Constance Ore is a retired Teacher, Choir Director, and Organist. And a formidable cook.

October 27, 2009

Filed under: — Constance at 4:57 pm on Monday, October 26, 2009

A report from Constance – Chemical Woman

(today’s illustrations are courtesy of Ursula Holly Nugent, daughter of Janna and granddaughter of Constance)
Armed as usual, the morning walk around the edges of Sanctorium begins before the sun arises, so as Alf, Wonderbeast and I go forth, we are just able to make out the denizens of our kingdom in shadowy forms. As we move toward the eastward side, there is a line of light on the horizon, and Sister Horned Owl suddenly appears in silhouette against that small illumination, flying in utter silence and carrying a rodent in her beak. “A vole” says Alf before I can ask. A Skyjay Patrol sees Sister Owl as soon as she is above the forest trees, and we hear it begin to call for troops, but before any gather, Owl has disappeared again, and silence returns.

We ask Tacama how things are in the west sector. He tells us that all is quiet around him and that the farewell parties are commencing in the Underground Kingdom. “Those that are coming back after winter are mostly tucked in” he informs us, “and those that are finished with their lives are returned to the soil.” “Don’t you ever wish you could move around and see other places?” I ask. I continue, “I have felt very sad about not having any armor – there are so many wonders in the world which would be so fine to see and smell and experience, but it is too dangerous to go to them”. “Ah, well,” Tacama says, “the winds tell me all the news, and since they come and go everywhere, I hear about everything that goes on”. Willow comments, “The winds sing to me. . . they like my branches”, and she tosses hers around a bit to demonstrate. We move on as we know the debate will now commence and we have much left to do. Sanctorium remains quiet until we get back to the bridge just south of Headquarters. Hundreds and hundreds of black birds come across the sky from the west, chattering and clattering. “When are you leaving?” I call, and several respond, “Soon, soon! When the north wind becomes stronger, we will be on our way”.

We return and Charles, Warrior of the Music Kingdom tells me that the Temple of Healing has already called – when I return the call, the Angel of Mercy whispers, “It’s come. A shipment of the H1N1 inoculations arrived overnight. Hurry.” Alf and I depart immediately and I receive the Virus Shield. Now I do feel somewhat less vulnerable to the hordes of the evil H1N1 that are encompassing the land.

Constance – Chemical Woman, reporting on life, living on the Edge.

October 20, 2009

Filed under: — Constance at 7:26 pm on Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Nebraska, with its capacity for dishing out weather intended for the sturdy and long-suffering, has almost always offered up an October that we call our best month with its lovely temperatures, golden fields, and changing colors. This year, we had record cold temperatures and heavy grey skies that frightened the cautious tress into dropping their leaves immediately, or browning out in a way that has those of us who tend toward optimism exclaiming about the “bronzes and hues of grey”. There are a few gold, orange and red trees and bushes scattered about and their sparse numbers make them the gems of Sanctuary.

Today returned us to sunlight and 70 degree temps and almost as soon as we stood out on the porch inhaling deeply, we were inundated with hordes of Asian ladybugs, those not so charming relatives to the Native ladybugs that we all loved dearly as children. Our own never bit us, nor did they swarm; rather we could recite happily the rhyme, “Ladybug, ladybug, fly away home, your house is on fire and your children are gone” while blowing gently on the creature and waiting for it to take flight. Today’s arrivals gave our house the appearance of having zits, and each time the door was opened, several would rush indoors. Apparently, as they came, so they shall depart – not welcome, but not harmful either.

This morning was the monthly port-flush and CBC event at the Clinic. My blood continues the long slow slide that began after the last attempt at a chemotherapy treatment. The white blood cells arrived at the low level of “no immunities to speak of” quite some time ago. I think we thought that if it kept going lower and lower yet, somehow this state of no protection would become direr, but the oncologist said that I was already “there”, meaning, I think, that when you’re naked, you’re naked. The hemoglobin is at 9.6, and when it nears 8, then the red blood transfusions begin. Until then, one is very tired, but the transfusions do not bump you up as much as when the count goes lower. My biggest concern remains the H1N1 flu. I was told that dosages may arrive tomorrow and I will be able to come in for an injection. There are shortages of all flu inoculations here in rural Nebraska at the moment, so we will see if this becomes a reality.

One of the best known of all nursery rhymes is the one that begins “Ladybug ladybug fly away home, your house in on fire and your children are gone.”
In Medieval England farmers would set torches to the old hop (used in flavoring beer) vines after the harvest in order to clear the fields for the next planting. This poem was sung as a warning to the ladybugs that were still crawling on the vines in search of aphids.

