. A scope revealed nothing in his lower gut, but I still felt an impending sense of doom. On Christmas Eve they did a CT scan, not understanding why his lungs were not clearing up. And at lunch Christmas Day, the woman covering for his regular physician strolled in with her entourage and announced to my father that he had cancer and it was already in his liver. As he stated, “that was a bit difficult to swallow with the pumpkin pie.” Said Doctor acted like it was no big deal and calmly stated they would be scheduling him for a bronchoscope the next day to confirm what the cell type was. His liver was full of marble sized lesions–the radiologist had extended the study when he saw “something” in the base of my father’s lungs. Instead of going up further in his lungs, the sneaky crap went down into his liver instead.

He lived a year, which was longer than anyone expected. Christmas will always be a mixture of happy and sad, and the fall weather continues to haunt me with memories. Our oldest daughter also battled these in her younger years, but now loves the fall colors and cool weather as her memories and anxieties of that time fade. Or at least did. Now a new memory will imbed itself in her psyche as her boyfriend’s father slowly fades like the fall leaves as he loses his physical battle with cancer.

Sadness permeates our days as we ache for the hurt we can’t prevent. Mature, strong from her own battles with loss and sadness, daughter struggles with what to say, as though her social work degree should give her all the answers. I hug her and tell her to just be there, reminding her of what she has already done while her love sits at his father’s side. Feeding his dog, being there to listen, and just keeping up with her won studies are enough for the moment.

In my alone moments, I pray for peace, for M’s pain to be controlled, for the youngsters to not lose their faith…because in the end, that is all we have left.

Outside, yellow leaves cover half the yard while others stubbornly stay green, refusing to change or turn loose just yet. I am the green. I don’t like change. But it will come, inevitably.



This article was shared online yesterday by a friend of mine who happens to be a newspaper editor. It really brought home a couple of things to me: one, I have been hanging on to a pipe dream for several years, and two, just as Stephen King has stated, what separates best sellers and natural talent is hard work. (Or something like that.) A major problem I noticed with the article is that she starts with procrastination, but ends with why young adults today come out of college feeling entitled. I am not entirely sure if she is addressing herself (after reading some of the other readers’ comments, I have to wonder), or if she switched gears and didn’t realize it in her effort to make word count for her deadline. At any rate, it still got me to thinking. Yes, I am a procrastinator. But I’ve always thought I procrastinated in writing because by the time I get through dealing with my paying job and household duties as wife and mom, I’m TIRED. What happens when we are tired? Well, for me, my brain and thought pattern are the first things to go. All I want by 10 p.m. is sleep! I am not one of those folks who can function on 4 to 5 hours of sleep, and that pretty much is what will be required if I stick to writing as a true job and not just a pastime. I’m not sure I have the stamina for that. Talent has very little to do with anything anymore it seems. It’s required to get you started, I suppose, but I really have become so accustomed to thinking concisely, to the point, and frequently in incomplete sentences and abbreviations, that writing a full 500 words has become quite a challenge. This post, for instance–I feel as if I have reached the babbling point and how in the world am I going to fill up the rest of the page to make the 500 word challenge (which I have failed miserably at) and still have anything worthwhile to say?

Anyway, I hope if anyone else actually reads this post and finds the link to the article that they will find some enjoyment in it.


She fiddled with her phone, glaring at the screen. “What the heck? My screen’s black!” Tossing it back in the bag, she concentrated on her driving. “This day is ending badly. Just as badly as it started.”

Pulling into the ATM drive-thru, she inserted her card in the machine. Touching buttons to check the balance first, the receipt printed out and she snatched it, then sucked in her breath.


The receipt read, “Contact distributor of card. Balance 0”

She sped home, throwing her bags on the floor and tossing her coat into the closet. The dog yelped as he was clobbered by her trying to slam the door shut.  He scooted over to her daughter and hid under the chair.

“I take it you had a bad day?” Kiddo looked up from her homework.

“in a manner of speaking, yes.” 

I really just want to scream and yell a the top of my lungs right now!!!!

“Dad left a plate for you in the refrigerator. He’s at a meeting again.”

“Did he say how late he would be?” Another meeting? Wonder what’s up with that?


Sighing, she sat at the computer and pulled up her bank account.

Well, at least there’s still money in the account. What’s this message?

“Oh, for crying out loud…I’m such a dope!”


“I cut up the wrong card.” She sighed. “I should have read my messages first.”

“What is it you are always saying? Read the directions?” Her daughter grinned.

“Yep. Exactly.” Signing off the screen, she pushed her chair back. “And don’t drop your phone on a tile floor. Even with a protective case, it definitely does not bounce.”

*                                 *                                  *


Ok, folks. This is sooo not working for me. I have decided I like reading better than writing. The above is definitely a practice run and not anything I would seriously put into a novel.  It provided some outlet for my momentary  fit of frustration, but for an actual piece, it definitely is no winner. I’m bored to tears reading it. Somehow I can’t interject other stuff and change events to make it something usable (which was my original thought when I started). Guess we can chalk this one up to “What NOT to write about!”  And I am still not up to 500 words. Not good. Not good at all. I have failed the challenge miserably; being ill with bronchitis in the interim did not help. And coming up with 500 words/day has shown me I definitely have a long ways to go. I’ve been busy reading, but not much else. Just do not have the inspiration or energy. I keep thinking of everything else I want to do. What. was. I. thinking?

On the bright side, I am now approximately 50 words from 500…more than I have done in a while. Gotta start somewhere.

Hopefully others are finding this beneficial. The challenge, I mean.