October 13, 2009

Filed under: — Constance at 9:41 pm on Monday, October 12, 2009

A report on the life of Constance – Chemical Woman

Early snows and very cold weather mean that I need to swathe myself in warm clothes and heavy boots before leaving the house with Alf the Wonderbeast for our usual morning walk around the perimeters of Sanctoriam. Alf is pleased because the snow makes it possible to see the movements of even the smallest creatures as they hurry from grass clump to tree trunk. The skies are grey and the snow is falling straight down. We greet Red Tailed Hawk – she is huddled on the bare branch near the top of the Victorian Willow on the east side. She dips her head in acknowledgement, but stays very still with snow beginning to gather on her shoulders.

When we get to the great council tree Tacama, I ask him, “How did you know that the snows were coming so early this year?” His branches are mostly bare and he looks like middle winter. He sighs and says nothing, so I continue, “Willow hasn’t dropped a leaf, and now she and her relatives are bent down under the weight of the snow”. I knew Tacama would respond to that – because of his great age and huge trunk, he does tend toward pompous instruction upon occasion. “Willow has no wisdom” he says, “none of the willows have enough patience to put down their roots below the mud in the wetland and now look at them. They are bent in every direction, and because they are so eager to be the first to leaf out in spring, and so prideful about being the last to drop in fall, they have broken limbs all over the place.” I am getting cold and ready to move on, but Tacama is just getting warmed up to the subject. “Now me, I have always held my leaves to the philosophy, ‘Come late and leave early’, and look at my trunk. . . I was here long before any of the rest of these trees, and I’m going to be here long after everything else is gone.” Before he can continue, I thank him, wish him well and hurry on.

Yesterday we had to make a trip to the Great Dispensary for more chemicals. As we drove down the road, Alf said, “I wish I could go in – it’s really dangerous for you with the kingdom so saturated with the Viral Armies of H1N1s.” I reminded him, “Remember what happened last time when I transmorphed you into human form and you went in for me. . . you were still hardwired to respond to ‘Fetch’ and ‘Come’ and. . .” Alf interrupted me, “Who knew that awful woman would say to her kid, ‘FETCH me some eggs’ in such a strong voice.” I continue, “and when you went over and picked up a dozen in your mouth, she panicked and said to her son, ‘COME. Here. Now.’ You went right toward her and she started to scream.” Alf sighed hugely. I went on, “Of course, it didn’t help that you morphed into such a big hairy human, and she got you very nervous and you started to pant. . .it’s a good thing you brain waved me for help and I could get you out by telling the Dispensary Security that you had an odd condition that caused some strange but harmless behaviors upon occasion.” Alf said, “I don’t want to talk about it anymore.” I kindly reminded him that it was my fault that I hadn’t developed a better shield for him, and by then we were in the parking lot and I was putting on my blue WalrusNose FilterAll. As I got out of the car, Alf told me to hurry, breathe infrequently, and keep my eyes as close to closed as possible, “The Virals are really, really thick down here, I can see them swarming” he said as he poked his nose out of the window. I assured him I would make haste, which I did, and so far, so good.

The Abyss has deepened a little since my last report, so a greater array of chemicals are required to keep my balance. I await the inoculation which will help defend against the H1N1 Viral danger. Hopefully that will take place soon.

Constance – Chemical Woman, reporting on two days of her life living on the Edge.

October 6, 2009

Filed under: — Constance at 8:32 pm on Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Everything is changing rapidly now; the farmers have begun to harvest the bean fields so the squares of grey-gold acres are changing into a duller, flatter grey.

The sumac is bright, the honey locusts are flinging down their small golden leaves, and the sound of the wind has begun to change as it blows across bare branches. More than anything, it is that sound that bespeaks winter’s coming most eloquently. The morning frost silenced the crickets, so there is a different sort of silence across the meadow and forest.

I ended my brief affair with Prednisone after visiting with a young doctor at the Clinic who said very solemnly that long term use of the drug always extracted a cost to the body, and that looking at my present physical state, I didn’t have anything to give. He suggested that using the morphine based pain killers were less likely to do damage. Of course I brought up the issue of addiction, knowing well that I have a dependency on the meds to keep on living in a reasonable fashion. There must be a screaming stress inside the bone marrow as all systems keeping pleading for more, more, and the disease prevents the work to take place – this in turn means that there is a lot of pain generated from deep within. I have only gratitude for the opiates that permit me to sleep and to keep functioning. I think there must be a line between addiction and dependency because the doctors say not to worry about that. (Perhaps it is because an aging, retired Lutheran school teacher with terminal cancer doesn’t fit the profile.)

So life goes on at Sanctuary. Alphie always rejoices anew at the opportunity to walk through meadow and forest, and Charles wears many hats as he prepares the place for winter; the mower man who clears off the asters and goldenrod and lilies now that all blooming is finished, the orchids into the greenhouse man, the window washing man, the chimney cleaning man, etc. I like best of all the man who put the full organ sound to “As I soar to worlds unknown”. When he plays it, one goes up and out in all kinds of glory, and who could ask for more?